Recently I found out about the “Tea Parties Against Amnesty” rallies that are being planned for November 14 in about 22 cities. I’m not surprised at all but I am extremely annoyed at the ridiculous amount of dishonesty they are disseminating on their website.
First of all, what’s this “amnesty” thing they are up in arms about? What we are calling for is Comprehensive Immigration REFORM, which is NOT amnesty. CIR would mean that people would be provided with a pathway to citizenship and no one is advocating that this would come for free (in time or money). Fees for applications, citizenship classes, and English classes are all things that immigrants are more than willing to pay for as long as they are given a fair chance at obtaining citizenship. So, is “amnesty” really the appropriate word when the millions of undocumented people in this country will be (and have been) contributing their fair share in order to get status?
Here’s really what’s going on – these “Tea Party” people are trying to spin the language around the immigration debate in order to scare people into being against CIR. Beyond than just twisting the language, I found the group has made up several ‘statistics’ and claims around immigration reform on their site.
For example, here’s an interesting claim (read: outright lie) I found looking at their website: “most polls how a super majority of Americans of every race and political affiliation oppose any form of Amnesty or path to citizenship.” All I had to do was a simple search for ‘immigration reform + poll + 2009’ and I found the following statistics:
1. 61% support legalization to undocumented “immigrants now living in the U.S…if they pay a fine and meet other requirements.” (Washington Post & ABC News poll in April of 2009)
2. 65% support allowing undocumented immigrants to stay and work and eventually apply for citizenship or stay as guest workers. (New York Times & CBS News poll on April 27, 2009)
I challenge Tea Parties Against Amnesty to provide some credible statistics supporting their “super majority” claim against immigration reform, especially in light of the fact that you can see the above polls from major media organizations that prove the contrary!
I think my favorite part on the site is where they invite “all non-racist, multi-ethnic groups to join the fight.” How nice! Minus the fact this whole operation is funded and directed by ALIPAC’s William Gheen, a man who promised to appear in the racist “Illegal Alien” costume for an interview on national television if invited. Oh and also minus the small fact that ALIPAC (Americans for Legal Immigration) is supported by The Federation for American Immigration Reform, a hate group according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, and ALIPAC is also allied with the Minutemen groups, who have been accused of connections to white supremacists. Hmmm, that quick background check doesn’t quite match up with their humble claim of being anti-racist does it?
I could probably go on forever breaking down everything that’s wrong with claims on their website, but I’ll end with this: I actually feel a lot more encouraged and optimistic about winning CIR next year after looking into this mess of an organization! While these anti-reform hate groups rely on disinformation to get supporters, our comprehensive immigration reform movement has facts, peoples’ stories of struggle and most importantly, concrete solutions & ideas for reform! Bring it on, Teabaggers.