Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Monday, April 17, 2006

I am here. So deal with it.

WARNING: LONG, BORING POLITICAL RANTLET BELOW

Opinions based on experience are worth their salt. Having worked with immigrants and non-immigrant visa issues since 1999, I was enlightened by a recent article. The link is below, but first, some disclaimers.

The USA is a nation of immigrants. I'm proud of that. Despite the amount of paperwork needed to come to the US on an immigrant or non-immigrant visa, the USA's policy reflects its roots. It does. We have 13 different types of exchange visitor visas (!), multiple temporary work visas (seasonal labor, high skilled, journalists, etc) and a quota system to allow equal opportunity for people to immigrate to the US based on your country's population (ie, one country should not get a larger percentage of numbers than another). As it stands, the system is MUCH more liberal than other countries. Trust me. Try getting a simple tourist visa to Russia, for example (I have - I'll never forget being deported from friggin' Belarus), or participating in protests while in tourist status in Mexico.

But since the US immigration policy did not suit the desires of 11 million foreign nationals, they forcefully made themselves into a political giant until they get their way.

Here are some gems from the article that struck me as no brainers:
"Unlike political protesters of the past, the illegal-alien marchers invoked no legal basis for their claims. Their argument boils down to: 'We are here, therefore we have a right to the immigration status we desire.'"

"In one stroke, the border-breaking lobby has nullified the entire edifice of American immigration law and with it, sovereignty itself. None of the distinctions in that law matter, the advocates say. The conditions for legal entry? Null and void. The democratically chosen priorities for who may enter the country and who not? Give me a break! In other words, the United States has no right to decide who may come across its borders and what legal status an alien may obtain upon arrival. Those decisions remain solely the prerogative of the alien himself. The border no longer exists."

"The claim for same-sex marriage, opposed by many of the same conservatives who so genially support the illegal-alien movement, rests on far stronger Constitutional grounds than the "I am here" claim for legal immigration status. And we will have no basis for opposing the demands for legalization by every future border trespasser, who, along with today's illegal aliens, can simply state: 'I am here.'"
The foundation of international immigration and national sovereignty is that all nations should have the right to decide their own immigration policy. No duh. Read that again: The foundation of international immigration and national sovereignty is that all nations should have the right to decide their own immigration policy. To believe otherwise, you'd HAVE to convince yourself that up is down, backwards is forwards, and purple is green.

Does this mean I'm not a leftist anymore? I hope not.

(The above-quoted article) - Honestly, I'd never read an article in this magazine before.
Comments:
You are wrong on many levels.
1) why do you assume that everyone (or even most of the people) at the protests were illegal? Given that the Catholic bishops (not known for being "liberal")instructed their priests to break the law if congress passed their racist bill and continue to provide help to illegals, even if meant jail, don't you think that citizens who were concerned with their plight were protesting also?

2) If people here can protest over what's going on East Timor or Tibet, don't you think that undocumented workers living here and paying taxes have a right to make their position known by peacefully demonstrating in compliance with the law?

3) an oversimplistic legalistic argument is ridiculous on its face. I won't bring up malum in se vs. malum prohibitum, but if something is okay just because the law says it is, then would you be okay with the fugitive slave laws? separate but equal? detention without habeas corpus? warrantless wiretaps? Since when did legal mean moral?

4) Unless 1/5 of all immigrants are chinese, you can't possibly tell me that the lottery system is based on anything besides racism and political lobbying (why do Irish and Cubans get a better shake than haitians and chinese?).
 
HomeImprovementNinja,

So what you're saying is that the United States's immigration policy should be decided by foreign nationals who want to immigrate here. That the US should not be able to decide its own immigration policy.

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one, but thanks for your thoughts.

Cheers,

LB
 
Ninja,

The marches we've been seeing are obviously pro-illegal immigration, not simply pro-immigration, as they're erroneously billed. As Lonnie points out, legal immigrants already have a clear way to come to the U.S. and have nothing to protest against.

I, too, am against felonizing illegal immigration, but that's not the only pro-illegal reason for these protests, as I'm sure you know. It's not about negative rights, but assumed positive rights, like in-state tuition, free elementary education, welfare access, food stamps, hospital visits, and so forth.

2) I've seen some bad analogies, but this one's up there. Americans (or East Timorese) protesting US policies in East Timor isn't analogous to what's happening here at all; more apt would be U.S. protestors going to East Timor to rally against their government and demand special rights from it. Try it and tell me what happens.

3) Again, a false analogy. I think it's time you tell us what your immigration position actually is -- are you open borders? What is the law here you feel is as unjust as slavery was? If it's the law that says that illegal immigrants aren't entitled to the same benefits as US citizens, then you've got a tough sell ahead, and you'll have to tell us why Mexicans should move to the head of the line in front of, say, Indians and Poles. Please enlighten.

4) Sure it's based on political lobbying. But before you start complaining about how few Chinese immigrants the U.S. takes in, I'd suggest a) a visit to San Francisco, L.A., or New York, where you'll see just how many we admit, and b) a visit to Shanghai or Beijing, where you'll see how few immigrants from other countries China lets in, and how misplaced your rage at American immigration policy is when it's compared with the rest of the world's.

Build the wall!
 
LB, that's a straw man argument and you know it. Why do you assume only illegals were marching. I was born here; I was there; I vote. 'nuff said.

Random Libertarian, maybe you should change your name because there is nothing libertarian about your position. Maybe you should just admit you're a republican in libertarian's clothing?

The marches we've been seeing are obviously pro-illegal immigration, not simply pro-immigration, as they're erroneously billed. As Lonnie points out, legal immigrants already have a clear way to come to the U.S. and have nothing to protest against.

"like in-state tuition,"
They live in state and pay taxes but shouldn't get in state tuition? Would you deny them the use of other things they pay for, like roads and police?

"free elementary education,"
Last I checked the funding for this comes from property taxes. Do you think no "illegals" own homes or rent houses that are subject to property taxes?

"welfare access,"
they don't get welfare, think again.

"food stamps"
ditto

"hospital visits"
leave them by the side of road, then?

"I think it's time you tell us what your immigration position actually is"
It's the libertarian position. Either look it up, or change your monicker.

[asking me to defend arguments I never made]
"Please enlighten."

Read some Mises, Hayek, and Rothbard for enlightenment. I don't have the time to enlighten you.

"But before you start complaining about how few Chinese immigrants the U.S. takes in, I'd suggest a) a visit to San Francisco, L.A., or New York, where you'll see just how many we admit"

This is idiotic. That's like saying, "this coutry is crawling with Uruguayans, if you don't believe me, go to Miami Beach and see.


"where you'll see how few immigrants from other countries China lets in, and how misplaced your rage at American immigration policy is when it's compared with the rest of the world's."


So we should take our cues from a communist dictatorship?


"Build the wall!"
yeah, we can use those billions we have left over from Iraq, Katrina, and Oil company welfare. Maybe you can kick in the money they paid for your education, since you don't appear to be using it.
 
HomeImprovementNinja,

So what you're saying is that the United States's immigration policy should be decided by foreign nationals who want to immigrate here. That the US should not be able to decide its own immigration policy.

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one, but thanks for your thoughts.

Cheers,

LB
 
BTW, my job let everyone out early to go to that march, so I was there, too. You can't tell me that all those people came to the US legally. A few, perhaps, but what would they get out of protesting? Congress's laws would not impact them.

You're living in a fantasy.
 
Ninja,

If it's your position that a major proportion, probably a majority, of participants in recent marches were not illegal aliens, then you can't be serious. Sure there were some legal immigrants and native-born Americans there, but the point of the marches was to promote illegal immigration and demand positive rights the claimants have no legal expectation of, the Heather Mac Donald piece pointed out.

I won't get into the whole "they pay taxes" thing with you -- many pay some taxes, a lot pay none. "They pay taxes" doesn't cover the situation accurately and you know it.

I don't think that "no illegals own homes," but most don't, and there's no way a maid earning $20,000/yr. pays enough in taxes, if she pays any, to cover the cost of her three children's education, hospital visits, food stamps, etc. Where you get the idea that illegals aren't eligible for food stamps I do not know.

The point is that we have to control our borders and stop encouraging illegal immigration. A wall (or fence, in fact) would work nicely; lots of countries are building them these days. America is and should continue to be the largest absorber of immigrants in the world, but it must be done LEGALLY. I realize that for a self-described "anarcho-capitalist" like yourself, who brags about making millions on real estate deals on his weblog, all this is just theoretical; you have the luxury of sitting in your ivory tower townhouse and theorizing. But your brand of pure libertarianism breaks down pretty quickly in the real world, especially wrg illegal immigration.

Build the wall!
 
"So what you're saying is that the United States's immigration policy should be decided by foreign nationals who want to immigrate here."

Did I say that? What makes you think that americans like me don't disagree with you?

"That the US should not be able to decide its own immigration policy."

Aren't I a voter? And part of the US? Why is your opinion worth more than mine?



"I was there, too. You can't tell me that all those people came to the US legally. A few, perhaps, but what would they get out of protesting?"

I don't know...what did YOU get out of it? Again, why do assume they were illegals? Because they are darker or speak with an accent? What makes u think they are not legal immigrants who are offended by congress' thinly veiled racism?






"but the point of the marches was to promote illegal immigration and demand positive rights the claimants have no legal expectation of,"

I thought the point was to stop HR-XXXX which would turn these people and anyone who gave them a glass of water into felons.


"many pay some taxes, a lot pay none."

Really? None? So they walk into the Gap and say "no taxes...I'm illegal, ese."


I don't think that "no illegals own homes," but most don't, and there's no way a maid earning $20,000/yr. pays enough in taxes, if she pays any, to cover the cost of her three children's education, hospital visits, food stamps, etc.

"Where you get the idea that illegals aren't eligible for food stamps I do not know."

I got it from the HHS website. And the 11th Circuit agrees with me (www.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/ops/19975812.MAN.pdf). Where are you getting your info from?

"A wall (or fence, in fact) would work nicely; lots of countries are building them these days."

Besides Israel? Name some. And If you have access to a map, you should notice the geographical difference between the US and Israel.

"I realize that for a self-described "anarcho-capitalist" like yourself, who brags about making millions [HA!, I wish!] on real estate deals on his weblog, all this is just theoretical; you have the luxury of sitting in your ivory tower townhouse and theorizing."

Maybe the reason I prosper is because I'm a giver. I don't see life as a zero sum game with "US" versus "THEM". I do volunteer work, I give job leads to people I hardly know, and am generally a nice person and it comes back to me in positive ways. I don't want to be a bitter envious person fearing johnny foreigner.


"But your brand of pure libertarianism breaks down pretty quickly in the real world,"

HA! Your 18th century zero-sum mercantilst mentality is what breaks down, my friend.

"Build the wall!"

Again, maybe you should change your monicker to something less libertarian sounding. I mean, I could say I Bush-Supporting Republican who is pro-abortion, free trade and I don't hate black people, but then the label is kinda confusing, n'est pas?
 
The rambling length and desperate tone of your response sadly proves that you have a tenuous grasp on your own weak position.

Good luck with that.
 
No, it just proves that he's been to law school.
 
Well I'll let the two strains of libertarianism fight it out in their own corner.

I was at the protest and last I checked I wasn't illegal. I also have been to gay pride marches and last time I checked I wasn't gay. I think it's ridiculous to assert that most of the people were illegal immigrants.

I think there are two very different issues at stake here. The first is what do you do when Congress proposes a racist bill -- do you support it silently or loudly OR do you oppose it even if it means you're possibly stepping too far the other way? (i.e. if you don't agree with "open borders" but see it as the lesser of the two evils, or for a practical matter see the protests as a way to block a racist bill but see no possibility of "open borders" becoming a reality).

Second issue: Where do you (meaning you in general) exactly come down on immigration -- in other words, all the details. Lonnie proposes that national sovereignty is at stake. Maybe it is. I'm not enough of an immigration scholar to understand all that.

However, I do know that while our immigration laws may be more liberal than most (or all other) countries, they were almost open door policies until the powers that be decided they didn't like the looks of the new immigrants in the mid-19th century: too many Irish and Chinese. So they started to get more restrictive, targeting non-northwest Europe populations.

The current mess we're in is reflective of the nudge-nudge wink-wink immigration/economic policy we've had in place for decades, if not longer: an illegal worker is an unprotected worker and often a scared worker, and an unprotected and apprehensive workforce is very useful to Capitalism.

Things might change in a hurry if the US gov't required -- and had the manpower to enforce -- businesses (think corporate farms etc) to do withholding for every employee/independent contractor.
 
Cuff,

Thanks for the reasoned analysis. Unfortunately, I don't have the time or energy to offer all my proposed solutions to the quandry we're in.

I will say, however, that my viewpoint is skewed considering that as part of my job I deal with immigrants/non-immigrant visa applicants and their attorneys trying to defraud the system on a daily basis. So my opinion naturally is more restrictive than most. But I honestly believe that if most people could see what I've seen, they'd change their minds real quick.

Cheers,
LB
 
Isn't that the job of the attorneys, though? To defraud the system at every chance...;-)
 
I think it's wise to defer judgement in areas lacking of knowledge to those on the inside i.e. LB.

Isn't it a little shocking that this inside lefty is spewing this conservative venom?

Tells me something about how broken the machine really is.
 
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