In Conversation with Frank Sharry of America’s Voice

April 19th, 2011

Few people know the American immigration reform scene as well as Frank Sharry, first as the Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum and now as founder of America’s Voice.

An advocate for 11 million undocumented immigrants, he calls America’s Voice the “communications war room” for the immigration reform movement. He now sees its future in city mayors, police chiefs and undocumented young people growing up in America.

Frank Sharry sat down with Kim Turner, Project Leader of Cities of Migration.

Watch Frank talk about:

What is America’s Voice?

America’s Voice is an organization that I founded with the support of many other leaders in the immigration reform movement in the United States in early 2008. And we are the communications war room for the immigration reform movement…

Mayors and police chiefs are leading the immigration debate

…you are seeing tremendous leadership from many of the cities in the United States. The classic example is Mayor Bloomberg of New York City, known as an independent, a businessman, who is kind of a no-nonsense manager and he thinks immigration is the best things since apple pie…

Media: Friend or Foe?

Trust the media? Well, it’s a little bit different, I don’t actually say trust the media…what I say is don’t blame the media for asking tough questions. They are professionals and that’s their job…

How does America’s Voice target the media?

The discourse and the narrative in media really define how much political space there is for good policy. The media discourse in the United States has been pretty negative for most of the last decade and we are working to change that…

Guns or Roses?

We have always been hopeful that hope would win out over fear. I’m afraid that given how polarized this debate has become that we are probably going to achieve a breakthrough when the Republican party, our conservative party, is scared of continuing to alienate the fastest growing group of new voters…

“The dynamics [of immigration] are eerily similar in most places…”

Yeah, I used to be a skeptic on the issue of comparative migration studies and whether there was a lot to learn but I’ve had the opportunity to spend time in Ireland, in Brussels, in London…

What is your favourite city?

My favourite city? Well, I live in Washington, DC, but I have to say it is not my favourite city just because it is steeped in the broken politics of America these days. I love the metropolises of Canada and Europe…

Interview between Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice and Kim Turner, Project Leader, Cities of Migration, in Toronto, April 7, 2011.

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