Tuesday, September 2, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

A game-changer on immigration

By
From page A9 | January 12, 2014 |

Americans are so accustomed to conservatives imploding over the immigration issue that it’s a refreshing change to see liberals struggle with it as well.

Of course, the left has never been one big happy family on this issue. There has always been a split between blue-collar workers who oppose legalizing the undocumented and Latinos who support it.

Organized labor fought the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act that legalized more than 3 million undocumented people, most of them Latino, because union leaders were afraid that the newly legalized would compete for the jobs of working-class Americans. During the George W. Bush administration, while Latino immigrant groups were marching in the streets in support of immigration reform, unions – more covertly, this time – helped derail efforts to reach a bipartisan compromise.

Still, this schism rarely gets noted by a news media more interested in covering the split between pro-business conservatives who want more immigration and nativist conservatives who want less.

The latest immigration divide on the left is not so easy to ignore. It’s about including U.S. citizenship as part of any plan that legalizes the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the United States.

This is usually where reform efforts begin, and where they end. Most Republicans – having behaved egregiously over the years toward immigrants and Latinos, or made excuses for those in their party who have – will never support a bill that gives citizenship because that comes with the ability to vote.

This suits Democrats just fine, because they have a secret that never gets talked about: They know that if immigration reform were to pass, they wouldn’t just get most of the credit from Latinos, but also most of the blame from everyone else. They don’t want to face those people, any more than Republicans want to increase the number of Latino voters. So Democrats do the only thing they can. They bluff, and they bet the farm that a Republican elected official will say or do something dumb on immigration. It’s a bet that usually pays off.

Now the Democrats are betting on citizenship, with many of them calling it essential and saying they won’t support any legislative proposal that leaves it out of the mix.

Who are they kidding? See above. Democrats don’t want to give immigrants citizenship either, because they know those votes would come at a high cost. Imagine the harm that would come from being labeled the “amnesty party” for the elections in 2014, 2016, 2018 . . .

It’s all part of the elaborate dance that the two parties perform on the immigration debate. Democrats call for giving the undocumented citizenship, and Republicans push back. So nothing ever gets done, which is the preferred outcome for the parties anyway. After all, the status quo may be flawed but it’s not likely to result in anyone losing their seats. Reforming the immigration system just might.

I’ve long supported giving the undocumented an earned path to legal status, but the immigrants whose lives would be transformed for the better have to be invested in the process. While those who climb their way to legal status should not be barred from seeking citizenship, they should have to travel the rest of that distance on their own once they are ready and interested – and understand the value of being a citizen. It shouldn’t be part of the legislation just because it suits politicians.

Yet, what about the foot soldiers in the immigration reform movement? Do most U.S.-born Latinos who support immigration reform think that citizenship should be a deal-breaker?

The answer is an emphatic no, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center. While most Latinos still support a path to citizenship, many are more concerned with giving the undocumented legal status so they are not deported. Fifty-five percent of Latinos think that it is more important for immigrants to be able to live and work legally in the United States than it is for them to become citizens.

That’s a game changer. This survey makes clear what many of us have been saying for some time: while politicians care a lot about citizenship, not many other people do. So the elected officials need to ease up on the citizenship demand and put someone else’s interests ahead of their own.

That would be another refreshing change.

Ruben Navarrette is a columnist for U-T San Diego. Reach him at ruben@rubennavarrette.com.

Ruben Navarrette

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • The MisterJanuary 12, 2014 - 8:10 am

    I think immigration, legal or illegal, is a great thing! They are like a canary in a coal mine. When California gets so bad that the immigrants leave (as they have been doing!), then you know it's time for you to start packin'.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Labor Day not a holiday for everyone

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Labor Day breakfast introduces union-backed candidates

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

Pool provides last dose of summer fun in the sun

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
SafeQuest schedules peer counseling training course

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Aug. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

VP Biden says workers deserve ‘fair share’

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Obama: ‘Revving’ economy calls for higher wages

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 3 Comments | Gallery

Senegal monitors contacts of 1st Ebola patient

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
San Francisco to be 1st to test urban farming law

By The Associated Press | From Page:

GOP challenger tries novel tactics against Brown

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
US eating habits improve a bit – except among poor

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 3 Comments | Gallery

 
No gray area: Beliefs shape views of Brown killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment | Gallery

Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Iraqi prime minister pledges to root out militants

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Poland’s PM: Ukraine’s war must be stopped now

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Pro-Russian rebels lower demands in peace talks

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 2 Comments | Gallery

US helicopter crashes in Gulf of Aden; all rescued

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 2, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

 
.

Entertainment

Inquiries begin into nude celebrity photo leaks

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
‘Guardians’ tops Labor Day, summer box office

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

Kirk rallies to win the Deutsche Bank

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Rockies top Giants after losing end of suspended game

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Dunn homers in 1st at-bat as A’s top Mariners

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Right guard Boone passes physical, rejoins 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Raiders name rookie Derek Carr as starting QB

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Armijo beats Vanden 2-0 to claim All-City boys soccer title

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Armed with new deal, Chiefs’ Smith looks forward

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Column: Stewart’s Chase status doesn’t matter

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Raiders ink CB Dowling, 9 others to practice squad

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Serena Williams, Djokovic roll to US Open quarters

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Houston Astros fire manager Bo Porter

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Hamels, 3 Phillies relievers no-hit Braves

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Business

Markets drift as Wall Street has day off

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Austerity debate flares as Europe recovery fades

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Civil disobedience expected in fast-food pay fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 8 Comments | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Beetle Bailey Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard of Id Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Bridge Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Blondie Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
B.C. Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Crossword Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Dilbert Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Cryptoquote Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Garfield Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Word Sleuth Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7