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Immigration Reform

Has Only Just Begun


Advocates for immigration reform at the Arizona State capitol grounds Monday.

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U.S. Rep Raul Grijalva of Arizona will play a big part in the immigration debate in Congress.
Despite The Fact That Immigration Reform Seems Inevitable, Arizona’s Immigrant Advocates Know The Details Mean Everything And Will Focus On Families To Capture Public Opinion

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By John Guzzon
Modern Times Magazine

Jan. 30, 2013 — Nearly three years after republican dogma towards undocumented immigration resulted in SB 1070 and the furor that it wrought, a different mood has settled in Arizona now that a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators have made a proposal that provides a path to citizenship.

The difference is Congress is finally going to do its job and address the issue. That gridlocked, representative body ‘of the people’ are the only ones who can truly fix the situation, after all.

Congress taking up immigration reform is already being called “historic” and will likely be remembered that way by historians. The agreement on principle from Sens. Dick Durbin, John McCain, Chuck Schumer, Lindsey Graham, Robert Menendez, Marco Rubio, Michael Bennet, and Jeff Flake was the first step in that process and President Barack Obama’s address Tuesday was the second step.

Sadly, this issue is only “historic” at this point in time thanks to years of neglect.

For decades, Congress has shirked their responsibilities, allowing 10 to 12 million people to live as second-class citizens even as they paid their taxes, raised their children and lived in fear that at any moment they could be heading back to their birth country. The fear of deportation was not because they would be going to their place of birth but that they would most likely be separated from their friends, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters and cousins.

When Congress didn’t act as the undocumented immigrant population grew ever larger, they placed perhaps millions of children born in the U.S. from undocumented parents in jeopardy of losing their parents. For years, this fact never bothered enough policymakers in order to have the majority votes necessary to do anything about it — including even having a discussion.

Yet, when republicans underwhelmed at the polls this past November, analysts targeted blame onto the GOP’s weakness among Hispanics which has now opened a path to citizenship to those undocumented.

“The biggest positive is that it (principles proposed Senate leaders) broke the ice. Prior to this initiative, the political position on the part of most of my republican colleagues had been nothing, ‘over my dead body,’ we are not going to talk about anything other than enforcement,” U.S Rep. Raul Grijalva said in a Monday appearance at the Arizona state capitol grounds.

Nevertheless, those advocating for those living in the U.S. undocumented are happy the issue is being tackled and know that since that the issue is now being discussed, resolution is possible and within grasp after years of struggles.

“It is a good day in America. At least we have one good proposal. Hopefully there will be more. Its a good day in Arizona, too. To have two senators (Flake and McCain) as a part of the group that has proposed these four principles on which immigration reform should be based. But let us not forget that this is only the beginning. This is the point that we have to continue to work hard. To make sure that those that have made promises come through on their promises,” Danny Ortega, immediate past president of the National Council of La Raza said Monday.

Ortega was referring to the already tenuous relationship between republicans and a “path of citizenship.” To most of them, that is a code word for “amnesty” — a dirty word to many. The republican Senators — Graham, McCain, Rubio, Flake — have insisted on a ‘strengthening the border’ provision to the principles in an attempt to allay those fears.

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