Just Immigration Reform will take a Struggle

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The struggle for immigrant rights is a key component of the struggle for working class unity in our country today.

The coming months are crucial. This is a call for all progressive forces to become fully engaged at every level.

More than 11 million people who came in search of work and a better life have been blocked from legalization and a path to citizenship, and forced into substandard and life threatening working and living conditions. The constant fear of deportation and family separation is held over their heads as Homeland Security deports non-violent, non-criminal immigrants in record numbers, 1100 a day which could equal two million before reform is passed.

The corporate right-wing are the big beneficiaries of a two-tiered workforce with a large undocumented sector that cannot vote and is denied basic rights in workplace and community. It is in the interests of the right-wing extremists to promote racism and hatred, foment disunity between immigrants and the African American community, and between immigrants and organized labor. The consequences are dire for all working people.

A new generation of undocumented children raised in this country are coming of age only to discover that they are denied drivers licenses, in-state tuition, and access to many services funded by their parents' and their own taxes. As these young people stepped out to say "I am undocumented and unafraid," they helped to spark a new chapter in the long struggle for immigrant rights. They have been joined in the latest phase of the struggle by U.S. citizen and legal resident families and children of the undocumented. The overwhelming Latino vote for President Obama has pushed the need for legislation forward, but there is a hard fight still ahead.

As Congress begins to draft legislation, immigrant rights groups and the labor movement including the AFL-CIO and its constituent organizations, SEIU, Change to Win, and many faith based groups are mobilizing for comprehensive immigration reform with legalization, a path to citizenship and workers' rights. Business interests will push language that does not include these elements.

This legislative and political battle is also at the top of the agenda of the Communist Party USA and Young Communist League. Our program includes stopping deportations now as legislation is being adopted, and calling for legalization with a clear and speedy road map to citizenship for all 11 million. Future workers who come should have the same opportunity.

The People's World/Mundo Popular will soon post a pamphlet answering common questions about immigration, Myths v Facts, which can be circulated via social media and printed out, along with daily coverage and commentary on the immigrant rights struggle.

Calendar

Immigration reform legislation is being crafted in the Senate and the House now and could be introduced as early as the first week of April, with a possible vote in June. Below are some actions that deserve full support and mobilization.

March 25 - April 5 Rallies, marches and lobbying are taking place during spring break when members of Congress are in their home districts, providing an opportunity to build broad alliances of support.

Wednesday, April 10 The Time is Now - All in for Citizenship. National day of action for immigration reform. Buses are being organized from many states for the lobby day and rally in Washington, DC. Rallies are also being organized in local areas.

April 29 to May 3 Members of Congress in their home districts.

Wednesday, May 1, May Day, international workers' day, is being re-claimed with large marches organized by coalitions of labor, immigrant rights and faith based organizations in each state as well as actions in Washington, D.C. These build on the mega-marches of 2006, and on the re-structuring and outreach of the labor movement now underway.

A wealth of educational materials are available on-line at the AFL-CIO , National Immigration Law Center, Center for Community Change, National Council of La Raza, ACLU among many others.



To read more on the current immigration reform struggle, visit the People's World: "Immigration Reform must be All-Inclusive"

Photo: Chicago, children's march for immigration reform 3/26/13. PW