~ Archive for Immigration ~

Collateral Damage from the War on Drugs

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Central American kids are collateral damage from the War on Drugs that is a total failure and will always be so. The prohibition of alcohol caused violence, and so too the prohibition of drugs. But history is lost on our political class that features the dim-witted and lily-livered … not so much from addiction to booze as from addiction to re-election and power.

Illegal Workers Reduce the Wages of Low-Income Workers

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By TIM ANNETT, Wall Street Journal Online, April 13, 2006 2:56 p.m.

Economists broadly agree that illegal immigrants put pressure on the paychecks of lower-income U.S. workers with whom they compete for jobs. But the economists differ on the extent of the impact.

Nearly 80% of economists who responded to questions about immigration in the latest WSJ.com forecasting survey said they believe undocumented workers have an impact on the bottom rung of the wage ladder. Twenty percent believe the impact is significant, while 59% characterize the effect as slight. The remaining 22% said there is no impact …

U.S. Immigration Trends

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Number of illegal immigrants employed in the United States:
7.2 million

Number of notices of intent to fine employers for knowingly
hiring illegals sent by federal government, fiscal 1999: 417

Number of
notices of intent to fine employers for knowingly hiring illegals sent by
federal government, fiscal 2004: 3

Share of agent investigative
work-years devoted by U.S. immigration authorities to worksite enforcement,
fiscal 1999: 9%

Share of agent investigative work-years devoted by U.S.
immigration authorities to worksite enforcement, fiscal 2004: 4%

What Bush Fails to See at the Border

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By Ronald F. Maxwell, Published April 6, 2006

Dear President Bush,
Perhaps you know me from my work. I wrote and directed the movies “Gettysburg” and “Gods and Generals.” Walking Civil War battlefields, soaking up the letters and diaries of that generation, re-creating the world of our ancestors — all this has given me a deep appreciation for our country …As one of the very few directors of major motion pictures who sees you in a different light, I implore you to listen seriously to what I have to say…Many pundits claim you will be remembered in history as the president who won (or lost) the war in Iraq. I see it differently. I believe you will come to be seen, in the years and decades to come, as the President who saved (or lost) the Southwest of the United States.

… Your immigration policy is viewed as captive to the cheap labor — big business lobby and inimical to the survival of our country…We who understand the vital stakes will not be placated by rhetoric or slogans. The failure to recognize this growing and deep disaffection among Republicans, conservatives, independents and, indeed, many Reagan Democrats, is, in the short run, going to lead to a monumental defeat for your party at the polls in November.

When I watched the Senate Judiciary Committee’s one-day public session on immigration reform … it was remarkable for the near absence of any senator speaking on behalf of the American people or their own constituents. It seems the overriding concern of most senators of both parties is for the illegal immigrant population. … Listening to the self-serving and pandering speeches, you’d think the senators were elected in Mexico or any other country on the globe except America.The Senate has already begun its bloviations and self-agrandizing platitudes, its morality play of good and evil wherein they the noble senators are cast as the redeemers of the entire world population seeking only to “live the American dream.” We know by their coded words they will do nothing meaningful to really solve the problem or to defend America. If their actions of the past 20 years are a guide, they will only take the pose of pretending to do so. As a movie director I can see bad acting a mile away.

Today there are two Republican Parties. One is now seen correctly by most Americans as responsive first and foremost to the demands of multinational corporations, the agro-business and the Chamber of Commerce. The other, best represented by the embattled members of the House, represents grass-roots America — we the people. In this debate you have the opportunity to make the party one and whole again, to regain its soul and return it to the service and the sovereignty of the American people…

Americans view Mexicans well; reverse not true

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By Stephen Dinan, THE WASHINGTON TIMES, March 21, 2006

    Mexicans
see Americans as racist, dishonest and exploitative, while Americans
see Mexicans as hardworking and think they are more tolerant than
Americans.

