Collapse of the Senate Immigration Bill

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Last week the Senate’s immigration bill — championed by George Bush, John McCain, and Ted Kennedy — collapsed under the pressure of a firestorm on conservative blogs and talk radio. Blogger and American Prospect writer Ezra Klein explained it to me this way: the bill had three interlocking parts that really represented three different consitutencies. The amnesty section was for many of the Democrats; the guestworker section was for business; and the enforcement section was for the “restrictionists.” Those restrictionists, Klein said, were the ones who stirred up the controversy that brought down the bill.

Immigration’s a fraught, gargantuan issue. And it’s one that splits both the Republicans and the Democrats. For this hour we want to understand the current politics in Washington and how they were influenced by the right-wing upheaval. But we also want to get a sense of the national conversation and mood beyond the Beltway and the blogosphere — to understand how it all might shake out in the 2008 presidential election. Is it possible to imagine productive forward momentum on immigration if this bill never revives? What’s the real problem here?

Ezra Klein

Writing Fellow, American Prospect

Blogger, Ezra Klein: Tomorrow’s Media Conspiracy Today

Ali Noorani

Executive Director, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition

Erik Erikson

Blogger, Confessions of Political Junkie

CEO, RedState

Kevin Johnson

Professor, Public Interest Law and Chicana/o Studies, UC Davis School of Law

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, UC Davis School of Law

Blogger, ImmigrationProf Blog


Comments

64 thoughts on “Collapse of the Senate Immigration Bill

  1. Here’s a solution: Congress promises to pass a new immigration bill written entirely by those members who fought to kill this last bill. The only stipulation is, if a court of law should ever find them guilty of employing an illegal alien – directly or indirectly, (e.g. their favorite restaurant uses illegal aliens), they’ll immediately be stripped of THEIR citizenship. And, after serving whatever jail time deemed appropriate, they’ll have be follow the rules just like everyone else who seeks to become a citizen of this Great Land of Immigrants.

  2. I think the above two comments fail to acknowledge that there is a legitimate issue of fairness WRT to legal immigrants – people who played by all the rules and waited their turn. We live in a society exemplified by corporate and White House bending and breaking of the rules and people are starting to get fed up with it.

    That said, I think the bill does offer a tolerable compromise on that issue. It’s not like the bill involved just handing out citizenship papers to anyone they find hiding under a boxcar in a US border town. The requirements to go from being an illegal immigrant to being legal are, IMO, adequately arduous to address the concerns of all but the most hard-hearted opponents.

    Instead, I think Harry Reid is correct that the President failed to back up his words of support with any real political capital. He made no serious effort to get the support of his party. If the GOP doesn’t like this bill they should put up their own bill.

    Of course they won’t make any serious effort to do so for the same reason that the Democrats refused a few years ago to propose a serious bill to reform Social Security in opposition to the GOP’s failed plan – another looming national crisis. It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and snipe – it takes guts, intelligence, and work to actually make something happen, and neither party has those qualities. I get junk mail all the time from BOTH major parties and it all ends up in the SAME recycling bin in the garage before it even gets into my house!

  3. I’ve blogged about this over at my blog a bit (www.nycweboy.com), and I think Ezra’s analysis has been pretty strong. That said, I think pointing out that “the restrictionists” (I’d say, more strongly, anti-immigration types) derailed this bill misses the fact that the 2 other groups – the business interests and more progressive types – weren’t all that thrilled with the bill, either, and that less than offering up support, most liberals stayed pretty quiet on the whole topis or made “let’s take this awful deal because it’s the best we can expect” that hardly amounted to meaningful support. My point is that the hard thing about our immigration problem is that everyone seems a bit stuck; and I think as long as we make this all about our southern border, anything that looks like amnesty, and overheated talk of fences and guards, we’re not going to get anywhere. This is a discussion badly in need of a fresh perspective and an alternative approach (a point I’ve been trying to make anywhere I can), because the current choices are terrible (i don’t really like “amnesty” or fences) and don’t really get at our larger problem with immigration – the problems with processing legal, “valid” immigrants in a timely manner and tracking visas as they currently exist. USCIS is badly in need of reform, and has been for years. And as long as we’re not talking about that, I don’t think we can really deal with the rest.

  4. paying attention–long term attention–is superior to responding to “DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!”

    that said..globalization is going to affect the american income level one way or another. the adjustment is coming, it will hurt, and the immigration rush is just a symptom of it.

  5. Bravo for Ezra Klein just saying (on-air) that “this is not a left-right issue”!

    I keep hearing all the talking heads and the MSM trying to see this through the their tired old paradigms of Left vs. Right, or pro- vs. anti-immigrant, or some other intellectually lazy of viewing every issue.

    Is it so hard to imagine that an ordinary non-racist, independent-voting, law-abiding person can have a serious issue with a multi-approach proposal to something that was supposed to be fixed in a one-time-only amnesty in 1986?

    How can I have a serious and civil discussion with anyone when they refuse to talk with me because I am irrational because I am a racist and/or be a xenophobe?

    I want to have an unemotional discussion, but how can I do that when so many people are saying I am acting emotional?!

    P.S. Ask Ali Noorani for his definition of “immigrant”. (He includes non-immigrant guest-workers.)

  6. Why doesn’t anyone go outside the box???

    Remember when New York City couldn’t collect parking and traffic fines from diplomatic vehicles? They STOPPED diplomatic traffic violations by deducting the fines from the foreign aid that was sent to scofflaw countries.

    Deduct what it costs tyo care for illegals from their foreign aid. Estimate the amount. Then start deducting the amount that is sent back from those little bodega storefronts that dod the urban landscape. That amount can be documented down to the penny.

    Then use THAT money to pay for the services used by the illegals or undocumented.

    Congress WILL NOT and CAN NOT solve this or any other problem.

    Congress can only fund itself and justify its own existance.

  7. I wonder if there can be any agreement about anything anymore given the current divisions in the country and pressures on our legislators.

  8. We need to enforce our current immigration laws.

    Although voters may be upset about Iraq, many are enraged by this bill.

    · It is an anti-working person, business/corporate agenda item that puts downward pressure on wages.

    · “The Fence” is a monument to pretense, an environmental problem, and an affront to civil society.

    · Rewards illegal behavior.

    The bill is an endorsement of our government’s failure to enforce existing immigration laws?

    Illegal immigrants should be treated with fairness and compassion as they are being deported.

    While I normally do not approve of one issue zealotry, if this is passed I, a lifelong progressive, will not vote for any Democratic candidate in ’08.

  9. I would like to see three issues addressed in this discussion on immigration reform.

    #1-Why aren’t the employers the ones facing the fines? If they didn’t hire the illiegal then they wouldn’t come. Supply and Demand man!

