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Unfortunately, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has started another round of deporting thousands of people who have undergone great risks to be Americans, especially Central Americans fleeing horrible violence at home.

In a climate of intense scrutiny and activism relating to the global refugee and immigration crisis, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has established a hotline to field tips on illegal immigrants. The immigration news that Homeland Security’s hotline is open means increased raids on immigrant families are expected under Obama’s immigration reform, and deportation of those families – largely from Central America – resulting from those raids.

Obama’s immigration reform focuses on identifying and deporting men, women and children who have entered the United States illegally since 2014.

The immigration hotline is open 24 hours a day and carries the threat of ‘rapid response’ teams to apprehend any illegal immigrants identified from news and tips given by callers, according to Philly News.

“As the Obama administration gears up for a priority crackdown on immigrants — mainly women and children from Central America — who have entered the U.S. illegally since 2014, the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia has set up a 24-hour hotline for tips about immigration enforcement raids, and ‘rapid response’ teams to rally around those who are arrested,” reports Philly News.

Humanitarian and various religious and spiritual groups have rallied to protest against the immigration news hotline and the increased deportation raids likely to be enacted by the Department of Homeland Security as a result.

The establishment of the 24-hour hotline for tips on illegal immigrants is just the latest in a longer-term battle on immigration for the U.S. federal government. Obama’s administration faced a crisis in 2014 when tens of thousands of migrants – some men, but mostly women and children – arrived at North America’s southernmost border and crossed illegally.

The hotline is particularly disturbing, incentivizing neighbors to turn each other in or for whites to just make phone calls reporting any Latino they see. And the Obama administration really is sending some of these people to their deaths:

Renewed immigration raids against women and children fail to recognize the severity of situations faced by migrants, who have left Central America to escape death, the U.S. Catholic bishops said.

“Sending women and children back to Central America will not serve as an effective deterrent to migration because this is a humanitarian crisis and individuals from the region are being forced to flee for their lives,” Bishop Eusebio Elizondo said May 25.

Bishop Elizondo is an auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration.

“These operations spark panic among our parishes,” the bishop continued. “No person, migrant or otherwise, should have to fear leaving their home to attend church or school. No person should have to fear being torn away from their family and returned to danger.”

I recognize that Obama does not have intricate control over the daily operations of the ICE and that federal bureaucracies have their own momentum that often lead presidents as much as presidents lead them. That said, Obama has not done a good job of controlling the ICE’s worst behavior, nor has he made it much of a political priority, even as he has taken executive actions in other areas to push for a more humane immigration system. So ICE agents treat some of these deportees horribly.

A group of south Asian migrants have said they were forcefully placed in “body bags” and shocked with Tasers by Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE) officers as they were being deported from the US, allegations that have raised red flags for advocates and immigration attorneys.

On 3 April, 85 Bangladeshis, Nepalis and Indians were repatriated on an ICE charter flight that departed from Mesa, Arizona, after they failed to gain asylum or otherwise secure legal status.

Seven detainees who had been on the flight, have detailed their claims of abuse by ICE to the Guardian. According to those interviewed, about 15 deportees were placed in what they called body bags, believed to refer to the “restraint” or “security” blankets occasionally used by the agency. Some individuals were also said to have been shocked with a Taser, an allegation which ICE denies.

According to detainees who witnessed the bags being used, to place a detainee in a so-called body bag, a group of ICE officers would first pin them to the ground, sometimes face-down. The detainee’s body would then be tightly wrapped in the security blanket and fastened with a series of Velcro belts. Limbs restrained, the deportee could then be carried on to the plane.

ICE claims the deportees were resisting. And who could blame them. But these are violations of human rights on the same continuum as what led to extrajudicial rendition and the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. This behavior must be reined in, much as the behavior of police and security forces generally must be radically reformed, as demonstrated repeatedly in recent years.

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  • Lurker

    If the force is used when the person would submit to deportation peacefully, it is a human rights violation. Indeed, even handcuffing a detained person who has not demonstrated by their behavior that they are security threats is a human rights violation. (Meaning that the police should not routinely handcuff arrestees.)

    However, deportation as immigration enforcement is not a human rights violation. There is no human right to immigrate to a country of one’s choosing. Indeed, any undocumented person is a danger to social peace and stability. They are outside the social safety net and vulnerable to exploitation. As such, they tend to decrease the wages of lawful residents and are more likely to commit crimes.

    An undocumented person should not be allowed to exist in any country. They should be duly apprehended and their cases solved lawfully: Either a legal residence for those who should be allowed to stay, deportation otherwise. (In the particular case of the US, I support wide-scale amnesty and legal permanent residence for the vast majority of illegal immigrants, as mass deportations would be tantamount to genocide.)

    • Bill Murray

      As such, they tend to decrease the wages of lawful residents and are more likely to commit crimes.

      Have either of these been actually shown to be true?

      • Lurker

        As far as I know, paperless migrants are pretty often targeted by employers who don’t obey work-time, minimum wage or occupational health regulations. Such stories are commonplace on this blog.

        If such employers exist, and they do, they compete with employers who are not engaging in illegal exploitation of workers, causing a downward pressure on wages and working conditions. (I am not making a case against immigration in general, only against undocumented working.) This effect is quite straightforward.

        When it comes to crime, it is clear that people with only slight attachment to the society are more likely to commit crimes. The best way to fight crime is to increase the social stability of the population by only having legally present people.

        As I said, an undocumented person is a menace to the society. There should not exist a single person in the society whose address and occupation are not, at all times, known to the authorities, citizen or non-citizen. With a non-documented underclass, this is impossible to have. Thus, the non-documented need to be either documented or removed.

        • aidian

          There should not exist a single person in the society whose address and occupation are not, at all times, known to the authorities,

          You’re joking, right? Please say you’re joking.

          This is among the reasons I hate the term “undocumented immigrant.” The idea that everyone should be documented is abhorrent. I go to significant effort to stay as little documented as possible.

          Also, in my anecdotal but fairly extensive experience I’ve never seen an illegal immigrant working for less than minimum wage. I’m not saying that sort of thing doesn’t happen – I’m sure it does — but more common is seeing illegal immigrants working in gigs that pay more than minimum wage but less than they would if they had to compete for citizen workers.

          You see this a lot in construction, and it’s widespread in agriculture — farm laborers around here get paid $11/hour + overtime right now for harvest work with all the overtime they want to work. But it’s a difficult physically exhausting temporary job with no benefits and no prospect of a career path.

          With those conditions, that job should pay more than my (underpaid) white collar job in the media. It doesn’t because employers can use illegal immigrant labor.

          • LeeEsq

            Lurker is taking things to authoritarian or even Orwellian levels but it is really difficult to even provide minimal public services without an accurate idea of the population who needs the services. The more public services your providing than the more accurate information the government needs.

            • humanoid.panda

              Lurker is a Finn, right? Because in First World countries outside the US, the notion that everyone should have papers does not sound particularly totalitarian.

              • LeeEsq

                This is one of the weird things about the United States. I really don’t find the idea of national identity card to be that awful and it would actually solve a lot of basic problems. This is kind of an either/or situation. You really can’t have an effective welfare state or ordinary good government without accurate knowledge about the population.

            • Amanda in the South Bay

              I think distrust of government bureaucracy (as evidenced in this thread) is possibly a hurdle to providing decent social democratic type levels of welfare in this country.

              • LeeEsq

                Distrust of government really is a feature across the political spectrum in American life from the Far Right to the Far Left and everything in-between, although people closer to the center are more likely to see government as incompetent than malevolent.

                The Far Right thinks that the federal government is competent enough to engage in all sorts of conspiracy theory plots but too incompetent to provide services like universal healthcare or regulate the economy. On the Left, we have a bunch of people that see the federal government as an elaborate means to persecute people of color, poor people, LGBT people, and leftist activists but still thinks it can be trusted or made trustworthy to administrate a welfare state. Both positions aren’t exactly consistent.

          • JL

            Unless you are yourself in the category of immigrant that you’re talking about, I don’t see why your personal discomfort with the word “undocumented” should trump the fact that those people prefer it for themselves over a term that they associate with use by people who hate them.

