Citizenship by just showing up is not right, but maybe it should be easier to obtain for workers…

November 23, 2014

Does anyone know what our immigration policy is? I tried to look it up on the internet and on more than one site it said it is “complex”.

And why do so many have to go through a long and arduous process and prove they know more about our country than many native-born and others just show up and demand citizenship?

And you know those low-paying jobs that so many illegal aliens do could be performed by our own citizens, but if they were those citizens might demand better working conditions and higher pay.

But why do those who work and pay taxes have to subsidize American citizens who are not working, while illegal aliens fill the void?

And why do we chase down people who come here to work, albeit illegally, but seldom go after the employers who draw them in?

And let’s be honest, illegal aliens do not just take low-paying, low-level jobs. The have moved into the trades. In some cases the trade work has been dumbed down to make it possible to hire unskilled workers, and in some cases we all suffer for that.

It’s hard to feel bad towards those who come here to make a living for themselves and their families. I think there ought to be a way for them to get citizenship more easily by immigrating under a legal process.

But let’s stop using the euphemism of “immigrants” when we are talking about people here illegally. Immigrant puts in mind someone legally becoming a resident of the country.

What to do with the millions of illegals already here… the only thing I can think of is not much of anything until or less something comes up to bring them before the law, and then sort it out case by case.

But meanwhile we need a policy that is fair and practical and not so complex that few understand it.

I don’t think immigration policy by presidential decree is a good idea. On the other hand, the congress has thus far failed to act.

P.s.

I have not been able to decipher yet exactly what President Obama’s latest executive order on immigration does, but I understand it is a piecemeal approach and does not by any means address all issues concerning illegals or others involved. As an example, it gives children of illegals more time to stave off deportation but does not help their parents. And basically some illegals are helped and others not. The president has called upon congress to pass a comprehensive plan.

Also, there is the issue of legal highly-skilled foreign workers. That would have to be the subject of another post. But the question is: why are we so short of highly-skilled people?

 


Let’s stop hassling hard-working, law-abiding non-citizen workers…

December 5, 2011

Just some thoughts on illegal immigration, particularly the movement of workers from Mexico and other places south of the border into the U.S. and what to do with them when they are caught — even years after being established in the U.S.

The first thought that springs to my mind is, so go ahead and let them become citizens and give them green cards or whatever they call papers for legal status these days in the interim — that is as long as they are law abiding.

We all know that employers knowingly hire illegal aliens both because they are willing to work and because they often work cheaper and are less apt to demand hire wages and better working conditions (not to say that some do not hold down fairly well-paying jobs in the terms of whatever work they might do). And I am sure that there are times when employers are fooled too. But the, oh, gee, we didn’t know, does not sound very plausible to me — especially when many do not even speak English. I’m not registering a complaint or putting anyone down — I respect people who work –but as a truck driver I often encounter and have to somehow deal with workers who speak no English. Now usually the language they do speak is Spanish. I only know some rudimentary Spanish (I took some classes in school and I study on my own from time to time for the fun of it). I have even witnessed truck drivers who do not speak English and don’t speak Spanish either. Some speak Russian or other Eastern European languages,  or East Indian and other languages.

But what prompted this post was a story I just read in USA Today (I actually paid a dollar for the actual newspaper — I get most of my news nowadays off the internet or over the radio, but I find it impossible or at least cumbersome to haul my laptop around while I am doing a sit-down breakfast — I don’t even do that very often, sit down meal on the road, that is).

The story told of a woman who came here (the U.S.) illegally with her parents from Mexico years ago and still does not have legal status. Meanwhile, she has had children who are citizens because they were born here (and by the way I believe we should maintain that provision in the Constitution that gives automatic citizenship to all who are born within the boundaries of the U.S. — I just can‘t see any other way.)

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich made a hit with many, and made some hard-righters mad too, when he said he thinks it is only practical and morally right for us not to deport people who have resided here for years, have families, and have been contributing to the economy and the tax base (I’m paraphrasing what he said), have been law abiding, and often members of church congregations, and so on. He said he did not think Americans would want to deport 11 million illegal aliens (except those who had been involved in criminal activity, besides their own illegal entry). It would neither be practical nor moral.

The story in USA Today also noted that the woman was eventually arrested by authorities after she made the misstep of trying to get legal status — that alerted them to her illegal status. In fact, according to her, immigration authorities told her that President Obama’s new policy to zero in on criminals and leave law-abiding aliens alone was just a political fantasy. And immigrant rights workers were quoted as saying that there are frequent instances of law-abiding, but illegal aliens getting deported and separated from their families, and I forgot to mention that the lady in the story was one of those deported and her children were left here in the U.S. They don’t speak enough Spanish to handle Mexican schools and she can’t support them in Mexico.

Elsewhere, in the Opinion section, there was a piece that mentioned that farmers need the illegal workers because when they tried to hire U.S. workers most of them quit after a day or so.

Those for stricter enforcement say the illegals are drain on social services and thus on taxpayers and that they rob American citizens of jobs. It is a complicated issue. Illegals actually pay taxes and they seem to do work American workers will not or cannot do (I have often written in this blog site that really American workers have done these jobs and will do them if that is the only way they can get by and that if there is no work force available often mechanization takes over — and who knows? Maybe even better working conditions and better pay to entice workers, you think?).

