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Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

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Obama Team: Green Light/Yellow Light on Immigration Reform

February 17, 2009 - Posted by Shuya Ohno

When a new President takes office maybe it should be expected that a few mixed signals are sent on major policy goals, especially in times of economic confusion, which is to put it mildly.  Take immigration, for example.  Already this week, we are seeing two senior officials who will play a big role in immigration reform moving forward – or not – sending different sets of signals.


 


Today’s Politico.com includes a piece by Gebe Martinez, Latino politics columnist, on the apparent 180-degree immigration turnaround by the President’s top aid, Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel.  The former Illinois Congressman, who was once a chief opponent of the Democrats addressing immigration reform and famously cautioned it was the “third rail” of politics – likely to burn who ever touched it – now seems to be directing the Obama Administration towards a much more friendly stance when it comes to immigrants and immigration-related matters.


 


Martinez observes:


 


[N]ow, as President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Emanuel is removing roadblocks that stand in the way of some of the legislative agenda benefitting immigrants, ethnic minorities and their advocates.


 


Emanuel, a shrewd political mind who also epitomizes the rough and tumble politics of his hometown of Chicago, seems to be firing up the bulldozer on immigration-related issues he once resisted. – Gebe Martinez, “Rahm’s Immigration Turnabout,” The Politico, February 17, 2009.


 


Chief among Mr. Emanuel’s early accomplishments was the state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) regulations barring states from extending health insurance to legal low- and moderate-income immigrant children and pregnant women.  The President signed a waiver of this exclusionary policy into law with much fanfare – and by all accounts, much effort by Mr. Emanuel to make it happen.  Also on Martinez’ list is Mr. Emanuel’s aggressive stand when it comes to the 2010 census and how immigrant, ethnic, and minority communities will be counted. 


 


Veteran immigration reform advocate Frank Sharry of America’s Voice, the former Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, told Martinez,


 


“Emanuel is a symbol of going from running away from immigration to someone who now says, ‘Lean into immigration. It will help Democrats.’”


 


If the Administration keeps this up, it is a very encouraging sign for those who want President Obama to lead the fight for sensible immigration policies.


 


In contrast, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano sat down for an interview with National Public Radio Monday and was extremely cautious in her view of immigration reform, which is causing some consternation among pro-reform advocates.


 


She continued the emphasis on enforcement she inherited from the previous Administration while remaining vague – even dismissive – of the need for legislative reform.  Asked about what we should do with the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., the Secretary responded:


 


Ultimately, that's for the Congress to decide, and at some point in time, I think the president and the Congress will work out when it is appropriate to take that topic up again. But right now we're focusing on human traffickers — those who are really exploiting this illegal market to great financial gain. We're going after those in our country illegally who have also committed other crimes. We're going after those who are in our jails and prisons who are also in our country illegally to make sure that once they complete their sentence, they're immediately subject to deportation. – Secretary Janet Napolitano, NPR Interview, February 16, 2009.


 


Perhaps it is for the President and Congress to decide, but the Secretary had better be making it clear that it needs to happen.  As we have seen for two decades, all the enforcement in the world doesn’t matter much if your immigration system is completely out of whack. 


 


We hope the various parts of the Obama Administration will compare notes and come out forcefully and clearly for:


 



  • Establishing a legal immigration system individuals, families, and employers will use rather than circumvent;

  • Getting the millions of hard-working, tax-paying immigrants here illegally into the system so that everyone is playing by the same set of rules;

  • Making sure enforcement priorities make sense so that our country is safer, our tax money is not wasted chasing, arresting, and deporting the wrong people, and so the American people gain confidence that immigration rules are being fairly and equally enforced; and

  • Putting all of America’s workers on a legal and level playing footing so that their rights are protected.


 


As we noted last week when the Migration Policy Institute released its evaluation of Secretary Napolitano’s Dept. of Homeland Security, there is only so much the agency can do on its own without legislation. 


 


And for legislation to happen, clear and consistent leadership must come from the President, his Chief of Staff, his Homeland Security Secretary, and everyone else.

More Bad News for E-Verify

February 13, 2009 - Posted by Douglas Rivlin

The Migration Policy Institute report (see earlier blog post) contained more bad news for the folks who see the E-Verify electronic worker verification system as the (latest) silver bullet in the fight against immigrants contributing to the U.S. economy. 


