The question of immigration, or rather the question of illegal immigration and what to do about making it more difficult for someone to enter the U.S. illegally, has been an issue discussed, protested and fought over since the earliest days of the 20th century. Plans have been put forth, but more often, fires have been stoked, to twist the argument around; to portray the immigrants in question, as an enemy, stereotyped as the freeloader, drug-dealer or escaped criminal. Never once does the issue center around those people who have come here and landed jobs that, let’s face it – most legal Americans wouldn’t do. Those people who work long hours, pay taxes and try to live normal lives are painted with a brush of intolerance and bigotry. But that’s when the argument resorts to getting deep-down and dirty for no particular reason, other than trying to be right.
California has been at the center of many of these debates and calls for legislation. In March 2006, it was H.R. 4437, a bill introduced to Congress which would raise penalties for illegal immigration and classify undocumented immigrants and anyone who helped them enter or remain in the US as felons. As part of the wider immigration debate, most of the protests not only sought a rejection of this bill, but also a comprehensive reform of the country’s immigration laws that included a path to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants. On March 25th 2006, a demonstration rejecting HR 4437 was held in Los Angeles, and some 1/2 million protestors showed up to voice opposition ahead of Senate debate on the issues, schedule to begin the following week. Interviewed on this issue is Senator Ted Kennedy, who authored a bill which cleared a path to citizenship for many illegal immigrants caught in the middle.
This episode of Face The Nation, which originally broadcast on March 26, 2006, looks at the issue of immigration in America, what steps were being taken to deal with the huge influx of immigrants coming to the U.S. and what was the hoped-for end result.
Also on this episode was a discussion about our continuing engagement in Iraq and the continued violence that threatened to break into an all-out civil war.
Twelve years ago, this was what we were listening to and watching – all on March 26, 2006 from Face The Nation.