        • cpinva

          “There should not exist a single person in the society whose address and occupation are not, at all times, known to the authorities, citizen or non-citizen.”

          sorry, this is the sort of thing dictatorships grab onto, not representative democracies. absent some really, really compelling public health/safety reason, no level of government has any legitimate reason to know the address and occupation of everyone in the country, citizen or not.

          there is already in existence laws to address the employment aspect: the requirement that every employee of an entity complete and submit to said employer a Federal Form I-9. this form, completed upon hiring, requires the new employee to swear, under penalties of perjury, that they are legally entitled to work in the US. further, they must produce (and the employer must retain a file copy) documentation supporting that declaration.

          if the ICE wanted to actually do something constructive, they would be auditing the kinds of employers most likely to hire the undocumented, and make them prove all of their employees are legally able to work for the company. they don’t, because it isn’t nearly as exciting for the ICE wannabe Rambos, but it would be far more effective, and a hell of a lot more cost effective.

          the ICE, to justify its existence, has taken the same tack as the DEA, go after the little guys, get tv coverage, so the country can see them “doing their job”. unfortunately, they’re doing it in the least effective way possible.

          • Witt

            if the ICE wanted to actually do something constructive, they would be auditing the kinds of employers most likely to hire the undocumented, and make them prove all of their employees are legally able to work for the company.

            Actually, the Obama administration has shifted pretty dramatically to so-called I-9 audits (also referred to as “silent raids”) in contrast to the Bush-era high-profile workplace and other raids.

            The rest of your comment is pretty accurate, though.

            • cpinva

              I must confess to an almost complete lack of awareness of this. I wonder if this is continuing, because aside from that NYT’s article, there doesn’t seem to have been much buzz about it.

              and I feel bad for the people fired, and especially their children, who have probably lived and gone to school in the states for most, if not all, of their lives.

              with respect to the growers, the real reason they couldn’t find anyone locally to pick the crop, is what they offer in pay. the agricultural industry isn’t subject to the same minimum pay rules that most other industries are, and that’s what makes it hard for the growers to find “local” labor for these jobs.

        • Murc

          There should not exist a single person in the society whose address and occupation are not, at all times, known to the authorities, citizen or non-citizen.

          This is vile and fascistic. My address and occupation are none of the authorities fucking business unless they can go before a judge and prove they have probable cause to need to know them. It should be something that government employees can simply look up for no good reason.

          • “Vile and fascistic?” It’s a basic assumption of the modern state. I didn’t know the Census Bureau, IRS, and Social Security Administration were totalitarian. Hayek was right, I guess.

            • Snarki, child of Loki

              That kind of “have to be registered with the authorities” is pretty common in Europe, but dates back to Napoleonic government, rather than fascists.

            • Murc

              It’s not actually illegal to opt-out of all those things. Nor can the authorities simply go rooting through the records all of those organizations maintain just because they’re randomly curious, or, if they can, they shouldn’t be able to.

              • elm

                I think it is illegale to opt out of the IRS if you have income. And can you opt out of paying into Social Security if you are employed? You can opt out of receiving it, but I think you do need a SSN if you want to receive wages legally,.

              • It’s not actually illegal to opt-out of all those things.

                Census or American Community survey or other related surveys: ILLEGAL TO OPT OUT

                https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/13/221

                IRS if your income is above a certain level: ILLEGAL TO OPT OUT

                https://www.irs.gov/publications/p554/ch01.html

                You can (with difficulty) opt out of a SSN.

                As other folks have said, in many non-fascistic societies you have to (or strongly are encouraged to) register with a government official when you move. Japan and Germany come to mind. Similarly, in France you have to carry ID at all times (I believe).

                It FEELS weird to me, still, but it really seems to be a bit of a nothing burger. Opting out is so difficult most of us would never bother.

        • Bill Murray

          so, you just have a bunch of “common sense” that has no empirical backing and the answer is no

        • Witt

          You can’t separate out undocumented workers’ effect on the economy like that. Undocumented people are also consumers, meaning they help to CREATE jobs.

          In many areas of the country, they are also helping to repopulate a dwindling population base (this is especially true in the Midwest and South, and to some degree the industrial North), thus creating more tax revenue for rural and small-city communities that are otherwise depending on a rapidly aging population.

          There is also no evidence to suggest that undocumented people have a “slight attachment to society.” Two-thirds (that’s 2 out of 3) undocumented immigrants have lived in the US for at least 10 years, and many are part of mixed-status families that include documented immigrants and US citizens.

          There is also pretty extensive evidence to suggest that undocumented people deliberately seek NOT to draw the attention of authorities, by assiduously following even relatively small laws (eg traffic laws).

        • Ahuitzotl

          When it comes to crime, it is clear that people with only slight attachment to the society are more likely to commit crimes. The best way to fight crime is to increase the social stability of the population by only having legally present people.

          In the context of undocumented immigrants to the US, this has been comprehensively disproved, in fact. Undocumented immigrants try very hard to be law-abiding and not draw attention to themselves, in order to avoid deportation actions. Trying to fight crime by shunting them out of the country, is like trying to put out a fire by stopping cars in the next block.
          .
          Also,

          deportation as immigration enforcement is not a human rights violation.

          While this is true, manipulating the law to avoid giving refugee/asylum seeking status to the immigrants is a prime reason so many are classed as just undocumented, and this IS a human rights violation.

      • aidian

        The commit crimes thing has not been proven with anything like reliable research. The conventional wisdom is that illegal immigrants are actually less likely to commit crimes than citizens. That fits pretty well with my anecdotal experience.

        The depress wages thing is absolutely true. The economic research tends to be mixed and sparse on the topic. I would also suggest that a lot of it has a hard time teasing out the impact of illegal immigrant labor vs. other factors affecting wages — especially on the lower paid end of the labor market.

        But ask anyone who used to be a union meatpacker what impact illegal immigration has on the labor market.

        A more personal example:
        In my hometown Sun Valley Floral Farms got a ‘no match’ letter from ICE in 2008. They had to fire about half of their workforce.

        That led to the first job fair I’ve heard of in modern times in Humboldt County, when suddenly the company was forced to hire 300 legal residents at IIRC $13/hour — not bad for legal money in Humboldt.

        I know a couple of people who got hired on at Sun Valley at the time, and it changed their lives. This has contributed to my belief that illegal immigration is a subsidy to employers and the affluent that comes at the expense of the working class. Shouldn’t subsidies work the other way?

        • Anna in PDX

          I think companies who prey on undocumented migrants should be punished very harshly. It would disincentivize this without just punishing the workers.

          • Dilan Esper

            This comment reminds me of the people who think Scandinavian prostitution laws hurt customers only and not sex workers.

            Depriving someone of a job, even a bad one, is a huge injury. There are arguments for stiff employer sanctions, but have no illusions- they do hurt the workers.

            • Anna in PDX

              That’s true, I think it would have been worded better to say that going after the company would deincentivize its bad behavior, as opposed to *just* going after workers while companies have no down side.

            • LeeEsq

              Isn’t this just Swedish law your talking about. I think that Norway and Denmark take a more conventional ban the entire thing approach to prostitution. From a recent New York Times magazine article on legalizing prostitution, I gathered that all Nordic countries see the elimination of prostitution as a worthwhile policy goal.

        • Bill Murray

          so mixed and sparse evidence makes something true?

          • aidian

            I actually did a fairly deep dive on the academic research on the topic. It was sparse, it was mixed. On balance it came in about 60/40 that immigration has some provable downward pressure on wages.

            But, for all the hot air over the issue, there’s a real shortage of relevant, reproducible research (research aimed at insight instead of advocacy). The area doesn’t lend itself to experimental design and there’s a ton of confounding factors that are really tough to account for. I do enough work with data to understand that this area is a nightmare for dirty data.

            So, yeah, I am influenced somewhat by personal experience. I’m open minded enough that if those experiences were contradicted by research I’d change my views, but they’re not.

    • Anna in PDX

      I think I remember that you are European? How does your country deal with immigration? Also, do you think your judgments on undocumented immigrants hold for minor children? Finally, the stuff I have read about undocumented people in the US seems to indicate that they’re less likely to commit crimes, given their fear of deportation.

      • Lurker

        In Finland, we actually do go out of our way to avoid having a sizeable undocumented population. In essence, it is impossible to live here, much less raise a family, if you are undocumented. There is no non-criminal way to make any kind of living without papers, and no subculture of paperless people to take care of you.

        On the other hand, we do give asylum relatively easily, and if it is technically impossible to deport someone (e.g. their country doesn’t accept them), the person is given temporary documentation until the deportation can be accomplished. (After three years of unsuccessful deportation, they will be given a semi-permanent residence.)

        So, we do have a system where people either get residence or get deported. And all residents,citizen and non-citizen alike, their change of address to the national database with extremely good compliance rates. (As has been the case since 1721.) An efficient and just society cannot function unless the population’s whereabouts are well known. It is the basic building block of all administration.

