Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 3, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

IMMIGRATION AND THE CULTURE WARS....Over at RCP, Brad Carson, a former Democratic congressman from Oklahoma, argues that although raising the minimum wage and passing union-friendly legislation would be the best way to help the working class, goals like these are nothing more than "misplaced fantasies of egalitarian social policies" since Republicans are currently running the show in Washington DC. This in turn means we have no choice but to sign on to their solution for helping the working class instead. And their solution is a draconian crackdown on illegal immigration.

Now, the barons of the Republican Party have never been noticeably sensitive to the economic fortunes of the working class, but Carson thinks this time they really are responding to economic pain among the rank-and-file:

While the opponents of immigration no doubt include nativists and xenophobes, the vast majority of those who oppose illegal immigration do so on sound public policy grounds. Illegal immigration is seen rightly as a threat to their economic livelihood.

The vast majority? Really? Despite the fact that the economic impact of immigration is zero for most people and minimal even for high school dropouts? Despite the fact that working class whites don't seem to be visibly fuming about their inability to get jobs picking grapes or working in sweatshops?

But if economics isn't at the core of anti-immigrant sentiment, what is? John Tanton founded FAIR, the nations oldest and most influential immigration restriction group, in 1979, and for years he tried to preach an anti-immigration message based on economic and conservation grounds. But it didn't work. Chris Hayes, who profiled Tanton recently in In These Times, tells us what did work:

Crisscrossing the country, Tanton...kept hearing the same complaint. I tell you what pisses me off, Tanton recalls people saying. Its going into a ballot box and finding a ballot in a language I cant read. So it became clear that the language question had a lot more emotional power than the immigration question.

....So in 1983, Tanton sent out a fundraising letter on behalf of a new group he created called U.S. English....The success of U.S. English taught Tanton a crucial lesson. If the immigration restriction movement was to succeed, it would have to be rooted in an emotional appeal to those who felt that their country, their language, their very identity was under assault. Feelings, Tanton says in a tone reminiscent of Spock sharing some hard-won insight on human behavior, trump facts.

Indeed. Mickey Kaus says he's astonished that an ex-congressman like Carson can bravely cut through the PC cant and "write clearly without cliches," but in a 2004 piece that Mickey also links to, Carson had a rather different take on the motivations of his erstwhile red-state constituents: "For the vast majority of Oklahomans," he wrote, "transcendent cultural concerns are more important than universal health care or raising the minimum wage."

That's exactly right. There's probably some genuine job-based animus toward illegal immigrants in the construction industry, but elsewhere you barely need to scratch the surface to figure out that anti-immigrant anxiety mostly seems to revolve around crime, gangs, culture, language, social services, and bizarrely trumped up fears of reconquista. Can we stop kidding ourselves about this?

Kevin Drum 6:42 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (174)

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Well, when 40% of all humans desire to come here, and Kevin is pitcing the idea that we provide them all free medicare, you have a contradiction.

Part of the cultural problem is where do we pack them all in? NYC? LA? Houston? We are simply running out of resources to house, feed, edcate, provide medical care and all the rest.

If you are on the southern border, them the federal government says, you are on your own.

The other cultural problem is, do we really want to be the huge, over crowded megalopolises of tommorrow?


Posted by: Matt on May 3, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

No, that's exactly right, Kevin.

The economic fears are a *proxy* for all the other, limbic-brain stuff about language and the usurpation of some kind of "American culture" that wasn't 1) imported from Europe to begin with and 2) a product of the homogenizing forces of globalization.

What's scary about Carson's views is that they can be used to drive a wedge in the left, and convince people concerned with social justice that it's right to step on people economically below you. I think that's hooey -- and I think the left plays the same kind of dangerous game with immigration that the trade union movement played by worrying about its members only, to the exclusion of the wider working class.

At the end of the day, this is about existential insecurity. There are *genuine* economic fears out there which people are projecting onto the powerless because it puts a face on a problem that they'd otherwise have to blame their employers for -- or the whole capitalist set of assumptions about fluid markets and (most importantly) a radical individualism that leaves the system alone.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 3, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,I somewhat agree with you, but I have a huge problem with fellow libs who consume statements such as yours and nearly totally ignore that there are huge implcations for our politics and economics if we don't get this issue right, however "right" might be defined.

By the gods, I am not a racist, yet this situation gravely concerns me.

Posted by: Keith G on May 3, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Spot on. In 1994, during the height of anti-immigrant fever in CA, when I pointed out that there were a lot of Irish illegals in the US (Morrison visas notwithstanding), work colleagues would say they didn't really count as illegals.

Screw this nativist stuff. Let the GOP do the Know-Nothing shuffle, and let's they're in the same boat as the California GOP in ten years time.

Posted by: Urinated State of America on May 3, 2006 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

But hey, given Mexico's new personal use drug law, we may see a brief reversal of trans-border migration as stoners head south.

Viva, la cucoracha!

Posted by: Keith G on May 3, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

bizarrely trumped up fears of reconquista

If the fears are "trumped up", why does the far left keep on pushing the reconquista?

Posted by: Al on May 3, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

Keith G:

It doesn't concern me at all.

If we deal with cogent economic policy and just enforce the laws we already have on the books, the issue will fade once again into the background.

Does anybody *really* fear walking into a fast food restaraunt and not being able to read the menu because it's in Spanish?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 3, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

"Despite the fact that the economic impact of immigration is zero for most people and minimal even for high school dropouts?"

This "fact" is no fact, it is an opinion based on assumptions. Most people don't believe it because it flies in the face of reason

Rick

Posted by: Rick on May 3, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

I mean it's fairly obvious why people like Carson are speaking as they do: we liberals have been so effective in turning naked nativism into an object of ostracism that the naked nativists are trying to come up with something that can paper over their ugly souls.

Thank god for political correctness - can you imagine how much worse living modern life would be without it?

Posted by: reader on May 3, 2006 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

Ah yes the same Brad Carson who in the aftermath of his 2004 senate bid declared cultural rather than economic issues the real trouble for Democrats, even after running a flaccid, DLC-style corporatist campaign in the state of Oklahoma, taking big money from factory farmers (who represent about .0000004 of the overall vote in the state) while offering nothing to struggling family farmers and ranchers, and struggling merchants and other small business owners hit hard by the big boxes, who had nothing to say about currency manipulation by the Chinese and its impact on struggling manufacturers and mills in his home state (even Senator Lieberman promised to crack down on monetary protectionism in his 04 presidential bid), nothing to say about the need to unionize the service sector (where so many struggling Oklahomans work), and nothing to say about the transfer of the burden of taxation on working people by billionaires?

Posted by: The Blue Nomad on May 3, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Keith G:

I don't support amnesty.

But getting the issue right would've entailed the bipartisan Senate bill that, once out of committee -- was slaughtered by Sensenbrenner, et al.

Since that approach (buying out your illegal time with back taxes and fines) is dead, the only choice is Sensenbrenner/Tancredo.

And since that choice is immoral, unenforcable and which has totally energized the Hispanic community against it -- it's far more prudent for Dems to do what USA suggests and let the GOP do the Know-Nothing Shuffle.

Progressives stand to gain immeasurably from this.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 3, 2006 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

The Blue Nomad:

Good post. Precisely.

Cultural, schmultural.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 3, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

Carson seems to be arguing for the worst of all worlds. Compare Krugman's take on this (something Carson would agree with) to Brad DeLong's take (something that is 100% right). Krugman notes that working class Americans might suffer a modest reduction in real income from more immigration whereas Brad notes that the potential immigrants will face a massive reduction in real income from the GOP draconian border restrictions. On balance - the Carson and Krugman compromise with the GOP masters will make North Americans worse off. Why not adopt the Democratic policies for working Americans and let open borders help working class Mexicans find a better life. After all, this would be the free market solution - which obviously the GOP does not care that much about unless it is helping their rich contributors.

Posted by: pgl on May 3, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

The cultural resentment is real. In the foreclosure blogs, the posters voice the opinion that unsellable repossessed luxury homes will be rented out to multiple illegal-alien families. Seems like a dark fantasy to me, but they are certain of it.

Posted by: troglodyte on May 3, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Can we stop kidding ourselves about this?

On this and most major issues of the day, the answer clearly appears to be "No!"

Posted by: Gen. Jack D. Ripper on May 3, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

I really wish that the message of WHY we don't have an official language is very much apart of not only our cultural heritage but also our political heritage. The founding fathers specifically chose not to have an official language -- to stick it the English, in part, but also because of the diverse backgrounds of the original 13 colonies. In fact, had we had an official language, it might very well be German. My great grandmother attended German language schools, payed for with taxpayer money, in Iowa. But we conveniently forget that too.

This is the one little bit of "forgetting our heritage" that drives me the most crazy. Secondly might be the importance of the estate tax in an attempt to eliminate inherited wealth and social position.

Posted by: DC1974 on May 3, 2006 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

As usual, the liberal position is to allow more people a seat at the table and the conservative position is to push them away.


But with today's GOP, the conservative position involves not only pushing them away from the table, but shoving them out the door, locking the windows and barring the doors, and setting the house on fire in order to "Save" it.

Posted by: Geo. on May 3, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Can we stop kidding ourselves about this?

Sure but lets go all the way---

Immigration issue : racism :: Iran war drum : Israel

Those are two truths that not one Democrat or Republican Congressman will speak outloud to...

Posted by: koreyel on May 3, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

If we deal with cogent economic policy and just enforce the laws we already have on the books

Oh, that's one hell of a comfort, there, Bob.

Seriously (now), I know you didnt mean to insult my with the menu crack as that is in now way an issue.

Our polity has suffered some really tough times, many self-generated over, over the last 217 years. Yes, we certainly have been a fractious and violently arrogant lot; yet we have survived and are, for the moment, prospering.

Many reasons for this, not the least of which has been a common cultural and, often, linguistic identity that made it easier to get through the inevitable crises.

If, I said if, the intensity and depth of those common identities lessen, the regular bumps in the road we face may start getting bigger.

Posted by: Keith G on May 3, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

English is a lot more complex than Spanish. English will just suck in the entirety of the Spanish vocabulary and that'll be that.

Posted by: cld on May 3, 2006 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

Raise the minimum wage? It goes down in constant dollars every year. It would be nice if they could start by indexing it to inflation.

Posted by: BB on May 3, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

There's probably some genuine job-based animus toward illegal immigrants in the construction industry, but elsewhere you barely need to scratch the surface to figure out that anti-immigrant anxiety mostly seems to revolve around crime, gangs, culture, language, social services, and bizarrely trumped up fears of reconquista. Can we stop kidding ourselves about this?

Spot on, Kevin.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida on May 3, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

From the point of view of an evolutionary psychologist, some human traits are hard wired The first is that humans have a deep desire to transmit their cultural heritage to posterity. Humans don't stand by idly when their cultural group is threatened. Cultures change through slow adaption, not through force--people see something attractive and want to make it their own. As my Mother taught us, "you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."

English speakers resent having to do business in two languages for the same reason that Latinos want to translate the Star Spangled Banner into Spanish. Our mother tongue is an important part of our cultural identity. That's why all immigrant groups cling to their native languages for as long as possible and why there is such sadness when the older generation realizes that their children have become American.

Democrats would do more for immigrants if they respected the human desire behind the conservative response. In fact, I think, strategically, the Democrats should support English as the official language of the US, although the thought will outrage half of Democrats which is why it would never happen (which is why it is so easy for Ann Coulter to pin "blame America first" labels on Democrats.) It would console conservatives and, in the long run, not matter: It is more symbolic than meaningful.

The most effective strategy would be to promote what the Latino immigrants share with the Americano culture rather than insisting on their rights. They believe in family life, big families, hard work, craftsmanship, honesty, taking care of their aging relationships, they are devout Christians. They like to oppress their women. Fight for their country. And so on. See, they are just like us. Nothing to be afraid of here!

Posted by: PTate in MN on May 3, 2006 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Can we stop kidding ourselves about this?"

Maybe when 10,000 members of the MS-13 criminal gangs have been sent back to Central America.

Posted by: save_the_rustbelt on May 3, 2006 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Immigration is a totally bogus issue because ALL OF US have a stake in the situation as it now exists, and NO ONE (at least no one with any real power in this country) has any stake in changing it.

If employers stopped hiring immigrants, legal or otherwise, the flow of immigrants would start to dry up at once. That won't happen, though, and we all know it, because employers want to be able to hire immigrants -- especially illegal immigrants -- because they work for less money, can be turned into the immigration service if they complain about bad working conditions, can be fired/laid off with no fuss, and just MIGHT go back home after the job ends. (Also the presence of these immigrants can be used to distract the native-born while their jobs are shipped offshore.)

As for the rest of us, would people actually pay the prices things would cost if they were made using American labor, even at minimum-wage rates? I won't even bother to answer that one.

Next, has anyone got any kind of practical proposal to reduce the number of immigrants? The last time someone suggested building a fence along the Mexican border, the government of Mexico reacted with fury. And even if we build a fence along the US-Mexican border, there are plenty of other ways to get here -- we can't fence in our seacoasts, for instance. Increase border patrols and enforcement? How much of an increase would we need to have any real effect -- and how much would it cost?

