Don’t vote for Shuler or Mumpower

North Carolina’s 11th District congressional race between Heath Shuler and Carl Mumpower has become a showdown of anti-immigrant rhetoric. Both candidates are attempting to ride the national wave of racism and jingoism to victory.

Carl Mumpower protested the Mexican consulate’s Saturday visit to Hendersonville after sending out trash bins full of junk e-mail decrying the consulate’s distribution of I.D. cards that help immigrants get driver’s licenses.

In March, Mumpower wrote a letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Charlotte and called for an immigration bust of construction sites in Asheville after he listened to Spanish conversations at the College Street construction site and concluded that “50-plus illegal aliens (work) within this concentrated area of downtown Asheville.”

Mumpower used overheard Spanish-language conversations to assume these people’s guilt as illegal immigrants.

Heath Shuler fronted the Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement Act, or “SAVE Act,” as the answer to the immigration problems that the failure of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 left open. Unlike the 2007 bill, the SAVE Act did not provide any pathways to citizenship for immigrants who already work and reside in the United States. Instead, it proposed increased enforcement in the form of 8,000 additional Border Patrol agents. Thankfully the bill did not garner enough signatures to force a vote on the U.S. House floor and fell dead in March.

These measures are political stunts designed to rally voters behind the most outspoken anti-“illegal” candidate. They completely ignore the fact that immigration is not a question “simply about one word—illegal,” as one of Mumpower’s press releases claims. Immigration is a profoundly moral question that deals with the lives of human beings. Increasing enforcement without providing paths to citizenship damages the lives of hardworking immigrants who want to become citizens but can’t because of the shortcomings of our country’s immigration system.

I want a congressman who provides real solutions to our country’s immigration problem, not ridiculous racists rhetoric. This November I won’t be voting for either candidate; I urge all rationally-minded WNC to do the same.
— Ben Smith
Editor-In-Chief
The Blue Banner
UNC-Asheville’s student newspaper

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18 thoughts on “Don’t vote for Shuler or Mumpower

  1. travelah

    Mr. Smith, this country already has a legal and rational path for immigration and citizenship. The solution to illegal immigration is to begin enforcing the laws already on the books and put proper disincentives in place. The notion that enforcing our laws and expecting immigrants to abide by them is racist is nothing but empty rhetoric. What is your solution? What are the shortcomings you write about? What candidate are you supporting? Let’s see some substance to your commentary rather than empty platitudes about what you think is wrong.

  2. bobaloo

    How in the world is enforcing workplace laws concerning illegal aliens racist? But then, that’s the crux of your argument. Anyone that opposes open borders and complete amnesty is a racist.

    Say what you want about Mumpower, but the SAVE act merely attempted to enforce the rule of law.

  3. bobaloo

    a showdown of anti-immigrant rhetoric.

    By the way, neither Mumpy or Shuler has said a single negative thing concerning immigrants.
    Controlling illegal immigration, yes. Legal immigrants, no.

  4. susan

    The comments by bobaloo and travelah show that they do not understand the immigration crisis in our nation right now – it is almost IMPOSSIBLE for people to legally immigrate to this country, yet our business still need this immigrant labor.

    I am all in favor of enforcing immigration laws around employment and workplaces. But they need to go after the EMPLOYERS because it is they who are benefiting from this situation, and it is the EMPLOYERS AND CORPORATIONS who are keeping the present system intact.

    I will not vote for Mumpower or Shuler either, since both are failing to provide any real solutions – which would entail re-vamping the immigration system so that it is possible to become a legal immigrant in under one year and to prosecute the EMPLOYERS AND CORPORATIONS from hiring undocumented people just so they can keep labor costs down. A couple of multi-million dollar fines would get them straightened out. Rounding people up will never work, and is immoral besides.

  5. bobaloo

    Susan,
    You’re reading something into my comments that’s not there. Here’s what I said:

    How in the world is enforcing workplace laws concerning illegal aliens racist?

    You and I, it appears, probably agree more than we disagree.
    My main objection to Mr. Smith is the knee-jerk reaction to call those who support enforcement of current laws racist.

    It’s BS and meant to shame opponents of amnesty into shutting up.

    The biggest part of the problem concerning the continuing flood of illegal aliens into our country doesn’t lay with corporations, the US government or immigration law. The blame lies almost entirely on the Mexican government and it’s policies and corruption.
    Rather than attempting to reform the issues Mexico has with it’s economy, it would much rather export the problem here. At the same time the Mexican government imprisons and uses deadly force to prevent illegal immigration from south of their border.

    None the less, I completely agree with you in some respects. Yes, we need to go after the employers who are exploiting the illegal aliens as a new sub-class of cheap labor.
    They live in abject poverty and, because of their refusal to integrate and their illegal status, stay on the absolute fringe of our society.

    But let’s not forget who ultimately benefits from the cheap labor: the American consumer.

    I also agree that our immigration system is a mess and requires reform. The amount of red tape immigrants must go through is absolutely ludicrous.

