May 16, 2006

"The group-blogging experiment was nice while it lasted..."

Lorie Byrd drops out of Polipundit after receiving an email saying: "From now on, every blogger at PoliPundit.com will either agree with me completely on the immigration issue, or not blog at PoliPundit.com." She writes:
What is really ironic about this is that the split is over the immigration debate and that is not even one of "my issues." I always deferred to Polipundit on the issue due to his background and passion on the subject. Lately most of my posts have not even dealt with immigration, but the ones that have were more about how I thought the tone and tenor of the debate had gotten out of hand, rather than the actual policy positions.
I haven't been reading PoliPundit or, really, any of the debate about immigration in the blogosphere. If I had been, I probably would only write about "tone and tenor of the debate." I consider immigration a complex policy problem, and I steer clear of ideologues spouting on the topic. I hear the President gave a speech on the subject last night and that he sounded moderate. Good. He's fending off the ideologues -- I hope.

But I'm interested in this dispute between Byrd and Polipundit and the problem of group blogs. Group blogs, like marriages, can break down, and when they do, they can dissolve quietly and present an unreadable face to the world, or they can let the ugliness show. When that happens on a very prominent blog, we're all going to look. So let's look.

Polipundit has this response:

So far, I’ve allowed the guest bloggers here to write pretty much what they pleased about all issues, including illegal immigration.

But on the illegal immigration issue, I now find myself having to contend with at least three out of four guest bloggers who will reflexively try to poke holes in any argument I make.

Suppose three out of four columnists at the Old York Times were pro-Republican. You can bet publisher “Pinch” Sulzberger would do something about that right quick.

Suppose a Bush administration official came out openly against amnesty. The Bushies would show him the door.

Similarly, the writers at PoliPundit.com need to respect the editorial position of PoliPundit.com on the most important issue to this blog, as the “publisher” sees it - illegal immigration.
Wow! What a lame defense! I'm the publisher, so let me speculate on what a publisher I hate would do, and justify myself by saying I'm only doing that. How unappealing! The commenters over there are letting him have it.

Why is immigration suddenly making everyone crazy? The problem has been with us forever.

93 comments:

Hecla Ma said...

The problem has been with us for decades, but some blogs and talk-radio have been pushing it and fanning flames for a few months now. The May 1 "march" (which had more to do with A.N.S.W.E.R than Mexican immigrants) got them into a full-throated howl and lots of people are now flying on an autopilot of hate and reflexive, reactionary hyperventilation. It's been awful to watch. The breakdown at Polipundit mirrors the breakdown of the right. The hard-liners on immigration have entered Kos territory. I'm reading a lot fewer blogs, these days.

O/T, Chris Daughtry was on Regis yesterday, accompanied himself on guitar (very ably) and killed! I am so much more interested in AI right now than politics. I can't believe I just wrote that.

Dave said...

Polipundit is a prominent blog?

Well, I never heard of it.

I don't know if that says more about me or your idea of prominence.

MadisonMan said...

Ann, I share your puzzlement over the immigration imbroglio. Maybe it's 'cause we're not near the border. But Wisconsin's farm economy is most definitely helped by workers from Mexico and central America. Some are probably here illegally, too -- but they are helping.

Walt said...

My personal take on the subject and its new found popularity is this. Anytime you write laws and proceed to ignore them or pretend they don't exist, you create a pressure cooker that builds and builds. When someone or something decides that the ignored facts are now ready to be released from the pot, everybody wants to be the one to open it up (usually around election time).

If I take the analogy to its rediculous conclusion, we are going to remove the lid before the pot is properly cooled, and we all know what happens then.

Watching the news lately makes me think the lids coming off and everyone is going to get burned. Unfortunately, I don't know what the right answer is, but I do know both sides or rather all three sides have logical points. I believe that happens when politicians make laws, then ignore them and the reality they are suppose to regulate.

Blogging on heated topics, in theory, could be very enlightening, if everyone posting listened to the dialogue and responded with tempered tongue. Unfortunately, we find that if someone posts something that is counter to her/his beliefs, he/she spews forth a litany of illogical attacks that would make Jonathan Edwards proud. On the other side, there are blogs with such a narrow audience that the group think makes it so pedestrian that you might as well talk to the water cooler and call it a day. Anyway,

Simon said...

I know you're not arguing that the guy who runs Polipundit doesn't have the right to decide which views are associated with the blog he runs and pays for, right? ;)

This is perhaps off-topic, but I really wish people would be careful to distinguish between immigration and illegal immigration, as your post does not. The furore lately has nothing do to with immigration; it is a filthy and exceedingly cheap smear to suggest - even by implication - that the vast majority of those who are voicing concern about illegal immigration are in fact xenophobes opposed to immigration. There are, obviously, that tiny minority who really are anti-immigration in general, but just as it would be an obvious non-sequitur to presume that just because someone does not want to abolish the death penalty, they therefore want to go back to hanging, drawing and quartering for every single felony, it is also a non-sequitur to say that those opposed to illegal immigration are opposed to immigration.

AJ Lynch said...

I have heard of Lorie Byrd but had never heard of Polipundit so take that you Abe Sulzberger wannabe. Kinda odd to want to be an "Abe" don't you think?

But I digress re immigration. As a Pennsylvanian, I am not on the front lines of the issue so to speak. It must be much different in AZ, TX, NM, CA, etc.

All I can say is if we are going to have a lot of illegal immigrants, Mexicans are in many ways like most Americans: hard working, family-oriented and religious.

BUT I am tired of our law-crazy lawmakers who pick and choose which laws they will enforce. If a nuke gets in and erases Chicago, will we then start holding our Congress responsible (I'll bring the rope) They simply refuse to listen to the masses.

Sloanasaurus said...

I am also at a loss over the intense reaction over the immigration issue. I think Bush's plan is very pragmatic. It takes into account human behavior and desires. It reminds me of welfare reform, which was a pragmatic solution. School Vouchers is also a pragmatic solution. Usually it is those on the left that reject pragmitism.

At this point, many coservatives are so sour that they won't even listen to the arguments anymore (i.e. Polipundit). They hate Bush because of this one issue. The call him a liberal, despite his judicial nominations, tax cuts, etc...

Bush will finish his term in the 30% range largly because of this issue. However, if he leads us to a pragmatic solution, he will be thanked for his leadership in the long term.

Ann Althouse said...

You want all the laws enforced to the letter all the time?

As a thought experiment, picture one day where that actually happens. Seriously make the effort. Every illegal immigrant is deported. Everyone who possesses marijuana gets arrested. Everyone who speeds gets a ticket. Everyone who ever cheated on his taxes gets indicted. You think you are embracing order when you say enforce all the laws, but I predict utter chaos.

Well, not really, because it's only a thought experiment. In the real world, it can't be done. At the very least you'd have to change a lot of laws into rules you're actually willing to enforce (and pay for enforcing) to the hilt.

Simon said...

I think that we need to begin by passing the House bill, we need to proceed by finding a practical way to deport illegals, and then I think we need to examine ways to make it easier to immigrate.

It's analagous to the drug trade (which is also directly related to border security): people do not grow drugs because it's fun, they grow them because it's profitable. You don't have to make the border impermeable to reduce the influx of drugs, you just have to make it less permeable, such that it costs more and more to import drugs. Same here. You can't solve the immigration problem just by building a big fence, but what you can do is to make it easier for people to immigrate legally and harder to immigrate illegally, which will greatly change the calculus in favor of documented immigration.

If someone robs a bank, makes off with a million dollars, and proceeds to live a good, law-abiding and eve philanthropic lifestyle, we would not refer to them as a bank robber, but in all other ways a law-abiding citizen, and forgive their crime because of their subsequent conduct; we would find them, charge them, and punish them. Why, then, would we consider it to be an acceptable term, "illegal immigrant but in other ways law abiding citizens"?

hygate said...

