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by Axel Caballero

Agreed, the window of opportunity is wide open for the passage of substantial immigration reform. Immigration reform is, after all, the next big ticket item. It's the coveted prize that allegedly holds the key to millions of Latinos nationwide who will soon fall in line with whatever the powers that be decide to pass as "immigration reform". No matter what it is, just slap the word "reform" to it and you will keep the community happy. After all, would anyone in their right mind would want to anger the same community that just proved to be a deciding factor in the last election? No, of course not. So then call it "reform", enlist the help of Latino-sounding names and sell, sell, sell as much as you can- no matter what it includes. The details don't matter. Slap the word "reform" and everyone will fall in place.

Who cares about the details? If you call it "reform" then "reform" it will be. After all, the main goal is not really to reform the system and strengthen the rights of 11 million people. Of course not, that would mean going against the nativist, anti-immigrant, supremacist powers who have done such an incredible job of convincing people that they should be very, very afraid of immigrants. Nope, all you need to do is to call it "reform", lock the Latino vote, and blame the other guy for any mistakes or exclusions along the way.  

Immigrant rights? That's the least of your worries. This is really not about immigrants; this is really about politicians. Who will be at the winning end of "reform"? Who will look good? Who will win the golden ticket while not really changing much? Immigrant rights? Ha, that's not what immigration reform is about. It's not like you really want to put an end to raiding immigrants' homes, separating families, locking-up their children, shooting them at border, monitoring them with drones, persecuting, alienating, discriminating, kicking out their youth, and creating a whole infrastructure of second-class humans to abuse, exploit, profit off of or discard whenever and however it's needed? Of course not. That's not how this is done.  

First you have to ease the fears. Yes, the fears that have been engrained so deep in our social fabric by groups whose whole purpose is to instill a phobia of the different and the unknown. Groups that use the word "immigration" in their names to legitimize their hard anti-immigrant beliefs - all the while brewing anxiety with a powerful nativist and well-funded hate agenda (ahem Center for Immigration Studies, Federations of Americans For Immigration Reform, Californians Coalition for Immigration reform.) They have done such an incredible job of driving the immigration narrative that they have pocketed several fringe and not-so-fringe politicians to carry their hatred to the halls of Congress. If you listen closely, you'll hear the same exact words that come out of their fake studies, spokespeople, and talking points, in the speeches of public officials at the highest level, local legislators and in the actual text of legislative bills and proposals. Words such as "Enforce", "Secure", "Verify", "Punish", "Terrorize", "Steal", "Invade." - Be scared, be very scared. The immigrants are coming to get you!  

Exhibit A (Rest of the series at

These groups have done their job. They have spoken. Forget the reasons and root causes of what brings folks to this country in the first place. Forget how we have incentivized their migration. Forget that immigration is indeed how this country was built. Forget that immigration is as patriotic as the flag and the Statue of Liberty. This time it's different.These are not the type of immigrants you want. They don't really look like you, do they? They are different. This time you should be very, very afraid.

After all, immigration reform is not about immigrant rights is it? It's about fear. Disagree? Well too bad because this has already been put into place. There is already widespread support for this approach. It has been sold well enough. Co-opted, stamped and Latino approved - or so they say. Fear first, rights later. Abuse first, rights later. Security (or secure borders?) first, rights later. Deport first, rights later. Exploit first, rights later. It's all in motion, compromised, fired up and ready to go. All you need is to fall in line. Don't worry, they will make sure to appear to fight for some - they will throw a bone and talk about a pathway for the most deserving and the most skilled,not the ones who need it the most. They are not deserving of any "reform." It's all calculated. You don't have to do anything. The anti-immigrant bunch will have done it all for you. There will be a bill soon and they will speak up to make sure absurd fear trumps human rights. So don't worry - If You Don't Speak Up, They Will Speak For You.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This Whole Argument Has Become So Ridiculous (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ManhattanMan, IT Professional

    It's beginning to border on the absurd. Anybody who opposes illegal immigration is now branded 'anti-immigrant' as if the illegal immigrants had in fact gone through the legal immigration process and somehow their rights were being kept from them.

