Immigration

Tom Tancredo, Grandson of Dirty Immigrants

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Congress' foremost immigrant basher has declared Miami "a third world country," provoking riots, bombings, and mass murder sprees in lawless Little Havana.  Okay, just kidding.  Actually, the response has been quite civil.  First-world, you might even say.

The remarks drew an instant rebuke from Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who called Tancredo "flat out wrong" and extended an invitation for him to come and judge the city for himself.

"I invite my friend, Tom, to visit beautiful Miami, my hometown, and experience firsthand our hospitality," Ros-Lehtinen said. "Come on down, Tom, the water's fine!"

Subsequent responses from Tancredo and his spokesman were rather illuminating:

"Moreover, the sheer size and number of ethnic enclaves devoid of any English and dominated by foreign cultures is widespread," Tancredo said in the statement. "Frankly, many of these areas could have been located in another country. And until America gets serious about demanding assimilation, this problem will continue to spread."

Tancredo didn't visit Miami on the Nov. 18-19 trip, but has visited before, a spokesman said. And, if Ros-Lehtinen's invitation includes "a stay at a five-star beachfront resort, he may be willing to look beyond the inherent dangers that he had cited and visit Miami again," his spokesman said.

One wonders what Tancredo—the grandson of Italian immigrants—might have thought of the early twentieth century smatterings of those Little Italy "ethnic enclaves" across the United States. 

In fact, the Immigration Policy Center helpfully did do a bit of research, and found what one of Tancredo's intellectual ancestors had to say about his biological ancestors:

In 1891, then-Representative Henry Cabot Lodge (R-MA) expressed similar worries about the wave of immigration that brought Representative Tancredo's grandparents from Italy to the United States. He warned "that immigration to this country is increasing and…is making its greatest relative increase from races most alien to the body of the American people and from the lowest and most illiterate classes among those races." He was speaking principally of the Italians, but also the Russians, Poles and Hungarians. He observed that these immigrants, "half of whom have no occupation and most of whom represent the rudest form of labor," are "people whom it is very difficult to assimilate and do not promise well for the standard of civilization in the United States."

Lodge complained that many of them "have no money at all. They land in this country without a cent in their pockets." Of the Italians in particular he objected that many "stay but a short time in the United States" in order to "then return to their native country with such money as they have been able to save here." He warned that these sorts of immigrants, "who come to the United States, reduce the rate of wages by ruinous competition, and then take their savings out of the country, are not desirable. They are mere birds of passage. They form an element in the population which regards home as a foreign country, instead of that in which they live and earn money. They have no interest or stake in the country, and they never become American citizens."

Lodge was wrong of course.  Italians did wonderfully well.  In fact, the grandson of two of them grew up to be a modern-day Henry Cabot Lodge.  Perhaps next century, a grandson or granddaughter of today's Mexican immigrants will grow up to become a leading voice against the next wave of immigrants, too—the next Tom Tancredo.  It's the American Dream!

NEXT: More on the Warrants

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  1. He should go hang at Dadeland Mall for an hour or two. If the luxury car driving, designer jean wearing, conspicuously consuming Spanish speakers you see there aren’t living the American dream I don’t know who is.

  2. It never ceases to amaze me how people want to use government to prevent others from realizing the same (or better) level of success as they enjoy themselves. You see it in business when major corporations lobby the government to impose regulations that inhibit their competitiors, and you see it here when someone woh obviously benefitted from his ancestors being allowed to migrate to this country wants to forcefully prevent others from doing the same thing. It is immoral to prevent anyone from coming here to make a better life for themselves and their family.

  3. It’s amusing that Tancredo and Buchanan, members of two of the most despised immigrant groups ever have become this generation’s most enthuiastic immigrant bashers.

    All they need is for a Jew to join their trio and they can make perfect ironic harmony.

  4. Lodge overstated his case, but immigrants from Southern Italy did have a higher rate of returning to the old country than many other groups. I think the data is in Sowell’s Ethnic America, where he also showed that those paisans that stayed got richer, faster, than just about every other non-English speaking group but Jews, and even than my Irish forebears. Sowell’s take on that last was that the Irish slipped into the urban political system easily, giving them a tendency to take low-paying patronage jobs courtesy of the ward heeler, and climbing the ladder of success meant becoming a schoolteacher, cop, politician or lawyer. The Italians were likelier to go into business for themselves, which led to accumulating more capital, if less status. Of course, both groups had plenty of day laborers breaking a sweat, usually building stuff or hauling it somewhere. The differences were at the margin.

    Kevin

  5. Chinatown, Mexican Town, Little Bavaria, etc. I kind of like enclaves of foreigners. New experiences in eating and art abound in these places.
    Tom Tancredo, get a clue .

