LatinaLista — While the Latino community is over 42 million strong, surprisingly there are still very few of our voices that have been able to find a platform from which to be heard.
One either has to be in the media or have their own blog (;)) to be recognized as an individual voice. For too long, we, as a community, have let organized groups be our voice and our conscience — the National Council of La Raza, LULAC, GI Forum, etc.
Those days are eroding fast and there’s no better example than the latest Action Alert from the National Council of La Raza.
The title of the Alert is “Say No To A Permanent Subclass of Workers, Say Yes to a Path to Citizenship.”
There’s nothing wrong with that. The last thing any of us fighting for when it comes to undocumented immigrants is that their labor is exploited and they are not given the opportunity to become citizens — IF they want it.
Where I find myself asserting my own voice, rather than letting NCLR speak for me this time, is when they say
The immigration debate must include a path to citizenship for two groups of immigrants: 1) those who are already living and working in the U.S., and 2) those who will come to the U.S. as workers in the future.
I see no problem with those immigrants who have established roots here and WANT to be citizens take the oath, but I don’t agree that we should assume that those who come in the future with only the desire to work should be expected to want to become citizens.
In fact, it should be discouraged.
What we should want is to help Mexico grow their middle class and build up their economy. We know immigrants are the most industrious and entrepreneur-driven group of people on the planet – they’ve proven it in this country.
What they need is capital so they can do it at home. Also, there are too many cases of men coming and leaving their families behind. If they come temporarily, as is planned, then they can return home, help keep their families intact and save those communities that are dying because of the mass exodus of people norte.
What would be ideal is to let workers come for the proposed 2-3 year stay and bring their families, otherwise provide for them to travel back to visit their families while they are here.
For those who bring their families, let the children attend school and everyone learns English and gets to experience a new culture. Whereas traditionally, only the rich and elite were afforded the opportunity to travel abroad, more people will be able to take advantage of the opportunity.
Studies have shown that exposure to other cultures and languages is nothing but an advantage to both children and adults.
With the time they’ve spent in the United States, living freely, the families can return to Mexico with new skills and a broader perspective. If one day, those children would like to come back to the US for college, then they will have just one more advantage because they were exposed to the culture when they were younger.
But it is important to reinforce the pride they should have in their own citizenship.
To assume that all workers come here so they can be citizens is plain wrong and misleading to the politicians and concerned people who truly want to help in this debate.
People come here to work. They stay because it is too dangerous and costly to make multiple trips across the border. They become citizens because they have been here so long and have started new lives and families.
For those who want to become citizens, it is their choice.
Yet, no one has the right to force that choice on anyone.
Say No To A Permanent Subclass of Workers, Say Yes to a Path to Citizenship
Tell Your Senators that a Path to Citizenship for Immigrant Workers Is Essential
Reports indicate that the White House is considering a proposal to create a temporary worker program that would allow workers to come and work in the U.S. for two or three years at a time, and then insist on their return to their countries with no meaningful path to permanent status. The immigration debate must include a path to citizenship for two groups of immigrants: 1) those who are already living and working in the U.S., and 2) those who will come to the U.S. as workers in the future.
â€¢ An immigration bill must not create a permanent subclass of workers who are expected to support the American Dream for others without having access to it themselves.
â€¢ If we need them to work, we should want them to belong. Communities work better when people who wish to become part of that community are given that opportunity.
â€¢ America has successfully operated as a nation of immigrants precisely because we invite people in. As a nation, we value opportunity and hard work. Our inclusion of all who also share this value is what makes this country great.
â€¢ Insisting that “temporary means temporary” is a recipe for failure. The workers who come to the U.S. should have the chance to remain if they choose. Otherwise, workers will simply stay and continue to work illegally.
â€¢ The American public strongly supports a path to citizenship. An overwhelming majority of Americans understand that a path to citizenship for those who are willing to play by the rules is the right decision.