Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

April 12, 2010

HARRY REID: 'WE CANNOT WAIT' ON IMMIGRATION REFORM.... Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) spoke over the weekend at an immigration rally in Las Vegas, vowing to tackle the reform issue quickly. The senator said he has 56 votes on the legislation, and needs to find "a handful of Republicans."
Speaking before a crowd of more than 6,000, Reid, a vulnerable incumbent, assured his audience of his commitment. "We're going to come back, we're going to have comprehensive immigration reform now," he said. "We need to do this this year. We cannot wait."

Reid's motivations are hardly a secret. The senate leader not only has a genuine interest in the issue, but he'll also need considerable support from fast-growing Latino communities in Nevada if he has any chance of keeping his job.

So, does the legislation have a shot? Ezra Klein ponders its chances.

As Ron Brownstein frequently points out, Obama won fewer than 40 percent of working-class whites in 2008. Congressional Democrats may well do even worse this year. But it's hard to believe they can do that much worse, or that they can do much to change their standing among this group. It's also not clear that immigration is a big motivator for these voters: The GOP tried to use it in 2006 against the Democrats, and the effort pretty much fell flat on its face.

Actually, it did worse than that: It drove Latino voters toward the Democrats. Obama won 67 percent of Hispanics in 2008 -- a much better showing than Democrat made in 2004. The fear in 2010, however, is that Hispanics won't show up to vote. If Democrats actually pursue immigration reform, their participation becomes likelier. And if Republicans -- or tea partyers, or conservative talk radio -- overreact to the prospect of immigration reform, their participation becomes virtually assured.

That last bit also suggests another reason Democrats might want to see immigration on the agenda: It's got the possibility to tear the Republican coalition apart.

We already saw these divisions play out during the last attempt at comprehensive immigration reform -- Bush, McCain, and other establishment Republicans backed a reform push, while the base flipped out over "amnesty." Even now, GOP officials are well aware of the dangers -- alienate a growing segment of the population demanding improvements to a very flawed status quo, or infuriate the right wing that Republicans need to keep motivated.

If Dems are looking for wedge issues that might improve their midterm prospects, this one might do the trick.

Steve Benen 11:20 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (20)

Bookmark and Share

I say go for it. The GOP has mastered the notion of wedge issues to GOTV. We should do the same, while reminding voters that Republicans make up the Party that celebrates when America loses its Olympic bid.

Posted by: Chris on April 12, 2010 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

It is an important issue. It is a timely issue. It needs to be tackled. It exposes Republicans as being on the wrong side of history. It is sure to gin up the Democratic base. If the Republican media clowns over play their hands, and they will, it could insure a generation of Republicans in the wilderness. Lets see if a motivated 28% can out vote a motivated 72%?

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 12, 2010 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Interesting post today from Robert Reich on how increasing immigration would help Social Security's coffers -


So, if we're hunting around for wedge issues, this could be a good one to get seniors on board.

Posted by: Steve Simitzis on April 12, 2010 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, now Harry the flaccid wants to move fast on a bill? Gee, you might have already gotten it passed if you hadn't allowed the HCR process to drag out all through last year and into this year.

Now he actually thinks he can pass another comprehensive reform bill on top of financial reform, START approval, and another SCOTUS nomination?
I'll be impressed if he pulls it off, but not too diappointed if he loses anyway. It seems to be the only way to get a new majority leader.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on April 12, 2010 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

A handful of Republicans? Good luck with that.

Charges of not putting Country First only apply to Democrats, especially when they are in charge (well, according to the numbers anyway; we all know who is in charge).

Posted by: terraformer on April 12, 2010 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats really need to send Pete Wilson a thank you card. He led the charge in the 90s to demonize immigrants and Hispansics and poisoned an entire generation of Hispanics against the Republican party.

Republicans could have had a field day using religion as a wedge issue with a largly conservtative Catholic population and won over a key voting block or at least made it competitive. That was one of the pillars of Rove's 'permanent Republican majority' (it was why immigration was a key legislative item for Bush). But the racists in the south and the anti-immigrant fevor from Wilson et al ended that nightmare scenario.

