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Old 01-19-2018, 11:00 AM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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Default Yes Immigration

I want to ask this question non-rhetorically: what if our only limits on immigration were based on actual reasons for denying an individual?

So here's the proposal. If someone wants to move to the United States, they need to agree to a background check, and they need to somehow pay for the background check. To throw out some random numbers, let's say it's $3,000 cash up front, or a $5,000 tax burden to pay over ten years. I don't know if these numbers are reasonable, and welcome correction.

You have to complete the check before moving to the US. A criminal record, membership in or stated support of terrorist groups, membership in an oppressive regime, and a few other metrics will result in a denial.

But if you don't have a reason like that to be denied entry, you will be admitted.

This isn't an open borders proposal like we used to have, but it's a far more generous immigration policy than the US has had in decades. And my question is, what would be the likely effects of such a policy? What advantages would it have? What disadvantages?

I'll start: I think it'd result in significantly more immigrants. I think it'd result in a harder time for criminal immigrants, e.g., drug cartel member, since they'd comprise most of the sneaky immigrants to the country, allowing border enforcement to see them more easily. I think it'd be a more humanitarian policy. Since immigrants on balance are a net tax gain, it'd result in a boost to our government budget.

But I'd really like to hear what problems it might have, or what other advantages it might have. And if there's currently a proposal similar to this one being discussed elsewhere, I'd love to see more about it. It strikes me as a very reasonable approach that I've heard nothing about.

Last edited by Left Hand of Dorkness; 01-19-2018 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 01-19-2018, 11:08 AM
XT XT is offline
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My first thought on this is that running a background check on everyone applying would grind the system to a halt and have the opposite effect to the one I assume you want. Imagine trying to run a background check on the million-plus people who currently immigrate to the US each year? Would be pretty ugly and would, I assume, bury the system in red tape.

Myself, I'd base it on something similar to what other countries do. Can you demonstrate employment (or can you invest a million or whatever dollars in a local US business), either because you are currently working in the country on a works program or you have a valid offer of employment from a company working in the US? Do you have a criminal record? Do you have a basic understanding of the laws that will apply to you as a citizen? If all the correct marks are checked you are in...welcome to the US.
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  #3  
Old 01-19-2018, 11:16 AM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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Originally Posted by XT View Post
My first thought on this is that running a background check on everyone applying would grind the system to a halt and have the opposite effect to the one I assume you want. Imagine trying to run a background check on the million-plus people who currently immigrate to the US each year? Would be pretty ugly and would, I assume, bury the system in red tape.
I'm not sure why that would be the case. Would an average check take longer than 20 hours, including fingerprints, running criminal checks, interviews, calls to local police, etc.? If the average check takes 20 hours, a worker could clear 100 people a year. Figure 2 million people wanting to immigrant a year; that's 20,000 workers to clear people. We've got 20,000 people working in USCIS currently; doubling that number to process new people doesn't seem unreasonable.

Again, though, I'm doing very ballpark numbers here, and wold welcome real numbers.
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Old 01-19-2018, 11:19 AM
Frylock Frylock is offline
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As a political compromise with my preferred option of open borders, I heartily endorse the proposal.

I suspect the background check process can be streamlined and automated more than it currently is, but also recognize that may lead to more gameability of the system. So that may need to be worked on.

I'd take the employment requirement out of XT's suggestion, but other than that it's fine. The reason for this is, I think people contribute to the economy by being present for job opportunities, not just by actualy having a job. Sure, while unemployed they'll be spending money without making money--but spending money is part of the economy. Also there's more to the importance of residency than strictly monetary economic stuff.
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Old 01-19-2018, 11:22 AM
XT XT is offline
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
I'm not sure why that would be the case. Would an average check take longer than 20 hours, including fingerprints, running criminal checks, interviews, calls to local police, etc.? If the average check takes 20 hours, a worker could clear 100 people a year. Figure 2 million people wanting to immigrant a year; that's 20,000 workers to clear people. We've got 20,000 people working in USCIS currently; doubling that number to process new people doesn't seem unreasonable.

Again, though, I'm doing very ballpark numbers here, and wold welcome real numbers.
It takes us between 1 and 3 weeks to get one for potential employees. I don't know what adding a million or so people to the queue would do, but don't imagine it would be good. I suppose it depends on what exactly your background check entails, though my WAG is it would really depend on how willing you are to spend the money to increase the size of the agency doing the checks and reviewing the results.
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  #6  
Old 01-19-2018, 11:23 AM
Bullitt Bullitt is offline
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Originally Posted by XT View Post
My first thought on this is that running a background check on everyone applying would grind the system to a halt and have the opposite effect to the one I assume you want. Imagine trying to run a background check on the million-plus people who currently immigrate to the US each year? Would be pretty ugly and would, I assume, bury the system in red tape.

