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John Bacino on November 12, 2007 - 12:12pm
Fighting the Anti-Immigrant Movement in the States
Monday, November 12th, 2007
In Today's Dispatch:
This week, the Progressive States Network is launching a new initiative, the State Immigration Project, to support state legislators and advocates working to promote a smart, humane immigration policy in the states. In the last few months, Progressive States Network has been working with labor, community and religious allies to develop a network of advocates to support state leaders on the immigration issue for the coming legislative session.
As part of our work, Progressive States is releasing a new strategy memo this week, Fighting the Anti-Immigrant Movement in the States, which highlights both what policies make sense at the state levels, provides resources for those policy choices, and outlines how progressives can make immigration a winning issue.
Below is the executive summary of the strategy memo with links to sections of the document.
We will also be holding a conference call on immigration this Thursday at 4pm EST to bring together both legislators and advocates to share their insights on progressive strategies on immigration for the 2008 session. The call will feature as speakers California Senator Gilbert Cedillo, Illinois Representative Cynthia Soto, Flavia Jimenez of the National Council of La Raza, Stephanie Luongo of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and Nathan Newman, Policy Director for Progressive States Network. A participant Q&A and discussion will follow.
The call will be at 4pm (EST) on Thursday, Nov. 15th.
Fighting the Anti-Immigrant Movement in the States
Purpose of this Strategy Memo: With the rise of anti-immigrant rhetoric and attacks, immigration will inevitably be a major issue in state legislatures in the 2008 session. The goal of this strategy document is to provide an outline of strategies and resources that state legislative leaders and advocates can use to challenge the anti-immigrant movements in their states.
Changing the Narrative on Immigration Politics: Even as anti-immigrant policies have been enacted in a number of states, other states have also been enacting smart, humane policies that raises living standards for all workers, undocumented and native worker alike, while encouraging maximum integration of new immigrants into our communities. State leaders and advocates can use smart policy campaigns to change the public debate on immigration both at the state level and nationally.
Launching the State Immigration Project: Working with allied labor, civil rights, religious, and community organizations, the Progressive States Network is launching the State Immigration Project, which will support state legislative leaders and advocates in challenging the rising anti-immigrant movement at the state level. The goal will be to defeat bad legislation and pass humane immigration legislation where possible, but also to create opportunities to highlight the positive contributions of immigrants to our states. These policy campaigns will emphasize those issues that evoke the many positive feelings the public has about immigrants, a counterbalance to the negative "wedge" messaging of the anti-immigrant right-wing. The campaign overall will have a five-part strategy:
Making Immigration a Winning Issue- The Political Case Against Anti-Immigrant Politics: The reality is that globalization is driving economic changes, including immigration, that cause fear and uncertainty for many voters. If progressives promote economic policies that address the broader economic needs of working families, all polling shows that there is no majority for punitive measures against undocumented immigrants. And given the rapid expansion of legal immigrants voting in US elections, including the doubling of the Latino electorate from 7.5 million voters in 2000 to an estimated 14 million voters in 2008, there is no political leadership future for politicians who promote punitive policies against new immigrants and alienate this growing bloc of voters.
Smart State Policy to Deflect Anti-Immigrant Attacks: Progressive leaders need to promote policies that will highlight that those leading the anti-immigrant charge are actually against the interests of working families of all races and immigrant status. Key progressive immigration strategies include:
Strengthening Progressive Alliances and Finding New Conservative Allies on the Immigration Issue: Beyond individual policy options, advocates and elected leaders need to emphasize that the coalition in support of humane policies involving new immigrants is diverse and cuts into even many seemingly conservative communities. Elected leaders can build on traditional support from many African-American leaders to labor unions to forge alliances with forward-looking business leaders and religious leaders, including many evangelicals, who recognize that smart, humane immigration policies for our communities is a source of both moral and social strength.
Conclusion- Moral Immigration Politics is Smart Politics: As this strategy memo outlines, moral immigration politics are also smart politics in the long-term, since the present coalition for humane immigration policy is rapidly being joined by new citizens who are unlikely to forgive politicians who vote wrong in the coming legislative session. Ultimately, there is no political future for the politicians leading the drive to enact anti-immigrant laws, while those elected leaders who step up with intelligent, humane policies will be the long-term political winners of the current debate.
Eye on the Right
With Congress loathe to mandate higher fuel efficiency in cars, the Pew Charitable Trusts have begun a campaign to increase mileage per gallon. But some groups don't seem to think fuel efficiency is a problem, arguing that a car's size, comfort, and style all impact efficiency.
There's no arguing that it's a complex balancing game, but for a moment consider that the average fuel efficiency standard today is equal to that of Ford's Model A, a car which debuted in 1927. Since then we've achieved widespread commercial air travel, gone to the moon, and now we're looking to Mars. Don't tell me America can't build a more efficient car, and looking at trends in gas prices don't tell me no one would buy it.
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