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CIR Advocates: We Are Here, We Are United, We Are Determined, And We Are Ready

by Robert Gittelson

It seems that often times, when I start to think about our American political system, my mind inevitably and irreverently starts to think about the Marx Brothers. When I started to think about writing this article, I immediately remembered a line from their movie Duck Soup, in which Groucho plays the leader of the fictional country Freedonia. As the opening musical number concludes, Groucho ends up standing in line with his honor guards, who are all dressed in knickers that only come down to their knees. Groucho has his pants rolled up to his knees as well, and is holding up his cigar in mock imitation of the honor guards that are holding up their swords in salute. Margaret Dumont, (the matronly "straight women" for Groucho's one liners), walks up to Groucho and exclaims, "Good Heavens! You can't go with your trousers up!" Groucho then replies, "I can't eh? Well, they'll never catch me any other way!"

I apologize for the extremely self indulgent way in which I just introduced the topic that I wish to address in this article, which is the importance of making sure that those of us who advocate Comprehensive Immigration Reform do not end up getting caught with our pants down, when Congress finally gets around to debating that subject. It seems that the interminable debate over healthcare will mercifully come to a close early this year. Most of the political scuttlebutt assumes that the topic of CIR will probably come up soon thereafter, and heat up in February or March at the latest. Since that is probably an optimistic assessment of the political calendar, and since the mid-term elections are looming in November of 2010 - a period in time in which all legislative considerations come grinding to a halt - the window of opportunity for passing CIR will probably end in April, or early May if CIR has any chance at all of coming to a vote.

Make no mistake. The opponents of CIR, who are predominantly Republicans, (with a few misguided Blue Dog Democrats thrown into the mix), know this all too well, and will obfuscate, dither, and in any way obstruct this debate in an all-out effort to run out the clock. Therefore, proponents of CIR will have to hit the ground running, in a full throttle effort to force Congress to keep their eyes on the ball, and fast track, (if the past three years can be considered fast track - and unfortunately in Congress it can), this issue so that a bill can be considered before the political whistle blows and time runs out.

On a positive note, contrary to our dismal showings back in 2006 and 2007, at least this time around, we are organized and poised for action. Some very competent people are working for reform, and I am confident that we will be more than a match for the nay-sayers, Nativists, and Restrictionists.

I would like to offer my personal observations. For better or for worse, I find myself in the Restrictionist crosshairs. In early December, an article that I wrote on the economic perils of the CIR opponent's push to either fire or deport, (or if they could have things their way - both), all of the 7-8 million undocumented workers in this country, so that we could then give those jobs to our out of work "legal" workers, was meet by a direct assault on my ideas, (and my patriotism), by none other than Roy Beck, the Executive Director of NumbersUSA. Never mind what he said about me, what he said about our undocumented workers was very disturbing. I'll go into some of the sordid details later.

However, he basically tipped his hand, so to speak, as to what the primary "anti-CIR" talking point will be as they seek to oppose CIR this time around. In a nutshell, their plan is to scapegoat the undocumented for our economic woes, and particularly unemployment.

Certainly, this is not unexpected. What the Restrictionists lack in creativity, they more than make up for with their bulldog tenaciousness. They are going to grab on to the high unemployment numbers with their teeth, and snarl and growl, and basically lift their legs on the undocumented. Beck went on the record, continually referring to the undocumented as thieves, and at one point stated that the 7-8 million undocumented workers are, "the foreign thieves that stole their jobs." Nice. A week later, in a front page article in the Los Angeles Daily News, in response to my statement that, "Our community, the greater community of the San Fernando Valley, has over a million immigrants all told. It is truly, truly a tragedy that probably several hundred thousand of our neighbors and our friends and our co-workers here are undocumented. If you think of the United States as a melting pot, we're at ground zero right here in the San Fernando Valley." United States Representative Elton Gallegly, (known for his appearances on the Lou Dobbs Show, has a 100% approval rating from the hate group F.A.I.R., and is a member of the House Immigration Sub-Committee), R-Thousand Oaks, (which is at the west end of the San Fernando Valley), said "Congress must concentrate on ensuring (that) every person with a legal right to work in the United States has the opportunity for a job and does not have to compete against illegal immigrants to provide for their families." Gallegly might not be the "Ditherer in Chief," but he certainly is a ranking officer in the anti-CIR obstructionist army.

Well, there you have it, the gauntlet has been dropped.

