By David Bacon, In These Times
June 19, 2013
OAKLAND, CALIF.--Even though the full Senate is debating the immigration reform bill S. 744, labor and community activists in northern California charge that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency of the federal Department of Homeland Security continues to require local employers to fire hundreds of workers, saying they have no immigration papers. In protest, dozens of Bay Area immigrant workers and their supporters went without food last week in a 72-hour hunger strike to draw attention to hundreds of these firings.
The Obama administration, which strongly supports S. 744, calls the proposal “commonsense immigration reform.” The fasters charged, however, there is no common sense in firing workers while Congress debates the bill.
The bill’s supporters tout the provisional legal status it would give some undocumented workers, like those currently being fired. But workers who are now losing their jobs in these workplace enforcement actions will not be rehired even if thebill passes, critics charge. Further, the job losses will push fired workers into poverty, below the income requirement that the bill imposes to qualify for legalization.[...]
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