Immigration

Immigration deal on the horizon?

The Hill shines light on the possibility of a deal on an immigration bill in the Senate. From the article:

The Senate’s bipartisan immigration talks yesterday yielded the first stirrings of a “grand bargain,” but the fate of the compromise remained uncertain amid political pressure from interest groups and a potential filibuster.

Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), the Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican and leader of recent negotiations on immigration reform, took the floor to announce the progress and ask Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for more time before the next week’s floor deadline.

“We have come to an agreement on what we have called a ‘grand bargain,’ which is the outline of an immigration bill,” Specter said.

Sanctions for employers who hire illegal immigrants, thousands of new Border Patrol agents and a trigger mechanism to tackle border security are all under consideration, Specter said. But he warned that Reid’s plans to call up last year’s
Senate-passed immigration bill — which has lost significant support — as a placeholder could bring the process to a halt.

Be sure to check out NDN's work on passing comprehensive immigration reform this year.

Mobilizing Latino voters in California

Below is a video from the Courage Campaign and its partner, Strengthening Our Lives (SOL), an organization dedicated to empowering and educating immigrant worker communities towards change. It shows how people are "walking" and getting their neighbors involved in creating a better future for themselves and their families.

Check out the work NDN has done on these issues, as well as the poll we conducted of California Latinos leading up to the state's 2006 gubernatorial race.

Romney on the air in Spanish

Leading Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is up on the air, with the first Spanish language radio ads of the '08 cycle.  But here's a few things you won't hear in his ads.  First, Mitt Romney wants to amend the constitution to make English the national language: "English needs to be the language that is spoken in America. We cannot be a bilingual nation like Canada."  And Romney opposes comprehensive immigration reform that would bring millions out of the shadows and provide a path to citizenship for hard-working, tax-paying immigrants who play by the rules and want a better future for their families.  At this month's Conservative Politcal Action Conference Romney said: "McCain-Kennedy [Comprehensive Immigration Reform] isn't the answer. As governor, I took a very different approach. I authorized our state police to enforce immigration laws. I vetoed a tuition break for illegals and said no to driver's licenses. McCain-Kennedy gives benefits to illegals that would cost taxpayers millions. And more importantly, amnesty didn't work 20 years ago, and it won't work today."  This kind of anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic rhetoric is bad policy.  It did not help Republicans win elections in 2006 and it won't help them in 2008. 

Has McCain weakened his position on immigration?

Last night during the Republican presidential debate, Senator John McCain drew a clear distinction between his views on immigration and those of Rep. Tom Tancredo. From the debate:

REP. TANCREDO: Well, of course, if I thought there should be another one, I wouldn’t be here. I think that I serve the purpose. I think that we -- good men all here, don’t get me wrong. But I am telling you this; that there are issues that I believe have not been addressed tonight, not in full, and I believe that they do separate us, and I certainly believe the issue of immigration and immigration reform and what’s going to happen to this country unless we deal with this forthrightly.

No more platitudes. No more obfuscating with using words like, "Well, I am not for amnesty but I’m for letting them stay." That kind of stuff has got to be taken away from the political debate, as far as I’m concerned, so people can understand exactly who is where on this incredibly important issue.

And when they see that, I think, frankly, I’m --

MR. MATTHEWS: Okay, time.

Anyone have a follow-up with that? Anyone with disagree with the strong anti-illegal immigration position? Take a strong view? Senator McCain.

SEN. MCCAIN: Well, I’m happy to say that we’ve been working very hard for a couple of months with Democrats and Republicans, led by the president and his Cabinet, to come up with a comprehensive solution and resolution of this terrible problem.

One thing we would all agree on: the status quo is not acceptable. We have to secure our borders, but we also need a temporary worker program, and we have to dispose of the issue of 12 million people who are in this country illegally.

This issue is a(n) important and compelling one, and it begins with national security. But we also need to address it comprehensively, and I’m proud to work with the president of the United States on this issue.

Yet, as Senator Chris Dodd pointed out yesterday in this AP article, McCain seems to have allowed his presidential aspirations to water down his once fierce support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform:

"[Senator McCain] and Senator Kennedy were working on a comprehensive package ... and he's no longer, I gather, a co-sponsor of that," Dodd said. "It had some bipartisan momentum, and now, if you asked me who's on the other side today I couldn't name anybody at this point. Maybe there is someone, but not of the stature McCain brought to the debate."

Dodd said McCain's defection on the issue was critical because Congress needed to act now or risk years of inaction on the issue.

"The later you wait the harder it gets." Dodd said. "You've got a window here ... and the fear is if you wait much longer, then it won't happen before 2008 and with a new administration it probably wouldn't be one of the first items you bring up."

