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Immigration KO: The Thin Reid

The collapse of the Senate immigration bill, shamefully consumated on Friday, was not totally unforeseen. I'm among those who publicly predicted an eventual punt from Congress.

What we didn't anticipate it is what appears to be the ignominious role played by Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid. I had written, as recently as Thursday, that it looked like his GOP counter-part, Bill Frist, was actually the guy who was going to scuttle what has been the five-year long effort to enact comprehensive reform. But then, the whole story took yet another unexpected turn. An authentic bi-partisan majority was reached in support of an imperfect but significant compromise: a bill that would liberalize and expand legalized immigration as well as grant legal status to six or seven million "illegals" already living here.

And then, on Friday, defeat snatched from victory. The whole deal collapses. And while the reasons are myriad, and while the back-room bickering may never be fully disclosed, there's a whole lot of anecdotal evidence that Harry Reid intentionally blocked the deal. There is an argument to be made that he did the right thing i.e. to "protect" the core of the bill. There's a much stronger argument that Reid simply didn't want to hand a legislative victory to an unpopular Majority Leader and his equally unpopular President. And to hell with the 7 million immigrants who might have benefitted.

This is not some right-wing conspiracy theory. You can find it in Friday's daily press briefing (not yet online) from the non-partisan but certainly Democrat-friendly and liberal leaning National Immigration Forum. Here's how the Forum describes the legislative collapse:

Why? Because the Majority and Minority Leaders couldn’t come to an agreement on how to proceed on the floor. Incredible. A historic breakthrough thwarted by petty partisan bickering.  

There’s plenty of blame to go around. The White House could have played a stronger role, and the Majority Leader could have been more insistent on reigning in the hawks in his party seemingly intent on delaying or derailing the process. But in the end, we cannot escape the conclusion that the Democratic Senate leadership was more interested in keeping the immigration issue alive in the run up to mid-terms than in enacting immigration reform legislation. If this is not true, then we look forward to being proven wrong and eating crow. We’ll know for certain when the Senate Democratic leadership works out a process agreement with the Senate Republican leadership that enables the bipartisan sponsors of this compromise an opportunity to test the strength of their coalition in votes on the floor.”

This Democratic punk-out, sorry to say, is something I predicted last month in the final paragraphs of this piece. So, I guess, it wasn't so unpredictable after all.

I highly recommend this excellent piece of reporting from Time that emerged Friday evening. It gives a more than fair hearing of Reid's reasoning and strategy. But reading through the piece, I reach the same conclusion as the Immigration Forum does -- that Senator Reid has a lot of explaining to do. And unless he does it well -- and soon-- he can claim responsibility for stealing away from Bill Frist the title of Gravedigger of Immigration Reform. Even fellow Democrat Ted Kennedy -- reportedly enfuriated with Reid-- publicly lamented that "politics got in front of policy."

So here we stand. The Senate now in recess for two more weeks -- putting us a fortnight closer to the November election. A second round of large scale pro-immigration rallies are scheduled for Sunday and Monday. Is anybody willing to act?

P.S. Tom Snyder, political director of the powerful hotel workers' union told the L.A. Times: "The Hispanic vote is not nearly as reliable" as people think "It's increasingly a swing vote, and if Democrats treat this issue as a spectator sport and can sit back watch, there's going to be a very bad result. Immigrants aren't stupid."

225 Responses to “Immigration KO: The Thin Reid”

  1. patrick neid Says:

    marc,

    i still have high hopes. even though the politically savvy talking heads now think this issue is dead–the idea being when a collapse of this scale occurs it just doesn’t come back for several years–i don’t. this debate has now spread way beyond the beltway. i think when congress goes on its two week easter break they are going to get an earful. now that it is topic number one in the cafes i don’t think its going away. if the polls are correct, folks want the border closed and they are split on amnesty vs the boot. like most they get lost on back taxes, citizenship fees etc. simplicity of approach seems to rule. even tonight on the lehr hour mark shields was mocking the convoluted three step senate nightmare.

    now that people are focused on the steady 10,000 a week illegal traffic into the country folks want action and they want it now. the fence no longer looks expensive when they consider we are spending upwards of 10 billion to build levies around a city below sea level, that will surely flood again, to protect a city of 500,000 vs a fence that will protect 300 million from the associated cost of rampant illegal immigration.

    i’m still naive enough to think as time goes by the odds favor the most simple of plans–a complete fence and then a 10 year green card straight line to citizenship. the reason–it works plus it irritates the most amount of people on both sides of the isle. bills like that get passed. each side gets half of what they want. anyway, we shall see……..

  2. Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Says:

    Again you called the Dems on their punk-out, so again I commend you.

    But I totally disagree with Snyder: “if Democrats treat this issue as a spectator sport and can sit back watch, there’s going to be a very bad result. Immigrants aren’t stupid.”
    – I think there will be a very good result.
    The Dems will lose the immigrant Hispanic vote, because the Reps will blame them.

    [In the same way, I look forward to Reps focusing on school vouchers to improve inner city schools. I understand the mayor in DC is moving more towards being in favor, since they work?]

    I was pretty surprised that the proposal sent guest worker numbers down, from 400k to 350k — I don’t think the Rep base is really calling for this as much as the Dems anti-competition folk. I think the Reps should be calling, openly, for 1 million per year.

  3. Anon-E-Mouse Says:

    I am surprised that anyone can be surprised that the Reid/Dean culture of the Democratic party is really only interested in power. Period, it doesn’t matter what is right. And indignant progressives and lefties still look down their noses at anyone who has a different idea.

