Immigration Reform Activists March To Calif. Farm Country

grape ape

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#1
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August 17, 2013 6:02 AM

mmigrant and farm worker rights groups came from Los Angeles to Bakersfield, Calif., by the busload this week. Bakersfield, in the state's Central Valley, is farm country, and immigration is a complex issue here.

The groups were converging on the home of the third-most powerful Republican in the House, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy.

Activists across the country are targeting a number of Republican members of Congress this summer, trying to pressure the House to take up the immigration reform bill passed in the Senate.

In Bakersfield, the protesters caravaned through the normally sleepy downtown, then held a rally and a march in the 100-degree heat to McCarthy's field office.

Maria Barajas, a 19-year-old recent graduate of Bakersfield High, welcomed the reinforcements.

"We've been coming here for the past, I'd say six months," she says.

Unlike the other protesters, Barajas wasn't holding a sign or beating a drum. She was just standing in a blue cap and gown.

"I want citizenship in order to go to a university," she says.

Barajas moved to Bakersfield from Mexico with her parents when she was a little girl. The big farms here that produce much of the nation's fresh produce have long relied on immigrant labor — much of it illegal. Today Latinos make up half of Bakersfield's population.

Mayor Harvey Hall stood side-by-side with farm worker rights activists on stage at a rally earlier that day. "Our country needs a vibrant, strong and stable agricultural work force that is treated with dignity and respect," he told the crowd.

Hall is a Republican. In fact, you'll find a lot of conservatives here who not only favor immigration reform, but also take a sympathetic tone when talking about people who are here illegally. Take Dean Haddock, who chairs the Kern County GOP.

"I don't want to really call it amnesty," Haddock says. "But if we come to a situation where we say, 'Look, we're glad you're here, we know you're here and we know you have needs and we know you've also produced and provided for our economy ... '"

Haddock wants to see a comprehensive immigration bill pass Congress. But he also says that the flow of illegal immigrants has to stop. The county has high unemployment, and a struggling economy. He says Bakersfield can't afford it anymore.

"The one thing that most Republicans, at least here in this area, see as the fix is securing the border," Haddock says. "Then we can go ahead and do all the other things of taking care of the people that we care about."

Make no mistake, Bakersfield and Kern County are still some of the reddest places in America. And unlike some congressional districts deeper into California's Central Valley, the area has a diverse economy, including Edwards Air Force Base and a big oil industry.

Bakersfield also has an influential Tea Party movement. Right now, McCarthy is getting just as much pressure from anti-immigration groups.

An ad running on local TV, paid for by a group called Californians for Population Stabilization, is one example. "Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy wants to bring in more immigrant workers to take jobs," the ad states. "He's even talking about legalizing 11 million illegal aliens, making it easier for them to take jobs too."

While he's opposed to taking up the Senate's version of immigration reform, McCarthy does favor a step-by-step approach. That makes sense to Gene Tackett, a former Kern County supervisor turned political consultant. He says as House majority whip, McCarthy must fall in line with the speaker.

"He may privately be working on that," Tackett says. "But he's not in a position to be able to push that because he's a soldier in this battle. He's not the general."

And anyway, Tackett, a Democrat, says McCarthy's seat is safe, whether immigration reform passes or not.

McCarthy was in the Middle East and un-reachable this week while the pro-immigrant groups were marching to his office. Barajas says he has yet to speak to protesters. She has deferred-action status, which allows children who were brought here illegally to live and work in the United States for two years without the threat of deportation. Barajas says that's not good enough.

"I want to be a surgeon one day," she says. "What's the point of having this certificate, this degree that says I'm graduated, but I don't even have the citizenship to be out there and do what I want to do?"

http://www.npr.org/2013/08/17/212788703/immigration-reform-activists-march-to-calif-farm-country
 

König

Registered Users (C)
#2
If this girl Barajas is so uneducated about what is required to go to a university (citizenship is not required), then she would be better off continuing on the path of her parents (i.e., picking the fruits) :)
 

König

Registered Users (C)
#4
it's not her fault her folks brought her here. let her go to university. we need more college educated americans!
Nobody is preventing her from going to university. If the university decides to check the legal status, then it is their right. If she chooses a university that does not care about her legal status, get funds for her education and does not drop out, then she can get her degree. A lot of young undocumented people got their Bachelor's degrees this way. As I understand, she has been legalised by the president Obama through his executive order? Then, what is the problem? She complains that even if she gets a degree she cannot work without citizenship - that is BS, and you know it. She can work with her work authorisation document just fine.
 

grape ape

Registered Users (C)
#5
I disagree, she will not be legal, simply not prosecuted, you don't have to make up things out of whole cloth. She's an undocumented American. Let her be legal!
 