        • aidian

          Wow. I’ve finally found something to hate about the Scandinavian social democracies so often viewed as the promised land by us on the American left.

          It’s not that we don’t effectively have nearly the same sort of systems in this country — it’s very, very, difficult to drop off the grid to the point that you’re unfindable and even harder to earn a living if you do — but we don’t have it as an explicit (or at least publicly acknowledged) policy.

          • Anna in PDX

            Funny that we cross posted! I think your reaction is what I’d expect from maybe more than half of all US citizens… So such policies would be a non-starter here.

          • Ronan

            But This is what you need to have the sort of effective social democracy that exists in Scandinavia ( perhaps not to the extent that lurker described, but close). Large , competent administrative states that exert considerable enough control over your life, strong buy in from the population, and high levels of trust both within the population and from the citizens towards the state. The liberal political culture of the English speaking Atlantic economies cuts against this, to some extent

            • Lurker

              This is exactly my opinion.

              To give an example if how the state exerts comtrol over population, I’d like to take up an example: detective youth work. That is social work that goes to a youth who is in statistical likelihood of dropping out of society. The municipal social work gets, by law, personal data of every young person who is below 25 and
              a) doesn’t go to vocational or senior high school
              b) drops out of school
              c) is declared medically unfit to serve in the military
              d) is deemed by any public authority to be in need of help.

              That is a good and necessary law, and it helps a lot of people who would not necessarily get help on their own. Yet, it is exactly the kind of tremendous exertation of state control in the private lives of adult people that you mentioned.

        • Anna in PDX

          Hm. I think this would just not fly politically in the US (registering everyone). We have a not unsubstantial number of citizens who are even opposed to getting a social security number. The same group are often up in arms about wanting to be “off grid”. We have a major party that has spent 30 years fomenting paranoia about the federal government. I think we would have to solve this artificially created problem before we could come up with your country’s reasonable, technocratic, answers to the immigration issue.

          • aidian

            FWIW, I’m paranoid about the federal government. I’m also paranoid about state and local governments. And I’m a registered, primary-voting caucus-going Democrat.

            I think we would have to solve this artificially created problem

            Artificially exploited and magnified by the nut job right wing with cries of “Bengazhi” and “Ruby Ridge” and “Obama wants our guns.” That’s not quite the same, IMHO

            • Anna in PDX

              I hope I did not sound condescending. I was mostly thinking of right wing paranoia, but I grew up in rural Oregon so I am pretty familiar with leftish anti government rhetoric as well. And I also recognize that it is not unreasonable to be suspicious of state, federal, etc. government particularly law enforcement. My dad was a personal friend of Judi Bari. However I think the proposition that there are many reasons for government keeping tabs on people is pretty hard to dispute. Child protection, tax paying, enforcement of building codes, and of course social security, all these things need record keeping, that does not have to be a nefarious thing.

              • aidian

                RIP Judi Bari. My mom was friends with her, and I knew her a little bit. I also knew Darryl Cherny well enough that, at least in my more cynical moments, I would pay good money for the bomb to wind up under his seat instead of hers. Never saw him do much for the environment, but he sure got laid a lot.

                I’ll admit that my perspective on this is influenced by seeing marijuana eradication troops perform a military invasion of my community every fall as I was growing up. I’d like to think I’ve got more perspective now, but seeing past one’s own bias is always a challenge.

                For the sort of routinized and massive government information collection and social control Lurker describes to be anything but dystopian would require among other things a government that’s responsive to its citizens combined with a high level of social trust and cohesion. I’d really love to live in a society like that. I doubt I ever will as long as I live in the USA.

                • Anna in PDX

                  Are you from Humboldt County? I grew up in Curry County and my dad lives near Takilma right on the border of Oregon and California. Actually he physically lives in Del Norte county though his address is in Oregon, speaking of living off the grid! Once I asked him to cosign a car loan and he had literally NO credit history! Life goals…

                  Eta I think you are right that that kind of trust and social cohesion is not present in the US. Hope that changes.

                  Dad was in the other car … He was the banjo player in Darrel’s band.

                • aidian

                  Yup, Humboldt raised. My family was very similar to your dad. I finally had to turn my Earth First! T-shirt into shop rags a couple of years ago. Small world!

              • Amanda in the South Bay

                I think that hippie liberal paranoia disappears pretty quickly north of Eugene. Generic small town western Oregon that is dependent on timber and paper-I’ve never seen any unconventional left wing extremism there.

