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Vol. 74/No. 17      May 3, 2010

March on May 1 to
legalize immigrants
(lead article / editorial)
The demonstrations taking place May 1 in many cities across the United States present an important opportunity to join forces with others to demand immediate legalization of all immigrant workers and an end to deportations. These actions take place on the heels of increased protests in defense of immigrant rights over the past several months, including a rally in Washington, D.C., last month of more than 100,000.

The fight to win legalization for all undocumented immigrants is a life-and-death question for the entire working class. As the capitalist economic depression continues with no sign of abatement, the employers scapegoat undocumented immigrants for “stealing jobs.” They want U.S.-born workers to think of themselves as “Americans” who have more in common with the boss than with fellow workers born in other countries.

The labor movement must reject that. Workers and farmers—wherever they were born, whatever language they speak, whatever their skin color or religious views, or whatever piece of paper or ID they happen to carry—have a common enemy: the ruling capitalist families who profit from the wealth working people produce.

As their profit rates have declined, the bosses and their government have stepped up their drive against immigrant workers. They’ve increased the pace of deportations, expanded the authority of police to act as immigration cops, and stepped up raids aimed at depicting many immigrants as criminals.

The rulers’ aim is to deepen divisions among those with “proper” papers and those without, to heighten insecurity and fear among immigrants, and maintain a layer of the working class permanently vulnerable to deportation, hoping they will keep their heads down in face of abuse and be too afraid to join union and other working-class struggles.

The bipartisan immigration “reform” bills are part of the attack on immigrant workers. The Schumer-Graham proposal, for instance, would for the first time require all working people to carry a national ID card. The bill would increase and give wider authority to cops to act as immigration agents. While it promises permanent residence for some undocumented workers, it demands they first “admit” they broke the law, pay heavy fines, pass background checks, and be proficient in English. Those that successfully jump all those hurdles are given the opportunity to “go to the back of the line” of immigrants awaiting green cards.

Only by fighting for legalization of all immigrant workers now, with no conditions, can the labor movement effectively fight for jobs, against attacks on health care, racist discrimination, U.S. wars abroad, and build a movement to take power out of the hands of the capitalist class.

We urge working people to join in the actions listed below and demand: Legalize all immigrants now! Stop the firings and deportations! End the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border!
Related articles:
Thug gets slap on wrist for killing immigrant
Partial list of May 1 actions for immigrant rights  
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