International Workers' Day 2013: Calls for Legalization -- Not Deportation!

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For the past several years International Workers' Day, May Day, has served as a vehicle to spotlight the particular injustices against immigrant workers, especially the undocumented. In 2006, we can remember the massive May Day and other rallies across the country that mobilized millions of undocumented workers, their families and allies to protest the anti-immigrant Sensenbrenner bill and to call for legalization. With immigration reform underway in Congress, May Day events in immigrant communities vary vastly in their size and scope, but a message that continues to jump out is Legalization not Deportation!

As the Senate proposal has revealed, the path to a green card and eventual citizenship can be long and "tough," as the "Gang of 8" likes to characterize the path they have charted. And if some Republican leaders in the House have their way, there won't be a path at all! If and when a legalization program is finally approved, clearly not all of the 11 million will make it through. Some will not fit the criteria to even apply. Border and interior enforcement will be increased; the proposal certainly does not do away with the current programs in place to deport all who can be deported.

Even now, while much of our efforts are focused on Congress, thousands of immigrants are being detained and deported, separated from their families. Just this past week, an ICE audit of two janitorial companies in San Diego may result in the firing of over 500 immigrant workers. Some may be charged with felony identity theft. Similar audits continue to take place around the country, leaving workers without jobs and worse, identified for detention and deportation.

As the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares to mark-up the immigration reform bill, we need to redouble the call for a halt to detentions and deportations. Immigrant communities deserve the opportunity to raise their voices, concerns and needs in the immigration debate, and should have the opportunity to move out the shadows with a fair, genuine legalization program. (See immigration reform updates and tools here.)

Support Human Rights for All Migrant Workers and Their Families

Together with our allies in the international migrant rights movement, the National Network has supported and advocated for universal ratification of the UN's International Convention for the Protection of Rights of All MIgrant Workers and Members of Their Families, or Migrant Workers' Convention. On International Workers' Day, please join us in showing your support for the US to commit to ratification. Learn more about the convention and sign the online pledge of support: individual endorsers click here. Organizational endorsers,  click here.

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