Be Our (and Only Our) Guest

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Since January, Arizona businesses have been required to check the immigration status of every new hire against the federal  E-Verify program. The state will start enforcing the law in March, and some legislators expect that it will drive off needed workers. So they've come up with a solution of extremely dubious constitutionality: a state-level guest worker program.

Facing a worker shortage, and unwilling to wait for a federal fix, some Southern Arizona lawmakers want the state to run its own temporary foreign worker program. The proposal by Sen. Marsha Arzberger, D-Willcox, would let companies that are suffering a "labor shortage" seek permission from the state Industrial Commission to bring in their own workers from Mexico.

It even would have the state issue identification cards to the foreigners authorized to work here. "The federal government has not met the responsibility to come up with comprehensive immigration reform," Arzberger said.

NEXT: Another Huckabee Surge?

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  1. Warning = rapid-response LoneWacko IdiotBomb now being deployed, ETA T-minus 10, 9, 8, 7…

  2. Conrad Hilton.

  3. Can’t we somehow get Dave W. and LoneWacko in a HFCS/IllegalImmigration death match? I’m rooting for Dave, but I don’t think he’d fight as dirty as LoneWacko.

  4. You can’t learn if you Don’tClick, people.

  5. Well.. what the…
    BWAAA HAA ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  6. look Episiarch: as much as the snarking gallery would like gallery would have you believe that I take HFCS that seriously, I don’t. I took it somewhat more seriously back when I thougt it might be having a disproportionate affect on diabetes, but I have changed my tentative thinking on that (because of some medical studies), and I let the goo folks here at HitandRun know that many moons ago.

    HFCS is still a great example of how market power undermines competition and consumer choice — how market power subverts capitalism — and that is still the most important thing that HitandRunners don’t get, but should. All that said — it is just soda. I switched to water, coffee and tea, with te occasional diet soda or skim milk thrown in.

    HFCS is a good teaching tool about a super-important ish, but it is not a super-important ish in and of itself.

  7. Thats not a surprise. This place in Willcox is always screaming for labor.
    http://www.eurofresh.com/

  8. Dave, I said I was rooting for you.

    Look, I know all about HFCS. My dad is highly allergic to corn. I am fully aware of how much stuff corn, and HFCS, is in. Which is why I was enjoying busting your balls. But that’s all it is, don’t get worked up.

  9. Like the drivers license issue, the stupidity of federal immigration law puts states in an impossible position.

  10. I love it when states get all uppity and think the powers not delegated to the fed are reserved to the states or the people. I mean, what the hell? Does he think the states are sovereign or something?

    /snark

    Good luck with that, sparky. The smackdown is imminent…

  11. Like the drivers license issue, the stupidity of federal immigration law puts states in an impossible position.

    I guess it’s not constitutional but I can certainly understand their frustration with the feds.

  12. BTW, I clicked once and didn’t learn a goddam thing.

  13. I’m all in favor of anything that makes it possible for hard-working people to find opportunities with willing employers.

  14. To be fair, an illegal immigrant did steal LoneWacko’s spacebar, so you can understand why he’d be so touchy about this.

  15. Presuming the worker can change employers, the program as outlined in the article’s sidebar actually sounds pretty good. All that’s really missing is running the background check through federal resources which presumably have more to check against than Arizona’s Department of Public Safety.

  16. I agree with MikeP 😉

  17. To be fair, an illegal immigrant did steal LoneWacko’s spacebar, so you can understand why he’d be so touchy about this.

    Game, Set, Match…

  18. I’m not sure I understand why giving certain foreigners an exemption to a state law would be unconstitutional.

  19. I’m not sure I understand why giving certain foreigners an exemption to a state law would be unconstitutional.

    Perhaps the vegetables they pick may cross state lines one day…

    I am so going to hell…

  20. As long as they promise to stay in Arizona the whole time, even when it’s really hot, I don’t see the problem.

  21. Oddly enough, the rep is a member of the ArizonaCattleGrowers and the ArizonaFarmBureau (votesmart.org/bio.php?can_id=28434). Her husband is a retired farmer/rancher. But, I’m sure their connections have absolutely nothing to do with this proposal, so it’s only right that Kerry Howley didn’t even try to follow the money or anything remotely approaching journalism.

