Monday, December 18, 2006

International Migrants Day

Woodfin hotel workers fired in time for Christmas. Photo from EBASE
Today, December 18, was designated International Migrants Day by the United Nations in 2000. The UN General Assembly approved the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families on December 18, 1990 -- "shamefully" as AFL-CIO President John Sweeney remarked, most world governments, including the U.S., have yet to ratify this agreement to protect the rights of the estimated 195 million people around the world who have left their homelands in search of better lives.

Sweeney points out that "immigration reform" might well fail to protect migrants working in the United States.

"... Corporations continue to call on Congress to create a new large guest worker program, which will provide corporations with a constant stream of exploitable workers and create a secondary class of workers that will drive down workplace standards for all workers.

"As a nation that prides itself on fair treatment and equality, we should accept the standards of rights laid out by the UN Convention on migrants and demand immigration reform that will guarantee that all workers who labor in our nation enjoy full protections of the laws."

Locally, immigrant workers need all the help they can get. Just 10 days before Christmas, the Woodfin Suites hotel in Emeryville, California terminated 21 immigrant workers who have been involved in a campaign to enforce the city's living wage law. Nationally, immigration officials picked up several thousand workers at Swift meat packing plants in raids marked by arbitrary brutality and racism.

It is great to see that Jayashri Srikantiah, the attorney who carried our "no fly list" lawsuit against the government is now the director of Stanford University Law School's Immigrant Rights Clinic. There students learn public interest law by doing actual asylum, domestic violence and deportation cases on behalf of immigrants, according to a recent New American Media report. Students filed a friend of the court brief that helped extend to thousands of immigrants a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that a past drug conviction was not automatic grounds for deportation.

Immigration authorities, Srikantiah notes, can reach back into an immigrant's legal past and deport the person based on a single blot. She recalls that an Iraq war veteran married to a U.S. citizen was deported and separated from her family as a result of one drug conviction....

Srikantiah warns that there are many hurdles ahead for immigrants as a result of the use of immigration law to "target, question and detain people based simply on their ethnicity."

The fusing of immigration control and national security, she says, brings in the new factor of secrecy, making unfair regulations and practices harder to challenge. "There's a lot the press and the public can't know because government won't release information based on national security grounds," Srikantiah says.

This sounds like the same claims of secrecy and security we challenged in the no fly list lawsuit. It's great to read that Jayashri is extending the scale of legal efforts to curb arbitrary extensions of government power justified by scaremongering.


Paracelsus said...

International Fair Government Day or International Illegal Alien Day or International Birth Control Day for Catholics

Why is it there is so little emphasis on pressuring corrupt governments to take care of their citizens? Where is the pressure on the Catholic Church to encourage birth control among its congregations. This International Migrants Day has nothing to do with share the wealth of the top with the bottom. It is more about killing the middle class with excess lumpen labor from third world hell holes. Migrants must stay home and become assertive and angry residents. Vulgar Marxism that redistributes the wealth of the merely working poor to the totally impoverished is a strategy meant for a New Dark Ages. I amused at this latest UN invention. I suppose the Western World should just blow up its public sanitation, water systems, and sewers so that we can at least be equal to Bangladesh. Perhaps all the men of Europe should have penis shortening surgeries in order to improve the self esteem of East Indian men. Making the Western middle class weak is no solution to anything. To all migrants: Go home. Overthrow your tyrannies. Enact your trade tariffs. Build your industries. Kill off all aristocratic pretensions of your elites. Fight hard!

janinsanfran said...

Dear paracelsus -- I fear they'd have to overthrow our ruling class to overthrow theirs. And our cleaving to our wealth keeps our rulers in place. So, naturally, migrants come to get a piece and our rulers welcome them.

If we can't overthrow our rulers, we better welcome the migrants, because we are on the same team: humans trying to get by.

Paracelsus said...

Haven't you heard? Mexico is in the middle of a huge rebellion. If we keep the steam valve of illegal migration closed then the ruling class of Mexico will be faced with it own avidity and incompetence. No longer can they carelessly ignore their fellows. No longer can they send their capital overseas to Zurich. They will actually have to get off their haunches, and actually invest and risk their family fortunes on the industrialization of Mexico. It is very easy to drive sweat labor in the mines and and fields. It takes little competence to extract natural resources. They will have to act like merchant Huegonots and actually build plant and equipment. I must warn those of a liberal bent that we are more led astray by our virtues than our vices. In addition I rely on mark on government to protect my livelihood and property. I ask it not to dilute my franchise or cheapen my citizenship. I ask that those who want my government to be overly generous granting visas and citizenship to first live the life of an American citizen of low station. Some people are overly generous with the common wealth of us all. It is very easy to be so giving to the poor of the world by dividing a shrinking pie for our citizen destitutes for foreign interlopers, poor that they may be.This is why liberalism garners such unpopularity in the South among poor Southern whites. They see middle liberals flooding the blue collar labor market with foreign miserables, crowding out citizesn who should have first claim. That is why such groups as Jobs with Justice, who are big boosters for open borders will never be popular with the working class citizens of Georgia. You can yell, "Labor solidarity!" all you want but nationalism will always win out. For it is natural for citizens to expect their government to protect them. Every time a group of Senators push for illegal alien amnesty, the bulk of citizens will see this as treason. Why should I support my government if it won't protect my labor market? Self reliance is the best solution for those would are tempt to migrate. THe same masses that remain passive in their tyranny besotted nations will bring their own self destructive passivity with them. We had a tradition of earnest moral governance, where bribery and nepotism was rare, and merit is praised. As for Latin America, not so much. I don't want to lose my culture of mass literacy, English language, black and country music, and Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence. We do have an amalgam of Prostestan northwestern European culture. I want that protected and preserved as much as the French want to keep their language and culture whole. I would like to see a planet earth where every being had his vine and his fig tree, but to give away my vine and fig tree to a foreigner, who could not wrest such from his own land due despotism does not improve either of us.

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