I found a great article on ZNet a couple of days ago by William Robinson, titled 'Globalization and the Struggle for Immigrant Rights in the United States'.
I literally feel these days like my mind can't breathe so I've been avoiding blogging, but I'll do my best to summarize the ten points for discussion put forth by Robinson:
1) Anti-immigrant politics and immigrant struggles occur in the context of a new system of global capitalism which is characterized by "new levels of social and economic integration and new webs of interdependence." Growing global inequalities under this system are at the heart of a "new global social apartheid".
2) The wave of outmigration from countries must be seen as "coerced or forced migration, since global capitalism exerts a structural violence over whole populations and makes it impossible for them to survive in their homeland." Note, however, that while transnational capital is free to move about the world, "transnational labor is subject to every tighter and more repressive controls."
3) Under the current system, the U.S. and the global economy are increasingly dependent on immigrant labour that can be super-exploited and super-controlled. See the article for data for the percentage of the workforce in different categories in in California that were immigrants in 1980 and in 1990s - increasingly service sector jobs are dominated by immigrants. (Joan Tronto and Saskia Sassen have both written about the elites in mega-cities depending on immigrants for their basic needs such as food, household maintenance, shelter, etc.)
Transnational labour flows are worldwide (e.g. Latin America to North America, Philippines to Canada, etc.) Borders and nationality are used to exploit, control and dominate this "global working class". For more on this point, read Grace Chang's Disposable Domestics in which she argues that an undocumented and 'illegal' immigrant workforce is desirable since labour is kept docile, particularly under the threat of the INS.
6) In the United States, African Americans used to constitute the super-exploited segment of the working class, but employers began to turn to immigrant workers who could be deported and were less able to organize. There has been the pitting of African Americans and immigrants against each other. (See Grace Chang for how those on workfare in particular are pitted against immigrant workers.)
7) Guest worker programs "alongside heightened criminalization, enforcement and militarization" create an exploitable population: labour without citizenship rights.
8) Robinson insists that: "The immigrant issue is a labor issue, one in which we see how race and class come together."
9) White working class and middle class sectors who face downward mobility (remember inequalities are also growing within nations), are "prone to being organized into racist and anti-immigrant politics by right-wing forces."
10) The immigrant rights movement "challenges the oppressive and exploitative class relations that are at the very core of global capitalism. Immigrant movements must develop link with labour and indigenous movements.
'Globalization and the Struggle for Immigrant Rights in the United States' by William Robinson, via ZNet
Image of net immigration found at Global Culture