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Weekly Immigration Wire: Racism and Reform

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Editor’s note: To take action on the amendments Nezua describes, check out SEIU’s click-to-call tool here. Calls are needed now!

This post is a weekly feature by Nezua, Media Consortium Blogger.

It’s a sad irony that a President who wants to unite opposing factions presides over an increasingly entrenched and partisan political landscape. There seems to be no satisfactory compromise for both the health care and immigration reform debates. Well-worn rallying cries and talking points are tooled and retooled until the root issues are nearly forgotten. The situation is tragic because the people’s needs are made secondary to an unending war between two political entities.

Alternet has the lowdown on several proposed, immigration-related amendments to the Senate Finance Committee’s health care bill. Race is an absolute contributor to these amendments. Need an example? Senator Steve King (R-IA) is shunning free-market ideology when it comes to immigrants purchasing their own health care with their own money. As author Jackie Mahendra puts it, “Free-market Steve King vs. Anti-immigrant Steve King. That pretty much sums up how absurd this debate has become.”

It is better for all of us that immigrants pay for their own insurance, and the health care bill should allow this. Mahendra notes that FAIR, an anti-immigrant organization and recognized hate group, is recruiting callers to pressure the Senate. She asks readers to take a moment to call their Senators “to oppose amendments that are bad policy for all Americans.” If you are as tired of the unceasing, empty rhetoric on these issues as I am, this seems a good way to take action.

The truth is, race very much affects our politics today, and in many ways. Wiretap’s M. Junaid Levesque-Alam writes of the increasing hostility towards President Obama, whose most raucous and visible opposition today comes from “monochromatic, middle-aged, white throngs.” Levesque-Alam concludes with some advice for the President: Remind the voters how a reformed government can affect them positively. Without this reminder, people’s anxieties and deep-seated biases are curdling into a sour and toxic brew.

Race-based irrationality and paranoia have also given birth to a new genre of infomercial, reports Talking Points Memo. Justin Elliot reports on the 28-minute Birthermercial that asks late-night viewers to “give $30 to have faxes sent to government officials demanding Obama produce his birth certificate.” Attorney Gary Kreep, is one of the men behind the below video that asks “Where was PRESIDENT Obama BORN?” According to TPM, Kreep is “engaged in an intra-movement feud with the pioneering Birther attorney Orly Taitz.”