    A new survey of attitudes the two countries hold toward each
other showed the border is more than a geographic divide, but also a
fissure in public opinions of the two nations and what their citizens
think of each other.

    The poll, taken by New York-based Zogby International and the
Centro de Investigacion para el Desarrollo AC in Mexico City, found
that 62 percent of Mexicans surveyed said the United States is more
wealthy than Mexico because “it exploits others’ wealth.” Only 22
percent said it was because the United States is “a free country where
people have plenty of opportunity to work.”

    Among Americans, 78 percent saw Mexicans as hardworking, and
44 percent saw them as tolerant. Among Mexicans, just 26 percent saw
Americans as hardworking, 16 percent saw them as honest and 73 percent
said Americans are racist….

Why Does Immigration Divide America?

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This is a summary of the most recent publication from the Institute for International Economics.
The benefits and costs of immigration into the United States are
distributed unevenly. Immigration makes the US labor force more
abundant in low-skilled labor. One consequence has been lower wages for
low-skilled US workers. Taxpayers in high-immigration US states
shoulder most of the fiscal costs, in the form of higher taxes that pay
for public services used by immigrant households. Capital owners,
landowners, and employers capture most of the benefits associated with
immigration by way of higher factor returns. On net, the economic
impact of immigration on the United States is small. However, small net
changes in national income mask potentially large changes in the
distribution of income. …

By shifting to a system that favors high-skilled immigrants, the United
States would attract individuals with high income potential. [“Potential”
is correct. The danger is that the income of current high-skilled
workers will be depressed. It all depends on the number of immigrants
admitted.]
A skills-based immigration policy would help
to narrow the wage gap between high-skilled and low-skilled labor in
the United States [First, reduce the gap between the CEOs and the high-skilled workers, please.] and reduce the fiscal burden on taxpayers. …

An alternative (but not mutually exclusive) strategy would be to expand
temporary immigration programs and to phase in immigrant access to
public benefits more slowly over time. …

Despite massive increases in spending on border enforcement since the
early 1990s, the inflow of illegal immigrants has not slowed.
Enforcement should be focused on the hiring of illegal immigrants.
Mandating information sharing among immigration authorities, the Social
Security Administration, and the Internal Revenue Service (via either a
national identity card or electronic tracking of immigrants’ visa
status) would permit employers to verify instantly whether a potential
employee is a legal immigrant. Such an approach could expand the
capacity of immigration authorities to enforce against illegal
immigration at workplaces in an effective, unobtrusive, and humane
manner.

U.S. flying illegal aliens to Mexico City

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The Washington Times: Nation/Politics – June 11, 2005
“The Department of Homeland Security and the government of Mexico
yesterday began the second year of a repatriation program that calls
for the return of illegal aliens caught in the United States to Mexico
City on a voluntary basis.
More than 14,000 Mexican nationals were returned to Mexico’s interior last year …
The IRP allows detained illegals from Mexico to volunteer to be
returned home on board a charter aircraft from Tucson, Ariz., to Mexico
City, where they are then provided bus transportation to a location
nearest their home cities. “
You’ll really
appreciate the service at Christmastime, when it’s so hard to buy a
ticket on other airlines–even though you have to find your own way
back to the U.S.

Social Anxiety

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IMMIGRATION CHALLENGE: Some have argued
that immigration could help solve fiscal problems related to an aging
work force — notably shortfalls facing Medicare and Social Security.
But Stephen Camarota, of the Center for Immigration Studies, has looked
at some census data and concluded that immigration doesn’t make much of a difference
on these issues, according to an article in the Christian Science
Monitor. Mr. Camarota found that, according to the census data, the
average age of an immigrant in 2000 was 39, about four years older than
the average age of a native-born American. In fact, Mr. Camarota found
that without the 31 million post-1980 immigrants and their U.S.-born
children, the working-age population would be virtually unchanged at
66. He also concluded that immigrants aren’t the driving factor behind
the U.S. fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman; without immigrants,
the nation’s fertility rate would have dropped to only about two
children per woman. Mr. Camarota notes that immigrants also earn
significantly less than U.S.-born citizens, which means they pay less
into payroll taxes to support Social Security.

Labor Squeeze Along the Border

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By Miriam Jordan, Wall Street Journal Online, March 12, 2005 (May require subscription)

(Subtitle: A labor shortage among lettuce pickers spotlights one of the
trickiest issues in the immigration debate: how to close the U.S.
border to drugs and terrorists without stopping the flow of illegal
workers who prop up big industries.)

… A former U.S. ambassador and currently the president of a powerful
farming association [Western Growers], Mr. Nassif told [the U.S. Border
Patrol] that the agency couldn’t have picked a worse time to beef up
enforcement. Didn’t they know it was lettuce season? …

What part of “illegal” is the
trickiest for you, Ms. Jordan? But let’s not drag principles into this.
Let’s run those numbers again, Mr. Nassif. (Excuse me: Mr. Ambassador!)
Americans won’t pick lettuce for $5/hr x 40 hr/wk x 50wk/yr =
$10,000/yr? Of course not. They should put in a full day–and week and
year, for that matter. They should be picking lettuce 10hr/day x 6
day/wk x 52 wk/yr. Especially if they like kids. OK, so clever growers
pay $4/hr, max. Still! That’s $12,480/yr.

Immigration reform meets dual citizenship

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By John Fonte, The Washington Times, March 22, 2005

When President Bush discusses immigration policy with Mexican President
Vicente Fox in Texas tomorrow, he should challenge the purpose and
legitimacy of Mexico’s promotion of dual citizenship. To understand the
significance of this issue, let us examine the case of Manual de la
Cruz. Mr. de la Cruz emigrated from Mexico in the early 1970s.
Eventually, he became an American citizen and took the Oath of
Allegiance in which he “absolutely and entirely renounced all
allegiance and fidelity” to any “foreign state.” Yet in 2004 Mr. de la
Cruz was elected to the Zacatecas state legislature and declared
loyalty to the Mexican Republic, violating the Oath of Allegiance that
he took to the United States. The point is not to pick on Mr. de la
Cruz, who seems to be a very gifted individual, but to examine the
relationship between dual citizenship and American democracy.

Unlike many other nations, American citizenship is not based on racial,
religious or ethnic identity. It is based, instead, on political
loyalty to American constitutional democracy. People from anywhere in
the world can become Americans. But if our great historical success in
assimilating millions of immigrants is going to continue, ultimately
newcomers must be loyal to the U.S. Constitution and not to any other
constitution…

Mr. de la Cruz was elected as a member of the traditionally populist
anti-American, Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), whose Web site in
2003 had pictures not only of the currently fashionable Che Guevara,
but of V.I. Lenin.

The coming debate over immigration should not simply focus on
labor-market economics, while ignoring the integrity of U.S.
citizenship. When Congress and the Bush administration address changes
in immigration laws, they must address the threat that increasing dual
(and thus racial-ethnic) citizenship poses to the traditional American
concept that a naturalized citizen transfers political allegiance to
the United States.

In 1967, by a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned 200 years
of constitutional practice by prohibiting Congress from stripping U.S.
citizenship from naturalized citizens who vote in foreign elections.
Nevertheless, Congress has authority to enact legislation establishing
legal sanctions (such as heavy fines) against naturalized citizens who
clearly violate the Oath of Allegiance they freely took by voting in
foreign elections and being elected to foreign legislatures. These
sanctions would serve two purposes: (1) to discourage the practice, and
(2) to remind everyone (Americans and the rest of the world alike) we
are serious about the Oath of Allegiance and about our traditional
ideal of political rather than racial or ethnic citizenship. It is time
to add the idea of challenging and curbing dual citizenship to our
immigration reform discussion.

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