OC Labor Calls for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (aka Amnesty) at Press Conference in Anaheim

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AFL-CIO sign
Hundreds of union members and allies rallied in front of Anaheim City Hall today to announce their support for "comprehensive immigration reform," which everyone and their cousin knows as amnesty. The press conference was called by the Orange County Labor Federation and featured leaders from the religious, union, and immigrant communities as speakers.

Latino and union voters were loyal and pivotal in re-electing President Barack Obama to a second term, but his administration has presided over more deportations than any other in history. The big question for the rally: Would today's launch firmly pressure the Executive Office or be hushed in tone about the elephant (or donkey) in the room?

"We are here in support on behalf of all laborers to support whatever we have to do to get [comprehensive immigration reform] through as soon as we can, not wait the eight years that somebody is proposing out there," said Sergio Rascón, Business Manager of Laborers Local 300. That somebody referenced in the illustrative moment, though, is none other than President Obama himself. "If it happened in 1986, why can't it happen now that we have a good president?" he asked soon after.

If details at the press conference seem to be on the vague side of things, it's because a formal resolution remains to be adopted. In conjunction with more than 93 affiliated unions, the call on Congress to reform the nation's immigration system will be articulated more thoroughly next month. The resolution will be accompanied by congressional delegations with local representatives and letter writing campaign efforts.

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Gabriel San Román / OC Weekly
OCLF Executive Director Tefere Gebre MCs the press conference in Anaheim

For now, the hour-long press conference came to a close with drums banning and chants of ¡Sí se puede!

"I do believe there has to be a fair path for legalization and citizenship," Abraham Meda, an organizer for electricians in Orange County said as people in the crowd were dispersing. "Whether it's eight years, or whatever it is that they are trying to map out, they really need to get something done now. Our leaders need to get on board with it from this area in Orange County and get on board with the President," he added.

Others who attended felt that President Obama is the one who needs to be pressured on important policy measures. "I think we need to be a little bit clear with what we want," said Maria Zacarias, a local undocumented immigrant who favors a moratorium on deportations as a starting point to the discussion. "What the White House came out with is more enforcement when there's been a net zero migration."

Seeing labor express solidarity with the cause of immigration is something she found valuable from today's action. "It's important, but it's also important to include other communities also, like the LGBTQ community," Zacarias adds.

"It's good that the labor movement and the faith-based movement are all coming together to get something passed, but it needs to be something clear."

Wonder why rally organizers didn't give her a turn at the mics...

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21 comments
FFO1939
FFO1939

Paisas for all!! Free healthcare and benefits since their piece of shit country can't provide them what they need. They come and take away the services of hard paying taxpayers, so bitch please. Do us all a favor, and go back and tell your country to provide them. What!? Your mother country does not care for you, so create a revolution brain dead! Duh!! 

gregdiamond
gregdiamond

You're saying that ".... a fair path for legalization and citizenship ... they really need to get something done now" = "amnesty"?  What the hell?  Were you bitten by Pat Buchanan last weekend or something?

voxpopuli
voxpopuli

Big Labor’s Globalist Agenda

With 23% unemployment one would think that Big Labor would want to reduce immigration numbers, - both legal and illegal. One would think that Big Labor would lobby for a Mandatory National E-Verify system to protect its union members from the flood of cheap labor from illegal immigration.

23% unemployment:
www.shadowstats.com

http://danielamerman.com/articles/2012/WorkC.html
“Making 9 Million Jobless "Vanish": How The Government Manipulates Unemployment Statistics”

By Daniel R. Amerman, CFA

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

Kudos for calling amnesty 'amnesty'.

