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.

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57 comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Bill Waddell says:

    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?

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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…

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