8.22.2007

Sanctuary Cities As '08 Wedge Issue

Update: Through the magic of YouTube and bloggers like NewsHound, I just watched yesterday's entire Geraldo Rivera vs Tom Tancredo segment. You can watch it, too, here and here.

Ellen of NewsHound and others believe Rivera got the better of Tancredo in the exchange. I'm still not sure about that.

Yes, Rivera brought up good and reasoned arguments, but this issue--and the rest of the whole immigration debate--has little to nothing to do about who has the most well thought out argument. It's about the rightwing using very dirty and dishonest tactics in order to distract and divide Americans. And, as long as Americans are open to rightwing appeals to bigotry and racism, the Tancredos, Romneys and Hannitys of the world prevail.

An important question for Americans in the run-up to the 2008 election is: Do they even want an honest and intelligent discussion on immigration, or do prefer an issue that allows them and the nation to spew racism?

So far, it looks like preference is for the latter. But there's a ways to go until November of 2008 with plenty of opportunity for the emergence of a statesman or two. We'll see.

Sanctuary Cities As '08 Wedge Issue

I'm watching an incredible game between two of baseball's best teams: the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels.

These ball teams hail from cities which the nation will soon come to know as leading "Sanctuary" cities.

During a commercial I decide to see what the anti-Latino/immigrant topic of the night is on TalkCable. I click on Fox and there's Tom Tancredo battling Geraldo Rivera on Hannity & Colmes. The topic: the Newark slayings and immigration.

Rivera/Colmes are trying to make the point that it's wrong to blame all undocumented immigrants for the crimes of a few.

Tancredo/Hannity are blaming Newark and other so-called "sanctuary" cities for refusing to collaborate with federal authorities in identifying and jailing undocumented residents.

By keeping the conversation focused on the horrific slayings in Newark, Tancredo/Hannity kept Rivera on the defensive, so much so that by the end Rivera predicts that "Sanctuary Cities" will be the seminal issue of the 2008 presidential elections.

Meanwhile, Tancredo is totally in his element making the rightwing case against sanctuary cities. After all, Tancredo has been a staunch critic of pro-immigrant and Sanctuary cities for years.

I agree with Rivera that Sanctuary Cities will emerge as a major political issue this campaign season. It's already being used to tag Republican Rudy Giuliani as a liberal on the immigration issue. But more importantly, the issue will be used to paint the Democrat presidential nominee--Hillary--as weak on border security AND crime.

Sanctuary Cities as the Willie Horton of 2008?