3/25/2006

Immigration Nation, No More?

Immigration rights activists have been speaking out against proposed legislation, and their march last week in Los Angeles received a lot of attention as Americans debate our identity as an "immigration nation" with a history of relative acceptance compared to many others- but a nation that has evolved from what it used to be. But what was their message to lawmakers? And what are our politicians trying to accomplish? We've been listening to people like Lou Dobbs scold the government for their failure to link weak border control to security risks for years and yet despite 9-11, little in the way of political momentum seemed underfoot until recently...(continued)

So, what is it? An attempt to address a security threat, an attempt to persecute and discriminate against immigrants, smoke and mirrors in response to criticism? An issue long overdue?

What do immigration rights activists want? Open borders,opportunities, economic asylum?

What do critics of current immigration policy want: more walls, more security, more resources used on border patrol, stronger penalties for those that hire undocumented workers?

Do they want less competition for jobs? What about those that say they do jobs Americans "won't do"? And if so, WHY aren't Americans doing these jobs given unemployment figures? And are these jobs open to citizens or are they by nature reserved for an underground work force as an integral part of the operations of these businesses- such as day laborers, where an "off the books" business model gives employers flexibility to hire on a "needs" basis?

And the idea of stronger penalties against those that help immigrants, is that necessary? And do we have an obligation to look at our role, if any, in the conditions of the countries they flee? Where should we be on this issue?

38 comments:

Left of Center said...
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Left of Center said...

Weak border security is bad for national defence. It allows drug carriers, gang members, and potential terrorists to cross the border, along with thousands that just want a job. Illegals cost us millions in health care costs. Government programs that cater to people that won't learn english are a drain on our budgets. Past imigrants learned the language, it was a priority. Living in Florida I talk to second and third generation Cubans that still don't speak English. This just isn't about Altin Americans, it's about Chinese, and eastern Europeans as well. I don't want people here that havent done it legaly. Period.

Lew Scannon said...

The US has immigation laws, and for those who choose to obey the law, amnesty for those who broke it is a slap in the face. And if they broke US law to get here, how do they become law abiding citizens? Flooding the labor market with illegals who work off the books hurts American workers. The jobs they take are those for employers who do not wish to pay a living wage, nor offer even simple benefits to the workers. This once again only benefits a small minority of the people at the expense of the rest of us.

Lew Scannon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
LILY BRANFORD said...

What do you make of the argument: "they do jobs Americans won't do" and are therefore necessary?

Buy that? Myth? Are there jobs Americans won't do? If this is myth, is it a myth perpetuated by businesses that benefit from illegal labor?

Lew Scannon said...

Well, it's not jobs that Americans won't do, it's jobs that Americans won't do for starvation wages. The day laborers who wait outside Home Depot are taking jobs away from licensed contractors, and doing it for less money.
Or does Bush mean harvesting jobs? That's something I used to as a teenager, picking blue berries in the fields with Mexicans, who were housed in the crummiest of shacks, overcrowded, with no decent sanitation facilities, while I got to go home to my dad's house every night. So yes, I believe it's a myth, because illegals won't call OSHA, or the Labor Relations Board, or unionize, or complain about working conditions.

Rex Kramer, Danger Seeker said...

While I like the idea of more walls, these would be useless without gigantic, burning moats, or at the very least, some strategically-placed land mines.

This issue is to important to delay in red tape; I demand a no-bid contract now!

Tired Immigrant said...

Though it may seem counter-intuitive, open immigration is the only way to secure the border.

Today, many american citizens ignore the undocumented status of aliens, becase they assume that those aliens are honest folk who simply want to make a living. If the US lets such folk in legally, with proper documentation, people would know that any other undocumented people are not kosher.

Imagine that no honest person would want to cross into the US illegally. As a consequence, citizens would readily report the few crooks who do. The only way to make the border safe is to allow for a large amounts of well-controlled, legal immigration. The only other way I can think of is to make Mexico the 51st state, and then patrol their -- much shorter -- southern border.

