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New Immigration Reform Bill STRIVEs to Make Undocumented Immigrants Repeat the Journey

LatinaLista — Today, the first real step towards immigration reform was introduced on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez

Two Representatives, Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) offered their version of bipartisan immigration reform with the “Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy Act of 2007,” otherwise known as the STRIVE Act.

Rep. Jeff Flake

Already, organizations from the National Council of La Raza
to the National Immigration Forum are singing the praises of the bill.

Though everyone is admitting that it is far from perfect, the relief in that it is a serious attempt to address immigration reform has everyone giddy with excitement. There seems to be a consensus that whatever differences lay ahead will be ironed out to everyone’s satisfaction.

I’m not so sure.

Though Gutierrez and Flake were able to meet in the middle to draft this bill, that’s not to say that the rest of Flake’s Republican colleagues will be able to do the same.

And if they do, a real concern is that they will latch onto one particularly disturbing provision in the bill to drive home their point: that all undocumented immigrants leave the country, go back to their home country and re-enter this country legally.

To demand this of over 12 million people, with no guarantee that their applications will be dealt with in an expedited manner almost sounds like a scam to get people to leave and then “conveniently” misplace their paperwork.

To demand that these people leave the country doesn’t recognize nor respect the lives they have built here, the bills they are paying, the classes their children are attending, the communities they are a part of, etc.

If it’s so important that these people start the process on their country’s turf, why not let them go to their nearest embassy or consulate and file the paperwork there?

It is unreasonable to send people, who are already the most vulnerable, all the way home, especially if they live beyond Mexico. Many of these undocumented immigrants experienced horrendous violence and risks to get here.

A lot of them did not survive without being scarred for life.

To expect them to relive those horrors without any safeguards, is unrealistic and just plain wrong.

We hope that when Congress does sit down to iron out the details of this bill, that they don’t use it as an excuse to punish a group that has already proven they want to contribute to society through their hard work and community participation.

They shouldn’t have to travel thousands of miles to prove they want to be here.

Once should be enough.

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