Citizenship main topic at first immigration hearing


San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, right, pushes for full-fledged citizenship for undocumented immigrants at a House committee hearing on immigration reform. He is sitting next to Puneet Arora, vice president of Immigration Voice, who supports citizenship for those with scientific degrees. SHFWire photo by Jasmine Aguilera

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, right, pushes for full-fledged citizenship for undocumented immigrants at a House committee hearing on immigration reform. He is sitting next to Puneet Arora, vice president of Immigration Voice, who supports citizenship for those with scientific degrees. (Jasmine Aguilera/SHFWire)

WASHINGTON – A pathway to citizenship was the main topic of discussion Tuesday at a House hearing, the first to take place since proposals for immigration reform were introduced in the new Congress.

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro pushed for citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently in the United States.

“I believe that is the best way and it is in our nation’s best interest,” Castro said. “We’re a nation of immigrants. We’ve progressed because we are pragmatic. Complete citizenship is in our national interest, our economic interest.”

Several committee members opposed Castro’s view, including Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who said full-fledged citizenship was not a form of compromise and that immigrants with criminal backgrounds should not be granted full citizenship.

Neither the committee members nor witnesses defined what partial citizenship would entail.

Castro said that allowing for partial citizenship would create a second-class of non-citizens and would lead to discrimination.

Protesters interrupt a hearing on immigration reform and chant “undocumented and unafraid.” The hearing took place Tuesday and was the first since reform proposals were introduced in the new Congress. SHFWire photo by Jasmine Aguilera

Midway through the hearing a group of DREAMers, young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents, interrupted and marched out of the building chanting “undocumented and unafraid.”

Committee members and witnesses seemed to agree that immigrants with expertise in science, technology, engineering and mathematics should be granted citizenship after they graduate from an American university.

Puneet Arora, vice president of Immigration Voice, a non-profit, fits into that category. He was born in India and moved to the U.S. for a post-graduate medical residency at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. He lives in the Minneapolis area and has a visa that allows him to work.

“We create opportunities for employment and invent valuable products for U.S. companies to sell in America and around the world,” Arora said. “We are not asking for thanks. We simply want a real place in America.”

Some committee members said immigration reform has to be strict with employers who knowingly hire undocumented immigrants, including a change in the E-Verify system, which allows employers to check the status of prospective employees.

Julie Myers Wood, former assistant secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it should be the government’s responsibility to verify the status of employees. Wood is now president of a consulting firm.

“It’s unfair to place that burden on employers,” Wood said. “That burden should be on government officials and experts who have the time to look for fraud.”

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., the committee chair, said the hearing was the beginning of what will be “a momentous debate on immigration.”

He promised a thorough review and more hearings.

“Immigration reform must honor both our foundation of the rule of law and our history as a nation of immigrants.  This issue is too complex and too important to not examine each piece in detail,” he said.


Editor’s note: This story was previously published on Scripps Howard Foundation Wire.


2 thoughts on “Citizenship main topic at first immigration hearing

  1. Immigrating to America legally is, and should be, a meticulous course of action meant to shield the interests of American citizens. It involves more than simply slipping past the failure called the border fence and then bearing northwards in pursuit of free health care, free primary and secondary education, food stamps, paid by a broken U.S. citizenry taxpayer and a insolvent nation, living in a dream world where debt doesn’t exist—but outrageous spending does? Legal immigration means enduring painstaking barriers as criminal background checks, as a system to detect a criminal elements or concealed associations to terrorists; medical examinations to reveal contagious diseases still prevailing in third-world countries, but long since stamped out here; proof they are financially stable so as to avoid these legal immigrants from saddling the U.S. taxpayers. In addition to owning up to being in the country illegally, paying back taxes and further testing of knowledge of government civics and an understanding of English language skills. The truth being as the majority of these people had little money; many of these hurdles were waved.

    It was convenient to the U.S. administration at the time. Those who have bypassed the fence into America in order to avoid our immigration inspection are not immigrants. Rather, they are invading criminals, with no claim at all to the welcome mat extended to legal immigrants. Such people do not deserve recognition and should not be rewarded by the United States government, and should be detained and deported according to the law, alongside the corrupt politicians that pander to these illegal alien invaders. As I have repeated many, many times before that if any of our administrations meant to keep people out of America, illegal entry would have found passage as a FELONY? The truth is millions of foreigners have invaded our country, leaving America defenseless to drug dealers, gangs, concealed crime, terrorism, communicable disease, and financial desolation and a flood of illegal migrants and immigrants.


    THE POLITICIANS NEED TO PROVE THEMSELVES TO THE PEOPLE, BY BUILDING THE 2006 SECURE FENCES NOT MATTER THE COST AND OFFERING NO MORE LAME EXCUSES. IF ISRAELIS CAN KEEP THE PALESTINIAN TERRORISTS OUT OF THE COUNTRY, THEN WE COULD IMITATE THE SAME PLAN? Avid readers should go and investigate the wall itself, which stands between the State of Israel and countries out to destroy their small country. Incidentally—guess who paid for that concrete and steel barrier? The fence is just over 15 feet high and is topped with razor wire cameras, radars and other surveillance equipment will allows Israel to monitor the vast areas that is to be defended using rapid deployment of military vehicles. Other barriers are strictly a wall with towers spreading from miles. WHY ARE WE ANY DIFFERENT, AS TERRORISTS ARE USING DRUG GANGS AID TO STEAL INTO OUR COUNTRY? THE COST OF TWO FORMIDABLE BARRIERS ONCE COMPLETED WOULD STOP THE ILLEGAL MIGRANTS SMUGGLING THEIR CHILDREN—AS MANY ARE STILL UNBORN ATTRACTED BY OUR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS COSTING THROUGH TIME, TRILLIONS OF TAX DOLLARS FROM FEDERAL AND STATE FUNDS.

    In the 1986 amnesty all these procedures were rushed through, so many criminals slipped through the cracks. Then instead of 3.1 million illegal aliens being legitimized, the numbers rose to over 5 million, because the fact that immigration amnesty was to be signed into law that brought a deluge of uneducated, illiterates who swarmed borders and used the airlines with what money they had to pantomime a tourist, with no desire to return to their own country. We added even more poverty to our own low income people, that was a gold mine to incorrigible business and corporations, who still exploit foreigners and paying no taxes today. This should be a troubling warning that we are setting ourselves up for the same nightmare as before. What is that old saying or variant?

    –“Insanity is doing the same thing in the same way & expecting a different outcome?”

    In conclusion, the only poll worth its salt is Rasmussen Reports as most of the others are craftily worded to gain satisfaction for the open border zealots and special interest entities. By observing the thousands of comments, blogs and articles not associated with the Liberal Progressives one can collect a much better indicator of what the average working American is thinking and that is NOT a Path to Citizenship or AMNESTY?

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