An awful lot of politicians are embracing the House Republican position on immigration reform that anti-restrictionists continue to claim is bad politics. From yesterday’s Omaha World-Herald, on Senator Ben Nelson’s new, tougher position, “Nelson opposed a crackdown on illegal workers at Nebraska’s meatpacking plants in 1998-99 because, he said, it was draining needed labor from the state. Now, he says illegal immigrants are taking jobs from Americans and lowering wages. He is calling for a wall along the nation’s southern border. He also once supported in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants, but no longer.” His Republican opponent once supported a guest worker program for illegal aliens already here, but now favors a program that would demand they go back across the border before applying.
Ben Nelson voted against the Senate immigration bill in May that his Nebraska colleague Chuck Hagel supported. A local analyst thinks that this year’s GOP gubernatorial primary provided a lesson for Nebraska’s politicians. The article notes, “In the closing days of that race, [Gov.] Heineman hammered [U.S. Rep.] Osborne for supporting in-state tuition rates for the children of illegal immigrants. It may not have been the factor in Osborne’s defeat, but it definitely was a factor.” Last week, the House voted 283-138 to authorize a 700-mile fence along the southern border. Despite the opposition of their leadership, 64 Democrats supported the measure, including Congressman Sherrod Brown who is being accused of flip-flopping because he opposed the House bill passed last December that included the fence provision. Ohio’s GOP Chairman accuses Brown of “political opportunism” for casting such a politically popular vote. Brown is challenging Senator Mike DeWine who voted in favor of the Senate bill.