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View Diary: Two Random Responses On The Subject Of Illegal Immigration (44 comments)

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  •  I'm not "demonizing" anyone in particular (0+ / 0-)

    just the political alliance. I think any alliance that willingly conspires to allow the continuing open violation of the law by employers deserves to be called "unholy" at least in the political sense (not religious of course).

    But to take your list:

    1. U.S. citizens with illegal family members are just looking out for their own very personal self-interest. There's no public policy there.
    1. Communities that "rely" on illegal immigrants? Rely on them for what?
    1. Ethnic groups . . . see #2 above.
    1. Unions . . . see #2 above.
    1. Civil rights groups  . . . see #3 above.
    1. Progressive politicians . . . see #2 and #3 above.
    1. Illegal immigrant children -- again, purely self-interest, there's no public policy there.
    •  Legalist Focus Ignores the Big Game (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wa ma, Sentido, RustyCannon, chrome327

      Those who can't think beyond the "open violation of the law..." aspect of this are wearing blinders and doing so knowingly.

      Yes there are people ignoring what the law says.  That is because in so many ways, "the law is an ass."

      Why is that? because a lot of people have passionately strong opinions based on knowing nothing and caring to know nothing beyond what they have been told they should know.

      I would hope that in a progressive forum such as on Daily Kos, there would be a greater appreciation for the history and the larger social dynamics that need to be addressed if any sort of reform is to be meaningful instead of just racking up points on some kind of rhetorical scoreboard unrelated to the real world.  

      Sooner or later, Latin and South American countries will begin to get traction for themselves, following examples such as that of Evo Morales in leading the indigenous peoples of OAS countries to develop self determination and get away from dictatorship by US interests that are blind to the effects they cause.

      It isn't just injustice, in an academic sense.  For millions of people, policies dictated by Wall Street and Washington have exacted great cruelty.  That is
      where the pressure has come from historically, and still does.

      Most Americas could give a shit, however.  Our focus is to retain our comfort, even if our barcaloungers are on the backs of people just like us.  

      •  Depends on whose cruelty you're talking about (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        How about my family members, working-class African-Americans with only a high school education, who have spent their whole lives competing with illegal immigrants at the bottom of the labor market, with only broken backs, no health insurance, no pension to show for it?

        To say that I don't know anything about this other than "legalism", that I'm looking to rack up points on a "rhetorical scoreboard unrelated to the real world", is just ridiculous. I happen to live in the heart of Los Angeles, CA and work as a legal services attorney for the poor. I see what's going on every day of the week, all day long.

        What's going on is that certain segments of America cannot handle life without a group of second-class citizens around to exploit. Once blacks and other native-born minorities began to assert their full rights as citizens in the 1960's and 70's, the search was on for another group. Illegal immigrants fit the bill perfectly; brown people with "no rights that the white man was bound to respect" because they're not citizens.

        In the real world, employers love to hire people who can't go on strike, can't organize a union, can't complain about health and safety violations, can't sue for worker's compensation, can't sue for unpaid wages, can't find a better paying job, can't file for disability, can't file for unemployment. This is the reality of life for an illegal immigrant "in the real world" and for those who would compete against such a person for a job, if you're not willing to work under like-same conditions, then move along, nothing to see here. In fact, the question is never asked, because why take the chance? One group you know will not complain or file a claim; the other group might.

        It's not just jobs. Why rent your slum housing to a citizen, who might fight an eviction, might call the city on code violations, might demand relocation benefits, when you can just fill the place with illegal immigrants, who will not do any of the above, and will live two or three families to an apartment in order to pay your exhorbitant rents? Is that "real world" enough for you?

        And none of this is to even begin to mention the citizens who graduate from high school not knowing how to read at least in part because their underfunded and overcrowded schools must cope with a continuous flow of students who do not speak English; the eight hour waits at the emergency rooms, scores of which have shut down; and on and on -- all very real world problems suffered by very real people.

