Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 8, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

EXTREMISTS....I just heard Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos chatting on the ABC Evening News about the collapse of the immigration bill. Their conclusion? It was killed by extremists on both sides: liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans overwhelmed the centrists. It just goes to show that partisan polarization has made America ungovernable.

This is ridiculous. Look at the numbers. This was a bipartisan bill sponsored by Ted Kennedy and John McCain and supported by George Bush. Democrats voted 37-11 in favor of moving forward to a final vote. Republicans voted 38-7 against it. In the end, the Democratic leadership delivered nearly 80% of its votes. Bush couldn't even get 20% of his party to go along.

All I can say is: if it was extremists that killed this bill, then 80% of the Republican Party is made up of extremists. For some reason, though, that wasn't quite the impression Charlie and George left us with tonight. Jeebus.

Kevin Drum 10:47 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (101)

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Comments

Never let facts get in the way of the narrative.

Posted by: snicker-snack on June 8, 2007 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, isn't his majesty's outfit the most beautiful thing you have ever seen? Exquisite!

Charlie and George know who signs their checks (and who will be signing any checks they may ever hope to get in the future). Pointing out the truth about the GOP wouldn't go down well.

Broadcast media ownership is concentrated into a very few hands. Until this ends don't expect anything that looks like honest news coverage even if you squint.

Posted by: jimBOB on June 8, 2007 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

The bill sucked. It solved nothing. RIP. Besides it was unconstitutional as it reinstituted slavery via the "guest worker" provisions.

Posted by: el pollo on June 8, 2007 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I'm disappointed. Where's the moderately moderate moderation? I expect an excess of it here at WashingtonFedererMonthly...

Posted by: anonymous on June 8, 2007 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

The bill was put together by 12 senators behind closed doors. It did not go through the normal committee hearing process. Floor debate is a poor substitute for committee hearings where senators must take testimony from the public. Essentially, it was a closed loop. It's no wonder the majority of senators did not feel compelled to support it.

This policy should be carried out in stages. I have no problem with amnesty for those who are in the country, but we're going to continue to have all the problems associated with unchecked immigration of unskilled workers until the employer sanctions are enforced. These sanctions are already on the books. The government must prove it can make them work before the guest worker program and other parts of the proposed policy are put into effect.

If the federal government would make an all-out effort to enforce them, and prove over a period of at least a year that they had an effective employer monitoring and sanction system, everything else would be resolved.

For those industries, mainly seasonal agriculture, a guest worker program, like Canada's could be established in which employers were responsible for the workers they bring in and would have to provide adequate housing, healthcare and and other needs.

There would be no need for fences because the magnet of limitless jobs would be largely removed.

If I was certain that employers would be sanctioned for illegal hires, I would have no qualms about granting citizenship or a path to it.

Posted by: DevilDog on June 8, 2007 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK
All I can say is: if it was extremists that killed this bill, then 80% of the Republican Party is made up of extremists.

And your point is...?

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on June 8, 2007 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

Of course they're right. Reliable left-wing extremists Kennedy, Feingold, and Clinton sank it. Oh wait, they voted for it.

So I guess it was those newfound left-wing extremists Pryor, Landrieu, McCaskill, Tester, Baucus, Dorgan, and Rockefeller who sank it.

Posted by: along on June 8, 2007 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

However, the Times seems to get it right:

"With low approval ratings and the race to succeed him well under way, (Bush's) ability to push his agenda has faded to the point where he can fairly be judged to have entered his lame duck period."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/09/washington/09bush.html?hp=&pagewanted=print

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on June 8, 2007 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

Big media spent a lot of time lying to each other about how popular the bill was with the public. It wasn't.

Let's not forget this front page agitprop from Monday:

"Backers of Immigration Bill More Optimistic
"Lawmakers Cite Sense of Urgency
"By Jonathan Weisman Washington Post Staff Writer "Monday, June 4, 2007; Page A01

"After a week at home with their constituents, the Senate architects of a delicate immigration compromise are increasingly convinced that they will hold together this week to pass an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws, with momentum building behind one unifying theme: Today's immigration system is too broken to go unaddressed."

The Post badly made a fool of itself with its campaign to slam through the Kennedy-Bush bill. It showed how remarkably out-of-touch big media is with popular opinion.

Posted by: Steve Sailer on June 8, 2007 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

The merits (or lack thereof) of the bill are incidental to the main point that Kevin's trying to make. And....GASP! For once, I agree wholeheartedly with him.

It's an example of Fox News 'Balance'. Both sides are equal, despite one overwhelmingly showing the worst of themselves compared to the other. 8 = 38. Democrats and Republicans are being hijacked by their own extremists. You know. Like how while Republicans have Doolittle, Delay, Duke, etc., the Democrats are just as corrupt because they have William Jefferson.

Posted by: Kryptik on June 9, 2007 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

Were it so that it was Fox News 'Balance'. It looks more like the corporate media 'balance'.

Posted by: gregor on June 9, 2007 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

Jeebus is too dorky...
I'd go with "shits has it" or "mama told me so"

Posted by: elmo on June 9, 2007 at 12:23 AM | PERMALINK

I certainly agree with Kevin that the bill lost because it was opposed by Republicans in the Senate. I've seen polls showing that Republican voters oppose the bill by a 2 to 1 margin, which may explain why their Senators voted as they did.

Also, reading various things on the web makes me believe that Republican opposition to the bill was not only broad, but deep as well. That is, Republican voters strongly opposed the bill.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 9, 2007 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

This can be traced back to the famous One-Fifth compromise of 1886 (or was it 1986?). This compromise says that for all rhetorical purposes, one Democrat shall count as one-fifth of a Republican. Thus, the 37 Democrats who voted to support the bill are effectively equal to 7.4 Republicans - which is where Gibson and Steph get their notions that Democratics and Republican support for the bill was roughly equal.

Likewise, when you watch the Republican debate in New Hampshire, what you see are 10 men. But when you watch the Democrats, what you see represents the equivalent of about 1.8 men. That's why the Republicans are so much more manly than the Dems.

Another example. Polls show that 60% of the country supports an immediate withdrawl of all troops from Iraq. But this is clearly the Democratic position. So for rhetorical purposes it only counts as 12% of the country. Hence, the longstanding view that those in favor of such a withdrawl represent "the extreme left-wing fringe."

One could make a similar argument about impeachment.

At least if we were slaves, we would count for three-fifths of a person...

Posted by: lampwick on June 9, 2007 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

Dude! AT LEAST 80% of the republican Senators are "extremists" by any reasonable definition (e.g. against habeas corpus, pro-torture, want to nuke Iran, etc., etc.)!

Posted by: Duncan Idaho on June 9, 2007 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

Video news is the atomic bomb of public persuasion, nothing a tenth as powerful has ever existed.

Politicians and the networks are locked in a perverse embrace, exchanging bodily fluids of money and power.

Forget public financing. People will just have to start ignoring television. It's hard to imagine how that could happen. T.V is so damn seductive.

But really, at this point there is no other way to "get our country back."

Posted by: Archie on June 9, 2007 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

The Rasmussen Poll showed that the immigration bill was very unpopular with all Americans, not just Republicans. Rasmussen says the bill was unpopular because most Americans believed it would not reduce illegal immigration:

Rasmussen Reports polling found that 72% of Americans believe it’s Very Important to reduce illegal immigration and enforce the borders....

We live in a world where most Americans believe that .... Members of Congress are more interested in their own careers and agenda rather than the public good.

In that environment, the only way for political leaders to prove they are serious about enforcing the border and reducing illegal immigration will be to do it. That’s the next logical step in the immigration debate.

I wish Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos had trumpeted the Republicans' role in killing the bill, since that's what most Americans wanted.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 9, 2007 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

Those fucking assholes are scared by people who are passionate about causes, be they fascist or populist, because they can't feel themselves. That's the primary qualification for getting on the fucking TV....

Posted by: Jed on June 9, 2007 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

then 80% of the Republican Party is made up of extremists.

Well, is that such an unreasonable conclusion?

Posted by: craigie on June 9, 2007 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

"I wish Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos had trumpeted the Republicans' role in killing the bill, since that's what most Americans wanted."

They couldn't have. For if they did, it would have meant that the Democrats were for something that an overwhelming majority of Americans were against. You can't have that sort of reporting going on by the MSM during an election cycle... That would be, literally, anti-Democratic!

Posted by: Dave! on June 9, 2007 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

I'm glad it lost. A pig with lipstick is still a pig, so is the bill!

http://osi-speaks.blogspot.com/2007/06/justice-in-america-today.html#links

Posted by: KYJurisDoctor on June 9, 2007 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

Ooops. Wrong link. Here is the right one:

http://osi-speaks.blogspot.com/2007/06/we-won-again.html#links

Posted by: KYJurisDoctor on June 9, 2007 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "All I can say is: if it was extremists that killed this bill, then 80% of the Republican Party is made up of extremists."

