No Human is Illegal: What Some Immigrants Want

As predicted, turnout for today's immigration rights marches had a lower turnout than last year. There's more fear this year than last, in the wake of the feds' immigration raids at workplaces.

What are they marching for? While not every immigrants' rights group's goals are the same, here are the goals of the National Immigration Solidarity Network:

1) No to anti-immigrant legislation, and the criminalization of the immigrant communities.

2) No to militarization of the border.

3) No to the immigrant detention and deportation.

4) No to the guest worker program.

5) No to employer sanction and "no match" letters.

6) Yes to a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

7) Yes to speedy family reunification.

8) Yes to civil rights and humane immigration law.

9) Yes to labor rights and living wages for all workers.

10) Yes to the education and LGBT immigrant legislation.


The group opposes Congress' bi-partisan STRIVE Act (The Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy Act, H.R. 1645) as well as President Bush's plan. Their objections:

Bush's proposals, along with Congress's STRIVE Act have many similarities, while they both advocate for "path to the citizenships" includes granting work visas to undocumented immigrants and eventually permanent resident status. But that's a serious flaw--it requires them to return to home and pay hefty fines to become legal U.S. residents, they also need to go though a very tough background check by the government.

Under President Bush's plan, they could apply for three-year work visas, dubbed "Z" visas, which would be renewable indefinitely but cost $3,500 each time. The undocumented workers would have legal status with the visas, but to become legal permanent residents with a green card, they'd have to return to their home country, apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate to re-enter legally and pay a $10,000 fine, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Even worse, both bill allows criminalizing the immigrant communities by empowering local police to enforce immigration law, and pushing "tougher" background checks on immigrants.

More from their letter:

We cannot accept immigrants need to pay thousands of dollars of "fine" and "fees" to apply for visa, go through the humiliation of tougher background check, and require them to leave country to apply immigrant visas in order to return to the country. This is a immigrant bill that still penalizing undocumented immigrants!

Furthermore, the Bush proposal and the STRIVE Act both calls for spending billions of dollars to build a so-called a "high-tech" border fence along U.S.-Mexico border, it'll force migrants to go though even more dangerous journey, it'll be creating more border deaths with tragidies, and only fatten the pockets of the migrant smugglers. This is a racist wall because it only target Mexican border but not Canadian border.

The destiny of 12 millions or more undocumented immigrants is one of the critical human rights issues in the U.S., we need a comprehensive immigration reform bill that will guarantee path to the citizenship with dignity. We cannot accept any bills that will criminalizing immigrant communities and enforcing punishments, because immigrant workers are not "illegal," and we deserve our respects and the basic human rights.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by HeadScratcher on Tue May 01, 2007 at 02:12:00 PM EST
    Why have borders then? Just admit that you want an open border policy which allows anyone at anytime to come over and live at anytime. And anyone in the host countries who are doing it the legal way are idiots for obeying the law.

    It's okay if this is what you are advocating, but just have the cajones to admit it.

    List and Letter (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue May 01, 2007 at 02:33:08 PM EST
    First, regarding the provided list:

    1. I agree. Communities should not be criminalized. However, individual criminals should be dealt with according to their crimes. (Note, I'm not calling border crossing criminal--they're not--but fraudulent use of IDs and working without authorization can be.)

    2. I agree. There is no need for militarization along a peaceful border. However, there is no reason that the border shouldn't be made secure from intrusions.

    3. Disagree. We are perfectly within our rights to exclude those who break our laws.

    4. Disagree. A guest worker program is better than an illegal worker system which gives illegal laborers no rights and sub-standard pay.

    5. Disagree. Employer sanctions are an important component to immigration policy. They help reduce the incentive to break the law.

    6. Agree. But a "path to citizenship" does not mean immediate citizenship. It means that "your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more, and you may hereafter make use of the normal procedure for naturalization of LPRs."

    7. Agree.

    8. Agree.

    9. Huh? Labor rights and living wages? I feel like the immigrant community may have some infiltration issues from Democratic strategists.

    10. Education and LGBT immigration legislation? WTF?

    Second, regarding the letter, the writer claims that STRIVE is bad, in part, because:

    they [illegal immigrants] also need to go though a very tough background check by the government [to gain LPR status].

    This is a bogus criticism. Illegal immigrants who attempt to regularize their status through the use of the bill have to face the very same background check as all immigrants--even ones who legally applied in the first place.

