Common Dreams and Immigration in the 2008 Election
June 02, 2008, 10:23 PM
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Bill Berkowitz writes on Common Dreams:
These days, while you can still pick up a newspaper or turn on a radio or television gabfest and read, hear and see the issue of immigration batted around, it has become less of a hot-button political issue in the United States.

The shift has happened largely since the U.S. economy hit tough times, with four-dollar a gallon gas a reality in many places and home foreclosure filings continuing to climb.

Nevertheless, on May Day, tens of thousands of immigrant rights supporters marched and rallied in more than a dozen cities across the United States, hoping to reinvigorate the debate over immigration and inject the issue into Election 2008.

This year’s turnout paled in comparison to the outpouring of support on May 1, 2006, when more than a million people �came out of nowhere’ and garnered the attention of the public and of media outlets throughout the country.

Last year, immigration was frequently front page news: The media was closely following developments, anti-immigrant vigilante-type groups were forming, border watching efforts were increasing, and state legislatures and city councils were crafting a spate of laws and local ordinances aimed at immigrants.[Is Immigration Off the Table in Election 2008?, May 7, 2008 ]

My own comment:
Immigration hasn't really gone away from the 2008 elections. The GOP leadership is still hoping that raids arresting immigrants themselves will play to their populist wing—while McCain uses promises of expanded guest worker programs to appeal to the uber-rich like Bill Gates and corporate criminals who rely on illegal immigrant labor. Both Obama and Clinton have admitted that increased penalties and enforcement of existing laws against illegal employers are in order.

What has been missing is any real leadership from progressives in looking at the depth of the problems facing the Americas-and just how hard it will be to create a solution that would have broad support among the American working class and the working class in Latin America.

The thing is, that in an election that is largely a money contest, immigration will be kept off the table as long as possible. The big money in both parties wants more immigration. What I suspect is the present situation will continue until both parties get realistic on immigration-and that when it happens will take place rather rapidly.