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Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Comments

Michael J. Totten

Fantastic, passionate writing. Also depressing. What to do? I've no idea. The idealist in me wants an open border. The realist in me knows better but has no words of advice.

steve

http://www.seiu.org/action_center/issues_and_action/immigration/national_strategy.cfm

Woody McNair

It's very sad, and I genuinely hurt for those who risk their lives for opportunity. But, what do you do--not enforce the laws? The problems of an open border could far exceed the problems that exist now. (As a side note, I thought that NAFTA would send job opportunites south of the border, but I am not up-to-date on that issue.)

In our concerns to help others, I would focus first on entry to those who seek freedom and escape from political persecution--putting them ahead of those who just want better jobs.

By the way, Marc, I don't believe that you are a U.S. citizen because of luck. Your parents or ancestors, who are responsible for your birth in this country, made the choices to become legal residents of the U.S. Other aliens come here legally and choose to become citizens. You are a U.S. citizen because of choices--not luck.

steve

But, what do you do--not enforce the laws?

--why not, if the laws don't work, why should they be enforced?
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As a side note, I thought that NAFTA would send job opportunites south of the border, but I am not up-to-date on that issue.

--
http://www.morganstanley.com/GEFdata/digests/20030729-tue.html

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In our concerns to help others, I would focus first on entry to those who seek freedom and escape from political persecution--putting them ahead of those who just want better jobs.

--unless they're Cuban, in which case it's citizenship once the border is broken no matter what reason.
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Your parents or ancestors, who are responsible for your birth in this country, made the choices to become legal residents of the U.S.

--if we were to judge US citizens on those criteria...wow would a lot of us be in trouble. even the least careful scanning of American history disproves your belief.

steve

the photo that says it all:

http://www.tri-cityherald.com/galleries/story/4002561p-4023860c.html

rosedog

Excellent and heartbreaking column, Marc.

"But, what do you do--not enforce the laws?"

At present, the laws are inforced extremely selectively. If we really intended to shut down undocumented immigration we'd go after the employers. But, no one---either democratic or republican---has any intention of touching that hot little issue. So instead a glorious PR show is put on in a few of the border regions, people die in the Arizona desert because they are desperate to get across at any cost, and the beat goes on.

So instead a glorious PR show is put on in a few of the border regions, people die in the Arizona desert because they are desperate to get across at any cost, and the beat goes on.

--and at the same time the continued calls for 'enforcement' of the 'laws' helps employers of 'illegals' keep the 'illegal' employees afraid of trying to organize unions for fear of being deported.

Michael J. Totten

Woody: "I would focus first on entry to those who seek freedom and escape from political persecution..."

Steve: "unless they're Cuban..."

You really think there's no political persecution in Cuba, don't you? They aren't coming here from Havana for jobs. Don't believe me? Go to Miami and ask around. Ask the Cuban-Americans what they think of Fidel. The word "tyrant" comes up a lot.

I know you are going to want to say they're a bunch of reactionaries, but that's transparent evasion so don't bother going there.

Woody McNair

Steve in response to "But, what do you do--not enforce the laws?" wrote "--why not, if the laws don't work, why should they be enforced?"

Steve, that's anarchy! Go tell that to a judge. "Your honor, I don't believe that driving the speed limit saves lives, so there is no reason to fine me for going 85 in a 40 zone." Well, other people may disagree with you, so the law should be enforced until enough agree to change it.

And, Rosedog, if it's known that the police selectively set up a speed-trap on the by-pass, shouldn't speeders avoid that area? Likewise, illegals know where our border patrols have stepped up coverage.

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Steve in response to "Your parents or ancestors, who are responsible for your birth in this country, made the choices to become legal residents of the U.S." wrote "--if we were to judge US citizens on those criteria...wow would a lot of us be in trouble. even the least careful scanning of American history disproves your belief."

Steve, I don't know if I get your drift, but I was referring to something Marc wrote--"And then, only a few moments later, and no more than a half-dozen blocks from that church, and only by accident of birth, I effortlessly glide north across the same border that these men will challenge by night. “U.S. citizen,” I say...."

I was pointing out that Marc's U.S. citizenship was not an "accident" in his words or "luck" in mine, but a result of choices made (i.e., parents who brought him into the world in the U.S.) By the standards in our lifetimes, that makes him a U.S. citizen. Also, Marc could have chosen to renounce his citizenship during his more rebellious years, but he chose not to do so.