    Here's a clue, the U.S. has a legal immigration process, and a whole lot of people chose to not follow the law on many levels, whether it was crossing the border illegally or overstaying a visa, and many of them commit multiple acts of fraud and perjury in order to stay and work in the U.S.

    Here's another clue, according to U.S. law they aren't 'immigrants' at all, and because they have chosen to make an end run around U.S. immigration law they don't have the same rights as those who have.

    And finally, 'Latino' is not a race, it's an ethnicity.

    Deal with it.

    I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

    by superscalar on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 03:35:50 PM PST

  •  I am saddened... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    denise b, Utahrd, ffour, IT Professional the way the rush to legalize immigrants ignores the plight of American workers.

    Immigration decreases wages American workers. If Americans were hired for these jobs, we would have lower unemployment. Corporations would have to accept lower profits and consumers would have to pay higher prices -- but our people would be working.

    I know that there are "studies" showing that immigration helps "the economy". But that is only if you define "the economy" as the profitability of businesses that use cheap labor and "GDP".

    I define "the economy" as the well-being of American families. Bringing in hordes of unskilled workers to compete with them for jobs only makes a bad situation worse.

    (Let's not even talk about the college graduates who must now compete with workers brought in on H1-B visas. You work hard, you get a degree, but Microsoft won't hire you.  Instead, they bring in a foreigner who will work for less!)

    I propose that we only accept immigrants who bring enough cash with them to start a business and to hire American workers. No more vague promises about how immigration "creates jobs". Let's see jobs first -- then we can talk about green cards and citizenship.

    •  They're Already Here, the Damage to Workers Has (4+ / 0-)

      already been done.

      If they're granted legal status, even short of citizenship, they can no longer be exploited by employers, landlords etc. on threat of being turned in to authorities. And that means they're going to have the confidence to stop undercutting citizen wages.

      I agree with you in principle about labor and I've lost both bluecollar work to Latinos and whitecollar work to Irish undocumented workers of my own ethnicity at one time or another. But there are between 10 and 20 million of these people. There's no physical possibility of deporting most of them. Whatever we do about ongoing and future immigration is unrelated to what needs to happen to this big standing population.

      This is an extraordinary situation which nations occasionally find themselves in, such as the end of Apartheid in S Africa or the end of the Civil War in the US. Sometimes the only practical solution is to leave the crimes and injustices in the past so that the entire society can move forward productively.

      At least these people haven't slaughtered a quarter million of us as the South did.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 04:07:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are two different issues. (0+ / 0-)

        1) There is the issue of what to do with the illegals who are here. You are right that this is an "extraordinary situation" and we'll have to do something unusual. I favor full citizenship (after making them jump through some hoops and get their wrists slapped for the sake of appearances).

        You are right that a full citizen won't undercut us on wages as much as an illegal immigrant will.

        2) But what about going forward? This is where we need to ask ourselves: Is immigration good for America? And we need to be honest with the 21st century, the answer is "No".

        If we don't put in some tougher laws -- especially laws covering employers -- the pain will begin again in a few years. We need border patrols and ID cards. We also need to make illegal immigrants ineligible for nearly all benefits. And we need to send some employers to jail, yes, jail for hiring illegals.

        •  Why Is Anybody Who Doesn't Support (0+ / 0-)

          But what about going forward

          The enforcement of immigration law today going to support the enforcement of immigration law tomorrow?

          In other words, you can bet that the same thing will simply happen over again. Post any amnesty those individuals who enter the U.S. illegally will supported by people who will make up all manner of reasons why they came and why they should be allowed to stay, another ten or twenty years will pass and these same individuals will turn to you and say "well, they're already here, we can't deport them all, what do you suggest we do?"

          This is all roughly the equivalent of the results of so-called 'free trade'. In other words, ship all the jobs overseas and then blame the individual who buys Chinese goods for not running all over town looking for something that's made in the U.S.

          I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

          by superscalar on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 04:32:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's why we need to make a deal. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            We will let them have Amnesty for the 11 million here. But in return, we need tough laws that discourage the next 11 million.