 


Mandatory employer verification must be the center of legislation to combat illegal immigration.  Until such legislation is enacted, the administration should support reauthorization of the E-Verify employment verification system and expand its use as a voluntary program, allowing for its steady improvement in moving to a scale as a mandatory program.  Attention should now be focused on continued improvement in the accuracy of the DHS and SSA databases, development of a secure system of identification, and improved rates of employer compliance with program rules. – “DHS: Taking Stock and Correcting Course,” Migration Policy Institute, p. 2.


 


The key phrase being “Until such legislation is enacted…”  In other words, don’t make E-Verify mandatory for more businesses until E-Verify is improved.  We agree.


 


If you want more evidence for why massive E-Verify expansion right now is a bad idea, note this story from the Washington Post. Joe Davidson’s Federal Diary column outlines a GAO report on the significant problems that the Social Security Administration is already having.  The Social Security system, with so many relying on it, is currently swamped and overloaded. E-Verify, as many have testified before Congress, will significantly increase the work load on SSA (see this letter to lawmakers from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare from 2008), which the Post reports is already having problems in this area:


 


Workers at the Social Security Administration are working harder and enjoying it less, while its customers grow ever more frustrated.


 


That's a major take-away from a recent Government Accountability Office report detailing the negative impact of SSA staff cuts….Staffing in SSA field offices dropped 4.4 percent from fiscal 2005 to 2008. As you might expect, the amount of work produced also fell… -- Joe Davidson, “Social Security Workers Feeling Strapped, Washington Post, February 12, 2009


 


At this writing, it is not clear what, if anything, pertaining to E-Verify will or will not be in the President’s stimulus package working its way through Congress. 


 


However, this excerpt from a National Immigration Forum fact sheet offers some of the reasons why we think making the program mandatory or vastly expanding are bad ideas, especially as part of a package to create – not destroy – jobs for American workers.


 


Businesses that use E-Verify report that it is not easy, reliable or low-cost:


 


§         Up to 15% of their lawful workforce (not the .05% claimed by DHS) are initially misidentified as not authorized to work.


§         Trying to resolve errors involves significant investments of time, money, training and other resources that many employers, especially small ones, simply don’t have or can’t afford.


§         Small businesses (which employ approximately half of the entire U.S. workforce and have generated 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually over the last decade) are being hit harder by the economy and more burdens could prevent them from creating new jobs and revenues.


 


“Preparing for the transition to us­ing E-Verify was extremely costly and disruptive to our operations.  All of our restaurant managers, assistant managers, and directors of operations had to attend external training.  The training cost the company both in the fees that are paid to attend the training sessions and in lost productivity of these critical employees. . . . MCL Enterprises is fortunate to have the staff to deal with these issues and allow for redundancy and backup.  For smaller operations that do not have that luxury, the burdens will be even greater.”


Mitchell Laird, president, MCL Enterprises,


Phoenix, Arizona


 


“[Small family-owned farms] don’t have a personnel department to handle verification.  Many of them do not even have high-speed Internet access that is needed to get into the E-Verify system.”


Craig Regelbrugge, vice president of government relations, American Nursery & Landscape Association


 


“It may seem simple to legislators, but once it gets applied, each business has to do another task for the govern­ment and that could be difficult.”


John Cronin, executive director, Rhode Island Small Business Development Center


 


U.S. citizens and lawful immigrant workers, who need to correct records with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Social Security Administration (SSA), or both, face big hurdles:


 


§         Over 50% of people who call a local SSA field office with inquiries receive a busy signal.


§         In-person visits to SSA or DHS regional and field offices will be tough for workers, especially rural ones, since most offices require lengthy travel and are only open during workday hours.


§         U.S. citizens who have to present original records to correct problems could face long waits. In Arizona, all certified copies of birth certificates for births occurring before 1990 are not available for in-person pick-up and can only be received through the mail. Requests for birth certificates take approximately 15-20 days for regular processing.


 


“I think most employers really want to be in compliance with the law.  But if we’re going to end up firing people because of inaccuracies in the data, that’s a problem.  If you dismiss someone who is here legally, you’re liable for ‘wrongful termination’ [of an employee].  It’s a sticky question.”