  4. Julie Says:

    According to Reid, the Senators who opposed legalization were the ones offering amendments to the bill, so after reading the Time piece, I can appreciate his belief that he was walking into a trap.

    The Republicans really only care about the guest worker program, and a steady supply of disposable people to build America, but not to be part of America. (I know this point is obvious, but some people still don’t get it.)

    If the citizenship provision had become a sticking point, I have no doubt that Frist would have eliminated it.

    A guest worker program will probably result in even more exploitation than exists under the do-nothing policy we have in place now. Those workers will be monitored with ankle bracelets and treated like chattel, and it will all be legal. The only way to prevent this is to let all foreign workers become citizens if they so choose. Arming them with rights will stabilize wages and prevent abuse.

  5. Rich Says:

    Excellent points, Julie.

    And while I was thinking for awhile that the Senate bill might have made it through, we all know that the kabuki rules would have lead directly to a House defeat–DOA, either way you cut it. As far as political winners/losers, I can tell you that precisely because “immigrants aren’t stupid”, the GOP never was nor could be a “winner” in this debate. The base is clear on its position of enforcement and border protection, which resonates most with the majority of voters.

  6. Jabba the Tutt Says:

    If we can’t deport 11 million illegal aliens, why does the Senate think we can deport 2 or 3 or 4 million in their “roots” concept of being here less than 2 years? The “historic” immigration bill, even if passed by the Senate, won’t make it thru the House. What I don’t get is why the priority is granting citizenship to illegal aliens while doing nothing worthwhile about stopping the flow of millions more illegals? Where’s the evidence the illegals want to become Americans? I see far more evidence that they want to stay Mexican, but demand the benefits of citizenship without the loyalty or assimilation. Some want to more the border north several hundred miles out of an Aztlan fantasy or Mexica movement.

    Under our Constitution, the Legislative Branch is given authority to make immigration policy. For the past 40 years, they have abdicated this role and turned immigration policy over to the Mexican government and 10 million Mexicans. Americans see this and want the flow stopped. Second, they’d like to see current law enforced. Third, then the politicians can wrangle and compromise to come up with a more permanent solution.

  7. orion Says:

    Right on Julie! Clearly the Republicans are only concerned about a guest-worker program; a way of insuring a constant supply of low-cost workers. This seemigly benevolent program will enslave these workers in a special low-income caste, while preventing Americans from competing for the jobs reserved for the guests. After all who wants to work for $4 or $5 an hour? We need to ask ourselves this: what class and/or race/ethnic group(s) of Americans are impacted by this downward impact on wages? And remember these are low wages that are designed to be immune to market pressures. Yes, this is all about wage-slavery.

  8. Woody Says:

    Which just goes to show what I have been saying all along–the Democrats care only about doing what is best for them, no matter how it hurts others or our nation. It is a disgraceful bunch. How can you people keep defending them?

  9. Rich Says:

    Wrong, Woody. You have disgraceful Republicans and Democrats who do what is best for themselves (or for one of their select interest groups), and a minority of both parties who are trying to do some good. The difference between you and me is that you choose to blame Democrats as a party, where I put the blame on the individuals of both parties who are guilty. One approach is honest, and the other is dishonest. I’ll let you guess which is which.

  10. Mark A. York Says:

    Yeah Tancredo is a Republican the last I checked. What’s disgraceful is the exploitation of foreign slave labor that according to MSNBC may have increased investment by 2 percent. 2 mind you. That must account for those “new” jobs created last month. Picking lettuce. The real tragedy is how anyone can be stupid enough to vote Republican. Were it not for their crookery you’d have had a bill years ago.

  11. Woody Says:

    Rich, in other cases I would agree with you in specifying individual names. Not in this one. The Democrats give their loyal block votes to the party–and, they better. They are kept in line by their masters–if they know what is good for them. No vote, no money. Just look at key votes in Congress. How many times have all or almost all of the Democrats voted together–even when their constituency feels differently?! (Believe me. That’s why Max Cleland was tossed out in Georgia–not because of made-up reasons that the left uses.)

    There’s no sense in making lists of the good names and the bad names when so many act together in bad faith to help their party and hurt the country. Individual breaks from that pattern are a rare exception with the Democrats and do not justify the time to adjust most generalizations.

    On the other hand, the Republicans have always been more independent.

    When Democrats say vote Democratic, they mean that literally. Vote for the Democrats–not your conscience, not your country, not for what’s best for individuals–but, vote for the Democrats. You can always count on their leaders to explain away bad policies and get some propaganda help from the press. I’m glad that it didn’t work in the last two presidential elections. I like decisions for this country made by people who love America instead of people who love Europe.

    You’re okay, though.

  12. reg Says:

    This legislation was bullshit…one more CYA contraption from the usual suspects, to be amended into oblivion by the GOP . I’m not mourning and I could give a fuck about the predicitable Lefty-Rightwacko Alliance condemning Democrats as the devil. You failed to mention that the only Senators willing to sign on the the bill as proposed were Democrats. If this bone being tugged over in Congress was destined to remain a matter of “principle”, I couldn’t find one. Reid saw the issue as getting rolled by the worst bozos in the Beltway – again – and stepped back. I think Julie strikes closest to the truth on this one. Guest-worker programs should be considered anathema and seen for what they are – capital’s wetdream – regardless of how you slice the rest of the issues. This seems elementary. “Border enforcement” isn’t going to do a damned thing. It’s a sieve. The only effective constraint possible is enforcing labor laws. It could be done easily, despite the lunatic ravings of “Patrick” about Stalinist police states. In fact, my nemesis Tamar Jacoby (I found out by actually doing some more investigation into her writing on this beyond some of the stuff that Marc has linked) has called for what amounts to an electronic social security card that could quickly and efficiently verify a person’s work eligibility status. Where I still disagree with her and find her to be a shill for business interests is that she would issue millions of these cards to “guest workers”. My alternative would be to increase the number of immigrants on a citizenship track if, in fact, “labor shortages” exist that aren’t in fact just business plans tied to wage depression and an end-run around common decency and a minimal social contract.

