David Bacon


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For an Immigration Policy Based on Human Rights

David Bacon builds on his grass-roots immigrant advocacy experience to counter the attack on the rights of undocumented immigrants. The author addresses the thorny issue of financial costs versus contributions made by undocumented immigrants to the system, exposing who pays and who benefits, and the ways in which the undocumented are particularly exploited because of their vulnerable legal status. After focusing on the politically expedient strategies of the Democratic Party and the Clinton administration, he traces the complex evolution of the AFL- CIO’s position on undocumented immigration, particularly in the context of a changing global economy and NAFTA. The author describes a plethora of new and exciting immigrant labor organizing initiatives, revealing the potential for immigrant workers to revitalize and strengthen the U. S. labor movement as a whole. He calls for a policy based on respect for human rights, as defined in the 1990 U. N. Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrants and their Families. In the author’s words, “Immigration is a relationship between countries, forged by people passing back and forth. The problems which this movement poses cannot be solved by the actions of one country alone…[but] must find global solutions….”

immigration policy; human rights; immigrants, illegal; immigrant labor; economy, global

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 23, No. 3 (1996): 137-153


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