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Vol. 73/No. 27      July 20, 2009

Legalize all immigrants now!
This week the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) ordered American Apparel to fire 1,800 workers at its downtown Los Angeles factory if the company cannot prove they have valid Social Security numbers.

That is why working people should demand not only stop immigration raids, but stop the deportations, stop the firings, and legalize all undocumented workers, now! The example of the 254 workers at Overhill Farms in Vernon, California, who are demanding reinstatement after the company fired them for allegedly invalid Social Security numbers, should be emulated.

The Barack Obama administration claims that instead of massive factory raids it will concentrate on forcing businesses to fire undocumented workers, while keeping the deportation weapon in reserve.

This is the real face of the “comprehensive immigration reform” the White House, with bipartisan support, is promoting. It is little more than a modern-day iron fist covered with a not-so-velvet glove.

Neither the bosses, nor their government in Washington, want to deport all or most undocumented workers. They want to maintain a superexploited layer of workers, a reserve army of labor that they can tap at will. By keeping millions of immigrant workers “illegal” they hope to intimidate them, undermine their self-confidence, keep them from joining and revitalizing unions, and lower the value of the labor power of all workers.

The victory by striking members of the bakers union at the Stella D’oro cookie factory in the Bronx, New York—not a single worker crossed the picket line during the 11-month strike—is an example of how immigrants strengthen the working class.

Statements by Sen. Charles Schumer, who has been tapped by the Democrats to write the immigration “reform” bill, show what is at stake in the immigration debate.

Schumer’s proposal for a national “forgery-proof” worker ID card would be a weapon in the hands of the bosses against all workers. It would allow the bosses to blacklist union activists and anyone else they consider to be a “troublemaker.” Schumer also wants to expand the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The illustrious senator opposes referring to immigrants without papers as “undocumented workers.” He demands they be referred to as “illegal aliens” who “should not be treated the same as people who entered the United States legally.”

Class-conscious workers say the opposite. We welcome our immigrant brothers and sisters, with or without papers. They are not “illegals” to us; they are fellow fighters. Together, from California to New York, we will stand up against the attempts by the boss class to divide us and take out their economic crisis on us.
Related articles:
Immigrant workers demand jobs back
N. Carolina meat packers win first union pact
Company threatens plant closure after union victory  
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