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January 31, 2011

Comments

one of the first things that gets stolen when someone is homeless is personal ID, and it takes money to replace it

Um, forgive my ignorance, but is this something that realistically can be replaced in most cases? I mean, say I become homeless and lose my identity documents. Is there any process by which I can convince the state that I am who I say I am? Or is the idea that there is a process, but it costs $20K and requires lawyers and courts, so it is out of reach for basically all homeless people?

It takes a special kind of chauvinism to imagine that there are no legal US immigrants who don't speak English, and may never do so fluently.

These folks are going to be very unhappy when they have to pay $5.00 for a head of lettuce.

Just saying.

Business is conducted at the county level in more than 70 languages; people who worked in the county office building and were fluent in more than one language might be called to help with translation in court or in another office in the building, if necessary.

When I read that, I think about how much cooler and more interesting working there must be than it would be if everyone were speaking English. Why would people want to destroy or prevent something like that? It's like wanting to eat nothing but hamburgers for the rest of your life. I don't get it.

That aside, of the problems people have with immigrants, illegal or otherwise, most appear to be imaginary. (Again, "most" - I do understand that there are a few places, such as certain Texas border towns, where a particularly bad combination of interrelated drug trafficking and illegal immigration causes real problems. But I think these places are exceptional.)

Turbulence, there are some problems with obtaining replacements for birth certificates and other identification if a person is no longer in the area where it was issued, which is the case with many homeless people, who originally moved somewhere seeking work and then lost their ID through theft, mugging or other situation.

Some (but not all) localities may allow you to order a replacement online from the municipal clerk's office -- which in theory could be done at a public computer terminal in a library -- but clerk's offices generally require a charge card or other method of online payment, as well as an address to which it should be sent. Homeless people, who have no money, tend not to have charge cards, either.

People who have been homeless or have moved several times in the course of their lives may not remember the name of the municipality where their birth was registered. And some kinds of identification, such as a passport, require other ID (birth certificate) before it can be issued.

Even if the person needing the ID is still living in the same county or city where it was issued, it costs money. Even $12 or $15, which is what it used to cost to get a copy in the area where I grew up, is not easy to put aside if a person is begging for money for food or living in a public shelter, eating at a soup kitchen a couple of times a week and surviving on scavenged food from behind restaurants.

I'm basing these assumptions on my experiences with and conversations with homeless people in the DC area over the last 20 years or so. The situation may differ for people who are homeless in more rural areas; it is certainly no better for those who are mentally ill or debilitated, which is far from uncommon.

You should see what the wizards in the Arizona State Legislature are up to now. Led by our famed education vivisectionist, Senator Frank Antenori (R-Oro Valley), the latest legislative brainstorm involves legalizing ">http://azstarnet.com/news/local/article_b0a20ad5-4483-55c2-8e3e-ef0afa716f55.html"> night hunting. I kid you not. Guns, live ammo and darkness? What could possibly go wrong?

(As if Arizona needs another black eye.)

latest legislative brainstorm involves legalizing night hunting.

Is that anything like night putting?

@ hairshirthedonist:

While "imaginary" may be a bit too strong a word, you are probably correct that the "problems" the average American is likely to run into vis-a-vis illegal immigrants are almost certainly nowhere near the level of the dire hysteria of the latter-day nativist crowd. But then - since when have "problems" rightwing Republicans like to go on about ever needed any grounding in reality to become political issues?

Like "Vote Fraud" - state legislatures around the country (just coincidentally, no doubt, those recently fallen under GOP control) are taking up measures to make it harder for their citizen to register and/or vote. All in the name of combatting "voter fraud" - a phantom menace if ever there was one (what, a dozen cases or so, nationwide, last election, out of 120+-million votes cast?) - but still a handy deflection to mask their real aim: disenfranchising as many non-Republicans as possible. Anyway, it's a well-known fact that reality has a liberal bias, so there.....

I look forward to the spirited defenses of night hunting. Dick Cheney wearing night-vision equipment in a cage with vaguely human shapes moving through the shrubbery.

God, I hope they all use big effing clips, so there is effing doubt about the evening's bag.

Given Antenori's vermin murderous predilictions, I would advise a sundown curfew for teachers, organ transplant candidates, the children of immigrants and politicians who voted for the healthcare bill.

Wait! I just came up with yet another imaginary threat which Republican-controlled legislature feel that they just HAVE to address without delay: the "imposition" of Sharia law" !!

Turbulence, Fiddler makes valid points regarding the acquisition of replacement ID. On top of the difficulty of getting your birth certificate in order to apply for a picture ID in a new state, any form of social services require a picture ID, preferably a picture ID from the state in which the services are being requested.

Although I have heard of some states in which a picture ID is issued immediately upon submission of the appropriate documentation and fees, most do not. So, on top of need certified documentation and money, one must have a stable address to which the identification may be sent.

I renewed my California driver's license in October (it expire mid-November). Due to the new, more secure model in use (detailed by Gary elsewhere), it took until the week before Christmas before I receive my renewed license. For over a month, I had only the paper receipt issued when I paid my fees.

For those who are homeless and/or suffering from physical,mental, or emotional challenges, this process can become an insuperable barrier to 1) getting valid picture ID; 2) obtaining any kind of social services; and 3) maintaining any sense of personal identity.


The anti-immigrant furor of the conservative right would seem to make it increasingly difficult for immigrants, legal and not, to see the U. S. as a haven.

You know, I remember Molly Ivins used to talk about this. And she had what struck me as a pretty strange policy. Her policy was forget the immigrants - hit the people who hire them. Put people in jail for hiring illegal immigrants. And yes, that includes the couple that hires a housekeeper or nanny who is in the country illegally.

Part of the reason she said this was that you can't build a fence people won't find a way over. But it also seemed a bit cold. It puzzled me. It didn't *sound* like Molly Ivins.

But then I realized something.

Who do we go after right now? Just the immigrants. Just the people who want to work.

And what does that do?

It puts all of the power in the hands of those who hire illegal immigrants, and it removes all of the power from those who are looking for work.

Make it so businesses are scared to hire folks who might be here illegally, and you will by-god get a good guest-worker program in place quickly. Because the businesses will demand it.

Now, the employers get the benefits of near-slave labor (people who have to clam up and not report abuses) and there's this wonderful political issue about "getting tough on immigration". Turn it around, make it so businesses are the ones who are targeted, and we cut off the source of illegal immigration (the jobs that they're seeking), or, we get a good guest worker program. In either case, we actually work on the problem, rather than just pounding on a bunch of poor people who just want a chance to work and make some money.

In either case, we actually work on the problem, rather than just pounding on a bunch of poor people who just want a chance to work and make some money.

I agree, LongHaired Weirdo.

I despair when I think of the energy wasted on these trumped up issues, when the items in Russell's " The things not said" don't even get a mention. What a waste!

'These folks are going to be very unhappy when they have to pay $5.00 for a head of lettuce.'

Russell:

I get this. OTOH, what do you think of the fact that wheat prices in Egypt are causing shortages of bread for the common people there and among the causes are U.S. subsidies to corn producers here displacing wheat production for export? That same corn subsidy arrangement has already demonstrated its ability to cause price disruption and shortages in Mexico where corn is a staple food and Mexico must import from the U.S. And after all is said and done, is corn ethanol a useful substitute for traditional gasoline sources not to mention it's negative effects on our presidential primary process.?

Have these people not studied what happened in Germany - the 'dual culture' that has developed because the guest workers were supposed to leave and could never become citizens?
Now they have 3rd generation immigrant kids who barely speak German, have no job skills, and are a drain on the economy.
Is this what we really want? cuz our 'guest workers' aren't leaving.

OTOH, what do you think of the fact that wheat prices in Egypt are causing shortages of bread for the common people there and among the causes are U.S. subsidies to corn producers here displacing wheat production for export?

FWIW:

In general, I think US policies regarding the production of corn, specifically, are moronic from the perspective of the broader public good.

We pay people a lot of money to grow corn to be used as a very inefficient source stock for ethanol, and to be made into cheap, ersatz sugar.

It's stupid. We should stop it. IMO we'll stop it when we can pry some Congresspeople out of the cold, dead fingers of ADM and folks like them.

OT, but since you asked, there are my two cents.

I can see restricting the right to citizenship for tourists and other transient visitors who have a citizenship they can pass onto their children.

I'm sure that'll take care of at least 3 or 4 cases a year. But hey, go for it.

Removing the citizenship of the children illegal immigrants in a system that effectively tolerates or even encourages them to remain permanently in the US compounds the original mistake of not granting legal status to the parents. Far from encouraging law-abiding behavior, it institutes a multi-generational tradition of disregarding the law without actually doing anything to stop or slow illegal immigration in the first place.

Birthright citizenship for children born in this country to permanent residents is a humane and sensible approach that tries to do the best for the long-term and tries to avoid harming people for choices they did not make. It's pure spite to try to do away with it.

I believe large-scale, low-skilled immigration has a substantial negative effect on certain groups in the US, most especially African-American men and to a lesser extent women. The fact that the workers are "illegal" and therefore denied the protections of labor law makes the harm substantially worse than it would be otherwise, by making it much harder for workers to form unions or resist dangerous working conditions.

However, it is welcomed by employers - both large employers of low-skilled labor like agribusiness and private employers of domestic servants in the upper-middle and upper classes - as it provides a ready supply of labor that can be mistreated. Large employers like the resistance to union formation and the power that comes from veiled threats to report workers to the INS. Private employers like the ability to evade payroll taxes and therefore obtain service labor at a substantial discount.

The latter groups are enormously political powerful and the former groups are completely powerless, and nobody on the left wants to give the racists any fuel, so we don't talk very much about the dire effects of low-skilled immigration on wages and employment for low-skilled native-born Americans. But we probably should now and then.

"It's pure spite to do away with it."

But we shoot fish, and we love our families unless they need shooting instead, and we carry in church in case God needs a bullet through the head.

I think we should use the Bible for more of our guidance:

And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.
Exodus 22:17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.

Exodus 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

Exodus 22:19 Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death.

Exodus 22:20 He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed.

Exodus 22:21 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Exodus 22:22 Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.

Exodus 22:23 If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry;

Exodus 22:24 And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.

Exodus 22:25 If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.

Exodus 22:26 If thou at all take thy neighbour's raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down:

Exodus 22:27 For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious.

Exodus 22:28 Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.

Exodus 22:29 Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me.


bold mine

And my summary of this subject:

One side: In this case we aren't so much a country of laws, there are a bunch of "good" reasons its ok to break these laws.

The other side: We should enforce the laws and not reward the lawbreakers by giving there progeny a free pass past the immigration laws their parents have flagrantly broken.

First side: But the children are "victims" of their parents decisions and have lived here all their lives.

Other side: Not exactly "victims" unless they have to go back to Mexico then, how much worse is that than if they had been born there originally, like if there parents weren't criminals.

First side: But they do good work cheap and they are people just like us. So lettuce is cheaper.

Other side: Huh? What does that have to do with being a nation of laws or children being victims? Besides what is the unemployment rate in California?

First side: White Americans wouldn't do those jobs anyway.