    Let nothing stand in the way of “libertarians” support corporate welfare!

    And, regarding the “reform” she complains about, things don’t look so rosy once you crunch the numbers.

  22. BTW, I clicked once and didn’t learn a goddam thing.

    Thanks for taking one for the team.

    I actually like the Click ‘n Spurn handle. It serves the double purpose of letting me know that I can skip to the next post and giving me an ironic chuckle.

    When he uses the other handles, I sometimes make it to the second numbered item before realizing I need to skip. That irritates me.

  23. Farmers who have a labor shortage are “corporate welfare”?

    I mean, it’s crazy to think that a representative might actually be part of the constituency they represent?!? God forbid the states agricultural and ranching industries survive! Instead, we should keep out willing labor and destroy our local economy! Thats the ticket!

  24. Guest worker plans are the worst possible solution to the immigration issue. They create a permanent underclass with no stake in the host society. We should have a mass amnesty and get serious about border enforcement.

    In theory, I like the idea of free movement of people. However, in practice I question the desirability. Do we really want to reach an equilibrium in wages and quality of life between say Arizona and Sonora? If it meant bringing Sonora to AZ levels, that would be lovely, but that isn’t how it would play out.

    I work with a great many illegal Mexican nationals (family businesses are construction and restaurants in AZ), and I’m no nativist immigrant basher. Neither our construction business, nor our restaurants would be possible without immigrant labour, and not because of costs. It’s because Mexican nationals have become integral in both these industries. People often say that “the mexicans work for less money”. In itself this is not true, in fact I often pay illegals more than I would a US native because they tend to be more reliable and harder workers. However, the influx of illegals has driven wages down in many industries (plural of anecdote not equal to data, I know). Low to moderate skilled construction labour pay has certainly been constrained by the flood of illegal workers.

    Bottom line: if a person should be allowed to come to the US to work, they should have a reasonable expectation of becoming citizens.

  25. Bottom line: if a person should be allowed to come to the US to work, they should have a reasonable expectation of becoming citizens.

    LoneWacko reply =

    THEN WE SHOULDNT ALLOW THEM TO COME WORK HERE!!!!

    (sticks head back in sand)

  26. Bottom line: if a person should be allowed to come to the US to work, they should have a reasonable expectation of becoming citizens.

    Maybe I am reading the best into the Arizona proposal, but I gather that (a) the 2 years would be indefinitely renewable, subject only to unmet demand for labor, and (b) use of this program would not preclude later residence or citizenship.

    So if the difference is between sitting in Mexico in an infinitely long queue waiting for a visa, or working in Arizona while being in the same spot on the infinitely long queue, I should think the latter would be better.

  27. One more thing. Mexican immigrants have improved the quality of local dining immeasurably. We have our weekly meeting and never go to our own “mexican” style restaurant down the street. We go to the local taqueria where the food is better and no one speaks English.

  28. I didn’t actually RTFA, so I’m just speaking to guest worker programs in general…

  29. In theory, I like the idea of free movement of people. However, in practice I question the desirability. Do we really want to reach an equilibrium in wages and quality of life between say Arizona and Sonora?

    What reasoning or evidence do you have for the impression that Arizona’s wages and quality of life would be dragged down to match those of Sonora?

    I think it that impression is mistaken, and it seems to be the only thing holding back your endorsement of the free movement of people.

  30. I have no hard evidence, of course. What I do have is a reasonable expectation based on a few facts. We have a pretty considerable welfare system / social safety net compared to Sonora Mexico here in AZ. The current group of immigrants are self selecting hard workers and are a net asset to society IMHO. Unconditionally opening the doors would change the nature of the flow. This is of course mere conjecture, but not unreasonable I think.

  31. Also, I didn’t say that free movement would drag AZ down to the level of Sonora. I said that we would approach equilibrium. This would change conditions on both sides of the border in different ways. Given Mexico’s problems, I think it would be a net negative for AZ.

    Sorry to be pedantic. I know you know what I meant.

  32. Let nothing stand in the way of “libertarians” support corporate welfare!

    In related news, this morning I heard that ski resorts are short of instructors because of the cutback in visas. I don’t think that’s a minimum wage job.

    Guest worker plans are the worst possible solution to the immigration issue. They create a permanent underclass with no stake in the host society.

    Uh? The whole point of a guest worker program is that they aren’t permanent. IOW the above ski instructors can come to the U.S. in the winter when there’s work, and go home in the summer when there isn’t. Or maybe even go south, where our summer is their ski season.

    We have a pretty considerable welfare system / social safety net compared to Sonora Mexico here in AZ.

    Irrelevant if you have a guest worker program.

    Bottom line: if a person should be allowed to come to the US to work, they should have a reasonable expectation of becoming citizens.

    Whether they want to or not?

    I just hired someone to repair my back porch. I want the porch repaired. He wants to be paid. Neither one of us wants me to adopt him.

  33. Unconditionally opening the doors would change the nature of the flow.

    But so long as immigrants are not on welfare, they must be working to earn their living. Their “safety net” is to go back to Sonora.

    In other words, if immigrants cannot be on welfare, welfare will not be a draw. The 1996 welfare reform does a pretty good job of excluding immigrants from pretty much every form of welfare reasonable.

    The loophole that remains is to put citizen children of immigrants on the same welfare schedule as their parents and not on the schedule of a citizen born of natives.

  34. Also, I didn’t say that free movement would drag AZ down to the level of Sonora. I said that we would approach equilibrium. This would change conditions on both sides of the border in different ways. Given Mexico’s problems, I think it would be a net negative for AZ.

    And I contend that Arizona’s standards would not decline. The new immigrants satisfy demand for labor and are compensated less than their added productivity. They are a net gain considering that alone. But their filling in the lower rungs of labor demand also allows the movement of native labor up the ladder to higher valued jobs.

    It’s a win all around, as one expects voluntary cooperation generally to be.

  35. I’d like to see troubled businesses (as a result of new law) simply leave the state…if not, leave the country.

    Then perhaps the people that pick discrimination over a good work ethic can be voted out of office by the people they screw.

    No one with a business that depends on Mexican Labor had a voice in this law.

  36. LarryA: perhaps you should do a bit of research about how well the Turkish “guest workers” in Germany are integrating. They also are denied citizenship. People who move countries looking for work have a habit of staying. European ski instructors may not be the very best example one could come up with. We’re talking 3rd to 1st world migration here.

    MikeP: I’m very sympathetic to your attitude and would like to agree with you, but I think you overlook a few things. The benefits to immigrants from Mexico to the US (and costs to US taxpayers) are not limited to what we call “welfare” payments. Education, health care, infrastructure. These all cost quite a lot.
    as unpalatable and dishonest as the current system is, it does tend to limit immigrants to a group that is largely productive and a benefit to the US. Unfettered immigration with the system we currently have would seem to lead to an equalization of lifestyles between the two countries.

    I may be entirely wrong in this opinion, and would like to believe I am. I haven’t formed my thoughts quickly or emotionally. I’ve been living this quandary for years.

  37. “The loophole that remains is to put citizen children of immigrants on the same welfare schedule as their parents and not on the schedule of a citizen born of natives.”

    That “loophole” you refer to is the US constitution.

  38. Nothing in the US Constitution guarantees welfare to anyone.

    I didn’t say take away their citizenship: I said take away their welfare.

  39. IANAL, but doesn’t it seem that any two co-equal citizens of the USA would be entitled to the same rights / privileges under the law? Please take away all the welfare as far as I’m concerned, but I wonder if this sort of selection is an option.

  40. Anyone see a Constitutional problem with the Arizona program?

    “No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another.” (Article 1, Section 9.)

    “No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation.” (Article 1, Section 10.)

    At first glance, this looks like a regulation that gives preference to Arizona businesses; it could also be considered a treaty with Mexico.

    Am I off base?

  41. IANAL, but doesn’t it seem that any two co-equal citizens of the USA would be entitled to the same rights / privileges under the law?

    If that’s the case, where the hell is my welfare check.

    Especially after the 1996 welfare reform, there are loads of requirements that differentiate among citizens with respect to the welfare they are eligible to receive. Adding one more — “No child shall receive welfare that neither parent is eligible for” — doesn’t seem like a stretch.

  42. “Especially after the 1996 welfare reform, there are loads of requirements that differentiate among citizens with respect to the welfare they are eligible to receive. Adding one more — “No child shall receive welfare that neither parent is eligible for” — doesn’t seem like a stretch.”

