Comprehensive immigration reform may be dead in the 112th Congress, but cynical tactics using the issue as a political weapon against the Obama administration, scapegoating immigrants at the state level or deploying a “toughness” litmus test among Republican presidential contenders are alive and thriving. As with the other domestic wars we are fighting — economic inequality, the cradle-to-prison pipeline, educational opportunity, etc. — children are being victimized by ideological warfare and the failure of adults to agree on a fair, sensible solution.
Is it possible to be pro-immigration in this country and still support the principles of the state of Alabama’s immigration laws, dubbed some of the strictest in the nation?
Sound paradoxical? Not at all.
First things first. Yes, the state’s laws are tough, and in some cases, questionable, as in one provision that requires students to document their immigration status before enrolling in school. The fact that a significant percentage of Hispanics failed to do so in recent weeks shouldn’t come as any surprise, if you believe that close to 10 percent of Alabama’s Hispanic population is here illegally. I don’t know the exact number in the state, but it’s not as if no one of Hispanic origin showed to school that day.
I agree in part, and disagree in part, with Cheri Jacobus's post yesterday. I disagree with her that opponents of Sarah Palin have anything to do with race. I agree with her that the Joe McGinniss book is trash. What does this have to do with my view that Rick Perry is right about immigration?
We have reached the state in America that a politics that most Americans deplore, full of derision and insults toward political opponents, no longer allows respectful debate.
Regarding Palin, the issue has nothing to do with race, and much to do with the idea that if one does not like Palin one is supposed to hate her, and use any weapon to defeat or destroy her. Ditto the attacks on Obama, which in my view have little to do with race, and much to do with the lack of jobs, and the obsessive attacks from the right against many leading Democrats, white or black.
Anders Breivik’s rampage in Norway last week has intensified scrutiny of the EU’s attitude toward immigration. Many Europeans are increasingly vocal in declaring multiculturalism a failure and complaining that immigrants exploit their generous welfare systems without attempting to assimilate.
America’s also in the midst of an important immigration debate — but one that is mind-boggling compared to the one taking place across the pond. While we debate incessantly about how to stop illegal immigration, we barely talk about how to ensure that we continue to attract the world’s best: the brightest students, the most productive researchers and the most innovative entrepreneurs. At a time when our leaders can’t seem to agree on anything, one would think policies to bring and keep such talent here would earn nonpartisan support (there are some who joke that we should staple a green card to the visa of every immigrant who graduates from an American college or university).
Illegal immigrant labor is a performance-enhancing drug with wide side effects. By hiring illegals, companies get an edge over other firms that don’t. They buy cheap labor from individuals who have no civil rights whatsoever; they cannot complain if they are cheated on their paycheck, protest unhealthy working conditions or reject wages beneath the minimum federal wage level. If they do complain, they can be immediately detained and sent back to their countries of origin with none of the due process that would be accorded an American citizen. And so this keeps them in their place — a place of legal limbo — and gives U.S. firms access to what is essentially slave labor.
"Normally when I walk by this building there are a bunch of people that are totally inebriated hanging out the window. I know that's a stereotype about the Irish, but nevertheless we Jews around the corner think this," New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg said during a speech at the American Irish Historical Society.
A Quinnipiac University poll found 52 percent of voters had heard about it and were not sure if they took offense. Forty-five percent said Irish Americans should “laugh it off.”
The Irish should brush it off, especially if they insist on naming bars all over the Northeast with names like “Quigley.” Time was, everyone drank, especially the northern Europeans — English, Irish and Russians — but the Irish seemed to do so with greater personal pride, as if it were something we were particularly good at.
In Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance — And Why They Fall, by Amy Chua — that Tiger Mom in an age of penguins — I was struck that in the introduction, she referred to her husband as a “Jewish American.” I was an “Irish-American” in the days of Geraldine (“It’s my turn!”) Ferraro, an “Italian-American” who was Walter Mondale’s running mate in 1984. There were Afro-Americans and WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) and Newyoricans (playwright Miguel Pinero and Justice Sonia Sotomayor), but Jews were just Jews. I’d only heard the expression “Jewish American” once before, years back when a congresswoman awkwardly referred to some of her constituents as “Jewish Americans.” Commentator David Brooks got a laugh out of it, saying, “I used to be a Jew. Now I’m a ‘Jewish American.’ ”
I’m sure some of my readers have heard this story, but it is so compelling, I thought
I would tell it again. Late last year, a 101-year-old woman by the name of Eulalia
Garcia-Maturey celebrated a milestone. No, it wasn’t her birthday, though many would
eagerly congratulate her on such a feat. Eulalia was marking the century-old anniversary
of her crossing into the U.S. from Mexico.
In 1909, the months-old Garcia-Maturey and her mother crossed the border into Brownsville, Texas, looking for a better life. Decades later, in 1941, she received a “Certificate of Lawful Entry” card, which was then part of the World War II alien registration laws. Eulalia kept that card through the years, which helped to establish her citizenship in October 2010.
The proponents of the DREAM Act have provided a case study on how to blow up a bipartisan
alliance and make certain that legislative goals are not met.
Originally a bipartisan bill, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act would give conditional green cards to undocumented immigrants if they graduate from high school and pursue a college education or military service. After a 10-year waiting period, they could obtain permanent residency if they met all the requirements, and they could eventually apply for citizenship.