Frequently, people try to attribute circumstances to accident or luck (such as calling a successful, hardworking businessman one of the "more fortunate" or calling a homeless drug user "less fortunate." Sometimes fortune may be involved, but most of us are where we are because of good or bad choices we made along the line. Marc's citizenship was not an accident, but resulted from wise choices and not foolish choices.

Marc Cooper

Woody.. ur points are well taken... but there is some illustrative irony in my case. My mother's family came legally to the U.S. from Russia during WWI and the Revolution as many jews did. My mother was born in San Francisco. My father's family tried the same route to the US.. but apparently my grandfather couldnt make it thru Ellis Island because of lung problems-- probably tuberculosis or emphysema. So my father's family settled in Toronto where my father was born in 1917. Within a year or so they jumped the border south into the U.S. and were apparently "illegals" for a dozen years or so. FDR enacted some sort of blanket amnesty in the 30"S and my father's family became legal. By then my father was commander of the ROTC at his East L.A. high school (Roosevelt) and soon after became a member of the Los Angeles police reserve. So i can conclude that his illegal immigration status had no effect on his patriotism. The whole debate we have now on immigration-- on both sides-- is out of whack. The immigration laws make no sense and do not reflect or alter an overhwelming reality that as I said in the above column is more or less unmoveable. On the other side, the left has to be able to articulate a position more viable than "non-enforcement" or "open borders." It's sticky for all.

Woody McNair

Thanks, Marc. That's an interesting family history, especially in context of this topic. Now, I get your point. While you focus on the human element at the border, which grabs our hearts, I realize that you look at this as really a bigger problem with many other players. It's frustrating that problems of other countries always seem to become our problems.

Still, unless new laws are passed, we should enforce the existing ones and provide the border patrol with enough money and clout to do the job right. No more of this "TEN strikes and you're out." (What's that all about!?) The existing laws were passed because the lawmakers thought they were in our best interests, and we need to honor them until someone offers something better.

On a related but side note, I firmly oppose the movements to give illegal aliens the right to vote in any of our elections--which is even more reason to stem the flow and get this resolved.

I've said enough. Thanks.

gmroper

Steve writes: "--why not, if the laws don't work, why should they be enforced?"

Steve, you have written some pretty inane things in the past, but this tops them all.

Laws against ________ (fill in your favorite felony) don't work because it's obvious that ____________ (fill in the same felony)still happens. Hey, I've got an idea; let's not enforce the laws against ___________ (fill in the same felony one last time).

Yeah, that'll work for sure!

steve

You really think there's no political persecution in Cuba, don't you?

--and you really have trouble understanding the point of what I wrote evidently. Of course there are people who are politically persecuted in Cuba. Unfortunately that changes little about the reality that, if more moderate (and I recall you have a thing for moderates) Cuban exiles are to be believed, most exiles are leaving Cuba for economic reasons, making them little different from Mexican confreres.
---------------------------
know you are going to want to say they're a bunch of reactionaries, but that's transparent evasion so don't bother going there.

--I would say talk to the more moderate Cubans in Miami, you might be surprised at what you hear.
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Wood writes: No more of this "TEN strikes and you're out."

--unless you're very wealthy, in which case it's do as you please if you can pay us off.
---------------------------------

Laws against ________ (fill in your favorite felony) don't work because it's obvious that ____________ (fill in the same felony)still happens. Hey, I've got an idea; let's not enforce the laws against ___________ (fill in the same felony one last time).

--sure, like say, laws against smoking marijuana. you might think it's worth putting people in jail for, or deporting them, or what have you...but really, is it worth it? the laws against 'illegal' immigration are used to keep 'illegal' immigrants from organizing, be it in the workplace or in the community, the SEIU is right on this one I'm afraid. The laws are deceptive at best when it comes to intent.
Like I said, they benefit those who employ "illegals" the most. No better weapon exists for an employer of "illegals" than to threaten them with turning "illegals" who try to organize unions over to the authorities.


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steve

More evidence that the laws against "illegal" immigration serve the interests of employers of "illegals" best:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0896086380/qid=1092435313/sr=ka-1/ref=pd_ka_1/103-8797744-3397463

gmroper

Steve writes: "--sure, like say, laws against smoking marijuana. you might think it's worth putting people in jail for, or deporting them, or what have you...but really, is it worth it?"

