Posts tagged ‘Immigration’

August 28, 2011

The Fear of Multiculturalism

by Vince

This reader of the Dish echoes my grandmother’s fears and anxieties (she is from England but lives in America):

I loved your essay on your return to Britain after so long an absence. But I found it wistfully influenced by American optimism. I have had a different experience going back to England. I should admit up front that I am American but lived there for a decade and am married to a Brit. What I think that you got completely wrong was the sense of settled, accepted multiculturalism. Sure, in London you encounter many cultures mixing like you get in other great melting pot cities like New York. However, outside of London there is paranoia and resentment over that multiculturalism.

My husband’s family are almost all in Devon and Cornwall. We visited them last year, and we also visited friends in London and in the North of England. We found that outside of London our family, our friends, the locals at the pub, or the random person you have a conversation with at the grocery store are all under the impression that England is losing its identity as a result of massive numbers of immigrants. In Devon and Cornwall, I did not see a single non-white, non-English looking person the entire two weeks we were there. This is not hyperbole. Outside of London in general, I almost never saw anyone who wasn’t white, yet they have the panicked impression that they are being taken over from within.

There were many conversations among the people we encountered about the immigrant problem the country is having. It gets brought up unprompted and seems to be weighing heavily on their minds. They felt that they were all coming to England because they are “softer” than most other countries in the world and give out the most generous benefits. All immigrants were coming there to sponge off their generosity and they were taking over (despite none living anywhere near them). I pointed out that in America, immigration is what keeps the country a vibrant, innovative nation and the immigrants on the whole come there to build a better life so they are hard working and actually improve our economy. Countries with aging populations who don’t have good immigration have looming economic problems as a result of not being more inclusive.

They would have none of this American nonsense. Financial benefits (which they didn’t believe anyway) would be secondary to the cultural crisis being caused by immigrants who refuse to give up their old culture and become British. They believe they refuse to fit in and that they brought crime to the areas they live in. So, if they don’t ever actually see any immigrants down in Devon and Cornwall, where do they get these very strong, unbending opinions about them? My only conclusion is from the tabloid newspapers

Then we spent time in London and reveled in the diversity and the sense that no matter where you were from, you could be a Londoner. London was far more diverse than Los Angeles (where I now live) and all the more vibrant and interesting for it.

I’m glad you really enjoyed your visit and I agree that the North/South divide seems to have softened and to some extent the class divide has as well. Accents aren’t used against you quite as much (although an American accent will still get you down-graded in standing). I love so many of the same things that you do about the gentleness and world-weary wisdom of the place. Now that you can go back whenever you like, perhaps the rose-tinted glasses will come off a little more or subsequent trips, although that would be a shame.

June 4, 2011

Myth Busting the Immigration Discussion

by Vince

This is worth watching:

June 1, 2011

Divided They Stand

by Vince

TIME magazine ran a good piece on the politics of Arizona. It’s worth reading in full. Here are some money quotes and comments.

Arizona is, after all, the Grand Canyon State. Its defining topographical feature is literally a divide. The politics of the state, not just in these past few weeks but in the past few years, has been all about division, as though every argument we are having as a nation plays out there on a breathtaking scale. The budget is a shambles, the schools are among the worst in the country, the governor is accused of running “death panels” for cutting off funding for organ transplants for some Medicaid patients. Representative Giffords’ Tea Party — backed opponent held a “Get on target for victory” shoot-out at a gun range as a campaign event. Rallies against a controversial immigration bill last year featured so many tearful calls to prayer and accusations of Nazism that it seemed like an all-Hispanic version of the Glenn Beck show. “It’s as bad as I’ve seen in 40 years of observing Arizona politics,” says Bruce Merrill, a professor emeritus at Arizona State University. “We have so many real problems, and all our leadership has done is [pursue] polarizing issues using very strident language.”

Hence the picture. Here is a very brief history of the rather young state (less than 100 years old and less than a dozen senators in it’s history):

A certain level of discord was sewed into the fabric of Arizona from the outset. The center of the state was settled largely by “washed-up 49ers,” as Tucson lawyer and history buff David Hardy puts it, who were returning empty-handed and somewhat wild-eyed from California. Among them was a morphine-addicted prospector named Jack Swilling, who founded Phoenix. The libertarian DNA — the same strain that made Giffords a fan of concealed weapons and caused state senator Lori Klein to carry a handgun to Governor Jan Brewer’s state of the state address at the capitol two days after the Tucson shootings — remains from those early days. Distant from Washington and hardened by the Apache wars, settlers acted first and asked permission from the federal government later. “The pioneer,” wrote Orick Jackson in his 1908 history, “took the matter in hand without any authority, and without a dollar in pay.” That group had little in common with the Mormons who settled the north and not much regard for the Hispanic population that was dominant in the south. It was, says Manuel Hernandez, professor of Mexican-American literature at Arizona State University, an “apartheid state” for Hispanics until the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

With all its baggage, Arizona has boomed over the past half century:

Fair weather and cheap housing made the desert boom: a population that was just 700,000 after World War II stands at more than 6.5 million today. The growth in the past 20 years has been nothing short of steroidal: the population mushroomed by 40% in the 1990s and then rose an additional 25% in the first decade of this century. It is now the 16th largest state in the U.S. And that’s just the official population.

However, the state’s current affairs are hard to overlook:

The state of Arizona’s budget is even worse than it looks: a new study estimates that the true deficit is $2.1 billion (more than twice what the legislature says it is). The unemployment rate is exactly that of the U.S. as a whole — 9.4% — but more than half of the homes in Maricopa County, where Phoenix is, are underwater. Most state parks are being shuttered. The public schools are in the bottom 10% of the nation by many metrics.

The current leadership appears singularly unfit to tackle these challenges. Half the legislature seems to treat legislating like an indoor version of the Tombstone 2 p.m. Gunfight Show, giving speeches about pioneer values and then firing a round of blanks. Arizona’s legislature has long been warped by low voter turnout and uncontested districts. “Only ideologues go to the polls,” says Merrill. “In Arizona, that happens to be the right-wingers.” Public financing for campaigns removed most kinds of fundraising and, with them, the moderation that can come with accountability to the business community, so the primaries function as a race to the fringe of acceptable politics.

One Arizonan statesman worth mentioning is Russell Pearce:

Russell Pearce, the Mesa Republican who is now the president of the senate and perhaps the most powerful politician in the state. In 2009 the budgetary meltdown was already in its second year, but Pearce doggedly championed legislation that would force Obama, whom he describes as waging “jihad” against Arizona, to provide proof of his citizenship (it was tabled after being ridiculed around the country). In 2010, Pearce turned to immigration with SB 1070, a bill seemingly purpose-built to provoke not only controversy but also a lengthy court battle, thereby sapping both prestige and resources from a state that needs more of both. This year, the No. 2 priority after the budget, says Pearce, will be legislation calling for the repeal of the 14th Amendment, the one that grants citizenship to any child born on U.S. soil. This, of course, is not anywhere near the jurisdiction of the Arizona legislature.

To wrap up, much of the national and state-level approach to immigration issues most likely will come back to haunt America. The strident bumper-sticker public policy approach in Arizona and elsewhere in America is attacking the very base that will have a majority in Arizona in a few decades and most likely will continue to grow in presence and stature in America in the years to come:

So when the lawmakers decided to cut dropout-prevention programs — the Hispanic dropout rate is particularly abysmal — they may have fulfilled a campaign promise, but they also dented Arizona’s prospects.

(Pictured: The Grand Canyon in Arizona).

May 26, 2011

Both Sides Incite The Race War

by Vince

Of all people, Bill O’Reilly showed a few examples of how the Left really does sometimes incite racial anxieties:

Recently on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the moderator, David Gregory, questioned whether Newt Gingrich’s description of Mr. Obama as the “food stamp president” was a racist statement.

Mr. Gingrich told Gregory his question was “bizarre.”

It was also typical.

When Donald Trump advised the president to “get off the basketball court” and down to business, he was branded racist by a variety of mainstream pundits.

In my Super Bowl Sunday interview with Mr. Obama, I asked him if he was a football fan. Some loon on HBO immediately branded that question racist.

Even for me, those comments listed above are mostly far from racial flame throwing.

When certain yes-no questions are asked that usually intertwine one’s view of race and their political views, answers can draw a thick line in the sand pitting “the racists” against “the tolerant ones”:

These questions, which have been used in a number of studies of racial attitudes, asked respondents to agree or disagree with statements regarding the condition of African Americans in the United States including whether a legacy of racism and discrimination has made it difficult for blacks to get ahead, whether blacks have gotten less than they deserve in the United States, whether blacks would be as well off as whites if they tried harder and whether blacks should be able to overcome prejudice the same way other minority groups did, without any special favors.

Not coincidentally, one can arrive at the “resentful” answers to these questions not only through racism, but also through conservative beliefs. One might say blacks should “try harder” out of a belief that they are lazy — or out of a belief that in America, hard work produces results no matter the color of one’s skin, and is preferable to government aid. One might say blacks shouldn’t get “special favors” out of a dislike for them — or out of a belief that no one should get special favors on the basis of race. These conservative beliefs may be right or wrong, but they are not inherently racist.

Robert VerBruggen makes two mistakes in his piece. One, he insinuates that hard work, no matter your skin color, produces success. That is so far from the truth it is laughable. Tim Wise has dismantled this myth several times. Also, VerBruggen concludes that there is no actual evidence to support conservatives being labeled as racists. I then ask these questions: why is your party almost always represented by whites, hostile to immigrants, represented by race-baiters (Rush Limbaugh), supportive of wealthy (a homogeneous group of whites) business owners and CEO’s over the poor (who, mostly non-white, are because years of education being withheld to them, almost always behind their white counterparts in test scores, school performance, or even the chance of being unemployed)?

May 14, 2011

Obama on Fixing the Immigration System

by Vince

From El Paso:

More here.

January 19, 2011

Undermining the Entire US Border Strategy

by Vince
December 20, 2010

The Immigration Process

by Vince

Seeing is believing. Click on the above image to see the full view. For more explanation, click here.

October 27, 2010

Racist Conditioning of the Day

by Vince

When you are older and have condescendingly racist and unrealistic stereotypes of immigrants (they are all thugs and criminals), and that is if you do not already, you can thank Sharon Angle for contributing to the inhumane effort.

October 13, 2010

Some Basics with Immigration Reform

by Vince

I haven’t forgotten about my part two for immigration, including immigration tests. My time in the classroom has been pulling my attention and my reading time has been diverted elsewhere.

In the meantime, Ezra Klein, et al have some reminders:

The people who need to be convinced of comprehensive immigration reform — which must include a path to legal status for illegal immigrants — are angry about illegal immigration. Trying to paper over that won’t help, and might actually hurt.

Better to confront it directly: Yes, there’s illegal immigration, and yes, illegal immigrants should have to pay fees and learn English, but no, it’s not good for American workers or the American economy to have 12 million illegal immigrants living in the shadows, and no, deporting 12 million people is not a realistic option. Put differently, there are two fundamental facts here: Yes, there are illegal immigrants, and yes, we need to find a way to make them legal residents.

I find Nicole’s points extra intriguing:

How is the I-Word inaccurate – isn’t some illegal action happening here?

The I-Word is used as a sweeping generalization to label people who are out of status due to a variety of circumstances. For example, many people:

  • Are brought to the country against their will.
  • Are brought by employers and often exploited for cheap labor.
  • Fall out of status and overstay their VISAS for a variety of reasons.
  • Risk being killed in their country of origin.
  • Are refugees due to bad economic policies such as NAFTA.
  • Are affected by natural disasters and/or other reasons beyond their control.
  • Are forced by economics and/or politics to risk everything simply to provide for their families.

This language scapegoats individual immigrants for problems that are largely systemic, such as unfair economic and immigration policies. The system itself pushes certain people into categories that are hard to get out of. There exists a backlog of people who must wait years to get processed, even when they are eligible to get papers through a relative. In this broken system, there can be families with mixed status that get torn apart because family unification is not a priority of the system.

There are other accurate words that do not dehumanize, such as: foreign national, undocumented immigrant, unauthorized immigrant,  immigrant without papers, and immigrant seeking status.

As Tim Wise puts it in his book, whites are born into a sense of belonging while African Americans and many others of color are born into a way of being that is always questioned of its legitimacy as well as criticized if one member of the group slips up. It is as if a certain black boy has the whole weight of the African American nation on his shoulders and when he messes up, its another brick in the wall of “I told you so”. That isn’t right. We, and by we I mean those who care for the humanity of others, need to be armed with the right information to disarm the bigots. However, merely arming oneself with the data, means of discussion, and thoughts I believe is not enough. To truly believe these things for yourself does it. How good does it feel knowing you stand for the betterment of humanity and can hold a toxic conversation without raising your heart rate / blood pressure?

October 1, 2010

No Love

by Vince

Above is the trailer to the movie 9500 Liberty. Michael Drane mentioned that I should look this movie up. The words, utter cruelty, and attitudes within that trailer have sunk into my gut like a sudden punch. Why do some people think God ordained a government to be so cruel, harsh, and inflexible towards “the orphans and widows in distress“?

October 1, 2010

Immigration: Part 1 – A System Not Geared For Reality

by Vince

For a while now, I have wanted to dedicate a post (or series) to the arduous process of immigrating to the United States. Tonight, I ignored my Google Reader, watched an hour of The Godfather, and found this harrowing story:

Yudi, 23, went back to her job at a potato-chip factory, but she couldn’t stop thinking about her meager salary and the opportunities in America. Her brother had crossed the border illegally several years before and was working in Colorado.

In March, she struck out alone for the United States.

The trip took her six months. On the Guatemala-Mexico border, she says, she was robbed and gang-raped by four men. Near Mexico City, she saw a freight train slice off the leg of a fellow traveler after he fell onto the tracks. On the Arizona border, she hiked through the desert for three days with no food.

In Phoenix, she was held captive and raped by six smugglers several times a day for two weeks, until escaping on Sept. 18.

An immigrant-aid group, Respect Respeto, is now caring for Yudi. She spoke to The Arizona Republic on the condition that her last name not be published.

Why would she forge on this trek that ultimately put herself in harms way and on the other side of the law?

I want to go to the United States, she told the person at the reception desk.

Then the receptionist began to list the documents needed for a visitor’s visa: A bank statement showing thousands of dollars in savings. Property deeds. Car titles. Five years of pay stubs from a good-paying job.

Yudi’s heart sank.

“I realized it was impossible,” she said. “I would never have those things.”

I didn’t even know that if you are looking to immigrate from say Guatemala, it could take you 20 years to get a visa. With immigration quotas skewed against Latin American countries and in favor of nations such as Nigeria, China, the Philippines, and Mexico, how are those in impoverished nations suppose to wait 20 years while making $31 a week (just enough to feed and clothe one self)? Yudi was able to survive on $31 a week but had dreams of opening a business and buying a home. Why should she be held back from that?

A typical, empty hearted response is that these “illegals” shouldn’t break the law and should do it the right way, the legal way, and become a citizen “just like our ancestors at Ellis Island” did:

Even for those who meet the requirements, getting approval to immigrate to the United States can take 20 years or more, compared with the three to five hours it took immigrants to pass through Ellis Island during the peak of European immigration from 1900 to 1914. Back then, most people who got on a boat could enter as long as they were healthy and had no criminal record.

Coming up, I will look at the testing measures by our country for “becoming legal” as well as delve into our nations history surrounding this process.

September 28, 2010

Ezra’s Immigration Proposition

by Vince

Ezra Klein has an idea:

With more labor – particularly more labor of different kinds – the economy grows larger. It produces more stuff. There are more workers buying things, creating demand. That increases the total number of jobs. We understand perfectly well that Europe is in trouble because its low birth rates mean fewer workers – and that means less economic growth. We ourselves worry that we’re not graduating enough scientists and engineers. But the economy doesn’t care if it gets workers through birth rates or green cards.

In fact, there’s a sense in which green cards are superior. Economists separate new workers into two categories: Those who “substitute” for existing labor – we’re both construction workers, and the boss can easily swap you out for me – and those who “complement” existing labor – you’re a construction engineer, and I’m a construction worker. Immigrants, more so than U.S.-born workers, tend to be in the second category, as the jobs you want to give to someone who doesn’t speak English very well and doesn’t have many skills are different from the jobs you give to people who are fluent and have more skills.

That means firms can expand more rapidly because they have more labor of different types and that native workers can do jobs where they’re more productive. If you have lots of immigrant laborers willing to build roads, a firm can build more roads and has more need for native workers who can supervise the crews or do the technical work. The effect of all this – which has been demonstrated in multiple studies – is that immigrants raise wages for the average American.

September 28, 2010

Marco Rubio on the Tea Party

by Vince

Rubio had me with the Tea Party blaming both parties – which he elaborates on decently – but lost me when he dropped the word exceptional and America in the same sentence. Look for my piece on Sarah Palin and her dominion theology for more elaboration on this topic. But Rubio’s views on Social Security and Post-Arizona Immigration laws are intriguing to me. I may not totally oppose Rubio as a candidate after all.

September 24, 2010

Sit Back

by Vince

After two days in the classroom for the first time in months, I am exhausted. Getting back into that groove may take time (I am losing 1-1.5 hours of sleep each night) but it is ultimately the direction I want to go in. In this new phase of life, I hope I can evolve and find the energy to blog, to read, and to not get so easily angry after spending 7.5 hours of being with teenage kids.

So tonight, as I sit and look out the window at a mountain range and wait for some homemade pizza to be cooked, I am thankful for these getaway weekends. I am thankful for XPN to be in my area. I am thankful for health and staying in the continual presence of the sacred One.

I am also thankful for this video. Thanks, DT! Cheers.

August 16, 2010

Tea Party Antics

by Vince

A recent Tea Party group converged in a remote section of Arizona Sunday to yell about immigration reform:

“We are going to force them to do it, because if they don’t, we will not stop screaming,” said former State Sen. Pam Gorman, one of 10 Republicans vying for an open congressional seat in north Phoenix. She carried a handgun in a holster slung over her shoulder.

This isn’t the first time aura’s of violence have been flaunted. $600 million, which will be ridiculed sooner than later as not enough, has been directed towards the US-Mexico border to fund 1,000 Border Agents, communications equipment, and unmanned aerial vehicles. At this moment, I don’t think a bigger or more fortified wall (see John McCain) is the answer: I see reforming the process for citizenship as a worthwhile endeavor. I will have to look up more on citizenship tests and blog about it.

August 14, 2010


by Vince

Watch Rep. Gohmert and Cooper go at it starting around 1:20.

August 12, 2010

Candidates That Make Me Sick

by Vince

Ill stick this to being a bipartisan effort. I won’t wine over Sarah Palin, but when I see candidates like below, I don’t know what to say:


Asked if what she had in mind was more like the Japanese internment camps of the World War II era, Baker said, “something like that. But unfortunately in the Japanese camps they detaineed American citiziens. The only ones I want to detain are the ones who are illegal.”

She added, “You’ve gotta have places for them to eat and sleep and breathe fresh air. It can be a tent city … You don’t want to make them too comfortable or they’ll want to come back.”

Baker’s website lists five “reasons” not to tolerate illegal immigrants, including “prostitution.”

Why are people clapping? How many of the people there in attendance are Christians who worship a homeless man who was not greeted in his hometown? Why do we have to think this way? These “truths” spouted by some candidates are miles from reality and will definitely NOT guarantee any Republican votes in that Florida district. Even beyond politics, this is a horrible thing to say towards fellow human beings. Have we forgotten the beloved love of God that is directed towards all humans that should be our core identity?

