Julia Preston of the New York Times offers (link, with help from Jeff Zeleny) the not-incredibly-surprising news that Barack Obama will try to push comprehensive immigration reform (aka amnesty) this year. See the last link for the massive problems with that scheme.
The legislation might be introduced in the fall; in May Obama will speak about this and then during the summer they'll lobby the DC establishment to get behind the plan.
According to Cecilia Munoz - a former National Council of La Raza hack now with the administration - it will be framed as "policy reform that controls immigration and makes it an orderly system"; see safe legal orderly for others saying something similar. Preston also misleads about the immigration system being "widely acknowledged to be broken"; see system is broken for other examples of that being used. The answer to both of those stock talking points is the same: amnesty won't fix the problems, which boil down to politicians being too corrupt to simply enforce our current, highly-enforceable laws.
And, consider this incredibly lame talking point:
Administration officials said that Mr. Obama's plan would not add new workers to the American work force... ...there is no evidence of any wholesale exodus of illegal immigrant workers, independent studies of census data show...
By saying that, they're acknowledging that if they took away illegal workers they could help low-wage American workers. And, it's well within their grasp to take away illegal workers: simply enforce our current laws, ramping up immigration raids over time. Instead, look at what the supposed law enforcers have done: giving illegal aliens work permits and releasing them.
Obama's plan will increase competition for low-wage jobs by converting jobs that relied on an illegal and thereby compliant labor force into one that won't be so easily pushed around, and that increased competition will lead to a lowering of wages for some already low-wage jobs. The better solution isn't to keep those workers illegal, the better solution is to encourage them to return home and reduce the competition that low-skilled Americans face. Obama clearly has little concern for them, he's trying to sell them on his claim that they won't be hurt any more than they have been already. If Obama truly cared about low-skilled American workers, he'd enforce the laws we already have.
Roy Beck makes that point a bit more eloquently:
"It just doesn’t seem rational that any political leader would say, let’s give millions of foreign workers permanent access to U.S. jobs when we have millions of Americans looking for jobs... [the reaction is] going to be, 'You're letting them keep that job, when I could have that job.'"
And, that's how you can fight this: by making a point similar to that a public appearances by those that the White House sends out to push their plan. Get their response on video and upload it to video sharing sites. Even just one administration official who's really pressed on that issue - in the form of questions rather than rants - will send a very loud message that can be heard all the way back in DC.
As the issue moves forward, we'll be providing specific questions relating to the legislation, so subscribe to our feed to be updated. In the meantime, a basic action plan for forming local groups to ask tough questions is here. Our guide to coming up with tough questions is here. If you want to do something now, go ask about another amnesty that's current legislation, the DREAM Act.
Wed, 04/08/2009 - 21:05 · Importance: 9