In an article written for the Indypendent, , president of Day Laborers United, explains that proposed new work permits are an instrument of exploitation.May 13, 2013
I AM an undocumented day laborer in Queens who has worked in this country for almost 20 years. I do hard, dangerous jobs on construction sites—such as demolition or carrying out the trash—when I can get any work at all. I have known many men who have been killed in workplace accidents or who have become gravely ill from breathing in dust due to a lack of adequate protective equipment.
We deserve the chance to become full members of the society we contribute to every day. For the past decade, I have heard much in the media about a possible immigration reform law. But I have learned not to believe it.
In the early 2000s, there was talk of the United States and Mexico reaching a comprehensive deal to legalize all undocumented immigrants in return for a free-trade deal that would allow private investment in Pemex, Mexico’s state-owned oil company. Those talks fell apart after 9/11.
During his 2004 re-election campaign, President George W. Bush once again raised hopes of immigration reform to woo the Latino vote, but it was an empty promise.
In 2006, we went out into the streets by the millions and our demands continued to be ignored.
President Barack Obama won the Hispanic vote in 2008 by promising that in his first 100 days as president, he would put forth comprehensive immigration reform. Once in office, he said he was too busy dealing with the economic crisis to work on immigration reform.
Today, in Obama’s second term as president, we hear the same promise of humane and comprehensive immigration reform.
But I don’t see it. As far as I can tell from what is being discussed, we are being asked to accept a process toward legalization that would take 10 to 15 years. The only thing being offered is a simple guest worker permit similar to what we already have with the H-2A and H-2B visas.