John McCain

Immigration Heats Up

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The immigration debate–already on a rolling boil for some time now–looks to spill over on to the stove as the Senate gets around to passing overdue legislation on the issue. The Financial Times lays out the triple threat of our current policy:

The Senate's deliberations, scheduled to start Tuesday and extend over the next two weeks, could reshape a national immigration system that is widely perceived as failing the foreigners who want to enter the United States, citizens who expect it to prevent illegal border crossings and employers who look to it for workers to fill jobs that many Americans refuse to do.

More here.

Late last year, the House of Reps overwhelmingly passed an immigration bill that increased fines and penalties for illegal immigrants and employers. That legislation, which pointedly refused to address guest-worker programs, was rightly seen as a slap at President Bush, who was widely attacked within GOP circles for talking up various types of plans that might legitimate illegals. The FT notes that immigration splits the Republicans in two:

The issue pits two of the party's core constituencies against each other, with social conservatives insisting on tough enforcement and the need to protect American culture and the business lobby calling for a reliable source of labor.

And it plays heavily into political ambitions, with every would-be presidential candidate staking out a position with an eye toward 2008. Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) is pushing a bill that's basically a mirror of the House bill–tough on enforcement, with no provisions for guest workers. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is pushing a bill that's co-sponsored by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and is approved by business types; Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) is pushing something similar. For whatever arcane reason, the Senate Judiciary Committee must approve a bill today for a vote, otherwise Frist's bill is the one they'll vote on.

Adding some fuel to the fire: President Bush will be making a speech about immigration today, at a naturalization event for new citizens. And in his Saturday address, he backed away from amnesty for current illegals.

Go here for a bit on America's ambivalence regarding immigration. Go here for an op-ed that Jesse James DeConto and I wrote about "who grew your Christmas Tree." And go here for our February issue, which features a DeConto's great February cover story on "America's Criminal Immigration Policy."

NEXT: Here's Looking at You

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  1. …and employers who look to it for workers to fill jobs that many Americans refuse to do.

    My, what fanciful and purposely misleading prose.

  2. Whatever one might think on the issue of who should be let in, how many should be let in, and what the criteria should be, the system should also be simplified for those who are let in. The foreign scientists that I work with spew an elaborate list of alphanumeric codes. If somebody gets a new job, or his wife gets a new job, you hear “But he’s G2, how will he get G3? Or does that job require H1? Oh, well, he’s got a J. I see. But does his wife have J or J2? And doesn’t J work differently if he’s from Russia?” (I don’t know if I had the right categories in there, but you get the point.)

    However many foreigners are allowed to work here, surely the market would work more efficiently if we didn’t have a thousand visa categories with different rules.

    As for me, I’m actually thinking of immigrating illegally. I want to return to California in a few years. When I do, if I can’t find a job with a Jan. 1 start date I will have no choice but to work off the books for the remainder of whatever year I start in. Why, you ask? The California tax form for part-year residents is a nightmare. That thing is so confusing and contradictory that I would rather work off the books than fill it out again. So if I can’t find a job with a Jan. 1 start date I’ll go to Mexico, then cross into California illegally, and spend my first few months getting paid under the table. My job title will be “el profesor de fisica.”

  3. I don’t like the idea of discriminating against people just because of where they were born, but that comment about “jobs Americans refuse to do” is disingenuous. It’s not that Americans won’t do certain jobs–it’s that they won’t do certain jobs at the extremely low wages currently offered.

  4. The Big lie that illegals take jobs that Americans won’t take has been blow out of the water!
    This exposes the Democrat lie that “illegals take jobs Americans won’t do”..”It (the Pew Hispanic Center ) estimated that illegal immigrants fill a quarter of all agricultural jobs, 17 percent of office and housecleaning positions, 14 percent of construction jobs and 12 percent in food preparation.” So the facts are Americans are working 3/4 of all agricultural jobs, 83 percent of office and housecleaning positions, 86 percent of construction jobs and 88 percent of food preparation jobs. Do open border Democrats think we are to stupid to notice?

  5. “It’s not that Americans won’t do certain jobs–it’s that they won’t do certain jobs at the extremely low wages currently offered.”

    True, Jennifer, but that’s a moot point, because Mexicans WILL do those shitty jobs for pittances. If we toughen up immigration rules, and the mexican labor supply dries up, it won’t take long for prices to soar and Americans to start clamoring for more immigrants. I like the libertarian solution: Let all non-criminals in if they want to work, just don’t give them free shit (health care, public skools, etc) This of course will never happen.

  6. If we toughen up immigration rules, and the mexican labor supply dries up, it won’t take long for prices to soar

    How much are these prices supposed to soar? When the auto manufacturers started paying decent wages cars didn’t get so expensive that nobody could afford them. If an industry absolutely cannot survive if it pays decent wages to its workers, blame the industry, not the people who want more than coolie wages to do the job.

  7. Andy, you are suggesting an institutional interference with the freedom of assembly.

    Legal migrant workers have a lot less rights than citizens. You can always ship them “home” and import some new ones if they get uppity.

  8. Jennifer: The businesses which will fail as a result of toughening up immigration laws will primarily be the small ones (assuming they don’t just go ahead and cheat). Wal*Mart will be fine.

  9. The businesses which will fail as a result of toughening up immigration laws will primarily be the small ones (assuming they don’t just go ahead and cheat). Wal*Mart will be fine.

    Only if we continue to not penalize large employers who hire illegals.

    I’m all for open borders for non-criminals, but not with this ridiculous proposal of having these people be “guest workers” who only have the right to stay here so long as their employer says so. Let non-criminals come in and try for citizenship, and end up with the same rights as everybody else.

  10. I like the libertarian solution: Let all non-criminals in if they want to work, just don’t give them free shit (health care, public skools, etc) This of course will never happen.

    What do we do with the uneducated children? Deport them? What if they are hiding? What if no nation wants them? What do you really think US society would look like after following your plan for a couple decades?

  11. I have mixed feelings about the proposed immigration reform. On the one hand, I support open borders as part of a free trade in labor; on the other hand, if illegal immigration is made into a federal felony with mandatory jail time, that will absolutely implode the federal criminal courts system.

  12. if illegal immigration is made into a federal felony with mandatory jail time, that will absolutely implode the federal criminal courts system.

    Of course, considering the popularity of low-paid prison labor these days, under this proposal illegal immigrants will STILL take low-paying jobs Americans won’t do for coolie wages, with the added bonus of taxpayers shelling out $30,000 per person per year to keep them locked up.

  13. Jennifer: The large employers will be fine even if the laws are enforced against them–they will raise prices a little, cut back unprofitable operations, etc. The small employers will generally slip through the cracks because the country will never allocate the massive resources to enforcement that would be required, even with a comprehensive ID system. I know one thing–if the laws were strictly enforced we would have a lot fewer restaurants.

  14. I think the protests this weekend are going to be a watershed. I am generally pro immigration but even I have to stop and take a step back at the site of 100s of thousands of people living here illegally marching through Los Angelis demanding things from the government. Deporting them all and building a fence may be bad policy (I think it is) but it is absolutely within the purview of a sovereign nation to defend its borders. Deporting illegals is a policy question not a civil rights question.

    I think a lot of people who are pretty ambivalent about immigration who were very turned off by the demostrations this weekend. It was a dumb move par excellence.

    I am starting to think that we should look into importing immigrant labor from India or the Philippines or somewhere in Africa rather than Mexico and Latin America. I have objection to immigration as much as I have an objection to the “Fuck you it’s still Mexico” bumper stickers you see in Texas and Southern California, the 1000s of Mexicans who show up at USA soccer matches waiving Mexican flags chanting “OSMA” and now the thousands of illegals marching through the streets waiving Mexican and El Salvadorian flags demanding rights they don’t have. America is the land of opportunity and all but shouldn’t there be some burden on those taking advantage of that opportunity to be decent guests?

