Giving Birth to Immigration Fears

Why birthright citizenship is nothing to worry about

The campaign against birthright citizenship has been on a roll. Last month, it won the endorsement of South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, long seen as a moderate on immigration. He favors amending the Constitution because he's aghast that "people come here to have babies."

Graham and his allies got a boost last week from the Pew Hispanic Center, which released a report that sparked ominous headlines. "Illegal immigrants bear 8 percent of children born in the U.S.," blared Fox News. "Rise seen in births to illegal dwellers," proclaimed USA Today.

Sweet vindication, right? Not quite. In fact, the Pew study refutes the case being made against granting citizenship to children born here to illegal immigrants. It shows that the anti-immigration crowd is chasing a chimera.

Pew did estimate that of the 4.3 million babies born here in 2008, 340,000 had at least one parent who was an illegal immigrant. It also found that "nearly half of unauthorized-immigrant households are couples with children."

But how many "come here to have babies"? Not many. Jeffrey Passel, who co-authored the report, told me that "85 to 88 percent of the mothers have been in the U.S. for at least a year," and "a majority have been here at least three years."

Someone who has a child a year or three after arriving is not exactly in line with Graham's image of pregnant Mexicans wading the Rio Grande in search of the nearest maternity ward. At most, only 15 percent of the mothers arrived here in a mode of expectancy.

But even that modest figure overstates the alleged problem. The kids referred to in the study are those with at least one illegal parent, and many of those parents are married to legal residents. If one parent is a U.S. citizen and you're born on U.S. soil, you'd be a citizen even if Graham got his way. Only a portion of that 12 to 15 percent would be barred.

The more sober opponents of illegal immigration don't think birthright citizenship is much of a draw. When I called Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, he said, "It's probably one factor among many. Most people come because of better economic opportunities." Change the Constitution, and they'd keep coming.

Why are all these undocumented foreigners producing offspring on U.S. soil, if not because of birthright citizenship? Some obvious explanations: Because they live here, and because they tend to be of childbearing age, since older folks are less likely to trek through the desert for the privilege of harvesting watermelons.

But the chief reason is that having kids is what human beings do, wherever they are and whatever their immigration status. The odd thing would be if these newcomers weren't reproducing.

You don't need an incentive to get them to bear children, any more than you need artificial inducements to get college students to drink beer. Changing the citizenship rule would have little or no effect on the fertility of illegal immigrants.

There is one category of foreigners who do travel to this country just to give their babies the gift of American citizenship. "Birth tourists" reportedly are catered to by travel agencies, hospitals, and hotels offering deals for expectant mothers. One Turkish-owned hotel in Manhattan offers a package including month-long accommodations for $45,000, which doesn't cover hospital costs.

But it's hard to see why this phenomenon causes so much anger among anti-immigrant groups. They complain about poor Mexicans sneaking in illegally, taking jobs, getting government assistance, and staying forever. Shouldn't they be happy to hear about rich Turks getting visas, avoiding employment, paying their own costs, and leaving immediately?

At any rate, it's not exactly a raging epidemic. The National Center for Health statistics says only 7,670 babies were born in 2006 to women who said they don't live here, or a microscopic 0.17 percent of all live births.

If we want to head them off, we don't have to amend the Constitution. We can just deny tourist visas to visibly pregnant women, or make it a federal offense to come here solely to have a baby.

But what's the fun in addressing a modest problem with a minor change? Anti-immigration zealots would much rather mount a heroic expedition to conquer a mighty mountain. Even if it's really a molehill.

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  • Suki||

    Good morning reason!

  • ||

    Reopen the border: then people won't have to bring their families to the US. They can work as much or as often as they want and keep their families and families-to-be back home where it is cheaper.

  • Yurop||

    "The kids referred to in the study are those with at least one illegal parent, and many of those parents are married to legal residents. If one parent is a U.S. citizen..."
    Aren't spouses of US citiziens automatically granted citizienship or at least a visa?

  • Spencer Smith||

    It's actually a pretty complicated process. There is a period where they must leave the country, then there's the waiting period and investigation, etc.

  • ||

    "The kids referred to in the study are those with at least one illegal parent, and many of those parents are married to legal residents. If one parent is a U.S. citizen and you're born on U.S. soil, you'd be a citizen even if Graham got his way."

    This passage equates being a legal resident with being a citizen, which, of course, is not correct. The child of a resident, legal or otherwise, is not automatically a citizen.

  • adam||

    Excellent point. Chapman is pretty dumb.

  • Suki||

    Not as dumb as TAO.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    I have been called worse by better, especially when it comes to guys-pretending-to-be-cute-Asian-female-rednecks.

    NTTAWWT. Well, wait, yeah there is.

  • Fluffy||

    The child of a legal resident alien born on US soil is, in fact, automatically a citizen.

  • adam||

    But would not be if Graham got his way, which the flaw in Chapman's reasoning that J.N Long was pointing out.

  • Suki||

    It shows that the anti-immigration crowd is chasing a chimera.

    Where is that crowd exactly? The FOX news quote even uses the word "illegal" and then it disappears when the discussion gets to Reason's chupacabra chaser.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    John, are you still hanging on to that ridiculous distincion? It has been thoroughly demolished a number of times - your failure to learn reminds me the liberals on the board with whom you frequently feud.

    (insert "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" reference here).

  • ||

    are you still hanging on to that ridiculous distincion? It has been thoroughly demolished a number of times

    Really? Cool. Care to give me the short version or a link, I missed it.

  • jtuf||

    I think birthright citizenship is important, however, after looking over the legislative history, I've concluded that it is not constitutionally protected. I would support a constitutional amendment to guarantee birthright citizenship. I would settle for an amendment that grants citizenship to everyone born in America that spends the first 6 months of his life here.

  • Mo||

    Birthright citizenship predates the Republic and was constitutionally protected before the 14th through common law*. The 14th was meant to prevent an end-around in the South to deny slaves citizenship. Considering there was no such thing as illegal immigrants at the time of the founders, there was no need to distinguish between the two.

    Supreme Court Justice Noah Haynes Swayne:

    All persons born in the allegiance of the king are natural- born subjects, and all persons born in the allegiance of the United States are natural-born citizens. Birth and allegiance go together. Such is the rule of the common law, and it is the common law of this country…since as before the Revolution. United States v. Rhodes, 27 Fed. Cas. 785 (1866).

    * There is no definition of "natural born citizen" in the Constitution, even though the term was used as a criteria to be eligible for president.

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

    Birthright citizenship predates the Republic and was constitutionally protected before the 14th through common law*.

    Restriction on birthright citizenship also predated the Republic.

    So what?

  • Pepe||

    Pretty sure the US was a republic in 1790

  • Sadly Amused European||

    Go ahead, import the entire Pakistan and Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa ... after that, there won't be any America left, of course, but that will be The Short Happy Life of Steve Chapman.

  • Anarchist 1.0||

    Borders are old fashioned. Nations are old fashioned! The answer is world government without government. No laws, no states, no armies. Then peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars!

  • Brett L||

    8/10. The proper song reference is, of course, Imagine. Other than that, well trolled.

  • ||

    Yeah, especially the sub-Saharan Africa People.

  • Sadly Amused European||

    Actually, the absolutely most problematic folks in the Euro immigrant communities are probably villagers from the Rif mountains.

    The rest of Morocco is relatively developed and the Moroccan government is said to be quite happy to be getting rid of the most troublesome population by exporting them north.

  • ||

    This argument cuts both ways, though: if very few children are born where both parents are illegal immigrants, then rescinding the birthright citizenship would hurt very few people. And it might prevent larger problems down the road.
    That said, we should still make it very easy for people to come and work here so that it is also easy to go back home, knowing that coming back won't be prohibitively expensive.

  • ||

    America *is* immigrants. "I've got mine, the rest of you can go fuck yourselves" is not much of a policy. Open the borders - come here, work 5 years, take a test and become a citizen - that's the only logical policy, and it's the reason you're sitting here in comfort rather than huddling in some hovel like your ancestors.

  • Sadly Amused European||

    OK, you take it seriously... so, I wonder whether you realize that "Open the borders" in 2010 means something very different from 1910.

    Back then, the world had much less than a half of the current population, and differences of economic levels of individual countries were way smaller than today. The entire Africa had about 100 million people and living standards of the places which today are Ghana or Nigeria were not much worse off than those of the American Deep South. The incentive for movement of entire nations was adequately smaller.

