I am talking about the United States of America, "this land of immigrants", which has prided itself in welcoming persecuted white people from wherever...
...and which is now closing its doors on the Haitians, the Mexicans, the Dominicans (who also close their doors on the Haitians), the Africans, the South Asians, and others.
<b>The bill would criminalize U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who come into contact with undocumented immigrants in the course of their personal or professional lives
This could endanger advocates, social workers, lawyers, medical professionals, and others because the bill expands the scope of the federal criminal offenses of smuggling, transporting, and/or harboring undocumented immigrants.
I presume that we all know some "illegal aliens". For the most part, they look like you and me, they speak the same language. they share the same culture, they frequent the same houses of worship, they send their children to the same schools, they work hard to put food on the table, they (in short) are Children of the same God... but with an important difference: they wake up everyday, thinking about their status and knowing that they are classified as "illegal aliens".
That perception might soon change, my friend, thanks to the United States Congress, and for the most part, we don't even know it: Ignorance is bliss...while it lasts.
Soon those "illegal aliens" will be designated as "CRIMINAL ALIENS", with all the consequences that flow from the distinction between those two simple words: "illegal" and "criminal". And it's not only they who will be affected, but all those who deal with the
m in a humanitarian way, since they will be seen as aiding and abetting hardened criminals.
We can, of course, count on the Haitian community to react in protest (at least those who dare) AFTER THE FACT. When you will ask them "how come we did not hear your voices before?," they will sincerely tell you: "We did not know this was happening... or perhaps we thought it was happening to someone else."
Some are celebrating already: just as one example among hundreds, see http://www.vdare.com/mann/051219_hr4437.htm
HR4437 is not the only anti-immigrant bill that is being discussed (or in this case, already passed by the House of Representatives). Later this month, the Senate will tackle its own version and reconcile it with the House's own HR4437, and present it to the White House for signing into Law.
You think we've got it bad now? Wait until later. The participation of community leaders and caring indivuduals could have an effect in that we would at le
ast see the storms before they hit and take enlightened and preventive measures. In the present climate when anti-immigrant sentiments are rising fast and furious, we could possibly learn how to use the media to frame a positive pro-immigrant message in "this land of immigrants".
Or we could do nothing, wondering what's in it for us...
I hope that your post will stimulate finally some discussion on this topic.
From an ACLU memo (http://www.aclu.org/natsec/gen/22371leg20051207.html)
H.R. 4437 also would erode even further the basic rights of immigrants to judicial review, even by the constitutionally-guaranteed writ of habeas corpus. H.R. 4437 would criminalize all violations of immigration law, with very serious consequences for genuine refugees and others who qualify for humanitarian relief. Finally, H.R. 4437 gives extraordinary powers to detain non-citizens indefinitely without meaningful review, potentially placing many non-citizens in
a legal black hole that subjects them to a life sentence after having served a criminal sentence, or, in some cases, without ever having been convicted of a crime.
From the New Jersey Immigration Policy Network (http://njipn.org/publications/publications.htm)
How draconian is the new Act? Some provisions include: (1) all undocumented and out-of-status immigrants living in U.S. would be considered criminals; (2) courts would no longer have the authority over many immigration matters; (3) immigrants and Green Card-holder permanent residents would no longer have most of the due process rights that U.S. citizens have; (4) deportation would become faster and easier; (5) definition of "alien smuggling" would now include family members, employers, immigrant advocates, religious organizations or even a citizen spouse who help or aid the undocumented; (5) rules on mandatory detention would be broadened so that many more immigrants would remain in jail indefini
tely (already thousands of them, including refugees and asylum-seekers, are languishing in New Jersey's federal and country jails); [and the list goes on]
I know that with all the problems Haitians face in Haiti, we would rather not discuss problems Haitians face in the United States of America. But I wonder in what measure we will be able to influence events in Haiti if we do not take care of our own, right here in the Diaspora.
Can we still fake ignorance and be nonchalant about those developments?