Statement on the 4th International Assembly of Migrans and Refugees
New York City
2 – 4 October 2013
Issued by the Office of the Chairperson
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
We, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS), convey to all the participants and guests of the Fourth International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR4) the warmest greetings of solidarity. We congratulate the International Migrants Alliance and the other IAMR4 convenors for successfully organizing the assembly.
The ILPS is proud to be among the convenors. We are gratified that the assembly addresses our concerns about the plight and problems of migrants and refugees; upholds, defends and promote their rights; and advocates national and social liberation and genuine development. We appreciate the significant advances that have been achieved in the struggle for the rights and welfare of the migrants and refugees and in the effort to gain broad support for them. We share a deep sense of fulfillment with the significant growth of the IAMR from its first, second and third assemblies in 2008, 2009, and 2010 respectively.
We commend the planning, preparations, and all efforts to realize the twelve workshops of the IAMR4 on Oct. 3 and Oct. 4. It is fine that these tackle the most urgent major issues related to migration, population movement and development. It is necessary that you discuss the following: debunking development myths about labor export policies and remittances; the impact of forced migration on women and children; neoliberal policies affecting the rights of domestic workers and caregivers; the impact of global integration of nursing and caregiving; impact of economic agreements on migrants and ecology; the criminalization and struggle of undocumented workers and their families; the struggle of marriage migrants; labor trafficking; militarization of borders; and problems and rights of refugees.
We are pleased that you have lined up events to enhance the IAMR4, such as the candlelight vigil on Oct. 1 regarding the United Nations High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development (UN HLD), a dialogue with country official missions on Oct. 2, and the momentous Million Migrants Mobilizing Worldwide (3MW), which is coordinated globally on the eve of the UN HLD. Also of major political significance are the two scheduled march-rallies, one on Oct. 3 from Times Square to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, and the other on Oct. 5 in Brooklyn Borough, which will raise the banner of genuine immigration reform in the US.
It is significant that the venue of IAMR4 is in New York City and that you are holding the assembly in parallel to the United Nations High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development. This underscores the just demands of the IAMR, and enables its participants to directly confront and challenge the UN HLD, the UN leaders and member-states on the question of migration in relation to development.
We have repeatedly pointed out that migration is the consequence of the imperialist plunder of the underdeveloped countries. The underdevelopment, the lack of jobs and poverty compel the people to seek jobs abroad. But their foreign exchange remittances are captured by the imperialists and the big compradors to further aggravate and deepen the condition of underdevelopment and mass poverty. Imperialism has further placed an oppressive yoke and harness on immigration, and has increasingly turned it into a highly exploitative neoliberal mechanism for squeezing the most out of labor mobility.
The IAMR4 and its related events are an excellent opportunity for leaders and representatives of migrant and refugee organizations from the various global regions to develop solidarity relations and cooperation with US-based migrant and refugee organizations, progressive forces in the labor and women’s movement, human rights advocates, and other interested entities.
The ILPS supports the IAMR4 aim of further raising the demands of migrants and refugees, engaging them and their organizations in the striving to realize these long-standing demands and challenging the imperialist powers which are responsible for exploitative and oppressive policies. The workshops, dialogues, and the march-rallies are excellent vehicles to bring into sharp public focus the debates on the United States’ Comprehensive Immigration Reform and on Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers Program.
We support the continuing global campaign, led by the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) and other IAMR participants, to further expose and oppose the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) for its false claims of advocacy for migrants and its deceptive neoliberal notion of migration and development. The IAMR must take particular note that the GFMD is attempting to repackage the same discredited notions by riding on the framework of the post-2015 UN Development Agenda to show that migration could play a role as “an enabler for sustainable, human development” or somehow alleviate the crisis.
The IAMR must closely monitor the efforts of big business, as represented by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and its Global Agenda Council on Migration (GACM), to predetermine and dominate the policy discussions on migration and development within the halls of the UN, especially during the current HLD.
The WEF-GACM has submitted its own White Paper to the HLD, in which it reiterates the basic neoliberal premise of maximizing the labor mobility needs of business in advanced capitalist countries while paying lip service to migrant rights and the supposed positive effects of labor migration on the development of sending countries. Alarmingly, the GACM White Paper also dwells extensively on policy principles that will effectively legitimize the widespread practice of tying down migrant labor to temporary employment contracts and their “safe and orderly return” in the guise of “protecting the domestic labour force from unfair competition.”
Despite the attempt to paint a rosy picture of migration, the fact remains that it is the consequence of long-standing underdevelopment and rampant poverty in the sending countries, and has become a systematic mechanism for the massive export of cheap labor to the imperialist countries under the policy of neoliberal globalization. In a vicious cycle, the sending country suffers more underdevelopment due to the aggravation of import-dependent consumption and due to labor disruptions and distortions, including the long-term impacts of brain drain among its skilled labor and professional corps. Grave social problems also arise due to disruptions in family and community life.
Contrary to claims that remittances help a sending country’s economy to develop, they are in fact constantly preyed on by the imperialists and the big compradors and by the sending-country government to finance import-dependent consumption, cover trade deficits and pay for the mounting debt burden.
Meanwhile, the global depression persists with its concomitant problems of stagnant production, worsening unemployment and various kinds of temporary and precarious employment and underemployment. These in turn further aggravate the situation of both migrant work force and the labor force of the host countries. The capitalist system cannot solve the depression because of its own fundamental nature, which generates the crisis of overproduction and leads to the extreme abuses of finance capital under the neoliberal policy.
Conditions of global economic and financial crisis continually causes social and political disorder, imperialist intervention and wars of aggression as well as proxy wars in countries and entire regions. The climate crisis continues to generate extreme weather events and longer-term environmental degradation such as desertification and water inundation. These conditions further fuel more forced migration and create more displaced populations. Meanwhile, in the imperialist countries, migrants and refugees face hostile treatment and made scapegoats for the worsening crisis and unemployment, and yet they are expected to bear the yoke of slave labor until they are no longer viable and forcibly shipped back to their home countries.
We are confident that the IAMR4 undertake full and serious deliberations on the issues of migrants and refugees, and produce resolutions that will guide the work of participating organizations in coming years. We expect that the assembly will serve to strengthen migrant and refugee organizations, various types of support groups and networks, and mechanisms for mobilizing the migrants and refugees and the rest of the people.
We are hopeful that between now and the next IAMR, migrants and refugees in their great numbers throughout the world become even better organized, overcome the most urgent obstacles that hinder political action, and join the rest of the people both in their home and host countries in campaigns on urgent issues and in the general movement for national liberation , for democracy and development, for social justice, peace and international solidarity.