Thursday, June 21, 2012

But ... But ... They're Illegal

On Tuesday, I snarked a bit about the uncomfortable position Mitt Romney, Sen. Marco Rubio, and the Republican Party found themselves in after President Obama's executive order ceasing deportation of young people brought into this country illegally when they were children. Republicans had been trying to reach out to Latinos when the news hit and they were faced with repudiating the order (and losing whatever chance they had for gaining Latino voters), or with nodding sagely (and losing their base).

Republicans settled for screaming about the unseemly, inappropriate, and illegal use of the executive order for what should have been left to Congress to hammer out. It's an argument that might ordinarily have some merit, but at this point in the election year the damage was already done. Obama picked up some support from independents. In fact, most people actually support the Dream Act because punishing kids for the sins of their fathers just doesn't seem fair. Furthermore, since many of those kids have been educated here, it only seems practical to take advantage of that education by allowing them to use skills they picked up here where it counts.

David Horsey has updated and amplified his views on the issue in his 6/20/12 cartoon and column.

Republicans seem befuddled by President Obama’s decision to halt deportation of young people brought into the United States illegally by their undocumented parents. Mitt Romney is gobsmacked, Speaker of the House John A. Boehner is exasperated and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is totally bummed out. ...

According to new polls, the new policy is quite popular with most voters — independent voters in particular. The one segment of the electorate that hates it is the Republican base. This leaves Romney and company in a quandary. If they flat out condemn the president’s action they will please the majority of their party, but they will further alienate Latino voters who are already turned off by the hard line, anti-immigration rhetoric Romney employed to get himself to the right of his conservative opponents in the GOP primaries. An attack on the policy could also hurt Romney’s appeal to the independents whose votes he absolutely needs if he hopes to be president.

OK, nice summary, but from here, Horsey introduces a couple of new elements, both of which are very pertinent to the discussion by all parties.

This latest kerfuffle over immigration policy comes at a time when the dynamics of immigration are shifting so quickly that old arguments are quickly becoming obsolete. Tirades in favor of a border wall become less relevant in light of statistics that indicate 1.4 million Mexicans headed back to Mexico between 2005 and 2010, an out-migration that may be accelerating. While many of these people were deported through stepped-up efforts of the federal government, many are voluntarily leaving because of tougher state laws and the slump in employment. The self-deportation that Romney says he favors may actually be working.

There is also the interesting news that immigrants from Asia who come with a high level of education and highly marketable skills now outnumber Latino immigrants. Unlike the Mexicans who were taking jobs that Americans did not want to do, the new Asian immigrants are snapping up high-paying positions for which too many American kids lack training.

It is way past time for the immigration debate to move beyond hysterics about a Mexican invasion and on to the new challenges. One of those challenges, which is also a huge opportunity, is to utilize the talents of hundreds of thousands of smart young people who have grown up in the U.S. but lack legal status. Helping them realize their dreams in the only country they call home would be an act of simple common sense.
[Emphasis added]

Yes, and yes.

The hysteria about immigration has been rooted in the racism which sees Mexicans as simply unworthy. Now that they are leaving (with the resulting increase in food prices because no "Americans" can handle the work), such hysteria is seen for what it is.

And the rapid increase in Asian immigrants, many of whom come here on visas sponsored by companies who want their talents at a wage less than they'd have to pay American, seems not to bother Republicans at all. I'm still waiting to hear any kind of response from anyone with the GOP which doesn't start with, "They're here legally. That's different."

I'm sure unemployed American workers are satisfied with that answer.

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