My views on immigration

One of the biggest news stories of today seems to be the immigration bill making its way through the Senate:

A key Senate panel broke with the House’s get-tough approach to illegal immigration yesterday and sent to the floor a broad revision of the nation’s immigration laws that would provide lawful employment to millions of undocumented workers while offering work visas to hundreds of thousands of new immigrants every year.

With bipartisan support, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12 to 6 to side with President Bush’s general approach to an immigration issue that is dividing the country, fracturing the Republican Party and ripening into one of the biggest political debates of this election year. Conservatives have loudly demanded that the government tighten control of U.S. borders and begin deporting illegal immigrants. But in recent weeks, the immigrant community has risen up in protest, marching by the hundreds of thousands to denounce what they see as draconian measures under consideration in Washington.

“There is no issue outside of civil rights that brings out the kind of emotions we have seen,” said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), one of the bill’s primary sponsors, who called the controversy “a defining issue of our times.”

I realize I’ve been a little coy about my own views on the subject. I don’t believe that we have a problem in the United States with immigration, legal or illegal. I do believe that we have a problem in controlling our southern border and I believe that the exigencies that face us today require us to do so for the first time in the history of the Republic.

As I wrote yesterday the traditional practices of the United States are to keep our borders open and our neighbors weak. But in this age of proximity and weapons of unbelieveable power there are people who would do us harm who would use such weapons without hesitation if they could bring them to bear upon us. We’ll need to pay more attention to all of the avenues of entry to the country than we ever have before.

I’m dissatisfied with all of the bills making their way through Congress on the subject because they simply don’t do enough about controlling the border. We all know what the TSA is: a titanic waste of time and money at our airports that has no real capacity for improving genuine security but whose only apparent purpose is to appear to be doing something about airport security without actually doing anything about airport security.

We don’t need another TSA. No feel-good solutions.

If we actually control our southern border we will actually control immigration from Mexico. That should satisfy the nativists. As far as I’m concerned that’s a byproduct not an objective.

Dafydd ab Hugh has written a good post on the subject. He’s more positive about McCain-Kennedy than I am. McQ at QandO appears to be pretty much on the same page as I am as is Dan Riehl at Riehl World View.
Mark in Mexico gives the view from that side of the border. Unfortunately, he’s telling it like it is.

Joe Gandelman adds perspective from his days of covering immigration as a newspaperman.

UPDATE:  shay has a round-up at Dean’s World of perspectives on immigration from black bloggers.  She presents my main gripe about immigration of low-skilled and entry-level wage migrant workers (legal or illegal):

It is blacks (along with legal Latinos) who bear the brunt of illegal immigration, in employment rates. And it is lower-income black communities that are often overrun first with illegal immigrants, who drain social services that should go to citizens and legal residents.

5 comments… add one
  • LaurenceB Link

    If, as you say, your major issue is with security than I should think you would be more concerned with the Canadian border than the Mexican border. If I were a terrorist with a bomb, I would certainly choose to sneak across our nearly unprotected northern border. Wouldn’t you?

    Just asking.

  • I’m an equal opportunity border enforcement advocate, LaurenceB. I want to secure all of the entry points to the U. S. a lot more than we are now. I do think, however, that enforcement along the southern border is a harder nut to crack. I’m using as my gauge the estimates of drug smuggling. There just isn’t that much from Canada to the United States. Most comes from Mexico to the United States. Although there’s illegal migration from Canada to the U. S. there’s a lot more from Mexico to the U. S.

    Those things mean that there are established smuggling routes from Mexico to the U. S. and a criminal infrastructure there that makes the problem much more urgent. I also think we’re likely to get a lot more cooperation from the Canadian authorities than from those in Mexico who, as Mark in Mexico point out in the linked post, view the current situation as their natural right.

  • LaurenceB Link

    Hmmm… Ok.

    I’m perfectly willing to admit that some day a terrorist may choose Mexico rather than Canada. I suppose one is about as likely (or unlikely) as the other. I guess we’ll just wait and see.

    Frankly, if I were a terrorist I would just get a tourist visa to Orlando and have my bomb sent in on a freighter. After all, what’s the point of sneaking across a border at all? But that’s just me.

    P.S. Sorry about monopolizing your comments lately. I’ll butt out soon – the immigration thing is just one of my hot buttons. 😉

  • All comments gratefully received.

    In my view while we have some hope of monitoring the construction of chemical, bacterialogical or radiological weapons inside the country that hope is substantially reduced outside our borders.