Daryl McCullough: "And your point is...?"

... Rather painfully obvious, I'd think.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 9, 2007 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

Dave!: "... it would have meant that the Democrats were for something that an overwhelming majority of Americans were against."

The majority of Americans opposed the measure primarily because they didn't understand its provisions beyond the cheap and / or misleading rhetoric eminating from both sides of the aisle.

Speaking as a liberal Democrat, I didn't support it precisely because of that lack of undersstanding on my part. And frankly, if someone like me -- whose job in both the Hawaii State Legislature and in Congress was to research and draft legislation -- couldn't comprehend what the bill's proponents were trying to accomplish, I'm sure that others had the same problem.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 9, 2007 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

"Those Americans who are following the [immigration] debate closely are highly likely to be opponents of the bill. Among those who know enough to have an opinion, the bill is opposed by almost a three to one margin. Among those who say they are following the news about the bill very closely, opposition outweighs support by almost a four to one margin."

Gallup Organization, June 6, 2007
http://www.galluppoll.com/content/?ci=27775

Posted by: Steve Sailer on June 9, 2007 at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK

As this new Gallup Poll suggests, it became clear over the last three weeks that there is a strong correlation between one's factual knowledge about immigration and one's skepticism toward the Bush-Kennedy bill. Kevin, for example, never pays much attention to the issue, so he supported the bill.

Posted by: Steve Sailer on June 9, 2007 at 5:00 AM | PERMALINK

It is Republican expansionary government policies that are driving illegal immigration.

Alexander Hamilton designed Republican economic policiy for just that reason, to draw unlimited immigrants.

Republican voters and many Republican politicians are blind about this.

Posted by: Matt on June 9, 2007 at 6:55 AM | PERMALINK

Yep, Harry Reid was right when he said it was Bush's bill and Bush would have to fix it.

Posted by: Me_again on June 9, 2007 at 7:38 AM | PERMALINK

You forgot to mention 76% of the American public were extremists too.

Posted by: minion on June 9, 2007 at 7:39 AM | PERMALINK

Fix LEGAL immigration first.

The press, like Congress, likes an easy and false narrative about immigration (and much else): "extremes" want a policy based on principles. "Moderates" want to compromise everything.

Just exactly WHAT a particular piece of legislation would do isn't relevant, except insofar as it supports the narrative.

Here's a f'r instance: the Senate bill would have taken EMPLOYERS entirely out of employment-based immigration. Who got permanent residency would entirely depend on government bureaucrats making up a 5 Year Plan on what mix of "skills" they hallucinate America needs, e.g., refrigerator mechanics with community college degrees and 4th grade English.

This was the most astonishing over-reach for Federal economic power by a Republican since Nixon's wage and price controls.

So -- where was THAT in the news coverage? How come the facts of the bill didn't drive the narrative?

Posted by: theAmericanist on June 9, 2007 at 7:48 AM | PERMALINK

Jack Kelly, columnist for the Pgh Post Gazette, said it well:
"In 1986, Congress passed a "comprehensive" immigration reform bill...that was to combine stricter border enforcement with amnesty for illegals already here. The amnesty provision was implemented immediately; the enforcement provisions never were. There were then about 3 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. There are at least 12 million now. I suspect the memory of the broken promises of 1986 is why so few Americans support this bill, though polls indicated two thirds or more would approve a path to legalization if the border were secure."

And Greg Anrig of The Century Foundation referred to "moral bankrupcy" of the guest workers program as "a modern form of serfdom."

From conservativemusings.typepad.com: "The Examiner wonders why Bush is insulting his most loyal supporters...(the administration) has been very disrespectful to everyone who disagrees with them on this." The writer says he is basically pro-immigration, and he "finds the administration's arguments for the bill sufficiently unpersuasive and insulting...."

Interesting.


Posted by: consider wisely always on June 9, 2007 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

...then 80% of the Republican Party is made up of extremists.

Note:

That 9 out of the 10 republican presidential candidates are extremists is due to the small sample size.

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO on June 9, 2007 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

Immigration (TM) is a Republican motivate-the-base program. Taking about it and working out the policy plays into the Republican electoral narrative. Dems get to play the part of the handsome Alan Colmes. Smart Dems will use it to split the base from the leadership. It would be interesting to know who the vulnerable Republican Senators are and if being anti-immigration shores up their position. We can be sure the Republicans would rather talk about the non-issue of immigration (TM) than the War in Iraq.

Posted by: bellumregio on June 9, 2007 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

If Bush had guts, he'd go on TV and tell the public, "Face reality. There are 12 million undocumented immigrants in our country, and like it or not, we can't create a mass deportation -- this is not Nazi Germany. We have to do something. Stop being ignorant, exnophobic yahoos."

Of course, if a lame-duck president unconcerned with having to run again wouldn't have the cojones to speak this bluntly, why would you expect such talk from a senator fearing a tight race for re-election?

Posted by: Vincent on June 9, 2007 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

Make that "xenophobic yahoos." It's early.

Posted by: Vincent on June 9, 2007 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

This bill, and Kevin’s post, reminds me of my libertarian brother. Like so many Americans, he dismisses the mainstream media as pretty biased and hopeless. But he will listen to reporters such as Gibson and Stephanopoulos and (unconsciously?) nod his head in agreement when they are saying things that support his ideology.

One of the lynchpins of libertarian ideology is that both the Democratic and Republican parties are pathetic and thus equally guilty of, well... hypocrisy, corruption, you name it. So, my brother is very receptive to the idea that Democrats, issue by issue, are no better than Republicans regardless of how things appear on the surface. According to him, there are no significant differences in those two parties, they both only care about “empire” and “imperialism”.

If Democrats vote overwhelmingly for an appropriation bill to end the Iraq occupation and Republican vote in proportionally opposite numbers, his core ideological belief is not threatened. Why?

If Democrats vote overwhelmingly against cloture on a very flawed and dangerous Patriot Act reform bill and Republican vote in proportionally opposite numbers (including Ron Paul), his core ideological belief is not threatened. Why?

On and on it goes. The MSM is amazingly fond of mantra that, despite what you see, Democrats aren’t much different than Republicans, and vice versa, naturally. I guess there’s a real market for that idea.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on June 9, 2007 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't this another example of what Digby and Atrios are complaining about?

And my impatience with the media was born of sheer frustration with people who consistently interpreted the world in a way that bore no resemblance whatsoever to the world that I saw with my own eyes.

The only time Americans got any action on the firings of those US Attorneys and the partisan politicization of the DOJ via Gonzales and Bush WAS when Josh Marshall confronted it, because certianly a deadbeat press would NOT.

The meaningless gagle of the nation's worthless press members trying to pretend that Patrick Fitzgerald was nothing short of a horrible thug for putting elitist Judith Miller in jail whilst sitting around helping Bush peddle his "hearsay" about Iraq without a shred of fact, no actual press legwork at all, well....

...and so Joe Klein talks about kowtowing and bullying, but damn it, it’s the press and people like Joe Klein who were kowtowing and bulling the public with their desire for access devoid of facts, devoid of research, devoid of any real hard journalist work.

Thus poor little Klienie, when seeking the contrary opinion for another cheap two-cent National Enquire opinion puff piece, was thinking that surely Ms. Harman would give him the unpopulist side of Bushie extremeism, (something Klien was going to peddle as centrist opinion), and thus got bitten right in is access loving little ass for all his partisan wonkery. Frankly, I don't think it could have happen to better elitist armchair pundit.

Those bloggers can see right though Broder, that he is nothing but a partisan hack, so partisan that he's crossed-eyed with rabid Bushie loyalism, and Klien is so full of his own whinny BS, he's become quite the worthless hack himself.

Posted by: Me_again on June 9, 2007 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

Exploitation of the migrating at a lower than minimum wage in a country where civil liberties are diminuent with each passing day?

Posted by: consider wisely always on June 9, 2007 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

The GOP abandonment was obvious.

Charlie and George are supposed to find the less-obvious political 'insights' - whether they exist or not.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on June 9, 2007 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

The "Bush-Kennedy Bill" - Geez, these two can really whip up some great bills, eh? First, NCLB and now the Amnesty Travesty Bill - Now, can we move on and repeal that GHWBush-Lite-Clinton bill called NAFTA.

The loss of middle class jobs to outsourcing, a very porous border, extremely low wages paid by the fat cat CEOs, and Kevin wonders why the hoi polloi is becoming extremely pissed about immigration. Stay with the elites, Kevin.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on June 9, 2007 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

One of the lynchpins of libertarian ideology is that both the Democratic and Republican parties are pathetic and thus equally guilty of, well... hypocrisy, corruption, you name it.

