Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bloggers demand more than sound bites and platitudes

Recently both leading presidential candidates have increased their outreach to Latino voters with appearances at various events sponsored by prominent Latino organizations. Not surprisingly, the topics of immigration and immigration reform have played a central role in this outreach effort.

As an issue where both candidates feel they exhibit some strength with Latino voters, they have both attempted to utilize this perceived strength to make inroads into what most believe will be a crucial voting block this coming November.

But what we have received from both candidates thus far are vague promises and pleasant platitudes about "A Nation of Immigrants."

This is a complex issue, and as the history of failed efforts at reform clearly shows, it will take more than quick sound bites and quotes from Emma Lazarus to solve the problems with our failed current immigration system. In order to enact meaningful immigration reform that is practical, rational, fair and most of all humane, tough questions must be answered and problems dealt with.

Last month the Editorial Board of The Sanctuary requested both campaigns to take up this issue in a truly meaningful way and begin at answer those tough questions. We put together a comprehensive survey addressing 38 specific questions on the issue that have been long ignored by both the media and the candidates. …questions like:

  • Would you support the addition of funding for stricter enforcement of general labor standards such as wage and hour or safety regulations as part of CIR legislation?

  • Do you support the United American Families Act, the bill that would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow permanent partners of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, including same-sex partners, to obtain permanent residency?

  • Do you support the Detainee Basic Medical Care Act, the bill that would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop procedures to ensure adequate medical care for all detainees held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)?

  • Would you support the incorporation of requirements that would tie both future economic aid and trade agreements to substantive benchmarks in sender nations that would alleviate some of the economic and humanitarian conditions that foster continued migration?

For too long candidates have been able to skirt tough questions and avoid discussions of specifics …particularly on hot button issues like immigration …crafting instead meaningless sound bites intended to placate and pander.

We at The Sanctuary have decided to do the job both Latino and immigrant-rights advocacy groups, and main stream media, refused to do …demand real answers to the tough questions that must be answered in order to finally address this thorny issue in a meaningful way.

10. Would you favor raising the 65,000 cap on high-skilled H-1B temporary work visas, in light of the fact that in the last two years, H-1B visas were quickly filled in a matter of days?

11a. If so, would you also favor limiting the number of H-1B professionals a company can hire?

11b. If so, would you also favor limiting the number of H-1B professionals employment brokers are allowed to recruit?

11 c. If so, would you favor including meaningful prevailing wage requirements keyed to the Service Contract Act and Davis-Bacon Act?

We are still awaiting their responses.

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