As U.S. Immigration Deal Emerges, Foreign Born Advocates Alarmed
(CLEVELAND, Ohio – January 31, 2014) The White House says, “America’s immigration system is broken. Too many employers game the system by hiring undocumented workers and there are 11 million people living in the shadows. Neither is good for the economy or the country.” Is Obama ready to deal with the Republicans?
The President has indicated that he may be ready to accept immigration legislation that is more acceptable to the G.O.P. In other words, not including a way for those in the country illegally toward citizenship.
So what does this mean?
Foreign born immigration lawyer Margaret W. Wong, decades-long proponent of legislation that makes being foreign born in the nation without proper documentation not a crime, but an opportunity to move toward citizenship, says, “This is a step in the right direction, but we still have an unresolved problem. These people are valuable to the U.S. They are critical to the engine of our economy. We cannot turn our back on them. We must welcome them, and move forward.”
The President is willing to take baby steps now. Will massive deportations continue?
Congressman, Luis V. Gutiérrez, Democrat of Illinois, said yesterday, “I am concerned with stopping the deportations, not erecting any new barriers to applying for citizenship, protecting the rights of working people, be they immigrants or U.S. born, and making sure we don't turn our local police into enemies of immigrants in our communities. There is a long way to go and we all need to carefully evaluate actual legislation, but the principles are a first step.”
The U.S. Senate has released a very narrow statement, that its plan permits permanent status known as a green card in ten years, citizenship three years later, and assuming certain requirements are met.
House Republicans, while they support DREAM Act for youth, say, regarding the 10 million undocumented foreign born, there’ll be “no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws.”
Ms. Wong retorts, “Immigration is the foundation of this country. Yes, we have holes in our borders large enough for masses of people to make their way through, but they’re coming here to work, and they’re contributing to make this country great. We can’t turn our backs, just calling them criminals. We must embrace them. And we must decide how to embrace future immigrants, legal and otherwise.”