In response to the bourgeois debate on “immigration reform,” the labor movement should demand no special restrictions or caveats on full legalization of undocumented workers in the country and oppose moves that target rights of working people.
For several years starting in 2006, immigrant workers stood up in mass in response to direct attacks on their rights. The capitalist rulers were forced to back off and reassess their approach. At the same time immigrant workers, with and without papers, have been among the most combative sections of the working class in mines and factories across the country. Through these struggles they have won more sympathy and support among native-born workers.
The employers’ demand for undocumented immigrant labor has brought more than 11 million here without rights of citizenship. Today, as a result of bosses’ declining demand for labor, immigration to the U.S. has been slowing, as it has in previous periods of contraction in capitalist production and trade.
Given all these factors, Democratic and Republican politicians—seeking social stability, Latino votes, and tighter government control over capitalist-driven labor flows—are converging on a new immigration policy that includes a path to legal status for many.
All the proposals also aim to expand sharing of information between the employers and their government, stricter enforcement of immigration law and border security, and the establishment of a national ID card—moves that go against the interests of all working people and will be used to target whomever they want, from immigrants to labor militants.
And all proposals include temporary guest-worker programs aimed at providing bosses a stable supply of superexploitable labor.
At the same time, any steps that provide legal status to millions of undocumented in the U.S. will lead to greater confidence and help strengthen the unity of the working class. And the bosses’ daydreams about docile “guest workers” will be dashed.
Whatever scheme the propertied rulers come to, the future holds deepening working-class resistance in the fields, packinghouses, mines and factories across the country.
Momentum builds for bipartisan ‘immigration reform’
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home