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May 11, 2007

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oh man. this is gonna give poor Lou Dobbs an aneurysm.

400$ per head * 8 million people? Balanced budget here we come!
Increasing the fee now has a bad smell to it. Looks more like active discouragement tactics.

People who live in this country and are eligible for citizenship should get it, so that they can have a say in what happens to the country.

I'm a Canadian and a legal permanent resident in the U.S.

Given the war and the torture and the abuses of power, there's no way I'm going to swear loyalty to this country. (And the chorus says: get out! Well, yeah, but I've spent half my life in the U.S. And when I graduated I was desperate for the first job that would hire me. Next year, who knows? But next year, we might get a sane president...)

Hartmut,

"400$ per head * 8 million people? Balanced budget here we come!"

Umm, no. I wish the budget situation was such that adding $3.2 billion to revenues would balance it. Or even $32 billion. But with all of the various off-budget items (including a certain pair of wars), even $320 billion doesn't do it.

What's the rationale for charging $400? Does it cost that much to process the paperwork? Passport fees are less than 1/4th that. And these folks aren't being documented de novo -- they have green cards.

It's either a cash cow -- and thus indistinguishable from selling naturalization, or a crude form of screening based on income.

And neither of those speak well of us.

Dan, I obviously forgot the irony tags. Btw, I don't know where the money ends up, with the states or on the federal level. Anyway, it would be a one-time cash infusion (noone would propose seriously 8 million immigrants per year)

Davis, I guess the latter. This would be not in itself dishonorable (cf. e.g. Switzerland), if it were officially declared as such. This way it has a certain resemblance to poll taxes. Increasing the fee as a reaction to "brown" immigration will not get rid me of that suspicion.

OOPS - increasing the number of voters that aren't reliably Republican? Can indictments from Alberto Gonzales' "Just-Us" Department and harrassment from every other federal agency be far behind?

Now I can see why the television stations worked so hard to pass campaign finance "reform".

yes, this is a good thing.

One of the most frustrating things at the immigration court last year was cases involving people who had lived their whole lives in the US but weren't citizens. There was one fortysomething guy who almost got deported due to fairly petty criminal convictions who had come here as a six-week old. His parents had naturalized long ago & he seemed to either not realize that the process was necessary in his case, or assumed that he became a citizen when they did.

I hope articles like this make the administration nervous enough to support a decent immigration bill. You hear a lot about how people who support really punitive, mean laws against illegal immigrants have no problem with legal ones or naturalized citizens. In some cases this isn't true, but even when it is, it's incredibly common for people who are US citizens or green card holders to have close relatives who are undocumented.

Given the war and the torture and the abuses of power, there's no way I'm going to swear loyalty to this country. (And the chorus says: get out! Well, yeah, but I've spent half my life in the U.S. And when I graduated I was desperate for the first job that would hire me. Next year, who knows? But next year, we might get a sane president...)

All well and good, but people immigrating over the other border don't have quite the same options if they lose their resident status. It's nice to be able to worry about about loyalty oaths and such, but for most of the immigrants I know the nice thing about citizenship is that once they get it, they never have to deal with the fucked-up immigration bureaucracy or shitbag lawyers ever again.

Mayolo Lucas' quote at the end of the write-up gets to the core issue: When it comes to issues that politicians love to demagogue, immigration is right up there with the War on (Some) Drugs and the perpetual struggle against the pedophile menace. You never know what new piece of fuckwittery Beltway yahoos are going to pull off; this eye-popping fee hike is just a mild example. For now, citizenship is still permanent (pending the discovery of yet another obscure "security" provision in the Patriot Act, of course).

Excellent, people who plan to live permanently in this country should seek citizenship.

I question, though, the assumption that a large influx of new citizens who've legally immigrated is going to make things politically easier for line jumpers who came in illegally. Legal immigrants can be some of the most vehement opponents of illegal immigration.

"I question, though, the assumption that a large influx of new citizens who've legally immigrated is going to make things politically easier for line jumpers who came in illegally."

Who's making that assumption?

"Now I can see why the television stations worked so hard to pass campaign finance "reform"."

Explain please.

Brett, where do you see anyone talking about making things easier for illegal immigrants? I thought the focus was on the potential effect of this on the immigration debate. Whatever legal immigrants think about the justice of "line-jumping", they tend to take a dim view of anti-immigration efforts, believing them to be racist and nativist in nature (poll ). I'm unaware of any polling which indicates that legal immigrants support the type of legislation proposed by the anti-immigration forces. If you have some data to suggest otherwise, I'd be interested to see it.

Legal immigrants can be some of the most vehement opponents of illegal immigration.

Which can be expressed as vehement support of relaxed immigration laws.

john: Who's making that assumption?

That was my takeaway from both the article and the comments: these new citizens will turn some red states blue and that will strengthen the Democrat’s side of the debate. Am I off base?


Larv: anti-immigration forces

Who are these forces? I am aware of anti-illegal-immigration forces, but I’m not familiar with any forces against legal immigration.

I am aware of anti-illegal-immigration forces, but I’m not familiar with any forces against legal immigration.

There are plenty of people who want to limit legal immigration further, particularly as it relates to Muslim countries. Likewise, there are plenty of people who want to expand legal immigration -- and lots of folks who oppose that move.

There's also the organizations that oppose automatic citizenship for those born in the US, and want to abolish political asylum. Those are a bit fringe-y, granted.

Again, it is not at all uncommon for U.S. citizens & legal immigrants to have close family members who are out of status. Even if they don't...the idea that one set of lawful immigrants patiently waiting their turn v. line-jumping scofflaws is a fiction. When we create harsher penalties against illegal immigrants we tend to make our laws worse for legal immigrants too, and to make it easier to lose their status.

"Brett, where do you see anyone talking about making things easier for illegal immigrants? I thought the focus was on the potential effect of this on the immigration debate."

The fact that opponents of enforcing immigration laws find it rhetorically convenient to pretend that people who favor enforcement are opposed to "immigration", does not make a debate about illegal immigration into an (unmodified) immigration debate.

"When we create harsher penalties against illegal immigrants we tend to make our laws worse for legal immigrants too, and to make it easier to lose their status."

Compensation. The poltical elite have a number of reasons for not wanting to effectively enforce immigration laws, so they try to satisfy demand for effective enforcement by making things harder on legal immigrants, instead. Also, given the not unreasonable assumption that there's a limit to how many immigrants, legal and illegal combined, the nation can tolerate, an insistance on high illegal immigration has to go hand in hand with suppressing legal immigration.

That was my takeaway from both the article and the comments: these new citizens will turn some red states blue and that will strengthen the Democrat’s side of the debate. Am I off base?

