She Does Not Speak For Me

I saw this posting from pandagon today regarding Jasmyne Cannick’s article against immigration reform. I had to write something in response to it because I am deeply offended by her words as a black women and as a lesbian.

Jasmyne writes:

It’s a slap in the face to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to take up the debate on whether to give people who are in this country illegally additional rights when we haven’t even given the people who are here legally all of their rights.

This reminds me of how some black “leaders” said it was a slap in the face to the civil rights movement to be equated with the gay rights movement. I am sorry Jasmyne, but the oppression olympics are played out and get us nowhere in our goals of civil rights for all oppressed people. I agree that we haven’t given all of the people in this country the same rights, but what makes the struggles of gays and lesbians more important than the struggles of immigrants? Nothing does.

While I know no one wants to be viewed as a racist when it comes to immigration reform, as a lesbian I don’t want to move to the back of the bus to accommodate those who broke the law to be here. After all, immigrants aren’t the only ones who want a shot at the American dream.

While I agree that immigration reform is an important issue and perhaps it could become the next leading civil rights movement we haven’t even finished with our current civil rights movement. Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts got it right when he said, “There is no moving to the front of the line.” Immigration reform needs to get in line behind the LGBT civil rights movement, which has not yet realized all of its goals.

Excuse me? Did it ever occur to her that just because it is a law doesn’t make it right? Slavery was legal for over 200 years–did that make it right? Of course not. In fact, it was only up until recently (2003) that a number of anti-homosexual laws were repealed that de-criminalized the personal sexual relationships of homosexuals–which were the anti-sodomy laws. When she was having sex with other women, it was illegal. And if she has sex with a member of the military, it is still seen as illegal and could place her in prison for up to 15 years.

Immigration and immigrant rights are a part of the civil rights movement. Does she not know of any bi-national couples? Does she not know of any queer immigrants? She lives in Los Angeles, a diverse metropolis, therefore I find this highly impossible–unless she only interacts with queer U.S. citizens. And, since she uses racialized rhetoric (back of the bus) she implies that the civil rights movement that grew out of the desires of both blacks and whites to provide equal rights for blacks has successfully finished. She says this at the same time the majority of people in prison are black, where a large number of us are living in abject poverty, where the majority of blacks are living with HIV/AIDS–but i guess, since we got to move out from the back of the bus, everything is a-ok. Hearing this from a black lesbian is appalling.

Which is not to say that I don’t recognize the plight of illegal immigrants. I do. But I didn’t break the law to come into this country.

As a black American born lesbian, you are descendants of slaves. Of course you didn’t have to “break the law” to come here, your ancestors were already brought here against their will. But what about those of us queers or even non-queers who do not have the privilege of being born here in the United States?

Both Senator Kennedy and Sen. John Cornyn of Texas backed away from insisting that guest workers would have to leave the United States after their initial two-year visa expired, basically guaranteeing that immigrant families wouldn’t be separated.

Who actually believes that this country holds the best interests of immigrant families at the center of the guest worker legislature. The guest workers would have to leave because the United States government does not want them to stay here. If they stayed, the government would be responsible for them financially and politically, where a number of laws would have to change to accommodate these new citizens, extended stay nationals, or whatever else they would be deemed as. Our country would be responsible for treating them like human beings and not the underpaid, disposable and worthless contractors the government wants them to be portrayed as.

Cannick’s words are xenophobic and reek of right wing conservatism that deploys the rhetoric of “illegal” and “broke the law” to imply that immigrants are complicit with crime and therefore pose a threat to our rights. I find this highly problematic coming from a person of color who so-called advocates for the civil rights of oppressed people. It doesn’t surprise me that a magazine like the Advocate (a very white and very conservative magazine) published her article.

Jasmyne, what is a crime is the fact that other black women like you and me, are surviving and struggling, just as much as immigants–documented or not. What is not a crime is having immigrants demonstrate their desire for civil rights, just as it is not a crime for gays/lesbians/sgl’s to demonstrate our desires for civil rights.

This entry posted in Conservative zaniness, right-wingers, etc., Feminism, sexism, etc, Immigration, Migrant Rights, etc, Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and Queer issues, Race, racism and related issues. Bookmark the permalink. 

185 Responses to She Does Not Speak For Me

  1. 101
    Jake Squid says:

    Hee, hee. Homophobia. Doesn’t really matter, but I meant xenophobia.

    Essentially, progressives are against prejudice & bigotry while conservatives are (often) against the appearance of prejudice & bigotry even while promoting policies that are prejudiced & bigoted.

    I do find it telling that you think that I would be concerned about the appearance of bigotry rather than be concerned about bigotry itself.

  2. 102
    Robert says:

    Jake, you and I think that xenophobia means different things.

    I think it means mindless fear and hatred of the stranger.

    I don’t know what you think it means, but apparently not that. It’s difficult for me to see how concerns about how our society will be populated and by whom and through what mechanism translates to hating everything different. If I hated everything different than me, I would be one busy camper. I’ve got enough shit to do without fitting hate into the schedule.

    I am a strongly pro-immigration person. Anybody who has actually read my writing on the subject could have no possible confusion on that point. In my most recent post on the subject (/blogwhore), I propose expanding the level of immigration we accept by fifty percent or more.

    But being pro-immigration doesn’t mean being a complete dumbshit on questions of national security, border control, and what type of immigrants we want.

    You can call that xenophobia if you like. I call it not being a complete dumbshit.

  3. 103
    Jake Squid says:

    Yes, Robert, that is what I think that xenophobia means. Where we differ, perhaps, is on what “stranger” means in that context. I notice that, once again, you do not address my points, instead you not so circuitously suggest that I am a “dumbshit.” Fuck you, too, you clever guy!

    A big difference between me & you is that when somebody says that I am being racist or xenophobic or misogynist or any other sort of bigotry is that I don’t respond with insults (because I don’t take it as an insult). Rather, I take the criticism seriously and try to see if there is any merit in it. If there is merit in the criticism, I try to correct the behaviour/way of thinking in myself. If there is no merit, I either don’t mention it or state that I found no merit in it.

    It is your utter condescension & general assholish responses to people with whom you disagree that made me doubt that serious conversation with you on this subject is impossible & you do not disappoint.

    Anybody who has actually read my writing…

    (to the tune of “New Math”)Hubris, Hu -u – u- bris.

    Dude, why would I be expected to have read your writing? While I think that you are a smart guy, I find your playing fast & loose with facts & your style of “quoting” your opponents to redefine what they have actually said into often dumb or offensive things to be a disincentive to bother with reading your blog.

    Rather than make a statement like I should know because of course I would read your writing, how about something like:

    “As I have written on my blog (or in such & such a place) many times, I am a strongly pro-immigration person.”

    A bit of a drift, but… compare how you interact with people with views different than your own to the comments you made to women on the “woman-only space” thread. I find a noticeable difference between your “advice” and your actions.

  4. 104
    Jake Squid says:

    Damn it! Where is my editor?
    …that made me doubt that serious conversation with you on this subject is impossible…

    Please read “impossible” as “possible”.

    I apologize for all the errors in today’s postings. As soon as I find my editor, you can believe that they will be getting a reprimand.

  5. 105
    TangoMan says:

    I do find it telling that you think that I would be concerned about the appearance of bigotry rather than be concerned about bigotry itself.

    Give me a break – this is like arguing that conservatives care more about being moral than appearing moral, all the while they’re living normal lives filled with the adultory and vice that infects all of humanity.

    Need I point you to the legions of liberals who are all for diversity while living in lily-white neighborhoods, sending their kids to schools with low minority populations, etc. This isn’t every liberal by any means, but certainly quite a few. Liberals aren’t immune to human vices and, just as with conservatives, appearances matter. The anti-xenophobia and anti-racist proclamations that are the public face of liberals who don’t actually live the message are the modern form of conspicious consumption.

    Maintaining appearances, in whatever favored form, is a human universal – don’t tell me that liberals are a sect apart that actually live true to their creed and are unlike conservatives in their failings. Not without evidence, that is.

  6. 106
    Robert says:

    I find a noticeable difference between your “advice” and your actions.

    I’m not demanding that anybody change their way of thinking and living.

    The reason that I haven’t engaged your points is that your points are really, really, really wrong. If I went into the physics forum and started asking people questions that were predicated on a flat earth being carried through space on the back of a turtle, I’d be ignored. Your views on immigration appear to be predicated on similarly wildly discredited views; I can’t help you with that, and I’m not going to burn bandwidth trying. But I’ll point out where you’re making incorrect assumptions about me, even if I don’t use the language you’d like me to use.

    I don’t think you’re a dumbshit. I think you have really wrong ideas. I recognize that may come across as a distinction without a difference, particularly if your cognitive view tightly binds views to intellectual competence (“only an idiot wouldn’t think [X]“); mine doesn’t, but YMMV.

  7. 107
    Robert says:

    Jake, my response is stuck in the moderation queue. Just so you know I’m not blowing you off.

  8. 108
    Tuomas says:

    Not being an U.S citizen (with no intention on becoming one, either), I have no personal axe to grind in this issue. It is no skin of my bones if U.S gets zero immigrants, or 100 million. There goes the xenophobia issue. A ridiculous red herring it was, anyway.

    Three things:
    1)
    It still hasn’t been comprehensively answered how this amnesty thing is fair to all those who did not decide to break the U.S law and are currently waiting their turn. Why is the willingness to break U.S laws (as evidenced by illegal immigration) considered to be something worthy of reward (amnesty). Think of the incentive system this creates for a while!

    2)
    I fail to see the relevance of the “how many of your ancestors were illegal immigrants?” -question by Jake Squid. So what? If I found out that some of my ancestors was a murderer or a rapist (just for the sake of example, I don’t consider them to be analogous to illegal immigration), would I be a hypocrite if I condemned those crimes? Should it affect my opinion on them?

    3)
    The point #91 can be turned around with relative ease. Indeed, it is amusing that some Free Market -people are anti-immigrant, but since many more socialists are pro-immigrant (while vehemently opposing “outsourcing”), perhaps there is some hypocrisy there too?

  9. 109
    Tuomas says:

    My personal interest in this is, to clarify, is fairness and justice. People who piss on their own country, other immigrants and U.S laws should not be rewarded. Period.

  10. 110
    RonF says:

    Charles:

    That is what Alsis was talking about. Is there some reason you need to see it repeated by her?

    The reason being that I wanted to know what Alsis meant, not what Brandon thought she meant.

    I think a reasonable definition of when someone becomes a criminal (rather than someone who has broken a law, such as speeding, or shoplifting, or stealing a pen from work) is when their crime is a felony.

    The definition of the word “criminal” is not up to either you or me. I’ve looked it up in a few on-line dictionaries, and every single one of them says that a criminal is someone who commits a crime, and they define crime as essentially an illegal act. No mention of misdemeanor vs. felony. “Illegal alien” = “criminal” is consistent with all definitions of the words I can find.

  11. 111
    RonF says:

    Am I the only one who sees the overt xenophobia being displayed here?

    Apparently.

    I am seeing many of the same arguments being used to espouse an anti-immigration (or, if you prefer, curtailed immigration) position that were used in the early 20th century wrt to civil rights for African Americans (the economic arguments).

    The issue is not one of immigration; it’s one of crime, and the results that come from having 11 million criminals in the United States with no effective effort being made to prevent or solve it. My personal opinion is that the use of “anti-immigration” or derivatives of that term to describe the desire to control our international borders draws attention away from what the actual issue is here.

    If people think that it’s proper immigration policy to allow these various people into the country, then petition your Congressional representatives to change immigration law so that such people can legally enter the United States. But to oppose effective measures to control our borders is to oppose respect for the rule of law and exposes the U.S. to many dangers.

    Lastly, why are we so focused on Mexicans? While Mexicans make up a good sized portion of illegals (the data from 1996 indicates that Mexico accounts for 54% of illegal immigrants), they are far from the vast majority.

    Actually, I don’t see a focus on Mexicans. I see a focus on the Mexican border, which is the location where the majority of illegal aliens cross into the United States. Control that border and you’ll control the biggest part of the problem. That certainly means that you’ll choke off mostly Mexican illegal aliens, but that’s a secondary effect and is not a factor in either defining or solving the problem.

  12. 112
    Charles says:

    Am I the only one who sees the overt xenophobia being displayed here?

    Apparently.

    Apparently not. I don’t think RonF, TangoMan and Robert are a representative sample here, particularly not on the question of whether TangoMan, RonF, and Robert are spouting xenophobia (a term Robert has decided doesn’t have a long history, but instead means only its Greek roots, which he then decides can reasonably be twisted around to mean hatred of anyting different from him – wouldn’t that be Heterophobia? – thus justifying Jake’s pessimism of having a meaningful and honest discusssion with him) here.

    While I applaude your efforts Jake, I can’t see much point in joining you. Robert’s just Robert (practicing humpty-dumptyism while accusing others of it, and claiming that saying his views just prevent him from being a dipshit, but then claimng that only people who think that anyone who disagrees with them is stupid would think that someone disagreeing with them was calling them stupid, as though he hadn’t just implied that anyone who fails to hold his views is failing to avoid being a dipshit), RonF seems to be in his less reasonable mode (the problem with illegal immigrants isn’t economic or a question of justice, the problem with illegal immigrants is crime, cause, see, they’re illegal, and the solution is to turn 11 million people into felons, cause then, uh, there will be less crime?), and TangoMan is an avowed racist (and is actually one of the bloggers on the infamous blog, gene expression) crying crocodile tears for the plight of black people. Oh sorry, TangoMan probably prefers to be thought of as someone who speaks honestly about the inherent inferiority of blacks or some such, as if there were a difference between that and an avowed racist.

    Oh well, I guess I did just join in, if not in a terribly productive manner.

  13. 113
    pdf23ds says:

    “and TangoMan is an avowed racist (and is actually one of the bloggers on the infamous blog, gene expression)”

    I’m curious. What sort of reputation do you believe the blog has? I’ve actually never heard of it, so I don’t know.

  14. 114
    TangoMan says:

    I’m curious. What sort of reputation do you believe the blog has? I’ve actually never heard of it, so I don’t know.

    If you’re curious go and read it. Decide for yourself what it takes to be called racist by some people. See if the threshold is held up to be very high or very low. Then see how your opinion meshes with that of Charles.

  15. 115
    Rob says:

    When millions people who are traditionalists in the manner of their homelands become voters, there won’t be any chance of homosexual marriage passing.

  16. 116
    Zakia says:

    I say Bull. The immigration debate has nothing do with civil rights and nothing to do with the Black civil rights movment. Blacks where LEGAL CITIZENS have rights. Gays who are LEGAL CITIZENS of this country rights. Don’t come in my country illegally and then demand you have a right to this and that. Don’t come in come in my country and demand I learn your language or that I pay for something to be translated in your language. I don’t want to be charged double for my emergency room visit because you got an MRI for free and the hospitals have to make it up somehow. We don’t need illegal immigration. I bussed tables and clean dishes, and cleaned toilets in the back of a restuarant, but I did it for the legal wage. Americans WILL do these jobs. And I find it absolutely absurd for anyone to compare Illegal immigration and the plight of black citizens of this country at all or some how say one is the same as the other. If anything they should be marching against their own president and his Mexican elite who are benefiting from free flowing money from the US while exporting his poverty. Fox” Black people won’t do the jobs Mexicans do” Vincente is a racist bastard. Ask him why Mexico’s southern border is militerized?

    And as a black american, My folks weren’t Immigrants, We were invited here by force..

  17. 117
    Dylan Thurston says:

    Entering the country without a proper visa is not a criminal offense; it is a civil offense. Furthermore, you are not automatically deported if you are caught; for instance, it is perfectly accepted to get into the US (somehow) and then apply for political asylum here. This is what many hopeful Cuban immigrants try to do, for instance. Of course the Coast Guard tries to stop them, but they are allowed to apply for asylum if they do make it to the US. So immigrants without valid visas are in no sense “criminals” or “illegal”. A better term is “out of status”.

  18. 118
    Mendy says:

    ISTR, that all my folks immigrated legally, and that they jumped through all the hoops to gain citizenship. I’m not against immigration, after all the United States is a country founded on immigration. I feel like giving amnesty to all those that are here illegally isn’t fair to those that are attempting to jump through all those hoops and get here legally.

    The problem isn’t one of border control so much, as the illogical and often backwards immigration policies and procedures we have created. I am for reforming the laws so that those who want to come here can, and that those who are escaping starvation, torture, and bruatlity in their own countries can actually get her legally.

    After all the mark of a country is how many people are trying to come in (a quote I heard made in a speech last semester) and there are hundreds that die everyday in the effort to get to the US.

  19. 119
    Zakia says:

    Wow, sorry for the errors. Thats what happens when I rush to post. Hopefully it made enough sense for the jist.

  20. 120
    RonF says:

    (the problem with illegal immigrants isn’t economic or a question of justice, the problem with illegal immigrants is crime, cause, see, they’re illegal, and the solution is to turn 11 million people into felons, cause then, uh, there will be less crime?),

    Please point out where I said that we should turn 11 million people into felons.

    Please also point out where I said that there isn’t an economic reason to control illegal entry into the U.S. There are a lot of economic reasons; I just think that there’s plenty of other reasons as well.

    I think it’s a fair guess that if we deported 11 million criminals from this country, we’d have less crime.

    There’s certainly a question of justice. How just is it to grant legal recognition and benefits and the ability to live and work in America and participate in our society to people who treat our laws with evasion and contempt? How just is it for those who respect our laws and work within them to get legal immigration status to see lawbreakers get the same civil rights they do?

    Whenever I see the word “justice” used, I am minded to remember that justice is something that only God can guarantee. We humans are reduced to approximate justice with our laws, as best as we imperfectly can – that’s why the only way we can minimize the odds that innocent people will be found guilty is by allowing some guilty people to go free.

    Justice for illegal aliens should be the same justice we all get under the law. A fair and speedy trial with the ability to obtain counsel and compel witnesses in front of an impartial judge and, where appropriate, a jury of one’s peers. If guilty, they should be punished as prescribed by law.

    It’s also no violations of anyone’s rights, whether they are in the U.S. legally or not, to fortify America’s borders to prevent further immigration crimes. The fact that beefing up the borders to prevent illegal entry is being represented as violating immigrants’ rights is ludicrous. It wouldn’t affect legal entry into the U.S., and those who would seek to enter the U.S. illegally by definition have no right to do so.

    I do note that it seems to be common to depict illegal aliens as mainly economic refugees who, having committed the crime of violating our immigration laws, stop the moment once they violate our immigration laws and become hard-working pillars of American society. Of course, that’s untrue, because every day they show up for work they commit another Federal crime. And since crime begets crime, it’s no surprise that their employers are also committing a crime by hiring and continue to employ them. Then there’s the tax laws that many people who hire illegal aliens violate.

    There’s plenty of other laws they break as well. I tried to get a handle on how many crimes are creditable to illegal aliens. It’s a topic that needs research to weigh the risk that not doing a better job of blocking their entry creates. I did find some sources (such as here, here and here that indicate that there are tens of thousands of illegal aliens in jails and prisons across the country. It seems to me that people who are willing to go to all the effort and risk it takes to break immigration laws probably will have a high percentage of people who are willing to break other laws.

    There’s also the issue that the vast majority of these immigrants are people with low levels of marketable skills who have come into our country to better themselves economically. Our immigratiaon laws are designed to forbid this very thing. Our immigration laws are written to benefit America, not immigrants; as such, they are set up to grant preference to relatives of American citizens and people with professions or exceptional skills. To now grant citizenship to people who a) broke the law to come into the United States and b) have limited skills stands our laws on their head and defies the will of the American people as expressed by their representatives. Our policies exist for a reason, and I haven’t see much argument as to why it’s to our advantage now to radically change those policies.

  21. 121
    Charles says:

    10,000/ 11 million felony, punishable by a prison term. That won’t do anything to actually get anyone out of the country, but it will increase our prison population unimaginably.

    We’ve granted amnesty before, so if it turns our laws on their heads, apparently it won’t be for the first time.

    As to fortifying the border, people die as a result of our fortified border already. I think that violates their rights.

    Still, your proof that undocumented immigrants are bad people deserving of time in prison, or merely of being kicked out en mas is that they are breaking the law against being undocumented immigrants (and the laws against working without documentation, etc, although actually, many (most?) undocumented immigrants pay taxes, both payroll and social security. If they don’t, it is because their employers are criminals, not the undocumented immigrants). That is a tautology, and one that doesn’t support your fantasies about how they are surely responsible for all sorts of crimes.

    As Jake pointed out, arguments very similar to yours and Robert’s and TangoMan’s abounded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, explaining the criminality and ignorance and general ill effects that waves of immigrants were bringing to the country (you see, many European immigrants left their home countries illegally, so they too were all evil evil criminals). I don’t know about your ancestors, but some of my ancestors were among those ignorant, degenerate criminals, and many of my friend’s ancestors were also among that group. While we still have some communities in some places that are over-whelmingly composed of one immigrant community or another from that period (see, those Lithuanians/Armenians/Jews/Italians will never integrate with our Anglo society), by and large that wave of immigrants is fully integrated. No doubt the next wave will integrate as well. Will the integration of tens of millions of Mexicans and other hispanic people result in the US becoming a bilingual country? Probably not, but I really hope so. Being a monoglot nation is a huge disadvantage, and is part of the reason most English speakers in the US are incapable of learning other languages. I hope my grand-nieces and nephews (in another 20 years or so) grow up learning English and Spanish.

