Immigration reform looms as a controversial public issue
By Derek Joy
Black History Month nears its midway point in 2013 as America ponders the red hot public issue of immigration reform.
And the history of it all proceeds amid the second term of the nation’s first African American President – Barack Obama.
Interestingly enough, Obama succeeded – where other Presidents failed or failed to act – in the area of healthcare reform. Now, he leads the charge on immigration reform.
And, yes, there appears to be a bi-partisan push in the 113th Congress to do more than display the usual “Ostrich Syndrome” when it comes to immigration reform.
“The President has the right idea,” said Florida State Representative Sharon Pritchett (Dem., Dist. 102). “It’s long overdue, especially when you know and recognize that quote on that statute.
“Give me your tired, poor and huddled masses,” Pritchett noted, “are the words on the Statute of Liberty on Ellis Island, N.Y.”
The Statute of Liberty is there in recognition of the point of entry for the throngs of European and African immigrants, while Asian immigrants typically entered America through California.
Previously noted considerations spanned a range of reasons for the need for, and perceptions of, immigration reform.
Such considerations as a complex issue, an attempt by Whites to maintain a majority in America, the need for fair and equal opportunity for the individuals.
Just as much a consideration is the legislation enacted in Arizona that gives law enforcement officers the right for discretionary checks of immigrants. That state law has raised questions of legality and the possibility of being a racial profiling tool.
“I don’t care what they are doing,” replied Eduardo Fields, an independent contractor, when asked about the impact of immigrants on the labor market and immigration reform. “It won’t hurt me. It won’t make me go hungry.”
That may not apply to all Americans when considering the unemployment rate – especially among African Americans, which hovers around some 15-percent in the state of Florida.
“Immigration reform,” said Maureen Burgess, a Miami native and retired educator living in Pasco County, “I do think it should be legalized. But I do not understand all the information. I trust the President to get it right.”
Getting it right is definitely a tall order, particularly in view of the fact that it is all motivated by profit for a select few.
Case in point is how current immigration laws allow migrant worker to pursue jobs that are supposedly hard to fill, such as in the agricultural industry. That same law allows immigrant access to play baseball.
Both are perpetuated in fallacies, if, for no other reason, that America does not have a shortage in the supply of quality baseball players or agricultural workers at a fair wage.
A point noted by former Florida State Representative James Bush III, a candidate for UTD (United Teachers of Dade) President, is “Give the individual the opportunity to do what’s within the purview of the law.”
Curiously, the estimate 11-million illegal/undocumented immigrants didn’t act within the law to enter and remain in America illegally.
Few are tried, convicted and sentence to prison as are American citizens who commit or are simply falsely accused of committing criminal offenses.
However, it is unrealistic to expect 11 million people to be arrested, tried and sentenced to prison or sent packing.
That isn’t what happened when countless Whites dodge the Selective Service Draft into U.S. Armed Forces Service during the Vietnam War. A significant number of those who were then called “Draft Dodgers” escaped to Canada and were eventually granted amnesty.
“I’ve heard a lot of talk about immigration reform,” said Fields, who served one tour of duty in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Desert Storm/Desert Shield Era. “I think any immigration reform should benefit the people who have been here and those who have served in the military.
“Look at these contractors and people don’t understand why all these Hispanics are hired and not one Black man is working on the job site. There are Black craftsmen who should be hired. It should be stipulated in the contracts.
“They claim there are no qualified Black contractors and craftsmen. But there are. There is no way a Black contractor could have a contract with 75 jobs and hire 75 Blacks. That’ll never happen. So why are Hispanics allowed to do that/” Fields asked.