Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 27, 2005

TAKING ON 'ANCHOR BABIES'....Slowly but surely, the conservative drive to deny citizenship to babies born in the United States to illegal immigrant parents is generating widespread media attention. Whereas the proposal was initially fascinating only to conservative news outlets, now even the AP is covering the story.

With more than 70 co-sponsors, Georgia Republican Rep. Nathan Deal tried to include a revocation of birthright citizenship in an immigration bill passed by the House in mid-December. GOP House leaders did not let the proposal come to a vote.

"Most Americans feel it doesn't make any sense for people to come into the country illegally, give birth and have a new U.S. citizen," said Ira Mehlman of the Federation of American Immigration Reform, which backs Deal's proposal. "But the advocates for illegal immigrants will make a fuss; they'll claim you're punishing the children, and I suspect the leadership doesn't want to deal with that."

At least as far as political analysis goes, this sounds about right. GOP leaders saw no upside to holding a vote on this, but the fact that 77 House Republicans -- about a third of the House GOP caucus -- were willing to put their names on the idea suggests ending "birthright citizenship" is a measure that's catching on in conservative circles.

In a practical sense, this fight over what some on the right call "anchor babies" seems like a lost cause. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution says that those "bornin the United States" are "citizens of the United States." For that matter, the Supreme Court ruled in 1898 that a baby born in San Francisco to Chinese immigrants was legally a U.S. citizen, even though federal law at the time denied citizenship to people from China. The court said birth in the United States constituted "a sufficient and complete right to citizenship." House Republicans may think a provision in an immigration bill can get around all of this, but I'm not sure what they're basing their confidence on.

I'm also intrigued by the underlying point advocates for ending birthright citizenship are making with their proposal. Under existing law, children of illegal immigrants can sponsor their parents for legal permanent residency once they become adults. For lawmakers like Tom Tancredo, this means couples have an incentive to get into the U.S. illegally in order to have a baby, who can then help them establish residency nearly two decades later.

Does anyone know how often this actually happens? I can appreciate long-term thinking, but realistically, how many families are sneaking into the country to give birth in 2005 as part of a residency plan for 2023?

Steve Benen 10:42 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (162)

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Um, people coming to the US, working hard for 20 some-odd years and raising a kid (or two) who goes on to become a productive member of society and then wants to sponsor his parents for full citizenship in the country that they've lived in most of their adult lives and for his entire life...this is a problem?

Funny, when I grew up, it was called the American Dream.

Posted by: theorajones on December 27, 2005 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

"Does anyone know how often this actually happens?"

Why bother playing into this by asking? The radical Republicans don't care how often it happens. Two examples are enough to fuel thousands of speeches and TV bobblehead appearances.

Posted by: Jim Lund on December 27, 2005 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Gotta love those traditional "pro-family" values!

Posted by: zoe kentucky on December 27, 2005 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

I say, bring on the bill! First, it is clearly unconstitutional -- as you note. So, I'm not worried about any harm actually being done. Second, if the Republicans give this issue any serious play -- and by that I mean debating it at length in public, sticking it in their platform, anything up to and including passing it, whether Bush vetos it or not -- Hispanics will never vote Republican again. They'll become a 90% lock for the Democrats. Look what happened in California with Prop 187.

That the Republicans are getting serious about this, and that it's starting to get widespread attention is great news for the Democratic Party.

Posted by: Not That Charlie on December 27, 2005 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Uh, Constitution? Isn't that a rather dated document? I think Dubya signed an Executive Order proclaiming it inoperable until he declared the GWOT complete. If he can render the 4th Amendment moot he can do the same for the 14th.

Posted by: steve duncan on December 27, 2005 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

If this is such a big problem, why aren't we just making it easier for people to become citizens in the first place? That way they don't have to have a baby to ease their citizenship 20 years later.

I'm with theorajones - I thought we were the free nation that welcomed the world's oppressed masses with open arms.

We need to be making it easy for immigrants to become full citizens, with all the benefits - and responsibilities - that entails.

We need to be punishing employers who seek illegal immigrants to get around wage and tax laws.

End of story.

Posted by: Adam Piontek on December 27, 2005 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK
In a practical sense, this fight over what some on the right call "anchor babies" seems like a lost cause. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution says that those "bornin the United States" are "citizens of the United States." For that matter, the Supreme Court ruled in 1898 that a baby born in San Francisco to Chinese immigrants was legally a U.S. citizen, even though federal law at the time denied citizenship to people from China. The court said birth in the United States constituted "a sufficient and complete right to citizenship." House Republicans may think a provision in an immigration bill can get around all of this, but I'm not sure what they're basing their confidence on.

Well, the obvious answer -- as they can't be completely ignorant -- is that they are lying. They know they can't institute the policy through such a vehicle, and the support for the issue is pure symbolic red meat thrown to the immigrant-hating base. They know that the courts are almost certain to strike it down, and know that that also is a political opportunity for them no matter how predictable and legally correct such an action would be.

This is about politics, not policy. If you meaningfully address problems, you run the risk of losing them as a source of political support, so there is no desire to meaningfully address any of the problems which have served so well to whip up support for the Republican Party in the past.


Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, it also might help if we put some effort into helping other nations create incentives to keep their citizens inside their borders (and inside their economies).

Posted by: Adam Piontek on December 27, 2005 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK
Um, people coming to the US, working hard for 20 some-odd years and raising a kid (or two) who goes on to become a productive member of society and then wants to sponsor his parents for full citizenship in the country that they've lived in most of their adult lives and for his entire life...this is a problem?

If they stay in the country continuously after having the child, they won't ever be eligible for residency even if the child grows up and tries to sponsor them; there is a prohibition on eligibility for any legal immigration for several years after having been illegally present in the country.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

They aren't worried about the 20-year costs - it's the 5-10 year costs that kill them. Those babies are now US citizens and can't be denied social services like already-born illegal immigrant children. The kids get education, health care, free school lunches, and all the rest. It also makes deporting illegal immigrant parents a lot tougher if they have two US citizens for children.

Posted by: Silent E on December 27, 2005 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen wrote:

I can appreciate long-term thinking, but realistically, how many families are sneaking into the country to give birth in 2005 as part of a residency plan for 2023?

I think that the last part of your post misses the obvious...How likely is it that the illegal immigrant parents of a newborn baby would get deported?

It's not a two-decade plan for permanent residency; more like a 9 month plan...

Posted by: grape_crush on December 27, 2005 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

The constitution clearly states that if one is born in the US, one is automatically a citizen. There are no caveats to this.

A law that conflicts with this would eventually be ruled as unconstitutional. I would not want my congressmen and congresswomen to pass such a wasteful law. God knows there is enough waste going on outside of the constitutional boundaries.

Or...perhaps this is a test to see how ferverently the constitution will be defended against those for whom parts of it are inconvenient. How much outrage will the public display against attempts to bend or circumvent the Supreme Law of the Land?
How many are willing to allow this band in Washington to alter this nearly sacred document?

Posted by: rainyday on December 27, 2005 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Well, the 14th Amendment doesn't say that everyone born in the U.S. is automatically a citizen. It says that everyone born in the U.S.--"and subject to the jurisdiction thereof"--is a citizen. Thus, children born in the United States to accredited foreign diplomats are not U.S. citizens, because they are by treaty and convention not subject to U.S. jurisidiction. It is through this keyhole that the Tancredo types say they can bypass the amendment through legislation. I say this as an immigration lawyer who truly hates those guys and thinks they're really wrong here. The Republicans have been calling for abolition of birthright citizenship in their national party platform at least since 1994, by the way.--Arminius

Posted by: arminius on December 27, 2005 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

You can't have a temporary guest worker plan and have birthright citizenship because the guest workers in effect stop being temporary when they have U.S. citizen anchor babies.

So, which one do you want?

Posted by: Steve Sailer on December 27, 2005 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Well, the 14th Amendment doesn't say that everyone born in the U.S. is automatically a citizen. It says that everyone born in the U.S.--"and subject to the jurisdiction thereof"--is a citizen."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Illegal immigrants are subject to the jurisdiction thereof. Is someone going to argue once they cross the border they aren't subject to our laws? If they murder, rape, steal, drive drunk or commit any other crimes they're arrested and prosecuted. Isn't being made answerable to the judicial branch of government "subject to the jurisdiction thereof"?

Posted by: steve duncan on December 27, 2005 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Arminius, so they're claiming that children of illegal immigrants aren't subject to the jurisdiction of the US? That they have something equivalent to diplomatic immunity? Might make things difficult when a child of illegal immigrants grows up and commits a crime.

Posted by: KCinDC on December 27, 2005 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

You can't have a temporary guest worker plan and have birthright citizenship because the guest workers in effect stop being temporary when they have U.S. citizen anchor babies.

Sure you can: make all guest workers check their reproductive organs at the border, to be returned when they leave the country.

Storage might be an issue, though.

Posted by: Doctor Gonzo on December 27, 2005 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Illegal immigrant parents of an American citizen baby are most unlikely to be deported. There are provisions that disallow deporting when american citizens will be seriouly impacted and this falls under the category.

So I doubt that many people are likely to wait for this 20 year citizenship thing, but many do see a baby as making them much harder to deport and even more importantly, granting a good life to the baby.

Posted by: erg on December 27, 2005 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

The most disturbing possibility is that these legislators actually think, based on some originalism run amok, that the bill would be constitutional. Their purported justification is that the authors of the 14th couldn't possibly have envisioned a scenario where people immigrate just to have anchor babies.

It's totally insane to base a law on an intention that flatly contradicts the text of the amendment in which the intent is codified.

Posted by: jpe on December 27, 2005 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, arminius. I stand corrected on that detail. Got no problem acknowledging facts.

And thanks, Steve Duncan -- your addendum is what a reasoned viewpoint of that is - and would be if this became watercooler chat material, IMO anyway.

Still, raising this issue to me is just an exercise in testing the wind to see how far the loonies can go before the general public with check them. Moving the goalposts is part of the extreme right wing strategy. Stopping that from happening is part of mine.

Posted by: rainyday on December 27, 2005 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely has pointed out why these phony platforms are constructed. It is an essential element of culture war to give Americans who are prone to traditionalist sentiments the feeling that they are besieged. No matter how outrageous, the Republicans must constantly construct these mirages to motivate the base. Remember liberals banning the Bible?

Discussing this stuff in terms of policy is useless. I wish some public relations types would set up a blog to dissect these initiatives. They clearly follow a message trajectory and timeline and are often tailor cut for a particular demographic.

Posted by: bellumregio on December 27, 2005 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Well, it works either way for them.

Either pass the legislation -- or use the failed legislation as another club to bash an "activist court."

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 27, 2005 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

before the general public with check them.

Sorry. Was meant to read: will check them.

(And I even previewed it. Argh!)

Posted by: rainyday on December 27, 2005 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

bellumregio:

Oh completely. It's of a piece with Intelligent Design, the War on Christmas and flag-burning and marriage Amendments. All following a strategy of using essentially non-issues -- probably a lot more coordinated than any of us would care to think -- to keep people on that side of the culture war feeling besieged.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 27, 2005 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Why are you so surprised that these jerks have no respect fot the Constitution or far law, in general? Banning flag burning, prayer in schools, ten commandments in courts, torture, domestic spying... why stop now?

Posted by: buck turgidson on December 27, 2005 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Is this "born in the US, then a US citizen" thing mandatory? What happens if your baby is born in the US, but the last thing you want is having an American child?

Posted by: MartinE on December 27, 2005 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Hispanics will never vote Republican again

Not true... about a third of Hispanics eligible to vote, especially in CA, don't like the illigal immigrants. It's not that they want the immigration to stop, but they want it legal. They are under the delusion that if the illegals stopped coming, somehow legal channels would be created.

Posted by: buck turgidson on December 27, 2005 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

You have wait until you are 21 before a US Citizen can sponsor a relative for Citizenship.

I grew up in Canada and had a childhood friend who was born in the US to Indian parents. The parents had immigration troubles in the US and eventually settled in Canada and built a life for themselves. Eventually, both parents lost their jobs and had few opportunities available to them in Canada. So when my friend turned 21, he sponsored his family for green cards (though at the time he was still in Canada in university ironically enough).

Posted by: Manish on December 27, 2005 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

You can't have a temporary guest worker plan and have birthright citizenship because the guest workers in effect stop being temporary when they have U.S. citizen anchor babies.

This is exactly what happend in Europe with Turkish, Kurd and Arab guest workers brought in in the Sixties and Seventies.

Posted by: Stefan on December 27, 2005 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

When does O'Reilly declare "The War on Babies"?

BOR: "Why look, these kids just show up here, and expect someone to take care of them! Why they don't even speak English! What do you say to that?!"

Baby: "Goo-goo gah blee pfft WAAAAHHHH!"

(spits up all over O'Reilly's $500 suit)

BOR: "That's it then, let's send them back where they came from!"

Posted by: Satan luvvs Repugs on December 27, 2005 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

buck, in principle you are correct. In practice, however, sponsoring anti-illegal-immigrant legislation by Republicans causes the "racist faction" of the party to gain the upper hand, alienating the latinos who would have otherwise had no problem with cracking down on illegal immigration and driving them towards the Democrats. This is what happened with proposition 187 in California, which attracted Latino support but ultimately caused the downfall of the GOP in that state.

Posted by: Constantine on December 27, 2005 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

One thing that really bothers me is how little the Dems try to organize the Hispanic vote. I live in Alabama and I know there are a lot of illegals, but so are there many legal aliens and I see little effort to get them out to vote. The Hispanic vote should be a huge voice in local and national elections.

Posted by: fred on December 27, 2005 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Adam Piontek, cmdicely and Pat have collectively captured the essential points on this issue. The solution is to have a realistic (liveable) minimum wage and then enforce existing laws prohibiting employers from hiring undocumented workers.

The current non-enforcement policy allows businesses to hold down (labor) costs by exploiting desperate people. They will continue to do this unless and until the feds stop them.

New Orleans reconstruction is good example. FEMA-approved contractors fired union construction crews and hired crews made up of undocumented laborers. This saved them tons of money, although it displaced Americans who needed work (the quality of work and the product taxpayers get for their money is another issue, considering the difference in quality between experienced, highly trained journeymen carpenters vs the unknown qualifications of and quality produced by undocumented laborers).

Fortunately, in this one case, the union was able to publicly embarrass FEMA into making the contractor rehire the union crew and let the undocumented workers go.

A liveable minimum wage would eliminate the incentive for hiring workers on the basis of their cost instead of qualifications (see also the 8-1b visa program which has displaced American high-tech workers and software engineers by exploiting low-cost alternatives from India and elsewhere). And by the way, the lower cost of products made by exploiting foreign labor does not create a savings for Americans that justifies the loss of quality jobs.

Posted by: DevilDog on December 27, 2005 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Adam: "We need to be making it easy for immigrants to become full citizens, with all the benefits - and responsibilities - that entails."

I agree with much of what you say, but I'm not sure about the above statement. Welcoming oppressed masses from all parts of the globe had a lot to do with what makes our country great. It's given us a degree of cultural & ethnic diversity that I think is important, and it also made a lot of economic sense in preindustrial & industrial America. Morally, it's still the right thing; but economically, I'm just not sure that we can sustain it. Add to this wrinkles like trends in housing costs & diminishing opportunities for unskilled labor, and my concern is that prospects for immigrants in America aren't what they used to be. This is certainly isn't to say that now is the time to shut the doors or do something stupid like denying citizenship to children born here of immigrant parents. But we need to acknowledge that important elements of our economy have changed, and that should, I think, shape the ways in which we think about immigration.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on December 27, 2005 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

The anchor-baby phenomenon is real, and it is a problem. Automatic birthright citizenship for any and all encourages illegals to plant a baby, which the U.S. taxpayer will have to support through public services. It's hard to pin down numbers because the babies are registered as native U.S. citizens, and not immigrants of any kind. But I have seen numbers showing that up to 2/3s of some border hospitals' deliveriers are to illegal aliens.

