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The recent anti-immigrant arguments appealing to progressive issues like labor, civil rights and the environment are odd considering:

  • There is no prominent anti-immigrant group that supports the EFCA (the key labor provision that will make it easier for workers to organize).

  • Groups that champion sex education and easy access to birth control aren't anti-immigrant.

  • Anti immigrant groups aren't championing hate crimes legislation, and affirmative action.

  • The environmental advocates promoting action on global warming and opposing mountaintop removal aren't anti-immigrant (and many of them think the border fence through pristine wilderness is a travesty).

  • These anti-immigrant voices are trying to base their arguments on labor, population control, minority issues and the environment as if they care about any of these issues (other than an excuse to scapegoat immigrants).

    The hypocrisy is unsettling.

    Right wing arguments with Right wing data

    The people running conservative anti-immigrant groups aren't stupid. They understand that the more hot buttons they can touch, the more they can stir up animosity against immigrants.

    This is why rhetoric claiming that immigrants (legal or not) are critically damaging African Americans isn't coming from the NAACP. It isn't coming from the SPLC. Neither are the claims that immigrants are drastically lowering wages coming from unions or progressive labor organizations.

    This anti-immigrant rhetoric appealing to "progressive" causes comes directly from right wing groups. The Center for Immigration Studies (a right wing group that the SPLC labels a "hate group"), NumbersUSA and the Heritage Foundation.

    An impressive number of anti-immigrant posts on progressive blogs link directly to these right-wing sources. Perhaps this is not surprising-- the progressive groups that actually care about minorities (e.g. groups that support unions, affirmative action and hate crimes legislation) aren't buying into the anti-immigrant hysteria.

    Attacks on Progressive Figures

    A few weeks ago there was a post on DailyKos that linked DailKos to "corporate controlled media". Why? The poster was equating support for immigrant rights with being corporate controlled.

    There are two false-flag attacks that are being used to attack progressives on the immigration issue; that progressives are corporate controlled and that we are trying to get more minority voters.

    The corporate controlled charge is silly when you think about it. SEIU is very strongly in favor of Comprehensive immigration reform. With their advocacy of health care reform and labor rights calling them Corporate Controlled is nothing short of ridiculous.

    Groups like that are on the front lines of standing for workers are in favor of a compassionate immigration reform because they understand it is good for workers. I suppose you could disagree with them on this-- although their record of fighting for workers gives them an awful lot of credibility to peak on the issue. But to attack their motives to help workers is unconscionable.

    The claim our reason for supporting immigrants is to get more minority voters is kind of funny (as if more minority voters is a bad thing). Of course the charge is that we don't really care about immigrants.

    Look at who this attack is aimed at. Ted Kennedy was a constant voice for immigrant rights who was pushing for compassionate immigration reform. Russ Feingold is a strong voice as are many representatives from Luis Guittierez to Michael Capuano (a shameless plug relevant in my State).

    Why Progressives are Pro-immigrant rights

    Immigration reform is about progressive values. It is about rights. It is about the needs of families and communities. It is about standing for human dignity. It is about organizing-- getting people with common interests to stand together against the companies and institutions that are using them. It is about standing against racism. And, it is about the long journey of putting humanity above "law and order" politics.

    Many of us have seen first hand the effects that the current enforcement based immigration policy has on our families and communities. US citizens are effected when their families are broken or their community receives special scrutiny by law enforcement.

    Finding Progressive Solutions

    It is a common attack from the right (and some who claim to be on the left) that we are all for "open borders".

    The progressive solutions that have been outlined here and elsewhere involve making family reunification easier, recognizing gay and lesbian families for immigration status, moving away from counterproductive harsh penalties, and working with minority communities to end discrimination.

    These solutions make sure that all workers have rights (to change jobs, get higher pay or complain about conditions) and can be unionized instead of pitted against each others. They will champion civil rights and put law enforcement in the position of protecting (rather than scrutinizing) minority communities.

    And these solutions acknowledge the need a path to citizenship-- without which families and communities will be needlessly broken.

    Differences of Opinion

    Of course there are valid differences of opinion on issues such as this.

    But I think it is fair to ask that right wing attacks are not considered progressive.

    I think it is reasonable to ask that discussion be on specific issues rather than attacking the sincerity of progressive leaders who are fighting for our values on many fronts.

    And... when you claim you are anti-immigrant "for environmental reasons", but are completely absent from any thread on global warming, or habitat protection or any other issue-- you should understand this is rather annoying-- especially since the real progressives on the forefront of these issues do just fine without hating immigrants.

    Originally posted to Sentido on Sat Nov 07, 2009 at 06:13 AM PST.

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    Comment Preferences

    •  In your subsection called (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OIL GUY, IT Professional

      "Finding Progressive Solutions" you open with

      It is a common attack from the right (and some who claim to be on the left) that we are all for "open borders".

      You then cite various objectives, none of which refute the charge either directly or indirectly. Are you for open borders or not?

      •  No, I am not for Open borders (0+ / 0-)

        I want a compassionate, family friendly and employer focused policy.

        A couple of big changes to the current system are key.

        First, the current system is based on harsh punishment. The punishments are not only often grossly disproportionate to any harm caused by the "crime", they are unproductive.

        Take the ten year bar. This says that if you are here illegally and then leave (either voluntarily or by force) you are barred for at least 10 years. Not only is this harsh for people who have families here... it is also counterproductive. It means that people here illegally (since they have zero chance of becoming legal) stay here illegally. It makes it less likely that people will return to their own country.

        Then there is the incredibly cruel practice of imprisoning migrant workers for months before deportation. This takes needed money from very poor families, it is really nothing less then starving the poor as a deterrence.

        A path to citizenship is a key part of this.

        Second, we must make immigration easier-- particularly for families. The current system is such a maze of competing interests. People who I am close to are going through this. Someone I know has multiple judges in different jurisdictions (at the suggestion of his lawyer). Every decision has risks and possible complications-- navigating the minefields is infuriatingly difficult.

        Rejecting the right wing rhetoric is the first step for discussion these issues.

        •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IT Professional

          Then there is the incredibly cruel practice of imprisoning migrant workers for months before deportation.

          AFAIK, they're free to go back to their country of origin at any time.  

          Revolutionary Road was an awful, awful film.

          by burrow owl on Sat Nov 07, 2009 at 06:53:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Too bad. I think the proper progressive (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sberel, Tonedevil, Sentido

          position is to forthrightly advocate for open borders.

          •  As I was writing this... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tonedevil, GeeBee

            I was thinking about the parallel between open borders in immigration and single payer in the health care debate.

            The first step is to get rid of of right-wing anti-immigrant hysteria. Then we can talk about what a just, humane immigration system will look like.

            The point is theere are several sane progressive viewpoints on these issues that don't involve demonizing immigrants, pitting worker over worker and hyping up made up threats to environment and minorities.

        •  So, in effect, you are for open borders, or (0+ / 0-)

          at least a porus border, since all your prescriptions lead there.

          In the first case, I suspect your alternative to a 10 year policy is a 0 year policy. If I remember correctly, a previous incaration of immigration reform in the Bush administration suggested illegal immagrants could return home voluntarily, then apply via normal channels, This proposal was roundly denounced in similar terms as you use for the currrent policy.

          In the second case, detention would be shortened to near zero if immediate deportation were available, but it is not, because 1) numerous levels of appeal have been authorized, and 2) the persons involved have already demonstrated the willingness to avoid complying with the US legal system, and demonstrated expertise in avoiding detection.

          In the third case, that legal immigration isn't easier is indeed regrettable, and would mitigate the tribulation of the first two. Aside from bureaucratic inertia, I blame the current economic climate, fact that the US has become a military target for various worldwide grievance groups, and the publicity surrounding illegals committing various heinous crimes.  

          In short, general or anecdotal appeals to fairness or human rights must compete with folk pointing to narcotics trafficing, stuff blown up, and dead citizens. This occurs worldwide, I might add.

          •  Huh? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            1. The immigration reform of the Bush administration was defeated by a Republican-led filibuster (i.e. a majority supported it. The phrase "roundly denounced" is no more appropriate in that immigration debate as it is in our current health care debate.
            1. Getting rid of cruel, discriminatory and unproductive enforcement practices is not the same thing as "open borders".  Opposing the cruel discriminatory and unproductive "war on drugs" is not the same thing as wanting all drugs legal.


            folk pointing to narcotics trafficing, stuff blown up, and dead citizens

            That is what my diary is about. The right wing wants you to believe that immigration is an grave threat to the country.

            People who get past the hysteria can work on real solutions that are productive and humane. This is true in several progressive issues including the "war on drugs".

    •  It's like civil rights (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil, GeeBee

      They have no argument other than "we hate blacks/gays" so they desperately try to use some proxy that can be said in mixed company, like "defend marriage and education" or "fight reverse discrimination."

    •  Interesting to note that the percentage (0+ / 0-)

      of the US population that was foreign born was higher during the period 1890-1930 than it has been for the past couple decades, averaging nearly 14% back then (over four consecutive decades) compared to the recent average of just over 11% (12.5% as of 2007).

      Interesting coincidence that, back then, the real push for "immigration reform" took place during the 1920s in the years just preceding the economic collapse and the Great Depression.

      Of the Census Bureau's 2007 estimate of 38.1 million foreign born, about 31% are from Mexico, about 19% are from SE Asia with most of the rest coming from Canada, Europe (including Eastern Europe), the Middle East and Africa.

      Median age of the foreign born US population is 40.2 years.  Median age of the "native" US population is 35.8 years.

      Opposition to an ideology is not inherently another ideology. When you're at the South Pole, there's no other direction to go but north.

      by sxwarren on Sat Nov 07, 2009 at 09:23:00 AM PST

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