  15. I know one thing–if the laws were strictly enforced we would have a lot fewer restaurants.

    Yes, and a society with a huge underclass of poorly paid people is far preferable to a society with less restaurants, huh?

  16. Jennifer: I eat at home, mostly.

  17. Why do so many free-market diehards lose their faith in this regard, anyway?

    Global warming–not a problem but even if it is the free market will solve it.

    Peak Oil–not a problem but even if it is the free market will solve it.

    Lack of a low-paid underclass lacking any legal rights–AAAAH! The free market can’t possibly be expected to handle that! Restaurants will vanish! Grapes will cost five bucks apiece! Lettuce will cost a dollar a leaf! Our economy will be DESTROYED!!!

  18. The elephant in the room here is legal immigration. In particular the fact that, relative to demand and relative to illegal immigration, it doesn’t exist.

    Not just that it is phenomenally complex, full of arbitrary and silly and downright absurd regulations, forms, bureaucracies, and a pseudo-judiciary that would be a laughingstock in a third-world country. But the fact that it is capped with quotas that guarantee that certain sorts of people will never be allowed to immigrate legally, not because they are criminals but because they are the wrong nationality.

    Illegal immigration is just like illegal drugs in this respect: Kept illegal because the government has a fascination with preventing supply and demand from operating. And its illegality allows the government to classify all the people who connect supply and demand, be they drug sellers or illegal immigrants, as criminals unworthy of the least consideration.

    I’m not a big believer in the notion that all crime is due to “the system,” but like drug policy, American immigration policy would generate illegal immigration even in a world of saints. It might as well have been designed to do so.

    Remove the legal immigration quotas, and illegal immigration will vanish. But that, alas, would have too many gibberish-speaking foreign brown people for the Right, willing to accept wages that offend the Left.

  19. Jennifer,

    I always think of Zoe Baird, the woman whom Clinton orginally nominated for Attorney General. She was this highly paid attorney and her and her husband made something like 600K a year. Yet she hired an illegal alien to take care of her kids at less than minimum wage. How gross is that?

  20. My concern is some sort of “Instant Check” system will be required of employers. Because documents can be forged, it will probably be some part of national database that contains a list of all those “permitted” to work in the US.

    Now imagine you’ve switched jobs and you show up on the first day and the HR person no longer wants a Drivers License and SS Card, but runs your info through the system —– and you’re DENIED due to some gov’t screw up. If the penalties in the new law are high enough, who’s going to take a chance on hiring you. So you’re out of a job until you can get the gov’t to admit its mistake and allow you to work.

    Then of course there’s the possibility that someone in the gov’t will deliberately put you on the list for payback for speaking out or questioning their actions. If you thought politically motivated IRS audits were fun, this will have you rolling on the floor.

  21. She was this highly paid attorney and her and her husband made something like 600K a year. Yet she hired an illegal alien to take care of her kids at less than minimum wage. How gross is that?

    Loathsome, and she should have been severely fined. But it would be far worse with a guest worker plan where Baird could have legally hired a nanny for less than minimum wage, and if the nanny had any complaints her only recourse would be to go back where she came from.

  22. Grant,

    One of the reasons why legal immigration is so small is that there is no concensus on who to let in. For years the country allowed few non-white non Europeans in the country. That changed in the 1960s when Congress drove in the other ditch and only took non-white, non-eurpeans. If you open up immigration, who gets in? Further, if its not Latin Americans, they will all come over the border anyway and we will still have an illegal immigration problem. I don’t it is fair, however, to only let Latin Americans in at the expense of Europeans, Asians and Africans.

  23. Big Agro and other industries and their reps (hotel chains, restaurant chains, industry associations) will never stand for a honest, realistic and humane immigration system that legally imports the proper number of documented temporary workers needed. Rather they want the status quo – or worse: draconian felony laws to further the misery of the lives of illegal immigrant workers and to further suppress them so that the employers can continue to underpay, coerce and abuse them. This goes for small employers too – and especially. Imagine – you’re a 20 year old undocumented Mexican girl working as a nanny for the “Toncreda” family. They don’t want to pay you most weeks and the husband expects you to sleep with him every Tuesday. You could run, but Mr Toncreda warns you, “If you run – if you tell anyone – I will report you to the INS and you’ll be off to jail as a felon.” What a world.

    There are somewhere between 10 and 16 million of these illegal aliens. We couldn’t round them all up ever, no matter what. And, if we did, the effects on the economy of replacing 10-16 million underpaid aliens with 10-16 million full-paid Americans would be a shock on inflationary pressures that no interest rate hike from the Fed could ever cure. It’s just silly on the face of it.

    Ironically (and typically), the fear that that criminals are sneaking across the borders is only exacerbated by this broken non-system. By forcing regular workers to sneak over the border along side the criminals is to make it nearly impossible to differentiate between the two groups and to make the overall numbers so large that the INS and Border Patrol just can’t concentrate on the real bad guys. Typical American stupidity.

    The only good answer is to grant amnesty, once again, and to fix (and fully fund) the system so that people don’t have to immigrate illegally and business gets the workers they want and need. Who we have standing in the way of this fix are: Big Biz and other employers who want illegals to remain illegal so as to suppress them and their wages and racist “conservative” nativist know-nothing idiot Americans who hate brown people. What makes this uneasy for the GOP is that the former group funds them and the latter group votes for them. What to do?

    Vote Democrat. It’s the only option. (And I’m no Dem…)

    JMJ

  24. Jennifer: I would suppose it has to do with the perceived immediacy of the likely adverse consequences, and the relative burdens of the proposed solutions.

    John: I agree that the protests over the weekend will likely backfire, big time, and that will be unfortunate. The policy issue historically has been a tough one because we haven’t been willing to liberalize the laws to allow more workers in legally, but we want tougher enforcement to keep illegals out. I’m not an expert, but my perception is that our legal immigration policies are some of the most restrictive in the world, which would never have lasted this long except for our tolerance of illegal immigration.

  25. But the fact that it is capped with quotas that guarantee that certain sorts of people will never be allowed to immigrate legally, not because they are criminals but because they are the wrong nationality.

    Or the wrong level of education or marital status or religion or who-knows-what criteria they secretly pull out of their ass. I’ve seen the legal immigration system and it’s a bit broken. No wonder nobody uses it.

  26. When the auto manufacturers started paying decent wages cars didn’t get so expensive that nobody could afford them.

    Black/white thinking, Jennifer. Of course goods would never become so expensive no one could afford them. The goods in questions would just stop being made if they got that expensive. If it’s only wage rates that are causing goods to be too expensive to buy, something will have to give. An actually, competition from abroad where unions weren’t so strong have been a major issue for American auto makers for quite some time. But you’re right about one thing. Whether prices of goods would “skyrocket” from further restricting immigration is an open matter. What is certain is that they would go up. And profits would go down (affecting anyone with investments, not just the “rich”). How much exactly would depend on factors too complicated to know without a great deal of research, but it’s easy to predict the direction.

    I also agree that the ideal solution is to let anyone who wants to become a citizen do so. But if you’re basing your opposition to a guest worker system on the grounds that you prefer the ideal solution which we all know is not currently politically viable, aren’t you doing EXACTLY what you’ve so scornfully criticized others for doing? I.e., rejecting a compromise that would be better than the status quo because it doesn’t go all the way towards an ideal solution?

  27. I would suppose it has to do with the perceived immediacy of the likely adverse consequences, and the relative burdens of the proposed solutions.

    It could also have something to do with the idea “if businessmen like it, that means it’s good for the free market, but if businessmen don’t like it, that means it’s bad for the free market.”

    Workers don’t count–when discussing market forces, only businesses and consumers are to be taken into consideration.

  28. rejecting a compromise that would be better than the status quo because it doesn’t go all the way towards an ideal solution?

    This compromise would be worse than the status quo–putting people in jail rather than sending them back to their home countries? Enshrining in the law the idea that certain workers are legally at the full mercy of the whims of their employers? If my boss fires me I’m out of a job. If a “guest worker’s” boss fires him he’s out of the country. How is this an improvement?

  29. Black/white thinking, Jennifer. Of course goods would never become so expensive no one could afford them. The goods in questions would just stop being made if they got that expensive.

    Did cars become so expensive that they stopped being made?

  30. Si necesitas un profesor de fisica en California, tengo un Ph.D. y puedo trabajo imediatamente. Pero, no taxes, por favor. Pagame abajo de la mesa. No me gusta la forma 540NR. Puedo hacer la forma 1040, pero no puedo hacer la forma 540NR.

  31. I also fail to see how the “guest worker” program is any kind of step towards an ideal solution. I can imagine legal immigration would pretty much cease if we could openly import as many “guests” as we need to fill the lower tier of our economy.

  32. “who show up at USA soccer matches waiving Mexican flags chanting ‘OSMA'”

    OK, I’ve googled it and I can’t find anything that appears to be relevant. What’s the significance of chanting “OSMA”?

  33. By the way, guys, if you think taxes are too high now, wait until we start paying for the incarceration of all the people we currently dump back over the border.

  34. If a “guest worker’s” boss fires him he’s out of the country. How is this an improvement?

    I would think that those who don’t want to participate in the system could remain underground. If they choose to participate, then I would take their word for it that it’s better rather than yours that it’s worse. (Yeah, I’m just one of those libertarian wackos who think people can judge their own situation better than others can.) Now, if people who preferred to stay underground have a harder time doing so because employers will be less inclined to hire them as such, then that would likely reflect the fact that most workers do prefer to participate. If very few want to do so, the law will simply have little effect. But I don’t see how it will harm people to give them an additional choice.

  35. Did cars become so expensive that they stopped being made?

    Jennifer, you seem to be reading little bits of my post as separate, unrelated parts rather trying to appreciate how they all tie together. Not a good way to understand economics.

  36. But I don’t see how it will harm people to give them an additional choice.

    I notice you said nothing about the people who will be harmed by rotting in prison. Is that an improvement, too?

  37. Fyodor,

    All Jennifer is pointing out is the simple notion that just because profit-margins go down, that deosn’t mean that industry stops. If there’s money to be made, someone will make it, especially in economies of scale.

    JMJ

  38. I just RTFA. Holy crap, these “get tough” types like Frist and Cornyn are batshit insane if they think the US is going to muster the will to imprison and/or kick out tens of millions of illegal immigrants and those who “aid” them.

  39. Jennifer: don’t forget, every worker is also a consumer. It’s often assumed that simply raising wages will raise spending power. But higher wages don’t translate into more goods. Thus the higher wages are spread around the same amount of goods, which is what we call “inflation.”

    You’re assuming that there’s some fat cat out there consuming all your goods and you want to redistribute the wealth so you get more and he gets less. But the fat cat isn’t consuming…more often than not, most of his money is reinvested into machinery and labor to produce more goods. Which lowers the cost of goods.

    I guess I never thought I’d have to explain this here, but raising wages does not mean the workers will produce more. It only means they’ll have more money to spend. If everyone has more money to spend and the supply of goods remains the same, what happens to prices? Class?

    Frankly, immigration, legal and otherwise, is the only thing that’s keeping America’s economy from looking like Yeltsin’s Russia. Closing the border will be another nail in the coffin of The New Rome so, what the hell, bring it on.

    Thoreau: I’ve told tall tales about my residency status to avoid paying taxes in two states. I did it once and was told by both states that I had to figure the OTHER state’s taxes first in order to calculate the taxes owed in their little paradise. I’ll bet they get a wave of persons whose residency date just happens to start on Jan 1.

  40. But higher wages don’t translate into more goods. Thus the higher wages are spread around the same amount of goods, which is what we call “inflation.”

    And lower wages don’t translate into less goods. If we have too many people paid not even enough for basic living expenses, we have “deflation” if not “appalling rates of poverty.”

    Of course, higher wages could translate into more goods if more people buy more stuff, which means the businesses in question MAKE more stuff to sell, which also leads to more jobs. This could actually work out better than a low-wage race to the bottom.

  41. James, “more often than not, most of his money is reinvested into machinery and labor to produce more goods” is a lie. Prove it. I dare you. Show me one real link. No bullshit opinions or theories.

    JMJ

  42. I seem to recall Henry Ford paying his workers more, in part because he said they would then have the money to buy his products. Was he wrong? Did his higher wages destroy the economy through runaway inflation?

  43. James-

    The California 540NR is just classic. They tell you that certain things are different than the federal form 1040, including the way certain deductions are handled, and then they tell you to copy the number from a certain line of 1040, even though the number on that line is calculated using laws that differ from California law. And then they remind you that you have to do everything on the California form according to California law, not federal law. And then they tell you to use that line from federal form 1040.

    Now I see why nobody immigrates legally to California. I liked living there and want to move back, but if I take a job with a start date other than Jan. 1, I’ll just be an illegal immigrant physics professor for a few months.

  44. SR.

    Forgive my typo, they chant OSAMA as in Osama bin Laden and I stand corrected, they did it at a game in Mexico City not the U.S.

    http://www.atsnn.com/story/129958.html

  45. All Jennifer is pointing out is the simple notion that just because profit-margins go down, that deosn’t mean that industry stops.

    I am amazed at how much Reasonoids trust industry leaders about this. They always exaggerate the adverse effect of any change on their industry. That is what their shareholders want them to to. To the extent they speak publically about public issues, their most important message is that profits are too low and must be greater. I don’t begrudge business leaders for saying this, but we are grownups here. We don’t have to believe them or believe in the false urgency. Like Fyodor says, we don’t know the degree of elasticity between wages and product costs. Maybe it is time to call some bluffs on that link in the economic reasoning chain.

    As far as that issue of disproportionate impact on small business, there is an easy solution: enforce against the big businesses first. If WAL*MART or large feed lots are forced to comply, they will be happy to fund enforcement efforts against their small competitors. If they say different, then call me the . . .

  46. I’m telling you guys- Kim Jong Il has this stuff all figured out. You don’t hear the North Koreans whining about illegal immigrants swarming across their borders.

    We’re heading in that direction, but we’re not moving fast enough. Once more I say: Lou Dobbs for President (Pat Buchanan(sp?) for VP).

    But seriously- national ID cards are too easy to game, and numbers tattooed on the forearm are too low-tech; what we need is a 3-d barcode tattooed in a visible place (cheek or neck): any concealment or alteration of the marking would be cause for immediate detention or deportation (or , preferably, summary execution).

  47. I think we can all agree that the current dysfunctional system is something only the Federal Government could create.

    I’d like to think I’m one of those few Americans who can think rationally about immigration: I recognize that it has both real benefits and real costs. The question is, do the costs outweigh the benefits, especially in a post-9/11 world?

    If anything does bother me about immigration, it’s the entitlement mentality that many immigrants seem to have about coming to the US. That alone is enough to make me favor the “closed border” option.

  48. Why do so many free-market diehards lose their faith in this regard, anyway?

    Jennifer, I have to ask you the same question.

    Why do you (a) so quickly back away from open borders and (b) not believe that those under a closed borders regime who are being treated unfairly can make their own employment decisions?

    If the illegal immigrant would be better off staying in his home country, he’d probably stay in his home country.

  49. Grand Gould has it right. Government and Americans in general are under the delusions that the government controls supply and demand. And that it’s a good thing.

    The “solution” to illegal immigration is simply untenable. It would take so much resources to find, incarcerate and deport illegal immigrants, and so much government intrusion to definitively prove you and I are who we say we are, the end result would be a state close to something the old Soviet Union couldn’t have dreamed of.

