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During Congress's efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform in
2006 and 2007, media and academic commentators characterized the activism
that animated the immigrant community as the beginnings of a civil rights
struggle' -one that would dovetail with the growing political power of the country's Latino population to produce a major new social movement. These
predictions were stirring, and the large-scale immigration marches of 2006,
which helped prevent the passage of a House bill that would have made
unlawful status a felony rather than adopt a legalization program, illuminated
the agency and power of immigrant communities. But the intensity of
organization reflected in those marches has been difficult to sustain. In
addition, the interests of the Latino electorate and immigrants diverge and
sometimes directly conflict, thus making a pan-Latino movement focused
squarely on immigrants' rights a fraught proposition.

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immigration, civil rights, incorporation