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Amnesty for All?


As a rule, local TV news is useless. Unless you want to hear the weather forecast. But last night, before the weather, KGO ran a piece on a Mexican immigrant who, after more than 15 years in this country, was facing deportation. Like many people living and working in this state, she hadn’t managed to become a U.S. citizen. Sad, but a typical California story.
Buried in all the pathos was a statement from a off-camera voice bearing what sounded like real news. Real national news. Calls and appeals to Washington on this woman’s behalf had turned up indications that the Bush White House is considering an amnesty program “like President Reagan’s.”
That mass amnesty program created millions of citizens. Overnight. Normally, I’d dismiss such predictions out of hand – just like the KGO reporter who included this sound bite but didn’t follow up on what could be a very interesting turn of events in California as well as the national political scene.
But today’s Bee has this story about the Bush Administration taking a new look at immigration. “For hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, many of them in California, this could mean the best chance in years at attaining legal U.S. status,’’ the Bee says. From what the paper’s saying, the bill appears to be concentrated on farm-workers who have jobs, but that’s not an official pronouncement. It’s easy to see where this goes: one job’s as good as another, isn’t it? If the White House wants to be extra nice — and really smart — it’ll extend protection to all those expired H1B visas, wouldn’t it?
Heading into the official Presidential Primary season, the political implications of this are very hard to overlook. Hispanic voters are the fastest growing segment of the electorate and they tend to vote Democratic. Asian voters are more conservative — depnding on where they’re from. But voters can be moved; look at Florida and Texas. Neither Bush brother would be in office without Spanish-speaking voters.
It’s a great run-around, too. Most Democrats think some sort of amnesty program is a good idea, even union guy Democratic Presidential hopeful Rep. Dick Gephart has endorsed some sort of amnesty.Too many people living illegally in this country, carrying their share – more than their share — economically but denied basic benefits.
The administration is clearly setting up a relationship between people who already have jobs and legal residency. It’s a clever idea that neatly cuts the ground out from anyone who wants to argue that illegal aliens steal jobs – they’re already working – or come to this country to loaf around.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 10:43 AM | Permalink

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