Despite all the talk from Washington, it’s likely there will be little meaningful immigration reform this year.
What there will likely be are changes in immigration policy that will further benefit big corporations and the rich at the expense of the working class – especially undocumented workers.
This “immigration reform” plan debated by the Senate is the result of a “bi-partisan” committee of senators that brashly call themselves the “Gang of Eight.” The group includes some of the most reactionary members of the Republican Party – Mad Tea Party members Lindsey Graham and Mark Rubio.
Gang member John McCain, senator from the fascist state of Arizona, is considered a “moderate” in the group.
Then there are the “Democrats.” After being made an offer they could not refuse, they decided to go along for the ride.
Though there are over 800 pages to the bill, three key areas reveal the true intent of the proposal:
The so-called “Pathway to Citizenship”
Most undocumented workers might as well be shackled to a chain-gang, laboring on a highway to hell under the Senate Gang of Eight bill — a road that would go nowhere for 13 years.
Yes that is the so-called “path to citizenship,” a 13-year waiting period during which undocumented immigrants would be required to continue to work without any of the protections afforded permanent residents. They would also be required to avoid even the most trivial of run-ins with the law, learn English, and pay a “penalty.” That’s in addition to the 13-year minimum security sentence they would serve.
So what would change under the Gang of Eight’s proposal? Well, there’s this: undocumented workers would be registered with the government.
Someone has to keep track of them, you know…
Immigrants “on the path” would be required to continue to pay federal, state, local and sales taxes, and any “back taxes” they might owe. They would not get credit for taxes withheld by dishonest employers, however.
There’s one more provision of the Gang of Eight’s immigration legislation important to note: During their 13-year “waiting period,” undocumented workers would be forbidden to receive any federal, state or local benefits, including, it appears, unemployment, disability, or Medicare.
Taxation No Representation
Though one of the slogans of the American Revolution was “no taxation without representation,” undocumented workers would not be allowed to vote or have any input whatsoever about their lives or their communities. Again, they would be denied even the rights and privileges guaranteed permanent residents.
As a result of their status, in states like Alabama and Arizona, speaking at a Board of Education meeting could easily put someone “on the pathway” at risk: All an official would have to do is suggest a speaker was “being disruptive,” call the police, and that could be the end of the road.
To summarize, what benefits would people “On the Path” have? The same as undocumented workers have now: None.
Greater Militarization of the Mexican border
The Senate Gang of Eight want the border to be a fortress guarded by police, national guard, immigration officials and the U.S Army, an area of towering barbed wire secured by a concurrent row of fences and walls, lit at night by prison-yard lights, watched over by roving bands of agents, helicopters, airplanes and drones.
That is to say they want every inch of the border to be “protected” the way great stretches are now. In fact the goal of this element of “immigration reform” is to have the border “100 percent secured.”
No other provision of the so-called reform legislation could be implemented unless and until this goal is reached.
Slave Labor Program
One element of the immigration bill very likely to become law is an extension of the “Guest” Worker Program.
This proposal would officially create an apartheid system in the U.S. In fact the provisions for workers brought into the U.S. to work “under contract” and for specific time periods would go beyond your “traditional” apartheid system, establishing what would essentially be prison labor camps.
The authors of this bill, however, claim “guest” workers would be paid more than the minimum wage, and would be “well treated and provided for” during their temporary carefully supervised stay.
Yet since these temporary workers would have virtually no rights, if they attempted to organize a union, spoke out against poor or unsafe working conditions, if they complained about being forced to work overtime, or of being cheated out of their pay – if they so much as had a disagreement with the boss, they could be deported.
Now that is a bill the big corporations can take to the bank.
The AFL’s CEO
To show you how weak most union leaders in this nation are, Richard Trumka, the current president of the AFL-CIO, joined with the reactionary Chamber of Commerce in support of the “guest worker” provision of this bill.
One might wonder, “why?”
OH, well, because during his negotiations with the Chamber of Commerce, “both sides” agreed that “only” 200,000 wage slaves from Latin America would be brought into the industrial prison camps to toil as “guest” workers.
Trumka, whose title should be the AFL’s CEO, thought by joining the monopoly capitalists in this way he would prevent them from importing even MORE workers.
Recently when the Republiklan surprised Trumka by suggesting the number of “guest” workers may be raised to 400,000, he disavowed the deal, assuring union members that everything would be fine once the “Democrats” retake Congress and Nancy Pelosi becomes Speaker of the House.
You know, the “Democrats” – the brave steadfast party of the people, the uncompromising indisputable friend of the middle class and the poor, the reliable and principled defender of all things righteous and true.
They see a lot of potential in immigration reform.
And there is a lot of potential to this business, specifically the “guest worker” program: potential political contributions, that is.
You see the plan would go beyond the traditional scope of providing “cheap labor” to corporate agriculture, long a sector loyal to the Republiklan. The Senate proposal, if it became law, would extend the perimeters to include the hotel, restaurant, and construction industries – all “seasonal” in nature, these politicians would tell you, all areas where where “Democrats” have corporate allies, and all areas, if you believe the Gang of Eight, where it’s tough to find Americans who are willing to work!
So in addition to reaping an even greater profit from the labor power of “guest” workers, such a system could be used to knock north American workers out of the labor market altogether and into the reserve army of the unemployed, to crush what few unions remain, and as an additional benefit, to create resentment among the 11.5 million North American workers currently unemployed.
And guess who they would be mad at? Well after FOX and other right-wing propaganda outlets were done, some American workers might be convinced to point the finger of blame at immigrants.
Divide and conquer. It works every time.
You’ve got to hand it to them, those gangsters in the Senate sure know how to work in a bi-partisan way! All they needed to do was put aside their petty differences and find the common thread that held them all together. And what might that be? The big banks and corporations that rule America.