Sign on I-5 on my way to work
Hundreds of thousands marched this weekend in rallies for immigration reform. An awesome sight, indeed.
But I don't share some marchers' frustration with the Senate's failure to pass the compromise immigration reform bill.
Granted, the bill was a step toward pulling so-called "illegal" immigrants out from the underground, as it would have paved the way (for some of them) toward a guest worker program and, possibly, citizenship.
But the proposed legislation would have also beefed up border security (more la migra = more deaths) and, in my opinion, led to a dragnet-style crackdown on all Latino immigrants -- legal and illegal.
Yes, the bill would have allowed those who have been in the US for more than five years to apply for citizenship. But it also would have led to the deportation of anybody who has lived in the US less than five years, with only some given the option to apply for guest worker status.
Frankly, I don't trust the Department of Homeland Security to fairly determine which immigrants have been in the United States for more than five years. Heck, DHS doesn't even know that numerous pedophiles occupy senior positions within its department.
Even worse, the Senate Bill would have been renconciled with the draconian House Bill, which would have classified illegal immigration as a felony, criminalized giving any form of aid (e.g., food, shelter, blankets) to illegal immigrants, and authorized a 700-mile fence along the Mexican border.
To me, this smells like Proposition 187, Part 2: Electric Fence Boogaloo.
Is there any other country that has considered throwing people in jail for giving a glass of water to a person dying of thirst?
In my opinion, while the right-wing senators were the ones that defeated the bill, they may have done everyone a favor.
On a related note, this movement towards positive immigration reform has undoubtely awakened the xenophobes across the country.
According to a new AP poll, for every American who believes that the economy is the biggest problem facing the United States, there is another American who believes that immigration is the biggest domestic problem. And by "immgration," they mean that "immigrants" are the biggest domestic problem. And by immigrants, they mean all brown people.
If you know someone suffering from "migraphobia," please check out this animated cartoon by Mark Fiore.