JUSTICE FOR DREAMERS – PUNISH THE AUTHORS OF FORCED MIGRATION

By David Bacon

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPT. 5, 2017 – Two thousand people demonstrate in front of San Francisco’s Federal Building, block intersections, and march through the streets to protest the announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the Trump administration will repeal the DACA order protecting young undocumented immigrants from deportation.Copyright David Bacon

The DACA youth, the “dreamers” are the true children of NAFTA – those who, more than anyone, paid the price for the agreement. Yet they are the ones now punished by the Trump administration as it takes away their legal status, their ability to work, and their right to live in this country without fearing arrest and deportation. At the same time, those responsible for the fact they grew up in the U.S. walk away unpunished – even better off.

We’re not talking about their parents. It’s common for liberal politicians (even Trump himself on occasion) to say these young people shouldn’t be punished for the “crime” of their parents – that they brought their children with them when they crossed the border without papers. But parents aren’t criminals anymore than their children are. They chose survival over hunger, and sought to keep their families together and give them a future.

The perpetrators of the “crime” are those who wrote the trade treaties and the economic reforms that made forced migration the only means for families to survive. The “crime” was NAFTA.

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Braceros Organize After One Worker Dies


Picking blueberries on a Washington State farm. Risking deportation, Washington state farmworkers protest dangerous conditions in the fields
By David Bacon
The American Prospect, 8/8/17

A farmworker’s death in the broiling fields of Washington state has prompted his fellow braceros to put their livelihoods in jeopardy by going on strike, joining a union, being discharged – and risking deportation.

Honesto Silva Ibarra died in Harborview hospital in Seattle on Sunday night, August 6. Silva, a married father of three, was a guest worker – in Spanish, a “contratado” – brought to the United States under the H2-A visa program, to work in the fields.

Miguel Angel Ramirez Salazar, another contratado, says Silva went to his supervisor at Sarbanand Farms last week, complaining that he was sick and couldn’t work. “They said if he didn’t keep working he’d be fired for ‘abandoning work.’ But after a while he couldn’t work at all.”

Silva finally went to the Bellingham Clinic, about an hour south of the farm where he was working, in Sumas, close to the Canadian border. By then it was too late, however. He was sent to Harborview, where he collapsed and died.

Silva’s death was the final shove that pushed the contratados into an action unprecedented in modern farm labor history. They organized and protested, and when they were fired for it, they joined Washington State’s new union for farmworkers, Familias Unidas por la Justicia. As this article is being written, 120 H2A workers are sitting in tents on a patch of land near the ranch where they worked, protesting their treatment and demanding rights for guest workers.


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MAY DAY MARCH FOR “UN OTRO MUNDO”

The old Boise Cascade plywood mill, closed in 2006. The original mill complex on the Yakima River was started in 1903.
by David Bacon
The Progressive / On The Line – 7/21/17

The face of work and poverty in Yakima ranges from a closed mill of the city’s past to the agricultural fields of its present.

At the edge of town is the rusting structure of the old Boise Cascade plywood plant, where many of this small city’s people worked for over a hundred years. Little houses in the surrounding neighborhood were originally built for mill workers. Now many are the homes of laborers in the valley’s fields and packing sheds. Yakima always was and still is a farm worker town.

The closure of the plant is one reason why those homes have seen better days. Rick, who lives in a tent camp set up by homeless people on the street downtown, says he’d like things to go back to the way they used to be. “There was work for everyone,” he remembers.

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