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Don't confuse the 9/11 with the 7-11
November 4, 2007 7:07 AM   Subscribe

On July 10, Prince William County, Virginia voted to begin a major crackdown on illegal immigration. Two local filmmakers have responded with a series of videos covering everything from county hearings to head-on confrontations between white and Hispanic residents. Full collection of 31 youtube videos (with more regularly being added). The Washington Post's coverage.
posted by naoko (68 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Apologies in advance if this is too youtube and WaPo heavy, but I think the videos are worth watching. Immigration seems to be the only thing Virginians are talking about lately - quite likely because we've got General Assembly elections coming up in two days and everyone running for office has been trying to stir people up: "If you don't vote for me, you know who really wins? ILLEGALS!"
posted by naoko at 7:12 AM on November 4, 2007


Ku Klux Klan, LLC??? The fuck?
posted by billysumday at 7:13 AM on November 4, 2007


I can't wait to hear some of these same people bitching about how their lawn-service bill has tripled because the owner had to start paying more for local, legal labor.

The problem isn't the illegals. The problem is that Americans want everything for next to free, but aren't willing to live with the side-effects.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:33 AM on November 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


My wife, who is tuned in to immigration issues in the DC area, played a few of these for me this past week - they're frustratingly infuriating to watch.

I wish that it was feasible for the latino community (legal or not, because it's just as much about being brown as it is not having status) in Prince William to give the crazies what they want. "You want us gone? Fine." Your service industry disappears. Prince William would be a lily-white county where nobody can afford to have their lawn cut, go to a restaurant, keep their horse at a stable, or have a house built.
posted by god hates math at 7:58 AM on November 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


Is NAFTA even mentioned once? y'know, the policy that is destroying mexican agriculture, and creating the immigration pressures?

It's sad, we americans can't deal with the social effects of the economic policies they never voted in.
posted by eustatic at 8:08 AM on November 4, 2007


Great post.
posted by awesomebrad at 8:09 AM on November 4, 2007


The measure approved yesterday directs officers to check the status of anyone in police custody who they suspect is an illegal immigrant.

How are they supposed to check? Send a name and birthdate or A# to USCIS and wait a month or six?

It's going to be open lawsuit season on Prince William County if they just start jailing anyone without an apparently-current green card or visa. Lots of people who are in status have visas that are expired or green cards past their expiration date. For IIRC more than a year, my beloved's evidence that she was in status was: a cash register receipt from submitting her AOS paperwork, since her visa expired after 90 days. This is true of anyone else who is adjusting status and has their old status expire while this is going on.

For another good long while, her proof of status was a short letter from USCIS, and her green card said it was expired. This is true of anyone else who acquires a green card from a new marriage.

Somehow I expect they're not training officers to recognize the correct wording of the NOA resulting from I-751 submission, or to know when the one-year extension starts, or to recognize the format and prices of AOS submission receipts, or to be trained in decoding the text strings on green cards or visas to find the checksums and determine validity, and so on. It ought to be fun the first time they jail a lawyer's spouse because (s)he's in AOS hell, or because, shit, her green card says it expired a month ago.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:29 AM on November 4, 2007 [7 favorites]


That guy in the confrontation video is so offended he has to overhear Spanish. I guess I understand. I used to think that people were talking about me when they were speaking Spanish. That feeling has diminished considerably since I stopped wearing the hood and the robe.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:31 AM on November 4, 2007


As much as I enjoy living in a town with different cultures here, I find the "working class Hispanic" subculture stands out as being kind of abrasive and depressing. Some people may be playing on blatant racism, but the culture itself and its values (as separate from educated, accomplished Hispanics) and its rapid growth throughout the country I think is what is an issue here.
posted by rolypolyman at 8:40 AM on November 4, 2007


god hates math: Apparently this was tried, sort of, but without enough participants to really prove the point.
posted by naoko at 8:41 AM on November 4, 2007


So, here's the question I have: has Prince William County always had such a large immigrant population, or is this a relatively recent phenomenon? I have a lot of friends and family who live in that area and have for a good 40 years.
posted by tgrundke at 8:44 AM on November 4, 2007


...but the culture itself and its values (as separate from educated, accomplished Hispanics) and its rapid growth throughout the country I think is what is an issue here.

