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Reaction To Bush Immigration Speech

Let’s get a couple of things straight about the immigration speech President George W. Bush unreeled Monday night from the Oval Office. His address had nothing to do with actual border policy and everything to do with domestic electoral politics. The real mission of the 6,000 National Guard troops he has called out is to quell the rebellion on the President’s right flank, the flaring mutiny of his own conservative base. Indeed, if the President were being honest, the newly mobilized troops would be taken off the Federal payroll and moved onto the books of the 2006 national Republican campaign. They certainly aren’t going to be stopping illegal immigration. Most of the Guard will be unarmed. They will be barred from patrolling the border itself, as well as from confronting, apprehending or even guarding the undocumented. The troops will be given solely behind-the-scenes, low-profile, mostly invisible tasks of pushing paper, driving vans, and manning computers. Bush could have saved the taxpayers a load and sent a few battalions of Boy Scouts to do this job. I’ve spent oodles of hours and days on the border over the last five years, including multiple contacts and visits with the Border Patrol and I’ve yet to bump into a single one of the 350 National Guard already deployed on the border. Of course, “sending troops to the border” sounds great – if you are among those who actually believe there is a technological or military fix possible for our busted-out immigration policy. That’s what Bush is hoping, at least. That conservatives who are fed up with him, especially on what they see as his failure to stop the human tide of poor people washing across the desert, will be revitalized by the manufactured fantasy of armed, crew-cut, uniformed young Americans standing shoulder-to-shoulder from Yuma to El Paso. Chances are Bush’s border move will be no more successful than his management of the war in Iraq or his response to Katrina. The close-the-border faction of his own party is highly unlikely to accept Monday night’s sop. They know, just like the governors of New Mexico and California know, just as local law enforcement on the border knows, that Bush’s gesture is but a photo-op political stunt. They want the border closed, period. And their political representatives in the House – the Sensenbrenners and the Tancredos—are showing no signs of softening their resistance to both a guest worker plan as well as legalization path for the illegals already here. And even those who bought the get-tough portion of the President’s speech also heard him endorse “comprehensive immigration reform” and a “temporary worker program” i.e. precisely the sort of measures scorned and denounced as an “amnesty.” So much for placating the Right. Likewise, as I wrote before the speech, Bush’s dispatch of troops – no matter how empty and symbolic— contains enough reality to rankle the more liberal forces in the pro-immigration coalition. In short, the President has now managed to alienate himself further from his own base as well as from some of his more reluctant and expedient allies on immigration. Heckuvajob, Dubya. Bush’s plan may, however, provide some short-term benefit to some very nervous and endangered Republicans House incumbents, offering them some short-term political cover. But the longer-term risk seems enormous. A growing number of Republican strategists know that the Latino vote will loom ever more crucial in deciding which party will command governing majorities. And they are worried that the long-term damage of the President pandering to the anti-immigration forces could be devastating. What a modern-age media spectacle was whipped up, by the way, over this totally forgettable speech. CNN treated the speech with all the gravitas of the launch of a manned mission to Mars, complete with a countdown clock and rolling all-day coverage. With boundless shamelessness, the all-news network ensconced the sputtering Lou Dobbs as one of its on-duty color commentators for this artificially constructed event, something akin to having asked George Wallace to objectively narrate the Great March on Washington. I don’t fault Dobbs, a modern-day Ted Baxter who has found a lucrative niche as CNN’s resident Minuteman. But, please, let us heap industrial amounts of shame on the babbling Wolf Blitzer who, repeatedly, deferred to Dobbs as if the latter were the font of all authority on this issue. A phalanx of reporters will now head to the border, searching to file feature stories on the newly arrived Guard members. And one can expect that the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense will accommodate the media spoon-feeding. The safe bet, though, is that this speech, in spite of the momentary cable hype, will soon evaporate into the mists of memory. The truth be told, the totality of Bush’s speech was rather reasonable. Stripping away the political theatrics and the empty phrasing, and putting aside the undue emphasis on deployment of the Guard, the President did endorse the sort of bi-partisan reforms proposed by a coalition stretching from John McCain and the Chamber of Commerce to Ted Kennedy and the Service Employees International Union. And he called directly on both houses of Congress to finally agree upon and pass a bill that reflects that consensus. Problem is that Bush should have been speaking out forcefully in favor of these moves ever since he raised comprehensive reform as a priority in his 2004 State of the Union speech. Unfortunately, he hid under his desk on this issue for the last two years. Only after the right-wing of his base rebelled and only after the pro-immigrant movement blossomed in the streets – that is, only after the White House was completely overtaken by events—did the President act. And as usual, it was too little, too late.

67 Responses to “Reaction To Bush Immigration Speech”

  1. RcerX Says:

    You called it Marc,

    I’m more confused than ever. The troop thing – if anyone really bought it was ridiculous. They don’t have enough people signing up let alone, the hardliners who will veto any kind of meaningful deployment in favor of maintaning troop levels in Iraq.
    However, I must take issue with you’re labelling that everyone who is against legalization/amnesty a conservative. I think that Californians can be politically narcissistic at times, particularly when it comes to immigration. Although America is “Latinizing” for the most part the large politically influential numbers are still in the Southwest. This issue has been able to unite factions that normally would be ready to draw pistols over taxes, education, abortion, etc. and across racial lines and the reasons are not necessarily anti-Latino, but anti competition.
    What worked so well for the Civil Rights movement was MLK’s ability to find common ground with factions that disagreed with the movement and the ability to show how it was in the best interest of the country to ensure equal rights to everyone. This has been a major failure with this movement as witnessed to all of the name calling on even your blog. Anyone who is concerned about fair wages, the effects on our social programs or other minorities is labelled a racist, hardening lines and stunting discourse.
    We’ve got to find a better way of discussing this where by myths can be dispelled on both sides and progress can begin

  2. Lynn Says:

    “This has been a major failure with this movement as witnessed to all of the name calling on even your blog. Anyone who is concerned about fair wages, the effects on our social programs or other minorities is labelled a racist, hardening lines and stunting discourse.”

    Yes!

  3. Zero Says:

    Marc:

    It appears that this is a 1.9 billion dollar media operation for the republican national congressional campaigns.

    aside from the obscene abuse of taxpayer money in the pursuit of electing republicans there may not be an issue at all, so long as there is never a confrontation between the guard soldiers (who will be told to cause no incidents, apparently) and aspiring paramilitary or organized vigilante groups such as the “minute men”, at which point there is a chance for some sort of sensational event

  4. Woody Says:

    I guess that Zero will be calling for Bill Clinton to reimburse this country for cruise missiles launched to cover Lewinsky, for his trials, and for Air Force One on non-business matters.

    Look. All Presidents, even those you don’t like, get to use their office and resources for political purposes. That’s reality and that really isn’t the issue.

    This matter isn’t going to have a happy ending for conservatives, as liberals are patient and keep pushing and screaming like spoiled brats until they get what they want.

    But, give me 1.9 billion dollars along with authority and we could even get rid of ATMs that offer Spanish as an option.