For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.

NDN Statement on Immigration Marches

Today, Americans all across the country are marching in support of a lasting and functional immigration policy - one that ensures a strong, safe, and secure border. NDN supports these marches, as they represent the need for something we have been strong advocates of for over three and a half years: Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

These marches are also a testament to the failure of the Bush Administration's to enact the comprehensive, meaningful reform America needs. As Director of NDN's Hispanic Strategy Center, I will be speaking and participating in a large march in South Florida this afternoon.

Immigration marches going on across the nation

NDN's own Joe Garcia was quoted in an AP article on the planning of upcoming immigration marches. Citing the evolution of the immigration debate and how different cultures are becoming involved, Joe said:

"It used to be that Hispanic immigrants, those who came legally, were more conservative on the issue. But now it's become so wrapped up with issues of racism and identity, even Puerto Ricans and Cubans care about immigration."

For those interested, check out this article for a look at what the City of Los Angeles is doing to prepare for the crowds.

For more information on NDN's efforts on passing comprehensive immigration reform, click here.

President asks college grads to help lobby for immigration reform

In his commencement speech to Miami Dade College, President Bush encouraged the graduating students to contact their Representatives and have them push for immigration legislation. More in the AP article here.

Once again, the President is preaching to the choir: more than half of the students at Miami Dade College were raised speaking a language other than English.

I'm not going to go into the details of his speech, because we've all heard the speeches. We've read the statements. We need more than words. We need comprehensive immigration reform legislation - now.

For more on NDN's work on comprehensive immigration reform, click here.

America's Mayor on Immigration

According to the New York Times, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani is switching his once pro-immigration stance as he navigates his way as a Presidential candidate. As the article explains how this could harm him:

But now he is running for president, and the politics of immigration in the post-9/11 world is vastly different, with the issue splitting the Republican Party and voters peppering Mr. Giuliani on the campaign trail with questions about his current thinking. Perhaps more than any other candidate, Mr. Giuliani has a record on immigration with the potential to complicate his bid for the nomination.

In contrast to his years as mayor, when he fought federal efforts to curtail public hospital or educational services to illegal immigrants, he now talks of penalties for people here illegally and requirements for them to wait at the back of the line. And while he once pushed policies like providing schooling for the children of illegal immigrants by saying, “The reality is that they are here, and they’re going to remain here,” now he emphasizes denying amnesty.

Articles like these probably make Rudy wish YouTube didn't exist:

For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.

 

The battle over immigration continues

The Times offers yet another editorial in favor of immigration, this one reviewing some of the recent progress uin pdating last year's strong bill to accomodate new political realities. 

The Washington Post looks at the lobbying effort on the other side of this issue, led by those who really put this issue on the map back in 2005, conservative talk radio show hosts.  The Times also documents how Rudy Giuliani's views on immigration are being changed by his Presidential campaign. 

Taken together these stories tell the story of the immigration debate in America.  It was brought to the fore by conservative talk radio show hosts in 2005.   Republicans responded with a wild and punitive bill with no chance of passing, and one that angered Hispanics across the country.  Inspired by the millions who took to the streets, reasonable people in both parties came together to pass a good Senate in 2006.  House Republicans, fearful of the power of this issue in their own base, refused to work with the good Senate bill and instead spent the rest of the election unsuccessfully attacking Democrats on the issue. 

It backfired in the 2006 elections, neither gaining them points with an electorate anxious for answers not anger; disapointing their base who rightly felt not enough has been done to fix the problem; and alienating the nation's Latino community, the fastest growing part of the American electorate. 

Fixing our broken immigration system is one of the defining issues of the early 21st century.  I am convinced that it a powerful test of the Parties, and our leaders, to see if they have what it takes to help America meet the new challenges of our time.  Again and again, the Republicans are showing that they don't have what it takes.  The question now is - do the Democrats?  So far it appears as if they do.  But critical days lie ahead of us, and this is not the time for those wanting progress to buckle to the angry agenda of a well-organized and vocal minority.

More Immigration Polling Data

Adding to a post Aaron had a few days ago, a new USA Today/Gallup Poll shows even more support for comprehensive immigration reform:

A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken last weekend found that 78% of respondents feel people now in the country illegally should be given a chance at citizenship.

Assessing the poll results, Senator Edward Kennedy had a blunt, but honest reaction:

"As with so many issues, the American people are ahead of Washington on immigration reform. They know that only a plan that offers a path to earned citizenship will fix our broken system."

Check out video of Senator Kennedy and others on the need for comprehensive immigration reform at an NDN event in March.

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