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Day Without an Immigrant
May 1, 2006 1:45 PM   Subscribe

While the main Day Without An Immigrant site is down at the moment (cached), the protests have begun and they are everywhere (LA, Arizona, Pennsylvania/NJ). In SF they look quite large. More on flickr and google news.
posted by mathowie (201 comments total)

 
I work in an immigration law firm. I would love to have a Day Without An Immigrant around here.

(Kidding!)
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:49 PM on May 1, 2006


Flickr is often awesome for stuff like this, thanks for reminding me to check that.
posted by cell divide at 1:50 PM on May 1, 2006


I just came from downtown SF and the march is big. And impressive. Particularly the concentration of people of a class you don't normally see taking over downtown San Francisco.
posted by Nelson at 1:52 PM on May 1, 2006


Just saw a promo for Lou Dobbs' show tonight; the tagline was "Walking Out On America."

What a fucking jerk.
posted by mediareport at 1:52 PM on May 1, 2006


I suppose Lou Dobbs has the right to be upset since he is 100% Cherokee, his family having lived here for thousands of years.
posted by mathowie at 1:54 PM on May 1, 2006


Oh, is that what explains it? Guy's just what we need - yet another demagogue on this issue.
posted by mediareport at 1:56 PM on May 1, 2006


I was joking.
posted by mathowie at 1:59 PM on May 1, 2006


I know.

*leaves work to head over to la marcha at the Raleigh capitol*
posted by mediareport at 2:01 PM on May 1, 2006


Will this really have an effect on current legislation? Bush is a lame duck, any bill the Senate will pass will not have a mirror image in the House (hence, it'll die in a joint committee), and the people who aren't working today really have no choice but to go back to their jobs tomorrow.

Anyhoot, it seems like any mass protest these days claim a couple days' worth of news, then boil down into that category of forgotten news of little impact.
posted by Atreides at 2:04 PM on May 1, 2006


I actually thought he was 100% cherokee.
posted by puke & cry at 2:05 PM on May 1, 2006 [1 favorite]


Two days off in one week? Viva!
posted by fenriq at 2:06 PM on May 1, 2006


75,000 in Denver, apparently.
posted by carter at 2:10 PM on May 1, 2006


I just went down to see the rally at the end of the march in Chicago (stupid work, making me miss the actual march). It's HUGE. I'd like to get an accurate count (as in, not from a press release written the night before) of how many people all over the country were marching. And there were lots of families, which is a nice sight.
posted by ruby.aftermath at 2:12 PM on May 1, 2006


I would like to see an estimate of legal:illegals attending the rallies. Just to get an idea of how much "voters" care about the issue.

I'd also like to see what (if any) economic affect there is compared to that which occurrs annually with events like NCAA tournament, World Cup, Hunnukah, etc.
posted by b_thinky at 2:13 PM on May 1, 2006


Hey, if 100,000 of my closest friends and I took the day off and decided to go march around the city smoking joints to protest anti-drug legislation, would I be provided with a protective police presence? Will they close off major streets for us? Would I still have a job tomorrow?

*ahem*
posted by ninjew at 2:15 PM on May 1, 2006


An accurate count? Are you kidding? They're going to bury this as quickly as possible, by trivializing it to the point where it'll just be considered "a disgruntled group of troublemakers," instead of the fact that there are hundreds of thousands, right now, protesting all over the country.

I actually had to tell co-workers about the fact that there is a nationwide protest going on today - at least two of them had no idea.
posted by FormlessOne at 2:15 PM on May 1, 2006


I know the rally has already turned off one immigrant: my dad. He and his parents were refugees, and they waited their turn to become citizens. Yesterday, he said this whole thing was gonna start a backlash, and I think he's right. The boycott was a bad idea; it's the kind of thing to save to break political logjams, not to whip up more support.

I'm still not gonna boycott Wahoo's, though, even though they closed down for the day.
posted by RakDaddy at 2:19 PM on May 1, 2006


All this immigration blather is keeping Alex Jones from talking about really crazy stuff. At least the endless screeds about how two or three guys wearing "Plan of San Diego" t-shirts means all us white guys over the age of 18 are going to be killed by rampaging Latinos are kinda fun.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 2:19 PM on May 1, 2006


About an hour ago, I think, the march in NYC went under our window. Loud. Big. And now there's the constant drone of helicopters hovering (4th & Bway) -- probably over Union Square
posted by papercake at 2:23 PM on May 1, 2006


Most people I've heard commenting on it simply were glad it made their commute that much shorter because of the lack of traffic.
posted by zabuni at 2:23 PM on May 1, 2006


I have some in-laws that came over legally as well. They had to pay out the wazoo in legal fees and experienced considerable hassle just going through the darned process.

Granted, most illegals don't have the money to pay lawyers, etc, but the argument that they should just be granted citizenship isn't really fair to people like my relative, who did things the "right" way, is it?
posted by b_thinky at 2:26 PM on May 1, 2006


Help an outsider - who is marching here?

Illegals? Is that a good idea for those outside the law?

What are the marcher's arguing for? Open door? Work Permits? Something else?
posted by A189Nut at 2:26 PM on May 1, 2006


Rakdaddy, the process shouldn't be expensive, complicated, and take years like it does now. Just 2-3 generations back my ancestors were all rubber stamped at Ellis Island. Becoming a legal citizen was easy and trivial back then, it'd be nice if we could offer the same sort of deal to today's immigrant population.
posted by mathowie at 2:31 PM on May 1, 2006


I was affected more than I expected to be in Minnesota. My Chipotle's was closed.
posted by graventy at 2:32 PM on May 1, 2006


Rakdaddy, the process shouldn't be expensive, complicated, and take years like it does now. Just 2-3 generations back my ancestors were all rubber stamped at Ellis Island. Becoming a legal citizen was easy and trivial back then, it'd be nice if we could offer the same sort of deal to today's immigrant population.

Seems reasonable, but then the realities of terrorism are different today. We would have to figure out a way of dealing with that.
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 2:34 PM on May 1, 2006


mathowie: Why? Is there a single first world nation that rubberstamps immigration? Why should we have to absorb population from nations that can't control their rutting?
posted by keswick at 2:34 PM on May 1, 2006


The police estimate 400,000 here in Chicago. Many businesses are closed as a show of support.

A189Nut: The marchers are specifically against the current house of representatives bill that would criminalize illegal immigrants and anyone who helped them (including charitable organizations). I'm sure many of them have other demands as well, but the house bill is what set the recent protests in motion.
posted by mai at 2:37 PM on May 1, 2006


Here are my pics from the march/rally in New Orleans. There were a lot more people involved than I would have predicted but the demographics of the gulf south have changed quite a bit since Katrina & Rita. Still, not anywhere near what bigger cities are reporting.
posted by djeo at 2:38 PM on May 1, 2006


keswick writes "mathowie: Why? Is there a single first world nation that rubberstamps immigration? Why should we have to absorb population from nations that can't control their rutting?"

Yeah, but how many of those first world nations are actively out there selling their way of life in the same manner as the US? It's one thing to promote your idealogy all over the world in any way that you see fit, but to actually come through for those that are convinced and would like to experience it first hand... well, that's another story.
posted by purephase at 2:40 PM on May 1, 2006


but then the realities of terrorism are different today

(ob. OMG TERRAR!!1! derail)

Yes, indeed they are. But terrorists don't necessarily need to be citizens. Making the immigration process less needlessly difficult and overly long, and making sure guys with bombs don't enter the country for the one day or so they need to be here to set those bombs off, are completely orthogonal issues. Fix immigration so CBP can stop worrying about some guy who's going to take a minimum wage job from a Minuteman who wouldn't deign to do it anyway, and you can use all the newly-bored CBP guys to actually, I don't know, patrol the damn border.

(end ob. OMG TERRAR!!1! derail)
posted by Vetinari at 2:43 PM on May 1, 2006


If you don't want immigrants here, enforce labor standards and laws across the board. It's obvious that many third-world natives are willing to come to the US and work for a few dollars an hour. They wouldn't make the effort if it weren't for the sleazebag business owners and contractors who exploit the hopes and dreams of these people.

There's a parallel to the war on drugs here:

America: Stop sending all this illegal stuff here, world!

World: Stop having a raging, uncontrollable hunger for it, idjits.


(PS keswick, are you native American? Did your great- grand- whatevers come over with Leif Erickson? I'm genuinely curious.)
posted by bardic at 2:43 PM on May 1, 2006


You cant really blame them for coming when it's so easy to walk right on over. Its not thier fault that America is so much better than inept Mexico- its our fault for letting them in so easily.

Im with the 'illegal' population here already, let them stay, give them a realistic path towards assimilation and citizenship.

But the problem is HUGE and getting worse all the time- before we can deal with those that are here we have to stop anyone else from coming. Now would be a good time to start doing something, before the leftist movement brewing in Latin America really makes it to the illegal population in America in force.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:45 PM on May 1, 2006


disregard quotes on illegal. that was stupid. sorry.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:46 PM on May 1, 2006


I suppose Lou Dobbs has the right to be upset since he is 100% Cherokee
That's true; here's a picture.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:47 PM on May 1, 2006


I haven't seen much effect here in rural southern Delaware. There is a large immigrant community, mostly in construction, landscaping and chicken-processing. It doesn't look like it really was an event here.

The other night Karen and I had dinner at La Tolteca, a favorite restaurant owned by a family from (I think) Mexico. I assume they are legal. They are capitalists on a grand scale, with a chain of restaurants throughout the state. We're regulars and are on friendly-nod status with the family and most of their long-term staff, but I lacked the balls to ask if they'd be open today.

I'm on the e-mail list of a local conservative politician. We agree about land use issues but little else. He sent a loud reactionary e-mail today about the boycott, vowing to blunt its effect by spending extra today. He said he's given his wife $500 to spend any way she wanted.

I started to write a response asking if I could have some cash to spend too, then decided to just ignore him.

Later, I was stuck in the eye-doctor's office, sitting in a dim room with my eyes iris'd out to Timothy Leary levels. They play FOX news in there and I was offended by their tone and obvious bias. I don't often see FOX; I hadn't realized how blatant they can be.

The announcers kept repeating that "this will backfire" and "America is a generous nation but will be angered by this" and crap like that. Every interview and every report from the field was brutally negative.

Yuck.
posted by mmahaffie at 2:49 PM on May 1, 2006


I think the argument of whether or not someone is an ethnic native american is irrelevent.

The fact is, we're a sovereign nation, with borders and with laws. We have to enforce both. I'm sympathetic to all viewpoints on the issue and can see the argument behind all proposals.

