Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ulmer's Shameful Immigrant Bashing

Rep. John Ulmer (R-Goshen) is resorting to shameful immigrant bashing in his campaign for re-election in the form of campaign fliers he is mailing to folks in his Elkhart area district in northern Indiana, claiming that "illegals" are forcing U.S. citizens out of their jobs. Ulmer defends the controversial fliers by claiming "these illegals" are "creating a burden on our public agencies," reports Martin D'Agostino of the South Bend Tribune. "He's trying to appeal to the fears of the people, and he's feeding into those fears," said Zulma Prieto, editor and publisher of El Puente newspaper.

"Under a photograph of four coal miners, one flier says, "Losing your job is bad enough ... but to an illegal?" "Another depicts a Depression-era food line and asks what Democrats will do to stop "illegals." "Nothing," it says. "They have no plan."

As bad as the tone of the fliers is, what is even worse is the four-part plan Ulmer is proposing in them. One of Ulmer's ideas is to require proof of citizenship in order to obtain an Indiana driver's license. That would deprive all immigrants, including legal immigrants, of the right to a driver's license--a clear violation of federal law, not to mention the constitutional it raises. When D'Agostino pointed it this out to him, he said the flier inadvertently left out an exception for legal residents. His plan also calls for a new crime of criminal trespass for any illegal immigrant found in Indiana, would ban "illegals" from receiving any public benefits and impose sanctions against employers who hire them.

D'Agostino says the fliers are creating quite a stir in Elkhart County. "Ulmer's plan has also drawn considerable criticism on Maplepeace, an e-mail listserve that circulates widely in and around Goshen," he writes. I suspect there are many employers in Elkhart County who feel less than easy about Ulmer's ideas as well, including some of his own supporters. Ulmer's vote in support of the toll road privatization has drawn a lot of criticism in his district, and his re-election is by no means certain. Judging by reaction to his immigrant-bashing fliers, this issue may not play well for him either.

1 comment:

citizen kane said...

He's trying to appeal to the fears of the people, and he's feeding into those fears," said Zulma Prieto, editor and publisher of El Puente newspaper.

Of course, the publisher of a Hispanic newspaper supports illegal immigration; he is one of the beneficiaries of all the "No habla Ingles" people that arrive every month.

There should not be driver's licenses issued to illegals; they should be deported. Driving is a privlege and not a right, so no one can claim that their rights would be violated.

The fear is real. National, state and local policies are sucking the lifeblood out of the working class and lower to middle middle class.