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From: Foro de comunicacion para Latinos del suroeste de los EEUU [LAREDL@LISTSERV.CYBERLATINA.NET] on behalf of Devon Pea [devonpena@GMAIL.

COM] Sent: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 10:02 AM To: LARED-L@LISTSERV.CYBERLATINA.NET Subject: [LRL] Critical Analysis of the Gang of Eight Immigration Reform Framework Colegas y amigos: I have prepared my first critical analysis of the framework for comprehensive immigration reform released yesterday by the Gang of Eight Senators led by Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Please share and re-post as you see fit. Go to: http://mexmigration.blogspot.com/2013/01/critical-analysis-of-immigrationreform.html You can also read this below... -Devon G. Pea, Ph.D. "Memory is a moral obligation, all the time." -J. Derrida Critical Analysis of the Immigration Reform Framework<http://mexmigration.blogspot.com/2013/01/critical-analysis-ofimmigration-reform.html>

<http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-s-zGWsNm7QM/UQfviIzoMAI/AAAAAAAAMYw/enTG8baI6E/s1600/immigrant-rights-now.jpg> *Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform* PLAN IS WORSE THAN FEARED Devon G. Pea | Seattle, WA | January 29, 2013 A bipartisan framework for comprehensive immigration reform has been announced by a group of eight Senators. The group includes Senators Charles E. Schumer (DNew York), John McCain (R-Arizona), Richard J. Durbin (D-Illinois), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), Marco Rubio (RFlorida), Michael Bennet (D-Colorado), and Jeff Flake (R-Arizona). In the preface to principles proposed the legislators state that, Our legislation acknowledges these realities by finally committing the resources needed to secure the border. This is a surprising statement since the strategy and policy of militarization of the US-Mexico border over the past four years has slowed the pace of undocumented entry to a bare trickle and indeed much evidence exists to suggest hat we now actually have a negative net immigration as many more people return to than come from Mexico.

The calls for finally committing resources is nothing short of bizarre since the deployment of record-breaking numbers of National Guard troops, Border Patrol agents, drones, and the building of an iron gate fence have resulted in the highest spending on border control in history. The $18 billion spent by the Obama Administration during the past fiscal year (2012) on border control, apprehension, detention, and deportation of immigrants was the most spent by the federal government on any aspect of law enforcement including drug interdiction. In a detailed analysis released on January 7, 2013, the Migration Policy Institute <http://www.migrationpolicy.org/news/2013_1_07.php> (MPI) reported that the U.S. government spends more on federal immigration enforcement than on all other principal federal criminal law enforcement agencies combined, with the nearly $18 billion spent in fiscal 2012 approximately 24 percent higher than collective spending for the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Indeed, over the past 26 years, federal spending on immigration enforcement has been nearly $187 billion. [A copy of that report may be downloaded at this link Immigration Enforcement in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machine<http://www.migrationpolicy.org/pubs/enforcementpillars.pdf> ]. Based on the governments own data, there are already 10 (ten) border patrol agents for every mile<http://politic365.com/2012/09/12/immigration-border-patrolis-double-edged-sword-as-killings-of-mexicans-increase/>of the border or a total of 21,000 for the 2,000 mile-long border; there are already more than 650 miles of fencing as part of the Tortilla Curtain that our coblogger Consuelo Crow recently reported on. Nevertheless, the heated rhetoric about the need for more spending on border enforcement and control continues unabated in this latest bipartisan framework for reform. The proposed framework is defined by four major principles or what the group of eight Senators is calling legislative pillars: o Create a tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required; o Reform our legal immigration system to better recognize the importance of characteristics that will help build the American economy and strengthen American families; o Create an effective employment verification system that will prevent identity theft and end the hiring of future unauthorized workers; and o Establish an improved process for admitting future workers to serve our nations workforce needs, while simultaneously protecting all workers. The first pillar creating a tough but fair path to citizenship is described as contingent upon securing the border and combating visa overstays. This is a slippery contingency as the current framework does not yet fully how or who will make the determination that the border has been secured or that overstays have been sufficiently combated [sic].