  6. I just checked Tom Tancredo’s bio on WikiPedia, and apparently he founded the “Team America” PAC.

  7. Isaac: Buchanan?

  8. Jesus Christ, let the immigrants come, but do we have to get so smarmy about it? Is there a little nationalist trigger in everybody’s head sets off “American dream” tripe for every fucking topic that comes up? Some immigrants are fine people; others are into organized crime. Is that the American dream, too? It sure as hell is the American reality.

  9. One of those links goes to the AILF, which is described here:

    discoverthenetwork.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6700

    Needless to say, Balko engages in Appeal to Tradition above; just because past assimilation may have worked doesn’t mean that the current version will work, since the underlying issues have changed, as described here.

    I don’t know about Miami, but large parts of Los Angeles are reminiscent of foreign countries, and not in the cutesy Disney way. Many California politicians at least occasionally act more like they represent Mexico than the U.S. The CA Senate even passed a resolution in support of the ImmigrationMarches; in effect they were supporting foreign citizens making a show of force in our streets and demanding rights to which they aren’t entitled.

    Libertarians might want to look into FabianNunez. By supporting massive you’re giving him more power, but I don’t think he would ever return the favor.

    Are there any libertarians who are able to actually think things through?

  10. Uh,when someone comes up with some hard evidence that illegal immigrants are causing serious harm and that they are not more beneficial than harmful, we’ll take that seriously. Fantasies about the Southwest seceding and rejoining Mexico don’t really do it.

  11. Adam W.: Buchanan is an Irish name.

  12. Tom Tancredo. Hmm. I warned people this is what would happened if we let all those dagos in. But did anybody listen? No!!

  13. Moreover, the sheer size and number of ethnic enclaves devoid of any English and dominated by foreign cultures is widespread.

    I think I read about a place–was it called Europe?–noted for the sheer size and number of ethnic enclaoves devoid of any English, and it still wasn’t part of the Third World.

  14. I just overheard Michael Richards: “HE’S A WOP, HE’S A WOP!!!”

  15. LinkForSeriousPeople,

    Balko made an appeal to experience, not to tradition. Big difference.

  16. The Lonewhacko abides.

  17. “and you see it here when someone woh obviously benefitted from his ancestors being allowed to migrate to this country wants to forcefully prevent others from doing the same thing. It is immoral to prevent anyone from coming here to make a better life for themselves and their family.”

    No, no, senior, he just wants us to learn the good English as he did.

  18. “I just overheard Michael Richards: “HE’S A WOP, HE’S A WOP!!!””

    I’m still waiting for those black folks to apologize to Mr. Richards for rudely interrupting his stage act.

  19. No, no, senior, [sic]

    …said the moron with the abysmal Spanish.

  20. We are the Republicans. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

  21. Perhaps next century, a grandson or granddaughter of today’s Mexican immigrants will grow up to become a leading voice against the next wave of immigrants, too — the next Tom Tancredo.

    If you want to hear descendants of Mexicans bashing no-good immigrants from the South, no need to wait.

    It happens in Mexico all the time. Right now.

  22. “I just checked Tom Tancredo’s bio on WikiPedia, and apparently he founded the “Team America” PAC.”

    Fuck yeah!

  23. You knew it was only a matter of time before LoneWacko showed up.

    Needless to say, Balko engages in Appeal to Tradition above; just because past assimilation may have worked doesn’t mean that the current version will work, since the underlying issues have changed, as described here.

    Every single argument listed there has already been addressed numerous times or is completely trivial. I like how all these “differences” are listed but with no argument as to how they change immigrant assimilation. Uhhh, they used to come on boats!

  24. When are you alleged libertarians going to differentiate between legal and illegal immigration? Being picky about who we let in and ending the insanity of birthright citizenship is not immigrant bashing. If we won’t distinguish between the shoppers and shoplifters we get what we deserve.

  25. Regarding fyodor’s comment, here’s a description of that fallacy: “An assumption behind this argument is that whatever reason led to the old methods of thinking is still valid today. If circumstances have changed, this may be a false assumption.”
    (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_tradition)

    And, FinFangFoom’s comment is another logical fallacy. Countless people have offered endless examples of the dangers of IllegalImmigration; if some anonymous commenter hasn’t read them or disputes them without argument, that doesn’t mean they are false or do not exist.

    Here’s one example of IllegalImmigration causing harm: ask yourself why we have so many illegal aliens here, when our laws forbid them to be here. Why exactly were they allowed to come here, in contravention to our laws?

    Then, if you think about this in more depth than Reason’s bloggers, the rational lib will realize that IllegalImmigration has led to massive PoliticalCorruption as many of our politicians have to a certain degree stopped representing U.S. citizens and U.S. interests, and instead are representing their own interests or those of companies that profit from IllegalImmigration. If you don’t see the danger in that, then perhaps you’re in the wrong country.

  26. Greg,
    No, the primary difference is we used to let them come and go as they pleased. Now, they can’t just come here, work for a couple of years and go home; they have to stay or risk being deported before they are ready. Those who wish to stay and start living the American Dream are prevented from doing so, being forced to work underground without paying taxes and with little chance of improving thier, or our lots. Many, without access to better paying jobs, end up turning to crime. Face it folks, everything bad about illegal immigration is because it is illegal.

  27. You want harm? Try to find an emergency room in San Diego – they’re going bankrupt because of the tidal wave of illegals who can’t pay their bills.

    I own a house in Las Cruces, NM. 40%+ of births in the local hospital are to illegals. In order to fund its emergency room it had to be allowed to tap into the property tax fund. Once prospective buyers discover this they are no longer interested. One of our neighbors DID manage to sell – for about 1/2 what the house cost. I’ll probably have to let the bank take it over.

    Is that enough harm for you open borders idiots? You wonder why Tancredo won huge and you libertarians are laughed at? Do you people EVER THINK??

  28. For those that bitch about how the “Illegal Immigrant” is stealing our jobs and forcing homegrown unskilled workers to suffer, how do you explain that labor costs, in the form of higher wages, have increased 5.3% for the past year, the highest increase since 1982? How about the fact that the October 2006 Unemployment for the nation was 4.4%, near record low levels? We have a shortage of labor workers in this country (since not every native citizen needs to, or is going to work) yet people are still clammoring that immigration of unskilled labor is bad.

    If your fear is that immigrants don’t pay into the social welfare system, then make them legal workers, right now, so they can begin paying taxes and buying homes like the rest of us. If your fear is that they will use the social welfare system, then abolish the system so that they, and other people who don’t work, will have to rely on charity not tax dollars. If your fear is that we will have a Jose Cuervo Boulevard in Los Angeles, get over it.

  29. I guess that whole notion of stopping the welfare state just flew right over anonymous’s head.

    Let me ask you this, what did you do to deserve being born in the wealthiest country on earth that gives you the moral authority to use force to prevent someone else from coming here to try and make a better life for themselves?

  30. Does every discussion about immigration have to degenerate into OPEN BORDERS and LET’S BASH THE ILLEGALS? Support of controlling our borders does not equate to “keep the brownskins out”. Supporting more immigration to ease a labor/talent shortage in certain categories doesn’t mean let everybody in.

    If all nations gave their citizens economic and political freedom, immigration would not be an issue. They don’t, it is.

  31. Anonymous

    I’d be interested in hearing from those against illegal immigration serious proposals about stopping it and/or sending back illegal immigrants that:

    1. are effective
    2. don’t cost more than the problem does

    It is probably cheaper just to get a federal subsidy for NM emergency rooms than to send illegal immigrants back. I’d rather not do that, but it is better than the alternatives that I’ve heard about.

    I don’t know how the hell people expect to get rid of the illegals already here. There are ten million or more here and unless you want to draft a border patrol and build detention facilities for transit, it ain’t gonna happen. I believe that ICE has enough detention space for like 50,000 people.

    If they are prevented from working, they’ll likely become an even bigger burden. Some would go from working in the gray market and into the black. Others would turn to outright crime.

    The reason that people cross the border has nothing to do with corruption and everything to do with jobs.

    Lonewacko: “And, FinFangFoom’s comment is another logical fallacy. Countless people have offered endless examples of the dangers of IllegalImmigration; if some anonymous commenter hasn’t read them or disputes them without argument, that doesn’t mean they are false or do not exist.”

    Lonewacko, you don’t really know what “logical fallacy” is, do you? Could you present some of these countless arguments? Could you explain why they don’t suck? Do you have a fix in mind that would not be substantially worse than the problem? A higher fence perhaps?

  32. the insanity of birthright citizenship

    In your world, who gets to decide which children born in the US are citizens? I guess it’s the blood that decides? Yecch.

  33. “Let me ask you this, what did you do to deserve being born in the wealthiest country on earth that gives you the moral authority to use force to prevent someone else from coming here to try and make a better life for themselves?”

    It’s called divine providence, Jack. Everything else is called socialism.

  34. Honestly, what do some libertarians and fiscal conservatives see in this asshole Tancredo? Granted, he pays lip service to a lot of free market ideas; BUT his statements in immigration are so repulsive as to trump everything else, INHO.

