What to Make of This?

I really don’t know what to make of this:

Thousands of students walked out of high schools in Los Angeles and across Southern California this morning as protests against restrictions on immigration spread across the city for a fourth day.

School walkouts were reported at schools in San Diego and Orange counties, and in the Santa Clarita Valley in northern Los Angeles County. There were also immigrant rights marches nationwide.

In Los Angeles, dozens of schools experienced walkouts, with the major events downtown, where several thousand students converged on City Hall, and on the Westside and in the San Fernando Valley.

At midafternoon, student marchers descended onto the heavily-traveled 101 Freeway near downtown, snarling traffic and creating safety hazards, according to televised reports. The northbound freeway was restricted to one lane. The freeway later reopened after students exited on an off-ramp in Echo Park.

When I was in High school, if I could have organized it, I would have walked out protesting anything if it meant not being in class. I don’t know how much these High School walkouts really reflect opinions regarding immigration, but I do know that Californians in general have strong opinions about the issue and that Californians, given an opportunity and a reason, can throw one heck of a riot when it comes to matters of race.

*** Update ***

Good grief, Ezra:

John Cole, noting a 500,000 person march that resulted in not one arrest and a fully peaceful walkout from LA County schools, sniffs that he “doesn’t know what to make of it” and implies that California’s immigrants are gearing up for a race riot.

WTF is right? Since when did everything I write get so damn misinterpreted? I wasn’t suggesting there was going to be a race riot, I was asking if there was really anything to this, or if it was just kids trying to get out of school. If there is something to it, and it is more than kids just trying to play hookie, then I don’t think observing California’s recent history with race riots and the recent racial tensions (umm, Minutemen, anyone?) is that crazy or that sinister.

And I certainly was not attacking the walk-out or trying to imply anything about them. I didn’t even express my normally disdainful view of all things protestor. I was just asking what is going on and whether this is anything to pay attention to, as if you haven’t noticed, I have been pretty busy lately and not up to my usual blogging/news-reading. I know we all love a good pile-on, but how bout we start asking me things before thinking the worst- especially those of you who know and use my instant messenger screen name.

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221 replies
  1. 1

    There are assholes talking about deporting twelve million people.

  2. 2
    Doctor Gonzo says:

    I don’t know how much these High School walkouts really reflect opinions regarding immigration…

    Well, I think we know what half a million people in LA think about this issue.

  3. 3
    tomboy says:

    Not only that, but many of these kids have parents who will be kicked out of the country. And many more have friends with parents who will be kicked out of the country.

    There are millions of children who are citizens but with illegal parents in America, likely millions of such kids in California alone.

    No wonder they’re pissed.

  4. 4
    searp says:

    I see this debate as a political sop to the public. 12 million people are not going to be deported, a “tough on illegal immigration” bill will be passed that will simply makes their lives more miserable. Selective enforcement will result in some people’s lives being made very miserable. Republicans will lose a big chunk of the Latino vote, and the Dems will have yet another thing to fix when the good government party takes control again.

  5. 5
    ppGaz says:

    Hard to say how it will play out in Congress. Even in the best of times, Congress is a circus.

    It’s an explosive issue. Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, a rather popular figure … until last week … now finds himself embroiled in a storm of controversy because he got upset that last week’s latino demonstration went ten times over its planned size. 20,000 showed up instead of the planned 2,000 …. and traffic was snarled all day.

    So Gordon criticized the organizers and the organizers are playing the Latino card big time against him now.

    So in one week, Gordon’s hard-earned mayoralty has gone from dream job to firestorm, all over the immigration thing.

    Politicians, beware. This is a charged issue.

  6. 6
    Darrell says:

    I’m not sure anyone can read much into this. HS kids are always looking for a reason to cut class and get attention

    There are assholes talking about deporting twelve million people

    If all 12 million are here in violation of our laws, skipping the line over those who try to come here legally.. why would it be “asshole” to talk about deporting them? They are here ILLEGALLY.

    And next time you’re in line at the DMV Bob, I’ll just cut in line front of your ass and you keep your mouth shut

  7. 7
    Zifnab says:

    I see this debate as a political sop to the public. 12 million people are not going to be deported, a “tough on illegal immigration” bill will be passed that will simply makes their lives more miserable.

    One of the hallmark silver-linings to this legislation is that 12 million people won’t be deported because we’d need to – what? – double the number of DAs and Assistant DAs in this country to cover that many cases. Not to mention, we’d have to find some 130,000 law-enforcement-type people to make use of our containment policy. I mean, on the bright side, demanding that 12 million illegals be brought to justice and then flooding the streets with National Guard and Army soldiers is a great way to declare martial law without actually declaring martial law.

  8. 8
    Paddy O'Shea says:

    You need to make the connection between these walk-outs and the demonstrations in Los Angeles over the weekend that drew half a million people.

    Imigration looks to be the wedge issue the morally bankrupt GOP will be running on this year. It is basically a racist theme designed to frighten white people and push them to the right. The Republican Party is the heir to the race politics of George Wallce, Lester Maddox and Strom Thurmond. Latinos know this and they’re voicing their anger.

    Hope that helps.

  9. 9
    Darrell says:

    Politicians, beware. This is a charged issue

    Which is why it’s important to do the right thing. Repub congress f*cked up badly by making it a felony to come here illegally. Please. Make the coyotes a felony offense, or make employers caught hiring illegals felons on their 3rd offense, but not the illegals. Send ’em back, but the felon bit was way too far over the top, and it gave the opposition a legit reason to tar them

    Build that wall, put photos and fingerprints on SS cards, and crack down like a bastard on employers who hire illegals

  10. 10
    Zifnab says:

    If all 12 million are here in violation of our laws, skipping the line over those who try to come here legally.. why would it be “asshole” to talk about deporting them? They are here ILLEGALLY.

    It would be like trying to hunt down the millions of people who smoke pot recreationally in this country every day because it is ILLEGAL and said criminals must be brought to justice. If 12 million people are breaking the law at once, than either A) this is a really shitty law that can’t possibly be enforced B) those who are supposed to be enforcing it have done a really shitty job, or C) breaking the law has never garnered enough popular support to make it worth enforcing. Criminalizing anything has its price. In this case, the price is half a million people protesting in LA. We’ll see how much Republicans are willing to pay to appease their xenophobic base.

  11. 11
    Darrell says:

    In this case, the price is half a million people protesting in LA. We’ll see how much Republicans are willing to pay to appease their xenophobic base.

    Yeah because Rebublicans can have no valid reasons for opposing illegal immigration except for “xenophobic” reasons.. right you fucking ahole? And no mention of “price” paid by society for those illegals either. This is what I loathe about the left. Instead of debating issues honestly, they ALWAYS play the race/bigot card. It’s in their DNA…

  12. 12
    Vlad says:

    I think immigration is going to be THE big issue of the ’08 presidential race. It’s a huge wedge issue for the Republican party, and I could easily see someone like Brownback or Tancredo running a third-party splinter campaign if an anti-immigration candidate doesn’t get out of the primary.

  13. 13
    Darrell says:

    One of the hallmark silver-linings to this legislation is that 12 million people won’t be deported because we’d need to – what? – double the number of DAs and Assistant DAs in this country to cover that many cases. Not to mention, we’d have to find some 130,000 law-enforcement-type people to make use of our containment policy

    That’s your opinion… and not very well thought out. At this stage, we have done near-zero crackdown on employers that hire illegal aliens. We still have paper SS cards with NO PHOTO for chrissakes. It would be minimal cost to make more fraud-proof SS cards, not much different from what is done now with Drivers Licenses. That, combined with a crackdown on employers would dramatically reduce the need for the army of law enforcement.

    But that’s just my xenophobic opinion

  14. 14
    gratefulcub says:

    The 500,000 in LA weren’t high schoolers. High school students were there, and they left school to be there, but the march was broader than HS students.

    RIOTS? You feel the need to mention riots, race based riots? half a million people filled the streets, no arrests, no destruction, no problems. They took to the streets to make a point. Lots of marching, plenty of singing, plenty of kids in strollers…….but absolutely no rioting.

    i find the gratuitous mention of rioting a bit offensive.

  15. 15
    Jim Allen says:

    Yeah because Rebublicans can have no valid reasons for opposing illegal immigration except for “xenophobic” reasons.. right you fucking ahole? And no mention of “price” paid by society for those illegals either. This is what I loathe about the left. Instead of debating issues honestly, they ALWAYS play the race/bigot card. It’s in their DNA…

    There’s a roll of paper towels by the sink over there, if anyone needs to wipe the spittle off their terminal.

  16. 16
    gratefulcub says:

    At this stage, we have done near-zero crackdown on employers that hire illegal aliens.

    Big business doesn’t want a crackdown, so there won’t be one. Stop the jobs, and the immigration stops.

    Who is going to do the jobs if we don’t have the 12 million mexicans? My family runs several farms (not me, I got out as soon as possible). They attempt to hire any local person every summer, but they are forced to bring in temporary workers from Mexico. Pay them $8 an hour, and house them. at the end of the season, they go back. We can’t find domestic help.

    80% of our farm workers are immigrants, most of them illegal. So, let them stay, or pay 20% higher prices at the grocery. Americans will stand for something right up to the point they realize it might cost them more money.

  17. 17
    gratefulcub says:

    And no mention of “price” paid by society for those illegals either.

    Let’s actually discuss the “net price” paid/gained by society for those illegals.

    Pros
    most are law abiding, they don’t actually cause large increases in crime

    they offer cheap labor to big business

    Cons
    Their cheap labor drives down wages for the unskilled

    They tax the social welfare system

    Their children (american citizens) get schooling

    More please.

  18. 18
    Jim Allen says:

    At this stage, we have done near-zero crackdown on employers that hire illegal aliens. We still have paper SS cards with NO PHOTO for chrissakes. It would be minimal cost to make more fraud-proof SS cards, not much different from what is done now with Drivers Licenses. That, combined with a crackdown on employers would dramatically reduce the need for the army of law enforcement.

    I got my Social Security card when I was a pre-teen, and I got the cards for my kids when they were infants. They needed the numbers because the IRS requires the SSN be listed for any dependents I declare on my tax forms. How often should these picture IDs be updated? Every year? Every five years? Every ten?

    Where will this be done? It’s a federal ID, so I don’t think the local department/registry of motor vehicles will be the appropriate authority. Post office, maybe? They handle passports to a certain extent, but they don’t take the photos.

    And since when is having a national ID card considered a good idea to the right wing?

  19. 19
    D. Mason says:

    Darrell, unfortunately I agree with you here. Illegal immigration is way out of control, but this law was a poor shot at dealing with it. Personally I would rather have illegal immigrants out on the streets working than sitting in jail soaking up tax money like a sponge. Atleast that way they are contributing something to in addition to taking something out of the system.

    Employers need to be punished, severely, $1000 per day per illegal immigrant caught working there, let the cops monitor suspects for a while, take a few daily head counts then sweep for illegals. If they can’t pay the fines the government can sieze and auction their business to someone who can operate it legally. And of course enforce it. Put the money from the fines into enforcement.

    I doubt your idea about updating SS cards would have as much success as you think. Forgers seem to always find a way, but whatever.

  20. 20
    Darrell says:

    Big business doesn’t want a crackdown, so there won’t be one.

    This is a case where a few big businesses advocate policies that hurt average americans. This is a fight we need to have

    Who is going to do the jobs if we don’t have the 12 million mexicans?

    Americans and LEGAL immigrants

    Pay them $8 an hour

    There is the crux issue. Employers get to pay below market wages while passing off the real costs (healthcare, schooling of their children, etc) to Joe Taxpayer. If we didn’t have the Mexicans, they might have to pay $14/hour.. but Joe Taxpayer wouldn’t be strapped with cost burdens associated with the illegals. It costs $7k – $9k per child per year in the schools, and that’s before we begin to talk about illegal alien costs in healthcare and law enforcement. This, for workers making $20k or less per year.

    Americans will stand for something right up to the point they realize it might cost them more money

    20% increase at the grocery story would be a great tradeoff for the reduction in taxes. Three kids = $25k in costs for school alone. Do the math and get back to me

  21. 21
    LITBMueller says:

    And no mention of “price” paid by society for those illegals either.

    Well, the “price” could get REAL high if Congress (Rove?) keeps pushing this wedge issue. I’m talking about a national strike by those some call “illegals” (I like to call them “people trying to make a living and support their families” and “human beings,” but that’s just me…), as well as those here legally that support them.

    John, I don’t think you will see race riots – there is no need. Migrant workers, “illegals,” or whatever you want to call them, know they have the American economy by the balls. All they have to do is give a good squeeze.

    And, let’s not forget, so close to St. Patty’s Day, we’re not just talking about Mexicans and Latin Americans – we also have to consider the Irish, for example.

    The Republicans are really playing with fire here. They might be getting in way over their heads.

  22. 22
    Darrell says:

    I doubt your idea about updating SS cards would have as much success as you think. Forgers seem to always find a way, but whatever.

    Right now, we’re not even trying.. no photos on SS is unbelievable. I understand biometrics with fingerprints is now cheap, easy, and common. Please correct me if I am mistaken on that point. Forging photos is difficult, but doable in some cases. Forging fingerprints.. haven’t heard of that one outside of Mission Impossible

    Another issue – Crack down on our embassy workers, and particularly the Puerto rican embassy regarding those who issue passports and visas. I’ll bet lots of bribery is going down there. A few high-profile crackdowns on those who issue visas via bribes would go a long way imo.

  23. 23
    gratefulcub says:

    Darrel,
    I am not really arguing with you here. All I am trying to do is point out that this issue is much more complex than Tom Tancredo or the ‘let them all in’ crowd make it out to be. There are both advantages and disadvantages to illegal immigrants.

    Americans and LEGAL immigrants

    The “legal” immigrants aren’t coming for $7 an hour farm jobs. They are usually college educated professionals. How many poor uneducated unskilled unemployed families are going to be given citizenship and a free trip to the US?

    Reality also has to creep in at some point. The reality is that we don’t have the resources to find and deport 12 million people. We also can’t protect our southern border to prevent people from crossing.

    If we do try to deport all the illegals, what do we do about the fact that most of them have children that are US citizens? Put them in an orphanage, or deport american citizens.

