Wednesday, April 12, 2006

From the "And the Sun is Big, Red Ball in the Sky" Dept.

Well, well, well. It's looks like all the hopes GOP Congressional leaders had about using immigrant-bashing as a wedge issue in this year's midterms, has backfired. The Washington Post reports:

In the wake of this week's massive demonstrations, many House Republicans are worried that a tough anti-illegal-immigration bill they thought would please their political base has earned them little benefit while becoming a lightning rod for the fast-growing national movement for immigrant rights.

House Republicans rushed through legislation just before Christmas that would build hundreds of miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, require that businesses verify the legality of all employees' status through a national database, fortify border patrols, and declare illegal immigrants and those who help them to be felons. After more lenient legislation failed in the Senate last week, the House-passed version burst into the public consciousness this week, as hundreds of thousands of protesters across the country turned out to denounce the bill.

Duh. Did they Republicans really think that they could get away with such legislation and not rouse the ire of Latinos? What's interesting is that GOP leaders, Denny Hastert in the House and Bill Frist in the Senate are blaming the Dems for the harse House Bill. Sorry, guys. It's the GOP that's in control and that means you bear the responsibility. Why didn't Hastert knock some sense into the sponsor of the draconian House immigration bill, James Sensebrenner of Wisconsin? He didn't, the bill passed and now Latinos are turning their fury on that bill.

I'm all for more enhanced border security (except for that wall). But the House bill was nothing more than red meat to the arch conservative base and in the end, the GOP may have lost the Hispanic vote this fall.

It's high past time for some forward-thinking leadership in the party. We need people who are interested in both secutiry and welcoming immigrants. We need to find ways to help those who are already here become citizens, and find ways to help Mexico boost their economy to stem the tide of immigration. We need to get the guest worker program up and running to give immigrants the option of working here for a time and going back home, or working towards legal citizenship. Playing to the baser instincts of some Americans isn't going to get the GOP anywhere, but maybe in history's dustbin with parties like the Know-Nothing Party.

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