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Letters of the Week: Aug 4 - Aug 8

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  1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    With his accusations on Fox News that the Democrats are waging a "War on Whites" by opposing the Republicans' hard line on immigration, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) is bringing the issue of the GOP's anti-immigrant racism out into the open, where it belongs. (According to the Huffington Post and other media reports, Brooks' comments were too extreme even for Laura Ingraham.)

    Even though Brooks spoke only in terms of the Democratic attacks against Republican immigration policies as being "anti-white", no one can fail to understand his real meaning, which is that immigration itself is a "War on Whites".

    But this is nothing new. Everyone in America has known that racism against non-white immigrants is at the root of Republican opposition to immigration reform for the past year, ever since the Senate Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill, S.744, was declared Dead On Arrival by House Republicans in July, 2013. It has been true ever since the Republican's rammed through IIRIRA without debate in 1996, responding to a well-publicized while anti-immigrant "backlash" at that time. Therefore no one should be surprised that the Tea Party extremists won in the House votes against border children and Dreamers on August 1.

    While too many immigration supporters have been reluctant for too long to talk about the connection between race and immigration, the racism that is driving the anti-immigrant movement is now coming out in the open more than ever. Hopefully, Latino and other minority voters, as well as other Americans of good will from all ethnic backgrounds, will respond at the polls this fall.

    If they stay home, the only immigration "reform" we may be likely to see in the next few years will be reform in reverse - a reaction against the gains that immigrants from every part of the world have made toward achieving racial equality under the law within the past 50 years.

    Roger Algase
    Updated 08-07-2014 at 01:18 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Reuters now reports that a high percentage of Americans are worried that illegal immigration is threatening America's way of life, its "culture" and its economy.

    In the 1950's and 1960's during the civil rights era, segregationists were warning that ending legal discrimination against African-Americans would destroy the Southern "way of life". As for "culture" that has long been a euphemism for maintaining white supremacy.

    This leaves only the economy as a possible argument against immigration. I am not an economist, and this is not a site about economics. But I strongly suspect that deporting the two Koch brothers, or at least their extreme libertarian ideas, backed up by billions of dollars in uncontrolled campaign money, would do a lot more to help America's economy than deporting 50,000 Central American children at our border who are seeking refuge from gang violence, or 11 million unauthorized immigrants who are already here.

    Roger Algase
    Updated 08-07-2014 at 01:19 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
    I don't know how much of what Roger says is true, maybe all of it... or maybe none of it. That's not my concern. My concern is the tendency liberal Dems have to criticize the Republicans as people instead of trying to find a common ground with them. When I was a college student, I learned that this approach is a logical fallacy called, "argumentum ad hominem." For those of you who weren't philosophy majors in college, this is what that means:

    "Argumentum ad Hominem: the fallacy of attacking the character or circumstances of an individual who is advancing a statement or an argument instead of trying to disprove the truth of the statement or the soundness of the argument. Often the argument is characterized simply as a personal attack."

    In addition to being an illogical way to respond to people who have conservative views on immigration issues, this approach does not move us closer to achieving comprehensive immigration reform. It moves us further apart.
  4. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I don't understand the relevance of Nolan's comment about ad hominem arguments. My disagreement is with the people who supported racial segregation during the civil rights era (a large number of whom were Southern Democrats, or "Dixiecrats" rather than Republicans), and with people in either party, or no party at all, who oppose immigration now because they think it would go against the American "way of life", by which they mean the same thing as the segregationists when they said that the "Southern way of life" would be in danger if African-American people obtained equal rights and justice under the law.

    My argument is with prejudice in general, not with any particular individuals (other than the Koch Brothers, but that is not because of their views on race - they are reported to be pro-immigrant) but because they are buying America's democracy with their unlimited right-wing campaign cash.

    Roger Algase
  5. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
    Roger says his argument is with prejudice in general, but he seems to be prejudiced himself. For instance, he brushes aside all possible objections to S744 by saying that everyone knows it was rejected because of racism against non-white immigrants. In another place, he says, the Reuters poll showing that a high percentage of Americans are worried that illegal immigration is threatening America's culture reflects the same racial bias that occurred in the 1950s and 1960's when segregationists warned against ending discrimination against African-Americans.

    Instead of responding to the objections that have been raised to S744, he attacks the objectors by calling them racists. And instead of responding to the concerns expressed by the people in the Reuters' poll, he compares them to the segregationists who opposed ending discrimination against African-Americans. Those are attacks on the people themselves, not responses to the reasons for their views.

    Also, I don't think people should be judged by how they feel or what they fear. I don't think anyone is responsible for his own feelings or his fears. People are just responsible for their actions. If the people who responded to the Reuters' poll are afraid that immigration is a threat to their culture, that's how they feel. Don't call them racists unless they commit racist actions. If they do, I will call them racists too.

    As for S744, I have raised objections to it too. Does that mean I am a racist? This is one of my articles on that topic. It is time to try a different approach to comprehensive immigration reform (May 2, 2014);
  6. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I certainly did not mean to say that every objection to S.744 was racist (since we can only talk about that bill in the past tense, thanks to the Tea Party's bigotry). I had an objection to the bill myself, and I don't consider myself to be be a racist.

    S.744 would have eliminated the diversity visas, a high percentage of which have been used by immigrants from Africa. There can be no other reason why eliminating this visa was put in the bill.

    The official objection was fraud. Unfortunately, if every immigration program that has been misused by fraudsters and scammers were eliminated, there would be no avenues for legal immigration left at all in America.

    Roger Algase
    Updated 08-08-2014 at 09:25 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  7. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
    Actually, the Diversity Visa Program has had a problem with fraud. This quote is from a 2007 GAO report on the problem:

    "The DV program is vulnerable to fraud committed by and against DV applicants, but State has not compiled comprehensive data on detected and suspected fraudulent activity. At 5 of the posts we reviewed, consular officers reported that the majority of DV applicants, lacking access to a computer or internet savvy, use "visa agents" to enter the lottery. Some agents take advantage of DV applicants: visa agents in Bangladesh have intercepted applicants' program documents and charged ransoms of up to $20,000 or coerced applicants into sham DV marriages. Consular officers at 6 of the 11 posts we reviewed reported that widespread use of fake documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and passports, presented challenges when verifying the identities of applicants and dependents. Difficulty in verifying identities has security implications because State's security checks rely heavily on name-based databases. "Fraud Risks Complicate State's Ability to Manage Diversity Visa Program,"

    I don't know how effectively the State Department was dealing with this problem when S744 was being drafted, but it is very unlikely that the problem had been eliminated. In any case, I agree with Roger that concern about fraud probably wasn't the reason for doing away with the program in S744, but I don't think the decision was based on racism. My theory is that the Gang of 8 needed some bones to toss to the republicans and political resistance to eliminating this program wasn't a problem for them. [The program also was going to be eliminated in the bill the House was working on at that time and that the Congressional Black Caucus objected when they found out.]

    Unfortunately, when amendments to S744 were being considered, the Gang of 8 blocked the republican amendments that could have gotten broad-based republican support for their bill. The Gang of 8 must have known that defeating those republican amendments would result in passing a bill without republican support in the Senate and that the bill was going to be dead on arrival in the House. 70% of the senate republicans voted against the bill.
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