            •  This Was Tried With The 1986 IRCA (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              IT Professional

              It didn't work then, it won't work now. In fact, if you look at the details, what is being proposed is really nothing more than a rerun of the 1986 IRCA, complete with the 'tamper proof ID' that will never actually materialize, and no plan as to what to do with those who enter illegally between the amnesty and any proposed implementation date of said 'tamper proof ID'.

              Look at an I9 form sometime:

              I9 Form

              I am aware that federal law provides for imprisonment and/or fines for false statements or use of false documents in connection with the completion of this form.

              I attest, under penalty of perjury, that I am (check one of the following):

              *A citizen of the United States

              * A noncitizen national of the United States (see instructions)

              * A lawful permanent resident (Alien #)

              * An alien authorized to work (Alien # or Admission #)
              until (expiration date, if applicable - month/day/year)

              The I9 form didn't exist before the 1986 IRCA.

              'Comprehensive Immigration Reform', The Prequel

              I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

              by superscalar on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 04:55:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  By The Way (0+ / 0-)

          If we don't put in some tougher laws -- especially laws covering employers -- the pain will begin again in a few years

          The following is my response to the late Senator Kennedy's aide on this point

          Quick Guide to Kennedy- McCain Immigration Bill May, 2005

          To be honest, I'm not sure how you know what it does and does not do since it's not up on Thomas yet

          With all respect, I do not need to know the exact language regarding changes in enforcement. The problem is not that the language does not exist to enforce the law, the problem is that current law is not enforced. What makes you think that changes to the language of the law will compel anyone to enforce law which already exists?

          The Department of Labor will have new authority to conduct random audits of employers and ensure compliance with labor laws; also includes new worker protections and enhanced fines for illegal employment practices

          * Investigations targeting employers of illegal immigrants fell more than 70 percent, from 7,637 in 1997 to 2,194 in 2003.

          * Arrests on job sites fell from 17,554 in 1997 to 445 in 2003.

          * Fines levied for immigration-law violations fell from 778 in 1997 to 124 in 2003.

          * DHS collected only $2.6 million of $5.3 million in fines it levied on employers of illegal aliens in 2002. The agency was unable to collect a dime from nearly a quarter of those employers.

          Now, all of this has occurred within the confines of the current 1986 IRCA law.

          All employers are required to verify that each employee hired after 1988 is eligible to work in the United States. There are fines ranging from $250 to $10,000 for each unauthorized alien and a maximum 6-month prison sentence if violator demonstrates a persistent pattern of hiring unauthorized aliens.
          Please tell me of one person from Tyson Foods who has been sent to jail for six months. Please tell me of one fine that ConAgra has had to pay for employing illegal aliens.

          Again, when you state that This is just a brief on the new legislation; it does not include every detail on fines and enforcement.  To be honest, I'm not sure how you know what it does and does not do since it's not up on Thomas yet, I am telling you that I don't need to know. Changing the language of an enforcement provision does not mean anything if the law is not enforced.

          I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

          by superscalar on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 05:32:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  NO (0+ / 0-)

          Don't use immigration as an excuse to roll back Civil Liberties for all.

  •  I'm not threatened (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ManhattanMan, ffour

    by illegal immigration in the least. I have no personal fear of or ill will towards immigrants.

    But I do have a deep concern about the impact a glut of low-wage workers has had on American workers. Even the economists who tell us that immigration is good for the economy as a whole admit that it has put downward pressure on wages at the low end of the income scale.  I think it means little that something is good for the economy as a whole if it harms people who are already struggling. If we've learned anything in the past ten years it's that the economy can grow with only a very small percentage of people benefiting from it and everyone else becoming worse off.

    Every country on earth has immigration laws. No country just opens its doors to whoever wants to come in, and I'm not in favor of us doing it. As long as we have people around the world waiting long periods of time to be able to come here, I think it's very wrong to allow those who did not observe the law to go ahead of them. And at a time of persistently high unemployment I think we should be very cautious about admitting people who will be competing for jobs with people desperate for work.

    I don't deny that there are plenty of people in this country with racist fear of immigrants, but that doesn't mean that all opposition to immigration is racist. It isn't.

