Saturday, May 3, 2008

Thoughts on Immigration

Yesterday, there was the now traditional May Day immigration rally. Unlike the past few years, this was a smaller rally. I think that the whole issue seems to have disappeared from people's radar screens for now. Both parties are probably happy with this. The issue is very divisive. People don't want to be overrun by hordes of illegal aliens but I believe most people also recognize the value these folks bring to our country. And people really do not want to be in the position of deporting parents of children born here.

I think the real problem is not the immigrants we know but those we don't know. Everyone in the US knows an immigrant. And generally they like the ones they know. Growing up we had one guy across the street who was an immigrant from Italy and a guy down the street who was an immigrant from Egypt. No one had a problem with them. In fact, most people liked them, felt they were hard workers and nice people.

The issue is the immigrants we don't know -- the nameless faceless people who hang out at Home Depot looking for work. I am someone who is usually accused of being an "open borders" type, but I think the real problem here in the US is simply a matter of human nature -- people have a fear of the unknown and the "other".

The other problem is in Mexico. This is not an issue that just popped up, rather something that has been brewing for a century. Namely, the fact that successive Mexican governments have refused to reform the country, and instead send their excess population to the US. It has only gotten worse under the leadership of Fox and Calderón. And to make it worse for Mexico, those who have left probably represent the most ambitious of their lower classes. The rich have no reason to leave and the middle classes probably feel they can still make a go of it. But if you are poor and ambitious, the government has basically said "Go North!" So Mexico is basically exporting those people who would be helpful in building up a better Mexico.

I am sympathetic to illegal immigrants and their plight. I believe generally in free movement of goods and people. And considering that we do not have the all pervasive and suffocating safety net that Europe has, the kind of people that come here will be the hard working people we want to attract. But wandering around the fringes of the rally yesterday, I think it would be easier to be sympathetic if many of those marching were not wearing Che Guevara tee shirts or carrying signs for some Trotskeyite organization such as the ISO or ANSWER.


Kirk Johnson said...

One of your best posts, Anthony. Good stuff all the way through.

William R. Barker said...

"...the value these folks bring to our country."

The value? Show me the cost/benefit stats? (*SMILE*) Oh, sure... there are studies on both sides. Net gain... net loss? You can find studies reaching either conclusion. Still... what's important is the mindset. Frankly, I don't wanna hear from anyone on either side if they're not willing to base their ultimate conclusion on what they believe - with reason - the answer is to that question.

AND... FURTHERMORE... if one comes down on the side of "net positive," then that still doesn't create a justification for "supporting" illegal immigration; rather, it supports a desire for immigration reform. (*SHRUG*)

"...people really do not want to be in the position of deporting parents of children born here."

You're right. I'm in the distinct minority. That said, I'm in favor of legislatively (since I believe the ultimate power resides in the legislature and that past Court decisions have deliberately distorted the original intent of the original Founders as well as the various Amendment Founders with regard to "citizenship" as defined by the Constitution) dealing with the flawed reasoning and disasterous consequences of "birth citizenship" as applying to the offspring of illegal aliens on US soil.

Beyond that... I'm still ready, willing, and able to deport the illegal alien parents of US born citizen minors in certain circumstances. (*SHRUG*)

(Just as an aside... a compromise I'd be willing to consider would be to allow illegals to stay on good behavior but NEVER allow them to be eligible for citizenship or social security - though I'd make them pay in to the SS fund.)

* End of critiquing paragraphy one.


William R. Barker said...

"I am someone who is usually accused of being an "open borders" type..."

Yeah. (*SMILE*) That's the problem with the editorial section of the WSJ. They're dead right 85%-90% of the time... but when they're wrong... they're WAY wrong. (*WINK*)

(Another aside... this time directed humor: I am someone who is usually accused of being a "Shakespeare" type... I believe FIRST we kill all the lawyers!) (*GRIN*) (W'll give you a pass, Anthony!)

Anthony... physical security is just one part of the problem. Illegal immigrants put downward pressure on wages at the low end of the economic totem pole. Whether middle class white teens and lower class blacks (I'm identifying groups as they exist in terms of this debate in the sense they're identifiably overrepresented statistically) WANT to do the jobs often taken by illegals or not, a system that "allows" a situation where American teens and American low skill adults are facing lower wages and thus less incentive to take low level jobs in favor of illegal aliens taking them is a BAD system.

* End critique number two. (*WINK*)


William R. Barker said...

Are you a reader, Anthony? I mean... aside from professional reading and leisure reading, do you enjoy reading non-fiction just for the sake of expanding your knowledge and horizons?

Ya familiar with Samuel P. Huntington? Might I suggest you pick up his 2004 Barker recommended (*WINK*), "Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity," the next time you're at the library or bookstore?

How'bout Buchanan? Are you a "Pat knows where it's at" kinda guy? (*GRIN*) Buchanan's not ALWAYS right (neither am I - DON'T TELL ANYONE!!!), but he's usually on target. Have you read "State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America"? Sure, sure... there are flaws with the book - it's repetitive and citations sometimes leave a bit to be desired, however... if you haven't read it, you should.

(Hey... while you're at it... pick up "Day of Reckoning: How Hubris, Ideology, and Greed Are Tearing America Apart". I haven't read it myself yet, but Buchanan's books are ALWAYS worth reading.)

Ya might wanna pick up some Lou Dobbs too. (*WINK*) The guy is a serious intellectual player - don't let the TV bomblast fool ya.


Anthony said...

Yes Bill, I read a lot. Most of what I read however tends to be history (including primary sources). So probably not what you have in mind.

I am not a big fan of Buchanan and have never read any of his books (though I have read some of his essays).

William R. Barker said...

In that case... expand your intellectual horizons, Anthony!



Anthony said...

I think my intellectual horizons are already fairly wide.

As for Buchanan, apparently the only thing he and I agree on are that it is time to wind up NATO. I do not think he is a crypto-Nazi or an anti-Semite (as he is usually accused of being). But I think he has way too much nostalgia for segregation.

William R. Barker said...

But that's the thing about EXPANSION...


No matter HOW wide your intellectual horizons are already... (*SHRUG*)... you can always EXPAND them further.

And in all seriousness, Anthony, Huntington is one of the nation's foremost social scientists. (*SHRUG*)

As to Buchanan... (*SHRUG*)... I try to read each of his columns as they're released and often attempt to get discussions about them going on RT. Rarely do I get many takers. (*SMILE*)

I would be VERY surprised to find that if you were to take the time to read Buchanan's columns consistently you'd find yourself disagreeing more than agreeing. (*SHRUG*) Just a guess.

In any case, Anthony... you have ME to gain wisdom from! You're a lucky man indeed. (*HUGE FRIGG'N GRIN*)