Racialism: The First Refuge of Desperate Democrats

by Gary Bauer

You know internal White House polling must be dismal if the President and his allies are dropping all pretense of “Obama the Uniter” to embrace the sordid politics of racial division. And that’s exactly what they are doing.

That liberals cast every issue through a racial prism is not exactly news to conservatives. What’s interesting is that the Left’s racialism is not fundamentally about race but rather about using one of society’s most divisive issue to distract voters when it has lost an argument. By framing every issue in racial terms, liberals avoid having to engage their opponents on the substance of debates it can’t win.

Democrats and the liberal media constantly suggest that criticism of the president, especially the sort that emanates from talk radio and appears in block lettering on signs at Tea Party rallies, is racially charged.

Opposition to Obamacare quickly became labeled as pent up racism against the country’s first black president, rather than disagreement over socializing the best medical system in the world. A new Arizona law that, as an MSNBC headline put it, makes it a crime to be an illegal immigrant, has been immediately cast as xenophobic and racist (even though the new law strictly prohibits racial profiling). But Obama is the master of exploiting race for political ends.

In a Democratic National Committee video released this week, the president attempts to rally the troops for the upcoming Democratic bloodbath that will be the mid-term elections. Obama implores “young people, African Americans, Latinos and women” to unite and go to the polls for Democrats just like they did back in 2008.

The video is a self-conscious acknowledgement of the enthusiasm chasm between Democratic and Republican voters. It’s also a desperate attempt to energize voters with an “us versus them” appeal. Obama ran for president as a post-partisan, post-racial uniter. But his knee-jerk response to the coming disaster is to divide on racial grounds.

When Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested in Cambridge, Massachusetts, last summer, Obama immediately cast the matter as fundamentally about racism. While admitting that he did not know the facts of the case, Obama offered that Cambridge policemen had acted “acted stupidly.”

“There’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately,” he said. “That’s just a fact.”

Of course, when the facts became known, it was clear Sgt. Crowley had acted sensibly and that Gates had not. But it didn’t matter. Obama had already framed the entire debate in racialist terms; the truth of the case became mostly irrelevant.

The left has learned that to brand something—a movement, a law, a politician—as racist is to make it toxic even to those who know the label is false. Liberals know that just a hint of a racial component is enough to shut down most debate over issues they can’t win on their merits.

Even when there’s no proof that race is involved, liberals will often just make it up, as black Democratic congressmen seem to have done when they accused protestors of greeting them with racial epithets as they walked through a Tax Day protest on Capitol Hill.

The new Arizona immigration law merely adds a state penalty to what was already a federal crime. It expressly “prohibits the use of race or nationality as the sole basis for an immigration check.” In fact, Arizona police can only conduct an immigration status check after someone has been stopped for another offense.

The Left’s racial obsession is only a means to an end. Democrats see in the law a chance to energize the minority voters they are so worried won’t show up in November.

Liberals hype nonexistent racism by conservatives even as they ignore clear evidence of racial insensitivity and worse among their own.

If the Left were truly as race conscious as it presents itself, Joe Biden, who during the 2008 primaries, called Obama “articulate, and bright and clean and nice looking” would not be vice president. If racial insensitivity mattered as much as Democrats insist it does, Harry Reid, who it was revealed earlier this year referred to Obama as a “negro,” would no longer be Senate majority leader.

If the Tea Partiers were pushing a liberal policy agenda, no one on the Left would even notice that most of them are white. I didn’t attend the Earth Day rally on the Mall in Washington, D.C., but judging by photos of the crowd, the event had about the same proportion of whites as do the Tea Parties. But I won’t hold my breath waiting for media commentators to point that out to us.

Racism is a non-partisan sickness. But the crass exploitation of race for political advantage has become the first refuge of desperate Democrats. But this time, it doesn’t appear to be working.

Former presidential candidate Mr. Gary Bauer is president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.