Myself, I'd base it on something similar to what other countries do. Can you demonstrate employment (or can you invest a million or whatever dollars in a local US business), either because you are currently working in the country on a works program or you have a valid offer of employment from a company working in the US? Do you have a criminal record? Do you have a basic understanding of the laws that will apply to you as a citizen? If all the correct marks are checked you are in...welcome to the US.
So IOW, trust but not verify? I donít like that. And Iím an immigrant.
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Old 01-19-2018, 11:23 AM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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What kind of "background check" are you going to run on foreigners? I'm familiar with the term as it relates to gun purchases, but then we're just checking a database of convicted felons and domestic abusers here in America, where we actually keep and have access to pretty decent records (and even then we're far from perfect). What kind of a background check are you going to run on someone from Somalia, or war-torn Syria?
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Old 01-19-2018, 11:29 AM
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The problem isn't immigration; it's illegal immigration, and I don't see how this proposal changes that. If they can't pass a background check or they haven't got the three grand, they sneak across the border.

If I got in legally and I want to bring in my family, do they have to pay the $3000 per child/brother/spouse/whatever? What if they are from some country with no record keeping?

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  #9  
Old 01-19-2018, 11:32 AM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
What kind of "background check" are you going to run on foreigners? I'm familiar with the term as it relates to gun purchases, but then we're just checking a database of convicted felons and domestic abusers here in America, where we actually keep and have access to pretty decent records (and even then we're far from perfect). What kind of a background check are you going to run on someone from Somalia, or war-torn Syria?
Here are some of the forms required for immigrants from Sudan. Note that you have to get a certificate from your local police saying you're in the clear. Currently the number of people who can even submit these is very limited: if you're not a spouse of a US citizen or some other exception, you have to rely on a "diversity lottery" or something like that.

My proposal is that, first, immigrants pay the fees for their own background check; and second, anyone from Sudan or other countries, not just spouses of US citizens, should be able to apply.

What about immigrants from nations that are enemies of the US, such as North Korea? That becomes more difficult, admittedly, and I'm not sure what the best way to handle them would be.
  #10  
Old 01-19-2018, 11:37 AM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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The problem isn't immigration; it's illegal immigration, and I don't see how this proposal changes that. If they can't pass a background check or they haven't got the three grand, they sneak across the border.
This absolutely changes that. Most of the people who sneak across the border do so because they have no legal path to immigration. Removing all these people from the pool of illegal immigrants would make it much easier to weed out the people doing it because they'd fail a background check.

As for the lack of three grand, those people are generally not crossing our border anyway: "Coyotes" charge $5000-$10,000 to smuggle someone across the border. Granted, I'm not sure how many people come across without paying a coyote; do you have evidence that this is a large number?

Even if there are people who still come without going through the more expansive process, again, their numbers would decrease, and the remaining ones should be easier to find.
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Old 01-19-2018, 11:39 AM
constanze constanze is offline
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You have to complete the check before moving to the US. A criminal record, membership in or stated support of terrorist groups, membership in an oppressive regime, and a few other metrics will result in a denial.
Is this Immigration System meant to replace only the current Immigration, or also political asylum? Because in dicatorships, protesters or journalists are labelled "Terrorist supporters" (see e.g. Erdogan) and put in prison. Under Putin, anybody trying to start an Opposition Party is accused of "corruption/ stealing Money" and found guilty.

On the other Hand, in corrupt countries, how do you make sure rich People don't buy themselves a "Persilschein" from local Police, and thus don't Show up on during your inquiry?

Also, how do you account for the differences in culture as to what Counts as crime at all? In some countries, homosexual acts are punishable by death by law (hence Gays seeking asylum elsewhere), so they have a criminal record. In some countries, a woman testifying to rape only Counts half, so she might be sentenced for "infidelty" and the rapist get off.

And for those who are vetted, like People who helped the US Army and now want to get out of Iraq before they are killed in Retaliation, it takes years to check. Not weeks or months, years. Because getting documents from a state that had a Regime Change, or denies certain ethnic Groups birth certificates, or where there is not infrastructure to Keep records, is difficult to impossible. (Let aside the cost for getting a certified translator to get everything into English)

So you check two People, one Comes up without a criminal record, because records were destroyed 10 years ago in his Country. The other Comes up, for what is not a crime in the US. First is allowed in, the second is denied. Is that fair? Helpful?
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Old 01-19-2018, 11:39 AM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Here are some of the forms required for immigrants from Sudan. Note that you have to get a certificate from your local police saying you're in the clear. ...
Do you imagine that the local police in Sudan are generally:

A) impeccably incorruptible
B) only slightly corrupt
C) moderately corrupt
D) very corrupt
F) rotting from the head with corruption

If you prefer a numerical answer rather than a letter grade, what % of Sudanese local police do you think would give a certificate saying they are "in the clear" to someone they know is a terrorist in exchange for an appropriately-sized bribe?

ETA: If you'd like to refer to some notes before you answer:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_in_Sudan

Quote:
Corruption in Sudan is substantial, as it is considered one of the most corrupt nations in the world. On Transparency International's 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index, Sudan ranked 177th out of 183 countries. On the 2010 World Bank Worldwide Governance Indicators, on one hundred point scale, it scored in the single digits in every category, including 0.9 for political stability, 6.2 for rule of law, 7.2 for regulatory quality, 6.7 for government effectiveness, and 4.3 for control of corruption. It ranked 174th (out of 177) in the 2013 Corruption Perception Index.

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 01-19-2018 at 11:40 AM.
  #13  
Old 01-19-2018, 11:41 AM
XT XT is offline
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Here are some of the forms required for immigrants from Sudan. Note that you have to get a certificate from your local police saying you're in the clear. Currently the number of people who can even submit these is very limited: if you're not a spouse of a US citizen or some other exception, you have to rely on a "diversity lottery" or something like that.

My proposal is that, first, immigrants pay the fees for their own background check; and second, anyone from Sudan or other countries, not just spouses of US citizens, should be able to apply.

What about immigrants from nations that are enemies of the US, such as North Korea? That becomes more difficult, admittedly, and I'm not sure what the best way to handle them would be.
Well, I don't think you have to worry about North Korea...their citizens aren't allowed to immigrate, so generally, the only ones who are applying to become US citizens are under a different category (political asylum seekers I presume or something along those lines). That opens a whole 'nother can of worms, of course, wrt your proposal.
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Last edited by XT; 01-19-2018 at 11:42 AM.
  #14  
Old 01-19-2018, 11:46 AM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
Do you imagine that the local police in Sudan are generally:

A) impeccably incorruptible
B) only slightly corrupt
C) moderately corrupt
D) very corrupt
F) rotting from the head with corruption
I imagine that the answer is the same when they're asked about spouses of US citizens as when they're asked about other people. Are you arguing that the US government's background check procedures for Sudanese immigrants who are married to US citizens are insufficient?

Because if not, I think this is a red herring. You asked what I meant by "background checks," and I referred you to what the USCIS means by the term. If you disagree, it's with them, not with me. My proposal would, if anything, strengthen those checks--I'm suggesting that if a check costs $100 an hour to conduct, every immigrant undergo 30 labor hours of checking.

The difference isn't the strength of the check, except that it becomes stronger; the difference is the number of checks.
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Old 01-19-2018, 11:47 AM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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If necessary, I could see charging more to immigrants from nations where it's harder to get good information. In Sudan, do we need more agents on the ground? The system should be self-funding, and if you want to get granular down to the level of country, that could make sense.
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:02 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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I imagine that the answer is the same when they're asked about spouses of US citizens as when they're asked about other people. Are you arguing that the US government's background check procedures for Sudanese immigrants who are married to US citizens are insufficient?
An immigrant from Saudi Arabia recently joined her husband in shooting up the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health's Christmas party. Yes, I think the US government's vetting of immigrants is insufficient.
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:04 PM
constanze constanze is offline
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
If necessary, I could see charging more to immigrants from nations where it's harder to get good information. In Sudan, do we need more agents on the ground? The system should be self-funding, and if you want to get granular down to the level of country, that could make sense.
That just makes the System more unfair. How is a poor Sudanese going to pay for 100 hours of Research, instead of 30 hours, because his Country is failing and corrupt and thus not all documents available? This only means more opportunity for criminals - because the criminals get rich in bad places, and the poor want to leave for better chances elsewhere.

The System is already set up to be unfair, subjective, and hard to navigate - apparently on purpose to make legal Immigration difficult, then complain about illegal Immigration. If the Goal was to stop illegal Immigration, you don't want to make it harder, you want to make it fair, objective, useful and reasonable.

It is however unreasonable to expect poor People from Areas with no perspective to meet arbitrary requirements of documentation. It's also useless to demand blanket documentation without regards to corruption in some countries, different Standards etc.

For that matter, if you want to Keep the "criminals" out, Immigration is the wrong Point - you would want to control entry into the Country. Immigration Comes later, so a more useful Approach would be to look at what Person X has done while living in the US for the past 5 years. Like the DACA / Dreamer program: has the minor gone to School / the Person gone to college and gotten good grades? No record in the US? Finished education and has reasonable chances of getting a Job? Stamp of approval. Easier to administer, more realistic, workable, and objective.

The effect would not only be to slow illegal border-crossings - which are a security risk - but also to get a load of highly motivated People. Everybody who gets to the US, learns the language and finds a Job in 5 or 10 years is much more of an Addition to Society than the 66 year old guy watching Fox News and living on his social security Pension.
Also, allow NGOs to help These People adjust into Society, instead of hindering them.
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:07 PM
constanze constanze is offline
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
An immigrant from Saudi Arabia recently joined her husband in shooting up the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health's Christmas party. Yes, I think the US government's vetting of immigrants is insufficient.
So is the vetting of all White men who follow racist ideology or have mental health Problems (but can't get help) and become mass shooters. Because the vast vast majority of terrorists and mass-shooters in the US are White native-Born Americans. It's just the media usually calls a White mass-shooter "lone gunman" (or mentally disturbed) but a shooter with black Skin Comes from "a culture of violence" (with Brown Skin / Arab looking "Religion of violence")
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:24 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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An immigrant from Saudi Arabia recently joined her husband in shooting up the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health's Christmas party. Yes, I think the US government's vetting of immigrants is insufficient.
Reading up on her, it appears she went to The Al-Huda Institute prior to her immigration. AFAICT, the State Department knew about this and let her in anyway.

Remember the "other metrics" I mentioned above? I could absolutely see having any ties to a Wahhabi institution as an adult being a deal-breaker. This is the sort of thing that a background check would seek to uncover.
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:27 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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That just makes the System more unfair. How is a poor Sudanese going to pay for 100 hours of Research, instead of 30 hours, because his Country is failing and corrupt and thus not all documents available? This only means more opportunity for criminals - because the criminals get rich in bad places, and the poor want to leave for better chances elsewhere.

The System is already set up to be unfair, subjective, and hard to navigate - apparently on purpose to make legal Immigration difficult, then complain about illegal Immigration. If the Goal was to stop illegal Immigration, you don't want to make it harder, you want to make it fair, objective, useful and reasonable.
This proposal would make legal immigration far easier for the vast majority of would-be immigrants, by virtue of making it possible. I can see arguments on either side of the granularity-of-cost issue. Overall, I'd rather have a general fee, based on the average cost of conducting a thorough background check: if it takes 100 hours on average to conduct a check for someone from Sudan, it might take only 4 hours to conduct one for the average Canadian. Letting would-be immigrants from wealthy nations subsidize the immigration of folks from poorer nations would be A-OK by me.
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:28 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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... Because the vast vast majority of terrorists and mass-shooters in the US are White native-Born Americans. ...
Are you sure about that? It might be true for some definitions of "mass-shooter" (and I'd be interested if you have a cite to support that claim), but I don't think it's true for "the vast majority of terrorists":

Newsweek - DHS REPORT: 73 PERCENT OF TERRORISTS CONVICTED BY U.S. ARE FOREIGN-BORN
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:30 PM
XT XT is offline
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An immigrant from Saudi Arabia recently joined her husband in shooting up the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health's Christmas party. Yes, I think the US government's vetting of immigrants is insufficient.
So, out of the over 1 million immigrants (or, if you want to limit it just the ME over 100k) each year, 1 decided to go on a shooting spree...and you think this points to the vetting process being insufficient??
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  #23  
Old 01-19-2018, 12:30 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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Reading up on her, it appears she went to The Al-Huda Institute prior to her immigration. AFAICT, the State Department knew about this and let her in anyway.

Remember the "other metrics" I mentioned above? I could absolutely see having any ties to a Wahhabi institution as an adult being a deal-breaker. This is the sort of thing that a background check would seek to uncover.
OK. I'm warming up to your proposal.
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:34 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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So, out of the over 1 million immigrants (or, if you want to limit it just the ME over 100k) each year, 1 decided to go on a shooting spree...and you think this points to the vetting process being insufficient??
Well, if she had been the only one who wound up being a terrorist, I probably wouldn't make an issue of it. Is your impression that she's been the only one "out of the over 1 million immigrants" who wound up being a terrorist?

