|English | Español||February 25, 2018 | Issue #46|
US Immigration Reform Bill Moves Closer to Passage – and a Paradigm Shift in US Politics
Right Wing Talk Radio Hosts and Bloggers Are in Full Tantrum Mode as US Senate Resumes Debate
By Al Giordano
Of course, she is not alone in her contempt for democratic decision-making (urging Senators to vote against the “cloture” that would allow the immigration reform bill to face a final vote is an admission that her position is not a majority one: only 40 percent of the vote is needed to obstruct that way), nor her contempt for a country – the United States of America – that welcomed her own parents to migrate there. She has an echo chamber. And after building a series of border walls against free speech in Malkinlandia, she’s just turned her “comments section” back on.
There, we learn lots about the anti-democracy nature of her fellow cult members. Here are some examples:
“Guys! Just read through the comments and saw a few people who only contacted their own Senators.
“You can contact ALL of them, regardless of where you live.”
Some groundswell, eh?
“Send ‘em to EVERYONE on the list–not just your own people. These Senators are trying to pass legislation that will affect every American. It is a national issue.
“I’m nervous…I only got a couple of busy signals this go ’round. We’ve got to pile on people.”
Or this one, in response to a question about whether Jesus would deport immigrants, which succeeded in getting the natives to talk about what really stirs their passions, their theological conspiracy theories that Jesus Christ was a hater just like them:
“Do you believe that Jesus was the sinless Son of God, born of a virgin, crucified and resurrected?
“If you can’t say yes to that and will not affirm this minimum standard of Christian faith, then shut up about Christianity.”
Keep reading, folks. We’ll see some revealing video footage of these kinds of un-American immigrant haters in a moment.
But first: about this “immigration = terrorism” canard: Presidential waters-tester Newt Gingrich already got slapped for making up facts in his TV ads against immigration reform. The Gingrich ad claimed that Mohammed Atta and the 9/11 hijackers were “illegal aliens.” Fact: Atta entered the US on a tourist visa and then gained a student visa. And Newt claims to be an historian! (The opposite in fact may be true: that immigration authorities are so overwhelmed chasing twelve million undocumented workers that their resources are stretched too thin to vet real security risks.) Now that you know that Gingrich’s TV ad is based on a flat-out lie, watch it to get an idea of where the anti-immigrants are really coming from. (Hat tip to the Huffington Post for linking to that story. Keep it coming, please.)
The other virtual minority whip in the online anti-immigrant crusade is Mickey Kaus who I described, on Monday, as a “Johnny-One-Note” on the immigration issue. His response was to post the following disclaimer on his blog:
“Kausfiles Special Focus Zone: As a reader aid, items that do not concern ‘comprehensive’ immigration reform will be specially marked in color. You may choose to skip these items.”
Most of the items are still anti-immigrant in focus. Like this one, encouraging blacks to fight with Latinos: “The Congressional Black Caucus can make its future even grimmer if the Grand Bargain gets to the House.” Translation: “Hey, why don’t you over there pick a fight with him.” Hey, I have a better idea for Kaus: “The few blog entries that don’t reveal my cowardice and bigotry will be specially marked in color.”
Meanwhile, down in the trenches, here’s a short video that captures in resplendent glory the constituency that Kaus and Malkin have made their base. It’s what happened when a Mexican-American videographer wandered into a picket by seven anti-immigrant protesters. Not to be missed!
With that video in mind, let’s shine the spotlight some more on the xenophobe pundits: Radio talker and newspaper columnist Hugh Hewitt is upset that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on ABC’s This Week:
“We’ve been down this road before. No Catholics. No Jews. Irish need not apply. That’s not the America I want.”
“This statement is remarkable—deeply offensive, incoherent, internally inconsistent within the space of a few lines, self-destructive politically, and wildly hyperbolic.
“Of course it offends by asserting that opponents of this bill are bigots, and there is no other way to read highlighted line.”
One senses that the real fear is that if the Senator can say “deeply offensive, incoherent, internally inconsistent” one-liners that are “wildly hyperbolic” he might be after Hewitt’s job on talk radio.
And stop the presses: Hewitt has joined Limbaugh in leaping off the anti-immigrant Titanic at its hour of dire need. He’s left the microphone to lead his acolytes on a posh Mediterranean cruise! Good thing Greece, Sicily and Monte Carlo haven’t erected a wall to keep him out.
The fact remains that Senator Lindsey Graham is right. We have been down this road before.
Michael Powell, writing from New York City, nailed it:
“NEW YORK —They were portrayed as a disreputable lot, the immigrant hordes of this great city.
“The Germans refused for decades to give up their native tongue and raucous beer gardens. The Irish of Hell’s Kitchen brawled and clung to political sinecures. The Jews crowded into the Lower East Side, speaking Yiddish, fomenting socialism and resisting forced assimilation. And by their sheer numbers, the immigrants depressed wages in the city.
“As for the multitudes of Italians, who settled Mulberry Street, East Harlem and Canarsie? In 1970, seven decades after their arrival, Italians lagged behind every immigrant group in educational achievement.
“The bitter arguments of the past echo loudly these days as Congress debates toughening the nation’s immigration laws and immigrants from Latin America and Asia swell the streets of U.S. cities in protest. Most of the concerns voiced today—that too many immigrants seek economic advantage and fail to understand democracy, that they refuse to learn English, overcrowd homes and overwhelm public services—were heard a century ago. And there was a nub of truth to some complaints, not least that the vast influx of immigrants drove down working-class wages.
