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New Debaters, Old Debates

From California to Colorado this week, candidates seeking election plunged headfirst into debating immigration issues, sticking to tried and true talking points and little else.

In Tuesday’s debate, California governor hopeful Meg Whitman called for E-Verify, border security and more costly, ineffective enforcement tactics. Her opponent, former governor Jerry Brown, supported a path to citizenship for undocumented workers. By Thursday, Nevada Senate-hopeful Sharron Angle followed the same tired immigration script against current Senator Harry Reid (D-NV). Whitman and Angle are just the latest politicians to jump on the enforcement bandwagon that exacerbates our immigration woes.

In The American Prospect, Adam Serwer explains how:

Pouring money into border security doesn't stop illegal immigration, which only leads to more demand for border security. The conditions for reforming the immigration system in a manner that allows the government more control and oversight over the migrant labor force are thus never reached. This is the enforcement paradox.

Indeed, we can’t keep scaling up enforcement in the hopes of ending undocumented immigration without also making it easier for people to migrate legally and extending legal status to the millions deeply rooted in our economy and society. But opponents of comprehensive immigration reform are quick to draw a line in the sand on the legality question; we aren’t against legal immigrants, they claim, just undocumented immigrants. So it’s baffling, but ultimately predictable, that politicians bent on stopping undocumented immigration won’t consider any kind of reform that could actually achieve this goal. Candidates will continue to answer how they’re supposed to on immigration, and propose ineffective fixes for a broken system.

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Posted at 5:05 PM, Oct 15, 2010 in Immigration
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