La Prensa América presents:

Immigration reform: 2013 brought frustration


By Eduardo Stanley

Fasting for immigration reform was something Maya Medina, of Chula Vista, had to do in November and Jennifer Chung Klam brought to us her story. Medina who had an inner drive to make a difference also had her grandfather, Eliosa Medina, labor and immigration reformer to support her.  Picutured top row (left to right): S.J. Jung; Eliseo Medina; Gloria Steinem; Mary Grillo; Cristian Avila; Shoshanah Kay; Rev. Michael Livingston. Second row (left to right): Alesa MacKool; Maya Medina; Elena Medina; Tom Weis; Sang Hyug Jung; Dae Joong (D.J.) Yoong. Third row: Lupita Medina
Fasting for immigration reform was something Maya Medina, of Chula Vista, had to do in November and Jennifer Chung Klam brought to us her story. Medina who had an inner drive to make a difference also had her grandfather, Eliosa Medina, labor and immigration reformer to support her.
Picutured top row (left to right): S.J. Jung; Eliseo Medina; Gloria Steinem; Mary Grillo; Cristian Avila; Shoshanah Kay; Rev. Michael Livingston. Second row (left to right): Alesa MacKool; Maya Medina; Elena Medina; Tom Weis; Sang Hyug Jung; Dae Joong (D.J.) Yoong. Third row: Lupita Medina

The much announced immigration reform didn’t happen during 2013. But many things happened around the issue and the pressure toward a change in the existing law was intense —yet worthless due to the Republican refusal to pass a bill in this regard. However, Obama and Democrats are not innocents about this political and legislative impasse since they controlled the issue, marginalizing from the discussion about immigration reform activists and community based organizations involved in the 2006 and 2007 immigrant’s mobilizations.

Can 2014 be the year of the immigration reform? If so, what type of reform? The “model,” based on the recently approved bill on the Senate would leave millions out of the loop and will militarize the US-Mexico border. Yet they call it “comprehensive” reform bill.

Lets take a look on the highlights surrounding the immigration issue that took place in the last 12 months.

* * * *

April. National Rally for Citizenship. Thousands of people marched in some US cities, mainly in Washington, D.C., in support for an immigration reform. It wasn’t like in 2006 and 2007 because this time it was an organized event from “the top” by several unions and organizations.

One week later, eight senators, four from each party, known as the “Gang of Eight,” introduced a bill in which contemplates a path to citizenship after a 13 years waiting period of time.

June. Three “Dreamers” hugged their deported mothers through the fence along the Mexico-USA border. The campaign, “Operation Butterfly,” was organized to complain against the high levels of deportations orchestrated by the Obama Administration: an average of 400,000 per year.

June 27, US Senate passed the immigration bill introduced in April by the “Gang of Eight” by a big margin: 68 to 32, with all Democrats and 14 Republicans voting yes.

Even though the bill establishes a “path to citizenship,” those interested would have to wait 13 years to apply for the citizenship. Also establishes fines for those undocumented applicants, and the need to have a job with a minimum salary, maintain “good moral character,” and more limitations. During those 13 years, applicants would get a “temporarily” status, subject of control by authorities. The bill also contemplates an almost 10 billion budget increase for enforcement along the US-Mexico border, something that generated strong criticism from community based organizations of the area.

July. Three “Dreamers” crossed the border into Mexico with the goal to come back into USA and bring with them four other who were deported recently. Another group of undocumented immigrants crossed the Texas-Mexico border and asked humanitarian parol. Some were accepted, a few deported.

August. Civil disobedience in Washington, D.C., where activists try to pressure Republicans in the House to pass a similar Senate bill on immigration —which they refused to do.

All summer activists participated in several similar actions. Dozen got arrested.

October. California will provide drivers licenses for undocumented, and passed also the TRUST Act, which limits deportations of non-violent immigrants.

Currently, 11 states — California, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, Maryland, Vermont, Colorado, Connecticut, and the District of Columbia, provide drivers licenses to those without residence.

March – November. Local and state anti-immigrant laws blocked. In Arizona, the Ninth Circuit of Appeals upheld a previous court judgement on a key provision of the state’s anti-immigrant law which would have made it illegal to give rides or provide shelter to undocumented immigrants.

Alabama passed the nation’s strictest immigration law in 2011. Key provisions of HB 56 designed to encourage racial profiling and make immigrants’ daily lives difficult to impossible, have been permanently blocked.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit struck down a Texas town’s ordinance that prohibited landlords from renting to undocumented residents.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia also ruled that anti-immigration city ordinances in Hazleton, PA, infringed on federal immigration policies and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals similarly issued decisions against an anti-immigration South Carolina law that would have among other violations of federal immigration policies, criminalized undocumented immigrants seeking “shelter.”

November. “Fast for Families.” In Washington, three immigration reform activists started a fast that lasted 22 days to stress the urgency of passing immigration reform. They received Obama’s visit at the tent.

November 25. A “Dream-er” interrupts Obama speech in San Francisco questioning the president for his refusal to stop de massive deportations.

One comment on “Immigration reform: 2013 brought frustration

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Email Newsletter

Loading

LPSD Podcasts

Latest Tweets