  5. reg Says:

    “we could even get rid of ATMs that offer Spanish as an option”

    The “conservative” reaction to business decisions that are obviously profitable or they wouldn’t continue.

    I love the insanity of it all on this particular issue. Of course my perverse pleasure in the incoherence and contradictions is more than a bit muted, because as one “conservative” sagely warned here on the previous thread, we are all going to die…

  6. reg Says:

    But seriously folks…

    RcerX…that was an excellent comment.

  7. Virgil Johnson Says:

    I think RcerX is right, and Lynn’s second to it is correct. Most issues that devolve into racism and name calling accomplish little to nothing. That is why I would say the target of the discussion is off entirely – that is, the “what are we going to do with those people?” emphasis.

    Particularly, my question would be “where has all the money gone?” What is it that has caused this strain on people oriented issues – people who are needy, whether they be citizens or not? I would say look at where the money for worthy programs has been siphoned off. So instead of focusing on people as the problem – why not welfare for the rich? The corporations? The war? Just a thought – why don’t we start by reading something like Huffington’s book “Pigs At The Trough?”

    Let me assure you this is a little more constructive, and would have great results if we decided to do something about it. It is time better spent than verbally kicking poor people around, whoever they may be. What do you think?

  8. Marc Cooper Says:

    RcerX:

    A good post. I dont believe that people who have problems with expanding immigration are necessarily racists any more than I think the people on the other side are necessarily saints.

    I do believe — without any hesitation, however– that the high-profile leaders of the anti-immigrant cause are racists or at a minium have no restraint in pandering to them. I refer specifically to Tom Tancredo (a definite case-mongerer) and James Sensenbrenner. I have also spent concentrated time among the Minutemen and I can affirm that they are both racist and paranoid.

    Do some racists believe in their heart they are not? Why of course they do.

    Nor do I believe by the way that anyone who disagrees with my view on immigration is a conservative– it is conservatives, however, that LEAD the restrictionist side.

    We need look no further than our trusty blog commenter and loyal friend “Reg” who is anything but a conservative. But, poor thing, he’s just wrong about immigration.

    I would also be careful to so broadly assert that everyone who cares about fair wages, social justice etc is opposed to liberalizing immigration. That’s patently not true. Much of the leadership of the comprehensive immigration reform movement are not only liberal Democrats, but liberal trade unionists. In making your valid point that the “other side” in this are not all conservatives, please dont go overboard suggesting that anywhere near a majority of social justice activists are on that side. Not true.

    Anyway, there’s a giant canard underlying this whole discussion. It’s the straw man argument that there’s actually a constituency that supports “illegal immigration.” The entire point of the current initiative is to stop forcing what is rather inevitable immigration into an illegal and unregulated category.

    Yes, you can make an honest critique of some of the strategic errors made by the pro-immigration movement. But the other side, my friend, has got to look for some better leaders than Tancredo and the Minutemen. Neither are they gonna make any friends anyhow.

    Lynn.. please dont make yourself into a victim. Nobody has questioned your integrity. Mahe whatever arguments you have instead of moping.

  9. Jake Elmore Says:

    “Bill Clinton to reimburse this country for cruise missiles launched to cover Lewinsky”

    Yeah there’s a real conservative’s view on the war on terror: False cause fallacy.

  10. Robert Castle Says:

    Those who believe that tough immigration laws will fix their problems deny reality in this and many other facets of their lives. They are shoveling sand against the tide.

    The rich are getting richer and the poor are having babies – millions of them. The poor are hungery and depressed. The rich continue to feed their unquenchable desire for power and greater wealth. The poor can survive only where the the rich will throw them some scraps provided they work from dawn to dusk for their employers. They are compelled to seek greener pastures if they want to live.

    The problem will only get worse unless something is done to curb population growth and to make it possible for the majority of the population to earn a decent living.

  11. reg Says:

    “poor thing, he’s just wrong about immigration”

    Yeah, it’s crazy to argue that the employers are the magnet and that’s the place to focus enforcemenht…or that “guest workers” is a plan to appease the corporate community. Or that without a

    Don’t patronize me or insult me Marc. I’m not a “poor thing” in this debate. You’re the one who’s endlessly evaded key issues in this discussion, made crap insinuations about “nativists”, directed foolish accusations at those of us who accurately assessed the symbolism of foriegn flags and have generally rattled on endlessly with the same old-same old, doused liberally with a large helping of self-righteousness.

  12. reg Says:

    sorry – I left off “without an electronic ID, workplace enforcement is as impossible as the bogus “border enforcement” we’re being treated to – and that the border will continue to be a seive if the job magnet continues to exist. Marc has also rather flagrantly evaded the issues of the impact of unbridled immigration on the lower rungs of the labor force and on those competing for over-stressed social services.”

  13. Marc Cooper Says:

    Hey Reg.. what’s ur problem, pal? You’re given endless space on this blog to freely mouth off 10-15 times a day and you’ve got a chip on your shoulder about me? I wasnt patronizing you. I was being affectionate and friendly toward you — but EXCUUUUSE me.

    I ahvent evaded anything. I put down 6,000 defintive words on this issue in my Atlantic piece and I think, think (but not sure) that you said yu didnt read it because u have no subscription. Isnt that right?

    Anyway, I will tell you directly what I think about the impact of illegal immigration on low wage workers (again): the most the restricionist side can come up with this on this subject is that illegal immigration has caused an 8% decline in wages among the least educated and least skilled sector of the American work force. My answer to that is two-fold:
    1) these things are rather impossible to compute because there are so many other factors. For example, jow many jobs are created to meet the consumer needs of these same illegals, and who benefits from that.
    2) Even accepting the 8% decline figure (and I have no reason to challenge it) I would say this: if the cost of providing 5 million desperate and impoverished Mexican families is an 8% decline in the lowest wage sector of the work force I would say that is a pretty small price to pay (and yes I know very well I dont pay that price). Im a bit at a loss as to what your proposal is to the people of Oaxaca? I dont mean pie-in-the-sky, I mean today, or yesterday. Or is none of that your concern?

    Problem with your position Reg is that flirts awfully close with pitting one group of poor people against another. I know you think the opposite is true… and I accept that. I accept that you are well-intentioned and wrong all at the same time and of course, never ever, self-righteous.

    I must also say, in a totall self-defensive mode, if you find my blogging so tedious, and repetitive and same old same old then why do you spend so much time commenting here? Just curious. Bloggers are humans too.

  14. Marc Cooper Says:

    A further complaint from Der Webfurher: I just re-read this post and I cant find any reference to “racists.” What’s are you moaning about, Lynn? U seem to be seeing things.

  15. Michael Balter Says:

    Marc says: “if the cost of providing 5 million desperate and impoverished Mexican families is an 8% decline in the lowest wage sector of the work force I would say that is a pretty small price to pay (and yes I know very well I dont pay that price).”

    I heartily endorse the spirit of this point, and would go further and say that the battle should be to unionize, protect, and increase the wages of this sector. With all due respect to reg and Lynn, the immigrants who take these jobs know what the wages are and know they are many times what they can earn down south. They make the choice to come, and those who really care about exploitation should not be so eager to send them back.