Me: They would if it paid 28 bucks an hour because there wasn't anyone else to do them. It is called middle class work and lettuce would cost more. But the more people would be able to by some.

Or maybe the slave migrant labor plantation owners wouldn't be as wealthy.

Or maybe we shouldn't reward in politicians who make bogus, posturing legislative efforts that contradict the Constitution for shortterm pollitical gains for themselves with no real concern for the longterm consequences to anybody.

Marty, I'm going to assume you're being ironic and do not actually expect me to provide a theological exegesis on this section of the Torah, which lists some of the ways that ancient Israelites understood their obligations to their God. I chose the verse I quoted because it summarizes the kind of treatment of strangers that is far more common these days in older societies and cultures than in ours.

Considering that everyone in this country either arrived here as an immigrant or is a descendant of immigrants -- except for those whose ancestors were here before the ships arrived in 1492 or 1100 or 900 or whenever, depending on which group you believe got here first -- being kind to strangers should be one of the foundations of society. Most of the time it is not, to this country's shame. Instead, we have a history of one group oppressing another, generation after generation; I need not list the nationalities of immigrants that have endured persecution for multiple generations, until their descendants rose through the ranks of society and gained positions in government, only for some of them to continue the process with the next group of immigrants. It's time to end that sequence of fear, illogic and ignorance.

"I chose the verse I quoted because it summarizes the kind of treatment of strangers that is far more common these days in older societies and cultures than in ours."

I would love to understand how and where you believe mass illegal immigration is treated better, or just strangers visiting for that matter. Different things BTW.

But I was being ironic in the sense that I assume the King James version of Exodus 22 would not be something you might support verse for verse.

I also differentiate between understanding wanting to treat legal immigrants better than we have in the past and the discussion of illegal immigrants.

"being kind to strangers should be one of the foundations of society. Most of the time it is not, to this country's shame."

BTW, I think this is wrong. Most of the time, everyone I know is incredibly,kind, nice and helpful to strangers and visitors. Immigration policy and cultural conflict are different, and much more once removed.

"Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people."

Wow, Marty, that would just totally destroy talk radio as we know it today! Have you become a liberal while we weren't looking???

"Have you become a liberal while we weren't looking???"

Wow, I always thought i was a liberal. You didn't?

They would if it paid 28 bucks an hour because there wasn't anyone else to do them. It is called middle class work and lettuce would cost more. But the more people would be able to by some.

Correct. And, thank you.

If I understand our current policy correctly, the US allocates 675,000 visas for legal permanent immigration per year. 480,000 of those are allocated to family members of folks who are already here as citizens or legal residents.

675,000 people is about 0.2 percent of our current population. Not 2 percent, zero-point-two percent. One immigrant for every five hundred people already here.

The legal immigrants from any single nation can make up no more than 7% of the overall legal immigrant population in a given year. 7% of 675,000 is 47,250. That is the maximum number of people who can come to the US from any single country, in any single year.

Something like 1.5 or 1.8 million people come here illegally every year. About 55 or 60% of them are Mexican, about another 20% are other Central and South Americans.

Here is a modest proposal for dealing with illegal immigration to the US. Change the freaking law so that another million and a half Mexicans and other Central and South Americans can immigrate legally to the US.

They want to come here, and they work their @sses off when they do come here, in the crappiest jobs we have to offer, under the worst conditions we allow (or even don't allow). Some come and work for a while and then go home, but quite a lot would prefer to stay here, raise their families here, get a toehold in our society, and be Americans.

WTF is the problem? Let them come.

I agree that we need to have laws and regulations governing who can and cannot come to this country as a permanent resident. IMO it would help if the law reflected, in some realistic way, the facts on the ground.

Russell,

I ran a company that was considered an "H1-B dependent" company. No one would like to see the reality of our immigration policy changed more than me. I have filed and paid for sponsorship papers for hundreds of people from countries all over the world, including Mexico.

But, lets make sure w eare not expanding our immigration policy to ensure we have laborerers at slave wages that have to live 10 to a room and, while they don't replace American workers, they do force wages down to working poor levels for almost all kinds of manual labor.

While we rail against the increase in poor and working poor in this country let's keep in mind those numbers have been propped up by keeping those jobs at less than subsistence level wages by having people willing to work for that just to have a job.

This cycle is as much a driver of the continuing flat bottom of the income curve as any driver at the top.

But, lets make sure w eare not expanding our immigration policy to ensure we have laborerers at slave wages that have to live 10 to a room and, while they don't replace American workers, they do force wages down to working poor levels for almost all kinds of manual labor.

I agree with this.

To me, one of the benefits of expanding the immigration quotas would be that folks who come here to live and work would have the protections that all other citizens have. They would not be prone to exploitation the way that illegal immigrants are.

Some things might cost more, but as you point out upthread, more folks would be in a position to pay the higher price.

And, we might just find ways to keep costs of production down other than paying illegal immigrants and guest workers crap wages. We're a creative and innovative people, we can find better ways to grow lettuce and clean office buildings, if that's what needs doing.

But, lets make sure w eare not expanding our immigration policy to ensure we have laborerers at slave wages that have to live 10 to a room and, while they don't replace American workers, they do force wages down to working poor levels for almost all kinds of manual labor.

Absolutely. In fact, in expanding our immigration policy, we should have as one of our goals preventing (or at least reducing) all of that. The main reason slave wages occur in the first place is that people are afraid to complain for fear of deportation.

I should really refresh the page before commenting after reading a bunch of comments.

WRT Virginia - Massive Resistance to integration included abolition of locally chosen school boards for something like 30 years in order to prevent Arlington and Alexandria from promptly complying with Brown v. Board. So the willingness of some moron in the non-revenue producing portion of the state to impose their retrograde values on the DC-area "libruls" is well established.

while the ObiWiTariat tries to evade offspring

ObiWitariat is posters, commenters, lurkers, or all or some combination of the above?

Are we evading our own respective biological/adopted offspring, each others', or some more abstract version of "offspring" that might hold (e.g. intellectual, or in some blog-related sense)?

/OT

Marty,

Not exactly "victims" unless they have to go back to Mexico then, how much worse is that than if they had been born there originally, like if there parents weren't criminals.

Actually it's a lot worse. I'm an immigrant (wholly legal, naturalized citizen, etc.), who came here at the age of three. If, when I was 18 or 20 you had shipped me back to where I was born I would have been much worse off than if I had simply grown up there.

Think about. Very limited language skills. No friends. No understanding of how things work with regard to all sorts of day-to-day matters that would have made it hard to find and keep a job. And of course no access to higher education until my language improved a lot.

And I'm talking about Germany, a western European country where I bet I could get more help than if it were Mexico.

Bernard, there really is no excuse for deporting people who were brought here by their parents while they were children. It may have been illegal, but it's not like children have a choice. If their parents say "Come," they necessarily go. (Plus, children are not legally competant. That's why they can't sign contracts, and are dealt with separately from adults if they commit crimes.)

But the xenophobes are too busy being hysterical to actually think logically about the situation. And the racists (a separate, if somewhat overlapping, group) don't care aboiut anything beyond their little bigotries.

wj,

Bernard, there really is no excuse for deporting people who were brought here by their parents while they were children.

Of course there's no excuse. On what conceivable moral grounds do we justify taking such people, labelling them criminals, and upending their lives?

It is pure xenophobia.

WTF is the problem? Let them come.

I agree that we need to have laws and regulations governing who can and cannot come to this country as a permanent resident. IMO it would help if the law reflected, in some realistic way, the facts on the ground.

How do you reconcile these two notions? And, we do have laws. They don't reflect the situation on the ground because they are, by and large, not enforced.

Texas has a lot of illegals, mostly from Mexico, but quite a few from Central America. There are pluses and minuses and it's a very complicated situation. I favor employer sanctions and enforcement of our laws, generally. I suspect that if immigration laws were enforced with reasonable vigor, many menial tasks either wouldn't get done or would get done are a higher cost. Whether that's good or bad is beyond me. That said, I can hardly blame anyone for wanting to leave Mexico. The poverty there is unbelievable (moving here, and living 10 to a room and working for or below minimum wage is a big step up from living in a cardboard shack with no plumbing and getting food for the family a struggle that has no US counterpart).

Not exactly "victims" unless they have to go back to Mexico then, how much worse is that than if they had been born there originally, like if there parents weren't criminals.

I'm curious to know whether Marty presents this as one point of view that he doesn't necessarily hold, or if it is his. It's hard to tell from his comment, given the format in which he presented it.

In any case, it's an almost unimaginably unrealistic and distorted view of the situation. Anyone who has lived his or her life since early childhood in the US, regardless of his or her parents' national origin or whatever culture he or she was exposed to at home, is American in every way, aside from legally (shame that it is). It would be as bad for such a child of illegal immigrants to be deported to what is for that child a foreign country as it would be for the child of legal immigrants, and nearly as bad as it would be for any American whose family had been here for generations. It's ridiculous to think otherwise. My hope is that Marty does not think otherwise, as I suspect he doesn't.

How do you reconcile these two notions?

Change the law.

The US can support a more-than-zero-point-two-percent rate of legal immigration. And the policy we have now is not being enforced because it is literally unenforceable.

I don't see what benefit we get from the status quo. How is it to our advantage to make it illegal for people who want to do so to come here in good faith to work, contribute, and make a life for themselves?

If we were talking about ten, or fifteen million people a year - some number that would simply overwhelm our ability to accommodate the new arrivals - I could see an objection.

That's not what we're talking about.

The policy as it stands now seems foolish, to me. It's not enforceable at a practical level, it creates a black market in illegal labor, and the thing it's trying to prevent is actually not something I personally see much or any value in preventing.

The thing to do with foolish, counter-productive policies is change them.

And the fact that it's not enforceable, broadly and uniformly, means it gets enforced in largely arbitrary and capricious ways, leading to absurd miscarriages of justice.

I don't see what benefit we get from the status quo. How is it to our advantage to make it illegal for people who want to do so to come here in good faith to work, contribute, and make a life for themselves?

Of course it depends on what kind of future we see for our country. I don't see why millions of new menial laborers coming into the US every year is the future of our economic development.

You start off with a call for humane policies towards illegal immigrants, especially people who've been hear over the long term since childhood. But then you go off into a tangent about how we should be admitting lots and lots of menial laborers from mexico to settle here permanently. I don't really think that's a good idea.

I don't see what benefit we get from the status quo. How is it to our advantage to make it illegal for people who want to do so to come here in good faith to work, contribute, and make a life for themselves?

The status quo gets us nothing. As for numbers, we had one amnesty and some 14mm more have arrived since. That is not a small number. Further, as a practical matter, while the vast majority are hard working, solid people, their education level and perhaps other factors put most in a permanent underclass of physical, unskilled or semi-skilled labor. As the market for workers at those skill levels retracts, which it does, the default is some form of welfare.

But then you go off into a tangent about how we should be admitting lots and lots of menial laborers from mexico to settle here permanently.

They're already here.

As for numbers, we had one amnesty and some 14mm more have arrived since.

That might be somewhat high. My understanding is that there is something between 12 and 20 million illegals here, in total, today.

But yes, some millions of folks have come here illegally since Reagan's amnesty in 1986. Make it ten million. Over 25 years, that's 400K a year.

Not nothing, but also not a number that is going to threaten the integrity of the republic.

And most of those people work, now, today. That's why they came. The lack of work is why many are leaving, and in fact the number of illegals has gone down over the last few years.

It's not that the work isn't there. The only difference would be that they would have to be paid at least minimum wage for it, and would be covered by other job-related regulations like maximum work hours, overtime requirements, etc.

We would have to pay more for unskilled labor.

The alternatives are (a) the status quo, or (b) try to make the folks who are already here illegally leave, by one means or another.

Mass deportation of 12 to 20 million people is kind of a hairy prospect. Maybe tweaking our reading of the 14th Amendment so their kids can be deported, too, will induce them to go.

Wouldn't it just be easier to increase the quota?

Wouldn't it just be easier to increase the quota?

Easier maybe, but wiser? I am not so sure. I am kind of jammed at the moment, so this is a quick and incomplete summary of what I think should be done: Give each person here illegally a one year amnesty to register and then five years thereafter of work in the US. Thereafter, admit as many new folks as temporary legal residents as are required to return when their time period is up.

Unfortunately in order to have effective enforcement of labor laws we need a reliable document that can be used to prove labor eligibility at the work site. And when such a thing was proposed pretty much everyone (with the exception of Turbulence, can't remember any others) were strongly opposed.

That tendency is why I put immigration into the Big Bucket of Problems Nobody Cares About Enough to Solve, and therefore the only thing that matters is harm mitigation.

@russell: And the policy we have now is not being enforced because it is literally unenforceable.

I don't see what benefit we get from the status quo.

We get the same beenfit that we get from the unenforcable drug laws. And, to go back a little further, from the unenforcable Prohibition laws. It's simply this: it allows people who don't care about reality to feel self-righteous.

The fact that the laws are enforced only capriciously. if at all? Irrelevant.
The fact that all we are accomplishing is ramping up the profits of organized crime? Irrelevant.
All that matters is that self-righteous feeling from forbidding someone else from doing something.

I mean, have you ever, ever had someone say to you "I'm glad that xxx drug is illegal, because otherwise I would use it."? Have you ever heard someone say "I'm glad that immigration is limited, because my job could be done better by someone from somewhere else."? I sure haven't. But forbidding someone else from doing something just feels sooo good.

Unfortunately in order to have effective enforcement of labor laws we need a reliable document that can be used to prove labor eligibility at the work site.

Huh? A U.S. passport or green card/appropriate work visa doesn't count?

"I'm curious to know whether Marty presents this as one point of view that he doesn't necessarily hold, or if it is his. It's hard to tell from his comment, given the format in which he presented it."

This is a fair quesstion, and one that i have a very equivocal answer to.

It is not a distorted or even unimaginably unrealistic view based on the spectrum of people we might be talking about. A two year old child? An eighteen year old? A twenty five year old doctoral candidate?

This question is complex beyond the rhetoric usually associated with it, but the underlying principles are less comples to me.

At some point we have to stop encouraging loving and caring parents to risk their lives and imprisonment to achieve the brass ring of US citizenship for their children.

Stop it. Make the laws accept a reasonable number of immigrants, guest workers, whatever, but quit providing the holy grail of default citizenship for your children as a a good enough reason to BE an illegal immigrant.

Then let everyone here stay.

Then figure out how we solve the problem of having a third world country on our southern border, make them want to stay home. It should be our number one foreign policy priority.

(The best first step would be to legalize drugs. Then maybe they could focus on building an economy)

Going back several threads and tying to this:

The main reason slave wages occur in the first place is that people are afraid to complain for fear of deportation.

this isn't true. The main reason is they can come here, live better than they did at home and have money left to send home, on what we consider slave wages. Tragic but true, our poor would be the envy of many in Mexico.

.

At some point we have to stop encouraging loving and caring parents to risk their lives and imprisonment to achieve the brass ring of US citizenship for their children.

We have no evidence this is happening. They're coming to the US to work. If their kids weren't born here, they're not citizens, either. If they are born here, they have to leave along with their parents when they get caught. This is a non-concern. It IS a concern for what to do with people who've basically grown up in the USA: it seems like a waste of time to deport them or force them to live under the radar.

The main reason is they can come here, live better than they did at home and have money left to send home, on what we consider slave wages.

That's the main reason illegal immigration occurs despite what we're calling "slave wages." But I'm sure people would still be able to come here, live better than they did at home and have money left to send home if they were making minimum wage (since they could burn the extra money and be no worse off, or, you know, live even better or send more money home).

I mean, you don't really think people would prefer to work like dogs for "slave wages" rather than make minimum wage, do you?

Either way, the point is that, if currently illegal immigrants had a means by which to obtain labor protections, free from fear of deportation, there no reason to think they wouldn't, and plenty of reason to think they would.

If you don't like the "main reason" construct, let's go with "necessary condition." The point remains that we can address wage suppression while expanding our immigration policy.

hsh,

I seemed to have lost a longer comment that said, they would prefer the minimum wage but the reason they don't complain isn't necessarily their immigration status.

However, I do believe the nonvirtuous cycle of employer abuses and illegal immigrant silence continues to complicate the discussion. Catching the employers is much harder when the abused are complicit.

Yet, I don't agree that we can just open the border with no consequence. But, I admit, I have no idea how many, and for how long, or how poor, would cross in that case. I would like to know though.