    Forgive the Godwinism, but it’s kinda like saying, “Ya know, other than the ‘Jewish’ thing, this Hitler guy has some good ideas…”

  35. Remember, the problem has taken 20+ years to get this bad, it might take that long to fix it. Once the fence is in place and stopping maybe 95% of the traffic, then simple attrition over 5-15 years will pretty much fix the problem.

    Tackling the employer problem might require a national ID card, but we’re almost there already anyway, so that’s not a big deal.

    The fence and requiring proof of citizenship to hire somebody, will over some amount of time fix the problem.

  36. “ending the insanity of birthright citizenship”

    The “insanity” might be difficult to end since it is established in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

  37. “The “insanity” might be difficult to end since it is established in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution”

    But don’t you see, in a border-free world, the constitution is rendered meaningless. That’s the ultimate goal of the free border (or is it “free boarder”) advocates. You know it’s funny, but ultimately, it is the Democrats that are pushing a “new world order”. Where they, of course, get to be the rulers.

  38. If all nations gave their citizens economic and political freedom, immigration would not be an issue. They don’t, it is.

    I completely fail to grasp the position by anti-immigration types that the US cannot unilaterally open its borders. It’s like saying the US can’t unilaterally open its borders with respect to trade. Of course it can. And should!

    I’d like to point out that even the US doesn’t give its citizens economic and political freedom. As one example that for some reason comes to mind, a US citizen is forbidden from hiring someone who does not have the right immigration papers.

  39. Bill,

    Please tell me the ‘divine providence’ comment was sarcasm.

  40. It’s always amazing how these immigration threads rapidly degenerate into nothing more than flinging poo and seeing what sticks, particularly on the anti-immigration side.

    Lonewacko (et al.):

    Just because the sun came up today doesn’t mean that it will tomorrow, either, but I’m pretty sure it will. Likewise, the same bigoted arguments against immigration (and that’s always what it boils down to) have been repeated for this country’s entire history, and the doom and gloom brigade has always been proven wrong.

  41. “ending the insanity of birthright citizenship”

    The “insanity” might be difficult to end since it is established in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

    What does birthright citizenship confer to the recipient anyway? It allows them to run for US President. That’s it, no more, no less. It doesn’t guarantee them the office. Any other benefit is simply a side effect of the welfare state. This includes education, healthcare, food stamps, etc. Again, it’s not the immigrant that’s the problem, it’s the usage of tax money to pay for “social services”.

  42. I’ve been to Miami. Some of it certainly resembles a third world country and makes LA’s barrios, slums, and South Central look positively upscale by comparison.

    On the up side, the city is truly bi-lingual, you can walk around with an open container, the water is the same temp as the air, and the beaches are filled with scantily clad women.

    However, I’ve been to California beaches thousands of times in my life. I’ve been to the beach in Miami a mere seven times. Guess where I had my car broken into at the beach? Yep, and they stole everything we had (we stopped for a brief time on our way to the airport).

    Anecdotal evidence to be sure but I hold that against Miami Fla.

  43. If you want to hear descendants of Mexicans bashing no-good immigrants from the South, no need to wait.

    It happens in Mexico all the time. Right now.

    Happens in the US right now as well.

  44. Birthright citizenship was not something the founders embraced. However, citizenship was rather open and anyone who was a resident of any state was automatically considered a citizen of the US.

  45. Unless they were black or Chinese.

  46. Unless they were black or Chinese.

    Which is why the 14th Amendment exits, having evolved from the Civil Rights Act of 1866, guaranteeing citizenship to anyone born in the US, which has been further refined and defined over the years by statute.

  47. That’s funny, I must have missed the part where Tancredo says “…but only the ones without legal immigration status.”

    Because Tom Tancredo loooooovvvvveeeeessssss legal immigrants. Loves them. Admires them. Is fighting against undocumented immigration because of his great respect for them, and his offense at the injustice of people “cutting the line” in front of them.

    Of course he does. He’s said so himself.

    Shame on Reason for editing his statements in such a misleading way! Without that statement, Tancredo sounds like some kind of repugnant bigot, terrified of anyone who isn’tn exactly like him.

  48. Dear (normal) reader: The above comments represent the mainstream of libertarian “thought”. Believe it or don’t, some libs are even crazier.

    As for the 14th Amendment, as has been pointed out countless times, the author of the clause which is *interpreted* to give citizenship to the children of illegal aliens never intended that. The 14th does not inherently give such citizenship, and very very few countries still have a similar custom.