Tim Hartigan, president, St. Paul Brass and Aluminum Foundry, St. Paul, Minnesota


 


“So much of our hiring is done in the field where there is not immediate computer access.  It is over a week to 10 days before paperwork makes it back to the office to start the [E-Verify] process. . . . [T]hat would mean we’d have real time problems.”


David Dayvault, president, Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association


 


Estimates also point to crippling economic effects of mandating E-Verify:


 


§         The Congressional Budget Office estimated in 2008 that mandatory use by all U.S. employers (without legalization) would lead to an increase in undocumented workers being paid outside the tax system, which over a 10-year period would result in a loss of $17.3 billion in federal revenue.


§         The U.S. Chamber of Commerce concluded a federal rule, more narrow than the stimulus provision, mandating E-Verify for federal contractors would result in net societal costs of $10 billion a year.


§         The federal government estimated in 2008 that the same federal rule (applied only to federal contractors) would impose costs on them of at least $100 million in the first year and between $550 to $670 million during the next 10 years.


 


“…[T]he meat and poultry industry is under duress from high grain inputs and trade barriers — shackling busi­nesses with an unfunded federal man­date is not wise.”


Janet M. Riley, senior vice president for public affairs and professional development, American Meat Institute


 


 

DHS: If It’s Broke, Fix It

February 12, 2009 - Posted by Douglas Rivlin

 


The Migration Policy Institute, a well respected non-partisan think-tank here in Washington D.C., issued a lengthy report on what the Obama Administration can do to improve the efficiency of the Department of Homeland Security and improve our immigration system.  Both in terms of legal immigration and enforcement, there is a long list of things that can be improved without the passage of any additional legislation.


 


The report takes a common sense approach to how the three major immigration-related components of DHS do their jobs and how DHS as a whole should be run with respect to immigration.  The authors of the report, former Clinton INS Commissioner Doris Meissner and former Director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) were joined by former Bush (43) INS Commissioner Jim Ziglar.


 


The Washington Post story on the report looked mainly at the more symbolic aspects of reform covered by the report, like the border fence and the so-called “zero tolerance” enforcement policies that seek to charge as many immigrants as possible with assorted criminal violations:


 


Overall, the authors suggested that DHS should target enforcement against criminal networks that sustain large-scale illegal migration and that could aid terrorists; against employers who rely on illegal workers to gain unfair competitive advantage or whom terrorists may attempt to infiltrate; and routinely bring criminal charges against individuals only when they are repeat-offenders or have committed unrelated crimes.


 


By contrast, the Bush administration quadrupled criminal prosecutions of immigration violators between 2003 and 2008, to 79,400, in part through programs such as Operation Streamline, which filed minor charges against virtually all people caught crossing parts of the Texas and Arizona borders. Advocates say such programs are an effective deterrent that reduce illegal crossing. – Spencer Hsu, “Advisory Group Urges Freeze on Construction of Border Fence,” Washington Post, February 11, 2009


 


The New York Times talked to the President of NCLR, who cautioned lawmakers not to think the report lets them off the hook when it comes to immigration reform.


 


“The conventional wisdom is that the economy makes this a difficult issue,” said Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza. “I think there’s also some countervailing wisdom that says how can you have a debate on jobs without talking about the 12 million people who are here without documents?” – Ginger Thompson, “Report Faults Homeland Security’s Efforts on Immigration,” New York Times, February 12, 2009


 


As John Wilhelm, President for Hospitality Industries of the restaurant and hotel workers union UNITE HERE, in a Forum press conference, posed this question that cuts to the heart of the matter -how can we fix the economy without addressing immigration and the legal status of the 1 in 20 workers in the U.S. economy who are undocumented?


 


Indeed.

Abraham Lincoln on the Anti-Immigrant Know-Nothings

February 12, 2009 - Posted by Douglas Rivlin

The President who would have been 200 today was not a fan of the anti-immigrant/anti-Catholic movement of his era.  He wrote a letter to Joshua Speed on August 24, 1855, which primarily addressed the expansion of slavery, but ended with this about the Know-Nothings, the political anti-immigrant party of the time:


 


I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor or degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy [sic]. – Abraham Lincoln, August 24, 1855


 

Economy Needs Real Jumpstart, Not Red Herring

February 09, 2009 - Posted by Katherine Vargas

 


February 9, 2009


 


As Congress engages in a grueling back and forth debate over what should and should not be included in the stimulus package, some politicians opted for a proposal that would not only fail to stimulate the economy but would weaken businesses and lead to further job losses.  This troublesome amendment requires all businesses and other public or private "entities" that receive money from the stimulus package to use the flawed federal E-Verify program.


