Immigration Supporters in U.S. and CNMI on the Move

July 27, 2013

"We don't want to be on the wrong side of history. We know looking back to the civil rights era there were a lot of people sitting on their hands and we say 'shame on them – we must act,'"
Jeff Cook, speaker at immigration rally in Springfield, Illinois.

House members of the U.S. Congress who have returned to their districts for the August recess have been welcomed by immigration advocates who are pressing them to act on immigration reform.

Immigration supporters diverged on Speaker John Boehner's (R-IL) Springfield office to demand action on comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented aliens. Republican House leaders are pushing for a piece meal approach to immigration reform, rejecting the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the U.S. Senate in June.

Another pro-immigration rally in Iowa attracted people who denounced remarks made by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). The remarks, labeled by his own party members as inexcusable and nonfactual, unfairly targeted undocumented children who were brought to the country by their parents innocently as young children. 

Rallies are also scheduled in districts of other Republican House leaders, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).

In the last week more Republicans House members have come out to support comprehensive immigration reform, giving hope to seeing a bill pass by the end of the year.  Recent polls also show that the majority of Republican voters support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented aliens as long as there are conditions and border security is increased. The question is what will a House bill, or bills, look like?

Left Out
As more people take an in-depth look at the Senate immigration bill and listen to proposals from House members, it becomes clear that millions would not be included in proposed immigration reform.

While some U.S. House members propose a 15-year path with even harsher requirements than what is written in the Senate bill, questions are being raised about the wisdom behind a path that extend over a decade. The 13-year pathway to citizenship that is included in S. 744 would be too rocky a road for many to travel. It has harsh requirements that many could not meet, including workplace and enforcement requirements according to Gustavo Torres from CASA. He estimates that 3.5 million could not meet requirements or would decide not to pursue the path.

The Social Security Administration estimates that 400,000 undocumented aliens who could be granted provisional status under the Senate provisions, would eventually have to drop out within six years because they could not meet financial requirements.

Other inconsistencies remain a concern. Some members of the same family would qualify under the Senate bill's December 2011 cutoff date, while others would not. Some states consider certain crime felonies, while others do not. Older undocumented aliens may not live to obtain citizenship under the proposal.

The same predicament is faced by some of the legal, long-term aliens in the CNMI, who were not included under the 6 categories of CNMI aliens covered in Section 2109 of S. 744, The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. Those left out include some small business investors with no U.S. citizen children and those who fall under several other visa categories. While they may be covered in more general provisions, the questions is would the specific language in Section 2109 cause the appearance of a conflict within the law, thus legally disqualifying them from any pathway?

I understand that the bill is a compromise and "not everyone can be covered", as we are constantly reminded. Still, it is always better to include as many as can and deserve to be included from the onset, rather than to exclude some and try to go back at a later date to include them.

That said, another group conspicuously omitted from immigration reform proposals is the CNMI's undocumented aliens. While millions of Americans are supporting a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented aliens, little attention has been paid to the undocumented aliens in the CNMI.

Dr. Celia Lamkin, president of the CNMI Chapter of Pinoys for Good Governance is pushing for inclusion of the undocumented aliens in the CNMI most of whom entered the CNMI legally and fell out of status as a result of job loss. She started a petition that targets members of the U.S. House who have yet to introduce an immigration reform bill, hoping that this group will also be granted a pathway to citizenship. It is difficult to argue that 11 million undocumented aliens in the U.S. deserve a pathway to citizenship, yet a couple thousand undocumented aliens in the CNMI do not.

The petition also calls for the removal of a 5 year waiting period for those who have worked in the CNMI legally for 10 years or more. The petition is not online, but is being circulated on Saipan and supporters can sign it at Island Florals and Gifts.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately it would seem that this bill main will only get to vote in piecemeal as the rep. have stated.
If Kilil can pull out and redo the one that pertains to the CNMI there may be a chance.

A factor that may be a problem, from only what I read in various on line news from different places, would be that, from one source 80+% in the US are now in poverty level or just above.
This with one other sources stated the unemployment rate combined with the people that are working under lower jobs and pay scale from what they are qualified has gotten a population 82% against giving the millions of illegal a pathway to Cit.according to one poll.(newsmax)

The Southern States and Midwest have a high opposition to reform.
The republicans also especially the "Tea Party" are causing the biggest problems with any reform along with most everything that is proposed that has to do with anything.

Without Kalili and Inos getting behind pulling out and amending any NMI proposal affecting the legal and illegal workers that are present nothing will probably happen this year.
I do not see Kilil or Inos at this time doing anything to go out of their way to help this situation as the NMI population have not come out and demanded them to try and act on it.
As Kilil has often stated he "has to talk to his constituents before he can support any action on a pathway to Cit.
Inos is controlled by Tan and in with the rest of the Fitialites and does not want to do anything that would jeopardize his election bid next year.

BTW Kilil has not answered any of my emails queries concerning this or anything else for a long time, over a year.

Anonymous said...

"BTW Kilil has not answered any of my emails queries concerning this or anything else for a long time, over a year."

It depends who you are and if you agree 100% with him. If you do, you're okay, if you have other ideas, forget it.