Wednesday, March 5, 2008

More Repressive Laws Proposed

Don't take much solace in the fact that the presidential candidates are reputed to be immigrant-friendly. John McCain has been drifting to the right has been highlighting enforcement and the Democrats have generally avoided the subject. The defeat of the "grand compromise" opened his eyes to the need for border security first.

Now a group of Republican Senators are proposing a package of repressive measures that seemingly stop short only of allowing ICE to shoot the undocumented down in the street. Crossing the border without authorization will cost two years in prison, cities that restrain their police on immigration enforcement will get docked federal aid, etc. (See LA Times article.)

Things are not much better over in the House. Many freshman Democrats come from traditionally Republican districts where immigration is a touchy issue. Experts are now schooling them in their re-election bid to watch their words and talk up enforcement. Some are very active in supporting the SAVE Act (Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement). No need to say more about the tenor of the bill.

Most see the package of Senate bills as unlikely to go forward in the Senate. But there is real concern about the new kind of "Blue-dog Democrat" -- who favor lower tax and more spending cuts, as well as tougher immigration enforcement. Observers think the GOP Senate strategy is meant to push McCain further toward enforcement. All this posturing guarantees immigration, while less than Iraq and the economy, will be a significant issue in the general election.

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