Article 4 – Point/Counterpoint (Zulma Prieto, Editorial/ Joe Rueff, Response) Zulma expresses some alarm about proposed legislation ( documents in both English and Spanish )


Editorial by Zulma Prieto

Instead of a regular editorial and as a service to the community, I am including the following information.

On December 16, 2005, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4437, the Border Protection, Anti-Terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005. The legislation is extremely punitive and will unduly harm immigrants and their families in this nation.

Major Provisions of HR 4437

“Unlawful presence” would now be considered a crime and a felony, meaning that undocumented immigrants may have to serve jail time and would be barred from future legal status and from re-entry into the country.

Immigrants, including asylum-seekers, victims of human trafficking, victims of domestic abuse, and children who are apprehended along an international border or at a port-of-entry would be detained until such time as they are removed from the nation or otherwise provided immigration relief.

Anyone or any organization who “assists” an individual without documentation “to reside in or remain” in the United States knowingly or with “reckless disregard” as to the individual’s legal status would be liable for criminal penalties and five years in prison. This could include church personnel who provide shelter or other basic needs assistance to an undocumented individual. Property used in this act would be subject to seizure and forfeiture.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would be required to erect up to 700 miles of fencing along the Southwest border at points with the highest number of immigrant deaths.

State and local law enforcement are authorized to enforce federal immigration laws. State and local governments which refuse to participate would be subject to the loss of federal funding.

Document fraud would be considered an aggravated felony and would subject an asylum-seeker to deportation and bars to re-entry.

These represent a few of the most egregious provisions of H.R. 4437. We urge you to contact your senators to express deep concern with the passage of this legislation. Take action.

Contact your senator regarding the passage of HR4437. Ask them to vote No to HR4437

The people in Indiana helped to defeat the bill HB1383, now is the time to stop the federal bill HR4437.

En Español

En lugar de mi editorial y como un servicio a la comunidad, estoy incluyendo la siguiente información:

El 16 de diciembre, 2005 la Casa de representantes de los Estados Unidos pasó la Ley de Protección Fronteriza, Antiterrorismo y Control de Inmigración Ilegal (HR4437)”. Esta ley es extremadamente punitiva y conlleva un daño inmerecido a los inmigrantes y sus familias en esta nación.

El siguente es un resumen de las principales provisiones de la ley HR4437.

La “presencia illegal” será ahora considerada como un delito mayor y una felonía, lo cual significa que los inmigrantes pueden tener severas sentencias carcelarias y quedarían descalificados de futuro estatus legal o de volver a entrar al país.

Los inmigrantes, incluyendo los que solicitan asilo, víctimas de tráfico humano, víctimas de abuso doméstico y niños que sean aprehendidos en la frontera o un puerto de entrada serían detenidos hasta el momento de ser sacados del país.

Cualquier persona u organización que ayude a un individuo indocumentado a “que resida o permanezca” en los Estados Unidos, podrán ser cargado con penalidades criminals y hasta cinco años se prisión. Esto puede incluir a personal de las iglesias que proveen albergue u otra ayuda básica a un individuo indocumentado.

El Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS) construiría una pared de cerca de 700 millas de longitud en la frontera sur de los Estados Unidos.

Las autoridades estatales y locales estarían autorizadas a hacer cumplir las leyes federales de inmigración. Aquellos que rehusen participar estarían sujetos a perder fondos federales.

El fraude de documentos se considerará como una felonía severa y el individuo estaría sujeto a deportación sin derecho a volver a entrar, aun si es alguien que busca asilo.

Esto representa solo algunas de las provisiones más graves de la HR 4437. Les pedimos que contacten a sus senadores y les expresen su preocupación por esta ley. Es el momento de actuar. Contacte a sus senadores y pídanles que VOTEN NO a la H.R.4437. La gente de Indiana ayudó a derrotar la propuesta HB1383, ahora es el momento de detener la ley federal HR4437.

Counterpoint by Joe Rueff

Emma Lazarus dedicated this poem to the Statue of Liberty on November 2, 1883

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We’ve failed to live up to its vision ever since. First, as our economy shifted from agriculture to industry, millions of Europeans were attracted. Those from western Europe gained relatively easy acceptance (except for the Irish), but then, as new seemingly stranger cultures from Italy and eastern Europe came, the road became more rocky. During the first half of the 20th century Asians found it especially difficult. And now, Hispanics, our neighbors to the south, are bearing the slings and arrows of inequity.

As Zulma has pointed out, legislation (HR 4437) is pending, aimed at stemming the tide of illegals. The code words for the rationale are “terrorist threats”, but in actuality it’s just another wave of bigotry that follows that which earlier was aimed at Irish, Italians, Poles, Slavs, Chinese, and anyone else that carried distinct differences in their languages, traditions, and images.

We say we’re a nation that is the embodiment of cultural diversity; yet, there are those among us who still fear the threat of change. But change is already upon us, like a tsunami of new and different ideas. We need to accept it and work to assimilate those within our society, knowing that in the long run we will be richer economically, culturally, and spiritually as a result, just as we are from the contributions of the Irish, Poles, Italians, Chinese and all the rest who are with us today.

We do need changes in our immigration laws. But those changes should aim not at keeping potentially valuable contributors out; rather we need to welcome those who want to work and add to our total richness. Some will come permanently; some will be here temporarily. With the technological tools available today we should be able to keep out the few who would do us harm.

Let’s look at another document that also holds the embodiment of what we should be all about, the Preamble to the Constitution: These are the important words: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a MORE PERFECT UNION . . . “ No, we are not perfect, far from it. But we have pledged to move in that direction. Does HR 4437 move us closer to perfection? History tells us it does not.

En Español

Translation in preparation.

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