Friday, June 01, 2007. One hundred angry and determined immigrants and immigrant rights activists shouted, chanted, made speeches, and blocked the entrances to Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office building this noon. The entire plaza in front of her building was occupied by demonstrators, who could be heard at least a half block away. Large rolls of chicken wire fence with white crosses were used to block the entrances to the building. As police moved in to clear the entrances, the focus of the action shifted to a speaker demanding equal rights for immigrants as police prepared to arrest her and five others. Feinstein, who makes a practice of regally ignoring anyone challenging her anti-worker, anti-immigrant, and anti-senior/disabled agenda, was forced to come down to the sidewalk and speak with the large number of reporters present, waiting, of course, until demonstrators blocking the doors were safely out of sight.
Feinstein is pushing immigration legislation that represents a compromise between conservative racists, who favor ethnic cleansing and expulsion of immigrants, and liberal racists, who favor large numbers of guest worker immigrants in a vulnerable legal limbo, where they can be exploited as cheap labor. The results would be broken families, increased border deaths, heightened terror against immigrants nationwide, a huge increase in abused immigrant workers, and worse wages, working conditions, and benefits for US-born workers.
Feinstein’s plan would further militarize the borders, set up more ICE raids and detention centers, and set up a national ID card that both citizens and immigrants would need to work. Once these measures are in place, current undocumented immigrants could begin the legalization process involving thousands of dollars in fines and fees, criminal background checks, and heads of households would have to leave the country with no assurance that they could re-enter and rejoin their families. Meanwhile, millions of immigrants would be brought in as temporary workers, never eligible for permanent residence and subject to deportation the minute their work ends, so they would be as brutally exploited as the braceros of the 1950s, and would also be used as a club against citizen workers also. Finally, preferences for permanent residence would be changed, favoring highly educated, technically trained English speakers over family members of current immigrants.
As with the Iraq war, events are showing liberals and conservatives in government are objectively on the same side. While George Bush, Dianne Feinstein and Edward Kennedy labor to force an immigration compromise through, the government steps up ICE raids to terrorize us into accepting their plans. We will not be moved. We demand an end to ICE raids, total amnesty, free detainees, no guest worker programs, and equal rights for immigrants. Citizen and immigrant unity. We want a world without borders.
Listen to a great KPFA Flashpoints interview on Feinstein’s bill and the demonstration.
Watch news coverage of the demonstration.