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La Liga de Las Americas

RIO, FLOC and LULAC reject proposed Senate immigration bill


May 21, 2007: The U.S. Senate has begun debate on the fate of millions of immigrant workers living in the United States without documentation—“This is clearly one of the most important issues confronting our country today,” according to Baldemar Velásquez at a press conference and release on May 21, 2007.


While the recent compromise between Republicans and Democrats has been hailed in the media as a “bi-partisan success story,” RIO, a statewide immigrant rights coalition, and FLOC, headquartered in Toledo, do not believe the proposed bill will solve the problems immigrant workers face. 


According to Rio and FLOC, the bill’s sponsors have promoted that it will legalize millions of undocumented workers, but the bill imposes high economic penalties—amounting to at least 5,000 dollars for each immigrant. It also imposes long waiting periods to gain residency—up to 14 years.   


The bill will also change the immigration system from a family-based system to a merit-based system, thus destroying one of the immigrant community’s biggest desires, to reunify their families. 


Even worse, according to FLOC and RIO, the bill will increase the enforcement tactics such as raids, border walls, and deportations, which have created a harsh atmosphere of fear in immigrant communities all across the country for the last several months.


Lastly, the bill includes a guest worker program that does not learn from the horrible history of guest worker programs in the US such as the Bracero Program (1948-1964).  It does not include union protections or other labor law protections that American workers enjoy.  It therefore makes guest workers easily exploitable by unscrupulous employers. 


Worse, it would not put stringent conditions on the foreign recruitment of workers, and as a result would continue the wide-spread corruption FLOC has been fighting against in Mexico for two years. 


Other groups have opposed the proposed Senate bill including LULAC. See www.laprensa1.com for details.






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