I note that Roy Beck called me a liberal. Actually, all things considered, that was one of the nicer things that he called me, but believe me when I tell you that he didn't mean it as a compliment. I understood his meaning to be that only liberals would support Comprehensive Immigration Reform. I find that logic to be both flawed and frustrating.

The "conservative" wing of the Republican Party, (if a vast majority could be considered a wing, as opposed to the body-politic), has somehow fallen under the "mass-hysterica" conclusion that it is good politics, and a sound ideological principal to fall into that unfounded trap. Hopefully they will be found wrong, and their position will prove to be bad politics. I know for a fact that their economic arguments are faulty, specious, and ill-conceived.

Actually, I want to explore the concept of CIR, as it applies to my political leanings, since my opponents brought it up. When I was growing up in the 1960's, my parents were what I would consider good and loyal Kennedy Democrats. My father had been a sergeant in the army. We believed in a strong defense, and my early political lessons were about how the blockade of Cuba, and standing up to the Russian enemy made us strong and smart. Meanwhile, I was strictly brought up to believe that equality and human rights were paramount. I do not, to this day, see a disparity between those convictions. I find this to be a fundamental principal of Americanism.

While of course I was influenced by my parent's beliefs, I have, since my earliest memories, considered my political party to be the party of the individual with the best solution to the problem. I never adhered to the concept of party affiliation, because in my opinion, neither party had a monopoly on sound judgment. I didn't want to be pigeonholed into supporting any platform. I wanted to support the best ideas, and advocate melding them together for the best plan for America and the world.

My parents frankly thought that Ronald Reagan was scary. I myself didn't always support Reagan's ideas about economics, but I knew him to be a great man and a great American in many ways. When I say that I knew him, I mean that I knew him. I once was fortunate enough to sit and discuss politics with him for about two hours, when he was Governor of California back in the '70's. Reagan had a profound influence on my decision to register as an Independent, (as opposed to a Democrat like my parents), and that is what I have always been, since I registered to vote, and for the selective service on my 18th birthday. Now in 2010, Independents are more numerous than either Republicans or Democrats. However, back then, it was an unusual thing, as only 10-15% of voters were registered as Independent. I might also mention that my Independent status precludes me from being painted with the brush of certain other "Johnny come lately" Independents, such as the so called "Mr. Independent," Lou Dobbs. Heaven forbid.

Reagan was a man of great character, charisma, and wisdom. He too was especially strong on defense, but compassionately conservative on many human rights issues. Again, I saw no disparity in these positions. I must say that it concerns me deeply when I see conservatives try to wrap their restrictionism and nativism in the cloak of Reagan Republicanism. They are wrong.

I want to remind readers that first and foremost, CIR is about our national security, which was truly of hallmark of Reagan's belief in security through strength. In today's modern war on terrorism, security also requires a framework of cooperation not only between allied nations, but between our own various intelligence departments through the central hub of the Dept. of Homeland Security. CIR strengthens this effort.

Specifically, while I know that opponents of CIR have derided the recent House Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 as having 645 pages, implying that it would be just too much work to actually read the bill. In fact, one need read no further than the first page to figure that out for themselves, as it states, "TITLE I--BORDER SECURITY AND ENFORCEMENT"

However, the bill specifically addresses the exact situation that we found ourselves in on Christmas Day, when that terrorist from Nigeria that had been denied a visa from Great Britain, had paid in cash for his ticket and had no baggage, and whose father had warned us that his son had been "radicalized," thus landing this terrorist on one of our watch lists, was able to board our plane with a 10 year, multi entry visa. I refer to the following section from the bill:


(b) Contents- Each report submitted under subsection (a) shall contain a description of the following:
(1) SECURITY CLEARANCES AND DOCUMENT INTEGRITY- The status of the development of common enrollment, security, technical, and biometric standards for the issuance, authentication, validation, and repudiation of secure documents, including--
(A) technical and biometric standards based on best practices and consistent with international standards for the issuance, authentication, validation, and repudiation of travel documents, including--

(ii) visas;

(3) VISA POLICY COORDINATION AND IMMIGRATION SECURITY- The progress made by Canada, Mexico, and the United States to enhance the security of North America by cooperating on visa policy and identifying best practices regarding immigration security, including the progress made--
(A) in enhancing consultation among officials who issue visas at the consulates or embassies of Canada, Mexico, or the United States throughout the world to share information, trends, and best practices on visa flows;
(B) in comparing the procedures and policies of Canada and the United States related to visitor visa processing, including--

