Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Sensenbrenner testy over accusations of bigotry

While in San Diego to preside over the House Republican traveling immigration road show last week, Judiciary Chairmen James Sensenbrenner sat down with the San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board for an interview. The architect of the House's strict enforcement only immigration bill that bears his name, and a chief spokesman for the anti-immigration wing of the Republican Party, had an oft times contentious interview as he tried to justify his positions on immigration reform.

As Ruben Navarrette Jr. reported today in his op-ed piece, "Is this an anti-Mexican debate?" the Wisconsin Republican was "likable but not very impressive."

Having been one of the chief forces in trying to move the "immigration crisis" to the front burner of national political discourse, Sensenbrenner now claims that it is "just one of many issues,” and Republicans were unlikely to suffer a backlash from voters if they fail to get anything done on immigration this year. He further backpedaled stating that the best way to attack the issue now might be to scrap all the current legislation and “start with a clean piece of paper and put together a clean bill that is neither the House bill nor the Senate bill - and then make sure it passes.”

Yet, it was Sensenbrenner's exchange with Navarrette about charges of bigotry that prompted the most animated exchange of the interview:

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He was awfully thin-skinned when he talked – repeatedly – about “the name-calling . . . by a lot of the pro-immigrant advocates,” including officials of the Mexican government and protesters in Mexico City who, according to Sensenbrenner, have carried signs depicting him as a Nazi.

And he was evasive when I asked him about what he insisted was the major problem with the compromise plan offered by Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas. The plan rejects amnesty but provides guest workers for employers.

What concerns Sensenbrenner is that the plan “provides unlimited immigration from Mexico and Central America.” I asked him if that meant he'd like to see a return to the pre-1965 system when we had immigration quotas based on country of origin.

No, he insisted, he didn't support quotas, but he and some of his GOP colleagues did have concerns about an “immigration system heavily weighted toward Mexicans and Central Americans rather than people from other parts of the world.” Then, he tried to change the subject.

I pressed him on whether rhetoric like that fed the perception that Republicans are flirting with nativism or racism. If you say the problem is that there are too many Mexicans, I asked, then why isn't the conversation anti-Mexican?

He tried to change the subject again. “A lot of the conversation is anti-Mexican,” he said, “because the Mexican government is committing, at the very least, a sin of omission. It's to their advantage for people to go north so they don't have to educate them and provide. . . .”

“I'm not talking about the Mexican government,” I interrupted. “I'm talking about the tenor of the debate in this country . . . and when you say that what worries you about the Pence plan is that we could have unlimited migration from Mexico, if you're Mexican and you hear that, the response is: 'Well then, this is an anti-Mexican discussion. . . . ' ''

By now Sensenbrenner was agitated, but still not eager to answer the question. “Well, I can say that the Mexican government has been absolutely disingenuous in attacking me right from the very beginning. . . . ”

“If you don't want to answer the question, that's fine,” I said.

Then he went from agitated to angry. “Well,” he said, “the Mexican government, I'm sorry Ruben, has been responsible for that.”

He was talking about the ugliness of the debate. He's not the bad guy, he insisted.

“I have tried my darnedest to keep the debate on the issue and not get involved in race-baiting by anybody,” he said. “I'm trying to get a responsible immigration bill passed that treats with fairness Hispanics who wish to immigrate into the United States. . . . ”

Yet Sensenbrenner thinks it's fair to object to a proposed solution on the grounds that it would allow in too many Latinos, and then insists that he's not appealing to bigotry.

You could have fooled me.



Anonymous said...


Check out this website:

This is a California group that plans to make citizens arrests of "illegal", especially sickening is the section about how to ID said "illegals":

How to Recognize an Illegal/Thief

If they have Latino facial characteristics and they can’t speak English and

If they want to work and don’t have ID or have a Social Security Card.

If they drive an old truck or car which is not registered to a Hispanic Name or has an out of date license tag.

If they carry a short garden hose, used to siphon gas from your car at night.

If they carry their lunch in a plastic bag composed of stolen oranges and a burrito.

If they tell you they’re from Mexico and they don’t have “papers.”

If they are dirty and their clothes look like Goodwill items.

If only a small part of your brain is operational, you’ll know - Now you can tell the Cops - they are illegals.

Mariachi Mama

Duke1676 said...


that's got to be one of the scariest sites I've seen... it's so bad it seems like it could almost be a spoof... no one could be that far out there and not be under psychiatric care ... it reeks of some serious paranoia (not to mention hate, racism, and bigotry)