The harsh anti-immigrant legislation now being debated in Congress is a major attack on immigrant workers. The bill HR4437 would declare undocumented immigrants aggravated felons, threatening mass deportation and the breakup of millions of families, and make it a crime for anyone to support them. Millions are expressing their anger over this attempt to criminalize immigrants by joining mass demonstrations all over the country.
Immigrant workers, youth, and families already face a hard life everyday, with little access to good jobs, education, and healthcare. These people are not criminals – they are our co-workers, classmates, and neighbors. They work hard like the rest of us, doing a lot of the work that makes our society run. In return, they receive low wages and few benefits, often working long hours in harsh conditions, making big profits for their often ruthless employers. Our immigrant classmates often cant even go to college.
HR4437 would also mean that any family member, church, school, employer, hospital, or service organization that helps an undocumented immigrant would be subject to arrest, imprisonment, and fines” (MIRA Coalition).
Millions of immigrants and supporters of immigrant rights have demonstrated in the last few weeks to protest this cruel legislation and demand the legalization, not criminalization, of immigrants. On Saturday, over 1 million immigrants marched in Los Angeles in one of the largest demonstrations in U.S. history!
Build the Movement for Immigrant Rights!
We must use the momentum of these historic mobilizations to build a mass movement for immigrant rights, and a better life for all U.S. workers. The corporations want to maintain the second-class status of immigrants, which makes them easier to exploit and weakens the power of all workers to resist the attacks of big business in its efforts to boost profits. It is crucial that the movement demand equal rights for all immigrants – an immediate and unconditional amnesty for all undocumented immigrants in the United States. None of the proposals currently being debated in Congress, including the McCain-Kennedy bill, include amnesty. In fact, their guest worker bill would mainly benefit employers who rely on cheap immigrant labor and keep immigrants in a second-class status.
It is only by mobilizing millions in communities, workplaces, and schools all over the country, not by relying on politicians, that we can win papers for all. Militant actions like student walkouts and work stoppages, as have happened in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Georgia and elsewhere, can put major pressure on the political establishment. The U.S. economy cannot function without immigrant workers, and this is where the power of the immigrant community lies.
National Work Stoppage/Walkout in May
To build the movement, every immigrant rights organization, union, anti-war group, activist groups should go all out to campaign for and mobilize for a massive strike of immigrant workers and student walkout in May for immigrant rights. The labor movement should put itself at the forefront of this struggle. It should launch a massive education campaign to convince tens of millions of workers that immigrant rights is an issue that is vital to all U.S. workers by distributing millions of leaflets, holding workplace meetings, and organizing mass rallies. It should mobilize massive solidarity for the strike in May, and broaden it to include immigrant and native-born workers alike.
A Fighting Program for Immigrant Rights
- Full and equal rights for all immigrants! Papers for All – Immediate and unconditional amnesty for all undocumented workers
- Stop the deportations and all attacks on immigrant communities!
- Drivers licenses for all who need them regardless of immigration status
- A living wage of $12.50 an hour for all workers
- A free, publicly-owned national health care system Health care is a right, not a privilege!
- Workers of the world unite! An Injury to One is an Injury to All