Mickey Kaus hears from a reliable source that Democrats are choosing a curious hill to die on to defend the current language in the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill.
I’m told, by a reliable and well-placed source, that a good deal of the Democratic opposition to John Cornyn’s proposed amendment to the Gang of 8 bill has nothing to do with border security. It has to do with DUIs. Specifically, Cornyn’s amendment would bar illegal immigrants with misdemeanor DUI convictions from ”probationary” legal status, which is the immediate legalization offered by Marco Rubio, et al, to most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants now living in the U.S.. For the pro-amnesty side, the exclusion of DUI offenders is apparently a deal-killer. There must be a lot of them!
Well, the fact is, there are. That noted xenophobic right-wing rag National Public Radio reported on Hispanic drunk driving back in 2006 — coincidentally, the last time “comprehensive immigration reform” was slithering toward the limelight.
The influx of Hispanic immigrants to some parts of the U.S. has led to a problem on the highways. In many states, Hispanics account for a disproportionate number of drunk driving deaths. In North Carolina where the Latino population has grown by more than a third in this decade, alcohol-related crashes have become a leading killer of Latinos. And as NPR’s Adam Hochberg reports, community groups are trying to reverse that trend.
Mr. KEITH PATTERSON (Police Officer, Durham, North Carolina): If someone is walking around in a restaurant or walking in a bar, you definitely want to be observant and notice the way they walk, making sure they’re not swaying or swaggering, or stumbling and bumping into things.
Hey, that sounds like profiling!
Nationwide, Latinos rank second only to Native Americans and their alcohol death rate on the highway. The extent of the problem varies from state to state, but community leaders say it seems worse in places where Latinos have newly immigrated. At Al Pueblo, a Hispanic advocacy group in North Carolina, safety director Tony Ascion(ph) says Latino drunk drivers tend to be young men in the U.S. without their families, people who have a lot of free time and a lot of what Ascion calls, machismo.
More profiling! Shame on you, NPR!
Some Republicans, such as former Rep. Sue Myrick of North Carolina, have tried to pass laws to automatically deport illegal aliens who get caught driving drunk, for years. Myrick started in 2005 and was still at it in 2012. Somebody keeps stopping these bills from becoming law.
Cornyn’s proposed amendment to the Gang’s bill does include this provision:
Prohibits illegal aliens convicted of serious misdemeanors, such as domestic violence, aggravated assault, child abuse, violation of a protection order, and drunk driving, from receiving RPI status.
RPI is “registered provisional immigrant” — i.e. legalization. Out of the shadows. But not necessarily out of the local bar. Democrats are publicly wooing Cornyn, but in the background, they’re curiously wary of him, according to The Hill:
“If Cornyn was willing to vote for it, the bill would be so watered down that any Republican would vote for it. That’s not an outcome we’re interested in,” said a Democratic aide to a member of the gang.
Cornyn’s actual security language isn’t all that different from the Gang’s bill. Apart from the drunk driving provision, that is. There’s a watered-down drink joke in there somewhere.
Kaus writes that “Pro-Gang Democrats (and Republicans) understandably don’t want to publicize their DUI defense.”
I’m sure they don’t. But we’re happy to publicize it for them.