    In the meantime, the third world has grown 10-fold, but got much poorer than today. Transportation costs have gone way down. Chinese freight companies would be definitely able to transport people across the Atlantic for less than 100 dollars per person.

    What would you do with, say, 200 million people speaking 150 different languages, moving into the USA in span of months?

    And that *would* happen. For an average African, America is a distant dream of wealth and prosperity. Details are not known and mostly do not matter. Anything is better than slowly starving and thirsting to death at the edge of the desert, not to mention violent clashes between various power cliques.

    For me, the difference of free movement of people 1910 and 2010 is like the difference between a Gatling and a Thermonuclear Device. Strictly said, both are "weapons". Nevertheless, anyone except the truly blind can see the difference between those two.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    And that *would* happen.

    Don't everybody point and laugh at the retard all at once. you have to take your turn.

    Ha ha!.

  • Sadly Amused European||

    During the Rwandan genocide, the entire Tutsi population which was not killed vacated the country in a span of weeks. Mostly on foot.

    During the 1999 Kosovo war, 2 million Kosovars were displaced by the Serbs in 3 weeks, in hilly and wooded terran.

    During the 1945 Soviet offensive in current Poland, about 10 million Germans moved away from the front in 6 months, and that meant mostly marching on foot in winter.

    What is so incredible about mass movement of population for you?

    Have you been to Africa? Have you seen the crowded slums? First world is sort of a fable there. Everyone wants to get there, because there is no future in Lagos or Mogadisho...

  • The Angry Optimist||

    What is so incredible about mass movement of population for you?

    Can you cite one instance where people moved en masse without being forced to? Your two examples are borne of war, and the third one I can think of (Vietnamese boat people) suffers from the same.

  • Sadly Amused European||

    Conditions in the Sahel or Congo or Mocambique or Zimbabwe or Somalia are either those of active war, or of life-threatening famine and drought, which is not better than war, when it comes to the danger itself.

    Note that current South African Republic has serious street-level unrest because of approximately 7 million illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe, Mocambique and Malawi, and those are people who fled their countries with good knowledge that South Africa is not much better place for living - but it was still marginally better than their own countries. The exact number of the migrants, though, is unknown.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    The dumb...it stings! There are places in the United States that are, comparatively speaking, awful, and I do not see Mississippians moving en masse to...I dunno, somewhere else.

    And as for your successes, try integrating those several thousand Somalis you imported into Minnesota... from what I've heard, that was no success.

    I live in the area with the second-most Somalians behind Minnesota, and it works fine for us. If you are not going to bother even updating your terminology (as Fluffy pointed out below), then keep your nose out of it.

  • Sadly Amused European||

    TAO, there is no place in the US of A that could be even distantly compared to the bad places of Africa. Even in the worst places of the USA, police is in the streets, you can buy food at every corner, the tap on your wall gives you potable water, unemployment is mostly under 20% of the working population and your life expectancy is over 60. Also, over 75% of Americans own their homes, which is quite an incentive to stay put, unless the situation gets really bad (a la Katrina - quickly - or Detroit - slowly).

    Have you been, say, to Calcutta area of India? About 10 million people literally sleep on the street there ever since the large Bangladesh crises of the 1970s, and they have zero prospects of improvement. The only bonus they have is that there is not an active war there.

    Comparing Mississippi to places like that is like comparing a slightly uncomfortable IKEA chair to a seat made of knives.

    As for Somalians, the main problem that accompanies them is the culture which requires the males to react to every perceived insult of their honor with violence. Unlike, say, Arab bedouins, they do not have working concept of conflict mediation by tribal elders. This leads to protracted and incredible blood feuds. At least that is what I learnt from a local Somali woman who actually escaped her own kin because she feared for her life.

  • ||

    Can you cite one instance where people moved en masse without being forced to?

    Science, dude, what do you call 20 million uncertified (since the term "illegal" has been "demolished") immigrants? Sure sounds like a "mass movement" to me.

  • MWG||

    If by mass movement you mean from numerous countries over the span of 20 years, then sure.

  • JohnD ||

    Angry Optimist: you need to take your head out of yuor ass before you comment on others.

  • Mo||

    Yes, because the US, which has been a hundred times more successful at integrating immigrants than European countries, should mirror the continent's jacked up immigration policies. That makes perfect sense.

  • Sadly Amused European||

    Mo, "the continent" has no unified immigration policy.

    And as for your successes, try integrating those several thousand Somalis you imported into Minnesota... from what I've heard, that was no success.

    It is not a hard thing to integrate hardworking and easy-going Chinese or Vietnamese. European Vietnamese are as integrated as the American ones. The real challenge is to integrate illiterate tribal people with extreme prejudices against modernity. Try that. If you succeed in that, you will have the right to lecture everyone.

  • Mo||

    You don't know anything about American history. The first immigration laws were to keep Chinese immigrants and their opium smoking ways out of the US. Once immigrant groups integrate in the country, hindsight makes it seem like the fact they they integrated easily a fait accompli.

  • Sadly Amused European||

    I concede my ignorance here. Didn't know that previous immigration laws were anti-Chinese.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    I concede my ignorance here. Didn't know that previous immigration laws were anti-Chinese.

    Keee-rist, so that condescending handle is wholly unwarranted?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    The real challenge is to integrate illiterate tribal people with extreme prejudices against modernity.

    Please decide - are the brown people dreaming of the First World and modernity, or do they hate it and want to move here en masse to destroy it?

    Bigots can be so schizophrenic.

  • Sadly Amused European||

    It is *you* who keep dragging the "brown" adjective into discussion. I couldn't care less about the color. Yes, integrating the Viking raiders from cca year 850 would be similar challenge, even though they were Nordic blonds. Now, will you drop the race baiting?

    And I will gladly explain you the alleged schizophreny in my comments, if you're actually willing to listen.

    The main attribute of the First World which attracts people over the world is the perceived wealth and, at least in the case of Europe, the perceived ability to get rich welfare payments there. The values upon which the wealth was built are largely entirely unknown, and, if known, often rejected by the Third Worlders; especially in religious countries (not just Islamic ones), the westerners are perceived as immoral, hypersexual and godless. Can you deny this perception?

    Note that the most notorious hate-flaming imams of the European continent are mostly living on refugee welfare checks, sometimes for decades. In the view that they communicate to their communities, taking money from infidels is OK, but allowing your daughter taking swimming lessons is a major sin.

  • Mo||

    The values upon which the wealth was built are largely entirely unknown, and, if known, often rejected by the Third Worlders; especially in religious countries (not just Islamic ones), the westerners are perceived as immoral, hypersexual and godless. Can you deny this perception?

    That may true of the ones who stay there. The ones who come here see the US and a land of opportunity and freedom and think, "Hey that looks pretty good, I want in." That's why my family came here. That's why a lot of immigrant families I knew growing came here.

    Do you think policies such as banning minarets, preventing mosques from being built and telling people how they can or can't dress makes the imams look crazy for their "us against them" rhetoric or only validates it?

    Also, you ascribe far more agency to the majority of the populations in third world countries than they have. The ones with the bully pulpits and the leaders are corrupt kleptocrats more interested in what maintains their hold on power than what the people actually care about. Most of those rants and focusing their people's attention on enemies without are to distract the populations from how crappy things are inside and to prevent them from wondering why their leaders suck.

  • Sadly Amused European||

    It *is* possible that Europe attracts other types of immigrants than the USA. The welfare systems of many countries here are, or, rather, were, way too soft. (It changes all in the current sovereign finance crisis - we're in for a good carbeques again).

    My former lover actually works in the governmental immigration service in Germany. Her baggage of stories is hard to believe, but I will try to reproduce it here...

    ...so, could you believe that a significant portion of current immigrants into Eurozone:

    1) speak about 100 words of French or English (depending on the former colonial power), and nothing else?

    2) are functionally illiterate in their own languages, let alone some foreign one?

    3) have no documents, no money and no idea what to do once they are here?

    Even if they actually wanted to work, there is not much work that they can do with such CV-s. Most of the hard menial work is already done by machines; so the only option is to give them some welfare money for pure survival. Of course, welfare is addictive; if you get it without any strings attached, you'll get used to it soon, and hey presto, in short time you have ugly slums (sorry, "sensitive urban zones") where no one does anything except for idling in the street, and the young hotheads, feeling superfluous, look for trouble.

