One of the oldest, and lamest campaign gimmicks is to find some provision of a large, comprehensive omnibus bill; and hold it against a legislator as if that were their own preference. As is happening right now in the Massachusetts House, amendments get added or dropped; but at the end of the day, you vote for the whole bill.
In case you haven’t seen, Joe and his pals are bashing Ed Markey for one such provision, which kept a certain number of immigration detention beds (instead of decreasing). It was in a DHS omnibus bill in 2013. (Markey was one of only 25 Democrats to vote for it, which, to be fair, is not his usual pattern.)
But — that’s an oopsie for Joe. He voted for an identical provision in 2014, as did most Democrats. What changed?
This is why they call campaigns the “silly season”: A candidate will try to take what little daylight exists between them, and pry it into a scandalous gap. (I’ve talked at length about the difference between Markey and Kennedy on climate, and I stand behind that.) Here, in the full context … not much to see.
Why does this come out just now? Does the Kennedy campaign have internal polling that shows their grip slipping away? Are they surprised that people actively like and prefer Ed Markey? That it’s awfully late to come up with a real campaign theme, a reason-for-being?
The more important point here: Ed Markey has a consistent, strong, and passionate pro-immigrant record. Howie Carr readers will be grievously disappointed if they think Ed is with them. Even if you really hate this vote, it’s one vote on one provision on one bill; compared to a lifetime of action. For example, I’d point to Ed’s early advocacy on behalf of Syrian refugees, even when it wasn’t popular; even when Charlie Baker and Marty Walsh were exhibiting cowardice before bigotry and xenophobia. This was followed up in 2019 with legislation to provide a refugee resettlement floor.
Ed’s campaign is smart and on top of things, and they’ve got a full context of Ed’s relentlessly pro-immigration career. From the press release:
ED MARKEY’S IMMIGRATION RECORD:
In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, Ed Markey was the first Senator to call on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to immediately halt needless deportations and release from detention all immigrants who pose no public safety threat, and introduced the Immigration Enforcement Moratorium Act to halt the Trump administration’s harmful immigration enforcement activities.
Ed Markey is also a co-sponsor of Senator Cory Booker’s Federal Immigrant Release for Safety and Security Together Act (FIRST Act), which would release from immigration detention people who are particularly vulnerable to experiencing health complications if they acquire COVID-19.
In an effort to dismantle our immigration detention machinery, in June 2019, Ed Markey joined Senator Catherine Cortez Masto in introducing The Alternatives to Detention Act of 2019. This legislation would create a presumption in favor of the use of alternatives to detention for asylum seekers, migrant children and families, and other vulnerable groups. It would also require the Department of Homeland Security to establish alternatives to detention programs, including community-based supervision and community support, so that immigrants can remain in their communities as they await the outcome of their immigration cases.
Ed Markey is a cosponsor of Senator Cory Booker’s Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, which prevents the detention of a primary caregiver, ends the use of private prisons and country jails for immigration detention, and ensures all immigrants receive individualized and fair bond hearings.
Ed Markey is a cosponsor of Senator Kamala Harris’ REUNITE Act, legislation that would ensure that families are not incarcerated in indefinite detention by requiring the Secretary to use more cost effective and humane alternatives to detention.
Ed Markey introduced the New Deal for New Americans Act, legislation that promotes immigrant and refugee inclusion, as well as coordinates the efforts of federal, state, and local governments to support the social, economic, and civic integration of immigrants and refugees.