Frankly, those determinations could remain an open-ended process with no end in sight. Part of the getting tough fabric of this proposal is the expansion of one of the most controversial aspects of border militarization the use of more drones: *Additionally, our legislation will increase the number of unmanned aerial vehicles and surveillance equipment, improve radio interoperability and increase the number of agents at and between ports of entry. The purpose is to substantially lower the number of successful illegal border crossings while continuing to facilitate commerce.* We have been reporting on the controversial deployment of drones within US airspace along the entire length of our southern border and find this pillar to be highly objectionable on the grounds of both civil rights and public safety. <http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-LDgkuVo2eU/UQfwKs1mGxI/AAAAAAAAMY4/12X40XI5lNY/s1600/favianna_rodriguez.jpg> Artwork courtesy of Favianna Rodriguez<http://favianna.typepad.com/faviannacom_art_activism/please-help-fundthis-imm.html> Another problematic proposal in this framework is the creation of a commission comprised of governors, attorneys general, and community leaders living along the Southwest border to monitor the progress of securing our border and to make a recommendation regarding when the bills security measures outlined in the legislation are completed. With anti-immigrant politicians like Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona and the self-loathing Governor Susana Martnez of New Mexico, we can expect that this commission will continue to insist that the border is not secure. I am certain Governor Brewer will imagine the beheadings of Arizona ranchers suddenly intensifying as part of her phantom menace. Allowing these reactionary politicos to determine when we can move on to the legalization process is a certain recipe for obstructionism. The tough but fair policy for a path to citizenship is filled with ironies, excessively punitive overtones, and a very expensive set of requirements that will likely discourage most low-income undocumented workers from coming out of the shadows. The proposed framework for legalization of the undocumented includes the requirement that those who came or remained in the United States without our permission to register with the government. Once registered, the persons would have to pass a background check and then also settl[e] their debt to society by paying a fine and back taxes, in order to earn probationary legal status. This probationary status would allow them to live and work legally in the United States but [i]ndividuals with a serious criminal background or others who pose a threat to our national security will be ineligible for legal status and subject to deportation. All these measures are extremely punitive and expensive and so many undocumented workers will not able to afford paying for the registration process let alone the alleged back taxes or fines to earn the right to get in line for probationary

legal status. There is a bitter irony behind this part of the framework since several studies already demonstrate that undocumented workers pay more taxes<http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/04/23/176576/immigrants-taxesgeneral-electric/?mobile=nc>than many of the Fortune 500 corporations that routinely donate millions to politicians like Schumer, Graham, and McCain. Nonetheless, even if undocumented workers can find the resources to pay the fines and so-called back-taxes, there is still no guarantee that they will be legalized since the framework declares: Once the enforcement measures have been completed, individuals with probationary legal status will be required to go to the back of the line of prospective immigrants, pass an additional background check, pay taxes, learn English and civics, demonstrate a history of work in the United States, and current employment, among other requirements, in order to earn the opportunity to apply for lawful permanent residency. Those individuals who successfully complete these requirements can eventually earn a green cardIndividuals who are present without lawful status - not including people within the two categories identified below will only receive a green card after every individual who is already waiting in line for a green card, at the time this legislation is enacted, has received their green card. Our purpose is to ensure that no one who has violated Americas immigration laws will receive preferential treatment as they relate to those individuals who have complied with the law. Given the backlog in the processing of so-called green cards, some of these individuals will be dead before they get a chance to earn their legal status. One study found that the wait for a green card takes 20 to 22 years<http://imdiversity.com/villages/hispanic/study-long-wait-for-green-cards/>. This is not surprising since most federal dollars spent on immigration are dedicated to enforcement rather than naturalization. The proposed framework for legalization is thus a shameful ruse and the information gathered through the registration requirement could end up being used in the deployment of a massive deportation campaign as soon as a right-wing Republican is elected to the White House. There is a lot of toughness and very little fairness. The American Civil Liberties Union<http://www.aclu.org/immigrants-rights/aclu-says-roadmap-citizenship-mustprotect-civil-liberties>(ACLU) has also taken a critical position on the legalization principles proposed in this framework. On the organizations website, Joanne Lin, ACLU legislative counsel, is quoted as stating: We urge the passage of a roadmap that is just, humane, and fair, without exclusions for minor crimes or past removal orders, and unobstructed by prohibitive fees or penalties. Forcing the separation of families and the abandonment of children is contrary to American values and our national interest. We are in agreement and the current framework is patently unfair in imposing high fines and other excessive costs for undocumented workers and their families. The third pillar of the proposed framework basically imposes tougher employer sanctions and a national identification card in disguise. Under the pretext of strong employment verification, the bipartisan proposal calls for the federal

