Tuesday, January 29, 2013

...Like Another Hole In Your Head

There's a reason we were not at all surprised about the immigration reform efforts blooming this week in Washington, DC, though our lack of surprise is not directly related to immigration.

As we noted in the links of Monday's expanded edition, last weekend, in the biting cold, there was yet another rally in Washington, DC. This time, the rally was in favor of common sense gun safety laws, like those President Obama and several members of Congress are trying to get passed this year.

While this may shock our more liberal readers, not all Republicans are against common sense gun regulations. In repeated surveys, majorities of Republicans are in favor of those regulations like universal background checks and restrictions on high-capacity magazines, just like their Democratic and Independent counterparts.

One reason so many sane Republicans agree with these kinds of proposed rules is fairly obvious: On six of seven days last week, an American was shot by a gun at a gun show. The numbers don't lie - the more guns Americans have access to, the more injuries and accidental deaths are going to occur from those guns, often due to poor gun regulation laws.

In short, Americans need more crappy laws about guns like we need another hole in our collective head. That's why the common sense ideas that have already been offered on gun regulation - like universal background checks - are significantly more likely to pass this time, because even an idiot can see they're good ideas.

In a nutshell, that's also the reason our staff has very little concern - and maybe even a bit of hope - about many of the ideas offered in the various immigration reform plans being suddenly floated this week.

In case you missed it, a bipartisan group of Senators made a big show on Monday about presenting their blueprint for comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate. President Obama, some time ago, had scheduled his own presentation of a comprehensive immigration reform plan for this week, though the White House has already given clues that it may support the Senate's plan. There are even rumors of a bipartisan immigration plan in the House.

If it seems like a sudden and unexpected turn of events for the notoriously obstructionist Congressional Republicans, you shouldn't really be surprised. As Ezra Klein points out, even Republicans can see the truth about immigration and voting. In the 2012 Presidential election, President Obama received 71% of the Hispanic vote. In 2016, the projected share of the non-white vote is expected to rise two percent.

Unfortunately for Republicans, some conservatives continue to believe that Hispanics are natural conservatives - which, as conservative writers like David Frum have pointed out more than once, they are not.

Liberals and Progressives should not be immediately jumping for joy, however. As most of the immigration proposals currently stand, there is still far too much focus on border issues and immigrants, and far too little focus on employer-related issues like E-Verify and real enforcement - for example, a penalty system for employers that would heavily dissuade them from luring low-wage undocumented workers across the border. Without those solutions in place, Americans will simply be having this same discussion about immigration in another twenty years, just as we did twenty-five years ago.

Overall, the key features we're seeing among the multiple immigration reform plans and rumors - acknowledgement of a need for a fair path to citizenship, registration of applicants, fines and back taxes, and rewards for highly-skilled immigrants  - are mostly common sense measures that most sane partisans on both sides of the political aisle agree with.

Hopefully, our Congresspersons will - for once - have the good sense to approve the common sense reforms on both gun safety and immigration as soon as possible, without consulting hordes of well-paid highly partisan lobbyists, who would prefer a half-assed set of reform bills that solve little, and earn the lobbyists continued fat retainers.

This country needs another half-assed set of reform bills like... well, like a visit to another sloppy gun show.

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