    Like Jennifer, I’m surprised by the lack of “let the market work” faith. Even now, the market is working better than it would under the stricter proposals, when we have a large underground economy and a large above-the-board yet illicit economy all fed by illegal immigrants. Government solutions will continue to be more prohibition when what is needed is deregulatiuon.

  50. If anything does bother me about immigration, it’s the entitlement mentality that many immigrants seem to have about coming to the US. That alone is enough to make me favor the “closed border” option.

    The biggest “entitlement mentality” I’ve seen among illegal immigrants would be more like “let me do my job and leave me the fuck alone”. If only more Americans felt so entitled…

  51. P Brooks, either you are kidding or you are a serious sociopath who should be locked in prison or a mental ward. Get help before you harm someone.

    JMJ

  52. If you guys have so much faith in the beauty of the free market, why do you think it needs to be propped up with a government-mandated class of workers lacking the legal rights of Americans? Remember the old mantra “worker protection laws are unnecessary because the worker is always free to quit and get another job”? Under this guest-worker proposal, that will not be the case.

  53. Why do you so quickly back away from open borders

    Why do you assume I’m against open borders? Read my comment at 9:55.

  54. Jennifer,

    I do gather from that comment as well as past threads that you are for open borders. But all but two sentences you have written on this thread have been in support of the most strict closed border policy.

    Your preference ordering appears to favor open borders most, but prefer closed borders to porous borders. Even if the motives for guest worker programs and the like are to create a laboring underclass, the result is surely better for the country and for the immigrants in the short and long run than the more draconian proposals being debated.

  55. How much are these prices supposed to soar? When the auto manufacturers started paying decent wages cars didn’t get so expensive that nobody could afford them. If an industry absolutely cannot survive if it pays decent wages to its workers, blame the industry, not the people who want more than coolie wages to do the job.

    Are you joking right? You do realize that the U.S. auto companies are teetering on bankruptsy, right? The largest portion of the cost of buying a GM car is the pension and insurance obligations? If it wasn’t for those, your new Cadilac Escalade would cost about as much as a Toyota pick up truck? The U.A.W. essentially priced the U.S. automakers out of buisness.

    I seem to recall Henry Ford paying his workers more, in part because he said they would then have the money to buy his products. Was he wrong? Did his higher wages destroy the economy through runaway inflation?

    Henry Ford demanded better service for better pay. At the time it was not uncommon for 10%+ of workers on any work day not to show up. People would work a couple months during the winter, and then go work on the farm in the summer. The whole situation with industrial workers was a mess.

    By increasing pay, and also later by providing benifits for stable long-term employement (such as pension), Henry Ford was able to create a very stable work force. The whole thing was mutually benifitial. Henry Ford payed more, which made the workers happy, Henry Ford got proper professional workers. A steady worker would learn their job on the line, and do it much faster, etc… Henry Ford was doubling pay, and he was probably getting double productivity in the long run. But in essense, the whole thing made a lot of sense for everyone involved, the workers and for Ford.

    Nowadays though, schemes to raise wages are one sided, and based on coercion. They are not about negotiating an understanding between workers and capital where everyone benifits, but forcing one side to give at the expense of the other side. Those kinds of solutions simply don’t work. If you amazing plan for society requires a police force to be pointing guns at people’s heads to keep it running, it is probably unstable and not economicly viable.

    But for all the rest of the economically illiterate people who think that all the problem with the world comes from the fact that the government just doesn’t run everything… Lets take something like Orange Juice… If we start paying $30 an hour starting wage, plus benifits, and double inflation raises each year, like the auto industry pays… orange juice prices will have to go up to pay for the labor. Since, for something like oranges, labor is the primary cost, we are seeing a 5-10 times price increase for orange juice. If a carton of orange juice cost $5, it now costs $25-$50 dollars. Two things will happen:

    A. If it is ONLY the orange pickers who get the wage increase, the cost of orange juice becomes prohibitly expensive to the average person, and the industry collapses. People will drink apple juice, or mango juice, or prune juice… or for $50, they will buy a nice French or Italian red wine, which is much more healthy anyway. Nearly all the workers who were making those high wages, don’t have jobs, so wages weren’t raised.

    B. If you raise everyone’s wages, in every industry, and you have also raised the cost of products by at least that amount, you have made no change. Every makes more and pays more. Actually, this might hurt people, because everyone is now in a higher tax bracket and now pays more money in taxes.

    This is where you start understanding on how the defining belief in the western world today is government worship. The government does not have the ability to alter the laws of the conservation of matter or energy. The government doesn’t have the power to create anything out of thin air. If we have a smaller labor force by excluding mexicans from the labor force, it isn’t helping Americans, because having a smaller labor force doesn’t increase our available goods and services. Less people producing goods and services means less goods and services, and everyones standard of living goes down. You aren’t helping the mexicans either, because if they are willing to come to the United States to work for next to nothing, it is because the next to nothing they are getting paid in the U.S. is greater to the next to nothing they were making back home – and now, since all that labor is consentrated in mexico, the laws of supply and demand now lower the labor costs in mexico even more, hurting the mexicans.

    Sorry, but government cannot alter the laws of reality, even if the vast majority of people are behind the attempt.

  56. James,

    The point is that most of the investments fair poorly from all studies I know (there was one last year, but I can’t find it now), and much of the money is not for anything like domestic production of anything. That’s all.

    JMJ

  57. If you guys have so much faith in the beauty of the free market, why do you think it needs to be propped up with a government-mandated class of workers lacking the legal rights of Americans?

    I don’t. I’d rather let in those workers legally. I don’t see the point of being afraid of cheap, Mexican labor.

  58. But all but two sentences you have written on this thread have been in support of the most strict closed border policy.

    No, what I am opposing is a special class of “guest workers” who have to do whatever their employer wants or else they’re shipped back home. That’s why I said people should be allowed to come here and become citizens, not exist in a second tier of society. A government-mandated “worker class without rights” doesn’t work with a supposedly free society.

  59. Rex,

    “You do realize that the U.S. auto companies are teetering on bankruptsy, right? The largest portion of the cost of buying a GM car is the pension and insurance obligations? If it wasn’t for those, your new Cadilac Escalade would cost about as much as a Toyota pick up truck? The U.A.W. essentially priced the U.S. automakers out of buisness.”

    That’s just silly. Auto workers make about the same worldwide respective of their nationalities. Look, all you are doing here is pointing out the need for nationalized healthcare – the one thing all of our competitor states have and we do not.

    As for your orange juice comparison, you just proved how, in that casse, the markets work just fine. People would stop buying orange juice from America, those jobs would disappear and so the new jobs would pay more like what they could for picking oranges.

    The number one money maker for GM and Ford is not cars – it’s financing. Thanks to the incredibly stupid bankruptcy “reform,” more and more people will be defaulting on their financing (also mortgages, and durable good purchases) all in the name of short term gains for consumer creditors. This shit will be hitting the fan more and more in the near future.

    “This is where you start understanding on how the defining belief in the western world today is government worship.”

    Nobody worships government, genius. Some people simply understand that there is a time and a place for government and a time and a place for not.

    JMJ

  60. No, what I am opposing is a special class of “guest workers” who have to do whatever their employer wants or else they’re shipped back home. That’s why I said people should be allowed to come here and become citizens, not exist in a second tier of society.

    Why not just allow people to come over without requiring them to stay and become citizens? If we’re really worried about unemployed Mexicans cluttering the streets (because gosh yeah, they’ll flood the place after hearing from all their friends who came here and couldn’t get any work), say they can’t be unemployed for more than X number of months.

  61. How much are these prices supposed to soar? When the auto manufacturers started paying decent wages cars didn’t get so expensive that nobody could afford them. If an industry absolutely cannot survive if it pays decent wages to its workers, blame the industry, not the people who want more than coolie wages to do the job.

    Are you joking right? You do realize that the U.S. auto companies are teetering on bankruptsy, right? The largest portion of the cost of buying a GM car is the pension and insurance obligations? If it wasn’t for those, your new Cadilac Escalade would cost about as much as a Toyota pick up truck? The U.A.W. essentially priced the U.S. automakers out of buisness.

    I seem to recall Henry Ford paying his workers more, in part because he said they would then have the money to buy his products. Was he wrong? Did his higher wages destroy the economy through runaway inflation?

    Henry Ford demanded better service for better pay. At the time it was not uncommon for 10%+ of workers on any work day not to show up. People would work a couple months during the winter, and then go work on the farm in the summer. The whole situation with industrial workers was a mess.

    By increasing pay, and also later by providing benifits for stable long-term employement (such as pension), Henry Ford was able to create a very stable work force. The whole thing was mutually benifitial. Henry Ford payed more, which made the workers happy, Henry Ford got proper professional workers. A steady worker would learn their job on the line, and do it much faster, etc… Henry Ford was doubling pay, and he was probably getting double productivity in the long run. But in essense, the whole thing made a lot of sense for everyone involved, the workers and for Ford.

    Nowadays though, schemes to raise wages are one sided, and based on coercion. They are not about negotiating an understanding between workers and capital where everyone benifits, but forcing one side to give at the expense of the other side. Those kinds of solutions simply don’t work. If you amazing plan for society requires a police force to be pointing guns at people’s heads to keep it running, it is probably unstable and not economicly viable.

    But for all the rest of the economically illiterate people who think that all the problem with the world comes from the fact that the government just doesn’t run everything… Lets take something like Orange Juice… If we start paying $30 an hour starting wage, plus benifits, and double inflation raises each year, like the auto industry pays… orange juice prices will have to go up to pay for the labor. Since, for something like oranges, labor is the primary cost, we are seeing a 5-10 times price increase for orange juice. If a carton of orange juice cost $5, it now costs $25-$50 dollars. Two things will happen:

    A. If it is ONLY the orange pickers who get the wage increase, the cost of orange juice becomes prohibitly expensive to the average person, and the industry collapses. People will drink apple juice, or mango juice, or prune juice… or for $50, they will buy a nice French or Italian red wine, which is much more healthy anyway. Nearly all the workers who were making those high wages, don’t have jobs, so wages weren’t raised.

    B. If you raise everyone’s wages, in every industry, and you have also raised the cost of products by at least that amount, you have made no change. Every makes more and pays more. Actually, this might hurt people, because everyone is now in a higher tax bracket and now pays more money in taxes.

    This is where you start understanding on how the defining belief in the western world today is government worship. The government does not have the ability to alter the laws of the conservation of matter or energy. The government doesn’t have the power to create anything out of thin air. If we have a smaller labor force by excluding mexicans from the labor force, it isn’t helping Americans, because having a smaller labor force doesn’t increase our available goods and services. Less people producing goods and services means less goods and services, and everyones standard of living goes down. You aren’t helping the mexicans either, because if they are willing to come to the United States to work for next to nothing, it is because the next to nothing they are getting paid in the U.S. is greater to the next to nothing they were making back home – and now, since all that labor is consentrated in mexico, the laws of supply and demand now lower the labor costs in mexico even more, hurting the mexicans.

    Sorry, but government cannot alter the laws of reality, even if the vast majority of people are behind the attempt.

  62. Why not just allow people to come over without requiring them to stay and become citizens? If we’re really worried about unemployed Mexicans cluttering the streets (because gosh yeah, they’ll flood the place after hearing from all their friends who came here and couldn’t get any work), say they can’t be unemployed for more than X number of months.

    That would work too. What I’m opposed to is the current plan of letting people in for the express purpose of working for Employer X, and if the person has any complaints with X their only alternative is to leave the country.

  63. > I guess I never thought I’d have to explain this here, but raising wages does not mean the workers will produce more. It only means they’ll have more money to spend. If everyone has more money to spend and the supply of goods remains the same, what happens to prices? Class?

    Unless the workers spend their extra money abroad, the supply of goods won’t remain the same, it’ll increase with demand. The real question is what is the relative value of the crappiest kind of work in a given country, how much goods (food, clothes, rent &c) can you buy with 30 days of cleaning toilets. My guess is that in developing countries it isn’t enough to cover the costs of even the most basic needs. So clearly extra-low wages and steady prices can’t be an indicator of a healthy economy. It’ll benefit some people, sure, as economical imbalances often do.

  64. What I’m opposed to is the current plan of letting people in for the express purpose of working for Employer X, and if the person has any complaints with X their only alternative is to leave the country.

    Fair enough. Of course, the alternative to the current plan is the status quo, where immigrants have to sneak in illegally, and if they complain, they get reported, busted, and shipped back anyway. The plan sounds at least marginally better, at least in that it avoids the people-smuggling and people-dying-in-the-desert aspects.

  65. A government-mandated “worker class without rights” doesn’t work with a supposedly free society.

    It works fine in Saudi Arabia. Oh…

  66. the alternative to the current plan is the status quo, where immigrants have to sneak in illegally, and if they complain, they get reported, busted, and shipped back anyway.

    But with the proposed alternative, those people won’t be shipped back, but warehoused in prisons. How is that better? As I said before: if you think taxes are high now, wait until we start paying to keep all these people imprisoned on felony charges.

  67. That’s a separate plan, as far as I can see, offered by the people who object to the guest-worker program that would let people enter legally.

  68. I seem to recall Henry Ford paying his workers more, in part because he said they would then have the money to buy his products. Was he wrong?

    Actually, Jennifer, you probably do recall correctly that you heard that but like most people you are wrong. Henry Ford did not want to pay higher than prevailing wages for the day and only did so after his business manager convinced him that the higher levels were necessary for him to attract the kind of workers he needed for his new-fangled assembly line*. Neither altruism nor some sort of Keynesianism-anticipating stimulus had a thing to do with it.

    *The assembly line was not all that new, Henry’s approach and organization had raised it to a new level. He stole other peoples ideas quite effectively.

    I tried to post this earlier but the server squirrels were asleep.

    RexRhino posted a fairly complete explanation of Ford’s motivations at 01:25 PM

  69. I say we send all these illegal immigrants and their spoiled children back to the countries they came from! No, I am not talking about deporting Mexicans, I think we should deport non-Indigiounous Peoples. After all, it was the illegal immigration of white Europeans to America, and the forced immigration of African slaves, that caused all the problems. Crime rate, unemployment, the trade deficit, and foriegn debt were all much better before the arival of Columbus, that bastard!

    All you dirty immigrants can go back to Europe, where you came from, and stop stealing jobs from the hard working Indigonous Americans!

  70. All you dirty immigrants can go back to Europe, where you came from, and stop stealing jobs from the hard working Indigonous Americans!

    Good luck selling that to the Mexicans. 🙂

  71. Eric the .5b

    I am actually for sending all of the envoronment exploiting “indigenous peoples” back to Asia where they came from. Before the ice age allowed then to cross over the Bering Sea land bridge, North America was a natural paradise. They came and ruined it all. Things have never been the same since. Lets send the so called “indigenous peoples” back to Siberia where they came from!!

  72. Lets send the so called “indigenous peoples” back to Siberia where they came from!!

    And let the Siberians work out where to send everyone.

  73. Jennifer: your argument against the proposed “guest worker” policy is a fair one, but you coupled it with an apparent argument against immigration generally. I understand the logic of “work to citizenship,” but I don’t buy it. Why should be people be forced to change their citizenship status just to obtain a temporary job? Better a looser guest worker policy in which green cards are easier to get and the workers are allowed to change employers at will and sue for discrimination and so on.

    I would argue for a higher hurdle for citizenship but a lower hurdle for green cards. People seek a black market when the legal one isn’t serving their needs. That a black market exists in labor isn’t just the fault of illegal immigrants, but also consumer demand that outstrips the labor supply. Sure, lots of college grads would work as roofers if you paid them enough, but is that really a sensible use of educated manpower? Every black market represents the consumer trying to regain control of the market. We might be workers, managers, or investors, but we are all consumers.

