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Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Sunday, January 27, 2008
1. Immigrants don’t pay taxes
All immigrants pay taxes, whether income, property, sales, or other. As far as income tax payments go, sources vary in their accounts, but a range of studies find that immigrants pay between $90 and $140 billion a year in federal, state, and local taxes. Even undocumented immigrants pay income taxes, as evidenced by the Social Security Administration’s “suspense file” (taxes that cannot be matched to workers’ names and social security numbers), which grew $20 billion between 1990 and 1998.
2. Immigrants come here to take welfare1
Immigrants come to work and reunite with family members.
3. Immigrants send all their money back to their home countries
In addition to the consumer spending of immigrant households, immigrants and their businesses contribute $162 billion in tax revenue to
4. Immigrants take jobs and
The largest wave of immigration to the
5. Immigrants are a drain on the
During the 1990s, half of all new workers were foreign-born,
National Academy of
6. Immigrants don’t want to learn English or become
Within ten years of arrival, more than 75% of immigrants speak English well; moreover, demand for English classes at the adult level far exceeds supply. Greater than 33% of immigrants are naturalized citizens; given increased immigration in the 1990s, this figure will rise as more legal permanent residents become eligible for naturalization in the coming years. The number of immigrants naturalizing spiked sharply after two events: enactment of immigration and welfare reform laws in 1996, and the terrorist attacks in 2001.
The percentage of the
8. Most immigrants cross the border illegally
Around 75% have legal permanent (immigrant) visas; of the 25% that are undocumented, 40% overstayed temporary (nonimmigrant) visas.
INS Statistical Yearbook
From 1986 to 1998, the Border Patrol’s budget increased sixfold and the number of agents stationed on our southwest border doubled to 8,500. The Border Patrol also toughened its enforcement strategy, heavily fortifying typical urban entry points and pushing migrants into dangerous desert areas, in hopes of deterring crossings. Instead, the undocumented immigrant population doubled in that timeframe, to 8 million—despite the legalization of nearly 3 million immigrants after the enactment of the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986. Insufficient legal avenues for immigrants to enter the
10. The war on terrorism can be won through immigration
No security expert since
Newspaper articles, various security experts, and think tanks
Source: Prepared by the National Immigration Forum, June 2003
Friday, January 25, 2008
Should we treat undocumented aliens humanely? Asking this question today is akin to asking whether special privileges should be given to prisoners: 'no damnit, they should live on bread and water and break rocks, etc…' I particularly detest the use of the term "aliens" a political buzzword perfected by the Republican hate machine. Be that as it may, the so-called Department of Homeland Security is carrying out aggressive actions to round up undocumented workers. These actions take no regard for the fact that the person rounded up and deported may be the sole-breadwinner or caretaker to a family of children. Nativists have no problem with leaving a group of "illegal" children destitute and without parents. Most human beings feel otherwise. One need not be "pro-immigrant" to question whether families should be split up with the children remaining parent-less or father-less. I think most rational human beings believe that families should be accorded some level of respect or protection.
A recent article in the New York Times illustrates the fear and intimidation that is taking place throughout the country.
Published: The New York Times,
From Illinois to
They avoid the police, even hesitating to report crimes.
“When we leave in the morning we know we are going to work,” said Elena G., a 47-year-old illegal Mexican immigrant and
Last year, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested more than 35,000 illegal immigrants, including unauthorized workers and immigration fugitives, more than double the number in 2006. They sent 276,912 immigrants back to their home countries, a record number.
Since about three-quarters of an estimated 11.3 million illegal immigrants nationwide are from
A survey by the
“The raids have really spooked them in a big way,” said Douglas S. Massey, a
Based on his own surveys and recent reports from other scholars doing field research in the Southwest and in North Carolina and other states, Professor Massey said the “palpable sense of fear and of traumatization” in immigrant communities was more intense than at any other time since the mass deportations of Mexican farm workers in 1954. …
Nonetheless, for many residents fear has become a daily companion. One woman, a 37-year-old naturalized citizen who was born in
After they were married in 2004, she realized that under immigration law it would be difficult for him to become legal, even though she is a citizen. Because he had crossed the border illegally, seeking legal status would require him to return to
“I know everything about
Miriam M. and her husband, married in 2004, own a tidy house on a peaceful street and are raising four children from previous marriages, all
Even though Miriam M. is a citizen, it is difficult for her husband to obtain legal papers, since he entered illegally from
“Boyfriend and girlfriend, you don’t think much about it,” she said. “All right, maybe I didn’t want to think much about it.”
