Now, I’m going to start this off with a simple, clear statement: I do not support amnesty for immigration violators.
That said, I’ve been saying for quite some time that we have a problem here – as far back as 2006. It’s a problem that many don’t recognize, because they are fixated on talk of ‘porous borders’ and ‘the law being broken’.
That problem is an open hostility to immigrants – perticularly Hispanics, generally – and a fixation on handling the illegal-immigration problem in the worst possible way.
To start, let’s look at the ‘immigration debate’ beyond the issue of ‘Amnesty or No Amnesty’.
One of the views commonly held by some on the ‘No Amnesty’ side, is that ‘Legal immigrants should love our desire to enforce the laws, since they went through the pain of doing it ‘right’ & the violators didn’t (they cheated by coming in illegally)’.
Here’s the problem:
A good deal of the ‘Immigration Talk’ beyond the issue of amnesty paints a totally different picture from ‘We just want to enforce the law’.
Even beyond symbolically-negative gestures like calling for walls/military-fortifications only on the border that has Hispanics on the other side… We need to stop and look at the message sent by discussion of ending birthright citizenship – and how many on the Right fell into that trap…
You see, ending birthright citizenship isn’t about enforcing immigration law – it’s about changing the law to deny immigrants a right we all benefited from when our families came over… It’s blatantly anti-LEGAL-immigrant, anti-Hispanic, and VERY EASY to use against us with 1st-generation citizens.
This approach – not the belief that the law must be upheld – is what’s killing us in that demographic.
It wasn’t around when Bush was running – having gotten started during his 2nd term – but it is poisoning the well quite rapidly now…
We need to reject it.
We also need to reject those who oppose H1B visas, or who think that America is threatened by immigration generally, or think that immigrants take away jobs.
And finally, we need to change our approach on the issue of illegal immigration: Namely, we need to push for measures that effectively enforce the law without sending the wrong message to LEGAL immigrants & citizen Hispanics.
This means cancelling any plans to fence off the US-Mexico border, and directing immigration-enforcement funds away from the border, to interior actions. The borders (both of them) never have been and cannot be secured – it’s a waste of time and money to try.
It means not pushing for roadside immigration-status checks a-la AZ 1070 – but rather conducting such checking at time-of-booking for every inmate booked, so that it cannot be spun as a matter of ‘racial profiling’…
It means ending ‘raids’ on employers, but using audits to ensure that employers will not risk hiring anyone without legal work-status – thus eliminating the negative publicity that comes with those events, but still enforcing the law.
And it means expanding legal immigration & allowing guest-workers, on a massive scale.
Absent something like this, we are never going to get the Hispanic vote – and that’s a shame, because they’re a lot better fit for our coalition than, for example, young libertarians or single women….