  22. 122
    Charles says:

    pdf23ds,

    I know gene expression more by reputation than by personal experience. However, if you want a starting point, here is a nice piece on how the stupidness of black people is what was responsible for the disasterous results of New Orleans post-Katrina (I found it because TangoMan linked to it approvingly a while back).

    I am having a hard time finding the thread on Alas in which TangoMan went on at great length about the inherent IQ inferiority of blacks, but that was the point that settled for me whether TangoMan was an ardent racist. Here is one where he went on a little about it as an aside. As I said, TangoMan obviously thinks of himself as someone who is simply willing to speak honestly about the inherent inferiority of blacks, but I really don’t see the difference.

    As to where I set the bar on racism, I set it really low. I assume that pretty much every white person in the US who hasn’t done a lot of retraining to stop being racist is racist (I think I have done enough to be aware of the degree to which I’m racist, but not enough to not still be racist). However, the bar for being an ardent racist (or an avowed racist) is a good bit higher. If you are aware of your racist beliefs, and you think they are right and true, then I think you are an avowed racist. If you spend a lot of time trumpetting your racist beliefs in public, then I can only assume you are an ardent racist, and that being a racist is important to you. While TangoMan appears to be not quite enough of a racist (or, more likely, too tactically skilled) to not bristle at being called a racist, that is about the only test of being an ardent and avowed racist that he seems to fail.

    Read up thread where TangoMan goes on about how kicking out the Mexicans might mean less idle Black men, and how that would mean less government waste for some racist crocodile tears. Read it uncharitably and you will get a sense of how a pure IQ inferiority racist like TangoMan slides smoothly into the kind that wear sheets and hoods.

  23. 123
    Brandon Berg says:

    Charles:
    I don’t think you’re being fair. To believe, rightly or wrongly, that there are certain differences between the races in the aggregate (yes, I know “race” is fuzzy, but that doesn’t make it totally meaningless), is not inherently racist. Racism is believing that these aggregate differences trump individual variation, and using them to draw unwarranted conclusions about specific individuals.

    In other words, it’s not racist to say that the average white person is smarter than the average black person. Racism is pointing to a black person on the street and saying he must be stupid because he’s black.

    The post at Gene Expression explicitly acknowledged that individual variation was more significant than the aggregate racial differences. Note that the assumed difference between the average black person who remained and the average black person who left is greater than the difference between between the average black person and average white person in New Orleans before the storm.

    The author probably could have explained this without bringing up race at all, simply by pointing out that those who remained would have been, in general, significantly less intelligent than those who stayed, but using the racial averages helped in providing rough numerical approximations.

    Can you point to any flaw in the analysis, other than the fact that you don’t like it?

    Regarding TangoMan’s claim about black unemployment: I may be wrong, but isn’t it fairly well established that unskilled black men are generally hit harder than others by slack labor markets? Again, can you point to any flaw in this analysis, other than the fact that you don’t like it?

    I know gene expression more by reputation than by personal experience.

    If you know something mostly by reputation, you don’t know it.

    That said, I do agree with you about the absurdity of comparing illegal immigration to real crimes. I like my friends better than strangers, but I feel no special kinship with strangers just because they happen to have been born in the same country as me. As long as welfare benefits to immigrants are limited to a ticket home, open borders are fine with me.

  24. 124
    clew says:

    Here’s one economist’s summary of what we know about the effects of unskilled immigration, with references to studies done on ‘experiments’ – like the Muriel boatlift.

    My summary of the summary is, there’s no good evidence that native workers are worse off, probably because immigrants perk up the market. He is clear that there are labor policies that can disadvantage the immigrants, the native labor, and in fact the effectiveness of the market as a whole.

  25. 125
    Brandon Berg says:

    Alsis:
    You didn’t base anything on Robert’s (accidental) distortion. He was correct when he said that social spending by government is 23.4% of the country’s GDP.

    I can’t speak for the others, but I’m only trying to convince you of two things:

    1. The claim you made, about “a social system that has already been starved, looted, privatized, and starved some more”“ pretty much steadily over the last two or three decades,” is demonstrably false. Social spending by government (to say nothing of private social spending) in this country has increased, not decreased, over the past 2-3 decades, not only in real per-capita terms, but also as a percentage of GDP. I’m perfectly willing to consider evidence to the contrary, but I don’t see that there’s any room for informed disagreement on this point.

    2. We all “know” a lot of things that aren’t necessarily true, and it’s good policy to take a few minutes to check the facts before making assertions like this.

    Although I disagree with Ampersand on a lot of things, I do respect his habit of consistently checking facts, and I wish more of my ideological opponents (and also my allies) would do the same. Ditto myself—I encourage anyone who ever catches me making a demonstrably false statement to call me on it.

  26. 126
    Charles says:

    Brandon,

    If the equation of black = stupid and poor = stupid and unable to get out of the city = stupid, and black = criminal and, hell, stupid = criminal and the continued propogation of the “New Orleans collapsed into lawlessness because it was full of black people” myth, doesn’t strike you as racist and classist, well, all I can say is you set the bar pretty high.

    And my objection to the crocodile tears over high unemployment among black men wasn’t an attempt to deny that there is high unemployment among black men. It was about hateful undertones. I have no doubt you didn’t see them or didn’t find them noteworthy. I did.

    And, yes, TangoMan is very good at what he does, and seems to have a vast collection of facts and studies which he uses to argue that blacks are inferior to whites. Most of his individual pieces of evidence are of reasonably good quality, but it is how he uses them that I disagree with. And, the simple fact that he finds it worth his while to go around using them in that way at all makes him an ardent and avowed racist.

    I think that anyone who thinks that blacks are inferior to whites is a racist. Maybe you have a different definition.

  27. 127
    alsis39.75 says:

    Brandon:

    We all “know” a lot of things that aren’t necessarily true, and it’s good policy to take a few minutes to check the facts before making assertions like this.

    You praise Amp for his skills at fact-checking. His fact-checking reveals very nicely the manner in which Robert’s figures were a distortion. Yet here you are, continuing to insist that I cry “uncle” over a distortion originated by Robert, not myself. And that distortion is only peripheral to my main point, which I have now stated several times.

    Please accept my civil invitation to get yourself a new fucking hobby and/or whipping girl. I don’t like you, and I don’t want any further conversation with you. Something about impending old age seems to be sapping my fondness for such exercises in utter futility.

  28. 128
    Robert says:

    His fact-checking reveals very nicely the manner in which Robert’s figures were a distortion.

    I made an (honest) error regarding the magnitude of how far off your base your statement was. Instead of being wildly and ludicrously off base, your statement is only really quite amazingly off base.

    Where’s the distortion in that? It’s an error – like saying that Alpha Centauri is 6 light years instead of 4 light years from Earth – but if the proposition being advanced was “Alpha Centauri is a fuck of a long way from here, not just around the corner”, then I’m right, even if I got the numbers a bit mixed up.

  29. 129
    alsis39.75 says:

    No, Robert. You just have a very different opinion than I of what constitutes a sufficient percentage of spending on social problems.

    Now, are you, Brandon, and Ron– the manliest of the manly-men– done drifting the thread/waving your dicks around to prove to me your oh-so innate superiority ? Shall we move back to the original point of the thread ?

  30. 130
    Robert says:

    You just have a very different opinion than I of what constitutes a sufficient percentage of spending on social problems.

    Apparently “more than any group of people in the history of the universe has ever spent under any circumstances” is apparently nowhere close to good enough.

    Now, are you, Brandon, and Ron”“ the manliest of the manly-men”“ done drifting the thread/waving your dicks around to prove to me your oh-so innate superiority?

    I tried to wave my dick, but the stupid software won’t let post a JPEG. (Millions nationwide shudder in relief.)

    As far as drift goes, undrift away. Post something on-topic instead of trying to defend your ludicrous opinion.

  31. 131
    alsis39.75 says:

    I’ve already made my main point, Robert. Several times, in fact.

    If you want to refute it, go to town. Or if you want to hoist my virtual head on a pike and march to every blog in the sphere shrieking “PWONED,” or some such– all because I refuse to concede your point because I think it’s crap ? Feel free. It’s about what I’d expect from you. But what I expect and what I have to play along with are two different things.

  32. Pingback: Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Government spending is not up, up, up.

  33. 132
    RonF says:

    As to fortifying the border, people die as a result of our fortified border already.

    No, Charles, people don’t die as a result of our fortified border. People aren’t dying because they were walking around minding their own business when the border opened fire on them. They die because of the choices they have made and their behavior that they based upon those choices. They die because they try to move across desert without sufficient resources. They die because they take a risk without either understanding or preparing for what can happen.

    I think that violates their rights.

    What right do they have to cross our borders? What right do they have to expect that they can come into the United States in violation of our laws? Are you saying that they have the right to come into the United States anywhere they choose? What rights do you think they have that we are violating?

    If you or I come across someone dying of thirst or exposure in the desert, we are under a moral obligation to do whatever we can to preserve that person’s life. But after that, we have a legal obligation to turn that person over to the authorities so that they can be dealt with according to the law.

    If present or proposed law would stop people from providing life-preserving aid to anyone, it is wrong. But if it is intended to keep people from enabling illegal aliens to evade immigration law, it’s right on the money. What has made me suspicious is that advocates for illegal aliens have been saying that the proposed laws would prevent priests and ministers from providing pastoral care to illegal aliens. If by “pastoral care” they mean trying to help them with their spiritual issues, that would be wrong. But if by “pastoral care” they mean “evade immigration laws”, then that’s too bad.

    The Mexican government seems to think that their citizen’s lives are not worth trying to preserve by trying to keep them from crossing the border in hazardous areas. Prevention is always better than cure, so it seems that their citizens would be better off if the Mexican government would take steps to keep their citizens from putting themselves in harm’s way, rather than depending on the U.S. to do something about this AFTER they’ve gotten lost in the desert. But it’s pretty obvious that the money that successful illegal aliens send back to Mexico is more important to the Mexican government than the lives of their citizens who die trying to get here.

    Seems to me that the second best solution to people dying when they try to cross our border is for us to fortify the border completely so that no one can get across. Then no one will die. We should also revise our immigration laws to fit the needs of the U.S., so that whatever low-skilled labor we need to import from Mexico or any other country can be brought in under controlled conditions.

    The best solution would be for the Mexican government to start operating in the best interests of all of it’s citizens instead of the elite few and use it’s resources to build up their economy in such a fashion that people would no longer feel the need to come to the United States to live in a free country and get a decent job, but I’m not holding my breath.

    Of course, revision of our immigration laws would have to include a debate in this country on just what our need for low-skilled labor is, with the final result a vote in Congress signed off on by the Executive branch. That way the advocates of both sides could be heard, the merits debated, and everyone would get a vote in how this is to be handled, unlike the present situation.

  34. 133
    RonF says:

    Now, [is] … Ron”“ the manliest of the manly-men

    Gee, thanks!