    #2-These 12,500,000 illegals have created a false economy if you will where the noueveau (sp?) rich avail themselves of services that maybe they don’t really need, but think they do because the “price is right”.

    #3-I am sick of hearing that the illegals are doing jobs americans won’t do. Balderdash! Americans are willing to do them but the people paying the wages are to tight to pay a living wage to their own citizens.

    No way should illegals be put ahead of anyone who is in the country legally. They broke the law to get here, to remain here and they know it. It is only fair that they play by the same set of rules.

    Our country has been taken over by bullies and it sickens me to see that we feel powerless to oust them.

  10. Eesponding to bhwhite,

    You should re-listen to the program. Our current system of illegal employment is depressing wages far below what would be if all labour here were part of the legal economy.

    This point is not an argument for deporting all illegals, it is an argument for bringing them and their valuable labour into the market.

    Read James Surowiecki’s column in the June 11 & 18 New Yorker, in which he lays out brilliantly the economic benefits (for business, for native workers, and for the immigrants themselves) is the bill were passedas it is.

  11. I havn’t heard the show yet (here on the west coast) but I hope someone mentions the immigrant corporations that illeagally go into third world countries for the cheap labor overiding the laws of soverign nations because the WTO trumps everything is not accountable to anyone anywhere.

  12. The reality is that we want and need immigrants they do far more good than harm. Legal immigrations is a joke and everyone knows this. Lets get a law that holds business accountable for hiring illegal people and brings these people to come and live here legally. That is the best we can do I afraid

  13. one things for sure, if we want anything close to universal health care we better secure the border or it’ll never happen.

    i guess this is more reason for the status quo for some.

    if we aren’t going to control low skill laborer importation to reasonable levels i’d like to see massive immigration of skilled workers. give the bleeding heart yuppies a dose of their own medicine.

    it is weird how the left basically loses the plot on this issue they are so afraid of being called racist. protecting cheap labor? what are you doing protecting big business and exploitative working conditions and wages? cheap labor is a good thing? are these the same people who rant and rave about walmarts cheap labor and prices being subsidized on the backend by the rest of society? how about cheap oil? as oil gets more expensive the alternatives become viable, innovation is driven forward. yet this doesn’t apply to menial labor which we must protect like protecting cheap oil? the left has lost the plot…seriously.

  14. The Government has been derilect on immigration for 40 years, in the meantime Senator Kennedy has been the sponcer of 7 Amnestys and there has never been any thing more than lip service to enforcement and a fence. The Berlin Wall was a Fence and limited infiltration to not more than 10 people a year. The barrier fence works in the San Diego, California are works quite well. What American needs is a “Sea to Sea” fence and a national identification card. The removal of all Government Services to illegals; Medical, Welfare, Driver’s Licenses, Real Estate Ownership, and Welfare. Most of the invaders will self deport and we will catch the rest.

  15. there is a myth to the “nation of immigrants” line. the implication is that our society was formed by a constant flood of immigration from since our founding, but this is not the truth. there were spikes and then long periods of very low immigration. perhaps this was sometimes result of decisions made for the wrong reasons like racism and such, but it does seem the gaps gave time for the well assimilated populations we have today.

    and well as for more recent immigrants being more outspoken about this issue, i think its because as an asian legal immigrant i don’t have any issues with white guilt that might be keeping some towing the pc line.

    theres also the environment. the big issue for the left which somehow like the sierra club shoves its head into the sand on issues of population. are we to believe continued mass immigration will not effect the environment? traffic is already a nightmare. never mind issues like our limited supplies of drinking water. you just can’t get around local environmental impact when importing masses of people.

    not to mention there is some evidence that global warming will cause problems with water supplies in america. scientists looking at ancient tree rings see the future in the past where there were devastating droughts. http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/climate-change/mg19426074.300-us-southwest-could-be-heading-for-a-megadrought.html

  16. darwhin says . . .

    there is a myth to the “nation of immigrants” line. the implication is that our society was formed by a constant flood of immigration from since our founding, but this is not the truth. there were spikes and then long periods of very low immigration.

    There were very few periods of low immigration. Except for the 1930′s, when we only had about a half-million immigrants for the whole decade, there has never really been a sustained period of low immigration in US history.

    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://web.missouri.edu/~brente/usimmigr.jpg&imgrefurl=http://web.missouri.edu/~brente/immigr.htm&h=413&w=573&sz=43&hl=en&start=6&tbnid=U3p_1TuDSRRdOM:&tbnh=97&tbnw=134&prev=/images%3Fq%3D%2522us%2Bimmigration%2522%26gbv%3D2%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG

  17. darwhin says…

    theres also the environment. the big issue for the left which somehow like the sierra club shoves its head into the sand on issues of population. are we to believe continued mass immigration will not effect the environment? traffic is already a nightmare. never mind issues like our limited supplies of drinking water. you just can’t get around local environmental impact when importing masses of people.

    What is darwhin’s thesis here? That they should ruin the environment somewhere else?

    Or that if they came to the US they would become more prosperous so they would own more cars, TV, air-conditioners, etc? In other words is darwhin not so much anti-immigrant as pro-poverty?

    One could make the opposite argument. Mexico is poor and corrupt. Even if they do have environmental laws on the books it’s a safe bet that the local water or clean air inspector could be bought off with a few pesos in an unmarked envelope. But the US has stricter environmental laws, more consistently enforced, so it might be better to have someone here where at least they have to get their jalopy emissions-inspected every so often.

  18. What American needs is a “Sea to Sea” fence and a national identification card. The removal of all Government Services to illegals; Medical, Welfare, Driver’s Licenses, Real Estate Ownership, and Welfare. Most of the invaders will self deport and we will catch the rest.

    I hope you like to pick lettuce, cook and clean bedpans. And next time I stay in a hotel, please turn the corners down on the sheets when you make the bed (I’m assuming you’re offering to take over the jobs of the immigrants ).

    If you ever get the urge to discuss this topic rationally you have to be intellectually honest enough to acknowledge that illegal immigrants now comprise a HUGE portion of certain segments of the labor force. Construction, certain manufacturing industries, food service, agriculture, the hospitality industry, hospital support and others depend on them.

    This is the nasty little detail that the AM talk-radio hosts you seem to listen to ignore when they propose having a line of busses from Minnesota to Tijuana to take all the illegals out of the US. So, sure you could enforce all the laws strictly, and everything will just grind to a halt.

  19. darwhin says . . .

    cheap labor is a good thing? are these the same people who rant and rave about walmarts cheap labor and prices being subsidized on the backend by the rest of society?

    It’s not a question of whether “cheap” labor is a good thing – labor is a good thing.

    You sound like a student, so what’s your major? If it isn’t economics then look up “nonaccelerating inflation rate of unemployment” (NAIRU). According to most economists we are already at or near the minimum sustainable rate of unemployment. We simply do not have the workers to replace 12 million (or even 2 or 3 million) immigrant workers who get shipped back to Mexico and Guatemala.

