The Democratic Way of Deportation

I missed the news from late March that deportations under President Obama were up. Ruben Navarette from the San Diego Union-Tribune has more:

According to internal memos obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting and The Washington Post, officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement were so eager to drive up the number of deportations beyond the level they were in Bush's last year that they set quotas and spelled out how agents could meet them.

In a February memo, James M. Chaparro, head of ICE detention and removal operations, noted that the overall number of deportations for the year that ended in September 2009 was just over 310,000 – "well under the agency's goal of 400,000." Chaparro suggested increasing detention space to hold more illegal immigrants, sweeping prisons and jails to find likely deportees, and deporting illegal immigrants who committed only minor violations.

All this despite an earlier assurance from John Morton, assistant homeland security secretary for ICE, that "we don't have quotas anymore."

Also, ICE agents went on a deporting spree despite assurances from top administration officials that the agency would aim enforcement efforts at criminal aliens – those illegal immigrants who commit serious crimes in the United States.

It's hard to decide which was the bigger sin – establishing quotas, breaking promises or disappointing supporters who thought they were getting a kinder and gentler administration.

The greatest ongoing sin is that it's damn near impossible for low-skilled laborers to come this country legally. Everything else (especially the disappointment of people foolish enough to believe in politicians) just flows from there.

That Washington Post report is here. In related news, "Hispanics skeptical that Obama, Democrats will deliver immigration overhaul." And lest you weep at that outcome, know that any proposed immigration plan at this point would probably involve a mandatory federal ID card for all of us to prove we're not illegal aliens. It would be nice to imagine adults running the country, but I've long since stopped crossing my fingers.

Link via Jonah Goldberg over at The Corner. Jason L. Riley makes the Paul McCartneyesque case for just letting them in, below:

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  • ||

    Did they deport anyone who shouldn't have been deported? Their job is to enforce the law. If you don't like the law, then change it. But what do you expect ICE and Obama to do, stop deporting people and refuse to enforce the law?

    What a stupid story. Who cares that they set quotas. That just means they were working hard and doing their job. Unless you can show me that they were deporting lawful residents, I really don't care if they set quotas.

    And fuck off Reason with the picture of the detention center. Any non-criminal alien can walk out of any detention center any day they want to. They just have to agree to go home. When you are deported, you don't go to jail, you just go back where you came from.

  • ||

    Hence the authoritarian mindset of the conservative is exposed.

  • ||

    Next up, authoritarian police enforce theft laws. My god they are taking people and throwing them into jail.

  • ||

    Theft and simply entering a country are hardly equivalent.

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

    You're saying that consuming public services you have no legal right to isn't a form of theft?

    Let me guess - you're one of the 47% that doesn't have to pay income tax, right?

  • ||

    Because I'm not working, no.

    Besides, most of the people in that 47% are "Americans" in the lower and middle classes taking advantage of every deduction they can get.

  • ||

    Further more, "illegals" pay taxes too. So, they are hardly free-riding.

  • ||

    Are you saying that riding a seat in a public bus that you have no legal right to is a form of theft?

  • Zeb||

    That argument is a load of crap at best and dishonest at worst. They are not being deported because they receive government services. They are being deported because they are illegal immigrants. They don't get to stay if they pay more in taxes than they receive in services.

  • Kat||

    That sounds like a fine argument against socialized services.

  • ||

    Now we see the violence inherent in the system!!

  • Kolohe||

    non-criminal alien can walk out of any detention center any day they want to.

    Only after undergoing a criminal background check (which takes an unknown length of time) and filling out some paperwork (which Central American day laborers are noted for being adept at)
    http://www.ice.gov/doclib/PBND.....elease.pdf

    (Here's something, well, *odd* that I found with the above link:
    ICE provides detainees opportunities to work and earn money while confined
    So sneaking across the border to earn a few bucks doing yard work gets to detaineed....where you can earn a few bucks doing yard work?)

  • Kolohe||

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

    The greatest ongoing sin is that it's damn near impossible for low-skilled laborers to come this country legally. Everything else (especially the disappointment of people foolish enough to believe in politicians) just flows from there.

    Considering we have double-digit unemployment in this country, and no shortage of low-skilled individuals to fill any (currently non-existant) openings, exactly why is this a sin?

    I've heard of the America First movement, apparently cosmotarians want to promote the Americans Last movement.

  • skr||

    So where are all those unemployed citizens hustling work when I go to Home Depot or drive past a farm? I do live in LA so that might not be completely indicitive of the situation, however.

