Thursday, July 9, 2009

Common ground over Diet Coke

When I saw two of the leading voices on opposing sides of the immigration debate share the same can of Diet Coke, I thought maybe there’s a chance for compromise after all.

Our hosts at the International Center for Journalists in Washington, D.C., started our program off strongly by inviting pro-enforcement advocate Jerry Kammer of the Center for Immigration Studies to sit with pro-immigrant rights advocates Tamar Jacoby of ImmigrationWorks USA and Angela Kelley of the Center for American Progress.

Each side took expected stances, but it was interesting to hear them discuss their strategies in more human terms.

Kammer talked about the country we're leaving for our grandchildren. He said the United States can't sustain its current rate of population growth, and he raised concerns that we could lose our large middle class if we inherit a more Mexican-like social structure dominated by disparate upper and lower economic classes.

Kelley talked about learning from the failed effort to pass reform in 2007 and taking tips from their opponents to build more middle-America support. She characterized as similar to "walking over Niagara Falls with an umbrella and a stiff wind." She expressed optimism, however, that some reform bill could be ready by next spring.

Kammer and Jacoby, who split a Coke, did appear to agree on the benefits of Wednesday's announcement that the Obama administration will award federal contracts only to employers who use federal databases to verify employees' immigration status.

"The business community welcomes workplace enforcement," said Jacoby, who represents employers backing reform. "Ultimately though it has to come with a legal pipeline to get the workers that America needs for future economic growth."

The Center of Immigration Studies has long supported the program, known as E-Verify, but it was surprising to hear Jacoby's support when many immigrant rights groups have lobbied against the program.

It may be a small thing, but on this issue where extreme views dominate, it's nice to see signs of shared interest – even if it's over a pop.

Photo: shstrng


Anonymous said...

I get the feeling this issue, illegal immigration, will become like abortion.

Two sides of large numbers of people who will forever be in complete disagreement with one another.

It is sad that our governement, and the officials that run it, are so scared to loose future votes they will not enact/enforce the very laws they were elected to enforce.

I pay taxes. I am a small business owner. I volunteer, and contribute to society.

I am an American who wants to see an America free of all people in my country illegally. And I am not talking about the insane concept of immigration amnesty.

What is the point of having laws if they are to be ignored? Whats the point of having borders if they are only used as a select group sees fit.... for political votes?

At some point in time America needs to clean up America and stop
taking care of everyone else until we can take care of ourselves without running future generations into the hell of a bankrupt California has already done.

Anonymous said...

"even if it's only over a pop."

A pop? This isn't the midwest, dude. Around here, it's called a "soda". C'mon, man, learn the local lingo.

Anonymous said...

The government granted amnesty to illegals back in 1982, if I remember correctly. Now they're thinking of doing it again, which they probably will. In the meantime illegals will continue to cross the border and the government won't do a thing to stop them so that in another twenty years we'll be right back here again, talking about granting amnesty to yet another 10 or 15 million illegals and on and on it will go. This is their M.O. They talk about stopping them but don't. Then when it reaches a boiling point, when people start raising a fuss, they grant amnesty to those already here with the promise to work to stop illegal immigration from that point on but they don't and it starts all over again.

Anonymous said...

anon - 2:39 I agree that this issue causes some serious divide in people. When the words illegal immigrant are mentioned seemingly intelligent, rational people on both ends of the spectrum turn deaf, dumb, and blind to any and all thought that doesn't foster their position.

I'm not saying that I know the answer but I know that what has been practiced over the last 20 years has not worked.

I'm not for full amnesty but neither am I for total enforcement. Both extremes don't make a whole lot of sense and we can ill afford the costs of either.

I'm just sick of the government throwing good money after bad on either strategy that has so far garnered such poor results.

Time to rethink this thing and be smart about it. Stop wasting money on knee-jerk reactions and simplistic, feel-good actions that offer little in the way of solutions.

Anonymous said...

Pressing "one" for English never made a lick of sense to me

Anonymous said...

Nice sound bite 4:45 - Anything substantive to add?

Anonymous said...

that is substance enough.
says it all.

Anonymous said...

Not really, it offers little in the way of an intelligent, thoughtful, or educated view of the issues or how you propose to solve them.

What it does do is tell the world that you do not like illegal immigrants. That is all.

Anonymous said...

What a poetic observation you spin.

I can see you yearn to weave into this issue a great deal of thought and social awareness, from your own infallible perspective. Pondering the outcome with self perceived greatness resting your chin upon your fist in an almost granite like stance.

I never took it upon myself to solve the issue. I took it upon myself to make my opinion known. My opinion counts like the opinions of many others, the more people that express their opinion the better. I choose to express it as succinctly as possible without much in the way of fuss and fanfare.

If it helps you to sleep at night, I will say it more clearly
so that even you can be sure of my stance.

I do not like illegal immigrants.

If the reason for that needs to be explained any further, I strongly suggest you turn off your mommies computer, move to San Fransisco and embrace your Pelosian inner child.

By the way I don't like tax cheats , drunk drivers, child molesters, the Bernie Madoff types, and serial killers either.

Anonymous said...

It is not an infallible perspective that I espouse and I do appreciate your honesty. I am not sitting on some higher moral ground, I only wish to wonder how many logical solutions can be gained by only looking at this through the micrcosim of your opinions.

I am quite a bit older than any "momma" around and I am so a part of the estblishment you would be shocked if you only knew.

I am just sick to death of staring these social problems in the face and delivering nothing in the way of return because "politicians" are so afraid to enact reasonable solutions because people like you might not "like" them.

You are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts. The government IS enforcing the immigration laws and it is NOT working. How much money are you ready to take away from your kids and grandkids education, etc. before you are ready to consider some other alternative?

Really, it is really up to you.

Anonymous said...

One problem I have with illegal immigration is that it is so unbalanced toward one ethnic group.

I would gladly trade 2/3 of the illegal Hispanics/Latinos (or whatever you want to call them) for an equal number of immigrants from Asia, Europe, or Africa.

Why should these guys get a free ride just because it is easier for them to sneak in?

Anonymous said...

You are wrong.

If the governement was enforcing immigration law, this would be a moot point, moot blog, and non existent topic.

I get the feeling you are a tired individual who has read to many blogs and seen to many episodes of Olberman or O'Reilly, your facts, and points of reference are convoluted to the point where even they envy the self confusion of the intersection of Queens Queens Queens and Queens.

But seriously good luck with that all the same, and have a nice night.

Sammy said...

"The business community welcomes workplace enforcement," said Jacoby, who represents employers backing reform. "Ultimately though it has to come with a legal pipeline to get the workers that America needs for future economic growth."

10% unemployment and millions of able bodied Americans on welfare and yet we need a "legal pipeline" to get more workers? Sorry, that just doesn't make sense to me. What so many of these employers are actually looking for is a way to pay sub-market wages. We have plenty of workers -- these particular employers just don't want to pay them the wages it would take to get a dedicated loyal workforce. Bring in the indentured servants instead whose poverty and otherwise lack of opportunity provides greater compliance and servitude to their employer.

Sammy said...

My guess is that these immigrant rights groups are not truly in favor of workplace enforcement, they're only willing to trade it for amnesty for the tens of millions of illegals already here. After that happens they can get to work subverting the enforcment laws. Put these two groups around a bargaining table and I guarantee that the immigrants rights groups wouldn't agree to anything until they get their amnesty first.

Coller... said...

Any word on LEGAL immigration?

Any word on allowing the spouses of LEGAL immigrants to have a full life that includes a career for instance??

I hate that immigration = illegal immigration for lawmakers here. No other immigration topic is ever discussed.