November 30, 2012
|© W. L. Doromal 2007|
Latinos and Asian-Americans are among the strongest voices who are demanding comprehensive immigration reform. Hopefully, the Republicans are waking up and are willing to build bridges and form coalitions to push through comprehensive immigration reform legislation now. If they do not get the job done now, then in two years the voters will kick out obstructionist Republicans who use their positions to play political games rather than to advance the best interests of the American people and our nation.
The Democratic victory was due to the overwhelming support from Latino and Asian-American voters with more than 70% from each group voting to re-elect President Obama. Latino voters in Florida stood in long lines. Some voters even stood in line after the election was called knowing that a vote for President Obama was a vote for comprehensive immigration reform.
The Hispanic Caucus has released a unified comprehensive immigration reform statement that contains nine principle requirements for comprehensive immigration reform:
1. Requires the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. to register with the federal government, submit to fingerprinting and a criminal background check, learn English and American civics, and pay taxes to contribute fully and legally to our economy and earn a path to permanent residency and eventual citizenship;
2. Protects the unity and sanctity of the family, including the families of bi-national, same-sex couples, by reducing the family backlogs and keeping spouses, parents, and children together;
3. Attracts the best and the brightest investors, innovators, and skilled professionals, including those in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) studies, to help strengthen our economy, create jobs, and build a brighter future for all Americans;
4. Builds on the extraordinary success of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and incorporates DREAMers—those who were brought to the U.S. at a young age and are Americans but for a piece of paper—into the mainstream of life in the United States through a path to citizenship so that America benefits from their scholastic achievements, military service and pursuit of their dreams;
5. Includes a balanced, workable solution for the agriculture industry that ensures agricultural workers have a route to citizenship and employers have the workers and American agriculture continues to lead in our global economy;
6. Ends the exploitation of U.S. and immigrant workers by providing sufficient, safe, and legal avenues for foreign workers to fill legitimate gaps in our workforce, with full labor rights, protection from discrimination, and a reasonable path to permanency that lifts up wages and working conditions for both native and foreign-born workers and their families;
7. Ensures smart and reasonable enforcement that protects our borders and fosters commerce by targeting serious criminals and real threats at our northern and southern borders and promotes the safe and legitimate movement of people and goods at our ports of entry and which are essential to our economy;
8. Establishes a workable employment verification system that prevents unlawful employment and rewards employers and employees who play by the rules, while protecting Americans’ right to work and their privacy; and
9. Renews our commitment to citizenship, to ensure all workers pay their fair share of taxes, fully integrate into our way of life and bear the same responsibilities as all Americans and reaffirms our shared belief that the Citizenship Clause of the Constitution is a fundamental freedom that must be preserved.This is a good first step. Another needed step would be for the Hispanic Caucus to work with The White House and sincere Republicans to write a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Others suggest using the 2007 Kyl-Kennedy bill as a starting point. If comprehensive immigration form is going to advance from discussion to reality, a bill needs to be written, promoted and introduced.
The problem we see now is inadequate, piecemeal bills being proposed by Republicans to toss crumbs to Latino voters. Latinos voters do not want crumbs. Gary Segundo's article, What Latinos Want -Immigration Reform wrote:
Latino voters, indeed ALL voters, prefer a comprehensive reform plan that includes a path to citizenship. For non-Latinos, the preferred path is an “earned” citizenship, which likely includes provisions regarding back taxes and learning English. But the bottom line is that the creation of a permanent alien class, guest workers or another form of residency that never turns into full social membership, is a non-starter.Congressman Kilili Sablan is a member of the Hispanic Caucus and he supported the 9 principled elements of comprehensive immigration reform. I hope to work with him during the upcoming months to ensure justice for all of the legal long-term foreign workers of the CNMI who must be included in any comprehensive immigration bill