Now he stays close to home and avoids downtown
Mr. Hyde and other city officials said they expected to wait several years before Congress adopted new laws to control illegal immigration. Meanwhile, the mayor said, he will do what he can by enforcing local law.
“Do I believe in closing the borders?” Mr. Hyde said. “Do I believe in putting troops down there? You bet your life. Illegal is illegal, and that’s the end of the conversation, really.”
Legislation has been introduced by Rep. Hilda Solis [D, CA-32] to mitigate the impact of the ICE raids on families. The bill entitled, Families First Immigration Enforcement Act, H. R. 3980, (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.3980:) whose stated purpose is:
To provide for safe and humane policies and procedures pertaining to the arrest, detention, and processing of aliens in immigration enforcement operations.
Although the bill almost certainly has no chance of passing it is incumbent upon anyone who believes that all people should be treated humanely – most especially working families – to contact their representatives and immigrant advocates.
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Monday, January 21, 2008
A Story on the Mexican Repatriation During the Great Depression
History.net has a story titled "Immigrants: The Last Time America Sent Her Own Packing Fueled by the Great Depression, an anti-immigrant frenzy engulfed hundreds of thousands of legal American citizens in a drive to ‘repatriate’ Mexicans to their homeland," by Steve Boisson. Click here for the full story. It truly is amazing that so much has been written on this topic in the last year or two, which has remained invisible for so long. If Congress passes a pending bill sponsored by Rep. Hilda Solis (D-California) that would create a comission to more fully investigate this history, we would have an even better idea of what happened during what Francisco Balderrama has aptly called the Decade of Betrayal. For a recent law review article on the Mexican repatriation and its parallels to the modern "war on terror," click here. (Source: http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/immigration/2006/10/a_story_on_the_.html)
An economic threat had placed the nation’s future in jeopardy, caused severe economic distress for many U.S. citizens, and effectively compelled the government to act. A discrete and insular minority, the most available and vulnerable target, suffered from the government’s policy choice.
The tragedy of the Mexican repatriation is well worth remembering as the United States continues to wage a “war on terror” in response to the horrible loss of life on September 11, 2001. This “war” has targeted Arab and Muslim noncitizens suspected of no crime and subjected them to special immigration procedures, arrest, detention, and deportation from the United States.
In criticizing the government’s responses to the tragic events of September 11, the specter of the internment of the persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II has often been invoked. The analogy is apt in important ways, with racial profiling based on statistical probabilities at the core of the governmental policies adopted in both incidents. In my estimation, however, the repatriation of the 1930s also has modern relevance in evaluating the measures taken by the U.S. government in the name of national security after September 11. This paper draws out the historic and legal parallels between these two episodes in U.S. legal history and suggests that the nation should pay heed to the excesses of the past in considering its practices and policies
in the “war on terror.”
(Kevin R. Johnson, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, School of Law, University of California at Davis, "The Forgotten “Repatriation” of Persons of Mexican Ancestry and Lessons for the “War on Terror”" PACE LAW REVIEW, Volume 26 Fall 2005 Number 1)
By Steve Boisson
A 9-year-old girl stood in the darkness of a railroad station, surrounded by tearful travelers who had gathered up their meager belongings, awaiting the train that would take her from her native home to a place she had never been. The bewildered child couldn't know she was a character in the recurring drama of America's love-hate relationship with peoples from foreign lands who, whether fleeing hardship or oppression or simply drawn to the promise of opportunity and prosperity, desperately strive to be Americans. As yet another act in the long saga of American immigration unfolds today, some U.S. citizens can recall when, during a time of anti-immigrant frenzy fueled by economic crisis and racism, they found themselves being swept out of the country of their birth.
Emilia Castañeda will never forget that 1935 morning. Along with her father and brother, she was leaving her native Los Angeles. Staying, she was warned by some adults at the station, meant she would become a ward of the state. "I had never been to Mexico," Castañeda said some six decades later. "We left with just one trunk full of belongings. No furniture. A few metal cooking utensils. A small ceramic pitcher, because it reminded me of my mother…and very little clothing. We took blankets, only the very essentials."
