My comments on this year's election are not meant to be partisan, but only to provide one writer's views on political developments from an immigration perspective. However, because the only contest is on the Republican side, and Obama's record on immigration is already a known quantity, to the great distress and disappointment of a million people who have become victims of his mad rush to make America into a Deportation Nation, the focus inevitably falls on the Republicans.
Probably within hours after this blogging appears, the focus will in all likelihood fall on fewer Republicans than at the time of writing. After the Iowa circus (sorry, I meant "caucus") votes are counted, it is unlikely that Michele Bachmann will still be in the race. Rick Perry also, despite his continuing access to big Texas money, will probably be on his way out. Newt Gingrich's political career may also be ready for its long awaited, overdue demise.
But one thing is common among almost all the Republicans, whether Iowa turns out to be their last hurrah or whether they still live to fight in another state, despite (or in Romney's case, because of), Romney's overwhelming money machine. Here, if I can be forgiven a brief digression into classical literature, there is a parallel with Virgil's epic poem about Aeneas, the legendary Trojan immigrant to Italy who, fato profugus (exiled by fate) became one of the world's most famous "political refugees".
In Book 1 of the Aeneid, Virgil mentions the destructive power of the huge winds and storms which the god Aeolus keeps locked up in a vast underground cave. The poet describes what would happen if Aeolus were to stop controlling the winds: ni faciat, maria ac terras caelumque profundum/quippe ferant rapidi, secum verrantque per auras. ("If he did not do so, the winds would surely sweep the seas, the land and the broad sky itself with them up to the heavens".)
In the same way, Romney's PAC money is showing its tremendous power to blow away his opponents, one by one (beginning with the hapless Newt Gingrich - it couldn't happen to a nicer bigot), after Romney's unlimited money was unleashed from its underground Consitutional cavern by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. However, to get back to the main topic, both the Republican candidiates still left in the presidential race and those blown overboard , or about to be, by Romney's money machine share one thing in common, almost down to the last man (or woman).
This common feature is also decribed by Virgil as: saevae memorem Junonis ob iram ("because of savage Juno's unrelenting rage"). Most of the major Republicans (with the exception of Jon Huntsman, who, from the start, has appeared to be far too rational ever to be a real candidate, and also Ron Paul), are masters of prejudice and hate.
Two of the candidates, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum, are homophobic to the point of obsession. Their hatred of gays seems to be so deep that it is hard to avoid using the word pathological. Newt Gingrich's hatred of Muslims, including millions of loyal, law abiding Americans and immigrants whom he accuses of wanting to impose "Sharia Law" on the United States, also comes close to being a pathological obsession (though a very convenient and opportunistic one).
But what every Republican candidate (again with the honorable exception of that non-candidate, Hunstman, and also of Ron Paul, who had made clear that deporting every single last immigrant who is here without legal status will not and should not happen) has shown so far, is extreme and unrelenting hatred of immigrants, especially Latinos. Perry, who began by "having a heart" on immigration, has since lost his heart to accused serial human rights violator Joe Arpiao, who now campaigns together with Perry.
Gingrich still has a little heart left, but only for unauthorized immigrants who have been here for 25 years, go to church (no Muslims need apply) and can pass muster with community boards (i.e."deportation panels"). But no one need accuse Romney or Bachmann of having any mercy for Latino or other minority immigrants. Bachmann would like every state to pass an Arizona type law, and Romney wants to deport every "DREAMER" (and all other unauthorized immigrants) in America.
The battle for the White House will most likely be between a Republican challenger who exploits prejudice, and a Democratic incumbent who caves into it. More than in any other contest in recent memory, hatred of immigrants may be the deciding factor.
Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years.