(Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III. Bless his heart. - promoted by countrycat)
Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States rejected Alabama's appeal to consider the state's 2011 "show me your papers" anti-immigration law, formally known as HB 56. As a refresher, Alabama's anti-immigrant law made international news for its Draconian "self-deportation" provisions, including targeting the immigration status of schoolchildren.
From a political, economic, and moral perspective, the Alabama law and its "self-deportation" vision are a demonstrated failure that should serve as a cautionary tale of how not to conduct immigration policy. Yet despite the widespreadcriticisms and negative attention received by the law, not everyone has learned the lessons from Alabama's failed "self-deportation" experiment. In fact, Alabama's very own Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) - an enthusiastic supporter of HB 56 - wants to bring the failures of Alabama's immigration approach to the nation. At the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, Senator Sessions welcomed his allies from the anti-immigrant movement: Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, the advisor behind Mitt Romney's "self-deportation" strategy and the author of the Arizona and Alabama "show me your papers" laws; and Mark Krikorian, head of the anti-immigrant think tank Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and the intellectual author of the "self-deportation" strategy. Evidently unaware that this strategy may well have cost Romney the election, Kobach went on to remind listeners that "self-deportation is not some radical idea. It is simply the idea that people may comply with the law by their own choice."
Said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice:
It's truly remarkable that after all the backlash from the failure of the 'self-deportation' approach in both the 2012 elections and in his home state, Sessions is still pursuing it as a matter of national policy. If immigration reform fails and the 'self-deportation' proponents win, the GOP can certainly thank Sen. Sessions and his anti-immigrant allies for sealing the deal with Latino voters - negatively - for a generation.
As New York Times editorial writer, Lawrence Downes, writes in a new blog post:
What's the deal with Alabama? Besides HB56, which tries hard to outdo Arizona's SB1070 as the nastiest state immigration law in the country (and in many ways succeeds), Alabama has a United States Senator, Jeff Sessions, who is among the loudest of the die-hards now doing all they can to block, stall or kill immigration reform in Congress.
Evidently, Senator Sessions wants to do for the people of America what his state's anti-immigrant law has done for the people of Alabama. It's up to the rest of the country to tell Senator Sessions 'no thanks.'
A lower court's ruling striking down most of Alabama's HB 56 law will stand, we learned when the Supreme Court announced it would not not hear the state's appeal to revive its worst-in-the-nation anti-immigrant law.
It was two years ago that Alabama passed HB 56, a horribly strict "self-deportation" law that chased immigrants out of the state, required K-12 schools to report on the immigration status of schoolchildren, deprived immigrants of legal protection and rights, decimated some of Alabama's key industries, and left crops rotting in the fields.
Last year, the Supreme Court dismantled most of SB 1070, the anti-immigrant law in Arizona that HB 56 took much of its inspiration from. A federal appeals court then struck down most of HB 56. Now the Supreme Court has decided not to hear further arguments on the case, effectively closing the history books on the failed experiment of HB 56 and similar anti-immigrant laws.
As Pulitzer Prize-winning Alabama columnist Joey Kennedy wrote this morning:
Alabama's overreaching, harsh immigration law can't get a break. And that's good, because HB 56 doesn't deserve a break. It deserves to stay broken.
Conceived to be cruel to decent people, this hateful law deserves everything it gets.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the leader of our Gang of Hate, has always been a strong supporter of HB 56 (he's a big fan of self-deportation in general). The closing of this law's chapter should serve as another warning to Sessions and other opponents of immigration reform that momentum is not with them. History is moving away from them, and an America that wants immigration reform will be quick to leave their ugly anti-immigrant politics behind.
Alabama Republicans are on an Obsessive Crusade. Top priority is protecting the potential lives of the potential babies of the actual women who live here. Since 2010, Alabama Lawmakers have introduced more than 40* bills that, if signed into Law, would:
1) prevent women from accessing basic reproductive care, birth control, and abortion services;
2) prohibit private companies from covering Ladypart procedures they don’t like; and
3)protect healthcare providers from covering and providing medication/services which "violate their conscience," including the use of birth control pills to treat ovarian cysts.
Bills that restrict women and their families from accessing family-planning services are bad news for (duh) women, families, babies, and children. In case you've been living under a rock, here are a few reasons why:
They restrict access to basic Ladyparts Care, especially for low-income women. Some of these bills prohibit State or Federal funds from going to organizations that provide abortions. So if a clinic provides any abortions (take Planned Parenthood: did you know 97% of services are not related to abortion?), it is not eligible to receive any public funds to provide cancer screenings, pap smears, low cost birth control, breast exams, treatment for vaginal yeast and bacterial infections, or STD tests and treatment.