It's hard to say. Hispanics are generally socially conservative (mostly Catholics, after all) but it's hard to support a party that demonizes your illegal friends and family. I think generally the Hispanic vote goes Democratic, but it's not a sure thing.

The fact that opponents of enforcing immigration laws find it rhetorically convenient to pretend that people who favor enforcement are opposed to "immigration", does not make a debate about illegal immigration into an (unmodified) immigration debate.

Sure, and the fact that opponents of immigration find it rhetorically convenient to insist that they only oppose illegal immigration does not mean that we're not talking about immigration in general. Are there people on both sides of the issue who are eliding the distinction for their own purposes? Of course, but I'm willing to bet that there are a lot more "anti-illegal-immigration" types who are actually just "anti-immigration" than there are "anti-anti-immigration" types who just don't want the immigration laws enforced. Does anyone really think that Tom Tancredo or the Minutemen are only opposed to illegal immigration?

I'll repeat my request for some evidence that legal immigrants favor restrictions on illegal immigration.

Totally OT, but I suggest that people click on Andrew Sullivan's link and read the letter Petraeus sent to all the military in Iraq.

There may be some decency left in the world that finds itself connected to this adminsitration.

The poll that I did find seems to disagree with the attitudes I've personally encountered among legal immigrants.

"Does anyone really think that Tom Tancredo or the Minutemen are only opposed to illegal immigration?"

Don't know about Tancredo, but the Minutemen ain't picketing USCIS offices, you might notice.

How many people oppose illegal immigration, but say "oh, I don't care if the borders are 100% open, so long as no one immigrates illegally?"

The vast majority of the people who say "oh, but we only oppose illegal immigration" are being a tad disingenuous, because they also have opinions on how much immigration should be legal in the first place.

Let's postulate a hypothetical Californian who feels that the influx of Latino immigrants is changing his state beyond recognition, taking jobs away from people, and he doesn't like it. Many of the people he has a problem with may be illegal immigrants, but the fact is, he wouldn't be much happier if the exact same people were here as legal immigrants. It's the influx of outsiders that disturbs him, not just the issue of whether their immigration paperwork is in order.

Maybe we all need to agree on some suitably neutral terminology; after all, few "anti-immigration" people actually think there should be zero immigrants. But I think it's disingenuous for people to pretend that their only beef is with illegal immigration if they also have a strong position on how much legal immigration we should permit. The social harms of illegal immigration don't simply vanish if your paperwork is in order, after all.

"Don't know about Tancredo, but the Minutemen ain't picketing USCIS offices, you might notice. "

No, but immigration courts do get unsolicited phone calls from concerned citizens suggesting that we deport everyone at immigration protests.

And the idea that lack of enforcement of immigration laws requires us to restrict legal immigration gets the causation backwards. Harsh & punitive immigration laws encourage people to go outside the system.

Now, it's something of a chicken and the egg thing; and it is true that politicians prefer to pass harsher, more punitive, meaner immigration laws rather than actually appropriate the money to enforce the laws on the books in a way that's going to harm business interests. But that's not any kind of sensible policy.

I am HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY skeptical of Brett as a spokesperson for legal immigrants.

Here's that

(FAIR says Tom Tancredo has introduced a bill to begin this process)

See also FAIR on "asylum reform".

Remember, a very large majority of asylum applicants are, at one point or another, illegal immigrants.

At least the racists and xenophobes @ VDARE don't disingenuously pretend to only hate illegal immigrants.

That deserves credit (of sorts).

Steve: There are plenty of people who want to limit legal immigration further, particularly as it relates to Muslim countries. Likewise, there are plenty of people who want to expand legal immigration -- and lots of folks who oppose that move.

Individuals and pundits, sure. Not that they do not exist, but I personally am not aware of organizations that oppose legal immigration, want to scale it back, or oppose expanding it. FWIW I support expanding it and streamlining the process. After all, everyone in the country who is not 100% Native American is a product of immigration.

I just don’t believe that the path to citizenship should start with breaking the laws of the host country.


Katherine: the idea that one set of lawful immigrants patiently waiting their turn v. line-jumping scofflaws is a fiction

How so? Is it not true that legal immigrants have to wait, sometimes for a long time? Is it not true that someone can walk across the border and be here in a matter of hours or days, with little fear of being deported provided they do not get into trouble with the law (and then only if it is not a sanctuary region)? Might the illegal then get amnesty and citizenship while the legal immigrant is still waiting?

"Might the illegal then get amnesty and citizenship while the legal immigrant is still waiting?"

Since I know of no serious amnesty proposals, I am not sure how this would work. So the answer to your question is probably not.

I'm all for the engagement of every eligible person in our country's civic life. However, I can't help thinking it would be a shame if this give the nativist elements in the GOP an excuse for their utter failure. "Well of course we lost -- it's all those liberal hippies giving the right to vote to all the 'Spanish' people."

Then again, it might be a good thing to help propagate their denial and prevent them from coming to terms with the utter meltdown of their party, yes, even among young well-educated Anglos. What I really want is to see a conservative option replace the Republicans in the national discourse, and anything that makes them less likely to come to terms with their utter failure can only be good to that end.

And yeah, I know that Spaniards are more concerned with their own booming EU economy than with emigrating to the US. :^)

"Many of the people he has a problem with may be illegal immigrants, but the fact is, he wouldn't be much happier if the exact same people were here as legal immigrants."

But that's kind of the point: It wouldn't be the exact same people, under any even vaguely plausible system of legal immigration. One presumes, for instance, that even a system of vastly expanded and streamlined immigration would still require that immigrants be english literate, and lacking in criminal records. Further, there's no sensible reason for a system of expanded legal immigration to give overwhelming preference to one country, Mexico, just because it has a common border with us.

And so, a system of expanded legal immigration would not have nearly the same sort of impact on our society as massive illegal immigration.

One presumes, for instance, that even a system of vastly expanded and streamlined immigration would still require that immigrants be english literate, and lacking in criminal records.

I have no problem with requiring English literacy for citizenship, but do you really think it ought to be required for immigration as well? Many of us had grandparents or great-grandparents who came to this country and never did learn English, but as long as their kids learned the language and got to be full-fledged Americans, that was all they really cared about. (Some of them never had a chance to learn English because they were sweeping floors full-time to give their kids a chance at the American dream.) I don't know why we'd want to change this business model that has worked so well for us over the decades.

Completely OT, this from Bizarro World seems pretty admirable.

It's not so much the stance, which is an easy call, but the stridency of it which impresses me. Usually this sort of effort is reserved for the Treasonocrats giving money to Guam or something.

"I have no problem with requiring English literacy for citizenship, but do you really think it ought to be required for immigration as well?"

Yes. The fact is, more people want to immigrate here than we could possibly accomidate. (Especially if we stopped actively discouraging people from immigrating legally, as we currently do.) We HAVE to exclude a considerable number of people on some basis, if only a lottery system. Given this, it makes no sense to admit immigrants who do not speak our language. It's just trouble we don't need.

john: Since I know of no serious amnesty proposals, I am not sure how this would work.

6 (7?) have passed in the last 20 years.

There are currently 14 active bills on various flavors of amnesty. Some concern specific countries, some are general. All have had at least a second reading and are sitting in some committee or another.

I won’t even try to post the Thomas links for them all because the spam police would freak:

H.R.371
H.R.454
H.R.1221
H.R.1275
H.R.1631
H.R.1645
H.R.1941

S.9
S.237
S.330
S.340
S.656
S.774
S.1225

This is a great thing. I'm all about people going through the process to become citizens of any place they intend to stay for a long period of time.

Speaking of Lou Dobbs, he's apparently been spreading a fake story of a leprosy epidemic caused by those dirty immigrants, using numbers made up by a racist crackpot.

Brett Bellmore: Given this, it makes no sense to admit immigrants who do not speak our language. It's just trouble we don't need.

You realize that this is, in the most basic sense of the term, un-American?

"Katherine: the idea that one set of lawful immigrants patiently waiting their turn v. line-jumping scofflaws is a fiction

How so? Is it not true that legal immigrants have to wait, sometimes for a long time? Is it not true that someone can walk across the border and be here in a matter of hours or days, with little fear of being deported provided they do not get into trouble with the law (and then only if it is not a sanctuary region)? Might the illegal then get amnesty and citizenship while the legal immigrant is still waiting?"

--There's not necessarily a line you can get on at all. Plenty of people--and not just scofflaws--simply don't qualify.
--I don't know what a "sanctuary region" is. There are some cities that strongly oppose having the local and state cops enforce immigration laws. This actually is just plain good policy: you do not want wholesale unwillingness to talk to the police among illegal immigrants & their close relatives. I don't think cities or states have the authority to prevent the border patrol or federal marshals from doing their job.

--There's plenty of fear of deportation; but the likelihood is relatively low. We have very harsh, very underenforced laws. Some people stay here illegally for years & do pretty well for themselves. Others get completely screwed. The one word that best describes the immigration system is arbitrary.

--None of this goes to my main point, which is that there are not cohesive groups of Good Legal Immigrants and Bad Illegal Immigrants. People move in and out of status, and people in-status often have family members who are out-of-status (and vice versa obviously).

--The predictors of coming here illegally are: (1) difficulty/impossibility of getting in legally; (2) ease of getting here illegally--it's easier to do from Mexico than, say, West Africa; (3) how much better life is here than the country you're coming from. It's largely a matter of incentives & your situation, not personal belief in v. contempt for the law. Treating people looking for a better life for their kids as if they're criminals is politically convenient but not very useful.

--That said, you're right that it's not great to give people an active incentive to come here illegally instead of legally. To minimize bad incentives without breaking up a bunch of families & deporting people who have made a decent life here, you'd really want to do things in this order:
1) increase legal immigration
2) increase enforcement at the border
3) some sort of earned citizenship deal.

Problem is, this is also a political compromise, and in practice you have to do all of them at once to pass it.

"Earned citizenship" v. "amnesty" is largely a matter of political terminology. Steve, if you oppose both, I think you're way, way, way off. The other alternatives are:
--deporting 12 million people at great human and financial cost.
--deporting a large # of them and having the rest remain illegal indefinitely.
--some sort of guest worker thing which doesn't really answer the complaints about legalizing people, and makes immigrants less likely to assimilate & hurts U.S. workers more than a naturalization model.

Which of those do you support, and why?

Given this, it makes no sense to admit immigrants who do not speak our language. It's just trouble we don't need.

I can just visualize Powhatan, or Massasoit, saying this....

No, I don't. In fact, it's both current law, and wildly popular. Does the most basic sense of the term, "un-American", have nothing to do with what real life Americans believe, as opposed to what you'd want them to?

OCSteve, I read all the House bills, none of which mention amnesty. A quick rundown:

H.R.371 Applies to aliens already lawfully admitted.
H.R.454 Applies to Haitians already here and allows for application and no deportation while application being reviewed. Not amnesty.
H.R.1221 Applies to people who have been here over 5 yrs and came into the country under the age of 16. Still needs to apply for legal status and may be rejected. Not amnesty.
H.R.1275 Same as above.
H.R.1631 Minor technical amendment to a law already passed, no amnesty mentioned.
H.R.1645 The exact oppoite of amnesty, this bill talks about how to detain and deport illegals.
H.R.1941 Related only to Liberians who came in under special protected status or were eligible for protected status and only allows them to apply for exemption and cannot be deported while application is being reviewed. Not amnesty.

I don't have time to review the Senate bills, but my guess is that many of them are the Senate counterparts of the House bills.

OCSteve, I read all the House bills, none of which mention amnesty. A quick rundown:

H.R.371 Applies to aliens already lawfully admitted.
H.R.454 Applies to Haitians already here and allows for application and no deportation while application being reviewed. Not amnesty.
H.R.1221 Applies to people who have been here over 5 yrs and came into the country under the age of 16. Still needs to apply for legal status and may be rejected. Not amnesty.
H.R.1275 Same as above.
H.R.1631 Minor technical amendment to a law already passed, no amnesty mentioned.
H.R.1645 The exact oppoite of amnesty, this bill talks about how to detain and deport illegals.
H.R.1941 Related only to Liberians who came in under special protected status or were eligible for protected status and only allows them to apply for exemption and cannot be deported while application is being reviewed. Not amnesty.

I don't have time to review the Senate bills, but my guess is that many of them are the Senate counterparts of the House bills.

Sorry for the double post.

An English proficiency test to enter the United States (as opposed to becoming a naturalized citizen) is current law? News to me. Do you have a cite for that?

Emily H: "Given the war and the torture and the abuses of power, there's no way I'm going to swear loyalty to this country."

You took the words right out of my mouth. And I might actually say it out loud the next time some guy at immigration (airport) asks me why I'm not a citizen yet after 20 years.

We HAVE to exclude a considerable number of people on some basis, if only a lottery system. Given this, it makes no sense to admit immigrants who do not speak our language. It's just trouble we don't need.

My grandparents and parents do not agree.

I think you have to do better than that; pick another criterion.

