The Piñata In The Room


When I think about the proposed Senate comprehensive immigration reform bill that came out last night, I think about the kid at a party who makes the crucial hit with a stick that breaks open a piñata.

Everything inside that piñata comes tumbling out.

There’s a crush of kids and often adults, running to pick up as much candy as they can. It’s a moment of breathlessness, knuckles scraping on the floor. All people know right then is what’s directly in front of them.

It doesn’t matter if some of the candy is sketchy. The idea is to scoop up as much as you can.

The bipartisan Gang of Eight strung up an immigration piñata last night. There’s initial analysis coming out from Prerna Lal and Aura Bogado that I find incredibly helpful, realistic and insightful. Read them.

In my world, the greatest wrong in this proposal is the fact that same-sex couples are left out of it.

And in terms of our situation, my husband has a criminal record from 1993, a gun possession charge from when he was 19 years old. He’s going to be 40 this October, and has had a clean record for the past 20 years. Nevertheless, my family would not benefit from this proposed bill, because my husband doesn’t have a, “clean criminal record” in this country.  Colorlines has a great post about how the proposed bill and the criminal justice system in the U.S. would dance more closely with each other in the future. 

However, my family’s situation isn’t the point – what’s most important is that there are thousands of families like mine.

But let me back it up a minute – first, USCIS has to find my husband’s I-212 waiver application

Which brings me to this: If USCIS is losing documents now, what’s going to happen when there’s a tremendous influx of applications? Is USCIS going to be staffed and streamlined in the way that it needs to be to handle the ferocious uptick in paperwork?

My spidey sense tells me no.

So I’m not going to fight to keep this proposal exactly the way that it is. The bill in this form will most certainly be gutted – this is just a proposal. I feel that it must be more robust, so as to better withstand the decimation that’s coming down the pike.

I understand the many of us in the community would benefit from this proposal exactly the way that it is. But I want all of us in the community to continue to organize, to fight for more inclusivity, and less militarization of the U.S. – Mexico border.

I reject the argument of, “First, let’s get some of us in the door, and then we’ll fight for the rest.”

Because I’ve simply been there too many times when a piñata was cracked wide open.


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