REP GUTIERREZ (RE: RAHM AND STENY): 'WE MIGHT AS WELL PUT REPUBLICANS IN CHARGE"
Rahm Emanuel represents Chicago's North Side, Illinois' 5th CD, historically one of the premier immigrant destinations in the entire United States. Even today, the district has several large and vibrant immigrant populations. In fact, when Emanuel's predecessor, Rod Blagojevich, was elected governor it was expected that the 5th would be re-districted out of existence-- until the 2000 census showed huge population increases in the immigrant neighborhoods, saving the district, which the Daley Machine and the Clinton Administration gave to Emanuel as a reward for his work on passing NAFTA. Even with a concerted attempt to put as many Hispanic neighborhood as possible into the 4th CD, almost a quarter of Emanuel's constituents are Hispanic. The district also has a huge Polish population and a very large Korean population.
Emanuel likes to boast that as the son of an Israeli immigrant himself, he's the best friend the immigrant community has ever had. And he well may be a good friend of immigrants-- from Israel. Others... not so much. Two weeks ago he sent a DCCC-connected candidate training a video of himself haranguing congressional candidates to "move right" on immigration or risk defeat at the hands of Republicans. This is similar to the terrible advice he shoved down candidates' throats last year, although then he was demanding they move to the right on Iraq, dooming the candidacies of Lois Murphy, Francine Busby, Ken Lucas, Tammy Duckworth, Diane Farrell and several others who went along with his demands. Yesterday Markos asked a blaring question at DailyKos: Is Rahm racist, or merely scared?. While walking the picket line at the WGA strike at Fox today Jane and I came up with the idea of inviting Emanuel over to FDL to ask him why he thinks adopting Tom Tancredo's immigration ideas is a good idea and why he's unleashed Heath Shuler to do just that. But then we thought a far better idea would be to invite one of Emanuel's constituents over.
Surf over to Firefoglake and meet Josh Hoyt (1pm Chicago time), someone whom both Pach and John Laesch told me is the go-to guy for all things regarding immigrants rights in Illinois. Josh has been in the activist/organizing "business" for over 30 years, much of it in the immigrant communities. He's known Emanuel since 1980 and more recently he's been testifying in front of the House Judiciary Committee and debating on both O'Reilly's and Glenn Beck's GOP propaganda shows. He runs the largest immigrants' rights organization in Illinois (130 groups and organizations)-- the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
Last April ICIRR sponsored a townhall meeting with Emanuel and Luis Gutierrez on the issue of immigration that was attended by over 1,500 people-- in Emanuel's district. There were lots of Koreans and Muslims and Koreans and Poles and Latino immigrants. "He got up," Josh told me last night, "and said he was with us and he signed on as the lead co-sponsor of the Gutierrez STRIVE Act. He plays both sides of the issue. We had him for 5 minutes. When it became clear that this was a difficult issue-- that it would take some political courage-- he became a rubber chicken. The thing that we don't like is that he runs around calling himself Rahmbo but he's a coward when it comes to standing for progressive constituencies and progressive values... He's completely two-faced."
Blue America is working with several groups in Chicago to help hold Emanuel accountable. We don't want to show our hand; just let me say that Jacquie has been busy, busy, busy doing her thing while writers write and designers design and vocalists vocalize. This looks like it will be the biggest Blue America campaign ever. And we have a $5,000 matching fund from a patriotic FDL community member who has asked to remain anonymous. She will match every dollar up 'til five grand donated this weekend to the Blue America PAC. Hint, but only a hint
HOW BAD IS THE TANCREDO-EMANUEL-SHULER ANTI-IMMIGRANT BILL?
It's a xenophobic bill one expects from the Know Nothing wing of the GOP, not from a party dedicated to solving problems. Any Democrat supporting this should be ashamed to ever face voters again. Sentido over at Daily Kos has an excellent analysis. In short:
As expected it makes the flawed assumption that harsh law enforcement aimed at a targeted group of people will make them simply disappear.
This bill also lacks any indication that undocumented immigrants should be treated as human beings... there is no family reunification, no relief for kids who spent their whole lives here.
Cruelty has always failed as a social policy... and this bill is more evil than most.
Tancredo, Emanuel and Shuler are targeting churches,humanitarians, friends, relatives, bolstering a scary policy state, and militarizing the border, while doing nothing to solve the real and inherent problems that have multiplied and festered with the Bush Regime's callous support of encouraging cheap labor for their Big Business allies.
UPDATE: COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM? CONGRESS PROBABLY COMES AT THE END OF THE PROCESS, NOT THE BEGINNING. FIRST WE NEED LEADERS
We pay congressmembers to come up with solutions to problems that face the country. They do a damn bad job of it-- but they set their own rules and salaries. They should all be docked and maybe we should just send their checks bloggers like Duke1676 and Stephen at Daily Kos, who have come up with far more salient ideas for immigration reform than anything coming out of the cowards and slackers and demagogues in Congress.