    If you want to keep your economy humming along you need the workers. Legal or illegal, you still need them. So any solution to the problem has to deal with that inconvenient little truth. The AM talk radio yahoos are dealing with this at a purely emotional level and haven’t done the math (probably because they can’t).

  20. pln. All I hear every night from the msm and liberal politicians is how bad our economy is . Obviously this is a lie. Our ecomomy is the best in the world ,it is bursting at the seams.

    So I agree with you that a guest worker program is a good thing. I have no problem with people coming into the country and working legally. This should not be a step in allowing citizenship however.

    I think your comments with regards to who will work construction,farm,and other service sector jobs is somewhat over the top. Who do you think worked these jobs 10-20 years ago. The fact is the jobs will be filled they always were and they always will be. Employers may have to increase the wages to entice Americans back into these fields. If they can’t be filled than by all means use a guest worker program.

    By the way the AM talk radio yahoos have looked at this issue from several different angles. The reasons for people being against this bill vary from nonsensical to rational and intelligent.

  21. your graph basically makes my point, its hardly an even line.

    “What is darwhin’s thesis here? That they should ruin the environment somewhere else?”

    you have to take care of what you can. like it or not, plenty of pollution and enviromental stress is localized. not everything is global in scale.

    “Or that if they came to the US they would become more prosperous so they would own more cars, TV, air-conditioners, etc? In other words is darwhin not so much anti-immigrant as pro-poverty?”

    does the world really need more americans with american type consumption?

    “One could make the opposite argument. Mexico is poor and corrupt. Even if they do have environmental laws on the books it’s a safe bet that the local water or clean air inspector could be bought off with a few pesos in an unmarked envelope. But the US has stricter environmental laws, more consistently enforced, so it might be better to have someone here where at least they have to get their jalopy emissions-inspected every so often. ”

    that assumes they aren’t replaced by others down in mexico, reproduction isn’t exactly a problem down there. frankly they’d have to deal with their pollution problem if they had to deal with their population …that or simply choke on it.

    as for illegal workers, i never said anything about eliminating all cheap workers. don’t assume so much:P enforcing borders would simply reveal the truth. what industries are whining about nothing and which ones really do need migrant worker programs.

    as for unemployment figures, its nice to note many of those figures ignore those that give up …let alone the masses of people we throw away in jail because our society would rather import quick easy fixes than to deal with problems at home..

  22. I think your comments with regards to who will work construction,farm,and other service sector jobs is somewhat over the top. Who do you think worked these jobs 10-20 years ago. The fact is the jobs will be filled they always were and they always will be.

    That’s just faith-based reasoning.

    1. Total GDP is DRAMATICALLY higher today than 10 or 20 years ago, meaning that there is dramatically MORE construction, hospitality industry, hospital and other work being done. Almost every segment of the econnomy has grown over that period.

    2. 20 years ago we had a large bolus of “baby-boom” workers who were still young and available to do those jobs. 25 years ago I was working my way through college as a roofer; today I’m an engineer. Guess who’s doing the roofing today?

    3. Our economy is shifting to service and information work. So not only is the labor force shrinking as boomers retire but today’s workers have better oportunities in non-menial labor.

    Modern economic theory does NOT predict that a domestic labor supply is infinitely elastic. There is NOTHING in the literature that says that if you simply raise, say, worker’s wages, from $7/hr to $12/hr that millions of people just sitting around doing nothing will suddently start picking lettuce or washing dishes.

    Instead, if you raise them high enough you will take take workers away from other jobs. This is bad for the economy because higher-paid workers are typically in more productive industries so creating labor shortages in more productive industries you hurt your economy more (not to mention the inflationary effect of the higher wages).

    I’m surprised that a conservativelike you would advocate having the government DELIBERATELY create a labor shortage in hope of raising wages. That sounds like the sort of big government central-planning that only a liberal or socialist would love.

    What true conservatives OUGHT to be advocating is freedom of labor movement so that companies can hire whomever they want and workers can work wherever they want with no big-government intervention.

  23. darwhin says, “”theres also the environment. the big issue for the left which somehow like the sierra club shoves its head into the sand on issues of population.”

    Let’s start dealing with overpopulation (a global not just national problem) with good fact based sex education in the schools, make birth control easily available and legal and keep abortion safe and legal before we put a fence around ourselves.

    darwhin says, “not everything is global in scale.”

    I would argue that yes, it is. This planet is round and what goes around comes around.

    darwhin says, “…let alone the masses of people we throw away in jail because our society would rather import quick easy fixes than to deal with problems at home..”

    This is a very good point but I think it needs to be solved by reigning in the illegal immigrant global corporations that abandon the local work force (leaving people to seek alternate economies that are likly to land them in jail) while destroying third world cultural systems and opening up the route that low-paid forign workers will naturally want to take to our shores for better pay. It IS a global problem and it won’t be solved by the WTO. What is needed is the IWW.

    The “immigrant” issue is rascist . We complain about illeagal aliens and don’t mention that by that we mean brown people from third world counties. We don’t even notice that many of our “illeagals” are Euopeans who are overstaying their visas yet they don’t worry about being rounded up and deported or jailed.

  24. your graph basically makes my point, its hardly an even line.

    No it doesn’t. The graph shows only one, brief, period of low immigration. Immigration to the US has hardly ever been low – it’s almost always ranged from “high” to “very high”. The current rate of mmigration is actually not that high as a % of total population.

    Here’s a chart from the Cato Institute, a conservative think-tank, showing immigrants as a percentage of the total US population:

    http://www.cato.org/pubs/policy_report/images/im2.4.gif

    In my view the only legitimate goal in immigration reform is to make sure we have no UNDOCUMENTED aliens in the US. All nations have a legitimate national security right to secure borders and knowing who is in the country.

    But restricting the NUMBER of migrant workers in the US serves no useful economic purpose and any true blue (or is it true-red these days?) conservative should recognize that passing laws that restrict the size of the labor force flies in the face of basic conservative values. Having Washington manipulate the size of the labor force in an effort to drive up wages is the kind of big government central planning that I would expect from a Ted Kennedy but not from anyone who calls themselves “conservative”.

  25. Thank you to Vermont above for pointing to James Surowiecki’s article in the current New Yorker Magazine

    Here it is:

    Be Our Guest!

    Some of the difference in opinion breaks down to caring or not caring about others. The idea behind such opinion is that we can live in this world isolated from poverty elsewhere.

  26. darwhin says…

    “Or that if they came to the US they would become more prosperous so they would own more cars, TV, air-conditioners, etc? In other words is darwhin not so much anti-immigrant as pro-poverty?”

    does the world really need more americans with american type consumption?

