Democrats embrace immigration issue – Washington Post
McCain’s backing of overhaul frees Clinton, Obama By Sasha Issenberg
Globe Staff / February 23, 2008
AUSTIN, Texas – Last fall, neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama was eager to take a stand when asked in a series of debates whether illegal immigrants should be able to apply for drivers’ licenses. But Thursday night, they were much less bashful when the issue of immigration came up: Clinton said she would stop federal raids against undocumented workers, consider halting the construction of a border fence, and during her first 100 days as president, pursue a legalization plan for illegal immigrants.
During the debate in Texas on Thursday night, Clinton and Obama showed a new willingness to take stands on the controversial questions in the margins of the immigration issue, including positions most likely to antagonize the immigration foes who dominate talk-radio debates. Those foes helped to kill the bipartisan overhaul legislation last summer centered on a path to citizenship for many of the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.
I’ve stated many times that I’ve been relieved to see the nativists and anti-immigrant group’s loud roars have not swayed the general population into joining their ranks. This can easily be seen in the candidates for both the Democrats and Republicans that remain. However, as we all know, talk is one thing and action another. It is important that this issue not come down to a few positive yet generic statements about the future for migrants in this country. This is a complex issue that demands real action driven by compassion.
We all agree that those who commit crimes should be dealt with accordingly. Over at Citizen Orange Kyle makes a good point regarding deportation of immigrants that have committed serious crimes and the fact that we have to do so intelligently. Simply sending people out of this country is not a responsible way to deal with those that choose a life of crime.
The U.S. hasn’t been smart about this in the past and it has hurt everybody, including U.S. citizens. When the U.S. expedited deportation proceedings in the 1990s to tackle undocumented criminals, it didn’t reduce undocumented criminals it only succeeded in spreading them around the entire hemisphere and organizing them transnationally.