Sunday, May 02, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For

An estimated 60,000 immigration reform supporters marched in downtown Los Angeles yesterday, and at the rally afterwards the participants heard speeches from Roman Catholic Cardinal Roger Mahoney and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villraigosa. According to the Los Angeles Times, marchers included people from many countries: Mexico, Guatemala, and South Korea among them. They were immigrants both "legal" and "illegal," citizens and not citizens. The scene was repeated on a lesser scale across the country, including Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, where they were met with counter-protesters.

The national coordination of the May Day event flowed smoothly. Other than a couple of arrests for vandalism, the Los Angeles march was remarkably peaceful. Event organizers worked carefully with the Los Angeles Police Department for weeks to ensure that the march was not marred with the kinds of problems that past rallies have had.

The push for reform now, rather than later, is on, even though by all accounts, neither Congress nor the White House want the issue to come up for consideration before the November elections. That's going to anger a lot of those who marched yesterday and may even cripple Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's bid for re-election. Pesident Obama's promise to deal with immigration reform is being deferred, and that's a shame.

What's an even bigger shame, however, is the bill the Democrats have crafted. Here's how the Washington Post characterized it:

The Democrats' legislative "framework" includes a slew of new immigration enforcement measures aimed at U.S. borders and workplaces. It would further expand the 20,000-member Border Patrol; triple fines against U.S. employers that hire illegal immigrants; and, most controversially, require all American workers -- citizens and non-citizens alike -- to get new Social Security cards linked to their fingerprints to ease work eligibility checks. [Emphasis added]

Now there's a bill designed to bring the country together: it's one we can all hate. The Democrats have clearly moved far to the right on this one, which, given the last six years is no surprise.

To be fair, the bill does include a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants already here, but it's an arduous process. Republicans have once again balked at "amnesty", so it's entirely possible that provision won't make it through.

What is particularly odious, however, is the national identity card (formally known as a "Social Security Card") for anyone who wants to work in this country. We will all have to carry our papers with us.

So much for constitutional democracy.

Oh, and Democrats: here's a quarter, go buy yourselves a clue. The ethics, humaneness, and constitutional requirements aside, the proposed bill is going to screw you up big time. There are states right now in which 15% of the electorate is Latino. That's just those citizens of voting age. That's going to increase dramatically in the coming years, regardless of what happens this year and next. These people gave Nevada to Obama. Screw this issue up by caving to the fearful and the racist and you won't ever hold the White House or lead Congress again. Nor should you.

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Anonymous xan said...

I will believe any media report on this issue is serious when they differentiate between people "coming across the border to stay" vs. those "coming across the border to deliver drugs." The latter group is not an immigration issue, it's an import/export issue and should be dealt with as such.

The next report I see that makes this point will be the first. Instead they keep calling it "Arizona's tough new immigration law" when it is neither tough, new, or pertaining particularly to immigration.

And the line seems to invariably come up that "the new law was seen as necessary because of the guy who was shot in his yard at 3 am and the policeman wounded in the shootout with drug smugglers." See above: this is not an immigration issue.


12:38 PM  

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