This feature in the law has even created a niche market in Asia. Korean women fly in to deliver their babies here, and pick up a passport in the process.

I don't see how it's radical or racist to not want to water down the value of American citizenship. I certainly think that some arrangement can be had where the children of legal, long-term residing immigrants can be given citizenship while denying it to those acting in bad faith.

Posted by: Derek Copold on December 27, 2005 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Article 2 of the Consitution also refers to "natural born citizens" which makes one think that being born here might be important.
The assumption was that if someone was born here and lived until they were voting age they would have been indoctrinated enough that they would be able to help make decisions for the rest of the population. They would think of themselves as Americans rather than as whatever it was their parents were.
I was taught in civics this was put in there because the framers feared loyalists to the crown might move in lots of people of voting age to try and influence things in the early days of the Republic.
The 14th amendment was put there to make sure that people who were born of slaves on U.S. soil were citizens.

This was obviously pre-enlightenment (and in the Texas public schools for heaven's sake) so I could have been misinformed.

Posted by: art hackett on December 27, 2005 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

After I read the CNN story on this - I googled and found some Washington Times story on this. Wash. Times claimed there were studies that proved that Congress could pass this law and somehow get around the 14th Amendment. Odd - Wash. Times failed to mention the authors or the names of these studies.

Posted by: pgl on December 27, 2005 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

which the U.S. taxpayer will have to support through public services.

Umm, how does this happen? Illegal immigrants pay taxes too. They can't tell the gas station or the convenience store or the county that they are exempt from paying gas taxes, sales taxes, or property taxes. Many illegal immigrants with jobs pay income taxes too. So I fail to see how "U.S. taxpayers" are paying to support these children, any more than taxpayers are paying to support the children of native citizens who may be below the povery line, for example.

Posted by: Doctor Gonzo on December 27, 2005 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Derek Copold:

Then how would you change the law and on what basis? Where would you draw the cutoff point? Would you revoke the citizenship of already-born babies, and if so, starting at what age?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 27, 2005 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, the case is U.S. v. WONG KIM ARK, 169 U.S. 649 (1898).

I'd also recommend reading the dissent written by Chief Justice Fuller, which highlights the objections that are pretty much those still held by people who object to birthright citizenship.

It is very easy to just make a caricature of people who agree with Tancredo (vice Tancredo, who is the best caricture possible of himself), but there are some issues that we as a country need to think about.

In other words, the fourteenth amendment does not exclude from citizenship by birth children born in the United States of parents permanently located therein, and who might themselves become citizens; nor, on the other hand, does it arbitrarily make citizens of children born in the United States of parents who, according to the will of their native government and of this government, are and must remain aliens.

Even after that ruling, being born on US soil did not automatically make one a citizen if, say, one was a member of an Indian tribe, since those tribes were considered "not subject to the juridstiction thereof." (This changed in 1924, when all tribal members were given citizenship by act of Congress. An earlier Supreme Court decision, Elk v. Wilkins, denied citizenship to tribe members.)

This whole dispute boils down to what, exactly, the phrase "subject to the juridstiction thereof" means.

Posted by: Nemo Ignotus on December 27, 2005 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK
Adam Piontek, cmdicely and Pat have collectively captured the essential points on this issue. The solution is to have a realistic (liveable) minimum wage and then enforce existing laws prohibiting employers from hiring undocumented workers.

I certainly don't agree that this is "the solution". The current immigration structure is bad, and guarantees a lasting problem. The worst component is that the system is designed to prevent immigration slots from being alotted in a way that follows immigration demand -- specifically, the limit of 5% of the alotment going to any one country -- which guarantees that a particular large neighbor of the US from which it is easiest to enter the country illegally and in which desire to enter the country is particularly high will be the country from which it is most difficult for a qualified applicant to be legally admitted to the United States.

This, of course, encourages illegal immigration and all the bad things (smuggling, de facto slavery, etc.) that come along with it. If the supply of legal immigrant "slots" within the overall quota were aligned with demand, you'd see an instant and massive decrease in illegal immigration with no additional enforcement activity.

The second major problem is that hard limits are imposed to avoid pure economic harms of high levels of immigration. If you had a per-immigrant fee imposed on otherwise-qualified supernumerary immigrants to bypass the quotas, and used the proceeds from the fees to address the costs of immigration, you'd further cut down on illegal immigration and the unique harms associated with illegality (replacing it with legal immigration and additional public revenue).

Both of these measures would also make it much easier to enforce existing laws, both at the border and in the workplace, by reducing the incentives for evasion.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

The book "Beyond the Shadow of Camptown: Korean Military Brides in America" claims that for each Korean bride 15 family members immigrated to the US.

(Her sample was only a dozen women or so; not trustworthy.)

Of course, this would be a ready-made issue for conservatives. Restrictions on marriage: check! Prevent immigration: check!

Without violating the constitution they could much more easily prevent Americans from marrying foreigners; thus closing a gaping 'immigration loophole'.

Posted by: Saam Barrager on December 27, 2005 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

The book "Beyond the Shadow of Camptown: Korean Military Brides in America" claims that for each Korean bride 15 family members immigrated to the US.

(Her sample was only a dozen women or so; not trustworthy.)

Of course, this would be a ready-made issue for conservatives. Restrictions on marriage: check! Prevent immigration: check!

Without violating the constitution they could much more easily prevent Americans from marrying foreigners; thus closing a gaping 'immigration loophole'.

Posted by: Saam Barrager on December 27, 2005 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

The book "Beyond the Shadow of Camptown: Korean Military Brides in America" claims that for each Korean bride 15 family members immigrated to the US.

(Her sample was only a dozen women or so; not trustworthy.)

Of course, this would be a ready-made issue for conservatives. Restrictions on marriage: check! Prevent immigration: check!

Without violating the constitution they could much more easily prevent Americans from marrying foreigners; thus closing a gaping 'immigration loophole'.

Posted by: Saam Barrager on December 27, 2005 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK
It's hard to pin down numbers because the babies are registered as native U.S. citizens, and not immigrants of any kind. But I have seen numbers showing that up to 2/3s of some border hospitals' deliveriers are to illegal aliens.

The ratio of deliveries in "border hospitals" is irrelevant to whether there is a substantial immigration problem produced by "anchor babies". What would be relevant is stats -- which if it occurs substantially, should be easy to pin down, at least for Congress or the Executive Branch -- on how much of an impact it has in immigration proceedings, particularly, in residence applications and/or removal proceedings. If the presence of a US citizen infant is rarely on significant factor in decisions in removal proceedings targetting the parents, and if "anchor babies" grown into adult sponsors are not a substantial source of immigration applications that eventually result in granting permanent residency, then their really is no significant issue here.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

"Does anyone know how often this actually happens?"

Why bother playing into this by asking? The radical Republicans don't care how often it happens. Two examples are enough to fuel thousands of speeches and TV bobblehead appearances.
Posted by: Jim Lund

It does happen because I have a Japanese acquaintance who moved to Honolulu when she was pregnant just so her offspring could claim American citizenship someday. If you have economically un-disadvantaged people doing this . . .

While many of the people entering America illegally from Mexico are poorly educated, they are aware of this stupid loophole in our immigration and naturalization laws.

In the mid 1970s, America was nearly at ZPG. The overwhelming increase in the U.S. population in the last 30 years of the last century (nearly 100 million) was through illegal immigration, immigration, and the offspring of these new "Americans." The birth rates of families that have been in the U.S. for less than three generations is something like five times as high as people whose families have been here for three or more generations.

A bit off topic, but when you see a mosque being built in your otherwise whitebread suburban neighborhood the thoughtful person doesn't assume that these muslims have emigrated because they all want to be Americans and that they have a great love of American "culture," etc. These people are economic opportunists who believe they can build a more economically secure life in the U.S. End of story.

The big difference between the immigration surge at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century is that "chosen ghetto-ization" insulated the new arrivals for only a short time, and only in the larger cities where numbers of their countrymen were at that critical mass that facilitated the maintenance of cultural institutions like those left behind in the "old country." After that, people became Americans or, in some cases, chose to return to the mother country once they earned enough money to establish a better life "back home." Most stayed, of course. It is a fact that immigrants from Europe in particular, were keen to make sure their children "fit in."

Today, thanks to globalization and, yes, the Internet(s), and even more liberal immigration laws (allowing much larger numbers) it is much easier to live in a diaspora as much apart from the day-to-day world of America (or wherever) as the new arrival chooses. As I've posted here before, this is not unique to the U.S. The same thing is happening in Canada, and we can see what foolishly liberal immigration laws have led to in the E.U.

Lest anyone jump to the conclusion that I'm some sort of closeted racist, my wife is not an American citizen.

Posted by: Jeff II on December 27, 2005 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

This feature in the law has even created a niche market in Asia. Korean women fly in to deliver their babies here, and pick up a passport in the process.

That's nonsense. If a non-citizen gives birth in the US her baby automatically becomes a citizen but she doesn't "pick up a passport in the process." Her immigration status changes not at all -- unless, as pointed out above, that baby sponsors its mother for citizenship eighteen years later.

Posted by: Stefan on December 27, 2005 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

I hope this will not produce knee-jerk responses......

I should begin by saying I was an immigrant - legal.

The good and clear statements and arguments above appear to me to be as unambiguous as anyone who actually can read and comprehend English needs them to be. Our difficulty is that we have an Administration populated by illiterates who not knowing that words have meanings, believe groups of words, such as "extreme rendition", can be said mean something they choose, and not something like Cream playing extra loudly.

This in turn means, being structural morons, whatever their half-understood comprehension, the 14th Amendment can mean whatever their ill-taught minds choose for it to mean.

Now for the other piece. Is the US a developed Country or not? If it is, then surely it no longer needs to build up its population by whatever means. (If it is still a developing country we should not perhaps be running about telling other countries who to run their affairs.)

I wonder if it is time to repeal or alter the 14th Amendment. It does not seem to me to be a right or left argument or discussion, but then I come from somewhere which thinks there should be universal healthcare, too, silly me!

The western developed world has by and large the same laws as the US, someone born in a country is automatically a citizen. Western Europe is beginning to think again, however, because of the pressure from the veey large number of economic immigrants it has received, many of them illegal. Under their present laws they tend to grant automatic rights to stay to the illegal parents.

A philosophical question to have been answered first...... Does the United States wish to go on effectively offering "Come One, Come All! --- and if you can hide out for a bit we shall let you stay?"

Does the US consider it does not need to increase the popoulation so much and does it wish to let that happen via the birth rate, or does it think of itself as a devloping country wishing to attract immigrants, especially ones at the bottom of the socio-economic scale to work in our enormous labor-intensive factories?

Old Russia, the policy not changed by the Communist regime did not, I believe, grant full Russian citizenship until one had been born there for several generations.

My own opinion is that we have advanced sufficiently far that we no longer need so many people pouring in, and that the amendment should be repealed, so that an iilegal immigrant's child would also be illegal.

I am also of the opinion that granting only conditional citizenship might be a good idea, and if the conditional citizen committed one or more of a list of serious felonies then that citizenship and those of the whole extended family could be cancelled.

Posted by: maunga on December 27, 2005 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

I'm just baffled by the notion that the advocates of a law against granting citizenship to these children born in the US think they can get around the very explicit statement in the Constitution to the contrary.

I mean, there certainly IS language in the Constitution that's subject to differing interpretations. But how do you "reinterpret" the criterion "born ... in the US" as a sufficient condition of citizenship? Could the language POSSIBLY be more plain and unequivocal? Where's the ambiguity? In the "born"? In the phrase "in the US"?

I just don't get it. What's their plan here? It makes no sense to me at all. If they proposed an amendment to the Constitution, that at least makes some kind of sense.

But this? It's just bizarre.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 27, 2005 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK
Lest anyone jump to the conclusion that I'm some sort of closeted racist, my wife is not an American citizen.

"Not an American citizen" is not a racial category distinct from "American citizen", so it does nothing to undermine the idea that you might be a closeted racist, though certainly your overt bigotry seems to be cultural and religious rather than racial per se.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Today, thanks to globalization and, yes, the Internet(s), and even more liberal immigration laws (allowing much larger numbers) it is much easier to live in a diaspora as much apart from the day-to-day world of America (or wherever) as the new arrival chooses.

I'm tired of hearing this meme. Today's immigrants are no different than yesterdays. They don't stay apart from the rest of the U.S. any more than immigrants used to. It still generally works out this way: First generation does not assimilate well if at all. Second generation is in the middle. Third generation and on is fully assimilated. Same as immigrants 100 years ago. There is no different.

Also, I would disagree that Europe is dealing with problems caused by too much immigration. Europe is dealing with much more severe problems caused by population stagnation or decline, chief among them how to pay for their social safety nets as more people retire.

Posted by: Doctor Gonzo on December 27, 2005 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II wrote:
"In the mid 1970s, America was nearly at ZPG. The overwhelming increase in the U.S. population in the last 30 years of the last century (nearly 100 million) was through illegal immigration, immigration, and the offspring of these new "Americans.""

You might want to ponder what the US economy would be like if our population had been level since 1975. Korea is starting to realize their anti-immigrant policies are going to cut their economic boom off at the knees...not to mention eliminating care givers for an aging population. I suspect the government of Korea's going to be more upset if one of their citizens shifts her kid to the US than we should be.

Posted by: art hackett on December 27, 2005 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Actually I do think the people who wrote that amendment were not thinking about 'anchor babies' because at the time it was written, international travel was so very much less common - and took so much longer - than today.

Posted by: fiat lux on December 27, 2005 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

A bit off topic, but when you see a mosque being built in your otherwise whitebread suburban neighborhood the thoughtful person doesn't assume that these muslims have emigrated because they all want to be Americans and that they have a great love of American "culture," etc. These people are economic opportunists who believe they can build a more economically secure life in the U.S. End of story.

But that's true of all previous immigrants as well. Two centuries ago the same sentence could have been written by a nativist American, substituting only the words "Catholic church" for mosque and "Irish" for Muslim. Every immigrant group has come here, largely, because they wanted the economic opportunity.

Posted by: Stefan on December 27, 2005 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK
A philosophical question to have been answered first...... Does the United States wish to go on effectively offering "Come One, Come All! --- and if you can hide out for a bit we shall let you stay?"

This presumes that this is what the US currently does. Since the US currently prohibits anyone from being legally admitted to the US -- with or without an "anchor baby" or other sponsor -- for several years after the most recent time they have been illegally present, aside from special exceptions made at the sole and unreviewable whim of the executive branch, the reality is quite different.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Welcoming oppressed masses from all parts of the globe had a lot to do with what makes our country great. It's given us a degree of cultural & ethnic diversity that I think is important, and it also made a lot of economic sense in preindustrial & industrial America. Morally, it's still the right thing; but economically, I'm just not sure that we can sustain it. Posted by: chaunceyatrest

I agree with this. However, we also need to consider that in many cases, U.S. foreign policy has helped to enlarge the number of "oppressed masses" the world over.

Regarding our most pressing immigration issue, I would love to see a U.S. policy with Mexico and Central America that dramatically improves human rights and boosts economic opportunities rather than one that looks for a "logical" solution to illegal immigration. Address these problems and the latter becomes a hell of a lot more manageable if not a non-issue all together over time.

Oh. And you'll have to be successful in completely discrediting the Catholic Church in Latin America as well, but I digress.

Posted by: Jeff II on December 27, 2005 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK
I am also of the opinion that granting only conditional citizenship might be a good idea, and if the conditional citizen committed one or more of a list of serious felonies then that citizenship and those of the whole extended family could be cancelled.

