What a difference a few days makes! Suddenly, Republican lawmakers have abandoned their â€˜self-deportation/build a fenceâ€™ platform and are seemingly ready to embrace comprehensive immigration reform.
No more support of states like Arizona and Alabama and their racial profiling immigration laws; no more talk of â€œanchor babiesâ€ and â€œillegal aliensâ€. After the November 6 shalacking, based largely on the turnout of the Latino voting bloc of 23.7 million, Republicans are now ready to get in line and bend over.
The former hard liner on the issue, House Speaker John Boehner, suddenly says that comprehensive reform, which includes a pathway to legalization for the undocumented, will be a priority in 2013. And in the Senate, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is teaming up with New York Democrat Chuck Schumer to put together a bipartisan bill that can hopefully pass the Senate.
But as they say, the proof will be in the pudding.
We have gone down this road before under former President George W. Bush, where the famous Ted Kennedy/John McCain Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of May 12, 2005 got many immigrants excited. We saw more excitement again in 2006 with Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of Senator Arlen Specter. Yet the measures got nowhere and left many at the proverbial altar.
Like you, President Bush had promised to deliver immigration reform for the Latino voters who had helped get him elected in his second term, but failed them because of the extreme right wing segment of his party, including Rep. Lamar Smith, (R) of Texas, who sees any reform as amnesty and refused to budge on anything but the harshest of measures.
So forgive me if I remain only cautiously optimistic. But I agree with you â€“ we have to â€œseize the momentâ€ and make this issue a top priority come January 2013, especially since Latino and immigrant votes are now up for grabs.
There are now just 11.6 million immigrants living in an undocumented capacity across the United States, home to 309.3 million people. Of the current illegal population, only 14 percent have entered the U.S. since 2005. That means the vast majority have been in the country for years.
Of that number, 56 percent are Mexicans, 22 percent from Latin America, 13 percent from Asia, six percent from the Caribbean and Europe and three percent from Africa. They are all depending on you for some form of relief now that the data proves illegal immigration is down at the Mexican border even as criminal deportation is up.
So any argument from the right about fixing the border first is mute â€“ you already have! A bill both Democrats and Republicans can agree on quickly should definitely include some of the suggestions put forward by the GOP, including learning English, paying a fine and back taxes, making E-verify mandatory nationwide, giving priority to spouses and children caught up in the sponsorship backlog, overhauling the Labor Certification Program to match qualified workers with urgent work and using biometric data to better track foreign travelers.
But what you and Democrats cannot flip flop on is a pathway to legal status for the many that have been living in this country for decades and contributing to this economy. This is hardly amnesty. What it is, is the smart thing to do â€“ economically, socially and politically. Especially as the Pew Hispanic Center predicts that the Hispanic electorate is likely to double by 2030, up to 40 million.
This is indeed the moment to make immigration reform happen. Enough of the hand wringing! Letâ€™s make this immigration bill a New Yearâ€™s gift to all immigrants and line up the votes to make it a reality!
The writer is founder of NewsAmericasNow, CaribPR Wire and Hard Beat Communications.
On behalf of the African American Voting Rights Martyrs (on display at the Voting Rights Museum in Selma, Alabama), thank you South Florida for literally standing up to 2012 voter suppression.
Thank you for:
Jamaican sprint star Yohan Blake recently brought his foundation YB Afraid to South Florida to partner with Food For the Poor at its 5K hunger walk to help the less fortunate, especially those affected by Hurricane Sandy in Jamaica. Caribbean Today freelance writer Jason Walker caught up with the reigning world 100 meters champion and Olympic 100 and 200 meters silver medalist at the event.
Jason Walker: Were you impacted by Hurricane Sandy?
Yohan Blake: I just saw my window blow off, but I was good during the storm. Other persons were impacted though, so Food For The Poor and I partnered with WATA WISYNCO to do some work in Portland (Jamaica) and also to come over here and do this walk.
LONDON, England - One of the most sensitive subjects for the travel industry is the issue of security. Whether it relates to visitorsâ€™ personal safety or to the safekeeping of personal information, it is a matter that most in the industry want to say as little about as possible.
Despite this, because of the industryâ€™s economic centrality to Caribbean prosperity, it is a subject on which an appropriate, if private, regional forum needs to be created.
Even in Caribbean countries that have growing national crime rates, the likelihood of a visitor being attacked or in some way having a crime committed against them is minimal when compared to the large numbers of visitors the islands receive. This is particularly so in nations where high national levels of crime have, in part, contributed to the rise of all-inclusive hotels and visitor facilities and beaches not locally accessible.