  74. Jennifer: your argument against the proposed “guest worker” policy is a fair one, but you coupled it with an apparent argument against immigration generally. I understand the logic of “work to citizenship,” but I don’t buy it. Why should be people be forced to change their citizenship status just to obtain a temporary job?

    They don’t have to become citizens if they don’t want to, but I don’t like the current plan where they CAN’T become citizens, no matter what, because they’re not on the “citizenship track” or whatever you call it.

    Better a looser guest worker policy in which green cards are easier to get and the workers are allowed to change employers at will and sue for discrimination and so on.

    I’d like that too, but that is not what the current plan is proposing. The current plan doesn’t sound too much different from what Saudi Arabia does–you get here and your employer basically OWNS you. Don’t like the way he treats you? Don’t like the fact that he’s not living up to what he promised when he offered you the job? Tough shit–if you don’t like it, go home.

  75. The current plan doesn’t sound too much different from what Saudi Arabia does

    And yet, it still seems better than the status quo.

    I’ll remember this and chuckle the next time you go on a rant about how libertarians can’t accomplish anything because they won’t sully their principles and compromise.

  76. Why should be people be forced to change their citizenship status just to obtain a temporary job?

    Immigrants don’t come here willingly with the expectation that “oh, I’ll go home after I’ve socked away a few grand”. They come here to stay. I honestly don’t know how appealing such a plan is going to be to the prospective immigrant.

  77. Immigrants don’t come here willingly with the expectation that “oh, I’ll go home after I’ve socked away a few grand”

    There are a lot of legal resident aliens who never pursue citizenship and eventually go home, just as there are Americans who go work in Europe, or Japan, or the Middle East for several years, then come home.

  78. And yet, it still seems better than the status quo. I’ll remember this and chuckle the next time you go on a rant about how libertarians can’t accomplish anything because they won’t sully their principles and compromise.

    Chuckle all you want–I’m still not convinced that this IS better than the status quo. This will only make matters worse by giving employers too much power over their employees, whose only two choices will be “put up with whatever demands my employer makes” or “be deported.” And if the employee doesn’t want to be deported, he’ll go right back to the underground.

  79. Immigrants don’t come here willingly with the expectation that “oh, I’ll go home after I’ve socked away a few grand”. They come here to stay.

    Actually more than a few Mexicans do want to “…go home after [they]’ve socked away a few grand”. They like Mexico and really don’t want to stay here permanently.

    I heard that the harsher border environment has, in fact, changed the migrant dynamic substantially. Men who formerly could cross the border with some ease would do so regularly. Thus they maintained a home and family in Mexico while working a few months at a time here and returning between times. As they got older and saved enough they returned to Mexico for good to buy a house or even start a business. For such people the time and trouble to apply for full Permanent Immigrant status is not worthwhile.

    The increased risks involved with and difficulty crossing the border has actually increased the number who need to stay long term.

    Italians did the same sort of thing last century (although without the back and forth trips).

    The foregoing was not intended to describe the entire set of Mexican immigrants, merely a substantial subset thereof. The number may be substantial enough to create something less than than full Permanent Immigrant status. However I do have the same misgivings about the “Guest Worker” program currently proposed.

  80. This will only make matters worse by giving employers too much power over their employees,whose only two choices will be “put up with whatever demands my employer makes” or “be deported.”

    This situation exists in spades when the employees are illegal.

    And if the employee doesn’t want to be deported, he’ll go right back to the underground.

    Which means, worst-case, that most immigrants who are currently “underground” in this country will instead be here legally. This means, worst-case, that far, far fewer of these people will die in the middle of the desert or locked in the back of a semi the driver’s abandoned because he got twitchy.

    That’s good enough for me to support an incremental, but not satisfactory improvement.

  81. Immigrants don’t come here willingly with the expectation that “oh, I’ll go home after I’ve socked away a few grand

    Err…some do..
    I know a number of Mexican immigrants (illegal and legal — mostly busboys at the restaurants I have worked) who really are here for the money alone. They will work and send as much of their pay back home to their family in Mexico. Most of them have a plan of building a nice house for their families or putting together capitol to start a business in Mexico and do not want to spend the rest of thier lives being a busboy in the states. Many of them have no desire to become citizens or to live here (away from their family and friends and relatives) any longer then they believe they have to.

    I don’t think people should be required to be on “the path to citizenship”. But what does that really mean anyway? It’s not like you can get penalized if you are on said path, but them leave the country. It seems to me that if you come here, work hard, pay taxes and stay out of trouble you should be able to obtain citizenship if that is what you want. If you don’t want it, you don’t apply for citizenship and you leave whenever you want. Both people (regardless of their future plan) should be allowed to seek employment in the states without being beholden to an employer.

  82. Hopefully the squirrels won’t eat my post this time, we’ll see…

    Jennifer, if it is accurate to say that the guest worker program is directly linked to making punishable by prison circumstances which are currently only punishable by deportation, then you have a point that its adoption would not necessarily improve the lot of immigrants and I would definitely suspend my support of it.

    But are you (or anyone else) certain this is the case? I’ve heard of recent attempts to make illegal immigration a felony, but I was unaware this was part of the guest worker program.

  83. The American Prospect blog TAPPED has some interesting posts today about immigration. It’s worth a look, especially on arguments about the effect of illegal immigration on low-skilled workers.

  84. fyodor

    I’ve heard of recent attempts to make illegal immigration a felony, but I was unaware this was part of the guest worker program.

    I also understand that these are two separate issues. I’m also fairly sure that being in the guest worker program will require employers to observe some kind of rules regarding treatment of workers, after all the programs that already exist for agricultural workers do*.

    *Although they’re not particularly strong and there’s plenty of nonobservance of them.

  85. I also understand that these are two separate issues.

    Jennifer, I don’t know if these issues are being arbitrarily bundled politically, but I don’t see why the adoption of a guest worker program would necessitate the felonization of all illegal immigration. Seems your biggest beef is with allowing employers “control” over illegal workers by tying immigrants’ legality to their employment. But as long as the status of an immigrant who stayed here after his employment ended would be no worse than it currently is for illegals, then I think a guest worker program would clearly provide more choice (and more freedom and more opportunity) to the workers.

  86. Actually for the most part the House and Senate are concentrating on the restriction aspect, harsher penalties, “strengthening” the border etc. And Jennifer’s jail for illegals isn’t there as near as I can see and the Senate has just voted to excempt churches and charitable groups from the felony for aiding illegals.

    But neither is the guest worker program. This something Bush wanted but the Republican House and Senate leadership (except Specter) are willing to deliver it.

    So, as usual, we will get the very worst that can be expected. And you can be guaranteed enough Democrats will join to make whatever comes out a real stinky pile of BIPARTISANSHIT.

  87. But neither is the guest worker program. This something Bush wanted but the Republican House and Senate leadership (except Specter) are willing to deliver it.

    try

    The guest worker program isn’t there either (So Jennifer can quit complaining). This is something Bush wanted but the Republican House and Senate leadership (except Specter) are not willing to deliver it.

  88. I’ve heard of recent attempts to make illegal immigration a felony, but I was unaware this was part of the guest worker program.

    The House passed a bill which would make illegal immigration a felony. It would also be illegal to “help” illegal immigrants–not just helping to smuggle them over the border, but any sort of help. Soup kitchen workers, emergency room doctors–anybody who helps an illegal immigrant will be in trouble. Just what we need–a law making basic human compassion illegal.

    I have half a mind to go to Arizona and offer water, food, salt tablets and sunscreen to any brown-skinned person I see, just on general principles.

    Wait, I just saw Isaac’s comment that charitable groups will be exempt. That’s a slight improvement–you can demonstrate common human decency so long as you register with an official group first.

