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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Dick Day: Trips to AZ Don't Help MN Transportation

Category: Immigration
Posted: 12/03/07 20:02

by Dave Mindeman

RE: Sunday Tribune Column by Dick "Minuteman" Day

Senator Dick Day's commentary shifting transportation blame to yet another person would be laughable if it didn't make me so darn angry. The DFL can be faulted for failures in a lot of areas but in transportation they did their job. Twice, they passed reasonable legislation that brought new revenue to the system....and which also would have created new jobs for the state. Those bills were lauded by mayors and county commissioners all over the state as a fair and balanced measure. They still had some critics that noted we still wouldn't meet half of the need...but at least it was something.

But both times, after DFL and GOP transportation advocates managed to get bipartisan support for those bills, Governor Pawlenty killed them with his veto pen. I realize that Dick Day believes that every bill passing the legislature needs the Governor's "seal of approval" before it is finished, but that isn't the way the State Constitution works.

If Dick Day would spend more time in Minnesota and less time with Arizona's Minutemen, maybe he would get the full transportation picture.
comments (1) permalink

I Understand Illegal - It's Immigration I Don't Get

Category: Immigration
Posted: 11/04/07 13:19, Edited: 11/04/07 13:20

by Dave Mindeman
Whenever the subject of immigration comes up in a conversation, you can count on a certain response from the conservative side of it: "What part of illegal don't you understand?"

To which I reply.... I understand illegal perfectly. It's the immigration part that doesn't make any sense.

Recently I went to Ellis Island in New York harbor. They have a new museum that goes into great detail about a time in our history when immigration was accepted and encouraged as part of this nation's growth.

At the turn of the century, immigrants endured hardship and enormous financial gambles to get a chance at a new life. Thousands of people entered that harbor -- few were turned away.
Many of the people who make up the current vigalante groups and the hard core base of anti-immigrant feelings are direct decendants of families that made that hopeful journey.

But that was a century ago.

Now we have a country that encompasses the continent and a population that keeps growing amid concerns about resources and jobs and economic means. We can no longer take everybody and therein lies the problem... how do you choose?

Whenever we have to make choices like this there should be an obligation to fairness and equal opportunity. If we are a country of opportunity... shouldn't that opportunity be equally available to all?
Our current immigration system is a hopeless maze of impossible legal hurdles and preferences. Your entrance to America can ultimately depend on what you know and who you know.
The nomenclature is incomprehensible. Green cards, student visas, EB-1 thru 4 Visas, H1-B Visas, Resident Alien, K-3 Classification, V-NonImmigrant Status, etc...etc...

Classifying actual immigrants apart from Visitors with visas and temporary workers is just one of the myriad of problems that the current immigration bureaucracy can't seem to track.

And the most crucial problem... the wait times. People are put on waiting lists that go on for years. If a decision on your citizenship status could take 10 or 15 years, what do you have to lose by entering the country illegally?

There are legitimate reasons to be concerned about illegal immigration. We do need to fix this. But another concern about this issue is the underlying ethnic and race issues.

When you hear the word illegal immigrant, what is the first visual picture that enters your mind? It is hard to imagine someone other than a person of hispanic origin. The rhetoric and the media make that image a part of the lexicon. And it is also the reason that our first knee jerk reaction to this problem is to build a wall.

We need to fix the problem; but that means an overhaul of a useless bureaucratic mess. To think that we can solve it by enforcement alone is somebody's dream and somebody else's nightmare.
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On Immigration: Dick Day Meet Fellow Republican Joe Gimse

Category: Immigration
Posted: 10/29/07 16:09, Edited: 10/29/07 16:11

by Dave Mindeman

First we have Governor Pawlenty willing to draw attention to global warming issues and now, I see, we have a Republican State Senator making sense on (gasp!) immigration issues.

Pinch me, please.

State Senator Joe Gimse of Willmar (who defeated Sen. Dean Johnson in 2006), actually used words like "hard working undocumented workers" or "remove the criminal aspect of being here to work". Sen. Gimse is treading on dangerous ground for him because so many conservative Republicans are afraid of sounding that compassionate and rational on the subject.

He even talks of support for the Dream Act if a way of documenting these workers can be found. (Whose dreaming?)

An important caveat... Senator Gimse is certainly not a full fledged convert to the plight of immigrants... but the change in tone is somewhat encouraging. His Senate GOP Immigration caucus consists of himself, Sen. Fischbach, Sen. Hann, and Sen. Ingibritson. Not a bad group if you don't count Fischbach.

I hope Senator Gimse has the courage to follow this through. I don't doubt that Willmar businesses have something to do with this. They need these workers and are looking for compromise.

If everyone would examine these issues realistically (as Sen. Gimse gives lip service to be doing) and stop the extreme rhetoric, we could find a way to please everybody.

A recent article on MSNBC noted that farmers in NY state are losing their vegetable crops. Migrant workers are scared away because of the ICE raids and the crops are rotting in the fields. You might say the easy answer would be to raise the salaries of these jobs so that Americans could make a decent living by picking up the work.

Unfortunately, CAFTA and NAFTA have eliminated that solution. US Agriculture can't compete with Central America and European subsidies... so without the migrant labor, the farms have to shut down or shift to less labor intensive crops.

As Congressional Candidate Dick Day employs his harsh rhetoric to divide the First District via immigration misinformation, maybe Senator Gimse can give him some pointers on dealing with rational thought.
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