Sunday, December 02, 2012

Fake Republican Immigration "Reform?"


Friday the House passed Lamar Smith's fake immigration bill. With lots of Democratic corporate shills joining the Republicans there was a strong majority, 245-139, to pass a bill that would give more visas to foreign nationals with advanced degrees from U.S. universities-- "highly skilled" workers. It's a Republican dream, an excuse for immigration reform-- which also eliminates the Diversity Visa program. Republicans and corporate Democrats would much rather import foreign skilled workers who are happy to take lower pay than American skilled workers-- thereby driving down labor costs for corporations-- than spending any money educating Americans and making sure we have these skills right here at home. These were the Democrats who voted for the GOP bill:
Jason Altmire (lame duck Blue Dog/New Dem-PA)
John Barrow (Blue Dog/New Dem-GA)
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
Leonard Boswell (lame duck Blue Dog-IA)
John Carney (New Dem-DE)
Judy Chu (D-CA)
Steve Cohen (D-TN)
Jim Cooper (Blue Dog/New Dem-TN)
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)
Pete DeFazio (D-OR)
Joe Donnelly (Blue Dog-IN)
John Garamendi (D-CA)
Jim Himes (New Dem-CT)
Kathy Hochul (lame duck New Dem-NY)
Ron Kind (New Dem-WI)
Larry Kissell (lame duck Blue Dog-NC)
Dan Lipinski (IL)
Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT)
Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog/New Dem-NC)
Jerry McNerney (D-CA)
Mike Michaud (Blue Dog-ME)
Jim Moran (New Dem-VA)
Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)
Mike Ross (Blue Dog-AR)
Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD)
Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog/New Dem-OR)
Paul Tonko (D-NY)
Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) was just elected and takes his seat in January. He's looking forward to working on real and serious immigration reform. This morning he told us that "Immigration reform must include a path to citizenship for those who have helped create the success and prosperity this country enjoys. Immigrants are critical to the competitiveness and vitality of this country, and that should be reflected in our laws." And Beto represents El Paso, one of the big success stories of enlightened public policy towards immigration. Many Democrats already in Congress called the Republican effort, which will never make it through the Senate, down right racist.
"The elimination of the diversity visa program will drastically reduce immigration from African nations because immigrants from Africa normally comprise half the Diversity Visa program's annual beneficiaries," Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) said.

Democrats added further that the bill would reduce visa availability overall, in part because fewer education-related visas are expected. "This is a naked attempt to satisfy anti-immigrant groups that have long lobbied for reduced levels of legal immigration," Conyers said.

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) took the argument a step further by charging that the bill is outright "racist" in its intent because it would necessarily shut down visas for people in African countries.

"That is racist, if not in its intent, then certainly in its effect," Johnson said.

Johnson also accused Republicans of failing to heed the lesson of the November election, which many agree revealed a lack of support for immigrants for Republicans.

"Republicans have just received a historically low votes from minorities in the past election, yet they want to create an immigration system that gives visas with one hand while taking visas away from minorities with the other," he added. "It is a Trojan horse, and the ugly head of racism will rear its ugly head if this Trojan horse, H.R. 6429, becomes law."

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) echoed that point as he closed out debate.

"It is almost as though November 6th came and went and my friends on the other side of the aisle just never listened to the verdict of the people, he said. "And what they said to us was, stop picking winners and losers. Stop dividing and pitting one American against another."



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