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March 21, 2015

Comments

Van Hagar?

You could argue that in certain areas of the country immigrants have not integrated, even if most have. Thinking of certain Chinese enclaves here and there, but there are probably others.

You could also say that no one has been integrated, depending on what you mean by "entire history of the United States."

By "entire history of the United States" I was thinking of "since the ratification of the Constitution." Not perfect, but a reasonable rule of thumb.

And it should be said that the national culture is a moving target. My favorite example is something as superficial as St Patrick's Day parades. Obviously an addition since the influx of the Irish in the later part of the 19th century, so not an original part of the culture. And led, in recent memory, by a Chinese American mayor of one major city -- and nobody thought that particularly odd. Ditto when a black mayor somewhere leads the parade.

Yes, there are places like Chinatowns (and Japantowns) in some cities. But other than individuals who are themselves immigrants (or children of immigrants), the folks who live and work there** are as thoroughly American as anybody else -- outside business hours. In short, mostly those areas remain visible primarily as tourist attractions, rather than as real cultural enclaves.

** I would note that, in my area, the folks working in Chinese restaurants are more likely to be Vietnamese or Cambodian than of actual Chinese ancestry. Preserves, I suppose, the "look and feel", without having to pay what those who are not immigrants would demand.

A striking illustration of Latinophobia:
http://thevpo.org/2015/01/19/no-good-deed-goes-unpunished/

Still, it's nice to see some politicians blithely ignoring the ignorant rantings of the xenophobes. Indeed, treating them with the scorn they deserve. More power to them!

Those xenophobes are invited to dispose of all of their banknotes that have eEeevil furrin "latin" mottoes on them, by giving them to me.


My father's family spoke German as their first language until the end of the 19th century. While that's acculturating eventually, it was a long "eventually" seeing as they first arrived in 1735.

A striking illustration of Latinophobia

The south has no monopoly on rednecks.

I don't think my great-grandparents were ever fluent in English. After then immigrated, they lived in a mostly-Italian area of Orange NJ, so they got by with their native tongue.

The family was, thoroughly, assimilated by the next generation.

The Amish are funny case because I don't think they were integrated into the wider society in their original country, which I think was Switzerland. So, living as a separatist agrarian religious community in the middle of a larger secular one kind of is their version of "integrated".

There are a number of separatist religious communities with origins in other countries who have simply brought their "we're different!" ways here to the US.

Depending on where they are from, it may well be easier for them to live that way here. I think we're relatively tolerant of splinter cultures.

I don't think everyone's experience is the same, but I was brought up with the idea that everyone should be welcome here, and that differences between people was a good thing. It made life interesting.

That wasn't something that was specifically taught to me, it was just kind of in the air, and I absorbed it and embraced it.

I know that xenophobia has a long history here in the US, but I have a hard time seeing it as anything other than negative, sort of a phobic irrational id to the better and healthier tradition of welcoming everyone.

I've wandered a bit off topic, so I'll stop there.

heckblazer, I think it may be worthwhile distinguishing between people whose first language is not English, but who are completely fluent in English as well, and those who never get fluent in English, but just get along with another language.

The former seem, to me at least, to be a complete non-problem. The latter actually are imperfectly acculturated. It's a matter, in part, of whether you can function smoothly in the national culture; not of whether you always do.

So, living as a separatist agrarian religious community in the middle of a larger secular one kind of is their version of "integrated".

I'd agree with this. I live near Amish, I see them on the roads, and I know people who interact with Amish in a business capacity on a regular basis.

They have their own communities, obviously, but that community integrates with the larger community around them fairly well.

wj, They spoke German as their sole language through at least the 1820s. That didn't stop them from fighting in the War of 1812 though.

I don't think the concern is with people who don't acculturate. I think the concern is that, beyond some level of immigration, acculturation runs both ways. The Mexicans become Americans, but America becomes more like Mexico.

And, really, who in God's name would want America to be more like Mexico?

IMO the two way thing is the best part of the deal.

I have no problem with American culture becoming "more Mexican". a lot of the US is already pretty Mexican, and has been for longer than has been American.

I have no problem with America becoming more like Mexico, in some very limited respects having to do with cuisine. I have huge problems with America becoming more like Mexico in some other respects, like widespread corruption.

And I don't know that we get to pick and chose which ways we become more like Mexico, as we are deliberately flooded with more Mexican immigrants than we can assimilate.

"like widespread corruption."

I can't stop giggling. Wouldn't it be terrible if our financial sector ever became as corrupt as Mexico? What if police forces in some areas started using the local black population as a source of revenue?

Yeah, giggle. If you're very, very unlucky, you might get to experience what the US would be like with Mexican levels of corruption.

Think about it: There's a reason people are immigrating in this direction, not the other.

Yes, but we have the rule of law. Much of our corruption is above board and legal.

More and more, we *had* the rule of law. We're losing it fast.

I think it was an American commenting on Marginal Revolution who said it best. He was in total agreement with an illegal immigrant from Guatemala. The immigrant didn't want to live in Guatemala, and neither did he.

as we are deliberately flooded with more Mexican immigrants than we can assimilate.

What is the basis for this assertion? Total foreign born account for about 13% of the US population. This is comparable to that during the period 1880-1920. Of those, slightly more than 1/2 are from Latin America and the Caribbean. Furthermore, the population from Mexico has levelled off in recent years.

It took a couple of generations to "assimilate" the masses from Eastern Europe who arrived in the late 19th and early 20th century, but apparently you insist that those darned "'mexicans" assimilate in one generation.

Why is that?

as we are deliberately flooded with more Mexican immigrants

Good heavens, what poppycock.

