Open Letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein

August 24, 2017
Senator Feinstein
Shouldn’t our Senators be pushing employers to get workers authorized?

A CAPS supporter responds to a misleading statement from Senator Feinstein on the RAISE Act.

Senator Dianne Feinstein released a statement on the RAISE Act that provides some misleading information.
 
“My mother emigrated from Russia as a child—she couldn’t speak English and had no education. Under this bill, my mother would have been turned away." 

The immigration bill does not require children to meet the language and educational requirements but the parent who is the applicant would be scored based on his/her English language proficiency and educational credentials. Expecting someone to spend time and resources to learn the language of another country where they choose to live is not ludicrous and there are ample resources in nearly every nation to learn English.  If they have money to pay smugglers or travel here, they can afford to learn some English.  Did the US government pay for her mother’s bilingual education in public schools? I believe back in this time period philanthropic institutions offered such services with private funds.
 
“The bill says that hard-working immigrants in ‘low-skilled’ jobs can never have the opportunity to earn a green card. In California, that would mean farmworkers who have worked in the country for years would be permanently ineligible to apply for a green card." 

According to the bill’s language and confirmations from Senator Purdue’s policy team, there is nothing in it preventing an authorized visa-holding farm worker from applying for and getting a green card unless they are undocumented? Shouldn’t our Senators be pushing employers to get these workers authorized - not by stealing or creating a SSN – but by giving them legitimate visas that make them eligible for a Green Card and citizenship one day? 
 
And finally...

“I’m also troubled by the bill’s effects on children. Not only does it preclude parents from reuniting with their children abroad, the bill would also eliminate a special program for abused, abandoned and neglected children."

Restrictions only apply to adult children.  There is nothing in this bill that prevents an adult child from immigrating to the US on their own.  In fact, having a family member already here would enhance his/her score.  There is no good reason why adult children of US immigrants can’t learn English and have some formal education given all the remittances they receive.  Those who are “abused, abandoned and neglected” are not excluded from applying for refugee/asylum status.  Non-adult children of unauthorized immigrants living here are excluded but their parents can use the US dollars they would pay smugglers to return home, build houses, and open businesses as many can and actually do unlike most working Americans these days.
 
With all this said, how do our lawmakers who oppose this immigration bill actually want to reform the system in ways that are fair to US citizens and lawful permanent residents?  We call on them to demonstrate the same bold leadership of the late and great congresswoman Barbara Jordan and actually propose something that is better than this bill and for this country, not just undocumented immigrants so businesses can continue exploiting cheap labor.

This opinion blog was submitted by a CAPS advocate who chose to remain anonymous.
 
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