While the U.S. Senate easily passed the immigration bill Thursday, the measure is expected to encounter resistance from GOP House members before it ever lands on President Obama's desk in the Oval Office.
The battle shaping up looks to be fierce. But in the midst of this political fight is one voice you just don't hear that much about:
A liberal encouraging other liberals to oppose the immigration bill.
He's not an elected official, but a writer for the left-leaning New Republic magazine.
And T.A. Frank knows his article, Why Liberals Should Oppose the Immigration Bill: It's about low-wage American workers, won't garner him kudos from his political tribe:
The consensus among decent people in favor of the immigration bill making its way through Congress is so firm that expressing dissent feels a bit like taking the floor to suggest we chop down the Redwood National Park. People don’t want to hear it, and they also think you’re a nut. That makes this article one of the hardest I’ve ever had to write. It’s not that I’m afraid people will get angry; it’s that I can’t imagine anyone on my side (liberal) is open to persuasion.
Frank's objection to the immigration bill has its roots in future concerns:
The country I want for myself and future Americans is one that’s prosperous, cohesive, harmonious, wealthy in land and resources per capita, nurturing of its skilled citizens, and, most important, protective of its unskilled citizens, who deserve as much any other Americans to live in dignity. This bill threatens to put all of that out of reach, because it fails to control illegal immigration. The problem is not that it provides 11 million people eventual amnesty (I don’t object to that, in theory); the problem is that it sets in motion the next waves of millions.
And he knows expressing such dissent likely won't afford him a fair hearing from the left:
That is not a fashionable concern, of course. Worrying about illegal immigration today is a lot like worrying about communists in government in 1950. It’s not that the problem isn’t legitimate or serious (there actually were, we now know, a lot of Moscow loyalists working for the U.S. government). It’s that expressing your concurrence links you to a lot of demagogues and bad actors.
Most of America’s college-educated elites are little affected by illegal immigration. In fact, it’s often a benefit to us in terms of childcare, household help, dinners out, and other staples of upper-middle-class life. Many therefore view the problem as akin, in severity, to marijuana use—common but benign, helpful to the immigrants and minimal in its effects on Americans or anyone else. I know, because it used to be my own view.
Frank concludes his piece with a dire warning:
If we are to have any hope of regaining any control over our own immigration policy—which is to say, our destiny as a nation—then we must ensure that everyone has an incentive to follow the laws on who gets to be here and who does not. Otherwise, we will shred the few remaining safety nets we have, and the dream of dignity for all American citizens will slip farther and farther, perhaps permanently, out of reach. No matter how magnificently Chuck Schumer claims the contrary.
(H/T: Cold Fury)