Many have become discouraged due to the failed immigration proposal in the senate, which seems to have been forgotten, this past Thursday, June 28. Those of us, who fight for immigrant rights, disappointedly, know that the proposal included many extreme conditions.
Although this proposal offered some type of relief to some undocumented immigrants, it completely dismissed the politics of applying for a visa through family members, it turned a group of hard workers into second class citizens with no rights, all at the same time the price for the application of this strict law was rising significantly.
However, what’s alarming about this is that the strict politics and anti-immigrant attitudes will stay in the point of views of those citizens who have been
poorly informed. We can wait for the continuance of strict repression measures, seizure and deportation of immigrants, as well as an increase of discrimination cases and the number of immigration raids at different work places as well as in homes.
What should be done? Get informed and put the few immigrant rights left into use; the constitutional right to remain silent and receive representation in case of being withheld, interrogated or arrested by an officer of the law, whether it be by local police, the bailiff department or immigration authorities; the right to not be discriminated at work, home, or school, etc.; the right to be paid fairly for your work.
It’s more important than ever for people to attend workshops of community presentations, where they will be informed of what rights they have and how important it is for them to put them to use. Also, those workshops will offer ideas on how to create a plan to protect their families in case one of their family members-who provide support-is arrested, and how to care for children if one of their parents is deported, etc.
Will they reconsider the proposal? It’s very important for any immigration proposal to be reconsidered and many believe that if this is possible, it will not be until the year 2009, in which the political views will once again be in favor, given the fact that the majority of the politicians are focused more on the presidential elections.
What about the electors? If you’re a citizen, it would be crucial to let their congressmen know of their displeasure for not approving an immigration reform this year. And when the time comes to vote at the presidential elections, consider the position of the candidate you will choose; are they a candidate that will support a fair immigration reform? Are they a candidate that will support family reunification? Are they a candidate that believes immigrants contribute to this country or do they see them as a burden?
Those are the questions to consider. But what’s most important is to be informed and put those rights into use when they face discrimination or are mistreated by authorities or at the workplace. Fortunately, there are various community and state agencies that are willing to investigate, process and punish cases where discrimination has taken place against immigrants. Do not allow abuse, report these acts to the authorities or corresponding agencies.