  • Zeb||

    It is a sin because when there are jobs available, people willing to work them will not be able to legally come and work. Good policy should be consistent trough good times and bad. Immigrants from points south are not some mindless horde invading the US. Many fewer come when there are fewer jobs available.

  • ||

    But there's also this thing called supply and demand, and so if we don't flood the country with unskilled workers, the ones already here find themselves more in demand, which means higher wages. No government programs or complicated tax breaks needed, just the enforcement of immigration law.

  • ||

    Artificially boosting wages; real brilliant. The same argument could be applied to foreign goods; keep them out and our goods would be in higher demand.

    Meanwhile the public is forced to pay ridiculously high prices in either case.

  • ||

    How many billions does the government spend every year to "help the poor"? "Artificially" boosting the wages of the unskilled by enforcing existing law would be a vast improvement, no? And no, it's not the same thing as protectionism in goods.

  • ||

    *sigh* Entrepreneurship would work better.

  • ||

    No, it wouldn't be a vast improvement.

    Everyone except those competing directly against the immigrants sees their real incomes raised by having illegal immigrants in the economy. And those who compete directly against illegal immigrants see between a small decline and a wash, depending on the study.

    Artificially hampering the market by abrogating the rights of certain people to work has exactly the effect you would expect it to have in any other circumstance. Why would immigration be any different?

  • ||

    So a giant spaceship lands in Kansas and 150 million aliens emerge. They are all very smart, have learned English from radio and TV, and are capable of doing any job in the US for peanuts. (One peanut a day is very valuable on their planet.) A libertarian court decides all immigration and employment laws are discriminatory, and so they replace 150 million Americans at work. Does the economy improve?

  • ||

    If the fact that unemployment tends to remain in the single digits throughout history no matter how many people try to work tells you anything, it should tell you that jobs are not scarce.

    Of course the economy improves.

  • ||

    With 150 million unemployed people?

  • ||

    By what possible mechanism would there be 150 million unemployed people?

    There were 28 million working people in the US in 1900 and 140 million in 2000. Does your model of the labor market really imply there should be 112 million unemployed people in 2000?

  • ||

    In my hypothetical, the 150 million aliens are willing to work for peanuts and replace 150 million Americans in their jobs, thus 150 million unemployed.

  • ||

    And what do the people who were once paying the 150 million Americans do with their surplus money now that they're only paying peanuts? Burn it? Bury it? Anything they possibly can, so long as it doesn't employ any of those 150 million people?

    This is not how economies work. If something can be done for lower cost, it makes the economy wealthier because now it has what it had before plus whatever more it can generate with the new surplus. This is the entire basis of wealth creation.

    If instead of 150 million aliens costing relative peanuts, it was automation costing relative peanuts that disemployed those 150 million Americans, do you think the economy wouldn't improve?

    Plain and simply: Before, you had what 150 million Americans produced. After, you have what 150 million Americans produced plus what 150 million Americans can produce now that they don't have to produce what they produced before.

  • ¢||

    apparently cosmotarians want to promote the Americans Last movement.

    Nah. They just don't know anyone who isn't "upper middle class," and especially not any black guys, so they don't care.

  • Zeb||

    I am starting to think that the smart move is just to ignore anyone who uses the term "cosmotarian".

  • ||

    You and me both brother.

  • Myan Environmentalist||

    And you two liberal collectivists have to move hard right to even pass as "cosmotarians".

  • ||

    And lest you weep at that outcome, know that any proposed immigration plan at this point would probably involve a mandatory federal ID card for all of us to prove we're not illegal aliens.

    Other than the existence of a federal ID card, the current immigration regime is the same. To get a job or open a bank account you have to show govt-issued photo ID and a social security card. If you're within 100 miles of the border, the Border Patrol can grab you off the street and lock you up if you don't have proof of citizenship or legal residence.

    Once again, libertarians' priorities seem to be misplaced. Of all the sins against liberty committed by the feds, a national ID is among the least of our worries.

  • ||

    A national ID would make it much worse. Right now all you have to have is some form of ID. A Social Security Card or a DL. The employer just has to look at the thing. He doesn't have to cross reference it with the government.

    If they went to a National Biometric ID, it would make everyone the equivalent of a resident alien. You couldn't work until you got your paperwork straightened out with DHS. The employer would run your card through some DHS database. If DHS fucked up your card, you couldn't work. A national ID system is much worse than what we have now.

  • Janet Napolitano||

    If DHS fucked up your card, you couldn't work.

    I assure you this will never happen.