        So, no, my position very much derives from the "real world", the world of my family members, my clients, my neighbors and it is you and the others who start waxing eloquent about the failings of U.S. foreign policy in Latin America, whose opinions are not grounded in the realities faced by people on the ground.

        By the way, I don't see that we're doing the illegal immigrants such a great favor by luring them to America, where we will exploit them so that we can have our houses cleaned, our lawns mowed, our dishes washed, our nails hammered, to no end until their body gives out, at which time they will be discarded like yesterday's news. Yes, a few hit the lottery every 20 years or so, when there's an amnesty, but for the rest, it's just an ugly trap.

        •  Pitting African-Americans against "illegals"... (0+ / 0-)

          There are many issues in the immigration debate, from labor policy, to legal immigration numbers, to border enforcement, to workplace enforcement, to amnesty... it is difficult to have these broad, general arguments.

          That being said, I think it is a big mistake to pit one group against another.

          First, the idea that compassionate response to "illegal" people has a proportional impact on African Americans is based on shaky economics. It assumes that getting rid of workers (and consumers) raise wages. I don't see many reputable economists saying this... and it is a dubious proposition that eliminating the number of workers in this country will help the economy.

          Second, I agree with many of your points-- people with few rights are easy to exploit which certainly lowers wages and hurts working condition.

          But you take it to the wrong place. The solution is more rights. We need to make sure that anyone working here can unionize, take employers to court and demand a working wage. (Again, you may disagree... but I see no evidence that removing consumers from the country raises wages).

          Third, I agree that there needs to be immigration laws. They should be reasonable, compassionate and enforceable.

          Part of the problem with the current laws is that they are based on harsh enforcements only, with no way to address causes, nor to acknowledge that humans are involved, nor to think about the consequences to families and communities.

          But my main point of this... the idea that giving rights, or a path to citizenship to "illegal" people living and working hear now amounts to "cruelty" to African-Americans is a huge fallacy.

          If people are being taken advantage of, the best thing is that they stand together to make sure that all of their rights are addressed.

          Pitting one group against another only benefits the people who are profiting from the suffering of both.

          •  what is dubious? (0+ / 0-)

            You say that "it is a dubious proposition that eliminating the number of workers in this country will help the economy." It doesn't take a rocket scientist or an economist to see that allowing a huge influx of workers into a country with no control over it will depress wages--and there are plenty of economists who accept that simple dynamic.

            You need to read the population projections if illegal immigrants currently in the country are given amnesty and a pathway to citizenship. A U.S. population of 500 million is a cruelty to all U.S. citizens, not just African Americans.

          •  We're not that far apart . . . (0+ / 0-)

            Third, I agree that there needs to be immigration laws. They should be reasonable, compassionate and enforceable.

            This is all that I'm saying. In order to have any kind of immigration policy, however, it has to be enforceable. Otherwise your immigration policy is not being made by the people's elected representative, but instead by the coyotes at the border and/or rogue employer.

            I'm not trying to "pit" African-Americans against illegal immigrants. But other people are pitting illegal immigrants against African-Americans every day. Here in LA, it's literally a matter of life and death, as there are neighborhoods of Latino immigrants where blacks are shot on sight, for no reason other than race, not gangs, not disrespect, just simply race. These are neighborhoods that were all-black just 20-30 years ago.

            But I'm an African-American and I work for pennies to provide legal services to poor people, the vast majority of whom are Latino, and I love that. I speak Spanish to them. I join in coalitions with them to advance common agenda.

            The reason that I take my issue with illegal immigrants not having rights "the wrong place" is that I don't think it's fair to give them that which is denied to tens, maybe hundreds of millions of would-be immigrants all over the world who are playing by the rules, and waiting their turn to come to the United States legally.

