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La Razon, Bolivia

Immigration Reform

By Editorial

If it succeeds, this reform would allow millions of families to come out of the shadows.

Translated By Karen Posada

4 February 2013

Edited by Heather Martin

Bolivia - La Razon - Original Article (Spanish)

Immigration Reform

If it succeeds, this reform would allow millions of families to come out of the shadows.

Last Monday, Democrat and Republican senators announced a deal to present a legislative reform that includes a path to legalization for more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. If it succeeds, this project would entail major demographic, economic and political consequences for the northern power.

Indeed, a law of this kind, the most ambitious remodeling of the U.S. immigration model in many decades, would allow millions of families to come out of the shadows — many of them of Bolivian origin — who currently live illegally. A situation that, besides bettering their quality of life and opening opportunities, would strengthen the U.S. economy.

And contrary to what many people think, immigrants bring development to the regions they move to, and their performance in different areas tends to be outstanding. When looking for better opportunities, people leave behind the economic and moral security that comes from family, familiar traditions and their own state; they do not have any other option but to strive to get ahead, whether it be working for others, or starting their own business.

Now, you cannot deny that some immigrants, the minority, are delinquents for a living. But this happens mainly due to the lack of opportunities and the position of disadvantage they face as opposed to everyone else. Hence an immigration reform would also contribute to lowering delinquency, since on one hand, the regulatory process would help to identify and then deport those who have criminal records, and on the other hand, it would give them more opportunities to work legally and would help many immigrants to not fall into the criminal world.

It should be noted that the plan does not mean a cakewalk for the undocumented since to get papers, they first have to register, pay a fine, pay off unpaid taxes accrued since they have lived there, undergo various interviews, learn English and study the basics of the history and political system of the U.S. Once this is done, their residency application will be placed behind legal requests. This is with the purpose of not giving illegals an advantage over those who follow the way set by the law.

Additionally, the reform contemplates creating new mechanisms of border control and a stricter visa procedure, to avoid another massive accumulation of undocumented immigrants in the following years. There is no doubt that it is a proactive plan with benefits for insiders and outsiders. We have to wait and see if the Republicans, especially those of the most radical faction — the tea party — stop living with their backs to the reality of their country and give a green light to this important reform.



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