Everybody Loves Amnesty

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Hell of a polling result from USA Today:

While Congress and the White House remain divided over what to do with the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants living in the USA, a new poll shows the American public appears to have reached a consensus on the question. A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken last weekend found that 78 percent of respondents feel people now in the country illegally should be given a chance at citizenship.

I don't see the whole poll on the Gallup site, but take the least charitable view—that the wording was cooked to coax the most alien-friendly results—and it's still hard to explain away. People are clearly not as anti-illegal immigrant as we in the media figured before the 2006 elections. There's a very vocal, angry chunk* of the population that wants to build a border wall, and a smaller chunk that wants to deport illegals, but even many of the people who want illegal immigration stopped figure the immigrants are basically hard-up, hard-working people.

Read Reason's reporting on the immigration issue, including great articles by Malia Politzer and Kerry Howley, right here.

*There's some disagreement about the use of the word "angry." You could substitute "scared" or suggest another reason why people build walls.

NEXT: Blue-Chip Buddha

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  1. Note it says “people now in the country illegally” deserve a chance at citizenship. It says nothing about what that those people think that chance should be. Further, it says nothing about what people think about further immigration. It just says that they think the ones already here perhaps ought not to be deported and given a chance at legal status. The poll says nothing support for doing something to prevent further illegal immigration.

    It is entirely possible if not likely that people believe that the immigrants already here should stay but want something done to prevent more immigrants from coming. Weigel over reads the results of a poll that says maybe we should let the ones here stay to mean that 78% of respondents want an open border, which is exactly what Congress and the political elite will do. It will be 1986 all over again; just let the ones here stay legally and we will do something to stop further illegal immigration and then of course do nothing to stop further illegal immigration because God forbid Bush not have cheap ranch help or yuppies in suburban L.A. not be able to import a slave to raise their children.

  2. “…angry chunk of the population that wants to build a border wall…”

    Why angry? I like the idea of a border wall but I’m not angry. Was one of the questions “are you angry we arn’t building a border wall?”

  3. Good use of “consensus.”

  4. Not to mention the way our closed boarders policy has perverted immigration to begin with. Most immigrants wouldn’t need citizenship if they were allowed to migrate back and forth.

  5. Perhaps this poll indicates that after years and years of being told that “illegal immigrants” are going to destroy our country, Americans are finally beginning to realize that it’s simply not happening.

    It’s not that people don’t think that there are problems involved with undocumented workers, but I think the anti-immigrant side has really overstated their case.

    Not to mention that the whole issue reeks of racism.

  6. I see we got all the way to post 5 before someone played the race card. Nothing moves a rational discussion along like accusing those who disagree of racism. Really opens up the lines of communication.

  7. I have no hostility toward migrant workers. My consternation is toward the exploitive employers that have decided that the profit gained from using hiring cheap, disposible labor outweighs the petty slap on the wrist fines. Currently the laws punish “hard-up, hard-working” individuals FAR greater than the businesses that line their pockets through exploitation.

  8. The constitution allows the federal government to repel invasions and to establish uniform rules for naturalization. It says nothing about the federal government having the authority to keep anyone from coming into the country, whether for travel, business, temporary employment, permanent residence without citizenship, etc. These powers were ASSUMED. When those power grabs were (very weakly) challenged, the Supreme Court and others invested in government power “explained” that the power to control borders and admit or eject non-citizens was an “inherent” power of nations. But that’s crap. Taxation and any number of other powers had traditionally been “inherent” in nationhood, prior to the establishment of the US. I suppose they were thought as “inherent” in the soverign nationhood of each of the original States. When those States got together, some power was explicitly ceded top the Federal government. But those powers not explicitly ceded by the States to the Federal government were explicitly to remain with those who held them in the first place. The Federal govenrment wasn’t to have “inherent” powers of a nation. It was to have the explicitly enumerated powers mentioned in the Constitution and no more.

    So, that being the case, how is the flow of peaceful, hardworking people, back and forth across the borders, either “invasion” or “naturalization,” particularly if the foreigners involved do not seek to become US Citizens?

  9. I see we got all the way to post 5 before someone played the race card.

    Yes, but we were treated to the good old slavery/exploitation argument in the first post.

    What is the distinction between my job and that of the illegal immigrant who cleans my building which makes the former valid and the latter exploitative?

  10. That is a BS Poll if I every saw one. Of course in the poll they don’t mention that the actual count would be about 60 million over 10 years (CATO study from August of 2006). With the economy going in a downturn this year all will work out great! Wow, we might as well enjoy our new lower standard of living. Also, are we ready the increased energy requirements for these extra people.

  11. It?s polling fraud, goddamit! All the hudreds of millions of illegal immigruns are voting illegally in the polls – just like they do in the elections! If only we had som effective prosecuters to smoke them out!!?

  12. I’ve said it before and it warmed my heart when I heard Milton Friedman say the same thing in a 2005 interview on the “Charlie Rose” show.

    “Look, you can’t have open borders when you have a welfare state.”

    It would be nice to get rid of the welfare state, but that has about as much chance of happening as a libertarian winning the presidential election.

    On the amnesty issue, I have a problem with rewarding
    illegal behavior. It’s no different than if the IRS declared, “We are granting amnesty to all who didn’t pay their taxes for the last ten years, but to you who did pay, thanks, Suckers!”?

  13. I see we got all the way to post 5 before someone played the race card. Nothing moves a rational discussion along like accusing those who disagree of racism. Really opens up the lines of communication.

    Well, you’re basically acknowledging that race is at least part of the issue here yet for some reason we’re not supposed to discuss it. Hence the PC term “race card”, which is itself a “card” that is played in an attempt to prevent dissenting opinions from being considered.

    And of course I didn’t accuse anybody who disagrees wiht me of racism. I’m just suggesting that perhaps the American people are beginning to sense that if the “illegal immigrants” were WASPs instead of Latinos this issue wouldn’t have nearly as much energy around it.

  14. Well, you’re basically acknowledging that race is at least part of the issue here yet for some reason we’re not supposed to discuss it.

    I hadn’t noticed even a hint of racism in either the post or the previous 4 comments before you made a pre-emptive accusation of racism, HOI.

    And don’t go all “oh, poor victim me, my dissent is being suppressed”, HOI. Its not, and you know it, and you know that playing the race card the way you did is an attempt to devalue anyone who disagrees with you on this issue.

  15. You could substitute “scared” or suggest another reason why people build walls.

    Umm… Maybe we are going to build a roof? It has been raining alot here in Texas.

  16. There is a clear consensus = people are fucking hysterical all over the place.

    Where oh where is Steve “I’m not a racist” Sailer? Say something provacative. Make us care.

    For the people who are generally on the non-consensus side of this issue (RC Dean? John?)… what is your answer to the thousands of US farmers who are desperately trying to explain to the Red Staters that they really DO need migrant labor to stay competitive? Just curious. The MORE AMERICAN THAN YOU types seem to have no explanation about what to do about our immigrant-dependent industries.

    JG

  17. “It says nothing about the federal government having the authority to keep anyone from coming into the country, whether for travel, business, temporary employment, permanent residence without citizenship, etc.”

    I don’t know what country you live in Merrit but you might try reading the Constitution once in a while.

    Article I Section 8

    The Congress shall have the power to “To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;”

    Uniform rule of naturalization. That means the Congress has the power to control the borders and determine who is a naturalized citizen and who is not. It couldn’t be any more explicit than that. It is not an assumed power or an implied power, it is one of the few enumerated powers in the Constitution. Take that crap over to the rightwing nutjobs over at Lew Rockwell where it belongs.

  18. That means the Congress has the power to control the borders and determine who is a naturalized citizen and who is not.

    No. It says absolutely nothing about the borders or immigration. It says that Congress has the power to define who can become a citizen.

    James is precisely right that controlling the borders against general migration is not a power granted to the federal government. Nonetheless, while this says a lot about the attitudes of the Founders, it is rather meaningless in arguing present-day government powers. Certainly if the US behaved properly under the Constitution, the Constitution would have been amended in the 1880s or 1920s or, indeed, today to give it the power to restrict immigration.

  19. “James is precisely right that controlling the borders against general migration is not a power granted to the federal government. Nonetheless, while this says a lot about the attitudes of the Founders, it is rather meaningless in arguing present-day government powers. Certainly if the US behaved properly under the Constitution, the Constitution would have been amended in the 1880s or 1920s or, indeed, today to give it the power to restrict immigration.”

    That is pedantic bullshit. Congress has the power to control naturalization, recognize foreign embassies and charge excise taxes on imports and exports, powers that are specifically taken away from the states, but have no control of the border and who can enter the United States? That is ludicrous. There is nothing in the drafting history, the practice at the time that would indicate they founders meant that. The Congress has always had the power to control the borders. Indeed, control of own border is inherent to any sovereign and probably the most universally accepted tenant of international law. No court or competent authority at the time of the drafting or anytime in U.S. history has denied Congress that power. To say that Congress doesn’t have the power is to completely disregard the history and the context of the document to such a degree that the document becomes meaningless.

  20. So the argument is that the federal government has the power only to declare who can be a citizen, but has no power to exclude anyone who isn’t a citizen?

    Interesting. I’ll have to chew on that one.

    Of course, anyone who wants to read the Constitution that tight should have no problem throwing out 80% of the current federal code as being beyond the scope of the enumerated powers, including the commerce clause.

  21. There is nothing in the drafting history, the practice at the time that would indicate they founders meant that.

    It would be surprising if, 11 years after the Founders wrote

    He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

    they would grant to the federal government the power over migration into their several sovereign states.

    Note, too, the distinction Jefferson draws between migration and naturalization.

  22. I have a cunning plan. Dipping into a practice common in early America, let’s offer each illegal immigrant amnesty after a seven-year period of indentured servitude. That way, they get training and citizenship, and we still get our cheap labor. Both sides win!

  23. We actually do that now pro, they are called migrant workers.

  24. John,

    I’m talking temporary servitude, not indefinite. And I don’t think picking lettuce is a trade that needs an extended apprenticeship.

    I’m also kidding, I think.

  25. I think I was for amnesia. But I forget.

  26. VM,

    I drink to forget.

  27. So the argument is that the federal government has the power only to declare who can be a citizen, but has no power to exclude anyone who isn’t a citizen?

    While you’re chewing on that, you might want to see how this follows from the perspective of individual rights and government powers in general.

    As noted in the Declaration of Independence and elsewhere, individual rights are primary and preexist government powers. So governments really do not have any legitimate power to abridge the rights of travel, residence, or labor of any individual — regardless of his place of birth, nationality, or citizenship. Exceptions to this rule revolve around threats to the public from invasion, insurrection, or contagion.

    However, governments do have the power to control their own citizenship — to define the privileges and responsibilities of a citizen and who can become a citizen. There is no right to be a citizen, and citizenship does not grant any rights since it is not in the power of government to grant rights, only to secure preexisting rights held by all individuals.

    Thus, governments have no legitimate power to control general migration, but they do have a legitimate power to control citizenship.

  28. Of course, anyone who wants to read the Constitution that tight should have no problem throwing out 80% of the current federal code as being beyond the scope of the enumerated powers, including the commerce clause.

    Only 80%?


  29. And don’t go all “oh, poor victim me, my dissent is being suppressed”, HOI. Its not, and you know it, and you know that playing the race card the way you did is an attempt to devalue anyone who disagrees with you on this issue.

    I simply pointed out that the issue reeks of racism. Because it does.

    Sorry if that observation makes you uncomfortable but race either is or isn’t a part of this issue regardless of what you think my motives are for mentioning it.

  30. ProL:

    then easy on the sauce this Saturday! It’s a blast!

    Besides your team winning the big game, and that time Becky’s shirt fell open in class senior year, it’ll easily be one of the best days of your entire life!

  31. VM,

    It’s a daytime wedding, so the amount of booze will be minimal. At least for me and Mrs. Libertate. There’s a champagne toast, and that’s it. Weeellll, other than the bottles of bourbon and run that I’m giving to two groomsmen to distribute to those who simply must have a drink during the reception 🙂

    Incidentally, the correct response to someone saying, “I drink to forget” is “Why?”

  32. [quickly consults rule book]
    Why?

    [prompt]

    Why do you drink to forget?

  33. VM,

    I forgot.

  34. As for “angry” or “scared”, I prefer “not corrupt”, “not paid off”, “not a hack”, “informed about the issue”, and other terms.

    Maybe Weigel could update the post.

    The poll is certainly interesting, but one wonders why even those who have been paid off have been treading lightly on this issue. One will frequently hear them saying they need to proceed cautiously and well before the elections.

    Obviously, they know something Weigel doesn’t. They realize they’re playing with fire.

    Virtually all polls are as simple-minded as Weigel, in that they ask broad or biased questions, but don’t ask follow-ups.

    For instance, they could have asked those who answered yes to whatever the question they asked whether they still support legalization knowing that it will inevitably lead to even more IllegalImmigration, MassiveChainMigration, more PoliticalPower for the MexicanGovernment inside the U.S., and so on.

    If you want to find out what’s really going on with this issue, scan through the thousands of posts in my archives. You’ll learn all the things Weigel doesn’t.

  35. YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH…SENOR!!!!!!!

  36. I am highly skeptical of that poll. I don’t know anyone outside of Casa de las Rocas Grandes (where I live) that believes anything except all illegals should be deported. Sheesh, I even know guys who think we should put the NG on the border with live ammo and shoot anyone who crosses. Bullets are cheaper than concrete they say.

    Well, I exaggerate, there is Mo and his neighbors and I think maybe El Geronimo de Crow is on the fence. Pun intended. Never sure with him though.

  37. Honestly, must I solve all of America’s problems? Indentured servitude–learn a trade! Heck, we should extend this to kids wanting to get engineering degrees in the U.S.

  38. For instance, they could have asked those who answered yes to whatever the question they asked whether they still support legalization knowing that it will inevitably lead to even more IllegalImmigration, MassiveChainMigration, more PoliticalPower for the MexicanGovernment inside the U.S., and so on.

    There’s a reason that question isn’t asked in legitimate poll – it’s a loaded one.

    Then again, that probably doesn’t bother you given your opinion that those not opposed to “illegal immigration” must be “paid off”.

  39. TLB:

    WhatsWith the ConstantPattern of WeirdSpacing and InappropriateCaps?

  40. One possibility is that it hearkens back to the ancient roots of English in the Germanic languages. By capitalizing everything in sight and forming long compound words, it is hoped that the totems thus conjured can ward off the threat from those who speak more fluid and less capitalized Romance languages.

  41. Then again, that probably doesn’t bother you given your opinion that those not opposed to “illegal immigration” must be “paid off”.

    I didn’t say that, only that I very strongly suspect some politicians of being paid off. For just one example, Rep. ChrisCannon got >$20k in donations from ImmigrationLawyers who were from the same group that helped him write legislation. Odd, that.

    And, there are many politicians who “pay themselves off”, so to speak. They’re willing to support MassiveIllegalActivity in the hopes of getting future votes and prolonging their careers.

    On a somewhat related note, if Weigel or someone else from Reason wants to do some real reporting, they can look into the questions for BillRichardson at the link.

  42. I didn’t say that, only that I very strongly suspect some politicians of being paid off.

    Anyone want to argue with that?

  43. I didn’t say that, only that I very strongly suspect some politicians of being paid off.

    Anyone want to argue with that?

