by Duane Campbell
Tens of thousands of immigrants workers and their allies marched Wednesday in a coordinated series of protest demanding that Congress approve new, comprehensive immigration reform for the 11 million immigrants currently living in the U.S.
Support rallies were held in cities and towns across the nation.
“We won’t win immigration reform just coming to Washington. We need to walk the streets all over the country,” said Ben Monterroso to CBS news in Washington. He is national director of civic participation of the Service Employees International Union, which represents nurses and lower-wage employees including janitors and child care workers.
In Sacramento Yvonne Walker, head of the California SEIU (see photo) , and Bill Camp of the Sacramento Central Labor Council , Phil Serna Sacramento County Supervisor and local leaders held a rally at the Federal Building to insist on political action from Congress.
Legalizing the status of all immigrant workers and their families, as well as providing for a road to citizenship, embodies basic democratic principles. First, those who are governed by the laws of a democratic society should have an equal say in the making of such laws. Second, all those who contribute meaningful labor to a democratic society, who care for our elderly, our children and our disabled, deserve full membership in our society. Immigrant workers cannot fight for rights on the job and against their exploitation by employers without having full legal status, political rights and a road to citizenship. Threats of deportation for undocumented workers, as well as second-class status in guest worker programs, restrict the capacity of all workers to organize. These policies create a new form of indentured servitude opposed by organized labor as any worker fired by their employer can be immediately deported.
DSA members and labor supporters participated in these demonstrations throughout the nation. See “ A Working Class View of Immigration Reform,” by David Bacon the current issue of Democratic Left http://www.dsausa.org/a_working_class_view_of_immigration_reform