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Tilting at Windmills

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June 5, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

IMMIGRATION REFORM....In the LA Times today, Jonah Goldberg kinda sorta admits that at least some of the conservative opposition to immigration reform really does come from xenophobic nativists. "But they are the minority," he says.

Fair enough. But then he says this:

The most important immigration policy is to enforce the policy, whatever it is....If I had my druthers, in 2001, Bush would have pursued a real clampdown on illegal immigration while at the same time expanding legal immigration, including from Mexico. I don't even mind the idea of a one-time amnesty for illegals, if in fact it is a one-time deal. But again, a system in which we declare it's a one-time amnesty but mean nothing of the sort means that we have no policy at all.

Indeed. That's more or less my position too. But what Jonah doesn't tell his readers is that the main opposition to implementing a policy like this comes from....the Republican Party. After all, everyone with a pulse and a three-digit IQ knows that the single most effective policy to cut down illegal immigration isn't a border fence or more money for patrol cars. The single most effective policy would be to seriously clamp down on businesses that illegally hire undocumented workers. Really clamp down. There are plenty of smart proposals out there for doing just that, and some of them even have the added bonus of costing almost nothing.

But of course we know who opposes this policy change: the corporate paymasters of the Republican Party. Maybe somebody ought to have a word with them about that.

Kevin Drum 11:36 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (87)

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Comments

Damn Kevin, you really nailed that one. Failure to enforce existing laws is hypocrisy. This is also similar to allowing very rich people to cheat on taxes flagrantly because we reduce the number of IRS agents.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 5, 2007 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Scooter Libby just sentenced to 30 months in prison and $200K in fines.

Posted by: grape_crush on June 5, 2007 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

30 Months, indeed.

But, eggie and FAUX-Lib, he will only go to a "technicality" wing of the penal facility. And, Brit Hume, was soooo correct in saying, originally, that this story was merely of a "dog days of summer" - Well, Brit, maybe the wing will be called the "Dog Technicality Days of Summer" wing.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on June 5, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Correction: $250K in fines

Guess Libby will have a little less of his payof..er, defense fund to spend than I thought...

Posted by: grape_crush on June 5, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

But of course we know who opposes this policy change: the corporate paymasters of the Republican Party. Maybe somebody ought to have a word with them about that.

Maybe the corporate paymasters of the Democratic Party could sit down and have a little chat with the corporate paymasters of the Republican Party?

Seriously though:
This problem, as well as things like Healthcare, the War, Corruption, etc. None of these are going to get a serious, honest (ie. Good Faith) treatment until we divorce Politics and the electoral process from BIG MONEY. Period. Ain't ever going to happen. It's the root issue beneath so much of what's wrong with America today.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 5, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

osama_been_forgotten: Maybe the corporate paymasters of the Democratic Party could sit down and have a little chat with the corporate paymasters of the Republican Party?

Well said.

Sorry Kevin, I like Republican bashing as much as the next pinko, but where is the evidence that "the main opposition to implementing a policy like this comes from....the Republican Party".

When it comes to opposing the wishes of their paymasters (eg on the H-1B program or bankruptcy "reform") the Democratic tag line should be "we're not quite as blatant as that other party, oh, and we actually feel bad about bending you over for our payola".

Posted by: alex on June 5, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

'Americans are angry, not because they are racists, as liberals like to believe at least half of them are, but because they want laws to mean something.'

Americans are angry. This is when the republicans swoop in, identify with the anger, point blame at democrats, get elected, do nothing to solve the problem. Americans get angrier. But now they're angry at democrats because democrats are the reason there are so many illegal aliens in the country and the reason we can't get them out.

You're right that its not a racism issue. Its a nationalism issue. This great nation, founded by white christians is being changed. With the massive inflows of non white people this country is losing its identity, its greatness. But its not racism.

Posted by: jg on June 5, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

To be fair, the corporate paymasters of the Democratic party also aren't too thrilled with the idea of clamping down on business. With the presidential race calling for all possible cash, it's hard to imagine any side making waves on the issue of rocking the corporate boat.

Posted by: reform_did_we_say_that on June 5, 2007 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Preach on, OBF!
It isn't particuarly sexy to say so, but nothing gets done on any of the Big Issues facing this country until we truly address campaign finance reform.

P.S. Kevin, nice post.

Posted by: cazart on June 5, 2007 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Goldberg's least desirable scenario (amnesty, lax enforcement, amnesty, ad infinitum) has the smell of the sequences of Friedman units in Iraq (Iraqis will take over in 6 months, six months, Iraqis will take over in six months, six months, surge will take six months, six months, surge will take six months, ad infinitum..)

The whole concept of actually doing something after a one time action is so very un-Republican.

Posted by: Mudge on June 5, 2007 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

No this is not the fault of the Republicans. The fact is that the Democrats will not do anything to stop the flow of illegal immigrants. They see the Mexicans as potential votes and the democratic leadership is always willing to sink lower and lower just to get elected. Mark my words, in a few years we will wake up and realize that the parts of southwest will be trying to secede from the US and join Mexico. For that you will have Clinton and Kennedy to thank.

Posted by: egbert on June 5, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

The single most effective policy would be to seriously clamp down on businesses that illegally hire undocumented workers. Really clamp down.

Let's do it! Zero Tolerance for employers and the death penalty for businesses. None of this namby-pamby fine stuff. Take away their business licenses, farming permits and corporate charters. Hell, let's start confiscating their ill-gotten gains.

This could be as fun -- and effective -- as the war on drugs!

Posted by: martin on June 5, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Jonah gets paid good money to be stupid. Egbert does it for free.

Posted by: Pinson on June 5, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

mhr, that 1986 amnesty, courtesy of Ronald Wilson Reagan, was accompanied by penalties on employers that hired illegal immigrants.

Those penalties didn't last very long after the repug "base" started whining about it.

If you really want enforcement, take the government out of the equation: make it so private citizens (i.e., other employees, unions, and competitors) can sue someone for hiring illegals, with the triple damages based on the difference between the wage that was paid and the minimum wage.

Problem. Solved.

But I expect that the GOPers don't really want to solve the problem, they just want to use it as a rhetorical club to beat up on everyone else.

Posted by: Satan luvvs repugs on June 5, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

"But they are the minority," he says.

How could Jonah Goldberg possibly know this, or what possible basis could he have for such a declaration?

Posted by: kth on June 5, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Let's do it! Zero Tolerance for employers and the death penalty for businesses.
Posted by: martin on June 5, 2007 at 12:40 PM

Hmmm. I bet if you had a national database of employers on the web that are repeat offenders that might make a profound impact. Make 'em register like sex offenders!

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 5, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Kevin. The Bush administration is acting in accordance with the wishes of employers of illegals, as well as trying to not piss off Hispanic voters.

The Clinton Administration was no different, for that matter. In fact, I can't recall that any administration has vigorously enforced the law against employment of illegal aliens.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 5, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

The Bush regime did 'clamp down' on unregulated immigration from Mexico, but without any corresponding legal expansion. That is why all of those people died in the desert.

Posted by: Brojo on June 5, 2007 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Egbert logic: Mexicans leave Mexico to find improved opportunity and wages. Mexican-Americans then decide to secede in order to rejoin Mexico and once again have substandard opportunity and wages.

Perfect sense.

Oh..and let's talk about the last attempt to pass immigration legislation, Egbert..when the Republicans held both houses and the presidency. How'd that turn out?

But let's build the Great Wall of Gadsden. That'll do the trick.

Posted by: Mudge on June 5, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

KD: The single most effective policy would be to seriously clamp down on businesses that illegally hire undocumented workers. Really clamp down.

Undoubtedly. But it probably wouldn't hurt to stop screwing up the economies of these countries the immigrants are coming from. It's not like the border was less porous thirty years ago but in the meantime a lot of agricultural land has been expropriated and put to work growing produce for, um, well... YOU AND ME. Which creates pressure for immigration.

I can't say for sure but I'll bet a number of these folks would rather be home, if they could make a living there, rather than standing in the parking lot of a Home Depot.

Posted by: thersites on June 5, 2007 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, what Kevin Drum fails to admit is that there are many other opponents of the "policy change" he mentions. That includes all those Dems who try to smear those opposed to IllegalImmigration... hey, didn't Kevin Drum try to smear a segment of the GOP above?

It also includes the racial power groups that pull Teddy Kennedy's strings: every time there's a raid, those groups complain.

It also includes the MexicanGovernment; you can read about indirect links between that government and Dem politicians here.

This whole issue is a lot more complex than Kevin Drum can understand, and simply proposing you want to fine employers isn't going to work, since very powerful forces will always oppose that. And, people like Kevin Drum will always be on hand to help those powerful forces out.

Posted by: TLB on June 5, 2007 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

This is a case where what's bad for General Motors is bad for the United States. If lots of businesses were deprived of the workers on whom they depend, they'd have to raise prices and maybe even cut back--lay off other workers. The "corporate paymasters" are more often just little guys trying to make a buck.

Posted by: Marketeer on June 5, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Doughy pantload.

Posted by: luci on June 5, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Excuse my existence, but what is wrong with the white racial position? Why is it "nativist" and "racist" for whites to want to keep their land and culture, expand their numbers, etc., but normal, healthy, ethnic pride when blacks, Hispanics, or anyone else does it?

I mean, the people in California who shout the loudest about how great the new diversity is are the ones who move quickest to get their kids into private school once the local public school gets too black or brown.

Let's face it -- California's headed down the crapper, and the reason is 10,000,000 Mexicans. Call that statement whatever you like but it's true and we all know it.

Posted by: Erkie on June 5, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

cazart: It isn't particuarly sexy to say so, but nothing gets done on any of the Big Issues facing this country until we truly address campaign finance reform.

Hear, hear! Draft Feingold!

The first rule of any investigation is to follow the money. When investigating whores, that's doubly true.

P.S. My frequent use of the word "whore" is not meant to disparage honest working girls (and boys). "Whore" is not a synonym for prostitute, and simply taking payment for sex is an honest way to make a living.

Posted by: alex on June 5, 2007 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm. I bet if you had a national database of employers on the web that are repeat offenders that might make a profound impact. Make 'em register like sex offenders!
Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 5, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like a GREAT idea.

Particularly, since Corporations - UNLIKE sex offenders, have NO constitutional rights, endowed to them by their CREATOR, because they are soulless legal fictions. I really like this idea!

This is a case where what's bad for General Motors is bad for the United States. If lots of businesses were deprived of the workers on whom they depend, they'd have to raise prices and maybe even cut back--lay off other workers.
Posted by: Marketeer on June 5, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Marketeer:
Or - if the cost of producing goods increased, they might rest easy knowing that their workers, being paid more, will BUY more of their goods and services.

The "corporate paymasters" are more often just little guys trying to make a buck.

