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Carl Shusterman's Immigration Update

Latinos Must Show Their Muscle in November

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http://s.newsweek.com/sites/www.newsweek.com/files/styles/article_large/public/2010/04/26/1337256000000.cached_0.jpg
When the economy is in the tank, voters look for a scapegoat.

Back in 2005, when the economy was flourishing (Remember?), the McCain-Kennedy Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) bill was co-sponsored by a bipartisan coalition of Senators including Republicans like Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Mel Martinez of Florida and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, not to mention an obscure Democrat freshman from Illinois by the name of Barack Obama.

In the 2008 Presidential elections, Senator Obama promised to push for CIR, and the Latino vote in states like Colorado and New Mexico helped propel him to victory. However, the new President inherited an economy on the verge of collapse. And despite the efforts of the President and the Congress to stimulate the economy, the percentage of Americans who are unemployed remains stubbornly high.

It has become a popular campaign tactic to blame undocumented workers from Mexico for our present economic distress. Signing Arizona's racial-profiling immigration law turned the state's unpopular Governor into a shoo-in in the 2010 elections. Senator McCain's (R-AZ) 180-degree turnaround from a sponsor to a vocal opponent of CIR helped him to clinch the Republican nomination for Senator. Tom Tancredo, formerly the leader of the anti-immigration forces in the House of Representatives, is the Republican nominee for Governor of Colorado. In races across the U.S., candidates seek to burnish their anti-immigration credentials by having the infamous Sheriff Arpaio from Phoenix, Arizona come and speak to voters on their behalf.

The reason that CIR never got off the ground in the Senate in the past two years was not the fault of President Obama. It is because every single Republican, and even a few Democrats, opposes CIR. One would think that Latino voters would be up in arms about this, and vote to "throw the bums out".

However, a poll released this week indicates that only 51% of Latino registered voters said that they would go to the polls as compared to 70% of voters overall.

Unless Latino voters get energized quickly, we can forget CIR and the DREAM Act. The next Congress is apt to be controlled by anti-immigrant zealots who will do their best to pass "enforcement-only" immigration bills. Stay tuned for national racial profiling laws, a vastly increased budget for immigration enforcement, mandatory E-Verify and an end to birthright citizenship. Hopefully, President Obama would veto such legislation. However, immigration advocates remember all too well President Clinton's signing of the notoriously anti-immigrant law of 1996, something we have yet to recover from.

Latinos should bear in mind that they are the fastest growing demographic among American voters. After Governor Pete Wilson (R-CA) rode to re-election in California in 1994 on the strength of the anti-immigrant Proposition 187, Latinos registered to vote in record numbers and made California an pro-immigrant state in short order. Today, once candidates emerge victorious in the Golden State from the Republican primaries, they immediately start running campaign ads in Spanish and proclaim they are "amigos" of the Latino community. No politician in California can ignore Latino voters.

Let's hope that this time, Latino and other pro-immigrant voters exercise their power in the 2010 elections, not just afterwards.

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Updated 12-02-2013 at 04:27 PM by CShusterman

Comments

  1.  RobinWonders's Avatar
    With all due respect... I must disagree with your premise. First off, yes the Latinos are the fastest growing population in the United States, and that is because they are the fastest growing illegal population. And whose fault is that?

    The reason why it seems like more of an issue now than it has been in the past is that thanks to the "politically correct" crowd, people were afraid to say anything for fear of repercussion from their employers. Thanks to Arizona, it is now okay to say "yes, I think that people that are entering the country illegally is wrong and I have a right to object to it."

    A statement, which I agree with. I'm one of those who side on the fact that we are a nation of laws, and there is a system in place (although not perfect) to regulate who is allowed or not allowed in our country. And quite frankly to be honest with you, it would be chaos just to have the door wide open and let anybody come and go as they please. You would not do that for your home, we should not do that for our country.

    However, it is the failure of our government to enforce those laws which has actually contributed or even created this situation that we are all in today. And thanks to Arizona, you are hearing more talk about immigration control and enforcement in the political speeches versus the usual argument over abortion.

    As far as racial profiling goes... I will agree with you and disagree with you. I agree with you and the fact that the largest majority of illegal immigrants are from Mexico, and most Mexicans have brown skin and therefore that makes them an easy target to question their citizenship. The only way that an Arizona type law would not be considered racial profiling is that the law has to apply to everybody without exception, which is the way it was written. (Yes, I read the law) In other words, when you are stopped by the police or arrested, EVERYBODY'S citizenship is checked. Anything else, would be discrimination.

    As for the DREAM act, I am also disappointed that it did not pass as I feel that the children are the victims of the situation that they had no choice in participating in such as entering a foreign country illegally. It is the children, who ultimately have to pay the price for their parents decision.

    Trying to sneak it in on the tail of a defense bill was not the appropriate way of doing it. That is a game that Congress has played for a long time and why we are stuck with a lot of laws that should have never been passed.

    Here is a suggestion that I have been pushing and I would love to hear any feedback or comments.

    Children who were brought here at an early age before (insert cutoff date) with verifiable documentation should be allowed to become United States citizens and/or given a green card to be permitted to stay legally within the United States.

    Their IMMEDIATE FAMILY ONLY should be given the opportunity to apply for citizenship under the INS regulations currently in place, which includes speaking, and reading English. Special allowances of course for the elderly and others as listed in the INS regulations for the English requirement could be waived. In other words, they have to earn their right to be here by making an effort to assimilate.

    Everybody else would have one year to return home and to apply for citizenship, Visa or whatever to get back in line like everybody else.

    After that one-year, we start getting tough on immigration. The penalties for entering and remaining in the country illegally change from a misdemeanor to a felony with the possibility of imprisonment. Illegal emigrants who returned to the country after being deported e.g. multiple offenders would serve prison time and be chipped.

    Employers who hire people that "do not have the right to work here" may also face penalties and imprisonment.

    We can be strong as a nation... but wait also so mercy without showing weakness
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