BY ASIAN PACIFIC ISLANDER COALITION
Our immigration policies and practices are broken and in need of major reform. The backlog of those eligible to enter this country includes a huge number from Asian countries that have been waiting for over 10 years. The estimates of persons here in this country without legal permission are as high as 11 million, including a half a million Chinese. Meanwhile, anti-immigrant sentiment in this country is surging as the rights of immigrants erode.
Two years ago, President Bush presented a new guest worker plan that narrowly focused on “illegal immigrants.” But the plan was narrow and not realistic because the “guest worker program he proposed did not provide an avenue for citizenship and did not address the backlog of immigrants.” The Bush plan received little support in Congress.
Since then, however, a number of bills on immigration have been introduced to Congress.
The most promising of the comprehensive immigration reform bills is the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005. It is a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Senators Ted Kennedy and John McCain. An identical bill is being co-sponsored in the House by Representatives Jim Kolbe, Jeff Flake and Luis Gutierrez.
The Secure American Act addresses several key immigration issues including a means to:
– Reduce the tremendous backlog of petitions to unify families and not count these new immigrant against the annual 20,000 quota allow per country;
– Provide a path of lawful permanent residence and citizenship for a person here without legal permission. These workers would be required to pay a $2000 fine and apply for a work visa and get in line behind legal immigrants for a chance at citizenship by proving to be tax payers and good citizens;
– Create legal and orderly processes for immigrant workers by creating an essential workers program that requires the cooperation of Mexico and other countries; and
– Provide assistance to immigrants to learn English and provide citizenship programs.
Clearly, the Security Act of 2005 is not an amnesty program nor does it guarantee citizenship. It is a realistic reform plan that recognizes economic realities and the contributions immigrants have made to our nation while continuing our legacy as the land of opportunity and fairness. Passage of the Act will also strengthen our national security and even the playing field for employers while providing full labor rights for all workers.
Passage of the Security Act of 2005 is long overdue. We cannot continue the status quo. We strongly urge Congress to take action and pass this badly needed legislation.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
More coverage needed
First of all, I like to aplaud you for the depth of your features on anything Asian American, specially the Asian arts. I enjoy reading it a lot. But I like to see the same depth of coverage with Asian American news that are going on in Seattle, and in other places in the Northwest, since your paper says the Examiner is the journal of Northwest Asian American Communities. Also, I want to know what is going on with other Asian Americans communities outside Seattle and in places like White Center, Tacoma, Bellevue, and maybe even around the nation where population of Asian American is high? It seems like your news reports, which are not really good coverage, are only limited to Chinatown. Just as a observation, but your newspaper needs to broaden your news reports, and be the source of information and be the voice for Asian Americans not only in Chinatown, but in the whole of Northwest. Thank you for reading.
Mr. Huy Bui