There is no conspiracy to flood the US with "more Mexican immigrants than we can assimilate". The only way that statement makes sense is if you think American businesses that preferentially employ immigrants (especially illegal immigrants, who are much cheaper to hire and easier to abuse) would prefer if those immigrants not assimilate, because that keeps them more dependent and controllable.

Where are you getting these ideas, Brett? You say you don't watch FoxNews, so where is it coming from?

Dr. S, you are missing a basic principle:

Bad things don't just happen. If something bad happens, it must be due to a deliberate act of some ill-intentioned person.** The only question is who . . . and maybe what could possibly have motivated them, although that is not critical to the identification.

** In truly exceptional cases, it could just be massive stupidity on the part of the actor. But the chances of that are tiny, since it is generally obvious that the actions imputed would have the ill effect seen.

There's a reason people are immigrating in this direction, not the other.

There are probably a very generous handful of reasons that people from Mexico, along with South and Central America, want to immigrate here. Legally, illegally, any way they can.

The fact that the US is significantly less corrupt, especially in ways that are likely to touch on their lives directly, is no doubt among them.

Which is why I would find it unlikely that folks coming here from those places would try to reproduce similar patterns of corruption here.

What you're saying doesn't really make a lot of sense.

As far as our "ability to assimilate", the fact is that the folks you're worried about are *already here*. Working, paying taxes, many of them starting businesses, having kids, buying homes, living their lives.

They're already here. They've assimilated, about as well as any other identifiable group of immigrants ever did.

The only impediment is their status.

The other thing I'll note is that the way most illegals come here - i.e., find a way across the border and show up - is how most immigrants have ever come here.

When my great-grands came here from Italy, they didn't have paperwork or visas or whatever. The got on a boat in Italy, and got off the boat at Ellis Island. Basically, they showed up on the doorstep. Working their way through the process of becoming citizens came after.

My understanding is that we let something like 600K people into the US per year as legal immigrants. That's two tenths of one percent of the population. There are lots of issues to consider in making changes to the current immigration regime, but I don't think our ability to assimilate more than two tenths of one percent of the population is one of them.

"Which is why I would find it unlikely that folks coming here from those places would try to reproduce similar patterns of corruption here."

They don't have to try. They just have to bring with them the cultural values whose consequences they're fleeing.

Starting, I should say, with the fact that they don't have any problem entering a country in defiance of it's laws, engaging in identity theft and fraud in order to obtain ID so they can work...

Essentially, we've set up a big filter on our southern border, that only lets in people who don't respect the law. But does, deliberately, let them in.

"Cultural values" again.

Brett has made it clear that gun ownership is one of his cultural values, and I can't tell whether his worry is that immigrants share it, or that they don't.

"The southern border" again.

You'd think that people coming in through our airports, with visas, and never bothering to leave when the visas expire, are not a problem for Brett. I suppose that's because flying internationally is a good "cultural value".

--TP

say, have all us long-time Americans worked-out our culture of genocide and slavery? or are we still trying to keep that alive?

For example, the amount of remittances received per year in Pakistan varies from $2 to $3 billion per year (1980s), constituting almost 9% of GDP; in Mexico it is over $2 billion per year. According to Annelies Zoomers it is estimated that people sending remittances are now reaching a number of 500 million people, what is almost 8% of the world population.

Today, over 200 million people reside in a country that is not their birthplace. About 82 percent of migrants originate in developing countries, and their remittances, which amounted to an estimated $305 billion in 2008, represent an essential source of foreign exchange, as well as a major instrument in the fight against poverty. Migrants typically triple their real earnings by working overseas; and every 10 percent increase in per capita official remittances leads to a 3.5 percent decline in the share of people living in poverty.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_results_of_migration

It is postulated that migration comes out of a lack of respect for law and order, with the data being that first world people don't do that, so therefore it has to be a lack of respect, never considering the alternative explanation that they are willing to take any number of risks to bring their parents, children, and extended family out of poverty.

Perhaps someone will again come in after Brett and trim off the racist fat so that a conversation can arise and he can assure himself he's not a troll because he brings up the points no one else will.

I do not postulate that migration comes out of a lack of respect for law and order. Except maybe to the extent that not valuing it enough made the home country nasty enough that people wanted to migrate to some place where it was valued higher.

But choosing to violate a nation's laws in the process of migrating there? I'm not going to pretend that illegal immigration has nothing to do with whether somebody respects law and order.

Oh, and I'm the guy who's in a mixed race marriage, and lives in a neighborhood that's about half black. So tell me again how I'm a racist. I could use the laugh.

I believe in liberty, and liberty isn't worth beans if it doesn't extend to letting people act in ways you wouldn't. I don't want this country to become the "Everything that's not mandatory is prohibited" dystopia. There has to be room to do things that ought to be frowned on.

Being an undocumented immigrant is not a crime. It's a civil violation, which is why the government does not supply defense attorneys for people undergoing deportation hearings. As for not respecting our laws, a poor Mexican with no family in the US has pretty much no way of getting a green card, so clandestinely crossing the border is the only way to get here.

Brett, I know you won't understand this, but just because you are in a mixed race marriage, or you have black neighbors doesn't give you a free 'I'm not a racist' card. As heckblazer points out, the folks doing this don't have a lot of options. Of course, if they didn't do everything they could for their family, you would argue that they don't respect the central role of family as much as you claim to.

[sarcasm]Yeah, all those Jews from Poland, Russia and Germany unwilling to adhere to the laws of their countries of birth proved their general disdain for law and order by trying to illegaly immigrate into Britain, Palestine and the US too. Not only that, they also refused (and still do) to assimilate to the dominant local (Christian) culture. [/sarcasm]

I believe in liberty, and liberty isn't worth beans if it doesn't extend to letting people act in ways you wouldn't.