(i) application process;
(ii) interview policy;
(iii) general screening procedures;
(iv) visa validity;
(v) quality control measures; and
(vi) access to appeal or review;

(D) in developing and implementing an immigration security strategy for North America that works toward the development of a common security perimeter by enhancing technical assistance for programs and systems to support advance automated reporting and risk targeting of international passengers;

(5) TERRORIST WATCH LISTS- The status of the capacity of the United States to combat terrorism through the coordination of counterterrorism efforts, including any progress made--
(A) in developing and implementing bilateral agreements between Canada and the United States and between Mexico and the United States to govern the sharing of terrorist watch list data and to comprehensively enumerate the uses of such data by the governments of each country;
(B) in establishing appropriate linkages among Canada, Mexico, and the United States Terrorist Screening Center;
(C) in exploring with foreign governments the establishment of a multilateral watch list mechanism that would facilitate direct coordination between the country that identifies an individual as an individual included on a watch list, and the country that owns such list, including procedures that satisfy the security concerns and are consistent with the privacy and other laws of each participating country; and
(D) in establishing transparent standards and processes that enable innocent individuals to remove their names from a watch list.

Therefore, in light of this recent national security development, I would like to take this opportunity to paraphrase Lloyd Benson, in his Vice-Presidential debate with Dan Quayle. I want to say to Restrictionist conservatives such as Roy Beck, Jeff Sessions, David Vitter, Elton Gallegly, et al, "I knew Ronald Reagan, and all of you gentlemen are no Ronald Reagan." Frankly, they don't understand Reagan's positions on compassion, human dignity, and most especially immigration reform at all.

Ronald Reagan was a true Champion of immigration reform. Not only did he sign the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli CIR Bill, (the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986), but he repeatedly urged Congress to take up and pass the legislation since as early as 1981. However, even before that, we touched on this issue as part of a greater conversation about the important role of education as it relates to unemployment. When he was Governor of California, he believed in immigration reform, because it was the right thing to do, and the smart thing to do. He was frank and plain spoken. When he perceived that a problem existed, he didn't advocate ignoring it, and especially he didn't advocate obstructing a solution to a problem. For example, according to the Wall Street Journal, (hardly a bastion of "liberal" ideology):

"In one of his radio addresses, in November 1977, he (Reagan) wondered about what he called "the illegal alien fuss. Are great numbers of our unemployed really victims of the illegal alien invasion, or are those illegal tourists actually doing work our own people won't do? One thing is certain in this hungry world: No regulation or law should be allowed if it results in crops rotting in the fields for lack of harvesters." As a Californian, Reagan understood the role of immigrant labor in agriculture.

In his (1986) signing statement, Reagan declared that "We have consistently supported a legalization program which is both generous to the alien and fair to the countless thousands of people throughout the world who seek legally to come to America. The legalization provisions in this act will go far to improve the lives of a class of individuals who now must hide in the shadows, without access to many of the benefits of a free and open society. Very soon many of these men and women will be able to step into the sunlight and, ultimately, if they choose, they may become Americans."

Beck, Gallegly, and their ultra right wing Republican cohorts are attempting to scapegoat our current economic woes onto the backs of the undocumented. I find this political strategy to be both contrary, and a crassly unworthy affront to the high minded principals of Ronald Reagan.

Perhaps I can best illustrate my Independent leanings on this issue by remembering an article that I wrote back on August 26th of last year. After the passing on Senator Ted Kennedy, I wrote, "Senator Ted Kennedy was our most inspirational leader in this cause. His passion, booming voice, and larger than life presence had been sorely missed this year. Now that he has passed, we mourn his passage, but remain inspired by his words, deeds, and accomplishments. I will forever remember his impassioned speeches on the Senate Floor, imploring his fellow Senators to do the right thing, and pass his Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act."

It is noteworthy to mention that in one of his Senate floor speeches, he stated, "In many ways, our economy is more dependent on immigration than ever before. The arrival of new and young immigrant workers helps explain why America's economy grows faster than most of the aging European nations. According to the Aspen Institute, immigration will be the only source of growth in the prime age labor force in America in the next two decades. So America's choice really is between immigration and economic stagnation."

Perhaps history will recall the passage of CIR in 2010 as "CIR ASAP," or even "Schumer-Graham." However, to my mind, I will remember this moment in time as the deliverance of the Kennedy-Reagan Memorial Immigration Reform Act of 2010.

