Silence lends consent

I won’t be writing on Monday; some of us won’t be opening our businesses that day.

Charney [of American Apparel] plans to use his clout to make a political statement — on May 1, the factory will close so that he and his workers will take part in the national boycott for immigrant rights. He says he is in favor of liberal immigration policies, including open borders and an amnesty for immigrant workers — and he’s tired of hearing critics blame immigrants for all the problems facing America.

I realize I am risking the disenfranchisement of my readership. I am not looking forward to the controversy that will surely be expressed in comments. You are welcome to disagree or boycott me in retaliation but I won’t tolerate anything ugly or hateful; only civility in my living room.

It is said that silence lends consent. Come Monday, my silence does not.

Get New Posts by Email

57 comments

  1. scully says:

    I’ve been lurking but haven’t commented before. I think you’re doing a great thing. (and I really enjoy your blog!)

  2. Karen C. says:

    I applaud your stand, Kathleen. Being from California and more specifically the Central Valley that supplies a great percentage of the food to this nation, I’m tried of the saber rattling about “immigrants.” For anyone who opposes the “immigrants” (read Mexicans) because they take our jobs, then I say please go out and work the fields in 100 degree plus heat for 10-12 hours, caked in sweat and dirt, let alone all sorts of poisons, and tell me how you like it then. Like they say–go a day without a Mexican. Hmm, I wonder who will empty my trash can in my office that day….Brava, Kathleen. Now I need to figure out what I can do to show my support.

  3. Christy B. says:

    I am the only “native american” at my work- my boss moved here from Mexico 3 years ago and most employees are originally from nearby Tijuana (I’m in San Diego). He told us today that we could take off Monday to take part in the boycott but everyone decided that there was too much work to do to take off. Not all immigrants are coming here to farm or clean although there’s nothing wrong with that; some come here to run apparel companies!

  4. Big Irv says:

    Dov Charney is an interesting fellow. He makes such a big deal of the “sweatshop free” thing, I would love to see inside his operation to see if he actually produces all his own goods in “Downtown LA”. Funny how he never mentions the factories in Honduras and El Salvador that produce blanks that look very similar to the AA silhouette.
    I read a very interesting article in JANE magazine (june/july 2005) where he openly admitted to er, em.. er, “pleasuring himself” several times a day in front of female employees. He was trying to justify to the female reporter the validity of his actions and how he felt, when on cue, he started doing it again for her benefit. Almost like, “here it is, here I go”, write about me in your magazine.

    Something very wrong there. Something very wrong.

  5. miracle says:

    For anyone who opposes the “immigrants” (read Mexicans) because they take our jobs, then I say please go out and work the fields in 100 degree plus heat for 10-12 hours, caked in sweat and dirt, let alone all sorts of poisons, and tell me how you like it then.

    This bothers me. It’s a misconception that the jobs that are being “taken” are agricultural in nature, or involve manual labor that Americans do not want to do. There are industries (construction, home building and improvement, plumbing and other related skilled trades) in which union workers, small business owners and well paid workers are losing their jobs to illegal immigrants picked up on corners for day labor.

    When I had a job, I was a degreed, knowledge based worker, a job which had little risk of being jeopardized by illegal immigrant labor. Quite simply, those jobs tend to not go to undocumented workers, especially those who do not speak English. Being in that position, it is easy to act as though we’re talking about hotel service, janitorial, sewing and agricultural jobs that Americans tend to turn away from because they cannot live off the wage.

    But what do you say to a window contractor who has lost his business because his competition is hiring illegal immigrant day labor so they can drastically undercut prices? He cannot compete because he’s legit, paying people legally, and has to pay employee related taxes as well. What do you say to the unionized carpenter who cannot get work because companies are hiring illegal immigrant day laborers?

    The issue is not as cut and dry as we think, but there definitely are skilled trade workers, who made a good living, who ARE losing their jobs to illegal immigrants and have a valid reason to want legislators to do something about it.

    Ultimately, the fault does not lie with the immigrant, but with the companies exploiting immigrant labor.

  6. Right now, our policy is sick. There is this charade of patrolling the border, which forces Mexicans desperate for work to cross the treacherous desert. If we were really serious about kicking out the immigrants, we would go straight to the workplaces and fine the owners heavily for each undocumented worker. But we know that we’d get too much protest from businesses, so we patrol the borders even more heavily to keep the Tom Tancredo crowd happy instead. Who pays the price? Taxpayers, and Mexicans who die of thirst in the Arizona desert.

    Actually, I don’t think the problem is that we’re letting in carpenters and construction workers rather than those lower down on the ladder. I think our problem with immigration is the opposite — we’re blocking the workers that Americans really need from coming in — those from higher up the ladder like accountants, doctors, teachers, software engineers. When you let the low-waged workers in (either legally or illegally) you’re hurting American low-waged workers, no question. In return, all we get are slightly cheaper dishwashers while hurting our most vulnerable sector. When you let in higher-valued workers, you’re helping everyone whose not within one of those professions by bringing down the cost of those services. I’m pro-immigration — all immigration. Relatively free immigration was a big factor in what made this country great. We should be proud of that and not shut the door on America.

    Again, I reiterate: Our immigration policy right now, such as it is, hurts the poorest, least skilled Americans while everybody else benefits because we only allow (either legally or illegally, with poor enforcement) the least skilled, most desperate workers in. Consider how much more value one foreign-born accountant would generate compared to one foreign-born lettuce picker?

    As for the people who are hurt by immigration, I advocate better social policy to help them get over the trauma of job-loss rather than shutting down immigration, which benefits everybody else in the form of better services for less money.

  7. Eric H says:

    If you oppose immigration, one thing you could do to keep those foreigners out is to buy more products made in those countries, bidding up their prices and their wages. That doesn’t really help American workers much, though, does it? But it is funny that some people can be okay with offshore outsourcing and against immigration, and that others can be against globalization but okay with immigration, when these are really flip sides of the same coin.

    On this issue, I think there are only two consistent philosophies. One is Pat Buchanan’s: he’s against globalization *and* immigration. I’m proud to take the opposite view on both counts.

    And I’m proud of my wife.

  8. Gidget says:

    I believe the whole issue began with Congress wanting to make ILLEGAL immigration a felony. I totally support that!

    One example of the costs: Our son had to have his appendix removed last year. It cost 40k, not including 3 times that which the insurance paid. We had to cash in our 401k to pay our share. If he were the child of an illegal immigrant, he would have gotten the medical treatment at no cost as required by law. Instead we paid more, because the companies and the workers didn’t.

    Our town, pop. approx. 2k, just had to build three very large public schools, which by the time they were built, required dozens of additional trailers on site because of the overflow. These schools are not filled up with the children from our population of 2,000. Many of whom are elderly. They are filled with a large population of illegal immigrants.

    The farmers in our community, black, white and red – all work in 100′ heat, drenched in sweat, with 90% good-ole southern humidity I might add, and believe it or not, they think their jobs are better than sitting at a desk all day. I come from coal miners, pipe fitters and house painters. They believe their jobs, all low paying wages with high risks for injuries, are better than a desk all day. I really resent the multitude of bias in this country that says that Americans are not willing to work these jobs. The state’s have waiting lists for state jobs that pay minimum wages. The former welfare recipients, now required to work, cannot get jobs. I just bought a truck load of horse manure from an older gentleman that needs to supplement his social security. He can shovel barns, run his vegatable farm of over 40 acres, and I don’t think he would be opposed to these so-called grunge jobs. People need to come out of their utopian dreams and realize there are many people here legally that are hungry and need clothes and are get-this “willing” to work.

    One of the reasons we pay high health care, local taxes, state taxes is because states like mine, Georgia, have a high cost resulting directly from illegal immigration. I think it is insulting – as many LEGAL immigrants do, that ILLEGALS should be allowed to stay here. Why don’t they have to follow the channels millions of others followed to become legalized? You can’t take your cake and eat it too. Either immigrants (which we are ALL descended from) stay here and invest in our country or get out!

    If we tried to go into Mexico illegaly we would be imprisoned on felony charges. So why is it okay for all the other countries to protect their homeland but not us? As for the border patrols going into businesses and rounding up illegal immigrants, I am sure if they legally could, they would, in a heartbeat. But our laws prevent trespassing, oh, but that is for a ‘law-abiding’ citizenship. Let’s face it, they are here illegally and there is a reason it is illegal. Freedom, Representation, A Right to an Education, all that other wonderful stuff we get?

  9. Alison Cummins says:

    Gidget,

    For your son’s appendix, why not support universal single-payer health insurance instead of blaming people who are too poor to pay anything at all?

    And if you want them to pay taxes, then the answer is to make them legal, right? Because everyone knows they’re there, and if you didn’t want them to stay you would be deporting them. Which you aren’t.

    Seems to me to be a s*** or get off the pot situation. Either allow them to immigrate legally, or fine their employers heavily so there’s no point in immigrating.

    I side with Gidget in saying that there is a danger in thinking that you’re allowing people to immigrate just so they can do your dirty work for you. Look at the problems Europe is having. Here in Canada we don’t have the same issues because we have different avenues for immigration. Immigrating “on points” means that you’re under 40, are university educated (preferably a master’s degree) and speak at least one of Canada’s official languages. Immigrating under the “family reunification program” means that you can sponsor a relative or fiancé(e). You are responsible for guaranteeing that your relative will not be a burden to the state for five years (if your relative applies for welfare they will get it, and then you will receive a bill from your province.) After that time they can apply for citizenship and sponsor someone else. Social organisations like churches may also sponsor immigrants. A sponsored immigrant has the equivalent of a green card: they work, pay taxes and have a Canadian medicare card to pay for medical care but do not vote. There are other plans: for instance, Canadians can sponsor foreigners to be domestic servants; business people can immigrate if they have a whack of money and create jobs for at least five Canadian citizens. The result is that while we do have many poor and desperate immigrants driving taxis, they are legal. More importantly, there are immigrants at all levels of society. The poor and desperate immigrants have compatriates who can speak and be heard. (A few years ago Toronto was designated the world’s most cosmopolitan city with 42% of its residents foreign-born. Toronto is the economic centre of Canada. It is not a slum overrun by job-stealing toilet-scrubbers.)

    I know that the US also has immigrants at all levels of society; I am thinking of Europe when I think of countries who blithely invited the poor and desperate to come and do their dirty work for them, not realising that they were creating a poor and desperate underclass that would be a source of social unrest. So I am agreeing with Gidget that this is a dangerous defence of immigration policies. They need to be thought of as a whole.

  10. christy fisher says:

    I am not against immigration.. I am against ILLEGAL immigration..and that is what is “in play” at this point. Right now the “masses in the streets” are not “immigrating” , they are Invading.
    They wave the flag from another country, sing the national anthem in a foreign language, shout “viva Mexico” and expect to be able to walk across the border ILLEGALLY and get free health care and education in our country (who is not able to give health care and education to
    those who are already legally here)
    I am against this “movement” and I hope that ILLEGAL immigration WILL become a felony charge.
    If an American entered another country illegally, we would get penalized or jailed severely.
    What makes these people think that they are “entitled” to benefits in another country without going through the immgration system like everyone else ?????
    Also:
    If 11 million (mostly uneducated) Mexicans can just walk across the border without being caught- then how many terrorists (who are often computer savvy, etc) do you think have sneaked in??
    I am all for the WALL..and a much tighter system.

    I have seen the damage done already in the state of Arizona. It it horrible.
    It is truly an invasion.

    ..and again- I am NOT against immigration..but I am against ILLEGAL operations- and this is one of them.

    My Mom had a great suggestion the other day (in my opinion)..If these 11 million ILLEGALS want to have citizenship in the US, then make THEM serve in IRAQ for 2 years as “American trainees”. Make them prove that they are “pro American” and not “viva Mexico” looking for a handout.

  11. Kathleen says:

    I believe the whole issue began with Congress wanting to make ILLEGAL immigration a felony. I totally support that!

    The US already has the largest prison population in the world. Both in terms as a percentage of population and absolute numbers. If illegal immigration were to become a felony, we’d need to build 5 times the number of prisons that we already have now to say nothing of building more courtrooms, hiring judges to say nothing of the needed increase in attorneys. Then of course is the cost of housing 11 million people at the cost of $30,000 a year.

    One example of the costs: Our son had to have his appendix removed last year. It cost 40k, not including 3 times that which the insurance paid. If he were the child of an illegal immigrant, he would have gotten the medical treatment at no cost as required by law.

    This is untrue. My son is permanently disabled (with an IQ loss of 70 points) because 15 years ago I did not have health insurance to have him seen by a doctor who could diagnose the problem until it was too late. We were poor, no income, living in a battered women’s shelter and in exactly the same situation as illegal immigrants. I profoundly resent that people think that there are sufficient services and funding to provide health services to the poor regardless of immigration status because it’s a lie.

  12. Mike C says:

    But it is funny that some people can be okay with offshore outsourcing and against immigration, and that others can be against globalization but okay with immigration, when these are really flip sides of the same coin.

    I’m not sure I see how continuing to outsource our production to China is going to raise the standard of living of Mexican poor such that they rise up, reign in their kleptocratic government, and no longer need to stream across our borders for the hope of a better life.

  13. Eric H says:

    Gidget –

    Our son had to have his appendix removed last year. It cost 40k, not including 3 times that which the insurance paid

    $40k + (3 x $40k) = $160,000. I have heard of cheaper open heart surgeries!

    It is true that anyone can get emergency treatment, but it is not true that illegals can come here and get all medical treatment for free – hence, no difference between natives and aliens on that score.

    Aliison – It sounds like Canada’s existing immigration policy is a lot like ours, including the education, sponsorship, and other requirements. It is already possible for Latin Americans to immigrate legally, but the problem lies in the sheer numbers of immigrants who overwhelm the system. Many are unwilling or unable to go through the process, either because of the delays or because of their poor education. The big difference between Canada and the US? Canada only has one border that counts, and that is with a wealthier country (and there are lots of people sneaking south across the Canadian border, BTW).

    All – It isn’t as simple as saying, “let’s just arrest the people employing the immigrants.” For one thing, many of them are people like me – I hire people looking for yard work from time to time. Damned if I can tell immigrants from natives in an area filled with Spanish-speaking United Statesians (we’re all Americans, after all). For more formal employment relationships, many immigrants have the required documentation: bogus Social Security cards, real drivers’ licences, etc. Short of subjecting every employee to an extensive FBI background check, there’s no way for employers to tell. And requiring everyone to do a background check on everyone else is not only counterproductive (you better believe those costs will be passed on to both you as a consumer and to prospective employees – both native and immigrant – through lower employment rates), but it starts to sound like a propaganda poster in a totalitarian state: “Suspect everyone”, “Report your neighbor”. Remember the outcry that occurred when the Clinton administration floated the idea of requiring banks to report every “suspicious” cash transaction? Was that genuine concern about falling down that slippery slope, or was it just a partisan thing?

    As a result of the fact that aliens use bogus SS cards, the consensus among economists is that illegal immigration yields a net gain to American taxpayers. Think about it – they and their employers pay withholding tax to the tune of $7-$10 billion per year, but they will likely never collect on the back end (Social Security). They actually account for about 10% of the Social Security surplus. They also pay sales tax and gross receipts tax for the consumer goods and groceries they buy here, indirect property tax (included in their rent), and a variety of other taxes. By putting them in jail, you turn a net gain into a net loss.

    Evidence from the National Bureau of Economic Research indicating that immigrants have little or no effect on wages. More evidence from economist David Card (a pro-minimum wage economist), supporting the “no impact” theory. (Actually, both of those last two links are to summaries at MarginalRevolution, where you can find the links to the original papers) I’m not sure I buy it 100% (Bryan Caplan has questioned how you could square both of Card’s analyses), but it does question basic assumptions that immigrants are bad for US workers. They are unquestionably good for US consumers, though.

    An interesting idea from U of Chicago economist Gary Becker. More from the Becker-Posner blog – they posted four times near the beginning of the month, and the comments are usually intelligent.

  14. christy fisher says:

    Phoenix hospitals were reporting overcrowding (and turning away of other patients) over the past few months because of problems directly related to the influx of illegals- MANY of whom are taking advantage of the system and giving birth here in America (and yes, health care is provided at the hospitals for the birth)..so the actual numbers are not just the 11 million- but also the children that have been born of them over the past few years..some of the figures I have heard are staggering.. it could be upwards of 25 MILLION people. The median age of the illegals is 26- mostly male.
    We are seeeing gang related crimes, etc. increase at a blinding rate..and (no I am not prejudiced)..the names related to those crimes are almost always Spanish.
    I have a number of LEGAL Mexican friends here in AZ..and THEY are ticked off as well.
    ..and my Canadian friend who has been waiting for her papers for the past 4 years is furious.

    I absolutely adore Lou Dobbs on CNN.

    I won’t get into my rant on exporting American jobs..that is another issue.

  15. Alison Cummins says:

    I think it’s also untrue that Americans are unable to fund a single-payer health care system. It’s true that under single-payer you don’t have elite hospitals; but that means that we ensure that *all* hospitals have in place what is necessary to offer elite treatment, because there is nowhere else for the elite to go. When our premier had an emergency life-threatening infection (flesh-eating disease, that resulted in the amputation of his leg), he was treated in the hospital around the corner from me. A hospital that was in an interesting part of town and specialised in treating AIDS. Of course he had a special room, special nursing care, and videoconferenced consultations with international specialists. But he was under the care of the doctors at the public hospital, the same doctors who would treat anyone else. He had surgery in the same operating room as anyone else. And so on. And we all have free access to the same hospital and the same doctors with our medicare cards. In my province, medication is always covered by insurance too – if you don’t have private insurance, you have provincial insurance. Everyone does. We are not a specially rich country compared to other industrialised nations, and we can ensure this for everyone. Surely the US can as well. (Actually, since single-payer is much cheaper than multiple layers of private insurance, you guys would save money overall. Never mind the costs of Kathleen’s son being unlikely to ever be a taxpayer.)

    One solution to reducing illegal immigration is to make legal immigration more possible, rather than having this grey area where you have a whole lot of people with no legal status. You clearly want the immigration because you aren’t actually doing anything serious about it; you just want the immigrants to be conveniently disposable if you ever get tired of having them around. Which is unreasonable. Either you accept them as immigrants or you don’t. One way or the other. (Think of Germany and Turkey. Not pretty.)

    Regarding The Wall – to my knowledge, none of the people commiting terrorist acts on US soil were illegal immigrants. Regarding the requirement to serve in the military to prove one’s patriotism – Tim McVeigh served in Iraq the first time round and earned a Bronze Star. He wasn’t an illegal immigrant either. Regarding language – the US doesn’t have an official language. All languages spoken in the US are American.

    But what I logged on to say was… social mobility is another essential aspect. One of the reasons there is so much tension between locals and immigrants throughout Europe is the relative lack of social mobility. In the US there’s more social mobility, but less than there was in the past and I suspect less than most Americans believe. That’s something you are going to have to work hard to preserve if you want a country that works well. Blaming the poor, and creating multiple levels of poverty (the working poor, the local trash, the illegal, disenfranchised poor who are nonetheless an essential part of the economy and are not actually unwelcome) and being punitive towards them is not a way to promote social mobility.

  16. Mike C says:

    The point is, Mexico is rapidly becoming a globalization loser – not a winner.

    Their hopes of becoming “America’s Factory” through the NAFTA agreement are fading as China is rapidly taking on that role.

    Visit your local Walmart and count the number of “Made in Mexico” labels you see versus “Made in China.” The difference is staggering.

    In the global market, Mexico is losing.

  17. Alison Cummins says:

    Eric,

    I believe your sponsorship policy means you get to be sponsored and then sit around and wait at home. You are allowed to be in the country but not to work? At least not at first, and it’s complicated? I sponsored my beloved and he was entitled to work as soon as he stepped off the plane. And the immigration officials made very sure he understood that he could leave me at any time without penalty. His residency status was not dependent on a relationship with me. My sponsorship consisted of a contract between me and my government and he would not be penalised. I believe there are more restrictions on sponsored immigrants to the US?

    Christy,
    In Canada we deport illegal immigrants. We don’t imprison them. So no, they aren’t imprisoned everywhere else.

  18. Eric H says:

    Allison – I agree with making legal immigration easier. I don’t agree about single party healthcare, but I don’t think we should threadjack. E-mail me if you like.

    Christy – immigrants aren’t the cause of crime. Studies show that immigrants come here to work and to keep their heads down. Crimes are more likely to involve third or later generations, not recent immigrants.

  19. Alison Cummins says:

    It’s OK Eric, I don’t need to get into a long discussion about single-payer!

    Just saying that if Americans don’t have universal coverage it’s because you’ve made that decision, not because you can’t afford it. (It’s certainly not because you used to have it but illegal immigrants have stolen it from you.) Not going to argue the decision – that one’s yours to make, not mine.

  20. Eric H says:

    Mike

    “Glogalization” does not mean “trade with the US”.

    This shows that Mexico’s economy is still growing (“thirteen consecutive quarters of growth”), inflation is down, total exports are up.

    Note that the biggest exporter to the US as of 2004 was Canada, not China. I have yet to see a “Made in Canada” tag in Walmart.

  21. christy fisher says:

    I didn’t say imprison them.. nor did I say that other countries did that either.
    I think illigale immigration should be a felony and the punishment should be deportation.
    Mexico has a LOT of problems that need to be solved within its own borders. The bleeding of that country into ours is sad- for sure…but if it continues at this rate-guaranteed that there will be a “bleeding of US citizens into Canada”.

    Allison:
    The official language of the US is English..there is no language called “American”.
    (and the protesters are not only singing the national antem in Spanish- but they are changing the words to it being an “immigration anthem”) It’s as offensive as burning the American flag.
    ..and some of the “leaders” have made statements as to “if you don’t let us in we will ‘take care’ of the border patrol with ‘our people'”
    Yeah- those are the people I want as my neighbors…not.

    Eric:
    The second generation of illegals is already upon us. This bleeding has been going on for over 10 years.. Logon to any Tucson or Phoenix newspaper and you can read it for yourself.
    There are guns involved here.
    It’s not just a bunch of poor people wanting a job..it’s gone way beyond that.

    Also- we have had a serious rise in diseases such as tuberculosis (which has not had a case here in years)..because these people are undocumented.

    And on terrorism..the 9/11 event was not done by Mexican illegals, no..but the border is so open that ANY person from ANY country can enter via Mexico. They have already caught 3 Al Quaeda people in a small submarine off the coast of Cancun a couple of years ago.
    ..so my comment was concerning how many OTHER people have entered illegally (not just the Mexicans)

  22. Eric H says:

    Christy – your reading of local newspapers does not a thorough research study make. Here are some studies that find that immigration may actually lower crime:

    http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0037-7791(199911)46%3A4%3C617%3ASCATMO%3E2.0.CO%3B2-W#abstract
    “When these differences are integrated into calculations using equations that begin with observed numbers of immigrants and citizens in state prisons, it is estimated that the involvement of Hispanic immigrants in crime is less than that of citizens. These results cast doubt on the hypothesis that immigration causes crime and make more transparent the immigration and criminal justice policies that inflate the rate of Hispanic incarceration.”

    http://www.independent.org/issues/article.asp?id=484
    “Immigrants, for example, have much lower rates of crime than do natives and they have especially low rates relative to what one would predict given their education and income levels (Butcher and Piehl, 1998). If natives had the same institutionalization rate as immigrants our jails and prisons would have one-third fewer inmates.”

    http://www.utexas.edu/lbj/uscir/binpapers/v1-4a-greenwood.pdf
    “The key question is whether immigrants contribute a disproportionate amount of crime beyond what we would expect from native populations with similar demographic characteristics. As exhibit 1 shows, the recent wave of immigrants (predominantly Latino) appears not to have affected rates of Latino homicide.”

    http://www.cjtoday.com/pdf/7cjt0105.pdf
    “Mexicans do not appear to be more prone to crime than U.S. natives, and the major trends in crime along the Mexico-U.S. border appear not to be driven by migration.”

    Number of 9/11 hijackers entering through Mexico: 0.
    Number of Y2K bombers entering through Canada: 1.

  23. Mike C says:

    “Glogalization” does not mean “trade with the US”.

    This shows that Mexico’s economy is still growing (“thirteen consecutive quarters of growth”), inflation is down, total exports are up.

    Note that the biggest exporter to the US as of 2004 was Canada, not China. I have yet to see a “Made in Canada” tag in Walmart.

    You’ve argued that it makes little sense to be against immigration but for globalization. The topic at hand has to do with illegal immigration to the US, primarily from Mexico.

    I’m arguing that increasing globalization will do little to stop the flood of illegal immigrants to the US.

    Globalization has been growing and import/export trade around the world have been increasing – yet illegal immigration to the US continues unabated.

    The trouble with globalization is that countries have to actually compete on an international scale – it won’t magically bring prosperity to third world countries. If they can’t compete, they may find themselves in worse position (e.g. the decimation of garment industries in many developing countries as import quotas to the US and EU are lifted and the Chinese dominate the industry.)

    Mexico’s economy may be growing, but it shows no signs of fundamental changes or reductions in poverty. Other countries have made the leap, but even with all its advantages (natural resources, proximity to the strongest economy in the world), Mexico has not.

    Mexican companies *should* win virtually every head to head battle against a Chinese company for American business. There are no tariffs on incoming goods and shipping & communication issues are far simpler. And yet, they don’t. Why?

    I’m all for globalization, but I don’t really believe its going to make a significant difference in the standard of living for the average Mexican.

  24. christy fisher says:

    Eric: You can stat quote until the cows come home..but until you actually have lived in a border area, you have NO idea what it is doing on a local level.(and local newspapers can give you a bit of a clue on a local level)
    Independent stats can be skewed in various directions depending on who is doing the math.

    The bottom line is that the issue is ILLEGAL immigration…and the operative word is ILLEGAL.
    There is no “grey area” here. These people have broken the law and that is NOT okay…they become a CRIMINAL the minute they cross the border.
    ..and unfortunately the fact that many feel like they are “free” here (and gotten away with crossing and no repercussion for that), has translated into various other areas which HAS led to a rise in crime..whether carjacking, rape, theft, etc.

  25. Gidget says:

    Allison, as for your statement, people are allowed to be in your country but not work, is untrue. Companies in America have millions of LEGAL workers here on work visas, our colleges are filled with students on education visas. I don’t know where you got the impression that they are not allowed to work. The issue here is LEGAL. Our country has the right, just as Canada does and others, to track who is here, why they are here and to say if they should remain here. We are selling our populations out by allowing the influx of illegal immigration and not doing anything to stop it out of fear of a dictatorship. After all, many fear, what keeps people out and keep them in.

    Kathleen, as for the lack of health insurance, that is a totally different issue. I also went the first 2 years of our children’s lives without health insurance because, running our own business, we could not afford the cost without my working and leaving them, so we made due without it. When the stress of not having it became too much, we took jobs that had health insurance and sold our company until we can make the addt’l 800.00 a month to pay for it ourselves. If we cannot afford the health care, then our business is probably not going to make enough money to grow. Many of my family members don’t have health insurance, such as my self-employed brother that owns Painting Atlanta.
    Yet, my Canadian relative came down to Las Vegas for heart bypass surgery (via the emergency room) specifically because she she knew she could get the surgery here but not in Canada. The socialized medicine issue is a whole ‘nuther ball of wax. The issue here is legal immigration vs. illegal immigration.

