Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Which Way, Senator?

This spring, we've been monitoring the progress of SB 303 in the Nevada Legislature. As of late, the fate of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) in Congress has been looking increasingly cloudy. Yet despite all the "TEA" tinged angst in Washington, we hardly noticed any of that yesterday in Carson City.

Immigrants who came to the country illegally would be able to obtain a driver’s privilege card under a bill approved Monday by the Senate, whose supporters said it would make roads safer and contribute to the economy.

Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, estimated 60,000 individuals would apply for this authorization to drive legally. That could mean additional money for the state highway fund that is used to build roads, he said.

Sen. Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas, said these authorization cards would result in vehicle and insurance purchases. He said statistics show that unlicensed drivers are the most dangerous.

Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, said this was a protection-of-jobs issue.

“They can drive without fear of being deported on their way to work,” he said.

We've discussed this before. The policy makes sense. What makes no sense is forcing people to hide in the shadows, face exploitation, and drive dangerously.

What's tough here is the politics of immigration. The 21st Century Know Nothings are dead set against reform. And now, they're (again) forcing the rest of the Republican Party down the xenophobic path to irrelevancy...

Except here in Nevada? The State Senate vote on SB 303 was 20-1. Only Senator Don Gustavson (R-Sparks) voted against the bill.

So did US Senator Dean Heller (R-46%) notice? Perhaps he did. Yet while this has been occurring in in Carson City, Washington has been embroiled in endless drama. Heller's Senate G-O-TEA colleagues have been feigning ignorance of racial profiling. They've also been trying to spin away the economic benefits of CIR. Oh, and they've even been taking marching orders from racist assholes these creatures.

On Monday, two Department of Homeland Security unions comprising of 20,000 individuals from the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council (NICEC) and the National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council (NCISC) publicly released a statement indicating their opposition to the Senate immigration bill. This letter by Chris Crane, who heads the Homeland Secretary union that represents deportation agents is only one extension of his opposition to immigration legislation. Despite the two million undocumented immigrants that have already been deported, he has been a vocal opponent of any kind of reform. [...]

Crane wrote, “U.S taxpayers are currently tasked with absorbing…the strain put on our Social Security system that has been depleted by an onslaught of refugees receiving SSI benefits as soon as their feet touch U.S. soil.” Mainstream economists have disparaged the characterization that immigrants are moochers, and instead have noted that immigrants are keeping the Social Security Trust Fund solvent.

He also wrote, “Currently, USCIS reports a 99.5 percent approval rating for all illegal alien applications for legal status filed under the Obama Administration’s new Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policies.” However, as of the latest April statistics, DACA approval rating operated at 57 percent.

Crane has worked with or appeared alongside nativist groups and immigration restrictionists, including Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and the Heritage Foundation, which is embroiled in a racism scandal. At a mid-May Tea Party sponsored tele-town hall conference with Heritage VP Derrick Morgan, Crane called the immigration reform bill “blanket amnesty” which would “provide a path to citizenship for the most criminal street gang…. all they have to do is make a claim that they’re going to renounce their gang affiliation. We know that all of these members are going to renounce their affiliation and continue their gang activity.”

Take note: This is the only way the 21st Century Know Nothings will ever show approval for a union. The Homeland Security union leaders have broken from the AFL-CIO to oppose any and all kinds of CIR... Because they fear change. Oh, and they probably fear a real solution to this longstanding problem.

So will Senator Heller get caught up in the latest xenophobic craze on the radical right? Or will he take a queue from his fellow Nevada Republicans in Carson City? We're all still waiting for the answer.

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