    Gabe (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Che's Lounge on Tue May 01, 2007 at 02:35:19 PM EST
    You were right to call me out on the legal issues in the other thread. My approach is strictly human rights guided, law or no law. I see this repression of minorities as a result of misplaced aggression. I'll be out with them today, in Vista CA (that's spanish BTW).

    Building detention camps and rounding working people up is a de evolutionary course.

    On the LBGT thing... (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by janinsanfran on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:51:34 PM EST
    Because the Federal government does not recognize gay relationships, even if they are recognized in couples' countries of origin, gay folks find themselves in endless trouble trying to achieve family reunification that would be a, relatively, clear cut matter for heterosexual couples. I personally knew a couple both of whose members had to emigrate to Canada. The Australian couldn't get a visa to be here. The relationship was recognized by Australia, but his U.S. partner couldn't get in there. The US member was able to meet Canadian immigration standards (by income, education etc.) and bring a recognized Australian partner to join him. Years went into achieving this outcome.

    Just thought folks would like to know. Our immigration laws have created multiple, inhumane tangles for many people.

    On CNN... (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Aaron on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:19:39 PM EST
    ...I'm watching young people get clubbed by cops in riot gear... once again in America.

    Somebody wake me up when this nightmare is over. :(

    Dirty Boulevard (none / 0) (#10)
    by Edger on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:26:35 PM EST
    Give me your hungry, your tired, your poor, I'll piss on em
    That's what the statue of bigotry says
    Your poor huddled masses, lets club em to death
    And get it over with and just dump em on the boulevard

    Rubber bullets (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Aaron on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:33:24 PM EST
    Shooting people with rubber bullets, children in the crowd.

    The LAPD strikes again.

    jeralyn (1.00 / 1) (#6)
    by cpinva on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:26:31 PM EST
    people here illegally are in no position to demand anything, period. any politician who accedes to this attempted extortion should be booted out of office, and rightly so.

    also, i'm not real clear on the LGBT thing, what the heck is that all about?

    che, with respect to human rights, don't i, as a law abiding citizen, have the right to expect those in my midst to also abide by the nation's laws? if not, what's the point of having laws in the first place?

    a better idea would be for these people to demand that their native governments actually provide an economic climate for them to have an opportunity to prosper in, instead of using the united states as an escape valve, to cover their ineptitude and corruption.

    Human Beings.... (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by kdog on Wed May 02, 2007 at 06:06:17 AM EST
    are always in the position to demand basic human dignity and the right to live free of chains and cages when they have harmed no one.

    I make these demands everyday.  Am I in the position to do so, having broken at least 3 laws yesterday?


    Put me down for yes... (1.00 / 1) (#18)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed May 02, 2007 at 08:28:42 AM EST
    Nope, Drudge and then WND....

    You aren't trying to deny that it's factual, are you.

    And yes, paying more for food will be one of the outcomes of getting the illegal aliens out of the country and paying Americans a decent wage to do the job.

    Also (none / 0) (#4)
    by Che's Lounge on Tue May 01, 2007 at 02:42:56 PM EST
    I think organized labor is a good deterrent, in that they will not allow illegal workers into the workplace, which brings down wages. Same reason the corps love them.

    wow. (none / 0) (#5)
    by fafnir on Tue May 01, 2007 at 03:54:16 PM EST
    As an American citizen, my response to the list of illegal alien demands is simply this: Step.

    Cameraman flies Mexican flag (none / 0) (#8)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:57:10 PM EST
    NBC strikes again...

    In case you missed it.

    Maybe the camera was manufactured in Mexico (none / 0) (#15)
    by roy on Wed May 02, 2007 at 12:38:08 AM EST

    Communist China (none / 0) (#19)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed May 02, 2007 at 08:30:39 AM EST
    Cheap food (none / 0) (#13)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue May 01, 2007 at 11:05:43 PM EST
    Cheap food does not justify denying people the protections of a minimum wage, health insurance, etc.

    Another Problem (none / 0) (#16)
    by Gabriel Malor on Wed May 02, 2007 at 12:44:35 AM EST
    Something was bothering me all day about the letter Jeralyn quoted above. It didn't sound quite right to me. This evening, I finally figured out what was wrong with it.

    The National Immigration Solidarity Network claims that the STRIVE act would require illegal aliens to return to their nations of origin as part of the "path to citizenship."

