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Weekly Diaspora: Moving Immigration Reform Forward

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A crowd of thousands gathered on Capitol Hill Tuesday, to lobby for and support immigration reform, as Debayani Kar writes for RaceWire. Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus “presented his key principles for comprehensive immigration reform” at the rally. They include:

[A] pathway to legalization for undocumented workers, more effective border enforcement, humane treatment of immigrant detainees, labor protections, improved worker verification system, protections for family unification, improved employment-based visa system, farm worker protections, strengthening of the DREAM Act, and promoting immigrant integration.

Kar writes that Gutierrez’s “ten key principles for inclusion” would be “an important step in the right direction,” though his outline seems “intentionally vague.” The rally and Gutierrez’ planned bill are important milestones as we work towards comprehensive reform. They are also necessary.

Also on Tuesday, Nevada citizens held a vigil to “stress importance of the [immigration] issue,” as Chris Thomas reports for Public News Service. Immigration reform is of critical importance in a state like Nevada, “Where immigrants make up nearly 20% of the population and 14% of the voters.” The vigils were focused on “stopping immigration raids,” which cause great stress to families and often result in detainment of innocent people.

The immigrant community has been historically scapegoated in times of worry or hardship. Today is no different. As Wiretap Mag reports, the Senate Finance Committee passed a health care bill on Tuesday that “explicitly excludes” undocumented immigrant communities. The bill denies the most vulnerable among us “The ability to participate in the insurance exchange that will let consumers shop for coverage,” as M. Junaid Levesque-Alam writes. In other words, it wasn’t enough that taxpayer funds, which working undocumented pay into via payroll and sales taxes, will not be alloted toward the undocumented. The bill disallows these people from buying into any health care plan, even with money they’ve earned. It seems an unnecessary and even cruel step to take.