Desi Talk – that’s all you need to know 4 VIEWPOINT October 8, 2021 India Is Ready To Lead World In 3 Critical Areas: Modi Tells UN P rime Minister of India Narendra Modi’s three-day whirlwind visit to the US that began inWashing- ton on September 23 and ended in NewYork on September 25 had once again proved his mettle as the world’s greatest statesman. In all his meetings he has effectively conveyed his concrete views to the world leaders. He was confident, assertive, and action-oriented in matters of world as well as of Indian affairs. At every bilateral or multilateral meeting, whether it is with top business leaders, Quad member-country heads, col- lectively or individually, one-on-one with other world leaders, as well as with US President Biden, Narendra Modi spoke with great conviction. His forceful speech at the UN was the highlight. He has been emphatic and has made his points abundantly clear. The only snag has been that the US, as the world leader, has not adequately realized its responsibility to express emphatically its displeasure at the consequences of Pakistan’s role in harboring terrorists, which has be- come a major worry of the whole world. The US, which has recently withdrawn its troops from Afghanistan, has seen and experienced in close quarters Pakistan’s role in supporting terrorism. The Taliban’s overrun of Afghanistan and capture of power there, has drawn renewed focus of UN member- countries on the role of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelli- gence (ISI) agency. In his 22-minute address to the 76th session of the UN General Assembly on September 25, Narendra Modi has made it clear that democracy is the most acceptable form of governance, describing India as the “mother of democ- racy.” He has listed achievements of his government. He has vociferously attacked Pakistan without mincing words, and China with a high degree of assertiveness. Narendra Modi has denounced Pakistan for using ter- rorism as a “political tool,” and China for its hunger for territorial expansionism in fanatic intensity and trying to take control of the oceans. He has described oceans as “lifeline” for international trade and stressed the need for sparing them from expansionist and greedy overtures. Describing oceans as “common and shared inheri- tance,” he has stressed that the ocean resources are best “used and not abused.” He adds: “The consensus at the UNSC under India’s presidency can help the world move ahead on the issue of maritime security.” He has alerted the nations on the importance of desist- ing from use of Afghanistan, which has come under the rule of the Taliban, for the spread of terrorism or turn it into a base for perpetrating terrorist attacks. He has said: “It is important to ensure that Afghanistan territory is not used to spread terrorism or carry out terrorist attacks.” The Prime Minister has also criticized theWorld Bank for not doing enough in helping countries particularly during widespread Covid-19 pandemic. He has blamed China for manipulating theWorld Bank data to improve its ranking as well as jeopardizing theWHO’s attempt to trace the origin of the virus. He has said that he wants to inform the UNGA that In- dia has developed the world’s first DNA vaccine that can be delivered to anybody above the age of 12 years. And m-RNA vaccine is in final stages of development. Indian scientists are also working on a nasal vaccine. Stating that India is exporting vaccine to the needy countries, he has invited world vaccine manufacturers to make vaccine in India and export it to the needy countries. Narendra Modi has conveyed proudly a clear message to the world, through an example, that India is ready to lead the world in three most critical areas – fight- ing terrorism, conserving environment, and combating Covid-19 pandemic. These sentiments of the Prime Minister have been strongly supported by Sneha Dubey, India’s First Secre- tary at the UN. Giving a fitting reply to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, Sneha Dubey has made a force- ful speech saying, “Pakistan holds the ignoble record of hosting the largest number of terrorists proscribed by the UNSC. Osama bin Laden got shelter in Pakistan. Even today, Pakistan leadership glorifies him as ‘martyr’,” adding that Islamabad is an “arsonist” disguising itself as “firefighter.” Lakshmana Rao is an author and former editor of India Tribune in Chicago. By J.V. Lakshmana Rao, Special To Desi Talk Avoiding Past Mistakes Is Key To Congress Passing Immigration Reform That Works C ongress has not passed anything even approaching comprehensive immigration legislation since 1965, nor has it opened a path- way to citizenship for undocumented Americans since a very brief one-time amnesty in 1986. As a result, the United States limps through each year with cruel, dangerous and wasteful practices that incarcerate tens of thousands of nonciti- zens and create decades-long wait times for visa-eligible people. At present, it is estimated that nearly two-thirds of the approximately 10 million undocumented immigrants in the United States have lived here for more than a decade, and there are 22 million people in mixed-status households where at least one member could be targeted for depor- tation at any moment. Democrats have been