Letters to the Editor: Immigration
February 26, 2013
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Amnesty will not solve illegal immigration
In his January speech in Las Vegas, President Barack Obama discussed his idea for comprehensive immigration reform. In his speech, the president acknowledged that there is a difference between legal and illegal immigration. Then he agreed that immigrants who crossed the border into this country without proper documentation did, in fact, break our nation’s laws. Immediately after, Obama recommended granting illegal immigrants, who broke the law, amnesty. I agree with the president; we need comprehensive illegal immigration reform. However, I don’t believe amnesty is the answer.
Why is our government in such a rush to grant undocumented immigrants amnesty?
It is the job of Congress to propose legislation that protects the American people. The current proposals made by Obama and the so-called Senate Eight are not beneficial for the American people. These proposals have so far neglected the discussion of how amnesty will impact the millions of unemployed and low-income Americans. These proposals will extend citizenship to more than 11 million illegal immigrants. Eleven million new competitors to the work force will make it harder for you to find a job when you graduate.
As the Hispanic population increases and becomes a larger part of the voting block, both political parties are eager to court this group of voters. This is clearly a political move by the democrats as a way of securing the Hispanic vote. Republican representatives working on the comprehensive immigration bill in the Senate are desperately attempting to gain a slice of the Latino vote. Do not be fooled: their stance does not represent the views of the American people.
Elizabeth Gamboa is a senior history major and the president of Long Beach State College Republicans.
Neither party proposal is perfect
No one understands demographics better than former governor Mitt Romney and the republicans who saw the full effect of alienating Latinos in this previous November election. As a wake-up call, this event helped spur a competition of two immigration reforms between republicans and democrats. Though they are both a step in the right direction, the reality is neither proposal will really benefit illegal U.S residents.
The Gang of Eight’s proposal suggests a “probationary legal status” for undocumented immigrants but does not allow them to apply for permanent legal status until the border is secured: in other words, indefinitely.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is completely reasonable in arguing that there needs to be a “respect for the rule of law and respect for those waiting to enter this country legally.” Furthermore, Congress needs to stop making promises if the current ones can’t be kept.
Many of the illegal immigrants in the country have come here for the same reason as those coming legally: survival. The difference is their lack of resources needed to wait a year or two to apply for naturalization.
There is nothing wrong with the process to regulate the people coming into this country. The truth is there are people taking advantage of the system. The problem lies in how expensive, impossible and time consuming it has become.
Illegal immigrants don’t come with the intention of breaking the law. They do not want to be smuggled in a trunk, to cross a desert or to climb a high fence to put food on their tables.
The main criticism with the Gang of Eight proposal is the precise language as to when these individuals will ever be able to attain permanent legal status, if at all.
Placing these illegal immigrants in limbo will result in them being deported before being granted full citizenship rights.
However, Obama’s proposal might be even worse for illegal immigrants.
While his proposal will allow 11 million undocumented immigrants amnesty, it inadvertently places them behind regular citizens in the job search. It leads to the same problem: a struggle for income.
Obama’s plan does include details including the specificity of the payment of fines and criminal background checks. With more specificity, the Gang of Eight’s proposal would have a better chance as opposed to Obama’s proposal.
The reality is that having “status” in this country means nothing if it is simply a label with no benefits. Quite frankly, illegal immigrants’ current position at least allows them to make money.
Both sides are trying to pull in Latino support, but assuming that the Latinos will overlook the long-term benefits of their reform, proposals could easily damage both parties in the next election.
Nayeli Carillo is a senior journalism major and a contributing writer for the Daily 49er.
Obama must stick to his proposed plan
Elizabeth Chalme, Vanessa Gonzales, Karina Quintero, Angela Ruiz and Miriam Vitela
You talk a big game, President Barack Obama, and while we agree with your stance when it comes to immigration reform, we have difficulty accepting that change will truly occur.
Obama, you spoke to the Latino community and made promises for immigration reform. You brought hope to the hopeless and instilled confidence in the Latino people for a legal future. You even got the attention of some of our parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. We saw the hope in their eyes that one day they’d become citizens.
