Teacher Turned Congressman Grades GOP Letter Opposing Immigration Reform

by
Owen Poindexter
Congressman Mark Takano was a teacher for 14 years before getting elected to public office in 2012. Well, you can take the teacher out of the school, but you can’t take the school out of the teacher.


The letter circulated by anonymous GOP congresspeople with Rep. Mark Takano's mark-ups.

Congressman Mark Takano was a teacher for 14 years before getting elected to public office in 2012. Well, you can take the teacher out of the school, but you can’t take the school out of the teacher. For all the rhetorical atrocities Takano undoubtedly saw as a teacher, it’s possible that none were so aesthetically offensive as the draft letter he got from anonymous congresspeople urging him to vote against comprehensive immigration reform. When he got a letter repeating the GOP talking points on why the Senate comprehensive immigration bill was bad and what we needed instead was piecemeal immigration reform, Takano couldn’t take it anymore. He pulled out his red pen.

In a scathing but fair grading job, all too familiar to any student, Takano points out every deficiency and one strength—strong thesis—in the letter. There are contradictory statements, redundancies, hyperbole, and most of all, Takano writes “evidence!?” in three separate places. The letter claims separately that “reportedly not all senators have read” the immigration bill. This is likely true, but it is unsubstantiated in the letter. It also has this meaningless sentence that is the center of the GOP argument for a piecemeal immigration approach: “To attempt to do everything at once ensures that little will be done right, or, more likely, nothing will be done at all.” Again, Takano asks, “evidence?!” He asks for evidence again when the letter claims that immigration reform happened in a “secret and underhanded way,” in the Senate.

This last one is the most offensive because it is patently false. The Senate immigration bill, and the debates around it, were public to anyone who cared to tune it. Claims like this are lazy ways to make uninformed constituents say, “Yeah! No one told ME what was in the immigration bill!”

The letter claims to be about process, but really, doing immigration reform piecemeal will allow the GOP to select what it wants (tighter border security, e-verify) and ignore what it doesn’t want (a pathway to citizenship). Maybe if the letter didn’t hide its motives like that it wouldn’t have gotten an F.

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