Green Party U.S. Senate Candidate Backs “Immediate Amnesty” For Millions of Undocumented Workers

Photograph of a march calling for the legalization of undocumented workers which took place in downtown Santa Ana, California on the afternoon of May 1, 2010.


Immediate Release
September 27, 2010

ANAHEIM, Calif – Duane Roberts, Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate, backs “immediate amnesty” for “millions of undocumented workers” living within the United States. Roberts points out that “so-called ‘illegal immigration'” is caused by “uneven capitalist development between nations” and that politicians don’t address this problem:

“As a longtime defender of immigrant rights, I strongly back the idea of granting immediate amnesty for the millions of undocumented workers currently living within the United States. An overwhelming majority of them work incredibly hard, are law abiding, and make invaluable contributions to the wealth of this country.

“I don’t believe a ‘pathway to citizenship’ should be a long and confusing process; nor need it require any form of indentured servitude, like the McCain/Kennedy bill did. Undocumented workers who have established residency, haven’t committed any violent crimes, and/or are raising families should be allowed to become citizens.

“By legalizing the estimated 12 million undocumented workers living in the U.S., many would no longer fear the threat of being deported by their employers for participating in union organizing drives, strikes, and other actions to improve their wages and working conditions. This would reduce their vulnerability to abuse and exploitation.

“But most importantly, legalization would strengthen the bargaining position of the entire U.S. working class as employers would no longer have at their disposal a compliant pool of ‘immigrant labor’ they could take advantage of to keep wages permanently depressed. The wages of all workers would rise as more began to assert their rights.

“In addition to this, as wages rose, federal and state governments would experience an increase in tax revenues. And undocumented workers who had been previously hired ‘off the books’ would start paying Social Security, Medicare, and income taxes that weren’t being collected before because employers just pocketed them.

“I personally think it is ridiculous to call undocumented workers ‘immigrants’ especially since their ancestors had been living on this continent thousands of years before Christopher Columbus arrived and set off a European invasion of the Americas that eventually caused the deaths of upwards of 100 million indigenous peoples.

“Nevertheless the migration of human beings from one locale to another is a real phenomena and is primarily caused by uneven capitalist development between nations. People usually don’t abruptly pack up their personal belongings and resettle elsewhere unless they are forced to do so by compelling economic reasons.

“One major cause of so-called ‘illegal immigration’ to the U.S. during the past fifteen years has been the North American Free Trade Agreement, championed by former Democratic President Bill Clinton, which allowed big agribusiness consortiums like ConAgra, ADM, and Cargill to literally flood the Mexican market with cheap corn.

“Since NAFTA was enacted, 2 million people have been displaced from Mexico’s agricultural sector. Many small farmers were driven off the land because they couldn’t compete with corn imported from the U.S. by agribusiness consortiums who sold it at a price below cost of production–thanks to billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies.

“Facing bleak prospects, many abandoned the rural communities they grew up in. Some relocated to cities in Northern Mexico to work in maquiladoras owned by U.S. and foreign multinational companies; but others decided it was worth the risk to cross the U.S./Mexico border with the hope they would find employment in the U.S.

“Instead of addressing the reasons why this is happening, politicians resort to blaming the victim. They scapegoat undocumented workers and pass cruel measures to punish them for trying to come here: double-layered fences are built along the border; and prison-like detention centers are built to warehouse those who are caught.

“This diverts attention away from the fact the policies these politicians put into motion are causing this massive migration of human beings into the U.S. and that agribusiness consortiums who finance their political campaigns are profiting from the destruction of Mexico’s agricultural sector, which brings poverty and misery to millions.

“In reality, we don’t have an ‘illegal immigration problem’, but a ‘capitalism problem’. And as long as we fail to recognize that this is the problem, then people will continue to suffer. The real solution is for us to begin laying the groundwork to create a more just and equitable economic system that will benefit the many and not just the few.

“Otro mundo es posible!”


About Duane Roberts