I have not seen that to be the case; the real linchpin of libertarian ideology insofar as it relates to electoral politics is that both parties want too much control over our lives and don't respect the Constitutional limits on government. I agree on both counts. But this says nothing about which party is more hypocritical or corrupt. The GOP Congress was so repulsive (the Bush presidency, too) that the Democrats barely had to campaign. In another eight years or so the Democrats may have overstayed their welcome, but that worry is secondary right now to brutalizing the GOP, which I hope loses even more seats in the near future. (And although I'm not enthusiastic about Democratic control of both Congress and the White House, it's better than the reverse, and the GOP candidates - minus Ron Paul - are uniformly repulsive.)

Some libertarians understand this very well:

http://www.reason.com/news/show/116399.html

See also Jim Henley (Unqualified Offerings) and John Cole (Balloon Juice) for more examples. (Cole is/was Republican, but from the moribund libertarian wing.)

I think the Democrats are a craven, useless excuse for an opposition party and they're already disappointing me on war funding and earmark reform. (In fact, since government reform in general is my killer issue, I'm more likely to vote Green than Democrat.) Still, this is a vast improvement over the previous Congress, and seeing Santorum and Allen knocked out of the Senate and their (and Frist's) presidential ambitions trashed was especially gratifying.

Posted by: Nat on June 9, 2007 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

Nat is right. Thanks to the maccaca incident, George Allen is a non-factor. He would have wildly appealed to the conservative base. And Santorum was always putting himself in the limelight and grabbing appeal.

Conservative mouth piece Bill Kristol, late to the party, says the public wants change and gets it by defeating the incumbent--Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Bush the senior in 1992. "The presidency and the President will still tend to dominate the news and be held accountable--and the Bush administration is proving particularly adept at providing ever fresh instances of scandal, pseudo scandal and incompetence to remind people they are still in charge."

Posted by: consider wisely always on June 9, 2007 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Before blaming the Republicans for the collapse of the immigration bill, you might want to consider that the American public overwhelmingly opposed the bill. According to Rasmussen, the immigration bill was less popular with the American public than the Iraq war:

"The reality is much simpler and has nothing to do with legislative tactics. The immigration bill failed because a broad cross-section of the American people are opposed to it. Republicans, Democrats, and unaffiliated voters are opposed. Men are opposed. So are women. The young don’t like it; neither do the no-longer-young. White Americans are opposed. Americans of color are opposed.

"The last Rasmussen Reports national telephone poll found that just 23% of Americans supported the legislation. When a bill has less popular support than the War in Iraq, it deserves to be defeated.

"There is no mystery to why the public opposed the bill. In the minds of most Americans, immigration means reducing illegal immigration and enforcing the border. Only 16% believed the Senate bill would accomplish that goal."

I think this is right. I personally do not know a single person who favors passage of the proposed bill, although most of the people I know are generally in favor of immigration. Blaming the Republicans may serve a partisan interest, but it's factually wrong and is unlikely to lead to a better bill.

Nor do I think that the Dems will be able to pass an "amnesty only" bill if they win the presidency in 08 and keep control of the Congress. As the Rasmussen poll conclusively shows, the vast majority of the American public opposes that, no matter what the various special interest groups in the Democratic Party want.

Posted by: DBL on June 9, 2007 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

those are 37 Democratic Senators who will never get my vote for anything as long as I live.
Whatever their reasons, the people who voted against cloture did a great service to their country and our people. A better immigration bill is possible, but even no immigration bill is better than this was. This bill was about union busting and creating a permanent slave class in America. It was about creating federal employment permits. It was about the elite, and not about the American people.

Posted by: soullite on June 9, 2007 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Nat: I agree with what you call the linchpin of libertarian ideology, but not sure it contradicts what I said about libertarians (and many independents) wanting to believe that Democrats and Republicans are close to equally craven, to use your word.

You seem to think that Republicans are currently a little more craven than the craven Democrats. I think a lot of people agree with that view. I disagree.

The stark differences in the way Democrats and Republicans are currently voting on important legislation is the evidence I offer.

A few more Democrats in the House and the Senate, and we would be out of Iraq. Very big difference to me.

A few more Democrats in the House and the Senate, and the odious civil liberty infringements of the Patriot Act would be reformed. A big difference to me.

I would think that the civil liberty issues would be a big deal to libertarians, but they certainly appear to be trumped by the economic issues.

You mention Ron Paul. He is an example of what I am talking about. He repeats, ad nauseum, the line that Democrats and Republican are equally screwed up. That’s his right, and I don’t think he is all bad. But what are the real world effects of Ron Paul? Does his ideology ever confuse him; get in the way of constructive contributions to the legislative process? I certainly think so.

Paul cut a deal with the devil. He worked out a deal several years ago (with Hastert and DeLay) to vote with the Republicans on procedural matters, e.g., cloture votes (actually called previous question in the House). In exchange, he got credit for his seniority with respect to committee assignments. The Republicans, with their majority, absolutely did not need his vote on specific pieces of legislation, so he was free to vote yea or nay, did not matter. However, for procedural votes (like cloture), they needed 60%, much tougher. It’s very powerful to be able to cut off debate and force a vote on pending legislation, as is, knowing that you have the 60%, knowing that Paul is one of the sure votes. Ron Paul, de facto Republican, came through for them time and again. Including of things that libertarians care about, including blocking reform of the Patriot Act. He helped the Republicans in a very concrete way. Libertarians should hold his feet to the fire.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on June 9, 2007 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

An extremist labbeling others as extremists. Too funny.

Posted by: egbert on June 9, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Bottom line:

Corporate/business/rightwing interests want cheap workers, but do not want to provide a path for immigrants to become potentially liberal-voting citizens.

There are two disparate goals and the twain did not meet.

Posted by: Buford on June 9, 2007 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Buford: damn right. They want mucho money, they want it now. They feel very much entitled.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on June 9, 2007 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Egbert--You dash in here with your innuendoes and score-settling snark. This not an extremist website whatsoever. And that is the worst spelling of labeling that I have ever seen.

Posted by: consider wisely always on June 9, 2007 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

As could be predicted, Kevin Drum is too much of a lightweight to be able to understand that those pushing the bill are the real "extremists"; simply look at what the bill would have done.

Posted by: TLB on June 9, 2007 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, that Charlie Gibson is a heckuva journalist, an old-school journalist, if you will.

Check out an interview he gave to the San Francisco Chronicle about a month ago (May 8, 2007 with Joe Garofoli). Regarding the run up to the Iraq war as portrayed by Bill Moyers:

"Gibson, who has seen the Moyers special, is a bit more protective of his mainstream media brethren, saying the national media took its cues from the national politicians.

'Overall, I don't think that the press were much different from where politicians were at the time, and they essentially gave the president his authority to go in there (to invade Iraq),' Gibson says. 'I'm not as critical overall of the media, hindsight being 20/20.'"

Gibson might just as well have said, "Questions? Questions?! We don't need to ask no stinkin' questions!"

Ok, I'm being a little unfair. Chuck later says, "[i]f we did anything that I think was wrong it was not going back and questioning enough what prejudices or what inclinations were in people's minds between Sept. 11, 2001, and when we actually began to commit troops to go over there."

Right, Charlie...if.


Posted by: jm on June 9, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

As somebody said on NPR last night (EJ Dionne, I think), an aggresive minority will defeat a passive majority every time. That's what happened here.

Posted by: mfw13 on June 9, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

I have no dog in this fight, having immigrated to USA thirty seven years ago, but if the majority of Americans opposed this bill, it's great that it did not pass.

On the other hand, personally, of course, I would have liked for it to have passed just for the entertainment value of watching the heads explode at the NRO Corner and at other establishments populated by the ghoulish warmongers of the Republican Party.

Posted by: gregor on June 9, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

To be fair...

The final vote doesn't necessarily tell the whole story. Was the vote on precisely the bill that was negotiated with Bush?

If 'liberal extremists' added amendments that made the bill less palatable to 'conservative extremists,' then the bill still might have failed with a lopsided vote as expressed above, and still 'liberal extremists' would have had a big part in the failure.

I honestly don't know the details, so I can't say whether this happpened, but relying on the final vote to determine which side is responsible for the failure of the original compromise is not good logic.

Posted by: Misplaced Patriot on June 9, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

I think we need to be a little less spastic on the use of the word "extremists".

If there were truly "extremists" voicing their opinions, things would be getting blown up. That's a fair definition of "extremist".

(Never mind that BushCo is parading around the world, blowing things up.)

Posted by: bungholio on June 9, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Big media spent a lot of time lying to each other about how popular the bill was with the public. It wasn't.

Let's not forget this front page agitprop from Monday:

"Backers of Immigration Bill More Optimistic
"Lawmakers Cite Sense of Urgency
"By Jonathan Weisman Washington Post Staff Writer "Monday, June 4, 2007; Page A01

"After a week at home with their constituents, the Senate architects of a delicate immigration compromise are increasingly convinced that they will hold together this week to pass an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws, with momentum building behind one unifying theme: Today's immigration system is too broken to go unaddressed."

The Post badly made a fool of itself with its campaign to slam through the Kennedy-Bush bill. It showed how remarkably out-of-touch big media is with popular opinion.

Posted by: Steve Sailer on June 8, 2007 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

What is truly amazing is the determination of the MSM to manufacture a fictional pro-amnesty 'mainstream' and marginalize 76% of the American people as 'extremists'. And in the age of the blog and the online forum, their complete and total failure. Check out the fury and class disdain in the NYT editorial today at the sheer impudence of the rabble of 'extremists' to 'hold hostage' the grand schemes of their betters. The New York Times and Washington Post always thought the molding of public opinion was some kind of country club to which they controlled entry. How humiliating it must be to have always seen onself as an elite and to learn that you are actually powerless.

The American people will accept amnesty ONLY after they are satisfied that the border is secure and illegals are being assimilated. They saw a 3 million problem be turned by amnesty into a 12 million problem and they will not allow it to be turned into a 30 million problem. They quite rightly know that the reason the border is not secure is because their political class has sold them out to cheap labor interests who will do anything within their power to keep those borders open. They are furious at the refusal of the political class to do what the American people want them to do, i.e. enforce existing laws before writing new ones that won't be enforced any better than the existing ones are. They do not trust the politicians. They do not trust the elite media. They want to see enforcement up front.

Posted by: Charles Warren on June 9, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Misplaced muses: "If 'liberal extremists' added amendments that made the bill less palatable to 'conservative extremists..."

In the Olden Days, folks who covered legislation would actually write about what was in the bills being debated. Then, based on that information, news stories would be filed reporting on the passage or defeat of the bill because of what was IN it. News reports and commentary weren't exclusively about 'meta-stories' about "extremists" and half-understood politics, but straightforward statements of the issues being decided and who voted which way.

Following those quaint rules, the story of the immigration debate would have been that 1) 26 Republican Senators voted to keep legalization in the bill (the Vitter amendment, but then 2) NO Republican Senator would vote to treat legal immigrants (and even US citizens) as fairly and generously as they had voted to treat illegal foreigners (the votes on Clinton, Menendez, and others). That's what brought the bill down, if you actually look at the amendments filed, the votes taken and the failure to get cloture.

Ya know, Kevin, YOU'RE in the journalism biz. The votes are all public.

Why not report what they were voting ON?

Posted by: theAmericanist on June 9, 2007 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

It just goes to show that partisan polarization has made America ungovernable.

What's needed here is a Strong Man to come in and force these squabbling children to obey, and pay attention to the real interests of the country. When that's done, when we are back on track, we can return to our traditional way of doing things.

-- Numerous Roman citizens circa 80 BC

Posted by: Martin Gale on June 9, 2007 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Re: Jim and Libertarians.

While I certainly wouldn't have said it is a part of the libertarian "ideology", as I don't think this issue has anything to do with the underpinnings of what they purportedly believe, I do agree that this idea is a part of the libertarian mindset. Believing both parties are equally worthless is what keeps them from engaging and participating in the mainstream system.

This is true for many American adults I know. They are politically aware, primarily moderate to slightly liberal, but have bought into that same idea that neither party is worth their support. They are so disgusted they have decided they may as well stay home and not get involved at all. Gee, I wonder who that benefits?

In 2000, one of my best and most politically motivated friends voted for Nader because of his unhappiness with the Dems. (He is a socialist-leaning Green Party member.) Now, however, he's vocal about challenging his fellow Greens on this issue. No matter how much you may think Democrats are lazy, ineffective, corrupt, etc, it is impossible to compare what the leadership on the left has done to the leadership on the right over the past 7 years. It's petty theft vs. armed robbery. (Or blow jobs vs. illegal war, if you prefer.)

To say there is no difference is ludicrous, and yet people are still parroting that line, one that the MSM is happy to help reinforce. I am cynical enough to believe this not unintentional.

Posted by: filosofickle on June 9, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

The charges of racism, xenophoebia, and rightwingnuttiness against the Republicans are quite apt, even though they are levelled frequently.

I think, though, that they are not levelled frequently enough.

Posted by: gregor on June 9, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

To say there is no difference is ludicrous, and yet people are still parroting that line, one that the MSM is happy to help reinforce. I am cynical enough to believe this not unintentional.

Yes, that’s my primary point.

As for the “unintentional” aspect, guys like Karl Rove work overtime perpetuating that myth. They want voters to stay away from the voting booth. For the most part, low voter turnout gives Republicans candidates a better chance of winning.

True, the parroting of the “no real difference” line is not officially part of the ideology, perhaps I should have been more clear so as not to insult. It’s just something every single libertarian I’ve ever known does. And why shouldn’t they, if they believe it? But please listen to the counter-arguments.

Of course, it’s pretty damn insulting to Democrats to tell them (us) that we are not much different than Republicans.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on June 9, 2007 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

personally, I am disappointed. I don't know why the Democrats did not merely re-introduce the law that passed the Senate last time.

I think that the following from Donald in Hawaii is wrong: The majority of Americans opposed the measure primarily because they didn't understand its provisions beyond the cheap and / or misleading rhetoric eminating from both sides of the aisle.

Plenty of people who understood the provisions opposed the bill because they thought that the provisions would not be enforced. It was just Simpson-Mazolli all over again.

If reformers want a new law, I think that they better hound the executive branch to enforce the anti-illegal-immigrant provisions of Simpson-Mazolli. Build more fencing, including the virtual fence; deport more illegals; punish more large employers of illegals. No way is the U.S. going to deport even 10,000 per year of the illegals already in the U.S., but if strong enforcement of Simpson-Mazolli is demonstrated over the next year (maybe more), then a reform can be passed. I hope.


The law was 6 votes short of Senate passage (Cheney would probably have voted for); the extremists of the two parties accounted for those votes. In that sense, it is fair to say that the extremists killed the bill. but it is fairer to say that the Republicans killed the bill.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 9, 2007 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

mhr: "...all non-ideological, ie rational people, oppose it."

And who could be more non-ideological than you, right?

Posted by: Kenji on June 9, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

All I can say is: if it was extremists that killed this bill, then 80% of the Republican Party is made up of extremists. For some reason, though, that wasn't quite the impression Charlie and George left us with tonight. Jeebus.

Well. An obvious alternative explanation of the thought process being expressed by Charles and George is that extremists in the Dem Party were able to shape a bill acceptable to themselves and the Dem caucus, and in so doing shattered the bi-partisan compromise.

I didn't follow the amendment process carefully enough to see whether any killers were tacked on by the left (but Dorgan did get one in late that was supposed to be problematic).

So that may be what those two were thinking. But as I said, that would be too obvious.

Posted by: Tom MAguire on June 9, 2007 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

MatthewRmarler: Plenty of people who understood the provisions opposed the bill because they thought that the provisions would not be enforced. It was just Simpson-Mazolli all over again.

Those people should have been paying more attention to the entirety of the bill, not just the select few provisions which were the focus of debate and media attention--which seemed devoted almost exclusively to the guest worker and citizenship opportunity provisions.

The other provisions of the bill--which address border security and enforcement (e.g., Title I, Title II and Title IV)--received little attention. Not suprising, as there is arguably little to disagree with, and the provisions are similar to any number of other bills. From a debate and media perspective those provisions are of little interest.

In short, the failure appears to be that the bill's supporters did not ensure sufficient attention to the more mundane provisions which addressed key public concerns. That may be an inevitable consequence of attempting a "comprehensive" solution, as debate and attention will predictably focus on dispute, not agreement.

Posted by: has407 on June 9, 2007 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

It got to be killing them. All of the usual tricks didn’t work. Not the patronizing voice from God using millionaire anchors to tell the public what a great deal its getting and how stupid our fears are. Not the we dare not wait -the cost is too great hysteria. Not the you are a racist/extremist charge. If they want an immigration bill – there is a simple way to get one, build a fence. Secure the borders.

Posted by: alinw on June 9, 2007 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

Tom Maguire sez: "Dorgan did get [a killer amendment] in late..."

This is one of those moments when it really does help to ask the media WTF it's doing.

Dorgan tried several times to pass an amendment that, in the end, passed by one vote, to require the guest worker program to be re-authorized after five years, as opposed to running forever if Congress didn't affirmatively END it.