To my knowledge the constitution does not refer to the English language at all. On the other hand there is a movement to amend the constitution to make English the official language (the fringes also want to ban the use of other languages in public, especially Spanish*)

*In Europe this phenomeneon is also known in several countries with rivalling paintbrush brigades blackening out all signs in the unwanted language (in extreme cases there is no readable sign in any language left).

Does the most basic sense of the term, "un-American", have nothing to do with what real life Americans believe, as opposed to what you'd want them to?

I thought it had to do with the principles upon which this country was founded, rather than what Americans actually think at any given point in time.

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe in English,
The wretched yet bilingual refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my liguistic proficiency exam beside the golden door!"

Apologies to Emma Lazarus

john:I read all the House bills, none of which mention amnesty.

I agree that you won’t see either the word “amnesty” or “illegal alien” in any of these. And I certainly could be misinterpreting the language. I’d make the same argument with many of these I think, so I’ll highlight the first for now.

H.R.371 Applies to aliens already lawfully admitted.

I don’t see that requirement in the bill (already lawful). I see the requirements to go from undocumented, to blue card (temporary), to permanent:

SEC. 101. REQUIREMENTS FOR BLUE CARD STATUS.
(a) Requirement To Grant Blue Card Status- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary shall, pursuant to the requirements of this section, grant blue card status to an alien who qualifies under this section if the Secretary determines that the alien--
(1) has performed agricultural employment in the United States for at least 863 hours or 150 work days during the 24-month period ending on December 31, 2006;
(2) applied for such status during the 18-month application period beginning on the first day of the seventh month that begins after the date of enactment of this Act;
(3) is otherwise admissible to the United States under section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182), except as otherwise provided under section 105(b); and
(4) has not been convicted of any felony or a misdemeanor, an element of which involves bodily injury, threat of serious bodily injury, or harm to property in excess of $500.

Followed by Permanent Residence:

SEC. 103. ADJUSTMENT TO PERMANENT RESIDENCE.
(a) In General- Except as provided in subsection (b), the Secretary shall adjust the status of an alien granted blue card status to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence if the Secretary determines that the following requirements are satisfied:
(1) QUALIFYING EMPLOYMENT-
(A) IN GENERAL- Subject to subparagraph (B), the alien has performed at least--
(i) 5 years of agricultural employment in the United States for at least 100 work days per year, during the 5-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act; or
(ii) 3 years of agricultural employment in the United States for at least 150 work days per year, during the 3-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act.
(B) 4-year PERIOD OF EMPLOYMENT- An alien shall be considered to meet the requirements of subparagraph (A) if the alien has performed 4 years of agricultural employment in the United States for at least 150 work days during 3 years of those 4 years and at least 100 work days during the remaining year, during the 4-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act.

Etc.

OCSteve: "That was my takeaway from both the article and the comments: these new citizens will turn some red states blue and that will strengthen the Democrat’s side of the debate. Am I off base?"

Actually, I didn't include that part of the article, because I didn't want it to be a partisan point. (My point was just, yay Univision!) I also didn't include another part, about the fact that Univision gets less in political ad revenues than it might b/c fewer of its audience members are citizens, so this might be in their financial interests.

Katherine:Which of those do you support, and why

Got any more options? :)

"Earned citizenship" v. "amnesty" is largely a matter of political terminology

“illegal alien” is largely a matter of legal terminology. The law is what it is. How do you really earn something from a basis of illegality? How is that earned?

I am not an absolutist on the issue. I mainly want it fixed. To that end I need to see something that does not just encourage more illegal immigration (as the 86 amnesty did). So how do you meet my main concern as well as your concerns? I’m open…

OCSteve, the real issue is in section 105. That is the only area where some exceptions are allowed and approval must come from DHS.

ALso, this does not put anyone on a faster track toward citizenship as it requires proof of employment for 4-5 years.

And it allows for penalties for many actions.

Also, this applies only to agricultural workers, who are less likely to have proof of employment, as many of them are paid in cash. And those paid as if legal woudl be subject to penalty for fraudulaent use of a SSN.

Again, there is no amnesty involved. Blue card status is not the same as green card.

john: I’ll try to read through them again soon and try to see your point – we may have to go to arbitration with the house lawyers ;)

It appears to be too nice of a weekend to hang on the intertubes…

No problem, catch me on Monday.

And yes, maybe the house lawyers may have to arbitrate.

My main point, is that to me, amnesty means complete forgiveness with no onus being on the person receiving the amnesty. That doesn't exist in any of these. Even for those earning the blue card, they still ahve to stay working and contributing for several years before they can apply for full legal alien status (green card) and then they also have to pay a fine.

IOW, there is no way they can earn citizenship quicker than a full legal alien.

Basically that bill is what Buh has been supporting. I am not saying I support it fully, just that it isn't complete and total amnesty.

katherine: An English proficiency test to enter the United States (as opposed to becoming a naturalized citizen) is current law? News to me. Do you have a cite for that?

Knowing immigrants from both Mexico and Iraq, I can assure you they give you a test to see if you understand basic English.

As to

--'It's hard to say. Hispanics are generally socially conservative (mostly Catholics, after all) but it's hard to support a party that demonizes your illegal friends and family. I think generally the Hispanic vote goes Democratic, but it's not a sure thing.'

Every Mexican I've talked to wants to vote Democratic, because that's what Univision, Galavision and Telemundo say will give them a free ride in the U.S., while the Republicans want to literally kill them, execution style. I would guess not many here have seen real Mexican television, (not the version on Univision, et al.) as you would be shocked at how we Americans are portrayed there. Maybe you can see my apprehension when it comes to television producers pushing a political agenda.

--'Remember, a very large majority of asylum applicants are, at one point or another, illegal immigrants.'

Actually, they are not. When an applicant petitions for either political or religious asylum, they are NOT illegally here. If they are denied and continue to stay here, then they are 'illegal immigrants' and no longer 'asylum applicants.'

"Knowing immigrants from both Mexico and Iraq, I can assure you they give you a test to see if you understand basic English."

When? Before they cross the border? Before they get a visa? Before they get a green card? What law provides for this?

Have you ever heard of the Diversity Visa lottery?

There absolutely is an English requirement to become a citizen (though it can be waived in rare cases) but that's not what I'm talking about.

"When an applicant petitions for either political or religious asylum, they are NOT illegally here. If they are denied and continue to stay here, then they are 'illegal immigrants' and no longer 'asylum applicants.'"

Yes, but they tend to have to enter the country either without inspection, or on the basis of a visa which was granted on condition of them declaring their intent not to remain in the United permanently. And a fair # only apply for asylum after they are placed in deportation ("removal") proceedings.

John--I'm not sure there's a platonic def'n of "amnesty" out there. I wouldn't call it amnesty but that's arguably because I'm in favor of it.