    It is a sad but undeniable fact that if you need to defend yourself against bad legislation, you need to get involved in the political process. Whether or not you change legislators’ minds by giving them or their campaigns money, it is pretty much the way you get a hold of their time for lobbying.

    It is also true that illegal immigrants are pretty much the poorest and least represented class of people in the country. That a coalition of immigration lawyers who understand their clients and what is at stake for them might donate some money to a legislator who might take a stand against truly awful legislation is understandable.

    $20,000. Wow. Does anyone have the rundown of just how much Tancredo has been “paid off” and by whom since he started his anti-immigration tirade?

  44. And, there are many politicians who “pay themselves off”, so to speak. They’re willing to support MassiveIllegalActivity in the hopes of getting future votes and prolonging their careers.

    Are these politicians in any way related to the politicians who are willing to take demagogic stands and rile up nationalist and protectionist fervor whenever possible in the hopes of getting present and future votes and prolonging their careers?

  45. “Open borders” = “Giving crack to children” – anti-black overtones + anti-Hispanic overtones

  46. I bring this up because the “crypto-open-borders-advocacy” card was played four comments earlier than the race card.

  47. Incidentally, I myself do not have a particular concern whether racism is among the motivations of the immigration debate. I simply find no fundamental moral difference between racism and protectionism, nationalism, culturalism, or any of the legion of other excuses for denying individuals their freedoms on the basis of where they happen to have been born.

    Practically, racism is worse mainly because it should be difficult to grow to adulthood in today’s America with racist attitudes. But I look forward to the day a couple generations hence when people will look at people who argue for substantially closed borders the same way they look at people who still harbor the attitudes of a white southerner from the 1950’s.

  48. Frankly, I’m confused. On the one hand, we’re building (OK, threatening to build) a border fence. On the other, the establishment of the North American Trade Zone continues apace. It’s quite a dichotomy.

  49. and I think maybe El Geronimo de Crow is on the fence.

    Then, de Crow is the first one who gets shot. [easy target and all, you see]

    I for one don’t like crows. Call me a racist. I won’t even mind, I’m just a barbarian anyway.

    Egon, if you’re confused it’s only because everybody else is too. Do we need countries and borders and all, or can we do away with them? [where’s Ruthless when you need him? I haven’t seen him post in a long time]

    I theenk senior D.W. is taking his poll just a leeetle bit tooo farr. But remember, I don’t like crows either. You can’t trust me.

    In fact, that’s going to be my battle cry from now on: remember, I don’t like crows.

  50. I do like the idea of temporary indentured servitude. I’d never have to mow a lawn again!

    Not that we have very many lawns to mow here in Arizona. But just in case we ever do (Al Gore says I should be really worried), we’ve got lots of people running around here that I could snag and turn into indentured servants.

  51. I found the poll itself, and, as you might expect, there are quite a few things that neither USA Today nor Weigel were telling you.

    Details at the link.

    Reminder: you can’t trust Reason on this issue.

  52. Wow. Lonewacko has a point.

    It looks like the 78% is formed from adding the percentages who selected the following two answer choices:

    42% — require illegal immigrants to leave the U.S., but allow them to return and become U.S. citizens if they meet certain requirements over a period of time

    36% — allow illegal immigrants to remain in the United States and become U.S. citizens if they meet certain requirements over a period of time

    If the 42% think those certain requirements include getting in the (effectively infinite length) legal immigration line, that is hardly a supportive attitude toward immigrants who are in the US illegally.

  53. http://dynamic.rte.ie/av/228-2239477.smil

    How about the Irish illegals?

    Here is a Real Media link to an interview that Bill O’Reilly did on Irish Television. In it, the interviewer mentions how the families of illegal Irish Immigrants are upset that these illegals can’t visit home because if they do, they won’t be let back in.

    http://dynamic.rte.ie/av/228-2239477.smil

    I wish O’Reilly had stated the obvious to that interviewer. Why should illegal Irish immigrants expect to be able to travel back and forth between Ireland and the United States when by definition they aren’t supposed to be in the United States to begin with?

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