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Open letter No. 23 Immigration reform now!

Felicia Persaud | 6/6/2013, 3:43 p.m.
Letter No. 30: Immigration reform now!

Dear Mr. President,

It must be a lie! Twenty-three letters in, I was under the impression that the main reason for comprehensive immigration reform is to ensure we end undocumented immigration once and for all by dealing with the 11-plus million in the United States underground and putting them on a path to legalization while shutting down and fortifying the borders.

So I cannot believe what I'm hearing, that the "Gang of Eight" senators are now considering leaving some immigrants out in the cold, thereby leaving another group of undocumented immigrants in this country!

On April 12, the Associated Press, quoting a Senate aide with knowledge of the proposals that are set to be introduced as a bill soon, reported: "The bill ... would bar anyone who arrived in the U.S. after Dec. 31, 2011, from applying for legal status and ultimately citizenship."

Really? Is this a joke? If so, it is a bad one.

Why would anyone in their right mind add such a stupid clause in this measure after all this time? Or is it because in the heart of Dixie, many right-wing lawmakers feel it's simply better to keep a crop of slaves-oops, undocumented migrants, I mean--around to do the dirty, backbreaking, low-paying jobs that native-born Americans don't want to do despite what Roy Beck says! I really can't see another reason!

After all, according to previous AP reports, "The bipartisan group of senators has largely agreed on a broad immigration bill that would require tough border measures to be in place before illegal immigrants could take the first steps to become American citizens."

So if the Department of Homeland Security will be funded to fortify the borders and we are closing down the system to ensure an end to illegal immigration, then why would we want to keep people who are undocumented still in this country underground? What are they supposed to do if they came in after December 2011?

It is now 2013, so should we find all these thousands of migrants, round them up and deport them, or simply hope they self-deport? Or better yet, stay in the underground, continuing to pick fruit despite horrific conditions and sexual harassment; clean fish at the fish markets we frequent; pack groceries at supermarkets and stay invisible; wash our dishes at restaurants; do our landscaping in silence; and clean and watch babies in the privacy of the homes of the rich?

As rally organizers like Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA de Maryland, said clearly: "We need a clear path to citizenship. Anything less than that undermines American democracy!"

Mr. President, the time to weigh in directly with a private call to these senators may be now--before this becomes a bill up for a vote. The conversation should be brief and to the point: "Brothers, immigration reform for all undocumented migrants--not just some!"

Respectfully,

Felicia Persaud

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