I have been reminded of a staff report entitled ''A Line in the Sand:
Confronting the Threat at the Southwest Border'', which came out of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Investigations. Go read it - you paid for it after all. It puts the lie - again - to some of the blather put out by those who persist in making excuses for widespread illegality and shows more clearly than I like the breakdown of law on the Mexican border.
I hate pounding on this subject. I hate it. There are a lot of things that ought rather to be in front of us. But unless and until we deal with this issue as, in my humble opinion, we should do -- by vigorously enforcing existing laws without an apologies for doing so, we shall continue to have this problem
30 December 2006
I have been reminded of a staff report entitled ''A Line in the Sand:
28 December 2006
The following is a series of e-mail exchanges I've had recently with another blogger who has a rather different take on the matter of illegal immigration than I do. I do not have his permission to release his name so I've removed it and references to his site.
Despite our differences, I have found him to be unfailingly courteous, reasoned, and intelligent. While I doubt that either of us has persuaded the other, I am happy to have encountered him and wish him well.
The exchange began when he sent me the following message after I had left a comment on his site.
Thank you for visiting -his site - and submitting a comment. If you don't mind my asking, I have a few questions which will help me understand your thinking on the issue of immigrants working illegally in the US. Q: The Latino population has grown tremendously in numbers. Aside from those here illegally, is that a problem? I see from your website that you are a Christian man, what is your responsibility to a fellow Christian that is trying to feed their family by seeking work in a foreign land? Was Jesus and his disciples illegal when they traveled to live and work in foreign lands? Finally, neither you or I have sought or employ foreign workers in our homes or in our businesses, but millions of American citizens and businesses do. To be morally and legally consistent in your absolutist approach, shouldn't the federal government also arrest, charge, convict and jail millions of "law-breaking" Americans?
To which I replied:
This contains some fair questions and they deserve fair answers.
To address the last one first, yes to be consistent those who deliberately or recklessly employ illegal aliens should be prosecuted to full extent of the law. I favor this in fact and have said so.
Now, with regard to the other issues. Christianity nowhere requires nor even permits me to violate the law of the land except as part of a religious obligation such as not bowing to Baal. It does not require me to, for example, steal from my neighbor in order to give money to someone in need. The fact that we are as Christians said to be under Grace does not get us out of speeding tickets nor excuse us from paying taxes.
The idea that we should overlook egregious violations of law as part of some sort of Christian duty is bad logic, bad law, bad theology, and a rather transparent attempt to excuse the inexcusable. The law exists. The border exists. ''I wanted to'' is no better an excuse for an illegal immigrant than it is for a rapist.
I note, by the way, that the Bible, including the New Testament, has considerable to say on the matter of being subject to governing authorities. I commend such reading to the attention of all.
Finally, the world has changed in many ways in the last 2000 years. There were, for example, no Social Security cards nor photo ID's in those days. I have no reason to believe that Jesus would have been in favor of forging them if there were and see no reason He is pleased with doing so now.
He responded with (and I did mention his courteous and civil attitude throughout.)
Your position is principled and consistent. In civil society, lawbreakers are lawbreakers and 1) shoudn't be excused, and 2) should be punished.
I generally agree with this view. However, taken to its extreme it becomes silly and self-defeating. For example, people speed, litter, cheat some on taxes, etc. Except for a few saints, most of us are guilt of breaking some of the rules.
We have between 10 and 20 million people here illegally. Where I live in afluent suburbia, I'd say that every other homeowner utilizes the services of what I suspect are illegal workers. Additionally, the farms, restaurants, car washes and other labor-intensive buisnesses seem to depend heavily on this workforce.
But wouldn't arresting millions of guilty Americans be politically and practically impossible? Frankly, don't believe that Americans support arresting 20MM, or 10MM, or 5MM, or even 1MM illegally employed/employers.
My view is that the fundamental dynamic at play is one of supply and demand, and that to the extent that you have a huge and powerful demand for labor, you won't stop workers from crossing the broders nor Americans from hiring them. Supply doesn't cause the problem. As with Prohibition, Americans and the people they seek to employ will find creative ways around government restrictions.
This is why I agree w/President Bush and others that have proposed a temporary guest worker program. It's really the only way to rationalize and manage this part of America's labor supply.
