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Thread: Column: Kidding Ourselves About Immigration

  1. #1
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    Column: Kidding Ourselves About Immigration

    Very interesting take on the "debate" over immigration, from the incomparable Michael Kinsley.

    [QUOTE]

    [url]http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1692059,00.html[/url]

    Thursday, Dec. 06, 2007
    Kidding Ourselves About Immigration
    By Michael Kinsley

    What you are supposed to say about immigration--what most of the presidential candidates say, what the radio talk jocks say--is that you are not against immigration. Not at all. You salute the hard work and noble aspirations of those who are lining up at American consulates around the world. But that is legal immigration. What you oppose is illegal immigration.

    This formula is not very helpful. We all oppose breaking the law, or we ought to. Saying that you oppose illegal immigration is like saying you oppose illegal drug use or illegal speeding. Of course you do, or should. The question is whether you think the law draws the line in the right place. Should using marijuana be illegal? Should the speed limit be raised--or lowered? The fact that you believe in obeying the law reveals nothing about what you think the law ought to be, or why.

    Another question: Why are you so upset about this particular form of lawbreaking? After all, there are lots of laws, not all of them enforced with vigor. The suspicion naturally arises that the illegality is not what bothers you. What bothers you is the immigration. There is an easy way to test this. Reducing illegal immigration is hard, but increasing legal immigration would be easy. If your view is that legal immigration is good and illegal immigration is bad, how about increasing legal immigration? How about doubling it? Any takers? So in the end, this is not really a debate about illegal immigration. This is a debate about immigration.

    And it's barely a debate at all. On the Democratic side, the arcane issue of whether illegals should be able to get a driver's license has bitten both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. On the Republican side, the candidates take turns accusing one another of committing some act of human decency toward illegals, and indignantly denying that they did any such thing. Immigration has long divided both parties, with advocates and opponents in each. Among Republicans, support for immigration was economic (corporations), while opposition was cultural (nativists). Among Democrats, it was the reverse: support for immigration was cultural (ethnic groups), while opposition was economic (unions). Now, for whatever reason, support for immigration is limited to an eccentric alliance of high-minded Council on Foreign Relations types, the mainstream media, high-tech entrepreneurs, Latinos, the Wall Street Journal editorial page and President George W. Bush. Everyone else, it seems, is agin.

    Maybe the aginners are right, and immigration is now damaging our country, stealing jobs and opportunity, ripping off taxpayers, fragmenting our culture. I doubt it, but maybe so. Certainly, it's true that we can't let in everyone who wants to come. There is some number of immigrants that is too many. I don't believe we're past that point, but maybe we are. In any event, a democracy has the right to decide that it has reached such a point. There is no obligation to be fair to foreigners.

    But let's not kid ourselves that all we care about is obeying the law and all we are asking illegals to do is go home and get in line like everybody else. We know perfectly well that the line is too long, and we are basically telling people to go home and not come back.

    Let's not kid ourselves, either, about who we are telling this to. To characterize illegal immigrants as queue-jumping, lawbreaking scum is seriously unjust. The motives of illegal immigrants--which can be summarized as "a better life"--are identical to those of legal immigrants. In fact, they are largely identical to the motives of our own parents, grandparents and great-grandparents when they immigrated. And not just that. Ask yourself, of these three groups--today's legal and illegal immigrants and the immigrants of generations ago--which one has proven most dramatically its appreciation of our country? Which one has shown the most gumption, the most willingness to risk all to get to the U.S. and the most willingness to work hard once here? Well, everyone's story is unique. But who loves the U.S. most? On average, probably, the winners of this American-values contest would be the illegals, doing our dirty work under constant fear of eviction, getting thrown out and returning again and again.

    And how about those of us lucky enough to have been born here? How would we do against the typical illegal alien in a "prove how much you love America" reality TV show?[/QUOTE]

  2. #2
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    I disagree with this guy. For me, personally, it's not about xenophobia at all. How could it be? I'm a product of immigrants coming to this country in search of opportunity and a better life.

