|My Response to those in support of HR4337
By Jang Lee
Following the March 25th "Grand March" and recent High School walkouts in opposition to the HR4337 bill, I've
been engaged in discussions over various internet message boards around the issues of immigration. Before I
reiterate some of the main themes in these discussions, I want to make it clear that most of us here in the
United States -
with the exception of American Indians - come from many different countries. Even for those of us born here,
our families, generations back, either came from various parts of Europe as middle or upper class folks or
indentured servants, in chains from Africa to be slaves, or as cheap labor from nations in Asia. The South
Western states (California, Arizona, Texas, etc.) were stolen from Mexico. I could go on, but I think it's all of our
responsibilities to study this history. Not the history we get from conquerors, slave-owners, capitalists and
land-owners, but the history that has emerged through the struggles of radical movements and individuals
representing the most oppressed and exploited peoples.
One of the myths I constantly come up against is this notion that "illegal immigrants" are taking away "American"
jobs. The real "persons" taking jobs are those corporations who first moved to Southern, anti-union states to
pay less wages and offer no health care in the 80's and now, more often, to third world nations where labor
laws are almost non-existent because of structural adjustement programs enforced by the International
Monetary Fund and World Bank. Practically everything we consume (shoes, clothing, technologies, toys, etc.) is
produced in places like China, Taiwan, Indonesia, South America, etc. (not to mention here in prisons across
the country). The bottom line for corporations is profit. It only makes sense that they will look for opportunities
of cheap labor wherever they can find them.
Most of the jobs that immgrants (especially immigrants from third world countries) take are those that many
"Americans" - either aspiring to be middle class or fighting for a living wage - will not do. Who washes dishes at
most restaraunts, picks the produce that we purchase in markets or eat in meals, works under terrible
conditions in sweatshops like those in L.A.'s fashion district?
Another thing that I'm hearing from folks is that "illegal immigrants" are abusing the welfar system. The truth
is, to obtain any of these state services, you have to go through a very grueling and strict process. This
process requires fingerprinting, photos, tons of paperwork, full background checks, social security information
or proof of residency, etc.
My friends and I attended the March 25th rally because we strongly believe in human rights, which citizens of
all countries are entitled to. We, as human beings, need to support one another and be in solidarity across
borders. I think it's important to be critical of the propaganda and lies we are being bombarded with from
politicians and the corporate media.
Turn off the T.V. and get out into the streets for the real news. Tune into alternative media such as KPFK 90.7