By Doug Porter
Now that the off-year elections are behind for most of the country advocates are working hard to insure that immigration reform measures already passed by the Senate get considered in the House of Representatives.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is non-committal on the subject, saying the issue deserves consideration while not pushing for committee and floor votes. My guess is he’s waiting to see which way the political winds are blowing. If the right wing of the party can keep Obamacare and Benghazi in the headlines, the speaker won’t act.
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told the right wing media outlet Newsmax yesterday should Boehner bring immigration reform up for a vote in the House, his leadership position could be in jeopardy.
Advocates of reform legislation today announced a coordinated effort, joining the financial and political power of the AFL-CIO and SEIU labor unions with smaller advocacy groups, including America’s Voice, PICO National Network, Mi Familia Vota and CASA in Action, to target nine House GOP lawmakers who support establishing a way for eligible immigrants to apply for U.S. citizenship. Four of those targeted are from California.
From The Washington Post
The campaign will target Reps. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), David Valadao (R-Calif.), Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), Gary Miller (R-Calif.), Scott Tipton (R-Colo.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) and Joe Heck (R-Nev.). They represent districts with sizable Latino voting populations where President Obama won or performed well last year. They also have publicly voiced support for revamping the nation’s immigration laws.
Organizers said the goal of the campaign is to pressure the lawmakers to match their public statements by lobbying colleagues and House Republican leaders to permit votes on a series of immigration bills introduced in recent months. If the nine lawmakers fail to convince their colleagues by the end of the year, the groups plan to devote more resources to defeating them in next year’s elections and to expand their campaign.
“This is designed to tell Republicans that if you don’t take action on reform, there will be people who will take action in districts where Republicans are vulnerable to mobilize Latino and immigrant voters to reward or punish a member of Congress,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a leading national immigration advocacy group.
An advertising campaign calling for an opportunity for citizenship and measures protecting undocumented workers will air in Bakersfield, Calif.; Atlanta, Ga.; Orlando, Fla.; and Denver, Colo. in Spanish, and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area in English.
From Huffington Post:
The ads quote Republican members speaking against immigration measures, according to a transcript from AFL-CIO, and ask Latino voters to speak out.
“Republicans compare immigrants to animals, call Dreamers ‘drug mules,’ one Republican even said he’d ‘do anything short of shooting’ the undocumented,” a voiceover says. “Now they’re blocking a pathway to citizenship, keeping millions in the shadows.
“Call Congress,” the ad continues. “Tell your representative if Republicans refuse to pass comprehensive immigration reform, we’ll know why.”
Meanwhile San Diego’s own Congressman Darrell Issa is trying to float his own version of an immigration reform bill.
Issa’s constituents are mostly white and largely affluent. Still, Issa isn’t immune to the demographic changes taking place throughout Californiaand the nation. About one-quarter of Issa’s district is Latino, and close to 50 percent of his hometown of Vista is now Latino…
…The details of Issa’s plan for immigration reform are still scarce, and his office didn’t respond to numerous requests for an interview. But the plan would reportedly include a six-year period of temporary relief from deportation for undocumented immigrants.
During that time, they would be expected to find a legal way to stay here or leave.
Issa told Politico it’s “halfway between full amnesty and simply rejecting people.”
The Vista Congressman’s ideas have already been rejected out of hand in an article published at the Heritage Foundation’s blog, so it’s likely what he’s really looking for are a few headlines painting him as being “reasonable” on the issue.
Opposing Militarization Along the Border
Locally, the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium has joined with The Southern Border Communities Coalition in pushing back against immigration proposals involving further militarization of the south border region.
From a media advisory announcing the Revitalize Not Militarize Campaign:
“The border is more than a line, it is the home of 15 million people, it is a cornerstone of the U.S. economy, and it is a unique cultural and historical space that is sacred to many who live here. The border enforcement bills that have been proposed as part of immigration reform would result in nothing more than a militarization of our communities, and is not what we need or want” states Pedro Ríos, Director of the American Friends Service Committee’s San Diego office which is a member organization of the SBCC.
“Through this campaign, border residents will tell the nation what it means to live in the border region, how militarization has negatively impacted families and residents here, and why we must broaden our perspective about the border,” states Elizabeth Maldonado Robinson who speaks for the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice which is also a member of the SBCC.
The political window of opportunity for Congress to enact any measures relating to reform is closing soon and advocates, critics and opponents will be stepping their efforts between now and the end of the year.
Yet Another United Nations Plot
The far right meme about the United Nations taking over the country has been around in one form or another since the early days of the John Birch Society. As Birchers have migrated into GOP/Tea Party organizations and institutions in recent years, variations on this theme have even come to be taken seriously in the US Senate.
The latest so-called assault on the nation comes in the form of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It sets out fundamental rights for the disabled, including education and health care rights equal to those enjoyed by able-bodied people.
Modeled on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it was adopted in 2006 by the United Nations and signed by President Barack Obama in 2009. To date it has been ratified by 137 countries, including China, Pakistan, and most of Europe.
But the CRPD won’t pass muster in the US Senate. Critics say the treaty would infringe on US sovereignty. Utah’s Sen. Orrin Hatch went on the Senate floor in July to predict ratifying the convention “would endorse an official ongoing role for the United Nations in evaluating virtually every aspect of American life.”
That’s right. The wingnuts think this agreement means UN Troops (and presumably black helicopters) will be patrolling the streets of the US looking for disabled parking zone violators.
From Agence France-Presse:
Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, a military veteran who lost both legs in Iraq, said she had “egg on my face” because she could not tell disability-rights advocates in Asia that the United States is leading on the issue.
“We have what should be the gold standard in disability access, yet our legitimacy to lead other nations is weakened, because we have not yet ratified the CRPD,” she testified.
“We should be at the head of the table, and we’re not.”
A group of Senators, including Arizona’s John McCain are hoping to get the CRPD before the Senate before the year is out.
More Congressional Lunacy: Impeach Eric Holder
Immigration Reform and UN Treaties be damned; one Florida Congressman thinks priority one should be to impeach the Attorney General.
From Mother Jones:
In his first year in Washington, Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) has distinguished himself by suggesting that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States and arguing that an unprecedented default would be good for the global economy because “the creditors that we owe money to around the world would say, ‘You know what, they’re getting their house in order.'” (Eds. note: They wouldn’t say that.)
Now he has a new plan: Impeach Attorney General Eric Holder over the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ disastrous Fast and Furious “gun-walking” program. Holder has already been formally censured by the House, but according to Yoho, a group of Republican congressmen wants to take the next step. If he and his allies were to succeed—and they won’t—it would make it the the second time in UShistory that a cabinet member was impeached, and the first since 1876. PerPolitico:
“It’s to get him out of office — impeachment,” Yoho said, according to the Gainesville Sun, adding “it will probably be when we get back in [Washington]. It will be before the end of the year. This will go to the speaker and the speaker will decide if it comes up or not.”
Post Election Analysis
From MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, on GOP analyses of Tuesday elections:
“There are a lot of things that come up in the news,” Maddow said, “where you realize that the Republican Party and the conservative movement really is kind of in its own world, that it doesn’t have much interaction with the rest of the world.”
The Republicans’ “full speed ahead” trajectory on far-right candidates and social issues, she explained, is concrete evidence of that problem, as is their insistence to the media on Wednesday that Cuccinelli’s loss in Virginia can be seen as a kind of victory over Obamacare, i.e., the Affordable Care Act.
“It’s been a weird day,” Maddow said, shaking her head. “This is some of the weirdest spin I’ve ever seen out of an election loss.”
Better yet, there’s Jon Stewart’s take on the elections, via the Daily Show:
“Making up bullsh*t because there’s no consequence for being wrong.” I love it!
On This Day: 1637 – Anne Hutchinson, the first female religious leader in the American colonies, was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for heresy. 1967 – The Selective Service Commission announced that college students arrested in anti-war demonstrations would lose their draft deferments. 1986 – Willie Nelson made a guest appearance the series “Miami Vice” as a corrupt policeman.
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