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Immigration Sun Apr 11 2010

Democrats Target Immigration Reform - How Far Will They Go?

Immigration rally

Immigration activists wave American flags at a recent rally.

Immigration rights activists held a large rally Saturday at the Teamsters Local 705 hall in Chicago. Activists were calling on Congress to act on comprehensive immigration reform, and hoped that with the health care bill passed, that immigration reform would be next on the Democrats agenda in Washington. The loud and raucous crowd had immigrants from all over the world including South America, Asian, Africa and Europe.

It seems that immigration will be the next big issue for Democrats. The rally was joined by Senator Dick Durbin, the Senate majority whip and the second most powerful senator in the country. While one speaker urged Congress to ignore "cynics like Rahm Emanual who say that now is not the time for immigration reform," it seems as though they may not have to as Emanual is now stating that he supports taking action on immigration reform sooner rather than later.

Supporters of immigrants have been upset at the slow pace that President Obama and Congress have been taking on immigration reform. Deportations continue to divide families and "many young women are forced into sexual trafficking every year because their immigration status is being used against them, many family members are forced into below minimum wage jobs because their immigration status is being used against them." According to Pat O'Connor, the President of Illinois Police Chiefs Association, which supports comprehensive reform.

durbin immigration

Senator Dick Durbin speaks at a recent immigration rally.

Durbin, the son of Lithuanian immigrants, told the crowd that it was time people told the government to "stop dividing our families." He was was optimistic that Republican support could be found for immigration reform. He pointed to Republican Senator Richard Lugar from Indiana, who was the cosponsor of the DREAM Act with Durbin. The DREAM Act would allow undocumented youth without criminal convictions access to residency and college funding.

However, Senator John Kyl of Arizona has announced that Republican senators would filibuster immigration reform if it were brought to a debate in the Senate.

Many in the crowd expressed optimism that immigration reform could be passed within the year or even before May 1st, the anniversary of the largest immigration rallies in the country's history.

I think this is unrealistic. While an immigration reform bill would be good, I don't see how Democrats will be able to pass substantial reform in a short amount of time. Republicans fought tooth and nail against even the most moderate health care reform. Democrats ended up voting on a watered down health care bill that did not even include a public option for health insurance. Democrats essentially were forced into advocating for and passing a health care bill whose guts, mandating individuals to buy insurance from private for-profit insurance companies, were originally Republican policies.

Republicans can see the writing on the wall. Immigration reform would legalize likely Democrat voters who are already here and provide an avenue for future likely Democrat voters to enter the US. If blocking health care reform was to protect corporations that donate to Republicans, then blocking immigration reform will be about protecting republicans own electoral vitality.

What immigration activists need to be asking their congressmen is how watered down is immigration reform going to become? How many compromises will be made with the Republican minority and the dissident right-wing democrats in order to hustle the votes for reform that may not actually improve the plight of immigrants in America?

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Manny / April 11, 2010 11:30 PM

I see where you're coming from. But you also have to remember, the Hispanic community is the largest growing population in the U.S. If the Republicans don't do anything or even reject Immigration Reform, they will completely lose out. However, if they show some interest, than it's possible that they will earn some votes back. I suggest they do the latter and vote for Immigration Reform. Otherwise, they will completely be out of their seats in the few coming years.

Manny / April 11, 2010 11:30 PM

I see where you're coming from. But you also have to remember, the Hispanic community is the largest growing population in the U.S. If the Republicans don't do anything or even reject Immigration Reform, they will completely lose out. However, if they show some interest, than it's possible that they will earn some votes back. I suggest they do the latter and vote for Immigration Reform. Otherwise, they will completely be out of their seats in the few coming years.

Chitto Harjo / April 11, 2010 11:46 PM

I have been a human rights advocate in the Latino communities in the Washington, DC region for over 25 years, and have been married to a Latina, who was herself undocumented, during that same time period. I am therefore sympathetic to the plight of the undocumented. Many truly are refugees from violence, and especially from brutal gender discrimination, also known as machismo.

I am also a specialist in human trafficking and gender exploitation issues impacting Latin America.

After seeing ‘how the sausage is made’ from inside the Latino immigrant community, here are some honest observations:

1. Latin America has a land mass and natural resources that are equal to what the U.S. and Canada have available.

2. Latin America has a well established culture that has supported itself for centuries (admittedly with many oppressive elements in the mix).

3. Therefore, there is no pressing need, from a ‘survival’ standpoint, for Latin Americans to flee to the U.S. by the millions. Billions of other world citizens are more impoverished than Mexicans and other Latin Americans.

4. What is true is that state corruption, often brutal gender inequality, racism against especially indigenous peoples (who are 30% of Mexico), elitism that leaves the poor without social services, education and jobs, and a Roman Empire-derived feudalism that still concentrates wealth with a few and impoverishes the majority, causes the poor and working classes of Latin America to flee to the best available escape valve: the United States.

