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2. "Immigrant" is not synonymous with "Latino" ...
March 30, 2006 4:02 AM   Subscribe

Some facts about Latinos and immigration, and chances are good they haven't been mentioned at all during coverage of the "immigration crisis" . (and take a stroll down memory lane to past GOP platform statements on the issue)
posted by amberglow (110 comments total)

 
oh, and chinga tu madre, lou!
posted by quonsar at 4:15 AM on March 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


> 13. Please tell us what the problems are that are caused by illegal immigrants. Don't just
> say there is a "debate". Tell us in concrete terms what the risks and dangers are
> being brought to the US by "illegal" immigrants. Now tell us how these problems, if
> any, differ from the problems caused by U.S. citizens of all other backgrounds. Be
> precise. Can't find any? Thought so.

Paul Krugman, unexceptionable left-liberal, explains the problems for the slow learners.
posted by jfuller at 4:18 AM on March 30, 2006




I don't see how the things Krugman lists aren't just as big problems for the almost 50 million Americans without health insurance, or the many millions of citizens on welfare or disability and other govt. assistance who otherwise do not at all contribute either. Krugman himself says the same: ...We shouldn't exaggerate these problems. Mexican immigration, says the Borjas-Katz study, has played only a "modest role" in growing U.S. inequality. And the political threat that low-skill immigration poses to the welfare state is more serious than the fiscal threat: The disastrous Medicare drug bill alone does far more to undermine the finances of our social insurance system than the whole burden of dealing with illegal immigrants. ...

The problem is with employers, and with NAFTA, and with those who use this issue for political gain.
posted by amberglow at 4:34 AM on March 30, 2006


Krugman points out that the cvlaims made in defense of illegally come into the country place NO economic advantage for the country--a claim often made by supporters of illegally coming into the country.

Dobbs never confuses legal and illegal immigration and he always distinguishes beteen Latino here legally and those Latino or otherwise here illegally.
posted by Postroad at 4:38 AM on March 30, 2006


You do realize that this whole immigration debate is a juicy bone thrown out by the GOP for the press to chase after, to distract them from the catastrophes in Iraq, right?

I thought so. Just checking.
posted by unSane at 5:01 AM on March 30, 2006


Fear baby, fear!
posted by furtive at 5:08 AM on March 30, 2006


I can't wait till the various Latino communities take over America.
posted by chunking express at 5:50 AM on March 30, 2006


I heard that latinos are hiding the bird flu.
posted by illovich at 6:17 AM on March 30, 2006


But seriously.....

Krugman: Meanwhile, Bush's plan for a "guest worker" program is clearly designed by and for corporate interests, who'd love to have a low-wage work force that couldn't vote. Not only is it deeply un-American; it does nothing to reduce the adverse effect of immigration on wages. And because guest workers would face the prospect of deportation after a few years, they would have no incentive to become integrated into our society.

What about a guest-worker program that includes a clearer route to citizenship? I'd still be careful. Whatever the bill's intentions, it could all too easily end up having the same effect as the Bush plan in practice - that is, it could create a permanent underclass of disenfranchised workers.


How about a labor department that enforces labor laws for all workers, even illegal ones? If the labor department would take seriously the industries that exploit illegal workers and monitor them, they could dry up the advantage of using illegals in the first place.
posted by illovich at 6:21 AM on March 30, 2006


Well, part of the issue is that those who come across the border without going through the right channels are violating the law of the land. This is not the best way to start off life in a new country. If the law were unjust, then I would be all for people violating it, but is there a good reason to think that US immigration policies are unjust?

The article mentions that no terrorist has gotten into the US through Mexico. This may be true, though exactly how we are supposed to know this is unclear, as tens of thousands of people enter the US via the southern border each year without documentation. Even ignoring the terrorism issue, which plays too large of a role in our thinking these days, the lack of control over immigration provides an opportunity for undesirable types to enter (I am thinking of criminals, before anyone flies off the handle). I think that the security concerns that some people mention are legitimate, and that something should be done to make the border less porous.
posted by Tullius at 6:29 AM on March 30, 2006


Considering the US corporations and military have cause the problems in Latin America, I believe we have a moral duty to change their situation. The difference between them and Iraqis is that they want to be apart of the US whereas Iraq doesn't. The racism that's materializing as a result is of this debateis really bad.
posted by j-urb at 6:32 AM on March 30, 2006


Is there really a job that an honest hard-working American "doesn't want to do" or is it that he doesn't want to do it for $4 / hour and substandard working conditions?
posted by Space Coyote at 6:55 AM on March 30, 2006


I agree that we should abandon our disastrous history of immigration and try to emulate the amazing successes that France and Germany have obtained with their guest-worker schemes.

Well, part of the issue is that those who come across the border without going through the right channels are violating the law of the land. This is not the best way to start off life in a new country.

I'm also sure that many legal immigrants enter the US and promptly drive in excess of the speed limit, fail to come to a complete stop, or videotape a baseball game without the express written consent of Major League Baseball, also violating the law of the land. And, like in those cases, I think the real questions are (1) whether the laws are reasonable and (2) whether the laws are actually intended to be enforced as written.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:57 AM on March 30, 2006


I thought Fareed Zakaria (?sp) summarized it best when he said (via TDS), and I paraphrase, "The US has one of the best immigration policies in the world [as far as assimilating it's immigrants] and now we want to model a new plan after the French. Look how good it's working out for them".

I'm sure I'm missing some of the finer strokes, but the thought of millions of second-class residents (guest workers) sounds like a sure-fire plan for disaster.
posted by docpops at 7:04 AM on March 30, 2006


All of this is rather moot as long as there are employers whose business models require dirt-cheap labor. It's not like these employers, absent a steady flow of illegals, are going to miraculously start providing living wages and benefits to naturalized and native American workers.
Not unless the proposal is to breed a home-grown version of cheap migrant labor. A new underclass of Tom Joads.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:05 AM on March 30, 2006


The problem is not immigration. The problem is the welfare state. As currently implemented, welfare states exists to provide a safety net for poor people - but only poor citizens. It is, in effect, a statement that our poor deserve help while their poor don't.

Some argue that our poor people are more deserving of help because they are our people and our neighbours. But if you truly cared about these people, and if they truly were your neighbours, you'd help them yourself, rather than paying the government to do it to avoid having to think about it.

What it boils down to is that one human being is inherently more deserving because they were born on piece of land X, while another is inherently less deserving because they were born on piece of land Y. It's an irrelevent method of judging a person's worth, and hence in the same ballpark as pure racism; after all, if a person's birth country determines your willingness to help them, then why not also make the decision based on skin color, gender, religion, sexuality, shoe size or knee knobbliness?

How about we start judging people on their own merits - their owns words and actions - instead of superficial labels and racist, nationalist, and patrialist preconceived notions?
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 7:12 AM on March 30, 2006


Fuck Lou Dobbs. Seriously, he is the worst, most contemptible thing on television. Worse then Bill O'Riley (who can't even be taken seriously by anyone) worse then people like Malkin or Coulter, IMO. Of course, I never see those people, but I used to watch CNN and there was this asshole spewing his transparent racist propaganda.

He had this crazy woman doctor on one time, she looked (and sounded) like the kind of woman with 50 cats in her house. Anyway, this woman was actually saying that Mexicans brought disease, just like Goebbels said about the Jooos! And of course her solution wasn't better medical care but to block off the border and kick out all the illegals.
posted by delmoi at 7:18 AM on March 30, 2006


The U.S. could annex Mexico. There. Problem solved. They're all Americans now.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:19 AM on March 30, 2006


You do realize that this whole immigration debate is a juicy bone thrown out by the GOP for the press to chase after, to distract them from the catastrophes in Iraq, right?

I thought so. Just checking.


Are you kidding? There is no way this was done by the top of the GOP. It's a true grass roots movement, unfortunately. And it's murdering the GOP. Look at how much anger there is towards Bush and the administration on the right over this. The republicans had made great progress courting Latino voters in the past few election cycles. Now they're throwing it all away.
posted by delmoi at 7:24 AM on March 30, 2006


ROU_Xenophobe, if you'll notice, I raised similar questions about US Immigration policy, asking if there was any reason to think that it was unjust.
posted by Tullius at 7:25 AM on March 30, 2006


Tullius: what's to prevent 'Undesireables' (like criminals) from moving from alabama to NYC?

The ultimate solution is life in Mexico to be as good as life in the United States. That's going to take a while, but it's not impossible.

The problem as Krugman points out is that because of our welfare system, and the fact that migrant workers don't pay taxes, means that the government actually ends up spending more providing 'benefits' for these people.

My solution is the same as my solution for any type of problem like this. Legalize it, regulate it.

Make it legal for any Mexican citizen to enter and work in the US, and bill the Mexican government for any social costs they incur while there here.

Alternatively, we could place a high tax on non-citizen labor, paid by the employer, not the laborer. Those funds would be used to pay for immigrant housing, healthcare, and education.

The economic costs can be defrayed by sensible policy. But let's be honest, it's not the economic effects that bother anyone.
posted by delmoi at 7:33 AM on March 30, 2006


I loved the Paul Krugman piece, thanks jfuller.

I'm not sure I care soo much care about the issue, all social stuff is peanuts compaired to the neo-con adventure in Iraq.

I feel that populations have every right to limit their rate of cultural transformation due to immigration, but South American's aren't so very different from North Americans culturally, they just speak a diffrent langauge.

Here the best rule is simply to give priority and/or amnesty to those who speak English already. Such immigrants are more well educated, more easily integrate int the U.S., and infinite less enslaved to their employer. So they aren't really part of the problems Krugman discusses.

Europe & Australia OTOH need to simply cut off the large scale immigration from Muslim countries. China, Vietnam, India, South America, Eastern Europe, etc. are infinite better sources for immigrants; immigration from these places should be easy, especially for people who speak the host countries langauge already.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:44 AM on March 30, 2006


Tullius,

I am amazed at the simple mindedness of questions like yours, asking if there was any reason to think if immigration laws in this country were unjust.

People take the concept of immigration too lightly, without realizing how difficult (impossible) it is for people to immigrate to America for economic reason. The only possible routes of entry these days are:

1. You have immediate family that can afford and sponsor you. This takes anywhere between 3 to 10 plus years.

2. You have liquid assets to the tune of 7 figure sums and invest those in US. This is not very popular with many rich people since they now have to pay US income taxes on their worldwide income after becoming permanent residents of United States.

3. You have qualifications and skills that are in demand. This is the fastest way to get into US, but does not result in actual settlement and immigration for anywhere between 5 to 10 years, even for masters degree holders with decades of experience.

Do tell me, how this is fair? Chaging the rules of the games by descendents of immigrants to make it impossible to migrate to US, to shut the door behind them if you will?

I await your answer. Thanks.
posted by trol at 7:55 AM on March 30, 2006


Delmoi, it depends. If the criminal is a convict or, in some instances, an ex-con, then his ability to move is legally hampered, isn't it? A criminal on the lam is a different story, and as we allow free movement across state borders, he likely won't face much of an impediment. It does seem like his apprehension and identification as a criminal is likelier than one who has fled across the border, don't you think? As far as I know, we don't share information with the Mexican police the same way that we do amongst state police agencies.
posted by Tullius at 7:55 AM on March 30, 2006


jeffburdges,

So no migration from muslim countries to any western or developed nations? Why is that? Do you think *all* muslims are inherently bad? do you think they are not human enough for you and the rest of the first world? Do they not breathe the same air? have the same blood in their veins? Or does a sample of 19 people enough for you to pass a judgement on a billion people?

Do enlighten us.
posted by trol at 7:59 AM on March 30, 2006


I once worked for a guy who used to openly speak against mexicans. I asked him what his grudge was and his answer opened my eyes. He said, they are in this country using our services, schools and hospitals and I think it is unfair. Expecting the answer I expected from him, I asked what should be done about it and he calmly suggested that all mexicans should apply to become citizens. There you have it, this son of an Irish immigrant, thinks the problem with mexicans is simply that they choose not to become citizens of this country owing to some sort of allegiance to mexica (as may have been the case with proud and early irish or italian immigrants).
posted by trol at 8:05 AM on March 30, 2006


"Illegal"


See that word up there?


No, try again...look closer...


NO, The word RIGHT UP THERE!!!!!


NOOO!!!!


Here, I'll spell it for you...

I. L. L. E. G. A. L.



WHY do so many keep MISSING IT!
posted by HTuttle at 8:05 AM on March 30, 2006


Number 12 is a good example of exactly how stupid this entire list is. Much of it's factually inaccurate, and the rest is just plain dumb. If you want to argue with the Republican talking points on this issue, your best rebuttal would be to point out that most illegal immigrants actually do pay income tax. There's an argument to be made that we profit off them just as much as they from us.

Personally, I wouldn't make that argument. I'm on the other side; I think we should go to war with Mexico. Hell, there's more justification for that than there was for Iraq. Try this paragraph on for size:
"Every day, Mexican immigrants cross our southern border illegally. They are encouraged, given instructions and survival maps by Mexican authorities. There have been numerous armed skirmishes in the past year, including several between US Border Patrol and Mexican authorities. The Mexican president has voiced support for this campaign. Once here, the immigrants claim our country as their own, staging massive protests with the Mexican national flag.
Sounds like an invasion and a declaration of war to me. Replace the word "Mexican" with the word "Iranian" and tell me that we wouldn't begin carpet-bombing Tehran.
posted by cribcage at 8:05 AM on March 30, 2006


I don't think illegal immigration is that big a deal and see this is an attempt at distraction.

Still the United States does not have an open borders policy, we have limits on immigration and this is probably a good thing. If the United States government wanted to use its immigration policy as a humanitarian tool it would be better served allowing immigrants from countries other than relatively wealthy Mexico.

I think there is something to be gained by requiring people to use the legal process. I don't see how failing to be caught on a dangerous hike should entitle one to amnesty when people who may be in more need or have more to offer have to wait and risk denial.
posted by I Foody at 8:30 AM on March 30, 2006


Trol, please forgive my simple-mindedness. I don't know what I was thinking. Great way to engender discussion, tool.

Look, the qualifications you cite seem to be a simplification of the policy for permanent immigration. You fail to include those seeking asylum, refugees, and those who win the "diversity lottery." Also, you say that only immediate relatives of US residents can enter, but in fact, extended family members can enter, but their numbers are a bit more limited limited. Now, these restrictions still allow for nearly 1 million legal immigrants per year, which does not seem like a stingy policy. And this does not include temporary workers or students, either.

Now, nothing in this seems unjust. It may be somewhat restrictive, with the effect that all who want to enter aren't able to (and perhaps something should be done to loosen things up a bit, but how is this unjust? As was mentioned earlier in the thread), the US is generally considered to have a pretty good immigration policy. Certainly more so than many European nations.

The US is not shutting its door to immigrants, and to say otherwise is a bit of rhetorical nonsense. No one here, and no sane person in this country, would claim that we should entirely close our borders to immigrants.
posted by Tullius at 8:32 AM on March 30, 2006


I f-ed up the parentheses. The ')' should follow the word 'bit'.
posted by Tullius at 8:34 AM on March 30, 2006


The Mexican president has voiced support for this campaign. Once here, the immigrants claim our country as their own, staging massive protests with the Mexican national flag.
Sounds like an invasion and a declaration of war to me.


You're going to just shit yourself if you ever come across a St. Patty's day parade.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:35 AM on March 30, 2006


Tullius, please explain to me, how I can immigrate to US? My country does not qualify for DV lottery visa, I don't wish to claim refugee status, I don't have a million dollars. Now, explain to me, what kind of process do I need to follow in order to migrate to US?

I tried to explain with my second comment what I was referring to when I mentioned simplicity of questions asked by a lot of Americans on the immigration issue, I apologize for any offence I may have caused you. But the question remains, what do all these people mean when they say, all illegal aliens should go back to their countries and apply from there - there is no way for many of these economic migrants to come to United States except illegally and my point is this act being illegal is simply an artifiact of prior generation of American immigration closing the door behind them. Its not nonsense, its a fact. You brought up political asylum and dv lottery, but those are not options meant for immigration, those are simply ways to resolve issues completely unrelated to immigration (UN conventions on refugees dictate asylum and political refugee cases, whiledv lottery is meant to skew the demographics of future US population, enticing or attracting less represented countries and clultures into US).

Do you see where I am coming from now? Can you address the questions raised here? i.e. What does a guy gotta do to immigrate to America if he or she doesn't have family links, money or corrupt political regimes after them? There is no way. Nothing. And this stands in shark contrast to the history of immigration into this country.
posted by trol at 8:43 AM on March 30, 2006


A good immigration policy is one you might see in United Kingdom for instance. Even a day labourer, if brought in legally into the country spends 4 years there, they get permanent residence status and citizenship follows a year later. For illegals, the period is 10 years, which is being worked on (to reduce it). Even a student who has spent 10 years in UK becomes a permanent resident. Now there is sensible policy. On top of this they allow professionals, doctors, computer programmers, chefs and even construction workers to petition to the immigration service on their own and come to UK to work and pay taxes legally as part of their settlement. Constrast this with the H1B scam and 5 to 7 years it takes for people to become permanent resident in States, while having to stick with a SINGLE employer, who can change their mind at any time and you gotta start over again. Please don't tell me the immigration system in US is the best or fair, its anything but.
posted by trol at 8:48 AM on March 30, 2006


Look, trol, let me reiterate: the vast majority people in the US aren't trying to keep out foreigners. Most people just think that unlimited access is a bad idea, which has, I think, some merit.

Now, as I said earlier, perhaps the effect of the US policy is that not all who want to enter can get in. And perhaps something should be done so that every good, hardworking, clever person can gain admittance. But the mere fact that there are restrictions, even restrictions that serve to keep out some of the good, hardworking, clever folks who want to come in, does not make the policy unjust. A nation has the right to control its border, and I don't think that this right is trumped by some assumed right to unlimited choice of residence.

As far as how you should go about coming to America, I cannot answer that. No, I realize that you weren't seriously expecting an answer from me. But, and I am seriously asking this, have you exhausted all of your options trying to get in? Is there no hope?
posted by Tullius at 9:03 AM on March 30, 2006


troll, Did I mention terrorism at all? Terrorism is irrelevant.

Nations have a right to control the rate of cultural change due to immigration. This means controlling the impact of the culture the immigrants import, which means choosing the source of immigration. China, India, South America, etc. are obviously wonderful choices. African countries where ancient tribal religions are still dominant are good sources too.

Also, immigration isn't about being fair, its about benifiting your own country. Canada is a model for moderate immigration policies; your immediately welcome if you have a PhD and speak both French & English.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:05 AM on March 30, 2006


no one seems to want to talk about WHY people are so apt to brave all the dangers of an illegal crossing, spend time away from their families and homes and find themselves in a hostile environment. look at what NAFTA has done to the economies of people living in Mexico. American corporations go set up shop across the border, buy up all the land and create situations where people have to work in their factories to survive because it is now the only option. it is unconscionable for there to be free trade without there being a free trade of people. the current situation uses immigration laws to keep people economically dependant on abusive and exploitive corporations and factories.

why is there such an aversion to allowing people who want to come work here the opportunity to do so legally? with only a few exceptions almost everyone making this "debate" is descended from immigrants, almost all of whom faced the same racism.
posted by teishu at 9:14 AM on March 30, 2006


the US is generally considered to have a pretty good immigration policy. Certainly more so than many European nations.

Now, I know that Americans of a certain kind never tire of saying that, but is it objectively true?
posted by Artw at 9:15 AM on March 30, 2006


You are right, Artw, that statement does need some clarification. I was thinking of a good immigration policy as determined by the amount of immigrants allowed in (the liberality of the policy) and by the way it allows for assimilation of the immigrants into society (while respecting the culture of the immigrants). The policy of the US seems to do fairly well in both regards. Compare that with, say, France, which has tried to curtail immigration, and whose immigrant population has not assimilated well into French society.

But let me concede: I said that the US policy was better than "many" European nations, and in truth, I don't know that to be the case. If what trol says about the UK policy is correct, it seems that they have the edge as far as the liberality aspect goes.
posted by Tullius at 9:34 AM on March 30, 2006


I found Alisa Valdes Rodriguez's arguments rather poor and was disappointed most of them were correcting media statements and assumptions that I have yet to see be made by the media (including Lou Dobbs). I was hoping for something more thoughtful and perhaps more sophisticated from "one of the top 25 most influential Hispanics voted by Time".

Lou Dobbs chose his words carefully and is very clear with what he has to say (when not interrupted). I found Jorge Ramos of Univision as equally ineloquent and unprepared as Alisa in the following debate:

http://www.cnn.com/video/partners/clickability/index.html?url=/video/bestoftv/2006/03/29/dobbs.ramos.debate.cnn

Judge for yourself.
posted by gnash at 9:41 AM on March 30, 2006


Nations have a right to control the rate of cultural change due to immigration.

Says who?

On the "economic drain" illegal immigrants cause: bunk.

At worst, illegal immigration is a wash in terms of economic benefit. It's quite possibly a small, but insignificant, benefit to the US. See this.

This is not an issue about anything logical or quantifiable. It's xenophobia, pure and simple. It's about the assholes that call my niece a "dirty Mexican," even though she's second-generation, US-born citizen, and is descended from legal Mexican immigrants and Spaniards that lived in the American SW since the 1700s.

It's about fear of the Spanish language. It's about bigotry. Don't get suckered by the pretty, specious arguments about the "drain" these immigrants place on our economy, or the vapid complaints of the "illegality" of it (yeah, most people get really worked up about violations of civil code). They're just people like you, looking for the exact same thing you have: which you got completely by accident.
posted by teece at 9:43 AM on March 30, 2006


jeffburdges, its trol, not troll. Also, I don't disagree with the need to control the pace of immigration. However, you simply issued an edict specifically for muslims, do you believe muslims to be a singular entity? Do you think that muslims from saudi arabia are the same as muslims from begladesh or malaysia and that regardless don't have anything to contribute to american or western cultures?

There are saudis that own significant portion of major american corporations. How about a significant percentage of heart surgeons and medical practioners in rural America? Pakistanis. One of my CS professors was a security consultant to the biggest military industrial complex in the world, Bengali. I find your stereotyping of all muslims unnerving. Even arabs are not all the same, look at Dubai and you'd be hard pressed to find any similarity between your image of guy with turban on his head and them.

And tullius, I used myself only as an example, I am not desparate to migrate to America, I'd have to pay taxes on my worldwide income and I can choose whenever I wish to migrate (as usual the back doors for multi-nationals and large corporations exist, which I fully intend to use - not exploit, use, when I make up my mind) - but at the moment, the debate is how the immigration policy of today is different to that of yester years and exactly what is different now, the pattern that emerges is that today's immigrants have significantly darker skins than prior generations and that's what I feel is unfair. I mean think about it, who decided to block the doors? immigrants from prior waves, that's who. If you don't find that unfair or atleast ironic, I am willing to agree to disagree with you.
posted by trol at 9:49 AM on March 30, 2006


If you looik at the french riots in terms of class and social issues they don't seem that radically different from anything the Us has experienced.

Given the current weird spasm of xenophobia that the US is experiencing (oh no! Foreign companies might own things! oh no! chinese people make computers! Oh no, people are brown and therefore are terrorists with no rights) I find these claims of the awesome brilliance of the Us imigration experience profoundly doubtful.
posted by Artw at 10:16 AM on March 30, 2006


the gringos fear of a Latino planet is always a source of amusement. also, the rightwingers' whining at the ungrateful wetbLatinos is indeed priceless. mean, they should keep silently mowing the white man's lawn, pick his fruit and cook his food and clean his toilet without speaking up. and, maybe, say "gracias" for being allowed to live in land that was mostly stolen from Mexico anyway (ah the irony)

who the hell do they think they are.


Paul Krugman, unexceptionable left-liberal,

who, the gentleman who a few years ago compared anti-WTO protesters to Osama Bin Laden? that Krugman? he's such a lefty!


The U.S. could annex Mexico. There. Problem solved. They're all Americans now.

tell that to the Israelis -- it just doesn't work, they'd have done it 39 years ago
posted by matteo at 10:19 AM on March 30, 2006


matteo - well thats what they get for taking half measures.
posted by Artw at 10:25 AM on March 30, 2006


Artw, I have spent years in America and Europe and one of the interesting differences I have noticed is ability of most Europeans to absorb and incorporate constructive criticism to improve their procedure, processes and outlook in general. Whereas when dealing with a lot of Americans (clearly not all) in sales setting, I have had much higher level of success with unconditional and simpleminded praise - even criticism has to be sugar coated and presented as a chink in some sort of a strength. Good luck with arguing your point without caveats, conditions and a general sense of admiration for everything American.

British on the other hand are so self deprecating that its almost unbelievable, I found myself failing miserably in my sales pitches and job interviews when I first moved to UK after having spent almost a decade in America. I have now perfected my sense of worthlessness to an art form (see?) so much so that I am no longer even able to carry what used to pass for intelligent conversation back in new york.

I mean I was in new york for a few days and I got depressed at the obvious advertisement! Not a single ad where they tried to refrain from giving away the name of the product and definitely none that insulted their own marketing strategy. Its a different world, really.
posted by trol at 10:28 AM on March 30, 2006


teece, your claim that concern about immigration is motivated purely by xenophobia is just not right. To be certain, there are many in the US who are xenophobic and racist, and cover this up by appeal to quasi-sophisticated arguments for immigration control. But to say that this is the case for all who are concerned about this issue is just neither fair nor accurate.

trol, concerning US immigration policies of yesteryear, the current policy is much more liberal. Remember, the US has, in the past, established quotas based on nationality, and excluded outright certain nationalities from immigrating. And once again, let me say that I disagree with your characterization of the US as "closing its doors" on immigration. I just don't see how such a statement is justified.

And Artw, your characterization of American xenophobia doesn't jive with the actual sentiments of most Americans, I think. People here are overly concerned with Islamic terrorism and job-outsourcing, but I think that you take things way too far. Furthermore, I did not characterize America's policy as either "awesome" or "brilliant." Let's calm down a bit.
posted by Tullius at 10:40 AM on March 30, 2006


Ok I am just a bit confused. I was a child when my mom brought me here from Korea, got a green card and eventually became a US citizen.

If we were to do this illegally, I would have a lot more problems finding a decent job thats high paying, and getting a decent education.

If it's illegal to cross the border without a visitor visa, or a workers permit, why isn't it a crime?

Not to mention, if they don't do so legally, they can never get any thing decent done on this side, and they will be stuck doing menial jobs with little pay and probably no benefits. Anythign High-paying would have be illegal in nature.

Doesn't that suck for everybody involved?
posted by countzen at 10:42 AM on March 30, 2006


Tullius, the quotas still exist. Mexicans, Chinese, Indians and Philipinos are discriminated against for no other reason than their place of birth.
posted by trol at 10:44 AM on March 30, 2006


countzen, did your mom arrive here as a refugee? how did she get her greencard? I am just curious if someone in her shoes could still do the same, today? (for the purposes of this discussion, marriages, refugee status and wealth don't count, humor me on this, please).
posted by trol at 10:47 AM on March 30, 2006


trol,

Well, those routes you were talking about; you are right.

But do you want bring the average of US economy, education, skilled workers up or down? Those measurments are their for a reason.

If one can't help themselves, they can't help others.

I don't know how you feel or what you see, but I live in downtown LA, where that 'big march' happened last weekend. I really don't like to see Tijuana move to LA. (If any of you folks live here, I think you know what I mean.)

That might sound mean; but I have not seen any great positives and many negetives from this happening.

As for the statement of $4/hour jobs and such; I personally think they exist because there are people willing to do those jobs. Not the other way around.
posted by countzen at 10:57 AM on March 30, 2006


The national origin quota was abolished in 1965. It was replaced by a system that established quotas not on a national level, but on a larger geographical level. Here is the Wikipedia article on the act.
posted by Tullius at 10:58 AM on March 30, 2006


Trol,

Oh sorry, I didn't see your last comment.

From what I understand, her sisters arrived here first. How? I am not so sure. So I am guessing she was sponsered?

I might not be the fairest comparison for this, since i think my family was better off then the average family in mexico.

But the point I was trying to make was that it would be difficult to do anything worthwhile here without going through proper channels.

Perhaps, the entry into the proper channels could be lowered, but I think they need to be there an denforced.
posted by countzen at 11:00 AM on March 30, 2006


One more thing, it happened back in 1986, so it wasn't thaaaaat long ago.
posted by countzen at 11:00 AM on March 30, 2006


Right now a major news story is that Lenovo, the company that used to be IBMs laptop arm, is OWNED BY EVIL CHINESE PEOPLE who are ALMOST CERTAINLY SPIES. I stand by my statement that there's some kind of weird upsurge in xenophobia in the US right now.
posted by Artw at 11:07 AM on March 30, 2006


Countzen, from your description, you are not entirely clear about the route that immigrant zero in your family took. Your mom was sponsored by her sisters, whose circumstances of arrival to US are vague and that's understandable. But that means they or their sponsors in turn could have come here as spouses of American citizens, as undocumented migrants or have fallen through the holes in systems, especially if the criteria for immigrant zero wasn't one of the ones I mentioned above. For instance, I actually know of a person who successfully 'immigrated' after he went to the INS office sometime in 80s and claimed to have an appointment for adjustment of status as a permanent resident, his request was actioned after some searching, he was here on a visitor's visa - these are exeptions and not the norm and shouldn't be used as facts to argue the fairness of current immigration system. If on the other hand you have more details about immigrant zero in your family and the legality of their adventure outside the family or business/employment route, one that exists to this day, I'd love to hear about it.

