Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 26, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

GUEST WORKERS....I've always been uncomfortable with guest worker programs. Germany's famous Gastarbeiter program of the 60s and 70s, for example, has produced a large population of Turks who do plenty of scut work but have little incentive to assimilate since they have no chance of becoming citizens. The result, as the Germans themselves have discovered, is alienation, distrust, and bitterness on all sides.

In the Washington Post today, Tamar Jacoby writes that if you sit down and talk to them, most Americans agree:

The Manhattan Institute and the National Immigration Forum recently conducted a series of focus groups testing two contrasting options: a guest worker program or a more traditional immigration plan based on the idea of citizenship. The results ran sharply counter to the expectations of policymakers in Washington. Democrats and Republicans alike overwhelmingly preferred the citizenship model for reasons of both principle and practicality.

It might make sense initially, these voters said, to admit workers on a provisional basis. It might also make sense to create incentives for the more transient to go home at the end of their work stints. But if they worked hard, put down roots and invested in their communities, wouldn't we want to encourage them to stay? Don't we want immigrants to assimilate? Don't we want to attract the kind of hard-working, committed folks who plan for the future and invest?

If we truly decide that we want to keep immigration limited, then we should face down the low-wage business bloc of the Republican Party and get serious about keeping illegal immigrants out of the country in the first place. But if we want to allow more legal immigrants into the country as a guest worker program tacitly acknowledges then we should encourage them to be good citizens by offering them the chance to earn actual citizenship. Because they don't do that, guest worker programs end up perpetuating both a culture of low-wage labor that's ripe for exploitation and insular communities that have no incentive to think of themselves as Americans because they aren't. It's the worst of both worlds.

Kevin Drum 12:03 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (148)

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Comments

Great post, Kevin. My thoughts exactly.

Posted by: Clark on March 26, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Hatred and fear of Mexicans is a top GOP campaign tool for 2006. And the biggest constituency for illegal immigration - the low-wage business bloc - shovels money into GOP coffers.

Don't expect any reasonable debate before November. Or afterwards.

Posted by: EssJay on March 26, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Gee - who woulda thunk it? The creation of a formal slave class leads to alienation, distrust, and bittereness! Wow!

I guess I shouldn't be so sarcastic - it's not like American white folks have any experience with this... {rolls eyes}

The fact that this post isn't considered dead obvious should be embarrassing.

Posted by: The Past, Nov 10, 2004 on March 26, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP enthusiasm for illegal immigration is based on the fact that they are docile, unprotected, and have a depressing effect on wages. Raise and enforce minimum wage laws and the incentive to hire illegals diminishes.

Illegals depress wages here, and the northward flow relieves pressure on the small and powerful Mexican oligarchy to reform the economy down there.

Posted by: Slideguy on March 26, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

I think the answer lies more in making immigration procedures more accessible and understandable to would-be Americans. Right now, it's a paper maze that is absolutely baffling, even to those who administer it.

Your points are well taken, though. To a large extent, we don't need much in the way of new or different immigration laws and policies--we just need to get serious about enforcing the ones we have. Draining the low-wage cesspool that sucks in so many illegal immigrants should be step one. Too bad companies like Tyson Foods are willing to spend $10 million on lobbying to avoid an extra $5 million in payroll costs.

Posted by: Derelict on March 26, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't spoken to any illegal immigrants about this but... do they really want to become US citizens? Don't they view themselves as, say, Mexican citizens working abroad because that's where the money is?

If only we had a type of visa that recognized this desire, they wouldn't be illegal.

Posted by: Grumpy on March 26, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Hatred and fear of Mexicans is a top GOP campaign tool for 2006. And the biggest constituency for illegal immigration - the low-wage business bloc - shovels money into GOP coffers.

Don't expect any reasonable debate before November. Or afterwards.
Posted by: EssJay on March 26, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Of course it's not possible to have a reasonable debate with looney leftists like yourself who ream illegal Mexican ass.

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on March 26, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Funny about that great German work ethic - When I was stationed in Southern Germany in the early 60s, a great deal of work was done by not only the Turks, but Greeks as well.

Anyone out there who was among that somewhat "small" throng of many, many thousands in the streets of downtown City of the Angels yesterday? Any thoughts on this subject?????

Or among the 50,000 who showed up in Denver?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on March 26, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, one of the problems with Germany's Gastarbeiter program is (was) that if you want(ed) to become a German citizen you are required to give up your other citizenship which is awkward since many people have ties to their homelands. In the case of the Turkish population, many of the older generation Turks want to be able to buy land in Turkey which is only allowable if you have Turkish citizenship.

Becoming a citizen in Germany is not easy, but it is in no way forbidden regardless of whether you are Turkish or any other nationality.

Cheers,

Alan Tomlinson

Posted by: Alan Tomlinson on March 26, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

All you libtards gleeful about these "protests" for illegal aliens will not be so gleeful when Mexicans take over your neighborhood bringing murder, assault, rape and other villainy. Keep it up libtards, you're halfway there.

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on March 26, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

It should be a crime to even so much as look at an illegal immigrant, let alone aid them if they are in need.

Jesus said so.

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on March 26, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Slideguy, though I would add changing laws so that employers caught hiring illegals receive a real punishment, not the current slap on the wrist. The fact that employers hire illegals by millions shows how toothless the currernt law is. Of course, the Republican business block sees to it that the law is worthless.

Posted by: Tom DC/VA on March 26, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Bad as it is, it's NOT the "paper chase" that's wrong with legal immigration.

Congress promises more than it delivers.

Progressives have to insist on the choice: Congress either promises less, or delivers more.

You cannot manage immigration by backlog. These are roughly the current queues:

Spouses and kids of legal permanent residents -- 1.5 million, MINIMUM wait of 4.5 years (8 years for Mexico)

Siblings of U.S. citizens -- 2.5 million, MINIMUM wait of 15 years (18 for Mexico, the Philippines 20+)

Note that this is NOT because it takes State or DHS so long to process the application, it's because Congress promises visas that it doesn't deliver.

AND the best we can say is that guest workers would go to the back of the line BEHIND these folks?

Posted by: theAmericanist on March 26, 2006 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

The Germans would love to have the "old" problems of the past compared to the problems they have now with immigration.
The problems we have in the states are much different, the real problem we have has nothing at all to do with immigration, it is all about slave labor.
Illeagal hiring is the real problem, contractors here can simply go to the local home depot and hire people (both "leagal" and "illeagal") that are willing to work without protections and without paying taxes, THIS is what hurts american workers that would be willing to do the work, but not as a slave. This is also how to solve the problem, if there was not work to be had, they would not be here.

Rick

Posted by: Rick on March 26, 2006 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Agree. It's the only way.

Posted by: PW on March 26, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

While agreeing fully with your recommendations, I think we should also consider that this issue has potential political wallop. Lots of people have been hurt by 'free trade' deals and globalization, and they are angry and discontent. Others are feeling alienated with spanish language culture becoming prevalent in their communities.

So, although in cool moments focus groups may favor sane policies, this issue is easy exploited to stir up ethnic conflict and anti-immigrant emotions.

IMO, their are two unresolved problems that prevent a sane policy: companies want low wages, and don't want any oversight of their hiring of undocumented workers; and a border that really can't be controlled. If no jobs were available, the border problem would be lessened, but with jobs available and no border control, the tide of people will flow uncontrolled from Mexico to the US.

The Dems should fight stupid laws (like Sennsenbruner's House bill), but we should also not be put into the position that it seems we advocate uncontrolled immigration. Rove will be pushing this Dem's are taking your jobs meme hard this year, and it is a danger to the Dems and to sensible reform.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR on March 26, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Only reaming illegal ass is allowed in lefty-land. Otherwise you're a racist. Go figure.

Posted by: Donkey_Courage on March 26, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Correction, if there was not ILLEAGAL work here, they would not be her ILLEAGALLY

Posted by: Rick on March 26, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans aren't interested in creating a functional immigration system that will encourage immigrants to come and assimilate. One wing wants to keep 'them dam furriners' out (and send home the ones who are here), and the other wants to maintain its supply of cheap, exploitable labor.

Posted by: biggerbox on March 26, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Tom in DC/VA:
There's more to the issue than Slideguy's assertion about business' preference for depressed wages. On America's farms, in the non-mechanazied sectors like fruit growing, illegal labor is the only thing keeping them in business, because you can't find enough citizens in the country to pick a single crop of peaches or strawberries. The state of Washington can subsidize its apple farmers for 300% of the value of their crop, but they still wouldn't be able to compete with the Chinese apple farms without illegal labor to pick the red delicious.

If we agree withe Slideguy that illegal labor is just bad for wages and should be proscribed, then you can kiss goodbye a large number of the farms in this country (I myself prefer fresh pears). More room for tract housing.

Posted by: dunno on March 26, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

What a strange issue. Unemployment is about 4.8% or less. We have millions of low status hard work jobs going unfilled. The illegal immigrants fill those jobs, but in the process depress wages, because being illegal they can't really demand more. Since their employers are gaming the system, money is not being paid for social services (schools, emergency health care etc.) The regular taxpayers end up paying the bill while the employers pocket money they would normally pay in withholding taxes. Nobody seems angry with the employers. The illegal immigrants are mostly hard working. They are mostly honest. They tend to vote Democratic, so Republicans hate them. The last time Republicans gave voice to their hatred of illegals California was lost to the Republican party for at least a generation. There are 11 to 12 million illegal aliens, many of them have been in this country more than 5 years. No way we are going to really round them all up and ship them back to Mexico. Making them permanent felons will only help the exploitive employers further supress wages. Who is going to complain about some chicken farm's horrible exploitation if you can go to prison for helping some exploited worker.

I have a solution. Why don't we invade Mexico and install democracy there just like we did in Iraq. The Mexicans would then be able to find work rebuilding their home country. Their situation would improve and they would throw flowers at the feet of every soldier they encountered. There would be no further incentive for them to flee Mexico for America. My solution is insane, but it is just about as sane as the legislation that recently passed in the House.

Any real solutions out there?

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 26, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

I am sorry I said illegals tend to vote Democratic. Obviously they don't vote, but their legal kids and other family members do. That is the lesson Republicans seem not have learned.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 26, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

dunno, i think u just dunno
u say slave labor is the only thing keeping farms in business, what is your proof? How do you know that? it's pretty rediculous if you ask me, people have to eat, don't u just think that they would start charging more?

Posted by: Rick on March 26, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not familiar with the intricacies of immigration arguments, but this makes sense intuitively. Here's my question to liberals who agree:

Does this mean we favour more immigration outright? Or do we favor more immigration in the context of a greater crackdown of those who break the rules?

I ask because it's easy to say "more immigrants!" but that doesn't solve the issue of what to do with those millions extra who will continue to enter illegally each year.

Posted by: Jonathan Dworkin on March 26, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

I think there's several dilemmas - one of which is, scratch a liberal on illegal immigration, and chances are they're not to thrilled about it either. I think the only differnce has to do with the severity of the solution - "catch em, arrest em, deport em" makes a lovely bumper sticker, but it's also rather cruel (and ineffective). Another dilemma is that all this "illegal work" (when did work become illegal?) and low pay is a very real problem and has no great solution; the farm economy is built on paying farm workers very low wages for jobs many people simply will not do.

I think Dems benefit from the fact that right now the GOP has offered two truly horrendous answers - one (guest workers) which caters to business needs at the expense of their law and order base, and the other (heavy handed enforcement) that caters to law and order types at the expense of minority votes - especially hispanic - that they need to hold and expand their majority. In the middle of that DEms offer... well, very little, really, except that neither one is really appealing or workable.

I think the biggest need is to reframe the debate - a better INS with up to date equipment and understandable, workable policies would go a long way to making this a debate in which immigration is taken seriously and treated better. Absent that, I suspect everyone's uglier, baser anti-immigrant instincts will make things considerably worse.

Posted by: weboy on March 26, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Tom DC/VA wrote: "I agree with Slideguy, though I would add changing laws so that employers caught hiring illegals receive a real punishment, not the current slap on the wrist."

You're going to have to be a little more specific. For example, if I need help digging up my yard for the spring, there's a place nearby where day laborers congregate waiting to be hired. If I hire one for the day and it turns out that he is an illegal immigrant, what penalties are you prepared to impose on me?

Posted by: PaulB on March 26, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB,
whether or not that "day laborer" is legal or illegal (with regards to immigration) is irrelevant, YOU are doing something illegal! (this is a far different thing than hiring a local kid to dig up your yard) you should be subject to the same laws as any contractor hiring illegally.