BTW I was talking to a legal immigrant over the weekend. Been here eight years on an 'investor' visa. Own company, employs four American citizens. Can't get a green card. And guess what? He's "Latino", born in Argentina.

gabrielsanroman
gabrielsanroman topcommenter

@gregdiamond Ah, the 'A' word. Looking back at IRCA (referenced by a speaker at the rally, while others who were present benefited from it) it is uncritically called an amnesty in media and in other places, but it could have been packaged in the rhetoric of the current moment, the one you put at odds, just the same. People must subscribe to the notion that IRCA was some sort of 'Emancipation Proclamation' -- as problematic as that analogy is historically/metaphorically. It had its 'pathways,' 'provisions' & 'enforcements.' There will be comparable differences between '86 and whatever the Obama Administration comes with, if indeed it comes with anything at all. What's changed is that the 'A' word has become 'dirtied' and, as such, must be danced around! Well, for some folks...

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

@gregdiamond You're right, it isn't amnesty -- it's worse. 

When the library has an amnesty your late penalties are forgiven, but you don't get to keep the books. When the tax officials have an amnesty, your penalties are forgiven, but you don't get to keep the taxes you owed AND you have to pay interest on that money.

In contrast, Mexicans (and others) will, should this travesty go through, get to keep their ill gotten gain, in fact be rewarded for breaking the law, and any 'penalties' will be trivial compared to what legal immigrants have to pay in fees (legal and to immigration authorities).

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

@voxpopuli Look at the so-called 'labor leaders' now. Few if any actually have done any sort of working class job for any length of time. Most are just college educated 'professionals' who happen to be fleecing workers (instead of taxpayers, consumers, etc)

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@Mitchell_Young All lies, of course...

gregdiamond
gregdiamond

@gabrielsanroman The word "amnesty" has *become* "dirtied"?  (I'm guessing you mean "sullied.")  By my calculations, you missed the Vietnam War (at least as a political observer), during which George McGovern was slammed by his opponents as the candidate of "acid, amnesty, and abortion," as well as the slams at Jimmy Carter for his not-even-total "amnesty" for those who fled the draft.  The term has long been sullied in its use against the left.  That does not change the fact that you're misusing it here -- and doing so in a way generally typical of immigration *opponents*.

I don't recall how the Reagan-O'Neill reform was described at the time.  I'll bet that the term "amnesty" was employed more often by opponents than by proponents, though.  Did you notice that in your research?

gregdiamond
gregdiamond

@Mitchell_Young @gregdiamond "Breaking the law" bothers you?  Name the first five of your political heroes and we'll see about that.

So tell me, how in your opinion did a DREAM Act child "break the law"?  Try to work the criminal law term "mens rea" into your answer.

gregdiamond
gregdiamond

@gabrielsanroman @gregdiamond  Oh, so you have no idea, after all that, as to why I'd say that "Comprehensive Immigration Reform (aka Amnesty)" gives readers a misleading impression?

Apparently I was wrong about you.  You're in the right place after all.  Pardon the mistake.

gabrielsanroman
gabrielsanroman topcommenter

@gregdiamond"Please take the fact that I'm taking the time to explain this at such length as a compliment, GSR"

Endless 'whitesplaining' as a compliment? Haha

gregdiamond
gregdiamond

@GustavoArellano @gregdiamond @gabrielsanroman If I thought that you actually read and tried to understand what I wrote and failed, Gustavo, I'd have to think that you're an idiot.  Instead, I think that you don't even bother, because you just don't like anyone around willing to call you on your bullshit, which instead makes you an asshole.

GSR may choose to follow in your footsteps and try to make fun of critics rather than to engage in rational discussion with them, but it won't do him as much good because he does not have the "Ask a Mexican" franchise as a claim to fame.  If you weren't an asshole, you wouldn't be trying to teach him to be a bad journalist when it won't likely pay off for him.  But hey, what's it to you?  He's useful for now and disposable later.

Now if you don't mind, he and I were having a conversation that you either can't or want to pretend you don't understand.

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@gregdiamond @gabrielsanroman Great...the Bloviator is bloviating for no reason other than to bloviate. Kind of like shit going down the hill because that's what shit does...

gregdiamond
gregdiamond

@gabrielsanroman @gregdiamond This may surprise you, but the word "amnesty" is also vague enough to mean anything.

