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  • Edición impresa de Abril 16, 2013


The Guessing Game

I have several friends who are waiting for the new immigration reform that is been drawn up in Congress. I imagine that many of the readers also know a Flor, Pedro, Tomas, or ______, who arrived here from Mexico, Honduras, ________. We all know that they are real people who are going to be impacted by whatever decisions are made in Washington.

Thousands of people converged in Washington the week before demanding a solution to the migratory situation that has created plenty of unfair and sometimes mortal results to families that daily live under the fear that one of their members could be deported.

The rally in Washington called for a path to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants in the country. They also asked Congress to move swiftly on the matter.

So far there have been bit and pieces of ‘news’ filtered from those in charge of drawing up the bill.

Some of the affirmation have been that: A major goal of the bill is to put immigrants who have been living in the country illegally at “the back of the line” behind immigrants who made every effort to follow the rules, so that no one here illegally would become legal residents or citizens until those already in the system have the chance to do so. I wonder where my friend Pedro will be in the line.

Another provision would give immigrants who had been here illegally a provisional legal status in which they would remain for at least 10 years. They could work legally and travel, but they would not become permanent residents.

My question is what is going to happen to people who have been on TPS (Temporary Protected Status). People from Central America have had such status for over 14 years without ever becoming residents or having the opportunity to be citizens. Or the young people who recently have acquired DACA, the opportunity given by the Obama administration for young undocumented people to have permission to work and have a drivers license. This is valid for only two years, and the bearers do not know if they will have an endless limbo in this status like the holders of TPS.

The other issue that has appeared is that there will be a change of focus from family unit visas to merit based visas. That is that only the workers needed in the country will be allowed to come. As some journalists have said: At the crux of the legislation is an effort to bridge the gap between Democrats, who strongly support and are seeking to protect family immigration, and Republicans, who are eager to move immigration toward a system based on work skills that foreigners bring to the United States.

Apparently the country has moved from: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”, to “give me the workers who will work for less and be sent back when no longer needed”

Many religious leaders and activists have been working alongside the undocumented immigrants and their families to reach an agreement that will benefit the people. A watchful eye has to be on what kind of conditions are going to be extended and how the real individuals like Flor and Tomas and their families will impacted by them.




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