  16. Michael Balter Says:

    btw I would like to see some interviews with Border Patrol agents about their views on all these NG troops coming their way. Just a wild guess, but they might be spending most of their time trying to figure out what to do with these guys, freeing up the border for transgression.

  17. Ed Says:

    Regarding immigration, I don’t object to the poor who come into this country and do the work that the majority of Americans would turn their nose up and refused to even consider doing.

    One group that seems to go totally unnoticed by Americans are those wealthy and often corrupt individuals who have bought their way into this country, bought up real estate, milked their tenants at high rents, shipped the majority of their money out of the country for the most part into tax-sheltered accounts and then have the gall to complain when it comes time for social security benefits that they have to leave the country for Hong Kong or other places – where they originally got rich running sweat shops, etc. – because they don’t qualify for Medicare, although they never made contributions to Social Security to begin with..

    These individuals, who often don’t even live in the communities where they own property, contribute very little to the life of this country and actually drain away a large amount of dollars which go abroad. I think that owning one house and having one business is enough for first generation immigrants and that perhaps we need to make laws so that those returning to their homelands for retirement, should have to sell their holdings in this country, so that the land at least can remain in the hands of those who are prepared to stay and continue to make a committed contribution to this nation’s welfare. Once they have decided to leave, the milking of the wealth of this nation should be stopped.

    These individuals also often bring into this country corrupt practices which exist and thrive in their native lands, and which because of their prominence by reason of their wealth, tend to inspire a copy-cat attitude in other native-born citizens and thereby encourage the same corrupt practices here. We certainly have enough examples of our own homegrown legalized corruption without importing more from abroad in the form of wealthy already-morally corrupt immigrants.

    Bush’s sudden concern for immigrants is just another one of his ploys to stir up the emotional septic tank that pits one group against the other, while he allows his corporate friends to send jobs out of the country by the thousands. We should be much more concerned about the exodus of jobs leaving the country. Corporations should be told to contribute to this country’s welfare by keeping jobs here and keeping benefits for the people who do the work for a fair wage. Corporations should be the one’s required to fund the education of our children, instead of bemoaning the fact that they cannot find qualified candidates for their underpaid jobs.

    But, alas! people in this country will not raise their voice in protest even as the real money leaves with the blessing of the Bush administration. They are content to fall for the bait once again that pits underpaid and underemployed Americans against the poorest of the immigrants who are paid even less to perform work that few nativeborn Americans are willing to do at any price.

  18. Michael Balter Says:

    While I am here, let me comment on this from Woody:

    “But, give me 1.9 billion dollars along with authority and we could even get rid of ATMs that offer Spanish as an option.”

    Here in Paris, where I spend most of the year, many of our ATM’s have a choice of 4 languages. Why? Because we get a lot of tourists. The USA is a major tourist destination too. But the English-only crowd can’t conceive of Latinos as anything other than illegal immigrants or long time citizens; the notion that citizens of Mexico or other Latin American countries might visit as tourists doesn’t enter their heads. But how often have I seen Americans in Paris complaining when signs aren’t in English here? Very often.

  19. Samuel Stott Says:

    I think some of this argument needs to move south of the border. Mexico is hardly a basket case; Mexico is hardly a failed country, but Mexico is nevertheless a poor country, despite its staggering wealth in both natural and human resources.

    Unless one subscribes to the theory that wealth is a zero sum game and that the US beggars other countries as a matter of course, (Hi Counterpunch!; Hi Noam!; Hi Nation magazine) the question remains. Why is the US so comparatively rich? Why is Mexico so comparatively poor?

    .

  20. RcerX Says:

    Hi Marc,

    Gee thanks Marc for your repsonse. Yes, I certainly don’t want to over simplify the issue, and I agree that there are many people who favor liberalizing immigration who seek fairness. I am very concerned about the Minutemen and their push into the African-American community and it’s not just happening in LA. I’ll out myself as an East Coaster and I don’t know if you read about the local elections in Herndon, VA, but the Minutemen were supporting candidates whose sole platform was anti-immigration and managed to unseat a very effective mayor and the board even though nearly a quarter of the population is hispanic.
    I definitely agree that the anti-immigrant “leadership” motives are sinister at best and they have not only been able to exploit fears of the “browning” of America but also inter ethnic tensions within the Latin commutity. But you can’t criticize them without criticizing Vincente Fox and his comments about the black community which no liberal/ Democrat (I hate these terms red/blue liberal/ conservative) rebuked in any kind of meaningful way (except for the lame Tom & Jerry team of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton who were hunting for handouts) and left those in the working class ripe for the Minuteman pickings, so to speak.
    The dirty secret in all of this are the quotas that give certain nations more openings than others. Not everyone is rushing to immigrate to America, yet those countries are allowed to hold onto to those slots even though immigration numbers continue to decline. I know the Asian community is looking to shorten the time it takes to reunite families as many highly skilled immigrants get to America only to find it will take years to bring a sibbling or a parent over.
    It feels like another one of the Bush’s wedge issues to distract us that acts like kryptonite to any informed, rational policy makers.

  21. Jeffrey Scott Paul Green Says:

    King George issues the edict. Professionel troops respond. Border officers chase more Mexicans. More Mexicans stay because they are afraid of not being able to get back into the United States. Low wages prevail. Lettuce is a buck. Your house gets built by someone getting paid by the square foot instead of the hour. People who have no intention of changing any of the above write tremedously wordy responses poking each other in the eyes.

  22. Woody Says:

    Balter wrote: But how often have I seen Americans in Paris complaining when signs aren’t in English here? Very often.

    And, that’s the way it should be.

  23. Joseph Maness Says:

    Where is the concern about national ID cards? But, only for those who enter the country legally. Carlos Mencia made an excellent point last night that this will not affect those who have counterfeit documents at all. The only way this will work is if all of us have biometric ID cards, a technology some say is still years away from application. Anyone remember the outcry when Clinton proposed such cards for his national health care plan?

  24. Woody Says:

    To add to my recent short response, don’t Mexicans demand that U.S. signs and forms be in Spanish rather than learn English? I really believe that people who want to become citizens here should learn the language of our laws and government. Maybe if we tied an amendment to any amnesty or worker program that they have two years to prove proficiency in English–and, to make English the official language of our country. (Why is it that so many illegal immigrants don’t ever learn English? It seems that it would be vastly to their benefit and to their kids.)

  25. Lynn Says:

    “A further complaint from Der Webfurher: I just re-read this post and I cant find any reference to “racists.” What’s are you moaning about, Lynn? U seem to be seeing things.”

    Marc,

    Omigod, all I said was “Yes!” in agreement with a portion of RcerX’s first post. I would have started moaning and whining last night had I had more time, but I didn’t. But you’re right, on this post I see no mention of racist. Though you know it’s been flung around rather liberally (no pun) in posts regarding immigration here in the past.

    Okay, now I’ll whine a little.

    I have said before that anger at corporate greed and legislative ambivalence, about the influx of hundreds of thousands of people, is greater in the states and cities where it is most concentrated. And that anger and frustration include many people who lean heavily to the left. The presence of liberals, in this demand that something be done to stanch the flow at the border, is mostly ignored.

    I don’t have a beef with the person coming for a decent job, but when it lowers the standards for most of us already here… I’m not just talking about the 8% decline in wages you speak of, though that’s not so hot either. I’m talking about lowered standards in healthcare, closure of Emergency rooms, the inability for most to buy property, high rents, the overpopulated schools that have resorted to substandard education (if kids stay long enough to graduate), overcrowding of streets and freeways, and uninsured and unlicensed drivers. If this continues, the proverbial goose is gonna check out, and we’ll all suffer. I don’t believe I’m being a dupe for fear mongering, right-wing, xenophobes, and there are more lefties (in SoCal anyway) that feel the same, but their voices are not being heard. But then no one wants to be accused of moaning.

    I do thank you for your comments, and appreciate that you give me freedom to vent on your blog.

  26. timotheus Says:

    I find it ironic that Bush now has to figure out a way to damp down the Know-Nothing America-firstism that his crew have pandered to for the last six years in the Terror War rhetoric, confusing Saddam with Osama and all the rest of it. If there were no votes involved, his Attorney General (one Mr Gonzales, as I recall) would be figuring out a way to throw a few thousand illegal immigrants into secret jails as terrorist suspects, drum up phony charges against them and brag about it to the Christian wackos.

  27. Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Says:

    Sometimes you’re so pompous Marc:
    “His address had nothing to do with actual border policy and everything to do with domestic electoral politics.”


    “the President did endorse the sort of bi-partisan reforms proposed by a coalition stretching from John McCain and the Chamber of Commerce to Ted Kennedy and the Service Employees International Union. And he called directly on both houses of Congress to finally agree upon and pass a bill that reflects that consensus.”

    Even when you start out with a lie, you know that “actual border policy” will, inevitably and inexorably, reflect domestic politics. What other politics should it reflect?
    Let’s get this straight: you are lying, and you know it.

    Bush is leading … L E A D I N G, towards a realistic border policy with fewer illegals. But on immigration he’s a true moderate, which most partisans hate. (Where was Clinton for 8 years on this, hmm??)

    So Bush-haters who mostly agree with his policies are reduced to first lying about some aspect of what he said, e.g. “nothing to do with actual border policy,” then end a rant that basically agrees with the policies in another critique: “as usual, it was too little, too late.”

    The Right critique: no fence, not enough enforcement, is some kind of amnesty.
    The Left critique: too many guest workers (unspoken let poor beaners stay poor in Mexico; put more employers in jail!)
    The other Bush-hate critique: too late.

    Bah.
    It was a good speech, a reasonable policy, it’s likely that some real legislation will get passed, which will really change the situation.

    But this round of new laws won’t stop the flood of illegals coming; at best it’ll reduce the flow. There’s no consensus on what should be done, and Bush-haters are deliberately making it harder for the President to come up with a reasonable policy that would be acceptable.

  28. Michael Balter Says:

    Woody says: “I really believe that people who want to become citizens here should learn the language of our laws and government.”

    I completely agree with this. However, it takes time. When I arrived in France 18 years ago, despite two years of French at UCLA and tutoring, it took me several years before I was fluent, and I am reasonably good at language learning. This is a skill that varies greatly, and one that unfortunately only a small minority of Americans seriously attempt–making them hopeless when they travel abroad. Immigrants, no matter where they are from, should learn English if they intend to stay in the US, but in the meantime they need help. Unless, of course, we want to deport them all, which we don’t and can’t even if we did want to as Bush himself has stated.

  29. reg Says:

    ” I put down 6,000 defintive words on this issue in my Atlantic piece and I think, think (but not sure) that you said yu didnt read it because u have no subscription. Isnt that right?”

    No…I called the reviews excellent – but still stopping short of the issues you’ve been evasive or dismissive of on the blog.

    “if the cost of providing 5 million desperate and impoverished Mexican families is an 8% decline in the lowest wage sector of the work force I would say that is a pretty small price to pay (and yes I know very well I dont pay that price).”

    That’s a shocker…but at least it’s honest regarding the apparent rationale for such a glib, clueless and callous attitude. An 8% decline in wages among those already paid the lowest may seem a “small price” when the actual dollars involved look like a latte budget to some among us, but it’s obviously huge if you’re trying to live on those margins. I think you shot off that comment without really considering it. At lest I hope so.

    As for the people of Oaxaca, if you think the solution to Mexico’s problems lies in San Deigo, Phoenix, LA and the lowest tier of jobs in the American labor market, you’re the one who’s abdicating any serious proposal for the future that’s not “pie in the sky”. Integrating half of Mexico into the U.S. labor market is the solution put forward actively by the Mexican ruling class so they can avoid any reckoning with what they have wrought. It’s also the Tyson, et.al. plan to knock U.S. wages lower in their sectors. Do you actually believe that poor people in Mexico want their only hope to involve leaving their homes, families, culture and citizenship behind to be “illegals” or even “guest workers” in another country where many people – including most of those who employ them – hold them in contempt. I find that bizarre and almost as callous in the “small price” category as your comment about poor people’s wages in the U.S. I wrote in at least one post here that the question of a serious development project aimed at the Mexican poor and assisted by the U.S. had to become an issue for progressives north of the border. You’ve repeated the mantra of the worst employers in the country that we “need” to have access to a steady stream of folks willing to work for less than liveable wages. Also, no comment from you on the issue of social services that Lynn raises most convincingly. Again, it’s an area in which you will pay no apparent price, so I guess it doesn’t matter any more than that mere 8% of some poor bastard’s wages.

    Your response on this one is emblematic of what I’ve been criticizing as, frankily,pretty lame analysis at the policy end of the argument. It’s been mostly a tip of the hat to one of the most conservative men in American politics and to one of the most credulous for their half-baked “better than the crazies” Beltway compromise – which holds as much hope for a long-term solution to any aspect of the underlying issues as the last D.C. solution that’s now two-decades old and simply got us to this place where the resolution is far more daunting.

    As for pitting two sets of poor people against each other, you are the one who celebrates “solutions” that turn pitting poor people against each other into a plan and pretty much leave it at that. “Guest workers”, etc. – which I still contend is the worst of all the ideas on the table, as proven by the European experience of institutionalizing a legally and culturally seperate tier of the working class.

    I appreciate the opportunity to post here. I appreciate your time and energy spent on the blog and recognize that a lot of it is wasted by a proliferation of frivolous bullshit and venting by a segment of commenters that often includes me, but I also feeled compelled to criticize you and try to hold your feet to the fire when I think you deserve it. (I’ve also defended you consistently against the far-left carping against your person that’s a constant here.) But on immigration, I honestly feel that you’ve skipped over some of the most important areas for journalistic advocacy in terms of best pragmatic policy and deferred to the kind of “realpolitik” and Beltway least-common-denominator bullshit that you relentlessly critique when you lord it over “Democratic Zombies” such as myself. Your “Beltway zombie quotient” on this one has been pretty high.

  30. Nofoolhere Says:

    Every body is confused in the face of the ideal solution that has been hiding in plain sight.

    Bush should take all of the illegals that are captured, put them in the national guard, pay them the minimum wage with no fringe benefits, and put them to work guarding the border. Then if they fail to do their duty, close their eyes, and permit their breathern to cross the border, convict them of treason and execute them.

  31. reg Says:

    On a completely different note, I want to add an anecdote to Michael Balter’s comments on language. I agree 100% that learning English should be a priority for any immigrant to the U.S. – just as learning the local language should be a priority for anyone resident anywhere – but native speakers’ perceptions can be deceptive. I just met and interviewed a woman in the context of work – one of the most industrious and likeable people you could imagine – who immigrated from Thailand several decades ago. I had enormous difficulty understanding her English. But she has a Phd in a scientific field from a first-rate American university and has for years been running a very successful and innovative business in the Midwest. I realized that her command of written English and her aural comprehension were excellent, but given her patterns of speech learned as a child her spoken English will always be marginal – although she uses it constantly. She acknowledged this was her biggest problem. It’s just a fact of life for many of us that doesn’t necessarily reflect on intelligence, education or even how long one may have been struggling with a second language, especially if one’s first language wasn’t in the “family” of European languages that share some patterns (my language talent is nil, but I’ve been “lucky” in never having been forced to rely on it to survive.)

  32. Cliff Says:

    Boy, is this an emotional issue. Talk about a ‘wedge’!

    Marc, I actually did read your Atlantic article (I subscribe!) and I have to say that I found the 8% wage hit on ‘natives’ by immigrants hard to believe. In fact, I just can’t believe it. If you gave a reference or two, believe me, I’d follow through by reading up on the matter.

    It rankles me everytime I hear someone say that immigrants take the jobs that Americans ‘don’t want.’ Of course they don’t want them… so many of them are sub-minimum wage and lack any benefits… not even workers compensation!

    I’m not anti-immigrant. There are lots of immigrants in my zip code, and more every day. I don’t begrudge them, and I believe that they have made my town a more interesting and pleasant place to live. I’m even taking Spanish because hey, it just seems like the smart thing to do.

    What I am against is exploitation. A guest-worker program sounds like an institutionalized exploitation program to me. If I were king I’d amnesty everyone who’s here now, but announce and strictly enforce the employment law we already have…. and fine the employers who violate it.

    By the way, I miss you at RadioNation.

  33. reg Says:

    Cliff – regarding the “8%” and related impacts of extra-legal immigration, here’s most of a recent Krugman column for starters:

    North of the Border
    By PAUL KRUGMAN (NYT)
    Published: March 27, 2006

    ”Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” wrote Emma Lazarus, in a poem that still puts a lump in my throat. I’m proud of America’s immigrant history, and grateful that the door was open when my grandparents fled Russia.

    In other words, I’m instinctively, emotionally pro-immigration. But a review of serious, nonpartisan research reveals some uncomfortable facts about the economics of modern immigration, and immigration from Mexico in particular. If people like me are going to respond effectively to anti-immigrant demagogues, we have to acknowledge those facts.

    First, the net benefits to the U.S. economy from immigration, aside from the large gains to the immigrants themselves, are small. Realistic estimates suggest that immigration since 1980 has raised the total income of native-born Americans by no more than a fraction of 1 percent.

    Second, while immigration may have raised overall income slightly, many of the worst-off native-born Americans are hurt by immigration — especially immigration from Mexico. Because Mexican immigrants have much less education than the average U.S. worker, they increase the supply of less-skilled labor, driving down the wages of the worst-paid Americans. The most authoritative recent study of this effect, by George Borjas and Lawrence Katz of Harvard, estimates that U.S. high school dropouts would earn as much as 8 percent more if it weren’t for Mexican immigration.

    That’s why it’s intellectually dishonest to say, as President Bush does, that immigrants do ”jobs that Americans will not do.” The willingness of Americans to do a job depends on how much that job pays — and the reason some jobs pay too little to attract native-born Americans is competition from poorly paid immigrants.

    Finally, modern America is a welfare state, even if our social safety net has more holes in it than it should — and low-skill immigrants threaten to unravel that safety net.

    Basic decency requires that we provide immigrants, once they’re here, with essential health care, education for their children, and more. As the Swiss writer Max Frisch wrote about his own country’s experience with immigration, ”We wanted a labor force, but human beings came.” Unfortunately, low-skill immigrants don’t pay enough taxes to cover the cost of the benefits they receive.

    Worse yet, immigration penalizes governments that act humanely. Immigrants are a much more serious fiscal problem in California than in Texas, which treats the poor and unlucky harshly, regardless of where they were born.

    (end clip)

  34. Jake Elmore Says:

    “Im a bit at a loss as to what your proposal is to the people of Oaxaca?”

    Why should we support Oaxaca? Isn’t that the job of Oaxacans and Pres. Fox? I mean if this is some sort of inherent right to lifeboat up here as an option where’s the incentive to change the homeland? Why are the these other cultures so inherently screwed up? We did it to them? Because that’s the only answer to that I’ve heard around here.

  35. NeoDude Says:

    The Bush ship is sinking, and the border issue is a convenient excuse for the right-wingers to deny they ever liked their alpha-male.

    Remember when they were saying he was gonna be the right-wing FDR?

    Those were fun times.

  36. Blueman Says:

    I am in the construction trade, and I must say that the 8% reduction of wages figure does scare me. It probably isn’t even an accurate representation of what is really going on in the trades as we are inundated by waves of immigrants willing to accept lower wages for the same jobs we have been doing. The statement the these are jobs “Americans won’t do” is nonsense. We’re glad to do them; I’ve been busting my ass all my life doing them. I just want a living wage, the ability to pay my mortgage, support myself and my family, and maybe have a few days off a year. The new immigrant hasn’t established himself yet, and has the advantage that he can live more cheaply (frequently, his family is back home, and he lives in an apartment with a bunch of other guys). Their money tends to go back home, not invested in our local economy.
    I admire these guys; they can WORK. They have a lot of incentive. But so do I.
    Pundits who have never gotten their hands dirty, except with a little copier ink, don’t know what the hell they are talking about when it comes to this stuff.

  37. New to Blogs Says:

    So where to start? I think the first thing we all need to understand is what assumptions we are taking in all these arguments we are putting forth.

    The main underlying assumption that I am noticing and that is completely invalid in my opinion is that our social services have declined in quality due to the huge influx of illegal immigrants. My mom is a public school teacher and struggles day in and day out to meet the demands of her job both financially and emotionally. Where is all this money going? Definitely not to improve the education of all the illegal immigrants. In fact, if this was the case, and they were sucking our education dry by being here, it might be safe to assume that they would gain a lot more. In other words, be able to learn english (which most of you are saying has not been a possibility), be able to pass the high school exit exam (another effect attributed to the plague of illegal immigration), not have to take the lowest jobs, etc. So here is my answer, the money is going to such things as the war in Iraq (I’m not saying it’s unnecessary, although I believe it is, but even if it was necessary, we should improve our residents’ standard of living before we try to improve another country’s.), tax breaks for the extremely wealthy (we are beginning to look like a lot of Latin American countries, where a small percentage control the wealth), and major corruption in politics.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming the current administration, for it is everybody who has tacitly agreed that these are not issues and should be instead blamed on the easiest targets; the Mexicans coming over the border.

    This leads me to the next big assumption that only a few of you have touched on. The fact that illegal immigration stems solely from the south. This is the reason why I would use such a loaded word a racism to describe the debate on immigration. We are not concerned with putting the National Guard to patrol the Canadian border, even though there is a huge quantity of illegal immigration coming from the North. We are not assigning the National guard to the prots to catch illegal immigration from the font either, yet nobody sees this as problematic. So the real issue is not illegal immigration, the real issue is ileegal immigration from those brown people (of which I am one). If the debate were all inclusive, then we might find other short-comings, but racism would probably not be one of them.

    Ed, I laude you in bringing the previous point to light in your post on the 15th, but would urge you and caution you not to go too far and demonize another race or group of races in your effort to be more inclusive.

    Although I have much mroe to say (due to my first time blogging :) ), I will leave it here and await the criticism. Have a great day!

  38. Woody Says:

    Neo & others who don’t understand the right, conservatives are individualists and do not have the “joining” or herd mentality of liberals; thus, our loyalties are based on someone’s values and performance rather than to the group of which they belong.

    I support the office of the President, but the individual within that office wins or loses my support every day depending upon the situation. It’s like jobs in private enterprise. If you did a good job today, then you get to come back tomorrow.

    So, we are not abandoning the ship–because, we never boarded it. Rather, we simply chose a captain for that ship (of state) and we typically stay on the shore and work, but we instruct that captain to steer the ship right and bring it back in one piece. It’s just in the last election that we had a choice of a swift boat captain whom you could count on to jump ship when convenient for him versus someone whom we didn’t know would turn into Captain Hazelwood–he has good maps, but he can’t follow them through dangerouse waters.

    The Republicans still are closer to my value system than the Democrats–by a long shot, but that doesn’t make them immune from my daily personnel reviews.

    By the way, while many of you gloat about a sinking ship, don’t forget that you have a stake in that ship yourselves.

    ——-

    I had an idea that we could take the money to be spent for border security, divide it up by the number of illegal immigrants already here, and give each his pro-rata share if he leaves and stays gone. It came to a whopping $158.33 per person. To make this work, I think that we’ll have to thrown in an ashtray, remote control, paddle game, matches, a lamp, ….

  39. Michael Turmon Says:

    The problem with that 8% figure, as pointed out above, is that it sounds like someone just decreases your wages by 8%. Actually the impact is felt disproportionately and can be catastrophic for some jobs and/or some places. Some occupations can disappear as living-wage propositions in just a few years as, say, immigrants discover them and tell their friends. You must be very nimble to see this coming and move into a niche (say, higher-end jobs, or more regulated kinds of work) before your trade collapses. E.g., the construction trades in the southwest US.

    As reg has said, these facts have not been acknowledged by Marc (despite reminders from the peanut gallery), which makes much of his commentary on this issue, well-informed though it is from some perspectives, one-sided. But lets face it – this is a tough, multifaceted issue.

    That last must be why the current administration is so interested in tackling it. ;-)

  40. NeoDude Says:

    Europe (Both Northern and Southern) spent gobs of money regulating the work force…predicting when new technologies would make certain jobs obsolete or less valuable, and budgeting to retrain the workforce accordingly.

    But that is the key…Europe is heavily unionized (even white collar jobs are unionized) and the government spent tax money to cushion the blow.

    The United States acts as if business men are the only individuals in the market place and our economy and workforce reflect that.

    Having to join trade unions would slow immigration quick…but obscene profits would suffer, guess which side many Americans favor?

    The US is looking more like Latin American economies because Latin American economies favor the wealthy.

  41. NeoDude Says:

    Criminalizing new immagrants is evil. Turning a misdemeanor into a felony to make a bunch of scared folk happy is racist.

    Trade Unionization is a more just and safe way to slow the flow from Latin America and create living wages for Americans.

    Worshipping the bottom line, and allowing business men to for and guide the economy is what got us into this mess now.

  42. NeoDude Says:

    Criminalizing new immigrants is evil. Turning a misdemeanor into a felony to make a bunch of scared folk happy is racist.

    Trade Unionization is a more just and safe way to slow the flow from Latin America and create living wages for Americans.

    Worshipping the bottom line, and allowing business men to for and guide the economy is what got us into this mess now.

  43. reg Says:

    According to a conference document from U.C. Davis and The Urban Institute, real wages in the meatpacking industry fell about a third between 1979 and 1994 – a period which saw the industry swept by an influx of illegal immigrants.

    Here’s an excerpt from an article that summarizes Eric Schlosser’s examination of this industry:

    On arriving in meatpacking towns, Schlosser would meet with migrant workers from Mexico and Guatemala. Many of them were illiterate in English or Spanish, which made it hard for them to work together or organize to make conditions better, he said.

    “In Lexington, Nebraska, this Norman Rockwell-esque town, I met Guatemalan Indians who barely spoke Spanish,” he said.

    Many meatworkers are lured to the United States from Mexico by Spanish radio advertisements paid for by U.S. meat companies, which bus the workers to factories in the rural United States.

    RECRUITING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS?

    “I’m not going to say they deliberately recruit illegal immigrant labor, but they recruit immigrant labor,” Schlosser said. In one instance documented by local media, a beef company bused workers from the Mexican border to a Minneapolis homeless shelter.

    Meatpacking now employs just under 150,000 people, and the Immigration and Naturalization Services estimates one quarter of the workers in Nebraska and Iowa are illegal immigrants.

    Since migrant workers, legal or not, rarely spend more than a year in one factory, most slaughterhouse workers are without health insurance. They also accept lower wages.

    “We’ve gone backward,” Schlosser said. “The wages in one Greeley, Colorado, plant now are 30 to 40 percent lower than when the plant opened in 1961. That’s not supposed to happen.”

    He read trade journals and federal hearings to investigate insurance practices. In a 1994 article praising beef companies for minimizing insurance costs, one executive confirmed his firm’s slaughterhouses had a 100 percent annual turnover.

    Schlosser interviewed workers, former supervisors and nurses, and physicians who treated worker’s injuries. They told him workers were pressured to hide injuries, which cut their companies’ insurance burdens.

    “If the injury seems more serious, a Mexican worker is often given the opportunity to return home for a while, to recuperate there, then come back to his or her slaughterhouse job in the United States,” he wrote.

