Thursday, May 11, 2006

Commencement capades -- it's getting sillier 

At Portland State University, students are also upset about their commencement speak, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) His sin? He voted for a house bill that would make illegal immigrants felons.
Jessica Torres, a senior, said DeFazio's yes vote in December for House Resolution 4437, often called the Sensenbrenner bill, makes him an inappropriate graduation speaker for a school that celebrates diversity. Graduates who are immigrants or their family members may feel alienated by DeFazio's presence, she said. Torres' father, who immigrated from Mexico and is a U.S. citizen, is among a dozen of her relatives planning to attend the June 17 ceremony.
Emphasis mine. I wonder if she's talked to her dad, who went through the time and trouble to become a citizen, about making it easier for people who break the law. I suspect he'd like DeFazio's explanation of the vote.
In an interview Tuesday, DeFazio, a populist who is sometimes at odds with his party, said he supported the bill because it would require employers to do more to verify that job applicants are eligible for legal employment and crack down on those who exploit illegal immigrants. He said he doesn't support the provision that would make illegal immigration a felony and will vote against the bill if that is part of the final legislation.

Yet, he said, "everybody knew from Day 1 that was a dead letter and, in fact, the Republicans have announced it's coming out of the bill."
Well, that's not exactly right. The House Republicans have been trying to pull the felony provision out of the bill, but the Democrats, trying to kill the whole bill, voted to keep it in because, in their view, having being an illegal immigrant shouldn't be illegal. The vote here shows the Democrats trying to force no changes on the bill (as Sensenbrenner wanted), and DeFazio voted for no change.

Who knows which vote is the more problematic for these students, but it has reached a silly point for them to be protesting a commencement speaker on a university campus for something this small.