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A boy listens to U.S. President Barack Obama speak on immigration reform at Chamizal National Memorial Park in El Paso, Texas, May 10, 2011. REUTERS/Jim Young
Penalty: Insufficient flag size. Prepare for reeducation.
Yeah, I still don't see how substantive immigration reform is supposed to get past the Republican Party's crazy frothing racist base:
Although the bill requires immigrants to learn English and civics to get a green card, conservatives are angry about the lack of emphasis on patriotic principles and the cost. […] Those assimilation requirements were a big part of the immigration bill that faltered under President George W. Bush, and conservatives want the Gang of Eight’s bill to be much stricter on the issue.
Apparently it is, yes, that word being used that is upsetting to the poor, put upon crazy racists:
Some prominent conservatives even take issue with the use of the word “integration” rather than “assimilation,” which was used by Bush and the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, because assimilation implies an expectation from immigrants to accommodate to the dominant host culture while integration has a multicultural connotation.
Right. Well, take that you immigrant jerks. Forget this integration nonsense, you're either gonna "assimilate" or get out. (We're already telling them they have to learn to speak 'Merikan and about a hundred other things, now the racists want … what? Is there gonna be an Uncle Sam dress-up competition?)

One of the actual proposals, apparently, is a "voucher program" for schools to teach immigrants how to be neurotic pasty white guys proper American patriots; at issue is the currently proposed $100 million in grants focused on groups that assist immigrants but which conservatives fear won't go to sufficiently conservative groups (since, presumably, conservative groups do not tend to do that sort of thing). I don't know or care how this whole "voucher" concept is supposed to work, I'm just enjoying the grubby cynicism of groups like TheTeaParty.Net coming up with the idea of getting paid some sweet, sweet government cash so that they can start programs to hector brown people about what the Constitution is and why it is utterly irrelevant to them.

Given how beholden House Republicans are to the most insane corners of the base, it seems impossible that anything resembling a productive bill gets through. The House seems to be working very hard to come up with something that will scuttle Senate efforts, but maybe the "voucher" idea is a clue as to where a possible compromise might lie; the far-right begrudgingly allows or ignores substantive reform, and in exchange they're cut in on a new conservative grift. We'll allow longtime residents to become citizens—but in exchange, they'll have to sit through a month of lectures where a guy in a tricorn hat explains why everything about their native culture is wrong.


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