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We propose the end of proposals

February 6, 2013

Published here on January 30, 2013

Our government is finally starting to cooperate with itself. This past week, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators and President Obama both released their proposed plans for immigration reform. After four years of complaints from U.S. citizens, the White House and Congress want the same thing.

Immigration reform is a long time coming, the lack of which President Obama considers the “biggest failure” of his first term. Marty Rosenbluth, a local immigrant attorney, told Indie Week last week that undocumented immigrants are being deported over minor traffic offenses, such as driving without a license. We don’t think we need to reiterate the need for change.

But of course, not everyone agrees. Earlier this month, the North Carolina Department of Transportation enacted a ban on issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants who are eligible for deferred deportation. Both of North Carolina’s U.S. senators,  Richard Burr and Kay Hagan, responded to the national proposals with statements along the lines of “I support reform, but I am only considering this approach. There could be better options.”

We’re tired of the proposals. We’re tired of the musings, the considerations and the vague, diplomatic statements. Amèrica Moreno told Technician Tuesday that, as an undocumented immigrant, she has been waiting on reform for 17 years. During those 17 years, reform attempts failed in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2007 and, most recently, in 2010 with the DREAM Act.

Though we may be beating a dead horse, we also have to say that Obama’s proposal isn’t the answer immigrants need. One requirement is that current undocumented immigrants learn English. Did we not already go through this debate with the likes of the 2011 English Language Unity Act? Did we not determine that a national language was pointless?

Also, and more disturbingly, Obama’s proposal would require current undocumented immigrants to “move to the back of the line” on their pathway to legalization. The 11 million Hispanic non-citizens would not be any closer to citizenship than before. Essentially, this solves nothing.

We need change now. Rosenbluth recently won a Citizen Award from Indie Week for his continuing fight against the abuse of undocumented immigrants, and we congratulate him. But he can only do so much without the help of new legislation.

“The idea that you can go out at night for a quart of milk and end up in Mexico without being able to say goodbye to your kids is crazy,” Rosenbluth told Indie Week.

Is it redundant to say that we agree?

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