U.S. Immigration Reform: February 2008 Archives

I was excited to find out over the weekend that David Neiwart, through his own blog and a cross-post on Firedoglake linked to me and others in the pro-migrant blogosphere in the last post of his three-part series on immigration:

The blogosphere can have a role in this change as well. There is a wealth of blogs out there dealing with immigration and Latino issues on a regular basis, and many of them feature not just important perspectives that need to be part of the conversation, but compelling and powerful writing as well. A sampling: Migra Matters, Latina Lista, Matt Ortega,Immigration Prof Blog, The Silence of our Friends, Citizen Orange, The Unapologetic Mexican ... well, the list is long, and this one is certainly incomplete. But you get the idea.

I encourage you to use my blogroll on the right to complete that list, but now that he's finished his series I thought I'd use it as an opportunity to insert my own commentary, and hopefully build or hone on what was a massive and ambitious undertaking for Neiwart.

With xenophobia and anti-immigrant bias reaching record highs these days, the crackdown on illegal immigrants is underway.  This has left many agricultural employers, many of whom rely heavily on undocumented workers, wondering how they're going to get their crops picked in the narrow window of time they have for the harvest.  

Growers like workers without papers because they're more easily exploited: they don't have to pay them as much, there are no worker protection laws and the workers cannot complain about any of it.  But the Bush Administration doesn't like growers to hire undocumented workers because of the political fallout.  So what's a poor heartless conservative thug to do?   At the end of his infamous reign, King George has a proposal: help the growers get workers nearly as easily exploitable as undocumented workers but in a perfectly legal, government-sanctioned way.  How?  Through overhauling the H-2A agricultural guestworker program. 

Seeing Clinton's persistent lead in the polls among Latin@ voters, and drawing criticism from some initially sympathetic sources for lackluster outreach efforts, the Obama campaign decided last week after Super Tuesday to guest blog on Marisa TreviƱo's site, Latina Lista.  The takeaway line for me is in the second paragraph below:

I also know that for women of all backgrounds, keeping their families together is a top priority. It is no secret that Latino families are being separated from their families every day in this country because of raids and deportation policies that do not take family and humanity into account when trying to enforce laws.
 

That's why when I'm President, I will put comprehensive immigration reform back on the nation's agenda during my first year in office, and I will not rest until it is passed once and for all.

I will take that as a campaign promise to work during his first year to enact comprehensive immigration reform, and I hope migrants and migrant advocates hold him to it. 

Under the assumptions that (a) a Democrat will win the White House this year and (b) that whoever is crowned the "winner" by the media after Super Tuesday will be the Democratic nominee (this second assumption may be on shakier ground than the first), tomorrow's primary election in selected states might be more important than the November general election. 

So from a pro-migrant, progressive perspective, which of the two leading Democratic candidates is preferable on the issue of immigration?  This blogger concludes that Obama--though far from perfect--is the better candidate for migrants.

Update: [Well, my assumption that Super Tuesday would be the end of the Democratic primary race was quite ill-informed.  I hope the rest of my observations hold up a little better.]