So are legal employees. When do they get to "make a buck"?

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 5, 2007 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

the corporate paymasters of the Republican Party. Maybe somebody ought to have a word with them

Lov ya, Kev, but that's just empty rhetoric. The paymasters in question are quickly bellying up to the bar and spending serious jack on the donkeys.

Ex: Banking - Biden & Dodd; GM, Ford - Dingell.


Ironically some of the most red of the anti immigrants are here in Tex, but many land owners in south Texas hate the thought of a wall.

How about we just hold a gun to the collective heads of the elites of Mexico and "encourage" them to treat their underclasses better.

To hell with Iraq!! If you want to see a failed state in the making, just cross the Rio Grande.

Posted by: Keith G on June 5, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter "ex-liberal": Look over there! The Clenis!

Posted by: Gregory on June 5, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, the "single most effective policy" would be for the United States to work toward improving conditions for workers in other countries, rather than treat those countries as rich sources of cheap labor and manufactured goods produced without the bother of labor and/or environmental regulation. But such a policy would be about as popular with the corporate interests to which both Republicans and Democrats are beholden as, say, "seriously clamp[ing] down on businesses that illegally hire undocumented workers."

Posted by: rod on June 5, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

'The "corporate paymasters" are more often just little guys trying to make a buck.
'

No they're not. They are the folks who write 5 figure checks to the RNC. They are the folks who attend $10000 a plate dinners and get the ear of a politician.

'This is a case where what's bad for General Motors is bad for the United States.'

Bullshit. There is no company that this country can't do without. I'm so sick of hearing that we need to enact policies that protect large comapnies because of blah blah blah effect on the economy. The economy will endure no matter what happens to GM or any other company. The only people fucked if GM can't stay in business are the people who own GM. If GM could build cars by ousourcing labor to India they'd do it in a heartbeat so don't give me any shit about workers losing jobs either. That's a jackalope.

Posted by: jg on June 5, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

The Clinton Administration was no different, for that matter. In fact, I can't recall that any administration has vigorously enforced the law against employment of illegal aliens.
Posted by: ex-liberal on June 5, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

au contraire, mon retard.

Why do you bother to comment on a topic when you are so ignorant of the facts?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/18/AR2006061800613_pf.html

Bush scaled back enforcement by 95%.

So yeah - Bush has been VERY different than Clinton in that regard. While I'm not on board with Clinton's massive expansion of H-1B programs (and frankly guys, Edwards shares this crime) - At least he bothered to enforce his own damn law. Republicans don't apparently believe in the law, when the criminals are their wealthy golf-buddies.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 5, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Let's face it -- California's headed down the crapper, and the reason is 10,000,000 Mexicans. Call that statement whatever you like but it's true and we all know it.

Call that statement whatever I like? How about I call it what it is - racist bullshit spewed by a hateful little toad. If you wonder why California has one of the most productive economies in the world, look at those "10,000,000 [sic] Mexicans" (most of which, by the way, are either American citizens or legal residents) and thank them for creating, in large part, the standard of living you enjoy.

Posted by: rod on June 5, 2007 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Rod,

But Mexicans start up less than 1% of all tech firms in California that are started by foreign-born people. Indians start 20%, Chinese start 13%, Mexicans less than 1%, with 10,000,000 of them! And they're not exactly wowing them at UCLA or Berkeley, either.

California's great economy is powered by Americans and high-IQ Indians and East Asians. The Mexicans clean the offices and mow the lawns. That's why California's middle class is shrinking so quickly and whites are leaving the state. More and more public schools every year are becoming places you wouldn't send your kid. It's becoming Brazil, with lots of rich, lots of poor, and not enough in-betweens.

You're living in a dreamworld if you don't think California is in crisis, and that it's not getting worse in a hurry.

Posted by: Erkie on June 5, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

"The first rule of any investigation is to follow the money. When investigating whores, that's doubly true." -alex at 1:27 PM

LOL. Hunter Thompson would be proud.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 5, 2007 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

You guys should check out this excellent (and delightful) rundown of the awe-full fratricidal (should we now change that sexist adjective?) battle between different conservative factions, especially over this Bill (and most directly precipitated by BushCo's decision to literally attack the nativists with typical aristocrat/establishment-liberal alliance anti-populist putdowns. Note that the author says that "Money" will decide...

Link

Posted by: Neil B. on June 5, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

osama been forgotten asked "ex-liberal": Why do you bother to comment on a topic when you are so ignorant of the facts?

Now, now, obf, if "ex-liberal" had to stick to facts, he/she/it couldn't post here at all.

Oh, wait...

Posted by: Gregory on June 5, 2007 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

While we're talking about "corporate paymasters", exactly how much has GeorgeSoros given to various groups - including I believe Washington Monthly? And, doesn't GeorgeSoros have at least a mass immigration (to the U.S. that is) position? To what extent does that have an impact on what we read from this and other sites that get his money?

On the small change side of things, a group called CoalitionforComprehensiveImmigrationReform has around $4 million to spend pushing their agenda, and they're using part of it to buy blogads on sites like ReasonMagazine, EzraKlein, and a few others (the ones featuring the crying child).

As discussed here, one member of that group is headed by someone linked to the MexicanGovernment, another member group has allegedly collaborated with that government, and another member group is partly funded by the IrishGovernment. I don't think Ezra's sold his soul for the price of a blogad, just that he's a useful idiot for forces he can't understand.

There's also the strange, strange case of Democrat and GA state Rep. PedroMarin, who - despite (or perhaps because of) being PuertoRican - was selected the ex. dir. of a non-profit group in Georgia with a salary of $50,000. That group had previously been located at the MexicanConsulate with members of that consulate on their board. It was a clean break, I'm sure!

Bottom line: there are a lot of "corporate paymasters" around, giving money to a lot of people.

Posted by: TLB on June 5, 2007 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

I just wish someone would let David Neiwert know that not everyone who opposes illegal immigration is a "xenophoblic racist," because that's pretty obviously his view, and why I quit reading Orcinus.

And smacking down the companies who hire illegals - hard, to the point of putting the sleazebags who exploit the illegals out of the business forever - is pretty clearly the real way to end the problem, forever.

Posted by: SJP on June 5, 2007 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

The single most effective policy would be to seriously clamp down on businesses that illegally hire undocumented workers. ...

But of course we know who opposes this policy change: the corporate paymasters of the Republican Party.

And let's not forget the farm lobby.

Posted by: Measure for Measure on June 5, 2007 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Let's face it -- California's headed down the crapper

The Dust Bowl trash destroyed California in the Thirties.

Posted by: Brojo on June 5, 2007 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

The fact is that democrats do not want to tackle immigration just as they do not want to tackle the social security problem and the terrorism threat in general just to name a couple of issues.

You just have to look at recent events for proof. Carol Lam was fired for not being tough on immigration. What to the democrats do? Gin up a scandal where there is none with the help of the liberal media.

It just shows that democrats are not willing to do anything to solve the problem.

Posted by: egbert on June 5, 2007 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

"After all, everyone with a pulse and a three-digit IQ knows that the single most effective policy to cut down illegal immigration isn't a border fence or more money for patrol cars. The single most effective policy would be to seriously clamp down on businesses that illegally hire undocumented workers."

Count me with the 2 digit IQs then. Because I don't get why it has to be a choice. Wouldn't a fence AND a clamp-down on businesses be even more effective than either one alone?

Posted by: katiebird on June 5, 2007 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Welcome the hard working immigrants with open arms. They resemble your grandparents.

Posted by: Brojo on June 5, 2007 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

The immigration issue is yet another wedge issue distraction. It exists to get the base to the polls just like the tired old abortion issue and boring gay marriage issue. It is all mixed and baked by Republican pollsters. Problem is that many national Republican Party masters- who answer to the lobbies- want the opposite of what gets the local base to the polls. Newt Gingrich, that visionary, is learning Spanish because he knows who the next target constituency will be. Given the conservative values of most Mexicans it comes as no surprise. The Republican base will just have to suck it up. That is the future of big tent conservatism. Of course the Democrats will be blamed. I think you can find that on page three of the playbook. The base, being as thick as a stump, can’t ever find out they’ve been sold down the river by their leaders with nothing but broken towns, no healthcare and jobs in China to show for it.

Posted by: bellumregio on June 5, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo,

but just the Mexican ones, right?

Posted by: Erkie on June 5, 2007 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Erkie, We always hear about the millions of Mexicans that are here illegally. Are there statistics on people here illegally from other countries?

Are there millions and millions of people here illegally from other countries? (not snark, I really don't know)

Posted by: katiebird on June 5, 2007 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

martin writes:

This could be as fun -- and effective -- as the war on drugs!

Exactly. To say, 'we need to enforce the laws' somewhat skirts the issue. There are natural economic forces at work that are stronger than the will to enforce laws, no matter how high your horse is. If you want to enforce laws, you can also send the police on college campuses to arrest all the marijuana users, but I don't think we'll be seeing that in the near future. The unfairness to the other legal immigrants waiting their turn is the only sound argument here.

Posted by: Andy on June 5, 2007 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

katiebird: Are there millions and millions of people here illegally from other countries?

From

http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/44.pdf

via

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_immigrant_population_of_the_United_States#Origins

According to a Pew Hispanic Center report, Mexicans make up 57 percent of the undocumented immigrants. Another 24 percent are from other Latin American countries. Approximately 9 percent are from Asia, 6 percent from Europe and Canada, with the remaining 4 percent from the rest of the world.
Posted by: alex on June 5, 2007 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

"The unfairness to the other legal immigrants waiting their turn is the only sound argument here."

I tend to dislike line-jumpers myself.

And what you say about enforcement, Andy: "If you want to enforce laws, you can also send the police on college campuses to arrest all the marijuana users, but I don't think we'll be seeing that in the near future." is why I wonder why a fence is such a stupid idea.

It seems like a fence would slow down the line-jumpers. And that would make enforcement less of an issue. How could we enforce (the legal status of immigrants) without harrassing loads of totally legal citizens?

Posted by: katiebird on June 5, 2007 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

Alex - Thanks:
"Mexicans make up by far the largest group of undocumented migrants at 5.9 million or
57 percent of the total in the March 2004 estimates. This share has remained virtually
unchanged for the past decade, even as the size of the undocumented population has grown very
rapidly. In addition, another 2.5 million undocumented migrants or about 24 percent of the total
are from other Latin American countries. About 9 percent are from Asia, 6 percent from Europe
and Canada, and 4 percent from the rest of the world (Figure 2)."

This is an interesting document. Thanks.

Posted by: katiebird on June 5, 2007 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum: The single most effective policy would be to seriously clamp down on businesses that illegally hire undocumented workers.

martin: This could be as fun -- and effective -- as the war on drugs!

Andy: Exactly ... There are natural economic forces at work that are stronger than the will to enforce laws

Kevin seems to finally get it, but Martin and Andy are relying on a false analogy.

Illegal drugs can fetch high prices because there are no real substitutes. High prices make enforcement difficult because the profits are so high.

By contrast, from the employer's POV there is an easily obtainable substitute for illegal workers - legal workers. All you have to do is make the expected price of hiring illegal workers higher than the price of hiring legal workers, and the market for illegal workers will dry up.

Posted by: alex on June 5, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile Brojo,

Yeah, a lot of Southern Democrats moved to the San Joaquin Valley during the dust bowl conditions.

My wife's family was part of the migration and thus, she was born in Bakersfield, not in Texas.

Trash? - Fuck you Hostile.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on June 5, 2007 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I might agree with your analysis if you could prove that the ACLU, La Raza, etc. have suddenly joined the Repub Party -- who do you think eviserates every attempt at establishes a tamper proof or biometric ID? - the small business lobby? In the meantime our employers are FORBIDDEN to ask for proof of status on the EEVS system until AFTER Pepe is on the payroll, and then has to go through the hassle of appeals and threats of Civil Rights violation suits if he/she tries to do the right thing.

It really bothers me when you tiptoe up to the line of violating the Dem Party talking points, then look into the abyss and step back.

Posted by: minion on June 5, 2007 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

About the only thing I agree with is the part about more rigorous enforcement of employment practices being the single best way to stem the flow of illegal immigrants. Now, there are simple ways start accomplishing this, and the single most important part is a national photo ID that validates your right to work in the United States. It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to take care of this. Once that is in place, then you will have to police businesses directly to enforce it. This part is not easy since many illegals work in the underground economy for hundreds of thousands of small family-owned businesses, not large corporations.

On the politics, it is a bipartisan reluctance to deal with the issue that has lead us to the present situation. Many Republicans don't want more and stricter penalties and enforcement due to business lobbying (this applies to some Democrats as well, but not as much), and Democrats don't want to stem the flow of immigrants because they view them and their children as a future voting block.

Is some of the opposition to the present bill due to nativism? Of course, but the nativism we are talking about need not be grounded in racism. There is a cultural issue that should be acknowledged. Because we are doing an increasingly poor job of assimilating these people into American society, we are not very far from creating cultural conflict in many states along the border, and this problem is made worse by the increasing flow of illegal immigration, and by the fact that present law is keeping those already here outside the mainstream of society.

I don't expect this bill to be passed, and if passed it will do none of the important things its sponsor claim: it won't measurably decrease the porosity of the border, it won't significantly offer amnesty to the illegals already here, and it won't significantly increase the enforcement of the employment laws. The entire bill seems to be half-hearted attempts at reform by people are not very serious to begin with. It has been written that this bill is dividing Republicans more than Democrats, and for the moment, that is true, but I would caution Democrats on this: once opposition solidifies, and it appears to be solidifying over the issue of amnesty and border control (or lack thereof), this issue will punish Democrats more if they are seen to be on the other side. This is why so many of the recently and newly elected Democrats in Congress are reluctant to offer any support.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on June 5, 2007 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Andy's "natural economic forces" are actually the result of massive PoliticalCorruption and a crooked market.

Say, did you know the White House has been posting defenses of its plan on "liberal" sites? Does anyone have an example of that being done overtly?

If not, why, that must mean... Hmmm...

Posted by: TLB on June 5, 2007 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Funny how Kevin casually brought up IQ, which is central to this debate, but too un-P.C. to talk about.

The average IQ of the 10,000,000 Mexicans in California is ~.8 SD below the average IQ of the 12,000,000 whites in California, and even more behind the Asians.

Which is why the Asians and the whites in California don't want their kids to go to school with the Mexicans, and why you can't swap a thousand Mexican kids for a thousand white kids and be shocked when the SAT scores plummet.

Groups of humans aren't interchangeable. The Blank Slate is a lie. California is ground zero for this lesson.

Posted by: Erkie on June 5, 2007 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Apologies to the Dust Bowl migrants. My bad.

Posted by: Brojo on June 5, 2007 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

All you have to do is make the expected price of hiring illegal workers higher than the price of hiring legal workers, and the market for illegal workers will dry up.

I think it was Matt Yglesias who suggested that you could offer amnesty to any illegal worker who turns in his employer. This could work beautifully, giving the illegal immigrant a strong incentive to inform and making employers even more fearful of hiring someone undocumented.

Posted by: Stefan on June 5, 2007 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

The average IQ of the 10,000,000 Mexicans in California is ~.8 SD below the average IQ of the 12,000,000 whites in California, and even more behind the Asians.

Do you have a link for this extraordinary and offensive claim, or should we just credit it to the Department of Numbers Pulled Out of Your Ass?

Posted by: rod on June 5, 2007 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

I apologize again for my unfortunate use of a derogatory word to describe human beings. Often people react to unwanted migrants, who are looking for a chance to better their, and their family's, lives by calling them names. In the Thirties the migrants moving to California were treated with similar epithets and insults that today are used against our fellow human beings coming from South of a line drawn on a map. My point should have been that regardless of the times, migrants are treated unfairly and given unflattering names to describe their poverty. Like the migrants of the Dust Bowl era, who made California a great state, the migrants of this era can do the same, if they are allowed the same freedoms, liberty and access to education.

Posted by: Brojo on June 5, 2007 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

The pro republican apologists on this thread are depressing to watch in action. A lifetime spouting BS to help elect a party that makes things worse for everyone. Souless creeps.

