[Marxism] Immigration Q&A: Villaraigosa Tells Where He Stands

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Apr 15 10:23:26 MDT 2006


Walter wrote:
>Support for the McCain-Kennedy bill is an
>understandable position for this mayor to take, and places him within
>the mainstream of public discussion on the issue today. This country
>has struggled for most of its history with immigration issues, frequently
>with great difficulty. There is much to be faulted in the McCain-Kennedy
>legislation  which should be clearly explained. It's but one stage in a long
>and difficult process. Xenophobia is a deeply-entrenched way of thinking
>here in God's very own country (as the U.S. likes to present itself as it
>tramples on peoples everywhere, yet to which millions everywhere today
>struggle to gain entry, with or without the appropriate documents.

Comrades should understand that this is not the only legislation being 
presented to Congress.

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/04/04/1419254

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D - TX), she has submitted an immigration bill in 
Congress that would allow for legal permanent residency for undocumented 
immigrants who have lived in the United States for the past five years, 
would double the cap for family visas and would increase the number of work 
visas. Her bill has been stalled in the Immigration Subcommittee since 
mid-2005.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember Jackson Lee, you've submitted an immigration 
bill to Congress that would allow for legal permanent residency for 
undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States, for how long?

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE: If they've been living consistently in the United 
States between five and six years.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about -- just give us the layout of your bill and 
where it stands now.

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE: To give you some framework, I want to at least 
mention the tone of the debate that is occurring now in the United States 
Senate and what occurred in the House. The great disappointment of this 
issue is that the members of Congress who were so opposed, outrageously 
opposed to any fair consideration of documentation of the undocumented 
individuals in this country really sort of debated this as if they had no 
sense of humanity, no sense of family and no sense of what this country was 
built on. And that is, of course, immigrants coming from all over the world 
during periods of our history and making this country great. In fact, many 
of us know that African Americans came to this country not as documented 
citizens and did not obtain citizenship until very, very late, so I'm 
disappointed at the level of debate.

My bill attempted to craft this as a civil rights issue, and that is, to 
give a sense of fairness to individuals who had been in this country and 
had worked and paid taxes and wanted to come from under the shadows. And it 
provided the earned access to legalization with English conversance, the 
idea of working, investment in the community, family and community service 
and no felon record. We also provided for family unification. We provided 
for the DREAM Act, so the children could go to school. We eliminated or 
provided penalties for the utilization of fraudulent documents, for the 
abuse of women, for the abuse of workplace, which would take advantage of 
those who are undocumented. We insisted that employees provided a safe 
workplace and a workplace with dignity and equal rights . We also provided 
for the anti-smuggling provisions, that would stop the coyotes from 
bringing individuals across the border and causing danger to their lives.

We looked at this in a holistic viewpoint that, in fact, if you identify 
the undocumented individuals, they become investors in this society. They 
become part of the economic engine. They invest their dollars in banks. 
They don't send most of their money back overseas. They're allowed to have 
bank accounts in our country, which is a part of an economic engine.

The disappointment in this debate that is now being politicized in the 
Senate is that we're being overtaken by minority voices within the 
Republican Party, because if you explain to the American people, one, I'm 
prepared to protect your jobs -- and by the way, I have a provision in my 
bill that takes the fees that immigrants would pay to become documented and 
utilize them for job creation amongst American workers and protection of 
American workers and job training. I try to bring two district groups 
together in the legislation that I've offered, Save America Comprehensive 
Immigration bill, which has the support of many members of Congress. The 
disappointment was that in the debate, we didn't allow all members' bills 
to be fully debated. The McCain-Kennedy bill on the House side, which was a 
Kolbe-Gutierrez bill, my bill and a number of others never had an 
opportunity either to be debated and/or to be voted on, because of the 
singular, unilateral, exclusive approach that the Republicans took and the 
chairman of the Judiciary Committee took. None of us were allowed to submit 
our legislation.

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