Illegal Immigration: Hot Topic?

I usually stay away from immigration as a topic simply because I find a bit of merit in so many different points of view. I also stay away from it because I haven't researched it and can't speak to the facts, or even link to them for that matter. I'm so ignorant and conflicted on this point I should probably just quit right now, but I think this may be an important issue for the fall elections and probably one we shouldn't just drop.

Follow me to the flip side...

I can tell you only one thing. I am against the Sue Myrick, shoot-first-ask-questions-later brand of immigration reform. Initially, it lacked appeal simply because Myrick was posturing and grandstanding. She was and is using this issue for political purposes. This might not hurt Myrick in her particular district, but I'm thinking some of her fellow Republicans are wishing she'd shut her yap because it's a sticky issue in other areas of this state.

All this started when I read this particular letter to the editor in The Charlotte Observer. Tom Lloyd of Matthews asks Myrick to prove that illegal immigrants are hurting our community. He's right. We've seen no statistics from legitimate studies, only Myrick's continuous stream of hate-filled, anti-illegal immigrant rhetoric.

I have to admit, I only checked one other online paper in North Carolina, but to my surprise the Greensboro News & Record has an article posted today and some of those folks working in the employment industry refute some of the illegal immigrant=bad rhetoric we hear from Myrick and her ilk.

I'm not going to summarize the article because I need to follow up on some of their references to studies. It's certainly worth a read if you have a few minutes this morning. I have two questions for you.

1. What are your feelings about the illegal immigration issue and how do we resolve the issue in a way that is fair/equitable to everyone?

2. Is illegal immigration a hot topic that has the potential to divide the Republican party this fall and should we use it to our advantage?



The reb. talk tough about illegal imigration, however all they want is to maintain the flood of cheap labor for big business. As noted in the Fayetteville Observer (June 19, 2006) enforcement on illegal hiring has dropped from 182 to 4, fines have dropped from 3.6 million to 212,000. In 1999 the US initiated fines against 417 companies in 2004 issued 3. We must stop illegal imigration and rethink our policies. Reb. want to maintain a subculture which resembles the sweat shops of the 1800's. Stop the illegal crossings and produce a system for the qualified to enter the US. A subculture of the illegals is not good for America.

We're probably not far off

I see the sense in a strong border, but I'm not a fan of the Minuteman variety of enforcement. We do need to have a fair and equitable policy for all who wish to immigrate to the US, not just those from Mexico.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Lord, Protect Us All From the Minutemen

I agree. We don't let civvie militias police our cities or fight our wars. Why should we let them patrol our borders.

And I also agree (as I think most people do) that "the borders" doesn't mean just the Rio Grande, but the 49th parallel along with ports and airports.

Yup...all those borders count...

but there is a difference between protecting the borders to maintain order and equity in immigration and protecting them so that you can play cowboy/army.

I hope people don't forget to point out that the Republicans have been the party in power of Congress and the White House for the past 6 years, so lack of border security falls squarely on their shoulders.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

War on immigrants

I don't see anyway the issue will really divide the Republican party. They may piss and moan about it, but they'll eventually come together in a law and order frenzy of building fences, high-profile deportations and billions of new money chasing the illusion of a solution. Look for Blackwater and Haliburton to belly up to the trough too. There's big money in wars -- whether it's war on drugs, war on terror, war on marriage, war on poverty, or war on immigrants.

Our economy as we know it -- in particular our food supply -- is 90% dependent on the slave labor of illegal immigrants. This is why Big Business Government is so silent on the issue. Serious enforcement, which would involve high-tech fences, dramatically expanded law enforcement, serious jail time for some CEOs and more, would send a shock wave through our economy that would make the Great Depression look like little more than a sad day on Barney and Friends.

Combine that with continual upward pressure on energy prices and the stunning budget deficit being racked up by the Republicans in Congress and you have a perfect storm of economic collapse that could take a generation to recover from. The few smart people Bush employs know this, which is exactly why they're doing nothing of substance on immigration.

