May 8, 2015
Immigration has been called the civil rights issue of today, but it has been pushed to the back of the bus by partisan politics and a divisive Congress.
The Obama Administration has made attempts to help our country's undocumented immigrants with executive orders and prosecutorial discretion. Over 5 million are impacted by these actions, mostly young immigrants who were illegally brought to the U.S. by their parents.
If elected President, Hillary Clinton said that she would provide relief for the parents of these children. Clinton addressed immigrants in Nevada yesterday:
Clinton explained that there “are many more people” with deep ties to communities and a history of service who should have access to “the same deferred action” status as people already protected under Obama’s programs known as DACA and DAPA.
“But that’s just the beginning. There’s much more to do expand and enhance protections for families and communities,” she continued. She even wove in some of the new populism of her second presidential bid, contrasting immigrations with corporations and private prisons. “Our undocumented immigrants in New York pay more in taxes than some of our biggest corporations,” she said of her home state. “We have to reform our detention system,” she added, noting that many detention centers are run by private companies who “have a built in-incentive to fill them up.”If there is a group of deserving immigrants ignored by Washington who deserves an immediate pathway to citizenship it is the legal, long-term nonresidents of the CNMI.
Talk about "deep ties to communities" - some of the nonresident workers in the CNMI have spent most of their adult lives there. Many have lived longer in the CNMI than in their homelands. Most of these dedicated workers have no "homes" to return to. Why should any legal immigrant who has spent 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 or more years on U.S. soil while maintaining legal status not be afforded a pathway to citizenship?
Most Americans do not even know about the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, never mind the purgatory-type status that they hold. However, Former President Bill Clinton knows the issue of the CNMI nonresident workers. It was under his Administration that I led a 7-member team to document the status and abuses of the nonresident workers. (See this report.)
Hillary Clinton may be the answer for achieving long overdue justice for the legal, nonresident workers in the CNMI.