LatinaLista — It wasn’t until the 2008 presidential election that most U.S. Americans saw just how much the rest of the world feels they have a say in our internal politics.
During the presidential campaign, a day didn’t go by that a non-U.S. blogger/writer/reporter didn’t publicly weigh in on their choice of U.S. President. At the time, U.S. Americans chalked it up to the diversity of the candidates themselves and the global disapproval of the Bush Administration.
Yet, that’s not the case.
The rest of the world, especially Latin America, has always felt the repercussions of whatever Administration is in power and the laws passed in Congress that dealt with trade, immigration, security, etc. What happens in the United States has always impacted other countries.
So, it’s not surprising that several Latin American countries have banded together to forge a document they plan to present to the U.S. Congress to lobby for 11 specific points they feel need to be included in any immigration reform bill.
From their standpoint, this isn’t meddling in another country’s politics — it’s looking out for the interests of their citizens who just happen to live illegally in the United States.
It was reported today by FrancMex (Mexico-based reporter) that 12 percent of Mexico’s population lives in the United States. Totals from other countries are harder to calculate but countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Belize have seen their citizens escape the poverty and turmoil of their home countries to go to the U.S. in search of that proverbial “better life.”
Yet, with the harsh immigration enforcement by the former administration and the ongoing arrests and deportations that are continually separating families, these Latin American governments feel they have no choice but to craft a document that reflects
“the reality being experienced by the Central American community in the United States.”
So far, four countries (Guatemala, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Ecuador) have signed on to the document which include such points as: the “migratory regularization” of their fellow countrymen who reside in the U.S., permanent residence for agricultural workers and for those who have studied in the United States and family reunification.
Several other countries are reviewing the document and expected to sign on as well. Though it’s not known who will present the document to U.S. lawmakers, the Guatemalan Immigrants’ Coalition, Comigua, is reported to be making plans to lobby for it this month in Washington.
This is the first time these countries have joined together in drafting a regional proposal such as this and so it’s believed that Congress will take this document seriously — and they should.
While I have not seen the full 11 points compiled by these governments, one thing is certain — the U.S. has to work with these countries if they want any immigration reform measure to succeed this time.
That’s not to say that the U.S. has to comply with all their demands but there has to be recognition that illegal immigration is a trade of labor and it is contributing to the economies of both the United States and home countries.
As much as the “immigration restrictionists” like to pretend otherwise, time and time again we have seen that the undocumented workers add to local U.S. economies, and even in some cases, have revitalized rural towns that were on the brink of being ghost towns.
It’s just a fact.
And it’s a fact that these same immigrants are able to send remittances home that keep their hometown economies afloat because their governments just don’t have the money to do it.
Unless Congress understands these dynamics and quits trying to pretend the United States is an autonomous entity but rather a country whose security and prosperity are tied to their neighbors in this hemisphere, uncontrollable illegal immigration will continue — and that’s not good for the United States nor for the struggling countries left behind.