Pay them better.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:44 AM on November 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Towns Rethink Laws Against Illegal Immigrants

RIVERSIDE, N.J., Sept. 25 — A little more than a year ago, the Township Committee in this faded factory town became the first municipality in New Jersey to enact legislation penalizing anyone who employed or rented to an illegal immigrant. Within months, hundreds, if not thousands, of recent immigrants from Brazil and other Latin American countries had fled. The noise, crowding and traffic that had accompanied their arrival over the past decade abated. The law had worked. Perhaps, some said, too well.

With the departure of so many people, the local economy suffered. Hair salons, restaurants and corner shops that catered to the immigrants saw business plummet; several closed. Once-boarded-up storefronts downtown were boarded up again. Meanwhile, the town was hit with two lawsuits challenging the law. Legal bills began to pile up, straining the town’s already tight budget. Suddenly, many people — including some who originally favored the law — started having second thoughts.

So last week, the town rescinded the ordinance, joining a small but growing list of municipalities nationwide that have begun rethinking such laws as their legal and economic consequences have become clearer.

“I don’t think people knew there would be such an economic burden,” said Mayor George Conard, who voted for the original ordinance. “A lot of people did not look three years out.”

posted by mediareport at 8:45 AM on November 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


I particularly don't enjoy speaking Spanish in my country, either. But I love listening to others do it.
posted by klue at 8:48 AM on November 4, 2007


How are they supposed to check? Send a name and birthdate or A# to USCIS and wait a month or six?

Not to mention the worst case: poor Hispanic citizens. I believe there was actually one case of a poor, mentally retarded U.S. Citizen who was "deported" to Mexico.

I suppose it's possible there is some database somewhere, but if you're not carrying ID with you, how are they going to validate the information? And some states issue driver's licenses to Illegal Immigrants
posted by delmoi at 8:49 AM on November 4, 2007


I can't wait to hear some of these same people bitching about how their lawn-service bill has tripled... Americans want everything for next to free...

I haven't seen the hiring of less expensive Mexican workers manifesting itself as lower prices for the consumer, but more as a higher profit margin for the high ups.

It's not as though the food in the restaurants staffed by illegals is cheaper, or a house built by a crew of Mexicans costs less, the boss just gets to keep the money he would be paying Americans.
posted by dozo at 9:09 AM on November 4, 2007 [5 favorites]


This is simply racism. Wonder if we'll ever get past our obsession with skin color.
posted by maxwelton at 9:18 AM on November 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow, proud to be a Virginian today. This scares the crap out of me.

"Without the law, the Gospel has no meaning", from the 'Fighting the Illegals and the Gospel' link.

I think I'll postpone my return to America for another year now.
posted by bluejayk at 9:18 AM on November 4, 2007


dozo, you don't think that those higher ups will work to protect that profit margin if they have to pay people a reasonable wage? I'm pretty sure the prices would go up.
posted by hue at 9:22 AM on November 4, 2007


*we never voted in
posted by eustatic at 9:22 AM on November 4, 2007


It ought to be fun the first time they jail a lawyer's spouse because (s)he's in AOS hell, or because, shit, her green card says it expired a month ago.

ROU Xenophobe, I wish I could favorite your comment more than once.
posted by tarheelcoxn at 9:34 AM on November 4, 2007


As much as I enjoy living in a town with different cultures here, I find the "working class Caucasian" subculture stands out as being kind of abrasive and depressing. Some people may be playing on blatant racism, but the culture itself and its values (as separate from educated, accomplished Caucasians) and its rapid growth throughout the country I think is what is an issue here.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:35 AM on November 4, 2007 [10 favorites]


Discussing some of the comments is better left to psychologists, so I'll just provide more information on: the New York Times article, Sharon Pandak, the WaPo story, and ads that are being run.
posted by LonewackoDotCom at 10:03 AM on November 4, 2007


"More information" being links to your own blog? Thanks...

And you're wrong about George Allen. His exact quote was: "Let's give a welcome to macaca here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia." How exactly is that NOT directed at the cameraman?
posted by naoko at 9:19 AM on November 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I can't wait to hear some of these same people bitching about how their lawn-service bill has tripled... Americans want everything for next to free...

The people who are complaining don't usually have lawns, but are generally paying much higher rent and getting lower pay, and their kids are competing with limited funding in public schools for special education for the children of immigrants. The Republicans will seize this issue to grab the working class vote again, because liberals are too worried about their lawns.

It's a political train wreck waiting to happen, because liberals will find their social benefits budgets referred to as earmarks for illegals (who are relatively untaxed, and who send most of their spending money back home). It's a politically defeating strategy to swell our class ranks by non-voters, and then expect funding later. Byebye healthcare for America. This will be better than the gun issue for conservatives.
posted by Brian B. at 9:20 AM on November 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Republicans will seize this issue to grab the working class vote again...

One thing that I think is especially interesting about this issue is how it cuts across party lines. Notable pro-immigration Republicans include President Bush and Senators Graham, Hagel, McCain, Specter, and Voinovich, among others.
posted by naoko at 9:27 AM on November 4, 2007


And Karl too. He is regarded as the engineer of the whisper campaign to promise amnesty a few years ago. They perhaps knew what they were doing.
posted by Brian B. at 9:30 AM on November 4, 2007


rolypolyman writes "As much as I enjoy living in a town with different cultures here, I find the 'working class Hispanic' subculture stands out as being kind of abrasive and depressing. Some people may be playing on blatant racism, but the culture itself and its values (as separate from educated, accomplished Hispanics) and its rapid growth throughout the country I think is what is an issue here."

What values are those?
posted by krinklyfig at 10:56 AM on November 4, 2007


"You want us gone? Fine." Your service industry disappears. Prince William would be a lily-white county where nobody can afford to have their lawn cut, go to a restaurant, keep their horse at a stable, or have a house built.

You could make the exact same argument for the preservation of slavery. Illegal immigration keeps prices depressed because it provides a dark sector in which employers can safely circumvent every labor law. Were illegals being employed and compensated in fair, legal conditions, there'd be no depression in the price of landscaping, contracting, or food service. So you're essentially arguing to undo the last hundred years of worker's rights...
posted by kid ichorous at 11:06 AM on November 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


What values are those?

The same values many immigrant populations are saddled with at first: massive homophobia, anti-intellectualism, shallow religious conservatism... Solid Republican values to the core.
posted by kid ichorous at 11:17 AM on November 4, 2007


This is really important, folks! It's a well known fact that the Irish Germans Italians Mexicans have a lazy, corrupt, inferior and law-breaking culture. If we allow the Irish Germans Italians Mexicans to come here in vast numbers, it will only be a matter of time before our beloved American values and language are replaced by Irish German Italian Mexican corruption.
posted by Avenger at 11:23 AM on November 4, 2007 [5 favorites]


Ugly Americans. It seems the south hasn't evolved an iota in the last 100 years or so; still with the hate culture, still very outspoken about it. Christ, what a bunch of ass holes!

Is the US officially a third world country yet? Soon it will be and the Mexicans will be shooting down Americans as they run for the border.
posted by weezy at 11:32 AM on November 4, 2007


naoko: "Macaca" was directed at the cameraman, however, the "real" part was a swipe at Webb: he was in Hollywood at the time. Let me suggest watching the whole tape, not just creative edits of it.
posted by LonewackoDotCom at 11:34 AM on November 4, 2007


Avenger: that's a LogicalFallacy: there are many differences between then and now.
posted by LonewackoDotCom at 11:35 AM on November 4, 2007


there are many differences between then and now.
posted by LonewackoDotCom


¡eponosterico!
posted by Avenger at 11:40 AM on November 4, 2007


And Lonewacko, not a one of those differences matters one whit with respect to the current situation. Yes, of course things were different - the year people wrote down was a hundred less than it is now! Holy shit!
posted by notsnot at 11:56 AM on November 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's ironic that Mexico's southern border is known for its brutality in preventing Central Americans from crossing over. This is their shrewd way of keeping competing immigration from flowing into the US, and for other reasons related to their economy. However, I don't fault Mexico for preventing property ownership by foreigners, because we shouldn't fault them for our hypocrisy. But if they wanted to raise cash and jobs they might consider selling (not leasing) retirement dwellings and own the services they would be providing Americans instead.
posted by Brian B. at 12:27 PM on November 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


As much as I enjoy living in a town with different cultures here, I find the "working class Hispanic" subculture stands out as being kind of abrasive and depressing. Some people may be playing on blatant racism, but the culture itself and its values (as separate from educated, accomplished Hispanics) and its rapid growth throughout the country I think is what is an issue here.
posted by rolypolyman at 11:40 AM on November 4 [+] [!]


Excuse me, but what the hell are you talking about? Do you know any "working class" Hispanics? The "working class" Hispanics I've known are warm, family-centered, work hard as hell and tiring physical-labor intensive jobs to build up their savings and property in Jersey City, teach their children to dance on the sidewalks of Washington Heights, play dominoes on the stoops of West Harlem, have sprawling family picnics by the Hudson River, and cook up a delicious beans and rice dishes that maybe, if you weren't such an asshole, they'd bring you in a foil-covered dish because you've been looking a little skinny lately.
posted by footnote at 12:59 PM on November 4, 2007 [8 favorites]


Isn't their throwing a tantrum any time people spoke anything besides "the national language" one of the things we used to make fun of France for?

For extra credit, compare and contrast: impenetrable Maginot Line and impenetrable missile defense shield.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 1:34 PM on November 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


Obviously, notsnot doesn't understand that previous groups didn't have a race-based claim to our territory. Yet, many members of current groups (falsely) make such a claim. Obviously, that's a major difference. For more, see the bit about Quebec here.
posted by LonewackoDotCom at 2:41 PM on November 4, 2007


if re-incarnation proves to be real, i hope i don't have to do time as a white person, particularly a white christian. that would mean shouldering a load of intolerance and hatred that is beyond my strength to carry. most important, it would mean not having any fun at all, something that white people just can't seem to do.
posted by kitchenrat at 2:55 PM on November 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


(Nobody tell them about the invisible Mexicans from the north, m'kay?)
posted by Reggie Digest at 3:04 PM on November 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ugly Americans. It seems the south hasn't evolved an iota in the last 100 years or so; still with the hate culture, still very outspoken about it. Christ, what a bunch of ass holes!

Yes, this is assholish (and I live in VA) but, do not place all of this on the south. If you actually read this thread, Riverside, NJ sure as hell isn't in the south, and they did the same type of thing a year ago.

The world is a hate culture, there is no country that doesn't have issues of racial intolerance. It is disgusting but, call it correctly, don't blame it on one section, of one country.
posted by SuzySmith at 3:37 PM on November 4, 2007


maxwelton: Try living in a border town or an immigrant town and tell me it's simply racism. I lived in Spain for a number of years and in my town there it went from a peaceful place to utter lawlessness due to the influx of Romanian immigrants who came in to work "seasonal jobs" and ended up staying.

The result? My apartment being broken into four times within the span of a year, *catching* the intruder myself, twice, and the other two times having them caught trying to sell my goods at the local second hand store. All four times they were Romanian. Had nothing to do with skin color my friend, it had everything to do with a disrespect for the community and the laws of the land.

If you consider that "racism", then I have a dictionary I'd like to slap you upside the head with.
posted by tgrundke at 3:45 PM on November 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


You could make the exact same argument for the preservation of slavery. Illegal immigration keeps prices depressed because it provides a dark sector in which employers can safely circumvent every labor law.

No, no. You've completely missed my point. I was not saying, "Oh, those poor Virginians won't be able to afford anything, boo-hoo!"

I was saying, "Those Virginians want to drive out Latinos? Fine. Fuck 'em. Let 'em deal with the consequences. They're more than welcome in Maryland."

Immigrants have power as a mass. You want to see real change on immigration policy? Let's have Latinos (again, with status or not) start a work stoppage in Washington, DC. You think anti-immigrant politicians don't have Latino houseworkers? Right, and anti-gay politicians are straight as pins.

And for those of you that think this isn't about race, let's consider this - the DC metro area has the highest concentration of Ethiopian immigrants in the US. And yet somehow, nobody's talking about how offended they are that they have to hear Amharic on their way to work.

Also, my wife, who I mentioned is involved in this debate, would like to suggest that everyone stop using the word "illegal." This NY Times opinion piece is a good primer as to why.
posted by god hates math at 4:51 PM on November 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


This is truly a battle between people who can afford to hire illegal immigrants to do menial labor for them (either as a status symbol or cheap pool of labor they can fire at will), and those who mow their own lawns and do their own laundry (and can't afford to lose their wage base to an undocumented worker).

Which poltical party will win this demographic?
posted by Brian B. at 5:59 PM on November 4, 2007


Great post. Going to be perusing soon. But dear lord, I hope my grandfather doesn't show up in this. "You see, those Asians, at least they learned English..."
posted by Football Bat at 7:05 PM on November 4, 2007




I think Brian B. nailed it; and don't forget that you've also got the not exactly trivial agricultural industries weighing in on the side of illegal immigration (and not necessarily for increased legal immigration, either; I strongly suspect that they prefer the status quo).

I found the furor earlier this summer over Bush's amnesty scheme interesting because of the way it exposed and separated the 'corporate Republicans' from the 'blue-collar Republicans.' The split was more obvious than I've seen as the result of any other issue (including stem cells and NAFTA / free trade).

So there are multiple little battles being fought on various levels. But among actual citizens/voters, I think the issue tends to be whether you're a consumer of services (so you benefit from lower costs as a result of increased immigration), or a provider (so you're hurt by the wage depression and slack labor market). Philosophical objections one way or the other sound great, but I think it's economics (or the perception thereof) that really make votes.

Thus far, I think the whole issue has mostly hurt conservatives (by exposing their hypocrisy and ties to business that run counter to the best interests of their base), but I think the same thing could happen to the Democrats if they're not careful. I think there are a lot of blue-collar workers who are currently leaning left because of the war, but who could swing the other way if a 'local issue' like immigration, which can easily be personalized, gets added to the mix.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:38 PM on November 4, 2007


I think the issue tends to be whether you're a consumer of services (so you benefit from lower costs as a result of increased immigration), or a provider (so you're hurt by the wage depression and slack labor market).

Which poltical party will win this demographic?
posted by Brian B. at 8:59 PM on November 4 [+] [!]


I see a few problems with this view. First, everyone is a consumer of services and thus everyone profits from immigrant labor. Hispanic immigrants aren't just lawn mowers; they're also meat packers, construction workers, agricultural laborers... Second, do you have proof that immigrant labor causes wage depression and a slack labor market in a way not counterbalanced by the lower prices of goods and services? What's more salient than the truth or falsity of the statement is that the *conventional wisdom* has it that Hispanic immigrants depress wages.

Thus, the real question is, "Which political party will foment or aggravate xenophobia in order to exploit this possibly incorrect conventional wisdom that Hispanic immigrants depress wages?"

Hmmm...I wonder what the answer is.
posted by footnote at 6:54 AM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Let me suggest watching the whole tape, not just creative edits of it.

Thanks for the advice (and assumptions) LoneWacko, but I assure you that I have already done so. As much as I'd love to debate this further, I'm going to have to recuse myself.
posted by naoko at 7:03 AM on November 5, 2007


As someone who follows politics, and Virginia politics in particular, very carefully, I have to say that this recent push for "cracking down on illegal immigrants" is nothing more than a political ploy.
The county officials in P. William and neighboring Loudoun counties know good and well that the enforcement tactics and requests for documentation are not workable. The sheriff’s departments, police forces, and even some elected officials have said as much. Much more importantly, there is not enough money in the county to go through with this. Never was, never will be. This is just an election year stunt. thankfully, it is backfiring on the GOP and they may very well loose their majority status in the legislature thanks to this and their general fuckedupitude.
As for the question about why the immigrants are there in the first place:
the DC region is booming economically, still is even with the slump (sweet sweet federal contracts, mmmm).
P. William county and the other exurban areas are seeing a boom in housing becuase land and labor are cheap. Land is cheap becuase it's an hour and a half outside of DC (~3 hour commute for many). Labor is cheap becuase of... well, you know. And houses are cheap becuase they are all prefab Toll Brother's houses.
None of these folks bitching about 'ill legals' demanded union workers when their McMansion's were going up, I'll tell you that.
posted by willie11 at 7:22 AM on November 5, 2007


Ugly Americans. It seems the south hasn't evolved an iota in the last 100 years or so; still with the hate culture, still very outspoken about it. Christ, what a bunch of ass holes!

Oh, please. Quit trolling. And quit pretending you're different.
posted by oaf at 8:14 AM on November 5, 2007


Aside from the actual issue of immigration, I am extremely irritated at how proponents in both the social and business spheres use the "go limp" strategy. Like how making businesses check out SSNs will keep brown americans from getting hired because it's too much of a hassle for the business to stand by while they get it worked out and OMG there are flaws in the SSN database so this will happen all the time! This already happens today to anyone who works for a place that actually makes an honest attempt to verify you are eligible to work, whatever color you are, and it will get worked out. Attach potentially very large fines to not hiring someone while their SSN status is in question. The database WILL get better in response to higher enforcement. This is a net win in all categories except the hiring illegal labor sector. This is bullshit. We have people arguing for broken and inefficient government so that their pet nationality can get a job illegally easier. I'm sorry that accurate, fraud-free management of social security makes it harder for you to passive-aggressively resist immigration reform by keeping it supremely easy to fraudulently establish your identity/citizenship status.
posted by erikharmon at 10:14 AM on November 5, 2007


tgrundke: In this instance, and I would suggest generally in this country, "illegal immigrants" is synonymous with "latinos" and the underlying hatred is, indeed, skin-color based.
posted by maxwelton at 3:08 PM on November 5, 2007


tgrundke: In this instance, and I would suggest generally in this country, "illegal immigrants" is synonymous with "latinos" and the underlying hatred is, indeed, skin-color based.

I won't argue that culture and racism aren't involved at all, especially in some countries, but it's deliberate naivety to claim that immigration control is not by and large an issue of labor and economic strategy.

Most first-world countries are looking for more PhDs, engineers, mathematicians, teachers, and the like. In the US, where there's a shortage of these assets, the need is comparatively greater - hence a variety of VISAs and university programs available to recruit such talent. A massive influx of unskilled manual and agricultural laborers, while valuable to a certain contingent of sweatshop businesses, is not the same kind of long term future asset.
posted by kid ichorous at 6:54 PM on November 5, 2007


That would be "Visas," not "VISAs."
posted by kid ichorous at 6:56 PM on November 5, 2007


In this instance, and I would suggest generally in this country, "illegal immigrants" is synonymous with "latinos" and the underlying hatred is, indeed, skin-color based.


This is a psychological projection of personal racism. Most people opposed to illegal immigration don't need any more reason than concern about their economic future, versus opponents who want cheap servants. To suggest that people who want cheap labor aren't racist is a joke, but you'd expect them, pathologically, to project it onto others.
posted by Brian B. at 7:21 PM on November 5, 2007


To suggest that people who want cheap labor aren't racist is a joke, but you'd expect them, pathologically, to project it onto others.

Even if we accept the premise that illegal immigration lowers wages (most of the research I've seen suggests that any negative effect is small and confined to native-born workers without a skilled trade or a college degree), it's the "illegal" part of illegal immigration that produces the downward pressure on wages, because you create a category of second-class non-citizens who cannot depend on the rule of law to protect their rights vs. an exploitative employer. If we adopted a libertarian position on immigration ("peaceful people should be allowed to cross borders peacefully") and strengthened enforcement of labor laws, there is no reason that immigrant labor would have to be "cheap."
posted by jonp72 at 7:59 PM on November 5, 2007


We have people arguing for broken and inefficient government so that their pet nationality can get a job illegally easier. I'm sorry that accurate, fraud-free management of social security makes it harder for you to passive-aggressively resist immigration reform by keeping it supremely easy to fraudulently establish your identity/citizenship status.

I'm happy to come right out and say that I'm in favor of allowing any noncriminal, nonviolent person the right to cross borders freely without interference by the state. Yes, if passive-agressive resistance is necessary to throw a monkey wrench into a prohibitionist immigration regime, then I'm all for it.

You're not arguing for government that's less "broken and inefficient." You're arguing for more red tape. As long as money and investments can cross borders at will, people should be allowed the same privilege. If we don't allow immigration here, the jobs will simply be outsourced offshore anyway.
posted by jonp72 at 8:05 PM on November 5, 2007


If we adopted a libertarian position on immigration ("peaceful people should be allowed to cross borders peacefully") and strengthened enforcement of labor laws, there is no reason that immigrant labor would have to be "cheap."

I lean towards agreeing with this, and believe that, in an ideal world, people would be able to change nationalities as freely as changing jobs. But, even in the freest societies, voluntary relationships are still a two-way street - both sides have to want the arrangement for it to work.

If you were the director of hiring for Google, and your job were to seek out the best and brightest candidates and invite them into your ranks, should you be forced to employ a thousand Ukranian farmers that appear on your doorstep? That is, don't societies and associations always exercise the right of final discernment over new membership?
posted by kid ichorous at 8:43 PM on November 5, 2007


If we adopted a libertarian position on immigration ("peaceful people should be allowed to cross borders peacefully")

But try to cross a libertarian's sacred property line and they would disagree.
posted by Brian B. at 8:53 PM on November 5, 2007


Brian, I may not know myself very well, but I would suggest "racist" isn't high up on my personality profile. I'm in favor of open borders, and I don't care where the new folks come from. I'm an immigrant myself, though of the pasty-white-guy-who-came-in-as-a-kid-with-his-immigrant-parents variety.
posted by maxwelton at 12:08 AM on November 6, 2007


kid ichorous wrote: "In the US, where there's a shortage of these assets, the need is comparatively greater - hence a variety of VISAs and university programs available to recruit such talent."

Talent nowadays is looking at other countries to emigrate, actually. Yes, once it was true that the goal for most educated migrants was the US, but many factors, including the fact that the hurdles needed to legally immigrate have gotten significantly tougher in the last few years (and most educated people will want to immigrate legally, since they'll want to be able to put that degree to use), and the ease of access to global information over the 'Net, have pointed people to other countries.

Ironic, I think, that the very hurdles designed to keep the undesirables out are doing precisely the opposite: keeping the talent out. The legal hurdles are simply ignored by poor destitute folks who had planned on simply ignoring them anyway.
posted by papafrita at 2:56 AM on November 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


ugh, that sure was a grammatical mess. please forgive my sleep-deprived brain.
posted by papafrita at 2:58 AM on November 6, 2007


Ironic, I think, that the very hurdles designed to keep the undesirables out are doing precisely the opposite: keeping the talent out. The legal hurdles are simply ignored by poor destitute folks who had planned on simply ignoring them anyway.

Another factor that people forget is that a lot of migrants are Mexicans who don't wish to settle in the U.S. permanently, but simply wish to make a load of money so they can return to their home towns as a comparatively rich man or woman. By making the borders more difficult to cross, we are sealing immigrants in, just as much as we are keeping them out.
posted by jonp72 at 4:44 AM on November 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


But try to cross a libertarian's sacred property line and they would disagree.

Not necessarily. Some big-L Libertarians would simply charge the immigrant money for the right to cross the border. It's not necessarily how I would do it, but I prefer to the militarization of United States borders that's happening now.
posted by jonp72 at 4:46 AM on November 6, 2007


If you were the director of hiring for Google, and your job were to seek out the best and brightest candidates and invite them into your ranks, should you be forced to employ a thousand Ukranian farmers that appear on your doorstep? That is, don't societies and associations always exercise the right of final discernment over new membership?

You may have a point, but I think it's better to look at the reality of American politics rather than just abstract political philosophy. Many of the right-wingers who argue in favor of the right of "society" to restrict immigration are the same people who would denounce any invocation of "society" or the "public good" as a collectivist heresy designed to set us on the slippery slope to socialism. So you may be right as a matter of philosophy, but this philosophy has no connection to empirical reality. As for the Ukrainian farmers example, I doubt they'd want to work at Google either when North Dakota is practically giving away land in its rural areas in response to an influx of Russian immigrants. So many North Dakotans have "Russian-German" ancestry anyway that the Ukrainians would fit there like a glove. (My fiancee is North Dakotan, so that's how I know this.)
posted by jonp72 at 4:53 AM on November 6, 2007


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