March 26, 2006

The future is marching.

That's the thought with which Nathan Newman begins an eloquent post reflecting on yesterday's huge demonstration in Los Angeles against proposed changes in US immigration laws [see this earlier Pacific Views post for more] and similar demonstrations in Chicago, Denver, and other US cities.

This magpie doesn't usually grab a post whole-hog from someone else, but Newman's words need to be repeated:

There is a historic decision for Democrats to make in the coming year. They can listen to their better angels and fight for the basic principle that those in economic need should not be treated as criminals or they can embrace short-term anti-immigrant expediency and lose both their soul and long-term political advantage.

Some see the issue as whether the undocumented committed an illegal act. But the real question should be whether our current immigration policy is itself moral. Slavery was legal, but that didn't make those who defied it immoral.

The United States has an estimated 12 million people living in our country without legal status. Do we seriously expect to deport that many people in an act of ethnic clensing that would bring global condemnation?

And globalization can't just mean that money has freedom but people don't. If anything, we need more rules for money and fewer for people — since the ability to walk away from bad job choices is about the only right the poorest of the poor have ever had in this world. Take away the right of mobility from workers and all the rest of their rights largely disappear as well....

If we want to slow immgration to the United States, the real way to do it is to end sweatshops in Mexico and the rest of the developing world and end the rising inequality in global wealth within such countries. Mexico, for example, has increasing wealth, but because of the trade deals we created with them, most of that wealth goes to the richest section of the population — Mexico has 13 billionaires yet working families are left struggling to survive.

To tell such refugees from an economic system the US government helped engineer that they are to blame for their fate is immoral. And progressives should be standing side by side with the labor unions, civil rights groups and religious leaders marching by the hundreds of thousands in the streets to demand decent treatment for those refugees and a more just global economic system.


Posted by Magpie at March 26, 2006 03:50 PM | US Politics | Technorati links |