American Immigration Reform

During the 2012 primary and lasting into the general election, the Republican Party took a stand against illegal immigration. Mitt Romney declared he would make life so miserable for Hispanic migrants that they would “self-deport” back to Mexico. They were perhaps unaware that 1. Net migration from Latin America has been negative over the previous two years, and 2. Hispanic American citizens don’t take kindly to xenophobic rants about “illegals”. The result was that 71% of Hispanic voters chose Barack Obama over Mitt Romney.

Well, the GOP has woken up. President Obama is scheduled to speak about immigration today in Las Vegas, and Republican Senators, working with their Democratic colleagues, have already hammered out a basic plan that would provide a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the US. However, this leaves many Republican politicians in a very tough spot. While it’s critical for the party to garner more of the Hispanic vote to win presidential elections, many Republicans represent congressional districts or states very hostile to amnesty. They warn that granting amnesty will only encourage further illegal immigration.

I don’t think potential migrants have ever been overly concerned about their legal status. They’re drawn to the US, very simply, by jobs. When the American economy was flourishing, the US experienced one of the largest migrations in human history. With the economy receding, more illegal immigrants have left than have come over. Once they grow roots here, however, their illegal status can make life very difficult.

One point that is often overlooked is that the US has been increasing border security for several years. Deportations are way up, and the Border Patrol is meeting or exceeding all of their metrics. The question then becomes what to do about the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the US. I think the best answer is to grant them amnesty and a path to citizenship. Exceptions would be anyone who has committed a felony, a violent misdemeanor, or is considered a national security risk. Obviously those people would be deported, but I’m guessing that all three categories make up only a small percentage of the 11 million. Maybe 1% or even less, but I don’t know. This CNN articles provides a good summary of the issues.

That’s all good, but I’m still curious as to how they’re going to align the incentives so as to make it worthwhile to follow the immigration process from the outset.

A Republican memo has recently been circulated admonishing fellow Republicans not to use terms like “illegals” and “anchor babies”. I find it interesting that the GOP actually has to come out and tell its own people not to use such offensive terms.

reason.com/blog/2013/01/29/repub … o-dont-use

The whole “anchor baby” term is a misnomer. It isn’t any easier for an illegal immigrant to become a citizen just because his or her child is born in the US. There are countless cases of illegal immigrants with citizen children being deported back to Latin America. It’s a different story if somebody becomes a citizen and tries to bring over close family members who aren’t living in the US illegally. But that doesn’t apply to the situation where Republicans use the phrase “anchor baby”.

Deport every single one of them. :pray:

I agree partially Gao. While having a so-called anchor baby doesn’t help with citizenship or entirely prevent deportation, it does increase the likelihood that a court will find that deportation of the parent would cause hardship to a U.S. citizen. Since, as you say, many people’s primary concern isn’t citizenship, but opportunity to work/stay in America, it would help achieve their objective.

Having said that, I do think that particular issue is blown out of proportion.

Deport every single one of them. :pray:[/quote]

Why?

One of the main criticisms of immigration reform is that any sort of amnesty would be unfair to immigrants from outside of Latin America, who have a much tougher time getting into the US and have to go through the entire immigration process. An ancillary criticism is that it diminishes the hard work and patience that legal immigrants went through to become citizens if 11 million illegal immigrants are suddenly granted amnesty.

I think both criticisms are legitimate. It absolutely is unfair to immigrants from say, Taiwan, who go through the paperwork, the interview, the waiting. I can understand how a brand new US citizen from Taiwan, proud to at long last be sworn in and able to bring his family over, chafes at the notion some other guy who broke the law is basically being given an instant green card and an easy path to citizenship. And why? For no other reason than geographical coincidence.

That said, we live in the real world. Geopolitical realities are rarely fair. They are just realities. Mexico and by extension Central and South America are geographically bound to the United States. There is a huge demand in the United States for cheap, unskilled labor, regardless of immigration status. Those two factors - geography and economics - resulted in one of the largest human migrations in history. And like any other reality, there is very little value in complaining about how unfair it is. The only question is how to address it.

One poster favors mass deportations of all 11 million illegal immigrants. I won’t comment on that because he has not yet stated his reasons. But I will give my reasons for advocating amnesty. First, the immigrants are well integrated into American society. They are overwhelmingly Christian, speak a European language, and share common cultural beliefs with the host society. Many of them try to learn English between working multiple jobs and raising families, and even when they don’t try to learn or are unable to, their children will certainly know English. In most cases, their children will know English better than Spanish by the time they finish high school. Second, they perform necessary economic functions. They work in the fields, on construction sites, in meat factories. They work tough, labor-intensive jobs for very little money. Third, it is quintessentially American to welcome immigrants and integrate them into our society. These people are just trying to live the American Dream. And finally, it would be entirely un-American to forcibly march millions of people off our soil for no other reason than they wanted a better life in the greatest country on earth. Mass deportations have always brought tremendous hardships on those forced to leave, and frankly I don’t want American policy to relive the darker chapters of human history.

[quote=“Chris”]A Republican memo has recently been circulated admonishing fellow Republicans not to use terms like “illegals” and “anchor babies”. I find it interesting that the GOP actually has to come out and tell its own people not to use such offensive terms.

reason.com/blog/2013/01/29/repub … o-dont-use[/quote]

They are illegal, saying such is not offensive. It would be like calling a Taiwanese person “Taiwanese” (oh, the horror!) and finding that offensive.

Anchor babies are a real issue and one caused by an outdated law leftover from the time immediately following slavery. The whole “born in the US=a US citizen” law should have been thrown out the window over 100 yrs ago.

[quote=“Gao Bohan”]

One poster favors mass deportations of all 11 million illegal immigrants. I won’t comment on that because he has not yet stated his reasons. But I will give my reasons for advocating amnesty. First, the immigrants are well integrated into American society.[/quote]

UNTRUE! Ever been to California? There are entire neighborhoods where almost no one speaks English. Heck, my inlaws live in Chicago and they went to a McDonald’s, tried to order food and the damn girl could only speak Spanish and could not even take their order…so they left.

The vast majority of illegals are not integrated at all.

Irrelevant, their religion should not give them special status.

The cultures are EXTREMELY different.

In many California schools children who were born and raised in the US speak little to no English, so what you said is simply not true. I actually volunteered at an after school reading program in LA because of this. Children raised in the US their entire lives hardly can say a single sentence in English.

Also untrue. Many public schools in California now have the option for Spanish only education once in highschool.

Yes, illegally, letting their employers circumvent minimum wage laws.

Many do not want to integrate, and this is some fluffy hoohah feelings, not any actual facts, so not much more to say about it.

No, that is not the reason, the reason is that they came there ILLEGALLY, their motivations are not the reason for their deportation.

We’re not talking Holocaust here, just sending them back to their country of origin. This is in no way reliving one of the darker chapters of human history. I hear Tijuana is nice :slight_smile:

I understand your point, but the context in which the term is used fosters an “us versus them” mentality, which I think is inappropriate. The 11 million illegal immigrants are well-integrated into our society. They have jobs, pay taxes, pay bills, buy TVs and other entertainment, donate to charity (mostly churches). They’re part of the economy and the society. Words are subtle things, but “illegal immigrant” seems like a neutral term. “Illegals” comes off as a bit divisive.

No, it wouldn’t be like that at all. Taiwanese people refer to themselves as Taiwanese. Illegal immigrants don’t refer to themselves as “illegals”.

And yet, the US government routinely deports illegal immigrants who have natural born citizen children. I trust redandy’s judgement that the courts sometimes take the potential hardship into account, but the fact remains that deportations are the norm. If having children were really the solution to their illegal status, there would be no national movement towards immigration reform.

Confuzius,

Thank you for the thorough response. I will try to address each of your points in turn.

Yes, I have been to California many times, even lived in LA for a brief period. I visit California at least once a year for work and to see family. For what it’s worth, I am a born and raised Texan, and lived around illegal and legal migrants from birth until my mid-20s. Both my paternal and maternal grandfathers were fluent in Spanish. My paternal grandfather was a ranch foreman with many Mexican employees, and my paternal grandfather was a construction supervisor, also with many Mexican employees. I was much closer to my maternal grandfather. He loved going to Mexican restaurants and showing off his fluent Spanish. I think Texan culture has both Anglo and Hispanic components, and I suspect the same is true of California.

