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ImmigrationProf Blog

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

absence of voices of reason....

Great post at migramatters on the shortage of voices advocating sensible immigration reform and countering the misinformation spread by the likes of Lou Dobbs and Michelle Malkin, it also touches on something we have been talking about extensively on this blog in the past - the need for the latino vote to consolidate and get more political

There is one other important factor that needs to be taken into account when discussing the Democratic abandonment of meaningful immigration policy. Study after study shows that the Latino population will become the most important electoral demographic within the next few years. In states like New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Colorado, and Florida they may hold the key to 2008 victory.

But this power also seems to be going untapped. With the vicious Republican attacks on immigration issues, common wisdom has it that the Democratic Party will naturally be the beneficiaries of the Latino abandonment of that party. But should Latinos accept the DLC version of "Republican- lite" immigration policies? If this move to the right by the Democrats goes unchecked, what option does that leave? Latinos, and all other groups that contain large immigrant populations, need to come together and send a strong message that they will not be taken for granted. Their votes will not be won so cheaply. The Rahm Emanuels and James Carvilles of the world need to know that they should not be so quick to paint red states blue if in fact they expound views that are no different from their red state opponents.

We need to start to fight more effectively, we need to start to harness our power and direct it at countering the years of lies and propaganda promoted by the Republican Right. We need to let our Democratic "friends" know that they must hold true to the principles of equality, justice, and human-rights on which their modern party was founded …and if they fail that task…they are no better than their opponents....and should be given the same electoral consideration.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What Part of ‘Illegal’ Don’t You Understand?...

Lawrence Downes on the word illegal and the mood in America today on illegal aliens

Good thing I am not an illegal immigrant. There is no way out of that trap. It’s the crime you can’t make amends for. Nothing short of deportation will free you from it, such is the mood of the country today. And that is a problem.

America has a big problem with illegal immigration, but a big part of it stems from the word “illegal.” It pollutes the debate. It blocks solutions. Used dispassionately and technically, there is nothing wrong with it. Used as an irreducible modifier for a large and largely decent group of people, it is badly damaging. And as a code word for racial and ethnic hatred, it is detestable.

“Illegal” is accurate insofar as it describes a person’s immigration status. About 60 percent of the people it applies to entered the country unlawfully. The rest are those who entered legally but did not leave when they were supposed to. The statutory penalties associated with their misdeeds are not insignificant, but neither are they criminal. You get caught, you get sent home.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A climate of fear....

A report in Businessweek on the impact of the immigration raids on farms around the country...

A climate of fear is spreading among undocumented immigrant workers, causing turmoil in industries dependent on their labor. In August the Homeland Security Dept. announced that employers would be required to terminate workers who fail to produce valid Social Security numbers. Implementation of the new rule is delayed pending the outcome of a lawsuit brought against the government by the umbrella labor union group, the AFL-CIO.

But while the new rule has yet to take effect, its impact is already being felt by farmers like Torrey. An estimated three-quarters of agricultural workers in the U.S. are undocumented, and growers are starting to feel the paralyzing effects of losing their workforce. They say that unless the government implements workable reforms, the future of the U.S. as a food-producing nation is in jeopardy.

Monday, October 1, 2007

GOP and Immigration....

This is a topic we have covered extensively on this blog, the GOP's anti-immigrant platform and what that means for the party's future. The rhetoric being spawned in talk radio and blogs as a result of the immigration debate is explicitly anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic

Nothing however, better exemplifies the compulsive irrationality that has taken over the Republican Party than its handling of the Hispanic electorate.

Latino voters, as Bush demonstrated in 2004, are by no means locked into the Democratic fold. On top of that, Republican strategists have been pounding for a decade the theme that Hispanics are crucial to the GOP future.

Ken Mehlman, who ran both Bush's 2004 campaign and the RNC, declared in a July 2006 speech (one of many on the subject) that as party chair,

"I know...that a Republican Party that does not reach out to Hispanics cannot win ... and a Republican Party that does not reach out to Hispanics does not deserve to win."

Similarly, Ed Gillespie, who ran the RNC before Mehlman, and who is now counselor to the president, laid it on the line in an April 2006 Wall Street Journal op-ed:

"The Republican Party cannot become an anti-immigration party. Our majority already rests too heavily on white voters, given that current demographic voting percentages will not allow us to hold our majority in the future. Between 2000 and 2004, President Bush increased his support in the Hispanic community by nine percentage points. Had he not, John Kerry would be president today.... Anti-immigration rhetoric is a political siren song, and Republicans must resist its lure by lashing ourselves to our party's twin masts of freedom and growth -- or our majority will crash on the shoals."

House and Senate Republicans have not only led the charge in killing immigration reform legislation, however, but their rhetoric has served to legitimize explicitly anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic calls to action in city councils, on numerous web sites, on talk radio, and in public discourse generally.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Immigration reform...two years on

Great post at Migra Matters analyzing the past two years of the immigration reform movement.

Rather than always reacting to what legislation has been presented to us, the movement must define a firm set of goals as to what true immigration reform should be, then take those goals and march with them. These goals, once set, should become the cornerstone on which meaningful reform is built and should be presented to our political leadership to become the bedrock on which policy is crafted.

The time is now for those who truly want to advance the cause of immigration reform to come together and begin the hard work of crafting just such policy.

Policies that will address what future immigration should encompass.

Policies that will ensure that not only the immediate concerns of those here today are addressed, but also the concerns of those who will follow in the future.

Policies that look at the global realities of how US economic and foreign policy decisions effect and contribution to worldwide migration.

Policies that will ensure that all workers, both US and foreign-born are treated with dignity and economic justice.

Unless we, as Progressives and reformers, begin this needed dialogue amongst ourselves and start the hard work of reaching consensus, will forever be playing catch-up behind the likes of Lou Dobbs and Pat Buchanan as they continue to frame the national debate with the words of Frank Luntz and the Republican spin machine.