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Question of the day

Friday, Mar 31, 2006

The full report can be found here. And here’s the Tribune’s take:

Four in 10 Americans believe that immigrants strengthen the U.S. with their hard work and talents, but an even bigger portion say immigration saps job and housing availability, a major new study has found.

As lawmakers battled over competing immigration reform bills on Capitol Hill, the Pew Research Center and Pew Hispanic Center in Washington, D.C., released a survey Thursday that shows a country still deeply ambivalent about newcomers.

Chicago, the survey found, is even more divided.

Of the five metro areas highlighted in the Pew study, Chicago is among the most tolerant of immigrants, with more people embracing newcomers and fewer interested in penalizing illegal immigrants.

“Chicago has a proud legacy of being built by immigrants,” said Marissa Graciosa of the Illinois Coalition for Immigration Rights. “This is a city that does not have amnesia about where its roots come from.”

At the same time, however, Chicagoans were more pessimistic than most about the effect of immigrants on the economy, with 4 in 10 area residents saying their biggest concern about illegal immigration is that it hurts American jobs—higher than Las Vegas, Phoenix, Raleigh-Durham and Washington, D.C., and higher than the rest of the country

Discuss, but be warned that any racist comments will be deleted and those making such comments will be banned from posting here forever. I mean it. Don’t even think about pushing the envelope.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


53 Comments
  1. - vole - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 6:05 am:

    Seems like the same voices advocating outsourcing are likewise proposing open border immigration policies. To me, the consequences of these policies will be a continued decline of the middle class, an increasing concentration of wealth in the upper class, and an increase in the percentage of poor.

    Advocates of open immigration believe that this will lead to lower prices for many goods and services. They argue that those who save money as a result will spend the savings on other goods and services, creating better paying jobs in the process. This does not jive with me.

    What does seem to be happening is that the larger employers have a big incentive to lower wages and benefits. Often they do this at the expense of smaller businessmen and self employed persons who were earning decent middle class wages. The larger employer is able to put competitive downward pressure on prices, forcing many small businesses to either adapt by lowering their labor costs, hiring cheaper immigrant labor themselves, or get out.

    The overall effect will be a continued race to the bottom with an elite class benefiting greatly. This is going to put tremendous pressure on our democratic institutions and lead to divisive, populist, demagogic responses to the problems created by global capitalist policies that drive immigration of the poor and flight of good jobs from the US. The US is likely to mirror many of the third world countries to our south as this trend accelerates. Add in the peak oil scenario and we got ourselves a world on fire.


  2. - Just Wonderin' - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 6:19 am:

    Maybe we should take a lesson from our neighbor, and take a look at how Canada handles the situation. As I understand it, they seem to have their act together on this issue.


  3. - Elder - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 6:19 am:

    Well it is nice that Chicago understands the value of the hard work of immigrants.

    Two of the numbers seem most significant to this debate which is full of demagogery. First: 80% of of Americans believe that immigrants work very hard. Correct. Second: 64% believe that illegal immigrants (even when asked with the “illegal” moniker) should be able to stay here, either as guestworkers or permanently.

    Given the pounding that the Lou Dobbs of the world are giving the undocumented, this is remarkable. It shows that the nation wants a solution to our broken immigration laws that both makes us secure, but also strengthens our economy and is humane.

    We will get past this anti-immigrant spasm, and maybe come out with an immigration policy that rewards work and honors our history as a nation of immigrants.


  4. - Son of immigrants - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 7:07 am:

    Let me say my grandparents were legal immigrants and I have always been inspired and impressed by their life story. I believe our country is made stronger by the influx of new blood. But I can’t abide illiegal immigration, and believe those who hire illegals/undocumenteds should be prosecuted and jailed. I recently read the following post in another blog, and with your permission, will append it here:

    ————————————————-
    There is a reason why people sneak across the border from Mexico into the U.S.

    They come here to work. If there were no jobs for them, then they would not come here. You don’t see Mexicans by the tens-of-thousands sneaking *south* across the border into Guetemala do you? No, of course not, because there are no jobs waiting for them in Guatemala.

    So… every single time you see an illegal immigrant working at construction work, or cleaning office buildings late at night, or picking grapes, or working at a fast food resturant, realize that while the illegal immigrant may have violated civil law in order to try to earn a better life for his family, that there is a bussiness (usually a corporation) that is purposely and systematically violating the law in order to make a higher return on investment for their shareholders.

    Why isn’t there a huge fence or wall at the border? Because it would cut into corporate profits.

    Why is the INS under-staffed and under-funded? Because if they were able to actually perform the task of border enforcement that they are tasked with, it would cut into corporate profits.

    You’ve had a Republican-controlled congress, and a Republican President for five years… constantly speaking about “making America secure”… and yet the border with Mexico leaks like a sieve. Why? Because to actually stop illegal immigrants from Mexico would cause three things to happen:

    #1. America companies would no longer have cheap illegal labor to draw upon, so they would have to raise wages and benefits for those jobs up to the level at which American citizens or legal residents would be willing to perform those jobs.

    Cleaning floors? Picking grapes? Not many Americans would be willing to do those tasks for $3 an hour, in 12-hour shifts, with no overtime pay, no sick leave, no health insurance, no retirement benefits, and no lunch breaks.

    But hell… a LOT of people would go pick grapes for $20 an hour, on an 8 hour shift, with an hour lunch break, two 15-minute breaks a shift, and enrollment in an HMO like Kaiser. It’s not that Americans aren’t willing to work… it’s that Americans aren’t willing to work for $3 an hour at hard labor.

    #2. The second thing that would happen, is that with no illegal labor to use as a cudgel to force concessions from Labor Unions in America, that just about every single one of the tasks being performed by illegal immigrants would become unionized.

    Why aren’t they unionized now? Well, when all of your workers are illegal, the quickest way to stop a unionization drive is to place a phone call to the INS, and the wanna-be union members are on a bus back to Guadalajara.

    #3. The third thing that would happen is widespread social unrest in Mexico itself. Mexico is corrupt, the economy is larger controlled by a tiny fraction of the population, labor laws are either non-existant or unenforced…

    …and as long as the best-and-brightest, and the most motivated, and the hardest working, and the biggest risk-takers among the poor all trek North into the US, then there is no one left to rock the boat back in Mexico.

    Close that border, and deny the opportunity of going North to those folks, and they’ll turn their attention to changing things back home in Mexico.

    Which, of course, would totally fark up the US and international corporations who depend upon the non-existant labor laws, and the non-existant polution-controls in Mexico, to make their cross-border factories and Maquidoras very highly profitable.

    So… there will be no change in US immigration laws, and there will be no *enforcement* of US immigration laws (unless, of course, the illegals try to unionize), because it would hurt the profit margins of the people who have bought-and-paid for most of the members of Congress.

    ————————————————-

    I think this argument makes a lot of sense.


  5. - GOPJay - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 7:30 am:

    The issue of immigration is one that I can’t help but feel ambivalent about.

    In some respects, an anti-immigration federal policy would help existing immigrant workers. Historically, new immigrant groups took jobs that other groups didn’t want and slowly climbed the social ladder. The difference with Mexicans particularly, is that there is an ever increasing immigrant influx of cheap labor. So, an immigrant that arrived 15 years ago cannot negotiate for a higher salary in his field because a new immigrant will do it for much less. It must be clear that this is a very different situation than the Irish or Italians faced a century ago. In short, a restrictive immigration policy would tighten the labor markets and actually help the Mexican community.

    On the other hand (hey, I said I was ambivalent about the matter), I can’t help but take issue with all those butt-heads that are going to stop the immigration problem by lining the border with their favorite hunting rifle and a double fence. What we haven’t heard from these groups and anti-immigration politicians is how the cost of living increases and ensuing unskilled labor shortage will actually be addressed. I don’t mean to be flippant about the issue but, who is going to mow the lawns or wash the dishes in restaurants, or cook your meal, raise your children, pick your vegetables and fruits? We can’t deny that we’ve built an economy on this kind of labor. What’s a cheeseburger going to cost in a restaurant that has full-time cook, dishwasher, busboy, and maintenance staff? Not what we’re paying now!

    But I also think that we’ve lost sight of the situation. I’m not opposed to offering educational or emergency medical services to illegal immigrants. We aren’t barbarians after all. But public assistance and unemployment benefits seem to be over the line in my opinion. If illegal workers can’t make ends meet here, then their plan didn’t work. We shouldn’t help them make it.


  6. - Anonimo - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 7:43 am:

    A few holes in that argument argument:

    ** While it is totally true that job opportunities are the driver of illegal immigration, it is too simplistic to say that wall between the US and Mexico will stop illegal immigration. Only 56% of illegals are Mexican. And while many Latin and South American countries also funnel illegal immigrants through Mexico, almost as many fly here on a legal visa from non-Latino countries and then overstay their welcome. How do you stop that?

    ** The premise that if you cut out the $3 an hour / no-benefit jobs will result in unionized $20 an hour jobs is not necessarily correct. Many small companies would probably fold if their labor costs went up by 500% and many large companies would outsource their jobs to India or China. Net effect: lower immigration, but also less jobs and a decrease in GNP that would undermine our nation’s economy.

    ** Instead of pouring $80 billion a year into Iraq to try to democratize people who want nothing more than to kill us, why don’t we use that money to make Mexico’s economy better? I guarantee you that most Mexicans (and others from other countries) would prefer to stay in their own country if they could find a job there. Why ignore our neighbor and pick fights around the world when we could improve things right next door?

    ** And onto your first point: Your grandparents were legal but everybody nowadays is illegal. You know the difference? Time and politics. It was convenient then to have workers come and populate the country but it’s inconvenient now (except to use immigrants as the scapegoat for our country’s problems).

    Look to that Republican President and that Congress and see how they’ve messed up this economy with their tax breaks for the rich and their corporate welfare. That’s the source of the problem, not the hard-working immgrant who keeps this sinking economy afloat. Take out the immigrant and you don’t fix the leak — you finish sinking the boat. Think about it…


  7. - DOWNSTATE - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 7:48 am:

    If the Democrats would stop worrying about the per centage of votes a softer immigration law would get them we might get something done.I agree that it would be impossible to do something about the ones that are here already. So do a guest worker program that allows a period of time for registration and then have a felony after that time.Tomorrow put the military on the borders and shut them done until we can build up the depleted Border Patrol.Anyone caught coming in more than 3 times make it a felony.Make this the last time there is any kind of guest worker program is done.Any company caught hiring illiegals first offense 25 thousand dollar fine and doubles each offense after that.


  8. - The PFC - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 8:01 am:

    Does anyone know the process for gettin a visa to come to the US and work, particularly from Central American countries? I don’t know the process to be honest. I do know this, currently I’m stationed in a Central American country that sees a lot of immigrants heading to the US from here. I talked to a taxi driver the other night who had been deported from the US as an illegal immigrant after 5 months. I asked him why he didn’t get the proper documentation and visas and try again. He told me to go through the whole process legally would cost him over $6,000 USD. He then pointed out to me that he has a family here, and $6,000 is more than he makes in a year. What do you say to someone that wants to live the American Dream, who wants to be a productive part of our country, who wants to give his family opportunities that they don’t have now, but can’t afford to do it legally. Do we say hey sucks to be you, sorry? That doesn’t sound very American to me. This is the land of opportunity, let’s keep it that way.


  9. - Woe is us - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 8:08 am:

    If you are wishing for someone to pay $20 an hour to pick grapes, be prepared to pay $10 a lb. to eat those same grapes.


  10. - Pat Collins - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 8:19 am:

    1) We had an amnesty in 1986. Now we have 11 million illegals. What will be done differently to see we don’t have 20 million in 2015?

    2) WE had very little immigration 1925~1970. I think the country ran during those years somehow.

    3) Enforcement is easy. Force ALL emplyoers to verify people with the US gov. There is a pilot program today that works. You need not deport them all. Just take away their jobs.

    4) Why is black unemplyment so high, and why is that ok?

    5) We might have less mcdonalds here, and rich people get less yard work. I can deal with that.

    6) It’s not jobs americans won’t do. It wages they can’t live on.


  11. - Beowulf - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 8:37 am:

    Son of Immigrants at 7:07 AM seems to have summed it up pretty well. Until you hold the employers responsible for employing illegal immigrants, nothing is going to happen to change what we are currently experiencing. We “finally” got around to holding corporate officers personally responsible for “cooked books” or false financial statements with the Sarbanes-Oxley law. Until you make individuals within the corporate world “personally responsible”, no change will ever occur.

    What is interesting is that the Kingdom of Chicago has announced that it will refuse to comply with federal laws regarding illegal immigration if they do not suit their wishes. I wonder if King Richard Daley is now considering seceding from the union? It must be nice to “pick and choose” which federal laws you want to follow. I wonder if the American flag is coming down and the City of Chicago flag is being raised at the Federal Building? George and Larry might still skate out of their federal charges after all. King Daley might bestow political amnesty upon them and give them sanctuary.
    Fort Sumter has just been fired upon by the Chicago Confederacy. Will King Daley next bulldoze the runways at O’Hare Airport to keep union troops from invading Chicago?


  12. - Backyard Conservative - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 9:00 am:

    My take here:

    http://backyardconservative.blogspot.com/
    2006/03/immigration-debate.html


  13. - grand old partisan - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 9:15 am:

    “Chicagoans were more pessimistic than most about the effect of immigrants on the economy, with 4 in 10 area residents saying their biggest concern about illegal immigration is that it hurts American jobs”
    - with the policy proposals coming out of the governor’s office these days, perhaps that concern may be warranted. If Blago gets his way and Illinois ends up having the highest minimum wage in the mid-west, companies will have to cut back on the number of employees in order to afford the increased payroll costs for each that they keep. Meanwhile, the state will become an understandable destination for immigrant laborers. Call that over simplistic if you want, but it just seems like common sense. In all sincerity, if someone can explain to me why I should not be concerned about such a scenario, I’m willing to listen. Maybe I am missing some salient complexity.


  14. - Lovie's Leather - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 9:38 am:

    The first thing to do is secure the border. Build a wall, bring in the military, beef the border patrol, whatever. Next, you have to offer amnesty to the illegals that are currently in the USA. 1.) There is no way to round up 11 million people. Remember Katrina? That was nowhere near 11 million and was an absolute failure. 2.) The current jobs that these illegals hold would be lost. Most people don’t want to do these jobs, atleast not for minimum wage. It would be economically devastating.
    The absolute best solution: Let the current illegals stay, don’t let new illegals in. And don’t start spouting off crap about the respect for the law, blah blah blah crap like that. At this point, respecting the law would not be in the best interest of the governents of America, Mexico, illegal immigrants, or citizens of America. The government needs to do what is in the best interest of the country and it’s people.


  15. - Pat Collins - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 9:45 am:

    They’ll pay a fine and have to learn English

    Well, As for learning English, already you allegedly need to do that to become a citizen. So why all the ballots need to be printed in different languages? Because that “requirement” is a joke and not enforced.

    As for paying a fine, if i steal your BMW, am I punished if i get to keep it and need only pay sales tax?

    At least call an amnesty and amnesty.


  16. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 9:46 am:

    I think the guest worked program is a complete b/s idea to pay off the corporate world again. Bush claims its so illegals can work in “jobs American’s don’t want”… However, whats to say that the local factory doesn’t use these “guest” workers at minimal wage and no pension of health care costs. If we allow the guest worker program we are asking to destroy what is left of a lot of middle class America. That being said, I believe we should probably give the illegals something of amnesty, and then seal the border. Sealing the border cannot just be about physically closing it down either. We need to push for fair wages, and fair polution regulations in the central american countries. If America can trade with them on the same playing field we will both be better off. Stonger economies would also build a better government system down there as well. I would much rather be trading with our border countries, then with a country like China that has zero regulation.


  17. - The King - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 9:47 am:

    I nominate Pat Collins for Humanitarian of the Year.


  18. - Tony @ The Apartment - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 9:50 am:

    Son of Immigrants -
    As for some of your points (actually they weren’t your points, but the quoted post’s points), I agree that if illegals were essentially kicked out, there would be a raise in pay for certain jobs because, obviously, no American is going to work for $3 an hour, etc. etc. But won’t a guest worker status force companies to raise wages and add benefits, or am I wrong? Also, will Americans be willing to actually pay double or triple the price for, say, produce or other goods because companies are going to have to pay their workers more? It’s not like they’re going to just eat that extra cost.
    If we can get these companies to stop abusing these mostly Hispanic and occasionally European immigrants on the job through immigration reform, then I’m all for it.


  19. - SenorAnon - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 9:53 am:

    First, Downstate, to try, as you so often do, to lump this whole mess on to Democrats, is patently absurd. Is it not the GOP who is waging a civil war over this issue? The hardliners, led by Tom Tancredo, vs. the Non-hardliners led by Bush?

    Is Bush simply “worrying about the per centage (sic) of votes a softer immigration law would get them…?”

    And the vote by the “Kingdom of Chicago” is not without precedent. The council feels the law is “narrow and punitive.” Let them fight it out in court if they wish. Isn’t that what the “Kingdom of South Dakota” is doing with abortion?


  20. - vole - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 10:01 am:

    WOE:”If you are wishing for someone to pay $20 an hour to pick grapes, be prepared to pay $10 a lb. to eat those same grapes.”
    I understand your point, but the realistic side of this is that some very poor peasant in Chile is picking your affordable table grapes for a dollar a day. Some multinational food company is exporting them to the US and making a hefty profit. Even with cheap immigrant labor costs in the US, many US growers cannot compete with the importers (and they certainly cannot supply grapes in March). Plus, that poor peasant has his eye on a better paying job in the US. If he happens to make it to the US it is increasingly likely that he will remain poor here as the prospect for upward mobility decreases in the US.

    Something is seriously out of whack with global capitalism.


  21. - DOWNSTATE - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 10:01 am:

    Well SenorAnon the leader of this state is a Democrat and he wants them to have a drivers license,low interest loans and by the way lower than working american citizens pay,free health,free eyeglass.free dental.So I would say that since he is a Democrat they have to take some of the blame or one of them have to say no.


  22. - SenorAnon - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 10:32 am:

    “low interest loans and by the way lower than working american citizens pay…”

    Once again, twisting the facts. The low-interest loan program is for people with little or no credit history, a group that includes, but is by no means limited to, aliens. If you have issues with that, fine. But don’t lie through implication that it is a loan program solely for illegal aliens. No one posting on this board is that stupid.

    Go ahead and put away your weathered printout of the Illinois Leader talking points, and join the rest of us in a debate of orignal thoughts, not partisan talking points.


  23. - Reddbyrd - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 10:34 am:

    Looks like we now know why ChopperJim always comes up short. Hopefully the AccordianGal will take up his quest and buries herself.


  24. - mrgoodbar - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 10:50 am:

    The other evening I was discussing the immigration issue with some friends when several of us arrived almost simultaneously at the following question:

    Is this a REAL problem? Or is it largely trumped up by the participants such as the media, politicos, and other actors?

    Fact is throughout all of this I don’t think I’ve seen a single bit of hard data that suggests one way or another that illegal immigrants are hurting or helping America. We’re told that they do the jobs Americans don’t want, we’re told horror stories on talk radio of how they come over and take advantage of our social systems, we’re told all these things yet have there been any nonpartisan studies?

    I think in general there is a sense that “WOW - there are a lot of Mexicans living in the US now.” I’m from a small town in South Carolina (live in Chicago now) and even there Mexicans are ubiquitous in the construction and restaurant industries.

    I think (and this is just my own anecdotal idea) that the real driving factor behind this “immigration debate” is the fact that Americans are a little culture shocked. Especially outside of the major urban areas (which have always been rich in immigrants) the rest of America feels as if they have woken up in a world where everywhere they look there are Mexicans.

    I think it’s freaked some people out. Particularly in the heartland or the south people feel like this “isn’t right” that there must be something wrong with the way things are today.

    Personally I think that if all 10 (or 12 or 15 depending on who’s numbers you use) million of these illegals were in fact legal and here on visas that people would still be upset about it.

    Getting back to my earlier point - is this REALLY a problem? I think much more study needs to be done before the congress enacts some half-baked legislation either for or against illegals.

    Politics is driving this whole debate right now… the Republicans are worried about alienating the Latino vote, Democrats are worried about whatever will make the GOP look bad… in this sort of environment less than ideal legislation will be passed and I think that’s a shame because at the end of the day we’re talking about fellow human beings here…


  25. - Tony @ The Apartment - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 11:27 am:

    mrgoodbar -
    You should call yourself Mr. Good Points, because that’s what you’ve made. Har har har.
    Seriously, though, you made some good points.
    Whenever this gets brought up by my friends, I like to ask, would this illegal immigration “problem” be a problem if the illegals were coming in from the north? Would we be complaining about all these French-speaking Quebecians taking all of the real Americans’ jobs? Is this really a national security issue, or a “everyone should obey the law” issue, or is this an issue of too many illegal MEXICAN immigrants in the U.S.? Just curious.


  26. - Pat Collins - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 11:33 am:

    Ok, if they all were pro life and joined the NRA would you be so willing to over look the illegal aspect?

    Humanitarian of the year

    On behalf of american highschool dropouts and poorly educated high school diploma holders I proudly accept.


  27. - Pat Collins - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 11:36 am:

    Fact is throughout all of this I don’t think I’ve seen a single bit of hard data that suggests one way or another that illegal immigrants are hurting or helping America

    Will you accept papers by a Harvard Professor?

    http://ksghome.harvard.edu/~GBorjas/publications_for_download.html


  28. - Larry Horse - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 11:43 am:

    The solution is basically the status quo. If you make it here, you won’t be kicked out, but you must pay ALL TAXES and you will receive NO GOVERNMENT SERVICES. We should just be open to potential illegal immigrants that if they come over, they will get no social security or medicaid or tax rebates or anything, but will still have to pay income, FICA, property, and sales taxes. I suppose their children should receive an education b/c it’s bad for society to have uneducated kids growing up around us, but this is really a win-win situation. America as a whole benefits from their tax revenue and from the cheap labor that they provide, doing jobs that Americans won’t do for an economically viable price, and the illegal immigrants also benefit, as they would not come here otherwise, since they had the choice to stay in their home country knowing what they would face here. There also should be no citizenship as that would be a slap in the face to those who went the legal route.

    PS Illegal immigration IS NOT A PROBLEM, as long as you don’t let them take part in the welfare state. That is not an opinion, it is a mathematically provable fact.


  29. - Middle Class Guy - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 11:54 am:

    There are socio-political, economic, legal, pragmatic, and racial elements disbursed through this debate. It seems that the many of the posters already have their opinions formed and simply choose from the multitude of debate points to selectively make their case.

    I’m of an opinion that government at all levels is supposed to serve the interests of it’s citizens, and we have laws that define how those interests are protected. So we should enforce the laws on the books and if they’re too narrow elect people who can change them. Laws are revised every year and should be continually evaluated to meet the wishes of the electorate.

    Selective support of our laws, while not without precedent, is nevertheless disturbing, whether it’s in South Dakota or Chicago.


  30. - VanillaMan - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 11:55 am:

    Geez, whats the big deal people? Have we forgotten our history? We had something better than walls keeping illegals from coming to the USA over the past 300 years - shark filled oceans, wildernesses and deserts. We always had people spend every dime they had to get tickets out of the hellholes they were raised in to get to America. Are we so spoiled by our lifestyles we forgot reality? “They spend $6000 to come here!” Oh Boo Hoo! How is that any different from what your ancestors did to get here and I bet they had to do in in dirty scratchy wool underwear too! We always had Americans concerned over immigrants who were different from them. These debates today are so deja vu - and common the world over!

    What has changed is that the barriers Mother Nature had in place no longer work. We need real border security, just like EVERY OTHER COUNTRY! We need taper-resistant IDs, just like EVERY OTHER COUNTRY! The old days are dead, we have to know who’s coming in, where they live, what they earn and can no longer depend on a ten year US Census in the 21st Century to get the job done.

    First - secure the borders!

    All these other arguments are so stupid. When a dam bursts, do everyone gather at the scene and start arguing over why the reservior was built? Or argue over who boats on the lake and enjoys it the most? Or argue over who built the dam? No, even stupid people know you stop the water first, then discuss details later.

    Having no secure borders between US, Canada and Mexico is no longer an option. Forget the silly myths we were taught to answer why we never built walls on our borders before. We didn’t do it before because we didn’t have to.

    Now we do. Just be glad you don’t have to do the digging, wall building and the grunt work in defending us. And for Pete’s sake, stop your whining! We are all victims, so move on!


  31. - Larry Horse - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 11:57 am:

    We should of course have a secure border. This is more necessary to keep out terrorists (who actually do hurt America) than illegal aliens, but we need it nonetheless.


  32. - Mike J. - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 12:19 pm:

    Its unrealistic to think that the millions of people here ‘illegally’ can be removed from the country and its unamerican to think that people who want to work hard to support their families cant come here to do so. that is what this country was based on and why its as great as it is. we should spend resources on keeping terrorists out instead of hard working people.


  33. - vole - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 12:20 pm:

    Let me dispel the notion that the only jobs that immigrants fill are those that Americans will not do. In fact many small businessmen and women,especially the self employed among us, including myself, do some dreadful jobs that many Americans would absolutely die rather than do. And the fact is that in many professions and occupations that once were the domain of small family businesses are now being dominated by entrepreneurs who manage immigrants and drive many family businesses out of the market because they can no longer compete with the low wage, no benefit labor. Try supporting your family, paying for your own health insurance, putting your kids through college, saving for your retirement, paying the self employment tax, etc. If you do think that cheap immigrant labor is not putting a crunch on some of the self employed, think again.

    There are many reasons why Americans are not filling many labor intensive jobs. Some of the work is very seasonal. People may not be able to survive year round where the jobs are located without significant public assistance. Some of the work is very difficult and turnover is high due to work related injuries, e.g. the meat packing industry.

    But, my main point is that immigrants are not taking only jobs that Americans will not too. Too broad of a stroke there.


  34. - Nobody Sent - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 12:42 pm:

    According to this poll, in Phoneix and Las Vegas, where people feel that immigration is a “very big problem,” a majority or plurality of people feel that immigration strengthens American Society.

    Also, more people here feel that there are plenty of jobs available. Only about a quarter of people feel that we should kick undocumented workers out. 4/5ths of people feel that immigrants work very hard, while 2/5ths of people feel that immigrants increase crime and end up on welfare.

    Seems that the national feeling on immigration is as conflicted as our history surrounding immigration. The American people are sophisticated enough to understand that our country id built on immigration, and to deny immigrants is to deny part of what gives us our American identity.


  35. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 12:50 pm:

    The net result of our conflicted and ambivalent feelings toward immigration is that the status quo will remain for the foreseeable future, the concentration of immigrants will be in the cities and the close in suburbs, and as the immigrant population becomes upwardly mobile, they will continue to migrate outward to the exurbs. heck, many immigrants are now bypassing Cook completely and going straight to DuPage or beyond. If you think we’ve got issues with infrastructure now, just wait. i’ve got no solution, except to belly up to the bar.


  36. - The King - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 12:52 pm:

    Took a look at the Harvard economist’s literature. I selected these stats, Pat:

    The 10 million native-born workers without a high school degree face the most competition from
    immigrants, as do the eight million younger natives with only a high school education and 12 million younger college graduates.
    • The negative effect on native-born black and Hispanic workers is significantly larger than on whites because a much larger share of minorities are in direct competition with immigrants.
    • The reduction in earnings occurs regardless of whether the immigrants are legal or illegal, permanent or temporary. It is the presence of additional workers that reduces wages, not their legal status.

    So based on those three stats:
    a) I see why you’re scared, Pat, if you only have a HS diploma;
    b) Fellow Hispanics should be most concerned about illegal immigration, yet thousands of marchers seem unconcerned about the impact;
    c) Illegal-schmegal, it’s not legality that depresses wages, it’s more workers, period. So it’s a shell game, like some people have been intimating. It’s all about blaming someone, even if that someone isn’t the real problem.


  37. - Veritas - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 12:54 pm:

    What a biased set of data. The debate in this country isn’t over immigration, it’s about ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION.


  38. - Pat Collins - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 12:57 pm:

    Hey, I’m a humanitarian!

    I have a BS Eng. and a MBA. I do come from a rural area where many aren’t so lucky, though.

    But your 3rd point is EXACTLY on target. We need ZERO illegal immigration and LESS total immigration.

    But, like anything else, you build Rome one brick at a time.


  39. - vole - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 1:01 pm:

    nobody: “to deny immigrants is to deny part of what gives us our American identity.”

    Lets not forget what the debate is about here. No one is against legal immigration. The problem is the vast infiltration of uncontrolled, illegal immigrants coming from all over the world, but mainly from our southern neighbors. The US effectively has no immigration policy and there are too many interests that want to keep it that way. We are either a sovereign nation with controllable borders or we are just a tangle of competing and conflicting interests that will be increasingly ungovernable if we maintain this open border policy.


  40. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 1:07 pm:

    We are either a sovereign nation with controllable borders or we are just a tangle of competing and conflicting interests that will be increasingly ungovernable if we maintain this open border policy.

    I submit to you that California will be more ungovernable than North Dakota. It’s gonna be different situations in different areas.


  41. - The King - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 1:23 pm:

    “No one is against legal immigration.” With the possible exception of Pat (the Humanitarian).


  42. - Pat Collins - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 1:33 pm:

    Pat the H

    Doesn’t sound good. I need a nick like “governator”.

    I’m not against immigration per se. But I DO think the total number ought NOT to drive population growth.

    I’d like 100K a year but could deal with 3X that.

    Right now we are 3, or 4 x that, if you include illegals.


  43. - Pat Collins - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 1:34 pm:

    I mean 3 or 4 times 300K, or 900~1.2 million.


  44. - bullwinkle - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 1:40 pm:

    the new york times had an article on 03/27/2006 which said that the percentage of illegal immigrants in this country that were from mexico and other latin america countries was 78%, it would appear that the united states has one immigration policy for the rest of the world and none for the latin american countries,this is the wrong message being sent to the rest of the world. Immigration policies shoud be for everyone on the planet and not by hemisphere.


  45. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 2:09 pm:

    Rich Miller shouldn’t have a problem being tough on illegal immigration. In his last Sun-Times column he seemed to support running a number of LEGAL residents out of the state just for political reasons.

    That’s Pat Buchanan times 10.


  46. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 2:54 pm:

    Lighten up, Edwin.


  47. - mrgoodbar - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 3:20 pm:

    The King, thanks for the breakdown of the Harvard research.

    Hmm… greater number of unskilled workers depresses the labor wages regardless of the status of those workers - very interesting!

    There are a lot of nuanced edges to this debate. I think the most valid argument coming from the Right is about boarder security (the reasoning goes that terrorist could enter the country via the Mex-Amer boarder.) From the Left the better attention seems to be on human rights (ie ending unfair exploitation of immigrant workers who are abused or put in harms way by unscruplous employees.)

    Amid all of this is the racism, isolationism, fear of change, etc. etc.

    I do think that too many people (Minutemen sympathizers) are masking latent racism behind “upholding the law.”

    Some up thread pointed out that they wonder if there would be such a outcry about illegal immigration if it were the Canucks that were cooking our food and cleaning our hotel rooms… I think that’s very succinct.


  48. - Pat Collins - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 3:26 pm:

    I do think that too many people (Minutemen sympathizers) are masking latent racism behind “upholding the law.”

    Why is when Americans insist on uplaoding the law to protect their standard of living they “are tinged with racism”, but when illegals march and cry “reconquanista” and demand to be allowed to break the law to raise their standard of living that’s NOT racist?

    Or, to say it another way

    If I am racist for wanting less immigration as it reduces my position, why is it they aren’t racist for wanting more immigration to improve thiers??

    Seems a two way street, although it’s never phrased that way.


  49. - The King - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 3:41 pm:

    Pat, I think it comes down to the oppressed fighting the oppressor. How?

    Well, Mexico used to own the majority of the land west of the Mississippi a about 170 years ago. Imagine if they still held it, what the nature of the Mexican economy would be versus the American economy?

    So while Mexicans were technically in the American Southwest before it was American, you can see where they would be a little sore when the sons and daughters of immigrants to this land were to try to build a wall to seperate these people from their native lands. We come to this land fresh, kick these people south, build a border and say it’s now illegal for these folks to return, even just to work. Sounds fair to me…

    And it’s “reconquista” — as in “to reconquer”. Because that’s what it feels like, to be conquered, when they take your land. But the shoe may be on the other foot now…


  50. - mrgoodbar - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 3:43 pm:

    Pat Collins, you make a great point about equating protectionism with racism.

    I think its very unfortunate that so many of the minutemen and their supporters have fallen back on racist rhetoric. It hurts the stance of non-racists like yourself who are simply concerned with protecting our boarders.

    Is it guilt by association? Yes. Is it fair to everyone who supports securing our boarder? No.


  51. - Tony @ The Apartment - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 3:59 pm:

    I say anyone who wants to protect our borders must learn to spell “borders” first. Judging by your views, I really don’t think you want to protect illegal immigrant boarders. Unless you’re charging them a good amount of rent.


  52. - anti-King - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 4:26 pm:

    Dear King,
    Bad news pal, we ain’t virgins. Some very naughty things have happend a long long time ago that you feel very very ashamed of, but pretending that everything would be hunky-dory if the nasty USA would have been lead by tender sweeties like you isn’t giving credit to the people who preceded you and fully understood what was happening at that time and era. MY! You must think they were simply barbaric, no?

    I know how much fun it is to pretend we are like a big-hearted “King”, a magical man able to make everyone love one another forever and ever, but you see, we live in this thing called “Reality”.

    Pretending the Mexican-American war never happened and believing that this caused the entire mess we are experiencing today is not really thinking. Pretending that Denver, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, and Los Angeles would exist as magical Mexican cities if we didn’t “take” them from those poor helpless Mexican angels is whats refered to as “dreaming”.

    Wake up honey! It’s time to deal with the real world! Imagine how proud you would be if you didn’t swallow all that PC anti-capitalist, anti-US bullcrap that passes for enlightened thought nowadays!


  53. - The King - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 4:47 pm:

    Anti: You are good to criticize, but except for some allusions to our ancestors (American and Mexican) being “nasty” you don’t back-up what you are saying.

    I don’t pretend that the geo-political forces that caused the Mexican-American war didn’t really exist. But to think that the only way that the American cities you mention could have been created would only have happened under American rule is naive.

    I’m not a fortune teller, but I do see where “reality” is taking us, and that is to an American reality where the the largest demographic in the future will be Latino. How will you deal with that?


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