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Thursday, October 25, 2007

To my Lou Dobbs Democrat friends

In last election cycle one of things we kept hearing about was the rise of a new demographic, the "Lou Dobbs Democrat." Dems, who for one reason or the other found Lou's mix of protectionism and reactionary populism appealing. Taking up the anti-"illegal" immigrant mantra of the right, our Lou Dobbs Democratic friends like to wrap their enforcement-only positions in the trappings of labor politics. ….they just want to protect American jobs and workers.

Most, if not all, opposed any attempt at forging a comprehensive plan for reforming our failing immigration system, and many in fact favored the strict and punitive legislation introduced by the Nativist Right. Just yesterday they were joining in the chorus of those claiming that the DREAM Act, a bill that would have provided thousands of undocumented kids the chance to earn a legal place in society, was nothing more that another "amnesty" from the far left.

But now today, they must come face to face with reality. Their longtime allies on the right who have opposed any meaningful reform, and instead call for harsher penalties and stricter enforcement, are planning on stabbing them in the back.

The very architect of the most punitive of any immigration legislation passed so far is about to give it one more try.

James Sensenbrenner plans on reintroducing the House bill that started the whole immigration debate almost two years ago. When originally passed, HR4437 caused such controversy that millions took to the streets to oppose it.

Of course at the time, Lou Dobbs and his new Lou Dobbs Democratic allies cheered the bill. It would, they said, restore the rule of law, and secure our borders …and of course protect the jobs of US workers and the middle class.

But now our wayward Democratic friends are about to learn a harsh lesson in reality. Sennsenbrenner has slightly modified the bill in two very import ways:

The first is to readjust the census so that only citizens are counted. This of course will cause redistricting and the loss of Democratic congressional seats in the areas that have heavy legal immigrant populations (legal permanent residents)…and where will those seats be lost for the most part? Blue states of course, the Northeast, California, Illinois, and most important of all, the emerging blue areas of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.

And what else does Mr Sensenbrenner add to his new bill?....oh yeah, he doubles the number of H1b guestworkers allowed into the country to work in high-skilled jobs.

That's correct…those who have argued all along against guestworkes, and particularly H1B, high-skilled guestworkers, now think that we really do need them ….you know ..to do those jobs US computer programmers and electrical engineers won't do.

Become an Original Cosponsor of the Border Enforcement, Employment Verification, and Illegal Immigration Control Act

Dear Colleague:



In 2005, I introduced H.R. 4437, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act. This bill put immigration reform on the national agenda. Although the bill passed the House by a vote of 239-182, the Senate failed to act on it.

My constituents have made clear to me that immigration is a pressing issue. In fact, they recently rated it as the biggest threat to our national security. Although some in the House may have given up on immigration reform, we cannot afford to sweep this problem under the rug. It is in this vein that I again attempt to raise awareness of the serious problem that Americans face.

Next week I will introduce new immigration legislation. My new bill offers real solutions to end illegal immigration by securing our nation’s borders and cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants. Many of the provisions in the new bill received bipartisan support in the 109th Congress.

The Border Enforcement, Employment Verification, and Illegal Immigration Control Act requires DHS to gain operational control over U.S. borders through the deployment of physical infrastructure, additional surveillance coverage and more effective deployment of personnel. This bill will help restore the integrity of our Nation’s borders and re-establish respect for our laws by holding violators accountable, including human traffickers, employers who hire illegal immigrants, and alien gang members who terrorize communities throughout the country.

I believe that the new legislation contains improvements over H.R. 4437. For example, it does not make illegal presence a felony. It authorizes $300 million annually in grants to states and localities for procurement of necessary items to facilitate their assistance in enforcing the immigration laws. It changes the census count to only include U.S. citizens, not those with work visas or “green cards” and those who entered the U.S. illegally, and it doubles the number of H1-B visas for skilled workers from 65,000 to 130,000.

I hope you will join me in sponsoring the Border Enforcement, Employment Verification, and Illegal Immigration Control Act to ensure that we secure our borders and turn off the job magnet that attracts illegal immigrants across the border. Please contact Michael Lenn at michael.lenn@mail.house.gov if you have questions regarding this legislation or wish to add your name as an original cosponsor.



Sincerely,
F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.
Member of Congress


So to my friends in the Programmer Guild and the IEEE who fought tooth and nail to kill meaningful immigration reform I say …good job there folks.

To our New-Democrat Netroots champions who sided every time with the right on immigration issues claiming they were protecting US workers I say ….way to go.

To our centrist DLC Democratic leadership who see immigration as "the third rail of politics" and don't want to touch it, I say …hope that redistricting works out OK for you

And to all my Lou Dobbs Democrat friends I say …job well done. Perhaps this time when millions of "illegal aliens" pour into the streets to oppose Sensnebrenner's new bill, maybe you'll be there right with them chanting si se puede.