Also, just in case a clinic scrapes together funds to stay open, the latest bill requires hospital regulations, like making all hallways at least 6 feet wide. Maybe Legislators don’t realize that our biggest organ – the baby organ - still fits inside our bodies? Huntsville’s clinic, Alabama Women’s Center, will probably shut down.
They prohibit private insurance policies from covering birth control or abortion. Because having Ladyparts means never having to say “I’m sorry… but it’s none of your GD business why my doctor prescribed hormone pills.” Recent bills allow employers the right to choose… whether or not their employees’ insurance policies cover “birth control” pills. So not only are potential persons prioritized over actual persons, so are nosey-ass business owners! Surprisingly (just kidding, I’m not surprised), only women’s sexual healthcare is a target; no word on when they’ll introduce a bill to prevent coverage of Erectile Dysfunction and Viagra/Cialis prescriptions.
Additional bills prohibit private health insurance companies from covering elective abortions -unless they require an additional premium for an extra plan with optional coverage of abortion. So in case you’re planning on getting pregnant and having an abortion, better buy that extra coverage! Because having an abortion is always part of the plan, am I right, ladies?
They define embryos and fetuses as Persons, a legal definition that can result in cases of women being arrested and prosecuted after miscarrying. It already has. More than once. Multiple bills refer to the "Personhood" of embryos and fetuses, which sponsors have said they hope will affect using in vitro fertilization because the souls of discarded embryos may burn in Hell forever. (Seriously. Click the link.)
They undermine doctors and women by interfering with treatment and requiring medically unnecessary, costly procedures, such as the Government-mandated Ladypart Probe. Some of the bills require waiting periods and medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds prior to abortions (Side effects include indignation, pain, cost of the Probe, and hopefully, an increased desire to have babies). Other bills require patients to attend a specific number of office visits, and physicians to describe the embryo/fetus and “counsel” patients on alternatives to abortion - just in case OBGYNs and their patients have no idea what they’re doing in the clinic on Abortion Day. How helpful! Unless you’re missing work for the appointments, don’t want to be probed or pay for a probe, or trust your OBGYN is more qualified than an Elected Official Who Allegedly Attended Community College and Thinks He Knows More About Practicing Medicine on Ladyparts Than Actual OBGYNs.
At least Alabama potential babies and children have widespread post-birth access to healthcare, government assistance, and education. Haha! Just kidding. Alabama Lawmakers have introduced bills to cut eligibility for TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), food stamps, and Medicaid, while simultaneously cutting Education budgets. Recent bills include eliminating eligibility for public assistance for adults who use drugs. I guess they think kids/babies of crackheads can fill out TANF forms on their own. Best I can tell, Elected Officials hope to increase the number of unwanted babies and prevent the most pitiful among them from accessing public assistance for food, shelter, and medicine. Republicans 1; Crackbabies 0. Hey, at least those kids will have a chance to suffer post-birth!
When women don’t have access to safe, legal abortion: Sometimes they die. Other times theyneed treatment for illegal botched abortions. Better case scenario: they'll live, as will their little unwanted baby, happily ever after, below the poverty level on government assistance – if they can still get it. So restricting women’s access to birth control and abortion may cost women their lives or health, and will probably cost Alabama taxpayers more money, but at least those potential babies were prioritized over actual Alabamians! But once you’re born, you're on your own. Don't worry, little Crackbabies, soon you'll be old enough to go to the privatized prisons.
Lasagna’s Tip of the Day: If you don’t believe in abortion, don’t get one.
* 2010 bills: SB49, HB39, SB335, SB365, SB361, SB457, SB366, SB312; 2011: HB573, HB557, HB558, SB308, SP298, SB281, SB201, HB18, HB178, SB46, SB322, HB41. 2011 bills: SB366, SB312, SB322, HB41; 2012 bills: SB27, HB739, HB418, HB223, SB6, SB12, SB20, SB96, HB112, SB5, SB10, HB375, SB105; 2013: SB205, SB130, HB57. This list does not include ALL bills relating to birth control and abortion, merely all the ones found in a brief online search at www.openbama.org (help yourself to look for more)
** Since 2010, 32 states have placed restrictions on abortion. Elected Officials in Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia (just to name a few) consider themselves entitled to make reproductive decisions on behalf of their constituents.
Taking a cue from their failed presidential nominee, the GOP establishment has decided to abruptly pivot on an important issue. The party that cheered for "empty the clip," "show me your papers," & "self deportation" has now seen the demographic handwriting on the wall. They want to "deal with immigration" and take the issue off the table in future elections.