Posted by: Rick on March 26, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you paint with a broad brush, and sometimes you tend to paint outside the lines too much. Many, many turkish "guestworkers" are now Germans. Their children are hodlers of passports, they speak German, they think German, they act German. The "gastarbeiter" initiative was indeed a mistake. Creating an underclass is not a good idea. BUT, it served many purposes: Tureky would not today be moving closer to Europe without that intiative. The EU would not even remotely be considering accession (although that's another topic, and perhaps worth a post?) without such a large group of ethnic minority europeans living in its biggest, and most central country, Germany. The ties that have bound families in both countries together may still prove useful, as the world separates into Christians and Muslims, each fighting for survival of its culture. Perhaps, just perhaps, Germany can partly atone for its past by offering an integrative future to another culturally significant religious minority?

Posted by: Chris on March 26, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

I think the slogan 'more immigrants!' is a bit of a loser no matter who uses it.

The undocumented worker does not have health insurance, auto insurance, a driver's license. They pay sales tax directly and property tax indirectly, but they do not pay income tax or contribute to Social Security or Medicare withholding. They are not part of the workman's comp system. They do not belong to labor unions.

Someone above accurately pointed out that this system is a very strong subsidy of certain business interests. Business likes the system the way it is.

The Republican Party of starve the beast inclination likes this system not only for the very low cost of labor but also for the additional stress it puts on the social safety net. It starves the beast faster.

And to be a stuck record: any solution to legitimze the alien status of those here or wanting to come here will fail unless it removes the incentive to hire the worker who is outside the system. Any process that legitimizes the undocumented worker must, by its very nature, raise their cost of their labor. And, by doing so, will create an opportunity for business to employ the next guy who shows up and is willing to work off the books.

Unless there is sufficient penalty for hiring any worker outside of the normal channels of employment, the solution will fail.

Posted by: Nat on March 26, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

I'm alright with guest worker programs if the workers and families are able to gain citizenship, in a reasonable, way through the program.

Posted by: aaron on March 26, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Nat, THANK YOU!! you said it so much better than i did!

Posted by: Rick on March 26, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Aaron: then what you want isn't a guest worker program, but Ellis Island: that ain't what the Congress is debating.

Posted by: theAmericanist on March 26, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

One other common place of hiring illegals to consider - child care and housekeeping. We're focused on men who day labor and farm workers, but keep in mind that this issue is also a woman's issue, and that part may be harder to solve (and to disincentivize). I've been sort of stunned to realize the prevalance - and the casual acceptance - of the illegal nanny market.

Posted by: weboy on March 26, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know. If we don't develop (and maintain) our own subclass of poorly paid workers willing to live in crowded filthy hovels and commute 5 hours twice a day piled into the back old ford vans to clean the toilets in the office buildings of our financial districts we will likely lose our competiveness with the Chinese (with their political prisoners and starving peasants), the Indians (with their untouchables), and the Burmese (with their sex/textile slaves). What could be worse than losing our competiveness?

Posted by: B on March 26, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

B, maybe... retaining our competiveness?

Posted by: Rick on March 26, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB: Breaking the law is breaking the law. Why should you be exempt? However, I doubt enforcement would focus on individuals when there are so many companies hiring illegals.

dunno: That may be true if immigration reform gets passed without Americans devaluing the idea that price should the primary deciding factor when purchasing a product. However, immigration reform is not going to be passed until Americans devalue the idea that price should be the primary deciding factor when purchasing a product.

weboy: Good point. Its funny how so many in this country claim to care about their children but refuse to pay a decent wage to someone to care for them.

Posted by: Tom DC/VA on March 26, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Lets say we either adopt a guest worker program or increase old fashioned assimilation based immigration, exactly how is either going to help with illegal immigration? This is about wages people. Business will still want the cheapest labor possible, and people will still cross the border to work at slave wages. You have to understand that people just dont come here because there are jobs; they come here because they are willing to take the lowest wages to do these jobs. Creating a guest worker program or whatever wont solve this problem. People will still come and do the work cheaper then any American or guest worker. Unless we massively increase the penalties for hiring these people, and truly secure our borders we are not going to be able to even put a dent in this problem.

Posted by: Lasky on March 26, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Lasky, agreed, however, it is not increasing the penalty for hiring these people that is essential, it is enforcing the laws that is important (there are ALREADY laws, they are nust not being enforced)

Posted by: Rick on March 26, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Alan Tomlinson wrote:

Actually, one of the problems with Germany's Gastarbeiter program is (was) that if you want(ed) to become a German citizen you are required to give up your other citizenship which is awkward since many people have ties to their homelands.

Isnt it the same in the USA?
Meaning that if I wanted to become a US citizen, I would have to give up my "old" citizenship?

And by the way, a lot of Turks simply circumvented that requirement. Applying for German citizenship and giving up their old Turkish passsport at the German office. And once theyve gotten German citizenship, going to the Turkish embassy and applying for a new Turkish passport.

Becoming a citizen in Germany is not easy, but it is in no way forbidden regardless of whether you are Turkish or any other nationality.

Depends.
It got a lot easier in 2000.

Anyone born in Germany after Jan. 1 2000 can decide till the age of 23 which citizenship he/she wants given one condition. Both or one of your "foreign" parents must have lived in Germany legally (residency permit) for at least 8 years before your birth in Germany. In that case its only up to you to decide if you want German citizenship. Though you will have to give up a foreign citizenship unless there are hardship clauses involved.
(If one of your parents is a German citizen, double citizenship of course isnt a problem at all.)

Its a bit more difficult for immigrants to become German citizens.
Requirements:
- legally living in Germany for at least 8 years
(down to 7 years if you took part in an "integration" course)
- able to suppport yourself (and your family)
(not required if youre younger than 23 or when its not your fault. Say, you just lost your job in Germany because the plant was closed down.)
- reasonable knowledge of the German language
- committed no serious crimes
- accept the German constitution
- accept that you must give up your old citizenship unless there are hardship clauses involved

If all requirements are fulfilled you have a legal right for German citizenship if you apply for it.

---

All that said, I agree that the old German "guest worker" program didnt work as planned. :)
It just didnt envision that "guest workers" might want to stay indefinitely. So it didnt include any options for citizenship at all. Much less any help to become part of the German society.

Posted by: Detlef on March 26, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

The Past:

Gee - who woulda thunk it? The creation of a formal slave class leads to alienation, distrust, and bittereness! Wow!

I guess I shouldn't be so sarcastic - it's not like American white folks have any experience with this... {rolls eyes}

Ever been to, say, Appalachia? Believe it or not, there are plenty of exploited-and-bitter white folks out there.

Or were you being sarcastic again?


Posted by: Wally Ballou on March 26, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

nust=not

Posted by: Rick on March 26, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK
Aaron: then what you want isn't a guest worker program, but Ellis Island: that ain't what the Congress is debating.

There is nothing that says a guest worker program can't provide a route to permanent immigration; indeed, if such a program were to be desirable at all, it should.

Now, if "guest worker program" means anything it means that it is not primarily oriented to immigration, but you could create a system by which guest workers would be eligible to become LPRs outside of the usual categories by declaring intent and paying a status conversion fee.

Or, if you had a limit on duration of guest worker status, you could have a special extra tax on guest workers that was held in trust, and paid out on personal appearance at a US consulate in their home country if they returned after the guest worker period -- or forfeited as the status conversion fee if they elected to immigrate to the US.

But, at any rate, I think that, while they could (and it would be better than otherwise if they did) be structured to include immigration possibilities, guest worker programs are generally a bad idea, so I'm not too much in favor of them.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 26, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK
The undocumented worker does not have health insurance, auto insurance, a driver's license. They pay sales tax directly and property tax indirectly, but they do not pay income tax or contribute to Social Security or Medicare withholding. They are not part of the workman's comp system. They do not belong to labor unions.

None of these are necessarily true. Many undocumented (at least, lacking legal, true documentation) workers are not accurately described by this.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 26, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

weboy: Good point. Its funny how so many in this country claim to care about their children but refuse to pay a decent wage to someone to care for them.

I don't think it's that people - in this case, especially, women - don't care enough to pay more to the people who care for their kids; it's the same economic issue that plays out other places - whatever you want to pay, the reality is you can only afford so much. The fact also is, it's hard to find someone decent and trustworthy you can leave alone in your house, with your things, to care for your kids. Add it all up, and sometimes you just have to accept what the reality of the situation is, and you live with an imperfect solution. This problem is not new, and with so many women in the workforce by necessity more than choice, the issues don't get easier. Blaming the women who need babysitters for the net result (i.e. "not paying a decent wage to the people who care for your kids") is at some point not going to be a productive answer.

Posted by: weboy on March 26, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Lets say we either adopt a guest worker program or increase old fashioned assimilation based immigration, exactly how is either going to help with illegal immigration?

People don't want to immigrate illegally. They want to immigrate to (and/or work temporarily in) the United States. The imbalance between the desire of people to do so and the artificial limitations (both overall and particularly the single-nation limit from Mexico) on the number who are allowed to do so legally creates most illegal immigration, so anything that allows more of the people who desire to enter the United States the opportunity to do so legally, the less people there will be willing to illegally enter the United States.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 26, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not familiar with the intricacies of immigration arguments, but this makes sense intuitively. Here's my question to liberals who agree:

Does this mean we favour more immigration outright? Or do we favor more immigration in the context of a greater crackdown of those who break the rules?

Neither. I favor a sensible plan that enables greater opportunities for legal immigration by immigrants that are not in the categories prohibited to immigrate to the US because that makes it easier to enforce the laws, without trying to do a "crackdown".

Posted by: cmdicely on March 26, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

One other common place of hiring illegals to consider - child care and housekeeping. We're focused on men who day labor and farm workers, but keep in mind that this issue is also a woman's issue, and that part may be harder to solve (and to disincentivize). I've been sort of stunned to realize the prevalance - and the casual acceptance - of the illegal nanny market.

One reason you might not see that part of things talked about on a site like this is that it might hit just a little too close to home for upscale professional types, even left-leaning ones. Better to talk about those exploitative bastards out West, right? (Along with those contemptible xenophobes in the "red" areas, natch.)


Posted by: Wally Ballou on March 26, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Rick: higher penalties are key. The current law is toothless.

"For a first offense, an employer is subject to a civil penalty not less than $250 and not more than $2,000 for each unauthorized alien. A second offense carries a civil penalty of not less than $2,000 and not more than $5,000 for each unauthorized alien."

$5K is chump change. An employer only has to save $2.50/hr for a year to make it worthwhile to hire an illegal.

The penalties need to be harsher.

Posted by: Tom DC/VA on March 26, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

So long as financial capital can roam the world freely in search of the best return, but labor cannot--we, and other countries will face this kind of problem, along with its associated social distress.

Mexican oligarchs should be forced to invest and be socially (i.e., actually pay taxes)responsible in Mexico. Barring that, perhaps it is time to teach them a lesson in the responsibilities of the social contract.

I'm with the insane Ron Beyers above on this one.

PS: Similarly in the ME, we should have invaded Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the Emirates, that is, if you're the kind who thinks international relations is simply war by other means.

Posted by: bobbyp on March 26, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

You cannot manage immigration by backlog. These are roughly the current queues:

Spouses and kids of legal permanent residents -- 1.5 million, MINIMUM wait of 4.5 years (8 years for Mexico)

Siblings of U.S. citizens -- 2.5 million, MINIMUM wait of 15 years (18 for Mexico, the Philippines 20+)

Note that this is NOT because it takes State or DHS so long to process the application, it's because Congress promises visas that it doesn't deliver.

The backlogs are because of the cap on the total number of immigrants per year and the cap on the fraction each year that can be from particular countries, which creates an enormous backlog, particularly from Mexico, since there are lots of qualified would-be immigrants from that country, far out of proportion to the 5% per country limit.

To clear the backlog it would help to increase the total cap, but it would probably do more to eliminate the per country limit and alsoto allow qualified immigrants to immigrate outside of the limited slots by paying a substantial fee.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 26, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

My bad, the penalties are harsher after the second offense:

"After the second offense, the employer is subject to a civil penalty of not less than $3,000 and not more than $10,000 for each illegally employed worker. Multiple offenses also subject an employer to criminal penalties. An employer who engages in a pattern or practice of violating the law is subject to a criminal fine of not more than $3,000 for each unauthorized alien with respect to whom a violation occurs and/or imprisonment for not more than six months."

http://nationalhogfarmer.com/mag/farming_hiring_illegal_workers/index.html

Still not enough, IMHO. $20K min/$50K max, I say.

Posted by: Tom DC/VA on March 26, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Tom, I had no idea that penalties were so lax, however, if we don't even enforce these laws, what difference do harsher penalties gain?

Posted by: Rick on March 26, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Drum seys: If we truly decide that we want to keep immigration limited,

Geeez, what's the alternative, unlimited immigration?

Unlimited immigration would be 50 million Chinese willing to work for $10 a day, not the $10 an hour the Mexicans are charging.

Then we could really have so good old-fashion cheap foreign labor for all those jobs Americans used to do.

Posted by: Rhythmwize on March 26, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Tom DC/VA:

One solution, instead of modifying the civil fines for the hiring an illegal worker is, where the hiring was used to allow payment of unlawfully low wages, is to place an additional penalty equal to some multiple (say, treble) the difference between what was paid to the worker and the minimum amount that would be required to be paid to a legal worker (including the employer share of SS, etc., taxes).

