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View Diary: UPDATE: Bigotry on Dkos (380 comments)

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  •  Um .. no (3+ / 0-)

    They do not have the documents.

    You have no idea if they have grounds to obtain the documents.

    Your simplistic attitude to this is misleading.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 06:30:00 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Being here without appropriate documentation (6+ / 0-)

      is itself a violation of immigration law; it doesn't matter whether or not the person might have gotten the proper documentation if they had only bothered to try.

      Like driving without a license: it doesn't matter if you could have gotten a license. If you drive without one, you've broken the law.

      •  Nope. (5+ / 0-)

        It means that they do not have the documents.

        They will not be "charged" with that, their status will be adjudicated.

        They may or may not face further action, but they will not be "convicted" of an illegal act, because those terms do not apply.

        You will continue to not understand, and I get it, all the while you keep thinking that immigration law is like the other types of law. It isn't.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        Who is twigg?

        by twigg on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 06:45:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Look, I'm a lawyer, ok? (16+ / 0-)

          And as I mentioned, immigration law is what my sister and her husband practice. Immigration law is both civil and criminal, and violations can result in different penalties, depending on the specific charges, that range from simple deportation to fines and, yes, jail time in some circumstances.

          I agree with you that the nomenclature "illegal immigrant" and "illegal alien" is undesireable. Don't get bogged down trying to argue that undocumented immigrants have broken no laws, though. It's not accurate.

          •  The problem in this debate (6+ / 0-)

            is a simple one, and I will use my own circumstances to describe it. I have no interest in going head-to-head with anyone, because this area of law is actually quite hard to get your head around, and that fact alone allows the right to brand undocumented aliens as criminal, and that simply is not the case.

            I have leave to remain in the United States until 2019.

            If I do not apply to naturalize, or extend otherwise my leave to remain then sometime in 2019 I would become an undocumented alien.

            It would not be a crime to do that ... not a misdemeanor or a felony, I would simply be outstaying my permission to be here.

            At that point, any USCIS Officer would be free to demand that I leave, and I would have access to due process. Potentially I could be detained while that was adjudicated, but I could waive that and I would be put on the next flight to the UK ... or I would be given temporary permission to remain and told to get the paperwork sorted out.

            This stuff is important, because the lack of understanding of the process is allowing undocumented aliens to be treated like criminals, and not just by other citizens because State Legislatures and LEOs are doing it too.

            If we shift the language we stand a better chance of moving the debate in a positive manner.

            The problem is in the use of the word "illegal". Normally that word is used solely to describe criminal offenses, and they just do not apply to status. It makes it very easy for the right to marginalise millions of people.

            A practical example.

            There are many undocumented aliens in nearly every city in the US. In most places they are denied Drivers Licenses, and thus insurance. Yet they are people, and people will drive. Maybe they shouldn't but it is unrealistic to expect them not to, and most will have valid permits in their home countries anyway.

            So what happens is that instead of accepting that "status" is the only issue, we brand them "illegal" and treat then akin to felons ... All that does is expose the citizens of a State to a bunch of uninsured drivers, and who benefits from that?

            I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
            but I fear we will remain Democrats.

            Who is twigg?

            by twigg on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 07:17:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Of course, status isn't the only issue (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              twigg, Dr Swig Mcjigger, DianaR

              In the scenario you describe, other laws have been broken. It is illegal to drive without a license and insurance!

              Legal documents are sometimes forged, and misrepresentations made to gain employment. Those are crimes.  Tax laws are often ignored as well.

              Look, you will find no disagreement from me for the general idea that demonizing undocumented immigrants is wrong. But in my opinion, to continue to try to argue that what they are doing is not "illegal" is barking up the wrong tree. Sorry.

              Not everyone who breaks a law deserves condemnation, by the way. Coming to the U.S. to work in order to save your family from starvation back home or simply to make a better life for yourself and your children is more deserving of sympathy than condemnation.

              •  You are correct (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                elmo

                The system is broken and it forces folk into actions they would not normally choose.

                It's a bit like the moral maze ....

                Would you steal food for your family if they were starving?

                I'm not trying to argue that those actions are lawful, simply that we shouldn't be thinking of people in that position as "criminals", because it's not that simple.

                I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
                but I fear we will remain Democrats.

                Who is twigg?

                by twigg on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:01:44 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Elmo we are all in agreement (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mahakali overdrive

                the problem with the terminology comes with the implication that a person is illegal instead of an act.  By way of comparison, failing to pay a fine or failing to register a vehicle is illegal.  We don't call that person an illegal citizen or an illegal person.  We call them a tax evader or a person who is driving illegally.

                “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

                by ivorybill on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 01:10:15 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  It's my understanding that being here is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        twigg, mahakali overdrive

        perfectly legal, documents or not. You can't work without documentation, however, and that's when laws are broken.

        It's also why so many kids grow up fine without documentation; only to find out the hard way they can't work.

        •  It's not actually "legal" (4+ / 0-)

          to remain here once your leave to remain has expired.

          That does not mean you have committed a crime by remaining, just that you are out of status.

          I think that is where the confusion arises. People think that being out of status is a crime. It isn't, it is a matter for adjudication and you can be deported.

          You would not be tried for anything, just sent home.

          I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
          but I fear we will remain Democrats.

          Who is twigg?

          by twigg on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 07:47:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, Congress has had plenty of (0+ / 0-)

          Opportunities to make it a crime to work in the USA if you're undocumented. It has declined to do so.

          The reasons are obvious, from social to financial reasons.

          In fact the IRS gives tax identification numbers (TINs) to those who request them regardless of status and it accepts their tax returns annually.  IRS does not share any information it obtains from taxpayers for the purpose of remitting taxes and filing returns to immigration law enforcement for the purpose of enforcing immigration law.

          If people are  here, Congress has made it clear that it prefers they work. As you point out, the difficulty is getting steady reliable work without documents.

          But the crime is hiring undocumented workers.

          © grover


          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

          by grover on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 09:47:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Eileen - your understanding is wrong (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dr Swig Mcjigger

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 10:21:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Nope (0+ / 0-)

          Your mere presence here is illegal if you lack proper authorization and it can get you deported, if if you didn't break any other laws.

    •  I don't have a driver's license (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Swig Mcjigger

      You have no idea if I have the grounds to obtain one. Does that mean I can legally drive a car?

      If I have the grounds to obtain the license then I should obtain it before I get behind the wheel. Having the grounds to obtain it does not relieve me of the responsibility to actually get it.

      We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

      by denise b on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 11:42:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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