Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pup Tents and Hypocrisy

I keep hearing word about this Republican Party that wants to 'reach out' to minorities and 'make room' for them in their 'big tent'. And I keep wondering 'Where are they?!'

The GOP I see, is the one that constantly makes excuses for the extremists among them who question the nation's first black president legitimacy not only as the President but as a citizen. They have, until very, very recently (as in after the thorough embarrassment brought about by the official long firm birth certificate. The short form produced earlier by the President would have been enough to get a drivers license in Hawaii, or any other state). They accuse this same President of 'grabbing credit' for the execution of Osama Bin Laden, our nation's 'Public Enemy #1' while seeking at nearly every term to give credit to the previous President, who publicly declared that Bin Laden's whereabouts were of little concern to him. After frightening the elderly with the specter of the President's health care reform killing their Medicare, they then frighten the elderly by threatening to essentially end Medicare in the name of the country's fiscal health.

And now, in Texas, breathlessly panting after Arizona-like immigration 'reform' they begin the process of alienating Hispanics by passing legislation that would gives law enforcement officials the de facto power of ICE officials. And they do this while not only Hispanics, but law enforcement agencies across the state say this is power that would encumber their ability to enforce the law.

"Rep. Rene Oliveira, D-Brownsville, the longest serving member of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, calledHouse Bill 12,  “the most anti-civil rights legislation I have ever seen in the Texas House – having been here 27 years.”"



"The bill bans local governments from adopting “sanctuary city” policies prohibiting law enforcement officials from inquiring about the immigration status of detained individuals."
"“This is a day of real shame for Texas,” Oliveira said. “I am shocked at the Republican leadership for taking such a position that’s adverse to the great state of Texas,” said Oliveira, who was particularly upset that school districts were not exempted from the bill."
"It’s a shameful day for Texas when public school children can be interrogated about their immigration status in violation of federal law and a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, he said."
"The sanctuary cities bill has been a priority of the Texas Republican Party and an emergency issue for Gov. Rick Perry. It was important for Republican lawmakers to be anti-immigrant and to “bash immigrants,” Oliveira said, because they can’t do enough “to keep that (GOP) group happy.”"
"Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, added: “This is the ugly face of the Texas Republican Party. But this accurately represents the beliefs of the Texas Republican Party.”"
Obviously there are Hispanic lawmakers who feel differently...
"...Rep. Larry Gonzales, R-Round Rock, one of five House Hispanic Republicans, sent out this statement to the media:
 "“The passage today of House Bill 12 provides for the implementation of a consistent standard across the state in setting illegal immigration policies. This bill will be the core of a renewed spirit of cooperation and trust between law enforcement and the citizens of Texas.”"
I'm too cheap to gamble, but I'm willing to bet some money that those sentiments are in the minority among those whom Republicans say they want under their tent.


I think its time to put an end to the perceived necessity to preface every defense of calls for a sane immigration policy with, '...of course we want to protect our borders...' No one I know of who has called for progressive immigration reform has called for open borders, or less border security. No one conservatives know have called for it either. What I have a serious problem with is laws enacted that are aimed at 'protecting' our country from a particular group. This is not a denial of the violence in Mexico by drug cartels, or the need to utilize every means at our disposal, nor am I saying that those who are not citizens in our country need not comport with our laws and follow a path toward naturalization or allowed to stay through a strict guest worker program. But laws based on fear mongering and bigotry are the very antithesis of the democratic spirit upon which our country was founded. And there are no simplistic rationale or sloganeering that can make something like HB 12 anything else but fear base legislation. 


If you don't think that's true, remember the 'exception' one legislator wanted to make in one of her 'tough on immigrant' bills.



"As proposed, House Bill 2012 would create tough state punishments for those who "intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly" hire an unauthorized immigrant. Violators could face up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000."
"But it is an exception included in the bill that is drawing attention. Those who hire unauthorized immigrants would be in violation of the law -- unless they are hiring a maid, a lawn caretaker or another houseworker."
Well, maybe it's not fear or bigotry which inspire such legislation. Maybe its just good ol' fashioned hypocrisy.
I'm afraid the tent is going to remain pretty small.

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