Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Immigration and citizenship: Hillary Clinton's stand against xenophobic nationalism

Much to her credit, Hillary Clinton has refused to sign on to the xenophobic nationalism of the Tancredo set. More, she'll fight against any such anti-immigrant, anti-immigration legislation in the Senate. From Newsday:

Clinton joined immigration advocates Wednesday to vow and block legislation seeking to criminalize undocumented immigrants... Clinton renewed her pledge to oppose a bill passed in December by the House that would make unlawful presence in the United States -- currently a civil offense -- a felony. The Senate is set to consider a version of that legislation...

Among other things, Clinton said she would support legislation that would strengthen U.S. borders, boost technology to secure the borders, and seek greater cross-border cooperation with Mexico and other neighboring countries. She also called for new enforcement laws, including penalties for employers who exploit illegal immigrants, as well as a system to allow the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States to earn their citizenship.

Immigration could turn out to be one of the bigger and most divisive campaign issues both this year and in '08. President Bush, who supports a guest-worker program, faces challenges from anti-immigration radicals within his own party. If there's one issue where I find myself in at least partial agreement with him, this is it, although it's not as if he has the political capital to withstand Congressional efforts to build Fortress America. For that, we'll need the full force of the Democratic Party and those Republican dissidents who refuse to play this nasty game.

Senator Clinton is surely looking ahead to '08, but let's not be so cynical. She's on the right side of this issue, and I applaud her efforts.

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