Gray Panthers of San Francisco
May 2007 Newsletter

Little Justice in the STRIVE Act


In a recent San Francisco Chronicle op-ed piece (4-19-07), author David Bacon asserts that highly publicized raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are a political ploy by the Bush administration to pressure Congress into approving the guest-worker program proposed under the STRIVE Act of 2007 (HR 1645: Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy).

There is no way, Bacon says, that ICE could actually deport all 12 million undocumented workers in the country—major industries would come to a grinding halt. But the ICE raids will, in the words of Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff as quoted by Bacon, “show Congress the need for ‘stronger border security, effective interior enforcement and a temporary-worker program.’”

The STRIVE Act, sponsored by Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), has received widespread support, including from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In addition to creating a new visa category (H-2C) which would allow 400,000 guest workers a year, it would increase border enforcement by increasing personnel, using DOD equipment for surveillance and acquiring unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance. It would also provide for at least 20 more detention facilities for a total of 20,000 spaces, reaffirm the authority of state and local police to enforce “criminal provisions” of immigration law and expand the basis for expedited removal. Title III of the act mandates the Departments of Homeland Security and Social Security to develop what amounts to a de facto national ID card.

According to Bacon, passage of this bill would be followed by one to eliminate “all family-based immigration visas and allow people to come to the United States only as a result of recruitment by corporate employers. All immigrants would become guest workers.”

The Gray Panthers must oppose these proposals which are bad for us all—decreasing wages, breaking up families, and fostering abuse. Millions must leave their homes looking for work—this is the real tragedy of the situation.

(back to May 2007 Newsletter front page)