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September 24, 2015

Comments

Want to bet that Yogi's parents (living on Dago Hill in St Louis) were less than totally proficient in English, and spoke Italian to each other, and to their neighbors? Obviously, they were refusing to assimilate properly. Just like Hispanics today.

They yelled at the Garagiola's across the street.

I don't think anyone got deported either while Mussolini was strutting his stuff.

Certainly not the Dimaggio brothers.

I give you Sam Khalifa:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/why-arent-there-more-muslims-in-baseball/

And this:

http://espn.go.com/espn/commentary/story/_/id/7058357/are-there-too-many-hispanics-major-league-baseball

There is a lot to say about immigration. The specific point I'd like to contest is this, from McK:

Uneducated, non-English speaking people cannot contribute meaningfully, particularly when they arrive in the 10's, 100's and millions.

Briefly, I don't see how anyone living in the US can believe this.

Where I live, in the course of any given day, non-English speaking people, most of whom are probably not well educated by US standards, do some or all of the following:

  • Clean the building I work in
  • Mow lawns
  • Do every imaginable kind of building trades work
  • Prepare and serve food
  • Do basic hands-on tasks in hospitals

That's what I personally see. If I lived in an agricultural area, the list would likely be much longer.

The "not educated" thing is also a tough call, because you never know. The former sexton at my church, who had previously been a high school janitor, came here from Columbia, where he taught agricultural economics at the university level. He came here because some people apparently didn't like his politics and wanted him dead. His English wasn't good, so he did whatever came to hand.

There are lots of people like that.

That's pretty much how the forebears of most people who live here, came here. Folks with money and education and status mostly stayed where they were, unless there was some other compelling reason to leave, frex somebody wanted to kill them.

I'm open to lots of points of view on immigration, but the specific claim quoted above just doesn't make any sense to me. It is, as far as I can tell, plainly contrafactual.

The issue is more complicated than that, russell. Those who immigrate are poor but they are not the poorest or the weakest. They have had the capital necessary for immigration. That is not quite cheap. Those who don't have the means to arrange funds for travel, stay home. This guarantees that the immigrants have a minimum of initiative and social skills.

On the other hand, I'd like to nitpick. Yogi Berra was not an anchor baby in the proper meaning of the word. His parents were legal immigrants, so Berra's birth did not really give them any better chance of remaining in the country.

The fact that Berra's parents did not get a US citizenship was probably due to the fact that they did not want to give up their Italian one. Taking a new citizenship is a very emotional decision, and I know many people who have permanently emigrated but do not dream of ever becoming citizens of their new homeland. They prefer remaining aliens for the rest of their lives, just because they don't want to give up their allegiance to their native country.

Will get to this when I am back in the office.

Lurker, it may not apply to the Berras. But one of the articles on Yogi mentioned that the origin of the term "wop" seems to have been "without papers." Which is to say, not quite legal either.

As for the complications of the issue, there are even more than you list. Considering the skills of immigrants, we have always gotten folks fleeing disaster at home. For example, the Irish, dirt poor and uneducated, mostly arrived due to the famines in Ireland. Others, before and after, were in similar case.

If you are willing to deal with horrible conditions (maybe even worse than you had at home) you can get here without hardly any money. And people do. It's harder if you have to cross an ocean, of course. But from anywhere in the Americas you can walk the whole way. It takes time and effort, and there are lots of risks, but it doesn't take much money (except if you pay for help getting across the US border).

I'd also note that there are other reasons for not becoming a US citizen besides wanting to retain allegiance to their native country. Just to state the most obvious, you have to take a test (in English) which requires you to know a lot about how the US government works. (Far more, in fact, than an awful lot of native-born display.) It's not a trivial effort.

To support russell's point, I can point to my own father. He immigrated to the US in the early 70s. He was fully prepared to work as a restaurant dishwasher or cab driver. But at the moment he arrived, there was a shortage of young engineers thanks to the Vietnam war and he quickly found work that used his engineering degree. Within a few years he'd gotten a Master's degree from an American university while working full time and the rest, as they say, is history.

It is, as far as I can tell, plainly contrafactual.

I was thinking ahistorical. I don't really know what's at issue here, though. Is there some terrible plan to let millions of people in willy-nilly? Is there a current crisis we're unable to deal with? In not-abstract terms, what are we talking about?

"In not-abstract terms, what are we talking about?"

The fears of straight white men who correctly believe that they no longer control the culture. Expect increasing violence.

The issue is more complicated than that, russell.

Yes, I do understand that, and I'm very interested to see what everyone's comments will be.

The specific point I wanted to contest was the idea that people who come with limited English skills and/or limited education don't really have a contribution to make.

I don't think that's true, mostly because I'm surrounded by people with, at least, limited English skills getting a lot of useful stuff done.

We had some involuntary immigrants with no education whatsoever and limited English skills (acquired after the fact among the first generations) who laid the initial foundations of the American economy. We later had voluntary immigrants with limited education and limited English skills who laid the foundations for the modern American economy. We now have immigrants with little education and minimal English skills doing every shitty and/or back-breaking but necessary job no one else wants to do. When the Boomers become infirmed, guess who's going to be cleaning the sheets.

Feh.

We're missing the point that regardless of the "quality" of the immigrant, their children invariably become fluent in English, grow up to be President, and better, get 71 hits in World Series games and lead the Yankees in runs batted in for seven straight seasons, on a team that included Joe Dimaggio and Mickey Mantle, both of whom, like Berra, were either a child or grandchild of immigrants.

True, Yogi's mother couldn't pronounce his name, Lawrence and/or Larry, so as a kid they nicknamed him Lawdie.

But he must have speaka de English, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to read or follow his orders to show up on Utah f*cking Beach in WWII, this after lobbing ordnance on to Omaha f*cking Beach with the U.S. Navy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yogi_Berra

What are we talking about?

Well, for starters, this, if there is time to read it:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=133623698

I don't know anyone who is not in favor of rational, comprehensive immigration reform.

We've had a shot at just such good-faith, bipartisan (sorry, to be politically incorrect: I know such terms are maddening for some and likely to cause shotguns to go off) legislation for a number of years, which I'm sure would have required tweaking around the edges, like every law that has been passed since 1776.

Instead, it was torpedoed.

By lying opportunistic, nativist-licking scum who require great threatening hordes of the Other to jack off their base to get them to the polls, and by the way, no Poles allowed either, (and enabled by our delicate, objective media), who instead tell us, against all of the facts, that illegal immigration is out of control, there has been no improvement in the enforcement numbers at the borders, and blah, blah, and walls, and rapists, big calves on the drug mules, and let's arm some drones and vigilante murderers on self-appointed patrol and load up the boxcars, and besides, and most saliently, we're not doing anything in cooperation with the Kenyan in the White House, who probably sneaked across the border himself dressed as a Muslim piggybacking on the anti-Christ nun.

What are WE talking about?

Who knows anymore?

What the f*ck are THEY talking about?

This morning, in a belch of raw sewage and hot lava from his demagogic gullet, after John Boehner, the well-known baby-murdering liberal homosexual Pope-fluffer, announced he was stepping down, Ted Cruz, like a wise ass kid entering a life-size, working volcano in his fundamentalist high school anti-Science Fair (his Dad stayed up all night doing most of the work) said the mood in the country is "volcanic".

Kind of like Hitler in 1932 telling his minions that the Reichstag seems a little flammable to him, and maybe it's a good day to break a little crystal in the morning and then host a Putsch in the afternoon.

Hi, Eddie, how are you, today?

I'm feeling positively volcanic today, Mrs. Cleaver, and you?

That's good, Eddie. Remember, stay away from the Beav or I'll tear your throat out.

Whatever you say, Mrs. Cleaver.

Cruz has no f8cking idea how volcanic it's going to get and what is coming to his ilk. There will be no place for him and his subhuman compadres to hide when the tectonic plates shift and Mount Killermanjaro blows and molten flows of flaming lava engulf him, and his and their anti-American pig filth families.

So, other than that, how's everyone doing this morning?

I'm feeling rather chipper.


The undocumented contribute in many ways. They bring youth to an aging demographic that all the VSP's continually wring their hands over. They pay taxes. They contribute to the Social Security Trust fund, and will never get a dime in return.

