“We Have Dreams Too:” 250+ Immigrant Workers toHitDCto Stop Deportations
On the day of the President’s State of the Union address, reconstruction workers from post-Sandy New York, raided factory workers from Chicago, guestworkers from Louisiana, Palermo pizza workers, day laborers,domestic workers, and 250 other immigrant workers will gather in Washington for two days to expose the impact of deportations and push for workers’ rights principles to be included in any immigration reform.
The Feb. 12-13 events will kick off efforts nation-wide to ensure that immigrant workers themselves shape immigration reform. As the debate impacts every immigrant worker in this country, they will raise their voices to defend and advance their labor and civil rights, including the right to organize and POWER Act protections against employer retaliation.
Many of the workers are currently in deportation proceedings, such as the Southern 32, a group of immigrant labor organizers and civil rights defenders. .They will push for, inclusive immigration reform that builds on the recent experiences of stopping the separation of families raided by ICE in Phoenix, Arizona, as well as state-level TRUST efforts to improve public safety by limiting the collaboration between local police and federal immigration enforcement. They will also press for labor protections that advance rights at the workplace instead of undermining them. These workers are being brought together by the United Workers Congress, a national alliance of independent worker organizations.
On February 13th, workers will attend the first Senate hearing on immigration, meet with officials, and announce their principles for reform.
In addition to the preliminary list of events below, Interviews are available upon request
February 12th 12:00pm – 10:00pm
Immigrant Worker Conference
1919 Connecticut Ave NW
February 12th, 8:00pm
State of the Union Watch Party
1919 Connecticut Ave NW
February 13th, 8:30am
Attendance at Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
February 13th, Immediately following hearing
Announcement of Workers’ Rights Principles and
Reaction to Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing
Why Legalization Must Lead to Citizenship
The most concrete proposals for immigration reform thus far in 2013 include earned legalization with a path to U.S.citizenship for unauthorized immigrants already living in the United States. This is a process that essentially permits unauthorized immigrants to come forward and receive a provisional legal status that—after paying taxes, proving they understand English and civics, passing all criminal and other background checks, and showing they are committed to the United States—allows them to become lawful permanent residents (LPRs).
From there, like other LPRs before them, they will have to decide whether or not to make the final commitment to their adopted country by becoming American citizens. Some critics of the new proposals argue that citizenship is too good for unauthorized immigrants, or that legal status is really all they need to thrive in this country. But that kind of short-sighted thinking ignores some very important facts: more than half a century ago theU.S.finally abandoned the idea that there should be a second-class status for any group by denying them citizenship and, in fact, today the vast majority of Americans support a path to citizenship.
TheImmigrationPolicyCenterhas prepared a fact sheet that highlights the eligibility guidelines and responsibilities that go with American citizenship, as well as the public’s view on it.
To view the fact sheet see:
- The Dividends of Citizenship: Why Legalization Must Lead to Citizenship (IPC Fact Check, February 7, 2013)