Various attempts to write a "compromise" immigration reform from the Senate are apparently dead. Why is this good? Because anything they passed, no matter how apparently fair, would have to be taken to conference with the "build a wall and name 'em all felons" bill passed by the House. By the time the "reform" came out of a Republican dominated conference, we can be sure that provisions protecting immigrants as workers would be gone and probably most of the legalization path. So this has been a good day.
The immigration policy debate has stimulated some interesting oped pieces in the last few days.
One in the New York Times by Douglas S. Massey is going to get walled off soon, so I'll quote extensively from it.
Massey goes on to describe how fence building in California pushed immigrants to the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. More people died, but more actually got into the U.S. as the probability of getting picked up dropped from 33 percent to 10 percent. And with more fences, going home to Mexico got harder, so there is more incentive to dig in and simply stay in the U.S., losing ties with home and family.
Massey concludes: "The only thing we have to show for two decades of border militarization is a larger undocumented population than we would otherwise have, a rising number of Mexicans dying while trying to cross, and a growing burden on taxpayers for enforcement that is counterproductive."
Not to be out done, the Washington Post has printed three quite good immigration columns as well. Ruth Marcus recounted how North Dakota, not usually a progressive bellwether, decided that giving in-state tuition to undocumented graduates of state high schools was simply a good investment. Being a place that is losing population, North Dakotans know the score:
Usually Fareed Zakaria is not someone I expect to agree with. He's editor of Newsweek International, Yale and Harvard educated, and conservative, the kind of immigrant (Indian-born) intellectual who gives "race cover" to our right winger's mad hegemonic dreams. Though he has questioned how it has been carried out, he has supported the Neocon's Iraq war. But he said a lot of sensible things this week, contrasting the U.S.'s relatively open immigration with Europe's inability to absorb people who are genuinely different. He urged:
Finally, African American columnist Eugene Robinson visited Phoenix to take the temperature on the issue. He nails the story:
State legislator Alfredo Gutierrez explained to Robinon what drives immigrant protests.
- "His childhood was an experience of a 'perhaps more benign' form of the apartheid that African Americans had to suffer in the South. Mexicans were allowed to use the municipal swimming pool only on Sundays, after which the pool was drained and refilled every Monday, he says. ...The idea back then was forced assimilation. 'The teacher would put a piece of tape on your mouth if you spoke Spanish instead of English,' he recalls."
- "Within his own extended family, Gutierrez says, he counts immigrants who are American citizens, others who are permanent residents with green cards and still others who are here illegally. That is why there are no simple solutions: If you draw a sharp line between those who have proper documents and those who don't, you break up families."