Now -- think about this. There has NEVER been a guest worker program that ever worked. Anywhere. Anytime.

Every single example of a guest worker program is an instance of failure: Turks in Germany, Filipinos in Kuwait, Chinese and Koreans in Japan, Pakistanis in Norway (my personal favorite), and of course the bracero program in the US, from 1942-1964, when more people were deported as illegals than were admitted as guest workers.

So just exactly why was it a "killer amendment" to require Congress to check in after five years, to see if THIS one proved the exception to the rule?

But Dorgan lost the first couple times, until finally Republican opponents of legalization (who had voted FOR guest workers) decided that the way to bring down the bill... was to require Congress to see if it WORKED?

I know it's quaint, but I do miss the days when reporters covering legislation actually told us what was in the legislation.

Posted by: theAmericanist on June 9, 2007 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Demography is destiny, y'all.

I don't want to collect fines from illegal immigrants; I want them to send their children to school and learn English.

Oh, and I want everybody to submit to biometric identification. Fingerprints and cheek swabs for all.

Apres nous, le deluge.

Posted by: Toby Petzold on June 9, 2007 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

I have examined the video evidence and I am quite certain that Charles Gibson has had his sense of humor surgically removed.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on June 9, 2007 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

What I don't understand is why there's not more outrage over the fact that the employee verification system as currently proposed would create a huge risk for identity theft.

The bill before the Senate would have required employers to keep copies of all identification documents on ALL employees (including US citizens), and keep those copies for several years.

Inevitably, a lot of those copies would end up getting lost or stolen. And the fact is, most cases of identity theft result from physical theft of documents containing personal information.

Anyone who deosn't object to this apprently wouldn't mind the equivalent of making copies of their birth certificate, Social Security card, Driver's License & Passport, and then leaving those copies in public trashcans.

Verification itself can be a "leaky" process if the information can be intercepted in transmission, but forcing employers to keep copies of the actual identification documents is far worse. What a treasure trove that would be for identity thieves.

Such a system would cause illegal immigrants to steal somebody else's identity instead of using fake IDs. That's exactly what happened at the Swift meatpacking plants, which *DID* participate in the current verification system ("Basic Pilot"), yet had hundreds of illegal immigrants working there when it was raided last year.

When the Feds raided the Swift plants, they had no trouble figuring out who the illegal immigrants were, but the employer wasn't penalized.

Most of the schemes proposed in the current legislation are merely pandering to one special interest group or another, all of which intend for illegal employment to continue. No matter what the law is, they would see to it that enforcement would be gutted, just as is the case with current law.

We don't need a system that infringes upon the civil liberties of nearly 290 million Americans in order to find 12 million illegal immigrants.

Posted by: Elvis on June 10, 2007 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Who's paying you to post this crap, Elvis?

1) The Feds raided the Swift plant to STOP identity theft. (There was a pattern of Swift employers claiming to be legal permanent residents ... born in Puerto Rico. They traced the ID theft ring from Puerto Rico to NJ to Swift, with a cosiderable boost from another pattern of illegal aliens in prison who had worked for Swift using these same stolen US citizen identities.)

2) The main point of moving beyond the Basic Pilot is to reduce the vulnerability of the system to this sort of imposter fraud, which is how ID theft for employment eligibility under immigration law works. Swift has a solid case in the law (if it is a bit factually dubious) that they had no way of knowing that all those Mexican employees claiming to be LPRs weren't born in Puerto Rico. (There is a better way to do this, btw.)

3) There is NO civil right to steal a US citizen's identity.

Since your posts are verbatim consistent, and remarkably like the press releases from various front groups for employers, DO tell, Elvis: who's paying you to post this crap?

Posted by: theAmericanist on June 10, 2007 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

Nobody is paying me to post anything.

For you to jump to that conclusion is inconsistent with my objection, which as clearly pointed out in boldface, is that forcing employers (or other entities) to keep copies of all those identification documents is a treasure trove for identity thieves.

You haven't even made any point that contradicts mine, so - especially when you immediately resort to profanity - you must difficulty with logical reasoning.

1) The Feds raided the Swift plant to STOP identity theft. So what? That just corroborates my point that the current "basic Pilot" system does encourage identity theft, and the proposed system would make accomplishing that it even easier.

I take it that you wouldn't mind making copies of you birth certificate, Social Security card, Driver's License & Passport, and then leaving those copies in public places. Feel free to dodge that issue with more profane retorts.

2) The main point of moving beyond the Basic Pilot is to reduce the vulnerability of the system to this sort of imposter fraud
But instead it would make it easier by providing a massive supply of copies of all the breeder documents

3) There is NO civil right to steal a US citizen's identity. No kidding?

Sen. Claire McCaskill's solution is quite a bit simpler: enforce the existing law. As she pointed out, a few undercover sting operations would quickly show if employers had some degree complicity in hiring illegal immigrants, and well-publicized enforcement would take care of the rest.

As for this being consistent with your non-attributed claim that this is "remarkably like the press releases from various front groups for employers," I find it unlikely that they'd be advocating stiff enforcement of the existing laws.

Posted by: Elvis on June 10, 2007 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK


mhr: Bush miscalculated....

mhr nailed it!

Posted by: mr. irony on June 10, 2007 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

elvis: Sen. Claire McCaskill's solution is quite a bit simpler: enforce the existing law. As she pointed out, a few undercover sting operations would quickly show if employers had some degree complicity in hiring illegal immigrants, and well-publicized enforcement would take care of the rest.


Did you know...

from 1995-1997 there were at least 10,000 work site arrests of illegals a year -and- 1,000 employers were served notices of fines for employing them.

under Bush in 2004...work site arrests fell to 159 - with the princely total of 3-notices of intent to fine served on employers.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/04252006/postopinion/opedcolumnists/67461.htm

John O'Sullivan - New York Post 4/26/06

Posted by: mr irony on June 10, 2007 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Elvis, you're full of shit, though perhaps you may have your heart in the right place. (Which, however is still placed in the midst of a pile of bullshit.)

Electronic verification of employment eligibility under immigration law based on the social security # is not a complex or difficult task. It has always been front groups for employers, often using bogus civil libertarian arguments, that oppose this straightforward task. That's why I concluded you're a front. I had discounted the possibility you're simply a well-meaning dope.

Most of what you object to as PROSPECTIVE law, is already CURRENT law. You also mis-stated what happened at Swift, which is how you managed to miss the gaping holes in current law, not to mention the dilemma it poses for both employers and the government. That's a primary reason I conclude you're full of shit.

There IS a sensible objection to stings, f'r instance: discrimination against folks who look or sound like they MIGHT be illegal is not exactly going to decline when cops show up with documents that appear on their face to be genuine, and then try to con the poor schmoes who fill out the I-9 forms.

And there is a simple solution: let's get the government OUT of this business. Cuz it IS a business -- DHS should simply certify companies that do worksite verification properly, and companies that provide such verification services, and then companies which are either directly certified or which hire certified verification companies would get benefits (e.g., access to legally imported workers) that other companies don't.

QED.

Posted by: theAmericanist on June 10, 2007 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

re: 'Did I know that worksite enforcement & employer sanctions fell dramatically under the Bush administration?'

Yes. That's part of my point.

We don't a complex new system that increases the motivation, risk and opportunity for identity theft.

Most of the schemes proposed are merely pandering to one special interest group or another, all of which intend for illegal employment to continue.

As Claire McCaskill pointed out in her speech before the Senate Thursday, in most cases the employers know full well that they are employing illegals. All it would take is a few sting operations, with the well-publicized result that a few employers get serious fines or minor jailtime, and the rest would clean house voluntarily.

The current proposal was ridiculously onerous. It applies to temporary help (including baby sitters & lawncare) and requires propspective employees to submit the EINs of all employers from the previous five years.

Read all about it here:
http://www.raleighchronicle.com/2007051707.html

Some people, like "theAmericanist" apparently approve of a complex system that forces you to get permission to work from the government, and then leaves a trail of copies of all your identification documents everywhere you work. They support their arguments with profanity (usually accompanied by Fox network style shouting)

The rest of us want the current law enforced.

As for this, "theAmericanist":
You also mis-stated what happened at Swift, which is how you managed to miss the gaping holes in current law.
Once again, what happened at Swift supports my contention.

Most of what you object to as PROSPECTIVE law, is already CURRENT law.
Wrong again. Read the differences at the above link.

As for this:
DHS should simply certify companies that do worksite verification properly, and companies that provide such verification services, and then companies which are either directly certified or which hire certified verification companies would get benefits (e.g., access to legally imported workers) that other companies don't.

That won't even have any effect at all on the majority of companies that don't compete for federal contracts, which the is the primary incentive that could be offered.

