Bryan Curtis talks to Congressman Luis Gutierrez:
The DREAM Act, Gutiérrez says, is for now his final legislative maneuver. He’s finished waiting for the mythical 60th vote to materialize in the Senate. No, when the lame duck ends, Gutiérrez and his movement allies will ask for a divorcefrom the Democratic Party, from the entire lawmaking process. To hear Gutiérrez tell it, Hispanic leaders are about to stage a full-tilt campaign of direct action, like the African-American civil-rights movement of the 1960s. There will be protests, marches, sit-inswhat César Chávez might have called going rogue. The movement will operate autonomously, no longer beholden to wavering Democrats, filibustering Republicans, andperhaps most tantalizinglyno longer beholden to Barack Obama.
Illegal immigration is a bad thing partly because it is ruinous for social equality. Kaus of all people is surely sympathetic to this argument it’s unhealthy for a large proportion of people in a society to persist as second class citizens, unable to fully participate in civic life, vulnerable to harassment, less likely to assimilate, etc. Kaus is also unwilling to advocate mass deportations and aware that they aren’t going to happen whatever he thinks. He ought to therefore be friendly to the idea of reducing the number of illegal immigrants (and increasing social equality) through a combination of targeted deportations (the criminals), attrition (the folks who can’t find a job after workplace enforcement is tightened) and targeted amnesties. Dream Act beneficiaries are the most sympathetic class imaginable for a targeted amnesty.