Patterico's Pontifications

6/30/2007

The Difference Between Legal and Illegal Immigrants Is Simpler Than the L.A. Times’s Rosa Brooks Realizes

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Immigration — Patterico @ 11:27 am

Rosa Brooks of the L.A. Times doesn’t bother to distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants — except in one respect . . . to praise the courage of illegal immigrants. I have a post pointing out the difference at Hot Air. In it, I describe a naturalization ceremony I once attended. It’s my view that you’ll never fully appreciate the significance of people becoming citizens until you watch it happen.

From my post:

Plenty of Americans don’t fit Brooks’s dismissive description of Americans as “fat, decadent and getting dumber all the time.” Brooks might have to walk outside the confines of the Los Angeles Times building to find them — but they’re out there.

My motto: never pass on the chance to take a cheap shot at the L.A. Times.

89 Responses to “The Difference Between Legal and Illegal Immigrants Is Simpler Than the L.A. Times’s Rosa Brooks Realizes”

  1. Politics vs. Judicial Principle.

    Strange that the court regularly breaks down to the same 5-4 decisions with both sides nearly always voting together. Oh, I see. The minority is
    POLITICAL and the majority only uses judicial principle. Now you’re making sense, Patterico.

    Semanticleo (10a7bd)

  2. sorry. wrong thread

    Semanticleo (10a7bd)

  3. Patterico, I checked your hot air post, and you made the assertion that illegal laborers are different from those who have applied for and obtained citizenship in “the depth of their respect for the laws of the United States”.

    In order to apply for citizenship, you first have to be a permanent resident. There is no application process for a laborer to get a green card if they aren’t already in the U.S., with a job already. To become a permanent resident because you want employment, according to the web site you linked to, a non-resident has to have an employer apply for them.

    How exactly does a poor Mexican on the other side of the border get a potential employer here on this side of the border to petition the U.S. government for residency for them?

    If a laborer in Mexico asks me, “how to I become a legal immigrant to the U.S. so that I can work as a laborer there?” All I can say is “there’s nothing you can do. An employer in the U.S. has to apply for you.

    The obvious course of action to get a U.S. employer to apply for you? Well, go to the U.S. — illegally of course — and find a job.

    Phil (427875)

  4. As much as I hate to agree with Phil … he’s right. The only way we can maintain a permanent 5% or more underclass, willing to work at substandard wages and undercut every other worker’s wages, is to allow 12 million illegal immigrants to hang around Home Depots and ask every passerby: “Trabajo?”

    nk (d0f918)

  5. P.S. And it was not a cheap shot, Patterico. Does the [female anatomical part] really think that what she does clothes the poor and feeds the hungry?

    nk (d0f918)

  6. This is off the main topic but I really like your new motto.

    DRJ (31d948)

  7. NK, I’m really starting to think, after a month of discussing this on Patterico’s blog, that the divide in understanding between “anti-illegal” immigration folks and others really is as deep as your sarcastic response.

    I’m starting to think that those opposed to “illegal” immigration are completly unconcerned with addressing the real underlying problems posed by our current immigration system. They just want to stop having to look at poor Mexicans everywhere.

    Phil (427875)

  8. Phil, if our citizens don’t want to look at Mexicans everywhere, that is their right, even if such a motivation seems unlovely to you. But there are some other motivations, such as “No Borders, No Nation.”

    dchamil (3d0bfa)

  9. Phil,

    There are lots of Mexicans (rich and poor) where I live, and I assure you that race has nothing to do with my position on immigration. In fact, I enjoy the company of and have far more in common with my Mexican friends than I do with my New England friends.

    Like most Americans, I’m concerned about people who come to America illegally – the problem is immigrants’ legal status, not their race.

    DRJ (31d948)

  10. In it, I describe a naturalization ceremony I once attended. It’s my view that you’ll never fully appreciate the significance of people becoming citizens until you watch it happen.

    Sure, government, federal bureaucracy, tests and a lot of paperwork — these are the things that make man a real man, these are the things that American spirit was always built upon.

    Nikolay (939eb6)

  11. That’s a cute comment, but the rule of law is indeed an important part of the American system.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  12. If WP’s to be believed, Rosa is “Special Counsel at the Open Society Institute”. She’s also formerly with the CFR.

    Do I really need to go further?

    OK. She’s in effect supporting a Darwinistic immigration policy: those fit enough to cross the desert get to stay here. Those who die, well, I guess they wouldn’t have made good Americans anyway.

    And, OK, I’ll go even further. (No offense to modern-day Germans).

    TLB (0c89cb)

  13. That’s a cute comment, but the rule of law is indeed an important part of the American system.

    Well,
    1) with some reservations. Do sane people take, say, War on Drugs seriously?
    2) It’s one thing to be for the law, the other to worship the particular bureaucratic process the way you do. As long as you’re not a big government fan, the right attitude to naturalization would seem to be “it’s a messy thing that should be dealt with”, not “it’s the next best thing after the baptism”.
    3) Somehow you don’t read “but their taking of drugs was ILLEGAL! they were CRIMINALS!” on every other page of the Beatles biographies. Why do you think that Rose’s article that dealt with cultural stereotypes concerning immigrants had to dwell on this aspect?

    Nikolay (939eb6)

  14. I believe there is value to the bureaucratic process, even if I wouldn’t agree with all aspects of it. The key is making sure that we’re not admitting people who are undesirable (e.g. because of poor character, like a record of criminal convictions) or whose loyalty to this country might be less than complete.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  15. Patterico, #11: “That’s a cute comment, but the rule of law is indeed an important part of the American system.”

    Of course it’s important. However, if you’re going to distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants by saying one group “respects the rule of law in America” more than the other, you imply that somehow there is an opportunity to show respect for the law.

