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Nueva Orleans
May 9, 2006 10:35 AM   Subscribe

Nueva Orleans Before Katrina, Hispanics accounted for 3 percent of New Orleans’ population, with just 1,900 Mexicans showing up in the 2004 Census. No one knows for certain how many new ones have arrived, but estimates put the number between 10,000 and 50,000.
posted by ColdChef (105 comments total)

 
Also, more on the subject from Tyler Cowen in Slate.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:48 AM on May 9, 2006


Mmmmm...I loves me some El Chaparral.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 10:59 AM on May 9, 2006


Simple. Cheap labor, and skilled tradesman. Those same illegals that the Minuteman-types want to play cowboy defending us from are also the same ones who are handy with a miter saw, drywall, shingles, and laying sod. The dirty little secret of immigration is that the Mexicans are our new underclass.
posted by rzklkng at 11:34 AM on May 9, 2006


Of course we all know Americans are physically incapable of doing their own work.
posted by keswick at 11:50 AM on May 9, 2006


Just imagine the music that'll come out of this. If history's a guide it'll be royally f'd up, but cool and romanticized in 50 years.
posted by raysmj at 11:53 AM on May 9, 2006


I miss the old underclass. I could understand what they were saying.
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:53 AM on May 9, 2006


In New Orleans, they aren't Mexicans - they are pretty much everything but Mexican.
posted by caderoux at 12:00 PM on May 9, 2006


What keswick said. It's such a shame that America suffers from a shortage of uneducated manual laborers. What ever will we do?
posted by undule at 12:10 PM on May 9, 2006


In New Orleans, they aren't Mexicans - they are pretty much everything but Mexican.

I saw some Mexican flags that the marchers were carrying on May 1st but not many. Most of the flags that weren't the stars and stripes were Honduran with a few Costa Rican.
posted by djeo at 12:13 PM on May 9, 2006


Maybe, just maybe this would me a more debatable topic if the readers lived HERE. I live in Metairie and work in New Orleans. It's getting worse every day. Try to go into a convenience store on a Friday afternoon. This place is far worse that Homestead, Fla. At least there the infrastructure can help to disperse them better. Here, it's like a mob of them wherever you go. With current administration.... don't see it getting any better any time soon.
posted by winks007 at 12:32 PM on May 9, 2006


Forget where they come from. If they are illegal, ask how much per hour are they getting if doing construction. If illegal, how many are using tax-payer facilities, ie emergency rooms at hospitals etc etc. An "underclass"--call it what you will--that undercuts minimum wage laws makes a lot of people worse off if they need those jobs at minimum wages.
posted by Postroad at 12:32 PM on May 9, 2006


It's getting worse every day.

Wow, no wonder you live in the suburbs, winks007. Nothing worse than a bunch of fucking immigrants getting in the way of your SUV on the way to the Olive Garden.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 12:40 PM on May 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


Wow, no wonder you live in the suburbs, winks007. Nothing worse than a bunch of fucking immigrants getting in the way of your SUV on the way to the Olive Garden.

Heh.
posted by delmoi at 12:46 PM on May 9, 2006


An "underclass"--call it what you will--that undercuts minimum wage laws makes a lot of people worse off if they need those jobs at minimum wages.

Did you even read the article? They're making like $15/hr. Idiot.
posted by delmoi at 12:46 PM on May 9, 2006


Maybe, just maybe this would me a more debatable topic if the readers lived HERE. I live in Metairie and work in New Orleans. It's getting worse every day. Try to go into a convenience store on a Friday afternoon. This place is far worse that Homestead, Fla. At least there the infrastructure ?can help to disperse them better. Here, it's like a mob of them wherever you go. With current administration.... don't see it getting any better any time soon.
posted by winks007 at 2:32 PM CST on May 9 [!]


So, what are they doing that's so bad? Not being white?
posted by cellphone at 12:46 PM on May 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


#1. meanMRbucket, it's a 6 cyl SUV, k?

#2. You dont have to be white, but it helps to learn the language. I had to learn it!

#3. CELLPHONE, I live off of a main road and that main road is crawling with them. Do you want them roaming your streets (aimlessly)? It's apparent that cellphone does not have trucks loaded with latino's rolling through his hood at night.

#4. I would feel the same about any type of invasion. Not just the latino's.

#5. Before anyone judges me, let me take a few pictures of the little camps that are popping up all over the "burbs", under bridges and behind old buildings and empty apartments w/o water, drainage, elect and the basic requirements for sanitary living. When a family of 14 latinos moves across the street, lets watch your prop value drop like a rock! I'm sure you would welcome them with open arms? You would, right?
posted by winks007 at 1:05 PM on May 9, 2006


My, what a gem winks007 is. It's a good thing that Metafilter keeps out any Hispanics -- go ahead, winks, it's safe to speak your mind here.
posted by dhartung at 1:06 PM on May 9, 2006


Just for the record, the Olive Garden opened for awhile after Jefferson Parish started getting back online but has been mostly closed for two months, apparently because they can't find enough workers to staff the place. Oh the irony.

Seriously, the place is swarming with Latino workmen. One of our workers got in an accident caused by a roofing truck, and the cop told our employee that "one in five" accidents he sees involve trucks with roofing material and non-English-speaking drivers. Take with appropriate mass grain of salt, but it's not just racism that drives people like winks007 to annoyance.
posted by localroger at 1:08 PM on May 9, 2006


"Here, it's like a mob of them wherever you go."

The Attack of the THEM! Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!
posted by pmbuko at 1:09 PM on May 9, 2006


When a family of 14 latinos moves across the street, lets watch your prop value drop like a rock! I'm sure you would welcome them with open arms? You would, right?