This whole debate, at least on the level it's usually conducted, is what Brad DeLong calls "dingbat kabuki."

Posted by: AnnieCat on May 3, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

While the opponents of immigration no doubt include nativists and xenophobes, the vast majority of those who oppose illegal immigration do so on sound public policy grounds. Illegal immigration is seen rightly as a threat to their economic livelihood.

Illegal immigration is seen rightly as this year's wedge issue. The Republicans and their media friends will work overtime to convince you that some poor schmuck cleaning toilets so he can feed his family is a worse crime than invading a country or spying on Americans or war profiteering or lying to Congress or obstruction of justice or burning secret agents.

There doesn't need to be any more reason than that.

Posted by: Boronx on May 3, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

One of the things about the immigration issue that I have missed, if addressed by anyone, is our stupid law that bestows citizenship on anyone born in the U.S. regardless of whether the parents are U.S. citizen or not. This is part of what makes our current mess with illegal immigrants from Latin America all the messier.

Posted by: JeffII on May 3, 2006 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry for the typos. You wouldnt guess England is my primary language. I will put down the sandwich and do better.

I really wish that the message of WHY we don't have an official language is very much apart of not only our cultural heritage but also our political heritage. The founding fathers specifically chose not to have an official language -- to stick it the English, in part, but also because of the diverse backgrounds of the original 13 colonies

Not totally true. The vast, vast number of immigrants/settlers here (costal colonies1600-1770s) were English and Scots, with pockets of Dutch, Flemish, and German many of whom likely spoke the Kings English better than the King, which actually wasnt hard to do.

Language just wasnt an issue. Many of those who where not culturally British, were still highly familiar with the Anglo-Saxon culture that dominated most of northern and western Europe.

The whole melting-pot theory stuff did not become an issue until at least the 1830s. Even then the language issue didnt become a thing until after the 1880s. At that point it was partially addressed though the push for mandatory public education.

Posted by: Keith G on May 3, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe when 10,000 members of the MS-13 criminal gangs have been sent back to Central America.

'Back to'? Why, are they all immigrants?

After the experience of the Bush administration maybe we should build a wall along the northern Texas border and keep the Texans in Texas...

;)

Posted by: floopmeister on May 3, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

That's exactly right. There's probably some genuine job-based animus toward illegal immigrants in the construction industry, but elsewhere you barely need to scratch the surface to figure out that anti-immigrant anxiety mostly seems to revolve around crime, gangs, culture, language, social services, and bizarrely trumped up fears of reconquista. Can we stop kidding ourselves about this? Kevin Drum

While these are valid concerns, the other issue rarely mentioned is population control. The U.S. is overpopulated. Immigrant groups have more children than "native born" Americans who have been in the country for two or more generations.

So unless the overwhelmingly Catholic Latin American illegal immigrants are somehow rapidly vaulted to the ranks of the less fecund college educated middle-class, the more overwhelmingly Catholic Latin American immigrants we admit (with the usual proviso for admitting siblings and parents), the more overpopulated the U.S. becomes, particularly in the already rapidly growing and the water scarce SW of the U.S.

Or something like that.

Posted by: JeffII on May 3, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

I must agree. I have always subscribed to a primacy of culture. Nativeist impulses and cultural identity have always impacted our country. They are not necessarily racist, or even xenophobic. If anything, todays anti-immigration coalition performs admirably compared with the tactics employed in our history.

Posted by: Fitz on May 3, 2006 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

"The report prepared for the meeting (Note 2) The International labor Organization claims 86 million migrant workers world wide. [1996]"


From 1980 to 1990 our populaton increase of 22 million was 25% foreign migration., about 5 million. As of 1990 we had 20 million foreign born workers in the country. In 2000, the number of foreign born in the USA increased by 57%, to 30 million. The next decade, at the height of global warming, we will add another 60 million.

This means LA, San Diego, NYC will likely each add another 6 million people each, per decade. We really are talking mega cities, I mean 20 million people per city.

It may be good for global warming to pack all these folks into California and Texas, but for Hispanics it is not going to be Azlatan, it will be more like Shanghai.

Posted by: Matt on May 3, 2006 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

How did global warming become a factor?

Do I have to insert that into this analysis?

Posted by: Fitz on May 3, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Whenever I walk into a voting booth and see a ballot initiative or bond issue written in legalese, I get pissed off.

Can someone please start an astroturf organization to exploit my inchoate hatred of lawyers and kick THEM all out of the country?

Posted by: The Confidence Man on May 3, 2006 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

Fitz, he lost me too.

Posted by: Keith G on May 3, 2006 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, well I'm trying to work out what's so bad about Shanghai.

Has he ever been there?

Posted by: floopmeister on May 3, 2006 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

You guys ever been to Oklahoma?
Oklahoma is Backwards but not in a bad way. They are fairly simple and I did not see the angry Folks this guy speaks of. If they were angry it was because of work, not religion or race.
The Addage I got, from quite a few was this;

"We are too busy trying to find work to worry about that racial stuff"

I worked in Oklahoma City, Will Rogers Airport for 2 1/2 years.
The town appears not to have changed in 20 years or so due to economic stalling.

Posted by: Mach Tuck on May 3, 2006 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

The United States is overpopulated? Give me a break.
Nativists who say this with one side of their mouth want more "white" people to have babies. I see this every day in North Dakota. They natives here (not the Indians) fear population loss, but suggest that more immigrants be encouraged to come here and they shit.

Posted by: msj on May 3, 2006 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, worked, at times, at Tinker Air Force Base. Same Story over there.
SO
"For the vast majority of Oklahomans," he wrote, "transcendent cultural concerns are more important than universal health care or raising the minimum wage."

This is, to me, a False statement.

Posted by: Mach Tuck on May 3, 2006 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

Not to mention the culture, like New Mexico, is one with Indian Reservations, And of Course Lobbysists, err Exx Congressmen see that as $$$$[ABramoff Delay]..Raising Wages of Of COURSE wouldn't benefit him or his Cronies..

Sheesh.

Posted by: Mach Tuck on May 3, 2006 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

I'm just glad we are finally addressing the problem.
I mean really, its been 15? years since we really discussed it.
Buisness loves it, Catholics love it, Leftists love it, (I Love it)
But you cant let ill-legality thrive like that. Not good for the rule of law, and civil society.


What I want to know is why they were not flocking here in the 50 or 60's ?
Whats new?

Posted by: Fitz on May 3, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

"How did global warming become a factor?"

Packing much of the world's surplus population into California actually reduces global use of petroleum, because we have all the workers cramed into one spot. From the global warming and peak oil perspective, we want mega, giant cities.

"one side of their mouth want more "white" people "

This is one fucking racist, don't you all think? How many comments to we get from so-called liberals who rant and rave about how bad white people are? Doesn't anyone get sick of this crap?

Here is another, from Kevin:
"Despite the fact that working class whites..."

What if we went around saying, brown people believe this, brown people want that. Which browns? Does tan count? Persian brown? Chinese brown? Indian brown?

I mean, Kevin is a fucking jerk, he talks about culture wars, then makes coments about the average white person.


Posted by: Matt on May 3, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

...elsewhere you barely need to scratch the surface to figure out that anti-immigrant anxiety mostly seems to revolve around crime, gangs, culture, language, social services, and bizarrely trumped up fears of reconquista. Can we stop kidding ourselves about this?

Don't know about language and culture (American culture and American English already incorporate many other cultures and languages), but there are real issues on crime, gangs, and social services. Look up the statistics on illegal immigrants in these categories.

As for "reconquista," I don't think anybody is seriously worried about this, but there do seem to be an awful lot of supporters of the recent demonstrations who are fixated on this idea, and if there's any "trumping up" being done, its on their part.

American isn't overpopulated. A lot of its cities are.

The Left is going to play the "racism" card really hard on this issue, isn't it?

Posted by: tbrosz on May 3, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

Well People, how many of you remember (perhaps vicariously) the Irish, Italian, Polish immigrant problem of the 1920s and 1930s. I remember the 1930s problem and attitudes somewhat. Although I was young before WWII I do remember the comments made by my Parents and relatives and I remember seeing want ads (I don't know why I saw them) in the Boston Herald saying no Jews, Niggers, Italians or Irish need apply. We had Little Italy As shown quite accurately by the way in The Godfather. And what do many of us, privately perhaps, call all of these others? Kikes, Wops, Micks, and Mex. Mot nice names, any of them. The same attitudes and sayings were current then as now.

Now please understand, I am NOT prejudiced, not at all. I am a WASP!!! I have one immigrant - Greatgrandfather Thorne from Yorkshire. Everyone else was a settler, not an immigrant!!!!

And what I just implied is CRAP, isn't it!!

Posted by: Robert R Clough on May 3, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

PTate in MN wrote: English speakers resent having to do business in two languages...

That is unless you live in Europe and can do at least 3 languages with no problem, some of them doing business in 5 languages.

I swear, Americans really do need to stop thinking they are the center of the universe.

Posted by: NeoLotus on May 3, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Packing much of the world's surplus population into California actually reduces global use of petroleum, because we have all the workers cramed into one spot. From the global warming and peak oil perspective, we want mega, giant cities.

Surplus population? Huh? Surplus to what?

Are you surplus?

Am I?

Is Mexico?

Do you want to be crammed into a crowded city as well, or is your image of yourself still based on the nice house in the exurbs with the 40 mile commute? You know, with the workers crammed somewhere else?

I find your description of cities interesting - 'crammed'? I wonder if Parisians describe their city as 'crammed'...

Finally, all this handwringing about white guilt - and then you mention the 'brown' Persians. Iran, my friend, means Aryan. Iran is more 'white' than America.

Posted by: floopmeister on May 3, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

msj: "The United States is overpopulated? Give me a break.

First, we are 5% of the worlds population and we use up 25% of the world's resources. So in that sense, yes, we are "overpopulated." Every American has a larger footprint in the earth's ecosystems.

Second, I refer you to the brilliant Al Bartlett lecture on why an inability to understand exponential growth is humankind's greatest weakness.

He gives a fantastic analogy. Imagine a bacteria population in a test tube that doubles in size every minute. It takes one hour to fill the test tube. So at 11:00 the bacteria start growing. At what point is the test tube half full?

11:59.

And at what point do the bacteria realize they are going to run out of room? Bartlett gives some nice examples of humans not realizing they are running out of room when their space is 15% gone. So in terms of the test tube, the bacteria may begin to realize they are going to run out of room at...

11:57.

So, say the bacteria are foresightful and resourceful, and at 11:57, they rush out and discover THREE additional empty test tubes. Wahoo! 12:00 comes, they migrate to test tube two. When is the second test tube filled?

12:01.

And when are the remaining two test tubes filled?

12:02.

Do you begin to see the problem? What time is it now in the human test tube also known as earth? Do we want the US population to continue to grow? We were 150 million in 1950. Now we are 300 million. Do we want to be 600 million in another 70 years or so? Do we really imagine we or the world have enough oil, gold, coal, water, fish, to sustain the quality of life that we now have?

Think about it.

Posted by: PTate in MN on May 3, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

With me it is not so much of an indictment of illegal immigration as it is an indictment of capitalist globalization. The global economy is not creating enough jobs period. The global economy is destroying local economies outside of and within the US. Were we to share borders with all the basket case economies, we would be inundated with a billion illegals.

Within the US, many small, family businesses are increasingly replaced by larger, lower margin and more competitive businesses made possible largely by the roles accomplished by cheap labor. This is the reverse of the outsourcing scenario in which capital flows to the home of cheap labor. I represent a vestige of the small businessman in the nursery industry. My family and I are competing with companies that seasonally hire 50 or more Mexicans. Without our niche, localized marketing and our dedication to producing an excellent product, which allows us to maintain prices to meet our living needs, we would be quickly forced from the larger, regional marketplace. I am one of the mythical anglo Americans who does indeed work like a Mexican.

Illegal immigration is just another sign of a world gone dangerously wrong along an unsustainable path drawn by the centripetal pull of globalization. Cultures naturally clash as they are caught in the vortex and attempt to insure their own survival. Let us hope, for the survival of mankind and the earth, that each and every one are maintained robustly in their own homelands.

Posted by: lou on May 3, 2006 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, and fans: Can you accept that there is something wrong with people just walking across the border? Shouldn't it matter whether a person goes through accepted legal procedures for becoming a citizen? Reflexive support for "oppressed" groups (which do exist) and reflexive sympathy for anything conservatives oppose (as if anyone, even them, can be wrong all the time) is stupid.

Posted by: Neil' on May 3, 2006 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

"Surplus population?"

Example. There are still 800 million Chinese in rural China, about 10 times the amount needed to run a efficient agricultural system. They are still there, broke, mired in poverty.

Where should they be? Well, most will want to go to the southern cities of Cina, the rest are on the way here. The southern cities of China are still building infrastructure to support the manufacturing industry to allow these people to support themselves.