Posted by: Northern Observer on June 5, 2007 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

"In the Thirties the migrants moving to California were treated with similar epithets and insults that today are used against our fellow human beings coming from South of a line drawn on a map."

But, there weren't actually immigration issues affecting those who moved from Oklahoma to California.

And to say that our border is "a line drawn on a map" is a little simple. Isn't it? Because A LOT of people pay attention to that line and the rules for crossing it.

So I don't really see how (without a dramatic change in our immigration policies) this can happen:

"the migrants of this era can do the same, if they are allowed the same freedoms, liberty and access to education."

Posted by: katiebird on June 5, 2007 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

Trash? - Fuck you Hostile.

I took Brojo as being sarcastic. He obviously meant the opposite of what he wrote.

Posted by: Disputo on June 5, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

The resentment and treatment of the migrants of yesterday and today are similar. Many Californians did not want Dust Bowl migrants to come to 'their' state. Like Erkie, many Californians of the Thirties held similar views about the people from the Dust Bowl region. There were many epithets and insults used against them. The same is true for the many European immigrants who were not especially welcomed upon their arrival in America.

To me, frontiers are imaginary lines drawn on maps. Some people want to enforce the authority of those lines with force, while others will disregard the lines and act as if they are simply a bureaucratic hurddle to be crossed without much thought. I think today's immigrants will succeed just as well as those of the past, as long as the route to prosperity is open to them, just as it was open to my immigrant ancestors. When the route to prosperity is closed, it will probably close for all of us, legal citizens or not.

Posted by: Brojo on June 5, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Boy, threads on immigration sure do bring the racists out from the woodwork.

There are plenty of non-Mexican and non-Latin American illegals. I know about a dozen people living in the US illegally, and not one of them speaks Spanish.

When an anti-immigration nut starts ranting about Mexicans, they've tipped their hand. They don't really give a shit about illegal immigration -- what they care about is the browning of the US.

Posted by: Disputo on June 5, 2007 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Disputo. I understand thethirdpaul's anger. It is my anger, too. Unfortunately, triggered by the implied racism of today's anti-immigration supporters, my anger was expressed poorly.

Posted by: Brojo on June 5, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

So-called "comprehensive immigration reform" was a fraud from the get-go.

Those who support Big Business and its illegitimate union busting cheap-labor-at-any-price frenzy seek to link their illegitmate and unpopular amnesty-by-any-other name proposals with the legitimate and popular national security concerns in securing our southern border.

The issues of security of the border and amnesty should be separated.

Put off amnesty proposals for five years or so until the border is secure beyond a doubt.

Meanwhile, enforce the laws on the books and go after businesses who hire illegal immigrants. That should reduce the problem greatly.

Without the burden of amnesty-by-any-other-name proposals, border security would win in a breeze, as well it should.

But linked to amnesty, border security remains a mirage -- hostage to those who crave cheap labor at any cost.


Posted by: fraudalert on June 5, 2007 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin seems to finally get it, but Martin and Andy are relying on a false analogy.

Illegal drugs can fetch high prices because there are no real substitutes. High prices make enforcement difficult because the profits are so high.

By contrast, from the employer's POV there is an easily obtainable substitute for illegal workers - legal workers. All you have to do is make the expected price of hiring illegal workers higher than the price of hiring legal workers, and the market for illegal workers will dry up.

Posted by: alex on June 5, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Let's not take snark too seriously;>

However, we are really unlikely to have a no tolerance policy that puts big farms and big corporations out of business, so it will just be a cost of doing business, not a cost high enough to hire unionized american workers with full benefits. We can boost enforcement in spurts but don't have the political will (thank god) to do what I snarkily suggested. Just ain't going to happen. And since Americans love profit as much as pot, the demand for illegal labor will remain high for the foreseeable future.

Posted by: Martin on June 5, 2007 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

"what they care about is the browning of the US"

Right, and why isn't that a valid concern? Let me answer for you: because that's racism.

What about the fact that *US-born* Hispanics in America are four times as likely to be imprisoned as whites and Asians? Isn't that a valid concern against the browning of America? Let me answer for you: no, because that's racism.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/washingtondc/la-me-immigstudy28feb28,1,4004926.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

See graph on left sidebar.

How about the fact that Mexico has a reasonable irredentist claim against our seven Southwest states, and that in a Zogby poll 58% of Mexicans (in Mexico) believe those states rightfully belong to Mexico? Might that not be a reasonable cause for worry about the browning of America? Let me answer for you: nope, that's still racism.

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=27941

We could go on -- effect on California's public schools, racial prison riots, the demographic displacement (via racial intimidation) of African-Americans from many parts of L.A., transnational Hispanic gangs -- but your answer would always be the same: you'd say the word "racism" and think you'd won the argument.

You can see how far from common sense intelligent people stray when they are guided by ideology instead of their own lying eyes.

Posted by: Erkie on June 5, 2007 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Right, and why isn't that a valid concern? Let me answer for you: because that's racism.

Well, you certainly distinguish yourself by admitting that you are a racist. Few racists nowadays have such gonads. Congrats.

I think it's about time that the moderator let us know which one of the wingnut regulars "Erkie" is.

Posted by: Disputo on June 5, 2007 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

"I think it's about time that the moderator let us know which one of the wingnut regulars "Erkie" is."

Sounds like Orwell quoting Stalin.

Again, no argumentation, just: you. are. a. racist.


