Demand Justice for the Immigrant Community!

Fear and loathing campaigns have been used effectively in past election cycles by George H.W. Bush and by George W. Bush. In 1988, Bush #1 cast himself as being tough on crime, leveling Michael Dukakis over the William R. “Willie” Horton case and the Massachusetts prisoner furlough program.[1]

In post 9/11 lockdown, amidst Islamophobia and anti-immigrant fervor, G.W. Bush skated into reelection in spite of his dubious qualifications for the job.

Republican front-runner Donald Trump has capitalized on the fears of the angry xenophobes by spewing out hateful generalizations about Mexicans and other immigrants.

Trump cast Mexicans as criminals. His backers support this by pointing to federal court data of the U.S. Sentencing Commission showing unauthorized immigrants as being responsible for 7% of violent crime, while representing 3.5% of the U.S. population, in 2013.

This small sample gives an erroneous view of the facts because a tiny percent of violent crime is handled by the federal court system. “Yes, undocumented immigrants accounted for 9.2% of federal murder convictions in 2013… a grand total of eight murder cases. FBI estimates there were 14,196 murders in the U.S. in 2013, those few cases handled by the federal court system don’t quite register as a reliable sample set.” (USA Today, 7/16/15, by Alan Gomez)

Trump says he’ll abolish birthright citizenship guaranteed in our Constitution’s 14th Amendment — which explicitly states in Section 1: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside” — and bring big government into the birthing rooms. This would “require that the federal government register each and every child at birth, determining their ‘right’ to be a citizen as they take their first breath. Do we really want another level of federal bureaucracy, this time in our maternity wards? It’s impractical, it’s ridiculous, and it’s offensive,” said Crystal Williams, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). [2]

Williams also stated that the “14th Amendment was intended to put citizenship above the politics and prejudices of any given era and is the bedrock of American civil rights because it ensures due process and equal protection under the law to everyone.”

Scapegoating immigrants in times of economic distress is not uncommon, but disregards the fact that immigration benefits our economy, as Alan Greenspan pointed out. “Seventy percent of immigrants arrive in prime working age,” Greenspan said. “That means we haven’t spent a penny on their education, yet they are transplanted into our workforce and will contribute $500 billion toward our social security system over the next 20 years.” [3]

It’s true that unauthorized immigrants compete for jobs, but they also create jobs, and are a boon to the economy, as consumers and taxpayers. “Undocumented immigrants pay income taxes as well, as evidenced by the Social Security Administration’s “suspense file” (taxes that cannot be matched to workers’ names and social security numbers), which grew by $20 billion between 1990 and 1998.” [4]

This is also a labor issue, pitting citizens against undocumented workers. The AFL-CIO has taken a strong position demanding an immediate end to all deportations. These are our brothers and sisters. [5]

Finally, about “amnesty.” Amnesty was part of Republican-sponsored immigration bills in 1986 and 1992. President Obama’s executive orders to defer action for undocumented family members of legal residents is far more restrictive than the immigration actions taken under Republican presidents Reagan and Bush #1. [6]

Migration is at an all-time high worldwide. We must put a stop to the U.S.-sponsored wars and interventions — and to the “free trade” agreements and other “globalization” policies — that fuel rampant migration. We must not punish or ban from our borders the victims of U.S. corporate-led policies. In spite of all odds against them, they still contribute to society and to our economy.

We need a comprehensive law that would secure immediate legalization rights for undocumented workers and provide them with a rapid path to citizenship.


About elnwebmaster

This is the discussion blog of the Labor Fightback Network, an auxiliary to the website. It is designed to facilitate discussion among labor activists concerning the critical issues facing working people in the current economic crisis. Readers’ comments are welcome, but flaming is not. Any comments which are racist, sexist/homophobic, or disrespectful on a personal level will not get past moderation.
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