2006 April 11 Tuesday
Hastert Joins Frist In Immigration Cave In

Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert looks like he wants to follow Senate leader Bill Frist and totally cave on immigration.

In the wake of this week's massive demonstrations, many House Republicans are worried that a tough anti-illegal-immigration bill they thought would please their political base has earned them little benefit while becoming a lightning rod for the fast-growing national movement for immigrant rights.

House Republicans rushed through legislation just before Christmas that would build hundreds of miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, require that businesses verify the legality of all employees' status through a national database, fortify border patrols, and declare illegal immigrants and those who help them to be felons. After more lenient legislation failed in the Senate last week, the House-passed version burst into the public consciousness this week, as hundreds of thousands of protesters across the country turned out to denounce the bill.

Fools. Yes, their base really does want tough legislation to stop illegal immigration. The Republican Party's best hope for maintaining control of Congress in the November 2006 elections is to stop alienating their base and show they give a damn about their base. But these idiots are more impressed by lots of Mexicans marching in US cities carrying Mexican flags and delivering speeches in Spanish. They are ready to cave.

Here is the full text of the joint Hastert-Frist statement.

"America is a nation with borders and borders matter. We are a nation of citizens and citizenship matters. We are also a nation of laws and laws matter. We have an important immigrant heritage and honoring that heritage matters.

"In December, the House of Representatives passed a strong border security bill aimed at securing our borders and preventing illegal immigration.

"However, on December 16, 2005, there were 191 House Democrats who voted to oppose House Republican efforts to reduce the crime of unlawful presence in the United States from a felony to a misdemeanor. Instead, they voted to make felons out of all of those who remain in our country illegally.

"While we are disappointed with the House Democrat's lack of compassion and the continued efforts by Senator Reid to block action on immigration legislation so that Congress can proceed to conference, it remains our intent to produce a strong border security bill that will not make unlawful presence in the United States a felony."

The Republicans in both houses of Congress ought to unite behind Sensenbrenner's tough House bill. It could win them elections.

The Republicans are very unpopular according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The survey found that 38 percent of the public approve of the job Bush is doing, down three percentage points in the past month and his worst showing in Post-ABC polling since he became president. Sixty percent disapprove of his performance.

With less than seven months remaining before the midterm elections, Bush's political troubles already appear to be casting a long shadow over them. Barely a third of registered voters, 35 percent, approve of the way the Republican-led Congress is doing its job -- the lowest level of support in nine years.

The Democrats are more likely to win if the Republicans continue on the path of totally demoralizing and angering their base (and a majority of the public which wants less immigration).

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 April 11 09:12 PM  Immigration Politics

John S Bolton said at April 12, 2006 1:01 AM:

The Mexican demonstration of large numbers of hostiles mobilizing against our sovereignty, should be very provocative, not only to the Republican base, but to the entire electorate. When foreign criminals march to compete for sovereignty, this is a defiance not only of the majority, but of the presidential office in particular.
Bush has no way to look good from these warlike demonstrations; the more he appeases them, the weaker he looks.
The weaker our government looks, the bolder the foreign demonstrations will become.
This is how wars are started. The Republicans in congress will look worse, and precipitate more competition for sovereignty, which is to say war, if they appease the foreign hostiles' demonstration.

David Lajaunie said at April 12, 2006 5:52 AM:

Amen to John Bolton's comments. I would say however that making illegal immigration a felony impedes enforcement because it sets in motion a whole series of legal events that eventually culminate in a jury trial (not to mention the appellate procedure). Making it a misdemeanor would facilitate a more rapid repatriation. On the other hand the cynic in me suspects this is not a tactical move but part of a broader appeasement. I can't help but remember that Neville Chamberlain was a conservative.

Rick Darby said at April 12, 2006 7:16 AM:

The shady deal is going down. House Republicans have done their song and dance so they can claim they tried. Now they're working from the big corporations' script, whose plotline is that they stirred up the Latinos' wrath and there wasn't enough support for a tough line.

Mark my words. The House will sign on to amnesty disguised as a "path to citizenship," in exchange for a few meaningless concessions, such as x more dollars for enforcement (to buy the Border Patrol new uniforms or something).

This will end in tears. See my posting at Reflecting Light.

jeff said at April 12, 2006 7:42 AM:

Or maybe they just changed their minds because it was the right thing to do? I know you guys aren't real big on that but it does happen somethimes.