In reality there is no easy answer. But it seems to me the more pressing problem is to keep out the bad actors. I would favor leaving the good actors alone.


Employers would pay more if cheap labor was not available, but then mechanization also becomes more attractive too…

August 27, 2011

BLOGGER’S NOTE:

The following is both a re-posting and a kind of hybrid post of one I did on this site and one I did on another site a day or so ago, but I am interested in the subject of whether there are jobs out there for people to do and whether some of those jobs are being taken by illegal aliens and whether anyone really wants those jobs, and what is practical in the job department:

I think when or if relatively cheap labor is not available employers will pay more for labor, but mechanization also becomes more attractive then too.

Watching the Mexican laborers (citizens some or all, immigration status, I don’t know and don’t care) hard at work the other day as my truck trailer full of potatoes to be processed was being unloaded, I was talking to another driver and we both agreed that unemployed people drawing assistance ought to have to check out these jobs.

Actually I have been there, done that myself once upon a time, or maybe more than once — not at the potato processing plant, but in the strawberry plant harvesting business, and elsewhere, to include harvesting worms out of ponds for tropical fish feed — and these were minimum wage or slightly above jobs.

Just a thought.

This scenario occurs to me: so there are no workers from south of the border to do low-paid or relatively low-paid labor. The government has now severely restricted various programs for the out of work. So out-of-work non-south-of-the-border people go to work at these jobs. Since they are so low paid and since many of them are seasonal, the government may well begin subsidizing them. But at least U.S. citizens will have some work. Also, mark my words, where it becomes impractical to find cheap labor, plants will turn to even more mechanization.

I have watched first hand a robot machine that stacks pallets of potato boxes quite nicely.

Okay, I originally posted this with the headline “There are jobs out there”, and maybe just by itself that was a bit misleading. There’s really a lot more to all of that, and of course low-end jobs that I was referring to don’t offer much hope and may not even be practical.

The key to getting jobs, as anyone would know, is having skill or skills at something or preferably many things. Young people need to know this and plan their lives accordingly. They don’t necessarily need to go to conventional college, but they need to do something. For the rest of us, we just have to do what we can do (I mean I attended the conventional four years of college, not all at once, and I drive a truck and am happy as can be to have a job at 62).

I do not think it has turned out to be practical to have the government through its various social programs be the guarantor of a certain standard of living for us all, that is not to say the government should not be there to help. Of course it should — otherwise what is it for? But we all have to take on personal responsibility.

Once upon a time, labor unions went with the attitude that labor is labor and management is management and it was solely up to management to makes things work economically so businesses could stay in business, but labor had to be guaranteed a certain standard of living. While I do think that employers do have a certain social responsibility, in the practical world they have to do what they have to do to stay in business. Labor has to do what it can to make itself worthy the cost. In this world of rapidly changing technology that can be a real challenge.

I could see in the not-to-distant future a situation in which the majority of people in the world have nothing to do thanks to technology. Now that will be a problem. We will have no practical way of distributing the tokens we call money. But that day has not come — even though it seems like it almost.

Right now the major economies of the West subsidize their low-end labor to some degree. They also subsidize or support many of those who do no work at all.

This is starting to bankrupt these economies.

One of the big problems in the United States is that not only do we not have enough jobs to go around (well that is debatable if we have illegal aliens filling many jobs), we have for decades now been encouraging young people to just take it easy, don’t make any decisions too soon, maybe go to college and find yourself, and so on (the smart and/or motivated ones don’t take this path). Well that doesn’t work so well. But this has led to what at times seems like a food stamp/welfare nation.

But even with all this, the fact is we need more jobs. That should be the number-one effort of the president and congress. Forget foreign wars and intrigue and forget prohibiting homosexuals from getting married, and mind your own business about women’s reproductive rights.

P.s.

But when I say forget foreign wars, I do no mean forget about defense and things happening around the globe that could affect our defense. The development of nuclear weapons by outlaw nations, such as Iran, cannot be ignored. But it is not practical, especially in the economic sense, either that the U.S. be in a perpetual state of war.


Lou Dobbs: ‘Fetch my horse Pancho’…

October 7, 2010

Can’t you just see and hear it? Lou Dobbs: “Fetch my horse Pancho, now what was I saying? oh, yes, we have to stop the flood of illegal immigrants across our nation’s borders.” 

So Lou Dobbs the media champion in the fight against allowing illegal aliens into the U.S. has now been exposed as being a hypocrite, hiring illegals to work on his multi-million estates to tend his horses and such.http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/20101007/cm_yblog_upshot/report-lou-dobbs-employed-undocumented-immigrants

This is what I just read on the internet. If this proves to be true, and I have no reason to believe it is not, it really points out two main things. One, there is a lot of I suppose you would call demagoguery in the illegal alien issue, that is to say, people looking to gain power or political support pick a hot button emotional issue and run with it, no matter what they do or believe themselves, and two, the elites with all their money are so far removed from the everyday working folks (and even the everyday non-working folks) that they cannot comprehend the plight of the average American.

Dobbs hid behind the mantle of journalism or news commentary when he was at CNN. I liked or agreed with a lot of what he said, but I also recognized that he came off as a little overblown and self-important, pompous if you will, and not a bit objective, and you had to wonder if he was not running for something. In fact, it had been reported that he was seeking some high political office, such as senator (or president?).

