Monday, May 15, 2006

The End Times Are Upon Us

In what must be a sign of the Apocalypse, I actually agree with most of Bush's immigration speech tonight.
Okay, I didn't much care for the idea of the National Guard getting mobilized when we could spend the money on more actual Border Patrol agents. But other than that, I think, Dubbya actually made some sense.
The big points: We need to control our borders. People come here because they want to work. Demanding that we deport 11-12 million illegals is fucking ridiculous.
Bush's solutions--greater border enforcement, guest-worker programs, a difficult but achievable path to citizenship for illegals--may not be perfect, but there aren't any perfect solutions to this situation.
Mexico doesn't have jobs. We do. People want to work and earn wages. You want to stop that, you might want to warm up by going to the seaside and yelling at the tide not to come in.
Oh, and to the howler monkeys pounding their chests and hooting that the Bush citizenship plan is an "amnesty": invest in a good dictionary. Then read it. It's not amnesty if you have to work for it. And, in the long run, I don't know if it'll be used that much--after all, who the hell can afford to pay five years of back taxes?
No, George Dubbya Bush has proved the old adage that even a busted clock is right at least twice a day.
But don't worry, Georgie. I'll be back to hatin' on you tomorrow.

20 comments:

Sandra Ruttan said...

So, how does this impact the Canadian border? Or is it strictly Mexico?

Bob Morris said...

Yeah, that's one reason why I didn't sleep last night -- because I went to bed thinking, "Hmm, I agree with what Bushwhacker said. What is he REALLY up to?"

It's subterfuge, all subterfuge. Meanwhile, a kid who lives down the road got killed in Iraq yesterday...

Patti Abbott said...

It was such a disconcerting feeling it made me quite ill.
But the word subterfuge is right. I don't think he gives a damn about any of it. It's just to distract us from the way he feels and acts on everything else.

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

Sandra,

Hey, as long as you're white and have money to spend, we'll keep that northern border open.

JD Rhoades said...

Sandra: The Right isn't really worried about white illegal immigrants. It's the brown ones that give them the hives, talkin' all funny and stuff.
To be fair, they don't seem all that worried about the yeller ones, either, maybe 'cause they can cook.

Julia said...

The problem with the guest worker program is that I'm sure that those employees will be paid a substandard wage and not have the protections of our citizens.

Of course, that is the way it is now, that they are illegal. But with a guest worker, the company will not be breaking the law.

So you still have exploited workers, only big business can do it legally.

James Lincoln Warren said...

You're wrong about the Right not caring about white immigrants. They do, especially if they're from eastern Europe. The difference is that people in the U.S. see Canadians as already American, Australians and New Zealanders as quaintly British, and the British as almost as good as American.

Racism in immigration has much more to do with language than with skin color.

James Lincoln Warren said...

Sorry, forgot to add: I don't know how big the Asian community is where you're at there in the Carolinas, Dusty, but here on the West Coast, illegal resident Asians, especially Koreans and Vietnamese, are considered to be a big, big problem, and are not remotely exempt from racist pressures.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Canadians are already Americans?

So I don't need a damn green card? Life just gets better and better. We're going to move someplace warm, buy a cheaper house and steal your jobs.

James Lincoln Warren said...

Alas, I was speaking in terms of cultural sensibilities. My grandfather, Cifford Arnold Warren, was from Pembroke, Ontario. This is not all that different from being from Michigan in terms of culture. (All three of my other grandparents were Americans.) Nobody ever made a big deal about it.

My wife's parents, on the other hand, both came from Russia. She was treated like a congenital Communist when she was a kid--as a U.S. Naval Officer named Margaret Pavlov, she was asked by one asshole, "How did you get in the Navy with a name like that?"

Sandra Ruttan said...

So, since I'm originally from Gravenhurst Ontario, which is not so far from Pembroke, I have the sensibility of an American?

Bite my tongue, bite my tongue...DEAR GOD, WHAT FUCKING WORD IS THAT FOR THE VERIFICATION? As in, all the letters are blurred, so I could be here a while.

Hmmm, nope.
Nope.
Nope.
Nope.
Try again...

LongHairedWeirdo said...

Actually, I think Molly Ivins made the best points about immigration.

If you really want to stop illegal immigration, you need to hit the people who employ illegal immigrants.

There might be people who hire an illegal immigrant for a job without intending to stiff them on pay, expose them to unsafe working conditions, or otherwise treat them like crap, but such cases are rare, so I don't trust the whole "guest worker program"; I think it's a way of trying to import cheap labor and make sure "expenses" (aka: "wages") for businesses are kept rock bottom.

I might be cynical about this, I admit... but that's my feeling on the matter.

So I agree with that... if you're going to punish someone for illegal immigration, punish the people who are profiting by it, and refusing to pay a fair, living wage to workers. Those are the people who are causing the problem.

Putting the National Guard on border patrol? What, did the Mexican border just this minute become less secure? No, that's called grandstanding, and I don't like the idea of national guardsfolk being called up for two weeks of duty for something that's not a bona fide emergency. That's two weeks of their lives being disrupted, and while two weeks isn't a long time, it's not what they signed up for.

M. G. Tarquini said...

I'm on the opposite side of this.

There are jobs in Mexico, but they pay poorly. The solution is not to open the borders and make it a free for all. It would be better if the Mexican government acted as a government, instead of as a grab bag for the powerful and rich. I cringe when people in this country play the race card with this issue. In Mexico, at least when I lived there, skin colors were listed all the way from white to light brown, medium brown, dark brown, dark dark brown, and black, and even more gradations. Lighter was better. Race is an ever present reality and for divisions I doubt most people here would even notice.

The largest class division in Mexico is between the haves and the have-nots. Mexico is a country rich in culture, resources and intellect. The only thing stopping Mexico from becoming a wonderful place for its citizens to live is the Mexican government and the Mexicans themselves.

Before everybody starts screaming for the blood of those who employ illegals, while simultaneously accusing those opposed to a free-for-all at the border of racism, understand that this is a complex issue. Behind the issue are real people on both sides of the equation and both sides of the border: loving, caring, unracist people.

The presumption is that people employ illegals because they are mean, and...racist and... cheap and exploitive is simplistic. Who exactly are you talking about? Do you live in a border state? Have you any idea of the constant push me/pull you those states experience? The strain on social services?

Are you willing to give up your unemployment benefits to the cause? Your social security? Your health benefits, such as they are? Welfare? School lunch programs? Is preference to be given to those who are here because of proximity and failed oversight? Do we tell all the other loving, caring, wonderful people in the world who are playing it by the rules that they are out of luck in the immigration stakes?

Everybody screams about us, us, us. Why don't people start screaming at the Mexican government, its wealthier citizens? Tell THEM they need to do something about the plight of their countrymen.

I'm happy to see the National Guard mobilized, but it's silly because it will be more than a year before they are able to be deployed and do anything. The Border Patrol exists to keep people from crossing. It's also there to keep people from dying in the desert. The Minute Men aren't looking to cause trouble. They don't want to see dead people either. They want to protect their property and their families. They don't want to experience the insecurity of having no idea who's going to be tromping across their front yard next.

Who in this comments thread would be fine with complete strangers wandering through your gardens at will, at all hours of the day and night? Would you worry if you found out the guy leading them carried a gun? How about if you found a dead baby by the rose bushes? Or a dehydrated teenager?

Sorry, off soapbox.

JD Rhoades said...

The presumption is that people employ illegals because they are mean, and...racist and... cheap and exploitive is simplistic.

I agree. Actually, the main reason people employ illegals is not just because they work cheap, it's because they work, period. Comedian Tim Wilson summed it up: "Friends, yer illegal Mexican is a great American. He'll always show up for work. You may have to give him a ride but he'll be there waitin' for you!"

Everybody screams about us, us, us. Why don't people start screaming at the Mexican government, its wealthier citizens? Tell THEM they need to do something about the plight of their countrymen.

This is an excellent point; however, I'm not sure how one goes about rectifying a corrupt oligarchy without actually invading.

M. G. Tarquini said...

This is an excellent point; however, I'm not sure how one goes about rectifying a corrupt oligarchy without actually invading.

That thought's crossed my mind. Many years ago, a friend asked during a dinner party, "Do you think your president would take Chihuahua as sufficient compensation for the Mexican debt? We could be a state. We don't eat much."

As far as the wages go. They get paid less here, but they also don't pay taxes, despite the line the amnesty advocates try to feed the media machine. So add another third as much an hour. Many employers provide meals. They send their kids' outgrown clothing out the door with the yard guy, or the cleaning lady, rather than dropping it at Salvation Army and taking a tax deduction. They do the same with the cast off furniture. They'll often make sure workers get flu vaccines, help them make appts, help them find free ESL classes.

None of that means they support the free-for-all at the border. It means, they'd rather provide the worker work than a handout.

JD Rhoades said...

As far as the wages go. They get paid less here, but they also don't pay taxes, despite the line the amnesty advocates try to feed the media machine. So add another third as much an hour.

Well, I've read that some illegals using fake documents and Social Security numbers ARE paying money into the system, including SS taxes which they'll never get paid back. One article suggested that they may actually be helping to save the SS system.

Many employers provide meals. They send their kids' outgrown clothing out the door with the yard guy, or the cleaning lady, rather than dropping it at Salvation Army and taking a tax deduction. They do the same with the cast off furniture. They'll often make sure workers get flu vaccines, help them make appts, help them find free ESL classes.

Or, as has been my experience, take them to see a lawyer and front them the fees when they run into trouble, either criminal or domestic.

But let's not paint an altogether rosy picture. As you've said, the situation is complex. There are plenty of employers who do use an illegal's fear of La Migra to exploit them. I've also talked to injured workers, some of them with potentially crippling repetitive motion injuries from working in poultry and hog plants, who are terrified to file worker's comp claims becuase they've been informed by their employers that anyone who does so will get turned in to the INS. I've spoken with the families of Latinas who have been sexually harassed and in some cases sexually abused by white and African American supervisors using threats of deportation if they don't "cooperate."

There aren't any perfect solutions. But the Bush plan deals with the situation as it exists and provides some method of providing a legal status for these people so thatthere's some recourse if the bad apples do abuse them.

M. G. Tarquini said...

Well, I've read that some illegals using fake documents and Social Security numbers ARE paying money into the system, including SS taxes which they'll never get paid back. One article suggested that they may actually be helping to save the SS system.

They do use fake documents and SS Numbers. They commit fraud to get jobs, jobs that Americans who have real social security numbers aren't getting. If they're paying money into the system, it's the least they can do because what they are taking out far exceeds that contribution.

Or, as has been my experience, take them to see a lawyer and front them the fees when they run into trouble, either criminal or domestic.

I've seen that also, but I didn't want you saying I was painting a rosy picture.

I've also talked to injured workers, some of them with potentially crippling repetitive motion injuries from working in poultry and hog plants, who are terrified to file worker's comp claims becuase they've been informed by their employers that anyone who does so will get turned in to the INS.

J.D. The problem here is that they are working those jobs illegally. The employer has no right to exploit them, but neither do these workers have a right to those jobs. I realize this is terribly un-PC of me, but the simple solution is for the worker to scamper back over the border and go work in a factory there where his Mexican employer can exploit him just as badly. Then an American or an immigrant here legally, who will complain about the exploitation, can have the job.

I've spoken with the families of Latinas who have been sexually harassed and in some cases sexually abused by white and African American supervisors using threats of deportation if they don't "cooperate."

The races of the supervisors is important? Perhaps those workers need to go to the police. What? They don't? Why? Because they are engaged in their own criminal activity. Does that make what is happening all right? Nope. But the solution is not to hand over amnesty. And if they go back to their own countries, they can have supervisors who look just like them sexually harrass and abuse them, pretty much without recourse.

For the record, my husband and I are at odds on this. He wants them to have legal status, in that he wants them registered. Why? Because right now, there's nobody to send the flipping bill to. With registration, the government can collect expenses due from President Vicente Fox. Or at least try to. It's his problem to subsidize his citizens. Not ours.

I want them registered also, because I want the government to know who they are and where they are, but I don't want them given legal status.

There aren't any perfect solutions. But the Bush plan deals with the situation as it exists and provides some method of providing a legal status for these people so thatthere's some recourse if the bad apples do abuse them.

These people have recourse now, without legal status because even without legal status, it's not okay for somebody to abuse somebody or exploit them. These people don't want to use that recourse because they don't want to deal with the repercussions of using that recourse.