    Woody, as usual, is just blowing his plastic NewsMax junkie kazoo. Two notes – maybe three on a good day.

    And I wish Tom Grey had the balls to comment on the Bush “punk-out” as regards the Darfur issue (blocking any sanctions of guilty officials) before he bores us with his usual blather.

  13. J. Van Doren Says:

    You say Reid was responsible for the failure of the bill. Maybe that’s so, by virtue of blocked amendments and parliamentary maneuvering which are hard to evaluate.

    But I understand that, in the end, the bill had 38 votes in favor, all Democrats, while not a single Republican voted for it.

    If it was such a good compromise, why didn’t the Republicans support it? And if they failed to support it, why aren’t they as much to blame, or more, for its failure to pass?

  14. David Cummings Says:

    Great comments Julie, Orion, Mark York, and Rich. I don’t normally defend him, but Reid’s actions were necessary. As I believe Schumer (and Rich on here) pointed out, these votes would have eventually forced Democrats to choose between toughened border security and immigrant rights instead of having both. The House would have chopped up this bill even more.

  15. David Cummings Says:

    Great comments reg.

  16. Michael Green Says:

    I’m surprised at how many people are falling for the GOP line that the bill failed due to Harry Reid. Let’s look at what’s gone on in Washington since Republicans took over, and especially since Frist became majority leader. Frist couldn’t get a bill through the Senate to praise apple pie without screwing it up–not only is he a pathological liar, but his knowledge of Senate procedure could fit in a flea’s navel. Why is it that after so many years of watching Republicans bollix up everything imaginable, Democrats like Reid would do something evil and the GOP would be in the right? ESPECIALLY when Frist had opposed the pro-immigrant measure in the first place?

  17. Rich Says:

    Woody, in other cases I would agree with you in specifying individual names. Not in this one. The Republicans give their loyal block votes to the party–and, they better. They are kept in line by their masters–if they know what is good for them. No vote, no money. Just look at key votes in Congress. How many times have all or almost all of the Republicans voted together–even when their constituency feels differently?!

    There’s no sense in making lists of the good names and the bad names when so many act together in bad faith to help their party and hurt the country. Individual breaks from that pattern are a rare exception with the Republicans and do not justify the time to adjust most generalizations.

    On the other hand, the Democrats have always been more independent (e.g., NAFTA, welfare reform, immigration).

    When Republicans say vote Republican, they mean that literally. Vote for the Republicans–not your conscience, not your country, not for what’s best for individuals–but, vote for the Republicans. You can always count on their leaders to explain away bad policies and get some propaganda help from the press.

  18. SR Says:

    Marc, how can you blame this on Reid?

    No good immigration reform was going to come out of this congress. Frist did not even want the compromise bill that was agreed to and he never gave any guarantees that it would not be substantially altered in the conference committee. If Frist was actually for this bill he could have ensured that it would be protected in the House-Senate conference. He didn’t. If Reid had not put up roadblocks than the final bill voted on in the senate would have been even more like HR 4437 and nothing like the compromise that the senate actually reached.

    I am disappointed that Marc, who has generally been spot-on on the whole immigration debate, thinks that Reid is to blame. I see no scenario in which Reid’s cooperation would have resulted in a bill that allowed current undocumented immigrants a path to citizennship, so blocking further “reform” was the best thing he could have done.

    Does anyone (except nativists) really think that the nezt Congress with more democratic control won’t pass a law that is superior in every way than the half-baked proposals that have been on the table in the senate.

  19. reg Says:

    Marc – you might want to comment on your buddy, the egregious Micky Kaus, who has proclaimed that given the sticky history of competing imperialisms by the heirs of the Conquistadors vs. the spawn of Great Britain as regards the American West and Southwest, we should consider immigrants from south of the border untrustworthy because they might be part of a plot to take back U.S. territory for Mexico. I’m pretty nationalistic, critical of ethnic lobbies and certain “multiculturalists” who are antagonists to assimilation, etc., etc. but I found this bit of rumination to be blatantly paranoid bigotry.

  20. Woody Says:

    Democrats for Felons

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20060404-105601-5010r.htm

    Senate Democrats refused to allow consideration of an amendment yesterday that would bar illegal aliens convicted of felonies from obtaining U.S. citizenship. Democrats said the amendment would “gut” the immigration bill under consideration in the Senate and refused to allow a vote on it. “It hurts the bill,” said Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. “It hurts the very foundation and what I believe is the spirit” of the legislation. Republican Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona and John Cornyn of Texas restated the purpose of their amendment and appeared incredulous that anyone would object to it.

    Now, I see. The Democrats want both illegal immigrants and felons to be able to vote for them–a two for one. Their claims about this ring as true about legislation “for the children.”

