Nov 24, 2014
President Obama’s offer to grant temporary legal status to five million out of the 11 million undocumented immigrants is a trap. His temporary legal status can be revoked at any time. Any people who might have applied, just made it easier for the government to use its powers against them, including deportation, since they handed over all their vital information.
Sure, in his prime time speech on November 20, Obama pretended to supposedly “understand” the plight of the undocumented. He actually dared to say that he just wanted to help them “get right with the law” – when it is this government’s own laws that discriminate against undocumented immigrants, that deny them even the most basic rights, that force them to live in the shadows.
No, there is nothing “right with the law.”
In fact, Obama’s speech was filled with blatant, outrageous and dangerous lies. He accused undocumented immigrants of not paying taxes. Yet, the government’s own records show that immigrants not only pay taxes, public officials deprive them of even the minimal social benefits that undocumented immigrants’ taxes paid for, starting with Social Security, disability insurance, unemployment insurance – as well as health care for the poor and the elderly.
Obama actually had the nerve to say, “All of us take offense to anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America without taking on the responsibilities...” No, Obama does NOT speak for “all of us.” And working for poverty wages, living in crowded slums, being at the mercy of the police and the immigration authorities does not constitute a “reward.”
Finally, Obama said that he wanted to deport only dangerous criminals, when his own government agencies have swept up hundreds of thousands of ordinary people every year, losing them in a spider’s web of internment camps and kangaroo courts.
In fact, Obama’s latest policy is part of at least a decade-long attempt by Democrats and Republicans to enact an immigration “reform” that big U.S. companies have long been pushing for. But the two parties have hit a dead end repeatedly, because neither party wants to be blamed for the so-called “reform,” once it is passed.
This “immigration reform” has been advertised as having a “pathway” for undocumented workers to achieve citizenship. But the supposed “pathway” would last decades and is filled with so many delays, most would never reach citizenship. This would create a layer of “legal” workers open to be super-exploited by big companies. This layer of workers would have fewer rights, since if they lost their job, they could risk also losing their “legality.” The bosses want to take advantage of these workers’ more desperate conditions, force them to accept worse pay and working conditions. Some sectors – such as hotels, contractors, lawn service companies – already employ “undocumented” workers. They already use their desperate condition to pay incredibly low wages and use those low wages as a battering ram to lower other workers’ wages. But with a reform like this, the bosses want to broaden the attack. They want more possibilities to lower wages and, incidentally, deepen the divisions they have already created inside the work force.
The workers without papers don’t lower wages. They don’t cut jobs. It is the bosses who eliminate jobs by forcing one worker to do the work of two or three. The bosses are the ones who cut our pay and benefits for all of us. It is the bosses’ politicians who slash spending on our education, social services and benefits, while raising our taxes, all for the benefit of the richest.
Confronted by this assault, there is only one way for workers to defend ourselves: we have to fight together as one simple class. We have to fight for jobs for everyone, to increase the pay for everyone, to extend government benefits and services for everyone.
When the bosses and public officials divide workers by labeling some “illegal” and others “temporarily legal,” it is nothing but a vile trick. Against this, all workers have one obvious and necessary demand: full legalization of all workers immediately!