Clearly, the CIR obstructionists of 2010 intend to ignore the principals of great and bi-partisan leaders such as Ronald Reagan and Ted Kennedy. Instead, they intend to collude in their talking point, and the point that they will attempt to repeat ad nauseum is that in their opinion, the undocumented have stolen the jobs that they have been performing, and that irrespective of the consequences that could arise out of their politically motivated obstructionist scheme, they want to use the government as a tool to pry the undocumented away from their employers, and then give those jobs to unemployed legal workers.

I would argue that consequences have consequences. Before we go ahead and transform the economy of the United States, perhaps it would be prudent to at least consider what the consequences would be to our economy, to our deficit, to our allies, as well as to our society. I'm just "sayin'."

It is quite clearly a tragedy that so many American citizens are either out of work or under-employed in this economy, including, I might add, members of my own family. Perhaps I'm just naive, but I prefer to argue the actual facts, and let the chips fall where they may, because I have long advocated the position that the facts lay squarely on the side of Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

While on the surface, the elementary and frankly embarrassingly simplistic viewpoint of the Restrictionists on this issue might seem to make some rudimentary sense, I want to caution readers that the modern global economy, and specifically the American economy, is a little more complicated than these ideological enemies of CIR would have you believe.

The approximately 7-8 million undocumented workers are employed predominately in small to medium sized businesses, (which are exactly the business segments that will produce the new jobs that America will need to pull itself out of our current high unemployment recession). These Nativists would have you believe that it is in the best interest of our economy to fire and deport these workers, and give their jobs to unemployed citizens. Let me explain why this is a horrible economic plan.

The undocumented that still have jobs, are employed because they are among the best workers at their respective companies. During this deep recession, virtually all companies have cut back their workforce to their best and most productive workers, and by doing so, hope to weather the economic storm and survive. Again, at this point in time, almost all American companies are struggling to stay in business, and are employing the minimum amount of employees that will enable them to stay afloat. These remaining workers are experienced, productive, and have proven their worth.

In other words, irrespective of an employee's sexual preference, color, age, gender, or legal status, my argument was that if a particular "person" has a job in this down economy, then logic dictates that they are good at it. Any replacement worker may or not be as good a worker as that worker, but they almost certainly will not be as experienced at this particular job.

The unemployed workers in this nation are unemployed for a variety of reasons, sometimes or even often due to circumstances beyond their control. Many lost their jobs when their companies failed. However, many were laid off because they were not deemed to be among the best and most productive workers at their downsized companies, or perhaps because they lacked seniority. Some were fired because they were not good workers. The Restrictionists would have us fire good, experienced, and proven - albeit undocumented workers, and replace them with citizen trainees that cannot find jobs in their respective fields, and are theoretically willing to take jobs picking fruit, making hotel beds, or manufacturing products, until the economy expands, and they can get a better job.

Let's think about their plan for a moment, and honestly explore the impact that their plan would make on our economy. For starters, these replacement workers would have varying degrees of impact on the productivity of their new companies. Some workers might step right in, and seamlessly replace good and experienced workers immediately. However, this would be extremely unusual and rare. A few might be as good, or almost as good as the workers that they are replacing, but this will be the vast exception. Most of these new workers will be less productive than the experienced and good workers that they will be replacing, especially in their first year of training, while our business climate is at its worst. In other words, to varying degrees, on honest assessment would dictate that most of these workers could not possibly be expected to replace experienced workers without some level of productivity drop-off.

What will the loss of productivity mean for these businesses, since we are already in a tough business climate, and these companies were already barely struggling to make a profit, or to keep their losses to a minimum? Obviously, they will see a decline in revenue, and an increase in cost per unit. In the best of cases, these businesses, their owners, and their employees will contribute less tax revenue. In the worst of cases, these businesses will be forced to close. Make no mistake; at least some of these businesses will fail due to this Restrictionist game-plan. Of that, we can be mathematically certain. I can think of no probable situation in which these businesses will produce higher profit. Therefore, the result of the Republican Restrictionist plan will be lower tax revenues, continued and expanding unemployment, a longer recession, and less new employment from the small to medium size business segments, (who produce most of the new jobs in our economy).

Moreover, we will end up with twice as many people trained for old economy jobs, and fewer people trained for new economy jobs. This sounds counter productive to me. When our economy eventually does pick back up, (which will take considerably longer under this Restrictionist plan), we will reward these small and medium sized businesses by leaving them in the lurch, because these replacement workers will leave for better jobs at the very first opportunity. I wouldn't blame these employees for trying to better their income; I'm only stating an obvious conclusion.