Here's how it divides the repubbies

That party contains a couple of elements that are going to be at odds on this. The "Southern Strategy" ensured that the GOP would be a haven for racists and xenophobes from across the nation. Using the rhetoric of "law and order," they want the borders shut down. The Bushie big business wing of the party sees the value of the cheap labor, and they won't allow the borders to become impermeable.

We drive this wedge by getting this message about guest worker status out: it's a bad idea. Americans need to understand that when they hear "guest worker program" (or whatever they're calling it now) someone is talking about creating a sub-citizen underclass with no hope for equality, American-dream prosperity, and thus no reason to assimilate. As it is, Latinos (and yes, this debate is really about Latinos) assimilate faster than other groups, with many among the third generation not even speaking Spanish. The guest worker plan will turn these immigrants into a permanent underclass, different from slavery only in that they're paid in minimum wage instead of room & board, and the fact that they're free to go back to the poverty of home. It's a bad idea.

And that's the wedge because, if American won't accept a guest worker program, the GOP as a whole will have to choose between the xenophobia route and the business route. It will pick the latter, and give the former group another reason not to donate, not to walk the precincts, and not to go out and vote.


But that's assuming a level of sophistication among voters that seems unlikely. Immigration is only an issue because some of the extreme wingnuts have made it so - and a 'guest worker program' that leads to a permanent underclass is exactly what the right wing wants. No problem there as far as they're concerned.

Even worse, the immigration patterns are already starting to shift. There's a palpable shift underway with guest workers increasingly coming from the Pacific rim, Asians who can't speak English, who can't organize, who have not a shred of cultural or community support. Impoverished people from Thailand and the Phillipines will be the new slaves in America. The Republicans will have their xenophobia and their profits too. That's how they do business.

Another reason this is a good idea...

is that "guest worker programs" don't work. The immigrants don't go home, so from the Repubbie (I like this one, Lance) point of view it is bad b/c you can't enforce the "guest" part of the program.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Go read this

story on Kos if you have any doubts about how this issue will shake out.

Open borders?

The letter from Tom Lloyd supports completely open borders.

Regarding the post and the comments, you might want to think this whole thing through a bit more. You oppose Bush's stance on this issue, but in effect the post and all of the comments end up supporting it. That even goes for the DailyKos link provided above.

By "Bush's Stance"

do you mean the guest worker program? Because it seems like most of the comments here oppose that. Or do you mean something else?

By "Bush's Stance"

III appears to mean the practice of "exploiting illegal immigrants to drive more profits for businesses." The problem isn't the supply of illegal labor, it's the demand.

You need to read again....

Tom Lloyd asked Myrick to prove the harm illegal alien's cause. That is what I highlighted from his letter. To me, that was the important question. Republicans shouldn't be allowed to spew lies and disinformation without offering proof.

Bush is for a guest worker program and if you actually did read these comments then you should have been able to discern that some of us do not support a guest worker program. Past programs have proven they don't work.

It takes limited comprehension to understand my post. I clearly state that I see some good in many different positions on this issue.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Where's the Harm?

The Charles Taylor / Tom Tancredo / Jim Sensenbrenner Republicans want to felonize all immigrants as well as those who offer them kindness. This is why Halliburton got a $600 million contract late last year to build prisons in case of an "immigration emergency". This group wants to lock 'em up, send 'em home, and get white.

The Bush contingent wants to build a wall (more money for Halliburton), have the national guard patrol the Mexican border, ignore the northern border, and create an institutionalized indentured servitude ("guest worker") program.

The harm from illegals, according to those who oppose sneaky immigrants, comes from (1) they steal our jobs!; (2) they leech from our public systems, including education, health care, and welfare; (3) they're criminals!; (4) they're gonna sleep with our daughters!

They don't, of course, steal jobs - who's going to work for less than minimum wage? Illegals can go to school and get emergency room care, but they also pay into the system through sales taxes and other fees. In any cross-section of any group, you're going to find some criminals, and illegal immigrants are no different.

It's racism and xenophobia that drives the debate though wingnuts scream bloody murder every time it's pointed out.

Me? I'm for amnesty. Legalize 'em. Bring 'em into the process. It seems helpful for folks to learn English, though I don't think it ought to be required - ours being a country where you're free to talk however you'd like. Then it would be helpful to build a border economy for immigrants to exploit - a zone that would allow U.S. or Mexican workers to work away at a decent wage, with worker protections and tax breaks for factories that build there and comply with labor regulations.

That would be a start.

Scrutiny Hooligans -


The amount of misinformation that is circulated on this topic confounds me, and proves to me that a vast number of people, specifically those right-wing whiter-than-thou zealots who oppose illegal immigration because it will make America less white, i.e. less pure.

The reason it is a divisive issue is because it the interests on both sides criss-cross party lines. Catholics, who we have seen lately voting more and more with the Rs, are finding most of their new members in Central and South America and Asia. The Catholic church in the U.S. strongly supports providing relief to all immigrants, Italians and Irish when the country was first being founded, and that tradition continues today. So, Rs don't want to do anything to jeopardize the new founded support it has found in the Catholic church.
Likewise, Corporate America loves illegal immigration because it can exploit those workers, paying them substandard wages in substandard working conditions, because the immigrants are not going to report these violations (if they in fact are aware they are violations of U.S. law) in fear of being deported. So the CEOs of Corporate America call their good friends in the Senate and tell them it would be bad for them to have to pay these folks what their work is worth,and thus another portion of the Rs are hesitant about supporting any "tough" immigration measures.
Meanwhile, the ulta conservatives too-afraid-of-change Rs are against immigration for fear of mixing up the mixing bowl that is America.

On the other wise of the aisle, Dems have similar pressures from human rights groups to avoid a massive deportation for those who have created homes here, and at the same time do not want to be labeled as weak on homeland security. There is some conflicting information and viewpoints on whether illegal immigants are taking jobs from low-educated American citizens who cannot otherwise find jobs.

So its a big political mess. It is unrealistic to think that we can load up busloads of these folks and bring them back to their homes outside of the country (although a NC legislator is trying to pass a bill that would study the feasibility of such an endeavor), but it is also unrealistic to think that the 1-3-5 yr system currently in the US Senate bill is going to work.

My solution? Start cracking down on the corporations that employee illegal immigrants at substandard wages. Make them pay at least the minimum wage, if not a living wage. Allow a mechanism by which an undocumented worker can report an employer who is not doing so, without fear of deportation. In short, take away a major incentive of corporate America for hiring these workers. But for those that are here, welcome them into society, don't exclude them from getting a drivers license or education, which only work to drive them underground and create a permenant underclass.

Immigration Politics are Repulsive

Some issues appeal to our base instincts and its best just not even to dignify the existence of the discussion with serious debate. I say let the Rs have this ground if they want to wallow in this filth - its worthless territory. We do not need racist votes.

The whole debate represents the beginning of the end of the America I know. Is this what we have become? Both parties are out of step here with the national consciousness.

This debate brings us all shame as a Nation. It disgusts me that we tolerate this insult to our dignity and permit our elected officials to pander to party elements who demand we respond in kind in order to address our opponents dishonorable positions.

Leave this debate for the ignorant – we should not dignify it with out time and thought.

I wish the followers would lead... With a voice so strong in would knock me to my knees...

Without Wholly Disagreeing,

I want to disagree to the extent that our country has a body of immigration law, including rules about who can come in and how (and when they can be asked to leave). Our policy in this area shouldn't languish because some use the topic to drive hate-votes.

Still, most of what goes on isn't serious policy discussion.