A Vietnam War Lesson

by Oliver North

Washington, DC – Just before first light on April 30th, thirty-five years ago this week, a U.S. Marine CH-46 helicopter from HMM-165, call-sign “Lady Ace Zero Nine” landed on the roof of the American Embassy in Saigon to pick up Ambassador Graham Martin. Moments later, a message – classified “secret” by the National Security Agency – was flashed to the Oval office informing the president: “Lady Ace 09 has the ambassador and his immediate staff on board…”

Over the next several hours, dozens more messages were transmitted to the commander in chief, detailing in near-real-time, herculean efforts to evacuate the remaining Americans from the city as North Vietnamese Army (NVA) regulars closed in on our last diplomatic, military and intelligence missions in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN). The now declassified “Operation Frequent Wind” intercepts in the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library read like a novel.

Nineteen minutes after the first transmission: “Lady Ace 09 reports feet wet… Lady Ace 13 reports outbound with 16 USA… Lady Ace 10 going in for landing…” Two of the cables describe CS tear gas that nearly blinded the pilots. A half hour into the evacuation: “Lady Ace 14 is on the roof. He reports small arms fire on the north east corner of the building in a small clump of trees at ground level. Lady Ace is loading at this time.” Then, three minutes later: “Spectre reports numerous fire fights all around the building. Swift 33 inbound feet dry. Lady Ace 14 reports off with 21 pax.” The abbreviation “pax” is military-speak for passengers.

At 0753, the final helo off the embassy roof, a Marine CH-46 from HMM-164, call-sign “Swift Two Two,” brought out Major James Kean, the Marine Security Guard commander and the last ten of his Marines. Less than four hours later NVA armor and infantry captured the presidential palace in Saigon.

This week, Lady Ace 09, freshly painted in Vietnam-era markings, was commemorated at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California. Among the pilots and air-crewmen who gathered for the celebration were those like retired Colonel Gerald Berry who saved the U.S. Ambassador and helped rescue more than 7,100 Americans and our allies during the frantic hours of Operation Frequent Wind. There were even more attendees who are veterans of the current war in both Iraq and Afghanistan. But no matter where or when they fought, nearly all had a common refrain: “This war shouldn’t end like Vietnam.” It doesn’t have to.

Despite pundits in the so-called mainstream media waxing eloquent about parallels between Vietnam and Afghanistan, those making the comparisons ignore some very inconvenient facts. Most importantly, the adversaries confronted in both wars are radically dissimilar.

In Vietnam, U.S. troops and our allies faced nearly a quarter million conscripted but well-trained, disciplined and equipped NVA regulars and upwards of 100,000 highly organized Viet Cong (VC) insurgents from 1966 onward. Each year of the war, the NVA launched multiple major campaigns against U.S. and RVN forces in accord with orders issued by authorities in Hanoi. When the VC collapsed in the aftermath of the 1968 “Tet Offensive” – the NVA, supported by the Soviet Union, Communist China and the Warsaw Pact – simply increased their numbers.

The Republic of Vietnam didn’t succumb to an insurgency 35 years ago this week. It was invaded by the army of a hostile neighbor. None of that is happening in the shadows of the Hindu Kush – yet.

The 10,000 to 25,000 Taliban currently operating in Afghanistan have cross-border “safe havens” in Pakistan and receive some military training, equipment and logistics support from Pakistan and Iran. Taliban leaders once counted on financing from radical Wahabbi Islamists and received support and direction from elements of the Pakistani intelligence service. Today, the Taliban is a narco-insurgency, funded almost exclusively by opium. Their “warriors” and zealous “martyrs” claim Muslim purity but their “military campaigns” are limited to planting improvised explosive devices (IEDs), suicide bombings and murders. They aren’t about to overwhelm Kabul – or even a provincial capital.

