What the California Senate Did

February 15, 2015

In an unanimous, bipartisan vote, the California State Senate passed a resolution "to be sent to the President and the Vice President of the United States, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the Senate, and to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States."

The resolution calls for "Congress and the President of the United States to work together to create a comprehensive and workable approach to reform the nation's immigration system according to specified principles." It was written by Republican Senator Andy Vidak.

The language of the resolution is in sharp contrast from the anti-immigrant trash talk that spews from the mouths of too many vocal Republican and Tea Party anti-immigrant haters.  The resolution recognizes the economic contribution of the immigrants.  It not only calls for comprehensive immigration reform, but for immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented aliens.

Will the hardline Republican members of the U.S. Congress take notice? That is unlikely since immigration reform does not fit into their agenda. Their is only one item on their agenda – that is to oppose anything that President Obama supports and support anything that he opposes.

Still the resolution is significant. It comes from the state that has the most undocumented immigrants. For anyone who wants to listen its message is clear.

The Resolution:

     WHEREAS, This country was built by immigrants seeking a better life; and        WHEREAS, Estimates suggest that there are 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the shadows in the United States, including millions of children brought to this country undocumented who have grown up here and call the United States home, and who are suffering from our dysfunctional immigration policy; and
      WHEREAS, A logical and streamlined path to citizenship for individuals after they gain legal status would stimulate the economy by allowing these individuals to get college degrees and driver's licenses, buy homes, start new companies, and create legal, tax-paying jobs, affording them a chance at the American Dream; and
      WHEREAS, The United States Congress last enacted major immigration legislation more than 25 years ago; and
      WHEREAS, Since that time, fragmented attempts at immigration reform have failed to create the rational and effective systems needed to maintain international competitiveness. Whether in industries like agriculture, which requires large numbers of workers able to perform physically demanding tasks, or in industries like technology or health care, where the demand for employees with advanced degrees is projected to exceed supply within the next five years, immigration policy must be designed to respond to emerging labor needs in all sectors of the United States economy; and
      WHEREAS, Our national interests and security are not served by our outdated, inefficient, and slow-moving immigration system. Patchwork attempts to mend its deficiencies undermine our potential for prosperity and leave us vulnerable and unable to meet the needs of the modern world; and
     WHEREAS, Labor mobility is crucial to our economic prosperity and our country's recovery from the economic crisis. Yet our rigid, outdated immigration policies are making it difficult for our companies and our nation to compete. Information released in a study by the University of California, Los Angeles, states that legalizing the status of undocumented immigrants working and living in the United States would create around $1.5 trillion in additional gross domestic product growth over the next 10 years and increase wages for all workers. A study done by the University of California, Davis, indicates that the last large wave of immigrants, from 1990 to 2007, raised the income of a native-born American worker by an average of $5,000; and
       WHEREAS, California has the largest share of immigrants in the country. These immigrants are a vital and productive part of our state's economy and are active in a variety of industries, including technology, biotech, hospitality, agriculture, construction, services, transportation, and textiles. They also represent a large share of our new small business owners and create economic prosperity and needed jobs for everyone; and
      WHEREAS, Keeping these families, business owners, and hard workers in the shadows of society serves no one; and
      WHEREAS, Our state, for economic, social, health, security, and prosperity reasons, must support policies that allow individuals to become legal and enfranchised participants in our society and economy; and
      WHEREAS, Comprehensive immigration reform should include a reasonable and timely path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who are already living and working in the United States. It should also include comprehensive background checks, require demonstrated proficiency in English and payment of all current and back taxes, and have the flexibility to respond to emerging business trends; and
      WHEREAS, The Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research group in Washington, D.C., estimates that in 2012, the federal government spent $18 billion on immigration enforcement, and since 2004, the number of United States Border Patrol agents has doubled; and
     WHEREAS, Increased enforcement has given the federal government the ability to prioritize the deportation of lawbreakers and dangerous individuals and to ensure our border's security. Nevertheless, this enforcement should not be done in an inhumane way; and
      WHEREAS, Immigration enforcement should continue to focus on criminals, not on hardworking immigrant families, and not at the expense of efficient trade with two of our top three economic partners; and
     WHEREAS, The United States loses large numbers of necessary, highly skilled workers due to the lengthy and complicated processes currently in place to get or keep a legal residency option; and
     WHEREAS, Reform should include an expedited process for those residing abroad and applying for legal visas. Additionally, reform should offer permanent residency opportunities to international students in American universities who are highly trained and in high demand, and in so doing avoid an intellectual vacuum after their graduation; and
     WHEREAS, Reform should recognize the societal and cultural benefits of keeping the family unit intact. The system should take into account special circumstances surrounding candidates for probationary legal status, such as those of minors who were brought to the country as children or workers whose labor is essential to maintain our country's competitiveness; now, therefore, be it be
     Resolved by the Senate and the Assembly of the State of California, jointly,
That the Legislature urges the President and the Congress of the United States to work together and create a comprehensive and workable approach to solving our nation's historically broken immigration system, using the principles described in this resolution; and be it further
      Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the President and the Vice President of the United States, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the Senate, and to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States.