government to provide U.S. employers with a fast and reliable method to confirm whether new hires are legally authorized to work in the United States. The provision clearly states that the government will create an effective employment verification system which prevents identity theft and ends the hiring of future unauthorized workers. We believe requiring prospective workers to demonstrate both legal status and identity, through non-forgeable electronic means prior to obtaining employment, is essential to an employee verification system. Since prospective workers invariably will include US citizens, this means the framework is actually calling for a national ID card. According to Chris Calabrese<http://www.aclu.org/immigrants-rights/aclu-says-roadmap-citizenshipmust-protect-civil-liberties>, ACLU legislative counsel, The outlines call for employers to be mandated to use E-Verify, an expensive electronic employment-verification system, is a thinlydisguised national ID requirement that undermines the privacy of every American worker while imposing new burdens on businesses. Mandatory E-Verify would not only lead to discrimination against those who look or sound foreign, but also increase the risk of identity theft and make it harder to get a job. The fourth pillar is basically the guest worker part of the framework and it sounds a lot like the old Bracero Program and the Special Agricultural Worker<http://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/AFM/HTML/AFM/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-11139/0-0-011252.html>(SAW) programs established under the 1986 IRCA statutes. The language of the proposal harkens back to a formula roundly criticized by our colleague Dr. Jorge Bustamante back in the 1970s as the revolving door policy of administered labor migration. When growers need the workers they are welcome but when a recession leads to lower employment the door swings shut. The framework includes the provision that the government must Protect workers by ensuring strong labor protections; and, Permit workers who have succeeded in the workplace and contributed to their communities over many years to earn green cards. This is doublespeak since the federal government has done little to prevent the dismantling of worker protections and union rights since the Reagan Administration ushered the neoliberal wave of attacks that have clearly eroded the ability of the working class to organize in defense of wages, benefits, and working conditions. We all know that these are dead letters. <http://4.bp.blogspot.com/mUjraPOIXD8/UQfvfxNZ6iI/AAAAAAAAMYo/R3HCeAFUSgU/s1600/487162_10152012837659057_21 19288255_n.jpg> Finally, I need to have a word about the DREAM Act provisions. First question is: Where are they? Nothing in the proposed framework provides explicit language other than this vague reference: Our legislation also recognizes that the circumstances and the conduct of people without lawful status are not the same, and cannot be addressed identicallyFor instance, individuals who entered the United States as minor children did not knowingly choose to violate any immigration laws.

Consequently, under our proposal these individuals will not face the same requirements as other individuals in order to earn a path to citizenship. If the DREAMers will not face the same requirements to earn a path to citizenship, then what will be the exact principles affecting them? This is not spelled out anywhere in this framework which suggests that there will mostly likely be renewed attempts at separate legislation for a policy affecting DREAM Act eligible youth. There is also an interesting admission of interdependency that is worth noting. The section outlining the first pillar ends with this statement: *Similarly, individuals who have been working without legal status in the United States agricultural industry have been performing very important and difficult work to maintain Americas food supply while earning subsistence wages. Due to the utmost importance in our nation maintaining the safety of its food supply, agricultural workers who commit to the long term stability of our nations agricultural industries will be treated differently than the rest of the undocumented population because of the role they play in ensuring that Americans have safe and secure agricultural products to sell and consume. These individuals will earn a path to citizenship through a different process under our new agricultural worker program.* I find it intriguing that the Gang of Eight felt compelled to admit that the US food system depends on immigrant workers a lesson that states like Alabama, Arizona, and Georgia have learned the hard way by passing draconian measures that blocked their growers from access to the workers needed for harvesting crops, and which resulted in billion dollar losses. This represents a unique opening for organized resistance since the dependence of the US agricultural sector on Mexican and other Latina/o workers means we have an opportunity to insist on higher wages, full benefits, and a streamlined path to legalization and citizenship for our nations farm workers. In the coming weeks, we will continue to monitor and report on the unfolding debate and shifts in the policy framework for comprehensive immigration reform. For now, the opening framework is flawed and must be challenged. We need more progressive alternatives than proposals for continued militarization of the USMexico border; punitive fines and unreasonable financial burdens on low income workers; and a draconian set of identity requirements that will clearly lead to violations of our civil liberties and safety. In our next post, we will revisit the more progressive frameworks that have been developed and presented by organizations like the ACLU and Presente.org. Stay tuned. Posted 11 minutes ago by Devon G. Pea<http://www.blogger.com/profile/16444690604040637632> Labels: Senator John McCain<http://mexmigration.blogspot.com/search/label/Senator%20John%20McCain> guestworkers <http://mexmigration.blogspot.com/search/label/guestworkers> Gang of Eight <http://mexmigration.blogspot.com/search/label/Gang%20of%20Eight> comprehensive

immigration reform<http://mexmigration.blogspot.com/search/label/comprehensive%20immigration% 20reform> Senator Charles Schumer<http://mexmigration.blogspot.com/search/label/Senator%20Charles%20Schumer > border enforcement<http://mexmigration.blogspot.com/search/label/border%20enforcement> legalization <http://mexmigration.blogspot.com/search/label/legalization> Senator Lyndsey Graham<http://mexmigration.blogspot.com/search/label/Senator%20Lyndsey%20Graham> Border Patrol <http://mexmigration.blogspot.com/search/label/Border%20Patrol>

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