Why is immigration suddenly making everyone crazy? The problem has been with us forever.

I think it is cyclic. We had immigration 'reform' in 1965, 1986, and twenty years later we see it again. Isn't twenty years considered a generation? The hardliners all seem to think that if we just build a fence to keep all these foreigners out everything will be hunky dory. What do they think is going to happen if Mexico can't export some of its surplus labor; that they will work to elect an Objectivist government that will be a model of free market capitalism? If they think we have border security problems now just wait till Mexico, the second biggest exporter of Oil to the U.S., has a Marxist oriented government.

SteveR said...

Having spent most of my life (48 years) in NM and Texas, there is very little new to this issue and Ann is right, its very complex. Any one with a simple solution has no clue what's going on.

One difference over the years, when I was young, many Hispanics in NM, whose families had been here for a very long time, did not naturally blend with Mexicans (illegal or otherwise). To the extent they both spoke Spanish, it was as different as what an Aussie and a Southerner speak.

Now there is a trend to unite as a group, I assume driven by those trying to make political hay out of it. But the guy crossing over to make some money and all the benefits and problems associated, is nothing new.

Balfegor said...

Why is immigration suddenly making everyone crazy? The problem has been with us forever.

Because Bush decided he wanted to do something about it, and then chose to propose doing something most of his base thinks is gobsmackingly idiotic. And they are consequently ticked off.

This is perhaps off-topic, but I really wish people would be careful to distinguish between immigration and illegal immigration, as your post does not.

This cannot be repeated enough. Immigration doesn't threaten sovereignty. Illegal immigration does. Which is why it pisses people off, especially those who waited in line properly to get in, and now find themselves lumped together with the scofflaw subjects of a foreign power.

Strictly speaking, though, illegal immigration from Mexico is an issue we should be settling with the Mexican government -- it's not really an internal matter, any more than it's an internal matter when other countries send millions of their people into a neighbouring nation, in contravention of that nation's laws. Usually, in other countries, the solution has been extradition, although we've slept on our rights so long that's no longer a feasible solution.

Unfortunately, no one seems to be willing to demand that the Mexican government meet the most basic obligations of a sovereign state and prevent its people from violating the territorial sovereignty of its neighbours.

Troy said...

MadisonMan... it definitely may be geography. I live in So. Cal. and when immigrants start to clog the (already clogged) freeways, pack the ERs for taxpayer paid visits for colds and flus, and live (literally) 2, 3, and 4 families to a house.... California is ground zero. That's not even counting the angs in Santa Ana and LA from El Salvador, Honduras in addition to the already existing street gangs and prison gangs. It's over load. No cheap vegetable (which is brought from Chile, Mexico, etc. under NAFTA anyway) is worth the huge tax burden. I'm paying for my kids healthcare and for the healthcare of folks who pay not dime one into the system. I don't blame them I blame the home builders, middle classe folks too lazt to mow their own damn lawns, and the companies large and small that subsidize a system that is often little better than slavery.

Simon said...

AJ Lynch said...
"I am tired of our law-crazy lawmakers who pick and choose which laws they will enforce. If a nuke gets in and erases Chicago, will we then start holding our Congress responsible (I'll bring the rope) They simply refuse to listen to the masses."

I think you need to go back to American government 101, my friend. Which branch of government MAKES the laws, and which branch of government ENFORCES the laws?

Hint: it isn't Congress that is choosing which laws to enforce.

Ann Althouse said...
"You want all the laws enforced to the letter all the time?"

What was it General Grant said? "I know no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution"?

Walt said...

Ann's thought experiment is great. Think about it, and you go nuts. The only real law enforced on a regular basis is speeding. A law broken by a lot of law abiding citezens. Everyone knows that law eforcement agencies need the income generated by speeders to fund the rest of their operations, since the state and local governments have trouble just funding their salaries and equipment. Of course, eliminate speed laws and . . .

Richard Dolan said...

"Why is immigration suddenly making everyone crazy? The problem has been with us forever."

It's all about fear. On this topic, that's the way it has been since, oh, shortly after the Founding. It's hard to keep a complete catalog of all of the fears in play, and none of them is entirely irrational. The main generators of fear today are terrorism -- since 9/11 that's associated with foreigners; nativism -- a cultural constant in American history, even as the "culture" has changed over time (QED!); and Malthusianism -- with all these low skill foreigners arriving, we're going to run out of space/jobs/welfare benefits/you name it.

While fear is generating all the heat, it is obviously true that (a) the US needs to maintain control of its borders, (b) incentives and consequences as perceived by would-be immigrants (legal and illegal) are at least as important in doing that as are fences and National Guard units, (c) in a nation of immigrants, we will always be conflicted about these issues, and (d) grand, sweeping solutions will always crater when faced with the hardship to particular individuals or families faced with deportation after having lived and worked hard and honestly in the US for years. Like it or not, generosity in these matters is as American as apple pie.

Like Ann, I didn't watch the President's speech last night. But I gather he tried to balance those realities, in a decent and sensible way respectful of American traditions. Despite all his troubles, Bush is the gift that keeps on giving. (OK, quoxxo, have fun with that one.)

Mark said...

Anne asked "Why is immigration suddenly making everyone crazy? The problem has been with us forever."

I think it's because hundreds of thousands of illegals and their supporters have been taking to the streets to insist that we legalize them, and it gives many of us a feeling of real existential threat. The "one time" amnesty of 1986 has led to a situation where these millions of new illegals are demanding accomodation; we fear the consequences if these millions are amnestied and millions more follow them. Many people have also had first-hand negative experiences with increasingly aggressive illegals, mainly in parts of the country where their numbers have grown large enough that they feel comfortable displaying their feelings of Mexican nationalism and contempt for "gringos".

Ann Althouse said...

Simon: "...I really wish people would be careful to distinguish between immigration and illegal immigration, as your post does not. The furore lately has nothing do to with immigration; it is a filthy and exceedingly cheap smear to suggest - even by implication - that the vast majority of those who are voicing concern about illegal immigration are in fact xenophobes opposed to immigration."

If "illegal immigration" has nothing to do with "immigration," why is the word "immigration" in the phrase? Is it like "Grape Nuts"?

And what's your flow of thought here? Saying "immigration" without the adjective "illegal" is filthily smearing people as xenophobes? By implication only, but still "filthy and exceedingly cheap"?

I'm interested in this hysteria and political strategizing as a rich example of how the human being behaves.

As far as the actual problem of whatever you want to call it: It's complicated, and not susceptible to ideological solution. I'll just repeat the point I made back here:

There are many problems that, for me, provoke only this thought: If it were my job to solve this problem, I would work on it, and, in this process working on it, anything I have to say about it now would be something I wouldn't waste my time on.

Simon said...

SteveR said...
"[T]here is very little new to this issue and Ann is right, its very complex. Any one with a simple solution has no clue what's going on."

Not only are you correct, but no conservative should disagree with you. As Burke wrote:

"In the gross and complicated mass of human passions and concerns the primitive rights of men undergo such a variety of refractions and reflections that it becomes absurd to talk of them as if they continued in the simplicity of their original direction. The nature of man is intricate; the objects of society are of the greatest possible complexity; and, therefore, no simple disposition or direction of power can be suitable either to man's nature or to the quality of his affairs. When I hear the simplicity of contrivance aimed at and boasted of in any new political constitutions, I am at no loss to decide that the artificers are grossly ignorant of their trade or totally negligent of their duty. The simple governments are fundamentally defective, to say no worse of them."

Consider: many illegal immigrants have had children here. A child born in the United States is an American citizen, unless and until we amend the Constitution; should we deport the parents and make the children wards of the state? But isn't part of the argument for deportation the unfair drain on state resources represented by illegal immigrants using state services? Catch 22.

Simon said...

Ann:
"If 'illegal immigration' has nothing to do with 'immigration,' why is the word 'immigration' in the phrase? Is it like 'Grape Nuts'?"

No, it's like "illegal drugs." Cocaine and coffee are both drugs, and they're both products of Columbia, but nobody who says they're opposed to the trade in illegal drugs from Columbia means to include coffee in that statement, and nobody who hears someone declare that they are opposed to the flow of illegal drugs thinks that person means coffee.

Immigration and illegal immigration are closely-related but separate issues; I fail to see how it is doublethink to have liberal views on the former and conservative views on the latter.

Walt said...

Now, I don't want to stir the pot (much), but for the first 5 years of the Bush Administration, all I heard them say on various topis, "look, this is not complicated, all we need to do is ..." What would Burke say to our not so "new sherif."

Anyway, this is an election year, the time our politicians listen to the polls and decide what the hot topics are so they can quickly come up with a plan to appease the maddening crowd. Unfortunately, I only see 2 potential outcomes:

1 - The congress hastily passes a law the is woefully inadequate and simplistic to address the problem. This law will, in due course, be ignored.

2 - They debate and voice their sides of the issue to please their base. Congress finds itself at an impasse, and no law is passed before the election. The voting public still wants a law passed after the elections, but congress plugs its ears and they go to lunch with lobbyists for the next couple of years until the next big election.

Jim Hu said...

And there are even worse reactions out there. Captain's Quarters notes the worst I've seen.

PatCA said...

Guys, immigration has been with us forever but not at this level. I am up early this morning because my Hispanic neighbor's dogs, left all night in the yard despite all of our begging, barked their heads off and woke us at 4:30. Several friends have boarding houses next door, but the owners I guess don't have to obey zoning laws either. I had to quit a great teaching gig because my Asian boss after 1 month dropped a bag of money in my lap and said "we're going to do it his way so we don't pay taxes." The kids used to ask me what birth date to put on forms, their real one or the one on their (fake) birth certificates. The Asians started their own PTA at the local award winning high school with their own agenda, not revealed to outsiders. I see people walking by my house every day pushing stolen grocery carts. They live in apartment complexes, formerly housing elderly, in self-imposed squalor I have never seen except for photos of the Great Depression. And more taxes on the way to pay for our crowded schools and deteriorating infrastructure! That's not my fault.I have no problem with a moderate amount of illegal immigration, but this is too much.

The conversation in CA used to be "hey, where are you from?" Now it's "when are you going"?

TWM said...

I just want to address Ann's last line about why immigration is all of a sudden so important.

The reason is simple. What was once a minor annoyance is now becoming a threat to our national security and our national identity.

It was a scratch that has become infected and soon will be a wound that is untreatable.

Jacques Cuze said...

I am really scared that if the Conservatices win in 06, the next thing you know they will be calling for impeachment. Crazy wingnut conservative bloggers like La Shawn Barber already are!

And of course, so do the commenters on your site! (Though to be honest, I cannot find that comment thread at this moment.)

Bush Derangement Syndrome!!!!

Smilin' Jack said...

Ann Althouse said...
You want all the laws enforced to the letter all the time?


If you were in Madison in the 70s, you could have voted for Edward Ben Elson, who ran for DA on the slogan "just obey good laws."

TWM said...

Oh yes, I meant illegal immigration, not legal immigration.

There is a difference obviously and open-borders types love to confuse the two in the hopes that they can silence the opposition. I don't mean you, Ann, just in general.

We are being invaded by what amounts to a peaceful army from another nation. And that army grows hourly.

Too Many Jims said...

"a threat to our national security and our national identity."

I can see the argument about national security (though almost all of the terrorists I know of arrived in this counrty legally or at least did not come in accross the border with Mexico). But a threat to "our national identity"? What does that mean?

Balfegor said...

I don't really see the relevance of Burke here. There are two issues -- the illegal immigrants already here and continuing illegal immigration. The first is only a problem for the next 60 years or so, as the illegal generation grows old and dies, and their children and grandchildren are all naturalised Americans, hopefully socialised, in our schools, to a loyalty to the United States, with any Johnny Reb secessionist sentiment wrung out of them. We may want to do something in that interval to "normalise" their status, but whether we do or not, this particular problem really will go away if we ignore it long enough. Our society is resilient, and will muddle on.

Stopping up the continuing flow of illegal immigration is not a problem that admits of an easy solution (e.g. Build a wall! And a minefield!), but whether or not that particular end -- viz. developing structures such that we can control ingress and egress into the country, and monitor visa status -- should be pursued seems rather less complicated. And this is the ground the current debate is really on, right now. There are proposals about "guest worker" programmes and new enforcement regimes and whatnot, but they're all talking past each other, because there has not been any consensus on what concrete aims we're trying to pursue at the moment.

Simon said...

"The reason is simple. What was once a minor annoyance is now becoming a threat to our national security and our national identity."

I think there's some truth in that. Perhaps part of the problem is that you see here an increase in numbers of immigrants conjoined to the liberal meme of "multiculturalism" which has fatally undercut the melting pot idea that sucessfully integrated previous generations of immigrants. Today, instead of requiring new arrivals to learn English and to integrate into American society, one walks into Lowes and sees signs in Spanish, and reads in the newspaper that in certain Los Angeles schools, some classes are now being taught in Spanish, no doubt to the immense distress of the non-espanophone students. Perhaps the reason for the bipartisan nature of the concern is that this crisis represents a bipartisan failure: it is a failure of liberal immigration policy conjoined with a failure of conservative border security policy.

Simon said...

"This cannot be repeated enough. Immigration doesn't threaten sovereignty. Illegal immigration does. Which is why it pisses people off, especially those who waited in line properly to get in, and now find themselves lumped together with the scofflaw subjects of a foreign power."

*Raises hand*

I agree. I felt unarticulable contempt for those people who marched under the banner of "a day without immigrants", because I felt in some way people might be taken in by the fiction that they speak for immigrants, and assume that I had some sympathy for these scofflaws. Great choice of words, by the way.

I think being an immigrant strongly affects my views of a number of things, from immigration, to law, to America in general.

Walt said...

Simon,

You can't fault a capitalistic company, such as Lowes, for making it easier for paying customers to find the products they need. You know, the whole supply and demand thing.

Too Many Jims said...

Simon,

Are you scared of the Spanish language taking over or debasing our society?

The Mechanical Eye said...

Yes, the issue is more complicated out here in California, but that only means the vitriol is stronger - I put the blame on local talk radio for inflaming the issue, for infecting the dialouge and turning what is primarily a social and economic issue into a life or death struggle of national security and even national identity, abusing the word "invasion" and making it into yet another overly politicized, meaningless political term.

There's a strong, populist Pat Buchananism in the Republican Party now. It's never pleasant to witness, and it'll keep pushing and continue with its own hysterics until it damages the party, just like it did in 1992.

DU

Bruce Hayden said...

I don't think that the President or many of the Republicans really want this debate right now - it is most likely why his approval ratings have been in free fall.

But I think things have come to a boil here with both sides pressing hard for a solution. I think a lot on the right are fed up with paying for the illegal immigrants, and are extremely troubled by the level of lawlessness that has arisen in this area.

Of course, all the recent marches, etc., with all the waving Mexican flags, etc. have only increased this feeling - that we are losing the America we love, etc. In the end though, I think that those illegals who are marching are going to be hurt by the marches, because that has increased the paranoia of those opposed to illegal immigration and in fear of being assimilated ourselves.

It is going to be interesting to see exactly what bill gets enacted. As Mike Rosen, on KOA radio here, just said, the House version is strong on enforcement and weaker on amnesty, and the Senate version is extremely generous on amnesty, but toothless on enforcement. Because of all those marches, I expect the final bill to be closer to the House version - and that the most egregious portions of the Senate version will be dropped. Most Americans do not want 193 million new Hispanic residents here (this extremely high estimate from the Heritage Foundation and Senator Jeff Sessions).

TWM said...

Jim said:

But a threat to "our national identity"? What does that mean?