Posted by: cmdicely on March 26, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Accompany your child on a school field trip to St. Mary's City, Maryland, a pre-Williamsburg era colonial area, and learn all about indentured servitude. There was a great labor shortage, and it was especially popular in the colonies before plain old slavery caught on. "Guest worker" seems a lot like "indentured servant."

Thousands of years ago (probably more than 11,000), the continent was empty of humans, and people came here by boat, or walked. We are all immigrants, or sons and daughters of them. So critics of immigrants should walk a mile in their shoes.

Posted by: no one on March 26, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Rick: harsher penalties change the cost-benefit analysis companies do when deciding to hire illegals. At the same probablity of getting caught, a harsher penalty will discourage more employers from the practice. I'm not against more enforcement; I just point out that the penalties are lax because to me it shows that corporations have control of the policy, and have seen to it that their interest will not be harmed, while still providing enough cover to their Republican lackies. Frankly, the "more enforcement" refrain is strikes me as the perfect distraction from the toothless penalties.

Posted by: Tom DC/VA on March 26, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely - reasonable, but potentially hard to calculate. I don't care how it is done, I just would like the penalties to be large enough that an employer would have to be very stupid to consider hiring an illegal. However, I think a big upfront number works better to that end than some formula.

Posted by: Tom DC/VA on March 26, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK
cmdicely - reasonable, but potentially hard to calculate. I don't care how it is done, I just would like the penalties to be large enough that an employer would have to be very stupid to consider hiring an illegal. However, I think a big upfront number works better to that end than some formula.

The advantage of a formula is that it provides a rationale which supports not having a top-end cap at all; it also scales the penalty to the gravity of the offense.

It is, of course, difficult to calculate, though that could be addressed in a number of ways (such as creating a presumption, which either side attempting to change the award amount would bear a burden of disproving, that any employee was employed, e.g., 8 hours/day, every day, from the earliest date on which he was demonstrated to have been employed.

Given the lower legal standard of proof in civil cases to start with, that should do more than enough to set a starting point.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 26, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

All you libtards gleeful about these "protests" for illegal aliens will not be so gleeful when Mexicans take over your neighborhood bringing murder, assault, rape and other villainy. Keep it up libtards, you're halfway there.
- Donkey_Courage

Well, I live in NYC, and we used to have a violence problem, but we got rid of all the Italians and Irish and those problems just went right away.

What's that you say? They were white?

Posted by: Adam Piontek on March 26, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Any formalized new immigration system, guest worker or immigration to citizenship, would need to resolve the basic issue of what is a fair cost of this labor.

The current system is a libertarian wet dream: labor cost seeks its own level without government intervention. No monies withheld for the greater good, no regulation of working conditions. Business is relatively protected from lawsuits.

Should a new system be implemented one dilemma will be: is this a second class tier of employees who are not subject to our current laws such as the minimum wage, fica etc.? If this is so, we are establishing their social inequality in the law. This, I would imagine, would have a significant social impact. But we are also establishing a permanent advantage in seeking work. Hire a citizen at cost plus 30% (or more)? I think not. If ratified, I think this would blow up.

But if we require the guest worker/whatever to play by the same ground rules as citizens expect, what is gained? Suddenly business is confronted with the same cost of labor that he was trying to avoid in the first place by hiring a citizen. I think business would keep the habit: look for the guy who is willing to work off the books.

Posted by: Nat on March 26, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

kevin, "then we should encourage them to be good citizens by offering them the chance to earn actual citizenship".


Is it not true that foreign citizen can earn US citizenship by serving in the armed forces? We can see this as an extension of that. And which, I think, could feed back more productively into Mexican society.

Posted by: cld on March 26, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

All you libtards gleeful about these "protests" for illegal aliens will not be so gleeful when Mexicans take over your neighborhood bringing murder, assault, rape and other villainy. Keep it up libtards, you're halfway there.
- Donkey_Courage

After reading Donkey_Courage's comments I wondered if Box Turtle Ben is now using that nom de plume? The writer's xenophobia is a pathetic example of why this country is going down the tubes.

There were 500,000 folks at that march in LA. The Hispanic political counter movement unleashed in the wake of the Prop 187 debacle is going to look like a piker in comparison to what is coming. Methinks it will eventually mean the demise of right-wing loonie politics - its going to be hard to find any Hispanics except for Cubans who will vote for the 'Publicans and that will mean states like Texas are now going to be competitive for the Dems...just look at what happened in Orange County.


Posted by: El Pocho on March 26, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

My friend moved to Italy in 2000... he was illegal, but wasn't worried about being caught because, as lonf as he could pay his taxes he wouldn't get busted. He made significantly more than the Mexicans picking produce, though...

Posted by: ELMO on March 26, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding the excerpt provided by Kevin Drum: I stumped Tamar Jacoby.

In fact, I'll go as far as suggesting that I can stump any immigration argument that doesn't involve strictly enforcing our immigration laws.

As far as "guest" workers, anyone who uses that term is lying to you: our "guests" will end up living here as long as they want.

And, we now see what would happen if we tried to ask our "guests" to leave: they'd march in our streets.

And, John Kerry would be president today if he'd discussed what Bush's guest worker plan was intended to do. Unless, like me, you watched an obscure video featuring his assistant, you probably don't realize just how bad it was.

The fact that Kerry was unable to discuss even something as un-American as Bush's plan reveals a deep corruption inside the Democratic Party.

Posted by: TLB on March 26, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Fareed Zakaria had a very good point in the ABC This Week today.

The Guest Worker program has been utter failure in Germany and other Eurpopean countries.

Looks like the people in the heartland know better than the politicians.

Posted by: lib on March 26, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Dicely demonstrates once more why nobody should EVER take him seriously (although perhaps he will make a good living as a lawyer): "There is nothing that says a guest worker program can't provide a route to permanent immigration..."

Um, excepting that it's a guest worker program?

If ya want to make sense (which, granted, damned few folks do), ya gotta make distinctions.

"Temporary" workers are folks who cannot stay after a certain point. They MUST leave -- or else it isn't a temporary worker program.

It's a fraud.

What part of this is unclear?

There has never been a guest worker program that has ever worked, of course: nowhere, no how. A brief resume -- Turks in Germany, Chinese and Koreans in Japan, Filipinos in Kuwait, (my personal favorite) Pakistanis in Norway, and finally of course our own bracero program.

In EVERY case, substantial #s remained illegally.

And in the case of the United States, starting with the braceros in 1942 and accelerating after 1964, we basically trained whole sectors of our economy, and whole regions in Mexico, to depend on each other for an illegal economy.

Was this good for us? Nope, it erodes the rule of law and even worse, the meaning of American citizenship.

Was it good for Mexico? Nope -- exporting your workforce and trying to import their wages is not a viable economic development strategy. Economic surveys of the sending communities in places like Jalisco and Oaxaca show that the sending communities have fewer jobs than the ones right next door, where the networks do not send folks -- even though they get less in remittances. And the families who remain in Mexico, intend to go north at the first opportunity, as the Pew Center's work shows.

So of course now we're replicating this with El Salvador, among other places.

Here's a Rule, established by the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act: immigrants are INVITED, by Americans. Citizens invite spouses, kids, parents and siblings. Legal permanent residents invite spouses and kids.

Employers sponsor employees.

Fix THAT, so Congress delivers on its promises PROMPTLY, and you will restore the Ellis Island model that directly links coming here, with BELONGING here.

And as noted before, if you want to stop illegal immigration, enforce employer sanctions.

If you want to do that (lots of folks CLAIM to, but then they lose interest), require electronic verification of the Social Security # for ever new hire, since they already have to report it for tax purposes.

It's simple, cheap; it's been tested -- and it works.

And, oh yeah: if Congress actually DELIVERED on its outstanding promises for immigration visas, a large chunk of the illegally resident population would HAVE them -- the lowest estimate is that a tenth of the illegal population is already eligible for green cards that Congress won't deliver for a decade. My own estimate is that it as high as forty percent.

(charming grin) So, DO tell us, Kevin: why are you bothering to stump Tamar Jacoby?

Posted by: theAmericanist on March 26, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that both parties agree (kennedy-McCain for instance)demonstrates to whom this country really belongs. If the rest of the country could live here in Fontana for one day they would realize thgat the real objective of those in control is to create a defacto apartheid that will make South Africa (at least they shared a language)look like child's play. The fact that no one dicusses how neither party will comment on the recent study that shows the increase in illegal immigration is mirrored by a decrease in employment for the least educated and young native born shows just how pervasive the illusion that we have a choice is. Corporate government or corporate government lite. Not one politician will stand up for the poor working class American citizen. Don't worry you all middle class will be next.

Posted by: pissed on in Ca. on March 26, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

It's the worst of both worlds

No wonder Bush is for it.

Posted by: craigie on March 26, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

The immigration bill winding its way through Congress is both senselessly authoritarian and unlikely to be effective in achieving its stated aims; this seems to be a defining pattern with the Bush administration.

As any property owner trying to keep out the deer and vermin knows, a fence along 1/3 of his land is unlikely to do so. However, a barbed-wire fence along 700 miles of our southern border will have disturbing symbolic implications (that will no doubt warm the hearts of the faux-libertarian right). Some have compared the idea of fencing America in to a gated community, but gated communities do not have barbed wire fences surrounding them; prisons do.

In terms of actual solutions to this purported problem (illegals pay billions into our entitlement system every year), the fact of the matter is that until the people of Mexico and Latin America have broad access to education and capital (as well as in many cases the basics: clean water, functioning sewer systems, physical security) they will likely keep coming. And if they stop coming it will not be because of some chain-link fence (which can be cut with a $5 pair of snips) or a larger border patrol (which can be evaded) but a bad economy in the US.

Posted by: The Blue Nomad on March 26, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB,
whether or not that "day laborer" is legal or illegal (with regards to immigration) is irrelevant, YOU are doing something illegal! (this is a far different thing than hiring a local kid to dig up your yard) you should be subject to the same laws as any contractor hiring illegally.

Why is PaulB "doing something illegal"? It's not against the law to hire somebody for an odd job.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida on March 26, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

Your comparison of Europe to America in terms of immigrants isn't solid. America is a country of immigrants and assimilating new arivals is something we've been doing since the begining. Europe on the other hand is less apt to assimilate because historically they didn't have to. They don't have any anti-descrimination laws because they havn't had to deal with ethnic minorities historically.

Posted by: TruthJustice on March 26, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Besides that, you're analysis of the practicality of the guest worker program is right on. It'll just mean they disappear when it's time to leave and it's no different a situation than we have now. What we should do is secure the borders and then allow more legal immigrants from everywhere, not just Mexico. Mexicans shouldn't get a better shot just because they happen to be closer. Of course, travel costs would be an issue and our economy needs workers who will work hard for cheap and are happy to in order to maintain the growth we have now.

Posted by: TruthJustice on March 26, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding the excerpt provided by Kevin Drum: I stumped Tamar Jacoby.

Lonwacko: I read your excerpt, and it's really quite lame to claim that you "stumped" the very-well versed Jacoby. You questioned her on the status of children the guest workers might have in the States, with your implication being that they'll be US citizens, and that this will put the guest workers on the fast track to permanent residence (or, heaven forbid, citizenship). But the likely reason Jacoby didn't respond more vigorously to your questioning was simply that unlike you, she doesn't think the additional immigration these children might bring about is a problem, but rather a sign of the country's strength, and at worst a manageable challenge that ulitmately makes ours a stronger nation.

That's the nub of your difference with Jacoby: she favors levels of immigration you consider overly great (and she's not particularly concerned if, say, 30 or 40 percent of this inflow is illegal) and you don't. Despite claims to the contrary, it always comes down to this: is immigration a net plus for America that strengthens our country or is it a highly undesirable problem to be minimized to the greatest extent possible.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida on March 26, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist,

Citizens invite spouses, kids, parents and siblings. Legal permanent residents invite spouses and kids.

Here's where you and I disagree. Spouses and children I can understand, but parents and siblings are a step removed. What we want to do is break chain immigration.

Also, with parents there is another problem. Countries with rational immigration policies, like Canada, are facing a costly consequence of allowing parents to be sponsored for immigration. These parents are severely taxing the public health care system. The parents are near retirement age or beyond, they don't integrate into the work force for long, or at all, and because of their age, their medical expenses are far higher than that seen from the average working age adult.

If family reunification is a key policy then the immigrant should go back to his/her family. Immigration should benefit the sponsoring nation in that the immigrants should add to the fabric of the nation rather than draw from the nation. If a parent or sibling wants to immigrate they should qualify primarily on their own merits, with only minor points given to the fact that they already have relatives resident in the US.

Unrestricted chain immigration is going to put a severe roadblock in the way of establishing a feasible universal health care system for once one family member attains citizenship then a whole bunch of family members will automatically qualify for immigration and the benefits of citizenship.

Posted by: TangoMan on March 26, 2006 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

I think Lou Dobbs gives the most logical view on illegal immigration...before we even begin talking about "guest worker" programs, or fences, or amnesty, or whatever; we have to consider this:
We can't control our borders. And if we can't control our borders we can't control immigration. And if we can't control immigration, there is no way we can ever reform it. All immigration debates must begin and end with the control of our borders.

Posted by: Jace Walden on March 26, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

P.B. Almeida,
Your right,it is not illegal to hire someone for odd jobs, however you still need to submit a 1099, you still need to pay workmans comp, if that is being done, then you already KNOW that they are not an illegal immigrant

Posted by: Rick on March 26, 2006 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

But if they are Guest Workers they leave..so that insular community doesn't grow.

Where as under the current system, you got a growing bunch of people acquiring all sorts of rights, defending really stupid policies like (illegal immigration, spanish as an official language, La Raza racism, affirmative action rights denied to other immigrants).

No offense but why not taken Mexican migrants who pass a language test as possible Citizens instead of illegals? You could still let large numbers in and they'd be people less likely to be exploited.

Why should the test for commitment to immigration be ability to cross a desert and hide from Cops for years?

Posted by: McA on March 26, 2006 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Your right,it is not illegal to hire someone for odd jobs, however you still need to submit a 1099.

No. That's not true. It's only true if the compensation exceeds a certain amount.

I think Lou Dobbs gives the most logical view on illegal immigration...All immigration debates must begin and end with the control of our borders.

Lou Dobbs is a demogoguing windbag. Like most demogogues, he offers "solutions" that are easy, seemingly logical, simple-sounding, and in the end, patently aburd.

Our border control problem is largely synonymous with our illegal immigration problem. They're two sides of the same coin. We'll never be able to make our border secure and then tackle the illegal immigration issue. We have to do the latter first. Think about: if we were attracting, say, 100,000 illegal immigrant border crossers annually instead of the (say) 2 million we're currently getting, wouldn't it be a lot more feasible to get control of our borders? There is a way to do just that, to radically reduce the number of people trying to gain entrance illegally to sell their semi-skilled labor to willing Americans. And that method is called ending the aburd and counterproductive defacto prohibition of its importation by establishing a realistic number (say, 500,000) for Latin American immigration.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida on March 26, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

pissed on in Ca.,

The fact that no one dicusses how neither party will comment on the recent study that shows the increase in illegal immigration is mirrored by a decrease in employment for the least educated

Tell me about it. In comments to the prior post I linked to this New York Times report and every commenter simply ignored it.

The share of young black men without jobs has climbed relentlessly, with only a slight pause during the economic peak of the late 1990's. In 2000, 65 percent of black male high school dropouts in their 20's were jobless that is, unable to find work, not seeking it or incarcerated. By 2004, the share had grown to 72 percent, compared with 34 percent of white and 19 percent of Hispanic dropouts. Even when high school graduates were included, half of black men in their 20's were jobless in 2004, up from 46 percent in 2000.

The cognitive dissonace of liberals astounds me. The plight of the black community is ignored and instead concern is shown for foreigners who are breaking our laws.

Combine this new report with one from a few years ago which looked beyond Black men in their 20s to all Black men:

A new study of black male employment trends has come up with the following extremely depressing finding: "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.

While some of the men not working undoubtedly were ill or disabled, the 25 percent figure is still staggeringly high. And for some segments of the black male population, the situation is even worse.

Among black male dropouts, for example, 44 percent were idle year-round, as were nearly 42 of every 100 black men aged 55 to 64.

If we look at census figures we see that there are 2,768,000 Black male high school dropouts and 3,959,000 Black male high school graduates between the ages of 15-64. These are huge numbers of people who are adversely affected.

Further, what's left unexamined by liberal advocates is the lowered level of workforce participation. People are dropping out of the workforce. Even teenage levels of workforce participation have declined.

When we look at our citizen levels of workforce participation broken down by level of education we see that there have been severe decreases amongst our lowest education classes. People who are against reforming our immigration system should really digest this report and think about the consequences illegal immigration poses for our least educated fellow citizens:

The top of Table 1 shows that the share of native dropouts holding a job declined from 53 to 48.2 percent. This was partly due to a very substantial rise in their unemployment rate from 10.3 to 14.3 percent, and was also due to a rise in the number not in the labor force, from 40.9 to 43.7 percent. (Note: persons in the labor force are either working or looking for work.) If the number of dropouts not in the labor force had remained the same as in 2000 (40.9 percent), then some 454,000 additional dropouts would have been in the labor force. If we take the 454,000 and add it to the 256,000 rise in unemployment among native dropouts, it means that 710,000, or 53 percent, of the 1.3 million decline in the number of native dropout workers was due to a rise in their unemployment rate and a fall off in their labor force participation rate . . . .

As for natives with only a high school diploma, the percentage unemployed and the percentage not in the labor force also increased significantly. The top of Table 1 shows that the percentage of high-school-only adult natives holding a job declined from 74.5 to 70.3. This was partly due to a rise in their unemployment rate from 4.8 to 6.9 percent, and was also due to a rise in the number not in the labor force from 21.8 to 24.6 percent. Unlike dropouts, there was no decline in the overall number of natives 18 to 64 years of age with only a high school diploma. In fact, the total number of such natives increased slightly. If the share not in the labor force had remained the same as in 2000 (21.8 percent), then 1.4 million more natives with only a high school degree would have been in the labor force.

This study only compares the current situation to a baseline from 2000. If we go back to the early or mid 1990s we'd see that the labor force participation has been steadily declining and that the number of discouraged workers is increasing.

Having discouraged workers shifting to disability pensions and such while increasing the downward pressure on low skilled wages by importing millions of foreign citizens doesn't do the nation much good, either fiscally or morally, for the lives of these discouraged workers are impoverished by their reduced living standards.

Posted by: TangoMan on March 26, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

One more finding from the report I linked in my last comment:

We find little evidence that immigrants only do jobs natives dont want. Detailed analysis of 473 separate occupations shows that there are virtually no jobs in which a majority of workers are immigrants, let alone illegal aliens. The overwhelming majority of workers in almost every single occupation, even the lowest-paid, are native-born.

While I'm at it, here's one more point:

In areas of the country with the largest increase in the number of less-educated immigrant workers, less-educated natives have seen the biggest decline in labor force participation. Native unemployment also tended to be the highest in occupations with the largest influx of new immigrants.

Why are liberals championing the interests of foreigners over the interests of their fellow citizens, people who are most likely at the bottom of the economic ladder? What happened to the liberal politics that I used to know which championed rising living standards over ethnic interests? It appears that those types of liberals have abandoned the Left.

Posted by: TangoMan on March 26, 2006 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK


Eleven million self-reliant, undocumented immigrants work twice as hard for half the pay. That's equivalent to 44 Million Workers -- A vast chunk of the American Work Force. They work in mills, mines, slaughterhouses, crop picking, roofing, cement work, skilled residential and commercial construction, maintenance, gardening, elder care, restaurants, food service, child and home care, etc. Their disappearance would bring the economy to a full stop. Show some respect for these hard working people and stop showing your racism. Making their life harder is just plain mean.

Racist Republicans In Denial should join the Racist Republicans In Recovery and stop this anti-immigrant pogrom.

Posted by: deejaays on March 26, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

deejaays sey: Eleven million self-reliant, undocumented immigrants work twice as hard for half the pay.

I say, lets bring in the Chinese who will work just as hard but for just one tenth the pay.

Lets get a real bang for our buck, since thru taxation we have to cover their families health, welfare and educational costs.

Posted by: Rhythmwize on March 26, 2006 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

P.B. Almeida:

You're deeply confused.

Tamar Jacoby is trying to sell us on Bush's guest worker plan.

When someone calls something a "guest worker plan", one might assume that our "guests" would be, you know, guests.

I pointed out that all of our "guests" would actually become permanent residents here.

Therefore, those who call their scheme a "guest worker plan" are basically lying.

Posted by: TLB on March 26, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

deejays: Their disappearance would bring the economy to a full stop.

How do you know? Because that's what the businesses say who like paying half as much for labor as they would have to otherwise? Impose heavy fines on employers who hire undocumented workers and when it's more expensive to hire illegals, they will go back to hiring U.S. citizens.

Republicans are quite happy to give businesses tax breaks to outsource manufacturing and high tech work to India and China. Those jobs that aren't outsourced, companies (with the GOP's blessing) can give to undocumented workers who they don't have to provide benefits for or pay a decent wage to. Thus endeth the middle class in the United States.

If there are, in fact, industries (agriculture?) in which there truly is a shortage of workers, create a program for them to hire foreign workers, provided they pick them up and return them to the border and understand they will be heavily fined for any that go missing.

Posted by: DevilDog on March 26, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

I am not sure I follow. Is there some reason why mexican's should want to stay in the US ?

as it is, aren't some 60% returning to mexico anyway ? The sheer blindness of Americans to the sort of country they now inhabit is really stunning.

Posted by: james on March 27, 2006 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

The Bracero programs of the 1960s had much the same problems. It's basically legalized indentured servitude in my opinion. We need to shut down illegal immigration and then craft a legal immigration plan that meets the needs of business, the American workforce, and American ideals about allowing people from different backgrounds to come here.

Posted by: Sage V.H. on March 27, 2006 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

Don't we already have a guest worker program? I'm talking about the H-1B visas. In order to hire on an H-1B, the job has to pay the standard industry wage for the position, and (I think) there's some check to ensure that the job isn't displacing an American citizen (how well that works is another issue entirely!). There is no path to permanent residency or citizenship -- if you lose the job, you have to find another or leave.

Couldn't a guest worker program just be like extending the H-1B to non-professional occupations? I'm sure that employers who are currently claiming they can't get American workers to fill these position at any price would be happy to pay minimum wage, etc. to their guest workers (/snark). I don't particularly like the fact that there's no path to a green card (given that I myself was in the position of having to stay in school until I got married in order to stay, and my sister has to hope she finds someone to marry before she runs out of time on her H-1B), but that's how it is now for H-1Bs and it's caused no particular outcry.

Posted by: pluto on March 27, 2006 at 2:01 AM | PERMALINK

Guest worker programs and amnesties both encourage more illegal immigration. The big problem is, of course, Republicans and Democrats motivated by personal corruption. The Republicans are primarily loyal to business, not America. The Democrats are interested in the Hispanic vote for their personal re-election, nation be damned.

Even if stiff penalties were enacted such as making aiding illegals a felony, it may be too late to save the country. The greasers are so entrenched and powerful in the occupied territories of California, Texas, New Mexico, Illinois, Arizona, and maybe more, there is little hope of enforcement.

Posted by: Myron on March 27, 2006 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

Myron the Racist,

Please do share any other bigoted and racist thoughts you have - Then slither back into your cesspool.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on March 27, 2006 at 5:20 AM | PERMALINK

he cognitive dissonace of liberals astounds me. The plight of the black community is ignored and instead concern is shown for foreigners who are breaking our laws.

Posted by: TangoMan on March 26, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, the Black Vote is lock step for the Democrats for historical reasons.

I agree that letting in lots of unskilled labour while tightly regulating skilled labour through H1-B, puts pressure on wages of the unskilled not the skilled.

Posted by: McA on March 27, 2006 at 6:38 AM | PERMALINK

The greasers are so entrenched and powerful in the occupied territories of California, Texas, New Mexico, Illinois, Arizona, and maybe more, there is little hope of enforcement.

Posted by: Myron on March 27, 2006 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

Well, what you are talking about is replacing illegal migration with legal migration (which might get more diversity in background, English ability and control, plus would leave).

That's not racist but just bashing migration because of the ethnicity of those migrating is.

Posted by: McA on March 27, 2006 at 6:40 AM | PERMALINK

http://newsforreal.com/
Self-Screwing Voters
Stephen Pizzo
.......
Exhibit A: those self-screwingReagan-Democrats. That little screwing cost us billions -- $165 billion from Reagan's deregulated savings and loans alone! Then the Reagan tax cuts let those who stole all that S&L money keep more of their booty. And let's not forget the billions we let them pour into defense industry coffers for all that Star Wars stuff that, two decades later, still doesn't work.

Exhibit B: self-screwing working class (Red State) voters for Bush. They voted for lost jobs, lower wages and a war their kids could fight and die in. Hot digitty screwed blue and tattooed too. Self-screwed -- not once, but TWICE!

........
To understand the Republican's immigration gambit you first must understand what immigration means to their corporate supporters. In word, cheap... cheap labor and plenty of it. Cheap labor is critical now, thanks to another GOP sacred cow, free trade.

Here's the situation Republicans face:

* Free trade has created an devastatingly non-level playing field for American manufacturers,
* In response to competition from cheaper foreign sources American companies have moved more and more of their manufacturing jobs off shore,
* That's resulted in a wholesale gutting of America's once robust manufacturing base, seen by many as a core national security asset,
* The only way to stop that hemorrhage is to force US wages down so that goods produced here can compete with goods produced off shore,
* The only way to accomplish that is with a flood of immigrants willing to work significantly less than American workers.
*******

What we have is the wholesale importation of poverty and all the problems associated with cultures of poverty - it's very profitable.

Especially since those paying the price in terms of lowered wages, stresses to the school systems, public health, police services, housing and so forth are a completely different set of people from those reaping the benefits.

I'd sure like to know who funded that demo...some one spent some serious $$$ to tell the US that we are not allowed to have any voice about who crosses our borders or for how long or for what purpose.

Posted by: CFShep on March 27, 2006 at 6:50 AM | PERMALINK

Germany's famous Gastarbeiter program of the 60s and 70s, for example, has produced a large population of Turks who do plenty of scut work but have little incentive to assimilate since they have no chance of becoming citizens. The result, as the Germans themselves have discovered, is alienation, distrust, and bitterness on all sides.

This is utter bullshit.

By now most of Turkish decent in Germany are second and third generation. They speak German, think German and act German. They attend colleges and universities. Not in yet in the share they should but increasingly so.

Having a German passport means losing the Turkish passport. Because of Turkish (land)ownership laws, many dont want to take that step but it doesnt change anything material.

Some of the best German movies and comedy shows in the last years are done by actors and directors of turkish heritage. Hiphop in Germany has lots of Turkish stars.

Please show me alienation, distrust, and bitterness on all sides in Germany. Neither I nor my (turkish) hairdresser her see and feel it here.

Posted by: b on March 27, 2006 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

American liberals would do well not to lecture Germans about the supposed inhumanity of the guest worker programme. All guest workers in Germany had full access to the German old age pension system and to public health care, from the beginning. As employees, they had the same rights as Germans, were protected in their jobs by the same labor laws, were unionized in the same unions, etc. The original guest workers, moreover, were all granted permanent residency (as well as the right to bring in their families). Their status, in other words, was always incomparably better by any meaningful standard than that of the Mexicans who manicure the gardens in Orange County.

Posted by: gr on March 27, 2006 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

George Bush's version of a guest-worker program is designed entirely to suit the needs and desires of the business community. Worker's would be entirely at the whim of their employers, with none of the rights or protections against fraud or abuse that American workers are accustomed to. This is a recipe for disaster and conflict between native workers and outsiders.

Posted by: Mike on March 27, 2006 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Crowds chanting "Mehico, Mehico, Mehico"; crowds waving other-than-US flags suggests that we need a "new" Pledge of Allegiance, particularly for these illegal aliens:

I pledge allegiance
To the flags
Of the diverse states of the Americas,
And to the countries
For which they stand,
Many nations,
Bajo Dios,
With Yankee dollars for all.

Posted by: PJ on March 27, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Deport Ferguson, Hitchens and Sullivan.

Posted by: Hostile on March 27, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I agree you raise serious concerns, but I'd like you to reflect/address a couple of ideas that your post brought to my mind:

1) It seems the problems we face today in the US are the converse of the Turks in Germany -- the host country wants the immigrants to follow the Frank Kapra/Norman Rockwell ideal but the pesky immigrants want to stay segregrated and talk of reconquista. A guest worker program in the US in the 21st century, with our technical ability to monitor six month stays, enforce real ID techniques, and transport people cheaply, would be different than the German experience.

2) It never fails to amaze me that you purported lefties are so blase about the impact this policy has on African American males. I do not know why you are so eager to sacrifice thier access to the bottom rungs of the economy.

3) I think the best impact of this change would be for the Filipina nurses, the Indian construction worker, or the Chinese cook who would not have to wait nine years for a legal green card. The unaddressed aspect of any rational change would be that Mexico is no longer able to use the US as a safety valve. I think the breathing space provided by substituting other country's tired and poor [especially the young men fleeing societies where they outnumber women 5 to 1]would allow our Hispanic population to undergo the same process of assimilation as the Italians, Jews, Irish, etc.

Posted by: minion of rove on March 27, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know how much life remains in this thread, but I wanted 1) to call attention to Paul Krugman's column in today's NYTimes in which he points out that the idea that immigration enriches America isn't supported by the evidence---it is good for the immigrants, at best a neutral for the native born and at times an expense imposed on the native born. He also points out that wages for low-skill workers are depressed about 8% by immigration by lower-skilled workers.

I think immigration is a frog in the warming pot phenomena. Instead of paddling around happily in the slowly warming water, I think we should be looking to the future when things start to boil. Are there limits to growth??

Three-quarters of US population growth is occurring among immigrants. Do we really want 400 million people in the US competing for our resources in 50 years? Are we so confident that our cultural values will be embraced by new waves of immigrants? Are we so confident that we are not imposing unfair costs on the native born? Are we exploiting other nations to maintain a false and unsustainable sense of prosperity? As we face a world of global climate change, oil and water depletion--must we accept growth as inevitable or should we seek sustainability?

The reason we are having problems with "immigration" is not because the US is such a fine and private place, but because other nations--Mexico--has an overpopulation problem. They have more people than their resources, economic and political systems can support. Of course, people look across the border and think they can do better here. If we want to deal with immigration, we must address economic issues in Mexico and we must encourage population control in Mexico & central America.

However we must also look to our own nation. We are living beyond our means right now, and we are sucking dry the resources of the rest of the world. Mexico is a poorer place because we are exploiting them to pump up our standard of living. Americans must deal with our unsustainable standard of living, this excess, that characterizes American life. Low skill, low wage immigration just prolongs this unsustainable economic model as does cheap oil.

The idea that "immigrants do jobs that Americans won't do" is bogus. The notion that the US is a nation of immigrants so it should always have open borders is bogus. The idea that culture doesn't matter--everyone will assimilate as has happened in the past--is bogus. The notion that all objection to immigration is racism is a red herring--on a par with worrying about gay marriage leading to bestiality. All of these arguments are old paradigm.

What we need to figure out is how to get the population of the earth to a sustainable level, that is, to the level where resources and the human population are in balance. And we want to do that humanely rather than through war, disease and famine. We must strive for an equality among nations.

We're in the pot, the water has reached 140-degrees and we're all feeling a little cranky, a little desperate. How we face the looming environmental catastrophes is the moral challenge of our age.

Posted by: PTate in MN on March 27, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Since the Feds don't enforce the laws that are now on the books, what reason is there to believe that they will enforce the new Guest Worker legislation?

When a GW reaches the end of his/her "visit" he/she will simply drop back into the off-the-books ranks or get another ID, rather than pick up and go back.

The legislation that is being discussed is simply an attempt (by both parties) to look tough on immigration without actually interupting the flow of low-cost labor to their business constituentcy.

What astonishes me in this discussion is how the Democratic Party thinks that they will win elections on this subject by favoring legalization/GWA. Polls show that more than 70% of registered voters oppose illegal immigration in an almost visceral way. If, that is IF, they could garner half of the Hispanic vote in any election (not a very robust electorate in the first place) they will gain only a very small boost in any election, which will be more than offset by the backlash from that 70% that opposes them.

By "cracking down on illegal immigration" Republicans are stimulating their base, albeit with bogus legislation. But, as noted elsewhere, the Democrats who support GWA, are betraying their base (Black Americans, blue-collar labor, Unions, and legal immigrants who have to compete with illegals for jobs). Favoring legislation like McCain/Kennedy is one more foot in the grave for what used to be "the Working Man's Party".

Posted by: I'm with Stupid on March 27, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

"Guest Worker". Hmmm. Isn't that an oxymoron?

Posted by: PJ on March 27, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Aw come on, Kevin. Gastarbeit macht frei, right?

Posted by: SqueakyRat on March 27, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

It's surely dead, but just to pound in one more nail:

IF Democrats would just disenthrall ourselves, this is a perfect issue for us.

It's about PATRIOTISM. The purpose of American immigration is new Americans, through what the late Barbara Jordan insisted we call "Americanization". Enough with the social science talk.

It's about CITIZENSHIP. You know, making Americans who vote.

It's about ENFORCING THE LAW. It wouldn't hurt progressives to have an old fashioned get tough law and order issue.

It's about MARKET ECONOMICS. Both illegal workers and braceros are subsidies.

It's about FAMILY VALUES. As noted, the folks who are most consistently screwed by the law are the spouses and kids of legal permanent residents.

Finally, and directly following, it's an ANTI-BELTWAY issue. The reason we have such godawful immigration laws, policies that precisely contradict each other, is because this is an issue dominated by professional lobbyists and regulatory lawyers who recognize that, most of the time, it simply doesn't move enough votes to matter.

But it can, when it is presented clearly (and simply) as a matter of our VALUES.

Opportunity isn't just knocking, it's ringing the door ball and throwing pebbles at the window while waving a flashlight.

Posted by: theAmericanist on March 27, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK
P.B. Almeida, Your right,it is not illegal to hire someone for odd jobs, however you still need to submit a 1099, you still need to pay workmans comp, if that is being done, then you already KNOW that they are not an illegal immigrant

No, you don't.

You just know that if they are, they have fraudulent documents that stand up to rudimentary examination, which is not unheard of.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 27, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

What is the Democratic Party position on this? Does anyone know?

Posted by: DBL on March 27, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

To the extent there is a "Democratic" position on employer sanctions and worksite verification, it goes roughly like this:

The party consensus claims to be against illegal immigration, but if you ask what steps Democrats support, it splinters.

Silver Reyes (D-TX) is the ranking Border Patrol guy ever to serve in Congress, but he isn't the party leader on these issues, which is too bad. His primary achievement so far has been to combine the Border Patrol and Customs as part of the DHS.

The Unions used to support employer sanctions, but a couple years ago the AFL/CIO tried to make a statement by calling for their repeal, on the lame argument that the failure to fine employers while leaving sanctions on the books gave them too much leverage over non-union workers.

That went nowhere.

The dominant Kennedy influence on the debate calls for "gradual" implementation of worksite verification based on the Social Security #, and the McCain-Kennedy bill encourages the goofy idea that you and have a guest worker program with lots of requirements on the guest workers but NOT, somehow, on everybody else.

If you were hoping for a choice not an echo, you won't find it on these issues.

Yet.

Posted by: theAmericanist on March 27, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Don't we already have a guest worker program? I'm talking about the H-1B visas...There is no path to permanent residency or citizenship -- if you lose the job, you have to find another or leave.

Actually, there is a path to permanent residence (a Green Card) for H1-B holders. They can find an employer who will sponsor them for a Green Card (I think there's a time period they must wait out both to be eligible for sponsorship, and then for the sponsorship itself). After the requisite time period of sponsorship (five years?) passes, they get their green card.

Of course, the other "path" is marriage to an American. This tends to be a lot easier.

Posted by: Harry on March 27, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

Not so.

The principal advocate for the H-1B (that is, after my old Boss pretty much invented it) was a guy named Harris Miller, who told the Chicago Tribune about 8 years ago that it was a kind of "minor leagues" for employers, that workers would be hired on temporary visas and the really good ones might be sponsored, after some suitably long and cheap apprenticeship,by employers.

The Ellis Island model for Americanization, this ain't.

No less than Milton Friedman observed to me that there is a word for this: it's a "subsidy".

Moreover, it's a a subsidy AGAINST citizenship.

But, alas! progressives are not, and have never been, interested in an alternative.

Posted by: theAmericanist on March 27, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

> LOL -- and chewtoy, you're simply not worth the
> effort. You say little of value except to squeak.

I am focusing laser-like on the gaping hole in your presentation --
a hole which if you don't address, you have no right to be taken
seriously on the issue. You claim all progressives like to do is
complain yet offer no solutions? Look in the mirror, bro ...

This is not about support for amnesty. Very few of us are as roll-
over politically correct as Hostile. It's a stopgap that would need
to happen again and again if you don't address the underlying problem.

This is not about your other straw man, support for a guest worker
program. We're having a lot of fun watching Bush's base cannibalize
itself over this, but I don't think a soul of us thinks it's sincere,
or while it does have the value of at least recognizing that illegals
exist, that it's meant as anything more than creating an officially
exploitable below cost labor market. And many of us reject the idea
of tiered citizenship it surely implies as fundamentally un-American.

And I don't think any of us oppose tightening up document checking
for businesses who look the other way at fake SS#. Fine them. Make
it harder to hire illegals. Make the law as it exists more enforcable.

The question which I have posed to you and which you have
yet to answer is what happens to these workers who've moved
up the ladder to otherwise legit jobs with forged docs,
once their employers are busted with instant verification?

Can the snark. Can the assinine grandiosity. Just answer the question.

Thanks.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 27, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

...workers would be hired on temporary visas and the really good ones might be sponsored, after some suitably long and cheap apprenticeship,by employers.

