LOS ANGELES (FinalCall.com) – Immigrants rights advocates are re-strategizing after the much-anticipated immigration reform bill fell in the Senate June 7, when both Democrats and Republicans voted not to move the issue out of debate.
The bi-partisan bill required 60 votes to pass, but the Senators voted 45-50 against it. Backed by President George Bush, it would have provided routes to citizenship, under certain conditions, to the approximately 12 million undocumented immigrants living and working in the U.S.
In a written response to the fiasco, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada stated, “The White House has so far failed to rally Senate Republicans behind tough, fair and practical immigration reform. I will bring the immigration bill back to the Senate floor as soon as enough Republicans are ready to join us in moving forward on a bill to fix our broken immigration system.”
Although immigrants’ rights advocates held many concerns over the bill, such as terms of the proposed guest worker program, fines and entry and re-entry guidelines, some acknowledged that it was crucial to secure legislation this year that they could work to amend.
Now, they believe, due to the impending presidential elections and other pressing issues, a viable resolution on immigration reform may take years, if one is achieved at all.
“This was an opportunity that the American government has squandered to make inroads into repairing some of the damage which they have caused, which could have gone a long way to alleviate the immigration problem now and into the future. Due to their politicizing the issue, measures are going to go from bad to desperate, and that’s never good,” stated Min. Abel Muhammad, Nation of Islam Latino Representative in Chicago.
Min. Muhammad said that the ramifications of the Republicans and Democrats breaking their word and putting immigration reform on the back burner fall on those who contribute their labor to the U.S. from five in the morning to six, seven and eight o’clock at night, not from nine to five.
Min. Muhammad believes that the raids and deportations stripping families apart will continue, and that the negative impact will spread, weighing on society through the prison system and teen pregnancy numbers, among other things.
“America is not really calculating the effect of everything it’s doing right now. Last year they passed a bill allowing for the building of more deportation centers. Obviously, there’s an investment that somebody made for this, and if they passed this reform bill, somebody would lose a lot of money. A lot of this is a dog-and-pony show–they want to bring out the face of democracy, but it really isn’t,” he added.
Nativo Lopez, National Director of the Mexican American Political Association, told The Final Call that his group opposed the move of closure made by Sen. Reid, so they were not displeased with the outcome.
In his view, the legislation was cooked up by the Senate right of the Democratic and Republican parties to develop a so-called immigration form that would create a massive temporary worker program. “People use code language like ‘comprehensive immigration reform,’ but that doesn’t necessarily mean fair reform. It’s repressive, restrictive reform and we’re not for that trade off,” Mr. Lopez stated.
He said that they will continue to mobilize and advocate for full legalization and are scheduled to convene a series of marches in June.