To immigrant communities and human rights advocates, having Mitt Romney as President is like unleashing thousands of pit bulls on the estimated 12 to 20 million undocumented immigrants living in the US. To racially obsessed Americans who think in terms of “us whites against non-whites,” and also for those who believe that their security, their jobs, the economy and even American culture itself are threatened by immigrants – Romney was their man.
During the primaries, among the candidates seeking to gain the support of conservatives, Romney had the harshest position against undocumented immigrants. He announced then that his policy on immigration would be to make life so miserable for the undocumented, they would have no choice but to leave the US.
While Romney’s “Self Deportation Policy” as it became known won him widespread support from anti-immigrant groups, it also caused much concern among immigrant communities and human rights advocates. It did not escape their attention that one of Romney’s main immigration policy advisers is the principal architect of Arizona’s draconian immigration laws which allowed state law enforcement officials to randomly question and detain for deportation those whom they suspect to be in the US illegally.
Of course in real life, police and officials are not going to stop white people and question them about their immigration status. Racial profiling will be inevitable and target victims will be Hispanics, Asians and other dark skinned people. Fortunately, the US Supreme Court struck down the most horrible provisions of Arizona’s immigration laws.
Romney praised the Arizona model suggesting that the same would be his policy. He also vowed to reverse Obama’s humanitarian policy of giving immigration relief to young people legalizing those who are below 31 years old and were brought to the US when they were less than 16 years old and had been in the US at least 5 years as of June 15, 2012.
Had Romney won, it is likely that he would have pushed for federal legislation that would make the Arizona model the law of the land. Imagine being a non-white US citizen and policemen, sheriffs or any other law enforcement official can stop you anytime and ask for your immigration papers.
Even if this kind of law can obviously be subject to so much abuse, including plain harassment by abusive law enforcement officials against US citizens of any color, a great number of white people supported Romney’s intended immigration plan.
Not surprisingly, 88% of those who voted for Romney are white. The 2% black, 6% Latinos and 2% Asians who also voted for him generally belong to the wealthier classes and are die hard Republicans. These groups vote according to party lines.
The Republican Party is known as the party of the rich because of its support for lower taxes for the wealthy. The party generally attracts doctors, dentists and other high earners. Ironically, it also attracts many poor anti-immigrant white people who feel threatened by newcomers.
With Romney’s unfriendly tone against undocumented immigrants, the Republican Party is now also known as the anti-immigrant party. Romney and his handlers figured that by taking a harsh stand against illegal immigration, the votes he would gain from the white majority would be more than the votes he would lose from minority immigrant communities. However, in fomenting alienation and resentment against other human beings, Romney got a dose of his own medicine. His gamble cost him the elections.
Alarmed by the prospect of anti-human immigration laws under Romney which would have serious consequences on civil rights which would set back significant gains – immigrant communities, human rights advocates and so many idealistic young people vigorously committed themselves to the Obama campaign. They knocked on doors, called people, contributed what money they could, helped young supporters to register and even assisted handicapped voters to go to the polls.
Their efforts and changing national demographics and more liberal “live and let live” attitudes resulted in a resounding Obama victory.
In gratitude to immigrant communities and to human rights advocates for their support without which he might not have won, Obama has affirmed his continued commitment to immigration reforms which will surely include legalization for some 12 to 20 million undocumented immigrants.
Now that Obama is on his second and final term, the declared partisan motivated purpose of Republicans in Congress during his first term of keeping him from being reelected at any expense including continually jamming the gears on his economic, social, immigration and other programs – will hopefully now cease for the common good.
With Romney losing the elections mainly because of his anti-immigrant and anti-poor position, Republican Party movers will now perhaps realize that they have to be more inclusive and sensitive to the legitimate aspirations of poor people and immigrant communities – if they want to win national elections.
For the good of the nation (and the world as the US is a super powerful nation), with the elections over, Democrats and Republicans should now forget partisan politics, come together and focus on just doing what is right. There should be no issue on the fact that undocumented immigrants are human beings – even if there may be issues on the most practical and humane ways to handle immigration matters.
America can be a greater nation if it is able to transcend irrational race conflicts and prejudices and set an example to the world by implementing humanitarian policies in dealing with poor people and immigrants.
(For a limited 4 day period, from December 3 to December 6, 2012, Attorney Laguatan will be in the Philippines to take appointments, give advice on new laws and provide possible solutions to complex immigration problems. To ensure reservations, please call as early as possible: PHL numbers 519-1470, 519- 1471, 899-9624, 890-1586, 0917 880 6471; or email [email protected])
Note: The California State Bar honors Attorney Ted Laguatan as among the top best rated lawyers in the US officially certifying him continuously for 23 years now as an Expert-Specialist in Immigration Law, an honor bestowed to only 29 US lawyers. He has the highest qualifications as a lawyer handling immigration cases for Filipinos. He also does human rights, complex litigation, accident caused injuries and wrongful death cases.
For communications: Tel. 650 991-1154 Fax 650 991-1186 Address: 455 Hickey Blvd. Ste. 516, Daly City, CA 94014 Email: [email protected]