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anti-racism | immigration

Watch out for Obama’s new attacks on immigrants!

With May Day marches occurring in several Northwest cities, the information and call in this Seattle leaflet prepared for the local April immigration reform rally remains very relevant.

Obama and the Democrats pretend to be on the side of immigrants, and they cry hypocritical tears over families being torn apart. But under Obama the number of people being deported is higher than under Bush (a record 387,790 last year)! And now Obama is supporting comprehensive legislation which is designed to increase the exploitation of immigrant workers, and which will increase families being torn apart by Gestapo-like raids.

The right-wing Shumer-Graham framework

In March, with the full support of Obama, Senators Shumer (Democrat) and Graham (Republican) released the framework for new anti-immigrant legislation. Writing in the March 17 Washington Post*:

1) Their first concern is bolstering "border security and interior enforcement," which would include requiring a police-state biometric Social Security card for all legal U.S. workers, citizen and immigrant.

2) They lay out a plan for "circular migration," or "creating a process for admitting temporary workers," which is merely a different way of saying that they want to bring back something like the notorious bracero program of half a century ago. Their minor revision of this program would be that if these super-exploited workers return to the U.S. time and again "over many years," maybe they'll have "the chance to earn a green card."

3) Meanwhile, they would "award green cards to immigrants who receive a PhD or master's degree in science, technology, engineering or math from a U.S. university" with no problems. But all other undocumented people would be treated as criminals. For exampl, they would have to "admit they broke the law," perform "community service" and pay fines in order to get a green card. And Shumer and Graham join with the anti-democratic "English first" demagogues in demanding that "these people (their words!) be proficient in English."

Shumer and Graham's emphasis on "enforcement" (more ICE raids and deportations), temporary labor, and punitive provisions serves the exploiting class, the capitalists, who make untold $billions yearly through the super-exploitation of the labor power of migrant workers. And this denial of rights and equality to the undocumented is used to drive down the wages and conditions of all workers. Hence, the framework of the working class must be to fight for full rights for all immigrants.

We must call out the treachery of the Democratic Party allied immigrant rights groups

But while Obama and the Democrats hatch further attacks against immigrants they also know that they must deal with the immigrant rights movement. In the spring of 2006 this movement mobilized millions of people into the streets against the reactionary legislative proposals of that year, and Obama and Co. now fear such a movement developing against themselves. Thus, the so-called progressive politicians of the Democratic Party machine and allied immigrant rights groups and trade union officials have been organizing rallies to cheer on immigration reform this year... while hiding the thoroughly reactionary nature of the comprehensive reform that Obama wants. At the huge Mar. 21 "March for America" event in Washington D.C. they even played a special video from Obama, while the Washington Immigration Reform Coalition (WIRC) website advertising the Seattle April 10 rally praises the anti-immigrant Schumer-Graham framework and Obama's support for it! This is betrayal of immigrants, and betrayal of the entire working class.

Various members of WIRC may not be happy with this, or happy about the fact that WIRC takes up the right-wing's incitements against immigrants when it writes of "keep(ing) America safe," and "learn(ing) our language." But since the coalition leaders do say they want some just things these members may think that they must put up with covering up for Obama in the hope that he'll reward this subservience by insisting that a few nice things be put in the eventual Schumer-Graham bill. This is vanity. Obama has already staked out his viciously anti-immigrant position, and the healthcare debate has just shown that when he compromises it is to the right.

Denounce Schumer-Graham on May Day!

More than 200,000 people marching in Washington D.C. Mar. 21 revealed that the immigrant rights movement is alive and wants reform. Yet a progressive reform is not going to come this year, or in the current political situation. The only way to win one is to organize, over time, a conscious and fighting mass movement that becomes powerful enough to put fear in the hearts of both parties in Washington, and their capitalist masters.

But this cannot begin to happen as long as the masses of people are being kept in the dark about the vicious, anti-immigrant nature of things like the Obama-supported Schumer-Graham comprehensive framework. All those who know about Schumer-Graham should therefore organize to spread the word with home-made signs, in leaflets and verbally on May Day, the day of international working-class solidarity. And long-term groups that are not under the thumb of the Democratic Party need to be organized or strengthened. We need a new generation of working-class organizers.

Stop Obama's ICE raids and deportations!
Full rights for all immigrants, now!

Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee, April 9, 2010

* http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/17/AR2010031703115.html

homepage: homepage: http://seattleaic.org

Placing blame in the wrong place? 22.Apr.2010 04:34

Mike Novack

You are correct in that BOTH the Democrats and the Republicans are "anti-immigrant".

You are wrong about WHY that is so. The sad truth is that the overwhelming majority of Americans are "anti-immigrant". Democracy is not about producing good, wise, kind, just, etc. etc. decisions but just, when working properly, the decisions that "the people" want. For good OR for ill.

If we imagine that there are large numbers of us who want an "open borders" policy then we are deluded ourselves. That is not intended as a comment on whether we should or should not have such a policy, just a comment about is the CURRENT state of overwhelming public opinion.

By all means, organize to change that opinion. But until we have some measure of success doing that it is premature to criticize politicians for not going against the prevailing will of the people. They aren't supposed to. Not in a "dmeocracy".