A Sobering Wake-up Call: Are we ready for the fight?


Here is another installment by our guest blogger, Robert Gittelson. This time, Robert asks the tough question: Are we ready to fight for immigration reform?

In the ongoing push to achieve legislative passage of a full and well considered CIR bill this year, it seems prudent to pause every once and a while, to get our bearings. Now seems as good a time as any to take stock of what has been achieved, and what exactly are the areas that could use some additional and well targeted effort, if our goal is to be realized.

The “Full Right for Immigrants Coalition” held an important panel discussion on Saturday, July 11, at the Loyola University Law School in Los Angeles, that addressed this issue: “Towards Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Next Steps.” The public forum called on “organized labor, immigration attorneys, elected representatives, and pro-immigrant rights activists to be a part of a serious political conversation about where the movement goes from here, and how to get to the finish line on immigration reform that fixes the broken immigration system.”

There is an underlying consensus among many of the coalition members that to date, action has been long on empty campaign rhetoric, and short on substantive achievement. The event will be a space for airing “concerns” at the event, and offering their ideas about getting this campaign firmly on a track for success. I was asked to participate in one of the panel discussions. In a nutshell, here is what I intend to brought up at the public forum: leadership.

Now, ultimately, President Obama has to assume the ultimate mantel of “Leader” on the issue of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, and slowly but surely, he seems to be cautiously sliding into that role. I can’t exactly say that he has taken the bull by the horns, but he has given indications that he will eventually get in the game. I guess that we have to take what we can get. For now, he has “delegated” leadership to others. Therein lay my greatest concerns.

The President has delegated the Executive Branch’s heavy lifting to his very capable Director of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and I think that is appropriate. She has a reputation of being a tireless worker, and for now, I am comfortable with her in this role.

On the other hand, since it appears that the game-plan in Congress calls for the Senate to assume the leadership position on moving this legislation forward, I admit to being somewhat less than entirely comfortable with the leadership in charge of this issue to date. Ultimately, leadership on this issue has to be assumed by Majority Leader Harry Reid, because the “buck” stops on his desk. In all candor, I was neither comfortable nor pleased with his performance on this issue in 2006 and 2007, as he lost both times. Has he learned from his previous mistakes? Time will tell, and he does face a serious challenge for reelection soon in a highly Hispanic state, so one would think that motivation is not the problem. It will come down to a question of competency. I would be more comfortable if there was some indication that progress is being made in the Senate on this issue.

However, as we saw last week, Harry Reid does not seem to have made significant progress on this issue. In analyzing the votes for e-verify and the border fence amendments this week, I only noticed one Senator voting differently now than they did two years ago – Senator Webb. Other than that one vote, it was déjà vu all over again.

And what of Senator Schumer? He is filling some difficult shoes, in assuming the leadership post on Immigration from Senator Kennedy. I praise him for having the courage to step up to the plate, and I wish him nothing but success, because he is in for the battle of his life. I want to be clear and up front. He is going up against Senator Jeff Sessions on this issue, and to date, Sessions is the undefeated Champion. There is almost nothing that I like about the politics of Senator Sessions on the issue of CIR, but I do have to offer my grudging respect. The man is competent, and a very worthy adversary.

Last week, let us call it as we saw it. Schumer went up against Sessions on the e-verify amendment, and Schumer got beat.

Sure, we can shrug it off, and assume that things will be different when the negotiations for a full CIR bill get moving – by Labor day, according to Senator Schumer. But why should they be different? At the end of the day, it is going to come down to horse-trading. However, ultimately, the pro-CIR side wants to trade earned legalization for enforcement. Schumer will give Sessions E-verify and the border fence, and Sessions will give Schumer earned legalization. That has always been the gist of it, and all the many other subsidiary issues are supposed to fall into place like dominoes.

Unfortunately, since last week, either through Session’s competency, or Schumer’s lack of preparation, Sessions now has both e-verify and the border fence in his pocket already. What motivation does he have to trade now? We already gave him the two things that he wants the most, and the game hasn’t even started yet!

Therefore, when it was my turn to speak on Saturday, and they asked me if I have any concerns, I brought this issue up.

Look, I do not mean to belittle Chuck Schumer. He is an extremely credentialed and well respected public servant, and a very good man, (and he also went to my mother’s high school – Madison in Brooklyn). I intend to support him 110% in his efforts on CIR, and I still believe that he will ultimately prevail on this issue. I just want to make sure that he has gotten the wake-up call this week. The Restrictionists have a very competent General in Jeff Sessions. We can leave no stone unturned, and we must dot every “i” and cross every “t”. We can not leave anything to chance. We have to have this game won in the locker room, before the kick-off. The other side is that good.

9 responses to “A Sobering Wake-up Call: Are we ready for the fight?


    Don’t let down your guard?

    ATTENTION! Because of the massive payments to illegal immigrants in California, their is a petition. Google–TAXPAYER REVOLUTION. Very few newspapers will mention this activist petition.

