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Saturday, January 07, 2006

Immigration Politics

There are legitimate issues with illegal immigration. When Pawlenty ran in 2002, he used an ad that tried to exploit fears from 9/11 to promote his candidacy. Pawlenty was proposing to tie the VISA expiration date to Driver's liscense expiration date. I haven't seen good arguments against that proposal. Color coding liscenses, there is a strong contrast between an immigrant liscense and a citizen liscense goes too far. In 2002, both Penny and Moe opposed Pawlenty's proposals, but neither candidate articulated why this was a bad idea. Saying that this is hateful, or that it's a distraction from other issues doesn't explain why this is a bad idea.

I know from participating on the USQueers list, that Illegal Immigration is an issue that resonates with many gays. Gays are well aware that the immigrant areas tend to have the highest votes in favor of Bachmann amendments. Some of the most viscious anti-gay rhetoric is on spanish speaking radio. Fred Phelps now has God Hates Fags en espanol.

I also know from going to the Minneapolis City DFL convention that there was a fair amount of anti-immigrant sentiment at that convention.

Alberto Monsarrate started threads on the Minneapolis and St Paul lists about the issue.

The speculation is that Pawlenty will be trying to take away from the cities of Minneapolis and St Paul enforcement on their ordinances that prohibit police and city workers to ask someone their immigration status.

If this is the case, it's time now for every elected official in Minneapolis and St Paul to fight this with every bit of energy they have. Its also time for business to begin their fight against what will be more anti-immigrant and therefore anti business proposals. It's time for the business community to think real hard of who they're going to raise money for in the next campaign for governor. One of the biggest problems business is having right now is finding enough employees to work for them. Pawlenty's anti- business legislation will make it even harder.

Seems like we have two anti-business candidates for governor now. Mile Hatch and Tim Pawlenty. Time for the other candidates to speak louder.

So much for the defering to local government that Pawlenty's party preaches so much.

We're on for a brutal fight in 2006. We will win.

Alberto Monserrate
South Minneapolis Nokomis

He followed up with this:

Its worse than I thought, and I think Minneapolis and St Paul city attorneys already feel they can fight the proposal to go over Minneapolis and St Paul ordinances that prohibit city employees and police officers asking people
they serve for immigration status. I imagine anyone with "brown skin" will now be asked every time they get a government service for proof of citizenship.

I also see like I predicted that the legislation is anti-business. Its time for the chambers of commerce to stand up and fight the governor.

I've had several people confirm that the governor has confirmed publicly recently that he feels he can't get re-elected unless he uses this issue. So there's only two ways to stop this.

One is lobbying the legislature. I know we have the support of most DFL'ers on this issue (I hope) , but it is not unanimous. We also need to pressure pro-business republican legislators. This legislation alone, will close down, hundreds of restaurants, Roofing companies, meat packing plants, construction companies, and manufacturing plants. No gray area here. This legislation is devastating to our economy and to all of your property prices. It will be devastating to business in Albert Lee, Fairbault, Willmar, and many other rural communities.

Second, working with everything we have to defeat Tim Pawlenty, so we stop this nonsense once and for all about being anti-immigrant is good politics. There's a very interesting poll today in the Washington Post today that shows voters are very ambivalent on this issue.

Basically voters feel we're not doing enough to keep illegal immigrants out of the country (I might agree on that, too many people dying trying to enter the country illegally) but that they support that people who are illegally in the country, who work and pay taxes, play by the rules, and don't break any other laws, should be allowed to stay and eventually become citizens. Also two thirds of Latinos compared to a minority of non-Latinos, feel undocumented workers are good for the US. So much for that swing vote folks. Republican proposals on immigration will get people who already vote for them, to vote for them, and they will loose Latino voters that elected Bush. Can we say president Bill Richardson?

And please spare me the this is not against immigrant this is against illegal immigrant e-mails. I still haven't seen Pawlenty support a guest worker program, so until he supports pro legal immigration legislation, he is anti-immigrant.

One more thing I want to clarify. We support at Gente de Minnesota efforts to deport undocumented people, or even legal permanent residents that have committed serious crimes. We've even worked closely with the department of homeland security (believe it or not we have an excellent relationship with the department of homeland security, and their communications person has always been very responsive to our newspaper requests, and very professional with us), in providing our readers information about these individuals, and in helping them capture these individuals. We want these people out of the US. We're talking about allowing the millions of hardworking, tax paying, abide by the rules, immigrants to stay in the US, and contribute to our
countries success.

Looks like the war's just begun.

Alberto Monserrate
President CEO
Latino Communications Network (LCN Media)
Weekly Spanish Newspaper Gente de Minnesota
Bi-weekly Latino Entertainment Publication Vida y Sabor
Yearly Minnesota-Iowa Hispanic Yellow Pages Directory
Radio Station La Invasora AM 1400
1516 E Lake Street #200
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Office: 612-729-5900
Office: 612-243-1283
Fax: 612-729-5999
E-mail: alberto ( at )

The Minneapolis City Republican Committee has been working hard to reach out to immigrant communities. They have been having tables at Cinco de Mayo - and have been well received.

Margaret Martin, David Strom's has an astute observation:

I won't speak for David, I am sure he has a response to all the monday morning quarterbacking going on saying that the League was a big loser this year. In the non-profit world, if you can keep the paychecks from bouncing, you live to fight another day. Looking at the political scene from a strictly tactical point of view, the league would be in great shape if Hatch (or Lourey) became governor because at least we'd know where the bullets were coming from (from the front). With Pawlenty, the conservative base has been repeatedly shot in the back since year one of his administration. I've already said my piece on this subject on this blog and last weekend, on the air.

(And if Pawlenty thinks he can redeem himself with a little illegal immigrant bashing, all I can say is, be careful Governor, this way there be dragons. I don't know yet what he has in mind but we'll see after he makes his announcement tomorrow. McClung’s shop has outdone itself this time in providing the headsup to the local media and blogosphere.)

Britt Robson at City Pages suggests that Pawlenty maybe overplayed his hand.

One sign that Pawlenty may have overplayed his hand occurred in Wednesday morning's Strib, with an op-ed piece by the Governor's communications director, Brian McClung, entitled, "Article attacked messenger." Claiming that the Strib supported illegal immigration, McClung fumed that the paper had engaged in a "classic attack: If you don't like the message, attack the messenger." He then launched into a raft of figures showing "the recent explosive growth of illegals in our state." He concluded by criticizing the $300 million estimate of the annual contribution illegal immigrants make in Minnesota, saying that "the state's leading economists criticized that report for overstating the impact of illegal immigrants in Minnesota."

This begs an obvious question: If the state's leading economists know that $300 million is too high, they must have some idea of what number is about right. If Pawlenty wasn't just playing cheap and dirty politics with anti-immigrant prejudice, then why didn't he seek out and utilize that best estimate from his economists?

I talked with a number of Republicans who are not happy with the party taking this direction. It's pretty clear to me that they are moving from the gays to the immigrants. I talked to some gop strategists at Michael Brodkorb's "coming out" party and told them that these wedge issues work really well - but they only work for one election cycle - and the long term costs are turning a generation of people away from the party.


Awakening said...

Governor Pawlenty is following the pattern that his party advisors dictate, I believe. Most likely finialized when he went to China with other party members.
He sure got Air America going with that visit. Some of it was not pretty, whether they realized it or not. I didn't pick up that kind of talk on the Patriot. They, however, are more puritanical with their talk. Which does send a chill down ones spine, sometimes. I listen to both, so that I can get both sides. If I could find a Reform, Green and Independent party radio station, I'd be really interested in listening in small doses to those, too.
Governor Pawlentys new agenda is another drain and distraction.
I have to pay attention to some of what he is doing Because his actions will have an impact on Minnsota. And I have been watching and listening to our elected officials more often, since the July 2005 special election.
My main focus is on other issues, so much more highly important, to me. I think immigration matters fit in a cluster titled...Ways to hold the federal and state government accountable, ways to hold American companies accountable and ways to hold global corporations accountable. They all need continued monitoring by watchdog groups, no matter what.
My concern for an undocumented emigrant planning to enter the United States and already here, is as with all human beings, Human Rights. Always receiving fair treatment and never being treated with anything other than respect and dignity. And never putting an emigrant, undocumented or not, in a situation that either endangers or diminishes personal wellbeing.
Governor Pawlenty is using this method for some reason. When that comes out, if that comes out, it may well serve other candidates running in opposition. Thank you for your article.