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  • Edición impresa de Noviembre 18, 2014

Immigration, or National Budget?

Once more the fate of the lives of millions of individuals and their families is a token in a larger political play. The elections have rendered results and the pawns on the negotiating table are the immigration overhaul promised by the Obama administration versus the Republican rejection of the matter and possible retaliation of shutting down government by not approving next year’s federal budget.

President Obama announced his intention to extend an executive order that would give millions of undocumented people the opportunity to legalize their current status.

The administrative order, among other things, would do the following:

Expand ‘deferred action’ for young immigrants to include anyone who entered before 16 years of age, and the cut off date would go from 2007 to Jan 1, 2010

Expand ‘deferred action’ for parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. This would cover up to 4.5 million undocumented immigrants.

End “Secure Communities’ and start a new program. Up to now data taken from FBI’s fingerprinting procedures can be used to deport thousands of ‘criminal aliens’. The new plan with change for another yet unspecified program.

Expand high tech visas.

Strengthen border security

Expand provisional waivers to spouses and children of legal permanent residents.

Promote the naturalization process.

Immigrants and their advocates have looked at these and other possible provisions while also looking at the Republican reaction.

If Obama signs a comprehensive immigration order, Republicans have threatened to shut down government by not approving the budget for next year’s federal expenditure which should be approved before December 12.

But not only these interests are in play as immigration reform is discussed. On November 14, an article from the New York Times; “The Big Money Behind the Push for an Immigration Overhaul’ throws light on other participating parties in the immigration discussion.

According to the article;” A vital part of that expansion has involved money: major donations from some of the nation’s wealthiest liberal foundations, including the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Open Society Foundations of the financier George Soros, and the Atlantic Philanthropies. Over the past decade those donors have invested more than $300 million in immigrant organizations, including many fighting for a pathway to citizenship for immigrants here illegally.” and adds:” The philanthropies focused on a dozen regional immigrant rights organizations that make up the backbone of the movement. They also supported Latino service organizations like NCLR, also known as the National Council of La Raza, and legal groups like the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or Maldef, and the National Immigration Law Center.

It is already known that most Chambers of Commerce and even unions are in favor of an immigration reform. It is clear that the workers are needed and they bring a lot not only in terms of work, but also of added tax income and sales.

Is that the reason why big ‘philanthropies’ are behind the push for the reform?

The following days and weeks will be very interesting to watch. Let us hope that the lives of many immigrants are not negatively affected by those only interested in their own political parties.

One more thing the article said:” Young immigrants who call themselves Dreamers agitated for faster change. With little more than pocket money, students staged protests in 2012 that prodded Mr. Obama to take his first major executive action on immigration, a program that has given reprieves from deportation to more than 580,000 Dreamers.

“We did it with nothing, and we won,” said Cristina Jiménez, managing director of United We Dream, one group that led that crusade. “It was a powerful feeling.”

The young people led a cause that moved the entire country and they continue discern, in the midst of all possibilities, what is best for them and their families.

During the 1960’s young people everywhere protested and moved to change the existing policies in their respective countries. Their work motivated and supported the work of others in different nations. Currently, the voice of young people in Ayotzinapa, Mexico; U.S. China, are calling us to new ways of looking at issues and people as they look for real solutions.

 


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