Bordering on Bipartisanship

Seeing the apoplectic reaction of the Orcosphere over the deal struck on the immigration bill, I daresay that perhaps the Senate and the White House may have done something right. Amazing, isn’t it?

Ironically, this is an issue that will cause the most trouble for the Republicans. They run the gamut from practical pragmatism — allow the undocumented aliens already here some procedure that will gain them legal status — to the draconian measures sought by the likes of Tom Tancredo that have an odor of Arbeit Macht Frei. So no matter what position they take, they run the risk of either losing their hard-core right-wing anti-immigrant base (which includes the racists who think anyone with darker skin and a funny accent is a terrorist), or flushing any chance of gaining Hispanic voters, who are becoming a large voting bloc.

Outside of the Cuban community in South Florida, Hispanics gravitate to the Democratic party even if they share some of the same conservative family values as the Republicans. That’s because the rhetoric of people like Mr. Tancredo and the Southern Baptist Protestant zeal of the Religious Reich are a turn-off for those in the Latin community who are proud of their heritage, grateful to be able to work in a higher-paying job than the $6 a day in Mexico, and are stauchly Catholic. Family values are one thing, but they know racism and religious bigotry when they see it.

The Democrats have, by and large, welcomed the immigrant community into their party, but they run the risk of taking them for granted. There are meat-and-potatoes issues such as health care, education, and jobs that matter more to them than global warming. It’s not that it doesn’t matter, but when you’re out of work and your child is sick and you can’t afford to go to the doctor, you don’t really care if you’re using the right light bulb. It will be interesting to see how the Democrats address those priorities.

The bill still has a long way to go, and you can expect intense lobbying from both sides before it gets to the president’s desk. The problem is that it is a bipartisan effort and there will be enough manipulation on both sides to turn it into a mish-mosh (or is it guacamole?) just so one side or the other can take credit for it. Some people — and I mean some Democrats, too — will want to kill it just because there’s the chance it could make Mr. Bush and his “rational” approach look good. (I know; “Bush” and “rational” in the same sentence. Wow.) And there will be those on the right who won’t be happy until we have the Berlin Wall from Brownsville to San Diego and box cars full of Mexicans being shipped back. Meanwhile, people will still be dragging themselves across the Sonoran desert and dying to get here. But as far as some politicians are concerned, until they can vote, they don’t matter.

Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.

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5 Comments

Filed under 06_bobby

5 responses to “Bordering on Bipartisanship

  1. Um, consider some of the specifics on this “doing something right?” bill:

    1) path to legality involves paying a $5000 fine, returning to home country, applying for a visa from there, which will take a couple of years to be granted, if it ever is.

    2) it goes *further* down the road of splitting families, on the grounds that we want a “merit-based” system of granting work permits. In other words, surgeons and programmers are fine, others less so.

    3) there will be guest worker permits (can’t deprive agribusiness of their docile underpaid labor force, right?). But they have to be obtained in the home country, and can only be renewed once.

    (I’m listing that from memory, so I may not have the details right, but it’s pretty close.)

    Somehow, I don’t see it helping the migrant strawberry pickers I see every day. They’ve got better things to do with $50, let alone $5000. There’s a wonderful irony in the Malkinoids going ballistic over “amnesty” when the bill won’t help any actual immigrants that I can see.

  2. My “something right” comment was a reflection on the bipartisanship rather than the specifics of the bill. Sorry I didn’t make that clearer. As I said at the end, the bill they end up with will more than likely look nothing like the one produced yesterday.

  3. I oppose any immigration legislation that would involve building walls through wildlife refuges and conservation areas. It will destroy and fragment valuable habitat and block movement of mammals, reptiles, and low-flying birds along border. There are some good summaries of the issues involved here and here. This bill would create 350 miles of additional fencing. Unfortunately the Times article does not say where it would be.

    Aside from that, I think that quixote is correct about what effects the bill would have in practice. Amnesty is not really amnesty if it only comes at the price of a huge fine. And I am skeptical about the point system doing much to improve the problem of families being separated.

  4. This bill will be used to import highly skilled union busters to rid the overlords of the last fighters for workers’ rights in the US.

    We need walls across our borders just about as much as we need a steenkin’ 10 lane freeway right up the middle of the heartland. Damn Bush and his merry facists anyway!

  5. MBW

    This bill sucks on so many levels. It’s pretty much a piece of racist crap which panders to big business and the wingnuts.

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