            If we're waiting in line to buy tickets to the hottest concert of the year, and then we get to the concert and some people have forged tickets, and others jump the barricades, is it fair to just say, "oh, well, I guess all of the suckers who waited in line and bought tickets are just not going to get in because now we're at fire code?" No, the fair thing to do would be to eject the interlopers, and let in all of the people who diligently bought tickets and waited their turn in line.

        •  As a legal services attorney in LA (0+ / 0-)

          from what I can tell, living over here in Albuquerque, LA is swamped by a plethora of issues.

          What I have been trying to get across is that the manipulators who have created this overall situation have done, is to cause a lot of people a lot of pain down in the homelands of indigenous Latin and South American.  This has caused an exodus which has resulted in the conditions people see in the US.

          To end the exodus, the manipulations that cause those people to be uprooted in such massive numbers needs to be addressed.  That is about international cooperation on a macro economic level, a social justice issue about how US powers are used in ways that affect people we know nothing about, and how a general lack of awareness feeds the cycle.

          As a result of this whole thing being off the radar screen for so long, there are now a great many displaced people in the US, in cities like LA.  

          One might argue about what to do with those who have come here over the decades of the past.  That is one issue.

          What intrigues me is that almost no one, except for indigenous people who live in the border region and see it from that perspective, can see the obvious larger causes for the scale of the exodus.  A lot of people have an interest in not seeing - and not allowing others to see.  That is an issue that really needs more attention.  

          Unfortunately, the large scale business interests gain no advantage from having this aspect in the spotlight.  You never will see any emphasis on this history in the media.  

          •  I do agree that (0+ / 0-)

            the cause of illegal immigration lies to a great extent with the conditions of life for the people who are being forced off their lands South of the Border. I am fully in support of any effort being made by the U.S. government to end its role in that and to contribute towards a betterment of that situation. But that does not excuse us from also having an immigration policy that exists for the benefit of our society.

            To take an example, Haiti. Who can doubt that the conditions of life in Haiti are the very worst in the Western Hemisphere, and that the United States has also played a not insignificant role in that. But yet, when Haitians fled political violence en masse, even just standard economic deprivation, they were corralled into detention centers in Florida, and ultimately the vast majority were sent back. There are not large numbers of poor Haitians here in the U.S. Why not?

            There are desperate people all over the world. 3 billion living on less than $2 a day. Hundreds of millions living with very real political and ethnic threats to their lives. The U.S. has a lot to do with most of it. Yet, they are not all coming to the U.S. We could let them, but we don't. Why not?

            We do not because we know that our society cannot accommodate them without severely impacting our own quality of life. The same thing holds true with Mexican and Central American illegal immigrants, but the pain is only felt by a small segment of Americans, whereas the benefits of the cheap labor are spread widely. So it goes on, but it's no more right than letting hundreds of millions of the world's destitute immigrate here would be.

    •  So who is in the "holy" alliance? (0+ / 0-)

      Your argument is silly...

      So Tom Tancredo, Pat Buchanan, the House Republicans and Conservative groups are the ones who are putting public policy over personal interest?

      I am interested to hear which progressive groups/leaders you think are acting in a sincere effort to do what is right. Or do you really think that all progressives are cynical hypocrites?

      •  Good question actually (0+ / 0-)

        No I don't think the right-wing anti-immigrant crowd is putting public policy above personal (group) interest. They want to keep America white. I don't agree with that. I don't care if America becomes 99% Mexican, so long as they're all citizens and/or permanent residents.

        As I stated, there are no real progressive leaders out there on making a sincere effort to do what's right. During the last big Senate debate on "comprehensive immigration reform" there were a few on the far left who saw that the Senate was attempting to implement permanent, second-class citizenship and they opposed that. I was a part of that.

        Here at D Kos and other places across the netroots, there were lots of people saying the same things that I was. But in terms of national leadership, I don't personally know of anyone who was really sincere. In the end though, it turned out that none of the Democratic candidates ran on the issue, and both Barack and Hillary stumbled badly when forced to answer questions about it. Even in the relatively left-leaning Democratic primary, a strong pro-illegal immigration position does not fly; too many grassroots Democrats reject that.

