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Rahm Drives Democrats Over Cliff on Immigration

The Blue Dogs have been  bellyaching about having to take a “tough vote” on immigration reform in advance of the 2010 election.  Looks like they have a friend in the White House:

Hispanic lawmakers say an old adversary, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, has his fingerprints all over a push to prohibit illegal immigrants from buying health insurance plans in a new market for people who don’t get insurance through their employers.

“A forensic study would show it all leads back to Rahm Emanuel and the White House,” said Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who worked with Emanuel when the president’s top aide was in the House.


Members of the CHC trace what they say is a harder White House line on immigrants to the night of South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst during President Barack Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress in September.

I asked Kyle de Beausset of Citizen Orange, Dreamactivist, and, for his response:

Rahm Emanuel has done more violence to migrants in the name of political expediency than any other Democrat.  If there is truth to the CHC allegations that Rahm Emanuel is behind a provision in Senate health care legislation that would ban unauthorized migrants from buying health insurance, then it appears Rahm Emanuel’s nativism has infected the White House, as well.  It doesn’t make any moral, economic, public health, or political sense to ban unauthorized migrants from buying health insurance with their own money.  I feared this sort of anti-migrant political maneuvering would occur when Barack Obama appointed Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff.  It appears that this confirms it.

The White House kicked the can down the road after Sotomayor’s confirmation and said they’d have an immigration bill by the end of the year, which Congress would take up in the new year. 

I found this really hard to believe, and ran it past several members of Congress who laughed right in my face at the very idea. Since their entire world view is shaped by the upcoming 2010 election, they can’t imagine that anyone would even consider asking them to take immigration up. “They’ll understand,” they said.

Somehow I don’t think so.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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