Image Source: heraldnews.suntimes.com
Image Source: heraldnews.suntimes.com

CHICAGO – If there is an urgency for the U.S. Congress to pass the comprehensive immigration reform bill, it is not only to legalize the status of the 11 million undocumented immigrants, but also to stop the their mass deportation.

It was reported that 1,000 undocumented immigrants are being deported everyday.

Alicia Morales, a Latino leader from suburban Joliet, Illinois, told participants in a rally held recently at Malcolm X College in Chicago’s west side of Illinois that while she is happy that both the Democrats and the Republicans are working together to pass the comprehensive immigration bill, she is sad over the fact that the federal government is “so heavy in enforcement and more on border security that 1,000 undocumented were deported yesterday.”

The rally was staged during the Immigrant Integration Summit sponsored by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) headed by Filipino American Lawrence Benito.

Ms. Morales, a daughter of a Mexican copule who were legalized by the 1986 IRCA (Immigration Reform and Control Act), reported that in the  backyard of her house at Will County, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), a multi-billion dollar company that runs dozens of for-profit prisons across the United States, is planning to build a for-profit immigration prison in Joliet.

She appealed to the people who attended the rally — led by Representatives Luis Gutierrez (D-4th-IL), Janice Schakowsky (D-9th-IL), Bill Foster (D-11th-IL), Illinois State Representatives Tom Cross (R-97th), Matt Murphy (R-27th) and Elizabeth Hernandez (D-27th) — to stop CCA from constructing the prison at Joliet because it is a “parasite, abusing immigrant detainees, many of them have no criminal record.” She said ICIRR had earlier stopped CCA from subjecting immigrants to gladiator-like violence.

Last December, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials announced that it has surpassed its records of deportations in the past fiscal year. ICE is looking into the possibility of implementing a controversial enforcement program that could result in fewer instances of removal of non-criminal immigrants from the country.

In 2012 fiscal year, ICE deported 409,849 immigrants, up from the 396,906 immigrants deported in 2011. More than 392,000 immigrants were deported in 2010 fiscal year.

About 55 percent of those deported “were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors.”

During a workshop moderated by Tuyet Le, executive director of the Asian American Institute, a panel compared the White House plan to the plan of the “Senate Gang of Eight.” Following is the comparison of the stand of the White House and the Senate on certain issues:

  1. There are lots of undocumented immigrants who are qualified for “Green Card” but have to leave the country and are barred to return for 10 years. The Senate is silent on this rule.
  2. Same-sex marriage is not recognized by federal law. But the White House is in favor of it. The Senate as a whole doesn’t say anything about this. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), though, says “no” to this proposal.
  3. Highly skilled and educated workers can get Green Card. But for low-skilled workers, the Senate considers them as temporary workers only. The White House has no comment on this.