Personally, I think the most absurd idea is the amnesty. You can't just agree to break the law once, for everyone who willingly broke the law. That will just encourage more to come in and we'll be dealing with the same thing, multiplied by 100 in x years from now.
posted by b_thinky at 2:50 PM on May 1, 2006


Pittsburgh got "several dozen" protesters which is more than I thought there would be. There are just no immigrants here. We have 3 percent foreign population here and more than half of those have college degrees. So if you want to see what your city's economy would be like without immigrants look at our totally stagnant one. Here's an article about how Pittsburgh wants immigrants and can't get them.
posted by octothorpe at 2:50 PM on May 1, 2006


OMG TERRAR!!

Are you making fun of me?
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 2:50 PM on May 1, 2006


I would like to see an estimate of legal:illegals attending the rallies. Just to get an idea of how much "voters" care about the issue.

Well, you'll find plenty of naturalized citizens who want the focus on reforming the bureaucracy, and nth-generation citizens who have backstories of grandparents who entered illegally, and Latinos who are looked upon as illegal, even though their families' presence in the US dates back to pre-1776.

There was an interesting roundtable on CNN International, because both of the anchors were immigrants who mentioned their own bureaucratic hell courtesy of INS/USCIS, even though they came in on a work visa sponsored by their employers.

Is there a single first world nation that rubberstamps immigration?

Rubberstamps? Strawman. Has a transparent process that doesn't force you to become an expert on immigration law, and thus better qualified than most of the people working for the USCIS? Lots.
posted by holgate at 2:51 PM on May 1, 2006


fugitivefromchaingang writes "Seems reasonable, but then the realities of terrorism are different today."

You, know... Not really. There was terrorism back in the late 19th/early 20th century, too. Anarchism began as an intellectual movement in Europe, but it quickly mutated into a militant revolutionary cause, furthered by terrorists who bombed public places and assassinated heads of state (7 in 20 years, including a US president).

My personal theory is that back then, Americans weren't cowering chickenshit little pansies, afraid of their own shadows.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:56 PM on May 1, 2006


the realities of terrorism are different today.

Yes, certainly. And, of course, all the 9/11 hijackers were in your country ILLEGALLY, were they?

My Bestafar always said that he would never have been accepted into Canada anytime after the war -- he was, quite literally, an uneducated kid with an axe who wanted a job.

Now, both the US and Canada only take well-educated, well-off members of the upper and upper-middle classes -- and then ask them to do the work that used to be done by uneducated kids with axes.

Oh, and the son of my uneducated grandfather is an MD, true to form.
posted by jrochest at 2:58 PM on May 1, 2006


My personal theory is that back then, Americans weren't cowering chickenshit little pansies, afraid of their own shadows.

This does not seem like a philosophy someone who is actually responsible for the lives of other people has the luxury to hold.
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 2:58 PM on May 1, 2006


Why should we have to absorb population from nations that can't control their rutting?
posted by keswick at 2:34 PM PST on May 1


Thanks for the casual racism you fucking asshole.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:59 PM on May 1, 2006


Why should we have to absorb population from nations that can't control their rutting?

because social security will go broke in a few years if we don't?
posted by pyramid termite at 3:03 PM on May 1, 2006


I doubt very much that the protests will be able to influence Congress much, though I would hope to the contrary, keeping in mind the amply-sized protests against the Iraq war that all came to naught. However, I do think that the protests are an important form of expression for an exploited minority of people that are quite numerous and who are in a state of legal limbo. That they have the confidence and brazenness to be out protesting on the streets and not fearing arrests by the authorities given that they are here illegally is fairly monumental. As for those who say that it will cause a backlash, it may do ... but that is an argument that can always be used against rights-oriented protests (and e.g., is being used to prevent a gay parade in Moscow and I'm sure civil rights campaigners in the 60s were advised against engaging in civil disobedience because it would lead to a backlash). The point is that no backlash can override the millions of illegals who are here. And the govt just does not have the resources to find them and deport them. They are here to stay, regardless of the backlash. And besides, if there is any backlash, that will cause illegals to lash back in return and they can cause a significant amount of discomfort by not turning up at their jobs. Certainly, restaurants in New York will become paralyzed.
posted by Azaadistani at 3:03 PM on May 1, 2006


It's too bad we'll never see accurate counts of the number of people in the protests.
Too much bias on both sides.
I suppose the thing to do is take the number reported by one side and the number reported by the other side and find the mean.
posted by madajb at 3:06 PM on May 1, 2006


Ha, w00t! May Day is back in Chicago! :)
posted by By The Grace of God at 3:07 PM on May 1, 2006


Nothing Gringo Day
From the desk of Congressman Steve King, Iowa, Fifth District
posted by jaronson at 3:08 PM on May 1, 2006


What are the marcher's arguing for? Open door? Work Permits? Something else?

I'm not sure.

I don't know whose support they're looking for either, since most of the signs and chants are in Spanish, and I (along with most U.S. Citizens) don't speak Spanish.

It's a shame, since I'm sure I'd feel more sympathetic to their cause otherwise.
posted by o0o0o at 3:10 PM on May 1, 2006


How many marching want to become Americans? How many just want to be able to work and send money home without fear of deportment or arrest?

The greatest barrier those marching today have to overcome is the suspicion that they do not want to partake in the American culture, that they do not want to learn English, etc...etc.

Every Mexican flag in the crowd will set them back, as well as every sign and song in Spanish. These marches are going to do more harm than good, because enough of the people watching them will see an alien presence demanding power in their society, and will pass that worry on to their elected officials. No, this isn't the majority of America, but its enough to stop any bills or laws being passed to change things today.
posted by Atreides at 3:11 PM on May 1, 2006


"And the govt just does not have the resources to find them and deport them."

As someone who has worked for the INS (back when it was the INS), I can tell you this isn't true.
Finding 90% of the illegals(and the folk that employ them) is a trivial task. Most enforcement agents could tell you the top 10 employers of illegal aliens in their given area as well as tell you the apartment complexes/neighborhoods where said aliens are to be found.

What the government lacks is the will to find them and deport them, just as it lack the will to prosecute willful employers.
posted by madajb at 3:12 PM on May 1, 2006


Here in east Las Vegas, a very good many of the independent restaurants are closed, but the chains like Applebees are doing killer business.

As the lady of obvious hispanic origin remarked beside me at Applebees' bar, "They couldn't open. None of their dishwashers showed up."

I do not know how the Strip casinos fared.
posted by mischief at 3:13 PM on May 1, 2006


I don't know whose support they're looking for either, since most of the signs and chants are in Spanish, and I (along with most U.S. Citizens) don't speak Spanish.

It's a shame, since I'm sure I'd feel more sympathetic to their cause otherwise.
posted by o0o0o 2 minutes ago


thanks for all the supporting evidence for your retarded claim

i love this thread
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:14 PM on May 1, 2006


I read that as "retarded clam". Heh.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:15 PM on May 1, 2006


Why should we have to absorb population from nations that can't control their rutting?

They're all sex-crazed everywhere but here and can't control their dark and scary libidos! I guess now we know what this is really all about for you! Thanks for the first genuine internet chuckle of the week.

On a more serious note, I think the problem with this way of thinking:

Personally, I think the most absurd idea is the amnesty. You can't just agree to break the law once, for everyone who willingly broke the law. That will just encourage more to come in and we'll be dealing with the same thing, multiplied by 100 in x years from now.

Is that enforcement of the laws, explanation of the laws, and severity of the punishment fluctuates all the time. We've already had one major amnesty in the 1980's with Reagan.

The thing to remember is that the vast majority of illegal aliens are people who came here through a well-developed system which is unofficially sanctioned by big business, the police, and the government itself. It's a lot more like grey market trading, file sharing, smoking marijuana, and other illegal but popular activities then it is like stealing or assault. Yes, it's illegal, but America is sending a huge mixed message.

If America wants to get serious about immigration, it needs to confront all the issues head on. These marches are about the fact that one segment of the population wants to only focus on the weakest members of this chain of grey-market labor, that is to say the actual workers.
posted by cell divide at 3:15 PM on May 1, 2006


OMG TERRAR!!

Are you making fun of me?


Not at all. Your statement, yes, not you. I stand behind the assertion that our labyrinthine immigration process is absolutely unrelated to any real, actual protection from terrorism, and that attempting to inject terrorism into the immigration debate, while I assume well-intentioned, is yet more of the myopic Nine Eleven Changed Everything bullshit that's made acutal policy debate completely impossible in this country.

I did not, however, mean to imply anything about your intelligence or facility with English, and apologize for any offense taken.
posted by Vetinari at 3:16 PM on May 1, 2006


In SF, all the small business -- grocery stores, restaurants, etc -- near me were closed today. Impressive and kind of shocking to see a normally bustling street totally deserted.

I don't think there's just one reason that people are marching, though I believe it's primarily the House proposal to make illegal immigrants felons that initially sparked the recent series of protests.

One of the points here, I think, is to show the degree to which immigrants contribute to the economy. Of course, this will only work where there are a) large numbers of immigrants and b) those immigrants refused to work today. As evidenced by some of the posts in this thread, there is clearly a significant amount of anti-immigrant sentiment floating around in the zeitgeist of America right now. Admittedly, much of it is direct toward illegal immigrants and not all immigrants, but that sort of sentiment is easily and not infrequently transfered to anyone who even looks like they're from another country. In supposedly tolerant SF, hispanic friends of mine have recently been told things like "go back to your own country" by passing strangers in the streets -- never mind that they were born here.
posted by treepour at 3:20 PM on May 1, 2006


I actually had to tell co-workers about the fact that there is a nationwide protest going on today - at least two of them had no idea.
posted by FormlessOne


Do they listen to the radio? T.V.? Read the newspaper? Have the internet? Hell, it's front page on fox news.

If your co-workers have no idea the protest are going on they're probably better off not knowing. They probably need to concentrate on things like breathing.

Just 2-3 generations back my ancestors were all rubber stamped at Ellis Island.

No matter what side you stand comparing the world today to three generations ago is a little naive.
posted by justgary at 3:22 PM on May 1, 2006


It's a shame, since I'm sure I'd feel more sympathetic to their cause otherwise.
posted by o0o0o 2 minutes ago


thanks for all the supporting evidence for your retarded claim


What? He needs his id and ego to offer up supporting statements for his personal opinion?
posted by Atreides at 3:23 PM on May 1, 2006


I stand behind the assertion that our labyrinthine immigration process is absolutely unrelated to any real, actual protection from terrorism, and that attempting to inject terrorism into the immigration debate, while I assume well-intentioned, is yet more of the myopic Nine Eleven Changed Everything bullshit that's made acutal policy debate completely impossible in this country.

All I said was "but then the realities of terrorism are different today. We would have to figure out a way of dealing with that." I don't see how this is "injecting" something into a debate, I don't see how it's myopic, and I don't see how it's bullshit. We would have to figure out SOME way of dealing with that, right? I mean, how is this making actual policy debate completely impossible?

