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April 17, 2006

Flip, Flop

Regarding Frist and Hastert's effort to blame the Democrats for not helping to soften Sensenbrenner's immigration bill and make illegal status a misdemeanor rather than a felony, there are only three relevant facts:

1) Sensenbrenner, the Republican author of the legislation, inserted this provision in the first place;

2) Democrats are the minority party, and did not draft this legislation and, on their own, could not have stopped changes to it;

3) The Republican majority voted to pass the bill complete with the felony provision, while Democrats voted to kill it.

If the right thought 1.6 million children shouldn't be considered felons because of where they were born, they could have voted no. As it is, the Republicans were simply against the felony provision before they were for it, and we know how well that explanation works.

April 17, 2006 | Permalink

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Comments

Consider the situation of a child under 18, born in the US of parents without legal documents, but still a US citizen under the Constitution. Are the children felons too? Or do they become felons at age 18 when they are eligible for military service (as many non-citizens do today). Or are the children unlawful combatants, even though they are citizens?

The most bizarre aspect of the immigrant felons story is the key new nugget is what Jonathan Singer picked up, that the hard-line immigrants-as-felons piece which ended up in the Sensenbrenner legislation came from the White House.

Not only are the House Repubs flipping on their flop, but the White House was telling the public they favored the approach taken by the Senate (which did not make undocumented immigrants criminals of the misdemeanor or felon type), and the WH said it a wanted guest worker program, but....

The WH was telling the House Rethugs at the same time to make illegal entry a felony.

So they favor both the flip and the flop. We need a new term to cover this kind of hypocrisy and political strategizing. It really isn't New Think, but Both Think.

MAD magazine or The Onion could not match BushCo for the really weird.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Apr 17, 2006 2:36:36 PM

It seems that the Republicans are finally starting to realize just how out of control they really are. Of course, it's the Democrats' fault for not stopping them.

When all you do is pander to various groups, it becomes difficult to remember what type of pandering to do when and to whom.

Posted by: Stephen | Apr 17, 2006 3:04:39 PM

Well, I do think that Democrats should probably be held to a higher moral standard than Republicans. In a way, Republicans' depravity makes being good very difficult for them, so their failures in this respect should not be too harshly judged, and when they overcome their natural depravity and rise to true goodness, it is nothing short of extraordinary. Even when they don't meet normal human standards, though, they deserve our sympathy for the unfortunate condition in which they exist.

In short, if Republicans are in the moral Special Olympics, managing a six minute mile is no mean feat. For Democrats who run in the normal Olympics, though, that doesn't cut it.

Posted by: Julian Elson | Apr 17, 2006 3:44:29 PM

It isn't a relevant fact that 4) Republicans tried to change the "felon" provision to "misdemeanor," and Democrats overwhelmingly voted to keep the "felon" provision?

Posted by: Niels Jackson | Apr 17, 2006 5:14:13 PM

Ah, that's where Niels Jackson went. I guess he got tired of trolling Lawyers Guns & Money with RNC talking points.

Mr. Jackson's talking point has already been debunked:

The Republicans under Tex Sensenbrenner passed out of committee a bill that made being out of status a felony (at the behest of the Bush Justice Department). Then someone pointed out that felons get public defenders. So then Tex Sensenbrenner, the exact same guy who had tried to make being out of status a felony tried to move the ball so it would be easier to railroad immigrants who are out of status.

The Democrats are under no obligation to save the Republicans from the Republicans' own worst impulses.

P.S. I find unintellible the comments by Stephen and Julian Elson, unless they're meant as satire.

Posted by: paperwight | Apr 17, 2006 5:32:06 PM

Um, right, so the Democrats are obliged to vote to keep the felon provision just so as to make everything as bad as possible? Sure, that makes sense.

Posted by: Niels Jackson | Apr 17, 2006 5:56:49 PM

Um, right, so the Democrats are obliged to vote to keep the felon provision just so as to make everything as bad as possible? Sure, that makes sense.

It's astonishing that Mr. Jackson is able to make a bill written by the Republicans at the behest of a Republican President somehow the Democrats' fault.

I wonder where Mr. Jackson's scorn for Tex Sensenbrenner is. After all, the Republicans own the committees in the House outright, and they can do anything they want in the House -- they have an absolute majority.

Why did Tex Sensenbrenner and his Republican colleagues report out a bill that made being out of status a felony? Tex clearly was pretty sure it was a good idea until he realized it made it hard to railroad immigrants who were out of status.

Why couldn't Tex Sensenbrenner and his colleagues keep enough of their brethren on side to get the railroad-the-undocumented amendment through? Where is Mr. Jackson's outrage at the sixty-odd Republicans who thought it was a genuinely good idea to make being out of status a felony?

No, Mr. Jackson, like every other good Republican, blames the Democrats for the Republicans' preferred policies.

I'll say it again. The Republicans want to make being out of status a crime. They wanted to make it a felony until they realized it would be easier to railroad out of status immigrants if it were a misdemeanor. And even then about 25% of the Republican majority still thought that out-of-status should equal a felony. The Democrats don't have to save the Republicans from themselves.

Posted by: paperwight | Apr 17, 2006 6:14:10 PM

It's astonishing that Mr. Jackson is able to make a bill written by the Republicans at the behest of a Republican President somehow the Democrats' fault.

No, Mr. Jackson, like every other good Republican, blames the Democrats for the Republicans' preferred policies.

Exactly. Of course, you said it much better and more clearly than me (yes, it was satire/sarcasm), but I'm used to that.

Posted by: Stephen | Apr 17, 2006 9:51:02 PM

As it is, the Republicans were simply against the felony provision before they were for it, and we know how well that explanation works.

I think you meant the Republicans were for the felony provision before they were against it. I don't think many Latinos are buying this ridiculous blame-the-Democrats spin.

By the way, I caught the last 10 minutes of your appearance on C-SPAN and I was enormously impressed.

Posted by: Jim | Apr 18, 2006 12:07:46 PM

Um, right, so the Democrats are obliged to vote to keep the felon provision just so as to make everything as bad as possible? Sure, that makes sense.

Posted by: Niels Jackson | Apr 17, 2006 2:56:49 PM

Actually it does, the dems want the house bill to be so bad that it has no chance of passing both the felony and misdemeanor charges are likely to fail but the felony ones more so. The democrats are trying to make sure neither version passes.

Posted by: rtaycher1987 | Apr 19, 2006 1:21:06 AM

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