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Monday, April 12, 2010

Bill to strengthen border, CIR ready, your support critical

Some of us have been waiting for this for nearly 20 years.  Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) that protects the nation’s borders yet props up an expected “labor deficit” as the baby boomers, looking for happy retirement, leave the labor force.  It is expected many US citizens will be encouraged to step up into the higher skill level jobs leaving a massive hole that will have to be filled by those willing to start from the bottom.  We look to our immigrant community to do that.

The first matter addressed by the bill is propping up the nation’s borders:

Comprehensive Immigration Reform for
America’s Security and Prosperity
(CIR ASAP) Act of 2009


Subtitle A – Border Security:
Protecting Our Borders: This subtitle protects United States border cities and communities from violence and crime along the U.S.-Mexico border by:
  • Creating a Southern Border Security Task Force that is composed of federal, state, and local law enforcement  officers 
  • Requiring a security plan for land ports of entry at the borders involved in international trade 
  • Expanding the programs under the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism that is in accordance to the SAFE Port Act

  • Improving the exchange of information between federal agencies on North American Security by a conducting a targeted study of security clearance standards, document integrity, immigration and visa management and coordination, terrorist watch lists and smuggling operations”
coast guard Comprehensive Immigration Reform immediately addresses border security, a sore point with conservatives.  CIR is designed to be comprehensive, to address both sides of the immigration problem.  Without reform the broken immigration system and porous border will continue.  Protecting against terrorist attack is more difficult.

What conservatives are upset about is CIR also addresses problems with immigration.  They prefer to keep the border porous rather than work on a solution that address the entire immigration problem.  While piecemeal programs have been put into place, it is a patchwork of laws used to put band aids on immigration issues, without looking at the problem from a broad view.  For example, we finally have a farm guest worker program in which migrant workers can enter the U.S., work in the fields and then return to their homes in Mexico and points South.  That has keep food prices from going through the roof.

Unfortunately, as each state varies on it’s immigration policies some states are down-right hostile to those from another country. Colorado is so hostile to undocumented workers many documented workers avoid the state if they possibly can.  They don’t want to suffer harassment that comes when law enforcement can’t tell the documented worker from the undocumented worker.  Hence,greeting visitors Colorado continues to fight for enough labor to get it’s crops out of the fields in time. 

The situation has been so dire, Colorado started a convict labor program, paying convicts .60 an hour and charging the farmers more than they would have to pay for migrant workers.  

We have millions of children of undocumented workers who want their chance at an education.  The opportunity to grow one’s mind and improve oneself has always been a corner-stone of the democratic system.  When I was a kid studying history the point was slammed home many times:  A democracy depends upon educated citizens.  If we are to have an educated society access to schools must be available to everyone.   The Dream Act will surely be part of comprehensive immigration reform.

The United States has prided itself on it’s human rights record.  We treat all people fairly, allowing each a chance to make his case with the judge. 

President Bush changed all of that when he started incarcerating prisoners in Guantanamo bay.  The prisoner disappeared with no means of communication to the outside world.  He had no access to an attorney, never appeared in front of a judge, so he just sat, a non-person.  While the US does not participate in torture, we do strap people to a board, cover their mouths with a wet cloth and pour water down their throats so they feel like they are drowning.  “Water-boarding is not torture”  Vice President Cheney under the Bush administration insisted.  

These are the kinds of things that happen in third world countries.  It is a travesty of justice it happened in a US naval base.  The president of the United States, Barak Obama, has worked towards ending this kind of evil treatment.

on the border What does the Guantanamo Bay incident have to do with immigration reform?  Like the Guantanamo prisoners, a person who appears in front of an immigration judge does not necessarily get to see the evidence the government has against him.  In some cases, it takes a Freedom of Information Act filing to compel the government to disclose information called ‘discovery’ which in every other legal proceeding in the land is required.   Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) may address some of these issues.

CIR will help protect the sovereignty of the nation while insuring those who are here get a fair shake.  We are a nation of the ‘fair shake’.  Most of us have a sense of decency.  The problem is, conservative media has tainted our view of the fair shake.  They are prepared to trash border security just to say they won on immigration issues.  Once US citizens get the true facts, I am sure they will make wise decisions.  
Photos compliments of fotosearch
child crying We are all wondering what happened to Mark Udall in this discussion.  Udall is angering a large segment of his Democratic base which may ice future political efforts. 

When a senator is unwilling to take a position on tough issues then one must wonder if he is the right man for the office.  His next effort in the political arena could meet with opposition.  One thing is clear, the Pro-immigration, pro-border security CIR movement is non-partisan.  It will vote for the Democrat or Republican that is willing to tackle this tough matter.  This is a peaceful movement but it is a movement that votes. 

We urge you to call his office immediately and ask him to support CIR or ask him why he is not supporting CIR.  Really, Really, Believe Me, your call will count!  877-768-3255.

Why not keep up to date with the latest changes in the battle for basic human rights in a broken immigration system?  Sign up, suit up, let’s make change for America!


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