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Esperanzas por la reforma migratoria de Obama, pero el énfasis en el control de la inmigración sigue - Clip I

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Esto es Democracy Now!, el informativo de guerra y paz. Soy Amy Goodman, nos acompaña Juan González. We continue to look at immigration now, as we turn to news this week that President Obama will kick off his second term with a major push for comprehensive immigration reform. Obama made the announcement during a speech Tuesday in Nevada, a battleground state whose growing Latino vote helped him win the November election. We have to deal with the 11 million individuals who are here illegally. Now, we all agree that these men and women should have to earn their way to citizenship. But for comprehensive immigration reform to work, it must be clear from the outset that there is a pathway to citizenship. It’s easy sometimes for the discussion to take on a feeling of "us" versus "them." And when that happens, a lot of folks forget that most of "us" used to be "them." We forget that. The foundation for bipartisan action is already in place. And if Congress is unable to move forward in a timely fashion, I will send up a bill based on my proposal and insist that they vote on it right away. During his address, Obama backed a bipartisan Senate plan announced Monday that includes a path to citizenship for some of the estimated 11 million undocumented people living in the United States. He also called for tougher border enforcement and a system for tracking those who overstay visas. Well, to discuss what’s known about the details of the plans called for this week by the president and the so-called "Gang of 8" bipartisan senators, we’re joined by three guests. In Washington, D.C., Lorella Praeli is with us, director of advocacy and policy at the United We Dream Coalition, just back from attending President Obama’s speech in person on Tuesday. In El Paso, Texas, we’re joined by Fernando Garcia, the founding director of the Border Network for Human Rights, to get a perspective on the border. And here in New York, Mae Ngai is with us, professor of history and Asian-American studies at Columbia University. Her op-ed piece, "Reforming Immigration for Good," was published in The New York Times yesterday. We welcome you all to Democracy Now! Juan? Well, Lorella, I’d like to begin with you. You were at the—you were at the presentation, the speech by President Obama, and you were tweeting during his speech. Could you talk about some of your tweets? Sure. I mean, I think, through my tweets, I was expressing mixed emotions. I was expressing tremendous amount of excitement to hear the president, you know, just a week after his inauguration come out and talk about wanting to reform immigration and to have a clear pathway to citizenship for our community. At the same time, you—as an advocate and an activist, you understand what’s happening in your community right now, and you understand that you can’t really wait for the legislative timeline to move, because there is a real sense of urgency now. So it was—it was an expression of both happiness, disappointment, and knowing the truth, knowing that while the president is speaking, people are being deported and ripped apart from their families and their communities, but again, very privileged to have been there and excited for this year. And Mae Ngai, one of the things that interested me was the president didn’t just give a speech about policy, he also tried to remind people about the history of immigration battles in the United States— Right. —when he said that remark, "Most of 'us' used to be 'them.'" And you’ve looked extensively at the immigration history of the country. And one of the points that you have raised, that most people have overlooked, is this whole issue of the defining of who is legal and illegal— That’s right. —and how that has been used to target specific populations. Right. Well, I think, in a way, that was the best part of the president’s speech, when he spoke to the values of what it means to be a nation of immigrants. And as he pointed out, most of "us" used to be "them." And he also said that this country was built by the hard work of immigrants. I’m reminded a lot of the difference between immigration at the turn of the last century and immigration at the turn of this century. In many ways, they’re similar: It’s a mass migration, it’s a labor migration, it contributed to a dynamic growth of the country’s economy and culture. The main difference, though, was, a hundred years ago, there were no numerical restrictions. So when people say, "My ancestors came legally; they didn’t break the law; they didn’t cut to the front of the line," well, there wasn’t any line. Ninety-eight percent of the people who showed up at Ellis Island got in. And that’s a big difference. And you specifically target the visa situation, because the way that the numerical quotas work right now, those countries that normally supply a lot of immigrants automatically hit their visa limits very quickly. That’s right. And then everyone else ends up being illegal, whereas other countries, it’s very easy to get in. Right. I think that’s the big elephant in the room that none of the plans on the table in the Senate or in the White House actually have taken up. And that elephant is the visa system. Right now, no country can have more than 7 percent of the total. And that 7 percent, that