Historically, U.S. and foreign workers have often been pitted against each other, and racism and immigrant bashing have divided workers domestically to the advantage of corporations. Now, Jobs with Justice, along with many others, is bridging the gap between the labor movement and immigrant rights groups as we explore strategies to fight for better living and working conditions for all workers, regardless of their legal status. This includes the right of immigrant workers to join a union without being intimidated by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the right of immigrants to have access to public services such as health care and higher education, and the right of immigrants to live free of harassment and attacks in the name of “national security.” JwJ supports thousands of immigrant workers; the barriers they face make the cause for immigrants’ rights central to winning justice for them as workers. As unions seek to organize immigrant workers, Jobs with Justice can facilitate relationships with organizations in immigrant communities that can support campaigns. The majority of local JwJ coalitions have been active on supporting organizing drives for immigrant workers and active in solidarity mobilizations for immigrants’ rights. Immigrant rights issues cut across our other program areas: threats to immigrant workers thwart organizing campaigns; immigrant families face critical barriers to accessing quality affordable health care; and immigrant families in the U.S. are very invested in global justice issues, particularly as they affect their countries of origin.
In order to win lasting immigrants’ rights, we have to increase our organizing and help build a constituency for legalization and against legalized harassment (ie. the Patriot Act and other tools of coercion). Our program does not seek to supplant other immigrant rights organizing; rather we hope to be in solidarity with, and support higher levels of education and mobilization to stop all attacks on immigrants.