Worth noting, though: the major difference between Bush's proposal and the Democratic (& McCain) supported one is that the Democrats' can eventually--after a long process--lead to permanent residency citizenship; Bush's is a guest worker program. Both are a way for people who've been here illegally not to be deported and if punishing/disincentivizing illegal immigration is your primary concern you should support neither. I think the naturalization model is far preferable to the guest worker one--and if assimilation is the concern....

Ending illegal immigration isn't my primary concern in this debate. The costs of doing so would exceed the costs of the status quo, IMO--not that the status quo's so great, either.

Re: Fee increases.

It bears noting that USCIS is almost entirely a fee-funded agency.* In other words, Congress doesn't give them money every year in the budget -- their costs have to be covered by the money they bring in.

It also bears noting that every applicant who is approved for a fee waiver (because they're too old/poor/disabled/whatever to have the cash) means the agency has to come up with the money to cover their costs.

*2005 budget shows a budget of $2B for the agency, with $200M appropriated from Congress. I don't know if this is what they actually got, but it sounds close.

This is sort of OT, but I have to admit that -- despite the fact that you won't find even a bit of Republican, jingo or nationalist in me -- that I'm made a bit uncomfortable by the tone of Emily's and farmgirl's comments, which seem to combine: a willingness to stay in the US and live for some extended period of time for whatever benefits they think accrue to them, and a sense of entitlement which keeps them from simply leaving if they hate everything else about it so much.

(As in: "And the chorus says: get out! Well, yeah, but I've spent half my life in the U.S." So what? If you're really that upset about what the US is doing in the world -- everyone is! -- why stay? Or: "Next year, who knows? But next year, we might get a sane president..." Um, what you mean "we," paleface? You don't vote, you don't get to say "we.")

I guess I just don't get that. If I lived somewhere where I hated the government and policies that much, I would either become a citizen and actively try to change it, or get the heck out of Dodge.

Am I out on a limb here? Like, am I just crazy?

Who are these forces? I am aware of anti-illegal-immigration forces, but I’m not familiar with any forces against legal immigration.

Hi dere!

Interesting question, Phil. I'm thinking of taking Japanese citzenship, though I'd probably hold on to the US passport, so I tend to view citizenship as something like a useful widget rather than something that requires my loyalty and devotion. This is not to say that I wouldn't like to be a citizen of a country where I could whole heartedly support the direction of the country and the government, but it seems that more and more, one's identity shouldn't be tied up in what country one is a citizen of. This is not to say that your point is way off base, but your notion seems to be tied up to a more innocent age.

Not to thread jack, but since there are never any posts about this topic I can only comment in other threads:

I continue to question how long Hilzoy can ignore the "Culture of Corruption" that she supports.

I'm betting alteast until 2008. I'm going longer if the Democrats keep control of Congress.

Lobbying Reform Losing Steam in House

Lobbying Reform Losing Momentum in Congress After Democrats Touted It for 2006 Election

House Democrats are suddenly balking at the tough lobbying reforms they touted to voters last fall as a reason for putting them in charge of Congress.

Now that they are running things, many Democrats want to keep the big campaign donations and lavish parties that lobbyists put together for them. They're also having second thoughts about having to wait an extra year before they can become high-paid lobbyists themselves should they retire or be defeated at the polls

http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=3165636>http://www.abcnews.go.com

Thanks, lj -- I don't know where I get these notions from. I'm only 37, and nobody in my family is hyperpatriotic; although I do have a tradition of military service in my family (father, grandfather, two uncles), and my mother has of the last several years developed a startlingly racist/nativist stance. Still, for me it's not so much a question of, as you put it, "one's identity [being] tied up in what country one is a citizen of," as it is something to do with accountability and reciprocity. (At least those are the closest concepts I can bring to bear on it.)

Emily and farmgirl -- not to single them out, I don't even know them, but they are the ones who posted here -- clearly believe they derive some very important personal/professional benefits from living and working here, or else they wouldn't. Those benefits are enough to keep them living and working here for multiple decades in at least one case; but those benefits are not enough for them to say that they want to take the step of having a decision-making hand in laws and policies that clearly affect the way they have to live while they're here.

I don't know . . . it's hard for me to explain. Sadly, No! and Mark Kleiman take similar whacks from other angles, and they're smarter than I am. (Click forward from Mark's for some additional discussion, too.)

I don't know. They may have stronger ties to other countries & the option of returning hassle-free. I don't consider it morally better to not be a U.S. citzen because of our torture policies, wars etc.--it makes you less responsible for that but responsibility isn't all bad. As you say, you have a better shot at changing them as a citizen, and I no longer even joke about moving to Canada or England if someone like Giuliani wins the 2008 election. But I also don't consider it immoral to live and work somewhere and not naturalize. Yes, they may benefit from being here, but we may benefit from them being here too.

I agree that it's morally legitimate & maybe morally required for politicians to care more about American citizens than citizens of other countries--there are concentric circles of responsibility. That said, immigration and trade, up to a certain point, are not zero sum.

Phil -- I think I can see how it might strike you that way, but that's not how I perceive it for myself.

I have serious concerns about the current administration, but I don't "hate everything else" about the US; I don't stay here because of a sense of entitlement, but because it's where I grew up. My life is here, basically. I have good friends and a meaningful job, and I believe this is a great country that is not currently living up to its potential.

I moved to the US when I was 10, so for many years there was no compelling reason to pursue citizenship -- legal residents have almost all the opportunities and obligations of citizens. I didn't really even get involved in politics until after 9/11, when it started to become clear to me that the current administration was not operating in an above-board manner.

I *have* worked hard to change things I don't like -- I can't vote, but I can donate to candidates and participate in political activities, and I've done that. My reluctance to get citizenship has traveled the following path, on reflection:

1. why bother? things are going pretty well around here, and there's not much I'm missing out on ...

2. ...plus, it's a big enough hassle renewing my green card. Who wants to deal with the @$$holes at INS more than necessary? (seriously, these people are trained to be unpleasant. you may not have had the opportunity to observe this yourself.)

3. (looking at the application) they expect me to swear an oath to renounce my allegiance to any other state, and to bear arms when required by law? How can the first make sense when I'm allowed to retain dual citizenship? And I'm not bearing arms for anyone. so I can a) lie when taking the oath, or b) tell them I can't agree to those aspects of the oath, and they'll tell me, "thanks for playing, goodbye."

4. Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Maher Arar, Khalid El-Masri, extraordinary renditions, CIA "black" sites, torture, torture, TORTURE. It enrages me to the point of tears that this is happening as official government policy of the country where I live, and that my tax dollars support it. Pardon me if I decline to join up as a citizen at this time so that I can also feel deep personal shame that MY COUNTRY is responsible for these atrocities.