    I would be absolutely fine with doubling the amount of legal immigrants, as the incomparable Michael Kinsley sarcastically suggests. I just don't like the fact that anyone can move into this country, completely undocumented, settle in, and begin working. It's not just silly, it's also a domestic security risk.

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    I disagree with this article completely.

    I'd have no problem with increasing the amount of legal immigrants allowed in the country. My parents were both immigrants, so I'd be the last person to oppose anyone coming here for a better life for themselves or their children.

    There are several reasons why I have a problem with illegal immigration. First, the criminal element. For this author to downplay that effect on this country's crime and drug problem is extremely ignorant on his part.

    Second, illegal immigration hurts the working and lower class in this country, including legal immigrants. To say that illegals do the work that Americans won't is such a crock. People will shovel sh*t if it helps them provide for their family. If an employer doesn't have the option to pay an illegal peanuts to do the job off the books then they will have to offer something more reasonable to the people who are in this country legally.

    Third, illegal immigration effects the cost of healthcare for Americans and legal immigrants. When they go to a hospital the doctors have to treat them. We end up paying the bill.

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    Great article... frames the issue very well imo. Reminds me of the clear-thinking article from Rabbi Marc Gellman about stem-cell research. Not telling you what to think or how you should feel but what the argument really is over.

    Paulie... I would say that you're in the minority with that mindset. It may not be xenophobia on your part but you have to admit a large contigent of the U.S. population is afraid of Spanish being the official language.

    Sourceworx... if you increase the amount of legal immigrants, double or triple the amount, then wouldn't it still hurt the working and lower classes in this country? It's nice to say that Americans will shovel **** for their families but I don't see it. What's the solution really?... either way we're looking at some big time difficulties.
    Last edited by bigalbarracuda; 12-10-2007 at 12:43 PM.

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    The first excuse of the devious, the underhanded, the evil and the ignorant is to cry racism....or in this case, "Xenophobia".:rolleyes:

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    [QUOTE=bigalbarracuda;2256372]Great article... frames the issue very well imo. Reminds me of the clear-thinking article from Rabbi Marc Gellman about stem-cell research. Not telling you what to think or how you should feel but what the argument really is over.

    .[/QUOTE]

    That's what I liked about it.

    My own take on the issue: We need to simultaneously make it *much* easier for people to come here legally, while also stepping up the enforcement of our borders. If it is easier to use the front door and harder to use the side door, more people will use the front door and we'll know who is coming in.

    The biggest problem with illegal immigration, imo, has nothing to do with economics. While illegals may use our healthcare system, the reality is they are also doing cheap labor and suppressing prices. Every economic boom this country has ever had has been accompanied by a surge in immigrants and its not a coincidence.

    That said, the problem is not knowing who is coming in due to security issues. We need to know who is here and who is coming in.

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    That's a silly article. My grandparents came over on the boat, literally. They got here, learned the language, opened a business, paid their taxes, never tried to get a free ride, worked hard, and retired comfortably on their savings until they died.

    I have nothing but respect and admiration for what they did. They did it 100% legally, and people like that are the blocks the nation was founded on. I would encourage more people from other nations to follow their example, and do the same thing.

    Coming over here illegally, not learning the language, not paying taxes, taking advantage of benefits that aren't paid for, that's what most people hate. It's not xenophobia, it's a dislike for me paying taxes so someone can steal my tax dollers away, without making any contribution on their own.

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    [QUOTE=chirorob;2256404]That's a silly article. My grandparents came over on the boat, literally. They got here, learned the language, opened a business, paid their taxes, never tried to get a free ride, worked hard, and retired comfortably on their savings until they died.

    I have nothing but respect and admiration for what they did. They did it 100% legally, and people like that are the blocks the nation was founded on. I would encourage more people from other nations to follow their example, and do the same thing.