Undocumented workers seem to be an integral part of our labor force, most often doing jobs others do not prefer to do or doing jobs others might prefer to do but for less money and fewer to no complaints about working conditions. The main problem is that undocumented workers take from our social welfare system while our government deficit spends already, and worst of all they bring down or hold back the wages for legal workers.

But my whole point in posting this is not the illegal worker problem, but the demagogues who use it and other issues for their own ends, but provide no useful leadership in the process — be they fame and power seeking Lou Dobbs or power seeking Meg Whitman (running for governor of California), who  also has her illegal alien hiring (and firing) problem, they seem to be part of the problem, rather than the solution.

P.s.

I would have liked to give Meg Whitman a chance, even though it was unlikely that I could ever support her, but she seems to have shot herself in the foot over the illegal nanny or housemaid issue.


Whitman could have handled her nannygate problem better; the law on illegal immigration appears to be an ass…

October 2, 2010

I don’t know if Meg Whitman was essentially the victim of blackmail by an opportunistic and possibly disgruntled former housekeeper who was not in the country legally and a notorious media savvy lawyer, but I do think she, Whitman, could have handled things better — more nicely if you will.

And I think that illegal immigration or immigration law is a mess.

First, the latter point: I just read an article from the San Francisco Chronicle about the pitfalls of hiring and firing illegal immigrants and it has made my head swim (and thanks to Gene Burns of KGO radio, San Francisco for pointing it out on his show). If accurate, it makes no sense — and it makes me think of that old saying (which I always get a little wrong) “If that is the law, then the law is an ass”.

If the story is true, it appears that federal law requires that you immediately fire anyone who is an illegal alien once you know that to be the case but on the other hand you could be hit with a discrimination suit or charge if you were to fire someone based on such things as a letter from Social Security questioning a worker’s documentation or if you were to even ask the worker about his or her status. Now if true, that is absurd!

You can read the story yourself at: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/09/30/MN931FME32.DTL

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ADD 1: And her is another good backgrounder: http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/10/02/how-meg-whitman-was-ambushed-by-her-maid/

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And now to the first point: Whitman, who by the way I mention to non-California readers is the Republican candidate for governor of California running against Democrat Jerry Brown, said she fired her housekeeper after the housekeeper announced she was illegal and asked for help in getting a green card. Whitman has also said that she was sorry it had to end that way being as the woman had been like part of the family, having done nanny duties and such. The former housekeeper has complained that she was treated badly and I think she has said she has been cheated out of some money.

It seems to me that one could come to the conclusion that there is a little extortion going on here or at least an attempt what with a high-priced lawyer helping to put the candidate in a bad light and hoping for a big payoff. But at the same time, it seems to me Whitman could have found an amiable solution, either by, indeed, helping her former beloved member of the family get a green card or by helping her financially in any way she could (Whitman has the money).

Stiff penalties for hiring illegals is part of Whitman’s campaign platform (do as I say, not as I do).

The evidence so far in this affair seems to indicate that Whitman knew or should have suspected that the woman was an illegal immigrant if for no other reason than the broken English the woman uses (we‘ve heard her on radio).

Also we all know that it is the custom for folks with money (and maybe even folks of more modest means) to hire illegal immigrants to do relatively low-paid work — this is just a fact of life. But railing against illegals, especially in a time of high unemployment is great politics.

Oh, and there is that letter from Social Security questioning her housekeeper’s immigration status on which someone (reportedly Whitman’s husband) wrote a note to have the situation checked out. Whitman has claimed she never saw the letter.

I’m thinking that Whitman broke no laws, except for a moral law (or obligation) to treat an employee who was part of the family, so to speak, with a little more dignity and compassion.

Also, it has been reported that the woman received , I think, something like $23 per hour for 15 hours per week. Some would say that is not a bad deal. I suspect that she probably was in reality required to work longer and was not in a position to complain because of her illegal status. That is another reason some unscrupulous employers love to hire illegals.

My own position on illegal immigration is that it undercuts U.S. citizens trying to find work and make a living. I do not put much stock into the position that illegals primarily do work U.S. citizens will not do. I have lived long enough, done a little of the menial work myself, and know enough history to know that U.S. citizens, be they white or black or brown or yellow of skin, will do most any work, if that is the only thing available (and you can‘t get some kind of government check instead). In these modern times, though, we all may be a little more picky about working conditions and pay, so be it. 


My emotions are mixed over illegal immigration….

August 15, 2010

I have mixed emotions about the whole illegal immigrant debate.

And from the onset, I want to say that the current debate is essentially about Mexicans (and possibly some other Hispanics from our own Western Hemisphere, coming over the border to take our jobs and avail themselves of our social programs paid for by legal taxpaying citizens, but then again also many or most of those illegals via their withholding in their pay checks).

On the one hand, I have written many times that the oft-cited truism that illegals perform the work regular Americans (usually that means white folks in the context of the discussions) is nonsense — it is a myth.

The fact is that if you ask older people (of whom I guess I am part of the group at 61 — but you should ask others who are older) legal white folks (and of course legal black folks and all other kinds of  folks who are in this country, the good old US of A, legally) have done all kinds of work — dishwashers, maids, fruit and vegetable pickers, farm labor crewmen (and crew women), nannies, and the whole gamut.

In general, when any kind of work is available, the jobs are taken up by anyone, regardless of ethnic or even immigration status, who is willing and able to perform the tasks.

As I recall from my reading and from what my own folks told me, Mexican labor in the U.S. got its start primarily during World War II  when there was a shortage of manpower due to so many men (and some women) being in the military. At that time we had the Bracero program by which unaccompanied men came over the border to do farm work.

That got the ball rolling, and they have been coming over ever since, even though the Bracero program was discontinued. These days they bring their families.

I think that most of these people are hard workers and are far superior to those able-bodied loafers who may well be here legally, but by way of fraud draw on the government social system.

But among any group, illegals included, there are those who prefer to get something for nothing or who rationalize that since they have a hard time finding work, or steady or high paying enough work, or have other problems, that society owes them its support.

But let’s don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. The fact that some people prefer to live off the sweat of others is just that, a fact of life. It’s one of the reasons I have never been drawn to the idea of communes.

But back to the subject of the blog post. On the one hand, I think border security needs to be enforced and I think legal citizens should get first crack at jobs, and furthermore, I think many who now draw on our social programs via fraud should make themselves available for work many of the illgals do now, although it is doubtful employers would want to hire the lazy louts, but maybe the lazy louts would change their ways it if meant survival because their gravy train would come to an end if welfare regulations were enforced. And that reminds me. Once upon a time my late wife worked for a time as a food stamp eligibility worker. When she first began the job, she actually went out and made house calls and saw what was up. But that aspect was soon cut out of the job. And I think you can see that is why people who should not be getting government help get it — there’s little to no oversight.

And at the risk of going off the subject, as I often do, I believe one of the biggest rip-offs of hard-working tax-paying folks is the program called Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).

There are whole generations of welfare multi-baby producing moms who draw AFDC and turn it over to non working guys and there is little to no enforcement against this.

Again, back to the subject.

Regardless of what I have just written, the fact is there is a demand for labor, even in this Great Recession. Mexicans perform one heck of a lot of that labor and they do it quite well.

Case in point: For most of the past 15 years, primarily Mexicans have been loading and unloading trucks that I have driven, saving me the work, and making it possible to get down the road and make money (such as it is).

I don’t know which ones are legal (and probably most of them are) and which ones are not. And you know? I don’t really care. And you know? I think a lot of employers don’t rally care. They just want the job done.

A fact in all of this, I think, is that most of us realize that individual employers and employer groups may say they don’t knowingly or actively recruit illegal labor, but the opposite is true. Another fact is that the government is somewhat split on the matter, with the end result being that while there are some show raids of workplaces, in many instances the authorities turn a blind eye — I mean that has to be the case. If you and I know illegals are working here and where they are working, then the authorities have to know — so just go out and get them.

And that reminds me of an incident many long years ago. And I warn any faithful readers of my blog with a long-term memory that I may be repeating myself here, but here goes:

As a young man I was working for a farmer who grew sugar beets and beans. My job was to move sprinkler pipes in the fields. There were some Mexican illegals working on that place.

One day I was by myself out in the middle of a sugar beet field. I saw a Border Patrol vehicle pull up out on the public roadway adjacent to that field, and this was some 700 miles or more north of the border (and this was back in the early 70s, so I can‘t say immigration does not do some enforcement and they have been doing it for a long time). Anyway, a tall and fairly rotund man got out wearing what looked like one of those Southern sheriff hats, the kind of which the wearers of usually say: “you in a heap a trouble boy”. He walked way out into that field. At the time he came up to me I was bent over a water valve. I may have looked like a wetback (excuse the term), wearing an old felt hat with brim turned down, and my skin is somewhat dark. But when I raised up, he seemed to recognize the fact that I am not Mexican. He said to me: “you got any Mexican boys working here?”. I answered: “I don’t know” (and if anyone wants to arrest me for lying to a public official, maybe I did not know until after the fact, maybe).

I was also told by a Mexican kid, born and raised in the USA, that the Border Patrol raided his home across the street in a little enclave that was at that time my then home community’s only Mexican town (just a few modest cabins)and pushed folks around, no warrant presented (I’m told immigration does not need one — don’t know).

Fast forward to the present:

As I left a grocery distribution center in Southern California the other day in my 18-wheeler, the older Mexican security gentleman (whom I assumed to be a U.S. citizen) jokingly (I think) asked me if I had any “lumpers” (unloaders) in my trailer.

He further said: “They’ve been going somewhere … I think Oregon and Washington — they’re staying away from Arizona”.

By the way, by saying what he said, he made a tacit admission that illegals were working there. In this case, the grocery warehouse management has an out. The lumpers work for a separate outfit that is an independent contractor.

And so it goes.

P.s.

I have no understanding of the process of becoming a  U.S. citizen, having been born here. I don’t know why it takes so long and why some groups have an easier time of it and why some do not.

I’m currently thinking that it would be impossible logistically to simply kick out all the illegals and that the process of splitting up families is detestable and immoral.

Bureaucracy-hindered amnesty programs are inefficient and are simply a tool for blood-sucking opportunists to make money off of government programs, and they also simply draw in more illegals.

I’m thinking that anyone who can show he or she has a job, and perhaps a reasonable history of employment here, should be granted a green card and a quick path to citizenship.

If people come here to be productive and tax-paying members of society, why do we want to discourage them? There is strength in numbers.

We should go after those who are non-productive by choice and who are a tremendous drain on society, regardless of whether they are legal or not.

Non-productive illegals should be deported. Non-productive by choice legals should have their government meal tickets cut off. Hungry people tend to get motivated. No, they won’t just turn to crime. Criminals tend to commit crimes, regardless of the economic conditions. At times of desperation good people might resort to crime for survival, but we should continue our social programs for those folks (all of us but for the grace of God and the economy could find ourselves in that number).


Don’t repeal the 14th Amendment to deal with illegal immigration, heavily fine employers instead…

August 4, 2010

Some Republicans want to overturn the 14th Amendment because it gives automatic citizenship to children of immigrants (legal and illegal).

The 14th Amenmendment, enacted after the Civil War, primarily, I think, to guarantee rights to former slaves, does a lot of other things too. Interestingly enough, it was used as a basis, as I recall, for the conservative majority on the Supreme Court to rule that corporations have rights as citizens, just like real live human citizens, of free speech, so therefore are not subject to overly restrictive laws on campaign finance. So does that mean those Republicans who want to repeal the 14th Amendment want to cut down on those fat corporate campaign contributions?

I know we have a problem with illegal immigration, but I don’t think we have to gut our civil rights protections in the Constitution to solve the problem.

As my 99-year-old mom, going on 100, asks: “why don’t they do more to fine employers (who hire illegal aliens)?”

I think if it was not so easy for illegal immigrants to get a job, the influx would all but stop. Seems like common sense. The idea that employers who have large forces of illegals are innocently unaware is absurd on its face.

And I think that if you are lucky enough to be born in the USA you should get a free ticket to citizenship, no matter how it all happened, that is how you got here on American soil.

In ancient times if you were born in the King’s domain you had the right to his protection, and you had an obligation of loyalty to him.

Born in the USA, you have all the rights that come with it, and you have an obligation to be loyal to it.


Motives and paradoxes presented by Arizona’s immigration law…

July 8, 2010

After managing to get my computer operating better, I was able to do a little internet reasearch on the Arizona immigration law, SB 1070, and so I offer an update to this post: 

It should be clear to everyone that although there may be a host of intentions behind Arizona’s tough new immigration law, to include racial prejudice and xenophobia, as well as legitimate concern over drug violence spilling over the Mexican border and terrorism, and the competition for labor presented by illegal immigrants, the fact is if congress would do its job, that is reform or at least demand enforcement of current immigration laws and rules, there would be no controversy. 

So both President Obama and Democrats who support him in his challenge to the new state law, and Republicans who support the Arizona law are in a sense shooting themselves in the foot. Obama is politically injured because a majority of voters reportedly support the Arizona law. Republicans are wounded because they already have a hard time recruiting in much of the Hispanic community, and much of that community (not all) opposes the law. 

But I think that there is pressure on the congress, on members of both major political parties, to actually preserve the status quo where we pretend to strictly enforce immigration laws but —  wink wink nod nod — allow a sufficient flow of cheap labor not always subject to wage and working condition standards as home-grown labor. 

Nominally, President Obama’s administration represents the Democratic Party.  It is challenging the Arizona’s law in court. But that puts Democrats in tight congressional races on the hot seat because a majority of the voters nationwide reportedly support the Arizona law. So all Democrats probably do not support the law or would not want to say so. 

I find it strange indeed — well not really —  that so many Republicans are demanding enforcement of immigration rules and support the Arizona law. At the same time they say that enforcement must come before reform. Me thinks they want it both ways. As good representatives of business interests who prefer cheap labor (or at least vulnerable labor that is not in a position to complain of working conditions), they don’t want reform which might offer citizenship to illegals, but as representatives of right-wing reactionary citizens, they want to be seen as rounding up illegals. 

(If your read John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of  Wrath you will recall it depicted police at the California border turning  emigrating “Okies” away back in the 1930s.) 

Several other states, besides Arizona, have at least introduced similar legislation. There are several court challenges pending to the Arizona law, most notably now the Obama administration’s challenge based on the U.S. Constitutions’s supremacy clause that basically says federal law and federal law enforcement trumps state actions in areas where the federal government has jurisdiction, immigration being one of them. 

It seems to me what we have here is a kind of state’s rights argument that I thought went out with the Civil War. It would be highly impractical to have each state trying to enforce immigration in its own way. What next? Each state making treaties with foreign powers?  I know Sarah Palin can see Russia from her front porch (but she’s not even governor of Alaska anymore). 

Don’t take from this that I do not think the states should be concerned. If illegal immigration is causing problems then something needs to be done on the federal level and the state’s should be pressing their U.S. senators and congressmen to do something.  

Some have argued that all Arizona’s law really does is the same thing that federal law requires. If that were so, however, there would seem to be no need for a new state law. Actually, the Arizona law purports to force police to make, and support them in doing so, a harder effort to identify and arrest or detain illegal aliens they encounter in the course of their normal duties. 

There has been some complaint or mention from many, including me, that police would be demanding to see people’s papers in Nazi fashion. I mean, do you carry around your birth certificate (Obama doesn’t — just joking)? 

But a summary of the law tells me that if one has certain types of I.D., most notably a valid driver’s license, he or she is presumed to have legal status (and that is strange since as I understand it illegals often can legally or at least easily get driver’s licenses). 

While I don’t think state’s should directly enforce federal immigration law or make their own immigration law,  I do not understand why local police could not as a matter of policy be on the lookout for illegals and when they encounter them in the normal and lawful course of their duties turn them over to federal authorities. I would see no need for state law to do that. The courts and ACLU might think differently, I suppose, and there is no guarantee federal authorities would take action. 

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My original post, with minor revision,  follows: 

I said that I would post something about the legal challenge to Arizona’s new tough immigration law which is supposed to actually go into effect July 29. 

It seems to me the Obama administration has a good case in its challenge based on the Constitution’s supremacy clause.  

In reality I think the Obama administration in part is trying to curry favor with the portion of the Hispanic community that is offended that some of its members might get caught in the search for illegal aliens. But since the law has not taken effect yet, one can hardly make a case that there is racial profiling or other types of discrimination. 

But I believe immigration is the bailiwick of the federal government and it is not practical to have each state decide how to enforce immigration, and  the Obama administration did too and felt that was its best argument. 

It is kind of strange that the Democratic Party, often seen as the friend of labor, finds itself fighting a move to cut down on illegal foreign labor, while the Republican Party, who among other constituents, represents business interests who lure the illegals over, is supporting Arizona’s immigration law. 

Of course the concern is also over drug thugs and other criminals who come over the border. And supporters of Arizona’s law say since the federal government is failing to do anything about the problem of illegals coming over the border, the states are forced to do something. 

There must be quite a lot of pressure to preserve the status quo, that is let illegals come over and provide a steady supply of cheap or relatively cheap labor, otherwise I would think something would have been done by now.

P.s.

I believe the Arizona law also has provisions to fine those who hire illegals and one that prohibits soliciting for day labor — all well and good, but again the federal government needs to run this show, otherwise it will all be a free for all with each state acting as a separate sovereign nation. We need federal immigration reform now, even if it is only enforcing laws and rules already in effect — yes, and it’s probably a lack of funds and manpower that is standing in the way, as well as the behind-the-scenes political pressure from the cheap labor crowd and even those who want special status for certain immigrants.


Don’t ask, don’t tell approach in immigration has created a monster…

May 20, 2010

I don’t think Mexican President Felipe Calderon did much good in the illegal immigration debate by saying today during a visit to the U.S. that he disapproved of Arizona’s new anti-illegal immigration law and calling for a re-institution of the assault weapons  ban in the U.S. He said drug violence from the Mexican cartels seems to have increased as the result of the ban being lifted. I appreciate his concern, but he needs to get his own house in order — I mean why do Mexicans flee Mexico? violence, no jobs. And like someone was quoted as asking on TV, how does Mexico deal with illegal immigration into its own territory from the south?

———————————–

I’m not sure what the best answer in the illegal alien controversy is, but I do think we either have rules or we don’t and that all immigrants should have to follow them.

No one really knows how many illegal immigrants are in the U.S. I have read estimates between 11 million to 20 million. This is an unaccountable (and uncountable) population that uses our social services and other public services, competes for jobs, part of which is involved in crime, and some of whomcould be here as terrorists or agents of forces who would seek to destroy our nation (although I have to note the terrorists so far do not seem to have come from the southern border, and probably the majority of illegal aliens are productive members of society and pose no theat in and of themselves, but they are still an unaccountable part of our society). Some of them are probably so established that they vote, and this brings up another point:

I bring this up because I read an item in the San Francisco Chronicle that there is a proposal that would appear on the November ballot that would allow non-citizen immigrants (presumably to include illegal aliens) who have children enrolled in school to vote in local school board elections.

I had mentioned in a previous post that I thought I had read that voting by illegal aliens (or legal aliens too, I guess) was allowed in some jurisdictions. And I think that has been the case in other jurisdictions.

(Okay, the only research I have dug up so far indicates non-citizen voting was allowed in some states until the 1920s — and I still thought I read somewhere it was allowed more recently (not by way of fraud) in Texas or New Mexico — maybe I’m wrong on that.)

While I can appreciate the rationale in letting non-citizens vote in matters in which their children are directly affected, I nonetheless don’t think voting should be extended to non citizens. Voting is, or should be, a perk (a right) that comes with citizenship. That’s part of what citizenship is all about. Or if not, then what?

Most of us who are against illegal immigration are not against legal immigration or the immigrants themselves, it’s just that one should have to follow the rules. And we have a problem with offering public services that have to be paid for by citizen taxpayers to illegal aliens (even if it is true that illegals often pay taxes). Most of us have enough compassion and humanity that we would not deny emergency health services to illegal aliens, but as for allowing them to cross the border to get on the public dole or even to enroll in our colleges (sometimes as less tuition than local citizens pay, as has been the case in California), well that is a different thing.

What I really reject here is the intellectually dishonest notion by so many that if you call for enforcement against illegal immigration you are anti-immigrant. No you are anti-illegal immigration. It is true that some people who so strongly oppose illegals may be also against Hispanic immigration in particular — so does that consign everyone who calls for law enforcement, to include enforcement against illegal immigration, to the class of bigotry? No, of course not.

So, what do we do? I mean how practical would it be even if we all agreed illegal aliens have no right being here to ship them all out? There’s millions of them.

And we have, wink wink, nod nod, allowed them to settle and work here, most often at relatively low-paying jobs (and sometimes at not-so-low-paying jobs).

And, do we deport parents and leave the children who were born here behind? That’s a tough one. But the parents knew the law and we should not be threatened by a mass invasion of uncontrolled immigration with people using children to blackmail our government. (and notice I wrote “our government” not the government.)

A kind of interesting aside to all of this was a video clip this week of a precocious second grader telling First Lady Michelle Obama that her mother told her that “Barack Obama” is deporting anyone who does “not have papers”. It seems to indicate to me that the fact is they (illegal aliens) live among us because society has for the most part tacitly accepted them and they were reasonably comfortable but now they and their children are nervous. Even though President Obama came out against the recent Arizona illegal alien law, one story I read said that his administration is deporting as many or more illegal aliens as the Bush administration did.

It seems to me we either have immigration laws or we just let everyone in, no conditions.

I think by necessity (for economic and security reasons) we need to control immigration.

There needs to be heavy penalties on employers who hire them. Supposedly there are already penalties, but since there are millions of illegals in the country and since most of them are employed, apparently the penalties are not high enough and even more the law is not enforced in a heavy enough fashion. I imagine — don’t know — that both the Border Patrol and the federal agencies involved in immigration enforcement are understaffed.

After doing a quick background check on the amnesty program of 1986 I came away feeling that is not the answer. From what I read the end result was increased illegal immigration.

And here’s a little side note: talking with people I know I found out that there may be some hard feelings among immigrants and potential immigrants from the Philippines (and no doubt a lot of other places) who are hard workers but don’t see themselves getting the breaks those from Mexico (and maybe some other Latin American countries) get.

And I think I would prefer that the emphasis on immigration enforcement be on keeping more illegals from coming in, rather than going out of our way to tear families apart (even though when cases come before authorities they may have to do just that).

We may have to let time pass and work through the current crop of illegals on a case by case basis when and if they come to our attention (much like we do now). We need to stop encouraging people to immigrate into the U.S. illegally. Among other things, we need to root out or eliminate the use of public services (except in dire emergency) by illegals (court decisions on the subject notwithstanding).

Taxpayers should not have to fund non-citizens — otherwise what does citizenship mean? Legal immigrants should not be made to jump through hoops and sacrifice when others do not.

And the current movement in which at least one ethnic group thinks that they should not be subject to U.S. rules and that their language and culture should take preference in schools (yes, I’m talking about Tucson, Az., as an example), only serves to prove that there needs to be a process under which immigrants become citizens and learn their responsibilities and accept the culture of the United States of America.

And we should all realize that our unique culture is somewhat of a hybrid one, but it had its beginnings among primarily English colonists who were drawing from largely European culture and an evolving movement toward democracy.

Through the history of the United States we have gradually liberalized our view in accepting those from different cultures or ethnic groups.

Various ethnic groups — Irish, German, Italian, as examples — have gone through some struggle being accepted, but these new immigrants readily adapted to the existing culture and wanted to be part of it — freedom and opportunity meant that much to them.

Asians have had a particularly rough time of it in the past — the Chinese were seen as the “yellow peril”. Part of this was simple bigotry. But, also their dress and culture and appearance seemed so different. But again, the new immigrants and particularly their descendants bought into the existing culture (for the most part), although some retained much of the culture from their heritage at the same time (who doesn’t love to visit Chinatown?).

The whole cowboy culture of the West came to us via the Spanish traditions through Mexico and into Texas and California and into the rest of the American west and has become ingrained into the culture of the whole nation.

Most black Americans were brought over here as slaves in direct contradiction to what was being created in the new world — a  democracy where all men were free with no class distinction placed upon them by higher authority.

But a civil war and much — way too much — struggle later, resulted in an although still not a perfect resolution, some would say, a major advancement nonetheless. Certainly in law black people have equal rights and protections as all citizens, as they should have had all along, and they even have someone of their own as president of the United States (that has to be a sign of a changing society).

A lot has taken place, to include many wars, since 1776.

It ought to mean something to be a U.S. citizen.

We either enforce our rules of citizenship or we don’t.

And one more thing:

It is too bad that millions of immigrants, particularly from Mexico, have gotten the message that while we officially say no to illegal immigration we really mean yes (just be careful you don’t get caught). But we are not going to solve the problem by continuing along in the same vein, or should I say continuing in the don‘t ask, don‘t tell approach to illegal immigration.


Illegal alien problem is multi-faceted and needs a solution now…

May 3, 2010

The illegal alien or immigrant problem is getting confusing. I don’t think we are all talking or arguing about quite the same thing, or maybe it is just that the problem is multi-faceted.

Of immediate concern is the drug violence spreading over the border from Mexico.

There is also a general concern about people who don’t belong in the U.S., as the result of 9/11 and terrorist incidents since, the underwear bomber a few months ago, as an example.

The New York Times Square incident is still in the early stages of investigation — we don’t know yet who was responsible and whether immigration has anything to do with it.

And there is an ongoing concern over undocumented workers (or even non-workers) here who use U.S. taxpayer-funded social services, and some of whom get involved in crime.

In the case of illegal aliens (and you can read immigrant if you want to, but that is kind of a euphemism — after all, we are a nation of immigrants), from Mexico and other Latin American nations, if there were no crime or terrorism concerns, I don’t imagine there would be much of a fuss.

There has been a tacit acceptance that Mexicans do much of our stoop and other types of field labor, as well as serve as nannies, dishwashers, lawn care workers and perform other relatively low-level jobs.

In addition, there has become an acceptance that they do a lot of construction work — well not so much acceptance among legal and union workers perhaps, but among the public and especially employers.

And this acceptance, unofficial though it has been, is what has brought us to this point.

Added to this all, the Mexican government apparently sees the U.S. as a kind of escape valve for their poor (a majority of its population).

It seems to me that it is time for both the U.S. and Mexican government to live up to their respective responsibilities.

Maybe if the Mexican government had not been so corrupt over the decades it would not be facing the civil war it does today — I’m referring to the drug war, which is really a form of civil war or insurrection.

And the U.S. has taken on responsibility for a huge number of people by basically turning a blind eye toward the employment of aliens. Sure there are workplace raids from time to time and the border is patrolled. But we all know that if the U.S. government had the will and did not have the pressure from those who support employers’ rights (?) to hire illegals, it could pretty well put a stop to or seriously discourage the hiring of illegals.

Some people recognize that there just may be a need for a certain amount of foreign workers to do seasonal farm labor and some would suggest a return to a seasonal worker program. But that does not seem practical. Men (or women) are not likely to want to come or stay unaccompanied by their spouses and children, and there was reportedly much corruption and abuse in the old Mexican Bracero program.

Even if you brought whole families in temporarily, most would likely never leave.

Adding to all of this confusion is the fact that many U.S. citizens have come out against the Arizona illegal alien law, but only because they don’t think a particular group of people, many of whom would likely be legal American citizens, should be singled out for hassling by the police. But many of these same people who oppose the Arizona approach, would not agree that there should be no enforcement of immigration laws.

But in the demonstrations we see on TV and read about it seems that many in the Hispanic community (and others) seem to think that immigration laws should not be enforced if it means that families might be broken up — or they note that they themselves or their parents came over illegally, but many eventually gained citizenship.

Well all that seems to be missing some logic. What is the use of even having immigration rules if they are going to be ignored? And how can we rightly enforce immigration laws against some but not others?

We have to have immigration rules, because otherwise we lose control of our nation.

I don’t know what the current figure is for the number of illegal aliens in the nation, but it is huge, I understand.

(Okay, I tried to look up the number of illegals, but came up with numbers ranging from 11 million to 20 million or more.)

Someone has to make a decision here on what to do. It probably is not practical or logical or right to think we can just round everyone up and send them home. And we as humans have to have compassion for families and avoid breaking them up.

The U.S. has already stepped up security against the threat of terrorism from the outside (from the inside, a more difficult problem, no doubt). On the Mexican border we need to step up security against the drug runners (not easy to do). If sending the National Guard or Army would help I would be for it. I don’t recall what effect the National Guard did have in its relatively recent tour on the border.

To move away to a related subject briefly, I note that I read that in Illinois there was some call for calling out the National Guard because of domestic drug related violence in Chicago area neighborhoods. I have always thought the Guard or Army ought to be called out in the most violent of neighborhoods everywhere in the nation. When civilization breaks down, emergency measures are called for. Of course when you run the bad guys out of one place, they move to another. But you can’t give up on a problem because it is difficult.

I am wary of giving police the power or commanding them to just willy-nilly stop suspicious people and ask for their papers — it could quickly get out of hand. But where there is a problem, such as on the border areas, or even in violent neighborhoods, strong measures (on an emergency basis) may be called for. Actually I guess it has been tried in certain areas and met with resistance from some, to include the ACLU and the courts.

P.s.

And this is probably something for another blog, but there really is a movement that seeks to recognize the Mexican national population in the Southwest (in particular) and give it voting rights (illegal status notwithstanding). In fact, I think Mexican nationals have been allowed to vote in some school districts (Mexican nationals residing in the U.S. can vote in their own nation‘s elections — but I think the same holds true for U.S. citizens outside the country) . It’s all about a non-violent way of reclaiming a territory that once belonged to Mexico. Or some may argue nations of people need to be represented wherever they may reside, regardless of their affiliation with a geographical state. But that calls into question the whole idea of the nation-state. I for one do not want to give up on the idea of the United States of America.

P.s. P.s.

If you’ve read my other posts on the subject, I am still dubious about the new Arizona illegal alien law, but recognize there are legitimate concerns that need to be met somehow, made only more plain by a Pinal County, Arizona lawman being shot by an apparent illegal alien drug runner (at last report several suspected illegal alien suspects had been arrested). I lived and worked in that county many years ago and was through there recently.

P.s. P.s. P.s.

And I saw the 60-Minutes piece about illegal aliens (to include children) drowning in the All-American Canal. While I think it is fine to make the canal safer, at some point adults (who have responsibility to themselves as well as their children) have to realize that irrigation canals are too dangerous to swim across).