26 March 2006

Illegal immigration problem in the US: one way NOT to handle it

There is a fascinating discussion on The Huffington Post about the large-scale demonstrations that have happened in the last few days regarding measures being suggested by the GOP/Republican Party regarding illegal immigration to the US. Specifically, one of the staff bloggers attended the 100,000 strong protest in Los Angeles...which, I might add, was 10-12 TIMES the size of the largest anti-war protest (depending on what news agency you quote) held recently this spring as well. (Maybe the large turnout for this one has something to do with the anti-illegal immigration bill proposed would have all illegals jailed as felons. There really is no mention in this bill what would happen to their US-born offspring, which would be in the hundreds of thousands themselves, who are US citizens automatically upon birth here.)

Read Max Blumenthal's blog about the LA demonstrations here: Sensenbrenner Awakens A Sleeping Giant Read after the conclusion of the article for the many comments from the HuffPo readers that follow.

And read the very controversial bill, as proposed by Republican Sensenbrenner and his 35 co-sponsors and agreed to by the House of Representatives initially, in question here: H.R. (House Resolution) 4437 Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 (Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by House) .

This will be a very telling campaign issue for both parties come the Fall 2006 and later for 2008. As I live in North Carolina and theoretically we are now the second-most chosen destination for illegal immigrants coming into the US (again, depending on what news agency you read and believe, we could be #1 or as far back as #4, but I have yet to see anything further than #4), I can tell you firsthand the growing complexity of issues and animosity on all sides regarding this lack of immigration control. I'm not sure I agree with Mr. Blumenthal's assertions regarding the Southeast being the GOP home base and accustomed to keeping non-whites in a minority position in totality, but I do agree that a large segment of the rural, non-urban and non-suburban areas of the SE is more subject to this mentality compared to places like Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh or Wilmington. Further afield from me (and each of them only a 5 hr drive away) is Atlanta and Washington, D.C., and Lord knows that theory doesn't hold water in either of those locales. What is interesting is how the Republican party will approach the voting blocks now...because it is not two (conservatives and Latinos) as Blumenthal suggests, but at a minimum of four (conservatives, Latinos, but also successful Blacks, and disillusioned Whites defecting from the Democratic Party). While this is a horrible HR bill that should never have seen the light of day in its current form, it's also too premature to say the Republicans have shot themselves in the foot with it here. Time will tell on this, of course, but current illegal immigration policy is regarded locally here as a huge joke.

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