Chipping Away at the Base

From Holden:

Chimpy did not alienate enough of his base with the Miers nomination, so he’s going after the rest of them.

At a time when Latino immigrants are expected to form a big part of the Gulf Coast reconstruction labor pool, the Department of Homeland Security has temporarily suspended sanctioning employers who hire workers unable to prove their citizenship, essentially allowing contractors to hire undocumented workers.

That move followed President Bush’s Sept. 8 decision to lift in Katrina-hit areas the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act, which requires federal contractors to pay at least the average regional wage. Bush says it will hasten one of the world’s largest reconstruction efforts.

The post-Katrina changes are stirring the immigration debate, especially between the US and Mexico, which have been talking about the need for changes in immigration policy for years.


[Rep. Tom] Tancredo criticizes the temporary changes. “Why don’t we just erase our borders and have the entire Third World work here?” he says. “If the president doesn’t like the current laws, then he should repeal them altogether and stop pretending that we’ve got an immigration policy.”

“Our rule of law means nothing,” says Chris Simcox, head of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, a volunteer border-patrol group, referring to the decision not to fine federal employers hiring undocumented workers.

“We’re very unhappy with such moves by the administration at a time when border states are more concerned about immigration than they’ve been in a century,” says Jack Martin, special-projects director for the Washington-based Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Mr. Martin referred to the recent emergency declarations by the governors of New Mexico and Arizona, who cited rising immigration and alleged violence associated with border-crossers.

FAIR supports an immigration proposal introduced last week by Rep. J. D. Hayworth (R) of Arizona, that would slap heavy fines on employers who hire undocumented workers and put military forces on the border.