The victory of Proposition 200, the most important victory for immigration reform (and I mean reform) since California's Proposition 187, got me thinking:
(1) I used to believe the phrase "politics makes strange bedfellows" was just a euphemism for either "a traitor has joined the other side" or "a hypocrite has joined our side."
I may have been right.
"The passage of Arizona's mean-spirited Proposition 200 is a cautionary tale for the Bush administration, showing the extremes to which fed-up state voters will go when their concerns about illegal immigration are ignored for too long by the federal government." [Los Angeles Times Editorial Nov 5, 2004]
This is almost sickening. Like the social debutante who develops a sudden, moral conscience, or the serial killer who finds God on Death Row.
Is it technically a good development? Sure it is. But it also reverberates as a regret-filled afterthought, or a last-ditch effort for redemption.
The Times editorial (it's THE Times for me, I'm a California girl) goes on:
"Most likely, Proposition 200 won't survive the lawsuits it will provoke. But it demonstrates a problem in need of immediate federal attention. Someone in power needs to hear the frustrations of ordinary people who have witnessed the strain on their state and to heed the suffering of the masses crossing the desert."
At VDARE.COM, we wish we'd thought of that!
Oh wait—we did!!
Along with millions of Americans.
By contrast, the Times has spent the better part of the last decades working against immigration reform.
(2) Just days after the election, we have Chris Kraul and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar of the Mexican bureau of the Los Angeles Times writing:
"The Bush proposal included an unlimited number of 3-year work visas for illegals who could apply from the United States or Mexico. It also would give guest workers the right to then apply for permanent legal status, also while remaining in the United States, which critics viewed as a disguised amnesty provision." GOP gains may deter immigration reform While President Fox is optimistic following Bush's re-election, U.S. lawmakers will likely oppose any sweeping reforms. [November 07, 2004]
A "disguised amnesty provision"? We call it a "blatant amnesty provision."
To avoid confusion, I offer my abridged version of A Dummies Guide to Pro-Immigration as a Second Language, complete with a How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Semantics supplement.
Caution: An easy pitfall. This suggests the problem with immigrants is the lack of documentation. ACTUALLY, they are citizenship-deficient. In the same way that a residential burglar is key deficient.
Another caution: Apparently, the solution to being run over by illegal aliens is to subtract the "illegal" part. That way we are run over by new citizens instead…it would soften the blow I suppose.
I have no idea, actually, where this one came from. However, it has a very cordial feel to it don't you think? In fact, it's very friendly.
(3) So what does Mexico think about our elections? What do they have to say about Prop 200 and the re-election of President Bush?
The Mexico bureau of the Los Angeles Times covered that as well.
"Magdalena Corral, commissioner of the National Immigration Institute here, insisted that Mexico's position is that a U.S. reform bill should give 'legal status' to all Mexicans living illegally in the United States 'so they aren't in the shadows.'"
"But Francisco Alba, an economist and expert on immigration at the Colegio de Mexico here, said that Mexico should have more modest expectations, and take what it can get." [GOP gains may deter immigration reform BY Chris Kraul And Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Los Angeles Times /El Universal, 7 noviembre de 2004
OK, Mexico "taking what it can get" has been a problem for America. Or maybe they haven't noticed.
(4) However, that wasn't my favorite post-election coverage. My favorite was from AzCentral.com:
"Bush is widely disliked in Mexico, which opposed the invasion of Iraq and watched with frustration as the United States tightened border controls and postponed action on promised immigration reform after Sept. 11, 2001." [Bush victory, passage of Prop. 200 worry Mexicans by Chris Hawley, Arizona Republic, Mexico City Bureau Nov. 5, 2004]
This is hysterical. Mexicans dislike Bush? Isn't that biting the hand that feeds them?
"The United States tightened border controls and postponed action on promised immigration reform after September 11?"
When? How did I miss that?
Hawley's article goes on to say that the passage of Prop 200 is seen as anti-Mexican…blah, blah, blah.
And, regarding the passage of Prop 200, he quotes the standard gibberish from the Mexican foreign ministry,
"'The Mexican government regrets that the proposition passed and expresses its complete opposition to the measure, as it discriminates against individuals based on their ethnic profile and limits their access to basic health and education services,' the ministry said in a written statement. 'The measure does not help to address the challenges presented by migration between Mexico and Arizona.'"
Here is my thinking:
The Germans were not happy about the whole Treaty of Versailles thing.
The Cubans are not thrilled with our trade embargo.
Who cares what the Mexican foreign ministry thinks about our policies on national security?
Oh wait—President Bush does.
(5) Just in case anybody got lost in the lies, propaganda and scare tactics of certain opposition groups (hint: SEIU, MALDEF, La RAZA) and missed the finer points of Prop 200, in Arizona, if you are not a citizen:
In a nutshell, if you are going to illegally enter the U.S., seek welfare benefits, put your kids in public school, commit a violent crime, demand a language other than English or vote in any election, I would not recommend you set your sights on Arizona……perhaps California?
(In California, the Governor barely speaks English so no English is no problema.)
(6) Be careful though, the Mexican Americans in Arizona may not tolerate it.
Recently, I had a conversation with Virginia Abernethy, an advisor to the Protect Arizona Now committee and Prop 200, as well as a leading member of its national advisory board.
She said that even she was surprised by the number of Hispanics who voted in favor of the initiative—or, more accurately, the number of Hispanics who supported the initiative (47%) but did not necessarily support President Bush (45%).
So what is the deal? If a significant number of Mexican Americans supported the initiative, who is the Mexican government referring to when they say "it discriminates against individuals based on their ethnic profile."
Or better yet, "Mexicans expressed their dismay at the passage of Prop 200."
Yeah. Mexicans are dismayed—or Mexicans who would seek to benefit from relaxed border security are dismayed?
(7) I have two more questions:
The bad news: Just like California's Prop 187, Prop 200 will have to ride the appellate roller-coaster through a variety of courtrooms, perhaps even including the U.S. Supreme Court.
Prop 200 was careful to avoid any language that conflicts with federal law. But there is an impending problem.
When the immigration enthusiasts file their appeal, one of their own will be the defense counsel.
Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, a strong opponent of Prop 200, will be defending the new law.
"Goddard also is going to have to defend the new law in court within weeks. And that role concerns at least one backer of Proposition 200.
Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, said that, if only for the sake of appearance, Goddard—and his whole office—should step aside and hire outside counsel."
I would hope so. The legal equivalent would be someone like O.J. Simpson handling his own prosecution.
OK, the good news?
According to Virginia Abernethy, there are 23 states constitutionally eligible to carry similar initiatives in 2006.
That is three down, twenty to go.
Prop 200 has already spread its branches…even if the Arizona Establishment tries to cut them off.
Bryanna Bevens [email her] is a political consultant and former chief of staff for a member of the California State Assembly.