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October 4, 2005 8:45 AM   Subscribe

"The line of men, women and children included no whites or African-Americans, he said." Mr. Rivera said he had been sleeping in a tent outside the large shelter building since Hurricane Katrina struck just over a month ago, flooding his second-story apartment in nearby Pass Christian and destroying all his belongings, including a pickup truck. "I lost everything I own in the storm. But they said they didn't care. They told us that if we didn't leave they would return on Friday with buses to take us away," he said.
posted by delmoi (88 comments total)

 
Our tax dollars, hard at work.
posted by Rothko at 8:51 AM on October 4, 2005


Something struck me as odd in that article. The raid was conducted by the Department of Justice (US Marshals), not the Department of Homeland Security (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Why would Justice conduct an immigration sweep?

Either there are some facts that are off or there is more going on than meets the eye.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:55 AM on October 4, 2005


Oh, and thanks Delmoi.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:57 AM on October 4, 2005


Well, I mean, the Coast Guard is in Iraq. It's not like the DoJ conducting a sweep is much odder than that.
posted by wakko at 9:00 AM on October 4, 2005


When I see native born Americans treated like dirt I am not going to get overly excited about illegals.
posted by Postroad at 9:03 AM on October 4, 2005


When I see native born Americans treated like dirt I am not going to get overly excited about illegals.
posted by Postroad at 9:03 AM PST on October 4


Shockingly, they are all human beings and all deserve to be treated with respect.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:05 AM on October 4, 2005


Who in the hell do they think is going to rebuild NO? Union labor?
posted by docpops at 9:13 AM on October 4, 2005


When I see native born Americans treated like dirt I am not going to get overly excited about illegals.

To which "native born Americans" are you referring? Apache? Sioux? Comanche? Just curious.
posted by chococat at 9:14 AM on October 4, 2005


Something struck me as odd in that article. The raid was conducted by the Department of Justice (US Marshals), not the Department of Homeland Security (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Why would Justice conduct an immigration sweep?

Either there are some facts that are off or there is more going on than meets the eye.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:55 AM PST on October 4 [!]


One possible explanation is that they were planning to summarily deport some people. I believe that US Marshals generally are in charge of deportation flights and otherwise collaborate with Immigration when it comes to transporting deportees.

I didn't like this sentence, though: "A spokesman for the U.S. Marshals assisting in Long Beach said the Wednesday night incident was led by the Harrison County Sheriff's office, and referred calls to it." It's bad news for local officials to be enforcing immigration laws...
posted by footnote at 9:18 AM on October 4, 2005


The Coast Guard served in Vietnam. I'm just wondering why Marshals would be doing the job of another agency that is specifically tasked with enforcing immigration law?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:22 AM on October 4, 2005


docpops,

No problem, union labor can easily rebuild New Orleans now that the Bush administration has helpfully lifted the requirement that construction workers in the area be paid wages at the prevailing rate.

Really, if there was ever a time to look the other way, this had to be it. You see an entire devastated city, but first things first: get those Mexicans out of here.
posted by leapingsheep at 9:22 AM on October 4, 2005


When I see native born Americans treated like dirt I am not going to get overly excited about illegals.

Chief Sitting Bull says you're all illegal.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:28 AM on October 4, 2005


Southpark's mexican solution
posted by nomisxid at 9:31 AM on October 4, 2005


When I see native born Americans treated like dirt I am not going to get overly excited about illegals.

Your ancestors were the illegals and all they did was treat the natives like shit, is that what you are afraid of now... that if they prosper in "your" Country then you will suffer as a result. why else take that position?
posted by twistedonion at 9:31 AM on October 4, 2005


I'm just wondering why Marshals would be doing the job of another agency that is specifically tasked with enforcing immigration law?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:22 AM PST on October 4 [!]


This post may have crossed mine, but if not, to clarify: the Marshals and Immigration often collaborate on transporting deportees, so it may not be that out of the ordinary or beyond the Marshal's jurisdiction. Would be interesting to find out more, though -- can the Marshals sua sponte assist a local agency in an immigration enforcement action, without Immigration's approval?
posted by footnote at 9:35 AM on October 4, 2005


More on the Justice Prisoner & Alien Transportation System (JPATS).
posted by footnote at 9:40 AM on October 4, 2005


posted by chococat To which "native born Americans" are you referring? Apache? Sioux? Comanche? Just curious.

The Eskimos of New Orleans, obviously.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:50 AM on October 4, 2005


Aww, Postroad, you trolling dick.
posted by klangklangston at 9:51 AM on October 4, 2005


Your ancestors were the illegals and all they did was treat the natives like shit, is that what you are afraid of now... that if they prosper in "your" Country then you will suffer as a result. why else take that position?

So because of how this country was founded, which indeed was malicious and the result of a repugnant slaughter and acquisition of land, we're now morally restricted in our ability to author and enforce immigration laws? And which countries would this provision exclude? Shall we un-do all wars that ever were?
posted by billysumday at 9:58 AM on October 4, 2005


There is a difference between the illegal mexicans and the relationship between the United States and Indians. The Indians didn't have a claim to land, weren't a sovereign nation with supreme laws. The United States, through the Right of Conquest, took legal possession over the land and placed it under a formal government and its laws. Chief Justice Marshall made the point plain in Johnson v. McIntosh.

Now, with illegal immigrants from Mexico, they are violating the laws of a sovereign nation, not by conquest, but my merely sneaking in. As the US is not conquered, its laws are supreme, and as such, people here must comply with them. Illegal aliens have not, and therefore ought to be prepared to suffer the punishments. If they want to come here, they have to go through the legally proscribed process. If they want to come here and not comply with our laws, they better come here with an army and conquer us under Chief Justice Marshall's rubric.

None of this is to condone the treatment of American Indians or Mexicans, but to show that the situations are incongruous and such comparisons are flippant.
posted by dios at 9:59 AM on October 4, 2005


Dios, what's your address? I feel like exercising my "Right of Conquest." I'll even create a judiciary to make it official later.
posted by TheSpook at 10:05 AM on October 4, 2005


posted by dios The Indians didn't have a claim to land, weren't a sovereign nation with supreme laws.

They didn't? They weren't? I think that depends on who you ask.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:06 AM on October 4, 2005


dios, Chief Justice Marshall's decision is one of the most revolting things I've ever read. That said, it looks like a useful precedent. How can I, as an individual, assert my Right of Conquest?
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:08 AM on October 4, 2005


The insane thing is that, at least here in California, Hispanics get hassled constantly- even ones whose families have been here for hundreds of years. (California used to be Spanish after all.) It's racism, plain and simple.

If anyone's really worried about illegal immigrants they should be cracking down on the people who hire them. Except that this won't happen because the people who hire them are major political contributors.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:11 AM on October 4, 2005


The Indians didn't have a claim to land, weren't a sovereign nation with supreme laws.

That will come as a tremendous surprise to the Iroquois Confederation. I guess those passports they issue for their own people don't exist, and neither does the Great Binding Law.
posted by localroger at 10:12 AM on October 4, 2005


All the snark in the world can't erase the fact that dios is right and that a discussion about immigration is more difficult, and thus more prohibitive to engage in, for those who wish only to simply say, "But look at what we did to the Indians." It's incongruous and does little to add to the quality of the debate.

dios, Chief Justice Marshall's decision is one of the most revolting things I've ever read. That said, it looks like a useful precedent. How can I, as an individual, assert my Right of Conquest?
posted by Faint of Butt


Well, you could start your own country and your own military and attempt to forcefully occupy a piece of land that you do not currently own. This really hasn't been done on a large scale since the Germans did it in the 40's, but it certainly used to happen all the time. I wish you luck.
posted by billysumday at 10:17 AM on October 4, 2005


In early September, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would temporarily relax its policies and not prosecute contractors who don't check the legal status of workers.

So, you can work for next to nothing now, but we'll kick you out once you're done.
I've said this before, but the U.S.'s double-faced approach to immigration/cheap labor is revolting, at best.
posted by signal at 10:17 AM on October 4, 2005



When I see native born Americans treated like dirt I am not going to get overly excited about illegals.


Did you read the article? They rounded up every brown-skinned person and forced them to ID themselves, and prove their citizenship.

There is a difference between the illegal mexicans and the relationship between the United States and Indians. The Indians didn't have a claim to land, weren't a sovereign nation with supreme laws. The United States, through the Right of Conquest, took legal possession over the land and placed it under a formal government and its laws. Chief Justice Marshall made the point plain in Johnson v. McIntosh.

That's one of the most idiotic things I've read. You've really outdone yourself, Dios.
posted by delmoi at 10:24 AM on October 4, 2005


"Chief Sitting Bull says you're all illegal."

/derail

I remember a press conference. Some skinheads or what-have-you-nazi types were demonstrating complaining that illegal immigrants were screwing up the country.
The TV press covering it talked to one of the nonuniformed cops on the scene. They asked him: "What do you think about their message"
He said: "I think they're exactly right. Illegal immigrants have entirely screwed this country up."
The press guys were pretty surprised.
The PR officer ran over and said "Um, I think I should point out Det. Longfeather is a native American."

-
I think this stigmata goes back to our founding fathers. It's not merely racism. It's a question of capital. Of land ownership. Of being invested in the community. Not to defend Postroad's position here, but the sentiment is that you don't want non-property tax payers getting benefits that property owners would otherwise get. You don't want someone not invested in the community to get benefits otherwise reserved for members of that community.
Obviously this is a false dichotomy. Particularly here where it applies to humanitarian aid.
But looking at the numbers once again - wouldn't it be more cost effective to simply give shelter as opposed to spending the money to pay the cops to exclude people?
Efficiency and compassion often share the same goals. Seems like it's an evolutionary survival trait to me.
But y'know, wages of fear and all that.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:25 AM on October 4, 2005


Fuck America, Dios and Postroad in that order.
posted by chunking express at 10:27 AM on October 4, 2005


