Bloggings on Immigration Law
by Roger Algase
Mitt Romney has given us another example of his tin ear for the concerns of ordinary people, and of his prodigious talent for mispeaking, by suggesting that instead of rounding up unauthorized immigrants and deporting them, we should let them "deport themselves". This, according to Romney, is something that many people will do when they realize that there are no jobs or pathways to legal status available to them.
Romney has come under a storm of criticism for using the phrase "self-deportation". But there is no difference between this idea and "attrition", which restrictionists have been talking about for several years and which is now the official policy of states like Arizona, as stated in the preamble to its draconian, "papers, please", immigration law.
The concept behind "attrition" is that by making life so miserable for "illegal" (translation, "Latino") immigrants, that they can no longer endure staying here, they will leave. This cruel and senseless policy is no solution to America's immigration problem, but will only divide America further along racial lines.
Therefore, it is amazing that this unrealistic and inhumane policy of persecution is so widely accepted under the rubric of "attrition", but that there is such a storm of protest when it is called by its real name, "self-deportation". It is even more amazing that Romney, who is letting Newt Gingrich run circles around him in the Spanish-speaking media by pretending to offer a path to legal status to a tiny handful of people, is, according to the latest poll, running 15 per cent ahead of Gingrich among Latino voters in Florida.
Certainly, Newt Gingrich is no friend of minority immigrants. But neither is Mitt Romney. Unfortunately for America's fastest growing ethnic communities, Latinos and Asians, Barack Obama, the Hawaiian-born child of a Kenyan father, and who spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, is no friend of minority immigrants either.
Maybe it is time for leaders in America's minority immigrant communities to start speaking up and taking a stand on an issue which is so important to both immigrants and American citizens in their communities, instead of letting themselves get rolled by politicians who are only to eager to see them "self-deport". If these leaders do not make their voices heard, even if it means forming a third party, they will be "self-excluding" the minorities they claim to speak for from having any influence on immigration policy.
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.
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