That makes them surplus, they are not where they want to be, and they cannot support themselves.

Posted by: Matt on May 3, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

PS - Most voters agree that immigrants shouldn't be able to just walk in here illegally, whatever the exact economic consequences are. That's something to think about this November...

Posted by: Neil' on May 3, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

What I want to know is why they were not flocking here in the 50 or 60's ?
Whats new?

Information, boom in service sector, long term results of chain migration, maps handed out by the Mexican government, ease of fund transfers.


Posted by: Keith G on May 3, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.tbrnews.org/Archives/a2307.htm

Statistical Breakdown of U.S. Illegal Immigrants- May 1, 2006
Special BBC News Report
An estimated 11.5 - 12 million foreign nationals are living illegally in the US, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. (Other sources place this number between 20-22 million. Ed)
These are mainly people who have entered the US without the necessary documents or who have overstayed temporary visas.
The pace of unauthorised arrivals has accelerated over the last two decades. On average, nearly five times as many illegal immigrants enter the country each year now as did in the 1980s. About 40% of illegal immigrants have been in the US five years or less.
~~Brain Food~~
Yeh Yeh I Know =)

Posted by: Mach Tuck on May 3, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

And Guess What? I dont See Oklahoma? Wha? Surely I Jest? Nope. CLick Link

Statistical Breakdown of U.S. Illegal Immigrants- May 1, 2006

Posted by: Mach Tuck on May 3, 2006 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

NeoLotus: "That is unless you live in Europe and can do at least 3 languages with no problem, some of them doing business in 5 languages"

I agree that the Americans think we are the center of the world and that Europeans have a tremendous linguistic advantage.

However, it seems to me, if I remember my history, that up until fairly recently, Europeans were murdering each other over their different languages. How many nations have language police to make sure that no foreign words get adopted? And the French, the Dutch, the Germans-all of whom I adore--they are doing well with Muslims in their midst? The Canadians--English speaking and French speaking--how is that going?

Historically, in the colonial period, according to Brown's Gordon S. Wood (IIRC) the homogeneity of the US, the fact that we spoke English from Maine to Georgia, was admired as a strength by European visitors. The joke is on us, as it turns out, now that we are in the 21st century.

Posted by: PTate in MN on May 3, 2006 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

it would have to be rooted in an emotional appeal to those who felt that their country, their language, their very identity was under assault.

That Tanton will realize soon enough, works both ways. Latinos whow ordinarily would regard themselves as conservative, will be on the wrong side (from the viwepoint of Tanton) of the language divide issue.

Posted by: CSTAR on May 3, 2006 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Well People, how many of you remember (perhaps vicariously) the Irish, Italian, Polish immigrant problem of the 1920s and 1930s.

Well before my time, but...

"Sacco, Vanzetti Executed for Murder, Italian Descent; Pair Dies On Two Counts Of Wopness"

(If I ever teach a course on 20th century history, Our Dumb Century will be required reading.)

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on May 3, 2006 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Europeans were murdering each other over their different languages.

They also Killed each other during the war of the Roses, for Power, yet they spoke Queens English!
[Tudors and Lancasters]
May as well have been the Smiths and the McCoys

In Arkansas they are Inbred Hicks
In Britain they are Royalty.

Posted by: Mach Tuck on May 3, 2006 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

Matt,

You start out making some good points about the level of poverty in China and then you descend to:

...the rest are on the way here.

and you end up sounding like all the other frightened nativists.

That makes them surplus, they are not where they want to be, and they cannot support themselves.

This is where the US 'minimal state' ideology trips you up, Matt.

How can 80% of the population of China be surplus to the needs of China? They are China.

Why should they 'support themselves' outside the structures of a state to which they are mysteriously 'surplus', although they are citizens? To its credit, the Chinese government (of which I am not a big fan, BTW) is attempting to create work to support them.

Why would 80% of a country's population be expected to 'support itself'? What's the country doing in the meantime? Playing mah jong?

The legitimacy of the Chinese government is directly related to the extent to which it mobilises national resources and economic policy to support these rural poor. Democracy is not on the agenda here - we all know that. Legitimacy comes from managing poverty - the government understands this and so do the people. Rising inequality is the single biggest threat to the rule of the Communist party - don't think they don't know this.

Any Chinese government that makes people overtly 'surplus to national requirements' will suffer a crisis of legitimacy.

Apparently it's different in the US.

Posted by: floopmeister on May 3, 2006 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

--->>>> Despite the fact that the economic impact of immigration is zero for most people and minimal even for high school dropouts?

Are you that detached from reality? Or does the "most people" in your world just not include working people? My parents raised four kids (with my mom working sporadically and part-time) on my dad's construction pay. Their best friends raised their four kids on the salaries of a grocery checker and a milk delivery man. No more. We out here in workingland never know if this afternoon we'll find out our jobs have gone to Vietnam or been turned into the kind of jobs Americans won't do (in other words, jobs that don't pay a living wage).

When I went to college I worked 40 hours a week in a restaurant bussing tables for minimum wage. I made about $4 a day in tips. My take-home pay was enough to live on -- and I didn't live with my parents. I shared a two-bedroom apartment with another girl in a decent part of town. Who could do that on the minimum wage today? My pay was 1.72 an hour and the cheeseburgers we served were 85 cents, and there were fries with that. An equivalent burger would be $8.50 today, but the minimum wage is not $17.20.

The wage situation for working people is becoming untenable. You've got outsourcing sucking the jobs out of the country, and you've got illegals dragging the wages down for the jobs that remain.

Employers love it. They're doing fine. But this paradigm will end, one way or another. I don't think it's going to end with the minimum wage raised to $17 an hour or the United Food and Commercial Workers established at WalMart, or the federal government decreeing that a federal contracts must be done with American unionized labor.

It's going to end with all the money sucked out of circulation, housing prices crashing, regular people running out of money with nowhere to turn (thanks to the new bankruptcy laws) and realizing just about all at once that there is no hope. There will be fear and loathing and despair -- and then there will be rage.

Posted by: LindaR on May 3, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

"I mean, Kevin is a fucking jerk, he talks about culture wars, then makes coments about the average white person."

Go reconquista yourself, whitey.
(The run-on sentences should be enough to have you thrown out of the country.)

Posted by: Kenji on May 3, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

LindaR: great post.

...realizing just about all at once that there is no hope. There will be fear and loathing and despair -- and then there will be rage...

And the question will be who is that rage directed against?

Given the current political climate (and historical precedent) I'm pretty sure I can guess who the scapegoat will be.

There's a Lao proverb about being screwed over by the powerful:

"Go home, close the door... and kick the dog".

Posted by: floopmeister on May 3, 2006 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

That's exactly right. There's probably some genuine job-based animus toward illegal immigrants in the construction industry, but elsewhere you barely need to scratch the surface to figure out that anti-immigrant anxiety mostly seems to revolve around crime, gangs, culture, language, social services, and bizarrely trumped up fears of reconquista. Can we stop kidding ourselves about this?

Sure, if you promise not to be an elitist snot about it. Believe it or not, some of the fears are legitimate. This New Republic article goes into more detail.

Acting like the people complaining are all hot-headed, racist babies, rather than take their concerns seriously and debunk what can be debunked, will just push away people whose economic interests lie with the Democrats. This attitude created the situation in What's the Matter with Kansas?, and we've been paying for it ever since.

Posted by: wilder on May 3, 2006 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

They also Killed each other during the war of the Roses, for Power, yet they spoke Queens English!
[Tudors and Lancasters]
May as well have been the Smiths and the McCoys

In effect they were. Read Kevin Phillip's The Cousins' War which is absolutely essential to understanding US history.

Remember, though those wars had cultural roots too. More than just raw power, they were about religion and the nature of national government and therefore national identity.

Posted by: Keith G on May 3, 2006 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Rather than heap derision on the illegals, perhaps we need to question those within our own borders that:
1. Send jobs to the lowest labor markets (that ain't Mexico anymore).
2. Advocate an open border policy.
3. Interfere with the enforcement of labor laws against the hiring of illegal labor.
4. Interfere with the implementation a system of personal identification that would allow employers to know precisely the status of their job applicants.
5. Coincidentally threaten our security in the process of making America good for bidness.

And, it has not been to hard to figure out where Shrub stands with this gang of anti patriots.

Posted by: lou on May 3, 2006 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Lou, I agree. I don't like illegal immigration, but that doesn't mean I'm a racist. Though I am a proud liberal, I'm a supply-sider when it comes to this issue: The solution lies in quashing the employers who supply jobs to illegal workers -- just like the solution in the drug "war" lies in going after the suppliers, not the users.

And yes, I did just equate those who employ illegal labor with drug dealers. They are all people willing to profit on human suffering.

Posted by: LindaR on May 3, 2006 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum: "The GOP is racist!"

Posted by: Fequency Kenneth on May 3, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin says I'm not supposed to get angry at the Norteno graffiti on the walls and benches at my neighborhood park. That would be racist.

Kevin Drum says I'm not supposed to be annoyed when a retail clerk can't undertand my request, because I'm speaking English. That would be culturally insensitive.

Kevin Drum says I'm not supposed to be mad that my local school board budgeted $25,000 to fund an after-school program for migrant kids - but the quality of education for MY kids keeps dropping. That would be intolerant.

Hey Kevin: tolerate this.

Posted by: Better Mousetrap on May 3, 2006 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

...but elsewhere you barely need to scratch the surface to figure out that anti-immigrant anxiety mostly seems to revolve around crime, gangs, culture, language, social services, and bizarrely trumped up fears of reconquista. Can we stop kidding ourselves about this?

Well, if that's true, Kevin, then the terrorists have won...

Posted by: dr sardonicus on May 3, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

"America, you lost. I won."

Zacarias Moussaoui


You libbies on the WashMo site must be thrilled. I'll bet Kevin doesn't touch this story with a 10 foot pole.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on May 3, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Mousetrap: close the door and kick the dog.

Posted by: floopmeister on May 3, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

By the way...

Frequency nailed it!

Posted by: sportsfan79 on May 3, 2006 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

I'll bet Kevin doesn't touch this story with a 10 foot pole.

Oh, so now lets be racist towards the Polacks.

Sheesh.

Posted by: floopmeister on May 3, 2006 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Tax the rich and muc of the problem goes away. Always an advocate of progressive income taxes.

Squash the upper class a little, and everything pushes down, government debt goes down, government spending goes down, more labor goes to the free market from the inside of the country, less dollars flow outside the country, the middle class grows, people become more self sufficient and less reliant on foreign labor.

Posted by: Matt on May 3, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

Matt - spot on. Spoken like a true Keynesian. I agree completely.

The problem is, will voters support taxing the rich, or will they blame the scapegoat?

My bet is people will blame the scapegoat - sportsfan and mousetrap are prime examples.

Posted by: floopmeister on May 3, 2006 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

It ain't so much the ascent of our southern neighbors that bothers us so much. It is rather the corresponding descent of our overall standard of living that rankles. There is in fact the perception of a race to the bottom that accompanies this debate about illegal immigration. No surprise that some will be enlisted in the fight against another boogieman by those who want to obscure what the real villain is here. I could take names but I'd probably be accused of class warfare.

Posted by: lou on May 3, 2006 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

As a Democrat, I'm sorry old Brad Carson lost. And, despite the conventional wisdom, I'd bet my house Majority Leader Bill Frist secretly is too. Every time I see Tom Coburn down on the Senate floor exercising his right of unlimited debate and amendment, fucking with their appropriations bills and droning on in his slow hayseed way about the next generation and the budget deficit and the "pork" I just laugh, and laugh and laugh. It's the Democrats best revenge. Hey Bill and Mitch: Enjoy the next six years, suckas!!! BWAAAHAHAHAHHA!

Posted by: Pat on May 3, 2006 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

Frequency Kenneth, for once you have understated the case.

Kevin's view will be spun this fall as "the Democrats think America is racist" And that is not the frame the Dems want to get 50% plus 1 of the votes.

I have a problem with people who blow off the rules (overstaying your visa may not be a crime, but using fake legal documents to fill out I-9 and social securty paperwork is felony).

What's worse, why does Mexico get the special treatment? Its the richest country in Latin America, with a per capita income of $9,600 a year.

There are far poorer country just in Americas that would love to send us their poor, huddled masses. Bolivia has a per capita income of 2,600 a year, Haiti has a per capita income of $1,500 a year. There are nations in Africa that are even poorer (Somalia is at $600 a year per capita income).

Are we going to open our borders to everyone who wants to come here?

Posted by: beowulf on May 3, 2006 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

I say we challenge all Republicans to a bare-knuckle fist fight, winner take all. They are all a bunch of pussies. Look at that flabby balloon-head Karl Rove. One punch and I'll bet his head deflates...

Posted by: Fred Flintrock on May 3, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Lotsa trolls tonight. Isn't it cute the way people post something and then post something else under a different name reinforcing their first comment? Brilliant!

Posted by: Pat on May 3, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Fred,I now have to clean off my monitor screen.

