When 'Progressive' Does Not Equal Pro-Migrant

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Much ado has been made over McCain's "flip-flop" on migration.  Mainstream progressive bloggers used to call migration a "pet issue" that wasn't worth blogging about.  It used to be a monumental struggle for bloggers like myself to get people to pay attention to migration policy.  Policy that I felt would not only define the future of the United States, but the future of the entire hemisphere, maybe even the world, for centuries to come.

It's hard to believe how far we've gotten since then.
Now, not a day goes by where Media Matters forgets to remind us that McCain has changed his stance on migration.  Alternet, led by Joshua Holland, has it's own special migration section, and Firedoglake has brought on David Neiwart to blog mainly on migration. 

Pro-migrant bloggers like myself, and Latino bloggers have united to create the community blog, The Sanctuary, which was recently contacted by CNN after the presidential candidates failed to answer a questionnaire we put out.  These are all good developments.  The SanctuarySphere is alive and growing. 

Still, as migration has moved from a "pet issue" to something most progressive bloggers familiar with, a tension is emerging between the pro-migrant stance and the progressive stance.  The mainstream progressive blogosphere, led by blogs such as Daily Kos, Open Left, MyDD, and Firedoglake, exists to elect "more and better Democrats" as has been stated over and over again.  My mission as a pro-migrant blogger, by contrast, is to advance the cause of migrant justice.  At times these goals overlap, but not always.

The issue of how to treat McCain is a primary example.  As a migrant advocate, my job is not to deride McCain for "flip-flopping", but to rebuke him when he sells out migrants, and to praise him when he advances the migrant cause.  In fact, the only political power that migrant advocates have in a national two-party system, is when they are able play the two major parties off of each other.

Despite the fact that McCain "flip-flopped" on migration his selection as the presumptive Republican nominee has been a very good thing for migrants.  You see, people forget that there is a subset of Democrats that are very anti-migrant. 

As McCain was battling for the Republican nomination, Democrat congressman from North Carolina, Heath Shuler, was pushing the very anti-migrant SAVE Act.  If Mitt Romney or Tom Tancredo had been selected as the Republican nominees, Democrats would have had no qualm with pushing the SAVE Act forward because migrant advocates like myself would have nowhere to run.  We'd be forced to elect a Democrat anyway.

Even with the relatively pro-migrant McCain at the forefront of the Republican party, according to a recent Politico article, "House and Senate Democrats have been outbidding the White House on spending for immigration enforcement".  Where was the mainstream progressive blogosphere when that article came out? 

It's like I said, 'Progressive' does not always mean pro-migrant. 

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nezua said:

great post, hermano. so true.

did you know? two of our Sanctuary reps spoke to CNN today! two different CNN shows, too. they called us numerous times.

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

Sweetness! Can't wait to see how it goes. Also got covered in the Wall Street Journal.

Dave Gorak said:

What is an "advocate for migrants"? Is that the same as being an apologist for illegals,i.e., undermining the rule of law and disrespecting the sovereignty of the American people?

Does it include advocating that American-born working poor compete with foreigners, many of them here illegally, for jobs rightfully theirs?

Dave Gorak
Executive director
Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration
LaValle, WI

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

Aah the FAIR / NumbersUSA / ALIPAC surrogates come out of the woodwork,

I appreciate you leaving a comment here Dave Gorak, but this is not a space where anyone affiliated with those organizations is welcome. If you truly would like to debate migration policy and try to come to some real solutions that aren't "deport them all", or "attrition through enforcement", then you're welcome to stay.

If not I suggest you comment elsewhere. The fact that you refer to human beings as illegals (illegal is not a noun) certainly doesn't bode well for you. There are plenty of online forums overrun by nativism that you are welcome at. Citizen Orange is not one of them.

Nice post, Kyle.

It's a good place to be in when the candidates are flipping toward more positive and proactive approaches to immigration reform- we can only hope these are sincere and will lead to concrete, humane fixes to our broken system in the first 100 days. Thanks for this perspective.

Keep on,


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This page contains a single entry by kyledeb published on July 14, 2008 3:37 PM.

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