    100 years ago, illiterate people coming to America (or to the European industrial cities, from the countryside) could at least work at some adequate job. But today, with most of the production in services ... ?

    Hell, the structure of the economy has changed so much that the problem seems intractable.

  • Amakudari||

    That issue has little to do with immigration and a lot to do with the welfare state. I don't think anyone here wants hand-outs, and I'd refuse to support any immigration law that does that. And likewise, I expect them to agree with American ideals, like our Constitutionally-protected rights, the importance of integration, work ethic, etc. I want the US to be more open to immigrants, such that those who legitimately want to come here and are amenable to American values can.

    The anti-immigration crowd mostly cares about limiting the flow of immigrants, and their "concern" about un-Americanism is little more than a red herring, because they have rarely come out in support of even the most modest guest worker programs.

    And the US has a long history of nativism, by the way. We've looked down on not just Chinese (Chinese Exclusion Act), but French (Alien and Sedition Acts), German (in colonial Pennsylvania, WWI and WWII), Irish (several times), Italian, Catholic, Japanese (Gentlemen's Agreement), and so forth immigrants. It's a long and ugly history, especially when we consider how well every last one of those groups has integrated. When I worked in SF, my group had ethnic English, German-Jewish, Ecuadorean, Malaysian, Ghanaian, Hmong Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean and German ancestry, including a large number of first-generation immigrants. When you ask those first-gen types about the hoops they had to jump through to get to the US, it's positively depressing.

    I absolutely don't want to see this country overrun by immigrants at odds with basic liberal values, but we could still be radically more accommodating without compromising those principles.

  • Sadly Amused European||

    Your attitude, Amakudari, seems quite reasonable to me.

  • ||

    I have friends who moved here from Bosnia and Afghanistan. I don't begrudge it. They were lucky to get out.

  • MWG||

    "The anti-immigration crowd mostly cares about limiting the flow of immigrants, and their "concern" about un-Americanism is little more than a red herring, because they have rarely come out in support of even the most modest guest worker programs."

    This is an important point. Conservatives love to claim they're not against immigration, but ILLEGAL immigration. Yet you'll be hard pressed to find one with any ideas for raising quotas or slashing bureaucracy (so much for small govt.).

  • Chad||

    I support crackdowns on illegal immigration, modifying the 14th such that only those born of at least one American parent are granted automatic citizenship, and think we should increase our legal immigration by 50-100%.

    And given that my fiancee is a legal immigrant, I can assure you, the bureacracy surrounding such matters needs to be reduced significantly (particularly Advanced Parole...what kind of bleeped up bleep is that? Especially for someone from a visa-exempt country!)

  • Chad||

    And btw, I fully support higher taxes on people like myself in order to pay for any of the above policies.

    RAISE MY TAXES, PLEASE.

  • Johnny Freelance||

    Got to love those religious double standards! (that was sarcasm)

  • jasno||

    I hate to get involved but I think it is fair to say that people who don't like American political policies might still end up in America because of family ties or a desire avoid dysentery.

  • Fluffy||

    Graham's problem is not that "people" come here to have babies.

    It's that "brown people" come here to have babies. Not one of these cunts would say a single word if a Swede flew in to have her baby. Not one.

  • Sadly Amused European||

    Fluffy, do you love playing the Race Card? Is it still fun to accuse the opponents of racism, after the concept has been abused constantly since 1960s?

    Be honest: no one would also object to a Singaporean or Israeli or Kuwaiti mother to have her baby in the USA, and they are "brown" enough in my world. Because the countries are developed and no human avalanche can be expected.

    But, last time I checked, the Americans were pretty wary about allowing Eastern Slavs and others to immigrate in large numbers. Czech, Poles, Romanians, Moldovans, Chechens, Ukrainians, Russians - they all know what the immigration office means, and that it is their enemy - although they are white to boot.

    Enough already with the race baiting, please. It is dishonest and tiresome.

  • ||

    You live in an odd world if Israelis are "brown" to you. Tanned maybe, but other than the small Ethiopian population hardly brown.

  • Mo||

    I'd say plenty of Sephardi, Mizrahi and Maghrebi Jews qualify as brown.

  • Fluffy||

    Wow, silly me - using the race card against someone who thinks Jews aren't white.

    Did you just climb out of a time capsule from 1919? That must be it, if you also are laboring under the delusion that anyone in the US gives a shit about the illegal immigration of Poles. If our illegal immigration "problem" was limited to Russians and Slovaks, illegal immigration would not be a political issue and we would not be talking about ending birthright citizenship. Anyone who denies that is a liar or a fool.

  • Sadly Amused European||

    Have you, Fluffy, ever been to Israel?

    The country is not "white" in the sense of Denmark or Iceland; it is very, very colourful (and the girls are therefore really beautiful...). The Euro-looking Ashkenazim are overrepresented in highest echelons of politics, but in normal life, Israelis do not look that much European.

  • Sadly Amused European||

    PS: As noted by my id, I only visit America ... and from the conversations I had, there is plenty of bigotry against eastern Europeans in the population.

    Maybe the only reason I hear that is because open bigotry against non-whites is taboo in the middle class, so the "rednecks from Eastern Europe" serve as a lightning rod; but every single business that hired illegal immigrants from E.E. treated them like sh-t.

  • zoltan||

    Every business that hires illegal immigrants period treats them like shit. In my 23 years of life here, I've heard many a Pole joke but the reputation of Eastern Europe here is that it is a veritable model factory.

  • Fluffy||

    Also - "Nobody would object to a Kuwaiti mother"? Put the crack pipe down. That would be a "terror baby".

    And racist immigration policies in the US historically BEGAN as anti-Asian policies. Maybe no one would worry about a Singaporean, but that's mainly because most people agitated about illegal immigration are too stupid to find Singapore on a map.

    And if there was any chance of them ever seeing a Singaporean walking down the street, they'd be pissed off. The countries you name have very small populations, so saying you wouldn't have a problem with them is like saying, "I don't have a problem with black people - I'd be happy if three or four of them were allowed to keep living in the US. We just have to get rid of the 'human avalanche'."

  • ||

    "I don't have a problem with black people - I'd be happy if three or four of them were allowed to keep living in the US. We just have to get rid of the 'human avalanche'."

    So, you prefer the human avalanche of poor, uneducated, laborers? Odd.

  • Pink Cosmotarian||

  • ||

    SAE, you will NEVER get past the race baiting here. It is used constantly by several of the regular posters to derail any objections to a host of topics. It is the first and last weapon used by those who have no cogent counter-argument, and, I think, shows a deep obsession with race that most of us have long since abandoned.

  • ||

    +1

  • Chad||

    I have no problem with a baby being born to a mother from Singapore, Kuwait, or Israel.

    I do have a problem with granting them citizenship, if their father is not an American either.

    What's wrong with requiring that children need to have at least one American parent in order to obtain automatic citizenship? Everyone else can be handled on a case-by-case basis.

  • JohnD ||

    My Gawd Fluffy, you are one major racist bitch. Are you kin to Jesse Jackson?

  • DesigNate||

    Immigration laws have been, are, and probably will be based on some kind of racism. The idea that today's are based solely on brown people, while misleading, is not without some merit. By far the largest number of illegals comes from south of the border. The prime examples used by both sides are of some kind of Hispanic descent. The border states are routinely used as battle grounds for and against the issue.

    Of course there is a healthy resistance to eastern european immigrants. This is also born out of racism seeing as how America has routinely had no problem with White, Anglo-Saxon immigration (while denying it to darker skinned and Catholic Europeans).

  • ||

    Is it so obvious that I masturbate to images of brown people, that, while some dream in black and white, I dream only in brown?

  • ||

    Any immigration to this country should require an IQ test.

  • zoltan||

    That would be awesome. No retard immigrants allowed in the American gene pool please, we have enough here already.

  • ||

    Exactly, we have plenty of home grown ones.

  • jasno||

    FTW

  • ||

    Seems reasonable to me that if you are born in US territory, then you are a citizen regardless of your parents status.

    Lou
    www.web-privacy.es.tc

  • A is Awesome||

    Do people get paid to do this?

  • Fiscal Meth||

    The robot is smarter than Lindsey Graham. Robot for pres!

  • A is Awesome||

    "chasing a chimera"

    Really? That actually sounds pretty awesome. I think I'm going to support renouncing birthright citizenship if I get to do shit like that. What else? Unicorns for the War on Drugs?