    Thus, it’s completely relevant (not just “cute”) to point out that there is no place in American law for mexican laborers to even begin attempting to participate in “respecting the law.” The law shuts them out of the legal process.

    Your distinction between illegal immigrants and people who apply for citizenship is comparable to the distinction between the slaves who were offered the right to buy their freedom, and slaves who simply escaped.

    Escaping slaves a century and a half ago were showing a lack of respect for the rule of law. The law said they were the property of their masters. The only way for them to participate in the system was to simply accept that the law said they had no rights, or have someone offer them the opportunity to buy their freedom. There’s nothing moral about that on the part of the slave.

    Today, the law says Mexican laborers have no means of even applying to become a legal immigrant unles they have some family/political connection inside the U.S. to apply for them. It’s very similar to slavery — American law was great back then if you were born a non-slave. Those who have the opportunity to immigrate legally get that opportunity from someone else’s benevolence — a relative or employer or supporter who is a U.S. citizen.

    Are Mexican laborers who disregard U.S. immigration law less somehow less morally respectable than escaped slaves? Well, maybe in the eyes of Americans who would support laws preventing Mexican laborers from working here.

    For the rest of us, we recongize that a law is only as moral as the intent of the people who wrote and/or support it.

    Phil (427875)

  16. Nonsense, Phil, Mexican laborers have the same opportunities to wait on waiting lists for immigration as all other nations’ citizens do. There is no law that ‘cuts’ them out of that opportunity.

    Those that illegally enter this country have no superior “moral” position over the legal citizens of this country whose representatives have adopted such a law. Your implication that Mexicans have a right to move here despite our contrary legislation is a fraud.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  17. Slaves didn’t have legal rights either, Robin. Those who claimed they did were even on the wrong side of the supreme court in Dred Scott.

    “Mexican laborers have the same opportunities to wait on waiting lists for immigration as all other nations’ citizens do.”

    First of all, what “waiting lists?” Please point me to one so I can evaluate it, because I haven’t seen one.

    Second, didn’t all slaves have the same opportunity to try to convince a non-slave to help them buy their freedom?

    Here is the real question, which I would really appreciate an answer for: Were slaves who escaped less moral than slaves who were able to buy their freedom, because the escaped slaves were disregarding the rule of law?

    Phil (427875)

  18. Phil,

    Can you explain to me the reason you concluded that I was calling *your* comment “cute”?

    It’s a bit frustrating to have to leave a comment explaining that I wasn’t — when there is zero basis to conclude I *was*.

    Patterico (03c7e6)

  19. Phil, your analogy to slavery is just ridiculous. No one is kidnapping Mexicans and bringing them to the US. As for the waiting lists for immigration, if you are uninformed about how immigration actually works in the US, then I suggest that you study the regulations found on the USCIS website – http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  20. Can you explain to me the reason you concluded that I was calling *your* comment “cute”?

    Doh . . . silly me. I didn’t notice how much “cuter” Nikolay’s comment was. How embarassing.

    Phil (427875)

  21. Escaped Slaves? Is Mexico a plantation run for almost a century by dat old debbil slavemaster the PRI? I’d also point out for the geographically challenged that “escaped slaves” were already here at the time of their escape.

    Phil, give me a break. You and Hillary can talk about plantations all you want –whether it be Mexico or Congress, but that doesn’t make a sovereign nominally democratic nation a slave plantation. I say “nominally” because one party won every Presidential election for almost 80 years.

    You would posit that one should only show respect for the law (i.e. by waiting in line along with the rest of the applicants) if one is guaranteed a favorable outcome, i.e. one gets across the border to the land of the Great PX in the sky where one can join Rosa’s other fat and decadent people.

    And finally a swipe at Ms. Rosa Brooks–her article is the sort of thing that gives dumb bimbos a bad name.

    Mike Myers (2e43f5)

  22. Robin, the “waiting lists” you describe are a gross oversimplification, as a review of the web site you linked to reveals. Even that web site (which is supposed to tell you how to apply for a work visa) states that it would take “many years” for a laborer applying to get a work visa. Further research reveals that 10,000 of these visas are granted per year, and they generally are granted to people who already have jobs in the U.S.

    This is about taking issue with Patterico’s moral distinction between those who are lucky enough to have an inside track to citizenship, and those who come here without utilizing legal channels because there are no practical legal channels to use.

    And I noticed you didn’t answer my question about the morality of escaped slaves “disregarding the law.” Somehow I knew you wouldn’t.

    Phil (427875)

  23. Mike Myers – “You would posit that one should only show respect for the law (i.e. by waiting in line along with the rest of the applicants) if one is guaranteed a favorable outcome”

    No, I would not posit that. Why can’t opponents of “illegal immigration” be honest about what they are actually advocating? They are not advocating “respect for the rule of law.” They are. They are advocating a particular law that is deserving of no respect. Just like those who promoted the law of slavery.

    It’s comical how on one hand Robin points out that slaves were “brought here” and that distinguishes them from illegal immigrants, and you say that “’escaped slaves’ were already here at the time of their escape.” Which is it?

    The truth is, that the slaves were NOT citizens of the U.S., before they became slaves, and that is why they were made slaves. That’s why it was legal to capture them and sell them into slavery — if they were U.S. citizens, they’d never have been sold into slavery.

    Now, instead of going abroad and spending a bunch of money to capture the poor slaves and bring them here, we’ve figured out a more efficient way, that has the same effect. Lock them out, not in, and then they’ll have to accept meager wages from visiting “outsourcing” corporations because they can’t find any other market for their labor.

    So now, when they break in, rather than out, we can call them “illegal aliens” instead of “escaped slaves. But it’s the same principle.