Then let them come. Let them speak their native tongue. Let them have their unique 'cultural values'. Let them contribute to our wealth and progress in ways that you are unwilling to (i.e., perform backbreaking labor for crap wages). Let them enhance our common humanity.

Otherwise, you are just another run of the mill right wing authoritarian asshole.

Rule #1: once you're in, pull the ladder to keep more parasites from follwowing your example and ruining it for you.
Why is what you're doing/have done not illegal? Beacuse I had the law rewritten retroactively.
[acidic mood eating holes through keyboard again]

They just have to bring with them the cultural values whose consequences they're fleeing.

Of course, the fact that part of the reason they are fleeing is to get away from corruption just might suggest that they are not bringing that cultural value with them. In fact, I would suggest that the cultural value involved in corruption is far more likely to be part of the subculture which is gaining money from bribes than of the subculture which is having to pay them.

Oh, and I'm the guy who's in a mixed race marriage, and lives in a neighborhood that's about half black. So tell me again how I'm a racist. I could use the laugh.

Fair enough, you're not accurately characterized as a racist. However your comments certainly suggest you are xenophobic -- for all that your definition of the "others" you are fearful of doesn't happen to include a racial element.

"Brett, I know you won't understand this, but just because you are in a mixed race marriage, or you have black neighbors doesn't give you a free 'I'm not a racist' card."

Heck, I know that. Nothing gives you a free "I'm not a racist" card, except membership in the Democratic party. That's widely understood: The epithet "racist!" has grown almost utterly unconnected to actual racism.

it strikes me that Mexico and other places might be a whole less corrupt if Americans could find a way to obey their own narcotics laws. Or, maybe even change them so they aren'the so stupid.

but obviously, the real problem àre those Mexican cultural values.

Having just been in Guatemala City over a week ago, I have to call BS on the caricature of Guatemalans as being corrupt, not respecting the rule of law, or otherwise dramatically culturally divergent from the US.

They too hate crime, traffic, their corrupt politician, cancer *, and so on. Their taxi drivers are possibly even less corrupt than ours!

My co-workers there are hard working, smart, coffee and beer swilling nerds just like in the states. It really chaps my hide to hear the non-stop drone about how shitty Guatemala is**.


* True! My first day saw an Avon Breast Cancer Awareness walk/run with ~10,000 locals participating.
** from American know-it-all folks. From those actually living there, they can tell you with precision what sucks and what does not. For example, GT tried to enforce mandatory smog controls on their cars, but folks were too poor to fix things, and corruption made it cheaper to fake inspections.

I'm still giggling, Brett. The idea that poor Mexicans and others will corrupt our lily white innocence is unbelievably stupid. It's like you slept through the financial crisis. And yeah, rule of law. Yeah, we're all about the rule of law in the US.

I can grant the existence of corruption in other countries without taking seriously your belief it will be poor people who will bring corruption and ruin to our nation.

it strikes me that Mexico and other places might be a whole less corrupt if Americans could find a way to obey their own narcotics laws.

Speaking of obeying laws, how about our hiring laws? A willful pattern of hiring undocumented workers can result in jail time. But in wingnut land only laws that assist the comfortable and keep the ladder of success from those not the right colored "others" are real laws, you know, the laws that we are allegedly a nation of.

I'm just not following how the whole "introduce a culture of corruption" works.

Are they going to run for office? Are they going to go bribe a lot of people? With what money?

For every undocumented immigrant that's working here illegally, there's an American paying them off the books.

What might also fall under the heading of "societal corruption" are entire industries - restaurant, hospitality, agriculture, health care - that rely on cheap immigrant labor, whether documented or not.

You aren't kidding when you say it's a two way street.

Russell, perhaps they are at fault for putting temptation in the way of hiring managers?

Of course, that's the logic that says we should arrest drug dealers, but not those who buy from them. Because, after all, those who supply an illegal demand are totally at fault; not those who make the demand....

I'm just not following how the whole "introduce a culture of corruption" works.

You have to understand, like most conservative tropes, it is not designed to "work" in the commonly understood sense of that term.

Think of it as just another political brickbat.

Fair enough, you're not accurately characterized as a racist. However your comments certainly suggest you are xenophobic

wj, I understand how there could be a theoretical difference, but in practice, the two varieties look a distinction without a difference. Any edifice of xenophobia has to be built on a foundation of claims that 'they' are just not like 'us'. In fact, it was Brett that invoked his marriage and his African-American neighbors. It's a move on a par with 'my best friend is black/asian/gay', so to paraphrase the bible, his own blog comments testify against him. His line about Dems being the only racists is a really desperate attempt to divert attention at being called out.

But racism is just a subset of xenophobia. Which is to say, a racist is xenophobic -- he hates and fears "others", where for him "others" means members of other races. But it is entirely possible to be a xenophobe on a basis of something other than race.

For example, there are those in this country who are very proud of how accepting they are of (rich, successful) members of other races. While being extremely harsh about those who are not. They get, inaccurately, accused of being racists, simply because so many of the folks that they put down happen to be of other races. But it's actually a class bias, not actually a racial one.

However, I do agree that the "they are the real racists, not me" line is at least as inaccurate as the original accusation. Which is to say, there are some individuals on both sides for whom race is the driver; but not all.

Not sure if I agree, it seems to me that the class bias is masking a deeper bias. The tell in this case is the invocation of a mixed race marriage and AA neighbors. And I've never heard anyone say 'I'm not racist, I'm just xenophobic.'