Um, other than the clearly immoral and unjust proposal to punish persons with no responsibility for the crimes of others, how does this differ from our current set-up which grants "permanent residency" before citizenship, and features mandatory revocation of that residency and removal for the commission of "aggravated felonies".

Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Still, raising this issue to me is just an exercise in testing the wind to see how far the loonies can go before the general public with check them.

You might want to check out the polling history on this subject.

People who have made a career out of parsing the Second Amendment shouldn't be so skeptical about being able to make a law legitimately compatible with the language of the Constitution. Of course, eventually the courts will decide.

Posted by: tbrosz on December 27, 2005 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK
My own opinion is that we have advanced sufficiently far that we no longer need so many people pouring in, and that the amendment should be repealed

Wait, are you seriously arguing that the 14th Amendment should be repealed?

Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

There's background on the law here and here.

And, even the LAT reported on these scams in 2002: "Korean moms want 'born in USA' babies"

Here's more on the "Hispanic Vote" myth.

Posted by: TLB on December 27, 2005 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

"The big difference between the immigration surge at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century is that "chosen ghetto-ization" insulated the new arrivals for only a short time, and only in the larger cities where numbers of their countrymen were at that critical mass that facilitated the maintenance of cultural institutions like those left behind in the "old country."

How short actual historical memory is versus the romanticized version; the spirit of the "Know-Nothings" lives on.

There was an article in the American Prospect by Geoff Nunberg, ohh, about 1996 or so, pointing out that up to 1914 6% of elementary schools in the US were German-speaking, and that, in fact, Hispanic immigrants are dumping English in favor of Spanish more rapidly than previous waves of immigration (Hispanic immigrants are losing Spanish fluency within 2 generations, rather than the 3 generations that has been typical for other immigrant groups).

"The same thing is happening in Canada, and we can see what foolishly liberal immigration laws have led to in the E.U."

It's interesting to contrast the experience of the UK (where, after the Brixton and Toxteth riots in the early 1980s, they adopted multiculturalism) versus the French monoculturalism, or the German "bloodline" citizenship laws. The UK, and the US, have had a lot easier time with recent immigrant populations because of multiculturalism than those which have sought to cling to a monolithic idea of national identity.

It should also be pointed out that Europe paid a very high price in the 20th century for the pursuit of homogeneous national identities within state borders.

Posted by: Urinated State of America on December 27, 2005 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Denying citizenship to the children of illegal aliens would serve to create a permanent underclass. Is this really a wise policy? I think not.

Posted by: Turtle on December 27, 2005 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

But that's true of all previous immigrants as well. Two centuries ago the same sentence could have been written by a nativist American, substituting only the words "Catholic church" for mosque and "Irish" for Muslim. Every immigrant group has come here, largely, because they wanted the economic opportunity. Posted by: Stefan

No it's not true, Stefan, because probably 90% of America's legal immigrants during the previous immigration boom were Europeans. In general, there was a common cultural thread. Nothing could be further from the truth with Muslims. Again, remaining "ghetto-ized" is a much more viable option than it was a century ago.

I haven't looked at the LA Times link posted concerning S. Koreans, but it is certainly true that their attitudes are not much different than Muslim immigrants, even though the overwhelming majority of them are Christians - they are establishing communities effectively insulating themselves from the larger community with Korean churches (in other words, the liturgy is in Korean) with Korean parochial (in more than one sense) schools, and Korean businesses. If this isn't the case, why are is the signage always bi-lingual, and why do the businesses cluster in strip malls?

Posted by: Jeff II on December 27, 2005 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

It's interesting that no one is discussing the effects of birthright citizenship in an ever more globalized world, where travel is cheaper, faster and safer than ever. Something like 100 million non-citizens visit the US every single year. In addition there are 4-5 million people living here on H1-B or student visas at any given time. All of this is a good thing. But if only a fraction of 100 million come here while pregnant and have a baby, you could easily produce 5-10 million new "citizens" each year, with claims on the US government. What, then, is the value of US citizenship?

This is not a theoretical discussion. Many Mexican women already come here while pregnant to give birth in the US, and there are actually businesses that bring late-term pregnant Korean women to this country specifically so their children will be born US citizens. How much longer before this catches on worldwide?

The 14th Amendment was passed for a particular reason - to make citizens out of slaves. The exception in the 14th Amendment - "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof" - is not a "loophole." It was put there for a particular reason. It kept the children of diplomats from being citizens, and it kept Indians from being citizens. It most emphatically did not grant immunity to Indians who committed crimes on US soil. Over half-a-million Americans died in the war - America's bloodiest ever - that preceded the passage of that amendment. To bastardize that sacrifice for crass political gain would be appalling.

Posted by: Alan on December 27, 2005 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK
No it's not true, Stefan, because probably 90% of America's legal immigrants during the previous immigration boom were Europeans. In general, there was a common cultural thread. Nothing could be further from the truth with Muslims.

"Muslims" are not a class opposed to "Europeans", both "Muslims" and "Europeans" can have common cultural threads with Americans, and both "Muslims" and "Europeans", nonetheless, predominantly immigrate to America, if they do at all, for largely economic reasons, though presumably in both cases cultural considerations play a part as well in the decision of whether and where to emigrate.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

When whether one is in the country legally or not depends upon the whims of some middle-manager...

...Do we want to place someone's citizenship atop that muddy bar?

Uninformed people thing there's a solid difference in our country between someone who's here illegally and not.

But there is NOT.

Posted by: Crissa on December 27, 2005 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

People who have made a career out of parsing the Second Amendment shouldn't be so skeptical about being able to make a law legitimately compatible with the language of the Constitution.

Look, the Second Amendment has OBVIOUS points where differing interpretations are possible -- why, for example, mention the whole thing with militias if the "right to bear arms" was intended to be fully general and wholly unqualified?

Where are the similar points of qualification in the plain statement that people born in the US are, by that fact itself, citizens?

Here is the entirety of Section 1 of the 14th amendment:

Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

I defy you to find ambiguity or qualification in the statement regarding whether someone born in the US is a citizen.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 27, 2005 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Today, thanks to globalization and, yes, the Internet(s), and even more liberal immigration laws (allowing much larger numbers) it is much easier to live in a diaspora as much apart from the day-to-day world of America (or wherever) as the new arrival chooses.

Actually, it's probably harder. A Sicilian immigrant to New York a hundred years ago could live in a tenement building on Rivington Street, say, populated exclusively by fellow immigrants from her same village. The rest of the street would be made up of fellow Sicilians, with each building representing one village back home. She could shop, work and socialize within a few blocks of her apartment and do all of it entirely in Sicilian dialect, with little or no need to learn English or adapt to American customs. The same was true of the German, Chinese, Jewish, etc. communities. And for those who think that the Internet(s) have made a big difference, remember that in the past many American cities with large immigrant populations supported lots of foreign-language newspapers, so the immigrants could keep up to date without ever learning English. In Minneapolis, for example, there were more German-language than English-language newspapers in the early 20th century.

Posted by: Stefan on December 27, 2005 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II: "Regarding our most pressing immigration issue, I would love to see a U.S. policy with Mexico and Central America that dramatically improves human rights and boosts economic opportunities rather than one that looks for a "logical" solution to illegal immigration. Address these problems and the latter becomes a hell of a lot more manageable if not a non-issue all together over time."

I give up. What U.S. policy dramatically improves another country's civil rights & economy? And how does addressing those issues all over the globe make more sense than addressing the issue of immigration within our own borders?

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on December 27, 2005 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

How short actual historical memory is versus the romanticized version; the spirit of the "Know-Nothings" lives on.

There was an article in the American Prospect by Geoff Nunberg, ohh, about 1996 or so, pointing out that up to 1914 6% of elementary schools in the US were German-speaking, and that, in fact, Hispanic immigrants are dumping English in favor of Spanish more rapidly than previous waves of immigration (Hispanic immigrants are losing Spanish fluency within 2 generations, rather than the 3 generations that has been typical for other immigrant groups). Posted by: Urinated State of America

Sorry, Urinated, but your facts are numerically insignificant as you are referring to small and isolated rural communities founded mostly at the middle of the 19th Century. This isolated monolingualism was not the case for the overwhelming majority of immigrants to the U.S. during the first great wave of immigration, which came a couple decades later, and whose numbers were considerably smaller than those of the last 20-30 years.

Furthermore, were not talking strictly about Spanish speaking (or as Lee Travino used to say, "Mexican speaking") immigrants. Go and check the numbers of tranlators employed by the Los Angeles Consolidated School District. It's not just people from Mexico, though they are far and away the dominant group. Go to Hancock Park in LA and see how many people aren't Vietnamese. Go to Richmond B.C. and see how many people aren't Chinese.

It is much easier to live "separate but equal" lives in the major metropolitan area of North America today than it was a century ago.

Posted by: Jeff II on December 27, 2005 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Then how would you change the law and on what basis? Where would you draw the cutoff point? Would you revoke the citizenship of already-born babies, and if so, starting at what age?

Bob/rmck1:

If I had a magic law-passing wand, I would grant birthright citizenship to those legal aliens who were resident in this country for five consecutive years. It's an arbitrary number, I admit, but it seems to be a period of time long enough to demonstrate serious commitment to the country. Of course, I'm not over-committed to that number. Perhaps it should be a bit less or a bit more. I don't know, and I'm open to suggestions.

To answer your last question, I would not revoke citizenship to those already born at the time of the change. Not only does it violate the legal and moral principle of ex post facto, but it wouldn't be very practical.

Posted by: Derek Copold on December 27, 2005 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK
This is not a theoretical discussion.

Certainly, it is a discussion of solving a "problem" for which no evidence of a significant, non-theoretical negative impact has been demostrated. It is, in that sense, "theoretical", though I would prefer the term hypothetical.

Many Mexican women already come here while pregnant to give birth in the US, and there are actually businesses that bring late-term pregnant Korean women to this country specifically so their children will be born US citizens. How much longer before this catches on worldwide?

Who cares? No significant negative impacts of either example are established, and until they are, discussing how to deal with those presumed negative impacts is premature and entirely hypothetical.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

No it's not true, Stefan, because probably 90% of America's legal immigrants during the previous immigration boom were Europeans. In general, there was a common cultural thread. Nothing could be further from the truth with Muslims. Again, remaining "ghetto-ized" is a much more viable option than it was a century ago.

No, there wasn't a common cultural thread. Now that time has gone by and everyone has been boiled in the melting pot for a bit, we see little difference between the Irish Catholic hedge fund manager and the Yankee Protestant hedge fund manager, for example, but two hundred years ago those differences were vast.

The "native Americans" (as the English-descended Protestants of the early 19th century referred to themselves) considered the Irish to be uncivilized barbarians and Catholicism to be a heathen and pagan foreign rite. They saw them as completely "other" and felt no tie of common cultural kinship. Newspaper ads would read, for example "Women wanted To do general housework English, Scotch, Welch, German, or any country or color except Irish." Even blacks were often preferred over the Irish, and nativist Americans organized themselves into gangs to fight the Irish immigrants.


Posted by: Stefan on December 27, 2005 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

"Oh completely. It's of a piece with Intelligent Design, the War on Christmas and flag-burning and marriage Amendments. All following a strategy of using essentially non-issues -- probably a lot more coordinated than any of us would care to think -- to keep people on that side of the culture war feeling besieged." - Bob

"Non-issues?" If these are such non-issues, Bob, then why is it so hard for the Democrats to give them up?

Why support late-term abortion on demand? Why nominate judges who would force a private, non-profit organization like the Boy Scouts to accept leaders and members it doesn't want? Why support the right to burn the flag (an issue that doesn't really get that much traction, anyway)? Why support gay marriage imposed by judicial fiat? Why support discrimination against white men in employment decisions?

Democrats have made it clear that not only do they support these leftist policies, but have shown that, if they can't impose them through democratic means, they're perfectly happy to impose them un-democratically.

I agree that no small number of Republicans are insincere on these social issues, but if you don't want Republicans to outflank you on these social "non-issues", then don't give them the opportunity.

Posted by: Alan on December 27, 2005 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

I used the example of the Irish because I'm of Irish descent myself, and because the history of old New York is sort of a hobby of mine, but the same general pattern also applied to other immigrant groups such as the Italians, the Jews, or the Chinese. They were all, in their time, excoriated as filthy savages with strange languages and stranger religions who had nothing in common with American culture and would only pollute and corrupt the country.

Posted by: Stefan on December 27, 2005 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

"No, there wasn't a common cultural thread. Now that time has gone by and everyone has been boiled in the melting pot for a bit, we see little difference between the Irish Catholic hedge fund manager and the Yankee Protestant hedge fund manager."

Yes, but 400 years later - and 140 years after the end of slavery - we still see the difference between the white hedge fund manager and the black hedge fund manager. Some divisions are more difficult to erase than others.

Posted by: Alan on December 27, 2005 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

I give up. What U.S. policy dramatically improves another country's civil rights & economy? And how does addressing those issues all over the globe make more sense than addressing the issue of immigration within our own borders? Posted by: chaunceyatrest

Oh, how about not backing governments that suppress efforts to democratize their political system? How about an end to military aid, and instead boosting aid for health, education and general welfare? How about allowing equal access to U.S. markets (particularly for agricultral goods)? How about insisting that U.S. investment mirrors standards enforced in the U.S.? How about encouraging family planning, even if it includes abortion?

These are the things that can improve the lives of people meaning they are less likely to feel the need to flee their homelands.

Posted by: Jeff II on December 27, 2005 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Urinated, but your facts are numerically insignificant as you are referring to small and isolated rural communities founded mostly at the middle of the 19th Century. This isolated monolingualism was not the case for the overwhelming majority of immigrants to the U.S. during the first great wave of immigration, which came a couple decades later, and whose numbers were considerably smaller than those of the last 20-30 years.

No, they weren't just isolate rural communities; in fact, many of the most vibrant immigrant communities were in the major cities such as New York, Chicago, St. Louis, San Francisco, Minneapolis, New Orleans, etc.

Posted by: Stefan on December 27, 2005 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, it's probably harder. A Sicilian immigrant to New York a hundred years ago could live in a tenement building on Rivington Street, say, populated exclusively by fellow immigrants from her same village. The rest of the street would be made up of fellow Sicilians, with each building representing one village back home. She could shop, work and socialize within a few blocks of her apartment and do all of it entirely in Sicilian dialect, with little or no need to learn English or adapt to American customs. Posted by: Stefan

I guess you haven't been to Brooklyn lately, nor have you been in a few other cities on the West Coast or even the Midwest. It's not just a couple of streets as it was on the Lower Eastside, it's entire sections of cities in some cases.

The fact of the matter is that immigration to the U.S. has been higher over the last 30 years than it was during the period of time American once considered its great period of immigration. And more of these people are non-European who, in spite of what you believe, have nothing in common culturally with their new "home."

Posted by: Jeff II on December 27, 2005 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

It is not that common for a pregnant woman to travel to the United States for the express purpose of giving birth. As a percentage of all US births, I am sure it is less than one percent.

There are a few hospitals in Texas that see a lot of this, one in Brownsville in particular, but they are an anamoly. These particular hospitals are heavily burdened by the practice, as they have a hard time getting reimbursed for the costs, but they are not reprsentative.

My evidence for the above is purely antecdotal. It is based on my brief stint as an immigration lawyer and on the fact that my mother runs a health clinc for illegal aliens. She sees hundereds every week. Her patients seldom arrive in the US in the advanced stages of pregnancy.

A couple of years ago, she did have one woman came to her with a "newborn." The woman had supposedly given birth to the little girl at home. To my mother's practiced eye, the kid semeed to be 7-14 days old. My mother realized what the woman was trying to do and decided to help her. The state official in charge of the birth certificate registry called my mother and informed her that she too realized what was was going on. She said she'd let it slide -- this time -- and would issue a birth certificate. This was in Illinos, BTW.

On the other hand, plenty of illegal aliens get married and have kids once they are already here. But the number of pregnant women who cross the border for the expres purpose of giving birth to an "anchor baby" is vanishingly small.

As a former immigration lawyer, I will tell you that having American-born children makes ZERO, NADA, ZILCH difference in the decision of whether to deport the parents. The Board of Immigration Appeals has said so in no uncertain terms on a number of occasions.

What happens when two illegal aliens who have, say, a nine-month-old infant are deported? Simple: the kid is deported with them. Even though he or she is an American citizen. Even if the parents are being repatriated to a country which is a dictatorship, such as the People's Republic of China.

Now, in truth, deportation is not very common. The BIA and INS issue many deportaiton orders, but most of them are not actually carried out. The INS will mail you an order of deportaiton, but they won't send agents to your home to arrest you. Instead, the order says "appear at 26 Federal Plaza on July 1 at 8:30 a.m. and have your bags packed." Not surprisingly, no one every shows up at the appointed time and place. The only way you actually get deported is if you are picked up by law enforcement officians on an unrelated charge. They will learn of the order of deportation and turn you over to the INS -- or maybe they won't. Sometimes the INS will even let you go. I saw this happen once when a Border Patrol agent took pity on my client

But from a strictly legal perspective, the fact that illegal parents have an "anchor baby" makes no difference whatsoever. They are just as subject to deportation as anyone else.

Lastly, I should note that even as a staunch Republican I am personally disgusted and horrified by this proposed legislation. I am generally sympathetic to the right wing position on most immigration issues; I believe that we are, in fact, being overwhelmed by immigrants, and that we need to take a "breather" so that our culture and economy have time to adapt.

However, I am disgusted by the idea that anyone would try to strip American-born children of their citizenship. Anyone who is lucky enough to be born in America should get to stay. I thank God every day that I was born here, and cannot imagine depriving someone else of that blessing. Also, while the parents did enter America illegally, I still beleive that they are doing something noble and admirable. They are trying to build a better life for themselves and for their families, and American citizenship for the kids is one of the most important gifts they can give to their baby.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe on December 27, 2005 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder why anyone would want to come from Korea to the US...

...The employment rate is higher in Korea, the schools test higher, and more homes have broadband access than in the US.

Why do they come here for economic means, then?

The answer is: They don't come for economics.

Posted by: Crissa on December 27, 2005 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

"[Irish, Jews, Italians and Chinese] were all, in their time, excoriated as filthy savages with strange languages and stranger religions who had nothing in common with American culture and would only pollute and corrupt the country."

They may no longer be regarded as savages, but there is absolutely no question that there were political ramifications to their arrival. It used to be that Protestant Christianity was routinely taught in public schools. The political effect of bringing large number of non-Protestants into this country was that this was no longer possible.

I'm not arguing that this was a good thing or a bad thing. But it was a thing. In a democracy, demographic changes result in different political outcomes. People have the right to decide whether they'll like those outcomes without being referred to as nativists or racists or isolationists or xenophobes. People have the right to decide how much and what kind of immigration is in their best interests. Nowadays it seems to be only the interests of the immigrants and the businesses that are given any consideration at all.

Posted by: Alan on December 27, 2005 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

I guess you haven't been to Brooklyn lately, nor have you been in a few other cities on the West Coast or even the Midwest. It's not just a couple of streets as it was on the Lower Eastside, it's entire sections of cities in some cases.

I live in Brooklyn, actually, and I used to live in LA. I'm not disputing that you can live a "separate" existence in the US these days -- I'm saying that this is no different than it was in the past. Here, for example, is what the New-York Historical Society (the odd hyphen is theirs, not mine) says about "Little Germany" a century ago: "Home country fixtures from beer gardens to delicatessens, singing societies to shooting clubs bestowed a distinctively German flavor to the area. Immigrants constantly renewed the neighborhood's transplanted culture, as the steamship packets delivered passengers from Germany and Eastern European nations through the port of New York. New arrivals could work, drink, eat, vote and worship in their native tongue fortified by the company of the nearly half-million people of German descent living in New York."

It wasn't just a few streets on the Lower East Side -- it was the entire Lower East Side and East Village back then. It was entire sections of cities. Remember, too, that at the time most working people never really travelled outside of their neighborhood except for work.

Posted by: Stefan on December 27, 2005 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Denying citizenship to the children of illegal aliens would serve to create a permanent underclass. Is this really a wise policy? I think not.

Those who want to deal with anchor babies want to also reduce illegal immigration. If there are very few illegal aliens, then there's no such risk.

What, then, is the value of US citizenship?

Our elites aren't big fans of this whole U.S. sovereignty thing. It gets in the way of business. In fact, they're working to build an EU-style superstate. No, really. Start here and keep following the links. They want us to think of ourselves as "North American Citizens" and not citizens of the U.S.

Anti-American plans like the DREAM Act would further devalue U.S. citizenship: illegal aliens could take discounted college educations from U.S. citizens.

As for today's massive illegal immigration being like past decades, here's one major difference that means something to those who are serious about things: the U.S. southwest used to belong to Mexico, and now we're allowing them to re-settle what they refer to as their "Lost Territories".

Posted by: TLB on December 27, 2005 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if this issue is simple misdirection on the part of anti-abortion advocates. They maintain that life, and the inalienable rights that go along with it, begin at conception. With respect to citizenship, then it doesn't matter where you were born, what matters is where conception takes place. If it takes place in the US, then you're a US citizen. If not, then you're not, no matter where you're born. Obviously it's hard, if not impossible to say where conception takes place, which is why the law relys on actual birth. If birthright citizenship is eliminated, then the way is clear to assert the rights of the unborn and eliminate legal abortion in the US.

Posted by: Ed on December 27, 2005 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

The fact of the matter is that immigration to the U.S. has been higher over the last 30 years than it was during the period of time American once considered its great period of immigration. And more of these people are non-European who, in spite of what you believe, have nothing in common culturally with their new "home."

Over the past week I've talked to people who were Haitian, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani, Brazilian, Chinese, Russian, Indian, Moroccan, Thai and Tibetan. They all live and work here, they all want to make money and build a good life for themselves and their families. That's enough in common for me.

Posted by: Stefan on December 27, 2005 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

"I wonder why anyone would want to come from Korea to the US...The employment rate is higher in Korea, the schools test higher, and more homes have broadband access than in the US.
Why do they come here for economic means, then?
The answer is: They don't come for economics."

Population density, Korea: 1,282 people per square mile.
Population density, USA: 83 people per square mile.

Per capita income, Korea: $17,700
Per capita income, USA: $37,800

Korea has military conscription.
The USA does not have military conscription.

Korea sits next to two large and aggressive neighbors that have recently invaded it.
The USA sits next to two basket cases that have never invaded it.

Posted by: Alan on December 27, 2005 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

However, I am disgusted by the idea that anyone would try to strip American-born children of their citizenship. Anyone who is lucky enough to be born in America should get to stay.

Being born here should not be a guarantee of citizenship. Why should it be a snap for some and a five year (or more) process others?

I thank God every day that I was born here, and cannot imagine depriving someone else of that blessing. Posted by: Joe Schmoe

I, too, can't imagine what it would be like to have not been born an American, except maybe to have been born a Canadian, a Great Britain, a (West) German, a Frenchman, a Swede, an Australian, a New Zealander, etc., etc. Contrary to what too many Murkans "think," we do not have a monopoly on Life, Libery and the Pursuit of X-Boxes.

It isn't 1895. America is becoming grossly overcrowded. This may be counterintuitive to some of you, fine. Then please leave Encino, Santa Rosa, Orange County, Multnohma County, King County, the Twin-Cities, Boulder, Bend, etc. etc., and move to those rapidly and understandably emptying wide open spaces of Eastern Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Nebraska so the nicer places (and otherwise)aren't so crowded.

Plain and simple, regardless of where someone comes from, the U.S. needs to dramatically curb immigration. We don't want for anything that people from any other nation can provide for us, and that includes cheap labor.

Posted by: Jeff II on December 27, 2005 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Over the past week I've talked to people who were Haitian, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani, Brazilian, Chinese, Russian, Indian, Moroccan, Thai and Tibetan. They all live and work here, they all want to make money and build a good life for themselves and their families. That's enough in common for me.
Posted by: Stefan

Stefan, I lived in NYC and love it. However, you and I know that NYC is not, unfortunately, representative of America. In fact, the old New Yorker covers showing a NYC view (really Manhattan below 125th Street view) of the rest of America is just about right, as would be a "middle American/Great Hearland" view looking east across the Hudson. Do I have a point? No.

Posted by: Jeff II on December 27, 2005 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

They know they can't institute the policy through such a vehicle, and the support for the issue is pure symbolic red meat thrown to the immigrant-hating base.

and

Certainly, it is a discussion of solving a "problem" for which no evidence of a significant, non-theoretical negative impact has been demostrated.

It's always troubling to me to wade into a debate where I witness outright caricatures of the opposition's point being the focus of rebuttals. The belief that Conservatives have no rational basis for their concerns and are only motivated by crass racist desires that Liberals have transcended long ago, and every liberal is duty bound to lord over the conservatives how enlightened they are by not engaging on substantive points, but recasting the debate into a framework of liberals being a step above conservatives on the evolutionary ladder, is very evident in a number of comments in this thread.

Now, specifically to your point about harms that ensue from anchor babies. Here is some data that is tangentially relevant. The first is the net fiscal cost of illegal immigration. This is net, after the benefits of economic activity and taxes collected have already been factored into the equation. The National Research Council's study found:

The NRC estimates indicated that the average immigrant without a high school education imposes a net fiscal burden on public coffers of $89,000 during the course of his or her lifetime. The average immigrant with only a high school education creates a lifetime fiscal burden of $31,000. In contrast, the average immigrant with more than a high school education was found to have a positive fiscal impact of $105,000 in his or her lifetime. The NAS further estimated that the total combined fiscal impact of the average immigrant (all educational categories included) was a negative $3,000. Thus, when all immigrants are examined they are found to have a modest negative impact on public coffers. These figures are only for the original immigrant, they do not include public services used or taxes paid by their U.S.-born descendants.

Doctor Gonzo,

I'm tired of hearing this meme. Today's immigrants are no different than yesterdays. They don't stay apart from the rest of the U.S. any more than immigrants used to. It still generally works out this way: First generation does not assimilate well if at all. Second generation is in the middle. Third generation and on is fully assimilated. Same as immigrants 100 years ago. There is no different.

Thanks for the dose of folk wisdom to lull the readership into self-assurance, (or self-denial), however some data on your proposition quickly establishes that your folk wisdom is really a form of delusional tonic. Mexican rates of assimilation are drastically different from previous patterns, even into the fourth generation:

Education of Mexican Americans by Generation (1989-90) 1st....2nd....3rd....4th....All Americans *


No H.S. degree: (%) 69.9....51.5....33.0....41.0....23.5
H.S. degree: (%) 24.7....39.2....58.5....;49.4....30.4
Post H.S. degree: (%) 5.4....9.3....8.5....9.6....45.1

Art Hackett,

You might want to ponder what the US economy would be like if our population had been level since 1975.

The rising gini co-efficient (income inequality) that so worries true blue liberals would be much reduced. Studies which factor out poorly educated immigrants drastically reduce a nation's income inequality. Even in the liberal bastion of Canada, with its greater penchant for income redistribution they've found that immigrants are increasing their income inequality:

In particular, the high levels of immigration to metropolitan Canada have contributed to growing inequality. Using individual household income data from the 1981, 1986, 1991, and 1996 censuses, this paper identifies the role of immigration and its differential impact on metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas. The impacts became more prominent during the first half of the 1990s when immigration remained high yet the economy slowed. . . . If recent immigrants are excluded, inequality is still increasing, but at a slower rate, especially in the largest metropolitan areas.

Here is a study coming to the same conclusion but focusing on the situation within California:

. . . show that income inequality has risen sharply in the state over the past two decades and that it has grown faster in California than in the nation as a whole. The growing gap between the rich and the poor in California results not only from rising income among the well-off but also from a substantial decline in income among those in the mid- to lowest levels of the income distribution. . . .The study identified two leading causes of the widening income gap in California: rising returns to skill and immigration. . . .

Like the increase in income inequality, the change in returns to education results more from falling wages for men at the bottom of the distributionin this case the education distributionthan from increases for men at the top. . . .

Immigration contributed to rising income inequality in the state because the proportion of immigrants in the states male workforce has grown substantially and has grown most at the bottom and lower-middle of the income distribution.

Stepping away from economic statistics and into the world of sociological data, take a look at the effects that illegal immigration has wrought within the Black community, especially the idleness rate of black males:

"By 2002, one of every four black men in the U.S. was idle all year long. This idleness rate was twice as high as that of white and Hispanic males."

It's possible the rate of idleness is even higher, said the lead author of the study, Andrew Sum, who is director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston.

"That was a conservative count," he said. The study did not consider homeless men or those in jail or prison. It is believed that up to 10 percent of the black male population under age 40 is incarcerated.

We, in the world's most technologically advanced nation, are welcoming disproportionate levels of grade-school educated immigrants who generate less economic activity than they consume in public resources. Their presence has severe economic and social consequences, one of which is to retard techological advancement in industries that are stuctured on inefficient uses of human capital, and another is the social cost that increasing labor supply at the lowest levels of the income ladder has on our own citizens, black and white, who inhabit the bottom of the income ladder - they disprotionately bear the costs so that liberals can feel cosmopolitan, enlightened and free of crass concerns like welfare for their fellow citizens, cultural unity that follows from assimilation, upward mobility that results from assimilation, etc.

Posted by: TangoMan on December 27, 2005 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

"It is not that common for a pregnant woman to travel to the United States for the express purpose of giving birth. As a percentage of all US births, I am sure it is less than one percent."

In 2002, there were 915,800 births in the US to immigrants (22.7% of all births).

42% of those births - 384,000, 9% of all births in the US - were to illegal immigrants. How many came here specifically to give birth? I've no idea.

50 years ago it was uncommon for women to have children out of wedlock, for men to wear earrings or their hair long, or for adults to wear shorts in public. Times change.

Posted by: Alan on December 27, 2005 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see what the problem is. What this country needs is a permanent underclass of pereptual non citizens so that everyone else can feel good about themselves.

Posted by: Boronx on December 27, 2005 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Apologies to cmdicely. I only meant to attribute the identification of the problem to you, not the proposed solution. That was mine alone.

Your response/solution included two points: one reallocating the quotas for applicants from various countries, so that Mexico and Central America would get more. Okay, that seems logical.

The second is this: The second major problem is that hard limits are imposed to avoid pure economic harms of high levels of immigration. If you had a per-immigrant fee imposed on otherwise-qualified supernumerary immigrants to bypass the quotas, and used the proceeds from the fees to address the costs of immigration, you'd further cut down on illegal immigration and the unique harms associated with illegality (replacing it with legal immigration and additional public revenue).

Sorry, pal, you lost me there. It seems like you're proposing a way in which illegal immigrants would contribute to paying for the cost of the services they use. This would be welcome, particularly in the case of medical services, since many hospitals in areas where there are large populations of illegal immigrants are closing their doors because they cannot afford the cost of providing exponentially increasing amounts of charity care with no prospect of reimbursement. The federal government has already exacerbated this situation by reducing the reimbursement to acute care facilities for Medicaid patients. Care for illegal immigrants may well be the straw that breaks our already fragile healthcare infrastructure. If you can make the explanation of your proposal to solve this problem through some kind of fee system easier to comprehend, I would certainly be interested in hearing it.