  • Wind Rider||

    The entire subject is coated in stupid and deep fried.

    I've got an Aunt and Uncle, both US Citizens, who were "birth tourists". He worked for Caterpillar Tractor in the Middle East back during the 60's, based out of Beirut for a couple of years. When it came time for my cousins to join the rest of us, they opted, on two separate occasions, to fly her to Geneva because of the better medical care available. The result was, that my cousins had the option, upon reaching their 18th birthdays, of claiming Swiss citizenship, if they so chose. Neither did, but that was all that it really meant. It didn;t mean that my aunt had a right to overstay her Visa. It didn't mean that my Uncle was pole vaulted to the front of the Swiss citizenship line. The kids were both classic "anchor babies" as the advocates appear to have defined the term. The entire conept is complete bullshit.

    And as far as 'coming to America just to have kids so they can one day be terrorists' - holy crap! The whole Mrs. Ivanova's Charm School idea was a work of fiction, pinheads! Is it possible that someone may be planning so far ahead that they look forward to their kid claiming citizenship by birthright, then sponsoring them onto the Gravy train 20 years down the road? Yeah, it's possible - and possibly one of the more desperate and stupid plans out there for getting into the country.

    Sheesh! Quit making shit up abnd just fix the goddamn mess you assholes created in the first place, pinheads!

  • ||

    WR, I am not certain what your overall point is, but your comparison of the benefits Swiss/US citizenship and Mexican/US citizenship is kind of funny. You might want to rethink that, in your next post.

  • ||

    Chapman forgot one obvious factor here: TERROR BABIES omgzwtf!!! Goddamn terrorists and their terror babies. Screw the constitution, this is about protecting Amurrica.

  • ||

    Graham is not making the argument he probably wants to make because doing so would be so politically disadvantageous.

    Get rid of birthright citizenship and the children of (pairs of) illegal immigrants can't take advantage of our entitlement programs. It is also easier to deport entire families when none of them are citizens (which would more often be true if there were no birthright citizenship).

  • ||

    So deporting entire families is a good thing?

    And yeah, the interaction between the welfare state and open borders is the central problem here. Of course, it's obvious which of those two factors should really draw the ire of libertarians. There's no legitimate reason to intrinsically oppose the free movement of individuals.

  • ||

    I'm not saying deporting entire families is a good thing. But Graham might, if you got him drunk enough and he was off record.

    Bottom line, denying birthright citizenship gives opponents of illegal immigration greater latitude to deport people, since they're less likely to run into a situation where two illegal immigrants have children who are citizens. They (opponents of illegal immigration) may never amass enough political capital to enact such a deportation scheme, but ditching birthright citizenship at least creates the possibility that they could one day make it happen.

    It would also mean fewer Hispanic voters 18 years from now, which may be another of their concerns given such voters aren't likely to favor Republicans.

  • ||

    Gotcha -- yeah it's pretty much a gimme political move for Republicans, considering the base to which they pander.

  • zoltan||

    Republicans have been reaching out to Hispanics for at least a decade now, FYI.

  • ||

    By sending them home?

    (Yeah, I mean as a group they are composed almost exclusively of religious conservatives -- you'd think the GOP would be all over that. The immigration debate really throws a wrench in it though. Not that Democrats are any less culpable, of course.)

  • Mo||

    Illegal immigrants don't get to stay if their kids are citizens. As such, if they are deported the kid usually leave too. Seeing as the parents are quite attached to their kids.

  • ||

    Aren't spouses of US citiziens automatically granted citizienship or at least a visa?

    Spouses are not granted citizens automatically. This is a topic that I have experience, as my ex- is was a foreigner.

    Spouses will receive a visa as long as they are not someone that is a member of an excluded class, such as a convicted drug user (though, there may be a way to appeal this)

    Spouses are “fast tracked” for citizenship, though anyone that has ever dealt with the INS will know that “fast” is a relative word. It took my ex- three years from start to being sworn in as a citizen.

    I know of two cases where obtaining visas for immediate family members were a problem.

    1. One guy married a Brit woman that had a drug conviction. As far as I know he was informed prior to marriage that his wife would never be granted a visa. Last I heard, he was living in London, so I have no idea if he ever appealed the decision.

    2. Another guy, an active duty USN chief petty officer, was married to a Scottish woman that had children from a previous marriage. One of these children was retarded. (to reach back to less PC times for a descriptive word) He had problems getting a visa for the retarded child. He eventually did get her a visa, but I know it took a lot of time. He may have had to adopt the wife’s children first, but I really don’t know.

  • Sadly Amused European||

    People here in the thread will probably ignore these stories, because your examples were not "brown", so no good race-baiting can be milked out of this.

    As I said, the same problems apply to Eastern Europeans. Try applying for a visa as a Serb, even if your name is not Milosevic.

  • ||

    Huh? I don't get it; in what ways would those stories need to change to encourage "race-baiting"? And what would be the aim of said race-baiting?

    Are you saying that questioning a crackdown approach to illegal immigration is a racially motivated stance? Really, I'm asking, not trying to mock or anything.

  • Sadly Amused European||

    No, I just react to the way how some proponents of open borders on this thread routinely fling the racism accusations on their opponents.

  • ||

    Oh ok, thanks for the clarification. Yeah the problem here isn't necessarily racism, it's ineffective and irrational policy.

    Of course, you have to admit, sometimes it's just way too easy to point out the racism among immigration opponents. Easy and fun.

  • Sadly Amused European||

    Yes, it is easy, and for some people, it can be fun ...

    I am a Yugoslav by birth, and a quarter-Jew from the paternal grandfather's side, so not a halakhic Jew, but still with an unmistakable Jewish surname, so I have plenty of real-world experience with ethnic strife and hate, both in groups and personally

    ... not much fun in it for me.

    Zdravo, brate.

  • ||

    Oh of course not; but there just might be fun in ridiculing and exposing the idiots who would practice the sort of hate you describe.

  • DesigNate||

    Immigration laws have been, are, and probably will be based on some kind of racism. The idea that today's are based solely on brown people, while misleading, is not without some merit. By far the largest number of illegals comes from south of the border. The prime examples used by both sides are of some kind of Hispanic descent. The border states are routinely used as battle grounds for and against the issue.

    Of course, as you pointed out above, there is a healthy resistance to eastern european immigrants. This is also born out of racism seeing as how America has routinely had no problem with White, Anglo-Saxon immigration (while denying it to darker skinned and Catholic Europeans).

  • ||

    R, several posters here, Fluffy for example, accuse anybody who objects to unfettered immigration or who thinks that birth-right citizenship is a problem, of bigotry and, "fear/hatred of Teh brown people!!!!! Oh my God, won't somebody think of Teh brown people?"

  • Marcello||

    It's been said many times before, but apparently Steve Chapman hasn't been listening: opposition to illegal immigration is not "anti-immigrant". It is pro-legal immigrant. I trust that Mr. Chapman will not be making this same mistake again, yes?

  • ||

    It's hard to call it "pro-legal immigrant" when the people arguing that stance seem to have zero interest in making it easier for people to immigrate legally. If you want to lock down illegal immigration without expanding legal immigration, "anti-immigrant" seems appropriate to me.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    ..but...but..stop the bleeding n' stuff.

  • ||

    Yeah. This is a red herring. Let's say the rate of illegal immigration is 400,000 per year, the majority being from Mexico and Latin America. How do you think most opponents of illegal immigration would react to a proposition of allowing 400,000 people (mostly poor) to immigrate legally from Mexico and Latin America each year?

  • ||

    Hah, yeah can you imagine the response to a proposal like that? It's standard "get in line" bullshitting -- getting in line doesn't work, and you're not in favor of legal immigration if you can't grasp that simple concept.

  • MWG||

    How, exactly, are they 'pro-legal immigrant'? Can you name even one policy they are pushing that is 'pro-legal immigrant'? Lifting quotas? Shortening wait times?

  • ||

    I wonder if any of the brain trust in the comments section here understands what a self-effacing argument is.

  • ravenc||

    What I seem to understand from this article is that because the figures don't show that hordes of illegals are coming to the US for the express purpose of having anchor babies, it's no big deal, nothing to see here folks, move along. Am I to infer that if there were huge numbers of people doing this that it wouldn't be 'ok'? This is an argument liberals use to downplay bad policy, instead of actually arguing the facts ("Don't worry about Cap and Trade, it won't cost you anything. Move along.")

