by Marvin J Ramirez
While many were sad and disillusioned by the United States Senate decision to vote no to the immigration bill on June 28, others were rejoiced that this particular bill did not pass after all.
The largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), expressed profound disappointment after the Senate voted 53-46, defeating the bill.
The “action is a victory for the status quo, and no one should be happy about that. But the Senate vote is a setback, not the death knell, for comprehensive immigration reform. We are not giving up on getting a real, effective, and fair solution to the immigration issue,” stated Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO, in a statement to the press.
“Despite today’s vote, the country still needs leadership on this issue. There is bipartisan immigration reform legislation awaiting action in the U.S. House of Representatives, and supporters of comprehensive immigration reform will be looking to the House to take action as soon as possible,” continued Murguía.
Here in San Francisco, meanwhile, the decision was received with glee.
Renée Saucedo, director of the Day Labor Program in San Francisco, called the bill inflexible and propose a bill that truly protects the rights of workers and immigrants.
According to a written statement, Chuck Mack, president of Joint Council 7 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the proposed guest worker programs in the Senate bill were an invitation to the abuse of immigrants themselves.
“These programs have historically been used by large corporations to attack the conditions our unions have fought to achieve. We need a way for people to come to this country legally that does not force them to become guest workers,” said Mack.
“Twelve million people in this country desperately need legal status. The Senate bill was a false promise – most undocumented people would never have been able to achieve it,” said Saucedo.
“We need a real legalization program that will offer people rights and residence status, in the same way people were legalized by the bill signed by Ronald Reagan in 1986. We intend to keep fighting until we achieve this goal.”
It’s been so unfair for so many people that is hard to believe how heartless these senators can be, despite of the obvious that these undocumented people have been a significant force to push the country’s economy forward, and that the country can’t sustain itself without their `illegal’ work.