    As for the claim that we can’t deport the illegal aliens here now, I am positively astounded that – let’s be frank here – commentators on this issue don’t appear to have the necessary brain power to think that through. To find out the horrific implications of that claim, see this: tinyurl.com/yymslv

  49. LW, but, CONgress has further defined by statute that the 14th DOES mean children of illegal immigrants.

    Currently, Title 8 of the U.S. Code Section 1401 defines the following as people who are citizens of the United States at birth:

    Anyone born inside the United States

    Any Indian or Eskimo born in the United States, provided being a citizen of the U.S. does not impair the person’s status as a citizen of the tribe

    Obviously, that can be changed by a majority vote, but irrespective of intention, that is the law currently.

  50. “As for the claim that we can’t deport the illegal aliens here now, I am positively astounded that – let’s be frank here – commentators on this issue don’t appear to have the necessary brain power to think that through.”

    I have the necessary brainpower to realize that rounding up and deporting 12 million people would be the largest forced migration in the history of the Western Hemisphere.

    You are right, wacko, we could commit such an atrocity if we wanted to. We just don’t want to, because that’s not the sort of people we are.

  51. LW is as wrong as can be on the constitutional interpretation. US v. Wong Kim Ark discusses legislative history, which suggests that Congress meant the plain language of the amendment. As to legislative interpretation, so far as the author of a piece of legislation may intend for it to mean one thing, it also means what everybody else who votes for it says it means.

    Wong Kim Ark:
    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=169&invol=649

    Further, that part of the fourteenth amendment largely codifies the 1866 Civil Rights Act, which says that anyone born in the US is a citizen, “excluding Indians not taxed.” Persons not subject to the jurisdiction of the US under the 14th amendment, include some Indians as they still existed at the time of the 14th amendment, children born to diplomatic staff, and, if it had ever happened, children born on the territory of the US to enemy invaders.

    The interpretation that you give of the Fourteenth Amendment would read it out of existence. It would not overturn Dred Scot, which was its main purpose, since it means that blacks would never have gained status as citizens since their alienage would have continued through their bloodlines.

    Scot: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0060_0393_ZS.html

    As to deportation of illegal aliens, arguments in favor of it just suck. If you think the country is willing to expend the resources to remove or use any means to attrite the alien population, I am sorry, that’s just not going to happen. You’re talking about doing something that would make winning the war on drugs look like a cakewalk. Especially since the number of illegal aliens is like two or three times the number of people in prison.

  52. Anonymous says

    You wonder why Tancredo won huge and you libertarians are laughed at? Do you people EVER THINK

    Umm because he lives in a decidedly republican district and has always had a huge monetary advantage over his Democrat opponents?

    You ever wonder why the Tancredo clone in the Arizona district on the border lost to someone you in all wittiness likely refer to as a member of the “Dimocrat” party? DON’T YOU EVER THINK?

  53. Seriously, I live in Tancredo’s district. He’s not that loved by anyone who isn’t in LoneWhacko’s camp. There’s just a lot of people who will hold their noses and vote for the guy with the R next to his name, even if he lies about how long he plans to serve.

  54. “You ever wonder why the Tancredo clone in the Arizona district on the border lost to someone you in all wittiness likely refer to as a member of the “Dimocrat” party? DON’T YOU EVER THINK?”

    Uh, the Democrat actually ran to the right of the Republican. Yep, he sounded like he was even HARDER on illegals than the Republican. Remember that English as official language passed overwhelmingly in Arizona.

    So, we’re losing emergency rooms http://www.jerrypournelle.com/archives2/archives2mail/mail408.html#immigration, losing property value, and I haven’t even mentioned the cost of schooling the illegals, but we don’t need to get control of the border. . .

  55. Labor shortages are harder to fix than emergency rooms and school costs.

  56. And anyway, why do we care why Tancredo or other guy won/lost? That doesn’t make them not dumbasses.

  57. So, we’re losing emergency rooms…

    When you accompany a claim with a link, it’s customary that the link offer some supporting evidence.

  58. Back to the original article…the reason immigrants of Tancredo’s grandparents’ generation eventually assimilated is that immigration was brought to an almost total standstill from 1924 to 1965. The new, unassimilated immigrants of the early 1900s became the Americanized grandparents of the 1950s, and there were few new arrivals to replace them down in Little Italy. This is what is took to make earlier great waves of immigration work, and if today’s wave of immigration is to work, immigration will have to slow down again to give the country time to digest all the newcomers.

    Balko naively holds up Henry Cabot Lodge as a sadly benighted relic proven wrong by history, when actually Lodge was correct. If immigration had continued unabated at the rate of 1880-1920, can anyone seriously argue that the United States would not have been profoundly altered? Retrictionists like Lodge knew when it was time to take a break from immigration, and that time is rolling around again.