  • ||

    I'd say that assessing the severity of a given problem is a worthy endeavor actually, for setting priorities and the like. It's probably not worth expending resources on something that's only a very small part of the picture.

    And in many ways it's exactly the opposite of your cap-and-trade example. With immigration, the argument is that leaving this well enough alone just isn't a big deal. We can accept the status quo since birthright citizenship isn't a major factor. The cap-and-trade argument, on the other hand, is in favor of major sweeping change, not acceptance of the status quo.

  • DesigNate||

    Wouldn't amending the Constitution get rid of birthright citizenship for everybody? And would that necessarily be a bad thing? Just wondering.

  • bob42||

    I’m voting straight ticket republican this November because every day I tremble in fear about the possibility that a pregnant Mexican narco-terrorist lesbian will sneak across the border with a suitcase nuke, sell meth to my kids, drop the anchor baby, blow up the hospital, and marry my sister.

    And I don’t even have a sister.

  • ||

    Clearly you actually love our country, unlike the rest of the dope-smoking hippie illegals commenting here. Thank you.

  • it's always 4:20!||

    Illegals are in this country to fill a labor vacuum created by Americans choosing public assistance over jobs they feel are beneath them, as well as by Americans being legally barred from accepting wages below an arbitrary level set by government.

    Government created the demand for illegal labor through public assistance programs and minimum wage laws.

    It is as if our lawmakers believe federal law not only supersedes the laws of the states, but the law of supply and demand.

    Next thing you know they'll pass legislation attempting to negate the law of gravity.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Yessiree. No commuunicable diseases, no criminal record, no problem. But the minimum wage law has got to go.

  • ||

    Yessiree. Make it happen Meth.

  • it's always 4:20!||

    Are you disputing my assertion that minimum wage laws create a demand for illegal labor by making it a crime for citizens to accept a wage that actually reflects the value of the work?

  • MWG||

    Do you have any concrete data showing illegal immigrants, on average, earn less than the minimum wage? I've looked, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of data in either direction. I do know a number of people who higher day laborers on occasion here in AZ and they typically pay $10-13/hr. They're not Ayn Rand objectivists, but I don't think you could accuse them of being super altruistic either.

  • it's always 4:20!||

    "and there doesn't seem to be a lot of data in either direction."

    Of course not. That's like trying to get hard numbers on the amount of drugs smuggled into the country.
    If you know the answer, and have any sense of self preservation, you're going to keep it to yourself.

  • MWG||

    If that's the case, then you assertion that minimum wage laws fuel illegal immigration is faulty. I can't prove otherwise other than to say my experience here in AZ would suggest that undocumented workers tend to earn more than the minimum wage.

  • Chad||

    Anyone over the age of 17 tends to earn more than minimum wage.

  • it's always 4:20!||

    It is virtually impossible for someone under 17 to find someone willing to pay their young, immature, irresponsible asses more than what they are worth (less than minimum wage).
    Or, to put it differently, teenagers who are naturally immature and irresponsible are not allowed by law offer their services to an employer for what they are actually worth (less than minimum wage), and thus find themselves unemployed.

  • it's always 4:20!||

    "undocumented workers tend to earn more than the minimum wage"

    Does that take into account matching payroll taxes, unemployment insurance, and all the other costs to the employer for complying with the law?
    It costs an employer a lot more than minimum wage to pay someone minimum wage.
    If the employer and illegal immigrant split the difference (under the table) they both come out ahead.

  • ||

    I don't want to put words in meth's mouth, but I don't think he was disputing that at all. He's saying yeah, let them in legally so long as they are not dangerous, but let's deconstruct this stupid system that creates artificial incentives for people to come here and work.

    In other words, it seems to me that he agrees wholeheartedly with your analysis of the distorting effects that minimum wage legislation has on immigration.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Thanks. Yeah, I was in a rush so it may have come out wrong but I would have been proud had those words come out of my mouth. Rather than "yessirree!"

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Not a bit. I was not being sarcastic.

  • ||

    Get rid of birthright citizenship and the children of (pairs of) illegal immigrants can't take advantage of our entitlement programs.

    You'd get the same result simply by legislating that children -- even citizen children -- can receive benefits only from entitlement programs concordant with the residence status of the parents.

    Since illegal immigrants can't receive targeted welfare, neither should their children, citizen or not.

  • ||

    Illegal aliens do not fall under the jurisdiction of the US. The cannot be drafted and connet be convicted of treason. Therefore.. their offspring should not be granted citizenship. The authors number sare also WAY off.. in many parts of Texas.. over 70% of newborn births are to illegal alien parents. The US simplny cannot continue to sustain this population, a population that taxes so much and gives so little in return.

  • MWG||

    Ugh... fix your grammar, cite your work ("in many parts of Texas.. over 70% of newborn births are to illegal alien parents."), rework your phrasing to make more sense ("The US simplny cannot continue to sustain this population, a population that taxes so much and gives so little in return."), and then come back and debate with us.

  • ||

    The cannot be drafted...

    That's news to the Selective Service.

  • ||

    Of course, the draft itself, being "involuntary servitude," is a violation of the 13th amendment. Much legal handwaving and fancy dancing has been done in attempts to hide or deny this obvious problem. In particular, people argue that it is the patriotic duty of citizens to defend their country. But why should foreigners, "illegal aliens" or not, be dragooned into our military service? When the draft lacks even the figleaf of "duties of citizenship," it is plainly seen as a form of slavery.

  • jasno||

    Pew did estimate that of the 4.3 million babies born here in 2008, 340,000 had at least one parent who was an illegal immigrant.

    Wait, 8% of babies are born to illegal immigrants?

    I read that story hoping to find some feel-good tidbits that would back up my belief that this isn't much of an issue. I think I need to reconsider.

  • ||

    Like Chapman said though, that speaks more to the problems with illegal immigration in general, and has little to do with the "anchor baby" thesis.

    The terror babies, though. It's the terror babies that keep me up at night.

  • DesigNate||

    You do realize that means that 92% of babies are born to at least one American citizen? When you look at it in that context, it doesn't seem like that big of a deal.

  • Johnny Freelance||

    Look, what this whole immigration bullshit comes down to is money. Get rid of welfare 100%, and you won't have an immigration problem or even a workforce problem. Get rid of the EEOC and most government agencies, and businesses can hire American workers.
    While people are aiming their vitriol at immigrants and businesses, no one bothers to do the research about the government agencies that put legislative roadblocks when it comes to economic development. Abolish welfare, the EEOC, most government laws and agencies, and when one problem is fixed, the rest will fall into place.

  • it's always 4:20!||

    [sarcasm]
    You mean to say that the solution to a problem created by government is to undo that which created the problem?
    Don't you know that unintended consequences are in fact opportunities for more government?
    Assigning blame is much more important than actually solving a problem. If you wrote the offending legislation you (collective you referring to lawmakers in general) cannot take any blame for the problems created by that legislation, so you must blame it on something else.
    That something else can only be fixed with a new law.
    [/sarcasm]

  • DesigNate||

    But teh externalities!

  • ||

    The issue is who pays for the approximately $6,000 per birth for those who show up at the hospital with no papers. Why does Chapman ramble on and on and not mention this as the primary issue?

    .18% or 7,670 X $6,000 comes to about 5 1/2 Billion dollars.

    Birthright citizenship is not an issue for me. Just the taxpayer funded hospital bills.

  • ||

    Yeah that shit is frustrating without a doubt, but it's no reason to shift focus away from the actual problem and toward "illegals".

    And to be fair, I think in this piece Chapman was working primarily at refuting the stupid "anchor baby" crap that the populists rail on about. Somehow I doubt he would mount a vigorous defense of the welfare state.

  • normcash||

    Your major concern is taxpayer funded hospital bills for a negligible number of hospital based births? These numbers you cite are bullshit. In any event this is not a concern when you considers how bad we are ripped off by Pharma, Hospitals, Insurance cos, and Physicians. Now we are talking real $$$$$$$$$$.
    Anyone resourceful enough to actually pull off this Anchor Baby stunt deserves citizenship. I highly doubt there are many.

  • jupiter||

    "Birthright citizenship is not an issue for me. Just the taxpayer funded hospital bills."

    And what about fast food? Ban that or face taxpayer funded hospital bills?

  • Chad||

    It doesn't matter how big the problem is. What matters is fairness. And outside having an entirely open immigration policy (which won't happen in my lifetime, nor yours), there is no possible way to have a fair immigration policy and allow birthright citizenship.

