Thursday, April 11, 2013

Toward immigration reform

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The ALF-CIO and community immigration activists held rallies calling for comprehensive reform yesterday. News media report the Washington rally drew 10,000 campaigners; the San Francisco iteration of this mobilization drew a small but noisy crowd for a march from Senator Diane Feinstein's office to the old Burton Federal building on Golden Gate.

For those of us who've been watching immigration issues for a long time, it is heartening to see organized labor taking a lead in demanding a more equitable system. Undocumented workers fill many of the low wage jobs that most need the protection of a union; these marginalized workers are more likely to engage in militant action than folks a little further up the economic ladder. It is going to take militance to breath life into the labor movement these days.

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Meanwhile, a posse of Senators apparently are on the verge of making an immigration proposal, according to the New York Times. Their law sounds pretty awful. Apparently we'll be required to waste $3.5 billion taxpayer dollars on "homeland security" measures (that's a fence to keep out scary Mexicans) before we'll be allowed to let people who are already here move toward citizenship. This is ridiculous. I feel damn sure that very few of the ancestors of these legislators had to jump through hoops like those planned for the current generation.

But there we are: a fearful, tired, though still rich, hulking husk of a declining empire.

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