On Wednesday we reported that Conan O’Brien would host America’s Biggest Rights-Violator, Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Well, about a hundred people called in to complain about the Sheriff’s record, filling up NBC’s late night voicemail box before the audience had time to find their seats. Indeed, self-proclaimed “America’s Toughest Sheriff” Conan on the Fox show: “It’s either a brilliant idea or the true sign of the apocalypse, that things are coming apart in this country.” Fight the Apocalypse here.

In “Bush legacy: ‘At least we tried doesn’t cut it, ” Gebe Martinez argues, “Like Bush, Obama is committed to an immigration measure that combines enforcement with earned legalization for illegal immigrants in the country. But as his predecessor proved, Obama cannot wait and turn to immigration after his political capital has run out. And he has to maintain the tone, not react to the rhetoric.” We will need to remind the administration again and again that for key swing voters and Latino citizens concerned about immigration, ‘almost’ just ain’t gonna cut it come 2012.

January 7, 2009

Et Tu, NBC?

According to the Phoenix New Times, today’s late night show will feature immigration foe, racial profiler, and new FOX reality TV star Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Call NBC and ask for the Conan O’Brien Show: 1-212-664-4444. Tell the producers that Sheriff Joe’s tactics may be showy, but they just aren’t funny. And don’t forget to sign the petition to demand a long-overdue investigation into the Sheriff’s antics.

FAIR’s New Report Misses the Real Numbers of Americans Who Want Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

For many, hope is the word this holiday. On the topic of immigration reform, the New York Times chimes in: It’s way too early to tell whether the United States under President-elect Barack Obama will restore realism, sanity and lawfulness to its immigration system. But it’s never too early to hope, and the stars seem to be lining up, at least among his cabinet nominees.On that note, happy and hopeful holidays to all!

Arpaio’s critics aren’t amused. They say they fear the show will give the controversial sheriff positive publicity, ignoring what they call a darker side to his 16-year tenure as top lawman in the county that includes Phoenix. “It’s going to celebrate a sheriff that’s frankly scaring this community, a sheriff that has seen violent crime increase significantly in his county, a sheriff that is racially profiling the Latino community, and I doubt that the show is going to reflect that,” said Paco Fabian, spokesman for the immigrant-rights group America’s Voice.

What’s more absurd than not blaming the GOP for killing immigration reform? Putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop, as it were: giving employers free reign to treat their workers as they will. Immigration reform that’s got a chance must be good for US workers, immigrant workers, and the economy. We needn’t choose between worker protections and real immigration reform, but we do need to separate fantasy from reality.

Congressman Ray LaHood (R-IL) is the grandson of Lebanese immigrants and has been a co-sponsor of several immigration reform measures. Originally set to retire after his seventh term representing Illinois’ 18th District, Ray LaHood has a firm history of bipartisanship. The Congressman co-sponsored comprehensive immigration reform legislation, and his pick is just another appointment that bodes well for getting a real reform passed in the new administration.

He has long railed against the Constitution, which holds that all babies born in America are U.S. citizens. Borrowing a line from the Minutemen’s playbook, he calls these children “anchor babies,” not Americans, and seeks to get their citizenship�along with the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution�revoked. But trying to anchor an election in bashing undocumented immigrants? That’s one boat that didn’t float this election.

Today’s Associated Press announcement that Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA) is the President-elect’s pick to head the Department of Labor is an exciting development for all workers in our country. Not only has Solis been a long-time labor advocate, she has stood firm for immigration policy that makes our nation stronger. She has also been a leader on the issue of immigrant detentions and the ill-conceived Bush administration raids.