Melissa Harris-Perry | February 02, 2013
>>> when we talk about that in the abstract, it is easy sometimes for the discussion to take on a feeling of us versus them. and when that happens, a lot of folk folks forget that most of us used to be them.
>> on tuesday president obama reminded us that all immigration is about all of us. so when we say comprehensive immigration reform , we can't just not break up familyies and assume that we know what a family is, because the immigration reform is to be truly comprehensive, it must include all families including the lgbtq families, and so i want to bring up the broader issue of family, but first, i want to talk about a little bit about what we heard in terms of thinking about immigration fundamentally as an economic and sort of a policy around the social safety net , and it is both great and horrible, and makes me feel icky when we take the human part out of it.
>> well, let's be real, immigration is about the economy and the values of the country and the integration and education and the labor force , but it is about families. we are talking about real families here coming from across the globe seeking the american dream . and we are talking a about enforcement, and somehow the president, and the republicans and the democrats are talk about the false narratives that the bo borders are not safe enough or secure enough, and the immigration policy institute came up with a report looking at the enforcement we have in place, and we are talking about the immigration enforcement is the program that receives the most funding if you compare it to the rest of the programs of our federal enforcement, and they have since 1986 received over $180 billion. with that money, what we are doing is detaining families. just recently our organization united we dream, and the dreamers have been working to expo exposing the pain that our families are experiencing due to tens forment, and working on the cases every week in arizona and texas and california where the parents and the moms are being raided in their homes and being put into the detention facilities.
>> and that will get a bipartisan coalition together, but family is a broad definition. we had senator mccain this week in responding to the angst of many of us concerned with the lgbtq families saying it is a red herring , and it is just a red herring scoffed mccain, and add that, and you may as well add taxpayer-funded abortion. so he is saying, what is more important, and i will tell you what my priorities are, and it is like, puff-puff, and these are real families and issues that impact folks.
>> and yes, tearing apart folks. if you have biracial couples and my wife was from brazil and we were legally married in the state of new york , i would not be able to bring her in with a path to citizenship to the united states , because our marriage is not recognized by the federal government , and that is the under core of this is that the marriage act prevents our marriage to be recognized equal to everyone else's, and that is why in the immigration debate , the instincts that want to throw the lgbt folks under the bus, because there is a feeling that we don't care about you anyway, and so that is to me getting to the humanity problem. this should be about dignity and respect about treating all people equal ly in america and bringing people into the soechlt and when you say, you people over here don't matter and you are gay, you don't matter and that is to the point that at the end of the day , it should be about families and reuniting them and making sure they stay together.
>> absolutely. the senator himself became a political chameleon in the last generation with the late senator kennedy for immigration reform , and then when he was running for president, himself, what immigration reform ? and now we are going to discount one part of the family? the humanity of the issue is extraordinary. as a lawyer, we sit with people trying to come to the shores and f families torn asunder and people who have not built businesses on your soil, because of the disrespect that a same-sex partner receives and they cannot adjust their status if they come here, and the government recognizes the military in same-sex partnerships, and thatly give them a j-1 status or a person to have a long-term visa for life and then the partner is not permanent, and they cannot work. we are shooting ourselves in the foot. the humanity of this thing is so heart felt when you see the families and the dafc that came out, deferred action for children, and it came out from my father when the nixon administration was trying to use lennon as a wedge against the vietnam era . everybody had children and nobody would be affected by this and nobody would be affected by the unification policy. and ultimately if we take the concern for the homeland which is important and realize that there are more overstays of vees is as than people trespassing on the borders and deal with the humanity of this thing, there is not anybody unless they are native americans who doesn't hail from an immigrant and does not appreciate the humanity up front.
>> well, some of us did not immigrate, but we did get here.
>> one thank is lost in the immigration debate is that when you talk to the employers out there, and maybe even sometimes get a few drinks in them, they will talk to you not about wanting immigrants and wanting a lot of the workers from a low-wage standpoint, but they want the immigrant work ethic . the reason that immigrants built so much of the country is that aspiring american dream -oriented work ethic , and they can't find that from other people in our e economy, and so i think that from the message standpoint, and also from the, if immigration is not part of your life wherever you are in america, you have to understand that.
>> i also love john ryan , that you are a southern strategist, because the strategy begins with having a few drinks.