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An anniversary year.

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.

And, of course, this month marks the five-year anniversary of September 11. With the Turkmen v. Ashcroft decision in June, a federal court has legitimized the indefinite detention of noncitizens on the basis of race, religion or national origin. Our special section, "9/11, Five Years Later," explores the ongoing effects of racial targeting through national security policies. Daisy Hernandez reports on Muslim charities and foundations that have had their assets frozen and accounts raided by the government long before the New York Times revealed that the Bush administration has been secretly tracking banking and financial data.

But the milestones aren't just about the bad. Shannah Kurland shows how day-care providers have fought long and hard in places like Providence, Rhode Island, and Brooklyn, New York, to demand on-time pay, health insurance and, most of all, recognition of their dignity. Roberto Lovato visits Milwaukee after immigrants held Wisconsin's largest-ever demonstration on May Day. "We're going to change this country," say these marchantes. And Daisy Hernandez profiles Sarwat Husain, who, after 9/11, started a now-thriving Muslim newspaper in San Antonio, Texas. According to Husain, "The worse it gets, the better you get."

Tram Nguyen

Executive Editor
COPYRIGHT 2006 Color Lines Magazine
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:temporary assistance for needy families
Author:Nguyen, Tram
Publication:Colorlines Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2006
Words:469
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