IMMIGRATION! The Solutions? A Chicano Historical Perspective

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Reprinted from the Herman Baca UCSD Archives Pt. 6 – FINAL  

MEXICAN WORKER’S  BILL OF RIGHTS?
 
“There is no mine, no bridge, not a row in the fields, nor a construction site in all of the United States that hasn’t been watered with the tears, the sweat and blood of immigrants.”
Bert Corona, Father of the Immigration Movement

Aside from the economy & terrorism issues, the major problem confronting the U.S in 2016 is the so-called immigration issue, represented by two diametrically opposing groups. On one side the shrinking White minority, on the other side an exploding Chicano/Latino population that includes millions of undocumented Mexicanos/Latinos. The political question…is there a solution?  To date U.S. “immigration” policy has been based on law enforcement and military “solutions.” Guns, drones, Vietnam type military hardware, barb wire fences, walls & augmenting the "Gestapo" Border Patrol, supposedly to secure the U.S./Mexico border. After 166 years & billions of wasted U.S. taxpayer’s dollars (187 billion since 1986) the problem remains unsolved. Other unworkable (Comprehensive Immigration Reform) legislative proposals; false amnesty, never enforced employer sanctions & importation of foreign workers (slave type Bracero programs) have also been proposed as solutions. The two opposing sides obviously view the issue differently, each from their own perspective. Most White Americans (the first illegals) simply view the issue as a criminal matter i.e. illegal aliens, lawbreakers, cheats, & culprits etc., who have violated U.S. sovereignty & immigration laws.  

Politically, numerous Whites also view immigration as a last ditch political effort to stem the changing demographics, that in the near future (2045), will regulate them to minority population status (U.S. Census) in the U.S. Because of the above; the immigration issue has now taken center stage in the 2016 presidential election. This is obvious by the large numbers of Whites that support & endorse Republican psychopath, or con artist, fascist, & demagogue presidential candidate, Donald Trump. Enormous political support for Trump from White Americans surfaced after he declared war on Mexicans, calling them rapist, criminals, drug dealers, vowing to build a wall along the U.S./Mexico border & deporting 11 million so-called “illegals.” The Chicano/Mexicano side & historical perspective was outlined in five past published commentaries by the Committee on Chicano Rights (CCR), which highlighted two major facts.  First, that Chicanos historians, activists, academicians & scholars historically have defined the so-called immigration issue, as a labor/rights issue. Second, that the immigration issue is the weak link in the struggle to franchise & end the 2nd class status of the 60 million persons of Mexican/Latin ancestry in the U.S.  So what are the solutions? The CCR’s positions are; 1) Overhaul U.S. Immigration Policy that defines and administers the various categories & numbers of persons who can legally immigrate into the U.S. It is a broken system where certain categories of persons have to wait up to 20 years to immigrate, & half of the twelve million persons issued legal visitors visas (presently in the U.S.) are illegal due to their expired visas? 2) Re-define issues that are not immigration such as, Terrorism, a military problem, Cartels & Drugs, a law enforcement & medical problem, Refugees, a foreign policy problem.   3) That Congress enacts a Bill of Rights (see below) for Mexican Undocumented Workers that historically (since 1848) been part & parcel of the U.S. economy. A work force that has been exploited for their “cheap & profitable labor,” who grow and pick America's food, clean homes/hotels/motels, cook and wait in restaurants, sweat in garment factories, do gardening, construction, baby sit children, and take care of America's sick and elderly, etc. In U.S. history the only parallel of workers in a system without rights were Afro-American slaves!

“A BILL OF RIGHTS FOR THE UNDOCUMENTED WORKER”

(Drafted & approved; 1st International Conference
for the Full Rights of Undocumented Workers, by Chicano & Mexicano organizations, Mexico City, 1979)

Pg. 1

Article I: Every immigrant worker shall have the right to establish legal residency by demonstrating a status as wage earner and taxpayer.

Article II: Every immigrant worker shall have all of the Constitutional Rights guaranteed all persons in the U.S. This right shall include but not be limited to: the right to due process, and the right to be free in their persons and possessions from unreasonable searches and seizures; and such rights shall not be violated by raids in factories, residential areas and in public places and shall be free from deportations and other uncon­stitutional practices.

Article III: Every immigrant worker shall have the right to be reunited with his or her family in country where he or she is a wage earner.

Article IV: Every immigrant worker shall have the right to legalize and adjust their status within the U.S. without having to return to their country of origin.

Article V: Every immigrant worker shall fully enjoy all the rights guaranteed to citizen workers including socio-economic and labor rights.

Article VI: Every immigrant worker, particularly seasonal workers, shall be provided adequate hous­ing, health and safety provisions.

Article VII: Every immigrant worker shall be guaranteed the same rights enjoyed by U.S. citizens especially the right of access to free and adequate social and health services, child-care, and other similar social benefits.

Article VIII: Every immigrant person shall have the right to quality public education in his or her native language, utilizing English as a second language and shall not be restricted from fully practicing the culture of his or her country of origin.

Article IX: Every immigrant worker shall have (partial or permanent) workers compensation, retirement and death benefits. In the event of a death, the cost of trans­porting the deceased to his or her country of origin shall be borne by the employer, and any corresponding benefits shall he delivered to the family of the deceased without regard to their place of residency.

Article X: Every immigrant worker shall have a right to organize and to collective bargaining, Including the right to join existing unions or form new ones, for the defense of their labor rights and for the improvement of their wages and living and working conditions. A) The right to collective bargaining shall include agricultural and public service workers in order to protect their right to organize.

Article XI: Every immigrant worker shall have the right to utilize his native language in all legal proceedings, (i.e., to acquire citizenship, in Judicial proceedings, etc.), and in all private or public contract agreements.

Article XII: Every immigrant worker shall have the right to exercise their right to vote in their native country's federal elections. This right should be facilitated through consulates and all other places (union-halls, schools, etc.) designated by competent authorities.

Article XIII: Every immigrant worker shall have the right to vote in local and state elections from the moment of legalizing their immigration status without having to become citizens. The right is based on their status as taxpayers, workers and residents.
-END