Duane Roberts, Green Party Nominee for U.S. Senate, Says Democrats are "Anti-Immigrant"

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Duane Roberts sounds downright Republican.

"Beware of the Democrats" warns the Anaheim Green Party member running in November for the U.S. Senate seat held by a Democrat, Barbara Boxer.

However, when Roberts explains his proclamation, he does not sound very Republican at all. He accuses Dems of being "far more aggressive" in criminalizing undocumented workers than their counterparts. Them's fighting words--to both parties.

See, Republicans figure they have the immigrant-bashing market all to themselves, especially when you factor in this election cycle's Cinderella story, the teabaggers. Meanwhile, the Dems have always counted on strong support from Latinos, who might not take so kindly to Roberts' declaration.

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Duane Roberts: "The ultimate irony in this is that the Republicans are called racists for advancing initiatives that were first introduced by the Democrats."
So, where do you get off, Mr. Roberts?

"During the past week, Democrats in the U.S. Senate have been introducing legislation they know won't pass like the DREAM Act in an cynical attempt to dupe supporters of immigrant rights into thinking that meaningful 'immigration reform' is around the corner if they just keep voting this party back into power," he explains in an email. "But beware of the Democrats. They are not what they portray themselves to be."

After attending college or enlisting in the military, along with other requirements, undocumented students would have the chance to become U.S. citizens under the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. Democrats added it to the defense appropriations bill, which requires 60 votes to pass, but it only mustered 56 on Tuesday. Republicans opposed the DREAM Act, labeling it amnesty.

Roberts claims Democrats who supported the DREAM Act were not "pro-immigrant," but pro-war, in particular the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan and coming soon to Iran. President Barack Obama needs fresh bodies for these engagements, Roberts' reasoning goes, so undocumented workers are being counted on to become his cannon fodder.

"The Democratic Party works incredibly hard to maintain this rather elaborate--but completely phony--facade of being welcoming of all newcomers to this country," Roberts says. "But the harsh reality is that its politicians have historically been far more aggressive than their Republican Party counterparts in pushing for laws and policies criminalizing undocumented workers."

His evidence:

  • In 1993, Alfred Alquist, a Democratic State Senator, introduced a bill that stripped undocumented workers of the right to obtain a driver's license in California. "The only reason why then-Republican Governor Pete Wilson was able to sign it into law," Roberts says, "is because the Democrats which controlled both houses of the state Legislature put it on his desk."

  • In 1997, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) asked the Clinton administration to continue funding a "pilot program" at the Anaheim City jail where immigration agents were used to screen detainees taken into custody. Roberts: "This program caused the deportation of numerous undocumented workers with no prior criminal records for minor offenses and traffic violations." (The Weekly's Nick Schou wrote about Sanchez's role in the Anaheim Jail/INS project, which her staff tried to cover it up: ocweekly.com.)

  • Last year, President Obama appointed Janet Napolitano to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. "When Napolitano was Democratic Governor of Arizona," Roberts notes, "she was a close ally of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and lobbied the Bush administration on his behalf to give his army of deputies the power to arrest undocumented workers." (See the photo posted by Orange Juice of Arpaio and then-Arizona Gov. Napolitano at a joint press conference: orangejuiceblog.com. Now check out the article from our Arizona cousin paper, Phoenix New Times, on Obama, Napolitano and Arpaio: phonenixnewtimes.com. Slate, too: slate.com.)

Roberts also takes a swipe at his foe Boxer for supporting an unsuccessful amendment to a defense spending bill that authorized $250 million in funds to deploy 6,000 National Guardsmen to patrol the U.S./Mexico border. Boxer's colleague and fellow Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, "have been avid cheerleaders for militarizing the border since the 1990s," Roberts claimed.

"If you scrutinize anti-immigrant initiatives peddled by opportunistic Republican Party politicians, in most circumstances you'll discover they've modeled them on laws and policies originally crafted by Democratic Party politicians," he alleges. "The ultimate irony in this is that the Republicans are called racists for advancing initiatives that were first introduced by the Democrats."

He doesn't have to look far to find an example of this, saying Costa Mesa Mayor Alan Mansoor, the Republican nominee for a state Assembly seat, based nearly all of his anti-immigrant proposals on "laws and policies put into motion by President Bill Clinton, Senator Boxer, Senator Feinstein, Congresswoman Sanchez, and lately Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano--all Democrats."

"The reason Mayor Mansoor was able to get immigration agents stationed full-time in the Costa Mesa City jail was because Congresswoman Sanchez helped keep the original 'pilot program' alive at Anaheim City jail over a decade ago," Roberts charges. "Back then, the federal government wanted it shut down because they didn't want their immigration agents wasting time deporting low-level offenders."

Roberts ends his lesson by parlaying off the words of Eugene Debs, the five-time Socialist Party candidate for president who once said there was "not a dime's worth of difference" between the two major capitalist political parties.

"That's not entirely correct: When the Republicans kick undocumented workers in the teeth, they do it with an ugly frown on their face," Roberts observes. "When the Democrats do the same thing, they do it with a friendly smile."

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