No, you did not just wake up in an alternate reality. This is quite plausibly the latest act of bipartisanship from Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who was entrusted with the responsibility of crafting a comprehensive immigration reform legislation many months ago. It may be insanity.
In 2009, Senator Schumer promised to introduce an immigration reform bill by Labor Day. Obviously, we misunderstood the year or he conveniently forgot to clarify it. Given the scant mention that the President gave to immigration in his State of the Union address, the New York Senator stayed away from setting any timeline again, telling Politico that he was making progress and meeting with different kinds of groups, including Lou Dobbs–now an expert on Latino and immigration issues.
Now we know what is taking Senator Schumer so long! He has taken on the project to educate himself and the hero of the Latino community, Mr. Lou Dobbs, on matters of great importance, ranging from immigrant leprosy to birth certificate verification measures. A new and improved Lou Dobbs supports immigration reform and his input is gravely necessary for a just and humane reform. The strong winds of change are certainly buffeting us all into grave uncertainty.
In the long decade that I have spent here, I have realized that American politics resembles a bad game of American football. We can put Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at the center to put the ball into play with the Majority Leaders as running backs. She passes the football to the President, who is the quarterback, for leadership on immigration reform, while the President fudges a throw to a running back or wide receiver (in this case, Senator Schumer) who catches the ball but refuses to run, insisting on drafting new rules for the game in consultation with the defense. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus tries to act like referees, even though no one in Congress is really paying attention to them. In the background, some cheerleaders applaud every (lack of) move while spectators pay more attention to their iPhones and Androids. It’s all fun and games unless you, a family member or a friend is the football caught up in this simulation.
Democrats like Senator Schumer seem to have learned absolutely nothing from the failure of health care reform. Trying to amend a bill and the rhetoric surrounding it to suit politicians who would never vote for it in any shape is frankly, a stupid idea. Immigration reform is a bipartisan issue but that need not mean a watered-down bill that criminalizes immigrants, makes us all carry national ID cards while funneling millions into private contracts to erect a wall all across the Southern border of the United States. Goddess forbid, if a natural or more likely human-induced disaster ever hit the United States and Canada, and people needed to flee to the next neighboring country. Besides, “Tear down this wall” would just fall on deaf ears coming from the President of Mexico.
Next, Schumer will be meeting with Sheriff Joe Arpaio to continue talks on immigration reform in the interest of bipartisanship. Senator Schumer, lay off the bipartisan measures and do something for immigrant rights in the interest of the United States of America.
Photo Credit: JulianBerry