Regarding your comment on LA becoming mexico or some such, similar concerns were raised about every wave of immigration in the 19th and 20th century to this country. Let's respect each other enough not to use such excuses for deferring the debate or basis of anti-immigration arguments.
posted by trol at 11:21 AM on March 30, 2006


Tillius, sorry mate, you are mistaken about the outright abolition of quotas. Yes, the system is much different than it was but it still exists:

http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/bulletin/bulletin_2847.html

If you can make sense of this excuse of a document (this url decides the fate of millions of potential immigrants all over the world and it barely readable), the gist of it is that you have to wait several additional years (8 additional years of waiting in worst case for relatives of Philippino immigrants to come to US, compared to everyone else except India, China and Mexico, which have their own sad stories). A quint-essential quota based on national origin decides how long a LEGAL immigrant who has everything ready has to wait before the consulate will even look at their application depending on where the applicant was born.

The really screwed up bit is that these quotas apply to Doctors, researchers and intellectuals and extra-ordinarily talented people the same way as they do to family based immigration. Chinese and Indian scientists and computer programmers, if they wish to settle have to wait over decade to immigrate legally. The reason I am explaining this is if I can change the mind of one person about how unfair and rigged the US immigration system is, I would think my job is done.
posted by trol at 11:30 AM on March 30, 2006


trol, it's always been the case that previously arrived waves of immigrants tried to limit those who came after...my family came exactly 100 years ago at what was then a record year for immigration--there was plenty of talk then about closing the doors and that this group was too poor and "eastern", etc, to ever assimilate properly, as opposed to the northern Europeans or Scandinavians and Germans who had come earlier. Italians weren't even considered really white back then. Since the 1920s we've closed it all up enormously, i'd say.

This is different because of the pandering to racists (and it--no one ever speaks of all the Canadians here, or Irish, or other white folks here illegally--they go right for the poor brown ones next door. This is telling (with pics): ... There is a deep well of race hatred under the veneer of calling for immigration control, because when they start with their Minuteman bullshit, these folks aren't far behind and they aren't kicked out.
posted by amberglow at 11:46 AM on March 30, 2006


Disclaimer: I've not carefully read this thread.

The numbers I'm seeing bandied about indicate that about 5% of the US's population is illegal immigrants; and that about 250 000 immigrants are sneaking over the border each year.

No matter which way you slice it, that seems like a very large number of illegals.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:52 AM on March 30, 2006


Right now a major news story is that Lenovo...

is a Chinese company. That's the same China that has repeatedly succeeded in having its spies infiltrate the deepest secret programs in the USA.

It would be beyond stupid to naïvely assume that Lenovo products destined for government use aren't a major security breach. It is well worth the cost of double checking that things are all legit.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:54 AM on March 30, 2006


trol,

Sorry, I should know more about my families immigration here, but it's not something I ever thought about; it was just handled by my mom.

As for the Tijuana comment, it was just something I was noticing, not a case against immigration. I am sure no one wants to turn LA into another Tijuana looking place, or any of the shanty towns. (I been in mexico several times for surfing trips, photoshoots, and just to visit for ill gotten goods... er.. fireworks.)

What I am saying is that with illegal immigration, in that it'll lead to lowering of the economy in the areas with large influx of illegal immigrants and possible rise in crime, because of lack of opportunity. So I am against it.

(Let me take this opportunity to rant against my race: Koreans. What's up with Korea town? Jesus, at least pretend you are in America with english signs! I am fluent so I take it for granted but I always get the same complaint from my non-koreans: "The sales people/waitresses treat us badly and we get ripped off left and right down there." *sigh*)
posted by countzen at 12:00 PM on March 30, 2006


Amberglow -
As someone who went through the often capricious process of immigrating legally to this country, I'll go on record as saying they ought to round up all the Canadians, Irish, and Germans that are here illegally. I feel the same way about the Indian graduate student down the hall overstaying his visa, and the El Salvadorans down the block not one of whom is here legally.
Let them spend the thousands of dollars on immigration lawyers or on trips down to 26 Federal Plaza to stand in line all day hoping you'll get to see a case officer. Hell, let them spend $260 to renew their green card.

As someone who has played by the rules and done the right thing, I have zero sympathy for people who think the rules don't apply to them, I have zero sympathy for people who want to jump the waiting list because they managed to successfully avoid getting caught by an overworked bureaucracy and I have zero sympathy for the argument that people wanting the laws of this country enforced are closet racists and unrepentant bigots.
posted by madajb at 12:14 PM on March 30, 2006


countzen, I am sorry but I don't see any numbers from you showing a decline in economy and as for the 'alleged' rise in crime, again, you show no evidence of illegal immigrants bearing a disproportionate responsibility for such activity. I will apologize for assuming you are wrong if you can provide me statistics to back either of your claims.
posted by trol at 12:15 PM on March 30, 2006


It would be beyond stupid to naïvely assume that Lenovo products destined for government use aren't a major security breach.

yeah, clearly evil chinese people are genetically incapable of not turning Thinkpads EVIL. Not like when they were manufacturing them for good ol' IBM.
posted by Artw at 12:15 PM on March 30, 2006


madajb, perhaps a more reasonable approach is to overhaul the laws of this country to become less procedural and more humane?
posted by trol at 12:16 PM on March 30, 2006


trol -

It would be a step in the right direction for everyone (both pro and anti immigration) if the immigration laws were simplified.
However, I think that has as much a chance of happening as a simplification of the tax code, that is, none at all.
posted by madajb at 12:36 PM on March 30, 2006


To Summarize the below: Economy does not improve with immigrants, they are actually lowered.

Quoting this article: http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_3645066
First, the net benefits to the U.S. economy from immigration, aside from the large gains to the immigrants themselves, are small. Realistic estimates suggest that immigration since 1980 has raised the total income of native-born Americans by no more than a fraction of 1 percent.

Second, while immigration may have raised overall income slightly, many of the worst-off native-born Americans are hurt by immigration - especially immigration from Mexico. Because Mexican immigrants have much less education than the average U.S. worker, they increase the supply of less-skilled labor, driving down the wages of the worst- paid Americans.

The most authoritative recent study of this effect, by George Borjas and Lawrence Katz of Harvard, estimates that U.S. high school dropouts would earn as much as 8 percent more if it weren't for Mexican immigration.

posted by countzen at 1:10 PM on March 30, 2006


countzen, that's an op-ed piece. Still, it does not indicate an overall drop in the economy, which is what you insinuated. I agree, that for high school drop outs, life could be better by 8%, but 8% of 5 dollar something minimum wage is little more than a quarter per hour.

On the other hand, for the people being discussed here (undocumented workers), the difference is literally orders of magnitude better quality of life than they were availed back in their respective countries. An interesting side note to this observation is that this used to be true for much of eastern europe, but opening the borders and free movement ability DID NOT result in mass migration of eastern europeans to the western european capitals. Instead it increased and improved the quality of life for eastern europeans right in their own backyard by giving employers and corporations an incentive to improve wages and conditions in order to prevent mass worker migration and resultant bankruptcies.

In a lot of cases, no one wants to leave their loved ones, and their country behind and fixing the immigration mess properly so that there is no incentive for anyone to break any laws. An example solution would be open borders, which could result in a system where employers and corporations in mexico would have to work harder in order to retain their workforce and American employers would lose an incentive to hire foreigners over locals due to wage gaps, problem solved. I understand that this idea might never see the light of day, but we do need drastic solutions as opposed to posturing by legal immigrants, right wingers and (unfortunately) ignorant but moderate and easily informable citizens.
posted by trol at 2:03 PM on March 30, 2006


please replace "behind and fixing" with behind, but reality is that they do for economic reasons and improve the quality of life for their children and families. What is needed is a solution fixing" - in the last paragraph of my previous comment. I previewed but missed it.
posted by trol at 2:06 PM on March 30, 2006


Hrm. This blog post seems to say the same thing several times and many people pointed out that the poster is pretty.. um, loose.. with some of the facts & figures.
And comments are all screened & must be approved. Gee, easy way to swing the opinion there.

Oh well.

"countzen, I am sorry but I don't see any numbers from you showing a decline in economy and as for the 'alleged' rise in crime, again, you show no evidence of illegal immigrants bearing a disproportionate responsibility for such activity."

Sometimes it's difficult to get accurate crime figures for certain areas, so it's not always easy to just post evidence online. I'd say that in many cases, you'd have to be familiar with the area affected to see what was really going on. but here is an article that demonstrates one of the bigger problems with the illegal immigrants - it's seriously affecting schools. And because I'm familiar with the area, here is a link to a blog with news reports about Concord, CA. The area has seen a huge influx of illegal immigrants, and the changes are very obvious. Crime has gone up, especially property & drug crimes, and property values have gone down. The median income is nearly $30,000 lower than the county average. Housing costs are $100,000-$200,000 lower than the average for the area. This is East San Francisco Bay Area we're talking about.

Anyway, just some food for thought.
posted by drstein at 2:16 PM on March 30, 2006


I don't care why or how they're here, as long as they aren't wearing a Purple Shirt!
posted by shnoz-gobblin at 2:19 PM on March 30, 2006


tell you what, madajb--i'd do just what they're all doing if i was them and wanted to be here. I'd do whatever it took, and if it doesn't work legally, then i'd do it illegally. It's not like it was ever easy for anyone who came here--there were always payoffs and ripoffs and people who died along the way. We have an artificial and unworkably low number of people who are allowed in here--it should be raised and amnesty should be granted, on a sporadic basis, and the laws should also be enforced--i want employers fined, and put out of business if they're repeat offenders---many if not all of them can afford to pay minimum wage if not much more--they just don't want to.
posted by amberglow at 2:30 PM on March 30, 2006


yeah, clearly evil chinese people are genetically incapable of not turning Thinkpads EVIL. Not like when they were manufacturing them for good ol' IBM.

Oh FFS, FO. The Chinese government can't be trusted any further than it can be thrown. You have to be utterly stupid to think the Chinese government wouldn't spy on diplomats using any means possible.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:52 PM on March 30, 2006


On the other hand, for the people being discussed here (undocumented workers), the difference is literally orders of magnitude better quality of life than they were availed back in their respective countries.

Does this alleviate the Mexican government of the need to fix things in its own country? Or does it get to continue schlepping its most desperate citizens off to the USA?
posted by five fresh fish at 2:54 PM on March 30, 2006


amberglow -
Had I been born into the conditions that some of the illegals were born into, I'd probably be taking a long hard look at jumping the border as well.
However, sympathy for those wanting a better life does not preclude the U.S. from enforcing the restrictions the citizens have enacted.

Of course the number is artificial, borders by their very nature are artificial, but again, that does not preclude the U.S. from enforcing restrictions on who can can cross them. Whether or not it's too low is a matter of opinion, but even if you set it to x, that doesn't change the fact that immigrant x+1 is illegal and ought to be sent home.

I disagree on the amnesty. To me, that's essentially saying "Hey, if you break the laws and manage to get away with it for an arbitrary length of time, you get a reward. And all you folks on the waiting lists for green cards and work permits? Yeah, sorry, all these folk that jumped the line are going to come first."

And I agree, were I head of the INS (or ICE or whatever they call themselves these days), I'd stand outside the nearest Tyson chicken plant and start handing out $5000/day fines for every illegal worker I found. And I'd be happy to bring civil forfeiture proceedings against any company found to repeatedly violate immigration law.

Reasonable people can disagree on immigration policy, but that does not make those of us who think immigration enforcement should be stricter racist, bigoted, or ignorant as the linked article seems to suggest.
posted by madajb at 3:15 PM on March 30, 2006


Nations have a right to control the rate of cultural change due to immigration.

Says who?


Says the nation in question. Certainly, non-citizens have no inherent right to immigrate; that is a privilege granted by the nation that accepts them. The primary purpose of allowing immigration is to benefit the country accepting the immigrants. It is not to solve the world's ills.

the quotas still exist. Mexicans, Chinese, Indians and Philipinos are discriminated against for no other reason than their place of birth.

Yes, quotas still exist. So? Are quotas inherently unfair? It seems to me that if you don't want to allow completely open borders, you will need some criteria to control who can enter. Geographical quotas seem a lot more fair than other possible criteria.

This is different because of the pandering to racists (and it--no one ever speaks of all the Canadians here, or Irish, or other white folks here illegally--they go right for the poor brown ones next door.

Because they're brown, or because they're poor? I doubt that anyone would complain if rich brown people brought their wealth here; frankly, I think there'd be a lot less complaint if poor brown illegal immigrants spoke fluent English.

We have an artificial and unworkably low number of people who are allowed in here

What makes it any less artificial than any other number? Are optimal immigration quotas discoverable in nature?
posted by me & my monkey at 3:17 PM on March 30, 2006




The longer the link, the truer the assertion!

posted by jfuller at 3:36 PM on March 30, 2006


One problem with the Ivins prescription is that it's really easy for undocumented workers to get false social security cards, with working numbers that can be checked (and are) by employers, and come back as good-to-go.

I agree with the basic framing of the argument, though, which is that many businesses thrive on illegal labor, and many more of those businesses are essential to our daily lives such as the farm industry.

I once heard that something like 40% of what's on any average meal plate comes from California, so based on my knowledge of CA's farm industry, I would say 39% of the food you eat was in some way made available to you by undocumented workers.

But it does bear repeating that the vast, vast majority of people who come to America illegally do so to work.
posted by cell divide at 3:42 PM on March 30, 2006


as me & my monkey mentioned, things would probably be smoother if immigrating hopefuls would at least attempt to learn the language first.

I know I'm not the only one annoyed that most things are in Spanish as well as English, and in some cases, Spanish takes priority.

It's nothing against Spanish specifically; I'd be just as annoyed if it were, say, Russian (we have a lot of them, too).

If my family learned English before coming here, so can they . That single effort would go a long way towards gaining sympathy to the cause; it would help dispel the "invasion" image, that people are pouring over the border demanding that we change our environment to suit their needs.

posted by geckoinpdx at 3:42 PM on March 30, 2006


sorry about the bold tag.
posted by geckoinpdx at 3:43 PM on March 30, 2006


My family never learned English until they got here--i think that was overwhelmingly the case until just very recently--why should others have to follow a different standard? And why is it annoying to see Spanish? It's worthwhile (and worth money) to know another language, and seeing it all over ensures that many know at least a few words of it. Studies have shown that it's the children of immigrants who help their parents with English, and who negotiate the hurdles of not knowing it, and that most learn at least some themselves, even if they're not comfortable speaking it.
posted by amberglow at 4:00 PM on March 30, 2006


sure they are---how many of the illegal people here are working? how many are there total? there you go--done.

Do you really think that they would all have jobs if they were legal? I thought the allure of hiring illegal immigrants was that you could get away with paying them illegally low wages and benefits.

How about if your boss could hire an immigrant to do whatever it is you do, at half the rate? Would that be ok with you? Because I'm sure that someone out there would be willing to do your job for less than you do. No one is irreplaceable.

