Cartoon: Ten Reasons We Want To Kick Out The Dreamers

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I do a fair number of cartoons about immigration, because it’s an issue that drives me up the wall; the anti-immigration position seems not only lacking in compassion, but in any connection to pragmatic reality.

But the controversy over the Dreamers – over immigrants who were taken to the US as children and grew up in the US – seems especially mean, and thus especially infuriating. It’s simply cruel to take people who have been in the US virtually all their lives (the average person using the DACA program was five years old when brought to the US) and send them to a “home” country they might not even have memories of.

And the argument from character – “they deserve to be deported because they are bad lawbreaking people” – which I don’t think holds up well in any case – is particularly ridiculous when discussing people brought to the US as minors.


Title: TEN REASONS WE WANT TO KICK OUT THE DREAMERS

Panel 1
This panels shows a white man and woman, who look like a married suburban couple, standing behind a picket fence. The man is speaking angrily.
MAN: Because someone who spends the first year of their life abroad and 20 years here has no real connection to the U.S.!

Panel 2
A white man in a black jacket stands flipping frantically through a book.
MAN: Because the Bible tells us to treat our neighbors like shit! Especially the least well off! (It’s in here somewhere…)

Panel 3
A white woman stands behind a counter with a cash register on it. She is shrugging. Dollar bills are fluttering through the air around her.
WOMAN: Because I have no use for the money dreamers spend at my store! (What’s this stuff even for?)

Panel 4
A white man with a tidy beard stands in a park, giving the viewer the finger.
MAN: Because pissing off the libtards is reason enough!

Panel 5
A white man with hair sticking straight out and huge eyes is yelling, sweat flying from his face, in an extreme close-up.
MAN: Because people born in other countries are evil! EEEVVILLLLL!

Panel 6
Donald Trump, wearing a suit and tie and holding a pen up, speaks.
TRUMP: It’s all about the rule of law! Now excuse me while I pardon Joe Arpaio!

Panel 7
An alien, with inhumanly red skin, four arms, and a triangle shaped head with no nose or ears and only one eye, speaks cheerily. The alien is giving a thumbs up with one hand and holding a coffee mug with a smily face design in the other. The alien’s hands have eight fingers each.
ALIEN: Because like most evil aliens from Neptune, I thrive on the needless suffering of others!

Panel 8
A white woman with a knit hat and a blue shirt stands on a residential street of a city.
WOMAN: Because by adding $400 billion to the economy, they’re leaching off of REAL Americans!

Panel 9
A nice office, with an American flag on a pole, a large desk, and an executive style chair. A bald white man is hiding behind the desk; all we can see of him is his eyes and upper head, peeking out from behind the desk. He’s talking quietly.
MAN: Because my voters frighten me.

Panel 10
Two white men wearing white robes are speaking. One is middle-aged and balding; the other is young and has read hair. Both are trying to hide KKK hoods behind their back.
MAN 1: It’s definitely NOT because most Dreamers are brown!
MAN 2: GOSH no!

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75 Responses to Cartoon: Ten Reasons We Want To Kick Out The Dreamers

  1. 1
    RonF says:

    I think that someone who was brought here as a child, knows no other country, sees America as their home and is assimilated into American culture should get a path to citizenship after meeting reasonable criteria. I also think that the assumption of legislative power by the President that DACA represents is unconstitutional, is extremely dangerous for America and it must be stopped. I don’t see how to resolve the two without suffering unless Congress gets its shit together in the next 6 months.

  2. 2
    Jeff says:

    You have to stop believing everything you read in Salon, Barry. You have this awful habit of regurgitating progressive talking points without even the least bit of scruitiny, and that means you produce things that aren’t true, and it leads your readers to believe things that aren’t true. You are fake news.

    Take the four billion figure. I just want to write that out with all the zeroes: $400,000,000,000. It’s a made up number. There are less than 800,000 dreamers. They don’t add more than five million dollars to the economy each.

    Even if you want to work with the theory that dollars circulate within the economy, and you want to pretend that they make the average American wage of $50,000, there’s no school of economics that even suggests that every dollar spent recirculates 100 full times. I mean, if that were true, the 6 trillion dollars in Salaries and Wages earned in the US would translate to an economy of 6 hundred trillion dollars. Now… I know GDP is a deeply flawed number, but just for reference, America’s GDP is 19 trillion dollars. So we can quibble about overstated or understated line items or the shadow market all you want but you aren’t going to get to 32 times the measure of the GDP.

    I’m just saying.

  3. 3
    David Simon says:

    RonF, can you be more specific on which “reasonable criteria” should apply?

  4. 4
    nobody.really says:

    [C]an you be more specific on which “reasonable criteria” should apply?

    At least five out of ten from the freethrow line. At least.

  5. 5
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Anyone who was willing to risk their life for the USA, and who we trusted enough to hand them a gun and allow to serve in the military, and who was not dishonorably discharged, should get citizenship, right now. There are no necessary trade-offs for that one and frankly I’m amazed that nobody has seized that obvious political win.

    As for everyone else: the DACA criteria are… well, they are not super strict. Especially when it comes to bad behavior.

    Certainly if you were choosing 800,000 potential citizens out of a pool of millions of wannabes, you could easily find ones without any criminal history, especially if they were minors. If you read a chart like this describing DACA disqualifications it may seem like we are barring people for a lot of stuff, but if you go to court for a while you will see that there is a lot of very bad stuff which comes in under those limits. I would tend to lower the limits and create two separate classes.

    Anyway, DACA is not viewed in a vacuum so it depends on things like this:

    1) To what degree can we be assured that this would not create more copycats who hope for similar treatment? This is the big, obvious, elephant in the room. Yes, I know, many of the pro-DACA folks don’t actually care about this part but for the purposes of negotiations they should probably act like they do, in order to get to a compromise.

    2) To what degree can we generally stop more illegal immigration? (same caveat)

    and so on.

    At the lowest level of compromise, the DACA folks would get something like the status quo: “you can stay; you need to remain on good behavior for fear of deportation; you need to pay taxes; you are not becoming citizens; you get no special advantages over anyone else who wants to be here but we won’t deport you so long as you’re well behaved.” This is also the appropriate status for anyone who has used their DACA status to commit a disqualifying crime; they can check again in a decade.

    At the low-middle level, DACA folks would get green cards for life, but never citizenship, probably with some special provision which would prevent the parents (who caused the problem) from ever riding the coat-tails to get anything.

    At the high-middle level, DACA folks would get green cards with the same chance at citizenship as everyone else who has green cards, with or without the parent-provision.

    At the highest level of compromise, the DACA folks would get full citizenship, or green cards with some sort of priority.

  6. 6
    Ampersand says:

    Hey Jeff slash Humble Talent:

    Your entire first paragraph is nothing but ad hom. That’s boring, and against the stated goals of this forum. Please do better.

    The $400 billion estimate comes from taking the conclusions from this report (pdf link), which estimates what would happen to the US economy if all unauthorized immigrants were removed, and reducing it to account for just the number of dreamers. If you want to discuss this, you can start by actually familiarizing yourself with the methodology of the estimate, and responding to that. (Here’s one point to get you started: the $400 billion is a ten-year figure, not an annual figure.)

    CAP is a liberal think tank. However, the very conservative CATO estimated the loss at $280 billion, so that gives a picture of the range we’re talking about.

  7. 7
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    The “economic benefit” argument is silly. If you were focused on the economy then you would simply deport the DACA folks and admit the equivalent number of (fully legal) H1-B immigrants. I do not think we should do that, but it properly illustrates the issues with this argument.

    As per the CATO paper, the difference would generate a roughly $241 billion increase in GDP over the DACA folks, and a roughly $63 billion increase in collected taxes.

    300 billion here and there and eventually you’re talking about real money.
    That is 30B/year, which is, for example, about equal to the entire U.S. budget spending on science. It is a bit more than the entire amount the U.S. spends on foreign economic and development aid.

    Imagine an uncomfortable , quick choice: would you rather help the DACA folks over the H-1B, or would you rather kick out the DACA folks in favor of the H-1Bs–in which case you can double foreign aid (think of all the poor people you would help!) or double the science budget (global warming!).

    Anyway, this sort of thing is why so many people think we should pick and choose who we admit: if you’re going to let people in, they should arguably be people who help us most.

    And when it comes to DACA, I don’t think that paper is very compelling.

  8. 8
    JutGory says:

    Here would be my reason for kicking out “Dreamers,” apart from the fact that my firm makes a majority of its money from immigration work (which is also one of the best reasons for passing some form of Dream Act, too):

    The effect of moving 800,000 American-educated youths to Mexico (I know, they are not all from Mexico) would likely have a beneficial and transformative effect on that country. Mexico would probably never be the same again.

    -Jut

  9. 9
    Ortvin Sarapuu says:

    “would you rather kick out the DACA folks in favor of the H-1Bs–in which case you can double foreign aid ”

    Let’s not pretend any government so nativist as to expel DACA would then make raising foreign aid a priority.

  10. 10
    Harlequin says:

    Let’s not pretend any government so nativist as to expel DACA would then make raising foreign aid a priority.

    Or would increase the number of legal visas enough to replace all the DACA recipients.

  11. 11
    Jeff says:

    Or would increase the number of legal visas enough to replace all the DACA recipients.

    Barry threw the CATO study at me, and it did in fact have the 280 billion figure in the summary. But it would have been real cool if he’d read past the summary, because CATO made exactly that argument:

    “The average DACA recipient is 22 years old, employed, and earns about $17 an hour. The majority are still students and 17 percent are pursuing an advanced degree.[2] By contrast, most recipients of H-1B visas are between 25 and 34 and hold either a Bachelor’s Degree or a Master’s Degree. In short, they appear to be a close reflection of what DACA recipients will look like a few years from now as they complete their educations.[3]”

    “Thomas Church, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, estimates that expanding the H-1B visa program over a ten year period would increase GDP by $456 billion and tax revenues by $113 billion, assuming that 660,000 new H-1B immigrants would arrive over the decade.[13] Church obtains his results by taking the mean wages for H-1B immigrants, assuming an average wage growth of 3 percent per year, and applying the appropriate tax rates.”

    So no, Barry, CATO didn’t just say that ejecting dreamers would deprive America’s economy of 280 billion dollars, it also said that America would benefit to the tune of 176 billion, plus tax revenue, if America replaced the dreamers with legal immigrants.

    It also bears noting that CATO isn’t some right wing extremist wackadoo institute. They’re mildly right of center libertarians. They aren’t against immigration, and they were generous in their math: They assumed that the Dreamers would all live, that they would graduate on time, find applicable employment quickly, and that they would receive 3% raises annually. They assumed that none of them would commit crimes, even though some have, that they would not serve time, even though some are, and that they would not self deport, nor otherwise be deported for cause, even though some do and are.

    Now to my original point… I should have made clear: There are economic benefits to keeping the Dreamers in America. But progressives seem fundamentally incapable of making honest arguments without resorting to misrepresentations, hyperbole, or outright dishonesty.

    Is 280 billion a real number? You’ll never find a perfect figure, but it might be the best number produced on the topic. I mean, for starters, they actually conducted the work with dreamers in mind.

    Is 400 billion? To paraphrase you, that number is achieved by taking a report from a left leaning institute that was designed to calculate the economic cost of removing all illegal immigrants from America, and then with some voodoo math, someone narrowed it down to focus on the dreamers. Back to me: You realize that CATO specifically said dreamers would have economic impacts significantly higher than the average immigrant because they are a relatively educated population? I don’t know if CAP did that, but somehow they came up with a number 40% higher than CATOs.

    My point? The economic argument is bad for you, because if economics were going to sway someone, they’d make the right economic choice and bring in the H-1Bs, with the added bonus of not enabling a two tiered system of immigration by executive order. But even if that’s the argument, even though there is actually a nugget of truth in there: “Dreamers benefit the economy on some level.”, Progressives couldn’t help themselves but blow that benefit into something facially absurd.

    As a complete aside: As to my name, I’ll leave it up to you, autofill put “Jeff” in there. It’s my name. My last name is “Miner”. I don’t go with a handle because I like anonymity, it’s because there are about 50 Jeff Miners in the city I’m in alone, but as far as I know “Humble Talent” is a unique identifier. Do you prefer the name, for authenticity, or the handle, for clarity (because I used it before)?

  12. 12
    Gracchi says:

    Ampersand:

    the $400 billion is a ten-year figure, not an annual figure.

    I think that the logical assumption is that any figure that is presented without further clarification is yearly, which is the usual period for which economic figures are presented. Using a different period without making that clear is very deceptive and any number where the period is unclear to the reader is rather meaningless. For instance, if we allow for any arbitrary period, you could also have put $4 trillion in your cartoon (100 years), $40 billion (1 year) or $110 million (1 day). These extremely different figures are actually exactly the same, but how could the reader ever guess which period you are using, unless she already knows the approximate figures? I bet that if you would do a survey with different variants of your cartoon, people would often have very different impressions based on the figure you give them.

    So I would suggest changing your cartoon to $40 billion or adding a footnote with the period, because right now the cartoon is highly deceptive.

    A separate issue is that I consider absolute increases in GDP rather meaningless by themselves. For example, imagine that the US would annex Canada where both economies would somehow stay the same. This would make the US GDP grow by $1.5 trillion per year, but everyone would actually still earn the same, the government would have just as much to spend, etc. The real reason why the GDP increased is that a number moved from column A to column B. No one became better off, despite the number in column B going up.

    Let’s be honest, if solid research would show that deporting Dreamers and increasing the birth rates of native-born Americans would increase the GDP more than legalizing dreamers, would you favor the former? If not, you don’t actually care about absolute increases in GDP anyway.

    A third issue is that “adding to the economy” can coexist with “leeching off [group].” For example, New Mexico has received $316.6 billion during a 20 year period in federal spending, but paid only $115.7 billion in federal taxes during the same period. So they can be argued to be leeching off the states that pay more in federal taxes than they get in federal spending. However, they unquestionably add to the economy, as their GDP is positive. So panel 8 of your cartoon is not actually the logical contradiction that you imagine it to be.

  13. 13
    chuckles says:

    This argument over the dollar amount strikes me as misguided.

    The left doesn’t really believe that citizenship (or residency) should be determined based on the ability to contribute economically. I couldn’t imagine anyone making these arguments when they lead to anti-immigration conclusions: take family unification in cases where a family member might be a net drain or even neutral in terms of economic production. I’m not even holding my breath for a pro-immigration leftist to say that they wouldn’t accept, for example, an orphanage full of disabled Honduran children who will require a lifetime of care and will never hold a job.

    The phrasing makes it sound like a squabble over where the line should be drawn, but the #resistance left hasn’t been able to draw a line anywhere. The base, when pushed, generally thinks that borders and restrictions on freedom of movement are per se illegitimate. Not everyone agrees, but that’s just what I’m seeing. It’s not a big secret.

    That doesn’t make it disingenuous as much as a misunderstanding. It’s like right-wing antifa trolls – you can see right through them if you’re familiar with the real thing.

  14. 14
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    chuckles says:
    September 13, 2017 at 8:13 am
    This argument over the dollar amount strikes me as misguided.

    It’s quite intentional, I think, not misguided.

    Pretty much all countries in the world operate on the same principle: Nobody can immigrate without permission. Whether the admissions are strict or lenient, they start from the presumption of non-admission and non-residency. So they ask “what justification do we have to let these people in, or to allow them to stay?” If you defeat those justifications (which can be very easy in some places) the presumption is that they have to leave.

    An increasing number of the #resistance leftists are the opposite. Those folks seem to start from a presumption of admission/residency. That is why they ask “what justification do we have to say no?” And if they defeat those justifications they think the answer should be admission/residency.

    The main difference is that this sea change in base assumptions, which makes most of their other comments change when evaluated in context, is rarely disclosed up front.

    I don’t find those folks especially straightforward. I mean hell, tell me “please design a plan which will grant amnesty to all illegal immigrants in the US” or something else similar and I can do a perfectly good job; I can explain many of the pros for hours whether or not I agree with the idea. But ask one of those folks “assume for a moment that it’s your job to enforce immigration law; please design a plan to restrict illegal immigration and raise deportations of illegal immigrants” and it’s like They Can’t Even Think That Way, it’s all ducking the question and “I would never do that job” and “our administration wouldn’t go along” and other similar BS.

  15. 15
    Jeff says:

    And while I’m stirring nests…. I personally think that Arpaio is a bad person, and that at some point, someone should have looked at the “camps” he was setting up and deprived him of his job. Chalk this up as one of the drawbacks of the American system of electing civil servants other than politicians, people vote for some awfully bad candidates.

    BUT.

    There are two ways of approaching this:

    The first is to respond to the people who think that it was illegal or unconstitutional to pardon Arpaio: Presidential pardons are explicitly legal and enshrined in the constitution. There aren’t many people who were saying this, I don’t believe that this was the point that was trying to be made, but it reached a level higher than the normal buzz and I feel it needs to be said.

    The second is probably the point that I think Barry was trying to make: “Arpaio broke the law, if you believe in the law, why shouldn’t he be punished?”

    It’s a good question. If I had to think of a reason to defend the pardon, outside of “He’s Trump’s Good Buddy”, which I admit might have been as far as Trump’s thought process went, I’d point out that although Arpaio was doing some borderline evil things to human beings, he actually wasn’t convicted of human rights abuses, he was convicted of contempt of court and punished for human rights abuses. In many ways, this has some uncomfortable parallels with political imprisonment that I think even progressives might shirk away from if they really took the time to think about it. Couple that with the fact that the man is over 80 years old, was likely to die in jail, and is incapable of offending again… And there are legitimate reasons within the law for clemency. Perhaps not ones I would have been chomping at the bit to practice, but they’re there.

  16. 16
    RonF says:

    RonF, can you be more specific on which “reasonable criteria” should apply?

    I really need to look at the current DACA criteria and then add pluses and minuses to that. Certainly honorable service for at least 3 years in the U.S. Military should get automatic citizenship. Right now they have to apply, but I think the certificate should be awarded them on their 3rd anniversary of service. I don’t know if you all know this but it is perfectly legal for resident aliens to serve in the U.S. Military (at least under American law – their home countries may feel differently).

    I don’t know if this is in DACA, but one criterion would be that they would follow the legal procedures for both our State Department and their birth countries to irrevocably renounce citizenship in their birth country and receive formal confirmation thereof from both. Additionally, if they subsequently exercised any right, privilege or duty of citizenship of their birth country (e.g., apply for or own a passport or some document like a matricula consular, serve in their military or vote) they would irrevocably lose their U.S. citizenship. It should also provided that receipt of such citizenship would give them no preference for bringing or keeping any family members into the U.S. regardless of the degree of consanguinity.

  17. 17
    RonF says:

    Jeff, regarding the Cato Institute:

    They aren’t against immigration, and they were generous in their math:

    Being against people entering this country illegally != being against immigration. The conflation of the two in a deliberate fashion by the left is why it’s immorality and dishonesty on this issue is clear to me.

  18. 18
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    RonF:
    It should also provided that receipt of such citizenship would give them no preference for bringing or keeping any family members into the U.S. regardless of the degree of consanguinity.

    Just a bit of pushback: Do you really support making a lower-class category of U.S. citizens? If we don’t want to have this turn into a snowball effect (which is a rational concern) then that might well mitigate against allowing them to be citizens at all. But I’m hesitant to start with a “you’re a citizen, but not like all the other citizens” rule; that seems like a very bad idea. (I also doubt it would pass legal muster, but the moral argument is stronger anyway.)

    And yes, this can produce unwanted effects. If we had restricted citizenship I’d be more willing to grant it, since the bar would be lower. But be that as it may I still think this is unwise.

  19. 19
    nobody.really says:

    [R]eceipt of such citizenship would give them no preference for bringing or keeping any family members into the U.S. regardless of the degree of consanguinity.

    Conjoined twins?

  20. 20
    chuckles says:

    RonF, Jeff:

    Cato is pro immigration for cheap labor and reducing the market power of workers, not human rights, everyone-has-a-right-to-be-here, the-only-reason-not-to-is-you’re-racist stuff you hear from the left. The pro immigrant as anti-worker business lobby was the part of the GOP coalition that held sway until very recently.

    The economic benefits Cato envisions go right to the top.

  21. 21
    Harlequin says:

    If I can push back on something for a minute: I don’t think the economic argument is “DACA recipients are more productive for our economy than an equivalent number of recipients of work-related visas.” I think it’s “DACA recipients are productive members of society, not moochers.” That is, the proper comparison group for that point is not legal immigrants, but the fantasy that some on the right seem to have that undocumented immigrants come here to live off the welfare state.

    Being against people entering this country illegally != being against immigration. The conflation of the two in a deliberate fashion by the left is why it’s immorality and dishonesty on this issue is clear to me.

    I know I’ve said this before, but while it’s true that the two things are not equal, they do occur together in a correlated fashion, and there are certainly many anti-illegal immigration folks who are also anti-legal immigration. For example, President Trump has proposed some moves in this direction (though AFAIK they haven’t been implemented yet). People on the left can certainly be more careful about making that distinction, since the two positions do not always occur together, but it’s not a sign of “immorality and dishonesty” to accurately describe the views of, among others, the current President.

  22. 22
    Kate says:

    I don’t think the economic argument is “DACA recipients are more productive for our economy than an equivalent number of recipients of work-related visas.” I think it’s “DACA recipients are productive members of society, not moochers.”

    Exactly!

    I also think that something that you said in another thread is relevant here:

    Basically, my point it is that is both very difficult and very expensive to (humanely) reduce the numbers of unauthorized immigrants in the US, and that’s true regardless of why you’d want such people gone.

    I don’t think that conservatives are honest about just how expensive effective enforcement of current laws would be.
    I also don’t think they show adequate concern for what the impact of enforcement already is sometimes on Latinos who are U.S. citizens and racially profiled.
    Finally, conservatives on the whole are not on board with meaningful penalties for companies that employ undocumented workers. I think you could get a strong contingent on the left of the Democratic party (not so much pro-corporate centrists) to support that means of enforcement. I also happen to think that it is the means that is most likely to be effecive, without violating the right of U.S. citizens to go about their lives without having to constantly prove their citizenship.

  23. 23
    Michael says:

    @Jeff#15- the argument is that by cancelling the punishment for the court order, Trump basically makes all court orders to enforce civil rights meaningless. This is not a new argument. In ex parte Grossman in 1925, Grossman defied a federal court order to stop selling alcohol, was arrested and pardoned by the President. The Supreme Court upheld the pardon, making it clear that the President’s pardon power is unlimited, but if Congress has a problem with that, they can impeach him. I don’t see how a court would distinguish between pardoning Grossman and pardoning Apario. Personally, I think that Trump acted within the limits of his authority. It would be one thing Apario was still Sheriff and courts kept issuing orders and Apario kept defying them and Trump kept pardoning him. But since he’s no longer sheriff, it’s just a question of remitting the punishment.
    That being said, I think that pardoning Apario was horrible- the guy belongs in jail.

  24. 24
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    From NYT:

    On Wednesday, Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi said the deal would not include funding for the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico — one of Mr. Trump’s main campaign promises.

    Well, there you have it. Schumer and Pelosi are callous horrible anti-immigrant, people–maybe racists, even. Otherwise they would choose some other place to make their stand, so that they could properly get relief for the DACA folks.

    Right?

  25. 25
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Arpaio seems pretty simple.

    1) He was properly convicted.
    2) Pardoning him was a horrible decision on Trump’s part.
    3) Nonetheless it was perfectly legal. The Constitution says so.
    4) If people don’t like it they can vote Trump out in 2020.
    5) Or, in theory, Congress could impeach….
    6) But this would represent such an expansion of the ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ thing that it is probably not worth the longstanding political effects.

  26. 26
    Ampersand says:

    The 3 bills Congress could use to protect DACA recipients – Vox

    A nutshelling of the actual bills and trade-offs being discussed in Congress.

    (That we know of. It’s always possible there’s something else being discussed behind closed doors that hasn’t gotten out to the press.)

    Notably, Senator Cotton – one of the most influential Republicans on immigration issues – is demanding that legal immigration be cut in half. I think it’s fair to sum up that position as anti-immigration.

  27. 27
    Jeff says:

    Michael @23:

    I don’t disagree with you on much there, except that we don’t tend to convict people of crimes and then issue them punishments for crimes they may have committed other than what they’ve been convicted of, and it’s just not good to do so. Arpaio’s sentence, while within the legal limits of sentences for Contempt of Court was *significantly* larger than normal, and I think that’s a really shitty precedent. The last time this happened famously was when OJ was convicted on robbery charges and sentenced to decades in prison…. He wasn’t sent to prison for robbery, he was sent there for the murders he had been acquitted of. Sure we know that he did it. Hell, he wrote a book to rub it in after…. But he was found not guilty by a jury of his peers. This is bad execution of law, and while it might feel good, deep down, it’s still a fundamental blow to the liberty of the people operating within the system.

    I don’t think the economic argument is “DACA recipients are more productive for our economy than an equivalent number of recipients of work-related visas.” I think it’s “DACA recipients are productive members of society, not moochers.”

    See, I don’t think the Republican position generally focuses on economics. I could be wrong, it happens from time to time, but I think that this might be an effort by Democrats to try to appeal to what they think drives Republicans. It’s just that Democrats don’t really understand Republicans.

    Take Kate @ 22 as an example:

    Finally, conservatives on the whole are not on board with meaningful penalties for companies that employ undocumented workers.

    I get it, there are some deeply hypocritical idiots who alternately campaign against illegal immigration and then hire those same people to build their deck or wait their tables. But “conservatives on the whole”? I doubt it very much. In fact, I’d bet that you wouldn’t see much of that outside states that share a border with Mexico. I think the hang up, generally, is between the rank and file, and the political class… This is one of those things that I think generally people in the rank and file, regardless of party affiliation, want enforced, but people in the halls of power won’t push, regardless of their party affiliation, because their donors tell them not to.

  28. 28
    Ampersand says:

    I’m unhappy with the level of snideness and contempt I’m seeing in some (not all, by any means!) comments on this thread. Please reread the Alas moderation policy.

    Going forward on this thread, comments that strike me as containing too much contempt for other “Alas” comment-writers – either directly stated or just strongly implied – are subject to not being approved, or to being deleted without notice. If that happens to one of your comments, feel free to rewrite it to concentrate more on substantive policy arguments, and then resubmit it. Thanks.

  29. 29
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Ampersand says:
    The 3 bills Congress could use to protect DACA recipients – Vox
    A nutshelling of the actual bills and trade-offs being discussed in Congress.

    That’s a pretty good summary, thanks.

    Notably, Senator Cotton –one of the most influential Republicans on immigration issues – is demanding that legal immigration be cut in half. I think it’s fair to sum up that position as anti-immigration.

    OK, stupid question. Vox says:

    At the same time, no one in Congress is categorically saying they won’t make a deal — even Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), the most hardline member of the Senate on immigration, is willing to entertain legalizing DREAMers in exchange for halving legal immigration over the next decade and making it mandatory for employers to electronically check that anyone they hire is a legal worker.

    If he is the “most hardline” republican (Vox) on that issue then is he also “one of the most influential” Republicans, since he has failed to gain a lot of adherents to his position: isn’t that the test of influence? I don’t actually know what Cotton thinks (I don’t track individual Republican views on much) so this is a real question, not a rhetorical one.

    I agree that halving legal immigration is, obviously, an inherently anti-immigration position.

  30. 30
    Ampersand says:

    That Cotton is influential is my subjective impression, and a reasonable person might disagree.