    That's not true. Title VI of the Act creates a new category of immigrant called a "conditional nonimmigrant." There is no requirement that illegal aliens return to their nations of origin to get conditional nonimmigrant status. Once they've got that, they can earn citizenship (adjust their status) after they've met the following requirements:

    (1) Meet employment requirements during the six-year period immediately preceding the application for adjustment;
    (2) Pay a $1,500 fine plus application fees;
    (3) Complete criminal and security background checks;
    (4) Establish registration under the selective service (if applicable);
    (5) Meet English and civic requirements;
    (6) Undergo a medical examination;
    (7) Pay all taxes;
    (8) Show admissibility to the U.S.; and
    (9) Meet a "Legal Reentry" requirement during the six-year period in conditional nonimmigrant status but no later than 90 days before filing an application for adjustment to lawful permanent resident status. Paperwork processing is performed in the U.S. An exit and re-entry through any port-of-entry is required. Limited exceptions apply.

    There are some important things to note about these requirements. First, the six-year period can begin before the illegal alien applies for conditional nonimmigrant status. In other words, if they meet these requirements (excepting no. 9, for the moment) they can adjust status immediately upon receipt of their conditional nonimmigrant status.

    The only brake put on the process is the requirement that the immigrant enter with inspection not less than 90 days before they apply to adjust status. Once they've got the conditional nonimmigrant status, they will be able to enter and exit the U.S. through the official ports of entry. So, there's no problem meeting that requirement.

    Also, note that the legal entry can be through any CBP inspection--the illegal alien does not have to return to their country of origin and then come back.

    Incidentally, pro-illegal organizations oppose "paths to citizenship" and guest worker organizations because they're not actually interested in getting anything short of immediate citizenship. "Compromise" is not in their vocabulary, although they seem pretty familiar with "demand."

    This is an interesting question (none / 0) (#21)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed May 02, 2007 at 12:51:54 PM EST
    How many of y'all would be willing to pay the higher prices that said food would cost if growing and picking done by citizens and/or legal residents exclusively?
    I guess first of all we need to define the wages the pickers are paid now and what they might/would be in they were citizens.

    While I'm sure wages vary considerably across different states and industries, I did find one reference source:

    I am based in the Russian River Valley and grow Pinot Noir. I will tell you than my workers earn between $11 and $18 per hour depending on their experience. On some grape picks I pay an hourly wage, other times I pay $1.50 per bandeja (or picking tray). It works out at about $250 per ton, plus the hire of the forklifts and the wages for the tractor driver and leafpickers (usually at the $11 or $18 dollar rates.) and the delivery to the winery (total is about $450p/t). In addition, I offer a prize for the team (I usually pick with three teams) that picks the cleanest. The tractor driver, leafer and me are the judges. The guys go really fast, but the extra 100 prize for the team ($20 for the cleanest picker) makes for super clean fruit (sin hojas...uvas muy limpia), and a good natured competitive spirit between the teams.

    And we are talking about illegal immigrants in case anyone was wondering:

    They live here on the edge of poverty while their family lives in a pueblo in Mexico like royalty on the cash they are sent - A very unique and strange arrangement.

    In general they don't look at it as being taken advantage of. They are very happy there is a place they can go to make real money. Most have some story or another of a familiy member in need and a problem they need to solve back home. The spend their 2 or 3 years and then head home.

    Now, I'm not sure ag workers would be paid much differently if they were citizens. I would imagine the large US ag producers are unionized like Gallo, and Gallo pays:

    The new UFW agreement covers all 310 Gallo farm workers in Sonoma County. Including a unilateral raise Gallo granted in April, the Sonoma workers will see their base hourly pay rise 9.5% to $8.98 by the end of the 30-month contract."
    so I would expect that to be around the wages citizens are/would be paid.

    iow, it doesn't look like there would be a huge increase in farm workers' pay should the illegal immigrants be given citizenship.

    But, for discussion sake, let's assume farm workers should be paid significantly more if the illegal immigrants were given citizenship.

    Most ag products, unlike wine, are commodities. iow, if it's cheaper for the consumer for the Alberstons and Vons of the US to buy their commodity ag products from countries that can produce it for less than we can in the US, then they will (and do) do so.

    In that scenario the US loses farms, farmers, workers, trucking co's, etc., etc.

    All that said, we already did a big amnesty program that we could learn from.

    ie., food prices did not go up.

    Probably because the newly-minted citizens found other, better jobs than picking asparagus, and the asparagus got picked by the next flood of illegal immigrants.