    Just a few more notes on the kazoo for you to enjoy….
    http://tinyurl.com/k4mp5

  21. Woody Says:

    Rich, it just doesn’t work in reverse–especially the part about the press helping Republicans. I see your point, and I agree to some extent; but, Republicans are not as united as Democrats.

  22. Rich Says:

    Woody, we’re oceans apart on this one. I was actually attempting to reach some common ground here, but when push comes to shove I’d have to say the facts show the Republicans play that game better than the Democrats. But I can see you prefer vision-distorting glasses to clear vision. Your choice.

  23. reg Says:

    That was a lovely tune, Woody.

    I think you’re ready to graduate to this:

    http://tinyurl.com/fzr97

  24. Woody Says:

    Rich, I’m really being very honest rather than trying to be confrontational in any way. That’s just my experience. The Republicans represent an organized party as much as the Baptists represent an organized religion. Especially now, I see quite some independence between Republican members of Congress and President Bush.

    I realize that how you view it can be different than my perspective, as we are more sensitive to events that go against our beliefs than when everything is going good. It hasn’t been going good for your side for the past six years, so maybe that intensifies your feelings.

    Sorry.

  25. Woody Says:

    Another sound for you, reg! Now, I need to go so that this doesn’t become a discussion thread.

    http://tinyurl.com/jb2yb

  26. Mark A. York Says:

    No it hasn’t been good. And this isn’t any fault of ours. Depends on what is considered good. I suppose trillions of debt, a neverending war, a land where only millionaires have it “good” is a wonderful thing to some. The rest may have some reservations.

  27. Woody Says:

    I couldn’t resist one more. (This actually could prove to be a very useful site.)

    For you, Mark…. http://tinyurl.com/kz27t

    Okay, I’m really gone.

  28. Izzy Gold Says:

    Your “arguements” lack any original thoght and naturally are devoid of logic. How can anyone be stupid to vote democratic? That statement has as much merit as yours. Unless you are rich you have it good? Is it no wonder you can not find gainful employment. We use your blog in our daily staff meeting with our new writers on how not to write. Keep up the good work!

  29. reg Says:

    Woody,

    I couldn’t have characterized what emanates from you “in my general direction” any more accurately…

  30. Rich Says:

    LOL, Woody. ‘My’ side? Now I am convinced that you are not only politically clueless and morally contradictory, but your reading comprehension skills seem to be in inverse proportion to your age. Sigh, the ravages of time.

  31. Mark A. York Says:

    So you’re calling ME a “faggot?” Oh contraire but if I was this attack would contitute hate. Hey Professor Cooper how is THAT not abusive?

  32. Mark A. York Says:

    Who the hell is Gold referring to? Those aren’t my quotes. They aren’t quotes at all.

  33. brian jones Says:

    it does sound like reid was factoring in the so-called political realities. if he indeed was its a risky move but if the pro-immigration advocates keep the heat on this thing will become a political necessity they can postpone much longer. whatever happens, i think this brings up a larger issue about the lack of quality leadership today in the democratic party — they need to learn how to lead and change the political realities.

    switching to a different topic, i hope you will at some point gives your opinion on franklin foer’s piece on hugo chavez in this month’s atlantic (http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200605/chavez).i am sure mr. foer is an accomplished and respected journalist, you don’t get to be editor of new republic so easily, but i wonder how much he really does know about latin american politics outside of his recent, and probably brief, visit to venezuela. i would venture to guess he is going on hearsay and quick reads of the popular literature and not on experience considering some really irresponsible points in the article. for example, his stating that chavez is preparing to go to literally war with the united states, planning for a “coming military confrontation with the gringos” — chavez may look and act crazy, but i don’t think he is so crazy as to relish doing battle with the u.s. military. But moreso, when Foer says “Chavismo represents a bigger threat to American interests in the region than anything the United States has seen in decades,” he especially begins to stretch the so-called Chavez threat, for while nobody can deny chavez is seeking to influence other latin american leaders, which is his democratic right and which most all nation presidents seek to do, it stretches thing quite a lot when he argues that Chavez is “winning adherents” to his “form of socialism” by other nations in the region. he seeks to imply that because chavez has friendly relations with the possible new presidents of mexico, nicaragua and peru, and already has good relations with evo in bolivia, that these leaders are going to march lockstep down his brand of dictatorial mixed market socialism. in fact, he calls evo morales his “protege,” saying that evo “followed” the chavez model of anti-american rhetoric to get to power and even “plans to rewrite the bolivian constitution this summer.”

    but his comments on evo for me clearly exposed foer’s ignorance. evo has long been anti-american in his rhetoric during his battles over coca in bolivia dating back to the mid-1990s, which was long before he ever came to know of chavez’s existence in this world. bolivia is re-writing its constitutuion, but not because evo is forcing it down bolivian’s throats by executive decree, this idea has long been pushed by diverse sectors in bolivian society — indeed, the bolivian congress voted UNANIMOUSLY in february to re-write the constitution. from right to left, almost every bolivian agrees its time to change the failed rules in bolivia. but foer would evidently like to create the impression, conveniently, to fit his dramatic theme, that evo is copying his mentor down an un-democratic, authoritarian road. evo and his goverment have made it clear they are following their own path, not that of castro nor chavez nor lula nor anyone else but a unique path they find appropriate for their country.

    to sum up, i came away with the impression that foer believes chavez is just about going to create one large, united chavista nation on the south america continent if the us does not get busy. despite chavez’s fondness for bolivar, the reality is not as dramatic as foer’s prose. if foer knew south america, he would know that every country here is fiercely proud of its uniqueness and no country will ever bow down to chavez just because he has a lot of oil dollars to spend. what they will do is collaborate with him on things they find make sense for them, rightly or wrongly. and i don’t think south american trading blocs, or south american television networks, or south american oil companies, is necessarily “evil” and a threat to the u.s. south-south cooperation ought to be desirable as north-south cooperation.

    anyhow, enough of my rant, hope to hear your views on this.

