Freedom Folks

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Source: Politico

I think a lot of people would assume the war would be the issue that would fundamentally realign American politics. Yet in our countries history only two issues ever have, slavery and immigration. It has long been held that immigration has the power to split the Republican party into its disparate elements, I think they're overlooking something important...
Dems Face Immigration Hurdle, Too

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has a long answer when it comes to immigration -- 'We've gotta do five things simultaneously,' she said in Burlington during a swing through Iowa last week. But for Iowa Democrats, there are two big applause lines.

In the down-and-out river town of Waterloo, the crowd cheered Clinton when she promised to crack down on businesses that employ illegal immigrants. But the loudest, quickest applause came for another line: 'You're going to have to learn English.'

Immigration isn't at the top of any Democratic presidential candidate's agenda, and conventional wisdom holds that navigating the issue is crucial only for Republicans in next January's caucuses.

But a closer look shows that concern about immigration seems to burn almost as brightly for liberal Iowa caucus-goers as it does for the Republicans and conservatives with whom it is traditionally identified. And Democrats are also being forced to address the emotional edge of an issue that has become part of the lives of voters in even the most homogenous parts of the country. Whether any Democrat will attempt to gain an advantage by tapping into these currents within the party, or whether they'll remain unified around proposals to offer illegal immigrants access to citizenship, remains an open question.

'Chicanos from Mexico are a presence in a lot of moderately sized and smaller towns in Iowa and other parts of the Midwest,' said Steven Schier, a professor of political science at Carleton College in Minnesota. 'That gives it (the immigration issue) an immediacy that it didn't have 10 or 20 years ago.'

A University of Iowa poll of 1,290 registered Iowa voters, set to be released this week, found that about 40 percent of Democrats identified immigration as a 'very important' issue, with nearly every voter surveyed saying it was either very or somewhat important. About 60 percent of Republicans called the issue 'very important.'

'It's a surprising number,' pollster Dave Redlawsk said of the Democratic total. 'The impression out there is that this is more of a Republican issue, and there isn't a Democrat who is running on a hard-core immigration position. But what the poll suggests is that there's broad interest in what's going on with undocumented immigrants.'
I wanted to pull the next bit out and give it a little context...
The poll has another surprise, however. Redlawsk found that a majority of both Iowa's Democrats and Republicans -- given the explicit option in the poll -- would prefer to see what they called 'undocumented' immigrants pay fines and learn English but stay in the country. Only about one in five Democrats, and a quarter of Republicans, favored mass deportation.
No, the poll doesn't offer a surprise, I'll assume since no link is offered what it offers is the standard false choice between "mass deportations" and "amnesty." The truth is whenever folks are offered the opportunity to vote on good old fashioned enforcement they choose that in a landslide every single time.

Now back to the really big shoe...
All three candidates -- like politicians of both parties who support the McCain-Kennedy immigration overhaul -- take a similar approach, stressing tough-sounding measures, such as increasing border security and cracking down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants, to balance their support for ultimately giving most illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.
I continue to assert that this issue, more than any other issue in the political pantheon has the power to fundamentally realign American politics in both parties. This is the one true bi-partisan issue.

As I wrote previously: The new American resistance cannot be a thing of parties or old alliances. New, fresh thinking and blood is needed, untainted by previous feuds and disagreements, if we are to maintain the ability to hand down to our children the very country we are charged with preserving.

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