Neither derogatory inflamatory epithets nor profanity helps support your any of your arguments.

Posted by: Elvis on June 10, 2007 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

re:
Electronic verification of employment eligibility under immigration law based on the social security # is not a complex or difficult task. It has always been front groups for employers, often using bogus civil libertarian arguments, that oppose this straightforward task.

But the failed immigration bill went far beyond mere social security number verification.

Without social security number verification, an illegal immigrant may be able to work under a phone social security number, but if they do, the combined 15.3% FICA taxes paid go into the suspense file, and they can never draw SSA benefits from that account.

I see that as an ongoing penalty for being here amounting to 15.3% of the entire wage.

If only they couldn't draw any other benefits, either. Most of those other social benefits are provided by states and local gov'ts., not the federal gov't.

With social security number verification, (as in "Basic Pilot") the illegal immigrant is forced to acquire someone else's valid social security number. But thanks to the widespread collection & dissemination of SSNs, it's not that difficult.

In any case, neither one will stop somebody from stealing somebody else's social security number and working under it, as long as they also work under the identity theft victim's name & birthdate.

The system in the failed immigration bill would have made that a lot easier by forcing mass numbers of copies to be made of everything needed to do exactly that.

The only way that might be prevented would be with a national ID system using facial recognition or fingerprinting, which would allow comparison of the illegal worker with the identity theft victim (if the victim is even in "the system;" many ID theft victims are chosen precisely because they aren't in "the system" - elderly, institutionalized, etc.).

But for many small- and part-time businesses (not the Swifts of the world, but those that employ fewer than five employees), that would require yet another layer of complexity that could not comply with. They don't take photos or fingerprint their employees. The actual result should be obvious: more under-the-table workers paid in cash.

Identity theft rings often manage to get "legitimate" employees hired into a positions where they can help acquire those documents. It's bad enough now with the HR departments in DMVs & banks. It will become orders of magnitude worse if every single employer in the country is ripe for the picking.

Posted by: Elvis on June 10, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Correction:
"phone social security number" should be
"phony social security number"

Clarification:
"The actual result should be obvious: more under-the-table workers paid in cash."
should be:
"The actual result of a complex, unworkable verification system as in the failed immigration bill should be obvious: more under-the-table workers paid in cash."

Final paragraph should read:
"It's bad enough now with DMVs & banks. It will become orders of magnitude worse if the HR department of every single employer in the country is ripe for the picking."

Posted by: Elvis on June 10, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

This guy is too ill-informed to even bother arguing with -- and for folks who know me on these threads, that's SAYING something.

Posted by: theAmericanist on June 10, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

re: "This guy is too ill-informed to even bother arguing with"

That's one of the most hilarious unsubtantiated statements I've seen here.

Posted by: Elvis on June 10, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

LOL -- ya think?

Kindly inform us all how many documents are allowed for an I-9, and which ones expire and which don't.

Tell us about the mission of the special counsel for immigration-related unfair employment practices at the Department of Justice.

Share with us all, Elvis, what the current rules are for maintaining I-9 forms, as well as copies of the documentation.

Substantiate just why you think your ignorance is hilarious.

Posted by: theAmericanist on June 10, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

The I-9 instructions lists 29 acceptable documents to establish identification & employment eligibility. Yes, the employers have to maintain copies of the I-9 forms.

So what?

You're great at building strawman arguments that either have nothing to do with my original contentions, or as in the case of identity theft by illegal immigrant employees of the Swift company, actually support my contention.

Instead of making still more unsubstantiated claims, if you're implying that it is currently required for employers to keep COPIES of all employees' identification documents, why don't you provide a citation in the form of link?

Don't you realize that howlers it doesn't exactly help your credibility by jumping to conclusions about who or what I am ("Who's paying you to post this crap, Elvis?"), or by stating howlers like this one?:

There IS a sensible objection to stings, f'r instance: discrimination against folks who look or sound like they MIGHT be illegal is not exactly going to decline when cops show up with documents that appear on their face to be genuine, and then try to con the poor schmoes who fill out the I-9 forms.

Why would "cops show up with documents that appear on their face to be genuine" ? In your world, do police often use fake search warrants?

I guess you next howler will be that, oh no, that's not what you meant, and only a dope could misinterpret that statement.

If the cops show up to examine the identity documents of illegal immigrant suspects, there is no need for them to con anyone. They are either legit or they are not, and they've repeatedly proven that they have no problem finding the illegal immigrants.

The problem is not with existing laws, but a lack of will to enforce them.

George W. Bush is a proponent of increased immigration from points south of the border, and that shows up clearly in the enforcement priorities of his DHS. He is "the Decider" after all. The problem is, history has shown that his decisions are usually bad.

Posted by: Elvis on June 10, 2007 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Well, well, well, it all makes sense now that I know that "theAmericanist" is actually a big proponent of increased immigration.

As I mentioned before, most of the schemes even proposed in the current legislation are merely pandering to one special interest group or another, all of which intend for immigration - either illegal or legal - to continue, or even increase.

Yes, "theAmericanist" is in the "increased legal immigration on humanitarian grounds" special interest group.

Say goodnight, "theAmericanist" - you're way out of step with the overwhelming majority of the rest of us.

And as a parting gift to you and your "increased immigration" friends, what parts of these do you not understand?

1.The 14th amendment, which was not intended by its authors to apply to children born to aliens who were not lawfully inside the United States (nor to foreign diplomats or enemy soldiers), and

2. The subsequent Wong Kim Ark case (whose parents were not illegal immigrants)

Activist judges? They're OK if their faulty decisions happen to benefit your cause, right?

Posted by: Elvis on June 10, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Dems win by ignoring immigration, but if they want to really solve the problem then they need to rethink their approach. If the immigration bill they recently tried was the best they could do, then it indicates their approach was wrong, not just the details.

Turning it on it's head and dropping previously held assumptions will let you see that instead of restricting border traffic we should be emphasizing the open nature of our society and the openness of free economic trade and the welcoming inclusiveness of America. We should open the border to those who are interested in visiting and working here and to those who want to become citizens.

Problems: we always want to know who is here and, in a very abstract sense, what they're doing and at the moment we don't really know what the illegals are up to. Opening the border would also require us to do paperwork on each and every one (thus requiring more government unfortunately). Offering guest worker status and guest on track to citizenship status and alien resident status would help us manage the 'problem' better while serving the economic needs of our employers and avoiding the economic disparity problem by requiring employers to pay minimum wage to our guests.

There will be enemies of such an approach. But, looking at it broadly, it is THE Classic American approach. Openness, inclusion, economic freedom, multi-culturalism are the real elements of a better immigration policy.

Posted by: MarkH on June 10, 2007 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

As noted, Elvis is too ignorant to argue with, so two brief observations.

First "documents which on their face appear to be genuine" is Worksite Verification 101. It is so elementary to the discussion that not recognizing it shows Elvis to be essentially illiterate.

Under the 1986 law, employers are REQUIRED to accept DWOTFATBG. If for any reason they look beyond such documents, they can (and have been) prosecuted for unlawful discrimination, and in fact there is a special counsel at the DoJ whose job it is to do that. Elvis is wrong on a couple other points, but that one is essential to the dilemma employers face: if they accept a document that might be forged or fraudulent, they may be hiring an illegal worker, BUT if they don't accept DWOTFATBG, they can be sued for illegal discrimination. Elvis clearly doesn't understand this, although it is central to ALL debates over internal enforcement and worksite verification.

Kinda proves my point about ol' Elvis as ignoramus, don't ya think?

As for Elvis' confusion about my record on immigration (no less than the National Immigration Forum once accused me, with equal falsehood, as a "frequent spokesman for restrictionist causes"), it's simpler to observe why MarkH is wrong when he says: "Openness, inclusion, economic freedom, multi-culturalism are the real elements of a better immigration policy." Ethereal abstraction is the hallmark of this damn debate, and it doesn't help much.

How about we just require Congress to DELIVER
what it promises?

Observe why Elvis is misguided to argue that "most Americans" don't want high levels of immigration. Maybe that's true, maybe it's not. Maybe "most Americans" don't think my beloved should have married me. (I'm a dog.) Maybe "most Americans" don't think A-Rod is worth the money.

So what?

See, "most Americans" make no decisions about who the rest of us marry, or what Steinbrenner wastes his money on. In exactly the same way, "most Americans' don't invite ACTUAL immigrants.

THAT'S what Congress promises: US citizens can invite their spouses, parents, kids and siblings. Legal permanent residents can invite their spouses and kids.

How about we just require that Congress DELIVER those visas?

Fix legal immigration FIRST. Much will fall into place as a result.

