Repetition Over the Long Term
The only way progressives can avoid the disaster of disaster messaging is by regularly saying what they believe, in an effective messaging system – out loud, over and over, with the idea of changing how the public thinks and talks over the long haul.
Here is an uncompromising example of a possible op-ed:
End a Bad Law: 287(g)
Bad laws, laws that hurt far more than they help, should be eliminated. Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is a bad law. Here’s why.
Almost all immigrants who entered the US without papers are honest, hard-working, decent people, who have often risked their lives to come the America. They do essential work, mostly for low wages, work that makes the lifestyles of most Americans possible: cleaning homes, caring for children and the elderly, gardening, cooking in restaurants, working on farms, doing odd jobs, working on construction. They deserve our gratitude. They are America’s mainstays, good guys. There are 12 million of them in America, helping us all live better every day.
A small number, as in any population, are bad guys: occasional murderers, human traffickers, drug dealers, gang members and thieves. They need to be captured and convicted.
But 287(g) mostly harasses, jails, harms and deports the good guys and, in doing so, mostly lets the bad guys escape.
The 287(g) program allows local police and jailers to act as deportation agents with ultimate power over the lives of the good guys, who are assumed to be guilty until proven innocent. Their very entry into the US without papers constitutes sufficient “guilt” to justify their mistreatment and deportation.
The 287(g) program promotes a form of racial profiling – 287(g) is immoral, an affront to the human rights that define what America is about.
The 287(g) program is also ineffective in getting the bad guys, partly because it uses so many resources on going after the good guys.
As Alex DiBranco reports, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that 287(g) is poorly managed, ineffectively organized and arbitrarily implemented from place to place; ignores or actually provides false information to the public; fails to focus on noncitizens who pose a safety threat; gives shoddy training; lacks oversight; and has not terminated those local partners who have clearly violated the terms of the agreement – local law enforcement officials running amok in hunting down harmless undocumented immigrants. The 287(g) program also deters undocumented immigrants who witness a crime from coming forward and encourages racial profiling in which Latinos are “guilty until proven innocent.”
The 287(g) program should be ended and replaced by a law that protects the good guys and pays serious attention to catching the bad guys. It is not just ineffective; it is downright immoral.