Why: Immigrants and allies will gather at the State Capitol to call for passage of just, Comprehensive Immigration Reform this year that provides a pathway to citizenship for the 12 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States, reunites families, and protects workers and our civil liberties. The rally will also call for legislators to preserve immigrants' access to a driver's license, recognizing the important role immigrants play in our state economy and the need to ensure road safety for all Oregonians.
While the mass mobilizations of last year succeeded in stopping the draconian "Sensenbrenner bill" HR 4437, millions of workers and families are still in the shadows. They continue to contribute to America and hope to earn legalization--part of a just immigration reform to fix our broken immigration system. On May 1, we will gather to demand a just legalization program now, as Congress is expected to debate on Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the coming weeks.
In the House, Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced bipartisan comprehensive legislation, the STRIVE Act, on March 22nd. While the introduction of the STRIVE Act was certainly a step forward in moving the immigration debate, there are a number of critical things that must be fixed for it to be workable and fair. Then on March 29th, immigrant rights advocates learned of an outrageous anti-worker, anti-family plan by the Bush Administration. The Bush plan would gut the family immigration system by eliminating entire categories of visas, turn the undocumented into a permanent underclass through a costly visa that doesn't lead to permanent residency, and set up a class of exploitable workers through an unjust guestworker program. CAUSA and PCUN denounce the Bush plan and any proposal that violates our principles.
In the Oregon Legislature, immigrants are facing some of the worst attacks in recent years, including a number of bills (HR 2270 and SB 424) to implement the REAL ID Act in Oregon. REAL ID is a "Sensenbrenner" bill that passed Congress with no debate in 2005. In addition to numerous privacy and cost concerns, REAL ID requires proof of legal presence to get a driver's license. The Bush administration recently offered states the option of extending the compliance deadline to December 21, 2009. Oregon should apply for this extension and join the growing momentum across the country calling for a major overhaul and adequate funding for REAL ID. We call on the Legislature to protect the public safety of all Oregonians by preserving immigrants' access to a driver's license.
While this year we are not issuing a call for a boycott or work stoppage, we encourage workers and employers to work together to accommodate participation since, like legalization and access to driver's licenses, it is in both of their interests. We also call on parents to take measures to encourage students' participation as the march and rally are of educational and historic value.