Immigration reform is in the news. Let’s find an Eph connection!

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How about here ?

It’s obvious to Julian Lazalde [’04], 24, of Pilsen why many immigrants come to the U.S. and want to stay. When he visits the part of north central Mexico his parents came from, he imagines himself in a subsistence farmer’s life of hard labor and poverty.

Instead, Lazalde is a graduate of Williams College in Massachusetts, and an organizer for the Resurrection Project, a Pilsen-based organization of local churches working on affordable housing and community political issues.

“I wouldn’t be here if my parents didn’t think there was something better for me,” he said.

Lazalde has been working with a group of community residents who helped register nearly 1,000 new Hispanic voters from their neighborhoods in the November elections. They have now turned their sights to immigration reform at both the state and national level.

The Resurrection Project is planning continued pressure on legislators who are on the fence on immigration reform initiatives such as the recent bill allowing for drivers’ certification for undocumented immigrants in Illinois.

Even legislators who are supportive of immigrant rights in predominantly immigrant districts get more calls against immigrant rights than in favor, Lazalde said several politicians had told him.

“We’re doing all we can to balance out those numbers,” Lazalde said.

It is a huge struggle to help immigrants become citizens, register to vote and stay politically involved, he said. The threat of deportation is a two-edged sword that can galvanize support or keep people hiding in fear, Lazalde said.

“People who are undocumented feel like they can’t do anything,” he said.

Uh, yeah. Just like American citizens feel when they visit Mexico.

Anyway, good luck to Lazalde! If the McCain-Kennedy Bill passes, then the US will have millions of new citizens, the vast majority without college degrees. That’s good for Williams graduates since the prices of the services they buy (yard work, manufactured goods, cleaning services) will go down while the prices of services they provide (legal, medical, consulting, business) will stay the same. We get richer!

Current US citizens without a Williams degree? Not so much.

Note the immigration reform will not allow foreigners to compete with us or other members of the US elite. A construction worker from Mexico will be able to replace a construction worked from the US as soon as McCain-Kennedy passes. A doctor or lawyer from Mexico will still be forbidden from practicing his trade, unless he goes through a residency and/or schooling all over again. Wouldn’t want doctor salaries to go down, would we?

Recommended reading on this topic here, here and here. Alas, those links are not as ideological diverse as one might like. Please suggest other readings in the comments.

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