Posted by: thorin-1 on April 12, 2010 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Something I'd love to see: when interviewed on cable news, Sunday talk shows and etc., all Republicans should be asked to comment on Ronald Reagan's signing of the 1986 immigration bill that had amnesty provisions. If amnesty was good enough for Saint Ronald, why can't they support the idea? I won't hold my breath waiting for it because it requires TV hosts to have a working knowledge of history instead of just a "who's up / who's down" score sheet.

As an aside: It's amazing how the most ardent fans of "free markets" are so against having free markets in labor too.

Posted by: meander on April 12, 2010 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Before anyone starts up about immigration reform they better make sure unemployment is well below 7% or the Citizens will riot. The fact that immigration reform will broaden the tax base and help get us out of debt is irrelevant.

Posted by: Fed Up and Tired on April 12, 2010 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

I was lukewarm about this idea at first, but given how poor a job the Democrats have done at forcing Republicans to take tough votes, and this is probably a step in the right direction politically. But it is hard to see how they will make any progress policy-wise.

Posted by: EricB on April 12, 2010 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

I need to write Mikulski and Cardin.

Not one illegal should get citizenship before everyone on the USCIS (the agency formerly known as INS) waiting list is approved.


Dissolve the USCIS section that processes immigration requests. They don't do any meaningful work if any hardy soul that can get past the border patrol is allowed to stay. Why bother filling out applications and waiting for the go-ahead?

On another note, liberals need to make this OUR issue.
Illegals cannot sue, unionize, obtain police protection, or report unsafe working conditions to appropriate authorities.

OTOH, corproate America LOVES workers they can abuse with impunity!

We need to perform sting operations and fine corps that hire illegals. Illegals that can't get hired will deport THEMSELVES. When labor costs climb, raise immigration quotas to reasonable levels. They are far too low now, but no one realizes it because illegal labor is filling all our needs.

America shouldn't want more Latino workers. We should be demanding more Latino CITIZENS. (And Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese,... but we know who the xenophobes will be talking about, don't we?)

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on April 12, 2010 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Harry Reid will get a "handful of Republicans" to join him on immigration when purple pigs fly sorties over Afghanistan in x-wing fighters.

However, a debate and actual fillibuster of his bill could secure the growing "hispanic" vote for democrats for a generation.

Just in time to save the country from the current crop of bat-shit crazy Republicans currently vying for elected office.

Posted by: Winkandanod on April 12, 2010 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting post today from Robert Reich on how increasing immigration would help Social Security's coffers -


Why don't we get the unemployed to work first before we start letting in immigrants to bolster our workforce. Without a better economy, those immigrants will have no work and just further drain public coffers through state/federal assistance.

It's also quite racist of Reich to assume all those immigrants (ie, brown people) will come here and have six or seven children.

Posted by: Aldorous on April 12, 2010 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Just to share a tad of information from Chicanos here in the Sonoran Desert, the MSM never get's it correctly. Take, for example the following:

On election day, the Chicano Veterans Organization did a proprietary poll that focused exclusively on Chicanos. This poll also had a subset.

1. Fully-employed Chicanos voted a 85% in favor of Obama.

2. The Spouses of these fully-employed Chicanos voted at 75% in favor of Obama.

Thus, these voters in Western Maricopa County (Phoenix) exceeded, by far, the historical patterns that the MSM is overly fond of.

The likelihood is considerable in that Chicanos, on a national scale, replicated this voting behavior, given that the Chicano community sees itself as "progressive", just as the African Americans and Native Americans in the Sonoran Desert, see themselves as "progressive" as well.

And by way of transparency, I am a member of the Chicano Veterans Organization.


Posted by: jaango on April 12, 2010 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Hit the employers or anyone who knowingly uses/accepts fake SSN or other ID numbers.

Posted by: neil bee on April 12, 2010 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Reich's post is mostly nonsense.