They bring enthusiasm. They bring life.

They are a godsend.

Those who whine, "Well, sure, but why can't they enter legally?"

There is only one thing stopping that: The ability of our political leaders to man up and make it much easier to immigrate.

Well, sure, but why can't they enter legally?

Among other reasons, because we just don't let that many people come into the country legally.

We budget about 675,000 legal immigration visas per year. That's about 2/10 of one percent of the US population.

Suppose, just as a thought exercise, we combined increased (and assumed, for the sake of discussion, completely successful) effort to stop illegal immigration with a simultaneous increase in the number of legal immigrants allowed in.

It would almost certianly skew the number of new residents strongly in favor of more skilled (and more fluent in English) immigrants. And probably skew the number of those wanting to acculturate and stay.

Would that be better or worse than what we have now? Not good or bad in any absolute sense, just better or worse.

Among other reasons, because we just don't let that many people come into the country legally.

Yes. But my point is, that is a political decision.

It would almost certianly skew the number of new residents strongly in favor of more skilled (and more fluent in English) immigrants.

Does this not assume the highly skilled and educated in other lands want to leave their homes and come here in significant numbers?

Slightly OT, but I think related (but I think funny):

http://www.vox.com/2015/9/21/9334215/equality-of-opportunity

Clarification: Not "funny" in the ha-ha comedic sense, but "funny" in the "man, you're kind of an odd duck" sense.

Bobby, that was "more skilled", not necessarily "highly skilled." Recall, after all, that one of the (inaccurate IMO) complaints about illegal immigrants is that they have no relevant skills. So "more skilled" isn't much of a stretch.

Per the Census Bureau, as of 2010, the percentage of foreign born people in the US - *including undocumented migrants* - is about 13%.

That is historically very high, but still slightly less than the peak of not quite 15% at the turn of the 20th C.

The thing that always strikes me when folks ask how we will accommodate all of the folks who are here illegally is that we already do. They're here, now. A lot of them have been here for years or decades.

I understand all of the various complications that would come with transitioning all of the undocumented folks to a legal status, but "we can't handle that many people" doesn't seem to hold up. To me, anyway.

They're already here.

The only complication that is really important, for many of those complaining, is that all those undocumented folks might become not just residents but citizens. And then, vote for someone else (for the politicians) or someone they don't like (for the voters who elect those politicians).

plus, it's very important for people who aren't aware of the reality that russell describes that America remain American™©. it must remain exactly as they imagine it is.

allowing immigrants to become citizens, and to keep on doing what they're doing as non-citizens, would destroy the very nature of this WASPy America™©∞.

Ok, I'm finished with all of my bigshot lawyer stuff. Sorry for the delay.

As a first step in this process, anyone who wants to take a serious look at this issue should go to this link: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/07/the-problem-with-downplaying-immigrant-crime/399905/

Read that article and then come back and finish my comment.

Because I don't have all day, I am limiting this phase to two topics: the meaning of the 14th amendment and the particular section of my earlier comment that gives Russell and others heartburn.

First, the 14th amendment. It was written to make sure, without a doubt, that the children of slaves were US citizens at a time when it was reasonably foreseeable that many would twist and turn, as they did anyway, the English language on its head to treat blacks differently. So, this amendment was written. The framers had no idea, no intent, that this language would produce the Anchor Baby (AB) phenomena. The AB phenomena is unique, sui generis to the US. No other country has it and no other country is considered to be racist or anything else negative for not having it.

The exact language of the 14th relevant to this topic is "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."

The pertinent language is in bold: "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof". Is a woman who crosses the border for the sole purpose of having a child and making that child a US citizen "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States?

The facil answer is "yes, anyone who stands on US soil, legally or illegally, is by definition subject to US jurisdiction."

That answer would be wrong for several reasons. First, it would make the phrase under discussion surplusage, redundant, unnecessary, etc. A basic rule of statutory (and contract for that matter) construction is that every word used is presumed to have been intended and intended to be given meaning. If merely being born in the US were sufficient to confer citizenship, then the clause in question is not necessary.

Second, the US, like any other country, has the right and the privilege to decide who is or is not subject to its jurisdiction. A person illegally in the country cannot force the US to extend its jurisdiction to him or her.

So, the AB phenomena is not a matter of absolute constitutional right. Rather, what we have is a custom or usage that is outside the meaning of the constitution. As a matter of equity, we--the country--can clarify by statute what is meant by "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof" and apply that prospectively. AB's up to that point, in equity, would be grandfathered in.

As a practical matter, if you are not in a state paying the freight on not just the AB's but their extended families, you lack standing to criticize those who say, rightly, that the cupboard is bare and there is no more room for you. Contra Sapient, Texas' unemployment rate among Hispanic's is quite high and it is highest on the border. No jobs means public support. Sorry, but we are already in the hole. Cruel? Maybe. Who else in the world already has 11 million illegals? Who else is being called on to absorb Mexico and Central America's failure to provide for their own?

Item No. Two:

Uneducated, non-English speaking people cannot contribute meaningfully, particularly when they arrive in the 10's, 100's and millions.

The last part should read "10's and 100's of thousands if not millions."

As it happens, not only am I familiar with US history, my wife, who entered the country legally, learned to speak English here, got a degree and eventually, while obeying the law, became a US citizen.

Today, we are not an agricultural country with 10's of thousands of prime acres just waiting to be taken from Native Americans. Furthermore, we are not in the early to middle industrial age where semi-skilled labor is in high demand.

We have a problem, today, right now, finding work for people who are citizens and who are not highly skilled, highly trained or well educated. Right now, today. Adding more people with few if any skills does not make us stronger; it adds to the burden on the public purse. California staggers under is social spending burden and has a huge illegal population on its rolls.

Education in Mexico if through grade 6, although many don't make it that far. Spanish is more of a spoken that a written language. I read and speak some Spanish. I read the notes from our cleaning/ironing lady and even I can see it is broken Spanish. This is the rule, not the exception.

Adding more and more people who bring less, and less than less, with them does not in any way make our country better. These broad sweeping statements about paying taxes and this great thing and that wonderful byproduct are bedtime stories. Unemployed people don't pay taxes. If they don't have a job, food, shelter, clothing and medical care have to be provided by others. Simple fact of life.

How many of you have seen an ESL class taught to immigrant children? Or talked to their teachers? I have. It's heartbreaking. These are kids whose parents mostly do seasonal yard work and clean houses. Knowing what these families face, we have our yard mowed the year around. Completely unnecessary, but it keeps five men working at least a couple hours a week.

These kids aren't learning anything. We are raising a second generation of children who have no chance at anything other than menial, hard work, the kind of stuff that ought to be entry level work for young people.

Sure, recent arrivals will do damn near anything for money. Having recently known hunger and having drunk out of the gutter, the poverty we deplore for citizens looks like a feast to destitute Mexicans. I get that.

However, the fact that recent, hungry illegals will do all the menial stuff the rest of us don't want to do isn't an argument for immigration unless you are also arguing for a permanent underclass. Rather, it's an argument for a guest worker program, which I support.

A percentage--this will always be the case--rise above. A percentage will see an opportunity, will catch a break, and start a small business. It is absolutely true that the majority of immigrants come here to work and to mind their own business. But assimilating them isn't easy and there is a point beyond which assimilation isn't going to happen because there is no work. If there is no work, immigrants remain isolated from the rest of society in crappy housing, living from dole to dole.

It is bullshit that illegal immigrants don't commit a ton of crime. We see it everyday here in Texas. If you haven't read the Atlantic link, please do so.

So, we have to close the southern border. Now. Not in five years, but now. People who arrived in the last 5 years or so probably need to go back. People here 5 or more years, people who are current on their taxes, who have roots and who have no criminal record of consequence, they stay. As legal residents. Not citizens and no path to citizenship. They came illegally, they get to stay. That is sufficiently fair. If they think that is unfair, good luck finding another country on this planet who would treat them better. Those of their children who are born here are citizens. There children who were not born here stand in line like everyone else to qualify for citizenship. They can cut to the head of line with military service.

So, as a bonus, I threw in my solution, which I'm sure all will agree is fair, just and right and pretty much brings the debate to an end.

Have a nice weekend.

PS--I'm not going to respond to the BS about privilege and whatnot. That's more bedtime story, feeding your preferred narrative.

Thanks for your replies here McK.

What I think makes sense is to let more people in the country, legally. Because the number we let in is pretty small, and lots more folks want to come than we allow in.

I think it also makes sense to create some kind of path to legal status for people who are here, have not committed crimes here (other than actually being here), have jobs and families here. If you want to put some kind of time bound on that, fine with me. IMO it's just stupid to think we're going to round up 11 million freaking people and make them go someplace else.

I understand that allowing folks in who have limited language skills and (in some or many cases) limited occupational skills creates competition with native-born Americans for low level jobs. That isn't the point I was contesting.

The point I was contesting is that having limited English skills and/or occupational skills or training prevents people from making valuable contributions to the US.

Because it doesn't, and we all see that it doesn't, each and every day. I don't live in a border state, I live in the northeast. What characterizes the non-English-speaking people where I live is that they work their freaking asses off.

As far as the issue of competition for low-income jobs, my general comment is that, if the reason we want to eliminate immigration is so that our very own native-born people can work those sh*t jobs for $10/hour or less, we have problems that extend well beyond immigration.

I read the Atlantic link, and what stood out to me were the following facts:

1. Immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than native born Americans

2. San Francisco might want to reconsider their posture of non-cooperation with federal immigration authorities when it comes to convicted felons

And I think the Atlantic deserves a kick in the nuts for lending credence to Trump's bullshit about "Mexico sending their worst". Mexico isn't "sending" anybody, people decide to come on their own initiative. And the people who come are not all, or primarily, criminals.

I understand that the experience of border areas is different than that of the rest of the country. If folks want to discuss the particular problems of border areas, I think that would be a topic of interest.

It would to me, anyway.

What I find to be basically an exercise in wishful thinking is this:

So, we have to close the southern border. Now.

How do you propose to do that?

People are willing to literally freaking die, and not just die but die painful anonymous deaths, to try to get here.

A lot of people come here because staying home is more likely to get them killed than trying to make the trip.

What the hell is going to stop them? A fence?

The facil answer is "yes, anyone who stands on US soil, legally or illegally, is by definition subject to US jurisdiction."

That answer would be wrong for several reasons. First, it would make the phrase under discussion surplusage, redundant, unnecessary, etc.

IANAL, but it occurs to me that there are categories of people who stand on US soil (legally), but are not subject to US jurisdiction. People with diplomatic immunity come immediately to mind. Which means that, if diplomats have a child while they are here, that child is likewise not subject to US jurisdiction, and therefore not a citizen.

But for all I know there are others who are also partly or wholely exempted. Can someone who knows more of the law help me out?

Not that all this invalidates the discussion when it comes to those who are here illegally. But I think we ought to keep track of where there are exceptions to our sweeping generalities.

How many of you have seen an ESL class taught to immigrant children? Or talked to their teachers? I have. It's heartbreaking.
...
However, the fact that recent, hungry illegals will do all the menial stuff the rest of us don't want to do isn't an argument for immigration unless you are also arguing for a permanent underclass.

What you seem to be saying here, if I am reading it correctly, is that we made a mistake with the way we implemented English as a Second Language instruction. The intent (to make it easier for kids to learn a language other than the one they spoke at home) was good. But in practice it has proven less successful than our old practice of just letting the kids struggle on their own. Counterintuitive, perhaps, not to mention harsh. But that's what it looks like to me.

That said, the problem is not that, if we keep letting in immigrants to do the dirty work, we will create a permanent underclass. It is that, unless we change how we approach acculturating them (specifically, how we teach English to their kids), we have that problem.

It looks like a solvable problem. But we have to get clear on what the real problem is if we are going to solve it.

I'd say the creation of a permanent underclass is seen as a feature by those who profit from it and those have a lot of influence in politics. But a citizen underclass is far less profitable and exploitable than one made up of 'illegals'.

McK,

First,

The AB phenomena is unique, sui generis to the US. No other country has it and no other country is considered to be racist or anything else negative for not having it.

Birthright citizenship is in fact almost universal in the Western Hemisphere, including Canada.

Further,

I read Frum's article, and found it unconvincing and statistically incoherent.

Essentially, his argument is"illegal immigrants commit a lot of crimes. Here are some completely disorganized but impressive-sounding numbers about that." There is no context, no analysis, no comparisons, no explanations, no baselines, nothing to actually present meaningful facts about immigrant crime, or to substantiate the alleged dangers of downplaying it. It's a rant.

As for the 14th Amendment, wj makes the same point made by some who are legal scholars, that the "jurisdiction" business referred to diplomats and the like.

It's true we don't know what the drafters would have thought about the notion of children of illegal immigrants, but why assume it matches what you think, rather than what they wrote. There were certainly lots of immigrants around in 1865.

Besides, what would it mean to decide that someone living in the US is not subject to the jurisdiction of the US? How can you do that? What happens when they commit one of those crimes Frum is so concerned about? "Not guilty, Your Honor, by virtue of not being subject to the jurisdiction of the US." Will that work? I doubt it. But if not, isn't the idea that Congress can declare people not subject to jurisdiction for some purposes, but not for others, just a way of trying to amend the Constitution by statute? And surely this strange power, if Congress has it is not limited to illegal immigrants. So it sounds just a touch dangerous to me.

Oops. Sorry about that.

Should read

"point made by some legal scholars."

If the comment can be deleted I'll repost it correctly, and write "Preview is your friend" on the board 100 times.

Fixed (I think) wj

Re: "subject to US jurisdiction", at the time Native American areas were considered 'sovereign' (otherwise why have 'treaties', that required Senate ratification?); and, in fact, Native Americans did not become full (and automatic) US citizens until sometime in the 1920s.

Anchor Babies are a myth, at least according to Philly Daily News conservative columnist Christine Flowers, who also happens to be an immigration lawyer.

Occasionally, knowledge and experience wins over ideology.

It doesn't matter what the facts are about any issue, including immigration.

Here's the future for RINOs like MCTX, Renee Ellmers, David Frum and John Boehner, who despite firm conservative creds, dare to have good faith moderate views on a particular policy issue or two, once you adjust for frequent Overton Window retrofits:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/09/kay-daly-renee-ellmers-rino-hunter

Why am I negotiating with people who are going to be shot at dawn?

Frum is a dead Canadian walking, and has been for some time.

http://nymag.com/news/politics/conservatives-david-frum-2011-11/

I prefer to let the smoke clear and then take my chances blowing the ascendant Trump/Carson/Cruz/Kay Daly's of the coming bloody tomorrows off the f*cking Earth.

the fact that recent, hungry illegals will do all the menial stuff the rest of us don't want to do isn't an argument for immigration unless you are also arguing for a permanent underclass.

Not to bore everybody with my freaking family history, but allow me to bore you with my freaking family history.

My great-grandparents came here, with my grandmother, from northern Italy sometime in the first years of the 20th C.

They didn't speak English well or at all. I know this because 50 years later they still didn't speak English well or at all.

They had no money. I know this because I know where they came from, and nobody there had any money whatsoever. The livestock lived on the first floor, second floor was the "living room", everybody slept on the third floor. In one big room. The kitchen was a hearth built on one of the outside walls.

When my grandmother went back in the 70's, there was still one phone in the village. It was in the church. If you got a phone call, the priest came and found you. The streets were too narrow for cars to fit, so you parked at the bottom of town and walked from there.

My great-grandfather was a strong SOB, and he paid the bills by, literally, digging what became the NYC subway system.

Check out the pictures here. The guys holding the shovels? My Italian-speaking, no-money immigrant great-grandfather did that.

One of his kids was an engineer at Bell Labs.

His grand-kids included two NYC firemen, a defense electronics executive, and my mother.

His great-grand-kids include a couple of lawyers, a Wall St commodities broker, a CPA, and among other people, me.

People come here and do whatever they have to do to establish some kind of toehold. Then, their kids go to school and do better. Then, *their* kids go to college and do even better.

Everybody has their own understanding of what this country is about. That is my understanding of what this country is about.

When I see native-born Americans lining up to pick vegetables, clean toilets, wash dishes, wipe the asses of insane geriatric patients in nursing homes, or any of the other 10,000 sh*t jobs that immigrants are only too happy to do for the sh*t pay they can get, I'll worry about the impact immigrants are having on the employment rate.

There are lots of things that affect the employment rate. To be dead honest, I'm not seeing immigrants as the biggest threat to a robust labor market in the US.

I appreciate that conditions in border areas are kind of messed up. I have family in Phoenix, and their experience of the immigration issue is not the same as mine.

But permanent underclass is BS.

Besides, what would it mean to decide that someone living in the US is not subject to the jurisdiction of the US?

Now there is an interesting question for the lawyers in the house.

McTx: How many of you have seen an ESL class taught to immigrant children?

Not just seen one, but taken one. It was not "heartbreaking", possibly because it was in pinko MA during the Johnson administration.

It was not a single class; it was a half-day, every day program. Buses would collect us immigrant kids from the 5 or 6 public schools in the city around lunchtime, and bring us to a single site where we would spend the next 4 hours learning English. There were about 100 of us, so there were 4 classes, I think. My class was taught by a Greek seminary student, which gave me a leg up on the Spanish-speaking kids. Being 10 years old was my other leg up: the program started in mid-September and by Thanksgiving my English was good enough to go back to my regular 4th-grade class and start getting straight A's. Except in spelling; that took until after Christmas. And of course I was already getting A+ in arithmetic from the get-go, because Greek elementary schools don't fool around with that stuff.

I have no idea how the program was funded, or whether nativist yahoos opposed it, or whether any of my classmates were "illegals". I would not presume to suggest that the taxpayers got their money's worth out of me or any of the other kids in the decades since.

What I can say with certainty is that the half-day approach worked well for me, for my brother, and for all the other kids in our class. I often joke that I learned English from a summer of watching The 3 Stooges and Major Mudd, but it is just a joke. It was the ESL program that did it.

A propos of nothing, I will mention something I've mentioned before: the richest man I know personally is a Greek immigrant who came to the US illiterate and unskilled. He is a minor tycoon in fast food and real estate in Russell's neck of the woods. He has created dozens of jobs for native-born job consumers. He is, naturally or inexplicably depending on your point of view, still a Democrat.

--TP

It's a wonder Yogi or his parents before him didn't join the Black Hand/Mafia instead of the Yankees to protect his people, since everyone already in the country probably thought that was what all Italians did:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Italianism

http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Ha-La/Italian-Americans.html

From the second cite:

"Immigrants often sought out Little Italies as a result of the hostility they encountered in American society. As a despised minority rooted in the working class and seemingly resistant to assimilation, Italians suffered widespread discrimination in housing and employment. American responses to the immigrants occasionally took uglier forms as Italians became the victims of intimidation and violence, the most notorious incident being the 1890 lynching of 11 Italians in New Orleans. Italian mass migration coincided with the growth of a nativism that identified southern and eastern Europeans as undesirable elements. Inspired by the pseudo-scientific findings of eugenics and social Darwinism, turn-of-the-century nativists often branded southern Italians as especially inferior. Powerful stereo-types centering on poverty, clannishness, illiteracy, high disease rates, and an alleged proclivity toward criminal activities underscored the view that southern Italians were a degenerate "race" that should be denied entry to America. Criticism of Italians became integral to the successful legislative drives to enact the nativist Literacy Test in 1917 and National Origins Acts in 1921 and 1924."

I would add that most Italian immigrants had little education beyond the third grade when they arrived here.

How different is that picture from the one Frum draws?

Again, we had a shot at rational immigration reform in which everyone on this thread might have found something to their liking.

It was scuttled by what are now laughingly called RINOs to advance a pointless war on one man - Obama -- and now those RINOs are being shot from behind.

All bets are off.

Listen to that shotgun blast in the ad.

That's the future of heightened contradictions.


While I disagree with the vast majority of McK's lengthy comment, I want to address just one sentence:
"Who else is being called on to absorb Mexico and Central America's failure to provide for their own?"

I spent half of my adult life working in counter-narcotics, much of it for US Southern Command, both in the military and as a civilian. This is the four star "Combatant Command" in charge of US military affairs and concerns in South and Central America and the Caribbean. My assessment: we caused Central American and Mexico's inability "to provide for their own."

When the War On Drugs heated up, we (the various US agencies involved in counter-drug trafficking) managed to force the cocaine and other drug movement out of the air routes from SOUTHAM to the US border states. Then over the course of a couple decades we forced the majority of it out of the long haul direct maritime routes. Over time the drug trafficking routes shifted more and more into Central America, commonly via short maritime routes intersecting both coasts of CENTAM, especially into Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras, before being transferred to trucks for land route shipping.

This massive infusion of US-bound narcotics resulted in massive increases in the power of organized gangs along with a significant infusion of military grade weapons.
We can lay out an X-Y axis of the cocaine transits into CENTAM over time, and overlay that onto an X-Y graphic of the murder rate in Honduras over time, and the match is damn near perfect. Hell, I actually watched it briefed this way, albeit accidentally, during a detailed power point presentation in my last months of work in this field. This is an understood cause and effect situation among many of the people that work transit zone counter-trafficking, though the public affairs offices are sure to spin it differently.

In short: we caused a significant amount of the problem, especially in CENTAM, and many of those people are fleeing US created and enabled gangs that threaten their existence.

As a separate point, your statement implying that those of us who don't live in what you define as a border state don't get an opinion on the matter is offensive.

Footnote to the Count's 9:41 and russell's earlier stories:

My family history has a lot in common with russell's on the Italian side. My dad was the son and grandson of immigrants on both sides. My Italian grandfather came to the US with his mother and siblings as a child in the early 20th century, to rejoin my great-grandfather, who had been in the country working for a couple of years before that. I don't know anything about my great-grandparents and the language; I do know they had a small farm outside the town where my relatives are now in my family’s sixth generation as Americans. (On my mother’s side it’s more like twelve generations now.)

My grandfather was remembered as a brilliant locomotive mechanic fifty years after he died in the late fifties. (I.e., he worked. Hard. And well.) According to my dad and my aunt (in response to complaints by my generation that they didn't teach us Italian), my grandfather said: "They're American, they can talk American" -- so that generation didn't really speak Italian in the first place, although the older siblings understood it to some extent. (I have read that despite appearances, a massive study in southern California suggests that language assimilation is happening in just the same way now; I don't have time to try to find the reference. The appearance is otherwise because right now there’s a constant flow of new non-English-speakers.)

Pertaining to the Count's quoted passage, my mom (not Italian; that's a story in itself, the marrying out) has in her possession a letter of recommendation from when my dad applied to be a city firefighter. His former boss wrote, "He is a very hard worker, despite the fact that his people are Italian."

My dad (and his siblings) worked as hard as anyone I've ever known. For most of my childhood my dad worked the equivalent of two full-time jobs; as a firefighter he had entire days off where he could go do the other work, which was running heavy equipment and other physical labor. Also, of course, he and most of his brothers served in the military during WWII and/or Korea.

Yet some yahoo was pleased to write that he was a hard worker *despite* being Italian.

Why is it offensive? How does it actually effect your life? Do you have to go to the English speaking part of town for people to understand you? Do your neighbors live 15 to a house where no one speaks English? There are dozens of ridiculous meme's in this thread. Those immigrants do all the work us Americans don't want to? Really? How much is that job going to pay if 11 million people want it? Permanent underclass? Have you been in an elementary school where English is taught as a second language, in every grade? Do you live in a state where the war on poverty is lost because a million new people a year arrive jobless and homeless? Can you process that millions of people are simply saying they don't want to live in northern Mexico, and that line moves farther north every year? Move to Douglas or Bisbee and tell me you understood before. Yes, I want the US to be the country that Russells grandparents assimilated into, not the one I have to recall my eighth grade Spanish to visit.

Do you want your great grandkids to live in a Spanish speaking country? Have you ever been forced to consider the possibility?

I don't really care if my great grandkids live in a Spanish speaking country. I don't really see that in the cards, but it's not, remotely, at the top of my list of priorities.

my neighbors don't live 15 to a house, but I can go about two miles and find that. ditto the Spanish language thing.

spanish, hmong, creole, Brazilian. all common here in the people's republic.

I live in MA, not TX, but there are lots of places here where most folks don't speak English.

if you have any good ideas for sealing the border that don't involve the wholesale assassination of people trying to come here, by all means share them. but as far as I can tell, the ground truth is that a lot of people want to come here, but we don't let most of them do so legally.

do the math.

I understand that the issues are more acute in border areas, but no, you're not the only folks that have standing to hold a point of view on the issue.

and for the record, my great-grands didn't really assimilate.

their kids did, eventually.

is there a "conservative" policy that, when boiled down, doesn't reduce to : I Got Mine, Jack! ?

Marty: Do you want your great grandkids to live in a Spanish speaking country?

Assuming for the sake of argument that the answer is "No", who the hell am I (or Marty) to decide how our great-grandkids should live?

I don't want my great-grandkids to live in a religious country. Or a plutocratic country. Or a racist country. And I have just as much say in how our great-grandkids should live as Marty does -- which is to say, not very much. Our descendants 3 generations down the line will not be living in our world, but in their own.

If our great-grandkids turn out to prefer a world in which we would not be happy, we can console ourselves with this thought: we shall be comfortably dead -- or near enough as makes no difference.

--TP

"I Got Mine, Jack!"

That's poor English. I don't know why conservative policy wonks and Barbara Streisand talk so funny. Capiche?

If you want to speak perfect Spanish, here's a good sentence to practice with, from "The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre": "We don't need no stinkin badges!" out of the mouth of actor Alfonso Bedoya.

The Hayes Code made them leave out the good stuff, like cabron and chinga du madre from the original source.

That other Mexican actor, Eli Wallach, tried a similar schtick in "The Magnificent Seven". He was pretty good for a second generation fluent English speaker from an immigrant Jewish family who landed in Red Hook. But somehow "Murray, enough with the badges already. What am I, chopped liver?" wasn't as convincing.

This word "meme"? What language is that? Orkan? Or did someone just make that up and decide it was English?

Colorado, here, if you'll pardon my French. Had a great burrito today at Los Carboncitos tucked away behind a Fruteria in a little Mexican shopping center. All Spanish-speaking, most probably first generation, as far as I know, except when they spoke pretty fluent English with an accent to me. I mean we didn't discuss Schopenhauer, but we got it done.

Sometimes their kids are sitting at a table doing schoolwork when I'm there and it sounds like the dinner table conversation from Father Knows Best, except that Robert Young isn't hung over.

I'm thinking next time I go, I'll click my heels together and resort to my German heritage and demand zere papers, meine fraulein. Vee can't be too careful, can vee now. Ven Gautleiter Trump assumes command, vee vill haf vays of determining your destinations. Zee trains vill be prompt, and huge. Very Huge.

And then pop my monocle and turn abruptly to do a little polka step out the door while doing my Wayne Newton "Danke Schoen" imitation.

When I was in college I decided to spend a summer working in Manhatten. English speaker here (I talk like Eddie Murphy's version of a white guy) got himself a job working the freight elevator (the kind where you tug on a greasy cable to make it rise and fall; had a dingy "office" in the basement where I would await the bell for service) in a rundown eight story building bordering Chinatown and Little Italy. It was small manufacturing and garment businesses pretty much.

Chinese, Hasidim (Yiddish), Italian, Spanish and Puerto Rican native speakers all with some English spoken for my benefit but it was a kaleidoscope for me. The Hasidic owner would greet me "Chonney" and buss my cheek.

Maybe he got that from the Italians.

Great food one block in all four directions.

I lived in the Philippines for 27 months a long time ago. English is taught in the schools and nearly everyone is fluent, except for the remote barrios.

I should have thought to ask them if they had had ever been forced to consider the possibility of living in a country of English-speakers, not that there is anything wrong with that, but they'd probably say, been there, done that.

Sorry, Marty brings out the best in me.

Maynard says Que Pasa.


Count, you are wonderful.

Since we are sharing family stories, let me offer up a couple:

My grandfather immigrated when he was 8. He met my grandmother when he was working as a manager in a mine in northern Mexico (she was the camp nurse). Ended up managing skyscrapers in San Francisco. One son became a lawyer and a judge. The other became a police chief (Berkeley, CA -- for over a decade in the late 40s and 50s).

Then there are my in-laws. My grandmother in law (when I met her she was in her she was at least 70) never became fluent in English. Enough to run a shop, but not fluent -- as in, when my mother-in-law was introducing me to Grandma, she did so in Japanese.** The rest my grandparents-in-law were similarly limited. Did any of them become citizens? Almost certainly not -- if memory serves, the law did not allow them to.

And then? My father-in-law was with the 442 Regimental Combat Team. Part of the cadre of NCOs who were already in the army in 1940. (If you don't know that unit, look it up.) And my mother-in-law went to high school at Manzanar. They ended up with a house in Pasadena a couple of blocks from the Rose Bowl. And their estate was damn near of $1 million.

Ignorant and unskilled immigrants: the bane of America.

** When I was able to respond to the introduction with hajimemashite Grandma just lit up. As far as she was concerned, I was IN.

Russell, the fact that you think its the same IS the problem.

what do I think is the same?

Thanks to whoever fixed my comment.

A multicultural melting pot of mayhem:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/munir-uwaydah-medical-fraud-phony-doctor

I wondering if this person "Nelson" is as deportable as the rest of them?

Sounds like being fluent in English aided and abetted all around.

Course, District Attorney Chon sounds like she has matters in hand.

Mayhem.

We are charging you with five counts of Mayhem.

Really, Mayhem you say? Well, of all the crimes to be charged with, that has the most interesting ring to it.

What are you in for?

Mayhem.

Jeez, stay away from that guy.

Hey, relax, my grandmother was Italian so we're good to go:

https://twitter.com/NoShock/status/647492119293231104

The standard anti-immigration rant for the past century and a half or so:

Sure, we (or our parents) were immigrants, but THIS TIME IT'S DIFFERENT!!

Rinse and repeat.

Sheesh.

Well, in one respect this time is different.

I can't recall an instance of an Irish political candidate arguing that further immigration from Ireland was a threat to the nation. Ditto a German one, an Italian one, a Chinese one, a Japanese one, etc., etc. But this time, we have folks like Rubio and Cruz who are embracing exactly that position -- that more immigration from their own ethnic group is somehow a threat.

Doesn't make the position valid. But it is a difference.

wj,

I bet there have been Irish politicians opposing German immigration and vice versa. Cuban politicians opposing Mexican immigration may be similar. Cubans and Mexicans may not see each other as compatriots any more than the Germans and the Irish do.

--TP

I don't think that Rubio and Cruz oppose cuban immigration. In particular, I don't think they are willing to treat Cubans the same as other latin-americans (repeal the 'wet foot/dry foot' policy).

My opinion is that we should treat them all the same: if Cubans get "wet foot/dry foot", so do Mexicans.

Every couple of generations, someone I'm related to gets the 'genealogy' bug...but after years and years of work, they still haven't found where the one side of my ancestry came to American. I figure that Loki infiltrated the Roanoke colony, then headed west to cause more mischief. Supposedly, a relative on BOTH sides of the Revolutionary War, generals on BOTH sides of the US civil war. Yeah, Loki. What else would you expect?

All you johnny-come-latelies can STFU bitching about immigration in the present day, unless you're a fluent Navaho speaker, in which case, carry on.

ETA: apologies for bogarting yer gig, Count.

Marty, if you don't mind me asking, is there a candidate for the Republican nomination who you think is closest to articulating your position, on immigration or anything else (if indeed any of them do)? We know that McKT is or was keenest on Fiorina, but I would be interested to hear your opinion.

I like Jeb

Thank you.

apologies for not being able to respond, thanks to everyone for commenting, especially McT, to whom the OP was tacitly addressed. I have three points about your comment. The first was basically what Jack Ashore said, and I'd sharpen the point a bit by asking if you feel you could, as a lawyer, convince a jury that the Mexican people had suffered from both the American demand for drugs and the subsequent War on Drugs and that the US carried some responsibility for the current social situation? And if you could do that, isn't that a admission that it isn't really just 'their' problem?