I'm not sure what is meant by "suitably cheap" here. The government regulates minimum salaries for H1 workers. A good friend of mine (from China) had a good deal of difficulty finding employment here, largely (I suspect) because it was difficult to find an employer willing to pay what the law required, given her heavy Chinese accent and lack of experience in the states. As it turns out, she eventually got a job, but not after some scary (for her) negotiating with the firm that wanted to hire her, but first had to do some hard thinking about her value when she told them she legally couldn't not accept their offer of $40k, but in fact needed $46k. I say "scary" because her J1 was on the verge of expiring, which would have meant heading back to China, or going through the farce of attending (and paying for) a new degree program.

Bye the way, theAmericanist, what the heck is your position on immigration? Pro? Anti? Do we allow in too much? Too little? I honestly can't tell from your writings on Drum's immigration posts. You get all misty-eyed on us talking about Ellis Island, then the next minute you seem to want to send Wal-Mart's board to the salt mines for hiring a few guys from Chiapas to clean the floors. I suspect I'm not the only one who doesn't quite grasp what your position is.

Posted by: Harry on March 27, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

Harry:

No shit :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 27, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

Harry,
From what I grasp I think that theAmericanist is against both amnesty-type and guest-worker programs but in favor of allowing certain family members of legal immigrants in at unlimited levels.

Posted by: kokblok on March 27, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

kokblok:

Also, I think making any kind of immigration we do allow a path to citizenship -- hence all the patriotic sniffling for Ellis Island.

Which is fine. No problem with that.

I'd just like to know what happens to all the illegals currently in the country, is all.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 27, 2006 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1--
I think you're absolutely right--the real question is what happens to those millions that have already established themselves under the lax enforcement standards that have been in place for years. These are the people marching in the streets.

Look, everyone knows we are never going to have any major deportation of established illegals. The Americanist knows it as much as anyone else. That would cause civil unrest that would dwarf what happened in France. So why even talk about it?

But is this such a concern? If we can fix the system for the future in the ways theAmericanist suggests, who really cares? Amnesty in itself would not change the basic demographic situation at all. The only people who are against it are those who think the percentage of immigrants in the US is already too high.

Everyone needs to keep in mind what a LOCAL issue immigration is. Most of those established illegals live in a few states. The ironic thing is that an amnesty program for established illegals would allow these immigrants more mobility within the US, thus easing the economic pressure for those local communities (unlike undocumented workers, who are footloose and have little to lose, established illegals are quite dependant on local ties and are thus skittish about moving. They are probably the least mobile population in the US). It is the continued concentration of immigrants in certain areas which accounts for much of the negative effects they have on wage markets. Give them documents, and they'll start spreading out just like all other immigrant groups in our history did. The LOCAL outrage will disappear, and so will many of the wage distortions.

Since the only other honest option is deportation, which is politically impossible, amnesty probably will pass. Unless, of course, those established folks are just left in limbo.

Posted by: kokblok on March 27, 2006 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1--
By the way, I realize my post is a little confusing. I am in FAVOR of amnesty for established illegals.

Posted by: kokblok on March 27, 2006 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1,

I'd just like to know what happens to all the illegals currently in the country, is all.

I feel a game of gotcha is being set up. You're asking a hard question but you're also ignoring a hard question which I've asked repeatedly.

How do we help the Black community when illegals are depressing wages? Do you favor that we abandon them so as to favor the interests of foreigners in our midst? Address these questions honestly, and I may be enticed into a dialogue with you on the questions that interest you.

Posted by: TangoMan on March 27, 2006 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

TangoMan--

How do we help the Black community? I don't know, how about a real urban housing policy? How about an honest inner-city education policy? This isn't "Crash".

The established illegal immigrants are de facto citizens. Full stop. They are recognized as such by state governments and by most of their legal counterparts. They are part of the hispanic community, a rather large part of it. If you play them off against blacks, most hispanics will see it as an attack on their whole race. This is utterly predictable. 500,000 people marched in LA. Do you think most of these folks were illegal?

You simply can't get away with calling these established illegals "foreigners" and deporting them. I don't mean this in a moral way--I could care less about that. I mean you actually can't do it. It would cause massive violence.

Since the amnesty does not create any new migrants, it cannot depress wages any further. Since deportation is a political impossibility and the guest worker program makes no sense for established illegals, we are left with amnesty or the status quo. These are the only realistic options.

Posted by: kokblok on March 27, 2006 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Everybody knows we are not going to have a round-up and send everybody home, after we let them in with a wink and a nod. The real issue is how punitive do we make the fine for coming out of the shadows. It has to be stiff enough for the yaboos that want a pound of flesh [and to discourage another wave of amnesty seekers] and also has to be enforcible. I'd relate this to the drug war, another morally ambiguous enterprise. People will accept sanctions for tax evasion [or penalty non-payment] a lot easier than they will locking a guy up for selling pot. We also should focus on sanctions on employers and a real ID card, but the ACLU will have a cow on that issue.

Posted by: inion of rove on March 27, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

kokblok,

If you create an amnesty what message do you send to future illegal immigrants? They know that if they come, and accumulate in sufficient numbers, then we'll bend again so as to avoid upsetting liberal sensitivities.

Also, if you grant amnesty to illegals what message does it send to people who are applying legally, and have waited for years for their paperwork, or quota opening, to come to the fore? You're telling them that there is no point in following a legal practice when you reward an illegal practice.

As for the problems facing the black community, the wages are depressed by flooding the labor market with millions of high school drop-outs. Consider this comment at Brad Delong's site where they were discussing Paul Krugman's affirming the havoc that illegal immigration has caused:

Preferring instead to look the other way while imported, illegal labor puts extra dollars in our wallets. Why should a trained, skilled mason who once made $50K/year now be required to compete with illegal labor willing to do the same job for 1/3 the price?

Or this comment:

My adopted son is bipolar and has several other cognitive difficulties. He will never get a college degree so he will have to compete with unskilled labor. Living in Colorado we have a pretty steady flow of this labor from Mexico and Central America. Is he doomed to live in poverty?

There is no way to avoid the consequences that flooding the labor market has on our own citizens. Please take a look at this report, compiled from Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

If you're put off by the prospect of mass deportations then why not instead focus on illegals making their own decisions to leave the country when they realize that employer sanctions prevent them from working in the US.

Posted by: TangoMan on March 27, 2006 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK
This is not about support for amnesty. Very few of us are as roll-over politically correct as Hostile.

I've always assumed hostile is a sort of a clever parody troll, but a left-wing instead of right-wing one.

It's a stopgap that would need to happen again and again if you don't address the underlying problem.

Exactly. The underlying problem being, just to underline it, that artificial limits on legal supply (in this case, the commodity being "entrance into the United States") plus high demand leads to thriving extralegal access to the commodity, with plenty of people finding ways outside the system to provide the service.

Which is why I favor a "pay to skip the line" option to deal with those who are individually not undesirable but would otherwise being stuck on a waiting list -- it reduces the problems associated with illegality and provides additional resources to deal with the undesirable illegals, and with the social costs of immigration generally.

Make the attraction of the United States work for the system rather than against it.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 27, 2006 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK
Since the amnesty does not create any new migrants, it cannot depress wages any further.

Amnesty can create new migrants two ways: first, people may be encouraged to slip over the border and try to pretend they were here long enough to be qualified for the amnesty (though the specific terms may make that unlikely), but second, each amnesty creates the impression that if you get in and stay long enough, you can catch the next amnesty.

Which is why I am generally opposed to amnesty, as such. OTOH, I think people who would not be barred from getting an immigrant visa but for their present illegal presence ought to be able to pay a fine to normalize their status; this fine should (in the system I propose where qualified immigrants not already illegally present can pay to bypass waiting lists) be significantly, but not outrageously, greater than the fee to bypass the waiting list for someone who hasn't broken the rules (it should be that fee plus a penalty fee, essentially.) But this shouldn't be a one-time amnesty (though, perhaps, for a brief, semi-amnesty period at the outset, the penalty fee should be reduced but not waived entirely.)

Of course, people who are (because they are dangerous criminals, etc.) forbidden to enter or immigrate to the United States in any case should not be normalized in such a system, they should be deported. Allowing people are not individually, qualitatively undesirable an opportunity to normalize their status with a payment that can be used to provide services that offset the costs of immigration allows enforcement efforts to focus on the people we don't want here in any case -- those that pose a particular threat to national security and public safety -- while better managing the social costs associated with the overall level of immigration.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 27, 2006 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

Very sensible and cogent comments. Too bad Americanist isn't on this thread atm to tell you how totally full of shit you are, eh? :)

Kokblok has made a very good (though not entirely bulletproof) practical argument for amnesty, and you and minion of rove have gotten me to see the saliency of a pay-to-jump-the-line approach to it, were it ever to be adopted.

However, despite all the practical benefits, the GOP is going to demagogue the hell out of it for being fundamentally unfair, yada yada.

I do, however, think it's the right approach, coupled with some kind of track for citizenship and not just perpetual green card or perpetual resident alien status.

I don't know enough about immigration policy to comment on that aspect -- save to agree with Americanist that the ideal of citizenship attainment should be worked into the incentives we allow the conversion of aliens from illegal to legitimated.

TangoMan:

I don't understand your question. African-Americans are American citizens already, and low-wage labor is an issue that affects a lot of ethnic and racial groups.

cmdicely:

A final point about Hostile; I think this person is entirely sincere. Lords know, I've worked in enough grassroots political organizations to know the type cold. Hostile is, however, also an extremely well-educated, civil and articulate poster and not any more trollish than, say, Secular Animist -- another otherwise cogent poster on the hard left end of the spectrum.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 27, 2006 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

TangoMan--

I'm not sure what message an amnesty for established illegals (and here I mean those that are working in tax-paying, over-the-counter jobs) would send to would-be illegal immigrants. I guess if it were enacted in a vacuum, it would cause more border-jumping. If it were combined with some very strict workplace-based enforcement (like the Social Security card-based system that theAmericanist has described), however, it might be part of a fairly neutral message.

Since I don't really consider "native-born" to be a meaningful statistical or moral category, I don't really have much to say to your link. Yes, if you think that established illegal immigrants are "foreigners", then of course they are taking jobs away from "real" Americans. If you don't think they're "foreigners" to begin with, then not so much. Since the established illegals blend almost seamlessly into the general "hispanic" population who are their friends and employers, the statistics are based on a meaningless legal distinction which has little to do with the actual social ties between people.

I agree that the vicious competition between different groups of people for jobs is tragic. I am a firm union member and believe in reducing income inequality. But I simply feel no greater connection to the struggling inner-city black or bipolar job-seeker than I do to the struggling inner-city established illegal immigrant. I feel they are both Americans and both equally deserving in the broadest terms.

We allowed them in and sanctioned them. Now it is time to admit our mistake and curb future illegal work. But in so doing, we should not punish harshly those who were only doing exactly what our government and business community actually wanted them to do. That would be dishonorable.

Posted by: kokblok on March 27, 2006 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,
A fine, that's OK. It is a crime after all. A prohibitive fine that results in a wave of de facto deportations is not OK. I guess it depends how much money you're talking.

I am afraid that the "line-jumping" system you describe would get very complicated very quickly. Exactly how much would this "extra" fee to get a work visa be? It seems like some sort of strange things would happen when you open things up in that particular manner. Does any other country have such a system in place? I'm not opposed, just curious.

Posted by: kokblok on March 27, 2006 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

There is no way to avoid the consequences that flooding the labor market has on our own citizens. Please take a look at this report, compiled from Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Please, TangoMan. The most widely touted study on the issue, the one cited by Kriguman in today's column (Boras is the name of the author IIRC) found that illegal immigration dampens the wages of semi-skilled American workers by something like 8%. That's not nothing, mind you, especially if one is on the receiving end of one of those skimpy paychecks, but pretty clearly stopping all illegal immigration in its tracks would at best exert a very modest effect on wages.

I thought Arnold Kling's (http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=032706A) take today was particularly spot on:

My prediction is that effective restrictions on illegal immigration would cause a shift in the location of unskilled labor, but not a meaningful long-term change in real wages. In the short run, wages for unskilled labor would rise in the United States. This would cause more manufacturing plants to relocate outside the United States, driving wages back down. Compared with the situation today, the net effect of immigration restrictions would be to shift some Mexican workers out of service work in America and into manufacturing work in Mexico. Within the United States, the reverse would happen: legal residents would lose manufacturing jobs more rapidly, and hang onto low-wage service jobs longer. I do not think that these economic effects are important.

Immigration these days is just not that big a deal in terms of its effects on the wider society. The net immigration rate, for instance, is only about 1/3 of what it was in 1900. Moreover, as the trans Rio Grande wage gap slowly but surely narrows, and as Mexico's natural rate of population increase continues to decline (it may be growing more slowly than the US in a few years, as Brazil is already doing), we'll probably realize in ten or twenty years that that tidal wave of Mexican immigration at the turn of the century was poised to sharply decline.

