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At Least This: CIR-ASAP – the First Step to Immigration Reform

At Least This:  CIR-ASAP – the First Step to Immigration Reform

On Tuesday, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (CIR-ASAP). Rep. Gutierrez said that the bill represents “the final push for comprehensive immigration reform,” as Khalil Abdullah reports for New America Media. Seth Hoy at AlterNet breaks down some of the bill’s key points, which include a border security provisions, family unification, a legalization component, and improved detention conditions.

The legislation is an encouraging first step forward on the path to immigration reform. But many hurdles must be overcome before an immigration bill from the House or Senate becomes law, especially in today’s tense political environment. Outright antagonism from the nativist lobby or the far right will be no small part of the challenge, no matter how concessionary the legislation is to Republicans.

In the absence of nationally legislated reform, many border states like Texas are attempting to fill in the gap. One of these cases is a town called Del Rio, as Melissa del Bosque reports for the Texas Observer. Del Rio’s new school superintendent, Kelt Cooper, has “an overarching concern about Mexican nonresidents attending [U.S.] public schools.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, acting under Cooper’s request, recently took a headcount of children crossing the bridge that connects Ciudad Acuña in México to Del Rio, Texas. No other border to the county was inspected similarly.

At Cooper’s order, Del Rio school district employees handed out fliers to drivers with students who crossed the bridge that morning, informing parents that their children were being withdrawn from school unless they could prove U.S. citizenship. If Cooper truly cared about his student body, he’d take a lesson from another school with a large immigrant population and harness the energy available to him, rather than sowing fear and division amongst the student body.

In AlterNet, David Bacon writes about the impact of President Barack Obama’s brand of immigration enforcement, which has been sold as hard on employers, but not on workers. A key part of this approach has hinged on phasing out the aggressive and visibly disruptive SWAT-style raids that were common in the Bush era and instead warning companies that their employment rolls would be inspected. But these employee audits are just another proxy move in the absence of sound legislative that guides how this country treats immigrants.

The “softer” raids are not, in fact, harder on employers. The audits that result in the loss of hundreds of jobs at a time often take place during or close to attempts to organize a union. The workers are let go and the companies—recent examples include American Apparel and ADM Janitorial—are given immunity. These selective raids and probes cannot drive every undocumented worker away. Furthermore, if the flow of cheap labor were to dry up, the U.S. economy would collapse. These audits are but “a means for managing the flow of migrants, and making their labor available to employers at a price they want to pay.”

Daphne Eviatar reports on Thursday morning’s House Homeland Security Committee hearing for The New Mexico Independent. The hearing, “ostensibly about how [Immigrations and Customs Enforcement] should improve its immigrant detention system” revealed deeply divided convictions among attendees. Immigrants today are either “dangerous criminals” who need to be locked up and deported, or “hapless men and women” who only broke the law in their pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. These divisions need to be settled, as the incarcerated population has doubled in the last ten years.

Even if prisons were built in every state and were designed only to hold undocumented people, the problem is not solved. The flow of migrants from South of the border must not be viewed as a vacuum. It is a symptom of the economic imbalances between the U.S. and Mexico.

So is the case with climate change, as Michelle Chen reports for RaceWire. Today, immigrants flee toward healthier economies and are demonized as the cause of the economic storm that howls behind them. It is no different for those displaced by “environmental destruction,” which is “reshaping the flow of labor and people as they move from one endangered livelihood to another.”

Chen advises us to accept the “fluidity of human movement,” as the consequences of remaining stuck in today’s limited immigration dialogue are dire. “Migration stems from the convergence of environmental destruction and social inequality,” writes Chen. There’s not a fence in the world that can address those forces.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

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jclarson via flickr/Creative Commons
By Nezua, Media Consortium

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22 comments

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7:54AM PST on Jan 7, 2010

Thanks for the info

10:05AM PST on Jan 3, 2010

To Many Illegals in this nation.

10:04AM PST on Jan 3, 2010

Thanks for raising awareness defintly needs to be looked into and a stop put to

5:59AM PST on Dec 30, 2009

thanks

12:58AM PST on Dec 26, 2009

They are criminal.
They are stealing and abusing our country. They have seen how our country has
prospered for 250 years and they are still poor and in a hole that they have
chose to stay in. They don't want to do better even after we show them how. When
we American see our neighbors doing better we want to know how it happen and how
we can do the samething to get ahead.

They don't care, they just don't care about their families or themselves or they
would have done something long before now. Why would they want to prosper when
it's easier to go steal and take what you want especially when you can get away
with it. If they were worried about their "families being tore apart" they would
be packing back across the border yesterday. But their not worried about their
families and neither am I.

As I said "They are criminals". So, gather up their children and send them all
packing back where they came from. We don't owe them anything for we are the
ones who worked and made this country what it is not a bunch of low-life crooks.

The majority of them and the Bleeding Hearts in this country wants you to
believe that they are all just good hard working Christians. I and a lot like
myself know that they are Lawbreaking Illegal Aliens.

I for one am tired of paying for these LAWBREAKERS, for example in California it
cost $100,000 to put one child through to the twelve grade. Who do you think is
paying for all four kids of a family of four..... Californian's who

1:33AM PST on Dec 25, 2009

Thanks for raising awareness.

1:31AM PST on Dec 25, 2009

Well said Beverly

7:57PM PST on Dec 20, 2009

I totally don't agree with this legislation. Let people try doing it the legal way. Illegals should not be made to look like heroes. Why don't people understand what the term "illegal" means. Others do it the right way and go through the process..them I admire not the ones that sneak over the border.

9:45PM PST on Dec 19, 2009

Right off the top Ms cooper; who ""created' this crisis and who benifits?
Humanitarian crisis outside our borders> water seeks its' own level.
I dare say there might be some humanitarian issues happening in America. Not meaning to offend.

9:27PM PST on Dec 19, 2009

Can't shake some essential observations;
Life must be a tough crap shoot for too many in mexico.
The perception that this is orchestrated by big money.
That this is a form of home invasion.
To find a whole crew of people in your home after work one day; uninvited, claiming that this is actually Mex. land, saying they like your house,your furniture, your neibourhood, your life style.etc.
AND they intend to stay. God help us.

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