It’s Anti-Immigrant, Not Anti-Illegal Immigrant

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Many people opposing immigration reform protest that they are not anti-immigrant, but rather anti-ILLEGAL immigrant.  But is this really true?  

Let’s think this out.  At a basic level there are two reasons to oppose an unauthorized immigrant being here: (a) he/she has not gone through all the correct checks (“Class A”); or (b) he/she is here in the first place (“Class B”).  By way of a quick example – if the wife of a US Marine snuck into the country, I am probably not against her being here, rather just against the fact that she did not come in legally.  On the other hand, if a member of Al Qaeda is the one who snuck in, I am against not only the fact that the member of Al Queda snuck in, but also the fact that he/she is here in the first place.

Now what implications does this have for the correct use of terms?  If the only opposition to an immigrant’s presence is based on Class A concerns, the solution is simple: you create an avenue for the same to be here legally.  However, if the opposition to the presence is based on Class B concerns, then there is no desire to create such an avenue – because you don’t want such an immigrant here at all.

In the current immigration debate, one of the major groups is NumbersUSA.  It supports not just opposition to illegal acts of immigration, but also supports “reductions in immigration numbers.”…

This is opposition not just to illegal immigration but also legal immigration. Others, who don’t care about numbers so much but rather are fixated on opposing legalization for unauthorized immigrants because they “broke the rules.”  This opposition is not just to the fact that these immigrants broke rules, it is also to these immigrants’ mere presence.  Opposing these immigrants’ presence, and not just their prior rule breaking, is more than just being anti-their-illegal acts.  It is also being anti-them-immigrating-here-at-all. And what is another term for being against a person immigrating here at all?  Oh yeah – anti-immigrant.  

So let’s start being honest in this debate.  If you are against a person being in this country, just say so.  But don’t pretend that it is just their illegal acts you oppose.  Often it is more than that – it is the presence itself.  For if otherwise, the solution would be simple: legalization.  

Nationally Prominent DREAMer’s Family Raided Last Night

(I’ve edited this somewhat due to the day’s events and added another update, because my promotion didn’t “stick” this morning. Interesting case study in the power of social media — a less prominent family would not have gotten a reprieve. – promoted by ProgressiveCowgirl)

PCG Update: Latina journalist Pilar Marrero reports on a national outcry that stopped deportation in this case — the mother was being driven to Mexico when the driver was called and ordered to return her to her Arizona home.

UPDATE– ICE just confirmed, through past AILA president David Leopold, a stay of removal several minutes ago.  David is a good friend of mine and I alerted him to the situation a few hours ago.

Obama claims to understand the plight of immigrants, yet his administration raided the home of a prominent DREAM activist last night.  

Erika Andiola is a prominent DREAMer.  She has been on the cover of Time Magazine.…

She is one of the leaders of Arizona’s DREAM coalition.…

Partly for these reasons, prominent hispanic news site Latino Rebels describes her as “one of the most well-known DREAMer activists in the country, as well as a champion of comprehensive immigration reform.”…

Beyond all of this, she is a friend of mine, and one that I successfully pranked into thinking that an asteroid was going to hit earth on the day of the supposed Mayan apocalypse.

Now Erika and I have had our political disagreements.  In short, I’m a bit more conservative than she is, being a pro-immigrant member of the tea party and all.  Partly because I’m more conservative, I’ve always looked skeptically at Obama’s purported commitment to go after only the really bad immigrants and to bring immigration reform as soon as he could.  

The events of last night may help convince many in the pro-immigrant community that I am right to be skeptical.  You see, last night Erika’s mother Maria Arreola and her son Heriberto Andiola  Arreola were picked up in an ICE raid in or around Phoenix Arizona.  This is a fast changing situation and information is currently  limited, but I understand Maria and Heriberto to have never been charged with any crime that would make them ineligible to be considered low-priority for enforcement. Recently both were charged with traffic violations which, according to the recently revised ICE protocols, should not have resulted in this detention.  Maria may have been previously stopped at the border in 1998.  

I understand that Maria is scheduled to be deported today.  I have been repeatedly trying to call the following numbers to voice my disagreement with this deportation:





So far I have had little to no success…however some of my other friends have white house contacts and have been relaying the information ahead.  The White House has been made aware that this is occurring.  Scant hours may tell whether Maria is deported or not. I ask that anybody reading this who has any further ideas on how to prevent this deportation from occurring to please post them.

Sending ICE agents to arrest and deport the non-violent parent of a prominent DREAM activist hardly seems pro-immigrant.  I am hoping that this deportation is immediately halted, and if not, that people can open up their eyes to the fact that Obama is not as pro-immigrant as he claims to be.


GOP’s evolution on immigration: No more pandering to lose?

(Not saying I agree…just saying a) that this is a topic worth discussing; b) around FPE election time there is always at least one person–OK its the same one–agitating for more ideological diversity on the FP; c) my tenure is almost done, my grasp on the reins of power slipping…and d) merry holidays everyone… – promoted by ClubTwitty)

In this November election’s wake, many conservatives have had their immigration views “evolve.” A second group of conservatives view this not as progress but rather as “pandering” at principle’s expense.

This second group is half right: political realities are motivating conservatives to re-examine their immigration positions. However, the possible change would be a return to principle rather than a move away from it.

We know immigration is influencing the Hispanic vote, both from polling and also the steady decline in the GOP Hispanic vote share since immigration became a national issue. We also know this population is rapidly increasing as a percentage of the electorate. In fact, their numbers have now reached the point where Romney could have won the election with sufficient Hispanic support.

Even worse for the GOP, the Hispanic vote becomes ever more important each election, not merely relative to those who would restrict immigration on suspect reasons (“Nativists”), but also to the electorate as a whole.

Yet the Nativists greet any call for reforming the immigration code with catcalls of “amnesty” and “secure the border first.” For them, an immigration policy of anything other than enforcing existing law or reducing further avenues for legal immigration smacks of pandering. What is noteworthy about these nativists is that although they couch their opposition to changing immigration law in the name of “principle,” they never describe how the law as it is written embraces conservative values or free market principles. They never describe how for a simple reason: their cry of “principle” is empty.

Granted, an immigration system based on those values and principles would screen people at the border. However, this screening for legal residency would be based solely on keeping out security threats and economic burdens.

It would not be based on giving freebies to special interests by keeping out their competition. And it would be humane – doing its utmost to respect the dignity of American families.

The immigration system described above is not our immigration system. For many employment visa applicants, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services require certifications to “ensur[e] that foreign workers seeking immigrant visa classifications are not displacing equally qualified U.S. workers.”

And if the worker is unskilled, there are few, if any, avenues for legal immigration. Apparently this lack of an avenue is due to “job protection” again. Moreover, for U.S. citizens or soldiers who find true love with an unauthorized immigrant, they all too often are forced to choose between exile from this country or living without their spouse for 10 years or more.

Separating American citizens or soldiers from their spouses for 10 years or more is not a policy based on family values. And requiring that we use immigration law to “safeguard” jobs from competition is not based on adherence to the ideas of free market capitalism.

It is nothing other than pandering. And it is pandering with a high cost. As an illustration, one eventual Colorado gubernatorial candidate proposed a three year moratorium of all legal immigration in a 2010 article entitled “Ultimate Jobs Program: Immigration Timeout.”

In the election later that year which he lost, he is estimated to have received less than 15 percent of the Hispanic vote while the winner received over 75 percent and a third candidate got most of the remainder.

Sacrificing principles to pander to Nativists makes no sense if it costs you elections. And although we need a serious and principled-based discussion on immigration, to thoughtlessly repeat “secure the border first” and “enforce the existing law” is to instead parrot a mantra based in pandering.

So when you see some in conservative circles float ideas beyond the above mantra, they are not necessarily contemplating straying from principle – they are perhaps contemplating returning to it. And such a return to principle cannot happen soon enough if the GOP hopes to remain politically viable going forward.

Elliot Fladen is a commercial litigator practicing in Denver. He blogs at

This article first appeared in the Colorado Springs Gazette and is reprinted in full with permission from the Gazette and the Author:…