That long, low howl of protest you hear is undoubtedly coming from Scott Beason.
...Obama carried the Latino vote by a 75-23 margin—more than the roughly 70-30 split indicated by the exit polls—with voter turnout in the demographic totaling a full 10 percent of the total vote.
According to Stanford University’s Gary Segura, the professor who conducted the poll, the Latino vote delivered 5.4 percent of President Obama’s vote total, considerably more than Obama’s final lead over his challenger in the popular vote.
And so now, the GOP flip-flopping is a breathtaking spectacle that would make Romney proud. Sean Hannity led off with the announcement that he had "evolved" on the issue. Evolution? Oh my....
Radio and television hotspur Sean Hannity — who for years has spit the word “amnesty” like an epithet — declared Thursday that he has “evolved” and now supports creating a “pathway” to citizenship for those already in the country illegally. [...] The Fox star put his animus toward the issue on display again and again. [...] He listened politely as right-wing virago Michelle Malkin suggested that Democrats wanted amnesty so they could “recruit more illegal aliens, so they can turn them into Democratic voters.”
But this sudden interest in a more moderate approach to immigration will face a good deal of pushback from the GOP base. They're already grumbling about it on right wing blogs like Redstate. For example:
The Tea Party tried working WITHIN the Republican party, it is time to go rogue and LEAVE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY in the DUST. THEY ARE THE Minority, not us. IT is time for MASSIVE CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE.
To those who preach moderation I say: look at the vibrant GOP in the Northeast part of the nation (and now California). Have you noticed moderate Scott Brown, incumbent, lost to the 1/32 Cherokee? Have you noticed that "the most electable" moderate Mitt Romney just got his (and our) butts whumped -- in an election that should have been a cake-walk for us?
We're not sure how this fight will play out, but one thing is certain. It will be delicious to watch:
“We’re going back to the party of Shogun-type dynasties, where the Tea Party has their coalition, and the moderates have their coalition, and it’s going to be a battle to see who comes out on top,” said Luis Alvarado, a Republican strategist in Los Angeles with expertise on Latino voting patterns.
And how will the Alabama GOP react if/when the national party abandons its "self deportation" stance? I can't wait to find out.
It's time to get past the name calling and get serious about reasonable immigration reform.
To that end, you don't want to miss "An Evening with Jose Antonio Vargas" at UAB Hill Center Alumni Auditorium on Tuesday, Oct. 30, from 7 until 9 p.m. The (free) event features a conversation with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas -- who is himself an undocumented immigrant -- about Alabama's immigration law and national immigration policy.
"I don't think we're having a conversation about human beings," Vargas said. "I think for the most part, we're having a lot of name calling, there's a lot of 'You're illegal, you're breaking the law, get out of here.'"
It's time to stop using immigration as a tool to gin up votes in election years and start working toward a reasonable, workable solution to this multi-faceted problem.
As so often happens when Senator Beason opens his mouth, he had no idea what he was talking about. As Bloomberg reports:
Republican state Senator Scott Beason, a sponsor, said at a news conference last year that the restrictions on undocumented workers would “put thousands of native Alabamians back in the work force.”
Instead, it caused a labor shortage that resulted in the importation of hundreds of legal African and Haitian refugees, and Puerto Ricans, according to interviews with workers, advocacy organizations and businesses. Most were recruited by the poultry industry, in a segment of the economy that has been a heavy employer of undocumented workers, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, a Washington research group. [...] Wayne Farms found Eritreans, displaced by war and conflict, and other Africans through East Coast Labor Solutions LLC, a Fairlea, West Virginia-based labor broker. East Coast has about 200 workers in Alabama, owner Ray Wiley said in an interview.
Most of these worker have landed in Albertville and I, for one, certainly hope that some of the African workers stay to open restaurants because Eritrean food is awesome!
But this article should raise a BIG red flag: these workers are being provided by "labor brokers" and the last time those guys were in the news, they were employing hapless "guest workers" in near sweatshop conditions in Huntsville at the Cinram DVD facility.
The workers are employed by Ambassador staffing agency. Ambassador distributed workers, upon arrival, among 20 local landlords. Circumstances varied greatly, but some workers reported paying as much as $300 per person per month to share a small, furnished apartment with three or more roommates.
In one case in November, The Times found four Jamaican women who paid a combined $1,200 a month for an apartment with busted plumbing and no heat that had rented for $450.
In February, the Fair Housing Center of Northern Alabama, a nonprofit agency based in Birmingham, and the NAACP began questioning housing for foreign workers in Huntsville.