    The 14th should be amendend to read "born to an American citizen, or naturalized". This simple change solves this problem, and doesn't create any serious new ones.

  • ||

    It shouldn't be necessary. The phrase: "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof" is self-explanatory. ILLEGAL immigrants' offspring are, by definition, not subject to the jurisdiction since they are outlaws to begin with.

    Otherwise, it wouldn't have been mentioned.

  • Chad||

    Unfortunately, SCOTUS disagrees. It needs to be mde more explicit.

  • ||

    The SCOTUS says that "equal treatment under the law" is to discriminate based upon race and gender.

    In order words, we're living in Orwellian times. It just doesn't matter how it's worded.

  • DDavis||

    #### But how many "come here to have babies"? Not many. Jeffrey Passel, who co-authored the report, told me that "85 to 88 percent of the mothers have been in the U.S. for at least a year," and "a majority have been here at least three years."

    Why does the argument have to be so dishonest?

    Are we to suppose that people take no actions intended to benefit children that they haven't already conceived?

    Why the endless string of red herrings on this topic?

    Why the denial of the obvious fact that a lot of people around the world would rather give their children citizenship in the US than Somalia, Mexico, or Guatemala?

    Stop denying the obvious.

  • ||

    You know, I'm kinda torn on this issue. Being a lower-middle class blue collar type, I can definitely see the damage that uncontrolled immigration (let's be honest) from Mexico is causing to wages, schools, hospitals, etc. The libertarian in me, of course, thinks we should let anybody come who wants. Part of that view comes from growing up during the Cold War, and seeing people escape to the West.
    The thing I haven't seen addressed very much is the consequences of having a large, native born population forever denied citizenship. Look at the slums in France. Do we want to punish children for the crimes of their parents?

  • ||

    Consider that the parents are the ones "punishing" their children.

    How about a bailout for all people who put their own children into jeopardy? Free housing bailouts... for all! Free bailouts for bankers... children! Responsible, "privileged" savers and people who don't put their children into jeopardy, hey, they can just deal with it.

    Then we can all live in slums in the end.

    The bleeding heart libertarian isn't that much different than the bleeding heart liberal: both of them are focused on their own notion of self-importance rather than the actual effect of their policies.

    Do we really "want" to see life as it is, or should we accept what _IS_ whether we WANT it that way or not?

    Wouldn't it be great if 2+2 equalled 5 because we want to?

  • david||

    As libertarians we say the problem is the welfare state, not illegal immigration. For example we don't believe shipping all poor people to Antarctica is the right thing to do even though it would help reduce the costs of the welfare state: instead we believe in allowing the poor to stay, but getting rid of the welfare state.

    It's funny that you level criticism that we don't see the effects of our policies but only focus on our own notion of self-importance: liberals accuse us of that too. So conservatives are just like liberals.

  • ||

    David, your argument is wonderfully convoluted. If you care for the poor because that's the "right" thing to do, then you've already crossed over the line into endorsing the welfare state. You wouldn't want poor chill-dren to starve to death, would you?

    This is not only taking a principle to a rediculous extreme but to a pradoxical one. You hope to eliminate the welfare state by rewarding those who exploit it.

    Liberals may accuse you of having a notion of self-importance, but liberals also clearly engage in such behavior on a regular basis reminding each other and those who disagree with them that they are smarter and more caring than those who disagree with them.

    Conservativism, at least the brand I practice, is one of pragmaticism. Yes, it would be nice to be a socialist and hope that a supreme dictator monarch could have control of everything and be a big santa claus to end all world conflict OR an anarchist who lets everyone just do whatever they like and hopes that the welfare state will magically go away but... I know better.

    Sadly, part of knowing better is that I have to admit I'm just a small person in a world full of small people who like to think that their belief in a relgion or political philosophy largely similar to a religion is going to make a utopian society.

  • ||

    "But it's hard to see why this phenomenon causes so much anger among anti-immigrant groups. They complain about poor Mexicans sneaking in illegally, taking jobs, getting government assistance, and staying forever. Shouldn't they be happy to hear about rich Turks getting visas, avoiding employment, paying their own costs, and leaving immediately?"

    This argument shows the ugly side to the illegal immigration apologist position: That they think it's just "free markets at work" when illegals are exploited at cheap jobs because that will make a profit for some unscrupulous employer and they overlook all the social benefits such illegals draw claiming, limply, that those SHOULD be eliminated but that's not going to happen.

    Indeed, controlling immigration and borders is a primary component to making a "free" market work: Should it be ok for China to flaunt copyright law and burn bootleg copies of major films and just send them to the USA for distribution? What?!?! Are you against... FREE trade? How about China's (and Mexico's for that matter) flaunting of environmental regulations that cause jobs to be "outsourced". Sure, they're just polluting their own nations but this doesn't really solve environmental issues. It just exports pollution. Poverty isn't solved by a free market but rather IMPORTED via illegal immigrants doing work that could pay higher for blue collar workers but are dismissed as unimportant by the libertarian elites.

    In the meantime, they lose votes and continue to see libertarianism dismissed as just another form of "dog eat dog" capitalism.

  • ||

    Exactly, and well said. Libertarianism is like any other political philosophy in that it offers a base from which to start. Like any other "ism" it cannot deal with all of reality's complexities, and, if taken to far, can lead to an unwanted result. There is no perfect way. Life and politics and reality are messy, and we have been warned since at least Plato to beware taking any ideology to the extreme. Perhaps the immigration debate falls into this category of "complicated".

  • ||

    The challenge, DenverJay, is that the principle of "limited government" is difficult to define and a devil's playground.

    Heck, even leftist marxists in the states become "libertarians" when ragging on the evil "religious right" for trying to force their religion on them or build churchs in public places. Unless, of course, Muslims want to build a mosque on ground zero. Then they're all about tolerance. :-)

    Seriously though: The corruption of government is due to people wanting to use it's awesome force to rob from others for their benefit while lying to others about what "stealing" is defined as while they gripe that everyone else are a bunch of crooks trying to use the 'fascist' government to steal from them. It's hilarious in a tragic, Dantes Inferno, kind of way.

    I don't think that libertarianism is against controlled immigration. As I said in previous article comments, it's a form of environmentalism. If the USE allowed EVERY person to move here who wanted to, this would become a third world country overnight. And not just because of the population burden but also the fact that these people are encouraged by the left to develop an attitude of entitlement both in terms of welfare benefits but also the notion that the USA should change to suit them and the ideals that these people fled from the in first place.

    Libertarian apologists for illegal immigration are either crazy or plagued by white guilt.

  • ||

    If the USE allowed EVERY person to move here who wanted to, this would become a third world country overnight.

    But if the US allowed every person to move here who wanted to, could pay his own way, and could support himself while here, it would be a benefit to the economy and the native population.

  • ||

    Really MikeP? Do you realize how many people "want to" move here? It's in the billions!

    As I said, the crazy sentimentalism of the illegal apologist position is that illegal immigrants and the children they exploit for fun and profit are treated better than people who are not in the position to jump across the border. It's bailout thinking.

    Hmmm, if government could be perfectly run and a central authority could be counted on to take care of everyone, socialism could work. So I guess socialism is the best idea ever!

    Isn't it neat when we base bad social policy upon totally unrealistic ideals?

  • ||

    Accepting your "billions" for the sake of argument, do you really think that billions of jobs are available so those billions of people can move here? Of course not.

    As recently as the 1990's, government (properly) didn't really care about illegal immigrants who kept their noses clean. Did billions show up? Did hundreds of millions?

    As recently as 1917, anyone who wanted to -- at least if they weren't Chinese or Japanese -- could show up and be let in. Did hundreds of millions?

    There is a market rate at which immigrants can be brought into the US economy. It has never been exceeded. I see no reason to believe it would be exceeded under reopened borders.

  • ||

    MikeP, I dug the hole and put branches and leaves over it and you enthusiastically jumped in even after seeing me collect the leaves the branches...

    Deny the nose on your face if you like "of course not" but even you refuse to admit it publically, there are billions of people in the world living in abject poverty who would move here in a hot minute. And you KNOW it!

    Whether there are billions of jobs here or not isn't the point. The point is that if they were allowed to come here, they would certainly TRY and ultimately reduce living standards to little better than the places they left. In addition, many wouldn't come for jobs. They'd come for WELFARE which is what your insane agenda makes an empty promise to eliminate, in principle, even as these thousands of millions would certainly never vote to do so!

