by John Bennett
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, in remarks that largely have escaped notice, has claimed that "creating a mechanism for [illegal aliens] to earn citizenship and move out of the shadows… is a matter of civil and human rights."
Holder also said that the federal government will work hard "to safeguard the rights of language minorities."
These claims are likely to add fuel to the growing controversy over the Senate amnesty proposal developed by the so-called "Gang of Eight."
Holder made these remarks in an April 24 speech to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund Awards Gala. MALDEF's notable activity includes suing Sheriff Joe Arpaio and opposing Arizona's immigration law.
Holder said, "[I]t is long past time to reform our immigration system in a way that is fair; that guarantees that all are playing by the same rules…"
However, one of the primary criticisms of amnesty is that it does not treat all immigrants according to the same rules. Instead, according to critics, amnesty would reward illegal aliens by allowing them to bypass established procedures required for legal entry.
Holder framed the amnesty proposal in grand terms:
"The way we treat our friends and neighbors who are undocumented - by creating a mechanism for them to earn citizenship and move out of the shadows - transcends the issue of immigration status. This is a matter of civil and human rights."
Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies tells WND, "[T]he idea that people have a right to come and live in the United States is very problematic."
He points out that, for centuries, sovereign nations have regulated "who may enter their territory."
Camarota also rejects the "rights" language because amnesty favors non-citizens at the expense of citizens, particularly those who are less affluent.
For instance, three members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recently wrote to the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, warning her of the harmful impact amnesty would have on the black community.
Amnesty "will likely disproportionately harm lower-skilled African-Americans by making it more difficult for them to obtain employment and depressing their wages when they do obtain employment," the letter cautioned.
Peter Kirsanow, an attorney and member of the commission, tells WND that Holder's remarks represent "a bizarre understanding of - if not an insult to - the history of the civil rights movement in this country."
Nonetheless, Holder's speech emphasized his desire to legalize illegal aliens.
Holder complained, "Far too many people are relegated to living in the shadows - without the rights, dignity, and legal protections they deserve."
Political scientist Peter Skerry writes that given their access to health care, home ownership, and jobs, "the undocumented have not exactly been cowering in the shadows," and that illegals should "step forward and assume responsibility for their decisions."
In his speech, the attorney general stated that the federal government will work hard "to safeguard the rights of language minorities."
"Language minority" is the term used in the Voting Rights Act to officially define "people who are of American Indian, Asian American, Alaskan Native or Spanish heritage."
The Voting Rights Act "requires jurisdictions with significant language minority populations to provide non-English ballots and oral voting instructions."
The groups listed were specifically selected for favoritism by the federal government because, in part, "[t]here wasn't evidence of other groups having difficulty voting."
Holder advocated for the current amnesty proposal, and appealed to what he described as the immigrant "dream."
Immigrants are driven by a "hope for a better life and their dream for a brighter future for their children," he said.
Holder mentioned his own cultural tradition as well, noting, "I'm proud to say I was raised in a home infused with traditions and values that my father and all my grandparents brought with them from the great island of Barbados."
The attorney general's comments come at a time of increasing skepticism towards the Senate amnesty proposal, which is under renewed doubt given the immigration system's treatment of the Boston terrorists.
Judicial Watch recently reported that older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev could have been deported, given his arrest in 2009 for domestic violence.
Those honored at MALDEF's award ceremony were Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chavez, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas, and former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.