Sunday, September 21, 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

Hartley House offers look into Vacaville’s past

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
County makes recommendations for crude-by-rail

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

New toilet paper sizes will wipe me out!

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
Travis teachers bring creativity to Shakespeare

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A3

Olympians to participate in swim Lap-a-Thon

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Circle of Friends director to speak in Fairfield

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Coastal Cleanup helps get rid of trash in area

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Be alert to stroke warning signs

By Marilyn Ranson | From Page: C4

Recovery community works for lifelong sobriety

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Musical merry-go-round at Jazz Festival

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Deadline looms for lobster boil tickets

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
2 die after car slams into tree on Nut Tree Road

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

Crashes blocks parts of eastbound I-80 in Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

 
BABA makes big spash

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

Seven Artisans opens tasting room

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Old Kmart site sees signs of new life

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Veterans with PTSD could see discharge upgrades

By Tom Philpott | From Page: B10

 
Airmen with local ties finish basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

Fairfield police log: Sept. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Potential push for Obama to expand military effort

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Teams assess damage as California wildfire burns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

McInerney, Duka help Impact beat Earthquakes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Old pets, new chances: The case for senior adoption

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: C4

Retro-hip barber is growing an ‘empire’ by staying on the cutting edge

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: C6

 
Jailed, some mentally ill inmates land in lockdown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Custer youngest winner at 16 in NASCAR series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
Tense hunt in trooper ambush case hits 8 days

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Tour ship runs aground by NYC’s Statue of Liberty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
More than 1K people search for missing UVa student

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Second man arrested trying to enter White House

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Pope chooses a moderate for Chicago archbishop

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Astronauts getting 3-D printer at space station

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Chrysler recalling nearly 189,000 SUVs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Fire captain injured in ice bucket challenge dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
NATO chief: Ukraine has cease-fire ‘in name only’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Kurdish fighters head to Syria to face militants

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Turkish hostages freed, but questions linger

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Sierra Leone staggers in Ebola isolation effort

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
El-Sissi ready to back anti-IS fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11 | Gallery

Polly Bergen, versatile actress, singer dies at 84

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Opinion

New car’s fuel mileage accuracy put to the test

By Glen Faison | From Page: A8

 
Stores miss bus on public transit

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Sunset Animal Hospital is the best

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

Sound off for Sept. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Pulse poll: Will the drought end this year?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

Obamacare enrollees actually paying premiums

By Megan Mcardle | From Page: A9

 
Will they ever get the message?

By Rod Keck | From Page: A9

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Sept. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

St. Paul pastor’s pulpit? A food truck

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3 | Gallery

 
There is no message of hatred of violence in Christianity

By The Rev. Rick L. Stonestreet | From Page: C3, 2 Comments

Horoscopes: Sept. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

 
My child’s father and I worked things out – but now I’m not so sure

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Author says Christian novel plagiarized, sex added

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2 | Gallery

Springsteen picture book out in November

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Erdrich wins lifetime achievement literary prize

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Designer Donna Karan memoir expected next year

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

Prep boys soccer preview: Indians, Vikings off to fast start

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Patriots big favorites vs. Raiders despite mediocre start

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Williams beats A’s for third time with third team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Cardinals look to shake off distraction vs. 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Cashner, Padres beat Giants 3-2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
No. 1 Florida St survives against No. 22 Clemson

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Sprint car driver killed in Wisconsin

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Vacaville Christian volleyball team falls in playoffs

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B3

Schumacher, Hagan win rain-delayed Carolina event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
College football Top 25

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Travis Bowl results

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

 
Mi Jung Hur, Paula Reto share lead in Alabama

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Stars Recreation results

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

 
Estimated 7,000 fans trade in Ray Rice jerseys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

This date in sports history for Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Sports on TV for Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B5

Gaughan snatches Nationwide win at Kentucky

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
Harvick dismisses wins as key to Cup title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

.

Business

Extended warranties a big sell. Are they worth it?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Recalls this week: fire alarm bases, swings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

US tobacco growers brace for tougher competition

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12 | Gallery

 
Marijuana industry battling stoner stereotypes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

George Junior Rhode

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics