Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations (FIOB) Statement

Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations (FIOB) Statement

The Senate immigration bill imposes many obstacles. FIOB demands full rights to immigrants.

The so called “Group of Eight” Senators, presented before the Senate today, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act,” which despite allowing the legalization of millions of people in the country before December 31 2011, contains very rigid requirements that would leave out millions of people and denies them basic rights.

The Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations (FIOB), an active organization in the Dignity Campaign, and other national organizations believe that, because of the impact it will have on the lives of millions of people, a new immigration law should recognized the full rights of immigrants.

We stand on the following points:

    1. The date of December 31, 2011 as the deadline to have enter the country to qualify for legalization as the initiative proposes excludes thousands of migrants who could not regularized their immigration status. This date should be move at least a year ahead to December 31, 2012, to include a greater number of undocumented migrants.
    2. The time the bill proposes to allow immigrants to obtained their residence (ten years) and citizenship (total of 13 years) is too long. It should be obtained in a maximum of five years.
    3. On the “Merit Based Program” that grants legalization based on education and skills, we propose to remove the requirement of educational attainment since many people would be left out, if it applied.
    4. The proposal excludes immigrants from health services and public benefits, which threatens the health and wellbeing of people.
    5. The electronic verification system (E-Verify) required to employers would affect irregular workers in the process.
    6. The Guest Worker Program would place farm workers in a vulnerable position, as it would give them an unfavorable treatment, compared to that of resident and citizens workers.
    7. The requirement of being employed and demonstrating financial stability be given a time frame that will allow the person to adjust to their new temporary status since many people are currently unemployed due to their immigration status and makes it difficult for them to have an employment.
    8. We demand an end to the raids and deportations until a final immigration law is enacted. An end to the separation of families and that the people deported who have children or spouses that are U.S. citizens, be granted re-entrance to this country.
    9. The so-called strengthening border enforcement creates a militarization affecting populations on both countries. We are especially concerned about the use of unmanned aircraft (drones). At the present there is already a huge border surveillance and yet the organized crime still operates on these borders, which carries out human trafficking, kidnappings and other human rights violations.
    10. The U.S. government should take responsibility as the entity that causes the migration and displacement of our communities by imposing economic policies like NAFTA in countries southern . In addition to supporting the extractive neoliberal system that plunders our communities, generating misery, violence, unemployment and social instability all of which are migration factors.

As a binational organization we believe that this bill does nothing to alleviate the causes of migration (poverty, low wages and violence increases) in our home countries because of international policies imposed by the government of the United States, like their financial support with millions of dollars to the drug war that the Mexican government implements and which has displaced thousands of citizens.

    We urge legislatures on both chambers to be aware of the impact that this law, if passed, would have, not only on the lives of people who are not legally authorized to be in the United States, but also in relations with countries with high migration. The United States needs to demonstrate in action that is in favor of a fair, humane and equal treatment for all those who have worked and aspire to be citizens of this country.