Public Comment

Legal Immigrants in Illegal States

Harry Brill
Saturday June 02, 2018 - 12:21:00 PM

What would be the principled stance that progressives should take about the status of undocumented immigrants? To answer this question it is important to recognize that the concept "illegal immigrants" is a fiction created by the ruling circles in the United States (U.S). Just before the U.S. declared war against Mexico (1846-1848) wealthy citizens claimed that God supported the effort of the United States to expand its dominion and to spread capitalism. This doctrine, Manifest Destiny, served as the ideological basis for imperialistic expansion. In effect, the U.S. stole land from Mexico that would become the states of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Southwestern Colorado. and Southwestern Wyoming. Aside from annexing Texas, the U.S. obtained 55 percent of Mexico's territory. 

California is now the home of over two million undocumented immigrants. Close to a quarter of the nation's so called illegal immigrants live in California. About two-thirds have resided in California for ten or more years. Yet they lack the most important asset of living in a democratic society, which is the right to vote. 

In addition, their non-citizen status makes them very vulnerable. As a result of being undocumented, they could be evicted from the state if they act out of line. This dilemma undoubtedly instills fear among many of these non-citizens. Among the consequences is that it discourages undocumented residents from engaging in organizing activities, particularly militant actions on behalf of their interests.  

Clearly, as a result of Mexico losing the war, those who now reside in these illegally confiscated states have lost their rights as citizens. So millions of legal immigrants are living in illegally captured territories. The undocumented residents in California and the other states that were ceded to the U.S. should be immediately given full citizenship.