The (Il)logic of ‘Illegal' | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

The (Il)logic of ‘Illegal'

After reading my column this week, "La Nueva Estrategia del Sur," check out Lawrence Downes' hilarious and poignant column in The New York Times: "What Part of 'Illegal' Don't You Understand?"

Downes rebuffs the kind of stopgap rhetoric we've heard time and time again on the JFP blog: illegal is illegal, period. End of discussion. He explores why we apply this logic to immigration, and immigration only (with the possible exception of murder and sex crimes). For example, is someone who has earned parking tickets an "illegal driver," even when he's out walking? The analogy to immigration is appropriate because neither crime is violent. However, unlike someone who's parked illegally (or even, say, used drugs illegally), an illegal immigrant's crime is inseparable from his identity--even when he's doing something other than crossing the border or waiting for a visa (e.g. working, raising a family-- you know, things people would otherwise consider 'legal'). As I point out in my column, this sudden obsession with the law often has everything to do with race: "illegal immigrant" has become exchangeable with "Latino worker," and the unprecedented vitriol that's directed toward the former (often from people who suffer no tangible effects from a broken immigration law), cannot be separated from fear and hatred of the latter.

From Downes' column:

America has a big problem with illegal immigration, but a big part of it stems from the word "illegal." It pollutes the debate. It blocks solutions. Used dispassionately and technically, there is nothing wrong with it. Used as an irreducible modifier for a large and largely decent group of people, it is badly damaging. And as a code word for racial and ethnic hatred, it is detestable.

"Illegal" is accurate insofar as it describes a person's immigration status. About 60 percent of the people it applies to entered the country unlawfully. The rest are those who entered legally but did not leave when they were supposed to. The statutory penalties associated with their misdeeds are not insignificant, but neither are they criminal. You get caught, you get sent home.

Since the word modifies not the crime but the whole person, it goes too far. It spreads, like a stain that cannot wash out. It leaves its target diminished as a human, a lifetime member of a presumptive criminal class. People are often surprised to learn that illegal immigrants have rights. Really? Constitutional rights? But aren't they illegal? Of course they have rights: they have the presumption of innocence and the civil liberties that the Constitution wisely bestows on all people, not just citizens.

Previous Comments

ID
115314
Comment

Thanks JFP for highlighting this very troubling issue. I have heard campaign ad after campaign ad that uses this term to justify pure nativism and hidden racism. I am a recent transplant to MS and I am appalled at how much conservative views are seen as normative, not part of the debate, but as the end all of a person's qualification to debate. If a view is not conservative, then it is seen as idealistic, "un-Christian", victimizing and impractical. We need more voices like JFP around here.

Author
Renaldo Bryant
Date
2007-11-01T13:12:35-06:00
ID
115315
Comment

Thank you, Matt, for this post. It drives me crazy that people can't see the logical fallacy of repeating endlessly (and stupidly) that immigration is illegal; thus, there is no reason to talk about it further. You can't have an intelligent conversation about what should be illegal or illegal—that is, what the policy should be—with people who are fixated on being against "illegal" immigration, as it is. As I pointed out in some of our more heated threads, it would be same logic as saying to gay advocates that gay marriage is illegal now, so why talk about it further, or to civil rights abvocates in the '60s that segregation was illegal, so why try to change it? It's amazing how blind people go on this issue. I guess we know how they felt back in the 60s trying to have a conversation with bigots who thought they were supporting "the law" and the "right thing." The "immigration question" is just as important today as the "race question" was then—and in many ways is the very same thing. The irony, of course, is that the most bigoted thing you can do on this issue is hide behind the "illegal" issue—because that means you don't really want to talk about the policy at all; you just want to scream about groups of people and what's wrong with them. Been there, done that in this state. So watch for the "illegal" red flag.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-01T13:27:47-06:00
ID
115316
Comment

With respect to the rhetorical point, might the difference be that every second that an illegal immigrant remains in this country --regardless of whether he is in the act of crossing the border-- is a continuing violation of federal law? Whereas a person who parks illegally ceases to violate the law when they move their car? Might it be the same reason we call an intruder an "intruder," as opposed to saying, "that person over there who once intruded, but is not presently engaged in the physical act of intruding, and thus, is just another person in our house"? And isn't my status as an intruder fully separable from my identity, provided I leave the place I have no right to be? In other words, when we're having a debate about whether a group of people belong in a particular place, isn't it eminently practical to designate them by reference to their relevant characteristic--i.e., the fact that they (at least arguably) don't belong in a particular place? If you want to use another term --"undocumented workers", "pre-citizens", "wombats" or whatever-- that's your right. But whatever term you use, it has to be universally understood to refer to the group's relevant characteristic. With respect to the policy question, it's beyond the scope of an internet post. But suffice it to say, you cannot have both (1) a comfy middle class, propped up by a generous Scandinavian-style welfare state; and (2) an open door policy to the third world. You have to choose.

Author
laughter
Date
2007-11-01T15:54:40-06:00
ID
115317
Comment

Actually, your logic is bad, LTG. Who is it who has said that the opposite of "illegal" immigration is an "open door policy to the third world"? Can you truly not see the basic logical problem here? For the love of God, does not ANYONE want to discuss what "illegal" does and should and should not mean when it comes to immigration??? Is there intelligent thought within range on this issue? It's as if perfectly other-intelligent people go dumb, dumb and stupid at the mention of immigration.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-01T16:01:18-06:00
ID
115318
Comment

And no, I don't have to "choose" between two ends of a friggin' false dilemma. Think, people. Come on.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-01T16:01:54-06:00
ID
115319
Comment

You know that I can, but if you prefer cathartic sanctimony to actual debate, I won't deny you. There is a spectrum between the two poles, obviously. But that doesn't change the fact that taking on uneducated workers to do sub-minimum wage work generally tends to undermine the quality of life of the working class.

Author
laughter
Date
2007-11-01T16:04:05-06:00
ID
115320
Comment

When I saw this post, I thought, well, here we go again, but I thought I'd take another tack this time. I'm clearly on the record as saying that I think permitting illegal immigration is a bad thing - and it is, clearly, presently, illegal, no matter who thinks it should not be or for whatever reasons. Yes, I realize that segregation and other evil practices of the past were, at the time, also legal. When someone else sees this differently, I have to conclude that he or she is *for* illegal immigration, and that's what I'm curious about at the moment. Unless I'm misunderstanding or misstating your positions, Matt and Donna, you are for what I would term amnesty for illegal immigrants because you feel illegal immigration from Latin American countries should be legal. Is that a fair statement? If it's not, why are you supporting it? If that is, in fact, the case, I'd be curious to hear your reasoning about the actual pros of illegal immigration, not whether or not you view anyone who opposes it as a bigot. Is your reasoning that it's a good thing because cheap labor with no rights is good for the economy? Is your reasoning that illegal immigrants only take jobs Americans wouldn't want to do anyway? Is your reasoning that illegal immigrants from Mexico didn't cross the border, the border crossed them? There has to be some basis to your being for what is, presently, undeniably illegal as opposed to your considering people who oppose it, like me and many others, just bigots. If I've misstated your positions (assuming they're one and the same, which may not be the case), please accept my apologies. That's what I read from your posts.

