Immigration Reform 2013: Bob Goodlatte Says Immigrants Deserve the Worst Jobs

Barack Obama won a second term as president largely, because nearly 80% of non-whites voted for him. In response, most Republicans have been dutifully re-considering how to make their appeal more attractive to a wider audience. Unfortunately, for the cause of diversity, some powerful House Republicans have not wanted to do anything more than window-dressing. This is especially evident by the hateful words spoken on National Public Radio by the Republican in charge of shaping the House version of the new immigration bill, Bob Goodlatte, representative of Virginia's 6th district.

This is the quote: "You're going to have to have a program that assures those farms and those processing plants that there will be workers," Representative Goodlate says. "Because if you give them [undocumented workers] legal status, they can work anywhere in the United States — they're not going to necessarily work at the hardest, toughest, dirtiest jobs."

Really? I thought Republicans were trying to protect American jobs. Turns out, that according to the Republican in charge of immigration, the plan is to create a permanent immigrant underclass that lives in constant fear of sporadic deportation, so they work extra hard in dirty jobs for little pay. This sounds like Goodlatte is focusing more on the interests of corporate farms and poultry plants than representing all Americans.

If this hateful remark wasn't enough, Bob Goodlatte had the audacity to tell the American president that he should stop leading our national conversation about how to fix the broken immigration system. And I quote directly: "I think the president should calm down, back off and let the Congress do its work ... If people start prescribing or prejudging how we're going to find that common ground in the middle, he's going to simply not have a bill," Goodlatte says. 

What Goodlatte doesn't say is that a bi-partisan group in the Senate that includes the popular Republican senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, is ready and committed to pass an immigration reform bill, that includes increased border security and a path to citizenship for America's 11 million currently undocumented workers. This is the general framework that Obama and a majority of Americans support. When asked about including a path to citizenship in the bill Goodlatte is crafting, he responded that this is a nation of immigrants, but it also is a nation of laws. "But simply, someone who broke the law, came here, [to] say, 'I'll give you citizenship now,' that I don't think is going to happen."

Goodlatte, who is in his 11th term as a congressional representative, needs to remember that just because something has been made a law, doesn't mean that it's moral or good. 

Telling recent immigrants that they deserve the toughest dirty jobs, instead of the American Dream, is mean-spirited and certainly not good politics.

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Cory Suter

Ph.D. Student in Economics at Temple University, and Founder of Direct Congress, Cory is passionate about making Congress work for America, instead of being led by special interest money. Prior to his formal study of Economics, he spent five years building two small businesses into successful enterprises in Philadelphia, PA. Cory grew up in a low-income conservative Christian family in Virginia, and attended The Honor Academy in Texas before studying business at JMU and working for Teach For America. He is married to a Children's Doctor, and has one son Jonathan, who was born in June of 2012.

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