Let’s follow the lead of immigrant workers organizing for a world without borders — this May Day and beyond.

by David Bennion and Adrianna Torres-García, Truthout

“A world without borders is necessary if we are serious about ending the ravages of imperialism, the violent extraction of capitalism, and the oppressive racial social organization of our world,” writes migrant justice activist Harsha Walia.

Walia’s claim points to how the carceral, exclusionary immigration system weakens labor rights not just for immigrant workers, but for all workers. Employers use immigrant workers as a foil to foster the illusion of solidarity between owners and workers, while also strategically pushing immigrant wages ever downward to lower the wage floor for all workers. Government and employers work together to sustain this extractive regime, manufacturing illegality to reap the profits of systemic exploitation. As Walia writes, “the making of ‘illegal workers’ acts as a firewall (or border) blocking solidarity between workers.” This is why migrant justice organizing and labor organizing are inseparably connected, and neither can succeed without the other.

latinx activists march on may day

Immigrant labor is foundational to the narrative of the “American dream,” an often unfulfilled promise that equal opportunity will translate hard work into safety and material well-being. Economists attribute much of the post-pandemic economic revival in the U.S. to increased immigration under the Biden administration. But the reality that many immigrant workers face is bleaker, fraught with exploitation, workplace safety violations and even human trafficking — far from the promise of the American dream. The tragedy at the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on March 26, 2024, reflects the reality of work as a nightmare for many immigrant workers.

Read More