In the talk a lot, but do little fantasyland of Washington the course of events can easily be changed by political opportunities that have nothing to do with the job at hand. As the National Defense Authorization Act was shepherded through the House last week, the application of the feared anti-immigrant label changed a debate that had absolutely nothing to do with immigrants and everything to do with perpetuating a Democratic lie.
Democrats ramp up anti-immigrant hysteria
At the beginning of the year it was the Homeland Security bill, blasted as anti-immigrant by Minority Leader Pelosi and a chorus of liberal Democrats fearful of efforts to rid the country of Obama’s newest executive abuses:
Republicans are threatening to shut down the Department of Homeland Security, planning to attach a series of radical anti-immigrant amendments designed to end the President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions and the immigration enforcement priorities that focus resources on deporting felons, not families.1
The anti-immigrant slur returned as part of last week’s dickering over amendments to the new defense authorization bill. Rep. Ruben Gallego’s (D-AZ) move to benefit “DREAMers” and expand the reach of DACA with a military service amendment was shut down, but the attempt revived anti-immigrant rhetoric irrelevant to defense or, for that matter, our immigration laws.
Gallego spoke of patriotism, the quality of our people, and anti-immigrant Republicans,2 perhaps forgetting that the DACA beneficiaries who would gain from his maneuver received a temporary reprieve and can be thrown out at any time. That temporary status is a big problem for the military if members are suddenly stripped of their legal right to be in the U.S., but it did give Democrats a chance to use the military to stick their foot in the amnesty door. That point was obviously missed by the twenty sellout Republicans who foolishly supported the measure, as if we haven’t been down this road enough to know where it ends.
Nativist nonsense from Chicago
Amnesty advocate and Chicago rabble rouser Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) pushed the military service dialogue a bit further, accusing Republicans who didn’t take the bait of being both anti-immigrant and nativist:
Do you know what “studying” something related to immigrants who have deferred action is to the nativists?
Do you know what the contingent of hardcore anti-immigration guys in the Republican Conference started shouting?
You guessed it: “The A-Word, Amnesty.”3
Actually, it should be the “L-Word, Lie” as in “Democrats are telling a lie to the American people about what an immigrant really is.”
Democratic anti-immigrant lie just won’t die
Democrats still haven’t given up on trying to confuse us. They insist on insulting legitimate immigrants by ignoring the fact that their legal presence makes a difference. If the law is only something to be circumvented perhaps there is no such thing as illegal. For those of us who believe “nation of immigrants” means legal immigrants and the rule of law doesn’t mean we should pick and choose what we want to enforce, laws matter.
Why is anti-immigrant criticism anti-American?
This country welcomes immigrants who show their integrity by doing what we require before they can stay here. It doesn’t matter how patriotic the undocumented are. Their patriotism means nothing in the face of their illegal presence. For now illegals should be happy that we are, by and large, leaving them alone.
Service in the military for the undocumented is just another way to finesse a pathway to citizenship and voting rights, an easy next step considering what serving in the military demands. Why is this anti-American? For one thing, it defames the symbol of immigrants coming to America by using them as part of a shrewd political calculation. For another, it asks someone to die for a country the law says they should be thrown out of. That’s not only anti-American, it’s just plain wrong.