“Yet historians and demographers are clear about the bottom line: In the long run, New York City—and the United States—owes much of its economic resilience to replenishing waves of immigrants. The descendants of those Italians, Jews, Irish and Germans have assimilated. Manhattan’s Little Italy is vestigial, no more than a shrinking collection of restaurants.”
And authentic conservative A.J. Strata is mopping the floor with what he calls the nativist wing of his Republican party:
“The far right is going full steam over the cliff of nativism. Oh well, it was a good ride while it lasted. So we might as well keep pointing out the illogic of their positions – just for fun. So, we noted how the real fear of the right is the legalization of the 12+ million illegal immigrants here now. Even though the amnesty hypochondriacs still cannot accept fines and back taxes and background checks as penalty enough for a paperwork crime, the fact is that is the fear that drives their resistance to this bill. All the diversionary worries are just rationalizations or cover so the country doesn’t become a ‘third world toilet’ as many classy people have eloquently stated their hate. As we all know, if the bill did not deal with a path for those here illegally to move out of the shadows and become fully participating workers (pay all their wage taxes) then there would be no problem!
“And the canard that we need to secure our borders first is a simple delaying tactic so the far right can stoke up more hate of aliens in general – which has been their bread-and-butter business for some time now. I have spoken to a lot of conservatives who work and live with immigrants and they all agree the GOP is headed for disaster. The hardest workers these business people have are immigrants. They have no way to validate the workers’ legal status, and legal status is a transient thing (most come legally and overstay). So when these people see their best workers being identified as illegal aliens (and being let go of course) they just shake their heads at the stupidity of it all. Everyone would prefer penalties and some process to keep their workers. It is the nativists who hope to ‘cleanse’ the country of the ‘diseased’.”
Resumption of Senate debate could begin this weekend, or early next week. According to Associated Press, amendments will be submitted by Senators from both parties (in some cases, bipartisan amendments), they’ll be debated and voted on. And then will come the decisive vote on “cloture” of debate that would allow the final legislation to face an up or down vote that, according to head counters, will certainly be in favor. That’s why the bill’s opponents now put their last final hopes on finding 40 senators, a minority, to block cloture.
The amendments themselves are a grab bag of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Among the good ones are the amendment by Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester (both, D-MT) to strike current wording calling for a “REAL ID program” (one that critics point out could require all American citizens to carry ID at all times, as in the South Africa of old). While it would be obviously ideal for the Montanans’ amendment to pass on the senate side, the US House of Representatives, which would get the bill next, is more sensitive to civil liberties matters. What will certainly happen is that, if the Senate passes its bill, the House will pass a somewhat or very different one. The process that would come next is a “Conference Committee” – dominated by the Democratic majority in both houses – where the two bills would be combined into one to be sent to the President for signing or veto. It is there where civil liberties advocates will have certain weight to weed the bill of a particularly invasive aspect like that. Of course, it would be best if the Senate killed the REAL ID program altogether, and the acceptance of this amendment, if it occurs, could bring the two Montana senators to vote for cloture, which they did not do in the first round on June 7.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will offer an amendment to restrict the “guest worker” provision’s availability only to companies that have not laid off large numbers of workers already. That sounds sane.
And Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) will help immigrants that are related to a US citizen or “green card” holder to obtain green cards themselves. That would also be positive.
Among the stupid measures being put forth as amendments are that of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) that benefits nobody except the owners of big airlines: One requiring that “illegal” immigrants currently in the US must return to their countries of origin first, and within two years, in order to become “legal.” (A new poll of 1600 “illegal immigrants” shows that more than one-quarter would not try to obtain citizenship if it meant having to go back to their native countries, according to Reuters.) But the Senator just announced that she won’t be voting for cloture anyway, so to hell with her and her Airlines Welfare Program Bill.
Another ode to stupidity comes from Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) with his amendment to limit the bill’s provisions that provide a path to citizenship only to those immigrants that have been in the US for at least four years. That’s simply nuts: It would extend the awful status quo to four years of immigrants, leaving the problem unsolved for millions. Maybe instead of having his staff member in trouble for (illegally) carrying the senator’s handgun to work, he should ask his aide to bring his brain instead.
Continuing on with the stupid amendments: There’s one by Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) that would steal the social security money that “illegal” immigrants have already paid into the system from them. And Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Silicon Valley) would establish a complicated formula to create uncertainty in a simple question like “how many guest workers will be allowed” by tying it to how many other guest workers leave the country. In a similar vein, marching in the stoooopid parade is Sen. John Thune (R-SD) that would place immigrants on “probation” until the government can show it has stopped newer immigrants from entering the country.
And then there is the ugliest amendment: Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) wants to gut the entire bill with a measure banning the twelve million people whose status is at stake from receiving green cards.
Whichever of these amendments rises or falls, it is important to keep in mind that the US House will get its crack at the legislation if it successfully navigates the more difficult Senate, and that will be followed by the Conference Committee process. If the immigration reform bill ever does reach George W. Bush’s desk, it is likely to be better looking, once it gets vetted on the House side, than the Senate version.
And that’s why the haters are so whipped up into a froth. As Allah Pundit put it:
“Soon we’ll be treated to the chicanery of Republican fencesitters voting to give the amnesty wing its 60 votes for cloture and then voting no on the bill itself so that they can tell their constituents with a half-straight face that they were against the bill.”
Well, yes. That is actually how most legislation has always been passed: Senators debate. Then they vote to close debate. Then they vote yay or nay. That’s called representative democracy. But more democracy, of course, as we demonstrated earlier this week, is what the anti-immigrant crowd fears most.
- The Fund for Authentic Journalism