Here We Go Again


From Clarissa Martinez de Castro, Director, Immigration and National Campaigns at the National Council of La Raza, posting at HuffPo:

Last Friday, the Associated Press reported that President Obama will meet on Monday with Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC), and is “looking forward to hearing more about their efforts toward producing a bipartisan bill,” according to White House spokesman Nicholas Shapiro.

But let’s be clear. If the meeting is just to “hear more,” it’s not going to cut it. The president had a meeting with Republican and Democratic members of both chambers in June 2009, and in August held a White House summit, hosted by Secretary Janet Napolitano, with a large number of representatives from faith, labor, business, law enforcement, immigrant, ethnic, and civil rights groups. Around that time, Schumer and Graham started working on a bipartisan proposal, and Schumer announced he would have the parameters of a proposal ready by Labor Day 2009.

With the Congressional legislative runway getting crowded and time running out before the November elections, it is time to land this plane. Monday’s meeting must be followed by a clear, bipartisan proposal and a firm timeline for Senate action. Anything less will be regarded as more stalling by the tens of thousands coming to DC to march in two weeks.

So today President Obama will meet with Senators Schumer and Graham.  Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on that wall?

It’s going to be difficult enough dealing with what we now know are the Executive and Legislative branches’ dysfunctional relationship to reality, as has been amply illustrated in health care insurance reform.

I think even those who do not follow the news on immigration in the USA are aware to one extent or another of  the massive amount of dis- and misinformation that has been spread both by Frank Luntz and astroturf groups whose founders are nativist racist wackos who ensnare citizen volunteers by feeding their worst fears about the scary criminal illegal aliens in our midst.

Kyle A. De Beausset from Citizen Orange co-wrote, along with Clara Long, a student at Harvard Law School and a member of the Harvard Immigration Project and Heidi Beirich, Director of Research at SPLC, Legitimizing Hate at the Harvard Crimson which illustrates the difficulty right at the start when it comes to folks who just want to know the facts in this upcoming political debate:

Tomorrow, Harvard Law School’s Latino Law and Policy Conference will hold a panel on “The Future of Immigration Reform” that will address the role of guest worker programs.  Listed as one of the speakers is Mark Krikorian, head of Center for Immigration Studies, an anti-immigrant group with strong ties to hate groups.

Krikorian is an odd choice for as respected an institution as HLS. The group he heads was established by the racist founder of the modern nativist movement, John Tanton, who has worried about the “educability” of Latinos. “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that,” Tanton wrote in 1993.

Tanton played a critical role in CIS’s creation. Not only did he dream it up, but he installed his best friend, Otis Graham, as head of the group in the 1990s. Graham, who is still a member of CIS’s board, has some unconventional views about history. In his book “Unguarded Gates,” Graham claims that a “mythistory” was created during the civil rights movement that falsely depicted America as a “nation of immigrants.” He depicts racist past policies, such as the 1924 Immigrant Act that restricted immigration mostly to Northern Europeans, as honest attempts to preserve a “working American nationality.” He praises the American Coalition of Patriotic Societies, which backed the act, but failed to mention that it was indicted for sedition in 1942 because of its pro-Nazi activities. And Graham dismisses the nearly four million-strong, angrily anti-Catholic Klan of the 1920s as “on the margins of immigration reform.”

I would highly recommend reading the entire Op-Ed, as it clarifies the faux credibility of CIS, an institution which is unfortunately quoted all too often by both mainstream media and supposed liberal bloggers who are uncomfortable with immigrants generally and find CIS and other biased groups like FAIR and NumbersUSA make them comfortable again.

Here is a more pointed piece on Krikorian from Kyle over at Citizen Orange which also offered a petition to sign in protest.

Finally, Joshua Hoyt at the Washington Post, gives warning to both President Obama and the Democratic Party.  Hoyt is a community activist in Chicago who has known Obama since 1986.  Hoyt fears that Obama has missed a great opportunity:

… For a brief moment last year it appeared that Obama might realign the modern political map, cementing the Latino vote into the Democratic coalition by speaking plainly to the American people on the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

Instead, he squandered a political gift handed to him by the Republican Party’s nativist wing — and its anti-immigrant rhetoric — during the 2008 campaign.

Candidate Obama promised to make immigration reform a priority during his first year in office, and the Latino vote surged to 10 million, from 7.8 million in 2004, and swung eight percentage points toward the Democrats.


But since taking office Obama has pursued a policy of increased deportations. The president’s tin ear for Latino passion on this issue was clear to us in Chicago during his short tenure as our U.S. senator.

Obama voted for the “border fence” that is one of the most idiotic legislative gaffes I can recall, causing communities to be split asunder and massive environmental problems.  Hoyt’s post is another one I urge everyone to read in order to get up to speed on this issue in even a general way when it comes to the Latino vote and the politics thereof.

