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Immigrant Workers Union statement against new immigration proposal

by IMMIGRANT WORKERS UNION Saturday, May. 19, 2007 at 9:36 AM

Immigrant Workers Union denounces the new senate immigration bill for militarizing borders, breaking up families, and criminalizing workers.


Unión de Trabajadores Inmigrantes


* *


Alex Gillis, 608.345.9544

May 18, 2007

*The new Immigration proposal could lead to the biggest human rights offense of the Century*

Madison, WI. The Immigrant Workers Union opposes last night's congressional agreement and warns that it paves the way for the biggest human rights offense in this century.

The "deal" reached by Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), with support from President Bush does not address any of the biggest challenges of last year's proposals.

As explained in different media outlets, this deal does not include any provision for family reunification. This means that hard-working families will continue to suffer from heartbreaking division across borders. Not only that, but the deal will obligate undocumented workers to leave the country in order to get any visa. This requirement, in addition to the proposed visa fee of at least ,000 makes this an unpractical bill, useless for millions of undocumented workers in this country.

Immigrant Workers Union organization sees this agreement far inferior and quite honestly a step backward from last year's attempts at comprehensive immigration reform ( i.e. the Hegel – Martinez bill).

This proposal does, however, serve the purposes of those whose vision for this country's future is that of a segregated, militarized and dehumanized society. In exchange for this unworkable path to legalization, most of the bill is describes an ultra-aggressive, anti-immigrant agenda. For example, it prioritizes heavy militarization of the border and intensification of the

anti-immigrant climate by putting more pressure on employers to not hire undocumented workers. Furthermore, in a directly militaristic approach, the proposal would prioritize the construction of thousands of new immigration jails (up to 20.000 new beds), especially along the border, and prescribes a greater role for local law enforcement. More weight on local agencies interpretation of the law while the mean causes of immigration are not

addressed at the federal level. This will lead to a endless criminalization that will break apart communities and will raise racism.

The congress keeps legislating for the few mean while millions of persons in the streets, and with a tremendous backing among the US citizenry, support an immigration reform measure that addresses the real needs of the millions of families in this country that live like a second class citizens.

The reality is that the problem will not disappear until is fixed. First,

the US economy cannot afford loose between 7 to 10% of its labor force. Second, there is no way that one million 2-year visas tied to the promise of more repression is a workable solution for anybody. This agreement will lead to only one outcome: perhaps the most massive human rights violations of the coming century.

If passed, about 8 to 12 millions people will be driven even further

underground, under even heavier police persecution. At the same time, businesses will hire more workers and pay in cash to avoid new requirements.

On the whole, this bill will set this country back centuries in history.

Millions of people will lose any semblance of humane living and working conditions.

At this moment, the different national pro-immigrant networks are meeting and deciding how to respond to what it is seem already as one of the biggest attacks on the immigrant movement and labor in general in the last 10 years.

*Some statements on the agreement:*

*Statement from Catholic Charities USA on Senate Immigration Proposal:*

"We are very concerned about provisions that could lead to separating families and disrupting family life. We urge Congress to ensure that our immigration policies prioritize families and will work with members of the Senate to pursue changes to the measure to preserve family unity."

*Menendez *said on the Senate floor the deal is "far more impractical, far more partisan and far more cynical" than what he could support. He also said the deal would make it extremely hard for immigrants to reunite with their loved ones, create a short-term guest worker program, and require illegal immigrants to pay exorbitant amounts of money to become legal U.S.residents.

*Statement by AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney on New Immigration Deal :*

"Unfortunately, the immigration deal announced today does not address the roots of the immigration crisis. And it abandons long-standing U.S. policy favoring the reunification of families and protecting workers by limiting the size and the scope of guest-worker programs which frequently amount to virtual servitude, where workers' fates are tied to their employers and their workplace rights are impossible to exercise. The proposal unveiled today includes a massive guest-worker program that would allow employers to import hundreds of thousands temporary workers every year to perform permanent jobs throughout the economy".

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