  89. I helped my boyfriend try to win the visa lottery a couple times. Will I go to jail for that? …
    “bipartisanshit” LOL – word of the day… Hillary’s going to jump all over this one, to show how tough she is.

  90. Wait, I just saw Isaac’s comment that charitable groups will be exempt.

    That’s only in the Senate version. So it’s too soon to breathe easier.

    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/12035449/

    The House bill would:

    Require employers to begin determining if new hires are illegal immigrants by checking against an employment eligibility database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security.

    Increase penalties on employers for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.

    Require detention for all non-citizens caught attempting to cross the U.S. border.

    Like the House-passed bill, Specter’s would require firms to check new hires against an employment eligibility database and would punish employers who hired illegal immigrants.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-03-27-senate-immigration_x.htm

    I don’t see anything in either story about sending illegals to jail* just increasing penalties on employers and people who give aid (by making those things penalties).

    *The only change in the treatment of the immigrants themselves are things like the border fence and more patrols.

    “bipartisanshit” LOL – word of the day

    Thankyou, thankyou, I’ll be here all week. Be sure to tip your server.**

    **Not the reason server though, that won’t help at all.

  91. Require employers to begin determining if new hires are illegal immigrants by checking against an employment eligibility database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security.

    Bwa-ha-ha-ha-haaaa. “Ihre Papiere, bitte!” Oh wait a minute, we already do this with our SS cards. How is this different…?

  92. I agree, Rhywun, I meant to add a note on what a particularly scary piece of work that one is. I mean, really, if I decide to get a new job I’ve got to have my name in some fucking database to prove to some pissant that I’m not an illegal alien. I mean WTF, how is my name supposed to get in this fucking database, anyway? Tell me that, Tom Tancredo or whoever, motherfucker. Now I’m really fucking mad.

  93. Jennifer – you better bring a lot of that shit with you…we’ve got quite a few brown-skinned people living here in AZ.

  94. Jennifer,

    In case it’s not clear, I am against making illegal immigration a felony. The point I was making in the post you quoted part of is that this is a separate issue from a guest worker program. The two issues may be bundled politically (but I don’t think this is even the case), but they are not linked inherently. That is, you can have a guest worker program without felonizing illegal immigration. Therefore, you still have not shown how a guest worker per se would make things worse for immigrant workers.

  95. In my post at 05:47 PM when I wrote “(by making those things penalties)” I meant “(by making those things felonies)”.

  96. This massive guest worker program sounds rotten to me. Guest workers will be taxed, but not allowed to vote, I presume. Guest workers will be eligible for benefits, school for their children, some health care, unemployment coverage, etc. Will the guest workers be counted as 3/5 of a person on the next census, so the money and political representation is doled out fairly?

  97. Illegal immigration is not a problem, it’s a solution. Lots of low-skilled jobs north of the border, lots of workers willing to work for low wages south of the border. As much as governments love to try and repeal the laws of economics, they can’t. Increasing enforcement wll act like a tax on workers and consumers, with the take going to coyotes and corrupt border agents. Great idea.

  98. One thing that really outrages me with these protests are the waving of Mexican flags.

    Who are these people that are here illegally waving their national flags in our faces?

    It is to our demise as a nation that we do not shut down our boarder with Mexico and send all of these miscreants back to Mexico where they can wave their Mexican flags on their territory.

    They take away our jobs, which the President says are jobs that Americans will not do.

    HA !

    How about construction. Once a viable high paying job… Now in my state, it turns out that the general contractors here are filling these construction jobs with Mexicans, that cannot even speak English… and they are “compensated” with a wage that is substantially less than what an true blue American citizen worker would be paid.

    So… I guess that American construction workers did not want the job anyway…

    Our country is in danger of being over run by illegal aliens. We have the visgoths at our gates and we like Rome will fall.

    Take control of our boarders and keep these people out.

    Here is what Theodore Roosevelt wrote about this very thing that is now so much in the news:

    “In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American…

    There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile…We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language… and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”

    –Theodore Roosevelt, 1919

    And they have the audacity to wave their Mexican flags in our faces ! These people that are not even citizens of this country !

    And that said, these Mexican illegals want our social services, they crowd out the schools in my home state, and even demand that they be educated in Mexican-Spanish, they put pressure on law enforcement…

    Their demands go on and on…

    And they wave the Mexican banner on our streets, even in our Capitol.

    (I wonder what Vicente Fox wold say if our citizens demanded the same of his country if we had our citizens crowd over the boarder to colonize Mexico?)

    We should have taken over Mexico after the Mexican American War.

    Now we have to deal with this. I say ship ’em all back to Mexico where they can wave their Mexican flags day in and day out.

    OUTRAGED

  99. Who are these people that are here illegally waving their national flags in our faces?

    OUTRAGED:

    I’m one of the least qualified posters here to be in the business of correcting grammer, but that sentence is starving for a comma.

    Who are these people who are here[,] illegally waving their national flag in our faces.

    or

    Who are these who are here illegally[,] waving their national flag in our faces.

  100. OK, mister linguist,,,, I was never good for putting commas in my sentences.

    So…

    Don’t you watch the news?… All of them, from CBS, NBC, FOX, MSNBC, CNN, PBS or even attend such a rally?

    Or… Perhaps you are blind…

    Every news source covers it and shows these people, (Mexican illegals) waving their Mexican flags in our faces… And if you don’t watch the news stations, (any or all of them) then perhaps you will see it in the papers, or if you get off your butt and attend one of these demonstrations you might even see it in person.

    Or maybe you can download, a scene from the internet and see what I am writing about.

    Open your eyes man!

    (Some people choose to be blind, yet look for commas, and punctuation errors from those who write on the fly. And you might even find some spelling errors, yet completely miss the message)

    OUTRAGED !

  101. Outraged,

    Next time you have a thought about how illegal immigrants are ruining your country, try to replace ‘American’ and ‘foreigner’ with a division of humanity that you think shouldn’t be morally or legally made.

    Let’s try it with something you wrote above:

    How about construction. Once a viable high paying job… Now in my state, it turns out that the general contractors here are filling these construction jobs with blacks… and they are “compensated” with a wage that is substantially less than what a true blue white worker would be paid.

    Now in various times and places in this nation’s history, that paragraph would be entirely accurate. But in the modern day that way of thinking would be considered abominable by almost everybody in the country. And the thought that laws should be enacted explicitly to protect white workers from competition from black workers is downright preposterous.

    Why then wield such wrath against individuals simply because they were born on the wrong side of a line on a map?

  102. That is, you can have a guest worker program without felonizing illegal immigration.

    I am not so sure this is true in the long run. Guest workers may have the ability to run and hide if/when they get dicked around too much by their sponsor too much. this leads to a couple opposing possibilities:

    1. the happy possibility: because the guest worker program makes it easy to go to the US, there will be the political will to round up and deport illegal immigrants more seriously than we do now.

    2. the sad possibility: various factors cause the underground, illegal system to continue and fluorish side by side with the guste worker program. these various factors include things like: the cost to an employer to secure a new guest worker; labor laws protecting guest workers (if any); large foreign, non-citizen communities where illegals can hide.

    As far as the sad possibility goes, those programs could be fixed by cracking down harder on employers of illegal immigrants. I think the idea behind the guest worker thing is that we would have the political will to do the needed crackdowns on employers if the employers had a legal way to get cheap employees. My problem is that I don’t think the guest worker program will give the government the political will to go after employers (that is, donors). We will end up having 3 tiers of workers: citizen, guest worker and the (even lowlier) illegal.

  103. MikeP,

    Nope, keep it just as I wrote it. I am not writing about “white”, or “foriegner” or “black” workers. And I am not tryng to make any distinction between being an “American” and the rest of “humanity.”

    And the way you opened your paragraph with “Next time you have a thought about how illegal immigrants are ruining your country..” I would assume that you are not an American citizen.

    What outrages me is MEXICAN ILLEGAL ALIENS waving their MEXICAN FLAGS in a protest in our country against American immigration policy.