As momentous as that morning seemed to the 9-year-old Castañeda, such departures were part of a routine and roundly accepted movement to send Mexicans and Mexican-Americans back to their ancestral home. Los Angeles County–sponsored repatriation trains had been leaving the station bound for Mexico since 1931, when, in the wake of the Wall Street crash of 1929 and the economic collapse and dislocation that followed, welfare cases skyrocketed. The county Board of Supervisors, other county and municipal agencies and the Chamber of Commerce proclaimed repatriation of Mexicans as a humane and utilitarian solution to the area's growing joblessness and dwindling resources. Even the Mexican consul stationed in Los Angeles praised the effort, at least at the outset, thanking the welfare department for its work "among my countrymen, in helping them return to Mexico." The Mexican government, still warmed by the rhetoric of the 1910 revolution, was touting the development of agricultural colonies and irrigation projects that would provide work for the displaced compatriots from the north.
By 1935, however, it was hard to detect much benevolence driving the government-sponsored train rides to Mexico. For young Castañeda's father, Mexico was the last resort, a final defeat after 20 years of legal residence in America. His work as a union bricklayer had enabled him to buy a house, but -- like millions of other Americans -- his house and job were lost to the Depression. His wife, who had worked as a maid, contracted tuberculosis in 1933 and died the following year. "My father told us that he was returning to Mexico because he couldn't find work in Los Angeles," Castañeda said. "He wasn't going to abandon us. We were going with him. When L.A. County arranged for our trip to Mexico, he and other Mexicans had no choice but to go."
Francisco Balderrama and Raymond Rodríguez, the authors of Decade of Betrayal, the first expansive study of Mexican repatriation with perspectives from both sides of the border, claim that 1 million people of Mexican descent were driven from the United States during the 1930s due to raids, scare tactics, deportation, repatriation and public pressure. Of that conservative estimate, approximately 60 percent of those leaving were legal American citizens. Mexicans comprised nearly half of all those deported during the decade, although they made up less than 1 percent of the country's population. "Americans, reeling from the economic disorientation of the depression, sought a convenient scapegoat," Balderrama and Rodríguez wrote. "They found it in the Mexican community."
During the early years of the 20th century, the U.S. Immigration Service paid scant attention to Mexican nationals crossing the border. The disfavored groups among border watchers at the time were the Chinese, who had been explicitly barred by the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, criminals, lunatics, prostitutes, paupers and those suffering from loathsome and contagious diseases. In actuality, the Mexican immigrant was often a pauper, but he was not, in the law's language, "likely to become a public charge." Cheap Mexican labor was in great demand by a host of America's burgeoning industries. The railroads, mining companies and agribusinesses sent agents to greet immigrants at the border, where they extolled the rewards of their respective enterprises. Border officials felt no duty to impede the labor flow into the Southwest.
The Mexican population in the United States escalated during the years following 1910. By 1914, according to author Matt S. Meier, the chaos and bloodshed of the Mexican revolution had driven as many as 100,000 Mexican nationals into the United States, and they would continue to cross the border in large numbers legally and illegally. Immigration laws were tightened in 1917, but their enforcement at the border remained lax. While laws enacted in 1921 and 1924 imposed quotas on immigrants from Europe and other parts of the Eastern Hemisphere, quotas were not applied to Mexico or other Western nations. This disparity found its detractors, particularly East Texas congressman John C. Box, who was a vocal proponent of curtailing the influx from the south.
Though none of Box's proposals became law, his efforts drew favorable coverage in the Saturday Evening Post and other journals that editorialized against the "Mexicanization" of the United States. When a Midwestern beet grower who hired Mexican immigrants appeared at a House Immigration Committee hearing, Box suggested that the man's ideal farm workers were "a class of people who have not the ability to rise, who have not the initiative, who are children, who do not want to own land, who can be directed by men in the upper stratum of society. That is what you want, is it?"
"I believe that is about it," replied the grower.
