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December 30, 2007

Immigration Hardliners Try to Unhinge America

By Peter Schrag, The Nation. Posted December 29, 2007;

"Widespread uncertainty about immigration has splintered the U.S., creating an unnecessary panic similar to the Red Scare or the McCarthy years. "In the past year, we've become a nation of a thousand immigration laws and policies -- a confusing mosaic of fear, anger and nativism, of generosity, reason and self-defeating silliness. Although some of those laws were enacted before the Senate failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform in June, that failure greatly expanded the vacuum that local efforts sought to fill. It has also nourished the demagoguery that helps drive them, made immigration a prime domestic issue in the 2008 presidential campaign and intensified the fears those laws in turn produce.

If your name is Hernandez and you speak little English, can you risk reporting a crime to the local cops without being turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement? If you have a contagious disease or you're a drug addict, how willing will you be to seek treatment, and how safe are other residents because of that fear? And what about those driver's licenses? What happens when a car driven by an American citizen collides with one driven by an undocumented -- and uninsured -- immigrant? As the anti-immigrant zealots fan a generalized hysteria, these unresolved questions, which provoke legitimate fears, get little airtime. And there are many more: what are the chances of being stopped on the highway by sheriff's deputies empowered to arrest illegal immigrants, or of legal residents being rousted at midnight by warrantless raids?

There are also important questions of social policy crying out for redress. What sort of future is facing an 18-year-old high school graduate who was brought here by her parents as a young child and knows no other country but can't go to college, get a driver's license or a legal job? Conversely, how large a price should local schools have to pay to teach English to the children of illegal immigrants? A nation struggling with such issues is in dire need of leadership from its central government...".

at; http://www.alternet.org/story/71879/

Posted by VisaLawyer at December 30, 2007 07:18 AM

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