May 13, 2005


McCain-Kennedy bill opens citizenship path (Stephen Dinan, 5/12/05, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

Key senators yesterday announced that they will introduce a broad immigration overhaul with a multistep path to citizenship for illegal aliens and a new program for foreign workers that could increase yearly legal immigration by 400,000 people.

The bill -- sponsored by Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat -- also calls for the government to produce a border security strategy, and encourages Mexico to crack down on immigrant smugglers and take steps to control its own borders. [...]

The measure sets up two new work visas -- one for those now here illegally and another for future foreign workers. The program anticipates 400,000 low-skilled, nonfarm workers the first year, but could expand. Those workers could apply for a green card after four years. [...]

Mr. McCain yesterday said he has told the administration about the provisions of the bill, and that administration officials "certainly agreed that they are in accord with the president's principles. If you think it's different in some key aspects, you'll have to point them out to me."

It remains very unlikely that even this President can pass immigration reform, but they are moving the ball...

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 13, 2005 1:18 PM

On the surface this seems a just proposal for all involved (regularizing the illegals, welcoming more legals, improving enforcement). Sure, the bigots and lumpens will object but their numbers are not decisive. It may not be that hard to pass.

Posted by: Luciferous at May 13, 2005 2:22 PM


It makes so much sense it'll never pass.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at May 13, 2005 3:16 PM


You could well be right, as good sense does not automatically translate into law. However, the proposal would seem to have something else going for it as well, namely constituency building. Republicans could make huge gains by attracting Hispanic culture voters. Democrats must prevent this from happening and need to shore up their electoral position. Pardon the bad pun but this dynamic makes for the "Mexican standoff" sense I get from the bill sponsors, McCain and Kennedy. My bet: Bush will strongly support the bill, lever the Republican advantage, and it will pass.

Posted by: Luciferous at May 13, 2005 4:01 PM

Bad news for Bush. Immigration is a divisive issue for the GOP - just watch the shouting matches between NRO, WSJ, this blog, and others.

This puts Bush on the spot of supporting amnesty or other measures that allow illegal immigrants in. The Dems will always outpander the GOP on this issue. And in the GOP some will upset that Bush went to far while others are upset that Bush didn't go farther.

Posted by: AWW at May 13, 2005 4:16 PM


All true, but not as bad that though. The issue isn't big enough to drive any significant number of Republican supporters away from the party.

Posted by: Shelton at May 13, 2005 4:20 PM

Shelton you must live in a northern state with very little immigration. This is the wedge issue that could break the Reagan Democrats out of the coalition. The Know Nothings and the Free Soilers were the basis of the Republican Party. The Abolitionists were added later.

Try talking to some blue collar Republicans about this issue and you may get a different sense of the party's nativist basis.

Posted by: Ray Clutts at May 13, 2005 5:54 PM

Well - I've been talking to myself - I'm a native Texan still living in Texas and I'm blue-collar wage earner so...

I fail to see what certain politial alignments from 150 years ago has to with the opinions of people today regarding immigration. The fact that you reference today's southern conservatives using civil war terminology tells me you know next to nothing about what we think or how we may act to certain political situations. I have a feeling it is you who are from the north.

Posted by: Shelton at May 13, 2005 7:46 PM

I guess it could be worse than being historically inaccurate in stating Free Soilers/Know Nothings were the parental foundation of the GOP. We could be hearing from ol' Ray Clutts that the anti-Japism of the '20s in California, and the anti-immigration "reforms" it brought were the shining pinnacle of GOP thought.

And yes, this proposal is so simple, it will never pass. But it doesn't really need to now, does it OJ?

Posted by: Brad S at May 13, 2005 10:53 PM

The item cited below is one of Orrin's posts about ten items up. I'm not referencing the GOPs origins approvingly, like everyone else my ancestors came from somewhere else (Ireland, Germany, etc....)

My point was that this is a divise issue for someone who works(ed-like me) in a factory and who resents the fact that they're being displaced by immigrant labor. Especially illegal immigrants.

And yes Shelton, I am from the cold Chicago north and it's my comment was more aimed at blue collar workers up here like I used to be rather than specifically southern blue collar workers.

I'm also Catholic and my daughter attends St. Francis de Sales School in Lake Zurich, Illinois. Her best friend is a Mexican girl which doesn't make me any more or less conflicted than most people.

Generally, if Mexican's or other Latin Americans are here with a job then I'd like to leave them alone and just keep a closer watch on the border. There is a saturation point with any culture that should be acknowledged.

As for Brad S.'s comment, how was what I said historically inaccurate? Historically uncomfortable I would agree but I would contend iit's entirely accurate.

Meet the Poor Republicans (DAVID BROOKS, 5/15/05, NY Times)

You've got poor Republicans (over 10 percent of voters) who are hawkish on foreign policy and socially conservative, but like government programs and oppose tax cuts. You've got poor Democrats who oppose the war and tax cuts, but are socially conservative and hate immigration. These less-educated voters are more cross-pressured and more independent than educated voters. If you're looking for creative tension, for instability, for a new political movement, the lower middle class is probably where it's going to emerge.

Already, we've seen poorer folks move over in astonishing numbers to the G.O.P. George Bush won the white working class by 23 percentage points in this past election. Many people have wondered why so many lower-middle-class waitresses in Kansas and Hispanic warehouse workers in Texas now call themselves Republicans. The Pew data provide an answer: they agree with Horatio Alger.

These working-class folk like the G.O.P.'s social and foreign policies, but the big difference between poor Republicans and poor Democrats is that the former believe that individuals can make it on their own with hard work and good character.

According to the Pew study, 76 percent of poor Republicans believe most people can get ahead with hard work. Only 14 percent of poor Democrats believe that. Poor Republicans haven't made it yet, but they embrace what they take to be the Republican economic vision - that it is in their power to do so. Poor Democrats are more likely to believe they are in the grip of forces beyond their control.

The G.O.P. succeeds because it is seen as the party of optimistic individualism.

That same divide produces the gender gap.

Posted by: Ray Clutts at May 14, 2005 9:45 PM