Gray Panthers of San Francisco
January 2006 Newsletter

Immigration and the Gray Panthers


The US House of Representatives is considering an outrageous and racist immigration bill making it a felony to be an undocumented immigrant, deputizing border-area police as immigration agents, allowing border-area immigration agents to summarily deport people they suspect with little or no due process, and requiring all employers to verify the legal status of their workers. Others are pushing to deny citizenship to US-born children of undocumented immigrants. This is not new. Immigrant scapegoating has always accompanied attacks on native working families.

SF Gray Panthers is urging GP national to make a statement supporting all immigrants’ civil rights, their right to receive services, have refugee status from war and economic privation, and freedom from mistreatment and exploitation.

Two of the disagreements between SF Gray Panthers and the National GP draft statement on immigration are as follows: (1) we urge that the National GP NOT endorse sanctions on employers because the resulting immigration raids on workplaces seldom hurt employers, are devastating to immigrant families, and promote suspicious and racist attitudes among citizens, and (2) SF Gray Panthers also urges that the National GP statement NOT endorse programs of “guest workers” who would be more vulnerable to deportation and exploitation. (See December 2005 newsletter for a copy of our draft statement.)

National GP is unable to reach agreement on a statement on immigration and proposes delaying a statement until a national convention. SF Gray Panthers believes more immediate action is necessary and is bringing its proposed resolution to the January 21 California-wide GP meeting in San Rafael. Call the office for copies.

We realize most GP Networks, including our own, are unable to make immigration a chief priority in organizing. On the other hand, adopting an attitude of solidarity with immigrants has led to valuable civil liberties activities of co-sponsoring actions with other groups such as a Day Labor collective and groups opposed to the special registration of South Asian immigrants under Homeland Security. More news to come.

(back to January 2006 Newsletter front page)