Comprehensive Immigration Reform In United States

Healthcare reform, immigration reform, banking reform, and the list goes on. This past week a diverse coalition lead by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill) are laying down the marker in 2009 for comprehensive immigration reform by introducing the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for Americas Security and Prosperity (CIR-ASAP) Act of 2009. This bill has not been passed yet; it has only been introduced.

In a country built on the hard work of immigrants, it is imperative that this group be protected in the United States. Recently, there was a report that 1/3 of Los Angeles’s economy is dependent on immigrants. Also, immigrants are known for their entrepreneurship in small businesses. Tuyet Le, Executive Director of the Asian American Institute, says: Family-based immigration has long created the foundation for strong, entrepreneurial communities across the country. This bill will reunite immigrants with their loved ones and will also provide some increases in high-skill temporary worker visas.”

This legislation focuses on undocumented students, family reunification, and worker visas-issues affecting our Punjabi Sikh community in America. For example, CIR-ASAP would allow undocumented high school graduates who came to the United States before the age of 16 to attain legal residency. This residency would open up educational and financial aid opportunities. This portion of the bill is modeled after the DREAM Act of 2009, except that it shortens the six-year wait period to three years and removes fines.

Today, Rep. Mike Honda, a co-sponsor of the bill, held a national tele-town hall meeting. The Asian American Legal Center of Southern California reported in it’s press release this week that the listening session was an opportunity for community advocates to voice their concerns about immigration reform. All Sikh social justice activists are encouraged to attend future sessions. We need the Sikh voice represented in these dialogues to have our community’s needs addressed while fighting for the rights of all immigrant groups. Often the Sikh community is viewed by the mainstream as functioning in a silo. Breaking out of this silo and working collaboratively with others is at the benefit for all. Immigration reform is a main concern for our community when many are becoming citizens to reunite family members in America. I remember during this past election year when I asked friends and family members who were naturalized citizens to vote, the responses was often that they became citizens to apply for family members not necessarily get involved in American politics. Thus, an important part of our civic engagement as citizens and non-citizens is participating in forums that address our issues- like the one held by Rep. Honda. You can have your voice heard by check marking boxes and voicing your concerns about issues that matter to you.

I will update the TLH community about such forums as I become aware of them. Also, use the comments section of this blog to keeps us all informed of any events you know of.


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2 Responses to “Comprehensive Immigration Reform In United States”

  1. sonny says:

    thanks for this post. this bill is definitely a good development and the issue one that is so important to our punjabi sikh immigrant community as well as many other communities we should support. faith based organizations have been taking a stand on immigrant rights issues, bringing a moral and spiritual voice to the debate. see the interfaith immigration network's statement in support of the bill here: http://sikhcoalition.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/imm… . there's also a take action link there.

  2. sonny says:

    thanks for this post. this bill is definitely a good development and the issue one that is so important to our punjabi sikh immigrant community as well as many other communities we should support. faith based organizations have been taking a stand on immigrant rights issues, bringing a moral and spiritual voice to the debate. see the interfaith immigration network's statement in support of the bill here: http://sikhcoalition.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/imm… . there's also a take action link there.