The Earthlings didn't have a claim to land, weren't a dfuulv with supreme laws. The Federation of Zork, through the Right of Conquest, took legal possession over the land

wonderful logic, there, dios ... the supreme commander of the Federation Army of Zork is making his plans to establish a dfuulv on earth right now ... whatever the hell that is
posted by pyramid termite at 10:29 AM on October 4, 2005


The Earthlings didn't have a claim to land, weren't a dfuulv with supreme laws. The Federation of Zork, through the Right of Conquest, took legal possession over the land

wonderful logic, there, dios ... the supreme commander of the Federation Army of Zork is making his plans to establish a dfuulv on earth right now ... whatever the hell that is
posted by pyramid termite at 10:29 AM


Wonderful logic, there, pyramid termite ...the supreme commander of the Federation Army of Zork is going to take over our planet based on whether or not we have laws that determine legal and illegal possession of land? "Well, I was planning on invading this planet, but clearly they have statutes that prohibit this kind of aggressive action, so I will refrain."

Also, maybe you should be the Supreme Court nominee. I hear that alien analogies are really respected as a great way to get your point across forcefully and clearly.
posted by billysumday at 10:36 AM on October 4, 2005


"What, you haven't got a flag??? Well, if you haven't got a flag, you can't play!"




Also, Dios, that's idiotic.
posted by stenseng at 10:37 AM on October 4, 2005


Not to defend Postroad's position here, but the sentiment is that you don't want non-property tax payers getting benefits that property owners would otherwise get. You don't want someone not invested in the community to get benefits otherwise reserved for members of that community.

The real problem is all the damn renters!
posted by delmoi at 10:38 AM on October 4, 2005


It appears that what happened was fear of migrant workers from other areas moving into the area to get jobs working as rebuilders and moving into shelter camps. Local law enforcement decides it's an immigration issue, calls the Marshalls in, who decide that they're probably not going to be able to tell the local illegal immigrants from the recently-moved-in immigrants, so they decide to just sweep the whole place.

I think it says a lot that these immigrants are willing to move into a disaster zone to get work. These people are the shamed backbone of many American industries.
posted by plexiwatt at 10:40 AM on October 4, 2005


"they better come here with an army and conquer us under Chief Justice Marshall's rubric. "

And I'm sure you'd stick up for them?

....Whatever you say, white man.

Illegal immigrants are the modern American equivalent of Demosioi. The Athenian city slaves. Without cheap labor paid under the table a lot of our industry would be wiped out. I’m not arguing they shouldn’t comply with the law, but then why do so many agra-businesses hire illegals? Why not crack down on them? Make it impossible for them to get jobs, then they’ll go home. But...do you eat grapes?


The point IS the harrassment. Obviously.
But all human empathy aside, it is inefficient to spend tax money to hassle them. Particularly when we have businesses that support them. I'm in favor of enforcing the law, but there are far more efficient ways to do it.
Everyone knows where the illegals are, bust them there. But then, we'd have to give the land back to family farmers wouldn't we? Why the hell do you think so many rural folks are opposed to illegals? You think it's just racism putting Minutemen on the borders?
Illegal aliens to them are like scabs crossing a picket line.
But no, the Feds won't bust the businesses.*coughMonsantocough*
But they'll harrass the shit out of some guy trying to get shelter from the storm.
Call me Tom Joad, but gee, I wonder why?

THINK for christsakes.

"The real problem is all the damn renters!"
Not according to my buddy the landlord.
(Actually, you pay property taxes through rent too. The problem is three or four families paying for one apartment going to school, using other services, etc. We should really look at our tax roles.)
posted by Smedleyman at 10:46 AM on October 4, 2005


can't we just give it all back to the dinosaurs?
posted by NationalKato at 10:50 AM on October 4, 2005


posted by delmoi The real problem is all the damn renters!

Boy, you said it. I don't consider myself racist but personally I can't stand the Renters.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:53 AM on October 4, 2005


a note in passing: My ancestors did not come here illegally. Nor did the people who first came to what is now the United States.
posted by Postroad at 10:54 AM on October 4, 2005


That's one of the most idiotic things I've read. You've really outdone yourself, Dios.

Unfortunately, he's right. It's funny how everyone here loves to jump on him for making observations about how things are. He's not saying that's how they should be. From a legal/governmental perspective, the plight of native Americans and that of illegal immigrants aren't comparable.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:54 AM on October 4, 2005


The Indians didn't have a claim to land, weren't a sovereign nation with supreme laws. The United States, through the Right of Conquest, took legal possession over the land and placed it under a formal government and its laws.
posted by dios at 9:59 AM PST on October 4


Why not just say we killed a bunch of them and then took it by force instead of dressing it up with some made-up Right of Conquest?

Also, I thought you were going to leave. You said it several times.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:59 AM on October 4, 2005


From a legal/governmental perspective, the plight of native Americans and that of illegal immigrants aren't comparable.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:54 AM PST on October 4


I guess not when you make up rules after the fact, no.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:01 AM on October 4, 2005


a note in passing: My ancestors did not come here illegally. Nor did the people who first came to what is now the United States.
posted by Postroad at 10:54 AM PST on October 4 [!]


Irrelevant, Postroad. Immigration laws, and the current level of policing national borders, are a modern creation.
posted by footnote at 11:03 AM on October 4, 2005


dialogue between Richard Nixon and Hunter Thompson (in the guise of correspondent Harris)

Harris: Mr. President, what about the Doomed?

Nixon: Fuck the Doomed

Where the Buffalo Roam

Pretty much sums it up. Fuck the Doomed.
posted by beelzbubba at 11:05 AM on October 4, 2005


"The real problem is all the damn renters!"
Not according to my buddy the landlord.
(Actually, you pay property taxes through rent too. The problem is three or four families paying for one apartment going to school, using other services, etc. We should really look at our tax roles.)


Uh, right. And where do you think illegal immigrants live?

Unfortunately, he's right. It's funny how everyone here loves to jump on him for making observations about how things are. He's not saying that's how they should be. From a legal/governmental perspective, the plight of native Americans and that of illegal immigrants aren't comparable.

There's a big diffrence between "right" and "legal". perhaps Dios can enlighten us on how Dred Scott means Negros arn't really people...

That said, the whole "white people are illegal immigrants" is not a very compelling argument
posted by delmoi at 11:09 AM on October 4, 2005


"From a legal/governmental perspective, the plight of native Americans and that of illegal immigrants aren't comparable."

Indeed. When we came here we had to get rid of the non-whites. Now that we are here, we have to oppress them.
Completely different plights....*smiling when I say that*

Please. I agree they’re not comparable.


But folks seem to enjoy taking the words instead of the meaning.
I agree that dios is correct. However the point is that postroad said “native born” and chococat (et. al) pointed out that modern Americans for the most part come from somewhere else themselves.

Then we get into the whole justification crap and ‘not my ancestors they were beautiful wonderful people who came over on the Mayflower’ in some vain attempt to exclude these people from ‘our’ circle as though that excuses not showing them common decency.

So yeah dios is right. Baseball isn’t football. They’re both games though. And their rules in the real world mean shit. Someone needs a hand, if your’re going to give it to them, give it to them, don’t ask where they’re from or what their ancestry is. Human compassion is not some kind of dodge that can or should be codified. And giving to ‘your own’ ain’t it.

/on preview - what are you talking about smedleyman, this has nothing to do with sports.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:11 AM on October 4, 2005


Also, dios, your knowledge of federal Indian law leaves much to be desired. Marshal clearly recognized that there there is a power--not a right--to conquer, and that as a judicial officer he was bound to defer to the power of the government that also created his jurisdiction:

"Conquest gives a title which the Courts of the conqueror cannot deny, whatever the private and speculative opinions of individuals may be, respecting the original justice of the claim which has been successfully asserted. "

Marshal went on to decide a series of cases which became the bedrock of continued Indian sovereignity.
posted by footnote at 11:12 AM on October 4, 2005


"Uh, right. And where do you think illegal immigrants live?"

I wasn't offering a solution. I was pointing to the further complexity of the issue.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:13 AM on October 4, 2005


"What, you haven't got a flag??? Well, if you haven't got a flag, you can't play!"

"No flag, no country! You can't have one. That's the rules... that... I've just made up!"

posted by Specklet at 11:26 AM on October 4, 2005


To which "native born Americans" are you referring? Apache? Sioux? Comanche? Just curious.

Any person born in America is a native-born American.
posted by mw at 11:28 AM on October 4, 2005


Also, dios, your knowledge of federal Indian law leaves much to be desired.

Right you are. Would that I had more time to become more versed in it. Thank you for tightening up my point about Johnson v. McIntosh. Though I am no expert in Indian law, I can recall enough of those principles generally to know that the relationship between Indians and the United States is vastly different and wholly incongruous with the relationship between the United States and illegal aliens. As one who has read Johnson and its progeny, would you agree?
posted by dios at 11:36 AM on October 4, 2005


Dios: Different, yes. Comparable? Also yes. See Texas.
(You'll also note that legal does not equal moral).
posted by klangklangston at 11:54 AM on October 4, 2005


So MW. in terms of doling out care, the order should be something like: Native Born Americans, Green Card Holders, Landed Immigrants, Kids with Student Visas, and then Refugees. Or would you mix things up a little bit?
posted by chunking express at 11:57 AM on October 4, 2005


Stop bashing dios's recitation of law that's relevant to the thread and start championing the idea of addressing the people who hire illegal immigrants. Not necessarily condemning the practice, but asking why the practice happens and, god forbid, is a key part of our current economy. There are a lot fewer blue collar (union) jobs that people can make a living with than there used to be, and it's not all because of illegal immigrants.

This case is ridiculous. No matter what you think about illegal immigration, the right way to handle it isn't by screening people who have lost their homes. The Red Cross isn't there to give out emergency services to citizens, and it's disgustingly opportunistic to see these marshals acting in this way. I would like to believe that I can take the senior federal marshall who apologized at his word, but I fear this will happen again.
posted by mikeh at 11:58 AM on October 4, 2005


Dios: Different, yes. Comparable? Also yes.
I suppose anything is comparable, but one wonders if making such absurd comparisons are useful. I submit they are not because the situations are completely incongruous.

I suppose I could compare the plight of illegal immigrants to the treatment of salmon in the Pacific Northwest, but I wonder what's the point?

(You'll also note that legal does not equal moral).
posted by klangklangston at 1:54 PM CST on October 4

(You'll note in my original post the last line?)
posted by dios at 11:58 AM on October 4, 2005


I guess not when you make up rules after the fact, no.

That's pretty much what all governments do. They create rules where none exist.

There's a big diffrence between "right" and "legal".

Yes, there certainly is. I'm not sure how that's relevant to this discussion, though.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:09 PM on October 4, 2005


I'm not sure how that's relevant to this discussion, though.

Clearly you don't.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:14 PM on October 4, 2005


I admire the heart and dedication of immigrants both legal and illegal, but in a time when our resources are limited and the needs are so great, we have to draw the line somewhere.

I am one of the few who believes the federal government shouldn't be responsible for the Eternal Happiness of its legal citizens, so it definitely shouldn't be responsible for that of those who are here illegaly.
posted by b_thinky at 12:26 PM on October 4, 2005


but in a time when our resources are limited and the needs are so great, we have to draw the line somewhere

The solution, of course, being to use those finite resources arresting otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:43 PM on October 4, 2005


b_thinky, you need to go back and read the article again. The immigrants are being helped by the Red Cross, not by the government. And the immigrants are willing to work to repair the flood damage -- and the government is expressly willing to ignore their "illegal" status to take advantage of their cheap labor when it's convenient.
posted by footnote at 12:52 PM on October 4, 2005


It's worth noting that undocumented immigrants do not qualify for federal aid, but they do qualify for state and local aid (and of course aid from Red Cross and private orgs). The linked article didn't make that explicitly clear.

And count me as among those who wish the immigration control crowd (who are now starting to police the Canadian border, btw) would focus their ire on those who hire undocumented workers, rather than the workers themselves.
posted by schoolgirl report at 12:53 PM on October 4, 2005


Damn..
As a (legal) non-American residing in the US it always amazes me that :

1.There are still individuals living in this country who are so naive (proud? uneducated? brainwashed?) as make excuses for what their forefathers did to native americans in this country:

"..The Indians didn't have a claim to land, weren't a sovereign nation with supreme laws. The United States, through the Right of Conquest, took legal possession over the land and placed it under a formal government and its laws.."
-dios

and that

2. These individuals have some sort of right to live here 'legally' while others do not:

"When I see native born Americans treated like dirt I am not going to get overly excited about illegals.."
-Postroad

I don't have an agenda here.
I'm not trying to put anyone down.
I'm not trying to escalate anything.
I won't even be replying to any clever zingers or comebacks...

I'm just expressing disappointment in an attitude that is unfortunately in the majority in this country when it should be in the 'minority', and one of the few things that prevents this country from being the great country it should be.
posted by tbonicus at 12:54 PM on October 4, 2005


Regarding the use of the US Marshals, I had already thought it interesting that the interviewee -- who the reporters described as an undocumented alien -- was walking around free. If this were truly an immigration action, he wouldn't be. I had to surmise that the Marshals were performing their job function of looking for criminal aliens, and despite the harassment (and distasteful, but probably legal, discrimination by skin color), took a see-no-evil approach to undocumented folks like that guy.

The real uneasy part here is the involvement of local cops. Whether they were legitimately responding to a 911 call or not, they probably had no jurisdiction on such a vague claim, which is why they alerted the Marshals, who did. But ultimately it reveals the great suspicion of hurrican refugees by communities across the South. There are going to be more incidents like this.
posted by dhartung at 12:54 PM on October 4, 2005


I have to agree that if we were serious about illegal immigration, we'd go after the businesses that encourage it--not the illegals themselves, who, seeing an opportunity to alleviate their extreme poverty, make the logical decision to give it a shot. We can keep shipping them back, and they'll keep crossing the borders again, Minutemen or no, harrassment from local rednecks or no. Because there's always someone who will hire them, if they can just manage to get here.

My dad built houses and hired lots of illegals to work on them. The local authorities would come take a few away now and then, but for the most part looked the other way. And that's how it's always going to be unless the government goes after the employers, not the immigrants themselves. If illegal immigration is a crime, then those who profit from it are the ones *who make the crime possible.*
posted by emjaybee at 12:54 PM on October 4, 2005


Optimus Chyme: How would you enforce or not enforce immigration policies if you were in charge? I ask because you seem to be advocating not distinguishing between illegal and legal citizens and am just wondering if this is your position in whole.
posted by billysumday at 12:57 PM on October 4, 2005


Stop bashing dios's recitation of law that's relevant to the thread and start championing the idea of addressing the people who hire illegal immigrants. Not necessarily condemning the practice, but asking why the practice happens and, god forbid, is a key part of our current economy....
posted by mikeh at 11:58 AM PST on October 4 [!]

Depends the job doesn't it? Up in the norhteast, Dunkin Donuts is full of illegals, often hired by legal relatives. This is also how it works with "Quik-E-Marts" and the like I imagine. Some are coming to escape poverty or violence, some to be near family, some in an attempt to get citizenship for themselves or their family, and some just to make some fat US bank before they jump back down to South America.