    ““ done drifting the thread/waving your dicks around to prove to me your oh-so innate superiority?

    Can’t deny that I’ve participated in drifting the thread. Sorry. I did address it initially. But can you expand on how I’ve been waving my dick around and trying to prove innate superiority to anyone?

  35. 134
    RonF says:

    We’ve granted amnesty before, so if it turns our laws on their heads, apparently it won’t be for the first time.

    That’s right, we did. And it didn’t work. Just because we made a mistake once doesn’t justify doing it again.

  36. 135
    RonF says:

    If they don’t [pay taxes], it is because their employers are criminals, not the undocumented immigrants).

    If your employer doesn’t withold taxes from your paycheck, you are still obligated to pay your taxes. If you don’t, then both you and your employer are criminals.

  37. 136
    RonF says:

    That is a tautology, and one that doesn’t support your fantasies about how they are surely responsible for all sorts of crimes.

    Gee, I don’t recall fantasizing about how illegal aliens are surely responsible for all sorts of crimes. I do recall pointing out that there are tens of thousands of illegal aliens in jails and prisons for committing crimes. But that’s not a fantasy; that’s fact.

    As Jake pointed out, arguments very similar to yours and Robert’s and TangoMan’s abounded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, explaining the criminality and ignorance and general ill effects that waves of immigrants were bringing to the country (you see, many European immigrants left their home countries illegally, so they too were all evil evil criminals).

    Irrelevant. The issue at hand is people breaking American law, not Mexican or Canadian or Polish or whatever law. The European immigrants you refer to entered the United States legally.

  38. 137
    Lee says:

    RonF, you seem to be assuming that all European immigrants entered this country legally. This is not necessarily true, especially pre-WWII.

    I also want to ask you, as a practical matter, how on earth you plan to deport or jail the 11 million illegal immigrants we have now. We couldn’t keep them from coming here in the first place, we don’t even know exactly who most of them are, and we can’t keep more from arriving every day. You seem to have this idea that The Great Big Wall can be built rapidly, that it will be 100% effective, and that once it’s in place we can turn our attention to hunting down these lawbreakers and tossing them out. I think that if you examine your stance as a logistical exercise, you will realize that it’s a Just World Fantasy.

    An analogy: suppose that driving faster than the posted speed limit is illegal (which it is). Suppose that 10 years ago, 99% of speed limit exceedances were ticketed (not likely, but conceivably possible). Now suppose that The Powers That Be decided to redirect law enforcement efforts toward jaywalking, littering, and the War on Drugs instead, so that enforcement of the law on speeding dropped to 5% of exceedances. After about 10 years of this, almost everybody now drives at least 10 mph over the speed limit, increasing the effective speed limit 10 mph above the posted speed limit. Then the insurance companies decide that it’s too expensive for them to pay claims when almost everybody is driving 10 mph faster than they used to do, so they raise a fuss about enforcing the speed limit. But because almost everybody is now driving over the speed limit, actually enforcing the speed limit the way it used to be enforced will be virtually impossible, even with the help of speed cameras and so on. So the best that can be done is selective enforcement and a phase-in of the tougher standards, and maybe enforcement can be increased over time, but it would never go back to the way it was before. It’s not fair that people who are breaking the law are also getting away with it most of the time, but pragmatically speaking, what can you do without putting a police car or traffic camera on every corner?

    We have not been enforcing our border-crossing policy anywhere close to 100% for years and years. After talking to some people I know who work for INS, I have come to the conclusion that even with The Great Big Wall it would be virtually impossible to prevent people from entering the country illegally. The best we can do is: 1) make it more expensive for companies to hire illegal immigrants than to hire people with green cards, guest worker visas, or citizenship; 2) establish a guest worker visa program so that people who are not intending to become citizens have documentation and can be here legally; 3) establish a path between guest worker visas and green cards so that we don’t create a permanent underclass; and 4) establish a way for illegal immigrants to get guest worker visas without having to go back to their country of origin.

    I have proposed to my Senator and Representative that any illegal immigrant who can demonstrate that they filed a 2005 federal income tax return can apply for an annual guest worker visa (which I called an orange card). In order to renew their orange cards, they must continue to file federal income tax returns. (People who entered this country after 1/1/2006 must show pay stubs that have the tax deductions on them. People not here yet must apply for orange cards before they cross the border.) If they don’t file, they don’t get renewed and can therefore be deported. After 10 years with a clean record, they can get in line for a green card if they so choose. If a company or a private person is found to hire someone without a green card, an orange card, or a valid proof of citizenship, they would be subject to a huge fine.

    I don’t pretend it’s a 100% solution, but it’s certainly better than what we have now, IMO (but of course I’d think that, since it’s my plan).

  39. 138
    RonF says:

    I also want to ask you, as a practical matter, how on earth you plan to deport or jail the 11 million illegal immigrants we have now.

    The same way we jail or otherwise punish the millions of other criminals in this country; one at a time, when we catch them. Some of the illegal aliens will stay under the radar, just like some drug dealers and thieves and even murderers. But they, like the illegal aliens in question, will always have in the back of their minds that they might slip up and get caught. Too bad. Obey the law and that won’t happen.

    You seem to have this idea that The Great Big Wall can be built rapidly,

    If you can quote me where I offered any opinion on how fast our southern border can be effectively fortified, I’d appreciate it.

    that it will be 100% effective,

    Same thing here; please quote where I offered that opinion.

    Israel has shown us that a border can be fortified. It may not be 100% effective, but it can be a hell of a lot more effective than it is now. Let’s not have perfection be the enemy of practical.

    and that once it’s in place we can turn our attention to hunting down these lawbreakers and tossing them out.

    We can turn our attention to hunting down illegal aliens and tossing them out anytime we want. But right now it’s like trying putting a colander in a half-full kitchen sink and trying to empty it by dipping a cup into the colander and emptying it into the sink. It can be a useful practical exercise given that unlike drops of water illegal aliens have identities and we may find some that require particular attention. But it’ll be a lot more effective if we turn the colander into a solid bowl, or at least reduce it so that it only has minor leaks.

    We have not been enforcing our border-crossing policy anywhere close to 100% for years and years. After talking to some people I know who work for INS, I have come to the conclusion that even with The Great Big Wall it would be virtually impossible to prevent people from entering the country illegally.

    I doubt that. I’m sure that some will get though, especially if they game the system with fake documents, etc. But if we put up a barrier and properly staff it with a lot more resources than the INS has right now, things can be improved drastically. Getting caught up by the Border Patrol and tossed back over the border (even if we don’t felonize the offense unless they get caught, say, 3 times) is a lot different from getting a speeding ticket.

    The best we can do is: 1) make it more expensive for companies to hire illegal immigrants than to hire people with green cards, guest worker visas, or citizenship; 2) establish a guest worker visa program so that people who are not intending to become citizens have documentation and can be here legally; 3) establish a path between guest worker visas and green cards so that we don’t create a permanent underclass; and 4) establish a way for illegal immigrants to get guest worker visas without having to go back to their country of origin.

    1) Sounds good. Might sound even better if we made employment of illegal aliens a misdemeanor or felony with mandatory jail time, and created a resource so that employers could more readily check who’s legal and who’s not. A database that would rapidly match SSN with name and address would be excellent. No match, no job. Use of the DB is made a presumptive defense against the felony charge, so DB errors don’t trap the employer.

    2) already exists; it’s called an H1-B visa. Of course, right now that’s for highly skilled people, but then how much we really need of low-skilled workers is a matter that needs to be settled in the public political arena.

    3) Agreed.

    4) Why?

    I have proposed to my Senator and Representative that any illegal immigrant who can demonstrate that they filed a 2005 federal income tax return can apply for an annual guest worker visa (which I called an orange card). In order to renew their orange cards, they must continue to file federal income tax returns. (People who entered this country after 1/1/2006 must show pay stubs that have the tax deductions on them. People not here yet must apply for orange cards before they cross the border.) If they don’t file, they don’t get renewed and can therefore be deported. After 10 years with a clean record, they can get in line for a green card if they so choose.

    In other words, let’s legitimate criminals. I’m very skeptical. We did this years ago when we had 3 million illegal aliens in the country. It was supposed to be coupled with effective enforcement of the border. The latter was never done. So all the program did was to show illegal aliens that if they could sneak across the border, they had a chance to become citizens without all that bothersome legal business. Now we have 11+ illegal aliens.

    The bottom line is that we’ve done this, and it only made things worse. Unless there’s an effective border control system set up, this is No Sale with me.

    If a company or a private person is found to hire someone without a green card, an orange card, or a valid proof of citizenship, they would be subject to incarceration.

    Forgive my liberties with your words, but I think that’s better.

  40. 139
    Charles says:

    You still don’t seem to have an argument for what is wrong with having 11 million additional immigrants in the country other than ITS ILLEGAL!!111!!

    So we should spend vast resources on a giant wall and on extra INS people, and increase harassment against all hispanics (do you really think that isn’t the automatic result of increased attempts to catch Mexican illegal immigrants? And why aren’t we going after the millions of Canadian illegal immigrants?) and on a hugely expanded prison system (even if we only imprisoned a fifth of all of the current illegal immigrants, that would require doubling the current prison system, a small price to pay to -um- take hard working, generally law abiding people off the streets), and we should do this so that we can enforce our border laws, cause gosh darn it, violating our border laws is a crime. A crime I tell you, just like murder and rape.

    My personal fav is when you declare that undocumented immigrants are surely violating the selective service laws ’cause you say they are, ’cause they are criminals, and then you say that they shouldn’t be allowed to serve in the military when its pointed out that they are 5% of the military.

    No matter how much evidence is piled on that undocumented workers behave pretty much like everyone else (some of them commit serious crimes and go to jail, some ofthem work under the table, most of them pay taxes and send their (frequently citizen) children to school, some of them join the military, some of them avoid signing up for selective service (a law so importnat that it deserves special mention, despite a complete lack of enforcement), you still insist on your fantasy that they are criminals criminals CRIMINALS.

    Its just bizarre.

  41. 140
    alsis39.75 says:

    Won’t we also have to build more jails and expand the INS to tend to all these horrid criminal types ? Whatever happened to the good old days when Righties pretended that they wanted small Gummint ?

  42. 141
    Lee says:

    RonF, the resources necessary to find, apprehend, and deport 11 million people while simultaneously preventing more people from crossing the border into U.S. illegally are HUGE. While you didn’t state explicitly that you thought TGBW should be built, and quickly, that is what is implied by your stance (and incidentally, underlined by your colander example).