    Coming over here illegally, not learning the language, not paying taxes, taking advantage of benefits that aren't paid for, that's what most people hate. It's not xenophobia, it's a dislike for me paying taxes so someone can steal my tax dollers away, without making any contribution on their own.[/QUOTE]


    I think you're missing the point... the situation today is not equivalent to the situation your grandparents, or mine, found themselves in. People today CANNOT get in legally, and they are faced with the choice of living in their home country or trying to gut it out in America and potentially do better for themselves, all the while hurting the United States in a variety of ways. If they pay taxes they get caught and are sent home, the language thing is more of an issue with the children of illegal immigrants and I'd prefer not to get into a long discussion about it.

    The main question as I see it is: Do we spurn these illegal immigrants at the expense of our own country's immigrant past? Or do we expand legal immigration to make it easier and therefore changing our dynamic as a country? I honestly don't know.
    Last edited by bigalbarracuda; 12-10-2007 at 12:53 PM.

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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola;2256395]That's what I liked about it.

    My own take on the issue: We need to simultaneously make it *much* easier for people to come here legally, while also stepping up the enforcement of our borders. If it is easier to use the front door and harder to use the side door, more people will use the front door and we'll know who is coming in.

    The biggest problem with illegal immigration, imo, has nothing to do with economics. While illegals may use our healthcare system, the reality is they are also doing cheap labor and suppressing prices. Every economic boom this country has ever had has been accompanied by a surge in immigrants and its not a coincidence.

    That said, the problem is not knowing who is coming in due to security issues. We need to know who is here and who is coming in.[/QUOTE]

    I think it's partially to do with economics. Though I agree that security is the main point.

    The thing with economics is that a lot of industries have become "enablers," for lack of a better term, for illegal immigrants. And as sourceworx pointed out this in turn has effects on healthcare, taxes, and other things, though I agree that the effects are most likely negligible considering the cheap labor they provide.

    Hypothetically, if you somehow shut down illegal immigration would there be Americans around to do jobs that, as President Bush has said, "Americans just won't do"?

    Probably not at first, but as those industries are forced to raise wages and add benefits they'll get their American workers albeit at a cost to their profit margin and potentially the economy.

    There are so many levels to this... it's amazing. It's so difficult to not think radically about the issue or to generalize in one direction or the other.

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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola;2256331]Very interesting take on the "debate" over immigration, from the incomparable Michael Kinsley.[/QUOTE]

    The other point Kinsley is not acknowledging is that a democracy has a right to set immigration limits. Whether you or I think those limits are too high or low is a fit subject for debate. But once the government has acted to set a standard, where does someone from another country get the right to defy that standard and come here illegally? The fact is they don't have any such right.

    In that respect the source of opposition to letting more people in is in some respects beside the point. That source may have a number of reasons behind it, including xenophobia or racism. But if that were all that supported limits, the standard would be subject to challenge, theoretically. Instead the illegals just come here and keep coming here ion violation of the national determination to limit their immigration.

    So yes, debate away about the reasons for and against limiting immigration. But make no mistake that there have been and always will be people trying to circumvent ANY standard we arrive at, other than no standard at all, allowing everyone in.

    I truly believe this is what many opposed to immigration are concerned about, and that is the sense that this is out of control, and that the immigrants are flagrantly violating the rules of the game set by our government. It's not just about whether somebody drives 65 in a 55 zone.

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    [QUOTE=Big Blocker;2256465]The other point Kinsley is not acknowledging is that a democracy has a right to set immigration limits. Whether you or I think those limits are too high or low is a fit subject for debate. But once the government has acted to set a standard, where does someone from another country get the right to defy that standard and come here illegally? The fact is they don't have any such right.

    In that respect the source of opposition to letting more people in is in some respects beside the point. That source may have a number of reasons behind it, including xenophobia or racism. But if that were all that supported limits, the standard would be subject to challenge, theoretically. Instead the illegals just come here and keep coming here ion violation of the national determination to limit their immigration.

    So yes, debate away about the reasons for and against limiting immigration. But make no mistake that there have been and always will be people trying to circumvent ANY standard we arrive at, other than no standard at all, allowing everyone in.

