By JYOTHI NATARAJAN and AMANDA VENDER
Thousands of people across the United States are protesting a new immigration law in Arizona. The law forces police officers to stop anyone who they think might be an undocumented immigrant (someone who has no legal permission to be in the United States) and ask to see proof that they are in the country legally. Immigrant rights groups say the new law is racist and is “racial profiling” because the police will target people based on their appearance.
There are approximately 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. For most undocumented immigrants, it is nearly impossible to become documented. You need to have a close relative who is a U.S. citizen or legal resident, or you need to be a professional worker with an employer who will sponsor you. And even with a sponsor, you may wait years, or even decades, to become a legal resident.
In late April, U.S. senators Charles Schumer (NY) and Lindsey Graham (SC) introduced a new proposal for immigration reform. The plan includes a way for undocumented immigrants to become documented. However, the senators say it would require immigrants “to admit they broke the law and to pay their debt to society by performing community service and paying fines and back taxes.” The plan would also require all workers in the United States to have a national ID card, and it would put more guards at the border. It is unlikely that the proposal will be voted on this year.
On May 1, International Workers’ Day, thousands of workers rallied in cities across the country for immigration reform and for immigrants’ and workers’ rights. Here’s what two kids at the rally in New York City had to say about immigrants in the United States:
See also: Take Action on Immigration!