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Letter No. 41: Immigration reform now!

Felicia Persaud | 8/22/2013, 11:19 a.m. | Updated on 8/22/2013, 11:19 a.m.
Felicia Persaud

Dear Mr. President,

The time has come for you, Democratic political PACs, the Democratic Party and all in favor of immigration reform to seriously unite behind an education program on immigration reform in the United States. Such a campaign needs to address all of the myths and racist comments being thrown around in town halls of scared and ignorant white conservatives, who are afraid of losing power in an increasingly diverse country.

The publicly televised campaign needs to especially target those in the red areas of the United States to educate the ignorant on the facts of immigration reform as set out in the recently passed “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.” Here are some suggested pointers to focus on:

Myth 1: Immigration reform is amnesty.

Answer: The reform proposed is no free pass to those living in this country without working papers. It entails fines, paying of back taxes and years of waiting for a green card.

Myth 2: The undocumented will be given citizenship automatically.

Answer: No immigrant is simply handed U.S. citizenship automatically. Legal immigrants have to wait at least three to five years before becoming qualified to apply for citizenship. Under the Senate’s measure, those undocumented immigrants will have to wait at least 13 years in order to be able to even apply for citizenship if they choose. Many immigrants actually qualify but don’t apply for U.S. citizenship despite the misinformation being spewed in small town USA.

Furthermore, in the Senate bill, citizenship won’t go into effect until border security measures are put in place.

Myth 3: More “illegal aliens” will simply pour over the border if the 11 million are given “amnesty.”

Answer: Actually, immigrants entering the U.S. illegally at border crossings are down, while deportations are up. Further, the bill passed will militarize the southern border. It calls for nearly doubling the number of border security agents from 21,000 to 40,000; for 700 miles of new fence to be constructed along the U.S.-Mexico border; and for a $3.2 billion high-tech border surveillance plan that will make use of drones, infrared ground sensors and long-range thermal imaging cameras.

Myth 4: These immigrants will take away jobs from Americans if given legal status.

Answer: Immigrants do jobs most Americans won’t or simply don’t qualify for. That is why there is a demand for immigrant labor in the United States—both unskilled and skilled immigrants. So the average American is not losing to immigrants, but America is gaining as a whole in dollars and cents—$1 trillion in reality.

Education is the only way to counter ignorance and silence the dumb rants coming out of the fraction of the Republican Party bent on keeping the undocumented in a new form of slavery in the United States. This is the time to push back and stem semi-literacy and racism in many areas of this country.

And while you’re at it, maybe it’s time to use some of that executive power to end one of the most draconian parts of our immigration system: the federal government’s practice of putting immigrants in long-term detention without the basic due process of a bond hearing.

Respectfully,

Felicia Persaud

The writer is founder of NewsAmericasNow, CaribPR Wire and Hard Beat Communications.