Latinos Now Have Friends in High Places

July 2nd, 2010 · 5 Comments

By Pablo Manriquez

Last Friday, Rupert Murdoch said: “I believe that this country can and must enact new immigration policies that…provide a careful pathway to legal status for undocumented residents…” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with the leaders of Disney, Hewlett-Packard, Morgan Stanley, and others, agreed. “These leaders have looked at the present and the future and decided that it’s in the self-interest of the institutions they command to make some revolutionary changes.”

On Monday, “President Obama added a late meeting this afternoon, a closed-to-the-media session of what the White House described as ‘grass-roots leaders’ discussing ‘comprehensive immigration reform.'”

And, “In related Arizona immigration news, the Supreme Court agreed today to review a 2007 state law that punishes employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.”

Yesterday President Obama gave the first speech of his presidency on comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). It was a morning speech at American University in Washington, D.C. before a crowd that, I’m told, received it well.

That said, I’m told CIR by November may still be possible — at least, that is, in the Senate, where 58 Democrats now sit and where at least eight Republicans are considering supporting CIR. This seems the perfect storm of support to get the REPAIR Act through (at least) the Senate, potentially by November.

While it is unfortunate that the many years and many dollars Latino advocacy organizations have spent fighting for CIR in Washington seem to have amounted to less than the concerted weekend efforts of a small conglomerate of über-rich white men, I am nevertheless very pleased to see Murdoch et al. on board with CIR. Their arrival in the fight gives me hope that the year I have now spent tracking CIR at extremely close range on Capitol Hill will not have been wasted on a doomed, necessary legislative initiative.

Tags: Barack Obama · Immigration

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anna // Jul 2, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    The only way to really solve this problem is to fix Mexico so that people can make a living in their own country. Why doesn’t anybody ever talk about that?! Even if immigration reform passes someday, there will still be poor Mexicans looking for work and US employers willing to hire them. Meanwhile ‘interior enforcement’ will increase, putting all of our rights at risk.

    Regardless of how this turns out, I see a fascist future full of biometric cards, checkpoints, etc.

  • 2 Michaelr // Jul 3, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Corporate America likes Mexico the way it is. And so does Mexico’s ruling elite. Nothing will change in Mexico except maybe the weather.

  • 3 the Kaiser // Jul 5, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Mexico’s social caste mentality prevents any overall cultural changes from taking root. They, along with the rest of Latin America are doomed to Third World status until that definition changes.

  • 4 El Cholo // Jul 5, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    When over 68% of your population lives below the poverty level, there is obvious not much effort from your political representation to improve your lot. The Mexican ruling class is only interested in enriching themselves, and doing the grunt work for Corporate America’s exploitation of its citizens. This Mexican President has displayed this rather shamelessly. Much like the majority of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

  • 5 Cockroach People // Jul 6, 2010 at 11:28 am

    “The only way to really solve this problem is to fix Mexico so that people can make a living in their own country. Why doesn’t anybody ever talk about that?! ”

    Actually, the “anti-illegals” crowd including the Minutemen talk about it all the time.

    In any case, there is some truth to that idea but the actual economic relationship between the US and México is just a tad bit more complex than that. The need for cheap workers created by our profit-maximizing corporations creates the magnet. Even if the government were to clean its act up, there would still be a gulf between the two countries for historical reasons and because México has bought into our current economic approaches which are problematic even for us (cheap goods from cheap labor for over-consumption via artificially abundant credit). What needs to be done both in the US and in Mexico is investment in education, training, and basic safety net infrastructure. That could “fix” Mexico and the US, ultimately alleviating the problem of illegal immigration that is clearly caused by both sides.

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