maximum for every country, is about 25,000. So four countries every year max out. And you can guess which four countries they are: Mexico, India, China and the Philippines. So, the wait, when people say, "Get at the end of the line," that line could be 20 years; it could actually be 40 years long. So it’s a cruel joke. Right. In the case of Mexicans, it’s closer to 40 years long, right? Yeah, yeah. It’s so—you know, to tell someone to get to the end of the line is really—I think it’s a cruel joke. Talk about workers, the situation for workers, and the studies that have been done around them, in Virginia, in North Carolina. Well, you know, immigrants today work in all kinds of jobs. They don’t only work in agriculture anymore. They work in cities in our restaurants, in hotels and buildings, but they also work in the food-processing industry. And the poultry industry really relies on undocumented labor. There was a case in South Carolina where an ICE raid ended up in the deportation of all the workers, and the company resorted to prison labor to replace them. These are the kinds of jobs that businesses are—have on offer today. So I think part of the problem also is— They couldn’t get local residents to take the jobs. Not right away. I mean, they actually ended up having to raise wages to attract local African Americans to work there. So, part of our problem is also the fact that business wants undocumented labor, right? Because the undocumented worker also has fewer opportunities to complain, because if you complain, you can get deported. Fernando Garcia, you’re with the Border Network for Human Rights, and clearly one of the big issues—and actually, some of the differences between the Senate proposal and President Obama’s presentation—and the devil in this is going to be in the details of how—what is actually decided in Congress. But the Senate version would require the certification that the border is secure before anybody could pass from being temporarily in the United States to being able to apply for permanent residency. But, you know— but I’ve been struck by the enormous expenditures already that the government is spending. As I noted in my column in the Daily News this week, the federal government spent $18 billion last year on border security, which is more than the combined budgets of the FBI, the Marshals Service, the Secret Service, the DEA, the ATF. All of these other federal law enforcement agencies, their total budgets were only $14 billion. So we’re already spending a huge amount on border security. Your sense, where the president is saying, on the other hand, that he doesn’t want to have this kind of certification, that he’s already secured or done a lot to secure the borders in the last—in his first term? Yes, yes. Let’s just remember that we had already [inaudible] for—most of the border enforcement benchmark that we discussed in 2006 was—which was the previous effort on immigration reform. At the border, we have seen a buildup on enforcement. I mean, if we remember now, today, that we have 400 miles of fencing and walls already in place, have doubled the Border Patrol agents on the ground to up to 22,000. We had deployed the National Guard, military units at the border. And as you say, we have [inaudible] billions of dollars. So I think it seems that never it’s going to be enough for some people. I mean, it seems that border enforcement will always be a political tool, you know, to advance—either to oppose citizenship or access to citizenship, or not to—essentially, destroy the process on comprehensive immigration reform. So, we believe that that is going to be unworkable. I mean, who knows who’s going to certify this process? Governor Perry, that actually had been saying that there were bombs exploding in El Paso? Or Governor Brewer, that actually—she presented the chaos and beheadings in Tucson or at the border would never happen? So I think it is really concerning that they are linking more punitive policies, more criminalization for immigrants, more deportation and militarization, to access citizenship. And on the issue of militarization of the border, Fernando Garcia, the issue, for example, of drones, talk about what’s happening. Well, we already have deployed some drones. And I think it is—it just only shows, I mean, the level of militarization. But now, with this new proposal, they want to deploy a serious—increase the number of drones and have all of these unmanned flying vehicles along the U.S.-Mexico border. And again, I mean, each of those drones are going to be extremely expensive. Obviously, they would not be engaging with communities directly, but it’s a show of how we’re moving towards the—a full militarization of the border. Thanks so much for watching this report from Democracy Now, your daily Independent Global News Hour. No aceptamos publicidad o financiación corporativa por lo que dependemos de la donaciones de telespectadores como usted. Por favor, haga su contribución visitando, necesitamos su apoyo hoy para continuar ofreciéndoles estos impactantes reportajes en profundidad.

Video Details

Duration: 11 minutes and 7 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Views: 109
Posted by: democracynowes on Jan 31, 2013

El presidente Obama comenzó su segundo mandato dando un fuerte impulso a una reforma migratoria integral mediante el apoyo de un proyecto del Senado acordado entre ambos partidos.

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