 


We have consistently criticized any expansion of this work-eligibility program in its current form mainly because — as shown by three different House committees in five separate hearings — it is deeply flawed, inaccurate, and creates substantial new burdens for businesses, especially small businesses. And we are not the only ones who think this way, the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal voiced the same concern today in a piece appropriately titled “The Last Thing Employers Need – A screening program that doesn’t work”:


 


“In 2007, DHS commissioned an independent study of E-Verify, which concluded that "the database used for verification is still not sufficiently up to date to meet the requirements for accurate verification." The error rate was almost 10% for foreign-born U.S. citizens. 


(…)


But two weeks ago Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the Administration would delay the [federal contractors] rule until May 21 "to see what needs to be done to increase the capacity for the E-Verify system." If the Obama Administration is concerned that the program will buckle under the demands of 168,000 or so federal contractors, E-Verify certainly doesn't belong in a stimulus package that would require the system to determine the job eligibility of tens of millions of new hires. (The Last Thing Employers Need, February 9, 2009


 


As we have stated time and time again, the current shortcomings of the voluntary implementation of the E-Verify program prove that it is not ready for prime time.


 


Unfortunately, some politicians cannot unlearn their old ways. The outdated tactics of playing politics with immigration is too tempting. This is what House Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) offers instead (as stated in an op-ed piece in The Washington Times):


 


“Congress should not just extend E-Verify; it should mandate the program for all businesses with more than five employees and make it permanent.” (Smith: Keep E-Verify System, February 8, 2009)


 


This is yet another attempt by restrictionists to use immigration as a wedge that meddles with the original purpose of this legislation: stimulate the economy by creating new jobs.


 


In November, the American public voted for leaders that would offer solutions rather than a patchwork approach for today’s challenges. As the Wall Street Journal editorial points out, sneaking immigration enforcement measures in an economic recovery package would not resolve our current immigration troubles:


 


“But simply cracking down on employers isn't the answer, especially when such efforts aren't coupled with expanding the authorized work force. (…) Most U.S. employers don't have a problem with being held accountable for the workers they hire, so long as the government is providing them with the proper tools to abide by the law. E-Verify clearly doesn't meet that standard, and until it does the program ought to remain voluntary.


 


“Work-site enforcement should be part of a broader immigration debate, not something slipped into a stimulus bill to placate protectionists.”


 


 

The Scattershot Approach to Immigration Enforcement

February 06, 2009 - Posted by Katherine Vargas

Yesterday, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) released a report documenting the shift in enforcement priorities by ICE. It seems that the Department of Homeland Security prefers spending their dollars in the false appearance of safety rather than going after real threats. The National Fugitive Operations Program is the fastest-growing program and quite costly; in its first five years, it has already spent more than $625 million. ICE has stated that the program gives top priority to cases involving violent fugitives, gang members and, child sex offenders; however MPI’s report found that:


 


“73 percent of the nearly 97,000 people arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) fugitive operations teams between the program’s inception in 2003 and early 2008 were unauthorized immigrants without criminal records.


 


Despite the National Fugitive Operations Program’s mandate to apprehend dangerous fugitives, arrests of fugitive aliens with criminal convictions have represented a steadily declining share of total arrests by the teams, accounting for just 9 percent of total arrests in 2007, down from 32 percent in 2003, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s own estimates.” (Collateral Damage: An Examination of ICE’s Fugitive Operations Program, February 5, 2009)


 


How’s this for false advertisement: Bush Administration Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, bragged in a “state of immigration” press briefing in 2008 that:


 


“We have increased the number of fugitive operations teams dramatically. [Resulting] in a record number of arrests to fugitives in fiscal year 2008, which is 34,000. (…) That is a dramatic increase in removing fugitives and vindicating the authority of our courts to make decisions about who ought to be removed from the country. (Remarks by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on the State of Immigration and the No Match Rule, October 23, 2008)


 


What he failed to mention in his “success report” is that the great majority of these “fugitives” were not violent criminals but rather immigrant workers, fathers and mothers – many without a deportation order or any criminal offense, picked up by chance in their own homes, or because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.


