Recently, the state of Mississippi ended its inquiry into the 1964 killings of civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman, whose bodies were found on a remote road 52 years ago. Nine people have been convicted in the case.
These three young men were part of a Southern voter registration drive, the purpose of which was to extend the franchise granted to every adult American citizen, which is the right to cast a vote. American suffragettes fought for the right to vote for women; many civil rights workers in the 1950s and 60s were beaten and arrested for defending the same principle when it came to African-Americans— one person, one vote.
And then there are the millions of undocumented workers in the United States….
Undocumented workers can’t vote; can’t hold elected office; and make themselves scarce during the decennial census, prescribed by the Constitution, on which congressional apportionment depends. They don’t want to participate in a participatory democracy.
It also distressing to think that both major political parties are willing to encourage this shadow population. Democrats periodically grant waivers to undocumented workers in the hope that their children born or brought to the United States will vote Democratic out of a sense of quid pro quo. Republicans fulminate against the presence of undocumented workers, but derail attempts at raising the minimum wage in order to maintain a cheap labor force deprived of benefits. Undocumented workers are among the most vulnerable and exploited workers in America. They are often victims of unpaid wages, dangerous conditions and uncompensated workplace injuries, discrimination, and other labor law violations.
Regardless, undocumented workers, and their defenders, argue that they deserve consideration and respect because they pay taxes. Workers without fundamental rights who pay money to their overlord are living in a state of feudalism.
That is not what Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman died for.