    I do not see that because our prisons are full, we should just stop arresting people. That argument fizzled with Reagan-omics. The fact is, when convicted of a felony, they are deported. I agree that it should not come to that, but should just be deported. But – the laws as they are in our country right now – only offer this solution to the illegal immigration problem. If our government had not required the states to deal with the influx on their own, this would probably not be an issue right now. But then again, that old fear of the federal government being able to just come into a state and impose any type of militaristic rule prevails. Lack of action on the federal govt’s side when Katrina devastated the southern coast is evidence of that.

    If I believe everything I read in the press, I would believe that we are turning socialist. But I don’t. What appalls me is that Americans are selling out Americans for the sake of their socialist charities. What will happen to our children or are children’s children as the economic gap widens in our country and we are just saying to them, Oh well, sorry… but those poor people needed us! When does charity begin at home? There is an article in the Atlanta Journal and Consitution about a black man, educated, who desperately needed work, stood outside the Krispy Kreme with the migrant day laborers for a job, and was always the last to get picked. Even tho he was strong, spoke English, worked just as hard. He did not get picked, according to the employers, because it would cost too much. After all, he was an American citizen, with a social security card, and they would have to pay. So I do not want to hear that Americans don’t want to work! That is media bull that Americans are buying left and right.

  26. Gidget says:

    I should have added, our aunt that came down for surgery, the surgery was totally paid for by the Canadian government because it was seen as emergency surgery while she was visiting the U.S.

    and socialist charities should have been “social charities”. One of these days I will learn to type more accurately and suscinctly. Apologies.

  27. Eric H says:

    Mike – You would have to compare “immigration without globalization” against “immigration with globalization”, not simply the fact that illegal immigration continues despite increased globalization, to make that case. Why? It might well be higher if not for globalization. And the fact that their per capita income and *imports* are up is certainly evidence that the average Mexican is better off.

    Nobody is requiring magic to make third world countries better off, but global prosperity is definitely up as this shows.

    Christy – I live about 40 miles from the US-Mexico border. Until last August, Kathleen lived 0.25 miles from the Mexican border. Wanna race to it?

    BTW, Kathleen’s old address was in the third poorest zip code in the US and the lowest crime rate in El Paso County. But those are circumstantial evidence; I much prefer a study, or better yet, a consensus of studies.

    I think we should distinguish here between two types of crimes: malum in se and malum prohibitum. In the former category, which includes murder, assault, and theft, you have an identifiable victim who can show injury. The latter are also known as “victimless” or regulatory crimes. One by-product of those crimes is that police have more say in the matter – they can decide to let the person go, since there is nobody who will advance the case and get the officer in trouble. The result is usually corruption – look at the effect of Prohibition and neo-prohibition.

  28. Josh says:

    I’ve been reading everyone’s comments on this issue and I think my head could explode. I didn’t know how I felt on this issue before reading the comments and I still don’t know. Everyone is making some very valid points. I do think it’s going to be interesting to see what happens on Monday. It’s gonna be punk rock!

  29. Kathleen says:

    I’ve deleted two comments for racist posturing, hatefulness and snarkiness. I am not going to tolerate it. This is not the forum to vent your hatred toward swarthy skinned people who’s names end in vowels.

    And personally, my family is not a bunch of criminals. My friends aren’t either. Neither is my son a criminal just because he has an hispanic surname and is the son of an immigrant.

  30. Maureen says:

    The official language of the US is English..there is no language called “American”.

    Wrong. There is no official language of the US. English may be the language of government business, but it has never been considered official. I believe that the state of New Mexico considers both English and Spanish to be “official” languages, although they use English pretty much everywhere.

    they are changing the words to it being an “immigration anthem”
    Unless you’re full-blooded Native American, I’m not sure what your problem is. Most of my ancestors were immigrants.

    Look, I’m sure it must suck losing your job to an illegal immigrant who makes less than min wage. So why don’t we attack the employers who employ illegal labor? If there’s no demand for illegal labor, people will stop coming here. And yes, it’s frustrating when half the people in the supermarket don’t speak English, but I’m sure people were frustrated when some of my ancestors spoke nothing but German or Swedish or Hungarian.

    It’s past midnight. Happy May Day, y’all.

  31. Gidget says:

    Kathleen, one final thought that I have to respond to. In regards to the This is untrue comment (one of these days I will remember how to quote those quotes, apologies). It is true that any indigent person can walk into an emergency room and receive health care. It is required as part of the hospital’s funding and licensing. I never said that the services received are sufficient… etc. Far from it.

    I know first hand the roadblocks that you encountered with your son in the medical community. I am 41. The youngest of five children. Born to a mother living in the projects of Baltimore, MD and a drug-addicted abusive father who beat my mother, tied my brother up in a closet and burned him with cigarettes. I care for my 48 year old sister who is profoundly retarded and has grand mal seizures 7 or 8 times a day. Without her medications, which we must battle the government for, she would die. I don’t assume any level of care. It is the luck of the draw and who you run into and how helpful they feel at the time and if it’s a full moon.

    The problem here is we have got to face ILLEGAL immigration or leave it for our future generations to face. I can only imagine what the illegal immigrants life must be like to leave their families and come to an unknown environment and go through god knows what horrors to get here. Yet, I must place my concern and actions with people in my own country. There is not sufficient room in our country or our economy to just allow anyone to immigrate whenever they wish.

    Our government has always had quotas for immigration from various countries. People during the 1880’s were only allowed to immigrate from Ireland and England. There were eras where we allowed only immigrants from Thailand and China or from India.

    I don’t know what the answer is and it worries me greatly. At some point we will have to become tougher and control the future of our country’s immigration policies or just allow the natural order of things such as disease and famine to overtake population control. Mother Nature is not going to wait for us to make up our minds.

    Okay, stepping down now… sorry about the long and many posts down this path.. but I have really enjoyed the open discussion here. Thank you.

  32. Alison Cummins says:

    Don’t want to drag this one out forever, but I realise I was completely unclear about my post on sponsorship. My point was not that I imagine the US doesn’t allow immigration, but that it’s very hard to get a Green Card. Even if you’re sponsored, if I understand correctly.

    My uncle, who is a prosperous computer engineer in Silicon Valley, married a lovely woman from a good family in Austria… about nine or ten years ago. They have lived in California since then. They have three children, two of whom were born in the US. The youngest is in preschool and now she’s starting to think of getting paid work of her own.

    But she can’t work. She has to return to Austria every six months to renew her visitor’s visa! She has not been able to obtain permanent status in all these years, despite all those roots.

    This is what I was thinking about. If this is how hard it is to immigrate to the US, then no wonder you have a problem with “visitors” working under the table.

  33. Alison Cummins says:

    Christy: you said “I hope that ILLEGAL immigration WILL become a felony charge. If an American entered another country illegally, we would get penalized or jailed severely.”

    No, an American in another country with an expired visa or working under the table would almost certainly simply be sent home. Kept in custody until that could be arranged, yes, but not sentenced to prison as punishment for a felony.

