A quarter of a million people demonstrated for immigrant rights in more than 100 cities and towns nationwide May 1, just a week after Arizona governor Janice Brewer signed the SB 1070 anti-worker legislation.
The May Day demonstrations were the largest since 2007, fueled by stepped-up federal anti-immigrant measures and anger over passage of the Arizona law, which instructs cops to check the immigration status of those they stop for any reason, if cops suspect they are undocumented. Many demonstrators carried signs that said, What does illegal look like? Another demonstration in Phoenix against the law will take place May 29.
We havent done enough to secure our borders seriously to slow the entry of workers without papers, Obama stated at the press conference, which he called the number one priority of his comprehensive immigration-reform approach.
The U.S. president boasted that his administration has devoted unprecedented resources in personnel and technology to securing our border. Illegal immigration is down, not up.
On May 25 the White House issued a statement saying it was sending up to 1,200 additional National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border as part of its twin anti-immigrant, anti-drug effort. There are more than 20,000 immigration cops assigned to the border, including 300 from the National Guard.
Obama: Get right with the law
Before even being considered for becoming legal U.S. residents, Obama said during the news conference, undocumented workers must pay a fine and back taxes, learn English, get right with the law, and get to the back of the line.
The next day Brewer told Fox News that Obamas statement that Arizonas laws could be applied in a discriminatory fashion was misleading. She said that the new law simply strengthens what has been federal law for decades. Brewer claimed that Arizona was on the battlefield getting the impact of all this illegal immigration and all the crime that comes with it.
The Arizona governors slander of undocumented workers as criminals complements stepped-up actions by the federal government that target alleged criminal aliens.
Under Immigration and Customs Enforcements 287(g) programauthorized by the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act signed by then-president William Clintoncop agencies across the country are trained in immigration enforcement by ICE, supposedly giving priority to the arrest and detention of criminal aliens.
A study by the Latino Migration Project in North Carolina exposed how the 287(g) program really works. The study, released March 26, found that almost 87 percent of immigrants stopped in the state and turned over for deportation were accused of misdemeanors, 33 percent of them for minor traffic violations.
Fingerprinting every U.S. prisoner
ICEs Secure Communities program, launched in 2008 under the George Bush administration, currently checks the fingerprints of every inmate in federal and state prisons against FBI and Department of Homeland Security databases. ICE has already begun expanding the program to many of the 30,000 local jail and booking locations in the United States and plans 100 percent coverage by 2013.
Calderón, who was in Washington, D.C., for a two-day state visit, said that he rejects laws that treat as criminals people that work and provide things to this nation. At the same time he pledged cooperation with the U.S. government in strengthening border controls.
Trade between Mexico and the United States exceeds $1 billion a day. About 80 percent of Mexicos exports are sent to the United States. Remittances of $21 billion a year from Mexican-born workers in the United States are Mexicos second-largest source of foreign currency, after oil. Mexico is the second-largest export market for U.S. capitalists.
Organizers of the National Day of Action Against SB 1070 are calling on people from across the United States to join the march in Phoenix May 29 to demand that all police-ICE partnerships, including 287(g) agreements and the so-called Secure Communities Initiative be terminated.
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home