Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The New Culture War

By Rinku Sen
July 20, 2006

In the ongoing battle over immigration, conservative rhetoric continues to escalate. It's racist, and it gets results. This year, more than 30 states have passed 57 laws banning the undocumented from receiving social services or pledging National Guard troops to patrol the southern U.S. border. Earlier this week, House Republicans in Washington staged a hearing about "cracking down" on undocumented immigrants. Republicans have been told to move ahead but avoid pissing off Latinos - their lesson from Proposition 187 in California -- but a little decoding of the symbols, soundbites and economic arguments they use exposes their fear of a browner nation.

Here, then, are the six racist myths driving the immigration debate dispelled.

Immigrants are not animals. Last week, Rep. Steve King, R.-Iowa, presented his proposal to Congress for a "super fence" along the border. "We could electrify it," he said, "not enough to kill somebody but enough to make them think twice. We do that with livestock all the time." If the problem eased, he suggested, we could open it up again and "let the livestock run through." Enough said.

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