The same GOP right wing fanatics who have been trying to kill immigration reform are now only little over a day away (as of this writing on Sunday evening, September 29) from shutting down the government over the Affordable Care Act, more popularly known as "Obamacare". Both killing CIR and gutting the ACA would have their greatest impact on millions of the less advantaged in our society - those who lack legal status and work permission, and those who cannot afford health insurance premiums.

It is no surprise that many people in both of these groups are Latinos, black people and Asians. Nor it is any surprise that the impetus for both blocking immigration reform and defunding the ACA comes from well-heeled bastions of upper-class white privilege such as the Heritage Foundation, led by former South Carolina GOP Senator Jim DeMint, one of the most active and outspoken far right extremists in America.

It is always tempting to think of immigration as an issue in a vacuum by itself, but this does not accord with the reality. The problems now facing CIR in the House of Representatives are only part of a much broader right wing assault on people of color and on the less privileged. This attack on minorities and low income people, with or without US citizenship or other legal status in America, goes back at least to the time of Republican opposition to Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal beginning 80 years ago, if not long before then.

With regard to CIR, we all remember how, earlier this year, Heritage released a "study" full of fake figures claiming that immigration reform would add trillions of dollars to the federal deficit, only to have it discredited when one of its authors turned out to have written a Harvard Ph.D thesis implying that Latinos are genetically inferior to whites.

This group, along with other GOP right wing radicals, has also been active in the fight to destroy the ACA.

In a September 29 article Senate Conservatives Fund Roils GOP, Politico describes how during the summer, right wing activists, including Heritage and other organizations began to put through an extensive ground game for August and September to persuade Congress to defund the ACA. This was the same summer when the GOP-controlled House went into recess without taking any action on CIR or giving any signs when it would do so, if ever.

Heritage is also leading a campaign to raise money for primaries against more reasonable Republicans who might be willing to compromise with the Democrats on issues such as immigration and health care, as Politico also reports in the above article.

What effect would a government shutdown over health care have on immigration? I find it somewhat curious that USCIS, at least as of this writing, has posted nothing about the impending shutdown on its website and issued no other announcement.

We all assume, of course, that there will be no interruption in USCIS operations because the agency is funded by filing fees, not Congress. But it might be nice if USCIS would confirm that all its operations will in fact remain open.

People waiting overseas for visas (and US citizens waiting for passports) will not be so lucky, according to the latest reports. It appears that these and other State Department functions will shut down. Even the Visa Bulletin may stop coming out during a shutdown.

The effect of a shutdown on any chances for immigration reform that might still exist could also be devastating, as CNN Politics points out in its September 20 article
Shutdown threat imperils immigration reform.

What Jim DeMint and his fellow extreminsts were trying to do directly last spring by attempting to kill CIR before it could even pass the Senate, they may now accomplish indirectly by shutting down the government over ACA (and throwing the US into default later this coming month), thereby diverting attention away from CIR until the clock finally runs out.