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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How far out of the mainstream is Jessica McBride?

by folkbum

I almost feel bad for piling on, but this is too easy not to take the shot. Tuesday, McBride blogged about the proposed immigration bill, the deal struck between Congress and the president:
How far out of the mainstream is the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board?

So far out of the mainstream they think the amnesty immigration bill is "ugly" and "un-American."

No, not because they think it's too lenient. They think it's too tough!
The "they think" link takes you to the editorial where, indeed, they write that "ugly is too kind a description" for the bill. They cite, for example, the lack of a provision that would allow families to be together and changing how businesses sponsor employees through the H1-B program. Mostly, though, there's this:
It will entail a historic repudiation of that quintessential American value: that people who come here from other countries to labor to make this country richer and stronger deserve a chance to formally become one of us through legal residency or citizenship.

The guest worker portion of this measure says that only their sweat and toil are worthy. The mostly Latino workers themselves are not. [. . . ] The re-entry part is problematic because immigrants will have to be convinced that there is no risk in leaving. If they discern risk that might separate them from their jobs and their families, they might opt to remain in the shadows.

But the lack of a path to legal residency for the temporary workers makes certain that they will remain in those shadows. Under this measure, they could only be temporary workers for two years, renewing twice but only if they spend one year outside the country between each stint. This only assures that these two-year workers will prefer to remain here--undocumented and exploited.
This is the part that McBride seems to have a problem with, the complaint that the measure is "too tough" to be useful. She and the rest of the conservative noise machine find any path to a legal status to be "amnesty" and, therefore, "too lenient." It will only take you a few seconds with google and a pair of hip-waders to find outrage at GOP lawmakers supporting this plan in the swamp that is conservative blogosphere. (Sean Hackbarth has an example.)

Problem is, McBride and the conservative bloggers are the ones "out of the mainstream" on immigration. This is a pretty common theme, I've noticed. I remember it from last year about this time when Russ Feingold was asking for a censure of President Bush and every conservative blogger in the state insisted he was "out of the mainstream" or selling out to the "drum circle left." Yet when you looked at where the general public was really at, Feingold was dead on with public opinion. Those bloggers just assumed that because Feingold disagreed with them, he must have been on the fringes, while never considering that, perhaps, it was their own attitudes that were on the fringe.

The same thing is true for immigration, if you look at the actual poll numbers. Responses vary based on the wording of the question, but you get a sense that in general, the kind of strict closed-border, deport-them-all policy McBride and Co. would favor is decidedly not what the public would want.
  • From a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll done May 4-6: 53% oppose building aborder fence, 50% oppose a guest worker progam without citizenship as a possibility, and a whopping 80% favor some path to citizenship for illegal immigrants here now.
  • From a USA Today/Gallup Poll in the field April 13-15, 2007: 76% prefer a path to citizenship, either leaving and returning (42%) or staying (36%).
  • From a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll taken April 5-9, 2007: 55% say guest workers should be a part of an immigration bill, 40% say only border security.
  • From another USA Today/Gallup Poll done March 2-4, 2007: 59% think illegal immigrants should be able to stay if they "meet certain requirements"; only 24% say "deport them all."
I haven't come down one way or the other on this immigration bill. I think, generally, trying to round up and deport 12 million people will be a much more expensive and time-consuming process than is ultimately worth whatever gain might come from it. I also think it would be better to have people who are here visible and, therefore, not so concerned about who might discover them that they would be willing to kill a Kenosha sheriff's deputy, for example.

But what is certain is that McBride cannot claim that the Journal Sentinel editorial board is out of the mainstream here. She is.

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