Posted by: DevilDog on December 27, 2005 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Those who propose eliminating birthright citizenship aren't the least bit interested in creating a permanent underclass. That is bollocks on stilts. Those who oppose educating the children of illegals aren't interested in keeping them ignorant and uneducated. What we do want is for them to return to the country of their legal residence.

Posted by: Alan on December 27, 2005 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII: However, you and I know that NYC is not, unfortunately, representative of America.

I prefer to believe that America is not representative of NYC....

Posted by: Stefan on December 27, 2005 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Why support late-term abortion on demand? Why nominate judges who would force a private, non-profit organization like the Boy Scouts to accept leaders and members it doesn't want? Why support the right to burn the flag (an issue that doesn't really get that much traction, anyway)? Why support gay marriage imposed by judicial fiat? Why support discrimination against white men in employment decisions?

Um, you seem to be missing the point. Dems have taken (some of) those positions in opposition to legislation that the GOP has pushed. There is no We Want to Burn the Flag Amendment, nor is there a Late-Term Abortion Amendment. Additionally last time I checked the Democratic Party does not support same-sex marriage-- rather emphatically I might add. It is not the Dems keeping these demagoguery-prone issues alive, it is the GOP. To argue otherwise is just plain idiotic.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on December 27, 2005 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Those who propose eliminating birthright citizenship aren't the least bit interested in creating a permanent underclass.

No, it's just a price they're willing to pay.

Posted by: Boronx on December 27, 2005 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

What we do want is for them to return to the country of their legal residence.

That's not the whole story either, since the baby's a legal resident of the US.

Posted by: Boronx on December 27, 2005 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK
It's always troubling to me to wade into a debate where I witness outright caricatures of the opposition's point being the focus of rebuttals.

Neither of the statements of mine you quoted was a caricature of anyone or anyone's point. Neither was at least the first a "rebuttal" of anything.

The belief that Conservatives have no rational basis for their concerns and are only motivated by crass racist desires that Liberals have transcended long ago, and every liberal is duty bound to lord over the conservatives how enlightened they are by not engaging on substantive points, but recasting the debate into a framework of liberals being a step above conservatives on the evolutionary ladder, is very evident in a number of comments in this thread.

You know, from someone who says "[i]t's always troubling to me to wade into a debate where I witness outright caricatures of the opposition's point being the focus of rebuttals", that's pretty funny, especially when presented as a response to those quotes you gave which, in fact, did not make or allude to the argument you claim here is the problem.

My point was not that "Conservatives have no rational basis for their concerns". It was, in the first of the sentences you quoted, that the particular people in Congress sponsoring this legislation are certainly aware of the 14th Amendment provisions providing for birthright citizenship and are not deluded into thinking that mere statute can evade that requirement. The effort to push a statutory "solution" that is clearly contrary to the Constitution is an effort, therefore, to appease a portion of the population -- the one that is anti-immigrant, whether that position is derived from rational concerns or not is immaterial -- with a purely symbolic effort with no rationally anticipated probability of having any substantive policy impact.

My second sentence you quoted concerns the absence of evidence presented in this discussion of the supposed problem of "anchor babies"; it is neutral as to whether there is an actual problem. If one wants to argue that policy needs to be changed, one should first establish that there is something wrong with the current policy, and establish what that problem is so that the discussion of a solution can focus on solving the actual problem.

Now, specifically to your point about harms that ensue from anchor babies. Here is some data that is tangentially relevant. The first is the net fiscal cost of illegal immigration. This is net, after the benefits of economic activity and taxes collected have already been factored into the equation. The National Research Council's study found:

Maybe you need to learn to read more carefully; the excerpt you provide doesn't refer to illegal immigration at all.

Thanks for the dose of folk wisdom to lull the readership into self-assurance, (or self-denial), however some data on your proposition quickly establishes that your folk wisdom is really a form of delusional tonic. Mexican rates of assimilation are drastically different from previous patterns, even into the fourth generation:

The data you cite does not show any difference from any previous pattern. Try again.

The rising gini co-efficient (income inequality) that so worries true blue liberals would be much reduced. Studies which factor out poorly educated immigrants drastically reduce a nation's income inequality.

Well, duh. So would studies that factor out the most educated natives. You cut off a group on either end of the distribution, and you get a small Gini coeffecient. That doesn't mean that if that group wasn't there, someone else wouldn't take their place on the distribution.

Stepping away from economic statistics and into the world of sociological data, take a look at the effects that illegal immigration has wrought within the Black community, especially the idleness rate of black males:

Where, exactly, is the evidence that this "idleness" is the effect of immigration in general, much less illegal immigration specifically?

You seem to be very good at cutting and pasting, but much less skilled at providing a rational argument tying what you cut and paste into the subject you are debating.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

I know someone who's here as a grad student. He and his wife plan on returning to Europe, but they are starting their family here, so that the kids will have the option to return when they are grown.

As a kid, I had a friend with three passports (Dad from Switzerland, Mom from Ireland, born in US). I was insanely jealous.

Posted by: NotThatMo on December 27, 2005 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

ParaPundit-

I have seen that data from Huntington's book. I don't have any contrary data of my own, but I nonetheless find it difficult to credit Huntington's. For one thing, it is contrary to all of my antecdotal expereince. Many Hispanics do not go on to college, becuase Hispanics are very blue-collar in their outlook. And in recent years, poor Hispanics have been the victims of failed liberal welfare state policies, which undoubtedly had an adverse affect on them. But I am not aware of very many 4th Gen Hispanic high school dropouts, and the 41% dropout rate statistic is therefore difficult for me to accept.

But my skepticism isn't just limited to the data on educational attainment. Huntington, like many scholars, actually seems to belive that the Atzlan movement has popular support. This strikes me as ridiculous, frankly. That "movement" was created by a bunch of left-wing Hispanic academics in American Universities in the late 1960's. It is basically a carbon copy of the various black nationalist movements dreamed up by professors who wanted to jump on the multicultural gravy train. The idea that it enjoys any popular support among the guys from Michocan who are crossing border is farcical. Again, this is strictly antecdotal, but I know a bunch of these guys and can assure Huntington that they aren't fifth column revolutionaries.

That said, I think the Atzlan movement is a bad thing, and if left unchecked could actually garner some supporters in the form of second- and third-generation Hispanics, mainly those educated at second and third tier left-wing universities who go on to work in government jobs. You can already see the beginnings of this in places like SoCal. In addition, the trend in America is moving away from identity politics, and one hopes that the Atzlan movement will be swept up in the trend.

Also, Huntington's beleif that the children of illegal immigrants aren't learning English is equally specious. They all learn it. And many second and third generation Hispanics don't actually speak Spaniish that well.

For these reasons, I have a hard time accepting Huntington's statistic on educational achievement. I generally agree with most of his views on immigration, but I think he sees bogeymen beneath the bed sometimes. The social and fiscal strains that illegal immigration imposes on us are reason enough to oppose it; there is no need to blow the "Nuevo Atzlan" movement and other things like it all out of proporton.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe on December 27, 2005 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Oops the ParaPundit post should be addressed to TangoMan.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe on December 27, 2005 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK


Sorry, pal, you lost me there. It seems like you're proposing a way in which illegal immigrants would contribute to paying for the cost of the services they use.

No, I'm proposing a way that people who want to immigrate beyond the establish quotas would pay for that privilege, putting money into the treasury rather than paying human smugglers, as they do now -- they would not, therefore, be "illegal immigrants" at all.

If you can make the explanation of your proposal to solve this problem through some kind of fee system easier to comprehend, I would certainly be interested in hearing it.

It is extremely simple. A qualified immigrant would have the choice of applying for a visa and waiting through the waiting list until they were approved -- a process that can take considerable time now -- or they could apply for a visa and pay a set fee (of several thousand dollars) to bypass the waiting list entirely (and those on the waiting list could elect, at any point, to pay the fee and bypass the list).

This revenue would, ideally, be used, at least in part, to address the additional costs imposed on communities dealing with substantial immigrant populations, although this could be as simple as block-granting the funds to states in proportion to their legal immigrant population and allowing state authorities to figure out how to spend it.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

In Wong Kim Ark vs US, the supreme court based its decision on common law precedent, rather than on the language of the 14th amendment, which clearly was intended to make some exceptions to the birthright citizenship rule. (See Nemo Ignotus' excellent post.) A law eliminating birthright citizenship for US born children of illegal aliens would be constitutional because statute law takes priority over the common law.

Posted by: sf on December 27, 2005 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

"Those who propose eliminating birthright citizenship aren't the least bit interested in creating a permanent underclass."

No, it's just a price they're willing to pay. - Boronx

"What we do want is for them to return to the country of their legal residence."

That's not the whole story either, since the baby's a legal resident of the US. - Boronx

Nice way to split up my argument, Boronx, as if they weren't meant to be placed side-by-side. Children of illegals would not be citizens if the law were changed, and they would not be here if their parents were deported, which I am whole-heartedly in favor of. I don't want a permanent underclass here, at all. And those people living here illegally have a very simple choice to keep from becoming part of a permanent underclass - go home.

Besides, Mexico has a jus sanguinis citizenship policy. People who are ethnically Mexican are citizens, no matter where they are born. So children of illegals born as US citizens are also Mexican citizens.

If you think we're in favor of creating an underclass, give us the votes and we'll prove we are not.

Posted by: Alan on December 27, 2005 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II wrote:

"Sorry, Urinated, but your facts are numerically insignificant as you are referring to small and isolated rural communities founded mostly at the middle of the 19th Century."

Yeah, unsupported vague assertions always trump data on the Internets.

You also didn't read my post: 6% of US elementary schools were German-language in *1914*. This was *after* the peak waves of immigration: the proportion of foreign-born US residents declined from 15% in 1910 to a low of 7% in 1950, because of the effects of immigration legislation in the 1920s.

Nunberg article cites above:

http://www.prospect.org/print/V8/33/nunberg-g.html

Nunberg notes:
"The actual Census figure for residents over five who speak no English is only 1.9 millionproportionately only a quarter as high as it was in 1890, at the peak of the last great wave of immigration."

Note that

"A recent RAND Corporation study showed that more than 90 percent of first-generation Hispanics born in California have native fluency in English, and that only about 50 percent of the second generation still speak Spanish."

These pieces of data kinda shaft your argument, no?

Posted by: Urinated State of America on December 27, 2005 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK
attainment. Huntington, like many scholars, actually seems to belive that the Atzlan movement has popular support. This strikes me as ridiculous, frankly. That "movement" was created by a bunch of left-wing Hispanic academics in American Universities in the late 1960's. It is basically a carbon copy of the various black nationalist movements dreamed up by professors who wanted to jump on the multicultural gravy train. The idea that it enjoys any popular support among the guys from Michocan who are crossing border is farcical.

While I wouldn't entirely agree with your characterization, it is very clearly a Chicano rather than Mexican "movement" ("idea" would probably be a better word), and has virtually no resonance with immigrants, and even among the few people I've encountered from MEChA it seems to be more a hyperbolic symbol than a literal goal.

That said, I think the Atzlan movement is a bad thing, and if left unchecked could actually garner some supporters in the form of second- and third-generation Hispanics, mainly those educated at second and third tier left-wing universities who go on to work in government jobs.

Calling it a "movement" is extraordinarily generous, and the whole idea came from second- and third- (and beyond-) generation Hispanics (Americans of Mexican descent -- Chicanos -- specifically; its an expressly Chicano ideal.) I don't know what you mean by "left-wing universities"; I'm familiar with very few ideologically left-wing universities (I know of a very few).

You can already see the beginnings of this in places like SoCal. In addition, the trend in America is moving away from identity politics, and one hopes that the Atzlan movement will be swept up in the trend.

Stating that "the trend in America is moving away from identity politics" seems premature; certainly, religious and ethnic identity politics are alive and well, the former particularly being one of the pillars of the present dominance fo the Republican Party.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK
If you think we're in favor of creating an underclass, give us the votes and we'll prove we are not.

Um, no. Even aside from any beliefs about ill motives, there is no reason to believe that the policies you recommend would be beneficial. So, no, I'm not handing you my support to prove me wrong. Give us a reason to believe you are right if you want support.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Quite frankly I find the idea that Mexico or the US needs illegal immigration preposterous. If the US sent all of its illegal immigrants home tomorrow, 2 things would happpen: wages for folks willing to do hard labor would rise (benefitting America's poor) and some labor-dependent US industries would struggle.

Those businesses would break down into 3 categories: those which could not move their location or substitute machines for labor, or those that could move, or those that could substitute.

Those businesses which had to move would have one very obvious choice: relocate to Mexico. This would be very good for the Mexican economy, and would result in higher wages, greater business activity, and more stability for workers.

This is why illegal immigration as a policy for economic development is a very bad idea. The fact is that Mexican support for illegal immigration to the US is about politics and power, not economics. Mexico wants to increase its political influence over the US. That's why even Mexicans who are legal citizens of the US are still allowed to vote in Mexico. Mexico wants to hang on to their loyalty.

Posted by: Alan on December 27, 2005 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK
Quite frankly I find the idea that Mexico or the US needs illegal immigration preposterous.

Quite frankly, I think no one has argued that any country needs illegal immigration. So stop beating that strawman.


This is why illegal immigration as a policy for economic development is a very bad idea.

No one has proposed illegal immigration as a policy for economic development.

The fact is that Mexican support for illegal immigration to the US is about politics and power, not economics.

What Mexican support for illegal immigration? While Mexico and Mexicans may support freer migration they don't -- aside from the smugglers -- want it to be illegal.

Mexico wants to increase its political influence over the US.

No, Mexican politicians want to retain the support of Mexicans who are outside of Mexico, especially those in the US, who tend to be comparatively financially well-off (when compared to the average citizen of Mexico.)

This idea that Mexico is trying to take over the US is, well, amusingly paranoid is about the most generous description I can think of.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

You seem to be very good at cutting and pasting, but much less skilled at providing a rational argument tying what you cut and paste into the subject you are debating. Posted by: cmdicely

Actually, he spanked you pretty hard. He cites statistics, you just bloviated.

Bottom line, which I believe TangoMan would concur with, is that unchecked immigration of all sorts, but particularly of people with little education and/no appreciable skills, is of no benefit to the U.S., and is especially detrimental to native-born Americans with little education and/or no appreciable skills.

Posted by: Jeff II on December 27, 2005 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Even aside from any beliefs about ill motives, there is no reason to believe that the policies you recommend would be beneficial. So, no, I'm not handing you my support to prove me wrong. Give us a reason to believe you are right if you want support.

Or, how about proving that the policies that you support are beneficial? Name one country where overcrowdedness and an overabundance of unskilled labor has led to increases in the quality of life. California may be richer as a result of the fact that it's home to 10 million immigrants, but the net movement of non-immigrants (that is "Americans") has been negative for over a decade. They don't like the results of too much immigration.

You see, cmdicely, I am interested in arguing facts. Like my argument on Korea: you made vague pronouncements that Korea was a better place to live and that no Korean would ever want to come here. "WHY, they have higher rates of broadband access!" Yee-freaking-haw!

I posted facts related to income, population density, and miltary conscription. The stats on income don't even do it justice, since Asian-American per capita income is about 40% higher than that for America as a whole.

Posted by: Alan on December 27, 2005 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicley on tangoman's post: "You seem to be very good at cutting and pasting, but much less skilled at providing a rational argument tying what you cut and paste into the subject you are debating."

I think he's quite clear, and you know it.

Posted by: peliakn on December 27, 2005 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

This idea that Mexico is trying to take over the US is, well, amusingly paranoid is about the most generous description I can think of.

Yes, cmdicely, because the very idea that any country would ever want to take over or exert influence over another country is absolutely preposterous. I mean, how could anyone but a total loon ever think that one country might want to control another?! It's never happened, ever, in all of history!

Well, there is the matter of Hitler. And Stalin. And Hirohito. And Mussolini. And Napoleon. And Henry V. And Edward I. And Edward II. And William the Conqueror. And all that Danegeld the Vikings wanted the English to pay. And Kublai Khan. And Alexander the Great. And...and..and...are you starting to get the drift? Did you ever bother to read the history books?

Posted by: Alan on December 27, 2005 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Ooops, Jeff II beat me to it.

Posted by: pelikan on December 27, 2005 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

And...and..and...are you starting to get the drift? Did you ever bother to read the history books? Posted by: Alan

You be whack, Alan, if you think Mexico could take over the U.S. That's about as sensible as Reagan warning us that El Salvador and Nicaragua were only two day's drive from the Mexican/U.S. border - 48 hours away from the evil communist threat!

Mexico couldn't take over itself let alone present a threat to the U.S. Maybe you were thinking of some insidious plot The Mouse That Roared, thereby finally making Mexico an official ward of the state like Puerto Rico or Guam?

Posted by: Jeff II on December 27, 2005 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Cmdicely-

Well, you can substitue "unviversites" for "left-wing universities." I believe that most universites are left-wing.

The bright students at the better universities are able to resist their professors' attempts at ideological indoctrination. The students at third-rate universties are more susceptable to that sort of thing, although once they are out of college the influence of academia tends to wane fast, unless they go into a goverment job, education, academia, or some other line of work that continues to reinforce a left-wing outlook. Of course, a few people continue to hold left-wing views even after moving to the private sector, but I beleive that enviornment does play an important role for most people.

Also, a lot of first-generation college graduates are insecure about their social status. Some adopt liberal political views becuase they want to emulate the educated classes and see liberal views as sophisticated, the hallmark of an educated person.

Finally, if first-generation college graudates encounter prejudice in the workforce, or simply feel uncomfortable in the alien environment of cubicles and PowerPoint presentations, their sense of being a minority is often reinforced.

To the extent that a lot of first-generation Hispanic college graduats follow the usual pattern of upward mobillity, i.e. becuase of the low quality of their primary and secondary education they attend a third-rate universities and get government jobs, I can see the Atzlan movement growing in popularity in the future.

In fact, you can already sort of see the beginnings of this. At my wife's undergrad alma matter, Cal State LA, Che Guevara t-shirts are extremely popular. These kids are mostly first-generation college students, and they are adopting political leftism because they see it as fashionable. Their parents aren't leftists, and they are too young to have developed deep thoughts about Marxism, etc. They are adopting political lefitsm as a fashion statement. Some will grow out of it, some will get government jobs where they can parlay their ethnicity into promotions, and others will become even more radical when they start rubbing shoulders with white people and begin to feel uncomfortable and perhaps even encounter social prejudice.

This is the real future of the Atzlan movement. I suspect we mostly agree on this, but I wanted to make the record clear.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe on December 27, 2005 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

I am not arguing that Mexico wants to conquer the US. I am arguing that Mexico's stand on Mexican immigration to the US is as much or more about political influence as it is about economics.

Sure, Mexican residents receive about $16 billion a year in remittances from relatives living in the US. But if the US didn't have access to so many illegal immigrants more businesses requiring cheap labor - particularly in agriculture.

An ethnic group does not have to be a majority to exert influence on politics. One reason that many European countries opposed involvement in the Iraq War was that they were afraid of how their large Muslim populations would respond. And American politicians are already bending over backwards to avoid offending the all of 6% of the voting population that is Hispanic. How much more so will that be the case when it's 15% - and those 15% will still be considered citizens in Mexico or Guatemala, and have lots of connections to those countries.

Anyone who fails to see the danger there is being willfully ignorant.

Posted by: Alan on December 27, 2005 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

"more businesses requiring cheap labor - particularly in agriculture" - [what I meant to write] - would have to locate in Mexico. And Mexican businesses would be more competitive.

Posted by: Alan on December 27, 2005 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

I am not arguing that Mexico wants to conquer the US. I am arguing that Mexico's stand on Mexican immigration to the US is as much or more about political influence as it is about economics.
Posted by: Alan

Then you should have stated that because what you wrote was something all together different.

Posted by: Jeff II on December 27, 2005 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK
Or, how about proving that the policies that you support are beneficial?

I think, where I've argued for changes to the status quo, I've clearly identified the problems they are designed to address and made an argument for why one should believe they would, indeed, address that problem.

Name one country where overcrowdedness and an overabundance of unskilled labor has led to increases in the quality of life.

Since neither "overcrowdedness" nor "overabundance of unskilled labor" are things I am advocating, I fail to see how that is relevant.

California may be richer as a result of the fact that it's home to 10 million immigrants, but the net movement of non-immigrants (that is "Americans") has been negative for over a decade. They don't like the results of too much immigration.

Most of the Californians I know that left did so because of the large amounts of real property they could afford outside of California with the money they earned with California's above average wages and, often times, the sale of their comparatively modest California home, not because "they don't like the results of too much immigration."

You see, cmdicely, I am interested in arguing facts.

Okay.


Like my argument on Korea: you made vague pronouncements that Korea was a better place to live and that no Korean would ever want to come here. "WHY, they have higher rates of broadband access!" Yee-freaking-haw!

I thought you wanted to discuss facts. The fact is, I never said anything in this thread about Korea. I did not say that Korea was a better place to live (which I don't even begin to believe) nor did I state that no Korean would ever want to come here nor did I comment on their rates of broadband access. Those are all distinctly counterfactual statements that you've made.


Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Also, a lot of first-generation college graduates are insecure about their social status. Some adopt liberal political views becuase they want to emulate the educated classes and see liberal views as sophisticated, the hallmark of an educated person.

Or, like Clarence Thomas and Alberto Gonzales, they bend over backwards to please the perceived white power structure to prove they have no ethnic consciousness.

Their parents aren't leftists, . . . Posted by: Joe Schmoe

So, I take it that you've interviewed all these parents to confirm your assinine assertion?

Posted by: Jeff II on December 27, 2005 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK
Yes, cmdicely, because the very idea that any country would ever want to take over or exert influence over another country is absolutely preposterous.

No, its not.

What is preposterous is concluding that Mexico is trying to do that to the US on the basis of the fact that Mexico, hardly uniquely, allows its citizens to retain their citizenship and vote when they become US citizens.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

To all: One wingnut theory I've seen on this is that the proposed legislation is legal since the "original intent" of the 14th Amendment was to make former slaves citizens. Therefore, it (this excrable proposal) can be lawfully passed and applied to "illegal immigrants" since they are obviously "not former slaves".

Boy. This takes original intent into whole new realms even my lawyers haven't thought of. We're still working feverishly to prove there is no global warming (but it is toasty at the Club this afternoon!).

Cheers,

Posted by: kaptain kapital on December 27, 2005 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

Well, duh. So would studies that factor out the most educated natives. You cut off a group on either end of the distribution, and you get a small Gini coeffecient.

Extending your reasoning we find that there is no need to have national comparisons of gini coefficients, for you seem to attach no significance to the point that population X has a coefficient of Y and when peoples who are not from population X are introduced into the equation the coefficient rises. There is a substantive difference of comparing the effect induced on income inequality by excluding, by way of comparison, lower earning immigrants and what you propose of excluding higher earning natives. ISTM that you give short shrift to the notion of citizenship.

Taking, what appears to be your reasoning, to the next step, as long as there are people in the world who earn less than the median US wage and who immigrate to the US, then steps must be taken to redistribute wealth to them so that the income inequality doesn't seem so great. Furthermore, the lower their education the greater must be the redistribution efforts.

I thought my comment on rising gini was relevent to the point raised by Art Hackett, because liberals advocate for more redistributive taxation schemes in large part by pointing to rising income inequality, when that income inequality is largely rising because immigrants with 6 years of grade school are limited in their opportunities and liberals are generally in favor of not restricting the immigration opportunities for the world's least educated peoples too come to the world's most technologically advanced nation to work as maids, dishwashers, etc while simultaneously turning a blind eye to the idleness problem in the black community, for it makes many liberals uncomfortable to see blacks in these service positions. In short, there is no coherent systemic policy to the Left's positions.

Posted by: TangoMan on December 27, 2005 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone who fails to see the danger there is being willfully ignorant.

As the Native Americans so brutally found out. Thanks for that nugget of wisdom, Alan.

Posted by: kaptain kapital on December 27, 2005 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK
"more businesses requiring cheap labor - particularly in agriculture" - [what I meant to write] - would have to locate in Mexico.

Agriculture requires land, labor, and capital; under the current international regime, capital is highly mobile, and of course the pool of cheap labor is already in Mexico, otherwise they wouldn't have to illegally immigrate to the United States to work in the field.

I am therefore somewhat dubious that excluding those laborers from the United States would create more agricultural jobs in Mexico.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

kapitan (das) kapital!

Much of the Constitution is irrelevant, as is foaming at the mouth at what the "Framers intended." Most of the framers have been dead for two-hundred years, and I would like to believe we've evolved in an intelligent fashion (chortling at my own cross-thread cleverness) so as to understand that not everything in the Constitution as outlined is golden.

Posted by: Jeff II on December 27, 2005 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

No, actually Jeff II, my claim from the beginning was that Mexican immigration policy was about power and influence, which cmdicely converted to "paranoia about Mexcian conquest."

I did point out the fact that concern about conquest by another country is not exactly "paranoia" as it's happened all throughout history, but I never suggested that was Mexico's aim.

And cmdicely, as far as Korea goes, I mistook a post by Crissa for a post by you.

And the fact that other countries besides Mexico allow their citizens to vote as Americans doesn't undermine my argument about influence at all.

Posted by: Alan on December 27, 2005 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Californians leaving for other states are often able to get larger homes elsewhere because of the appreciation in the value of their homes. But, for most of the ex-Californians I have met, the first comment off their tongues is "it's so expensive there."

Posted by: Alan on December 27, 2005 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

What is preposterous is concluding that Mexico is trying to do that to the US on the basis of the fact that Mexico, hardly uniquely, allows its citizens to retain their citizenship and vote when they become US citizens.

I think Mexican policies are unique in other respects, and those policies are driven by ambitions of exerting influence on Hispanic populations within the US. To wit:

Just how shameless is Mexico in promoting illegal entry into the U.S.? For starters, it publishes a comic bookstyle guide on breaching the border safely and evading detection once across. Mexicos foreign ministry distributes the Gua del Migrante Mexicano (Guide for the Mexican Migrant) in Mexico; Mexican consulates along the border hand it out in the U.S. . .

Disseminating information about how to evade a host countrys laws is not typical consular activity. Consulates exist to promote the commercial interests of their nations abroad and to help nationals if they have lost passports, gotten robbed, or fallen ill. If a national gets arrested, consular officials may visit him in jail, to ensure that his treatment meets minimum human rights standards. Consuls arent supposed to connive in breaking a host countrys laws or intervene in its internal affairs.

Mexican consulates, like those of other countries, have traditionally offered consular cards to their nationals abroad for registration purposes, in case they disappear. In practice, few Mexicans bothered to obtain them. After 9/11, though, officials at Los Pinos (the Mexican White House) ordered their consulates to promote the card as a way for illegals to obtain privileges that the U.S. usually reserves for legal residents. The consulates started aggressively lobbying American governmental officials and banks to accept matriculas as valid IDs for drivers licenses, checking accounts, mortgage lending, and other benefits.

Quick to defend individual illegals, the consuls just as energetically fight legislative measures to reclaim the border. Voters nationwide have lost patience with the federal governments indifference to illegal immigration, which imposes crippling costs on local schools, hospitals, and jails that must serve or incarcerate thousands of illegal students, patients, and gangbangers. Californians in 1994 launched the first protest against this unjustifiable tax burden by passing Proposition 187, banning illegals from collecting welfare. Mexicos Los Angeles consulate swiftly joined forces with southern-California open-borders groups to invalidate the law, even giving the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles a computer and database to help build a case against the proposition. Mexican action against 187 apparently extended to Mexico as well. After a federal judge struck the initiative down in 1998, thenLos Angeles councilman, now mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa credited Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo with helping to undermine it.

Since 1990, Mexico has embarked on a series of initiatives to import Mexican culture into the U.S. Mexicos five-year development plan in 1995 announced that the Mexican nation extends beyond . . . its borderinto the United States. Accordingly, the government would strengthen solidarity programs with the Mexican communities abroad by emphasizing their Mexican roots, and supporting literacy programs in Spanish and the teaching of the history, values, and traditions of our country.

Each of Mexicos 47 consulates in the U.S. (a number that expands nearly every year) has a mandate to introduce Mexican textbooks into schools with significant Hispanic populations. The Mexican consulate in Los Angeles showered nearly 100,000 textbooks on 1,500 schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District this year alone. Hundreds of thousands more have gone to school districts across the country, which pay only shipping charges. Showing admirable follow-up skills, the consulates try to ensure that students actually read the books. L.A. consulate reps, for instance, return to schools that have the books and ask questions. We test the students, explains Mireya Magaa Glvez, a consul press attach. We ask the students: what are you reading about now? We try to repeat and repeat.

And it is hard to see how studying Mexican history from a Mexican perspective helps forge an American identity. The Mexican sixth-grade history book, for example, celebrates the heroism and sacrifice of the Mexican troops who fought the Americans during the Mexican-American war. But all the sacrifices and heroism of the Mexican people were useless, recounts the chronicle. The Mexican people saw the enemy flag wave at the National Palace. The wars consequences were disastrous, notes the primer: To end the occupation, Mexico was obligated to sign the treaty of Guadeloupe-Hidalgo, by which the country lost half its territory.

This narrative is accurate and rather tame by Mexicos usual anti-American standards. But a student in the U.S. could easily find himself confused about his allegiances. Is his country Mexico or the U.S.? Study exercises that include discovering what happened to your territory when the U.S. invaded dont clarify things. The textbook concludes by celebrating Mexican patriotic symbols: the flag, the currency, and the national anthem. We love our country because it is ours, the primer says.

The Glendale library [in the Los Angeles suburbs] is beautiful, enthuses the L.A. consulates Magaa Glvez. It has converted half of its space to a Spanish language center using Mexicos course materials, she says.

Yet does this Spanish-language project actually result in the acquisition of English? I put this question to Socorro Torres Sarmiento, the community affairs coordinator in the Santa Ana consulate. She dodged the question: Its difficult to do English at the same time, she said. In other words, probably not.

The contest that Sarmiento is promoting is another device to reinforce a sense of Mexicanness in students. It asks them to draw pictures expressing the history, culture, natural resources, people, or traditional holidays [of] our beloved and beautiful country. Winners get a trip to Mexico City at the Mexican governments expense. Here againin conservative Orange County, California, at leastsome schools are skittish about sponsoring a Mexican governmentdesigned program. Sarmiento responds that embracing Mexican culture is vital for students self-esteem. In her school visits for the contest, she asks students if they know who the Aztecs were.

Unfortunately, she says, they often dont. But if the students are to succeed in the U.S., a more relevant question might be: do you know who the Pilgrims were?

The audacity of Mexicos interference in U.S. immigration policy stands in sharp contrast to Mexicos own jealous sense of sovereignty. It is difficult to imagine a country touchier about interference in its domestic affairs or less tolerant of immigrants. In 2002, for example, Mexico deported a dozen American college students (all in the country legally) who had joined a protest in Mexico City against a planned airport. Such participation, said Mexico, constituted illegal domestic interference.

It's not simply a matter of Mexico extending voting rights to US-based Mexican residents. You're right that lot's of countries extend the same privledge. Mexico's tactics go well beyond what we've seen from other countries that send immigrants to the US.

