Friday, January 31, 2014

US House Forgets Immigrants, Stresses Division Of Families

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DENVER, CO— On Thursday, the House Majority released a long-awaited set of principles that vaguely outlined their vision for immigration reform after months of inaction. The one-pager prioritizes border security and interior enforcement while it disregards the humanity of immigrants and the need for immigration reform that keeps families together. 

Members of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition Issued the following statements:
“In our communities we see and serve a lot of families that through their family ties are fixing their immigration status.  We need their principles and future legislation to encourage family reunification rather than allowing for business to decide who immigrates to this nation and who doesn’t.

These “Principles” are not even a blueprint for real immigration reform, and if made into legislation they would exacerbate family separation,”  said Lizeth Chacón, an organizer with Rights for All People in Aurora.  “If the house majority doesn’t take action towards a more humane approach to immigration, we will continue to mobilize and we will escalate our civic engagement of immigrant and Latino communities, until we see real legislation that represents the will of our community.”

“Speaking only in terms of employment-based immigration leaves families, a crucial part of all of our communities, out of the conversations.  Keeping our families together is a priority that we refuse to abandon,”  said Ricardo Pérez, Executive director of the Hispanic Affairs Project in Western Colorado.  “The principles focus on enforcement first: the border, interior enforcement, e-verify, and visa entry-exit systems. It then looks to create a path to status and citizenship for youth while making a path for other undocumented folks to live and work in the US without a ‘special path to citizenship’ and it’s unclear what that would look like. It then aims to radically alter our immigration system to one focused solely on employment-based immigration.”

“Principles and speeches do not ensure ways for our  families to stay together and they do not change the fundamental flaws in our current system. We need the House Majority to take the next step and turn those principles into legislation that takes into account the humanity of our communities,”  said Jose Muñoz, a leader from Amanecer in Ft. Morgan. “Their need to appeal to the Latino and immigrant voters in an election year might have pushed them to work on these principles, but so long as they don’t represent our communities, we will continue to mobilize towards a real immigration reform.”

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration continues to build the U.S. record for the largest number of persons deported in the history of the U.S.  Because Congress refuses to act, many feel the solution is for an executive order issued by the president of the United States halting all deportation.  The order is necessary because authorities have refused to follow requirements of prior presidential memorandums, including the Morton memorandum.  However, such an order would provide temporary relief as it would depend upon each new president to enforce it.  Also, it would leave immigrants without rights and without recourse against a system which is bent on continuing the division of families, the interruption of the labor pool and the continuation of a system that should have been over hauled long ago because of it's inability to recognize the contributions of people who contribute to the tax base and the future of America.  

Article source, The Colorado Immigration Rights Coalition

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