Feb 4, 2013
President Obama and a bi-partisan group of Democratic and Republican Senators announced plans to pass “comprehensive immigration reform” for the 11 million immigrants the government calls undocumented.
The most advertised part of the reform contains a so-called “pathway to citizenship.” That may sound like a good thing, like 11 million people, who have been forced to live in the shadows, will finally get their full rights. But this so-called pathway is really a red-tape filled legal proceeding that can last 10, 15 or 20 years. During all that time, the threat of being deported will continue to be held over millions of working peoples’ heads. They will be muzzled. Anyone who dares try to organize a union, protest against low wages or lousy schools risks deportation – a threat not only to themselves but to their entire family.
This “pathway” is little more than a modern-day version of the indentured servitude of centuries past, when starving immigrants had to pay for their voyage by selling themselves, body and soul, for at least seven years, and often their entire lifetimes.
This reform is completely punitive. Immigrants will be expected to pay huge amounts in fines and legal fees – for the “crime” of living and working here. And they will be forced to pay even more in back taxes. This means they will be forced to pay their taxes twice. If they dare claim they had already paid their taxes, they will have to admit to using a false Social Security number, which is now a felony.
The politicians will also use the lie that undocumented immigrants don’t pay taxes to deprive them of even the most minimal government protections and services. Immigrant workers will not be able to use many of the clinics and hospitals, where they do the vital work and provide the services. Nor will they be able to draw on the very Social Security or disability benefits that they already paid for.
The witch hunt against immigrants will continue. Politicians will continue to militarize the borders, spending even more money for more walls, patrols, police, drones, prisons, detention centers, etc. Deportations will also continue. Already, the Obama administration has spent more on militarizing the border in its first four years than was spent over the previous 20 years, and it has deported twice as many immigrants as Bush did in his first four years.
No, from first to last, what is being proposed is meant to serve the interests of the capitalist class, not the interests of immigrants or the rest of the working class. It allows companies to hire millions of workers who will be considered both “legal” and yet still have no political rights. At the same time, the build up of an ever more massive and repressive police and military presence is aimed not just against immigrant workers, but any sector of the work force that decides to fight back.
No wonder why the big employer groups have been pushing for this so-called reform. Not only does it help impose ever lower wages against immigrants and all workers, but it provides big government contracts to military contractors, arms manufacturers, prison companies, high tech companies, etc. It’s a profit bonanza!
That is why so many Republican politicians, many of whom campaigned last fall spewing anti-immigrant garbage, have suddenly shut up, or gotten behind this “reform.” Some tea party politicians, like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, are now actively campaigning for it. Even right-wing blow-hards like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are getting on board!
This is not only an attack against immigrant workers, but it is an attack on all working people. And it proves that the only rights workers have, are the rights we are ready to fight to defend.