    But I don’t see you posting about the Americans who buy big cars and 50″ TV’s.

    I agree with Potter’s observation that it comes down to caring about others. If someone wants to come here to have a better life why should I begrudge them that? I tend to work late at the office so I’m often still at my desk when the night cleaning crew come around. They’re from Mexico and Guatemala and they seem to work hard and actually enjoy their work. Their English isn’t very good and my Spanish isn’t gery good but sometimes we practice with each other. They seem like nice, hard-working people (I have no idea what their legal status is), but why should I desire to send them back to a poor, corrupt country when they can have a better life here and I can get my office cleaned?

  27. Most folks opposed to fining illegals, and — after they’ve paid their debt to society — allowing them to come here SAY they are opposed to mass deportations. I’m puzzled. No ‘amnesty’, build a Berlin Wall (or DMZ) to keep them from coming in overland (what about overstaying their visas?)… And then what? The 12 million already here aren’t going to simply vanish…. it all sounds like a continuation of the status quo to me…. Pretend they aren’t here. Leave the law as it is. Avoid facing the issue. And ????? IMHO there are only a limited number of choices (1) mass deportation; (2) legalization without fines; (3) legalization with fines; (4) a massive expansion of the prison system to encarcerated a population the size of Ohio’s populace (including women, teens, elementary school kids, and infants) or (4) ignore the problem and hope it goes away. Any other alternatives?

  28. pln, I agree with your points. As I stated I’m not against a guest worker program.On the other hand I’m also not against the Govt enforcing it’s own laws.

    If we can’t or won’t enforce our own laws the next step is a lawless society. People need to respect the law and follow the law if we dont do this than the country will eventually fall into anarcy and chaos. It may take decades but it will happen.

  29. Labor-inflation rhetoric matrix:

    Before emancipation: If we didn’t have them to do the work for no pay we’d have to pay someone to do it.

    After emancipation: If we can’t have them do the work for no pay we’ll have to pay them to do it.

    Before immigration reform: If we didn’t have them to do the work for illegal pay we’d have to pay someone more to do it.

    After immigration reform: If we can’t have them do the work for illegal pay we’ll have to pay them more to do it.

  30. [i]Some of the difference in opinion breaks down to caring or not caring about others. The idea behind such opinion is that we can live in this world isolated from poverty elsewhere.[/i]

    i suggest you open your home to a homeless person.

  31. “But I don’t see you posting about the Americans who buy big cars and 50″ TV’s.”

    basically you give up the right to any rational judgment because you feel guilty as an american is basically it. and thats the problem with much of the conversation, you feel you’ve had a go at the riches so you cant’ stop anyone else regardless of the consequences because you don’t feel deserving to begin with. and really, open your home to a homeless person, they deserve whats yours, who are you to say no. they are poor after all.

    and the graph does make my point, it goes VERY low, and takes decades to climb back up. that makes a huge difference, its not yearly spikes which would make no difference, its spikes over long periods of time. and frankly by that chart it would seem we should be due for another downturn if we want to match the success of previous waves.

    “conservative should recognize that passing laws that restrict the size of the labor force flies in the face of basic conservative values.”

    fine, but you realize that the left shouldn’t be supporting unlimited supply of imported workers to shove down wages. maybe the left should also switch positions on things like the minimum wage to be consistent.

    “I would argue that yes, it is. This planet is round and what goes around comes around.”

    you are not being serious. why do we have national parks and other protected lands if everything is global? surely there would be no point in protecting a patch of land if basically people living in other countries have as much impact on that patch as people who would log it down would:P excluding the obvious global warming much pollution effects and enviromental strain are localized. its simply a fact. and a damning one for leftist organizations like the sierra club which refuse to open their eyes.

    and of course its easy for you to not begrudge someone else the chance at something when they aren’t competing with your job, they aren’t suppressing your wages. i mean really..how big of you! i’d have more faith in the whole idea if immigration impacts were evenly spread, whats good for low wages should be just as good for the high earners. i mean really there are countless medical workers around the world making a fraction of a us salary that would probably gladly come in on a rotating schedule to make some cash to bring home.

    “Let’s start dealing with overpopulation (a global not just national problem) with good fact based sex education in the schools, make birth control easily available and legal and keep abortion safe and legal before we put a fence around ourselves.”

    theres really no need to do t in that order, its just as well to keep reasonable controls on our growth first. just as we should control our c02 emissions first before dealing with other countries. effectiveness with dealing with the rest of the world is questionable to begin with, we can’t even deal with sudan. let alone rwanda which in large part became the mess it was due to overpopulation.

    anyways, how many of those 12 million are actually farmworkers? and really, it is not a problem that cannot be solved. look at our grain harvests, it is almost completely mechanized today.

    After immigration reform: If we can’t have them do the work for illegal pay we’ll have to pay them more to do it. ”

    mostly unless theres a severe crackdown it will simply price them out of the jobs they were in slowly and more illegals will come and fill their places. the revolving door of converting illegal to legal then bring more illegals in.

  32. basically you give up the right to any rational judgment because you feel guilty as an american is basically it. and thats the problem with much of the conversation, you feel you’ve had a go at the riches so you cant’ stop anyone else regardless of the consequences because you don’t feel deserving to begin with.

    Au contraire. I worked very hard and saved diligently so today I have a nice house, lots of savings and investment, and virtually no debt, and I have no doubt that I deserve it.

    Which is why I’m happy to welcome anyone who wants to work hard.

    I work for a large foreign-owned multinational and at least half my co-workers are foreign-born. I’ve seen first-hand the benefits of taking the risk of coming to a new country and working hard to make something of oneself. And I’ve seen the benefits to ME and my company and my community and our economy from all my foreign co-workers.

    All your downsides are theoretical; all my upsides are real and concrete and readily demonstrable.

    fine, but you realize that the left shouldn’t be supporting unlimited supply of imported workers to shove down wages. maybe the left should also switch positions on things like the minimum wage to be consistent.

    What’s your evidence that they shove wages down?

    I’ll tell you what shoves wages down – not being able to get ENOUGH workers. During the last dot-com boom the Northeastern University center for Labor Market Studies found that the labor shortage in Massachusetts shaved over a full percentage point off our gross state product. My own company has shipped jobs to India because we cannot get enough skilled workers in the US.

    and of course its easy for you to not begrudge someone else the chance at something when they aren’t competing with your job, they aren’t suppressing your wages. i mean really..how big of you! i’d have more faith in the whole idea if immigration impacts were evenly spread, whats good for low wages should be just as good for the high earners.

    I’m an engineer. You don’t think I have LOTS of competition for my job from Indians and Chinese and Russians, etc? And unlike roofers and dishwashers and apple-pickers, my job can disappear overseas at the click of a mouse! And the engineers in those countries are just as skilled and hard-working as I am and they have just as much a right to those jobs as I do. But do you hear me whining? No. This is the 21st century. Deal with it. I deal with with it and I’m doing OK.