I don't know who here has advocated completely open borders, Marty. But the counter-argument to that from your link is this:

Proponents of more open borders, said Krikorian, "think the existing flow of mostly Mexican and Central American immigrants is pretty much what you would see with open borders—it's just that they would be able to come legally instead of illegally. And that is a fallacy." The concern, he says, is "not with Mexican levels of poverty being imported, but Bangladeshi and Indonesian levels of poverty," which would add undue stress on the U.S. economy.

This seems like an odd proposition, that severely poor people from Bangladesh and Indonesia would show up in large numbers. How the fnck would they get here?

In any case, I think we're just talking about increasing quotas for immigrants from neighboring countries to something more realistic.

I think we're just talking about increasing quotas for immigrants from neighboring countries to something more realistic.

Correct. Thanks HSH.

hsh(and russell),

I understood that we were discussing increased quotas (I just thought the linked article was interesting).

But, that's why I was curious as to how many people would come with open borders. If we add *X* legal immigration is there still a demand that continues illegal immigration at its current level? Or does immigration demand cap somewhere that we can project?

I just don't know.

Ugh: A U.S. passport or green card/appropriate work visa doesn't count?

The problem is that those are not the only documents accepted (not surprising given the percentage of the US population that doesn't have a passport).

Also accepted are birth certificates or social security cards in combination with a photo ID, which is pretty trivial to forge. But when we last talked about this everyone got very upset at the idea of a biometric Social Security card that would be resistant enough to forgery to make the system not a complete joke.

Marty, I see you have lots of time to comment. How about taking your turn when asked to respond, please?

Thanks.

the ObiWiTariat tries to evade offspring, infectious diseases, and this week's meteorological armageddon
I seem to not be getting memos.

Turbulence:

Um, forgive my ignorance, but is this something that realistically can be replaced in most cases? I mean, say I become homeless and lose my identity documents. Is there any process by which I can convince the state that I am who I say I am? Or is the idea that there is a process, but it costs $20K and requires lawyers and courts, so it is out of reach for basically all homeless people?
Did I need to post this, too?

Hello? Anyone reading? Did I waste my time writing all that? Do I need to repost it? Didn't I already answer this?

Slightly frustrated where the weather is nice, and we've been waiting months to get guest posters approved.

Welcome, Fiddler! A nice post! Sorry I haven't had a chance to greet you; I've been busy. Very glad to see you.

I have to say, though, that I'm deeply confused as to how the posting rules are being followed, and the procedures; but that's not relevant to saying you've done a very fine guest post, and I look forward to more guest posts from you!

I'd be curious as to your perspective on what I wrote the other day, if you have a moment.

I also certainly don't expect you, nor need you, catch up -- that would be ludicrous, but in case you want to look back at previous posts here on the topic of illegal immigration, we've got them, so feel free to link and use continuity, but also feel free to totally do not; fresh outlooks bring healthy rejuvenation to topics always coming back to the forefront, and trends of the past year, and several years, have been horrible.

Should I elaborate on the implications of this in your thread, or would you prefer I not, and start another instead? I ask because I'm afraid I might err either way, and best to simply ask your preference. I'm at your service.

Most of the time, everyone I know is incredibly,kind, nice and helpful to strangers and visitors.
Familiar with selection bias? Follow-up: ever visit a prison?

DawnP:

Due to the new, more secure model in use (detailed by Gary elsewhere), it took until the week before Christmas before I receive my renewed license. For over a month, I had only the paper receipt issued when I paid my fees.
That would be detailed over here.

Marty:

Wow, I always thought i was a liberal. You didn't?
Is there an official test? Or is it simply a matter of tautology, or is Descartes?

wj at February 01, 2011 at 04:00 PM FTW!

Slart:

[...] while the ObiWiTariat tries to evade offspring
ObiWitariat is posters, commenters, lurkers, or all or some combination of the above?
This one had me quite baffled, as well. Unless I have children no one has told me about. Also, wondering about other relevant questions that need to be discussed by the ObiWiTariat, and where and when and how such discussions might be held. It seems to me useful to have such discussions. Me and Slart talking just to each other doesn't seem to take us very far.

I would like to suggest we use "email," and use more than three sentences, but if that doesn't work, I'm kinda stuck. People seem to have time to write posts and comments, or at least, when posters haven't had time to write comments, it traditionally hasn't worked very well. See Lindsay Beyerstein. Generally speaking, not participating in comments has been problematic, though naturally we all have busy periods when we can't, of course.

One answer is more posters, as I've been agitating for over five years now, but we've also have people who been bottlenecked in the queue many many many months, waiting to hear back "in a couple of weeks." This is very problematic. Again, I'd suggest email discussion? Rather than discussing it in comments?

Russell:

The thing to do with foolish, counter-productive policies is change them.
It's a cunning plan, and it just might work!

Marty:

At some point we have to stop encouraging loving and caring parents to risk their lives and imprisonment to achieve the brass ring of US citizenship for their children.
Because?

This is an assertion. I'm catching up on the thread: did you have an argument to go with this? Serious question, I have no problem beliving that in haste I've overlooked it. Could you remind me why me must stop this?

Stop it. Make the laws accept a reasonable number of immigrants, guest workers, whatever, but quit providing the holy grail of default citizenship for your children as a a good enough reason to BE an illegal immigrant.
Excuse me, but you want to abolish the 14th Amendment? Seriously?

You know, the one that says this?

Amendment 14 - Citizenship Rights. Ratified 7/9/1868. Note History

1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Are you sure?

What would your suggested replacement language be? Also, what's your timeline for accomplishing this simple and easy task? But I don't see how you can answer the first question until we know your answer to the first.

We can do it without repealing the 14th amendment: just make US citizenship not worth having. We've been well on our way for a while now.