    Some Californian lawmakers demand enforcing our immigration laws? But do they believe in rigid enforcement of E-Verify in the workplace? Andronovich, a Los Angeles city manager stated back in 2004 that illegal immigrant support attributed to $11. billion dollars in benefits. How much money did the Golden state taxpayers folk out since then?

    If you–GOOGLE–illegal immigration you can research the true costs, the real numbers of those squatting here and the massive consequences? The most damaging is–irreversible OVERPOPULATION. There is a battle commencing in the House and Senate this week, to weaken E-Verify and the startling amendment to fund the original two layer border fence. Sen. Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano will try to table these new amendments or even kill them. Recall Reid nearly obliterated E-Verify, the extraction process that removes illegal immigrants from job placement. THESE NEW AMENDMENTS ARE IN INSTANT JEOPARDY, SO DEMAND RIGID ENFORCEMENT, NO AMNESTY AND NO MORE EXCUSES?

    Go to the websites NUMBERSUSA, JUDICIALWATCH, CAPSWEB, HERITAGE FOUNDATION & AMERICANPATROL for facts not found in newspapers or even the government. THERE IS GATHERING STORM OF FURIOUS VOTERS from across America. We cannot, must not–STOP– THE BARRAGE ON THEIR SENATE AND CONGRESS. 202-224-3121 THE US TAXPAYER must remain vigilant, letting these politicians know whose in charge? That their jobs are on the line, like millions of American workers.

  2. Excellent post. Schumer appears to forget that the border wall was the only part of comprehensive immigration reform that passed in 2006, in the form of the Secure Fence Act. Since that time, hundreds of immigrants have died crossing the desert to get around the wall. For their capitulation on the border wall, members of Congress who champion immigration reform got nothing. Schumer has now voted for more walls, and once again, received nothing. He needs to stop trying to horse trade and stand up to the right wing.

  3. Charles Wheeler

    Gittelson’s family owns a garment factory in Los Angeles which has employed hundreds of illegal aliens. This financial interest disqualifies him as an honest participant in the immigration debate.

  4. You’re right Git, your group has had little rational merit for CIR and your side’s smear campaigns have accomplished little with the general public who see their national sovereignty at stake. And it’s been a tough time in your attempt to convince our citizens that it’s a good policy to give amnesty to millions of semi-literate poverty level Latin Americans. Futile efforts do tend to be tiresome.

  5. It figures that you’d delete my post. The left wing extreme has never truly believed in open discussion or alternate opinions. They’re just bobbleheads singing in a choir and the same old tune at that. That’s one reason why no one believes in their credibility. The polls show you losing ground every day. Your support is waning from the American-Mexican border to the North Pole. Canada is finally coming to that realization too. This from the LA Times:

    Canada to require visas for Mexicans following surge in refugee claims

    Mexican nationals will now need a visa to travel to Canada, that country’s minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, announced Monday. Canada decided to stiffen the requirements due to what officials said has been a surge in claims for refugee status by Mexicans.

    In a news release, Canadian immigration officials said that for the first 48 hours after the new rules go into effect today, Mexican citizens can apply for entry on arrival in Canada. But as of Thursday, a visa will be required:

    Refugee claims from Mexico have almost tripled since 2005, making it the number one source country for claims. In 2008, more than 9,400 claims filed in Canada came from Mexican nationals, representing 25 per cent of all claims received. Of the Mexican claims reviewed and finalized in 2008 by the Immigration and Refugee Board, an independent administrative tribunal, only 11 per cent were accepted.

    “In addition to creating significant delays and spiraling new costs in our refugee program, the sheer volume of these claims is undermining our ability to help people fleeing real persecution,” said Minister Kenney. “All too often, people who really need Canada’s protection find themselves in a long line, waiting for months and sometimes years to have their claims heard. This is unacceptable.

    “The visa requirement I am announcing will give us a greater ability to manage the flow of people into Canada and verify bona fides. By taking this important step towards reducing the burden on our refugee system, we will be better equipped to process genuine refugee claims faster.”

    For the last three years, Canada has seen an increase in immigration violations, according to the country’s Citizenship and Immigration website. This includes Mexican nationals without proper travel documents and those not leaving Canada once their period of stay had expired.

    Read the whole report here.

  6. Horace, I didn’t delete your comment. I was without internet access for a few days, and therefore unable to approve comments. The comments are moderated, to avoid violent or hateful speech on the blog. And yes, I do believe in open discussion and alternate opinions – I just had a lack of email access.

  7. It is astoundingly incomprehensible to me that people illegally in our country would have the audacity to “expect” and, in fact, DEMAND that the American people take care of their health care, etc. The gall, the arrogance, is what is infuriating legal Americans and their anger has already reached the boiling point. If the usurper-in-chief is stupid enough to attempt to give illegals amnesty, all hell is going to break out in this country….and all I can say is, it is about time. American citizens owe those in our country NOTHING!

  8. Margaret; you are right on target.

  9. Gittleson,

    You are obligated to reveal your relationship to the illegal immigrants that you advocate for in such commentaries for to do anything else gives the appearance of impropriety. According to Wheeler you are being self-serving and biased. I agree.

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