What a difference a couple of years makes.
The same U.S. Senator John McCain who in 2010 snuggled up to illegal-immigrant-screwing (in more ways than one) Sheriff Paul Babeu, supported Sand Land's racist Senate Bill 1070, and insisted that America "complete the danged fence" on the U.S.-Mexico border, is now leading the bi-partisan effort to enact comprehensive immigration reform.
See also: -John McCain on Why GOP Will Support Immigration Reform: Hispanic Votes -Jan Brewer "Kinder, Gentler" on Immigration? Republic Dons Kneepads for Governor -John McCain's Bigotry Earns Hashtag, Near-Universal Ridicule, Help from Bigot-Boy Sheriff -Bill Montgomery's Ghost of Christmas Present: Injustice -S.A.N.E. Immigration Initiative Undercut by Bill Montgomery's Nativist Panderings -Arizona Deserves No Peace From Pro-Immigrant Forces
The proposed framework for CIR was released today by eight Senators, including McCain, Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Dick Durbin (D-IL).
One of its basic legislative pillars is "a tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.""One of us"? Do tell, Senator.
The plan includes the usual claptrap about securing the border and beefing up the already budget-fat U.S. Border Patrol, as if the U.S.-Mexico border needs to be any more militarized than it already is, with immigration currently at a "net zero" according to the Pew Hispanic Center.
But, significantly, while all of this bogus "securing" is being done, the undocumented can earn "probationary legal status," by passing a background check, paying a fine, and any back taxes they may owe.
The "back taxes" part is pretty amusing, considering the fact that the federal government has taken in billions in Social Security withholdings from illegal immigrants using fake Social Security numbers over the years. Effectively, this has been a "tax" that the undocumented have paid, unless they were paid in cash under the table.
Those with probationary legal status will be allowed to live and work legally in the U.S. and later can apply for a green card, and, at some point, citizenship.
The plan cuts some slack for DREAMers, who will "not face the same requirements," and those working "to maintain America's food supply while earning subsistence wages," who will "earn a path to citizenship through a different process."
One element of the plan that's already drawing the ire of civil libertarians is the part about, "requiring prospective workers to demonstrate both legal status and identity, through non-forgeable electronic means prior to obtaining employment."
In other words, a national I.D. card, which has been the wet dream of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for many years now.
But what bothers me is what bothers Pablo Alvarado, Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, who in a just-released statement demanded a halt to all deportations while the work on CIR moves forward.
"Until deportations stop," Alvarado said, "President Obama is in the impossible position of deporting the very people he is ostensibly trying to bring into citizenship."
I agree. The pogroms against the undocumented must end.
I'm also concerned with this paragraph, and the possibility of who may be participating in what it describes:
"Our legislation will create a commission comprised of governors, attorneys general, and community leaders living along the Southwest border to monitor the progress of securing our border and to make a recommendation regarding when the bill's security measures outlined in the legislation are completed."
Interesting. Now who, I wonder, will get to sit on this commission. Outright bigots like Governor Jan Brewer? Or maybe McCain could give his old pal, illegal immigrant-diddler and hypocrite extraordinaire Babeu a call?
Then there's Attorney General Tom Horne insincere opponent of Mexican-American studies, and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, who feigns interest in immigration reform, while he prosecutes immigrants for "smuggling" themselves into the country, and for using fake identification to obtain work.
Maybe they'll be available for a seat on the commission.
And I haven't even mentioned their fellow GOPer, the much beloved (by nativists) Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who once marched shackled illegal immigrants to a segregated area of his Tent City before assembled reporters.
So now, Joe is interested in meeting with Hispanic leaders, while he continues to raid businesses and nab illegal employees, leaving the business owners be (natch).
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See, Republicans from McCain on down have gotten the lesson of this last election, where 71 percent of Latino voters supported President Obama. And now they're all scurrying like rats, eager to embrace some form of CIR, or at least to be seen as something other than the xenophobic opportunists that they are.
In McCain's case, he's flip-flopped all over the issue, but at least he supported CIR in the not-too distant past, before he had to shore up his right flank for re-election. Perhaps McCain, though undeserving, should get a pass, though not without some needling over his pandering to nativists heretofore.
The others? They should be held politically accountable for their support of racists, racist laws, and hateful policies aimed at persecuting Hispanics. They should not be part of any "commission," nor any discussions leading to CIR.
Pro-immigrant forces should protest any effort to include these prejudice-inciting pols. For these haters, there should be no pardon, no amnesty. Only shame and derision for the rest of their days.