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Rage One (blog)

jueves, junio 14, 2007

UpDates on Immigration Bill by Nativo Lopez, Peter Schey, AFL-CIO, and NDLON


Statement by Nativo Vigil Lopez, National President of Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) and Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana on Senate Immigration Reform Bill S.1348


The bipartisan immigration reform legislation, S.1348, failed to pass muster in the U.S. Senate due to its inherent flaws and anti-family and anti-worker measures. The frame-work of the legislation was narrowed to ensure repressive and restrictive enforcement clauses and a massive temporary worker program presented as a regularization into legal status for the 12 million undocumented persons currently in the U.S., and a new bracero-type program for future entrants. This was the frame-work proposed by President George Bush and accepted by Democratic and Republican leaders who sought to shepherd the legislation through the Senate at break- neck speed. At the end of the day they were unable to hold together their factious coalition.

The legislation does not accord with the legitimate interests and desires of the millions of immigrants without status who were unwilling to see their future mortgaged for an extremely tortuous, expensive, and tenuous temporary status, which would have separated families and criminalized future uninspected entrants to the U.S.

Millions of immigrants, their families, friends, and allies have marched over the past 24 months to demand fair, humane, and rational immigration reform. Immigrants did not carry signs demanding to be braceros, the construction of a border wall, criminal sanctions of their employers, local law enforcement cooperation with ICE, or the separation of their families.

The demand of legalization for all has always been the most prominent of demands. And, for the immigrants this simply means a permanent resident visa without having to leave the country and reasonably priced. The historical precedent for such is the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which easily legalized into permanent legal status some three (3) million persons within 24 months.
Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana and MAPA are the oldest Latino organizations in the U.S. which have consistently addressed the issue of immigration, in fact, dating back to the 1942 Bracero Program, and will continue to organize throughout the country with coalitions, unions, and churches who listen to the voice of the immigrant and pursue a reform that accords with their interests, and nothing short of this.

Statement of Pablo Alvarado, Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) on Recent Senate Activity
June 8, 2007

Contact: (213) 353-1336

(Los Angeles, CA) While we are disappointed the prospects for productive debate in the Senate have eroded, we are very encouraged by Senator Reid's wise decision to limit the cynical and mean-spirited efforts of those Senators that seek to poison the immigration reform debate yet again.
The Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007 should only be supported for final passage if it is dramatically improved on the Senate floor. Unfortunately, with few exceptions like the Dorgan amendment (sunseting the flawed guestworker program), we seemed to be heading in the opposite direction. Moreover, we are fearful that an insufficient Senate bill cannot be adequately repaired in the House of Representatives or in a conference session.

Attaining the best possible product in the Senate should be a prerequisite for moving forward. We sincerely hope any new Senate deal will not make the existing "grand bargain" any more punitive.
We know the struggle for justice and immigration reform requires a long view of history, and we will not be pressured into accepting an insufficient compromise simply for sake of political expediency. We owe it to this and future generations to pass a bill that we can all be proud of.

If President Bush cannont convince his colleagues to cease their vitriolic efforts to punish immigrants, erode labor standards, and undermine bedrock civil rights, we will need to wait for a new president who can demonstrate the leadership to work with both parties and defend the American Dream- for immigrants and citizens alike.

NDLON was officially founded in 2001 and is composed of 33 community-based organizations that work with day laborers in different capacities. NDLON's mission is to advance the human, labor, and civil rights of day workers throughout the United States and to strengthen and expand the work of local day laborer organizing groups, in order to become more effective and strategic in building leadership, advancing low-wage worker and immigrant rights, and developing successful models for organizing immigrant contingent/temporary workers.

Statement by Attorney Peter Schey, Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law on the End of Senate Debate of Immigration Reform Bill

I think how people voted on the cloture vote is complex. Feinstein voted in favor, Boxer against. When the vote to end discussion lost, Senate Majority Reid pulled the bill for consideration at a later time. Generally pro-immigrant groups were all over the map (and still are). Many groups urged Senators to vote against cloture because they also felt that a vote on the bill would fail and some liberal Senators wanted to offer amendments to improve the bill. Others advocated for voting in favor of cloture to end the debate, because they felt the Republicans were using the debate to successfully offer amendments making a terrible bill even worse (something they could only do with the support of Dems). Sen Boxer was working with several Latino roups to develop positive amendments (we drafted one for her on the issue of legalization fees), and probably one reason she voted against cloture was so she would have an opportunity to offer amendments to improve the bill.
In general, there is no question that Sen. Boxer has been far more sympathetic to rational and humane immigration reform than Sen. Feinstein. I am unaware of any effort by Sen. Feinstein to reach out to Latino and labor groups to find out how the Grand Bargain could be improved, while Sen. Boxer's office actively communicated with us and other groups to solicit proposed amendments.
We have carefully analyzed the Grand Bargain and as the organization that I believe has represented more undocumented immigrants in major class action cases than any other, including engaging in 20 years of litigation oer how the last "amnesty" (IRCA 1986) was implemented, we concluded the Grand Bargain is hopeless as a starting point for real immigration reform. If the cloture vote has passed, and the Senate bill approved, here's what we would have achieved: (1) the worst "legalization" program any country has ever passed (temporary rather than permanent visas, no realistic path to permanent visas, fees few immigrants could afford, no confidentiality so that denied applicants could be rounded up and deported, no family reunification, etc.), (2) the total destruction of the family-based immigration (which would quickly rebuild a new undocumented population as families refuse to stay apart), (3) a new guest worker program with no path to legalization, and (4) massive new repression and enforcement (20 new prisons for immigrants, massive increases in criminal penalties, massive new enforcement along the border, etc.). No one should shed a single tear that this bill failed. Trying to fix it would be like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Its time to start over and push for a humane and rational immigration reform proposal. Look at the proposals offered at If you haven't already, endorse the Unity Blueprint.

Statement by AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney on Senate Immigration Bill
June 8, 2007

Plagued by anti-family, anti-worker provisions, President Bush's immigration proposal was doomed at the onset. The bill abandoned long-standing U.S. policy favoring the reunification of families and failed to protect workers' most basic rights.

To be effective, reform must address the real roots of the immigration crisis: an outdated system that creates a two-tiered society in which employers are able to roll roughshod over immigrant workers' rights while lowering working standards for all workers. If adopted, the proposal would have only exacerbated this condition.

The best way to guarantee the rights and wages of all workers in this country is to give every immigrant the opportunity to become a citizen, with all the rights and duties that entails. At the same time, Congress must revise our immigration system so that in the face of labor shortages, future foreign workers may enter this country not as dispensable units of production but as permanent residents with the same rights and protections as all other U.S. workers.

With the support of the immigrant rights community, we will continue to pursue an immigration plan that places workers' rights at the forefront and removes economic incentives for exploitation.

Join us in this prolonged campaign for driver's licenses and visas for our families. The first step in making change is to join an organization that pursues the change we desire. We welcome you to our ranks.

Other organizations leading this movement include: Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana, Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), MAPA Youth Leadership, Liberty and Justice for Immigrants Movement, National Alliance for Immigrant's Rights, and immigrant's rights coalitions throughout the U.S..

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