    I truly believe this is what many opposed to immigration are concerned about, and that is the sense that this is out of control, and that the immigrants are flagrantly violating the rules of the game set by our government. It's not just about whether somebody drives 65 in a 55 zone.[/QUOTE]

    Good post.

    I think one thing this debate is lacking is some real research over what the "capacity" is for absorbing new immigrants, and what happens when we exceed it or fall short of it (as there are probably serious problems either way).

    I know think tanks on both sides have "studies" that show exactly what they are predisposed to believe, but it might be nice to have a bipartisan commission do some real research on the capacity issue, sort of like the 9-11 commission. This would insert some objective facts to inform this debate better.

    Right now, it's mostly just rhetoric and rage on both sides, and I have very little sense of why it's bubbled up so intensely over the last year or so.

  12. #12
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    complete unadulterated libtard pablum from the usual crackpots

    just like when they say/think they're the most patriotic

    the people who love this country most obey its laws,
    adopt its language-English, and culture, and keep most of
    their money here

    not trying to force their crappy culture, language, or
    cult religions etc on us
    sponging off the govt teat
    and sending most of their ill-gotten gains back to
    whatever sh!thole they emerged from

    becoming a US citizen is a privilege - not a human right
    Last edited by flushingjet; 12-10-2007 at 02:44 PM.

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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola;2256481]Good post.

    I think one thing this debate is lacking is some real research over what the "capacity" is for absorbing new immigrants, and what happens when we exceed it or fall short of it (as there are probably serious problems either way).

    I know think tanks on both sides have "studies" that show exactly what they are predisposed to believe, but it might be nice to have a bipartisan commission do some real research on the capacity issue, sort of like the 9-11 commission. This would insert some objective facts to inform this debate better.

    Right now, it's mostly just rhetoric and rage on both sides, and I have very little sense of why it's bubbled up so intensely over the last year or so.[/QUOTE]


    Good post, and BB too.

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    [QUOTE=flushingjet;2256707]complete unadulterated libtard pablum from the usual crackpots

    just like when they say/think they're the most patriotic

    the people who love this country most obey its laws,
    adopt its language-English, and culture, and keep most of
    their money here

    not trying to force their crappy culture, language, or
    cult religions etc on us
    sponging off the govt teat
    and sending most of their ill-gotten gains back to
    whatever sh!thole they emerged from

    becoming a US citizen is a privilege - not a human right[/QUOTE]

    Thank you for adding your two cents (though it really doesn't add much to the discussion)... however, I don't understand the "libtard pablum" characterization.

    What liberals want immigrants to disobey laws, not adopt English, send their American currency abroad, and mooch off the government for healthcare and other benefits?

    Also, to call other cultures crappy is, once again, a very revealing statement on your part. By cult religions do you mean the Mexican Catholics coming from the South? What cult religions do you speak of then? Enlighten me once again O FlushingJet, resident JI faux-poet.

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    "[B]So in the end, this is not really a debate about illegal immigration. This is a debate about immigration.[/B]"

    [QUOTE=flushingjet;2256707]
    not trying to force their crappy culture, language, or
    cult religions etc on us
    sponging off the govt teat
    and sending most of their ill-gotten gains back to
    whatever sh!thole they emerged from
    [/QUOTE]


    I guess he has a point there

  16. #16
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    [QUOTE=NYBuckeye;2256752]"[B]So in the end, this is not really a debate about illegal immigration. This is a debate about immigration.[/B]"




    I guess he has a point there[/QUOTE]


    You think?

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    [QUOTE=bigalbarracuda;2256742]Thank you for adding your two cents (though it really doesn't add much to the discussion)... however, I don't understand the "libtard pablum" characterization.

    What liberals want immigrants to disobey laws, not adopt English, send their American currency abroad, and mooch off the government for healthcare and other benefits?

    Also, to call other cultures crappy is, once again, a very revealing statement on your part. By cult religions do you mean the Mexican Catholics coming from the South? What cult religions do you speak of then? Enlighten me once again O FlushingJet, resident JI faux-poet.[/QUOTE]

    Since the group that makes up the biggest supporters of illegal immigration is corporate America, are we to assume that group is liberal?

    Wow, I did not know that.

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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola;2256803]You think?[/QUOTE]

    Yes

  19. #19
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    [quote=bigalbarracuda;2256742]Thank you for adding your two cents (though it really doesn't add much to the discussion)... however, I don't understand the "libtard pablum" characterization.

    What liberals want immigrants to disobey laws, not adopt English, send their American currency abroad, and mooch off the government for healthcare and other benefits?

    Also, to call other cultures crappy is, once again, a very revealing statement on your part. By cult religions do you mean the Mexican Catholics coming from the South? What cult religions do you speak of then? Enlighten me once again O FlushingJet, resident JI faux-poet.[/quote]


    the only thing faux is your factless, clueless opinion/posts - cut n pasted from whatever libtard rag you pick up in your dr.'s office

    i dont adhere to your homo-genized belief in moral and cultural relativism,
    and never will, too bad

    I like my judeo-christian belief system and my american english-derived legal system just fine, thanks

    i believe its superior to all
    else why dont all the illegals stay the hell in (fill in the blank sh!thole)

    i couldnt give a sh!t if you do or dont

    no need for the cult of islam, sharia law, or other backwards cultures to be equal to ours or supercede ours, many of their tenets are currently illegal here (in most places - not counting san francrisco, etc)

    why should i give the good housekeeping seal to dysfunctional, unamerican ways of others?

    figures a lib would try to bring up religion in a sideways attempt to defend the indefensible, im 100% sure the catholic mexicans sneaking in here are well aware that they are stealing from others when they line up for handouts-which is breaking one of the 10 commandments-i dont hold the elitist paternalistic lib view that they are incapable of understanding that simple fact

    its very telling how stultifyingly ignorant one is to assert liberals are not for aiding illegals and their illegal behaviors-it keeps socialism alive and gov't big -just look whos voting what way in congress, look whos trying to give them govt benefits, drivers licenses.
    yes some gop are for them for business reasons, they can go to hell too
    bush is way wrong on this issue

    that being said, i in no way am against legal immigration
    to equate legal immigration with illegal immigration is moronic

    let em do what my forebears did and others do today-wait in line and get naturalized

  20. #20
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    [QUOTE=flushingjet;2257346]the only thing faux is your factless, clueless opinion/posts - cut n pasted from whatever libtard rag you pick up in your dr.'s office

    i dont adhere to your homo-genized belief in moral and cultural relativism,
    and never will, too bad

    I like my judeo-christian belief system and my american english-derived legal system just fine, thanks

    i believe its superior to all
    else why dont all the illegals stay the hell in (fill in the blank sh!thole)

    i couldnt give a sh!t if you do or dont

    no need for the cult of islam, sharia law, or other backwards cultures to be equal to ours or supercede ours, many of their tenets are currently illegal here (in most places - not counting san francrisco, etc)

    why should i give the good housekeeping seal to dysfunctional, unamerican ways of others?

    figures a lib would try to bring up religion in a sideways attempt to defend the indefensible, im 100% sure the catholic mexicans sneaking in here are well aware that they are stealing from others when they line up for handouts-which is breaking one of the 10 commandments-i dont hold the elitist paternalistic lib view that they are incapable of understanding that simple fact

    its very telling how stultifyingly ignorant one is to assert liberals are not for aiding illegals and their illegal behaviors-it keeps socialism alive and gov't big -just look whos voting what way in congress, look whos trying to give them govt benefits, drivers licenses.
    yes some gop are for them for business reasons, they can go to hell too
    bush is way wrong on this issue

    that being said, i in no way am against legal immigration
    to equate legal immigration with illegal immigration is moronic

    let em do what my forebears did and others do today-wait in line and get naturalized[/QUOTE]

    What an ignorant man you are. Corporate America is the biggest supporter of illegal immigration.

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