    But, for instance, he was instrumental in the faction of House Republicans that opposed the “Gang of Eight” bipartisan immigration bill, and his faction won – even though the faction that wanted to pursue the bill was led by Paul Ryan. He’s definitely pursued being publicly associated with immigration in very prominent forums – he’s next to President Trump when Trump makes an immigration announcement, he wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, etc..

    He’s a relatively new politician, and I’m certainly not saying he commands the Senate, but I think it’s fair to say he’s a significant player on immigration.

  31. 31
    Ampersand says:

    Also, the “adherents” to his position on cutting legal immigration include the President of the United States. Reporting on Cotton’s bill says that it’s widely seen as an appeal to the Republican base, which if true indicates that his position is popular among the Republican base.

  32. 32
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    The Republican attitude does not hinge on country-wide economics. This is for various reasons:

    First, they are highly focused on what they see as the “illegal” aspect. You know, the whole “if we’re going to have laws we should follow them” thing. This attitude holds even for some moderate (on this issue) Democrats, i.e. people who would support passing new laws which change the situation, but who also think we should be following the laws we have.

    Second, the focus on overall economics is not always the right focus. To use an obvious example which is not immigration-related:

    From an economic sense it’s probably true that “cheap Asian cars” are a great thing for the US overall (yay economy!) Right? But while the benefits are spread widely, the costs are mostly linked to the folks in Detroit and their steel suppliers.

    Same here. An influx of immigrants certainly provides an economic boost on a country-wide level (yay economy!) but that is a gross-country view. The benefited class includes a lot of rich people–in fact I suspect that a lot of the benefit accrues to a relatively small segment of rich people, because they own lots of stock and property, so they benefit the most from general economic advances.

    But most of the harm ends up on people who are closer to the margins: the folks who are closer to immigrant levels, and who now have more competition for jobs and wages and housing and schooling; whose tax bills (for health care and schools and support) make a huge difference in their life; and so on. And perhaps most of all the social disruption also ends up on selected, lower, classes. The rich folks who are pushing “sanctuary cities” aren’t going to end up living next to any of the folks who are seeking sanctuary; their kids aren’t going to go to school with them; the sanctuary folks aren’t competing for their jobs; and so on.

    I live in an area which has had a huge climb in legal and illegal immigrants over the past couple of decades, mostly from a particular area. Let’s talk about some of those results, anecdotally:

    1) The school’s expenses have climbed significantly as it has expanded services (ESL, etc.) The greater the differences in populations, the harder/more expensive is is to teach them. And these kids, who are trying to do their best like anyone else, are also competing for admission to the same colleges, and in many cases are specifically targeted for preferences or scholarships due to their ‘first generation’ or ‘diversity’ status. Schools here are paid for by property taxes so this means taxes have gone up.

    2) No surprise, but there’s been a huge increase in people who are trying to work under the table, especially in the trades (my contractor clients are constantly competing with unlicensed contractors, the vast majority of who are immigrants and many of who are not legal.)

    3) There has been some odd accommodation in crime enforcement. For example, there are people who keep getting pulled over for driving without licenses three or four times (really!) who aren’t seriously punished, because this is Mass. and nobody wants to get them deported. That’s laudable, perhaps, but it’s a bit frustrating to the other folks that don’t get the benefit.

    4) No surprise but there has been a change in segregation: there is a huge difference socially now that a lot of folks don’t speak English, so folks can’t just assume that you can chat with everyone you meet. This carries through the school, no surprise, sad to say. And not that I go to services, but (as usual for immigrant groups) the immigrants also frequent different religious places, and such.

    Is this GOOD? [shrug] Sure! I guess it depends on how you define “good.” For sure the economy has grown. All of those people–even if they’re working under the table–are contributing in some way to the economy. The people who place higher value on “diversity” are very happy. The people who place higher value on “knowing everyone in town” are sad. The people who are competing with the lower-wage folks are pissed. The people who are strapped by the tax bills are bummed.

    It’s fine with me because it has no effect: there are no new lawyers; I am rich enough to afford the school cost increases; my kids do well enough to get in somewhere anyway. But it would be pretty unsurprising for some folks to feel some resentment.

    Maybe that resentment can be addressed. Many of the sad/pissed/bummed folks can be convinced; they are complex humans and are subject to argument. But it seems like the Republicans are the only party who is willing to discuss that subject at all without it turning nasty, which IMO is a political mistake.

  33. 33
    RonF says:

    Harlequin:

    I don’t doubt that there are people out there who oppose illegal immigration and that also oppose legal immigration. But there are also people who do not – myself, for example. The fact that there is some undetermined number of people who oppose both does not justify the actions of the left to consistently describe the issue as being simply pro- or anti-immigration. I don’t think it’s an issue of people on the left being more careful about making that distinction. I think it’s an issue of virtually NEVER making that distinction; and in my opinion, doing so deliberately in an attempt to gain moral and political advantage.

    Kate:

    Finally, conservatives on the whole are not on board with meaningful penalties for companies that employ undocumented workers.

    One of the reasons why I refuse to accept being labelled as “conservative”. I’d LOVE to see a law passed that ramped up the penalties for hiring illegal aliens; in fact, I am in favor of seeing the penalties include mandatory jail time for the company’s CEO/President and their top HR administrator instead of just assessing a fine. But my guess is that if you actually attempted to pass such a law you’d see people object on the basis that it might cause employers to discriminate against Hispanics.

  34. 34
    RonF says:

    g-i-w:

    There has been some odd accommodation in crime enforcement.

    The example you give neatly shows how the left is perfectly fine with eroding a fundamental principle of America – equal treatment before the law – to gain political ends. But talk about odd accomodations; note actions such as this and this where legislatures are reclassifying crimes so as to avoid deporting people who have been convicted of them. Changing the law for the express purpose of protecting people who are here illegally in the first place seems a perversion of the judicial system to me and to a lot of other people.

  35. 35
    RonF says:

    Here is another example of a bunch of politicians revising the classification of laws for the purpose of assisting people who are here illegally AND have committed a crime to STAY here illegally.

  36. 36
    Ampersand says:

    Ron, what’s unreasonable about that California law?

    As I understand it (and ianal, let alone one who specializes in this kind of law, and there are a lot of complexities that I’m leaving out), California had a maximum penalty of 365 days for a misdemeanor. Many states, and the Federal government, have a maximum of 364 days for a misdemeanor. For immigration purposes, the Federal law – designed to target immigrants who have committed felonies – defines all crimes with a maximum punishment of 365 days or more as aggravated felonies.

    So as a result, many misdemeanors in California, because they were in theory punishable by 365 days behind bars (even if the actual sentence is one day in jail), were considered aggravated felonies by the immigration system, leading to automatic deportations. So California changed their law to make their maximum punishment for misdemeanors 364 days, putting their law in accord with Federal law and that of most other states. (Washington State did the same thing.)

    That seems like a reasonable outcome. What do you object to about that?

  37. 37
    Jake Squid says:

    Slightly (totally, really) off topic. I’m fascinated with RonF’s consistent over the years and mistaken memory of gin-and-whiskey’s handle. I, of course, am unable to identify instances of where that’s happened to me. Because if I could identify it, I wouldn’t be doing it. But because I’ve noticed this one, it’s the first thing I focus on when RonF responds to gin-and-whiskey, almost to the exclusion of the content of the response.

  38. 38
    Mookie says:

    [@Jake Squid, I notice it, too, and find it equally jarring. I checked, and it’s gone on since 2012 (rendered hyphenated or as GiW).]

  39. 39
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    I notice it, of course, but since I routinely forget people’s names* and forget what type of personal traits folks have behind what anonymous name**, it didn’t bother me at all. Besides I have no idea why I ever chose that name in the first place. I’m not much of a drinker. And as such I have never mixed gin and whiskey.

    Heh.

    *I actually have a serious problem with this. For real. As an example, I went to a high school with fewer than 100 students/grade and I was a reasonably social person who did a lot of clubs and activities and varsity sports all four years. Everyone knew who I was but even by graduation there were still people in my own grade who I had spoken to and forgotten their names dozens of times over four years (!) and would still be unable to recall their names even as a senior. And yes, it is hell in my profession; I never remember client names easily, though I have a lot of tricks. Oddly enough I have an extremely good memory for lots of things, but not people.

    **Harlequin, Elusis, et.al: sorry, in advance. it isn’t you. ;)

  40. 40
    RonF says:

    gin-and-whiskey:

    I hope you’ve taken no offense at my contraction of your handle. I certainly never meant any.

  41. 41
    Jake Squid says:

    Oh, we know no offense was ever intended and I didn’t mean it as an insult to you or to say that you were insulting gin-and whiskey. Your mistake was obvious and completely understandable. It’s just that after years of you not noticing it and nobody ever pointing it out to you, I had to say something.

    My interpersonal equivalent is not being able to recognize people until I’ve seen them many times. I once introduced myself to a guy I’d spent hours playing Diplomacy with the night before.

  42. 42
    RonF says:

    Funny, but I have the same problem. I say not entirely tongue in cheek that if when we meet you tell me your phone number and name I’ll remember your number but forget your name. The most recent time I did this was over the last holidays when I introduced myself to the young man accompanying one of my nieces to our house only to come to understand that he was her fiance and I’ve met and spoken to him a dozen times.

  43. 43
    Jake Squid says:

    Yes, we’ll have to get together sometime for a lengthy exchange of stories about forgetting people.