    There might be some confusion as to what is meant by a felony. From Wikipedia: “A felony is one in the highest class of offenses, and punishable with death or imprisonment. It is a crime, typically one involving violence, regarded in the US and other judicial systems as more serious than a misdemeanour. An offense carrying a lesser sentence is usually a misdemeanor. In Massachusetts, on the other hand, a felony is any offense which carries any prison time.” Also, “Crimes which are commonly considered to be felonies include, but are not limited to: aggravated assault, arson, burglary, murder, and rape. … Originally, felonies were crimes for which the punishment was either death or forfeiture of property. In modern times felons can receive punishments which range in severity; from probation, to imprisonment, to execution.” The Wikipedia definition of probation is as follows: “Probation is the suspension of a jail sentence – the criminal who is “on probation” has been convicted of a crime, but instead of serving jail time, has been found by the Court to be amenable to probation and will be returned to the community for a period in which they will have to abide to certain conditions set forth by the Court under the supervision of a probation officer. General conditions may include maintaining employment, abiding to a curfew, living where directed, abstaining from unlawful behavior, following the probation officer’s orders and not absconding.
    Usually the offender is supervised by a probation officer, to monitor their performance during the probation period. The probation officer helps the offender to adapt to living in the community; to guide and help them to behave in a lawful and responsible way.” We are clearly not talking about putting undocumented aliens back into the community to work, so we must be talking about either the death sentence or a serious prison term.

    Basically if you make being in the US either without a visa or with a visa but working illegally into a felony, then you have to build a whole lot of prisons in which to warehouse a whole lot of illegal immigrants for long prison terms. That’s what it means. If that’s what you want, it’s going to be very expensive. If that’s not what you want, then don’t support making illegal immigration into a felony.

  34. Mike C says:

    Quick poll for DEs:

    1. How many of you were directly affected today by worker unrest?

    2. Of those affected – how many are contemplating ways to minimize the impact of worker unrest in the future?

    3. Of those affected – how many are not contemplating ways to minimize the impact of future worker unrest?

    4. Of those not affected – how many are worried that worker unrest may impact you in the future?

    5. Of those not affected – how many are not worried that worker unrest may impact you in the future?

    For us, it is:

    1. yes
    2. yes
    3,4,5: na

    I suspect that tens of thousands of small business owners that rely on immigrants (ours are first generation immigrants who have become naturalized US citizens – we have not and will not hire undocumented workers) are finding themselves having to answer these questions today.

  35. Mimi says:

    I support your stance on immigrant rights, Kathleen. I don’t want to get into a debate in your comments, but I did want to express a thumbs up!

  36. Josh says:

    There is not sufficient room in our country or our economy to just allow anyone to immigrate whenever they wish.

    This isn’t true. Did you know that you could fit the entire world’s population in the state of Texas. The entire state would be like NY, crammed and everything but it would all fit.

  37. Karen C. says:

    Wow! I’m amazed and quite truthfully a little saddened about the lack of compassion of people commenting about this subject. There’s so much “us against them” hatred.

    Now if I understand the issue right, today, May 1, is about demonstrating to get immigration REFORM so you can be LEGALLY in this country. Am I wrong about this?

    I work two blocks down the street from the California state capitol and what I saw today was awe inspiring. I’m a child of the ’60s and I never personally witnessed such a large and PEACEFUL demonstration. But I guess if I grew up in a country where my options were either starve and live in a cardboard box or try to go somewhere really close for a better life…not that hard of a choice. I’ve seen the poverty in Mexico…I’ve seen the poverty here in the Central Valley of California. To label these people as a bunch of freeloaders, welfare cheats and criminals is just plain irresponsible and biggoted.

    I know what it is like to try to live legally in another country (very difficult). But that was Italy and I had a home to go to where my lifestyle would basically be the same (i.e I would have shelter and food). From my experience being around immigrants mostly from Mexico for the last 40 or so years is that they work hard and just want a better life. And the next time you see the names of the soliders dying in Iraq–pay attention to how many have Spanish surnames. A disportionate amount of these soldiers from California are Mexican immigrants.

    But now I understand what my ancestors must have dealt with coming to this country. We were Irish–and dealt with a lot of hatred also.

    So ya all can argue statistics ’til you’re blue in the face. When it all comes down to it–it’s just prejudice and it’s ugly.

  38. Eric H says:

    Karen – I disagree that the only reason for the argument is prejudice. Even one of the crime papers I cited starts out with a discussion of why that question seems to have merit on its face, even if it isn’t borne out by the facts.

    The way I see it is that there are three possibilities for immigration policy: everybody stays out, anyone can come in, or some policy in between. The trouble with the existing policy is that it pretends to be the third option, but in fact becomes the first option for many, driving them into a black market for labor. Selling labor on a black market has lots of harmful effects, both for the parties involved and sometimes for the community at large.

    If you made it very easy for people to come into the country as guest workers, so easy that they would gladly immigrate within the legal avenues, then only the really bad guys would have need to sneak into the country. Easily said, not so easily translated into policy. That is the real difficulty before the Congress: how do we craft a policy that is transparent (that’s what the current system lacks) and deals with serious issues like terrorism and black market labor problems?

  39. Carol Kimball says:

    When we lived in Denver, I employed, legally, a number of U.S. citizens. Several of them were women from shelters or who otherwise (without our mutually-scheduled flexible work hours) would have been on welfare.

    I collected and submitted all the FICA & etc. It was a pain to do it quarterly, as even with five working, the amounts submitted were piddly. Then the Powers that Be decided that I should submit all on a monthly basis.

    That was it. As people moved on, many to custom clothing working from their own homes/studios, I got out of the employment business.

    By our ignorance of considering how legislation affects employers/employees, we actively encourage utilizing people who will not, can not, insist on anything other than perodic payment in cash.

    Inconsistancy is a major part of the issue, and since each bureaucratic area has its own guidelines and agendas, and jealously fights integration with any other agency, some kind of cohesive policy is unlikely.

    I wish I had some answers. There are no simplistic ones.

  40. There are a lot of valid points on both sides of the issue, and no easy fair solution. Leaving the border wide open is just as stupid as building the Great Wall and deploying the military. They are the solutions of people too intellectually lazy to get into the details and work toward effective solutions to complicated social and economic problems.

    I choose to side with the immigrants for the simple reason that, while most opposing the illegals probably do so for morally neutral reasons, every racist, bigoted ignorant moron in the U.S. has jumped on the anti-immigrant bandwagon, and has taken the lead in shouting for criminalization of illegal entry.

    They hide behind simple minded, clownish arguments, while making it clear that they are really against Mexicans, and that the matter of their immigration status is not really important. It seems as though the farther from the border one gets, the less Spanish one has actually heard, and the fewer Mexicans (illegal and otherwise) one knows, the louder the complaining about Mexicans gets.

    To the anti-immigration folks, your choice to walk arm in arm with most ignorant element of America renders your intellectual points hollow.

  41. Rachel says:

    I was erased before because my emotions (anger) got the best of me. May I be allowed to post some facts? 24% of agricultural workers are illegals. That means 75% of the jobs are already being done by Americans. The jobs we won’t do. The salary of a meat packing empoyee in the 80!s was $19.00 per hour. It is now $9.00 per hour. We are being used by the large corporations and an emotional issue to further THEIR agenda. Cheaper labor. On the other end of the financial spectrum there are 70,000 black engineers and programmers out of work in the US. There are 14 million Americans (note no race indicated) who cannot find a full time job. Off the books of course. Study further folks. It is NOT a racist thing. It is greed!

