February 7, 2013
From ABC News:
"This notion that we can have a comprehensive bill and not include a path to citizenship is unacceptable," Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a member of the Senate's "Gang of Eight" negotiators on immigration, told a roundtable of journalists at the Capitol.Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said the legal-status-only would "create an"immigrant underclass that's economically and politically disadvantaged."
If they want an example of legal, longterm nonresidents that have been treated as an "immigrant underclass that's economically and politically disadvantaged" they can merely look to the CNMI.
When federal legislation to apply U.S. immigration laws to the CNMI was passed without a status provision for the CNMI's legal, long-term foreign workers, their status as a disadvantaged, disenfranchised underclass was cemented.
The Senate Democrats are reinforcing what I have been saying about the status proposed in HR 1466. Unless a noncitizen status is temporary and used only as a step in a path to full citizenship – as a way to provide immediate security to prevent deportations– it should never be proposed.
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro said that the Republican's idea of noncitizenship status would create "a class of permanent second-class residents."
He is right. Again, look to the CNMI as an example.
From The Christian Science Monitor (my emphasis):
He and other Democrats argued that the experience of many nations in Europe, who have admitted immigrants from Turkey and other Eastern nations under such an arrangement, shows that it breeds separatism and resentment. The US has always allowed legal residents a path to citizenship, Democrats pointed out – with the exception of slavery and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
“Throughout the history of this nation, the biggest challenges we’ve faced have been when we created second-class citizens, much less second-class noncitizens. And so I believe that a path to citizenship is the best option,” said Mayor Castro.I was criticized when I compared the noncitizen CNMI-Only status to the post-Civil War Black Codes. Now many of our nation's leaders are saying the same.
The AFL-CIO says that "allowing millions of undocumented residents to remain in the country without full citizenship would continue a caste system that drags down wages and health benefits for all workers," according to The Washington Post.
Again, look to the CNMI to see the terrible state of affairs for all who struggle in the private sector.
It will be interesting to see where the Democratic House members who co-sponsored H.R. 1466 will stand regarding backing a noncitizen status for the mainland's unauthorized immigrants after they already went on record to support such a status for the legal, long-term CNMI foreign workers.
The lead pro-immigrant House member and head of the Hispanic Caucus, Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), who co-sponsored H.R.1466, is said to be "opposed to proposals that bar citizenship or create a permanent non-citizen underclass," according to his communications director, Doug Rivlin.
Chicago Business quoted Gutierrez:
"I work from the principle that, once you legalize 'em, they're going to be citizens. . . .As long as there's a pathway to citizenship, we're good."As the comprehensive immigration plan unfolds, it appears that credible members of the U.S. Congress will be unable to justify legislation that would grant a lesser immigration status to the CNMI's estimated 12,000 legal aliens than would be granted to the 11 million undocumented aliens in the mainland. Or to propose status only for those aliens who have a U.S. citizen spouse or child, excluding all others who do not meet that qualification. Or for that matter, a lesser status to undocumented aliens in the CNMI than would be given to the undocumented aliens in the U.S. mainland. How could members possibly justify such action? Racism, supremacy and a greedy desire to maintain political power are not justifiable excuses for endorsing a disadvantaged underclass in the U.S. mainland or in the CNMI.
I wonder if the American people will be as confused as I was to learn that some of the most vocal, pro-immigrant House Democrats who are rallying for a pathway to citizenship and opposing a noncitizen status for the 11 million undocumented aliens were actually the first ones to support legislation that called for a noncitizen status with no direct pathway to citizenship for an estimated 12,000 legal aliens. What will the American public they think when they finally learn that the pro-immigration leaders actually co-sponsored legislation that excluded any legal nonresident who did not have a U.S. citizen spouse or child? The Jose Antonio Vargas's of our country would be unjustly denied status if the pro-immigrant members follow the precedent that they set in co-sponsoring H.R. 1466 in any comprehensive immigration reform bill.
I agree with the Democratic Senators. There should be one comprehensive immigration bill. Any comprehensive immigration bill should not single out the nonresidents in the CNMI by granting them a lesser status!