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The president gave a model speech for what we may like to happen with the broken American immigration system. However, it seems that the approach he prescribes, while not on par with the bat-shit insanity of the extreme right, just isn't realistic. At least not to me.

I'll be honest. I don't know what to do about illegal immigration. It's a very complex, very emotional issue and there may not be a solution that works. But there are some things I know. I know that people have always tried to get to America - and probably will for many years to come.

I also know that we are asking the wrong questions. The question isn't should illegals be given 'amnesty'. The question isn't do we let them stay. The question isn't why can't we 'defend our borders'. The question is really this:

   Why are the people in the world, who risk rape, robbery, imprisonment, sexual slavery, death by exposure or other accident, and even murder, to get to the United States to work, when they may never find any, or if they do, risk those same things AFTER they get here?

If we can answer that question, then I think we start to understand what the real issue is.

You can't ask anyone who can't feed their children not do take this risk if it's their next best option to put food on the table. ANYONE would do it. I don't care what colour you are or what language you speak or who your God is. You will feed your children.

Many of these people will not even consider registration. Why? Because not only is the penalty high, but they stand to lose their jobs. Until we are willing to punish the employers, and force them to pay minimum wage, provide insurance, and the taxes which accompany employment, these workers WILL NOT come forward.

It's my experience that the older generations remind us quite frequently how lucky we are to be Americans. They are right. But we need to take a much closer look at that. Again, I direct you to the question I asked. Until the suffering of people around the world becomes our own, we will continue to see people doing what they need to do survive - many of which will try to get here. Some will make it, many will die trying.

What will we do with them when they get here? I don't know. But I do know that this issue will never go away until American is no longer a place worth coming to. I hope that day never comes.

Originally posted to Captain Janeway on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 05:17 PM PDT.


Is there a comprehensive solution to illegal immigration?

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| 42 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cacamp, fredlonsdale

    They used to tell me I was building a dream, with peace and glory ahead, Why should I be standing in line, just waiting for bread? Yip Harburg

    by Captain Janeway on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 05:17:22 PM PDT

  •  sorry (8+ / 0-)

    but unless we allow the guest workers the same rights out workers get, and we set salary levels to match workers in this already working and we do not allow companies to replace people currently working with people from the guest worker program I say cool, but it doesn't look like this will be the case and it looks like the guest worker program is a give away to big business. And I don't want to hear any bullshit about how these folks are filling jobs US workers can't or won't do.

    First, Alaska brought us Sarah Palin. Now, "smoked salmon flavored vodka." Can we get a restraining order against them?

    by jbou on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 05:25:21 PM PDT

    •  They are filling jobs (9+ / 0-)

      that U.S. corporations do not want to pay Americans the prevailing wage to do. The government, of course, cheerfully allows this, just as they allowed American manufacturing workers to be replaced by underpaid third world workers.

      "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

      by happy camper on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 05:40:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The cycle as seen from 61: (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jbou, Caelian, BlackSheep1, wader, DRo

      Hire young, eager, cheap worker.
      Promote and give raises.
      Realize eventually that there are younger, cheaper workers out there.
      Get rid of former young, cheap worker even if still eager.
      Hire young, eager, cheap worker.
      Repeat as necessary.

      Now, full disclosure: I was not forced out, but saw certain signs and decided on a change of career retirement. But plenty of others I knew were, and it was the stated policy of our upper management to "get the average age around here to somewhere around 35".

      And the change of career kind of fizzled, so I am trying to edge back into working at a more or less standard job for a while. I'm a part timer at the moment, and an "independent contractor" at that. Could be worse.

      Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

      by billmosby on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 05:44:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Minor nit: Cue reality (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Caelian, wader

    If you queue reality, it will have to wait its turn.  Which has been, sadly, the case, but probably not what you intended.

  •  Solution in pill form (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miriam, bdevil89

    Oral contraceptives.

    From what I can tell, the root cause of all the social problems in the world is overpopulation.  When there are far more workers than jobs, it hurts all workers.

    Big Joe Helton: "I pay Plenty."
    Chico Marx: "Well, then we're Plenty Tough."

    by Caelian on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 05:50:25 PM PDT

  •  Well (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Caelian, bdevil89, billmosby, DRo

    Until we are willing to punish the employers, and force them to pay minimum wage, provide insurance, and the taxes which accompany employment, these workers WILL NOT come forward.

    I keep seeing this, and it's not wrong, but it's also not complete.  The workers come because there are jobs for them.  There are jobs for them BECAUSE they don't get the protections Americans workers get.  If their employers were forced to give them insurance, minimum wage, overtime -- or hell, bathroom breaks, or even pay in some cases -- there would not be jobs for them.

    It's not a bug, it's a feature.  It's why they openly recruit in Mexico.