  34. reg Says:

    Oh Jeeezus…I haven’t dug into this article, but it looks like TNR annointed another asshole as editor. Of course with a publisher as beyond the fringe as Peretz, what does one expect. I’m amazed that a few good writers – like Ackerman and Judis – manage to survive there.

  35. Bob P. Says:

    So very disgusting.

  36. Randy Paul Says:

    Sorry, Marc, but I gotta disagree with you here. Kevin Drum makes a compelling argument as to why Reid walked away. No one likes to buy a pig in a poke. Don’t blame Reid for not wanting to do the same.

  37. David Cummings Says:

    It is interesting how Bush, on his radio address, placed all of the blame for the failed immigration bill on Reid (having the same opinion, apparently, as Marc C.).

    But as any serious person knows, the hard right is just as much to blame as anyone for the failed legislation.

    And thus, that is what is interesting to me: Bush had a golden opportunity this morning to score some political points with the public and raise his approval rating by raking the hard right over the coals along with Reid. By shaking his finger at members of his own party, even I would have been impressed (Actually, Bush’s stance on immigration is saner than most people’s). Furthermore, he could have gotten some political payback against them for the Harriet Meiers attacks.

    Instead, he covered up their role in the immigration debacle. Apparently a testament to the extreme right’s still present power over the presidency and the Republican Party.

  38. David Cummings Says:

    Woody’s vicious (and dishonest) personal attacks are representative of the right wing. Inevitably, they can never win a debate of words, so they resort to name calling. One recalls Buckley getting his butt handed to him by Gore Vidal in their televised debates during the 68 convention, eventually resulting in the “the great intellectual” Buckley calling Gore Vidal a “queer” out of exasperation and desparation. I have yet to engage in dialogue with any person on the right who does not inevitably rely on name calling and insults. Woody, you are a sad and pathetic thing.

  39. Randy Paul Says:

    Marc,

    How do you square your condemnation of Reid’s caution with your praise for Tamar Jacoby’s comment in your earlier post, specifically this:

    “Can the Senate agree on a compromise? It may not need to. But surprising as it seems, the worst danger could be lawmakers so eager to get across the finish line that they rush to settle for a deal that doesn’t work.”

  40. Woody Says:

    Get a life, David. You apparently haven’t read two years of name calling and threats against me. The curse words and foul names that reg alone has thrown at me would fill a toilet. I don’t call him sad and pathetic, even though he likely is in addition to being bitter, envious, immoral, and devoid of logic; and, I don’t call him a #$%^^&&) and &&*&% and tell him to ^)#^&(** himself–but, he uses the real words. You just sound desperate to join in the attack. I can appreciate Rich’s attempt to gain understanding, but the rest of you are either unable, but likely unwilling, to accept any side not endorsed by The New York Times. Mark York, I apologize for making it sound like I was calling you a faggot. I linked a soundbite because it sounded like a humorous retort. It wasn’t meant personally.

    To get on topic, I still think that the information provided through the Washington Times (above) and re-stated below shows how pathetic, partisan, and dishonest Reid and Democrats are. Here it is again.

    Senate Democrats refused to allow consideration of an amendment yesterday that would bar illegal aliens convicted of felonies from obtaining U.S. citizenship. Democrats said the amendment would “gut” the immigration bill under consideration in the Senate and refused to allow a vote on it. “It hurts the bill,” said Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

    Yeah, right. He means, “We want ALL illegals and felons voting for Democrats–not just those who currently manage to circumvent voter laws.” Why don’t you admit to their true motives and colors? It’s all about their party–not concern for others or our nation. How can anyone not honestly see that?

  41. johnnyv Says:

    If immigration reform as proposed in the McCain/Kennedy bill is about exploiting a cheap labor force why is the AFL-CIO supporting it? Many undocumented workers in the US are paid wages that are acceptable to many American workers in a different work environment. I know of people who employ questionable labor and pay well, they have a hard time finding American citizens who will work hard and show up for work reliably on jobs that are not that labor intensive with a safe, comfortable, work environment. And for the people who say they do not pay taxes? How aobut the $450,000,000,000 that’s billion with a B in social security that will never be collected by these people. Is the future of our SS system actually in dire straits when considering this fact?

  42. Mark A. York Says:

    Well it sounded like humor to you I’m sure. If it wasn’t personal what in hell was it suppose to infer? Homosexuality isn’t exactly one of my trademarks so why would it be pertinent to me? Unless it was aimed dad? US Amy silver star, sergeant. Either way it’s extremely bad taste.

    The WT goes to great lengths to cherrypick their predictable conclusions. I would have to see the felon language.

  43. patrick neid Says:

    now, now children……just remember as you have been discussing the upholstery on the deck chairs for these last several weeks 30,000 more of our little friends have come to say hello.

    in the very near future this (picture)

    http://www.censusscope.org/us/map_hispanicpop.html

    will lead to this (picture)

    http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4786/105/1600/Aztlan.jpg

    because we don’t have this (picture)

    http://www.weneedafence.com/images/Fence_Idea.jpg

    now i know Reg doesn’t want a fence so he can play with his little “stalinist” impulses but we’ll just have to find him something else to play with.