Posted by: theAmericanist on June 10, 2007 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

OK Mark, I would also bet that if these 'guest worker programs' required employers to provide not only minimum wage but sick pay and a health care plan you would discover that there would be more than enough legal, documented or natural citizens to take these jobs.

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

Patriotism and morality killed the bill (temporarily).

Pushing amnesty are racist U.S. Hispanics who want power, sleazy Democrats willing to destroy the long term stability of this country and suppress rule of law for the sake of Hispanic votes, and last but not least corporate corrupted politicians like Jorge Busch and Jose McCain who are long on business cronyism and short on patriotism.

Posted by: Luther on June 11, 2007 at 2:52 AM | PERMALINK

80% of the Republican Party is made up of extremists

I admit the estimate sounds low, but I'll give the Repugs the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago on June 11, 2007 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

re: Observe why Elvis is misguided to argue that "most Americans" don't want high levels of immigration. Maybe that's true, maybe it's not.

See, "most Americans" make no decisions about who the rest of us marry, or what Steinbrenner wastes his money on. In exactly the same way, "most Americans' don't invite ACTUAL immigrants.

But American citizens do in fact get to decide, through their elected representatives, on the level of immigration allowed (among other issues).

What "Congress promises" to do is represent the majority of their constituents, not special interest groups like unitefamilies.org - "theAmericanist" has articles there (and on ILW.com) that make it clear what side of this issue he is on.

Just because there's a "special counsel at the DoJ whose job it is to prosecute for illegal discrimination" doesn't explain or excuse the fact that workplace enforcement has declined drastically under the Bush administration.

Since "theAmericanist" appears so concerned about reuniting families split by 'unfair' U.S. immigration policy, as his articles indicate, I'd point out that there's another way to accomplish family reunification: by enforcing existing law, which will eventually cause most illegal immigrants to go home to their families.

As for this, "Congress promises: US citizens can invite their spouses, parents, kids and siblings. Legal permanent residents can invite their spouses and kids."
"theAmericanist" throws up another strawman because that has nothing to do with the millions of illegal immigrants who aren't married to US citizens.

Lastly, the "theAmericanist": regarding the current rules for maintaining copies of identification documentation...

I've stated that employers ARE NOT currently required to keep copies of all employee identification documents, but the language in the failed Senate bill would have required it (a proposal that I object to because it would create a treasure trove of breeder documents, increasing the risk of identity theft).

To avoid more of your pontification and derogatory epithets, simply PROVE me wrong by citing a reference that employers ARE currently required to keep copies of all employee identification documents (and this is my second request).

Or say goodnight.

Posted by: Elvis on June 11, 2007 at 6:53 AM | PERMALINK

LOL -- talking to this guy is like the proverbial teaching a pig to sing: it can't carry the tune no matter how carefully you explain music.

Yer wandering all over the place, Elvis.

You obviously know nothing about worksite verification except what little you've managed to misunderstand from, what? a newspaper article?

Let's see -- just to start in the mid-90s, I've done 42 hearings and site visits all over the country, written a dozen or so instances of Congressional testimony first proposing, then advocating what became the Basic Pilot, etc. Check the Monthly's "Borderline Insanity" -- I'm generally a source for journalists, and I don't rely on newspaper articles for what I know about this stuff.

I say again, what you object to (the risk of ID fraud) is already part of current law. That's why you get the Swift raids wrong: they were to STOP an actual criminal enterprise that stole the identities of US citizens. Nothing speculative about it -- posing the question what to DO about it. I have made the proposal in a number of places, including here: this is most effectively a role for the PRIVATE SECTOR.

I note again, Elvis: you don't understand the basic dilemma that faces employers, and has always faced enforcement of the 1986 law: how to deter and prevent the hiring of illegal workers without unlawfully discriminating against workers whom an employer might suspect of being illegal. I pointed out that the Notion of undercover agents presenting DTOTFATBG to con the schmoes who actually fill out I-9 forms poses a serious legal and political problem, since it surely wouldn't DECREASE unlawful discrimination against those an employer might reasonably suspect of being illegal. (Which isn't to say there aren't a million creative things to do -- personally, I think a few hundred thousand snitch visas could do wonders.)

Given those glaring examples of your ignorance, arguing with you about stuff you obviously don't understand is a bit pointless.

But just to nail it down, Elvis quotes me: "'Congress promises: US citizens can invite their spouses, parents, kids and siblings. Legal permanent residents can invite their spouses and kids...."

And then demonstrates that he's just another restrictionist asshole who doesn't understand his own opinions, claiming that legal immigration is: ' "another strawman because that has nothing to do with the millions of illegal immigrants who aren't married to US citizens.'"

As noted, the failures of the LEGAL immigration system have a LOT to do with illegal immigration A reasonable guess is that of the fabled 12 million illegals, at least 4 million are eligible for legal immigration visas that the Congress has refused to deliver.

A sensible person without Elvis' emotional baggage (not to mention ignorance) would look at that fact and ask: why are we trying (and failing) to manage immigration by backlogs? What's the principle here -- that only citizen marriages are sacred? (Got JC himself on my side on that one: Matthew 19:6.)

Not to commit common sense in a blog thread (again), but it works like this: legal immigrants are people we want. That's why they're legal.

A clown like Elvis might object to HOW MANY people his fellow Americans want to invite to become Americans, but just as it is none of my business who (if anyone) is willing to marry him, it is none of HIS business who his fellow Americans choose to sponsor for immigration.

Illegal foreigners are people we DON'T want. That's why they're illegal.

Our immigration laws should be based on that distinction. Elvis obviously disagrees, to the extent anybody can impose coherence on what he considers rather loosely to be his 'opinion'.

'Course, Congress can change the law. It can even fix LEGAL immigration first.

Gee, I wonder if anybody has advocated that?

Posted by: theAmericanist on June 11, 2007 at 7:50 AM | PERMALINK

Stop the pontification and simply PROVE me wrong by citing a reference that employers ARE currently required to keep copies of all employee identification documents (and this is my third request).

The fact is, you can't do it.

Posted by: Elvis on June 11, 2007 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

I previously made this statement:
"theAmericanist" throws up another strawman because that has nothing to do with the millions of illegal immigrants who aren't married to US citizens.

"theAmericanist" attempts to refute it with this:
"...the failures of the LEGAL immigration system have a LOT to do with illegal immigration A reasonable guess is that of the fabled 12 million illegals, at least 4 million are eligible for legal immigration visas that the Congress has refused to deliver.

His "reasonable guess" of at least 4 million being eligible for legal immigration visas out of "the fabled 12 million illegals," still leaves 8 million who are not.

1. No substantiation (just a "reasonable guess")
2. Rather than contradicting my argument that 'millions of illegal immigrants aren't married to US citizens,' it supports it.

Posted by: Elvis on June 11, 2007 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

Well, if you keep wanting to be schooled in public, you're gonna have to demontrate you've LEARNED something -- in fact, that you're capable of learning at all.

1) Regulations and practice on retaining copies of documents used for verification of employment eligibility under immigration law continue to be ambiguous and vary from employer to employer. (This gets complex -- suffice to note that I know what I'm talking about, and you don't.) The law does not forbid keeping such copies (which is significant from a privacy point of view), and many employers have done so as a matter of course. Some lost discrimination suits because they were inconsistent about keeping copies, others were fined for paperwork violations which were proved BY the copies; the practice has changed considerably in the last six years, but never for identity theft. Besides, the Basic Pilot's chief vulnerability is imposter fraud, and the proposed EEVS system as well as other innovations (checking photo IDs issued by DHS, which is the bulk of the issue) are intended to resolve the problem. But I don't think this is something the government does well -- and I've said so many times.

So, as noted, you dunno what you're talking about, Elvis: like I said, the problems you point to are matters of CURRENT, not prospective law.

2) Since in between bouts of extreme incoherence, your principal objection is to the risk of identity theft, the fact that the Swift raids were triggered by a large scale theft of US citizens' identities would suggest that a reasonable person would START with those facts, rather than skipping over 'em to prove a point that you obviously don't understand.

3) The Swift raids don't prove that a PROSPECTIVE law would make worse a problem which they reflect. (Something that comes after cannot cause something that came before.)

4) I keep noting a better way to solve the problem. You keep missing that I've noted it.

5) LOL -- your complaint that it's "unsubstantiated" that my "'reasonable guess" of at least 4 million being eligible for legal immigration visas out of "the fabled 12 million illegals," still leaves 8 million who are not...." marks you as juvenile, dude, in two ways.

a) I'm happy to substantiate my reasonable guess, which has been voted on in Congress a bunch of times, e.g., 1996 and last week; and used by everybody from the CATO Institute to the Urban Institute. But since nobody else is paying attention, just email me if you want to sort it out.

