Republicans Kill the “DREAM”‘ and Now Will Pay the Consequences

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    Other than Bill Kristol’s flailing, incoherent idiocy, I agree with all the commentators on this one: the Republicans (and 5 Democrats) who voted down the DREAM Act yesterday made a huge mistake, both morally and politically, and deserve to pay a major price for it in 2012 and well beyond. So much for the “Party of Lincoln.” So much, for that matter, for the the Party of Ronald Reagan, who signed a law which “legalized 2.8 million undocumented workers.”  Reagan also said proudly that people “from any corner of the world, can come to live in the United States and become an American.” And, Reagan added:

    It makes one wonder about the illegal alien fuss. Are great numbers of our unemployed really victims of the illegal alien invasion or are those illegal tourists actually doing work our own people won’t do?” Reagan asked. “One thing is certain in this hungry world; no regulation or law should be allowed if it results in crops rotting in the fields for lack of harvesters.”

    Or how about the Party of George W. Bush, who said:

    Latinos come to the US to seek the same dreams that have inspired millions of others: they want a better life for their children. Family values do not stop at the Rio Grande. Latinos enrich our country with faith in God, a strong ethic of work, community & responsibility. We can all learn from the strength, solidarity, & values of Latinos. Immigration is not a problem to be solved, it is the sign of a successful nation. New Americans are to be welcomed as neighbors and not to be feared as strangers.

    What happened to the party of Lincoln, Reagan, and even George W. Bush when it comes to immigration, when it comes to Latinos who come to America “seek[ing] the same dreams that have inspired millions of others?” Sadly, that party is toast, with the once proud GOP now taken over by a bunch of xenophobes, yahoos, ignoramuses and demagogues like Sarah Palin, Mitch McConnell, John BONer, Eric Can’tor, and John McCain. It’s utterly pathetic, and Republicans richly deserve to pay the political consequences for their anti-Latino intolerance.

    • Mike1987

      The numbers don’t appear to support this… yet.  In AZ for example, there are fewer who vote than could and you see what has happened.  You see some loon in Chicago running for mayor (long shot though) claiming Hispanics, Asians, Women should not be counted as minorities (the theory of few resources), the entire southwest does not have the representation that it could.  2 Democrats state legislators (Latinos) just moved over to the thug party giving the Texas house a “super majority”.  Latinos have yet to get their voice and it is not yet as effective. But should you combine African Americans, Women, Gays, Asians, and Latinos; you have a force to be reckoned with.

    • scott_r

      I’m saddened that this issue is starting to wedge people on the left as well…it is splitting the right down the middle..they are breaking apart on the incoherence and inconsistency of their own ideological policy preferences, and those of us who endorse a progressive economic agenda for all Americans, not just the rich, need to make sure we don’t leave any tricks on the table.

      The current policy is – has been since before the ’86 amnesty (a one-time patch, not a fundamental fix) – very deliberately and conveniently broken – in a way that benefits the ‘winners’ in our economy, while further tilting the playing field against everyone else.  It’s yet another take on Anatole France, “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread.”

      Sure, illegal workers – the undocumented – are doing jobs “Americans won’t do” for the wages being offered.  Undocumented workers are not in a position to negotiate for better wages and conditions – they are entirely at the mercy of employers – and – no surprise – this undercuts the negotiating power of legal, documented workers.  The current status provides a ready pool of completely disenfranchised workers – near slave labor – while simultaneously radically undercutting free labor.

      Politicians who really represent those with a desire for the status-quo (the rich) work hard to divert the political discontent over the broken policy by maintaining two canards:

      1) Stoking a convenient (and unsurprising) xenophobia against “the other”, insisting that the blame rests primarily on immigrants who won’t play by the rules (as if it were possible to immigrate to the US easily by simply following the rules), rather than apportioning blame to the employers who also won’t play by the rules and hire undocumented workers.

      2) Pretending that we can address the problem of the demand for low-skill, low-wage workers by simply blocking the flow at the border, while directing a lot of the public treasury into the pockets of the “interdiction” industry (think of the border fence contracts!).

      The GOP (should you still maintain any illusions after the Tax Deal) are concerned about nothing, more than very short term profit outlook, and that means continued economic warfare (wage deflation) against everyone but the top 2%.  They care not a whit about the deficit, or people playing by the rules, or any of the rest of the noise they throw up.  They care only about how much their next quarterly check to the IRS is for.  

      It’s patently obvious if you even skim the infamous Arizona SB1070 – gestapo-like tactics for undocumented workers, but mild wrist-slaps for businesses – and the latter provisions are likely to be tossed after current court challenges.  

      This GOP legislation (not even really produced by Arizona legislators but by business-funded right-wing think tanks) exemplifies the type of non-answer policies which only up the ante at every level which they offer.

      If we allow working-class democrats to be split from us on this issue, and fail to communicate that their own interests are aligned with the interests of other workers (legalized, documented workers!), then we’ll lose on this issue in a big way too.

      We need to remember what the political results of Prop. 187 were in California – this is a shot at having the GOP repeat that suicide on a national level.  

      As a purely political issue, I hope we club the GOP to death with this vote.  I couldn’t stand just about anything about the Shrub, but he was right and he was fairly brave in putting this issue out there.  The GOP was too stupid and too insistent on stoking their xenophobic “base” to play along with him, and once again, like the Whigs (19th century Federalist-Republicans) and No-Nothings (1850s Tea Party), the GOP will be eclipsed by the future and changes in demography.  It will be a shame if we allow fear of losing socially reactionary “Reagan Democrats” to keep from pushing ahead on this issue.  Xenophobic ‘democrats’ have already joined the Teahadist brigades, but we need to work to make the rest understand that real enforcement against employers, coupled with pragmatic legitimization of the numbers of workers we need to keep our economy going is needed.  After the boomers retire, we start to see a real contraction in the work force.  There is a demand for skilled and unskilled workers.

      To that end, we need to recognize that attending college is as legitimate as service in the armed forces.  We also should recognize that as a practical matter, the only way to equalize the playing field with regard to wages is to create a situation where the costs to business for all workers is the same – that means tough enforcement and stiff penalties against businesses who hire the undocumented.  The lower the cost differential for a documented worker, the less likely businesses are to hire undocumented workers and the less undocumented will come here.  

      This is an issue worth working on for the long term – yes, it may hurt us right now, but it’s important to be on the right side of history! It will come around, within a decade.