Eureka! More on Immigration Rhetoric in NYT | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Eureka! More on Immigration Rhetoric in NYT

This week, the New York Times published a story on the potential effects of immigration rhetoric, particularly the vitriolic denunciations of "illegal aliens," on presidential campaigns in 2008:

The Republicans have railed against "amnesty" and "sanctuary cities." They have promised to build a fence on the Mexican border to keep "illegals" out.

"The ratcheting up of the language to win the Iowa caucuses may seem like the thing to do, but we'll pay a price," said John Weaver, a Republican strategist who worked for Mr. McCain's presidential campaign.

The article also includes a poll that says Republicans in Iowa and New Hampshire tend to view illegal immigration as a more severe problem than do Democrats, while an ABC poll shows 54 percent of Americans say illegal immigrants do more harm than good. However, catering to a fear of illegal immigrants may prove disastrous for Republicans, Michael Luo writes:

Those calling for Republicans to moderate their language point to past losses, like Pat Buchanan's runs for the presidency in 1992 and 1996, which were heavy on anti-immigrant talk. More recently, they said, J. D. Hayworth, a hard-line incumbent Republican representative in Arizona, lost his race in 2006, as did Randy Graf, a member of the border-enforcing Minuteman group, who also ran in Arizona.

"In the past it's always been fool's gold," said Tamar Jacoby, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative organization, who worked on behalf of the bipartisan immigration bill in the Senate.

As I've written before, Republicans aren't the only ones in Mississippi with their pans in the river. On a national level, it will be interesting to see how much candidates pander to loudly voiced protests against illegal immigrants, and how successful they are in co-opting a language built around fear.

Previous Comments

ID
115838
Comment

Hopefully instead of just pandering, they will actually do something?

Author
LawClerk
Date
2007-11-21T06:50:54-06:00
ID
115839
Comment

Right. But comprehensive immigration reform is politically unsexy. John McCain fell out of favor after helping to craft the erstwhile failed immigration bill. Though I was against many aspects of it (namely its emphasis on a slave-like guest worker program and the 13-year "amnesty" of returning to one's home country), the bill was an attempt to actually solve the problem of immigration-- not just attack its pawns (which, by the way, is a very sexy thing to do, apparently.)

Author
msaldana
Date
2007-11-21T08:44:33-06:00
ID
115840
Comment

Well, it all comes down to how you define "immigration reform." I know we've gone back and forth on this. I am for comprehensive immigration reform. But, how do I define that? I believe, from your posts, you are also for comprehensive immigration reform. Any idea of reform, that does not include a massive fence with a completely secure border, will not cut it with me. Period. Lott voted for it, and McCain voted for it. They will never receive my vote.

Author
LawClerk
Date
2007-11-21T10:37:53-06:00
ID
115841
Comment

A fence. I'm envisioning 60, 70 years from now when they bring it down and everyone is dividing up pieces like they did the Berlin Wall, which made perfect sense when they put it up. At least the pieces will be valuable. Be the first in line.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-21T10:49:46-06:00
ID
115842
Comment

We went to Russia and tore down the Berlin Wall: Now we want to build one on the American-Mexican border? Maybe we will call it AmeriMexiFence. We can do better.

Author
justjess
Date
2007-11-21T10:52:11-06:00
ID
115843
Comment

We are better. We just have to remind each other of that from time to time.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-21T11:07:21-06:00
ID
115844
Comment

I can't get deep into this now, but anyone who is interesting in this issue from a macro perspective would really enjoy reading "The Flight of the Creative Class" which isn't specifically about illegal immigration, but talks generally about how the swing to the far right on immigration and foreign workers is really hurting our ability to compete in the global market. Just the nature of the debate -- the rhetoric used, the ineffectualness of the current system, the miscast blame and focus on "the other" -- are hurting our ability not only to attract the "best and the brightest" but, potentially, to keep them here. http://creativeclass.typepad.com/thecreativityexchange/2007/09/immigration-abs.html Anyway, I encourage the book for some light reading. I'll work up another column based on it in a few weeks.

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2007-11-21T11:20:54-06:00
ID
115845
Comment

The illegal immigration "problem" will never be "fixed" so long as it's economically advantageous for businesses and industries to have them here. don't fall victim to the rhetoric and propaganda. it doesn't negatively affect rich business owners, who pretty much run this country. in fact, its very beneficial for many of them. it's like outsourcing labor for cheaper wages, except they don't have to leave the country to do it. who do you think is rebuilding new orleans and much of the gulf coast? and, they've basically been given a pass by the gov't to do so, so don't tell me they're serious about addressing it. the agriculture and hospitality industries are dominated by illegals as well. the debate borders on ridiculous to me the way it is framed. national security? there is no evidence that anybody who has committed an act of terror on american soil came illegally through mexico. not to say that it can't happen, but it's just as likely that terrorists in this country will either be domestic (i.e. american citizens) or will enter legally. all of the 9/11 hijackers entered this country legally, though most overstayed their visas. i agree we should know who's here and who's coming in and out of the country, but let's do it in a humane, civil way and not denegrate an entire group of people, the vast majority of whom are here making a better life for themselves and their families. i thought america was supposed to be better than that... on another note, it's amazing to me how a nation created through an invasion of illegal immigrants can be so gung-ho about other illegal immigrants coming here. how quickly we forget our history. i guess some people are afraid that they'll do to america what america did to the natives. classic case of xenophobia...

Author
eyerah
Date
2007-11-21T11:48:52-06:00
ID
115846
Comment

The major difference with the Berlin wall, is that it separated a city... NOT two countries. It separated East from West Berlin. That argument just doesn't fly.

Author
LawClerk
Date
2007-11-21T12:17:53-06:00
ID
115847
Comment

Yes, we'll all look forward to that glorious day when people in Mexico and the United States come together and realize that they are as united in history, politics, and culture as East and West Berliners. It will be like old home week: Hey, remember that time James K. Polk annexed California and all those other states from you guys? Good times, man. Good times.

Author
laughter
Date
2007-11-21T13:03:18-06:00

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