Beck, in his attack piece, attempts to slant my position by stating,

"Don't you see? The estimated 8 million illegal aliens holding down U.S. jobs are SOOOOO much better than American workers. Better in what way? I would say the one way that illegal workers are better is that it is easier for companies to abuse them by breaking over-time, minimum wage, safety and even anti-slavery laws."

Here, Beck actually makes a great, albeit myopic argument in favor of CIR. It is only through a comprehensive overhaul of our nation's immigration and enforcement laws, and yes, through an earned legalization program, that we can improve our existing business environment, and halt the abuses of undocumented workers. This will level the playing field for all workers, citizen and undocumented immigrant alike. This is exactly the argument used by Labor Unions in their reasoning for fully supporting CIR in the first place. It is good that Beck recognizes that problems exist. It is too bad that he refuses to acknowledge that the problems should be fixed.

Beck's train wreck of an article then proceeded to go completely off the rails for me, when he started his racial attacks. "The pro-amnesty argument also suggests that a national community's jobs belong to people who break into the community and steal them rather than to the members of the community." Beck's further attempt at portraying undocumented economic refugees as "the foreign thieves who stole their jobs" is really inappropriate, as well as flatly wrong.

If Restrictionists could limit their arguments to the facts, and not attempt to demonize the undocumented through name calling and character assassination, we could have a much more civil debate, and they would stand a better chance of sounding well reasoned as opposed to reactionary. Likewise, were they to cease the use of pejorative buzzwords or phrases, such as amnesty and open-border crowd, it would elevate the level of their discourse.

I believe that Mr. Beck knows all too well that there are substantial and well defined differences between amnesty, and a rigorous earned legalization program, yet he continues to use the word amnesty, because he attempts to mislead his followers into believing that the undocumented are getting off scot-free, or getting something for nothing, which nobody is talking about when CIR is discussed by serious people.

First of all, the undocumented immigrants didn't just take it upon themselves to come here because they wanted to see the sights, and most especially and particularly I might add that they didn't come here to steal anyone's job, or for a handout of any kind. They came because they knew that there was good work waiting for them here (comparatively speaking). They knew that if they could get past the token security at our border, our economic engine would welcome them with open arms. Remember that up until only last year, we had virtual full employment in this country. Certainly that was why the security at our southern border seemingly was intentionally left so lax for all of these years, because we needed these people (and we still do). There can be no doubt that the United States government colluded with the American business community to turn a blind eye toward the undocumented entry of these "economic refugees," and more specifically to the worksite enforcement provisions of the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill. Therefore, the United States should ethically, if not legally, assume at least a share of the responsibility for the presence of these refugees. They came to us, and we thanked them for coming and gave them our most awful jobs, and they were grateful to have those jobs, so they started to make a life here. Do we now pull the rug out from under them?

The undocumented economic refugees might not be a fully integrated part of our assimilated society yet, but they most certainly are fully integrated into our workforce. We are, in fact, co-dependent on each other. We depend on the work that they do for us, while they and their extended families in the U.S. and abroad are dependent on the wages that we gladly pay to them. Does this co-dependence make us complicit in their presence here? Of course it does. We are fully complicit, and that complicity, morally and ethically, demands responsibility.

In my recent article, I ask the question, "Doesn't it make much more economic sense to keep the government's paws off of our remaining businesses, and instead have the government concentrate on stimulating new economic growth opportunities through programs such as job training for the unemployed, so that they will be prepared to re-enter the job market with improved skill-sets to assume the new economy jobs that effective legislation can help to achieve for our economy?"

Last month, in his testimony before the House of Representatives, Beck laid out his thoughts about how to "steal" the jobs of hard working undocumented immigrants, and turn them over to citizen trainees:

"Immediately begin the roll-out of mandatory E-Verify…. a lot of extra jobs can be opened up for jobless Americans in a hurry…. Agree to set aside the question of amnesties and legalizations. For now, Congress should just concentrate on moving U.S. citizens and legal immigrants already here to the front of the jobs line."

At the end of the day, I guess it boils down to priorities. I feel that we should be forward thinking, and attempt to give our economy every chance that it requires to expand as soon as possible, so that we can grow our economy to provide good and decent jobs for the unemployed through the free market, at no additional cost to U.S. taxpayers.

Mr. Beck, on the other hand, would like to see us deport the 12,000,000 or so undocumented residents, and give their "old economy" jobs to the unemployed, regardless of the negative repercussions to our economy, our national security, and to the millions of people that would suffer immeasurably due to this unconscionable plan.