Posted by: Erkie on June 5, 2007 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like Orwell quoting Stalin.

That's pretty hilarious coming from a sockpuppet.

Posted by: Disputo on June 5, 2007 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know who the hell this "irking" person is, but I do know Disputo, and he is not a racist. He is, however, a part of the community we have built over the past few years here.

Who the hell are you again?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 5, 2007 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Martin: we are really unlikely to have a no tolerance policy that puts big farms and big corporations out of business

Why do you assume that they'd go out of business? Many of these concerns operated for many years before illegal aliens were a substantial part of the population. I see no reason they couldn't operate under the same conditions again.

so it will just be a cost of doing business

Make the fines high enough and frequently enough enforced and hiring legal workers will become the lesser cost of doing business.

not a cost high enough to hire unionized american workers with full benefits

While those would be nice, I don't recall mentioning either of them.

And since Americans love profit as much as pot, the demand for illegal labor will remain high for the foreseeable future.

You miss the whole point. It is not that difficult to make illegal labor unprofitable.

Posted by: alex on June 5, 2007 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK
After all, everyone with a pulse and a three-digit IQ knows that the single most effective policy to cut down illegal immigration isn't a border fence or more money for patrol cars. The single most effective policy would be to seriously clamp down on businesses that illegally hire undocumented workers.

Er, no. The single most effective policy to reduce illegal immigration (within the current global limits on number of annual legal immigrants)—and by far the most cost-effective way to do so, since it would probably cost less than the status quo policy&mdsah;would be to align the numbers allowed legal entry from particular countries with the number seeking entry from those countries, so that there weren't disproportionally-long (decade plus) waiting lists from a handful of high-demand countries, which coincidentally have a pretty strong correlation with countries from which there is lots of illegal immigration.

If you are willing to alter the terms of legal immigration rather than just the alotment of quotas, you can go even farther to reduce illegal immigration at no (or negative) cost, if your concern is really "reducing illegal immigration" and not, instead, "reducing overall immigration by targeting that immigration that is currently illegal".

But then, most of the people chanting about "illegal immigration" aren't concerned about legality, they are concerned about reducing the overall level of immigration, and the focus on illegality is for rhetorical purposes, and most of the proposals (yours included) reflect those priorities.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 5, 2007 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

You're not getting it. The conservative opposition to illegal immigration is entirely owned by the xenophobic nativists in the Republican Party. Everybody else in the movement is just riding the tiger. More importantly, all the xenophobic nativists who are willing to plunge the long knives of labor regulation into the corporation power centers of the GOP have already left the freaking party anyway. Which means the whole issue— like most of these issues in the modern GOP— is a complete farce. Goldberg's first sentence in that excerpt is just a mindless repetition of GOP talking points to the effect that enforcing an already existing, unworkable policy is the one-size-fits-all approach the GOP has for everything. Never admit that what you've done is stupid and wrong— that's the first and only step. Goldberg then just degenerates into silliness from there, as is his conventional mode of operation.

Posted by: s9 on June 5, 2007 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

To those of you who advocate building a wall along the border: are you willing to pay for the HUGE numbers that would need to be added to the Border Patrol to even begin to catch people scaling and/or tunneling under said wall? A friend of mine lives in Bisbee, AZ, ca. 20 mi from the border towns of Douglas, AZ, and Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico. She is a choral director and has many contacts in Agua Prieta, and spends a fair amount of time there. There is a fence, ca. 8 feet high, separating Douglas and Agua Prieta. She has seen Mexicans scale that fence on a regular basis, and this is very close to the border crossing, less than 1/2 mile. If Mexicans are able to go over the wall even that close to a fully-staffed border station, just imagine the vast stretches in between towns, hundreds of miles of such stretches.

I'm of two minds about the illegal immigrant issue. I don't give a damn about the illegal part of it--legal is not necessarily equivalent to what's right or moral. But I am concerned about Americans on the lower end of the economic scale who are having trouble finding jobs. And I'm also concerned about the people who risk lives to come to the States because they can't make any sort of living in Mexico. Why am I concerned? Because these are all fellow human beings. I have no personal axes to grind; I'm a retired librarian.

Two things need to be done. Many people above have alluded to cracking down on employers who employ illegal immigrants. This is part of the solution. But the other part is to encourage Mexico to improve conditions for its own citizens so they won't be desperate enough to travel sometimes 1000 miles or more, risking life crossing hot deserts (and hypothermia in the winter), to get paid ridiculously low sums, but still better than what they can get at home.

Erkie: even assuming you're right about IQ tests, those are culturally biased, and many Mexicans have little or no education. I feel sorry for you; you must be a seething, festering mass of insecurities, basing your feelings of self-worth on the presumed superiority to an entire group of people. I hope that you will eventually become secure enough in your own self to no longer need that very shaky prop.

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on June 5, 2007 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

Alex:
Why do you assume that they'd go out of business? Many of these concerns operated for many years before illegal aliens were a substantial part of the population. I see no reason they couldn't operate under the same conditions again.

This refers back to my modest proposal that we establish a no tolerance program and put them out of business for hiring illegals.

Make the fines high enough and frequently enough enforced and hiring legal workers will become the lesser cost of doing business.

No argument there. It will just never happen. May be able to put local resturants out of business, but ADM? The only viable threat would be disincorporate them. The Corporate Death Penalty, as it were (never going to happen either).

not a cost high enough to hire unionized american workers with full benefits

While those would be nice, I don't recall mentioning either of them.