  59. Re: El Chupacabra

    Aside from the legal/illegal issue..

    This comment from El Chupacabra is right on the mark..

    We need time to digest what we have just consumed. That is how these cycles go.. cyclical evolution is part of nature and is evident even now as winter sets in. Spring will be here again- but for now let the fattest country on earth take a break from the consumption of people.

  60. Do you guys have some good evidence that this was the main reason they assimilated? Do you have some evidence that current immigrants are not assimilating?

  61. Of course, the readers who followed the link provided above will have read this quote from the author of the clause of the 14th amendment under discussion: This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons. (tinyurl.com/ssqxm)

    And, the readers who followed the other link will have learned what those who say we can’t deport all illegal aliens are actually saying, and it’s not pretty at all.

    The more links you follow, and the more research you do using search engines, the less you’ll trust anything you read from Reason.

  62. Tom Tancredo is way wrong on this one. Miami is loaded with oodles of folks of Cuban ancestry. I don’t know what their rate of speaking English is. But I do know that they have the lowest rates of utilization of the welfare state of any Hispanic group. This is what’s important-not what language they speak.

    In Tancredo’s defense; we would likely be freer and more prosperous if there were lots more of him in congress. He voted for less government spending than all but four congress people!

    http://www.ntu.org/main/page.php?PageID=96

    Disclosure: Tancredo is my congressman. (Like that matters)

  63. Funny how guys such as FingFangFoom get on these boards and rant about something they’re totally clueless about. For instance, the 14th amendment was a guarantee that the freed slaves were US citizens. Here’s a clue FingFangFoom: ambassadors, consular staff, and those with special visas do not automatically have citizenship bestowed upon their children born in the US. A massive discontinuity in Federal court rulings allows hose who cross the border to have citizenship confered on their US-born offspring, but not those who are working in high offices at corporations and who are doing programming and engineering work o a temporary basis. Not both interpretations of the 14th can be true. It’s called a contradiction. With history of the 14th amendment in mind, passed in 1868 at the end of the Civil War, which interpretation makes sense?

  64. Persons born to anyone but ambassadors, certain groups of Indians, and the offspring of an invading army are citizens under the 14th amendment.

    Lonewacko: You should read Wong Kim Ark. Children of foreign citizens are citizens under the 14th amendment. The legislative history of the 14th amendment says so. You are misstating the law. I know you are a xenophobe, but you are as wrong as you possibly could be.

    Hank, kids of people with “special visas” are citizens. I don’t know where you are getting this idea, but ambassadors and private employees are not in the same category. If someone doesn’t have diplomatic immunity, then they don’t fall under the jurisdictional immunity.

  65. Having looked at the comments on this article, I’m amazed at how utterly detached from reality you people are. Do you guys really want open borders? I mean, there are billions of poor people in the world who would love to come here. You really think letting them all in wouldn’t ruin the country? Would you guys take all the locks off your doors and let anyone into your home who wants to come in?

    Seriously, what’s so horrible about wanting to keep foreigners out of your country? If countries didn’t do that we wouldn’t have countries at all.

  66. I’m pretty much an open-borders type myself, but there are at least two (interconnected) obvious differences between present-day Mexican immigration and turn-of-the-last-century Italian immigration:

    1) Italy’s not right next door
    2) The western half of this country wasn’t previously the northern half of Italy.

  67. Seriously, what’s so horrible about wanting to keep foreigners out of your country?

    Morally speaking… As the Declaration of Independence notes, individual rights are inalienable and preexist governments, which are instituted to secure those rights. Those rights — including the rights of travel, residence, and labor — exist whether or not governments recognize them. It is simply an abrogation of rights to restrict them except to defend compelling public interests.

    Theoretically speaking… Just as with free trade, free migration and free labor result in more choices, lower costs, and greater well being for the economy and the people than restricting those freedoms.

    Empirically speaking… In the entire history of the United States, and even to this day, immigration has provided a positive contribution to the well being of the nation.

    If countries didn’t do that we wouldn’t have countries at all.

    Nothing about allowing people to come and go across a country’s borders denies the country itself. What, did the United States not exist before the 1920’s?

  68. For the life of me, I can’t understand what the pro immigration groups love about assholes like the La Raza people or Mecha or even illegal immigrant loving G.W. Bush.

    Why should we bring in millions of people with an average 8th grade education and no money? How in the hell is that enhancing the USA?

    As stated previously, Mexico has zero tolerance for illegal aliens. I’m not saying we should follow their lead since they are a corrupt stinking sewer.

    Mow your own damn yard instead of having hordes of illegals do it.

