Democrats’ Shameful Bashing of Immigrants

Over the past few months, millions of immigrants and their supporters have taken to the streets of America to voice their demand to be allowed to live and work in the U.S. without the threat of deportation and other cruelties. These massive demonstrations drew broad support from non–participants as well. For example, 82% of California blacks polled support the right of immigrants to live and work here.

In the midst of this storm surge for basic human rights, where is the Democratic Party, the “party of the people”?

The Clinton Administration spent billions of dollars on Operation Gatekeeper, which severely impacted immigrant flow across the border into California. This made Arizona a much more popular crossing point. Whenever you read a story about immigrants dying in the Arizona desert, think of Bill Clinton.

During the recent immigration marches, the American flag was omnipresent. Yet, during Fourth of July weekend in 2004, Presidential candidate John Kerry said that immigrants should not be allowed to have drivers licenses since they were just fundamentally illegal. Kerry said this despite the fact that he avidly courted the support of thousands of visionary artists such as Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen has directly supported immigrant workers, such as the Immokalee workers in Florida. While Kerry doesn’t think immigrants should be allowed to have drivers licenses, he has voted to force everyone in the U.S. to carry a national ID card.

A few months ago, 75,000 Colorado residents marched for immigrant rights, the largest political rallies ever seen in that state. The response of the Democrats in Colorado, just after the Fourth of July, has been to pass eleven anti-immigrant bills. Democrats there have gone out of their way to boast that their laws are even tougher than the recent laws passed in Georgia, which are reminiscent of the Jim Crow Black Codes. “This is tough, effective, enforceable, and practical,” said Democrat Andrew Romanoff, speaker of the Colorado Assembly proudly.

Does the Democratic Party speak for anyone other than the Minutemen? Will musicians again massively support whatever candidate the Dems put up in 2008?

LEE BALLINGER is coeditor of one of CounterPunch’s favorite newsletters, Rock and Rap Confidential, where this article originally appeared. He can be reached at:

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Lee Ballinger, CounterPunch’s music columnist, is co-editor of Rock and Rap Confidential author of the forthcoming book Love and War: My First Thirty Years of Writing, interviewed Honkala for CounterPunch. RRRC is now available for free by emailing Ballinger at: