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Weekly Immigration Wire: Silence Strengthens Opposition

by Web Team on 08/19/2009 at 8:00pm

Note: This is a weekly feature by Nezua, TMC MediaWire Blogger

President Obama is citing the Healthcare debate as a reason for postponing immigration reform until 2010. But in the interim, the White House is laying the groundwork for an enforcement agenda by expanding programs such as 287(g), Secure Communities and e-Verify, amidst a growing matrix of detention centers. Anti-immigration factions are taking advantage of the lull in legislative action to push their own agenda.

The Progressive takes the unequivocal stand that “President Obama is wrong to postpone immigration reform.” Author Ed Morales makes it clear that while healthcare and economic issues are “understandably urgent,” the choice to delay reform “de-prioritizes” people who have paid their taxes but have not been given a path to citizenship.

The problem is, immigration reform and healthcare reform are inextricably connected. WireTap cites a central tenant of healthcare reform’s “artificially amplified ‘public’ opposition” to immigration, as reported by the Los Angeles Times: It’s “the notion that ‘Congress would give illegal immigrants health insurance at taxpayer expense.’”

Is the racially charged core of this “chameleon colored outrage” being purposefully left out of the general dialogue? The ugly facts are that a “third of all ‘Hispanics’ in the U.S., almost half of the undocumented, and a fifth of African Americans” lack health insurance today. And yet, only “one in eight whites” lack health care.

After all, “Not all immigrants are alike.” New America Media’s David Hayes-Bautista compares the experiences of two immigrants named Jean-Claude and Juan Carlos. Hayes-Bautista effectively illustrates the Good Immigrant/Bad Immigrant paradigm and asks “Why do some immigrants move quickly and swiftly up the educational and professional ladder, while others appear to remain stymied at the bottom?” Ultimately, “both segments of immigrants deserve to be included in the future healthcare system that their presence will help to fund.”

But some clearly don’t think with such a progressive bent, as the New Mexico Independent reports. Instead of trying to bring greater truth to the entire discussion, anti-immigrant factions are “using [healthcare reform] to whip up fear and anger toward immigrants,” unsurprisingly claiming that they are “a costly and burdensome drain on any taxpayer-supported U.S. health care system.”

At a Portsmouth, New Hampshire town hall where the crowd awaited the President’s arrival, one “white-bearded protestor” suggested murder as a solution for “illegals.” (Video via the Young Turks) 

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