To my mind, the main change should be to grant amnesty to the 11 million Mexicans who are here, and then allow about 2 million to come over legally every year. The consequence of this will be to make the U.S. a safer place.

Read my story: http://tired-immigrant.blogspot.com/

earl bockenfeld said...

The first question, if we stop being an "Immigration Nation" - just what kind of Nation do we want to become?

I'm comfortable with what we've always been:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

If we want to change, how can we turn our backs on our "open door" tradition without changing into something much worst.

We have a more-or-less open border on both the north and the south. We don't know, and I don't think we care about how many illegal Canadians are here. We worry about terrorists, but can't white people be terrorists?

All the trouble seems to come with our southern border and how many illegal mexicans, people with a different language, dark-skinned people with a different culture. Do we want to enforce just the border with Mexico? I don't see how this objection can be made without being racist. What about terrorist? I've never heard of any Spanish-speaking Muslims, have you?

Just maybe, if we lightened up a bit, and didn't allow US companies to fuck-over the immigrants with low wages and dangerous working condition. Maybe then the health, welfare and other extra costs would be paid by the immigrants themselves. Maybe some want to become US citizens and maybe others just want a job and then go home.

Frederick said...

The biggest issue here is figuring out just what is a, "law abiding citizen." Most "illegal" immigrants pay taxes and hold one or more legitimate jobs. How many born here do? Many legitimate immigrants enlist in the Army to fast-track citizenship, and out of a sense of debt to their country to be. From either angle these people are the engine of our economy, just as it has been in every successive wave since the dawn of our Nation.

You can lock up the border tight if you want to in the name of security, but you must have some kind of guest-worker program. I find it Ironic that this may be the one issue I agree with Bush on. This of course will be his Waterlou within the Republican Party.

tp said...

Forgive my ignorance here, but I thought the military-in-exchange for citizenship idea did not fly?

The President still wants to have guest worker status which will not really protect jobs.

We might have been an immigrant nation- but only because it was in our interests to be not because of a sense of caring. But population has changed, we have many people as it is and supporting more is not the answer right now.

The race issue is another matter, I don't totally buy that. Do you know how many middle eastern Islamic people work on defense projects because we need them? Chinese? This country is about what we want to use people for. The fairness thing is an illusion.We have the most lenient citizenship in the world- some countrties NEVER EVER give citizenship no matter what people do. Liberals point to Canada all the time, but they don't have open citizenship. Countries want to know your skills, ability to contribute, etc. Not saying thats fair but why not look at other models of immigration?

rev. billy bob gisher ©2005 said...

I just cannot get my horns around this one, why do all these immigrants want into this country? all the jobs are now located in their country. all the protesters must be pool boys. that is the only thing I can figure, they just want to get their hands on our juicy hot lusty women, they certainly don't want real jobs here, not the ones we have available

Lily said...

Anyone see Specter on This Week with Snuffalupagus? The "virtual wall" discussion?

abi said...

Great post, and very thoughtful comments all, on a tough issue.

I'm tempted to say, sure, give these illegals amnesty, and then do more to protect the borders. But won't that just encourage more people to risk their lives to come here illegally? And how can we realistically make our borders inviolable, short of Rex's burning moat idea?

And aren't illegals at the mercy of unscrupulous businesses? Low pay, no benefits, threats of exposure, etc?

But how can we pretend that illegals aren't here illegally? How can we let them have drivers licenses? Attend public schools? Use the already overburdened health care system? On the other hand, how can we possibly not?

Sorry. No answers. Just questions.

Left of Center said...

Why should they be treated any differently that my imigrant ancestors? If they are here illegaly they must go. They must also be prevented from getting here illegaly. I'm not just talking about latins.

earl bockenfeld said...