Posted by: Keith G on May 3, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

Pat is spot on!! He really nailed it. So smart.

Posted by: Not Pat on May 3, 2006 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

There's also something a little ironic in conservatives telling us for decades that the free market will solve all our problems, only to have the same people tell us today that the free market can't deal with immigration.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on May 3, 2006 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

I agree, Not Pat. Pat hit the nail on the head.

Posted by: Really. It's Not Pat on May 3, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

According to this poll, the US ranks 7th in the world as a preferred immigration destination.

Posted by: floopmeister on May 3, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum:

When it comes to discussing immigration, you are truly a lightweight. Could you please find a guest blogger who knows what they're talking about and is familiar with all of the facets of this issue?

The last several posts about immigration have been truly Atrios-level, and I'm beginning to suspect that this is the best the Dem leadership can do.

-- News about illegal immigration

Posted by: TLB on May 3, 2006 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

What's the frequency, Kenneth?

One inane comment for each forum, with no follow up.

Posted by: floopmeister on May 3, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "The vast majority? Really?"

Yep. Read the latest Zogby Poll on the subject. 64% favor the House bill making undocumented aliens felons. It's depressing. The GOP undoubtedly found its wedge issue for 2006.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on May 3, 2006 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

If Congress cannot place any ethical restraints upon its interactions with lobbyists, can we expect them to place restraints on interests that have kept laws restricting the hiring of illegals from being enforced? Congress and the executive have allowed this problem to become much more severe than it ever should have been.
Seems like we got ourselve ruled by the forces of collusion by delusion and confusion. And they are mucking it up grandly. Can't Americans win without breaking the rules anymore? The illegals are fitting in quite well in the land of liars and cheaters.

Posted by: lou on May 3, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

Can't Americans win without breaking the rules anymore?. The illegals are fitting in quite well in the land of liars and cheaters.

That we are (cheaters and liars). Remember John Hancock was a rum smuggler. And I sure admire the way we stood behind all those treaties with the Native American. No cheating there.

Posted by: Keith G on May 3, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

...but elsewhere you barely need to scratch the surface to figure out that anti-immigrant anxiety mostly seems to revolve around crime, gangs, culture, language, social services, and bizarrely trumped up fears of reconquista. Can we stop kidding ourselves about this?

Two thoughts on this:

1) Can we stop saying that this is "anti-immigrant," please? I know it's a nice trope to throw around, but it has the problem of not being true. No one is telling any Pakistani students going to Columbia University on a student visa that they have to leave! We're saying that ILLEGAL ALIENS should not simply be able to waltz into the country. Has it come so far around that we don't even notice that difference any more?

2) As for the idea that this isn't about the economy, rather it's about "crime, gangs, culture, language, social services..." Um. Yeah. Because none of those things ever had an effect on the economy. No sir!

More discussion on the subject going on here.

Posted by: Tacitean on May 3, 2006 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

This is all an election-year red herring. Suggest to the scumbag legislators who want to make being here a felony that they should make it a felony to hire them as well - then watch them dodge and weave.

I would be willing to bet that 95% of the employers of undocumented workers are cheap-labor Republicans looking to fatten their wallets.

Leave it to the desperate GOP to once again be divisive and play to their racist base.

Posted by: BB on May 3, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

The people who are for illegal immigration are business people looking for cheap labor, self-hating white liberal racists, politically correct white hating racists, and Hispanic racists like Dem. Rep. Luis Gutierrez who put race loyalty over patriotism.

The vast majority of pro-illegal people are anti-white racists.

Posted by: Myron on May 3, 2006 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

Why not a targeted enforcement of immigration laws aimed at employers in sectors of the economy that *do* pay well, and where natives may be seeing their wages depressed (like construction)?

Posted by: Robert on May 3, 2006 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

There are far poorer country just in Americas that would love to send us their poor, huddled masses. Bolivia has a per capita income of 2,600 a year, Haiti has a per capita income of $1,500 a year. There are nations in Africa that are even poorer (Somalia is at $600 a year per capita income)...Are we going to open our borders to everyone who wants to come here?

No, we're not. But Mexicans have the advantage of geography. A Mexican can take a bus to the border, and walk across. A Nigerian cannot. A rationalization of our immigration laws with regard to Mexico (i.e, handing out a lot more green cards to Mexicans) is simply acknowledging the reality on the ground. The reality is that the number of Nigerians or Bagladeshis making it to the states illegally is pretty limited. Sure, it may be "unfair" in the eyes of a Nigerian to treat Mexican migrants differently, but we shouldn't base our policy on what is "fair" or "unfair" to foreigners. We should base our policy on what is in the interest of the United States. Undercutting the perverse market inentives to immigrate illegally is in the the interest in the United States. And that almost certainly means (along with various measures including employer-centric enforcement) a healthy increase in legal immigration admissions for those people who otherwise can easily circumvent our laws (i.e, Mexicans and Central Americans). Not doing so insures their arrival will be handled by the black market. Not doing so insures a continued, substantial flow of illegal immigrants.

I'm all for "fairness" as a general rule. Who ain't? But when people bring up "fairness" in the immigration debate (usually as part of a restrictionist argument) my head wants to explode. It's a nonsensical argument. The national interest is what we should be deciding such things on. Should we refrain from adopting policies that will benefit the country because somebody born and raised in Calcutta is jealous because someobody born and raised in Mexico City can hop a Greyhound to El Paso while he cannot?

Posted by: P.B. Almeida on May 4, 2006 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

But Mexicans have the advantage of geography. A Mexican can take a bus to the border, and walk across.

As either Kennedy or Huntington pointed out, that allows Mexican-Americans to "refresh" their culture rather than make a break as other immigrant groups did.

And, there's that completely inconsequential matter that Mexico (briefly) owned the U.S. southwest. Over 150 years later, 58% of Mexicans think the U.S. southwest rightfully belongs to them. And, that sentiment is widespread in the U.S. as well.

We should base our policy on what is in the interest of the United States.

And, if most Mexicans think this is their territory, then perhaps we should have a grown-up discussion about whether importing millions from that country is in our best interests.

Based on the recent Zogby poll, I think fools like Kevin Drum are going to be in for as big a surprise as the Herndon town council.

Posted by: TLB on May 4, 2006 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter P.B. Almeida: Mexicans are going to sneak in no matter what, so we must make it legal for them.


Enforcing the laws on hiring would go along way towards controlling illegal immigration.
But a country still needs border control to control the dangerous stuff - drugs, criminals, terrorists, WMD.

BTW, I agree w/ beowulf 10:36 PM

Posted by: hh on May 4, 2006 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK

I'm all for "fairness" as a general rule. Who ain't? But when people bring up "fairness" in the immigration debate

Posted by: P.B. Almeida

Fairness is something you lefties never want to consider. You want to take from one group and give to another or favor one group over another. A pretty basic lefty philosophy in most things like affirmative action, taxes and immigration.

We can only absorb so many uskilled workers and in places like CA we are at the breaking point. They pay minimal taxes and suck up free medical , social services and education to the detriment of taxpaying citizens. That see the quality of their childrens education being diminished. Their safety is diminished when emergency rooms are abused by illegals to the point they have to close.

The day without a Mexican was an eye opener for a lot of people. Traffic was minimal and commute time cut drastically with just some of the unlicensed and uninsured illegal Mexicans off the roads. There were no lines at emergency rooms without illegals lined up to get some free aspirin. Parks were not crowded. There was no financial impact except in primarily hispanic neighborhoods. It was a pretty nice day all around and indicitve of what it would be like if there were a lot fewer illegals running around. So a lot of us are hoping they make a lot more of those days possible. I love it!

Posted by: Fat White Guy on May 4, 2006 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

The people who are for illegal immigration are business people looking for cheap labor, self-hating white liberal racists, politically correct white hating racists, and Hispanic racists like Dem. Rep. Luis Gutierrez who put race loyalty over patriotism. The vast majority of pro-illegal people are anti-white racists.

No, it's the anti-anti purple racists and the liberal feminazi pro-anti-pro-drug anti-pro-anti abortion ageist hippy freak pro-pro-anti-anti commie mauve bastards who are to blame.

Posted by: BB on May 4, 2006 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

Unless the US has a 0% high school dropout rate, there must be "working class" people who are competing with illegal immigration. The fact that your "working class" doesn't include them, leads to your questions on the sincerity of your concern for the poor.

But, you are liberal and logic does not apply.

Posted by: McA on May 4, 2006 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

But, you are liberal and logic does not apply.

You're a troll, and sincerity does not apply.

Posted by: BB on May 4, 2006 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

We should just fucking take over Mexico.

Then; none of the illegal immigrants would be illegal any longer.

And we could enforce our minimum wage and labor laws on them, and they'd have no need to come to the "northern 50".

And we could get cheap prescription drugs.

And, I believe, Mexico combined with the US would make us the biggest oil reserves in the Western Hemisphere.

Say, didn't that Vincente Fox have a meeting with Zarqawi about smuggling nuclear technology?

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on May 4, 2006 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

Say, didn't that Vincente Fox have a meeting with Zarqawi about smuggling nuclear technology?

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on May 4, 2006 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

Why would Zarqawi need a meeting? Its not like anyone is being stopped at the border as is.

What would he lobby for a Mexican Army escort into the United States?

Posted by: McA on May 4, 2006 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

Anybody remember "the sucking sound of jobs going south of the border." That didn't last long. Then they found even cheaper jobs and some better educated workforces elsewhere. Mexicans are asking what they get from NAFTA; I'm sure their politicians promised them the world too.

Not all the illegal immigrants are Mexican. Mexico is a basket case and has a horrible government but there are worse places in this world so they are getting preferential treatment for being next door; and they are filling an unregulated market demand. If there are more workers getting paid from the same GDP, somebody is worse off. Because of certain concentrations particular services are overloaded and/or degraded, unpaid for.

I haven't heard anybody say to hell with border control and minimum wage, let anybody in.

In which case this needs debate and well formed policies or it will become a big problem. From this thread, I'm not seeing that.

A number of western European nations thought they had well thought out immigration policies and they are all trying to deal with their individual problems, mostly more quietly than France. At the same time they have found unregulated labor markets within expanded EC create the same insecurities, ral or unreal.

Posted by: notthere on May 4, 2006 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

Fat White Guy: I feel sorry for you.

Posted by: floopmeister on May 4, 2006 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

In some many policy fields, any reform effort is dismissed as impossible because you can't change the facts on the ground, its too late to change anything, since there's nothing anyone can do, deal with it.

Whether its civil rights, hhealth care or environmental policy, its the same speech, and we see it here with immigration. The 11 million illegals (excuse me, "undocumented workers") are here, there's nothing we can do, let's just change our laws (and culture) and accept it.

I'm sorry that's BS, there is nothing that can't be reformed and people who argue otherwise usually have a vested interest in keeping things the way they are.

You don't have to deport anyone right away, and certainly never 11 milliion. Its like General Scott's Anaconda Plan to slowly suffocate the Confederacy by blockade. Build a new wall (and tighten visa policies) to stop new illegals from coming in. Then you prosecute employers who hire new illegals. Then require citizenship or a valid visa to conduct any international wire transfers.

Tthen slowly start going after existing employees-- either state by state or by date of employment, have employers screen their existing employees. If there's no work, most of the illegals will go home. Finally, have the police and government agencies check immigration status when they deal with people. That will squeeze out more illegals.

Only then, and this process will take years, any illegals still here, round up and deport. By then it will be a much smaller and more manageable process.

If we still need more workers, if every working class American is too busy making too much money, we can start giving visas to unskilled labor-- screening for education, criminal background and health.

If Mexico wants to throw down over this, Uncle Sam can always use more beachfront property.

Posted by: beowulf on May 4, 2006 at 2:51 AM | PERMALINK

You libs are really pulling out all the race pimp moves on this one.

Posted by: Typical Projecting GOPer Racist on May 4, 2006 at 2:58 AM | PERMALINK

The people who are kidding themselves are the ones who self-righteously dismiss the very real concerns of voters about the negative effects of illegal immigration and chalk these concerns up to silly biases and fears. These are the people who will wake up November 8 and wonder how the Republicans did so well by calling the Dems the pro-illegal party. Regardless of whether people are anti-illegal immigrant for what Kevin considers genuine "job-based animus" or whether they are opposed for some "trumped up fears"; ignoring the deep opposition to illegal immigration will cause loss of Dem voters. It doesn't matter why people oppose illegal immigration. Dems cannot dismiss it.

The people who are kidding themselves are the people who call themselves liberal Dems but are all for cheap labor without the protection of the laws and unlimited illegal immigration.

The people who are kidding themselves are the know-it-all Dems who are out of touch with the average voter and only see or talk to illegals when they come to clean their house or do their lawn. They get their positions from one article in a magazine and cling to it.

The people who are kidding themselves are the people who don't understand that immigration is an international problem. It does not begin or end at the Mexican border and requires smarter people working on an international level to figure out solutions.

The people who are kidding themselves are the Dems who are walking straight into a republican trap by not going after Republicans as the cheap labor party that won't hold the wealthy big-business employers accountable and allowing Dems to be portrayed as the pro-illegal party.

