Equal Rights for All Workers to Organize- End the Criminalization of Undocumented Workers

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It is clear that Trump's recent calls for raids and deportations is NOT for the purpose of simply controlling immigration in this country. It is for the purpose of scaring immigrant workers to submit to silence, to pit working people against each other so that we do not come together to fight!

Trump's calls for ICE raids in our communities and the humanitarian crisis at the border are the latest episodes of the government's long-standing criminalization of undocumented immigrants. For three decades, the federal government has maintained undocumented working families as an underclass in our society with no rights to speak out against their exploitation at work and in their communities. Having an underclass of workers allows employers to keep documented and citizen workers working longer hours, at lower wages, under increasingly unsafe and unhealthy work conditions. It also gives employers a wedge they can use to divide and suppress all workers.

The law that criminalizes undocumented workers for working is the employer sanctions provision of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. This law has been key to driving down the working and living conditions of all working people, creating divisions and hate between our communities, and undermining our ability to come together to assert their collective power. It is the foundation of the rash of regressive, anti-immigrant measures we are seeing today. 

While we are calling for the end to the  raids and the humanitarian crisis at the border, it is not enough to merely fight against the symptoms of the repressive provisions of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. No immigration or labor reform will be truly comprehensive without ensuring equal rights for ALL workers and  repealing the employer sanctions provision of the Immigration Reform and Control Act. To repeal employer sanctions would signify eradicating the law’s most profound effect- the criminalization of undocumented immigrants and the maintenance of undocumented working families as an underclass, and the perpetuation of hardship for all workers. 

We are calling upon our congressmembers and presidential candidates to:

1. End the inhumane detention of immigrant families

2. Legislate equal rights for all workers to organize and unionize by: Protecting the rights of all workers under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), regardless of immigration status; protecting all workers from firing due to union/ organizing activities; protecting workers from harassment and retaliation, such as calling for deportation as a result of organizing

3. Fight the criminalization of undocumented workers by repealing the employers’ sanctions provision of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act

4. Initiate a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants working in the U.S.

For more information or to join, go to: equalrightsforallworkers.org 

Current Organizational Sponsors of the Break the Chains Alliance: El Pueblo Primero Community Workers Organization (TX), Reverend Ronnie Lister (TX), Reverend Edward Gomez of San Pablo Episcopal Church (TX) Asociacion de Trabajadores Fronterizos (TX), Council on American-Islamic Relations (TX), Chinese Staff & Workers’ Association (NY), National Mobilization Against Sweatshops (NY), Flushing Workers Center (NY), Working People Lead Tulsa (OK)