Well, yes. The hispanic population of my city is growing all the time. My only regret is that I don't speak any spanish and have a hard time communicating with some of my neighbors.

It would be bigoted and amoral of me to resent them for moving here. They are people like I am.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:10 PM on May 9, 2006


In the debate about the Star Spangled Banner and immigrantion there are often remarks made that "they do not speak English." Whether you are pro or anti immigrants, legal or otherwise, you should know that ther3e is no law on the books that states that English is our national language.
posted by Postroad at 1:15 PM on May 9, 2006


Hell, I feel bad for moving to my neighborhood because I'm driving property values (and rents) up. I got lunch at a taqueria today and the waitress didn't realize I didn't speak Spanish until I ordered by pointing at the menu and making a happy face.
I need to learn Spanish, is what I'm saying.
posted by 235w103 at 1:16 PM on May 9, 2006


Did you even read the article? They're making like $15/hr. Idiot.

Yeah, I wouldn't call that an underclass either. Sounds like solidly working class to me, who's kids will be able to afford educations. The other side of the immigration debate that the Minutemen type ignore is that Latinos are also our new Immigrant Success Story in many ways. (This is not to diminish the suffering of those Latinos in poverty, merely to combat the 'underclass' stereotype of Latino Immigrants).
posted by jonmc at 1:16 PM on May 9, 2006


I got lunch at a taqueria today and the waitress didn't realize I didn't speak Spanish until I ordered by pointing at the menu and making a happy face.

That happened to me all the time when I lived in Dade County. But then again, I'm what's called Black Irish which means (according to some theories) that I'm descended from intermairrage during the Spanish Invasion of Ireland, so maybe we're distant cousins.
posted by jonmc at 1:18 PM on May 9, 2006


localroger, my wife works for State Farm you pretty much cemented my comment for me. Thanks. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.
posted by winks007 at 1:19 PM on May 9, 2006


#3. CELLPHONE, I live off of a main road and that main road is crawling with them. Do you want them roaming your streets (aimlessly)? It's apparent that cellphone does not have trucks loaded with latino's rolling through his hood at night.

I do. Does that qualify me? I live in Bernal Heights, San Francisco in one of the highest property-value areas in the country - where a 1-bedroom can go (and just did) for a million.

I also live two blocks away from Cesar Chavez St. where, at this moment, hundreds of Latino laborers are trying to flag down trucks to take them to get work.

The laborers are there because they are filling a labor shortage. They aren't invaders. They are your neighbors. Obviously you and others should try working with the city and your other neighbors to find a balance that works for everybody - but taking out your ire on them wont do any good.
posted by vacapinta at 1:21 PM on May 9, 2006


Those are often second generation immigrants, Jon. The kind these Archie Bunker without the jokes and heart of gold types want to prevent from being here.


When a family of 14 latinos moves across the street, lets watch your prop value drop like a rock! I'm sure you would welcome them with open arms? You would, right?


I would if they were not bigoted, venomous, fear-driven, middle-class-panic ostrich head in the sand little baby shitbirds... Otherwise yeah, fuck those brownies.

You know why the property values drop when latino's move in across the street? I'll give you a little hint:

It's not because of any intrinsic quality of the people who are moving in.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:22 PM on May 9, 2006


we all know Americans are physically monetarily incapable of doing their own work.

Better.
posted by bonehead at 1:25 PM on May 9, 2006


Oh, I agree with you Wino, I'm just trying to make the point that Latinos are like any other immigrant group, up to and including the Nativist panic over their arrival. And I detest the Minuteman's racism and the middle-class-panic reaction, too. In fact, my comment was meant as a 'don't panic!' to them.
posted by jonmc at 1:27 PM on May 9, 2006


tomorrow, I'll post a pic, if possible. We'll see how many of you ask them to be your neighbor? I can be as bigoted as you are blind!
posted by winks007 at 1:27 PM on May 9, 2006


Also...I havent paniced, I just changed a thought to a statement. No harm there, right?
posted by winks007 at 1:28 PM on May 9, 2006


Forget where they come from. If they are illegal, ask how much per hour are they getting if doing construction. If illegal, how many are using tax-payer facilities, ie emergency rooms at hospitals etc etc. An "underclass"--call it what you will--that undercuts minimum wage laws makes a lot of people worse off if they need those jobs at minimum wages.

This is the great strawman of the immigration debate, and understanding the factual innacuracies of the stereotyped view goes a long way toward explaining what is deeply wrong with the anti-immigrant sentiment in the US.

Undocumented immigrants do not work under the table at low rates. Many work as day laborers, hired for a single day of work at a set rate around $8-$10. Others work in steady jobs. The majority use false social security or tax ID cards, and in fact all applicable taxes are deducted from their wages, including Social Security that they will never see. If you seriously think that the IRS would let 11,000,000 people work in the United States without paying taxes, you clearly have not thought about the matter for so much as ten minutes.

winks007, "property value" is one of the arguments that was used to ghettoize the black community throughout the 20th century as whites fled to the suburbs. It's a bigoted, racist argument.
posted by graymouser at 1:34 PM on May 9, 2006


winks007, easy. I think that any reasonable person would acknowledge that post-Katrina New Orleans is something of an unusual situation with an already strained support system. But, try not to let it poison you, and we'll refrain from breaking your balls over it.

And yeah, I recognize that it's easy to pontificate when I'm not in your shoes, but I live in a county with more immigrants than just about any other in the country, and am myself the child of immigrants. There's real issues to be worked out here, for sure, but the current hype about immigration has more to do with Bush's approval rating than anything constructive or any sympathy he has with Louisiana homeowners.
posted by jonmc at 1:34 PM on May 9, 2006


winks007,
Maybe you aren't the bigot you are coming across as, but the language you use is classic fear, uncertainty and dread tabloid news panic. It rankles with those of us who already live in pluralistic places, who don't feel threatened by people of different ethnicities and economic classes and who have to constantly roll with the slings and arrows of outragous fortune: Housing prices, labor conditions, immigrants, languages, dirty sweaty humanity... If for no other reason than this, you come across as petulant and near hysterical.

Everything that you describe is already what life is like in many places, disordered, complicated, possibly hostile, possibly unhappy, certainly not designed with your convenience, financial security and xenophobia in mind, you dig?
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:37 PM on May 9, 2006


#2. You dont have to be white, but it helps to learn the language. I had to learn it!

I'd say you're about 60% there on written English there, jack. Keep working, you'll be fluent in no time.
posted by COBRA! at 1:37 PM on May 9, 2006


Also...I havent paniced, I just changed a thought to a statement.

that seems very out of character for you
posted by pyramid termite at 1:37 PM on May 9, 2006


winks007, "property value" is one of the arguments that was used to ghettoize the black community throughout the 20th century as whites fled to the suburbs.

furthermore, i'd like to know where it's written that

1) housing is a good investment
2) we have a "right" to good return on our investments
posted by pyramid termite at 1:39 PM on May 9, 2006


Caramel City!
posted by sourwookie at 1:39 PM on May 9, 2006


It is completely unfair to characterize the immigration issue as xenophobic and racist as if people who are talking about the issue are talking about opposing all immigration. I think it is pretty clear (at least here in Texas) that the problem is not with immigrants, its with illegal immigrants. Any discussion of immigration policy which ignores that distinction is shamefully burning strawmen. There is nothing racist, xenophobic or the like about feeling that people shouldn't be able to pour into this country illegally.
posted by dios at 1:40 PM on May 9, 2006


furthermore, i'd like to know where it's written that

1) housing is a good investment
2) we have a "right" to good return on our investments
posted by pyramid termite at 3:39 PM CST on May 9


Where is it written that you can enter this country illegally? I'm pretty sure the "writing" says the opposite of that.
posted by dios at 1:40 PM on May 9, 2006


It is completely unfair to characterize the immigration issue as xenophobic and racist as if people who are talking about the issue are talking about opposing all immigration.

I repeat to you, dios: easy.

Nobody is saying that any discussion of immigration and surrounding issues is de facto racist. At least nobody reasonable. But it'd be foolish to deny that this issue has plenty of racial and economic hot buttons attached to it and that plenty of people are going to push them for all they're worth. And the timing: Bush's approval at it's lowest ever, and all of a sudden Immigration is the hot issue instead of the war or the economy? C'mon, man. You're smarter than that.
posted by jonmc at 1:43 PM on May 9, 2006


Work like this paid $4 a day in Nicaragua. Here, they’re earning $12 an hour.

Among them is Yanci Fuentes, a 23-year-old mother of two who has gone from making $6 a day packing T-shirts in El Salvador to $8 an hour cleaning up after construction workers.

Now that's something american workers want to be aware of, they can't compete at these rates, it's unfair competition imho. On the other hand why pay $12-hour when the same person would gladly still accept $6 hour for an 8 hour shift ? That or Nicaragua may welcome you back.

Demand for workers is so high that he is not even tempted by a $10-an-hour job offer, especially when the contractor won’t say what task is involved.

Have the contractors meet and decide a $9/hour offer , exactly the way the workers are unionizing and expecting $15/hour. On a side note, I wonder if the contract pris paying the social security and healthcare cost for that worker....I guess he isn't...so again american taxpayers are going to feel the effect when the immigrant, who obviously is an human being, looks for and obtain healthcare from public service.

Or maybe another solution: unionize the immigrants and the local workers, push for $10-15 range hourly , satisfy this way both the contractor and the worker BUT if that doesn't happen the immigrant gets the boot.
posted by elpapacito at 1:48 PM on May 9, 2006


Where is it written that you can enter this country illegally?

it's not ... but on the other hand, neither you, or i, or winks007 have gone around asking these people for their papers, so we don't actually know that they're here illegally

truth is, it would be impossible to deport 11 million illegals AND their citizen dependents without major social upheaval ... it's a done deal and we can either accomodate it or watch as all hell breaks loose

your choice

if you want to get mad at someone over this, don't get mad at the immigrants but at the politicians who looked the other way for decades as this happened ... who would be in both parties
posted by pyramid termite at 1:48 PM on May 9, 2006


Many work as day laborers, hired for a single day of work at a set rate around $8-$10. Others work in steady jobs. The majority use false social security or tax ID cards, and in fact all applicable taxes are deducted from their wages, including Social Security that they will never see.

I'm slightly confused here - are the day laborers using fake documents and having taxes deducated from their wages? I had assumed the type of laborers that gather each morning to be picked up for that day's work are paid cash under-the-table and no taxes are paid on that income.

If you only meant that only those with steady jobs use fake documents and pay taxes, wouldn't the lack of tax revenue still be an issue?
posted by mullacc at 1:51 PM on May 9, 2006


Let me crayfish on this. I come here for the entertainment and occasional intelligent conversation. Not for the flamers waiting for every literal error. I just wanted to put in my USD $ .02. I must be more careful of what I put into writing.

Life is great, business is good and people are terrific!


Scuse the fuck outta me - (*)'s
posted by winks007 at 1:52 PM on May 9, 2006


You dont have to be white, but it helps to learn the language. I had to learn it!
Unless your first language is something other than English, STFU. Seriously. Why don't you try moving to a country where you don't speak the language? Deal with racist assholes who roll their eyes or ignore you when your attempts at their language are less than perfect. Work 60 hours a week or more. Then find the time and motivation to learn another language.
You didn't learn English. I mean, technically you did, but you were an infant and it was effortless. You wouldn't tell a recent car-crash victim in physical therapy to learn to walk, already and then accuse them of being lazy if they didn't (or would you?). Learning another language is extremely difficult for most adults. Hell, I took 3 years of high school Spanish and three semesters of college Spanish and I would be completely lost if someone dropped me in the middle of Mexico and told me to fend for myself. Actually, based on most of the Mexican people I've had the pleasure to know, I would probably be OK because I bet they would be friendly and try to help me out.

And maybe, just maybe, instead of getting all heated about those nasty illegal immigrants that just keep pouring into the country breathing all the white man's air and taking all the white man's jobs and government benefits, maybe we should get heated about the pro-business government that blatantly encourages illegal immigration by making it easy and profitable for livestock factories, huge farmers, construction companies, and manufacturing companies to hire these illegal immigrants and provide them with fewer benefits and lower pay then they would have to provide for legal workers.
Or, on preview, what Pyramid Termite said.
posted by cilantro at 1:54 PM on May 9, 2006


"property value" is one of the arguments that was used to ghettoize the black community throughout the 20th century as whites fled to the suburbs. It's a bigoted, racist argument.

This is exactly what happened in my hometown, Cincinnati, during white flight in the 1950s and 60s. It is happening again to a certain degree here in Cleveland now.
posted by vkxmai at 1:55 PM on May 9, 2006


mullac:

I had assumed the type of laborers that gather each morning to be picked up for that day's work are paid cash under-the-table and no taxes are paid on that income.

Yes , but if you don't pay the tax the police will come after me (contractor) and that will be bad ! You don't want police here , I don't want police here. It's a scam that perpetrated at the expense of immigrant, expecially if illegal.

It damages both the immigrant worker and the local worker...brilliant !
posted by elpapacito at 1:56 PM on May 9, 2006


it's not ... but on the other hand, neither you, or i, or winks007 have gone around asking these people for their papers, so we don't actually know that they're here illegally

I have 4 opens cases right now about illegal immigrants who cross the border, show up at hospitals for treatment, and then sue the hospital for their injuries. I know that all 4 of them were here illegally.

One of my colleagues used to represent TT Med School in El Paso and told me about how he would drive to work everyday and there would be a group of mothers walking around the circle in front of the Hospital. As soon as they go into active labor, they go into the ER to have it delivered. Now they have a US citizen. What do the mothers do? They go get a PO Box in order to get their federal checks for the child. Then they return to Mexico and come across once a month to pick up their checks.

The immigration problem--in my mind--has nothing to do with a problem with Mexicans (in fact, I love Mexicans and their culture and have them in my family). It has everything to do with people gaming the system and breaking the law.
posted by dios at 1:58 PM on May 9, 2006


I come here for the entertainment and occasional intelligent conversation.

we all do, but most of us stay for the pile-ons and flame outs ... the sacrificial goat today was you

I just wanted to put in my USD $ .02.

and you have the nerve to complain about immigrants driving down the cost of things
posted by pyramid termite at 1:58 PM on May 9, 2006


in reference to cilantro's rant about how rough illegals have it

If they don't like it, they can GTFO. In fact, I highly urge them to. The border is that way.
posted by keswick at 1:59 PM on May 9, 2006


Unless your first language is something other than English, STFU.

This applies to several members of my family. And I do submit that learning English is probably a good idea if one wants to prosper in the US. Just saying.
posted by jonmc at 2:00 PM on May 9, 2006


It has everything to do with people gaming the system and breaking the law.

true, but who's responsible for that? ... people who are poor are going to take advantage of any opportunity they can get to improve their conditions ... it's our government's responsibility to do something about this and they've sat on their hands until it's far too late

the simple truth is mention of draconian measures to take care of this results in demonstrations of hundreds of thousands of people in major american cities

the anger over the immigrants results in 50 people marching around with american flags and toilet brushes ... and a lot of impotent blogifying

it's my belief that eventually the u s and mexico will end up merging ... the governments may not care for that idea, but the people seem to be making it an historical inevitability
posted by pyramid termite at 2:08 PM on May 9, 2006


When I went to Germany (for 28 months), I could have acted like a dumb-ass and pointed to the item on the menu, instead I tried to embrace the country and learn the language, not because it helped others....I did it because it helped me to be understood. I actually enjoyed learning another language. Imagine not knowing the language and having to deal with something as common as road signs. You know the police on the Northshore of Southern La. are required to learn spanish in order to deal with the immigrant situation. And now our drivers test is even in spanish, not ebonics, spanish! Me thinks it would be a novel idea to have the immigrants learn the language of the place they wish to reside.

Signed, the "meta-goat" of the day.
posted by winks007 at 2:09 PM on May 9, 2006


it's my belief that eventually the u s and mexico will end up merging ...

O.N.A.N., here we come!
posted by COBRA! at 2:11 PM on May 9, 2006


"I have 4 opens cases right now about illegal immigrants who cross the border, show up at hospitals for treatment, and then sue the hospital for their injuries. I know that all 4 of them were here illegally."

Wow, dios.. were there actually injuries, or were they just hoping for an out of court settlement?

-re-rails thread back on track-
It will be very interesting to see how the culture of New Orleans changes/evolves/adapts over the next 10-15 years.
posted by drstein at 2:14 PM on May 9, 2006


cobra! - one of the most interesting aspects of science fiction type works is that they're often disguised (or not so disguised) commentary on the contemporary world
posted by pyramid termite at 2:14 PM on May 9, 2006


Yeah, Keswick, screw 'em. I was totally wrong. The cheap labor that makes my life as an American citizen easier is worth any amount of suffering on the part of a non-American citizen. I mean, if the hundreds of Mexicans working at the chicken plant up the road (who, I've heard anecdotally, have absolutely no recompense if they cut off their finger with a boning knife or something similar) don't like it, they can leave. There will be hundreds more willing to be treated like shit for something barely over the minimum wage. Because my desire for cheap chicken legs and the factory owner's desire for a new Hummer trump a Mexican's right to be treated like a human being.


Seriously, though, I agree with you, jonmc, it would be easier for immigrants if they learned English. They probably realize that as well. I was just pointing out that learning the damn language isn't all that easy, especially if your family and everyone you work with speaks Spanish (or Italian or French or whatever) and you work extremely long hours. There's not a lot of time to watch American movies and talk to American people and absorb English , much less study it academically.
posted by cilantro at 2:15 PM on May 9, 2006 [1 favorite]







Dios writes The immigration problem--in my mind--has nothing to do with a problem with Mexicans (in fact, I love Mexicans and their culture and have them in my family). It has everything to do with people gaming the system and breaking the law.


In your family as relatives on in your family as house cleaners ? No , seriously certainly race isn't the relevant point here, except that most of the immigrants, legal or illegal, are mexicans and that's a statistical fact. Obviously somebody will cry "racism" while evidently race isn't the relevant point, gaming the system and breaking the law is.

Except that I have some sympathy for people gaming a system that :

- have taxpayers finance the child with checks
- privatizes profits by giving contractor lower cost labor that would otherwise ask more more money
- undercuts labourers who are already avaiable on the market, but at higher price because they probably pay taxes and have higher cost of life

in my mind , even if the scheming woman with child shouldn't exploit the american taxpayers this way she is not further undercutting the american taxpayers by offering his lower cost job on american market.
posted by elpapacito at 2:17 PM on May 9, 2006


agreed, pyramid.
posted by COBRA! at 2:17 PM on May 9, 2006


In an effort to salvage this thread from being another immigration retread, let me just say that the possibility of a culinary combination of poboy culture and burrito culture makes my mouth water enough to overtop a category-five levee wall.

But, as a native Louisiana boy, I suppose that, for me, all arguments eventually revolve around food.
posted by ColdChef at 2:20 PM on May 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


You know what?

I don't think people even care that others are "gaming the system." If they seriously cared about the actions of others on their own economic outlook, they'd have stormed DC by now for running up these appalliing deficits with absolutely no plan for how to pay them back. But you don't hear about people organizing to protest that.

You care about the health care costs of illegal immigrants? Compare it to how much deficit spending and inflation are costing you, then get back to us.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:26 PM on May 9, 2006


sniff, sniff, my complaint was not about immigration, nor was it about brother-in-law politics. All of that shit is way played out. I was commenting on all of the damn mexicans here crowding our stores, with their "no habla" shit harassing our "white" women and generally stinking up the place. Don't you (intellects) get it? I just don't wanna be inconvenienced. Is that too much to ask for? In the words of someone famous(?) I do not agree with what you said but, I will defend to the death your right to say it. winks007 - OUT
posted by winks007 at 2:34 PM on May 9, 2006


I don't think people even care that others are "gaming the system."

of course not ... because they're either busy gaming the system themselves or thinking up ways to set up the system so they can game other things ... the motivation isn't being taken advantage of ... it's envy

for all of dios' complaints about illegal aliens suing hospitals, note carefully that he's managing to make some money from it

like i said, poor people ... or people who are affluent, take advantage of the opportunies they find
posted by pyramid termite at 2:36 PM on May 9, 2006


cilantro: no, you're right. i've seen the error of my ways.... i'll move back to my old 2 bedroom apartment next to another two bedroom apartment occupied by 8 (count 'em, EIGHT) illegals from Honduras. furthermore, as for the LEGAL immigrants and natural born working class Americans who can't make a living thanks to depressed wages caused by illegal immigration, FUCK 'EM! They should all go back to school and learn how to make a website so they can afford a nice home in Portland!
posted by keswick at 2:37 PM on May 9, 2006


What to say when: /tongue in cheek, okay?
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:39 PM on May 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


let me just say that the possibility of a culinary combination of poboy culture and burrito culture makes my mouth water enough to overtop a category-five levee wall.


Beignets and Horchata. Mmmmm....
posted by echolalia67 at 2:43 PM on May 9, 2006


KESWICK for mayor of the Nuevo Orleans. clap clap clap.
You're allright!
posted by winks007 at 2:43 PM on May 9, 2006


i was going to reply but ...

observe carefully ... there is a genuine, real live troll in this thread ... ignore him
posted by pyramid termite at 2:47 PM on May 9, 2006


Remember kids! People you disagree with are trolls!
posted by keswick at 2:49 PM on May 9, 2006


keswick - it's not an accusation i throw around lightly

as a former member of usenet's most famous troll group, i do believe i know one when i see one

meow
posted by pyramid termite at 2:56 PM on May 9, 2006


"There will be hundreds more willing to be treated like shit for something barely over the minimum wage."

You know, people don't really need a formal introduction to macro, they just need to really stop and think things through for once. If you can't be bothered, then I guess you'll go on thinking that preventing that illegal/legal immigrant from holding that job will somehow improve everyone's standard of living, starting with his/hers.

Here's something as an example. You may have heard about the studies the FAA and others did regarding requiring infant seats and a paid seat for babies on air flights. Every year there is a (likely) certain number of babies that will be injured because of turbulence and being insufficiently secured by a parent in the parent's arms. Requiring infant seats and a paid seat would eliminate most or all of those injuries—including some that are fatal.

However, the increased expense for a family who must purchase a seperate ticket for a baby is a substantial jump up. It's possible to find the data and an analysis that will tell you how many parents, when faced with this expense, would choose another form of transportion than flying. And you can come up with a number that will drive. And you can come up with a number of likely accidents and fatalities to babies that are traveling by car rather than flying.

The FAA and other agencies determined that the number of injuries and fatalities to babies would in the aggregate increase notably if the infant seat and a ticket were required by law.

So they decided not to create that requirement.

Now, I know that there's some people who right off the bat find making these sorts of cold, analytic decisions and calculations to be objectionable in the context of health and lives of children. I simply cannot accept that viewpoint—it seems to me to be deeply hypocritical. If our concern is for the well-being of these children, then our concern should be for the well-being of these children. And not satisfying our own intuitions or sensibilities.

There's another kind of person who finds these second-order effects to be vague and speculative and unimportant when placed alongside x number of babies injured a year in a turbulent flight. I cannot accept that argument, either. I don't understand this arbitrary line beyond which effects and consequences are not considered. It seems to me that many people claim to stop at some line of in-depth analysis because it's become too unclear to go further, or too difficult, or some other self-evident practical consideration. But I don't believe that they are truthful in making this claim. I believe that what most people do, in fact, is stop at the point of an in-depth analysis when the conclusions they favor have been reached or validated.

So, again, in the context of infant safety on airlines, what has actually happened is that person X has satisifed their need to believe themselves to be virtuous and considered the matter, and they have satisfied their need to feel virtuous by reaching the conclusion that they favored intuitively in the first place. The analysis was mostly a sham.

This is what most people do with regard to the sorts of economic analysis that is involved in this thread's discussion. People start with their own, very local sensibilities and values; they pick out some bright line that is trivial because it is so superficial and available; and they show how deciding something on the basis of an analysis to that bright line and no further and which validates their preexisting, and usually very local, sensibilities to a conclusion that just so happens to be in their own, very personal and very shallowly evaluated self-interest. It's the appearance of intellectual analysis without either the effort or the otherwise oftentimes hard-to-avoid discomfort.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:58 PM on May 9, 2006


But, as a native Louisiana boy, I suppose that, for me, all arguments eventually revolve around food.

Y'know, ColdChef, I was just thinking about there was this Mexican semi-fast food restaurant on Iberville in the Quarter and how, if it's still open (I haven't been back in six years, so even before Katrina, it could've been gone), I'll never be able to get a seat now...
posted by Katemonkey at 3:03 PM on May 9, 2006


did you hear that kids, we're in the presence of an old school internet celebrity! that's right, pyramid termite fought in the meow wars! can i touch you?
posted by keswick at 3:04 PM on May 9, 2006


well said etheral
posted by elpapacito at 3:05 PM on May 9, 2006


#5. Before anyone judges me, let me take a few pictures of the little camps that are popping up all over the "burbs", under bridges and behind old buildings and empty apartments w/o water, drainage, elect and the basic requirements for sanitary living.

These people are making plenty of money, but there is no where for them to live while everything is being rebuilt, no matter what, people are going to live in squalor.
posted by delmoi at 3:15 PM on May 9, 2006


keswick - can i touch you?

no

eb - You know, people don't really need a formal introduction to macro, they just need to really stop and think things through for once.

except that the real motivation behind the objection isn't economics, it's cultural and with some people, racial ... it's disingenuous of people to suddenly object to low wages for workers when immigrants "drive them down" but defend the low wages otherwise ... not to mention take ruthless advantage of them

it's a case of crocodile tears
posted by pyramid termite at 3:15 PM on May 9, 2006


If you seriously think that the IRS would let 11,000,000 people work in the United States without paying taxes, you clearly have not thought about the matter for so much as ten minutes.

Many people live in the United States and do not pay taxes. In fact, many day laborers would qualify for the earned income credit, which would mean the government would give them larger refunds then what they paid in, if they filed their taxes.

Which they can do if they choose to, because the IRS does not share data with any other branches of the government.
posted by delmoi at 3:18 PM on May 9, 2006


Amen, Coldchef!

I think most of you who are shocked by wink's commentary and opinions would understand him better if you'd ever been to Metairie.

Not that I agree with him in any way, but he seems so far to be the living embodiment of the steotypical resident of that suburb.

This was/is still a heavily conservative area, bordering the more "blue" city of New Orleans.

Up until a few years ago, if memory serves, some people still had pro David Duke signs up.
posted by erskelyne at 3:20 PM on May 9, 2006


I have 4 opens cases right now about illegal immigrants who cross the border, show up at hospitals for treatment, and then sue the hospital for their injuries. I know that all 4 of them were here illegally.