Landlords "were charging some of the people $300 per bed," in "roach-infested" apartments, Jerry Burnet, chair of the state housing committee for the NAACP, told The Times last month. "They've got a little small bed, like you have in a barracks, and they were putting three in each room."
Wormsby said HUD opened the formal investigation after receiving the complaints gathered by the NAACP and the Fair Housing Center.
Remember though... compared to Gov. Mitt Romney's little paen to Chinese slave labor working conditions, Cinram was a real "worker's paradise." From his now-famous Q&A to wealthy supporters last Spring:
And they work in these huge factories, they made various uh, small appliances. And uh, as we were walking through this facility, seeing them work, the number of hours they worked per day, the pittance they earned, living in dormitories with uh, with little bathrooms at the end of maybe 10, 10 room, rooms. And the rooms they have 12 girls per room.
These types of working conditions are a feature, not a bug in the Republican plan for working Americans.
So I'd suggest that we give Senator Beason a nice little Bronx cheer for yet another of his "unintended consequences" to the immigration bill. He's managed to exchange one set of low wage workers who have little or no leverage or ability to demand fair wages & safe working conditions with another set. And yet... maybe it wasn't "unintended" after all!
On top of low wages, no benefits, and no legal right to unionize, these workers face the constant threat of deportation if they speak out against their employer. It is within this context that we must understand the crash that six months ago killed 11 farm workers, including 9 migrants from Peru, near the Canadian town of Waterloo. Since the accident there has been no government investigation into the transportation and living conditions of migrant farm workers in Canada and fleeting media coverage. Like South Africa, migrant farm workers in Canada live in isolated rural areas, often housed directly on the farms, where they often experience severe discrimination and racism.
Don't get me wrong: I'm thrilled that some of these refugees have a chance at building a better life in a stable community with a decent job. But we need to be vigilant and make sure that's actually the case. Because past history has shown us clearly that these desperate people are willing to accept low wages, terrible working conditions, and are ripe for exploitation.
Anybody want to explain how this is an improvement?
Yesterday, the state of Alabama filed a motion asking the full 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear arguments about the state's worst-in-the-nation anti-immigration law. The Alabama law, HB 56, made international news for targeting schoolchildren in an overzealous attempt to make their undocumented parents self-deport. Alabama's appeal comes after a three judge panel from the 11th Circuit ruled in August that major provisions of the law are unconstitutional, including one that the Montgomery Advertiserdescribes as:
requires students to provide documentation of their birth, either through a birth certificate or a sworn statement from parents as to the child's status. If the child or parents do not provide such documentation, the student is counted unlawfully present.
"Instead of turning its sights on Congress and pressing the need for comprehensive, federal immigration reform, Alabama's Republican leaders continue to double down on these mean-spirited policies, and waste taxpayer money on expensive lawsuits," said Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America's Voice.
In addition to continuing to challenge lawsuits brought to protect the Constitution from the state's overreach, a University of Alabama economist has estimated the price tag of the state's law to be a whopping $11 billion. This doesn't even get into the intangible costs to Alabama's reputation across the nation and the world, as the immigration debate there becomes a new expression of the state's ugly history on civil rights.
We are filing this based on principle. As the governor of Alabama, I have a duty to uphold and defend Alabama law. Federal courts should not restrain state governments in a way that is contrary to the U.S. Constitution.
The courts have already spoken and said that these provisions of Alabama's law are unconstitutional. It seems the only 'principle' Governor Bentley is fighting to uphold is the right to ask children for their papers. Is that really the type of country we want to be?
According to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the answer is "yes." Alabama's law was written by Romney immigration advisor Kris Kobach, and is based on the same strategy of "self-deportation" that Romney has embraced since the Republican primary. This policy was reflected in the GOP platform at the Republican convention last month, and continues to be the Party's stated position on what to do about the status of the 11 million men, women, and children currently living in America without papers.
Governor Bentley and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer are giving us a preview into what life would look like under Mitt Romney's self-deportation policy. It's a frightening picture of a society that pits children against their parents and neighbor against neighbor. By continuing down this path they are not only hurting their states, but also clarifying the stakes for all of us in November.
Alabama’s worst-in-the-nation immigration law found a supporter in Senator Sessions (R-AL). Asked about the thousands of undocumented kids were too scared to show up for school,Sessions said that it wasn’t sad. Sessions slammed the decision to stop deporting undocumented kids as“mass backdoor amnesty” that has “declared to the American people that [Obama] is determined to… circumvent the will of the people.”