That of course doesn’t mean this war can’t be lost – for there is one very important similarity between Vietnam and Afghanistan – a parallel promise of withdrawing American troops and assistance. In 1973, President Richard Nixon withdrew all American troops except for a handful of advisors from the Republic of Vietnam. The following December, Congress cut off all military aid to Vietnam. Four months later, U.S. Marines were making desperate sorties to the roof of our embassy in Saigon.

On this 35th anniversary of that event, Mr. Obama and his advisors would be wise to remember where the Vietnam War was really lost. It wasn’t the rice paddies and triple canopied mountains of Southeast Asia. Vietnam was lost in the corridors of power in our own nation’s capital. That should never happen again.

Lt. Col. North (Ret.) is a nationally syndicated columnist and the author of the FOX News/Regnery books, “War Stories: Operation Iraqi Freedom,” “War Stories II: Heroism in the Pacific” and “War Stories III: The Heroes Who Defeated Hitler.” Lt. North hosts “War Stories Investigates: Drugs, Money and Narco-Terror” Saturday, Aug. 22, at 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. EDT on Fox News Channel.

Marine Vets Denounce Naming Battleship for John Murtha

by John Gizzi

No sooner had Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced plans to name the latest San Antonio Class LPD battleship in honor of the late Rep. John P. Murtha (D. Pa.) than the firefight began. The most vocal opposition to naming a warship in honor of the first Vietnam veteran elected to Congress came from some of Murtha’s own fellow U.S. Marines.

“Outrage” is a mild word to describe the reaction to the possible naming by least two well-known, distinguished Marine Corps veterans who, like Murtha, served in Vietnam.

“You are kidding!” retired Marine Col. Jack Brennan fired back to me by e-mail after I sent him news of the naming of the ship for Murtha, “I am aghast, shocked, and chagrined by this disgrace.”

Brennan, onetime U.S. Marine Corps aide to President Richard Nixon who was portrayed by Kevin Bacon in the film Nixon-Frost, charged that the honoring of the late congressman “is clearly a payoff for Pelosi.” Murtha and the House speaker worked closely together in the House and, in his final years, the Pennsylvanian was frequently in the news for joining Pelosi in criticizing the U.S. action in Iraq.

“Naming a U.S. Navy ship for recently deceased Rep. John Murtha is a disgusting act because Murtha himself was a disgrace,” Orson Swindle, Vietnam POW and decorated Marine Corps veteran, told me last week week after Mabus made his announcement.

Agreeing that Murtha, as a powerful House Appropriations subcommittee chairman, did funnel major federal dollars to the Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy, Swindle pointed out that the Pennsylvanian also “funneled millions in pork-barrel projects to serve his political interest and his friends. Our military service chiefs are constantly challenged to acquire sufficient funding to keep our national security arsenal capable of meeting all challenges as they compete with the insatiable demands of entitlement programs and pork-barrel projects of politicians.

A former assistant secretary of Commerce and member of the Federal Trade Commission, Swindle also cited Murtha’s opposition to the U.S. effort in Iraq and the Pennsylvanian’s involvement in the 1980 ABSCAM probe of corruption in Congress. (Unlike other lawmakers caught on film accepting bribes from FBI agents posing as Arab sheiks, Murtha declines money, but says matter-of-factly of two colleagues who were also targets: “Those guys expect to be taken care of.”).

“Murtha the politician was unethical, corrupt and arrogant with our money,” said Swindle, “He used it as if it were his own. He has no obvious sense of shame. It is a disgrace to name a U.S. Navy ship for him.”

Mabus’s announcement comes weeks before voters in Murtha’s former 18th District (Western Pennsylvania) select his successor. Recent polls have shown Republican Tim Burns maintaining a slight lead over Democrat Mark Critz, longtime top aide to Murtha.

Immigration debate shakes US to the core

From the deck of New York Harbor’s tour boat the Statue of Liberty looks as welcoming today as when greeting new immigrants a century ago.

But the soaring figure and even loftier inscription — “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” — gets a wry look from passengers Yeni Benitez and Felipe Ramirez.