August 11, 2010

Immigration and Crime, Work

by Vince

The Immigration Policy Center has some useful articles that are heavily cited. Here are two articles related to controversial issues surrounding illegal immigration: what work American immigrants do and their crime rate as a group.

More on the stats compared to native born Americans and other American immigrant groups here.

Immigrants are Five Times Less Likely than the Native-Born to be in Prison

  • In 2000, among men age 18-39 (who comprise the vast majority of the U.S. prison population), the incarceration rate for the native-born (3.5%) was five times higher than the rate for immigrants (0.7%).
  • In California, the state with the greatest number of both undocumented and legal immigrants, the incarceration rate for native-born men age 18-39 (4.5%) was more than 11 times the rate for immigrants (0.4%).
  • Although the undocumented immigrant population doubled to about 12 million from 1994 to 2005, the violent crime rate in the United States declined by 34.2% and the property crime rate fell by 26.4%. This decline in crime rates was not just national, it also occurred in border cities and other cities with large immigrant populations—such as San Diego, El Paso, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Miami.

The full story for crime here. Can someone pass these reports on to John McCain, Jan Brewer, Jon Kyl, and the other hard nosed elected officials in Arizona?

July 30, 2010

SB1070 Tweaks

by Vince

Arizona’s controversial SB1070 immigration law has been reviewed by a federal judge and the following changes were made:

Judge Susan Bolton struck down the following provisions of SB 1070:

  • Section 2(B): Required officers to check the immigration status of any person arrested, as well as check the immigration status if there was reasonable suspicion after a lawful stop or detention that the person was undocumented.
  • Section 3: Made it a state misdemeanor for failure to carry an alien registration document, and made it a state crime to be unlawfully present in the United States.
  • Part of Section 5: Made it a state misdemeanor for an unauthorized immigrant to apply for, solicit for, or perform work.
  • Section 6 Amendment: Allowed officers to make warrantless arrests provided the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States.

The ruling left SB 1070, which goes into effect today, with the following provisions, among others, still intact:

  • Section 2(G): An Arizona citizen may bring an action against any official or agency of Arizona that does not enforce federal immigration laws to the fullest extent, and pay a penalty of $1,000 to $5,000 for each day that the policy was in effect.
  • Section 4: Makes it a felony to intentionally smuggle human beings for profit.
  • Section 5: Makes it a misdemeanor to stop on a street and attempt to hire or pick up passengers for work at a different location if the vehicle blocks traffic. Also makes it a misdemeanor to be the person picked up in such a motor vehicle.
  • Section 5: Makes it a misdemeanor for a person already in violation of a criminal offense to transport undocumented immigrants, conceal undocumented immigrants, or encourage undocumented immigrants to reside in the United States.
July 28, 2010

What We Talk About When We Talk About Immigration

by Vince

Sara Mayeux writes one of the better immigration articles I have read in some time. It counters the hot-button arguments of today with brevity and provides links to read more. On top of all that, she quoted Patricia Nelson Limerick’s book The Legacy of Conquest, which was one of my favorite history reads in college. In all, this is worth the full read:

Second and relatedly, there’s the selective nature with which the epithet “alien” is applied. Funny how Canadian housewives without proper papers, Irish bartenders who overstayed their tourist visas, Australians who remained abroad when their study abroad was through all seem to escape the opprobrium.

Most nefarious to me, though, is when the “alien” drops off altogether and the adjective “illegal” is transmuted into noun, as when politicos rail against the masses of “illegals” running rampant through the land. It’s not as though undocumented immigrants have some special claim to disregard for federal regulations. At any given moment someone not far from you is probably doing one or more of the following: smoking marijuana, selling cocaine, exceeding the speed limit in a national park, downloading pirated videos, possessing an unregistered firearm, or committing any number of the vaguely defined federal crimes that populate the U.S. Code.