Saturday, April 01, 2006

Bayan Muna supports Fil-Ams for immigration reforms

March 31, 2006

Virador: Bayan Muna supports Fil-Ams for immigration reforms

“BAYAN Muna supports our Filipino compatriots in the United States who are fighting for their civil rights and genuine immigration reforms.”

“We also hold accountable the Macapagal-Arroyo administration if it continues to neglect the estimated one million Filipinos and Filipino-Americans who are undocumented who will be unduly criminalized once anti-immigrant bills pending before the United States Congress become law,” Bayan Muna Representative Joel Virador said.

Filipinos in the United States have joined protest campaigns against the Sensenbrenner-King Bill in the fight for legalization and upholding of civil rights of undocumented immigrants.

The said bill proposes to make undocumented migration in the United States a criminal offense.

“The Macapagal-Arroyo administration has not done anything to oppose the criminalization of undocumented immigrants in the USA. It is quite awful for the Arroyo government not to take a position against the widening crackdown on undocumented immigrants in the USA considering that the Philippines is dependent on overseas remittances,” Virador said.

The Philippines ranks third among the highest labor-exporting countries in the world. Filipinos in the US reportedly sent home a total of US$5.3 billion in remittances to the Philippines in 2005 – about 60 percent of the total remittances to the Philippines. Some 60,000 Filipinos enter the US every year.

The militant solon noted that eleven (11) foreign ministers from overseas remittance-receiving countries in Latin America have joined the campaign against the Sensenbrenner-King Bill.

Virador said “Colombia, Mexico, Panama, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, Belize, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic all have taken an active note of the critical debate on the Sensenbrenner-King Bill in the US Senate this month. They have admirably worked for the interest and protection of their nationals and immigrants from their countries, a stance the Arroyo government miserably will note even approximate,” Virador said.

Among the said bill's most controversial points is a clause deeming an undocumented status in the U.S. as a criminal felony, instead of a civil violation. If passed into law, undocumented persons, including people who offer them assistance, can be charged, convicted, and jailed.

“Arroyo has long been negligent towards the plight of overseas Filipinos. It becomes unsurprising therefore that the clamor for her ouster has also spread in the USA and other countries where Filipinos are present,” Virador said. ###

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