My concern? If we are not careful, we may get what we ask for. Alabama’s draconian HB56 was touted as immigration reform. So was the 2007 McCain-Kennedy Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act. McCain-Kennedy, like all proposals that have come before Congress in recent years, contained provisions for extensions on militarizing the border and extensions of the H2 guest worker visa — two things hostile to migrants and laborers.
What should comprehensive migrant reform look like? At a minimum, it should include 12 things: creating an inexpensive, quickly obtained visa for poor Latinos, Asians and Africans; creating a lawful status for those already in the U.S., including but not limited to citizenship, restoring due process, halting deportations, lifting bars on re-entry for deportees, assisting the return of deportees’ spouses and children living in exile; abolishing the guest-worker visa; strengthening collective bargaining; stopping free-trade agreements (FTAs); providing redress for indigenous peoples pushed from their lands by FTAs; and demilitarizing the border. We don’t need deals. We need justice.
The Rev. Ellin Jimmerson