Having said all of this, I want to calmly state that in point of fact, Mr. Beck did not actually say to Congress that we should "steal" the jobs of the undocumented. That was hyperbole, just as was Mr. Beck's characterization of my arguments. I would also point out that just a couple of weeks ago, I offered some praise for Mr. Beck, when I wrote:

"It might surprise many people to discover that even Roy Beck, Executive Director of NumbersUSA, in an on air radio debate with Kevin Johnson, Dean of the University of California Davis Law School, opened the door to "compelling cases," such as parents with citizen children. He estimated that there were 5-6 million undocumented residents with have citizen children that he would consider offering a pathway to legalization to, in the name of compassion. On the other hand, he pledged to kill CIR, so he will continue to be a pebble in our collective shoes, as far as passing CIR goes."

I continue to insist that we must attempt to put aside hyperbole and partisan politics, and try to work through a thoughtful debate on the subject of CIR by sticking to the facts. The fact that we have an unemployment rate that is over 10% in this country is an outrage and a tragedy. Nobody wants to see anyone out of work, and especially not our fellow Americans. However, I would argue that they are right ways and wrong ways to solve this problem, and firing and/or deporting some 8,000,000 loyal, well trained, and hard working undocumented employees during such a precarious economic time would be an extremely serious misstep, and we can and should think of smarter ways in which to create good and long lasting jobs for our fellow Americans that are so tragically out of work.

Now that we have a clear understanding as to where the Restrictionists intend to drive this debate, we have to be ready to drive it right back to the middle, which is where the workable, realistic, smart, and fair solutions are located. They are going to get on their high horses, and try to convince their constituents that it is the American way to step on the throats of our most unprotected residents, and pretend to be reverse Robin Hoods by stealing the livelihoods of the undocumented, and misguidedly giving those livelihoods to the economically unfortunate legal residents that they hope will vote for them in the next election. Scare tactics and scapegoating are the vilest form of political pandering.

Public polling has consistently shown that the majority of voters are ready, even anxious to have our politicians actually fix the problems inherent in our current immigration system. True, the reasoned arguments don't tend to grab the headlines, and the sensible voters are often not among the fanatical screamers. Fortunately, in our system of government, no matter how loud you are, you still only get one vote. We, as supporters of an actual solution, have to keep our representative's eyes on the ball. When they say things that are meant to be sound bites to their base, but that actually advocate nothing more than simple obstructionism and false choices, we must be ready to counter their statements with factual arguments.

I remind readers, as well as the Obama Administration, that 2 ½ years ago, when President Obama was long shot candidate Obama, he responded to a Nevada raid of area restaurants that resulted in the deportation of some 56 undocumented immigrants by stating, "We are not going to solve the problem of 12 million immigrants here, 50 immigrants at a time. I think this is much more for show than having a practical effect. We need comprehensive immigration reform." In his first year in office, as President Obama, he shifted enforcement tactics by auditing almost 2,000 company's employment records. This new tactic resulted in the discovery of over 14,000 suspect documents, and several thousand undocumented workers were fired. I would argue that this is still a show. It might be a slightly different show, but it is still playing to the audience. Nobody is going to solve the problem of 12,000,000 undocumented residents 14,000 immigrants at a time either, even if it makes for a better sound bite than 50 at a time. We still need comprehensive immigration reform.

Once again, I say make no mistake; the opponents of CIR have charted their course to re-election, even if it drives our economy off a cliff. We must stand with solutions at the ready. We cannot sit by as the New Year chimes in, and let the obstructionists get a running head start. I, for one, do not intend to get caught with my pants down, so to speak. As I stated earlier, the Nativists have dropped the gauntlet at our feet. I will not ignore it. If it is a duel that they want, a duel they will get. We will stand back to back, and march our twenty paces before firing. Hopefully they won't notice that their 20 paces to the right will march them over the edge of the cliff. My question to my fellow CIR advocates will be, "are you ready to back me up?" It is a rhetorical question. We are here, we are united, we are determined, and we are ready.

About The Author

Robert Gittelson has been a garment manufacturer in the Los Angeles area for over twenty-five years. His wife, Patricia Gittelson, is an immigration attorney with offices in Van Nuys and Oxnard, California. Robert also works closely with Patricia on the administrative side of her immigration practice. Throughout his career, Mr. Gittelson has developed practical, first-hand experience in dealing with the immigration issues that are challenging our country today.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.