5. What is also true is that Latin America, because of its religious convictions, has chosen to grow its population explosively, while the U.S. and Canada had the discussion about overpopulation starting in the 1970s, and we chose not to have more children than we, or our planet can support.

6. Specifically, in 1950, Latin America had a population of 170 million people. In 1950, the U.S. and Canada combined also had a population of 170 million.

7. In 2010, Latin America’s population (which includes virtually no immigration) is 577 million, or 3.4 times the 1950 level.

8. In 2010, the combined U.S. and Canadian population (which includes massive legal and undocumented immigration) totals 340 million, which is 2.0 times the 1950 level.

9. During the past 60 years, the U.S. and Canada doubled, while Latin America more than tripled its population.

10. By 2050, Latin America will grow to an estimated 809 million people.

11. By 2050, the U.S. and Canada will grow to less than 400 million (depending largely on the rate of immigration).

12. If Latin America cannot sustain itself today in 2010 (more because of unequal resource distribution rather than any lack of resources) with a population of 577 million, how will it be able to sustain itself in 2050, when it will have to feed an additional 250 million (and some estimates say 350 million) people? (The unfortunate answer is likely to be by stripping the U.S. for parts).

13. In addition, if global climate change really takes off, the snow-capped peaks that provide water and electric power throughout much of Latin America will dry-up (estimated to happen in 40 years in Ecuador, for example). Farmlands can also be expected to dry-up in many areas.

The most disingenuous part of the pro-legalization lobby’s push from Comprehensive Immigration Reform is a failure to mention these critical population dynamics.

Their other major fault is in not being honest with the American people in saying that they are not seeking just a compassionate solution for the 12 to 30 million migrants already here. They are also asking that their immediate relatives be allowed to come in under family reunification, to be followed by their relatives’ relatives. That chain migration by itself may total 100 million people in the next few decades.

Latin America also has serious issues with gender and racial equality. As an American of color who advocates for gender equality within the U.S. Latino community, I can honestly say that importing severe, culturally institutionalized misogyny and anti-Black and anti-indigenous racial prejudice from Mexico and other regions of Latin America is not in America’s best interest.

If you really believe in progressive, anti-racist values, I would expect you to agree with the following idea: for every one Mexican immigrant who comes to the U.S., allow one African immigrant, alternating with perhaps an impoverished Asian immigrant, to come to Mexico as a permanent migrant. Poor, hard working and morally upright people from Darfur Sudan, Liberia, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Congo and other impoverished conflict areas will contribute to Mexico's economy, and will help make all of the villages abandoned by migrants to the U.S. productive again.

The only problem is that Mexico has severe problems with racism, and would reject that idea, even if it benefits Mexico culturally and economically.

And you as a progressive person can support that blatantly racist reaction how and why???


Prison-based Latino gangs, with their thousands of often undocumented street ‘troops,’ are already collaborating with the Aryan Nation to target African Americans for racial harassment, intimidation and murder. The U.S. Justice Department arrested 60 gang member s in Los Angeles, a while back, on charges of targeting Black people for murder based only on their race.

In addition...

The current CIR legislation does nothing, in real terms, to improve U.S. southern border security. It hopes that the biometric worker ID card (which U.S. citizens will rightly reject) will cause migrants to stay home. The reality is that under-the-table, black market low wage labor will always exist. President Obama and pro-reform legislators are quietly pulling back from defending the U.S. Mexican border, and are at the same time saying that a biometric ID card will be the replacement for the fence and the virtual fence. Ha, ha, ha. That argument will last 5 minutes in congressional debate on the bill.

The U.S. can do much to assist Latin America get on its own two feet (as it has done with billions in aid over several decades).

But Latin America’s nations and peoples must learn that the U.S. is not the region’s social services department. They must also learn that they cannot continue irresponsible population growth while relying on the idea that the U.S. will always be there as the escape valve and flowing breast of milk and honey to support that project. Most importantly, it is not the responsibility of blue collar workers (construction workers, for example), to swear a vow of unending poverty and/or unemployment because Latin America does not want to control its birth rate.

When America’s bread basket starts to go dry during a climate crisis in 20/40 or 60 years, it will be too late to control rampant population growth and free-for-all immigration at that time.

For Latin Americans and U.S. citizens, the time to think, and to act responsibly, is now!

dorolinda / April 12, 2010 12:41 AM

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David Nichols / April 12, 2010 7:56 AM

The Lack of Responsible Immigration Reform in 2007, is what has Crashed America's Economy, however Far Worse, it has caused a resurgence of Racism and Hate, worse than America has ever seen.

January 2008 = Start of the E-verify Law, and the I.C.E Deportation/Incarceration Programs.

January 2008 = Start of the "Worst Recession in U.S. History".

This is No Co-incidence, all States that Deported or Starved away their hard working , Good , "Human" Tax Base, are now in Total Economic Disaster, including Mr. Kyl's State wher the E-verify Law was sponsered by one of Sheriff Arpio's former Deputies, and one of Jon Kyl's fellow Az. Senators.