Those who exploited cheap Mexican labor, argued Box and his adherents, betrayed American workers and imperiled American cities with invading hordes of mixed-blood foreigners. Those who railed against quotas should visit the barrios in Los Angeles, wrote Kenneth L. Roberts in the Saturday Evening Post, "and see endless streets crowded with the shacks of illiterate, diseased, pauperized Mexicans, taking no interest whatever in the community, living constantly on the ragged edge of starvation, bringing countless numbers of American citizens into the world with the reckless prodigality of rabbits."(Source: http://www.historynet.com/magazines/american_history/3437881.html)
Sunday, January 20, 2008
As we have noted in prior postings, the anti-immigrant/nativist movement is animated as much, if not wholly, by hatred against Latinos (whether legal or undocumented) as any regard for the integrity of our borders. This is plainly evident in the racist rants of nativists such as Michelle Malkin, Lou Dobbs, Tom Tancredo and more respectable spokesmen such as Harvard’s Samuel Huntington. Now, the Southern Poverty Law Center which has a long and honorable tradition of exposing hate groups has documented the increase of hate crimes against Latinos masquerading as anti-immigrant cant. In a recently published article by Brentin Mock, entitled, “Immigration Backlash: Violence Engulfs Latinos,” SPLC documents this wave of hatred and violence:
The results are no less tragic for being predictable: Although hate crime statistics are highly unreliable, numbers that are available strongly suggest a marked upswing in racially motivated violence against all Latinos, regardless of immigration status. According to hate crime statistics published annually by the FBI, anti-Latino hate crimes rose by almost 35% between 2003 and 2006, the latest year for which statistics are available. In
What follows is a representative sampling of some of the more egregious examples of physical and psychological violence waged against Latinos over the past two-and-a-half years. The perpetrators range from racist skinheads to rogue Border Patrol agents to otherwise everyday citizens who took it upon themselves to repel an "invader," terrorize a "criminal alien," or exterminate a "cockroach."
The full article can be found at: http://www.splcenter.org/intel/news/item.jsp?site_area=1&aid=292
It is time for principled Americans to step up and speak against this wave of anti-Latino violence.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Cutting Edge Apparel Company, American Apparel, attracted a lot of attention when it posted an ad in favor of comprehensive and fair immigration reform. Many companies have taken positions on issues, mostly on the right of the political spectrum, and hence have gotten no flack from the chattering classes. Kudos to American Apparel for taking on a controversial issue! In case you are curious here is the ad. (http://americanapparel.net/presscenter/ads/newyorktimes0712.html) From Daily Kos:
Through a major public education and media advocacy campaign called ‘Legalize LA’, the trendy clothing company, the largest garment factory in the US, has been taking out ads in major national newspapers like The New York Times to make the case for legalizing the nation’s undocumented workers. (Click here to check out their ads – no worries, their usually racy look's been toned down to discuss this serious topic.) The purveyor of porn, which just went public last month, has been featuring profiles of its workers – all of them with legal status – and what they and their families bring to the company and the economy. Given American Apparel is based in Los Angeles, the city with the nation’s highest number of undocumented residents, the firm’s principled and practical stance on what to do with the nation’s undocumented folks – allow them to earn legal status so they can participate in the nation’s economy and exercise their rights as workers to the fullest - works for me.http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/1/18/12625/4855/452
While eristic-ragemail has focused on exploring the flawed and racist thinking behind nativist and anti-immigrant commentators there is a flip side to this coin. Namely, commentators have pointed out that cosmopolitan and tolerant centers are more vital economically and culturally than less-tolerant places. The most well-known proponent of this theory is Richard Florida, Professor of Business and Creativity at the Rotman School of Management,
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Ronald Reagan would often support his policies with anecdotes that were patently untrue. One of his favorite fictional quips was the “
“[Carlos] Monsivais speaks out on Latinos” (El Universal,
Mexican Intellectuals' Perceptions of Mexican Americans and Chicanos, 1920-Present, Richard Griswold del Castillo, (Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies, v27 n2 p33 74 Fall 2002)
Wall, who hails from
It is therefore, no surprise that most of his commentary is little more than one long anti-Mexican rant. Wall uses myriad anecdotes to express his ideas. Rarely, if ever, are any of these anecdotes supported by citations to supporting material. “For
What is most disturbing is that Wall gives credence to a range of crackpot theories. For example, Wall subscribes to the “reconquest” theory. “You Say You Want A Reconquista?,” The “reconquista” theory is a crackpot theory, advanced prominently by Samuel Huntington, holds that Mexico has designs on the U.S. Southwest—land lost the U.S. in the Mexican War of 1848. No respectable commentator, politician or journalist, either Mexican or Chicano, advances such a nutty idea. But people like Wall and many of his kind, impute this motive as if it were real. Every crackpot can feel comfortable in his resentment of Latinos part of a “fifth column,” waiting to undermine “our society.”
A typical column by Wall deals with the issue of Aztec human sacrifice. Again this is told anecdotally, with Wall mentioning some conversation where Mexicans allegedly defended the practice as advanced medical techniques. Wall imputes nonsense into the monolithic Mexican mouth and then sets out to dethrone it. According to him, Mexicans are in denial about their barbaric past. Never mind the ongoing scientific debate among archeologists regarding which Meso-American cultures practiced human sacrifice and to what extent; the reality is of little consequence to Wall. It’s the fact that Mexican’s refuse to face this “fact.” The implicit message is that Mexicans are barbarous.