The second point is your suggestion for guest worker programs. I would ask you to point to one guest worker program that has worked/is working. It didn't work in German with Turks, it didn't work in Japan with Japanese Brazilians, it didn't work with the Bracero program in the US, it is not working with H-2 visas now. The reason is simple. People make lives where they are, and it is ridiculous to think they somehow would or even could seal themselves off from the culture they are residing in.

At any rate, the US doesn't have a good track record with guest worker programs, so I would assume that the conservative would not propose one unless he thinks he could address the problems that exist in the current ones.
https://www.splcenter.org/20130218/close-slavery-guestworker-programs-united-states

The only time guest worker programs 'work' is when the government that sends them exerts a severe amount of control over the workers, which is why North Korea loves the idea of a guest worker program

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/nov/07/north-koreans-working-state-sponsored-slaves-qatar

As for the last point, I don't have much to add to what others have said about your mistaken notion that some sort of ability in written Spanish means anything except to point out that your assumption that this is a failure on your cleaning lady's part might be mistaken. I may be assuming a bit on my part, but your discussion of your communication with your cleaning lady suggests that you don't know anything about where about her background/roots. I would guess that she is from an area like Oaxaca and is not a Spanish Native speaker, but a speaker of an indigenous language. This post from LGM provides a useful example:

This issue of language is extremely important, including when indigenous people come to the United States. My wife tells a story of a Mexican child placed into special education programs in American schools because when the teacher spoke in Spanish, the child clearly did not understand. Rather, the child was perfectly intelligent–but didn’t speak Spanish. The kid was indigenous.

We think of Latino migrants making up a Spanish-speaking community in the United States, but it’s often more complicated than that. Especially for people coming from southern Mexico and Guatemala, these are often not native Spanish speakers. Rather, they speak Mixtec, Zapotec, K’ich’e-Maya, or one of many less well-known indigenous languages.

LJ, why do you think the bracero program didn't work?

Granted, the workers did not always received all of their wages, and working and living conditions were frequently pretty bad. But then, the same could be said of illegal immigrants today.

i teach in a school district in texas where 48% of the children are hispanic. out of 270 6th graders on my campus four of them are in an esl class and one of those is a native speaker of arabic. of the parents of the children i teach, 5 require a translator when we meet and the rest speak english. many of the local anglos and hispanics have intermarried. i have been among hispanics and african-americans my whole life. i am unafraid of immigrants, legal and otherwise, because i have been watching them building the state i live in my whole life (i am 54). i have heard demagogues ranting about the doom of our culture and civilization from the illegal hordes for most of that time. i'm so tired of one group of people demonizing another group of people to try and hold on to some temporary advantage i could cry.

Some analysis and figures to compare to the Atlantic article.

And, yes, I have many students in my university classes who have been through ESL classes and a number of those who are the children of undocumented parents. All of those students have been at least as successful in their studies as the majority of their peers and most of them have been both more politically engaged and more intent upon using their education to give back to the community at large.

Many of those students have also grown up in neighborhoods that are deeply affected by violence, crimes, and gangs. True. I've heard the stories. But those conditions are not an inevitable byproduct of illegal immigration; they are a byproduct of the War on Drugs and the dysfunctional politics that it perpetuates. Take away the illegal drug trafficking and those neighborhoods would be both less full of refugees and less full of violent gangs.

Also, another perspective on the multi-sided dynamic of drug violence; this youtube video is an excerpt from Noticias de uma Guerra Particular which is a Brazilian documentary that was part of the bonus materials for the City of God DVD. It makes a powerful argument for how the international firearms industry profits off of, and helps to escalate, the War on Drugs.

We are helping to create the violence by which we are afflicted. It's a vicious cycle. Education and more widespread economic opportunity are the only real answer to that problem. Neither great, but concentrated wealth nor more ruthless enforcement are going to break this dynamic.

http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=21746

https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/pqo01

As a result of the Good Neighbor Policy, Mexico and the United States began negotiating an accord to protect the rights of Mexican agricultural workers. Continuing discussions and modifications of the agreement were so successful that the Congress chose to formalize the "temporary" program into the Bracero program, authorized by Public Law 78. In the early 1940s, while the program was being viewed as a success in both countries, Mexico excluded Texas from the labor-exchange program on the grounds of widespread violation of contracts, discrimination against migrant workers, and such violations of their civil rights as perfunctory arrests for petty causes. Oblivious to the Mexican charges, some grower organizations in Texas continued to hire illegal Mexican workers and violate such mandates of PL 78 as the requirement to provide workers transportation costs from and to Mexico, fair and lawful wages, housing, and health services. World War II and the postwar period exacerbated the Mexican exodus to the United States, as the demand for cheap agricultural laborers increased. Graft and corruption on both sides of the border enriched many Mexican officials as well as unethical "coyote" freelancers in the United States who promised contracts in Texas for the unsuspecting Bracero. Studies conducted over a period of several years indicate that the Bracero program increased the number of illegal aliens in Texas and the rest of the country. Because of the low wages paid to legal, contracted braceros, many of them skipped out on their contracts either to return home or to work elsewhere for better wages as "wetbacks."

At the end of any guest worker program, either the country that hosts the guest workers has to deport them or their country of origin has to force them to come back.

I guess I'm unclear on why kids being enrolled in ESL classes is a bad thing.

is it a kind of marker for a very high rate of immigration?

is it the cost of the program?

Education in Mexico if through grade 6, although many don't make it that far.

Basic education in Mexico is mandatory through grade 9 - I'm not sure, but I think this was true even before the 2012 reform. Since the reform, education at "media superior" level - equivalent to either high school or trade school - is obligatory. Many don't make it that far; many make it even further.

Spanish is more of a spoken that a written language.

What modern language isn't?

So, we have to close the southern border. Now. Not in five years, but now.

A civil engineering analysis of Trump's wall.

The border with Mexico is about 2,000 miles long. We currently have about 20,000 border patrol folks tasked with securing it. Per here, 20,000 people are able to accomplish the following:

they only have "effective control" of less than 700 miles (1,100 km) of the 1,954 miles (3,145 km) of total border,[19] with an ability to actually prevent or stop illegal entries along 129 miles (208 km) of that border.

If it takes 20,000 people to achieve that, what will it take to "close" - prevent or stop illegal entries - for 2,000 miles of border?

The US-Mexico border has more legal crossings per year than any other international border in the world. About 350 million people - a little more than the entire population of the US - cross the border each year, legally.

How do close a 2,000 mile border in way that keeps out all the people you don't want, but still allows 350 million to cross, legally, each year?

I appreciate that illegal immigration creates a lot of problems, and that the border areas bear the brunt of them.

But I don't see "closing the border" as a realistic goal. How would you even do it?

LJ, why do you think the bracero program didn't work?

wj, from what followed, I take it this question was tongue-in-cheek?

Well, as a first measure there should be piranhas and alligators in the Rio Grande (until proper Australian crocodiles can be imported and bred in sufficient numbers). All waterholes in the border deserts must be seeded with electric eels. The deserts itself need more scorpions and (over time) lots of the nastier Australian snakes. Indian and African bees should also be kept on reserve to be strategically deployed.
The program to train attack lämmergeier for the more mountaineous border regions should be started without delay (they will laso take care of the remnants).

Plus sharks with friggin' laser beams.

Even if there are particular places dealing with significant problems because of illegal immigration, I would think that, if it's possible, realistically and reasonably humanely, to address those problems effectively in the first place, it could be done without being the determinant of our national immigration policy as a whole.

I don't have the answers, but I'm not categorically opposed to addressing problems in especially burdened communities, even fairly aggressively. I just don't think doing so should be the basis for overall policy-making on immigration.

And it sure as hell shouldn't be based on too many people speaking Spanish (especially in places we stole from Mexico).

LJ, why do you think the bracero program didn't work?

wj, from what followed, I take it this question was tongue-in-cheek?

Actually, no Bobby, it was a serious question.