  44. 44
    Ampersand says:

    Ron, did you see my comment #36?

    * * *

    I’m sorry I haven’t contributed more to this thread; a combination of bad moderating on my part (i.e., allowing rude comments that deter my participation in these threads), and simply being very busy with work, have kept me away. It’s a little late now, but I wanted to comment on a few issues.

    I don’t doubt that there are people out there who oppose illegal immigration and that also oppose legal immigration. But there are also people who do not – myself, for example.

    There are always individual exceptions. But as a matter of policy, President Trump wants to greatly reduce legal immigration, and he’s the leader of the GOP and the person the vast majority of GOP voters chose. At the point when the GOP made Trump their choice for president, the “Trump doesn’t represent the GOP” arguments stopped having any credibility at all.

    And the “I only oppose illegal immigration” argument has limits.

    Suppose there are three roads out of Exampleville. Two of them are legal to drive on – but one of them has a toll booth that charges $10,000 per car, while the other is strictly limited by police, who allow no more than a hundred cars per day to drive on it. Let’s also suppose that we know for a fact that there are thousands of people every day who are desperate to leave Exampleville – some of them will even face dreadful consequences if they remain in Exampleville.

    And then there’s the third, closed and illegal, road. Which, very predictably, is used by a number of desperate people who are legally or economically barred from using the first two roads.

    And the same people who want to crack down on the illegal road users, also favor reducing the number of people allowed to use the legal roads. Or they favor the status quo which is forcing so many people onto the illegal road. Or they say “we can increase the capacity of the legal roads only once we’ve blocked the illegal road to my satisfaction, but not before.”

    In that circumstance, someone who said “I’ve got nothing against people leaving Exampleville! I’m only against those people taking the illegal road” are being at best naive, at worse disingenuous.

  45. 45
    Ampersand says:

    This from Harlequin is worth repeating:

    If I can push back on something for a minute: I don’t think the economic argument is “DACA recipients are more productive for our economy than an equivalent number of recipients of work-related visas.” I think it’s “DACA recipients are productive members of society, not moochers.” That is, the proper comparison group for that point is not legal immigrants, but the fantasy that some on the right seem to have that undocumented immigrants come here to live off the welfare state.

    I’d certainly favor increasing the number of work-related visas available. But that’s not a policy that contradicts a reasonable path to citizenship for Dreamers; we should do both.

  46. 46
    Ampersand says:

    But it seems like the Republicans are the only party who is willing to discuss that subject at all without it turning nasty, which IMO is a political mistake.

    G&W, do you really think the Republicans have modeled discussing immigration without it “turning nasty”? I really think a lot of immigrants – including but not limited to legal immigrants – would disagree with that assessment.

    When Trump says of Mexican immigrants: “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” is that an example of a non-nasty discussion, in your view?

    And do you really believe that there is no one, outside the GOP, who is willing to have a non-nasty discussion of immigration “at all” (emphasis yours)? That seems like an extreme claim.

    An influx of immigrants certainly provides an economic boost on a country-wide level (yay economy!) but that is a gross-country view. The benefited class includes a lot of rich people–in fact I suspect that a lot of the benefit accrues to a relatively small segment of rich people, because they own lots of stock and property, so they benefit the most from general economic advances.

    Measured per capita, a disproportionate share of the wealth in the US economy winds up in the pockets of the rich (pretty much by definition). This is true for virtually all sources of economic expansion, not just immigrants.

    That said, the people who “benefit the most” are almost certainly the immigrants themselves, especially considered as a percentage growth in income rather than as absolute dollars per beneficiary. (ETA: Not to mention even more important non-economic benefits, such as refugees fleeing violence).

    But most of the harm ends up on people who are closer to the margins: the folks who are closer to immigrant levels, and who now have more competition for jobs and wages

    Insofar as this is true at all, it may apply to fewer people than you imagine. There’s strong evidence that new immigrants compete a lot with… other recent immigrants, reducing their wages and employment in the short term. That’s to be expected.

    There’s also evidence – but considerably less certain evidence, because more studies have found no significant effects – that native high-school dropouts see their wages and employment reduced by new immigrants (again, in the short term).

    And, basically, that’s it. Your discussion makes it sound like there’s a tiny class of very wealthy beneficiaries and that most ordinary natives suffer because of immigration. But that’s not what the evidence indicates.

    Furthermore, you’re ignoring long-term benefits. When the economy grows, that’s to everyone’s benefit, including high-school dropouts. You can say that current high-school dropouts would be marginally better off this year if there were no immigration this year; but they’re still getting benefits from the existence of immigration in the past. And cutting off immigration now hurts the economic prospects of of pretty much all Americans, including high school dropouts, in the future.

    One thing to keep in mind: Children and grandchildren of immigrants, historically, are more productive than children and grandchildren of natives. The benefits of immigration to the overall economy go well beyond what happens this month or this year.

    That said, I do think we should do much more to improve the economic prospects of high school dropouts. But there are policy tools available that are better, pragmatically, morally and economically, than putting a stranglehold on immigration.

    and housing and schooling;

    Neither housing nor schooling are zero-sum games; they are markets that respond to incentives. (ETA: I withdraw that, they’re not free markets. But insofar as public policy prevents housing or schooling from being increased in response to a growing population, we should look to change public policy to foster growth, rather than to inhibit population growth.)

    The rich folks who are pushing “sanctuary cities” aren’t going to end up living next to any of the folks who are seeking sanctuary; their kids aren’t going to go to school with them; the sanctuary folks aren’t competing for their jobs; and so on.

    Is there evidence that all, or even most, of the people who favor “sanctuary cities” are rich? That certainly isn’t the case in my anecdotal experience. Anecdotally, I know a lot of people who favor Portland being a sanctuary city, and virtually all of them have lower-to-middle class incomes. (ETA: Or are living below the poverty line altogether.)

    I mean, you could say “there are rich people supporting this policy who will be insulated from any bad effects of this policy” about almost anything. It’s a universal argument. We could, for example, say that the wealthy people (like Donald Trump) who want to reduce immigration are going to be insulated from the harms of that policy. I don’t find the argument a compelling one in either direction.

  47. 47
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    G&W, do you really think the Republicans have modeled discussing immigration without it “turning nasty”?

    In context, I think it was clear that I was referring to the ability to disagree with the party line (or individual line) without being subjected to personal attacks. If that was not clear, sorry.

    So, with that clarified: Yes, that is basically what I think. I have had a gazillion discussions with Republicans in which I have argued the opposite position, and while they disagree with me they do not couch that disagreement in personal terms. I have read many discussions which follow the same pattern. They may strongly oppose my position but they don’t say that I’m an unamerican commie pinko mexico-loving Cuban because of the positions that I hold. Conversely, the Democrats tend to go to the bigot/racist/xenophobe/nationalist/white supremacist attacks very early in the game, and they appear to rely on them broadly to bully folks into submission.

    I really think a lot of immigrants – including but not limited to legal immigrants – would disagree with that assessment.

    That’s a different issue. Illegal immigrants are trying to control the discussion by claiming that anything which they don’t like is “nasty” or insulting, yadda yadda, so that we can’t discuss the larger group of illegal immigrants if we possibly offend them. I don’t generally like that sort of backhanded suppression; I don’t really want them here; and I don’t think I owe them anything substantial; so I don’t really care if I offend them or not.

    When Trump says of Mexican immigrants: “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” is that an example of a non-nasty discussion, in your view?

    No, that was a jerk move.

    The type of nastiness I am referring to, as was clear from my post, is the type where two people can discuss things without going to personal insults. Even if I thought that illegal immigration made a minor difference in rape crimes (I don’t) I would not call Irma the Illegal Immigration Advocate “basically a rapist” or “standing with rapists” or anything like that, and expect her to bear it. However, Irma would not do the same.

    That said, the people who “benefit the most” are almost certainly the immigrants themselves,

    Sure. But if they’re illegal immigrants they don’t care about me or my wishes and they hold no particular love for the country (other than as a source of what they want) and as a result, I care about them less.

    Your discussion makes it sound like there’s a tiny class of very wealthy beneficiaries and that most ordinary natives suffer because of immigration. But that’s not what the evidence indicates.

    So for the purposes of this post are we talking about “immigration” or “illegal immigration?” You keep using the same word to refer to both,which makes the conversation really hard to follow.

    Furthermore, you’re ignoring long-term benefits. When the economy grows, that’s to everyone’s benefit, including high-school dropouts.

    I don’t see how you could possibly accuse me of “ignoring” something which I expressly acknowledged and gave examples of, but whatever. In any case: Yes, I agree; again, the diffuse benefits of economic growth accrue to all classes.

    I can’t shake the confusion here. I view myself as largely a capitalist but I am certainly willing to concede that there are some inequalities and unfairness as a result of capitalism. I am talking about the political reality of one of those inequalities. OTOH I have always viewed you as someone who is heavily focused on those inequalities–but here, unlike your normal stance, you seem to be taking a “rising tide lifts all boats” kind of position. What gave rise to the change? Am i reading this wrong?

    In any case, remember that this discussion was based on the politics of discussing immigration, not the economics behind it. Your counter is somewhat illustrative of the problem I’m talking about: Sure, to someone like ME or YOU it’s perfectly OK to say “yes, there may be economic effects that are bad but they don’t hit that many people and they’ll balance out in a few generations and they’ll help the country overall.” That also applies to people in Detroit (we don’t need to manufacture cars!) and Appalachia (we don’t need to rely on coal!). But while it is true in a general sense it is political suicide.

