Guest Op-Ed: A Sustainable and Structural Response to Migration

By Frank Ramirez

On Tuesday, April 18, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) unveiled his recommendations for managing migration and refugees in the Western Hemisphere. The Menendez Plan provides the Biden Administration with a sustainable and structural response to migration in the region that will reduce pressure on the U.S. southwest border.

In a press release, Senator Mendez said “the Biden Administration’s decision to implement short-term deterrence policies fail to address the cycle of irregular migration at our southwest border. My plan provides a set of policies that will secure our borders without sacrificing our domestic and legal obligations to asylum seekers by working with partners in the region to give people alternative options to illegal smuggling networks. This plan largely includes policies that President Biden can pursue without Congress, until Republicans decide to come to the table and help the administration manage the current challenge.”

The East Boston Community Council (EBCC) join UnidosUS President & CEO, Janet Murguía, in her endorsement of Senator Menendez plan, “we applaud Senator Menendez for his timely, pragmatic, and forward-looking plan to address the humanitarian challenges our country is facing on our southern border. His plan is the kind of constructive and solutions-driven vision that Hispanic voters and millions of other Americans want to see: an immigration system that is humane, efficient, and secure.”

The Menendez Plan proposes four pillars to effectively manage migration in the Americas, from addressing the drivers of migration in the region to establishing border policies that maintain order and safety for migrants, refugees, and law enforcement alike:

1. Create New Legal Pathways and Expand Existing Pathways to Reduce Pressure at the Southwestern Border

2. Increase Resources at the Border to Process Asylum Seekers and Remove People without Legal Claims to Stay in the U.S.

3. Expand Humanitarian Assistance and Develop Financing to Better Integrate Migrants & Refugees in Countries Across the America

4. Elevate Efforts to Counter Transnational Criminal Organizations Involved in Human Trafficking & Smuggling

We support Janet’s endorsement of The Menendez plan because since its foundation in 1979, EBCC have promoted justice under the law for Immigrants and limited English-speaking newcomers to the United States who live in East Boston.  EBCC efforts include:

• To educate program participants about the American legal system and their rights under the law;

• To promote the achievement of optimal immigration status by individuals who are not United States citizens and full attainment of the protections and benefits afforded them under the law;

• To promote access to legal representation; and,

• To support effective legal representation of program participants through the provision of interpretation/translation, escort, and related services.

Frank Ramirez concluded “we support policies and law-makers that shape reforms that eventually legalize more than 3 million of undocumented immigrants and facilitates the path to citizenship to DACA holders. We will continue in our tradition that through services, education, advocacy, and organizing, EBCC works with newcomers and people of lower income to improve the quality of life, foster mutual respect, and promote justice, equality, and solidarity.”

Frank Ramirez is the Executive Director East Boston Community Council

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