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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

On immigration, nothing new

By Natalia Muñoz

The question to Gov. Deval Patrick was, “How do you persuade people
with other views to your side so that in the end, undocumented
immigrants have the tools they need to get on with their lives?”
For instance, a driver’s license, an ID that can mark the difference
between a traffic violation ticket and deportation, remains an
untenable proposal for most Republicans while most Democrats tighten
their lips so shut it appears as if they do not have a mouth.
Patrick has tried repeatedly to show both local and federal
politicians that allowing undocumented workers to learn the rules
of the road and take the test is as much a safety issue as much as
common sense.
But many politicians equate common sense with losing an election.
They would rather keep the job they are not suited for than have
to work for a living. And in this electoral climate in which most
people do not vote, these politicians are masterful at fooling most
of the people most of the time.
What their Republican colleagues also do well is transform rational
proposals into matters of tyranny vs. democracy. And the mainstream
media, which have the budgets to research and present reality
vs. demagoguery, prefer to present insipid reality shows that
stun people into inaction, similar to how the hugely popular Jon
Stewart’s “Daily Show” and Stephen Colbert’s “Report” television
shows keep the masses laughing all the way into sleepiness.
The mainstream media opts to position a nicely groomed nincompoop
like Anderson Cooper front and center and empanel the same tired
DC insiders to deconstruct the latest round of political wrestling
until … the next nonstory is broken by another highly paid
nincompoop bureau chief somewhere.
In this miasma between Barbie mainstream media and lightweight
politicians gunning for more exposure, visionary policy makers and
expedient demagogues, Patrick chips at the path to citizenship
for the thousands of residents in Massachusetts who enrich the
commonwealth with their contributions, tax- and otherwise.
Patrick answered the question, again saying that he supports
immigration reform and wants to usher in the day when undocumented
workers can apply for a driver’s license.
But another journalist at the press conference wasn’t convinced he
is doing enough and asked Patrick why he didn’t just do it without
Republican support.
After all, she said, Utah gives drivers licenses to people who pass
the test, regardless of their immigration status or citizenship. So
do New Mexico and Washington.
Patrick, who also said the commonwealth could lose millions of
federal dollars if it allowed undocumented immigrants to apply for
licenses, was not aware of this but said he would look into it.
In the meantime, no doubt that waiting for him are a herd of court
jesters and naysayers who will delight and lead the spineless
mainstream media into a talk fest where one expert will preach

anarchy is about to takeover the country and the other will plug
his new book, a profile on a Washington, DC, player who is now a
multimillionaire and jokes with Matt Lauer on ”The Today Show.” And
Stewart and Colbert will make clever jokes.
And those of us in the ethnic media who ask Patrick again and again
about immigration reform, have nothing new to report.
Natalia Muñoz is founder and editor of