I was going to answer but Simon answered for me when he said:

I think there's some truth in that. Perhaps part of the problem is that you see here an increase in numbers of immigrants conjoined to the liberal meme of "multiculturalism" which has fatally undercut the melting pot idea that sucessfully integrated previous generations of immigrants.

Our national identity as Americans is based on being a melting pot nation. We take the best of other cultures through legal immigration and turn it into what has become a truly remarkable and unique American identity.

However, when another culture literally invades through unrestrained illegal immigration and refuses to assimilate because of multi-culturalism they change that identity into their own.

We lose what makes us Americans. At least how it has been defined up until now.

Simon said...

Jim said...
"Simon - Are you scared of the Spanish language taking over or debasing our society?"

No - y no pienso que es probable. No pienso que el bilingüismo nacional es deseable.

¿Por qué usted gente lo asume siempre está debido a miedo? ¿Usted piensa allí no es ninguna otra buena razón de oponer la inmigración ilegal?

Bruce Hayden said...

I do like polipundit, and will miss Lorie there. For a long time, it was fun battling the drive by trolling from the left, and actually got into some good arguments there with some very articulate and well prepared partisans on the other side from me.

But recently, PoliPundit himself has been on a rampage on this issue, and it seems like 2/3 of the articles are fire breathing rants at the Administration over their pig headedness in not shooting the illegals as they cross the border.

In other words, the site has lost its appeal to me. Rove, NSA, Iraq War, etc. can get me interested. But I am pretty ambivalent on this one subject, so have lost most of my enthusiasm for the site.

And, Ann, I don't think you would have liked the site even before this topic came to predominate there. There is a lot more incivility there than you see here, by far. A lot of argument by personal assassination, etc. And, a lot more partisan than your site.

TWM said...

By the way, I don't think the word "invasion" is being abused when it is used to describe 12 million people illegally crossing our borders and taking up residence.

I mean, what would you call it?

Bruce Hayden said...

I think the fear here is that the illegals are refusing to assimilate, and potentially getting away with it through their numbers. That is why all those Mexican flags were so counter-productive.

If they were legal immigrants, we would probably be almost as incensed. But this seems to throw all that we stand for in our face. They break the law, sneak in here, and then demand rights.

That, BTW, is why PoliPundit is so incensed - apparently he is a legal immigrant here, jumped all the legal hurdles, assimilated, and then finds all these others who are here illegally demanding what he worked so hard to get.

Simon said...

The Mechanical Eye said...
"Yes, the issue is more complicated out here in California, but that only means the vitriol is stronger - I put the blame on local talk radio for inflaming the issue, for infecting the dialouge and turning what is primarily a social and economic issue into a life or death struggle of national security and even national identity, abusing the word "invasion" and making it into yet another overly politicized, meaningless political term."

Isn't it marvellous how liberals will attempt to blame everyone EXCEPT the illegal immigrants for the current debate over illegal immigration? It's Pat Buchanan's fault; it's Rush Limbaugh's fault; it's Bush's fault; it's the House of Representatives' fault; it's globalization's fault; it's fear's fault...

Doesn't anyone see any fault, even the slightest shred of culpability, in people breaking the law to come here? Don't any of you think that maybe those who are not themselves illegals but who support the illegal cause have something to do with it? That those who try to frame the debate as being about immigration have something to do with it? Don't you think school districts which exclude non-espanophone students by teaching classes in spanish have something to do with it? Don't you think that the people who oppose mandatory ID for voting bear some responsibility? Don't you think that the people who call sceptics xenophobes are partially responsible for the tenor of the debate?

Are you seriously going to claim that this is just a storm in a teacup whipped up entirely by certain elements of the Republican party, and which has nothing to do with the actions of others?

Simon said...

Per Bruce, by the way, and as previously alluded to, I'm with Polipundit in terms of reason and result.

Walt said...

Perhaps the illegals haven't tried to assimilate because, in the eyes of the law and what seems to be a large portion of the population, they don't really exist. We can't recognize what we refuse to see.

Walt said...

I am surprised that no one has laid blame on Lou Dobbs for shinning a potlight on this issue for a long time.

Walt said...

Simon, many do find fault in the illegals, but there is the classic philosophical question about breaking the law if you are the mother of a starving child. I can remeber pictures of people in Kosovo being shot as they tried to cut down branches from trees in public spaces. Apparently, using public trees for firewwod was against the law. In the mother's defense, it was really cold that year.

Don't forget to find the "independent" business man who hires the illegal off the books culpable. Oh, and while you are laying blame, you might include all those Home Owners, who go to home depot (the do it yourself store) and buy all the supplies they need for their improvement project, and then, on the way out, hire a couple og "fellas" to actually do the work (skilled labor, I might add).

Simon said...

Walt,
I entirely agree that people who hire illegals are driving the problem to some extent, and should be cracked down on.

One thing I'd add, though, is that the "cheap labor" ship has sailed. Now that this issue has been put on the front burner, I suspect it will be solved, one way or another: either illegals will be deported, in which case the supply of cheap labor will disappear, or their presence will be normalized, in which case they will become subject to normal labor regulations. In either case, though, the low-wage illegal immigrant worker ship is vanishing over the horizon, and is therefore void for purposes of this debate.

There are those who say that we should solve the problem of illegal drug use by legalizing all drugs. And that's certainly an argument: if crime is getting out of control, reduce the number of criminal offenses on the books, and crime will go down. Of course, the same activity will go on as before, it just won't be a crime any more, but if your goal is to claim you've reduced the crime figures, it's certainly a solution. I just don't know that it's a good one. Likewise, we could solve the problem of illegal immigrants tommorow: we could declare an immediate amnesty, retroactively and prospectively. But we might have to consider what the consequences would be for doing so.

Jeff said...

As others have said:

Democracy, Immigration, Multiculturalism -- pick any two.

One of my closest friends is the Anglo-Irish grandson of a Canadian immigrant. His wife is the daughter of Mexican laborers. He cares for their 1-year old daughter while doing freelancve photography part time. She makes close to 80K a year as an art director for an ad agency here in NY.

His wife told me that they were declaring their daughter "Hispanic" on the birth certificate so she would benefit from Affirmative Action. My friend's parents were hippies and he saw no problem with it.

Balfegor said...

Don't forget to find the "independent" business man who hires the illegal off the books culpable.

Excellent suggestion. Simon's comment is well-taken, but we can expect that no enforcement regime will be perfect (not even Japan's is) and so there will continue to be an illegal labour market.

Just thinking idly on this --

The employer should be fined up to treble the gap in wages and benefits between an illegal worker and a comparable legal worker, on a per-hiring-violation basis. Treble penalties, because that's just the way federal laws always get around spotty enforcement -- make the downside three times bigger.

Because of the problem of fake documents, inadvertent violations should simply be fined the wages and benefits difference (so that they do not reap economic benefit from their innocent violation, but are not otherwise penalised), but reckless or knowing violations should be sufficient to trigger treble damages.

Possibly, to defray enforcement costs, there should be a qui tam provision of some sort. Clearly there are quite a lot of people who would be quite eager to sue (or fund a foundation to sue) on behalf of the government, and use their own funds to do it. On the other hand, they shouldn't be able to recover in the full amount of the penalty, and standing to sue qui tam would probably have to be constrained, much as under the False Claims Act.

There should also be separate penalties, possibly criminal, and including jail time, for complicity/conspiracy with "coyotes" and other human traffickers.

Just thinking out loud here, though. This kind of thing is really an area where Burke's admonition, as quoted above, is commanding.

Walt said...

I wish I could disregard the wage issue as you point:

In either case, though, the low-wage illegal immigrant worker ship is vanishing over the horizon, and is therefore void for purposes of this debate.

Unfortunately, I feel that the debate at this time is not addressing this issue. I haven't heard of any plans to curb, retard, or eliminate this problem. Perhaps you know something I don't, which I grant is very likely. But I would like to know how they (the gov.) is planning on stopping it.

I have a limited view of the subcontracting business, but I do get a view of it, and I find quite a few houses in new neighborhoods being constructed on Sundays. And I know that is not an American cultural norm.

Townleybomb said...

I don't think the word "invasion" is being abused when it is used to describe 12 million people illegally crossing our borders and taking up residence.


Are you serious here? 'Invasion' implies military force, central planning by a mortal enemy and massive destruction, not families sneaking over the border to get construction jobs. This kind of shrill hyperbole is does your side about as much good as waving the Mexican flag does for the other side.

Simon said...

FWIW, National Review weighs in.

Too Many Jims said...

Simon,

Your spanish is better than mine (or you are very adept at using Babelfish). I do not assume that opposition to immigration has to do with fear and I can think of several fine reasons to oppose immigration (legal and otherwise).

But when people use terms like "invasion" (not yours) and suggest that the current wave of immigrants are part a movement to "fatally undercut the melting pot idea" it suggests that fear may be a part of the equation for some.

Please do not assume that I assume. If I were assuming I would not bother to ask you the question. If I thought that you feared an cultural invasion by foreigners I would just call you a xenophobe.

P.S. Out of curiosity, from where are you an immigrant?

Balfegor said...

'Invasion' implies military force, central planning by a mortal enemy and massive destruction

I don't think so -- in the modern period that has been the meaning, but when we look back at history, many invasions have proceeded without real central planning and direction, and were not engineered by a mortal enemy either. When those Germans invaded the Roman Empire, for example, they crossed the border initially simply to settle (and apparently to flee the Hun). Today in Tibet, although there are more "mortal enemy" and "central planning" overtones to it, China's great offensive against Tibet is to seed the population with so many Han Chinese that even if those "Free Tibet" protesters get their wish, and Tibet is offered self determination, Tibet will no longer belong to the Tibetans: it will have been fully integrated into the Chinese sphere, and will vote freely to remain part of Greater China. And I, at least, think of that as an invasion.

On the other hand, you are almost certainly correct that your average American only thinks of the beaches of Normandy when he hears "invasion," so that it comes off terribly shrill.

Simon said...

An idle thought:
If you had a demonstration for "amnest for bankrobbers," would that constitute probable cause for the police to arrest every person at the demonstration, fingerprint them, and compare the prints to their database of fingerprints from unsolved bank robberies?

I mean, when you think about it, who would show up to a demonstration for amnesty for bankrobbers except people who stood to gain something from bankrobbers getting amnesty? And who stands to gain from bankrobbers getting amnesty?

Simon said...

Townleybomb said...
'Invasion' implies military force, central planning by a mortal enemy and massive destruction, not families sneaking over the border to get construction jobs."

Invasion:
1. "The act of invading, especially the entrance of an armed force into a territory to conquer." (emphasis added) ("especially" implies alternative usage also valid)
2. A large-scale onset of something injurious or harmful...
3. An intrusion or encroachment.

Cf. Cambridge ("to enter a place in large numbers, usually when unwanted and in order to take possession or do damage; to enter an area of activity in a forceful and noticeable way; . . . moving into all areas of something and difficult to stop"); Merriam-Webster ("the incoming or spread of something usually hurtful"). Seems entirely apt to me.

Jacques Hawtrey said...

Ann--I agree with you. I began blogging at the end of February and am just learning the ropes. I am realizing that I don't need to blog on everything that is in the news regardless of my interest in the subject. Immigration is NOT one of my hot button issues either.

I have considered adding other commentators to my blog because of time constraints due to travelling, but I surely would not limit them to my particular view on things. As long as they are right of center, I would welcome any unusual views on any and all subjects.

Jacques

TWM said...

Are you serious here? 'Invasion' implies military force, central planning by a mortal enemy and massive destruction, not families sneaking over the border to get construction jobs. This kind of shrill hyperbole is does your side about as much good as waving the Mexican flag does for the other side.

Once again, someone answered it before, and better than I could, but, no, an invasion does not automatically imply military force. As to central planning? I would say that the Mexican government and the Mexican upper-class has, if not planned, certainly encouraged this invasion of their poorest into our nation.

And, yes, there is some fear in this equation. I do fear the unrestricted illegal immigration of millions of aliens into our soveriegn terrority. For the very reasons I have mentioned before -- they are a threat to our national security and our national identity.

All fears are not irrational I might add.

Simon said...

Jim said...
"Your spanish is better than mine (or you are very adept at using Babelfish)."
My Spanish is roughly passable; my Babelfish is outstanding. ;)

I love this country, and from where I sit, one of the things that has made it great is that people have brought their own unique cultures to America, and yet have found a way to be both proud to be American and yet proud of their cultural heritage. I don't mind "hyphenated Americans," although I understand why some people find that troubling; the reason I don't mind is because I think mostly every previous wave of immigration HAS integrated into American society, and one of the reasons for that is because we have not been shy to say "if you come here, you can remain proud of your heritage, but you must understand that you will be first, last and always American. This country's ability to absorb newcomers without worrying about whether we're being culturally insensitive by demanding they become Americans overlooks a crowning achievement almost unique to America: you can become American. All jokes aside (and there are so many that offer themselves), you may move to France, and you may become a citizen of France, but you can never become French. By contrast, a person can not only come to America, they can not only become a citizen of America, they can become an American. It remains a mystery why liberals are so anxious to debase with a pallid version of multiculturalism one of the shining accomplishments of the United States: the creation of a polity defined primarily by shared fealty to certain political ideals, the most important of which are of course enshrined in the Constitution. That is why, by the way, Judge Kozinski's story is so inspiring to me: he is living proof that European dentistry and a funny accent do not prevent a person from becoming an American, and moreover, to not just be here, but to make a genuine and important contribution to America. (I suppose if I were more concerned with athletics than law, I might say Gov. Schwarzenegger, whose speech at the last GOP convention was genuinely inspiring, and with which I felt great empathy). My views have a lot to do with being an immigrant, but so does that I feel the need to push those views sometimes: when I hear liberals badmouthing this country, unlike them, I have some basis for comparison. It is not simply a conservative dream that America is the shining city on the hill, or the greatest country on Earth, it is fact, and anyone who sincerely doubts otherwise would be well-served to spend a few years living in another country.

But in any event, something has gone very wrong with our immigration policy when people are not taking seriously the citizenship oath, which admonishes to "absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen . . . [and to] support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic . . . [and to] bear true faith and allegiance to the same" Any person who took that oath and showed up at one of those demonstrations lied when they took the oath. It is binding, and yes, it imposes on non-native born citizens obligations that go above and beyond those of native-borns. That is appropriate, in my view.

"Out of curiosity, from where are you an immigrant?"
The old country: Britain. It goes without saying that it is not lost on me that it is considerably easier for someone who shares a language and approximately eight centuries of history with the American civilization to integrate into American civilization.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that PoliPundit originally liked the idea of co-bloggers. Lorie, in particular, is one reason that his blog grew as it did.

The problem I think is that he feels extremely strongly on this one subject, and his co-bloggers don't, or don't agree with him.

That is one thing that Ann has avoided here - she speaks with a single voice, and, thus, can't get into this sort of fight with co-bloggers.

Too Many Jims said...

Simon,

One more question. Can you point me to a story on the Los Angeles school that teaches classes in Spanish? The way I read your description of it, non-Spanish speakers were being taught in Spanish contrary to the wishes of the students. I admit that I am more than a little skeptical of this but would like to read up on it.

Verfication word: VKYOUSIS

Simon said...

Jim,
It was a story on NPR, I think, a few weeks back. IIRC, the expanded gist was that you had a school where something like 5% of the population was white, 15% was black and the rest were latino, so the school hit on the brilliant idea of teaching some - not all - of the classes in Spanish. Which is, of course, asinine for any number of reasons, of which the most glaring are: it excludes 20% of the students, it presumes that all latinos are espanophone, it squanders the opportunity to develop students' use of English, and worst of all, it encourages bilingualism and voluntary cultural segregation

Coco said...