This by Molly Ivins is exactly right--funny how no one ever suggests anything like this

I agree with you that this is what should happen, but there are some obvious reasons why this doesn't happen. It's similar to the war on drugs - it causes less domestic unrest to focus on supply rather than demand. People would rather punish someone they don't know, than someone they do.

My family never learned English until they got here--i think that was overwhelmingly the case until just very recently--why should others have to follow a different standard?

Presumably, your family assimilated within a relatively short period of time, without support from the state to do so. When Spanish becomes a defacto second language that the state has to use, that's an indication that people may not be assimilating as well as your family did. I think that's a relevant and important problem.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:06 PM on March 30, 2006


That seems like quite a leap, me& my monkey. In my family at least, my great-grandparents came to the US from Germany in the 1890's, and German was the preferred tongue within the family until World War II made it painfully unpopular to be German.

Immigration just seems to be one of those things that comes around with regularity, the only thing that changes is the nationality or ethnic group being labeled as the "problem."

And I don't get the sense that people are pouring over the border demanding that we change the environment to suit their needs. I think that governments often choose to disseminate information in multiple langugages because that helps ensure that people get the information the state has deemed worth communicating to the populace. I don't have a problem with it.
posted by ambrosia at 4:33 PM on March 30, 2006


ambrosia -
"Preferred tongue" is different than "only tongue".

I think me & my monkey is referring to those immigrants that refuse to learn English on general principle, preferring instead Korean, Spanish, German whatever.

The point is, that when there is a common language, there is a common culture. Without it, you just get little enclaves.
Assimilation is a two way street, both the dominant culture and the minority culture benefit.
Without it, it's usually the minority culture that gets screwed.
posted by madajb at 4:50 PM on March 30, 2006


why should others have to follow a different standard?

I didn't say they had to, just wondering aloud whether it would help soothe some of the friction if they made that attempt. I wouldn't think of attempting to immigrate to, say, Finland without attempting to learn Finnish. It would only help my cause (I really do want to live here! I'm trying to fit in as much as possible! etc) and hopefully garner sympathy toward my cause.

I'm a bad example since English is very widely spoken. But It would be the same thing if I only spoke Swahili and wanted to move to Egypt; I'd make every attempt to learn Arabic.

And why is it annoying to see Spanish?

The very next sentence I wrote was this:

It's nothing against Spanish specifically; I'd be just as annoyed if it were, say, Russian


It's worthwhile (and worth money) to know another language, and seeing it all over ensures that many know at least a few words of it.

Kinda proves my point, doesn't it? How are you expected to learn English when you move here and everything is in your own language? I mean, where's the incentive?

If you're talking from a personal perspective (me as gecko, rather than me as the other side of the coin), I definitely do see the merit of being multilingual. I was raised (mostly) bilingual and have become familiar (not nearly fluent, though) in several other languages, enough to get my point across. In my experience, people really open up if you try to communicate in their own language.

And that's just because I wanted to learn, not because I needed to get something from someone who didn't speak my language. The only point I was trying to make here is that it would, in my opinion, greatly improve the situation.
posted by geckoinpdx at 4:59 PM on March 30, 2006


Absolutely there is a benefit to everyone for immigrants to speak the language of their new country. What I am challenging is the perception that previous waves of immigrants learned English and/or assimilated more quickly than current immigrants are learning English.
posted by ambrosia at 5:08 PM on March 30, 2006


I didn't mean to imply that, or necessarily believe it. I'm just saying that this one thing would go a long way towards improving relations between groups.
posted by geckoinpdx at 5:18 PM on March 30, 2006


Wells spoke madajb - as someone who has arrived early and sat at immigration offices for hours you have articulated many of my perspectives perfectly.

Re: geckoinpdx comment on Spanish signs and amberglows responses: ok, sure it is nice being billingual. I could be considered billingual and it is a valuable asset to have to be sure.

Here is the thing - this is not a gift to us by illegal immigrants - it is in fact another burden. Why? State and federal governments, hospitals, schools, etc. have to provide English as a second language education, make translators available (i n the case of hospitals) and finally in the case of government multiple translations available (above and beyond Spanish) all which costs the taxpayers money.

A lot of money. I have travelled and lived in a couple of different countries - never having the expectation that an English translation would be available. In the countries I lived in I learned the language both ahead of time and while there - I did not expect nor feel entitled to have translations provided for me.

Let me be clear - I do not personally have a problem with legal or illegal immigrants speaking their native tongue (which some do). However I do not feel it is my responsibility to foot the bill to translate into languages that are not the official language of the United States - English.
posted by gnash at 6:27 PM on March 30, 2006


...and finally in the case of government multiple translations available (above and beyond Spanish) all which costs the taxpayers money.

Exactly. One of the first elections I was able to vote in had a ballot measure to make English the official state language, for that exact reason...it was proving very costly to have to print everything two, three or more times, once in each language. I'd never heard so many accusations of racism and culture-killing before, just for suggesting that we make the language official.

It just seems to me that if you're going to go somewhere to improve your life and have to ask for help in the process, you'd want to be as cooperative as possible and do everything in your power to prevent becoming a burden on your prospective new home.
posted by geckoinpdx at 6:53 PM on March 30, 2006


When Spanish becomes a defacto second language that the state has to use, that's an indication that people may not be assimilating as well as your family did.

Er... any reason to not become bilingual? Spanish is easy to learn.

Here in BC, it's a wise person who sends their kid to French Immersion for elementary school, and has them in an Asian language program in high school. A trilingual kid could go a long, long way.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:08 PM on March 30, 2006


When Spanish becomes a defacto second language that the state has to use, that's an indication that people may not be assimilating as well as your family did.

No, it's not (necessarily). It's (possibly) an indication of two things.

(1) A continuing influx of Spanish-speaking immigrants, so there's always a large supply of new immigrants who don't speak English.
(2) We have laws that say that the state should translate documents into immigrant languages, instead of the old way of simply saying "Fuck you."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:10 PM on March 30, 2006


Nice chip Xenophobe.

I will say that apparently the countries that I have visited (including Mexico - outside of tourist areas) have had a higher dose of "F--- you" then the US then. Despite there being immigrants to those countries that do not speak their languge.

Those countries chose to spend money on other things focusing perhaps on citizenry v. immigrants. I didn't hold them in contempt and I didn't see them as xenophobic.

You would gain more credibility if you didn't continue to fall back on the racist/xenophobe thing so much me thinks.
posted by gnash at 8:27 PM on March 30, 2006


I think Lou Dobbs is an extremely bright guy. I would enjoy seeing Valdes-Rodriguez (sans penchant for ad hominem) sit down and talk with him on the air about the topic.
posted by shoos at 10:49 PM on March 30, 2006


What I am challenging is the perception that previous waves of immigrants learned English and/or assimilated more quickly than current immigrants are learning English.

I don't know anything about that. However, the state is now supporting this failure to assimilate, with bilingual education initiatives, government information providers being forced to provide information in multiple languages, and so on. If people are given no incentives to assimilate, why should we expect them to?

Er... any reason to not become bilingual? Spanish is easy to learn.

Sure, that's a great idea. It's also completely irrelevant. If every native US English speaker learned Spanish, it would not solve the problem of assimilation for non-native, non-English speaking people, unless we also made Spanish the dominant language of our culture.

We have laws that say that the state should translate documents into immigrant languages, instead of the old way of simply saying "Fuck you."