    It was bad policy not to follow through on immigration enforcement after the last amnesty, I agree, so now we have to fix the situation in a way that will keep the problem from getting worse. I mean, the total population of the U.S. is somewhere around 300 million, so you are proposing that we have to round up and chuck out about 25% of the people who are here, and keep them from getting back in unless they have the proper paperwork. I don’t know about you, but I think unless we increase the INS to USPS size and/or allow each state to hire their own special immigrant-hunting posse or something like that, just this piece of immigration reform is an impossible task. Plus, under current law, people who manage to have babies on this side of the border (who are therefore automatically U.S. citizens) have some due process rights before being chucked out, which would bog down the existing process while simultaneously encouraging people to have babies once they get here just to postpone deportation (not a good thing, in my opinion). And requiring our neighbors to fix their problems instead of shoving them on us sounds good, but I don’t think we have a very good track record on pursuasion right now.

    So that’s why I’m proposing that we don’t require people already here to return to their countries of origin to apply for guest worker status – there’s too many of them. And they aren’t stupid – they know that Congress would almost certainly not give our consulates and embassies the funding to process guest worker visas in any helpful or substantive way, so this “go back home and do it right” requirement is a no-win for them. Plus they might get screwed over even more if Congress gets the bright idea that we don’t need to give poor brown Spanish-speakers orange cards when (once they are gone) we can give them to English-speaking laborers, preferably with white skins.

    We need to plug the holes in the border – yes, great, let’s triple the number of INS staff (and pay them properly, too, BTW, because otherwise you’re not going to be able to hire enough of them) and generally beef up the whole immigration enforcement policy. I doubt that the implementation will happen properly though, just like it didn’t happen properly before, because we’re already swimming in deep deficit waters with the war in Iraq, so all of this wonderful stuff will have to be paid for by a tax increase. If fixing the problem means that we have to grant amnesty to people who have been paying taxes while they are here, then I’ll be pragmatic and say, “Let’s do it!”

    As for opening the path to citizenship for guest workers – I think that the European system of permanent guest workers kinda sucks and that we shouldn’t follow their model. The original idea was that they’d go back home after earning themselves a nice nest egg, and they haven’t. So you have a large population of people who like where they are just fine, thank you, sometimes three or four generations’ worth, and they can’t become citizens because many European countries still operate on an inheritance model for citizenship. Taxation without represenation may work in Europe, but I’m advocating a path for citizenship because I think that if you work hard and contribute to the community in a positive way and pay your taxes and so on, then it’s in our best interest to keep you vested in the American experiment by giving you an opportunity to earn the right to vote. Note that orange card workers could take 20 years or more to earn citizenship, which is not a cakewalk.

  43. 142
    Steve says:

    I am with charles #136.

    When has a giant wall ever worked for any country ? -maybe the great wall of china but that was when…

    Why is the premise that immigrants with lower education are a burden to the welfare system is a bad thing – and by extrapolation illegal immigrants are a tax to the US economy.

    I simply do not believe that those in power who profit from maintaining a disparity between rich and poor would destablize such a strong economic factor. If people in the US want to continue to maintain their high standard of living then this is the cost – YOU MUST HAVE CHEAP LABOR.

    Illegal immigration is a must.

  44. 143
    Lee says:

    Oops. I just noticed that I put illegal immigrants as 25% of the population. It should be 2.5%. Which is still a large number of people to try to round up and chuck across the border.

  45. 144
    RonF says:

    You still don’t seem to have an argument for what is wrong with having 11 million additional immigrants in the country other than ITS ILLEGAL!!111!!

    The fact that people are breaking the law is in and of itself a justification for enforcing the law, until such time as it may be changed. What distinguishes the United States from many other countries is that from it’s very origin it was based on rule of law, not rule of individual people. If we ignore lawbreakers as policy, we break the very basis of our country. We must have respect for the law or we have no effective system of government at all. Contempt for the law is not something this country can afford.

    Additionally, the ability of aliens to enter this country without our knowledge and regulation risks the entrance of criminals and terrorists, which is a national security problem. I have referenced this in previous posts. It’s also pretty obvious.

    Then there’s the fact that in areas where there are a large number of illegal aliens, various social services (health care, education, etc.) are overstressed and American citizens end up paying for these services for non-citizens.

    Private American citizens also are having their property rights violated. Their lands are trashed, fences are torn down, fires are set and get out of control, etc. They have a right to expect that the laws will be enforced and that their security will be guaranteed.

    … increase harassment against all hispanics (do you really think that isn’t the automatic result of increased attempts to catch Mexican illegal immigrants?

    On a short term basis, perhaps. But on a long term basis, people will have a much greater assurance that anyone of obviously Hispanic ancestry that they see will be in the U.S. legally, so harassment should in fact drop.

    And why aren’t we going after the millions of Canadian illegal immigrants?

    Perhaps you could give me a source that would back up your assertion that there are millions of Canadian illegal aliens?

    and on a hugely expanded prison system (even if we only imprisoned a fifth of all of the current illegal immigrants, that would require doubling the current prison system, a small price to pay to -um- take hard working, generally law abiding people off the streets)

    If we keep people from coming into the U.S. in the first place, we won’t have to lock them up. So I don’t see the need for an expanded prison system.

    and we should do this so that we can enforce our border laws, cause gosh darn it, violating our border laws is a crime. A crime I tell you, just like murder and rape.

    It is a crime. The relative penalties for violating immigration laws vs. rape and murder show that so far, the American public doesn’t think that immigration law violations are as serious, and neither do I. But they are still crimes.

    My personal fav is when you declare that undocumented immigrants are surely violating the selective service laws ’cause you say they are, ’cause they are criminals, and then you say that they shouldn’t be allowed to serve in the military when its pointed out that they are 5% of the military.

    Someone else brought up the concept that they were violating the Selective Service laws. I just agreed that it was likely that some of them were. I just whipped back through this thread to check on the 5% number you quote. Didn’t see it. Was that on another thread? I do remember stating that illegal aliens should not be allowed in the military, and I stand by that regardless of the percentage involved. I have no problem with changing immigration policies so that people who wanted to trade military service for citizenship would be allowed in the U.S. legally. But people who have snuck over the border illegally should not be allowed in the U.S. military.

    No matter how much evidence is piled on that undocumented workers behave pretty much like everyone else (some of them commit serious crimes and go to jail, some ofthem work under the table, most of them pay taxes and send their (frequently citizen) children to school, some of them join the military, some of them avoid signing up for selective service (a law so importnat that it deserves special mention, despite a complete lack of enforcement), you still insist on your fantasy that they are criminals criminals CRIMINALS.

    It’s not a fantasy. Perhaps you might look up the word in a dictionary or two and tell me how it’s not a fantasy that they are not criminals, given that they violate various American laws every day they are in the U.S. and engage in any activity that involves either employment or receipt of government-funded benefits.

    RonF, the resources necessary to find, apprehend, and deport 11 million people while simultaneously preventing more people from crossing the border into U.S. illegally are HUGE. While you didn’t state explicitly that you thought TGBW should be built, and quickly, that is what is implied by your stance (and incidentally, underlined by your colander example).

    My example was meant to illustrate that the present policy of rounding up people and throwing them back over the border is ineffective in actually reducing the number of illegal aliens in this country. I don’t see where any implication of the speed of construction exists in it. I expect that anyone here would agree that the present border is porous.

    It was bad policy not to follow through on immigration enforcement after the last amnesty, I agree, so now we have to fix the situation in a way that will keep the problem from getting worse.

    Hell, I’d like to fix it so it gets better.

    I mean, the total population of the U.S. is somewhere around 300 million, so you are proposing that we have to round up and chuck out about 25% of the people who are here,

    I don’t follow your numbers here. 25% of 300 million is 75 million. The estimates of illegal aliens in the US is 11 million. 25% of what?

    I don’t know about you, but I think unless we increase the INS to USPS size and/or allow each state to hire their own special immigrant-hunting posse or something like that, just this piece of immigration reform is an impossible task.

    There would have to be priorities. The first priority would be to get rid of any illegal alien who came to the notice of the authorities for some other reason involving violations of the law. Actively hunting people down would be a lower priority. You don’t really need a special immigrant-hunting posse; just require that a citizenship check be done on anyone who’s been arrested. Again, checking SS# vs. name/address would be a system that would seem to be practical to implement. Right now, oddly enough, there are municipalities that actually FORBID their law-enforcement personnel from informing the INS when they arrest people that they KNOW are illegal aliens. Federal law should be changed to withdraw Federal funding from any such law-enforcement body.

    Plus, under current law, people who manage to have babies on this side of the border (who are therefore automatically U.S. citizens)

    I’ve been doing some reading on that. Expect to have that issue opened back up. The writers of the 14th Amendment and the various enabling laws never intended this, and explicitly excluded the possibility that people who are here illegally would have automatic citizenship for their kids. I’ll pull up some links tomorrow on that.

    have some due process rights before being chucked out, which would bog down the existing process while simultaneously encouraging people to have babies once they get here just to postpone deportation (not a good thing, in my opinion).

    Seems to me that this is happening now.

    And requiring our neighbors to fix their problems instead of shoving them on us sounds good, but I don’t think we have a very good track record on pursuasion right now.

    Persuasion isn’t what we’re talking about. They can solve their own problems, or not. We’re just telling them that we aren’t going to be part of the solution.

    So that’s why I’m proposing that we don’t require people already here to return to their countries of origin to apply for guest worker status – there’s too many of them. And they aren’t stupid – they know that Congress would almost certainly not give our consulates and embassies the funding to process guest worker visas in any helpful or substantive way, so this “go back home and do it right” requirement is a no-win for them. Plus they might get screwed over even more if Congress gets the bright idea that we don’t need to give poor brown Spanish-speakers orange cards when (once they are gone) we can give them to English-speaking laborers, preferably with white skins.

    What Congress decides to do can be influenced by the voters. Also, it seems to me what you are saying is “Since Congress won’t allow guest workers in, let’s circumvent the law and the will of Congress by breaking the law to benefit non-citizens.” That’s not how American society is supposed to work.

    We need to plug the holes in the border … If fixing the problem means that we have to grant amnesty to people who have been paying taxes while they are here, then I’ll be pragmatic and say, “Let’s do it!”

    I’m actually willing to be persuaded that this might be the most practical approach. There would have to be very strong selection criteria regarding criminal records, background checks, employment history, long waiting periods, etc., etc. But if this is not coupled with strong and effective border security, that is actually implemented, I won’t go along with it.

    I simply do not believe that those in power who profit from maintaining a disparity between rich and poor would destablize such a strong economic factor. If people in the US want to continue to maintain their high standard of living then this is the cost – YOU MUST HAVE CHEAP LABOR. Illegal immigration is a must.

    I really think that what ends up as official sanction for illegal aliens so that we can enjoy our present standard of living (a standard that illegal aliens have a much harder time achieving) is just completely immoral. And why does cheap labor require illegal aliens?

  46. 145
    Jake Squid says:

    On a short term basis, perhaps. But on a long term basis, people will have a much greater assurance that anyone of obviously Hispanic ancestry that they see will be in the U.S. legally, so harassment should in fact drop.