I was responding to someone who suggested we go back to a system similar to what was in place in the Ellis Island days. And I would hope that anybody who might want to do that would keep in mind the fact that, yes, 9/11 did happen. I don't think that's fearmongering, and I don't think that's fair.
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 3:25 PM on May 1, 2006


There's a parallel to the war on drugs here:

America: Stop sending all this illegal stuff here, world!

World: Stop having a raging, uncontrollable hunger for it, idjits.


Kudos, bardic, and thanks madajab for confirming what I've always assumed was true. Every time someone prattles on to me about illegal immigrants I repeat my firm belief: illegals are here to work because the market demand is there for them. Put up a 400 food impermeable fence and those jobs will go to the mentally ill or teenagers or some other somewhat marginalized class and they'll STILL be under-the-counter work.

On the other hand, you could just deal with the employers and cut off the flow of off-the-books work. Prices would go up (and likely end up costing Joe Average more money if those pinko commies at Cato are to be believed about the cost of immigrants on society) but there'd be no interest in being here if the work wasn't here. If employers couldn't get away with not doing the paperwork and dodging the SSI and other tax payments they'd stop offering the work.

But it's way more fun to bag on the Mexicans.
posted by phearlez at 3:32 PM on May 1, 2006


Here are my pictures from the rally in Sacramento. The crowd was big - local estimates were about 15,000, but I think that would cover just the folks on the west side of the Capitol - the ebullient crowd stretched along the mall maybe a third of the way toward Tower Bridge.
posted by luriete at 3:33 PM on May 1, 2006


We've already had one major amnesty in the 1980's with Reagan.

Technically, it was a readjustment of status.

It should also be noted that Reagan wanted much tougher employer sanctions to go along with the limited "amnesty". If I remember right, the top fines were close to a million dollars (in '86 dollars). Unfortunately, the sanctions were soon gutted by Congress and business interests, down to $50/person in some cases.
posted by madajb at 3:37 PM on May 1, 2006


...keep in mind the fact that, yes, 9/11 did happen. I don't think that's fearmongering, and I don't think that's fair.

It could be that the "actual" 9/11 terrorists had documents, didn't cross into this country through Mexico or South America, and that even had the proposed legislation already been in place, they would have attacked the U.S. anyway.

What is going unsaid is that the Public and the Media view the face of the immigrant problem as only that of Hispanics. Where is all the hate for the Koreans, Norwegians, etc., etc.?

On preview:
phearlez has it.
posted by lilnemo at 3:37 PM on May 1, 2006




From Denver.
posted by carter at 3:39 PM on May 1, 2006


The greatest barrier those marching today have to overcome is the suspicion that they do not want to partake in the American culture, that they do not want to learn English, etc...etc.

Ah yes, the American=English speaking myth.

No, this isn't the majority of America, but its enough to stop any bills or laws being passed to change things today.

The point of this protest is that congress is currently involved in the construction of an extremely mean-spirited law that would not only pile additional penalties on illegal immigrants, but make felons of people working for charity groups, if they are caught aiding an illegal immigrant.

Needless to say, some of the major objections to this bill come from clergy and doctors, who are not overly fond of demanding documentation before offering services.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:46 PM on May 1, 2006


keswick : "Is there a single first world nation that rubberstamps immigration?"

I dunno about rubberstamping, but my experience with US immigration in general sure doesn't show it in a good light. I'm married to a Japanese. To live in Japan, I go to the immigration office (no appointment necessary) with my passport, a copy of my wedding certificate, a copy of her town registery sheet, and somewhere around $60. I fill out a form, there in the office, turn it in, and in one to two weeks, I get a postcard saying "Come to the immigration office to pick up your completed visa".

To get my wife a green card so that she can live with me in America, I need to File a Form I-130. Supply a copy of my passport, her passport, her photos. File a Form G-325A for her, and a Form G-325A for myself. File a Form I-751 for both her and myself. Pay $190. When they inform me they've received this, then file a form I-129F. Supply a copy of my birth certificate. Supply evidence that I have personally met with my wife during the last 2 years. Supply more photos of both myself and my wife. Pay another $170. File a Form I-864. Wait an unspecified amount of time, probably measured in months, not days or weeks. Go to an interview at the embassy. Pray.

Somehow, I can't imagine that gaining citizenship is somehow easier than gaining a visa, so I can imagine the hurdles that must be gone through.
posted by Bugbread at 3:49 PM on May 1, 2006


Does anyone really buy terrorism prevention as a major motivator for immigration reform? It seems like a secondary issue at best. Here are the real (i.e. economic) vested interests, as I see it:


  • Business: Favors liberalized immigration to lower labor costs. Would probably be fine with the status quo; is terrified by the prospect of any tightening on immigration or increased enforcement
  • Organized labor: There's been a big change here in recent years. There was a time when organized labor would have opposed any immigration liberalization, since it provides a downward pressure on wages, but they now see immigrants as an opportunity to swell their dwindling ranks. Favors liberalized immigration, prefers full legal status for current undocumented workers.
  • The average middle class American: Benefits greatly from reduced prices resulting from immigrant labor. Any tightening of immigration or increased enforcement would hit them in the pocketbook. Is perfectly delighted with the status quo (doesn't think much about it, in fact).
  • The working poor: The Sensenbrenner bill would probably benefit this class the most (of course, the resulting inflation might hit them hard, too).


  • Of course, you also have to take into account good old American xenophobia and isolationism, but looking at those interests, it seems pretty clear to me that there's not going to be any increased immigration enforcement, at least not without a healthy dose of liberalization to go with it. I mean, seriously, do the working poor ever win?
    posted by mr_roboto at 3:53 PM on May 1, 2006


    Coming into the US recently, I noticed that the signs at the airport that used to point to 'Customs' and 'Immigration' had been renamed to 'Border Protection.'
    posted by carter at 3:54 PM on May 1, 2006


    I'm never surprised at the ability of Karl Rove and his cronies at Fox to find ever new ways to polarize and divide the United States by demonizing some segment of the population - and illegals are a segmnent of the population. They can't openly defend themselves, and so the Bush administration find another easy target to draw attention away from the real problems that face America.

    The GOP has already had at the Gays, Black Americans, Arab Americans, and even veterans (especially those pesky decorated war heroes.) But when they want to toss nukes at Iran in an aggressive first strike while losing control of the mess in Iraq, they need a new - and definately non-white, preferably non-citizen, non-voting - target to keep their minions distracted at home.
    posted by zaelic at 3:54 PM on May 1, 2006


    What? He needs his id and ego to offer up supporting statements for his personal opinion?
    posted by Atreides at 3:23 PM PST on May 1


    He does when he says most of the signs are in Spanish, a claim that goes counter to all the photographs I've seen. The irony is that if you could read English you wouldn't need me to lead you through this discussion.
    posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:54 PM on May 1, 2006


    Why should we have to absorb population from nations that can't control their rutting?

    There's something, somewhere, about sending your poor, tired, huddled masses yearning to breathe free into the US. We used to rally around phrases like that instead of hide from them.
    posted by mathowie at 3:56 PM on May 1, 2006


    zaelic : "They can't openly defend themselves"

    Well, that's what I would have thought, until a month or two ago, and again today.

    Optimus Chyme : "The irony is that if you could read English you wouldn't need me to lead you through this discussion."

    Folks, chill, chill (on both sides).
    posted by Bugbread at 3:57 PM on May 1, 2006


    I second bugbread, my fiance is from NZ and has a masters degree, and it would have been a labyrinthine enema to get him into the country. For me to live in NZ we had to prove that we had been in a stable relationship for 12 months. Not even married, just living together.
    posted by supercrayon at 4:02 PM on May 1, 2006


    There's something, somewhere, about sending your poor, tired, huddled masses

    It's engraved on the Statue of Liberty.
    posted by carter at 4:03 PM on May 1, 2006


    That's one goddamned poem from the fucking Edwardian age, not part of Constitution, a piece of Congressional legislation, or even a goddamn executive order. It's basically like taking the lyrics to "Twist and Shout" as a national mandate and allowing it to dictate policy for the next 103 years. It's silly. It's stupid.

    Besides, you're a big believer in sustainability... How is unfettered population growth sustainable? Shouldn't these people be acting locally and thinking globally instead of pouring over the border? Shouldn't we be encouraging them to become self-reliant instead of grist of teh capitalist machine that is exploiting them?
    posted by keswick at 4:04 PM on May 1, 2006


    (carter: did you just hear a giant whooshing sound?)
    posted by keswick at 4:04 PM on May 1, 2006


    keswick writes "Shouldn't we be encouraging them to become self-reliant instead of grist of teh capitalist machine that is exploiting them?"

    Fuck that. I'm going to need them here in 35 years, paying for my social security.
    posted by mr_roboto at 4:05 PM on May 1, 2006


    Just felt the need to point out that the residents of Alta California and Northern Mexico who found themselves annexed into the United States during the 19th century have at least as strong a claim on the linguistic and cultural heritage of the United States as the British settlers of New England and Virginia. It certainly would be nice if some of their North American predecessors got in the mix as well. But I suspect that is a lost cause.

    And I wonder, how many of the people complaining about Mexican-American immigration and culture lay on the manufactured Irish pride every March for St. Paddy's day?

    keswick: How is unfettered population growth sustainable? Shouldn't these people be acting locally and thinking globally instead of pouring over the border? Shouldn't we be encouraging them to become self-reliant instead of grist of teh capitalist machine that is exploiting them?

    People are starving in China dear, eat your vegetables.
    posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:06 PM on May 1, 2006


    My photoset.
    posted by Astro Zombie at 4:06 PM on May 1, 2006


    Besides, you're a big believer in sustainability... How is unfettered population growth sustainable?

    The one thing which has been proven, time and time again, to reduce population growth and birth rate, is a reduction in poverty and a growth in wealth. While immigration into the US increases the US' population, this is from a local perspective. From a global perspective, immigration into the US reduces over global population growth.
    posted by carter at 4:10 PM on May 1, 2006


    hey, im just trying to act locally and tend my own garden, man. what goes on over there is their problem.
    posted by keswick at 4:11 PM on May 1, 2006


    How depraved Arrest them all. No amnesty!
    posted by ParisParamus at 4:12 PM on May 1, 2006


    /over/overall.
    posted by carter at 4:12 PM on May 1, 2006


    fugitivefromchaingang : "Seems reasonable, but then the realities of terrorism are different today."

    Ok, I'll bite. How would the legislation in question decrease the risks of terrorism?
    posted by Bugbread at 4:15 PM on May 1, 2006


    keswick: Anti-immigrant sentiment certainly wasn't unheard of when the Statue of Liberty was constructed either. Although, back then you had people like Woodrow Wilson lamenting the potential collapse of Anglo-Saxon American civilization under the unchecked birthrate of immigrants from predominantly Catholic European nations. So this isn't a new debate.

    I don't think that anyone is arguing for unchecked immigration. I certainly would see that as a big problem. However, the current state of affairs is a dismal human rights issue, that will only get more severe if the current proposed laws are passed.
    posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:21 PM on May 1, 2006


    How depraved Arrest them all. No amnesty!