    In a perfect world, we would deport them all, protect the border, and only allow legals in. We don’t live in that world. As long as people live in destitute poverty just across the river, they are going to try to get in to feed their families.

  24. 24
    tzs says:

    For once, Darrell has said something intelligent. Everyone’s tolerating the presence of illegal immigrants because of the undercutting of the labor market prices. I’d prefer paying higher prices for food and getting everyone legal and legitimate.

    Also, by the way, can’t we fix the INS? I wonder how many people end up illegal because the INS is the most dysfunctional agency out there, barring the Dept. of Indian Affairs. I had a boyfriend who had come to the US on a green card and was going through naturalization procedures. Totally, totally dysfunctional. Streamline naturalization procedures, get a competent and efficient INS, and I bet you’ll also see illegal immigration drop.

    Considering how many states, after enough yelps about their DMVs have managed to improve them, I fail to see why we can’t do the same for the INS.

  25. 25
    Darrell says:

    John, I don’t think you will see race riots – there is no need. Migrant workers, “illegals,” or whatever you want to call them, know they have the American economy by the balls. All they have to do is give a good squeeze.

    They think they do. They could hurt the economy to some degree, but they need those jobs much worse than our economy needs them.

    But you’d never know it listening to the ignorant rantings of most of these illegals telling each other how the US economy would ‘shut down’ without them. Check out the immigration ‘foros’ at univision.com to read their arrogant demands if you can speak spanish fairly well. Granted, it’s only an internet forum, but it’s an eye opener as to their attitudes and how many(most?) of them think

  26. 26
    Krista says:

    It’s in their DNA…

    That’s a new one, Darrell. I like it. It’s a really pleasant change from “It’s who they are”.

  27. 27
    gratefulcub says:

    There is the crux issue. Employers get to pay below market wages while passing off the real costs (healthcare, schooling of their children, etc) to Joe Taxpayer. If we didn’t have the Mexicans, they might have to pay $14/hour.. but Joe Taxpayer wouldn’t be strapped with cost burdens associated with the illegals. It costs $7k – $9k per child per year in the schools, and that’s before we begin to talk about illegal alien costs in healthcare and law enforcement. This, for workers making $20k or less per year.

    Shifting the expense from big business to low income tax payer? Welcome to the wonderful world of modern day conservative economic philosophy.

    This issue is going to divide Republicans in so many ways.

    Problem is, the democrats will even screw this up. They will look at the polls that show most americans just want to deport them all, and will be scared to go public with a rational debate. They will find some middle of the road position that can’t even be understood.

  28. 28
    gratefulcub says:

    it’s only an internet forum, but it’s an eye opener as to their attitudes and how many(most?) of them think

    Riiiight.

    Just like this internet forum proves how many(most?) republicans think like you, and most democrats (liberals) think like me.

  29. 29
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Are you assuming that the $5-$7000 [cite, please?] per student per year is not an investment in a future taxpayer of America? Many of these children are citizens, even if their parents are not. Why are you so happy to pay for the deadbeat American family’s kids to go through school, and not the illegal Mexicans? (Many of whom do actually pay into the tax system with no hope of ever claiming future benefits)

    I’m not being facetious here. While I recognize the indignation felt because these people have “jumped the queue”, where is the evidence that they are a net drain on the system?
    Their pay mostly gets returned to the local economy, and I’m betting that most of them are so scared of being nabbed by the INS that they only go to seek medical care in the most extreme of circumstances.

    I’m genuinely curious about your evidence. At the moment, I’ve seen a number of shifting rationales about why this problem is so bad (other than that they have jumped the queue, which is morally bad), and when the light is shone onto any of the claims, they evaporate like vampires in the sunlight.

  30. 30
    Stormy70 says:

    This immigration issue will cross party lines, I believe.

    It is too expensive to deport that many workers. Also, America has near full employment figures, and still all these illegals are employed and in high demand. New Orleans is begging for workers, and I am not seeing a huge migration of Americans flocking to those construction jobs. Employers are offering $18 per hour trying to fill fast food jobs, for Pete’s sake. Illegals of all stripes have always come into America, and I see us surviving this current wave of immigrants with equal aplomb. Of course, I live in Texas, where our Mexican immigrants are quite pleasant and have great family values and a great work ethic.

    I would like to see the outcry about the Eastern European and Korean young girls being smuggled into the country and thrown into the illegal sex trade. Then I might be a little more sympathetic to the people wanting all these illegal Mexicans, with their church-going, high family centric values, being deported en masse.

    We survived the Irish, I think we can survive the Hispanics.

  31. 31
    Chimpy says:

    Sure wish the “John Coles of the right” would quit raping babies!

  32. 32
    Darrell says:

    Many of these children are citizens, even if their parents are not.

    That shit has to change. Just because an illegal alien comes here 8 mos pregnant to have her baby here.. we should never give citizenship to the child in those circumstances. Never. If an illegal alien from Guatemala has a baby in Mexico, the Mexicans throw them in filthy jails then eject them from their country. Only US taxpayer/suckers are so stupid as to grant citizenship to those who intentionally violate our border laws

  33. 33
    Jim Allen says:

    We survived the Irish, I think we can survive the Hispanics.

    Mighty white of you, Stormy.

  34. 34
    Jim Allen says:

    If an illegal alien from Guatemala has a baby in Mexico, the Mexicans throw them in filthy jails then eject them from their country.

    That’s what this country needs — our own filthy Mexican jails!

  35. 35
    Darrell says:

    Employers are offering $18 per hour trying to fill fast food jobs

    Hi Stormy, welcome back, but I’m calling bullshit on your claim. I live in Texas just like you. There are signs outside of fast food restaurants offering minimum wage up to $8/hour. I will bet money it’s not too different in Ft. Worth where you live. If you have a point, then make it without exaggerating the numbers to such an extreme, ok?

    As for all mexican immigrants being pleasant, most are, some are not. The problem is, why should mexican immigrants be given preference over immigrants from Brazil, New Zealand, or Croatia? Because there are so many illegals from Mexico, we can’t allow as many immigrants from other countries as otherwise would happen with a more balanced immigration policy

  36. 36
    Doctor Gonzo says:

    That shit has to change. Just because an illegal alien comes here 8 mos pregnant to have her baby here.. we should never give citizenship to the child in those circumstances. Never.

    What’s the alternative? If you grant citizenship based on blood, instead of based on soil, then you will have a permanent underclass of non-citizens like those that exist in many countries in Europe: Turkish people in Germany, for example. That’s far, far worse than allowing a kid born here to become a citizen.

    Why do people bring up race in terms of immigration debates? Because like it or not, race is a huge factor in immigration. My wife is an immigrant, but because she has blond hair and blue eyes, we didn’t get any crap from the INS. Our interview for her green card was literally 5 minutes long. But if she had darker skin…well, our lawyer told us about a client who was married to a person from Colombia, and their interview took hours and was filled with questions like “how many pairs of underwear does your spouse have?”

    Tell me that’s not racist. Come on, tell me.

  37. 37
    Stormy70 says:

    Look, the $18 an hour figure is from New Orleans, not Texas.

    Hey, Jim, this is a snarky site, you have to learn to deal.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    Krista says:

    We survived the Irish, I think we can survive the Hispanics.

    A-hem…

    (From the Irish-Acadian chick whose ancestors had to go through a massive deportation…)

  40. 40
    Faux News says:

    One would imagine that the mechanism of identifying and deporting 12 million people will be both easy and inexpensive. I’m sure there will be no resistance of any kind. Especially when illegal parents are forcibly sepertated from their US born citizen children.

    Perhaps Vixen News (Stormy) will volunteer to work in one of the Texas Deportation Centers. We just need a no bid contract to build and staff several thousand of these Deportation Centers around the country. Now if we only had a corporation with previous experience…

  41. 41
    Jim Allen says:

    Hey, Jim, this is a snarky site, you have to learn to deal.

    Just out of curiosity, Stormy, who is this “we” who “survived” the Irish? Which of your ancestors did “we” have to “survive”?

  42. 42
    Otto Man says:

    That shit has to change. Just because an illegal alien comes here 8 mos pregnant to have her baby here.. we should never give citizenship to the child in those circumstances. Never. If an illegal alien from Guatemala has a baby in Mexico, the Mexicans throw them in filthy jails then eject them from their country. Only US taxpayer/suckers are so stupid as to grant citizenship to those who intentionally violate our border laws

    Go back to stealing from Senator Cornyn, Darrell. When you work on your own, it’s just sad.

    Norbizness has collected a similar array of cartoonish immigration wisdom over at his site. Just replace the Simpsons characters names with Darrell’s.

  43. 43
    Kirk Spencer says:

    Before I go off on a rant, I’ll point out that Leftie Economist Paul Krugman also points out that the left side needs to recognize there is a cost if it’s going to get into this. One specific issue is the estimate that immigrants – not just illegals – depress the wages of the lower quintile by about 8%. (No, I don’t know how he came up with that figure. OTOH, I’ve found that his estimates on such are usually pretty reliable.) And I think it important to note the reason why, because it’s not “getting paid below minimum wage and pocketing the taxes” that gets bandied about.

    It’s simpler than that. A “fair wage” is relative. $30,000 per year will do you and your family decently in, say, Pierre ND. If you’re living in San Francisco, CA, you can forget about housing at that wage. But I’ve seen more than a few friends see the wages being paid in California, see they’re a significant jump from what they’re getting, and head west – all not realizing that what they’re getting is in reality going to give them a lower standard of living (relatively speaking). So Juan comes north and works in a field for $8 per hour, while the local residents know that if it isn’t at least $10 per hour they’re going to need a second job to make it all hang together.

    I’ll give a specific anecdote to support this. In northeast Georgia, the Big Industry is carpet manufacturing. In the 1990 census, the hispanic population of the area was below 5%. In the mid-1990s, hispanics began coming north to work in the carpet mills – hard, dirty labor that paid well. For the past decade, the wages for the floor labor have essentially declined – they’ve not kept pace with inflation (and in many cases there’ve been no increases at all). At the same time, the businesses have been able to be even more stringent with employment rules – the third time you are late for work without prior approval (regardless of reason) you are unemployed. Just go to the office and get your final paycheck, don’t bother going to the floor. The employment applications are backlogged with multiples for every position.

    The hispanic population of one county in the region (cite the 2000 census) was 22% – almost the entire population increase of the decade. In the 2004-2005 school year, approximately 70% of the student body was hispanic.

    And it’s estimated that between 5 and 10% of that population is illegal. That’s a huge burden on the school system, on the welfare system (nothing like standing in line seeing a family using WIC checks for the food while also buying a big screen TV), on the infrastructure… It’s a pain.

    Personally, that’s not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that they are encouraged to leave. yeah, I know, if they’re a burden why not? Here’s the deal. The ones that are planning to leave take but don’t give. They don’t help out at school, they don’t care about parks or roads or anything else. They’re just here for the money, and when they’ve made their fortune they’re going back to Mexico (mostly) to live in luxury.

    People don’t tend to s*** in their own nests. The families that decide to stay – that want to be US citizens – get involved. It shows when they do. They start helping the schools cope so their kids get better education and preparation for life in the US. They start going to community functions – to build and support local infrastructure and support networks. They start being citizens.

    My two cent solution, for what it’s worth, has several parts. Some of them absolutely rely on others or they make the situation worse. Since I’ve ranted long, let me close short:
    1 – Make legal immigration easier.
    2 – To alleviate the inevitable social support costs, all foreign workers in the US will pay a ‘foreign labor tax’.
    3 – The foreign labor tax of 3 will be matched by the employer.
    4 – Companies found to have employed foreign laborers illegally will be required to pay all the foreign labor taxes owed (their’s and their employee’s) plus a fine of three times that amount. (If the time of employment cannot be determined, it will be assumed to be one full year.) A company that can demonstrate it took reasonable precautions and were scammed by their employees can get the fine removed but still owes the foreign labor tax.

    Kirk

  44. 44

    More evidence that John Cole is clueless: “I have no idea what to make of this.”

    People can take a peak at my blog regarding this week’s hot topic.

    Bottom line, people came to America to make a better life, from wherever. That was from the start. Republicans want it both ways. They want cheap labor and they want that cheap labor illegal. As long as you are illegal, you can’t join a union, you can’t go to the dept of labor, you can’t complain about mistreatment by your employer, you can’t vote. That’s the way the nativists like it.

  45. 45
    Jim Allen says:

    Oh, and by the way, Stormy, “We survived the Irish, I think we can survive the Hispanics” isn’t snarky, it’s fucking offensive. Particularly to those of us with Irish immigrant ancestors.

  46. 46
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Only US taxpayer/suckers are so stupid as to grant citizenship to those who intentionally violate our border laws

    Wait a minute. Unborn babies intentionally violate our border laws? Now granted, I’m a guy, but I had no idea that a foetus could practice mind control over its host. Where’s Sigourney Weaver when you need her?

  47. 47
    Laura says:

    And no mention of “price” paid by society for those illegals either.

    And as far as I’ve seen, no acknowledgement from you regarding the billions they pay into social security and medicare each year, even though they don’t receive the benefits from these programs.

  48. 48
    Jay C says:

    Yeah because Rebublicans can have no valid reasons for opposing illegal immigration except for “xenophobic” reasons.. right you fucking ahole? And no mention of “price” paid by society for those illegals either. This is what I loathe about the left. Instead of debating issues honestly, they ALWAYS play the race/bigot card. It’s in their DNA…

    You know, Darrell, when you’ve finished towelling off your monitor, you might want to go and click on David Neiwert’s Orcinus blog, and check out his links and archives: he has done a LOT of research on the background and affiliations of some of the charming folks who have presented themselves as the “spearhead” of anti-immigration activism lately – and believe me, the picture ain’t all that pretty.
    That’s NOT, of course to say that ALL those who might want stronger actions/policies against illegal immigration are xenophobic racists: unfortunately, among the activist fringe, enough of them are that the connections can’t just be dismissed away (though we’re sure you will try)
    Of course, we all know how foolish it is draw conclusions about people’s views on issues solely by how those views coincide with the stances of extremist groups, right? (*cough* International A.N.S.W.E.R. *cough*)

  49. 49
    gratefulcub says:

    As for all mexican immigrants being pleasant, most are, some are not.

    As for Darrells, some are pleasant, some are not.

  50. 50
    ppGaz says:

    policies that hurt average americans

    Prove it. Show the facts that prove the case that the policies “hurt average Americans.”

