During the last few weeks, thousands of migrants, mostly agricultural workers and day laborers, have mobilized to protest against the proposed anti-immigrant legislation that is being debated in the U.S. Congress. High school and university students, labor unions, community organizations and religious groups have spontaneously joined these migrants in protests throughout the country.
The focus of these mobilizations of migrants that have rocked North America has been proposed legislation such as the so-called Sensenbrenner Bill (HR-4437), which would criminalize undocumented immigrants and create a concrete wall along the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
The participation of migrant agricultural workers in these mobilizations has been exceptional. Unsurprising, since the migrant labor force will be one of the groups most affected by the anti-immigrant legislation. Eight out of ten agricultural workers in the U.S. are Mexican migrants, poor peasants that cannot survive on their own land and are forced to cross the border to look for work.
Most impressive has been the participation of thousands of students, mostly children of migrants who have foregone school every day for the past two weeks in a valiant act of civil disobedience.
In addition, La Via Campesina member organizations have participated in these mobilizations, such as El Proyecto de los Trabajadores Agricolas Fronterizas (The Border Agricultural Workers Project) in El Paso, Texas, as well as sister organizations that have supported our mobilizations for food sovereignty and against the IMF in Seattle, Cancún and Miami. In this way, La Via Campesina has been present in the struggle for the rights of migrant workers in the U.S. and against anti-immigrant policies.
La Via Campesina salutes the mobilizations of migrant agricultural workers and stands in solidarity with their demands to reject HR-4437, the proposed wall on the border and all anti-immigrant initiatives promoted by the U.S. Congress and the Bush Administration.
Also, we reaffirm our commitment to continue struggling for the rights of migrant workers in the U.S. and to put a stop to the neo-liberal economic policies that cause people to leave their own lands in order to survive.
We demand that the government of the U.S. adopt the International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families and respect the basic rights of undocumented migrant workers.
La Via Campesina
17 April 2006