Nope, and as one who has toked a time or two, or perhaps even more, there are laws and then there are laws. But my comment was about your cavalier statment regarding junking a law because it can't be enforced totally. Your argument is specious at best. On the other hand you are still really good at the development of the straw man.

steve

Nope, and as one who has toked a time or two, or perhaps even more, there are laws and then there are laws. But my comment was about your cavalier statment regarding junking a law because it can't be enforced totally.

--wrong, i was referring specifically to that law as I recall. you perhaps read more into the statement than I wrote and chose that as a diversion from the real issue of the way the anti-"illegal" immigrant hostility is used by employers of "illegals" to keep "illegals" from organizing unions.
http://www.prospect.org/print/V13/12/bacon-d.html

I can't blame you or Totten, Woody, Repub for avoiding the issue, it's the obvious contradiction in the anti-"illegal" immigrant argument. I'd avoid it too and stick with the non-sequitor of the 'enforceability' issue. And definitely don't address the SEIU's stance on "illegal" immigrants. After all, what can people organizing "illegal" immigrants into unions possibly understand about such an issue, eh?

GMRoper

Steve writes: "I'd avoid it too and stick with the non-sequitor of the 'enforceability' issue. And definitely don't address the SEIU's stance on "illegal" immigrants. After all, what can people organizing "illegal" immigrants into unions possibly understand about such an issue, eh?"

I am of the firm opinion that the immigration laws need to be reformed badly. They are patently unenforceable as currently written, they encourage scofflaws and they put a large part of a vital economy underground. My argument has nothing to do with organizing "illegal immigrants into unions," but why would you want to do that? Under current law, as soon as they met at their "Illegal Local #713 Hall" they would have to be arrested as "illegals." Surely you see the logic of that. Now, if your argument is to go after those who hire illegals, that is different. There are indeed "powers that be" who exploit these folk, there are families who hire "maids and nannies" and do not pay into SS for them etc. I am all in favor of setting up a heirarcy of laws to go after these folk, misdemeanors for people hiring nannies or maids or gardeners, felonys for everyone else, especially those that abuse and exploit the illegal. But the question is still then, what the heck do you do with the illegal, they are still here illegally, and they are still a drain on the local economy in areas where they congregrate.

It is quite true that to help "hide" the illegal, false papers are given, taxes are "withheld" and for that reason you can call them "taxpayers" but they really aren't, they often just consider that the cost of having a job and three squares (when they can get them)and a roof.

Your solution, "unionizing" is no solution at all. The solution must be a combination of improving the economy and freedom base of the country they come from, the opportunity in their homeland and to decrease the "reason" they try to come here in the first place.

But, even with all this Steve, there will be those who try to come in for other reasons, reasons having to do with terrorism, reasons having to do with escaping from a dictatorship, and because we are the big magnet for people everywhere. People do vote with their feet, and we are a very popular destination for that very reason. Yet, if we do not attempt to control our borders, much of what we have may be lost in the long run. Defense, protecting the borders and supporting the common welfare is the primary job of government. Of those three, protecting the borders is getting the short end of the stick.

steve

My argument has nothing to do with organizing "illegal immigrants into unions," but why would you want to do that? Under current law, as soon as they met at their "Illegal Local #713 Hall" they would have to be arrested as "illegals."

--nope, I"m with the SEIU on this one, the whole 'illegal' 'legal' charade is used to make it easier to keep 'illegal' workers unorganized. it's a law that benefits employers of 'illegals' and 'legals', and that isn't going to change.
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Your solution, "unionizing" is no solution at all. The solution must be a combination of improving the economy and freedom base of the country they come from, the opportunity in their homeland and to decrease the "reason" they try to come here in the first place.

-- I wonder whose side you'd be on:

http://www.pacificnews.org/jinn/stories/4.20/980929-closing.html

http://dbacon.igc.org/Imgrants/21ImmigAFLCIO.htm
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But, even with all this Steve, there will be those who try to come in for other reasons, reasons having to do with terrorism, reasons having to do with escaping from a dictatorship, and because we are the big magnet for people everywhere.

--ah yes, because of terrorism we must kick out all the maids in California who don't have the classification of 'legal', and their 'illegal' kids too. that'll sure help the 'legal' workers win their rights to better wages, benefits, safety,...
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Yet, if we do not attempt to control our borders, much of what we have may be lost in the long run.

-- Who is this 'we' you talk about?

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