    I’m sure that you don’t see the racism inherent in this statement. I see it & I’m not letting it go by unremarked.

  47. 146
    alsis39.75 says:

    So do all these law ‘n order types obsessed with the CRIMINAL behavior of illegal workers also support strong anti-discrimination laws ? Wayyy earlier in this thread, Zakia said that American-born Blacks would be happy to work at jobs which right now mostly go to illegal workers. So are we to assume that it’s a coincidence ? That these jobs just fall in the laps of Mexicans or Irish workers and that Blacks are all home watching TV, unwilling to go out and seek work ? Or would it be more reasonable to assume that the folks who hire for these jobs are practicing discrimination by favoring illegal workers over American-born Blacks.

    It would be nice if Righties would acknowledge that their fantasy of an unregulated market producing an inate meritocracy is just that, at least where the plight of American-born Blacks are concerned. Obviously, illegal workers get jobs because anti-discrimination laws and attendant penalties are either poorly enforced or non-existent. If anti-illegal worker Right Wingers truly are concerned about the plight of unemployed American Black men and women (and not just crying crocodile tears while they cynically pit two groups of the underprivileged against one another), I invite them to re-examine their stance on an unregulated or under-regulated market’s ability to magically produce a meritocracy. Either that, or I invite them in the name of consistency to admit that the all-knowing, un- or under-regulated businesses hiring Mexicans or Irish folks freshly arrived, sans documents, to these shores, are simply stating the obvious: That is, any random illegal worker obviously has more qualifications for wage work than any random American-born Black person has.

  48. 147
    Lee says:

    RonF, I corrected my 25% to 2.5% above. Typos happen.

    Enforcement of the laws on the books is the perogative of the executive branch of government. For almost the entire time this country has existed, there has been selective enforcement of these laws, as I pointed out with my speeding ticket analogy. If you’re planning to rely on arrests for other offenses as your means of winkling out illegal immigrants, then you will miss the vast majority of them. Just like people who drive their cars at speeds higher than the posted speed limit, most illegal immigrants are very law-abiding.

    RonF: “Right now, oddly enough, there are municipalities that actually FORBID their law-enforcement personnel from informing the INS when they arrest people that they KNOW are illegal aliens. Federal law should be changed to withdraw Federal funding from any such law-enforcement body.”

    First off, I think this isn’t quite correct – I think they aren’t allowed to tell the INS until after the arraignment. Secondly, in areas with large numbers of illegal immigrants, and even of recent legal immigrants, law enforcement has had to decide which is more important for the well-being of the community – chasing after illegal immigrants or solving crimes committed within those communities. Some municipalities have decided it’s more important to go after the crimes they are authorized to enforce (rape, theft, assault, murder, etc.) than to rat out people to the INS; in order to solve these crimes, however, they have to guarantee that witnesses will not be punished (i.e., deported or otherwise harrassed by the INS) for coming forward. Sometimes they also have to promise they won’t tell the INS about arrests because that could lead to the whole extended family being rounded up (or at least, that is the fear). This wouldn’t be an issue if immigration laws were being properly enforced (see above), but when local police have been explicitly told for years by INS that they are only interested in drug dealers, why waste taxpayer dollars by doing the catch-and-release thing? Why even bother telling the INS (which takes time and money) if the INS can’t or won’t do anything about it? Withholding federal funding from local law enforcement for doing the best they can with a situation created by a federal agency is illogical at best.

    IMO, for your concept to work, everybody would have to have their proof of citizenship with them at all times, because it’s a crime to be here illegally – the police would be able to check up anybody at any time, ’cause you might be a criminal, you don’t look American to me! I don’t think this would prevent people from crossing the border illegally – I think this would encourage identity theft and forged documentation and a big old (untaxed) underground economy. To switch analogies, your model is like advocating the return of Prohibition, which I’m sure you’d agree was a totally successful experiment in selective enforcement.

  49. 148
    Robert says:

    Alsis, many employers would rather hire illegal immigrants than black Americans because of anti-discrimination laws.

  50. 149
    alsis39.75 says:

    Come again ?

  51. 150
    Robert says:

    Let’s say I am an unscrupulous employer. I don’t mind evading or ignoring the law. Let’s also assume I am a rational actor.

    I need someone to shell beans in my bean-shelling plant. Shelling beans is a low-skill job with no advancement prospects. I would put in a robot to do it but the economic value of bean-shelling is too low. It’s cheap human labor or nothing.

    Owing to the demographics of my region, I have basically two choices for cheap human labor: I can hire a Mexican illegally, or I can hire a black American legally.

    If the person I hire doesn’t work out, it’s easy to get rid of a Mexican illegal. I just kick him or her out, and threaten “La Migra” if I get any lip. It’s harder to get rid of the black American. Anti-discrimination laws give that person legal tools they can use against me.

    If I get caught hiring the illegal, I might get a slap on the wrist. More likely, I’ll get nothing. There isn’t much of a downside. A wrongful termination lawsuit, on the other hand, could cause me no end of problems.

    I agree with the intention behind anti-discrimination laws, but in terms of the practical incentives they create, they reduce the attractiveness of low-skilled blacks compared with the other options.

  52. 151
    alsis39.75 says:

    I have a hard time believing that the average bean-sheller, of any color, is going to have an easy time bringing an anti-discrimination lawsuit against you for firing them. Frankly, even if they could, it should not be any excuse for breaking the law. Or do you only believe that “criminal” illegal workers should be punished, not their “criminal” employers.” Aren’t you free-market=freedom-loving types all about the joys of risking the vagaries of free enterprise ? Do you believe that risk comes with the territory and enhances one’s character in an ideal, worship-the-individualist society, or don’t you ?

    If the average employer of bean-shellers really believed your version, Robert, I’m thinking that they’d be routinely inviting Union organizers into their factories and fields instead of spending millions to beat them back and to uphold anti-Union laws. Then instead of feeling like they were helpless against the big, bad, low-wage bean-picker, they’d have his/her wages being spent in part to employ a trained go-between that would hammer out the exact terms of what constituted discrimination and make such suits less likely. Not impossible, but less likely.

    Also, to believe your version, I’d have to believe that historically, employers did not cynically pit new immigrants (legal or otherwise) against American-born Blacks in the decades that preceded the few anti-discrimination laws we have. Anyone who watched “The Killing Floor” in Labor Studies class can tell you that contention is just so much bushwa.

  53. 152
    Robert says:

    Believe what you like. Incentives affect behavior.

  54. 153
    RonF says:

    Alsis, about 10 years ago I was hiring for a technical position. I interviewed about 5 people. My boss asked me how it was going. Then she cautioned me that I should be very careful in considering hiring a black person. When I asked why, she answered “Because they are a lot harder to fire if they don’t work out.”

  55. 154
    RonF says:

    Labor Studies class? What’s the curriculum for such a course?

    I have a hard time believing that the average bean-sheller, of any color, is going to have an easy time bringing an anti-discrimination lawsuit against you for firing them.

    Easy, no. Easier, yes. We’re talking about the employer managing relative risk, not just absolute risk.

    Frankly, even if they could, it should not be any excuse for breaking the law.

    I agree completely.

    Or do you only believe that “criminal” illegal workers should be punished, not their “criminal” employers.

    No. In fact, I think the penalties should be much harsher for the latter than the former.

  56. 155
    alsis39.75 says:

    Robert, I don’t know what incentives have got to do with it. To me, it appears that what you desire for employers is absolute authority but no absolute responsibility for the ramifications of their choices. My goal is more along the lines of responsibility in proportion to the power the employer wields over the employee.

    RonF, your annecdote and $2.50 worth of quarters will buy me a soy chai. Shall we sit here and trade annecdotes until the thread doubles in length ? In any case, I don’t automatically assume that an employer’s definition of “not working out” excludes the possibility that they are racist.

  57. 156
    Robert says:

    Alsis, I haven’t written a word about what I desire for employers. I have written about the incentives presented to employers by the law. The realistic potential downside to hiring a black American can be large, while the realistic potential downside to hiring an illegal alien is pretty small.

    This is empirical. It has nothing to do with what I want.

  58. 157
    RonF says:

    O.K., Lee, I see your point regarding the cops (for example) passing up enforcing immigration law in order to get the coopration of a witness to a murder.

    ID theft and forged docs are already a big industry. So is an underground untaxed economy. For an example of the first, look at the recent arrests that were announced yesterday, where a majority of the people arrested had bogus SSNs. But, again, if employers were given access to a system whereby they could verify SSNs against addresses and names, all any person would have to do is to prove residence and give their SSN, which they were supposed to have done in the first place when they got hired. You have a hell of a time these days walking around without a document that proves your residence anyway.

    If the focus was limited to people who are detained by the police because they cops have arrested, as opposed to questioning witnesses, etc., then people who hadn’t committed a crime would have no reason to worry that the cops would be turning them in. But people who are here illegally SHOULD have to worry that they will be found out and deported.

  59. 158
    alsis39.75 says:

    Labor Studies class? What’s the curriculum for such a course?

    Some of the links here may help, RonF. Go to town:

    http://www.afscme.org/otherlnk/weblnk04.htm

    Easy, no. Easier, yes. We’re talking about the employer managing relative risk, not just absolute risk.

    IOW, you’re talking about how the emplyor’s word that “it’s just not working out, but I’m not a racist or anything” should be the final word, even if the employee knows that he/she lives in a racist society and vehemently disagrees. Like Robert, you seemingly want employers to have all of the power but no attendent responsiblities.

    At any rate, I don’t really want to play War of the Annecdotes, but my observation has been that it’s not easy under any circumstances for an employee to sue their employer, for any reason. It’s not as if being fired under contested circumstances was a winning scratch ticket for the person fired. I hope that’s not what you’re implying.

  60. 159
    alsis39.75 says:

    If it has nothing to do with what you want, Robert, why did you frame your original scenario in the first person ?

    Would you hire a recent immigrant with murky paperwork over a documented native-born person of color, or wouldn’t you ? If both scenarios are too risky, why would you be in business ? Is there is a point at which the risks borne of a low salary and the quality of worker it brings in would justify raising the starting salary in hopes of getting more motivated workers– of all races ?

    That, to me, is a more understandable use of the word “incentive.”

    Continually using the term “incentives” as you do seems like sugar-coating to me. It seems to me that the employer wants to have his cake and eat it, too. I don’t go for it.

  61. 160
    Robert says:

    What difference does it make whether it’s easy to sue or not, Alsis? The question from the employer’s perspective is risk and cost. An employee who has protection under anti-discrimination statutes has a greater ability to launch a lawsuit than an employee who lacks such protection. That’s the risk – the constant hazard of that suit. The cost comes in from the fact that a discrimination suit is expensive to defend against.

    That it isn’t particularly likely to happen in the case of any particular employee is moot. No particular person is likely to hit the lottery, either, but a lot of people play, and its economically predictable how the numbers will come out. It’s economically predictable that someone hiring black Americans is likely to end up getting a bigger shaft than someone who hires illegal immigrants instead.

  62. 161
    RonF says:

    What is not a crime is having immigrants demonstrate their desire for civil rights,

    Blac(k)ademic, what civil rights do you think are being withheld from immigrants? What civil rights do you think are being witheld from illegal aliens?

  63. 162
    Robert says:

    It seems to me that the employer wants to have his cake and eat it, too. I don’t go for it.

    You don’t have to go for it. Your opinions and your views of what is reasonable or unreasonable are all completely immaterial to the incentives facing an employer, unless you’re the employer. Many employers prefer to hire illegals over blacks. There are some sound economic reasons for that preference, particularly at certain skill levels and job expectations. Your disapproval of those reasons does not abrogate their explanatory power.

    I phrased my scenario in the first person because it was literarily convenient, and under that conceit I can discuss opinions or feelings possessed by an employer without tedious circumlocutions. Apparently that was confusing; my apologies for the misdirection.

    As far as my personal hiring habits go, I do not hire low-skill individuals; my business is predicated on my management time and the return from managing low-skill individuals isn’t sufficient to cover my time. As far as race goes, I do not collect that information; with the exception of one blogger I hired who has a picture on her site, I do not know the race of anyone working for me.

  64. 163
    RonF says:

    IOW, you’re talking about how the emplyor’s word that “it’s just not working out, but I’m not a racist or anything” should be the final word, even if the employee knows that he/she lives in a racist society and vehemently disagrees. Like Robert, you seemingly want employers to have all of the power but no attendent responsiblities.

    I really would like to see what you think I said that meant that.

    At any rate, I don’t really want to play War of the Annecdotes, but my observation has been that it’s not easy under any circumstances for an employee to sue their employer, for any reason. It’s not as if being fired under contested circumstances was a winning scratch ticket for the person fired. I hope that’s not what you’re implying.

    No, it’s no winning scratch ticket for the fired person. But it doesn’t have to be. The employer isn’t just considering whether a suing ex-employee will win the suit; they’re considering how much money they’d have to spend if 1 out of 100 ex-employees sued and the employer successfully defended themselves. There’s litigation costs, community goodwill lost, attention drawn to their hiring practices, etc.

  65. 164
    alsis39.75 says:

    What difference does it make whether it’s easy to sue or not, Alsis? The question from the employer’s perspective is risk and cost. An employee who has protection under anti-discrimination statutes has a greater ability to launch a lawsuit than an employee who lacks such protection. That’s the risk – the constant hazard of that suit. The cost comes in from the fact that a discrimination suit is expensive to defend against.

    That’s one hell of a Gordanian knot you’ve made, Robert. C’mon. Is the risk of a racial lawsuit from a native-born individual minute, or not ? If it is, do you regard it as justifiable grounds for breaking the law ? If it’s actually a signifigant, rather than minute risk, does it justify breaking the law ? There are all kinds of risks that are part of running a business.

    That it isn’t particularly likely to happen in the case of any particular employee is moot. No particular person is likely to hit the lottery, either, but a lot of people play, and its economically predictable how the numbers will come out. It’s economically predictable that someone hiring black Americans is likely to end up getting a bigger shaft than someone who hires illegal immigrants instead.

    This paragraph, too, contradicts both itself and your earlier point. Either the risk of a suit is “likely” or it’s “minute.” Please pick one. And while you’re at it, please clarify if you believe that employees should assume risks if they want to work whereas employers should not.

  66. 165
    RonF says:

    Is there is a point at which the risks borne of a low salary and the quality of worker it brings in would justify raising the starting salary in hopes of getting more motivated workers – of all races?

    From a purely economic viewpoint, maybe not. Depends on the value of the labor vs. the cost of dealing with any legal problems that may ensue. For a high-value labor situation, it pays to get an H1-B visa. For a low-value labor situation (shelling beans), a purely economic assessment might point to hiring an illegal alien over a low-skilled American citizen; even a low-skilled non-minority American citizen who has no reason to invoke anti-discrimination laws. No matter how highly skilled you are, you can only shell so many beans in an hour. Again, we are positing an amoral employer here who doesn’t care that violating labor and immigration laws is wrong; all he or she cares about is weighing cost vs. value vs. risk.

  67. 166
    alsis39.75 says:

    I really would like to see what you think I said that meant that…

    No, it’s no winning scratch ticket for the fired person. But it doesn’t have to be. The employer isn’t just considering whether a suing ex-employee will win the suit; they’re considering how much money they’d have to spend if 1 out of 100 ex-employees sued and the employer successfully defended themselves. There’s litigation costs, community goodwill lost, attention drawn to their hiring practices, etc.

    Paragraph 2, meet Sentence 1.

    Read some of the blogs by POCs linked to in this space. I have, and I don’t believe that the employer’s right to live without risks borne of racial privilege should trump the employees right to live without risks borne of being a person of color in a racist society.

  68. 167
    Robert says:

    We are talking about RELATIVE risk, Alsis. The magnitude of the risk differential between two employees isn’t particularly important to the question of whether there is a discernible, and actionable, incentive for the employer to move in one direction or another. Whether the premium is $25 or $2500, it exists, and it will affect decisions. Ceteris parabus, it can be decisive; as the binary decision is “hire this guy or hire that guy”, the difference can be infinitesimal and still result in a macro-level choice which always leans to one side.

    You ask what I assess the real risk of a lawsuit to be; that’s a tricky one to answer. If you hire 100 people, and the risk of a suit over a career for each such person is one tenth of one percent, the net probability of at least one lawsuit in that group is about 10 percent. In a glorious-case scenario where you only have to pay your lawyer because you are virtuous and never discriminate and the court buys it, you’re going to drop maybe 10 Gs (which is wildly optimistic). That’s a back-of-the-envelope risk premium of 10,000 * 0.1 / 100 = $10 per person. It costs $10 more to hire the protected guy than the unprotected guy – in this best of all possible worlds.

    If the risk is one percent per career, and you end up getting screwed out of $250G (which seems like a good conservative estimate) the premium is 250,000 * 0.64 / 100 = $1600 per person.

    Does this justify breaking the law? No. So what? People do it anyway.

    I don’t understand your question about risks. Everyone has to bear risks to go on existing.

  69. 168
    RonF says:

    Interesting set of links. I looked at a couple just now. One (Cornelll) course of study seems to be for people who are going into corporate management or labor law, where they are learning how to understand and apply labor law from a corporate viewpoint or as an attorney. The other (San Jose City College) seems to focus entirely on educating advocates for workers (whether here legally or not) on how to fight for rights for workers though organizing them and appealing to public opinion. I’d have to look at a few more, but it seems a rather broad scope.

    What is the movie Killing Floor about?

  70. 169
    alsis39.75 says:

    Robert:

    I don’t understand your question about risks. Everyone has to bear risks to go on existing.

    I think that you do understand. In your original response to my post about Zakia’s earlier comment, I wanted to know whether you, or others like you, could entertain a belief that de-regulation bringing about a better world of meritocracy galore might be wrong. It was you who claimed that the employer was bound to break the law, and end up condoning other lawbreaking actions that you claim to dislike, becuase the employer’s risks were too great otherwise. It was you that blamed anti-discrimination laws for this. By implication then, the risks of being a White boss outweigh the risks of being a native-born Black person living in a White-dominated society.

    I have now gone on record several times as finding that impossible to swallow. The flipside of privilege is responsibility, or it ought to be. Those who claim to chafe under the burden of responsibility should perhaps re-examine their privileges. Perhaps they should explore more ways to relinquish some of that privilege, if they dislike the Kipling-esque burdens that –at least according to what you and RonF have written, appear to be the logical outgrowth of White privilege.

    Or not. [shrug] I’ve made my point as best I can. Now I need some fresh air. Excuse me.

    RonF:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087554/

    I took a couple of night classes in Labor Studies back in 1986-7, at Rutgers. The programs appear to have gotten a lot more sophisticated since then.

  71. 170
    Robert says:

    I wanted to know whether you, or others like you, could entertain a belief that de-regulation bringing about a better world of meritocracy galore might be wrong.

    Well, if it actually is meritocracy, then no, that wouldn’t be wrong.

    It was you who claimed that the employer was bound to break the law

    No I didn’t.

    You are mistaking explication for apologia.

    …and end up condoning other lawbreaking actions that you claim to dislike, becuase the employer’s risks were too great otherwise. It was you that blamed anti-discrimination laws for this.

    I didn’t blame anything for anything. I said that many employers prefer to hire illegals over blacks because anti-discrimination law makes the illegals less risky in some circumstances. That’s a description of a heuristic being followed by a thinking being, not an instance of “blame”.

    By implication then, the risks of being a White boss outweigh the risks of being a native-born Black person living in a White-dominated society.

    Who said anything about the color of the employer’s skin? Non-white people get sued for discrimination too, you know.

    It’s invalid to compare risks in the fashion you’re attempting. As a species, we generally weigh our own risks. Other people’s risks are other people’s problems. Pretty much every single person on Earth acts in accordance with the incentives set before THEM – not the incentives set before other people.

    The flipside of privilege is responsibility, or it ought to be. Those who claim to chafe under the burden of responsibility should perhaps re-examine their privileges. Perhaps they should explore more ways to relinquish some of that privilege, if they dislike the Kipling-esque burdens…

    What the heck are you talking about? Nobody is chafing under any burden. All this is your own injection into the conversation. All Ron or I have done is discuss a non-controversial case of a perverse incentive.

  72. 171
    RonF says:

    Perhaps I should see this film. The thing to remember, though, is that it’s a film.

    Summary: Black workers from the South migrate North during WWI to look for jobs left vacant by people going off to war. They were often relegated to the most undesirable jobs and faced some prejudice. Some of them join the local labor unions and find themselves being paid substantially more than they would have if they had stayed in the South. After the war ends, the labor union loses influence as there are men who want their jobs back that these workers filled. We see employers using race to try to break up the union and there are accurate depictions of the Chicago race riots that occurred in 1919. There were massive strikewaves after WWI when many workers were laid off or had their wages cut. This film is useful to anyone interested in the labor movement.

    How much of this movie was dramatization and how much was documentary? I’m not saying that these people didn’t face predjudice; of course they did. Many were killed due to it. I’ve lived around Chicago for about 35 years now, have read some history, and read the paper every day. But I get suspicious of films; even straight documentaries sometimes don’t resist stretching the truth to make an advocacy or dramatic point, and I don’t know if this film was intended to be documentary or drama. How factual is this film believed to be?

  73. 172
    RonF says:

    Summary:

    You said to me:

    IOW, you’re talking about how the emplyor’s word that “it’s just not working out, but I’m not a racist or anything” should be the final word, even if the employee knows that he/she lives in a racist society and vehemently disagrees. Like Robert, you seemingly want employers to have all of the power but no attendent responsiblities.

