During Wednesday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s The Ed Show, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) discussed the recent protests in Murrieta, CA surrounding the transport of undocumented immigrants to a processing center in the city. Grijalva also spoke at length about the fact that comprehensive immigration reform, which passed the US Senate over a year ago, is being held up by House Republicans. During the Congressman’s discussion with host Ed Schultz, Grijalva suggested that Republicans are using this particular issue as a “political wedge.” Basically, they are appealing to the ugly racism of much of their base and hoping it carries over to the ballot box.
Below is video of Grijalva’s appearance on the show, courtesy of the Congressman’s YouTube channel:
Congressman Grijalva showed both compassion and empathy for the thousands of children being detained along the border. As he accurately pointed out, the vast majority of these youngsters, alongside women with small children, are merely trying to escape extreme poverty and deadly violence in their home countries. In essence, they are refugees trying to escape abhorrent conditions. Grijalva also highlighted that, in order to deport these children, the United States needs to repeal a law that was passed in 2008 by unanimous support in the House and Senate and signed into law by President George W. Bush. The law, called the William Wilberforce Trafficking Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, basically offers asylum to children that cross the border. They are supposed to be placed with family members in the US, or foster homes if family members cannot be located.
In contrast to the anger and outrage that the protesters in Murrieta directed at the buses full of immigrants, Grijalva offered up a statement of heartfelt compassion.
“Any parent, any grandparent should understand that when a parent feels…it is more of a physical risk for children to remain in those communities and those countries than it is to take a dangerous trip to try to come to the United States – to expose yourself to human smugglers and organized crime – when they see that as less of a risk than trying to survive in their own country, then you recognize the gravity of what we’re seeing.”
Grijalva also maintained that this nation is all about us living and working together. We are one big melting pot — integration and opportunity should be available not just to a select few. Fundamentally, we should not look to become an entirely isolated country with an openly hostile attitude towards all those looking to enter.
“This country’s about integrating all of us in. I’m first generation. I love this country. And I think opportunity like that shouldn’t be pulled automatically.”
Of course, Grijalva knows that the right-wing fuels much of this outrage. It is all a way to whip their voting base into a racist frenzy and to create a wedge issue to run on in this year’s midterms and perhaps during the Presidential election in 2016.
“One of the biggest reasons to…fix this broken system is…the social fabric of our great nation. The social divisiveness, the underlining issue…of race continues to dominate the discussion. And the more time the Republican majority and the Republicans in Congress continue to use this issue as a political wedge, or as cannon fodder for their base, the more that social divisiveness, that rip in the social fabric, becomes…a reality.”
Exactly. The fact is, House Republicans are hoping they can hold up any meaningful immigration legislation indefinitely, all so they can appeal to the ugliest tendencies of many of their voters. It really is repellent.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).