Ann - but you just promised yesterday!

"Coco: I'll try. I hope you appreciate my complete resistance to blogging about immigration."

I know, I know, the Polipundit story was probably too interesting to pass up and you were trying to have a discussion about the blog decision...but you should have known that for the very same reason the Polipundit couldn't have an actual meaningful and reasonable discussion about immigration it couldn't happen here either. Man, the cheap political talking-point rhetoric is flyin' on this subject. Its like listening to Laura Ingram...which by the way said something yesterday that was almost verbatim repeated by Simon as soon as you used the word immigration in your post rather than illegal immigration. The more complex the issue the more ideological the post...never fails.

Jeff said...

Invasion may be too militaristic a word to describe what's going on, although the "reconquista" rhetoric would seem to warrant it's use.

I would describe what's going on as colonization.

perry said...

What is happening now is no different than what has been happening continuously over the last few hundred years, except that the 'new' immigrants have more skin pigmentation, and hence perhaps, stronger resentment from folks here already.

This argument is literally no different than what happens in the Suburbs. People want to be the last one in the door, and shut it right behind them. They change and amend laws that make it difficult for new people to enter their territory, and then when they tire of being around all these 'different' people that no doubt find their way in, they leave in place of somewhere more familiar.

This isn't about legal vs illegal immigration, its about how people hate and fear change and anything thats not in their comfort zone. That goes for the blues and the reds..

TWM said...

Man, the cheap political talking-point rhetoric is flyin' on this subject. Its like listening to Laura Ingram...which by the way said something yesterday that was almost verbatim repeated by Simon as soon as you used the word immigration in your post rather than illegal immigration. The more complex the issue the more ideological the post...never fails.

I am curious, if you sincerely believe what you are saying, despite the fact that politicians use the same points in their speeches, is it still "talking point rhetoric?"

Cause I gotta say, while I might be echoing stuff you have heard before from talking-heads and politicians, I assure you I believe every bit of it. The people who oppose open-borders are not mindless drones. If we were, we would be caving in like, sadly, it appears our President is doing.

TWM said...

This isn't about legal vs illegal immigration, its about how people hate and fear change and anything thats not in their comfort zone. That goes for the blues and the reds.

I'm sorry, but this is all about legal versus illegal immigration. I can't speak for everyone here, but I am all for legal immigration regardless of race, color, creed or national origin.

SteveR said...

perry, I don't where you are from but your description is a far cry from how most people feel where I'm from (less than an hour from the border). Fifty percent of my co workers, neighbors, friends and schoolmates of my kids are Hispanic. Its mostly about what's legal, not what's different.

Plenty of Mexican citizens come here all the time legally, to work, to shop and visit. No problema.

John in Nashville said...

Perhaps those who complain loudest about immigration should preface their comments by disclosing the tribal nation(s) to which they belong.

Seven Machos said...

So, I had a Big Thought about this on the way to work today. Propositions:

1. We have four percent unemployment.

2. Immigrants take crappy, low-paying jobs.

3. If there were no immigrants to take crappy, low-paying jobs, (a) a lot more legal Americans would have crappy, low-paying jobs, or (b) costs of goods and services would rise because crappy jobs would pay more, or (c) some things involving crappy jobs would not get done.

4. The act of illegal immigration is not immoral like, say, robbery. The same people who bitch about illegal aliens cheat on their taxes and cheat on their spouses, and get parking tickets.

If all of these things are true, then the path to citizenship + real assimilation argument is the best one, and the problem has been that we have had a ridiculous production ceiling on U.S. visas.

Having said all this, a wall between the U.S. and Mexico + the path to citizenship + real assimilation argument would really be the true ideal.

Thoughts?

Seven Machos said...

One more comment: enforcement against employers is going to cause (a) small businees to go out of business or (b) goods and services to cost more money.

Not saying this is a bad thing, just that it will happen.

Mark Daniels said...

I think that this entire incident shows how ingrown and incestuous the blogging world is. I just checked over at Polipundit and this controversy has elicited, as of this writing, 450 comments! It's amazing that we care this much about what is, essentially, a personal dispute. But the blogging world is such a tight little realm that perhaps this shouldn't amaze me.

The incident has also taught me something about the limits of blogrolling. I checked and saw that a few of the blogs I frequent link to Polipundit on their blogrolls. But honestly, until I saw Ann's post on this little tempest in a blogspot, I don't remember ever hearing of the site, much less visiting it.

Bloggers always like being linked to blogrolls, of course. But blogrolling doesn't necessarily bring traffic. The three sites whose blogrolls bring the most readers to my blog are Hugh Hewitt's, Mark Roberts's, and Theoretical Bling Bling. In each case, I think that there are different reasons for the readers there linking to my blog:

Hugh features my blog on a relatively small list of Godbloggers. It's easy to see the link.

Mark is a fellow pastor and I would guess that a large number of those who hit on his links are looking for similar material to what he presents there.

Icepick of Bling Bling has one relatively short blogroll.

To have one's blog listed among a cast of thousands probably doesn't drive a lot of traffic to a site. There's still no substitute for having specific posts sited within posts by other bloggers. That's how I went to the now-beclouded Polipundit for the first time.

One last element of this little storm has to do with group blogging. Of course, group blogging is going to take off in a big way. But I think that in order for them to do so will require some agreed-upon styles, such as one sees in newspapers or magazines. And, there will always be single-authored blogs which, at present, I vastly prefer. I talked about that a few days ago on my own blog (http://markdaniels.blogspot.com/2006/05/i-still-like-simple-single-author.html).

Mark Daniels

Coco said...

TWM: "I am curious, if you sincerely believe what you are saying, despite the fact that politicians use the same points in their speeches, is it still "talking point rhetoric?"

Cause I gotta say, while I might be echoing stuff you have heard before from talking-heads and politicians, I assure you I believe every bit of it. The people who oppose open-borders are not mindless drones. If we were, we would be caving in like, sadly, it appears our President is doing."

To answer your question TCM - yes. The issue is not whether you believe it - the issue is whether it represents anything more than a bromidic expession of a position.

"alien invasion"

"when another culture literally invades"

"threat to our national identity"

"scofflaws of a foreign power"

"open-borderers"

"do jobs Americans won't do"

"jingoists"

All of these - many of which are yours TWM -- are pure vanilla platitudes that are intended to convey some deeper truth but are utterly unpersuasive. You can believe all of them but none of them lead to meaningful discussion.

Simon said...

Coco said...
"Its like listening to Laura Ingram...which by the way said something yesterday that was almost verbatim repeated by Simon as soon as you used the word immigration in your post rather than illegal immigration. "

Well, sadly, I can't listen to Laura, because she's not syndicated on any stations that I'm in reception distance of. However, I guess the obvious rejoinder to your point would be that if Laura Ingraham said two plus two is four and Ann posted the next day about two plus two equalling four, I'd probably agree with Laura that two plus two is four.

It's clever how you attempt to basically avoid engaging with the actual thrust of the post by scoffing at how beneath your dizzying intellect and sensibilities all this muck-flinging is. That ability to avoid engaging intellectually with an argument - particularly one self-evidently descriptive - is sure something I admire in a person.

perry said...
"What is happening now is no different than what has been happening continuously over the last few hundred years, except that the 'new' immigrants have more skin pigmentation."
Well, not really. The difference isn't the color of their skin, because you'll notice that no one of whom I'm aware is talking about deporting (a) immigrants or (b) latinos; they're talking about deporting illegal immigrants, of whatever race. The difference is entirely in the law. Let me be explicit: I think immigration is good. I fully understand and applaud a desire to come to this country. I think that if these folks leave, they should not be forebarred from coming back the legal way, and in fact, should be encouraged to do so. But what I will not do is sanction their being here illegally, and it is a mystery to me why so many Americans seem to be demanding that the government fail to enforce the laws that already exist on this issue. What drives you people to demand amnesty - is it greed? Is it fear? I mean, you keep saying how it's all about us conservatives being afraid, but it seems equally plausible that YOUR position is motivated by fear, in your case, of the economic consequences of mass deportation? It's far too easy - and lazy - to play this silly ad hominem fear card, especially since both sides can do it.

OTOH:
"This isn't about legal vs illegal immigration, its about how people hate and fear change and anything thats not in their comfort zone. That goes for the blues and the reds.."

You know what? Don't tell anyone, but I'll let you in on the secret: you're right. You've got us pegged. We sure do just hate and fear change, and anything that's not in our comfort zones. You know what else wasn't in my comfort zone? Moving four thosand miles from my family into a culture which is, if anything, made even more alien by overfamiliarity. It wasn't much in my comfort zone to have to work out, from scratch, how to integrate into this country, and to determine what the paramters of this society and my obligations to it were. It wasn't exactly in my comfort zone to discover that a lot of poltical ideas I'd thought were self-evident before I moved here simply didn't apply in America; it was necessary to start again, from scratch: culturally, socially, intellectually and politically. But it is what this country requires of immigrants, and I think it's right that it does. Your comments speak ill of you.

Simon said...

Seven Machos said...
"If there were no immigrants to take crappy, low-paying jobs, (a) a lot more legal Americans would have crappy, low-paying jobs, or (b) costs of goods and services would rise because crappy jobs would pay more, or (c) some things involving crappy jobs would not get done."

I think the answer is primarily (b).

"The same people who bitch about illegal aliens cheat on their taxes and cheat on their spouses, and get parking tickets."

Tangentially, I'd point out that people who cheat on their spouses are thereby estopped from entering the debate on homosexual marriage. This is why I have no beef with homosexual marriage: because I believe marriage IS sacrosanct, but I also think there are things that some heterosexuals do that inflict far more damage on the sanctity of marriage than would two men or women in love being married to one another. Two people in love is not a threat to the sanctity of my marriage, or anyone else's. Quickie divorce, modern culture, infidelity, Britney Spears: if none of these things existed, it might be possible to talk seriously of homosexual marriage harming marriage in some quantifiable sense, but since they do exist, any damage that homosexual marriage might to do the sanctity of marriage (and I'm not convinced there is any) would be a drop in the bucket. I agree with a lot of things Newt Gingrich says, but I am not going to take a lecture from that man on the sanctity of marriage.

"Having said all this, a wall between the U.S. and Mexico + the path to citizenship + real assimilation argument would really be the true ideal."

Depending on what you mean by "the path to citizenship", I agree. If by "the path to citizenship", you mean a generalized liberalization and simplification of our immigration laws, I fully agree; if you mean amnesty, I do not.

Simon said...

"One more comment: enforcement against employers is going to cause (a) small businees to go out of business or (b) goods and services to cost more money."

I believe in the efficacy of the market, I believe in the rule of law, I believe in fair play, and I don't believe in subsidies. Failing to enforce immigration laws distorts the market and penalizes law-abiding companies by unfairly subsidizing companies that break the law. Quadruple word score. ;)

PatCA said...

It's a "velvet" invasion. Clearly the Mexican government has encouraged it overtly and their consulates here organize support for the amnesty cause--as well as keep up with their countrymen now that they have money.

The way we relate to each other and to our government, our notions of civic society, all of these are changing by virtue of a majority third world populace in urban California. The music centers, museums, and cultural institutions are withering. All of this constitutes "culture." As I said before, the immigrant communities I live with are segregating themselves away from our culture voluntarily.

Not everybody takes advantage of cheap labor. My house is being painted this week by legal workers with proper insurance at twice the cost of a cheap job done by illegals.

TWM said...

Coco said:

All of these - many of which are yours TWM -- are pure vanilla platitudes that are intended to convey some deeper truth but are utterly unpersuasive. You can believe all of them but none of them lead to meaningful discussion.

I believe that we are being invaded, peacefully as it may be, by aliens from other nations. I use the word invasion only because it is the word I think best applies to this situation. They are coming here illegally and by the millions so it seems to fit.

I believe that this invasion is a threat to our national security in light of the war on terrorism. When a nation is at war, especially with a force like terrorism, it only makes sense to secure our borders from the entry of such unknown terrorists. Open borders is a security issue that must be addressed.

I believe that unrestricted illegal immigration is a threat to our national identity because the millions that are invading are doing little, if anything, to assimilate into our American culture. Legal immigration of all sorts of people is important to the American culture. Massive, uncontrolled illegal immigration is going to destroy it.

I believe that those who do not favor stricter immigration controls are for an open-border. There is nothing derogatory in this designation. It is simply a short way of describing them.

For the life of me I cannot think of another way to say any of that, so I ask you, how do I say it so it is more persuasive? Because if it is just my choice of words that is bugging you, instead of my position, I am willing to give it a try.

John in Nashville said:

Perhaps those who complain loudest about immigration should preface their comments by disclosing the tribal nation(s) to which they belong.

No one here is complaining about immigration, but a lot of us are complaining about illegal immigration. And, not that it is means anything, but I am supposed to have some Cherokee in me.

Seven Machos said...

Agreed on many, many points, Simon. When I speak of a "path to citizenship," it has to include a substantial fine. English language proficiency would be a requirement. Plus, you have to show that you are employable. I want only the best, hardest-working illegal aliens, and I am serious about that. Let the layabouts migrate on up to Canada.

patca -- The best housecleaner I ever had was a Polish woman who I am as positive as I can was working illegally. I used to give her 50 percent tips out of awe and guilt. Since then, I had a number of Americans and all sucked.

John -- To the winner goes the ability to make the law. That's he way it is, whatever they taught you in college notwithstanding. This fact is a very important reason why it's so absolutely critical to win the war in Iraq.

The Mechanical Eye said...

I'd have no problem with a path to citizenship that would include fines either - it is a form of punishment. Giving a fine would NOT be amnesty - the word suggests a an unconditional forgiveness of a transgression.

Also, I notice "amnesty" is fast becoming a swear word hurled at those who don't advocate immediate sweeps of entire neighborhoods. This is what I mean by the nasty effects of the talk-radio circuit on the issue.

Finally... I'm a LIBERAL? Simon, I think you should peruse my blog - the URL's on my Blogger Profile. Its possible for conservatives to have different takes on the same issue, you know.

I wasn't aware our side of the aisle was becoming as ossified and label-driven as the left.

DU

Hans Gruber said...

An overreaction? Sure looks like it. But have you read what McClure wrote after Bush's speech?

"If you think that is amnesty, then you are either a moron or a liar. If you ar truly a Republican to begin with, if you are truly a conservative, then you will applaud this speech and support the reforms he has articulated. Otherwise, you are not a Republican. You are not a conservative. You are a LIAR. A LIAR."

Hans Gruber said...

"Also, I notice "amnesty" is fast becoming a swear word hurled at those who don't advocate immediate sweeps of entire neighborhoods."

Yeah, because we all know so many people are advocating this.

ChrisO said...

A few thoughts:

It's my understanding, as a non-lawyer, that entering the country without permission is a crime, but actually being in the country is considered an administrative issue. If this is the case, the continuing depiction of illegal immigrants as scofflaws is a little harsh.

Also, I think people romanticize exactly what happened with previous waves of immigrants, and draw unfair and erroneous comparisons with Mexicans. It is well known that many ethnic groups who immigrated to this country may have cherished being Americans, but "assimilation" was not their primary goal. Many ethnic enclaves sprung up in big cities, and there was great social pressure not to marry outside of an ethnic group. Assimilation was not a primary goal for many of these people. And it was often the next generation that became functional English speakers.

As for waving the American flag at demonstrations, I agree it's a bad PR move, but again, its meaning is overblown. Drive through a neighborhood of legal Brazilian immigrants during World Cup, or an Irish neighborhood on St. Patrick's Day. Do you really think all of those Brazilian and Irish flags symbolize a desire to remain separate from the rest of the country? Or could they just be symbolic of etnic pride?

I agree that we need to protect the sovereignty of our borders. And the economic implications of illegal immigration are certainly debatable, despite the number of commenters on both sides who claim that there is an absolute truth on this issue that any moron can see. But I do think the national security issues are overblown. I worry a lot more about our unsecured ports than I do about terrorists wading across the Rio Grande. And if I recall, the most significant instance of a terrorist being stopped while trying to enter the country illegally took place at the Canadian border.

altoids1306 said...

I used to read Polipundit during the 2004 campaign, but I stopped after that ...

I think the contributers are mainstream, ardent Republicans. That they would come to such a divide says something about the illegal immigration issue. I don't lean quite as far right as Polipundit does on most issues, so I'm sad to hear Lorie Byrd is leaving. On the other hand, the blogosphere as a whole has thousands of personalities clashing with each other, winking in and out of existence, this is just business-as-usual.

Somewhat unrelated:
I second the point made several previous posters that it's not a immigration issue, it's a ILLEGAL immigration issue. The MSM is applying tremendous energy to confuse the two topics. Illegal immigrants are criminals simply by standing on US soil.

Are they good people who just want a better life? Mostly, yes. Should we change the laws? Absolutely. But let's not have any nonsense about their current standing with the law. A sovereign nation has the right to refuse immigrants and place walls on its soil wherever it pleases.

Simon said...

Chris:
"entering the country without permission is a crime, but actually being in the country is considered an administrative issue. If this is the case, the continuing depiction of illegal immigrants as scofflaws is a little harsh."

Well, if you're game to join a colloquy, let's try it this way: the Fourth Amendment generally prevents warrantless searches. If the police search your home in what they admit is violation of the Fourth Amendment, is that evidence admissable in Court?

(Here's a hint).

Johnny Nucleo said...

For me, it's all about English. I love the English language. I love it. When it comes to the English language, I am incapable of objectivity. I believe (I really do) that the English language is the Mohammed Ali of languages (including French).

But of course, unlike French (stupid French), or Ali for that matter, English has no inherent magic. But English is thick civilizational glue. (So was French once. (I hate the French!)) Maybe we no longer need this glue, but it would be stupid to gamble with it.

But who are we kidding? Mexico is never going to get her shit together. This isn't anybody's fault. Well maybe it is, but what are you going to do?

I'll tell you what we're going to do. We're going to annex Mexico.

Maybe annex isn't the right word. What do you call it when another country asks to join you and you say yes?

Good God! We're going to marry Mexico! But only if our kids speak English. They can speak Mexican too, but they must speak English. Don't worry. Canada will still be our mistress. And she speaks English. (And French. Dammit!)

ChrisO said...

Simon

I'm not sure I get your point. I wasn't implying that we had no power to do anything about immigrants because their crime was in the past; I presume that you are equating their presence in the country with the fruit of the poison tree that was their illegal entry. My point was simply that a lot of commenters seem to feel that illegal aliens are in the act of committing crimes simply by walking the streets of this country. I think it's relevant only because there is a distinct undercurrent of thought that they don't deserve any sympathy because they are lawbreakers. By that standard, any one of us who has ever broken a law should be looked at the same way.

TWM said...

I think it's relevant only because there is a distinct undercurrent of thought that they don't deserve any sympathy because they are lawbreakers. By that standard, any one of us who has ever broken a law should be looked at the same way.

Maybe I am the exception but I rarely look at a law breaker with sympathy -- American citizen or not.

altoids1306 said...

Quote Chriso: My point was simply that a lot of commenters seem to feel that illegal aliens are in the act of committing crimes simply by walking the streets of this country. I think it's relevant only because there is a distinct undercurrent of thought that they don't deserve any sympathy because they are lawbreakers.

Yes, they are lawbreakers simply by standing on US soil. Sympathy is irrelevant - if we had the right (and apparently some think we do) to obey the laws only if we thought they were humane or right or just, they would hardly be laws at all. A law without unconditional enforcement is not a law.

By that standard, any one of us who has ever broken a law should be looked at the same way.

No. The situations are completely different. If I robbed a bank, got caught and served time, I would deserve to be given a second chance, having paid my debt. If I robbed a bank, was not caught, and continue to live off my ill-gotten gains, then I broke the law and continue to break the law.

Illegal immigrants break the law by entering, well, illegally, and continue to break the law by staying.

Simon said...

Chris -
Yep, that's what I had in mind. :) I think "altoids1306" has already made the point I'd have made with his bankrobber analogy.

ChrisO said...

My point about illegal immigrants' status as lawbreakers continues to be missed. If the situation is as I understand it (the lawbreaking happens when they enter the country, not when they stay here) then the statement "Illegal immigrants break the law by entering, well, illegally, and continue to break the law by staying" is not accurate, and speaks to exactly what I am saying. And the statement "Yes, they are lawbreakers simply by standing on US soil" is not accurate. Hence the debate over criminalizing illegal immigrants. If they were lawbreakers, then criminalizing them would not be an issue.

And the bank robber analogy is not a good one, since bank robbery is a much more serious infraction than entering the country illegally. And a bank robber living off of his ill-gotten gains is profiting directly from his crime. An illegal immigrant doesn't make a living off of the act of entering the country; he makes a living off of whatever he does to make a living once he gets here.

I'm not suggesting that illegal immigrants necessarily deserve sympathy (although I personally sympathize with many of them.) The blanket statement "I don't sympathize with lawbreakers" is quite simplistic. The 80 year old man who assists his wife's death because he can't stand to see her suffer certainly gets my sympathy, even as I recognize that we need laws to control that sort of thing.

As a less dramatic example, I bought a bag of pot a couple of months ago, which I think from a legal standpoint is somewhat analogous to entering the country illegally. Until such time as I am arrested and convicted for my transgression, am I in a continuing state of lawbreaking? Or is it more likely that no one really cares?

altoids1306 said...

ChrisO:

Illegal immigration is pretty open-and-shut to me. The name says it all (which is why the media tries to obscure it with this "undocumented" idiocy). Entering a country without a valid visa or other form of legal standing is illegal. Staying in a country without a valid visa or other legal standing is illegal. This is so simple and self-evident that I can hardly believe it is necessary to type these words.

Now, obviously, most illegal immigrants are good people seeking a better life. But that doesn't change their legal standing, and, given that millions diligently wait for their visas and green cards to enter the country legally, I don't have particular sympathy for them.

downtownlad said...

This whole issue reminds me of "group think". Everyone talking about the same issue at once. Who give the blogger their talking points?

I'm sorry, but illegal immigration has been around forever. This is Bush's first decent proposal since Social Security reform. If we're really worried about terrorists, then it makes complete sense to start documenting the guest workers that are here and accepting reality. Then you can actually weed out the people who should NOT be here.

This whole debate borders on Xenophobia and racism. It is so sad. What is even sadder is that these xenophobic bloggers are now considered mainstream.

Bravo to Bush (and trust me - I haven't said that for a while).

Wickedpinto said...

"Ego"

I don't have room for it in my life, and I don't have room for it in my news.

Makes me very unmarketable, but, I prefer personal dignity over broad acceptance. Good for lorie, though I agree with poli. In truth, F poli, I don't have room for egotists ESPECIALLY when their most prolific "guest" is ostracised.

F poli, you are a BAD boss, and you will be suffering now that you are so silly with your unvaried posts.

If YOUR opinion was the only one that mattered, than you should have stood alone from the beginning. Lorie is your most popular "guest" in fact, more popular than you.

So, I will keep reading, but not as often, you are like the DU, someone I touch one every once in a while.

If you want to interest me, be interesting without Lori to drive your viewership.