Stop All Attacks on Immigrants

The Republican Party majority in the House of Representatives passed legislation to repeal the immigration measures Barack Obama announced after Democrats were defeated in November’s election.

Both parties were playing with people’s lives for rotten political gain. The Republicans, knowing that Obama will veto their measure, carried out a petty charade, appealing to the most reactionary, right-wing sentiment in the country, trying to demonize immigrants. Obama, pretending to protect immigrants from deportation, substituted one measure to deport people for another one.

Defender of immigrants? Obama? Obama’s administration deported over two and a half million people in his six years in office – more than Bush did in eight years. And read carefully between the lines: Obama’s new measure still requires local cops to pick up people on immigration violations – and allows the CIS (formerly INS) to deport them immediately.

The attack on immigrants affects the entire working class. Immigrant workers without full rights are forced to accept jobs at low pay, often less than minimum wage, without benefits. They face deportation if they openly demand their rights or higher pay. And their low wages are used as a threat to make everyone else accept lower wages.

The same capitalist class that exploits us all tries to sucker native-born workers – black, white, Asian and Latino – into blaming immigrant workers.

Immigrants didn’t drive down wages, cut benefits. They didn’t lay off one out of every four workers, pushing the other three to do more work. The capitalist class did. It drives down everyone’s standard of living and then tries to pit one part of the working class against another.

Don’t believe the Democrats will defend us. They’ve controlled the Illinois state government and the Chicago city government for years. What did that get us? And do you remember the big 2006 demonstrations for immigrant rights? Remember how the Democrats used those demonstrations for their own political gain in 2008, then picked up the attack against the people who helped put them in office?

Working people need to stand together to defend themselves, to fight for jobs for everyone, decent wages for everyone. And many of those immigrants come from countries with a tradition of struggle, a tradition they may bring with them. Part of the fight to defend everyone's job and wages is the fight to oppose all the attacks on immigrants. Those attacks finally are aimed at lowering the standard of living of ALL working people. An injury to one IS an injury to all.

Anyone who lives here, works here or pays taxes here, should have full legal and democratic rights, including the right to stay here free of all legal harassment, free of all special restrictions, limitations and threats.

Ed Hershey
for 25th Ward Alderman, Chicago

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