PAWIS, the Pilipino Association of Workers Im/migrants. We are a grassroots workers’ rights organization that fights for the rights and welfare of workers and immigrants in Santa Clara County and around the world.
Today, on International Workers Day, PAWIS stand in solidarity with millions of workers around the world. Workers in many industries constantly face wage theft. They are not paid for all the hours that they work, they receive bounced checks, and they are paid below minimum wage. They also face a host of other issues like labor trafficking, retaliation, threats using the worker’s immigration status, and health and safety violations. We must continue the fight to protect the rights of immigrants and workers who contribute deeply to the US economy.
It is not a crime to try to feed yourself and your loved ones. Immigrants and workers must be given the dignity and respect they deserve for sacrificing their bonds to their homes and their loves ones in the hopes of a better future. In America, workers and immigrants from all countries are illegalized and criminalized. All immigrants should be able to gain legal status through a genuine and humane process that recognizes their meaningful contribution both to the U.S. and to their home countries. The fact that 2,000,000 people who are supporting their families have been deported by the Obama administration is unacceptable. Obama must stop deportations now!
Similarly, we demand that the U.S. government designate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to the entire Philippines. This would strengthen the ability of undocumented and out-of-status workers to better participate in the rebuilding of the country after Super-Typhoon Haiyan struck. Deportations of workers and im/migrants, who deserve dignity and respect, are inhumane. It is even more inhumane to deport Filipino nationals back to the Philippines in the midst of its slow recovery from the humanitarian crisis caused by Typhoon Haiyan.
In the big picture, it is no accident that so many immigrant workers are here in the US in the first place. Around 4,500 Filipinos are leaving the country every day as overseas Filipino workers, with a majority coming to the US. The peoples of the Philippines and other migrant-sending countries throughout Latin America, the Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East are forced to make the difficult decision to leave their families for work abroad due to poverty, joblessness, political turmoil, and government corruption in their home countries.
These conditions are created, exacerbated, and perpetuated by unfair relations between the US and other countries. Just like NAFTA devastated the Mexican economy and pushed immigrants to the US and other countries, the currently debated Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) promises to attack the rights of the people in the Asia Pacific and around the world. If this secretly negotiated international trade agreement is passed, corporations would be able to sue governments if environmental protection and health legislation interfere with their profits. The precursor to this in the Philippines is the signing of the Enhanced Defense Coordination Agreement (EDCA), which will allow the US to further militarize the Asia Pacific and expand its economic and political interests there at the expense of the people. This will lead to even more exploitation of migrants and workers around the world.
Workers are exploited and treated as commodities by the multi-national corporations and the elite who exert great influence over the economy and politics of the world. It is their prioritization of profit at the expense of the rights and welfare of workers that has driven so many to poverty in the U.S. and around the world. Let us link arms to protect our rights and welfare!
STOP THE DEPORTATIONS! End the criminalization of migrants!
LEGALIZATION FOR ALL!
END FORCED MIGRATION! End labor trafficking programs!
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND SELF-DETERMINATION FOR ALL PEOPLES!
GRANT FULL TPS TO THE PHILIPPINES NOW!
REJECT THE TPPA AND EDCA!
BUILD THE MOVEMENT OF MIGRANTS!
LONG LIVE INTERNATIONAL WORKERS DAY!