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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Immigration > New Report Analyzes the Immigration Reform Caucus’ Role in Derailing True Immigration Reform

New Report Analyzes the Immigration Reform Caucus’ Role in Derailing True Immigration Reform

LatinaLista — Why has immigration reform failed so miserably in Congress?
Why has the term “immigrant” evolved into such a piranha that Congressional representatives will distance themselves from it?
Why does there exist a fanaticism against the immigration issue, not outside the halls of Congress but within its very corridors?
Though the extreme right-wing bloggers would love to take all the credit, come to find out it’s not them who are purposely setting up the roadblocks and getting the 11th hour changes of heart from Congressional members who previously were supportive of immigration reform measures.
And as much credit is given to the “American People” as some Congressional representatives repeatedly like to cite, it’s common knowledge that the American People don’t have and never had anywhere near the kind of influence that is responsible for derailing action on immigration reform.
So who is it that has this kind of influence and unprecedented access to our Congress and system of government?
It’s our Congress, or to be more exact, 110 members of the House of Representatives who make up the largest ideological caucus in our government known as the Immigration Reform Caucus.


In new report released today by the Building Democracy Initiative titled Nativism in the House, the existence of the Immigration Reform Caucus is revealed with an in-depth analysis of this all-white, highly influential group which coincidentally (written sarcastically) was the brainchild of Rep. Tom Tancredo — the subject of Latina Lista’s post yesterday.

While it would be easy to dismiss this report since it comes from a group obviously sympathetic to the resolution of the immigration issue, it must be acknowledged that the report deals with facts that were easily obtainable through public records kept on voting practices, precinct demographics, bill sponsorships, and of course, information on the Caucus’ own web site.
In looking at this documentation, the report’s researchers uncovered some very disturbing points:

* Despite Caucus members’ focus on strict border control and harsh anti-immigrant legislation, the median Hispanic population is only 4% in caucus members’ districts. Although it is assumed that nativist and anti-immigrant politics are driven by economic resentment, most HIRC members are not elected from districts that share a common demographic or economic character.
* While vocally supportive of American workers, 86 out of the Caucus’s 110 members scored zero in support of workers’ rights, as measured by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
* The overwhelming majority of HIRC members are from the furthest, hardest edge of the Republican Party’s rightwing, only eight are Democrats, and the Caucus claims no African-American or Hispanic members. Many also regularly vote against civil rights and civil liberties concerns.
* Notwithstanding the Caucus’ political character, its members have received campaign contributions from a surprisingly wide range of sources, including ones not typically associated with anti-immigrant policies such as AT&T, the American Medical Association, and Home Depot. In addition, Caucus members receive funding from nativist sources such as the Minuteman PAC as well as from ultra-conservative sources such as the Eagle Forum and the Club for Growth.
* The election of Rep. Brian Bilbray as the HIRC chairman is likely to cement the already symbiotic relationship between fringe anti-immigrant advocacy groups and caucus members. Rep. Bilbray is himself a former lobbyist for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a controversial anti-immigrant organization that holds questionable ties to white nationalist and nativist groups. Likewise, the former HIRC director is now working at FAIR as a Government Relations Associate.
* Most recently, HIRC members have begun to actively promote legislation aimed at gutting the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which is the amendment that granted African-Americans full suffrage following the civil war. As of the time of the report’s printing, 90 members of the House of Representatives signed on as co-sponsors to legislation aimed at nullifying the Fourteenth Amendment’s “birthright” provision.

From all outward appearances: bills sponsored, political rhetoric, voting patterns, organizational affiliations, this group has more in common with the Ku Klux Klan than a mere caucus promoting a benign political cause.
In fact, by calling themselves the Immigration Reform Caucus (IRC), they deflect any hint that their agenda relies heavily on extremism, racism and ethnic oppression rather than actively working to find a true solution that benefits all Americans.
By hiding behind the IRC name, they don’t alarm anyone — voters or their fellow Congressional representatives — that such an extremist group has infiltrated the very halls of our government. They are merely seen as another special interest group that feels strongly about their cause.
Yet, what is different about this group is that they are not outsiders looking in — they are insiders, passing bad information under the guise of doing it for the American people.

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Comment(25)

  • Avatar
    David O.
    October 10, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    Who are the members? Is there a list somewhere?

  • Avatar
    Frank
    October 10, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    The majority of congress and Americans are not anti-immigrant. They are opposed to illegal immigration. Why spin the truth?