In an emailed statement, Alabama DREAMER Victor Palafox said local undocumented youth are not afraid to stand up and remind the immigrant community of their friends and their foes -- “We are undocumented and unafraid. We will not let you take away Deferred Action from us”
The Immigrant Youth Leadership Initiative of Alabama (IYLIA) will be holding a rally outside of the restaurant “The Club” in Birmingham where Mr. Romney is having a fundraiser on Wednesday night. Their message for Mitt Romney is simple – “You have shown your true colors and we will not stand for your anti-immigrant rhetoric; we will continue to defend the immigrant community in Alabama and we will not allow Alabama to be tainted by anti-immigrant hate.”
On such an important and celebratory day join members of IYLIA on Wednesday August 15th from 5 – 7 pm CT outside of “The Club” as they remind Romney of their powerful voice and defend the new policy that will give DREAMers temporary relief.
When: Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 at 5:00 pm CST
What: The Immigrant Youth Leadership Initiative of Alabama (IYLIA) will be holding a rally to remind Romney of their powerful voice and defend the new policy that will give DREAMers temporary relief
Where: 1 Robert S. Smith Dr., Birmingham, Alabama 35209
Who: Immigrant Youth Leadership Initiative of Alabama
Judge Mark Kennedy, Chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, sounds like a Democrat in this statement on the US Supreme Court's decision to strike down major provisions of Arizona's anti-immigrant law (bold added):
“The Supreme Court’s actions yesterday are a step in the right direction for immigration policy. Even a Supreme Court that is widely perceived as one of the most conservative in the history of the institution is able to recognize the unconstitutionality of legislation based on discrimination.
The decision is a welcome blow to the legitimacy of Alabama’s own immigration law. The Republican leadership in the state has fought for these recklessly unconstitutional laws even though they are continually proven to be nothing but a catastrophe for the state. From the millions of taxpayer dollars the state has spent in its defense to the international embarrassment continuing to deter economic development, Alabama has already felt immeasurable shockwaves from its Republican leadership’s stubbornness. I can only hope that yesterday’s ruling will be the catalyst that Alabama desperately needs to change its backwards stance on immigration on our road to recovery.”
Thank you, Judge Kennedy, for sounding like a Democrat on this important moral (and legal) issue.
For all those immigrant-haters in Alabama who have been saying "our anti-immigrant law isn't unconstitutional because the Supreme Court hasn't struck down Arizona's" -- look out. In a 5-3 decision the US Supreme Court just invalidated big chunks of Arizona's SB 1070.
The Supreme Court found that sections 3, 5 and 6 of Arizona's law directly conflict with federal immigration law and are unconstitutional. Mary Bauer, legal director for the SPLC, says:
“Today’s decision is a blow to Arizona’s anti-immigrant law and similar copycat laws that have sprung up in other states. The court’s decision affirms that much of these laws are unconstitutional because they are preempted by federal law and that they have significant concerns about the one provision they allowed to stand.”
That provision is the racist, "show me your papers" provision that opens the door for racial profiling by law enforcement and harassment of anyone who doesn't look like us. Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force was understandably concerned that the Court left that provision alone:
“This ruling strikes down some key provisions of a draconian law that makes people more vulnerable to abuse. SB 1070 and laws like it only serve to divide us by opening the door to racial profiling, infringement of civil rights, and harassment and violence against those seen as ‘different.’ While we are encouraged by parts of today’s decision, the path has been cleared for the most offensive portion of the law – the ‘show me your papers’ provision – to take effect. Nobody should be forced to live in constant fear of having their family torn part, of being separated from their loved ones, while simply trying to go about their daily lives.
The Court left the door open to revisit the constitutionality of Arizona's "show me your papers" provision after it goes into effect.
“We are not talking here about a federal law prohibiting the States from regulating bubble-gum advertising, or even the construction of nuclear plants,” he declared. “We are talking about a federal law going to the core of state sovereignty: the power to exclude.”
Adam Winkler, a constitutional law professor at UCLA, pushed back on Scalia’s argument.
“Scalia has finally jumped the shark,” Winkler told TPM. “He claims to respect the founding fathers, but his dissent channels the opponents of the Constitution. Back then, opponents argued that the Constitution denied states their sovereignty by giving too much power to the federal government, as with immigration. Now Scalia echoes their complaints that states are being denied their sovereignty. States are not sovereign when it comes to powers vested in Congress, such as the authority over immigration and naturalization.”
Yeah, state sovereignty is one of those conservative code words. Kind of like states' rights.
Second Front has reactions from Alabama pols, most of whom are working hard to make lemonade out of this pile of lemons. House Speaker Mike Hubbard managed to work both President Obama and states' rights into his response:
States really are the last line of defense to protect the rights of the people, and never has that been more evident than with President Obama ordering federal agents to stand down on immigration enforcement actions. States have not only the right, but the duty to uphold the rule of law and protect their citizens, especially when the federal government refuses to do so.
