Through deceptively-named organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce’s “Essential Workers Immigration Coalition” and the bipartisan, Fortune 500-based “Partnership for a New American Economy,” both Wall Street and the Democratic/Republican Parties are promoting what they call “sensible Comprehensive Immigration Reform” (CIR). However, CIR as represented by S. 744 will involve expanded militarized enforcement, continued detentions and family separations, the continuation of Police-Migra partnerships and information-sharing programs (S-COMM, 287g), employer sanctions via programs such as E-Verify, and a tortuous “path to citizenship” that involves crippling expenses for struggling families and over a decade spent “in line.”
Additionally, the aggressive proposed border militarization measures promise to rip apart the social fabric of border communities across the U.S.-Mexico frontier in unprecedented ways, transforming it into one of the most heavily militarized border zones on the planet. Proposed measures include the introduction of advanced radar systems, dozens of military helicopters, an enhanced naval fleet, nearly 20 drones (unmanned aerial systems), thousands of ground sensors, a doubling of Border Patrol “boots on the ground” and the deployment of the National Guard, as well as 700 miles of border fencing and triple walls. The price tag for this militarization is, at present, nearly $50,000,000,000 – a huge handover of taxpayer funds to war contractors and the Military-Industrial Complex. However, the price tag for the six million people who reside in border communities (as well as future migrants) will be measured in shed blood, lost lives, sacrificed civil liberties, and violated human rights.
For Wall St. or the “1 percent”, however, the key strategic interest in reforming the present immigration system not only lies in imperial “national security” interests but in the introduction of “managed migration” schemes that will allow those sections of the economy currently built on a base of criminalized migrant labor to be formally replaced with “guest worker” programs in the fields of agricultural, service, hospitality, and science/technology/engineering/mathematics (“STEM”). Under such a framework, future migrants employed in these industries will be subject to a regime similar to the notorious “Bracero Program” of indentured servitude, with grave repercussions for workers’ rights irrespective of nationality.
Failing to honestly consult our families and communities, some have wholeheartedly endorsed these “devil’s bargain” forms of immigration reform long ago, and stubbornly continue to promote “common-sense immigration reform” despite knowing of the grim repercussions that such “reform” will entail. Unconditional and premature endorsement of the impending versions of bi-partisan Immigration Reform by labor leaders, non-profit organizations, short-sighted activists, and self-appointed “community leaders” have resulted in a major disservice to working people, and a dishonor to the sacrifices and contributions of countless organizations and individuals in our legacy of struggle.
Our movement can only succeed if it’s driven by and led by the community itself. History and experience have demonstrated in countless examples how organization, unity, and persistence can transform and reverse situations of passive acceptance of injustice, allowing us to defend ourselves from a position of strength and take the initiative in our fight for a dignified future. This is the purpose of why we have come together.
• Documents and permanent residency rights for all: the right to work, higher education, drivers’ licenses and public benefits for all.
• An immediate end to raids and deportations.
• No to the militarization of the border and our communities.
• No to new “Bracero”/Guest Worker programs (modern indentured servitude).
• A path to citizenship without undue delays and restrictions such as a return to country of origin – no to “getting in the back of the line!”
• Workers must have the unconditional legal right to organize.
• No to E-Verify, Secure Communities [S-COMM], and other forms of Police-Migra collaboration.
• No to the military service ‘option’ (backdoor draft) for Dreamers
YES to a just and humane immigration reform that eliminates the terror and anxiety in our communities, respects and protects the human rights of undocumented workers, and eliminates the injustices our families face
– July 2013