You haven’t explained why that is so, other than one incident in Chicago. Also…going to Mickey D’s in Chicago, with its plethora of delicious local and international food? Blasphemy! :slight_smile:

I’m not sure about “special status”, but a shared religious background is relevant to any discussion of integration.

How so?

How old were the kids? After school or recess English language programs are common in Texas. My wife learned English at a recess program. I doubt that any kid spends 18 years at public schools where English is the medium of instruction and can hardly say a single sentence in English. Sorry, I don’t believe it in the absence of evidence.

I’ve heard of bilingual schools but not Spanish only schools. Now that I am opposed to!

The illegal status of the migrants is what allows some employers to exploit them. Grant amnesty, and that will change very quickly.

You don’t have to warp into an Anglo-American to be part of America. Consider American immigrants to Taiwan, several of whom are regular posters. They didn’t suddenly adopt all of the cultural characteristics of Taiwanese society when they became Taiwanese citizens, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t integrated. And it’s a safe bet their kids will be more Taiwanese than American. Their third, fourth, fifth generation descendants will be thoroughly Taiwanese, in all likelihood. I don’t think we can expect first generation immigrants to assimilate entirely, but it’s a simple reality that their descendants will.

Well, I’m sure that would be comforting to the 11 million people returning to nations with no jobs or sufficient safety nets to address their needs. Of course the deportation itself would be done humanely. The crisis would occur upon their return to Mexico and other parts of Latin America. There hasn’t been a mass deportation in history that wasn’t absolutely devastating to the people compelled by the state to leave. It seems doubtful this would be an exception.

Confuzious,

Forgive my callousness, but frankly I don’t give a crap as to whether there’s entire Spanish speaking neighborhoods in LA, or whether your parents feel uncomfortable in McDonald’s I don’t think the U.S. government should be attempting to control such things.

What the U.S. government should be trying to do (and hopefully is) is to come up with a policy that allows for a relatively high flow of immigration that reflects economic realities, that ensures a level playing field in terms of job competition, that incentivizes following the procedures as opposed to avoiding them, and that is for the most part enforceable and adaptable. I don’t think it will be easy to craft legislation, but nor do I think it impossible, so as I said before I’m curious to see how they’ll manage the incentives.

I just heard the President’s speech and it seems like he almost said word by word the things that Bush proposed in his time, and it will be very very difficult for this proposal to become true, and if it does a lot of good people is not gonna make the cut, I’m a Hispanic guy too, and I lived in Texas the last 10 years, and yeah I went to California too, I liked Texas better, anyways, the proposal of the people that is already in the US going back in line behind others trying to get there is though, a lot of people older that 45 are working minimum wage jobs and I don’t see them getting anything done, that will mostly take care of them only if they are somehow self employed.

But yeah I’m all about deporting people without a clean criminal record, but about the “anchor babies” myth, I have heard more stories of parents losing their kids after deportation (kids get foster homes and then nobody CAN reclaim them) than getting any kind of favoritism to avoid deportation. Now the drift is getting a passport from your home country for your kids, Mexico allows dual citizenship.

Yes, and when he did, the Republican-controlled House passed a bill declaring illegal immigration a felony. :unamused: As usual, it was the Senate who came up with a rational plan, but it would have been dead on arrival in the House, so it didn’t go anywhere. I could be mistaken, but I don’t think it even made it to the Senate floor for a vote. President Bush was strongly in favor of immigration reform, but most of his party opposed it, so that was that.

[quote=“Gao Bohan”]Confuzius,

Thank you for the thorough response. I will try to address each of your points in turn.[/quote]

Ditto :slight_smile:

[quote]
Yes, I have been to California many times, even lived in LA for a brief period. I visit California at least once a year for work and to see family. For what it’s worth, I am a born and raised Texan, and lived around illegal and legal migrants from birth until my mid-20s. Both my paternal and maternal grandfathers were fluent in Spanish. My paternal grandfather was a ranch foreman with many Mexican employees, and my paternal grandfather was a construction supervisor, also with many Mexican employees. I was much closer to my maternal grandfather. He loved going to Mexican restaurants and showing off his fluent Spanish. I think Texan culture has both Anglo and Hispanic components, and I suspect the same is true of California.[/quote]

Perhaps things have changed since your time, but there is a lack of integration and English speaking now.