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 01-19-2018 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:37 PM
XT XT is offline
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Well, if she had been the only one who wound up being a terrorist, I probably wouldn't make an issue of it. Is your impression that she's been the only one out of over 1 million immigrants who wound up being a terrorist?
No, not at all. There have been, what? 10 in the last few years? Not counting those involved in the 9/11 attacks which would take us to a bit over 20. In a decade. Think about those numbers for a moment. Even if you doubled them...hell, even if it was an order of magnitude more and we were talking about 200 or 400...well, consider that against the numbers of folks coming into the US each year.
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  #26  
Old 01-19-2018, 12:49 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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Are you sure about that? It might be true for some definitions of "mass-shooter" (and I'd be interested if you have a cite to support that claim), but I don't think it's true for "the vast majority of terrorists":

Newsweek - DHS REPORT: 73 PERCENT OF TERRORISTS CONVICTED BY U.S. ARE FOREIGN-BORN
Perhaps it's phrased poorly. From your own cite:
Quote:
During the interview, Nielsen refused to answer whether American-born or foreign-born terrorists have caused more deaths. According to a 2016 report from the Cato Institute, more than three times as many people were killed in terrorist attacks by native-born Americans than foreign-born individuals between 2001 and 2015.
Now, some other points:
-This includes people convicted for their roles in 9/11, an important detail since our immigration policy has changed substantially since those attacks.
-This includes people who engaged in, or intended to engage in, terrorism in other countries.
-This includes people who gave money to organizations designated as terrorist organizations abroad.
-This includes "fraud, immigration, firearms, drugs, false statements, perjury, and obstruction of justice, as well as general conspiracy charges."

cite

One more point:
-This is a report demanded by Trump, and announced by Kirstjen "What? There are white people in Norway? Who knew?" Nielsen. I advise a bit more skepticism before citing their research in the future .
  #27  
Old 01-19-2018, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
Are you sure about that? It might be true for some definitions of "mass-shooter" (and I'd be interested if you have a cite to support that claim), but I don't think it's true for "the vast majority of terrorists":

Newsweek - DHS REPORT: 73 PERCENT OF TERRORISTS CONVICTED BY U.S. ARE FOREIGN-BORN
From the link.
Quote:
During the interview, Nielsen refused to answer whether American-born or foreign-born terrorists have caused more deaths. According to a 2016 report from the Cato Institute, more than three times as many people were killed in terrorist attacks by native-born Americans than foreign-born individuals between 2001 and 2015.
Exactly what were the crimes the terrorists were actually convicted of?
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Old 01-19-2018, 01:05 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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From the link.

Exactly what were the crimes the terrorists were actually convicted of?
Look at the post above. The devil's in the footnotes on page 2 of the actual report .
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Old 01-19-2018, 01:11 PM
running coach running coach is online now
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Look at the post above. The devil's in the footnotes on page 2 of the actual report .
I haven't seen the report yet. I was going by the article as linked.
ETA: I hadn't read your post,either. It's been a hectic morning.

Last edited by running coach; 01-19-2018 at 01:12 PM.
  #30  
Old 01-19-2018, 01:19 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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I haven't seen the report yet. I was going by the article as linked.
ETA: I hadn't read your post,either. It's been a hectic morning.
No worries--I just wanted to make sure you didn't miss that, as the jump from "Bob immigrated here from Thailand and lied to the police about something " to "TERRORIST IMMIGRANT" is a pretty humongous leap.

Which isn't to minimize lying to police, especially about something involving, say, a donation to Hamas. That's bad. But it's not exactly what people think of when they say "terrorist," nor is it evidence of hundreds of more San Bernadino shooters.
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Old 01-19-2018, 01:25 PM
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If we're looking at numbers of "terrorists", then we really need an objective definition of terrorism, because in practice, the definition mostly seems to be "violence committed by foreigners we don't like". If that's your definition, then of course terrorists will be disproportionately foreign... but that's not a very useful definition. Were the Branch Davidians terrorists? Cliven Bundy and his gang? The Sutherland Springs church shooter? The couple who was just discovered abusing their 13 kids? In each case, why or why not?
  #32  
Old 01-19-2018, 01:28 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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If we're looking at numbers of "terrorists", then we really need an objective definition of terrorism, because in practice, the definition mostly seems to be "violence committed by foreigners we don't like". If that's your definition, then of course terrorists will be disproportionately foreign... but that's not a very useful definition. Were the Branch Davidians terrorists? Cliven Bundy and his gang? The Sutherland Springs church shooter? The couple who was just discovered abusing their 13 kids? In each case, why or why not?
Seriously, though, look at what they're including. If you send money to Hamas, or if you lie to the FBI in an interview about a neighbor whom they suspect is a terrorist, or if you have some drug-related charge that can get tied to terrorism, they're including you in their definition. It's insanely broad.
  #33  
Old 01-19-2018, 01:43 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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Seriously, though, look at what they're including. If you send money to Hamas, or if you lie to the FBI in an interview about a neighbor whom they suspect is a terrorist, or if you have some drug-related charge that can get tied to terrorism, they're including you in their definition. It's insanely broad.
I agree that there's probably a narrower definition out there that would be more appropriate. OTOH (one might say, the "Left Hand"), you quoted the portion of the article that said, "According to a 2016 report from the Cato Institute, more than three times as many people were killed in terrorist attacks by native-born Americans than foreign-born individuals between 2001 and 2015." I don't think being a terrorist requires killing people. If the authorities intercept someone preparing an attack, but before they actually kill anyone, and convict them of 'conspiracy to blow up Times Square' or whatever, I think it's fair to label that person a terrorist, even though their body count was (thankfully) 0 and they wouldn't impact your "people killed in terrorist attacks" stat.
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Old 01-19-2018, 01:46 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
If we're looking at numbers of "terrorists", then we really need an objective definition of terrorism, because in practice, the definition mostly seems to be "violence committed by foreigners we don't like". If that's your definition, then of course terrorists will be disproportionately foreign... but that's not a very useful definition. Were the Branch Davidians terrorists? Cliven Bundy and his gang? The Sutherland Springs church shooter? The couple who was just discovered abusing their 13 kids? In each case, why or why not?
The FBI offers these definitions:

Quote:
International terrorism: Perpetrated by individuals and/or groups inspired by or associated with designated foreign terrorist organizations or nations (state-sponsored).
--for example, the December 2, 2015 shooting in San Bernardino, CA, that killed 14 people and wounded 22 which involved a married couple who radicalized for some time prior to the attack and were inspired by multiple extremist ideologies and foreign terrorist organizations.

Domestic terrorism: Perpetrated by individuals and/or groups inspired by or associated with primarily U.S.-based movements that espouse extremist ideologies of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.
--for example, the June 8, 2014 Las Vegas shooting, during which two police officers inside a restaurant were killed in an ambush-style attack, which was committed by a married couple who held anti-government views and who intended to use the shooting to start a revolution.
Are those a reasonable starting point?
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Old 01-19-2018, 01:51 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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For fun, I'll give my answers to your examples:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Were the Branch Davidians terrorists?
No. AFAIK they were basically minding their own business, and planning to continue on that course, until the ATF showed up to raid them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Cliven Bundy and his gang?
No. The charges against them were dismissed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
The Sutherland Springs church shooter?
Yes, I think, but we don't appear to have much information about the motive here, at least AFAIK.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
The couple who was just discovered abusing their 13 kids?
No, child abuse is wrong, but it wasn't done to accomplish some larger political or ideological goal, at least, AFAIK.
  #36  
Old 01-19-2018, 01:54 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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Sorry LHoD, I didn't mean to hijack your thread with a discussion about terrorism. My point was that we want to be careful who we let into this country. We don't want terrorists coming here. When someone comes here, and ends up either committing terrorist acts, or gets caught and convicted before they can act on their terrorist plans, that represents a failure of our vetting of immigrants. Ideally, we would have caught that that person was a bad seed and not let them into the country.

ETA: Bob from Thailand who misspoke in his FBI interview should not be counted as a terrorist immigrant. Someone who gets busted in a sting operation trying to buy explosives for the truck bomb they're building to detonate outside the Super Bowl, to offer a hypothetical example, should be.

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 01-19-2018 at 01:56 PM.
  #37  
Old 01-19-2018, 01:58 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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The FBI offers these definitions:



Are those a reasonable starting point?
As long as we understand that:
1) "Terrorism" is one set of crimes that needs to be prevented, but not the only, or even necessarily the most important; and
2) Your previous link was technically responsive to constanze, but not at all responsive in the context of a conversation that began with your mention of the San Bernadino shooter.

In other words, to the extent that the US is endangered by terrorism consisting of US citizens getting murdered in the US by folks intending to advance political aims, that cite is not at all helpful.

I don't think that showing relative numbers of terrorists born here or overseas is directly relevant to the conversation. My point is that we should engage in scrutiny of folks coming to the United States, possibly even making things stricter along ideological/background lines; but that we should loosen things up dramatically based on total numbers and on country of origin. Our immigration policy should be geared toward the individual immigrant, and should allow all individuals to come in unless we have a good reason not to.
  #38  
Old 01-19-2018, 02:01 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
Sorry LHoD, I didn't mean to hijack your thread with a discussion about terrorism. My point was that we want to be careful who we let into this country. We don't want terrorists coming here. When someone comes here, and ends up either committing terrorist acts, or gets caught and convicted before they can act on their terrorist plans, that represents a failure of our vetting of immigrants. Ideally, we would have caught that that person was a bad seed and not let them into the country.
I agree with all of this. We do want to be careful who we let in, and we want to vet anyone who comes in.