  • Hockey Guy||

    Wvere are your papers!?! Your papers are not in order!

    No thanks, just do your job as the laws are written. I'm really getting tired of nullification of certain laws by law enforcement, politicians, etc.

  • Zeb||

    I've never had to show anyone any kind of ID to get a job.

  • ||

    The problem here isn't immigrants; they aren't criminals. The law itself is criminal.

    I admire people people who come in here "illegally"; they have too much self-respect to ask permission from the State.

    From an economic point of view, barring immigration is a form of protectionism, rooted in little more than nationalistic delirium. See Johnny Boy and Slap the Retarded for an example.

  • ||

    Of course you wake up every day and get to live here, rather than say Zimbabwe or Cuba. I guess the US is such a nice place by magic. Borders and the willingness to defend them has had nothing to do it. If you have such a problem with nationalism, leave and stop taking benefits from it. Be a transnationalist and go live "transnationally".

  • ||

    You're right, borders have nothing to do with it. It's economic opportunity and personal freedom that makes the USA a nice place. The fact that is an open society.

  • ||

    Those economic freedoms and personal freedoms only exist because we have borders and people willing to defend them. It may be that the best idea is to let anyone in. But, it being a good idea or policy, doesn't make it a moral necessity or mean that we should just get rid of the idea of the nation.

  • ||

    First of all, open borders doesn't lead to the abolition of nations. Second, the personal and economic freedoms are what makes this country great. The borders are irrelevant.

    I would argue that open borders are a practical and moral imperative. How can we be the shining city on the hill, when we shun people who look to it for hope and opportunity.

  • cynical||

    "Those economic freedoms and personal freedoms only exist because we have borders and people willing to defend them."

    From invasion, maybe. From dilution of the demos, maybe. From unskilled labor? Doubtful.

  • ||

    Because the completely open borders for the first 100 years or so of this country destroyed our economic freedoms and personal freedoms, which we then regained once the Progressives took over.

    /sarcasm

  • ||

    Seriously, there is nothing that says you have to stay here. Go to another country. There are lots of nice ones. And be sure to tell those governments to fuck off with their borders.

  • ||

    "The world is my country. To do good is my religion"-Thomas Paine

  • ||

    Good luck with that. In the mean time if you dislike the country so much and deny its sovereignty, stop free riding on it and leave.

  • ||

    I don't "dislike" my country. A nation is an abstract concept to me; I don't think about it too much. You talk about free-riding? I think an "illegal" who works hard and pays all his/her taxes contributes more than a native who takes advantage of every deduction. Who's really free-riding here?

  • ||

    No one is denying any nation its sovereignty. Sovereignty is simply the recognition of the positive fact that a nation can do whatever it wants within its borders.

    Sovereignty has nothing whatsoever to do with what the legitimate subset of those sovereign powers is.

  • ||

    I would agree. But if we have sovereignty, then immigration law is a policy. It is within our right to say yes or no to anyone. Maybe we should say yes to more. I don't object to immigration so much as the over top language used by Libertarians. There is nothing wrong with what ICE is doing. It is their job. If you don't like it, change the law.

  • Zeb||

    Who is this "we" that you speak of? I don't recall being consulted on US immigration policy.

  • ||

    I don't agree. If you own a home, you have sovereignty in a real sense, correct? Well, what if you were not allowed to lock the doors and windows, and anyone could come in as they pleased? Your sovereignty becomes rather meaningless, no matter what house rules you set.

    Looking at it another way, if sovereignty means "a nation can do whatever it wants within its borders," why does that mean a "no uninvited guests" rule is illegitimate?

  • ||

    Whoever houses and employs immigrants has invited them in. Who are you to abrogate the right of association of the residents as well as the right of travel of the migrants?

  • ||

    Because if you don't have control over who enters area X you have no sovereignty over area X. It's basic. The people who house and employ illegals don't have the right to determine that.

  • ||

    But in the case of an individual's or an association's property, X is one thing while in the case of a government's claimed dominion, X is something very different.

    Government sovereignty is not akin to the right of property. The legitimate powers that governments have in their respective dominions are, in the words of the US's founding document, limited to those that secure individuals' inalienable rights. Prohibiting people's migration is abrogating their rights -- rights that precede and preexist government.

  • Zeb||

    John, you might as well be saying "if you don't like the health care bill, or president Obama, go find another country".

  • Zeb||

    I agree about immigration restrictions as protectionism. Free trade and free markets cannot really exist if the market in labor is not also open and free.

  • ||

    It's hard to decide which was the bigger sin – establishing quotas, breaking promises or disappointing supporters who thought they were getting a kinder and gentler administration.

    Telling bald faced lies to the public should be an option here.

    In a February memo, James M. Chaparro, head of ICE detention and removal operations, noted that the overall number of deportations for the year that ended in September 2009 was just over 310,000 – "well under the agency's goal of 400,000." Chaparro suggested increasing detention space to hold more illegal immigrants, sweeping prisons and jails to find likely deportees, and deporting illegal immigrants who committed only minor violations.

    All this despite an earlier assurance from John Morton, assistant homeland security secretary for ICE, that "we don't have quotas anymore."
  • skr||

    The question have regarding the whole migrant plan is, "what effect will it have on business?" Right now there is a black market for labor. This is ostensibly because the cost of legal labor has been made ridiculously high by government. If the migrant worker plan comes into effect, the cost of the labor would probably increase drastically. Would that eliminate the black market or just change it? Or would it seriously depress growth?

  • ||

    Ban something that doesn't hurt anyone, and a black market crops up. Prohibiting drugs and alcohol didn't work. Prohibiting immigration doesn't either.

  • ||

    Alex Nowrasteh and Ryan Young have a column in the Detroit News on this question...

    Every single one of these reforms was proposed with the best of intentions. Their goal is to decrease illegal immigration, and to improve immigrants' living conditions. But it's pretty easy to see that these policies will badly backfire. In the end, results matter, not intentions.

    What would give the results we're after? Liberalization. The whole reason the immigration black market exists is because the legal channels are so cumbersome and restrictive. Lighten the paperwork and regulatory burden, then. The more unattractive legality becomes, the more attractive illegality looks in comparison.

    This is an urgent problem. Black markets are dangerous to a free society. Murder, smuggling of stolen goods and drugs, slavery, and more are part and parcel of immigrant black markets. Those truly destructive activities are easily avoidable -- shrink the black market by making legal immigration easier.

    That means making H-2A visas inexpensive, easy to obtain, and keeping the related paperwork and regulations to a minimum. That means no minimum wage hike. No costly background check requirements. People rarely break laws that are reasonable and easy to obey.

    When legal channels cost too much in time and money, people will turn to illegal channels every time. That's how the world works. Getting rid of immigration's black market begins with admitting that fact.
  • ||

    "No costly background check requirements."

    Sure. Just let anyone in. Don't check their background. So what if they have spent the last three years in Yemen after converting to Islam in Germany. Who cares if they are part of the Russian Mafia. What could possibly go wrong?

  • ||

    Those couldn't be determined in a less costly background check?

    This is the Labor Department we're talking about. They aren't known for doing things the easiest, cheapest, or even best way.

  • ||

    Further, why is that anybody's business? What if the said Mafia guy got out of crime? What if the Muslim is just a Muslim?

  • Steff||

    If someone is thoroughly hell bent on hurting our nation, they will get in regardless of laws, enforcement, etc. It's absolutely impossible to patrol every inch of our border, and in the meantime, the legal immigrants pay the price for people who couldn't care less for the laws in the first place.

    It's like gun control laws, like that. All those do is make it harder for law abiding people to have firearms. It doesn't stop the bad guys.

  • Spartacus||

    It's hard to decide which was the bigger sin – establishing quotas, breaking promises or disappointing supporters who thought they were getting a kinder and gentler administration.

    Why do we have to choose? Can't people just be outraged at all of them? Although I guess the last one doesn't actually apply if you weren't a supporter to begin with.

  • ||

    By the way, Alex Nowrasteh has a great column in yesterday's San Jose Mercury News...

    Four steps are needed:

    # Immigrants, not employers, should hold the visas.

    # Hiring someone with a visa should be as easy as hiring an American citizen.

    # There should be no numerical cap on the numbers of work visas issued.

    # Instead of trying to arrest busboys, fruit pickers and software engineers, U.S. immigration enforcement should focus on weeding out criminals and potential terrorists.

    Legalization eliminates black markets and their attendant negative consequences. Legalizing immigration and offering an amnesty to the noncriminals here will have the same results. The 2009 bill is not the answer or much of a starting point; a real immigration reform bill is needed.

    It is damn refreshing to read some sanity on immigration in the mainstream press rather than the usual argument of amnesty plus enforcement versus deportation plus enforcement.

  • ||

    Immigration is definitely one of those issues that's both unpopular in the whole, but where elites in both parties are convinced that it's good. For that reason, immigration deals are possible only in a bipartisan environment. For that reason, the hope of an immigration deal rested on McCain being elected, not Obama.

