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June 04, 2007

The Immigration Bill Advances

The Washington Post reports that supporters of the immigration bill are feeling buoyed by recent events. The most deadly of the amendments have been beaten back, and the coalition is proving surprisingly resilient in the face of opposition organizing. This may be because the immigration bill has a lot of very intense opponents, but isn't actually all that unpopular. A Post poll shows:

Immigration Poll

You've got solid majorities in favor of both controversial planks in the bill. And they're not even well-described. If you asked whether temporary workers should be allowed at prevailing wages, in counties with low unemployment rates (temporary workers aren't permitted in counties with unemployment at 7% or higher), and only after the job has been posted in the employer workplace, offered to any interested citizens, and posted for ten days in a wide circulation newspaper, you'd have an even heavier majority than you see now.

June 4, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

Yeah, but most of the people who support it won't be voting on the issue. Those of us who oppose it will be. This is why intensity matters, and any discussion of a bills support that lacks a discussion on the intensity of it's proponents vs the intensity of it's opponents isn't going to end up very enlightening. I will never vote for a democratic or republican candidate for any office ever, if they support this bill. Hell, the way this cycle is shaping up I'll probably change my registration. How many of the people who barely care, but offer passive support, will even remember this bill in a year and a half?

Posted by: soullite | Jun 4, 2007 3:36:39 PM

If you asked whether temporary workers should be allowed at prevailing wages, in counties with low unemployment rates (temporary workers aren't permitted in counties with unemployment at 7% or higher), and only after the job has been posted in the employer workplace, offered to any interested citizens, and posted for ten days in a wide circulation newspaper, you'd have an even heavier majority than you see now.

I know it's probably just sheer laziness that has kept me from delving into the particulars of the pending Immigration Bill (that, and its 1000-page bulk!) - but are these provisions you outline actually part of the proposed legislation? - I hope so, as they sound pretty reasonable to me. But then, the reasonable bits of reform in the proposed bill seem to have gotten overlooked in the hysterical fulminations from the nativist fringe. Any more hidden gems to look out for?

Posted by: Jay C | Jun 4, 2007 4:10:00 PM

What soullite said. 60% of the public supported the assault weapons ban, but I think it's pretty clear that it killed Democreats in the 1994 election.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Jun 4, 2007 4:27:48 PM

What soullite said. 60% of the public supported the assault weapons ban, but I think it's pretty clear that it killed Democreats in the 1994 election.
Intensity of opposition is important, but it seems to me that'll hurt Republicans much more than Democrats, because nativist opposition to amnesty is more intense than common-decency-based opposition to a guest worker program.

Posted by: Tom Hilton | Jun 4, 2007 4:32:00 PM

common-decency-based opposition to a guest worker program.

*chortle*

Posted by: DRR | Jun 4, 2007 5:06:21 PM

Right -- that's why you do the bill this year. It's Bush and the Republicans providing cover (and vice versa). Those enraged by the bill don't have a party to turn against.

Posted by: Ezra | Jun 4, 2007 5:34:09 PM

Tom, you're probably right about that. It will hurt the Republicans more than the Democrats, but it's a mistake to assume that it's worth it.

Ezra, we can totally drop out of the political process. The right has a number of other issues to stay enraged on. This is racism for them, so they'll jump right back into bed with the Republicans they start back in with the race/gay/woman hatred. For those of us on the left, this is part of a long pattern of the Democratic party turning it's back on working class America. People who think like I do don't care as much about social issues, so they won't draw us back into the fold. A great many more Democrats will stay alienated from the party than will Republicans from theirs. You're making a huge tactical mistake if you think the party will be viable if it loses any more of it's base. It's only viable now when Republicans seriously fuck up, and like it or not that's the reality of the current situation. We may not have another party to go to, but I'm about ready to give up on political process altogether. Between nominating Hillary, playing games over the war, and a complete indifference to class issues in Americas, I'm pretty much at that point and I doubt I'm the only one.

Posted by: soullite | Jun 4, 2007 6:06:32 PM

Tom, you're probably right about that. It will hurt the Republicans more than the Democrats, but it's a mistake to assume that it's worth it.

I wasn't saying it's worth it; I was just making an observation about the political impact.

As for the bill itself, I think it's a bad bill; I'm not sure it's worse than the status quo, but I doubt it's much better.

Posted by: Tom Hilton | Jun 4, 2007 6:18:06 PM

I think Ezra's comment misses the point - Republicans who vote for this will be slaughtered by the base - they have every intention of turning on themselves. McCain's chances at getting the nomination have all but sunk through the floor over his support of it, and Romney's opportunistic opposition has staved off disaster for him. Don't get me wrong, I'm thoroughly enjoying the infighting over there (it's a welcome distraction from the equally pointless Iraq funding debate on our side), but the opposition over there is real, it's got teeth - and legs - and I'd bet it's scaring the bejeezus out of at least some House members if not some precarious Senators. None of which, by the way, mitigates the fact that this remains a terrible bill that should go down in flames. In the best of all worlds (much like the funding) - Republicans will tear themselves apart, the bill either barely passes the Senate and dies in the House, or simply dies in the Senate when one of the poison pill amendments (there's still time) slips through. Having the bill fail, but leaving the GOP unhappy with each other and especially with Bush, strikes me as win-win.

Posted by: weboy | Jun 4, 2007 6:22:50 PM

Tom, my point is that the harm to Republicans will be short-term, and that the harm to Democrats will be much longer lasting. Republicans have fed their base raw meat for decades while the Democrats have pissed on theirs every chance they get. Republicans can afford to piss off their voters in the short term, because in the long term they know they'll be happy with the party. Democrats aren't happen now and haven't been happy for a very long time. It's not worth it politically for the short term gain this will give us. I doubt it will even last until the next election. They'll just start whipping one of their old warhorses and their base will remember why they love their party despite it's flaws. For those of us on the Democrats side, all we've seen for a long time are a whole lot of flaws.

Personally, I'd sacrifice Chinese food to see wages start to rise again in this country. I'm sorry if Ezra isn't inclined to make such a small sacrifice for such a greater good. Personally, I imagine it's become about sticking it to the Republicans for him, though. I doubt it's about good policy or self interest at this point.

Posted by: soullite | Jun 4, 2007 8:00:58 PM

Having the bill fail, but leaving the GOP unhappy with each other and especially with Bush, strikes me as win-win.

Except for the illegal immigrants working here, and the low-wage Americans who compete with them.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jun 4, 2007 10:26:46 PM

I agree the situation is bad, Sanpete, but it doesn't make the bill a better bill, and I won't be blackmailed into supporting it with an "or else" scenario. Tis bill goes about solving a big problem in the wrong way, and I'm not going to favor it just to say we;ve done something. I'd rather hold out, because I think with Republicans badly damaging themselves on this issue, we are likely to get better conditions - and a better approach - by starting over, probably after 2008. I know we disagree about this, and lord knows, the bill may pass (at least the Senate). But I just don't see what you see when I look at either the situation on the ground or the prospects of what we get if this bill passes, which strike me as a recipe for enormous problems.

Posted by: weboy | Jun 5, 2007 6:56:39 AM

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