LOC, the problem with illegal is that the immigration laws are unfair, arbitrary and many times plain unjust. I agree that everybody should obey the law always EXCEPT when laws are unjust or hurt my family and friends. Just a case in point, the House bill, if it becomes law, which the GOP could easily do, would make criminals/felons out of churches and soup kitchens. Salvery and discrimination were once legal, but fortunately, partly due to law-breakers like MLK, they aren't legal anymore.

"Tired Immigrant" in his comment above had a sad story about unfairness in immigration policy and a reasonable plan to FIX the immigrant problem. I watched the Sunday shows today and haven't heard anything better.

Imagine that no honest person would want to cross into the US illegally. As a consequence, citizens would readily report the few crooks who do. The only way to make the border safe is to allow for a large amounts of well-controlled, legal immigration. The only other way I can think of is to make Mexico the 51st state, and then patrol their -- much shorter -- southern border.

To my mind, the main change should be to grant amnesty to the 11 million Mexicans who are here, and then allow about 2 million to come over legally every year. The consequence of this will be to make the U.S. a safer place.

LILY BRANFORD said...

See, the trouble is often we get onto our high horses about how things ought to be but often this does not reflect what IS. Policy has to reflect reality, not "shoulds". They will come, as lonf as there are jobs. It might get more dangerous, but people will risk it.

I recall the case where WalMart was found to be using undocumented workers via the "third party contract" scheme. Do you think that coming down hard on the employers would reduce the incentive?

Why is guest worker status so bad? Opposing that seems to only help businesses that exploit the illegal status. How does it hurt the workers?
PRACTICALLY speaking, not academically? IT seems beneficial for two reasons- payroll taxes and worker safety.


I would rather see all workers, citizens or not, that WORK HERE pay HERE in the form of taxes. Instead of having people work off the books anyway, why not accept reality, and grant guest worker status, tax everyone, and hit up the employers for payroll? The argument "Its not fair to dangle guest worker status without any promise of citizenship" doesn't cut it for me. Is illegal status a shoe in compared? And it beats living in fear. I knew a man that had his arm broken by his boss, think he reported him? Boss pays the bills, gives you some cash, you shut up or risk being reported. Both sides keep their mouths shut.

From a justice perspective- consider how many people are hurt, abused, threatened, exposed to danger- but are too afraid to report it? it seems guest worker status would help people come forward.

Ron Nasty said...

The purpose of this is to provide a larger labor pool, thereby driving down wages, to the benefit of employers. It is not that they're doing jobs Americans "won't do". Americans are willing to work construction, to work at Wal-Mart, to do the jobs illegals are taking. They are doing jobs that employers, in order to drive down costs (and increase profits, NAFTA has shown us that price has not been affected by using non-union overseas labor)by driving the wages down for all Americans.

earl bockenfeld said...

Lily, the Guest Worker permit has many advantages over the present illegal immigrant situation but has one drawback. In Europe, especially Germany, which has guest worker permits but with no possibility of becoming citizens. This produces many foreign enclaves within the country with many problems and no loyalty to the central gov because of the worker isolation.

I think worker permits should include a path to full-citizenship in time with a goal of social and cultural assimilation. I would admit foreign workers with just guest worker permits, but after 3-5 years the guest workers who have been a good citizens, no crime and paying taxes, etc should be able to apply for full citizenship. Why would we not want good, law-abiding people to become citizens? I think it would be to our advantage to admit those who want to become citizens, and who have already demostrated their trust-worthiness.

Lily said...

My problem is that I don't see that guest workers have it worse than ILLEGAL undocumented citizens. Is it as good as a gauranteed track to citizenship? You are saying that everyone have automatic citizenship, irrespective of work, language, etc.? Why is guest worker status dependent on eventual citizenship? I am willing to concede that there is obviosuly soemthing I'm not seeing about how illegal status is worse than guest.

I've heard the arguments about European systems but I am saying that whther or not a guest worker status leads to citizenship it is STILL in their best interests I would think to haev that versus no legal rights.

It seems that whether it leads to a track to citizenship can be asked as another question, after first settling on the idea that guest workers have more protection from exploitation than undocumented especially in cases of abuse.

GraemeAnfinson said...

this is another issue where the democrats could clean house, if they would only reform their economic policies. the republicans are fucked, on one hand they are complete business lackeys and on the other hand they need that right wing nationalist "throw a fence up on the border" vote. This is a business policy problem. This is what "free trade" gets you. It all comes down to greed. Great discussion here. I agree with Earl Bockenfeld and ron nasty's comments above me. I think this won't be solved untill we reexamine the way we do business in the world. the more I learn about economic and business, from school and blogs, I find myself moving to the left more and more. geez, i am sounding like a marxist

I will also add this comment by Macrina Cardenas, the leader of the immigrant rights group-Mexicans without Borders. She sums up what I am trying to say, only more coherently. She was answering the question, "Why does your group focus on the business interests behind Bush’s reforms, and not just on the debate inside the Republican Party?"

"To focus on the immigration reform debate as a purely administrative problem only feeds into the partisan manipulations of the major parties, and hides the true causes for immigration. The U.S. government, in collaboration with the ruling classes in the immigrants’ home countries, is in large part responsible for the phenomenon of immigration.

In the case of Mexico, this process is rooted in the Porfiriato, a period from 1876 to 1910 in which economic developments created conditions favorable for migration. Communal lands were destroyed, farmers were forced to modernize their lands, and the consumption-based economy shifted to one based on trade. Those changes created a rural population without land and without work. At the same time, the western United States had been expanding economically—mostly in agriculture and mining, requiring a greater and more intensive workforce. Congress’s approval of the Chinese Exclusion Act had suspended Asian immigration, so labor recruiters turned their eyes to Mexico.

Another intensive stage of labor recruitment took place with the Bracero Program from 1942 to 1964. At the time, the U.S. demand for labor was greater than the number of available workers. By the end of the program, more than 400,000 braceros entered the United States each year.

In 1964 the United States unilaterally decided to end the program. Since then, the uncontrolled immigration of undocumented workers has increased. Immigration has especially increased in recent years, despite restrictive legislation and heightened monitoring of the borders."

http://socialismandliberation.org/mag/index.php?aid=356

pinkfem said...

Nice blog!

glenda said...

Well, you recommended your blog, so I couldn't resist. Nice to meet you also.
Will definitely be checking back.

What I have not been hearing people talk about is how to fix the root cause of illegal immigration, which is poverty, lack of education and lack of jobs, both in Mexico and on this side of the border. People do not come here because they want to leave their homeland. For some Mexicans, the life they have there is so desperate, that they must leave or die a slow death of starvation.

It is my opinion that many Americans fear the current wave of immigrants not because they will take their jobs away, (because, face it, many good jobs are already on the brink of being outsourced), but because they fear losing their traditional familiar lifestyle.

They don't want new foods (except for margaritas), or foreign language and customs (except for Carnival) taking up their airspace and filling up their malls (except for sushi).

Why, because Americans are somewhat traditionally xenophobic and isolationist at heart, and do not welcome change, (except for iPods and other fun stuff). But not that furry, foreign stuff, why that makes us nervous.

So why is there no serious dialogue in this country on poverty as it relates to immigration?

1. Because it is not in the interest of big business.
2. We have gotten lazy and learned to ask only about the public policy positions we hear about on TV.

The issues brought up on TV, such as: Will they take American jobs? Do they only take the jobs American won't take? are, I believe, smokescreens intended to keep us from asking the harder questions. Such as: Why isn't poverty a priority? Why don't we support programs that help people get out of poverty and get better jobs to support their families? This type of pro-family stance could actually stimulate the economy and in the long run, create more jobs for all of us (that hopefully won’t be outsourced.)

Lily said...

Nice to meet you too Glenda, I didn't mean to recommend, just to share that I too had been considering the questions of immigration policy as you were in your post.

