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The Militant this week
El Militante
Oppose employers’ immigration ‘reform’!
Unionize all workers, native- and foreign-born
Over 100,000 rally in Chicago against House immigration bill
McCain-Kennedy ‘guest worker’ bill helps bosses keep pool of labor for superexploitation
House bill criminalizes undocumented workers
UMWA pursues organizing effort at Peabody coal mines nationwide
U.S. gov’t steps up pressure for sanctions on Iran
1,500 new, repeat ‘Militant’ readers: Welcome!
Letter from the editor 
‘In Cuba we have won equal pay for equal work’
Federation of Cuban Women leaders speak in N.Y.

A socialist newsweekly published in the interests of working people
Vol. 70/No. 12March 27, 2006


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Oppose employers’ immigration ‘reform’!
Unionize all workers, native- and foreign-born
(lead article/editorial)
We call on working people to oppose all the “immigration reform” bills before the U.S. Congress—from the Sensenbrenner proposal recently approved by the House of Representatives to the McCain-Kennedy bill. All these measures are designed to meet the needs of the U.S. employers at the expense of the working class. Instead, labor should campaign to organize all workers, U.S.- and foreign-born, into trade unions.

The various immigration proposals beef up the hated migra cops and “homeland security,” and some institute a “guest worker” program. Their purpose is to perpetuate divisions in the working class, maintaining a more vulnerable section of the workforce to assure bosses a pool of superexploited labor, and to fatten their profits.

Over 100,000 rally in Chicago against House immigration bill
Militant/Zena McFadden
Construction, hotel, restaurant, and other workers turned out for March 10 rally in Chicago to oppose the Sensenbrenner bill, passed by the House of Representatives, which makes it a felony to be in the U.S. without proper documents. The city’s mayor, the Illinois governor, some employers, and many unions backed action. Organizers promoted an alternative bill introduced by senators John McCain and Edward Kennedy. (Click here for article)
Many workers are justifiably outraged at the Sensenbrenner bill—the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act. If adopted, it would criminalize millions by making it a felony to be in the United States without proper documents in perfect order. It would make it a crime for anyone—teachers, hospital staff, friends—to “aid” undocumented immigrants in any way.

Officials of a number of unions and immigrant rights groups are backing the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act as a “realistic” alternative. But the McCain-Kennedy bill, as it is called, is an anti-working-class piece of legislation as much as the Sensenbrenner proposal and its variant introduced in the Senate by Arlen Specter. It is crafted to serve the profit needs of the employers. “Secure America” means strengthening the immigration police and arresting more workers at the border. “Orderly immigration” means regularizing the status of a layer of foreign-born workers to guarantee bosses a stable reservoir of laborers with fewer protections who can be exploited more than others. “Guest workers” would be dependent on their bosses for their legal status, and the government would have a ready-made list of immigrants who can be tracked and deported when their visas expire.

The McCain-Kennedy bill—together with laws requiring driver’s licenses to include Social Security numbers—helps lay the groundwork for a national identity card. It would set up a massive central database compiling information about workers’ legal status, country of origin, occupation, city of employment, wages paid, current dates of employment, fingerprints, and other personal identification. This ID system would eventually be extended to all U.S. residents, giving cop agencies and employers another tool to victimize working-class militants.

The goal of these bills is not to expel all those without papers or to slow down immigration. Not only is that impossible—the number of undocumented has reached nearly 12 million, 5 percent of the U.S. workforce—but the bosses need immigrant labor. This is partly how finance capital in the United States has maintained an edge over its competitors in other countries.

According to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center, undocumented immigrants are 24 percent of all workers employed in farming, 17 percent in cleaning, 14 percent in construction, and 12 percent in food preparation. At a time when this mass inflow of workers born abroad has created a burgeoning underground economy, the U.S. rulers seek to regularize the status of some in order to tighten their control over them.

The working class is becoming more internationalized, as immigrant workers become more integrated into U.S. society. These changes help break down national divisions, provincialism, and racist and other prejudices—among native-born and immigrant alike—that bosses use as a weapon against working people. Immigrant workers are not helpless victims but potential fighters; they strengthen the working class.

Uncompromising opposition to all variants of the bosses’ “immigration reform” is in the interests of workers and exploited farmers across the United States and beyond. For the same reason, working people should campaign to repeal all federal and state laws mandating Social Security checks by the employers and to defeat any attempts at imposing a national ID card.

Above all, the labor movement needs to organize all workers into trade unions and mobilize union power as the only effective way to confront employer and government attacks not only on foreign-born workers but on the wages, job conditions, and dignity of all working people. The organizing struggles under way among coal miners, hotel employees, meat packers, and construction workers, many of whom are immigrants, show the potential for leading such a fight.
Related articles:
Over 100,000 rally in Chicago against House immigration bill
McCain-Kennedy ‘guest worker’ bill helps bosses keep pool of labor for superexploitation
House bill criminalizes undocumented workers
D.C. protesters: ‘Immigrants are not criminals’
N.Y. top court: undocumented get back pay for job injury

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