I'll grant that what followed the bracero program's termination has been a problem. But all that shows is that there was a demand which did not disappear when the program which met that demand ended.

Ugh, how old-fashioned! Land sharks with frikkin laser-guided gatling guns should be the minimum until the sharktopuses are ready.

hsh: Even if there are particular places dealing with significant problems because of illegal immigration, I would think that, if it's possible, realistically and reasonably humanely, to address those problems effectively in the first place, it this question was tongue-in-cheek?

A cynic could suspect that it comes down to this. Dealing with the significant problems that result from illegal immigration would be an expenditure welfare. I.e. spending money on people. Which, in the eyes of some people, is merely wasting our hard-earned tax dollars on those who would rather cash government checks than get a job and do real work.

Whereas a wall is a defense expenditure for hardware. Which, in the eyes of many of those same people, is a good and noble thing for some people.

":And it sure as hell shouldn't be based on too many people speaking Spanish (especially in places we stole from Mexico)."

Look, can we stop doing this? I would love to have one serious conversation that didn't bring up stealing land from the Native Americans or Mexico or Canada or Russia. Some set of people bought or took all of the US during a period when colonization happened. The US has one of the shortest histories for a country in the world, so we still remember who we took it from. Most of the land in the world has changed hands a few time.

I'm ok if we want to have a discussion about ceding land back to Mexico, that would just move the border we are talking about north. It's completely irrelevant to this topic.

I'm not sure how we close the border short of militarizing it, at great cost, expense, and lots of unnecessary dead people.

Oh, it's a feature not a bug you say? Carry on.

I would love to have one serious conversation that didn't bring up stealing land from the Native Americans or Mexico or Canada or Russia.

This is a reasonable request, IMO.

I'd say that, for purely historical reasons, it probably shouldn't be that surprising that a lot of people in the southwest speak Spanish.

That said, I don't think that's really what you were getting at in your comments upthread.

My questions about immigration are basically pragmatic ones:

If you want to "seal the border", how exactly would you do that?

If that is not practical or desirable, what do we do instead?

If the border areas are bearing an unfair amount of the burden of dealing with immigrants (legal or illegal), what kind of help or support do they need from the rest of us?

What do we do about the several million people who are already here illegally?

Round them up and send them home? How does that work, exactly?

Define some kind of path to legalize their status? What kind of status do they end up with? How do we implement that, on the scale that is needed?

I disagree with the idea that people with limited language skills and/or employment credentials have no contribution to make. They do so today.

That doesn't mean I don't recognize that an influx of millions of people doesn't create problems, of various kinds.

What I'm interested in are ways to address those problems that are both humane, and achievable in the real world.

You have to deal with the reality as it presents itself, not the way you wish it was.

There are something like a half million illegal border crossings (on the southern border) per year. That's a lot of people, but it's about one and one-half tenths of one percent of the US population. 15 people sneaking in for every 10,000 people who are already here. If my math is off here, somebody please correct me.

And, not all of those folks are likely to want to actually stay.

I understand that it sucks when all of those folks land on your doorstep, but I just find it hard to believe that we, as a nation, are incapable of dealing with immigration at rates like 15 people coming in for every 10,000 folks that are already here.

Is that really a threat that requires us to build a 2,000 mile long wall?

I would love to have one serious conversation that didn't bring up stealing land from the Native Americans or Mexico or Canada or Russia.

This is a reasonable request, IMO.

I'd say that, for purely historical reasons, it probably shouldn't be that surprising that a lot of people in the southwest speak Spanish.

That said, I don't think that's really what you were getting at in your comments upthread.

My questions about immigration are basically pragmatic ones:

If you want to "seal the border", how exactly would you do that?

If that is not practical or desirable, what do we do instead?

If the border areas are bearing an unfair amount of the burden of dealing with immigrants (legal or illegal), what kind of help or support do they need from the rest of us?

What do we do about the several million people who are already here illegally?

Round them up and send them home? How does that work, exactly?

Define some kind of path to legalize their status? What kind of status do they end up with? How do we implement that, on the scale that is needed?

I disagree with the idea that people with limited language skills and/or employment credentials have no contribution to make. They do so today.

That doesn't mean I don't recognize that an influx of millions of people doesn't create problems, of various kinds.

What I'm interested in are ways to address those problems that are both humane, and achievable in the real world.

You have to deal with the reality as it presents itself, not the way you wish it was.

There are something like a half million illegal border crossings (on the southern border) per year. That's a lot of people, but it's about one and one-half tenths of one percent of the US population. 15 people sneaking in for every 10,000 people who are already here. If my math is off here, somebody please correct me.

And, not all of those folks are likely to want to actually stay.

I understand that it sucks when all of those folks land on your doorstep, but I just find it hard to believe that we, as a nation, are incapable of dealing with immigration at rates like 15 people coming in for every 10,000 folks that are already here.

Is that really a threat that requires us to build a 2,000 mile long wall?

Ugh,

There is a way of securing a border with surprisingly little hardware: border zones.

A border zone is a strip of land with restricted entry for everyone. Anyone inside the zone is required to carry a special permit. This is a way if minimizing authorized traffic, which makes it much easier to detect unauthorized persons. If you combine it with a populace that is willing to report all unknown wanderers to the authorities, you will be able to seal a border even without any kind of fence.

In the Finnish case, the border zone against Russia is three kilometers wide. The border zone on the Russian side is fifty kilometers wide. That stops unauthorized border crossing almost completely.

Making San Diego a closed border zone would obviously cause problems, but this might be a workable approach in the deserts.

How would you implement "restricted entry" for not-quite 2,000 miles of desert and other undeveloped wild or semi-wild areas?

How would border zones, with restricted access, support 350 million people crossing the border legally each year?

The border between Finland and Russia is 833 miles long. What resources are needed to prevent or stop unauthorized crossings?

I'm not saying it's impossible, it's likely a more workable idea than a 2,000 mile long wall.

I'm just not clear on how it works for the US-Mexico context.

I must be missing something. A border zone is just a wider border -- those who are going to sneak across have to go a little further to get clear.

We already have shown that we can't deal with the entire border, especially in the desert regions where nobody lives anyway. So the only places that it would appear to help would be the cities and towns that are close to the border.

So what we are talking about is this. Anybody and everybody (I assume you are not planning to exempt, for example, blonds) who lives in El Paso or San Diego or Brownsville, etc. would be subject -- at any time -- to "Papers, please." Ditto anybody visiting those cities. Sorry, that is not "workable" -- not to mention a horrible example of expanding government overreach.

Most of the land in the world has changed hands a few time.

Indeed. And in many of those places the social memory of that expropriation is still quite strong.

Thus, it still has relevance. Ask any Cypriot, or Serb, or Croat, or Kurd.....the list is long.

You want a serious conversation? Don't start it by demanding we first "build a wall", because that is a totally unserious policy demand. And you might also have a conversation with the corporate and agricultural communities....you know, your fellow conservative political allies who thrive on hiring illegal aliens to begin with because you know...LOW WAGES.

Most of the land in the world has changed hands a few time.

Indeed. And in many of those places the social memory of that expropriation is still quite strong.

Thus, it still has relevance. Ask any Cypriot, or Serb, or Croat, or Kurd.....the list is long.

You want a serious conversation? Don't start it by demanding we first "build a wall", because that is a totally unserious policy demand. And you might also have a conversation with the corporate and agricultural communities....you know, your fellow conservative political allies who thrive on hiring illegal aliens to begin with because you know...LOW WAGES.

And you might also have a conversation with the corporate and agricultural communities....you know, your fellow conservative political allies

Bobby, that's looking it might be one of the more interesting "unintended consequences" of the current GOP primaries. The union between the cultural/social conservatives and the fiscal/business conservatives might be breaking down.

It might hold together somehow. But if the big donors decide that the nominee is simply too hostile to their interests to be worth the money? Might make for a very different general election campaign from what we are accustomed to.

The next time I mention people speaking Spanish on formerly-Mexican, now-American soil, I'll put a smiley face at the end. Deal? Then we won't have to off on tangents about ceding land and what not (in lieu of making realistic suggestions on solving immigration problems particular to border towns).

