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  • Edición impresa de Mayo 21, 2013

 

2. Access to Health Care for those who enter the process of Immigration reform must be made accessible and affordable in a Comprehensive Immigration Reform. How is an immigration reform that leaves the newly documented workers without access to health care and family support for years going to make a society without second-class citizens?

When the mother or father of an American citizen has to watch the breadwinner of the family get sick and not receive proper medical attention. Who is going to bring the paycheck home?

With so many bankruptcies in the US related to lack of proper health care, can we afford to expose so many families to this unfair treatment?

At a workplace there will be workers side by side, doing the same chores and responsibilities without the same benefits under the law. A Comprehensive Immigration Reform has to address the issues that create a society with second-class citizens. Every family in the US must have access to proper health care. Immigrant families are ready to help fund and participate in this valuable objective. It is the responsibility of policy makers to provide legislation that gives families responsibilities as well as rights. Democracy stems from having equal rights for all under the law. Anything less will leads to a cycle of injustice that will fuel over the years a feeling of resentment in immigrant communities.

3. A path to future immigration that is clear, friendly and timely must be laid out for the future in Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Immigrant families in the 21st Century maintain deep roots in their countries of origin. The path for US citizens to obtain visas for their loved ones for both visits and permanent immigration have to become accessible as a right of immigrant families to maintain and nurture family ties. The attitude of “reform, but close the door behind” goes against the migration patterns of the 21st Century. For some a tía (aunt) or an “abuelo” (grandfather) are as close to the family as a sibling. As a country we cannot continue to tear into the fabric of our communities. Families belong together and friends have to be able to visit; these are basic concepts. Our immigration system must not be restrictive for travel. Immigration enforcement has to focus on worker verification programs and border security, not on making the process to obtain visas lengthy, costly and almost impossible (like it is today).

We cannot accept that for a child or a spouse of a US citizen to obtain a visa, it is a requirement to travel to Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, one of the most dangerous cities in the world, to request it. US citizens with a hope of receiving a Visa for their loved ones, have to travel with their families on an expensive trip that includes travel, hotel, lawyers, fees to a city that has constant travel warnings by the US Department of State for being too dangerous. This treatment of US families without concern for their safety or economy is something that has to stay in the past.

4. A Comprehensive Immigration Reform has to address the issues of a widely diverse immigrant population in the United States. Immigration Reform is not a Latino issue exclusively. There has been considerable work from immigration associations from around the world. Undocumented Asians in the United States alone account for more than 1.2 million.

Immigrants in the US come from very diverse countries with completely different backgrounds and objectives. The US has benefited by the constant energy of immigrants in the last years.

It is necessary to address the needs of agricultural, industrial and construction workers. Many immigrants are small business owners working hard in their communities to make a future for their families.

Corporations have voiced their needs to obtain Visas for high skill workers from around the world.

The US is a large country with very different situations. We have seasonal workers harvesting oysters in Louisiana and factory workers in thousands of cities in the Midwest, technical workers in Silicon Valley in California and business owners in Queens, NY.

Special attention must be paid to vulnerable groups to receive fair treatment under Immigration Reform. How are domestic workers and caregivers going to be included?

To have an inclusive immigration reform we must listen to all the voices. If we want as many to come out of the shadows as possible, attention has to be paid to the full range of immigrant issues.

For the country to begin healing, these issues will need to be addressed. If they are not covered in this upcoming legislature, they will be covered down the road. Millions of Latinos in the US will not continue to watch their families be criminalized, live without health care or be marginalized.

An opportunity rises for our society to make amends and look to the future with so many common goals. Immigrant families are already part of the fabric of life in the US. Anyone that cannot see this has not stepped into a public school or a city park or an industrial park in many years.

Our families are ready to keep contributing to life in the US. Let’s not mark the path to Immigration Reform with roadblocks to their happiness.

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