LatinaLista — If one thing was clear from the testimony of Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday morning, it’s that she wants to see immigration reform addressed in 2010.
With senators questioning Napolitano on everything from immigration status, detention and deportation to asylum seekers and border security, it’s easy to see that it’s a topic that people are itching to debate, or at least clarify.
From the line of questioning and the Secretary’s own answers, it’s obvious there is puzzlement and frustration as to how things are currently operating when it comes to implementing current immigration policy.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (R) and committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (L) listen to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testify on Capitol Hill.
It underscores the fact that any immigration reform bill is going to have to go beyond “fixing a broken system.”
It’s going to have to create a new one.
New procedures for detaining undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers, along with, new ways to keep more vigilance on employers and people who overstay their visas must be created.
New penalties and more fierce punishments for those who deal with human smuggling or use innocent migrants to do their dirty work must be created and enforced.
A new program that allows for enough seasonal and temporary workers to come to the country and work under the protection of the federal government must be considered for those industries where even “American workers won’t do the work.”
A practical approach to putting people on a path to citizenship without extra hardship or creating an atmosphere of intimidation must be created.
Creating an extensive citizenship program whereby the laws of the United States are taught, not just historic dates or famous preambles of national documents, but laws and social customs of the country so that no longer immigrants will be seen as “outsiders” for not knowing how to behave. End the program with a graduation where graduates receive legal IDs so that they can begin the process of coming out of the shadows and realize full assimilation into U.S. society.
Create a policy that allows for reunification of families for those people who were forced to deport and, if only guilty of re-entering the country, expunge their records of those misdemeanor charges.
Create an international understanding with those countries losing their citizens to the lure of U.S. jobs that their citizens are their most valuable export and help create a process whereby foreign countries monetarily gain from “exporting” their labor.
Create an understanding in the federal government that the U.S. is still a desirable place for some who want to immigrate and live here and so rational quotas need to address that fact.
And finally, above all, there must be created an intention by all Senators to debate with the goal of reaching a compromise because the time for immigration reform is now and the patience of Latino communities across the country is wearing extremely thin.