  44. Jim Russell Says:

    You’ve been spending to much time playing with yourself to satisfy your impulses Patrick, and it has blinded you like your mama told you it would.

  45. Jim Russell Says:

    God. I can’t believe I said that. I’ve got to stop drinking and start going to church.

  46. patrick neid Says:

    no, in my case it’s the hairy palms the nuns warned about. but as the pictures above show, i can see very clearly.

    now what do you think, a twill or a crushed velvet on these cushions?

  47. reg Says:

    neid – anybody who believes regulating employers is “stalinst” is a moron straight out of the gate. But when when they turn out to be advocating a barbed, militarized fence with electronic monitoring across thousands of miles of border, they are clearly living on some other planet. This guy doesn’t deserve debate…

  48. Marc Cooper Says:

    Reg and others.. I want you to try REAL hard to stop calling people names, ok? On this blog that’s a right reserved for me only.

  49. David Cummings Says:

    Well, it appears if this is to be believed, both Marc Cooper and George W. Bush were wrong, and Reid was correct in his actions.

    John Boehner has apparently provided some clues as to what he and his chamber would have done with immigration.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060409/ts_nm/congress_immigration_dc

  50. reg Says:

    I watched two programs where this was being debated this morning – one was a tivoed Bill Maher, the other Chris Mathews. On Maher, Tom Tancredo was paired against the Erica Jong. Erica Jong was adamant that she couldn’t have had her literary career without having “Mexican women” function as “nannies” to raise her daughter. (her terms in quotes) Tom Tancredo – a horrible man – ended up as the person arguing that there was an issue of illegal labor impacting wages and working conditions for everyone who’s on the low end of the labor ladder. Now Mexican immigrants face enough prejudice already without being blamed for Erica Jong’s literary output, but I cringed that the elitist “liberal” position came off as “I need these people to do the stuff I won’t or can’t if I’m going to achieve the status and maintain the disposable income I deserve”, while a GOPer goon like Tancredo actually spoke for people who are struggling at the bottom of the labor pool, aside from the rest of it. This was echoed on Chris Mathews when some haughty gal from Vogue, of all places, reacted to a very precise and reasonable argument from Lou Dobbs by raising straw men and denying facts, but most of all complaining that her getting a new roof on her house hung in the balance of this debate. What a disgusting display of narcissistic bullshit passing as “liberalism”. Unfortunately, Katrina van den Huevel made essentially the same case last week on “This Week” when she said that we needed these people to mow our lawns and raise our children. Excuse me while I puke on certain patent leather shoes. I guess these folks kids or neighbor’s kids are too busy talking on their cel phones or cruising the mall to mow the goddam lawn and, when they’re toddlers, they’re too precious for a day care center. Also, where the hell are these “Mexican women’s” kids when they’re taking care of Erica II ? Self-interest and arrogance seem to be more in evidence than authentic compassion or an honest approach to public policy among the “liberal” elite.

    Exempted from this is Nick Kristof, who has a terrific article in today’s NY Times. I’m going to post it, because it’s “Times Select” and not freely accessible:

    Printer Friendly Format Sponsored By

    April 9, 2006
    Op-Ed Columnist
    Compassion That Hurts
    By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

    In 1951 America welcomed an East European refugee who spoke no English. His first job in the U.S. was at a logging camp in Oregon, and I suppose that if that job hadn’t gone to my father, it would have gone to an American.

    That’s the nub of the problem: it’s hypocritical of us to close the doors behind us (unless you’re a pure Navajo), yet there’s a genuine problem with the impact of immigration on the poorest Americans.

    I used to favor a program to allow in guest workers, thinking it would be good for them and also great for America by providing a source of low-cost labor — just as it was good for America to admit our own ancestors. And illegal immigrants overwhelmingly are hard-working people who keep the economy humming, so they deserve respect rather than xenophobic resentment and a marginalized life in the shadows.

    But I’ve changed my mind on a guest worker program, because of growing evidence that low-wage immigration hurts America’s own poor.

    The most careful study of this issue, done by George Borjas and Lawrence Katz and published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that the surge of immigration in the 1980′s and 1990′s lowered the wages of America’s own high school dropouts by 8.2 percent. “The large growth and predominantly low-skilled nature of Mexican immigration to the United States over the past two decades appears to have played a modest role in the widening of the U.S. wage structure,” the study concluded.

    Another study, by Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies, reached similar conclusions. Between 2000 and 2005, he found, immigrant workers with a high school degree or less rose by 1.5 million, while employment of native workers at that education level fell by 3.2 million.

    It’s often said that immigrants take jobs that Americans won’t take. But look at employment statistics, and you see that even among maids and agricultural workers, only four out of 10 people are immigrants.

    I can’t write about this issue without thinking of Elmer, a neighbor when I was growing up. He’s a high school dropout now in his 50′s, but when I met him in 1971, he was earning $26 an hour in a union job. He’s very hard-working, but for the last decade he’s been reduced to janitorial jobs paying not much over minimum wage. People like Elmer haven’t been heard from in the immigration debate, but they have the most at stake.

    The 1986 immigration amnesty ended up bringing in waves of unskilled workers. They care for our children and mow our lawns. But as they raise living standards for many of us, they lower the living standards of Americans like Elmer.

    That’s a trade-off we need to face squarely. The impulse behind immigration reforms is a generosity that I admire. But the cold reality is that admitting poor immigrants often means hurting poor Americans. We can salve the pain with job programs for displaced Americans, but the fundamental trade-off is unavoidable.