And if you're too stupid to rise to common sense, just ask yourself this: How long would YOU sleep in a different country than your wife, Elvis? When a LEGAL permanent resident marries, the minimum wait for the spouse is 5 years; 7 for Mexico.

If anybody wants to see why I take this seriously, email me about Irene Ayon Velazquez, whose LEGAL immigrant husband petitioned for her in 1999. After being separated for five years, she couldn't stand it anymore, and died crossing the desert. He found her body; the Arizona Republic found him at the funeral home. She had two more years to wait.

See why the difference between people we want, and people we don't, is significant?

b) When you look at a Big Problem that many folks insist Cannot Be Solved, it's generally a sensible step to challenge that premise. That's what I'm doing, arguing that we should fix legal immigration first. It's what grownups do, Elvis, which is why it is so telling that you reject it.

Obviously, fixing LEGAL immigration isn't the same as fixing illegal immigration. That's why I noted that legal immigrants are people we want (that's why they're legal) and illegal aliens are people we don't (that's why they're illegal).

Knuckleheads like you blur that distinction all the time -- you jump up and down, insisting that you're against ILLEGAL immigration, until somebody points out what a fool you are and then you promptly prove it by bitching about LEGAL immigration, as if there is no difference.

Failing to make the distinction between legal and illegal is precisely why we have consistently failed to fix EITHER system -- the one that brings in folks we want, and the one that keeps out those we don't.

Going too fast for you, Elvis?

Delivering visas to the several million people who are already legally qualified for 'em, so we stop (trying and) failing to manage the system by backlogs and waiting lists, is the vital first step toward making the distinction between LEGAL and ILLEGAL effective.

Learned anything, Elvis? Or is that beyond your capacity?

Posted by: theAmericanist on June 11, 2007 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

You can spew vitriolic epithets all you want, but you can't refute my arguments with the facts, even after several requests for you to cite them.

As you know, the Swift meatpacking plants used the "Basic Pilot" system, which in this case caused the illegal immigrants who worked there to use stolen identities (OR SSNs) instead of fake IDs (or SSNs).

Again, if you want to contend that Swift's policies prevented identity theft, rather than caused it, feel free. The fact that the eventual investigation started with identity theft supports my contention to the contrary.

re:
"The law does not forbid keeping such copies (which is significant from a privacy point of view), and many employers have done so as a matter of course."

So you finally admit that keeping copies is significant to privacy!

But now you're down to: 'the current law doesn't PREVENT employers from keeping copies.'

Once again: The immigration bill that failed in the Senate required it.

What some emplopyers may or may not do as a matter of their own policy is irrelevant to whether or not it is required by law of all employers.

Simply PROVE me wrong by citing a reference to the law that requires employers ARE currently required to keep copies of all employee identification documents (and this is my fourth request).

The fact is, you can't do that, because it is NOT currently required.

Posted by: Elvis on June 11, 2007 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Ya see, Elvis, this is why I noted at the outset that you're too ignorant to argue with: you're proving the point.

I never said keeping copies of the documents presented by new hires to verify employment eligibility under immigration law was currently required. I just noted that, when you talk about it, you simply don't know what you're talking about.

Each time you post, it is more clear that you don't.

Remember, your argument (such as it is) is that a NEW law would make all Americans who get jobs more vulnerable to identity theft.

Maybe that's true, maybe it's not. But the Swift case can't prove that, cuz it happened under current law. (Something that comes after cannot cause something that comes before.)

So I noted that what you're bitching about happens under CURRENT law, not prospective law. See how logic works?

It's more than debatable that Swift using the Basic Pilot "caused" illegal workers who got jobs there to steal identities. (What, this doesn't happen at companies that don't use the Basic Pilot? Sez who?)

But it's a sign that you're not just ignorant, you're stupid, Elvis, that you try to argue this, because if it were true it undercuts the rest of your argument (such as it is), that all we need to do is enforce current law.

Current law makes it illegal for employers to "knowingly" hire an unlawful worker. This instantly raises the question -- how do they know?

Without some way to check the validity of the documents themselves, an employer can (and many have) avoid having the law enforced against 'em, no matter how many illegal workers they've hired, simply by pointing to .... all those documents they've accepted.

That's why -- for folks who genuinely care about privacy and security, as opposed to folks who basically don't like immigrants, like you, Elvis -- the current law which does not forbid (and which has been interpreted by many companies to encourage) keeping copies of documents, has not worked well.

I spent a considerable chunk of the 90's working to beef up the real holes in identity security, e.g., breeder documents like birth certificates, so I dunno where you get the idea you have much standing on these issues.

You don't understand worksite verification, you know nothing about immigration, and you show yourself to be just another knucklehead restrictionist with every post.

Posted by: heAmericanist on June 11, 2007 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

What I said was this:

The employee verification system as currently proposed would create a huge risk for identity theft.

The bill before the Senate would have required employers to keep copies of all identification documents on ALL employees (including US citizens), and keep those copies for several years.

Inevitably, a lot of those copies would end up getting lost or stolen. And the fact is, most cases of identity theft result from physical theft of documents containing personal information.

Anyone who doesn't object to this apparently wouldn't mind the equivalent of making copies of their birth certificate, Social Security card, Driver's License & Passport, and then leaving those copies in public trashcans.

I stand by that assessment. For you to toss epithets at that doesn't invalidate it.

I object to anything that increases, or potentially increases, the risk of identity theft, and that includes "Basic Pilot" and the even worse scheme in the failed immigration bill.

If you want to believe keeping all those copies doesn't increase the risk of identity theft, feel free.

Policy wonks do seem short on common sense.

Posted by: Elvis on June 11, 2007 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Uh-oh. Elvis comes perilously close to LEARNING something, and even worse to admitting it.

Can he stop himself in time? I have faith in the this clown, viz:

So, Elvis: you're down to insisting that 'all we need to do is enforce current law'.... except that you're against the Basic Pilot.

And you object to relying on documents to establish employment eligibility under immigration law... except that you want current law enforced.

You demand that employers be fined for hiring illegal workers... except that you are against every method to do it.

And you PARTICULARLY object to the idea that "even US citizens" would be subject to the law.

Gee, it's a good thing that tinfoil on your head enables you to identify foreign-born workers through messages sent to the fillings in your teeth, huh?

Posted by: theAmericanist on June 11, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Your ongoing stream of sarcastic derogatory epithets don't add to the credibility of your dubious (and largely unsubstantiated) arguments.

As you may have noticed, the feds have also been successful at conducting immigration raids at employers that didn't use "Basic Pilot"

Enforcement of the existing immigration laws are not contingent upon "Basic Pilot."

Posted by: Elvis on June 11, 2007 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Your ongoing stream of sarcastic derogatory epithets don't add to the credibility of your dubious (and largely unsubstantiated) arguments.

As you may have noticed, the feds have also been successful at conducting immigration raids at employers that didn't use "Basic Pilot"

Enforcement of the existing immigration laws is not contingent upon "Basic Pilot."

Posted by: Elvis on June 11, 2007 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Your ongoing stream of sarcastic derogatory epithets don't add to the credibility of your dubious (and largely unsubstantiated) arguments.

As you may have noticed, the feds have also been successful at conducting immigration raids at employers that didn't use "Basic Pilot"

Enforcement of the existing immigration laws is not contingent upon "Basic Pilot."

Posted by: Elvis on June 11, 2007 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Glad to see my faith in this clown wasn't misplaced.

Literally NO ONE (except Elvis) thinks a document-based system can work. Any document is only as good as the information on it, which must be electronically checkable, or else it's an open invitation to fraud and forgery.

And the idea that the raids themselves are effective is ludicrous. Do the math: there are something like 5 MILLION illegal workers in America.

Busting 'em 300 or even 1,200 at a time will take awhile.

Especially when employers are barely inconvenienced, because they simply point to the documents they accepted, because they HAVE TO.

Moreover, a VERY large percentage of those who are busted (e.g., many Salvadorans) have a legal claim to remain here. Others are labor-certified. Still others have pending family petitions.

FIX legal immigration first, and a big chunk of the problem goes away. Fix worksite enforcement as part of LEGAL immigration, and it ALL goes away -- without the nasty, polarized and counterproductive fight over amnesty.

For anybody ELSE who's followed this, what bugs Elvis is the idea that the law should apply to everybody, including US citizens and legal permanent residents who get jobs, and not just to some tinfoil hat indicated "foreigners" who can be singled out and asked to demonstrate employment eligibility.

The Notion that a MORE document-based system is LESS vulnerable to ID theft is just stoooopid, and, as the raids on Swift and other employers show, counterfactual.

Elvis just doesn't like that he lives in a land of immigrants. TFB.

Posted by: theAmericanist on June 11, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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