The US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) stands for the rights of all people, including undocumented immigrant workers and their families in the U.S. Farmworkers, food processing workers, food distribution workers, restaurant workers and other retail food workers are all directly harmed by the marginalization and exploitation of all undocumented immigrants including the vulnerability of women to economic, physical, and sexual abuse. Food sovereignty requires dignity and for all workers in the food system; we affirm that this includes a process of legalization with dignity that guarantees all rights for all people.
Full dignity and empowerment for food system workers is impossible to achieve while neo-liberal “free trade” policies define the relationship between our government and other nations. At the same time, the misguided mandate of militarizing the Mexico-US borders and areas further south directly contradicts the internal logic of “free trade” as an idea. These agreements force the migration of economically displaced people while militarization of borders and criminalization of cross-border migration is designed to maintain a vulnerable and therefore cheap labor force. The movement of people migrating toward employment out of desperation for economic survival is a symptom of a broad system of economic exploitation. That system directly undermines food sovereignty and human dignity. We believe that the principles of food sovereignty would be served by policies that honor the humanity of all workers, including the unconditional right to migrate as enshrined in the International Declaration of Human Rights, the right to organize, and the right to defend and implement economic policies that allow for people to prosper and stay in their home communities, including a democratic and sovereign control of local agricultural and food markets and local agricultural policies.
The US Food Sovereignty Alliance calls for immigration policies that remain accountable to affected communities and that uphold the rights and dignity of all, while contributing to a food system that values the lives and well-being of food system workers and their families.
USFSA Principles for Immigration Reform
1 END BORDER MILITARIZATION. The use of expensive and wasteful border militarization as a binding condition for a legalization program is unacceptable and cruel. Such a condition, as proposed in the recently released Senate immigration bill, would further concentrate power and further conflate criminalization processes with migration. Remove National Guard troops from the border and end the privatization of border control and security operations on the border. Prosecute private vigilante groups for violations of the rights of migrants, including assault against women. No more deaths. Redirect funds from border enforcement towards social services, healthcare, education, family reunification, processing visa backlogs and enforcing civil rights.
2 SEPARATE ENFORCEMENT OF FEDERAL IMMIGRATION LAW FROM LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT. End Secure Communities. Truly secure communities know that they can access law enforcement agents without fear of retaliation or deportation. End local criminalization of immigration status-related violations such as driving without a license or unlawful entry.
3 END TEMPORARY or GUEST WORKER PROGRAMS. If/while they continue to exist, grant all temporary workers access to visas that create a pathway to citizenship for themselves and their families. Guarantee human rights, worker protections, and fair wages to all workers, regardless of immigration status or country of origin. Allow workers to change employers, the right to organize, and the right to travel. Deprivatize the foreign labor recruitment market to curb indentured servitude. Ensure that employers have sufficient resources to pay promised wages and to comply with labor laws. We oppose any attempt to impose a “merit based” program that assigns skill preferences that are both unrealistic and unjust.
4 END MANDATORY E-VERIFY PROGRAMS. They turn employers into immigration law enforcers, and too often, are used as a tool to prohibit workers from organizing or speaking up about workplace rights violations including assault on women. These employer screenings violate the privacy and basic human rights of all workers. Such programs put an undue burden on workers and employers, and risk creating an I.D. that signals and imposes a second class status for the worker.
5 REPEAL UNJUST TRADE AGREEMENTS. Evaluate and repeal existing trade agreements that displace people, force migration, and impede food sovereignty. Don’t create new trade agreements that displace people or lower living standards. Prohibit military enforcement of trade agreements.
6 PROVIDE A FAIR PATHWAY TO LEGALIZATION AND/OR CITIZENSHIP: Allow affordable and straightforward access to pathways for all, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, or employment status. Allow equal protections and rights for all, including right to work, right to organize, right to travel, right to benefits, and right to due process during the legalization process.
7 KEEP FAMILIES TOGETHER – Reunite families that have been separated by deportation. Process the backlog of pending visas & increase family-based visas. Recognize same-sex partnership and sibling relationships under the family visa program. Eliminate high income requirements for sponsorship to keep families together.
8 END ARBITRARY DETENTION: Guarantee due process and a fair day in court to all. Close detention centers.
9 INSTATE A MORATORIUM ON DEPORTATIONS and allow right-to-return for all deported over the last 4 years.
10 PROVIDE SANCTUARY for refugees and victims of crime, domestic abuse, and sexual assault.
11 REMAIN ACCOUNTABLE AND TRANSPARENT. Engage affected communities in decision-making around immigration policy. Ensure that the laws protect all people’s rights. Ensure transparency and accountability between agencies enforcing laws, policymakers, and affected people.
12 GUARANTEE THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS FOR ALL. In the workplace and beyond. No criminalization that compromises rights. Guarantee rights regardless of race, gender, economic status, immigration status, sexual orientation, including the right to organize and self-advocate without fear of retaliation or deportation.