    Or SHUT THE FUCK UP, Darrell.

  51. 51
    Jim Allen says:

    Bob, I admit I was rather puzzled by John’s “I have no idea what to make of this”, too. I thought “I hate all protesters” just about covered it.

  52. 52
    ppGaz says:

    Employers are offering $18 per hour trying to fill fast food jobs, for Pete’s sake

    Cite, please.

  53. 53
    Kirk Spencer says:

    sigh.

    “The foreign labor tax of 3…” should read “The foreign labor tax of 2…” Didn’t catch all the editing fixes in the read-through. thanks.

  54. 54
    DougJ says:

    Kirk — I applaud you for making policy recommendations. On this thread and elswhere, we see many commenters — especially on the left — complain without making specific policy recommendations. The government counts on the cheetocracy for policy direction and I’m glad that you, for one, are up to the challenge. As for the rest of you — stop whining and start boning up on labor law, immigration statistics, and macroeconomics if you want to be part of this discussion. Your country needs your help.

  55. 55
    LITBMueller says:

    Why all the talk of a deportation when we know that the administration has alread given KBR millions to build detention centers?

    he Halliburton subsidiary KBR (formerly Brown and Root) announced on Jan. 24 that it had been awarded a $385 million contingency contract by the Department of Homeland Security to build detention camps. Two weeks later, on Feb. 6, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced that the Fiscal Year 2007 federal budget would allocate over $400 million to add 6,700 additional detention beds (an increase of 32 percent over 2006). This $400 million allocation is more than a four-fold increase over the FY 2006 budget, which provided only $90 million for the same purpose.

    Both the contract and the budget allocation are in partial fulfillment of an ambitious 10-year Homeland Security strategic plan, code-named ENDGAME, authorized in 2003. According to a 49-page Homeland Security document on the plan, ENDGAME expands “a mission first articulated in the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.” Its goal is the capability to “remove all removable aliens,” including “illegal economic migrants, aliens who have committed criminal acts, asylum-seekers (required to be retained by law) or potential terrorists.”

  56. 56
    Steve says:

    Perhaps Vixen News (Stormy) will volunteer to work in one of the Texas Deportation Centers. We just need a no bid contract to build and staff several thousand of these Deportation Centers around the country. Now if we only had a corporation with previous experience…

    Now see, maybe the Stormys of the right are in favor of deportation, but Stormy herself seems to have a very reasonable and moderate position on this issue, so be nice.

    As for the comment about the Irish, uh, I can’t even fathom what was supposed to be offensive about that. It’s simply a fact, at one time in history, the wave of Irish immigrants was regarded much the same as Mexicans are regarded in some quarters now, and yet now the Irish are as mainstream an ethnic group as you can find. Michelle Malkin gets all outraged when people wave the Mexican flag in America, but you don’t see her at the St. Patrick’s Day parade yelling at people with Irish flags.

  57. 57
    gratefulcub says:

    What’s with the Stormy Bashing today?

    We handled the Irish, we can handle the Hispanics. Correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds like she is saying that this case is more politically charged due to brown skin. I tend to agree.

    She is very moderate on this issue. She seems to be one of the few here that is willing to see the positives and negatives of Mexican immigration, and to say that it is a difficult issue that needs to be thought through.

    I don’t mean to defend you stormy, I know that you can do that on your own. I still disagree with almost everything you ever say. But people, wait until she says something crazy to bash her, please.

    $18 an hour. As she said, she was talking about New Orleans. Who cares if it is 12, 18 or 28 in actuality. The point remains. They do jobs that no one else seems to want. That’s a positive. They depress wages for the unskilled, that’s a negative. They feed their families. Positive. They cut line in front of legal immigrants. Negative.

    Just some balance on this issue. We really need it.

  58. 58

    I’m still rather undecided on this.

    My girlfriend is a Russian Immigrant. I appreciate the need and desire for immigration into this country. I really understand the desire for many to leave a country which is torn by crime or strife to come here for a better life and better opportunities.

    That being said, I’m not so favorable towards illegal immigration. I don’t believe that people have any inherent inalienable rights to cross borders without permission. I believe they have rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but those rights should exist within their own nations as much as ours.

    I guess in my opinion, I don’t have a problem with deportation. I’d like to see us crack down on illegal immigration, and then open up legal immigration. That is, allow more people here legally. As someone else said, Mexicans should have no privilege on this point. Get in line with the Europeans, Asians and Africans.

    I’m opposed to the use of illegals, and the guest worker program idea. It’s the creation of a subclass of our society. Us proud, rich Americans will hire the mexicans to do our dirty work for us. It’s serfdom, no matter what way you cut it and I don’t like it. We can hire Americans, whether they be natives or people who moved here on a green card, whatever. It’s time we start enforcing that as well.

  59. 59
    Jim Allen says:

    Points taken. Stormy, my reaction to your comment in re “surviving the Irish” was overboard, and I regret it.

  60. 60

    If it were only people coming across the border to suck on the great teat of America, the immigration problem would have been solved long ago.

    I have some sympathy for farmers, but my guess is that if the free market eliminated illegals tomorrow, somehow a balance between how much a head of lettuce costs and how much a farmworker gets paid would resolve itself.

    My first real job was on a truck farm on the Jersey shore back in the mid-sixties. Back then farmers hired their summer crews between local kids and Puerto Rican hands who came up for the season. The one lesson I learned back then was that the harder your job is the less you get paid.

  61. 61

    I’m trying to figure out who Stormy thinks “we” are. Her lifeboat crew keeps getting smaller and paler.

  62. 62
    Steve says:

    Think about this issue in two distinct parts:

    1. What do we do about the 12 million illegal immigrants who are already here (keeping in mind, as Jon Stewart proved last night, 1 million more enter the country every half-hour)?

    2. What do we do about the immigration issue going forward?

    My point is, it’s legitimate to say we should have stricter enforcement, more border patrols, etc., but I only see that as pertaining to issue #2. There is simply no way we are going to be able to deport a significant fraction of group #1 and it just creates a futile, money-wasting, war-on-drugs type scenario if we try.

    I’m not saying we necessarily have to grant amnesty or anything like that, but any policy that doesn’t take into account the fact that we will never deport more than a small fraction of the 12 million is just not going to be an effective policy.

  63. 63
    Mr Furious says:

    Good God, people, Cole thows one his “jump ball threads” out there and I have to come in and defend Stormy and Darrell…what the hell?

    Jim and others “offended” by Stormy, get over yourselves. I am Irish and was the first person in my extended family not born in Boston (or Ireland) and I took that comment as exactly what it was. A joke. Did you march out of the theater or smash your TV when you watched “Blazing Saddles?”

    On the $18/hr red herring, you’re on your own, Stormy.

    Darrell, you are onto the cruz of the problem being the employer/demand side. Your first couple posts were pretty good.

    Then you start with the babies…

  64. 64
    gratefulcub says:

    What about the costs of rounding up Mexicans and deporting them. The cost of the legal battles due to the children that are American citizens. The cost of keeping illegals out with our own magic fence.

    It is expensive to do all of this. Some might say that it is just as expensive as letting them stay, but a bit less American.

  65. 65
    ppGaz says:

    DougJ — was that sarcasm? One never knows with you, Dougster.

    Speaking as Joe E. Citizen here …. I want a government that gets things right. If I have to learn all that shit and be an expert on it, then I don’t have time to be Joe E. Citizen any more. To change the oil on my lawnmower, and balance my wife’s checkbook, and all that sort of stuff.

    If the government dudes can’t get this stuff right, then FIRE THEIR SORRY ASSES and get new ones.

  66. 66
    ImJohnGalt says:

    And in support of Laura’s (and my) claims about the billions immigrants contribute:

    New York Times
    Charlotte Observer (and yes, I see that the conclusion is that each Hispanic costs $102 more than they directly contribute in taxes, but the study goes on to show that the other contributions (e.g. spending money locally) are significant, too
    .

    I’m sure that there are studies that show the opposite, but I wanted to show that the assertions were not pulled out of thin air.

  67. 67
    Kirk Spencer says:

    I think I might get misunderstood if I don’t clarify. I’m pretty much opposed to the “guest worker” program. Yes, that includes the H1B – the temporary work visa for foreigners with higher education, working in skilled positions, who are only here for a while. It’s a difficult position to hold – it’d bar some professors, and some internationally renowned experts working in various industries. And it would work against US workers in other nations – reciprocity happens. In the nuts and bolts I suspect the best result would be a compromise – perhaps a reduction in the duration of the temporary work visa to one year with extension to three instead of the current three years extendable to six. And it would have to be balanced with my suggestion one: make immigration easier. That’s because the H1B is used as a holding place while citizenship/immigration requirements are completed.

    Note that overall I’m pro-immigration. Locked lakes stagnate, and from what little I’ve read the same’s true of locked communities as well. The trick is to ensure it’s not overwhelming us.

  68. 68
    Krista says:

    I think she means that America as a whole managed to deal with the huge wave of newcomers during the Irish immigration heyday, and that America will find a way to deal with the huge wave of newcomers during the Mexican immigration heyday. I think the phrase “survived it” might have raised a couple of hackles, that’s all.

    We definitely have to do something with our immigration laws as well. The laws and regulations do not appear to be universally applied at all. We have a couple in a neighbouring village who own a florists/bookshop, and they’re American, and have been trying to get their status for awhile now, and keep getting turned down. There’s just no need for it — they’re good people and have already created jobs in their new community. There was another girl, from Serbia, I believe, who had to claim sanctuary in a church basement for over a year before Immigration Canada would do anything about her case. And even then, she had to leave the country and reapply for residency, so there were no guarantees. And this was a woman who already had an excellent job lined up as an interpreter, and had already contributed her time and energy to various community groups.

  69. 69

    You want a solution to the immigration problem you have to get a good, worker-oriented Democratic administration and Congress in power. Darrell, put down the pipe, stop smoking the venom, and listen a bit.

    Right now the DOL is basically doing the corporatists’ business. That means allowing illegal labor to flourish to help drive down wages. Driving down wages is a very big part of the game. Bush’s revival of the bracero program is a means to keep a permanent labor pool that can’t vote and isn’t protected by the rights of citizenship. The horseshit from the nativists is just bluster. Even the Klan only killed the uppity blacks. You can’t gather up and deport 12 million people. You’re talking about a project bigger Hitler’s in WWII.

    Ooops! Sorry to bring that Nazi comparison in again. It’s just that the Republicans lend themselves to it.

  70. 70
    gratefulcub says:

    I am not stating these stats as facts, because I can’t cite them. But, what I heard/read/something, is that there are 12 million illegals. 70% have been here for more than 5 years. That would mean that only 3.6 million new illegals have come in during the past 5 years. 720,000 per year.

    That isn’t a massive amount of people. To hear this issue discussed, you would think that Mexicans are overrunning the country, looting and raping their way along.

    I am not saying it isn’t an issue that has to be dealt with, but I don’t think it is being put into persepective.

  71. 71
    Detlef says:

    Doctor Gonzo wrote:

    What’s the alternative? If you grant citizenship based on blood, instead of based on soil, then you will have a permanent underclass of non-citizens like those that exist in many countries in Europe: Turkish people in Germany, for example. That’s far, far worse than allowing a kid born here to become a citizen.

    Uhh, just to mention it.
    German immigration laws were somewhat changed in 2000.
    Aa child born in Germany – if one of her “foreign” parents were legally living in Germany for 8 years – is automatically considered a German citizen. She then has until age 23 to decide if she wants to stay a German citizen or wants to retain the citizenship of her parents.
    (German law wants to avoid dual citizenships if possible.
    Except in hardship situations of course. Or if one of the parents is already a German citizen, then dual citizenship isn´t a problem.)

    And by the way, Turkish citizens living in Germany could always apply for German citizenship even before these changed laws.
    The main obstacle was/is that German law usually demands that you give up your “old” citizenship when becoming a German citizen.

    Turkish law however (at least in the past) demanded that only Turkish citizens could buy and own land in Turkey IIRC. Likewise there were problems inheriting something in Turkey if you weren´t a Turkish citizen.
    So many Turks living in Germany hesitated to try to apply for German citizenship not because it was impossible. But because it could lead to legal problems in Turkey.
    Inherit your grandparents house in Turkey? No longer a Turkish citizen? Bad luck!

  72. 72

    As far as National IDs, it wasn’t so long ago that the righties on talk radio used to howl about big government getting its claws on you. Nowadays I pay for my groceries with my cash card and they scan my Safeway card and spit out coupons for the kind of puppy chow I buy, and the cashier smiles and says thank you, mister jones.

    I think that there are going to be problems with keeping an up-to-date photo, especially with children, but states manage with drivers’ licenses. The eventuality of national IDs doesn’t scare me as much as the kinds of people in the government.

  73. 73
    gratefulcub says:

    it wasn’t so long ago that the righties on talk radio used to howl about big government getting its claws on you.

    rush righties would never find an issue and play to the people while selling out their ‘conservative’ beliefs.

  74. 74
    gratefulcub says:

    rush righties would never find an issue and play to the people while selling out their ‘conservative’ beliefs.

    Nor would the left.

  75. 75
    DougJ says:

    DougJ—was that sarcasm? One never knows with you, Dougster.

    Yes, I wasn’t mocking Kurt, but I’m endlessly amused by righties who say to other commenters “you may not like what Bush is doing, but where’s your solution?”. I love the idea that commenters on blogs should be able to come up with better solutions than the White House.

    The sad thing, of course, is that we probably could. And that’s no compliment to us.

  76. 76

    Bob from Pacifica wrote:

    The one lesson I learned back then was that the harder your job is the less you get paid.

    Truer words were never spoken.

    Steve worte:

    What do we do about the 12 million illegal immigrants who are already here

    How about we ignore them? Unless they’re found committing a crime, in which case we deport them.

    What do we do about the immigration issue going forward?

    We build a fence. And then start talking about allowing more legal immigrants in.

    ImJohnGalt wrote:

    And in support of Laura’s (and my) claims about the billions immigrants contribute:

    immigrants, or illegals?

    I think you could write a study that showed the benefit of illegals, because of the cheap labor costs and so on and so forth. A similar study could also be used to support the benefits of slavery. Neither of which is right.

