March 31, 2012
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is proposing that the DREAM ACT be altered. The proposed DREAM ACT would provide certain undocumented children of alien workers with permanent residency and a pathway to citizenship. Rubio's apartheid-type bill would provide them with a "non citizen for life" status, like Sablan's un-American, un-democratic legislation for some of the foreign workers of the CNMI. Rubio proposes a DREAM Act that would grant youth a second or third class citizen status. They would be Americans in name, would pay taxes, serve in the military, but could not vote or sponsor their family members to come to the United States.
Of course, there are differences between the proposed bills. Sablan's bill would provide an un-American status for only those foreign workers with a U.S. citizen child or spouse or about 1/4 of the total long-term foreign workers. His is even more hateful than Rubio's proposal because it purposely excludes anyone who will not eventually be in line for status by virtue of having an immediate relative spouse or child. Under H.R. 1466, long-term foreign workers who lived and worked legally in the CNMI, on U.S. soil for 5, 10, 15, 20 or more years are excluded if they are not married to a U.S. citizen, do not have a U.S. citizen child, are gay, or are unmarried. Blatantly discriminatory.
Rubio's proposal may be a good thing for the foreign workers of the CNMI. Why? Because the Democrats and just-minded people are all over it for the cruel bill that it is. Rachel Maddow called Rubio's politically motivated bill, "The DREAM ACT without a dream". The New York Times published a similar sentiment in an editorial, "A Dream Act Without the Dream". Michael Keegan, president of People for the American Way, denounced Rubio's bill in the Huffington Post in an article entitled, "American Apartheid? The Republican Dream Scheme".
Keegan attacked Rubio's bill for what it is, a way to permanently oppress people on U.S. soil, an attempt to create division and establish a two-tiered society. He likened the scheme to apartheid, just as I called H.R. 1466 an apartheid-type bill. Keegan wrote:
They should take a lesson from history. I went to South Africa over 30 years ago, where the government created many different levels of citizenship as a means to keep an unjust system going in a modern world. In addition to "Whites," different categories of "Blacks," "Coloureds," and "Asians" for South Asians, South Africa had to create the category of "Honorary Whites" to accommodate the Japanese and Chinese. We should learn from the lessons of apartheid and the dangers of creating different levels of citizenship for different people.Rubio's bill is inciting outrage among Democrats and just-minded people across the nation. So should H.R. 1466. The American public deserves to know that every person except one (Alaska's Republican Rep. Don Young of Abramoff fame) who co-sponsored H.R. 1466, an apartheid-type bill, is a Democrat. Even more shocking is the fact most are members of the Hispanic, Asian Pacific American, Progressive and Black Caucuses! These 48 co-sponsors should be exposed so that the voters in their districts know that the members of Congress that they consider to be pro-immigrant may actually be hypocritical politicians who lack principle.
That system, thankfully, has fallen, and it has been rightfully judged an historical disgrace, but if today's Republican Party has considered history at all, they're not learning the right lessons. Instead of pushing towards more equality for all people, they've perfected a method of legalizing discrimination by inventing new classes of citizenship for those on whom they don't want to bestow full rights, creating a unique and disturbing American apartheid.
Sablan should read Rubio's bill and Keegan's article. Every co-sponsor of H.R. 1466 should do likewise, including Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Judy Chu (D-CA), Mike Honda (D-CA), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Nydia Valazquez (D-NY), Charles Gonzalez (D-TX), and the rest. Then they should look in the mirror and see Senator Rubio staring back at them. It is time that the Democrats either remove their names from H.R. 1466 or defend their hypocritical stance.
As Keegan said, "The real cruelty of this Republican proposal is that it seeks to take advantage of the desperation of some DREAM Act-eligible youth to avoid deportation. The Republican proposal offers them that in the short term, but at the price of second-class status for the rest of their lives. They deserve better."
Yes, they deserve better and so do the long-term foreign workers of the CNMI. They deserve freedom and permanent residency. All of them –not just ones that Sablan and supporting self-serving CNMI politicians and residents know will eventually qualify for it anyway. As Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu said, "I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights."
With all of the blatant, on-going discrimination against the foreign workers in the CNMI one would expect a statement of outrage and a demand for justice and reform from at least the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Since the foreign workers make up half or more of the population of the CNMI one has to question why the Asian Pacific American Caucus has ignored their plight. There has been a deafening silence from these members, except for their slap in the face co-sponsoring of H.R. 1466. They have not responded properly to the lack of status for the de facto citizens of the CNMI. They have not commented on the flawed CW program that could be ended by granting them all permanent residency. They have ignored the discrimination at the federally funded NAP Office. There have been no cries for justice concerning the unsolved murder of Emie Romero or the unsolved rape of a club worker. There has been no denunciation on the racial profiling, the threats to foreign workers by CNMI officials, or the illegal seizure of driver licenses from foreign workers. They have remained silent on the proposed discriminatory bill targeting foreign workers.
The APAC members do recognize the plight of the undocumented aliens in the U.S. mainland. They vocally oppose unjust state laws in Arizona, Alabama and other states, even participating in protests. So why are they ignoring the plight of tens of thousands of Asian workers in the CNMI? It will be very interesting to see what these members have to say about Rubio's bill. I am watching.