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GOP Plays ‘Immigrant’ Card to Block Progress AGAIN: First Sick Kids, Now Unemployed Americans

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Today The Hill is reporting that Repbulican Senators are using immigration wedge politics to try to poke holes in the new jobs legislation moving forward in Congress:

The GOP expressed worries that the $15 billion jobs package crafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), does not go far enough to ensure that businesses don’t use new-jobs tax credits in the bill to write off jobs given to illegal immigrants.

Sound familiar? It should. Restrictionist members of the GOP have been playing the ‘immigrant’ card on nearly every major piece of legislation that’s come before Congress this session. They started off playing politics with sick kids, but now they are holding jobs for unemployed Americans hostage in order to score cheap political points on the backs of America’s most vulnerable workers and families.

A familiar bloc of Republican Senators (PDF) are protesting the Senate jobs bill over supposed fears that the bill’s tax credits for employers would be used to employ unauthorized immigrants.  The reality, according to The Hill, is that the very language in this current jobs bill is the same as language first introduced by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch from Utah in tax rebate legislation. In short, it is already against the law to hire unauthorized workers. Reality, however, is rarely the issue with this debate.

The thinly-veiled excuse to oppose legislation based on the “illegal immigration” boogeyman is a worn-out strategy used again and again by some GOP lawmakers, who draw on research by extreme groups like the Federation for American Immigration Reform, (FAIR), a recognized hate group, to make their points. These groups have urged their Republican allies to play the “immigrant” card in the stimulus bill, SCHIP, healthcare, the financial crisis, the flu pandemic, and even global warming.

As America’s Voice Executive Director Frank Sharry has argued:

…this is a familiar page from the GOP playbook: play off of people’s anxieties over illegal immigration with lies and distortion in order to delay or derail something largely unrelated.