    I should think that would be apparent to any sufficiently informed observer, agree or disagree with the position.

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

    Immigration is definitely one of those issues that's both unpopular in the whole, but where elites in both parties are convinced that it's good.

    Yes, indeed! So why do we need libertarians? They're serving the same shit sandwich our elites have been serving us for 40 years, with a side order of capitalism.

    But the main course is still a shit sandwich.

  • ||

    "Why do we need paleo/neo-conservatives? They're serving the same old shit sandwich our elites have been serving us for 40 years, with a side order of capitalism.

    "But it is still a shit sandwich."

    Fixed.

  • ||

    I'm a high fence/wide gate guy.

    I'm not thrilled about the US being the destination of choice for people seeking to escape law enforcement in their home countries, so I'm good with a background check.

    I'm also not thrilled about the US being the destination of choice for people looking for handouts, so I'm also good with a requirement that immigrants be self-supporting and barred from any wealth transfer programs.

    Other than that, let 'em in.

  • Steff||

    A background check is reasonable, yeah. But doing away with most of the entitlements, and refining them down to genuinely help people just get back on their feet, would probably curb a whole lot of immigration-for-benefits, too.

  • Tristan at the Quads||

    With apologies to Ernest Lawrence Thayer

    The outlook wasn't brilliant for the student march that night;
    The quads were filled with rent-a-cops and not a picket sign in sight;
    With Cooney busted for possestion, and Barrows, the riot laws;
    A sickly silence fell upon the supporters of The Cause.

    A straggling few got up to go, in deep despair. The rest
    Clung to that hope which "springs eternal in the human breast;"
    They thought, If only Tristan Band could be rallying that mob,
    We'd put up even money now, with Tristan at the quads.

    But Flynn preceded Tristan, as did also Jimmy Blake,
    And the former was a no-good and the latter was a fake;
    Forlorn, that stricken multitude discouraged by the odds,
    For there seemed but little chance of Tristan's getting to the quads.

    But Flynn let fly a bottle, to the wonderment of all,
    And Blake, the much despised, set a bomb off in the hall,
    And when the dust had lifted and men saw what had occurred,
    Jimmy beaned the Dean of Students, while the bombed out library burned.

    Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell,
    It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell,
    A Harley roared up from the street, and was tearing up the sod,
    And Tristan, Gay Tristan, was advancing through the quads.

    There was ease in Tristan's manner as he wheeled into his place;
    There was pride in Tristan's bearing and a smile on Tristan's face,
    And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly gave a nod,
    No stranger in the crowd could doubt `twas Gay Tristan at the quads.

    Ten thousand eyes were on him as he gunned the throttle loud;
    Five thousand tongues applauded as he signaled to the crowd.
    And while the nervous officers grabbed the night sticks from their hips,
    Defiance gleamed in Tristan's eye, a sneer curled Tristan's lip.

    And now a can of tear gas came hurtling through the air,
    And Tristan stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there,
    Close by the haughty Tristan, the can unheeded sped --
    "That ain't my style," said Tristan. "Break it up!" the coppers said.

    From the streets, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
    Like the beating of the storm waves on a stern and distant shore.
    "Kill them; kill the pigs!" shouted someone from the mob;--
    And Tristan guns his engine, and wipes-out on the lawn.

    With a fist of protest shaking, Tristan's visage shone;
    He jumped back on his Harley; he bade the march go on;
    The Harley takes off through the quads, 'till it hits a vicious bump;
    And Tristan sails through the air, landing smack upon his rump.

    "Fascists!" he screeched, "Socialist, Collectivist, Racist, Sexist pigs!"
    "If I must I'll ride a tricycle, but we'll have this march - you dig?"
    They saw his face grow stern and cold; they saw his muscles strain,
    And they knew that Gay Tristan wouldn't lose that bike again!

    The sneer is gone from Tristan's lip; his teeth are clenched in hate;
    He sniffs with cruel derision as he lets go of the brake.
    And now he throws it into first, the clutch he now he lets go,
    And now the air is shattered as the bike takes off - alone.

    Oh! somewhere there's a campus town where they drum and chant all night.
    They protest for the rain forest, and demand the wart-hog's rights.
    And somewhere bongs are being passed, and somewhere radicals shout;
    But there is no joy at Old State U -- Gay Tristan has Wiped Out!

  • ||

    I actually found this quite amusing. Excellent satire, thank you.

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