5 comments:

RightDemocrat said...

Dobbs has raised a lot of valid points about the economic impact of illegal aliens and loss of American jobs through "free trade" politics. There is a constituency for his message which is populism. Millions of Americans are populists and could easily be the critical swing vote in 2008.

Duke1676 said...

Herein lies the difference:

Those who claim to be "populists' see the problems caused by free-trade, globalization, the shifting concentration of wealth from the middle up, a lack of regulation of business, and a government that seems to serves only to enrich the ruling classes ....and somehow reach the conclusion that these problems are somehow related or caused by the influx of economic migrants.

Progressives, on the other hand, see the exact same situation and reach the conclusion that these problems are the very causes of the influx of economic migrants .... because the effects of these policies have the same effects on the sender nations as they do here...only magnified:

1. the sender nations started with smaller middle classes to start with so they have been more quickly destroyed

2. the sender nations have smaller economies so the effects of globalization or more quickly felt

3. the sender nations started with economies that were already weighted heavily towards the ruling classses, so this wealth shifts have had more devastating effects.

4. the sender nations already had more lax regulation of business and more monopolistic economies.

5. the sender nations already had governments more controlled by business interests and economic elites.

We realize that the unbridled global capitalism that is currently fueling the shift to a two-tiered economy here in the US is going on all over the world, and to attack the victims of this unbridled global capitalism will do nothing to change the current paradigm.

The answer is to change the policies and those who advocate them ...not blame the victims.

But as long as Lou can tie the destruction of the middle class to some imaginary brown invasion, bringing crime and disease, intent on re-conquering lost lands ...the average American will never really do what is necessary to change the current situation ....but instead lash out against those least able to defend themselves .... but somehow I think he, and his corporate sponsors, already know that.

It's all smoke and mirrors, and unfortunately too many Americans are all to willing to fall for it, proudly calling themselves "populists"

yave said...

Duke, I agree with your post but less so with your follow-up comment.

I think the economic picture is more complicated than the one you've painted. Yes, there are structural flaws with the global economic system that perpetuate poverty and inequality. The magical "market" is largely a legal construction that favors the wealthy and powerful.

But I just don't think that restricting the flow of labor, capital, goods, or services is going to make the situation better. Yes, get rid of farm subsidies. Yes, get rid of corporate welfare. Make the tax system more fair. Provide affordable universal health insurance and more family-friendly work laws. Work to include labor and environmental standards in trade agreements. Stop subsidizing foreign food aid that drives local farmers out of business. Increase targeted, smart foreign aid of the kind that CARE or PATH or the Gates Foundation deliver.

But also work within the multilateral frameworks established within NAFTA and the WTO. Work with the UN, not against it. Work to improve the policies of the IMF and the World Bank, not to get rid of those institutions. We need more institutions to bind countries together and consequently allow people to move more freely between and among them. The EU is a good model for this.

Something I learned today: after the accession of Portugal, Spain, and Greece to the EC in the 1970s, Portuguese, Spanish, and Greek migration increased--but with a net inflow coming back to the sending countries. That is, joining the EC helped those three countries become prosperous enough that emigrants were able to return home. This seems like an approach we could benefit from.

Duke1676 said...

"Yes, get rid of farm subsidies. Yes, get rid of corporate welfare. Make the tax system more fair. Provide affordable universal health insurance and more family-friendly work laws. Work to include labor and environmental standards in trade agreements. Stop subsidizing foreign food aid that drives local farmers out of business. Increase targeted, smart foreign aid of the kind that CARE or PATH or the Gates Foundation deliver.

But also work within the multilateral frameworks established within NAFTA and the WTO. Work with the UN, not against it. Work to improve the policies of the IMF and the World Bank, not to get rid of those institutions. We need more institutions to bind countries together and consequently allow people to move more freely between and among them. The EU is a good model for this."


For the most part I can agree with this statement. But the question would be...exactly where do we find any leadership in Washington voicing these kinds of ideas? Very few seem willing to examine any of those issues seriously.

Additionally as to NAFTA, WTO etc...there seem to be only two camps right now...get rid of these treaties and institutions completely or just leave it as it is, or even keep expanding them...neither of these seem to me to be the right answer.

NAFTA has created unexpected problems both here and abroad, as have other free trade policies. Yet those who favor these policies seem unwilling to honestly examine those problems and try to come up with solutions, instead they say "just be patient, it'll all shake out OK in the end .. trust us."

Perhaps you are correct and the entire system is not terminally ill, calling for systemic change...but if that's the case can't we at least ask our leadership to treat these problems symptomatically as you have suggested? Because I have yet to hear anyone in control offering that approach in any meaningful way.

The Watchman said...

CNN will never curtail the xenophobia and racism pervasive on the Lou Dobbs show until more Americans express our disapproval of Lou Dobb's antics by boycotting Lou Dobb's advertisers!
www.boycottdobbs.org