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Is Amnesty a Winning Strategy?

(Photo by Robin Holland)

In his conversation with Bill Moyers on this week’s JOURNAL, Hispanic evangelical Samuel Rodriguez argues that Republicans’ opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants could undermine the GOP’s prospects for attracting Hispanic voters:

“The Republican Party really had it going on. I mean, they really made significant inroads. 44 percent of Latinos voted for George W. Bush in the 2004 elections... All of a sudden, the Republican Party is hijacked de facto by the Sensenbrenners and Tancredos... There's an anti-Latino, a nativism, xenophobic spirit emerging out of the Republican Party. As a result of that, the Republican party will be hard pressed to engage anything close to 25 percent in the 2008 elections. And they may lose the Latino vote for two or three generations...

[The Latino evangelical vote can be decisive] if the Republican Party nominates a candidate that addresses the issue of immigration reform, that really repudiates the xenophobic and nativist threat, and that apologizes... The question is whether or not McCain will continue to be committed to an immigration reform platform. I mean, there's an incredible amount of push back from the conservative voters in the Republican Party.”

Polling from Rasmussen confirms Rodriguez’ assessment that many Americans oppose amnesty, but suggests that the “incredible amount of push back” might come from more than just conservative voters:

“Fifty-six percent (56%) of American adults favor an enforcement-only approach to immigration reform. Only 29% are opposed. However, support falls sharply when 'a path to citizenship' for illegal aliens already in the United States is added to the mix. Just 42% support the more 'comprehensive' approach while 44% are opposed.”

What do you think?

  • From where do you think opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants is coming?
  • Should either or both parties campaign on an amnesty platform? Why or why not?
  • What are your thoughts on extending amnesty to illegal immigrants?

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    Hi mr Rodrigues. I hope that this few words can find you in grate mood . The misleaded addvertisment designed by Republicans senators, congresmens, sended to lawyers like (legal zone) and other lawyers office to deliver a dirty painful message in (2000-2001) to atract so many as possibel forigners specia , from meadeast and ofcours mexico and other countries too, to make them monsters in the americans peoples mind and opinium,and use them as tool for a fabricating a dirty nineeleven,bieave or not the idea of that schameful and dirty masterwerk actually came out frome a sientologic workers in name of ( the blacks birds in the buldings), to the Germans police in Hamburg, and from police to Germans oilgreedy and oiltursty goverment, to Hollands and Englands intelligents for desining and to the end to the CIA for fabricatio and the cost of poor peoples illegalities existenc in USA, making them difrence kindes of criminals ,like Aliens,druggangs,etc,to stealing*( IRAQI OIL ) for BELLERS, BUSHES, CHENY;S AND Germans dirty pocetts,THE advertisment in the etnics local tv;s , radios, news, lawyersmagazins,etc,was (Hurry there is no to much time ,end april 2001 is dead end of the time to aplie greencards hurryup. come to US, pay some mony stay here and be interweue, and take your greencard,and etc , thay and nigth this misleadig adds was evrywhere on front of eyes of this poor people in all of the world . many of them came here paid lot of mony to lawyers, to be come residetnts but unforyunently they becoms a brainwashings tools in the Republicans trapps. samo

    I heard your comments on Lou Dobbs and you are NUTAS wanting to cover illegal aliens in health care coverage. WE are ALREADY bankrupt and they need to go HOME!

    What I do know is that when law enforcement said they would accept weapons "no questions asked" they got a bunch. The only way I can see to get a grasp on this resident illegal immigrant thing is to somehow figure out who they are and the dangerous ones are going to disapear as soon as you start looking. I suspect we're going to have to provide some sort of amnesty that requires documentation or we're going to end up throwing the kids and little old ladies out and keeping the drug dealers, murderers etc.

    I am so tired of those who say - they are good family people who just want a better life - well, American tax payers are tired of paying your way - 11-22 Billion dollars a year in welfare benefits just to mention one benefit they have no right to recieve!!!! 4 children were just killed in their school bus by an ILLEGAL ALIEN - this person should NOT have been here - how many more AMERICANS will die at the hands of illegals in OUR country??? Yes we want them to go home - every one of them. We want them to obey OUR laws and respect our citizens and stop taking advantage of us. The majority of American Citizens have had enough and are now standing up to demand our elected officials do their jobs. We want our Borders, not only secured, but SHUT DOWN - we want those who entered OUR country illegally to leave OUR COUNTRY. It would cost a lot less to lease Gray Hound Buses - round them up - send them home, than to hand out the Billions in social services. Living in Texas we do not say hispanis - we say Mexican.

    I don't give a whack about color.
    I do like to be surrounded by people who can both read and write, practise both civility and self-reliance. I know many immigrants who meet those criteria.
    Who acknowledge that this erstwhile 'sovereign nation' indeed has a class structure -- but you can choose any class you like over your lifetime, and that your opportunities are not bound by caste, including your skin or your hair or your religion. Or even your accent.

    Oh. And is law-abiding.

    But do communicate and do learn our laws, in English please.

    Understand also that I will not tolerate smuggling; that destroys our sovereignty.

    So what is an American? I think that pretty well describes it, whether you choose to become naturalized or not. Many bloggers here are a bit loose on What Is An American.

    At first glance, some might say that opposition to amnesty comes from the belief that granting it signifies a de facto approval of illegal immigration. The reality of it is that temporary amnesty can be one of the many elements of comprehensive immigration reform.

    Many people embellish their discourse on immigration with legalese, supposed national security concerns, and conspiracy theories. This is just nonsense.

    The origin of these individuals’ intolerance is their deep-set fear of being in contact with immigrants that at prima facie do not conform with their pre-conceived notions of what an American should be like.

    Nonetheless, the majority of these immigrants show strong family values and work ethics, and contribute to our economy as producers and as paying consumers of basically any type of U.S. goods.

    Aren’t these values –strong work ethics and consumption of national products- part of the foundation of our economy and consequently of our way of life?

    During Mr. Moyer's discussion with Samuel Rodriguez, there was some tension with regards to the latters use of the term "White evangelicals." Mr. Moyers often interjected - correctly - to the effect that white evangelicals are by no means an undifferentiated lot and that there are left-leaning white evangelicals as well as right.

    I wonder if the term that most accurately describes the people Mr. Rodriguez was referring to is not "white evangelicals" but rather "white nationalists." Better than 4 decades ago, Malcolm X used the term "white nationalists" to refer to a certain community, largely but not exclusively from southern roots, that clothed its racism in religious garb, and justified on Biblical grounds the economic and social injustices everywhere manifest.

    How is it today that the "white evangelicals" referred to by Mr. Rodriguez can be "for" life, but not healthcare? For tax cuts to the wealthiest while the poor have no money for heating oil? How is it that so many of the prominent - and loud - white evangelicals accept donations from the poorest of the poor while they themselves live in grandiose luxury? Could it be that the word "evangelical" is misused with regards to these men who, I like to think, have had their reward? Could it be that this word stands in place of another, uglier word that dare not speak its name? Might this not better explain the hostility of the white "evangelicals" - read, nationalists - towards the Latino and Hispanic communities, towards gays, towards women, towards - in a word - everything that threatens the "white Christian male power structure" of which they, like Bill O'Reilly (another white nationalist whose words I am quoting), are a proud and prominent part?

    If we are intent on not having discrimination; it is obvious that we should give the illegal Imigrants amnesty as long as they apply for citizenship and qualify for citizenship.

    This was an excellent show, I wish every American would live at lest a year in Another country. I believe they would begin to see how their greed, for America, is right in line with the greed of former Americans, against emigrants, coming in to our Country threw out history. The same fear the same predigest. May I remind Americans today, yours are the same predigest, same fears today as then. Germans, Italians, Chinese, Blacks, etc.. Now Latin Americans. There is room for all of us. Especially our Democratic Brother and Sisters accross our borders. Written on the Statue of Liberty is, Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore."
    -Emma Lazarus
    The only natural Americans in our country are American Indians.

    The Solution

    Their would be no ellegal immegration issues if we tore down the wall that so wrongfully segregate and divide us, and live up to our own true creed of equality, unity, and freedom. It is time to unite our inequitable divisions; the solution is quite simply one!


    Amnesty and/or Illegal immigration are important issues, as well as, health care,
    the War, the Economy, the national debt, the ramped corruption etc and should
    be decided at a referendum by the “WILL of THE PEOPLE”! On one of the post
    stated, “Understand... he has almost finished coloring one of [the books] them.”!
    One must also look at the coloring of Europe during 1940 to 1945 by the
    Architect... that plunge Germany into World War II and destroy Europe.
    TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE is a reminder of millions of innocent people that were
    transported by trucks, trains to the final “destination of the dark side”.
    “America really need to present a religious pluralism.”. I disagree with... .
    “A viable alternative” is to place ALL MAIN ISSUES on
    a referendum, for the PEOPLE to EXPRESS THEIR WILL”! It should
    be by ALL AMERICANS to decides who the next president should be, and
    not by any religious, special interest, national, political group or “one party,
    party of money”! 40% of the majority Americans such as independents, green
    party etc. Are not even represented.
    Some see “ the cross as a supersedes power, the cross as a unifying force”!
    “Coming together , really sharing America in only one viable movement” in this
    nation is to AMEND the CONSTITUTION now, to day, for “THE PEOPLE TO
    the “ WILL of THE PEOPLE” should supersedes any power, and not the
    power of the Congress, the president or any other group. “Coming together,
    really sharing America” should be by the “WILL of the PEOPLE”!
    “Righteousness and justice”! It's justice when the power is in the hands of the
    “WILL of THE PEOPLE”. "I [like many others] fundamentally adopted these values.
    These are my values. I adhere to these values”! It was very well said by Graubard,
    “Unless we are vigilant and combative, ... there will come
    a moment when we will have quietly, perhaps even unknowingly, acquiesced in
    the loss of our liberty or our government, or both”!.

    No On Amnesty.

    Two of my primary concerns are Population and Environment.
    I am ecologically minded and a conservationist, Not a conservative. A 3% illegal population doesn't seem like a big deal to some people, but if you live in California, the Top Off of both illegal and legal Latino/Hispanic immigrants is a big deal. 52% of the births in CA were listed as Latino in 2004 and in 2006 over 50% of the children in kindergarten were listed as Latino. Pre-school through 3rd grade classes in CA have a 20 seat limit and having over 50% of them filled with Latino children is unfair to all of the children in CA. We have immigrants from all nations here and the complete spectrum of skin tones.

    The escalated rate of Latino/Hispanics in CA is being used as a platform for social power and dominance by too many American Latinos, and they are bullying many Californians.

    The environmental ecology and the ecology of cultures, races and ethnicities is being illegally tampered with. The current power base for some Latinos in the U.S. is propped up on the illegal head count and their children.

    The California infrastructure and economy I live in has been built up by people from Many nations over the last 150 years. Claims that this was Mexican land and therefore Mexicans have rights here continue to be brought up, even though they probably wouldn't be interested if all these other people hadn't built it into U.S. California. The U.S. offered the Mexican government around 40 million dollars for California and New Mexico before the Mexican-American War. This was Indian land long before the Spanish, the Mexicans and the U.S.

    I sincerely believe Denial is one of the elements in the Latino
    community that is causing social division.

    after generation of Mexican families have sexually reproduced beyond
    their personal means, beyond the means of their government to provide
    public assistance and education, and beyond the means of businesses
    and the government to generate employment. This is a HUGE reason why
    so many Mexicans move to California. This has been a problem for many
    Catholic Heritage Latin countries.

    Mexico City is the 2nd most populated city in the entire world.
    California's population is now more than Canada's because of the large
    number of people who have moved here and their high birthrates. The
    consciences of our Latin neighbors regarding the environment and
    overpopulation are seriously deficient, and this is for both people
    who are moving here, and long standing American Latins.

    Denial #1 Latins from South of the Border have very forward sexual
    reproduction behavior. Illegal men and women move in, plant
    themselves down, procreate, and create families that they cannot
    support in the country they came from. They literally "tie the arms"
    of many Americans behind their backs. Who has the heart? Who has the
    guts to escort these men and women back to their country? They have
    Children. So basically they refuse to budge. "We are family
    oriented." is what we have been frequently told. That is not
    respectful behavior. It is a very physical cording of the American
    people in their guts and their hearts and puts a wedge in the third
    eye. I think Latinos are the ones with the "mote in their eye"
    regarding their very binding sexual reproduction behavior in the U.S.
    It's not spiritually considerate...not soul considerate to bind the
    American people this way...through human sexual reproduction. The
    American people are at the service of all these men and women and
    their families (teachers especially.) Immigrants and their children are a lot of work for

    Denial #2: Our neighbors who have moved here from South of the United
    States have made themselves stand out for their very slow acquisition
    of communication skills. Please stop denying their responsibility to
    learn to communicate in the United States.

    Denial #3: Latinos have Over immigrated into the United States through
    illegal immigration, feel entitled, and they have smuggled in a lot of
    dependents, and have helped themselves to quite a few shares in the
    United States through birth citizenship for their offspring.

    U.S. citizenship is very valuable. The ethics and morality of helping
    yourselves to so many shares in CA and the U.S. through your children
    is quite naturally going to rouse a lot of feelings and emotions in
    people in the U.S. It's our future too.

    world who would love to come to the U.S. to live and work. They will
    work in the exact same jobs as all of the men and women from Latin
    countries. Latins have a monopoly on a wide range of jobs because
    they can get into the country illegally in larger numbers. There
    me is to offer these jobs to a wide range of people from around the
    world, not have them stolen massively by illegal Latino immigrants
    There are plenty of people in Africa and Pakistan to name just two
    countries who will come work in Las Vegas, work in landscaping,
    agriculture, food and service, construction. I think the Latinos are
    CHEATING millions of other people from around the world of jobs in the
    U.S. They are also cheating me of my opportunity to live among all
    these people and have my American Dream. Latinos are in complete
    Denial on this.

    There are a lot of root stocks of people in the U.S., and especially California. Taking up over 50% of the human nesting grounds (birds of a feather) or international garden of people is a bummer.

    Dear Mr Moyers,

    The interview with Mr Rodriguez was interesting although HE LOST ALL CREDIBILITY in my eyes when he contradicted himself. When you asked him a question about Huckabee's quote about changing the constitution to conform to god's laws, Mr Rodriguez said he wouldn't go that far. Basically he disagreed with Huckabee on that. Yet, at a later time, he said that for him GOD COMES BEFORE COUNTRY. (not verbatim but something to that effect.) I was surprised that you did catch him on that. Isn't that being hypocritical right there? It's a shame that he gets a platform to air his hypocrisy and get away with it.

    In any case, the bigger point I want to make here is that there has been such a huge focus on legalizing the ILLEGALS to get their votes but absolutely no talk about removing the unfair stumbling blocks in the path of COMPLETELY LEGAL, LAW ABIDING, TAX PAYING, HIGHLY SKILLED IMMIGRANTS (myself being one of them) who are waiting in line for 5-10 years or more to get a green card and realize their American Dream for no fault of theirs but simply due to bureaucratic inefficiency. (

    I sincerely request and hope that you do a show highlighting our plight as well.


    after watching this episode of bill moyers i felt Mr. Rodriguez doesnt represent the extent of the hispanic community... and that Mr. Rodriguez is playing into the sterotypes of the mass american agenda that just cause u speak spanish you will all be grouped into this category called "latino" when the backgrounds and cultures of these people are as diverse as north-america. i having a great-grandmother from cuba and a great-grandfather from brasil who are both black,and to say that they dont identify with black americans is just another form of igorence taking place among the "latino" community! latin america and the caribbean have the biggest black populations in the americas. so there are more blacks that speak spanish then english in the americas. i wish that america would realize the diversity of latin america and stop thinking we are all the same. i feel Mr. Rodriguez needs to study up on his history of latin america and the caribbean, he would find out that "latino's" and black americans have more in common then they think!

    Mr. Rodriguez was both charismatic and attractive in the first part of his interview. I found myself (a liberal Catholic) agreeing with many of his incisive points. In my opinion, he lost credibility when he named Ronald Reagan as one of his heroes. I find it hard to believe that Mr. Rodriguez can call himself a “student of history” and hold up Mr. Reagan as a hero. Did he never hear of the Iran-Contra scandal? Aside from the fact that Reagan and some in his administration sought to circumvent the US Constitution, there is the horrific matter of the thousands of lives that were lost in Central America as a direct result of President Reagan’s policies.
    Mr. Rodriguez might be reminded that these were Latin and Hispanic people that were tortured, brutalized, and lost their lives, many of whom were innocent women and children. How any “student of history” could miss this and invoke the name of Ronald Reagan is both a mystery and a betrayal of his people. Tell me, where was the “righteousness and justice” of which Mr. Rodriguez speaks, in this shameful episode of our history? How can one be a “hero” when they have furthered “terror” and injustice?
    Mr. Rodriguez claims he was inspired by Reagan’s “message of hope.” He might be reminded (as a “student of history”) that often, as evidenced by the 20th Century, “messages of hope” often come from dubious political and religious figures and are nothing more than veiled articulations of “xenophobia and nativism.”
    I would hope that in the future, before invoking names of heroes, Mr. Rodriguez might thoughtfully consider his choices. It’s hard to believe that someone is serious about “righteousness and justice” when their illustrations speak otherwise.

    I am saddened by the tone of so many of these e-mails as well as the fact that the majority of them do not represent the voices of Hispanics. I was pleasantly surprised to hear Rev. Samuel Rodriguez for the first time. I am not a Christian, but what he laid out seems to me to be an excellent example of what Hispanics inside and outside the US believe in: cultural and religious pluralism, the pursuit of social justice, education, health care, and advancement for all. I completely agree with Rev. Rodriguez that new Latino voices need to emerge and be heard.

    I look forward to seeing more of Rev. Rodriguez on the show. Thank you!

    C. Gomez

    Many political liberals and people of faith are especially outspoken in support of immigrant rights and access to citizenship for those in the U.S. illegally. I am a member of these two groups, but I believe that immigrants should be here as a result of democratically determined national policy, not because powerful economic interests in the U.S. and Mexico are well served by the oppressive circumstances that produce immigrants. I believe, to paraphrase Intel President Andy Grove, that we are a country not just a marketplace.

    There are a number of reasons people of faith and people on the left support immigrant rights, but they have two things in common that motivate them on this issue. Both have deep concern for the underdog and both believe immigrants will be a source of new support for their causes.

    For a religious person welcoming the illegal immigrant may seem the right thing to do. Mass illegal immigration into our country, however, creates a safety valve that perpetuates the power of autocratic governments. The challenge to religious groups wanting to help immigrants is to find effective ways to attack root causes. Good Samaritans who risk prison and fines of $500,000 for taking illegal immigrants to the hospital are doing necessary acts of charity, but they need to realize they are putting a band-aid on the problem. Concerned religious people should picket the employers who hire and exploit illegal immigrants. They should also lobby for enforcement of employer fines. U. S. employers who violate immigration laws and hire illegal immigrants have largely done so with impunity. As jobs for illegal immigrants dry up here, immigrants will return home and their governments will have to begin to be responsive to their needs, especially if churches joins with others to develop the right to unionize across national borders.

    It is possible to be a person of faith and agree with the conclusions of the 1986 Select Commission on Immigration which called immigration „out of control.‰ The Commission was chaired by Father Theodore Hesburgh, a respected religious leader and former president of Notre Dame University. The Hesburgh Commission warned of special interests, including religious ones, who did not see a need to limit immigration, and this situation continues today.

    Liberals who over the decades have championed American workers now seem more concerned about illegal immigrants. Following hurricane Katrina there was an influx of immigrant workers in to New Orleans and many local people found they were not the ones hired to rebuild their community. Where is the action on behalf of displaced New Orleans workers?

    Championing illegal immigrants may be based on an altruistic motive of helping the underdog, but there is also a self-serving motive. Both liberals and religious groups believe the influx of immigrants is a source of new blood. Churches seek to grow by welcoming religious immigrants. And neither political party, though the Democrats are more united on this than the Republicans, wants to alienate a huge potential voter bloc. Offering citizenship to get votes is a slap in the face of all citizens.
    Liberals hope a new progressive movement energized by recent immigrants will materialize. History shows, however, that the very changes progressives want are less likely to happen when immigration is at its highest. The lack of gains made by freed slaves after the Civil War can be traced in part to the growing availability of immigrant labor. The U.S. today would probably be a more progressive society offering programs like universal health care if the U.S. had had a strong union movement like Western Europe. The U.S. has never had a labor movement, however, as strong as those in Europe in part because workers here who attempted to organize could always be replaced, and were, by the next immigrant wave. It is no coincidence that the most progressive period in American history-- from the New Deal to the Great Society, the 1930s to 1960s -- was also the period that immigration was the lowest.

    Both liberals and people of faith have a combination of admirable and self-serving reasons for championing illegal immigrants. Unfortunately the long-term result of their support of mass immigration will be more poverty and fewer progressive gains on both sides of the border.

    No one can campaign using the word "amnesty," that's for sure. But I think they can and should promise "Americanization" for immigrants already in the country. The reason immigrants come to the country despite laws against their entry is that market forces, the law of supply and demand, is stronger than man-made rules. There is a demand for their labor. Until conservatives recognize that this is a market-driven force, they will continue to use legalistic arguments which barely mask the xenophobia and fear that underlie it. In the past, we had several sources of low-cost labor--blacks and women could be paid less and would do the thankless jobs that always need doing. With those two sources of cheaper labor gone, our choice is to import labor, export jobs, or raise the costs of everything. The market has spoken in favor of importing labor. Deal with it, free-marketers. And try not to blame the victim.

    By your own definition, you are NOT an American.

    Sam Rodriquez said -
    "What does it mean to be an American? To me, an American is any individual who looks at the documents of our founding fathers, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution, and says, "I fundamentally adopt these values. These are my values. I adhere to these values. These are mine." It's not the color of your skin. It's not the language. It's not your accent. It's not your vernacular. It's whether or not those values become your values. That's an American. I call it the American covenant."

    [note, you left out: 'It is not your religion.']

    "SAM RODRIGUEZ: I'm a Christian first.
    BILL MOYERS: Yeah?
    SAM RODRIGUEZ: I'm an American second."

    Thus, you are not an American.

    You throw around the word "Pluralism" as if you mean the same egalitarian freedoms of American founding documents, but what you really mean is not true pluralism, where all are free to believe, to worship, and to practice their own faith, under the law. You mean CHRISTIAN PLURALISM.

    ALL EVANGELICALS, by definition, believe that they have elite access to truth, and that they should therefore arrogantly convert others. Thus, evangelicals can not accept the fundamental values of the United States of America, without a traitorous contradiction.

    American values must precede all other ideological commitments. Anyone who claims loyalty to their religion before this nation can not truly understand the values of this country.

    Thus if you put your religious identity before your American identity, then you are not an American. To claim otherwise is the deepest form of treachery.

    Just ask any Islamic terrorist.

    I admire Rev. Rodriguez for his convictions. The following comments are somewhat disjointed, so please bear with me. I know it can be said that these are issues that can divide us, but like it or not, they are issues.
    Until recently, I never understood what the furor was about immigration. I thought it was the same old story of "wanting to keep America white." I didn't know that there were 10 million or more illegal immigrants, with the majority being Hispanics. Why should anyone support illegal entry of any group? What is it about being an African-American that makes it assumed that there would be a "natural" alliance for such an issue? The sheer numbers of any single group immigrating to America, either illegaly or legally, do effect African-Americans in many ways. We can see where support by African-Americans on the illegal immigration issue would benefit Hispanics, but how does it benefit us? Moreover, our history is not the same. African-Americans have no "country" to go back to. That's why a continent defines African-Americans, not a country (i.e., Mexican-American). Moreover, many African-Americans see racism within the Hispanic community. Dark Hispanics seem to be at the bottom of the economic & social scales in Latin American countries. Lighter-skinned Hispanics, seem to have the same "whiteness" issues as whites in America. We have not seen support by large numbers of Hispanics concerning non-Hispanic immigration. Where is the Hispanic support for Haitians who come into the country? Also, we see in Florida, where in some cities, African-Americans are "aliens" in their own country because the signs, etc., are in Spanish, and their concerns don't seem to be a major concern of the Hispanic majority. Because the Hispanic migration will only continue and increase, some African-Americans wonder where we will be in 20-30 years. And when you discuss pure numbers, then Hispanics will outnumber African-Americans soon, if they have not already. Again, how will that demographic effect us? Every right, advancement, etc., gained by African-Americans also went to Hispanics if only by the default of coming under the heading of "minority." Some African-Americans feel that we've done our part and must continue to work on issues. Some do not see where immigration is one of those issues.

    Right now these are only questions/insights. I don't have any answers. I'm not even sure what my opinions are. I am suggesting, however, that Rev. Rodriguez consider these points as well. I'd be interested in his views. E. Madyun

    Speaking of "rule of law" what about the FACT that many in this administration have broken virtually every National, International, Constitutional law & treaty on the books?

    Told bald faced lies to take this country into an unjust and illegal occupation of aggression, committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, TREASON!

    THIS is what we need to be worried about not whether or not 3% of population mostly here to work are here illegally or not, that is the LEAST of our problems.

    not once in all the comments did i hear the "rule of law" mentioned.

    not suprising ...... this is a liberal speaking.

    liberalism is a feelings-based ideology.
    1. there is no set of
    moral absolutes w
    / liberals

    2. there is no
    judgement, they
    only want to be
    recognized for
    their inten-
    ions. not the
    bad out-

    3. intellectual justi-
    fication, the
    final step after
    the above steps
    1 and 2.

    america will never accept the illegal aliens who have
    prevailed by violating US law and and then state
    that they are angry at having not enough entitle-
    ment benefits, indeed,
    complaining that they are
    now being discriminated against. america is angry
    because illegals represent
    the collapse of the rule of
    law. amnesty celebrates the law-breaking, and all this done in-the-name-of
    liberal fairness, kompassion, and tolerance...... the liberal drum-chant without the rule-of-law.

    hispanic activists who em
    brace the current agenda
    will find themselves being given the left
    foot of fellowship by the american people .......
    sacraments, novenas, the blessed virgin and all.
    lawlessness couched in the
    language of the church and jesus christ is still criminal activity..... and
    the activists and those who
    they champion really do prove that they do not have any respect for the american nation or its laws.

    justice... ok, you want it,
    practice it.... obey the law.

    the cultural elites and
    intellectuals who lead the
    illegals are infused with
    the condescending arrogance
    that lets them believe that
    all of america will finally
    see the nuance that only
    elites are able to discern right now ...... that nuance is accepting lawlessness...... we do not accept that

    Sam d mentioned in his message posted February 9, 2008, that he "was shocked some years ago when I worked in an anti-poverty program and heard the most racist talk I'd ever heard in my life coming from blacks and hispanics aimed at each other. Underneath, they hated each other. That, I think, explains the Hispanic Hillary vote more than anything."

    When Bill Moyers interviewed the Rev. Rodriquez, the latter mentioned race-related feelings among Latinos as being related to economic issues and misconceptions.

    From my perspective, one cannot simply view Latinos as being a single group and being of a single mind about any issue.
    We are from differing cultures and countries.

    For the most, we are not as concerned about race as much as color-- whiteness is considered more positively than black. That might explain a portion of the support that Hillary Clinton has among many latinos. However, part of the problem lies with Obama-- he is not known well among latinos and has not done as much to reach out to us as Clinton has over the years. The Clintons have a proven track record among us; Obama does not-- just words and promises of change.

    Blacks in this country were not as willing to march and side with Latinos regarding the immigration and amnesty issues not only because of job and economic related competition issues, but also older blacks remember that initially there were times early on in the civil rights movement during the 1960s that latinos were not as supportive as they are now-- both groups now see the value of cooperating and the benefits that can result.

    Latinos, in general, do not hate black people (nor do blacks hate latinos-- though sometimes racially-charged language will occur) because many of us are of many different hues of white, black and brown. Rather, there are times when when latinos and American blacks will have differing agendas regarding issues and fears we have in common.

    Correct Judith, and Atheist & Agnostics represent approx. 15-20% of the population not the paltry less than 9% they try to make you believe.

    In fact since 1990 when Christianity was at its peak in this country (86%) their ranks have dwindled by at least 1% per year every year, they are currently hoovering around 70% and thankfully still falling.

    If current rates of attrition continue then Atheist/Agnostics will outnumber Christians by or before 2040.

    I agree with everything you stated except the
    ""to our malls and now we have gangs, drugs, rudeness, violence""
    The vast majority of that comes from US citizens, people that were born here not "illegal aliens".

    In fact if not for these people fleeing over our boarders largely BECAUSE of US policy in Mexico which a mix of their corrupt government taking advantage of the people while our corrupt government takes advantage of their corrupt government.
    Basically we are largely to blame for them being forced to come here.
    If not for these poor people trying to make a living then the US economy which is already on the brink of total collapse as it is would be worse off.

    These people are doing the jobs that no American would do anyway which is saving many farmers from bankruptcy and saving all Americans $$ at the grocery store and elsewhere.

    Bottom line is that the roughly 25% of the American population that are religious zealots, the young earth creationist, hard core evangelicals etc that are quite literally insane are FAR more of a problem in this country than that measly 3% or so of the population that are here illegally and most of that 3% are harming no one in anyway.
    Think about it, we have a substantial portion of our population that flatly refuses to accept the overwhelming fact of Evolution, or that the Earth is clearly far older than 6000 years, that they are going to be "raptured" up while the rest of us burn in hell, that some mythical sun god waved his magic wand and spoke a few words of Hebrew and poof the Earth as it is today was magically created in whatever a god week is.
    These people are full blown delusional psychotics and they are walking the streets freely.

    Mr.Rodriguez doesn't leave much room in this new government he talks about, for agnostics and atheists, does he? I am very troubled by these leaders who so easily discard our precious separation of church and state.
    On the subject of amnesty, in many of our towns that attract illegals, the taxpayers have been footing the bill on all of their ER and other hospital visits...some towns have seen this rise into millions of dollars. There is no way I can make that right, in my mind. It's simply not fair to the people who have lived and worked and saved, all their lives! We have plenty enough of our own people to help.
    One more thing that really upsets me, is that, just as Rodriguez has stated, they vote from the pulpit. WHY should we as a country, suddenly say, OK, you people can overturn all the work we've done over the years to further a woman's choice concerning her own can turn back the strides we've made for gay rights AND equality, including marriage rights, etc. Why should we as a country, welcome that? Sure, come to our malls and now we have gangs, drugs, rudeness, violence...believe me, that may sound very predjudiced to some, but this is what I see every day. Should I turn a blind eye, and pretend that it's not happening?? I am not ready to hand over our country, and I HOPE that the majority isn't, either!

    The biggest problem with immigration is that it is a subheading for a much larger problem – OVERPOPULATION! Too many hogs at the trough!

    The argument is that these people take jobs Americans don’t want. And that is, for the most part, true. The scary thing is they are going to work for a company that is broke. The name of that company is the USA who has only survived this long because he has had a couple of drunken bankers named China and Japan. How would you like to have a trillion and a half dollars drawing 3% interest while the value of those dollars has dropped 30%. Those numbers may be over or understated but the gist of the matter is true. The Ponsi game of big government, big corporations and Wall Street has run it course.

    Hard times are ahead for the US economy and more illegal labor is not the answer. They are here because they can make more than at home and “at home” pays better than China and India. I don’t think we want a bunch of unemployed immigrants on the dole and I don’t think they want that either. They will go home unless the dole here is better than work or the dole at home.

    Borrowing a 150 billion to throw at a voting public is typical of our American politicians
    and yet another reason our tit is in the present wringer.

    There is no magic answer to our economic woes. The pie is getting smaller and everyone will get a smaller piece including big brother and corporate America. That is what a politician needs to be selling and I have not heard it yet. I don’t think I will either.

    I committed a crime last night. I am housesitting and I stole a movie gift card from my hosts, drove their car to the mall without permission (My license has expired because I had to sell my car.)
    and saw "There Will Be Blood" with superb performances by Paul Dano and Daniel Day Lewis.
    I made it back safely but was frightened by 3 prowlers ransacking an Hispanic car while the little family lay on their bellies in the wet grass, hands cinched behind their backs. Two of them looked like pre-teens. When I got home Bill was on and I was startled by the resemblance between Rev. Sam Rodriguez and Rev. Eli Sunday (Paul Dano). Both are healers with a taste for power and a hand in the collection plate. (Am I prejudiced? Read on and see.)I recommend the film highly, and like Bill Moyers I'd enjoy a conversation with Samuel.
    Samuel says the U.S. is and should be tolerant and diverse, and I agree. He says people of good will religious or not can cooperate to make things better, and I agree. He doesn't want to risk a state religion like Mike Huckabee, but he seems to think church somehow makes people better generally, and I disagree. Mike Huckabees' followers were shown to be really ignorant of their candidate's allusions to the Bible in an NPR announced survey and I'm not surprised. I think most church goers use their religion as a refuge for anti-social beliefs incompatible with Christ's teachings and are purposely ignorant of the Bible except for a few hateful passages suiting their needs. Churches as institutions then seem to foster ignorance and hate, and I've thought about why that is so. (I'm not lumping Hispanic believers in here because I haven't had enough contact to say, so I'll allow that they may be more progressive and socially conscious as a group.)What I think is that Mr. Charlie (the archetypal paternal company town owner/ successor to the slave master/who organizes and pays the Klan or Contras or Blackwater) would have his heart warmed by the state of America's churches. He would lick his chops over the divide between Black Christians and Hispanics.
    You see Samuel, Amerika already has a state religion called Corporate Capitalist Ideology, and anyone who deviates from its needs is toast. God is Money and Money is God! Churches are tolerated as means of social control and letting off steam.
    The next President and every President is a Super Mr. Charley, and if he, or now she, can't handle it they're gonna be shot in the head like Benezir Bhutto ("bullet sickness"). Church is just a way to divide up the chickens and keep them pecking at one another. Until we get rid of the Oligarchy that runs Mr. Charlie that's just the way its gonna be, God belief or no God belief.
    The government can't reach into the afterlife so it's pointless to discuss that part of religion in relation to politics and struggle. Every person has a unique insides to his or her head I guess.
    The reason people come to the United States results from the Oligarchy's quest for Empire (NAFTA, free trade, hegemony, wars and so forth). This is so well stated by Peter Iadicola Feb. 9 @ 1:43 pm that I need not review it.
    People flow like water across the face of the Earth. John McCain can build walls until we run out of money, and Hillary Clinton can deny driver's licenses until the road is piled with hit and run wrecks and that will not change. I think Barack Obama is too wise for the "bullet sickness" so he is ready to obey.
    What I mean to say to you Samuel is that a voting block is an illusion, and that it will not lead to acceptance in a land of scarcity. I think Ron Paul is an idiot, but he was right in one way:"We should get out of other people's business and take care of our own." (There was no danger of that happening, or the IRS or Fed falling were Paul in power because of the "bullet sickness.")
    We are facing an impending world famine according to Lester Brown in "Plan B 3.0" and other sources.Anyone without "plenty money" will be hungry. This is the second part of what Al Gore was saying. Already I have cried over the churches in N.C. praying for rain, for I know either there is no God, or that God doesn't work that way.
    Samuel, you are an American like me, born here. Why are we more entitled than the new water flowing in? It's one planet. But I must submit right now that you don't have to get into a church to resist oppression by the Oligarchy of our state religion. In fact, churching will only create unnecessary friction, delay and waste of resources. Believe what you will in your head, in your home, as you pray in a quiet dark room, but remember that if there were a God He seems to help those who help one another. It is both your secular and religious duty to overthrow unjust masters and resist the imminent Deluge. (Votes alone won't change our horrible fate.)
    Oh, back to my confession. I'm an illegal too, for what I did last night, and I'm getting away with it. Just about every American is an illegal, whether they drive drunk, speed, take illegal drugs, pad their resume, cheat on their taxes, lie about where they live to get kids in good schools, cheat in school, and so on, and so. We're ALL illegals at some point in our struggle. That's just the point: If we all make a run for it they'll only catch a few, but without slaves and robots they will be screwed.

    Compassionate people everywhere are concerned about the many difficult issues surrounding illegal immigration. Mr. Rodriguez is impressive and articulate, with a profound grasp of involving the Latino community, but he left me with an uneasy feeling.

    PD's post last night nailed it down for me. Everyone should spend some time pondering PD's comments.

    Rodriguez talks about the potential political power of the Latino vote, and the even larger impact of the Latino/Black voting block. All power blocks, whether trade unions, farmers, the religious right, ethnic groups, etc., are of course important, not only for the nature of the issues, but for their impact on the outcome of elections.

    Obama's message is appealing because it is one of transcendance (finally) beyond an us-versus-them process for solving problems to one of recognition, inclusion, debate, and compromise. It goes beyond even the concept of parisanship and bipartisanship (you're partisan if you don't agree with me, a bipartisan if you do).

    We talk a lot about and revere the Constitution. Perhaps we should take some lessons from the process that brought it into being.

    I like some of what Rodriguez has to say if he is really sincere and is not simply grinding an Hispanic ax.

    One deficiency of his ideas is the lack of an assessment of what this would mean in the long run. Does he seek a standard of living equilibrium among all the peoples of the world? Does he believe "immigration reform" can mean only what he thinks it means? Does he and his Hispanic constituents understand what a failure to support restrictionist immigration reform will mean for their quality of life and standard of living in the long run? Does he think we can divide the finite natural resources of the U.S. and the world by an ever increasing population without detrimental effects for all? Where is his long view? Is he as myopic as most of our politicians?

    Illegal immigration allows American employers to exploit workers, evade employment laws, deny worker benefits and evade taxes. It also, gives tacit permission to the Mexican elite and government to deny their citizens rights, continue policies that impoverish the population and dump their social obligations on the people of the US who have a conscience and are willing to spend tax dollars on poverty and jobs programs. American corporatists have no conscience or loyalty except the bottom line. Illegal immigration is destructive to the US, Mexico and it is ashame that Columbia doesn't have an Elliot Ness.

    It was refreshing to hear Samuel Rodriquez interview and his linking social justice with the teachings of Christ. It reminded me of the liberation theology movement that was destroyed by the Roman Catholic hierarchy. Since he is a teacher of history I’m sure he understands the historical context of the immigration problem. The immigration problem is rooted in the historical legacy and continued expansion of our empire. All empires have to manage increased immigration flows from those areas they dominate. Although, the media and most mainstream academicians shy away from the term, our leaders in the first century and up until the anti-empire movement that developed during the genocidal war to conquer the Philippines. We now only can speak in euphemism when we speak about it. It’s what British historian Niall Ferguson that celebrant and apologist for our imperial parent and our own empire refers to us as the “empire in denial.” But, remember in regard to immigration issue, it is important to remember that we stole in the first half of the nineteenth century more than half of Mexico (Texas, California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming), soon after they fought there war of independence against Spain. I believe young Congressman Abraham Lincoln spoke out about this unjust war at the time. Our most recent pillage of Mexico begins with the debt strategy and the Washington Consensus during the 1980s that forced open markets, devalued currency to cheapen resources, privatization, and reduction in state welfare expenditures. Then the NAFTA agreement allowed for the importation of heavily subsidized US agriculture crops such as corn and wheat to further transform the Mexican agricultural system and displacement small farmers and small business sector connected to it. The large waves of immigration in the 90s ensued. Most of the immigrants are sojourners risking their lives to send money back to their impoverished families and hoping to return safely someday to be able to rebuild their lives in their homeland. The problem is not solved by creating the world’s largest gated community, but in ending the control and exploitation of other peoples through the growth of empire. Someday, I’m sure when decline has reached a point of increasing class conflict within the center, the word of empire will be discussed more openly. Let’s hope leaders like Rodriquez help this nation become educated about our past and present empire and the violence and displacement that result from it.

    Rhonda simply doesn't understand the problem. Most would agree with her comments about the poor who just want to support their families but that it looking at the problem from their point of view. How about looking at it from ours for a change.

    Does Rhonda believe our immigration policies should be based on what immigrants and aliens want or what the law says?

    Let's take a worldwide poll and find out how many folks would like to immgrate to the U.S.. Then we can ask Rhonda whether she is prepared to admit all of them just on the basis of their desires even if it means a population like that China or India and a population density like that of Bangladesh? Would she like to see her standard of living reduced to an equilibrium with that of the rest of the world?

    I, for one, don't. You can call it selfish, nativism or restrictionism if you want. I call enlightened self interest and it applies to every citizen in this country whatever their ethnicity.

    Hispanic and other ethnic groups misinterpret the mainstream opposition to amnesty. It is not an opposition driven by racism or hateor even nativism. It is driven primarily by a concern for the rule of law, the foundation of all civilized societies and a concern about unfettered population growth driven by legal immigrants, illegal aliens, their progeny and their higher fertility rates. American women have a fertility rate at about the replacement level; therefore population growth in the U.S., leading to another doubling by the end of this century, is solely the result of immigration and related factors.

    Rodriguez is probably right about the party that panders to the Hispanics is more likely to be successful. This is a disasterous way to run a country.

    Hispanics and others should realize that if we continue to divide our finite natural resources over an every increasing population there will be less for every one. Is that what they want? If not, they should get on board and support any candidate who takes a restrictionist point of view, seeking to stabilize our population rather than placing huge new demands on water, petroleum, coal, arable land, and other minerals. What are they thinking?

    Why is it no one is taking the long view of this? What will our country, our quality of life, and standard of living be like 50, 100 or 200 years from now if we continue to depend on population-driven economic growth that cannot be sustained.

    I was so impressed by mr. rodriquez and his understanding of the dynamics of these various issues discussed. I didn't agree on all counts but there was depth and reason I wasn't used to hearing from people who claim an evangelical faith.
    Thank you for sharing this person. You pick the best people to bring to our attention. thank you bill.

    this was a ridiculous interview; this guy was a reconquista dressed up in christian robes; 44% going for bush in 04 is a very flawed/overblown (lying?) estimate from an exit poll; we simply CANT let 12-20 million people get on a path to citizenship with all the benefits they will receive that that entails; a certain % should be allowed to stay but not all; its not racist to want our laws enforced and nation preserved

    A review of comments indicates a consistent view, that this is an emotional issue. Plus, there are 12 mllion "workers" & families in the addressed group that are not within the immigration laws of the USA.
    To me this seems to be a presidential election issue. Not much is done to actually deal with this issue otherwise.
    This election seems to be polorised around gender, race, and the generation gap, with emotion firing up the large participation seen in the primaries.
    The right, middle, & left factions are pressing candidates, while the candidates have been able to stay above the fray that might cost a delegate.
    Will Hillary & Obama push each other so hard that the Dem. party platform will result in such lofty, unrealistic, unattainable, expectations, that were the Dem to win, it would result in one term & out?
    What is meant by a candidate's assertion of "I will get us out of Iraq"? If oil supplies are interrupted, what will you do? How will you take the military out safely for our troops? What will you do if terrorist attact within our country?
    How will you handle the 12 million illegal immigrants differently than 1986-87 era?
    Where is sepcificity in answers to these emotional issues that the candidates want to generalize over so that the hearer hears the answer sought, but they have a loophole when they become THE DECIDER?
    Billy Bob 2-9-08 Fla.

    It makes me ashamed to be an American when I read the vitrolic, hateful comments like those posted above. Come on....if you lived in a country where you couldn't get a job that paid enough to live on, I'll bet you would do whatever it took to get to somewhere where you could earn enough money to feed your family. If that meant crossing a border, I would bet you'd do it. I'll almost bet those of you with the anti-immigration comments also don't want to pay taxes, don't want to help those real "Americans" who need a helping hand and think they are God's chosen people just because they happened to be born in the USA. Good Christians all.
    Reverand Samuel Rodriguez "gets" ut,

    Why is the tidal wave of immigration a good thing for my country but a bad thing for your country? Example, currently ten percent of the population of Central America and the Carribbean is now in the USA, many illegally. What if Ten percent of the population of China or India or Africa nations migrated to Mexico , for example, would the citizens of Mexico be allowed to be concerned about their country being transformed into a non Hispanic country . Would the citizens of Mexico like being called racist or nativists or xenophobes because they wanted to preserve their language, values and cultural heritage? If it was good for my ancestors to learn the language and assimilate why is it not good for you? Why are you so special and why must I accomodate your demands. In 1986 we have amnesty to millions of illegal aliens agianst the wishes of most Americans and we were told it would not happen again as laws would be enforced. LIES!!! We are being lied to again. No more amnesty. Enforce workplace laws and illegals from all countries will go back. read for better immigration info then Bill Moyers will ever give you.

    Regarding illegal individuals in this country; they are illegal, and there are legal methods of coming into this country and working. In the 80's I worked in a border state and hired many individuals from other countries. It was a requisite that they have a green card and visa. If they did not,they were not hired. There was no question about it. When the INS came to visit me they openly said, "Hey Bill these guys all have green cards and visas don't they? Because Bill, if they don't, we're going to fine you $10,000 and give you six months in jail, then try to get a job Bill!" There was not some big question about this guy is different because he is Mexican,or Canadian, or South African-What is going on here? My son currently works for the federal government, do you know how many people, good people, are leaving government jobs because of these kind of debates, and their inability to enforce existing laws? Do you think for one minute that I did not know I would go to jail and pay a large fine if I hired somebody without the proper credentials? How is this even debatable. And then legislation is being tabled, WHY? The laws are on the books. These are right wing not conservatives pushing this to get out of paying taxes and competitive wages, while waving American flags freom the poarches of houses bought with tax-free money. This movement reminds me of Newt's Contract with America-Hey Newt, we already have a contract, a Social Contract, it is called the Constitution.
    Reverand Rodroguez is a prime example of a right wing evangelical; if he was a conservative he would understand historical precedenta and Social Contract Theory of Government. And by the way we have that "great conservative actor" Ronald Reagan to thank for the concept and enactment of amnesty-in 1987 USA.That certainly stopped illegal immigration didn't it? amn

    Where shall I start? If I rob a bank because I can't pay my mortgage and feed my kids, do I get to keep the money?

    Rodriguez is an intelligent, charismatic man who is a great disappointment. He plays identity politics to the detriment of his constituents. He never mentions the rule of law, doesn't understand that he is in a position to explain to his constituents that their illegality is an insult to this country. Why doesn't he take seriously the anguish of ordinary Americans who watch their communities' living standards and schools' standards deteriorate with the massive influx of poor illegals. This includes the stresses put on local governments who must provide numerous other
    serivces to these people.

    Since it has become obvious that Latinos harbor intensely racist feelings against blacks, why should he expect that blacks will unite with them in a bogus "civil rights" cause? The loss of all the janitorial and security jobs held by blacks in Los Angeles, to Latinos, is proof positive of Blacks well-founded complaints about Latinos taking jobs from Blacks. The Race War in Los Angeles is there for all to see. The Latinos are driving Black families away from their communities through targeted acts of violence. The "leaders" know it, but refuse to acknowledge it.

    Illegal immigration is not about civi rights, and America cannot embrace open borders while we have a welfare state. I did not see any would be grateful Americans in those marches. I saw Latinos who wish to live as Latinos in America, with the benefits of citizenship. I saw people who had gamed the system, then complained about their treatment, demanding rights they were not entitled to. As if they didn't know they would have to endure the humiliation of living "in the shadows" after breaking into the country.

    As far as the poverty Rodriguez spoke of, uneducated people who do not speak the language (and don't want to) are doomed to live life at the bottom. Why doesn't Rodriguez and the other activists turn their rage on the racist Mexican (who appear to be white Spaniards), who will not provide opportunities to their brown brothers. The main stream press blames the Republicans and racist conservatives for the anti-immigrant rhetoric; the rhetoric is anti-ILLEGAL immigrant, and many democrats and supportive of their restrictionists' efforts. The Democrats, Liberals and Latinos don't want to acknowlege this.

    Would all of you who rail against undocumented Latinos call for the deportation of the thousands of Europeans who are here illegally? They are from Ireland, Russia and Eastern Europe, yet no reporting or commentary has been done about them. As an African-American, I can only conclude the omission of these "illegals" from the diatribes and venom is because they are Caucasian. I was inspired by Rev. Rodriguez, and agree that the fissures between blacks and browns is economic and based on a lot of misinformation.

    I'm an undocumented lottery winner but they won't give me my money!...That makes about as much since as "undocumented immigrent".

    These people if they have come illegally should be sent back. no amnesty. if they come back again they should receive the harshest punishment possible. The fence should go up. It should be guarded. Come legally ok fine. Come illegally. Your not welcome. Sammy just wants to pave the way for these people to come steal jobs and our tax money. it has nothing to do with God or righteousness or justice. Its theft of our hard earned money.

    Intelligent speaker. Nice to see

    If you are not an American Citizen and are here without a Visa, you are here ILLEGALLY.

    That is in the Constitution. You can't cross our borders and be legal, without becoming a Citizen. Period.

    NAFTA has nothing to do with it, it is our welfare state. "Come here and get free everything if you aren't documented".

    Stop the welfare state and entitlements and those who are NOT Citizens will stay away. Free Money to Humans is like Free Honey to Bears.

    Read the Constitution, read the Bill of Rights. It is in there.

    Why would any Country say "Hey, guess what, our Citizens will pay a portion of their salary to have you come hang out here, because we are cool like that!! And you get it for FREE!!!!"

    Americans are a point.

    Why should I work so I can pay for someone who is here ILLEGALY and get's FREE medical care, FREE housing, FREE food.....and whatever else?

    I have been in line behind someone who was "buying" steaks, fancy cereals, carbonated beverages, while wearing a fur coat and nice jewelry, paying with food stamps to take out to their Cadillac, while I was (at the time, out of work) buying a 25 cent box of macaroni and cheese so I could have two meals.

    "You were doing something wrong. You should have manipulated the system."

    Sorry. I'm an AMERICAN. I make my OWN way, through thick and thin.

    Guess what...I make a pretty killer mac and cheese now! And I am a PROUD American. I have Standards.

    So many of these comments are absurd and really rather hateful sounding. The big problem for some people is the hot button term "illegal" applied to undocumented immigrants. It might surprise you to know that these people have not done anything illegal at all. There is no law against being in this country without papers, without a visa. None. No law against it. No law making it a criminal act. There is law forbidding people/corporations, etc. from "knowingly" employing such persons, but the escape hatch is knowingly. That is why the only remedy the government lawfully has is to deport the person. That is it. The immigrant has not violated any law.

    The problem is when corporations say "we can't hire you without a social security number," wink, wink, go and get one, and sends them to places that they can get fake SS cards. Then the government screams identity theft. That's to scare you. Because if the person makes up a number and uses a name, maybe his own that is not attached to the number, there is no identity theft. That is why you don't hear of convictions for identity theft.

    Meanwhile the Social Security system is highly enriched by the money withheld from all of their salaries.

    This hate filled rhetoric heard now is similar to other anti-immigration periods in American life. When Italians and other south and eastern Europeans were "flooding" in to this country, the same type of frothing at the mouth language was prominent. Among others things Italians were called "WOPS." And what does WOP mean? With Out Papers!

    Geeze, folks, calm down. If we had stopped the "flood" of Italians (who usually spoke only Italian) before it reached a critical mass, we would not have PIZZA available on call today!

    NAFTA (thank you, George HW Bush and Bill Clinton) is what is driving the Mexicans across the border. The solution is to support labor and enforce labor laws so that Corps could not low-ball wages for all workers.

    America will survive this and be greater for it. It has always been so.

    I was shocked some years ago when I worked in an anti-poverty program and heard the most racist talk I'd ever heard in my life coming from blacks and hispanics aimed at each other. Underneath, they hated each other.

    That, I think, explains the Hispanic Hillary vote more than anything.

    The problem we have in the U.S.A. today is no one respects our immigration laws.
    For the past 20 to 30 years our presidents and Federal government have not enforced them. Employers break the laws when they hire illegal immigrants. They put their own greed above the constitution of the United States. From 2001 to last year the Republican controlled congress and senate did nothing to stop illegal immigration. How can anyone expect a person who is willing to leave their home, work hard, live in poor conditions, and live under the fear of deportation, to respect laws we as American Citizens don’t respect.
    We need to secure our boarders not because there are people who want to come to this country to work. We need to stop illegal drug trafficking, white slavery, smuggling of other items to avoid U.S. laws and regulations. We need to inspect all imports into the United States and verify they are safe and legal.
    We need to stop employers from violating the laws and regulations of our Country.
    If we do this illegal immigration will be much easier to control and eliminate.
    If there is a shortage of people in this country who are willing to work, then employers should be able to bring in and sponsor the workers they need. Employers have to make sure any of these works they bring into this country to work are not a burden to the society. The employers have to provide wages and benefits that will ensure: adequate housing, health care, for the workers and their dependents that come into the country with them. Employers must provide the cost of education for the dependents and workers. Employers must reimburse State, Local and Federal Governments for any and all social services provided to these workers and their dependents.
    We are a nation of laws; no one is above the laws of our nation. We seem to have been sold a bill of goods called “Free Trade” free trade is live the “Free Lunch” there is no such thing. Somewhere at some time someone has to pay for it. We need “Fair Trade”

    I disagree. I see this as the first real issue that blacks can actually agree with those "xenophobes" and "nativists" and can create a pan-American party that cares more about protecting America and securing it as a nation-state. No issue since the civil rights movement in the 60s has had the emotional impact and ability to realign the entire voting populace. Before naysayers like this guy have their way, I think that the Republican party should stay true to it's core principal of securing America first (let's be honest, it doesn't give a darn about restricting government's growth) and should allow this issue to gain central stage and completely redefine the two parties.

    Beware of the righteous for they have come before us. I have heard that Latinos would rather vote against their interest, than vote for an African-American because Latinos where here, in America, first.

    I'm with Steve on this one:

    "by: Steve Fought | February 8, 2008 09:29 PM

    This is nonsense. There are six billion people in the world. Are we suppose to let all of them in? Liberals have really been suckered on this issue. It's the big businesses that love illegal immigration the most. The people it hurts are the unskilled, native born workers. The very people that liberals should be defending!"

    this guy wants social equality but sounds anti-homosexual. as if homosexual marriage will ruin the latino community...come on. there are plenty of homosexuals in every ethnic group. he has a funny definition of social equality.

    this guy says he's a christian first before being an american?! that's so un-american! your country should come before your political party and your religion. and i'm not anti-immigration...i'm a product of immigration.

    Another in series of useless religious dialog that Bill Moyers keeps propping over and over.

    Hopefully, an atheist movement needs to start. and the first job will be to pressure Bill from yapping that same idiotic notions again and again.

    The reason the White evangelicals are against illegal aliens is because humans have a genetic evolved to be tribal so obviously brown is foreign to them and to be demonized. Some verses from 2000 year old story don't measure up to the current science and technology.
    Wake up people.

    Bill Moyers is a millionaire yet he keeps talking about social justice. What a joke.

    Here we go again...religion and politics.

    What happened to the Constitution?

    Do NONE of you want to follow the Supreme Law of the United States, that which is written for OUR protection?

    How do you so easily disregard the US Constitution?

    Why is "Personal Responsibility" so hard to understand? Because it means you may have to WORK to be Responsible, instead of just letting some government live your life and take care of you?

    READ the CONSTITUTION. ALL of the answers are THERE.

    Stand up, be the BEST HUMAN you can be, and the CONSTITUTION will back you. NOT THE GOVERNMENT.

    WAKE UP!!!

    Like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and other false Christian leaders before him, Samuel Rodriguez exploits people and issue for personal profit and power. Like those sham Christians, it's more than well apparent that he doesn't believe in Christ's teachings. For Christ never would seek to pit one group of poor people against another. Were Christ to enter Rodriguez's church, he would throw him out of his father's house as surely as he threw the money lenders out of his father's temple.

    Rodriguez and other Hispanic Evangelical leaders refuse to address the problems that lead to people from Mexico and other Latin American countries attempting to enter the US illegaly. He doesn't have a problem with the wealthy Mexican government seeking to avoid raising wages and providing more opportunities for their own people.

    Any true Christian wouldn't be blind to the fact that there is terrible poverty here in the US among American citizens, and those citizens are black, brown and white. That those who seek to rationalize illegal aliens being able to stay here and displace American workers, do the bidding of the corporate elite, corrupt US government leaders and corrupt Mexican leaders who are looking to profit by destroying American wage standards, workplace, environmental, food, drug and product safety protections. It is the reason the US Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable give untold millions of dollars to organizations like LA RAZA, MALDEF and LULAC, because they are provide a willing, effective blind to hide behind. When poor American citizens cry out for justice, attempting to petition their government to seek redress as the constitution and bill of rights affords them, LA RAZA, and the rest scream out "racist!" and "xenophobic!" in an attempt to demonize and dehumanize those American citizens, hoping to intimidate them from exercising their rights.

    Again, no true Christian would preach hatred, threaten, bully and abuse poor citizens who are trying to keep roofs over their children's heads, and food on their tables.. and I do not exagerate. The US economy is in shambles, and it's shameful that PBS, and Mr. Moyers as well, haven't chosen to spend time actually putting the truth about American poverty out there when they have the power and opportunities to do so.

    They also have the power and opportunity to report on the realities of for example, the great wealth the Mexican government has, and how it could easily raise wages, do more for it's own people. It would do so, were the merest pressure be brought to bear upon them. Media reporting on the Mexican government's hypocrisies, and that of some US members of congress and the president's willing indifference to it's own citizen's desperate need to work and survive.

    I was thinking this guy's for Obama when Rodriquez finally said it. But that raises a question in my mind. Obama is United Church of Christ, a fairly conservative evangelical sect, or at least not what I would call a liberal or phony one using tolerance as a cover for economic interest and globalization. Yet when I hear people talking sbout immigration and tolerance, that's what I think. I don't know his own affiliation, but he says evangelicals are defined by being born-again. There are in my opinion, however, two quite different kinds of conversion, one based on mutual love and deeply connected to self-approval, and the other aimed directly at selfishness in the name of the common good, but preserving and encouraging independence otherwise. The former Montesquieu would have called mere politeness and agreeable to a monarchy, but the latter is clearly a species of Stoic conversion, of which he says: "It was this sect alone that made citizens; this alone that made great men; this alone great emperors....While the Stoics looked upon riches, human grandeur, grief, disquietudes, and pleasures as vanity, they were entirely employed in labouring for the happiness of mankind, and in exercising the duties of society. It seems as if they regarded that sacred spirit, which they believed to dwell within them, as a kind of favourable providence watchful over the human race. Born for society, they all believed that it was their destiny to labour for it; with so much the less fatigue, their rewards were all within themselves. Happy by their philosophy alone, it seemed as if only the happiness of others could increase theirs." All of which brings to mind that other son of Kansas, and in my view the best president of the 20th century, or at least of the last half of it - Eisenhower - who claimed Presbyterianism by choice in his old age, (having been brought up in a Lutheran community, but a Jehovah's Witnesses houshold,) was a firm believer in the common good, referring to it time and again during his presidency, and clearly thought the so-called "Vital Center" Democrats self-interested fools, with which I'd have to say history is in agreement. "A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both," he said in his first Inaugural. If Mitt Romney considered himself an Eisenhower Republican as he said last week, he did precious little to make it clear, and if Obama is, he is doing a good job of hiding it, as well. Romney vs McCain could have been a reprise of Romney Sr vs Goldwater, but that never materialized from my vantage point.

    On the issue of the perceived political schism between African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans referenced by Mr.Rodriguez...maybe sometimes it just takes enough "bad" elected officials to spawn a vocal and active coalition.

    The power house duo whose presence coaxed press coverage of this event were the leader of the Orlando area Democratic Black Caucus and the head of the Orlando area Hispanic Caucus, together in a show of unity.

    Back in the day (1964?), I believe it was Sen.Richard Russell of Georgia who told then President Lyndon Johnson that should the Civil Rights act of 1964 be muscled through Congress, the Democrats would never “have” the South again.

    Because so many of the faces in the South have changed so much in just the last decade, that notion may well change in the very near future. To paraphrase another famous Democrat, Mike Mansfield, “The time is now. The crossroads is here,” not in the Senate perhaps, but on the 8 lane highway of the I-4 corridor in Florida.

    So much attention is paid to the amnesty question - just once, during a presidential debate, I'd like a reporter to instead ask: Why is it that so many people in Mexico risk their lives and leave their families to work here? What role has NAFTA played in driving more and more undocumented workers across the border? You don't leave your children and home behind unless you're desperate. If we're concerned about a flood of undocumented workers, shouldn't we look at the underlying causes first and foremost? This amnesty question is a distraction from the real issues behind illegal immigration.

    Let's do a little thinking. Why are they coming here?

    Perhaps, if they stood up and said "We should make our Country like America, we could STAY in our Country".

    Imagine that...a Revolution in one's own Country. Instead of feasting off the Established.

    Don't be a Scavanger. Be the Predator.

    MAKE your Country something to be Proud of. Fight for it.

    If you do it right, the way things are going here, Americans may be the Illegal Immigrants in YOUR Country.

    Make your Country "Of the People, By the People."

    We are trying to get back to that. Ron Paul '08.

    Supporting illegal immigration is the opposite of compassionate:

    Mr. Rodriguez seems to encourage, even celebrate, ethnic voting blocs. He also imputes his own religious and ideological leanings to a diverse category of people--Latinos-- with absolutely no discussion of differentials (e.g. class, education, geography, This is identity politics at its worst.

    It's true--and regrettable-- that a xenophobic, even racist, discourse has accompanied the right-wing and populist discussions of illegal immigration. While that is a simple fact, the facts about illegal immigration itself are anything but simple. It is a very complex issue and there are many thoughtful (and many not-too-thoughtful) ways of analyzing it at the level of public policy. I certainly hope the discussion of illegal immigration is not settled by way of an ethno-religious creed! More important, I hope that no one ethnic bloc "determines the outcome" of '08, as Rodriguez gleefully suggests the Latino voting bloc will. The notion of monolithic ethnic voting blocs carving up the map of democracy is one I find deeply disturbing.

    Yet you forget to mention the position that "illegal" means.

    They are here ILLEGALY.

    If illegality means nothing, then someone taking your stuff is OK and you don't need to call the police.

    Why do so many forget the ILLEGAL part?

    If I rob a bank, why can't I say "But I will use it for my family...forget the illegal part". Why won't THAT work?

    ILLEGAL is just that, ILLEGAL. Let someone break laws legally and then you have an unlawful society.

    Granted, that is WAY above some people's heads, but that is what happens.

    Illegal is Illegal, no matter what.


    It has been very distressing to read news stories about parents who have been arrested and taken from their homes Gestapo -style, leaving their terrified children behind. Their crime: being undocumented workers.

    Have we really become so heartless? I don’t think so. However, the continual noise generated by Lou Dobbs and other haters makes it seem as though Americans want nothing more than to forcibly deport twelve million residents called “illegal aliens”.

    Could it be that the prime motivation of those who spout such constant venom is to rid the country of our most recent immigrants, who are often dark-skinned Hispanics and South Asians? Such bigotry seems to be so compelling that they are willing to dispose of their humanity with various acts of cruel behavior. It ranges from frightening worker roundups to perversely influencing presidential candidates to do their bidding. These actions are increasing at an alarming rate.

    A great number of undocumented workers have been here for years working hard, raising children, paying at the very least, social security (which they are ineligible to collect) and sales taxes. In our spread-out country we have enabled them to buy cars even when denied driver licenses. Many were actively encouraged to buy houses during the recent years of easy credit mortgage lending. Their hard work has become a necessary part of our economy. Now these same families are being ordered to leave the country in a matter of weeks, not even given time to sell their houses in a poor real estate market. None of this could have been possible without the collusion of the federal government, so the current self-righteous attitudes are patently hypocritical. Certainly, most immigrants would be here legally if they could.

    Delving deeper we learn that our own economic policies, which benefit large American corporations, have often resulted in widespread unemployment and depressed wages in the countries from which large numbers of desperate workers have come. This is especially true in the Caribbean, Central and South America, and particularly Mexico, which is a prime focus of anti-immigrant hatred. What does it say about us when NAFTA resulted in at least 800,000 Mexican workers losing their jobs, and our response is to oppose their desperate efforts to work here so they can survive?

    Recently, I attended a current events discussion in which seventy participants were asked “should we throw out twelve million illegal immigrants already here?” All but one in the room replied “No”. Surprised, given the domination of the media by loud, aggressive anti-immigration forces, I wondered why these voices aren’t being heard.

    It is crucial that we do everything we can to stop this increasing destruction of people’s lives. Please contact all your political representatives. Write letters and send e-mails to newspaper editors and columnists and radio and television commentators. Talk to your friends and associates. Ask them to do the same. Protest in every way possible the cruelty of forcibly deporting people who came here for the same reasons of economic survival and freedom as our own families. We who have been so fortunate to be a part of this nation of immigrants can well afford to not only live but help others live.

    To Mr. Rodriguez an American is someone who believes in, and lives by the Bill of Rights and the Constitution- be they white, black, hispanic, asian, etc. Sounds good, but not after a certain diatribe of "brown evangelicalism" vs. "white evangelicalism". With so much race and partisanism involved in his speech, Mr. Rodriguez forgot about the fundamental documents around which he rallies. These documents were forged in the spirit of Enlightenment. Humanism. For as much as he threw around the cause celebre of Darfur, he seems to have forgotten it pretty quickly in favor of abortion, Reaganism, Christianity-above-all-ism... Now is the time to forget Brown Evangelicalism vs. White Evangelicalism-Evangelicalism vs. Secular. Pro-life vs. Pro-choice. Let's think of the bigger picture and make issues like Darfur and Palestine (by the way did anyone mention Israel vs. Palestine??) more than a hot topic. I feel that a stalwart source has let us down this evening. I expected more, not only from a revered Christian leader, but also from a journalist.

    "Religious pluralism" he says, yet he is xtian first and American second??

    He wants the Afro-Americans and Latinos to come what, defeat the "white folks"? Seems racist to me.

    This dude speaks so much racism that it is unbelievable anyone would listen.

    His religion obviously runs his life, and he would use his religion to run America if he had the chance. His "religious pluralism" is just a catch phrase.

    I am a Satanist, yet I respect EVERYONES choice of religion.

    And religion shouldn't be in politics. Race shouldn't be either. Neither matter as we are all HUMANS. Work to make HUMAN life better. And the best way is to GET GOVERNMENT OUT OF OUR LIVES.

    The government wants us grouped, as when grouped, we fight each other. As INDIVIDUALS, we can stand UNITED.

    This dude is a joke.

    Mr. Rodriguez states that he is a Christian first,a American second but from his words it sounds like he's a hispanic first, a christian second and a american third. I like the thought of being a chirstian first period.

    This guy names Ronald Reagan as a hero.

    That's really great: idolize somebody who set back the cause of civil rights 50 years.

    Wake me up when Bill Moyers quits giving air time to these right-wing nuts.

    Where the hell is the remote, anyway?

    This is nonsense. There are six billion people in the world. Are we suppose to let all of them in? Liberals have really been suckered on this issue. It's the big businesses that love illegal immigration the most. The people it hurts are the unskilled, native born workers. The very people that liberals should be defending!

    The issue has come to the sensible middle, where John McCain is now situated. Get some substantial action on the border itself. But to pander like Romney to the far right is to break with the Scriptures they make out they love: "compassion for the stranger in your midst." And for the poor as well. No one can blame someone for just trying to feed his family and give them a sense of hope. But to go on like the "Bull in a China Shop' Lou Dobbs day after day after day merely increases the politics of hate. CNN is irresponsible with all its increased air time to that air head and then glenn 'swastika' beck as well. "It must be that offences come, but woe to that man by whom they come!"

    1. Bush probably didn't get as much of the "Hispanic vote" as you've been told:

    2. A majority of native-born Hispanics want immigration status checks to give driver's licenses (source: Pew). Shouldn't the GOP reach out to those Hispanics who support our laws, rather than reaching out to those Hispanics who oppose our laws due to racial solidarity?

    3. Are there any non-corrupt reasons why the GOP should give in to race-based demands from "leaders" who simply want to obtain more race-based power?

    I've got thousands of posts on this issue at my site, and if you want to find out what's really going on scan my archives.

    Let me also suggest following the money.

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