  48. 48
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Amp,

    Out of curiosity: What would you trade off to get DACA approved, so that all of those 800,000 citizens had a clear path to citizenship?

    Would you agree to building a wall?

    Would you agree to implement e-verify, thereby making it harder for any non-DACA illegal immigrants to find work?

    Would you agree to more INS enforcement and more deportations of non-DACA illegal immigrants?

    If it were Constitutionally possible, would you agree to prevent other non-DACA people from preferentially getting citizenship on the DACA coattails?

    Would you agree to limit legal immigration until we successfully deport (or cause to leave) a lot of the non-DACA illegal immigrants?

  49. 49
    Charles S says:

    I’d agree to a 60 billion dollar gold plated statue of Trump replacing the Statue of Liberty before I’d agree to building a wall along the US-Mexico border. It would be about as useful and at least it wouldn’t be an environmental disaster.

    We already had a massive expansion of ICE and a massive increase in deportations. There isn’t any such agency as INS. INS hasn’t existed for more than a decade.

    There’s this weird thing where you and RonF are both posting as though immigration policy hadn’t changed in the past 2 decades. The undocumented immigrant population of the US has been stable for a decade. The Mexican undocumented immigrant population of Massachusetts has not been increasing. 93% of undocumented Mexican immigrants have been in the US for more than 5 years. A decade ago, it was more like 40% who were recent immigrants.

    I’d trade e-verify existing for a penny, since e-verify already exists.

    But since you suggest e-verify existing and the massive, brutal, lawless secret police of ICE existing being traded for something, I’ll trade both of those things continuing for a path to citizenship for every undocumented person who has been in the US for more than 4 years without a serious felony conviction in the past 20 years (an amnesty), plus a huge migrant worker program for Mexican and Central American citizens going forward, in recognition of the fact that people from Mexico have been working in and traveling back and forth to the US for centuries. We can pair that with a direct transfer program for adult US citizens without a high school diploma to ameliorate the supposed effects of immigration on people without a high school diploma. There are problems with migrant worker programs in terms of protection of human rights of workers, so that would need to be addressed as well, but I think that is doable.

    I don’t accept any kind of second class citizenship for Dreamers. I don’t think it is Constitutional anyway. Funny that this is one of those places where RonF’s devotion to the Constitution slips to the side.

    Failing all that, I’ll accept a clean Dream act with a path to citizenship for Dreamers, but it isn’t like that is enough to achieve justice for undocumented people in the US. The Dream act, by itself, is supported by a strong bipartisan majority of Americans (76%, 60% of Republicans). It is already the negotiated middle position. It isn’t the maximalist starting point for negotiations. If you oppose the Dream Act, you are in with the bitter Dead-Enders who approved of Bush in 2008, not the sensible middle you imagine yourself to represent.

  50. 50
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    I’d trade e-verify existing for a penny, since e-verify already exists.

    I’m sorry you assumed I had no idea that e-verify existed (at the same time I was talking about it), rather than assuming that I referred to the debate about making it mandatory.

    The Dream act, by itself, is supported by a strong bipartisan majority of Americans (76%, 60% of Republicans). It is already the negotiated middle position.

    Sure, because it selectively gives enhanced rights to Dreamers at the expense of anyone else. And, it is not the negotiated middle position: if it had been successfully negotiated we would have a law by now. This much is obvious, I hope.

    More to the point the Dream act negotiations were predicated on the Dreamers being treated DIFFERENTLY than anyone else, i.e. NOT amnesty. That was a requirement to capture all of the folks for whom your “justice for illegal immigrants” translates to “it is just to have them leave the U.S.; it is just to treat Mexicans like everyone else.” But the fact that you imagine trading off for amnesty is why those negotiations never came to fruition: people don’t trust the Dems and they think (correctly in my view) that they will instantly try to claw back every concession they make.

  51. 51
    Ampersand says:

    I’m sorry you assumed I had no idea that e-verify existed (at the same time I was talking about it), rather than assuming that I referred to the debate about making it mandatory.

    This is unfair. You asked if I’d agree to “implement e-verify”; that clearly implies that you don’t believe e-verify has yet been implemented.

    You now say that when you wrote “implement,” you meant “made mandatory.” But there was no way for Charles to have known that. If what you write is this different from what you intend to say, that’s your fault, not Charles’.

    (By the way, I entirely agree with Charles’ answers to your questions.)

  52. 52
    nobody.really says:

    I’d agree to a 60 billion dollar gold plated statue of Trump replacing the Statue of Liberty before I’d agree to building a wall along the US-Mexico border. It would be about as useful and at least it wouldn’t be an environmental disaster.

    Not so fast….

  53. 53
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    OK, let me make sure I have this straight:

    1) NO to wall;

    2) MAYBE (unclear) to expanding e-verify to be mandatory

    3) NO to expansion of enforcement, deportations, or otherwise increasing any government attempts to address existing illegal immigrant population;

    4) NO to any sort of limited citizenship for DACA folks (which I suspect is illegal, but seems to be commonly discussed anyway)

    5) NO to limiting more legal immigration, if anything the reverse: a “path to citizenship” (not just ‘legal status’) for 90%+ of the millions of illegal immigrants in the U.S., plus a huge migrant worker program for Mexican and Central American citizens.

    So the answer about what you would trade off for DACA is “basically not anything of consequence,” amirite?

  54. 54
    Charles S says:

    nobody.really, Gold mining is certainly an environmental disaster, but coating the statue of liberty in gold leaf would require less than 20 kg of gold, about 1/100,000 of the annual global gold production.

    g&w, you refer to the INS as though it still existed, even though it was dissolved 13 years, you talk about your local Massachusetts hill town’s changes in demographics as though they reflected a national issue (as they would have 15 years ago) when they don’t even reflect a state-wide issue, and you talk about a border wall as though most new undocumented immigrants entered the country by walking across the US-Mexico border (accurate 15 years ago), so there’s no reason for me to think that when you talk as though e-verify hadn’t been implemented that you actually know that e-verify has been implemented (the pilot program was created in 1997, but it was expanded greatly in 2007).

    If we had an immigration system that acknowledged reality rather than being aspirational, I’d possibly be open to a mandatory e-verify system. Our agriculture system shouldn’t depend on undocumented laborers just because it depends on immigrant laborers. Undocumented people get exploited horribly, so if we switch people from undocumented to documented, and then allow for the flow of new migrant laborers, then it makes sense to penalize employers from seeking out undocumented laborers. On the other hand, e-verify is a horrible system to impose on marginal workers, who are vastly less likely to have adequate documentation, so even with a sane immigration system, a global mandatory e-verify system would still probably be harmful.

  55. 55
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Charles S says:

    g&w, you refer to the INS as though it still existed, even though it was dissolved 13 years,

    Sorry. old habit: lots of my clients use “INS”.

    you talk about your local Massachusetts hill town’s changes in demographics as though they reflected a national issue (as they would have 15 years ago) when they don’t even reflect a state-wide issue,

    They sure as hell reflect a national issue, politically!! That is the reality. That is why Trump got elected. This comment is entirely blind to the reality of how that elitism affects elections. Seriously, “local hill town?” That’s almost a parody.

    you talk about a border wall as though most new undocumented immigrants entered the country by walking across the US-Mexico border (accurate 15 years ago)

    I talk about a border wall mostly because it was a major platform point for the person who just got elected to be President. The fact that you think it’s irrelevant does not matter to me at all. I am willing to discuss reality, not just things I like.

    And Trump talks about a border wall because something like 170,000 people per year still sneak across. That’s 20% of all the Dreamers, every year. That’s a lot of folks. It is obviously not enough to justify a wall (IMO) given that the 170k is only about 1/3 of deportations & removals but the fact that so many liberals blow it off as a rounding error is political suicide.

    If we had an immigration system that acknowledged reality rather than being aspirational, I’d possibly be open to a mandatory e-verify system.

    OK. So all I have to do is to accept all of your views of how immigration is, which presumably means agreeing with you on almost all illegal immigration issues, and in exchange you will agree to “possibly be open to” e-verify? Sweet Jesus, what a great offer! But I think I must decline nonetheless.

  56. 56
    Charles S says:

    I thought you lived in the hilltowns of Massachussetts? That’s what they are called. That’s what they were called when I lived near there.

  57. 57
    Charles S says:

    There are 11 million undocumented people in the US.

    If we don’t want to have a giant population of people trapped in the shadows of the culture and the economy, we can either bring them out of the shadows (amnesty), or we can round up and deport 11 million people, or we can make living conditions so dangerous and difficult that people who have lived for decades in the US, many of whom have family who are US citizens, decide in the millions to flee the country (self-deportation). And, here, remember Jake’s story of one of his relatives who moved to Nazi Germany to illegally seek work – the conditions required to drive the majority of a people out of a country are not a little extra difficulty in finding work.

    Or we can continue on with the nonsensical situation of maintaining a shadow population who we only terrorize enough to somewhat deter new people from entering the country.

    Mandatory e-verify is either part of the process of terrorizing people into fleeing the country or it is part of a system of preventing a new shadow population from developing after we create a system for bringing people out of the shadows. I’m against terrorizing people, but I’m not against creating a system that doesn’t create a new giant population of undocumented people.