But there isn't the same kind of "exploit super-cheap labor" thing going on as I've gathered there is in seasonal agriculture jobs. Or has the whole system of minumum wage and Mcjobs just emerged as an extension of that mentallity? "The darkies will take care of the fast food and service jobs."
posted by es_de_bah at 1:05 PM on October 4, 2005


chunking: I was just making a factual correction. I don't think your parents' or grandparents' place of birth should be relevant to how you're treated.

As for "doling out care," I think the Red Cross can decide their own priorities without my help. If I disagree, I can coose not to donate to them. But I'm for unrestricted immigration, so I think the INS (and gov't in general) should stay out of it.
posted by mw at 1:08 PM on October 4, 2005


Dios, you are right as a matter of current law, although Indians weren’t uniformly granted U.S. citizenship until 1924, and as far as I know the Supreme Court has never held that they are citizens under the 14th Amendment (although I presume it would). Before 1924 noncitizen Indians were something like the pre-WWII first generation Asians – “aliens ineligible for citizenship.” So historically speaking it’s not totally incorrect to compare Indians to Mexicans.

But anyway, Postroad wasn’t talking about legal particularities of formal citizenship. He was making the rhetorical move of dividing the world between citizens and noncitizens, with only citizens worthy of full protection of the law because they are the only ones who truly belong. The problem with this formulation is that throughout history, people who are formally citizens but happen to be the wrong religion or color – African Americans under Jim Crow; Jose Padilla and Yaser Hamdi under the War on Terror – in effect have a sort of “second class citizenship” that relegates them to the category of “not belonging,” alongside the noncitizens. So second class citizens and noncitizens end up in the same boat, despite formal legal status. This is why it’s valid to compare American Indians with illegal Mexican immigrants.
posted by footnote at 1:10 PM on October 4, 2005


I said:
To which "native born Americans" are you referring? Apache? Sioux? Comanche? Just curious.
mw said:
Any person born in America is a native-born American.
and
I was just making a factual correction. I don't think your parents' or grandparents' place of birth should be relevant to how you're treated.

Right! But when someone wraps themselves up in their flag, I think they should consider the irony of statements like "native born Americans treated like dirt."
posted by chococat at 1:25 PM on October 4, 2005


Optimus Chyme: How would you enforce or not enforce immigration policies if you were in charge? I ask because you seem to be advocating not distinguishing between illegal and legal citizens and am just wondering if this is your position in whole.
posted by billysumday at 12:57 PM PST on October 4


Honestly, I don't know. What I do know is that when I was younger I lived upstairs from an apartment full of undocumented workers from Mexico, and that they were nice and polite and very very worried about simple things we take for granted - like seeing a doctor - because they were afraid that the doctor or his staff would call INS. They didn't have much money and they worked unbelievably long hours at unbelievably unpleasant jobs and were able to support their families because a lot of people were willing to look the other way at their "unlawful" behavior.

It makes me sad that they are paid so little and ripped off so often and used as a scapegoat for all of America's problems when clearly they wouldn't be here if employers didn't want them. I wish there were a way to pay them a better wage without adversely affecting anyone else, and if there is a way, I wish I knew what it was.

I know they're breaking the law. I know it's unfair to legal immigrants. But I don't see why we have to treat them like unwanted guests when they're in such great demand.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:33 PM on October 4, 2005


footnote. Well said, and thanks for the further information. As to your argument regarding the similarity between secondclass citizens and illegal aliens, I have no quarrel. However, that is not the specific argument to which I was responding. I was responding to a particular argument that our treatment of the Indians at the time of the founding of this country somehow is related to or somehow erodes our justification for our dealing with illegal immigrants. My comments were a reaction to the comments of pretty_generic, twistedonion, and billysumday. My point was that our enforcement of our immigration laws is not related in any meaningful way to the fact that some Americans conquered the Indians when they founded this country. To the extent that my argument was directed towards a different argument then the one you saw, perhaps that is a fault of my cursory reading of the comments before I posted. But thank you again for presenting a point for my consideration.
posted by dios at 1:44 PM on October 4, 2005


Clearly you don't.

Well, maybe you can explain why it is relevant, then. Make sure to use very small words, otherwise I won't understand, ok?

1.There are still individuals living in this country who are so naive (proud? uneducated? brainwashed?) as make excuses for what their forefathers did to native americans in this country:

"..The Indians didn't have a claim to land, weren't a sovereign nation with supreme laws. The United States, through the Right of Conquest, took legal possession over the land and placed it under a formal government and its laws.."
-dios


How does an observation get magically transformed into an excuse? Again, just because a government finds something to be legal, doesn't make it moral or right.

The problem with this formulation is that throughout history, people who are formally citizens but happen to be the wrong religion or color – African Americans under Jim Crow; Jose Padilla and Yaser Hamdi under the War on Terror – in effect have a sort of “second class citizenship” that relegates them to the category of “not belonging,” alongside the noncitizens. So second class citizens and noncitizens end up in the same boat, despite formal legal status. This is why it’s valid to compare American Indians with illegal Mexican immigrants.

Do you think this wouldn't happen if we did away with the idea of citizenship entirely? That is, do you think that these "not belonging" people would then be welcomed with open arms?
posted by me & my monkey at 1:50 PM on October 4, 2005


"I won't even be replying to any clever zingers or comebacks..."

That's great, because your mama is....uh....so....er.... D'oh!
posted by Smedleyman at 1:57 PM on October 4, 2005


I wish there were a way to pay them a better wage without adversely affecting anyone else, and if there is a way, I wish I knew what it was.

Well... I don't think there's a way to do it without affecting anybody else, since minimum wage laws are what provide the incentive to hire illegal workers. If those laws were removed or pruned back, then Americans would be pressured to work for those low wages. Many people think that this would actually create more wealth, but it is nevertheless not going to happen anytime soon.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:05 PM on October 4, 2005


Do you think this wouldn't happen if we did away with the idea of citizenship entirely? That is, do you think that these "not belonging" people would then be welcomed with open arms?
posted by me & my monkey at 1:50 PM PST on October 4 [!]


As long as citizenship is a basis for legal rights and entitlements, then yes, I think that it would change the way they're treated.
posted by footnote at 2:10 PM on October 4, 2005


footnote, when you live in a quasi-socialistic government wherein the government has an affirmative duty to provide so much for each person who can't provide for themselves, how can such a system even be workable if there isn't a reasonable hurdle of citizenship? If everyone could just show up and be granted citizenship, how is the government suppose to maintain the welfare of all of those individuals without destroying the quality of life for everyone in the country? Seems the only way to do that would be go to a complete socialist system, which isn't going to happen. Thank god. (Although if we did go to such a system, our country's taxes would skyrocket so fast forcing this country down the economic shitter that we wouldn't have immigrants wanting to come here... thereby solving the problem, I guess).
posted by dios at 2:19 PM on October 4, 2005


Not exactly the first time that the US would have screwed up in immigration matters by basing its actions on ignorance.

Being the world's bully means never having to say you're sorry.
posted by clevershark at 2:29 PM on October 4, 2005


footnote, when you live in a quasi-socialistic government wherein the government has an affirmative duty to provide so much for each person who can't provide for themselves, how can such a system even be workable if there isn't a reasonable hurdle of citizenship?

Some people like more than the bare necessities of life. Even if you are taxed at 60% of your earnings, the more you make, the more you have. Socialist countries have plenty of productive and wealthy citizens. If you object to it based on concerns that people would flood in, keep in mind that illegal immigrants come to the U.S. to work, not greedily suck up resources.

(Although if we did go to such a system, our country's taxes would skyrocket so fast forcing this country down the economic shitter that we wouldn't have immigrants wanting to come here... thereby solving the problem, I guess).

Belgium has extraordinarily high taxes and they are second only to the United States in productivity per worker. Their per capita income is pretty good, too.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:36 PM on October 4, 2005


Actually, in practice, the more benefits the country provides the more likely it is to place high bars to citizenship. I understand that countries like the Netherlands and Germany make it really hard to obtain full citizenship (even for those born on their soil), whereas it's much easier in the US. Which is not to say that those countries treat their immigrants badly.

I'm not so much concerned with social benefits here (although I think there are very good policy arguments against tying benefits like health & education to citizenship). I'm more concerned with rights like due process and habeas, which I don't think should be predicated on citizenship when the US government is the one exerting the power.
posted by footnote at 2:58 PM on October 4, 2005


If those laws were removed or pruned back, then Americans would be pressured to work for those low wages.

It would take a heck of a lot more than that! Like maybe a complete shift in our attitute of self-entitlement. How many "Americans" do you know who are willing put in a long honest day's work with low pay; return to their to their tiny apartment occupied by their entire extended family; sleep on the couch; then wake up at 3 a.m. to do it all over again? Seven days a week? 365 days per year?
posted by tvgurl at 3:06 PM on October 4, 2005


As long as citizenship is a basis for legal rights and entitlements, then yes, I think that it would change the way they're treated.

But according to what you just wrote, even citizens are sometimes denied those legal rights and entitlements.

Being the world's bully means never having to say you're sorry.

Are you saying that no other countries have problems with immigration? Is this a problem that only the US has?
posted by me & my monkey at 3:26 PM on October 4, 2005


The US is a lot more liberal then a lot of places (especialy in europe), but Mexicans citizens just get the short end of the stick. It pisses me off, because while we need them here, their illegal status gives some people license to treat them (and sometimes citizens who 'look' like them) like subhumans.

Mexican citizens should be able to live and work in the United States, IMO.
posted by delmoi at 3:37 PM on October 4, 2005


sorry, I mean liberal when it comes to immigration.
posted by delmoi at 5:21 PM on October 4, 2005


"Not necessarily condemning the practice, but asking why the practice happens and, god forbid, is a key part of our current economy."

Well, the why is simple. You want fresh strawberries that don't cost $30 a pound, and if you paid real union workers to build what is now a $750,000 McMansion, it would cost $2 million.

And also, employers want to make as much profit as they can, all the time.

That's why. And it's not going to stop, because it is indeed now a key part of our economy. Remove the illegals, and a number of industries would instantly become very unprofitable, most notably building homes and growing many kinds of food.

You wanna eat well and have a roof over your head, don'tcha? Well, if we have to pay legal American citizens actual legal real-world wages to do it, you can't.

The illegals are subsidizing the very foundations of our lifestyle. All this hassling is just for show, so the few people who rail about the illegals will shut up for a while.
posted by zoogleplex at 6:37 PM on October 4, 2005


Remove the illegals, and a number of industries would instantly become very unprofitable, most notably building homes and growing many kinds of food

Well boo fucking hoo. Kick out the illegals, hire Citizens at a decent wage and we all pay a little more for our shit. Sounds ok to me.

The illegals are subsidizing the very foundations of our lifestyle

What the hell are you on about? Whose lifestyle? The urban poor? The working poor? The college student? The newly married middle age/two job couple? The company store? They aren't subsidizing jack shit, other than an increase in DaddyJack's profit, of which very little trickles into the economy proper.
posted by undule at 7:11 PM on October 4, 2005


And considering that "DaddyJack" is in almost total control of the country, you really think he's gonna cut into his own profit margin just to make you happy? You're just a "consumer" to him, and as long as you're stupid and happy and keep buying houses, cars and a ton of meaningless crap, he gets to keep taking your money.

Your anger is justified, though you really shouldn't point it at me just because I'm telling you something you don't wanna hear. That $3 bag of fresh salad in your grocery store was grown, picked and probably processed in California by illegals, and that's why it costs $3 instead of $10 or $15. Same with strawberries and blueberries.

Extend that to the house-building industry, which has been slapping up homes and condos at breakneck speed in the Southwest - and consequently driving the real estate business to record highs and profits, accounting for something like 25% of the American "economy" - and it may dawn on you that the labor of illegals getting paid crap wages under the table with no labor protections is subsidizing almost every facet of your life. The US Dollar is worth what it's worth now, in part, to the ability of hundreds of companies to use and abuse illegal immigrant labor.

I don't think you really understand what it would mean for farm, textile, clothing and housing labor to suddenly cost 5 times or more what it costs now. You might profit from reading a few books on market economics, and also learning something about "housing starts" and Fannie Mae.

And just so you understand, I agree with you 100% that people should be paid what they're worth, and that we should pay more for goods to respect that, especially the non-essential ones. The illegals are being exploited, plain and simple, but it's just like the unwinnable War on Drugs - the demand is too high.
posted by zoogleplex at 9:15 PM on October 4, 2005


Kick out the illegals, hire Citizens at a decent wage and we all pay a little more for our shit.

You would have to make the penalty for hiring illegal workers so high that it becomes unprofitable to hire them. I think any moderate punishments would only incentivize a strong false-documentation industry. To really eliminate illegal workers, you would have to make the punishments so severe that the tiny expenditures on false docs and illegal workers' wages would not be worth it to nearly ANYONE. Something like 20 years in prison, maybe, but it would take a lot.

Simply kicking all the illegals you can out only decreases wage competition among illegals, and gives them even more incentive to try and find work here. It would take an unrealistically effective immigration system to make it unprofitable for a Mexican to work illegally in the US. I mean, people kill themselves trying to cross the border. If they are that incentivized already, what measure could possibly turn them back?

In fact, the comparison to the war on drugs is totally apt: enforcement doesn't slow the practice, it only indirectly subsidizes the illegal workers by forcing out some of the competition.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:04 AM on October 5, 2005


When I see native born Americans treated like dirt I am not going to get overly excited about illegals.

Well. Yeah. I think people who get "overly excited about illegals" must not eat fruit or vegetables, need their houses or buildings cleaned, or have any other shitty job done that "legals" (for the most part) are too proud to perform.

To which "native born Americans" are you referring? Apache? Sioux? Comanche? Just curious.

Hmmm. To which "native born Americans" are you referring, chococat? By "Apache", you might have meant the Arivaipa, Chiricahua, Coyotero, Faraone Gileno, Jicarilla, Llanero, Mescalero, Mimbreno, Mogollon, Naisha, Tchikun and Tchishi (the tribes collectively called "Apache"), by "Sioux" you might have meant the Dakota, Santee, Mdewakantonwan, Sisitonwan, Wahpekute, Wahpetonwan, Nakota, Ihanktonwan, Stoney, Assiniboine, Lakota, Titonwan, Hunkpapa, Oglala, Payabya, Tapisleca, Kiyaksa, Wajaje, Itesica, Oyuhpe, Wagluhe, Sihasapa, Sichangu, Miniconjou, Itazipacola, and Oohenonpa (the tribes collectively called "Sioux"), and by "Comanche", you might have meant the Hois, Jupe, Kotsoteka, Kwahada, Parkeenaum, Nokoni, Pehnahterkuh, Penateka, Tahneemuh, Tenawa, Widyunuu, and Yamparika (the tribes collectively called "Comanche"). Just curious. Har.
posted by weirdoactor at 1:28 PM on October 5, 2005


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