          • DAS

             We have a not unsubstantial number of citizens who are even opposed to getting a social security number. 

            I’ve always wondered what the overlap is between people who view social security numbers as the number of the beast / people who oppose a national ID card because “we don’t want our society to be a ‘show your papers’ society like Yurp, and you know who was a Yurpean, dontcha?” and people who think you shouldn’t be allowed to vote if you don’t have proper ID?

    • J. Otto Pohl

      Spoken like a typical hypocritical supporter of a fortress (white) Europa.

      • Anna in PDX

        Does everybody need papers, in Ghana? How intrusive is its government?

        • J. Otto Pohl

          In theory yes but in practice no. To get into the country by air you need a valid visa or a letter from Ghana Immigration Services saying you qualify for a visa on arrival. If you overstay your visa or permit you will have to pay a 50 GH ($12.50) fine for every month you are over upon leaving the country by the airport. There is no other punishment for simply overstaying. The police have never stopped me here. Due to problems with the university not applying for renewal of their foreign workers’ quota I was once here for eight months on an expired residency permit. The cost went from from $300 to $1000 as a result of the university not renewing its quota. When I went to Jerusalem in March I paid $200 to settle the fine and get a reentry visa plus a $10 bribe. In April the cost of a residency permit went down from $1000 a year to $300 a year again due to a new foreign workers’ quota list with my name on it being issued and I got a new permit. There is a large population of Touareg beggers here that crossed over by land from Niger through Mali and Burkino Faso and made their way to Accra. There is no way any of them could have qualified for a visa since you have to prove that you can financially support yourself or have such support by a legal resident to get a visa of any type. Even a tourist visa requires either a bank statement or letter of invitation from a legal resident vouching that you will not be a financial burden to the Ghanaian government.

  • Regulust

    That immigration hotline is a sure recipe for disaster. I can already see innocent, legal residents being harassed by ICE “rapid-response” agents, who will probably respond so rapidly they’ll sometimes forget to verify their tips (it already happens with police & SWAT). The idea that illegal immigration even requires “rapid-response” agents, as though they are some imminent danger is absurd.

    Why does this country insist on turning itself into a pseudo-police state?

    • postmodulator

      Ask any slightly-dark-complected male who was living in this country on September 12, 2001. I know Indian IT guys who finally gave up on leaving their offices for lunch.

      Or ask anyone who’s been SWATted for having the temerity to beat someone at Mortal Kombat on XBox Live. At the very least I wish we could get SWAT teams to end their habit of routinely shooting dogs.

      • JL

        Ask any slightly-dark-complected male who was living in this country on September 12, 2001.

        I know someone whose younger sisters (the person themselves was in college in another state by this time) had rocks thrown at them on the way home from school, and whose father, a white-collar guy, was stopped and attacked by police, right around that time.

  • Given some of the stories I’ve heard of people disappearing into the system, and the excruciating difficulty of loved ones locating them just for a phone call, the ICE system really is the American Gulag. I have to wonder if this is one of the systems that Clinton is committed to perpetuate.

    • aidian

      HRC has promised to pursue widespread legalization. So has Bernie. This is very disappointing to someone like me who thinks the Democratic party should be the party of the American working class.

      However, assuming a Republican congress that won’t play ball, we could see a situation where despite the policy preferences from the White House ICE could still randomly run amok on unlucky immigrant communities while still allowing essentially open borders.

      • HRC has promised to pursue widespread legalization. So has Bernie. This is very disappointing to someone like me who thinks the Democratic party should be the party of the American working class.

        A leftist “party of the American working class” can perfectly legitimately (and morally) “pursue widespread legalization” as well.

        • aidian

          In a perfect world, maybe.

          But if you believe that illegal immigration (is one of the many factors that) has depressed wages in recent decades, than that is a problematic policy position.

          • Murc

            But if you believe that illegal immigration (is one of the many factors that) has depressed wages in recent decades, than that is a problematic policy position.

            The solution to that, of course, is to make immigration legal and to encourage widespread unionization.

            • Precisely.

              But of course aidian, who appears to be a Hard-Headed Realist, probably wouldn’t agree with you or me. Let’s see!

              • aidian

                If we had the sort of widespread, strong unions which I read about in, say, Germany, than yeah, I’d be a lot more open to a much more liberal immigration policy.

