Feinstein Calls Illegals Good 'Citizens', Lou Lets Loose
In all its cacophony and moments of absurdity, this morning's Today show segment on immigration was a supremely edifying example of the confusion, high emotion and complexity of the immigration debate. Matters reached their Alice-in-Wonderland apotheosis when Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California was shown arguing that illegal immigrants are good . . . 'citizens.' Said Feinstein:
"They pay taxes, their children are Americans, they go to schools, they're good citizens and they're needed."
This was in line with the fait accompli argument advanced by La Raza representative Janet Murguia. She referred to what she estimated as the 11-12 million illegal aliens in the country as "people are working in backbreaking work that nobody else wants to do in this country. We need to . . . understand that they are already part of this country."
"They're doing work others won't do" has become the mantra of pro-immigration advocates. Others, such as National Review's Rich Lowry, say that argument is is easily refuted on logical and economic grounds.
The morning's other guest was CNN's Lou Dobbs. On outsourcing and trade, I find that Dobbs' populism verges on demagoguery. But here, he was, if you'll excuse the expression . . . en fuego.
Guest host Campbell Brown acknowledged that Dobbs has made immigration his issue: "you own it."
Dobbs: "You cannot reform immigration if you cannot control immigration. And you cannot control immigration unless you control and secure your own borders. The rest of this is obfuscation and sham."
Dobbs denied Campbell's assertion that Congress is doing just that, addressing border security: "If you would like to tell me how they're doing it? They're adding no border patrol. I was talking to Gov. Bill Richardson of NM last night. He was promised 269 border patrolmen this year - he has seen none of them."
When Campbell plumped for one of the guest-worker programs, Dobbs fired back:
"The 'comprehensive solution' is utter nonsense. It's language that means nothing. The fact is that we don't know how many illegal immigrants are in this country. The estimates range from 11 million to 20 million. . . . [11 million] is being commonly used because it suits the convenience of the agendas of the various parties. Bear Stearns did a study last year in which they extrapolated as many as 20 million illegal immigrants. . . It means a shift of 6-10 congressional seats based on those numbers alone."
Brown then let her true MSM colors show with a softball question to Murguia implying that opposition to illegal immigration is veiled racism: "What are the racial undertones to this debate for many people? Is that something that worries you?"
Murguia was only too happy to be worried, alleging that there are "racial undertones, anti-ethnic overtones."
That's when Dobbs got off perhaps his best line of the morning. "The National Council of La Raza is talking about race? La Raza - what does that mean? It means 'the race'!"
Finkelstein lives in Ithaca, NY, where he hosts the award-winning public-access TV show 'Right Angle'. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org