Dignity Campaign Calls on President Obama to Adopt Immigration Reform Based on Human, Civil, and Labor Rights

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA — The Dignity Campaign, a national network of immigrant rights organizations, churches, unions and community groups, is calling on President Obama to adopt principles for immigration reform that prioritize human and labor rights.

Dignity Campaign organizations call for a much more progressive vision of immigration reform, worthy of the America that President Obama described in his inauguration speech, based on the following principles:

1. End the enforcement overkill that has led to 400,000 deportations a year, hundreds of deaths on the border, and thousands of workers fired from their jobs. The employer sanctions provision of current immigration law should be repealed and immigration enforcement should not target working people supporting their families. Our borders should be demilitarized and civil rights restored in border states and communities. Cooperation between police and immigration agents must end, and massive privately-run detention centers closed.

2. The twelve million undocumented people living in the United States should be given permanent residence status in a rapid and inclusive process, without excessive fees, fines, waiting periods or a preliminary temporary status. They should be eligible for naturalization within 5 years.

3. Existing guest worker programs, which have a long well known record of exploitation and legal violations, should be ended. The backlogs in family visas should be resolved by issuing visas to all people currently waiting within one year. A process for future legal immigration should be established, without forcing people to accept visas that tie their ability to stay in the country to their jobs, or allow employers to recruit vulnerable people as a way of lowering wages.

4. Existing U.S. trade policy must be reformed so that treaties like NAFTA and structural adjustment programs no longer cause poverty and the displacement of communities in Mexico, the Philippines and other developing countries. Massive migration caused by poverty can only be addressed by changing those policies that cause poverty in the first place. President Obama promised to renegotiate NAFTA before his first election, and that promise must now be kept as part of a humane immigration policy.

Press conferences and press availability is planned for Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego, California; Bellingham and Seattle, Washington; Jackson, Mississippi; and Tucson, Arizona. A list of particpating organizations and contact information in each area, is attached to this press release. The Dignity Campaign proposal and other related documents are available for download at www.dignitycampaign.net

AFSC Central Valley Project, CA
Alameda Labor Council, Oakland, CA
Asocaicion de Jornaleros de San Diego, San Diego, CA
California Fair Trade Campaign
California Healthy Communities Network
Catholic Order of Premontre, national
Catholic Committee of the South, Jackson, MS
CHAM Homeless Ministry, San Jose, CA
CISPES
Coalicion de Derechos Humanos, Tucson, AZ
Community2Community, Bellingham, WA
Dominican Development Center, Jamaica Plain, MA
El Organizador
Filipino Advocates for Justice, Oakland, CA
Frente Indigena de Organizaciones Binacionales, U.S./Mexico
Frente Unido de Inmigrantes, Chicago, Il
Fuerza Mundial/FM Global
Global Exchange
Institute of Popular Education of Southern California, Los Angeles
La Raza Centro Legal, San Francisco, CA
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, San Francisco, CA, national
Laborers Union, Local 270, San Jose, CA
MAIZ, San Jose, CA
May 1 Coalition, New York, NY
Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, Jackson, MS
Mujeres Unidas y Activas, San Francisco and Oakland, CA
National Domestic Worker Alliance
National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild
Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California
Power in Community Alliances, Bangor, ME
Priority Africa Network, Oakland, CA
Pueblo Unido por la Dignidad, Seattle, WA
Radical Women, Seattle, WA
San Francisco Day Labor Program, San Francisco, CA
San Francisco Labor Council, San Francisco, CA
San Francisco Living Wage Coalition, San Francisco, CA
South Asian Network, Los Angeles, CA
South Bay Labor Council, San Jose, CA
St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Berkeley, CA
Union de Vecinos, Los Angeles, CA
United Food and Commercial Worker Local 5, San Jose CA
Voluntarios de la Comunidad, San Jose, CA
Young Organizers Collective, Jackson, MS