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immigrant protests day

As we speak, people are skipping class, ditching work, and not buying things to protest our laws against (or at least a new bill on the Hill regarding) illegal immigration.

Unfortunately, I see all sides of this issue:

a) There's something wrong with our immigration policy if twelve (12) million (12,000,000) immigrants are in this country illegally.

b) Who wouldn't want to work in the US when your home country's essentially a third-world economy? (Fascinating side-note: Mexico's third-largest source of income is money sent home by people working in the US.)

c) Wouldn't it be great if all people everywhere in the world could remain living where they grew up and earn a comparable wage? (Dream on, right? I mean, when do you suppose China's government will allow its people to earn what Americans earn? When they have won this economic war against the West, that's when; in the mean time, they will continue to suppress their people's wages so they can take over the world economically.)

d) As a good American, shouldn't I be patriotic? But what does that mean in this context? I mean, cheap labor is driving down American wages, but we are an immigrant nation (except, y'know, for those folks who were here first...).

e) Shouldn't people wanting to come to our country respect our laws? What does breaking them mean to those who have come here legally, either on work visas or to become citizens?

f) This country was founded by immigrants, right? But they weren't breaking the law then.

g) How about finding a way to solve the poverty problem around the world so that people don't find it necessary to break the law to come here. There are fascinating new books out lately about ending poverty and curing diseases all around the world for less than we spend on our military in a day or a week. I mean, geez. Why not solve the root problem first, then worry about immigration when it's only about people wanting to become Americans rather than be able to eat.

h) Finally, hey! You guys don't have the right to protest in our country; free speech is only a protected right for American citizens. So all this physical, financial, and educational obstruction is harming those who are citizens. On the other hand... you get the idea.

So what do y'all think about this? I don't know where I stand on the issue, and it's a biggie now.

Thanks,
Chris

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Comments

( 75 comments — Leave a comment )
shawn_scarber
May. 1st, 2006 09:05 pm (UTC)
Personally, I'm all for opening the border. We have jobs, they're willing to take the jobs, and if we make it legal they'll be tax payers and protected. I would only want for Mexico to allow US citizens to purchase property in their country. I think that would be a good trade.
mckitterick
May. 1st, 2006 10:47 pm (UTC)
That's an interesting proposition. The problem is: When does it stop? I mean, impoverished people around the world outnumber Americans many times over. Overpopulation is the one problem that exacerbates every other human problem. People don't like to lose their jobs (or see their friends and family lose theirs) to people willing to work for much less... I mean, all one needs to do is look at how many American-owned corporations send their manufacturing overseas; if it's so cheap to produce overseas that they can also afford to ship it here and pay all the duties, wow, but will American jobs vanish in a second!

On the other hand, wealthy Americans will make out like bandits, being able to fire high-salary workers and replace them with new immigrant labor.

Perhaps this plan would also require that all Americans are giving stocks in all American corporations, have a new kind of socialism where true citizens are the stockholders and immigrants are our employees. Maybe that's how to sell this plan to the Middle Class.

Just some thoughts. Thanks for the stimulating idea!
(no title) - fjm - May. 2nd, 2006 06:20 am (UTC) - Expand
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I like this idea! - mckitterick - May. 2nd, 2006 06:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
jamer_31
May. 1st, 2006 09:49 pm (UTC)
my brother might have to move to kenya because they are having a really hard time getting her status in the US. dollars apon dollars, form apon form, time apon time. she came here legally as a student and they met and fell in love and lived together for 4 years. now married and because he was a student and didnt make enough money they may have to move to kenya for like the next ten years. and these people want a pass just because.... they want it???? wtf and do most of them really want to citizens? not from what i have read and heard they just want the free education, free medical care, drivers licences, and ect. but they dont want to be americans.

reforming the system might be a good thing or hell even close the borderes to new people untill we have americans in america instead of any number of people from other countries. time to asimilate maybe? i dont care one way or the other.

if i break the law i can go to jail. if they break the law its ok no big deal. either enforce the laws or junk them all and write new. but they have to apply to all people from all countries. there is nothing special about mexico.

mckitterick
May. 1st, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC)
I hear you. I can't imagine how frustrating it would be for legal immigrants if these illegals all get amnesty.
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Re: free social programs? - jamer_31 - May. 2nd, 2006 07:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: free social programs? - starstraf - May. 2nd, 2006 10:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
minnehaha
May. 1st, 2006 09:51 pm (UTC)
I think someone had it right who said, "As far as I am concerned, if you're here on July first, and can pick George Washington out of a line up, you're in."