At the end of the day, immigration from Mexico just isn't that big a deal, especially in historical terms. It certainly doesn't merit the hand-ringing and high wattage demagoguing it attracts these days.

If you really want to help low wage American workers, you should stop the Indians from spamming me every time I post a help wanted ad for office help on Craiglist (they claim they'll save me money, and one of these days I may give them a shot), or you should endeavor to stop technology-driven churn (this last of which is by far the greatest destroyer of low wage American jobs).

If the high birth rate America of 1900 could deal with a net immigration rate of 1.5% year after year, I'm confident the vastly wealthier, low birth rate America of 2006 will successfully deal with a net immigration rate of .5% (one third of 1900's rate, for the mathematically challenged).

Posted by: Harry on March 27, 2006 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

At the end of the day, immigration from Mexico just isn't that big a deal, especially in historical terms. It certainly doesn't merit the hand-ringing and high wattage demagoguing it attracts these days.

Sure it does. The Borjas study was published in 1996 and doesn't fully capture the degree of impact that has developed since then.

Take a look at the employment-population ratio. BLS has the statistics. Declines from Apr. 2000 to Feb. 2006 for:

White Men: 74.9% to 73.5%
White Women: 58.5% to 57.4%
White Teens: 50.1% to 40.7%

Black Men: 68.4% to 65.2%
Black Women: 61.7% to 59.2%
Black Teens: 31.2% tp 25.3%

These numbers reflect discouraged workers who are dropping out of the workforce. Across the board we see that a higher proportion of Blacks are discouraged from seeking employment.

As for Klings analysis, well, it's misguided. It's hard to outsource to China or India, the work of your local paving crew, meatpacking plant, gardening service, restaurant dishwasher, stonemason, etc. The Nike footwear plant isn't hiring too many Americans, never mind Mexican illegals.

There is also the concern that the majority of the illegals are Mexican citizens, who are arriving from right next door, rather than having the same number of illegals but split evenly from Central America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The cultural concentration of illegals makes assimilation a much more difficult process.

Posted by: TangoMan on March 28, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

I forgot to add the statistics from the Social Security Disability Income benefits data:

In 1Q 2000 there were 4.9 million workers under the age of 65 who were "in pay status" for SSDI. In the last quarter of 2005 the number had increased to 6.5 million.

Odd that so many more people are qualifying for disability at the same time that the discouraged worker category is growing. Hmm.

Posted by: TangoMan on March 28, 2006 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

TangoMan--
Most of the decline in those statistics are in the "teen" category. Might it not be the case that in a wealthier society less "native" teens WANT to get a job? The other numbers are quite small.

Posted by: kokblok on March 28, 2006 at 7:33 AM | PERMALINK

You just know that if they are, they have fraudulent documents that stand up to rudimentary examination, which is not unheard of.
Posted by: cmdicely

Shortly after the double whammy of NAFTA and the '86 "Immigration Reform" - both of which were dishonestly sold to Americans as deterrants to continuing illegal immigration - I had the experience of sitting at my dining room table listening to one of my then husband's fellow restaurant managers boasting about the cousin he'd just brought across the border.

Took him less than 48 hours to come up with fradulent documents (rent receipts and so forth) to get his cousin in under the last 'one-time only' mass legalization. I've seen estimates that as many as 40% of the illegals whose status was 'normalized' under the '86 law were not legally entitled.

Anybody who thinks this isn't going to be the case again and who thinks there won't be huge increases in illegal entry trying to take advantage of this bullshit guest worker bill is dreaming.

There are serious issues of social justice here. We simply can support an open ended and permanent obligation to the citizens of other countries to provide them with ' a better life'.

It's our own workers and communities which deserve that promise and I'm ashamed that the Democratic Party would be so craven in abandoning it's traditional constituency to chase the votes of foreign nationals.

I've written my so-called representatives in both houses to oppose this.

Posted by: CFShep on March 28, 2006 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

In this narrow instance, it isn't so much that dicely is full of shit as that he doesn't know shit, which even for a lawyer is a significant distinction: in 1990, Congress enacted 245(i), which does exactly what he advocates. That is, if somebody is here illegally when their legal visa is issued abroad, rather than pay an airline to fly back, pick up the legal visa, and return, the idea was to pay a fine (originally, more or less the cost of the airfare) to the Treasury and get the green card here without leaving.

The trouble is, this became an excuse for Congress to continue to blur the difference between legal and illegal AND to continue to try to manage immigration by promising more than it delivers: neither is smart.

THAT is what progressives ought to oppose, by proposing something better.

Moreover, Congress proceeded to eliminate 245(i) AND to enact the 3/10 year bar, by which if a person is here illegally for more than 6 months or a year, respectively, and they ever leave, they are exiled for as much as a decade, even with a legal visa for re-entry.

So, dicely: if in your ignorance you're gonna reinvent the wheel, try not to make it the old square design, k?

Bob: this is yet another example of the primary reason you're a chewtoy. You rarely miss an opportunity to miss the point: "So, Mr. Wright, you claim to have invented a flying machine because it got off the ground under its own power, eh? But you forget about GRAVITY -- things still fall DOWN, don't they? And when your so-called 'flying machine' stops this 'flying' that you claim, it STILL does what even you concede is LANDING, doesn't it? You're just a fraud....!!!"

Amnesty, like 245(i), is an exception. Time and again, progressives (among others) look at the failures of immigration policy, and propose MORE exceptions, rather than rules that work.

The double key to deterring illegal immigration is to preclude illegal employment AND to promptly deliver the green cards Congress has promised. That way, folks won't come here uninvited to get jobs, because employers won't be able to get away with hiring 'em; and those who ARE invited, will have green cards.

Too clear for you, chewtoy?

There are a couple bills in Congress which aren't going anywhere, to mandate that ALL current workers in the U.S. be verified; those who don't check out would lose their jobs. Even as verification itself, that's impractical -- and most of even the hardline restrictionists recognize that simply stopping new illegal hires fixes the problem through attrition: we can live with 6 million illegal workers so long as we stop getting new ones.

But -- this is where your ego in argument confuses you into squeakery -- I noted that a significant chunk of our illegally resident population is already eligible for legal visas: the lowest estimate is 1 million (Jeff Passel of the Urban Institute); my own is more like 40% of the total. Were progressives to insist on rules that work, on Congress DELIVERING on its promises, as well as enforcement, that would solve more of the problem which amnesty is supposed to (but would not) solve. Moreover, for Congress to actually deliver the visas it promises promptly has the quaint virtue of not making the problem worse later on.

But if you like, you can look on that as conceding that several million illegally resident foreigners would remain in the United States, stuck in jobs that they cannot leave (because they couldn't get new ones), while the flow of illegal workers has all but ceased and everybody promised a green card promptly gets one: gee, I guess that's a failure, huh, chewtoy?

What a maroon.

Posted by: theAmericanist on March 28, 2006 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

There are many interesting posts here and they all contain some truth. The problem with all of them is that they do not provide a comprehensive analysis of the issue, instead choosing to focus on only one factor or another.

The immigration debate, such as it is, concerns mainly Mexico and Mexicans. Although illegal immigrants from all over can be found here, Mexicans make up the bulk of this population.

There are many valid reasons to abhor illegal immigration (crime, over-crowding, strain on services, its very illegality), and only one reason anyone would support it: if you are an unscrupulous slave driver you not only want a large, uneducated pool of workers, you also want those workers here illegally so that you can exploit them with impunity and not bother with those tiresome payroll tax deductions. So it is clear that illegal status and illegal immigration (two different things) must be stopped, and pretty damn quick.

Mexico is a country teetering on the brink of collapse. I lived there for all of 2003 and political/ economic conditions there are much worse than Americans imagine. To send back 12 million (for lack of a better number) impoverished, unemployable people to Mexico would certainly cause it to crumble as a national entity. Do Americans want this on their southern border?

The United States can no longer afford to absorb all of Mexico's social failings into this country.

Mexicans who are here illegally do indeed "pay taxes" as they say, but only sales and property taxes - immigration "advocates" very conveniently fail to mention that someone without a social security number can't pay income tax. The money an illegal Mexican worker here would ordinarily pay as payroll taxes instead goes to his useless relatives in Mexico.

Assimilation: you shouldn't even give this one one a second thought. Mexicans become Americans with the greatest of ease. While it is true that the first generation of ignorant peasants is hopeless, succeeding generations do quite well. It is fair to mention here that with few exceptions Mexicans are conservative, family-oriented Catholics, thus any attempt to compare them to Europe's immigrant masses rests on shaky ground. Now really, can you honestly compare any Mexican you have ever met here with the Muslims of Europe? Our women are beautiful (this is more important than you might think to the matter of assimilation, Jessica Alba is not Pakistani). Mexicans who celebrate those things Mexican are celebrating a rich culture not a dysfunctional country.

They are here and they aren't going back. Their children are born here (my own parents were illegal aliens).

The role of the Army here is being overlooked. I don't mean as a border police, an utterly unworkable idea, but as an employer. The Army has for generations been a way up for young Mexicans in this country. The Army likes its Mexicans soldiers and Mexican soldiers like the Army. I am very proud of my service in Vietnam, and my son looks at his stint in the Army Rangers as a turning point in his young life. But a man must be here legally to enlist.

One of the most wonderful factors in American society, my Mom likes to say, is that all of the various ethnic groups have someone to hate. And this, I believe, is the principal reason we do not habitually struggle with problems of corruption, nepotism, cronyism, etc. What we term corruption in our body politic would hardly raise an eyebrow in a Latin country. So I wouldn't get too exercised over America's "lost identity". True, most Mexicans don't look Scandinavian, but so what?

The issues then, as I see them, are these: how to secure the border so that we're not having this discussion again in the future; and, what is the best way to integrate those Mexicans who are already here?

It seems to me that the only way to prevent illegal immigration is to impose serious employer sanctions on the hiring of illegal labor.

As for integration, I have confidence in the ability of Congress to pass workable legislation. That's right, I have faith in Congress on this one. I wouldn't pay too much attention to the inane political posturing that you'll be hearing in the next few weeks. The thing is just too powerful to ignore. And for that, for keeping the issue on the front burner, I would like to thank folks like Lou Dobbs, Bill O"Reilly and Hannity & Combs; I may not always agree with heir ideas, and their shrill deliveries can rankle, but they are the ones responsible for Congress actually tackling the beast, hopefully once and for all.

Posted by: Richard Vidaurri on March 28, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK
However, despite all the practical benefits, the GOP is going to demagogue the hell out of it for being fundamentally unfair, yada yada.

Of course they will. But I think that the kind of thing I outline, structurally, provides hooks for good counterarguments there, and substantively addresses the real concerns many people have in ways which shouldn't be hard to hang effective advocacy on.

The other side is always going engage in demagoguery, that's inevitable.

I do, however, think it's the right approach, coupled with some kind of track for citizenship and not just perpetual green card or perpetual resident alien status.

"Green card" (which is the same as "permanent resident alien" status) is intimately connected with the road to citizenship; when I say that the jumping the line approach should be used for immigrant visas, I do mean for it to be part of a track to citizenship.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 28, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK
A fine, that's OK. It is a crime after all. A prohibitive fine that results in a wave of de facto deportations is not OK. I guess it depends how much money you're talking.

That is the tricky part; I suspect that the "line jumping" fee, and maybe also the additional penalty fee, would depend on the category of immigrant. Those eligible under any of the family classifications I would think would pay the least, while those in other eligible categories more.

I am afraid that the "line-jumping" system you describe would get very complicated very quickly.

Ideally, it would be simple (in terms of added complexity) from the point of view of the applicant, though there is probably some administrative complexity.

Exactly how much would this "extra" fee to get a work visa be?

There's a lot of analysis that probably should go into determining the right levels; as just a very rough thought I'd say something like $3,000 for the most favored category up to $10,000 or so.

It seems like some sort of strange things would happen when you open things up in that particular manner.

What kind of "strange things"?

Does any other country have such a system in place? I'm not opposed, just curious.

I'm not aware of any other similar system, though I'm not sure that none exists.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 28, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

I think it might be important to remember that from an illegal alien's point of view, citizenship is irrelevant; his life as a legal resident will be the same as that of any citizen, including responsibilities. My own brother, a legal resident Mexican, was drafted into the Army in 1968 and that was just fine with him.

Posted by: Richard Vidaurri on March 28, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK
I think it might be important to remember that from an illegal alien's point of view, citizenship is irrelevant; his life as a legal resident will be the same as that of any citizen, including responsibilities.

I don't think that's accurate, though it reflects something true. Certainly, from an illegal aliens point of view, legality is the immediately important thing.

However, from a legally resident alien's point of view, citizenship is important, and once that illegal alien becomes legal...

I mean, you seem to suggest that citizenship and its attendant privileges and obligations, particularly the franchise, don't matter to immigrants. And I don't think there is much evidence that that is true -- its certainly not true of the immigrants I know.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 28, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

Okay, i'm not going to point-by-point this because the thread is almost off the front page. As I've always conceded, I don't have enough knowledge about immigration issues to lock horns about it, and I'm sure they'll be more immigration threads to thrash out the questions I still have.

