Modern Freedom Riders for Immigrant Rights

by Zachary Langway | August 22, 2011 10:07 am

This is an exceprt from a commentary by our friend, Henry Fernandez, in “New America Media.”

Fifty years ago this summer, hundreds of young people organized, rode buses into the deep South and got arrested for challenging Jim Crow segregation in inter-state transit. They were beaten, firebombed and imprisoned. The Freedom Riders knew full well they would not convince segregationist Southern politicians like Alabama’s Sheriff Bull Connor or Governor John Patterson to embrace integration.
Instead, they were pushing President John F. Kennedy, a civil rights ally, to use his power to end segregation in public transit throughout the South. President Kennedy asked for patience, and said he could not unilaterally make the changes they wanted. More young people boarded buses for the South, and filled the jails of Mississippi. Kennedy realized the time to act had come.

In September of 1961, Attorney General Bobby Kennedy went to the Inter-State Commerce Commission, a federal agency, and got the rule changes necessary to end segregation on buses and trains. And the rest, as they say, is history. President Obama faced a similar challenge and took a step towards justice as well as common sense law enforcement. He had the U.S. Department of Homeland Security make a change that could fundamentally alter how the United States treats undocumented immigrants facing deportation. The department announced it will now prioritize its deportation efforts on those undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes, have recently crossed the border, or have re-crossed the border after being previously deported.

Read the full article by clicking here.

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