Posted by: Chrissy on May 4, 2006 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin says I'm not supposed to get angry at the Norteno graffiti on the walls and benches at my neighborhood park. That would be racist.

except that he didn't.

Kevin Drum says I'm not supposed to be annoyed when a retail clerk can't undertand my request, because I'm speaking English. That would be culturally insensitive.

he didn't say this either.

Kevin Drum says I'm not supposed to be mad that my local school board budgeted $25,000 to fund an after-school program for migrant kids - but the quality of education for MY kids keeps dropping. That would be intolerant.

wow. i read the whole post and managed to miss this one too!

Posted by: spacebaby on May 4, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Matt: Well, when 40% of all humans desire to come here

When would that be? 1998?

Posted by: brooksfoe on May 4, 2006 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

beowulf: If Mexico wants to throw down over this, Uncle Sam can always use more beachfront property.

So...we're gonna send all the Mexicans back to Tijuana, and if they whine about it, we'll conquer Tijuana...? And then what do we do with all those Mexicans? Just keep on conquering, expelling, conquering, expelling...?

This is a really interesting post which illuminates one of the more permanently weird features of the fascist ego: they want to expel the Other -- and also to ingest the Other. It's the eternal Texas dilemma: your whole identity is based on your old-timey Mexican flavor...but how do you keep that flavor without getting a pile of damned Mexicans, too? It's too complex for me to figure out at the moment; they want to stomp the brown people, rule them, expel them, and conquer them all over again, and then sometimes there's a weird lust for the places -- "Real men want to go to Tehran!" -- that ends with them sitting, fat and pale, in their sterilized air-con zones in the once-romantic oriental or latin places they've taken, profoundly unsated and unable to pinpoint why. (Baghdad Green Zone, meet Cancun, meet Maaleh Adumim.)

Posted by: brooksfoe on May 4, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

There's probably some genuine job-based animus toward illegal immigrants in the construction industry, but elsewhere you barely need to scratch the surface to figure out that anti-immigrant anxiety mostly seems to revolve around crime, gangs, culture, language, social services, and bizarrely trumped up fears of reconquista. Can we stop kidding ourselves about this?

Whose kidding ourselves. These are exactly the things the backers of the status quo always leverage (the details change) to encourage racism and other non-class divisions to come to the front to defuse tensions based on economic concerns. There is always a constant background noise of blaming the "other" for the actual economic problems as well (and if you don't think there is constant media bombardment from the right-wing media about jobs mixed in with that, you are the one kidding yourself), with the rest provided along with it.

The idea is to connect the desired basis for hate with the proximate cause of people's distress, but then also to provide more socially acceptable excuses for broad fear than simple personal economic desires.

It is particularly effective, which is why its historically such a popular technique to keep the masses from directing rage based on their economic distress on those actually in power, but its a mistake to view those excuses (particularly when, as you do with the reconquista fears, you recognize that they are "bizarrely trumped up") as the fundamental source of the animus rather than a superficial veneer of social concern that people have been provided by hatemongers to paper over the simple economic fear that has been redirected.


Posted by: cmdicely on May 4, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum says I'm not supposed to be mad that my local school board budgeted $25,000 to fund an after-school program for migrant kids - but the quality of education for MY kids keeps dropping. That would be intolerant.

I don't know what Kevin would say. But I'd say that if you are angry that your local school board budgeted $25,000 for an after-school program (I find it hard to believe that the program bans white kids, so I find the "migrant" tendentious) while the quality of education for your kids keeps dropping, then you ought to be triple-angry that the President has handed HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS in tax breaks to the wealthiest 0.1% of Americans over the past 5 years. What if he'd taken, oh, a billion of that and put it into a crash math and science program for schools like yours?

I think you're right to be angry that educational quality is dropping. But if you don't see why that is, and who's really been stealing your money, then you're a sucker.

Posted by: brooksfoe on May 4, 2006 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe:

That's a great fucking post -- drive out, conquer, remake -- and then stew in the sterility of your new, freshly tamed exotic locale.

You could probably get a few good novels out of that theme ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

"...you barely need to scratch the surface to figure out that anti-immigrant anxiety mostly seems to revolve around crime, gangs, culture, language, social services, and bizarrely trumped up fears of reconquista."

Wow. What a bunch of hicks those red staters are. Concerned about crime, gangs, our language, or social services? Go join the John Birch society why dontcha?

Jesus, Drummy. That was your most fatuous post ever.

Posted by: cecce on May 4, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

Egg-fucken-zakley.

Like I said earlier -- cultural, schmultural.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

cecce:

Kevin's right: This is classic GOP misdirection. It's a way of redirecting economic anxiety to a target other than a person's objective economic circumstances.

Why else be so freaked out? There's a Spanish menu at McDonald's?

It's not like Hispanics are a particularly dysfunctional social grouping. They're, in fact, the Republican ideal of the family-oriented, religious hard worker.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

McA: If I wanted to defend the uninsured, the poor, the defenseless to ruthless capitalism, I'd look after those people born in America who still happen to have skill-sets that resemble third world workers....How does exposing them to competition help?...Hypocrisy thy name is Liberal!

A post that looks like an x-ray of a BSE-afflicted cow's brain. Conservatives, who have pushed for every free-trade agreement ever invented, are rabidly pro-globalization and consider outsourcing a good thing, are now suddenly trying to protect the American working class from "competition"? And LIBERALS are supposed to be hypocrites?

Posted by: brooksfoe on May 4, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

It's not like Hispanics are a particularly dysfunctional social grouping.

COLBERT: "Not dysfunctional"? I'm going to say this one more time, so get it straight: These people speak another language.

How much more dysfunctional can you get?

Not only that, but have you SEEN "Mad Hot Ballroom"? What if it was YOUR 10-year-old daughter they were teaching to move her hips that way?

Posted by: brooksfoe on May 4, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

No sh*t Sherlocks it's all about the right wing redirecting rage toward the lowly immigrant worker instead of the big corporate capos benefitting from their cheap labor. But you better figure out that you've got to redirect it right back to those big employers or else this scapegoating technique is going to work for the right the same way scapegoating gays worked in '04.

Posted by: Chrissy on May 4, 2006 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Chrissy:

I know what you're saying -- but I also think you're panicking a little. Playing the faux-populist card against immigrants isn't addressing the real problem, either -- because you're still allowing immigrants to be demonized, and if the energy goes there, there isn't going to be enough left over for the *real* target.

The way I view the politics, I don't think this is a winning issue for the GOP. Their base is horribly split -- the big money wants as little change as possible, Bush wants guest workers (which is unAmerican), the sensible bipartisan proposal was shot down in the Senate -- and so we're left with Tancredo/Sensenbrenner.

And that approach is so ugly and immoral that it's *infuriated* the Hispanic community. The more the GOP pushes the punitive approach, the more Hispanics are going to be voting Democratic this fall ...

And consider this: The people who feel strongest against immigration *already* live in heavily Republican districts.

I look at this politically and I see a winner for the Democrats. All we need to do is advocate properly enforcing the existing laws with improved document checking technology.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Selling immigration to the middle class, take 1:

MYTH: Immigrants are coming here to get free benefits at the expense of hard-working Americans.

FACT: Documented, taxpaying immigrant workers will pay for your social security and medicare without requiring us to raise taxes or cut benefits.

Posted by: ajl on May 4, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

rmck1: If all you do is advocate 'properly enforcing existing laws with improved docc checking' - I would agree - Great. This is where the Dems should begin and they should end with Republicans have allowed and encouraged illegal immigration for cheap labor to benefit their big business contributors.

But if you allow the Dems to be defined by the right as being pro-illegal-immigration and pro-tax-funds for illegals, Dems are going to get their asses kicked. This happened quite effectively to Dem Leslie Byrne in '04 when she narrowly lost because she once supported education funds for illegals.

Allow the right to define Dems as pro-illegal at your own peril.

Posted by: Chrissy on May 4, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

aji:

I've agreed with many of your posts on this subject, but as long as you're myth-busting:

It'd probably be good not to conflate illegals with immigration in general.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

"But if economics isn't at the core of anti-immigrant sentiment"

Umm, it's not anti-immigrant, it's anti illegal immigrant sentiment. The distinction is important.

And yes, there are cultural concerns that this Democrat finds quite reasonable.

But illegal is still illegal. And we simply cannot absorb Mexicos under and unemployed.

Posted by: zak822 on May 4, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Byrne's race was in '05 not '04. sorry.

Posted by: Chrissy on May 4, 2006 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Chrissy:

Two words: Proposition 187.

Nobody *advocates* illegal immigration -- that's a straw man. Should Dems carve out a position so as not to be defined disingenuously this way by the right? Of course!

I say advocate the bipartisan Senate bill, which allows illegals to pay off their back taxes, pay a fine, and have a path to citizenship -- which includes learning English and taking civics.

We have a sensible, humane piece of bipartisan legislation which is stalled atm. We, as Democrats, advocate to push that proposal forward.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

the big money wants as little change as possible

Actually, I wonder whether the super-rich (really Bush's main base) care as much as the upper-middle class about having cheap, hardworking foreign labor available here. The super-rich will be able to afford nannies and gardeners anyway; they could hire French ones, for chrissakes, with the tax breaks they've gotten in the last 5 years. And those among them who still employ cheap foreign labor in the US might be able to easily shift their facilities overseas if it became more difficult. I kind of think this issue may involve the GOP's super-rich tossing a bone to the ignorant curs who populate its lower depths - a bone that costs them little, in their obscene plushness.

Posted by: brooksfoe on May 4, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: Prop 187?

Not relevant. Californians do not reflect the more conservative bent of the rest of the states. I would guess it has a much larger percentage of liberal voters than most other states. I would also guess it mobilized conservatives to become even more conservative and reactionary and cemented their ties to republican mania.

Posted by: Chrissy on May 4, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Greater than all the other factors combined, is culture clash. The U.S. was founded by Europeans, who are also the people who invented the whole Western idea. We got big and rich because we took their potent combination of technological inventiveness, money madness, democratic government, rights concerns (nascent, but more advanced than elsewhere) and gave it free reign on a continent with seemingly unlimited space and natural resources.

Viewing the world from the eyes of Mr. and Mrs. America, the social systems the Europeans spawned form our basic identity, from the church we attend on Sunday to what we eat for Sunday dinner, and we want to keep it that way. The immigrants have little interest in perpetuating these institutions. They are largely descended from the original Aztecs and Mayans and their influences are quite different. They want our material affluence, but not our culture, which looks bland and uninspiring to them. Look at Mexico. Do you like what you see? Colorful, yes, but otherwise, one big lazy, lawless mess. The immigrants would like nothing more than to turn the U.S. into Mexico north, but with big screen TVs and SUVs added on. They are a threat to our way of life and even our dominance of the world.

Nice liberals are not supposed to give credence to this kind of thinking, but to ignore it is to miss the foundations of the problem.

Posted by: James of DC on May 4, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Chrissy:

It's analogous. Look at the waves of Hispanic backlash against Tancredo. That's unprecedented. If they get out to vote and they're mobilized on this issue -- the candidates will win who do not advocate a punitive approach that criminalizes people -- including family members -- for aiding illegals.

Aside from that -- what about the rest of my post? I addressed your concerns with a specific course of action.

brooksfoe:

Actually, I think the super rich don't care about the issue one way or another. They'd be willing to absorb the costs of the guest worker program if it came to that. Culturally, they don't care at all, as they're entirely isolated. The illegals they hire are all well-vetted and perfectly pleasant.

The idea was for Bush to buy off Hispanics with the guest worker program. It backfired because Bush doesn't have the political capital to exert congressional discipline, so Tancredo took over the show. Not in Rove's playbook at all -- and wouldn't have happened if Iraq was going well and Bush had managed to move some of his second term agenda.

This is why it's backfiring on the GOP.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

James of DC:

That's simply not borne out by the behavior patterns of immigrants. And to call illegals lazy is, well -- liberal it ain't. Nor factual.

This cultural business is mind-bogglingly overblown.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: not analagous. Do you have any evidence these 'waves' you refer to are able to vote? Do not discount the backlash that may cause a much larger 'wave' of resentful voters who are both legal immigrants and natives. I suspect your wave may be a small swell. I think the legislation calling for illegals to pay a fine and back taxes is wishful thinking and would be ineffective. Getting the employers to sponsor their illegals, pay their back taxes, fines, insurance would work though.

Posted by: Chrissy on May 4, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Chrissy:

Do you have evidence that they don't? No ...

The rallies are just the tip of the iceberg of Hispanic sentiment. Throw in the Catholic Church's opposition to Tancredo.

Have you examined the bipartisan Senate bill in any detail? If not, you should. It's the most sensible proposal out there, and it *could* move later this month. According to stuff I've read, the rallies and May Day opened some Senate minds ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: 1) illegals don't vote.

2) "Senate minds"? Tee hee. That's a good one. Real knee-slapper. thanks.

