Compañeros: The issue of comprehensive immigration reform is much more complex than presented as a Democratic versus Republican contradiction, or that the only opponents of reform are the conservatives, the extreme right, etc., etc. It is not so black and white as presented by Rodriguez.
A brief overview of enforcement and draconian immigration laws since 1986 will demonstrate that it has been Democrats (Clinton and Obama) who bare the greatest responsibility for the 1996 repressive Illegal Immigration Reform Act (curtailed rights of immigrations, eliminated the 245i waiver, increased the list of criminal offenses to deny legal status and to deport permanent residents, and much more) - although it was a Republican controlled congress that passed the law, Clinton had the opportunity to use the veto but rejected the option; detentions and deportations under the Obama administration (already 1,565,000, plus to date and projected to reach 2,000,000 by the end of 2013) will exceed all such enforcement combined under all presidential administrations over the past 100 years - Democrat and Republican, not to mention enhanced border troop force and use of national guard, continuation of the contruction of the border wall (which Obama voted for at the end of 2006 on the hills of the massive immigrant rights marches; as did Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein the two Zionist U.S. Senators from California who have never seen a border wall that they did not embrace be that in the occupied territories in the Middle East or along the U.S. - Mexico border); E-verify, which constitutes draconian enforcement in the workplace, while begun under the Bush administration, was rapidly and completely embraced and expanded under Obama; Secure Communities, again begun under Bush, was expanded under Obama; the use of drones surveillance military weaponry along the border is Obama's baby.
President Obama only today, February 05, 2013, in a meeting with "prominent immigrant advocates and labor leaders" declined to stay deportations as comprehensive immigration reform is being discussed in both houses of the U.S. Congress. He does not intend on easing up on enforcement, although he recognized that not only criminal offenders are caught up in the dragnets. His premise is that to get reform he cannot be seen as letting up on enforcment, and does not want this to be the object of discussion.
The fact is that this has been his premise since his first year in office. The truth of the matter is that after he was unwilling to put his shoulder to the task of comprehensive immigration reform during this first year, and the Democratic Party had a majority in both houses, he kicked the ball down the field until 2013. I hope you remember that his chief of staff at the time, now mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, who served Obama until the end of 2010, let it be known publicly that this was the timeline - no immigration reform until 2013, the first year of a second term. In other words, the dye was cast in 2009 and from then on it was hell bent enforcement across the board.
The reality is that we are faced with two political parties that do the bidding for the UNITED STATES CORPORATION. One is nasty and the other is nastier to the American people, which includes all immigrants and migrants irrespective of their legal status lest one forgets that all working people represent nothing more to capital but wage-labor to be exploited, and these career politicians represent the 1%, not the 99%. The truth of this is in the eating of the pudding. Take off the blinders, no need to be an apologist for the president or his party, and analyze closely the proposals of both Obama and the bipartisan senate group disspassionately and you will find the truth of the matter. On both scores, they include heavy enforcement measures, border and interior, back of the line-type of "legalization," enhanced visas for high-skilled intellectual labor (which constitutes a conscious brain-drain for other countries), a guest worker program, expedited visas for agricultural workers (agri-business just needs its cheap labor - ala Senator Diane Feinstein - D-CA), etc. In other words, you won't find fundamental differences between their proposals. They will be fighting around the edges, and they intend on taking us with them on a yo-yo emotional high during the course of the year. In other words, they have already created the framework from which the debate will occur.
This is more about contolling the flow of labor, the type of labor required by capital at this juncture in the economic development of the country and the normalization of the reserve army of labor already inside the country under dubious circumstances, the undocumented. We don't need to get our calzones in a wad and argue amongst ourselves, but direct our fire towards the recalcitrant opponents of comprehensive immigration reform, and the worst features of CIR as proposed by the president and the bipartisan group, and the liberal apologist of the administration and the democrats who have already bought into the framework and continued rampant enforcement. This will be our greatest challenge.
For example, we will be challenged by the fact that many labor unions have already bought in to the idea that some form of guest-worker program is required if CIR is to become a reality. Eliseo Medina, International Secretary Treasurer for SEIU, for example, while speaking progressive rhetoric in favor of CIR will advocate such a position. He did so in 2007 and is expected to do so again. This will be at odds with most in the AFL-CIO, however, even here we observe a weaking of their traditonal position. The UFW will weigh in on this debate, and once again, it will feign opposition, but ultimately acquisesce to its existence as long as it gets an opportunity to access the contracted workers. All these contraditions present challenges to the progressive immigrant forces involved in the struggle for true reform. So, let's stay together and not waste our ammunition on each other.
Patricio Gomez, at your service.
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