Both Sides of the Immigration Plank

While the Democrats were rallying in Denver last week, Republicans met to hammer out the McCain Platform being presented this week in St. Paul.

Duke at MigraMatters posted on some details of the Immigration plank of the Republican Platform (and the deliberations that created the plank).

In sharp contrast to the 2004 platform, whose immigration plank clearly reflected the highly flawed Bush/McCain doctrine on immigration reform, relying heavily on a pro-business guest-worker program, a modified and somewhat limited path to citizenship for the 12 mill undocumented workers, and stricter enforcement with limited judicial review, this year’s platform is based entirely upon increased enforcement, raids and deportation.

So this means we can expect more of this and this?

The current platform full-throatily endorses the “deportation through attrition” model so favored by hate groups like FAIR and their allies in the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus led by ex-FAIR lobbyist Brian Bilbray.

While the 2004 platform at least tried to leave a modicum of human dignity for migrant workers intact by paying lip service to ” the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit of immigrants” and the essential role they play in the nation’s economic vitality, this years platform, after four years of a campaign of misinformation from anti-immigrant activists, reflects more the rants of Tom Tancredo and Lou Dobbs than a practical governing tool.

The platform itself is decidedly anti-migrant, but the real sentiments seem to have come out during the deliberations process.

Two delegates wanted to harden the language surrounding the issue of amnesty. The draft read, “We oppose amnesty.” But, delegates from North Carolina and Colorado wanted to include opposition to “comprehensive immigration reform” because they believe it is a code word for amnesty. This sparked a heated discussion between members with a delegate from Washington DC who said that the Republican Party is a “not a xenophobic party, not an intolerant party. We are a compassionate party that insists on the rule of law and endorses federal law,” said Bud McFarlane. Kendal Unruh from Colorado, who wanted to include “opposition to comprehensive immigration reform” to the draft, seemed to take offense to that statement citing her missionary work and saying that she would “never have the label” of xenophobic “slapped on me.” She continued to press that the committee add the tougher language to stop “behind the door tactics” to prevent “amnesty” of illegal aliens.

This is compared to the Democratic immigration plank that I posted on (with Duke’s help) earlier this month.

On the good side there is a commitment to take up comprehensive reform within the first year, a plan to regularize the status of the 12mil undocumented migrants already living in the US, an acknowledgment that conditions in sender nations that foster increased migration must be dealt with, a reaffirmation of the commitment to the principles of family based immigration, an increase in the number of available visas, and a call to fix the dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy.

On the bad side, the platform is still mired down in the language of enforcement and criminalization that marked previous failed efforts at reform. Calls for increased border enforcement and security as a means to regulate migration, and promises of getting tough on those who “disrespect the law”, while perhaps smart political theater, are not constructive ways to address a broken immigration system, and only add to the divisive and dehumanizing nature of the debate.

Check out the original post for the full text of Obama’s Immigration plank.

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