The Rights of Immigrants – The Rights of All!

July 15, 2013

Today, all across the country, the immigrant rights movement is putting forward demands against anti-immigrant laws, for an end to discrimination and persecution of immigrants, and for full rights for immigrants. 

This movement is part of the growing struggle of the American people against the reactionary, anti-social agenda of the monopoly capitalist class and the capitalist government. Immigrants and other minorities are feeling the full brunt of this offensive. In addition to trying to scapegoat immigrants and divide the people, the capitalist politicians have been passing laws to give legal sanction to the system of discrimination and persecution of immigrants. Recent laws deny immigrants the right to receive food stamps, Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and other vital social programs. In addition, the government is strengthening its repressive apparatus in immigrant communities all across the country and carrying out a program of arbitrary harassment, violence and persecution.

The struggle for immigrant rights is especially important at this time. Today, in the name of "amnesty" or an "earned path" to citizenship, the capitalists are preparing to legalize a caste system which reduces millions of immigrant workers to the status of indentured servants. According to the "bi-partisan Gang of 8" bill recently passed in the Senate and  supported by Obama, millions of workers who have been living and working in the U.S. for years – making their lives and building our country – would get the "privilege" of  working continuously for 10 more years in order to apply for a "green card." 

We say that immigrant workers do not have "to earn" citizenship or as Obama has said repeatedly: "pay a debt to society." They are part and parcel of this country and it is their labor which has helped build our modern economy. The problem is not that immigrants or minorities are "breaking the law" or "lack American values," the problem is that the economic and political conditions imposed on the people are designed to deprive immigrants and the oppressed minorities of their fundamental human rights. These rights include the equality of all individuals and the collective rights and equality of all nationalities.

So too, Obama and his "bi-partisan gang" in Congress are pushing for an expanded "guest worker" program to provide a constant stream of cheap labor for the capitalists in such sectors as agriculture, hotels, meatpacking, nursing homes, etc. Guest workers would be allowed in the country only for limited periods, denied the rights of citizens and subjected to the worse working and living conditions. In short, Obama and company look on immigrants not as human beings with inalienable rights but as an "economic factor" for increasing the profits of U.S. capitalism – as meat in the market to be superexploited. Today, as part of its program of "globalization," U.S. imperialism is not only plundering other countries, but – after despoiling other economies and depriving people of their livelihoods – imperialism seeks to bring the disenfranchised foreign workers here to be at the beck and call of the U.S. capitalists.

The capitalist class and its little helpers, the revisionists and opportunist parties, hope to use Obama's bi-partisan immigration reform to cool down the immigrant rights struggle and to deflect the fire of that struggle away from the capitalist class and its Republican and Democratic parties. The PR campaign for Obama's bi-partisan immigration reform seeks to create the illusion that the capitalist class itself is seeking to "reform" the very system of discrimination and persecution against immigrants which insures its superprofits.  The capitalist and opportunist political parties want to put the "call" to get behind Obama's bi-partisan "comprehensive immigration reform" bill at the center of the immigrant rights movement in the hopes of turning the movement onto the dead-end of congressional lobbying and electioneering.

At the same time, the capitalist class is using Obama's bi-partisan immigration reform and campaign of anti-immigrant hysteria to further militarize the country, further integrate federal and local policing powers and to impose a national ID system in order to better control the population. The struggle for immigrant rights is in the forefront of the fight against the police state which the capitalists are trying to impose. The people are fighting for a truly modern America which recognizes that the rights of one are inseparable from the rights of all.

It is no coincidence that the Democratic and Republican politicians have resorted to an openly reactionary program at this time. As the all-sided crisis of capitalism deepens, the oppressed minority peoples and immigrants are especially put under the gun. More over, the anti-immigrant and racist propaganda is used to cover over the fact that the government and the capitalist class are attacking the rights of all Americans. The capitalist class, ignoring the demand of the times, refuses to go forward and create a society which  guarantees, in practice, equal rights and equal responsibilities for everyone. Rather it seeks to put everything in the country at the disposal of big business and the so-called "free market" and deny that the people have any rights whatsoever.

It is the working class and broad masses of American people who must carry through the democratic renewal of our country in order to defeat the offensive of the capitalists and fulfill the promise of democracy by creating a society based on equal economic and political rights for all. The struggle against the anti-immigrant and racist politics of the capitalist state is an inseparable part of this struggle to secure the rights of all.