It seems you are suggesting that the person who is racist has to acknowledge that s/he hates other races, otherwise, s/he's not a racist. That would make the actual problem of racism exceedingly small, but I think we agree, it certainly isn't.

" In fact, it was Brett that invoked his marriage and his African-American neighbors. It's a move on a par with 'my best friend is black/asian/gay', so to paraphrase the bible, his own blog comments testify against him."

I've always been impressed with how unfalsifiable it makes accusations of racism, to consider "But I have "X" friends!" to somehow be confirmation of racism, rather than evidence against it. In what sane world is being married to someone of a different race, having friends of different races, and having voluntarily located one's self in a mixed race neighborhood, not evidence that one is not a racist, but instead the opposite?

I am, in fact, neither racist nor xenophobic. I don't fear foreigners, let alone because they are "the other". I merely am not mindlessly multicultural, being perfectly willing to render both positive AND negative judgement on other cultures.

Some other cultures have much to contribute to the US. Others will contribute negatively. I very much believe that, when it comes to immigrants, a nation "is what they eat", and I don't want the US to become Mexico.

Hong Kong? That wouldn't be bad at all. But, please, not Mexico.

I guess I have the inverse of Brett's view:

I think that the people from Latin America have a lot to contribute. On the other hand, I am absolutely clear that "Mexican food" is an oxymoron. [Comes of a) not being able to cope with hot spices, b) disliking corn, and c) being of the opinion that the only way to make avacados edible is to feed them to pigs and make pork out of them. At which point, there just isn't much left of Mexican food.] ;-)

Folks wish to exhibit their non-racist credentials are advised that saying "I have a X friends" will not serve to convince anybody.

Whether this is just, unjust, or just a fact of communication is beside the point. If you earnestly wish to communicate, learn.

the US is not going to become Mexico.

shall we all take a deep breath and move on?

in terms of immigration and changes to US culture, i'm curious about the wave of immigration around the turn of the 20th c. and the shift in the US from an agrarian to an urban population.

that actually was a significant shift.

in terms of immigration and changes to US culture, i'm curious about the wave of immigration around the turn of the 20th c. and the shift in the US from an agrarian to an urban population.

That is interesting to me, because my mother's ancestors came over then, and my dad's folks had been here since before the country began, and were farmers.

It's pretty clear that social reform went hand in hand with urban factory work ethic. Maybe that's why we started restricting immigration: too much social reform?

Now, of course, we have immigrants working at the farm, where punching in and out isn't a thing. They're invisible essentials to the economy, but completely unprotected. People who moan and complain about "illegal immigration" are perfectly happy to eat the food that people have picked, live in the houses that people have cleaned, etc. As long as they're not causing "trouble" in terms of social reform (better wages and work conditions), and asking for basic human rights, it's all good.

Don't like avocados or corn? Wow. Certainly a more interesting point than Brett's protestations.

When I first came to Japan, and introduced avocados to Japanese who had never had them, they thought it was like avocado was like raw tuna. A favorite restaurant has this appetizer of avocado with raw horse meat and soy sauce, which I love.

Corn here often gets put on pizzas, which I've never gotten used to.

A true abomination hereabouts is a variation of makisushi called a "California roll": avacado and imitation crab meat. Shudder!

Yes, there are places like Chinatowns (and Japantowns) in some cities. But other than individuals who are themselves immigrants (or children of immigrants), the folks who live and work there** are as thoroughly American as anybody else -- outside business hours. In short, mostly those areas remain visible primarily as tourist attractions, rather than as real cultural enclaves.

** I would note that, in my area, the folks working in Chinese restaurants are more likely to be Vietnamese or Cambodian than of actual Chinese ancestry. Preserves, I suppose, the "look and feel", without having to pay what those who are not immigrants would demand.

...you don't speak much Chinese, do you? This is very definitely not true of any Chinatown I have ever been in -- even in places like the South Bay, the term "國內" (within the country) never refers to the United States.

And if we're talking about restaurant employees, your point is invalid: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/10/13/cooka%C2%80%C2%99s-tale

On the other hand, I do speak a little Japanese. certainly enough to know that the employees in my local Japanese restaurants are not speaking it among themselves. Not to mention that they look blank when I try speaking Japanese to them. (And it isn't just bad pronunciation on my part. My inlaws have no problem understanding me.)

As for Chinese, I do at least enough to recognize when the language being used is not a tonal language (which Chinese is). Even when I don't recognize Spanish. ;-)

A lot of Japanese restaurants, especially sushi restaurants, are run by Koreans.

http://www.mykoreanhusband.com/eating-sushi/

Lovecraft (the Cthulhu guy) was a rabid conservative, an outspoken racist and anti-semite with special prejudices against immigrants from Eastern Europe. He married a liberal Jewish businesswoman of Eastern European heritage. The marriage fell only apart because she was a big city girl and he a small town guy who could not stand New York and was ashamed that she was the breadwinner of the family (the divorce seems to have been on such friendly terms that they had to make up something to show 'cause' to the officials).
There are also true Nazis that are on quite good terms with their Jewish neighbours, a fact that already puzzled the original Holocausters: many Germans were willing to believe the official antisemitic ideology while at the same defending the Jew next door (Hitler himself seems to have kept the Jewish family doctor safe, who had taken care of his mother*).
Humans have quite an ability to cope with that kind of cognitive dissonance.