Author
lucdix
Date
2007-11-01T18:50:36-06:00
ID
115321
Comment

you guys gotta overstand that all this "illegal immigration" stuff is an election-year tactic. They only started talking about it a lot within the past couple of years. It's really a tactic to distract people from talking about important things like the war, economy, education, healthcare...you know, the stuff that matters. Nobody's gonna arrest or deport these people because big money needs them as cheap labor, who they can pay less than minimum wage and not pay taxes on their wages. In other words, it's a cash cow that they're not gonna slaughter. Once the election is over, watch how it falls off the public radar...at least until the next election cycle.

Author
eyerah
Date
2007-11-01T19:13:00-06:00
ID
115322
Comment

I'm clearly on the record as saying that I think permitting illegal immigration is a bad thing - and it is, clearly, presently, illegal, no matter who thinks it should not be or for whatever reasons. Lucdix, you're doing it again. Define "illegal" please. The way you're stating this now is it sounds like you like the law exactly the way it is without a single change or adjustment. If so, say that, but don't hide behind the "illegal" strawman. And if you don't understand why that is illogical, we have nothing to discuss because you're not on first base with us. And once again, you are making assumptions about what I think based on the fact that I'm saying we should have a nuanced discussion about what is, and should be, "legal." You're taking the tack, unintentionally I presume, that because "immigration" is "illegal" (which it isn't), then there is no need to discuss what that means, and leaping over the whole discussion. This is *exactly* what this post is about, and it is *exactly* the excuse used not to have a discussion about what the "illegality" of segregation in the 1960s. Try to wipe the anti-immigrant sleep from your eyes just long enough at least to hear what we're trying to ask you. If you don't, there is no way to have an intelligent discussion about immigration. I haven't said you are a bigot; I'm saying you are tripping over the same argument that bigots used in the 1960s. Please try to see the difference. about the actual pros of illegal immigration, I don't even know what that question means as worded. I presume you mean about the state of current immigration law. Or do you mean about making all immigration "illegal"—which is very different. And all the "is your reasoning" questions are pure bullsh!t. I haven't given any reasoning or *any* view on current immigration law, because there are too many fools here who don't even seem to know, or care, what it is. They just want to whine about "illegal immigration" without showing any indication that they know what it even means. And on top of that, they (you) then make all these asinine assumptions about what other people are saying. I actually want to have a discussion on what "legal" and "illegal" immigrant should be, but no one wants to take that bait, and instead just skip over to whining about "illegal immigration." You just want "illegal" immigrants gone. The problem with that, lucdix, is that *you*, not I, are making yourself sound like you don't want to see, or discuss, any specifics about the law—and that makes you sound like a bigot, even if you aren't (and I choose to believe you aren't). Sorry, I can't sweep such a broad, ignorant brush without a conversation about what it all means first, and what is wrong and right about current "illegal" status. That broad sweep is what all the politicians (Repubs and Dems) are doing, and I'm not in, just as I pray I wouldn't have played the same game in the '60s. And for the love of God, stop making yourself sound like a fool with all binary assumptions about what Matt and I oh-so-must believe because we're calling out your bad logic. And why not try reading Downes' column above again with your emotion against immigrants set aside for a few minutes? Maybe then what we're trying to tell you will suddenly break through. If not, we have nothing to discuss on this issue. I'm not going to have an immigration conversation with someone who sits there and repeats like a mindless drone, "but they're illegal," "but they're illegal," "but they're ..." It would be pointless, and inevitably some yokel would end up yelling about sending "anchor babies" home, and I'd have to boot their bigoted a$$. Think, people. This really isn't that hard.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-01T19:57:06-06:00
ID
115323
Comment

And, LTG, where is the actual debate part? Drowning in a binary cesspool, I presume? BTW, do not one more person even try to tell me my views on "legal" and "illegal" immigration, being that no one has even tried to have a discussion about it, yet. (OK, Matt has, and that's gotten called all kinds of names and all sorts of yelps thrown at him. Sad.)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-01T20:00:15-06:00
ID
115324
Comment

Before I get into the rest of the discussion, Donna, I have never said and never will say that immigration is illegal - as you say here - "You're taking the tack, unintentionally I presume, that because "immigration" is "illegal" (which it isn't)," Where do you get that from???? To the contrary, every time Matt says 'immigrants' I point out the fact that there are two kinds of immigrants - legal and illegal. He doesn't want to acknowledge that distinction. Yes, of course there should be legal immigration. As far as immigration law presently (as opposed to what you might like it to be), it's against the law to cross the US border without a visa, certainly with the intention of staying and working, or overstay a visa of any kind. It has nothing to do with liking the law as it is. That's the way it's presently written. If you'd like to work to change it, that's a different matter. I haven't seen any particular problems with it for people who enter the country legally. How would you suggest changing immigration laws if you'd like a nuanced discussion about their legality? The present immigration law makes sense to me when we have millions of unemployed American citizens. I certainly would not try to change it in the direction of amnesty for millions of people who have crossed the border illegally (thus, yes, making them criminals from the get-go) or overstayed the visas given to them in good faith that they would comply with the law to leave with the visa is up. If anything, I would encourage more high-tech workers to come to the US, certainly not more laborers. Why are you in favor of illegal immigration, of, for the most part, relatively unskilled workers, when you know what the unemployment situation in this country looks like? All you have to do is ride out Amite Street any morning to see dozens of men hanging around hoping to find work - or look in any homeless shelter in city in the country any time of year. Homeless people are homeless because, for the most part, they're relatively unskilled and can't find work. Why give this work to illegal immigrants? I said that I was assuming you were for illegal immigration because I certainly have not seen that you're against it. I put forth a few possible reasons I've read and heard elsewhere asking if they might be yours and Matt's. I never said those were your reasons. I'm trying to understand your reasoning. I do feel that either being 'for' or 'against' illegal immigration (not legal immigration) applies here. I don't see any middle ground. If you want to change the laws which apply to legal immigration to cover more people, that's a different discussion. I personally would make it more restrictive until we have full employment in this country. As far as not being interested in discussing any specifics about immigration law, that's not the case. See the paragraph above. I did read Downes' column. He says that actually, the only reason we're upset about illegal immigrants is that people are calling them illegal. If we just call them 'undocumented' everything's fine.....except that it's not. They are still taking jobs which could be filled by presently unemployed American workers - and just did on the Gulf Coast post Katrina - or do you take Matt's position that Mississippi's work force could not have done the job as well? I say Mississippi's workers could have and would have and that that work would have brought much badly-needed money into Mississippi households. (continued in next post)

Author
lucdix
Date
2007-11-01T20:57:35-06:00
ID
115325
Comment

(continued from post above) What to do about illegal immigrants already here? Send them home - with a bonus from the US government if necessary so that they can start a new life in their home countries. That's the only way to free the jobs they take. Or do you also deny that they are taking jobs from American workers and that, since they aren't, we should look the other way? If they want to learn a valuable skill we need in this country once we have full employment, they can apply for a work visa and then, after the requisite time and providing they're not felons, apply for citizenship. That's what literally millions of legal citizens (once legal immigrants have done. That's what they can also do. When you talk about a nuanced discussion as far as changing the law, to what end would you change the law? What do you see wrong with it now?

Author
lucdix
Date
2007-11-01T21:00:14-06:00
ID
115326
Comment

I have a passport. Why? Because when I enter another country they want to know who I am, where I came from and what I'm doing there. Otherwise, I'm "illegal". It's their country, not mine. I chose to travel there and they make the rules. Our laws require the same as any other country. How are these people that are breaking them NOT illegal?

Author
Cliff Cargill
Date
2007-11-02T06:02:51-06:00
ID
115327
Comment

Lucdix, I don't have much time this a.m., but I'll be back at some point. Meantime, two things to think about: You're still skipping the discussion of what "illegal" is or should mean, and we're not going to get anywhere until you see that point. Secondly, you need to provide some real attribution for all those statements about the harm that "illegal" immigrants are doing to our country, because you're repeating some false myths without basing them on, well, anything. This reminds me so much of all the "scientific" "facts" that were published back in the '60s to support Jim Crow. White Mississippians just passed them along without even bothering to find out if they were true. We'll show you exactly what we mean very soon. In the meantime, try homework over blind emotion. Soon ... (and tune into the radio show today).

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-02T08:37:48-06:00
ID
115328
Comment

You know, I have somewhat refrained from getting into the illegal vs legal debate here on the JFP. I tried it once, and was met with the same comments (i.e. racist, ignorant, you don't want to look at the issues, jobs Americans won't do..... blah blah blah). I would really *love* to hear about some of the solutions to what, in some people's eyes, may or may not be a problem (to go on the record, I think illegal immigration is a problem). If you wish to redefine illegal as meaning something else, then do it if it makes you feel better. But a drug dealer is still an illegal profession, not an undocumented pharmacist. A murderer is still committing illegal acts, and is not an undocumented executioner. And, further, does that mean that Frank is in fact an "undocumented police officer?" "I actually want to have a discussion on what "legal" and "illegal" immigrant should be, but no one wants to take that bait, and instead just skip over to whining about "illegal immigration." You just want "illegal" immigrants gone." I'm taking the bait Ladd. What do you want "legal" and "illegal" immigrants to mean? I'll start. Legal immigrants follow the processes put in place by our elected officials. They come in legally and follow the laws. Illegal immigrants bypass our processes and laws, and come into the country illegally. If you wish to go further with the legal v. illegal semantics game, I DO agree that someone with a suspended driver's license is in fact an ILLEGAL driver. And, that driver will continue to be an illegal driver until he is made legal. That doesn't mean though, that to make him legal we make it legal to drive without a license though.

Author
LawClerk
Date
2007-11-02T09:02:27-06:00
ID
115329
Comment

LawClerk, you make a good argument; however, I think the point is missed and that is: What is wrong with "illegals being illegal?" I move from that question to my position that America has and had the resources to keep everyone that they didn't want here out. This is the prblem as I see it. These "illegals" came into the country and have been used for many years for cheap labor. They became the replacement for jobs that have been labeled INFRADIG to most African-Americans. "Illegals" took the place of the slaves in cotton fields (fruit and vegetable pickers), maids, cooks, cleaners, sweepers, toilet cleaners, and anyother backbreaking task you can think of. These jobs have been done in the past by this group of so called, "illegals." The real issue now is that the "illegals" have teamed up with legals who look like them and have now begun to enterprise. The "illegals" who have lived 20 in one apt. have pooled their resources and have formed small but growing companies. Restaurants are springing up everywhere. The "illegals" are becoming competetors! Again, this Country has the resources to make the "illegals" get to stepping, If it so chooses. We just can't have it both ways. PS: Isn't this the same way that the Indians were invaded in their country now called America - The land of the free and the home of the brave. We, too, had the title of "illegals." My, my, such a play on words.

Author
justjess
Date
2007-11-02T09:51:49-06:00
ID
115330
Comment

"Meantime, two things to think about: You're still skipping the discussion of what "illegal" is or should mean, and we're not going to get anywhere until you see that point." What 'illegal' means is already crystal clear in this discussion, Donna. Both Cliff and LawClerk, for instance, address it above as well. So you can forget 'is'. I'd reformulate your sentence, however, to say that we're not going to get anywhere with this discussion until you see that point, not I. The immigration laws are perfectly clear and illegal immigrants are 100% illegal under current law. What is there to discuss further on that point? The question then becomes whether you or I or anyone else want(s) to change the immigration laws. I've already said above how I would propose changing them and it doesn't include amnesty. Just offhand, I'd venture to say that you and I differ significantly on this point and on whether the current law is just or not. As far as real attribution for what you see as a myth (that illegal immigrants take American jobs, I assume you mean)? What attribution do you want? Any given job here in the US can be done by either an American citizen a legal immigrant or an illegal immigrant - or do you see a fourth possibility there? I don't. Therefore, if there are 12,000,000 illegal immigrants living in the US they are either living from jobs which could be filled by US citizens or legal immigrants or they're living from other means, and I seriously doubt that many of them are independently wealthy. The money to support their households has to come from somewhere and if it's earned here in the US, it could be being earned by US citizens or legal immigrants, not illegal immigrants. We do not have full employment in this country. We have millions of unemployed and homeless people. Do you not care about them? If you do, why not take the most obvious measure to ensure they can work again? I'm still wondering if you would agree with Matt that a Mississippi workforce could not have cleaned up on the Gulf Coast after Katrina as efficiently as crews of illegal immigrants did. I'm also still wondering what changes in the immigration laws you would propose. Again, for the record, I fully realize several things: * illegal immigrants come to this country as they do in search of a better life - which I can't fault as a motive per se * from what I've personally seen and from other accounts, they are hard workers * I realize there would be hardship involved with their having to relocate to their home countries, that many have put down roots here, etc. Nevertheless, they've still broken the law by entering this country illegally, regardless of their motives - and, as I've now said many times, they're taking jobs which could be filled by American citizens ('American' in this case meaning citizens of the United State of America, in case someone wants to say, well 'Latinos' are also 'Americans' - as they are). A few questions: Would you agree that what I term 'illegal immigrants' have, in fact, broken the current immigration laws? If so, what is your objection to calling them 'illegal' under present law? Are you or are you not for 'giving them a pass' because, well, they're already here, have established families, etc.? Are you willing to see that my objection is not to the fact that the majority of current illegal immigrants is from Latin America but that I object to employing any illegal immigrant as long as a single American citizen or legal immigrant remains unemployed? Do you or do you not care about the high rate of unemployment and homelessness in this country? I do, and particularly as it concerns Mississippi. Just take a ride over to Stewpot someday to see who could be filling jobs illegal immigrants now fill - just as one place. There are many others.

Author
lucdix
Date
2007-11-02T11:45:56-06:00
ID
115331
Comment

Having left a job site this morning populated by nearly a dozen hard-working hispanic/latino construction workers, I guess I have a few thoughts on this issue. From what I’ve read and understand, the U.S. immigration system right now is a patchwork of crappy rules, regulations, and policies that basically hinder people who try to come to America legally, while perpetually rewarding people who break the law by entering the country without following our immigration policy. The underlying problem with "illegal" (as defined by LawClerk, lucdix, Cliff) immigration is the businesses who have relied upon cheap immigrant labor over the last 20 years to make huge profits, creating the magnet that is drawing these people here. They have shoveled buckets of money into BOTH parties to maintain the status quo, thus continuing to allow thousands of aliens to cross our borders ILLEGALLY. Those that benefit from hiring or housing illegal immigrants aren't punished severely so they continue to practice what amounts to modern-era slavery and exploitation. If we punished the employers and people housing them more severely maybe then the risk/reward potential wouldn't be worth it to them and the flood of illegal immigrants would eventually dry up. But many of those businesses have clout and influence and don't really want anything done with the issue. And while it is patently obvious that the immigration issue has given free reign to anyone with a beef against hispanic/latino culture an open voice to spout out their bigotry, by the same token there are civil rights groups who have so diluted the issue with blanket charges of racism against those of us who would like to toughen our border policies that it has helped further the climate of frustration and resentment towards the hispanic community, leaving even the pro-minority Democrats at odds about how to address the issue.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2007-11-02T12:59:10-06:00
ID
115332
Comment