    Perhaps you are right.

  43. But what if the child is a citizen and the parents are illegal (quite possible, given birthright citizenship)?

  44. It would be the same as the case where the child is a citizen and the parents are legal immigrants.

    However, I believe there is at least some schedule whereby legal immigrants can get welfare after some long number of years’ residence. There would be no such schedule for illegal immigrants.

  45. No one complained when the children of the immigrants were irish, italian, greek, german, english, etc.

    In fact, the Immigration Naturalization Service and the general inforcement didn’t start unit SPIKs, Chinks, and Niggers started coming 2 America.

    Once the Civil Rights movement took off…America did a good job in taking the Welcome sign down from the Statue of Liberty and replacing it with a STOP SIGN.

  46. But what if the child is a citizen and the parents are illegal (quite possible, given birthright citizenship)?

    Maybe you are referring to what happens when the citizen children of illegal immigrants actually reach the age of majority.

    That’s a harder question.

    I can see arguments for allowing them to be eligible for welfare at age 18. But the fear is that prospective parents who hold the long view and dream of having their adult children living off welfare in the United States two decades hence might be encouraged to immigrate illegally and work in the fields or factories for twenty years to reach that illustrious goal.

    On the other hand, a significant subculture coming of age without any prospect for receiving welfare may be a big plus.

  47. Mexicans r not com’n 2 america 2 collect welfare.

  48. Welfare is obsolete.

    No one (citizen, national, ilegal, etc.) should receive cash to do what they please.

    To administer healthcare to the poor…why not

    That the mexican’s send their kids to the public schools…these mexicans ARE PAYING FOR the Schools via the RENT they pay a landlord.

    Remember, the public school system is paid for largely by PROPERTY TAXES. Landlords pay property taxes and collect a PROFIT from the MEXICANs…As a result, the MEXICANs r paying 4 the education of their children.

  49. Mr D re your 7:47

    Your first sentence is basically correct (except for the no-nothings of the 1840’s, the civil war era draft riots and a waspy unease in the late 19th century

    Your 2nd sentence misses the fact that two out of the three of your groups were on the continent even before there was a united states – but you are spot on that the third group was the very first immigration enforcement. (as opposed to naturalization denial)

    On your third sentence, the STOP sign was errected in the 1920’s and only taken down in the 1960’s. It’s still only a yield sign, but the traffic is sometimes not allowing people to merge – sometimes by jerks, but also sometimes as deliberate action by the very people who pretend they have the newcomers ‘best interests’ at heart.

  50. I don’t really oppose AZ’s plan, but I also don’t see how it will hold up to court scrutiny with:

    naturalization enumurated power plus
    regulate commerce with foreign nations enumerated power plus
    supremcy cause plus
    full faith and credit clause plus
    raich and that new deal corn/pig decision

    but my legal education is almost exclusively derived from reading volokh and wikipedia

  51. Hey “Dickin D’Ass”, with your arrival this comment thread has officially been classified as moronic. Nice handle BTW.

    Perhaps you noticed that the discussion was not about current immigrant’s motivations… Oh never mind, nuance and details are wasted on the likes of you.

  52. If we’re going by commonly understood constitutional powers, I agree that this Arizona proposal would likely be struck down.

    But if we’re going to get strictly constitutional, I think it is perfectly constitutional. After all, the Constitution empowers the federal government to regulate naturalization but not to regulate immigration or residence.

    Tucker’s Blackstone quotes a “very respectable political writer”