*which pokes a hole into the hypothesis that he believed that the guy had killed her and that was the origin of his hatred for Jews

Btw, in Europe the modern anti-semitism (as opposed to the old-fashioned Christian anti-Judaism) arose to a significant degree from the increasing assimilation of Jews. The visible 'caftan Jew' was seen if not as harmless then at least as a controllable danger. The 'danger' was in the Jew that could not be spotted anymore, that looked and behaved like 'normal' people and thus was free to undermine society an pollute the gene pool.
If there is one thing the hater hates more than the 'other', it is the 'other' trying to become one of 'us' (and being successful with it). I assume a lot of the opposition to gay marriage can be traced to the same mindset. How can I properly hate you when you try to out-normal me?

gotta be scared of somethin.

Why is it, in modern parlance, that if somebody opposes something, they've got to be "scared" of it? I guess it's some kind of rhetorical ploy, to try to get the person to change their mind in order to be thought brave.

I couldn't have arrived at a reasoned judgement about the effects of immigration from different cultures on our own. No, I've got to be shivering in fear of the other.

Really, guys, it's possible to arrive at different conclusions from your own without mental pathology.

Okay, so Brett isn't "scared" of outsiders.

He's a straight-up "hater". Good of you to straighten that out, Brett.

As for Mexican culture in particular, to the extent that the 'latin' part carries over, it add something good. For example, the custom in latin cultures (Italy and Spain have this, Mexico too, I hear tell) of an evening stroll with family and friends around the town square. Connecting with neighbors, acquaintances, etc.

Americans don't do this; they're too busy glued to their TVs.

"I couldn't have arrived at a reasoned judgement...."

Without discounting entirely the 'corruption' in say, 1890's Sicily or Tsarist Russia.

There is one thing, and one thing only, that "makes it difficult to assimilate" this alleged "flood" of 'mexicans. It is the color of their skin.

In that regard, I should think we should become more like them. Wouldn't hurt.

You figure not being English literate doesn't get in the way of assimilation?

This is very definitely not true of any Chinatown I have ever been in

But what language will their grandkids speak?

I guess it's some kind of rhetorical ploy, to try to get the person to change their mind in order to be thought brave.

I always figured it was a euphemism, and more or less an act of generosity.

To simply be afraid of something is, perhaps, more sympathetic than just being a jerk.

A lot of the Southwest was not only Mexican in culture, it was actually Mexico until the middle of the 19th C. A lot of those brown Spanish speaking people who live there have been there far longer than English speaking Americans. And for "far longer", please measure in centuries.

Many millions of Mexican, Central American, and South American people live here in the US now, and have for many many years. Some are citizens, some are documented permanent residents, some are here temporarily to work, or as students or tourists, and some are undocumented, aka illegal.

Per the census, "many millions" is about 54 million. Something like 17% of the population. The largest so-called minority group in the country. And I'm not sure if the census includes the undocumented population, or at least all of them.

I invite you to point to all of the ways in which their presence has measurably increased the level of corruption in American society.

I've already picked the low-hanging fruit - the exploitation of undocumented workers in several American industries. Exploiting workers who are outside the protection of the law seems like a perennially American custom, though, so I'm not sure we can blame Spanish-speaking immigrants for that.

The floor is yours. Show us how the presence of 54 million culturally Hispanic people has corrupted the nation.

If you can't come up with anything, maybe it's time to drop it.

It's pretty clear that social reform went hand in hand with urban factory work ethic. Maybe that's why we started restricting immigration: too much social reform?

A astute observation, and a very interesting question.

They just have to bring with them the cultural values whose consequences they're fleeing.

"Cultural values" do a lot of heavy lifting in your arguments here, and on many other points. It's a very hand-wavy phrase.

What are the cultural values held by Mexicans that lead to widespread corruption in Mexican society? How do they lead to corruption? Why would they have the same effect here?

In short, what the hell are you talking about?

You figure not being English literate doesn't get in the way of assimilation?

Centuries of American history demonstrate that it does not.

Try again.

the very first time we restricted immigration, in the late 1800s, we did it because whites were afraid of the Chinese (THE YELLOW PERIL!!!), and then all the other Asians, too.

and it was the exact same mix of economic insecurity, xenophobia and racism that we hear about Hispanics today.

"I invite you to point to all of the ways in which their presence has measurably increased the level of corruption in American society."

How about, identity theft? A good deal of the problem of identity theft is driven by the need of illegal immigrants for fake documents. (They're NOT "undocumented", as it happens. They tend to have forged documents.) A problem which would be much easier to solve, were it not that it has to be left unsolved to facilitate the illegal immigration.

A fair number of crimes are not prosecuted for the same reason. For instance. In a good deal of the country, if somebody is arrested for a crime, and discovered to be an illegal immigrant, they get released, to avoid deporting them.

Now, I suppose you could claim that both these problems could by solved by simply opening the border to unlimited legal immgration. But, that's not feasible. No nation lets just anybody immigrate. There has to be some limit to immigration, we can't absorb all the world's poor.

This:

I've always been impressed with how unfalsifiable it makes accusations of racism, to consider "But I have "X" friends!" to somehow be confirmation of racism, rather than evidence against it.

and this:

In what sane world is being married to someone of a different race, having friends of different races, and having voluntarily located one's self in a mixed race neighborhood, not evidence that one is not a racist, but instead the opposite?

are two different things.

The second is not evidence of racism and does suggest that whatever racism may affect your thinking (and it affects everyone's to some extent or another) isn't terribly strong. You are at least not so abjectly racist that you can tolerate being among people of other races on a daily basis and, presumably, conduct yourself normally.

The first is a matter of thinking that such a proclamation is a valid defense against charges of racism. It's not that your having friends of whatever race makes you a racist. It's that your thinking that saying so is some kind of defense means you don't quite get it - that you don't understand well enough what racism is to say you aren't racist.