I think that we aren't considering the positive aspects of diversity, and how much better we are for it. We tend to focus on perceived negatives, and perceived threats even when threats do not pan out numerically. People always look to scapegoats instead of really getting to the problems, as with outsourcing, nafta, etc.

earl bockenfeld said...

It seems that whether it leads to a track to citizenship can be asked as another question, after first settling on the idea that guest workers have more protection from exploitation than undocumented especially in cases of abuse.

Lily, I think this question is addressed to me, I said the Guest Worker permit has many advantages over the present illegal immigrant situation but has one drawback. I like the Guest Worker permits, but would add one additional thing. After some period of time, I would allow the Guest Workers to apply for citizenship while still working in the US.

The "many advantages" are just the same things you have mentioned about wages and worker safety. The illegal immigrant must live on the economic crumbs and can be blackmailed or coerced because the boss or the company can have the person deported with a phone call.

We need to separate people who just want to come here to work from the others such as criminals, drug runners, terrorists and etc, because now they're all lumped together. Guest worker status can do that. If we were generous with worker's permits for people coming just for jobs, then we could reduce the pressures due to poverty, and then concentrate on the smaller number of illegals that we don't want in this country. The poverty South-of-the Border produces the hugh numbers and determination that keeps immigrants coming that even a Berlin Wall across the Southwest with searchlights and armed guards with dogs every hundred feet apart couldn't stop it.

I wouldn't have any automatic citizenship or push people to become citizens, but I would just make it possible. In fact would actually make it a bit easier because the good guest worker has already demonstrated they COULD be a good citizen.

Long term solution, assimilation through citizenship (not forced) and thru diplomatic and economic development measures to improve the economies in the homelands the immigrants come from.

Rory Shock said...

just an aside on one point ... in the Big One, I think it was, Michael Moore was told by Phil Knight of Nike that Americans didn't want to work for 8 bux an hour in a shoe factory, or whatever ... Moore showed that wasn't true ... the illegal immigration fiasco has been part of the strategy of corporations to disempower the worker, to keep wages low, to gut unions, to avoid worker's comp and osha issues ... the immigrants are pawns in the game ... the solution: enforce the immigration laws ...

spooky said...

This is a sensitive topic as many of the country men of the primary country in concern( Mexico) have become voting citizens.
It used to be that illegal labors picked fruit, a job that an American citizen would not do, everyone looked away, and it continued and grew. When I was in High School I washed dishes for a low wage. Now dishwashers are primarily illegal workers, so the high schoolers lost on that one. There was a day when a man or woman could make a decent living hanging dry wall, no more, thats become grunt illegal work. A few more construction jobs as well, like all of them except the contractor. In need of having your driveway resealed? Call someone up to do it, and I bet the guy that shows up to do the work is illegal. These are not jobs that Americans would not do, but the contractor hires the illegals so he/she makes three times as much per job.
Like to eat out? There are a huge amount of illegals in our country's proffesional kitchens. Chances are that if you've eated at any of the majore chains an illegal has cooked for you. This is not to say only the chains hire them, most restaurants do. An American line cook starts off at 9 or 10 bucks an hour, an illegal starts closer to 6. It's all about the bottom line, and access to such a large cheap labor pool is hurting American workers. Why would a restaurant owner hire some culinary student from the local college when he could hire another guy for half as much, and he would do just as good a job. If your a natural born American and you have a job in food service, your lucky.
You may not see an illegal actually checking out your grocery's, but guess who is helping them get to the store. I have not worked in a distribution center in about four years, but when I did, 50% of the workers were openly undocumented. Sure they payed taxes via some bought social security number, but they filled jobs for lesser wage that an American would have loved to have had.
Been to a high school lately? I have. Undocumented workers don't just take jobs from unemployed Americans, but they bring there kids alond while they do it. Schools are not allowed to ask for any proof of legal residency when enrolling a student. So what you have is a bunch of kids who can't speak english, grouping together, and making the students of citizens feel like a minority. Suddenly you need to hire at least one lunch person who is bi-lingual, bi-lingual teachers are now needed, a bi-lingual security person is now needed, a bi-lingual office worker, and an English as a second language teacher.
This same scenario is repeated at our nations hospitals.
I like what the statue of liberty says, and believe it can remane true, if done legally. I do not support the continuation of an obvious problem when our nations workers are learning to live off of a palsy unemployment check. There is no room for liberal tear wiping, or conservative rationialization on this topic, the problem is obvious and easily fixed. Some feeling will be hurt, but it will be nice to know that if you lose you current job, you will be able to get another one.

Lily said...

Thank you Spooky for your input, I think that most of us agree that there are MANY problems with the way things are currently, the challenge comes in trying to fix them not only in ways that are fair-- but in ways that actually make sense, that are based on REALITY. I too work in schools alot, but I think perhaps each state has a different way of handling the problems you describe. In any case, we need people on the books paying taxes. As I said, guest status would help with some of the safety issues.
Also- you mention as an example-why would they hire a culinary student if an illegal immigrant can do the job. Then why would you hire the culinary student anyway? Supply and demand. I know people with degrees waiting tables- reality of the labor market.Hiring is based on who CAN/WILL do the job FOR the wage paid. Perhaps the people to be addressed are the ones hiring them illegally in the first place.

I keep hearing about unemployment, but think about it. If a person has a choice between coating driveways or getting unemployment, isn't it a no brainer that they would pick the check?
(As an aside-
What a society we are! Am I the only person who thinks its good to get off one's ass and do their own driveway?) I know people that prefer the day laborers because they have a work ethic and they are eager to work. These high school kids- they don't want them! Talk to a restaurant or small business owner and they will tell you that the "illegal" workers do the job, and work hard. They show up. If you are in schools alot you probably know that young people are becoming less employable. I know some places that pay the same but actually don't want the "bratty teens" that cry about work.
Do you see that problem too? This is a whole other matter I guess.

What are these chain restaurants, like Denny's or something? Olive Garden? Don't chain places have pre-made food? Do they hire chefs? I really have no idea. I think the food at such places taste like it came out of a can or something. Around here they use the work release inmates from the prisons.

it might be a stupid consideration, but I think society is better for its diversity and there must be a way to be realistic and valuing while still addressing jobs. The job problems are less because of immigration, more because of our economic and trade policies.

spooky said...

I must gently respond to your comments Lily.
"you mention as an example-why would they hire a culinary student if an illegal immigrant can do the job. Then why would you hire the culinary student anyway? "
They would hire the culinary student if the illegal worker was not available, and that would furthur help our nations young and aspiring chef's in gaining experience, and employment to help fund there education.

"Talk to a restaurant or small business owner and they will tell you that the "illegal" workers do the job, and work hard. They show up."

There are many hard working American's in this great nation. I am sure the restuarant owners are happy that there poorly paid illegal workers show up on time, but I see this as no excuse for not hiring legal workers. I know the illegals do a great job, but there are many legals that will as well.

"If you are in schools alot you probably know that young people are becoming less employable."
The quality of the worker from the time when we were teens has not declined, it is only the availabilty of the workers that have. Employment is quickly not becoming an option for most youths. Ironically job shadowing is required in most schools, but I digress...If the illegal workforce was not available the employers would have to once again put up with our teenage workforce, but so what, everyone goes through adolescence, and we have made it before without the relience on the illegal workforce.

" What are these chain restaurants, like Denny's or something? Olive Garden? Don't chain places have pre-made food? Do they hire chefs? I really have no idea."
All of the above and many, many more. They generally don't have chefs, they have kitchen managers. You may have low opinions of the food quality, but many Americans make there daily wage preparing food for profit, and it is these people who are loosing job oppourtunities due to the illegal workforce.

"Around here they use the work release inmates from the prisons."
Well if the illegal workforce had not taken the truely menial jobs, I am sure the criminals would not be so well off.

" I think society is better for its diversity and there must be a way to be realistic and valuing while still addressing jobs."
Even with reform our culture will still be among the most diverse.

"The job problems are less because of immigration, more because of our economic and trade policies."

Wrong. To say either factor is more the cause is difficult to fairly bookmark. They are both seperate, but major issues to be concerned with, but they do not hold hands. I understand your instinct to protect those that are weak and un-represented, but it is occasionally important to protect those that are represented, even if they are just normal old white American people. If it will make you more supportive of immigration reform, African-Americans are the first group of people effected by the low wage labor of the illegal workers.

lily said...

Actually there is quite a bit or research to support that many students today lack skills, and my point about food quality was simply that nobody is going to pay somebody overqualified to do a job if the skills are not necessary. And in addition to all that, there are some har dhnumbers that we can look at on immigration that do not force us to be reduced to "tearful liberals" I simply said that I believe some reform is necessary But that I am not sure a closed border is realistic and it does not consider those already here- plus I stated that I favor guest status over NO status because it is better to have poeople work on the books than not. They are going to come anyway to some extent. The point is to deal with that reality and also address the behavior of businesses. If they did not hire them, there would be no incentive, you cannot focus on one side of a problem and not the other.

You might be very accustomed to "arguments" based on emotional reasoning but in general that is not the way I answer questions. Your comments seem to suggest that I am not in favor of any reform- thats not what I said at all. What I dispute are certain labor questions you raise.

LILY BRANFORD said...

You know what Spooky- when you first said "gently" it didn't really occur to me that you were being condescending. I tend to think a guy is a gentleman until I have reason to think otherwise. But your tendency to talk down to women is disturbing. Is this a personal thing about me or do you talk to women this way in general? Further, it occurs to me that you base your comments on anecdotal and experiential information. And third- it appears that even when I have not really said much in the way of disagreemnt- you frequently target my particular comments over anyone else's. Other people have said they do not think immigration reform is necessary but I did not say that, I said that I favor guest worker status over illegal status if given a choice, for people that are here. I never said that these problems do not exist. Further, you really do not think trade policy impacts immigration? I mean, I understand that not everyone is an economist. But do you really stand by that?

Is there something in particular about me that is offensive to you? You are often condescending and unmannerly and I am not sure what I have done that warrants this. You tend to base things on opinions, not facts. You draw policy conclusions from narrow,personal examples. And then you are rude to me- why?
The email for this blog is losethenoose@yahoo.com and it goes to me- if you feel so inclined, you can take up whatever personal issues you have with me there. Just an option because it seems that you have the urge to vent. You are of course welcome to comment but if you just feel like spewing venom, have at it, cupcake.

Kathy said...

This was a great post with lots of thoughtful comments. I have mixed feelings about this whole issue. I hate to see illegals who have spent their entire lives here deported, however, where do we draw the line? Do we say those who have been here less than 5 years will be deported, 3 years, 2 years?

My instinct is to treat these people with compassion, yet the people broke the law. If we give them all amnesty, what message are we sending? Either we're a nation of laws or we're not.

Anyway, I can't make up my mind, but I know one thing - big business and the government are to blame for this mess. They allowed it to get out of hand until it became the huge problem it is today.

spooky said...

Yeah thats right Lily, can't win an arguement, pull out the feminist card.

LILY BRANFORD said...

Number one, you have not argued with my statements and number two- I do not consider myself a feminist nor do I think we would agree on what a feminist is. let me guess- a feminist to you is a man hating lesbian babykilling hippie who eats children for breakfast and lives to emasculate men?
None of those things really describe me actually. Hippie might come closest but even that would be a stretch. I just think you are rude to me because you think that I am on Lew's side and you have issues between the two of you. I am not clear what your issue is with me- I think you assume a lot. But what is your problem?
Didn't you accuse me of thinking about immigration as a 'touchy feely' liberal and not based on facts? That is not what I have done. I admitted that it is a tough humanitarian issue but I do not really approach things from my emotional reactions. I feel your belittling is unwarranted and that you did not substantiate your positions. I don't put alot of time into trying to "win arguments" with people that use their personal observations as facts which is what you often do. I think you talk down to me because I am a female and you think I am an evil hippie liberal that opposes an illegal war for no good reason at all.
I think you do target MY comments in particular. When you are not playing out your personal problems with Lew. If you really thing you have stumped me with your compelling fact based arguments- go ahead and think that and pat yourself on the back too. I think your disrespect is unwarranted and rude, not because of the feminist card but because you use your assumptions instead of LISTENING to others. Like when you said I don't do anything in my community. You think these are facts, arguments? What do you know? And why does it help anyone's case to attack personally? because I think Lew is a nice guy? You might be a nice guy too. You might be a decent hard working man providing for his family who simply disagrees on some philosophical questions. But you are interested in putting me down, not talking. Why should I enjoy that?
I was hoping to learn from your experience, but what I get from you is insulting language and disrespect. I blog to find out what toehrs are thinking- I don't have all the answers and these are not easy questions. My ego can withstand my honesty. Can yours?

spooky said...

" I think you talk down to me because I am a female and you think I am an evil hippie liberal that opposes an illegal war for no good reason at all. "

Huh? We were talking about illegal labor. Your spining like O'Reily.

This has nothing to do with Lew, as I feel that he would side more with me on this issue knowing what he does.

"Like when you said I don't do anything in my community."

Perhaps i wrote that, but was it in this post?


"I think your disrespect is unwarranted and rude.."
You just find my viewpoint offensive.

"If you really thing you have stumped me with your compelling fact based arguments.."

I'm sorry that I don't have stats on immigration figures, and never did I claim to. I am basing my statements on the feelings of the people, not office figures.

I guess I just don't understand why you would support people from outside our country, entering illegally and filling our workforce. its just how the corporations think.

LILY BRANFORD said...

THAT is my point. Your last line- is not what I said!! I oppose illegal immigration, Spooky. I oppose the hiring of illegal workers. I never said I did not. The questions are: whather or not they truly displace the workers which many here seem to feel they do. I said that was hard to assess and did not make a conclusion one way or the other.

The next question was whether or not to "build a wall" and issue guest worker status. The next question was what to do with the over 11 million people here illegally NOW.

So, some people say the wall, some say a satellit system, some say build nothing.

My point in this back and forth was that I do not think you "argued" about what I ACTUALLY said. This is my position: that there should be much higher penalties on THE CORPORATIONS that hire to discourage. If people do not hire them there will be less incentive. Further, I think there should be more cooperation from Mexico. At the Conservative blog where we discussed the same thing, it was pointed out that MEXICO is harsher on immigration than we are -against Guatemalans, for example. So Fox should be called on that.
I could go on and on, its a complicated issue as I have said and there is also the fact that we have been a welcoming nation in the past. My problem with you Spooky is that you assume that I either have a position because of being a liberal-type or a feminist type. Just because I oppose this administration, this war, does not mean I fit into your stereotype.
The trouble with comments perhaps for both of us here is that it is too time consuming to have a stat-filled debate and I understand that. Its not really mean to be all-inclusive. I am just dissappointed because I did think you were reasonable and respectful briefly. Whatever.

justin barker said...

Why are the immigrants always the focus of the debate? Why are they always the ones who face the brunt of our anger and resentment? Why do we talk about closing borders and expending vast sums of money chasing down and deporting them? They're only a bunch of poor bastards looking for a better deal JUST like the rest of us. We ought to welome them with open arms (and learn Spanish). They are, after all, on our side.

How come we never get mad and argue about ending labor exploitation? You want to stop illegal immigration? Go after the employers. If you're not willing to do that, you're not serious and you're probably just racist.

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