  69. FinFangFoom said, “Do you guys have some good evidence that this was the main reason they assimilated? Do you have some evidence that current immigrants are not assimilating?”

    You are missing my point. It’s simple demographics. An immigrant who got here yesterday is *by definition* unassimilated. An immigrant who has been here for 10 years is more assimilated, if only a little bit in some cases. (He can’t be less assimilated.) This is why in 1950, after 25 years of no immigration, you mostly saw assimilated immigrants.

    Let us assume generously and naively that every immigrant becomes totally assimilated in five years. My argument would still hold. With today’s historically high levels of immigration year after year, there will always be a supply of millions of new, unassimilated immigrants, unless restrictions are put into place.

    After about 1950, everyone was quite positive about immigration, because everyone knew a kindly foreign-accented older person with Americanized kids and nobody lived next door to 17 day laborers stuffed into a garage. To get to that point again would require about a 25-year moratorium on immigration. Until then, the restrictionists are right, just like they were 100 years ago.

  70. What is wrong with 17 day laborers stuffed into a garage? If there is always some segment of society that isn’t culturally assimilated, is that really a problem?

  71. Now you’re talking like a real libertarian. It’s why you guys never win any elections.

  72. “What does birthright citizenship confer to the recipient anyway? It allows them to run for US President. That’s it, no more, no less. It doesn’t guarantee them the office. Any other benefit is simply a side effect of the welfare state. This includes education, healthcare, food stamps, etc. Again, it’s not the immigrant that’s the problem, it’s the usage of tax money to pay for “social services”.”

    Bingo, Kwix!

    Throw in the labor and real estate protectionists (U.S. citizens have the right to 2 cars, a vacation and a nice house that steadily increases in value just because they know how to swing a hammer) with the welfare state protectionists and you have the anti-immigration front.

    Also, that period of restricted immigration from the 1920’s to 1950’s did not just make Americans comfortable about “assimilated” immigrant neighbors and their “Americanized” kids (whatever those terms mean). It also slammed the door on European Jews trying to dodge the Holocaust and made immigration to Israel a grudging choice for those survivors who would have rather come to the U.S. (to toss in a couple examples).

  73. “For the life of me, I can’t understand what the pro immigration groups love about assholes like the La Raza people or Mecha or even illegal immigrant loving G.W. Bush.”

    Those groups want to hook immigrants up to the welfare state’s teat, use them to refill the declining ranks of unions, etc. In other words, try to use them to bolster many of the same illiberal institutions many anti-immigration groups are also trying to protect.

    “Why should we bring in millions of people with an average 8th grade education and no money? How in the hell is that enhancing the USA?”

    Personally, I don’t care how much education or money they have. I only care about their willingness to work for what they get. The USA needs as many of those people as it can get.

    “As stated previously, Mexico has zero tolerance for illegal aliens. I’m not saying we should follow their lead since they are a corrupt stinking sewer.”

    Exactly. So why bring it up? Most other countries have more restrictive immigration reg’s. So what?

    “Mow your own damn yard instead of having hordes of illegals do it.”

    No thanks. I’d rather spend my time and money (for the lawnmower, gas, maintenance, etc) on more productive and/or enjoyable pursuits. I have no problem paying someone for whom cutting my lawn is an attractive use of their time and money. It’s a “win-win”, voluntary transaction.

  74. Patrick D said, “Also, that period of restricted immigration from the 1920’s to 1950’s did not just make Americans comfortable about “assimilated” immigrant neighbors and their “Americanized” kids (whatever those terms mean). It also slammed the door on European Jews trying to dodge the Holocaust and made immigration to Israel a grudging choice for those survivors who would have rather come to the U.S. (to toss in a couple examples).”

    You are confusing refugees with immigrants, and anyway, you’re presenting a false choice. European Jews could certainly have been temporarily accommodated (with cooperation from other Allied countries) without a return to the mass immigration of the past. The whole six million don’t even add up to one decade’s immigration at the height of the great 1880-1924 wave.

    Also, do you really not know what “assimilated” and “Americanized” means? It has to do with speaking English at home, respecting the rule of law, petitioning the government for redress of grievances instead of blowing people up, that kind of stuff… You don’t have to value assimilation, but surely you are familiar with the concept.

  75. Refugees vs. immigrants? Whether you or I are “confused” is irrelevant. That distinction is made by the United States government, an entity that lost my trust long ago. European Jews in the 20s and 30s who saw what was coming would have been “immigrants”. Supposedly the U.S. government knew what was going on. They refused to publicly acknowledge it and that it is the point.

    If those are your definitions of “assimilation” and “Americanization” then open up the borders because there are literally billions of people without U.S. citizenship who are “assimilated” and “Americanized” without ever stepping on U.S. soil.