It took 1,000 federal agents to arrest 1200 Swift Company workers. The human and economic damage to workers, families, communities and the company is incalculable. Arresting and/or harassing the valued workers of the Swift Company, people who do incredibly taxing and dangerous work, instead on tracking and arresting domestic and foreign terrorists, seems, well, confused.
I responded with:
Are you familiar with the ''broken windows" theory of society and law enforcement? Roughly, it translates out to ''there are no insignificant violations''. And that goes straight to the heart of the rule of law, the nature of our society, and a lot of other things. It recognizes that once littering, for example, is accepted, there will be more litter. One Coke can on the street is not a disaster. A million in a block is. Part of the inner workings of our society and our government (and, by the way, they are NOT the same, one of the reasons that socialism is such a vile and unmitigated disaster) is to define and to enforce the limits and the boundaries and the expectations. One illegal is not a disaster for the society. But twelve million are. And pretending it is not a disaster is at least as big a disaster - it trashes the whole rule of law concept. Without close examination, it is at least possible that lack of such expectations are what has so damaged the societies that many of these illegals are leaving. Why should we import that?
You spoke of ''guest worker'' programs. I have two problems, at least, with that.
- Go to Europe. Many nations there adopted 'guest worker' programs over the last 20 or 30 years. The result? A permanent, un-assimilated, un-assimilable, hostile 'state within a state'. Check the Turks in Germany, the Algerians in France, the Somalis in the Netherlands, and so forth. This is a bad thing, a very bad thing, for everyone involved. Again, who would seriously want this?
- Under current - erroneous in my opinion - interpretations of federal law, children born to ''guest workers'' become citizens. That flies in the face of any reasonable expectation of 'guest worker' as a temporary resident, here for a very limited and specified period, expected to return in a short time to the nation of origin and possibly remain there forever.
- It flies in the face of the expectations of assimilation. Books and articles have been written on the subject, all probably better than I could write. If some of these proponents of 'guest worker' programs were correct, we would not even see the existence of organizations like LULAC and La Raza here. But we do, so I see hidden agendas.
Look, I have lived much of my life in various areas that had experienced a great deal of LEGAL immigration. People, good ones and bad, who had come from Guatemala, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Japan, Italy, Egypt, Mexico, Taiwan, etc. Many of them waited YEARS, some decades, for the permission to enter the nation legally. To allow those who ignored or willfully violated our laws to remain here is to insult those who followed the rules. So far as I am concerned, illegals here in our country should be deported TODAY, and sent to the border with the clothes on their backs and nothing else, and the nations of origin billed for the cost of the roundup and deportation. We do not excuse nor subsidize bank robbers and I class illegal immigrants as no better.
A word about the oft-repeated phrase ''doing jobs Americans will not do''. IT IS A LIE. It is a despicable lie, and it is an insult. Sir, I have DONE a number of these jobs. I've swept floors and picked produce and cleaned up after cattle and caught chickens and scrubbed toilets and .... and I resent the phrase. It is a lie. And I know, personally, American citizens who have been denied the opportunity to do these same low-end jobs because illegal aliens will do it for less. It has not escaped anyone's attention that there are now many applicants for those jobs at Swift, jobs Americans are quite willing to do, that had been in effect stolen by illegals. The work at a meat packing/slaughtering plant is not great. But Americans have done it for a long time - we need not import others to do it.
Rounding up and deporting 10 million is not easy. But it can be done and it starts with efforts like this - by making it crystal clear to all that we respect the law and expect others to do so and that lawbreakers WILL be apprehended and WILL be subject to the provisions of the law. It should not have been allowed to get this bad, that is true. But delay will not improve matters.
While illegals can be and sometimes are fine individuals, the United States as an entity can neither afford their presence nor tolerate the damage that widespread illegality does to the society. Time for them to go home and stay there. Time for vigorous defense of the border and vigorous efforts to apprehend and deport illegals. And time to remind the nations of origin, Mexico in particular, that cross-border invasions are an Act of War. We've had that discussion before and Mexico might wish to reconsider her actions based upon that memory.
The people of Guatemala, Mexico, etc. are welcome to solve their own problems. We have our own. The United States is NOT part of Mexico or Aztlan or a revived Olmec empire or other idiocies.
I bid you good day.
He answered with:
Thank you again for your spirited and thoughtful response. You make a number of very good points. I do, for example, see that in Germany's case the guest worker program there seems to have morfed into a large semi-permanent population of Turks. And it's true, a guest worker program that's not enforced, i.e., people don't go back and are not made to do so, is no better than what we have.
But having spent time in Europe, I can tell you that a big part of the unassimilating minorities problem there is that many of those societies are quite distinct from ours. That is, our immigrants have been historically-speaking assimilated, whereas in Europe the Germans, the French and others do not view immigrants as ever rising to the status of become a "real" Frenchman or a "real" German. So while immigrants there and everywhere tend to band together for mutual support, French, German or other societies there--through custom and law--ensure that immigrants are always, well, foreigners. America is just not that type of caste society.
I also appreciate the broken window theory. Believe me, I worked in NYC before and after it's implementation there and it made all of the difference in the world. So yes, I understand and appreciate the wisdom of the enforcing the smallest rules in order to deter/prevent larger infractions. (By the way, you should love Rudy Giulianni. What he did to clean of NYC verged on the miraculous.)
I also noticed the long lines of people seeking jobs at Swift. But you should know that Swift is offering higher pay to the new employees, and that that will bite into company profits and/or raise the cost of their products. I personally support people getting paid livable wages. But while long lines are telling, we'll have to wait to see how many of the new applicants are themselves working with false papers and whether or not productivity suffers.
My bet is that while many of the toughest, most dangerous and lowest paying jobs will go begging, many jobs can and will be filled by under-employed and unemployed citizens. I do believe that many American businesses have become hooked on low wage workers from Mexico and may be biased against American workers. I've heard a number of business owners suggest that American laborers are poor workers.
I especially love your point about the need to take to the Mexican government and the ruling elites there. See, I am more symthathetic to the Mexican worker even when they sneak across our borders to look for work, because I really believe that their government gives them no choice. From what I can tell, Mexico is no democracy and it doesn't really have a market economy. It's a more "acceptable" version of the Banana Republic, a society ruled by an exceedingly self-serving elite. It has virtually none of the policies that allows a middle class to expand and workers to become property owners.
In a sense, an open border w/Mexico is first and foremost a way to ensure that Mexico's robber classes are never held to account. That is why the oligarchy there is more than happy to find ever more creative ways to push their poor out of the country.
So here's where you and I may agree. The U.S. should demand that our neighbors real democracies. You never hear about Costa Ricans sneaking across the border, and that's because it's a real domcracy with a real middle class. To poor and working classes --as they do here--have pathways available for upward mobility through education and hard work. Costa Rica is the complete opposite of Mexico.
I for the life of me don't understand why we treat that regime in Mexico with kid gloves. My understanding is also that most of the "illegals" here and workers in Mexico would favor the US helping take down the Mexican plutocracy.
BTW: Talk that promote Aztlan simply have too much time on their hands. It's silly stuff. Any sensible American Latino--and most are that--can clearly see that there's a world of difference between the the U.S. and Latin nations. If in some fantasy world Aztlan ever came into being, most Latinos would move out.
While I still think arresting millions of people is probably a nonstarter, I do favor the use of a modern social security identification system that's tamper proof. It's kind of ridiculous that in this day people can simply say they're someone else and get their ID/SS card. Technology exists today to make that impossible.
Anyway, thanks again for the discussion. I do agree that we have a proble and that it has to be solved--and quickly. The solutions however should solutions and not half-baked measures that sound good but make things worse for everybody involved.
To which I responded, last night, with
Good evening and a very Merry Christmas to you. I hope that your holiday has been a pleasant one.
I need to amplify a bit on the 'guest worker'' issue just a bit among other things . Your comments were quite correct, but I wonder if perhaps don't cover quite the whole issue, starting with the European example.
But first, let's be clear about the meaning of the term. To the Europeans, it appears to mean imported hewers of wood, drawers of water, a permanent underclass that will never ever achieve true citizenship and/or acceptance. A lousy deal, but perhaps to be expected from a culture and civilization in a demographic death spiral, too fastidious to wash their own clothes.
To the Americans, the term means what I said before, someone coming in country temporarily , rather like a excavating contractor, and then leaving when the job is done. Not a citizen, not a prospective citizen, not a permanent resident, a contractor. The 'anchor baby' question is very much in play here. Again, the analogy to a contractor is on point. But there is this suspicion that what is being proposed is something very different from either of these, that it is instead a way to effect a back door amnesty for criminals, which is at best what illegal aliens are. And most Americans are revolted by the idea of an amnesty, a reward for criminality. Hence the controversy.
With respect to the Europeans, you are quite correct that the Europeans tend to be clannish and insular, even if they don't want to admit it. A Turk, for example, will never in a century be regarded as a ''real'' German. (By the way, the Japanese are much worse about this, and so are truly tribal cultures such as in the Middle East). There is history to prove this, the Jewish experience in the 20th century Germany being just one example. But in truth, the Turkish (or whatever) 'guest workers' have no intention of becoming German either, else we wouldn't have mosques being built in Bonn or see burquas on the streets of Berlin or Wuppertal. Or parts of Spain, France, Denmark, or the Netherlands.
The US experience is much different. As I noted before, I've spent much of my life in areas that have had substantial levels of legal immigration from many parts of the world, Latin America included (with substantial levels in both directions with regard to Puerto Rico, which is a special case). The situation was generally consistent without regard to nation of origin. Those who came here as adults from, say, Poland, would still speak Polish at home, but insist that their children learn and speak English in order to become 'real Americans'. They might, for a number of reasons, remain part of the Polish National Catholic Church, but even that might change by the 2nd generation or even the first. Same for Christians from every nation, except that those of Greek extraction might still be Greek Orthodox, the Russians remain Russian or Eastern Orthodox or might go over to the Byzantine Rite Catholics. But outside of that they would endeavor to assimilate while maintaining some unique cooking heritage.
The large exceptions to this are the Hindu immigrants from India, and the Muslims from everywhere, though that is a wholly separate issue.
In most of these cases, the individuals involved are great people regardless of nation of origin, race, color, etc. Mafiosi excepted, of course.
Perhaps the process involved to gain legal entry plays a part in that; known felons and wanted criminals are not welcome and the process of moving from legal presence (green card) to potential citizenship is one that expects and reinforces lawful behavior and a demonstrated intention to assimilate, to become an un-hyphenated American.
The illegals are a different story. Yes, there are examples, individuals we both know, of wonderful people who came here illegally. Wonderful, except that they commited a serious crime by coming here in violation of law, and compound that by remaining here. Consider, when you have a group that starts out by demonstrating a lack of respect for law, what are the chances that such an attitude will carry over into other areas? Good, actually. Here are some recently publicized figures:
I did not make up these numbers, they were I believe used in a speech on the floor of Congress. Add to that the areas along the border (primarily) where English is rarely heard even among 3rd generation kids, perhaps one is permitted to suspect that assimilation and becoming law-abiding American citizens was not the real objective of this. The stories I hear from law enforcement (including the Border Patrol types), nurses, store managers, and many others are consistent. We have a problem, and it will not be solved by ignoring it nor by calling it something else.
I repeat my original statements. All illegals need to leave, now. Period. No exceptions. Those who leave voluntarily are free to petition for legal residency, from their home countries. No exceptions. My personal belief is that anyone found illegally here by law enforcement should NEVER be permitted legal status. And that the nation of origin be billed for the cost of apprehension, incarceration, deportation, and any appropriate restitution.
There is no good remedy for illegality. But there are appropriate penalties. And it is time to employ them. Unfortunately.
I bid you a Happy New Year.
Again, there are matters upon which reasonable people may disagree. And we can disagree without becoming disagreeable.
26 December 2006
First of all, posting has been very light. The Christmas season has been quite busy for us, and has had its moments. I hope that God has blessed you through it as He has us.
But that is not the reason for the apology. A few minutes ago, I opened the blog as a regular reader would do, and clicked on an item on the sidebar links list. To my horror, what opened (after what appeared to be a redirection) was a very raw porn site. That's awful enough, but it was one of those hijack-type sites that then warns you of all the porn sites they claim you've visited (totally untrue) and ''offers'' a ''service'' to remove any embarrassing records.
While a list of everything God's had to forgive me for would require a lot of paper, hitting up the porn sites on the Internet hasn't lately been one of them. I have no idea as to what series of events led to this - I normally do a cut-and-paste while at the site I'm linking to, so I suspect that their site may have been hacked, but I don't know. It certainly wasn't any site I've visited.
If anyone has visited here and been hijacked like this, you have my sincere apologies. I can only say that I've removed the hijacked link. I don't know what else I can do.