    The common law has affixed such distinct and appropriate ideas to the terms denization, and naturalization, that they can not be confounded together, or mistaken for each other in any legal transaction whatever. They are so absolutely distinct in their natures, that in England the rights they convey, can not both be given by the same power; the king can make denizens, by his grant, or letters patent, but nothing but an act of parliament can make a naturalized subject. This was the legal state of this subject in Virginia, when the federal constitution was adopted; it declares that congress shalt have power to establish an uniform rule of naturalization; throughout the United States; but it also further declares, that the powers not delegated by the constitution to the U. States, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states, respectively, or to the people. The power of naturalization, and not that of denization, being delegated to congress, and the power of denization not being prohibited to the states by the constitution, that power ought not to be considered as given to congress, but, on the contrary, as being reserved to the states. And as the right of denization did not make a citizen of an alien, but only placed him in a middle state, between the two, giving him local privileges only, which he was so far from being entitled to carry with him into another state, that he lost them by removing from the state giving them, the inconveniencies which might result from the indirect communication of the rights of naturalized citizens, by different modes of naturalization prevailing in the several states, could not be apprehended. It might therefore have been extremely impolitic in the states to have surrendered the right of denization, as well as that of naturalization to the federal government, inasmuch as it might have operated to discourage migration to those states, which have lands to dispose of, and settle; since, it might be a disagreeable alternative to the states, either to permit aliens to hold lands within their territory, or to exclude all who have not yet completed their probationary residence within the U. States, so as to become naturalized citizens, from purchasing, or holding lands, until they should have acquired all other rights appertaining to that character.

    Nonetheless, the standard disclaimer applies: If the United States was in the habit of behaving constitutionally, it could have easily amended the Constitution to give Congress the power to regulate immigration in the 1880’s, 1920’s, or, indeed, today.

  53. MikeP-
    Jesus, I thought I had an tendency for run-on sentences.

    I tend to be a strict contructionist as well (and think Raich and Wickard – and I see it was wheat not corn – were wrongly decided)

    But I do see immigration control as a correct federal power (albeit one I wish to see exercised very lightly) under necessary and proper clause on the confluence of naturalization and regulation of foreign commerce.

    In 1803 resident aliens would tend to just work the land or execute their crafts in a very local context. I think the key difference today is that with remittances & passage back and forth across the border, you are invoking foreign commerce. Not that I have anything against remittances nor passing back and forth across the border, but I believe this is where enumerated powers allow congressional action, and supremcy clause disallows contravening state action.

  54. I have an idea: let’s make a rule that No State shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Oh, right. We already did.

    Does anyone pay attention to the “rules”?

  55. Neither our construction business, nor our restaurants would be possible without immigrant labour, and not because of costs. It’s because Mexican nationals have become integral in both these industries.

    That is not a coherent argument. Are you saying that “these are jobs Americans won’t do”? Are you saying that Americans are inferior to illegals?

  56. But their filling in the lower rungs of labor demand also allows the movement of native labor up the ladder to higher valued jobs.

    So, the only thing keeping the burger-flipping, high-school dropout from teaching theoretical physics at Princeton is that McDonald’s just can’t find an immigrant replacement for him? Wow, this economics stuff is kewl!

  57. But their filling in the lower rungs of labor demand also allows the movement of native labor up the ladder to higher valued jobs.

    Why doesn’t it (also) work to keep native labor off the ladder altogether, by filling up the entry-level jobs?

    Just askin’, is all.

  58. It is of course conceivable that it keeps some number of the very lowest skilled workers — high school dropouts — from getting on the ladder. But if the fields were full of native high school dropouts, then there would be no such bill in the Arizona legislature.

    The real worry is that, because a high school dropout couldn’t get an entry-level job picking vegetables, he won’t get to be a theoretical physics professor at Princeton.

  59. “””I’m not sure I understand why giving certain foreigners an exemption to a state law would be unconstitutional.”””

    But they would have to be exempt from federal immigration laws too, else the feds come take them away.

    I doubt a state can tell the feds who can, or can not cross a US Border.

  60. MikeP,

    It has nothing to do with LOST jobs.

    America has turned it’s head to out-sourcing IT, Customer Service, and other jobs to India, Russia, and other places. America has turned it’s head to the lost of virtually all manufacturing jobs.

    This is only a matter of RACISM.

  61. It has more to do with the fact that the Native-American Looking Mexicans are not desired.

  62. “Are you saying that Americans are inferior to illegals?”

    Frequently that is the case. The sort of Mexicans who make the effort to come to the US illegally tend to be more motivated than the sort of US citizen who can only manage to work in the hot kitchen or doing construction labour.

  63. “Frequently that is the case. The sort of Mexicans who make the effort to come to the US illegally tend to be more motivated than the sort of US citizen who can only manage to work in the hot kitchen or doing construction labour.”

    Wow, honesty! I am impressed. So, you could hire Americans, but you get more bang for the buck out of illegals?

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