    Phil (427875)

  24. Phil, we already have guest worker programs admitting 600,000 workers per year (in addition to 800K new legal immigrants). No one checks on whether they ever leave or what job they are actually doing, so basically our big employers are just complaining about the paperwork. Boo hoo!
    Immigration Visas

    And, dear Rosa, what a way to encourage those subscription cancellations! You go! I can’t wait till somebody with the energy to start an anti-illegal immigration blog entitles it “fat, decadent and getting dumber all the time”!

    Patricia (824fa1)

  25. Phil,

    You pointedly failed to respond to my hypothetical in a recent illegal immigration thread about people burglarizing your house.

    I won’t say I knew you wouldn’t — but I will say that you should respond to my hypothetical before getting huffy about others not responding to yours.

    Patterico (6962a7)

  26. Phil, I did not address your “question” because it was a non sequitur and is irrelevant to the subject. There is no relation between slavery and illegal immigration. Your attempt to draw such an analogy is offensive to the real victims of slavery to equate the voluntary illegal entry into this country to the involuntary forced servitude of the past.

    The USCIS website does not solely address employment visas. Evidently you are indeed ignorant of the legal immigration process. There are several paths to an immigration visa, including several categories of preferred employment categories ( such as H-1b visas ), other immigration categories and the annual visa “lottery”.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  27. Robin – I would grant Phil one point. There is a similarity of “undocumented” workers with slavery. The undocumented are an underclass, with very little political clout, who have to (pretty much) accept whatever their employer throws at them because of the fear that the employer will turn them in to the INS/BP, and/or not pay them.

    That is another argument for ending ILLEGAL immigration.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  28. I understand your attempt to be charitable, Another Drew, but that does not make their situation equivalent to slavery at all.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  29. Very simple…If illegal aliens want to evade and stay and be in the so called “shadows”, lets be practical business people and CHARGE them for health care, legal costs, penal management, education…..start charging and the problem will diminish quickly…..I never got a free lunch how bout you?

    robert bosich (de5a83)

  30. Another Drew says: The undocumented are an underclass, with very little political clout

    Actually, as a group, they have a tremendous amount of power because powerful people protect them for their own ends.

    As for Phil, it’s worth noting that any form of legalization will give those who think like him even more political power. That’s obviously something to be avoided.

    TLB (0c89cb)

  31. Reid and the 101st Senator…

    Sen. Harry Reid continues his lamentable habit of blaming President Bush for the failure of last week’s Immigration Reform bill. While the media enjoys echoing this, the loud people point to a sterilized Mr. Reid and his powerlessness to reign-in…

    FND Blog (72c8fd)

  32. Phil, you were doing better when you were getting the vapors over the prospect of car accidents. Your comparison between slavery and illegal immigration is ridiculous. Which blog did you poach it from?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  33. uh Phil

    read this, then get back to us.

    Darleen (187edc)

  34. Phil writes:

    The truth is, that the slaves were NOT citizens of the U.S., before they became slaves, and that is why they were made slaves. That’s why it was legal to capture them and sell them into slavery — if they were U.S. citizens, they’d never have been sold into slavery.

    Phil–you’re in over your head. Slavery in various forms has been around for several thousand years. The slaves that the Athenian navy used to man its triremes at the Battle of Salamis (roughly 470 BC) would have been surprised to learn that it was their failure to be U.S. Citizens which justified their enslavement. I could go on about tribal warfare in 18th century Africa; traveling Arab slave traders who bought the losers/victims and took them to coastal ports in West Africa for sale and shipment to Brazil, the West Indies, North America
    etc. But I don’t think that any of those slave traders/buyers etc. ever had a thought in their head that these folks could be made into slaves because they were not U.S. citizens.

    I understand your passion for your argument; but the analogy is a bad one, and it does sound like you’re a product of a modern American education that didn’t give you much in the way of an understanding of history.

    Mike Myers (2e43f5)

  35. As I age, I find that the proportion of people who know less than I do increases, so I guess that average IQ is diminishing.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  36. Great post. simple enough ,

    gr8inferno (ae57d3)

  37. One minor quibble, Mike #33 re “[t]he slaves that the Athenian navy used to man its triremes at the Battle of Salamis (roughly 470 BC) …”.

    The rowers were free. They belonged to a very powerful guild and they were the best paid of the labor class — one silver drachma a day plus found even in time of war. Themistocles himself came from this “stevedore” class. When a working man is paid a decent wage, his children can aspire to be President. I have no respect for the open borders crowd on the left or on the right. They lie when they talk about “compassion”. They want a permanent percentage of unemployment and a permanent subsistence-wage labor pool.

    nk (d0f918)

  38. NK I agree that some of the rowers at Salamis were free men; but many were not. A rower in a trireme galley (especially the oarsmen on the top or highest row)was highly skilled. The galleys were the battleships of their day and galley warfare involved ramming and sinking your opponent. You could leave the enemy oarsmen to drown in the water after you sunk their galley–or you could capture them, enslave them and put them to work in your fleet.

    But quibbles aside, I agree with you NK. We need to fix the illegal immigration problem. Despite the ranting about “worst economy in years” the USA is essentially at full employment. The conventional wisdom (as I was taught in my economics classes in the early 1960s) was that the structural unemployment rate for the US was 6% (due to people moving, changing jobs, temporary withdrawals from the workforce etc.). We’ve got something like a 4.5% unemployment rate now, and however you want to measure it, the economy is at “full employment” and more.

    We need to figure out how to assimilate and integrate the people who are already here. As has been demonstrated in the past couple of months, Congress and the White House don’t seem to know how to fix the problem.

    Mike Myers (2e43f5)

  39. Phil fell off the cliff on 6.30.07 @ 3:43 p.m.

    Bill (e2a524)

  40. I am not in the legal profession, but lurk here frequently to appreciate the acumen and tenacity of the debate. Nice work with Philistine.

    Bill (e2a524)

  41. This differences between illegal and legal aleins is that the illegal aleins are the ones who are crossing the border illegaly and we one called them WET BACKS

    krazy kagu (5006b4)

  42. Mike Myers, are you looking for a quick fix by assimilating everyone(AMNESTY)for 20 million, just like they did in 1986 for 3 million? In the year 2027, will you become “ted kennedy”, requesting AMNESTY 1986 and 2007, for maybe 50 million ILLEGALS?
    You give AMNESTY now, they will forever use this as their citizenship to the United States. Take away the MAGNETS to come here, so the border patrol can concentrate on real criminals and terrorist.
    If terrorism is real, every American should worry about protecting this country. That ensures our country still exist, so applications for LEGAL CITIZENSHIP is still valued.
    Chastise Mexico and American businesses(selling for a few pieces of silver), for EXPLOITING poor people, for their selfish gain.

    rob reynolds (8f33e4)

  43. Robin #28 –
    Thank you for saying I’m attempting to be charitable. I’m just trying to maintain some civility. It would be nice if some of the name-calling could be eliminated.

    However, I do not think that illegals are “equivalent” to slavery, only that the argument I was commenting on had noted similarities. As we all know, the illegals are free to return to (most of) their home countries at any time. And, it would be very difficult for their employers to evade penalties for meting out the punishments that slave-holders were known to undertake.

    As to the groups that allege their support for an underclass such as the illegals we are discussing; their support is the proverbial mile-wide and a millimeter deep (I know it’s a mixed metephor, but I’m an old Mille Miglia fan). As soon as they can find a more dynamic issue, they will drop the illegals like a hot rock.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  44. My my Rob Reynolds, you’re “shouting” with your all caps stuff. Assimilation does not mean “Ammnesty”. It means turning what we have into productive citizens of the United States. Assimilation is what we did to waves of Irish, Italian, German, Scandinavian and Eastern European immigrants.

    I for one and sick and tired of “hyphenated Americans” whose first loyalty is to the old country. You see some of that when you see a bunch of Mexican flags being paraded in a demonstration for “rights”.

    I live in Glendale, one of the larger Los Angeles suburbs. Thirty five years ago it was a largely white bread all Caucasian bedroom community. Things changed rapidly. Twenty years ago the State of California mandated that every school district take a census of the primary language of its students. The magic number was 25–if more than 25 students in a school district spoke a primary language other than English, the school district had to make some sort of language accomodation for them. At the time the Glendale schools had 33,000 students enrolled—and 68 different languages were spoken. Who knew we had 25 plus native Italian speakers, 25 plus Rumanian speakers etc. Admittedly in the district the largest “second” languages are Armenian, Spanish, Korean, and Tagalog. Glendale itself is the largest Armenian city in the world outside of Yerevan.

    The reality is that we’ve got a whole bunch of people in this country who were not born here; some of them got here with “wetbacks” across the border with Mexico, albeit not all of those wetbacks are Mexicans (lots of Asians and Turks in the mix there). Some of them got here working legally through the immigration system; a significant portion of them came in legally on an airplane on some sort of temporary visa and stayed after that visa expired.

    I’m both a pragmatist and a mongrel American; the first of my ancestors to arrive in America did so about 1690, and there are all sorts of different nationalities in my American “family tree”. I’m the product of more than 300 years of “assimilation” and I’m damned proud of it.
    All this multi culti hyphenated BS is just that–BS.

    But Rob, if your solution is to go find X million people and deport them all–this done by a government that can’t even get a million passports issued in 6 months time–then that’s not going to work.

    And if your solution is to put up a 20 foot tall fence along the Southern border, well that might stop people crossing there–and may even be a good idea. But it won’t stop people coming in on airplanes and overstaying their visas.

    It’s a complicated problem that’s not susceptible to simple solutions, nor can it be solved by yelling at people.

    Mike Myers (2e43f5)

  45. You pointedly failed to respond to my hypothetical in a recent illegal immigration thread about people burglarizing your house.

    That’s actually a good point, and I think it’s helped me understand where we differ in opinion here. You’re right that if I valued immigration law as much I value the laws protecting personal and real property in our country, I would be as mad about illegal immigrants breaking the law as I would be if someone invaded my house and stole my personal property.

    But, in fact, I see no more value to the laws that illegal immigrants are breaking than I do for laws making people slaves. Therefor, I’m no more worked up about illegal immigrants being lawbreakers than I would be watching a slave escape.

    But you do respect the immigration laws. Thus, I’m going to have no more luck convincing you to see my point of view than I would convincing a slave owner before the emmancipation proclamation that the laws giving him the right to own slaves weren’t worth a damn.

    And I bet that slave-owner would use the same analogy — the slave, by escaping, is essentially stealing the master’s right to own that slave. Much like a burglar might steal a valuable machine. The master is poorer because the slave has left.

    phil (06a115)

  46. Phil, the bottom line is that you will never convince the majority of Americans that regulating immigration is immoral – especially with that failed analogy. In fact, I can think of no country in the world that shares such a belief with you.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  47. I should clarify that both illegal-immigration opponents and the slave owners are technically right that laws are being broken. However, that, in and of itself, is not a particularly sympathetic claim, in light of the incredibly unfair balance of power prior to the law being broken. Instead, I tend to sympathize with the illegal immigrants and slaves.

    phil (06a115)

  48. Robin, I’m not saying regulating immigration is immoral. I’m saying that breaking our particular immigration restrictions is not immoral. It’s a big difference.

    Slaves, by law, were personal property. I don’t think personal property law is immoral. But I also don’t think that breaking the law that slaves were personal property was immoral.

    phil (06a115)

  49. Bill #40:

    I’m glad you joined in and I hope you do so again. This is not a “lawyers only” blog.