Posted by: TangoMan on December 27, 2005 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Alan-

But that is the sort of thing that de-legitimzes the immigration debate. Conspiracy theories about Mexican influence in the American political process sound paranoid and silly. Mexico is not a threat to America. They can't even run their own country well, the odds of them becoming a threat to the US are nil. Everyone intuitively understands this, and when opponents of illegal immigration start talking about "Mexican influence" in American politics, it makes them seem irrational.

A far better argument against illegal immigration is that we need to take a breather. Immigration is a good thing, the lifeblood of American history, etc., but it is time to apply the brakes for a decade or two in order to give us time to assimiliate all of the newcomers. Most people agree that all Americans should speak English, have the opportunity to obtain gainful employment, etc., and that it takes time for ethnic minorities to integrate themselves into American society.

That's a far better strategy than talking about Vicente Fox's views on US immirgration policy.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe on December 27, 2005 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK
The bright students at the better universities are able to resist their professors' attempts at ideological indoctrination.

This kind of seems to presuppose that professors attempts at ideological indoctrination are somehow a major feature of college life; the main attempts at ideological indoctrination I experienced in the colleges I attended (whether my community college, Caltech, or UC Davis) were predominantly from student groups, and the most strident from the fundamentalist Christian groups.

And from discussions I've had with people who attended more recently than I did, that doesn't seem to have changed.

The students at third-rate universties are more susceptable to that sort of thing, although once they are out of college the influence of academia tends to wane fast, unless they go into a goverment job, education, academia, or some other line of work that continues to reinforce a left-wing outlook. Of course, a few people continue to hold left-wing views even after moving to the private sector, but I beleive that enviornment does play an important role for most people.

So, your argument is that virtually nobody outside of academia or government work holds leftist views? I'd expect election results to be much more lopsided in favor of the Republican Party were that true.

Also, a lot of first-generation college graduates are insecure about their social status. Some adopt liberal political views becuase they want to emulate the educated classes and see liberal views as sophisticated, the hallmark of an educated person.

Your armchair psychology is dazzling.

Finally, if first-generation college graudates encounter prejudice in the workforce, or simply feel uncomfortable in the alien environment of cubicles and PowerPoint presentations, their sense of being a minority is often reinforced.

Well, yeah, I can see how encountering workplace discrimination would reinforce the impression of being a disadvantaged minority, even if you weren't a first-generation college student.

As to the sense of being a minority, merely being numerate and conversant with basic demographic statistics should rather firmly establish that without additional reinforcement.

To the extent that a lot of first-generation Hispanic college graduats follow the usual pattern of upward mobillity, i.e. becuase of the low quality of their primary and secondary education they attend a third-rate universities and get government jobs, I can see the Atzlan movement growing in popularity in the future.

I'm interested in knowing where you get the idea that this describes the "usual pattern of upward mobility".


In fact, you can already sort of see the beginnings of this. At my wife's undergrad alma matter, Cal State LA, Che Guevara t-shirts are extremely popular.

Che Guevara t-shirts have been extremely popular, best I know, for at least 15 years on college campuses. Often among people who don't have much more than a vague idea of who Che Guevara was.


These kids are mostly first-generation college students,

Are you sure?

and they are adopting political leftism because they see it as fashionable.

Maybe, though I wouldn't equate wearing a Che t-shirt with any kind of significant adoption of a leftist ideology.

Their parents aren't leftists,

Are you sure?

and they are too young to have developed deep thoughts about Marxism, etc.

Its quite possible -- I've met several people who have -- to have developed fairly deep thoughts about Marxism and still be a college undergraduate.

Its not a matter of age, alone.

They are adopting political lefitsm as a fashion statement.

I think its more likely that the people you are referring to are adopting Che t-shirts as a fashion statement, which isn't exactly the same thing.

Some will grow out of it, some will get government jobs where they can parlay their ethnicity into promotions, and others will become even more radical when they start rubbing shoulders with white people and begin to feel uncomfortable and perhaps even encounter social prejudice.

Your concept that enthnicity can be uniquely parlayed into promotions in government jobs is interesting, and could use some elaboration.


This is the real future of the Atzlan movement.

Huh? That doesn't even discuss the Aztlan "movement".


Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

TangoMan-

See the above comment to Alan. Most Americans will never see Mexico as a threat. They are not scared by the sinster scheming of Ernesto Zedillo or Vicente Fox.

They don't care what the Mexican counselate in their community wants or is trying to do. To them, America is an elephant, Mexico is a bug.

BTW, I myself subsciribe to this POV. The idea of the hopelessly corrupt and incompetent Mexican goverment ever becoming a threat to Guatemala, much less the United Staes, is ludicrious. I don't doubt that they are hiring lobbyists and making their desires known in Washington, just like all other foreign governments, but the idea that Mexico will ever threaten America's national soverignty is not at all persuasive to me. Have you been down there? Do you have any idea what it is like? They are no threat.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe on December 27, 2005 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK
Yes, Californians leaving for other states are often able to get larger homes elsewhere because of the appreciation in the value of their homes. But, for most of the ex-Californians I have met, the first comment off their tongues is "it's so expensive there."

Money is a commodity.

Increase the supply of money in a locality and you increase local prices, all other things being equal.

Yes, its expensive in California. Largely because, despite the headlines grabbed by (e.g.) the energy crisis, California's economy functions a lot better than a lot of the rest of the country, and more wealth is generated here, per capita.

Unless you are "blaming" California's relative prosperity on the level of immigration, I don't see what this has to do with your argument.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK
Extending your reasoning we find that there is no need to have national comparisons of gini coefficients, for you seem to attach no significance to the point that population X has a coefficient of Y and when peoples who are not from population X are introduced into the equation the coefficient rises.

Well, first, the latter part of that is almost precisely the reverse of what I said, and secondly, I don't see why rejecting the utility of looking at the Gini of limited subsets of a population should be equated to rejecting the utility of the overall Gini as a measure of inequity in the population at large.

There is a substantive difference of comparing the effect induced on income inequality by excluding, by way of comparison, lower earning immigrants and what you propose of excluding higher earning natives.

No, there isn't.

ISTM that you give short shrift to the notion of citizenship.

If you were eliminating non-citizens as a block -- rather than simply a subset of immigrants -- there might be some value to the subset Gini you'd be looking at then, though it still wouldn't advance your claim that if those immigrants had been allowed in, the Gini for the remaining population would be something like what the Gini for the population excluding those immigrants is with them here. You seem to be assuming that the immigrants have no actual effect on how other people do in the economy -- for Gini purposes only -- while elsewhere arguing that they drastically effect the economic results of the rest of the population.


Taking, what appears to be your reasoning, to the next step, as long as there are people in the world who earn less than the median US wage and who immigrate to the US, then steps must be taken to redistribute wealth to them so that the income inequality doesn't seem so great. Furthermore, the lower their education the greater must be the redistribution efforts.

I have no idea where you go this from anything related to my reasoning.

I thought my comment on rising gini was relevent to the point raised by Art Hackett, because liberals advocate for more redistributive taxation schemes in large part by pointing to rising income inequality,

I think its a mistake to characterize more progressive taxation schemes as more redistributive. The distribution of income is not independent of government policy (including both tax and spending policy) in the first place as such a labelling presupposes.

when that income inequality is largely rising because immigrants with 6 years of grade school are limited in their opportunities and liberals are generally in favor of not restricting the immigration opportunities for the world's least educated peoples too come to the world's most technologically advanced nation to work as maids, dishwashers, etc

Part of your problem seems to be that you think the "liberals" and "the Left" follow a single agenda, rather than being a diverse group with different agendas; plenty of liberals favor various restrictions on immigration.

while simultaneously turning a blind eye to the idleness problem in the black community,

I'm not sure what you mean by an "idleness" problem; certainly most liberals I know of are concerned by the high incarceration rates, low rates of educational attainment, and high rates of unemployment in the black community, particularly among black males.

for it makes many liberals uncomfortable to see blacks in these service positions.

You base your statement that it makes "liberals" feel uncomfortable on...what?


Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

This kind of seems to presuppose that professors attempts at ideological indoctrination are somehow a major feature of college life.

True.

So, your argument is that virtually nobody outside of academia or government work holds leftist views? I'd expect election results to be much more lopsided in favor of the Republican Party were that true.

If you are talking about leftist views in general, perhaps, though I would submit that party identification plays a greater role in Democratic voting patterns than adherence to leftist ideology. All Democratic politicans have to engage in the charade that they are devoutly religious Christians, for example, because while Democratic elites are often agnostic or actively hostile to religion, Democratic voters are often devot.

But we aren't talking about leftist views in general; we are talking about something very specific, naely the support of the Azatlan "movement." Yes, I do beleive that support for that is largely limited to college campuses and left-wing governmental officials and employees.

Also, a lot of first-generation college graduates are insecure about their social status. Some adopt liberal political views becuase they want to emulate the educated classes and see liberal views as sophisticated, the hallmark of an educated person....Your armchair psychology is dazzling.

Do you disagree?

Well, yeah, I can see how encountering workplace discrimination would reinforce the impression of being a disadvantaged minority, even if you weren't a first-generation college student.

You are overgeneralizing. What I am saying is that the experience of discrimination reinforces ALL leftist views, not just those which deal with, say, affirmative action. Most people aren't deep political thinkers; if the same liberals who are always complaining about racism are also supporters of progressive taxation, an apolitical person who expereinces discrimination will often begin to supporrt progresive taxation as well, or at least vote for those who do. People don't often adopt the entire spectrum of liberal beliefs, and often hold differeing opinions on discrete issues, such as abortion, but they do tend to adopt general sets of views.

I'm interested in knowing where you get the idea that this describes the "usual pattern of upward mobility".

Well, it's pretty obvious. I know a guy who grew up in Huntington Park, CA, and went on to Princeton. But Princeton isn't exactly being swamped by people from East LA. Greenwich, Brentwood, and Brookline are well-represented, however. On the other hand, I know of probably 100 people who grew up there and went to East Los Angeles Community College and Cal State LA. Oddly enough, no one who went to Exeter ever seems to get a degree from Cal State LA. Isn't this obvious? Why are you arguing this point?

Che Guevara t-shirts have been extremely popular, best I know, for at least 15 years on college campuses. Often among people who don't have much more than a vague idea of who Che Guevara was.

Yes, but they are taking thier cues from opinion leaders who do know who he was. Agian, this doesn't mean that the kids with the Che t-shirts are committed Marxists; but I suspect that a lot of them who know at least a little think that he was a dashing, handsome idealist, a doctor no less, who tried to "help his people." Maybe his Marxism was impractical, but hey, his heart was in the right place. They don't see him as a dangerous killer and torturer who tried to bring the people of Latin America under the heel of Soviet Communism,

These kids are mostly first-generation college students...Are you sure?

Yes. And so are you. Why are you pretending otherwise?


Your concept that enthnicity can be uniquely parlayed into promotions in government jobs is interesting, and could use some elaboration.

Once again you are denying the obvious. Have you ever heard of something called affirmative action?

Posted by: Joe Schmoe on December 27, 2005 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

It also makes deporting illegal immigrant parents a lot tougher if they have two US citizens for children.

Well, there were quite a few 9/11 widows threatened with deportation because they were dependents on their husbands' work visas, in spite of having US citizen children. It took some diplomacy to get extensions or special adjustments to their status.

Posted by: ahem on December 27, 2005 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK
Yes, but they are taking thier cues from opinion leaders who do know who he was.

Some, perhaps; many are taking their cues largely from people that are just like them -- wearing the shirts because it is cool to do so.


Also, a lot of first-generation college graduates are insecure about their social status. Some adopt liberal political views becuase they want to emulate the educated classes and see liberal views as sophisticated, the hallmark of an educated person....
Your armchair psychology is dazzling.

Do you disagree?

Well, I disagree that there is any more reason to believe this than, say:

Also, a lot of first-generation college graduates are insecure about their social status. Some adopt conservative political views becuase they want to emulate the empowered classes and see liberal views as sophisticated, the hallmark of an empowered person....

These kids are mostly first-generation college students...

Are you sure?

Yes. And so are you.

No, I'm not sure. I have seen no evidence that there is a particular association between "Che t-shirt wearing" and being a "first generation college student". You've asserted the particular connection.

Your concept that enthnicity can be uniquely parlayed into promotions in government jobs is interesting, and could use some elaboration.

Once again you are denying the obvious. Have you ever heard of something called affirmative action?

I've heard of it, and the last I looked, it didn't only exist in government employment.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2005 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

I want some of whatever Joe Schmoe is smoking!

Posted by: Sixpak Chopra on December 27, 2005 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

Huntington, like many scholars, actually seems to belive that the Atzlan movement has popular support.

Many of the Democratic Party's Hispanic leaders are former members of MEChA (the "A" stands for "Aztlan"). They include: L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, CA State Sens. Gil Cedillo and Fabian Nunez, and even U.S. Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ).

Those people would not have their current jobs if the press does its job. Instead, the press refuses to cover their past membership in that organization.

Not everyone is a leader, but when you have powerful leaders with a racial ideology and millions of people of that same race, they can agitate those people into doing things. Especially if those people have no real ties to the country they're in.

Note also that the Ford Foundation funds organizations like MALDEF. And, they even provided the startup capital that allowed UCLA to start their Chicano Studies program.

So, you've got leaders, money, a corrupt press, and millions of people with no ties to this country. Could that lead to a movimiento popular? Should we play with fire and find out? Or, should we just enforce the immigration laws and make sure we don't have to find out?

-- Illegal immigration news

Posted by: TLB on December 27, 2005 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

Oops! I forgot to mention the government of Mexico.

Their consuls travel the backroads of our country passing out ID cards to their citizens who are here illegally.

They attend city council meetings trying to get cities to accept those cards.

Their former foreign minister said he was ordering his consulates in our country to "begin propagating militant activities" to get a guest worker scheme passed.

Just recently, they've hired a Dallas PR firm to try to burnish their image and try to prevent the wall being constructed.

As part of that campaign, they're trying to turn the international community against the wall.

And, they want to work with U.S. organizations to stop the wall. They've worked with U.S. orgs in the past on other matters.

They work to prevent the citizens they send us from assimilating through things like providing free school books to public school districts, having an organization for Mexicans abroad, etc.

It's only a couple small steps from there to directly agitating their citizens in our country.

Posted by: TLB on December 27, 2005 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

"What we do want is for them to return to the country of their legal residence."

That's not the whole story either, since the baby's a legal resident of the US. - Boronx

"Children of illegals would not be citizens if the law were changed."

That's my point. You say your support of the law is based on your desire to return people to their country of legal residence, when the law clearly revokes legal residence for babies. Your reason doesn't wash.

Posted by: Boronx on December 27, 2005 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

Most Americans will never see Mexico as a threat. They are not scared by the sinster scheming of Ernesto Zedillo or Vicente Fox.

Well, both of these guys were more pro-American. That view might change if the favored PRD candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) wins. Personally, I expect he'll be more like Brazil's Lula than Venezuela's Chavez, but I could be wrong. Still, I tend to agree that Mexico really isn't a threat, not a long-term one anyhow. The problems with Mexico are more short-term.

However, 5 billion people live in countries poorer than Mexico. That's a huge tsunami heading towards us if we don't get a handle on our immigration policy. We're already beginning to see large numbers of OTM's (Other than Mexican) illegals come into the country from Central and South American and Asia. It's best to fix our problem now while we only have to worry about Mexico.

Also, I think it bears consideration that Mexico is becoming heavily dependent on our remittances. Remittances are now beginning to surpass oil revenues. A country dependent on remittances is less likely to develop it's own wealth creating resources, and it further encourages corruption, as Mexico can send its discontented masses to the north.

Obviously, no one fix is a magic bullet, whether it be a wall, ending birthright citizenship, or even workplace enforcement. Ultimately, we're going to have to enact some sort of package. As incomplete as HR 4437 is, it is a step in the right direction.