They reported that HB56 mastermind Scott Beason "is still reading the ruling, but is surprised SCOTUS considered foreign affairs in its decision." Join the club, Scott. Many of us were surprised when the Alabama Legislature got involved in enforcing the nations borders, too.
What does this mean for Alabama's HB56? According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which called this ruling a "major blow" to anti-immigrant laws, Alabama's HB56 ...
... includes three provisions similar to those considered in the Arizona case: police inquiries into immigration status; criminalizing being present in the state without immigration papers; and criminalizing soliciting work. Several other provisions have no overlap with those considered in the Arizona case, including: requiring inquiries into immigration status of students and their parents;; criminalizing day laborer activities; criminalizing helping undocumented immigrants; criminalizing certain transactions with public officials by undocumented immigrants; and making many contracts unenforceable if they involve undocumented immigrants. All these provisions have been blocked, except the requirement of police to inquire into immigration status. An appeal is pending in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The precise impact of the Arizona decision will be decided by the Eleventh Circuit later this year.
The fight against these cruel self-deportation laws is not over, but the bad guys suffered a significant blow today.
Or could a Mitt Romney-Marco Rubio ticket at least loseextreme right-wingers in Alabama?
No, I'm not even referring to the evangelical Christian concern about Mitt Romney's religion (but do read that piece from the Crimson-White). We're talking immigration policy, here. Marco Rubio (justifiably) doesn't understand Alabama-style "self-deportation" laws.
"I have never understood self-deportation as a policy."
Good grief. This guy has gone back on every promise he's ever made to voters. Why should anyone believe he'll keep his promises on immigration -- even if you can tell what he was promising through all those weasel words? Especially since it was just 6 months ago that Romney promised Tea Partiers he'd veto the DREAM Act:
... when a voter asked him if he’d veto the Dream Act as president, Mr. Romney said, “The answer is yes.”
... I met up with an undocumented college student, who was here in the crowd. She told me in an interview just a few moments ago - she went up to Mitt Romney and confronted him to try to get him to come down with a position on this issue of the DREAM Act - she walked away disappointed. She basically told me after this speech she is furious that she did not get direction from Mitt Romney about what would happen to her life should he become president...
Mitt's Etch-A-Sketch is getting smashed between a rock and a hard place.
Mitt Romney is in a box on the DREAM Act and on immigration policy in general. He's shaking that Etch-A-Sketch like a maniac but he can't get the screen to clear. The Tea Party, who aren't sure they can trust his promises anyway, won't let him backtrack on his promise to them, but he he knows he has to promise the Latino community something or they'll stick with the change they already have in Obama.
BOB SCHIEFFER: The President said, Friday, the government will no longer seek to deport eight hundred thousand of these young illegal immigrants who were brought into this country by their parents. I think you said this is just a short-term solution to a long-term problem, but would you repeal this order if you became President?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, let's step back and-- and look at the issue. ...
BOB SCHIEFFER (voice overlapping): Well, what would you do about it?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, as-- as you know, he was-- he was President for the last three and a half years ...
BOB SCHIEFFER (voice overlapping): Would you--
MITT ROMNEY: --and I've said, for instance, that-- that those who served in the military, I would give permanent residents, too.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Sure, but would you repeal this?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, it would be overtaken by events, if you will ...
BOB SCHIEFFER: ... would you leave this in place while you worked out a long-term solution or would you just repeal it?
MITT ROMNEY: We'll-- we'll look at that-- we'll look at that setting as we-- as we reach that. ...
As John King of CNN reported, Schieffer asked Romney about President Obama's decision to halt deportation of young immigrants no fewer than five times, to no avail.
KING: That's not exactly a direct answer and it's not the first time. In an ABC interview this past April he employed the same tactic when he was asked by Diane Sawyer if he would have signed the Lilly Ledbetter law. His answer? Quote it's certainly a piece of legislation I have no intention of changing. I wasn't there three years ago. Not exactly direct or not exactly bold leadership and I could give you a few more similar examples. “Risk-averse Romney” is the label awarded to the candidate by the conservative Weekly Standard. And it fits and truth is while people in my business prefer more direct answers and while more information and insight might help you make your mind, caution is in Governor Romney’s DNA.
Yep. Risk-Averse Romney is a pretty good label for this guy. He's obviously trying to shake the Etch-A-Sketch on immigration here, but just can't get the new image to appear fast enough to do him any good. As MSNBC's Ed Schultz says, Romney lacks core values and political courage. He evades questions again and again, refusing to tell the country what he would actually do if elected.