    DRJ (31d948)

  50. Phil,

    You’re swimming in dangerous waters if you advocate people can pick and choose the laws they want to obey. A little civil disobedience is fine but if everyone does it, it’s anarchy.

    DRJ (31d948)

  51. No, Phil, you’ve left no difference. We have a set of immigration restrictions that make entry into the US without permission illegal. You’ve not explained anything about your views that differentiate between that being immoral and all immigration restrictions being immoral. And your slavery analogy got old a long time ago because its a meaningless analogy – it adds nothing to your argument other than frothy rhetoric.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  52. DRJ – AF went down this road a few days ago explaining his theory of “civil disobedience”. It’s OK to destroy the shit out of someone else’s property (we’ll tell you how much is OK depending on the cause) to protest unjust laws as long as nobody gets hurt and as long as the right laws or causes are being protested. Blowing up unoccupied abortion clinics apparently doesn’t make the cut for AF because he wants to deny free speech to the fringe pro life crowd.

    Now you’ve got Phil trying to make an analogy that doesn’t even make sense to provide cover for his basic point that he really only wants people to obey laws he believes are worth obeying.

    The American educational system has really declined. Don’t people still have to take civics to graduate from high school these days? Are those principles automatically forgotten when they are indoctrinated in college?

    With logic like this it’s a wonder they can claim without blushing that GWB is violating laws and must obey them. On second thought, no it isn’t.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  53. DRJ, I do agree with you that people can’t pick and choose what laws they want to obey without facing the consequences that go with breaking laws.

    Patterico’s original post claims that illegal aliens don’t respect the laws of the united states as much as those who apply for citizenship.

    There’s a difference between breaking particular laws, and not respecting the rule of law in general — something we would consider immoral. Some laws are broken by by people who generally respect the rule of law a great deal.

    Robin hates my escaped-slave analogy, so I’ll use a much more mundane example: I speed ocasionally, for instance when I’m running late to something important. When I get a ticket, I cannot use the “but I was running late,” defense to avoid legal accountability. I break the law, I face the consequences of getting caught.

    However, if someone wants to tell me I don’t respect the rule of law generally, because I was breaking the speed limit, I can at least try to argue that I had a good reason for breaking the speed limit. If I’m a doctor hurring to operate on a patient, most people would agree with me; if I’m hurrying to get to the video store before it closes, fewer people will agree.

    Speed limits are the law, and therefor worthy of respect as a general matter. Likewise, immigration restrictions are the law, and therefor worthy of respect as a general matter.

    But just as a doctor breaking the speeding laws to get to his patient in an emergency isn’t necessarily someone who doesn’t respect law generally, illegal immigrants breaking the immigration laws to provide for their families (or heck, even just for themselves) are not, in my view, necessarily people who don’t respect the rule of law generally.

    phil (06a115)

  54. Phil, you are ignoring the high rate of other criminal behavior by illegal aliens such as identity theft. Given that illegal immigrants self-select for people willing to live underground, the assertion that such people don’t respect the rule of law generally is not unreasonable.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  55. Why not argue on the merits of the points raised instead of by dodgy analogy, Phil?

    In the absence of comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship, would you prefer to see a system of slavery reinstituted in the U.S. as opposed to having the cost of illegal immigration borne by all taxpayers, Phil?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  56. Given that illegal immigrants self-select for people willing to live underground, the assertion that such people don’t respect the rule of law generally is not unreasonable.

    Hey, don’t move the goalposts here. I’m the one who’s been called unreasonable this whole thread, not you. I’m just suggesting that it’s not a foregone conclusion that illegal immigrants don’t respect the rule of law. I’m saying you can break particular laws while still respecting the rule of law in general.

    If you want to marshall evidence and start doing studies to prove that illegal aliens don’t respect the rule of law generally, then go for it. It’s not an unreasonable idea; it’s just not proven by the fact that they broke immigration laws.

    phil (06a115)

  57. Phil – Isn’t the illegal alien population of the LA County jail system overweighted by the estimated illegal alien share of the county population? Has not that been a relatively frequently cited statistic on this blog?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  58. Phil,

    At least twice in this thread, you’ve said that “there’s a difference between breaking particular laws, and not respecting the rule of law in general.” You’ve also said that people should be prepared to suffer the consequences if they choose to break the law.

    What penalty do you think immigrants should pay for breaking the law if they enter the US illegally, and do you agree that few pay any price now?

    DRJ (31d948)

  59. Mike Myers, I am suggesting illegal criminals are rounded up. I am suggesting enforce the 1986 law against businesses and our government to stop hiring illegals, and verify papers of those employed. I am suggesting cutting off healthcare/government services, warn them, 90 days later, stop the services. I am suggesting, stopping sanctuary cities and letting the police ask the questions, they need to ask(their origin)when stopped. Eliminate the “magnets”, a majority already here illegally will “go” home (including visa overstay’s).

    I am for Legal immigration, different cultures and ideas make the U.S. stronger. But,”we the people” should determine who/how many stay in our house. The border patrol need the tools to repel illegal activity and make our border safe . Not, having “selfish magnets” on ourside pulling everybody pass them.

    This approach along with other measures would minimize our problem in a 5-10 years. It’s a much better/cheaper solution than giving AMNESTY again in 2027.

    rob reynolds (26bc54)

  60. And please don’t revisit your previous argument that illegal immigrants pay the price by living in the shadows. My question concerns what legal price they should pay.

    DRJ (31d948)

  61. What penalty do you think immigrants should pay for breaking the law if they enter the US illegally, and do you agree that few pay any price now?

    I suspect you’re trying to find something to disagree with me on. I bet we’d disagree on precisely what penalty illegal aliens should pay for violating immigration procedures. And we’ll be back off to the races, with people calling me a crazy liberal moonbat.

