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Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: After the Walkout

  1. #1
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...83.html?sub=AR

    THE WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL

    Absent comprehensive immigration reform, scattered enforcement won't mean much.

    Monday, May 1, 2006; Page A18

    THE FIRST WAVE of immigration reform protests was spontaneous: First in Los Angeles, then across the country, undocumented workers and their documented cousins took to the streets at the urging of Spanish-language radio stations. The current wave, including today's planned walkout, is less spontaneous, better organized -- and more controversial. Not all immigrant workers, legal or illegal, want to risk their jobs by walking out for the day. Not all like the choice of May Day, picked for obvious political reasons by some of the organizers. Not all want to sing the national anthem in Spanish.

    If immigrant workers are divided on tactics, it appears the administration is as well. On the one hand, there has been a lot of talk about "enforcement." Recently, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced the arrest of 1,200 undocumented immigrants and seven current and former managers at 40 sites of a Dutch-owned, Houston-based crate and pallet manufacturing company that had allegedly provided illegal workers with housing, transportation and even false identity documents. The case provided definitive proof that the most important flaw in U.S. immigration law is not its lack of severity. Current law has long given federal authorities plenty of scope for enforcement. Although this case was flagged as a political gesture to the anti-immigration wing of the Republican Party, the arrests were in fact the result of a year-long investigation.


    But immigration reform must mean more than enforcement, as the administration at other times seems to understand. Reform must also include more legal ways for unskilled workers to cross the border and a reasonable path to legality for the people who are here. Ideally, it would also include investments in Mexico's economy to reduce the gap between the two countries.

    In remarks last week, President Bush came close to arguing for some of these principles. He did not, however, do so in a way that gives much confidence. He spoke of one Senate immigration proposal as "an interesting concept that people need to think through" and talked about the question of the 12 million undocumented workers as "one of the really important questions Congress is going to have to deal with."

    It's too late to be using such vague language. To make this legislation happen -- this spring -- the president will have to use whatever clout he still has and work for a comprehensive immigration reform containing specific proposals that address all of these issues. In some of his private discussions with senators, he has been making the right case. He should also do so when speaking publicly to Americans, present and future.

  2. #2
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...83.html?sub=AR

    THE WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL

    Absent comprehensive immigration reform, scattered enforcement won't mean much.

    Monday, May 1, 2006; Page A18

    THE FIRST WAVE of immigration reform protests was spontaneous: First in Los Angeles, then across the country, undocumented workers and their documented cousins took to the streets at the urging of Spanish-language radio stations. The current wave, including today's planned walkout, is less spontaneous, better organized -- and more controversial. Not all immigrant workers, legal or illegal, want to risk their jobs by walking out for the day. Not all like the choice of May Day, picked for obvious political reasons by some of the organizers. Not all want to sing the national anthem in Spanish.

    If immigrant workers are divided on tactics, it appears the administration is as well. On the one hand, there has been a lot of talk about "enforcement." Recently, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced the arrest of 1,200 undocumented immigrants and seven current and former managers at 40 sites of a Dutch-owned, Houston-based crate and pallet manufacturing company that had allegedly provided illegal workers with housing, transportation and even false identity documents. The case provided definitive proof that the most important flaw in U.S. immigration law is not its lack of severity. Current law has long given federal authorities plenty of scope for enforcement. Although this case was flagged as a political gesture to the anti-immigration wing of the Republican Party, the arrests were in fact the result of a year-long investigation.


    But immigration reform must mean more than enforcement, as the administration at other times seems to understand. Reform must also include more legal ways for unskilled workers to cross the border and a reasonable path to legality for the people who are here. Ideally, it would also include investments in Mexico's economy to reduce the gap between the two countries.

    In remarks last week, President Bush came close to arguing for some of these principles. He did not, however, do so in a way that gives much confidence. He spoke of one Senate immigration proposal as "an interesting concept that people need to think through" and talked about the question of the 12 million undocumented workers as "one of the really important questions Congress is going to have to deal with."

    It's too late to be using such vague language. To make this legislation happen -- this spring -- the president will have to use whatever clout he still has and work for a comprehensive immigration reform containing specific proposals that address all of these issues. In some of his private discussions with senators, he has been making the right case. He should also do so when speaking publicly to Americans, present and future.

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