Economic and Social Justice for Immigrants No. 227
The United States of America is a nation forged and populated largely by people from other lands. Immigrants fleeing persecution and deprivation have replenished our nation’s vitality and culture with enthusiasm and resiliency.
Political officeholders and candidates have often exaggerated the burdens that immigrants place on government resources and ignored the contributions made by the vast majority of industrious, proud, and respectable immigrants. Special demagoguery and vitriolic scapegoating have been directed at undocumented immigrants, the most deprived, exploited, and abused individuals. Undocumented immigrants, because of their status, are especially vulnerable to exploitation. Some literally are enslaved in inhumane sweatshops. They often work for very low wages and, therefore, displace American workers and depress wages. This can be prevented in large part by enforcing existing labor laws. Congress must explicitly state that labor laws apply to undocumented immigrants.
Many politicians, pandering to the fears and prejudices of the electorate, claim that undocumented immigrants are the cause of our nation’s economic ills, taking more from our society than they contribute. Based on unsupported assertions, demagogues propose cruel and punitive measures, such as denying these individuals food, housing, health care, education and other social benefits.
This approach stifles a national resource by entangling law-abiding immigrants in a dragnet of suspicion. It promotes invidious discrimination and racism. It characterizes people by their residency status, rather than by their humanity.
Federal Legislation Introduced:
S.795 : A bill to assist aliens who have been lawfully admitted in becoming citizens of the United States, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 3/7/2007) Cosponsors (5)
Committees: Senate Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 3/7/2007 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
S.AMDT.1202 to S.1348 To provide a date on which the authority of the section relating to the increasing of American competitiveness through a merit-based evaluation system for immigrants shall be terminated.
Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 5/24/2007) Cosponsors (2)
Latest Major Action: 6/6/2007 Senate amendment not agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 1202 not agreed to in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 42 - 55. Record Vote Number: 200.
S.AMDT.1190 to S.1348 To require undocumented immigrants receiving legal status to pay owed back taxes.
Sponsor: Sen McCain, John [AZ] (introduced 5/24/2007) Cosponsors (3)
Latest Major Action: 5/24/2007 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 1190 as modified agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent.
Title: A bill to increase the allocation of visas for certain highly skilled workers and to reduce fraud and abuse in certain visa programs for aliens working temporarily in the United States.
Sponsor: Sen Lieberman, Joseph I. [CT] (introduced 5/15/2007) Cosponsors (3)
Latest Major Action: 5/15/2007 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.