    So I’m going to decline to precisely answer that question, and make this observation: Like all laws, immigration restrictions are not really enforceable unless there is some sort of consequence for breaking the law. Determination of the penalty will depend on how strictly you want the law enforced.

    phil (06a115)

  62. Phil,

    It’s true I’m trying to find out where we disagree but not because I want to disagree with you. My point was to determine where the disagreement lies, and I think we’ve found it.

    DRJ (31d948)

  63. And we’ll be back off to the races, with people calling me a crazy liberal moonbat.

    Not me, Phil. The relative personal strengths or weaknesses of the proponent are not necessarily a reflection of the merits of his ideas.

    But your ideas are nutty. And I suspect that you are not entirely forthcoming. I suspect that you hate the idea of workers using their monopoly on their labor to negotiate with their employers for a decent wage and a decent future for themselves and their children. So what you want is practically a slave class — a surplus labor pool which will take whatever crumbs it’s offered just to survive. Whether that makes you a predatory capitalist or a Brezhnev Communist makes no difference — in either instance your ideas are poison to the honest American worker.

    nk (d0f918)

  64. That’s actually a good point, and I think it’s helped me understand where we differ in opinion here.

    Excellent. Then how’s about doing me a favor and responding to it?

    So far you have said merely that you view property laws as being more important than immigration laws.

    What I am asking for, in case you missed it, is *why*.

    You have justified nondeportation of illegals on the grounds that 1) they have a desire to make their life better; 2) the people who oppose their desire are just privileged people who want to hang on to what they have; and therefore 3) the underprivileged people are morally entitled to invade the space of the privileged, despite laws to the contrary.

    I say that your justifications would apply to justify someone poor breaking into your house and eating your food.

    At long last, do you have any rational response?

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  65. So far you have said merely that you view property laws as being more important than immigration laws.

    I haven’t used those particular words. However, if you get the sense that I think basic enforcement of private property rights produces more benfits for society than trying kick out “illegal” aliens, and keep out others who are attempting to enter “illegally,” (and ultimately, just putting drastic limits on who comes into the country, “legally” or “illegally”) your sense would be correct.

    That’s my simple answer to the “why” question by the way: One produces more benefits than the other.

    You have justified nondeportation of illegals on the grounds that 1) they have a desire to make their life better; 2) the people who oppose their desire are just privileged people who want to hang on to what they have; and therefore 3) the underprivileged people are morally entitled to invade the space of the privileged, despite laws to the contrary.

    That’s not what I’ve ever done (at least not to your satisfaction). I’ve questioned the rationality of deportation of illegal aliens, based on those issues, and others.

    Have I “justified nondeportation?” Since nondeportation is pretty much the status quo right now, I’ve never tried to justify it.


    I say that your justifications would apply to justify someone poor breaking into your house and eating your food.

    OK, here it really comes down to a completely subjective thing. Would I be angry if people broke into my house and took my food? Yes. Is illegal immigration anything like that? Not that I can see.

    I think that people who are really bothered by illegal immigration have two assumptions I don’t share. First, they feel a strong sense of entitlement to maintaining the population status quo in this country — namely, that the people who got here in the first two centuries of the nation’s history “own” the right to the population status quo this nation in the same way that I personally “own” my food. Second, they feel strongly that illegal immigration threatens that desireable status quo, and thus feel outrage at their entitlement being threatened.

    If I could somehow be made to feel as entitled to (and benefitted by) the population maintaining status quo, and be as afraid that that status quo is threatened by illegal immigration, then perhaps I would feel the same concern about illegal immigration that I would feel if my home was robbed. But so far, neither of the prerequisites have been met.

    Phil (06a115)

  66. Phil, you’ve told us that enforcing laws against illegal immigration is the moral equivalent to slavery but you really have not expressed any concrete position at all beyond that. When challenged, you’ve just gotten more vague and denied holding what are rather obvious consequences of your own statements.

    Example being your most recent above. Patterico challenges you to express a position, and within a sentence you are instead making comments about not your position but your little mental analysis of your opponents. Frankly, I got tired of people telling me why I believe something ( as opposed to actually composing a contrary argument on the substance ) long ago.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  67. And I suspect that you are not entirely forthcoming. I suspect that you hate the idea of workers using their monopoly on their labor to negotiate with their employers for a decent wage and a decent future for themselves and their children.

    Hate is a strong word. At the risk of not being “forthcoming,” how about I just say I dont’ think it’s productive for anyone in the long term?

    That said, I’ve never felt like labor organization was, in itself created any problems that weren’t summarily dealt with by corporations. So I’m probably more of a commie than a capitalist.

    So what you want is practically a slave class — a surplus labor pool which will take whatever crumbs it’s offered just to survive.

    See, in my view, it’s you who wants a slave class. You want to preserve the slave class that has already been created by border restrictions. That “slave” class is occuring on the other side of the border if you lock up the border.

    Of course, you think the slave class is inevitable, and you just want the slave class to be them, and not us. You have no idea how to make the slave class go away, you just want to keep it in Mexico for our corporations to cross the border and farm.

    I on the other hand, actually want the slave class to disappear, by getting rid of the barriers to free negotiating and exchange that create it.

    Phil (06a115)

  68. That’s my simple answer to the “why” question by the way: One produces more benefits than the other.

    I guess it depends on your perspective. Burglars don’t believe that the burglary laws produce benefits. Homeowners do.

    Illegal immigrants might not believe that immigration laws produce benefits, but I do — at least, I would if they were properly enforced.