    What should be done is these Mexican flag wavers is single them out, and expell them from our soil. PERIOD. Send them back. The rest who are here illegally and don’t wave their national flags in our faces we might deal with in a civil manner. They are either willing to be Americans full and proper or be Mexican. Teddy Roosevelt wrote about this issue nearly 100 years ago. And it applies for any immigrant that comes to this country and demands citizenship. White, black, brown or otherwise.

    AND… did I write that we as Americans should as you wrote “And the thought that laws should be enacted esplicity tot protect white workers from competition from black workers is downright preposterous”

    Those are your words and thoughts, not mine. It reveals your “racism.”

    To let you know. I have seen and worked with black construction workers, and I have employed construction workers who are of many races…

    AND THEY ARE ALL AMERICAN CITIZENS !

    NOT ILLEGAL ALIEN WORKERS OF ANY RACE.

    OUTRAGED !

  104. I find the waving of Mexican flags mildly obnoxious, but it has nothing to do with the actual issues at hand.

    I do wish the people doing it might read Outraged’s posts to learn from them that their flag waving may not be doing their cause a whole lot of good.

    But knowing human nature, even if they did read those posts, most of them would probably just respond by waving their flags harder.

    Sigh…

  105. No, not the Mexicans entering illegally from Mexico.

    They wave their Mexican flag in our faces.

    They demand that we teach them in our schools in Spanish.

    They demand that we provide medical services (now demanding that we have doctors or interpreters who can speak in Spanish).

    They demand that we open our doors to their families in Mexico to expand this illegal alien problem.

    They demand all the rights and privileges of true blue American immigrant citizens that EARNED THE RIGHT TO BE AMERICAN CITIZENS.

    And they earned that right not just because they worked a hard job here, but because they embraced the “American Dream” and they strived to become American citizens, speaking our language and embracing our ideals.

    That is the distinction that separates these Mexican flag wavers from those that really wish to embrace the American Dream, accepting all the privileges thereof.

    INS should start the deportation process by identifying each and every one of these Mexican flag wavers and send them back to Mexico.

    Secure the boarders, keep them out and select only those that wish to embrace the “American Dream.”

    OUTRAGED !

    (P.S. Excuse my typos and spelling errors as I write on the fly– I am too outraged to re-check)

  106. My point, Outraged, is that people find laws that discriminate on the basis of most unimportant characteristics wholely condemnable.

    Why then is it okay to have laws that discriminate on the basis of where one was born?

  107. MikeP,

    Are you are an idiot?

    Did I write any of what you are stating?

    You make straw men and knock them down. That is your point and not mine.

    Re-read my posts and get MY point. Address it directly and not put YOUR straw men into my argument.

    Outraged !

  108. Outraged,

    If your entire source of outrage is the fact that Mexican immigrants who have not been granted legal entry by the United States are waving Mexican flags, then your position and mine differ on important matters very little.

    I frankly don’t mind the protests and flag waving, but after reading this thread and looking at all the websites that cite your Roosevelt quote, I can see that those marches probably do more harm than good in bringing xenophobic Americans to the fore.

    If, however, you believe that immigration law has any moral legitimacy whatsoever, then our positions differ, in exactly the ways I describe above.

    Perhaps I was being unfair by presuming that you are not for open borders. In that case, my apologies.

  109. This thread sure has degenerated.

    Amused!

  110. MikeP,

    Thank you for admitting your misunderstanding of my position.

    Open boarders are not my point, although with the recent affairs I think that is the way “xenophobic” Americans are going.

    I just saw on Lou Dobbs, as I am writing this, the point that struck me to write out of my outrage… Dobbs made mention of waving Mexican flags in their protest.

    This will not endear their cause to legal immigrants that came here legally and went through the system to be citizens.

    I don’t shout my heritage, any more than my grandfather and grandmother did when they got off the boat from Italy in 1918. They strove to be Americans and became such, learning our language, abiding by our laws, and serving this country as Americans. They left Italy behind.

    Not true with these Mexican flag wavers…

    And I wonder, thinking hypothetically now, what would happen if we per-chance went to war with Mexico?

    Which flag, and which country will these Mexican flag wavers serve?

    In their demonstration they reveal their allegiance to Mexico– Not the United States of America.

    They must demonstrate their right to become Americans…

    They do not demonstrate that by waving flags of Mexico on our soil.

    OUTRAGED !

  111. Fydor wrote:

    “I find the waving of Mexican flags mildly obnoxious, but it has nothing to do with the actual issues at hand.

    I do wish the people doing it might read Outraged’s posts to learn from them that their flag waving may not be doing their cause a whole lot of good.

    But knowing human nature, even if they did read those posts, most of them would probably just respond by waving their flags harder.

    Sigh…”

    Comment by: fyodor at March 28, 2006 10:27 AM

    See this with regards to your post:

    http://www.indiana.edu/~jah/mexico/prop187.html

    (cut and paste if it does not load with a click.

    This demonstates the reaction of thinking Americans that see Mexicans waving their flags in our faces. Doing so, they prove that they are not worthy of being American citizens.

    OUTRAGED !

  112. Here is an apropos letter to one Mexican flag waver by one in my home state. It applies not only to “Cindy Rodriguez” to whom it is addressed but to ALL Mexican flag wavers.

    Letter sent to the Denver Post regarding their August 24 article Why is it us against them? by Cindy Rodriguez.

    Cindy, you are a Mexican. Not Mexican-American, not Hispanic, or Latino. A Mexican. By that, I don’t refer to the country of which you hold citizenship; it’s the country where your loyalties lie and whose agenda you serve. I call you a Mexican because that’s what you are.

    And you ask “why is it ‘us against them?’ ”

    You tell me, Cindy, because your Aztlan agenda set the rules–“the race” against everyone else. For the race everything and nothing for everyone else.

    We’re playing by the rules you’ve established and embraced. If you’re “scared” that your opponents (i.e. Americans) can behave in the manner that you thought was unique to you (loud, vocal, demanding and angry), you were obviously mistaken.

    Here it is, Cindy. Quick and simple so you can understand.

    This is not Mexico. We are not Mexicans.

    The buzzard flag didn’t get there by itself. And Old Glory (the flag of AMERICANS) wasn’t accidentally mounted backwards. It was a deliberate “in the gringos’ face” disrespectful insult, and the gringos recognize it.

    Yes, the law says no foreign flags. And we mean it. Mexico is foreign (not to mention corrupt and elitist third-world). And yes, the laws apply to Mexicans in the US too.

    And yes, we want it that way. Forget your whining with Tina Griego about “fragile identity” and “looked down on” and the rest. We’ve had enough of sniveling and enough of having our objections ignored.

    And that’s your real beef, Cindy. That the gringos’ complaints about the insulting behavior to OUR flag weren’t igrnoed. And that the laws were enforced and that Mexicans were required to obey them. That you didn’t get off with the customary blubbering about “our culture.”

    Your claim is wrong that “The Latinos who were here first didn’t expect white settlers to assimilate,.” because Americans who settled in Mexican terroritory (like Jim Bowie) WERE required to speak Mexican and become Catholics to be full-fledged citizens. Writing something in the Post that’s a lie doesn’t make it true, Cindy. Since the “Latinos” didn’t do “us” a favor, there’s no favor for “us” to return.

    And your public written admission that Mexicans have no intention of assimilating will preclude any future denials. Thanks so much for that.

    As for the hyphen, the choice is yours. I’m an American. Not a Prussian-American. Or a Germanno.

    Read your scriptures. “No man can serve two masters…” That includes Mexican-Americans. And Latinos. And Hispanics.

    Sandy, Phoenix, AZ

    This and a host of other such responses to the Mexican flag wavers can be found at:

    CAIR

    Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform

    http://www.cairco.org/articles/articles_school_flag.html#let2004aug25

    OUTRAGED !

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