König

Registered Users (C)
#6
She has an official DHS document that confirms her identity and authorises her to stay and work in the USA for a certain amount of time (before it can be extended again). What she has is enough to go to university, graduate and get a job. That is more than enough for somebody who was truly undocumented without any rights just several years ago. She can be an "American" all she wants, but she is still not a US citizen. To be one, you have to follow the rules and satisfy the criteria outlined in the law (INA). Coming here illegally as a child and living here long enough to subjectively feel "American" is not one of the criteria to get a citizenship or even a green card. However, the articles quoted her saying she cannot get a degree and a job without a citizenship, and that just shows her arrogance and ignorance of how a US immigration system works.
 

Hexa

Registered Users (C)
#7
California is one of the few states that allow undocumented students to take advantage of private and state financial aids. She would not have a problem at all going to college in California. I'm not sure if she can get the license to practice medicine in California, but with an unexpired EAD I think it shouldn't be a problem.
 

grape ape

Registered Users (C)
#8
She has an official DHS document that confirms her identity and authorises her to stay and work in the USA for a certain amount of time (before it can be extended again). What she has is enough to go to university, graduate and get a job. That is more than enough for somebody who was truly undocumented without any rights just several years ago. She can be an "American" all she wants, but she is still not a US citizen. To be one, you have to follow the rules and satisfy the criteria outlined in the law (INA). Coming here illegally as a child and living here long enough to subjectively feel "American" is not one of the criteria to get a citizenship or even a green card. However, the articles quoted her saying she cannot get a degree and a job without a citizenship, and that just shows her arrogance and ignorance of how a US immigration system works.
"Maria Barajas, a 19-year-old recent graduate of Bakersfield High, welcomed the reinforcements.

"We've been coming here for the past, I'd say six months," she says.

Unlike the other protesters, Barajas wasn't holding a sign or beating a drum. She was just standing in a blue cap and gown.

"I want citizenship in order to go to a university," she says.

Barajas moved to Bakersfield from Mexico with her parents when she was a little girl. The big farms here that produce much of the nation's fresh produce have long relied on immigrant labor — much of it illegal. Today Latinos make up half of Bakersfield's population."

there is nothing in the article that says she had ever come forward to register as an official undocumented. furthermore she didn't say which university wants to attend. she has been here all her life. she is not an insecure recent immigrant using the undocumented to make themselves feel better about whatever ails them emotionally. she deserves to stay.
 

König

Registered Users (C)
#9
"I want citizenship in order to go to a university," she says.
I went to university without citizenship, so why does she need one?

there is nothing in the article that says she had ever come forward to register as an official undocumented. furthermore she didn't say which university wants to attend. she has been here all her life. she is not an insecure recent immigrant using the undocumented to make themselves feel better about whatever ails them emotionally. she deserves to stay.
I failed to comprehend this entire paragraph. What were you trying to say?
 

Hexa

Registered Users (C)
#10
"Maria Barajas, a 19-year-old recent graduate of Bakersfield High, welcomed the reinforcements.

"We've been coming here for the past, I'd say six months," she says.

Unlike the other protesters, Barajas wasn't holding a sign or beating a drum. She was just standing in a blue cap and gown.

"I want citizenship in order to go to a university," she says.

Barajas moved to Bakersfield from Mexico with her parents when she was a little girl. The big farms here that produce much of the nation's fresh produce have long relied on immigrant labor — much of it illegal. Today Latinos make up half of Bakersfield's population."

there is nothing in the article that says she had ever come forward to register as an official undocumented. furthermore she didn't say which university wants to attend. she has been here all her life. she is not an insecure recent immigrant using the undocumented to make themselves feel better about whatever ails them emotionally. she deserves to stay.
I am sympathetic with her plight to stay, and I actually support legalizing her along with other DREAMers. However, she needs to educate herself on immigration matters and not say foolish things like needing citizenship to go to college.

I support the path to citizenship not because they deserve it, but because I can't accept a permanent underclass of immigrants in USA that can never attain citizenship. That group is effectively a second-class citizen, which I think is contrary to the American ideal of equality.
 

grape ape

Registered Users (C)
#11
it isnt attending college that's the issue. that statement only sets up the actual dilemma for her that comes @ the end of the article:

"I want to be a surgeon one day," she says. "What's the point of having this certificate, this degree that says I'm graduated, but I don't even have the citizenship to be out there and do what I want to do?"


read all the way to the end.
 
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