  • To All. Although this message does not apply to all of you, I believe it is important for some.

    You may get upset, uptight, or even confused. But like most of you who write on Facebook, I am just like you, and sometimes express my feelings, thoughts, or even rants. In this case I am going to give all of the above. So please give yourself plenty of time if this interests you, as it is a long, and a well thought out piece of writing. My intent is not to question a religion, scientific theory, or even insult a race. But it is a perspective/thought of an individuals thought process. However, it is a rant, and feel it is important to express.

    To start I will take the walking Christians in this world. The ones that tell all of your Facebook friends your true knowledge of the bible, by quoting pieces of it for others to read. Only to select portions of a bible that you actually agree with. Or do you claim to hold the entire bible true? For example, the below quotes are from the bible.

    Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
    BIBLE, Leviticus 19:18
    If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
    BIBLE, I John 4:20
    “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Matthew 7:12).”
    “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
    Matthew 25:35

    I could go on an on with loving quotes. The funny thing is, all of us judge people anyway. The strongest of Catholics will tell you that they are the best. The Strongest of Christians, they are the best, according to them. Mormons, Buddhist’s, Jehovah witness, atheists, and much more.. All will swear that they are the best. The bibles we read, From King James, the Exodus (Jewish) Bible, the book of Joseph Smith, Jehovah’s NEW WORLD bible, Catholics Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition (RSV-CE), to Douay-Rheims (the earliest translation from the original Latin), and even the Navarre Bible. It all shares the same message, with a slight translation in wording, to adhere to what is heart felt for others, to in the end, give that true belief in eternal happiness. In translation we should all embrace one another, if you believe in the word of God. I for one am not a strong lean into any one side. I believe that being a good person, knowing the difference from right and wrong, being a great parent, sharing love, happiness, and leading by a good example, we all should end up somewhere amazing. If I were to be forced to pick one, considering Jesus was a Jew from Jerusalem, common sense would tell me that the Jewish religion is on the right track. And yet, someone reading this is going to judge me, and tell others that he/she is going to pray for me. I have had my mishaps, and am very far from perfect. However I truly find it hard to believe that when we pass away, the amazing afterlife that we have all looked forward too is going to be shunned by some God, Virgin Mary, Buddha, or Jehovah. Letting us know that the faith we had was wrong, and we are going to hell………. That my friends would make whatever God you believe in contradict his/her own word. And the word of your higher power is what gives all of you eternal hope.

    Ok, from one tangent to another. All of you economic buffs that feel so strongly in what you believe in. Your cut and paste of government beliefs, your choice of words, and even your thoughts on how, and what the Government should do, from the deficit, to Immigration. I figure that I have had the pleasure of reading so much garbage over the years; it is my freedom to express my thoughts. Now please forgive me. As I have been told before, others have been educated to a level, far superior to mine.

    Some of you are Economic Teachers that are going to break down my comments, and give reason to your better opinions. Some are military; some are church leaders, doctors, Computer Scientists, sales reps, Construction workers, and so on. No matter who you are, you may feel insulted, you may respect me, disrespect me, you may be angry, you may delete me, or even insult me… But to all who knows me, and have seen my pictures of my wonderful family, and still share your thoughts about certain issues, I truly do not give a crap about your feelings being any of the above, considering you have never thought of mine.

    Let me ask all of you some questions.

    What If when you were five years old, you were in a get away car during your parent’s bank robbery, and twenty years later you were sent to jail for it. Now living in the scariest, unfamiliar environment you could have ever imagined, you find yourself terrified over what has taken place, with no idea why your parents had you in the car in the first place. How crazy and horrible would that sound to you? Would it be fare? Or would it be the stupidest thing you have ever heard of in your life?

    If you were living in a neighborhood with so much crime, you had fear of even checking the mail, scared to walk to and from your car, and witnessed death, rape, and vicious attacks on a regular basis. Would you stay and raise your child/children there?
    When you are sitting in church, do you truly not judge your surroundings? Can you honestly tell me that you love thy neighbor/brother?

    I may not share your same educational background, but now let’s try spinning things in another direction, but with the same consequences.

    The above five year old child may not have been in a getaway car. Yet by your standards a crime was committed by him/her being a Mexican child that came over the border, with no knowledge, comprehension of what was going on, and without a choice, was sucked into our society. Now twenty years later you demand them to be punished, and sent back to living in a very scary, unfamiliar environment that has left them terrified? Does this sound stupid still?

    Everyone argues that Mexicans are taking our jobs. That is hilarious. They don’t take the job from you. They are just less greedy, and willing to take less money for the job, just to get one. In return, we choose to hire them. Before you get defensive, let me explain why we contradict ourselves, and each and every one of us hires them on a daily basis.

    All of us shop at a grocery store. Do we not? All of us buy Fruits and Vegetables. Am I wrong? How do you think we get most of our produce for less than $0.99 a pound?
    I have cashed checks from hard working field workers before, and know exactly what they make. Would you take there wages just to say that you the American has the job, and you are taking it over for the USA? Would you believe that this work is done for less than $4.07 per hour? Don’t believe me? The most money I had seen from someone working a 60 hour work week in the field was $285.00. This was a person that had over 10 years experience at that time, and was supervising a line of hard workers in the hot sun. Yet while you want them to leave, you are enjoying the privileges in the grocery store, and paying practically nothing for your fruits and vegetables. You economic buffs, answer this one for me. Assuming every American was working in the field, what would be an acceptable income? Does $13.00 per hour sound reasonable (low, but realistic)? By law he/she would require overtime pay, insurance, and the boss would require extra employees to attend to breaks required by law for us American employees. Let’s do the math. $13.00 per hour, at 60 hours a week. Including overtime at the standard government rate of time and a half, beginning from the 40th hour. Then by law, insurance is required for a full time employee. If we take the lowest of the average insurance costs, employers would still pay about $310 per month for each employee. This comes out to $910 per week for the employee salary, then adding the insurance costs. This is a total payment of $981.54 per week (Salary 13 x 40 +overtime 19.50 x 20= 910. 310/4.333= $71.54. 910 + 71.54= $981.54 per week). Do you see my point? This is an increase of 244%. Do you not think that you would feel this as a shopper in a store? Let’s look at the small increases of overall cost when minimum wage has gone up, and see how it has affected us… Remember when minimum wage was set at $4.25 per hour? I do. I remember at taco Bell the menu had the $0.59, $0.69, and a $0.79 menu. Most items were less than a dollar. Now the average Taco Bell Bean Burrito across the USA is sold at $1.09. Yep, the average cheap fast food item has gone up over 85% within 13 years. Sounds just like the California minimum wage, doesn’t it? In 1995 as said above, California’s minimum wage was $4.25 per hour. Today it is now sitting at $8.00 per hour. Similar to Taco Bell’s Bean Burrito, minimum wage has gone up 88% in the same timeframe. When you are thinking about this, notice it has gone up in everything, from Fast food, restaurants, grocery stores, department stores, furniture stores, retail stores, and yes, even the cost of your local utility bills. How does a person really know this stuff you ask? Because I have been the person charging you in all of these categories throughout my amazing journeys in life. Now do you see the correlation of all of this? No? I will break it down for people, as crazy as it sounds, not even as educated as myself. When we get paid more, we charge more. And looking at the pattern that our American standards have set, are you willing to increase your grocery bill by 244% just to stand proud as an American? If you can truly answer yes, and although one of you might pray for my comments, you are a truly an uneducated dumb ass.

    My point is this. When you have your family, and want to protect them, you do whatever it takes, under any circumstances. In order to provide for your loved ones, you will go as far as humiliating yourself, lie, steal, cheat, just to make ends meet. I guarantee you would. If you are truly a Husband, wife, or parent, you will do anything, and everything to protect your family. Are you truly telling me at this moment that if you had absolutely nothing, no place to live, your family starving to death, and crime in your area was extremely high, you wouldn’t go against your morals, just to do what it takes to protect, provide, and care for your family? Hmmm, sounds like something any person would do no matter the race, just to allow there children to have our same privileges. We are no different than Mexicans. In fact most of us are hypocrites. We stand proud, and brag to be an American, claiming the rightful ownership of a country, while history has documented that we did not originate here.

    Do you truly know the history of your beginnings in this Country? Lets take a look. The earliest peoples within the US were the Southwest Ancestral Puebloans. By the time Christopher Columbus landed in October, of 1492, he thought he had reached India, due to the presence of over 300 Tribes. He had then named the native people Indians, which is a term we use today. Native American welcomed us to these shores in Florida, Massachusetts, and eventually the entire East coast. In fact, did you know that the first Mass of Thanksgiving on American soil was actually celebrated by the Spanish with the Timucuan Indians from Seloy village on September 8, 1565, in St. Augustine, Florida (Contrary to your belief of our celebrated Thanksgiving at Plymouth in 1621 with the Pilgrims, Massasoit of Pokanoket, and the Wampanoag tribes)? You don’t hear about that one, do you? Anyway by 1620 The Pilgrims crossed the Atlantic in the Mayflower, and were welcomed by the Wampanoag tribe in Massachusetts. Samoset and Squanto showed the Pilgrims how to plant corn, beans, and pumpkins, as well as where to hunt and fish. Within the next 100 years the diseases that we carried over from our original European country’s killed off almost 90% of the Native population. Pretty sad, isn’t it? By this time, the people that had given you and I the opportunity to live in the USA had taken over, and forced the Natives out of there towns, and developed new rules for the Natives to follow, or they were killed in horrible fashion. Try looking up the horrible massacre when Five hundred Pequot Indian men, women, and children were burned alive in May 1637, at the Mystic River. All of this, because the Indians did not want to change there stance on monogamous marriage. By 1646 a guy named King Philip had tried to take a stance on behalf of the natives, to help protect them from our ancestors. The war was named after him, but he failed, due to passing away a year after the war had begun. During the next few century’s our Ancestors took over the nation by either getting the trusting natives drunk enough into unknowingly signing there land away, by intimidation, and by war. You don’t think it happened this way? Look up the Indian Removal Act of 1830, by Andrew Jackson. Over 5000 innocent natives were killed just because they did not want to give up there land. This massacre is known in history as the trail of tears. Now look up the Homestead Act of 1862. The White federal troops ruthlessly drove the Nez Perce, Crows, Apache, Sioux, and other Indians from their lands. This is history that we learned in school, Remember? This ended at Wounded Knee in 1890, with the death of Sitting Bull, Big Foot, and a group of Lakotas.

    After all of this, in 1924 we decided to allow the original natives of this nation to become citizens of what we know as the United States. Wow, what an honor.

    Christian, Catholic, etc., Are you truly proud to represent all of this? Do you really feel good on how you so proudly became an American? I will admit that I am proud to live in a Country that has so many freedoms. I will admit that this is the best Country in the world to live in, and you and I are very privileged to raise families in such a wonderful place. I will admit that I would sacrifice my own life, just to protect these freedoms for the future of our children. But I will never admit that this country is owned by me. I will never admit to being proud of how we used, bullied, and murdered innocent people, just to say this land is mine. Nor will I ever teach my children to Lie, cheat, steal, and murder, if they want to own something. Will you? I prefer teaching respect, dignity, honesty, and the benefits of hard work to our children, to in return, gain success in what they want to accomplish/own. We live in a Country with freedoms that should be shared amongst anyone who shares our thoughts of what our Country stands for. You can say what you want. But if you compare not getting a job because a Mexican is willing to take it for less, to what our people did when taking over a Country, then you are a very sad individual.

    To some this up, it’s easy giving your opinion when life has given you a wonderful upbringing. With privileges of growing up in wonderful safe environments, such as San Luis Obispo, or other great communities within the USA. It is funny how we once again have selected memory, while claiming to be a good person, and yet becoming so negative, judging, and forgetting the message to love thy Brother. No body wants to talk about the past in most cases, as long as it benefits us. See, in one hand I have even witnessed an African American bringing up racism, and we quickly get defensive, claiming we are sick of hearing about the past.. Then you will turn towards another direction, and all of the sudden the now adult Mexican that entered the USA as a child, having no knowledge of Mexico, he or she is not accepted, and now demanded to exit, even knowing they entered in the past. Funny once again how the double standard works. Especially acknowledging the bible you follow brings this up (Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself).

    In closing, let me share another history note. Are you familiar with geneticists, and the story of the creation of Mexico? Spaniards mated with Native Americans, to create the race. Again, reminding you Native Americans were already established in the USA, prior to Christopher Columbus. Even better, a 2004 study showed that the Mexican’s are about one-third Indian and two-thirds Spanish and European. They even had a small portion of African ancestry, averaging 3 percent. Which once again, even looking in Scientific history, and the progression of DNA, studies are still acknowledging our human existence all began in Africa. Do you see where I am coming from?

    The Mexican that you want to send back to there own country, has in a sense made it back. The other funny thing about this is the fact that they are a mix of European as well. Yep, that means that you are kicking out someone that has just as much, or even more rights to be in a country that we so proudly call ours. And, in one way or another you are of Mexican decent, with even a pinch of African.

    If you are all so very proud of who you are, and what you stand for, whether it is religion, proud of your race, and love your country. That is a wonderful thing. But following it, and staying true, this takes a very unique individual.

    Stay classy my friends.

Leave a Comment