For Immediate Release: Friday, August 23, 2013
Immigrant Rights Activists Respond to Senate Bill 744
The Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 ignores the reality of contemporary migration and immigrant labor.
SEATTLE – The recent passage of Senate Bill 744 is the latest attempt to overhaul the United States’ immigration system since the “Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility” (IIRIRA) Act of 1996. This action in congress is a pro-active measure at addressing a concern that has been the central preoccupation of various families and communities directly impacted by the issue. In reaching bi-partisan support, congress has drafted and voted through, a measure that will allow for a drawn out 13 year path to citizenship for some, while simultaneously militarizing a southern border that is already heavily fortified.
On Sunday, August 4th 2013, we held a gathering to hear community concerns about the bill and craft our official response to SB 744. El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social, reaffirms its stance that any legislation that is entertained through both the House of Representatives and the Senate, MUST secure the rights of immigrant workers, families, and communities. As a matter of principle, it is important to address the humanitarian needs of our communities first and foremost. All are deserving of a dignified existence, free of intimidation, workplace abuse, police harassment, violence, and forced family separation. It is with this in mind, that we vociferously oppose the enforcement heavy amendments and provisions codified within S 744.
From preliminary discussion, it appears likely that S 744 will be scrapped by the U.S. House of Representatives in favor of house-initiated legislation that promises to be even more divisive and restrictive. As social justice proponents, this is not what we had in mind when we took to the streets to demand drastic change to the immigration infrastructure. We saw draconian legislation over seven year ago, and see more of the same as the emphasis on “enforcement-first” points to the fact that conservative politicians, of both stripes, have a tenuous grasp of reality and are still utilizing an ineffective, outdated model that has proved useless in meeting our present day challenges.
The only major beneficiaries are the representatives of the Military Industrial Complex and the politicians working on their behalf. While immigrants are forced to pass through a 13 year labyrinth which will inevitably weed many out of the path to citizenship, the arms industry will line its pockets with lucrative contracts that pump more money into an already bloated border defense apparatus. As such, we join human rights proponents, social justice advocates, and our peers along the southern border, in opposing the legislation as is.
The first action that we will take in verbalizing this position will be with a demonstration at Westlake Park on Labor Day. Details to follow in the coming days. As a community, we believe that addressing the humanitarian crisis should take precedence. We’ve spent too much time watching the situation deteriorate. We need a just immigration reform, and we need it now!
EDUCATE, ORGANIZE, MOBILIZE.