    As Kirk mentioned, I’m also opposed to the H1-B program, because it’s sole purpose is to bring in low-wage high-tech workers.

    Well, if we allowed the market to operate, the higher wages would attract students into the field, and as the students entered the market the wages would adjust downward due to supply and demand equations.

    That is all I have to say on that.

  77. 77
    Darrell says:

    I’m not saying we necessarily have to grant amnesty or anything like that, but any policy that doesn’t take into account the fact that we will never deport more than a small fraction of the 12 million is just not going to be an effective policy

    If we cracked down on enforcement of employers and implemented more fraud-proof SS cards (did you read the NY Time article linked up thread claiming SS cards could be bought on the street for $150 each?), the illegals would leave on their own, as they could not find work.

    A big part of the problem is that so many who oppose crackdowns on illegal aliens are claiming the problem is “too big” to deal with so we should just ‘give in’ to varying degrees, exaggerating the resources required to do what needs to be done

  78. 78
    Blue Neponset says:

    We handled the Irish, we can handle the Hispanics. Correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds like she is saying that this case is more politically charged due to brown skin. I tend to agree.

    I know this may sound like I am joining “the Jane Hamshers of the left” but I call bullshit on that.

    “No Irish need apply”

    That is how the Irish were “handled” when they came over here, and many of them came here to avoid starving to death because of a famine. That is why I find Stormy’s comment offensive.

  79. 79
    ImJohnGalt says:

    immigrants, or illegals?

    Sorry, TOS, my bad. If you click on the links, they talk about the billions contributed by illegal immigrants to things like Social Security, money which they will never see (assuming there is a lockbox…heh).

    That said, I did go to look at the articles making the opposite claim, that immigrants are a drain. So far, what I see is the costs associated with them, many of which are so tangential as to defy belief, and none of the benefits.

    That is, they do not represent the *net* cost, only the gross. The argument as I’ve seen it in a few articles is that we shouldn’t take into account the work product, taxes they pay or the income they redistribute because if they weren’t here, those would all still be happening (although they don’t indicate the increased wages to be paid).
    Is it impossible for this to be looked at through an impartial lens? Does the economic argument trump the “breaking the law” argument? Does the humanitarian argument have no weight at all? I think it’s time for John Cole to start a new series of open threads on the immigration issue like he did on the other issue (was it the Plame incident)? I liked those, and it might bring us out of the Jane Hamsher morass.

  80. 80
    Stormy70 says:

    Which of your ancestors did “we” have to “survive”?

    You had to survive my Irish/Scots ancestors. ;)

    The point is that America will be able to absorb the Hispanics with equal success as our Irish ancestors. It was tongue in cheek, since the Irish faced some of the same types of issues during their wave of immigration. I think the Italian Americans went through some of this, as well. Most of the people want a better life, and America will be the one to give it to them. Hispanics are no different, and they bring a great and diverse culture to America.

    Christmas dinner is tamales made by my sister-in-law’s grandmother, and her enchiladas will make you weep for joy. As for breakfast tacos? Food of the gods, people, food of the gods. In Texas, Mexican food is eaten from cradle to grave. When I lived in GA, I had to ship it in, or die from withdrawals.

    As for some waving the Mexican flag, there are worse problems in the world. Should I not wear the family tartan because I am an American? Balderdash!

    (thanks for the love, great defenders of Stormy! :))

  81. 81
    Stormy70 says:

    New Orleans needs workers, so if there are Americans available to do these jobs, then why are they not filled? Burger King is offering a $6000 bonus if you agree to work there for a year. The wages are rising, so Americns bitching about businesses hiring illegals, here is your chance to fill these jobs yourselves.

  82. 82
    Stormy70 says:

    That is why I find Stormy’s comment offensive.

  83. 83
    JWeidner says:

    “No Irish need apply”

    That is how the Irish were “handled” when they came over here, and many of them came here to avoid starving to death because of a famine. That is why I find Stormy’s comment offensive.

    Hey, I’m no Stormy fan, and I’m part Irish, and I’m fully aware of what the Irish faced during the famine years. But I think you’re reading Stormy’s comment the wrong way. Lord knows she doesn’t need me to explain anything for her, but I took her comment to mean that, back in the day, there was a huge national uproar over the Irish immigration, and the country managed to get past that and realize that the Irish were just as valuable citizens as anyone else. We’ll do the same with the Hispanics.

    And as a side note, and not related to anything Blue said, referring to illegal immigrants as Mexicans is pretty ignorant. They’re not all from Mexico. They represent a wide variety of people from many different countries throughout Central America as well as Mexico. It’s no different than calling all Asians ‘Chinese’.

  84. 84
    ImJohnGalt says:

    If we cracked down on enforcement of employers and implemented more fraud-proof SS cards (did you read the NY Time article linked up thread claiming SS cards could be bought on the street for $150 each?), the illegals would leave on their own, as they could not find work.

    Y’know, I agree with Darrell here in some measure [head explodes]. It’s similar to the War On Drugs (or most any other War on Abstract Ideas), which will never be won because it’s attempting to address the supply. Going after the corporations will address the demand, which I believe would be far more effective going forward.

    That said, I do think that some sort of phase-in would be necessary to avoid an economic shock to the system, and to try to control any other type of chaos that addressing this issue might cause.

    Here’s a first shot, without a lot of consideration and with the recognition that there are probably some horrible unexpected consequences and unintended biases contained within:

    How about companies have to declare current illegals working for them, and they are grandfathered into the immigration system over time based on several criteria (e.g. time in the country, whether they have children). By the time the grandfathering period ends (say, 3 years?), corporations can no longer have any illegals working for them under threat of serious fines. Future illegals (after the grandfathering period) will be deported immediately.

    I recognize that this in effect “rewards” illegal behaviour, but what the hell is the alternative solution? Also, with employment at fairly low levels, who is going to fill those jobs, even if employers are now forced to pay minimum wage?

    Illegals who are grandfathered in are not eligible for welfare or to vote for, say, 5 years from their date of grandfathering (just like residency before being granted citizenship).

    I’m trying to be fair here, and recognize that the situation does seem fairly intractable. Recognize also that we are talking about all illegals, not only Mexicans – deportation could get expensive.

    The complexity of this is why I think a series of threads would be worthwhile. Apologies in advance if I’ve missed some horrible flaw – that’s why I’m putting it out there.

  85. 85
    ppGaz says:

    The sad thing, of course, is that we probably could. And that’s no compliment to us.

    Yeah, nothing more endearing than some guys who have totally fucked something up, and their response when challenged is, “Oh, you think YOU can do better?”

    Well, in most cases these days, yes. I think I can do better. I think my 85 year old mother could do better. I think my senile neighbor could do better. I think your dog could do better.

    So do I have an “idea?” Yeah, I have a fucking idea: Fire these incompetant sonsabitches and get new government. That’s what America is for, it’s why we have elections and stuff. To get rid of the imcompetants and the crooks and the liars and the self-serving fucks. Not to keep them, to get rid of them. Diebold notwithstanding, why else HAVE elections? Just get a firm dicatator like Saddam and leave the rest to him and his family, right? Like the Bushes.

  86. 86
    Laura says:

    My wife is an immigrant, but because she has blond hair and blue eyes, we didn’t get any crap from the INS. Our interview for her green card was literally 5 minutes long.

    This makes my blood boil. As I’ve mentioned before, my sister-in-law is Panamanian. And as I pointed out yesterday, she and my brother had to jump through hoops to get her green card. She was pregnant and married to my brother, yet they had to fork over two years of phone records (which they had to purchase, because who keeps phone records?), their love letters with postmarks (good thing my brother’s a romantic) and put up with embarrassing, intimate questions. And, let me say this again, she was pregnant. I don’t begrudge the ease at which your wife sailed through INS, but I take it personally that my sister-in-law wasn’t granted the same respect. And yet, she had it easier than people from other Latin American countries.

    INS is screwed up from top to bottom, but one thing they need to do immediately is end their uneven treatment of legal immigrants. They do that, and Latin Americans will be a lot more confident and trusting about going through the legal process. As TSZ already stated, the INS creates a lot of illegal immigrants with their ineptitude. They also do it with their bias.

  87. 87

    ImJohnGalt – I guess I don’t care about the economics arguments, net versus gross, cost versus gain. I’m opposed to immigration if the sole purpose is for businesses to obtain low-cost, slave-labor wages. Yes, there is a dramatic gain from being able to pay someone $3/hour, compared to $10. The cost of goods is cheaper, blah blah blah.

    But it’s not good for the society in the long run.

    There are a lot of reasons for immigration, and it shouldn’t be about creating a class of serfs.

  88. 88
    Stormy70 says:

    Hey, I’m no Stormy fan, and I’m part Irish, and I’m fully aware of what the Irish faced during the famine years. But I think you’re reading Stormy’s comment the wrong way. Lord knows she doesn’t need me to explain anything for her, but I took her comment to mean that, back in the day, there was a huge national uproar over the Irish immigration, and the country managed to get past that and realize that the Irish were just as valuable citizens as anyone else. We’ll do the same with the Hispanics.

    Exactly. We are the greatest nation on earth because of the ability for all to come here, work hard, and achieve their dreams. Our history is full of people who risked all to come here, and then built a great nation. I can also guarantee they did not all come across our borders legally, either.

    {I had this explanation typed up, but all that showed up was my blockquote. I will not be silenced, Balloon Juice!}

  89. 89

    By the way, am I the only who wonders why Cole links to the Rodney King and the Watts riots in a piece supposedly about the peaceful, 500,000-person demonstration against Republicans’ nativism?

    Cole isn’t an idiot here. He knows the difference between a peaceful, planned Saturday demonstration and an insurrection. He knows exactly what he is doing. Since he can bind these three events only by them happening in California and that participants were people of color, I wonder if John is trying to get that open position at WaPo. Can we expect a column about Jefferson Davis? More red-baiting civil rights leaders?

    “What to make of this?” That Cole, despite his avowed anger at leftists for “playing the race card,” has a pack of his own. His intentions are not honorable.

  90. 90
    ImJohnGalt says:

    {I had this explanation typed up, but all that showed up was my blockquote. I will not be silenced, Balloon Juice!}

    Yeah, it’s weird. Previous often seems to screw up after either close-blockquotes, or close-Link. Can’t figure out what causes it, thought.

  91. 91
    Krista says:

    Dammit Stormy, you’re making me hungry with all this talk of Mexican food…and the nearest Mexican restaurant of any worth is about 1 1/2 hours away.

    Heartless wench. :)

  92. 92

    If Stormy really cared about the Irish, she’d be drinking Jameson’s instead of Laphroaig.

  93. 93
    Doctor Gonzo says:

    This makes my blood boil.

    As well it should. Like I said before, there is no reason for the huge disparity in how potential immigrants are treated other than racism. What else can it be?

    We didn’t have to submit two years of phone records. We did submit e-mails, letters, some photos, that kind of thing on the advice of our lawyer, but it wasn’t all that much nor was it difficult. And there were no intimate questions at all. The questions were, to sum up, “Are you who you say you are? Do you know it’s a crime to lie on your application? Okay, you’re in.” Seriously. Five minutes.

    Our nation is so well protected, isn’t it?

  94. 94

    This makes my blood boil. As I’ve mentioned before, my sister-in-law is Panamanian. And as I pointed out yesterday, she and my brother had to jump through hoops to get her green card. She was pregnant and married to my brother, yet they had to fork over two years of phone records (which they had to purchase, because who keeps phone records?), their love letters with postmarks (good thing my brother’s a romantic) and put up with embarrassing, intimate questions.

    Actually, that sounds somewhat normal.

    Through my girlfriend now I’ve met many immigrants from Russia, Ukraine and other parts of East Europe. Russians don’t seem to have many complaints regarding the process, because I think they’re used to authorities asking them questions like this. They’re also used to authorities being butt slow.

    Their only complaints is that US authorities don’t take bribes to make them go faster. :-)

    It depends. Some people have more problems than others. My girlfriend is applying for citizenship, and it’s a long slow process. It’s been almost a year since she first sent into the paperwork, and hers is going fairly well. One of her friends didn’t hear back for over a year after her final interview.

  95. 95

    As well it should. Like I said before, there is no reason for the huge disparity in how potential immigrants are treated other than racism. What else can it be?

    Anecdotal evidence.

  96. 96
    Stormy70 says:

    Krista – the internet is your friend. My sister is my green chili connection. She has it shipped from New Mexico to her in San Antonio, then she doles it out to the family. Plus, I have had food shipped from a Mexican store over the internet. The best hot chocolate in the world comes from Mexico.

    Remember, corn tortillas should always be used for enchiladas or Mexican casseroles. Flour tortillas are for sopping up soup or soft tacos. Oh, and fajitas. Stormy’s tip of the day.

  97. 97
    Stormy70 says:

    If Stormy really cared about the Irish, she’d be drinking Jameson’s instead of Laphroaig.

    The Scots blood has kicked the Irish blood’s ass. It has gone into hiding, somewhere near the tibia, I think.

  98. 98
    JWeidner says:

    Remember, corn tortillas should always be used for enchiladas or Mexican casseroles. Flour tortillas are for sopping up soup or soft tacos. Oh, and fajitas. Stormy’s tip of the day.

    I’ll have to call you on that one Stormy. There’s just no way on earth that you could convince me that flour makes for better carnitas or carne asada soft tacos. Corn all the way for those!

  99. 99
    scarshapedstar says:

    Who’s gonna riot? Doesn’t look like they will. Are the Minutemen gonna show up and start taking potshots?

  100. 100
    ppGaz says:

    and the nearest Mexican restaurant of any worth is about 1 1/2 hours away.

    Wait a minute … there’s a Mexican restaurant at the Arctic Circle?

  101. 101
    Jorge says:

    My mom and her entire family came over in 1960 as political refuges from Cuba. One of my issues with illegal immigration by folks looking to better their economic situation is that it makes is more difficult for political refuges. But then again, the US shares what – over 1,000 miles of border with Mexico? As long as the wealthiest nation in the world shares over 1,000 miles of border with a poor 2nd world country, how exactly are we going to prevent massive immigration? When you are poor – dirt poor – and all you have to do is cross a river to be able to live in a land were you can automatically make 4 or 5 times more money, your children can attend fantastic schools and you can receive first world medical treatment, not much is going to stop you from crossing the border. Especially when you can get Telemundo, Univision, Mexican radio plus all of the foods and culture from back home right here in the States.