He refuses to take a stand on the tough issues time and time again. Romney is trying to walk, I guess you could say a fine line, between the majority of Americans and the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party. Now, it must be pointed out, some of the most outspoken voices from the right wing have come out in support of the President's new policy.
What a disappointing show of non-leadership from a man seeking to lead this nation. Or as The New Yorker said of Romney's performance ...
... if you’ve agreed to appear on a big national show, and you know there are going to be some awkward questions, arrange to do the interview on a pretty farm with some cows mooching around in the background. That was the tactic Team Romney adopted for their man’s much-anticipated sit-down on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” and it worked out well.
This is what it's come to for Republican campaign strategists. Don't listen to our candidate, look at the pretty cows, instead. You don't need to know what he would do if elected ... look at that great cow!!
President Obama on the Homeland Security directive to exercise prosecutorial discretion "with respect to individuals who came to the United States as children."
As I said in the previous post, this new policy is reasonable middle ground on the issue. Predictably, the right is going nuts.
A reporter for the rightwing Daily Caller actually heckled President Obamaduring his remarks in the Rose Garden. You can hear it at about 4:45 on the video. Romney immigration advisor and HB56 architect (he was the one in the turkey blind) Kris Kobach (R) said the new guidelines are "deeply troubling" and "illegal." Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) called the new policy "outrageous" and "political amnesty." No reaction yet from HB56 mastermind, Scott Beason(R), but on twitter, Alabama Senator Bill Holtzclaw (R) also used the politically charged word "amnesty" which is being bandied about on Fox and right wing radio as well.
As the President said, this is not amnesty -- it is not immunity from prosecution, it is not a pardon, it is not forgiveness, it is not a path to citizenship or legal status.
Actually, there's a whole bunch of undocumented immigrants on the cover of TIME. Hold onto your tinfoil hats, they're taking over our newsstands! Worse, the cover story was written by an undocumented immigrant, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas. Will Alabama law enforcement raid newsstands to rid the state of these "illegal" magazines?
The cover of this week’s TIME Magazine features a young Alabama leader, Victor Palafox, among others in the immigrant-led movement for fair immigration reform and policies. Palafox is the young man in the lower right corner of the cover. The issue, which will hit newsstands Tuesday, features a personal essay, Not Legal, Not Leaving, written by Vargas who came out as undocumented in the New York Times last year.
These "illegals" came to the US as children, look upon America as their home and plan to make a life here. They're called Dreamers, and not just because they would benefit from the DREAM Act. They dream of citizenship and full participation in the American Dream. Unfortunately, there is no path to citizenship for these young people. There is no way for them to "get legal, no matter how much they want to.
As of today, they will no longer face deportation. The Department of Homeland Security issued a memorandum outlining new guidelines for exercising prosecutorial discretion in the case of "certain young people who were brought to this country as children and know only this country as home." In the memo HS Secretary Janet Napolitano wrote that the nation's immigration laws were "not designed to be blindly enforced" and "nor are they designed to remove productive young people." Amen.
The new rules apply to immigrants 30 and under who came to this country before the age of 16, are in school or who have completed high school, or are honorably discharged veterans, and have a clean record -- an estimated 800,000 young Americans-in-all-but-documentation.
Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund released this statement:
"This is huge. As a result of today’s decision, hundreds of thousands of young people who are American in all but paperwork will have the opportunity to live freely, work legally, and contribute to the country they love. The President is right to step up and protect these young people, because this expansion of existing policy is the only viable path to meaningful relief for Dreamers this year."
"Let's be clear, this is not amnesty, this is not immunity, this is not a path to citizenship, this is not a permanent fix," Obama said from the White House Rose Garden. "This is the right thing to do."
Well, there's still no path to actual citizenship for these young almost-Americans, but Obama has done a masterful job of finding a reasonable compromise on this issue.This is middle ground. We'll no longer be wasting valuable resources trying to deport productive residents, no one is being "rewarded with citizenship" for coming here illegally and -- best of all -- young people like Victor Palafox will no longer have to live in fear of being arrested and deported to a strange country.
This policy change isn't everything I want to see, but it's definite progress.
Republicans know they're on the far right edge of the fringe, hanging out in the chilly breeze, when they've lost James Dobson's Focus on the Family group. That's where Republican hard-liners on immigration such as Scott Beason, Robert Bentley and ... yes, Mitt Romney ... find themselves today.
