Why are Tennessee’s senators really so mad about immigration?
Even before President Obama delivered his policy statement on immigration last Thursday, Sen. Bob Corker appeared on Fox News snarling and salivating. He appeared to be overcome by his hatred of the president, unleashing a torrent of insults that were, at the very least, highly disrespectful, and at worst, slanderous. He kept repeating “weak president,” “weak leader,” and “worst president in U.S. history,” even though the Fox interviewer attempted to help him escape his obsessive verbal loop.
Let’s consider that his emotional agitation may have completely negated his short-term memory, because he apparently could not recall George Bush, who really was the worst president in U.S. history, having gone to sleep at the switch, which allowed Bin Laden to knock down the Twin Towers, starting two wars that have proven to be abysmal failures, and wrecking the economy with deregulation, bringing on the Great Recession. Now that is a bad president!
In comparison, under President Obama, the stock market has skyrocketed from 7,949 to 17,826. Unemployment has decreased from 7.8 percent to 5.8 percent. The GDP achieved a gain of 9.9 percent in six years. The deficit has decreased from 9.8 percent to 2.8 percent GDP. Consumer confidence has increased from 37.7 percent to 94.5 percent.
President Obama pulled us out of the worst recession in U.S. history, and now millions of Americans have affordable health care that had no chance of obtaining it under George Bush. Bin Laden has been terminated with extreme prejudice and the president has resisted the influence of American chicken hawks to start another stupid war. That is a mighty fine record.
So what motivated Sen. Corker’s outburst? Is he just playing to the racist vote in the South? Suppressing the minority vote while getting 75 percent of the white vote was a winning strategy for the Dixiecrats for decades. Yet I believe there is an even more sinister motivation.
The Faithful Democracy Coalition points out that Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) has been “covertly maneuvering in immigration policy to increase detention rates while intentionally misleading the public about their efforts.”
The Continuing Appropriations Act of 2014 was passed with the strong support of both of Tennessee’s senators, Corker and Alexander. It mandates that the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency detain an average of 34,000 immigrant prisoners every day at a cost of $2 billion annually to taxpayers. Criminalizing undocumented immigration is a lucrative business for CCA. The more immigrants imprisoned, the more profits for CCA.
To maintain this criminalization of immigration, CCA donates large sums of money to “friends” in the U.S. House and Senate. CCA has donated $51,450 to Bob Corker and $70,450 to Lamar Alexander. Any move to decriminalize immigration will be strongly opposed by CCA—and by proxy, their “friends.”
Maybe both Tennessee senators are pandering to their party’s radical right fringe. Maybe both simply lack the ability to empathize with real people. Or maybe their anti-immigrant stances are the result of their having sold their allegiances to corporate power and money.