Broadly speaking, "amnesty" comes in two flavors: "unconditional" and "conditional."  During the Vietnam War era -- and please don't argue that the use of that term in that context is irrelevant to its use a handful of years later in the context of immigration -- the fight among peace activists was for "unconditional amnesty."  (Ask your dad if he remembers the term.  I can show you an odd and mild bit of evidence for its prevalent use at the time: in the Doonesbury comic strip, the peace activist cleric Rev. Sloane, based on Rev. William Sloane Coffin, had a dog named "Unconditional Amnesty" to go with his cat, "Kent State.")

Jimmy Carter was criticized by the right and center for instituting "amnesty" for draft evaders and by the left for instituting conditional rather than unconditional amnesty.  Reagan was talking in 2004 about conditional amnesty; Obama is talking about conditional amnesty now.  Obviously, how forgiving such a proposal truly is depends on the severity of the conditions attached -- in other words, the term "amnesty" is "so vague that it could mean anything."

What the term "comprehensive immigration reform" tries to do, in my opinion, is in part to rule out the notion of unconditional amnesty.  I don't know if those chanting for "Amnistía!" were chanting for unconditional amnesty as opposed to the conditional amnesty now being discussed.  Unconditional amnesty is often tied to the idea (generally unpopular outside of some immigrant communities, leftists, and predatory capitalists) of "open borders."  (Do you know if they were calling for that?  How do you know?)

By "correcting" the term "comprehensive immigration reform" in your title to read "amnesty," you're either adding nothing to the definition or you're adding something misleading, or you missed a huge story. If you mean "conditional amnesty," your cheeky parenthetical means nothing: they're the same thing.  If you mean to include the possibility of "unconditional amnesty," then either you're misleading your readers, because that's not the proposal being considered right now at the national level, or you've missed the huge story that OCLF is demanding unconditional amnesty for those residing in the U.S. without government permission.

My guess is that you used the word "amnesty" in the title without thinking any of this through, just to show that you weren't afraid to call things by their true names.  But, unless OCLF and those protesters were truly calling for unconditional amnesty in immigration -- which would be a big story speaking to a big rift on the left -- then your headline has actually made the situation less clear.

Please take the fact that I'm taking the time to explain this at such length as a compliment, GSR; you can and should be better than this.

gabrielsanroman
gabrielsanroman topcommenter

@gregdiamondYes, I missed the Vietnam War, but my drafted father didn't. Anyway, I was referring to amnesty in regards to the immigration debate, but in typical fashion you broaden it to serve your needs. "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" actually came from the grassroots, but was quickly appropriated by the political establishment because it was so vague it could mean anything--and deflect negative connotations of amnesty. But out on the streets of the May 1 marches, a common chant went a little something like this: Que queremos? Amnistía!

As to your last point, let me quote Reagan himself! "I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and who have lived here even though sometime back they may have entered illegally."(1984) LOL!

gregdiamond
gregdiamond

@Mitchell_Young @gregdiamond  The DREAM Act kids are part of who would be affected.  I wanted to determine whether you cared about them -- a relatively easy case -- before getting to some of the harder ones.  You don't.  Mexico is good enough for them, even if they've never lived there, according to you.

No, you don't actually care that much about "breaking important laws. " You can fool yourself about that, but no one else has to be fooled by you.  Again, name the first five of your political heroes that come to mind and we'll see how much you care about their fealty to the law.  Or chicken out -- whichever suits you.

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

@gregdiamond @Mitchell_Young We aren't talking about the so-called 'DREAM ACT' here, but a general amnesty. 

And while children 'brought here' may not have been responsible, neither it is 'punishing' them to make them return to their country of origin. Mexico (the origin of the majority) is a perfectly acceptable, middle income country when put in a global context. 

And yes, breaking important laws bothers me. I'm sure as a liberal, you get upset at people who break (or skirt) tax law. You might even be angered by developers who manipulate politicians to put up tract homes on the remnants of our open space, you might be bothered by contractors who pay substandard wages or don't follow occupational health codes, or whatever.

I believe that immigration law is just as important as these other sorts of laws.

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