    As far as deportation or “rounding people up” as you say, – I don’t know what kind of concentration camp scenario you’re envisioning to make it immoral – although deportation may not be ultimately effective (since the deported simply come right back in), it is still the law.

    I fully realize that illegal aliens are human beings, that all they want is to support their families and to live a decent life, but if they want to do it within the USA they must follow our laws and become a part of our society.

  6. travelah

    susan, please re-read my post and explain what specifically are you disagreeing with?

  7. Andrew

    I do agree with the editorial that the battle against “illegal” immigration is not worth fighting over this election. It is hopeless–and has already been lost. Of course the rhetoric used by both candidates makes it look they are doing something.

    It is in everyone’s interest to stem illegal immagration by making it simple to legally work in the country as a guest. How many of us would be Americans today if our ancestors faced the same legal hurdles in coming to this country? Law authorities could then focus on “rounding” up those who are actually committing criminal actions with the benefit that identification of individuals would be much simpler.

    I’ve heard it said that the US still has the highest legal immigration rate in the world.

  8. Runner

    Certainly not voting for either Shuler or Mumpower makes sense if immigration is the ONLY issue you care about. But given that there are a host of other issues the nation is dealing with do we really have the luxury of being single issue voters?

    Anyone who thought that Shuler was going to be a progressive’s deam in 2006 wasn’t paying attention and while there is unquestionably plenty for progressives to be unhappy about with him on many issues on a host of them ranging from health care, the environment, to labor, he is massive improvement over Charles Taylor and his evil twin Carl Mumpower.

  9. Stand Tall

    Go ahead, folks. Defend illegal immigrants all you want, but your children and grandchildren will curse you for it.

  10. david

    unless, of course, your children are illegal immigrants, in which case they may thank you.

  11. Michael Cummings MD

    Mr. Smith’s advice to not vote is particularly egregious since he is the editor in chief of a newspaper. Immigration is a complex issue but so are the economy,the credit meltdown, the war in Iraq, global warming and the impending implosion of our healthcare system.
    I have been voting since 1968 and I believe that this upcoming election will be the most important one in my lifetime. Get informed, get engaged and make a decision. Do not sit this one out and do not make up your mind based on one issue–politicians will exploit you if you do.
    Mr. Smith’s generation will be left with a bag of you-know-what if they sit out the process; a vote that turns out to be a mistake is beetter than no vote.

  12. nick s

    “this country already has a legal and rational path for immigration and citizenship.”

    Legal, yes. Rational? No. “Enforce the laws on the books” is a common refrain, but the books are a mess. (The “laws on the books” right now have led to non-citizen military wives getting deported after their husbands die in Iraq.)

    “Rather than attempting to reform the issues Mexico has with it’s economy, it would much rather export the problem here.”

    Both parties are more comfortable with a corporatist Mexican government that waves off those who’d otherwise vote against it, because the alternative would be a Mexican president who’d welcome Hugo Chavez with open arms.

    So travelah and bobaloo: is it going to be $15 steak and $4 spinach and unionized labor from now on? If you want the “laws on the books” enforced, you’ll have no problem putting your money where your mouth is.

  13. travelah

    nick,
    With a proper and enforced immigration policy, workers who are employed in agriculture do not have to do so illegally. The Mexican labor pools working the various construction and road crew sites around the county are not picking spinach or processing beef. Most U.S. workers are not unionized so the absense of illegal workers is not likely to have any impact.

  14. nick s

    That’s a dodge, travelah. Are you going to put your money where your mouth is and pay the price tag for food that you can be sure makes it to the shelves without being picked or slaughtered or canned by illegal immigrants working on blackmail wages supplied by arms-length employment agencies to large corporations?

    ‘Enforce the laws’ is an empty statement unless it’s backed by substance on how the laws stand right now. US immigration law is a mess, allowed to fester because it doesn’t directly affect most ‘born-in-the-USA’ citizens. Wanting to reform that mess in a way that’s honest about the costs and demands of the labor market isn’t the same as throwing the border open to all-comers. Are you prepared to foot your part of the bill for a legal immigration system that works to your satisfaction, and are you prepared to pay the premium of having a workforce that’s on the books?

  15. bobaloo

    nick s, reread from my above post:

    But let’s not forget who ultimately benefits from the cheap labor: the American consumer.

    I also agree that our immigration system is a mess and requires reform. The amount of red tape immigrants must go through is absolutely ludicrous.

  16. travelah

    nick, I do not think you are grasping what I am stating. Illegal immigrants have next to nothing to do with the price of beef or the rising cost of groceries. Now they can have an effect on fruit and vegetable costs if the crops rot in the field.
    I have no problem paying for a legal immigration system that works to my satisfaction. We already have one IF it would be enforced. I think it is more telling that you would be content to have your vision of the status quo continue i.e. illegal immigrants working on blackmail wages supplied by arms-length employment agencies to large corporations which isn’t very true to begin with.

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