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This Week in Immigration En Español

May 01, 2009 - Posted by Katherine Vargas

america's voice virtual March

Photo by America's Voice- Virtual March

This Week in Immigration En Español

April 27 – May 1, 2009


This was a very eventful week for immigration news both in Spanish and English. First, President Obama stated in a press conference that  he anticipates the immigration reform process to move forward this year; then on the next day, the Senate Immigration Subcommittee held a hearing on comprehensive immigration reform with a stellar witness list. On the same day, Secretary Napolitano announced a new set of DHS guidelines on immigration worksite enforcement, focusing on criminal employers rather than undocumented workers, and today, thousands of activists and immigrants across the country took to the street to raise their voices in support of immigration reform.


Here are notable stories from Spanish language media:


1.    El Diario/La Prensa The largest Spanish-language newspaper in New York featured an editorial recapping the week’s immigration events and how momentum is building for immigration reform. The piece was appropriately titled: “It’s time to reform immigration”


Yesterday, the U.S. Senate held hearings on immigration reform. On Wednesday, President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to moving immigration reform forward. And today, millions of Americans are rallying for an overhaul of our immigration system.


Contrary to questions around the “right” political timing, there is a great urgency and clear will to tackle immigration reform. Too many people have already suffered the devastating consequences of a system that has separated families, deferred the dreams of thousands of high school graduates, and allowed for human rights violations in detention centers…

As SEIU Vice President Eliseo Medina stated in his testimony yesterday before the Senate, “The current broken system has given rise to a three-tier caste worker system in America - citizens, guest workers and undocumented workers.”

An underclass of workers remains vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous employers. This, in turn, allows employers to put downward pressure on wages. Legalizing these workers would undercut this abuse and protect the rights and position of workers in general.


This is one of the aspects of immigration reform that must be a center piece of any reform package. But make no mistake, however challenging the task, our nation is sending every sign that it is ready, willing and able to push ahead.

Hora de reformar la inmigración, May 1, 2009,Translated by Katherine Vargas


2.    EFE (One of the largest Spanish-language newswire services in the U.S.) reported on today’s immigration reform rallies:


…Tens of thousands of activists across the country are part of a national day of mobilization in 2009 to demand the suspension of immigration raids and for Congress to pass immigration reform…


After the unsuccessful attempt to come up with a viable solution, Congress is examining yet again what to do with the approximately 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country…


Activists and organizers told EFE that the country cannot postpone any longer a solution to our immigration problem and that immigration raids have created a true humanitarian crisis. “Today’s message emphasizes that immigrants want for Congress to address their concerns and that an immigration reform is need. Immigration reform is more than a political issue is also linked to the country’s economy”, said Mario Quiroz, spokesman for CASA de Maryland


Jaime Contreras, SEIU (Service Employees International Union)

Said that immigration reform can help appease the economic recession because “a legalization program will render greater tax revenue [from new taxpayers], an even playing field for workers and a more solid economy”


En medio de epidemia de gripa porcina, movilización nacional exige una reforma, May 1, 2009. Translated by Katherine Vargas


You can read live commentaries and pictures from May 1st rallies at:


You can join the “virtual” march in support of immigration reform at:


3.    Diario San Diego: This online publication in San Diego commented on the announcement of the new DHS directives targeting bad employers as opposed to undocumented workers; Ali Noorani is featured in this article titled “Groups: New immigration enforcement focus on employers, is not enough”



Ali Noorani, the Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum said that “Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is starting to move in a more helpful direction, but tweaking enforcement policies is no substitute for reform.” 

According to the New York Times, the Department of Homeland Security is planning to publish …these new guidelines focusing on supervisors and employers through “criminal investigations carefully planned”


Noorani considered “a good first step” to focus on employers that are” exploiting the current immigration status” but that immigrant families are still confronting face the same truncated due process, deplorable detention conditions, and drive-by deportations that plague the system now.


Michele Waslin, a policy analyst with the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) said that the current system does not offer the needed legal protections for immigrants and employers. “Instead of going through the sidelines, real reform should include an overhaul of the system to ensure that immigration enforcement is effective, just and humane”.

Grupos consideran insuficiente enfoque de inmigración a empleadores, April 30, 2009 Translated by Katherine Vargas

If there was a single message that came out of this busy week, it was that momentum is continuing to build for immigration reform, wheels are beginning to turn and the immigration reform process will begin soon.  We applaud Senator Schumer (D-NY) for organizing an insightful hearing that made the economic, moral and practical enforcement arguments in favor of immigration reform. This was an important and significant first step to begin discussing workable solutions to our dysfunctional immigration system.


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