From the shadows to the streets

Undocumented youth and parents are still waiting for the Obama administration to keep its promises – Published on Socialist Worker, by Crystal Stella Becerril and Mario Cardenas, March 18, 2013.

DESPITE CLOUDY skies and a cold rain, an animated crowd of about more than 500 people rallied March 10, chanting “Born in the USA, don’t take my mommy and daddy away!” to draw attention to the plight of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Carrying signs that read, “Obama, keep your promise” and “No more deportations,” people gathered at Chicago’s Federal Plaza to demand that the federal government stop ripping families apart with its program of mass deportations.  

For the fourth year in a row, hundreds of people–both undocumented and native-born–took to the streets on “National Coming Out of The Shadows” Day to demand change. This year, however, more than immigration reform, people were demanding–from Obama specifically–a moratorium on all detentions and deportations. The message was unmistakable: “We are undocumented, unafraid and undivided” … //

… SINCE IMPLEMENTATION of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals memorandum in 2012, a large number of young activists and their parents have taken to the streets to demand the right to stay in the U.S. and live with dignity, free of the fear that one day their families might be separated and deported. Many young people carried signs that read, “What about my parents?” while the signs of many parents read, “We are the dreamers.”

From the stage, many people spoke of having some children who qualified for deferred action while others did not. They spoke of the anguish of knowing that they would most certainly, at some point, be separated.

For many at the rally, the reality of immigration reform is both close and far away–close because of the new effort by politicians to use the issue to court the Latino vote, and yet far because, as Rigo Padilla put it, “We are not okay with the border being further militarized…We demand they treat our parents with dignity and respect.”

Border security and a “tough but fair” path to legalization are part of the framework for immigration reform under the Obama administration.

As Washington elites debate the most “politically friendly” way to administer second-class citizenship for 11 million undocumented workers, the chants and banners in Chicago were loud and clear: Deportations must end.

Actions like January’s March for a Moratorium on Deportations–that took place during Obama’s inauguration–and the March 10 event are clear indications that the movement is building momentum. And as May Day rolls around, plans for labor- and student-led actions are underway, including a national march on Washington on April 10.

Much depends on the type of movement we are willing to build, and the fight we are willing to wage. The movement’s strength will come from its ability to acknowledge and address how the issues of immigrant rights (or lack thereof) relate to capitalism’s attack on workers globally, and nothing short of a diverse and unified working-class movement that fights for the rights of all workers will bring about the type of economic and social change that we all deserve.
(full text).

Related Links:

Where are we with the DREAM? on Socialist Worker, July 23, 2012;

Immigration Enforcement Cost Higher Than FBI, Policing Drugs, Guns Combined: Report, on Huffington Post, by Elise Foley, January 7, 2013;

More than 1 million deported: ICE total removals through August 25, 2012;

Is emigration the achilles heel of austerity? Much higher recalculated numbers from Latvia, on RWER Blog, by merijnknibbe, March 16, 2013;

NGO links for today, on RWER Blog, by merijnknibbe, March 16, 2013;

Wages and the real austerity agenda: Spain and Greece and UK edition, on RWER Blog, by merijnknibbe, March 15, 2013.

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