Posted by: Chrissy on May 4, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Chrissy:

Are you a troll looking to stir up problems -- or are you a Democrat who's sincerely concerned about the issue?

1) I said Hispanic sentiment. Hispanics are the largest-growing voting bloc in America.

2) They make our laws. Cheap cynicism about politicians is a dime a dozen and does nothing to solve problems.

Usually, it just makes them worse ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: 1) you need to lighten up.

2) I've been a Democrat since I was a little kid handing out campaign posters for R. Kennedy and at the same time hanging out with volunteers for Cesar Chavez. Don't tell me about "Hispanics" and Don't go around calling people trolls because they disagree with you.

Posted by: Chrissy on May 4, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

The posters here are taking this "crisis" as a given. But don't be so sure: As in most countries, the majority of Americans (who have been raised, by the way, with the immigrant saga as national myth) don't give the whole issue of immigration a thought from one day to the next -- until they are stoked by LePen-type politicians looking to harness unrest about more pressing issues.

We'd be better off deporting Bill Frist and Rush Limbaugh than worrying about something that actually makes our economy tick.

Posted by: Kenji on May 4, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Chrissy:

What exactly are you disagreeing with?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Chrissy:

There's a decided difference between snarky, dismissive rhetoric and sincerely proposed, plausible solutions.

Which side would you prefer to be on?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter P.B. Almeida: Mexicans are going to sneak in no matter what, so we must make it legal for them.

That's exactly right. We must make it legal for at least some of them. You may not like the logic, but so far the evidence is that I'm right. So, would you rather have them here illegally, or with the protections (and controls) of the law. I choose the latter.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida on May 4, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Have you examined the bipartisan Senate bill in any detail? If not, you should. It's the most sensible proposal out there,

I have examined it. They call it "comprehensive" but it only plays lip service to enforcement. It is a massive amnesty combined with a massive expansion of permanent unskilled labor immigration. I am really interested in watching how the Democrats explain how all this new cheap labor benefits their black and labor union constituencies.

The May-day rallies may have opened some minds but I doubt it. Most of the polls show that no minds were changed and that existing positions were solidified. The backlash results of the Herndon, VA election probably put some fear in a few politicians who are hearing their constituents oppose amnesty. And I doubt the most recent Zogby Poll which shows a 2-1 preference for the House Bill over the Senate Bill will be strengthening the Senate's resolve.

Posted by: jackbenimble on May 4, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK
rmck1: 1) illegals don't vote.

Chrissy: their US citizen family members, acquaintances, and friends do, as do Hispanic citizens that, though they may not personally know any illegals, may still see both the policies that make the "illegals" illegal and the manner in which the "illegals" are treated as part of broader bigotry directed at their own ethnicity.

Posted by: cmdicely on May 4, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Brooksfoe,

Enforcing or laws is the fascist mindset, Nice.

Never occurred to you that I might be brown? My family immigrated from Latin America ( before I was born), You stereotype all people who aren't for open borders as fascists and racists and all Hispanics as believers that borders don't matter and wanting people to play by the rules (my dad wanted years for a visa) is form of superstition (like religion, say). The world is a bit more complicated than your stereotypes, sorry.

As for throwing down with Mexico, my point is, we respect the sovereignty of their borders, we have every right to expect them to respect ours. Legally or militarily, there is nothing they can do to stop us from enforcing our own laws. If they tried to stop us, they would lose, badly.

Again, as I mentioned above, if the Dem's position is framed as "America is racist", they aren't going to pick up many seats this fall.


Posted by: beowulf on May 4, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

jackbenimble:

Well, I'd tend to take your concerns more seriously if you didn't use the false, demagogic frames.

The bipartisan Senate bill is *not* "amnesty." Amnesty is *poof!*, you're a citizen. This bill, first of all, requires sending home illegals who've been in the country less than two years. For the rest, it requires paying back taxes and a huge fine. That's not amnesty. As far as enforcement goes, the Tancredo/Sensenbrenner proposals are flatly unworkable. We can build a wall, but we don't have the personnel to guard it -- even if we did, there's still two massive coastlines. Ask yourself how we'd manage the logistics of sending back all the illegals who'd be sent back under that proposal. And where would they be sent back *to*?

Enforcement of the existing laws, supply-side regulation through sanctioning employers who don't scrupulously vet documents, are better way to go.

This is also not "new" cheap labor -- another demagogic frame. It's trying to get a handle on what's happening today. Make employers do thorough checks, bounce out the illegals with the forged documents, and you'll see less incentive for illegals to come over.

But mass deportations, criminalizing good samatarians and building a useless wall are not practical solutions.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Bob, paying back taxes is a bad joke. Very few illegal aliens have the earning power to have any tax liability. And the $2000 fine is another joke. It is trivial; about the equivalent of the coyote smuggling fee that many of them paid here to get here in the first place. Selling American citizenship for $2000 will only breed contempt for our rule of law. The illegals who get the benefit of this of this not-an-amnesty are getting everything they desire: legal residency. This path to citizenship approach may not meet your exact definition of amnesty but it has all the same problems that we associate with amnesty. The world is going to see once again that we don't take our immigration laws seriously and that if they ignore our laws and come here illegally, that they too will eventually be made citizens. When you reward lawbreakers you get more lawbreaking.

You say mass deportations are not possible but then you tout the provision of the Senate bill that requires illegals who have been here less that 2 years to be deported. About 500,000 illegals come annually so that is about 1 million illegals who you advocate deporting. That will nearly match Eisenhower's Operation Wetback back in the 1950s. That is a lot of deportations!

Of course everybody knows that will never happen and that practically nobody will be deported. Like the 1986 Reagan Amnesty, immigration claims will be subject to massive fraud. The 2-year stuff is strictly for public consumption to make the bill easier to sell. Institutionalizing fraud for cynical reasons makes for bad law though.

Interior enforcement in the workplace is the common ground between the House and the Senate Bills. They both call for it. And I agree with you that it is the best strategy.

You discount the wall/fence but actually walls work fabulously well everywhere they are tried. The experience is Israel has been something like a 95% reduction in terrorism. The experience near San Diego has been similar with vast reductions in crime on both sides of the border. I don't expect that a wall would be perfect but it is obvious to me that our 11,000 Border Patrol Agents would be more effective with a wall then without one. It would only be part of a comprehensive enforcement strategy.

I'm not particularly worried about the deportation issue. I think it is just a red herring talking point for the amnesty advocates. I doubt mass deportations will every happen. I think that when we start enforcing our borders and when it becomes nearly impossible for illegals to find jobs that many will self-deport and I don't need to worry about where to because they will decide. AFTER the public gains confidence that enforcement will actually be made to work I think there will be considerable sympathy for an amnesty.

As far as your claim that this is also not "new" cheap labor you are flat wrong. I thought you said you had reviewed the bill! The Senate Bill makes provisions for some 400,000 NEW guest worker visas each year and provides that this number will be bumped up automatically by 20% each year that the quota is met. So if 400,000 come in this year it will allow 480,000 the following year. Plus their families which will probably mean that we will be importing a million the first year and more after that. And all of these guestworkers are put on the road to permanent citizenship. This is an immediate doubling of our current legal immigration numbers with no caps on what it could eventuially grow to. That is a lot of new immigration.

Now that you know the facts about new workers, I ask again, how will Democrats explain this vast expansion of the supply of unskilled labor to their black and their labor union constituencies?

As a Republican, I think it is going to offer fantastic opportunities for us to make in-roads into the blue collar vote and to finally and completely break the Democratic stranglehold on the black vote. There is a good article in the NY Times today about unhappy blacks!

Posted by: jackbenimble on May 4, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

jackbenimble:

Well, as a Democrat, I think your political calculus is going to backfire. You're going to need to to continue to use false frames to sell Sensenbrenner/Tancredo -- and at the end of the day that bill will *not* be passed -- and here's why:

The recent immigrant communty (mostly Hispanic but hardly exclusively) has been energized by this like no issue previously. The Catholic Church opposes Tancredo; the idea of criminalizing good samaritans is not only unworkable, but flatly immoral and deeply unAmerican, too.

All the criticisms you can level at the Senate bill, I can throw back at Tancredo/Sensenbrenner in spades. It demands far more deportations. It demands draconian legal penalties that force people to violate basic human nature by turning in their family members. It requires an enforcement regime that would divert LEOs that are needed in our cities -- and it doesn't address the fungible nature of our huge coastlines ...

The temporary visas don't call for *new* immigration -- they account for immigration that *already exists*. They bring what is currently sub rosa into the daylight. The added numbers only reflect the amount of immigration already happening, and are lower in absolute terms.

The gain this would have for law enforcement and public health is unquestionable. We want people here with documentation. We can't police communities if local law enforcement becomes an arm of DHS; nobody will talk to the cops anymore.

While we all may bristle at the idea of illegal immigration, framing it exclusively as a moral issue, a rule of law issue, is simply profoundly unrealistic. People who live and interact with illegals realize that they're a law-abiding community -- in fact, they're poster children for values that Republicans claim to cherish -- family, religion, hard work.

So you're going to lose big in urban areas. The areas that have your strongest support are already Republican suburbs -- those with the least day-to-day contact with illegals. And while working-class American citizens at the bottom of the wage scale are the easiest to inflame on this issue -- there are arguably less of them in isolated communities than there are of mixed communities where people know illegals and it's thus harder to paint them as bogeymen.

And while some black leaders are beginning to grow uneasy -- they also realize, more than whites, just precisely what it's like to be a scapegoated minority when the real problem is elsewhere.

The real problem is economic insecurity -- and the villians can be addressed with proper economic policy.

And it's our job as Democrats to get that message out.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

I'm bilingual, raised around Hispanics, and prefer eating menudo to hamburgers, but I have to say that if the illegal immigration problem isn't dealt with "firmly", i.e. deportations, a viable wall, and severe penalties for employers, then, the living standard in this country is headed for the skids. Why should an employer pay a decent wage when he can hire an intelligent, hard worker that will out work two or three "Americans"? I'm a plumber, and the fact is that most Mexican illegal aliens work much harder than Americans. The funny thing is that the second generation Mexican worker won't work nearly as hard, because they aren't afraid of being deported. And, hey, the third generation is just as low motivated as any other citizen. I lean towards the conservative side of the fence, and I'm a student of history.

The funny thing about the collapse of a civilization is how different elements of that civilzation grow so complacent. Does anyone seriously believe that having that many illegal aliens in this country doesn't pose a serious security threat? If large scale riots had ensued during the marches, how could public order have been restored with out using the military? The Mexican government has a vested interest in this invasion. True, it is in slow motion, but it is an invasion none the less.

Posted by: killerwhale on May 4, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

killerwhale:

"Collapse of civilization?"

And you call yourself a *cough* student of history ... sheesh.

So what do you offer us in the way of examples?

Counterfactuals. The horrible things that *didn't* go wrong at the rallies.

You're going to have to do better than this, amigo.

The problem is the race to the bottom implied by globalization.

The behavior you're witnessing is explained in a first-year economics textbook.

Maybe it's time to re-think some of *those* assumptions, eh?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the cost of illegal immigration in 1997 was $70 billion * (and today probably around $150 billion) and to many peole this is significant sum of money.

* study by Professor Donald Huddle, Rice University

Some other facts:

From the L.A Times(2002)

1. 40% of all workers in L.A. County (L.A. County has 10 million people) are working for cash and not paying taxes. This was because they are predominantly illegal immigrants, working without a green card.

2. 95% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20040119-082933-4484r.htm

3. 75% of people on the most wanted list in Los Angeles are illegal aliens.

4. Over 2/3's of all births in Los Angeles County are to illegal alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal whose births were paid for by taxpayers.

5. Nearly 25% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally.

6. Over 300,000 illegal aliens in Los Angeles County are living in garages.

7. The FBI reports half of all gang members in Los Angeles are most likely illegal aliens from south of the border.

8. Nearly 60% of all occupants of HUD properties are illegal.

9. 21 radio stations in L.A. are Spanish speaking.

10. In L.A.County 5.1 million people speak English. 3.9 million speak Spanish (10.2 million people in L.A.County).

(All 10 from the Los Angeles Times)

29% of inmates in federal prisons are illegal aliens.

Less than 2% of illegal aliens are picking our crops but 29% are on welfare.
http://www.cis.org

Posted by: ted on May 4, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Good post by Linda R. and I agree with Chrissy when she says "The people who are kidding themselves are the Dems who are walking straight into a republican trap by not going after Republicans as the cheap labor party that won't hold the wealthy big-business employers accountable and allowing Dems to be portrayed as the pro-illegal party."

Do we really have millions of people doing stoop labor in this country? What has really concerned me about the rise in illegal immigration is the way business has used it to make formerly good-paying jobs minimum wage ones. Kevin mentions construction in a passing aside, but that's an important, not negligable, sector of formerly middle-class jobs, and ones that can't be outsourced, to boot. And the construction industry's response? If you can't outsource the work, "insource" the labor by hiring minimum wage illegal immigrants who can't demand unions or complain about low wages, long hours and dangerous working conditions.