    Do you think countries have the right to determine who to let in, and who to keep out? Do you appreciate that just because Phil might disagree with the law doesn’t mean that others do, or should? If it all comes down to personal beliefs in the importance of keeping the population low, then respect the views of us who believe it’s important — especially since our views are reflected in existing law.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  69. There again, Phil, you spent the entire comment describing someone else’s interior motivations.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  70. Robin, on this thread I have a half a dozen people, at least, convinced I’m nuts, and telling me so. I’ve tried to be as rational and specific as possible, but you can only answer one question at a time. Every time I answer someone’s question, someone else pops up and says “but the real issue we’re talking about is xxxx, you idiot.”

    Phil (06a115)

  71. Patterico, when I reread my post I knew you’d pounce on that. I meant I believe personal property laws produce more benefits. You are, of course, entitled to believe the opposite.

    Phil (06a115)

  72. Actually, Phil, you haven’t been specific at all. You’ve spent the bulk of your comments impugning the motives or morality of others but you’ve not expressed any concrete positions of your own. That’s my point.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  73. The bulk of my comments haven’t been in response to your comments. If you want to critique my overall posting style, feel free; but I really don’t know how to respond to that.

    Phil (06a115)

  74. Phil – Mexico is our neighbor by accident of geography. Use your imagination and think of all the people who would like to better their lives by moving to the U.S. Are you suggesting that if we could, we should close our eyes, pretend our immigration restrictions were even more laxly enforced than they are, let anyone who could make their way here enter while we count to ten before opening our eyes. After all Phil, people in countries apart from Mexico want better lives too. In your utopia, does the U.S. have an obligation to provide it to them as well?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  75. Phil wants to help illegal immigrants who enter the country without permission, because it won’t really put him out much.

    He doesn’t want to help other people who might enter his house without permission, because it would put him out.

    If there is another distinction, I’m not seeing it.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  76. First, they feel a strong sense of entitlement to maintaining the population status quo in this country —

    They, they, they. Illegals and their opposition are not monoliths. I’d have to agree with Robin: your entire argument is based on your less than salutary imagined view of Americans, and your romantic view of illegals. You haven’t proven either is correct.

    Patricia (824fa1)

  77. Patrick – That position reminds me of Peter Schwiezer’s book – Do As I Say (Not As I Do) – Profiles In Liberal Hypocrisy. It’s a great expose of big liberal thinkers and bloviators who have a tough time walking the walk in their personal lives after bravely talking the talk in public.

    Great current examples would be Al Gore and his jet stream set of global warming alarmist lemmings spewing greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and living extravagant energy consuming lifestyles at the same time they are lecturing the rest of civilization to do otherwise.

    See also NIMBY Syndrome.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  78. They, they, they. Illegals and their opposition are not monoliths.

    When I say “they,” at least I’m not saying “you” personally. I’m just talking about what I believe is generally the opposing perspective. You get to be one of the horde on this blog that claims I’m (personally) overly romantic, want people to break the law, have an “imagined” view of America, etc.

    It’s great fun to be a dissenter here, because you get bashed personally, and then when you try to respond to everyone, get accused of overgeneralizing (“Don’t claim to know what we’re all thinking; we all think you’re an idiot for our own individual reasons.”)

    I’d have to agree with Robin: your entire argument is based on your less than salutary imagined view of Americans, and your romantic view of illegals. You haven’t proven either is correct.

    Right, and you haven’t proven it’s incorrect. And from my perspective, most people on this blog have an incredibly pessimistic view of illegal aliens, and a rather idealistic view of what America would be like if we got rid of illegals.

    Of course, I can’t prove that anyone on this blog is actually thinking anything. So I contrast my view with what appears to be the opposing perspective. If you don’t share the view that I see as the opposing perspective, feel free to elaborate.

    Phil (427875)

  79. Phil wants to help illegal immigrants who enter the country without permission, because it won’t really put him out much.

    In other words, I respond reasonably to incentives. Gosh, that’s a harsh indictment.

    One slight correction: I haven’t really been helping illegal aliens. I’m questioning the various smear campaigns against them on your blog. And I’ve been questioning the rationality of various proposals to hurt based on the assumption that the smear campaigns are in fact valid generalizations about illegal aliens.

    Specifically, you say that illegal aliens should be deported because, well, they’re illegal aliens. You support this with various smear campaigns intended to prove how bad illegal aliens are, to support your claim that illegal aliens should be deported.

    Am I “helping” illegal aliens just because (1) I question the validity of your smear campaigns by pointing out that they are just that — horrendous generalizations about people not based on rational arguments? Am I “helping” illegal aliens by saying that all you’ve got to support your policy suggestion that illegals should be deported is a bunch of smear campaigns with no rational arguments?

    I’m actually pretty neutral on illegal aliens. What I don’t like is policymaking by smear campaign.

    He doesn’t want to help other people who might enter his house without permission, because it would put him out.

    Yep. Again, you presuppose that somehow I’m wrong for seeing this distinction. That’s great that you believe that, and that you and your blog warmly agree that I’m an idiot. I’d love to actually see one rational argument that says I’m wrong in my interpretation of the incentives I see.

    Phil (427875)

  80. Phil,

    I disagree with your view of the incentives involved.

    The vast majority of illegal immigrants who come to the US are unskilled and uneducated yet they can make a living wage based solely on manual labor. Granted, this living wage isn’t what I’d want to live on but they can and do with the support of generous social benefits. US citizens provide all low-income residents – legal and illegal – with free K-12 education, emergency heath care, food and shelter assistance, and various other benefits depending on the community. Further, illegal immigrants can earn enough money to send funds home to family, and they can buy things in the US that they can only dream of buying in their home countries.

    It might still be worth it if illegal immigrants came to America to better themselves through education but, unfortunately, generations of immigrant families are content with low wage skills and incomes. It appears that, by giving illegal immigrants these generous benefits and lifestyles, they now have few incentives to improve themselves through education or skills training. In Texas, Hispanics are dropping out of high school at higher and higher rates each year, costing Texas taxpayers an additional $377 million a year for the next 30 years in social benefits costs. (Here’s a link to the Friedman Foundation website for the full text of this study.) Many of these dropouts are illegal immigrants or the children and grandchildren of illegal immigrants.

