Built this country, from Florida to Alaska, Hawaii to Maine.
Runs silently in the background like the cashier whose face you avoid.
Sustains our economic and cultural wealth.
Needed but disdained and discarded like yesterday's condom.
Implicit in your every meal, from the salad
to the wine
to the steak
Serves the public good.Dies unknown and unrenown, unrewarded and unrecognized.
Is how I came to be an American citizen.
Via Angry Asian Man, I saw that Carson City, Nevada (with aid from Senate Minority leader Harry Reid
) plans on building a museum to honor the Chinese American Worker.
It's going to take the form of a gold-plated mountain, or "jin san" - the Gold Mountain of so many immigrants' dreams. But it will be hollow - hollow like their dreams. I know so many immigrant parents who came here under the highly specialized visa entry status (H1Bs) gave up being doctors or professors in other countries so that they could raise their children in the United States, so that future generations could have better opportunities.
I also know undocumented immigrants who came here and overcame many obstacles, to reunite with their families, or simply to escape civil war. I even know immigrants who came for that most American of ideals - to pursue their freedom of religion. Some of these people were babies or kids when their parents brought them over, so they are noncomplicit, but this is the only country and life that they know.
Which brings me to an immigration "reform" bill
that's currently being debated in the Senate. A worse one already passed the House (HR 4437.) It's a vile piece of legislation that doesn't give immigrants due process, would create a permanent underclass of immigrant workers who could be recycled for their hard labor without a chance for citizenship, could penalize Americans who come into contact with undocumented immigrants in everyday settings as accomplices to felony by "aiding and abetting" undocmented workers.
Let's review what this bill means by the very broad term aiding and abetting:
-a priest giving an immigrant parishioner spiritual consel or offering food to a hungry family (as ministering to the poor is a tenet of most religions)
-you driving your sick neighbor to the doctor's office
-a doctor being forced to ask for identification before treating a sick or dying patient (keep in mind that time is life in emergency situations)
As Angela Kelley
of the National Immigration Forum, a nonpartisan organization, writes:
It criminalizes immigrants without papers, which may amount to a backdoor effort to force state and local police to add immigration enforcement to their already full platter of duties. It also expands the definition of "alien smuggling" so that people who come in normal, everyday contact with undocumented immigrants may be criminally charged.
Immigrants and their supporters have rallied in the 100,000s in Chicago
, Washington DC, Philadelphia and across the country. We must prevent this bill from passing the Senate, so I BEG EVERYONE:
Call your Senator (numbers below) and tell them:
1). Only a comprehensive immigration reform bill is acceptable and that the Senate Judiciary Committee should be given time to complete its work and,
2). Please support an amendment to the bill which would provide an earned legalization program for the 11 million undocumented in the country.
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are:
Alabama: Senator Jeff Session's office at (202) 224-4124
Arizona: Senator Jon Kyl's office at (202) 224-4521
California: Senator Feinstein’s office at: (202) 224-3841
Delaware: Senator Biden’s office at: (202) 224-5042
Illinois: Senator Durbin’s office at: (202) 224-2152
Iowa: Senator Grassley’s office at: (202) 224-3744
Kansas: Senator Brownback’s office at: (202) 224-6521
Massachusetts: Senator Kennedy’s office at: (202) 224-5251
New York: Senator Schumer’s office at: 202-224-6542
Ohio: Senator DeWine’s office at: (202) 224-2315
Oklahoma: Senator Coburn’s office at: (202) 224-5754
Pennsylvania: Senator Specter’s office at: (202) 224-4254
South Carolina: Senator Graham’s office at: (202) 224-5972
Texas: Senator Cornyn’s office at: (202) 224-2934
Utah: Senator Hatch’s office at: (202) 224-5251
Vermont: Senator Leahy’s office at: (202) 224-4242
Wisconsin: Senator Kohl’s office at: (202) 224-5653 & Senator Feingold’s office at: (202) 224-5323 Click on the links provided for a summary of the bill and talking points which highlight the major issues in case you have an opportunity for a longer conversation with staff. Again, the short message is that 1). the Senate Judiciary Committee should be given time to complete its work on a complicated immigration bill. Such a bill should not be rushed out of committee. Please support an amendment to the bill in committee and/or on the floor which would provide an earned legalization program for the 11 million undocumented in this country. (An earned legalization program would provide temporary work visas for currently undocumented. It would require them to pay a fine, begin learning English, and work for six years before becoming eligible for a green card/permanent residency)
This is an important week for the chances for comprehensive immigration reform. We need your voices.
Alternately, call Senator Specter's office and ask that:
IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT SENATE MEMBERS CONTINUE TO HEAR OUR VOICES!
The Senate Judiciary Committee will continue to review and revise Senator Specter's (R-PA) draft immigration bill ("Chairman's Mark") this Wednesday and Thursday.
Call Senator Specter, the Judiciary Committee Chair, on Thursday, March 16 and let him know:
** I support realistic, humane comprehensive immigration reform.
** I oppose legislation that creates a permanent, second-class of workers who will never have a meaningful path to citizenship; the "Gold Card" proposal is unacceptable.
** I believe the Judiciary Committee should not have to work under an arbitrary deadline set by Senator Frist (R-TN) and should have all the time it needs to bring forth a REAL comprehensive immigration reform bill.
You can contact Senator Specter's Judiciary Committee office at: (202) 224-5225