K.
mckitterick
May. 1st, 2006 10:54 pm (UTC)
I like that idea, but how do we ensure it doesn't ruin the job market for those here legally?

(Though you might be saying that we should just make the world a single political entity; that would be great, but I think it needs some serious planning first! Look at how poorly Germany has handled its little East-joins-with-West thing.)

How about we let everyone into the country who can prove that they'll be a net job gain? That is, anyone who adds a job to the American economy by, say, bringing a non-duplicate business into the country gets citizenship?
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mckitterick
May. 1st, 2006 10:51 pm (UTC)
I think your point e) says it all: If we solve poverty and hunger, we could have an open immigration system because we wouldn't be getting this influx of people willing to work for near-nothing, which drives citizens out of their jobs.

As humanitarians, it's out duty to find solutions to this. Why isn't that our govm't's primary goal rather than adventuring across the world?
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mckitterick
May. 2nd, 2006 07:45 am (UTC)
From what I understand, the numbers are the same as they have been for a long time. I read some good things about immigration policy: People who can prove they are adding jobs to the US economy can immigrate, people investing a half-million or more can immigrate, and people with "special skills" can also get into the country. Perhaps we need to revamp what we have rather than scrap it.

Streamlining is always a good goal in any revision of an existing process!
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nous_athanatos
May. 2nd, 2006 12:15 am (UTC)
I spent the whole class period today discussing this with my comp class -- 2/3 of which is made up of either first or second generation immigrants. I wasn't so much interested in the answers as trying to get to the bottom of the fear that drives the legislation at this particular time.

Among other things we discussed:

9/11 and the fear of unsecure borders

The 2000 census and what it means that Hispanics/Latino's are the largest minority and the fastest growing segment of the population.

Fear of the "browning of America."

Illegal immigration from Mexico and Haiti compared with the official "wet foot/dry foot" policy for Cuban refugees -- what makes a refugee from communist Cuba different in the eyes of the US government different from an illegal immigrant fleeing war or governmental corruption? Are they fleeing political conditions, economic conditions, both?

Other stuff like that.

I think the official conclusion we came to was that there is a thin line between legitimate security and economic concerns and racism and fear of losing a majority. The current controversy lies somewhere on either side of that line, depending where you look.
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geekmom
May. 2nd, 2006 12:55 am (UTC)
The protesters out there largely *are* US citizens ore legal immigrants. They have every right to protest and show what impact migration has on the economy. They're protesting for their mothers, brothers, and cousins that may or may not be legally here. And if my choices were literally living in a garbage dump and mining for recyclables, or risking some jail time to cross the border, I know I'd be crossing the border.

I suppose there's a first time for everything, but I'm inclined to go with the chimp on this one. A guest worker program would shut down the coyotes and allow the border patrol to be stronger. it would also give workers some rights, so they would be exploited by US standards. From where I stand, the illegal immigration problem is largely a product of shitty homeland conditions and shitty US employers who know damn well they're hiring illegals and do so to exploit them. What are the illegals going to do? Call in a union? Report them for not abiding fair labor laws? At the same time, honest, hard working citizens can't get jobs, either, because they're not willing to work for $3 an hour and sleep 8 to a room. The current situation doesn't work for anyone but the employers.

I'd prefer to pay a bit more for produce than know I'm buying grapes at the low, low price of two dozen dead Mexicans in the back of an inadequately ventilated produce truck.

If they're going to call for stricter enforcement, it shouldn't be from the immigrants. it should be from the companies that hire them, but since those fat companies are giving money to the politicians, that idea ain't gonna happen any time soon.
mckitterick
May. 2nd, 2006 07:03 am (UTC)
Actually, we're seeing the government cracking down on the employers right now - I was surprised to see this for the very reasons you cite: Money is political power, especially in this country at this time.