  • Avatar
    yave begnet
    October 10, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    If they want to tie themselves to efforts to repeal the 14th Amendment, more power to them. There’s no surer way for restrictionists to lose the immigration debate–in the long run, anyway–than to allow it to be framed in racial terms and cast as a retread of the civil rights struggle. How many conservatives do you see today dissing MLK? Zero. How many did you see in 1963? A hell of a lot more.
    Restrictionists’ primary problem is that the debate actually is largely about race, but if they concede this point and make it explicitly about race, they will lose.
    I think (optimistically) that 2008 will mark a tipping point where the CW solidifies that the restrictionist base is an electoral liability for the GOP. Once this narrative gains traction in the media–after, let’s say, a blowout for the Dems in next year’s election–the momentum of the debate will shift. I’m not saying things will be all hugs and kisses then, just that we are at a kind of stilted moment right now when restrictionists’ perceived influence is greater than their actual power. That won’t last.
    Take a look at this, about the 2006 elections:
    the enforcement-only approach significantly eroded support for the Republican candidates among Hispanic voters from their 2004 levels; in each case the Republican lost the seat.
    and this (pdf):
    What this means is that if in 2008 Republicans are denied these 4 swing Southwestern states, or Florida, they will have to win a state they have not won since the 1980s. While possible, of course, it is not something they can count on. Simply put there is no reasonable GOP roadmap to victory in 2008 that does not require them to win these 5 heavily Hispanic states, something that will now be much more difficult given the degradation of the GOP brand in the Hispanic community in the aftermath of the immigration debate.

  • Avatar
    Daniel Maldonado
    October 10, 2007 at 9:46 pm

    The majority of people on this board call you a troll. Why dont you go to Save Our state?

  • Avatar
    David O.
    October 10, 2007 at 11:16 pm

    Thanks for the list Daniel.
    There is one less member. One died saturday.

  • Avatar
    Daniel Maldonado
    October 11, 2007 at 12:06 am

    He probably died of hate.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    October 11, 2007 at 7:08 am

    Why don’t you dispute or debate what I just said rather than acting like a juvenile?

  • Avatar
    yave begnet
    October 11, 2007 at 7:13 am

    If they want to tie themselves to efforts to repeal the 14th Amendment, more power to them. There’s no surer way for restrictionists to lose the immigration debate–in the long run, anyway–than to allow it to be framed in racial terms and cast as a retread of the civil rights struggle. How many conservatives do you see today dissing MLK? Zero. How many did you see in 1963? A lot more.
    Restrictionists’ primary problem is that the debate actually is largely about race, but if they concede this point and make it explicitly about race, they will lose.
    I think (optimistically) that 2008 will mark a tipping point where the CW solidifies that the restrictionist base is a liability for the GOP. Once this narrative gains traction in the media–after, let’s say, a blowout for the Dems in next year’s election–the momentum of the debate will shift. I’m not saying things will be all hugs and kisses then, just that we are at a kind of stilted moment right now when restrictionists’ perceived influence is greater than their actual power. That won’t last.

  • Avatar
    yave begnet
    October 11, 2007 at 7:15 am

    Take a look at this:
    the enforcement-only approach significantly eroded support for the Republican candidates among Hispanic voters from their 2004 levels; in each case the Republican lost the seat.
    and this (pdf):
    What this means is that if in 2008 Republicans are denied these 4 swing Southwestern states, or Florida, they will have to win a state they have not won since the 1980s. While possible, of course, it is not something they can count on. Simply put there is no reasonable GOP roadmap to victory in 2008 that does not require them to win these 5 heavily Hispanic states, something that will now be much more difficult given the degradation of the GOP brand in the Hispanic community in the aftermath of the immigration debate.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    October 11, 2007 at 8:58 am

    Nothing could be further from the truth that the illegal immigration issue is about race for most Americans. The 14th Amendment does need re-interpreting. It is ridiculous to make children of illegal aliens, birthright citizens. I am in favor of the bill currently in the House right now. One parent has to be a citizen or legal resident for the child to become an instant citizen. It just makes sense.
    There are only 40 million Hispanics in this country compared to 360 million Non-Hispanics. Why are politicians targeting a minority group and why do they have to give amnesty to illegal aliens in order to win their vote? One can’t deny that there is an ethnocentric motive. If these were millions of White illegals in this country and Whites were advocating the same thing for them, we would be hearing cries of racism from Hispanics and you know it. Especially if we were trying to influence our politicians that way.

