SB1070 Update: Why haven’t Dems turned this into a slogan?

by David Safier

A CNN poll says 81% of Americans support a path to citizenship for immigrants who are willing to work and pay taxes. Here's the wording of the item:

Creating a program that would allow illegal immigrants already living in the United States for a number of years to stay here and apply to legally remain in this country permanently if they had a job and paid back taxes.

The number has hovered around 80% since 2006.

So why haven't Democrats come up with a simple phrasing to use every time the immigration issue comes up?

Something like, "Republicans want to put 12 million men, women and children in jail, then kick them out of the country. I say, if illegal immigrants are working and willing to pay any back taxes they owe, they should be allowed to stay in the country." I'm sure some good PR people could come up with a slicker wording.

Instead, Dems cede the issue, apologize, say we have to get tough on immigration, and on and on.

The result is, Ds reinforce R talking points, which makes everything the crazies say sound more credible.

Why should swing and reluctant voters support Dems who are nothing more than Republican-lite? Democrats have to offer a strong alternative, even when they agree with a portion of the Republican message.

There's a difference between being smart politically and being cowards. Unfortunately, too often, Democrats are political cowards

0 responses to “SB1070 Update: Why haven’t Dems turned this into a slogan?

  1. David Safier

    Well said, Donna.

    Tell me, don’t we already have a law against employing illegal immigrants here in Arizona? If so, couldn’t we turn around the SB1070 argument, “We just want to enforce the laws already on the books,” to say, Why don’t you enforce the law that goes after employers?

  2. David Safier

    Sorry, Gary, no hijacking. This discussion isn’t about the economy.

    Start your own blog. Write your own stuff. Ask your own questions. If you’re coming on El Blog, you’re expected to stick to the topic of the post.

  3. I gave you a strong statement: Employer sanctions. Comprehensive immigration reform will not happen without it and if Dems kept repeating it over and over it would peel support away from Republicans, who are only focusing on the immigrants.

    81% of Americans supporting a path to legalization for the people already here does not constitute a wedge issue. For those whom it isn’t their driving issue, it’s an amorphous and vague “good thing”, like puppies and rainbows. Republicans have a much more visceral message that pricks the tribal instincts and economic insecurity of American voters. But it’s a message that leaves the main cause of the problem, employers, alone.

    Talking about employer sanctions forces illegal employers to explain themselves to voters, who will know they are self-serving and full of crap. Not talking about employer sanctions means they can slink in the shadows and hope the issue will be eclipsed by something else so that they can carry on as they have the past 24 years, for another 24 years, at least.

    Let’s bring the illegal employers out of the shadows!

  4. I’ll offer up a slogan…

    “Barack Obama, tear down this wall!”

  5. I keep hearing talk of how the “Radical Republicans” are going to sink the economy even further, but tell me this, do you honestly think that Barry and Joe have done such a bang-up job with it? And if so, please elaborate on at least 10 occasions where Barry and Joe have successfully stimulated the economy. That should keep you liberal loud mouths busy until the next election.

  6. David Safier

    Donna, I agree that SB1070 has very enthusiastic supporters. But Dems have a wedge they can use, which is that a majority feel a moderate affinity for a path to legalization. I think that affinity can be used to soften people’s support for the anti-immigrant frenzy.

    If I remember correctly, a majority supported health care reform until Republicans began their assault. If the Rs had kept quiet and gone along because the majority was against them, we would probably have stronger legislation and Dems would be in a better position right now. Instead, Republicans hammered key phrases and peeled away support. That’s something Dems don’t seem to be willing to do. And in this case, Dems could do it without any dissembling, unlike the conscious lies the Rs told. They would be simply stating one part of their immigration reform platform forcefully, instead of deferring to the Republicans by making weak statements.

  7. I should clarify my comment above a bit. While a higher percentage of Americans support a path to legalization than SB1070 overall, a higher percentage of Americans voters enthusiastically support SB1070 than enthusiastically support a path to legalization.

  8. Can we please, please, please retire the phrase “jobs Americans won’t do”? By “retire” I mean “take it out in the desert and shoot it so that it is never seen or heard again. Literally the dumbest talking point in the history of politics. Why so many liberals think insulting the work ethic of Americans is a persuasive argument is incomprehensible to me.

    That said, people like SB1070 more than they like a path to legalization. But you know what people REALLY like? Employer sanctions. ‘Course Democrats will never embrace that because the official party position on immigration is the Country Club Republican cheap labor one. IOW – Jobs Americans Won’t Do! Too bad because employer sanctions are not only a political winner but the only real path to reform. Unless and until it becomes uncomfortable and expensive for the big businesses who employ the majority of undocumented workers they will continue to game the system. Why wouldn’t they? If you run a meatpacking plant and you know you can get an endless supply of low wage, scared of being deported, and politically neutered workers why on earth would you want that to change?

    The business community has had 24 years since the Reagan’s amnesty to get their act together and they haven’t.

  9. They can’t come up with a simple phrasing because there is nothing simple about it. Several problems here.
    1. If they have been in the US for ten years and working for cash who is to determine how much money they made? Do we just take them at their word that they earned $15,000 per year? If so and they have 4 children then they would probably get a refund. I don’t think that will go over so well.
    2. If they have been here for ten years and owe let’s say $3000 per year of federal tax that would be $30,000. How will the feds collect? My guess is not too many will have the ability to pay back taxes.
    3. Again, we’ll say someone has been here ten years illegally and is willing to pay back taxes and now he becomes a citizen. What about the guy who did it legally ten years ago and is still waiting to gain citizenship. Do we tell him you should have jumped the fence instead?

    Unfortunately there is no one out there who really wants to fix this problem. It is not popular politically and it will probaby take an 8-10 year plan to really deal with the issue. Each party has had the opportunity to enforce the immigration laws and none have chosen to do so.