At least that's how I've tended to understand it.

Jeb Bush's wife is Mexican

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/columba-bushs-painful-unlikely-road-toward-the-white-house/2015/03/21/5918fe20-c7fd-11e4-a199-6cb5e63819d2_story.html

Wonder how she would view the assertion that Mexico has nothing to offer the US.

How about, identity theft? A good deal of the problem of identity theft is driven by the need of illegal immigrants for fake documents.

That's cultural?

Obviously my ancestors helped turn the US into a corrupt, incompetent oligarchy, coming as they did from Czarist Russia.

"That's cultural?"

People walk over here from a country rife with corruption, and the first thing they do is violate our immigration laws, and the next thing they do is commit identity theft, and I'm supposed to assume it's coincidence?

People walk over here

how many people are in your "People" ?

Now, I suppose you could claim that both these problems could by solved by simply opening the border to unlimited legal immgration.

No, I would say that the problem could be addressed by allowing more people to immigrate than we currently do.

From here, in 2013 we allowed not quite a million people to immigrate to the US.

Less than one-third of one percent of the population.

135K of those were from Mexico. What is that, four-hundredths of one percent of the population?

There's no room to expand that?

As far as I can tell, the problems created by immigration from Mexico are basically due to the fact that more folks want to come than we want to allow.

So, issues like the ones you cite. Breaking the law so that they can live and work.

The folks that come in spite of that seem to be more than happy to work their @sses off. I mean, seriously so.

Here's a joke: How many Mexicans does it take to... oh, never mind, they're done!

They tend to be, FWIW, religious, highly family oriented, and culturally conservative.

To be honest, IMO the hostility toward immigration by Mexicans and Central and South Americans on the part of American conservatives seems like a huge own-goal. They're locking out natural political allies.

In any case, I don't see weird "cultural issues" that are going to lead to the widespread corruption of American culture.

What I see is a set of pragmatic issues that have to do with a very rich and a relatively poor country sharing a very long land border.

Those are real problems, but they're not "cultural values" problems. And, the solution to them lies mostly not with Mexico or Mexicans, but with us.

...and I'm supposed to assume it's coincidence?

So cultural and coincidence are the only options here? Do you think they'd commit identity theft if they weren't desperate for work or if doing so weren't necessary to get that work, just because it's part of their culture? Are you also concerned that their desire to work will pollute our culture?

100% of illegal immigrants violate our immigration laws, by definition. It looks like maybe 75% of them commit identity theft. Increasingly popular is something called "total identity theft", where they don't just use ID with your SS#, or something like that, but try to comprehensively adopt your identity, to the point where it becomes difficult to prove that you're not the one with faked documents.

100% of illegal immigrants violate our immigration laws, by definition

Yes, that's right.

100% of people who hire those immigrants violate our laws, by definition.

Whose "culture" is corrupt?

Or are those immigrants "corrupting" the people who hire them by making their labor available for short money.

Some laws are stupid laws. Some policies are stupid policies. Stupid laws and stupid policies breed non-compliance.

The solution is not to invent some bizarre "cultural values" deficiency on the part of the people who are non-compliant.

Unless, of course, you simply want to be in the business of blaming all problems on the inherent criminality of Those Other People.

The solution is to change the stupid laws and policies.

do you have any evidence that "total identity theft" by immigrants is an actual trend and not just a handful of cases that Fox News has used to keep its audience at just the right level of fear ?

Back to the Amish, once more:

We had our kitchen cabinets and counters done by Amish (two different contractors).

From what I have heard, Amish and some other fairly closed-off religious groups are busily acquiring large chunks of contiguous land so as to more easily keep themselves separate. In order to do that, though, they have to do business with the outside world, using machines that sort of push the boundaries of their (to us) rather convoluted rules of living.

Overall: people I enjoyed working with, and would gladly work with again. We probably couldn't talk music trivia, though.

Mexicans I have no opinion of at all, because I have only met a few who weren't, in effect, Americans. But I have heard they are conspiring to sap our vital bodily fluids.

The solution is to change the stupid laws and policies

That's long been my attitude as well: if there's a law on the books that no one wants to enforce, it's time to change the law. Why have laws that you will not or cannot enforce?

we could enforce the laws. it would take a lot more border agents and a lot more ICE agents and judges, and a lot more policing of employers (the dreaded IRS!), and maybe an overhaul of the SSN system. but nobody, especially "conservatives", wants to pay for any of those things.

it's much easier to just complain about the fact that the laws go unenforced than it is to tell people that enforcing these laws to the degree they say they want them enforced will require 85.7 fncktons of money. demagoguery is free.

100% of people who hire those immigrants violate our laws, by definition.

Whose "culture" is corrupt?

Or are those immigrants "corrupting" the people who hire them by making their labor available for short money.

Both cultures are corrupt, russell. But the corrupt Americans aren't the victims of today's immigrants. They are the victims of the historical influence from those portions of the United States you, yourself, said were once part of Mexico, and they are the victims of those people of Mexican descent whose families have been in America for longer than most American families.

It really all goes back to the Spanish, who corrupted Mexico first. Then the French got involved for a bit, making things even worse.

Look, it's a long, complicated history, but the point is, whatever corruption there is in this country came from somewhere else.

"No, I would say that the problem could be addressed by allowing more people to immigrate than we currently do."

No, I don't think so.

At any tolerable level of legal immigration, there are going to be some basic criteria for who is allowed in. English literacy, because we are an English speaking country. Lack of a criminal record, because you don't invite in criminals.

There will be people who don't match these criteria, and just because they don't match the critera doesn't mean they don't want in.