  • Avatar
    Daniel Maldonado
    October 11, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    Those of us who have been mislead into thinking the Jews will always keep the Nazis in check should take note now!
    The Khazars, are faux Jews who are mostly Zionists that exploit the holocaust for their own profit. They are eastern Europeans.
    Hitler was afraid they would do to Germany what they had done to Russia. At that time they were mostly communists. Lenin, Trotsky, Marx, Stalin were all Khazaria (converts) Jews and not JEWISH by race.
    Not all Jews are Khazars or Zionists. Amy Goodman is Jewish, a Khazar, and by no means a Zionist. Many Khazar Jews are not Zionists.
    The Khazars converted to Judaism and are NOT descendants of Abraham. They are not “God’s” chosen people. “God’s” chosen people are the descendants of Abraham, the true Hebrews from the “Holy Land” are the Sephardi Jews.
    Now that the Zionist have ruined Eastern Europe, they have their eyes focused on the West. Through capitalism and Neo-liberalism, the Neo-cons will bring an end to western democracy.
    Take note on last year’s Marchas. Who was present? The communists and to a far lessor degree, the anarchists. Both exploiting our Nican Tlaca people’s need to work freely and raise our families. The communists and anarchists are always ready to show up to IMMIGRANT rights rallies and protest so that our cause will be associated with theirs.
    Our only true representatives were the Mexica-Movement.org
    Why? Because they reject De-indianization. They reject the claim that 500k rapist Spaniards makes us Mestizo.
    The Mexica-Movement offers a path to what you are. A path to knowledge of what we are. Discover yourself.
    Make no mistake, indigenous communal living does not resemble capitalism or communism.
    Indigenous life is a centrist (in modern terminology) and democratic way of life. A confederacy of sorts, again, using a English language definition.
    The Jews (in the U.S.) are no longer our alarm system. The Anti-defamation league has been aiding the authorities in the colonization and incarceration of our peoples for decades now.
    In L.A. most public school teachers have been Jewish. They are the same teachers who say repeatedly that the Maya mysteriously disappeared. The Jews also write the text books and control the L.A. school board.
    Follow the money
    In Peru, the Tupac Amaru and the Sendero Luminoso were funded by the Zionist. The same is true for Oaxaca, MX.
    But why do New England Jews instigate revolution in indigenous countries and then go home to watch their children ride their bicycles in the autumn leaves?
    Notice how the countries who have bedded to Rothchild bankers are “First World.”
    While the rest are merely a supply of resources for them.
    Mexico was deeply in debt to the Rothschild bankers during both the French invasion and the Mexican American wars. However, the Mexican people NEVER got or received or saw any of that money!
    It was pilfered by means of a CLEPTOCRACY that the Europeans had in place.
    Have the Asians, Japan, China Mainland and Taiwan, both Koreas ever bedded the Jews and their banking system?
    NO.
    The Zionist Jews in this country are not our friends.
    They exploit the holocaust.
    How?
    200 million people died in WWII. 194 million are not worth mentioning because only 6 million were “Jew.”
    194 MILLION lives. And if you mention them then YOU ARE QUESTIONING THE HOLOCAUST. YOU ARE IN EFFECT A HOLOCAUST DENIER.
    Lastly, the Hebrew Jews are are a PERSECUTED minority in Israel just like the Palestinian (perhaps not as bad).
    The Hebrew Jews are our brothers just like the Palestinians.
    Giving the Zionist Jews a Chance to Act Like Germans:
    “Illegals, we support LEGAL Immigration, John Tanton (even he is afraid of the Zioniist), Anchor Babies, cowards (for not staying home and not starting a revolution in Mexico [which would do wonders for the gringo cozy lifestyle of hate]) and ending birthright citizenship (even though Mexico offers it to “Americans).
    The Zionist control much of the mainstream media.
    The Zionists control nearly of “La Raza’s” civil rights organizations.
    Ya Basta!

  • Avatar
    yave begnet
    October 11, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Sorry for the double post.
    Daniel M–whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold on there. Regurgitating anti-Semitic conspiracy theories is not the way to advance the interests of Latinos or further the immigration debate in productive ways. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

  • Avatar
    Daniel Maldonado
    October 11, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    What to you is a “conspiricy ” theory?
    Please be specific.
    I’m self employed, I cannot be “wrecked.”

  • Avatar
    yave begnet
    October 11, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    You provided more than enough detail in your comment to convince me you have some serious issues with Jews. What you described bears little relation to the world I see around me. I don’t even want to get into the details–how can you discuss something with someone who’s living in a parallel universe?
    And “check yourself” etc. was just a turn of phrase–not meant as a threat or anything–I just mean you’re shooting yourself in the foot by going off about “the Jews.” That is certainly not the way to get taken seriously about anything.

