Positions on the immigration bills:
People for the American Way
But millions of Americans have taken to the streets in recent weeks to say "no" to Frist and his right-wing base. We need comprehensive immigration reform, not a rehashing of the enforcement-only policies that have failed us for the past twenty years!
Call upon your senators now to support the Judiciary Committee's comprehensive immigration reform proposal that includes a path to earned citizenship, an accelerated family reunification program, and a guest worker program!
The Catholic Church
This bill (Senate Judiciary) was thoughtfully crafted to address the ills of the current immigration system and provides a comprehensive approach to them, including the creation of legal avenues for family and employment-based immigration and an earned legalization program to address the millions of undocumented living in the shadows of our society.
Although some have derided this bill as providing “amnesty,” it does not. To qualify for the earned legalization program, the Judiciary Committee’s bill requires careful background checks and screening to determine eligibility; it requires applicants to pay a fine; and it requires eligible applicants to get in line behind others who are awaiting visas.
A problem area is guest workers.
Both the Kennedy-Mc Cain approach ( the Judiciary bill) and the Ag Jobs bill (sponsored by the U.F.W. of United for Change) includes guest workers.
They have reasonable rules trying to make a guest worker system viable.
The advantage is this may be the only way to legalize the 11 million
The militant position is to demand legalization now. In the real
world, that is not going to fly.
The bill just passed by the Senate Judiciary committee provides for a six year "guest worker" program. After six years, and paying a fine,
such workers would be allowed to apply for Permanent Residence status.
But, Guest worker programs have in the past increased exploitation of workers.
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
• Past and current guest worker or bracero programs have been rife with abuses and exploitation; they divide families and violate the workers’ labor and human rights.
• Undocumented immigrant workers and their families deserve a just and fair legalization program. Any immigration reform must guarantee our civil, labor and human rights and make the border safe for communities and migrants.
• The Specter bill and H.R. 4437 will continue pouring billions into a failed strategy and guarantee that migrant deaths continue to mount. Since 1994, U.S. border control and immigration enforcement has deliberately pushed migrants to cross through the most dangerous desert and mountainous regions where they risk their lives. According to a study by the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California, the U.S. border control strategy has only caused more migrant deaths and failed to stem unauthorized border crossings. More than 4,000 migrant deaths have been recorded over the last ten years.
• The Specter bill provides a “report and deport” program: undocumented immigrants who have lived and worked in the U.S. as of January 2004 may qualify for a “conditional work authorization,” keeping them in their undocumented immigration status and deportable.
They must register with the Dept. of Homeland Security and plead “guilty” to being in the U.S. unlawfully. Those who don’t report or don’t qualify can be deported. This status can last indefinitely, and sets up these vulnerable immigrant workers as “second class” members of our society.
We need to see if this last provision remains in the Judiciary Committee report.
I suspect it does. They allowed most of the enforcement provisions.
We need a solution, not a headline. We want effective reforms of the nation’s immigration laws, not shortsighted measures that appear tough on immigration but do not resolve the underlying problems. Only a comprehensive approach that provides a path to citizenship for current undocumented immigrants, creates new legal channels for future flows of needed immigrants, reduces family immigration backlogs, and protects worker rights will reduce undocumented immigration and bring order to our immigration system. H.R. 4437 does not take us down the path of real immigration reform.