Election 2012: Whoever wins, the struggle continues
By John Terrazas
Once again, like every four years, another presidential election is upon us. The same two parties monopolize public attention. This year the incumbent is running for reelection against the governor of Massachusetts. The race to the White House is broadcast in the media as democratic debates between both candidates. Here we are not going to get into the authenticity of this show, nor the legitimacy of it with respect to the aspirations of the American people that they say they represent.
Our concern now is about the lives of 12 million immigrants currently living in limbo in the country. What difference is it going to make for them whether the Republican or the Democratic candidate wins the election? Not much actually.
The GOP candidate said at the beginning of his campaign that laws like Arizona’s anti-immigrant law SB1070 should be applied to the rest of the country to satisfy his Tea Party folks and win the nomination to run for president. Now he is using a more moderate discourse to win the votes of the undecided Latino voters. The incumbent is trying to avoid responsibility for the disastrous application of federal deportation programs now in place in all states (“S-COMM”, 287g, Criminal Alien Program, etc.) that have led to record high deportations around the country.
As a political maneuver to gain the votes of young immigrants, especially from the Latino community, he has issued the Deferred Action policy (DACA), which does not lead to permanent residence or citizenship and is in many ways a modern version of the “bracero program.” The truth is that there is a lack of political will from the elite that governs the country along with its representatives in Congress to pass any sort of legal recognition of the people they lured to come and exploit every day.
We have heard immigrants say many times things like, “They want our work, not us.” The wisdom of the people is amazing. Behind this statement, we find the main reason that the American establishment rejects them: racism. Now that the economic system again has failed and jobs are scarce, they want to deport them, without considering that many of them have been living here for many years, they have grown roots, they have kids born and raised in this country, have made new friends, and many even own property and businesses. They know very well that mass immigration is a consequence of U.S. interventionist foreign policy in the affairs of other countries in order to expand and secure their economic influence in the western hemisphere through the imposition of their culture of savage capitalism.
We advocate legalization of the hardworking people that came here looking for a better future for their family. It’s the right thing to do no matter whichever candidate wins the election–but none of them will do it without pressure from a mass movement.
Something has to be done by whoever wins the elections because people who have been living here for a long time aren’t going anywhere. They belong here and are part of the social fabric of the U.S. now. Even Mr. Reagan, the most conservative president of recent times understood this basic idea when 26 years ago he announced an amnesty law that gave legalization to 3 million people. He said: “… I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots, even though they may have been entered illegally…”
So, for those who have decided to call this land home and keep working hard to support their family, here or abroad, this elections shouldn’t be something that they lose sleep over, but rather should reinvigorate them to seek justice. It’s more crucial than ever to be aware, to be informed and organized in our churches, community centers, social clubs, schools, etc. We have to demand once and for all legalization for immigrants in this country. At the end all they are asking for is to have legal status to live and work in peace and liberty–a basic human right.