What I'd really like to see is those jobs earning a wage that US citizens would be willing to get paid... then we might see this whole problem disappear, because why would a company face fines and legal issues by hiring illegals if they couldn't get away with pay irresponsibly low wages.
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emessar
May. 2nd, 2006 12:56 am (UTC)
Everyone here is an immigrant ... even the "native" Americans came from somewhere else. They just did it ten thousand years before it became fashionable.

As far as the immigration situation, the biggest problems I have today is of national security ... and that's going to mean both the Northern and Southern borders ... and frankly, that seems like it would be an enormous undertaking.

I would agree that the key to minimizing the immigration problem has more to do with lifting up the nations that the immigrants are coming from. Unfortunately, there isn't a good way for us to do that. It's really something that has to change from within. If we throw money at those countries, all it's going to do is subsidize dysfunction.

I think the idea of free trade was a step in the right direction. If businesses start up or move there as a result, it will improve that economy. Will it cost U.S. jobs? Probably. But those jobs are going to mean a lot more in Mexico than they will here, and we're a prosperous enough nation that we can take the hit. Besides, if those businesses were in the U.S. according to anti-immigrant rhetoric they would just be staffed by Mexicans anyway ... why not save them the moving expense and let big business move to them?

my 2 cents
mckitterick
May. 2nd, 2006 07:17 am (UTC)
I agree that helping the nations from which our immigrants flee is solving the root of the problem, but I can't agree that offshoring our corporations is the right way to do that. Teaching people in those countries how to develop their own economies is a much better way to help them help themselves, as we did with Germany and Japan... that seems to have worked out okay *g*
loloc
May. 2nd, 2006 03:02 am (UTC)
Here's my 2 cents.
  1. If you are here illegally you should be deported, but making you a felon and sticking you in jail then deporting you is not helpful to anyone.
  2. If you hire an illegal alien you should go to jail (and you're company pay a very stiff fine as you can't throw Wall Mart in jail as much as I'd like to)
  3. Our immigration laws need to be overhauled big time - so their not skewed towards Northern Europeans.
  4. We need to be promoting Democracy and Economic freedom around the world (starting here would be fine).
  5. Closing the border will not make us secure. Two words Timothy McVay.
And finally is this really the most important thing that we the people of America need to be dealing with right now? NO. The whole immigration debate is valid and necessary but the timing is straight from Karl Rove's office. It's another wedge issue to get the racists (which I would guess are mostly Republicans) to come to the polls.
mckitterick
May. 2nd, 2006 07:14 am (UTC)
I agree with your 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 - well, all of them, I guess *g* I don't know about the Karl Rove thing... and I noticed that others here are talking about this being a racist issue. But is it? I don't know how much so: I suspect it's more of a nationalist issue (if we're talking -ists here), because non-Americans are less valued to US nationalists than citizens. Interesting notion, though, that more racists would be Republicans than Dems, and racists would be against having more brown-skinned folks here. Hmmm.
(no title) - loloc - May. 2nd, 2006 07:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
orin2
May. 2nd, 2006 04:21 am (UTC)
I've been discussing this issue with a couple of other friends of mine. I think that "opening the borders" will hurt our country. A long time ago when we had vast expanses of open land and lots of room to grow we had immigration that was on a huge scale. It helped build America. However, there is a reason they CLOSED Ellis Island. Our country is no longer a new frontier. We cannot keep letting in an unlimited amount of people. If we do that, we will ruin our own society AND having unsecured borders is something that could hurt us very badly in the long run.
I believe anyone who is in the US right now illegaly, should be told that by July 4th 2007, you must register with some agency (to be created or determined) if you do so you will not be deported. However, anyone found to be illegal AFTER that date should be deported. Making them felons or arresting them would just put a bigger burden on our government and that is what we do NOT want.
Someone said we need to help Mexico. Help Mexico? Help Iraq? Help Afghanistan... do you see where this is going? Perhaps by "helping" these other countries we shoud "help" them spend their own money. Does anyone realize how much the US government owes? (And a large portion of that is owned by the Chinese, I believe)Until we have no defecit I believe we should not be at war spending billions and not giving away huge amounts of foreign aid.
If Mexico or Cuba is that bad, why dont their people rise up and throw off their governments and better themselves. Because it is easier to sneak into the US, of course. If that weren't such an easy possibility, would those same people stay in their countries and try to change something? Maybe.
mckitterick
May. 2nd, 2006 07:21 am (UTC)
I see what you're saying, that we can't cure the world all by ourselves, at least not when we are spending so much on Bush's military adventuring.