 


For an enforcement program that advertises itself as having a national security focus, it surely is arbitrarily targeting those who don’t really pose a risk to our country. This is a surefire way to increase profiling and random arrests without any prioritization, and if it is letting serious criminals off the hook, it is a major public safety problem.


 


Alluding to this, law professor Peter L. Markowitz said on an interview with the New York Times,


 


“It looks like what happened here is that the law enforcement strategy was hijacked by the political agenda of the administration,” (Despite Vow, Target of Immigrant Raids Shifted, February 4, 2009)


 


Rather than having a politicized, scattershot approach to immigration enforcement — pumping up numbers, pushing for misleading quotas —we need a solutions-approach to immigration, one that puts in place enforceable laws that can be effectively enforced.

Baseball, the Beatles, and Senator Grassley’s Fake-out Pitch

February 05, 2009 - Posted by Shuya Ohno

Senator Chuck Grassley, Republican of Iowa, sent a letter to Microsoft stating that, “It is imperative that in implementing its layoff plan, Microsoft ensures that American workers have priority in keeping their jobs over foreign workers on visa programs…Microsoft has a moral obligation to protect these American workers by putting them first.”


 


During this economic crisis, companies that have been driving our economy must do what they can to turn the tide for the sake of the entire American economy.  But can the good Senator justify a “moral obligation” on companies, dictate personnel policies or business decisions solely on the basis of national origin?


 


If Senator Grassley had his way, then the New York Yankees would have had the same 'moral obligation' to hire American-born pitcher Heathcliff Slocumb instead of Panama-born Mariano Rivera.




Did the Boston Red Sox have the ‘moral obligation’ to hire Jeremy Giambi, and fire David Ortiz, regardless of their talents or contributions to the team?


 


Oh, and if he were moral, Ed Sullivan would surely have canceled on the Beatles and showcased instead…who?…Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas?


 


It’s true that our immigration system needs a major overhaul. We must try to build a system that balances the numbers of immigrant workers we will be allowing into the country with the needs of the economy. However, Senator Grassley’s idea is shortsighted, unrealistic, and perhaps a little disingenuous.


 


Claiming a “moral obligation,” and dictating to Microsoft on its personnel policies and business decisions, Senator Grassley seems to have forgotten what’s been happening in his own state of Iowa, including among his own campaign contributors.


 


Last May, the Agriprocessors kosher meat processing plant in the small town of Postville, Iowa was found, not only to have been running its low-paying and backbreaking operation on undocumented workers, but also to have been abusing its workers for quite some time. Some of the immigrant workers being abused were found to be children. The Rubashkins who owned and operated the company are now facing charges of violating immigration and worker protection laws, including child labor violations. Julia Preston of the New York Times has reported on this story extensively.


 


Agriprocessors filed for bankruptcy back in November, but what the small town of Postville knows is the difficult truth that many US industries know: to thrive, and sometimes just to survive, some businesses and American towns need immigrant workers and that allowing those workers into our country with visas and rights – or granting them legal status if they have already been here for some time – is important, even in these tough economic times.




The economic crisis is real. Families are suffering across Iowa, and throughout the country. This is no time for political grandstanding, no time for scapegoating. It is time for smart and sensible solutions. Working families across America know that. 


 


What many may not know, however, is that Senator Grassley’s campaigns received sizable campaign contributions from the Rubashkins (as reported in the Iowa Independent and elsewhere), from the owners of Agriprocessors who were abusing their workers, including children, treating them as if they were slaves and indentured servants.  What was that about “moral obligation,” Senator?

Sheriff Arpaio Takes Us Down the Road to Perdition

February 05, 2009 - Posted by Shuya Ohno

Today, when President Obama was signing into law a bill that lifted a five-year ban on immigrant children getting healthcare, Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona forced around two hundred immigrant detainees at gunpoint to march in chains. The forced march snaked through public streets, with each person, shackled, carrying his own bedding. The march ended at “Tent City,” the Sheriff’s prison facility of tents, surrounded by electric fences.