Hi wj,
I guess my point is that every program terminates, and that's where you have your problems. It's a failure to view the long-term fact that if you are going to have people staying someplace for a long period of time, you have to expect that for some portion of them, that place is going to become their home. McT likes to scoff at the liberal valuing of diversity, but the only alternative to diversity is walls and borders and a huge amount of time and effort expended on keeping people both in and out.

lj, I see that. But if memory serves that braceros were men who came, worked, and went home (to Mexico, generally) every year. No families. Which rather eliminates that part of the problem.

Certainly the program may end, especially when the demand for workers falls. But I'm missing where the fact that some guys are no longer coming (single; without families) to work, and then going home is going to create an immigration problem.

Rather, the problem comes if the program ends and the demand has not gone away. That's when you see illegal immigration. The demand has to be met somehow. And if it is too hard to get across the border every year, the obvious thing to do is come ones, get a permanent residence, and bring the family. Which they have.

In terms of human dignity, the bracero program was an utter failure.

Bobby, you might want to consider this. As bad as the bracero program appears from our perspective, that isn't the only perspective. A lot of these men came back, year after year, because even with all its shortcomings, it provided substantially better conditions and pay than were available back home.

It's just like the case with today's sweatshops in SE Asia. Yes, the conditions are terrible. But still, there is competition to get jobs there because the alternatives available are worse.

You can argue that we ought to do something to improve conditions for both alternatives. But until and unless we come up with a viable way to accomplish that, simply demanding that workplaces that we know about be shut down is nonsense. Not to mention that it forces the workers involved into worse conditions.

Whenever you set up a situation where you are not paying the market value for labor, it seems to me that you are introducing a pressure into the system for poor treatment.

But my objection to a guest worker program is not that it is somehow the worst of possible alternatives. I object to it because it is being presented by McT as a 'solution' to the current problems. The bracero program focussed on farm labor and I hope everyone realizes that not being able to produce español bien escrito is a requirement for that kind of job. Would that be for his laundry person? Or the gardner? It is more a rhetorical immunization, a wave of the hand to the fact that things would grind to a halt without illegal immigration. I'm reminded of what Chris Rock wrote about Mexicans in Hollywood

But forget whether Hollywood is black enough. A better question is: Is Hollywood Mexican enough? You're in L.A, you've got to try not to hire Mexicans. It's the most liberal town in the world, and there's a part of it that's kind of racist — not racist like "F— you, nigger" racist, but just an acceptance that there's a slave state in L.A. There's this acceptance that Mexicans are going to take care of white people in L.A. that doesn't exist anywhere else. I remember I was renting a house in Beverly Park while doing some movie, and you just see all of the Mexican people at 8 o'clock in the morning in a line driving into Beverly Park like it's General Motors. It's this weird town.

You're telling me no Mexicans are qualified to do anything at a studio? Really? Nothing but mop up? What are the odds that that's true? The odds are, because people are people, that there's probably a Mexican David Geffen mopping up for somebody's company right now. The odds are that there's probably a Mexican who's that smart who's never going to be given a shot. And it's not about being given a shot to greenlight a movie because nobody is going to give you that — you've got to take that. The shot is that a Mexican guy or a black guy is qualified to go and give his opinion about how loud the boings are in Dodgeball or whether it's the right shit sound you hear when Jeff Daniels is on the toilet in Dumb and Dumber. It's like, "We only let white people do that." This is a system where only white people can chime in on that. There would be a little naivete to sitting around and going, "Oh, no black person has ever greenlighted a movie," but those other jobs? You're kidding me, right? They don't even require education. When you're on the lower levels, they're just about taste, nothing else. And you don't have to go to Harvard to have taste.

Chris Rock for President.

Chris Rock for President.

Chris Rock is one of the most intelligent and fair-minded observers on race in the US that I know. And not just race.

I always remember him saying in one of his stand-up routines something to the effect that, if you're black, America is like the uncle who put you through college, but molested you when you were a kid. It's kind of sick, but it gets the point across, I suppose.

I got distracted by work and other stuff, so a couple of quick counters:

1. We can "close the border" by, first, legalizing people here more than five years, and giving those with less than five years but with real roots a fair hearing on staying. That done, anyone coming in the country after X date is going back, no matter what, and anyone who hires someone arriving in the country after X date pays a big ass fine. Dis-incentives will get the job done as will aggressive prospective deportation.

2. We all have great immigrant stories. That is totally beside the point.

3. There isn't work here for everyone who wants to come here.

4. BP is right--the Chamber of Commerce wants cheap labor. Screw them. Pay a fair wage.

5. LJ, our maid speaks only Spanish. She can read it somewhat, and write it barely. She is the product of a shitty school system, as are most Mexicans. Not their fault, fact of life. But, they come here without much of a sense of language as a written device/tool and very little sense of higher education other than in a very theoretical sense. Because we are short on labor intensive jobs, and none of them have a great future except some construction trades, we are importing a large underclass. Not their fault, just that assimilation is problematic as is advancement.

6. Mexico is a screwed up mess because it has always been a screwed up mess. Any marginal increase occasioned by the US is a rounding error. Go down there and look around. I've been in the interior of Mexico a half dozen times (hunting). As run down as the towns are, the rural areas are dreadful. This is not new. The slum surrounding Mexico City numbers in the millions. It did when I was studying Mexican history in 1974--way before Uncle Sam invaded and made things worse. Or didn't invade and made things worse.

7. As for the quaint notion that immigrants from the south don't commit a lot of crime--travel around in Mexico and Central America. Know what a good business is to be in down there? Selling and installing decorative window bars. They are all the rage--have been for decades and decades. Hint: *decorative* was sarcasm. Me being funny. Anyone with a home puts up bars to keep out the bad guys. Anyone.

anyone who hires someone arriving in the country after X date pays a big ass fine. Dis-incentives will get the job done

There is no doubt in my mind that any policy to curb illegal immigration is going to require that kind of action against employers. Both businesses and individuals hiring, for example, a maid -- albeit probably scaled to the number of such immigrants hired.

There is, however, serious doubt in my mind that such sanctions can be enacted and enforced. Just way too much dis-incentives for politicians to shoot their big donors in the foot. Not to mention the horror of individual families getting whopping big fines for hiring a maid without proper papers. I just can't see it happening in the real world.

we are importing a large underclass. Not their fault, just that assimilation is problematic as is advancement.

I'd be interested in seeing some statistics to back this up. Something comparing the American-born children and grandchildren of recent illegal immigrants with those of previous waves of immigrants. Since we saw the same arguments previously, it would be interesting to see if this time really is different. Probably the illegal immigrants themselves are not going to get assimilated and advance -- how could they when advancement means visibility, which is a fast-track to deportation? But the next generation? What do we actually see, as opposed to what we think we can "reasonably expect."

There is, however, serious doubt in my mind that such sanctions can be enacted and enforced. Just way too much dis-incentives for politicians to shoot their big donors in the foot. Not to mention the horror of individual families getting whopping big fines for hiring a maid without proper papers. I just can't see it happening in the real world.

Completely agree, with the addendum that even if those serious fines were levied, the response would be disposable subcontractor shell-companies, that can close, relocate, and re-open PDQ.

Use RICO and criminal convictions and it might have an effect.

OR, you could try my plan (which is mine) that illegals just have to bring in the head of the person that is illegally employing them, and they get citizenship.

Say what you want, but I bet it would work.

Currently, the fines for hiring an illegal immigrant are:

First offense : $250-$2000
Second offense : $2000-$5000
Third offense : $3000-$10000

Those are *per illegal employee*.

How much higher should they be?

What level of effort and cost will it take to enforce them at a level that will make the fines a realistic disincentive?

I'd be interested in seeing some statistics to back this up.

Jesus. The rationale the left advances is we need these folks to do the shitty work we won't. No English, no education, but their kids will all be engineers. Because, you know, that's what happens right now in the Rio Grande Valley, with several generations to observe.

urrently, the fines for hiring an illegal immigrant are:

First offense : $250-$2000
Second offense : $2000-$5000
Third offense : $3000-$10000

Those are *per illegal employee*..

And who is enforcing this?

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