I will make a couple observations though. FINALLY, Paul, you're beginning to make your position clear to us poor, benighted non-immigration experts. And -- funnily enough -- I see no substantial points of objection, although I'd still like to know more.

Basically, a two-pronged approach: verification to keep illegals out of the more plum legit jobs that serve as an incentive to illegal immigration, and expediting the green card process for the already qualified, as well as beefing it up for family members as part of a reinvigorated Ellis Island promise. No problem with either of these things, and I see how they work together. Merely beefing up verification would cause a precipitous drop in employment, so it must be coupled with expedited green cards.

You could have avoided SO MUCH BULLSHIT had you just laid this out clearly earlier. But the "ego in argument" here is not from us. We can actually have discussions about stuff and disagree without calling each other names. Hehe, fancy that. But you, being Mr. Immigration Expert who can cite chapter and verse on the legislation passed and proposed going back 20 years, use this knowledge as a club to beat us with instead of an asset in a discussion of an issue that everybody has opinions about. I'm the perfect tabula rasa that you choose more often to piss on instead of use your stylus. Really inefficient if your point is to build support for your proposals instead of provoke knee-jerk resistance.

Now the question that I have remaining entails what happens to those 1 million or so who can no longer work in legit jobs once verification goes through, and who aren't eligible for green cards. Some of them, doubtless, should be deported as undesirables. But the vast majority aren't criminals, and as you say -- if this system works, these folks will be shut permanently out of upward mobility.

I'm not calling this a "failure," but I *am* wondering about the social effects in the locales where these folks reside. I'm wondering how many of them might turn to crime or substance abuse and put a greater stress on our already stressed out social services. It may also be a relatively minor effect that would be worth tolerating for the sake of fixing the problem.


How do you address this issue?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 28, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

as well as beefing it up for family members as part of a reinvigorated Ellis Island promise. No problem with either of these things,

Ever hear the term "chain immigration"?

Immigrant legally brings over his wife. Fine. There's only one wife.

Immigrant then brings over 4 of his brothers. They then bring over their wives. The wives bring over their siblings, and let's not forget cousins. And so on, and so on.

Chain immigration is a huge problem.

It's simply better to go with a point system like they have in Canada. BTW, the news today reports that Canada, so liberally enlightened they, has deported 12 portuguese construction workers for working in Canada illegally. It's amazing to me to read about a country actually enforcing their immigration laws. I forgot what that was like.

Posted by: TangoMan on March 28, 2006 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

I have no idea why citizenship would be important to a legal resident Mexican (I don't know anything about other immigrants), but obviously it is to some because they do in fact pack the stadiums here come naturalization day.

Maybe citizenship is not important because many, if not most, Mexicans, both foreign and American born, don't care to vote. This is the case, for instance, with me (born here) and my brother (born in Mexico). He has never become a citizen because he's not interested in voting. I don't vote becasue I believe strongly in fascism - in my world view voting in America only encourages the lowest common denominator to excercise power over their fellow citizens. But you're absolutley right, voting, for whatever reason, seems to interest some legal resident aliens.


RV

Posted by: Richard Vidaurri on March 28, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe matters to some, maybe not to others. In any event I was talking about illegal aliens not resident aliens.

RV

Posted by: Richard Vidaurri on March 28, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

Chewtoy: I've been clear and succinct about this more than twice. You. don't. read.

Hell, I did it upthread, viz: "Dicely demonstrates once more why nobody should EVER take him seriously (although perhaps he will make a good living as a lawyer): "There is nothing that says a guest worker program can't provide a route to permanent immigration..."

Um, excepting that it's a guest worker program?

If ya want to make sense (which, granted, damned few folks do), ya gotta make distinctions.

"Temporary" workers are folks who cannot stay after a certain point. They MUST leave -- or else it isn't a temporary worker program.

It's a fraud.

What part of this is unclear?

There has never been a guest worker program that has ever worked, of course: nowhere, no how. A brief resume -- Turks in Germany, Chinese and Koreans in Japan, Filipinos in Kuwait, (my personal favorite) Pakistanis in Norway, and finally of course our own bracero program.

In EVERY case, substantial #s remained illegally.

And in the case of the United States, starting with the braceros in 1942 and accelerating after 1964, we basically trained whole sectors of our economy, and whole regions in Mexico, to depend on each other for an illegal economy.

Was this good for us? Nope, it erodes the rule of law and even worse, the meaning of American citizenship.

Was it good for Mexico? Nope -- exporting your workforce and trying to import their wages is not a viable economic development strategy. Economic surveys of the sending communities in places like Jalisco and Oaxaca show that the sending communities have fewer jobs than the ones right next door, where the networks do not send folks -- even though they get less in remittances. And the families who remain in Mexico, intend to go north at the first opportunity, as the Pew Center's work shows.

So of course now we're replicating this with El Salvador, among other places.

Here's a Rule, established by the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act: immigrants are INVITED, by Americans. Citizens invite spouses, kids, parents and siblings. Legal permanent residents invite spouses and kids.

Employers sponsor employees.

Fix THAT, so Congress delivers on its promises PROMPTLY, and you will restore the Ellis Island model that directly links coming here, with BELONGING here.

And as noted before, if you want to stop illegal immigration, enforce employer sanctions.

If you want to do that (lots of folks CLAIM to, but then they lose interest), require electronic verification of the Social Security # for every new hire, since they already have to report it for tax purposes.

It's simple, cheap; it's been tested -- and it works.

And, oh yeah: if Congress actually DELIVERED on its outstanding promises for immigration visas, a large chunk of the illegally resident population would HAVE them -- the lowest estimate is that a tenth of the illegal population is already eligible for green cards that Congress won't deliver for a decade. My own estimate is that it as high as forty percent."

So how come you didn't get it the first time -- too busy squeaking?

Posted by: theAmericanist on March 28, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK
Ever hear the term "chain immigration"?

Immigrant legally brings over his wife. Fine. There's only one wife.

Immigrant then brings over 4 of his brothers. They then bring over their wives. The wives bring over their siblings, and let's not forget cousins. And so on, and so on.

Chain immigration is a huge problem.

Well, clearly, it can allow very large numbers of people to immigrate if there are not either absolute or cost-based controls that serve to put a brake on it.

That this is a "problem" should not be assumed, but established by argument and, ideally, evidence.

It's simply better to go with a point system like they have in Canada. BTW, the news today reports that Canada, so liberally enlightened they, has deported 12 portuguese construction workers for working in Canada illegally. It's amazing to me to read about a country actually enforcing their immigration laws. I forgot what that was like.

The US removes far more people than Canada does, so if you "forgot what that was like", it was probably because your favorite news outlet doesn't report US removals as news (sort of like it probably also doesn't report the rising and setting of the sun as "news".)

Posted by: cmdicely on March 28, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Richard Vidaurri:

I'm very glad you're not a citizen and thus don't vote, bro.

Fascism is a disgusting, anti-American ideology. If we were
Fascists in America -- no doubt you'd be dragooned into virtual
slave labor, abused with impunity and deported like human scum.

Thank your lucky stars we provide a political and economic
system founded on the idea of equality under the law, huh.

> Chewtoy: I've been clear and succinct about this
> more than twice. You. don't. read.

What -- you think I'm the only person on this blog
who wonders WTF you're trying to say most of the time?

No, Paul. *YOU* DON'T READ. You proceed on with an irrelevant
multi-page blather against guest workers as if I ever advocated them.

And once again, you duck my question:

What happens in your proposal to the million or so illegals at
the end of the day who can't get green cards and who are thus
shitcanned from their legit jobs after employer verification?

I'm not saying that this presents the kind of problem
that should doom your proposal, necessarily.

I'd just like to know what happens to them, is all.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 28, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

In the face of all evidence, the chewtoy claims to be literate, asking: "What happens in your proposal to the million or so illegals at the end of the day who can't get green cards and who are thus shitcanned from their legit jobs after employer verification?"

After I wrote (again!) "But if you like, you can look on that as conceding that several million illegally resident foreigners would remain in the United States, stuck in jobs that they cannot leave (because they couldn't get new ones), while the flow of illegal workers has all but ceased and everybody promised a green card promptly gets one..."

God, but you're dumb.

"So, Mr. Wright, you claim to have invented a flying machine because it got off the ground under its own power, eh? But you forget about GRAVITY -- things still fall DOWN, don't they? And when your so-called 'flying machine' stops this 'flying' that you claim, it STILL does what even you concede is LANDING, doesn't it? You're just a fraud....!!!"

Posted by: theAmericanist on March 28, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK
What -- you think I'm the only person on this blog who wonders WTF you're trying to say most of the time?

Well, I sure don't wonder, at least any more; it comes through pretty clearly: "I'm really important and connected and that's far more important than being able to construct either a coherent thought or a coherent argument, since I can always resort to argument to my own personal authority and berating anyone who doesn't immediately bow down and worship my ideas as being divinely revealed."

Posted by: cmdicely on March 28, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely--
To what exactly is theAmericanist "connected"?

Posted by: kokblok on March 28, 2006 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

> After I wrote (again!) "But if you like, you can look on that as
> conceding that several million illegally resident foreigners would
> remain in the United States, stuck in jobs that they cannot leave
> (because they couldn't get new ones), while the flow of illegal
> workers has all but ceased and everybody promised a green card
> promptly gets one..."

No, Paul. What HAPPENS to them, in your vision of this solution?
Since you acknowledge that these folks will be rather vigorously
bumped down the ladder of social mobility back into under-the-table
scut work ... how many of them do you envision becoming social
liabilities, losing their work ethics, taking up crime and/or
substance abuse, etc? Your proposal might solve the problem
overall, but it will also marginalize a group which right now is
gainfully employed with the chance of getting even better jobs.

What happens when we economically disenfranchise them?

And again -- it might be a worthy tradeoff to solve the problem
of illegal immigration overall. My question is not *rhetorical*;
I am geuinely curious as to what you think might happen go them.

> God, but you're dumb.

You might think so, but hey -- at least I'm not an asshole :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 28, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

these folks will be rather vigorously bumped down the ladder of social mobility

Thus making room on the ladder for our own disadvantaged citizens. I'd say that that's more than a fair trade.

it will also marginalize a group which right now is gainfully employed

I'll champion for my fellow citizens who are now marginalized as discouraged workers over foreign citizens who are here illegally.

Posted by: TangoMan on March 28, 2006 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

The chewtoy manages to miss the FOUR times I've answered his question, viz., "if Congress actually DELIVERED on its outstanding promises for immigration visas, a large chunk of the illegally resident population would HAVE them -- the lowest estimate is that a tenth of the illegal population is already eligible for green cards that Congress won't deliver for a decade. My own estimate is that it as high as forty percent...."

AND

"There are a couple bills in Congress which aren't going anywhere, to mandate that ALL current workers in the U.S. be verified; those who don't check out would lose their jobs. Even as verification itself, that's impractical -- and most of even the hardline restrictionists recognize that simply stopping new illegal hires fixes the problem through attrition: we can live with 6 million illegal workers so long as we stop getting new ones...."

AND

"a significant chunk of our illegally resident population is already eligible for legal visas: the lowest estimate is 1 million (Jeff Passel of the Urban Institute); my own is more like 40% of the total. Were progressives to insist on rules that work, on Congress DELIVERING on its promises, as well as enforcement, that would solve more of the problem which amnesty is supposed to (but would not) solve. Moreover, for Congress to actually deliver the visas it promises promptly has the quaint virtue of not making the problem worse later on...."

AND

"But if you like, you can look on that as conceding that several million illegally resident foreigners would remain in the United States, stuck in jobs that they cannot leave (because they couldn't get new ones), while the flow of illegal workers has all but ceased and everybody promised a green card promptly gets one..."

As if more proof was needed: the chewtoy is concerned, not that that folks who are here illegally will be deported, but that they will no longer have optimal career options.

I'm more concerned about people like my client S.R., who lives in Minnesota:

"My husband is in India and my kid who is 2 years old and myself are staying alone in Minnesota. Since I have a green card, Im not able to bring my husband to USA even on a visit visa. US immigration laws have torn apart my family and have forced me into being a single mom. I often find myself searching for words to explain to my child why his Dad is not with him. I have even thought of taking an extended vacation on loss of pay and going to India to live with my husband. Yet, another Immigration law wouldnt let do even that. It says if I live outside the US for more than 6 months in any given year, my Greencard will be suspended and I will no longer be able to enter the US.

Immigration laws have destroyed my family life."

There are more than a million families like hers. Google the issue: "Strange No More", or "the 2a backlog"

The chewtoy, dicely, and progressives generally are too busy being self-righteous to bother learning what's wrong.

But that's the key to fixing it.

Posted by: theAmericanist on March 29, 2006 at 7:47 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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