Freedom Folks

Monday, May 29, 2006

What Alan Simpson REALLY Says

Earlier today I took Ruben Navarrette to task on illegal immigration legislation in this post.

Having taken a break to fortify myself with a coupla hot dogs (it IS Memorial Day AND I'm a Chicagoan), I'm back to talk about Alan Simpson and what he has to say on the subject. You can read the transcript of Navarrette's recent interview with Simpson here.

From Navarrette's article(emphasis mine):

Simpson isn't just the chief sponsor of the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, which morphed into IRCA. He is also a friend and was one of my graduate school professors.

He's also delightfully quotable, like when he said that this debate is all about "emotion, fear, guilt and racism."
Well, this is a phrase that Simpson has been using for over a decade. Navarrette says that "this debate is all about" it. But check out these quotes I found of Simpson using that phrase over the years:

So welcome to an issue which is filled with emotion, fear, guilt, and racism, a wonderful issue to mess around in. You just can't know the joy of it. (Laughter) And I've been in it for 17 years. I have been called everything, so feel free to express any particular thing you wish.

---from Alan Simpson address at Harvard University, 1996

"So it was tough. We had to deal with emotion, fear, guilt, and racism. Bigotry. We were accused of everything..."

---from Institute of International Studies (UC Berkeley) interview, 1997

You bet. It's very sad. Emotion, fear, guilt and racism control this debate. Whoever is the most sane in this debate will be called a bigot and a xenophobe. Whoever it is is the most sane in saying the best things, and I'm not even going to name who that might be, will be called a bigot, a xenophobe, and a racist. That's the way it works.

---from Navarrette's interview, 2006
Simpson doesn't say the debate is "all about" these things. What he says -- and has been saying for years -- is that if you try to seek a solution for these problems, you "will be called a bigot, a xenophobe, and a racist."

While a disagree with Simpson on a number of points, I respect him for saying what he thinks in a straight-forward way. Navarrette, on the other hand, prefers to take the words of others out of context and use them to prop up his own smug pieces of propaganda.

He's only too willing to include these quotes from Simpson in his article...

"You have to do something to give them a legal status. They might have to put up five grand or two grand or 150 bucks but they've got to do something to come into one of the best countries on Earth."

"I don't have any qualms about 3 million people from 93 countries coming forward. I like that. And I still see those people out in the street and it pleases me greatly."
...but somehow these gems didn't make the cut...

(When asked about birthright citizenship via the 14th Amendment)
"I don't know. I do know this: The abuses were very evident to me. I thought the damndest one I ever remember was that the Philippine Airlines was flying flight attendants into Los Angeles on their intercontinental who were 8 ½ months pregnant. And they'd just kind of stick around and have a child. That wasn't anecdotal, that was real. And there are people coming across the border, midwives, saying come over and give birth to an American citizen. I think enough is enough."

(When asked if we are ready for another amnesty)
"We never will be. You can't just keep doing them or everybody will come regardless. I don't know. All of us said if you're going to give this, just tell the world this is it. Well, hell, over the years we knew it wasn't it because the damn verifier didn't work and the employers couldn't possibly handle it. And wouldn't and couldn't and shouldn't, actually. But amnesty is a bad word. That's why we called it legalization."
I guess those quotes were too difficult to twist into something useful.

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