The cost increases in medicare are not being driven primarily by an aging population needing more care, they are being driven by the same care costing 5-10% more every year. The aging population accounts for something like 10% of the increasing costs for medicare. If aging were the problem it would be absolutely manageable.

Social security doesn't have a crisis at all. Any of a number of minor adjustments keep it in fine shape for longer than we can reasonably predict anything (several decades). Unless, of course, the economy never recovers... but just like the medicare case social security wouldn't really be the problem in that case.

Most of the groups constantly talking about the "social security crisis", or slightly less dishonestly the "social security and medicare crisis" just want to eliminate both programs.

I'm not entirely sure what Obama's intentions are by embracing the "crisis" language. Perhaps he actually buys the baloney. Perhaps he just doesn't want to swim upstream against the media on this issue.

Posted by: JeffF on April 12, 2010 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

If we had remotely honest/accurate news media this wouldn't be a difficult choice. On the day the health care reform bill passed the House, there was a pro-immigration rally that was at least twenty times as large as the tea party gathering that was screaming at lawmakers, but if you live outside the DC area, you'd never know that it happened.

Republicans constantly get away with claiming that "the American people" oppose HCR because of all the astroturf-organized wingnuts who came out to town halls, and there's never a challenge asking why, if rallies are the measure of public opinion, they don't support immigration reform and didn't oppose the Iraq War.

Posted by: Redshift on April 12, 2010 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK


How true. Without fixing elections by luring millions of illegal aliens into the country and bribing them with benefits, anchor baby citizenship, DREAM act, path to voting, etc., the Democrats are likely to go down in the next election. GET THOSE ILLEGAL ALIENS ON THE VOTING ROLLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And Obama complains about his fellow election fixers Hamid Karzai and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad while engineering the greatest election rigging in the history of mankind himself.

Posted by: Luther on April 13, 2010 at 2:11 AM | PERMALINK

Applying for citizenship requires that the applicant have resided continuously within the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for at least 5 years. The only exceptions for this are spouses of citizens (who only need 3 years) and those who have completed at least 3 years of service in the U.S. military and who apply while still serving or within 6 months of an honorable discharge.

Every past amnesty bill and all of those recently proposed would require those currently residing in the U.S. illegally to meet various requirements, apply for legal status and only after that is approved would they start accumulating time towards the residency requirement.

Therefore, any immigration reform bill passed this year, could not lead to any new citizens until at least 2015 and could have any impact on either this year's legislative races or Obama's reelection campaign in 2012 or even the next set of midterm elections in 2014. Except of course, the degree to which such legislation's appeal to current citizens of immigrant backgrounds outweighs the negative impact it has on anti-immigrant voters.

Luther -- a blatant liar, outstandingly stupid and misinformed or an eerily authentic spoof? You decide.

Posted by: tanstaafl on April 13, 2010 at 3:41 AM | PERMALINK


Obviously, you're correct regarding Luther. His self-hate is redolent and available for all to see.

Now, to my futher point, and which is you are quite well-informed on immigration, and which is considerable, and therefore, I want to acknowledge your grasp of the subject area.

Thus, Immigration is all about "honoring" and which means that the "value" placed on citizenship is immense, but in Luther's case, he has no inkling of what citizenship represents.

Take, for example, a child born here in the United States and of undocumented immigrants, has considerable "value", especially from my perspective. Consequently, should we as a society "honor" this citizenship by permitting his or her parents to become citizens of the USA, and if so, should these parents go to the "head of the line" in order to acquire this citizenship?

If so, we as a society are "honoring" ourselves, as well as "honoring" this Littlest Citizen. Additionally, should the undocumented parents express their desire to become citizens, then, we too would be "honoring" these parents, as well.

And if done properly and successfully, this "honoring" systemic, would lead to the demise of the anti-immigrationists despite their propensity to espouse all their bigotry and hate onto the rest of us.


Posted by: jaango on April 13, 2010 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

I just encountered your blog and really loved it. I’m going to add a bookmark, keep up the good work!

Posted by: Debt Relief on November 1, 2010 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK



Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM

buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly