Thursday, June 28, 2007

NILC Statement on Senate Vote

We are extremely distressed by the course of events leading to the 46-53 defeat of comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate this morning. Not because we supported passage of the bill under debate -- we did not -- but because the state of discourse over immigration and the choices given to the American people have become so poor.

The discourse brought us to a lose-lose situation where a bill containing so many harmful provisions -- one likely to become even more harsh as the process unfolded -- could be presented as the only opportunity to achieve some limited measure of humanity for the undocumented workers and their families who disproportionately perform some of the nation's toughest and lowest paying jobs. It brought us to a situation where those arguing passionately on the Senate floor for such a problematic bill included many of the Senators who are most committed to the cause of fairness for immigrants. They pleaded for the Senate to let the process go forward, in the hope that the bill would be fundamentally improved prior to enactment.

Now we will never know whether that would have happened, though there is reason to believe that the same dynamics that pulled the bill further and further from decency in the Senate would also have prevailed in the House. That is very sad.

Still, this is not the end of the quest for just and humane immigration reform. Realistically, no one bill was ever going to solve all of our immigration problems. Likewise, no single vote can be allowed to end our struggle. We are in now in the middle of one of the periodic flare-ups of anti-immigrant hostility that have recurred throughout the nation's history. Those flames, like the previous ones, will eventually die down, whereas the demographic and economic realities that require resolution will endure and continue to grow, as will the movement for justice by immigrant communities and their supporters.

For more information contact Josh Bernstein, Director of Federal Policy, National Immigration Law Center, at


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Get a grip. This bill was opposed two or three to one by the electorate. If you really believe the opposition to be unjust, inhumane and indecent, you're talking about a large majority of the American people, so maybe you ought to just consider leaving the country. It must be very stressful for you to be surrounded by such cruelty.

Posted by: Artemus | Jun 29, 2007 5:23:09 PM

If the Senate passed a bill giving a free ice cream sundae to every illegal immigrant, you guys would complain because some Mexicans are lactose-intolerant. You really need to step back and look at some of the rhetoric and posturing on this blog.

Posted by: Artemus | Jun 29, 2007 5:32:55 PM

It's true that, as you say, anti-immigrant hostility tends to flare up and then die down. It flares up when there are too many immigrants coming in, and then it dies down when restrictions are put in place. Right now, it's flaring, because not only is legal immigration at an historic high, millions of illegals are here and to top it off, the government has a quasi-official policy of turning a blind eye to them. It'll stop flaring when the government finally starts enforcing the law.

As a moderate restrictionist, I feel encouraged when I read posts like this one. It shows me that supporters of increased immigration are unable to recognize a good deal when they see it, and therefore, "compromise" is unlikely. You guys on the other side have to realize that in the view of most Americans, the *existing* compromise (de facto acceptance of illegal immigrants) is already unacceptable. When people demand action on the issue, it's for more restrictions, not fewer. The more you harden your position in favor of open borders, the likelier it is that strong restrictionist measures will pass.

Posted by: Artemus | Jun 29, 2007 8:07:04 PM

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