But we shouldn't turn someone away because they're Mexican. If there are two million Mexicans that want to come to the United States, and we can vet all of them, and 1,995,000 of them have no criminal record, link to terrorist organizations, etc., we should admit 1,995,000 of them.
Quote:
ETA: Bob from Thailand who misspoke in his FBI interview should not be counted as a terrorist immigrant. Someone who gets busted in a sting operation trying to buy explosives for the truck bomb they're building to detonate outside the Super Bowl, to offer a hypothetical example, should be.
I agree--but AFAICT, that report you cited earlier counts Bob as a terrorist. (Unless your version of "misspoke" doesn't include a deliberate obstruction of justice, in which case, that's not what I or the report is talking about).
  #39  
Old 01-19-2018, 02:30 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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I think we're largely on the same page on vetting for criminal (or potential criminal) misdeeds. Here's another area of concern:

Under your proposal, do we do anything to prevent immigrants who are very likely to not be productive members of society? To give a couple of extreme examples, let's say Bob from Thailand is undoubtedly a nice man with no criminal record and we're confident that he's not going to commit crimes or acts of terror, but Bob is 85, and is bed-ridden with advanced cancer, and broke. Should we let Bob come in, even though we're reasonably certain that we're just going to spend the rest of his life subsidizing some very expensive medical treatment?

Same question for Anja Johansen from Norway, also not a terrorist, but never graduated high school, hasn't worked in the last 5 years, doesn't know English, is penniless, and has three young children from three separate fathers. Should we welcome her in?

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 01-19-2018 at 02:31 PM.
  #40  
Old 01-19-2018, 02:33 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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I think we're largely on the same page on vetting for criminal (or potential criminal) misdeeds. Here's another area of concern:

Under your proposal, do we do anything to prevent immigrants who are very likely to not be productive members of society? To give a couple of extreme examples, let's say Bob from Thailand is undoubtedly a nice man with no criminal record and we're confident that he's not going to commit crimes or acts of terror, but Bob is 85, and is bed-ridden with advanced cancer, and broke. Should we let Bob come in, even though we're reasonably certain that we're just going to spend the rest of his life subsidizing some very expensive medical treatment?

Same question for Anja Johansen from Norway, also not a terrorist, but never graduated high school, hasn't worked in the last 5 years, doesn't know English, is penniless, and has three young children from three separate fathers. Should we welcome her in?
My default answer is "yes" to both, but I could be persuaded to add additional criteria based on the person, not on a quota or on a nation of origin.
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Old 01-19-2018, 02:43 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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That FBI definition is a start, but it still contains a lot of wiggle room. For instance:
Quote:
Quoth HurricaneDitka[/b]:

No, child abuse is wrong, but it wasn't done to accomplish some larger political or ideological goal, at least, AFAIK.
We don't have all of the facts yet, but once the parents make a statement, I think it's a pretty safe bet that they're going to claim that the way that they treated their kids was required by their religion. Now, there are a lot of other people who identify as the same religion as these folks who are absolutely aghast at what they've done, but then, there are also a lot of Muslims who are similarly aghast at what ISIS and al Qaida do in the name of Islam.

Or the Bundies: Sure, charges against them were dropped, but would they have been if it had been foreigners doing exactly the same thing?

And of course, there are always going to be a lot of violent crimes for which the motive just isn't known, especially since in a lot of these cases, the perpetrators end up killing themselves, too, and so can't be interviewed.
  #42  
Old 01-19-2018, 02:43 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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My default answer is "yes" to both, but I could be persuaded to add additional criteria based on the person, not on a quota or on a nation of origin.
Fair enough. I would probably favor adding some additional criteria for individuals, but my understanding is that there isn't exactly a flood of 85-year-old cancer patients wanting to immigrate, and while we don't have a perfect track record of it, America has historically done a pretty good job of taking people like Anja and turning them (or perhaps her children) into productive members of society.
  #43  
Old 01-19-2018, 02:45 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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Fair enough. I would probably favor adding some additional criteria for individuals, but my understanding is that there isn't exactly a flood of 85-year-old cancer patients wanting to immigrate, and while we don't have a perfect track record of it, America has historically done a pretty good job of taking people like Anja and turning them (or perhaps her children) into productive members of society.
That's kind of my thinking, and I'd worry that adding in additional criteria about, say, what medical care a person might require would ultimately cause more damage than it'd prevent. Government bureaucracies and regulations, amiright? I'd prefer to keep it simple and, to the extent possible, bright line.
  #44  
Old 01-19-2018, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
Fair enough. I would probably favor adding some additional criteria for individuals, but my understanding is that there isn't exactly a flood of 85-year-old cancer patients wanting to immigrate, and while we don't have a perfect track record of it, America has historically done a pretty good job of taking people like Anja and turning them (or perhaps her children) into productive members of society.
Right. I actually think that just the act of moving far, far away (in addition to the paperwork and filing costs) is somewhat self-selecting in a way that is sometimes not fully appreciated. I have a feeling that the United States transforming into an economic and cultural powerhouse can partly be attributed to past generations dividing up along lines of willingness to get on the scary rickety boat to far away versus staying safely at home. Of course modern travel is much easier but itís still fairly daunting to move far away.

In Bobís case I have a feeling that just the travel would be enough of a deterrent. In Anjaís case some more context would be required. But quite frankly if she is the sort of person who is in her position because of ďpoor life choicesĒ, I think that would correlate quite well with simply not being bothered enough to plan for this non-trivial move. If she did actually follow through that would be a good sign that she is or has become the sort of person that might follow through with work and education improvements.

Heck, it wouldnít surprise me to learn that this is a factor even within the country and itís citizens, that much poverty is endured by people who canít or wonít move out of an area with no opportunities, and that people willing and able to move to more booming areas are far more likely to be the sort of people capable of contributing.
  #45  
Old 01-19-2018, 04:00 PM
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There is also the logistical problem of accommodating the large number of people who would want to come. Consider how many people today are willing to risk terrible, dangerous journeys to travel from Africa to Europe, or Latin America to the U.S.; and now imagine how many more would come if it were convenient, safe, and legal. Affordable housing is already in short supply, what about when there are ten million new people to house?

Is there any country in the world that has this type of policy?
  #46  
Old 01-19-2018, 04:06 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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There is also the logistical problem of accommodating the large number of people who would want to come. Consider how many people today are willing to risk terrible, dangerous journeys to travel from Africa to Europe, or Latin America to the U.S.; and now imagine how many more would come if it were convenient, safe, and legal. Affordable housing is already in short supply, what about when there are ten million new people to house?
I don't want to stereotype, but the lion's share of new immigration would likely come from Central America, and you're worried about whether we'd be able to build enough new houses to accommodate the new immigrants? Have you looked a construction crew lately?
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Old 01-19-2018, 04:13 PM
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What percent of the people in India, for example, would want to immigrant to the US under this system? Let's say it's 20%. Are you prepared to increase the US's population by 200M people next year? And that would just be from India. Do the same calculate for Mexico, the Philippines, Central and South America, the rest of Southeast Asia, etc.

Last edited by John Mace; 01-19-2018 at 04:15 PM.
  #48  
Old 01-19-2018, 04:25 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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What percent of the people in India, for example, would want to immigrant to the US under this system? Let's say it's 20%.
Why don't we say it's 100% of everyone in every country instead? Plus let's say that aliens from other planets also want to immigrate, and also all the penguins.

(I don't actually find your figure to be realistic)
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Old 01-19-2018, 04:30 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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To be less flip than the question probably deserves, the system is self-limiting. If somehow, bizarrely, one in five Indians both wanted to come to the US and could scrape up the background check fee, the system would slow to a crawl. Let's say that an agent can clear an average of 100 cases a year. There are 20,000 folks or so working in immigration now, meaning we can clear 2 million folks a year. I think we could plausibly double that, or implausibly triple that, in a year, meaning that we could process applications from 6 million immigrants each year. Hell, maybe we go crazy and in five years have trained and hired 100,000 folks to do this work: we can process 10 million folks a year! Your proposal of 200 million folks wanting to come would mean that people would be waiting 20 years to come; few are going to put in their application fee, facing a wait time like that.

The more folks that come, the less other folks will want to come, as the "ecological niche" for new immigrants, so to speak, is filled.

But, of course, most folks are tied to where they live. The folks who want to immigrate to any specific country and who are willing to take the steps necessary to do so are always a small minority of the origin country's population.
  #50  
Old 01-19-2018, 04:32 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Why don't we say it's 100% of everyone in every country instead? Plus let's say that aliens from other planets also want to immigrate, and also all the penguins.

(I don't actually find your figure to be realistic)
What method do you propose to determine what it would be before you instituted this program? There have been several surveys done over the years that indicate upwards of 50% of Mexicans would immigrate to the US if they could. Now, you can argue that that's just talk, but wouldn't it make some sense to put a cap on the total number? You know, just in case? And once we say: Come on in, the doors are open! don't you think people are going to be worried that the doors won't be open 5 or 10 years from now?

Last edited by John Mace; 01-19-2018 at 04:34 PM.
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