Monday, January 28, 2013

Fast Track for Immigrants

Wall separating Nogales, AZ, and Nogales, Sonora
Boom, ka-boom--today the bipartisan Senate plan for immigration reform is being released, and tomorrow we'll hear President Obama's proposals.,0,2085807.story

Four Democratic senators and four Republicans have been meeting to come up with a plan to be introduced in the Senate.  

The Democrats represent New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Colorado, while the Republicans are from Florida, South Carolina, Arizona, and Arizona.  John McCain and Jeff Flake.

It looks like someone got the message: border states need to be heard on immigration issues.  

Two of the eight--Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez--carry Spanish surnames.

Arizona is at the heart of the matter, a red state with a major commercial port of entry--Nogales--and the highest number of migrant deaths annually.  
Art on the wall separating US & Mexico, Mariposa port of entry, Nogales

If there's a bill both Arizona senators can get behind, staunch Republicans, the whole country should get behind it.  On the other hand, if the party's right-wing kills the forthcoming bill, it can only mean more bad news for Republicans as a whole.

If Congress can pass a program granting probationary legal status--green cards and drivers' licenses--for the nation's 11 million residents who currently can get neither, that would be huge news.

The issue of citizenship is thornier, perhaps because citizens can vote.  Many of those 11 million will vote Democratic unless the GOP seriously gets on board.

According to today's proposal, however, the green cards (permanent residency status with work permits) can only be granted "after the government certifies that the US-Mexican border has become secure."

What does that mean?  Supposedly a commission of border-state governors, attorneys general, and community leaders would figure that out.

Would making the border certifiably secure mean higher walls, more barbed wire, longer waits before crossing, and more deaths of desperate persons who try to cross illegally?  

It's going to be a long, hard debate before some form of immigration reform finally passes both houses of Congress, probably in August--if at all.

Time to pray and send those emails, letters, and phone calls to our representatives.

Notes from

Nogales ports of entry are Arizona’s largest gateway for international trade with over 309,000 trucks, 3.9 million pedestrians, 10,320 busses and approximately 2.66 million cars with 6.7 million car passengers per year. Arizona State University Researchers forecast this volume to double by 2025. 

The Mariposa Port of Entry is the largest entry point for fresh produce from Mexico, to the tune of over 4 billion pounds each year, representing close to 45% of the fresh produce consumed in the US during the winter months.

No comments: