Thursday, June 01, 2006

Bring my momma back!!!

I have being meaning to write about the new HR4437 law being put forth in congress. For those who don't live stateside, lemme elaborate about this law. First off its an immigration law that is largely going to affect families. Most people think its focus is the latino community but I can see it even affecting somalis. This law will criminalize undocumented immigrants whilst before it was just a civil violation. HR4437 will also criminalize individuals/organizations harboring or assisting illegal immigrants. So if your Eedo/Habaryaar/Abo/Hooyo/Wifey is an illegal immigrant and is staying with you, you will be treated and prosecuted as a criminal. Note that I said organizations. This includes social services, refugee agencies, legal services. Basically any organization that helps immigrants with some kind of service.

HR4437 law will shift burden on proof from the government to the illegal immigrant when it comes to felonies that will lead to deportation. Furthermore this law will allow the local/state authorities to act as immigration officers, giving them jurisdiction to carry out investigation, identify and detain immigrants. So, again if you have an illegal immigrant and you get robbed or worse, I guess you will think twice before calling the police. This law, if it passes, will turn minor cimes into aggravated felonies which could have dire repercussions to your immigration status. Simple things like accessory to criminal activities, DUIs, assisting an illegal immigrant could lead to being deported, detained, stripped of your residency status or worse being banished from US. You must be thinking that is not so bad. Here is the kicker though. There is a retroactive clause which means if you commited these acts when they weren't classified as felonies (maybe 20 odd years ago) you can still be deported. Finally HR4437 prevents a federal court from reviewing any application for naturalization that was denied. Hey USCIS could deny your application for naturalization and there wouldn't be anyone to complain to except them.

What sparked me to write about this today was because I was listening to NPR on my morning commute and I heard this piece of news. This latino family was driving from California to Arizona to some relative or other. They get stopped by the cops. The kids were born in US but the parents were illegal immigrants. The parents were detained and shipped back to Mexico while the kids maternal aunt was called to take the kids. This family was literally split apart. I don't understand how they can justify denying a child his/her right to being raised by his/her own parents. People of latino origin provide labor that most US citizens wouldn't do. Most of them do want to be legal but the process is lengthy and expensive for a below minimum wage worker. I also don't think US is doing them any favors with the NAFTA agreement because that agreement benefits the cream of the crop of Mexico and not the poor, desititute workers. I am against this law unless they provide a path to legalization especially when it impacts families who are half legal, half illegal.