Martin Luther King not the answer on immigration reform
Economics, not emotions, is key to winning hearts and minds in immigration battle
I see lots of immigrant rights groups saying Martin Luther King and his advocacy on human rights is the way to go with immigration reform.
Sorry I don't agree. On the eve of Martin Luther King Day the way forward is not to take his message of mass rallies but rather to make the economic and pocketbook argument on immigration reform.
Two years ago massive rallies all over the country had the net effect of rousing an hysterical anti-immigrant lobby that spelt the death knell for any hope of reform in the Bush era.
That was not the fault of the protesters, it was the clever manipulation of the message of the marchers by right-wing critics who portrayed them a somehow un-American in their demands and
by scare mongering that they would cost Americans jobs.
The most American way to do this is to stress the economic benefits of legalizing the undocumented. Americans understand the bottom line and surveys show this argument works far better than the moral suasion one.
There is ample evidence of a positive economic impact that that can be used.
The Center for American Progress just released a report that has powerful facts and figures in favor of reform.
The report points out that immigration reform, legalizing the undocumented and having them pay taxes adds an incredible $1.5 trillion dollars in GDP over 10 years.
Extra tax revenue would earn $5.4 billion for the federal government.
Newly legalized workers would earn more money and lead to increase spending - generating 750,000 to 900,00 jobs
As the report says, "Experience shows that legalized workers open bank accounts, buy homes, and start businesses, further stimulating the U.S. economy.“
Putting these argument in a skilled fashion with the pitch that legalizing undocumented actually helps American pocketbooks is the way to go.
The Dr. King emotional argument that it is the right thing to do morally has not worked.
It is time to speak to people's self interest especially in hard times.
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