Immigration Reform Bill Ignores First Americans

June 22, 2007

Source: Tanasi Journal

WASHINGTON—June 20, 2007—The Senate and White House immigration reform legislation continues to exclude Native Americans. It places Native American Tribes in a very difficult position when the immigration needs of immigrants and illegal immigrants are being addressed, while the border crossing and U.S. Citizenship rights of those indigenous to this country are being ignored.

Native American Tribal governments have been fighting for centuries to address the needs of our Tribes who have been split in two by the U.S. political international borders that were created around them.

Joe A. Garcia, President of the National Congress of American Indians, stated, "Congress and the Administration needs to uphold the unique status of these border Tribes, many of which have historical treaty rights and long standing agreements regarding border crossing."

Native American Tribes [pre-date] the formation of the United States and the creation of its current international boundaries. Upon delineation of the current international boundaries, a number of Tribes (such as the Kumeyaay Nation in California, Tohono O'odham in Arizona, Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, and St. Regis Mohawk in New York) were literally split in two. Tribes, families, burial grounds, and sacred sites were separated into opposite sides of the new international border, with half now in Canada or Mexico.

Tribes have been working tirelessly, within the legal process, to try and ensure their own family reunification. Their non-U.S. citizen Tribal and family members need access to each other and to their sacred lands and burial grounds.