  42. Rachel, you missed the point.

    Go to Mothers Against Illegal Aliens web site and read the following:

    “Our beautiful Nation has been turned into a jungle by the mass invasion of illegal aliens – the streets of America; the neighborhoods and communities where we live; the malls and stores where we shop; the schools where our LEGAL children attend – and yes, even the churches where we worship – are now the Citadels of fear, bigotry, racism, physical danger and hate! The LEGAL children of America’s 21st century have become the scapegoats and the victims of this invasion of illegal aliens. They have become – the get behind, the left behind, the back of the class, the back of the bus, the get off the playground, the get out of my way – pawns and victims of peer abuse and societal indifference.”

    That drivel is often front and center on FOX News.

    Or how about the Minutemen who seem to be on all of the news outlets speaking for you:

    “Accordingly, the men and women volunteering for this mission are those who are willing to sacrifice their time, and the comforts of a cozy home, to muster for something much more important than acquiring more “toys” to play with while their nation is devoured and plundered by the menace of tens of millions of invading illegal aliens.

    Future generations will inherit a tangle of rancorous, unassimilated, squabbling cultures with no common bond to hold them together, and a certain guarantee of the death of this nation as a harmonious “melting pot.”

    Do you believe that the U.S. is being “devoured and plundered” by “tens of millions” of people who are members of a rancorous, squabbling culture?

    Do you have common cause with the Colorado Alliance For Immigrant Reform? They describe Mexicans coming here looking for work as,

    “millions from all over the world pouring across the border, including convicted murders, rapists, child predators, people from terror-sponsoring countries, heavily armed international drug traffickers, along with kidnapped women and children smuggled in and headed for sex-slave dens in the United States.”

    “Sex slave dens”, Rachel? Really?

    These are the folks I quite accurately described as the “most ignorant element of America.” They should be condemned them for the ignorant racists they are.

    I don’t care what the economic issues are – I will not side with people such as these on anything, any time. They are vile and repulsive and go against everything the United States of America stands for.

    Until you and those who agree with you stand up and publicly denounce the racists who speak for your side of the issue, all of the numbers you may cite mean nothing. As Disraeli said, “Figures lie and liars figure.” Both the sides of the issue have plenty of numbers to make their case. Your numbers, however, have little credibility with me when they come from the mouths of people like these folks. They sound like a disingenuous attempt to use the hourly pay of meatpackers to advance an ugly racist agenda.

    You should get as emotional/angry at the ugly face of racism as you are over the hourly wage of meat packers.

  43. Oh, and Rachel, one more thing. 70,000 unemployed black engineers and computer programmers in the United States??? Out of work because Mexicans with their compulsory 6th grade education snuck in and took their jobs??? You may believe a statistic like that, but I am not, nor are most people. Please provide the source for that figure.

  44. Rachel says:

    This is a truly heated subject. There are several issues before the senate and house. One of them is the visas issued for “the brightest and the best” (cheapest) high tech workers. One of them lives down the street from me and currently unemployed. He can no longer find work in his field at the top. He told me they are importing those since the brightest and the best get half the salary he once commanded. The statistics can be found on Numbersusa.com and anti illegal group which keeps track of the actual voting records of our upstanding representatives. The other issue is the illegal immigration one which until you are personally affected you have no idea. I was not directly affected by illegals until two years ago when hundreds of men started standing all over the streets as day laborers. Our business of 34 years started to suffer slightly as new customers did not know who these hoards of men were. My boss has two children in college and we all need OUR jobs. My boss’s wife is Cuban by the way. Many of our customers are Latinos but LEGAL ones and very lovely to wait on. This is not a racial issue. If you are really interested in the REAL statistics go to the numbersusa.com website and have your eyes opened! ALL the statistics are there and there are a lot of them. There is only legal or not legal in my mind. Having NEVER been a racist, hateful or any of those vile things I cannot relate to any of that. The day workers are also ripped of with bad checks, robbed etc. They have no one to turn to because the laws to protect workers do not apply. There is no good coming out of illegally coming into this country. They are not protected either! I could go on and on. There is nothing positive about allowing illegals entry into this country for US or Them.

  45. Kathleen says:

    I’ve been waiting for my husband to jump in on the 70,000 unemployed black engineers thing because he can’t hire enough engineers, black, purple, white or green. He can’t hire anyone but US citizens who can pass a security clearance so the visa thing doesn’t help him or affect what he pays. I’m sure he’d be thrilled to meet any of these unemployed engineers. He’s going through hoops with the colleges and universities in the hopes of getting engineers in the future. Their need is great now but it is expected to get much worse.

  46. Rachel says:

    I hope your husband can find what he is looking for because they truly are out there. The gentleman who lives down the street is an out of work former IBM programmer. He was made to train his replacement (imported) in order to get his severance pay. The 70,000 figure was on the Numbersusa.com site of which I have great faith. Don’t know where they got it. Maybe contact them. They also have the complete voting records of our “wonderful” congress and senate. It is an eye opener. But it is only about the immigration both legal and illegal. They are non partisan and of ALL races.

  47. Personal experience?

    My stepson is a Mexican born US citizen who has spent the last year in the mountains along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in almost daily firefights with Al Queda/Taliban forces as a member of the 173rd Airborne. His younger brother – also my stepson – has been in this country illegally for four years while the bureaucrats in Washington fumble with his paperwork.

    Perhaps one of you, or the righteous people at Mothers Against Illegal Aliens, or the tough, patriotic, gun totin’ good ol’ boys at the Minutemen, would care to explain to my son in the 173rd why his family is a threat to the country he is risking is life for, and should be treated as felons.

    Any takers?

  48. bruce says:

    OK, my 2 cents worth:

    It’s intriguing to anyone in the garment industry, concerned about outsourcing as it is, so eager to lock up such a large work force….

