Saturday, November 26, 2011

Boards, Too

Joshua Micah Marshall's Talking Points Memo joined the chorus of progressives hailing the "humane" immigration policy championed by Newt Gingrich in last week's debate in Washington, D.C. Evan MCMorris-Santoro blogged

As expected, Newt Gingrich is taking a lot of hits from his opponents and the conservative right following his decision to risk it all by professing compassion for a subset of illegal immigrants.

Social conservatives are freaking out, and Gingrich’s decision to insert the word “humane” into an answer about illegal immigration at the last presidential debate seems to be putting some Iowa voters on edge weeks before the caucus vote.

You see, those rubes are "on edge" and even "freaking out."

They can put those fears to rest. Yahoo blogger Chris Moody notes

the campaign posted a plan that outlined several steps that would need to be taken before implementing the local board plan: Secure the border by January 1, 2014; make it easier to deport people; set up a guest-worker program; streamline the visa process; make English the official language of government, promote immigration among high-skilled foreign workers (especially those with skills in math and science); punish employers who hire illegal immigrants; require immigrants to take a comprehensive test on American history; and, finally, set up the boards to determine who can stay and who should leave.

So the candidate's "humane" plan requires securing the border which, if ever accomplished, surely would not occur in the first 13 months of a Gingrich administration. English would become the official language of government, thereby (sarcasm alert) demonstrating the commitment of Repub politicians to legal immigration. Many individuals legally migrating to the U.S.A. don't know English and must, until they learn the language, find a way to communicate with someone in their native (usually Spanish) language. Good luck to them in any proceeding in any part of the legal system.

Newt's support for a guest-worker program, designed to bind immigrants tightly to their employers, should be enough to demonstrate that the plan is one intended to delight the business community and its increasingly successful quest for cheap labor. As if to clarify his motivation for all those who haven't noticed, Gingrich now is advocating local boards to give their blessing to an individual who has arrived legally, learned the language, and demonstrated proficiency in American history superior to that possessed by American students. How nice of him.

In putting forth his wage contraction plan during the GOP debate, Gingrich "urg(d)e all of you to look at the Krieble Foundation plan." Given that the Krieble Foundation plan does not mention local boards, it is impossible to determine what that added bureaucracy would entail. Boards established on the local level but under federal control might be attractive because they probably would grow very powerful and contribute to the effort of a Gingrich administration to gain dominion over Congress, the courts, and national life. Locally-controlled boards, however, would give conservative, generally Repub states, the opportunity to establish unrealistically high standards, thereby driving individuals they deem undesirable to Democratic states. Likely controlled by pillars of the community, the interests of local businessmen, or of wealthy and powerful corporations with outposts there, would probably predominate.

Compassionate and humane, we're told. But in the legendary words of a former NFL running back, "for who? for what?"

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