    Children are hit particularly hard, because they are disproportionately likely to be poor. Nearly half of American children depend on a worker with a high school education or less.

    The broader problem is that our immigration program is structured so as to bring in cheap laborers more than brilliant minds. At last count, only 16 percent of admissions for permanent residence went to those with employment qualifications, while the great majority went to applicants on the basis of family ties.

    When I lived in China, American diplomats complained that under the law they had to deny visas to brilliant physicists while granting immigrant visas to elementary-school dropouts who had a relative in Chicago.

    So let’s go ahead and regularize longtime illegals, rather than leaving them forever in the shadows. But instead of bringing in a new flood of guest workers, let’s recast our generosity more toward biologists and computer programmers. The H1-B visa program enriches America by bringing in high-tech workers, but the nominal ceiling on these visas has dropped to 65,000, after temporarily rising to 195,000 in the 1990′s. That’s the immigration flow to expand.

    In contrast, bringing in 325,000 or more guest workers annually (as various versions of the current Senate bills provide) would be particularly tough on America’s poor at this time. They are reeling from Bush program cuts and the fraying of medical safety nets. An influx of hundreds of thousands more unskilled laborers would impoverish them further — and to me, that does not feel like compassion.

  51. reg Says:

    So Marc – it’s okay to call someone a Stalinist in a way that’s utterly ignorant and moronic, but not okay to point out that the person’s name-calling is ignorant and moronic. I have bigger problems with Josef Stalin than some moron down the block. And I resent being associated with something so reprehensible for advocating what is, at least, an arguably rational public policy. I didn’t call this fool a fascist – just pointed out that he was analytically-challenged and a hypocrite. Is hypocrite okay ?

    Do I have to thank people when I’m accused of “Stalinism” or can I fight back with at least as much gusto ?

  52. reg Says:

    Also Marc, your friend Woody committed something of an ultimate in the “name game” when he directed an audio clip that managed the double wammy of “faggot” and “your mother…” at Mark York. I would have appreciated an intervention at that point, rather than reserving it for an “equal time” response to being called a “stalinist”.

    Just saying.

    Your point is taken, but not well…

  53. patrick neid Says:

    reg,

    you know very well the reason why i connected you to “stalinist”. here to refresh your memory in your own words…

    “The only effective constraint possible is enforcing labor laws. It could be done easily, despite the lunatic ravings of “Patrick” about Stalinist police states.”

    other than that i haven’t a clue who you are. nevertheless i reiterate my essential points

    1. close the border first

    2. enforcing the “labor laws” etc. is code for do nothing as it has been for the last 40 years. it would take stalanist type state control to enforce laws on 15 million illegal people. this link might help put some of it in perspective

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060407/ap_on_re_us/immigration_mass_deportation_1;_ylt=AvKSqWMNZl9crh1fboMw3r1Quk0A;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl

    3. every week as you try enforce laws that won’t be enforced 10,000 more of our friends come say hello. i have already posted san francisco’s response to your ideas.

    4. there will be a fence and it will look like this

    http://www.weneedafence.com/images/Fence_Idea.jpg

    and everybody will be happy……end of story!

  54. Mark A. York Says:

    Point noted reg and I concur. I appreciate it. Some have exemption status apparently. Looks like reid blew out the thread.

  55. patrick neid Says:

    sorry about blowing out the thread. it looks normal in the preview state. lesson learned.

    reid’s the senator………

  56. Nell Says:

    Marc, I appreciate your desire to have a fair immigration bill pass soon. But as Randy noted above, and Kevin Drum’s post makes clear, Reid was basing his actions on the by-now rich history of rightist Republican leadership in House and Senate killing all that is decent in bills in conference, or by restoring on the floor the repressive amendments killed in committee.

    There is absolutely no substantive policy gain to be made if there are no guarantees that the bill will be gutted in this way, and certainly a huge political risk in being tied to a bill, supposedly passed with “bipartisan” support, that contains the very criminalization and border-wall components that sparked the demonstrations.

    How do you respond? Why are you blaming Reid rather than the right wing?

  57. Randy Paul Says:

    And I wish Tom Grey had the balls to comment on the Bush “punk-out” as regards the Darfur issue (blocking any sanctions of guilty officials) before he bores us with his usual blather.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve mentioned that in response to his unfounded insistence on blaming this on the left.

    It’s been met with dead silence, btw.

  58. reg Says:

    *you know very well the reason why i connected you to “stalinist”.*

    I do…and I stated it.

  59. reg Says:

    neid – nobody – other than maybe Woody, who’s a poster child for bad ideas – is talking about deporting 12 million people. I’ve said many times that I support legalizing working families who’ve got some roots here. And Tamar Jacoby – a spokesperson for a libertarian think tank – has proposed the solution to controlling employment of additional illegal workers – an electronic “social security” card that could quickly and easily establish status. And hard sanctions against employers who don’t comply. Where there’s a cash economy – yard work, casual labor, etc. – the hell with it. Who cares ? Nothing related to labor law is enforceable in that grey market economy anyway – it really is the libertarian’s dream world, so let it stand. If you think this is “stalinist”, you are so far off the deep end of political thought that you’re not worth engaging. I think the fact that you keep posting the link to that Berlin Wall contraption with and “everybody’s happy” tag line points to that conclusion. How about “Everybody’s Happy” posted over the checkpoints, with a special “Arbeit Macht Frei!” corridor for the guest workers that Marc and Tamar and the GOPers want to incorporate into our system ?

