THE BLOG
02/12/2013 07:29 pm ET Updated Apr 14, 2013

The Possible Immigrant Reform

In the beginning of year 2001, the relationship between Mexico and the United States of America was affected in the primary issues that had been in progress -- issues such as trade agreements, the elimination of certification process, free mobility, deepening bilateral cooperation, trade liberalization and a possible immigration agreement, which were the central themes on the common agenda. These were displaced by a strong state control and national security... until now.

I mean, after a long process of economic recovery and having implemented "hard" policies in the political and military issue, it seems that our northern neighbor, is now demonstrating greater openness and desire to return to outstanding items left behind in previous administrations in both countries, especially on immigration.

With the re-election of President Barack Obama in the White House and having gained nearly 70 percent of Latino support behind his campaign promise to pass immigration reform last year, which could allow the regularization of 11 million undocumented immigrants, what the international community is expecting is to fullfill that promise. With the support of the 31 Hispanic legislators in the Senate, there is a great hope that the reform will pass this year.

In this regard, there is an immigration reform proposal introduced in the Senate of the United States. This proposal is aimed at securing the border, modernizing and simplifying the current system of legal immigration. The first theme "Security and Citizenship" award raises roughly, in a way, to renew family ties and set permissions to work and reside legally to avoid deportation that disintegrates families. They will have to go under a background check, pay a fine and taxes. People with a history of serious crimes at law or pose a potential threat, will be deported.

This is an important issue, because in the past, the administration's deportation of illegal immigrants reached a record of 400,000 people, causing a family breakdown. While this is not the absolute solution to the problem of preserving marriage or family, with its approval, it would support and ensure the protection of human rights.

The second point "Border Security", aims to increase the number of unmanned aerial vehicles, surveillance equipment and border agents, create a device to record every person who enters the United States on temporary visas, and ensures that they leave the country once this permit expires. This measure aims to cut "substantially" the number of illegal border crossings while facilitating trade. This point though is not new, and further strengthens it, reinforcing security as the primary point of domestic and foreign policy of the United States.

Another important point is employment. When we talk about tightening procurement policies and reinforcing the fines and penalties for those who hire migrants without work permits, there will have to be an employment verification system to prevent identity theft and people not authorized to be hired.

The bill also provides that persons who are receiving any legal permission to stay for a certain time period in "tryout" shouldn't have access to any federal benefit, but they'll have to pay taxes, learn English and receive civic training and should also demonstrate a history of labor, current employment and not have a criminal record, to have access to the "green card."

The above requirements and procedures do not apply to the "dreamers" and agricultural workers. The first ones will be people entering U.S. territory before age 16, and are students that have spent most of their lives there.

It finally addresses the issue of providing more opportunities to scientists and engineers who have masters or doctorate degrees in technology, engineering or math in any U.S. university may be awarded the status of "residence."

In my point of view, this situation is not only an opportunity to unlock the problems described above, but also to evaluate Latin American migration, particularly from Mexico to the United States. As a process, which takes the integration of our migrants and their children, many born in the United States will give -- in terms of their rights -- tax and labor obligations, but also asset-building, access to higher education, and political and electoral participation.

For Mexico, the challenge is to protect and respect the human rights of migrants, particularly from lots of Central Americans that are not only exposed to authority abuse, but of organized crime.

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