Embracing Our Immigrants Means Embracing Our Nation – 6/26/11

27 Jun

Dream Act CapitalLast Wednesday, Senate Democrats, led by Dick Durbin (D-Ill), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), introduced a comprehensive immigration bill that combines border security with a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and includes the DREAM Act bill. It proposes an alternative to E-verify as an employment verification system. In addition, as Care2 reports, the bill advocates for LGBT inclusive immigration by including the United American Families Act (UAFA) that would allow U.S. citizens to sponsor their foreign-born same-sex partners for citizenship.

This is not only a great opportunity for comprehensive immigration reform, but also a chance to embrace and be proud of our immigrants who work so hard day in, day out and whom we need and depend on to make our society better. Individuals do not just live in isolation from others. We are part of an intricately connected web and the people, institutions, and laws that surround us are critical to our healthy development and well-being – as a nation.

Comprehensive immigration reform is not just about “fixing” our broken immigration system or figuring out what to do about “those people.” It’s about recognizing that, as a society, we need each other to improve our nation. If we marginalize and exploit certain groups, like undocumented immigrants, it affects all of us and it is a reflection of our society. After all, the United States is not made up of one race or class or community. In fact, most of us represent more than race or ethnicity or have close friends or partners who do reflect that diversity. Let’s push for immigration reform because it’s the just and fair thing for our immigrants who are an integral part of our nation. It will make us a better and healthier society.

Related News:

South Carolina Lawmakers Pass Anti-Immigration Bill, Washington Post, June 21, 2011

South Carolina joins other “show-me-your-papers” states and passes a bill that requires police to check immigration status of “suspects” and requires businesses to check employees through the federal online system (E-verify).

Federal Judge Hears Arguments on Georgia’s Anti-Immigrant Law, Colorlines, June 22, 2011

Civil and immigrant rights group sue Georgia over its recent anti-immigration law. Some of their arguments include that: state action is not appropriate because this falls under federal government authority; the bill violates the Fourth Amendment; and it creates new state crimes because making it a crime to transport or employ undocumented immigrants encourages them to present false papers. A decision is expected by July 1st.

My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant, New York Magazine, June 22, 2011

Award-winning writer and former Washington Post Reporter, Jose Antonio Vargas, shares his touching story as an undocumented immigrant in this essay. He notes that while he has “lived the American dream,” he is still “an undocumented immigrant. And that means living a different kind of reality. It means going about my day in fear of being found out.”

Editorial: Changes to Secure Communities are for the better, New York Times, June 23, 2011

Facing scrutiny and complaints over critical flaws in the Secure Communities program, the director John Morton makes some changes that represent “a move in the right direction,” according to the New York Times. He will “drop cases against victims of crimes and students brought to the U.S. illegally as children and instead focus deportation efforts on violent criminals who pose a risk to communities.”

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