Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Two very different views on immigration on Independence Mall

Independence Day celebrations in Philadelphia offered two very different views on the current debate about pending federal legislation on immigration reform.

Two very different views on immigration on Independence Mall

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Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter speaks in front of Independence Hall during the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony held there on July 4, 2013.   ( CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer )
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter speaks in front of Independence Hall during the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony held there on July 4, 2013. ( CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer )

Independence Day celebrations in Philadelphia offered two very different views on the current debate about pending federal legislation on immigration reform.

Mayor Nutter, speaking at Independence Hall this morning, noted not just the 237th anniversary of the Second Continental Congress adopting the Declaration of Independence but also of the 50th anniversary of the struggle for Civil Rights in Birmingham, Alabama and across the country.

Nutter spoke in support of the U.S. Senate vote last week on immigration reform, offering a "path to citizenship" for people who entered this country illegally while strengthening border security.  Framing the issue along the lines of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Nutter said the Declaration of Independence must be reinterpreted at times to fit the times.

"Our makeup is constantly changing as we welcome people who desperately want to be Americans," Nutter said. "And with our changing demographics, Americans must once again reinterpret its core values and principles through a modern lens."

Across the street, the Independence Hall Tea Party Association took a dim view of the legislation.  Keynote speaker J..D. Hayworth cited article 4, section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, which says the federal government shall protect each state against invasion. 

Hayworth accused elected officials of not enforcing immigration laws for at least the last three decades.

Hayworth, an Arizona congressmen for 12 years before losing re-election in 2006, challenged U.S. Sen. John McCain in the 2010 Republican primary but lost by a wide margin.  He is now a sports radio host in San Diego, Calif.

The Tea Party favorite had as many barbs for Republican senators such as McCain, Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan -- along with a shot at Fox News -- on the topic as he did for President Obama, who he called a "committed doctrinaire and a leftist."

He said some Republicans, backed by groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, see immigration reform as a path to "cheap labor" while some Democrats see it as a way to win "cheap votes."

"And you and I and your neighbors, we're the folks who know it ain't cheap," Hayworth said. "It's going to cost us."

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About this blog
William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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