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John Mace
01-07-2004, 01:36 PM
Link. (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=578&e=1&u=/nm/20040107/ts_nm/bush_immigration_dc)

Under his plan, illegal immigrants in the United States would be able to gain legal status for an initial three-year period if they can prove they have jobs, senior Bush administration officials said. Estimates on the number of illegals range from 8 million up to 14 million.

This seems collosally stupid to me. It's unclear that it's politically motivated (per the article) because it seems like it will tick off more people than it will please. Perhaps the calcualtion is that the "ticked-off" people are safe votes and won't be an issue.

How many times are we going to go thru this amnesty procedure? This makes our standard immigration procedures a joke. The only "justification" I could see is if we're ready to just throw up our hands and say: "Hey, we can't stop illegal immigration, so we might as well try to pull them into the system." I'm not at that point yet.

lee
01-07-2004, 01:39 PM
I think it would please some employers. From what I understand, it could give them a great deal of power over some workers. It may also be an attempt for the Florida vote.

Lord Ashtar
01-07-2004, 01:52 PM
I think it sounds like an okay idea. I'd rather have employed citizens than illegals sucking away at our social programs. Not that they all do that, BTW.

John Mace
01-07-2004, 01:57 PM
LA:
Why do you think this won't lead to an even bigger wave of illegal immigration in the future? We seem to be going for "amnesty" (or somthing very close to it) every 20 years or so. Seems like a big inducement to igmore the rules and just sneak in with the idea that you'll get citizenship eventually.

Politically, it seems like Bush should just write a campaign check to Pat Buchanan and get it over with. Maybe he feels he needs to get Pat on the ballot in Florida again so the geniuses there can vote for him (instead of the Dem) again.:)

Fear Itself
01-07-2004, 02:06 PM
It will put enormous downward pressure on wages. Bush's statement that will "match any willing employer with any willing employee" belies the fact that the "willingness" of any employee is directly related to wages, not the relative desirability of a given job. If we suddenly allowed millions of poor Pakistanis into the country, all the new Mexican workers would be thrown out of work, because even they won't work for 28˘ a hour.

A windfall for corporations however.

elucidator
01-07-2004, 02:40 PM
I would be happy to debate the new immigration policy, if I could assure myself that I had any idea what the hell these people are talking about! Josh Marshall, of the much esteemed Talking Points Memo http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/ has a very, very long excerpt of two Admin types "explaining" the new policy, and I defy you to make sense of it!

rjung
01-07-2004, 02:44 PM
Aside from being an obvious political move, I just don't see a whole lot of upsides to this:

Employers who hire low-income workers would like it, as it gets them out of trouble for hiring illegals (see the recent Wal-Mart custodian outsourcing case for an example).
Low-income Americans wouldn't like it, as it would provide more competition for the scarce number of jobs already on the market, along with the downward pressure on wages.
Die-hard conservatives won't like it, as it would "legitimize" illegal immigration. This is probably a minor factor, though, since the folks pissed off by this move aren't going to vote Democrat over the issue anyway -- they'll just grumble, but nothing more.
This increases incentives for illegal immigration to the US, which pisses off just about everyone.
Didn't Grey Davis get dinged on similar grounds, when he proposed allowing illegal immigrants to get drivers' licenses?


Aside from appealing to the Hispanic vote(*) and pleasing employers who hire low-income employees, I don't see the benefits. But then, I haven't gotten the daily talking points from Fox News yet, and I'm so sure they'll spin this in the best possible light... ;)

(* = And isn't it rather insulting for Hispanic voters to see such blatant manipulation? "Oh, look, Uncle Jose can become a legal resident under amnesty now, let's vote for George!" Or is it just me?)

GIGObuster
01-07-2004, 03:19 PM
Originally posted by elucidator
I would be happy to debate the new immigration policy, if I could assure myself that I had any idea what the hell these people are talking about! Josh Marshall, of the much esteemed Talking Points Memo http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/ has a very, very long excerpt of two Admin types "explaining" the new policy, and I defy you to make sense of it!
Sure elucidator: (may I call you lucy?) :)

Like fark members say: “It’s a trap!!”

It is true, after a period, that immigrants then could qualify for green cards, but if there is no extension, a Mexican who registers with the program will have to leave the country and then wait for the card. Not a good prospect for a breadwinner.

If there are extensions, then it is silly for the WH to pretend this program is not related to giving residence.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/ January 6:
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The President -- it's three years. He believes it should be initially a three-year program with the opportunity to be renewed.

Here, in a nutshell, is the main reason why to vote this president out of office: his raw political and personal ambitions take control over national policy (see Iraq also). On the whole I do agree that some amnesty is needed, but this program (not an amnesty, not a residence tool as the WH says) is so timid and I suspect it has so many poison pills that I do agree with what Josh Marshall said:

“How many people actually think the president expects to or even wants this 'policy' to pass?”

The people who are working in the US and are keeping themselves out of trouble, deserve better. And to not have legal friends or relatives be pandered with promises that have a great chance to never be realized.

Yes, rjung: as a Hispanic-American, I have to say it is insulting.

ElvisL1ves
01-07-2004, 03:20 PM
Always look for motives, especially in an election year. Gotta wonder how much he's getting in contributions from the restaurant and hotel industries, which would certainly prefer not to have to deal with La Migra raids looking for their dishwashers' and maids' papers. The Florida orange industry too, for that matter. It may be that the people Rove knows will be pissed off weren't going to vote for Bush, or perhaps anyone, anyway. There's supposed to be an employer certification that they can't find Americans willing to do the work before they hire gastarbeiteren, but is that going to be taken seriously?

Yes, this will backfire, as soon as Dean or whoever makes the point that this administration has lost jobs for Americans already, and is now looking to give some of the ones remaining to foreigners. It also undermines the "He's made our borders tighter and safer from terrorist infiltration" rhetoric that he and the loyalists use.

Is there anything these people do believe in other than getting and keeping power?

Fear Itself
01-07-2004, 03:40 PM
It also gives enormous power to employers over immigrant employees. If they give them any problems, like not working enough overtime, or asking for a raise, they can be deported.

No minimum wage job will ever move above that level, and many will fall. The laws of supply and demand in the job market have just been thrown in to the toilet, as employers can simply offer any job at minimum wage, and if Americans don't take it, they have the whole world from which to recruit meek workers willing to do anything to come here, and give up any rights to stay here.

yawndave
01-07-2004, 04:04 PM
It would be a lot different if the people in question were coming into this country to BECOME AMERICANS. As it is, more and more immigrants, whether legal or not, are setting up little versions of whatever country they came from, with no intention of being part of the mainstream culture. I, for one, am tired of dealing with people who can't speak english, and have no intention of learning it. Not to mention those who give me dirty looks when I walk by--in my own country!

I see Bush's move as a way to get more votes in '04, nothing less.

John Mace
01-07-2004, 06:27 PM
Originally posted by rjung
But then, I haven't gotten the daily talking points from Fox News yet, and I'm so sure they'll spin this in the best possible light... ;)
Your smiley may let you back out of this, but I'll bet you Fox does not put a positive spin on this. How about it? Let's use tonight's O'Reilly Factor as the judge. If he puts a positive spin on it, I'll open a thread tomorrow that Fox News is hopelessly biased. If he puts a negative spin on it, you'll open a thread tomorrow saying Fox is not biased, and that you've been wrong all along.

Are we on? Just say the word!

John Mace
01-07-2004, 06:32 PM
Originally posted by Fear Itself
It also gives enormous power to employers over immigrant employees. If they give them any problems, like not working enough overtime, or asking for a raise, they can be deported.

No minimum wage job will ever move above that level, and many will fall. The laws of supply and demand in the job market have just been thrown in to the toilet, as employers can simply offer any job at minimum wage, and if Americans don't take it, they have the whole world from which to recruit meek workers willing to do anything to come here, and give up any rights to stay here.
You're kidding, right? Employers will have more power over the workers than they do now? Your secenario discribes the current situation, not what things will be like under this plan.

elucidator
01-07-2004, 07:23 PM
To me it suggests more as gesture than legislation.

I think he's sending a signal to employers that, while all of this is sorted out, things will go along as they have, nothing to see here, move along. You can pretty much relax, no major effort to enforce the requirement of employers to guarantee the status of thier workers is in the works. You may continue to hire them for jobs no American would take for the wages you offer, without looking over your shoulder for la migra.

Further, it broadly hints to those employers that things will get even better, that you will be able to contract your labor to a specific serf, er, undocumented worker, and if that person shall displease you....adios, muchacho!

It also holds out hope to the Hispanic-Americans who are citizens or documented residents and have relatives/friends/spouses living in the shadow-world that they will be able to live in America as well. Would they vote for a man who offered such? I sure would.

And when they draw flack from the nativist, anti-immigrant portion of the Right, they will explain that its a work in progress, nothing decided yet, besides, its just temporary, you understand.

Thus they can offer easier citizenship to the constituency that desires it, while denying doing so to the constituency that doesn't. All that need by done is to drag out the process of actual legislation. Very serious business. Musn't rush into anything. Could take a while.

Reeder
01-07-2004, 07:37 PM
This program was written by Karl Rove. I know what I make out it..you make out of it what you will.

It's a ploy for votes.

John Mace
01-07-2004, 08:01 PM
Originally posted by Reeder
This program was written by Karl Rove. I know what I make out it..you make out of it what you will.
Can we have a cite for this?

rjung:
I've got O'Reilly on right now, and it's a good thing (for you) you didn't take my bet. I'll catch you next time!:)

Jonathan Chance
01-07-2004, 08:16 PM
John-

Let's discuss this. I seem to see that you're against the amnesty program as rewarding illegal immigration. Is that right (in a nutshell...I realize your position is almost certainly more complex)?

But if there is NO amnesty AND no money to bring on board enough border patrol agents AND enough INS agents AND enough judges/lawyers/etc to handle the caseload that actual enforcement of immigration laws would require then what option is there?

These folks are coming to the US at (sometimes) great personal risk. That they're willing to make the trip at all indicates that the incentive to get here is very strong so it's not like they're going to stop or we'll be able to prevent them from getting here and finding work.

If that's the case isn't some form of amnesty program merely attempting to apply a rational solution to a problem insoluble by current policy?

Or if not, given the restrictions I've outlined above how would you set about dealing with this problem? Me? I've no idea that would be effective.

John Mace
01-07-2004, 09:27 PM
Originally posted by Jonathan Chance
Let's discuss this. I seem to see that you're against the amnesty program as rewarding illegal immigration. Is that right (in a nutshell...I realize your position is almost certainly more complex)?
Right.

But if there is NO amnesty AND no money to bring on board enough border patrol agents AND enough INS agents AND enough judges/lawyers/etc to handle the caseload that actual enforcement of immigration laws would require then what option is there?
This is actually one of the few legitimate functions of a gov't-- to protect the borders. If it were me, I'd shut down the Dept of Education and use that money.

These folks are coming to the US at (sometimes) great personal risk. That they're willing to make the trip at all indicates that the incentive to get here is very strong so it's not like they're going to stop or we'll be able to prevent them from getting here and finding work.

If that's the case isn't some form of amnesty program merely attempting to apply a rational solution to a problem insoluble by current policy?
Yes, you need to address the problem at the cause. Enforcement is only one aspect, but you can make the consequences of being caught greater. All things being equal, there should be as much economic pressure for the jobs to chase the workers (into their own country) as there is for the workers to chase the jobs. I'm not certain of the details, but I suspect there are things we are doing to keep at least the agriculture jobs in the US. It would also seem that we should be able to better track illegal workers thru better data collection on analysis of SS numbers and spot checks on employers if necessary.

But I'll be candid and say I don't fully understand the scope of the problem and what all the causes are. My gut tells me that we have not tried very hard to deal with the problem, and that this is a cop-out.

laigle
01-07-2004, 10:12 PM
It's really fairly simple to crack down on illegal immigration. Just stat nailing the companies hiring them. And I mean nailing them. Fine them, arrest the CEOs, seize their assets as proceeds of a criminal enterprise. If businesses are no longer looking at massive profits from sub-minimum wages coupled with no real enforcement and minimal sentencing when enforced, there will be no jobs for illegals. They aren't going to come here if they can't find work.

syncrolecyne
01-07-2004, 10:14 PM
What I don't get is why the so called Hispanic advocacy groups (the ones that are supposedly important but no one I know has ever heard of in real life) push this so hard unless they believe that sheer numbers lead to more power. What makes groups important in society is their educational level, income, and political participation, not rank in the census. All this guest worker business does is it institutionalizes the permanent non-citizen underclass (like the gastarbeiter in Germany). How long is it before we have Soweto style townships ringing Los Angeles?