    So, yes, I’m not necessarily opposed to mandatory e-verify as part of a comprehensive solution, but I am opposed to all of the elements of a self-deportation plan when they are used for that purpose.

  58. 58
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    You are setting up a false dichotomy; you’re arguing as if the factors are “no illegal immigrants” or “all illegal immigrants.” But the proper alternative is “fewer illegal immigrants, ideally as few as realistically possible.”

    If you maintain the 2007-2009 drop (roughly 5%/year from ~12-~11 million) you could reduce the illegal immigrant population by ~50% in a decade, which would be great. If you maintain it at half rate we’ll have 75%, which would be a lot better than what we have now.

    If we don’t want to have a giant population of people trapped in the shadows of the culture

    Anyone who does not want to be “trapped in the shadows” is and should be encouraged not to sit in the shadows, i.e. not to come here at all. If you let people hide in the shadows and then demand entry, you are merely creating an incentive for MORE people to do the same. It is idiotic to reward things you don’t like; you’ll end up with more of them.

    or we can make living conditions so dangerous and difficult that people who have lived for decades in the US, many of whom have family who are US citizens, decide in the millions to flee the country (self-deportation).

    Or we can simply mess with things economically. In 2007, were things “dangerous?” No. The jobs were not there, which is something vaguely akin to the results of e-verify. And the outcome was that we reduced the illegal immigrant population by a million over two years.

    That is an indication of the success of economic factors. If you used mandatory e-verify or put any sort of limitations on remittances there is absolutely no reason to believe that they wouldn’t work.

    Of course those policies won’t get everyone to leave. But they’d probably work for millions of folks and that would certainly be a huge improvement. They would also deter people from coming, which allows reduction through attrition.

    Or we can continue on with the nonsensical situation of maintaining a shadow population who we only terrorize enough to somewhat deter new people from entering the country.

    1) Words like “terrorize” and “dangerous”, as applied to things like e-verify and illegal immigration, are utterly ridiculous.
    2) Stop being a paternalist. You keep talking about this as if the illegal immigration is our fault. It isn’t. We have not “trapped” people here; we have not “maintained a shadow population”. We would prefer if they would not come at all; we would prefer if they would leave. We are not responsible for their circumstances; they are.

    Mandatory e-verify is either part of the process of terrorizing people into fleeing the country

    Again with the “terrorizing”. Mandatory e-verify is not the same thing as ICE raids, there’s no terror involved. It’s an economic disincentive.

    I’m against terrorizing people,

    In all seriousness, can you explain how “I’m sorry, I can’t hire you unless I can verify that you are legally authorized to work in the U.S.” is “terrorizing people”?

  59. 59
    Jake Squid says:

    Anyone who does not want to be “trapped in the shadows” is and should be encouraged not to sit in the shadows, i.e. not to come here at all.

    You cannot encourage people not to come here enough for people not to come here. As long as there is no hope of economic and/or personal security in the places they’re coming from, there is no way to encourage them not to come here that will be significantly effective. If you want to stop or minimize illegal (or legal) immigration, you’re going to need to spend billions creating economic & personal security globally. I will absolutely support you in a project to create global economic & personal security.

    Look at what people have historically risked in search of economic security. Nazi Germany, various emigrations across vast stretches of water in un-seaworthy craft, militarized borders, militarized border walls and on and on.

    What Charles is saying is absolutely correct – your proposals are not effective in achieving your stated ends. They are good for being cruel, though. I can’t support you in a project of cruelty with no benefits.

  60. 60
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    I know you’re a thinking person, so why are you so insistent on treating this like a black/white issue? It is quite obvious that immigration is proportional to ease. In this manner it’s pretty darn similar to the vast majority of things.

    We know that a lot of people want (to some degree) to immigrate. Some of them want it more than others.

    If US immigration was free and easy and likely to be super profitable then a shitload of folks would do it: this captures all the “want” group.
    If it was moderately difficult, and likely to be less profitable, fewer people would do it. This captures fewer of the “want” group.
    If it was quite difficult and very unlikely to be profitable then still fewer people would do it. This captures still fewer of the “Want” group.
    You can keep going down to “all illegal immigrants will be shot on sight” and some folks will still want it enough to sneak in, though not many.

    The important thing is that there’s a relation between how hard it is and how many people come in. And that means that even smaller steps will make a dent in who comes; you can stay well above placing mines on the border.

    And so ON AVERAGE, you absolutely can affect the choices of people coming here. That is why we have 11 million illegal immigrants instead of 30 million or 5 million. We don’t live in a vacuum.

    If you want to stop or minimize illegal (or legal) immigration, you’re going to need to spend billions creating economic & personal security globally.

    Or, alternatively, implement mandatory e-verify.
    Let’s imagine a bet: We can implement mandatory e-verify and if the number of illegal immigrants stays the same (so it has no effect) you win. If the number goes down, I win. Would you take that bet? I certainly would: I believe that the 2007 crash demonstrated that a lot of basic economic issues affect immigration quite a bit.

    Look at what people have historically risked in search of economic security. Nazi Germany, various emigrations across vast stretches of water in un-seaworthy craft, militarized borders, militarized border walls and on and on.

    So what? Yes: Some people are in such a bad situation that they will leave no matter what, and/or they overstate the green tint of the grass at the destination (the old “streets are paved with gold” rumor). If you go far enough towards the tail end of the distribution, you can’t stop them.

    But most people are not. Most people are more moderate in their needs and therefore most people are more amenable to the use of incentives. Most Jews would have left Nazi Germany if given a chance. Most Mexicans stay in Mexico. Most Cubans stay in Cuba.

    Of course you can change incentives. For example, if you start a refugee open-door policy you would expect a shit-ton of refugees, no surprise that is exactly what happened in Germany.

    What Charles is saying is absolutely correct – your proposals are not effective in achieving your stated ends.

    Bull hockey. Your position is contrary to pretty much every study of incentives ever . You’re entirely misstating reality here, and the fact that you’re basing the claim on the tiny handful of Jews who broke into Nazi Germany rather than the majority trying to get out should be a tip.

  61. 61
    Kate says:

    You keep talking about this as if the illegal immigration is our fault. It isn’t.

    Yes it is. Whole sectors of our economy rely on undocumented workers, particularly in the southwest. This has been true for decades and we have done nothing to reduce the demand for such workers or to provide them with some sort of legal status. But, we keep buying the relatively inexpensive food that they harvest and process.
    It is the fault of U.S. companies who knowingly choose to hire undocumented workers, to the extent that some industries – like meat processing and picking crops – would totally collapse if their supply of illegal labor were cut off. When Georgia instituted a particularly intense crackdown, crops were left to rot in the fields. And, it isn’t fair to blame farmers alone – commodity prices are too low for them to stay in business any other way. Agribusiness makes huge profits, and can afford to pay farmers more for produce, so that farmers in turn can pay workers decent wages without the price of food rising astronomically. We do it in Australia.
    It is the fault of middle and uppper middle class people in southern CA who hire undocumented people to mow their lawns, clean their houses and care for their children for a few dollars and hour (probably half of the people I knew when I lived there).

    What Charles is saying is absolutely correct – your proposals are not effective in achieving your stated ends. They are good for being cruel, though. I can’t support you in a project of cruelty with no benefits.

    They also inevitably result in the harrassment of U.S. citizens and legal residents who are Latino.

  62. 62
    Charles S says:

    g&w,

    If your goal is to marginally decrease the number of undocumented people in the US, then obviously massive economic hardship is a way of achieving that (as are constant ICE raids). You just have to inflict massive economic hardship on 11 million people, most of whom have lived in the US for more than a decade, most of whom have family and friends and communities who are citizens and documented immigrants, most of whom have jobs. You just have to inflict that damage on all the people around the undocumented people. You just have to further impoverish the children of undocumented immigrants and make your school system more expensive and worse. You just have to inflict the harm of false positives in a global e-verify system on random people. And you just have to keep doing it year after year after year (and because people adapt, if you want to keep decreasing the number of people, you have to keep making it worse). And yes, as Myanmar is demonstrating, incentives work. If you just make that hardship bad enough, most people will flee if you let them.

    I agree, mandatory e-verify would make life difficult for millions of people, and some of them would flee the country, but most of them would not. To you, the people who fail to flee are a problem that needs to be solved by making things even worse. To me, those people are my neighbors and acquaintances. Their children attend your schools. Etc. I am not in favor of making 11 million people’s lives worse in order to deter people from entering the country, particularly when we are simultaneously (as Kate points out) inviting undocumented people in by running our entire agricultural system and much of our marginal labor system with undocumented people.

    We are doing a pretty good job currently of keeping the number of undocumented immigrants stagnant. If we want to not have any undocumented people, we could do pretty well by simply granting everyone who is currently undocumented a legal status. Poof! We can go from 11 million undocumented people to a few million in a few months, simply by granting everyone who has been here for over 5 years legal status. If the problem is undocumented immigrants, and not just immigrants, then an amnesty solves that problem a lot faster than continual grinding hardship of mandatory e-verify.

  63. 63
    Ben Lehman says:

    It may be worth reading the history of previous US attempts at mass deportation.

    Generally speaking, large enforcement pushes can increase (greatly!) the number of deportations, but generally don’t reduce the number of undocumented immigrants in the US. The US agricultural industry will continue offer no-questions-asked jobs for illegally low wages; people will come to work those jobs; this is true regardless of our immigration policy.

