« Off to my Honeymoon in India for a month | Main | Jury Awards Paralyzed Construction Worker $32 Million »

December 15, 2005

Republicans at Crossroads

Inside the Beltway, the Republican coalition is split down the middle over the best way to fix our immigration system.

In a rare schism, employer groups led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are pressing to kill a Republican-sponsored measure that would require businesses to verify that all of their workers are in the United States legally and would increase penalties for hiring illegal employees.

Lobby groups including the chamber, the National Restaurant Association and the Associated General Contractors of America are so vehement in their opposition that they will consider lawmakers' votes on the bill a key measure of whether they will support them in the future.

Meanwhile, 23 miles west of DC in Herndon, VA, the wingnut wing of the Republican party was making their feelings known as a new center for day laborers opened today:
About two dozen activists from two groups that oppose illegal immigration -- the Herndon chapter of the Minuteman Project and Help Save Herndon -- stood sign-to-sign with members of a recently formed pro-laborer organization, HEART (Herndon Embraces All in Respect and Tolerance).

For the most part, the interaction was spirited but peaceful and nonconfrontational, except for one moment when Bob Rudine, a member of the Minuteman Project and Help Save Herndon, said illegal immigrants "are raping our children."

This is the question facing the Republican party: what do they want to stand for?

Eleven years ago, the Republican Party had a similar choice in California. They chose anti-immigrant hysteria, and in doing so helped give Democrats a lock on the state.

Obviously the Reps aren't going to, say, support strong unions as a way of solving the immigration crisis; I doubt there were many cheers of joy at the U.S. Chamber of Congress when 5,000 mostly immigrant janitors in Houston recently voted to join a union. But there are fair and just solutions that even a Republican could agree to. It will be interesting to see what the party of Lincoln decides to do.

For more information about a better way to fix our immgration system, visit the New American Opportunity Campaign.

Posted by RalphTaylor at December 15, 2005 07:31 AM