U.S. Immigration Reform: September 2008 Archives

Will Coley of Aquifermedia has emailed me and asked me to highlight two of his latest videos in tandem with the fact that there are two pro-migrant bills in Congress for us to support. 
Aquifermedia's videos show very simply how to call your Congressperson and Senator in support of these bills, which might be useful for people that haven't done it before. 

The first bill is H.R. 1176, or the "Child Citizen Protection Act"Call your Congressperson in support of this bill.   Aquifermedia video on how to call your Congressperson:

The second bill is S. 3594, or the "Protect Citizens and Residents from Unlawful Raids and Detention Act".  Call your Senator in support of this billAquifermedia video on how to call your Senator. 

There is more below on each of this bills and why you should support them.
The Obama campaign responded to a comprehensive survey formulated by the editors of the Sanctuary on immigration policy and immigration reform.  The response in full can be found here

As far as McCain's response . . . still waiting for that . . . and waiting . . . and waiting . . .

Does anyone know what a McCain administration immigration policy would look like?  There is a lot of speculation, but nobody seems to know for sure. 

Meanwhile, the McCain campaign continues its blackout of discussion of immigration in the English-language press, while telling Jorge Ramos of Univision that he didn't vote for the border wall (false!) and that Obama opposed comprehensive reform (mentira!).  McCain seems to be hoping to keep the voting public in the dark about his plans long enough to get elected.  Then, who knows!

Update: I missed this excellent NYTimes editorial on the McCain ad from yesterday, more below. (end update)

Both the Washington Post and the NYTimes picked up the story of McCain's Spanish-language ad directed to key Western swing states with large Latin@ populations in which the McCain campaign accuses Obama of sabotaging comprehensive immigration reform.  While both articles introduced useful information about the story, the Post's discussion was ultimately more informative. 

Update: Alex Koppelman at Salon.com has weighed in on the McCain ad; full text below.  Also, New American Media's Henry Fernandez asks why McCain has changed his tune after earlier thanking Obama for supporting comprehensive reform. (End update.)

In case John McCain's misleading Spanish-language ad got lost in the weekend shuffle (perhaps accounting for its release late last week), here is the SF Chronicle's Joe Garofoli's take on it, with bonus quote from former INS Commissioner Doris Meissner.

The 30-second spot states that "Obama and his Congressional allies say they are on the side of immigrants. But are they? The press reports that their efforts were 'poison pills' that made immigration reform fail."

Not exactly. It was the lack of Republican support that killed immigration reform last time around.

Comrade Tyche Hendricks, who has written extensively on the U.S.-Mexico border for The Chronicle and (for an upcoming book), contacted Doris Meissner, who is a senior fellow at the non-partisan Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.

"I don't know that you can say 'poison pill' because things hadn't gotten far enough so that anything would actually rise to that level (of poisoning the bill's chances)," Meissner said.

"I know there were people who were disappointed by the amendment that Obama put in," Meissner said. "But it's disengenuous because at that point McCain had backed away from the bill, which he had sponsored the year before, and he was not to be found in the debate because it was dividing the Republican party in the Senate. It was the lack of Republican votes that sank the bill."

Indeed, McCain said at this GOP debate in January that he wouldn't vote for his own immigration bill:

[Cross-posted at the Sanctuary.]

Given that the mainstream press is picking up on McCain's pattern of misrepresentations and false assertions in this election campaign, will they notice this one?

McCain is now claiming that comprehensive reform died in the Senate last year because Obama killed it. Even the restrictionist-leaning Washington Times (which published a series of articles linking recent immigrants to the spread of disease) found this claim to be a bridge too far.

McCain is trying to attract the Latino vote that he needs to win in several key states. He must be hoping that the English-language press ignores the falsehoods found in this Spanish-language ad. But by opening discussion on a topic on which he is particularly vulnerable to charges of flip-floppery, he has inspired unlikely bedfellows like the WaTimes and America's Voice, one of the best-funded organizations pushing for comprehensive reform, which links to the WaTimes story on its front page. 

And it looks like the mainstream blogosphere, from which the mainstream press takes many of its cues, may not let this one slip by unnoticed--I saw this story originally on TalkingPointsMemo, linking to a McClatchy story pointing out that Obama and McCain voted on the same side in the key votes of the comprehensive reform battle in Congress. Now I see Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings has picked it up.

America's Voice (via Greg Siskind) has an effective rebuttal of the McCain ad:

David Bacon on Migration and Globalization

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Award-winning author and photojournalist David Bacon spoke here in D.C. last night at the AFL-CIO about his new book Illegal People: How globalization creates migration and criminalizes immigrants.

Bacon is emphasizing the need to frame the immigration debate in this country within its larger context (economic globalization).  It's globalization that is the cause of so many people having to migrate in the first place.  If earlier migrants (i.e. people already here in the U.S. whose families migrated in previous generations) understand the reason why people in other countries are having to come here now, I think we will be able to have a more rational debate about how to create more humane policies and reduce human suffering all around.  Globalization and immigration are different parts of the same story.  To speak of one without the other is to give only a partial telling of that story. 
Thumbnail image for immigrationchart2-copy.jpgReason magazine has a great chart (pdf) outlining wait times for citizenship under different scenarios (text version here (pdf)).

What you'll notice if you read the chart carefully is that for a large number of potential immigrants--certainly the majority of undocumented immigrants already here--there are simply no legal channels to immigrate. Wait times are irrelevant; such workers could wait till they're gray and still not get a visa because it is simply impossible.