Where you see "fuck you", I see "learn the culture into which you've immigrated." But even if you want to read it as "fuck you," remember that we're still saying "fuck you" to everyone other than Spanish-speaking immigrants. Why should they get special treatment? Just because there are so many of them? Why should my Burmese immigrant friend have to learn English, while these Spanish-speaking immigrants don't?
posted by me & my monkey at 9:19 AM on March 31, 2006


A whole lot of what I'm hearing from you, M&MM, sounds ever-so-much to my ears like the "save the white race" bullshit spewed by the supremacy crowd.

It's a strange sort of paranoia IMO. I really don't understand why a shift in culture is so often seen as a terrible thing.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:17 AM on March 31, 2006


A whole lot of what I'm hearing from you, M&MM, sounds ever-so-much to my ears like the "save the white race" bullshit spewed by the supremacy crowd.

I can only say what I think, but you'll hear what you want to hear. Nothing I'm saying has damn all to do with race. So perhaps you should visit an otologist.

I think that a demographic shift to a more Latino US is inevitable. I have no problems with that. (I think Latino guys are hot, so yay for me!)

It's a strange sort of paranoia IMO. I really don't understand why a shift in culture is so often seen as a terrible thing.

Well, if you think that your culture is valuable, and superior to that of other societies, you might think that a shift will likely be for the worst. I think that, in general, American society is superior in a lot of ways to that of Mexico and many South American countries. Otherwise, I suppose I'd want to emigrate. I would certainly not want to exchange cultures with, say, Saudi Arabia or Sudan, because I would dislike being stoned to death.

So, call it paranoia if you like, but I think it's a valid concern. We're doing a disservice to people who immigrate to America because they embrace its values. We're doing a disservice to the people who we don't encourage to assimilate, because they remain trapped in a second-class culture. Our lackadaisical treatment of illegal immigrants is unfair to those who immigrate legally. And, finally, not encouraging assimilation does us no good - if there is value in diversity within our culture, we don't get that by having two separate cultures that don't intersect.

Forgive me my obviously racist and paranoiac concerns.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:40 AM on March 31, 2006


You already have multiple cultures: Oregon ain't no Texas ain't no New York.

You already have multiple cultures: red state versus blue state. City versus rural.

I live in a multi-lingual, multi-cultural country, m&mm, in which diversity is both recognized, accepted, and encouraged. It seems that it works out okay.

Where we can agree, I think, is that there is a problem: illegals compete for real jobs but with advantages (not paying taxes, taking lower pay, not subject to labour laws) that citizens do not have. And if my 5%/250K numbers are correct, it's a very large problem. Size of a small city of illegals entering the country every year? Crazy.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:36 PM on March 31, 2006


You already have multiple cultures ...

Well, there's an incredible amount of commonality across them; they're not as different as you seem to think. They share a common language, many common idioms, cultural references, etc, etc. I've spent some time in all three places you mention, and urban and rural places, without too much adjustment one way or the other.

I live in a multi-lingual, multi-cultural country, m&mm, in which diversity is both recognized, accepted, and encouraged. It seems that it works out okay.

Good for you! No, seriously, I mean that. However, diversity is one thing - something I value highly. Diversity within a shared culture should not be confused with isolated enclaves that don't interact, however. That's not good for anybody.

Where we can agree, I think, is that there is a problem: illegals compete for real jobs but with advantages (not paying taxes, taking lower pay, not subject to labour laws) that citizens do not have.

As someone said upthread, the real problem is that we're unwilling to enforce the demand, only the supply. People who hire illegal immigrants should be punished. Most of the things you list as advantages for illegals are really advantages for their employers.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:53 PM on March 31, 2006


HTuttle: What's got you so upset?

You forget to beat your wife today?
posted by I Love Tacos at 6:54 PM on March 31, 2006


Re: diversity versus assimilation — whatever, then. No skin off our asses either way. We're in agreement that a solution is required.

Watching TDS, there was a clip at the end showing a horde of immigrants running through one of the checkpoints. Just balls-out making a break for it.

You can not win against that desperation or that mentality. Either you give up and open the borders to all, and welcome them as citizens — basically taking over Mexico, because that would be the next demand your new citizens would want...

Or you put up a big fucking wall and a one-kilometer Dead Zone. I think you'd then amerliorate things by welcoming all illegals to become full citizens by fulfilling certain requirements, including basic Simplified English; and subsequently booting out everyone who can't demonstrate citizenship.

There really are no other practical choices as far as I can see. One strikes me as a bigger risk, but with an excellent chance of long-term success with big social benefits; the other as a surefire success but with great expense and a lot of political uproar.

1 tax registration, payment of backtaxes, mandatory enrollment in federal public healthcare1 (and the taxation to prove it, ie. higher taxes than general public), mandatory licensing for whatever occupations they work, etcetera.
1and the taxation to prove it, ie. higher taxes than general public; let the general public join the same plan on application.

posted by five fresh fish at 7:04 PM on March 31, 2006




Amberglow, so freaking Nazis don't want more immigration from Mexico and support what the Minutemen are doing. What did you think their position would be?

I mean you and Fred Phelps most likely have in common some particular political/ethical/social perspective. Does that say anything about you or about him?
posted by shoos at 2:25 AM on April 1, 2006


When mainstream broadcasters and talking heads parrot the stuff the extremists and racists have propagated (and this is not the only issue this is happening with), it's not just that they have something in common--it's that they're specifically using hateful, scurrilous info gotten from those extremists. It happens with us gay people too--all the fake Cameron "science", and it happens with abortion, and it most definitely happens with black people. ...

There's a clear and persistent pattern of info and attitudes and lies from hate groups moving into the mainstream these past few years. If you don't see a problem with it, i'm sorry.
posted by amberglow at 10:04 AM on April 1, 2006


LAT:
It's been a while since a major American news organization treated an important national issue as irresponsibly as CNN now does immigration.

Ever since Fox News took over the top spot in the cable news ratings, CNN has thrashed from one failed strategy to another. At the moment, the network's reporters and anchors bleed all over every story they touch.
...
The network's one modest success story is Lou Dobbs. His shtick is to take a page from Fox's playbook and retool the talk-radio sensibility for the tube. No real reporting, just lots of opinion aggressively presented with a recurring focus on the requisite obsession — in his case, illegal immigration and, to a lesser extent, what the correspondents on his nightly program have taken to calling "so-called free trade." Night after night, he rages against illegal immigrants and "unconscionable acts," like the Senate's Kennedy-McCain bill. How far does he go? Well, in a report from the Cancun summit Thursday, viewers were told that illegal immigrants were bringing leprosy into the United States. ...

posted by amberglow at 7:56 AM on April 3, 2006




Now that everyone else has left the room, I can add my solution. Pick 'em up at the Mexican border and transship 'em to Canada. I'm sure our non-racist neighbors to the north won't have the least problem with that.

posted by jfuller at 12:59 PM on April 4, 2006


Canada's too far...altho, i do think if we're really becoming a common market, there should be far more freedom to move around to work--for all of us. Right now, it's very hard for us to go to either country, and easier for people to come here (illegally at least).

I wonder what Canada's quotas are regarding Mexicans and Latin Americans? Their regular process requires money in the bank and a scoring system, which many Mexicans wouldn't pass, i don't think. Maybe as we all warm up and the breadbasket moves up there, it'll happen?
posted by amberglow at 10:35 AM on April 5, 2006


I'm sure our non-racist neighbors to the north won't have the least problem with that.

WTF?
Amberglow: Don't count on Canada having a breadbasket. Our prairies are undergoing a depression-era drought that is going to devastate our wheat production.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:47 PM on April 6, 2006


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