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.
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.