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Activists Pan Dems' Approach; Say Another Immigration Policy Is Possible

Grassroots groups don't like the Democrats' proposals for comprehensive immigration reform.

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At the same time, Rivera Salgado cautions, "We need development in Mexico that makes migration a choice rather than a necessity - the right to not migrate. Both rights are part of the same solution. But the right to not migrate has to mean more than the right to be poor or the right to go hungry and homeless." For that reason, after a long consultation process, FIOB announced it would "work to renegotiate NAFTA, because it creates migration by forcing poverty and inequality on the communities we come from in Mexico."

Immigrant activists in Detroit called for broad legalization that would give papers to all undocumented people. They want the US to make more residence visas available, allowing migrants to choose where to live without making them vulnerable to employers. They opposed trade agreements like NAFTA. But most of all, they called for ending the criminalization of immigrants, whether by Arizona's infamous SB 1070 law, or through the firings of thousands of people for lacking work papers. Over 350,000 undocumented migrants were incarcerated last year alone, in private detention centers.

"We should never fight for the rights of some at the expense of others." Saucedo declares. "Legalization would be an empty victory if most immigrants still faced high exploitation, firings and raids." 

David Bacon is the author of several books, the most recent of which is Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants .

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