    My comments may not be used for any purpose without explicit permission.

    by cai on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 06:02:18 PM PDT

    •  I disagee (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Coach Jay

      There are jobs for them. Even with minimum wage, insurance, etc. There are jobs that need doing that can't all be filled by American citizens. Often at the low end of the wage scale, but still within the legal minimum wage. If all employers gave minimum wage, or better, pay; breaks, overtime, even health bennies - there would still be jobs for immigrants.

      "I want to apologize for that misconstrued misconstruction." Rep Joe Barton

      by Catte Nappe on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 06:31:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But there aren't nearly enough jobs (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bdevil89, cai

        for citizens. What can you mean?

        It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man. --H.L. Mencken

        by denise b on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 06:39:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The famous "jobs Americans won't do" (0+ / 0-)

          Picking lettuce, bussing tables, cleaning hotel rooms and houses, etc. And it's going to get worse in short order as more boomers move into retirement, so jobs even further up the food chain will become harder to fill.

          "I want to apologize for that misconstrued misconstruction." Rep Joe Barton

          by Catte Nappe on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 06:47:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What planet are you on. We have 10% (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bdevil89, cai

            unemployment.  People will do any job.

            •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

              From time to time I am in a position to hire for some jobs. Usually in the $9 to $12 per hour range. Not even sweaty, physical jobs in the fields, or cleaning up people's messes. There is often a shortage of applicants. I sssume the folks hiring at the low end of that scale, and for the sweating/heavy-lifting jobs, may find even fewer candidates.

              "I want to apologize for that misconstrued misconstruction." Rep Joe Barton

              by Catte Nappe on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 08:38:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Please see this diary: (0+ / 0-)


                What sort of background (education, experience, age, car ownership) do these jobs require?  How extensively do you advertise?  Are you in a place with particularly low unemployment, or low population generally?

                As for the picking lettuce-type jobs... I recall reading about the farmerworker who died working in 100+ degree heat without bathroom breaks.  They had to squat in the fields to relieve themselves.  Will Americans pick crops?  Many who are physically capable will.  But they won't do it without bathroom breaks.

                My comments may not be used for any purpose without explicit permission.

                by cai on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 10:08:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, I bought that (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bdevil89, cai, IT Professional

            back when it was only picking lettuce - when citizens worked in hotels and restaurants and construction and gardening and meatpacking and all the other jobs that they supposedly won't do now.

            Supply. Demand. If you can't find someone to fill a job at the price you want to pay, then you're not paying enough (isn't that why they say CEOs have to be paid millions per year, because otherwise they couldn't fill the jobs?) - that is, unless you can vastly increase the number of workers until there are more workers than jobs. At some point the wage is so low and/or the working conditions so brutal that the only people who can afford to take the job are those who live six to a room and drive cars that aren't roadworthy. Voila - jobs citizens won't do.

            It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man. --H.L. Mencken

            by denise b on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 11:08:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  If you saw Food, Inc. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bdevil89, denise b

        you saw that meatpacking had, by the 1950s, become like autowork: unionized, decently paying, middle-class work.

        Then fast food happened, and the companies needed a lot more meat, cheaper and faster.  Feedlots came in, but so did the devolution of the industry so that work that used to be solidly middle-class became poorly-paying, abusively-fast paced, and dangerous.  And the meatpacking companies openly recruited in Mexico to meet the demand for cheap, plentiful meat.

        Illegal immigrants are used to help companies race to the bottom in terms of wages, working conditions, and worker protections.  That's not their fault, but it is a big bonus (for the bottom line) to hiring them.

        My comments may not be used for any purpose without explicit permission.

        by cai on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 10:12:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There is a solution. It's just that nobody... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...wants to talk about it, especially not the leaders of the Democratic or Republican wings of the National Business Party.

    Immigration "reform" needs to address the REASONS that people risk their lives to cross the border. Unless there is a change in US foreign policy, "illegal" immigration will continue until the Earth crashes into the Sun. Or the US finally implodes and becomes nothing more than a huge Chinese sweatshop.

    Since long before WW II, successive US administrations have worked tirelessly to destroy every chance of economic advancement for millions upon millions of people in Latin America.    
    US policy in Latin America has for decades formally designated the nations to the south as being nothing more than "resource areas", where North American corporate criminals exploit cheap labor, loot timber, minerals, agricultural and animal and seafood products, and anything else that isn't nailed down. All with the enthusiastic collaboration of bought-off local oligarchs who make up and/or control the national police and military forces, which in turn have been used to harass, persecute, kidnap, incarcerate, torture and execute trade unionists, priests, nuns, environmentalists, independent nationalists, student activists, social workers, moderate reformers, miners, peasant farmers, teachers, journalists, and anyone else who gets in the way or gets out of line.

    For the last fifty years in particular, every revolutionary baby in Latin America has been strangled in its crib by Uncle Sam himself. Every regional social justice movement that has attempted to forge a path of independent nationalist economic development, with the goal of using local resources for the indigenous population instead of acting to preserve the interests of local elites and foreign investors, has been mercilessly attacked and crushed with the full force of North American economic and military power.