We all make our decisions.

Since when is it okay to deal with a situation as it exists just because it exists? If people were squatting all over your property would you take exception if some judge told you that because they'd been there a while, you had to sign over your rights to your land?

The government wants to know who I call, when I call them and what I say. That's because terrorists are everywhere and the government might hear something that will help them foil a terrorist plot. Is that okay with you also?

JD Rhoades said...

Since when is it okay to deal with a situation as it exists just because it exists? If people were squatting all over your property would you take exception if some judge told you that because they'd been there a while, you had to sign over your rights to your land?

Actually, there is a provision in the law for this. It's called "Adverse possession." The time limits vary, but it's usually twenty years, after which the squatter stays.

The government wants to know who I call, when I call them and what I say. That's because terrorists are everywhere and the government might hear something that will help them foil a terrorist plot. Is that okay with you also?

You know, M.G., I've tried hard to be fair to varying opinions on this issue. So I'd take it as a blessing if you wouldn't throw this kind of straw man argument at me. You're comparing apples and oranges, which will be addressed in more detail below.

Now, where were we...okay. You say that "it's not okay" to exploit and sexually harass people here illegally, but they are, after all, here illegally. If they don't like it, they can leave. This comes perilously close, I fear, to validating abuse and exploitation as enforecment mechanisims for the laws that have proved otherwise unenforceable.

There's no question that they don't have a "right" to a job here, but the right to a job and the right not to be abused are, again, apples and oranges. The fact that they're here illegally may not be a valid excuse for this behavior in your eyes, but I can tell you, it's the excuse and the cover the exploiters and abusers use. Giving the workers a valid legal status would, for those who take the choice, at least free them from the fear of reporting abuse.

So what's the remedy? Strict enforcement of the law? Well, expelling 11-12 million people just isn't practical. It's not going to happen.

Back to the point at the beginning: there are some laws, like FISA, that can and should be enforced. But when you have millions violating a law, not enough cops in the country to round them all up, and not enough places to put them while you sort out the legals from the illegals...well, then sometimes you have to change the law rather than enforce it.

Prohibition comes immediately to mind. A lot of the rhetoric from immigration hard-liners sounds eerily like the rhetoric used by hard-liners in the War on Drugs, and we see how well THAT'S turned out after all these years.

Again, the Bush/Senate plan's not a perfect solution by any means. But one that stands a better chance of working than any others I've heard.

M. G. Tarquini said...

But that's it, J.D. It's not all right to exploit or abuse. But the solution is not to make the victims legal so that they can 'do something' about it. They can do something about it now. Fear of being sent home shouldn't be reason enough for them not to do something. If it is, using examples like that to hold everybody over an emotional barrel, to change essential policy for people who aren't here legally is backwards and over the top.

If you know who those exploitative and abusive employers are, you can 'do something' about it by dropping a dime on them.

I don't justify the exploitation or abuse. It's horrible. But holding an entire country hostage because it happens is outrageous.

I am familiar with squatters provisions. It's essentially what's happening here. Break the law, avoid capture long enough and you get a ticket to ride. If you had the squatters and were trying real hard to get them off your property and everybody was telling you you were mean for doing that, I think you'd take exception to being told that you just had to put up with it and deed over your land at the end of a set amount of time.

In other words, there's the nice PC way of explaining this problem, then there's the reality. With all due respect, J.D., I'm not certain that reality is portrayed, or that people even understand how casual some of it is. There's a lot of freedom for running back and forth over that border. Plenty go home for visits and come running back. The money they make here ends up building schools in Mexican villages.

Do I care about that?

Not really. But do I think they deserve citizenship because they work here and nobody's caught 'em? Nope.

Things may be different in Northern Cities and non-border states, because distance is more of an issue. I can't speak to that.

JD Rhoades said...

One thing that I think doesn't get addressed adequately in this debate is the disparity in treatment between Cuban immigrants and other Latinos. As I understand it, the policy towards Cubans is "feet dry"..if you can make it to shore, you're a citizen, and welcome.

Mexicans, however, need not apply for this sort of fast track, , even though their home governmen'ts system may be corrupt, as M.G. points out.