No, but these are the workers who have been displace (see the meat packing industry, for example). I think all the workers should have full benefits and be able to organize.


You miss the whole point. It is not that difficult to make illegal labor unprofitable.

You miss the point that it is not ever going to happen in corporate America;>


Posted by: Martin on June 5, 2007 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think that Erkie is calling me a racist. He is objecting to me describing as racism his fear and hatred of people of color.

Like most racists throughout history, he imagines that his fear and hatred has a rational basis, and he is upset that the rest of us not do not share in that delusion and refuse to argue with him on that basis.

Posted by: Disputo on June 5, 2007 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

Okay - I went back and reread (unlike egbert I have reading comprehension skills) and I see where I went wrong back there. But the "irking" allegation still stands, and so does the "who the hell are you, anyway?"

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 5, 2007 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

(I'm so confused)

I wonder if the reason I don't really care about this issue (I CARE about Health Care for Everyone) is because I don't understand it.

Is a fair, just, sympathetic consensus possible?

Posted by: katiebird on June 6, 2007 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

Brojo,

Apology accepted - And I apologize for the FCC condemned use of language to you.

One thing, though - Occasionally, you do have the propensity to become passionate and paint with a rather large brush - As Hostile, you once inferred that Pale Rider and I were at least dupes for having served in the military - This was after you went off on a tear and accused all present or former military personnel as being war criminals. You also apologized for that and changed your handle.

Yes, migrants often feel the venom hurled at them - In the dust bowl days, former farmers from the Dakotas, all having white skins, had to migrate westward to the Pacific Northwest - They were not well received - In Spokane, WA, the rich lived in style on the South Hill - They had their thuggish police herd the migrants into camps, run roughshod over them, and force them to move further west. Funny thing, I just talked this morning with two 90 year old sisters in Portland, whose family had been forced to move from Nebraska because they had had their farm foreclosed due to no crops. They told of having been mistreated by many locals.

One irony about some of the Okies around Bakersfield - Many brought their respect and fear for large landowner employers with them - So, when Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath" came out, and the large growers were not happy about the way they had been depicted, the same Okies, of which Steinbeck wrote, helped fuel large book burnings of Steinbeck's works throughout the San Joaquin Valley.

Peace, Brojo

Posted by: thethirdPaul on June 6, 2007 at 12:23 AM | PERMALINK

Americans are angry, not because they are racists, as liberals like to believe at least half of them are, but because they want laws to mean something.
Posted by: mhr

When Republicans respect the law wake me. You're in the wrong party. Oliver North is a Republican hero for lying and breaking the law. Oh don't forget Reagan. We are still paying for his sins.
Saddam and Iraq?

lets not forget Bush and his admin spit at the Constitution every chance they get.

Now conservatives have a problem when Bush called them unpatriotic for not supporting the bill.

Well now you know how every American who was against Bush and the war feels. It was ok when republicans called anyone who was against the war unpatriotic, defeatocrat and a traitor.

How about you're with us or against us.
You love this type of politics until its used against you.

The shoe doesn't feel so good when Bush is putting it up you're arse hun.

Republicans will be forced to impeach the chimp to save themselves from the coke snorting, alcoholic, draft dodging, idiot you enabled.

lol

Posted by: blackrome on June 6, 2007 at 3:20 AM | PERMALINK

I think that cracking down on employers could help with the cases in which large numbers of illegal immigrants are employed (for example, factory workers, agriculture workers, construction workers). However, there are many illegals who are hired one at a time, as nannies or housekeepers or short-order cooks. Is it really practical for law enforcement to crack down on all these one-of instances?

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on June 6, 2007 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

�The Statue of Liberty is no longer saying, "Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses." She's got a baseball bat and yelling, "You want a piece of me?"�-- Robin Williams

So, how many cars sold in the US are made in Mexico? Is it over a million annually?

And how much money does a Mexican worker make?

And if 12 million immigrants in America work twice as hard for half the pay, what would happen to the economy if they left?

The solution is to demand international wage parity along with long-term financing of local development.

But then who would you get to do the hard work here?

Would you leave your native country, family and friends if you could make a living wage there?

All current "solutions" treat real people like criminals, bust up families, and impose heavy financial burdens on the poorest among us.

I can understand a racist wanting to harm a Latin-American, but a liberal? Where is your heart?

Posted by: deejaays on June 6, 2007 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

I changed my posted by name from Hostile because of fatigue. I cannot, nor want to, be hostile all of the time. Hostility is still a large component of my reaction to domestic politics, but I do not want my posted by name to frame my message just in case I have anything sensible to say.


Posted by: Brojo on June 6, 2007 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

The immigrant problem is synonymous to the drug problem. Americans will get what they want. No matter what the laws say or how harsh their punishments. We've increased punishment for drug offenders. Has it helped? So, you think increasing the penalty for hiring immigrants will help? The number of people using drugs across racial lines is about the same. However, the % of black people being imprisoned for drugs is more than 1000% that of whites. But americas judicial system is not racist? The survival rate of white and black women with breast cancer continues to widen (and you know which way). But americas health care system is not racist? Minorities in public schools are disciplined at a disproportionate rate. But americas education system is not racist? O yes, I know, immigration reform is not about race. It's about what's legal and illegal. Back in 1955 it was illegal for blacks to ride in the front of a bus, maybe we should have just told Rosa Parks, "This is not about race, what part of illegal don't you understand?"

Posted by: green-man on June 11, 2007 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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