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Immigration Choices For All


If Senate Democrats are able to overcome their conflicting desires for either vitriol or decorum—unlike what happened this week during the short-lived filibuster of Justice Alito—the party has a choice between opportunities when the Sensenbrenner Immigration bill moves over from the House of Representatives. They can either watch the Republicans tear themselves apart over the issue or actually advance policy objectives important to their constituents by working with the President.
Immigration is one issue where President Bush is at odds with his Party. The RNC even considered a resolution admonishing him over his proposal to create a guest worker program earlier this year, and while it failed , just the mention of it shows how close Republicans are to pushing the “Self-Destruct” Button over this issue.
The legislation heading to the Senate, authored by Wisconsin Republican Congressman James Sensenbrenner. The bill is red-meat for the farthest right elements of the GOP, as it cracks, “down on employers hiring illegal workers, smugglers trafficking in human beings as well as confronting the emerging problem of alien gangs.
It also builds a 700-mile long fence along the border and has other symbolic measures to send the message “No estan bienvenidos aqui.”
The bill it at odds with President Bush’s approach which would create a legalized status for immigrant workers already in the United States, and bring them into the system to make them full participants in America’s diverse economy.
So Senate Democrats have a choice when the Sensenbrenner bill hits their desk—they can sit back and watch Republicans hit that Self-Destruct button over this issue, or they can (gasp!) work with the President to forge an immigration bill that may even include some things their constituents care about—such as the Permanent Partners Immigration Act.
While Democrats are under alot of pressure from pro-immigration forces within their own party, this issue forces them to go against their gut and align themselves with the business community and President Bush in order to make gains for their own core constituents.
But working with the President—even when his views are closer to theirs than to his own party—is not popular with Democrats and it would require them to choose decorum over vitriol.
But we’re asking United States Senators to choose policy objectives at the expense of scoring political points—and while a handful of Senators realized during the Alito filibuster that those who sided with vitriol were setting a terrible precedent, the entire Democratic caucus will have to work in unison with the President to make it happen…so don’t count on it.

Share  Posted by Scott Olin Schmidt at 4:03 PM | Permalink

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