        •  I seem to remember Obama being quite firm (0+ / 0-)

          and clear on his stance on illegal immigration. In fact, I don't remember any waffling at all. Maybe you can point something out. In the meantime, a simple Google search turned up this newspaper report...

          The Las Cruces Sun News | August 19, 2008

          By Diana M. Alba

          Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama said Monday he backs continued funding for the state's military and research installations, including White Sands Missile Range. Obama, in a phone interview with the Sun-News, also said he believes defense-related research facilities in New Mexico will play a role in the nation achieving energy independence by helping develop alternative energy technology. The Democratic candidate campaigned in Albuquerque on Monday, speaking to supporters at Rio Grande High School and to a group of about 50 women at a city library. Obama spoke to the Sun-News about his plan for immigration reform. That plan includes boosting border security, cracking down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants, improving the immigration system and creating a legal pathway for undocumented immigrants already in the United States to gain citizenship...

          Now, at the moment, the president has a few messes left over from the previous administration that he needs to attend to and illegal immigration hasn't yet bubbled to the surface of the pond. He's been in office almost a month now. I suspect he will do better than the last occupant of the oval office did.

          •  Which Is EXACTLY What S 2611 Purported To Do (0+ / 0-)

            That plan includes boosting border security, cracking down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants, improving the immigration system and creating a legal pathway for undocumented immigrants already in the United States to gain citizenship...

            S 2611 purported to 'crack down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants' by creating even more law which cannot be practically enforced.

            As I have related in the diary content, one cannot 'crack down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants' without either

            1.) Doing away with the 'knowingly' clause of USC 8 1324

            -- or --

            2.) Instituting some sort of biometrically encoded ID (call it a national ID card for all citizens and legal U.S. workers if you like) which must be presented to the employer.

            If you don't believe that President Obama is simply supporting a rehash of S 2611, which of these choices is it that you believe President Obama will come out in support of?

            <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

            by superscalar on Tue Feb 17, 2009 at 06:51:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Does it have to be "biometrically" encoded? (0+ / 0-)

              Your standards California driver's license has enough technology on it that if you have the right equipment, you can verify its authenticity. It's not "biometric" as far as I know, but if Social Security cards were issues with the same level of security that driver's licenses are, and employers (of some minimum size) were required to buy the equipment that verifies their authenticity, I would think that the problem would be mostly solved.

              •  As With E-Verify (0+ / 0-)

                Your standards California driver's license has enough technology on it that if you have the right equipment, you can verify its authenticity

                Verifying that the Social Security card is valid is not the problem, verifying that it belongs to the person presenting it is the sticking point. E-Verify cannot tell you that the same Social Security card is being used by two, or three, or five hundred different people.

                In other words, a lot of illegal immigrants use Social Security cards with fictitious numbers. E-Verify  will currently flag these fake Social Security cards as invalid but if E-Verify is made nation-wide illegal immigrants will simply move to what some illegal immigrants already do now which is

                1.) Buy a stolen Social Security card or 'rent' a Social Security card

                2.) Give a U.S. born child the name of the primary bread winner in the family and obtain a Social Security card in that child's name, to be used by that primary bread winner.

                E-Verify will not flag either of these conditions.

                <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

                by superscalar on Tue Feb 17, 2009 at 07:18:52 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  No, if you remember correctly (0+ / 0-)

            both he and Hillary stumbled over the question of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants during the earlier debates. Hillary did it first, but he followed her over the cliff just two weeks later in the exact same fashion.

            As far as his general position, pretty much everyone all across the political dial from moderate right to far left holds the same position you cite above. So why doesn't it ever happen? Because it sounds good in theory, but then when you get down to brass tacks the contradictions become much clearer. We'll see if he successfully tackles it in the next couple of years.

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