Representative Joe Wilson's outburst on the floor of the House of Representatives, effectively calling the President a liar has continued to resonate throughout the country. As advocates for immigrants, Los Angeles immigration lawyers at Fong & Aquino have warned that immigrants will be used as scapegoats during the health care debate. And so they have.
The fact that Congressman Wilson was told by Republican party leaders to immediately call the White House to apologize should be a signal; Wilson did not choose to apologize himself. He has maintained that he is right, despite the facts. Instead, we are worried that he will become a symbol to radical right-wing activists that it is perfectly alright to shout down the President, perfectly acceptable to simply interrupt anyone with whom one disagrees, perfectly acceptable to ignore facts. This type of approach leads to a my-way-or-the-highway approach to politics, and no one gains from that.
We believe that as the debate on Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) begins in 2010, this form of argument, simply cutting off or shutting down civilized discussion, will become worse. This is a danger to our democracy and will harm immigrants and our country.
We have already written about how these tactics cheapen our legislative process. We urge all immigrants, friends of immigrants, and advocates for immigrants to be alert in the coming months. Stand up for our friends! Encourage oure elected officials, our neighbors, and our friends to Welcome the Stranger. Be sure to write to your elected officials, urging them to support CIR and giving them the support needed to stand up for immigrants. --jcf