|Jan 31, 2013 - Issue 502|
Why the Time is Now for Immigration Reform
President Obama called this week for the Congress to deal with Immigration reform as a high priority for this year’s legislative agenda. He said, “The time is now for immigration reform.” The time’s been now for immigration reform. Nobody had the courage to take it on.
What makes “now” the time? Political reality for the Republicans. political insurance for the Democrats. Immigration reform is going to be an ugly fight, particularly during the discussion as to what should come first, the chicken or the egg. The chicken is twelve million immigrants that are already here and who will have to get in line, pay fines and demonstrate civility in order to stay here. The egg will be the roping off of the border to stop the rush of immigrants looking to get here before the immigration deal gets on. Twelve million could be 20 million before the legislation is passed. Republicans want to build the wall first. Democrats want to tweak the rules first (reform immigration policy). There is a clear political and policy divide, as the recognition becomes even clearer that this is no longer a nation just for “old white men.” It doesn’t stop there.
politics turn this Latino empowerment agenda negative, less sophisticated, and
more territorial, as poor immigrants seek to carve out social spaces for
themselves. This is where it gets damn near hypocritical as migrants, many who ain’t supposed to be here anyway - according to the law - try
to tell other people they can’t live someplace. And suddenly Compton, a
recently black enclave (
Competition for jobs, houses, schools and business have made living in low and moderate income geographies somewhat complicated. The economic realities of shared demography in the last two decades have worn on the black community. Illegal immigration wasn’t really an issue for white people as long as immigrants could be exploited for their labor, providing a cultural contrast to African Americans. The identity politics of each group notwithstanding, neither posed any real threat to the political and economic status quo of this country - at least, not until the last two elections.
In 2008, it was difficult to separate identity politics in the excitement and emotionalism of the moment. History was being made, and the election of Barack Obama was being painted as a fluke of history… a combination of anti-intellectualism fatigue, mastery of technology social media and mistakes of the frontrunners that opened the door to a once-in-a-lifetime political phenomenon. However, when it happened again in 2012, the “powers that be” (and have been for over 200 years) realized that it wasn’t a fluke. Just as when Muhammad Ali beat Sonny Liston the second time, the second time was easier than the first and the knockout came a lot quicker. People couldn’t believe it. Mitt Romney still can’t believe, but reality has set in.
world has changed and two decades of unconstrained immigration has taken its
toll on the political system. Immigrating populations now represent the
“tipping point” and
is real is that the pawns in the game can’t be engaged in the mass distractions
of racial conflict while the political board is reset. Black racists have never
been any better than white racists, and now we see Latino racists are not any
better than the racists that preceded them. Racism has always complicated
political reality in
The negative politics of migrant shifts can’t be the grand distraction that distorts what the grand play is here. The Black-Brown racial conflict can’t be the manipulator that makes us all pawns in the game. Immigration reform is a great opportunity to talk about race relations reform in
BlackCommentator.com Columnist, Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad, is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum and author of Saving The Race: Empowerment Through Wisdom. His Website is AnthonySamad.com. Twitter @dranthonysamad. Click here to contact Dr. Samad.