    I asked where you think I said that, and you printed out this paragraph that I wrote:

    “No, it’s no winning scratch ticket for the fired person. But it doesn’t have to be. The employer isn’t just considering whether a suing ex-employee will win the suit; they’re considering how much money they’d have to spend if 1 out of 100 ex-employees sued and the employer successfully defended themselves. There’s litigation costs, community goodwill lost, attention drawn to their hiring practices, etc.”

    I don’t follow. How does that paragraph say that I think that an employer should have the right to hire illegal aliens in preference to black Americans, or to hire or fire employees in violation of anti-discrimination laws, or for “employers to have all of the power but no attendent responsiblities”?

  74. 173
    RonF says:

    My point is, this is what people do. Show me where I say that it’s either legal or moral. In fact, in posts 132, 135 and 151 I make points to the contrary.

  75. 174
    alsis39.75 says:

    Robert wrote:

    You are mistaking explication for apologia.

    Oh ?

    Alsis, many employers would rather hire illegal immigrants than black Americans because of anti-discrimination laws.

    If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, etc…

    Does this justify breaking the law? No. So what? People do it anyway.

    Yep. And I had invited, earlier in this thread, the folks of your political stripe to question why the bulk of retaliation for law breaking should rest low on the food chain rather than higher. I realize that you and Ron won’t, but who know ? Perhaps some lurker out there will.

    I had also attempted to invite folks like Zakia to consider those who hire illegal workers as visible, rather than invisible factors in the equation. As I said wayyyyyyy earlier, the trouble with opinions like Ms. Cannick’s is that they do indeed treat illegal workers as holding all the cards in this little poker tournament. When in fact, they do not. End of story on that, thank you for your time, etc.

    Who said anything about the color of the employer’s skin? Non-white people get sued for discrimination too, you know.

    Oy. Robert, let’s assume that most bosses are White. Unless you’d like to trot out statistics proving otherwise, eh ?

    It’s invalid to compare risks in the fashion you’re attempting.

    Dude, I wasn’t the one who trotted out the comparitive risk of hiring a Mexican illegal to shell beans vs. an American-born Black to do it because I dislike against anti-discrimination laws. You were.

    Other people’s risks are other people’s problems. Pretty much every single person on Earth acts in accordance with the incentives set before THEM – not the incentives set before other people.

    What I love is that you invoke the “each-man-is-an-island” schtick here, even though the very existence of this thread demonstrates what nonsense that POV is. We are talking about illegal workers, folks who were expressly not invited to this country –except perhaps under the table– to do anything. How strange that you assume them as a group to have incentives presented to them on a silver platter. Later, you go on to make your comparison of the inherent risk of hiring an illegal Mexican worker vs. hiring a native-born Black worker. There may be regions of the country where these two people are not aware of each other’s existence, but I doubt that there are that many such regions left at this point. In any case, either potential employee would certainly be aware of their superior’s existence, since the superior is standing right in front of the worker deciding whether or not he/she will work. People who end up doing mindless work for a living aren’t de facto idiots who are incapable of realizing that other people’s interests directly effect their own interests. Again, that’s pretty much the point of this entire thread. Yeesh.

    Nobody is chafing under any burden.

    Except the burden of anti-discrimination laws. Or so you say.

  76. 175
    alsis39.75 says:

    RonF:

    I don’t follow. How does that paragraph say that I think that an employer should have the right to hire illegal aliens in preference to black Americans, or to hire or fire employees in violation of anti-discrimination laws, or for “employers to have all of the power but no attendent responsiblities”?

    Fine. I retract my earlier speculation as to what you think of employer practices regarding immigrants over American-born Blacks, or vice versa. The fact remains that you mentioned the annecdote of your own accord, without any deliberate prompting from me. If your point was not to express sympathy for your boss and the attendent fear of the big, bad, angry POC who was likely to sue on a whim (not out of a real sense of deprivation, unfairness or justified anger, but rather to cause trouble or to trash some well-meaning employer’s rep), what was your point in bringing it up ?

    But I get suspicious of films; even straight documentaries sometimes don’t resist stretching the truth to make an advocacy or dramatic point, and I don’t know if this film was intended to be documentary or drama. How factual is this film believed to be?

    I hope you’re suspicious of every film you see then, since what you are describing is the goal of most filmmakers: To tell a dramatic and moving story even if it doesn’t unfold exactly as it would in a comparable real-life situation. If you want to stack up the film’s depiction of events against real-life accounts, my advice would be to hit the library or Amazon.

  77. 176
    Robert says:

    Alsis, you label this:
    Alsis, many employers would rather hire illegal immigrants than black Americans because of anti-discrimination laws.

    an apologia.

    Could you please explain how?

    To me it appears to be a neutral description of what is motivating some people. I don’t see a syllable in there that comes from me.

    Oy. Robert, let’s assume that most bosses are White. Unless you’d like to trot out statistics proving otherwise, eh ?

    I imagine that most employers in the US are white. Most people in the US are white.

    The incentive structures set up (including by anti-discrimination laws) function universally. They do not discriminate by skin color. Black employers, Asian employers, white employers, Hispanic employers, native employers – all of them have similar decisions to make, and all of them are presented with similar incentive structures.

  78. 177
    Brandon Berg says:

    Charles:
    If the equation of black = stupid and poor = stupid and unable to get out of the city = stupid, and black = criminal and, hell, stupid = criminal and the continued propogation of the “New Orleans collapsed into lawlessness because it was full of black people” myth, doesn’t strike you as racist and classist, well, all I can say is you set the bar pretty high.

    That’s not at all what the argument is. The argument is that the mean IQ of the people remaining in New Orleans after the storm was significantly (perhaps by one standard deviation or more) below the mean IQ of the people living there prior to the storm, and that this may have been a contributory factor (not the only one) to the collapse of society following the storm.

    No one said that “black = stupid.” The idea is that most of the more intelligent people—black or white—got out before the storm hit, leaving behind a population which was substantially less intelligent on average.

    What exactly do you object to in this line of reasoning? Do you doubt that the people who left were, on average, no more intelligent than the ones who stayed? Do you doubt that there’s a negative correlation between IQ and criminal behavior?

  79. 178
    RonF says:

    I am, in fact, suspicious of every film I watch that purports to be non-fictional. I’m not much of a movie goer, though. I might see 6 films a year, tops, and I rarely go to one that dramatizes historical events.

    I quoted the anecdote I did to show that I had a real-life experience of an employer desiring to avoid hiring a black person because they were afraid they’d be harder to fire than a non-black. I thought it was germane. I can’t offer an opinion on what she thought of black people in non-employment scenarios.

    What’s a POC? I meant to ask you before ….

  80. 179
    Tuomas says:

    What’s a POC?

    Unless I’m completely misguided, it is Person Of Color.

    Btw, I also think that the problem of illegal immigration is in large part caused by employers hiring illegal immigrants, and the fact that they are not penalized by doing so. The whole problem is of incentives: The incentives of employers and of illegal immigrants. In other words: Both benefit from illegal immigration to the U.S. (and U.S citizens suffer).

  81. 180
    alsis39.75 says:

    Could you please explain how?

    Ummm… no. Don’t try to divert me, Robert. You can call your mention of anti-discrimination laws buttermilk waffle mix for all I care. It smells of excuses to me, and I don’t go for it. End of story.

    all of them have similar decisions to make, and all of them are presented with similar incentive structures.

    How nice that you have such great insight into the lives of other races. Oddly enough, I think I’d prefer to hear from them rather than you about such things. Are you implying that the demands of being a boss actually override those of all other social or economic factors, including class and race ? Beware, Robert, you’ll become more of a Marxist than I could ever hope to be, if you keep this up. :p

    Anyway, I’m done here. You can have the last word. Enjoy.

  82. 181
    alsis39.75 says:

    RonF:

    I thought it was germane.

    But it had the appearance of sympathy for a White employer over a Black employee. Never mind then. My mistake.

    And yes, “POC” = People of Color. Read some blogs by Blacks, Latinos, Asians, et al. You’ll see it quite a lot.

  83. 182
    Charles says:

    Yes, Brandon, I doubt that the people who stayed were meaningfully stupider than the people who left (note that the Gene Expression piece actually got its largest drop in intelligence by assuming that the 18% of people who stayed were the least intelligent 18%, a simply absurd assumption). Likewise, I doubt that correlation between low intelligence and criminal behavior is at all relevant. Even granting that stupider people are more liklely to be criminals, the proportion of stupid people who are criminals is still going to be small enough to be irrelevant to society collapsing as a result.

    So, the piece took the racist fantasy that New Orleans collapsed into criminality in the wake of Hurricane Katrina (it didn’t) and then claimed that a significant part of the explaination came from the fact that black people are stupid, and that stupid people (and therefore black people) are criminals. It couched it in statistical language, but only in gross and slovenly fashion (see the 18% who stayed = the stupidest 18% of the population). Had it actually worked out the math in a meaningful fashion, I doubt that the proportional increase in crime rate expected would be at all relevant to the collapse of the infrustructure of New Orleans (particularly since the actual collapse of infrustructure had nothing to do with an actual increase in crime).

    So the Gene Expression writer made a weak argument (marginal decrease in IQ might correlate to marginal increase in crime rate, although those sorts of multistep uses of weak correlations are no where near inherently valid) to try to explain an event that only actually happened in the collective racist imagination of America, and used racist ideology (black = stupid = criminal) to make it seem as though it had any significant explanitory power. So, the article took a racist myth, treated it as truth, and did a very weak job of explaining it by using vaguely racist and extremely weak arguments that were then magnified into a strong argument by the addition of racist ideology (and some very sloppy and highly classist assumptions as well). That is why I thought it could reasonably be described as a racist argument, and one that suggested that someone who linked to it approvingly should be considered a racist.

    I’m not going to bother to argue the question of whether or why black people have a lower average score on IQ tests than white people. I don’t find it particularly interesting or relevant.

  84. 183
    RonF says:

    Btw, I also think that the problem of illegal immigration is in large part caused by employers hiring illegal immigrants, and the fact that they are not penalized by doing so. The whole problem is of incentives: The incentives of employers and of illegal immigrants. In other words: Both benefit from illegal immigration to the U.S. (and U.S citizens suffer).

    Supply and demand, Tuomas. Choke off the demand and there’s no economic incentive to creating a supply.

    What constitutes the true source of the demand is worth considering, though. How many suburbanites turn a blind eye towards who’s mowing their lawns and taking care of their kids? How many corporations are disavowing any responsibility for who’s cleaning their buildings and maintaining their landscaping by saying, “oh, those are subcontractors”. Time to start holding those folks responsible.

  85. 184
    RonF says:

    Brandon, I’ve spoken to people who once lived in the area. It seems that in past storms, property owners have followed recommendations and left only to find their properties vandalized and looted when they returned. So many stayed and armed themselves to protect their property.