Some 400,000 men, women and children,(close to 0% of the population), have lived in the US, some for many years, having fled the civil wars in Central America for a safe haven in the US. Civil wars which were proxy wars for the Cold War, but where civilians were used as pawns in a dirty genocidal warfare. How can we blame these people for fleeing their beautiful tropical countries in search of peace and security in the USA. They are truly our own Cold War refugees!
With rare exceptions, all of these Central Americans have been quietly employed by US citizens which know them to be loyal, trustworthy and honest employees. Those who have been involved in a felony during the time span of their application should be deported, but all others should have their application extended and their cases reviewed individually. Such is the intent of passing the 245-I extension.
A humane compromise would be to modify the INS code to allow these cold war refugees to remain in the US and apply for residency if they have any first or second degree relatives living in the US who are either legal residents or US citizens. The refugees would have to present the appropriate documentation to the INS proving such relationships.
By allowing those who have family members remain and continue with their residency application here in the US, the problem would be solved.
We should not try to correct the past by legislating punitive measures in the present. The mistakes of the past must be resolved by solving problems which will prevent their recurrence in the future, but never by trying to legislate punitive measures against victims of our own mistakes of the past.
The People's memories are long, and Justice is always served in the end. Americans should never let legal technicalities take precedence over Human Rights and the protection of Families.
Our great nation is entering the new millennium as the first of the multi-cultural World Nations of the Future. If we ever want to reach a full economic and political integration of our hemisphere, we must first prove that we will protect those victims of our own genocidal proxy wars.
September 26, 1997