    We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

    by denise b on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 04:05:28 PM PST

    •  it's not so simple (0+ / 0-)

      There's a large population of immigrants who have been here many years, who have worked, and who have strong claims to American citizenship, but who did not go through the proper channels.

      The process of determining citizenship status is enormously complex. It will take a tremendous effort, a lot of time and resources, to trace every single person who might be in a gray area, and to determine their status.

      If you do a mass deportation of those who are found not to be citizens, it will do a lot of damage to the social fabric. You'll be breaking up families. You'll have a lot of kids without parents--and many of those kids are Americans. Is it good for America to have these kids effectively orphaned after years of living in America? Is the state going to take care of those kids? It's a huge cost. Better to let the parents stay, work, take care of the kids.

      Many of these immigrants have become so integrated into America that they are, de facto, Americans. You can't remove them without damaging America. At some point the smarter thing to do is simply to grant them a blanket amnesty.

      This has nothing to do with notions of punishment. I think the idea of punishment should never, ever enter the immigration debate. The right wing would love everyone to think about immigration in terms of punishment and criminality, and that's not what it's about.

      I do agree about the practice of allowing visa workers in, especially in high-tech industries, and allowing their employers so much power over their immigration status--essentially allowing their employers to deport them if they don't work slave hours for slave wages.

      That is essentially a form of indentured servitude, a reprise of the conflict between free labor and slave labor that drove the Civil War.

      But I would also argue that more needs to be done to integrate immigrant workers into the labor movement.

      An increase in the supply of labor need not necessarily mean falling wages. There are other factors that enter into play. Remember, some amount of domestic demand is created by immigrant workers. It may be enough to counter whatever downward pressure on wages those workers create, or it may not. It depends on what their jobs are, etc.

      Mindless supply-siderism was stupid monetary policy. Why wouldn't mindless supply-siderism be equally stupid when applied to labor policy?

      If immigrant workers are given the rights American workers have, including the right to organize and collectively bargain, that goes a long way to mitigating the problem. Their strength is added to domestic labor, instead of working against it.

      I think it's a bit unimaginative to believe that just because someone speaks a different language, he must be in competition for your job, and cannot be an ally.

      Corporations have long understood that they are far stronger when they globalize, rather than letting differences of nationality impede them. The labor movement is just beginning to learn the same lesson.

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 05:01:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is drivel. So much drivel... (0+ / 0-)

        You wrote:

        "I think it's a bit unimaginative to believe that just because someone speaks a different language, he must be in competition for your job, and cannot be an ally."

        Who has ever said this but you?

        There is no need for complex "determining citizenship status". Using modern technology, even at a traffic stop, a police can determine if you are a licensed driver.  If there is no record of a license in one of the 50 state databases, you are an illegal driver, even if you have been driving illegally for 50 years.

        There is no breaking up and orphaning or children. No country will disallow children of their citizens to live with the citizen parents of their own country.  They can take their children with them.

      •  Sorry (0+ / 0-)
        I think it's a bit unimaginative to believe that just because someone speaks a different language, he must be in competition for your job, and cannot be an ally.
        Baseless, snide, unjustified, intellectually dishonest. Not deserving further response. Go argue with yourself since you're clearly not having a discussion with me.

        We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

        by denise b on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 04:02:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Reality check (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

      OK, some seem to believe that the immigrants here without documentation aka 11M folks

    1.  Aren't already here working.   Hint:   they are.

    2.  How do you think these folks live, sitting around eating bon-bons?

    3.  Complain all you want, but let's talk about facts.

    4.   The "alternate green cards" that are proposed by PBO only guarantees that those who already live and work here are not deported (after security / crime checks).

    5.    I know of a number of Dreamer's who already have degrees - but can't working in their professional capacity.  Why would you want to throw them under a bus.  

    •  One of the problems is the (0+ / 0-)

      fact that they are working.

      Those jobs need to be freed up for legal workers.

      One plant which was raided and all illegal workers removed immediately had legal workers lined up for those jobs.

      If there were unlimited jobs then fewer would care about illegal immigration.

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