Obama Dresses Up Slave-Labor Order as ‘Immigration Reform;’ Dems Rejoice
BY MARTIN SAYLES | NOVEMBER 24, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 22 — President Barack Obama’s announcement last Thursday on how the federal government will deal with up to 5 million undocumented workers and family members of American citizens has been hailed by Democrats and reformist immigrant rights advocates across the board, while being universally slammed by conservative Republicans and racists.
The content of Obama’s executive order includes a promise to not deport undocumented workers who are related to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have resided in the country for at least five years, and extends the provisions of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to undocumented workers under 30 years old. These provisions will allow eligible undocumented workers to apply for a work visa and temporary residency, and pay their taxes.
In addition, visas will be extended to those who want to invest in the U.S. economy or pursue a degree in one of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. All of these changes made by executive order will expire when Obama leaves office in 2017.
What Obama’s executive order won’t do is protect the family members of young people enrolled in the DACA program, single out migrant farm workers for visa program expansion, expand the H1-B visa program for highly-skilled workers, or extend Obamacare to undocumented workers or their families. It also goes without saying that Obama’s plan says nothing about amnesty or a path to citizenship.
In his announcement, Obama dismissed the calls for amnesty for undocumented workers, calling it “unfair” (for whom?). Meanwhile, a senior Obama administration official reassured the exploiting classes that the executive order would be “temporary and reversible.”
In other words, the only “change” that undocumented workers can believe in is that they are welcome to work at low-wage jobs in the U.S., pay taxes and prop up the economy, and receive nothing in return except a cheap “promise” that they might not get deported sometime over the next 26 months — maybe, if they are lucky.
The predictable response from the Republicans was phony outrage and posturing in opposition to “Emperor Obama” and his order, with threats of lawsuits, shutting down the government and even articles of impeachment. However, it seems that this rejection of Obama’s plan is less about their disagreements with what is proposed, and more about further polarizing each side. That is, it appears that the real intent of their response was to push immigrant rights activists and pro-amnesty liberals further into the arms of the White House.
If this was the plan, it definitely worked, if the numerous images of undocumented families and liberal activists crying and thanking Obama are any indication.
But what are they really thanking him for?
The only guarantee given to these 5 million undocumented workers is that they can work until they drop dead and receive nothing in return. They can subsidize public services by paying taxes and fines to the government, but cannot use those services. They cannot even have a peace of mind when it comes to being deported since, after all, this is “temporary and reversible.”
This isn’t “immigration reform.” This is a slave-labor order! Obama’s plan provides no real relief or path to citizenship, only a lifetime of superexploitation and superoppression that will keep millions of undocumented workers in a semi-permanent condition of servitude, without any right to challenge their situation. This is what the liberals and “immigrant rights” activists are cheering. This is the Democratic Party at work.
As opposed to the ruling classes, which see immigrant workers — especially undocumented workers — as fodder for the cheap-labor sector of the economy, communists recognize them as our brothers and sisters, and we fight for their full freedom through the overthrow of capitalism and the abolition of exploitation and oppression. We believe that any person (and their family) who has been working in the U.S. for six months is entitled to full citizenship and all the rights that come with it. Further, we reject the racist and national-chauvinist calls for “English-only” laws and closing the border.
Communists are internationalists. We understand that the solution to immigration cannot take place in one country alone. This is why we seek to unite with our fellow workers in other countries to build cross-border actions that can raise living standards and secure basic rights for working people. This includes the building of an international revolutionary industrial union movement that can turn the slogan, “the world is our picket line,” into a reality.
Only cooperation between workers’ republics on both sides of the border can develop a comprehensive plan to resolve any issues related to the movement of labor. That requires the building of the international worker-communist movement, including the Workers Party in America. If you agree, then join with us!