Duane Roberts sounds downright Republican.
“Beware of the Democrats” warns the Anaheim Green Party member running in November for the U.S. Senate seat held by a Democrat, Barbara Boxer.
However, when Roberts explains his proclamation, he does not sound very Republican at all. He accuses Dems of being “far more aggressive” in
criminalizing undocumented workers than their counterparts. Them's fighting words–to both parties.
See, Republicans figure they have the immigrant-bashing market all to themselves, especially when you factor in this election cycle's Cinderella story, the teabaggers. Meanwhile, the Dems have always counted on strong support from Latinos, who might not take so kindly to Roberts' declaration.
So, where do you get off, Mr. Roberts?
“During the past week, Democrats in the U.S. Senate have been
introducing legislation they know won't pass like the DREAM Act in an
cynical attempt to dupe supporters of immigrant rights into thinking
that meaningful 'immigration reform' is around the corner if they just
keep voting this party back into power,” he explains in an email. “But beware of the Democrats.
They are not what they portray themselves to be.”
After attending college or enlisting in the military, along with other
requirements, undocumented students would have the chance to become U.S.
citizens under the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. Democrats added it to the defense appropriations bill, which requires 60 votes to pass, but it only mustered 56 on Tuesday. Republicans opposed the DREAM Act, labeling it amnesty.
Roberts claims Democrats who supported the DREAM Act were not “pro-immigrant,” but pro-war, in particular the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan and coming soon to Iran. President Barack Obama needs fresh bodies for these engagements, Roberts' reasoning goes, so undocumented
workers are being counted on to become his cannon fodder.
“The Democratic Party works incredibly hard to maintain this rather
elaborate–but completely phony–facade of being welcoming of all
newcomers to this country,” Roberts says. “But the harsh reality is that its politicians
have historically been far more aggressive than their Republican Party
counterparts in pushing for laws and policies criminalizing undocumented
- In 1993, Alfred Alquist, a Democratic State Senator, introduced a bill that stripped undocumented workers of the right to obtain a
driver's license in California. “The only reason why
then-Republican Governor Pete Wilson was able to sign it into law,” Roberts says, “is
because the Democrats which controlled both houses of the state
Legislature put it on his desk.”
In 1997, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) asked the Clinton
administration to continue funding a “pilot program” at the Anaheim
City jail where immigration agents were used to screen detainees taken
into custody. Roberts: “This program caused the deportation of numerous
undocumented workers with no prior criminal records for minor offenses
and traffic violations.” (The Weekly's Nick Schou wrote about Sanchez's
role in the Anaheim Jail/INS project, which her staff tried to cover it up: ocweekly.com.)
Last year, President Obama appointed Janet Napolitano to be Secretary
of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “When Napolitano was
Democratic Governor of Arizona,” Roberts notes, “she was a close ally of Maricopa County
Sheriff Joe Arpaio and lobbied the Bush administration on his behalf to
give his army of deputies the power to arrest undocumented workers.” (See the photo posted by Orange
Juice of Arpaio and
then-Arizona Gov. Napolitano at a joint press
conference: orangejuiceblog.com. Now check out the article from our Arizona cousin paper, Phoenix New Times, on Obama, Napolitano and Arpaio: phonenixnewtimes.com. Slate, too: slate.com.)
Roberts also takes a swipe at his foe Boxer for supporting an
unsuccessful amendment to a defense spending bill that authorized $250
million in funds to deploy 6,000 National Guardsmen to patrol the
U.S./Mexico border. Boxer's colleague and fellow Democrat, Sen. Dianne
Feinstein, “have been avid cheerleaders for
militarizing the border since the 1990s,” Roberts claimed.
“If you scrutinize anti-immigrant initiatives peddled by opportunistic
Republican Party politicians, in most circumstances you'll discover
they've modeled them on laws and policies originally crafted by
Democratic Party politicians,” he alleges. “The ultimate irony in this is that the
Republicans are called racists for advancing initiatives that were first
introduced by the Democrats.”
He doesn't have to look far to find an example of this, saying Costa Mesa Mayor Alan Mansoor, the Republican nominee for a state Assembly seat, based nearly all of his anti-immigrant proposals on “laws and policies put into motion by
President Bill Clinton, Senator Boxer, Senator Feinstein, Congresswoman
Sanchez, and lately Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano–all Democrats.”
“The reason Mayor Mansoor was able to get immigration agents stationed
full-time in the Costa Mesa City jail was because Congresswoman Sanchez
helped keep the original 'pilot program' alive at Anaheim City jail over
a decade ago,” Roberts charges. “Back then, the federal government wanted it shut down
because they didn't want their immigration agents wasting time deporting
Roberts ends his lesson by parlaying off the words of Eugene Debs, the five-time Socialist Party candidate for president who
once said there was “not a dime's worth of difference” between the two
major capitalist political parties.
“That's not entirely correct: When
the Republicans kick undocumented workers in the teeth, they do it with
an ugly frown on their face,” Roberts observes. “When the Democrats do the same thing, they
do it with a friendly smile.”