Immigration Reform Most Important Legislation in Decades

Economically and morally, immigration reform is of the most important pieces of legislation deliberated by Congress in decades.

I believe the estimate of 11 million un-documented immigrants living in the borders of the United States is far less than the actual number.  In all honesty, it doesn’t matter.  The Senate is debating how a change in immigration policy will affect the nation economically, and, of course, their other prime consideration, politically.

Using the number of 11 million, what would be the dollar figure of their contribution to income tax, social security, state taxes, and Medicare?  At present, many of them work illegally for individuals and companies who pay them “under the table”.  Most of them will work for much less than the minimum wage, and pay no taxes of any type.  And those who use them are pleased with the arrangement.  They also do not contribute to the payroll tax system.

The position of many right wingers is based on the fact that they entered the country illegally.  Of the 11 million, that is true of many.  Factually, they wouldn’t have remained in the United States if someone hadn’t given them a job.  When the anti-immigration reform legislators speak of deportation and punishment for their illegal presence, they must also punish what they like to call the “job creators”.

There is also a moral obligation.  Allowing these illegal residents to live here for many years, some as long as a decade or more, new families have been born in our nation and are natural born Americans.  There has existed a situation of collusion between business and the immigrants which seeks cheap labor and in turn extends their continued residence within our borders.

In a bipartisan vote of 13 to 5, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws Tuesday evening, sending the legislation onto the floor, where the fight is expected to last through June.

Senator Orin Hatch, Republican of Utah, promised to vote the bill out of committee and onto the floor of the Senate.  But he will be a major obstacle to its passage by the majority.  “I’m going to vote this bill out of committee because I’ve committed to do that,” Mr. Hatch said.

In another open display of homophobia, a measure to allow sections of the bill to place same-sex partners on equal footing with heterosexuals, was removed.

Late Tuesday, when Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who leads the committee, revealed that he would not offer a controversial amendment allowing United States citizens to apply for permanent resident status, known as a green card, on behalf of their same-sex partners.

The main reason that the Pledge of Allegiance should have been removed from our schools is the wording of the last part which is hypocritical.  It states:  “And liberty and justice for all”.  Those words do not apply to the present United States of America.  Our government limits who is able to have freedom, liberty, and justice.

The only positive about this decision is represented by Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York.  Unlike his brethren on the right side of the aisle, he compromised, recognizing the passage of the law for the greater good is the prime purpose.

Mr. Schumer, who said that although not including the provision amounted to “rank discrimination,” ultimately concluded: “As much as it pains me, I cannot support this amendment if it will bring down the bill.”

Similarly, Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, said, “This is the definition of a Hobson’s choice. In my bones, I believe in equality.”

But Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a co-author of the bill, reflected the view of his Republican colleagues when he said: “You’ve got me on immigration. You don’t have me on marriage. If you want to keep me on immigration, let’s stay on immigration.”

The Republican position of Homophobia is intact.  And once more the party of Lincoln proves that it has degenerated into a racist, bigoted, misogynist, and homophobic group of old, white men who have outlived their usefulness.

A veiled and hidden part of the agenda of the Republican Party’s resistance to sensible and comprehensive immigration reform, is once again the almighty dollar.  Legal documentation of 11 million immigrants would force wealthy campaign supporters to relinquish a portion of their profit and participate in income tax, social security, and Medicare deductions.

Wouldn’t that be a shame if the wealthy in our country had to pay their fair share towards anything that might contribute to the working class?

James Turnage

The Guardian Express

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