Greens urge immigration reform based on human rights, not paranoia
WASHINGTON, DC (May 23, 2007) — Green Party leaders called on Congress to replace its current ‘deal’ for comprehensive immigration reform, and instead enact legislation that will protect human rights, facilitate the path to citizenship, and help reverse the economic devastation that has uprooted people in Mexico and Central and South American countries.
“Both major parties are operating out of the same framework to implement a massive cheap labor management program for the benefit of major and minor US corporations under the guise of immigration reform. No matter how many times they repeat ‘comprehensive,’ it still will not make it fair, humane or rational for immigrant workers and families or for domestic workers,” said Nativo Lopez, National President of Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana and the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), and a member of the Green Party.
Greens across the US have supported and participated in several recent demonstrations for immigrants’ rights. Green leaders in California protested the police brutality, including clubbings and shootings with nonlethal bullets, visited on protesters and members of the media at a peaceful immigrants’ rights march in Los Angeles on May 1.
“All of the usual bipartisan rhetoric about family and economic opportunity flies out the window when many Republican and Democratic lawmakers make ‘get tough’ speeches on immigration,” said Julia Willebrand, co-chair of the International Committee and co-president Federation of Green parties of the Americas. “The current immigration debate is motivated by a political desire to vilify immigrants — to associate them with theft of US jobs and taxpayers’ money, terrorism, and criminal behavior, with appeals to racism and xenophobia. We need immigration policies based on humane values, recognition of immigrants’ contributions to US culture and our economy, the need for economic stability on all sides of our borders, labor rights, and environmental protections.”
Greens urged Congress to enact the following:
Amnesty and legalization for all currently undocumented immigrants in the US, with efforts to help them with education, living-wage jobs, and residential stability, with an emphasis on uniting families (same-sex and nontraditional as well as traditional): Greens call such measures an investment in our immigrant population that will pay off for everyone.
“The ‘American Dream’ legislation, promoted by Sen. Orrin Hatch [R-Ut] and Sen. Ted Kennedy [D-Mass] and offering future citizenship for college-bound undocumented immigrants, is a baby step in this direction, and it needs to be expanded,” said Gayle McLaughlin, Mayor of Richmond, California. “We are responsible as a nation for creating the horrendous conditions that brought so many people here, and it is our moral responsibility to create a comprehensive immigration reform policy that is fair, just and humane and that provides a path towards permanent residency. We in Richmond benefit very much with the wealth of culture, skills, talent, work habits, neighborhood pride, family prioritization and entrepreneurial spirit that we observe in our immigrants from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Africa, and the whole world.”
Renegotiation of NAFTA and other international trade agreements, which have caused economic devastation in Mexico and other Latin American nations as well as the loss of US jobs: current policies, which drive down wages for the benefit of corporate investments, dump US products on their markets, and uproot workers and their families, must be replaced with ‘fair trade’ agreements that protect and increase wages and benefits. Fair trade and policies that help working people instead of corporate lobbies will ensure economic stability, ending the flood of desperately poor and newly unemployed immigrants into the US after passage of NAFTA.
An end to harassment and violent, disruptive raids on workplaces by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).
Cancellation of plans for a 370-mile border wall between the US and Mexico, part of Congress’s current deal under discussion for immigration legislation.
“Congress wants to create a new wall of shame comparable to the Berlin Wall during the Cold War,” said Rebecca Rotzler, Co-Chair of the Green Party of the United States and Deputy Mayor of the Village of New Paltz, New York. Ms Rotzler is Alaskan Native. “It would be environmental nightmare, disrupting wildlife and damaging the Rio Grande’s delicate ecosystem as well as a monument to the paranoia, racism, and enforced poverty that have plagued and separated indigenous peoples of the Americas for centuries. Whether our brothers and sisters live above or below the US border, we are all the same people, and need to break down these psychological borders, not reinforce them.”