  • Avatar
    Daniel Maldonado
    October 11, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    Not “Jews.” Zionists.
    I made that perfectly clear. You stated I was regurgitating anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
    I ask you to please explain and to be specific. “Check yourself before you wreck yourself.” is a warning and a threat.
    You do not send chills down my spine.
    “What you described bears little relation to the world I see around me.”
    That is obvious.
    “Regurgitating anti-Semitic conspiracy theories is not the way to advance the interests of Latinos or further the immigration debate in productive ways.”
    OK coach. Tell you what. You can discuss all you want for as long as you want in ways you deem productive.
    Meanwhile, get out and stay out of my way.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    October 11, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    “Why has the term “immigrant” evolved into such a piranha that Congressional representatives will distance themselves from it?”
    I think the term you’re looking for is pariah. A piranh is a fish with big teeth but a pariha is despised or rejected, an outcast.
    Marisa, you conveniently forgot that little qualifier, “illegal”. Why is it that when there’s a discussion about regular immigrants there’s no controversey at all? Congress is afraid of their majority constituency. It’s as simple as that. This is a democracy, and the voters will put them out of office if congress acts against their will by talking about giving citizenship and benefits to that qualifier I mentioned. That important Hispanic swing vote that you try to use as a hammer won’t work if the rest of the country actually becomes active voters. I know that you’d like to be the only one to have a vote, but that’s not the way it works.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    October 11, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    “There are only 40 million Hispanics in this country compared to 360 million Non-Hispanics.”
    One in four of those 40 million are illegal aliens who can’t vote. Not all Hispanics have a dog in this hunt. This is primarily a Mexican issue, because this issure is really about illegal border crossers, and I suspect the rest of the Hispanic citizens resent Mexico’s bellyaching and cheaters by now because it just puts them in a bad light. Wouldn’t anyone resent being roped into a corral by others who claim you support them when you really don’t. The solidarity they talk about is mostly myth. The non-Mexican Hispanics remove a few million more from the ranks of the paper monolith. Keeping in mind that the average age of a Hispanic is lower than the rest of the population due the fact that a higher percentage of them are children below voting age. The Hispanic vote is overrated. It only works if democracy doesn’t, if the rest of Americans remain complacent. All the rest of us have to do is be more proactive and actually vote instead of staying home. The Hispanic vote becomes increasingly irrelevent when the majority of eligible citizens actually vote. It says a lot when minority opinion rules because the majority of citizens are apathetic. Hispanic illegal alien advocates only win when democracy is subverted.

  • Avatar
    grandmausa
    October 11, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    Daniel is a timebomb waiting to go off. Talk about hate!

  • Avatar
    Deport Lou Dobbs
    October 12, 2007 at 12:41 am

    There are some seriously fucked up people here.

  • Avatar
    Daniel Maldonado
    October 12, 2007 at 3:02 am

    grandmausa:
    “Daniel is a timebomb waiting to go off. Talk about hate!”
    The people filled with hate are the Zionists.
    Millions of people have the same information that I do and feel the same way I do.
    Including some very prominent Jews
    It’s not hate. Questioning absolute obedience is not hate.
    What it is is not supporting Zionism at all costs.
    Only the U.S. and England support the Zionists.
    Who do you think funds John Tanton’s organizations?
    The Mellon banking dynasty
    or Pedro the dishwasher?

  • Avatar
    Darryl
    October 12, 2007 at 11:38 am

    I just read the report. I’m Black and have to admit that I don’t really follow much of the immigration debate. However, this stuff about the 14th Amendment is a wake up call and I will be discussing this at Church this Sunday.
    Perhaps this Center for New Community has just raised a point of unity with the black community and those concerned about immgirants.
    This report is a big eye-opener and why it is not being discusses publicly is beyond me.
    I’m floored by this!

  • Avatar
    Frank
    October 12, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    Darryl, there is no concern about legal immigants, only the illegal kind. It baffles me how many people refer to illegal aliens as “immigrants”. It is misleading and false.
    Many countries require that one parent of a newborn be a citizen of that country to gain birthright citizenship. I believe that the 14th Amendment is being grossly misinterpreted and that there is a huge scam by illegals to give birth in our country so as to anchor themselves on to our country. There is a bill currently in the House to require that one parent be a citizen in order for their child to gain birthright citizenship in this country. It just makes sense.

  • Avatar
    Darryl
    October 13, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    But Frank…I also went to the Federation for American Immigration Reform website and it states farily clearly from reading several of their documents that they are not just against “illegal immigration” but also want a moritorium on immigration period. In my book that would make an organizatin “anti-immigrant.” Do you disagree with FAIR on that point?

  • Avatar
    Frank
    October 13, 2007 at 8:06 pm

    Yes, I am aware of the position taken by FAIR. But that doesn’t make them anti-immigrant. They just want to make sure that the immigrants we already have are assimilating before we take in anymore or at least make sure they come in smaller numbers than like the past 20 years. Never before in our history have we had so many immigrants (mostly the illegal kind) come to our country in such large numbers and mostly from just one culture. But that isn’t their main reason for wanting to curb immigration for awhile. It has to do with our population growth. You know and I know how scarce our natural resources are becoming and how it gets harder and harder to even be able to see a doctor without waiting for hours and how overcrowed our schools, hospitals and jails are becoming. In many places there is gridlock on our highways. We are building houses on every square inch anymore. To be aware of these things and to take steps to curb our population growth is not being anti-immigrant. If you are filling a glass of water and it becomes full and you don’t put any more water in it so it won’t overflow, does that make you anti-water?

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