This week, the National Organization for Marriage is launching a 200,000 Spanish-language television ad campaign that aims to present senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina (R-CA) as the candidate who shares the values of Latino voters. One of the ads makes the point that Boxer “voted against immigration reform to permit our people to come here legally to work.” The narrator then concludes “We’ve had enough of her talk. Carly Fiorina for US Senate. Our values. Our senator.”
Meanwhile, Fiorina says “now is not the time” to deal with the millions of immigrants who are already in the country illegally. Instead, she supports SB-1070 and instituting a temporary worker program.
The National Organization for Marriage doesn’t explain why Boxer voted against immigration reform in 2007. The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 would’ve provided millions of undocumented immigrants with a path to citizenship, but it was also plagued by several troubling provisions.
To begin with, just to regularize their immigration status, undocumented immigrants would’ve had to leave their jobs and families and return to their home countries for a period of time. Many agreed that the “touchback” requirement would likely lead to millions of undocumented immigrants staying underground. At the time, the Democratic Strategist wrote “Democrats are restless about the implications of voting for an increasingly bad bill ‘to keep the process going,’ counting on the House to pass something more acceptable.”
The touchback program wasn’t the only troubling part of the bill. The legislation also introduced a “point system” which would’ve sorted out lower-skilled immigrants from high-skilled ones and prioritized the latter in the allocation of visas with little to no regard for economic demand for workers or family reunification. The provision represented a “radical shift in the philosophy of the U.S. immigration system” and would’ve fundamentally changed the demographics of U.S. immigration in a way that probably would not have favored Latinos and their families. Then Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) called it a “radical experiment in social engineering.”
Finally, the bill included a controversial temporary worker program which Boxer herself claims would’ve amounted to “indentured servitude.” At the time, Boxer denounced the guest worker program, saying it would create a pool of “desperate low-wage workers” whom employers could easily exploit. Many of the nation’s unions agreed.
Boxer did vote in support of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 which did not include a point system and contained a scaled-back touchback requirement and temporary worker program. She continues to support comprehensive immigration reform that includes a practical path to legalization and a “humane” temporary worker program.
The National Organization for Marriage’s ad also hits Boxer for being pro-choice and supporting same sex marriage. However, the California Latino population is itself split in its views on abortion and gay marriage.