It is because of this hope that we, U.S. citizens, voted for you in 2008. However, after watching your most recent State of the Union address, you left both us and our family members disappointed. Two years in a row you have stated that you will “sign it right away,” referring to immigration reform laws. Yet, no change has occurred and no laws have been signed. It is hard to believe that a comprehensive immigration reform will be passed when all focus is on securing borders, rather than attempting to enact a plan that will provide undocumented immigrants the same rights that U.S. citizens take for granted.
Obama, you recently spoke eloquently regarding students who are allowed to study in the U.S. but who unfortunately must return to their native countries once their student visas expire. It’s true. This policy makes no sense. Why not allow bright, inspired and dedicated students to remain in the U.S. and contribute to our economy?
If your immigration reform plans to provide incentives to those foreign-born educated entrepreneurs by giving them speedier, more accessible immigration statuses to stimulate our economy, why not start looking at the immigrant community in our country who work hard to obtain an education and who dream only to have a second chance to be first-class citizens?
thermore, why not allow all undocumented immigrants who are committed to contributing to our economy the opportunity to gain legal citizenship in a speedy and less expensive manner?
These folks are doing jobs that are crucial to our society, like harvesting our food, cleaning our homes and constructing our buildings. But how are they rewarded or acknowledged?
There are many intelligent, bright and successful individuals waiting for the opportunity to contribute to our society. We stand behind them, Obama, pleading with you to make good on your promises.
Elizabeth Chalme, Vanessa Gonzales, Karina Quintero, Angela Ruiz and Miriam Vitela are graduate social work students and contributing writers for the Daily 49er.
The trouble with immigration programs
Alexis Nava Teodoro
My name is Alexis Nava Teodoro, and I am part of an undocumented family.
Since my family has been in the U.S., we have always been separated due to inhumane immigration enforcement programs. As I watched President Barack Obama give his speech on immigration, I grew frustrated that people agree about needing more enforcement programs to expand without considering what millions of families, like mine, experience on a daily basis.
As a child, I was separated from my mother for many years. My sisters and I were sent to live with my grandmother in MichoacÃ¡n, Mexico to protect us from ending up in the foster care system in case immigration officers ever deported my mother.
My mother made the right decision, because it was not long before immigration officers raided her employer and my mother was deported. Her only crime was working hard to achieve the so-called “American Dream” she wanted for herself and for her children. I remember I could never understand why I couldn’t be with my mom. At the age of 10, we reunited in Santa Ana, Calif.
However, the deportations did not stop there. I am 25 now, and there is a long list of deportations within my family. Several of my uncles, both my godparents and one of my cousins have been deported. My older sister went as far as self-deportation after realizing the hardships and limitations she had in this country for being an undocumented worker. I have never known what it’s like to have a complete and united family.
Enforcement programs like the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 287(g) allow local law enforcement to have the power to detain individuals and ask for their “papers.” Secure Communities is an information-sharing program between local law enforcement and federal agencies for the purpose of identifying “criminal undocumented immigrants.” Both of these programs have created an oppressive environment where individuals are deemed criminals, separated, and even worse, leaving a generation of children who will never forget the scars of being separated from their parents.
Countless studies, including the Migration Policy Institutes’s “Delegation and Divergence – A Study of 287(g) State and Local Immigration Enforcement,” have found that only 50 percent of undocumented immigrants who are deported nationally through this policy have committed violent felony crimes. The other half has been charged with non-violent misdemeanors, simple traffic offenses or simply being undocumented. Also, the report “Misplaced Priorities: The Failure of Secure Communities in Los Angeles County” published by the UC Irvine Law School, found that this program continues to lead in the deportation of people who have no criminal convictions or who are victims of crime themselves.
Thus more families are separated, more children are sent to the foster care system and more lives are lost.
I hope the struggles of my family and the millions of other families like mine serve as evidence that 287(g) and Secure Communities are not working. The immediate cancellation of these policies is imperative. Politicians should include this in their immigration proposals.
Alexis Nava Teodoro is a Chicano studies and economics double major and a contributing writer for the Daily 49er.