The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Immigration "reform"
– a new attack on immigrant workers

Mar 5, 2007

Quietly, behind closed doors, a new "immigration reform" bill is being put together.

Little information appears in the press – only that the Democrats and Republicans are working together to come up with this bill, and that it has already been put "on the fast track" for passage.

When the politicians try to sneak something by you, better watch out!

Supposedly, it will be based on bills introduced last year in the Senate with some features taken from the Sensenbrenner bill that passed the House of Representatives.

Sensenbrenner, with all sorts of penalties against immigrants and those who might help them, was openly, clearly an attack on immigrants.

But all versions of the Senate bills last year were very bit as much of an attack, just more insidious and harder to see. Behind all the pretense that the Senate bills would grant legalization to immigrants stood this reality: every immigrant without papers would continue to be kept in a precarious situation for years, and most of the permanently.

All the bills under consideration include what are called "guest workers." Each year employers will be able to import hundreds of thousands of workers from a country like Mexico at the lowest possible wage. As soon as the employers no longer want them they will be kicked out of the country.

No matter what Congress does this year about immigration "reform," we can be sure of one thing. The immigrants won't gain a real, enduring, permanent, irrevokable legal status from it. It will be a reform just like those other "reforms' passed in recent years: welfare "reform," tax "reform," workers' disability compensation "reform." It will be an attack on the working class – in this case on immigrant workers – for the benefit of the biggest bosses in the country.

Immigrants will not get a reform that serves them by hoping for something from Congress. They will get it only through doing what workers who ever gained anything did – by fighting, by building their own organizations, by mobilizing and continuing to mobilize, tying up the bosses' economy.

Last year, for a couple months, there were massive demonstrations of immigrants – but those demonstrations were led by coalitions that included some of the biggest bosses in the country. And when those bosses decided they wanted the demonstrations stopped, the people who controlled the coalitions pulled the plug.

This time, immigrant workers need to depend on their own forces, on their own determination. It's the only thing they can trust.

And other workers need to give them every support. When one part of the working class is without full legal rights, the whole working class is weakened.

We are all part of one class. Don't let the bosses divide us.