    As far as employers – well, the American economy has always had to have a permanent underpaid, non-represented lower class in order to function. Whether it was slaves, pre Civil Rights blacks or now increasingly migrant Latinos, the way our crops get picked, our buildings get built and our infrastructure gets cleaned is through this underclass of people who don’t have equal protection under the law and can be paid a fraction of what an American citizen gets paid.

    And unfortunately for business interest, these jobs have to be done here in the US and can’t be outsourced. So, while I understand a desire to punish employers, how exactly do we do this and not cripple the economy and bring our agricultural and construction industries to a halt? The vast majority of employers who hire migrants aren’t mustache-twirling monsters looking to re-enact something out of an Upton Sinclair novel. They are good folks who happen to work as owners or managers in agriculture, building or janitorial fields and can only pay so much for certain jobs and still make their bottom line.

  102. 102
    Krista says:

    ppGaz – bite me, desert boy.

  103. 103
    Doctor Gonzo says:

    Anecdotal evidence.

    No, unfortunately not. Several years ago the Portland Oregonian did a Pulitzer-prize winning series on this, in which they found that yes, it is racism. Why? Because every single INS office is run like its own little kingdom. What that office says, goes. So one office could have the fairest, most professional, most courteous staff imaginable, and another office may be staff with racists from top to bottom. I doubt much has changed since then.

    Plus, like I said, it was our immigration lawyer who spoke about this, who told us beforehand that our interview would be a joke because my wife looks like a native, and who told us stories about clients with darker skin. A lawyer who only handles immigration would have more than “anectdotal evidence.”

  104. 104

    Jorge, mostly very good. The reason why farm labor has always been low-paying is historical. If farmers had to pay competitive wages two things would happen. First, food would cost more. We can guess, we can estimate, but the cost would go up. Second, all farms would be under the same rules, so they couldn’t underpay by hiring illegals.

    It’s ironic that the the industry that keeps us alive, the food industry, has such a history of devaluing the labor of the farm worker. It’s always been the man who holds the key to the granary who holds the power, not the people who do the work.

  105. 105
    scs says:

    I say we make the immigration go both ways. The root cause of the problem is poverty in Mexico. If this continues, no one will be left in Mexico except white skinned American retirees. At that point, we can all start infiltrating down there, little by little, buying up stores and properties until one day we’ve switched the whole population. Then the process starts over again.

    It kind of reminds me about a book a friend of mine gave me about the history of New York City. Every area in that city was a rich area at one time or another and then became poorer as the poor people moved closer and the rich wanted to separate themselves from the masses and took flight to a different area. NYC was basically a musical chair, sometimes with one area going through several cycles. Maybe the US and Mexico will end up the same.

  106. 106
    ImJohnGalt says:

    A lawyer who only handles immigration would have more than “anectdotal evidence.”

    Actually, what he would have is more than one anecdote.

    Again, data is not the plural of anecdote.

  107. 107
    Stormy70 says:

    I’ll have to call you on that one Stormy. There’s just no way on earth that you could convince me that flour makes for better carnitas or carne asada soft tacos. Corn all the way for those!

    Small steps for our Northern brethren, JWeidner, small steps.

  108. 108

    ppGaz, you are confusing the Bat Cave with the Fortress of Solitude! There are good Mexican restaurants in Gotham City, but you have to drive all the way over to the bad side of town, and crosstown traffic can be a bitch with all those illegals clogging the byways.

    Now, Metropolis, that’s a different story. Plenty of decent Thai restaurants there, too.

  109. 109
    Krista says:

    ImJohnGalt – how would you quantitatively measure that, though? Even if a study was done, the only objective data would be the length of time that the immigration process took. That wouldn’t really be enough data to confirm or disprove racism within the INS.

    Anything regarding how the person was actually treated, is subjective. But should it be discounted altogether? I don’t think so.

  110. 110
    scs says:

    On a more serious note, I wonder what the status is of American investment in Mexico. Are there many barriers to it and is there a lot of it. For instance, why make the immigrants come up here to work in factories if it bothers so many people. Why don’t American owners open up the factories in Mexico, such as the carpet factories posted upthread, and kill two (three) birds with one stone. We will get the cheap labor we need, cut down on social unrest from illegal immigration, and improve the Mexican standard of living that will cut down on further illegal immigration.

  111. 111
    Jim Allen says:

    The Scots blood has kicked the Irish blood’s ass. It has gone into hiding, somewhere near the tibia, I think.

    As has mine.

    Although I prefer Talisker to Laphroaig, myself.

  112. 112
    Kirk Spencer says:

    ImJohnGalt – On the other hand, every data point is an anecdote. The forest is made of trees, and ignoring “this” tree when telling what kind of forest it is should not be done when it’s shrouded in fog. Treated with caution and caveats, yes, but ignored? Never.

  113. 113

    Plus, like I said, it was our immigration lawyer who spoke about this, who told us beforehand that our interview would be a joke because my wife looks like a native, and who told us stories about clients with darker skin. A lawyer who only handles immigration would have more than “anectdotal evidence.”

    Perhaps every INS office is different. Ours here in Minnesota appears to be pretty well run and friendly, even if their security arrangements are bizarre.

    But the fact that you had an immigration attorney makes your case different from most immigrants. Generally speaking, most people dealing with the INS don’t bring in an attorney until they’ve run into some kind of problem.

  114. 114

    scs, look up “maquiladora.”

  115. 115

    how would you quantitatively measure that, though? Even if a study was done, the only objective data would be the length of time that the immigration process took. That wouldn’t really be enough data to confirm or disprove racism within the INS.

    You could quantify the number of questions asked, the types of questions, that sort of thing.

    On the time issue… this also depends on country of origin. Not all countries are as cooperative with INS in sending background check records. Again, this would make a considerable difference if you are coming from say an efficient society like Denmark versus say Russia where booze and bribes have much influence on expediency.

  116. 116
    Krista says:

    Treated with caution and caveats, yes, but ignored? Never.

    What he said.

  117. 117
    scs says:

    A little info on investment. Wonder how tbis 2001 initiative is going.

    http://www.borderhealth.org/vi.....php?id=168

    Board approval of these four projects in Mexico represents an exponential leap in OPIC support for U.S. investment in the country, reflecting both rapidly growing investor interest in Mexico and a milestone for the Partnership for Prosperity undertaken by Presidents Bush and Fox in 2001,” said OPIC President and CEO Dr. Peter Watson, who noted that as of the end of the last fiscal year, OPIC had provided $41 million in financing to 11 projects in Mexico. “It also represents remarkable progress made by OPIC in Mexico since a bilateral agreement between the two countries opened OPIC programs there in 2003.”

    “These new projects specifically target sectors that drive the Mexican economy — the nascent purchasing power of its youngest generation, and energy infrastructure — and with their success will encourage even greater levels of American investment in the country,” he added.

    The U.S.-Mexico Partnership for Prosperity (P4P) is a unique public-private partnership initiated by President George Bush and President Vincente Fox in September 2001 to spur economic growth and bring development to those regions which have benefited less from NAFTA.

  118. 118
    Darrell says:

    I don’t begrudge the ease at which your wife sailed through INS, but I take it personally that my sister-in-law wasn’t granted the same respect. And yet, she had it easier than people from other Latin American countries.

    INS does take into consideration the financial status and education of those requesting visas in deciding whom they allow to enter. I’ve done a fair amount of business in latin america and I’ve seen that latino businessmen have little problem obtaining visas to come here, so don’t be so sure it’s a race issue. I would say it’s more of a class problem. Think about it.. For a Latino businessman with a local business and family, there is almost no risk he will remain here illegally.. immigration knows this, and makes it relatively easy for them to obtain visas. I’ve seen the same thing with people from Latin countries who come here to study. If they have an advanced degree or are a specialized field of study, it’s usually easy for them to obtain a visa.

    But for an unemployed person or marginally employed person of that same country, possibly with no college education.. the INS will likely not grant them a visa, especially if they come from a country with a history of immigration/visa violations. And the reason is obviously that such people are much higher risks for remaining here illegally

  119. 119
    Doctor Gonzo says:

    ImJohnGalt, if you want to read the Oregonian series, it’s here. I’d suggest doing so, it’s quite interesting.

    The Other Steve, that’s pretty funny…we dealt with the Minneapolis INS office. The fact that we had a lawyer probably made a difference, it’s true. But should it? After all, the lawyer basically filled out the forms for us, scheduled the interview, and went with us to observe. From a practicaly standpoint, us having a lawyer did not benefit the INS or protect the safety of the U.S., which is supposed to be the point, isn’t it?

  120. 120
    ppGaz says:

    ppGaz – bite me, desert boy.

    Pierre’s Mukluks and Taqueria?

    Featuring Blubber Burritos and Ice Rellenos?

  121. 121
    Doctor Gonzo says:

    I’ve done a fair amount of business in latin america and I’ve seen that latino businessmen have little problem obtaining visas to come here, so don’t be so sure it’s a race issue.

    That may very well be true; however, I am talking about permanent residency (i.e. a green card), not a visa. When an American marries a non-citizen and attempts to go through the immigration process for a green card for the non-citizen spouse, different people are treated very differently. Since in this case the person is already living in the U.S., then the risk of staying illegally is moot.

  122. 122
    Krista says:

    Pierre’s Mukluks and Taqueria?

    Now Mukluks and Tequila, I could go for. Your feet and your tummy would be warm and cozy.

  123. 123
    Darrell says:

    When an American marries a non-citizen and attempts to go through the immigration process for a green card for the non-citizen spouse, different people are treated very differently.

    Ok, let’s look at some of the reasons why different people may be treated differently. First, the person bringing them in has to show that they can support them financially. If the finances are not there, more questions/objections will be raised. Second, the INS wants to make sure the marriage is not a scam… If the girl comes from a very modest background with little education marrying an American who has never been to the country or only once claiming it is an internet romance.. well, it’s possible that it’s legit, but there is a high enough probability it’s not that the INS may want to investigate in more detail.. As compared to marrying a Norwegian heiress to an oil services fortune. Class, not race is the main factor in play.

  124. 124

    We’ve had 25 years of Republican rule (Clinton, with NAFTA and GATT, was only Republican-lite on trade and labor issues) and the illegal immigration problem hasn’t gone away. The reason why is that illegals are the wedge to beat up the working class. It’s all about the ultra-rich and that’s the way it’s been since I’ve been on this earth.

    If laws punishing businesses and businessmen who hire illegals were passed and enforced, and maybe some of the Waltons who have illegals doing aisle cleanups at Walmarts do a burst six months then the problem of hiring illegals would disappear.

  125. 125
    Doctor Gonzo says:

    Well, to the extent that class is a factor, class is also inextricably tied in with race, for better or worse.

    Second…let’s be real. Asking “how many pairs of underwear does your spouse own?” is not a valid question to try to determine whether the marriage is real or not, or to determine whether you can support your spouse or not (the latter of which is objectively determined by your past tax records and records of employment). There is investigating (which the INS does very little of anyway), and then there is fishing for reasons to deny a green card.

    That’s what bothers me about this. If U.S. citizens had to know how many pairs of underwear their fiancee owned before they could get married, VFW halls would probably all disappear from a lack of business. These kinds of questions prove nothing other than that the person asking them has the power to deny a green card for arbitrary reasons. That’s not fair. That’s not moral.

  126. 126
    Laura says:

    Actually, that sounds somewhat normal.

    That makes me feel better.

    Russians don’t seem to have many complaints regarding the process, because I think they’re used to authorities asking them questions like this.

    My sister-in-law didn’t complain. I did. However, Sacramento has tens of thousands of Russian and Ukranian immigrants, and the population continues to grow. I don’t think it’s even a question as to whether or not they’ll get their green card. That knowledge makes going through the process a lot easier, no matter what a pain it is.

  127. 127
    Darrell says:

    That said, I do think that some sort of phase-in would be necessary to avoid an economic shock to the system, and to try to control any other type of chaos that addressing this issue might cause.

    I agree. There’s really no good alternative but to follow something similar to what you’ve suggested.. in which employers of illegal aliens have some time period, 1 – 3 years to phase out their illegal workers, replacing them with Americans and/or legal immigrants.

    If there was such a crackdown on employers, we’d need to substantially increase the number of legal immigrants we allow to come here each year to help make up the slack. The difference is, WE control who comes in and who doesn’t, as opposed to the situation now in which illegal aliens are dictating to us by coming here illegally

  128. 128
    ppGaz says:

    Ok, let’s look at some of the reasons why different people may be treated differently. First, the person bringing them in has to show that they can support them financially. If the finances are not there, more questions/objections will be raised. Second, the INS wants to make sure the marriage is not a scam… If the girl comes from a very modest background with little education marrying an American who has never been to the country or only once claiming it is an internet romance.. well, it’s possible that it’s legit, but there is a high enough probability it’s not that the INS may want to investigate in more detail.. As compared to marrying a Norwegian heiress to an oil services fortune. Class, not race is the main factor in play.

    Were ya born in the 19th century, Darrell? Your ideas sound about that old.

    What is the optimum immigration rate, as a percentage of population, Darrell? What has it actually been for the last 25 years? 75 years?

  129. 129

    Casper Weinberger just died.

    Take a look in BARRY AND THE BOYS by Hopsicker, the chapter on Operation Condor. From the “cocaine coup” in La Paz on, it was a Republican/CIA plan: Drugs one way, fascism the other. Now we get both.

    That’s why 25 years later American society looks more and more like the Latin American blood-soaked oligarchies our intelligence agencies and military propped up down there a quarter-century ago.

    The Bush Family, from Prescott financing Hitler on, has been at the core of American fascism. Not like fascism, not geeky parallels to fascism. Not ironic footnotes to fascism. The Bushes have been the real deal all along.

  130. 130
    Darrell says:

    Addressing the issue of all the money illegal immigrants pay into SS and other taxes, the NY Times estimates 75% of the illegal immigrants have a SS card. Let’s first acknowledge that no one knows how many illegals there are much less what percentage pays SS taxes vs on the cash payroll.. But lets go w/the NYT’s numbers to quickly put this issue to bed:

    12 million illegals, 75% paying SS = 9 million illegals paying. Let’s generously assume each of them makes $20k yr, which is a sky high estimate as many of the women are stay-at-home moms and wives, and few illegals are making $20k/yr anyways. That totals $180 billion/yr earned X 6% SS tax rate = total of $11 billion in SS payments.

