Immigration Reform and Immigrants' Rights..

Submitted by Sarah Gonzales on October 13, 2005 - 6:48am. :: |

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WHEREAS, The U.S. is and has always been a nation of immigrants who have enriched the American culture, and millions of immigrants work hard, raise families, serve in the U.S. armed forces, and study at universities; and

WHEREAS, fully enforcing current immigration laws in regard to the 12 million undocumented immigrants would result in:
* serious blows to the U.S. economy
* serious blows to the economies of other countries where millions subsist on what U.S. immigrants send to support their families members who remain in the homeland
* depletion of the young workforce needed to support retirement entitlement programs for the large, aging Baby Boom generation; and

WHEREAS, even the partial, increased enforcement efforts of the last few years:
* failed to reduce the number of undocumented immigrants arriving in the U.S. despite costly militarization of border controls.
neglected security issues by failing to provide border control points with adequate real-time intelligence and watch lists to identify terrorists
* resulted in a sharp increase in deaths of immigrants attempting to cross desolate mountainous and desert areas having the least surveillance
* involved large-scale workplace raids and public sweeps instilling fear in communities
* enabled unscrupulous employers to extort workers to take less pay and to tolerate unsafe conditions by threatening to expose workers as undocumented
* incarcerated nearly 15,000 people, including young children, in detention facilities for months at a time resulting in multiple instances of human rights violations including negligent medical care, substandard food, and physical abuse
* have created huge case backlogs of residency and worker applications because the budget for enforcement is six time higher than the budget to process authorized immigrants, and

WHEREAS, branding undocumented immigrants as criminals has almost confounded a nation of people who honor the rule of law yet find themselves needing this younger workforce; a nation of people who feel a deep kinship with struggling immigrants but whose sympathies are split when immigrants are scapegoated for economic woes, and

WHEREAS, immigrants do, in the long run, contribute more in taxes than the costs of the government service they receive, a local influx of immigrants, like any population increase, can result in service strains due to the lag in receiving and allocating new workers' tax contributions and adjusting services, and

WHEREAS, desperate, economic conditions in their homeland compel immigrants to risk death and prison to find work in the U.S. and U.S. trade policies such as NAFTA and CAFTA have hindered development of sustainable economies in immigrant homelands; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that laws and policies be changed to decriminalize immigration so that an individual's right to move across borders is protected as an activity essential to human survival and economic progress, and be it further

RESOLVED, regardless of birth place or citizenship, the human rights of all persons in the U.S. shall be protected, and be it further

RESOLVED, that all persons in the U.S. are subject to the law of the land including taxation laws, and be it further

RESOLVED, all workers, regardless of birth place or citizenship, have the right to a safe work place, a living wage, and the right to unionize, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the funding currently allocated for border control and interior enforcement be reduced, and construction of a Mexico/US border fence and construction and operation of detention centers cease so that resources are redirected to:
* stem overwhelming influx of immigrants by helping to develop sustainable economies in the sending regions
* reduce backlogs of those awaiting residency and work authorization and naturalization
* support communities with the integration of an influx of immigrants until the local economy and tax revenues stabilize
* provide technology and information at borders to identify terrorist suspects, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the U.S. withdraw from free trade agreements and engage in fair trade relationships that require worker, consumer, and environmental protections and promote sustainable economies.

Original version (entitled "Immigrants' Rights) written Jan. 2004, updated by C. Crosier Feb. 2008

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