  76. I don’t know where these billions are, but if they exist, let them come. They are noticeably absent from the current flow of immigrants.

  77. what part of illegal don’t you get…….

  78. smit | November 29, 2006, 9:21pm | #

    Ummm, that would be the part where you just arbitrarilly make illegal stuff that doesn’t do anyone else any harm.

    But, I’m sure you wouldn’t understand that as you’re apparently afraid of your own shadow. Or would that be anythone that might be a little darker skinned than you.

  79. what part of illegal don’t you get…….

    Ah, my favorite argument.

    We don’t hate immigrants because we’re racists. And not because we’re nationalists. We don’t mind that they have a different religion, speak a different language, have different customs. We’re not even troubled that they’re uneducated and compete with the native born for low paying jobs.

    We hate them because the government told us to.

  80. See articles by Rubenstein for analyses of immigration’s impact on primarily the American economy.

  81. MikeP said, “We hate them because the government told us to.”

    Ah yes, the word “hate”: stifling rational debate since 1968.

    If you came home from work, and some stranger was in your kitchen washing your dishes, and you made him leave, would that mean you hated him?

  82. Very well. Change ‘hate’ to ‘are against’ and reread.

    If you came home from work, and some stranger was in your kitchen washing your dishes, and you made him leave, would that mean you hated him?

    No. But if you went next door and made the person washing dishes there leave, that certainly is violating the rights of that person as well as your next door neighbor. Whether that is due to hate or not is between you and your conscience.

  83. Ah yes, the word “hate”: stifling rational debate since 1968.

    And, by the way, escalating the vocabulary to ‘hate’ is a perfectly rational response to someone who thinks the word ‘illegal’ is an argument.

  84. OK, we’ve got arguably unsustainable immigration levels, given the total package of social welfare benefits that the courts have commanded and, in some cases, local governments have committed the taxpayers to provide. Libertarians say “reform the welfare state.” Restrictionists say “limit immigration.” The restrictionists’ impulse is in part informed by the failure to exclude people who enter the country without official permission from accessing welfare programs, starting with the SCOTUS’ demand that states educate the non-citizen children of unauthorized non-citizen residents.

    I think I’d prefer a good, steady stream of immigrants, biased towards real refugees fleeing persecution in their home countries, with a Canadian-style system of rewarding applicants with skills and investment capital. To hell with country-of-origin quotas and the arcane family-reunification rules that lead to chain-migration of adult dependents. A return to real sponsorship, and enforcement of “no becoming a public charge” rules would be nice, too.

    Anybody see anything “unlibertarian” in that?

    Kevin

  85. Bringing in cheap foreign labor is a part of the class war that is being waged by the corporate interests against working people. The self-serving argument by the corporate interests is that we need illegal immigrants and/or guest workers to take jobs that American workers will not take. But the reason that American workers will not take the jobs is because they are low paying jobs that offer no benefits. If these jobs paid a living wage and offered insurance, American workers would be more than willing to take them. If the illigal immigrants were not taking these jobs, competition for workers would force the businesses to offer higher wages and benefits.

    Incidenatlly, I consider legal immigration to be beneficial. It is illegal immigration that is harmful.

  86. “Personally, I don’t care how much education or money they have. I only care about their willingness to work for what they get. The USA needs as many of those people as it can get.”

    Only if our objective is to keep the wages of our unskilled and semi-skilled workers low. This is class warfare.

  87. “We have a shortage of labor workers in this country (since not every native citizen needs to, or is going to work) yet people are still clammoring that immigration of unskilled labor is bad.”

    If there were really a shortage of labor among unskilled workers there would be no need to raise the minimum wage because competition for labor by employers would force them to pay a lot more than the minimum wage. Any shortage of unskilled workers could be alleviated by employers by simply offering higher wages and benefits. The fact that it is felt neccessary to raise the minimum wage to improve the lot of unskilled workers demonstrates that there is no intrinsic shortage of unskilled workers. Of course if employers fail to pay competitive wages, they will suffer a shortage of workers, but they are getting what they deserve for their short-sightedness and should not be bailed out by being given additional cheap labor.

  88. I would like, in conclusion, to point out that I support LEGAL immigration. I am a LEGAL immigrant myself and feel I have been an asset to the United States. Tom Tancredo is a racist.

  89. Tancredo is just saying that we need a time-out on immigration. I’m all for it!

  90. Does anyone know if Henry Cabot Lodge is a descendant of the captain of the Mayflower, Captain Caboto, of Italy? I wonder what Lodge though of the Italian captain brave enough to take the Pilgrims to what was then the equivilant of going to the moon.

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