Your idea of a registration system to give the illegals documentation if not true citizenship is interesting; a nice middle ground to solve this present issue, then allow us to tighten things up for the future.

And making it tougher to get into the US might indeed make people in those countries rise up against their govm'ts... or it might make them blame us and turn them into terrorists. So... hmmm.
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jamer_31
May. 2nd, 2006 02:25 pm (UTC)
and now he feels guilty for his creating an enviroment of hate :( omfg
August 5, 1993

The Office of Sen. Harry Reid issued the following:

In response to increased terrorism and abuse of social programs by aliens, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) today introduced the first and only comprehensive immigration reform bill in Congress.

Currently, an alien living illegally in the United States often pays no taxes but receives unemployment, welfare, free medical care and other federal benefits. Recent terrorist acts, including the World Trade Center bombing, have underscored the need to keep violent criminals out of the country.

Reid's bill, the Immigration Stabilization Act of 1993, overhauls the nation's immigration laws and calls for a massive scale-down of immigrants allowed into the country from approximately 800,000 to 300,000.

The bill also changes asylum laws to prevent phony asylum seekers. Reid said the U.S. open door policy is being abused at the expense of honest, working citizens.

"We are a country founded upon fairness and justice," Reid said. "An individual in real threat of torture or long-term incarceration because of his or her political beliefs can still seek asylum. But this bill closes the door to those who want to abuse America's inherent generosity and legal system."

Reid's bill also cracks down on illegal immigration. The 1990 census reported 3.3 million illegal aliens in America. Recent estimates indicate about 2.5 million immigrants illegally entered the United States last year.

"Our borders have overflowed with illegal immigrants placing tremendous burdens on our criminal justice system, schools and social programs," Reid said. "The Immigration and Naturalization Service needs the ability to step up enforcement.

"Our federal wallet is stretched to the limit by illegal aliens getting welfare, food stamps, medical care and other benefits often without paying any taxes.

"Safeguards like welfare and free medical care are in place to boost Americans in need of short-term assistance. These programs were not meant to entice freeloaders and scam artists from around the world. "Even worse, Americans have seen heinous crimes committed by individuals who are here illegally," Reid said.

Specific provisions of Reid's Immigration Stabilization Act include the following:

-- Reduces annual legal immigration levels from approximately 800,000 admissions per year to about 300,000. Relatives other than spouse or minor children will be admitted only if already on immigration waiting lists and their admission does not raise annual immigration levels above 300,000.

-- Reforms asylum rules to prevent aliens from entering the United States illegally under phony "asylum" claims.

-- Expands list of felonies considered "aggravated" felonies requiring exclusion and deportation of criminal aliens. Allows courts to order deportation at time of sentencing.

-- Increases penalties for failing to depart or re-entering the United States after a final order of deportation order. Increases maximum penalties for visa fraud from five years to 10 years.

-- Curtails alien smuggling by authorizing interdiction and repatriation of aliens seeking to enter the United States unlawfully by sea. Increases penalties for alien smuggling.

-- Adds "alien smuggling" to the list of crimes subject to sanctions under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Expands the categories of property that are forfeited when used to facilitate the smuggling or harboring of illegal aliens.

-- Clarifies that a person born in the United States to an alien mother who is not a lawful resident is not a U.S. citizen. This will eliminate incentive for pregnant alien women to enter the United States illegally, often at risk to mother and child, for the purpose of acquiring citizenship for the child and accompanying federal financial benefits.

-- Mandates that aliens who cannot demonstrably support themselves without public or private assistance are excludable. This will prevent admission of aliens likely to be dependent on public financial support. This requirement extends to the sponsor of any family sponsored immigrant.

-- Increases border security and patrol officers to 9,900 full-time positions.

END
(Deleted comment)
jamer_31
May. 2nd, 2006 04:48 pm (UTC)
idea from juli
build a wall between mexico and guatemala and then absorb mexico into america. then no more need to worry. lol i love it lets do it.
mckitterick
May. 2nd, 2006 05:08 pm (UTC)
Re: idea from juli
Well, the irony is that Mexicans are also patriotic, even though sneaking into the US illegally. Go figure! So although it's an interesting idea (and a good way to raise up all of Mexico into a financially viable state), I can't imagine it'll ever happen.

Now making all the world a single nation: That would be interesting. Sort of like in the EU: What if every nation was instead a state in a larger union? An interesting concept.
jamer_31
May. 2nd, 2006 05:25 pm (UTC)
U.S. should consider Mexico’s immigration laws
April 18, 2006

Mexico has a case of “Do what I say…not what I do on its hands.” Illegal immigrants from Mexico working in the United States have the support of their government, even an appointed government representative, illegal immigrants to Mexico are targeted as felons, and face brutal treatment on discovery.

While Mexican migrants working in the U.S. make up 12 percent of the population of the U.S., migrants from Central American working in Mexico make up only one-half of one percent of the Mexican population.

Mexico annually deports more illegal aliens than the United States does, and under Mexican law, it is a felony to be an illegal alien

And there are few protections. On the day after Easter, Mexican police conducting a raid for undocumented migrants near a rail yard outside Mexico City shot to death a local man, because his dark skin and work clothes made officers think he was a migrant.

How does it work?

Mexico's main immigration law welcomes only foreigners deemed useful to Mexican society:

* Foreigners are admitted into Mexico "according to their possibilities of contributing to national progress." (Article 32)
* Immigration officials must "ensure [that] immigrants will be useful elements for the country and that they have the necessary funds for their sustenance" and that of their dependents. (Article 34)
* Foreigners may be barred from the country if their presence has upset "the equilibrium of the national demographics," if they are deemed detrimental to "economic or national interests," if they are not good citizens in their own country, if they have broken Mexican laws, or if "they are not found to be physically or mentally healthy." (Article 37)
* The secretary of governance may "suspend or prohibit the admission of foreigners when he determines it to be in the national interest." (Article 38)
Mexican authorities keep track of every person in the country:
* Federal, local and municipal police must cooperate with federal immigration authorities upon request: i.e., help in the arrest of illegal immigrants. (Article 73)
* A National Population Registry tracks every "individual who comprises [sic] the population of the country," verifying each individual's identity. (Articles 85 and 86)
* A national Catalogue of Foreigners tracks foreign tourists and immigrants (Article 87), assigning each a tracking number (Article 91).

Undocumented Central American migrants complain about the necessity of bribery and extortion, and the frequency of physical and sexual abuse as they make their way through Mexico. Others have seen migrants beaten to death by police, their bodies left near the railway tracks.

The National Human Rights Commission, a government-funded agency, documented the abuses south of the U.S. border in a December report.
"One of the saddest national failings on immigration issues is the contradiction in demanding that the North respect migrants' rights, which we are not capable of guaranteeing in the South," commission president Jose Luis Soberanes said.

Although Mexico objects to U.S. authorities detaining Mexican immigrants, police and soldiers reportedly cause the most trouble for migrants in Mexico, even though they aren't technically authorized to enforce immigration laws.

The number of undocumented migrants detained in Mexico grew from 138,061 in 2002 to 240,269 last year. Forty-two percent were Guatemalan, 33 percent Honduran and most of the rest Salvadoran.
(Deleted comment)
mckitterick
May. 2nd, 2006 06:21 pm (UTC)
Re: patriotism and poverty
I agree that the only way to help prevent illegal immigration is to solve the root problem: Eliminate poverty back in their home countries. Do US corporations really make so much money from defaulted loans? Um, that doesn't really work. So why is this stupid cycle perpetuated?
(Deleted comment)
mckitterick
May. 2nd, 2006 06:27 pm (UTC)
I hear you. The real solution is to create real wealth across the globe, avoiding the "everyone is poor" averaging of wages. I suspect cheap power would be a solution there, such as really harnessing solar via satellites or really harnessing geothermal. nearly free power would raise the potential for wealth everywhere. As would nanotech manufactories, of course, but that's a ways off *g*
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