    In any event, try this next time you want to post some stupid link that’s too goddam long:

    http://tinyurl.com/

  60. patrick neid Says:

    reg,

    thanks for the link to tinyurl.

    this from my original post sometime back in march where i used the stalinist term:

    —– go after the companies that employ the illegals? send the illegals back? penalize the ones that stay?

    we are all dreaming. i have lived in california for 30 years. thousands, and i mean thousands, of small businesses hire and use millions of illegals everyday. trust me, short of a new black booted gestapo they are staying employed. any law passed to enforce some sort of penalty will probably never make it out of the court system. think prop 187 etc. so stop pulling your own chain thinking some legislation out of washington is going to change anything on the ground. send them back? assuming we could get the authority to do it (this too will sit in the courts until we are the new, new mexico) the police, national guard or military etc will not do it short of becoming some new SS. even the criminals that we should be deporting will just walk back in, led by their favorite coyote for $3,000, unless we have a fence from san diego to brownsville. 10-15 million well organized people-and they are very organized, are staying. so get over it. part of the solution is to stop adding to the size of the group. we have to build a fence before we contemplate any other measures. don’t listen to anyone who says fences do not work. they have other agendas they are not willing to discuss. ie vincente fox, among others, is against the fence

    15 million illegals are easy to assimilate over twenty years–and guess what, despite the headlines, they want to be assimilated. but it can only work if no more are added to the mix. the folks that think the 15 million illegals are going anywhere are simply delusional. we let them in and now they are here for good. there are no laws, past , current or in the future that are going to change that. no doubt, there will be folks who get on soapboxes and pretend to write new legislation to solve the problem. the sooner we all act like adults and realists the sooner this divisive issue can be put behind us. do any of you actually think that the illegals are going to be rounded up and sent back to mexico etc? do you think funding is going to be cut to cities who harbor them? you have to be kidding. the bong smoke is clouding your vision.
    the absolute best that we can accomplish within current law is to build a fence so the problem doesn’t get any bigger. a fence is cheaper and more efficient than salaried border patrols in the long run. this fence will work.

    http://www.weneedafence.com/images/Fence_Idea.jpg

    after that, then we can deport the bad guys during a 10-year green card period on the way to their citizenship. that’s right, their citizenship. 15 million people are not going to continue to live here as second class illegals forever without bringing the whole country down. why? because as certain as the sun comes up in the morning, 15 million will be 30 million in 25 years without a fence. we need to get our arms around these kinds of numbers. when barbara jordon put her immigration committee together in 1990 there were two million illegals. we need to seal the border and make them citizens just like the irish, italians, germans, jews etc who came before them. the fact that they got here illegally is irrelevant. they are here, get over it. they are not going to sign up for any two step convoluted green card, maybe you will- maybe you won’t, get at the end of the line samba dance. we are not going to collect any back taxes based on real/imaginary cash transactions from folks who have barely two nickels to rub together. it will cost more to collect it. the hatred and resentment it will engender will be long lasting –not to mention the crime and violence. we might be able to get a very small citizenship fee. that will pay for the fence.

    i’ll make a prediction. if a secure fence is not erected at this time we will have this circle jerk again in twenty years and the number then will be 30 million along with their 25 million children who will be citizens. then the problem will be this

    http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4786/105/1600/Aztlan.jpg

    not because of some dark conspiracy but because of differing birthrates. we need to start seeing the world as it is, not as we hope it would be.

    riddle me this……… you folks who hide behind the thin veneer of “but its illegal”…..

    who broke the bigger law? the folks who risked life and limb to get here or the politicians/bureaucrats who failed to enforce the state and federal laws to protect and seal the borders? conference after conference, committee after committee since the 70’s recommended closing the border with a fence. it was left open. we need to get past this “illegal” designation. they are here and they are staying. no amount of convoluted gestapo, stalinist, nativist jib jab from the left or the right is going to change that. remember, 15 million are really over 40 million when you throw in their supporters and the larger hispanic community in general. start getting serious. the idea that the newly unemployed “illegals” you would create, with these new ridiculous remedies, are going to go home in numbers is absurd. the part we are not getting is this– it’s their country now. millions of them already have their own small businesses, families, homes etc.

    ————————————————-
    i think an honest reading of the above addresses the yelling that is taking place on both the left and right regarding the mix of solutions that we are hearing. by not enforcing laws that were written over the last forty years has given rise to a very large economy employing illegals. attempting to clamp down on a system so large, 10-15 million people, will have to be stalinist in approach. there would be millions of unemployed just for starters. to the people on the right who are talking about felon status/deportation etc that would take gestapo like actions.

    obviously you don’t want a fence. ok. i do along with virtually everyone that lives at the border. while you try to enforce your laws over the next several years 10,000 per week will keep on coming. just think when you get your system set up you will always have people to process. since i wrote that post on march 17th events i predicted are already happening. the largest organized marches have already taken place with more to come tommorrow. cities have already announced they will not enforce any laws past or future to penalize employers or illegals and the two step convoluted senate plan has crashed and burned. as luck would have it all the columnists i sent it to are talking up the fence first option. i admit, all the senators i sent it to told me to f’k off. otherwise not bad for a beginner.

    i want a fence and then citizenship for all. no questions asked after a background check. no fines, no back taxes, and a 10 year green card. all bad guys deported. i am just sorry to say that despite your best intentions–”enforce the laws” is just code for do nothing. perhaps not for you but certainly for the last forty years.

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