    Next, those making under $20k with children get MONEY BACK from the IRS (see tax tables if you don’t already know this), so some portion of the SS payment of many of these illegals comes back. Not sure what amount that it, but it is a factor in the cost equation.

    Now let’s take just 1 of the many costs of illegals, educating their children. If out of 12 million illegals, 1/2 of them have 2 children, that’s 12 million children X avg of $8k per year = $96 billion/yr. Remember, children of illegals born here are automatic citizens of the US not counted as illegals, but nonetheless a cost to taxpayers as a result of illegal immigration

    I don’t know if that children estimate is high or low, but it sounds reasonable.

    For education alone we have $96 billion in cost vs less than $11 billion paid into SS. That doesn’t include significant health care costs, it doesn’t include law enforcement.

  131. 131
    Darrell says:

    What is the optimum immigration rate, as a percentage of population, Darrell? What has it actually been for the last 25 years? 75 years?

    I don’t know, can you tell us? The discussion is on ILLEGAL immigration..

  132. 132
    Doctor Gonzo says:

    Next, those making under $20k with children get MONEY BACK from the IRS (see tax tables if you don’t already know this), so some portion of the SS payment of many of these illegals comes back. Not sure what amount that it, but it is a factor in the cost equation.

    Umm, hello? If you are an illegal immigrant, you certainly aren’t filing a tax return with the IRS! That means that whatever payroll taxes are withheld from the paychecks (assuming they aren’t being paid illegally), the government also keeps. They certainly don’t get tax refunds from the child credit or anything like that.

  133. 133

    The other thing never discussed here is how things remain so screwed up in Mexico. Why are there a few rich families and a lot of poor people? You think the oligarchs here don’t want oligarchs there?

  134. 134
    Darrell says:

    Umm, hello? If you are an illegal immigrant, you certainly aren’t filing a tax return with the IRS!

    Why not? they have SS #’s and are having money deducted from their paychecks each month. I think it’s naive to believe that many of them would not file returns if there was financial benefit in doing so.

  135. 135
    anonymous says:

    the Union siad they’d go back to work, just a few more days off in Canada………

  136. 136
    Darrell says:

    You think the oligarchs here don’t want oligarchs there?

    Please. Enough with your marxist class struggle rhetoric leftover from your 60’s protest marches

  137. 137
    KC says:

    There was a walkout at my highschool the year after I graduated. The school wanted girls to stop wearing tank-tops so everyone wore tank-tops one day and never showed up after lunch. I remember thinking that was a pretty cool thing, but how lame it was that I missed it.

  138. 138
    ImJohnGalt says:

    I agree. There’s really no good alternative but to follow something similar to what you’ve suggested.. in which employers of illegal aliens have some time period, 1 – 3 years to phase out their illegal workers, replacing them with Americans and/or legal immigrants.

    You’re misunderstanding my proposal, Darrell. I believe you would be disagreeing with me vehemently if you understood it. I was proposing that these people be grandfathered in as citizens during the time period, and that the company be forbidden from hiring any *further* illegal immigrants. If I read your objections correctly, I’d be surprised (pleasantly) if you agreed.

  139. 139
    Pb says:

    Let’s see what Fox News has to say about illegal immigrants, taxes, and the IRS…

    The Internal Revenue Service receives millions of tax filings each year from illegal aliens — even helping illegals file their forms by giving them Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers. But under federal law, the IRS […] is prohibited from sharing its data with other agencies.
    […]
    While the debate rages, illegal immigrants continue to dump income taxes into the federal coffers. The latest data shows that two years ago, tax filers with ITINs sent the IRS $300 million in taxes.

    Ok, so some of them potentially collect refunds, and we still benefit. But do they do it just for the money:

    The immigrants have been able to file since 1996 when the IRS started issuing special tax numbers for people living and working illegally in this country. Experts say the 8 million to 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States contribute untold billions each year in payroll taxes.

    Many said they had a new reason to report their taxes: a hope that some day the government will reward them with some form of immigration clemency, a hope highlighted by President Bush’s proposed guest worker program.

  140. 140
    Darrell says:

    JGalt, you’re right, I misunderstood. I vehemently oppose amnesty (which is what your grandfather idea is), because it’s wrong.. it rewards those who intentionally skipped the line and broke our laws, and it also encourages others to do the same.. giving them hope that there will more amnesties given in the future if they too come here illegally.

    Other than that, I loved your idea :)

  141. 141
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Now let’s take just 1 of the many costs of illegals, educating their children. If out of 12 million illegals, 1/2 of them have 2 children, that’s 12 million children X avg of $8k per year = $96 billion/yr. Remember, children of illegals born here are automatic citizens of the US not counted as illegals, but nonetheless a cost to taxpayers as a result of illegal immigration

    Can I take exception to some of your assumptions?

    a) Firstly, you’re assuming that all of the illegals with children have them in America, rather than back home (in Mexico or other places outside of the US).
    b) Secondly, how many of those illegals are married to other illegals? At the extreme, if they were all married to each other, saying 1/2 of them have kids is really saying *all* of them have children.
    c) I’m still awaiting a cite somewhere that says that each child imposes an average cost of $8,000/year on the taxpayers. Not that I don’t believe you, but it does seem pretty high.

    Remember, children of illegals born here are automatic citizens of the US not counted as illegals, but nonetheless a cost to taxpayers as a result of illegal immigration

    I remember that. There are some, however, who would see that as an investment rather than a cost.

  142. 142
    Steve says:

    Why not? they have SS #’s and are having money deducted from their paychecks each month. I think it’s naive to believe that many of them would not file returns if there was financial benefit in doing so.

    I would imagine the number of illegal immigrants who file tax returns would be greatly outweighed by the number who never file returns and thus let Uncle Sam keep the withheld money. My guess is that the government comes out ahead on this issue.

  143. 143
    Doctor Gonzo says:

    Why not? they have SS #’s and are having money deducted from their paychecks each month. I think it’s naive to believe that many of them would not file returns if there was financial benefit in doing so.

    Let’s be frank here. First, how many bona fide illegal immigrants have the language skills or familiarity with the U.S. tax system to even attempt to do such a thing? Second, considering that most of these people have stolen or fraudulent SS cards, do you think they want to bring more attention to themselves by filing a tax return (the IRS would find it mighty funny to get a bunch of returns from the same place with the same SS number)?

    Illegal immigrants aren’t sophisiticated homo economicus who sit down and try to rationally figure out how to get the most money possible from the IRS and other government bureaucracies. They are people who more often than not are constantly on the move, taking the worst jobs in society until ICE comes along and forces them to go elsewhere. To the extent that they get paychecks, they just want cash to wire back to their countries of origin and scrape by here. FICA? Federal Income Tax withholding? Not on their radar screens.

  144. 144
    Pooh says:

    What does it say that by far the most substance of this thread has been contributed by Stormy?

    (And, BTW, I heart Stormy in this thread. We now have TWO topics we can discuss reasonably: immigration and vampire movies. Baby Steps. And SNAKES! On a PLANE!)

  145. 145

    On a sidenote…

    Well, to the extent that class is a factor, class is also inextricably tied in with race, for better or worse.

    I actually don’t agree with this.

    Class is linked to culture. Culture is most often linked to race. But race is not as much a casual relationship to class as culture is. By Culture, I am referring largely to work ethic, and desire to not be in poverty, as well as cultural aid(i.e. helping one another), etc.

    Regardless, I think it has been a tremendous mistake over the past however many years for Democrats to link Poverty and Race in their attempts to deal with poverty. It has undermined supporty for poverty fighting programs, because people look at the arguments and instinctively think “Well they aren’t talking about me.” You can call that racism, if you like, but perhaps subtle racism is a fact of life and you sure aren’t going to stop it by calling people names.

    The fact is, there are more whites in this country in poverty than any other race, but you wouldn’t know that from listening to Democrats talk about poverty and how it’s the fault of racism.

  146. 146
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Man, Pooh. That hurts.

  147. 147
    Darrell says:

    Let’s be frank here. First, how many bona fide illegal immigrants have the language skills or familiarity with the U.S. tax system to even attempt to do such a thing?

    Well, Pb has a cite above which answers that question

    The Internal Revenue Service receives millions of tax filings each year from illegal aliens — even helping illegals file their forms by giving them Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers

    “Millions” = more than 1 million. And regarding language skills, our tax dollars are at work to help them do their returns, even though most will probably be getting money back…

  148. 148

    Darrell, why not dig up statistics on the shift in wealth in our country over the last 25 years? Then do a little reading about the social and economic structures of Latin American countries. Then do a little reading about Prescott Bush, Poppy Bush and all his boys. How much did Silverado Savings cost the US, and what Vice President at the time was in charge of the Presidential commission to deregulate the thrift industry? (Hint: he was the same VP in charge of the Presidential task force to interdict cocaine in Florida at the time.) Go read about Zapata Oil, and George Bush’s illegal oil deals in Mexico. Go read up about Operation Condor during Reagan’s tenure.

    History can be informative, if you read it.

    Darrell, when you talk out of your ass what little brain you have is that much farther away.

  149. 149
    Kirk Spencer says:

    Darrell,

    They get zero of their social security funds back. Income tax, maybe – even probably – from their federal income tax withholdings paid. But you don’t get an annual return on social security taxes paid.

    For what it’s worth I think you’ve also made two invalid assumptions – not certain or I’d cite, but all I’ve got is personal experience. A single data point.

    First regarding number of working members of illegal hispanic families, my experience is that all adults in the family work if possible. They get shifts overlapped so someone can take care of the kids. At worst, they have one adult of the extended family take care of everyone’s children. Grandma, most often, while mom and dad and uncle and aunt all go off to the fields and floors.

    Second regarding earnings. I don’t know about what field labor pays, but I know what the local carpet mills pay. $12 per hour, overtime for over 8/40 at time and a half with normal expectation of 4 hours per week. That’s $27,600 nominal for an individual, $53,200 for a couple, and with ‘only’ one other adult $80,800 per household. Just saying…

    Kirk

  150. 150
    Padraig says:

    Forget about the walkout, I don’t know what to make of Darrell!

    He understands that immigration is a question of supply and demand – that’s good. But he blames people for following their economic incentives: that’s bad. He sees that the problem is the system, but he refuses to acknowledge that the answer is to attack the system, not the people trapped in it. He also seems to think that illegals cause more crime. He’s wrong, tho: illegals are LESS likely than other, similarly economically situated americans to commit crime. In fact, their crime rates are below both whites and blacks.

    Yes, illegals are a drain on services. Yes, their presence does cause lowered wages for native workers. BUT, the reason they’re here in the first place is because NAFTA (thanks a lot to Clinton and the Republican Congress) has gutted Mexico’s agricultral industry as local farmers have had to compete with Monsanto. So, they’ve lost their land, and now they’re moving to California for work.

    This is what happened during the Dust Bowl

    So, unless you wanna round up the OKies and ship ’em back along with the Mexicans, Darrell, I suggest you start thinking a bit more clearly about why it’s the Mexican immigrants in particular you seem so het up about. Maybe, just maybe, you get so angry when people call you a racist because you recognize something likme that going on in your own thinking.

    Just a thought.

  151. 151
    Joey says:

    The fact is, there are more whites in this country in poverty than any other race, but you wouldn’t know that from listening to Democrats talk about poverty and how it’s the fault of racism.

    Percentage wise though (Which would be far more telling), is that the case? I would be willing to bet not.

  152. 152
    ImJohnGalt says:

    ImJohnGalt – how would you quantitatively measure that, though? Even if a study was done, the only objective data would be the length of time that the immigration process took. That wouldn’t really be enough data to confirm or disprove racism within the INS.

    To respond to both Krista and Dr. Gonzo, I hear you. Anecdotes are great for illustrative examples, but they’re less useful for proving a case. To get real data you would look at a large sample across the country and adjust for things like race, country of application, age of applicant, education of applicant, and say, sex of applicant (off the top of my head). By measuring the length of time in the system and doing regression analysis on each variable, I expect that you’d get broader insights which would actually lead to some prescriptive solutions.

    I’m not denigrating the value of a good anecdote to emotionally sway people to your argument, just its value as a statistical debating point, is all.

    Dr. Gonzo, reading that series now. Fascinating, and sad. My wife immigrated here to Canada from the US when I moved back. It was a shitty, unpleasant, heart-wrenching, frustrating process as well, and she’s a fricking J.D. So many hoops to jump through, no recognition of her credentials, and it took more than a year for her to be able to work at all, even though we were married.

    Does anybody get immigration right?

  153. 153
    ImJohnGalt says:

    From the Oregon series:

    In a four-month investigation, The Oregonian found that the INS:

    * Holds 20,000 people in a secretive and poorly monitored network of prisons and county jails that often subjects them to abuse, loses track of them and sends them from jail to jail – often far from their families and lawyers.

    Sound familiar?

  154. 154
    Laura says:

    My wife immigrated here to Canada from the US when I moved back. It was a shitty, unpleasant, heart-wrenching, frustrating process as well, and she’s a fricking J.D. So many hoops to jump through, no recognition of her credentials, and it took more than a year for her to be able to work at all, even though we were married.

    Too bad she’s not an ice dancer.

  155. 155
    Darrell says:

    Darrell,

    They get zero of their social security funds back. Income tax, maybe – even probably – from their federal income tax withholdings paid.

    I never suggested otherwise. Please re-read my posts.

    For what it’s worth I think you’ve also made two invalid assumptions – not certain or I’d cite, but all I’ve got is personal experience. A single data point.

    First regarding number of working members of illegal hispanic families, my experience is that all adults in the family work if possible.

    Although I gave my opinion, and living in Houston I am in a good position to see, that I ‘believe’ many hispanic women are stay at home moms/wives, in my CALCULATIONS I assumed they were working. Again, it helps to read what I actually wrote

    Regarding earnings, of course that’s debatable. Here in Houston, fast food restaurants pay $8/hour. Someone else cited field hands in CA making an avg of $10/hour.

    And you’re misleading in my opinion by conflating household income with family income, as often there are more than one family living in a house. If you want to disagree with my numbers, please use the same metric so we can compare apples to apples

  156. 156
    Laura says:

    Too bad she’s not an ice dancer.