Benitez, freshly immigrated from Colombia, and her husband Ramirez know first hand the tensions roiling America in the wake of Arizona’s tough new law against illegal immigration.

Ramirez, 28, was already a US citizen but says it took him almost a year and “a hundred layers of bureaucracy” to get his wife into the country, where she finally arrived Tuesday at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

“The irony of that statue,” he said, looking over the choppy harbor below the skyscrapers of Manhattan, “is that those poor and huddled masses are exactly the people who they don’t want to come.”

If Arizona’s controversial new controls are anything to go by, then foreigners could face an even chillier reception in a country constructed on immigration.

The law signed by Governor Jan Brewer last week criminalizes undocumented immigrants and gives police power to stop people on mere suspicion of being in the country illegally.

Brewer said this will reinforce existing laws in Arizona and guard against vicious Mexican drug gangs active along the southwestern state’s border.

But the law instantly struck a national nerve, and with Republicans and Democrats already bitterly divided and Congressional mid-term elections approaching this November, the debate soon became passionate — and nasty.

One writer on the leftwing Huffington Post website accused Arizona of conjuring “ghosts of southern neo-slavery,” while supporters of the new law dismissed critics as shallow opportunists.

“There is plenty of cynicism involved: not on the part of the exasperated voters of Arizona, but rather from domestic political, religious, ideological, and ethnic interests that in patronizing fashion seek new dependent constituents,” the arch-conservative National Review wrote.

President Barack Obama made more nuanced comments, referring to the pressing problem of a growing illegal immigrant population, but deploring the law’s “polarizing” effect.

Some of the strongest criticism has come out of New York, an immigrant magnet where 60 percent of residents are foreign born, or children of foreign-born parents.

A group of Latino members in the New York state assembly is even planning to go and chain themselves to the US-Mexico border fence.

“We’re willing to risk ourselves for the people of Arizona and other immigrants across the country,” local lawmaker Felix Ortiz told Cityhallnews.com.

Nancy Foner, professor of sociology at Hunter College in New York, said the United States always had a love-hate affair with immigration.

“On the one hand America has welcomed immigrants in many ways, but on the other hand we have a history of nativism and xenophobia,” she said. “Immigrants have not always been welcomed with open arms.”

Heavy waves of immigration have regularly produced a backlash, whether against eastern and southern Europeans in the 1920s, or against Latinos today.

“There are always racial fears,” Foner said. “With the Irish it was the anti-Catholic feeling, deep anti-Catholicism, and with Jews and Italians they were seen as inferior.”

Polls show that 70 percent of voters nationwide and in the desert state itself support the Arizona measure.

But despite the furor, immigration remains at a high level with 12.5 percent of the country foreign-born, Foner stressed. Including the children of new arrivals, then almost a quarter of the population can be said to have immigrated.

Bobbing along on the official “Gateway to America Tour” boat, Benitez and Ramirez said they looked forward to their new life.

Benitez, 35, said her first priority was “to start a family and work” and to study history. America seemed “beautiful and immense,” she said, speaking in Spanish, because her English remains poor.

But Ramirez, who has just completed a mathematics doctorate at the University of Michigan, said they were under no illusion that immigration is only about the romance embodied in the Statue of Liberty.

“I’m at a university, so I keep myself in pretty liberal circles, but there is a lot of xenophobia in the heartland, in the south,” he said. “People have a weird view of foreigners.”

Copyright AFP 2008,

Mexican Hypocrisy? U.S. Neighbor Has Its Own Tough Take on Immigration

By Joshua Rhett Miller

ent” in the face of Arizona’s new immigration enforcement law, which he says violates human rights. But Mexico itself has “incredibly restrictive” immigration laws, experts told FoxNews.com.

When Arizona’s law goes into effect this summer, law enforcement officers in the state will be required to verify the immigration status of individuals they suspect are in the country illegally. President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder quickly criticized the law despite its popularity in Arizona, and a referendum drive and a lawsuit have emerged as potential roadblocks to it.

