Thoughts On Immigration

© Denver Post
© Denver Post

With President Obama set to unveil his administration’s approach to immigration reform, the issue has come front-and-center again. Obama’s support among Latinos probably shocked the GOP, but they are now split into two camps, the extreme nutcases who have doubled-down on their insanity and the somewhat-chastened who seem willing to STFU and listen to the people (or at least appear to do so, temporarily).

Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more.

The move would amount to the first tentative step toward comprehensive immigration reform after long-standing gridlock on the issue. The new effort was spurred in large part by the growing influence of Latino voters who strongly backed President Obama and other Democrats in November.

It was not clear, however, whether the final agreement will offer guidance on perhaps the thorniest issue in the immigration debate: what mechanism illegal immigrants could use to pursue full citizenship.

A few facts.
11+ million undocumented immigrants;, mostly 25-44; mostly in larger states; mostly Mexican; men and women; mostly in farming, maintenance,construction; peaked after 2007.
(i.e. unskilled, easily replaceable, cheap, exploitable)

One crowd has historically been pro-immigration when Capitalism needed cheap labor as a matter of economics

It’s the right thing to do for our economy…
…employers’ needs for immigrants not only in high-tech industries but in agriculture too, especially in states such as California.
…Republicans need to be for what is good for the economy, and immigration reform is needed…

They also distinguish between needed (high-tech) expertise which does not threaten American jobs and immigrants judged to contribute less to the economy.
They do a Cost/Benefit Analysis and decide the Napa Valley engineer is worth the social/financial/benefit overhead while those harvesting lettuce in Central Valley are not.
BTW: We no longer need cheap manufacturing labor because we’ve outsourced manufacturing. We still need cheap agricultural and service labor.
If not for that, the racists would ban immigration entirely.

They are anti-immigration when it threatens their lily-white enclaves of privilege.

But a significant number of Americans, particularly within the Republican Party, remain opposed to laws that would make it easier for illegal immigrants to stay in the country or obtain legal status.

The working group’s principles are expected to address stricter border control, better employer verification of workers’ immigration status, new visas for temporary agriculture workers and expanding the number of visas available for skilled engineers.

This is just so wrong it can’t be excerpted. Read the whole damn thing – it’s not that long.
Another quick read. Evidently Texas is still fighting the Civil War or never heard of Chain Of Command.

The other crowd has advocated more open immigration policies on humanitarian grounds or simple common sense.

Those of us who live in border communities can attest that what is truly needed is more accountability by border enforcement agencies and reducing, not expanding, an already-bloated border enforcement system.

Communities along the U.S.-Mexico border are enduring the massive intensification of border enforcement and personnel over the past decade. This increase has come with very few corresponding accountability and oversight mechanisms and has consequently led to an increase in civil and human rights violations, traumatic family separations in border communities, and racial profiling and harassment of Native Americans, Latinos, and other people of color – many of them U.S. citizens and some who have lived in the region for generations.

There has been an unprecedented increase in Border Patrol size without demonstrable positive results, but with a noticeable increase in human and civil rights violations in the border regions.
There has been a corresponding massive increase in taxpayers’ money spent at the border, including a 94% increase in Border Patrol funds in eight years. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers has cautioned that border security spending has become a “mini industrial complex.

Finally, there is the insidious crowd of control freaks who would actually rather see a return to slavery. (Understandable, considering the source)
Heritage Foundation

Reform the legal system: INS, streamlining process for SKILLED WORKERS
Needs of the economy
Reinvigorate enforcement
Enhance border security
Localize enforcement
“Comprehensive Legislation Is Not The Answer”

I’m not sure whose heritage they are protecting. It’s certainly not mine, and some of my family has been here since 1630.

On one hand America boasts of being the Melting Pot, successfully integrating disparate people into a single social, economic and political whole. We brag about this ad nauseum. What we don’t brag about or teach in our schools is the flat-out bigotry each immigrant group faced when they arrived on our shores. Not taught in schools, but picked up on the street, we all know the meaning of Wop/Dago, Kike, Gook, Polack, Hunky, Nip, Spic, Frog, Shanty Irish and Scotch-Irish hillbillies. (The attacks were less vicious on the English, Scandinavian and Germans – we just made fun of them. Besides, they were lily-white too).

I find it particularly ironic that the current brouhaha is triggered primarily by immigration from Mexico.
I grew up on what was once a land grant from the Spanish Crown, taken over and passed on by various Mexican and American governments over the centuries.
One of my schoolmates came from a family that had been settled on the land since the mid-1600s.
Maybe the Mexicans just want to recover the Southwest we stole from them. 🙂

Capitalism spent 150 years playing off blacks against whites; this is just Exploitation 2.0.
Racists may grudgingly admit immigrants as long as the process is controlled enough to ‘keep those people in their place’.

I personally would like to see completely open borders, all over the world. There would indeed be problems but I am convinced that when the dust settled, we would all be better off culturally, socially, politically and economically.

14 Replies to “Thoughts On Immigration”

  1. @Matt:
    Re “…the impulse to achieve what rational thought tells us is impossible – has migrated to the centre of politics. That is connected with humanism and the idea of progress.”

    Posted elsewhere:

    Excerpt from Padriac Pearse’s “The Fool”
    And the wise have pitied the fool that hath striven to give a life
    In the world of time and space among the bulks of actual things,
    To a dream that was dreamed in the heart, and that only the heart could hold.

    Don’t discount the dream – it all has to start somewhere and it’s usually somewhere impractical and unrealistic.

  2. Nice piece, SW. Thanks.

    “I personally would like to see completely open borders, all over the world.” I wonder what our libertarian readers would say, since imho that’s the only defensible libertarian standpoint.

    1. Most so-called libertarians are libertarians only when it applies to their own freedoms. Unfortunately.

      For the record, libertarianism and liberalism are interchangable in my way of thinking and have very little to do with concepts such as socialism and capitalism, but instead the notion of forcing compliance on others. The opposite of libertarianism is authoritarianism, the much preferred and practiced version of both the right and the left in these United States.

        1. I tried reading some of this, but got lost in the jargon.

          My reply, in short: Jesus was an outlaw, a recipient of the death penalty at the hands of church and state. He practiced small scale communism, a form of left leaning libertarianism, not to be mistaken for authoritiarn Communism.

          He said the greatest among you all will be the servant of you all. He said those with two should give to those with none. The laws he offers are not commands; rather, keys to a fair, just and orderly society. If people adhered to these laws, governance would become unnecessary. Participation is voluntary, never forced or coerced. (I know. Call me a dreamer.)

          His followers were also outlaws; the state tried killing them at first; when that failed, they co-opted the movement.

          In short, Chrisitianity as practiced in its various organized forms remains untrue to the Master it claims to recognize.

          1. Not to be too-too pedantic, but applying industrial-era political theory (“[Jesus] practiced small scale communism”) to a pre-industrial society is somewhat problematic (the word you’re probably looking for is “anarchism” — still inapt for reasons previously outlined, but more economical than “left leaning libertarianism” ;)).

            Regardless, I see Libertarianism(s) as a utopian spiritual cousin to Communism, in that, as John Gray notes, “it can be known with reasonable confidence in advance that it cannot be realised.”

          2. (Lest one think that Gray is merely hippie-punching: “[T]he utopian impulse – the impulse to achieve what rational thought tells us is impossible – has migrated to the centre of politics. That is connected with humanism and the idea of progress.”)

          3. In the current environment, ideas such as Christ espoused appear unrealistic, however, a time will come when many of the things we now do are looked upon much in the same way we look at the people that slaughtered buffalo and wasted the carcasses in wholesale fashion.

            You’ll never get the people alive on this planet now to adhere to many of these concepts, because in short, evil is profitable and prevails. But we will perish.

            Consider how a kid born into a world of a billion survivors of a nuclear holocaust and the resulting aftermath of sickness, famine and rotting corpses will feel about nuclear weapons or even the concept of war in general.

  3. There is no way the Republicans are going to increase the Democratic vote by potentially 11 Million.

    Especially not in Florida & Texas.

    1. The GOP is increasingly become a party of obstructionist. Lacking programs that are acceptable beyond their extremists, obstruction is their only game plan. They did that during O’s first term but found their base much smaller than expected come election time. Most of them are still stuck in that mode – few learned anything from the election.

      Things may just move beyond GOP control in Florida. Texas I don’t know enough about to predict, except to say that the worst racism I’ve ever encountered was in Texas, and unless immigrant labor is badly needed there, it will be a race issue for them. If there is amnesty and the population of legal immigrants grows significantly, I suspect the anti-immigrant effort will be focused even more on voter suppression.
      California and farming states throughout the South and even mid-West need and will find the labor, legal or otherwise. (One of the few nice things about capitalism is when profit is on the line, things get done. We need a Moral Equivalent Of Profit).

    2. Even though whites remain the largest segment of the population in Texas, the percentage of whites in Texas population recently fell below 50% for the first time in recent history (when those of hispanic origen are not counted as whites). At the current rate of change, latinos are projected to be the majority within twenty years or thereabouts (not sure of this, but I have heard it quoted).

      Fear of losing control has become an obsession for many (most) whites, particularly those of older generations. I see less of that among the youth.

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