Scapegoating Immigrants in 2008
by Matt Stoller, Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 01:44:02 PM EST
Racism is a real problem in this country. I know a lot of people want to think that we've moved beyond race, but what does it say when Hillary Clinton's campaign Chair, Terry McAuliffe, has the following exchange on NPR about immigration.
CALLER: I'm one of those Republicans who helped change the political arrangement by sitting on the sidelines, and if you want to get 10 percent of the Republicans, right now, to vote for Hillary Clinton -- and I would be one of them, and I've been a Republican for 40 years -- you do the following things. You eliminate your support for NAFTA, that was Bill Clinton. Eliminate your support for amnesty and wide-open borders -- Bill Clinton, I've heard him say it many times, and I believe I've heard Hillary say it also -- and you start getting self-deportation of the 20 million illegal aliens here that are taking the jobs, the wages, and the working conditions, and destroying them for working Americans, which I always thought Democrats supported.
TERRY MCAULIFFE: I couldn't agree more. We've got to shut these borders down. These people shouldn't be coming in this country. We need to enforce our border protections. We have to do something for the people who have been here for years and have paid taxes -- you know, we're for the people who have been in this country and paying taxes and raising their family. But for the people who have not been here, who have been here illegally and have taken advantage of the situation, we need to have a plan to get them back to the countries they came from, and more important, which is the first thing John talks about, we have gotta shut these borders down. I couldn't agree more.
... I don't care if you're a Democrat or a Republican, we all agree you've gotta shut the borders down. People who are coming into this nation taking our jobs.
We've got to have a plan to 'get them back to the countries they came from'? 'These people'. 'Taking our jobs'. This is straight up Jim Sensenbrenner racism, and an endorsement of the vicious attacks on immigrants we've seen for years (including a jump in KKK membership we're seeing). McAuliffe is a multi-millionaire, having profited handsomely to the tune of $14M from the Global Crossing fiasco, to the detriment of American shareholders. He's also a global elitist, hanging out with the Clinton's on a regular basis, as well as other world leaders. So in his case, immigrants aren't taking his job. In fact, it's a lot more likely that real immigration reform, which would address NAFTA and poverty, would cost him and his friends money. Or maybe he's just a straight up racist. Or maybe, as the caller indicates, McAuliffe believes that 10% of the electorate is composed of racist Republicans that will sit out a election where they have the opportunity to vote against Hillary Clinton. I don't know which explanation makes McAuliffe come out worse.
Regardless, Hispanics moved dramatically to Democrats this election cycle, and every political strategist worth his or her salt knows that the party that captures this block of voters realigns the country to their advantage. I hope that comments like these coming from campaign will see a quick disavowal from the Clinton campaign, and failing that, appropriate scolding from progressives and Hispanic leaders. Racism and xenophobia from Hillary's campaign Chair are not ok.
UPDATE: The Clinton campaign got right back to me. Hillary Clinton says that McAuliffe speaks for himself.
These comments do not reflect Senator Clintons thinking or her position on immigration.
America has been a beacon of opportunity to generations of immigrants and we need an immigration system that respects that heritage while also respecting the rule of law. Senator Clinton supports comprehensive reform that fixes our broken immigration system, strengthens our border security and sanctions employers who break the law. She has supported legislation that provides an earned path to citizenship while respecting the enormous contributions that immigrants make and continue to make to our country.
McAuliffe says that he speaks for himself, but holds the same position as Clinton.
My comments on a local radio program yesterday did not reflect Senator Hillary Rodham Clintons positions. Let me be clear, like the Senator, I support comprehensive immigration reform that respects our nations immigrant heritage and provides an earned path to citizenship, while maintaining strong, secure borders and respect for the law.