Immigration reform: Will the US go any further?
Changing illegal immigration is like trying to apply car brakes on a boat: It only drifts, trapped in the same current, writes a guest blogger.
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Obama’s proposed change to the immigration law does achieve one small goal, it places focus on a community of young pseudo-Americans and acknowledges that they exist and that they are some part of American society. This acknowledgement of their group is the first step to tackling the challenges that groups without a full legal identity face in all communities. Three issues that concern me over encouraging a community without an identity in American society have become serious issues lately, and for the powerless in society it makes them into walking targets. The first issue is that this group might take to violent protests and further marginalize their cause and rights in the wider society. Protests often exist for many in Western countries for the sake of protest, and miss focusing on a real issue. This creates breathing space for productive protests to be labelled as issueless, thus muting their real message and chance for real change.Skip to next paragraph
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A major issue that needs to be addressed is that when there is questionable legal identity of a group, it leaves them to be subject to the undercurrent of illegal activities taking place in a society and across borders. This may place some women without the supports to avoid being trafficked into prostitution, a large issue that often targets women from poorer communities worldwide, removing their passports and money and creating modern day slaves for those without legal or physical power. While this has not become a major issue for young Latinos in the US, it is a serious problem in Europe and Latin America and could easily start sourcing the issues within the US itself.
The last major issue that is a great concern is bullying, specifically bullying that leads to workplace violence. The bullying debate often focuses on all kids in school, but over the last few years injuries and deaths have grown exponentially in North America from bullying in the workplace. For the powerless, the laws and anti-coercion measures are lacking and almost completely ineffective for those who do not have the power or money to fight a violent individual at work. Often being civil and going through the proper processes do not help and many are forced to live in an abusive relationship simply because they cannot find other work. For those young Latinos and children of illegal immigrants, they are simply walking targets for those who wish to take advantage of them and abuse them because they know they are financially weak and have no legal backing. For anyone facing violence in the workplace it is difficult to stop someone who chooses to physically abuse them while they try to simply live as any American does. Giving an individual power and strength to secure their own dignity is the most basic right for any individual in a democratic society. Obama’s new policy with support from Romney is a move in the right direction, now lets see if they can seriously address the underlying issues for the benefit of all communities living in the United States.
– Rich Basas is a Latin America blogger and Europe blogger at the Foreign Policy Association. Read the blogs here for Latin America and here for Europe.
The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of Latin America bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here.