Tom Minnery, the senior vice president of policy for one evangelical group, Focus on the Family, said many of the 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants should be free to “come out of the shadows” and “begin the process of restitution” leading to attaining legal residency.
Mr. Minnery spoke at a Capitol Hill news conference called to announce that more than 150 Christian evangelical leaders, including from the Southern Baptist Convention and the National Association of Evangelicals, were endorsing an overhaul of immigration policy.
The evangelical leaders expressed opposition to such notions as “self-deportation,” which Mr. Romney favored in a Republican debate and which urges strict enforcement of laws to encourage illegal immigrant workers to leave the country.
And this is not an isolated incidence of conservatives trying to walk back the zenophobia. Former Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had this to say at an immigration conference (several prominent right-wing speakers) in Atlanta earlier this week:
“This Republican party – and not to make this partisan – has done a terrible job talking about this issue in a way that’s very anti-Hispanic, and anti-immigrant, and I think that’s very, very unfortunate," he said. "And whether or not Gov. Romney can recover from that remains to be seen.”
It's about time groups like Focus on the Family and others who claim to support Christian values begin to voice opposition to these laws.
The remorse is political, too. With large hispanic populations in several swing states, Republican strategists are beginning to voice concern about their party's obsession with publicly beating up on brown people. Polls indicate the immigration hard-line hurts Romney's chances in several key states.
Mitt Romney's stance in favor of Arizona's immigration law makes Hispanic voters in the key swing states of Nevada, New Mexico and Florida less likely to vote for him, says a new poll from Project New America and Public Policy Polling.
Last year Alabama Republicans enacted the nation's cruelest anti-immigrant law, HB56. This year, they made it even worse by passing HB658. Yesterday the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) announced the re-launch of a hotline where people can report problems and abuses they have experienced as a result of Alabama’s draconian anti-immigrant law. Call 1-800-982-1620 to learn more about the law and share your stories of HB56/HB658 related problems/abuse.
“State lawmakers have callously refused to address the humanitarian crisis created by Alabama’s anti-immigrant law,” said Mary Bauer, legal director for the SPLC. “As we continue our fight against this unconstitutional law, we want to know first-hand the suffering it is inflicting on people across the state.”
The immigrant abuse hotline was created last September when HB56 began to be implemented. It received 1,000 calls detailing issues faced by immigrants, regardless of their status ... in the first week of operation! It has now received more than 5,800 calls with stories illustrating the humanitarian and economic crisis created by the law. You can read some of these stories at www.splcenter.org/hb56.
This year's font of unintended consequences, HB658, includes a "scarlet letter" provision that requires the state “to post a quarterly list of the names of any undocumented alien who appears in court for a violation of state law, regardless of whether they were convicted.” Get that? Guilt or innocence doesn't matter; Alabama lawmakers want to stamp a big, red, I on all immigrants, even if they're acquitted. This is an open invitation to vigilante groups -- hardly unknown in Alabama. The KKK never had it so easy.
“This latest change in the law is nothing more than an attempt to bully and intimidate people, and serves only to encourage vigilantism,” Bauer said. “We encourage people to report problems they have faced because of the law – no matter how big or small.”
In addition to the SPLC, several other organizations provide staffing for the hotline. They are the National Immigration Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Latino Justice.
WTF is wrong with Alabama? We should be better than this.
Congratulations are in order for our Governor. Immigrants’ List (IL), a bipartisan political action committee, unveiled the inductees into their second annual Local Hall of Shame, including Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R). The list 'honors' the ten worst anti-immigrant local politicians in America.
Yay, Alabama! We're in the top -- or should I say the bottom -- 10 ... AGAIN! HB56 author Sen. Scott Beason (R) made the list last year.
When you’re paying higher prices for food this fall – stretching your paycheck even further – you can thank Robert Bentley for costing you money.
Gov. Bentley signed Alabama’s notorious HB 56 (the "worst in the nation" anti-immigration law). It starts with "papers, please" mandates, and adds to it. He wants K-12 public schools to investigate the documentation of every student. A provision tries to stop the undocumented from attending public colleges or universities. It bans landlords from renting to the undocumented, requires every business to investigate employees, and churches have pushed back against a portion prohibiting the transporting or harboring of undocumented immigrants. Occupying the same governor’s mansion once occupied by George Wallace, Bentley is a sad reminder that we still have yet to overcome.
Immigrants’ List Board Member Ted Ruthizer said “Bentley’s worst-in-America immigration law is causing Alabama to become one of the least welcoming places in the U.S. for businesses to locate and create jobs. We’re a better country than this.”
Didn't somebody say "R" is for reverse progress? It's certainly true with Gov. Dr. Bentley at the helm.