So ... I may apply for citizenship in the future, but only if things return to a point where I could proudly say, "I'm an American." Right now that wouldn't be the case.

Re: Platonic definitions. From Merriam-Webster:

" the act of an authority (as a government) by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals"

Since being here illegally ordinarilly precludes (Barring some sort of specific pardon.) ever again being able to legally enter the country, we ARE talking about an amnesty.

OT: your blogfather thinks ObWi is a "hard left" blog.

Yeah, and we think our blogfather has lost it. What else is new.

As to this:
"Since being here illegally ordinarilly precludes (Barring some sort of specific pardon.) ever again being able to legally enter the country, we ARE talking about an amnesty."

Not unless you define "pardon" very broadly & beyond its usual legal meaning. I'd say "waiver" more than pardon as far as the law goes--and, of course, in practice neither is actually necessary, because in practice they don't necessarily catch you here illegally, because even leaving bleeding heart humanitarian reasons out of it, in practice we are not willing to pay enough in taxes to actually enforce the immigration laws.

An Iraqi human rights activist comes here on a student visa. He tells the immigration inspector that he intends not to remain permanently; in fact, he knows that he plans to apply for asylum. He applies for asylum--while the application is pending he loses student status. An immigration officer finds that he has a well founded fear of being tortured or killed and grants him asylum.

Is this a "pardon"? I would say no. And this is how immigration court proceedings work: first the gov't proves that you're inadmissable or deportable (the actual jargon is "removable") for some reason. Only then do you get the chance to apply for some sort of relief from removal. Asylum is one, but there are others: adjustment of status; something else called withholding of removal; waiver of a grounds of inadmissability; and then relief under a lot of more complex, nationality-specific laws.

There's also a category called "temporary protected status", which works slightly differently but under the same principle--we won't deport someone for a while even if we otherwise could, because their country's too big a mess.

These only count as "pardons" if you expand the definition of "pardon" beyond its usual legal meaning (avoiding the consequences of a crime you've been convicted of or that you're being tried for). Basically you've traded a semantic debate on "amnesty" for a semantic debate on "pardon."

(Actually, trevino is much as he ever was & I think I just lost patience for it. I thought you were talking about Moe for a sec, for some reason.)

"Hard left"? I'd hate to see his reaction to, oh, Chomsky.

I also love his touting Online Integrity as an example of how the left failed his standards of decency. He's the one who goes around outing people whenever it suits him, with delightful explanations about how that really isn't contrary to his principles each time.

I'd have to echo pretty much everything Farmgirl said.

For the benefits of living in the U.S.-- I pay taxes, I followed the various INS rules and procedures, and I don't break the law. The additional benefits that come from citizenship, are, obviously, benefits that I don't get. So I don't see how I'm getting something for nothing, here, or why there should be an absolute overlap between "a place I'd want to live for a few years or a decade or two" and "a place I would bear arms for."

(I know I'm coming back to the discussion very very late, I just wanted to add-- I didn't meant to imply that there was anything wrong with Univision encouraging people to apply for citizenship. Quite the opposite, in fact. I just wanted to make a case that permanent residency is in fact a better choice for some of us).

The BW version of the Trevino post has a (relatively) stirring defence by von.

Actually, me as hard left seems less silly to me than tacitus commenters being "mostly left wing", or the Heritage foundation being "legitimacy-creating," or the idea of liberals "gorging themselves" on Heritage foundation-funded cocktail franks as a serious problem....

do I have to go over there to talk to von though? I hope not; that would suck. Hi von!

Emily, you're not getting something for nothing, but the idea (not necessarily yours) that becoming a citizen = approving of the US' policies isn't true, and isn't IMO a valid reason for deciding not to become a citizen.

I lived in Miami for many years, and that experience puts me at odds with most other liberals on the language issue.

There are Cuban exiles who've lived in the US for over 40 years who haven't learned English, haven't learned "American ways," and aren't interested in doing so. They regard the US as a temporary holding area, they think that once Castro is gone, they'll be able to go back to Cuba in triumph and get back everything they had before they left. They did become citizens - but only so they could vote for anyone who promised to oppose Castro, regardless of how otherwise corrrupt or brutish or inept those politicians are. (Even candidates for city manager and mayor have to produce anti-Castro bonafides.)

My years in Miami gave me a bad taste for the whole refusing-to-learn-English thing. It also gave me a very bad taste for exiles who insist on using American politics and policies to continue the wars and grudges they waged in their native lands.

I have no quarrel otherwise with long-time resident aliens who just don't want to give up their native citizenship. There are a lot of American ex-pats around the world who keep their American citizenship, after all.

I'm amazed at the ignorance displayed about the realities of the impoverished American citizen. Millions of them, black, brown and white who the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the corporate elite, along with the politicians they have in their pockets (in both republican and democratic parties) want to exploit illegal aliens as a force to pit against them.

Perhaps NPR ought to consider spending some of the considerable time they waste elsewhere on exposing the affluent leftist elite here, to the facts of how oppressive and cruel long term unemployment and underemployment actually are. How can any of you be blind to the fact that the kind of poverty hurricane Katrina exposed, exists in all of your collective backyards?

Do you truly believe the lies put out there by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Bush admin about "jobs Americans won't do"?

Why not actually get out there IRL, to poorer communities? The MSM refuses to cover those realities.. yet hunger and privation in the U.S. are real, entire communities exist were people face homelessness and suffering on a daily basis. Their children are harmed by this, and they are every bit entitled to having human rights, the far left and the corporate elite want you to forget about that, and have them pay the sacrifice for importing the poverty of untold tens of millions illegal aliens.

The churches like the idea because this will help them eventually empower the church's ability to impose their dogma on the wider American people. Do you ever stop to consider long term implications of what your blogfathers attempt to spoonfeed you?

Jenn: So you're speaking for the "native poor"?

Immigration reform is a conspiracy between the Chamber of Commerce, "the affluent leftist elite here" (with Katherine as representative?), and "the churches" (I'm guessing you mean the Roman Catholic church, though immigrants from Mexico and Central America are also increasingly members of evangelical Protestant churches).

It's quite a coalition.

FYI, the link i posted above has now been redirected to a Flickr page. such a brave brave man, that Trevino. such an honorable man - all of them at RedState, all honorable men.

farmgirl and Emily, thanks for the responses. Probably a lot more civil than I deserve for what was after all an off-topic and rude observation.

I can't help but chuckle over the irony of the Reagan-worshipping Trevino chiding Jerome Armstrong for using astrology as a political decision-making tool. And Moe Lane only looks all reasonable and let's-get-along to someone whose baseline level of rage and antagonism is, hell, I don't know, Yosemite Sam?