Today Obama will meet with Schumer and Graham.  Today they will outline the political plays necessary in order to pass immigration reform.

I will be watching this issue closely and will do my best to report what I find to those Docudharmaniacs who are interested in avoiding a repetition of the morass of disinformation and idiocy we all observed in the public discourse on health care reform.  I make no claims of expertise when it comes to immigration reform, but I have followed the issue for several years now and have found folks whose take on it leaves the bullshit behind.

Whether you are in favor of deporting all 12+ million undocumented humans from the USA (I’m not) or you are in favor of completely open borders, I believe that at the very  least we need some real information amid the hoopla.  


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  1. If you are interested in what a progressive view of immigration reform might look like, this is an excellent place to start, Duke1676’s October 2009 diary which was front paged at the Orange.

    And if you want some action to recommend over there, give a tip and a rec to this diary which talks about the big immigration rally scheduled for March 21.

  2. … start of a legislative policy (which is, of course, doomed to fail because of the way the WH interacts with Congress) to coincide with killing off the public option.   Just putting those 2 thoughts together in the media should be a death knell as the Republicans will go crazy.

    Public Option.

    Immigrants getting health insurance, even if they PAY for it.

    When I soured on the DNC writers is when I had them start lecturing me online that I too should be writing on that topic instead of badgering the Senate about  how phony it is to tax “cadillac health plans.”  Look, I know these DNC peeps are too cowardly to suggest their candidates campaign on this topic, so it has to be writer bloggicide to take it up as a topic at the worst possible time in the political cycle.   Down economy?  Let’s propose to legalize the illegals, they won’t mind being used as a political football again.

    Perhaps the White House has attention deficit disorder in addition to budget deficit disorder.

    Because they can’t finish one thing before starting to really screw up another.

    I’m up to speed.  I’m disgusted.  I’m not having a bunch of DNC and OFA idiots using me to kill actual immigration reform, legalize the people stuck here because they’ve sealed the border,  and to perhaps start mass deportations, as this Administration seems hellbent on carrying out more Republican ideas.

    • TMC on March 8, 2010 at 23:52

    He has Rahm discussing Guantanamo and making deal about the closing in exchange for not trying any terror suspects in civilian courts and the extension of the Patriot Act without nay fixes. Now, he’s meeting with Graham about immigration. Enough already with the BS bipartisanship. If this is to prove a point that the Republicans are the party of NO, well, we get it. WE got it a longtime ago.  

  3. lobbying pressures by those who have “access”. Like healthcare, he has no conviction, and will go with the flow. Except with immigration reform, things are more convoluted than healthcare, because agribusiness, hospitality/food, construction and the whole service sector generally need cheap labor. This is about real hands on stuff, not just selling undecipherable, mandated health insurance policies, cause somebody pulled your string.

    The bill that will be crafted, by the necessity of making everybody happy, will be a piece of crap. The new laws will require follow up regulations (for implementation) that congress doesn’t get into. Interpreting a compromise bill will be impossible. Unless the reform bill is written clearly and with a strong policy articulated by the executive (the enforcement branch of our laws), there will be chaos.

    Obama is stepping into doo doo again. Where the hell are his beliefs, his philosophy, his convictions?? He won the presidency to LEAD, but gives all responsibility to others.

    He actually does not understand the role of the president.

    He is so confused, that he is putty to the political pressures all around him. Speaking technically about immigration, like healthcare, is a waste of time, because

    there are no specific, articulated, presidential policy preferences.

    Despite what “the deluded” say about healthcare reform, Obama NEVER made himself clear. It was all bullshit.

    IMHO, not only is he not a people’s president, but he isn’t even qualified to be one. Con Law really isn’t that big a deal to teach, and certainly has nothing to do with forming a presidential agenda and carrying it out. He really needed Rahm, but for more reasons than meet the eye.

  4. I have come to not believe the left truely does embrace diversity for diversity’s sake.  It is rather an exploitation of people who may work for less reward because they were formerly oppressed or lacked the opportunity to advance.

    “Our” quest for world dominance via cheap labor has fucked up more than one country thus creating more people who now seek to come here.  Yeah, OK, that would be fine but there is nothing left here.

    By immigration reform I have to now propose taking care of Americans first and not doing what is done here in my pilot health care state of Massachusetts.

    Subsidizing immigrants with

    Free housing

    Free tuition for yuppie prep school, yes high school level.

    And more.

    Ya, and before you say anything my wife knows this person.

    What we do have is a government industry consortium of people exploitation for money based upon race.

    I was kind of mildly irritated by several other incidents of reverse PC diversity crap gone wild which did adversely affect my WASP family but hey, guess what, we found out my wife is 50% native American.

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