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Bloggings: Reform, What Could Stop Thee? Let Me Count The Ways. By Roger Algase

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With my apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning for the heading, this comment will look at some of the main obstacles to passage of immigration reform, current and recent, and offer a few off the cuff thoughts on which, if any, of them may have a serious chance of derailing the Senate Gang of Eight's CIR bill. I do not claim  to offer a comprehensive, detailed analysis of this issue, but will only make a few brief observations.


First, there was Boston. As soon as it developed that the bombing suspects were Chechen Muslims who were born in and had family connections to a dangerous and violent part of the world, the aha! gotcha! signal went up among right wing immigrant-haters, who tried to use the deaths of four innocent people (one of whom was a student from China) and the horrible injuries to so many others as an excuse to delay or block CIR. 


Now, a month after the bombing, it is safe to say that this terrible insult to the victims of the Marathon attack, namely using their suffering and the grief of their families as an excuse to continue deporting 11 million Latino, Asian and other unauthorized immigrants, mainly of color, didn't work.


Next, there is Benghazi. This is not the place to go into the details about this unfortunate event which lead to the deaths of the US ambassador and three other American diplomats, something which is still under investigation, but it is clear to virtually everyone who is not working for Fox News that, as far as discrediting President Obama (Or Hillary Clinton), there is no there, there (as Gertrude Stein is supposed to have said about Oakland CA).


The people who are promoting the Benghazi witchhunt are by and large the same people who have been pushing the idea that President Obama is a socialist, "illegal alien", terrorist-loving, America-hating Muslim who wants to turn this country into a Communist (or Fascist) dictatorship ever since he was elected to his first term. 


No one claims that Benghazi has anything to do with immigration, but the president is for reform, so any attempt to smear or discredit him will (the right wing hopes) rebound against any initiative he supports, including CIR.


Since not even the right wing withchunters have attempted to tie the attack at the US consulate into anything to do with visas, it is a safe prediction that, as an obstacle to CIR, Benghazi will sooner or later go the way of Boston.


This brings us to the alleged scandals that are suddenly gripping the administration, one right after another. See Politico, May 14, West Wing schooled on scandal. These include the IRS "special scrutiny" of Tea Party groups applying for tax deductions (as if anyone seriously thinks that these groups were not political to the core, and as if the IRS had never investigated the NAACP or audited liberal groups under Republican presidents). 


The scandal accusations also include alleged Justice Department harassment of the AP, as well as sexual assault claims against the military (See Washington Post, May 14).


The cumulative effect of these allegations may be to try to create a circus -style atmosphere of investigations during the coming months, possibly leading to the biggest circus of all, politically motivated but completely groundless impeachment charges against the president.


What a boon that would be to the anti-immigrant lobby - to bury CIR underneath a political and media impeachment firestorm that would distract the country from everything else.


A future comment will discuss what may, arguably, be more substantial obstacles to immigration reform. These are the evident reluctance in the House to move ahead on reform (See Politico, May 14, House immigration group at impasse) ,and, most serious of all, the endemic racism in the "conservative" wing of the Republican party which is fueling opposition to reform, even at the price of destroying the GOP. To be continued.





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