CDB said at April 12, 2006 8:09 AM:

I'm glad your grandparents where more understanding. I hear those cattle cars got pretty cold in Siberia.

Maimonides said at April 12, 2006 8:25 AM:

I just wanted to send a warm thank you to all of you reactionary anti-immigration republicans for splitting up your party, making GW Bush sink even faster in the polls, and for waking the "Sleeping Giant of US Politics" (that's the latin vote for those who failed high school civics class) and pissing him off so thoroughly. Looking forward to generations of large latin families voting dem!

Devil's Advocate said at April 12, 2006 8:27 AM:

Lovely to see that the wingnuts are finally showing their true colours. They are racists, and proud of it. Next they'll be calling for pogroms. I bet some of them beat up brown people for sports...

John Gillnitz said at April 12, 2006 8:45 AM:

"When foreign criminals march to compete for sovereignty..."

The vast majority of protesters here in Austin are Americans who have friends, neighbors, and family members who would suddenly become felons. Immigration was supposed to be this election's hot button issue; the gay marriage of 2006. And it blew up in their face.

Cheer up! Maybe there is time to get everyone rilled up about flag burning or abortion before November. Or maybe nuke Iran. I'll bring the marshmallows.

John S Bolton said at April 15, 2006 2:34 AM:

It is interesting that opponents of national defense can only use ad hominem, or some perfectly dubious advice to the right, to ape the left's method of drawing Latino support.

D Flinchum said at April 15, 2006 5:07 AM:

Looking forward to generations of large latin families voting dem!

Posted by Maimonides at April 12, 2006 08:25 AM

Well, Maimonides, are you also looking forward to your children and grandchildren dealing with a US population of 500 million in 2050 - 200 million more than we have now? That's what these amnesty bills will give us. Family reunification is the single largest contributor to immigration and the Specter bill and its clones are expected to add something like 30 million people to the US - 10% of the current population - in the next 10 years. Forget oil. Parts of the US will be running out of water in the next 10-20 years.

Randall Parker said at April 15, 2006 8:12 AM:


Do you consider yourself morally superior to Republicans? Consider: In order to get a Democratic Party majority you are willing to:

1) Drive up the cost of housing.

2) Push millions of black men and women into lower salaries and unemployment.

3) Push millions of lower IQ whites into lower salaries and unemployment.

4) Break unions.

5) More than double the crime rate. Do you feel yourself so morally superior that you will feel no guilt for the murders, rapes, assaults, and other crimes that will come as a result of your support for massive Hispamic immigration?

The point is that future generations will have to live with the mistakes that Democrats are making right now, the costs, the social pathology. Why? Because people like you are more keen on scoring points against Republicans and feeling morally superior to Republicans than you are to look at the empirical evidence on problems that Hispanic immigration is causing. You are being grossly irresponsible.

Dave said at April 15, 2006 8:48 AM:

Its actually the pro open borders people who are the racists. A black New York councillor was on O'reilly earlier in the week and he said he wanted more immigration to make "people of color" more powerful than whites. He became a little shifty after O'reilly exposed him so its hard to quote his actual words but if you saw it its obvious he has a chip on his shoulder about white people.

Considering the Mexican immigrants are affecting blacks mostly at the moment his attitude seemed rather strange, but I guess he didn't 'really' care about that as many of the race baiters don't.

Mik said at April 15, 2006 4:02 PM:

D Flinchum sez:
"Specter bill and its clones are expected to add something like 30 million people to the US - 10% of the current population - in the next 10 years."

I'm afraid 30 Mil is a lower bound in a range of guesstimated values and not very likely in my opinion.
Consider: in 1986 gov said that 1M, at most 1.5M will be eligible for amnesty, reality was 3M right away and 1-1.5M in few years after that.

Today gov sez 12M illegals. Assuming 10M will be eligible accordingly to gov (intetionally low) estimate, a real number will be 20M. Each amnestee will import 3.5 people on average(1 wife, 1-3 parents, 1-3 kids).
Total number is 60-80M range.
I don't think the US will survive this invasion of Mestizos and resemble todays US even remotely.

Mick Ashton said at April 19, 2006 6:56 PM:

Mexico Harsh to Undocumented Migrants
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By MARK STEVENSON, The Associated Press
Apr 18, 2006 6:08 PM (1 day ago)

TULTITLAN, Mexico - Considered felons by the government, these migrants fear detention, rape and robbery. Police and soldiers hunt them down at railroads, bus stations and fleabag hotels. Sometimes they are deported; more often officers simply take their money.

While migrants in the United States have held huge demonstrations in recent weeks, the hundreds of thousands of undocumented Central Americans in Mexico suffer mostly in silence.

And though Mexico demands humane treatment for its citizens who migrate to the U.S., regardless of their legal status, Mexico provides few protections for migrants on its own soil. The issue simply isn't on the country's political agenda, perhaps because migrants make up only 0.5 percent of the population, or about 500,000 people - compared with 12 percent in the United States.

The level of brutality Central American migrants face in Mexico was apparent Monday, when police conducting a raid for undocumented migrants near a rail yard outside Mexico City shot to death a local man, apparently because his dark skin and work clothes made officers think he was a migrant.

Virginia Sanchez, who lives near the railroad tracks that carry Central Americans north to the U.S. border, said such shootings in Tultitlan are common.

"At night, you hear the gunshots, and it's the judiciales (state police) chasing the migrants," she said. "It's not fair to kill these people. It's not fair in the United States and it's not fair here."

Undocumented Central American migrants complain much more about how they are treated by Mexican officials than about authorities on the U.S. side of the border, where migrants may resent being caught but often praise the professionalism of the agents scouring the desert for their trail.

"If you're carrying any money, they take it from you - federal, state, local police, all of them," said Carlos Lopez, a 28-year-old farmhand from Guatemala crouching in a field near the tracks in Tultitlan, waiting to climb onto a northbound freight train.

Lopez said he had been shaken down repeatedly in 15 days of traveling through Mexico.

"The soldiers were there as soon as we crossed the river," he said. "They said, 'You can't cross ... unless you leave something for us.'"

Jose Ramos, 18, of El Salvador, said the extortion occurs at every stop in Mexico, until migrants are left penniless and begging for food.

"If you're on a bus, they pull you off and search your pockets and if you have any money, they keep it and say, 'Get out of here,'" Ramos said.

Maria Elena Gonzalez, who lives near the tracks, said female migrants often complain about abusive police.

"They force them to strip, supposedly to search them, but the purpose is to sexually abuse them," she said.

Others said they had seen migrants beaten to death by police, their bodies left near the railway tracks to make it look as if they had fallen from a train.

The Mexican government acknowledges that many federal, state and local officials are on the take from the people-smugglers who move hundreds of thousands of Central Americans north, and that migrants are particularly vulnerable to abuse by corrupt police.

The National Human Rights Commission, a government-funded agency, documented the abuses south of the U.S. border in a December report.

"One of the saddest national failings on immigration issues is the contradiction in demanding that the North respect migrants' rights, which we are not capable of guaranteeing in the South," commission president Jose Luis Soberanes said.

In the United States, mostly Mexican immigrants have staged rallies pressuring Congress to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants rather than making them felons and deputizing police to deport them. The Mexican government has spoken out in support of the immigrants' cause.

While Interior Secretary Carlos Abascal said Monday that "Mexico is a country with a clear, defined and generous policy toward migrants," the nation of 105 million has legalized only 15,000 immigrants in the past five years, and many undocumented migrants who are detained are deported.

Although Mexico objects to U.S. authorities detaining Mexican immigrants, police and soldiers usually cause the most trouble for migrants in Mexico, even though they aren't technically authorized to enforce immigration laws.

And while Mexicans denounce the criminalization of their citizens living without papers in the United States, Mexican law classifies undocumented immigration as a felony punishable by up to two years in prison, although deportation is more common.

The number of undocumented migrants detained in Mexico almost doubled from 138,061 in 2002 to 240,269 last year. Forty-two percent were Guatemalan, 33 percent Honduran and most of the rest Salvadoran.

Like the United States, Mexico is becoming reliant on immigrant labor. Last year, then-director of Mexico's immigration agency, Magdalena Carral, said an increasing number of Central Americans were staying in Mexico, rather than just passing through on their way to the U.S.

She said sectors of the Mexican economy facing labor shortages often use undocumented workers because the legal process for work visas is inefficient.

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