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Immigration: Immediate and Unconditional Legalization for All

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  • Cort Greene
    *From the US section of the International Marxist Tendency* Immigration: Immediate and Unconditional Legalization for All
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2013
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      *From the US section of the International Marxist Tendency*

      Immigration: Immediate and Unconditional Legalization for All

      Written by Socialist AppealMonday, 01 April 2013 15:09

      [image: immigration 2013 eng]New leaflet produced by *Socialist Appeal *for
      use at immigrant rights meetings, events, and rallies. Click
      print copies and distribute widely. For the same leaflet in Spanish click

      Immigration: Immediate and Unconditional Legalization for
      [image: Print]<http://www.socialistappeal.org/analysis/immigration/1131-immigration-immediate-and-unconditional-legalization-for-all?tmpl=component&print=1&layout=default&page=>[image:

      Written by John PetersonMonday, 01 April 2013 13:59

      [image: may day immigration march]In the Spring of 2006, millions of
      immigrant workers flooded the streets of the United States to say �enough
      is enough!� The spark was an ultra-reactionary �immigration reform� bill
      sponsored by Wisconsin Republican Jim Sensenbrenner. But the frustration
      had built up for decades, as dangerous working conditions, low wages,
      discrimination, and the constant fear of raids and deportations reached the
      breaking point. The boundless energy and determination to fight overflowed
      the �safe� limits of the traditional immigrant rights and non-profit

      These organizations had no perspective of mass struggle, much less any
      confidence that the masses themselves could take their destinies into their
      own hands. For decades, they had contented themselves with providing legal
      aid, food banks, and a condescending pat on the head. The millions who
      walked off the job for the May 1st �day without an immigrant� �general
      strike,� wanted nothing less than amnesty and genuine equality. Those who
      participated in that marvelous movement can only compare it to the early
      days of a revolution.

      But tragically, as with so many other spontaneous explosions of the class
      struggle, this inspiring mass movement of the most downtrodden layer of the
      working class lacked the necessary leadership. Instead of generalizing the
      struggle, linking it up with the labor movement and the broader working
      class, and transforming it into an offensive against the attacks of the
      bosses and their government, the movement was derailed into the courts,
      legislatures, and the Democratic Party.

      A golden opportunity was missed. Long before the housing and economic
      crisis hit, and the attacks and austerity became generalized, and long
      before Wisconsin and Occupy, immigrant workers showed the way forward. Had
      the necessary leadership been in place, the situation facing workers in the
      U.S. today would be entirely different.

      In the end, �immigration reform� was never passed, although G.W. Bush gave
      it a try. His proposal was more �moderate� than Sensenbrenner�s: an
      �enforcement first� approach that would militarize the border, expand guest
      worker programs, implement E-Verify employment authorization for all
      workers, impose fines and penalties, and offer �path to citizenship� for
      undocumented immigrants. Sound familiar? It should, because in essence,
      this is precisely what Democratic President Obama is proposing.

      American capitalism requires immigrant labor. By keeping the wages of these
      workers low, they can drive down wages and conditions across the board, and
      have the further benefit of being able to scapegoat immigrants for
      �stealing jobs.� This divide-and-conquer strategy is nothing new. The
      capitalists have used racism and discrimination to perpetuate their system
      for centuries. What they fear most is a united working class conscious of
      the fact that through militant struggle, they can fight the bosses and win.

      Obama�s proposed reform is a pro-capitalist reform aimed at facilitating
      the exploitation of these workers by big business. Even though raids and
      deportations have increased under Obama, the 11 million or more
      undocumented immigrants are essential to the U.S. economy. The �reform�
      merely seeks to recognize and codify the status quo.

      Currently, millions of workers live �underground� and live their lives in
      the shadows and black market. By registering them, imposing fines, and
      collecting back taxes, they seek to exert more control over the whereabouts
      and activities of immigrant workers, and also bring more money into the
      treasury. So-called �guest worker� programs are to be massively expanded as
      well, especially in agriculture, which would cut across efforts to unionize
      this industry.

      Guest workers are given temporary work visas, and can be deported at any
      time for any reason: including trying to form a union. Those undocumented
      workers who are offered a �path to citizenship� will likewise be in a kind
      of limbo for years, if not indefinitely.

      None of the fundamental problems that led to the mass struggles of 2006
      have been resolved. None of the contradictions in Latin America that lead
      millions to abandon their homes and families in search of work north of the
      border have been resolved. If anything, the pressure cooker is more
      explosive than ever.

      If this reform is passed, it may in passing lead to a nominal increase in
      unionization. But this by no means excuses the spectacle of Richard Trumka
      and other leaders of the AFL-CIO lining up with the pro-capitalist Chamber
      of Commerce to back Obama�s proposal. Workers deserve better and should not
      settle for less! You cannot mix oil and water! You cannot reconcile the
      interests of the workers and the interests of the bosses! It is precisely
      these class-collaborationist policies of the labor leaders that have led
      U.S. workers to a blind alley.

      The only solution is a policy of class independence. The unions need to
      break decisively with big business and their political parties. By basing
      ourselves on the power of the united working class, we can fight back
      against the bosses� austerity and win. By building a mass party of labor to
      represent all workers, we can pass legislation that will benefit all
      workers. And by fighting for socialism, we can abolish the artificial
      borders that divide us and end the exploitative and racist capitalist
      system once and for all.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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