Illegal immigrants are not, generally speaking, people would could be legal immigrants. We've got an entirel planet full of highly educated, law abiding, English literate people, who want to come here. We could fill any remotely tolerable immgration quota with them.

So, why would be be letting English illiterate unskilled laborers in? Because the unemployment rate among unskilled Americans is practically zero?

No, the people immigrating illegally are not potential legal immigrants, under any remotely sensible immigration policy.

Back to the Amish, once more

What I think is really hip about the Amish is that they have retained an understanding of how to make a living - often a really good living - out of relatively small land holdings, without taking on huge stupid amounts of debt.

IMO we should let the Amish set our agricultural policies, rather than lobbyists from Archer Daniels and Monsanto.

Just my two cents.

I think they can also point us to a useful solution to the whole immigration debate.

Instead of letting all of the beautiful productive arable land that nobody seems to be able to make a living off of by farming turn into yet another cluster of McMansions, we the American people should buy it up and land-bank it.

Then, lease it back to folks who want to farm it as small holdings.

And, since there aren't that many native-born Americans who want to do work like that, offer it to would-be immigrants who have some background in agriculture.

That won't just be Mexicans, it will also be a lot of Asian and African folks.

The land stays in productive use in perpetuity, more of your food is grown locally instead of being shipped from CA where they're running out of water anyway, and we bring in new generations of hard-working people eager to come here and make new lives for themselves.

Public money makes the investment to buy up the land, and in turn it generates an income stream, to the public coffers, in perpetuity.

Folks who want to farm don't need to come with the cash to buy land, they can lease it from the public land bank.

We do some of this - the land bank part - now in my county, and it works pretty well.

There are also a small number of immigrant families who do pretty well in my area by farming small holdings to sell produce at farmer's markets. Probably not their total income stream, but many of us wear lots of hats these days.

That's my proposal.

The nation needs more farms that grow stuff that people actually eat, and we need more farmers to make that work.

If nobody here wants to do it, let's import some foreign talent. Those folks have already demonstrated the ability and the work ethic, give them their shot.

No, I don't think so.

Yeah, well I do.

English literacy, because we are an English speaking country.

Bullshit.

English literacy as a requirement for citizenship, fine. For legal immigration, no.

There are only many millions of examples to demonstrate that it's just not necessary.

Lack of a criminal record, because you don't invite in criminals.

Fine with me.

There will be people who don't match these criteria, and just because they don't match the critera doesn't mean they don't want in.

So, we don't let in everybody. We let in more than 135K.

So, why would be be letting English illiterate unskilled laborers in?

Because they want to come, and they work their behinds off.

Because the unemployment rate among unskilled Americans is practically zero?

They're already here, they're already working. The only difference is that legal immigration makes all the problems you're worried about go away.

"That's long been my attitude as well: if there's a law on the books that no one wants to enforce, it's time to change the law."

What about laws on the books that a huge number of people want enforced, but political elites find inconvenient? Why should those be changed? Because wealthy people who like cheap gardeners, and businessmen who like having cheap employees who don't dare complain if they're abused, have broken democracy on this topic, we should just give up on being a democracy, and let them have their way?

What about laws on the books that a huge number of people want enforced, but political elites find inconvenient?

What about laws on the books that can't be enforced without becoming a freaking police state?

Not a problem, in your book?

in Europe the modern anti-semitism (as opposed to the old-fashioned Christian anti-Judaism)

Hartmut, it's interesting. I had always understood that anti-Semitism was simply a sloppy way of saying "anti-Jews." But it occurs to me that it may have actually been an accurate assessment of what was really going on in people's minds. Considering the attitude in Europe towards the more recent Semitic immigrants -- who, after all, are Muslim rather than Jewish.

I wonder. Was the label conscious? Or was it just accidently accurate?

I guess it's some kind of rhetorical ploy, to try to get the person to change their mind in order to be thought brave.

I always figured it was a euphemism, and more or less an act of generosity.

To simply be afraid of something is, perhaps, more sympathetic than just being a jerk.

I think this disagreement over whether attributing bigotry to fear is a kindness or a curse depends a lot on the mindset of the person hearing it. If you're on the receiving end, and feel that your dislike is rational, being told you're irrational and a coward is worse than being called a bigot, because it's still calling you a bigot (which you are, but for good reasons) but it's insulting your character too. If you're on the giving end, you're generally taking russell's tack, although I've known some lovely people who very obviously are trying to make it about power and quite consciously try to make accusations of X-phobia a belittling thing that empowers the accuser at the accused's expense.

Honestly, I personally tend to try to avoid the useless disagreement that too often arises from this misapprehension of meanings and motives by using alternative terminology. E.g., heterosexist or heteronormative in place of homophobia, or anti-X bigotry in place of culture-X-ophobia. Sure, it's a petty quibble and a meaningless distraction to get upset over the word, but it's just as petty to inflexibly use that term knowing what it's going to sound like to a hypersensitive ear...

How about, identity theft? A good deal of the problem of identity theft is driven by the need of illegal immigrants for fake documents. (They're NOT "undocumented", as it happens. They tend to have forged documents.) A problem which would be much easier to solve, were it not that it has to be left unsolved to facilitate the illegal immigration.

It has been my observation that "identity theft" by illegal immigrants is pretty much entirely a matter of getting a valid Social Security Number. Nothing more. And that particular bit of identity theft has only one major impact on the person whose identity was stolen: more money is credited to their Social Security account than they personally paid in. Which means, at least for some of them, that they qualify for a higher Social Security payment when they finally start taking it.

What it does not involve is getting credit cards under the stolen identity, and then not paying them off. Not least because that would be a great way to come to the attention of the authorities and get deported.

