The Immigration Justice Committee Platform
As socialists, we stand in solidarity with all immigrants and refugees in the struggle against capitalist exploitation. Borders are inherently violent: they define strict and artificial rules for the occupation and mobility of people, who are often displaced by various economic, social, and environmental pressures, including war and other forms of violence. The reality is that many come to the United States as refugees or economic migrants because capitalism and U.S. imperialism create and sustain cycles of poverty, ecological collapse, and violence.
The Immigration Justice Committee fights to organize and support the self-organization of immigrant communities as a central struggle in the larger fight against capitalism. The current immigration system exists to sustain global material exploitation. Immigration law in the United States is crafted around white nationalist, colonial state-building projects, and its enforcement is guided by capitalist concerns. Current immigration law limits the entry of racial undesirables and restricts access to legal, political, health, education, and economic rights for the few that do manage to enter the country. As a result, policymakers control the racial demographics of the country and capitalists in industries like agribusiness and construction gain access to a hyper-exploitable class of workers. In Los Angeles, this hyper-exploitable class is prominent among L.A.’s industries such as street vendors, domestic workers, service workers, garment workers, car wash workers, and sex workers. Meanwhile, companies are able to buy freedom of movement and legal rights for their immigrant workers via the H1B and EB-5 visa programs, which essentially allow people to buy the right to immigrate. This fight directly upholds our anti-imperialist commitment against racism and state violence.
Undocumented immigrant communities in Los Angeles come from a diversity of marginalized backgrounds, including Black, Native and Latinx, as well as Middle Eastern and South Asian people who are racialized in an Islamophobic environment. The tactic of incarceration further intensities violence for women and nonbinary people, as well as for queer and trans people of all genders and racial backgrounds. The fight for the rights of immigrants thus forces us to confront the oppressive, disciplinary apparatus of law enforcement and the prison industrial complex. We oppose white supremacist attempts to divide the working class and blame people for the poverty and crime that are caused by unjust distribution of wealth and income.
The common liberal position on “immigration reform” leaves much to be desired. We do not want guest worker programs that benefit businesses. We do not believe that the main reason to defend the rights of undocumented immigrants or formerly documented people is because no one else will do “those jobs.” We wholeheartedly reject the narrative—perpetuated, at times, even by former immigrants who prey upon their brethren—that deems some undocumented persons such as DREAMers good, deserving, or otherwise productive members of the workforce, and others bad or undeserving threats to public safety. We do not think that someone’s worth as a person is tied to the economic growth they generate. As socialists, we are uniquely positioned to take a stand on this issue in ways that other groups will not.
To act on our analysis, DSA-LA’s Immigration Justice Committee takes on the following projects and supports the following goals:
- Los Angeles as a true Sanctuary City: We demand that local, state, and federal governments treat undocumented immigrants no differently than other Californians. We oppose the criminalization of immigrants, and the conflation of policing and immigration enforcement. We believe that everyone subjected to deportation proceedings deserves—as a bare minimum of civil treatment—due process and legal representation. This will not be sufficient to establish a just legal system in California, a state where police abuse and murder people of color of all immigration and citizenship statuses, but it will be a step towards justice. More specifically, we fight to:
- Eliminate exceptions for immigrants with felonies and other carve-outs to sanctuary
- Shut off all information sharing and any other forms of cooperation between federal authorities such as ICE and local law enforcement
- Expand Special Order 40 to forbid all local authorities from questioning people about their immigration status
- Safe and fair workplaces for immigrants: We aim to decriminalize immigrant work via a “ban the box” inspired campaign to prevent employers from requiring social security numbers, electronic driver licenses, and all other barriers for undocumented immigrants to access safe and fair workplaces. In addition, we will fight for fair wages and legal protections from workplace abuses, and for the many immigrant workers in the grey economy, including street vendors, domestic workers, and sex workers.
- Access to social services for all immigrants: We hold that immigrants are entitled to all services the state provides to citizens, and will fight for their access to health care, disability, education, and more.
- An end to the Travel Ban and any limits on the entry of refugees and asylum-seekers: We vehemently oppose the travel ban and any other discriminatory restriction on immigration or travel.
- Universal legal representation and financial support for all non-citizens facing deportation proceedings: We pledge to support non-citizens facing deportation by organizing campaigns that ensure due process and free legal representation as well as support legal clinics led by immigrants and immigrant organizations.
- Abolition of detention centers and the carceral state: We will draw attention to the abuses found in prisons and the carceral state as a whole.
- Eliminating the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA): Employer sanctions failed to achieve all its intended purposes and instead provided a catalyst for workplace exploitation and discrimination of undocumented immigrants, accelerated undocumented immigration, and eroded wages and working conditions for all U.S. workers. IRCA undermines public safety and has driven millions of undocumented immigrants and their families into the shadows, fearing that organizing or even using public services like public health care can lead to deportation. Employer sanctions grant an unfair advantage to employers who will violate labor and immigration laws if they see a comparative profit to such sanctions. When employers enforce immigration, sanctions only help create inherent exploitative conditions in the workplace. IRCA has failed and shall be eliminated.
- Mass Working Class Movement Building: Working class immigrants need to be the center of the immigration justice movement. As such, this committee will organize inside coalitions led by working-class immigrant communities and engage in rank-and-file organizing and mutual aid to genuinely increase our membership and reflect the values of working class immigrants.
- Citizenship for all who want it: People who have immigrated or otherwise are now living in the U.S. should be treated by the state as no different from people who were born within the country’s borders. Under the current system of borders and citizenship, this means anyone who lives in the U.S. should be able to become a citizen, if they so desire.
No Walls, No Borders, No Jails!