Wall rails on like a redneck high on moonshine. He bemoans the rate of welfare use by Hispanics. “The Hispanic rate of welfare dependency is higher than [that of] whites and almost as high as [that of] blacks,” he claims in a recent posting. Contradictions don’t matter: Hispanics come only to enrich themselves and return to
Mexican society as a whole does not respect the sovereignty of the
Notice how nobody in
Wall makes no bones about his nativist ideology; he states forwardly that he subscribes to the nativist writings of Peter Brimelow (who wrote Alien Nation). His postings are linked to a variety of nativist and anti-immigrant sites and he is regularly featured on such websites and radio broadcasts. So why worry about one more nut on the Web? Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), called VDARE a "hate group," that was "once a relatively mainstream anti-immigration page," but by 2003 became "a meeting place for many on the radical right." The group also criticized VDARE for publishing articles by Jared Taylor and Sam Francis, along with other authors who deal with race and intelligence.
Once a relatively mainstream anti-immigration page, VDARE has now become a meeting place for many on the radical right.
One essay complains about how the government encourages "the garbage of
Africa" to come to the . The same writer says once the "Mexican invasion" engulfs the country, "high teenage birthrates, poverty, ignorance and disease will be what remains." United States
Another says that Hispanics have a "significantly higher level of social pathology than American whites. ... In other words, some immigrants are better than others." Yet another complains that a Jewish immigrant rights group is helping "African Muslim refugees" come to
Brimelow's site carries archives of columns from men like Sam Francis, who is the editor of the newspaper of the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens, a group whose Web page recently described blacks as "a retrograde species of humanity."
It has run articles by Jared Taylor, the editor of the white supremacist American Renaissance magazine, which specializes in dubious race and IQ studies and eugenics, the "science" of "race betterment" through selective breeding.
(http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?pid=285) "Based on evidence compiled by the Intelligence Report, the Southern
As a full-time resident of
Keeping America White
At a meeting of 'paleoconservatives,' former Forbes editor Peter Brimelow and others sound the alarm on non-white immigration
Southern Poverty Law Center
By Heidi Beirich and Mark Potok
Friday, January 4, 2008
Floor Statement of Senator Barack Obama on Immigration Reform
Monday, April 3, 2006
Mr. President, I come to the floor today to enter the debate on comprehensive immigration reform. It is a debate that will touch on the basic questions of morality, the law, and what it means to be an American.
I know that this debate evokes strong passions on all sides. The recent peaceful but passionate protests that we saw all across the country--500,000 in Los Angeles and 100,000 in my hometown of Chicago--are a testament to this fact, as are the concerns of millions of Americans about the security of our borders.
But I believe we can work together to pass immigration reform in a way that unites the people in this country, not in a way that divides us by playing on our worst instincts and fears.
Like millions of Americans, the immigrant story is also my story. My father came here from Kenya, and I represent a State where vibrant immigrant communities ranging from Mexican to Polish to Irish enrich our cities and neighborhoods. So I understand the allure of freedom and opportunity that fuels the dream of a life in the United States. But I also understand the need to fix a broken system.
When Congress last addressed this issue comprehensively in 1986, there were approximately 4 million illegal immigrants living in the United States. That number had grown substantially when Congress again addressed the issue in 1996. Today, it is estimated that there are more than 11 million undocumented aliens living in our country.
The American people are a welcoming and generous people. But those who enter our country illegally, and those who employ them, disrespect the rule of law. And because we live in an age where terrorists are challenging our borders, we simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, and unchecked. Americans are right to demand better border security and better enforcement of the immigration laws.
The bill the Judiciary Committee has passed would clearly strengthen enforcement. I will repeat that, because those arguing against the Judiciary Committee bill contrast that bill with a strong enforcement bill. The bill the Judiciary Committee passed clearly strengthens enforcement.
To begin with, the agencies charged with border security would receive new technology, new facilities, and more people to stop, process, and deport illegal immigrants.
But while security might start at our borders, it doesn't end there. Millions of undocumented immigrants live and work here without our knowing their identity or their background. We need to strike a workable bargain with them. They have to acknowledge that breaking our immigration laws was wrong. They must pay a penalty, and abide by all of our laws going forward. They must earn the right to stay over a 6-year period, and then they must wait another 5 years as legal permanent residents before they become citizens.