    Over the years, what the US has done and is STILL DOING in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, Mexico and other countries in the region continues to force people to flee for their very lives. Countless small farmer's cooperatives in Mexico were rendered useless by NAFTA, resulting in the utter destruction of an already precarious rural agricultural economy and the forced displacement of tens of thousands of families and millions of single adults. Tens of thousands of small businesses were also destroyed in the process.

    Of course these people come north. Where the fuck else can they go?

    Obama recently backed a right-wing military coup in Honduras. He has expanded US military bases in Colombia. He is steadfast in supporting so-called "free-trade" agreements. If he's serious about "illegal" immigration, he'll change US foreign policy. He'll work to make changes that ENHANCE the economic opportunities and quality of life for the working class and poor in Latin American nations instead of creating a nightmare they want to escape from (look for more desperate undocumented Honduran nationals, coming soon to a neighborhood near yours). US economic and military policy in Latin America is a tumor that leaks poison. It has to be excised for recovery to be possible.

    Illegal Alien: Term used by the descendents of foreign colonizers to refer to the descendents of indigenous people

    by mojada on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 08:21:54 PM PDT

    •  While much of what you say (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bdevil89, IT Professional

      is tragically true, the picture you paint of the USA as an All-Destroying Demon is not only overdone but contradictory.  Oppressed peoples do not run toward demons.    

      All peoples have experienced oppression, albeit in varied forms.  There is hardly a country on the planet that has not undergone invasion, political abuses, and widespread poverty. Because America and Americans have been spared this (with the glaring exception of Native Americans--and they are the exception which prove the rule) was not just a stroke of luck.  The country was allowed to begin tabula rosa--uniquely founded on Humanistic premises and the rule of law and equality.  However imperfectly this actually worked, it still worked better than any political system preceding it...until recently.

      Regardless of your litany of foreign policy abuses, and those affected by them, the fact remains that America cannot survive in any recognizable democratic form if we cannot sustain and absorb all those who decide they want to come here. Our systems of support are already overstressed and breaking down, and are financially unsustainable.  

      If reality sounds harsh, it's because reality is harsh.  At some point, the world's peoples have to take some responsibility for changing the regimes of the countries in which they themselves live.              


      •  Pure ignorance (0+ / 0-)

        You obviously have no knowledge of the consequences of US foreign policy in Latin America, or anywhere else, for that matter. Your sweeping generalizations ignore cause and effect and lamely attempt to distract from the specific causes of illegal immigration. Let's take the breathtaking idiocy behind your statement "the oppressed do not run toward demons". (Demons? I don't recall mentioning demons). Where else do you think the displaced millions from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and other Lat Am nations could go? Finland?

        It's actually difficult to engage such volcanic stupidity, sort of trying to have a rational discussion with someone experiencing a psychotic break:

        "The country was allowed to begin tabula rosa--uniquely founded on Humanistic premises and the rule of law and equality".

        You're referring to the US here? Do you even have a basic understanding and knowledge of US history, or do you just make shit like this up as you go along?
        Nah, on second thought, don't answer that.

        Illegal Alien: Term used by the descendents of foreign colonizers to refer to the descendents of indigenous people

        by mojada on Fri Jul 02, 2010 at 10:55:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Mojada, Miriam is telling the truth, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and you know it.

          At some point, other countries have to take their own corrupt governments to task, instead of expecting the U.S. to do it for them.

          •  Truth? Well Miriam failed to mention slavery... (0+ / 0-)

            She also failed to mention our treatment of Asians from our mistreatment of workers we called "coolies" (who were the first denied citizenship) to the imprisonment of the Japanese for being Japanese, the Bracero program, the and brutal Mexican American war.

            •  I "failed to mention" many historical (0+ / 0-)

              tragedies that have little to do with current immigration, which is the specific subject of the diary.  For example, one would presumably not call 18th and 19th century African slaves voluntary immigrants.  The heinous treatment of many of those who immigrated is also another subject entirely.  

              Mojada's arrogance and anger have produced prejudicial misstatements, and also make it impossible to find any common ground for discussion.  The points he (?) makes present a biased and narrow view of American immigration history. One would think that Latin Americans are the first people choosing to flee their countries and finding themselves less than welcome in the country to which they have immigrated.  

              And proximity is not the only criteria for waves of immigration to America.  You sarcastically ask where they should go--Finland?  And I ask, why not--if, as you insist, American is such an unpleasant destination. The earliest European immigrants came to America over just as great a distance and with no guarantees of livelihoods or security.

              That we approach the current complexities of immigration from different viewpoints is no reason for resorting to personal insult. I suggest you broaden your historical perspective beyond the 20th century.

      •  Miriam, I wish I could rec this a (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        thousand times.

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