SWP campaigns for ‘Amnesty for immigrant workers!’

By Mary Martin
March 11, 2019
SWP campaigns for ‘Amnesty for immigrant workers!’
Militant/Mary Martin

SEATTLE — When Henry Dennison, Socialist Workers Party candidate for City Council here, and supporters were campaigning Feb. 18, they knocked on the door of 28-year-old Katrina Schmitt, who works two jobs as a house cleaner and a caregiver.

“My party calls for amnesty for all undocumented workers in the U.S.,” Dennison said after introducing himself and the party, “and we say we’ve got to build and strengthen the unions, organize the unorganized, including those who don’t have papers recognized by the government.”

“I’m glad to hear you say this,” Schmitt said, pointing to her kids playing in the living room. “Their dad is Mexican. He just got picked up by immigration two weeks ago and is in the Tacoma Detention Center awaiting deportation. He’s not a criminal, he’s a skilled construction worker here trying to support our family. He lines up in the mornings to get picked for day work. So now I’m a single mom trying to make it, and also trying to find a lawyer for him.

“What you say about the unions is also true,” she said. “The caregivers here are organized. I didn’t know too much about being in a union, but they really have your back when you need them.

“At least you are talking about issues that matter to people,” she added. “During the 2016 elections, I looked at the two choices, and said neither one. I’m not voting this time.” Dennison showed her a copy of The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record and the cartoon in it that shows two houses with signs outside, one saying “She’s worse,” the other “He’s worse.”

“That pretty much captures how I felt,” Schmitt said. “I can’t buy these today but can I subscribe to the Militant and buy some of these books online?” she asked. Dennison explained how she could subscribe online and promised to drop back by her house in a week after her payday with the books. He also gave her the name of an immigration legal service he knows, saying he’d been part of the party’s work in support of farmworkers for years.