But Calderon’s objection has riled some immigration policy experts, who called his take on the measure misguided given Mexico’s policies on unauthorized residents, particularly how the country deals with illegal entry and foreign ownership of property.

“It shows more than anything else that Mexico’s restrictive immigration policies have kept that country poor and in conflict for years,” said Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration policy analyst for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based conservative think tank. “The United States should not try to emulate that.”

Before last year, when Mexican immigration law was amended, the penalties for entering Mexico illegally ranged from fines to imprisonment for up to two years, followed by deportation. The law now allows for fines up to 5700 pesos (roughly $470), and a $400 fine for overstaying on a visa.

Becerra wants ‘sensible’ reform

And the U.S. State Department warns Americans to exercise “extreme caution” prior to investing in property in Mexico, due to substantially different real estate practices and laws. The Mexican Constitution bans direct ownership by foreigners of real estate within 10 kilometers — or 6.2 miles — of any border and within 50 kilometers (31 miles) of any coastline.

“In order to permit foreign investment in these areas, the Mexican government has created a trust mechanism in which a bank has title to the property but a trust beneficiary enjoys the benefits of ownership,” the State Department profile on Mexico reads. “However, U.S. citizens are vulnerable to title challenges that may result in years of litigation and possible eviction.”

Nowrasteh said those policies hurt Mexico financially and contribute to a system that is not designed to accommodate foreigners.

“Restrictive ownership of property by foreigners restricts foreign investment,” he said. “It restricts the movement of entrepreneurs and laborers to Mexico who make the country wealthier. Any person around the world should be able to own property and invest in any economy around the world. It’s to everyone’s benefit.”

Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin said Mexico’s immigration laws are “far more draconian” than those in the United States, adding that Mexican authorities can “exercise any discretion” regarding deportations.

“So it’s particularly ironic to see them complaining about America when we allow open borders activists and illegal aliens to march on the streets demanding that we give them more than they certainly do in Mexico,” said Malkin, who is a Fox News contributor.

Andrew Selee, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, agreed that Calderon’s statements regarding Arizona’s law are seemingly incongruous given immigration policies in his own country.

“The Mexican government is certainly within its rights to defend its citizens abroad, but they should also remind them of the need to substantially improve immigration laws in Mexico,” Selee said. “We would expect the Mexican government to want to protect their citizens living in the United States, but this is a highly public issue. It should certainly also bring about some reflection on how immigration law is applied in Mexico.”

Dan Griswold, director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, disagreed, saying Calderon has a right to speak his mind about Arizona’s new law.

“The Mexican president has a right to complain about laws he thinks work against Mexican citizens in the United States,” he said. “And the Arizona law does raise legitimate questions about discrimination.”

Griswold continued, “The Mexican president is an important voice in this discussion. They’re an important neighbor, an important trading partner and we have mutual interests.”

Obamacare Costs Hidden From Congress

by Matt Hadro

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had information that Obamacare would raise health expenditures and drive hospitals into the red prior to the final House healthcare vote, but didn’t share it with members of Congress because the pending report was being internally reviewed.

“They were so eager to try to sell [the bill] to somebody, that they suppressed what were valid reports from experts in their own administration,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R.-Mich.) told HUMAN EVENTS in an interview.

“Every single thing that I and others have been saying since last year that they said were lies and scare tactics, this report confirms,” said Rep. Rogers. “Cost is going up, quality is likely to go down, and seniors are going to get negatively impacted by the negative Medicare cuts.”

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a part of the HHS, on April 22 released the report, “Estimated Financial Effects of the ‘Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,’ as Amended.”

“Total national health expenditures in the U.S. during 2010-2019 would increase by about 0.9%,” the report concluded. In addition, the increase in demand for health services could result in increased prices and cost-shifting.

The report contradicts President Obama’s promise that healthcare costs would not increase under the bill. The report said that “additional federal revenues would further offset the coverage costs; however, the Office of the Actuary does not have the expertise necessary to estimate all such impacts.”

