An Anniversary Year

By Nguyen, Tram | Colorlines Magazine, September-October 2006 | Go to article overview

An Anniversary Year


Nguyen, Tram, Colorlines Magazine


THIS HAS BEEN A YEAR OF NUMEROUS MILESTONES. It's the 10-year anniversary of the passage of welfare reform. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the block grant that replaced welfare, has been extended for another five years, while major issues remain unresolved for poor families living with a gutted safety net.

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"For a long time, we were using the TANF debate as a proxy debate for the economy not working for a lot of people," says Rachel Gragg, a policy analyst at the Center for Community Change. "It's the task for all of us to figure out how to come back to that conversation in a much more meaningful way."

This issue's cover story examines a key part of the welfare debate: childcare. As poor women of color are forced into low-wage jobs to meet TANF's work requirements, they increasingly rely on other women of color to care for their children. Rinku Sen and Gabriel Thompson examine the underfunded, racially stratified world of daycare providers in New York City, and ask: What is the worth of the work that we call mothering?

It's also been 10 years since the passage of the 1996 immigration laws. Since then, more than a million people have been detained and deported under harsh mandatory sentencing that makes double jeopardy and exile the reality for all noncitizens convicted of a wide category of violations. The move to criminalize continues unabated alongside today's immigration debate. Both of the current proposed bills in Congress contain hidden traps that would expand detention prisons, increase local and state law enforcement on immigration matters and cut due process in deportation proceedings. …

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