    Your position is denial wrapped around insanity.

    Your claim is false. The government DID "care" about illegal immigrants who kept their noses clean, it just turns out that they were only willing or able to enforce the law when they arrived by AIRPLANE or SHIP. If borders were truly open to all, as you have advocated, then yes, hundreds of millions would flood in. And they would ALL have both hands open for welfare and voting to keep those benefits and I can't blame them.

    I like a recent point someone made about privitizing sidewalks. His homeowners association built them. If we look at radical libertarianism in that fashion, then it's not unreasonable that many homeowners associations exist to put gates around their communities and to limit development and use and this suits most of the residents just fine. They don't want someone renting out their townhome to 20 migrant workers and filling up the parking lot with junkers. They don't want a homeless camp in their playground.

    Your claim that the market rate hasn't been exceeded is rediculous. We are in a recession. Millions of people are out of work. Saying that illegals are taking up the lower paying jobs is elitism because it ignores the effect that illegals have on lowering wages for such work. You talked about history going back to 1917. Indeed, construction and gardening work was, at one time, something working class men could do and even support a family albeit not at a luxurious level. No more. Then again, I wouldn't buy a home built since the late 1980's. The construction is shoddy and probably has chinese sulfuric acid drywall. (I wouldn't buy a home for the next 2 years anyway!)

    Your claim and my response leads to an interesting observation that technological and economic progress leads to lower birthrates, however, the work that was done by the working class in the past is still valuable but the middle and upper classes don't want to pay "market rates." I get a laugh about how feminists, who wail that women don't get enough respect as housewives or alimony for the "sacrifice" of looking after their own children, don't want to pay more than $10 an hour for a LEGAL nanny to look after their kids so they hire someone who could be dating an MS13 gang member just to save a buck. Isn't that amazing?

    Ironically, the only solution to this problem without allowing the first world to degrade down to third world status and seeing the welfare state accelerate the process is to engage in... nation building. Increase the standard of living for third world countries so their people want to stick around. The problem is that only works in a limited fashion for place such as, say, Mexico where the middle and upper class are happy to stay but the poor have just enough resources to hire a coyote to smuggle them out.

  • ||

    ...they would certainly TRY and ultimately reduce living standards to little better than the places they left.

    By what mechanism could that possibly happen?

    If borders were truly open to all, as you have advocated, then yes, hundreds of millions would flood in.

    Okay, we're down one order of magnitude. Take it down one more, and you'll be in agreement with me.

    And they would ALL have both hands open for welfare and voting to keep those benefits and I can't blame them.

    And I think that the mechanism for allowing free immigration should be a new class of visa that explicitly denies targeted welfare and explicitly is not a citizenship-track visa -- pretty much like illegal aliens today, but legal -- so neither welfare nor voting are at issue.

  • ||

    "By what mechanism could that possibly happen?"

    Did you ever hear of boats? They're these things that float on water.

    Granted, the extreme poor probably couldn't afford a ride on one, but the moderately poor in places such as Asia and Africa probably could. There are hundreds of millions of people on those continents who probably would want to improve their standard of living by paying for a (probably uncomfortable) boat trip over.

    "Okay, we're down one order of magnitude. Take it down one more, and you'll be in agreement with me."

    Or we can take it up another order of magnitude. There are 7 billion people on the planet. All we need is just 1/7 of those willing to improve their standard of living by immigrating to the USA (until the standard of living declines, of course) for my numbers to work...

    "And I think that the mechanism for allowing free immigration should be a new class of visa..."

    Yeah, you mean the same kinds of measures proposed by proposition 209 in California that were wildly protested against by La Raza and other racially based illegal immigrant groups demanding welfare?

    Your logic is as follows: Let in everyone that wants to come even if they're here for welfare, give them voting rights, then hope that they agree to dissolve the welfare state.

    Are you for real?

  • ||

    Oops! I meant proposition 187. Proposition 209 was meant to grant civil rights to white males. Oh, wait, racist illegal immigrant groups opposed that too...

  • ||

    My "By what mechanism could that possibly happen?" was referring to

    ...ultimately reduce living standards to little better than the places they left...

    That's not how economies work.

    Your logic is as follows: Let in everyone that wants to come even if they're here for welfare, give them voting rights, then hope that they agree to dissolve the welfare state.

    No, my logic is as follows: Let in anyone who wants to come, but deny them targeted welfare and any implicit path toward citizenship.

    If they want to strive for citizenship, they can apply and wait for a citizenship-track visa while residing legally in the US on the unlimited visa.

  • ||

    "That's not how economies work."

    Yeah, we all know the way illegals have made California into a leader in eduation and economic growth especially in the last 20 years... Also, the high illegal immigration rate has shown that the demographics in that state have switched to libertarian values. It's a perfect example of YOUR theories about how illegal immigration will result in a utopian, libertarian state.

    Howz that working out for you?

    Your "logic" is flawed by the fact that illegal immigrant groups themselves oppose such measures. Didn't you read above?

  • ||

    Yeah, we all know the way illegals have made California into a leader in eduation and economic growth especially in the last 20 years.

    Since what you decry has to do with California's government, and illegals didn't get to vote for it, I find it odd you blame California's woes on illegals.

    Your "logic" is flawed by the fact that illegal immigrant groups themselves oppose such measures.

    So illegal immigrant groups oppose such measures. So what?

    I'm talking about free migration. Current illegal immigrants of course qualify immediately, but they don't get to set the rules for the hundred million other interested parties in the hundred other countries.

    The grand bargain -- open borders, but no welfare and no path to citizenship -- is a compromise between people who believe in the rights of individuals to reside and labor wherever they wish and the citizenry that wants to protect its pocketbook and politics.

  • ||

    "So illegal immigrant groups oppose such measures. So what?"

    So what? So if illegals support the welfare state, and use it, then it's highly unlikely that they're going to vote against it and become libertarians!

    Your "grand bargain" is no bargain at all. Literally. The illegals special interest groups don't agree to it. The politicians advocating amnesty aren't agreeing to it. It's like a bargain where I say that you're going to pay me money I say I don't need to pay you back, and you hope I give it back to you later.

    And yes, access to the USA is like "money". The infrastructure such as the roads, the state protected by the military as defended by citizens and legal residents, the communities with a zoning restrictions to keep traffic congestion reasonable, etc. are all resources that the government regulates and protects.

    Speaking of protection, one of the "benefits" of illegal immigration is that Mexican nationals commit crimes such as rape and murder and go home and don't get extradited back here. I guess those are jobs that legal residents aren't willing to do.

  • ||

    And yes, access to the USA is like "money".

    And denying the fundamental individual right to access the territory claimed by the US is like "theft".

  • ||

    And the anarchist sentiments that ultimately lead to marxism are revealed!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Property_is_theft!

    If I were asked to answer the following question: What is slavery? and I should answer in one word, It is murder!, my meaning would be understood at once. No extended argument would be required . . . Why, then, to this other question: What is property? may I not likewise answer, It is robbery!, without the certainty of being misunderstood; the second proposition being no other than a transformation of the first?

    —Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, What is Property?[I]

    MikeP, stop locking your door, you thief! You're STEALING by doing so from people who have a fundamental individual right to go in and help themselves to whatever they want!

  • ||

    The territory of the US is not, in any sense of the word, property.

    No one owns it. No one's individual property rights mediate access to it.

    Indeed, by preventing access to my property by those I invite to my property, restrictions on free migration violate my property rights too as well as the migration rights of those I invited.

  • ||

    I've always wanted to know what goes on in Area 51. MikeP, please test your hypothesis and go onto the military base and remind the security guards that the US government has no right to limit your access to world-wide public property.

    Good luck with that.

  • ||

    Government owned lands -- military bases, national parks, post offices, etc. -- are government property.

    The US in toto is not.

  • ||

    MikeP, you forgot to include ROADS in that list along with nearly all of the land along the border that illegals cross.

    That's trespassing.

    Oh, I want to visit a neighbor that lives behind you so I'll need to enter your home from the front. I hope you don't "steal" from me by trying to hinder my access. My private government, owned by me, says that it's ok so you shouldn't mind...

    Isn't anarchy neat?

  • ||

    Rights of way are part of the bundle that goes with any property's rights, long recognized by common law and US law.