    Court documents show several of the largest companies kept two sets of injury records, one for themselves and one for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

    (end clip)

    I also welcome Blueman’s comments – a dose of reality that is rarely heard in these parts. Any political coalition that shrugs at this stuff because of some PC bullshit that involves denying not just the impact of illegal immigration on segments of the U.S. working class that can least afford it, but the use of any terminology that makes a distinction between immigrating legally and those who haven’t or implies that the very idea of a right to control immigration and terms of citizenship is “nativist” – is doomed and deserves to be. Liberals are lucky that most of the right is even more incoherent and inherently divided by this issue – because their base spans both the real nativists/racists and the hard-core business interests that have encouraged the jobs magnet for ultra-low wage workers and defy regulation out of habit – but we owe it to ourselves to get a grip and at least talk about this issue honestly and in its entirety without pandering to one or another voting bloc or to imagined cultural sensitivities. (And for Marc to deny that there is, in fact, a pro-illegal immigration constituency among the ethnic lobbies and interest groups like MALDEF, and that any group participating in the coalition that sponsored the recent demos couldn’t have openly called for anything that smacked of enforcement of our existing labor laws for fear of offending them, is not credible.)

  44. NeoDude Says:

    Who profits from undocumented workers?

    We do, when we shop for cheap prices, however these folks profit much much more.

    http://www.aflcio.org/corporatewatch/paywatch/

    The average pay for CEO and the such have not hurt because of illegal immigration.

  45. Marc Cooper Says:

    My final round of responses on this subject as I have to paid work.

    Blueman: Dont always judges pundits by their cover. I went to college on food stamps and working on a sweatshop assembly line. Ive also done time whacking weeds and clearing brush.

    To Reg and all the others worried about wages:

    The system we live under is based on exploitation and it s a global system. It denies liveable wages in Akron and it simultaneously creates radical imbalances and inequities that push millions near or into misery.

    The victims of this system will always jockey and maneuver and fight to better their position– for themselves and their families. They must do what they can as they are relatively powerless. You think that the tension between Mexican immigrants and Anglo bricklayers is the first incident of working class conflict in history? Free blacks took jobs away from rural and urban whites — but we dont advocate going back to slavery. Women, by the way, took the jobs of men and lowered wages by about 30%.. but we dont lock up women in the kitchens. Italians and irish and so on and so on… displaced others from jobs. The IWW organized foreign workers into unions (including swedes) before WWI and met the resistance and resentment of Anglo and english speaking workers. And let’s be real: when you unionize and industry and pay $20 an hour for a bluw-collar job, and the union (rightfully) demands a closed shop.. it’s great for the workers who have the contract. But you could turn this argument on its head and say (as I do NOT) that this screws over all of the unemplyed and job seekers who would be delighted to take that same job for half the wage. That, by the way, is true. But we take the side of the unionized worker because we know in the long run it’s better for everybody.

    The solution to these conflicts NEVER resides in separating one set of workers from another.. in pitting one group of relatively poor people against a poorer group.. but rather resides in working together against a common enemy. To watch some American liberals now claim that it is Mexican workers who are at fault for the plight of American workers is very very sad — and very mistaken.

    During the 1970′s and 80′s, sure, a flood of immigrant workers into the midwest helped dissolve unions in meatpacking and other industries. This was the fault of the immgrants? Please. Now, fortunately, a critical mass has been hit and it is the immigrant work force that is now in the forefront of unionization efforts in America. Stop them from coming and not only will you NOT raise wages significantly or at all, but you will kill off what’s left of American labor.

    All of this emotional debate boils down to a simple set of facts:

    Our economy and society is currently absorbing with no problem about 1 million LEGAL immigrants per year. Only committed xenophobes call for reducing that number. Our economic markets, however, have a need for about another 1/2 million per year. (that’s about 1/6 of 1% of our total population) They come here illegally and are also absorbed. Please note the numbers to keep this all in perspective. We need to increase our legal quoate from a million to 1.5 million and if we do so most of this problem will evaporate. What’s so hard to understand about that?

    What I also dont find — frankly– is any PROGRAMATIC i.e. policy– suggestion from Reg & Co. We all know that wages are low, benefits are scarce, health care is disappearing among workers… so? What is your proposal? Dont tell me what you desire or dream– tell me what actually can be done. You want to do what, exactly? Other than bitch and moan on this blog.

    I dont hesitate on this. I dont mind stating affirmatively that the balance sheet of current immigration is positive. If anything, the immigrant worker movement is helping to energize an American working class movement that fell into a fat, deep slumber many decades ago and still risks never awakening. For the first time in modern history we have a million workers and their families in the streets on May Day(organized primariily by unions) and Im supposed to worry that this is crippling the American working class?

  46. Lynn Says:

    Michael Balter said: “btw I would like to see some interviews with Border Patrol agents about their views on all these NG troops coming their way. Just a wild guess, but they might be spending most of their time trying to figure out what to do with these guys, freeing up the border for transgression. ”

    The CBS affiliate in San Diego, reported today in a story about reaction to Bush plan for National Guard the following:

    KFMB TV
    Last Updated:
    05-16-06 at 8:30AM

    The union that represents Border Patrol agents is speaking out against the president’s plan for the border.

    The group’s vice president issued a statement Monday night:
    “We feel this is window dressing. This administration has not been able to get anything right about the border. Americans shouldn’t expect otherwise with this measure. We’ve had the National Guard working on the border in some support capacity for the last 15-years and the president’s new plan just seems to be a ploy to get his temporary guest-worker program passed.”

  47. reg Says:

    Jesus…another grand bit of myopia and refusal to acknowledge the practical arguments that have been laid out here. If you want to stop the flood of illegal immigrants (assuming you acknowledge it’s even a problem), do it at the source – the workplace – by putting into place a smart electronic SS card and putting the focus of enforcement on the industries that are the locus of the problem. I’ve said this time and again, and of course you accuse me of not offering anything resembling a solution. As for legal immigration, I’m for increasing it in response to real labor shortages that aren’t based on wage depressioin. But unless and until apologists for illegal immigration and wholesale violations of labor law by major employers cut out the “jobs Americans won’t do” bullshit – based on unbridled and deliberate violations of basic labor law – I refuse to even debate this end of it. It’s a canard and a smokescreen for the worst labor practices. The truth is that by attacking someone such as myself – who is willing to embrace normalization of our existing workforce in its entirety as long as some teeth are put into future enforcement that’s actually feasible and we begin to hold employers responsible for their practices – you end up on the same side of this issue as the most retrograde elements in American capitalism.

    Your little sermon on the historical and the painfully obvious has all of the depth and integrity of a Tom Friedman homily on globalization. The way to maintain – as best we can – a workforce that doesn’t have seperations and conflicts built into it is to try to keep the playing field as level as possible (obviously a failed exercise in many respects). Unfortunately, reality dictates that the only even marginally effective way we can do this is by exercising our political rights and responsibilities as citizens. Our political power as average people – not business moguls – stops at the border, whether we like it or not. But by siding with groups like The Business Roundtable on “guest workers” and effusing glibly about erosion of national boundaries and the rest of it, you are moving precisely in the opposite direction of greater fragmentation of our labor markets.

  48. Jake Elmore Says:

    “and Im supposed to worry that this is crippling the American working class?”

    In a word yes.

    As for the swiftboat captain he wasn’t arrested for drunk driving like Hazelwood and Bush were. Why would you surprised the ship has run aground? I’m not. I said it happen if he was elected and it has. Woody remembers just enough history to hang himself every time.

  49. Jake Elmore Says:

    reg is right. If the employers had to do what public agencies do when signing on ne whelp it would be no problem: you have to prove citizenship two ways.

  50. evets Says:

    Marc –

    No-one (on this site at least) would argue about unfair labor competition if the immigrants under discussion were legal and their numbers were determined through the democratic process. The analogy to competition provided by legal immigrants in the past, or by ex-slaves seems disingenuous. All would agree that such competition is fair (though obviously those competing at the time resented it). While the new energy in the union movement is a positive unintended consequence, that’s not sufficient reason to dismiss concerns over illegal immigration. Is it certain that this energizing wouldn’t have occurred otherwise? Is it possible that the flow of illegal immigrants into our labor markets helped create the conditions which prompted this rejuvenation?

  51. Matt Says:

    Hi, Marc. Thanks for this excellent post. My name’s Matt Borus, and I blog on Jspot, a progressive Jewish blog. I had one question for you.

    You wrote
    “They will be barred from patrolling the border itself, as well as from confronting, apprehending or even guarding the undocumented.”

    I may have just missed a detail in Bush’s speech, but did he say this? If not, where does it come from?

    I ask because one big concern I have with this is that the presence of the Guard on the border will lead to tragedies like the killing of Ezequiel Hernandez, a teenager who was shot by Marines doing a drug patrol ont he border in 1997. And I have to wonder, even if this is official policy, will it be enforced? If an office is overbrudened and there are Guard troops there, isn’t there a good likelihood that they will be used for direct patrols? Or if they’re doing surveillance and come into contact with immigrants, won’t they interact directly with them?

    Thanks for the info. And if anyone’s interested, you can see some of my comments on the matter here.

  52. JC Says:

    BRAVO, Ed, for your comment dated May 15th, 2006 at 11:46 pm! I am all for immigration, but also for ASSIMILATION and giving back to the community. Also, don’t forget about the cleptocrats that come here after stealing and misdirecting treasury funds from their starving compatriots. These egotistical scam artists are not only destroying the moral fabric of our society, they are influencing our governing class…wait a minute…they are our governing class!!!!

    With regards to the Hispanics, it would seem to me that we are not assimilating them, they are assimilating us. Pretty soon this blog will be in Spanish!

    Can someone please research and summarize Mexico’s immigration laws here?

  53. Ann Says:

    JC, Immigrants today are doing a much better job at assimalating then previous waves of immigrants. Most want to learn english and in fact most do learn english very quickly. I don’t know a Hispanic person who was born here or grew up here that doesn’t speak english, but according to my grandfather there were plenty of children of German immigrants who were born in the states that couldn’t speak english and this was true of many of the children of european immigrants.

  54. Matt Says:

    Whoops–I found the part of Bush’s speech where he said that the Guard would not be involved directly in law enforcement. I still tend to wonder how true this will hold in a busy Border Patrol post, though…

  55. RcerX Says:

    Just to switch up the North-South debate, there was an interesting article in either the New York Post or Daily News (I can’t seem to find the link) about the decline of modern Irish immigrants in NYC – many here illegally, are choosing to return to Ireland, but the number one reason was because Irish econonmy is booming, the second reason is the crackdown on undocumented immigrants. The risk thusly, being bigger than the reward.
    I agree with Marc that a half million increase, along with a fair and equitable distribution of quotas would benefit us all. America needs to re-examine NARAL and it’s effectiveness to our neighbors down south and work to establish fairer trade policies and yes invest in these countries. While we’re bickering with Venezuala over the politics of its freely elected leader, China is swooping in neogiating for better oil prices and finding ways to increase trade. Brazil is starting to look like a bright spot in the South American economy with taking such innovative approaches like converting to sugar based ethnol and ways to increase small businesses in some its most remote areas.
    The global economy is here you cannot restrict businesses from setting up shop in other countries and not expect their people not to immigrate to places where the living conditions are more favorable. At the same time you cannot continue to argue that poor people deserve to come here while ignoring the conditons that drove them to leave otherwise, despite the increase in quotas there will still be an active undocumented market. One only has to look at Cuba to see how effective a closed market open immigration policy has been – when things get hot for Castro, he just opens the escape valve.
    Labor needs to be re-invigorated however one million people vs. millions of underemployed and another group that has not been discussed here those umeployed that no longer receive goverment assistance is not going to do it. I would definitely like to hear what it might take to unite American workers with the undocumented, I admit I’m stumped on that one.
    And New to Blogs (race has been brought up in Marc’s earlier blogs) and NeoDude it’s as simple as it coming down to race. All you have to do is read some of the papers in Miami and Puerto Rico to know that there are plenty of “brown” people who have strong views against immigration. Oh daughers and sons of the trickle down theory – It’s about class and the decline of labor as Marc illustrated and the business class seeking greater profits – race is just the smoke screen.

  56. RcerX Says:

    Sorry I meant NAFTA – I got my acronyms mixed up! Ooops

  57. Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Says:

    The Guest Worker program works great if there is a forced savings component which is returned to the worker — when he returns home.

    The huge problem is that US capitalism has been so successful at growing the US economy. Yet Mexican regulation and corruption, and the anti-business culture, has been such a failure at growing the Mexican economy.

    The US can’t solve the Mexican problem, so every smart, hard working Mexican will want to come to America for a better life.

    Until: it gets too hard to get in (build the fence, patrol the border),
    there are no jobs for the illegals (Bush has good biometric based ID requirements, unfortunately only for the legals),

    so that illegal life in the US is not much better than life in Mexico.

    The humane way is to hire more Mexicans in Mexico to work, but no Leftists are interested in that — that would require supporting business. And Marc thinks business, the peaceful organizations which offer jobs to poor people, Marc thinks they’re the enemy.

    Bah.

  58. Kris (a dirt poor person) Says:

    I hope people who have not voted will be so pissed about what how awful the bush administration has treat the poor and middle classes and will get up off the couch and cast their ballot in 2008.
    He makes me sick. He spends all of our hard earned money on his religous agenda.
    I would rather have a president who at least tried to do his job and didn’t have to brag every ten seconds about how moral he is.(n’t)

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    Brazil is starting to look like a bright spot in the South American economy with taking such innovative approaches like converting to sugar based ethnol and ways to increase small businesses in some its most remote areas.
    The global economy is here you cannot restrict businesses from setting up shop in other countries and not expect their people not to immigrate to places where the living conditions are more favorable.

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    Last year Alals Baby Birth Planning Center announced us that we will have a little boy. Although, all our friends were convinced that it will be a little girl due to the way my wife was carrying the baby. Due to her age, my wife had to go for amniocenteses and three weeks later we had the confirmation that it will be a little boy!!!!! We definitely recommend(http://www.alals.com)to you.