    I’m a criminal defense atty in one of the 2 busiest federal public defender offices* in the US (2500ish felonies a year). We’re on the Mexican border and handle mostly immigration cases and MJ importation cases. Current US Bureau of Prisons cost to house an inmate is just under $2000 per month. let’s discuss basic math:

    11-12 million undoc’d people x 1 felony x $24K annually Fed Bureau of Prisons cost to house the healthy ones x # of years of sentence = $264-288 BILLION A YEAR (for comparison, I believe that recent US govt figures show cost of Iraq war as roughly $5.7 billion a month or 68.4 billion a year)

    +

    addtl cost to incarcerate ill ones (fortunately none of that population has diabetes or related complications, or other lifestyle-related problems)

    +

    addtl cost to house them when they return after deportation following sentence but now with prior felony conviction so they’ll get lots more time on the illegal reentry charge (average sentence is at least 3-7 years)(see below)

    +

    # of family members who will get charged with either “misprision of a felony” (concealing/failing to report a federal felony offense) or conspiracy to harbor or shelter their (alien) family members x $24K x # of years

    +

    addtl prosecutors, Federal Public Defenders, courts, US Probation officers, US Marshals, etc etc

    =

    who needs social security, student loans, Medicare, decent schools, or any of that whiney liberal shit? Is your desire to lock em up worth 4-6 times the cost of the Iraq war each year? rhetoric and chest beating is always so much more fun than reality with the attached price tag…………

    About 65% of our practice is “illegal reentry after deportation” offenses, which carry a statutory maximum of 20 years. (Bill’s comment above is interesting, since our office has represented honorably discharged veterans of the US military on this charge.) If the person has a prior conviction for an “aggravated felony”, (which despite its ominous sounding title includes such stuff as a Texas misdemeanor assault or shoplifting charge where the defendant got 1 year probation and completed it successfully), under the federal sentencing guidelines, they get the same base offense level as:

    aggravated assault where a firearm was discharged and the victim sustained serious bodily injury;
    bank robbery using a deadly weapon;
    kidnaping;
    theft (also includes mail fraud, wire fraud, Medicare fraud, etc) of over $80 million;
    extortion using a firearm;
    holding people in slavery and causing them serious bodily injury
    possessing with intent to distribute over 80 grams of heroin;
    boobytrapping federal property to protect illicit drug operations;
    arson or bombing resulting in a substantial risk of death or serious bodily to nonparticipants; or possession of a firearm in prison
    blowing up an airplane or settying off a bomb in an airport
    trafficking in child porn involving kids under 12
    promoting child prostitution
    smuggling from 6-24 aliens resulting in death
    possessing a machine gun or hand grenade with 2 prior convictions for a crime of violence
    inciting or engaging in a prison riot resulting in substantial likelihood of death or serious bodily injury
    piloting an aircraft under the influence of alcohol or drugs resulting in serious bodily injury

    (Until the 2003 amendments, it was also the same offense level as: promoting prostitution by a minor under 12 or trafficking in child pornography which depicts sadistic treatment of children under 12)

    More than that, America is not about simple cost issues but larger ideals. And none of our Irish, Italian, Russian, German, Jewish, Chinese, etc ancestors emigrated here illegally? I’ll close with excerpt from a speech by a preacher in boston:

    America must never forget that immigration is the source of our strength. We are a nation of immigrants with an eternal debt of justice to pay with regard to immigration. It is a tortuous logic for the dominant power class in this country to forget that we were established as a nation when people immigrated here from Europe, and displaced the Native Americans, destroying their jobs, homes, food supply, and culture. Those new Americans used and profited from forced immigration, as millions of African slaves were brought here to build our cities, plant and harvest our crops, and become the backbone of our modern-day economic power.
    So the descendants of those who immigrated to this land and shattered resources and hope for others, and who benefited from forced immigration of Africans for over 100 years, should have only one response when asked what to do about our immigrant sisters and brothers, and it should be in the form of a question: ”How do we pay the debt of justice we owe?”

    * No taxpayers were harmed in the production of this rant. i typed this up last night from research i’d done on our cases and am just pasting it in now.

  49. Mike C says:

    Without getting into the pros or cons of making illegal immigration a felony, its worth noting that your numbers assume no change in behavior.

    If illegal immigration were to become a felony AND it was aggressively prosecuted, AND those convicted were sentenced to jail terms in the US, its VERY unlikely that the 12 million illegal immigrants would stick around for their turn in front of the judge.

    Right now, the system is basically, “if you can find your way in, you’ll be able to work low paying jobs, but any children you have will be citizens and free to pursue the American dream without restrictions.” That system seems like a pretty good deal to the vast numbers that cross the border.

    Change the system and behavior will change – for better or for worse.

  50. One of the great ironies in this debate is that both sides are suggesting government solutions when government is, in fact, the biggest part of the problem. Go back to my previous comment and ignore the part about my stepson in Afhganistan, and look at what I said about my other son waiting four years.

    I am a U.S. citizen, as is his mother, as are his brother and sister. The government has the originals of every scrap of paper documenting his life – yet after four years they cannot deccide whether to confer citizenship.

    Contrast that with the fact that you can walk into any bank and apply for a mortgage. Within fifteen minutes, the banker will know you complete istory – credit, banking relationships, employment, criminal background and where you have lived – and five minutes later make a decision.

    If Mexicans looking to work in the U.S. could fill out the paperwork, sumit it and get a decision within 24 hours, the rate of illegal crossing would drop like a rock.

    If any of you were young, Mexican, willing to work hard, and had the promise of a job that would feed your family, would you wait years for the bureaucrats? Or would you simply cross, go to work and get on with life?

    I know what my wife and I chose. I am four square in favor of law and order, but I am not about to leave a child behind in Mexico, or have my whole family sit there for four years, waiting for pencil pushing paper shufflers. Only a fool would do that, and only a bigger fool would brand me or my son ‘felons’.

    The federal government, as usual, has failed miserably to execute the current system. What on earth would lead anyone to believe that they will execute a different system any more effectively?

  51. Mike C says:

    If Mexicans looking to work in the U.S. could fill out the paperwork, sumit it and get a decision within 24 hours, the rate of illegal crossing would drop like a rock.

    Isn’t the driving force behind the “illegal” in “illegal immigration” more one that there really is no way for large numbers of Mexicans to come to the US legally?

    My undersatnding is that if immigrants could go to a US embassy in Mexico and get an answer within 24 hours, it would be “no” 99% of the time.

    I *think* that’s sort of the point behind Bush’s guest worker program. But, the problem is that very few people believe that the provisions of the law that would enact it would actually be enforced, since the current laws aren’t.

    But, yeah, I agree that like many issues, our government isn’t necessarily making this better. When the populace can’t trust it to even attempt to uphold its own laws, it becomes paralyzingly difficult to find ways of dealing with problems that result.

  52. Cinny says:

    OK I think I get it – illegal aliens are good enough to produce and traffic cocaine, herion and other pharmaceuticals into the US, and men can travel to Tijuana to engage in prostituion with young Mexican boys and girls, but they are not welcome to create enterprises and raise a family! The nerve of them to want a better life! The gov’t is so hypocritical.

  53. Bill Waddell says:

    Hypocracy is not limited to the government. I find the news pieces highlighting the trash the illegals leave in the desert on their way in especially comical.

    I’m waiting for the FOX News cameras to go across the border and film the heaps of empty beer bottles and used condoms the Gringos leave in their wake every night in the Mexican border towns. Or perhaps they will film the wreckage the Gringo college kids leave behind at every Mexican beach on Spring Break.

    I imagine I will have a long wait, however. Mexican families cancelling plans to take their kids to the beach because they don’t want them exposed to the vandalism, violence, drunkeness, and promiscuity of Americans just ain’t the kind of news Americans want to watch. We only want to know about what the Mexicans do to our side of the border.

    Our mentality seems to be that, ‘if they want our money they can put up with our abuse; but since we don’t need their money, they can just stay out’. And we wonder why so many people in the world don’t like us very much…

Leave a Reply

You have to agree to the comment policy.