Well, it would help if the hospitals haddn't injured them.
posted by delmoi at 3:25 PM on May 9, 2006


EB- for a moment, I was insulted, but hey, it's the internet. I got over it. I have a very good understanding of economics for an English major, but I don't care if you think so or not. Teach away, teacher, if it's your thing. Anyway-
I don't think that anyone- illegal immigrants included- should be prevented from holding their jobs, whatever jobs they are willing to take, for whatever wages they are willing to accept. As an adult, I would get pretty angry if someone tried to stop me from doing something "for my own good" and I wouldn't do it to anyone else even if I could. I do, however, think it is both morally and logically wrong to blame illegal immigrants for the ills of society. They contribute significantly more than they take, and as human beings, I they deserve to be treated with respect. I'm also a commie pinko liberal socialist bla bla bla and I really don't believe that anyone deserves to have a hundred million dollars while the people who work for them have little or nothing. I know that's just the way things are, but that doesn't mean I have to like it or keep quiet about it.
Next lesson?
posted by cilantro at 3:26 PM on May 9, 2006


I found these two parts of the article very telling. Follow the money...

Radio Tropical Caliente, one of the city’s two Spanish-language stations, is suddenly being bombarded with mainstream advertisers like McDonald’s and Budweiser, and plans to launch 24-hour television in November.

--------------

Workers throughout the city head not for church or home, but to Casa Angelo Inc. on Magazine Street, home of a Western Union booth.

The international money-wiring company’s familiar yellow signs have popped up all over the city, frequently accompanied by advertisements for long-distance phone cards.

Western Union spokeswoman Sherry Johnson declined to provide numbers for all of New Orleans, saying the company considers that “competitive information.”

posted by birdsong at 3:26 PM on May 9, 2006


Now they have a US citizen. What do the mothers do? They go get a PO Box in order to get their federal checks for the child. Then they return to Mexico and come across once a month to pick up their checks.

What exactly is the problem with this? Are you saying U.S. Citizens shouldn't be entitled to whatever welfare their getting? Or are you opposed to birth-right citizenship?
posted by delmoi at 3:27 PM on May 9, 2006


"Next lesson?"

I pretty much agree with you. My ideals and sensibilities are mostly the same. However, I'm relentlessly pragmatic and best described as a utilitarian. In any given social or economic policy I want to see if it really helps people or not. I support market economics pragmatically, not ideologically, and when I think there's a realistic alternative to achieving a given social aim, I'm all in favor of it.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:44 PM on May 9, 2006


i was going to reply but ... observe carefully ... there is a genuine, real live troll in this thread ... ignore him

Agreed. I almost went for the 'stink bomb' comment.
posted by ericb at 3:49 PM on May 9, 2006


> except that the real motivation behind the objection isn't economics, it's cultural
> and with some people, racial

Underneath the cultural and racial levels is economics again. People eating out of other peoples' plates. Competition for all the same resources. Darwin all the way down.

> I would if they were not bigoted, venomous, fear-driven, middle-class-panic ostrich
> head in the sand little baby shitbirds... Otherwise yeah, fuck those brownies.

Happily, there's no law written anywhere that we have to love one another. At least not anywhere that the average mefiite would be caught dead quoting.
posted by jfuller at 3:50 PM on May 9, 2006


I was just thinking about there was this Mexican semi-fast food restaurant on Iberville in the Quarter

The Country Flame? Painting on the wall outside of a guy with a big mustache and a sombrero? It's still there, I have a pic of the sign half blown down somewhere on my comp at home.

Guh-nasty! I've eaten there once or twice and the food was horrible. I'd rather eat a microwave burrito from Circle K.

I keep waiting for decent mexican food to show up around here. I haven't seen the El Chaparral roach coach yet, when I do I'll try it. Until then Taqueria Corona is the best I've been able to find. Not Cuco's, not Taco Bell, not Chevy's, not Serrano's, not Juan's Flying Burrito... real mexican food.
posted by djeo at 3:55 PM on May 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


ColdChef,
I had the exact same thoughts. Since Cajun and Louisiana Creole cuisines are so strongly associated with fused elements, it'll be really interesting to see what develops of this new strong influx of Central American presence. New Orleans chefs got a huge nod at the James Beard Awards last night (1, 2) so eyes are on the area. With a lot of restaurant staff gone from NOLA, it's almost inevitable for restaurants to reopen with some Central American kitchen staff. It'd be really exciting to see a whole new "species" of original American cuisine to develop there.

I'd also love to see some Cajun/Creole cuisine make its way to the SF Bay Area but that may be asking a bit much. With NOLA headlining the Beard dinner, I wouldn't be surprised if NY/SF restaurants start adding a few Cajun/Creole "tribute" dishes or accents in the next year or two.
posted by junesix at 4:35 PM on May 9, 2006


You can already buy breakfast tacos all along Magazine Street. And that, my friend, is a step in the right direction.

(Also check out NPR's recent piece on Delta Hot tamales and The Southern Foodways Alliance's Tamale Trail)
posted by ColdChef at 4:43 PM on May 9, 2006


Chinga tu madre wink.
posted by birdherder at 5:08 PM on May 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


Ah, here it is:


Is that the place you were referring to Katemonkey?
posted by djeo at 6:05 PM on May 9, 2006


Those illegal immigrants scamming the health care and child welfare systems, I'll bet they are responsible for the US's trillion-dollar deficit!
posted by five fresh fish at 6:42 PM on May 9, 2006


CELLPHONE, I live off of a main road and that main road is crawling with them. Do you want them roaming your streets (aimlessly)?

Do people not have a right to be on the public streets? Do you only have this right if you have a specific destination in mind?
posted by punishinglemur at 7:22 PM on May 9, 2006


España y La Louisiana. Now, who are the newcomers again?
posted by gimonca at 7:25 PM on May 9, 2006


I had assumed the type of laborers that gather each morning to be picked up for that day's work are paid cash under-the-table and no taxes are paid on that income.

mullacc, I don't have statistics, but many day laborers go through agencies such as Laboready which are large corporations with many local branches, and which I would expect to withhold taxes. Even when immigrants are working directly for smaller outfits, contractors are pretty highly regulated compared to many other small businesses; while I'm sure there are many who don't worry too much about the authenticity of the working papers they're shown, I suspect most still withhold taxes (if only for their own tax purposes).

This country seems to have avoided the various apocalyptic scenarios anti-immigration activists posit, despite essentially open immigration, prior to the post-World War I restrictions (which were motivated largely by wartime xenophobia and by eugenicism. I think it's pretty sad that most people think we couldn't handle open borders today.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 8:20 PM on May 9, 2006


It think it is equally sad that concerns raised by people about illegal immigration is regarded as racially motivated or xenophobic. I find the counter arguments that fall back on these statements are rather immature and not really well argued.

Which is rather disappointing. I honestly would like to see a well-reasoned argument, well-balanced argument for illegal immigration. I haven't seen it yet, but I do have high regard for MeFi users (all of you including those I disagree with) and I am sure it will come.

I think that we can all agree that this is a very polarizing issue and the side against illegal immigration is not simply 50 people with flags demonstrating in front of a State building nor lone misguided pointless bloggers. As I may have mentioned before, this issue I think, will be the one that determines the next president of the United States (seriously).
posted by gnash at 8:56 PM on May 9, 2006


As a good Christian man, who tries to folllow the Bible in every way possible*, I subscribe to Leviticus 19:33 and 34,
"If a stranger lives as a foreigner with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who lives as a foreigner with you shall be to you as the native-born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you lived as foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am Yahweh your God."
I call upon every God-fearing American to do the same.

Put up or shut up.

*not really.
posted by djeo at 9:07 PM on May 9, 2006


On another note - what if we gave the rebuilding of New Orleans jobs to citizens - perhaps the poor citizens that we completely let down? Who didn't / maybe don't have work even now. $15 / hour job is pretty decent compared to welfare or $0.

I honestly felt like we let the people of New Orleans down - and maybe this is why I am against illegal immigration.

We (apparently) can't take care of the people we have. The way I see it, while the current immigration system is very flawed, legal entry provides another purpose. It says, we are accepting you into out country and we (the citizens) take responsibility for you. Via our tax dollars that go into medical programs, social security, welfare, etc. It was made very clear to me with Katrina (and other examples) we have yet to be able to take care of our own. Why would we (U.S.) want to further burden an already very broken system?

So regarding New Orleans: I'd pay tax dollars to give on the job training and see our tax dollars that are spent rebuilding the city put in the hands of people who are here legally. This, to me, is double bang for the buck. Repairs the city and helps citizens.

Maybe San Bernadino has the right idea:

http://www.kesq.com/Global/story.asp?S=4882807&nav=9qrx
posted by gnash at 9:08 PM on May 9, 2006


as a former resident of Lakeview, gracias, amigos; for cleaning the mold out of our house. A bienvenidos a todos. My spanish teachers came from Honduras, some after their own storm, and I was glad then to live in a city that could take in new friends.

Winks007, i read the other day that the levee on the other side of the 17th street canal was close to bursting, but the breach on our side eased the pressure. Please think about what that breach would have done to your 'property values.'

Also, this link to a practical, realistic solution to the problem of market economics is for Ethereal Bligh and other utilitarians.
posted by eustatic at 9:33 PM on May 9, 2006


It think it is equally sad that concerns raised by people about illegal immigration is regarded as racially motivated or xenophobic.

Sad because it's true.
posted by delmoi at 10:55 PM on May 9, 2006


Rosa Parks broke the law too.
posted by delmoi at 10:57 PM on May 9, 2006


djeo: I think that's probably it.

I always thought it was pretty good, since it always reminded me of Casa Sanchez back in Long Beach, but, like I said, it's been six years -- it could've changed...
posted by Katemonkey at 2:27 AM on May 10, 2006


the same ones who are handy with a miter saw, drywall, shingles, and laying sod.

I wouldn't be so sure about the drywall. (I've been appalled at the lack of quality I saw in brand new houses these days - and they use that stupid orange peel texture crap to hide their mistakes, and even that doesn't work very well).

Which they can do if they choose to, because the IRS does not share data with any other branches of the government.

Were you being sarcastic with this? I worked at the IRS and I know for a fact that social security numbers are checked against the first four letters of the last name of the card holder (which requires interplay with the Social Security Adminstration's database).

In addition I think that you can specify some number of ... um, thingmies on your withholding form that essentially makes it so that no taxes (save SS and Medicare) are taken out of your check. When I handled payroll on a small temp job years ago quite a few people whose papers I dealt with did this. I'm guessing illegals providing false papers know this trick, so more money stays in their pocket.

What winks described sounded to me like some sort of shantytown type deal with what, open sewers or something? I find the sanctimoniousness directed at his discomfort at this amusing.
posted by beth at 4:15 AM on May 10, 2006


Wait a sec, I got confused. Info goes *into* the IRS from other agencies, that I know about. Info going out, I dunno about that.

But yeah, if the social doesn't match the name, they don't get their exemptions. And the kids' names and socials are checked too. Any that don't match - no exemption / credit. Lots and lots and lots of them don't match.
posted by beth at 4:18 AM on May 10, 2006


It think it is equally sad that concerns raised by people about illegal immigration is regarded as racially motivated or xenophobic.

Delmoi: Sad because it's true.

Well, actually no it's not true, and thanks for proving my point. See my original comment above about well thought out / argued points v. immature and unsophisticated.
posted by gnash at 6:10 AM on May 10, 2006


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