    Nevermind, I read that backwards.

  157. 157
    Darrell says:

    He also seems to think that illegals cause more crime

    Where did I suggest that? Show us

    He’s wrong, tho: illegals are LESS likely than other, similarly economically situated americans to commit crime

    Citation? or did you pull that “fact” out of your ass?
    Darrell, I suggest you start thinking a bit more clearly about why it’s the Mexican immigrants in particular you seem so het up about.
    I’m not upset solely over Mexican illegal immigration, I’m upset over ALL of it. Mexican, Guatemalan, Chinese, Irish. all of it. I never suggested otherwise, but dishonest pricks like you have nothing else, so you throw out the race card.. it’s all you’ve got

  158. 158
    ImJohnGalt says:

    That’s okay. She’s from NC, though, and did get on skates for the first time ever this winter, for what its worth. She’ll not be putting Nancy Kerrigan out of work (that’s for Tanya Harding to do, anyway).

  159. 159
    Krista says:

    Laura, I was wondering what on earth you were getting at…

  160. 160
    Krista says:

    ImJohnGalt – oh no, did you at least have her at a nice quiet skating place, or did you bring her to a busy spot where people were literally skating circles around her?

  161. 161
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Darrell, would you care to respond to my post about your assumptions, which predated the one to which you responded? I’m still trying to find a cite for your cost/child. I find it difficult to believe that the marginal cost of these children is $7-9K.

  162. 162
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Right in Nathan Phillips Square, but she was remarkably unintimidated – one of the reasons I married her. I have to say she did phenomenally well – didn’t fall once, although stopping was pretty much “run into my husband”. She really enjoyed it, though. Next time we’ll pick her up some used hockey skates. Figure skates just don’t have enough ankle support for non-skaters.

  163. 163
    Krista says:

    Right on! Good for her!

  164. 164
    Darrell says:

    I find it difficult to believe that the marginal cost of these children is $7-9K.

    These numbers are so widely cited by school districts I’m not you’re personal research service, ok? It’s not like I’m citing anything controversial. And as it appears, $8k is an understatement for the LA school district ($9,600 per pupil per year), which probably schools the most latin students in the country
    Source

    decline in enrollments in Seattle after the onset of forced busing, during which enrollment dropped from nearly 100,000 in 1970 to only 39,000 in 1990. The district has yet to downsize its central staff to match that decline in enrollments. As a result, Seattle spent $9,700 per pupil in 2000–01 (excluding debt service and capital expenses). Meanwhile, Edmonton and Houston spent just $5,800 (Canadian) and $5,600, respectively, per pupil. By comparison, New York City spent $11,800 per pupil; Los Angeles, $9,600; and Chicago, $8,200.

  165. 165
    Padraig says:

    Yay! I got called an asshole by Darrell! I am one of the tribe!

    Seriously tho, he’re my backup.

    On the subjmect of crime:

    It costs $7k – $9k per child per year in the schools, and that’s before we begin to talk about illegal alien costs in healthcare and law enforcement

    If I misunderstood the point, then I apologize, but it certainly does seem like you feel that’s a big problem. As for the bit about lower crime statistics, it was on a blog, but the link was to a social-scientific organization, and as a political scientist, I gotta stand with my homies on this one.

    I’m not upset solely over Mexican illegal immigration, I’m upset over ALL of it

    Incendiary and false charge withdrawn then. And I am an asshole, so no argument there. We on the Left do throw the charge of racism out more than we should. However, you can’t ignore the fact that the racist vote split from the Dems over the Civil Rights Movement, and subsequently joined the republicans with Nixon. The right has a long history of playing footsie with racism (Trent Lott being only a more recent example), so it’s not like we’re whistling in the dark on this.

    So, civility reestablished if you’re willing. Now, why punish immigrants with ethnic cleansing (which is what expelling 11-12 million people would certainly be) when there are alternatives? Such as extending legal rights to illegals, thus making them exactly as expensive as native workers? This would be humane and effective, and would cut out the coyotes and their filthy ilk from the process, as well as allow us to actually check the backgrounds of immigrants, thus helping national security. We agree on the ends – why not find common ground on the means?

  166. 166
    Padraig says:

    Dammit. He’re = Here’s, subjmect = subject, and asshole = dishonest. I blame my malfunctioning ‘m’ key.

  167. 167
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Thank you, Darrell.

  168. 168
    Darrell says:

    So, civility reestablished if you’re willing. Now, why punish immigrants with ethnic cleansing (which is what expelling 11-12 million people would certainly be) when there are alternatives?

    Apology accepted. I think your ‘ethnic cleansing’ characterization is over the top.. these people skipped the line over those immigrants who followed the rules and that’s wrong. They are here in violation of the laws of our country. We would not have to ‘expel’ them if we cracked down on employers and made SS cards more fraud-proof, coupled with database verification of identity. If the illegals can’t work, they will return to their home countries

  169. 169
    Steve says:

    Darrell keeps bringing up the cost to educate children of illegal immigrants in the public school system. I agree that this is a large number. I have one comment and one question.

    First, education is not welfare. It is an investment we make as a society, that we presumably believe has a payoff down the road. Children of illegal immigrants, by and large, are going to remain in the U.S. and we hope they will become productive workers in their own right. So I don’t think it’s proper to treat education expenses as some kind of sunk cost that just disappears into the blue.

    Second, I wonder whether this issue has anything to do with the school voucher issue. Would illegals be eligible for vouchers?

  170. 170
    Kirk Spencer says:

    Darrell, You want me to reread your post about taxes and SS? Sure,

    You said

    Next, those making under $20k with children get MONEY BACK from the IRS (see tax tables if you don’t already know this), so some portion of the SS payment of many of these illegals comes back. Not sure what amount that it, but it is a factor in the cost equation.

    “Some portion of the SS payment of many of these illegals comes back,” you wrote. In other words, I DID read your post and responded to what you wrote.

    You did, I acknowledge, assume (though heavily discounted) that all the illegal immigrants were working. Lots of flaws there – SS is 6.2, which is 6 close enough, but you forgot Mec which is another 1.45. And you didn’t note any other taxes besides income tax, even though most states pay a large proportion of their schools from local property taxes. And as already noted you have essentially every illegal having one child. I’ll also note that with 24 million (illegals and their kids) you’ve got more total illegals than the census lists as total hispanic population, which is peculiar. But yes, you did acknowledge that more might be working.

    Oh, and as for seeing it in Houston, IIRC an awful lot of Houston hispanics are multi-generational residents, not immigrants. Whereas as I already noted, the local hispanic population has gone from next to nothing to 22% of the county (and 70% of the school system, and as a bonus over 40% of the city population.) I’m willing to bet that I see more immigrants than you do. But that’s still anecdotal.

  171. 171
    Laura says:

    Laura, I was wondering what on earth you were getting at…

    Our Congress fast tracked a Canadian ice dancer so that she could become an American citizen and therefore skate/dance for the US in the Olympics. I always get frustrated when Congress passes a law for a single person. But with so many people desperate to come here, I take offense when they fast track someone for the sole purpose of adding to our medal take. For anybody who thinks we don’t have different standards for immigrants, they should read this story.

  172. 172
    ppGaz says:

    Citation? or did you pull that “fact” out of your ass?

    Don’t EVER give somebody else a hard time about citing facts, you asshole. You sling proof-by-assertion crap in here every fucking day.

  173. 173
    Pb says:

    Steve,

    It’s also instructive to remember that any children born in the United States are US citizens, so we do have an obligation to fund their education. In the meantime, any illegal immigrants living in the US are likely paying property tax one way or another, so whether or not they have children, and whether or not those children are illegal immigrants or citizens, they’re still funding our schools.

  174. 174
    Padraig says:

    Apology accepted. I think your ‘ethnic cleansing’ characterization is over the top.. these people skipped the line over those immigrants who followed the rules and that’s wrong. They are here in violation of the laws of our country. We would not have to ‘expel’ them if we cracked down on employers and made SS cards more fraud-proof, coupled with database verification of identity. If the illegals can’t work, they will return to their home countries

    Sweet. It’s true they are in violation of our laws, but in civil violation. You wouldn’t expel jaywalkers, for example, even if they were really screwing up traffic. The question is, why do we allow so few immigrants in legally? Companies rely on illagals because they have no rights: Dubai is having a severe problem with their ‘guest workers’ because they’re starting to deman actual compensation and protections. Dubai, with 500,000 natives to 1,000,000 guest workers is the extreme case, but it is the end result of guest worker programs. So, if Guest workers and illegals cause problems, but citizens don’t, then why shouldn’t we expand the number of legally allowed immigrants to something like the current number of total immigrants?

    Also, companies aren’t fooled when they hired illagals: toughening up laws about IDs won’t spolve the problem, because the companies and farmers that hire illegals will just help them cheat the paperwork. Companies are specifically looking for illegals, and they’ll hire them if they get the chance.

  175. 175
    ppGaz says:

    What is the optimum immigration rate, as a percentage of population, Darrell? What has it actually been for the last 25 years? 75 years?

    Answer the goddammed question, Darrell. What is the rate, and what should it be?

  176. 176
    Laura says:

    As far as what illegal immigrants contribute financially, I haven’t seen any mention of sales tax (it might be because I’m working and reading at the same time). I don’t know how you’d easily factor that, but I’d guess it’s a significant amount of money.

  177. 177
    Darrell says:

    The question is, why do we allow so few immigrants in legally?

    Because we are overwhelmed with those who enter illegally. Any crackdown on illegals, should be correspond with an increase in legal immigration imo

  178. 178
    Darrell says:

    Some portion of the SS payment of many of these illegals comes back,” you wrote. In other words, I DID read your post and responded to what you wrote.

    I can see why you misunderstood what I wrote. Earning under $20k or so a year, they would get back from the IRS money (earned income credits) to offset what they paid in S. Security.

  179. 179
    BIRDZILLA says:

    Thousands of rotten southern calfornia dirt bags have become supporters of crinimals and readical and AL QUEDA terrorists and frankly they need a good earthquake to leavel those campus building and break mexico off from the rest of north america

  180. 180
    Padraig says:

    Because we are overwhelmed with those who enter illegally

    But that’s circular logic. We don’t let people in legally because there are so many illegals. And there are so many illgals because we don’t let people in legally. And so on.

    We have jobs that are filled by immigrants: the only question is, what status should these workers have: legal, with rights and competing on an even playing field with native workers; or illegal, with no rights, and working for much lower pay?

  181. 181
    ImJohnGalt says:

    But that child of illegal immigrants who is now an American citizen might be the child that cures cancer when they grow up, and you’d deny them an education?

    Can’t we use the anti-choice argument here?

  182. 182
    Padraig says:

    Also, my typing sucks today.

  183. 183
    Darrell says:

    Also, companies aren’t fooled when they hired illagals: toughening up laws about IDs won’t spolve the problem, because the companies and farmers that hire illegals will just help them cheat the paperwork

    Many are without a doubt. And we need to crack down on them and I mean hard. Stiff fines and jail sentences for repeat offenders. I haven’t seen much of an effort to crack down on them. The fact that SS cards have no photo says it all.

  184. 184
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Goddamn, I love it when BIRDzilla shows up.

    Doctor Gonzo, that series in the Oregonian is breathtaking and heartbreaking. Was it well-received in Portland, do you know?

    Whoo-boy – this is rich:

    Bromwich and others say the lopsided comparisons result from a deeply troubled agency, not from the INS policing itself more thoroughly. One indication: Arrests of INS workers are more than twice as common as arrests of employees of the Bureau of Prisons, an agency of comparable size.

    John Chase, who heads the INS Office of Internal Audit and oversees the agency’s internal investigations, rejects the comparisons.

    Chase acknowledges that the number of investigations has more than doubled since 1996. He says that isn’t high, considering the INS had 550 million encounters with people last year, most at border crossings.

    “We’d like to see that go down, but if you look at it in context, it’s not bad,” Chase says. “That’s 550 million opportunities to abuse your authority.”

    Why doesn’t anyone report on the people we haven’t jailed improperly, or the immigrants we don’t refer to as “tonks” (for the sound a flashlight makes when it hits an immigrants head [also from the articles]).

  185. 185
    Pb says:

    Darrell,

    I agree that we need to crack down on employers here. But if my Social Security card had a photo, that photo would be at least a couple of decades out of date.

  186. 186
    Darrell says:

    But that child of illegal immigrants who is now an American citizen might be the child that cures cancer when they grow up, and you’d deny them an education?

    John, why are you in favor of those immigrants who illegally skip the line over those immigrants who followed the rules? I don’t get it

  187. 187
    Padraig says:

    Stiff fines and jail sentences for repeat offenders

    Problem is, that won’t ever happen. The companies that hire illegals are very profitable, and they are well-connected to both parties. I’d love to see some serious crackdown on these jerks too, but it won’t happen anytime soon. Unless a huge part of the electorate demands that it happen, no politician is really going to want to piss of the Chamber of Commerce, which is what they’d be doing. It’s the same problem we had trying to get health insurance in the 90s: the Insurance industry was just way to politically powerful to force that kind of a hit on. Barring jail-time, how do we solve the problem?

  188. 188
    Darrell says:

    But if my Social Security card had a photo, that photo would be at least a couple of decades out of date.

    Renewals every 4 years is not unreasonable. Neither would be unreasonable having the card have biometric fingerprint data. It’s not nearly such an insurmountable problem as many suggest. They blow up simple, cost effective measures into some huge mountain of a problem when it’s not

  189. 189
    Darrell says:

    The companies that hire illegals are very profitable, and they are well-connected to both parties

    A FEW large companies, not most, use illegal aliens. Most american voters oppose this. It’s not as big a mountain as you suggest

  190. 190
    LITBMueller says:

    My own anectdote (for what its worth): my wife (Australian, blonde, blue eyes) and I went in for our INS interview (after the duplicate paperwork and year-long wait) last year. The officer glanced over our paperwork, looked up, and asked, “You guys want the short version?”

    No joke!

    We said “yes” of course, but I was tempted to say “Well, I came prepared for DNA testing, a 50 page quiz, and anal probing, so….”

    My favorite question (delivered in a dead pan, with serious eyes): “Are you a terrorist?”

    My wife (fortunately) fought off the urge to laugh and said “No.”

