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Myrtle Beach Chamber wants “sensible” immigration reform

This week we peek out from Under the Outhouse to see the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce coming out in favor of immigration reform, and Republicans proving they really, really hate the Constitution.

Chamber Calls For Sensible Immigration Reform

Representatives from both dominant parties in Congress are working on a proposal to reform the U.S.’s broken immigration system. Last July, the U.S. Senate passed its version of immigration reform; however, the Republican-controlled House has yet to put the issue to vote. The future of comprehensive immigration reform will likely depend on a compromise about what to do with the roughly 11 to 20 million undocumented workers currently inside the United States.

There is no question that our immigration system is in desperate need of reform, and the partisan wrangling over the issue only represents the fringes of both parties. As dirty as the word “compromise” has become in American politics, it is necessary for economic, national security, and humanitarian reasons that Republicans and Democrats find a way to make something work (hint: the answer is neither “deporting them all back to Mexico,” nor outright amnesty). Besides, addressing what to do with immigrants in the states illegally is just one part of a comprehensive overhaul.

The outcome of immigration reform has special importance for the Myrtle Beach area, an economy driven by the service industry where migrant labor helps keep costs down for business owners. Last week, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President Brad Dean met with faith, business and law enforcement leaders from North and South Carolina to discuss immigration reform. “We welcome millions of visitors each year and during our busiest months local hotels and restaurants need seasonal workers to meet consumer demand,” Dean said at the summit. “We need sensible immigration policies for our economy to grow.”

You can voice your opinion on immigration reform to U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, who represents the Myrtle Beach area in Congress, by calling his office at 445-6459.

OBJECT! No Defense for RGA’s Anti-Sheheen Ad

An attack ad released last week by the Republican Governor’s Association targets Democratic South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen for his work as a defense attorney. “Sheheen defended violent criminals, who abused women and went to work setting them free,” exclaims the ad, and accuses Sheheen of profiting from violent criminals.

While the so-called “facts” of the ad check out, there is no defense for attacking defense attorneys for the actions of their clients. Unfortunately, Republicans have long employed this despicable tactic to shame defense attorneys like Sheheen for giving legal counsel to the accused. Sure, some of Sheheen’s clients may have been atrocious people, but the U.S. Constitution does not have a caveat for “really shitty people” when it says that all citizens are afforded a fair trial with a competent attorney.

Backlash against the RGA’s ad is coming from all sides. Sheheen campaign manager Andrew Whalen called the ad “disgusting and desperate.” The American and South Carolina Bar associations, which do not endorse political candidates, have condemned the ad, saying it sends the wrong message about “a fundamental tenet of America’s justice system.” Even former South Carolina Attorney General Charlie Condon, a Republican, told the Huffington Post the ad was “beneath the dignity of Governor (Nikki) Haley herself and her campaign,” and called for Haley to pressure the RGA into pulling it from circulation.

Despite the rebuke from basically, well, everyone so far except Haley and the RGA, the South Carolina Republican Party is standing by the ad. “This is fair game,” said Matt Moore, chairman of the S.C. GOP, at a press conference on April 24. “We think he’s not fit to serve as governor.”

Only Republicans Have Right to Destroy Republican Brand?

Speaking of the South Carolina Republican Party, the Palmetto State’s official GOP organization is threatening to sue former judge and Nikki Haley challenger Tom Ervin. Why? Ervin refers to himself as an “independent Republican,” a claim the SC GOP says will “undoubtedly confuse voters” as that Ervin is running as an independent -- not as a Republican. “While the First Amendment protects your right to promote and advertise the issues that concern you, it does not give you the right to lead the public to believe you are a Republican, when you are not one,” reads the letter.

In a state where Haley and her Republican colleagues helped put taxpayers more than $71 billion in debt (according to the group State Budget Solutions), I would say voters are already pretty confused about what passes as a “Republican.” However, this petty example of legal thuggery has less to do about voters, and more about Haley’s vulnerability in the upcoming election. And, in threatening Ervin with legal action, Republicans have given him plenty of free advertising, courtesy of the Streisand Effect. Whoops.