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More Responses to the Immigration Article
Posted by: Jon Henke on Saturday, May 20, 2006

I want to lay out my idea of a better immigration policy soon, but first I'd like to offer a few more brief comments on various responses to my TCS Daily article on immigration.

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First, John Hawkins at Right Wing News describes why immigration is suddenly such a big issue. Some of the rationales he lists — cultural discomfort, the strain on public coffers — are a reason why people might generally be upset about illegal immigration, but I'm not sure it explains why it's such a big deal right now. Surely those factors existed 2, 5 or 10 years ago. However, other factors he lists — essentially the uptick in agitation by people on both sides of the debate and the border, as well as general political dissatisfaction by conservatives — seem like a better answer for the "why now" question. It's not a satisfying answer, but the political zeitgeist is often more motivated by the id than the ego. Moving on...
Furthermore, let me add that I disagree with Henke's assertion that illegal immigrants are a net positive for the overall economy and that the security issue is a "red herring."
A number of people have made this rather confusing objection. My assertion? I merely pointed to the academic research on the matter, on which the consensus is quite clear. That a free flow of labor can be painful but economically beneficial is probably difficult to appreciate for the same reason that people object to the net benefits of free trade between nations. The benefits are vast but diffused, while the costs are smaller but localized and therefore more apparent. There's even research to indicate that "illegals are more than paying their own way and are contributing to the public coffers".

As for the "red herring" remark, I should note that at no point have I argued that there is no security threat at all. I merely argue that the Hysteria on the Rio Grande appears not to be entirely a principled concern for security, considering how few of the border control proponents are showing up to stop terrorists from coming in via our far less controlled northern border. In any event, my point has never been that security is not a legitimate concern, but that there are better ways to address security concerns.

NOTE: One of his commenters asserts that I have a "quite apparent presupposition that this is a false issue which is being driven by the Bush White House, for their own political advantage", demonstrating that he either did not read the column, or did not read for comprehension. In fact, I wrote that "the anti-illegal immigration furor seems to be a fairly grassroots movement", driven by "an army of restrictionists [demanding] more government". Not, you might notice, driven by politicians. As Dale Franks often says, respond to what I've written, not what you imagine I might have meant.

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Thomas Knapp adds some interesting comments.
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
I'm not sure I'd go as far as Mencken — there are some real hobgoblins out there — but it's pretty obvious that the sudden American fascination with keepin' out them there furriners is an item of demagogic manufacture.
I'm not as anxious to address the xenophobes and racists as he is. While I acknowledge that xenophobia and racism motivate some people — as it does with many issues - one need not be xenophobic or racist to be concerned about the border, so I find it distracting to address the Any border policy that forces us to spend the vast majority of our time dealing with peaceful migrants necessarily detracts from our ability to cope with actual violent criminals and terrorists. disingenuous xeno/racist views and ignore the important, legitimate views. In any event, I don't assume that anybody with whom I debate is concerned about the border for reasons arising from xenophobia or racism. Knapp also writes...
In the meantime, while we're patting ourselves on the back for getting rid of them there evil furriners, they'll still be coming — and the really evil furriners will still be taking advantage of the "coyote" guide enterprises and fake ID shops that so horrify Malkin, even though her favored policies are the guarantors of their profitability (and, therefore, of their existence) to get in themselves.
And I generally agree with this. Any border policy that forces us to spend the vast majority of our time dealing with peaceful migrants necessarily detracts from our ability to cope with actual violent criminals and terrorists. That's why I believe any rational border policy has to start by segregating out the peaceful migrants and welcoming them into the US, so we can focus on the non-peaceful migrants.

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[Terrorists] have capitalized on liberal Canadian immigration and asylum policies to enjoy safe haven...
Finally, at Outside the Beltway, Steve Verdon wrote (prior to the TCS Daily piece) about the Canadian border that — despite their protestations about how they just care about security, really — most restrictionists are generally ignoring. He cites the State Department’s "Country Reports on Terrorism 2005", which says of Canada...
...numerous suspected terrorists and terrorist supporters [are present in Canada]. Algerian-born Ahmed Ressam, the “millennium bomber” caught attempting to bring bomb-making materials into the United States, was denied asylum in Canada, yet remained in Montreal for seven years and used false identification to obtain a Canadian passport. Other known terrorists in Canada include:
  1. Mohammed Mahjoub, member of Vanguards of Conquest, a radical wing of Egyptian Islamic Jihad;
  2. Mahmud Jaballah, senior member of the Egyptian Islamic terrorist organization al-Jihad and al-Qaida;
  3. Hassan Al Merei, suspected al-Qaida member;
  4. Mohammed Harkat, suspected al-Qaida member; and
  5. Adil Charkaoui, suspected al-Qaida member.
Terrorists, claims the report [pdf], "have capitalized on liberal Canadian immigration and asylum policies to enjoy safe haven, raise funds, arrange logistical support and plan terrorist attacks." "Where", asks Verdon, are "Michelle Malkin, the Minute Men and Tom Tancredo?"

Mexico, meanwhile, has a glowing report, with examples of anti-terrorism cooperation and no mention at all of internal terrorist groups posing a threat to the US. Unlike Canada. Which the restrictionists pretty much ignore.
 
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It has been pointed out on Brad Delong’s blog that the benefits of immigration are unevenly spread.

Our economy, as you should know, is unbalanced because of the rapid growth of federal government relative to the private sector, a fact we conveniently ignore. The private sector is drawing the immigrants, and it tends to draw them more when the private sector seeks expansion to rebalance the relative size of the two sectors.

Why this effect is not apparant to libertarians I will never know. We all should know, by now, why the federal government is growing.

Some sectors of the economy see accelerated returns from greater government activity, the same sectors that see accelerated returns from increased immigration.

Has it ever occured to the economic consensus that 60 years after the WW2 the flow of migrants is still from Mexico to the United States? Why is not the flow in balance by now?




 
Written By: Matt
URL: http://
Why is this an issue now?

I thought it was obvious but apparently not. The issue started with hypocrisy. The Administration is concerned about the War on Terror to the point they issue color coded warnings, take away your pen knives when you fly, subvert your civil liberties and spend a trillion dollars in Iraq.
The along come the MinuteMen who have a local problem with illegal aliens coming across their lands and creating a threat to the local people. They get national attention with the media through Sean Hannity’s ambulance chasing histrionics. Reasonable people ask why are we not closing our borders if we are doing so many other things to prevent terrorism? We now have hypocrisy. But this cannot be the tar that will stick to the Administration.

The Straw Man argument is established that this is an immigration issue not a security issue. Guest Workers! Social Security! Jobs Americans won’t do! Congress must act on Immigration! Blather for the talk shows!

Then it happens, half a million people conduct a march in LA and NOBOBY in the media knows about it ahead of time. Nobody at CNN, nobody at the Times or Post , and, worst of all, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and other right wing talk show hosts across the country are caught surprised. More handwringing; worra, worra, worra.

Now everyone jumps on the bandwagon, Hispanic political clout gets tied into A.N.S.W.E.R., pundits speak, editorials are written, and the President is silent. Democrat and Republicans check to see if sky is falling and seek presidential pronouncements. The Republicans are on the wrong side of immigration; the Democrats want to give OUR social security to illegal aliens!

The Weinsteins, Oliver Stone, Stephen King, and Anne Rice could not have produced a more thrilling, character-ridden, and provocative episode of Life In America Today as this story.

And that is why this is an issue today and not an issue 20 years ago...
 
Written By: Dale
URL: http://
I think it all goes back to the ports deal. UAE was no threat, most ration people saw it was no threat, spending 8 billion to buy ownership, but not operational security control was a poor investment for terrorism, when so much more could be accomplished for far less money. BUT, republicans were questioning, and the democrat leadership saw an oppurtunity, and pounced. Next think you know the democrats are proclaming "we will protect our borders", to counter some republicans say "really, lets see how important border security really is to you."

In short the current problem is republicans trying to recapture national security plank, and undermining democrats claims of being "tough" on securing the borders. The intresting thing is if the illegal Mexicans hadn’t marched, if their government hadn’t threatened to sue this whole issue would have remained talking points and political fodder, instead, now it truly is an issue.

p.s. I live in central texas, property taxes are the primary source of funding of our schools, 65% of the incoming elementry students speak no english, while it is impossible to quantify the actual number of illegals, (by law they can not be asked, and even if they are illegal services must still be provided. WTF?). My property taxes have doubled in less than five years to pay for the education of another governments citizens. If all politics are local, then the first political group that presents a real plan for control of the borders gets my vote.

p.s.s. Anmensty sucks, after spending the last three years fighting with DHS over my wife’s documention, the ideal that every illegal gets to jump passed that point really pis*es me off.
 
Written By: John
URL: http://
Jon, what I wrote yesterday about concluding that reasoned and reasonable discourse was seldom found wrt the sudden immigration hysteria? More evidence from Steven Taylor at Poliblog, as he eviscerates Jerome Corsi’s fevered ranting.


 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
"My property taxes have doubled in less than five years to pay for the education of another governments citizens."

How is that possible? Under Texas law your appraised value cannot be increased by more than 10% per year. And there have been no rate increases either statewide, nor in any central Texas county that I’m aware of, that could make up the difference.

Additionally, your claim that "65% of the incoming elementry students speak no english" is extremely dubious. Even in a city such as San Antonio, the San Antonio’s Northeast Independent School District has only 1,400 of the district’s 46,000 students with limited English skills.

 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
And that is why this is an issue today and not an issue 20 years ago...

Because 20 years ago we were talking numbers like 2 million and nieve about the ineffectiveness of Amensty programs and nieve about the federal governments willingness to enforce immigration laws.

 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
You claim to worry about the growth of government necessary to stem the flow of peaceful ILLEGAL immigrants? How on earth do you think we are going to separate the peaceful from the criminal? Unless you plan on employing Karnak the magician to separate the wheat from the chaff, we are going to need a large expansion of government to process these folks. From what I have read, there is already a huge backlog of immigration applications.
And what of public health? Shouldn’t these immigrants be tested for tuberculosis, hepatitis, and the various other diseases and parasites endemic to the sources of most of this immigration? How big a system do you think that would take?

One way or the other, legal or illegal, we need some way to control and/or process immigrants. Control is not synonymous with limitation, so once we have figured out a way to control access to this country, we can decide on who and how many we let in. I get the feeling that some of those who dislike fences are in favor of a "come one, come all" immigration policy. I hear "we can’t do this" and "we can’t do that"; what, exactly, can we do to CONTROL, not limit, the chaos we now have?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Davebo.

Really?
None of these are mine, but here are a few:

http://www.txcountydata.com/valueInfo.asp?County=027&PropertyID=R41772
http://www.txcountydata.com/valueInfo.asp?County=027&PropertyID=R54370

As for the San Antonio NORTHEAST school district, that is not a true repesentaion of San Antoino, and YOU KNOW THAT! Prehaps you should leave the white surburbs and try downtown, or southside.
 
Written By: John
URL: http://
"And that is why this is an issue today and not an issue 20 years ago..."

Maybe not 20 but certainly 16 years ago.

This is the graph of immigration and this is the relative spending

The peak in immigration was a big issue as the growth of relative government peaked after 12 years of Republicaism. Immigration subsequently fell as the relative size of government fell, reaching a dip in 2001. Now, we would expect immigration to start peaking at an all time high as Bush2 grows government at nearly the fastest rate since WW2. Relative to the economy, George as the federal goverment growing an additional 5-6% relative to the private sector. Almost all of the compesating growth in the private sector will likely come from immigration, mostly from Mexico.

We are in competition with the Mexican economy for Mexican workers, and Mexico is likely to suffer a major decline as we displace about a quarter of their work force. Mexico never gets a chance to rationalize their government and permit the natural increase in productivity. The ratio of pensioners to contributors as gone from 20-1 to 5-1 as Mexican begin limiting family size. They are forced to adopt the same big government policies tat American conservatives adopt, but they can never catch up.






 
Written By: Matt
URL: http://
Para español oprima numero dos
While I acknowledge that xenophobia and racism motivate some people — as it does with many issues - one need not be xenophobic or racist to be concerned about the border, so I find it distracting to address the disingenuous xeno/racist views and ignore the important, legitimate views.
While it is perfectly true that, “one need not be xenophobic or racist to be concerned about the border”. It is not necessarily distracting or disingenuous to address the xeno/racist views that motivate some people. For some people, xeno/racism is the primary motivation. And that distracts from concerns over northern-border security; of which you and others have expounded the deficiencies.
Contrarily, I believe it valuable to discuss the primary xeno/racism motivations of some people. I think it necessary to extract and destroy such views in order to highlight “important, legitimate views”.

The problem of course, is the often inability to sift opinions that are masked and saturated with pretense. So, congruent with your reasoning, it may very well be distracting to address such views.

But I gotta’ be me…


I wonder if there would be as much outrage if the Latino native language happened to be English, and perhaps with some cool chic accent as well. Would there be as much outrage?
I wonder if there would be as much outrage if the Latino traditional music would be rock&roll, perhaps some big-lipped singer who, for the longest time, couldn’t get any satisfaction… despite repeated attempts. Would there be as much outrage?
There’s plenty of evidence to suggest there wouldn’t be,
by Todd Stump
Posted May 16, 2006
I’ll give you 10 pesos to a tortilla that President Bush and the Senate proponents of “comprehensive” immigration reform have never had to “press 1 for English” when they phone their bank or their cell phone carrier. The bad news for the Republican Party is that the Republican base does, day after day.
Imagine, not having to press one for English. Imagine the bliss.

Perhaps you could sign a petition. Like these guys,
I am offended that in my hometown Wal-mart, I am hearing store announcements over the loud speaker in SPANISH. I feel that the English speaking community is being discriminated against.

If you would like to start making store announcements in a language other than English, then I feel it is necessary to say them in all foreign languages or none at all. We are requesting that from this day forward, you ONLY do store announcements in English.
(You’ll notice it failed)
But how about one of the commenters here at QandO,
I don’t know about cultural harmlessness....odd to go into a Wal-Mart and have the TV blare at me in Spanish instead of English - and I’m 3 hours norte of you.

Last time I checked we’re largely an English speaking culture, but more and more signage, TV broadcast and radio is in Spanish here in Tejas.

Call me a snob, I’d prefer not to HAVE to learn Spanish to get by in my own country. I try to be open minded, but let’s not get carried away.
Wow, conservatives attacking Wal-Mart. The temperature is dropping drastically in Hades.

One wonders if anything but English was heard in the hallowed aisles of Wal-Mart, would anyone care as much.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
In all fairness if there were 20 million Canadians illegally in the US, the northern border would have more concern. And Wal-Mart being good business people would be announcing in French.
 
Written By: John
URL: http://
Mexico, meanwhile, has a glowing report, with examples of anti-terrorism cooperation and no mention at all of internal terrorist groups posing a threat to the US. Unlike Canada. Which the restrictionists pretty much ignore.
How corrupt do you believe the Canadian government is versus the Mexican one? Do you think that Canada and the US have had better relations over both countries existance than the US and Mexico have had?

Do you think there is a perception that a agreement to keep an eye on potential terrorists with Canada may be worth a parc whilst one with Mexico may not?
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
"..the xeno/racist views that motivate some people."

Oddly, it is reverse racism, it is the draining of the Mexican work force.

The intention of our economic policy is to build our private sector on the back of the Mexican economy. In nominal times we drain 10% of the Mexican work force, even as their fertility drops to 2.1, even lower in the Northern free trade zone. The charge that middle class America is against this influx, for US reasons is fundamentally false.

Imagine a Mexico in which their top college graduates, their most skilled workers all go either north to the free trade zone or all the way here. Meanwhile, in Mexico, workers are increasingly packed into Mexico city or the port trade and transhipment zones. They end up with a two tiered society, a dying workforce with decreasing productivity, surplus government funds going to train the future US work force, an impossible and bankrupt social security system, deterioration of the medical industry, and the only remaining industry is state owned oil, designed around export to the U.S. market. The Mexican managerorial class is sitting on a hollow economy.

The policies of Republicans is, quite simply, southward expansion, exactly as we pursued westward expansions at the expense of the South in 1860. If this continues, in ten years American troops will be in Mexico, nation building.

 
Written By: Matt
URL: http://
That’s why I believe any rational border policy has to start by segregating out the peaceful migrants and welcoming them into the US, so we can focus on the non-peaceful migrants.
Such as......................?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
It is not necessarily distracting or disingenuous to address the xeno/racist views that motivate some people
As long as we can also address the views of the organizers of the rallies, and the reconquista agenda behind a large chunk of the "protestors"

Or is that off-limits?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
John,

Well the first doubled in appraised value in one year. It’s a safe bet that there was a significant addition/renovation to the property because that’s clearly illegal under texas state law.


 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
Davebo,
Prehaps you should look more closely at those documents. The jumps were for the LAND, not improvements, in point of fact some property had no structures. Also take a closer look at the law, it refers to the county value as a whole, not to the individual pieces of property.
 
Written By: John
URL: http://
I’ve heard comments that the benefits of immigration are overly optimistic because they are weighted by the idea that immigrants donate to Social Security, but don’t take benefits, something that is obvious to change.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
You claim to worry about the growth of government necessary to stem the flow of peaceful ILLEGAL immigrants? How on earth do you think we are going to separate the peaceful from the criminal?
Background checks are hardly unusual. A policy of welcoming migrants into the country will create an incentive for them to do the self-segregation necessary to make this a more orderly process.
How corrupt do you believe the Canadian government is versus the Mexican one?
Canada has terrorists organizations. Mexican officials may take bribes for a number of things, but Canada contains our enemies. Understand, I’m not saying Mexico contains no dangers. Just pointing out that the distribution of concern does not match the distribution of threat.
Such as......................?
You’ll need to be more clear about what you’re asking about.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Pogue -
But how about one of the commenters here at QandO
It must be interesting to be at the party in your head.
Don’t lay whatever liberal racist baggage you’re carrying on my doorstep dude. Racisim has nothing to do with it for me. And neither does being a Xenophobe.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
"Background checks are hardly unusual..."

And who will perform these background checks? An army of federal employees. How long will it take? Background checks take time, so where do these people stay in the meantime? What sources will they check? I rather doubt that the Mexican gov’t. has an accessible, reliable database that they will let us use.

And what do you mean by "self-segregation"?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
How is that possible? Under Texas law your appraised value cannot be increased by more than 10% per year. And there have been no rate increases either statewide, nor in any central Texas county that I’m aware of, that could make up the difference.
Cool - then you can perhaps explain the 11% jump on my property in the Dallas area between last year and this year. Heck, I’ve even got the document, mailed by the Dallas county tax appraisal authority that shows it went up 11%. They kindly did the math and printed it on the form.
start, but they just bumped theirs up to the same value Dallas County is using.

And, no, unless someone considers me mowing my lawn a little more frequently and parking in my driveway instead of the street an improvement to the property, there haven’t been any improvements in the last year. Oh! Maybe that litte bitty live oak I planted out in front! Yeah, that must be it!
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
It must be interesting to be at the party in your head.
Looker, indeed it is. For I am the life of the party. (Hah! … get it?)

Don’t lay whatever liberal racist baggage you’re carrying on my doorstep dude.
Now hold on, there, looker. My intention was not to label you a racist. I pulled that quote to highlight a point (and you’ll notice that I didn’t use your name, because I believe that one statement cannot envelope a person’s character). The point was that some are pretentious regarding anything they might consider foreign. And that it is odd to see Wal-Mart being singled out by self-described conservatives for trying to market to a class of people with disposable incomes.

It is conceivable how you would believe that I was singling you out as a racist. For that fumble, I apologize.

Racisim has nothing to do with it for me.
That, I believe.

And neither does being a Xenophobe.
Well, with respect, it’s within the realm of reason that one might consider your statement to have a touch of xenophobia.
Call me a snob, I’d prefer not to HAVE to learn Spanish to get by in my own country. I try to be open minded, but let’s not get carried away.
Xenophobe,
A person unduly fearful or contemptuous of that which is foreign, especially of strangers or foreign peoples.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Matt, I applaud the economic case you’re laying out here. You’re giving a very good backdrop to why illegal immigrants need to stop being illegal. That will drive the cost of employing them up, decrease demand for them, and slow the brain drain from Mexico, stablizing the social welfare systems, increasing wages and the size of their domestic market, and boosting their growth - thus decreasing the imbalance creating migration demand even further.

Of course, in fairness, a totalitarian-style militarized & walled off border would also end the Mexican brain drain, at least under the (unlikely) possibility that it was effective.

Conservatives who were in fact able to think post xenophobia and punitive "let’s teach the punks a lesson" thinking would be looking at ways US policy could contribute to raising the wages of the average Mexican in Mexico (cutting migrant supply). It would also work, to an extent, to sharply raise the average illegal wage here (cutting migrant demand). Legalization is the way to do this, and our policies shouldn’t be driven by the pique of Texas landowners annoyed about property taxes. Your beef is unequal to a national emergency. Let the market take care of it by increased Texan emigration to lower-property-tax-states.

Shark, get over the reconquinistas. It’s a joke, and you look somewhat deranged frothing about them. I’d lay even money that the entire "movement" is being bankrollled by Republican fundraisers. There reconquinista movement among Mexicans is about as popular as the American Communist Party is among U.S. citizens. Get a grip. Please.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
"Xenophobe,
A person unduly fearful or contemptuous of that which is foreign, especially of strangers or foreign peoples."

Being more comfortable with people who have something in common with you, such as family, does not make one fearful or contemptuous of others. Some people revel in change or differences, and love novelty and strangenes; some of us are boring old fa*** who don’t like change or wish to exert the effort to learn new languages or customs. We may be lazy and boring, but that is not xenophobic. I detest rap "music"; therefore I am a rascist?

I have seen several foreign cultures up close and personal, and, delightful as they are(nice place to visit, but...), I prefer ours here in the US, and I would like to keep it. I believe, like that rascist xenophobe dorothy, that "there’s no place like home".

By the way, there are many songs, poems, etc. celebrating the pleasures of home; are they all products of xenophobes?

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Pogue - sorry for lighting up like a flare.
I admit I went over it carefully and noted you had my quote in it’s own little corner, and wasn’t quite sure. So.....I just shot everything in the room that moved......


I actually find ’foreigners’ very interesting, particularly because I get to see our country through someone else’s view, and get to pick up information about their countries and their way of life.
Based on the language issue, I constantly remind my family that ’ghettos’ (used in the original sense) have traditionally been places where a transplanting culture’s signage, goods, language, etc, tend to be used while the immigrants learn to ’merge’ with the national culture.
I literally meant it was ’odd’, strange, for me to find myself in an area that really isn’t ’Spanish’ in any other way, yet to see/hear so much Spanish.
My point at that time was that if our (business) culture is taking steps merging into theirs, instead of the other way around....you get the idea.
But then Wal-Mart is keenly aware of it’s demographic (mine is cheap food and products created by back breaking undercompensated labor) so I’m not actually surprised. It’s just ’odd’.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
test test testing 123
test
 
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