[quote]
You haven’t explained why that is so, other than one incident in Chicago. Also…going to Mickey D’s in Chicago, with its plethora of delicious local and international food? Blasphemy! :slight_smile: [/quote]

The language.

[quote]
How so?[/quote]

Mexican culture is much more family centered, less individualistic. Also much more religious, generally. There is very much a tribal mentality based on gangs (wow, sounds like I am talking about Taiwan!).

[quote]
How old were the kids? After school or recess English language programs are common in Texas. My wife learned English at a recess program. I doubt that any kid spends 18 years at public schools where English is the medium of instruction and can hardly say a single sentence in English. Sorry, I don’t believe it in the absence of evidence.[/quote]

Middle school. No one spends “18 years” at public school, unless they flunk several years :roflmao: But these children, who would then go onto a similar highschool, spend say 4 years there, would not somehow become fluent in English after spending K-7 in English education and still not being able to do simple communication in English. My Chinese (which as Taiwanese say about their English, ‘is very poor’) is much better than the English of those children living in America.

[quote]
The illegal status of the migrants is what allows some employers to exploit them. Grant amnesty, and that will change very quickly.[/quote]

And with the increase of wages, theres another few million, newly minted citizens who will be unemployed and collecting benefits.

[quote]
You don’t have to warp into an Anglo-American to be part of America. Consider American immigrants to Taiwan, several of whom are regular posters. They didn’t suddenly adopt all of the cultural characteristics of Taiwanese society when they became Taiwanese citizens, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t integrated. And it’s a safe bet their kids will be more Taiwanese than American. Their third, fourth, fifth generation descendants will be thoroughly Taiwanese, in all likelihood. I don’t think we can expect first generation immigrants to assimilate entirely, but it’s a simple reality that their descendants will.[/quote]

The simple number of these immigrants and the ghetto mentality they have created (not meaning ghetto=poor, I mean insulated) makes their situation different than any other immigrant population the US has ever attempted to absorb.

[quote]
Well, I’m sure that would be comforting to the 11 million people returning to nations with no jobs or sufficient safety nets to address their needs. Of course the deportation itself would be done humanely. The crisis would occur upon their return to Mexico and other parts of Latin America. [/quote]

Simply cannot accept this speculation in absence of evidence.

[quote=“redandy”]Confuzious,

Forgive my callousness, but frankly I don’t give a crap as to whether there’s entire Spanish speaking neighborhoods in LA, or whether your parents feel uncomfortable in McDonald’s I don’t think the U.S. government should be attempting to control such things. [/quote]

Not callous, you just really didn’t contribute anything to the discussion with this, unlike GB.

But the US government should not be attempting to bring a certain level of linguistic cohesion to its country? Well if you believe that it is fine, but it does a disservice to any non-English speaking individual in the country as a McDonald’s job is one of the better ones they can get (hey, at least the girl wasn’t a janitor).

[quote]
What the U.S. government should be trying to do (and hopefully is) is to come up with a policy that allows for a relatively high flow of immigration that reflects economic realities, that ensures a level playing field in terms of job competition, [/quote]

Without linguistic cohesion, and making sure they speak English, the level playing field of which you speak is less than a pipe dream.

Deporting them would accomplish this.

Already there, but much like Taiwan, the laws are not enforced.

My parents applied for, were accepted and immigrated to America LEGALLY. They arrived with barely any money, they learned English, got jobs, paid taxes, never took any social welfare of any kind, raised three children who all graduated with at least a masters degree, and integrated into American society. Amnesty for ILLEGALS only encourages more ILLEGALS to continue to enter the US illegally.

The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act is a testament to the colossal failure of granting amnesty to illegals. The only way to stop illegal immigration is to stop allowing them to stay once they are here. Arrest, jail, deport. If the risks out weigh the benefits of illegal immigration, it will stop. Every time the US government gives any type of amnesty to illegal immigrants, it gives hope to all the others who have yet to cross the border.

I’m not against immigration to America. I’m from a family of immigrants. I’m against illegal immigration and I don’t care how many years they’ve ILLEGALLY resided in America or how well they are integrated or if they are culturally or religiously similar. Illegal is illegal. Get out, step to the back of the line and follow the law.

True Immigration Reform

  1. [color=#FF0000]Physically secure our borders and coastlines.[/color] We must do whatever it takes to control entry into our country before we undertake complicated immigration reform proposals.

  2. [color=#FF0000]Enforce visa rules.[/color] Immigration officials must track visa holders and deport anyone who overstays their visa or otherwise violates U.S. law. This is especially important when we recall that a number of 9/11 terrorists had expired visas.

  3. [color=#FF0000]No amnesty.[/color] Estimates suggest that 10 to 20 million people are in our country illegally. That’s a lot of people to reward for breaking our laws.

  4. [color=#FF0000]No welfare for illegal aliens.[/color] Americans have welcomed immigrants who seek opportunity, work hard, and play by the rules. But taxpayers should not pay for illegal immigrants who use hospitals, clinics, schools, roads, and social services. Failure to prove citizenship or legal resident status must result in 100% denial of schooling, medical care and any other tax payer funded resources.

  5. [color=#FF0000]End birthright citizenship.[/color] As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be citizens, the incentive to enter the U.S. illegally will remain strong. [Current U.S. citizens will not be affected. Instead, babies born to illegals after a future cutoff date will no longer gain automatic U.S. citizenship. They will still have citizenship in their parents’ home countries.

  6. [color=#FF0000]Pass true immigration reform.[/color] The current system is incoherent and unfair. But current reform proposals would allow up to 60 million more immigrants into our country, according to the Heritage Foundation. This is insanity. Legal immigrants from all countries should face the same rules and waiting periods.

  7. [color=#FF0000]Mandatory lifetime bans.[/color] Any illegal immigrant who has ever been arrested and/or deported due to illegal entry, residence, work in the US should be banned for life from ever becoming a US citizen or a permanent resident. Non-appealable and final in nature with repeated violations resulting in longer prison sentences each time and followed by deportation.

[quote=“Confuzius”][quote=“Chris”]A Republican memo has recently been circulated admonishing fellow Republicans not to use terms like “illegals” and “anchor babies”. I find it interesting that the GOP actually has to come out and tell its own people not to use such offensive terms.

reason.com/blog/2013/01/29/repub … o-dont-use[/quote]

They are illegal, saying such is not offensive.[/quote]
They are “illegal aliens”. However, the shortened term “illegals” is offensive. I can see it being used by run-of-the-mill people on the street, but when used by politicians it’s boorish and mean-spirited.

Some do! :wink:

Touche! :slight_smile: Well, I meant 12 years in public school, until they’re 18 years old. :sunglasses:

I think the crux of your argument is that immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries are primarily Spanish speaking, and this forms a significant barrier to integration. And if there really are public schools that are 100% Spanish-speaking, where English is not the medium of instruction, then that is a MAJOR problem in my book. I did a search online but could only find articles about bilingual schools, which I find less of a problem, but I am still opposed to.

I disagree with our friend redandy (a fine gentleman and scholar, by the way, so you may want to cut him some slack). Fostering social unity is absolutely within the government’s purview, if for nothing else than security reasons. Witness the failure of Muslim immigrants in France and other European countries to integrate. French police commanders have reported a state of war with Muslim communities who have zero respect for the police and the law and will form mobs when police try to arrest Muslim suspects.

We experience nothing like that with our Hispanic minorities, who are often very patriotic. Look at how many Hispanics enlist in the military, police, and fire departments. I understand your point that Hispanic culture is generally more family-oriented and less individualistic than Anglo culture, but I don’t really see that as a problem. That doesn’t make them any less law abiding, and I don’t believe family-oriented culture results in gang activity. There are gangs of every ethnic hue.

I can only repeat that I have never met any born and raised American who couldn’t speak English. I’ve visited Hispanic communities in Texas where shopkeepers start the conversation in Spanish (which I don’t speak), but never actually met a natural born American who couldn’t speak English. Not that I know of anyways.

I think it’s a basic truth that past experience colors our perception. My part-time job throughout college was tutoring English a community college. I had many immigrant students, between ages 18 to probably 60 or so, all eager to learn English and move up in American society. This poll shows that 87% of Hispanics value higher education, and 94% of Hispanic parents expect their children to go to college. Unfortunately, only 13% will actually finish college, but I think it’s at least a good sign the community places a premium on higher education. To my knowledge, there aren’t any Spanish-only colleges in the US. I don’t think language is a major barrier beyond the first generation.