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Elizabeth Emken on immigration: weak, GOP boilerplate (amnesty, California, Feinstein)

Elizabeth Emken is the GOP challenger to Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, a state that's been greatly harmed by massive illegal immigration.

Rather than doing what's best for the U.S. and California by making strong opposition to illegal immigration a central part of her campaign, all Emken can offer is weak GOP boilerplate that supports some form of amnesty.

On the page emken2012.com/issues, she has full-page "Policy Papers" on issues of vital importance to top GOP donors: regulations, debt, energy, and tax reform (and also water).

Yet, all immigration warrants is four paragraphs in a FAQ section. Here are the four paragraphs, followed by a discussion of what they actually mean and why they're wrong:

Everyone knows this system is broken. Our U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein has been in office for twenty years and she has done nothing to fix this problem. We cannot fault those who are drawn by the opportunity and promise of the American way of life. They are acting in their families' best interest, as we would in the same situation. But we must approach the illegal immigration issue with a comprehensive solution that starts by securing our borders. There's no reason why the United States of America cannot secure its borders, and until we do, we cannot adequately address the other problems with immigration.

We also need to ensure that we have a vibrant guest worker program that provides for our farms' labor needs. Those families that are here working legally must pay their taxes and secure required drivers licenses, auto insurance and similar necessary items.

I believe amnesty would only make the problem worse, and I am not in favor of amnesty. Those that are here illegally must go through the proper legal immigration system.

These are tough questions, and we must have an honest discussion on how to solve the problems created by our lack of border security. That includes bringing together affected communities, business and labor leaders, and others to work out reasonable solutions to issues.

1. She's using the system is broken canard; see the link for why that's misleading.

2. The goal of someone who wants to improve things in California shouldn't be to encourage Dianne Feinstein to "fix" things: her fixes would just make things worse. The goal should be to force those like Feinstein to oppose illegal immigration instead of enabling it. While Feinstein has done a few good things on immigration (SCAAP, Ramos and Compean; see her name's link) most of what she's done or proposed has been bad (e.g., AgJOBS). Overall Feinstein's immigration position has been bad for California and the U.S. Yet, Emken isn't pointing out how she's been bad: she's on the same basic side of immigration as Feinstein and simply wants to negotiate the specifics.

3. Emken appears to support secure the border in the "secure the border first then amnesty" sense discussed at that link. What she means by "comprehensive solution" is some form of comprehensive immigration reform, which is what most people mean when they use the word amnesty.

4. But (you say) she's "not in favor of amnesty". That's because she's playing word games, see reform not amnesty.

5. What about "[t]hose that are here illegally must go through the proper legal immigration system"? Doesn't that mean she opposes what most people call "amnesty"? Not necessarily: she could be thinking of some form of "touchback". Rather than copying and pasting, just do a find for "symbolic gesture" here. Or, she could just mean she'd put current illegal aliens into some form of guest worker/legalization program after they've (as the saying goes) paid a fine, started learning English and went to the end of the line.

6. Emken is supporting what would be a very large guest workers program; see that link for many posts explaining how that would go wrong. Emken would help corrupt growers who want a ready supply of cheap labor. Instead, Emken should force growers to pay better wages under better conditions and to automate as much as possible. We can send a man to the moon, but we can't invent a strawberry-picking machine? See immigration agriculture and for examples of misleading pro-grower propaganda see crops rotting in the fields.

7. Emken wants to "[bring] together affected communities, business and labor leaders, and others to work out reasonable solutions to issues". If you're cynical, that sounds like something Obama would do (also here). Cynical or not, it assumes that the pro-massive immigration positions of those "business and labor leaders" are valid, when they aren't. Both groups will always want more immigration, no matter the impact on everyone else. They need to be opposed, discredited, and forced to accept our terms, not theirs. Obviously, it's difficult to find a politician willing to do that because those two groups are the sugardaddies of the GOP and the Democratic Party respectively.

8. Emken states that until we secure the border "we cannot adequately address the other problems with immigration", which is false. We can more than adequately address illegal immigration right now; see the hearts and minds note at the link. For instance, Emken could get Feinstein's specific position on Obama's DACA program, and then point out to Feinstein's base that DACA will harm struggling workers, most of them Democrats. Or, she could oppose Feinstein over the anti-American DREAM Act.

There's a lot Emken could do right now that would not only help her politically but would help the U.S. and California. Yet, instead of doing that, her policy is just GOP boilerplate that's bad for the U.S. and California.

Please contact @ElizabethEmken and @Emken2012 with your thoughts.

P.S. On May 28, 2010 (2010-05-28 02:42:29 GMT) I tweeted this to her:

@elizabethemken: do you support "comprehensive #immigration reform"? If so, under what circumstances? Pence plan? Flake? Kennedy?

I don't have a record of whether I got a response, but if I did I probably would have asked a follow-up; that's the only tweet I sent her.

Mon, 09/10/2012 - 11:53 · Importance: 4