The nasty version would be to make a disctinction analogue to that between Staatsangehöriger and Reichsbürger with all political rights reserved for the latter. 14th amendment citizens would be the former, upgrading to the latter would depend on conditions set by the state (and could be reversed if the conditions are no longer met).
Isn't something like that exactly what self-nominated keepers of the holy grail of true Americanness have beat the drums for for years?
[just in case this is not clear:the above is snark]

"What would your suggested replacement language be?"

How about,

"1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. But no person whose parents were illegally present in the United states, or present only for temporary purposes, shall be considered to be subject to said jurisdiction."

I think that would cover it nicely.

What do you think "subject to said jurisdiction" means? Surely not that they're immune from US law, or we have a larger problem.

And what do we then do with these people? Will they be illegal from birth? If they have kids and their kids have kids, do we end up with a permanent resident population who have lived all their lives in the US and whose existence in the country is illegal and who are "not subject to the jurisdiction" of the US? This seems to me like the obvious consequence.

I've heard it argued that children of undocumented immigrants usually have citizenship in the parents' country of birth, but I don't think we can count on this after three or four generations of illegal residence in the US. The country of origin of these people's distant ancestors would probably argue that they're American.

What does "illegally present" mean? There was no such concept - for a law-abiding white man, anyway - at the time the Constitution was written, and freedom of movement has generally been considered a natural right (for good reason, as quite a lot of people learned over the 20th century one way or another). What eternal principle is enshrined in the idea that government should be allowed to tell you where you can live?

Generally the Constitution has been amended to enlarge the circle of those entitled to the rights that a white man was held to possess at the time of ratification. Not to diminish it.

Make your immigration laws and regulations, fine. But that paragraph in the Constitution was put there for a reason by people who took a long-term view on things. Don't mess with it.

Cool, Brett just accidentally gave all illegal aliens, guest workers and tourists diplomatic immunity!

I think that would cover it nicely.

And here is the process for making that happen.

The immediate aim of the [Arizona] legislation "is to trigger ... a Supreme Court review of the phrase 'subject to the jurisdiction thereof' in the 14th amendment

They are going to pass a law in order to invite a legal challenge which can then make its way up to the SCOTUS for a ruling?

russell: They are going to pass a law in order to invite a legal challenge...

They are going to pass a law in order to create a hostile atmosphere for non-whites in Arizona, so that said non-whites feel uncomfortable and leave.

The whole Supreme Court thing is irrelevant.

The tactic is not new. Many anti-abortion bills get proposed (and even passed) with the sometimes even declared intent that it shall reach SCOTUS giving the wing that is more to the right than the other the chance to overturn Roe v. Wade.

"They are going to pass a law in order to invite a legal challenge which can then make its way up to the SCOTUS for a ruling?"

Uh, yes.

That's what you get, if you have a precedent based system of law.

There's nothing wrong with that as a tactic for challenging constitutionality.

What's wrong in the Arizona case is that the goal is not to challenge the 14th Amendment. There is no chance whatsoever that the Supreme Court is going to change their mind about what the 14th Amendment means. The goal is to intimidate and menace.

Passing a law like that is a statement that says: this is what we'll do to you if the Federal Government ever stops watching over us. Still feel like sticking around, or maybe you want to move on to the next state?

It's an act of hostility and aggression. Pretty classic settling-the-West kind of thing, actually, but we've generally come to see those as ugly.

'They are going to pass a law in order to create a hostile atmosphere for non-whites in Arizona, so that said non-whites feel uncomfortable and leave.'

So now we are broadening our judgements to say state legislative acts are racially motivated? This mean that a majority of Arizona elected state legislators are racist? Can your confirm that this is what you mean to say, so that I will not be reading your mind?


Jacob, the world is just not as devious as you perceive it. People don't really think like Snidely Whiplash, they don't really make intimidating threats as a subtext to passing a law.

They really think the law should change. They may be right or wrong, but thats what they want.

Uh, yes.

There's nothing wrong with that as a tactic for challenging constitutionality.

Thanks for the clarification Marty.

I agree with Jacob that this is a perfectly legitimate strategy for testing the current reading of the 14th Amendment. It's certainly an approach that is more likely to succeed than explicitly changing the text of the 14th. I just wanted to clarify what it was they were trying to achieve.

Unfortunately I disagree with Jacob's assessment of the likelihood of the current SCOTUS' changing whatever the settled interpretation of "subject to the jurisdiction" is. They have proved themselves perfectly willing to toss out decades of settled interpretation before.

If I were a Latino living in AZ, citizen or not, this, along with the other legislation that's been proposed there, would certainly make me think pretty hard about whether I wanted to continue living there. If you're brown, the burden of proof is going to be on you to demonstrate that you have a right to be there.

As Jacob notes, that may well be the point.

So now we are broadening our judgements to say state legislative acts are racially motivated?

General intent.

Marty: Jacob, the world is just not as devious as you perceive it. People don't really think like Snidely Whiplash, they don't really make intimidating threats as a subtext to passing a law.

Perhaps you and I live on different planets. People use laws as a method of intimidation all the time. That's what a law is. That's why the "the law" is a threat. Law is all about getting some other asshole to do something and kicking his ass if he doesn't.

People don't pass laws against stuff nobody was doing anyway. They pass laws to get other people to change their behavior. That's the whole point.

I don't have to pretend to be too stupid to notice that this is going on. (OK, some may say I don't have to pretend because I am too stupid, but anyway.) When something is perfectly obvious, it is not conspiratorial thinking to say that it is true. People pass laws so they can say stuff like "illegal immigrants!"

It is not a prerequisite of this conversation that we all pretend that we were born yesterday.

So now we are broadening our judgements to say state legislative acts are racially motivated?

Maybe this particular one in this particular state. There's a history there. They've been doing some funny (not ha ha) things over the years.

This mean that a majority of Arizona elected state legislators are racist?

If 100% of them constitutes a majority, then yes. Oh, you meant especially racist. Well, racist is as racist does, I suppose.

People use laws as a method of intimidation all the time. That's what a law is. That's why the "the law" is a threat.

Indeed. I think this has come up before, but if you read Scalia's dissent in Lawrence v. Texas, it's clear that he didn't think having the police kicking in the doors of consensual, adult same-sex couples and hauling them into the hoosegow was really a sensible use of law enforcement. Rather, the law should remain unenforced but on the books, to send a signal to gay people that they are qualitatively inferior to heterosexuals. The message was clear: that we do not have, nor do we deserve, the same rights to live our lives that straight people enjoy, and if the police aren't hauling us off en masse for having the wrong kind of sex, it's just because they have better things to do. For now, anyway...

'If 100% of them constitutes a majority, then yes. Oh, you meant especially racist. Well, racist is as racist does, I suppose.'

'General intent.'

It works against further discussion on matters where we disagree when you adopt a position that places all participants in opposing opinions in a category that does not fit most of your opposition. I've lived in Arizona, I'm not racist, (unless I hate my family), I know a number of people in Arizona who support enforcement of our immigration laws and I know they are not racist, so your opinion gets a large discount.

It's obvious what the problem here is. The immigration issue can be divided into two approaches. One is open borders and two is controlled immigration with applicable rule of law. We have neither and so almost no one is happy.

The immigration issue can be divided into two approaches. One is open borders and two is controlled immigration with applicable rule of law. We have neither and so almost no one is happy.

Er, I don't think so. There are lots of people who want controlled immigration at higher levels than we have now. And there are lots of people who want enforcement to focus primarily on employers. And there are lots of people who think that completely militarizing the border is not cost-effective. None of those groups falls into either your 'open borders' or 'controlled immigration with applicable rule of law' camp.

I mean, immigration policy is a complex and multi-faceted issue. There are more than two opposing policy norms. We have to wrestle with the complexity rather than just pretending a bunch of nutty falsehoods are true.

'Er, I don't think so.'

Turbulence:

I didn't say there were only two opposing policy norms. I said you could have an immigration law or not. Are you suggesting that we could have multiple immigration laws that conflict at the same time?

Well, I guess we could if we didn't enforce any of them.

GOB, I'm saying that we have many choices about (1) what specific immigration laws to have on the books and (2) how we should distribute enforcement resources. In both cases, we have more than two choices available. So I think your attempt to present this as a choice between 'open borders' and 'controlled immigration' is just absurd. Almost everyone wants 'controlled immigration', but there are many competing ideas for what that means in detail.

I mean, some experts claim that the average American commits three felonies every day but obviously most people are not charged and convicted for those crimes. Why? Because we've decided that it doesn't make sense to focus enforcement resources on those laws.

But we do have specific immigrations laws on the books. And we do have enforcement in some aspects and not in others.

'Because we've decided that it doesn't make sense to focus enforcement resources on those laws.'

I get it. But this is not what we have wrt immigration law. We have big disagreements.


I've lived in Arizona, I'm not racist...

I've lived in Arizona (Moon Valley section of Phx) and I am racist. Everyone is to some degree or another. But I wasn't talking about you, GOB. I was talking about AZ legislators, as I thought you were.

But it's really beside the point what's in anyone's mind. The legislation stands for itself, as does Arizona's history. It's a troubled place.


GOB,

So now we are broadening our judgements to say state legislative acts are racially motivated?

"Xenophobic" might be a better word than "racist," but yes, that's what I think.

People don't pass laws against stuff nobody was doing anyway.

Jacob, the number of nut cases proposing laws to ban the implementation of sharia in various states seem to suggest that you are over-optimistic here.

wj, my first thought was the same but what Jabob says afterwards rebalances it in my opinion. One could disagree on one thing: Do those that propose the absurd laws do it in good faith (i.e. they actually believe that there is a problem that has to be solved in this specific way) or is it beating the sack while meaning the ass? Jacob seems to imply the latter and for the most part I'd agree with that. But there might be some pure of heart but poor in mind that are actually unaware of the racist BS they are proposing.
This reminds me of the reason why the British kept their anti-witchcraft laws on the book centuries after their last real witch trial (not counting the two special cases from WW2).

I'd like to see illegal immigration brought to as low a level as possible. One of the ways to do that is to eliminate automatic birthright citizenship. I'd also like us to use high-tech ID so that forged and illegally obtained papers can't be used to establish identity and get jobs.

I'd like us to make the rich and powerful of Mexico tax themselves enough to make Mexico a functioning adn society. As it stands now, they stay rich and powerful by exploiting Mexico's poor -- and us too.

We can't afford mass migration. We don't have enough good paying jobs for ourselves. That's why legal immigration should be curtailed and rebalanced so that there's less emphasis on family reuninfication and more on work skills that we need. We also need to stop allowing extended family members such as siblings and parents to come here. It ends up being an endless chain of sponsorhip.

We need to do all this so that we can focus on ourselves and the many millions of us who need a decent job and healthcare coverage.

I think you will find that just as Republicans talk a good game abut small government but somehow never get around to cutting anything but taxes, there's few people who really want to spend trillions of dollars here in the US, over time, to take care of the poor (and their descendants) from other countries.

It's now becoming clear how much our immigration policies cost. The more they cost, the more people will stop supporting the status quo and demand that mass migration stop. This includes Democrats and independents too, not just Republicans. I'm a moderate Democrat myself.

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