Millions of Immigrant Families Continue to be Excluded Under Recent Senate-passed Comprehensive Immigration Reform

July 3, 2013

Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA,

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed S.744 Comprehensive Immigration Reform or the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act,”, which claims to provide pathways to legalization of the over 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. GABRIELA USA stands together with all migrants and their families in upholding the rights and welfare of our communities while politicians propose and decide on a comprehensive immigration reform bill that will alter the lives of millions of immigrants. “Many may think that the bill is inclusive, but we encourage a close critical look at what it is really proposing. Conservative politicians are masking the exclusion of millions of immigrants by using family-friendly jargon to lure in as much support as possible. However, GABRIELA USA is hopeful that Filipinos and other migrant communities can unite to put forth a perspective that genuinely empowers our communities instead of criminalizes them,” says Francisco, chairperson of GABRIELA USA.

With portions of the Senate-passed bill proposing more ICE-local police collaboration through the “Secure Communities” program and a significant increase to nearly $50 billion in funding for border security, it would worsen the climate of fear that immigrants experience everyday. Also, employers and employees would be required to use “E-Verify”, an ID system that makes it easier to document and keep track of undocumented immigrants. GABRIELA USA believes that these measures blame immigrants for national security issues. Instead, we understand that migrants do not choose to live under the radar, so they can be exploited and subjected to criminalization. They put their lives on the line to make a living for their families here and back in their home countries. The proposed bill would continue to make our communities unsafe and put immigrants in an even more vulnerable position than ever.

In order for immigrants to gain legalization, they would have go through a complex multi-step process with strict guidelines, and expensive fees and penalties. With exorbitant fees and close surveillance at every stage towards gaining legal status, this reform would make it nearly impossible for the majority of an already economically disadvantaged and vulnerable group of people. The legalization would prioritize immigrants that have access to money and loans guaranteeing to leave out the majority of immigrants who are poor.

“Families are torn apart everyday, and GABRIELA USA demands re-unification for all families, including parents, children, siblings, cousins, grandparents, and LGBTIQ families,” stated Tina Shauf, GABRIELA-USA Vice Chair of Campaigns. We are pushing for a more inclusive and expansive classification of “family” so that immigration policies do not break up families and keep them separated indefinitely.

“Countless migrants fall victim to an oppressive imperialist system that forces them out of their countries and separates them from their families. They come to the United States to find jobs and an honest living, in turn making them legitimate contributors to the economy. Yet, they are poorly treated, as if they are not deserving of human rights afforded to more privileged counterparts of U.S. society, and this inhumane practice needs to end!” says Shauf. GABRIELA USA believes that everyone should be afforded protections regardless of immigration status, and we endorse the Principles and Demands on Genuine Comprehensive Immigration Reform by the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), as it reflects comprehensively the needs of immigrant communities.

Uphold and Defend Workers Rights for Filipina Migrants!
Stop Imperialist Exploitation & Modern Day Slavery of Migrant Workers!
Stop Criminalization of Im/migrants! Pathways to Legalization for All Migrant Workers!
Keep all our Families together! No to Deportation!