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Coming to America

By Kevin Robinson in News on Apr 25, 2007 1:50PM

Hoy%2C%20somos%20Americanos.jpgAs immigration rights activists around the nation prepare for marches marking the one year anniversary of the massive protests that took place on May 1 last year, federal agents stormed into a shopping mall yesterday in Little Village, serving a warrant to dismantle a counterfeiting operation that was allegedly producing fake work identifications. As of midnight last night there was no official confirmation of the number arrested, but witnesses have told the local media that as many as 160 people were arrested. Witnesses told CBS2 news that they had let most of the people they detained go, holding between 16 and 18 people in custody. After U.S. immigration authorities locked down the Little Village Plaza strip mall and parking lot, searching customers and businesses, anger and frustration spilled out into the corner of 26th and Albany in a protest of around 300 people.

The protests, planned for next week, come at a time when the immigration debate is starting to flare up again. Late last week U.S. Reps. Luis Gutierrez, (D-4th), and Rahm Emanuel, (D-5th) vowed to make a "final push" on a bill that would create a path to citizenship for people that are here illegally, and make it difficult, if not impossible, to forge new documents. Illegal immigrants would be fingerprinted and checked for a U.S. felony record. A $500 fine for their illegal entry would need to be paid, and they would then be issued a six-year visa to be used as a work permit, basic ID and even for travel outside the country. After taking English and civics classes, they would have to leave the US and re-enter, and pay a $1500 permanent residency application fee. Both Gutierrez and Emanuel admit that getting their bill passed will require a lot of bipartisan support, but hope they can line support up and get their package voted on by the Senate late next month.

We think the plan that Gutierrez is promoting is fair, but we're similarily concerned about the impact that the millions of people that have streamed into our country to take low-wage jobs has had on other parts of the world. As countries like Mexico lose their talented and hardest working people to the US, we wonder what positions those nations are left in. And it breaks our hearts to see our friends that hold advanced degrees and want to come here legally to work and live run into the byzantine maze that is US Immigration law. As our elected leaders try to work out a compromise that is fair to everyone involved, we hope clarity and reason will prevail in what has, thus far, been a heated and emotional issue.

Image via City of Progress