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Democratic policy slams Republicans for playing politics

Last updated on: September 05, 2012 08:10 IST

The Democratic manifesto unveiled at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina has claimed that the Obama administration 'has streamlined' the green process with regard to family reunification.

It also slammed the Republicans for playing politics and torpedoing the DREAM Act, that would have envisaged that youth who were brought into the United States by their parents who entered the country illegally, would not be penalised and deported, but allowed to stay in the US if they had done well in school and had no criminal record.

According to the platform, "The department of homeland security is prioritising the deportation of criminals who endanger our communities over the deportation of immigrants who do not pose a threat, such as children who came here through no fault of their own and are pursuing an education."

The manifesto said, "President Obama's administration has streamlined the process of legal immigration for immediate relatives of US citizens, supporting family reunification as a priority, and has enhanced opportunities for English-language learning and immigrant integration."

It said, "When states sought to interfere with federal immigration law by passing local measures targeting immigrants, the administration challenged them in court."

The platform noted that President Obama "and the Democrats fought for the DREAM Act -- legislation ensuring that young people who want to contribute fully to our society and serve out country are able to become legal residents and ultimately citizens."

It said, "Although this bill has a long history of bipartisan support, Republicans decided to play politics with it rather than do the right thing. So the Obama administration provided temporary relief for youth who came to the United States as children, through no fault of their own, grew up as Americans and are poised to make a real contribution to this country."

The manifesto acknowledged that 'these are not permanent fixes', and said, "Only the Congress can provide a permanent, comprehensive solution. But these are steps in the right direction."

"President Obama and the Democratic Party stand for comprehensive immigration reform that intelligently prioritises our country's security and economic needs," it said, and taking another swipe at the Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney declared that he 'and the Republicans have opposed commonsense reforms and pandered to the far right'.

At the outset, under the section 'Strengthening the American Community', the platform said, "Democrats are strongly committed to enacting comprehensive immigration reform that supports our economic goals and reflects our values as both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants."

It argued, "The story of the United States would not be possible without the generations of immigrants who have strengthened our country and contributed to our economy."

The platform reiterated that 'our prosperity depends on an immigration system that reflects our values and meets America's needs. But Americans know that today, our immigration system is badly broken -- separating families, undermining honest employers and workers, burdening law enforcement, and leaving millions of people working and living in the shadows'.

"Democrats know there is a broad consensus to repair that system and strengthen our economy," it said, "And that the country urgently needs comprehensive immigration reform that brings undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and requires them to get right with the law, learn English, and pay taxes in order to get on a path to earn citizenship."

Although not getting specific regarding professional work visas such as the H-1B visa category, which over the past several decades have been dominated by Indian IT professionals, the manifesto said, "We need an immigration reform that creates a system for allocating visas that meets our economic needs, keeps families together, and enforces the law."

"But instead of promoting the national interest, Republicans have blocked immigration reform in Congress and used the issue as a political wedge," it said.

The GOP manifesto released last month at the Republican National Convention last month, advocated with regard to immigration the 'granting more work visas to holders of advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math from other nations'.

It argued, "Highly-educated immigrants can assist in creating new services and products."

"In the same way, foreign students who graduate from an American university with an advanced degree in math, science, technology or engineering, should be encouraged to remain here and contribute to economic prosperity and job creation."

The platform, which was formulated by the Rebuilding the Economy and Creating Jobs Subcommittee, said, "Highly skilled, English-speaking, and integrated into their communities, they are too valuable a resource to lose."

"As in past generations," it added, "We should encourage the world's innovators and inventors to create our common future and their permanent homes in the United States."

But the GOP platform argued, "Illegal immigration undermines those benefits and affects US workers," and warned, "In an age of terrorism, drug cartels, human trafficking, and criminal gangs, the presence of millions of unidentified persons in this country poses grave risk to the safety and the sovereignty of the US."

Thus, it declared, "Our highest priority is to secure the rule of law both at our borders and ports of entry."

The platform said, "We recognise that for most of those seeking entry into this country, the lack of respect for the rule of law in their homelands has meant economic exploitation and political oppression by corrupt elites."

"In this country, the rule of law guarantees equal treatment to every individual, including more then one million immigrants to whom we grant permanent residence every year," it said.

"That is why we oppose any forms of amnesty for those who, by intentionally violating the law, disadvantage those who have obeyed it. Granting an amnesty only rewards and encourages more law breaking."

The platform said, this was the reason "why we insist upon enforcement at the workplace through verification systems so that jobs can be available to all legal workers."

"When Americans need jobs, it is essential that we protect them from illegal labor in the workplace." 

Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC