Senate announces bipartisan immigration deal
Here it is folks. It is still in infancy. President Obama will announce his plan on Tuesday which is supposedly more liberal than the Senate version.
The gang of 8 includes:
The Gang of Eight senators who formally introduced the proposal include Democrat Sens. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Bob Menendez (N.J.) and Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), who couldn’t attend.
I seem to be missing 2 senators. Senator Flake of AZ and Senator Bennett of Colorado are also part of the gang of 8.
These senators seem clearly united that this bill will not be like the one in 1986 that was passed nor the one in 2007 which did a swan-dive in defeat.
Granted, immigration is a problem in the United States, for a number of reasons. No one denies that it is a devisive issue. Also problematic for the Republicans is the fact they cannot get the number of Hispanic votes needed at the national level. What I am trying to figure out is how you get Republicans to change their minds about the entire topic of immigration. I keep hearing from national leaders that the Republicans must make room in the tent for immigrants, in particular, Hispanics. How do you make room for people when some are unwilling to reject the notion of hostility toward illegal immigrants? I see cognitive dissonance all over this one. Leadership is asking people to believe something they don’t believe. They are also asking Hispanics to embrace a political party where many of its members openly dislike them.
We can’t just throw off our anti-immigration clothes and put on welcome clothing. Perhaps people here in Prince William County are more keenly aware of this fact than the rest of the nation. Remember though, we went through one of the toughest immigration battles of any place in the United States.
“The Resolution,” when first introduced, proposed denial of services to any immigrant who could not prove legal presence. This denial of services at first included schools, library use, parks and swimming pool use, etc. The intent was to basically run illegal immigrants out of town. It was a very draconian resolution that was altered many times as local leaders discovered what they could and could not do legally.
Perhaps the most distressing part of our immigration battle was the tone in local government that seeped, no, gushed out into the community and made the county legitimatize blatant prejudice. (see Elena’s presentation to the BOCS) People were emboldened to speak publicly about “varmints,” “brown faces at the bus stop,”" being scared of Mexicans,” and other types of speech that clearly pointed out the “otherness” of people of Hispanic backgrounds. Just the use of the word “illegals” gained common place in our vocabulary. Every once in a while folks would act like they were talking about all illegal immigrants from various nations but soon they dropped the facade and went back to directing their ire towards those of Hispanic background, because that is who they saw in their every day lives.
How do we go from a county where the chairman of the county board of supervisors calls for an all out war on illegal immigration such as Corey Stewart did just a few short years ago, to a county that welcomes all Latinos and attempts to make Prince William County a good place to live work and play for all? (and vote Republican?)
I don’t know how one makes that transformation. THE RESOLUTION was introduced in July 2007. The county was still fighting over it in 2008. What those who banged the drum of war the loudest could never understand was that the immigrant community rarely distinguished between legal vs illegal. To them, people were people and immigration status wasn’t particularly important to them as it was to those who took a strong stand against illegal immigrants. Local attempts to pit legal immigrants against illegal immigrants fell flat.
It will be interesting to watch Corey try to side-step his anti immigration past. Was it just 2 years ago, before he saw that the national tide had turned, that he was on national TV trying to get a young man’s head on a platter for killing a nun? It was a drunk driving accident and a tragic one at that. However, Stewart saddled up the “illegal” horse and left the drunk driving horse back at the stable. The habitual offender horse was left back at the stables also, apparently, since the county still was rampaging about denying substance abuse services to inmates and county residents who were illegal immigrants. Go figure.
It will be interesting to see the specific proposals and to compare the Senate plan with President Obama’s plan. I vote for the plan that has the best chance of passing that includes the Dream Act. Punishing kids is absurd. We need bright young educated workers. Illegal can be changed to legal with the wave of a ball point pen.