    Government can certainly charge for improvements to the rights of way -- e.g., tolls to pay for paving -- but government does not own the right of way and cannot legitimately enforce or prosecute anything like trespass on it.

  • ||

    OK,this argument has been hashed to death, both on this site and countless others as well. So, if you don't mind, I'd like to re-direct, just a little.
    So, here is a mental exercise:
    What would happen to/in Mexico if the strong-border camp got their way? I know it won't happen, but imagine, if you will, 12 million Mexican nationals who have lived in the U.S. for many years, suddenly deported to Mexico.
    Here is one absolutely certifiably insane plan to fix the kleptoracy to our south...go ahead and deport 12 million people, who have become accustomed to living in the U.S., back to a third world nation with a corrupt and inept bureaucracy running it into the ground.
    Would we witness a revolution? Peaceful or not?
    200 words minimum, due by Friday

  • ||

    Denver, that isn't a mere mental exercise. It's quite doable and been shown to be possible as the Arizona law shows. Just examine the papers of children going to school (and those that SKIP school) and have the police run the records of suspected illegals when they commit a crime or get a traffic stop.

    From what I can tell of the political sensibilities of the group, it appears that the corrupt kleptocracy is an EXPORT of Mexico via these illegals hence the open arms the democrats have given them. They want a group that will be selfish and entitlement seeking that will put cronies into power under the unfulfilled promise of "robbing from the rich to give to me." Sending them back to Mexico probably wouldn't change anything. They'd just make Mexico look more like Mexico just as they're making the USA look more like Mexico...

  • ||

    Seriously? Listen, like I said before, I am not so blind that I cannot recognize the obvious problems caused by illegals. I am basically on your side of that argument. But to indiscriminately say that all, or even most, illegals are in favor of a socialist welfare state is pure BS, Grade A.
    Most of the illegal community I have met, (and living here in Colorado and before that New Mexico I have met a lot of them), most are hard working people with conservative social values. I'd be crossing the border myself if I had had the misfortune of being born in Mexico.
    A large portion, a majority in fact, of this population were basically peasants back home. They come to the U.S. for economic reasons, but once they are here they start to soak up things that we take for granted. Things like the right to walk down the street without being hassled by the police, and the opportunity to start a business as easily as putting an ad on Craigslist, paying $20 for a DBA, and getting a tax license.
    In short, they learn libertarianism and entrepreneurship. Hell, the kind of person who will leave everything they know and take a gamble on a new country and a new language, are probably libertarians already, even if they don't know it.
    You are telling me that, after living in the US for years, and starting their own businesses, etc., they would meekly fold back into their old place in Mexico? Would you? Not to throw around the "racism" card, but if an American would not surrender learned freedoms, why would a Mexican?
    I believe there would be a Revolution.
    However, since you beat the Friday deadline, I will grade your response at an B-.

  • ||

    DenverJay, I never said that all illegals are in favor of a socialist state. What you have there is a strawman. The term "most", however, is ambiguous. It can range from >50% to just short of 100%. It is not unreasonable to say that the term "most" is synonymous with "majority" based upon how this particular special interest group votes. Conservatives who think that this group will someday vote along their lines based upon religious, traditional background are naive, but libertarians who think that they'll just switch into free market supporters are even more delusional. I'll go further into that later.

    I am not going to dismiss your experiences but merely observe how these people organize and vote. That's a more accurate predictor of future behavior.

    Regarding them learning a new language. Indeed, one of the main agendas of these groups, besides expanding the welfare state and racial preferences, is to require the USA become a dual language nation. Regarding the right to walk down the street without being hassled by the police. My wife was traumatized when a non-English speaking immigrant jaywalked across a busy highly traveled road, late at night, wearing dark clothing, against a traffic light, and leaving through hedges! She hit him. Thank heavens he wasn't killed. She was not charged with anything by the police.

    The next day, when I was driving down the road, I saw a bunch of young Hispanic boys doing the same thing. I stopped and said, politely, that they need to be careful because it is a busy road and an accident just happened. They yelled some racist slurs in Spanish and told me to go blank myself and laughed. What wonderful, freedom loving "Entrepreneurs!" I'm sure the neighborhood will be like a new Switzerland when they grow up!

    It's funny that you express indignation at me for supposedly claiming that "all" illegals are socialists yet now you generalize that they're "all" businessowners. From the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons: "In 1994, 74,987 anchor babies in California hospital maternity units cost $215 million and constituted 36 percent of all Medi-Cal births. Now they account for substantially more than half." Not only can the baby serve as an "anchor" to pull a large number of extended family members into the country, but they also can rely on the public services and benefits of the United States.”

    If we have much more of this kind of "entrepreneuralism", the taxpayers are going to go broke!

    Ok, as promised, let's address the crazy notion that these are traditionalist entrepreneurs in the making. Perhaps in their home country, without generous welfare benefits, they have strong patriarchal values and work ethics but once in the states, like with many poor whites, family values break down more quickly than a Jerry Springer commercial break. Welfare and VAWA funded shelters that provide women with free housing if they say they've been abused has resulted in unwed mother rates among the primary demographic of illegals that is second only to, well, you know. Surprisingly, in France where the highest birthrates are among Islamic immigrants, they use the welfare state to have multiple wives at taxpayer expense and the French are up in arms about it. One of the guys said observed that he is no different than French politicians who have taxpayer funded mistresses and children and he has a point.

  • ||

    lol, polishknight, you've been pwned!

  • ||

    Well, you do raise some valid points. As for the "anchor babies" issue, where is where this conversation all started, I've already admitted that illegals cause huge problems in many areas. The effects on hospitals and schools are perhaps the easiest to see.
    As for the young men you saw, I'm wondering if they are first generation immigrants? My personal experience is that it is the second generation and beyond that become punks and bangers, in which case they are Americans. Of course, this is semantics, for the problems stem from the illegal activities of their parents.
    You also are correct that all illegals are not entrepreneurs, although I would wager that a higher percentage of all immigrants start a business than native born citizens. How illegal immigrants compare, I confess I have no numbers to back me up, just a gut feeling, based on my experiences.
    But look, I agree that the problems caused by illegal immigration are real and serious. I believe that our borders should be controlled, and that immigration should not be based on family and proximity to our borders.
    However, I still stand by my assertion that it is difficult to live in this country and not absorb at least some of our values, not that freedom is uniquely an American value, but we do have culture that vigorously celebrates the concept. I also believe that if the estimated 12 million illegals that are here now were suddenly deported (mostly to Mexico), then the Mexican government would have serious social unrest on its hands.

  • ||

    DenverJay, how is trying to quibble over whether gangbangers and punks who are "second generation" and therefore "Americans" make illegal immigration look like a net gain for the society that accepts them?

    Legally born and naturalized citizens have higher standards for their offspring or at least should but the problems with the welfare state and legal residents and unwed mothers is a whole other kettle of fish.

    The fundamental problem with your premise, that the illegals absorb "American values", is flawed in that the leftist, socialist leanings of them as a political group actually are anti-American to start with. They seek to live in a utopia similar to Sweden. Or Canada. Both of which, as Ann Coulter pointed out in her article this week, do not endorse anchor babies and don't have demographics that look like Mexico...

    Again, that's a whole other fun topic to observe that leftists who dream of these paradises don't move there themselves. I love confronting them on that. They are often too stupid to learn the local language of the region, or unable to take the risk to move, or simply unwelcome by their utopian country's policies...

  • ||

    Just how tired is American Exceptionalism, as a concept, going to become before it is questioned? Why do the consistency-addicted believers in the "All Americans are Immigrants" non-argument never see any value in the experiences of the vast majority of societies that view immigration as too serious an issue to be settled by emotionalism?
    My wife was almost killed by an African immigrant who was driving legally in Minnesota on an Iowa license who couldn't understand the meaning of a no-left-turn red arrow on a semaphore. She was tested with an IQ of 70. She had 3 kids at the time of the accident, all unbuckled in her car. You can say, yeah but there are lots of Minnesotans who are similarly unqualified, right?
    Yeah, but would we pay for a lifetime of welfare for those people and their extended families using that as a qualification?
    Which brings me to my point, which is that rationalizations for increased immigration via anchor offspring is based on a contradiction. The value of a "pass" on immigration mirrors the value of the society. Why should a high-value society offer virtually free passes into it?
    If you cannot handle the psychology of charging a high price on a high value item, you don't belong in the marketplace. Much less should you be arguing libertarian ethics.

  • Scarpe Nike||

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