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Vol. 76/No. 33      September 10, 2012

Legalize undocumented workers!

Undocumented workers have faced record “forced removals,” increased firings, more barriers to getting a job, more criminal charges, and more jail time simply for not having work and residency papers since Barack Obama assumed the presidency on promises of “immigration reform.”

Now, heading into presidential elections, the incumbent is presenting himself as the lesser evil with a program that opens the door for a two-year reprieve from the threat of deportation for some 1.7 million immigrants and for work permits for those who meet certain criteria.

Even with all its restrictions, this represents an important victory. It comes in the context of struggles by undocumented workers and supporters of immigrant rights and working-class unity in recent years.

Over the past two weeks, tens of thousands of undocumented workers and students have lined up to apply under the program. Some 13,000 showed up for applications at Chicago’s Navy Pier alone Aug. 15.

The show of confidence of those on the lines, sometimes breaking out into chants, shows their continued determination to fight.

Their struggle, show of resolve and sense of self-worth wins respect and sympathy from millions of workers—Black, Latino, Asian and Caucasian.

The propertied rulers need immigrant workers. They exploit them as a source of cheap labor and superprofits and to drive down the wages and working conditions of all workers.

The union fight at Palermo’s Pizza in Milwaukee illustrates two key points: One, how the bosses use the government’s imposition of pariah status on those of us without papers as a weapon against efforts to organize and win better conditions. Two, the combativity of this section of our class, which strengthens the ranks of labor.

The bosses scapegoat immigrants, seeking to brand them as responsible for unemployment and other ills of working people. Their aim is to disguise their relentless drive to foist the burden of the capitalist crisis onto our backs, to divide workers and weaken our ability to mount an effective fight.

Championing the fight of immigrant workers in the U.S. is a life and death question for the labor movement. Our solidarity across the capitalists’ national borders is the answer to their trap of pitting worker against worker.

Similar questions are posed everywhere the class struggle heats up, from Australia to Greece.

Threat of deportations and firings will continue for the millions of immigrant workers who fall outside this program. In a number of states, including Arizona, Texas and Nebraska, state officials have announced that they will continue to deny driver’s licenses, unemployment pay and more to immigrants without papers, including those given “deferred action.”

Legalization for undocumented workers now! An injury to one is an injury to all!
Related articles:
‘Undocumented and unafraid,’ immigrant youth line up across US
Communist League candidate in Australia defends asylum-seekers
Australian gov’t reopens offshore detention camps
UndocuBus tours South for ‘Jobs, justice, dignity’  
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