GOP Candidate for Congress Pat Bertroche: "Why Can't I Microchip an Illegal?"

The Republican race baiting has intensified and it is not just in Arizona. Iowa Republican 3rd Congressional District Primary Candidate Pat Betroche told the Cedar Rapids Gazette "Illegal Immigrants" should be microchipped.
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The Republican race baiting has intensified and it is not just in Arizona. Iowa Republican 3rd Congressional District Primary Candidate Pat Betroche told the Cedar Rapids Gazette "Illegal Immigrants" should be microchipped.

"I think we should catch 'em, we should document 'em, make sure we know where they are and where they are going," said Pat Bertroche, an Urbandale physician. "I actually support microchipping them. I can micro-chip my dog so I can find it. Why can't I microchip an illegal?"

"That's not a popular thing to say, but it's a lot cheaper than building a fence they can tunnel under," Bertroche said.

"Why can't I microchip an illegal?" Because immigrants are humans. Humans have rights. Humans are not dogs. I can not stomach that we still have to explain to some, that people who look different than you are not sub-human.

The Republican Primary in Iowa, is all about immigration reform, however all the solutions offered reek of racism, lies, and fear mongering.

Five of the six other candidates vying for the chance to take on Democratic U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell also spoke at the event, and each came out strongly against amnesty and in favor of tougher border security. State Sen. Brad Zaun of Urbandale said "illegal people who are here, put them on a bus and send them wherever they came from." He also contended that immigrants in the country illegally receive government services, like education and health care, and typically aren't helping pay to support those services.

Fortunately my home state is not completely full of meat heads.

The Iowa Independent offered some fact checking.

But that isn't true. A 2007 study by the non-partisan Iowa Policy Project found that the average undocumented family in Iowa pays about $1,254 in sales and excise taxes, $110 in property taxes and $307 in income taxes, for a total tax contribution of $1,671 each year. This represents approximately 80 percent of the total amount of taxes paid by a documented family in Iowa earning the same income.

Undocumented immigrant workers who work "on the books" also contribute additional state and federal taxes that go to pay for benefits that, because of their illegal status, these workers will never be able to access. Every year, employers pay the State of Iowa an estimated $1.85 million to $2.86 million in state unemployment insurance premiums on behalf of their unauthorized employees, and undocumented workers and their employers together pay an estimated $50.3 million to $77.8 million in Social Security and Medicare taxes to the federal government.

Immediately following the midterm elections, Iowa's Caucus campaign will be in full swing. My hope, is that fair minded Iowans won't play into the hands of this continued attack from the right against the "other." This year it is immigrants who will be attacked by Republicans. During previous election cycles the "other" under the gun was the LGBT community. And before that, African Americans.

The LGBT community and immigrant populations share a lot in common. As Law Professor Tobias Wolf pointed out in an open letter, we both know what it is like to fear our government, we know what it is like to worry about termination from our employment because of who we are, and we both have had to hide based on how we walk or dress to survive.

And yet our mutual goals, are simply the desire to be given a fair opportunity to be full citizens of this country -- an opportunity nearly every American's ancestor asked for.

Sadly, the Republicans are without solid ideas of their own -- at least ideas that would poll well. No Republican is going to win on their true platform: help the banks become more powerful, make it more difficult to get health care, ship jobs overseas, and destroy the environment for profit. So this year, hard working people who were born outside our country's boarders (or may just look like they were) will be targeted by racist lowlifes as a guise for the real conservative motive -- greed.

If irrational fear rules Iowa during the midterms, you can bet that will be the theme of GOP Presidential Caucus candidates. But like the GOPs attack on the LGBT community, their new target is a bad strategy. It is already failing in Arizona, where the Democratic challenger Jarry Goddard is leading in the polls against Republican incumbent Jan Brewer.

It is a strategy that will have lasting negative effects on the Republican party as Hispanics, and anyone who values decency, flees the Republican party faster than you can smear a re-fried bean swastika on a Capitol.

Unfortunately, until the Republicans realize what the rest of us have already figured out -- that all humans deserve a fair chance -- we are going to see more racism, hate, and bigotry from GOP hopefuls. Including the modern version of the pink triangle, Star of David , and other Nazi era markers -- an implanted micro-chip tracking system to enhance government surveillance of the "other."

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