Statement: Border Law, Economic Opportunity and Modernization of the Immigration System

Network of Mexican Migrant Leaders Welcomes Immigration Reform and Advocates to Improve It

Chicago, Ill- The Mexican Network of Migrant Leaders and Organizations (Red MX) joins the nation in welcoming the bill presented by the group of eight Senators entitled “Border Law, Economic Opportunity and Modernization of the Immigration System of 2013 ” which opens the opportunity to advance in a bill that responds to the most felt needs of the 11 million undocumented people who with their work and effort contribute to the development of the United States. The MX Network will carry out an in-depth analysis of the proposed law and will work to improve it and ensure family unity, the protection of the labor and human rights of undocumented immigrants and their families.

We Mexicans who live in the United States find ourselves at a historic moment in the “movement for equality and rights within a new immigration system” with the aim of residing in this country freely. Immigration reform is of great concern to the Mexican Network, since the current immigration law does not work, is unfair and has a devastating impact on our families and communities. Mexicans and Mexican-Americans constitute 10.8% of the US population with more than 33,558,000 people, 33% of the immigrant population in the United States. A large percentage of Mexican and Mexican-American families are families of mixed immigration status. Approximately six million Mexicans live in the US irregularly and could benefit from the approval of this bill.

We are concerned about several aspects of the proposal presented in the Senate. In particular, the increase in the militarization of the border is of great concern, since it negatively affects the populations of both borders and the deaths and disappearances at the borders will surely increase. The militarization of the border does not contribute to improving the relationship between the US and Mexico. Furthermore, the structural conditions that drive undocumented migration do not change with the militarization of the border. We believe that the causes that generate migration should be considered as a central issue that must be taken into consideration in the development of any proposal for immigration reform.

In addition, we consider that the established time of 10 years to apply for permanent residence and 3 years for citizenship is excessive. During this entire period, people live in a second category legal status without rights to social benefits to which they contribute with the payment of taxes and their work, just like any other US citizen. The fines of $500 dollars each time they apply for the Provisional Immigrant Registration and $1000 dollars of fine when they apply for the status of Permanent Residence are very high amounts for low-income families. The requirements for the program must be reasonable and must not be hampered by punitive criteria, exorbitant costs, or long waits to apply for Legal Permanent Residence and citizenship.

The Mexican Network of Migrant Leaders and Organizations (Red Migrante) was founded in 2007 by leaders of Mexican federations, associations, community organizations, and individuals to coordinate and promote public policies that affect the quality of life of their communities in the United States and their places of origin.