Los Angeles—On Sept. 22, 4,000 demonstrators, mostly Mexican immigrants, workers, their families and supporters representing “Millions of Voices for Immigration Reform,” marched through downtown demanding immediate immigration reform and a path to citizenship. They marched to stop ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raids, detentions and deportation, to stop their being criminalized. “We are law-abiding working-class people that contribute to U.S. society.” Present immigration policy separates parents from their U.S.-born children by detaining and deporting them. Under the Obama administration two million immigrants have been deported.
Immigrants from Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala gathered at Broadway and Olympic, then marched over a mile to Grant Park, where speakers addressed the demonstrators. Some of the banners and signs read: “Stop the detention and deportations, immigration reform with a path to citizenship NOW!”; “Legalize my parents,” with eight children holding the banner; “Union of Ex-Braceros”—workers brought in legally to work in the fields but without any rights.
Surprisingly absent were many community groups who have marched in the yearly May Day immigrant workers’ marches, along with union members.
Congress’ proposal for immigration reform has a path to citizenship that takes 13 years through a punitively stringent process. It invites young migrants to join the military as a path to citizenship. It pours $47 billion into militarizing the border, including drones, and its detention centers are actual prisons run by private corporations.
The immigration bill also includes a new guest worker bracero program. This version of “immigration reform” benefits capitalist production more than undocumented workers, and is far from a compassionate immigration reform bill.