Since both McaCain and Kyl appeared to be folding their Arms and holding their breath like children at both the Presidents State of the Union Address, and after Health care was passed, then Mc Cain and other Republicans actually told Reporters that they would not co-operate on any futher issue's this Year, it doesn't surprise me at all that Kyl would say they would Fillibuster Immigration Reform, I am sure He will be holding his breath too.

Immigration Reform will do more ggod for our Economy than all of the Stimulus, Bail outs, Clunkers, Jobs Bills, Ect. that have occured since January 2008, by two presidents now , that have only been "Treating the Symptoms".

A wise French Historian said: America is great because it is good, when it ceases to be good, it ceases to be great."

No Immigration Reform in 2010?

No Economic Recovery in America this Decade?

Kyl doesn't care hasn't he voted him self several raises since January 2008?

To: Good and Brotherhood from sea to shining sea.

David Nichols / April 12, 2010 10:48 AM

I beleive that any Senator or Congress person regaurdless of Party , that publicly stated that they would not co-operate on any further issues this year, has Publicly Resigned, and should be Replaced Immediately!

This is Insubordination to the United States of America, and should not be Tollerated!

America doesn't have Dukes, and Duchesses!

And in case these insubordinates haven't noticed America's Economy requires that they do work this year?

Brittanicus / April 12, 2010 2:23 PM

As American discuss the E-Verify system to remove illegal immigrants from being hired. Also the 287 G, local police questioning procedure for detaining illegal immigrants in the interior of our country. Both policies are under constant attack by some questionable politicians such as Sen.Harry Reid of Nevada and the usual conglomeration of business lobbyists, their paid lawmakers and the open border sector. But more importantly the border region has suddenly entered the spotlight, owing to the untimely death of Robert Krantz, a cattle rancher murdered on his own property. In an article that originated from the Wall Street Journal, columnist Leo banks wrote about the battleground along the US-Mexican border. The awful occurrences that seemed to have been completely ignored by people--WE--place in Washington to protect us and run this nation. According to Mr. Banks their are daily incidents where these people are afraid to leave their homes.

That those who venture out have to carry a weapon, securely lock up their houses and valuable possession in safes before venturing out.. Nothing is sacred as groups of roaming persons have attributed to a sense of fear for their safety. Its a very dangerous place that one has to carry a firearm when leaving their home for a daily morning ride on horseback. With hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens cutting fences, leaving piles of trash and tracking across ranchers lands every day, so it's truly a miracle that this type of tragedy doesn't happen more often.

A quote from the NumbersUSA staff, who get down to the border several times a year state, "We are well aware of the sieve that the White House and Congress want the border to be.They don't want a totally open flow of tens of millions to cross the border. But they do want a sufficient number of illegal aliens to cross to provide the cheap labor sought by campaign contributors and to satisfy the various ethnic-grievance lobbies who consider virtually any kind of border enforcement to be racist or directed at their particular national origin." Most people know by now that the border was treacherously under funded and not the double fence as originally planned.

Its for sure that the amount of deaths from drug trafficking will soon spill over the border, as the border has never been sealed by numerous administrations. Specifically now that President Obama and other open border legislators are contemplating another MASS AMNESTY. Call it what you will such as "a path to citizenship" is still AMNESTY even if you pay taxes and learn English. The only way Americans will tolerate immigration, is coming through the front door legally, like thousands have done for years. As yet the SAVE ACT programs as E-Verify, the 287 G, laws have not been rescinded, due to the publics attention. But Sen. Schumer and Graham are busily in underground debates to distract all of us, with the new plan to introduce the National Biometric Card. Although those in Washington say immigration reform is dead, the truth its neither black nor white where our leaders are concerned?

Mike's America / April 27, 2010 11:12 AM

Well, at least the author admits that the goal here is to provide a steady supply of new Democrat voters, not immigration reform for the sake of fairness or common sense.

Ihatu / May 1, 2010 6:40 PM

This is totally ridiculous. We're talking about people who are in our country illegally. It doesn't matter how or why they came... they are illegal. There are scores of "legal" immigrants who went through the process, legally. Immigration reform is badly needed but, you would think that these same "illegal" people, who are protesting, are thinking that reform means "a free pass". What if reform means that all illegals must leave the country immediately. Then you'll have them yet protesting again. They are here illegally and therefore be treated as trespassers. If i break into your house, sleep in your bed and eat and drink your food... will you welcome me to stay??? Or would you call the authorities to have me thrown out? Americans who are not affected have a habit of rushing to a picket line... until it affects them.... OOOO then it's different. I have many foreign friends, both legal and not, and we discuss this subject at various times. Their take is that as long as there is a fair process that applies to all... it's fine. But There should be no amnesty. Illegals should be recognized as such but with an understanding of leniency. I say.... deport all and fast tract all on the legal waiting list first then process the former illegals according to their contributions made while here. But definitely streamline the process of legalization. Takes way too long.

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