Friday, November 23, 2007

Immigration and Hillary

Via the New York Times

The natural allies of immigrants have been cowed into mumbling or silent avoidance. The Democrats’ chief strategist, Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, went so far as to declare immigration the latest “third rail of American politics.” This profile in squeamishness was on full display at the Democratic presidential debate last week in Las Vegas, when Wolf Blitzer pressed the candidates for yes-or-no answers on driver’s licenses and Mrs. Clinton, to her great discredit, said no.

I would like to point out for the record for whoever reads this, that Hillary's supposed "flip-flop" on this issue is bogus. When she originally commented, the plan was drastically different, and was about giving regular driver's licenses' to undocumented workers in New York. After a mostly deafening silence from peers, the plan was changed to a tiered system, where undocumented workers could get the bottom tier license. Since pretty much no one else would get it (the other two tiers had advantages, for instance the top tier would function as good as a passport) this meant these people would basically have an ID that said "Hi! I'm undocumented!" Once this brilliant (*snort*) plan was unveiled, Hillary no longer supported it. No flip-flop, they weren't even remotely the same plan.

Mrs. Clinton was closer to being right the first time, when she haltingly defended Mr. Spitzer’s reasoning. Fixing immigration is not a yes-or-no question. It’s yes and no. Or if you prefer, no and yes — no to more illegal immigration, to uncontrolled borders and to a flourishing underground economy where employer greed feeds off worker desperation. Yes to extending the blanket of law over the anonymous, undocumented population — through fines and other penalties for breaking the nation’s laws and an orderly path to legal status and citizenship to those who qualify.

Yes PLEASE! People do not deserve to be treated the way many undocumented workers are, and immigrating here legally is ridiculously complicated and expensive. I realize we can't have a "free for all" open immigration policy, but my gods, let's make it realistic. And we simply can't get rid of everyone who's already here, that would be an absurdly ridiculous undertaking, not to mention that from a practical stand point California's economy would probably collapse (among others).

But at least San Francisco realizes these things...

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has given preliminary approval to an ordinance allowing municipal identification cards to be issued to anyone living in the city, regardless of their legal status.

the ordinance was intended to make life easier for the large number of illegal immigrants working in the city, many of whom cannot get access to services because they have no formal identification. The city already has a “sanctuary” policy forbidding local law enforcement or other officials to assist with immigration enforcement.

“I think it’s admitting the reality of the situation that we depend on, our tourist and hotel industry depends on, a labor force that’s supplied by, for lack of a better term, undocumented residents,” said Tom Ammiano, the supervisor who sponsored the bill.

“The victims are living in a cash economy, and they are reluctant to go to the police,” Mr. Trasviña said. “Having an ID card addresses both of those issues: it reduces the reliance on cash, because it opens up the opportunities for banking, and it takes away a barrier between community and police.”

Mr. Ammiano said the card would also be useful to other groups without government-issued identification, including the elderly, students and transgendered people

There are times that I am very, very proud to be from the Bay Area.


  1. The Bay Area is the shining beacon in American thought.
    Damn I write sexy, true sentences.

  2. I think you're on to something there. ;)


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