What’s the Matter With Massachusetts?

Flickr/<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/eschipul/160419649/" target="_blank">eschipul</a> (Creative Commons)

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Since President Obama first broached the subject of immigration reform last summer—and devoted a whopping 39 words to the subject during last Wednesday’s State of the Union—there’s been a bit of discussion as to whether any comprehensive reforms will get the green light this year. There have been some signs of action: The US Conference of Catholic Bishops began organizing in January to push for reforms, and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill) has introduced reform legislation in the House. But given the myriad problems Democrats face right now, it’s difficult to imagine anything getting passed in the near future. Immigration is always next year’s problem, anyway.

To get a sense of how bearish elected officials have become on the topic, just look to Massachusetts. Yesterday Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick all but conceded defeat on his state’s version of the DREAM Act, which would allow undocumented immigrants to attend public colleges and universities at in-state tuition rates. Anti-immigrant backlash and calls to focus on jobs have swamped the proposal—not too surprising when you consider that stuff like this passes for intelligent debate.

If the Bay State is any indication, the November elections won’t make immigration reform any easier. Here’s how moderate GOP gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker responded to Patrick’s decision: “This is about fairness. People who are here illegally should not get an advantage over students who have played by the rules.” He neglected to explain why children who enter the country at age two should be held responsible for breaking the rules. Indeed, libertarians like Baker are supposed to like immigration reform because it’s good economics. But in 2010, apparently, it’s just bad politics.

Follow Tim Murphy on Twitter.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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