Such forced marches can only bring to mind the worst images from the pages of our history books. We are reminded how common sense and human decency is lost to despots, drunk with unchecked power. Forced marches have been used repeatedly, not only to punish, but also to dehumanize.


Arpaio has been at this for a while, as outlined here in a factsheet from America’s Voice. In his press release, Arpaio cites cost-cutting for this spectacle of depravity, but the actual costs of Arpaio’s actions are mounting ever higher, as evidenced here in a factsheet from the Immigration Policy Center.


Let’s be clear about this. This local Sheriff is forcing individuals who have not been convicted of any crime to march, shackled, through public streets. The Geneva Convention forbids such actions for prisoners of war, stating in Article 27 that prisoners must be protected from “insults and public curiosity.” This language was specifically designed to prevent governments from forcing prisoners to march through public streets. Clearly, Sheriff Arpaio has less regard for prisoners presumed innocent, than all civilized countries have for enemy combatants.


Today, we are all being forced to participate in this madness, not as innocents forced to march, but as spectators forced to witness this demonstration of human degradation.


How could this be happening in America? Look no further than the failed policy called 287g. This is what can happen when local cops and sheriffs are deputized by ICE to become federal immigration law enforcers without supervision, zealots run amock. The New York Times reports today that ICE’s own enforcement policies have been misleading Congress:


 


“The raids on homes around the country were billed as carefully planned hunts for dangerous immigrant fugitives, and given catchy names like Operation Return to Sender.


And they garnered bigger increases in money and staff from Congress than any other program run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, even as complaints grew that teams of armed agents were entering homes indiscriminately.


But in fact, beginning in 2006, the program was no longer what was being advertised. Federal immigration officials had repeatedly told Congress that among more than half a million immigrants with outstanding deportation orders, they would concentrate on rounding up the most threatening — criminals and terrorism suspects.


Instead, newly available documents show, the agency changed the rules, and the program increasingly went after easier targets. A vast majority of those arrested had no criminal record, and many had no deportation orders against them, either…”



Sheriff Joe Arpaio forced about two hundred individuals through public streets today, shackled together, wearing prison garb with large red letters across the chest reading, “UNSENTENCED.” These men have not been tried or convicted. This is a travesty, a mockery of the American system of justice.


What can we do today? What can we do right now? We can talk to our families, our friends, and we can all contact Congress. Let’s let our Representative know how we feel.


Join others across the country and let’s all put a stop to this madness.


Please sign this petition now.


 

Nativism in the Immigration Debate

February 04, 2009 - Posted by Katherine Vargas

The New York Times had two great editorial pieces examining the role of nativism in the immigration debate and exposing the true roots of restrictionist anti-immigrant groups. Here are some excerpts:


“The relentlessly harsh Republican campaign against immigrants has always hidden a streak of racialist extremism. Now after several high-water years, the Republican tide has gone out, leaving exposed the nativism of fringe right-wingers clinging to what they hope will be a wedge issue.  


(…) For years Americans have rejected the cruelty of enforcement-only regimes and Latino-bashing, in opinion surveys and at the polls. In House and Senate races in 2008 and 2006, “anti- amnesty” hard-liners consistently lost to candidates who proposed comprehensive reform solutions.


(…) Americans want immigration solved, and they realize that mass deportations will not do that. When you add the unprecedented engagement of growing numbers of Latino voters in 2008, it becomes clear that the nativist path is the path to permanent political irrelevance.” (Editorial, The Nativists are Restless, New York Times, January 31, 2009)


As the second editorial asserts,


“The harsh Republican line on immigration is usually depicted as motivated by concern about jobs, national security, drugs or terrorism. But that tune has a persistent undercurrent of fretfulness about race, culture and ethnicity.” (Editorial Board Blog, The Nativists are Restless, Continued, New York Times, February 2, 2009)


And hence the need for close attention to the rhetoric of groups who disguise themselves as experts on immigration but find it hard to disguise the code words of hate (i.e. immigration is racial warfare, or immigrants are responsible for global warming) and can be traced back to groups who have been part of the white nationalist movement.  Our friends from America’s Voice have posted a very interesting video looking at who is really working behind the scenes to turn every Congressional debate into a fight over immigration. Check it out at: http://www.AmericasVoiceOnline.org/Wolves

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