But in exchange for accepting those penalties, we must allow undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows and step on a path toward full participation in our society. In fact, I will not support any bill that does not provide this earned path to citizenship for the undocumented population--not just for humanitarian reasons; not just because these people, having broken the law, did so for the best of motives, to try and provide a better life for their children and their grandchildren; but also because this is the only practical way we can get a handle on the population that is within our borders right now.
To keep from having to go through this difficult process again in the future, we must also replace the flow of undocumented immigrants coming to work here with a new flow of guestworkers. Illegal immigration is bad for illegal immigrants and bad for the workers against whom they compete.
Replacing the flood of illegals with a regulated stream of legal immigrants who enter the United States after background checks and who are provided labor rights would enhance our security, raise wages, and improve working conditions for all Americans.
But I fully appreciate that we cannot create a new guestworker program without making it as close to impossible as we can for illegal workers to find employment. We do not need new guestworkers plus future undocumented immigrants. We need guestworkers instead of undocumented immigrants.
Toward that end, American employers need to take responsibility. Too often illegal immigrants are lured here with a promise of a job, only to receive unconscionably low wages. In the interest of cheap labor, unscrupulous employers look the other way when employees provide fraudulent U.S. citizenship documents. Some actually call and place orders for undocumented workers because they don't want to pay minimum wages to American workers in surrounding communities. These acts hurt both American workers and immigrants whose sole aim is to work hard and get ahead. That is why we need a simple, foolproof, and mandatory mechanism for all employers to check the legal status of new hires. Such a mechanism is in the Judiciary Committee bill.
And before any guestworker is hired, the job must be made available to Americans at a decent wage with benefits. Employers then need to show that there are no Americans to take these jobs. I am not willing to take it on faith that there are jobs that Americans will not take. There has to be a showing. If this guestworker program is to succeed, it must be properly calibrated to make certain that these are jobs that cannot be filled by Americans, or that the guestworkers provide particular skills we can't find in this country.
I know that dealing with the undocumented population is difficult, for practical and political reasons. But we simply cannot claim to have dealt with the problems of illegal immigration if we ignore the illegal resident population or pretend they will leave voluntarily. Some of the proposed ideas in Congress provide a temporary legal status and call for deportation, but fail to answer how the government would deport 11 million people. I don't know how it would be done. I don't know how we would line up all the buses and trains and airplanes and send 11 million people back to their countries of origin. I don't know why it is that we expect they would voluntarily leave after having taken the risk of coming to this country without proper documentation.
I don't know many police officers across the country who would go along with the bill that came out of the House, a bill that would, if enacted, charge undocumented immigrants with felonies, and arrest priests who are providing meals to hungry immigrants, or people who are running shelters for women who have been subject to domestic abuse. I cannot imagine that we would be serious about making illegal immigrants into felons, and going after those who would aid such persons.
That approach is not serious. That is symbolism, that is demagoguery. It is important that if we are going to deal with this problem, we deal with it in a practical, commonsense way. If temporary legal status is granted but the policy says these immigrants are never good enough to become Americans, then the policy that makes little sense.
I believe successful, comprehensive immigration reform can be achieved by building on the work of the Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee bill combines some of the strongest elements of Senator Hagel's border security proposals with the realistic workplace and earned-citizenship program proposed by Senators McCain and Kennedy.
Mr. President, I will come to the floor over the next week to offer some amendments of my own, and to support amendments my colleagues will offer. I will also come to the floor to argue against amendments that contradict our tradition as a nation of immigrants and as a nation of laws.
As FDR reminded the Nation at the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, those who landed at Ellis Island ``were the men and women who had the supreme courage to strike out for themselves, to abandon language and relatives, to start at the bottom without influence, without money, and without knowledge of life in a very young civilization.''
It behooves us to remember that not every single immigrant who came into the United States through Ellis Island had proper documentation. Not every one of our grandparents or great-grandparents would have necessarily qualified for legal immigration. But they came here in search of a dream, in search of hope. Americans understand that, and they are willing to give an opportunity to those who are already here, as long as we get serious about making sure that our borders actually mean something.
Today's immigrants seek to follow in the same tradition of immigration that has built this country. We do ourselves and them a disservice if we do not recognize the contributions of these individuals. And we fail to protect our Nation if we do not regain control over our immigration system immediately.