It’s been two decades already since hundreds of immigrants, including from the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Latin America, died in the 9/11 terror attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. To date, an estimated 67 undocumented immigrants, mainly from Mexico and Central America, remain missing.
Many worked as waiters, cooks, or delivery workers in New York City. The documentary “Seen But Not Heard” recently spotlighted four women who lost loved ones on Sept. 11th and how they struggled to support their families as they tried to convince authorities that their husbands and boyfriends existed. Some were able to access the compensation fund, but others were not.
Among the lost is Fernando Jiménez Molinar, 21, of Oaxaca, Mexico. He failed to return from his job delivering pizzas two blocks from the collapsed Twin Towers on Sept. 11, according to Axios and the Latino immigrant advocacy group, Asociación Tepeyac. He is among the missing workers not included in the official toll of those who died when the Twin Towers collapsed, since authorities still can’t prove he existed.
On the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks, Democrats were late last week trying to convince Elizabeth MacDonough, an American lawyer, the parliamentarian of the United States Senate since 2012 and a non-partisan referee, that their plan to provide permanent legal status for 8 million immigrants complies with the arcane rules that govern what can be included in the $3.5 trillion social spending bill they hope to pass as soon as this month.
There are sharp limits on what can be included in such measures, but Democrats are using the budget reconciliation process to prevent the GOP from filibustering their measure in the Senate.
Should it pass the muster, it would mean a green card for Dreamers, temporary protected status holders, agricultural and other essential workers who have been living in limbo within the U.S. for years. Many are hopeful, pointing back to 2005 when a plan to address a backlog of visas was included in a reconciliation bill.
GOP staffers have also pitched MacDonough, insisting that the Democratic plan doesn’t meet the requirements laid out for what can get included in the budget bill.
It’s unclear which way MacDonough will lean. If she rules against immigration reform, the provision could be stripped out of the bill unless Democrats can muster 60 votes, meaning the support of at least 10 GOP senators, to keep it in the bill.
Of course, this is completely because of the nonsensical ideals being clung to primarily by Sen. Joe Manchin as it relates to filibuster.
But if there is any real remorse about the lives lost on 9/11, and MacDonough and the GOP sincerely want to pay tribute, this is the moment.
In honor of the hundreds of immigrants whose lives were lost on 9/11, let’s pass this measure and give a new lease on life to those still in service daily across this great land. The millions of undocumented immigrants living in this country in limbo deserve a green card now. Do it in the name of the immigrants lost on 9/11. Do it, because 20 years later, those living in this country deserve to come out of the shadow and we need to know who they are officially. Do it in the name of all who sacrificed their lives on that faithful day. #NeverForget.
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow