Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Immigrant Nation

Today marks the second Roundtable Wednesday in which BillyD, Shrub and I lend our views on the burning issues of the day. Today's topic: Immigration. The burning question: Should we reward the contributions of today's immigrants who flee poverty and come to the U.S. for a better life by easing their path to citizenship? Or should we crack down on immigrants and balance what they provide our country with what they cost by burdening our schools, social programs and security efforts.

First, my view:

I’ve mixed feelings on the immigration issue. I turn on CNN and see crowds of angry illegal immigrants marching in the streets and demanding that we let them stay. I see them taking the American flag down the pole and running the Mexican flag up in it place, a gesture that many Americans consider a slap in the face at best and a threat at worst. One has to wonder why a group that says it wants to be accepted is going out of its way to alienate us. Is it because they know our leaders better than we do?

I see self-serving politicians straddling both side of the fence, acknowledging the need to curb illegal immigration while seeking a way to relax immigration policies. They hope that by the time these immigrants are eligible to vote, they will remember and reward those who let them in. On the other hand, these same politicians are counting on the American voters’ short memory. They’re savvy like that, the politicians, and are betting that by the time the immigrants are eligible to vote, a forgetful American public will have moved on to the next Losing Cause.
Now let me digress here for a minute, though, and admit that I straddle the fence myself on the immigration issue. When I see people screaming about “our” borders and “our” culture, I think back to what this country was like Once Upon A Time, when native Americans watched a more ruthless immigration take over what they considered theirs.

Some chiefs trusted the white-skinned visitors and allowed themselves to be sold out for baubles. They didn’t realize their mistake until they looked at just who they were dealing with and saw the awful results: all the bison killed, children dead after being wrapped in smallpox-infected blankets, their language and culture supplanted, their territories limited to reservations.

Will our leaders be like those sell-out chiefs? Will they likewise fail to also not acknowledge the results until it is too late, when brown faces become the majority? When English language and culture is supplanted?

Could it be that what’s happening now is just a sort of karma?

I don’t know. But I do know that anyone who values the nation needs to do what the Native Americans did not do, and that is greet the newcomers with more skepticism and common sense.

There was a lot of attention given to “No Mexicans” day, when Mexicans stayed home from work or didn’t shop. They said they wanted to show the impact of their contribution to the economy. But for a completely accurate picture, they should have gone further. They should have kept their children out of the public school system, stayed out of American public hospitals or health departments, not applied for WIC or food stamps. They should have committed no crimes, borne no babies who became automatic citizens. A truly accurate picture would have included not just what they give, but what they take.

Back in the day, immigrants came through Ellis Island. They were only allowed in if they were able to work and free of diseases. They considered citizenship an honor, not an entitlement. And while they valued their heritage, when they became citizens, those immigrants vowed loyalty to the United States, and they meant it. They entered this country as gracious would-be citizens, not a conquering horde.

We can’t go back and talk to our ancestors, but we should heed their lessons. We should remember how our ancestors were able to so easily conquer the Native Americans and take their land. We should also learn from the later ones who came to Ellis Island, and what the system of that day required. Having conquered and claimed a land, our ancestors sought to protect it by not letting just anyone in.

The question is, do we have the current national leadership and the will to protect ourselves? Only time will tell.

Now a word from BillyD:

Immigration. It used to be a good thing. Now, not so much. See, it used to be, that the majority of folks came here looking for a chance. A chance to prove themselves, a chance to make their way, to live the "American dream" of owning that house in the suburbs, of driving that big Cadillac, having the picket fence; all that.

Now, it seems the majority are only interested in the handouts. No, not the day laborers and the like. They’re only interested in feeding their families, and as long as they exist, there’ll always be cheap, almost slave-like labor for the farmers and contractors of this country.

No, I’m talking about the immigrants who have absolutely NO interest in the American dream, no inclination for doing their part, to contributing to society, only taking, always taking. Free healthcare that the hospitals they are bankrupting. Free education at the schools that are bankrupting the folks paying the bills to keep them open. Free handout from a government with a rapidly rising welfare roll built upon anchor babies.

"They’re only doing the jobs Americans won’t do", I’m told. Well, they’re also apparently committing the crimes Americans can’t be bothered to commit. In Massachusetts the rate of illegals getting into car accidents is almost epidemic now, with no downturn in sight. Of course, since they’re illegal, they have no insurance either, meaning the victim also gets to pay for their own hospital and repair bills.

And now our "leadership" in D.C. is working on a way to legalize eleven million of them. Of course, eleven million actually means closer to sixteen or seventeen million, once you add on mom and dad, the kids, cousin Carlos and Uncle Freddy.

I listened to Ted Kennedy talk about the illegals, and the fact that they’re "folks who play by the rules, work hard and pay their taxes". I’m going to call bullshit on that right now.

By definition, illegals are illegal. Therefore, they don’t play by the rules. And they don’t pay taxes. No way am I buying that. They skirt the rules, or just thumb their noses at them, whichever suits the individual. They don’t give a fat shit about this country, or the people of this country.

I’m tired of the politicians pandering to these crimaliens on my dime. Did you know the last immigration reform bill also contained a provision to allow them to have in state tuition in whichever state they decide to go on the lam in? Meanwhile, in my state of NH we’re trying to get a bill passed that would make it mandatory for someone to show identification when attempting to vote, and it’s hitting a wall of opposition. Why? For the same reason this immigration reform act is getting pushed so hard. The left needs voters. Whether they’re actually Americans or not makes no difference, as it’s not Americans the filthy bastards represent anyway, but the rest of the globe.

No, instead of legalization, we need to clamp down hard on this now. Not only build a wall, but build a fifty foot tall wall, then another one maybe fifty feet behind that one. Then fill that gap with water flowing in from the ocean and stock it with plenty of sharks and salt water crocs. Chum it daily and just wait. I think you’d see a pretty steep decline in illegal entry into the country.

Folks, I’m not against immigration at all. If people want to come to this country and work hard, play by the rules, and try to grab the American dream for themselves, I’ve no problem with that and welcome them with open arms. But there are laws, and they’re there for a reason. Follow them, wait your turn, and be ready to contribute, and we’ll get along just fine.

Here's Shrub's take on the issue:

John Milton wrote, “Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nation rousing herself like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks. Methinks I see her as an eagle mewing her mighty youth, and kindling her undazzled eyes at the full midday beam.”

That’s the vision our Founding Fathers had, a great and glorious experiment in republicanism not seen since ancient Rome, born of defiance and high treason. And it worked; the blood of thousands of British ex-patriots washed away years of oppression and this country, the United States of America, drew its first breath. A bunch of unwashed immigrants built the most impossible and visionary nation the world had ever seen.

And, poetically, it's immigration that now threatens the very fabric of our country. On one side you have those that would welcome 12 million illegals with open arms. On the other side stands the advocates of tighter immigration laws and would have the 12 million undocumented aliens summarily deported. Until recently I was an open-arms kinda guy. But no longer, and let me tell you why.

I had a revealing conversation with my best friend from law school and it was his contention that to not support Bush’s proposed immigration reform is steeped in racism. This is the tenuous logic forwarded by the pro-reform wing, and a convenient leveling of the race card. Not to mention the specious contention that portends the collapse of our economy should illegal immigrants be forced to abide by the law. Neither of these positions holds up under examination. ‘Tis not racist to expect enforcement of our laws. And, depending on which numbers you choose to believe, there are anywhere from 7 million to 35 million jobless Americans who could readily absorb the initial shock of more expensive produce and textiles.

Since Mexicans make up the vast majority of illegals the onus of the attention, both supportive and negative, is directed at them. And to the dismay of precious few there exists within the Hispanic community a hue & cry to retake the Southwestern U.S., including California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado. The claim is this region was stolen from Mexico. What a bunch of crap! There is not a nation on this planet that wasn’t stolen from native populations at some point. And the same goes for Latin America. The Spanish and Portuguese were hardly accommodating to the native South and Central American inhabitants. The U.S. hardly has a monopoly on Manifest Destiny via the barrel of a gun.

As a nation we are only as strong as our populace, our laws, and our borders. Save only plucky British, we have the most resilient citizenry on Earth, so the strength of the people is a given. However, the same cannot be said of our laws and our borders. To take a piece meal approach to law enforcement is suicidal and hypercritical. The most basic cannon of our system of jurisprudence is the ability to predict and anticipate that which is deemed illegal and the potential consequences. If we observe our immigration laws with a surreptitious wink & nudge we strip away the notice that ALL law should provide. This is patently unconstitutional. If our borders become ceremonial then another basic tenet of nationhood is obliterated. Thus our sovereignty is in danger. A nation without borders, by definition, is no longer a nation, and a shadow of our Founding Fathers’ vision.

This is what I propose…

The President’s job is to protect our Constitution and our sovereignty. On the subject of immigration he is doing neither. His proposed reform is essentially an amnesty for those here illegally longer than two years. This in no way enforces current law and is a slap in the face to those who’ve chosen the legal route. It also conveys the message that it is OK to break our laws, so long as you do it effectively and for a sustained period of time. This is a clear violation of his Presidential Oath, an impeachable offense. For the above reasons I move that immigration laws be tighter and that Jr be brought up on articles of impeachment.

Yes we are a nation born of immigrants. Yes it seems hypocritical to effectively turn our back to that heritage. And yes, we should be a country that welcomes others with open arms. But we cannot due so at the sake of that which makes us a sovereign land. To do so would be a perversion of the original intent of our founding.We need to take back our borders, a reclamation project, if you will. Retake them and enforce them. Only then will we be able to call ourselves a sovereign nation.


Taylor said...

As a legal immigrant whose family had to go through all the legalities to enter this great country, get our green cards, then citizenship, I will put in my two centavos here:

Legal immigration good.
Mass invasion of illegals bad. Duh!

Morgan said...

"Legal immigration good.
Mass invasion of illegals bad. Duh!"

Yes, it does seem a bit of a no-brainer. It's not like we're imposing a moratorium on immigration; we're just asking that they abide by the rules.

Unfortunately, our politicians are not looking at how to handle this in a way that's best for America, but in a way that's best for their political careers.

It's hard not to get discouraged.

DiesIrae said...

Hello, Morgan! DiesIrae here, who pulls up a chair and pours himself a coffee, cream, three turbinado sugars and a pinch of salt. Jingles twitches tail, and cocks his head to one side, at a safe distance, tempted to approach by the faint hint of smoked salmon emanating from DI's Frey boots, the heels of which he has almost-imperceptibly annointed for the occasion. No fool he, he has brought six ounces for his host, and a side ounce to appease the tiger.

My two bits on the issue, Morg...

1) One of the essential requirements in biology to determine whether a candidate for the term is "life" is that it has to have a semi-permeable membrane (cell wall) that lets food in and excrement out.

2) If the candidate does not have a membrane, it fails the test and is not "alive". At least not for very long.

3) You can have a "social safety net"/"welfare state" (maybe, though long term you can’t, unless you find a way to reverse the demographic implosion caused by that very safety net) or you can have open borders. (same maybe, depends on the living-condition disparity between your nation and your neighbor’s, and the ratio of the respective populations, among other things).

4) But one thing is absolutely certain: You can't have both.

5) Immigration is a good thing. A leaven for the bread of the nation. It brings in people who's intelligence and drive are being stifled in other countries. This is to our benefit. However, immigration (even legal) is NOT a good thing when the amount coming in threatens the very fabric of the host nation and its continued capacity to BE a haven. This is equivalent to eating the seed corn. Being "kind" to these 12-20 million is shutting the door to many, many MORE millions that could be spaced out over the next hundred years at an assimilatable rate.

6) We need to build a wall. With motion and infrared sensors. It doesn’t have to stop ‘em, just flag ‘em to the cavalry outposts and slow them down enough for the cavalry to get there. The road should not be close to the wall on our side. Mortar range should do. It should also be overflown by drones with cameras. There can be NO contact between the cavalry stations and the people on the other side, or bribery and drug trade will ensue. The policy has to be "shoot to kill" anyone who breaches the wall and that message must be painted on the other side. If they want to talk, let them go to a very few approved entry points and talk to border control.

7) All conversations at the entry points must be recorded. Border control personnel who talk to people at those entry points must wear microphones for this purpose. Video cameras will film from the sides. The alien who wishes to talk must be fingerprinted. If that alien at some future point is found within the US, that border guard’s audio/video record can be pulled to establish whether or not bribery/collusion has occurred. Border guards should be rotated so no guard performs the "interview" process more than a week in a row in any one place. This is critical to avoid terrorism/drug trade problems.

8) Finally, we cannot, and what’s more, don’t want to round up 12 million people for deportation. That’s a straw man argument. Doing so would severely hurt our economy. But we must cauterize the wound and then slowly deport illegals as we catch them in the normal course of business. Do it over 10 years to allow the businesses that now employ them enough time to make other plans and mechanize or hire other people. Ramp up fines accordingly to achieve that result.

Jingles starts to bite the hand that has just fed him an ounce of salmon. Figures.

DiesIrae said...

Oh, yeah...Morg...have you ever seen a movie called "Cold Comfort Farm"?

From your film choices in your profile, if you haven't seen it, I guarantee you'll die laughing.

Larry'll dig it too... haven't met a man yet that didn't crack up at this outrageous send-up of Jane Austen novels. Especially effective on guys that never realized Austen herself was a subtler send-up of the romantic novels of the previous generation.

Morgan said...

I have not seen it but will check it out. If you recommend it, I know it will be good.

And you're starting a blog!! I'm so happy! I can't wait to read your posts!

JohnR said...

Uh, every person in every country had ancestors that came from somewhere else.

If you believe the anthropologists, the so-called Native Americans are immigrants who came in and pushed (killed) the people who were already here out.

Native American, I love that term. Do you know it was coined by Teddy Roosevelt, talking about people who were born here and not Indians.

By the same token, how come East Asians get to be Asian but no one else does. Vladimir Putin is an Asian, so is Saddam Hussein.

Morgan said...


Human migration bears your point out. But it doesn't change the fact that the Europeans came here and did what they did. And for the purposes of comparison, that's why I used it. That, and also because I think it's a dirty trick to lace blankets with smallpox. It's wrong. Even if you're white. ;-)

BoysMom said...

Speaking as the spouse of a legal immigrant, I agree with Taylor.
There are 6.5 million people who applied for the 50,000 slots for the diversity visa lottery last year. If we really must have immigrants to 'do the work Americans won't do', then why can't we start with them?
They won't complain about the ridiculous immigration requirements any more than I do, and they will follow the rules.
Dias Irae, we don't need a wall: what keeps them out will keep you in. Remember the Berlin wall? Do you really want to give the politicians that kind of barrier to help them out should you be the target?

Morgan said...

I agree with you, Dies Irae, about Jingles.

But like Boysmom, I disagree with you about the wall, and for the very reason she stated. We don't want to turn our country into a fortress, nor do we want to abandon the principles that made us what we are.

Our country is what it is because of immigration. My ancestors came here from Europe. Had it not been for immigration, we wouldn't even be here.

Another problem with stopping immigration and building your wall is this: not every person wanting to immigrate here in is a bad person. I'd wager that some of the ones wanting to get in are even better than the people who already call themselves Americans. I'd happily take a foreigner willing to learn if I could chuck a couple of low-rent rednecks over your "wall" in his place.

I see people wringing their hands about how immigrants will cause us to lose our "culture." What culture? Reality TV? Paris Hilton? Bling? Wal-Mart?

Fuck our culture, at least what it's come to be. For my money, anyone with more traditional values and goals who can remind us of what we used to be is welcome here.

Erik said...

Perhaps I am just selfish, but I am also worried about lower wages due to the illegal immigration. It doesnt harm them because they are still making more than they would "back home" but it does harm to the rest of America.

Also, I am for increased legal immigration, sharply decreased illegal immigration. Also, for a continual deportation of illegals. As stated, it doesnt need to be all at once, which would be impossible anyways, but if we just started with our prisons and then sent them off whenever we encountered them, the problem would take care of itself.

Morgan said...

Good points, Erik, especially about the wages. Unfortunately, big business wants to keep the immigrants here and the politicians aren't about to alienate those who benefit from current immigration policies.
And I completely agree that if illegal immigrants are found to have broken the law, they should be out of here.