Good post, Jeff. Let's build on it. Lucdix, again, your post is unintelligible to me. You're making all sorts of assumptions still and skipping over the basics. And your Stewpot comments shows a profound ignorance about the problem with homelessness and poverty in America. This is my last post to you on it, because it's useless. And before you even try to ask me another question or insult me by putting words in my mouth, DO SOME HOMEWORK. You're clearly just speaking out of emotion and what you think is common sense.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-02T13:10:46-06:00
ID
115333
Comment

Before you go, Donna, would you mind just answering the few simple questions I asked? I'd venture to say that the post is intelligible to everyone else reading it and I'd be happy to go through the questions again if you'd like. A profound ignorance of homelessness and poverty? I've been homeless and I've been poor, Donna. I know plenty about both situations. You can't afford a home if you can't find a job because that job is already taken by an illegal immigrant. (Note: I'm not saying that's why I myself couldn't find a job but I challenge you to deny that that happens.) Why is the job site jefflucas left this morning populated by hispanic/latino construction workers (if they're illegal) and not men hoping for a meal at Stewpot? Are you saying the men at Stewpot are incapable of hard work? That seems to be the tenor of what Matt said in his post a while back about post-Katrina illegal immigrants working on the Gulf Coast. How more direct an example do you need?

Author
lucdix
Date
2007-11-02T13:21:07-06:00
ID
115334
Comment

You haven't asked me a question, yet, that I would stoop to answering, Lucdix. You seem to think that you can sit there and Latino-bait me into saying things I haven't said, prefaced with "are you saying?" And you just proved my point about poverty and homelessness by implying that, were all the "illegal immigrants" to go poof today, that suddenly the people at Stewpot would be lined up to rebuild the Coast and to scrub toilets in Eastover. If you weren't being so offensive toward me and whole groups of people, I would feel sorry for you right now. As it is, I'm just disgusted. Are you saying the men at Stewpot are incapable of hard work? That seems to be the tenor of what Matt said in his post a while back about post-Katrina illegal immigrants working on the Gulf Coast. Are you dense enough to think either of us said that? Do you know so little about social ills in America that you think that we're in the middle of such an easy crisis of "send the immigrants home; put homeless Americans to work," your own major bout with homelessness notwithstanding? Are you saying that you are representative of the people lined up at Stewpot? That you've faced the same issues (and discimination) in your life? That you've had the same mental conditions as many of them? That they've all told you that they would rush out to scrub those toilets if all the immigrants would go just go home? Lucdix, I hate to be the one to burst your smug bubble of illusion, but immmigrants, legal or not, are *not* taking jobs away from Americans. In fact, they are helping our economy. They are paying taxes, even the illegal ones. They are not the booger-bears you're making them out to be. Its uninformed attitudes like yours on this issue that are probably the biggest threat to American economic strength in the future. This kind of intolerance toward immigrants from the descendants of immigrants is un-American. And the funny part is that you are so sure that your assumptions are correct that you're not even bothering to do homework on it. That's pretty much the definition of what makes the dominant culture so infuriating, and dangerous. It's funny to watch you spend all this time trying to fill my mouth with your strawmen so you can spew myths about immigrants back my direction. The difference with me is that I'm not playing your game. I don't do politicis of division, and I don't give a damn what, or who, tries to get me to. I'm a researcher, and an independent thinker, and I form my opinions based on cold facts. The funny part about facts is how often they show our assumptions incorrect.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-02T13:52:18-06:00
ID
115335
Comment

The Pew Research Center is doing some great research on the realities of immigration, and they are one of the least think tanks out there: Here's one: Growth in the Foreign-Born Workforce and Employment of the Native Born Rapid increases in the foreign-born population at the state level are not associated with negative effects on the employment of native-born workers, according to a study by the Pew Hispanic Center that examines data during the boom years of the 1990s and the downturn and recovery since 2000. An analysis of the relationship between growth in the foreign-born population and the employment outcomes of native-born workers revealed wide variations across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. No consistent pattern emerges to show that native-born workers suffered or benefited from increased numbers of foreign-born workers. In 2000, nearly 25% of native-born workers lived in states where rapid growth in the foreign-born population between 1990 and 2000 was associated with favorable outcomes for the native born. Meanwhile, only 15% of native-born workers resided in states where rapid growth in the foreign-born population was associated with negative outcomes for the native born. The remaining 60% of native-born workers lived in states where the growth in the foreign-born population was below average, but those native workers did not consistently experience favorable employment outcomes. The same results emerged from the analysis of data for 2000 to 2004. There is an analysis at the end of that Pew report about the various literature on the idea that foreign-born workers are displacing the native born. There is disagreement among researchers, but one thing is clear: It is very difficult to find substantive data to back up your (or David Blount's, or ...) that immigrants are displacing American workers. The certainty of statements such as yours, lucdix, that this is happening is coming from somewhere other than from hard data. Consider that carefully.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-02T14:15:56-06:00
ID
115336
Comment

Illegal Immigrants Are Bolstering Social Security With Billions While it has been evident for years that illegal immigrants pay a variety of taxes, the extent of their contributions to Social Security is striking: the money added up to about 10 percent of last year's surplus - the difference between what the system currently receives in payroll taxes and what it doles out in pension benefits. Moreover, the money paid by illegal workers and their employers is factored into all the Social Security Administration's projections. Illegal immigration, Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, co-director of immigration studies at New York University, noted sardonically, could provide "the fastest way to shore up the long-term finances of Social Security." It is impossible to know exactly how many illegal immigrant workers pay taxes. But according to specialists, most of them do. Since 1986, when the Immigration Reform and Control Act set penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, most such workers have been forced to buy fake ID's to get a job. Currently available for about $150 on street corners in just about any immigrant neighborhood in California, a typical fake ID package includes a green card and a Social Security card. It provides cover for employers, who, if asked, can plausibly assert that they believe all their workers are legal. It also means that workers must be paid by the book - with payroll tax deductions. IRCA, as the immigration act is known, did little to deter employers from hiring illegal immigrants or to discourage them from working. But for Social Security's finances, it was a great piece of legislation. ... Most immigration helps Social Security's finances, because new immigrants tend to be of working age and contribute more than they take from the system. A simulation by Social Security's actuaries found that if net immigration ran at 1.3 million a year instead of the 900,000 in their central assumption, the system's 75-year funding gap would narrow to 1.67 percent of total payroll, from 1.92 percent - savings that come out to half a trillion dollars, valued in today's money. Illegal immigrants help even more because they will never collect benefits. According to Mr. Goss, without the flow of payroll taxes from wages in the suspense file, the system's long-term funding hole over 75 years would be 10 percent deeper.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-02T14:20:31-06:00
ID
115337
Comment

'I haven't asked you a question yet that you would stoop to answering'? You're ducking the questions, Donna, because you don't have a leg to stand on as far as the legality of illegal immigrants, whether or not you think the law should be changed or they help our economy or do not take jobs away from legal Mississipians or not. You asked me to define 'illegal' as it refers to illegal immigration. I did. Then you wanted to know more about types of visas and I was about to send you a link to all the different types of visas there are rather than just repeat what the INS page says. In fact, here it is: http://www.visapro.com/US-Immigration-Service.asp The basic legal situation is: If you cross the border without a visa, if you overstay a legal visa, if you use false papers to obtain a visa, in all cases your status is or moves to 'illegal' as it concerns US immigration law. Once again, this has nothing to do with 'Latino baiting'. I've said many times that as far as I'm concerned, it has to do with any illegal immigrant - from Germany, England, Canada, the Ukraine or anywhere. 'Latino' comes up in these discussions because the majority of illegal immigrants in Mississippi come from Latin-American countries, that's all. To be 'anti-illegal-immigrant' does not automatically mean to be 'anti-Latino'. Re the folks at Stewpot (or other homeless or unemployed) lining up to work on the Gulf Coast. Yes, I think it could have happened, could still happen - there's still plenty of work to do. Re their scrubbing toilets in Eastover? I say it's not impossible or, if the folks in Eastover have to use illegal immigrants for those jobs, they should learn to clean their toilets themselves. I've done housecleaning to get by, I know several white and black cleaning people here in Jackson who are perfectly happy to scrub toilets and do other household jobs to make a living. I don't buy the argument which seems to be one of the general reasons for 'hey, they help our economy and they're not taking anyone's job away' that they don't take jobs US citizens could be doing but you say above that they do not. Yet you did not address what I said in my post that there are only three types of people who hold jobs in the US: US citizens, legal immigrants, and illegal immigrants. If an illegal immigrant is working in the US, that's a job which can not be filled by a US citizen or a legal immigrant. That's not difficult to understand and the only way anyone can try to refute it is to say that they're not the same jobs - yet they are. Construction, gardening, lawn work, irrigation work, cleaning - why would these jobs not be able to be filled by US citizens or legal immigrants? In fact, they already are everywhere in the US - except where they're taken by illegal immigrants. Am I saying that I'm representative of the people lined up at Stewpot? No, I'm not. It was a bad time and I ran into an 'underqualified (for top technical jobs), 'overqualified' (for simpler jobs) situation I, happily, was able to rescue myself from. Nevertheless, believe me, I know what homelessness is like and the basic reason homelessness happens (and is difficult to get out from under) is not being able to get work. Sure there are people with substance abuse problems there, but it's a downward spiral. The substance abuse often starts when finances are tight, when things don't go well at work, leading to getting fired, etc. Those men and women and others like them could definitely have done the post-Katrina work and, I maintain, would have happily done so - they and other unemployed US citizens and legal immigrants.

Author
lucdix
Date
2007-11-02T14:31:53-06:00
ID
115338
Comment

I'm not ducking anything, Lucdix; in fact, I'm addressing this head one with you. I'm just not allowing rhetoric to drive me on it. I've already said that I have not said a *single* thing you've attributed to me. Nothing. Nada. Why in hell would I go question by question answering idiotic rhetorical questions about stuff I did not say when you just ignore actual facts that are posted in front of your eyes that don't support your assumptions!?! You have posted generalization after generalization about groups of people without one single attribution. That's textbook bigotry, and the burden is on you to show that it is not bigotry toward groups by giving some actual facts to back up your statements. And please do not address me directly again on this, as I will not you. Post attributed facts on this issue. You've posted enough unsubstantiated rhetoric to last a lifetime -- and we all hear that crap everyday any way. Let's try some facts. So please remove me from your radar on this; you don't get to beat up on myebecause you're not willing to back up your statements. I can back up mine. You? Three. Two. One ...

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-02T14:43:12-06:00
ID
115339
Comment

I was writing as you were posting the links and comments above, Donna, just looked at them. I find the Pew study interesting, although, as I say, frankly it does not seem logical to me that could be the case when I see US citizens unemployed and illegal immigrants working. The only possible explanation could be that we're not talking about the same jobs but, in fact, we are, so I have to wonder about the validity of the study and its conclusions. The second link about paying into Social Security is 'the businessman's argument' - hey, illegal immigration is good for our economy, why mess with it? I don't buy that. I think that investing in education, labor saving techniques, environmentally sound practices, and much more would, in the long run, be far more beneficial for our economy than encouraging an illegal practice and thinking short-term.

Author
lucdix
Date
2007-11-02T14:43:49-06:00
ID
115340
Comment

In fact, they already are everywhere in the US - except where they're taken by illegal immigrants. This is a false statement. Please provide attribution to prove it's true.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-02T14:43:51-06:00
ID
115341
Comment

Once again, Donna, I trust my eyes, not studies by academic institutions or press reports. This is what I said: "Construction, gardening, lawn work, irrigation work, cleaning - why would these jobs not be able to be filled by US citizens or legal immigrants? In fact, they already are everywhere in the US - except where they're taken by illegal immigrants." Now since there are US citizens and legal immigrants working in all these jobs all across the US (or do you need me to back that up - I can for Mississippi easily, the rest of the US would take more time) and they're for the most part relatively unskilled work, why would not the unemployed US citizens and legal immigrants not be able to take them if the work's available? The unemployed are seldom top Silicon Valley venture capitalists. They're certainly people who have the basic skills for these jobs - or could be trained to do them. We don't need a single illegal immigrant to do a single job in this country. Why would we? We're not talking about nuclear physicists. Are you saying that there are jobs which can only be done by illegal immigrants?

Author
lucdix
Date
2007-11-02T14:52:20-06:00
ID
115342
Comment

frankly it does not seem logical to me that could be the case when I see US citizens unemployed and illegal immigrants working. The only possible explanation could be that we're not talking about the same jobs but, in fact, we are, so I have to wonder about the validity of the study and its conclusions. Lucdix, here is the crux of the problem with your arguments. You are applying what you are calling "logic"—which are your assumptions about the way the world works, actually—to bolster what you think *should* be true about immigration (or American poverty, frankly). The problem is that it is not, and there is exhaustive research that proves you wrong on about everything you've said on this topic. You just discounted the Pew research, despite the know validity of their methods and work. Why? Because it didn't reach the conclusion that your head did. Seeing the problem yet? Your logic doesn't work on this point, frankly. Anecdotally, any dolt can tell you that just because I am not willing to do a certain job doesn't mean that you are going to step in and do it (or vice versa)—and that's true at all levels of income. There are many, many more factors at play than that, and certainly is in any non-emotional, qualitative approach to actual research, which is what I'm interested in. I've heard enough emotional bigotry that people think is "common sense" to last me a lifetime. And that was just in my hometown.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-02T14:54:01-06:00
ID
115343
Comment

Once again, Donna, I trust my eyes, not studies by academic institutions or press reports. We're done, Ludix. If you are not willing to attribute your statements or consider actual research on the topic of immigrants, do not post any more generalized statements about it on my site. You have just proved what you're up to. Your "eyes," my a$$. Move on.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-02T14:55:19-06:00
ID
115344
Comment

And since you're not willing to answer my questions directly, Donna, I see no further point in this discussion either, but I would like a definition of 'move on' from you. I'm not 'up' to anything. Why should I trust an academic study over what's clear and, in fact, confirmed by people who have come up to me in Jackson to thank me for my comments, saying that either they or relatives or friends had lost jobs because they were given to illegal immigrants? Or do you think I'm making that up? I'm not going to 'attribute' it because it was said to me privately by people who didn't want to post here but agreed with me. I'm not writing a news story. The JFP doesn't always name its sources either. Why should I believe in the objectivity of a foundation funded by Big Oil (as the Pew Charitable Trust http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pew_Charitable_Trusts ) is? Do you see it as absolutely out of the question that the Pew Charitable Trust has no business axe to grind?

Author
lucdix
Date
2007-11-02T15:17:00-06:00
ID
115345
Comment

"Move on" means not to post more generalizations that you aren't willing to attribute somehow. Simple. Also, I'm a pro-(smart)-business progressive, so that saw won't work on me, either. I happen to believe that business can be humane and do what's right for people, creating jobs, and bolstering economic development. Considering the actual facts of immigration when it comes to the business side and the people side, I'm having a little hard of a time seeing what you do believe in, other than isolationism. The JFP doesn't always name its sources either. No, but we have them, and don't just conjure up rhetoric out of our heads and try to pass it off as fact. And I personally know what every one of them is. Also, we are able to attribute statements we state about empirical facts very easily. There is never any reason to withhold a source unless it is to protect them. There is certainly no reason to protect all that empirical evidence, ahem, that would bolster the myths about immigration that you're trying to pass off as fact. The logical conclusion is that you're not relying on evidence, which you've admitted, so I'm wasting my time here. You've made it clear that you won't entertain any fact that your own head didn't come up with, so I'm not going to continue beating my head against the wall with you. I don't need to take your bait on addressing views for me that you've made up that I may or may not have a view on—we will answer every question (and explode every myth) possible in blog posts and by the stuff my paper will be publishing on this issue, and in our ongoing discussions on the radio show. I have no more interest in discussing this further with you, with your mindset, than I do black-white relations with Jim Giles or Richard Barrett. It would do about as much good, clearly.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-02T15:46:43-06:00
ID
115346
Comment

"The JFP doesn't always name its sources either." "No, but we have them, and don't just conjure up rhetoric out of our heads and try to pass it off as fact. " Yes, and I have them as well and you're accusing me of lying. That's an interesting approach. As I wrote, in each case I was told what I was in confidentiality. Not everyone has the courage to post on the Jackson Free Press forum. This is a small town. It would be easy enough to investigate for a good, objective reporter, but I have the feeling that, in this case, although I highly value the JFP's role in Mississippi journalism, the objectivity will be missing in your stories. I'd love to be surprised. Yes, people lose their jobs to illegal immigrants right here in Mississippi - or are not offered the jobs in the first place. "Also, I'm a pro-(smart)-business progressive, so that saw won't work on me, either. I happen to believe that business can be humane and do what's right for people, creating jobs, and bolstering economic development." I'm not sure which 'saw' you mean, but I also believe that business can be humane, do what's right for people, create jobs, and bolster economic development. Did I ever say I wasn't? To the contrary, I'm pro-business but not at any cost. The question is how the economic development is attained, and if you want the cheapest labor of all, for instance, you can use prison labor. That helps a business's bank statement and thus the economy enormously. Also, if you'd seen the conditions illegal immigrants were living and working in in Pass Christian and elsewhere, I'd be surprised if you found it humane. Yes, I was there (photographing), yes, I went to the camps, was met by much suspicion by security personnel, and asked to leave.

Author
lucdix
Date
2007-11-02T16:05:08-06:00
ID
115347
Comment

Lucdix, this is absurd. You're the one who told me you don't need data or sources, that you know what you see. You're not using the hasty generalization fallacy to say, are you? Pardon me if I don't consider your personal experience actual attribution for your sweeping statements that illegal immigrants are taking American jobs. Otherwise, you're baiting and switching. Nothing I have said would imply to a thinking person that I am somehow not concerned with shabby treatment of immigrants because I am willing to acknowledge that immigration, legal and illegal, has a net positive effect on the American economy. And with due respect, between you and Pew, I'm going with Pew.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-02T16:36:36-06:00
ID
115348
Comment

I don't mind your not considering my personal experience to be actual attribution for what you feel are my 'sweeping statements that illegal immigrants are taking American jobs'. Go with Pew if you feel that's a better source for you. I do mind your accusing me in so many words (subtext italics for the word 'have') of lying, 'conjuring up rhetoric out of my head and trying to pass it off as fact'. All that I can attest to as fact is that several people came up to me after the first long thread on this subject to thank me for speaking out, saying that they'd lost their jobs or friends or relatives had lost their jobs to illegal immigrants. I'm not an investigative reporter so I didn't investigate the claims further, cannot nevertheless think why anyone would feel the need to lie to me about it. If someone comes up to me after this thread and says something similar, I'll ask if he/she would be willing to provide more verifiable detail.

Author
lucdix
Date
2007-11-02T16:53:52-06:00
ID
115349
Comment

Looking back at specifics ... To be 'anti-illegal-immigrant' does not automatically mean to be 'anti-Latino'. Actually, it kinda does in today's world if one does not call for the same "illegal" status to be applied to people from any country or background. And if you know government policy is discriminatory toward certain people and don't demand change, then you are certainly guilty of supporting the discrimination toward that group. I learned that growing up in this state. Of course, this goes full circle to a discussion of what "illegal" does and should mean. No one seems willing to go there. And by the way, here's my answer to your questions from yesterday at 7:50 p.m.: No. Those were easy. As for your other questions (which Todd just suggested I answer because other people reading this haven't been privy to all the months of frustrating baiting you've done on the "illegal" immigration issue). So for them: Would you agree that what I term 'illegal immigrants' have, in fact, broken the current immigration laws? I don't know. I don't speak for you, and I have no sense of whether you know how immigration law works or not. If so, what is your objection to calling them 'illegal' under present law? I don't have an objection to calling them "illegal"; our policy in fact is to do so. See Matt's stories. Here's the part you refuse to comprehend or apparently even hear: As I said until I'm blue in the face, I don't believe that just because something is already "illegal" that it is the gold standard for human behavior and government policy. (See Jim Crow and gay marriage/civil unions.) I don't fall on on the stupid-sword for bad, incomplete, unworkable laws that don't make a lot of sense, especially if they're based on political rhetoric not supported by research. The whole question on the table is what should change about current immigration law. But you seem so enamored with the word "ILLEGAL" that it's not crossing your mind that the laws might not make any sense as they're written. You just want them enforced, no matter what condition they're in. I am not you. Are you or are you not for 'giving them a pass' because, well, they're already here, have established families, etc.? No, I don't think in these terms, Det. Friday. I've never even thought the phrase "give a pass" when it comes to an immigrant. My frame is very different from yours about my fellow humans. Are you willing to see that my objection is not to the fact that the majority of current illegal immigrants is from Latin America but that I object to employing any illegal immigrant as long as a single American citizen or legal immigrant remains unemployed? Willing to see? Well, sure, I'm willing to see everything that you put in front of my face if that's the question. That doesn't mean I agree or respect what you're saying, though, regardless of how much you badger me about it. It's good, I suppose, that you say you want to see everyone treated the same way regardless of the morality or intelligence of current immigration law. But that doesn't make the law itself make any more sense—and how in the world are you so blanketly supporting policy that you are admitting is discriminatory!?!. It just makes you sound like your personal bigotry might apply to all non-Americans, not just toward Latinos, but meantime you don't mind if it gets them harder. Wow. As someone who used to be a bigot toward Latinos, and had to work to overcome it (which fires my passion now), though, I hear things in what you're saying, and the examples you're using, that makes me wonder if you're being honest with yourself (I know you're not with some of the generalizations you're making because they're, well, false). But that's between you and your conscience. I'm working on my own here. Now with due respect, the last part of your statement is really off the reservation, and is clearly grounded in your ignorance about what effects immigration, legal or illegal, actually has in this country. It's sweet of you to be so concerned about American and legal immigrant jobs, but illegals aren't the problem.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-02T17:19:56-06:00
ID
115350
Comment

Which leads us to ... Do you or do you not care about the high rate of unemployment and homelessness in this country? Obviously. I started my journalism career covering the myths and realities of homelessness in NYC in the 1980s. And I learned a lot spending much of several months in a park where homeless people lived. One of them was one of my best friends ever, and has since died of AIDS. I learned firsthand the complicated context of issues of homelessness and poverty, and also that many of my namby-liberal ideas about the problem just weren't true (not to mention the falsity of conservative tripe on the issue as well.) As much as I've long cared about poverty and homelessness, I'm not in denial about the research that shows that immigration is not taking American jobs, and it certainly has little if any correlation to our high rates of homelessness. It helps nothing, or no one, if I, you or anyone else goes around thrusting our assumptions ahead of actual facts. I don't aspire to objectivity (it's impossible), but it is a whole lot more objective to be willing to put one's assmptions aside long enough to figure out what the real facts are, and then make smart decisions and arguments based on those, regardless of how popular that viewpoint is. Understanding complexity is really the closest a human, or a journalist, can come to so-called objectivity. That's what I'm trying to do, and your emotional tirades against me will not change that. I will continue to call out uninformed bigotry in all its forms my whole life. It's my personal legacy from where I grew up, and I don't care who I make mad or uncomfortable or defensive along the way. I will say it again, though: Do NOT try to put words in my mouth. You will fail.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-02T17:20:08-06:00
ID
115351
Comment

And I had hoped we'd gotten to the end of this thread.....oh, well... This is kind of an empty exercise, then, Donna, because you believe your 'facts' and opinions about what should be will convince me and I believe that my 'facts' and opinions about the way things are will convince you. Neither of us is getting anywhere with this, but it's your paper so all I can do is respond and run the risk of being banned since you feel I'm generalizing and that my opinions regarding homelessness, for instance, are of no value since they're not confirmed in an academic or private institute's study (or at least none at my fingertips). I'm just going from my experience both from the time I was homeless (with and without car - the latter is infinitely worse than the former) and from films I worked on about homelessness (documentaries for public television there) when I lived in Germany in better times. It's no different there than here. The plant closes down, the worker has no other skills, the unemployment checks run out, you can't meet the mortgage, etc. - the whole downward spiral I mentioned, often but not always, accompanied by substance abuse. The solution to homelessness is decent work at decent pay. If the job is taken by an illegal immigrant - in Germany or the US - it's not available. I am 'anti-illegal-immigrant' period - not anti-Latino, as you seem to want to make me out to be (again, if I'm correctly interpreting what I feel you're saying). I've said this many times here - do I really need to say it again? I would be just as against 12,000,000 Canadians thinking they do not need to respect our borders as I am against any other group which thinks so. Regarding current immigration law....we've covered that ad infinitum as well - the people who have crossed the border without visas, overstayed them, or falsified documents to get visas are here illegally, whether you think the present immigration law is fair or not. This is the crux of the matter (which I comprehend very well, just don't agree with - as I also don't agree this has anything to do with racism or xenophobia, unless I'm mistaking what you said again but I don't think I am) whereas you do (feel the laws should be changed): "I don't believe that just because something is already "illegal" that it is the gold standard for human behavior and government policy. (See Jim Crow and gay marriage/civil unions.) I don't fall on on the stupid sword for bad, incomplete, unworkable laws that don't make a lot of sense, especially if they're based on political rhetoric not supported by research." I don't feel the present immigration laws are particularly bad, incomplete, or unworkable where you (I'd say, since I'm quoting you) do. You're entitled to your opinion as I am to mine - but you have a larger 'pulpit' to promulgate it. Emotional tirades against you? When? I disagree with your opinion, that's all. I don't remember calling you any names or getting particularly emotional at all. We just don't see this issue the same way (or, again, as best I can tell from what you write). On the other hand, to write that you wouldn't stoop to the level of answering my direct questions and implying that I'm a liar is not what I would call contributing to a reasoned debate. It's 'sweet of me to be concerned'? What sort of comment is that if not a sarcastic one about a true concern: employment in the United States being affected by a major influx of illegal immigrants. Sorry, but I do not get the impression that unemployment or homelessness bothers you much at all, in spite of your doing stories on it in journalism school. Where you write 'obviously' I don't see the evidence now. It's no longer the 1980s and we have still have real problems caused in most cases not by alcoholism, say (which is a symptom, not a cause) but by chronic unemployment, particularly as the homeless get older.

Author
lucdix
Date
2007-11-02T17:52:25-06:00
ID
115352
Comment

Lucdix, you are a funny cat. You wheedled and whined until I answered your brilliant line-up of questions, and now it seems you don't like the answers, so you say you'd hoped the thread would be over already! The only thing that I can ascertain from everything you've written thus far is that you are against any immigrant who violates current immigration law, regardless of the quality of the law and even though you've admitted that it is discriminatory. You base these decisions on your personal observations and nothing else. You don't care about empirical data; you don't need it because you have everything you need on the topic in your own head, you tell us. It is not about agreeing or disagreeing. You haven't given me a thing to agree with or not. You have given me nothing to consider but rhetoric and fallacies. The bottom line is that you have stated (false) generalizations about groups of people repeatedly here without offering one single fact to fact up your assertions. I know it is popular to do this in today's America about immigrants, but that does not mean that it is an acceptable practice for civilized people, and it is not acceptable to do on this site about *any* group. I have asked you repeatedly to back up your assertions about immigrants with something other than rhetoric, and you have steadfastly refused. That's your choice, but you are not going to use this site as a garbage receptable for groups that you want to dump on. Make a choice: Back up your assertions with actual facts and attributions or move on to a different topic or a different site. It's your choice. As it is, you're just repeating falsehoods incessantly. It's feeling very talk radio here, and that's not the purpose for this site. We *attribute* statements here, especially about groups and classes of people. Play by the User Agreement or get out. I don't enable this kind of thing, and I've run out of patience for it. This is last call on unattributed statements about groups of people. Don't do it here again.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-02T21:49:32-06:00
ID
115353
Comment

I was not looking for answers that I might like, Donna. I just wanted to know what your answers were. As far as a law being discriminatory, I don't remember saying that, but maybe I did. However, I see nothing wrong with discrimination, which is simply another word for 'choice'. As I've said many times, now, I have nothing against immigration, whether or not you think I do. Since we will have immigration, I personally would 'discriminate' in the favor of higher-educated people - from anywhere - who will be great scientists, architects, engineers, artists, doctors and other professionals. I do not think we need any more unskilled or semi-skilled laborers from any country. If we need skilled people, we need to train our own citizens and legal immigrants first - and encourage them to start businesses. One way Mississippians in the construction trades could have gotten the money to start businesses is working on the post-Katrina cleanup and being paid a decent wage. That initial chance is now gone, although there remains plenty to do which could be done by.....here we go again...US citizens and legal immigrants. You seem to be a great believer in statistics, Donna, compiled by a group somewhere in New York (the Pew Charitable Trusts people) whom you don't even know. Yes, I know what I see, I know what makes sense to me, and from any looking I did to back up my statistics, all I found were sites I'm certain you would say were biased. Try it yourself. Google something like 'illegal immigrants jobs American citizens' or whatever works for you. Everything I found agreed with my position but you would, I'm certain, not find it acceptable evidence, so why bother? So, what, precisely, do you consider 'actual facts' beyond the fact that, for instance, illegal immigrants did most of the post-Katrina cleanup while Mississippi citizens who could have done that work remained unemployed? Or do you not consider that an actual fact? I have not repeated a single falsehood. What falsehoods are you accusing me of repeating? Are you saying that your one link to a study by the Pew Charitable Trust is the last word? In any event, Donna, since you seem to be in a hurry to ban me from your site, go ahead if you don't want to be challenged. My hoping the thread would be over was only because I don't see that either of us is going to convince the other so why continue the discussion?

Author
lucdix
Date
2007-11-02T22:07:52-06:00
ID
115354
Comment

I'm not trying to convince you of anything, lucdix, but I do find your comments—and your refusal to attribute the myths you're trying to spread—useful in a public forum. Yours are the very same arguments of the anti-immigrant mafia, and it's intriguing to see how they fall down when in black and white with your continual refusal to attribute anything beyond your own instincts and anecdotal beliefs. Pew is not the only organization that has compiled real data about the actual effects of immigration, Lucdix, but my pleas to you to do homework and attribute your generalizations about groups of people have fallen on deaf ears so far. There is much nonpartisan data out there should you ever change your mind and decide to test your own theories against facts. Lucdix, immigrants are not taking jobs away from Americans, and you cannot seem to give one stick of actual evidence to prove otherwise. Don't worry: You have not "challenged" anything I've said, yet, and the sad part is that you don't realize it. Rhetoric and gut beliefs are not challenging. I like being challenged with facts and logic; that's what education is. You have repeatedly trotted out statements you can't back up, and used them against groups of people. You have not even paid close enough attention to my posts to even know at this point what I believe you have said that is a falsehood. This is really sad. I've said repeatedly that this is not a site for this kind of unattributed attempts at bigotry against groups, but you have shown that warning no respect. (Look up "bigotry"—it's not always the same as "racism," although it can certainly overlop.) Go cool off, Lucdix, give the topic and some thought and so some research, and perhaps we can try this again someday. This is not the right site for what you're trying to do: disparage groups based on personal instinct.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-02T22:24:56-06:00
ID
115355
Comment

(Be sure to read this related blog posting. The same debate is unfolding simultaneously over there.)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-04T20:59:17-06:00
ID
115356
Comment

I don't know about unemployed Americans, but there are obviously a lot of under-employed Mississippians with time on their hands to post complaints about Hispanic immigrants. To me the argument that "the illegal immigrants are breaking the law" begs the question: why don't we just give the Hispanic resident aliens visas? Then they wouldn't fear deportation and could therefore require employers to pay minimum wage and social security taxes. At that point, they compete equally with the current residents of this country. Some call this "amnesty" and imply that it's somehow an immoral policy. This strikes me as absurd. It's just a realistic solution to the problem. Three generations ago, my family, on both sides, were immigrants who took low paying jobs to escape bad economic and political conditions in their home country. They were members of ethnic groups who were hated by the WASPs who were already here. They made a life for themselves, and for those of us who came after them, and now I'm a native-born American citizen. What, pray tell, is the difference between my great-grandparents and the Hispanic men, women and children who come to the United States today?

Author
GenShermansGhost
Date
2007-11-05T10:36:10-06:00
ID
115357
Comment

I don't know about unemployed Americans, but there are obviously a lot of under-employed Mississippians with time on their hands to post complaints about Hispanic i Touché. ;-) And again you raise the very salient point that if you are not Native American, you really have no moral ground from which to complain about immigrants, "legal" or otherwise. For the people who wonder why the world "hates us," as so many asked with bewilderment after 911, one reason is that we are such damn hypocrites. Our people can come to this country and take what they want (manifest destiny and all that bullsh!t), but now that it's ours, we're not sharing, damn it. Even if it's good for us. It's tragically American to be so shortsighted. It's about the policy, stupid! Make it smarter, make it humane, apply it evenly. And for God's sake, don't support the disgusting kind of hypocrisy that lets "aliens" into the country when we need them and expels them when we don't. Diversity is this country's strength—if the majority culture doesn't manage to squelch it. And it won't—the genie's out of the bottle. It's time to love her, work with her and embrace her. Else, xenophobes are just going to end up angry and bitter, sneerly ignorantly at every Latino worker they see, while the world evolves around them. Now, how 'bout that Spanish class? (snicker)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-05T10:46:45-06:00
ID
115358
Comment

For those who consider the Bible to have a claim to spiritual authority, I commend to you the study of the word "alien" in the Old Testament. The chosen people are uniformly and repeatedly commanded to welcome foreigners and aliens. It would take longer than a random post to list the citations; but don't take my word for it -- as Casey Stengel used to say, "you can look it up."

Author
GenShermansGhost
Date
2007-11-05T11:03:57-06:00
ID
115359
Comment

One does get the feeling that the immigration issue, like that of civil rights before us, could be a test from on high, eh? ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-05T11:18:06-06:00
ID
115360
Comment

Perhaps so. Certainly Mike Huckabee thinks so. He's not my candidate for President, but Gov. Huckabee is at least somewhat humane on this issue: http://www.arkansasnews.com/archive/2005/01/28/News/316347.html http://www.diggersrealm.com/mt/archives/000718.html

Author
GenShermansGhost
Date
2007-11-05T11:36:53-06:00
ID
115361
Comment

"Somewhat inhumane"—the best we can hope for? Argh.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-11-05T11:43:19-06:00
ID
115362
Comment

No, not the "best" -- but it puts the Democrat panderers to shame.

Author
GenShermansGhost
Date
2007-11-05T11:46:54-06:00
ID
115363
Comment

Here are some interestingly varied quotes by some equally varied and interesting people regarding immigration in the US. Food for thought.

Author
Brazzle
Date
2007-11-06T21:56:00-06:00
ID
115364
Comment

The quotes page is provided by FAIR, whom I have written about before. Between 1985 and 1996, FAIR accepted $1.2 million from the Pioneer Fund, a group that partnered with the Nazi eugenics program in the 1930s, and still funds pseudo-scientific study into the widely disputed claim that whites are genetically superior to blacks. Choose Black America, a subsidiary of FAIR, currently works to present the notion that illegal immigration poses a specific threat to blacks. The "varied quotes" on the FAIR page are inconclusive soundbites, often without any context. For example, under the heading "Washington Post," the only quote is from a 1996 op-ed piece about chickens. Thomas Jefferson is quoted from his racist tract, "Notes on Virginia," that immigrants from monarchies will "infuse into [U.S. legislation] their spirit, warp and bias its direction, and render it a heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass." The U.N. Population Fund has a quote about water scarcity in Africa. Meanwhile, Donald Trump told "Meet the Press" in 1999 that "too many people are flowing into our country." The Web site, though amusing, does not leave us with any substantial understanding of immigration, or national leaders and famous people's interpretation of it.

Author
msaldana
Date
2007-11-21T01:14:46-06:00

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