Posted by: Derek Copold on December 27, 2005 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Schmoe is by far one of the least intellectually-inclined of our non-troll regular commenters-- and I count tbrosz among them. I thus find his thoughts on education quite difficult to take seriously. He's consistently resentful of learning and intellectual inquiry.

First-generation college students are generally more liberal because their families are generally more liberal. The people who think and read about Marxism the most are invariably precocious high school students and college students. Liberal activism on campus is almost consistently found in those who come to college with a wide-eyed idealism of making a difference, ultimately getting shafted when they graduate and work for a low-paying non-profit. By contrast, almost to a man, conservatism on campus is borne of a desire to appear more "mature" than their peers (David Brock's experience at UC Berkeley was a firm example of this). Unfortunately, too many conservatives never outgrow this rather immature affectation of lording the supposed political sophistication over others.

(How is it that Joe Schmoe can sound downright rational when talking about immigration itself but goes off the rails into a pot-induced rambling when talking about college?)

Posted by: Constantine on December 27, 2005 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

"Anyone who fails to see the danger there is being willfully ignorant."

As the Native Americans so brutally found out. Thanks for that nugget of wisdom, Alan. - kaptain kapital

Hey, anytime.

I have no qualms about admitting that Europeans conquered this land outright from the natives. That's the reality of life. Everyone on the planet is now living on land that they or their ancestors "stole" from someone else.

Are you implying that, to make ammends, we should now let some other group of people take it from us?

Posted by: Alan on December 27, 2005 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see why rejecting the utility of looking at the Gini of limited subsets of a population should be equated to rejecting the utility of the overall Gini as a measure of inequity in the population at large.

I surmise the reason that you don't see the utility of looking at Gini data on subsets of populations is because you equate the artificiality of groupings to all be equal, whereas I hold that their is a qualitative difference in groupings of non-citizens versus citizens and this type of analysis is quite different from your example of removing high income earners from the analysis. Gini exists to measure income inequality amongst the residents of a nation. They're all in the same boat together, as citizens. Including immigrants skews the results and makes the coefficient increase resulting in calls for more "progressive" remedies.

I have no idea where you go this from anything related to my reasoning.

If your objections to the citizen-noncitizen demarcation are of the same import as other demarcations then what value does a US gini coefficient hold?

You seem to be assuming that the immigrants have no actual effect on how other people do in the economy

Not in the least. What I'm assuming is that illegal immigrant presence in the workforce is distorting (benefits accrue to employer, employee and customer, and costs accrue to the citizenry) to economic decisionmaking, and combined with the net negative costs of poorly educated immigrants, there is a cost to society.

You may benefit from employing an illegal housekeeper and illegal gardener who both free you from having to do the chores and you may utilize the free time for more productive pursuits, be they employment or leisure because it benefits you to pay the housekeeper and gardener $7.00 per hour for their services so that you can free up your $50.00 per hour time for your own pursuits. The problem is that your $7.00/hr wage doesn't cover the services that the illegal, and their family, consume and your neighbor, who does the housework and yardwark himself, has to pay the same increased property taxes, state taxes, sales taxes, federal taxes, etc that help fund the consumption of services that the illegals are net consumers of, as per the National Reseearch Council report quoted above. This disconnect between costs and benefits is hugely distorting to proper market functioning.

By restricting the supply of "taxpayer subsidized" labor the cost of your housekeeper and gardener would increase, but the fiscal strain on public services would decrease. You might scream bloody hell because of the increased costs of labor that you're facing, but your neighbor will rejoice at his lowered tax burden. It would be interesting to read justifications for why those who are benefitting from the labor of the housekeeper and gardener should expect their neighbors to subsidize the costs of employing those service providers.

So, I'm not ignoring the rippling effects produced by illegal immigrants within the economy, and how they influence the gini, in fact, I'm looking at the issue systemically, rather than simply from a position of a two-party labor transaction.

certainly most liberals I know of are concerned by the high incarceration rates, low rates of educational attainment, and high rates of unemployment in the black community, particularly among black males.

And I would guess that those same liberals are also uncomfortable with the idea of seeing a servant class that is predominantly black, so they much prefer to hire illegal immigrants to assauge their sensitivities. The problems you cite that plague the black community are indeed troubling. What avenues are available for a black male with low educational attainment? Very few indeed. It used to be that they would take up the jobs now performed by illegals, but the sight of a black underclass serving in servant positions to white employers gets liberals all a twitter, so they focus on grand schemes to lift the educationally challenged, poorly performing black male to a higher level of education and prefer to hire the illegal immigrant to perform the service job. The problem of course, is that there is a persistent difficulty in attaining the positive results in boosting the academic performance of many black males, so on the one hand, they're steered towards climbing a ladder of education, but when they fail they find emplyment opportunities appropriate for their skill levels to be very few because of the increased supply of illegal, low skill, low wage, low educational attainment, competitors in the labor market, who good liberals perfer because they don't want to see themselves as oppressors of black americans. Ergo, the result is as the statistics indicate, the idleness rates of black american males (not including those in jail, prison, or homeless) indicates that more than 25% of employable males have not worked for periods of a year of longer. This is an unmitigated catostrophe that needs immediate remedy. The surest remedy is to provide these men with jobs, and to lessen the pool of low skilled workers that compete for those jobs. Our priority should first be to our fellow citizens before we employ illegal immigrants.

Posted by: TangoMan on December 27, 2005 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

the law clearly revokes legal residence for babies

One of the more dishonest arguments against plans to end birthright citizenship is that it would be retroactive. That's completely false: link.

Posted by: TLB on December 27, 2005 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

Nothing short of an amendment could change the citizenship status of a child born in the U.S.

The Constitution cannot be more explicit, and no statute may contradict the Constitution.

Thus, an amendment only will do.

No dice.

Posted by: Jimm on December 28, 2005 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

TangoMan: And I would guess that those same liberals are also uncomfortable with the idea of seeing a servant class that is predominantly black, so they much prefer to hire illegal immigrants to assauge their sensitivities.

You guessed wrong.

Posted by: DevilDog on December 28, 2005 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: 成都机票查询 on December 28, 2005 at 3:48 AM | PERMALINK

The fact that you have to ask this question shows just how out of touch with reality you are. Of course its happening. It gets no play because corporate America needs those low wage immigrants to keep coming and undercutting native born Americans with their wages. It allows them to keep wages low and their profits high. New Orleans is being rebuilt with illegal labor and the government is looking the other way. Anyone who points this out is branded as a racist. When was the last time some of the people who are denying this talked to a teacher, a hospital administrator or a copa bout this situation. These people come in contact on a daily basis with illegal aliens and the children of illegal aliens. Once an illegal alien has a child here its almost impossible to deport him/her because the child is a US citizen and a dependent. So there is no incentive to go through the legal process. What you are seeing in the GOP is a backlash in rural and red America to these changes. Whole industries like agriculture and construction are dominated by illegal aliens now. This issue is not going away and if it wasn't for corporate America beating down the GOP the change in the Constitution would win in a walk.

Posted by: aline on December 28, 2005 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

That view might change if the favored PRD candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) wins. Personally, I expect he'll be more like Brazil's Lula than Venezuela's Chavez, but I could be wrong.

If nothing else, short of an astronomically unlikely success by the PRD in congressional elections, AMLO, even if he wins, won't have the power to act anything much like a Chavez. Like Fox's government, he is likely to be sharply constrained by the absence of a Congressional majority and be forced to work with either the hard-to-ideologically-pin PRI or the right-wing PAN to get any laws passed whatsoever.

However, 5 billion people live in countries poorer than Mexico. That's a huge tsunami heading towards us if we don't get a handle on our immigration policy. We're already beginning to see large numbers of OTM's (Other than Mexican) illegals come into the country from Central and South American and Asia. It's best to fix our problem now while we only have to worry about Mexico.

Large number of illegal non-Mexicans, particularly from Asia, have been coming into the country for decades. If we were going to do anything while we only had to worry about Mexico, that time is long passed.

Also, I think it bears consideration that Mexico is becoming heavily dependent on our remittances. Remittances are now beginning to surpass oil revenues. A country dependent on remittances is less likely to develop it's own wealth creating resources, and it further encourages corruption, as Mexico can send its discontented masses to the north.

One would expect, then, Mexico to become more corrupt and authoritarian as its "discontented masses" streamed north and it became more dependent on remittances. Instead, the observed process is that it has become more democratic as those processes have continued. Further, one would expect, if Mexico was trying to get rid of political malcontents through emigration in order to preserve a corrupt powerbase, it wouldn't support -- as Fox's governing right-wing PAN, and its nearly polar opposite the left-wing PRD, and even the former ruling party of the effectively one-party era, the PRI, have -- extending the franchise to expatriate voting. The empirical evidence does not support your hypotheses on the effect of remittances on Mexico.


Obviously, no one fix is a magic bullet, whether it be a wall, ending birthright citizenship, or even workplace enforcement.

Not only are none of those magic bullets, there is no rational reason to suspect any of those would do much to deal with the problems associated with illegal immigration, except perhaps "workplace enforcement", which is so vaguely phrased as to be meaningless.

But there are easy and direct solutions to the problems associated with illegal immigration -- aligning supply of immigration slots more closely with demand and providing revenue-generating routes for qualified immigrants beyond the limited slots. But your concern is very clearly not with "illegal" immigration but with sharply reducing the level of immigration overall. You don't act at all concerned with illegality -- remittance-dependence is a factor of level, not illegality, of immigration from a particular country, as are most of the other things that you hold up as problems (whether they involve any real problems for the US or not).

Posted by: cmdicely on December 28, 2005 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Large number of illegal non-Mexicans, particularly from Asia, have been coming into the country for decades.

Right now, in relative terms, that number is rather small to the inflow from Mexico. You can't count on that staying the same. Even if you were right, it doesn't mean we shouldn't do something about the problem.

Also, I didn't link remittances with corruption, but with anemic economic growth.

Mexico's government has been cleaning up, I agree, which is why I said Mexico is not a long-term threat. But the process has been slowed by their dumping their excess population north of the border. As far as letting expatriates in the U.S. vote, they're the only Mexicans not discontented with the establishment. The only thing they see of Mexico is its bad faith attempts to circumvent our own laws on their behalf.

...there is no rational reason to suspect any of those would do much to deal with the problems associated with illegal immigration, except perhaps "workplace enforcement", which is so vaguely phrased as to be meaningless.

A wall would impede flow, removing automatic birthright would eliminate an incentive, and workplace enforcement--such as right-to-work verification linked with heavy fines, even asset forfeiture--would make hiring illegals more risky for employers. Rationally, there's no reason to believe they wouldn't reduce the problem, though they won't eliminate it altogether.

But there are easy and direct solutions to the problems associated with illegal immigration -- aligning supply of immigration slots more closely with demand and providing revenue-generating routes for qualified immigrants beyond the limited slots.

That would do nothing to illegal immigration. In fact, it might well increase it. There is always going to be a reserve of poor labor in the world willing to underbid any legal labor here. Increasing slots will increase the legal pool here, but it will be met by a corresponding increase in the illegal pool if you don't have serious border enforcement. After all, the people who come in legally can and do provide shelter and aid to friends and family who don't bother with the legal niceties. We've had increasing legal immigration since 1965, and the illegal component has only kept pace; indeed, it's increased. Until we have serious control of borders, it's pointless to discuss increases as a means of controlling illegal immigration. In fact, all you're doing is papering over the issue, and you're doing so on the backs of legal workers, who'll now see their wages further underbid.

But your concern is very clearly not with "illegal" immigration but with sharply reducing the level of immigration overall.

I wouldn't mind reducing our intake to 250,000-300,000 a year. I've made no secret of that. It would do the people most threatened by labor competition--unskilled and blue-collar workers--some good. However, I don't see why we can't deal with the issues separately.

If anything, those favoring legal immigration should see the pressing need to establish some kind of security so their whole structure doesn't collapse in a backlash.

Posted by: Derek Copold on December 28, 2005 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Nothing short of an amendment could change the citizenship status of a child born in the U.S. The Constitution cannot be more explicit, and no statute may contradict the Constitution.
Thus, an amendment only will do. No dice.

Hey, wait a minute! What happened to the "living" constitution? Maybe it changed it's mind in a middle age crisis, or something?!?

Take away that "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" thingy and what do you get? Exactly the policy we follow right now: "Everyone born here is a citizen." So why include that clause unless it's there for a reason? You can have your own opinion on the matter, but you can't choose to ignore a clause that was inserted on purpose.

At the time, they did not want Native Americans to be considered citizens, whether you like it or not, whether you think that's racist or not. 19th Century Native Americans make the most apt comparison to illegal immigrants that I can think of.

Posted by: Alan on December 28, 2005 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

For the record, even though I am pro-immigration reform, I think the people on my side have two weaknesses in their argument:

One, the belief that having minor children who are US citizens makes deporting their parents tougher. I'm not sure this is the case, and don't care. My opposition to birthright citizenship is that it cements the presence of those who came illegally - even if they don't get citizenship, their children do, which relates to my next point.

Two, that too much obsession over "legal" or "illegal" immigration misses the point that our problem is too much immigration, period. Sure, it matters that they come legally, but 700,000 new unskilled workers (or new people, period) is too much whether they're legal or not. Overcrowding is a bad thing. The fiscal costs and the harmful effects on the quality-of-life are the same whether thhey're legal or not.

Legal and illegal, we let in close to 2 million people each year. That's too much growth, and it's going to hurt us down the road. And it wouldn't magically be better if they were all coming in legally.

Posted by: Alan on December 28, 2005 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Alan,

While I agree with your immigration position overally, I do find illegal immigration worth addressing separately. The problem with illegal immigration is it generally encourages all sorts of corruption, not just with immigration laws, but also wage and safety laws. This is something that both immigration-restrictionists and those favoring current or even higher levels can agree on, provided they're arguing in good faith, of course.

Posted by: Derek Copold on December 28, 2005 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

Derek,

I absolutely agree. I was just pointing out that if all we do is complain about the fact that it's illegal , we're missing half the problem, and congress is likely to respond by saying presto , they're not illegal anymore.

Posted by: Alan on December 28, 2005 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

---

You missed the 'subject to the jurisdiction thereof'

Posted by: Mcaristotle on December 29, 2005 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

The topic at hand continually talks about not giving automatic citizenship to the children of "illegal aliens" or "illegal immigrants".

But, nobody is mentioning the children born to "legal immigrants". And by that, I don't just mean the children of people who have been admitted to the US as permanent resident (aka green card holders).

What about a child born in the US where both parents hold green cards?

What about a child born in the US where the parents have been legally admitted as visitors, or as students, or on a non-permanent work visa?
All of these people are "legal" immigrants.

I have no problem restricting citizenship to the children of citizens AND the children of green card holders.

BUT, what about the children of the "legal aliens"?

Maybe it would be better to reword the argument to say that we should only grant citizenship to the children of citizens (and legal permanent) residents, rather than to say that we shouldn't grant citizenship to the children of illegal aliens, because the second phrase doesn't mention the "legal aliens".

Posted by: Jerry on December 29, 2005 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

You missed the 'subject to the jurisdiction thereof'

Yes, this has been waved around more than once in this thread. So, how would you use the phrase to block citizenship to children of illegal immigrants? As others have commented ad nauseum, illegal immigrants are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. They are not the children of diplomats; they are not like American Indians under the old classification of American Indian tribes as sovereign powers. They can be jailed by the United States. They pay taxes to the United States. How are they not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States? Hell, the US has asserted (and employed) the right to execute citizens of other countries, yet somehow the children of immigrants live in a magic "not actually inside the US" bubble?

Posted by: mds on December 29, 2005 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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