JUSTICE TO THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS
By Keshab Raj Seadie, Esq. Special to N24:
The United States of America is the nation of Immigrants. The Democratic Party has always supported our nation’s racial diversity and has acknowledged that our current immigration system needs to be fixed. On November 6th, 2012, the Republicans faced a continual defeat that has now forced them to embrace the “comprehensive” immigration reform. The Republican Party solely focuses their interest on the present and the future economic growth which is quite essential in the current state of our economy. But the Republicans finally came to realization that they must take the 14 million of the illegal immigrants into consideration while creating the comprehensive immigration reform. Mitt Romney lost the Presidential Election as he only drew 27% of the Latino votes.
In his last term, President Obama has controlled the illegal immigration pretty well and better than most of the former presidents. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan enacted the Immigration Reform and Control Act that granted amnesty to about three million illegal immigrants in exchange of stronger border enforcement system. However, Reagan did not secure the borders as he promised. Over the years, especially after the tragic attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the security measures highly improved.
Legal Immigration is known to be one of the most important and largely driven aspects of our U.S. Government. Legal immigration is very well supported by the U.S. Government and preferred that the extended families of immigrations be able to join them in the United States. However, Illegal Immigrants intertwines with the availability of work in the United States. The Obama Administration will need to consider the employment opportunities while providing jobs to additional 14 million illegal immigrants in the United States. Unemployment rate kept under control if the new immigration reform provides a few employment opportunities for illegal immigrants, along with legal immigrants, native borns and others who are not affiliated with the AFSCME or the Big Wind.
The immigration system in the United States has totally fallen apart and is in desperate need of a comprehensive reform. But how does America feel on this subject? Anyone with a beating heart would have sympathy for those working illegally and not to mention so hard in desperate measures. These people are paid such low wages and many of them are abused to an extensive level. Along with these miseries, they also bear the pain of being separated from their loved ones and their families. Such life would be hard and is deserved by no one.
However, we must realize that the solution to this is not abandoning or ignoring the law. The law was created to keep discipline and it must be followed under all circumstances. If history has taught us anything in the previous years, it is that though immigration amnesty alleviates suffering of many illegal immigrants, it also encourages illegal immigration. The growing population of the illegal immigrants is not valued by the citizens or by the immigrants who are in the United States under law and aspiring citizenship.
Our main goal is to fix the immigration system that allowed 14 million immigrants to be illegal in the United States in the first place. Providing jobs for highly educated and skilled English speaking professionals would be a good way to start the process of granting long term residency to the immigrants in the United States. For those who are in the United States illegally, especially those who have been in the country since a young age, they should not be restricted of the amnesty or rounds ups or mass deportations.
We must first work towards securing our borders and creating stable and reliable workplace. An Amnesty will solve the major problem of the 14 million illegal immigrants now, but we also need law enforcement to stop this reoccurring havoc. The problem here is that the Republican Party and the conservative movement are not very supportive towards amnesty. It has been over ten years now since we were first promised comprehensive immigration reform. That is a sum of two presidents, five congresses, and a generation of Democratic and Republic champions who have not succeeded in putting this immigration crisis to bed. The intent of mending the immigration crisis is a must but we also need to agree on a political level to create such law.
On September 18, 2012, the Republican Party introduced an Immigration Reform known as the STEM Jobs Act (H.R. 6429). The STEM Jobs Act declares to attract highly skilled immigrants and foreign students who graduate with computer science, technology, engineering, and math degrees to contribute to the American economy.
According to logistics, scarcely 5% of immigrants are granted visa based on their skills and education. Since these immigrants are forced onto the waiting list for years before getting their green cards, they usually resign and end up working for another global company. America cannot afford to lose valuable workers off to our international competitors. With STEM Jobs Act (H.R. 6429), employers can easily filly up the empty positions in the companies with such skilled and educated foreign graduates and on the other hand, create more jobs and gradually cause growth in the economy.
The STEM Jobs Act would produce up to 55,000 green cards a year to foreign graduates of U.S. universities with STEM degrees while completely eradicating the Diversity Visa Lottery Program. It is very important to understand that all job opportunities in the United States will first be handed to U.S. workers and then any foreign nationals interested. The STEM Jobs Act shields the rights of the American students and workers who are already in the STEM fields and hence, all STEM field will be first offered to U.S. workers and students; and then secondarily to any qualified foreign nationals interested in the position.
However, this reform does not aid towards the immigration crises faced by the Hispanics and others living illegally in the United States. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the nation’s largest Latino organizations proposed principles on the new Immigration Reform that is not only committed to the advancement of the U.S. economy but also establishes a way for citizenship for the undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Congressional Hispanic Caucus shows full commitment towards the new Immigration reform and has proposed that the following requirements be added to the new legislation: (a) All undocumented individuals currently in the U.S. may obtain permanent residence and eventually citizenship provided they pay taxes to contribute to the U.S. economy, attain basic knowledge of English and U.S. history and civics, and complete a secure background check and submit fingerprints. (b) Protection of unity that encourages bi-national families and same sex couples by keeping their spouses, parents and children together. (c) Attracting investors, innovators, and skilled professionals including (STEM) majors, to advance the growth of our economy (d) Supporting DREAMers and DACA Program, for those who have been in the country since a young age, to be eligible for citizenship. (e) Pathway for agricultural workers to be eligible for citizenship (f) End to the exploitation of U.S. and immigrant workers by providing sufficient, safe and legal avenues for foreign workers to fill legitimate gaps in our workforce, with full labor rights, protection from discrimination, and a route to permanency that lifts up wages and working conditions for both native and foreign-born workers. (g) Strong enforcement that guards our borders and fosters commerce by punishing serious criminals and national threats while promoting safe and legitimate migrating of people and goods at ports of entry. (h) Improving Employment Verification System to ensure that all workers are employed under the laws and regulation to prevent unlawful employment. (i) All workers must pay fare share of taxes and bear responsibilities as all the Americans do.
The congressional Hispanic Caucus believes that Immigration laws must be equally consistent to our interests and values of both Americans and immigrants. This Immigration Reform has been waited upon for a long time and Latinos believe that it is most certainly time for action now.
The Obama Administration opposes such reform as it eliminates Diversity Visa Program which is held at importance for individuals from certain countries with less opportunities of immigration to the United States. This legislation also does not support the long term goals of the President in regards to Immigration Reform. The Obama Administration would like to provide legislation that attracts and retains highly skilled immigrants to advance the economy but cannot neglect other immigration crises such as road to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.
This term, President Obama has stepped up and committed unparallel resources to border enforcement and diminishing the illegal traffic both ways. The President is always supporting a reform that grounds the principle of responsibility by holding account of employers who exploit undocumented workers while destabilize U.S. workers and the undocumented workers who have maintained a good standing to admit that they broke the law and must pay taxes and a penalty. Undocumented workers must also learn English and hold a clean record with law prior to earning their citizenship. This sort of comprehensive reform is very essential for our nation’s economic stability and growth.