Saturday, June 30, 2007
NO HUMAN BEING IS ILLEGAL – Workers Will Inherit the Earth
A Bittersweet Victory with the Defeat of S.1639 – Kennedy-Kyl Bill
The U.S. Senate lacked the appropriate political leadership to approve fair and humane immigration reform as desired by the millions of immigrants that live, work, study, and pray in thousands of cities across the length and breadth of America. The legislation, S.1639 authored by Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kyle, proved to be too flawed to pass muster with the majority of Senate members and the American public, and rightly deserved to die a second death. The frame-work of their "comprehensive" reform was from the start enforcement heavy and legalization light, and continued to move more and more in the direction of enforcement of a criminalizing and militarizing character.
While the immigrant community had high hopes that the Senate would do them justice, the recurring criticism was that they were being required to pay too high a price for the remote possibility of regularizing their status and eventually be allowed live and work in peace in the U.S.
Yes, the legislation crashed on the Senate floor, but the hopes of millions of immigrants also crashed with it even if it did not meet the needs of immigrant families. The latter occurred due to the rank manipulation of the legitimate hopes and sentiments of the immigrant community by the Spanish language media and the funded agencies, and even some unions, that sought to impose this legislation as the only possibility for fair reform and eventual legalization. Their position is encapsulated in the often repeated phrase by Jorge Ramos of Univision – Peor es nada (nothing is worst). This was and is a paternalistic, defeatist, and demoralizing posture that was repeatedly imposed on the psyche of the Spanish-speaking immigrants.
On the contrary, we have every right to celebrate that we defeated the proposed further construction of the border wall, the construction of 20 massive detention facilities, the criminalization of the work-place with invasive government intervention to determine who has the right to work, a massive bracero-type program designed to exploit the immigrant and assault the prevailing wage, the criminalization of immigrants merely due to their physical presence in the U.S. without inspection, the 20,000 build-up of border patrol agents, and other onerous and repressive provisions.
The House of Representatives now has an opportunity to demonstrate courage and leadership to craft legislation, if not comprehensive, at least that which addresses some of the most pressing issues before the country.
We call on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to immediately pursue action on the following areas in single piece legislation that require reform:
1. Passage of the DREAM ACT;
2. Restoration of the 245(i) clause;
3. Restoration of judicial review rights for immigrants;
4. Passage of an agricultural labor program that affirms FREE labor and immediate permanent resident status;
5. No budget allocation for the construction of a border wall;
6. Immediate permanent resident status for all holders of TPS permits;
7. Repeal of the Patriot Act;
8. Repeal the REAL I.D. Act
An immediate moratorium of the random raids and deportations is on the order of the day. Such invasive interventions into the peace of our neighborhoods only result in the separation of families, heighten fear, and distrust of the government.
We stand ready to work with all unions, churches, community-based organizations, and immigrant organizations and coalitions that support respect for the integrity of families, family values, and the reunification of families. This is the cornerstone of the immigrant’s rights movement.
Nativo V. Lopez
National President of the Mexican American Political Association and Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana