Thursday, April 15, 2010

Anti-Immigration Legislation in the Louisiana Congress

[UPDATE: Read LatiNola's excellent summary of the legislation in question.]

It rears its ugly head again. This time, it's obfuscated by a barrage of legislative mumbo jumbo and thrown into a larger, more sweeping piece of legislation; but the intent is exactly the same: criminalizing charity and common decency. In fact, it goes much more beyond that and its punitive dimensions are simply unconscionable. It seeks to mandate immigration enforcement practices upon local law enforcement agencies and even seeks to prevent local governments from passing ordinances that some might consider to be consistent with "sanctuary city" policies. It prevents undocumented immigrant youth from being able to attend public post-secondary institutions of higher learning. In essence, it is an effort to codify a policy that quashes any hope of what is known as the "Dream Act." It resuscitates almost verbatim the defeated langauge of the immigration measures that were proposed last year.

These SOBs. When will they ever understand. My colleagues at the Hispanic Apostolate and at Puentes once again made the trip up to Baton Rouge to protest and oppose. I wish I could have gone with them.

That was the only downer to my day.

But I have every confidence that this mean-spirited and unenforceable piece of xenophobic trash will be consigned to the legislative rubbish heap where it belongs. My gut instinct is that this bill is so expansive, and thus so rife with things that will turn off so many particular constituencies, that it won't amount to a hill of beans. For instance, the inclusion of an unfunded mandate that employers engage in a costly verification process is likely to be met with stiff resistance from the business community, even if the members of this community might support other elements of this bill. Likewise, the non-profit and social services agencies of the state, including Catholic Charities, will oppose the "harboring" and "transportation" measures of this bill, even if it supports another part of the bill. The local law enforcement agencies are likely to chaff at the mandate that they behave like immigration officials, which can even make their jobs more dangerous and more difficult, even if they support an employer verification aspect of the bill. Local governments will look at the measures of the bill that tie their own abilities to pass ordinances or enact policies at the local level that it things is best for public safety and orderliness as an undue infringement by the state on local affairs. Etc., etc. For this reason, I think the bill is essentially DOA; but one never knows in the frenzied xenophobic Tea Party atmosphere we currently live in. I'm just hearing about this monstrosity, but I will certainly post more on it as I learn more about it.

Looks like I may have to mount my own little legislative writing campaign against this bill (HB 1205) once again. If you are one of my readers, please contact your state legislator and senator and urge them to kill this unworkable, onerous, and, I say, hateful piece of legislation.

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