No Dice (Back to Roulette)

It looks like the newest immigration bill has lost its steam, its supporters failing in a vote that would have ended debate on the bill's content and called for a final decision.

This article by Charles Babington from the AP
falls for some of the blunders of misinformation that have held up the process towards real reform. For instance, Babington writes that conservatives' "interests overlapped with those of pro-labor groups concerned about a flood of low-wage workers". That's only a partial truth: For years, many labor unions have been at the forefront of the movement for more-humane and less-regulated immigration for two central reasons: First, as unions of workers, they believe in the rights of all workers to a decent wage and humane working conditions, no matter their country of birth or the color of their skin. Second, those concerned about the undocumented stealing "American jobs" by working for less and in poor conditions should embrace legalizing the undocumented. The only reason they can undercut wages (if indeed they do) is because they aren't recognized by the government. If we legalized their status, then they would have to compete with U.S. workers on an even plane -- and only those best workers would earn jobs. (To say that some people deserve those jobs simply because they were born here is ludicrous -- and contradicts conservatives' own arguments against a welfare state.)

Some brief text analysis:

"In a recent poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, 55 percent of the respondents said penalizing employers who hire illegals is the best way to reduce illegal immigration. One in four said more border agents is the best answer, and 7 percent favored more border fences."

And yet, pro-enforcement legislators insist on using "what the American people want" to justify massive (and expensive) militarization of the border.

"When the word 'amnesty' was not invoked, 62 percent of Republicans said they favored letting illegal immigrants now in the country obtain citizenship if they have jobs, pass background checks and pay fines. But only 47 percent of Republicans said they favored giving amnesty to illegal immigrants if they met those same conditions."

And so we see how deeply words and their meanings, perceived or real, effect our thoughts -- and therefore how important it is to educate ourselves and each other on the realities of situations, so we can see through linguistic manipulation. Those Republicans polled actually favored the reality of a path to citizenship, opposing it only when they saw a different label affixed to it.

"Democrats, independents and moderate and liberal Republicans were most concerned about jobs, but conservative Republicans were about equally concerned with jobs and terrorism."

This really speaks for itself, but I want to point out a related fact that recently came to my attention. Immigration regulation used to reside under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice. Now it's part of Homeland Security. See that? The focus went from Justice to Security. That strikes me as a bad sign.

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