An aide to Rep. Rogers said the report was being reviewed internally at HHS and was moving up in the department’s ranks, but was not ready for release by the time the vote came around.

“Basically, the CMS folks had the report internally reviewing it, but they did not release it publicly until now. The congressman’s point is that the administration had this information before the vote,” Rogers’ press secretary told HUMAN EVENTS.

When asked if the report’s numbers could be off and might actually predict a much darker picture of the future, Rogers said, “Absolutely.”

“If you look back, they’ve always been wrong halfway,” he said of the federal government’s projections for the future of healthcare. “The costs have always been at least double what they predict. And the ramifications on the negative side are always half of what they predict.”

Rep. Michael C. Burgess (R.-Tex.) said the report stated the obvious. “The findings from this report should surprise no one. For over a year I have said that the Democrats more-government-and-higher-taxes approach was the wrong way to achieve meaningful health reform, and would fail.”

The report says that some measures of the bill could control healthcare costs in the future. However, it says that “during 2010-2019 … these effects would be outweighed by the increased costs associated with the expansions of health insurance coverage.”

“I think the more you go through [the bill], the more we’re going to find that the numbers are worse,” Rogers said. “I’m not sure anyone in the administration read the bill. As a matter of fact, I would argue most members of Congress did not read the bill.… I’m probably close to 90% of the way through it. It is a difficult bill to read.”

The bill’s impact on Medicare also raises some potential red flags, according to the report.

For instance, around 15% of Part A Medicare providers will become unprofitable within 10 years because of “productivity adjustments,” the report says, because of cuts to Medicare.

“Over time, a sustained reduction in payment updates, based on productivity expectations that are difficult to attain, would cause Medicare payment rates to grow more slowly than, and in a way that was unrelated to, the providers’ costs of furnishing services to beneficiaries. Thus, providers for whom Medicare constitutes a substantive portion of their business could find it difficult to remain profitable and, absent legislative intervention, might end their participation in the program.”

Also, the Medicare Advantage program may face a sharp decline in enrollment soon. “The new provisions will generally reduce [Medicare Advantage] rebates to plans and thereby result in less generous benefit packages,” the report says.

“We estimate that in 2017, when the MA provisions will be fully phased in, enrollment in MA plans will be lower by about 50 percent (from its projected level of 14.8 million under the prior law to 7.4 million under the new law).”

Rep. Rogers believed that the Medicare problems mentioned in the report are just the “tip of the iceberg.”

He believed that the bill’s provisions have negatively affected doctors in such a manner as to discourage them, however unpurposefully, from taking new patients and even continuing in medicine.

At a recent event, he said that out of three doctors present, one was planning to move her patients to a concierge medical service and not take any new Medicare patients, another was getting out of the medical business altogether, and the third was going to sell his practice to the hospital in order to get reimbursed at a higher rate.

“These doctors haven’t taken a vow of poverty to work for the federal government,” Rogers said. “And I wouldn’t expect them to.”

“New Medicare patients are going to find it impossible to find a doctor in about 10 years. They have done more harm in one bill to the healthcare of our seniors then you could have ever possibly imagined,” Rogers concluded.

When asked what the most effective action would be to counter the bill, Rogers simply replied that the whole thing needs to go. “I think the premise of this bill was so wrong that you have to repeal and replace.”

Matt Hadro is an intern with Human Events through the National Journalism Center. He graduated from Christendom College in 2009 with a Bachelor�s degree in History.

US Democrats unveil immigration overhaul plan

US Senate Democrats blasted Arizona’s “wronghearted” new immigration law as they unveiled a plan to give the nation’s 11 million undocumented workers a long, winding path to citizenship.

Lawmakers said the southwestern border state’s crackdown grew out of frustration that Washington has not fixed US immigration policy, causing a glut of undocumented immigrants but leaving a shortage of workers in key areas.