    So when you look at the available research and statistics, the incentives you refer to actually disprove your point for both immigrants and US citizens. We don’t help illegal immigrants by giving them so many benefits. This is remarkably similar to what we learned about welfare – generous welfare programs give poor people a reverse incentive to maintain the status quo rather than to improve themselves or their financial conditions by pursuing more education and by working harder.

    Illegal immigration keeps all of us from reaching our potentials but it is good for socialists who believe there is a finite pie and that we should all have to divide it up more equitably. Given your earlier statement that you identify more with socialists, I guess that explains your position on this issue, doesn’t it, Phil?

    DRJ (31d948)

  81. DRJ, my only disagreement with you on the incentives issues you described is that you appear to only apply them to hispanics and/or illegal immigrants. You do admit that they hurt everybody, but then you apparently still use their ineffectiveness as an argument, somehow, for why illegal immigrants are hurting the country.

    From what I can tell, either the entitlements are bad for everyone, or somehow hispanics/illegal immigrants respond differently to entitlements as incentives than everyone else.

    I take the former position. I don’t blame the entitlement paralysis that comes over certain people on illegal immigration, I blame it on the people who created the inefficient, poorly incentivized entitlement system.

    And the statement about identifying with socialists was intended as a joke.

    Phil (427875)

  82. Phil,

    I didn’t realize you were joking about identifying with socialists, and I’m sorry that I labeled you based on that misunderstanding.

    I agree that in general the social benefit incentives we’ve discussed are applicable to all persons residing in the US, although the existence of sanctuary cities somewhat undercuts that contention. In addition, illegal immigrants are far more likely to avoid paying federal and state taxes (excluding sales tax), a “benefit” the average citizen doesn’t enjoy.

    Nevertheless, it’s clear that Hispanics are opting out of the educational system at higher rates than other races. While there are many factors that contribute to this fact (see this paper for a discussion and analysis of the factors), we can’t deny the stunning Hispanic dropout rate:

    “Nationally, Hispanics are disproportionately represented among high school dropouts. Indeed, while only comprising 15.1% of the population, 38.6% of all dropouts in 2000 were Hispanic (NCES, 2001).”

    Dropout statistics such as these aren’t an anomaly, they are indicative of a long-term, worsening pattern in the Hispanic community. I think this raises significant questions regarding your suggestion that all low-income people are created equal. You can ignore these statistics but, if you really care about immigrants – most of whom are Hispanic, I think you should be worried.

    DRJ (31d948)

  83. Thanks for the link to the issue brief. I read it with interest. The dropout rates are certainly very different between the races profiled.

    Dropout statistics such as these aren’t an anomaly, they are indicative of a long-term, worsening pattern in the Hispanic community.

    Are they really worsening that much? I do see a slight (less than 2 percent) uptick between first and second-generation U.S. residents. But by far the biggest factor in the high drop-out rate for hispanics appears to be that children who were born in Mexico and come here before they turn 18 fail to complete high school 44 percent of the time. Those who are born here have a drop-out rate barely 1/3 that bad — 14 to 15 percent.

    So if you controlled for that group of kids coming over the border after being born in Mexico (that’s gotta be an incredibly life-disrupting experience), the drop-out rate is significantly lower.

    Finally, hispanics from families here more than 2 generations appear to have a relatively low drop-out rate. At least I’m inferring that from the data, since the percentages for newly immigrated, and first and second generation hispanics are well above the overal hispanic average.

    Phil (427875)

  84. By the way, the process followed by the succeeding generations of hispanics tracks well with my understanding (and I’m not a history specialist) of what happened in previous generations of immigrants from other places.

    In particular it reminds me of Milton Friedman’s profile of the immigrant workers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in “Free to Choose.”

    See here: http://www.ideachannel.tv/includes/video_high.php?id=1

    Phil (427875)

  85. Look, this is a microcosm of how it is in Southern California. Our school district has 36,000 identified English learning students.

    On a Saturday last month, the district provided Free transportation for all of these 36,000 parents/gparents/relatives to a Free day-long seminar with Free translators speaking Spanish, Free lunch, Free handouts, etc, you get the picture.

    Our of those 36,000 English Learners, a whopping total of 148 took advantage of this Free offer to improve their ability as parents to communicate with their kids’ teachers, to know how to operate within the public school system, and most importantly, to be able to help their kids understand more of what they face daily in their educational journey.

    Yeah, I’d say there was a severe lack of interest.

    Dana (647b54)

  86. Interesting. I’m not sure what that says about the spanish-speaking community.

    On one hand, it shows they weren’t interested in something that is (1) free to them, and (2) of apparent value. That shows potential poor judgment.

    On the other hand, if you oppose free handouts in the first place, you’ve gotta be somewhat relieved that, despite our governments best efforts to effectively give lots of money away, almost nobody took the free money.

    You know the entitlements are screwed up when people don’t even want what the government is trying to give away . . .

    Phil (427875)

  87. Wash it whichever way you want, Phil. The numbers speak loudly and clearly. Its not rocket science. Oh and btw, in a school where 38% are English learners, and 30% of them receive free lunches, I’d say taking the giveaways isn’t the problem.

    Dana (647b54)

  88. No, Phil, I am not going to elaborate on how my views differ from your generalities.

    No matter what statistics or real world experience we cite, you absurdly nit-pick, doubt, or quibble it to death. See ya.

    Patricia (824fa1)

  89. Would the LAT not benefit by writing the day’s news and then running it thru a Babel conversion before press? Buenos dias.

    Vermont Neighbor (95b069)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.3500 secs.