I am Hispanic and live in a town that is 80% Hispanic. We already have high unemployment and low wages for the people that are born here. How does this make things better for the average working class Hispanic here? It doesn't hurt me so much because I have a college degree, but it hurts many American citizen Hispanics in this area. They are the ones who compete (along with blacks and poor whites) for jobs in construction, meat packing, warehousing, trucking and other once decent paying jobs that people without a university education could depend on for steady and adequate work.

Frankly there are certain jobs that only migrant workers from foreign countries will really fill (farm work, janitorial). But increasingly other service jobs have depressed wages due to illegal hiring of immigrants.

By the way, George W. Bush did have these plans in place in 2001, but September 11th delayed them until now. I think electoral politics is only one angle, at most a side benefit in Bush's view. The republican party quite simply has a conflict between the interests of business owners and the feeling of rank and file working class conservatives. I also do think Bush has some genuine empathy, or at least, wishes to be compassionate in this area. But it's just wrong to legitimize illegal entry in any way. Instead, the bureaucracy for legal immigrants should be reduced.

rjung
01-08-2004, 03:28 AM
The only way I can see this working is if Bush uses it as a "head-fake" for Hispanic votes:

1. Propose amnesty/temporary worker plan for illegal immigrants.
2. Hispanic voters cheer move (don't ask me why, this is Karl Rove's plan), decide to vote Bush in '04.
3. Republicans make a big stink. Democrats make a big stink.
4. Bush gets deer-in-headlights look, sits on sidelines and watches proposal die a bloody death.
5. Bush campaigns with "See, I tried to do good for illegal immigrants, but some folks in Washington don't like that." Ends up looking like a centrist, like an outsider, and gets a few more Hispanic votes.

Again, at least, that's the only idea I've come up with so far to explain it. And it still holds the risk of pissing off the lower-income voters who would feel threatened for jobs as a result.

Comments?

Milum
01-08-2004, 01:02 PM
Comments? Yes Rung, I got a comment...no wait, a prediction, in fact a headline of next November in the New York Times...

BUSH LOSES ELECTION BY WIDE MARGIN

He just lost mine. :smack:

John Mace
01-08-2004, 02:10 PM
rjung:
If this proposal dies (which is very possible), won't it be more for lack of support from Pubs than from Dems in Congress? Seems like "my party wouldn't let me do it" is not the kind of excuse that is likely to go over well with people who might vote for Bush only because of this issue.

This is also going to affect Senate/House races, as it will force some Republicans to come out against it publically, thus damaging their chances for re-election.

I'm very confused about this. I disagree with the policy, and just don't see how it's a polical plus for Bush. I just don't see it.

butter pie
01-08-2004, 02:47 PM
Originally posted by laigle
It's really fairly simple to crack down on illegal immigration. Just stat nailing the companies hiring them. And I mean nailing them. Fine them, arrest the CEOs, seize their assets as proceeds of a criminal enterprise. If businesses are no longer looking at massive profits from sub-minimum wages coupled with no real enforcement and minimal sentencing when enforced, there will be no jobs for illegals. They aren't going to come here if they can't find work.

Here here.

This is a SERIOUS issue where I live and one very close to me. One can find "day labourers" on the streets here, usually undocumented, begging work at stoplights around certain areas of town. Mow lawns, put up sheetrock, whatever. They get paid cash and they don't exist as far as the system is concerned. There are even more working under fradulent ids and social security numbers.

My dad works in the construction industry. He is also a union member. Nowadays union jobs are increasingly more and more scarce. The presence of illegal workers and unethical employers working outside the system and avoiding taxes and assorted laws on both sides has effectively driven down wages so far that most average Americans won't or can't survive on such pay. Now he can't even get around on most job sites because well over three quarters of the workers don't speak English. How does the average American compete witha worker willing to accept two-thirds the wage? You can't. A man like my dad once upon a time could support a wife and two kids in relative middle-class comfort on a salary for what most of these immigrants now, even here, barely scrape by on. It drags everyone's standard of living down. These are NOT jobs that "Americans don't want" -- they're jobs that immigration and crooked employers have dragged down wages for so far that many Americans are just simply unable to survive off of, so they don't even bother anymore.

It really doesn't bode well for Mr. Bush and is obviously pandering to what he must feel are very easily manipulated Hispanic voters. It would hurt everyone in the long run. And when even high-tech, manufacturing jobs and customer service call centres and things like that are being outsourced overseas, pretty soon the only legitimate people left in this country with jobs will be the highest CEOs and the sales lady af Foley's.

I don't know the answers to these problems, but Mr. Bush's proposition is definitely NOT it.

John Mace
01-08-2004, 02:52 PM
jinwicked wrote:
"day labourers"
[my bolding]

Why do you hate America so much.:)

scotandrsn
01-08-2004, 02:56 PM
It is even less explicable when you take into account the continuing high unemployment rate in this country. What possible gain for anyone is there in legitimizing the presence of people who drive down wages in this economy and have no legitimate business here?

If you ask me, it is yet another ass-covering move by Bush, who may be starting to realize that his Department of Homeland Security is beginning to show how unwieldy it is at heart. By taking a great deal of enforcement burden off their backs, he hopes to stave off far-right "I told you so" criticism for creating such a large bureaucracy.

If he were to lose the public support of the ultra-conservatives, and if his pinheaded gestures toward the soldiers he has stranded in the desert ("If you come home you can't retire!";" If you stay we'll give you $10,000") result in no satisfying resolution in Iraq by November, his numbers could drop to the point that he winds up smelling like a Poppy...

ElvisL1ves
01-08-2004, 03:04 PM
Originally posted by syncrolecyne
[B]What I don't get is why the so called Hispanic advocacy groups (the ones that are supposedly important but no one I know has ever heard of in real life) push this so hard unless they believe that sheer numbers lead to more power. In elections, that is the case. Between elections, well, power politicians don't really care, do they?

How long is it before we have Soweto style townships ringing Los Angeles?What's East LA now?

PIMullet
01-08-2004, 03:24 PM
I think the whole thing is wonderful, anything that makes Dubya lose the election is fine by me!

John Mace
01-08-2004, 03:36 PM
Originally posted by PIMullet
I think the whole thing is wonderful, anything that makes Dubya lose the election is fine by me!
If this causes him to lose the election, I'll be the first to say he deserves it.

This was part of Davis' downfall with the "drivers license for illegal aliens" deal. I say "part", because I think he would have still lost the recall if he hadn't signed that bill into law. But I think it sealed his fate. Bush is in a pretty good postion from what the polls indicate. I don't know if this will flip things, but it will be interesting to see how the polls come out over the next week or so concerning this issue.

LosAdri
01-08-2004, 03:43 PM
PIMullet: politics is about people, not just winning and losing

My concerns with this are numerous, so lets start

1) watching labor die is a sad thing. This undermines unions like CRAZY and I don't like that.
2) This is a huge political move for Bush: court the Hispanic vote (which is will do) and helps lower costs for big biz, which will donate money to Bush *watches cycle continue*
3) This is blatantly just using immigrants, who have no priority for a green card and therefore very little hope of getting one.
4) This lie of the jobs that "Americans are not willing to do" (Bush paraphrased_). These don't exist, especially not in today's economy. What this legislation will do is lower the cost of labor for big business, so that they can pay near minimum or minimum wage for jobs that some breadwinners would love to have but can't afford to settle for that little when they have a spouse and kids to take care of.
5) John Mace: How this increases big biz's control over workers.
a) Over currently employed Americans who can be forced to take a cut in their pay with the threat of being replaced by cheap immigrant labor
b) Over immigrant workers, who are forced to STAY employed under this plan, thus required to take even the lowest, most abusive/unhealthy jobs.
6) Where does this leave migrant workers?

Cheesesteak
01-08-2004, 03:45 PM
Originally posted by scotandrsn
It is even less explicable when you take into account the continuing high unemployment rate in this country. 5.9% unemployment is what counts as "high" these days?

Tough crowd.

Metacom
01-08-2004, 04:07 PM
Originally posted by jinwicked
It drags everyone's standard of living down.
Except, of course, the immigrant's.

Tastes of Chocolate
01-08-2004, 04:28 PM
I'm stilll trying hard to see who besides Bush (as an election issue) would win with this plan.

1) Immigrants -
Down side - No guarentee of a green card or of status renewal at the end of 3 years, AND now they are registered in the US, to make tracking them easier. Also, may be tied to the job they have, under threat of deportment if they are not employed.
Up side - the ability to make visits home during the 3 years.

2) Employers -
Upside - there would be less of a threat of legal repercussions, but that isn't stopping them now.
Downside - wages would now be subject to taxes, and probably some form of minimum wage and increased benefits. Long run, employer costs would probably go up.

3) General US public -
Up side - More taxes raised from previously untaxes employment. Better tracking of "guest" workers. Acknowledgement of already existing but unrecorded workers/jobs.
Down Side - Downward pressure on wages, due to increased labour pool.

So yes, I do see some positive points for this, but not nearly enough to outweigh the negatives, for anyone.

elucidator
01-08-2004, 05:28 PM
Originally posted by John Mace
rjung:
If this proposal dies (which is very possible), won't it be more for lack of support from Pubs than from Dems in Congress? Seems like "my party wouldn't let me do it" is not the kind of excuse that is likely to go over well with people who might vote for Bush only because of this issue...

Yeah, but....

There's all kinds of ways to kill legislation without leaving fingerprints, undectable procedural poisons, committee curare, death by scheduling... The list goes on and on, and the pros know it.

GeeDubya has already scored. He has established the idea in his target that he is sympathetic to thier goals and a powerful ally of thier agenda. As long as he does nothing to overtly contradict that image, he's got his goodies. You know, I know, and damnsurebetcha Karl Rove knows, that this will not get through Congress before the next election. All gain, no risk.

Politcally astute, morally bankrupt.

John Mace
01-08-2004, 06:53 PM
I agree that there is little chance of this being enacted into law. The risk is that it energizes a Pat Buchanan to run and siphon off some of the conservative/nativist/isolationist votes. If Nader doesn't run, this could be a big problem. I guess we have to asssume that Rove has done some math on the + Hispanic votes vs the - Buchanan votes, though, and that the result was a positive number, at least in a few swing states.

I'll be keeping my eyes on the polls in the next few days to see what can be learned.

butter pie
01-08-2004, 07:02 PM
Originally posted by Metacom
Except, of course, the immigrant's.

I don't know, that depends on how you look at it.

If they went through the legitimate process of becoming immigrants, they would be in a far better position once they get over here than if they come illegally and basically damn themselves to perpetual poverty.

Plus in many of the areas I have been, and of those I have encountered, a lot of immigrant families might live three generations in a house that for me or you would be just room enough for a couple and their 2-3 kids. I'm talking grandparents, their children, and possible the spouses/girlfriends/grandchildren. I know some of it is due to differences in culture, and they might be able to find a job here, but living on top of each other in run down neighbourhoods can't be THAT much better than where they came from. Especially when you factor in the things like crime that often plague those areas.

butter pie
01-08-2004, 07:07 PM
Originally posted by Doebi
[B
3) General US public -
Up side - More taxes raised from previously untaxes employment. Better tracking of "guest" workers. Acknowledgement of already existing but unrecorded workers/jobs.
Down Side - Downward pressure on wages, due to increased labour pool.
. [/B]

You're right about the downside, but not so much about the upside. I was listening to a program about this yesterday. Aside from the fact that a lot of workers, once in the system, might not even make enough money to actually have to pay taxes, most of the illegal workers here are using fradulent social security numbers. What they aren't telling you, is that since those accounts are fradulent, they keep the money in some sort of special account-thing that basically never gets paid out to those that paid into it (since the #s weren't legitimate). Some of that money that's being contributed is part of the reason why social security is still afloat -- I guess it adds up to a pretty big chunk of dough. So if these workers were legal, a lot of what they pay would have to start going out in the form of SS benefits. Especially since one provision of this I heard discussed involved paying them Social security as an incentive to leave after 3 years.

I believe I heard that on the Sam Donaldson show yesterday morning, but I'm not 100% sure.

Metacom
01-08-2004, 09:10 PM
Originally posted by jinwicked
I don't know, that depends on how you look at it.

If they went through the legitimate process of becoming immigrants, they would be in a far better position once they get over here than if they come illegally and basically damn themselves to perpetual poverty.
This disregards how difficult it is for an unskilled laborer to immigrate legally. Illegal immigrants are illegal out of necessity.
Plus in many of the areas I have been, and of those I have encountered, a lot of immigrant families might live three generations in a house that for me or you would be just room enough for a couple and their 2-3 kids. I'm talking grandparents, their children, and possible the spouses/girlfriends/grandchildren. I know some of it is due to differences in culture, and they might be able to find a job here, but living on top of each other in run down neighbourhoods can't be THAT much better than where they came from. Especially when you factor in the things like crime that often plague those areas.
A lot of it is culture. The Mexican(*) side of my family is maybe 4 times as big as the WASP side, and congregate for holidays and such in spaces 4 times as small. I don't find it uncomfortable.

As for the quality of life, you better belive it's better then what's available for many of them in Mexico. We take so much for granted: a tight roof, running water, a sewage system, electricity, a superb education system, etc.

(*) Note that the Mexican side of my family aren't and never were immigrants (lived in a part of Mexico that was conquered by the US and became part of Texas).

Sam Stone
01-08-2004, 10:03 PM
I wonder if this isn't part of a longer-term plan to try to ease the coming social security crisis? One way to cure an aging population is to bring in a steady stream of younger workers from out of country.

Close your borders with below-replacement birth rates, and you wind up like Japan - a country that runs a risk of a population crash so bad that it threatens their very standard of living. In the U.S., the big risk is having a big, generous retirement system, coupled with an aging population that is living longer. The only real solution is immigration.

Milum
01-08-2004, 10:54 PM
Metacom: (*) Note that the Mexican side of my family aren't and never were immigrants (lived in a part of Mexico that was conquered by the US and became part of Texas). Well now Metacom, if the Mexican side of your family are still "Mexicans" after having lived here so long, perhaps they should immigrate back south of the border to Mexico so they might re-live their ancestral heritage and re-experience the wonderful Mexican culture that we Americans so wrongly destroyed when we stole Texas.

(My own ancesters came over from Ireland but today I have no desire to kiss the silly damn Blarney Stone.) :)

Do you agree or not?

Abbynormalguy
01-08-2004, 11:31 PM
Living along the Rio Grande, I probably have a somewhat different viewpoint than most around these here parts...

(First though, a small aside: )
It would be a lot different if the people in question were coming into this country to BECOME AMERICANS. As it is, more and more immigrants, whether legal or not, are setting up little versions of whatever country they came from, with no intention of being part of the mainstream culture. I, for one, am tired of dealing with people who can't speak english, and have no intention of learning it. Not to mention those who give me dirty looks when I walk by--in my own country!

While I agree with you that it is very annoying they are not doing anything illegal. English is not now, nor ever was before, the official language of the US. If you want to force people to speak English, talk to your national representatives and senators and see if they can push a bill making English the official language. (A word of caution: it's been tried before and it's failed. Miserably.) I will stop at this because this isn't intended to be a flame. No pitting!

Second, Bush's proposal is a way to deal with a problem that already exists. Here's the way it works down in Texas. These people want to come to America to work. They wait till dark and in a relatively unpopulated area of the River and cross over. Assuming that they are successful and are not caught by the Border Patrol, they make their way to a town, on the border or elswhere, and set up shop..as day labourers or whatever they can get. Because they are illegal aliens, their employers will not have any documentation on them, as they'd get into serious trouble with Uncle Sam if caught. Compounded with this, the aliens are paid cash for their work, thus making it untaxable.

We know this is happening but it's so difficult to nail these guys because the operations are so fluid. Often, these "jobs" last little more than a few days or weeks.

What's the solution? One possible solution would be to create a task force that does nothing but hunt down illegals and their employers. Great idea, but it would cost so much in manpower and tax dollars that it becomes impractical, if not impossible almost immediately.

Solution#2: give these people an opportunity to become resident aliens with the possibility of becoming a full-fledged citizen. This way, they are more likely to take a "legit" job where they get a steady paycheck and thus can get taxed like all the rest of us. Furthermore, they'd be contributing to "the system" instead of just mooching off of it.

History lesson: Until Clinton came along, women from Mexico would come to a border town in Texas to give birth to their baby, thus making their kid an American citizen. Now, obviously, a newborn baby cannot go into the workforce, but the mother can't support the baby on her own either. What does she do? She registers the baby for welfare (food stamps, etc.) In the days BC (before clinton), these babies would stay on welfare indefinitely. It was a HUGE scam, and the economies suffered from it. Clinton came in and said that this indefinite welfare program would no longer exist, and so it didn't. The result: the number of Mexican women coming across to give birth was reduced dramatically, since they no longer had a permanent hand-out.

Now, apply that to Bush's new policy. If we make it easier for people to become Resident Aliens and eventually citizens, first, it'll make life a WHOLE lot easier for the law enforcement agencies along the border (kudos to the Border Patrol...those guys kick tuches day-in and day-out). Second, the new citizens will be more likely to become active participants in our communities.

Oh yeah, and before you start thinking that I'm just some poor immigrant myself, think again. I am 4th generation American on both sides of my family, and I'm in the minority in my hometown in terms of the fact that I spoke English as my first language AND that none of my family is from Mexico.

John Mace
01-08-2004, 11:38 PM
Originally posted by Sam Stone
I wonder if this isn't part of a longer-term plan to try to ease the coming social security crisis? One way to cure an aging population is to bring in a steady stream of younger workers from out of country.
Not if you take Bush at his word per the new policy. The guest-workers are supposed to eventually repatriate to their home countries and take their SS payments with them. IIRC, the SS payments would be held in escrow as part of an inducement to make sure they do, in fact, return to their home countries at some point in the future.

F. U. Shakespeare
01-09-2004, 12:11 AM
I respecfully suggest, yawndave, that you're not aware of a lot of history to the contrary. A trip back to certain sections of 1920 New York might really open your eyes.

Since the first immigrants, most have stayed in communities of their own for the first generation -- learning a new language as an adult is a tough task for most people. Invariably, these immigrants' children assimilate very quickly, learning English and adopting the culture. The benefits to doing so induce all but the slowest or most stubborn. (I can dig up some cites on all this if anyone's interested -- I remember Bill Bryson's book "Made in America" contained a lot of data).

Some admitted differences in 2004: technology, and to a lesser extent geography, allow many of the recent immigrants (many of whom came here from nearer than Europe) to maintain contact with their native cultures. I would wager that had it been an option to call home every night, my Greek immigrant father would have stayed more in touch with his family when he came here in 1910.

Originally posted by yawndave
It would be a lot different if the people in question were coming into this country to BECOME AMERICANS. As it is, more and more immigrants, whether legal or not, are setting up little versions of whatever country they came from, with no intention of being part of the mainstream culture. I, for one, am tired of dealing with people who can't speak english, and have no intention of learning it. Not to mention those who give me dirty looks when I walk by--in my own country!

I see Bush's move as a way to get more votes in '04, nothing less.

Abbynormalguy
01-09-2004, 12:20 AM
Mr. Shakespeare brings up a good point. As it is, I'm looking at one immigration pattern that took place in 1907-1914. Russian Jews were immigrating to the US via Galveston, TX. nearly 100% of these people would get off the ship and not know a word of English. Yet, to work in the small towns of the West and Midwest, they ahd to develop their English-speaking skills.

Given a few months' time, and a few night classes each week, these immigrants who started out speaking nothing but Hebrew and Yiddish, turned into some of the more productive members of the society.

Today, you don't see anything like that happening,b ut you didn't see that happening in the larger immigration picture in the late 1800s and early 1900s either. But their sons and daughters...and grandchildren too, were the ones that really did English justice. As a fictionalized account of this (based upon historical fact though), look up the book OUT OF THIS FURNACE (I forget the author). It shows 3 generations of people, from the man who set foot in Philly from his home in Eastern Europe (a Slav) to his grandson. Not the best book as far as fiction goes, but it does prove a very valid point about immigrants and their integration into American society.

The first generation Americans will stay in the ghettos. But starting with the second, and really with the third generations, they branch out and move into new frontiers for themselves and their families.

Sam H.
01-09-2004, 12:42 AM
Originally posted by Cheesesteak
5.9% unemployment is what counts as "high" these days?

Tough crowd.

That's a deceptive number. It doesn't take into account that the Bush economy has not created any jobs. And now he seems determined to give the jobs that remain away to foreign nationals at minimum wage.

This bill has no chance of passing. I hope.

John Mace
01-09-2004, 12:53 AM
Originally posted by Sam H.
[B]That's a deceptive number. It doesn't take into account that the Bush economy has not created any jobs.
It's not a deceptive number. Read this (http://www.bls.gov/cps/cps_htgm.htm) to learn why.

Cheesesteak
01-09-2004, 06:43 AM
Originally posted by Sam H.
That's a deceptive number. It doesn't take into account that the Bush economy has not created any jobs. And now he seems determined to give the jobs that remain away to foreign nationals at minimum wage. I don't see how this is deceptive. I'm comparing today's number to the same number throughout history. Over the past 30 years, the average unemployment is about 6.3% here (ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/suppl/empsit.cpseea1.txt) 5.9% may SEEM high compared with the historical lows we were at pre 9/11, but that doesn't make 5.9 actually a high number.

I don't know what 'job creation' has to do with whether or not our unemployment rate is high. If you want to argue that the current value can't be compared to the historical average, feel free, I'll listen.

Aro
01-09-2004, 07:24 AM
Originally posted by John Mace
I guess we have to assume that Rove has done some math on the + Hispanic votes vs the - Buchanan votes, though, and that the result was a positive number, at least in a few swing states. I don't know a whole lot about this issue, but how it was covered on our news here explained that it was an attempt to garner support from Hispanic voters and whilst it may not have the support from far-right conservatives it would not lose any actual votes in the main elections as they (the Buchanans of this world) would never consider a vote for a Democratic candidate in any case. (Just my $0.02 from this side of the pond)

jjimm
01-09-2004, 07:43 AM
Originally posted by Aro
I don't know a whole lot about this issue, but how it was covered on our news here explained that it was an attempt to garner support from Hispanic voters and whilst it may not have the support from far-right conservatives it would not lose any actual votes in the main elections as they (the Buchanans of this world) would never consider a vote for a Democratic candidate in any case. (Just my $0.02 from this side of the pond) Indeed the news from the Republic of Ireland was going (in a hopeful tone of voice) "perhaps Bush will do the same thing for illegal Irish immigrants in order to attract the Irish vote" (!).

Metacom
01-09-2004, 08:21 AM
Originally posted by Milum
Well now Metacom, if the Mexican side of your family are still "Mexicans" after having lived here so long, perhaps they should immigrate back south of the border to Mexico so they might re-live their ancestral heritage and re-experience the wonderful Mexican culture that we Americans so wrongly destroyed when we stole Texas.
I haven't heard "Go back to Mexico" since junior high. :mad: America didn't destroy our culture, it is our culture.

I only threw that in there because I wanted to point out that, even though I'm (kind of) Mexican, when I think of immigration issues I don't picture my grandmother swimming across the Rio Grande. That side of my family is actually fairly anti-open borders.
Do you agree or not?
I disagree that people of American nationality and Mexican ethnicity should go back to Mexico if they still acknowledge the cultural heritage of their ethnicity.

Desmostylus
01-09-2004, 08:25 AM
Originally posted by Cheesesteak
I don't see how this is deceptive. I'm comparing today's number to the same number throughout history. Over the past 30 years, the average unemployment is about 6.3% here (ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/suppl/empsit.cpseea1.txt) 5.9% may SEEM high compared with the historical lows we were at pre 9/11, but that doesn't make 5.9 actually a high number.

I don't know what 'job creation' has to do with whether or not our unemployment rate is high. If you want to argue that the current value can't be compared to the historical average, feel free, I'll listen. I'm not entering this particular debate on either side. I'd just like to note that historical unemployment rates are easier to understand in graphical form. Look here:

http://www.economagic.com/em-cgi/charter.exe/fedstl/unrate+1976+2004+0+0+1+290+545++0

Reagan was the unemployment king. Bush doesn't really rate in the unemployment stakes.

Metacom
01-09-2004, 08:29 AM
Originally posted by yawndave
It would be a lot different if the people in question were coming into this country to BECOME AMERICANS. As it is, more and more immigrants, whether legal or not, are setting up little versions of whatever country they came from, with no intention of being part of the mainstream culture.
"More and more"? It's how immigration has been for a LONG time. The first generation comes over to a strange land. They don't speak the language or understand the culture, and both can be hard to learn. So they seek the company of other immigrants. Perfectly reasonable. The European immigrants did it to. In a generation or two, they'll be eating Wonder Bread and listening to Britney Spears.
I, for one, am tired of dealing with people who can't speak english, and have no intention of learning it. Not to mention those who give me dirty looks when I walk by--in my own country!
With such a tolerant and welcoming attitude I have no idea why a new immigrant wouldn't love you.

Desmostylus
01-09-2004, 08:32 AM
Originally posted by Desmostylus
I'm not entering this particular debate on either side. I should have worded that more clearly. I'm not entering the immigration debate. I am agreeing with Cheesesteak's unemployment numbers.

Sam H.
01-09-2004, 08:49 AM
Originally posted by Cheesesteak
I don't see how this is deceptive. I'm comparing today's number to the same number throughout history. Over the past 30 years, the average unemployment is about 6.3% here (ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/suppl/empsit.cpseea1.txt) 5.9% may SEEM high compared with the historical lows we were at pre 9/11, but that doesn't make 5.9 actually a high number.

I don't know what 'job creation' has to do with whether or not our unemployment rate is high. If you want to argue that the current value can't be compared to the historical average, feel free, I'll listen.

The problem isn't the unemployment rate. It's the lack of job growth and that's where Bush fails.

http://slate.msn.com/id/2082321

That's why I feel it is deceptive to look at the unemployment number and imploy Americans are being irrational.

Cheesesteak
01-09-2004, 09:13 AM
I'm not arguing that the economy is booming and job growth is skyrocketing. I'm saying that unemployment is not "high" at this point in time. Unemployment was "low" at the end of Clinton's term, the dot-com bubble hadn't burst yet, and people were making money hand over fist. The collapse of the dot-com's and 9/11 (and Bush's policy, if you want to blame him) contributed to us losing a bunch of jobs since then. We've gone from "low" to "average" unemployment. "High" would be 7-8+%, you know, higher than our 30 year average, not lower.

It's a nitpicky point I'm making, but I'm tired of the old Sky is Falling bullshit that taints discussion about this stuff. Maybe if you weren't old enough to remember Carter or Reagan you'd think that today's unemployment rate is outrageously high and our economy is falling apart. It's just not so.

cckerberos
01-09-2004, 12:02 PM
Originally posted by Metacom
"More and more"? It's how immigration has been for a LONG time. The first generation comes over to a strange land. They don't speak the language or understand the culture, and both can be hard to learn. So they seek the company of other immigrants. Perfectly reasonable. The European immigrants did it to. In a generation or two, they'll be eating Wonder Bread and listening to Britney Spears.

While Mexican immigration has a lot of similiarities with previous waves of immigration, there are differences as well. Previous immigrants were arriving in a nation thousands of miles away from their homes. The ethnic pockets they formed in cities were small. Neither of these applies to Mexican immigrants. I have to question the degree to which second generation Mexican-Americans are required by necessity to adopt "American" ways. The proximity of Mexican immigrants to their countries of origin and the presence they and their descendents have in the SW United States strikes me as unique.

Metacom
01-09-2004, 12:44 PM
Originally posted by cckerberos
Neither of these applies to Mexican immigrants. I have to question the degree to which second generation Mexican-Americans are required by necessity to adopt "American" ways.
They're assimilating, by some measures faster then Filipinos, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Chinese, Japanese, and blacks. Here's a cite. (http://www.stanford.edu/~mrosenfe/marital%20assimilation.pdf) Table 2 is interesting.

ElvisL1ves
01-09-2004, 01:43 PM
cheesesteak, you might find today's AP summary (http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2004/01/09/unemployment_rate_falls_to_57_in_december_but_job_growth_flat/) interesting reading. Bolding addedThe nation's unemployment rate dropped to 5.7 percent in December to the lowest level in 14 months, but employers finished the year without many help wanted signs for the holidays, adding just 1,000 new jobs.

The 0.2 percentage point drop in the jobless rate occurred because fewer people were looking for work, the Labor Department said Friday. More than 300,000 people gave up their search for jobs and dropped out of the pool of available workers.
...
President Bush seized on the lower jobless rate as reason to be optimistic about the economy.
...
Employment in the nation's stores, malls and even gas stations dropped by 38,000, the report said, and manufacturing continued a 41-month slide by losing 26,000 jobs.

The nation's factories have been on life support, and the sector shed about a half million jobs in 2003.

The economy has lost about 2.3 million jobs since Bush took office.

Abbynormalguy
01-10-2004, 12:51 AM
Now, in yawndave's defense, I will say this much. Since I am of the "wrong skin colour" in the Rio Grande Valley, I am very often subject to second-class service, especially in restaurants. The service people will speak in spanish, saying all sorts of insulting things to me because I am a "gringo"...little do they know, hablo espanol muy bien. :-D

At the same time, though...I wouldn't say that this is the majority of the Mexican immigrant population (I have no numbers to prove it either way, just a gut feeling).

Oh yeah, and for the record, the Rio Grande Valley has had one ofthe highest unemployment rates of any region in the nation...peaking at almost 20% at one point (I can't remember if it was at the end of Clinton or the beginning of Bush II, but it was somewhere in there).

Moving right along...
Studies have proven that you will rarely see full assimilation into American culture until the third generation. The first generation is just off the boat and can really do nothing except lay the foundation for their descendants to improve themselves. The second generation is better off than the original immigrants, but they still have difficulty understanding American culture. The third generation has a good financial foundation from their parents and grandparents and finally have the financial/social freedom to integrate themselves into the society as they see fit. Again, I'll plug the book OUT OF THIS FURNACE, which talks about a czech steel mill worker family in Philly over the course of 3 generations. It's probably one of the best books on the history of immigration from the standpoint of the immigrants themselves (also the model of one of my long-term research projects).

Oh, and you want to know what a good portion of the Mexican immigrants do for a living in America?
1) They migrate around the country, picking crops.
2) They clean houses (this is primarily a woman's job...no sexism, just the way it is)
3) Day labor, doing menial work in construction, etc.
4) Janitorial work.

In other words, they do the bottom-of-the-barrel jobs that no one else will do...and I do mean NO ONE else would do some of these jobs.

Sam H.
01-10-2004, 01:31 AM
Originally posted by Abbynormalguy

Oh, and you want to know what a good portion of the Mexican immigrants do for a living in America?
1) They migrate around the country, picking crops.
2) They clean houses (this is primarily a woman's job...no sexism, just the way it is)
3) Day labor, doing menial work in construction, etc.
4) Janitorial work.

In other words, they do the bottom-of-the-barrel jobs that no one else will do...and I do mean NO ONE else would do some of these jobs.

Cite?

Is it that they won't do these jobs? Or is it they won't do them at the wages and conditions offered?

I know a few non-Mexican immigrant construction workers, house cleaners and janitors and I doubt they would agree with you that no one else will besides Mexican immigrants will do those jobs. ;)

amulimette
01-10-2004, 09:13 AM
Cite?
Is it that they won't do these jobs? Or is it they won't do them at the wages and conditions offered? Alabama illegals certainly won't.

A crusading right wing radio program dispatched a listener to a park in Hoover where greenless card mexican aliens loiter about seeking work.

"Hey!" The man said to a a group of about twenty, "I need some yard work, I'll pay three dollars an hour, anybody available?"

Happiness broke out on the streetcorner, this was the funniest thing that the mexicans had ever heard.

"How about four?" Silence.

"Five?" Grumbling.

"Six, no make that seven!" The crowd moved foward.

"Eight! For God's sake, eight!" The man said, then quickly added, "Wait! Will you people please tell me how much per hour that you charge for doing light yard work?"

From the back of the crowd a man came forth and said in flawless english,
"Mister, no one here will work for less than ten dollars an hour with a eight hour minimum. Twelve per hour for half a day. We are hard workers."

The man left the park wondering if the mexican aliens at the park would get work that day. He thought about his job over at the Honda plant where he makes twelve dollars an hour base pay.

elucidator
01-10-2004, 10:14 AM
"A crusading right wing radio station"! Well, that certainly settles that! To think I had any doubts on the issue! If only I had checked in with Michael Savage or Laura Ingrown, I would have the whole thing cleared up in an instant. (Say, what part to the "Hollywood elites" play in all of this? Inquiring minds, and all that....)

Abbynormalguy
01-10-2004, 11:14 AM
There is no website with the information I provided above (at least none that I've been able to find yet). I get this information from my own personal research on the illegal immigrant population (I actually went out and got some of this information myself instead of relying on some other schmuck to do it for me).

The illegals here will take just about any job they can get, but since they know little, if any, English and they probably were forced to drop out of school shortly after learining their ABC's, if they went to school at all, the only jobs available to them are those that require as little communication as possible with the Gringos. Also, in the last year and a half, the peso went from about MX$ 9.75 to the dollar to what it is now (approximately $11.25 to the dollar, plus or minus). While President Fox is supposed to be doing wonders in Mexico, all I know is that the border town Mexicans are doing everything they can to get onto the north side of the border, as every dollar they make here can purchase them sooooo much more than what they were able to get in Mexico.

For those of you who have not ever seen a Mexican border town, you have basically two classes: the super rich, who run businesses either in buildings or on the sidewalks, and the destitute, who until recently would send their children to the bridge to beg money off the tourists coming across the bridge into Mexico to shop. This ended when the Mexican government finally fenced off their end of the bridge. Now the parents send the kids to beg on the sidewalks.

Cheesesteak
01-10-2004, 03:27 PM
ElvisL1ves, that certainly gives food for thought. I still don't think our economy is as bad as the Chicken Littles would have us believe, apparently it's not a robust as Bush would say either.

John Mace
01-11-2004, 05:32 PM
For anyone interested, there is an interesting editorial in the NYT Week in Review section today postulating what life (the economy) would be like if illegal aliens packed it up and returned to their native countries. I'm guessing it'll be on their web site at some point this week.

pantom
01-11-2004, 10:27 PM
Sam is right that we're always going to need immigration to pay for our pension programs.
But I do believe it has to be controlled, especially in this era of terrorism. Our borders are long and very hard to patrol, but that just means it's a challenge to be overcome, not an impossible problem.
This program is obviously a political ploy, and I'm rather confused about it as well, since the right wing sites I visit from time to time are full of vitriol about it. One example:


I was sitting in the motel coffee shop this morning about 6 AM - and some of the local "good ole boys" were having their Saturday morning breakfast. "Damn Bush - I supported him all the way - hell, I even contributed money7 to him, but this (expletive deleted) with the illegal immigrants has gone too far..." He then told his compadres how he'd be writing to everyone on the planet about this and how he didn't take to it no how, no sir. The group at breakfast also expressed the fear that Hillary might run, but after listening to the local rap here about 100-miles from the Texas White House, you can almost smell the distrust in the air. And distrust is not something people in East Texas cotton to. A man's word here is considered his bond, and word quickly gets around about who's a good guy, and who's a bad 'un. So Bush will have growing resentment and fall out to that one, but the administration has obviously sold out to the corporatist's bottom line - if you want jobs in the US, bring in illegals, make them "legal" and they will fill in the jobs.


from http://urbansurvival.com/week.htm

The isolationist/nativist right, combined with workers already disgruntled over the complete lack of any job growth over the past three years, is going to hand him his head over this. I don't see where the upside is for Bush.