The Problem with Looking at Senate Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill as a Template for the House

Lincoln Heights, Los AngelesI wanted to write a brief response to all that has been happening in the “immigration reform” movement happening legislatively and via non-profits that seem all to willing to act as marketers of legislation in order to keep their cash flow and connection the the idea of a “victory” to preserve their relationship with Washington D.C. and other powers that be.

The problem with looking at the Senate bill as the template the House of Representatives should work from is that it assumes that the Senate bill is a comprehensive solution. Even before the addition of the Corker Hoeven amendment that puts billions of dollars for “boots on the ground” and surveillance technology on the already militarized Mexico U.S. border, the Senate bill ties eventual access to citizenship on security triggers. The much touted path to citizenship for the 11 million individuals without papers is a myth. Because of this and because of the additional hurdles for people to legalize, including exorbitant fees, waiting periods, and denial of access to safety net programs including social security that many immigrants have already paid into, more and more immigrant based organizations and immigrants have come out rejecting the Senate bill and the piecemeal approach the House is set on taking. While the Obama administration continues to take the Spanish language airwaves and social media pushing reform and its benefits, the President and his mouthpieces, including Cecilia Munoz, continue to blatantly lie, saying that administrative relief is outside of executive purview. In the meantime, deportations and detentions, already at record highs, continue. The only communities that benefit from the reform on the table are defense contractors and private prison corporations with ties to the Senate Gang of Eight, including Senator “Biometric Chuck” Schumer. While the focus is how reform, any reform, would help Republicans gain clout with the Latino community, lost in the discussion is how the Democrats were and continue to be all too willing to create and sell a bill that sets up not just immigrants but all people on both side of the border to become further victimized by a surveillance state and militarization that will lead to more lives lost, either as human fodder for the prison industrial complex or as dead bodies as migrants continue to exercise their human right to movement for economic and personal reasons tied to the global economy.

I have been blessed with working more closely with immigrants and organizations in the Los Angeles area who are not buying what the government and so-called advocacy organizations are selling. They can and have read the fine print and between the lines in the waves of emails, tweets, Facebook statuses and television appearances that claim to speak to them in their languages. Immigrants are not willing to swallow a poison pill in the name of maintaining alleged political clout and power. Immigrants are not willing to be used as the face of capitalist benefit while their bodies are detained, deported, monitored, raped, assaulted and killed. This “movement” is not what they have fought for. They will continue to fight so that their human rights to live, eat, work, raise families with dignity are respected. No law, especially no bill currently on the table does that. They know that. I know that. We should all know that.

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One comment on “The Problem with Looking at Senate Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill as a Template for the House
  1. What everyone can agree on is that the current immigration system is flawed. That is why reform is essential. However, it appears that it will be stuck in the House for quite some time which means that the flawed system continues to affect people’s lives.

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