Rep Luis Gutierrez is threatening a "Latino revolt," according to Daily Beast's Bryan Curtis, if immigration reform doesn't happen in the current lame duck session:
To hear Gutiérrez tell it, Hispanic leaders are about to stage a full-tilt campaign of direct action, like the African-American civil-rights movement of the 1960s. There will be protests, marches, sit-ins—what César Chávez might have called going rogue. The movement will operate autonomously, no longer beholden to wavering Democrats, filibustering Republicans, and—perhaps most tantalizingly—no longer beholden to Barack Obama.
1) That would take care of the charge that the immigration-amnesty movement has been taken over by Latino identity politics. The charge will be accurate ... 2) As a result, the "comprehensive immigration reform" movement will be weakened, because if the currently debated amnesty is an issue of Latino respect and solidarity, the next amnesty will be too. Gutierrez, as Mr. Latino Resistance, can't credibly say he will ever draw the line ... 3) I'll believe Gutierrez will voluntarily give up his seat in Congress to become an MLK-style movement leader the day it happens. Or maybe the day after. I've seen Gutierrez address a crowd. He's not Martin Luther King. He's in the pretty-good-for-a-Congressman club. His seat, not his charisma, is the source of his prominence. Unless he's let his press clips go to his head, he'll stay put (assuming he survives a Dem-led redistricting). ... 4) Boilerplate Cesar Chavez Reminder: Cesar Chavez opposed illegal immigration for much of his organizing career, until identity politics got to him. ... 7:36 p.m.
There's your trouble: I had a short Twitter dialogue with Matias Ramos, a pro-DREAM Act activist, and I think it inadvertently got at a submerged nub of the immigration debate [Reformatted—read top to bottom]:
RAMOS: @kausmickey I was brought to this country as a kid and grew up here, paid my way through UCLA, please change your mind on #dreamact
KAUS: @ElMati7 Once borders R secure, many things R possible. Enforcement first, DREAM later. But your side doesn't want secure borders #dreamact
RAMOS: @kausmickey I want to bring down Mexican gangs as much as anyone, but your side must recognize throwing money to build a wall won't do it
KAUS: .@ElMati7 It's not just about blocking gangs. It's about preventing another wave of illegal immigrants, gang or non-gang. U know that.
RAMOS: .@kausmickey eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhh. No mames.
"No mames" means something in between "you're kidding" and "Oy," says Google. What it means to me is that Ramos, in good faith, doesn't understand why anyone would want to keep out unauthorized immigrants who are decent human beings and come to work and aren't gang members. It's not that he has counterarguments. He doesn't acknowledge that there's a legitimate argument to counter. After all, he's here. He's a good, law-abiding person. What's the problem? Again, he's not being disingenuous. The dude doesn't see a border. Borders aren't designed to keep out only "bad" immigrants. They are designed to distinguish between those who live here and the rest of the world, good and bad.
There's the problem underlying our legislative impasse on immigration, when you come down to it, no? If you don't acknowledge the national boundary—if, as Greg Gutfeld puts it, you don't "want a border like every other country"—you won't be for any effective "enforcement" measures to keep immigration under control (in order, say, to protect the wages of unskilled workers). And if you don't acknowledge any legitimate arguments for a border, it's only natural to attribute opposition to legalization (or support for a wall) to simple racism. What other explanation could there be?
Those of us in the "enforcement first" camp are often asked when, if ever, we'd admit the borders are secure enough to safely allow for an amnesty. A good question—and a difficult question, because at least one of the preconditions will be hard to pinpoint scientifically. It will be the point at which even activists like Mr. Ramos at least acknowledge that there is a border.
We're a long way from there. Passing the DREAM Act, of course, will move us further away. It will only confirm and reinforce the "no border" worldview. ....
P.S.:—The Power of the Latino Power Meme: Passing DREAM would also seem to confirm the idea of unstoppable Latino political power. Why is that unfortunate? Well, in my most recent diavlog with Bob Wright I don't give a very complete answer when he asks why potential immigrants, now living in Mexico and Central America, etc., might be incentivized to illegally enter the U.S. by an amnesty for which they and their children do not technically qualify. My answer is that they think they'll qualify for the next amnesty. What I didn't say is what provides the basis for this belief that there'll be a next amnesty: growing Latino voting strength, and the hype surrounding it.
It's not as if immigrants from the South don't know that Latino-Americans are increasing in numbers in the Southwest. The Spanish language press has been known to mention it on occasion, con orgullo. Potential illegal immigrants might be quite rational in thinking they'll qualify for some future amnesty--because they believe Latino voters will (after their numbers have been augmented by previous amnesties) be able to deliver it. The DREAM Act would be Exhibit A for this Latino Power meme—even as evidence mounts that in fact Latino-Americans are shifting on the immigration issue....
We're never going to discourage illegal entry from Latin America if immigrants from those countries think, rightly or wrongly, that if only they get across the border, their fellow Latinos who are voters will take care of them. (The Latino situation is dissimilar, in this respect, from the situation of non-Latino illegal immigrants, who can't expect to be similarly protected by their co-ethnic voters simply because there aren't enough of them. But they can expect to be protected by any amnesty laws Latino crusaders like Rep. Gutierrez succeed in enacting.) ... 6:29 p.m.