  33. actually to a degree you are protected by the limited supply of h1b visas. if we opened it up many engineers might not be doing so well. it isn’t quite as simple as clicking a mouse to send jobs overseas or frankly your job would have disappeared by now. and many other occupations actually have protections, like teachers with their powerful unions. frankly there are probably a great number of overseas teachers that could fill their jobs for cheaper considering all they have to do these days is teach to the test.

    as for the supposed shortages of workers, sure there are not enough workers..at the price you want to pay. its probably hard to understand from an office bubble where no one you know really gets exploited as chattle. the foreign workers you are around are obviously not the ones that will be burdens to society, and being higher on the social scale you get all the benefits of suppressing labor wages while really suffering none of the side effects yourself.

  34. actually to a degree you are protected by the limited supply of h1b visas. if we opened it up many engineers might not be doing so well.

    Wrong again. When high tech companies can’t get enough skilled workers locally for some project they want to do, they just move the whole project offshore. I strongly support having MORE h1b visas and I’m pretty sure I speak for most of my colleagues on this.

    As I said above, you sound like a student who just doesn’t have much real-world understanding of these issues.

    as for the supposed shortages of workers, sure there are not enough workers..at the price you want to pay.

    You have presented no evidence for this thesis. You seem to have a theory that there are all these people just laying around subsisting on welfare or something and if you raise wages high enough they’ll suddenly come crawling out of the woodwork. Where’s your data to support this?

    Anyway I already mentioned NAIRU. (please crack an economics textbook!) What happens when you “raise wages” is that someone has to PAY those wages. Restaurant workers wages go up; agricultural workers wages go up, so the cost of eating has to go up. Everybody has to eat so they all pay more for the privelege – this is called INFLATION (the “I” in NAIRU). If an agricultural worker’s wages go up, so the cost of food goes up, then effectively YOUR wages and MY wages and everybody else’s wages (who has to buy food) have gone DOWN. The ONLY way you can increase wages without it being a zero-(or less!) sum game is to increase productivity.

    This is Economics 101. Next semester at least audit the class!! That’s why artificially inducing a labor shortage is inflationary.

    Anyway, what’s really going to happen is that the work won’t get done because contrary to your fantasies, we don’t HAVE 12 million workers laying around doing nothing, to replace the illegals. So businesses will close, economic activity will shrink and the whole economy will suffer.

  35. Here’s another economocs lesson:

    Darwhin thinks if send all the Mexicans away then all we have to do replace them is raise wages and they’ll come streaming out of the woodwork where they’ve been lying around watching TV and collecting welfare just waiting for that great lettuce-picking job to fall into their laps.

    OK, so let’s say we raise agricultural wages from $7/hr to $12/hr. Dwarwhin thinks it’ll be just like before except a head of lettuce will go from $1.25 to $1.31 in the supermarket. (anyone who doesn’t think the math adds up doesn’t understand the cost of food).

    But the reality is that there ISN’T anyone waiting around to take those jobs. So instead of a shortage of labor, the real problem will be a shortage of LETTUCE (because it will all be rotting in the fields). So the price of a head of lettuce will actually go from $1.25 to maybe 2 or 3 dollars.

    And that sort of thing will be happening straight across the economy. Bottom line: We NEED the Mexicans so we better figure out a way to deal with it.

  36. How many do we need?Do you think when the time comes for us to say we have enough, that Mexicans and people from other countries will say, OK ,give me a call when you need more. Totally unrealistic.

    Looking at Calif, the state with the largest population of illegals we are seeing big trouble. The cost to the taxpayer is estimated at 10 billion a year most of this comes from having to pay for schooling of children, medical costs ,and the incarceration of illegals who are commiting crimes.

    The avg citizen has seen his tax bill go up by 1500 dollars to take care of the costs.

    You paint a rosey picture. I’m just not sure how long it will take for the rose to wilt.

  37. How many do we need?Do you think when the time comes for us to say we have enough, that Mexicans and people from other countries will say, OK ,give me a call when you need more. Totally unrealistic.

    Looking at Calif, the state with the largest population of illegals we are seeing big trouble. The cost to the taxpayer is estimated at 10 billion a year most of this comes from having to pay for schooling of children, medical costs ,and the incarceration of illegals who are commiting crimes.

    The avg citizen has seen his tax bill go up by 1500 dollars to take care of the costs.

    You paint a rosey picture. I’m just not sure how long it will take for the rose to wilt.

    But the immigration bill addresses all these issues. It secures the border to keep new illegals from coming in, and requires all existing illegals tio register and has actual teeth to enforce laws against hiring illegals. It’s a pretty good compromise that addresses all the major issues. The people who don’t like have not proposed anything better or more realistic.

  38. I think many people my self included are more apt to support the bill after the border is secure.Don’t be so sure that enforcement of any laws will take place. Look at what happened in New Bedford or was it Fall River? My guess is very few if anyone will be deported and the bussiness that did the hireing will escape any real penalties.

    On a side note the Govt can not even deport 2 murderes and a rapist due to immigration lawyers appealing to the 2nd circuit. They won and now we have 3 more crimminals residing here. Law suits from immigration lawyers will screw up any compromise you or I may favor.

    I’m with you in principle I just think in practice we will see disaster. What can you expect when the govt tries to run any program?

  39. “http://www.cis.org/articles/1996/back296.htm”

    “The removal of illegal workers from the seasonal agricultural workforce would increase the summer-fall supermarket prices of fresh fruits and vegetables by about 6 percent in the short run and 3 percent in the intermediate term. During the winter-spring seasons, prices would rise more than 3 percent in the short term and less then 2 percent in the intermediate term. Imports would increase about 1 percent.”

    perhaps you are the one that needs an economic lesson if you think raising salaries would mean doubling of lettuce prices. wages are a small percentage of agricultural costs.

    don’t offer a false choice of illegals or nothing. there are plenty that would work in legal migrant worker programs.

    but you are right, the costs might go up a little in general. but well its a small price to pay for those that actually have to face sending their kids to schools over burdened by illegals and the run down overcrowded neighborhoods they move into. people like you get to commute to their own upper middle class suburban bubbles with your nice schools where you can take all the benefits of cheap labor without actually having to face the results yourself.

  40. as for h1b worker shortage myth.

    “http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20050511-4897.html”

    “The critical point here is that the balance of power in this relationship is entirely skewed toward the employer. If the employer fires the foreign worker, then the worker has to leave the country. Or, if the employer doesn’t renew the worker’s visa application after three years, then the worker has to leave the country. Finally, the worker will definitely have to leave the country after six years when the H-1B visa expires… unless the employer has been sponsoring him for a green card (i.e., an immigrant visa) and he’s now eligible for it.

    The upshot of all this is that the foreign worker is basically stuck with the sponsoring employer if he or she wants to stay in the country and/or get a green card. This is a situation that’s obviously ripe for abuse, and tech companies have been the most notorious abusers. Companies give H-1B workers much lower wages and benefits than Americans doing the same jobs, because the H-1B workers can’t just up and quit. It’s a form of indentured servitude that not only exploits of H-1B workers themselves, but it harms Americans by artificially reducing American competitiveness in the labor market. Why hire an American to do a job that you can bring in an H-1B worker to do for much cheaper?

    These kinds of profit-motivated considerations are behind calls by tech industry luminaries like Intel CEO Craig Barrett and Microsoft’s Bill Gates to increase the number of H-1Bs allowed into the country. Never mind the fact that there are over 100,000 unemployed American programmers out there looking for work. The tech industry perpetuates the myth of a massive IT labor shortage so that they can keep the cheap indentured servant labor coming in from overseas. ”

    ” In the late 1990s, the computer industry claimed a desperate labor shortage. No independent study ever confirmed that shortage, but the hidden agenda behind the shrill shortage claims was to push Congress to increase the yearly cap on the H-1B work visa program, which enabled industry to import cut-rate engineers from abroad. Government data show, for instance, that Intel, which claims that its H-1Bs have master’s degrees and Ph.D.s, pays them far less than the national medians for engineers with these degrees.

    University computer science departments used the “labor shortage” claims to get more faculty, more doctoral students, and more research dollars from Congress and industry. Since research funding and Ph.D. production are key to prestige in universities, the claims of a labor shortage were manna from Heaven, and a number of prominent academics rushed to publicly support the industry’s push to expand the H-1B program to remedy the “labor shortage.”

  41. darwhin says…

    “http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20050511-4897.html”

    “The critical point here is that the balance of power in this relationship is entirely skewed toward the employer. If the employer fires the foreign worker, then the worker has to leave the country. Or, if the employer doesn’t renew the worker’s visa application after three years, then the worker has to leave the country. Finally, the worker will definitely have to leave the country after six years when the H-1B visa expires… unless the employer has been sponsoring him for a green card (i.e., an immigrant visa) and he’s now eligible for it.

    Darwhin, I work for a high tech company that hires LOTS of H-1B visa workers, a huge number of whom are my co-workers, AND I have been on many interview and hiring committees over the years. So all I can say is you have no idea WHAT you’re talking about.

    ” In the late 1990s, the computer industry claimed a desperate labor shortage. No independent study ever confirmed that shortage,

    Darwhin, come down from your ivory tower and check out the real world. I’ve been on hiring committees with a dozen open req’s for CSE, EE, and Mech-E’s, with specific skills in image and signal processing where we were offering over the average salary and benefits package and after 6 months, beating the bushes, advertising all over creation, and offering BONUSES to any employee who could give us a name, we ended up offshoring the project because we could NOT fill the positions! I SAW the resume’s! I INTERVIEWED the candidates! I don’t need a study to tell me that we have a terrible shortage.

    The shortage is VERY REAL. I don’t know what “studies” you’re looking at, but I have to deal with it every day. There are nowhere near enough qualified Americans for the jobs of the 21st century.

    I’m sticking to my theory that you’re a student who has no real-world knowledge or experience and you read something on the web from a source with an agenda and you believe it. Google takes out whole BILLBOARDS to attract applicants

    ( http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4078172 )

    … if a company as successful and prestigious as Google has to resort to such measures that should tell you something.

  42. “Darwhin, next time you try to prove a point choose a slightly more objective source for your “information”.”

    as opposed to your complete lack of sources? did you expect a pro illegal immigrant group to come up with such study results? just tell me whats incorrect about his study for one.

    and don’t bring up google, google is rich enough basically poach a good deal of its staff from other tech companies. most companies are not like google. google isn’t so much desperate from shortage as they are able to pick from the cream of the crop and are simply casting a wider net.

  43. and don’t bring up google, google is rich enough basically poach a good deal of its staff from other tech companies. most companies are not like google. google isn’t so much desperate from shortage as they are able to pick from the cream of the crop and are simply casting a wider net.

    So what? The fact remains the even Google, rich and prestigious as they are, has to work very hard to attract top talent.

    I’m telling you from personal, real-world experience, that there is a SEVERE shortage of technical talent (engineers, scientists, etc) in the US. If you look at the top technical staff at Google, Microsoft, Intel, and lots of other high tech companies (including mine) you see lots of Chinese, Indians, and others. Imported technical talent is what’s keeping a lot of US high tech companies afloat and competitive and therefore preserving a lot of US jobs. Look at the presenter list at the IEEE ASIC Conference from the US companies, or any other major technical conference.

    As I said, I’ve been on the interview committees; I’ve seen the resumes; your “100,000 unemployed programmers” are either someone’s fantasy, or they are 100,000 unemployed FORTRAN or COBOL programmers who haven’t updated their skills in decades.

    MORE H1B visas are the best way to ensure that I and other American high tech workers get to KEEP our jobs because they ensure the success of our companies and projects.

  44. Hey plnelson

    I lived this life too:

    “I tend to work late at the office so I’m often still at my desk when the night cleaning crew come around. They’re from Mexico and Guatemala and they seem to work hard and actually enjoy their work. Their English isn’t very good and my Spanish isn’t very good but sometimes we practice with each other. They seem like nice, hard-working people (I have no idea what their legal status is), but why should I desire to send them back to a poor, corrupt country when they can have a better life here and I can get my office cleaned?”

    I was at MSFT for 5 yrs, and I often worked into the late evening while the cleaning staff (most tended to be from Eastern Europe) picked up after us slobs. I always stopped to say “thanks” when they came into my office. Occasionally I got to hear their story. Some lived through horrific times, e.g. Bosnian War, and were, therefore, appreciative for the opportunity they now had. It also put any issues I had into perspective :)

  45. darwhin

    You said the following:

    and well as for more recent immigrants being more outspoken about this issue, i think its because as an asian legal immigrant i don’t have any issues with white guilt that might be keeping some towing the pc line.

    If I’m reading this right, you’re an immigrant. Is that true? If so, may I ask how long you’ve been in the U.S.? And if you’re not yet a citizen, I assume you’re on your way to becoming one?

    (About ten years ago I helped a Laotian friend obtain her citizenship and saw firsthand how strenuous it can be. NPR did a show on it months ago. The inconsistencies regarding test questions, rude/abrasive immigration officers, etc.)

    And if you are an immigrant, then I can only wonder what happened to you when you write stuff like this:

    give the bleeding heart yuppies a dose of their own medicine.

    it is weird how the left basically loses the plot on this issue they are so afraid of being called racist.

    there’s also the environment. the big issue for the left which somehow like the sierra club shoves its head into the sand on issues of population.

    its probably hard to understand from an office bubble where no one you know really gets exploited as chattle. the foreign workers you are around are obviously not the ones that will be burdens to society, and being higher on the social scale you get all the benefits of suppressing labor wages while really suffering none of the side effects yourself.

    (I had two jobs while working at MSFT. My first one is now being done by a guy living in Bangalore, India. To add insult to injury, I trained him. And though it wasn’t exactly the highlight of my life, I have to admit: (1) he was a really nice guy. He asked a lot of questions about living in the U.S. and I learned a lot about the customs/cultures of India. (2) He was !@#$ smart! And for better or worse, it made a few MSFT people take notice, e.g. a little less bragging about their Audi S4 and little more interest in keeping current with the industry)

    Now, if you’re merely trying to get a rise out of people, so be it. God knows I do it all the time. Just read some of the things I’ve posted on ROS.

    However, if you are sincere, how worried should we be?

  46. My hunch is that we have displaced many Mexican farmers by flooding their markets with our government subsidized corn. Please consider this as part of the discussion on immigration policy.

  47. My hunch is that we have displaced many Mexican farmers by flooding their markets with our government subsidized corn. Please consider this as part of the discussion on immigration policy.

    Sure, but look at all the employment we CREATE with drug gangs and the securiy forces to fight them as a result of all illegal drugs we import through Mexico. 8-) There was a great article in a recent Economist describing how vast that problem is for Mexico and how it is due almost entirely to the US’ insatiable demand for more and more illegal drugs.

    As Jose Mori, once President of Mexico, said: “¡Pobre México! ¡Tan lejos de Dios y tan cerca de los Estados Unidos!” (Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States!) ”

    The United States cannot wash its hand of our moral obligation to Mexico and its problems because we have been so instrumental in creating those problems.

  48. It’s Simple – This is about MONEY!

    Speaking as a lifelong Democrat: I’m a current Los Angeles Resident. (Former: Needham MA Resident)

    Border states are suffering from the lack of resources:

    1. This means Not Enough Hospitals (average wait time in the ER is 8-10 hours to be seen)

    ( I don’t think New England Hospitals are operating at this level) The number of hospitals available to residents has gone down considerably in the last 10 years.

    2. Schools are Abysmal (again not enough resources) ESL issues keep Art and Music out of the schools. Private School is costly and many have no real alternative but to send their kids to crowded, violent learning facilities. (30 years ago the Southland had terrific schools)

    3. Housing has Skyrocketed (increased unsustainable population)

    4. Quality of Life has decreased.

    5. Why should the average citizen pay for BUSINESS to get cheap labor.

    Moral Obligation? Can we please fix the problems in this country – then consider our border to the south. I’d like to see a little equality in this country first. Fox should be accountable to his own citizens. Bush could then follow his lead.

  49. Ann,

    Could you please post some links and/or direct me toward some objective – whatever that means :) – studies that support your claim that illegal immigrants are responsible for increased Emergency Room wait times, the skyrocketing cost of housing, and causing our schools to become abysmal, crowded and violent. That is what you’re saying, right?

    Hmmmm. Perhaps the baby-boomers are to blame. They ARE getting older. And I can only assume emergency rooms are seeing more and more broken hips, respiratory infections, and all the other ailments associated with the elderly.

    And because air travel is becoming such a nuisance, maybe those baby-boomers have all moved to the Border States to be closer to their timeshares in Cabo san Lucas or Cancun. And with all their disposable income, they’re obviously going to want to live in the nice part of town, which, consequently, is going to cause cost of housing to skyrocket.

    And wherever you find a herd of retiring and/or near retiring baby-boomers, you’ll no doubt find plenty of gin, Scotch, and talk of “my kids are all moved out and have kids of their own, so why should I support any bill that want to take more of my hard earned money to support art classes in school.”

    I don’t deny that your claims are legitimate, Ann, but I find it hard to believe illegal immigrants are the cause, or at least the primary cause. However, prove me wrong, and I will fly down tomorrow and mow your lawn…just as soon as Jose shows me how to use one.

    I don’t mean to pick on you, Ann, but what does your being a “lifelong Democrat” have to do with your concerns. Hey, I salute the flag of bleeding heart liberals every morning, but I also know blaming the other party, culture, country, etc. is a cheap excuse, nothing less, nothing more.

    Finally, in response to your I’d like to see a little equality in this country first when discussing Moral Obligation, I ask:

    When did citizenship become a criterion when discussing morality

    Now, I absolutely recognize that we have problems in this great country that need to be addressed. However, as a 6 foot, white, blue eyed, educated, heterosexual American male, i.e. I really have nothing to complain about, I’ve lived and traveled all over this ball of dirt floating in space. I’ve stood in the killing fields of Cambodia where, even after years of excavation, bones dressed in blue rags littered the ground. Now I know they didn’t die wearing hospital gowns in an overcrowded emergency room, just as I know the craters all over the country weren’t caused by 500 pound meteorites with “Made in the U.S.A.” stenciled on their side.

    Again, we do have problems in the country, but as long as we continue to blame others, or see the world as “Us vs. Them” we will never truly solve anything. We need to set aside out passports, acknowledge our mistakes, fears, etc., and recognize that we share a common humanity. Only then will progress be made.

  50. Do you consider breaking the law a problem?

    If you don’t know how to use a lawn mower you can always get a push mower.Just grab each handle with your hands and put one foot in front of the other. By doing this you will create motion, the blades of the mower will then start to rotate and begin cutting your grass. No need to have Jose teach you.

  51. By your response, rc21, I take it you, too, were unable to find any objective studies showing illegal immigrants are responsible for Border States:

    Not having enough hospitals (average wait time in the ER is 8-10 hours to be seen)

    Even if they did have enough hospitals and/or every illegal immigrant were sent home tomorrow, may or may not have ANY effect on average ER wait times.

    2. Schools becoming abysmal, crowded and violent.

    What about the abysmal, crowded and violent schools in the non-border states, rc21? What’s their excuse?

    3. Housing has Skyrocketed (increased unsustainable population)

    HUH !?!

    Decreased quality of life

    “Well I’ll be damned Mrs. Smith, your lab tests show your emphysema was caused by migrant workers.”

    BTW Thanks for the push mower instructions, but could you please write them in Spanish? That way I can just tack it to the garage wall alongside the other note for Jose that says he’s to blame for my kids not being able to tell the difference between a Monet and Manet.

  52. Read my june 14, 10;59 post. Taxes have increased dramatically to help defer the costs of illegals in CA.

    Once again I will ask do you consider breaking the law a problem?

    As to the lawn mower.I was hoping you would take it upon your self to cut your own grass.

  53. Once again I will ask do you consider breaking the law a problem?

    Following hurricane Katrina, do you believe any parent taking food from an abandoned grocery store in order to feed their kids should be charged for shoplifting? They are, after all, breaking the law. Or what if you had to drive a loved one in need of immediate medical care to the hospital, rc21; will you still wait for the light to turn green even though you’re the only car at the intersection? “Sorry dear, but the law’s the law.” So, your question, do I consider breaking the law a problem, is naïve, one often posed to law students on their first day of school. And I’d be very concerned about the kid who answered ‘Yes’, for he obviously only sees the world in Black or White, Yes or No, or Either Your With Us or Against Us. And God help any country that’d vote for someone like that…TWICE! Wait! Ah, hell!

    Do I believe something should be done about immigration? Absolutely! Every country has a right/responsibility to care for/protect her citizens. But when a citizen of the richest, most powerful country in the world starts blaming illegal immigrants for the hellish school systems, the increased cost of housing, and overall decrease in quality of life, alarm bells start going off in my head. And I’m sorry, rc21, but your June 14, 10:59 post means very little to me…unless of course you can point me to objective studies to back up your and Ann’s claim. But even if you could, I’d still be highly skeptical, and here’s why:

    Last week I watched NASA’s live feed from my home in a beautiful Seattle neighborhood, surrounded by million dollar houses. (I confess I don’t have a yard…but mowed a very big one as a kid every Saturday :) ) And on my computer screen was live feed showing the space shuttle, an astronaut repairing that torn piece of protective fabric, and Africa and the Middle East some 200 miles below. And for a moment I thought “I’m a citizen of the United States, THE greatest country in the world, watching a fellow citizen repair his injured spaceship. How F-ing cool is THAT!!!” But then I’d shift my eyes to see Iraq (not to mention Sudan) below, and thought of what atrocities were happening in those countries. Then I thought, “How F’d UP is that!!!

    My point is, I’m here in Seattle, home of Boeing, Costco, Starbucks, Microsoft, i.e. more money than God, watching a man wearing a spacesuit (which, I just looked it up, cost $22 million each), working on a $1.7 billion shuttle (how many of those do we own/have we lost? and what does it cost just to launch one? $450 million) where 200 miles below hundreds of billions of dollars are being spent on war. (which will no doubt eventually surpass a TRILLION DOLLARS) Meanwhile, we sit in our air-conditioned SUVs, driving home from the mall (spend, spend, spend) complaining about the Soprano’s anti-climactic ending, and “Oh, can you believe those illegal immigrants, they’re ruining our quality of life. Why just the other day I spent six hours in the E.R.……”

    Give me a !@#$ break!!!

  54. So as long as you need or want something it is ok to break the law. Need some food break into a store. F–k the honest hard working people who have toiled hour upon hour in order to realize their dream of owning their own bussiness.

    Sorry it’s not up to Bobby to decide which laws should be obeyed and which should not . Why have any laws at all, If someone does not like a law than it is ok to break it. Yes let’s have anarchy.

    You asked for studies I gave you one. Why ask if you have already made up your mind to ignore them. Your question is pointless you have already formulated an opinion and seem unable or unwilling to comprehend any evidence that massive illegal immigration has some down sides.

    You say you believe something should be done about immigration. You then provide no answers. What you do seem to suggest is that we are a prosperous country and should open our borders to the less fortunate.

    Tell me how many millions should we allow in? Give me a fixed number10 million why not 20 million. Maybe 50 million. Give me some type of answer if you can.

  55. I want to know where the laws came from… and WHEN… and Why. Were they from the same source as the laws that proposed the “Freedom to buy and sell people from Africa”? How did the U.S. ever “buy” Alaska???… from the Russians??! Did that mean all the people there were “U.S. People” now? Or did the purchaser feel the right was there to drive those people away… say, over to Russia (their former feudal Lord)? Lines in the sand are just that- nowhere near as permanent as the sand itself.

    I’d like to see an equal opportunity to take MY capital anywhere that capitalists can send theirs. If any country allows money from another country to cross its borders (for whatever reason), it must be reciprocal, ie the capital- ALL capital- must be allowed to flow in both directions. So, if Vicente Fox can invest on Wall Street, then his gardener has as much right to pursue work (ie “invest his capital”) across that same border- AND I will have the right to go to Chiapas and “invest my capital” there. It may be that the reforms Mexico appears to need so desperately might come about as a result of such policies…

    If lettuce is left to rot in the fields, thus driving up the price of lettuce, two possibilities occur to me: José might take a rototiller to the lawn instead of a mower; and the water saved by reducing the allotment that the field of lettuce was utilizing can help support more urban growth- since agricultural uses of water are highly improvident, when compared to water’s value to households, directly. A subdivision on that lettuce field will require only 40% of the water that lettuce growing did, thereby allowing some of that water to stay in the system and end up in Mexico, where it belongs (unless Las Vegas finds out about it- in which case, all bets are off)… ^..^

  56. If lettuce is left to rot in the fields, thus driving up the price of lettuce, two possibilities occur to me: José might take a rototiller to the lawn instead of a mower; and the water saved by reducing the allotment that the field of lettuce was utilizing can help support more urban growth-

    If we suddenly don’t have the labor to pick lettuce what will happen is that for a few weeks lettuce will be expensive. Then the markets will adjust, new sources for lettuce will be found overseas and the supply chains adjusted. Shortly after that people in far away places wiill be rich supplying lettuce to people in Wisconsin.

    Long term if we insist on growing lettuce here we’ll work out more efficient methods of farming lettuce – a mechanical system to gather the crop instead of stoop labor. More wealth is created as companies gear up to produce automated lettuce pickers .

  57. Re ..”Then the markets will adjust, new sources for lettuce will be found overseas and the supply chains adjusted. Shortly after that people in far away places wiill be rich supplying lettuce to people in Wisconsin..”-

    This actually happened to my neighborhood- in early 1970s – and I had people who were driving by stop and ask to buy lettuce from our garden (which was right by the road). I sold it for what the grocery was asking at the time (I don’t remember the problem in California- but there was something…). They got fresh, local lettuce- and I got money that I wasn’t expecting. These days, “overseas” might be part of the “solution”; but don’t count out the entrepeneurial spirit of the local folks.

    As a side note, I noticed that the Chinese exportation of garlic has gone up around a thousandfold in the last 12 years. I started seeing it- and also comb honey and smoked oysters & scallops- in a local “liquidator” market chain on a regular basis about 3 years ago. My first thought was that “WOW!.. things are so good in China that they’ve got all the garlic & oysters that they need, over there- and can send us their surplus- a Maoist miracle!” Upon further reflection, I’m guessing that it doesn’t work quite like that… ^..^

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