Pete Kendall's Socio Times: A Socionomic Commentary

 June 8, 2007
Deep Divisions Derail Immigration Bill
The Senate divisions that derailed a White House-backed immigration bill -- for now, at least -- mirror the U.S. society's deep differences over the issue, according to polling data, lawmakers and analysts. Those gaps will challenge any effort to get the measure back on track.

While most Senate Democrats appeared to back the bill, several liberal members said it did too little to keep immigrant families together and protect jobs for U.S.-born workers.

The split in the Republican Party was more obvious. The issue pitted social conservatives, who insisted that illegal immigrants not be granted "amnesty" for entering the country unlawfully, against business groups hungry for willing workers in hotels, restaurants, construction sites and other comparatively low-wage, low-skilled workplaces.

A bipartisan group of senators tried for weeks to bridge the chasms, but fell glaringly short Thursday night. Needing 60 votes to end debate and schedule a final vote on the bill itself, they won only 45. Senate leaders set aside the legislation until further notice.

Top U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbyist R. Bruce Josten told The Associated Press this week that the immigration issue is "divisive in the Republican base, it's divisive in the Democratic base, it's divisive in the business community. It splits organized labor, it splits the immigration community."

Republican senators who backed the immigration bill felt particularly exposed to fierce attacks from conservative activists in their home states. When the word "amnesty" was not invoked, 62 percent of Republicans said they favored letting illegal immigrants now in the country obtain citizenship if they have jobs, pass background checks and pay fines. But only 47 percent of Republicans said they favored giving amnesty to illegal immigrants if they met those same conditions.
Associated Press

June 2007
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Immigration Bill Failure Uncovers Drop in Racial Unity
Category: NEWS
By: Pete Kendall, June 8, 2007
[An] anti-immigration wave is suddenly embedding itself into the American political landscape. In an era of intensifying political polarization, the move to enforce immigration laws and seal off U.S. borders is the one area where the far right and left are actually coming together.
The Elliott Wave Financial, March 2006

go home sign
Well, the left and right almost came together over a new, more restrictive immigration law that would have been the most far reaching reform since the Immigration and Reform Act of 1965 went into effect. But now that the peak is in place, or nearly so, they can’t even do that. Suddenly, there’s no room for compromise. Just the use of the word “amnesty” to describe relatively strict conditions under which illegals would be allowed to stay was enough to harden the hearts of 15% of respondents to one poll. The public is not in the mood to let bygones be bygones. The 1965 measure, which came right before the February 1966 peak of Cycle III, ultimately opened the U.S. borders to millions. The latest bill would have let many illegals stay, but it would also have reduced the number of aliens entering the country. The bill’s failure exposes a divided populace that is developing a ravenous appetite for restriction and control. The only question, at this point, is just how restrictive it wants to be.

The underlying driver is the exclusionism that rules through every bear market. It’s still more of a local story, but it is starkly apparent in communities where Hispanics make up a large portion of the population. Sometimes it shows itself in subtle ways. Here in Gainesville, Georgia, for instance, it recently unfurled itself on a long line of flag poles in the front of the local high school. Initially, the school used the display to recognize its “international diversity” with a United Nations style succession of foreign flags. When a complaints ensued, however, the flags were quickly replaced with a few state and local flags, plus an uninterrupted line of more than 30 flapping American flags .

The mounting tension is becoming a lot less subtle in other places. Residents of nearby Dalton, Ga., for instance, face “a major crisis” due to hostility between blacks and Hispanics. The latest flare up occurred when a black teenager was allegedly gunned down by a Latino gang. “Now the community is saying enough is enough. ‘No matter our racial, ethnic, and personal differences, we are one people, and we are determined to stay that way,’ said Dalton’s City Administrator.  In a waxing negative social mood, which The Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior says features “increased exclusionary tendencies in every aspect of society,” this gets harder and harder.

A rupturing effort to hold things together is readily apparent in Los Angeles, where a battle for political control of some areas is approaching open warfare. One ke battle is the June 26 special election to fill the unexpired term of the late Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald. The seat has traditionally been held by a black Congressman or woman, but a prominent Latino, state Sen. Jenny Oropeza, is making a strong bid. “Ethnic Tensions Underlie House Race,” says the Sacramento Bee. “Tension over jobs and housing has increased in the district that includes Compton, Carson, much of Long Beach and parts of South Los Angeles.” “The problem is emblematic of emerging tensions throughout Los Angeles County,” adds the L.A. Times. The only remnant of the old bull market's inclusionary is offered by a USC professor who says, “Each group is buying off on the negative stereotypes held by the majority [white culture], rather than questioning them. Blacks say that Latinos don't take care of their housing, and Latinos felt that blacks don't value families as much.” At this point, the common ground is seen as the animosity various sides hold toward one another.

Additional References

February 2006, EWFF
Putting the Il back in Illegal Aliens
Another manifestation of a bear market is the attitude toward immigration. First, recall what The Elliott Wave Theorist said on the subject in October 2003: “The U.S. will increase restrictions on immigration.” Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “toughest immigration legislation in more than a decade.” The bill includes “provisions that once seemed unthinkable to many lawmakers, like the construction of five fences across 698 miles of the United States border with Mexico.” As EWT has noted, in bear markets, “people build walls and fences to shut out those perceived to be different.” Tom Tancredo, the Colorado Congressman behind the fence idea (he also wants to add one along the border with Canada), marvels at his sudden move into the mainstream. “I would have said to you a month ago or so, ‘Yeah, it’s definitely the case that I am a pariah.’ But it has changed. I’m respected. It leaves me speechless.” It was only last summer that Business Week’s cover story on “Embracing Illegals” stated that companies “are getting hooked on the buying power of 11 million undocumented immigrants.” “Let’s be real: the U.S. is not about to arrest and herd millions of men, women and children into boxcars for transport back across the Rio Grande,” said an editorial in the same issue. “That’s a nativist’s fantasy that will never come to pass.” But we caution such editorialists that in a major bear market, nativist and other fantasies of exclusion typically become stark reality. And the brunt of this bear market is still to come.

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