Sunday, July 11, 2010

Immigration, Part 1 (Mexico to United States)

Jan Brewer - A lightning rod for 2010

Ever since the health care debate ended, there's been lots of media focus on immigration -- notwithstanding the fact that there's no chance at all for legislation to pass this year.

I guess the explanation is that the media needs attention-grabbing "handles" for stories (for instance, last summer's "handle" for the health care debate was the death panel allegation), and the Arizona law has provided a handle to present the immigration debate in a simplistic way.
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Last week I listened to John McCain being interviewed on This Week

McCain has completely switched his position on immigration reform, and his explanation is that the "situation on the border" has deteriorated seriously.  He claims that Phoenix, Arizona has the second highest incidence of kidnapping in the world (!) and that there has been a tremendous rise in violence stemming from immigration and the drug trade.

When I heard McCain's interview, I thought to myself: Is any of this true or has he just bought into the anti-immigrant hysteria?  It's very difficult to tell fact or fiction on this story, but I am extremely skeptical of McCain's claims.

In the past week, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has further stoked the hysteria by referring to beheadings related to illegal immigration.  Dana Milbank is having nothing of this: in today's Post, he flat out states that Brewer is lying:
There's not a follicle of evidence to support Brewer's claim. The Arizona Guardian Web site checked with medical examiners in Arizona's border counties, and the coroners said they had never seen an immigration-related beheading. I called and e-mailed Brewer's press office requesting documentation of decapitation; no reply.
Immigration is an issue on which I need to find some good, balanced analysis. I think there's a very legitimate claim to make that the federal government is being negligent in not systematically addressing various issues related to immigration, and I credit Bush with having tried harder than Obama to actually do something.

But, McCain/Brewer/et al. are not adding anything to the debate by stoking irrational fears and advocating for a mass deportation of 10 million people.

450. Who has the lead in the polling for Arizona's Republican primary: McCain or J.D. Hayworth?

451.  What are Obama's true (deep) feelings about immigration policy?  Is he a totally open border advocate, or does he actually have a law and order angle/perspective?  I'm having a really hard time deciding what I think Obama's true beliefs are, as opposed to his modified (political) positions (the puzzle is most dramatic re: Afghanistan).

452.  How many illegal immigrants have entered the United States in the past couple of years (since the recession began), versus the two years prior to the recession?

453. Were most Latin Americans rooting for or against Spain in today's World Cup final?

454.  At the trial court level, will the federal government succeed in arguing that Arizona's law should be pre-empted?  My prediction is that the feds win in district court, and then (assuming it ends up at the Supreme Court), they again prevail 5-4. I think this could actually be an issue where the standard Supreme Court "voting blocs" do not hold -- ie, you could have a strange alignment of liberals and conservatives in the majority.

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