Ditto meat packing. Used to be highly unionized, well-paid, and filled with American workers.

As to a "guest-worker" program, I suppose one could be worked out, but only if shown that Americans would not take the job AFTER living wages were offered and strict hour and safety work rules enforced.

The whole "jobs Americans won't take" argument is for the most part Big Business/Republican't spin.

Posted by: Cal Gal on May 4, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

ted:

2002, eh.

Can you say ... Proposition 187?

There ... I just *knew* ya could ... *wink*

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Cal Gal:

You're a pretty intelligent poster ... a laywer, correct?

Do you *honestly* believe that we can "turn back the clock"?

Do you really think that if we could somehow magically deport all the aliens, that wages in the meat packing and construction trades would be back up to union par?

Or will the employers figure out *another* scam to drive down wages?

Seriously. Do you think we can turn off the spigot effectively? Can we deport millions of people (to their correct countries of origin) in anything like a fashion that dignifies our ideals as a nation?

It's easy to demagogue about this stuff.

Solutions are a whole 'nother ball o' whacks.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

regarding language and culture. yes people tend to stick with the group they most identify with at the present time. a person's first work is the culture. getting vested. people give up one culture for another many times over their lives but having it torn from you, or having a culture to which you can't belong gain power, those are frightening events, and i don't mean childishly frightening. i mean, like worrying about earthquakes as you build your house. who wouldn't outlaw earthquakes and storms if it were possible?

regarding work papers as a wedge tactic. the minimum wage efforts have been pretty successful lately. the charge: the system isn't and hasn't been paying a fair wage. best defense: say that the system's not broken, it's being assaulted from outside - furners messin' with the mojo.

squash it. say: "we all agree a person should be paid a day's wage for a day's work - only migrants will live in a tent for a buck. that's why the minimum wage needs to be enough to pay the bills. and we need to make it stick: you want to do business in america, you pay a fair wage. or you go to jail."

Posted by: hibiscus on May 4, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

hibiscus:

Don't quite know what you were trying to say exactly about culture being wrenched away -- but the latter part of your post is much closer to the true nature of the problem.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Well, as a Democrat, I think your political calculus is going to backfire.

The calculus that I am sure that will hurt Republicans is amnesty (or anything like it). Some Republicans seem to think that we can win the Hispanic vote if we don't offend Hispanics with tough enforcement.

But the 1986 Amnesty was engineered by Reagan and Alan Simpson who were Republicans and that sure didn't do Republicans much good. Prior to that we had carried California in 9 out of 10 elections since 1952. Some claim that it was Prop 187 that hurt us in California but we started losing there in 1992 which was 2 years before Prop 187. The only way a Republican can win in California since the Reagan Amnesty is being tough on illegals. It worked for Wilson with Prop 187 and Schwarzeneggar with repealing drivers licenses.

The next amnesty, even if it is pushed through by a Republican President and bi-partisan support in a Republican Congress will probably cost Republicans Colorado and Florida. I looked at those crowds of protestors marching on the international communist workers holiday and I didn't see a Republican in the lot.

Republicans will deserve what they get if they let that happen. It would be particularly ironic because there is a solid base of Hispanics who do vote Republican who oppose amnesty. I'm one of them.

Posted by: jackbenimble on May 4, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

all i was trying to say about culture is that knowing the culture is the gateway to making it in this world. i look at "alienation" as being beaten to the buzzer because you couldn't hear the question. nobody likes that feeling whether it comes from not making it as a desk jockey, working twice for one month's pay, skipping doctor appointments for your kids, whatever. everybody fears being left out when the next wave hits. arguments that foreign cultures cause internal problems will always resonate because of this.

Posted by: hibiscus on May 4, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

jackbenimble:

Ahhh ... so you can pick out Republicans in a crowd just by ... looking at them, eh? Up to how many yards away? :)

Hispanic, huh. Who would've guessed? :) Let me guess ... second generation? Third? (I was an American studies major; the "more American than thou" immigrant syndrome is pretty much a commonplace.)

So what you're saying ... correct me if I'm wrong ... is that California is trending Democrat because Republicans are angry about ineffectual border control?

Not that, you know, California's demographics are changing, or anything like that. Republican anger's driving the whole show.

Interesting ...

Why is Schwartzenegger tanking in the polls then?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

hibiscus:

In that broad, psychological sense, I agree with you totally.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

People need to make a decent wage to support a family. When illegal aliens depress wages as a result of working illegally, then it becomes much harder for working class people to achieve the "American" dream. Illegal aliens don't have the right to protest their conditions here, because they shouldn't be here. If Mexican citizens want to protest their treatment here, why don't we consider how the Mexican government actually treats illegal aliens? They are aware that they can't allow more people into ther country, so why is the situation different in the US?

The ONLY people who should be allowed to immigrate are those who can PROVE that they are adding to this country, not taking from it! The US has no responsibility towards the poor in Mexico. That is the problem of thie government. If it was no longer possible to remit money to Mexico without citizenship, that would help solve the problem.

The US has a problem caring for the elderly in our country, and the problem is growing. There isn't any MONEY to take care of illegals and their children. Charity begins at home. The protesters figure that if they yell loud enough, they will get what they want. Some will work, to be sure, but there will be a lot of women and children, and elderly who will REQUIRE medical attention and welfare. Are we insane? Who is going to pay for all of this? The longer this situation continues, the more violent the correction will be. The ONLY way these people will self deport is if they can't get ANY services in this country. ANY. So, some will call acting in national self interest racism, but it isn't. After all, we have a large, LEGAL, welfare state as it is, and we simply can't afford any more. So, no government help of ANY kind without papers. NONE. That is exactly what would happen if You or I should happen to find ourselves in Mexico. Why can't the same apply here? Before anyone goes off the deep end, please check into Mexican illegal immigration policy. It will give anyone cause for pause. Actually, it is difficult to believe that the Mexican government could actually insist on decent treatment for their citizens, when they treat illegal aliens so poorly. The mind boggles. However, people seem to forget that Americans will only put up with so much. When average Americans really come to understand that there is no way that an illegal immigrant could possibly EVER pay enough in fines, much less pay taxes for what they and their families require, The tide is going to turn.

Posted by: killerwhale on May 4, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

killerwhale:

That's a nice little piece of screed, there.

I disagree with virtually every word.

And you can't disprove my disagreement, because you didn't cite any facts to begin with :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Half Hispanic, Cuban, 2nd generation, raised 100% middleclass unhyphenated American.

Generally I can't tell. But when I see a huge number of people marching on a communist holiday, swinging flags from other countries and demanding rights be given to them because they broke the law I have a pretty good idea that if given the chance to vote the vast majority will go Democrat. That behavior doesn't fit the Republican mold. You seldom see Republicans marching in protests.

So what you're saying ... correct me if I'm wrong ... is that California is trending Democrat because Republicans are angry about ineffectual border control?

What I am saying is that California has swung Democrat because huge numbers of Hispanics who used to be non-voters because they were illegal were turned into voters as a result of the Reagan Amnesty.

That was enough to tip a fairly evenly divided electorate in the Democrat's favor. California is becoming more Democrat because the voters who used to vote majority Republican are fleeing the place in droves as the schools fail, taxes go up and bankruptcy looms. California's population is going up but the last decade was the first ever where there was a net out-migration of native born Americans. California population growth was more than 100% driven by immigration (both legal and illegal). And it shows. The state's finances are a mess and Los Angelos schools are probably beyond salvation. It is almost a third world country. Sadly the poorer the people get, the more likely they are to vote Democrat. Poor people vote for Democrats although it never seems to do them much good.

Occassionally, like they did in 1994 and in 2004, the remaining Californians will muster enough votes to elect a Republican if he promises to be tough on illegals.

I expect that pattern to be repeated in Colorado and Florida if an amnesty passes. It will take a few years because of the "path to citizenship". Both are fairly close to evenly divided and the new Hispanic voters will tip the balance to the Democrats. Republicans will be fools to let it happen. I can think of a single blue state that it would cause to turn red.

Posted by: jackbenimble on May 4, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

Can any one show where the money will come from to pay for the services that illegals require? How is it possible? I'm bilingual, and have had to interpret at one of our local hospitals. You see, I was raised around a lot of Hispanics. The problem boils down to a certain standard of living. In many conversations in spanish with friends of mine, they tell me of how it is in Mexico. Essentially, they are amazed at how people can get money and healthcare here without working. No se pueden creerlo. They can't belive it. They shake their heads and smile. They say such people would die in Mexico of starvation. No one would help them. So, what the hey, is the USA great, or what? Why on earth would they ever want to leave?

So, speaking of deportations, self and forced, there isn't any getting around the fact that the US government shouldn't be in the business of helping undesrving people who don't have the right to be here. One of the suprising things for me to learn was that legal Hispanics look down on illegals. You become aware of this when you speak spanish, and observe the tone of voiuce, the verb inflections, and the like. I wonder how many people reading this post are bilingual? Those who have left Mexico's poverty sure as hell don't want to see a repeat here. How many people reading this have really been to Mexico? Not the resorts, but the real Mexico - with poor people wondering about? That is why legal Hispanics tend to do so well. They don't want any part of the pobreza - poverty - and work really hard to make it here. If too many illegals are allowed to remain, then they will change this country.

Posted by: killerwhale on May 4, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

jackbenimble & killerwhale:

Both really intelligent posts. Gracias.

jackbenimble:

A very sober analysis. As a Democrat, I'll try not to gloat :) In seriousness, I don't believe that Ronnie did that to help the Dems in California; I believe he did it because he thought it was the right thing to do.

As a Democrat, I think that what's going on is precisely part of the American dream. I can't find a principle to found an exclusive title to this land. Hell -- I was born by here by accident. And the white people who established the culture stole it from the original inhabitants. So if Mexicans are driven to come up here to better themselves -- and they contribute essentially to the economy -- it's hard to begrudge them for it. Not like the USA is a vastly overpopulated country.

killerwhale:

Do we want Mexican-style poverty in the USA? No way, Jose. One of the reasons so many Anglos find it hard to dis Hispanic immigrants is a tremendous work ethic. Granted, it starts diminishing generation-by-generation -- and that's the American way. But foreign born immigrants never cease to amaze American citizens with it.

So the idea that foreign-born immigrants (legal or otherwise) are somehow, as a class, parasitic -- is just plain false. How do we keep the standard of living? Pass some livable minimum wages laws, for starters. And deprive employers of an exploitable pool of labor by bringing illegals into the system.

Now ... I'm a reasonable guy. I'm willing to compromise. While I have an immense problem with the idea of a wall -- if local LEOs and DHS Border Patrol say that it will help them do their jobs -- I'd be willing to give on it. I don't think it's a panacea -- and I detest the symbolism -- but if they think it will help, let's try it.

In exchange for that -- and in exchange for a link to the SS database so employers can perform instant validation checks before hiring, with strong penalties for firms that hire illegals and don't thoroughly check docs -- I'd like to see what you'd both call "amnesty" in the Senate compromise bill. Let the current crop of illegals -- if they can prove residency for over two years -- stay here and buy their way to citizenship.

With the proviso that illegal immigration will be rendered much more difficult with better border enforcement and workplace document validation.

Deal, amigos? Can we shake on it?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 4, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

One fact often overlooked in this debate is that the Bush administration has essentially stopped enforcing the pathetic employer sanctions in current immigration law. Like many other conscious decisions of the Bush administration this policy was adopted for only one reason- to financially enrich some part of the Republican base.

This leads us to one likely conclusion- the people who run the Republican Party are not serious about the issue of illegal workers in the US. In fact, illegal workers are a profit center for many of the deep pocket supporters of the national Republican Party.

But the Republicans can't just come out and say this since their electoral base contains large numbers of people opposed to illegal immigration or who are just plain racist. Thus they come up with strategies doomed to (planned) failure, like the Tancredo "illegals are felons" nonsense. Illegal (hint, hint) aliens are already here illegally. Does anyone with a functioning brain think that making them "more" illegal will deter the flow north? This is pandering and not a serious attempt to resolve the problem.

The only two things which might do so are 1) sanctions against employers that include felony convictions, jail time, and seizure of property 2) virtual fortification of the border (coupled with denial of temporary entry rights to people who have a high likelihood of overstays). Republicans and many Democrats will never do the first and no one will do the second.

Allowing and even inviting illegal aliens has many negative consequences (which are winked at by the current administration). First, for an administration that constantly bleats about national security, how secure can we be if we have no idea who is coming into or who is in our country? Forget the Mexican who comes here to hang sheetrock and stays illegally. Think drug cartels, other common criminals, terrorists of any stripe, etc. Who is coming in and where do they go? We haven't got a clue.

Those who allow and invite illegal immigration for their own gain (chiefly business) create a culture of lawbreaking that spider webs outward from the first bad act. Many illegal aliens use false documents to get work. Many illegal aliens commit identity theft in order to work. Many illegal aliens work under the table, paying no taxes and working when not allowed. Many illegal aliens are lawfully admitted but overstay their visa dates. Many employers of illegal aliens flout all US employment laws (such as worker safety, minimum wage, overtime, workweek restrictions, discrimination) and non-employment laws (rapes, assaults, intimidation, etc. are common at some migrant worksites). Common mandates for citizens or legal aliens (e.g., drivers licenses and auto insurance)are legally denied to these folks and thus they illegally do without. Since illegal immigrants (or their employers) have to commit many crimes in order for them to live and work in the US, our embrace of illegal immigration fuels this culture of lawbreaking that we may never recover from. By allowing illegal employment in this country, we both invite and force people to become criminals. It is probably not coincidental that the administration that will go down in history as being most cavalier about following the law itself sees nothing wrong with encouraging massive lawbreaking as long as it makes money.

Think any of this is wrong? Go up to your Republican lawmaker and ask him or her how they feel about instant document checks and felony penalties for employer violations, including jail terms and property seizures. Stand back, because when he laughs at you, he may spit.

Posted by: solar on May 4, 2006 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

In exchange for that -- and in exchange for a link to the SS database so employers can perform instant validation checks before hiring, with strong penalties for firms that hire illegals and don't thoroughly check docs -- I'd like to see what you'd both call "amnesty" in the Senate compromise bill. Let the current crop of illegals -- if they can prove residency for over two years -- stay here and buy their way to citizenship.

Just to be clear, are talking about the current crop and we are leaving out the massive expansion of new immigration?

It seems like I signed up for this deal back in 1986. The amnesty happened but the enforcement didn't. Your current offer sounds reasonable but I have fallen for that before and it would be foolish to bite on that gambit again. For now, I am going to hold out for enforcement first. When I see serious enforcement I'll be willing to cut a deal on amnesty.

I might buy a bill that included amnesty as long as it was delayed and tied to measurable enforcement metrics (hundreds of miles of fence, new electronic social security card, etc).

Employers already currently have a link to the Social Security Database. It is called the Basic Pilot Project and it was available in 8 states since about 1996 and all 50 states for the last couple of years. It takes a 60 second phone call to validate a SS number or it can be done online and in large batches. It is optional and under-utilized. I assume you are talking about making it mandatory. Absolutelty, I would agree to that with nothing in return!

But it doesn't work very well. Tyson Chicken is using it now and they have plenty of illegals on their payroll. As long as an illegal knows a valid name to go with a valid social security number they can get past the system. Many illegals use their own anchor baby's number which is issued to them shortly after birth because they are citizens.

We need vastly better social security cards with photos, magnetic strips, PIN Numbers, biometrics and the best fraud prevention we can come up with. I would suggest outsourcing this to the credit card processing companies because they manage to do a great job of this on hundreds of millions of transactions daily and their error level is very very low and their costs per transaction are also very low.

Posted by: jackbenimble on May 4, 2006 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Bob, one of the things that I learned as I was becoming fluent in spanish is that Mexicans, by and large, simply don't see things the way anglos do. They have a different sense of time, for example, and aren't nearly so hung up on being on time. Another example, is a different viewpoint insofar as the law and legality. It's not so much as what we would call situational ethics, as a realization of relative powerlessness. So, what an Anglo might view as a fixed law, to a Mexican would be ridiculous, because it affects survival.

So, when we talk about border enforcement, for example, They see being able to make money for la familia. Different points of view that really will never coincide. How can the US convince Mexico that illegal immigration is wrong? I don't believe it can be done. What will convince the Mexicans that the US is serious about illegal immigration is (1) Really enforce employment laws, perhaps, as Solar suggests, heavy fines and seizures, (2) A wall that means business. Mexico will make all kinds of threats to try and stop the wall from being built, but a wall is a visible sign of determination. And the Mexican government knows full well that if They can stop the wall from being built, They have won the cultural war. (3) the law should be changed to forbid monetary transfers without citizenship. (4) English is mandatory - no one should be able to apply without being able to speak english. No exemptions whatsoever. The US CANNOT afford to allow a permanent subclass to root itself in this country. I know from personal experience that intelligent Mexicans view it as a badge of honor that they speak english. The point is that people who invest the time to learn to speak english BEFORE they come here will do much better. We don't need any more barrios, and the thing most likely to prevent that is the requirement of fluecy in english. (5) Actual proof of immunizations, perhaps blood tests, to prevent TB and other diseases from being spread, particularly among our children.

So, Bob, I believe that if a man and his family have been here for 5 years, have started down the road to home ownership, who has NEVER been arrested for ANYTHING, DUI, Family violence, drugs, aren't a member of any gang, and more importantly, don't permit any of their children to be in a gang, then they deserve a chance. An ugly problem is alcohol abuse, and machisimo. Unfortunately, these requirements would eliminate a lot of illegals. However, that is what a stable society MUST have. Most Hispanics don't want to talk about how many women are beaten and abused. Part of the reason is that here in the USA, these men know womwn have more freedom, and are determined to keep them in "order". Most well meaning Anglos don't speak the language, and they surely don't understand ANYTHING about the culture. Pretending that all of these illegal immigrants desrve a chance doesn't reflect the real world. I know, a friend of mine is a rape and family counselor who, by the way is a black woman, who told me straight out, "Ain't no way I'd put up with that mess." Different cultural viewpoints, and the curious thing is that liberal feminists don't seem to have a clue. Oh well.....How many women have to be beaten to make a point? It's not so simple.

Posted by: killerwhale on May 4, 2006 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

jackbenimble & killerwhale:

Again ... two extremely well-thought-out, carefully expressed and
completely civil expressions of a viewpoint on an issue which I don't
share. A lot more edifying than the usual "GOP racist xenophobe!"
"Bend-over liberal pussy!" :)

Also the both of you express entirely different facets of the problem.
While I think I can work with some of jackbenimble's suggestions
(though there are others of which I've drawn a firm line), I'm going
to start with killerwhale's cultural analysis of the problem.

I really think you need a historical perspective on this. You might've
guessed by the handle "rmck1" that I'm Irish-American. Fourth
generation; never experienced a shred of prejudice for it -- but I
know the history of anti-Catholic bigotry in this country. A century
ago, all the things you're saying about Mexican siesta culture they
were saying about Catholics generally. And it began with, you know,
Bavarian Germans ...

America was founded as a Protestant country. The Puritans established
the original cultural patterns, which spread through the colonies by
way of Poor Richard's Almanac. Sure, Anglicans settled the Tidewater
South, Catholics Maryland, Quakers Pennsylvania -- but Calvinist New
England (and New Amsterdam) became our first cultural template.
The great sociologist Max Weber wrote a seminal book on it: "The
Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism." Puritans made
capitalism so successful because their religious work ethic put
production ahead of consumption. You work and strive and become
successful not to indulge in the fruits of your labor -- but
because this was an outward-and-visible sign of God's Grace.

Well, the Catholics don't have that hangup about Grace. And tbey
were poor farmers, and worked to survive, and believed that God
would provide. They also raised huge families and often liked to
drink and get violent. If you haven't done the research, go read
what the popular magazines were saying at the turn of last century
about the Irish, Italians, Poles, Croats, etc. You'd be astounded
at how similar they said about Catholics to what you're saying now.

So I don't buy your cultural pollution argument. At all.

I also think your some of your suggestions are entirely too hardass
to be practical. An illegal immigrant doesn't have to be a *saint* to
deserve citizenship. If they're a hardened criminal -- deport them
-- but they don't have to demonstrate a spotlessness above and beyond
what's average in their socioeconomic group. You don't take away a
family's chance to become citizens if one of their kids joins a gang.

It's also blisteringly ironic to hear you say disparaging things
about the Mexican devotion to la familia when we've been hearing
this same cultural dysfunction rap about inner city blacks for
decades -- and one of the things Hispanics are noted for is intact
family structure. Machismo? Domestic violence? Sheesh, check out
your average all-white trailer park. I'm hardly minimizing violence
against women and children; I'm just appalled that anyone would
try to dump it at the feet of a single ethnic or cultural group.

The common denominator here is poverty and ignorance, not some
Latin culture that we white-bread Anglos just "can't understand."

As for your numbered suggestions, I'd go along with *milder* versions
of most of them, save for two points: I think it's bottomlessly
cruel to prosecute remittances, when you consider that the money
is going to help people keep from literally starving; that needn't
be a focus -- this isn't money going to fund Islamic Jihad. Secondly,
I don't fear bilingualism. By the third generation, everybody speaks
English, and that's not going to change. As long as English is the
dominant language, people are going to learn to speak it. The only
thing I'd insist on is that it be taught as a citizenship requirement.

Final point: I don't think the Mexican government thinks it's
fighting a "cultural war" with America and has some kind of vested
interest in keeping illegal immigration going, nor would they nor
could they object if we decided to build a wall. Illegal immigration
happens because it *can* happen -- it's driven by economics, not
some paranoid idea of reconquista or La Raza or Communist ideology.

*Capitalism* causes illegal immigration, not screwball leftism.

jackbenimble:

Glad we can agree on universalizing the Basic Pilot Project.
If the SS#s were managed correctly, there'd be no way that
a mom could use her anchor baby's new SS# to get a job,
because it would obviously include the age in the database.

As for enforcement not happening post '86 -- I think there are
significant reasons for it. Understand that I'm a strong civil
libertarian. By philosophical principle, I don't believe that any
nation can "win" a War on Drugs, or a War on Terror, or eradicate
prostitution, drinking, smoking, or eating McDonald's every meal.

We can increase enforcement, but understand that it comes at a cost,
and it will be never be perfect. To the extent that we try to make
it perfect, we militarize our society in ways that start to warp our
fundamental values as a nation, and I'm not willing to go there.

It seems that the people who want solve this problem are divided
into two camps. On one side are the enforcement first folks. On
the other are the folks who want to deal with the human and economic
consequences first. And neither side want to budge on their
priorities -- which is why I predict that we're not getting a
bill this year. But both sides are going to have to swallow
hard and make compromises, and do both aspects simultaneously.

You really have to look at the logistics -- not just of closing
the borders, but of mass deportations and jail sentences for people
just trying to make a living or keep their families together. And
you're going to have to decide how much cruelty is worth the goal.

That goes for my own side as well. But we *have* to compromise.

There is one thing you suggested, though, on which I absolutely
refuse to compromise, and will fight to my dying breath. A
national biometric ID. That makes every civil libertarian nerve
in my head burn and twitch. Understand something: I'm a middle
aged guy. I have never owned, nor will I own, a credit card. Nor
do I have a drivers license. I do not want some centralized agency
to know everthing about me. Once you get something like that going,
it's a snap to include medical records, photos of distinguishing
marks (like a tattoo on your privates), criminal record, history
of all electronic financial activity, your web surfing habits, etc.

This is Big Brother. The potential for abuse is mind-boggling.
If you think DHS can just blithely contract with a credit
card company, you're probably not aware of the 250k names
with financial info that were stolen by hackers from a California
database two years ago. It's not that I fear government abuse
(yet) -- it's that it's an identity thief's wet dream. Credit
card databases are routinely hacked, and identity theft is a bigger
problem every year. I don't want *every digitizable aspect of my
existence as a human being* in a database somewhere, where it can
be stolen or -- yes -- misused by a future fascistic government.

Requiring this as part of an "amnesty" program for
would-be citizens is the foot in the door for a national
comprehensive biometric ID program. America becomes Fallujah.

Homey don't play dat.

Bob

Posted by: lynx on May 5, 2006 at 4:27 AM | PERMALINK

Last post by me, obviously.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 5, 2006 at 4:28 AM | PERMALINK

It's insane to import poverty when there is more than enough domestic poverty that needs solving.

Just goes to show that the only thing Democrats have more sympathy for than poor Americans is poor non-Americans.

Ultimately, the debate about illegal immigration is not about economics, it's about nationalism. Does the nation belong to the citizens of the nation, or does the nation belong to the whole world? The current defacto-policy of open borders is no longer tolerable.

The Democrats should be happy that so many Senate Republicans and Bush pander to business insatiable desire for ever cheaper labor. Because on this issue Republicans are missing a chance to deal a death blow to the Democratic Party since illegal immigration hurts black people most of all. Cracking down on illegals could provide a golden opportunity to split the 90% lock the Democrats have on the black vote since the Democrats seem to care more about the illegals than they do about black citizens.

Posted by: Brad on May 5, 2006 at 7:17 AM | PERMALINK

Remeber this statement by Vicente Fox?...

http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/05/14/fox.jackson/index.html

Fox discussed the role that many Mexican immigrants occupy in the U.S. economy.

Speaking in Spanish, he said, "There is no doubt that Mexicans, filled with dignity, willingness and ability to work, are doing jobs that not even blacks want to do there in the United States."

Posted by: Brad on May 5, 2006 at 7:49 AM | PERMALINK

Makes it seem not such a big tragedy that Carson didn't get elected...

Posted by: Nell on May 5, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Nice site http://stacey-keebler.blogspot.com/

Posted by: stacey-keebler on May 6, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

http://highschoolmusical.worldispnetwork.com/

Posted by: highschoolmusical on May 6, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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