So, why would be be letting English illiterate unskilled laborers in? Because the unemployment rate among unskilled Americans is practically zero?

Let me put it to you this way.

Let's say we find some magic wand that lets us Seal The Border, and we locate and deport every undocumented immigrant.

Who picks the lettuce?
Who works in the hospital laundry?
Who cleans the offices at night?
Who works back of house in the restaurant?

Who?

Do you want to do that work? A day picking lettuce would probably kill you.

A couple of years ago, the United Farm Workers held a "Take Our Jobs" campaign. It was an open invitation for anyone to go and do the work that immigrant labor - legal and illegal - does every day. They would find a job for you, train you as needed, you could go be a farm worker.

Steven Colbert showed up, as a sort of PSA, and I think one other person.

We would be letting "unskilled illiterate" workers in because they want to do valuable work that nobody else will do.

That's why.

If they're willing to risk their lives to come here and do hard, dangerous work that nobody else wants to do, for the least amount of money that we can get away with paying them, IMO they deserve the basic respect of letting them do so legally.

I don't know your ethnic background, but it's highly likely that that is how your people came here. It sure as hell is how mine did.

One other thought on why "some of my best friends are race X!" as a defense doesn't cut it. It's sort of like "states' rights." Both were originally used entirely by racists. And, as a result, someone using them now is normally assumed (however unjustifiably) to also be a racist, utilizing the standard ploy. It may be unfair, but then life is like that.

Oh yes, and being married to a member of another race doesn't necessarily mean that you are not a racist. It just means that you aren't prejudiced against that particular race. For example, you can be married to someone whose ancestors were from East Asia, and have friends who are black -- that doesn't prove that you aren't racist when it comes to, for example, Hispanics or South Asians.

It doesn't prove that you are, of course. But it really isn't a valid defense either.

It just means that you aren't prejudiced against that particular race.

Not even that, depending on the nature of the relationship.

I wouldn't even claim to be entirely free of prejudice against black people, despite having some amount of black ancestry.

It just doesn't work that way. It's not that simple.

Racism, like most social phenomena, is more complicated than it's commonly held out to be. In racism's case, it probably doesn't help that a very common popular presentation of "racists" would be people who think "my race is better than every other race", when honestly "race X is worse than my race" for some varying number of values of X >= 1 (and often specifically in manner Y for some number of Ys >=1, etc) is probably the more common manifestation of it, albeit still grossly oversimplified.

"Who picks the lettuce?
Who works in the hospital laundry?
Who cleans the offices at night?
Who works back of house in the restaurant?

Who?

Do you want to do that work? A day picking lettuce would probably kill you."

It would probably shock you to find out that my early jobs as a teen were... picking crops. Alongside migrant workers. Radishes, turnups, cabbage. I've also been a janitor. My brother had a job with a landscaper, laying sod.

You're writing as though having an underclass available for doing dirty jobs is just a natural part of existence, which no nation can get by without.

Partly those jobs would be automated, partly they'd pay better.

Partly those jobs would be automated, partly they'd pay better.

Yes, that would absolutely have to happen. No question. But what would be the result of that?

The cost of food would necessarily go up. Probably substantially. Which would have negative impacts across the rest of the economy. (And would be especially dmaging to those working at current minimum wage levels outside of agriculture.)

Maybe it would be a good thing if we spent more of our incomes on food. But it would certainly be a substantial restructuring of our economy.

Yay, it's blue collar cred time!

I've also been a janitor, general warehouse stooge, done construction tearouts, I've laid sod and done other landscaping work, blah blah blah.

You're not doing it now, are you? Somebody else is.

I'm fine with paying people more. More than fine, I advocate it. I'll pay ten cents more for lettuce.

Automation is not going to make all of those jobs go away.

You asked why we would let unskilled laborers who are not English speaking into the country.

I reply (a) because they do valuable work that other folks don't seem to want to do, and (b) they're already here, doing it.

Here's a bit of relevant anecdota. My grandmother, who was in many ways an admirable woman, was none the less an admitted racist. She mellowed in that regard as she got older, but she would use the n-word without a thought in her younger days. She grew up in Gloucester City, NJ, which was an unofficial sunset town just across the river from Philadelphia. When she grew up there, virtually everyone who lived in town was white (or could at least pass for white).

The next city to the north of Gloucester is Camden. You've probably all heard of it, if you've ever read the regularly published lists of "America's Most Dangerous Cities." As much as she wouldn't hesitate to express her dislike of black people, she blamed the decline of Camden to "the Puerto Ricans Campbell's Soup brought in."

Her husband, my grandfather, was half Puerto Rican. His father came up from Puerto Rico, had a couple kids with my great grandmother, and then headed down to Baltimore for whatever reason. Now, he claimed that, though he was born in Puerto Rico, his parents were from Spain, making him a Spaniard by blood. I grew up being told I was, in part, Spanish - never Puerto Rican.

In short, that was pure horsesh1t, which I came to learn later in life. My great grandfather was as Puerto Rican as someone can be, of mixed European, African and Native American descent. According to all available evidence, his family goes back generations and generations on the island or Puerto Rico, maybe for hundreds of years.

I have to think my grandmother had some inkling of this. She was a smart and observant woman. She had in her possession as photograph of my great grandfather from which it is readily apparent that he was not of purely European ancestry. And my grandfather's (without the great) tightly curled hair and dark complexion should have been enough to at least make her wonder.

She just denied it, or at least said he was half Spanish to anyone who asked, without going into it any further. She loved the man deeply, half-Puerto Rican that he was. That didn't prevent her from being prejudiced against other Puerto Ricans.

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