July 1, 2007

Immigration Strategy Momentum

The immigration issue has people energized, for sure. Now, the task will be to hold and exploit that energy for real reform. I fear that will be difficult because, led by our Vermont Senator Leahy, the Democrats will try to focus our and the media's attention on the "bad" Bushies. They are doing this by issuing subpoenas for White House personnel to testify. Bush has rejected them (appropriately), but all this is a lead-in for the 2008 campaign to make the present administration look bad.

The immigration strategy must be to target the leadership in the House, Senate and the White House. a critical supporting approach will be to target local officials to pass and enforce local laws AND turn over the illegals detained or arrested locally to immigration authorities. In other words, work hard locally to 'flood' the system, while continuing to demand that Homeland Security do something about them.

In Vermont we have an immigration issue on a scale that is minuscule compared to that in southern California. Here, dairy farmers are hiring immigrants, some legal, some illegal, because 'these are jobs locals won't take.' There's sympathy for the farmers' plight because dairy in Vermont struggles to survive, although with the present high milk prices, they are financially better off than they've been for a while. There's no backlash against the illegals.

Another key strategy should be to insure there's a grass-roots effort to force the immigration issue as one of the top 2-3 in the 2008 Presidential and Congressional campaigns. If the public is truly fired up about the issue, keeping it in the media and public eye is critical. No politician should be let off the hook for this, nor should the Bushies who must enforce present laws.

Activists deservedly should have a moment of basking in their present success, but a great deal more work will be required to keep Washington constructively engaged with the issue.
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