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Bloggings: Immigration Reform: This Year Is Different. Or Is It? by Roger Algase

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In 2007, a chorus of anti-immigrant hate, under the banner of "No Amnesty for Illegals", drowned out the voices of tolerance, reason and compassion on both sides of the aisle. After first amending the Kennedy-McCain Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill to make it almost more of an anti-immigration bill than a reform one, especially by cutting back on the quotas for family immigration and replacing the current employment based green card system by an elitist point system which would have eliminated almost all except the most highly educated professional workers, the nativist lobby killed the entire bill anyway.


The anti-Latino code words: "Amnesty" and "Chain Immigration", won that battle. But that was before November 6, 2012. This year is different. Or is it?


For most of this year, the media have been full of optimistic stories about the chances for immigration reform. The Senate "Gang of Eight" is near agreement on a bill. Business and Labor have finally agreed an a guest worker program. The Republicans know that they are in a hole with Latinos and other minority voters, and that they will have to stop digging if they want to climb out. 


The voices of hate which sank CIR last time have fallen silent. Or have they? An April 2 Politico article: "Past foes return on immigration" (by Manu Raju and Anna Palmer) reports that the old, familiar anti-immigrant lobbying groups, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), NumbersUSA and the Center for Immigration Studies, are at it again.


According to the article, these groups, with the support of anti-immigrant politicians such as Senator Jeff Sessions (R. Alabama) are launching full scale lobbying efforts to defeat reform, raising the same old specter of millions of "illegals" allegedly becoming eligible for federal benefits and taking jobs away from US workers.


In particular, the anti-immigrant lobby is trying to persuade a key Senator, Florida Republican Marco Rubio, to abandon his support for reform. Will appeals to intolerance succeed in derailing reform again this year?


They may, if immigration advocates, taken in by their own euphoria, ignore the danger to real reform from these well-funded and well-organized groups.

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