  191. 191
    Padraig says:

    A FEW large companies, not most, use illegal aliens. Most american voters oppose this. It’s not as big a mountain as you suggest

    Perhaps. The thing is, guest/illegal workers are a huge phenomenon in industrialized countries, and have been since WWII. The US uses Mexicans and Central Americans, Europe uses Arabs and Turks, Israel has the Palestinians and Philippenos, etc. S. Africa created an entire network of Bantustans to be the ‘official’ home of it’s black population (most of whom never set foot in their ‘homelands’), just to be able to deny them labor rights. This is a global issue, and anything that widespread has got to be systemic.

  192. 192
    ImJohnGalt says:

    I’m not particularly in favour of it, Darrell, but I recognize that it’s a fairly intractable problem and may require a one-time amnesty phased in as I originally described, with no prospect of welfare or voting for a period of 5 years after being grandfathered in [seems to be a somewhat appropriate sacrifice for people to make for having broken the law while still being productive members of society]. Deporting 12 million illegals, even over a period of 3 years would be a logistical and economic nightmare. There is no huge pool of unemployed people in American willing to take those jobs, leaving behind a vacuum, unless you significantly (and I mean significantly) increase immigration numbers immediately.
    In this instance, assuming you would continue to give preference to people who have US relatives (their children, who I would assume they would leave behind with relatives or friends were they deported), you’d basically end up with a situation where the people you just deported were now reapplying for one of the many new immigration spots. It just seems like an unneccessary expense (the deportation [and administration thereof] *and* the application processing) when the end result is going to be about the same. I recognize your point, however, I even mentioned in my above post where I proposed a solution:

    I recognize that this in effect “rewards” illegal behaviour, but what the hell is the alternative solution? Also, with employment at fairly low levels, who is going to fill those jobs, even if employers are now forced to pay minimum wage?

  193. 193
    Pb says:

    Darrell,

    Renewals every 4 years is not unreasonable.

    Unreasonable enough–I don’t have to renew my driver’s license that often, and social security numbers don’t change. But for those who already want id cards, I’d instead propose folding voter registration cards into the existing id cards (that you can get for the DMV) and making those free of charge. They could still charge for driver’s licenses, because that’s something extra anyhow.

  194. 194
    ppGaz says:

    I don’t get it

    No shit, Darrell. You don’t get it.

    Now go away and shut the fuck up.

  195. 195
    Padraig says:

    Well, I got to work. Darrell, this has definitely been one of the better comments-arguments I’ve been in. I kind of like this civility thing. Maybe I’ll stick with it for a while.

  196. 196
    Pooh says:

    John,

    I agree that was incredibly unfair of Ezra. You’d be foolish not to have the dual items of SoCal’s recent history in this regard and the fact that immigration has been a hot button there for a decade or more (thank you Pete Wilson) in your head. Not sure how merely mentioning the elephant in the room equates with wanting said elephant to go on a rampage.

  197. 197
    ppGaz says:

    What is the documented effect of a guestworker program on illegal immigration, Darrell?

    What is the number of illegal aliens in the country today, Darrell? What was it ten, fifteen, or twenty years ago? If there’s an increase, why is there an increase?

    What percentage of the American population is foreign born (includes all immigrants) today? What was it 15 years ago? What is the actual impact of the change?

    What state do you live in, Darrell? Accounting for all “costs” associated with illegal immigration in your state (Medicaid, welfare, whatever) and taking yourself as a single taxpayer in that state, what is the actual cost to you in USD to support these immigration expenditures?

  198. 198
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Are those rhetorical questions, ppGaz? Because I’d like to know the answers, and I’m assuming you have them because there’s a point you’d like to make.

    I don’t have a lot of hope of Darrell actually answering with anything other than “that’s what’s in your DNA”, because for some reason you two are incapable of speaking civilly to one another. As an Arizonan, I imagine you have an awful lot to contribute to the discussion. Any chance you will? Is there an illegal immigration problem at all? If so, what is it, and how do we fix it?

  199. 199
    Stormy70 says:

    Snakes! on a PLANE!

    Yes, Pooh, I have to watch that trainwreck of a movie.

    I am totally going to go see Slither.

    It has Malcolm Reynolds in it. Nuff said.

  200. 200
    Gary Farber says:

    “Since when did everything I write get so damn misinterpreted?”

    Since you got so many readers and so much attention.

    A bit of advice meant to be purely friendly, John: you’ve earned yourself a very large readership, and a lot of attention in the blogosphere through your hard work over the years. You’ve now got that large readership and attention. So you’re read closely by many.

    You’ll just have to get used to this. You are, and I say this in the friendliest possible way, a fairly sloppy and careless writer. That’s part of your charm, and you could get away with it for years because you didn’t have this level of attention.

    But now you’re read by many, and you’re simply going to have to make more of an effort to write more carefully and less hastily, or you’re going to have to live with people not reading your mind as to what you really meant.

    There isn’t a third choice on tap.

    Asking or expecting people to come ask you for clarification before they write snarky remarks about you at other blogs isn’t an option. Ain’t gonna happen in all but a few cases. Expecting it to will only frustrate and anger you further, because it won’t happen.

    Write more carefully. I realize it’s a pain in the ass. Truly, I do. Otherwise, get ready to fly into a rage at the reaction to more and more of your posts, because people will misread even the clearest shit; at least then, one can with a clean conscience put it down to the fact that reading problems are endemic, and most people are careless readers. When you yourself write ambiguously or sloppily or unclearly, though, you have no defense at all.

    End of advice. Best of luck and best wishes. My other suggestion would be to get better at ignoring dumb reactions (while keeping carefully open to whether a criticism might, in fact, be well-founded), but I’m not sure how constitutionally well-suited to that you are; I’d suggest working on that, too, though, as best you can.

  201. 201
    Pooh says:

    You are, and I say this in the friendliest possible way, a fairly sloppy and careless writer.

    A conversational writer on this blog, I would say.

  202. 202
    Steve says:

    Gary takes commenting more seriously than many people take blogging.

  203. 203
    Llelldorin says:

    A few comments:

    If they have an advanced degree or are a specialized field of study, it’s usually easy for them to obtain a visa.

    Pre-9/11, this was certainly the case. One of the most annoying bits of after-the-fact CYA the Bush administration indulged in was this: because many of the hijackers were here on student visas (going to podunk little flight schools), it’s reasonable to assume that anyone coming in on a student visa is a potential terrorist.

    I’m a PhD student in mathematics. My year, we lost an admitted student from China because his visa got stalled for months after school started. He gave up and went elsewhere.

    Does anyone seriously believe that terrorists are now sneaking into the country by pretending to be graduate students in the sciences, or in mathematics?

    A FEW large companies, not most, use illegal aliens. Most american voters oppose this. It’s not as big a mountain as you suggest

    This may be technically true, but I suspect that it’s mostly tied to the current fad for outsourcing janitorial and food services. No major companies (in the private sector, anyway, and outside education) hire their own cafeteria staffs anymore, or their own janitors. I’ve always wondered if the beautiful “efficiencies” of this practice amount to anything more than “a janitorial outsourcing firm can hire a staff of illegal workers who can’t strike or even quit easily, and to whom no-one in the ‘real’ staff will feel a smidgeon of solidarity.”

    After all, you might strike if your co-workers were being treated badly, even if they were cooks and you were doing something mission-critical. You certainly wouldn’t strike on behalf of somebody working for a third party—after all, it has nothing to do with your company!

  204. 204
    Gary Farber says:

    I probably should have clearly said that Ezra’s comment did seem to be an unfair misreading of you, by the way. But, on the other side, you’re pretty blithe about such careless and inflamatory characterizations of other bloggers, yourself; best if everyone were a bit more careful in their reading, and in giving others the the benefit of the doubt, and in their use of language about other bloggers, methinks, dull as that sort of observation is.

    “Gary takes commenting more seriously than many people take blogging.”

    Could be. Mostly I’m for a lack of double standards, and for some responsibility in what we say. John has a complaint here about Exra; fair enough, but if he wants more care taken by others in reading his own words, he needs to be careful himself in what he says, else he’s asking for slack to be cut for himself that he’s unwilling to give others, and that wouldn’t be reasonable.

    As well, bloggers are constantly on about wanting to have political influence and get respect from the press, and so forth; fine, but that has to be earned, and again, one can’t have it two ways. One can’t ask for respect and to have a voice worth listening to, and then plead “hey, it’s just a blog!”

  205. 205
    Gary Farber says:

    “John has a complaint here about Exra”

    Or Ezra, even.

  206. 206
    jcricket says:

    One phrase sums up how I feel about immigration: “Get these motherfucking snakes off my motherfucking plane!”

    Oh wait, that’s not how I feel about immigration. That’s how Samuel L. Jackson feels about the snakes on his plane.

    At any rate, I’d bet discussing that would be more productive than discussing the nuances of an immigration policy with the mildly-more-than-not-at-all-informed cheetocracy.

  207. 207
    Padraig says:

    Cheetocracy is my new favorite word! And I am ALL about motherfucking snakes on motherfucking planes!

  208. 208
    DougJ says:

    The Ezras of the left can be assholes sometimes.

  209. 209
    Punchy says:

    Now we got books of the Old Testament commenting on this site?

  210. 210
    HH says:

    One wonders if that recent HBO movie with the girl from Spy Kids had anything to do with it.

  211. 211
    Cyrus says:

    These numbers are so widely cited by school districts I’m not you’re personal research service, ok? It’s not like I’m citing anything controversial. And as it appears, $8k is an understatement for the LA school district ($9,600 per pupil per year), which probably schools the most latin students in the country

    Er, I can’t speak for California and all the other states with a high population of immigrants, but in Vermont, public schools are funded by property taxes. So immigrants pay their portion of the school funding as much as anyone else – taxes if they own their own property, or their landlord pays the tax and passes the cost on to them in their rent. So maybe the rest of the country hasn’t stumbled on our simple and highly effective way to raise money for schools, but here in Vermont at least, illegal immigrants pay as much of the burden for their kids’ schooling as anyone else does.

    A FEW large companies, not most, use illegal aliens. Most american voters oppose this. It’s not as big a mountain as you suggest

    That assertion is hard to argue with, just because “a few” is so vague and of course you’ll never prove anything about “most” large companies (more than half of the Fortune 500, or what?).

    But it doesn’t matter whether or not that is specifically and literally true. Tons of small companies use illegal aliens too. Not most companies, but anyone who needs unskilled and transitory employees would be as well served by illegal immigrants as by fourth-generation Americans. If not much better. Farms (regardless of size) with seasonal booms and busts of work, construction companies, you name it. And it’s not even just companies; there has to be at least a little truth to the image of Mexican maids and nannies. You think Bernard Kerik wanted to give up his cheap help?

    To be fair, to the extent that this is a problem, it’s non-partisan. I could have used Zoë Baird but her example is 10 years older. The point is, the people who make the laws and their friends and donors aren’t going to deport 12 million illegal immigrants because even supposing for a minute that it’s possible, they’d have to learn how to cook very quickly.

    Anyway. You seem to think that getting rid of the financial incentives for illegal immigration is just a matter of enforcing existing laws by cracking down hard on Walmart and half a dozen similar companies. If you don’t think so, that’s sure what the above quote and other things you’ve said look like. And if you do think so, then you have a whole lot of evidence to produce before I’d take it seriously.

  212. 212
    Pooh says:

    John, keep your right hand up to guard against the Lefts of the Ezra.

  213. 213
    DougJ says:

    One wonders if that recent HBO movie with the girl from Spy Kids had anything to do with it.

    I think this is funny, but I don’t understand it. Please explain.

  214. 214
    ImJohnGalt says:

    I know we all love a good pile-on, but how bout we start asking me things before thinking the worst- especially those of you who know and use my instant messenger screen name.

    Um…lemme guess, your screen name is “Wolverines!!” ?

  215. 215
    Pb says:

    I’m not too fond of the Ezras of the Left myself–that’s why I listen to Better Than Ezra instead…

  216. 216

    […] John Cole says: I really don’t know what to make of this. […]

  217. 217
    Perry Como says:

    Darrell says:

    Renewals every 4 years is not unreasonable. Neither would be unreasonable having the card have biometric fingerprint data. It’s not nearly such an insurmountable problem as many suggest.

    Confirmed. Another statist pretending to be a “conservative” (whateverthefuck that means these days). SSNs were never meant as a means of identification. When they were implemented, one of the selling points was it /wouldn’t/ be used as a means of identification.

    Advocating the use of biometrics on a federally issued card that should only be tied to your Social Security benefits pretty much points out the problem with modern conservatives statists.

    Oh well.

  218. 218
    Jim Allen says:

    WRT Ezra, I for one didn’t think Cole “sniffed” anything. I thought the reference to riots was a bit gratuitous and unnecessary, given the peaceful nature of the demonstrations, but Ezra is reading too much into it.

  219. 219
    Veeshir says:

    I’m breaking my own rule at posting without reading all the previous comments. But that’s pretty much a waste of time here.
    Hi ppGaz.

    Since when did everything I write get so damn misinterpreted?

    I suggest you go back to your first post ever and I bet it was misinterpreted. And willfully misinterpreted at that.
    Welcome to the blogosphere.

  220. 220
    Mickle says:

    You don’t know what to make of it?

    It’s not like there isn’t any precendent for it.

    A large number of my classmates walked out and marched in when I was in high school in 1994 to protest Prop. 187. And I live in a very conservative part of So Cal.

    Yes, high school kids try to skip all the time, but if they are looking for an excuse to do so, they generally don’t spend several hours marching when they do skip.

  221. 221
    LES SANDERS says:

    NOTHINGS ILLEGAL IF YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH IT (RIGHT)?
    WILL THE LAST AMERICAN LEAVING PLEASE TAKE DOWN THE AMERICAN FLAG.I’M OF ITALIAN DESCENT BUT I DON’T GO WAVING THE ITALIAN FLAG AROUND TOWN OR CELEBRATE ITALIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY NOW DO I.BE AN AMERICAN OR LEAVE.WHEN WE QUIT FEELING SORRY FOR THESE PEOPLE AND ALLOW THEM TO GROW AS AMERICANS WE WILL ALL BE BETTER OFF. THE GOV’S WAY IS TO HAVE THEM ALL DEPENDENT ON THE STATE AS A KEPT CITIZEN.

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