I've mentioned this book before, but for me (and me thinking about my daughters) it was very enlightening. The book is called Edgewalkers, and I became aware of it thru Utne Reader (unfortunately, I've let my sub lapse) My only thing is that it uses an interview format, making the whole edgewalking process (an edgewalker is someone who can move between two cultures, and equally at home at both of them) sound a little breathless, when it really shouldn't be.

Brett: In fact, it's both current law, and wildly popular.

For any reasonable definition of "speak English", no, it's not the current law AFAIK. It's the current law for permanent residency (more or less) but not for mere immigration.

Does the most basic sense of the term, "un-American", have nothing to do with what real life Americans believe, as opposed to what you'd want them to?

Yes, because I'm not a real life American. Well done. Does citizenship apply only when you want it to?

Anyway, it was/is "wildly popular" to detain people without benefit of charge or trial from arbitrary locations on suspicion of terrorist connections. And you're goddamn right that's un-American and I have no qualms saying it, ostensible popularity be damned.

hilzoy: "Hard left"? I'd hate to see his reaction to, oh, Chomsky.

Pretty much indistinguishable, I'd guess.

I won't single anyone out here, but from time to time Republican supporters voice allegiance to libertarian ideals and I can't see how demanding that people speak a particular language qualifies in any possible universe as libertarian. If I want to speak KiSwahilli, or Urdu, or Cornish, if I am not breaking a law, and willing to accept the consequences, it shouldn't be anyone's damn business to tell me that I shouldn't, least of all the government.

One could make the argument that making ballots and forms available in other languages is what one objects to rather than the speaking of language, but I certainly don't get that distinction in these debates. And I certainly think that those who complain about such points would be fuming in the license bureau if they have to wait behind a Vietnamese person whose English is not completely fluent while the clerk verifies the information. Or be willing to accept the mistaken data entry and the cost involved in sorting that out.

"I can't see how demanding that people speak a particular language qualifies in any possible universe as libertarian."

But nobody is demanding that anybody speak a particular language. Just that, if they want to come HERE, they be ABLE to speak the local language. Once they get here, they can stick to Loglan, for all I care.

Having groups that can't speak to each other is absolute poison for a democracy. We'd be crazy to voluntarilly drain that cup.

And, since we can't possibly absorb everybody who wants to come here, we're going to have to reject people on some basis. It might as well be a rational basis, rather than a random lottery.

FYI, the link i posted above has now been redirected to a Flickr page. such a brave brave man, that Trevino. such an honorable man - all of them at RedState, all honorable men.

Wow, just wow. Remember Josh, there's no such thing as bad publicity: You want that traffic from ObWi.

This is a semi-serious question: Other than Ben "PJ O'Rourke" Domenech, has there ever been a blogger to fall so far as Josh Trevino? 3 or 4 years ago, he would have gone in the first round of the draft....now minor league teams are trading him for future considerations.

'I won't single anyone out here'

For the usual values of here. However, you seem to feel my point relates to your position, as you say:

Just that, if they want to come HERE, they be ABLE to speak the local language. Once they get here, they can stick to Loglan, for all I care.

So they have to prove to you they can speak English. Again, a rather peculiar brand of libertarianism.

And as for different languages being poison, there is a question of cause and effect. Different languages become poison when demagogues are permitted to stir up resentments. This is just fear of the other talking, and there is no reason why a 21st United States need act like a 19th century Indian boarding school where Native Americans were punished for speaking their native language.

And, since we can't possibly absorb everybody who wants to come here, we're going to have to reject people on some basis. It might as well be a rational basis, rather than a random lottery.

Uh, I don't think "can they speak English?" is a particularly rational basis, since it would favor, say, Canadians over Iraq war refugees, other things being equal.

I think all you darn immigrants of Euro descent should go back where you came from or, at the very least, learn the Native American languages and customs! ;)

Quit buying into the fear that "outsiders" are coming to take what "rightfully" belongs to you.

Open your minds just the tiniest little bit and let some light in. Look around and smell the lillies of the GD field as Everett says in Oh Brother Where Art Thou.

Why can't we all learn to appreciate other peoples and cultures?

We all have something to offer each other and learn from each other.

" I don't think "can they speak English?" is a particularly rational basis, since it would favor, say, Canadians over Iraq war refugees, other things being equal."


Speaking of which, this week's NYT Sunday Magazine has a superb article on Iraqi refugees by Nir Rosen. At the very end there's a short section on the refusal of the Bush Administration to accept more than a tiny number of refugees. They don't acknowledge any moral obligation to do so, with the possible exception of translators and others who worked directly with US forces. (Even that was more than I would have expected from them).

That said, I think we have a moral obligation to accept Iraqis by the million if they want to come here, but I admit I'd be worried by possible terrorists among them. Some of the people interviewed by Rosen carry grudges against us. (Fancy that.) But that's our responsibility--don't start wars if you aren't willing to accept all the refugees who want to come here. It's also interesting to read of the tensions between the nationalist Sunni resistance and Al Qaeda. Charles talked about that in his recent post--I've seen talk about it for years now on the left, I think, but we're seeing more discussion of it now because the US hopes the split will work to our advantage. But some of these guys seem to be thinking more of a two front war--against the US, and against Al Qaeda,. Some also, of course, against the Shiites as the perceived tool of Iran.

Just that, if they want to come HERE, they be ABLE to speak the local language.

frankly, i don't give a flying fnck that the guy who made my pizza tonight can't (or won't) speak a stick of English in front of me. i'm just happy that he knows how to make a good pizza and lets his kids handle the register while he takes care of making pies. i give him my money, he gives me my pizza. we're both happier for it. he's found a way to turn his talents into a living for himself - isn't that what America's about, more than frakkin English ?

so, to hell with the people who think that guy should spend his time learning English or doing anything other than what he does best.

Having groups that can't speak to each other is absolute poison for a democracy.

So much for Switzerland.

(And India, and the Philippines, and . . . but you get the idea.)

(Well, BB probably doesn't, but the rest of you do.)

For the record:

--I'm pretty much in the same place as the SEIU on immigration.

--This sentence is not actually accurate--not in the present tense, anyway:
"Anyway, it was/is "wildly popular" to detain people without benefit of charge or trial from arbitrary locations on suspicion of terrorist connections."

I don't want to pile on Brett, and my apologies if I didn't distance my first comment enough to avoid it. I think the fear of having everyone but you communicating in a language not known to you is a real one. Even in a situation where one is an honored guest, it is unnerving, and when one is simply a fifth wheel, you really wonder if you are the butt of the joke. Also, having been in some situations where I actually knew what they were saying but they didn't know I knew, there is a very good chance that they are talking about you. And there is certainly a loss of social status if the language you speak is but one of many rather than the top dog. But to make this fear the basis of public policy is really a bad idea.