trying to change this fact in a reconciliation bill that con- nects the budget with other urgent legisla- tive priorities, including immigration. The Senate Parliamentarian has rejected several proposals by Democrats, includ- ing one that would have used something called “registry” to allow immigrants to gain legal status. Policymakers have promised to regroup with new proposals. But if we want im- migration reform to succeed - not just to pass, but to sustainably accomplish worthwhile goals - we ought to scrutinize what has gone wrong to land us in our current unsustainable position. Before the 1990s, deliberately forcing millions of undocumented Americans to exist as perpetual noncitizens would have generated alarm. Why? Because attracting immigrants who planned to become citi- zens had been a legislative priority since the country’s earliest years. In fact, even at the country’s most sweeping restrictionist moment, in the 1920s, when Congress enacted the first federal penalties for being undocument- ed, it also created a means for longtime residents who did not have valid paper- work to adjust their status and eventually become citizens. This law, the 1929 Undesirable Aliens Act, was a watershed in the move to criminalize undocumented immigrants and federalize immigration enforcement. The bill was drafted as an afterthought to the Immigration Act of 1924, which used draconian national origins quotas to effectively end almost all lawful immi- gration to the United States. At the time, the country had only a nascent system for documenting migrants’ arrivals and residence permissions. And the bulk of enforcement was being performed by states and at the local level rather than the federal government. So, in 1929, the federal government committed to the systematic punishment and deportation of undocumented im- migrants. It began to build up the federal Border Patrol - at first just a few hundred often unqualified employees assigned to thousands of miles of borderlands. Border Patrol employees were often openly rac- ist and physically abusive toward both citizens and noncitizens attempting to exercise their rights. Much of what we now recognize as mass deportation - millions of people being forced out of the United States because they do not have proper paper- work, even when they have deep roots in the country - can be traced to provisions in the Undesirable Aliens Act. The drafters of the bill were openly racist - so much so that their clear intent to discriminate has recently been cited by a federal judge as invalidating large portions of the law they passed. But federal lawmakers at the time also saw that there was something deeply undemocratic and downright abhorrent about imposing punishments on nonciti- zens without offering longtime residents a way to adjust their legal status if they upheld their obligations to show “good moral character.” As deportation had become a possibility, people panicked that they would be ripped away from their lives in the United States. They implored their representatives to protect them. One member of Congress read out a plea from a colleague: “Is it fair to these men and women to prevent them from becoming citizens of a country which is their perma- nent home, when they own property, and are rearing American citizens? Is it a good policy for the Government itself to forbid them the right of citizenship?” Not everyone was persuaded, but enough agreed. So in 1929, the same year that undocumented immigrants were criminalized by the federal government, Congress also created a provision called registry that allowed people who had been present since 1921 to adjust their status and become documented legal residents with a means to naturalize. The Registry Act cleared a pathway to citizenship based on the principle that, over time, even people who don’t have valid visas become American by virtue of the time they spend in-residence, embedded in communities, working and raising families. Between 1929 and 1948, Congress updated the eligibility date for the registry several times, steadily allowing new gen- erations of immigrants to access relief. But the last time it did so was in 1986, when the date was moved forward to permit anyone who had been a continuous resi- dent of the United States since before Jan. 1, 1972, to gain status. The 1986 update was part of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which also provided a one-time amnesty for some long-term un- documented immigrants and agricultural workers with seasonal temporary work visas. As in the 1920s, Congress married its recognition that undocumented Ameri- cans deserved citizenship with harsh rhetoric and punitive measures, notably punishments for anyone who employed undocumented workers. Since 1986, immigration reform has happened piecemeal, when it has hap- pened at all, and it has increasingly been consumed with punishment. A 1990 act increased legal limits on immigration and added a diversity lottery. In 1996, a set of laws dramatically expanded the popula- tion of immigrants who could be incarcer- ated and deported from the United States. Then, in 2002, Congress hastily reorga- nized its enforcement agencies after the By Elizabeth Cohen - Continued On Page 6 Photo :ANI PM Narendra Modi speaking at the UN Sept. 25, 2021.