    (AP) Police nationwide visited bondage and sex shops to commandeer 11 million pairs of handcuffs, due to a national handcuff shortage.
    posted by pyramid termite at 4:25 PM on May 1, 2006


    that's funny, i seem to think most people seem to be advocating throwing the borders wide open. i've certainly more than a few people advocating that very position on mefi.

    i have no problem with immigration. i have a big problem with illegal immigration and i have an even bigger problem with illegal immigrants thinking we owe them a goddamn thing.
    posted by keswick at 4:25 PM on May 1, 2006


    Nobody's mentioned ANSWER yet? OK. I will.

    During the past weeks the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition has been deeply involved in mobilizing for the mass actions in Los Angeles and elsewhere. A.N.S.W.E.R. volunteers and organizers have been working round the clock to help in logistics, organization, mobilization and all the other tasks involved in showing authentic solidarity with the immigrant workers movement.

    I don't care how you folks handle your immigation problems. But I hate these guys. I hate them so much. Any protest that involves them is tainted. I pray that those with legitimate complaints distance themselves as far away as possible from them.
    posted by loquax at 4:26 PM on May 1, 2006


    loquax writes "Nobody's mentioned ANSWER yet? "

    You trust what they write on their web site? Just because they say they're involved doesn't mean that they're actually involved. They're like the leech of protest movements; they'll attach themselves to anything that looks like it might have some life in it.
    posted by mr_roboto at 4:30 PM on May 1, 2006


    keswick : "i have a big problem with illegal immigration and i have an even bigger problem with illegal immigrants thinking we owe them a goddamn thing."

    Well, we do pay them less than minimum wage, so if you do the math, we do owe them quite a bit after a while. If your average illegal immigrant got paid a dollar less than minimum wage, and worked 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, that's $2,000 per person. Current estimates are that there are maybe 12 million illegal immigrants. If half of them are working at the discounted sample rate above, we owe them $24 billion a year. So we may not owe them citizenship, we may not owe them amnesty, but we do owe them something.
    posted by Bugbread at 4:36 PM on May 1, 2006


    Regarding flags, while I haven't had the fortune to take any photos of today's march in NYC, the last march and today's march looked pretty much like this:

    Flags

    So the whole idea that those marching are somehow turning their backs on America is pure crap. In almost every photo from the rally (no matter where) there are too many American flags to count.
    posted by plemeljr at 4:37 PM on May 1, 2006


    Overpopulation is a red herring--it's not going to be a problem in America anytime soon. Overtaxed resources for public, health, and police services? Well, now we can start talking like adults. If you want to expand the tax base to pay for these things, yes, grant amnesty and/or come up with a system where a given illegal who puts in a given amount of time and tax money into the Fed and state treasuries gets to become a citizen. Pressure them to have a stable address, steady job, and to take care of his or her familial obligations--this is a harsher way of phrasing "the American dream."

    In Europe, it's interesting to see how immigrant labor is even more necessary and, IMO, more fraught than here precisely because of the opposite problem. In many countries, especially Russia, you've got precipitous poulation decline going on, and taking in immigrants would solve many short and long-term problems, and add new ones--cultural and religious assimilation, potential terrorism, etc.

    Look, I'm not saying all illegals in America are saints, or that they solve all of our nation's problems, but don't blame them out of hand when it's American business owners who encourage, if not actively invite, them to come over in the first place. And if they want a piece of the same dream our parents and grandparents had? More power to them.

    And I really wish more people would read some Richard Rodgriguez.
    posted by bardic at 4:38 PM on May 1, 2006


    Just because they say they're involved doesn't mean that they're actually involved. They're like the leech of protest movements; they'll attach themselves to anything that looks like it might have some life in it.

    I know, but they're the ones getting the face time, they're the ones taking the credit, they're the ones handing out the free posters and flying the banners. I realize this isn't "their" protest, but their ability to manipulate public opinion in that direction and hijack legitimate protests for their own agenda is dangerous. To hear legitimate anti-war groups (and others) resignedly accept ANSWER's help in organizing because of their skill and resources scares me a little bit.
    posted by loquax at 4:38 PM on May 1, 2006


    Just got back from the march in downtown Raleigh, NC. It was a big crowd--far larger than I've ever seen at a protest here. Between marching with a flag-waving, chanting crowd (in Spanish AND English, mind you) and the display of giant brass American balls from Mr. Colbert Saturday night, I felt really good about my country for the first time in a while. It was a nice feeling.
    posted by EarBucket at 4:41 PM on May 1, 2006


    So basically I should come to American illegally soon, because there's going to be an amnesty?
    posted by A189Nut at 4:47 PM on May 1, 2006



    He does when he says most of the signs are in Spanish, a claim that goes counter to all the photographs I've seen. The irony is that if you could read English you wouldn't need me to lead you through this discussion.


    Well, in my neck of the woods they most certainly are. I'm sorry I didn't bring my digital camera to work today, or I would have posted pictures and audio clips for you.

    No reason for you to be an asshat.
    posted by o0o0o at 4:47 PM on May 1, 2006


    "Just got back from the march in downtown Raleigh, NC"

    The New Black Panthers sure picked a bad day to protest their own issues in the area.
    posted by mischief at 4:50 PM on May 1, 2006


    "There's a parallel to the war on drugs here:

    America: Stop sending all this illegal stuff here, world!

    World: Stop having a raging, uncontrollable hunger for it, idjits."



    Well to be fair Bardic, some of the things they send have the property of creating a "raging, uncontrollable hunger". Ever lost a friend to cocaine or heroin? I have. It ain't pretty.
    posted by vronsky at 4:50 PM on May 1, 2006


    It's engraved on the Statue of Liberty.

    Yeah, but she's a old, French Freedom whore.
    posted by MikeKD at 4:54 PM on May 1, 2006


    "No reason for you to be an asshat."

    This is Mefi, being an asshat is a requirement for registration.
    posted by mischief at 4:58 PM on May 1, 2006


    Illegal immigrants
    Immigrants
    Illegal immigrants
    Immigrants
    Illegal immigrants
    Immigrants
    Illegal immigrants
    Immigrants
    Illegal immigrants
    Immigrants
    Illegal immigrants
    Immigrants
    Illegal immigrants
    Immigrants

    How did they come to mean the SAME THING?
    posted by HTuttle at 5:00 PM on May 1, 2006


    Fuck that. I'm going to need them here in 35 years, paying for my social security.
    posted by mr_roboto at 4:05 PM PST on May 1 [!]


    So you'd seriously rather rely on low-wage, undocumnted, illegal workers than fix the damm broken social security system?
    posted by b_thinky at 5:05 PM on May 1, 2006


    o0o0o : "Well, in my neck of the woods they most certainly are [in Spanish]. I'm sorry I didn't bring my digital camera to work today, or I would have posted pictures and audio clips for you."

    Around here, I suspect they're just confused:

    posted by Bugbread at 5:16 PM on May 1, 2006


    Just got back from the Raleigh march; it was wonderful. Lots of young families, lots of smiling and drums, everyone calm and respectful but also happy and definitely feeling their power. Fave sign: "We believed in America before America believed in us." Fave moment: the local NBC reporter having trouble with his earpiece/microphone and turning around to yell directly into the camera at his editors, "THOUSANDS! There are THOUSANDS of people here!"

    I was grinning from ear to ear almost the entire time (one jerky cop out of many cool ones notwithstanding), watching a sea of mostly Latino faces I'd never seen before filling the street around the capitol, as a handful of folks led their local sections in chanting, almost all of it in Spanish. There was one moment when the crowd started waving American flags and chanting "USA! USA!" that was just beautiful, and slightly surreal, and another when a happy little boy on his father's shoulders started shouting all by himself "Si se puede! Si se puede!" ("Yes it can be done!") The crowd around him just burst into smiles. Occasionally, a small group would yell out a half-sheepish/half-defiant "Arriba Mexico!" and be answered by "Arriba Colombia!" from somewhere else, but since when is taking pride in your roots un-American, you know?

    Yeah, there are serious issues about wages and the native poor that need to be worked out, and yeah, services in rural NC are being stretched without much relief and need to be fixed, but wandering through that crowd was a powerful reminder that the fear and viciousness coming at these people from some quarters is completely undeserved and truly disgusting.
    posted by mediareport at 5:16 PM on May 1, 2006


    (trying to be helpful, and assuming you've actually started the process)

    I need to File a Form I-130. Supply a copy of my passport, her passport, her photos. File a Form G-325A for her, and a Form G-325A for myself. File a Form I-751 for both her and myself.

    The 751 is for removal of conditions if you were married less than two years when your spouse got a green card, so it wouldn't make any sense to fill that out before a green card. That doesn't mean that CIS or State doesn't want it anway. Do you mean a different form?

    Ex-INS is a real bitch to deal with though, especially when it's combined with the inconsistent practices of State. For instance...

    Did you file your I-130 directly with the US consulate? The consulates and embassy in Japan allow this, and you end up with a green card in ~4 months, don't need to get the I-129, don't need to adjust status in the US. See here. Annoyingly, stuff like this is not very well publicized -- if you look at the information at USCIS, I don't think it's listed anywhere.
    posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:18 PM on May 1, 2006


    So how come NAFTA is "free" trade for everything except labor? Somehow these free market and free trade purists never seem to include the labor market.
    posted by dilettante at 5:20 PM on May 1, 2006


    I unreservedly welcome the people in these marches, because if nothing else, the fact that they are willing to stand up for themselves like this and not just bend over at every piece of crap the government throws at the people, like the rest of us citizens, shows that they are exactly the sort of people America needs. They seem to understand citizenship a whole hell of a lot better than most of us.

    The fringe-left groups that are marching along are just bandwagoning. That's all they do. That's all they've done for decades. They're useless. Ignore them.
    posted by furiousthought at 5:20 PM on May 1, 2006


    Why should we have to absorb population from nations that can't control their rutting?

    By god, that is one hellaciously stupid thing to have said. I am deeply embarassed for you and your parents.
    posted by five fresh fish at 5:21 PM on May 1, 2006


    ROU_Xenophobe : "The 751 is for removal of conditions if you were married less than two years when your spouse got a green card, so it wouldn't make any sense to fill that out before a green card. That doesn't mean that CIS or State doesn't want it anway. Do you mean a different form?"

    Ah, ok. Thank you massively. The situation, if I get around to starting the process (they recommend starting it before you even plan on moving to the US, because it takes a while...er, but I guess you know that), is that I will be starting the application process approximately 1 year after getting married. So I take it I don't need to fill it out, but after I get the green card, and another year passes, I should fill it out?

    ROU_Xenophobe : "The consulates and embassy in Japan allow this, and you end up with a green card in ~4 months, don't need to get the I-129, don't need to adjust status in the US."

    Again, sweet! Part of the problem is that each site (the US embassy in Japan site, the US immigration site in the US, etc.) say different things. I haven't started the app process yet, but I guess I'll just call the embassy and ask them what specifically needs to be done, since the sites conflict.
    posted by Bugbread at 5:26 PM on May 1, 2006


    Illegal immigrants
    Immigrants
    Illegal immigrants
    Immigrants

    How did they come to mean the SAME THING?


    When immigration is outlawed, only outlaws will be immigrants.
    posted by namespan at 5:46 PM on May 1, 2006


    Chicago: Most of the flags were American flags, the rest were Mexican, Polish and Irish in that order. The signs were split evenly between English and Spanish. Most of the chants were in Spanish (1. "Si se puede", 2. something I didn't understand, 3. "USA! USA!", 4. that "Ole" song from the soccer games)

    There was no way to tell who was illegal and who wasn't because there was huge support from the Hispanic communities (in case you didn't know, there are many different communities there).


    My favorite sign:
    My name is Juan
    Not Saddam

    I'd like to think that people's fear of illegal immigrants is not just race-based, but when I hear shit about "people who can't control their rutting" like I have here it makes me sad. Remember, the protest today was about reforming immigration without ruining the lives of people who've made their lives here already. Primarily it was about making sure that House Bill HR447 doesn't pass. This proposed law has far reaching implications, and the government cannot even enforce most of it. It would not stem the tide of illegal immigrants or even get rid of a modest majority of those living here, it would mostly make sure that the ones who have the most to lose live their lives in fear.

    I know that it's a bit hopeful, but I think that if employers were forced to pay illegals the same wages as everyone else in the country, they would rather hire citizens (in my not-in-a-million-years vision, the immigrants would be able to unionize too). Also, those who still do have jobs would not be living on slave wages. But it won't happen, at least we had a beautiful day in the park today.

    And a happy 120th anniversary of our own Haymarket Riots on this lovely grey May Day
    posted by elr at 5:49 PM on May 1, 2006


    My favorite sign was clutched by a tiny, tiny child riding on his father's shoulders--handwritten in magic marker on a wrinkled sheet of paper, it said "We work so hard."
    posted by EarBucket at 5:56 PM on May 1, 2006


    I will be starting the application process approximately 1 year after getting married. So I take it I don't need to fill it out, but after I get the green card, and another year passes, I should fill it out?

    More or less. If you haven't been married at least two years when she gets her green card, it will be a two-year conditional green card.

    1 year and 9 months later, you file one I-751 together.

    If you've been married 2 years when she gets the card -- not when you start the application process -- then you don't have to do the 751.

    Again, sweet! Part of the problem is that each site (the US embassy in Japan site, the US immigration site in the US, etc.) say different things.

    They do indeed.

    I haven't started the app process yet, but I guess I'll just call the embassy and ask them what specifically needs to be done, since the sites conflict.

    Yah. Also, check out the usenet group alt.us.visa.marriage-based -- it's full of good information. You might also just post there with your situation and see if someone there has gone through the process from Japan.
    posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:01 PM on May 1, 2006


    crap. I think I mean alt.visa.us.marriage-based .
    posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:02 PM on May 1, 2006


    Well, in my neck of the woods, there wasn't much difference.
    The Chinese guys were still behind the counter at the buffet.
    The Indian(Pakistani? I dunno) guy was still running his gas station.
    All of the Russians in the lab showed up.
    posted by madajb at 6:34 PM on May 1, 2006


    I'm used to be an immigrant worker in the US. I fled because of Bush second term, to become expatriate again in an other country.

    What I read today on the news is great -- it shows people they can have real power. Now, the rest of the population in the US needs to do the same thing about other important and pressing issues.

    If you get all the unhappy people in the US to take on the street, you'll have the government scared shit in no time (I might just be afraid of the consequences of this admin running scared shit.)
    posted by NewBornHippy at 6:38 PM on May 1, 2006


    I saw no protestors or closed businesses around here. Even the Mexican grocery I frequent was open. I feel that for the vast majority of the country this was another event that only happened on the TV news, a 90 second story on the 11pm newscast.
    posted by acetonic at 6:57 PM on May 1, 2006


    Perhaps I've missed something, but why should we suddenly reward people who came here illegally?

    While I welcome anyone who wants to come to America to take part in the classic dream, is to much to ask that they get in line and try to be a citizen? Seriously, instead of being out protesting perhaps they should be doing mass education rally's on how to become a legal citizen.
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:03 PM on May 1, 2006


    I wanted to leave the U.S., but Canada and New Zealand won't have me. I guess I'm stuck here.
    posted by sluglicker at 7:05 PM on May 1, 2006


    Perhaps I've missed something, but why should we suddenly reward people who came here illegally? While I welcome anyone who wants to come to America to take part in the classic dream, is to much to ask that they get in line and try to be a citizen?

    Ask any canadian friends that work at tech companies how well their citizenship papers are going and how much it costs. It seems like it averages $7-8k in legal work and 3-5 years of waiting to become legal. And these are white collar professionals with unlimited legal help from their corporate employers.

    My great grandparents hopped on a boat and got rubberstamped on their way in. If they were showing up today, they'd have no choice to be illegal.
    posted by mathowie at 7:13 PM on May 1, 2006


    Brandon Blatcher writes "Perhaps I've missed something, but why should we suddenly reward people who came here illegally?"

    Because it's impractical to deport them all. Unfortunately, this is a case where the law has become completely detached from reality.
    posted by mr_roboto at 7:14 PM on May 1, 2006


    Wow. Sounds like the USA is as difficult to emigrate to as Australia is, at least for technical folk.

    Come to think of it, Canada's damn difficult about it all, too.

    What the hell are we all thinking? Why are we trying to keep the smart people out of our countries?
    posted by five fresh fish at 7:34 PM on May 1, 2006


    Brandon Blatcher : "why should we suddenly reward people who came here illegally?

    ...Seriously, instead of being out protesting perhaps they should be doing mass education rally's on how to become a legal citizen."


    I seriously don't follow. Let's say that status quo is represented by 0. A reward is represented by +. A punishment is represented by -.

    The situation is that, under status quo, there are penalties for being an illegal immigrant. The government is trying to add additional punishment. That is, they are trying to change 0 to -. The protests are, for the most part, saying, "Leave it at 0". That isn't 'rewarding' anyone, that's leaving things as they are.

    In addition, the people out there doing mass education rallys, per your suggestion, would be turned into felons by this law long before they could get citizenship, and I'm fairly certain that felony prohibits one from gaining citizenship, so if they want to become legal citizens (or legal immigrants; you don't need to be an American to live legally in America), it makes a whole lot more sense to protest a law that will prevent them from ever becoming citizens then to study how to do something that they will be unable to do because the law passes.
    posted by Bugbread at 7:35 PM on May 1, 2006


    That was really funny, bugbread.
    posted by Astro Zombie at 7:39 PM on May 1, 2006


    is to much to ask that they get in line and try to be a citizen? Seriously, instead of being out protesting perhaps they should be doing mass education rally's on how to become a legal citizen.

    Why is this always trotted out as if citizenship is easy to achieve? Do Americans even understand how the process works? There are some skilled and even (shock! horror!) professional illegals but for the majority it would be really frickin hard to get a work permit let alone citizenship.

    In the case of Mexicans, they don't qualify for the green card lottery, asylum, or (in the case of unskilled labour) H1s/J1s. And their employers aren't interested in helping get sponsorship anyway. What does that leave, visas by marriage?

    We left the US because after 15 (legal, traveled home annually) years in the States my fantastic other half hadn't yet received his green card, let alone citizenship. That is an extreme case with plenty of twists, but this stuff isn't like renewing your drivers licence.
    posted by jamesonandwater at 7:43 PM on May 1, 2006


    Bah. The Ainu were here first. Only they have a right to be here. Everyone else are just white-face-fucks-flush-with-cash in San Diego. And fascists.
    posted by homunculus at 8:07 PM on May 1, 2006


    Do Americans even understand how the process works?

    I suspect most Americans care about how the process works just slightly less than they care about how prisons work.
    posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:20 PM on May 1, 2006


    Every Mexican flag in the crowd will set them back, as well as every sign and song in Spanish. These marches are going to do more harm than good, because enough of the people watching them will see an alien presence demanding power in their society, and will pass that worry on to their elected officials.

    . . . yes because here in America, our elected officials are nationalistic racist bigots- that in the past made Hitler proud. The murderers of native people, the enslavers of Africans, the oppressers of the workers at home, and now abroad; who the hell wants to be an American?
    posted by j-urb at 8:24 PM on May 1, 2006


    Up to 3,500 in Asheville, NC! Word!
    posted by moonbird at 8:30 PM on May 1, 2006


    Americans of the World, Unite! Free the USA! Free the USA!
    posted by five fresh fish at 8:37 PM on May 1, 2006


    Americans of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains.
    posted by chunking express at 8:54 PM on May 1, 2006


    Hrm. We already did amnesty before - are we going to keep doing this every 15 years or so?
    posted by drstein at 9:52 PM on May 1, 2006


    White-face-fucks-flush-with-cash-that-made-Hitler-proud in San Diego.
    posted by homunculus at 9:54 PM on May 1, 2006


    1,500+ in Athens, Georgia, USA. The largest march since '72, at least, probably the largest mass demonstration this town has ever seen. Mexican, Peruvian, Salvadorian, red-and-black flags, but mostly the stars and stripes. Chants in Spanish.

    Showing us gring@s how May Day is done. Free the USA indeed.
    posted by eustatic at 10:00 PM on May 1, 2006


    I'm opposed to the legislation these demonstrators are protesting, but I'm with Brandon and a few others who feel that there should be steps taken to make immigration easier and not to accomodate the people who are here already. Once the law is changed to make attaining citizenship easier (just simplify the process, not quite rubberstamping but maybe just some kind of registration and showing you're not a bum), there can be, I don't know, a special department task force or some shit dedicated to naturalization. I'm just saying let's do this the right way - which probably is not the fast way but really won't be that slow.
    posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:22 PM on May 1, 2006


    Come to think of it, Canada's damn difficult about it all, too.

    No shit. But instead of complaining about how Canada's violating my human rights by not letting me in where and when I want to go, I realize that I'm likely going to have to suck it up, hire an immigration lawyer, and convince my parents that they do want to have criminal background checks done on them for my sake.
    posted by oaf at 10:42 PM on May 1, 2006


    Comparing US/Canada to US/Mexico is never going to get us anywhere. It's maple syrup and salsa. or whatever.

    But, let's just say your salary in the US is $50,000 a year. And in Canada they're paying programmers (or whatever it is you do) $5,000,000 a year plus vacation time, clean air, etc. You can send back half of your salary to your family and still live like a price compared to your measly $50k a year life in the USA.

    Plus, there's a dedicated system in place to take you over the boarder. You pay a guy $10k and you're in, and all this goes down with some collusion from the Canadians, some border guards, etc. Plus, there's hardly any chance of you being caught, unless you're a criminal, and oh yeah, half your family is already there. Technically it's against the law but everybody does it, and eventually a lot become citizens, or if they don't like it, it's easy to come home.

    Or, you could spend 10 years filling out forms and applying "legally" to Canada.

    You may indeed be the type of person who, because something is illegal would never do it. But a lot would, especially when you throw in abject poverty instead of $50k a year.
    posted by cell divide at 11:31 PM on May 1, 2006


    Thank you bugbread and ROU_Xenophobe. I'm doing the same oh-isn't-this-fun paperwork game with the USCIS, only with Romania instead of Japan. I know I'm not alone, but it's nice to grok it sometimes too.
    posted by quite unimportant at 1:12 AM on May 2, 2006


    great post and thread, thanks.

    yesterday I made a point of watching the Fox "News" coverage, and I was delighted to see the actual rage of Uncle Rupert's white boys who just don't understand why the brown peoples insist on being treated as, you know, human beings. instead of quietly mowing the lawns, washing the dishes, cleaning the white man's toilets with a smile on their happy, sunburnt faces.

    the fact that those Hispanic hordes don't seem to particularly like to be exploited just baffles American conservatives. it baffles them.

    worker's rights? I mean, really. who the hell do they think they are. what chutzpah.
    posted by matteo at 2:31 AM on May 2, 2006


    I wonder how many will get fired for skipping out on work. Heh.

    Seriously, if a great swath of the people from Central and Latin America who have initiative and drive end up in America mowing lawns... who will work to improve the economy back where they came from?

    And what does it say about us as a society that we need / thrive on having an underclass do menial work for us, work that doesn't even get paid the minimum wage (which is itself a joke, having been inadequate in the first place and not risen to keep pace with inflation).

    Some people seem to be real happy with this situation, that people serve their needs for shit wages they themselves would never have to work for, but frankly I think it's wrong to exploit another human being like that, even if they are willing.

    Whatever happened to mowing one's own lawn, cleaning one's own house, and having citizens use dishwashing and such as a starter job before they move up to other things?

    All the illegal immigrant cheerleading bothers me. The whole situation is messed up. It's slavery with a new face, when it comes down to it. And people are holding it up like it's some great situation. People who will never have to work for less than minimum wage themselves, heh.

    And the unwillingness of some immigrants to learn English really hurts their cause. I don't care what language your ancestors spoke, if you want to get by in America you should learn and be able to function in English. If you refuse you make yourself even more economically marginalized, which helps no one, and you increase the cost of public services that are to be rendered to you (and your children if they also fail to learn English).
    posted by beth at 4:00 AM on May 2, 2006


    matteo : "Uncle Rupert's white boys who just don't understand why the brown peoples insist on being treated as, you know, human beings. instead of quietly mowing the lawns, washing the dishes, cleaning the white man's toilets with a smile on their happy, sunburnt faces.

    the fact that those Hispanic hordes don't seem to particularly like to be exploited just
    baffles American conservatives. it baffles them."

    Surely you don't actually believe that, do you, matteo? That they have some fundamental inability to understand this? It seems roughly one billion percent more likely that the Fox News folks understand that, but are more concerned with the legality of the workers' residency status, and possibly with the belief that "America is for Americans (i.e. white folks)". Hyperbolizing the enemy's position does no-one any favours.

    beth : "It's slavery with a new face, when it comes down to it."

    The "new face" being "voluntariness"? There are plenty of problems with the treatment of illegal immigrants, but if you're going to redefine "slavery" to include "voluntary but underpaid work", then I'm going to redefine "ice cream" to include "steak".
    posted by Bugbread at 4:58 AM on May 2, 2006


    Don't get me wrong. In certain cases, illegal aliens are held hostage by folks with the threat of reporting them to the INS. In that case, calling it a variation on slavery makes a modicum of sense. However, your statement seems to be not limited to that group, but saying that any illegal alien working for less than minimum wage is the equivalent of a slave.
    posted by Bugbread at 5:44 AM on May 2, 2006


    Hyperbolizing the enemy's position does no-one any favours.

    being unable to detect sarcasm doesn't really help, either
    posted by matteo at 6:31 AM on May 2, 2006


    Kick as many out as possible; build a better wall, and let some additional immigrants in legally--to do otherwise is national suicide.
    posted by ParisParamus at 6:36 AM on May 2, 2006


    Matteo,

    So your comment was meant to point out that Fox News folks understand the immigrants' and supporters' desires? Because that's how sarcasm works. A sarcastic statement means the opposite of what it says. Witness: "Oh, yeah, I fucking love having the government tell me what I can or can't do in the bedroom" means the opposite, because it's sarcastic. So if your post was sarcasm, what you really meant was:
    I was delighted to see the actual rage of Uncle Rupert's white boys who understand perfectly why hispanic people insist on being treated as, you know, human beings. instead of quietly mowing the lawns, washing the dishes, cleaning the white man's toilets with a smile on their happy, sunburnt faces.

    the fact that those Hispanic hordes don't seem to particularly like to be exploited makes perfect sense to American conservatives. it's crystal clear.
    What you posted wasn't sarcasm, it was just snarking and misrepresenting an already bad position as a charicature.
    posted by Bugbread at 6:45 AM on May 2, 2006


    10,000 in Yakima, WA.
    posted by pmbuko at 6:56 AM on May 2, 2006


    > A sarcastic statement means the opposite of what it says.

    Um. This is tangential to the subject of the thread, but nope. As figures of speech go, sarcasm is any cutting or wounding statement expressing contempt or ridicule. Irony is saying the opposite of what you mean -- often with sarcastic intent.
    posted by jfuller at 7:02 AM on May 2, 2006


    Sarcasm is to irony as ___________ is to rain on your wedding day.
    posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:05 AM on May 2, 2006


    Kick as many out as possible; build a better wall, and let some additional immigrants in legally--to do otherwise is national suicide.
    posted by ParisParamus


    And from which Native American Indian nation did your family come, PP?
    posted by zaelic at 7:05 AM on May 2, 2006


    Indians are one of the lost tribes of Hebrews, so PP had relatives here.
    posted by Astro Zombie at 7:09 AM on May 2, 2006


    And from which Native American Indian nation did your family come, PP?

    Which Native American Indian nation are Mexicans from?
    posted by loquax at 7:13 AM on May 2, 2006


    > Why should we have to absorb population from nations that can't control their rutting?
    >
    > By god, that is one hellaciously stupid thing to have said. I am deeply embarassed
    > for you and your parents.

    fff, I think the US should admit one South or Central American immigrant for every one Canada accepts. We volunteer to provide transportation from Cal/Ariz/NM/Tejas for those bound for the northern border. Set a noble example and show us up, eh? Or, if not, then STFU, your choice. (I predict you will do neither.)

    posted by jfuller at 7:16 AM on May 2, 2006


    All the anti-immigration (anti-amnesty, build a wall people) look at it this way, if your cases are anything to go on, make all the illegals citizens and they'll turn right around and become flag- waving american bigots, just like you. I offer an exception to this to any one who can prove straight line descent from the fucking Clovis.

    And I know this has been covered but:

    I don't know whose support they're looking for either, since most of the signs and chants are in Spanish, and I (along with most U.S. Citizens) don't speak Spanish.

    It's a shame, since I'm sure I'd feel more sympathetic to their cause otherwise.
    posted by o0o0o 2 minutes ago


    First of all, as Optimus says, most of the signs are in English. However, guess what? People like me who grew up in fairly open plural places with lots of immigrants? We pick up some of their language, just as they pick up English. I can get by in Spanish and THAT IS NOT A BAD THING.

    For one I can call you a pinche culero and ay coño me and my multilingual friends get to snicker about it.

    Immigration should be legal, but it also should be possible and fair. I'm guessing a bunch of you missed that part of American history and culture in grade school. I wonder if you could pass the citzenship test?

    Don't want people crossing the border, go down to fucking home depot and line up for the dangerous, low paying jobs they're taking on. Unless of course you're too busy packing for Iraq to go and help out over there...

    America: Short-sighted entitled hypocrites and the immigrants who clean up for them.

    jesus wept, I'm going for a fucking Cuban sandwich and some red beans and rice, maybe some maduros and a Mexican coke with real sugar.
    posted by Divine_Wino at 7:23 AM on May 2, 2006


    > Which Native American Indian nation are Mexicans from?

    I wouldn't expect that objection to fly very well. By the look of the large majority of Latino immigrants around where I am (they're indistinguishable from the people you can see in meso-American codices and wall carvings) I'd say a lot more of the DNA is Aztec, Toltec, Olmec, Mixtec, Teotihuacan, and Maya than Spanish conquistador.
    posted by jfuller at 7:26 AM on May 2, 2006


    I found this in yahoo, is it correct? If so, there is no economic gain except for buisnesses that hire for such jobs. But statistics can be misleading, so who knows?

    Action Alert
    10 points from Los Angeles Times
    May 02, 2006 08:28 AM EST


    1. 40% of all workers in L.A. County (L.A. County has 10 million
    people) are working for cash and not paying taxes. This was because they are predominantly illegal immigrants, working without a green card.

    2. 95% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens.

    3. 75% of people on the most wanted list in Los Angeles are illegal aliens.

    4. Over 2/3's of all births in Los Angeles County are to illegal
    alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal whose births were paid for by taxpayers.

    5. Nearly 25% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally.

    6. Over 300,000 illegal aliens in Los Angeles County are living in garages.

    7. The FBI reports half of all gang members in Los Angeles are most likely illegal aliens from south of the border.

    8. Nearly 60% of all occupants of HUD properties are illegal.

    9. 21 radio stations in L.A. are Spanish speaking.

    10. In L.A.County 5.1 million people speak English. 3.9 million speak Spanish (10.2 million people in L.A.County).

    (All 10 from the Los Angeles Times)

    Less than 2% of illegal aliens are picking our crops but 29% are on welfare.
    http://www.cis.org

    Over 70% of the United States annual population growth (and over 90% of California, Florida, and New York) results from immigration.

    The cost of immigration to the American taxpayer in 1997 was a NET (after subtracting taxes immigrants pay) $70 BILLION a year, [Professor Donald Huddle, Rice University].

    The lifetime fiscal impact (taxes paid minus services used) for the average adult Mexican immigrant is a NEGATIVE

    29% of inmates in federal prisons are illegal aliens.

    posted by IronLizard at 7:28 AM on May 2, 2006


    I'd say a lot more of the DNA is Aztec, Toltec, Olmec, Mixtec, Teotihuacan, and Maya than Spanish conquistador.
    Quite right, jfuller. Spanish/Catholic attitudes towards race clashed strongly with Anglo-American Protestant views of race around the time of the Mexican war - which started when Texans broke away from the Mexican state because the Mexicans opposed the Anglo-Texan's "right" to own slaves. Ever since then the "Mixed-race-Catholic-Papist" racial card has been a bone in the throat of the American right wing. Now, with the GOP, Fox, and Repugnicant mouthpieces such as the Smigol-like Malkin Thing all mouthing "Aztlan! Aztlan!" you can see how the neo-confederate wing of the Right is trying to redeem itself. Trent Lott's porch indeed!
    posted by zaelic at 7:35 AM on May 2, 2006


    jfuller : "As figures of speech go, sarcasm is any cutting or wounding statement expressing contempt or ridicule. Irony is saying the opposite of what you mean -- often with sarcastic intent."

    Holy smokes, you're right. Every discussion of "irony" I've seen has focussed on the dramatic irony vs. situational irony vs. verbal irony thing, so I had a handle on what "irony" meant, but I've never actually looked up the meaning of "sarcasm", and, as it says in Wikipedia, "The term is frequently misused as a synonym for irony", which is pointed square at me.

    So, sorry, matteo. I did understand that you were being sarcastic (I just thought "snarky" was the word for it, and I was wrong). I still don't think that it does anyone any particular good to make strawmen out of the opposition, but my whole diatribe about "that wasn't sarcasm" was totally wrong, and I apologize.

    zaelic : "And from which Native American Indian nation did your family come, PP?"

    This is an argument that keeps coming up, but which I don't get. An American here on MeFi, who statistically is very likely to be descended from a legal immigrant, complains about illegal immigrants, and people point out "hey, you come from immigrant stock as well". Well, yeah, there's no contradiction there. They're not complaining about immigrants, they're complaining about illegal immigrants. It's starting to seem that both sides of the issue are now treating "immigrant" and "illegal immigrant" as being synonyms.

    (Note that I'm not agreeing with PP's assessment, just that people's counterattacks are just making the situation worse by equating "immigration" with "illegal immigration")

    Divine_Wino : "People like me who grew up in fairly open plural places with lots of immigrants? We pick up some of their language...THAT IS NOT A BAD THING."

    Amen.
    Though it will bug me to my dying day that most of my fellow white Texans say "Comprendo?" to mean "You understand?" when what it actually means is "I understand?", and will argue with me that they're right even though they speak almost no other Spanish and Spanish was my first language. But that's just an aside.
    posted by Bugbread at 7:52 AM on May 2, 2006


    So, the proper term is 'Comprende?' with the e, yes?
    posted by IronLizard at 7:55 AM on May 2, 2006


    Yes. Or, if you're on good terms with the person, "Comprendes?" (Comprende is the usted form, used for politeness. Comprendes is the tu form, used for friends, family, and other close folks).
    posted by Bugbread at 7:58 AM on May 2, 2006


    So.... what's with the 'Momma and Papa' thing amongst non-related adults? (Sorry, don't mean to derail but this question has weight for me in some really wacky ways)
    posted by IronLizard at 8:01 AM on May 2, 2006


    bugbread,

    just that people's counterattacks are just making the situation worse by equating "immigration" with "illegal immigration"

    The immigration process used to be a lot more open, the whole Ellis island deal, where you got a quick health checkup and if you were mostly white, welcome pal, drop some consonants from the name, tenement's on the left, bar's on the right, please be cops and plumbers in one generation and business owners in two. ¿Me entiende?

    I'm sure there are people who come to this country and scam onto welfare and commit crimes and generally fuck up the whole deal, but they are the exception I bet. Hell we got our own legal types that do that. I can't do the whole rehash of how much class, race and society dictate the opportunities you have much more than any sham conservative notions of bootstrapping, but when society creates or allows an underclass, this is what you get: crime, poverty and illness. All the illegals I know work VERY VERY HARD.

    What I hate is that instead of a constructive dialog about this (or any other issue), America gets the usual bigoted, mouth-breathing woofing from Fox News and the talking points know-nothing crowd and it's all hysteria and OMG Br0wnzers and Terrah and so on. Nothing can be resolved because the agenda has to be enforced.

    I have been super impressed and inspired by the people coming out and protesting, it makes me hopeful for my country.
    posted by Divine_Wino at 8:13 AM on May 2, 2006


    (Note that I'm not agreeing with PP's assessment, just that people's counterattacks are just making the situation worse by equating "immigration" with "illegal immigration")

    This also, irritatingly, appears to do the same. I just called the DNC and was informed that the wording had been gone over by the press secretary and legal department. Illegal immigrant now = immigrant for the purposes of the democrats.

    Sadly, this seems to be a purposeful ploy to stir hate against republicans, done in the tradition of the republicans (these particular republicans, no less). There are no concrete proposals regarding this issue to be found anywhere on the DNC's site or, apparently, in their offices. It's more smoke and mirrors, sorry.
    Also note: This ad is to be broadcast in Spanish only.
    posted by IronLizard at 8:19 AM on May 2, 2006


    Divine_Wino : "¿Me entiende?"

    I understand what you're saying, but I don't understand the relevance to the snappy comeback.

    A: "They should deport the illegal immigrants"
    B: "Your own ancestors were illegal immigrants"

    That comeback, I get.

    A: "They should deport the illegal immigrants"
    B: "Your ancestors were legal immigrants from long ago when immigration was easier"

    That comeback, I don't.
    posted by Bugbread at 8:31 AM on May 2, 2006


    > Smigol-like Malkin Thing

    That one eludes me. Unless you mean Smeagol? I dunno, I didn't really think ethnic Filipinos look much like Gollum, whatever their position vis-a-vis the Dark Lord.
    posted by jfuller at 8:44 AM on May 2, 2006


    (Note that I'm not agreeing with PP's assessment, just that people's counterattacks are just making the situation worse by equating "immigration" with "illegal immigration")
    Bugbread: Point well taken, but as a child of immigrants, I remember that the early twentieth century immigration laws were changed to specifically favor Northern Europeans and keep out Eastern and Southern Europeans and any other groups deemed "not white enough" - especially Asians. The "Anglo-Saxon" ideal of the melting pot is unattainable when so many loyal Americas are neither white nor Protestant. Maybe official monolingualism, for example, was an ethical goal in America some years ago, but now it sounds like a bunch of Minuteman apologists weeing in their pants.

    Racism - and its use as a wedge to divide politcal opinion in America - still plays a key role in the GOP's decision to attack the immigration issue at this time. Immigration is this year's Willie Horton.
    posted by zaelic at 8:52 AM on May 2, 2006


    [quote]And I really wish more people would read some Richard Rodriguez.[/quote]
    And I really wish Richard Rodriguez would stop hating himself. He's a smart and thoughtful commentator, and I've enjoyed hearing him speak, but enough with the self-flagellation. It's OK to have dark skin.
    posted by kittyprecious at 8:52 AM on May 2, 2006


    jfuller: Um, yes. That Smeagol. Gollum. My precioussss....
    posted by zaelic at 8:54 AM on May 2, 2006


    I suppose, inasmuch as it is a comeback and not just an expression of anger at the black and whiteness of it all, the idea is that people say:

    "My ancestors were legal immigrants, why can't these people do it legally, deport 'em".

    To which people say:

    "It's very difficult and expensive to immigrate legally now, people are coming over to do low paying jobs that established Americans don't want to do, employers benefit from not having to pay taxes, healthcare and so on on these people, they add to the plurality of America that was paid enormous lipservice in the American mythos taught in schools and in popular entertainment, the world is not a simple place where things like walls can eliminate the causes and situations that all the things I mentioned previously have created. The vast cheap labor pool is wanted, but not the burden of making these people citizens and the expense of treating them like everyone else (which, hah hah, these days is pretty crappy anyway). You personally benefitted greatly from a situation where immigration was simple and even encouraged and now, in your infinite selfishness, you want to slam that very same door because you cannot wrap your head around anything more complicated than 'Mexicans = higher taxes and what if my daughter marries one'."

    But it's frustrating so it comes out "grrrrfffhghgghhh fuck you bigot!"
    posted by Divine_Wino at 8:56 AM on May 2, 2006


    we don't owe them "a goddamn thing" ?

    ridiculous. of course we do. they build our homes, pick our vegetables, and clean our homes for far less than american citizens would. they pay millions in sales tax, and contribute toward medicare, disability funds and social security (yes, plenty of employers withhold and pay into these funds even for illegal employees!). billions of dollars, none of which they can claim.

    so, while you may not believe that you owe them anything legally, you certainly owe them something ethically - a chunk of your income and standard of living.
    posted by luriete at 9:08 AM on May 2, 2006


    The San Francisco Chronicle said it was "the nation's largest coordinated demonstration since the war in Vietnam" and has some stats:
    Percentage of men born in the United States who are in the labor force: 83%

    Percentage of illegal immigrant men who are in the U.S. labor force: Over 90%
    posted by kirkaracha at 9:47 AM on May 2, 2006


    Divine_Wino : "I suppose, inasmuch as it is a comeback and not just an expression of anger at the black and whiteness of it all, the idea is that people say:

    'My ancestors were legal immigrants, why can't these people do it legally, deport "em'.

    To which people say:

    '[various points].'

    But it's frustrating so it comes out 'grrrrfffhghgghhh fuck you bigot!'"


    Ok, that makes sense.

    I would just say "Give them a time machine and they'll go back to Ellis Island when the rubber stamps were flying, and we'll get the whole bunch naturalized in an hour. And if you don't have a time machine, then drop that whole argument, because getting citizenship now has somewhere between jack and shit relevance to getting citizenship in your ancestor's time"


    On the side, another thing that keeps bugging me, besides people equating "illegal immigration" and "immigration", is people seeing the issue as "be an illegal immigrant, or become a citizen". Maybe it's because most people commenting here have never worked outside the US, or maybe they have and there's some other reason, but the opposite of illegal immigration is not naturalization. It is legal immigration. I've been a legal immigrant (not to the US) for the last 10 years or so. I may be one my whole life. My mom was a legal immigrant to the US for somewhere around 20 years. This is not a massively unusual scenario. It bugs me that so many people seem to forget that legal immigration even exists, and turn any discussion about illegal immigration into a discussion about naturalization.
    posted by Bugbread at 9:54 AM on May 2, 2006


    Yes, the second point is a good one.

    However are you trying to tell me that historical precident doesn't matter at all?
    posted by Divine_Wino at 10:08 AM on May 2, 2006


    Divine_Wino : "However are you trying to tell me that historical precident doesn't matter at all?"

    Sorry, I'm not following...
    posted by Bugbread at 10:36 AM on May 2, 2006


    > Why should we have to absorb population from nations that can't control their rutting?
    >
    > By god, that is one hellaciously stupid thing to have said. I am deeply embarrassed
    > for you and your parents.

    fff, I think the US should admit one South or Central American immigrant for every one Canada accepts. We volunteer to provide transportation from Cal/Ariz/NM/Tejas for those bound for the northern border. Set a noble example and show us up, eh? Or, if not, then STFU, your choice. (I predict you will do neither.)

    posted by jfuller at 7:16 AM PST on May 2 [!]
    That is such a non-sequitur that I'm a little stymied as to how to respond.

    Canada's immigration laws — and the US's, for that matter — have fuck-all to do with Keswick's astounding assholism.

    Other than pointing that out to you, and offering you the opportunity to braid my ass hairs, I guess I can only say one thing in response: FOAD.
    posted by five fresh fish at 10:41 AM on May 2, 2006


    fff: oh no, i'm an asshole for pointing out that third world countries (especially those that practice Catholicism) have higher birthrates than first world nations. how will i live with my guilt?

    luriete: no, we don't. nobody forced them to come here.
    posted by keswick at 10:56 AM on May 2, 2006


    One last thought on legal versus illegal immigration:

    If I could not afford to take care of myself or my family, if my parents or children were starving, and I could change that by crossing a border...If I was willing to risk my life, or our lives to make things better, or if I would be risking my life by staying...

    I'm sure I would love to work through the proper legal channels, but I damn well wouldn't wait more than a year, let alone 5-10.
    posted by elr at 11:03 AM on May 2, 2006


    No, keswick, you're not an asshole for pointing out that third world countries usually have higher birth rates than first world nations.

    You're an asshole for how you said it.
    posted by five fresh fish at 11:11 AM on May 2, 2006


    life's rough, get a helmet.
    posted by keswick at 11:12 AM on May 2, 2006


    40% of all workers in L.A. County (L.A. County has 10 million people) are working for cash and not paying taxes. This was because they are predominantly illegal immigrants, working without a green card. (bold mine)

    *insert sound of phear's mind snapping*

    No, this was because employers are breaking the law. Does anyone really think that these employers are putting out signs looking for workers and then being approached by workers who say "well, I'll work for you - but only if it's under the table and I don't get any of that pesky sick coverage, vacation time, unemployment coverage and all that other junk."

    We mandate all this stuff be done at the employer level because we know it won't be done otherwise. If you left Joe Average responsible for paying quarterlies they'd never get done. Withholding is mandated because it's the only way the government will get its pound of flesh. That's not an immigrant thing, that's a normal human thing.

    These people are taking jobs because they need the money. If we want the money or want them to not work all we have to do is crack down on employers to collect or to not employ off the books. We don't do it because we don't really want to.
    posted by phearlez at 11:38 AM on May 2, 2006


    oh no, i'm an asshole for pointing out that third world countries (especially those that practice Catholicism) have higher birthrates than first world nations.

    Keswick, are you really unclear that "hey nigger" is different than saying "your skin is really rather dark?"
    posted by phearlez at 11:40 AM on May 2, 2006


    "I'm sure I would love to work through the proper legal channels, but I damn well wouldn't wait more than a year, let alone 5-10."

    Well, thousands of immigrants are playing by the rules, waiting for YEARS, and undergoing intense scrutiny while illegals simply cut in line.

    The attempt to blur the line between valid immigrants and illegal freeloaders is disgusting.
    posted by TetrisKid at 11:43 AM on May 2, 2006


    Well, thousands of immigrants are playing by the rules, waiting for YEARS, and undergoing intense scrutiny while illegals simply cut in line.

    I'm playing by the rules, waiting for years, and undergoing intense scrutiny. The rules are fucked, and I have to admit a certain amount of respect for those who say 'fuck this for a lark' even though that means living in fear of La Migra.

    I was amused by this blog post by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez:
    Interesting story on this? When the editor, who is British but lives in DC, brought my piece up at the meeting, a fellow editor of hers said, "Yeah, but YOU'RE not an immigrant..." to her. He was NOT kidding. Because she is white, he had simply...assumed, in spite of her obvious accent. She told me about this with a bit of disbelief at how bad the confusion had gotten in the U.S. between race/nationality/legal status/immigrant status/socioeconomic class etc.
    That's why the panel discussion on CNNi was fascinating, since you had two anchors who were intimately aware of how legal immigration in the US is fundamentally broken, and that those who know it are generally also those with the least power to do anything about it. After all, the way to get re-elected in most districts is to promise to string up Mexicans (where 'Mexican' = 'brown') by their cojones.

    Oh, and you think 'freeloaders' isn't blurring the line in this debate? Please.
    posted by holgate at 11:56 AM on May 2, 2006


    The lifetime fiscal impact (taxes paid minus services used) for the average adult Mexican immigrant is a NEGATIVE

    I wonder what the "lifetime fiscal impact" of the average U.S. citizen is using this same formula?

    Considering that the U.S. budget deficit is large and growing I might hazard a guess that the "lifetime fiscal impact" of the average U.S. citizen is negative also . . .
    posted by flug at 12:37 PM on May 2, 2006


    "Oh, and you think 'freeloaders' isn't blurring the line in this debate? Please."

    The drain on the economy and depression of a living wage is the crux of the entire debate. I simply believe in the fundamental fairness to those who are making IMMENSE efforts to obey our laws. Rewarding those who cut in line and take from social services without paying (sorry, but that's freeloading) in is a slap in the face.
    posted by TetrisKid at 12:58 PM on May 2, 2006


    TetrisKid : "those who cut in line and take from social services without paying (sorry, but that's freeloading)"

    Well, then most of us (in areas with large numbers of illegal immigrants) are freeloading, because we drive work in buildings constructed by illegal immigrants without paying them minimum wage.

    So they are freeloading social services, and we're freeloading labour.
    posted by Bugbread at 1:13 PM on May 2, 2006


    Tetriskid: Not so much. Illegal immigrants, if they are lucky, get the same substandard health care and public education that most poor folks get. Legal immigrants get that same substandard health care and public education but they also have the option of pursuing jobs that provide health care and pay them better so they can pay their own way in hospitals and private schools if they don't like their other options.

    Illegal immigrant cannot claim welfare, and are often denied access to hospitals and public schools. Many would not even think of pursuing health care or public schooling because they are too afraid that they would be found out. The school part is especially sad/jarring because it creates a lot of people who have no options for self-improvement within this country. Undoubtedly, these children are serious criminals who should be deported instantly.

    I wouldn't call this "cutting in line" so much as "waiting in a similar-but-shittier line out of necessity)
    posted by elr at 1:14 PM on May 2, 2006


    Either way it's sliced, I should think a quarter-million illegal immigrants a year has got to have bad consequences for everyone else.

    I have no idea what can be done about the illegals already in the country.

    I do think something must be done about stemming the flood of new illegals.
    posted by five fresh fish at 2:49 PM on May 2, 2006


    I have heard 2 conflicting things:

    1. is the illegal immigrants suck up resources and don't pay into the system

    2. many (most?) illegal immigrants have phony Social Security cards in order to obtain steady work, and thus pay into a system (withholding tax) and never get the refund check.

    Does anyone have hard data one way or the other? perhaps it's impossible to know because of the SSN fraud involved?
    posted by cell divide at 3:20 PM on May 2, 2006


    > That is such a non-sequitur that I'm a little stymied as to how to respond.

    Nothing like a good non-sequitur to rattle the troops. Say, look, isn't that the Winged Victory of Samothrace?
    posted by jfuller at 3:40 PM on May 2, 2006


    Rewarding those who cut in line and take from social services without paying (sorry, but that's freeloading) in is a slap in the face.

    Which social services are these, precisely?
    posted by holgate at 3:49 PM on May 2, 2006


    Don't answer that! No matter what you answer, you're a racist!
    posted by keswick at 3:52 PM on May 2, 2006


    Ok, look here's how the scam works in Texas: Get over the border pregnant, or get that way shorly afterwards and you get AFDC and other services guaranteed. Or, alternatively, get someone else's SSN and use it. The latter is reportedly the method my ex-wifes husband (yes, still an illegal due to some odd vagaries in the law and his initial illegal crossing) is using for work and other things. Here, the illegal immigrants have little to fear from INS. There are no 'raids' unless a large operation is found or an accident with a fully loaded human carrying trailer occurs. When this happens, quite a few usually die (and it happens often).

    The key to controling immigration isn't in persecuting these people so much as removing any incentive for doing this (as has been repeated-ad nauseum) . This starts at the buisnesses who are employing them and ends with fixing the loopholes that allow the use of fraudulent SSN's and such. I don't think that the felony bit is the answer simply because our prisons are already full and the deterrent factor is low. The cost would rise exponentially, were we to attempt jailing the millions of illegal aliens in residence here. Lose-lose situation.
    posted by IronLizard at 6:09 PM on May 2, 2006


    Don't answer that! No matter what you answer, you're a racist!

    You're not a racist. You're just someone with a black and white view of reality, ascribing simple causes to complex results. Many people here in this thread have already written thoughtful responses outlining some of the larger context involved here - the lack of labor laws on both sides, the criminalization of honest, paid labor, a broken system that turns around and victimizes those in a least position to defend themselves and, finally, confusion about the role of immigration (current and historical) as a valuable thing and not as an incoming plague.

    But despite that, you will narrowly cling to your one-liner in the begiining of this thread for no other purpose than, I am guessing, to save some kind of face, something which could be more easily accomplished by just admitting it was a stupid and hasty remark.
    posted by vacapinta at 8:01 PM on May 2, 2006


    I'd say I'm sorry that the fact that I'd rather stand for something than fall for anything bothers you, but actually, I really don't care what you think. (but if you're running down my country, hoss, you're walkin' on the fightin' side of me.)
    posted by keswick at 8:53 PM on May 2, 2006


    Shorter keswick: cliché, banality, cliché.

    On the 'social services' thing: anyone fixing to ban tourists?
    posted by holgate at 9:26 PM on May 2, 2006


    you said it, keswick.

    i'd much rather stand for entitlement by birthright than fall for compassion by choice.

    [/sarcasm]

    or [/irony]... you decide!!
    posted by narwhal at 9:49 PM on May 2, 2006


    (but if you're running down my country, hoss, you're walkin' on the fightin' side of me.)

    When the world wide war is over and done,
    And the dream of peace comes true.
    We'll all be drinkin' free Bubble-Up,
    Eatin' that rainbow stew.

    if you're gonna quote merle, quote a better song, cowboy
    posted by pyramid termite at 5:00 AM on May 3, 2006


    IronLizard - re: your list - Snopes.
    posted by loquax at 3:05 PM on May 3, 2006


    Thanks, Loquax. I had wondered about that when I found it. I wonder what my old CRIJ textbook(2003) says about it, I remembered some of this agreeing but that there were some questions as to the efficacy of UCR reporting on racial/ethnic segments. I retained so little from these classes.
    posted by IronLizard at 10:12 PM on May 3, 2006


    truly excellent post from BTC News: Immigration: The Sincerest Form of Flattery…
    posted by amberglow at 3:31 AM on May 6, 2006


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