“EDUCATING” PRESIDENT OBAMA ON MAY 1ST
By Elvira Arellano
It seems that President Obama is listening to the people in the streets that are screaming about the inequalities of the 1%. Listening to them may get him elected over Mr. Romney, who pays less taxes than his secretary.
Republican Candidate Mitt Romney describes his solution to the broken immigration system as “self-deportation”. Mitt Romney has something very wicked in mind. He wants an “Alabama Final Solution.”
The Alabama law, passed last fall, not only put heavy sanctions on all employers who had people working without documents, it cut off gas, electricity and water for the undocumented, kept their children from going to school; made it impossible to get license plates or own a car or a house. If the law had been fully implemented, many people who owned cars through loans and houses through mortgages would have had them repossessed.
Fortunately, most of the Alabama law has been struck down. And people in Alabama are standing up against that law. We should remember though that it was struck down because the court ruled only the Federal government could pass immigration laws. If Romney and the Republicans took over, they could make the Alabama solution the law of the land.
Two thirds of the undocumented have been in the United States for over ten years. I was one of them. If I had not been working at an airport and been caught in “operation tarmac” I would still be there. Why? Because I had a U.S. citizen son. We as a people will endure anything and everything for our families and for our children.
When we came to the U.S. we were not legally authorized to come but we were definitely utilized – for our labor, our taxes, our businesses and our buying power. The multimillionaire Romney benefitted from our labor – and Obama was elected with the votes of our family members who were citizens.
Romney evidently is betting that Latinos will just stay home during the election because we are so disappointed in Obama and so angry at his over one million deportations.
Congressman Luis Gutierrez and Familia Latina Unida led a successful campaign last year to get Obama to change his policy on deportations to stop separating families and young people who had come to the U.S. before they were eighteen. If he proves to be serious about the new policy, he may give Latinos a reason to come out and vote for him – and stop Romney. But Obama needs to be pressured to do more to get the Latino votes. Obama is still pressing employer sanctions, denying those without papers the right to work, just as Romney wants to do. And there is something else about which we must “educate” the President.
Romney says he wants to establish better relationships with Mexico and with Central America. He evidently doesn’t understand how these countries already feel about the way our people are treated in the U.S. – or the importance of the remittances they send back home. He also doesn’t concern himself with the U.S. policies that are driving workers to leave their homes and come to the U.S.
If I had not been arrested I would have stayed for my U.S. citizen son – and for another reason. The North American Free Trade Agreement had destroyed my father’s ability to make a living on his land. The devaluation of the peso, forced on Mexico by greedy U.S. bankers, cost me my own job. I tried working in a Maqiladora in a border town made dangerous by guns from the U.S. and the drug trade with the U.S. I could not make enough to survive and support my family These wicked policies – NAFTA, financial manipulation, maquiladoras, open gun sales, are also supported by Romney, the policies that drive people to leave their homes and face the dangers and dehumanization of the life of a migrant. They are also policies that hurt all U.S workers as well.
Obama broke his promise to pass comprehensive immigration reform and we “educated him” to change his policy on deportations. Three years ago, Obama also promised to revisit NAFTA and other free trade agreements. He and Hillary Clinton both said they recognized that U.S. policies were driving workers to come to the U.S. to find work and were costing the jobs of U.S. workers. Obama also broke that promise.
To defeat Romney, we have had to make Obama change his deportation policy. We must make him change his policy on NAFTA and Free Trade as well. Labor unions are under attack in states like Wisconsin and Indiana. Latino immigrants are under attack in states like Alabama and South Carolina. NAFTA has resulted in the loss of U.S. jobs and the weakening of U.S. labor unions.
Labor unions and the Latino community have a common cause to protect workers on both sides of the border. On May 1st this year, when we march on both sides of the border, we should join together to demand an end to deportations, an end to employer sanctions and an end to NAFTA. Obama listened to the occupy movement. He listened to Gutierrez and Familia Latina Unida. Familia Latina Unida would like to suggest that if we march together on May 1st, maybe he will listen to those who labor in this country – and give us enough reason to choose him over Romney.