Anonymous said...

Do the CNMI-Washington DC rep, CNMI Governor, Lt Governor and CNMI legislation team members have something to learn from this California Senate resolution that will be mailed or electronically transmitted to U.S President, Vice president, House speaker for both Senate & Congress? Is Mr. Gregorio Kilili Sablan going to get a copy of this resolution or he is not required to have one because he is a non-voting U.S delegate?

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:40PM

Even if Mr Sablan gets his copy, it is useless when he does not support. He has the capacity to do it for CNMI.

Anonymous said...

It is a pity for CNMI politicians not to have that courage to act unanimously. Best Sunshine already voiced our their concerns about CNMI labor shortage but I guess, people at the Capital Hill are waiting for a miracle from Capitol Hill that they can create as well. Memorandum of Understanding could be drafted and send to Capitol Hill justifying the upgrading of status of those alien workers of whom the CNMI could work on the qualifications. I know this is just a whisper in the wind or shooting at the moon.

Anonymous said...

There's a big demand in construction business here and they're now hiring from Phils. Another batch of men to be abused and treated just like the rest here. Let's see how this Best Sunshine cope with CNMI business life style.

Anonymous said...

8:05am, how are Sunshine (and others)hiring from the Phil? Are they bringing them in under an "H" type visa program? Since the Feds took over Immigration, and from all written accounts and the supposed annual decreasing CW quota, there is no CW hiring from outside. Even replacements must be taken from whomever is still in the CNMI.

I think I remember that if a contract is given out to a foreign company that there are ways for the company to bring in there own necessary construction workers to complete a specific contract ad then they must leave at the end of the contract.
I am not sure on what visa or wage scale they must be paid.
In the past with "H" visa workers we had to pay based on Guam Davis Bacon wages.

Where did you get the info on these company(s)hire from outside?
I am curious as this has not been out and remains the question as to how all of these proposed projects are to be built (and also staffed)

Anonymous said...

Anom 9:32pm
I was also surprised when I was told about this company's hiring from outside, they're coming in, of course under CW visa. I think no one has been approved of any H visa yet in construction industry here because of low wages. Even their accountant was denied of H visa. As you may not know, with small projects and some repair/maintenance jobs to do construction businesses now are experiencing shortage in job categories like carpentry finisher, mason, electrical, plumber, pipe fitter, heavy equipment operator, draftsman and a lot more. Locals here are still not as efficient and dependable like CWs. they come one day the following day they're gone.
I will post here once I confirmed they're here.

Anonymous said...

8:24 Yes, I am aware of the shortage in workers also well aware of what you describe with the local workers lack of work ethics (on the majority)

Yes please keep us informed, as many of us need to know how this is being done, and IF it has been passed across the Feds. and allowed.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Wendy & Anon 8:24

It's confirmed, new workers from Phils are here, some of them, a lot more to come under CW. HBR Int'l, FGC Construction and the SSFM consulting firm who hired engineers.

Like, I said I was surprised that CNMI can still bring in CWs.

Ms. Wendy, if you think it's not appropriate to mention those companies name here (I know you can verify my infos), please don't post this. I just like to fulfill what I have said before and remain anonymous.

Wendy Doromal said...

10:39 Companies that meet the DHS criteria are allowed to bring in workers. They must be valid businesses. It looks like these are construction workers? Are the companies based on Tinian? What project/s will they be working on?

Anonymous said...

10:39, Thanks for the info and please give us more info as it is available.
I will also try and uncover more.

I also expect for Wendy to keep on this so we can be in the loop with the incidentals.
Thanks Wendy also.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Wendy Doromal said...

8:50 Thank you for the information.You need to contact the U.S. Department of Labor as soon as possible, and I will contact others with this. Please email me directly at doromal@earthlink.net if you want to discuss this further. I appreciate your help.I wish there was still an ombudsman office -such a mess. It's like setting back progress 10 years. . .