    This increase in deportations comes at enormous cost — both in terms of money spent on the government program, and in terms of the suffering of undocumented immigrants, documented non-citizen immigrants, and US citizens. Whether that cost is worth the outcome (no significant change in the number of undocumented immigrants, but an increase in churn) is the question that’s worth answering.

  64. 64
    Jake Squid says:

    I think you truly underestimate the horrid conditions so many people are running from, g&w. You also seem to care not a whit what your proposals will do to your targets and the communities in which they live.

    You don’t even need e-verify to end the employment of illegal immigrants. All you need to do is actually prosecute companies that hire them. Of course, the meat packing industry would die off over night, but that’s of no concern.

  65. 65
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Charles S says:
    September 22, 2017 at 4:10 pm
    g&w,

    If your goal is to marginally decrease the number of undocumented people in the US, then obviously massive economic hardship is a way of achieving that (as are constant ICE raids).

    You folks keep setting up these ridiculous straw men: all of those references to takes “massive economic hardship” and “constant ICE raids” and references to Myanmar (ethnic cleansing? Seriously?) And at some point I have to assume you’re intentionally being jerks and deliberately ignoring the thrust of what I am saying.

    Moreover, the “massive economic hardship” you discuss is the same thing as “living in the same conditions as everyone else in their country of origin.” Which is quite ridiculous.

    I don’t think I have an obligation to improve the lives of everyone in Country X, or to ensure that everyone in Country X has the same opportunities as US citizens. I don’t think that any random Country X person has the right to enter against the law and policy of the US. And it seems clear that we have the right to prevent those folks from illegally entering/remaining in the US, even if their lives would be improved. Therefore, removing that benefit (if they have obtained it illegally in the first place) is not a problem.

    because people adapt, if you want to keep decreasing the number of people, you have to keep making it worse).

    That isn’t true. Any setting has an equilibrium, and any equilibrium takes time to reach.

    I agree, mandatory e-verify would make life difficult for millions of people, and some of them would flee the country, but most of them would not.

    They won’t “flee” the country. They are not running from pogroms or raids. They will leave. And moreover they will tend not to leave their homes to come here in the first place.

    To you, the people who fail to flee are a problem that needs to be solved by making things even worse.

    Trust me, you’ve done such a shitty job of summarizing this that you should avoid trying to tell me what I think.

    But like I keep saying (are you sure you read these things?) the people who remain are, at some point, just going to stay. There will just be fewer of them.

    we are simultaneously (as Kate points out) inviting undocumented people in by

    We are not “inviting them in” any more than women are “inviting” sexual harassment by failing to wear a burqua.

    We are doing a pretty good job currently of keeping the number of undocumented immigrants stagnant.

    An accurate fact!

    If we want to not have any undocumented people, we could do pretty well by simply granting everyone who is currently undocumented a legal status.

    Well, no. This would create a lot of incentives for more undocumented people.
    And it would rob us our our ability to choose WHICH people to admit, although that is a crucial aspect of immigration.

    There are a lot of potential classes: People who can assimilate most easily. People who are most likely to help the country. People who are in greatest need. People who are refugees. People who are under-represented in the US population. And so on. But for almost any class the “which 11 million should we admit?” question IS NOT “the folks who are here against our will.”

    This is not a rhetorical question:

    If we were to admit 11 million immigrants (which I would not oppose, though I wouldn’t do it all at once) on what basis would you support screwing over everyone who waited in line, in favor of the rule-breakers?

    If the problem is undocumented immigrants, and not just immigrants, then an amnesty solves that problem a lot faster than continual grinding hardship of mandatory e-verify.

    If we removed the laws which made discrimination illegal, then illegal discrimination would entirely be solved. You hate illegal discrimination, so you must support removing the laws against it, right?

    This argument is patently ridiculous.

  66. 66
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Ben Lehman says:
    Generally speaking, large enforcement pushes can increase (greatly!) the number of deportations, but generally don’t reduce the number of undocumented immigrants in the US.

    This would be hugely relevant if I was arguing in favor of increased raids and active deportations. But I’m not.

    The US agricultural industry will continue offer no-questions-asked jobs for illegally low wages;

    This would be the case if I wasn’t talking about mandatory e-verify, which makes this practice incredibly difficult and risky for the employers. But I am.

    people will come to work those jobs; this is true regardless of our immigration policy.

    If we have a lot of jobs which are available to illegal immigrants, people will have strong incentives to come here and take them. If we have fewer jobs which are available to illegal immigrants, people will have fewer incentives to come here and take them.

    This increase in deportations comes at enormous cost

    Again: This cost would be relevant if I were arguing in favor of mass deportations which I am not doing so for fuck’s sake can everyone please stop ?

    Whether that cost is worth the outcome (no significant change in the number of undocumented immigrants, but an increase in churn) is the question that’s worth answering.

    There is seriously no credible evidence that your assumption “no change” is accurate.

    Did y’all note the 2007-2009 drop? You know, when jobs went down and illegal immigration stopped increasing for the first time in ages, and it went down for the first time in ages? Do you think that was “no change”?

    Did y’all note the changes in immigration habits which took place in Europe when governments announced changes in immigration policy?

    How can you look at facts like those and claim that there won’t be any effect of policy or economic changes?

  67. 67
    Jake Squid says:

    And at some point I have to assume you’re intentionally being jerks and deliberately ignoring the thrust of what I am saying.

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

  68. 68
    Katea says:

    We are not “inviting them in” any more than women are “inviting” sexual harassment by failing to wear a burqua.

    What we are doing is more like hanging around on the street in front of a strip club all night dressed in a sexually provocative manner and then clutching our pearls about how “OMG that is ILLEGAL!!!!” when someone has the audacity to offer us money in exchange for sex acts.

  69. 69
    Harlequin says:

    If we could get away from analogies about women’s dress and/or sexuality (which is, frankly, gross and weird and beneath all of us), an analogy to entrapment more broadly ought to work just as well.

  70. 70
    Ampersand says:

    What Harlequin said. Please, folks.

  71. 71
    Katea says:

    Sorry. I agree that it is gross. A better analogy:
    I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here.

  72. 72
    Ampersand says:

    G&W wrote:

    This comment is entirely blind to the reality of how that elitism affects elections. Seriously, “local hill town?” That’s almost a parody.

    Charles responded:

    I thought you lived in the hilltowns of Massachussetts? That’s what they are called. That’s what they were called when I lived near there.

    G&W, you made a kind of striking personal attack on Charles here, based on you not knowing that the area is literally called the Hilltowns.

    That mistake is perfectly reasonable; your personal attack on Charles is not. You owe Charles an apology.

  73. 73
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Sure.

    In all fairness, I have family who lives in that area; I have friends who live in that area; I have spent a lot of time in that area; I have never heard the term used self-referentially. And I have no idea why Charles would think I lived there, out of all the other places in Mass.

    So I didn’t have any reason to believe that a random person online would just so happen to be in the very small group of folks whose experience was so radically different from mine–and who would, himself, apparently assume that I was in the very small category of folks who shared his experience. But now that I know, I apologize for making that comment.

  74. 74
    Charles S says:

    Eh, I was mistaken about you living in the Hilltowns (I remembered that you lived in small town north-western Massachusetts, but most people in that region live in the old mill towns instead of the hill towns anyway, so I shouldn’t have guessed hill towns). Of all the over-the-top hostile things we’ve said to each other in the course of this single thread, I have no idea why that is the one that Amp thinks you should apologize for.

  75. 75
    Radfem says:

    I think you truly underestimate the horrid conditions so many people are running from, g&w. You also seem to care not a whit what your proposals will do to your targets and the communities in which they live.

    You don’t even need e-verify to end the employment of illegal immigrants. All you need to do is actually prosecute companies that hire them. Of course, the meat packing industry would die off over night, but that’s of no concern.

    I think the average person doesn’t know what horrible conditions a lot of undocumented immigrants are escaping. Even less about how US foreign policy in the past has contributed to the current conditions in several CA countries.

    Not just the meat packing industry (and the poultry plants) that would be impacted.

    Not to mention the agricultural industry as well. In at least a few states, crops are dying on the vine because of a lack of people to harvest them. Part of that is increased raids by ICE and deportions but also due to more people not coming in from Mexico or going back to Mexico in recent years. Despite the outcry that these undocumented immigrants are stealing jobs from Americans, few if any Americans at least in CA take these jobs. The few that do don’t last long and quit. Even when farmers started raising salaries above minimum wage and offering benefits and paid vacation time, these jobs still remain unfilled Ironically most of the farmers in California supported Trump and many now regret it.

    Some vinyards in California also experienced labor shortages and started increasing pay in competition with other vinyards for the dwindling work pool of undocumented immigrants.

    Idaho’s dairy industry, one of the nation’s biggest, has struggled because the majority of its employees are foreign born and the Americans who some claim were having these jobs stolen from them aren’t taking them. In part because of Idaho’s currenly very low unemployment rate. So dairy farmers in the very “red” state of Idaho are coming up with proposals including allowing them to stay and work through visas or being able to work up to green card status.

    An interesting film was released some years ago called A Day Without a Mexican which was set in California. Add to that undocumented immigrants from other countries in CA, Asia, Africa, etc. I’d add white undocumented immigrants from ie Europe but Trump and his followers don’t seem to be nearly as concerned about them.

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