Furthermore, there is no appropriate way to have the kind of testing for the levels of fluency that many seem to demand. Throw them out if their accent is too thick? Hit the road, Arnie and don't let the door hit Henry K's butt. Can't read? Can you spell dyslexia? Don't know 'basic vocabulary'? If you can define the basic vocabulary, then it is just a memory task, not a communicative one. And given that 5 of the last 7 winners of the National Spelling bee were children of Indian immigrants, even though I nothing against Indian immigrants, suggests that this might not be the best criteria.

Also, countless studies show that while 1st generation immigrants may retain their language, it is often the first thing to go with their children is the heritage language, such that the subsequent generations spends huge amounts of time and effort trying to regain what was so blithely discarded.

Furthermore, the demand that immigrants know English occurs at a point in time when it is acknowledged by experts that the US has an immense foreign language crisis that impinges on our government's ability to conduct foreign policy.

Foreign language problems within the US government are rooted in deficiencies in the education system itself. Less than half the high school students in the country take a foreign language for more than a semester and a half during their secondary education years. Proficiency in even the most widely studied languages, such as Spanish and French, is in Dr. Brecht's words, "trivial and quite irrelevant." Simply put, the United States needs more people speaking a broader spectrum of languages at higher levels of proficiencylink

Unfortunately, discussions of language often are based on a wide range of unfounded assumptions. Geoff Pullum had an excellent take down of the English only movement, which is unfortunately not online, but in this article about the Ebonics controversy in Oakland, he touches on many of the same points.

So, from way up thread:
400$ per head * 8 million people? Balanced budget here we come!
Increasing the fee now has a bad smell to it. Looks more like active discouragement tactics.

Yes and no. USCIS is funded mostly by fees. In 2002, after 9/11, they managed to get a five-year windfall from Congress to improving processing. That wasn't renewed; it expires, I think, at the end of FY2007.

So there's a MASSIVE proposed increase (more than the previous 20 years combined) in fees that would take effect starting October 1, and most of these are hitting the family-based visa class, original adjustment of status (green card) and naturalization. I don't have the numbers handy, but I think it's jumping from $400 to about $900.

So the reason for the change in fees seems to be that the five-year 9/11 funding is going away, but it *is* going to work practically as a huge barrier to keep people from filing for greencards or naturalization.

Speaking the local lingo is kind of an item here too. Not speaking the lingo means that you'll have problems understanding the school of your kids, understanding government info, etc. But it also means that we have no idea what the local mosque preaches (to name one of the current painpoints). Integration is a hot issue in Europe anyway. More and more people seem to think integration is another word for assimilation, which I disapprove of. I don't like the obligation to speak Dutch, but I do believe if you live here for longer and raise your kids here, it is a terrible hindrance not to. And I think that it is weird that people who cannot understand Dutch can vote in the local elections.

Speaking the local lingo is kind of an item here too. Not speaking the lingo means that you'll have problems understanding the school of your kids, understanding government info, etc. But it also means that we have no idea what the local mosque preaches (to name one of the current painpoints). Integration is a hot issue in Europe anyway. More and more people seem to think integration is another word for assimilation, which I disapprove of. I don't like the obligation to speak Dutch, but I do believe if you live here for longer and raise your kids here, it is a terrible hindrance not to. And I think that it is weird that people who cannot understand Dutch can vote in the local elections.

On the subject of legal immigrants being opposed to illegals:

A San Francisco illegal immigration opponent has sued the city's police chief and police commissioners for failing to comply with a state law that requires officers to tell federal authorities about all suspected noncitizens who are arrested on drug charges.

Katherine and john miller:

I am still sticking with my broad definition of amnesty. Any bill that provides an opportunity for someone currently defined as illegal to become legal, and that provides a path to citizenship for someone now illegal – I’m calling that an amnesty. I really can’t come to terms with “earned citizenship” or any other terminology that is just clouding the real issue. I remain opposed to any bill that could simply make illegal immigration more appealing in the future. I want control of our borders (and a pony).

On The Other Hand….

Hmm. Thinking about this, I decided that I lack a personal perspective. That is, if I currently knew an illegal I may well think differently.

If my next door neighbor was a nice guy, and his wife was great, and their kids were cute, and we did BBQs and got together and had a good time… If I knew he was an upstanding law abiding man who paid his dues and was involved in his community… If I knew he and his wife had been here for ten years and their kids were born here and they considered this their home…

Then one day he told me they were in trouble because they were “undocumented”.

Quandary. I am the type of person who values personal relationships above many other abstractions. If I shake a man’s hand and look him in the eye I decide in 5 seconds whether I trust him. If we share good food, and drink, and good times, over time he may become my friend. My friends have claim to call upon me for many things.

If I put myself into that position, I am on your side. If I acknowledge that, then I have to make some room for people who are in my hypothetical situation. Then it all gets nuts.

Bottom line I think I will likely soften my position a little but I can’t say tonight what that means. It will come up again ;)

OCSteve, there was an instance not long ago of a young man who was an illegal immigrant (his parents, also illegal immigrants, had brought him to the US when he was a young child: he had younger siblings who were US citizens) who had joined the army and been posted to Iraq before the military realized that he was an illegal immigrant, brought him back from Iraq, and - as I recall - deported him. What's your stance on that?

As far as I've ever been able to figure out, the most effective way of preventing illegal immigration is to make legal immigration easier.

Jes: What's your stance on that?

Volunteered? Full citizenship for him and his immediate family. Didn’t even need to think about that. Fight for this country? No brainer.

Tnen going further along those lines, what other things --if any -- should qualify someone for full citizenship? Surely there are other things one can do for one's country* that are equally as important as picking up a gun for it.

*Despite my prior stated belief that countries exist to serve people and not the other way around.

"So much for Switzerland.

(And India, and the Philippines, and . . . but you get the idea.)"

Sorry, buddy, but I watch Philippine TV on a daily basis, and they're in the middle of an election / low level civil war. If you really think the Philippines are an advertisment for the virtues of mutual incomprehensiblity, you're cracked.

Yeah, it's possible to have a peaceful polity with multiple languages, especially if you've got robust federalism and language distribution such that the different language groups are largely self-ruled. But it's not the sort of thing any sane country volunteers for.

Sure, a country might volunteer to aim to be a completely homogenous group of people, fearful of outsiders and using that fear to enforce a rigid social caste system. However, if you do that, you might find that some of those others just force their way in.

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