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Friday, December 16, 2005

Immigration report backlash

The Pioneer Press has a story today about some of the backlash that the governor's report on illegal immigration has sparked around the state. Not surprisingly, immigrants and immigration advocates are not too pleased at the inaccurate, one-sided, misleading report. Some say that this could awaken a formerly dormant group of people who have been generally outside of the political process.

Pawlenty is right when he says that the immigration system "has to be legal and orderly and reasonable, and the current system that we now see playing out across the country and in Minnesota doesn't meet that definition in my book." But do you know whose fault that is? It's the fault of Congress and President Bush, and nothing the governor can do aside from urge the federal government to act will make a difference. The BCIS needs to be completely reformed and given the resources it needs to do its job. As it stands now, it is a fairly corrupt bureaucracy with a backlog measured in months and years. As they say, justice delayed is justice denied.

One thing that definitely will not help is a law that prevents cities from passing ordinances that keep the police from acting as immigration officials. Apparently, this is something that will be pushed by Republican Jim Knoblach of Saint Cloud. The police do not have the training or legal knowledge to determine a person's immigration status. You can be legally here if your visa has expired. You can be illegal if you have a visa. This is because our immigration laws make no sense whatsoever. In a lot of cases, it takes many lawyers and judges to untangle a person's status. The police can't do it, and expecting them to will only keep immigrants from cooperating with the police.

It is no secret that some Republican grassroots activists are trying to make immigration a big issue for the next elections. However, the business wing of the Republican party isn't as eager to make this a huge issue as some other conservatives, simply because they rely on cheap labor from legal and illegal immigrants. So another thing Pawlenty could do if he really cared about this issue is talk to his Republican business owner friends and encourage them to obey the law with regards to wages, safety, and immigration status of their workers.

The issue of immigration has to include more misinformation and incorrect stereotypes than just about any other issue. Pawlenty's report certainly isn't helping.


At 6:55 PM, December 18, 2005, Anonymous Chris said...

2002: Pawlenty runs the "visa status on drivers licenses" ad in the last few weeks of the campaign.

2004: Pawlenty pushes the Indian gaming issue in the last few weeks of the campaign.

2005: Pawlenty gears up to start talking about immigration.

The fact that the scapegoats in these efforts all have darker hues of flesh than the voters in the exurbs is just a HUGE coincidence.

And don't forget that Michele Bachmann still has her fag-bashing amendment to push onto the ballot. These Republicans are charming people, aren't they?

Let's see, we've got xenophobia, we've got homophobia...we're still missing one though. C'mon, three's the magic number. What else are they gonna run on next year? Let's start a contest and e-mail the suggestions to GOP headquarters.


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