Sunday, January 27, 2013

Immigration Reform Must Cover Trade Agreements and Structural Adjustment Programs

From: Cathi Tactaquin and Gerald Lenoir

Nowhere in the debate on immigration reform is there a mention of the root causes of migration—including free trade agreements and structural adjustment programs (SAPS).  Multi-national corporate and U.S. foreign policies continue to devastate economies throughout the Global South. Wars, climate change, persecution abound. For survival, to support themselves and their families, people have been forced to move.  The United Nations says that there are 215 million people who do not reside in the country of their birth. Immigration reform, with all its limitations, will not address the destructive economic and foreign policies that contribute to unprecedented global migration.

All this said, it is incumbent upon immigrant communities and their allies to fight tooth-and-nail for fair, humane immigration reform.  And we cannot harbor any illusions that justice is just around the corner; whatever gets signed into law will set the stage for a new round of struggle for fair and just immigration laws and policies.

In the short and the long term, the immigrant rights movement will benefit by coming together with the parallel movements for racial equity and economic justice to push for a comprehensive agenda that benefits all poor and working class communities.  It is no accident that in the 2012 election exit poll conducted by the Washington Post, African Americans polled the highest in support for legal status for undocumented immigrants (81%), even higher the Hispanics (77%)!  It is their long history of struggling against white supremacy and economic exploitation that explains why African Americans have greater empathy and support for immigrants facing the same forces of oppression.  And while there is still a lot of anti-immigrant sentiment among African Americans to be overcome, they can be strategic allies in the continuing struggle to build a new human rights movement capable of winning social and economic justice for all. Read more...


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