And where are our people on this?

By Tammy Johnson May 24, 2007

So here we are again. With 12 million lives in the balance, many of them Latino, African and Asian, who are the voices being heard on the evening news regarding the latest immigration bill? White folk. You’ve got California Sen. Barbara Boxer going on and on about saving the bacon of the white middle class. And good ol’ Sen. Edward Kennedy, begging us to “take illegality out of the equation” and replace it with a 21st century government-sanctioned slave economy, gently called a “temporary worker program.” So much for our liberal caped crusaders! And where are our people on this? What do our civil rights and immigrant advocacy groups have to say about what is being called the immigration overhaul bill? The beltway online zine, The Hill, reported that “The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights joined officials from the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) yesterday to release a list of requested fixes to the current guest-worker provision, including stronger rights for guest workers.” So they think that they can fix this bill? “We are not going to let the perfect become the enemy of the good,” adds Wade Henderson in response to why they aren’t advocating for more comprehensive reform. Well this bill is as close to perfect, as Justin Timberlake is to being the next James Brown. Just step back a minute and think about what we are willing to tinker with. We are asking Rosa who is cleaning hotel rooms in Virginia Beach to pay $5,000 in fines and penalties that she doesn’t have, prove that she has a good work history (with businesses who won’t admit that they employed her) and pass an English proficiency test that we can’t get our public schools to administer fairly, let alone Homeland Security. Then she has to go back to Colombia, pay the U.S. government another $4,000, so that she can finally apply for U.S. residency. And maybe within 12 years or so, she’ll receive her U.S. citizenship, and work happily without the love and care of her family left behind in Colombia. You see family members aren’t prioritized in the new point system, unless of course, they want to work in the tobacco fields of Wisconsin. That’s not a system you tinker with. It’s one you take down! The problem here is that progressives have begun to believe their own hype (we can fix this) and have lost sight of reality. When was the last time they’ve been able to effectively fix any national disaster? Did they do it with Clinton’s welfare deform? With Bush’s No Child Left Behind? With post Katrina cleanup? Why do they react like lemmings to the mighty voice on high (Edward Kennedy) that has declared this as the sole moment to deal with immigration reform? It’s now or never, he has proclaimed. The real deal is that some Democratic strategist has said that they need to dispense with this issue now, before it hurts them in the 2008 election. So now our allies are hustling to make good over a bad bill. On this one I’m with Nancy Reagan, just say no.