That flawed policy “has plagued our country for too long,” said Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who urged Republicans to “work with us to fix this broken system.”

The blueprint, which won immediate White House backing and swift Republican condemnation, calls for securing US borders first, and attracting temporary workers and high-skill legal immigrants, like aspiring doctors or scientists.

It would create a high-tech, national identity card to prove legal work status and punish US employers with stiff fines and, for repeat offenders, jail time, if they knowingly employ illegal workers.

And it would map a path for qualified undocumented workers, after an eight-year wait, to gain permanent, legal resident status — a critical stepping stone towards becoming a naturalized US citizen.

They would first have to register with the government, pay taxes and perhaps fines, pass an English-language proficiency and a criminal background check, and wait behind current applications for legal residency.

“Our framework is fix the border first, but don’t just fix the border,” said Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, who stressed that “no matter what we do on the border” US jobs will draw undocumented immigrants.

The announcement came as Arizona’s crackdown, which critics say enshrines racial profiling, faced threats of court challenges and the state confronted a national campaign to boycott its exports and tourism industry.

That new law allows police to question and detain anyone they believe may be in the United States illegally, even if they are not suspected of committing another crime.

It also requires anyone in the state suspected of being an undocumented immigrant to show a document proving their legal status, like a “green card” permanent residency document or a passport.

“The fact that we do not have a good strong federal immigration law has now engendered a disproportional and counterproductive response in Arizona, which has passed a new law that is both ineffective and wronghearted,” said Schumer.

Few analysts predict Congress will pass an overhaul ahead of November mid-term elections, with US unemployment near 10 percent, and anger at an estimated 10.8 million undocumented immigrants in a nation of about 309 million people.

But Hispanic voters — one of the fastest-growing segments of the electorate — have flexed their political muscle of behalf of an undocumented population that chiefly hails from Latin America.

Reid, who faces an uphill reelection fight and has courted Hispanics in his home state of Nevada, did not repeat a previous promise to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul through the Senate this year.

And any proposal would need Republican support to clear the US Senate, a tall order in Washington’s superheated partisan political climate after Republican Senator Lindsey Graham withdrew from talks with Schumer.

Graham and Republican Senator Jon Kyl condemned the Democratic proposal as “nothing more than an attempt to score political points” and warned it “poisons the well” for future bipartisan immigration overhaul proposals.

President Barack Obama welcomed the plan and stressed: “We can no longer wait to fix our broken immigration system, which Democrats and Republicans alike agree doesn’t work.”

The new Democratic plan calls for recruiting “thousands” of new customs agents and the creation of a new force to help the US Border Patrol, which has some 20,000 in its ranks.

It also calls for new points of entry in the roughly 3,200-kilometer (2,000-mile) border, with nearly one-third of the frontier now fenced.

The blueprint urges an overhaul of the temporary work visa process, making it easier for foreign graduates of US universities with a firm employment offer in the United States.

Copyright AFP 2008,

What Arizona’s New Immigration Law Doesn’t Do

by Ben Domenech

Via Moe Lane, I see Eugene Robinson is angry about the new Arizona law requiring that people stopped for another legal offense must provide proof of immigration status if an officer requests it. Robinson is shocked that:

Legal immigrants will be required to carry papers proving that they have a right to be in the United States.

Sports personality Kevin Blackistone is also offended, arguing that Arizona should be banned as a locale for sporting events. Heavens to Murgatroyd, it’s the new police state!

Except, as anyone who has any immigrants in the family knows, it’s already the law (see page 8).

As a permanent resident, it is your responsibility to…Carry proof of your permanent resident status at all times.

Yes, any permanent resident is legally required to have their relevant ID on them at all times. This wasn’t enforced for domestic travel to any significant degree pre-9/11, but after that, it’s been enforced at a higher rate.

The utility of this Arizona law is a matter for debate. But Robinson and Blackistone could’ve at least bothered to ask a legal immigrant (if they know anyone who is) about the existing requirement before getting all verklempt.

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