April 11, 2006

"The images ... bring forth a wealth of sadness in me that I cannot begin to explain."

My colleague Nina Camic writes about immigration, from her perspective as an immigrant, and has photos of people marching in Madison yesterday.


Goesh said...

We were all boat people, squatters on Indian land. I'm sad too that my ancestors didn't take more Indian land for themselves and I'm all for a 15% tax increase across the boards to take care of all the illegals in particular. Let's give them 3 free years or cultural adjustment, meet their every need, then they can go to work. We can save money too by stopping the funding for vocational rehab services for the learning disabled since American's won't do much manual labor, why are we spending money on people such as this who can only do menial type jobs? Let the immigrants do it.

John(classic) said...

I have difficulty understanding what is wanted, and what is being proposed.

Part of that, I think, is deliberate obfuscation. "Immigrant rights" is a bit like "pro-choice". It conceals what is at issue.

Everyone I am sure supports immigrant rights. The issue is illegal immigrants.

That is a knotty, difficult, problem that raises all sorts of issues from compassion to justice.

I think I do know one thing. The problem will not be solved until we regain control of our borders and are able to make illegal immigration an occasional thing, regardless of what parameters we set on it. If we don't do that, we will simply have a recurring problem.

I think much of the confusion also arises from some pretty stinking politics. I was surprised to learn that an amendment to remove the felony provision from the bill was defeated -- because a majority of Democrats opposed it. I suppose they concluded that it would be better to have a juicy campaign issue than someone not being imprisoned. (Yes, Tammy Baldwin voted against the amendment). I am sure there are equal sins on the side of the Republicans. That sort of gamesmanship simply makes a difficult issue more difficult.

My own proposal would have as a first step that we forcibly repatriate congress critters to the moon, mars, the devil's dominions, or wherever they came from.

Question for the lawyers (or,heh,heh, the consitutional law professor)-- what does that phrase "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof" in the 14th Amendment mean? Is it there just to exclude babies born within embassies?

John(classic) said...

Part of my difficulty in understanding all comes from a recent conversation, which I summarize:

Party A: It is outrageous to deny undocumented aliens the ability to get a driver's license. Why shouldn't they be able to drive?

Party B: Hah, everbody knows that a driver's license is the practical way you prove citizenship, whether it is voting or passing the boder check from Canada. If they had drivers' licenses you would turn illegal undocumented aliens into illegal documented aliens that could get way with it.

Me: Why couldn't we just put a little symbol on the driver's license: a "c" or "nc" for citizen or non-citizen. Wouldn't that make everyone happy?.

Party A: I am opposed.

Party B: I am opposed.

Thorley Winston said...

Party A: It is outrageous to deny undocumented aliens the ability to get a driver's license. Why shouldn't they be able to drive?

Because they’re criminals and not entitled to the same privileges as those who obey the law.

bearing said...

john(classic), I'm with you --- the obfuscation around this issue is driving me batty. I suspect that at least some of the parties think it's to their benefit that people be as confused as possible.

Wish I had a transcript of Juan Williams on NPR this morning...

... first, talking about the "anti-immigrant backlash" (really? is it "anti-immigrant" or "anti-illegal-immigration" or even "pro-enforcement-of-immigration-laws?")

... and then, talking about how, of course, illegal immigrants cannot vote, whereas the "26 million legal immigrants" are not all registered to vote... and I'm wondering, do you mean 26 million "naturalized citizens" (who have the right to vote) or do you mean 26 million legal immigrants, some of whom are naturalized citizens and some of whom are NOT (yet?) and cannot legally vote even though they are legally here?

Crazy annoying.

Danny said...

John, do you have any more info about the Democracts blocking an amendment to remove the felony provision?

dande said...

I agree that illegal immigration is a huge problem. However, since most of the discussion seems to revolve around the problems caused by immigrants -- both illegal and legal, I would like to tell you the story of my family of immigrants.

In 1916 my father was born in a cellar in Leige, Belgium during a massive German artillery attack. After the war my grandfather decided to emigrate to Canada to make a better life for his family. He had to leave his wife and child behind as he could only scrape up enough money for his fare to Canada. He worked as a day laborer for the various Belgian farmers around Tilbury, Ontario. In two years he had saved enough money to bring his wife and child to Canada. So in 1923 my father, age 7, found himself living in a farmer's log cabin, going to a school and laboring in the fields when he was needed. Time passed. My grandfather found a good job at the Chrysler plant in Windsor, Ontario as a metal finisher. My father finished school, joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, flew three tours over Europe during World War II as a combat pilot, was decorated for valor and became the youngest Air Commodore (equivalent to Brigadier General in the U.S.) during the war.

After the war my father left the RCAF, found a job with an industrial roofing company in Windsor, married, had a child (me), moved to Detroit, Michigan, USA and started his own very small industrial roofing company. Time passed. The business grew. Dad eventually employed over 400 workers. When he retired, he sold the business to his employees.

In the meantime, I was going to school, joined the United States Air Force, became a naturalized citizen, flew a tour as a combat pilot (Captain) in Viet Nam, left the service, worked for a few advertising agencies, and started my own small ad agency. Time passed. The business grew. 92 people worked for me when I sold the business at age 51 to devote all my time to fine art.

From Belgium to Canada to the real land of opportunity: the Unites States of America. We worked very hard, used school as a ladder to success, become good citizens, thanked God for our good life, and gave back to the community. Not bad for a poor immigrant family.

Because someone left everything behind to find a better life, a chain of events was started that led to hundreds of jobs being created, millions of dollars in taxes paid, and a lot of families living a good life in this wonderful country.

So, what should be done about illegal immigration? I don't know. But I do believe the illegal immigrants come to this country for the same reason my grandfather first went to Canada -- to have the chance to provide a better life for his family. I don't like people braking the law. We have to find a way to stop the flood of illegal immigrants, but I don't think we can or should send back the millions of illegal immigrants already in this country. They are here, let's find a way to help them become good members of our community. Require them to learn English, to have a job, to pay taxes, to send their children to school, to stay out of trouble, to learn about their new country. Finally, allow them a path to become a citizen. In time, if only one percent have the same success as my family of immigrants the country fill be far better than if we had sent them back.

Balfegor said...

I think I do know one thing. The problem will not be solved until we regain control of our borders


But of course, the ancient bureaucratic states of the Far East dealt with the problem of unauthorised border crossing in their typical fashion: execution. There were a number of incidents with Korean farmers -- or fishermen I think -- who accidentally crossed the border and were extradited back to Korea and put to death. So also with a number of Chinese who crossed the border into Annam, intermarried with the natives, and returned only to be executed. And my understanding is that the Japanese pursued a similar border control policy during the Tokugawa reign, until the Americans forced the issue.

Anyhow, for us, effective control of the border is the precondition to any meaningful policy in this regard. If we are incapable of something as elementary as controlling the border, any immigration "compromise" won't be worth the paper it's written on. It won't be a compromise at all. It will be a surrender. We might as well sign the unequal treaties and have done with it.

howzerdo said...

Wonderful link. This morning I read a story in my local paper about the folks who pick apples at a farm nearby which was also interesting, but Nina's writing is very touching. Thanks.

michael a litscher said...

If, when we deport Mexicans here illigally, we deported them to Cancun, Cozumel, and Acapulco instead of right over the border, not only would those here illegally have a much longer trip before they could make another attempt, but it would start sharing this problem with Mexico itself by impinging on it's tourism trade.

That, and we need a wall.

Furthermore, they shouldn't be issued drivers licenses, they should be arrested and then deported.

XWL said...

America needs immigrants. America thrives with the energy that immigrants bring with them.

But that doesn't make sneaking in (or over staying a student or tourist visa) less of a crime.

I say make immigration fairer in the global sense, I propose (modestly) to set up quotas based on the population of the country of origin, and setting up a competitive system that ensures the best, brightest, and fittest are the ones that arrive on our shores.

It may not be huddled masses, but it would make for better entertainment.

(That's right I'd turn the process of immigration into the USA into a mega-reality show)

John(classic) said...

Danny, re your request for more info:

This is the Amendment. It would reduce the violation from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Clicking on the roll call vote on the bottom right corner gives you the recorded vote. As you can see, the Republicans favored reducing the penalty to a misdemeanor by 156-65. The Demcrats voted for retaining the felony by 191-8. the Democrats are now loudly sticking it to the Republicans for making "criminals" of illegal aliens.

That kind of partisan gamesmanship disgusts me.

I am confident that the Republicans are likely guilty of as much. However, I find the "cover" that the media gives the Democrats is pretty raw. Note, for instance the Cap Times editorial excoriating Sensennbrenner without even mentioning his attempt to amend the penalty down.

John(classic) said...

Regarding the above, I just noticed this UPI story -- which, true to the consistent high standard of reporting on this issue, fails to mention the blocking of the amendment by Democrats.

C. Schweitzer said...

There are so many problems I have with supporters of illegal immigration (one of them being the awful and deceitful tactic of accusing those of us who want the law enforced of racism).

But, in particular, I find the liberal support of illegal immigration astounding discordant with their own philosophies:

• By continuing illegal immigration, they empower these shifty, exploitive operators that stuff illegals into vans, railroad cars, and truck trailers--where they frequently die. Yeah, that's humane.

• We've heard ad nauseum in this debate that illegals do work Americans won't do and for wages that no American would accept, often in conditions that would violate the rules of a normal American workplace. Um, so let me get this straight: it's wrong to criminalize illegal aliens (is that an Orwellian phrase or what?) because it's inhumane, cruel, and unfair to them, yet it's OK to use them as labororers in circumstances that you've railed against American companies being allowed to treat their American workers?

Aw, who's a cute little hypocrite? --Yeah, you are.

Unless, of course . . . once illegal aliens get even more normalized and legalized into American society and liberals start sryign out that they should get the minimum wage too, and access to health care, and all the rights they want other workers to have . . .

But, then, doesn't that negate the whole notion of cheap labor Americans won't do if we start granting them occupational rights. If we allow illegals to work in the U.S. and extend them the right of residency without citizenship--what keeps them from demanding more rights? Will they start to form unions?

I mean, they've demonstrated quite of bit of clout and caused the two major political parties to quake with fear by the marches and rallies of the past few weeks--so why stop there? Have you ever known people to realize they have the power to get what they want and not push it further and further?