                When and if we get that, then we should talk about the issue. But the thing is, right now we need ~20 years straight of wins to get there.

                I know people today who are trying to feed families on two part time jobs paying $10/hr. In California. These people are suffering now.

                Their lives would change significantly for the better if, say, Sacramento construction contractors had to hire a couple thousand workers and pay $20-$25 per hour for semi-skilled labor (instead of $11-$13 like now) or if the Salinas lettuce plants had to start offering $20/hr and benefits because they couldn’t count on illegal immigrant labor.

                FWIW, I try for ‘hard-headed realist’ but rarely manage it. I am an anarchist, a Marxist, and a Christian, and all three of those require some level of starry eyed idealism.

                • Origami Isopod

                  Some of the most impressive union organizers in the U.S. are Latinos, including those without papers. How about making common cause with them, instead of arguing for them to be deported?

                • JL

                  Some of the most impressive union organizers in the U.S. are Latinos, including those without papers. How about making common cause with them, instead of arguing for them to be deported?

                  This. There’s a lot of overlap these days between the labor and immigrant movements, especially with the rise of service worker organizing. Because native-born, documented immigrant, and undocumented immigrant workers have realized that they all benefit from workers’ rights and economic justice work.

            • sonamib

              The solution to that, of course, is to make immigration legal and to encourage widespread unionization.

              Exactly. If you dislike illegal immigration, make it easier for people to immigrate legally. It’s that simple.

              Some people have this delusion that it’s possible to somehow stop the immigrants from coming. It’s not*. If you enact “tough on immigration” laws, the total number of immigrants will stay more or less constant, but the ratio of undocumented immigrants will skyrocket.

              Would you rather have documented or undocumented immigrants? Undocumented immigrants depress wages because they have a harder time organizing or fighting back against their employer’s abuses, since the fear of deportation always lurks in the back of their minds. Give them papers and that problem goes away.

              Legal immigration may or may not depress wages, but that’s irrelevant if the alternative is undocumented immigration, which depresses wages a whole lot more. People who support “tough on immigration” laws are only increasing the size of the easily exploited lumpenproletariat.

              *Ok, it is possible if you devote enough resources for immigration enforcement. But for all the “realists” out there : the government’s money is finite, and there are a lot more productive uses of it than immigration enforcement. Call me when we get to the point that the American working class will be better off with more government money spent on deportation rather than on, say, healthcare or the social safety net.

    • Anna in PDX

      Here is a statement from her on immigration.

      “We need comprehensive immigration reform with a path to full and equal citizenship. If Congress won’t act, I’ll defend President Obama’s executive actions—and I’ll go even further to keep families together. I’ll end family detention, close private immigrant detention centers, and help more eligible people become naturalized.”

      • Dilan Esper

        Sanders got her to promise not to deport anyone who hadn’t committed a separate crime (other than immigration violations).

      • Good for her.

  • LeeEsq

    The Immigration hotline is really helpful if your in Immigration Court proceedings or representing aliens in an Immigration Court proceeding because sometimes its the only way to figure out if the judge decided to adjourn or change the time of your hearing. The Immigration Courts usually try to send out notice or call the lawyer representing an alien but sometimes there is a lag. I know this from practical experience.

    Being in the United States without status is treated as a violation of civil law rather than a criminal violation. This is usually to the detriment of the alien because the 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments do not fully apply to immigration matters but it can many times be a boon to the alien because it gives a lot of leeway to make decisions in favor of the alien if the Immigration Judge or USCIS officials would be so inclined and there are decent number of them that lean towards the alien.

    • aidian

      There was some reporting done years ago showing wildly different outcomes for asylum cases depending on which judge heard the case. Have you seen anything like that in recent years? And does that square with your experience? (And are you a lawyer practicing immigration law, as I thought I remember?)

      • LeeEsq

        Its still fairly accurate. Syracuse University keeps track of this. My nym is fairly close to my real identity so I don’t want to talk more about this.

      • Witt

        Yes, the rates by judge still vary pretty dramatically. TRAC, the clearinghouse at Syracuse, has stats directly from the government.

  • AMK

    The immigration laws need to be enforced at some point. There’s no excuse for the kind of physical abuse that seems to happen at ICE, but you can’t just not deport anyone ever. Our immigration system can’t be the answer to Central America’s problems….and politically, trying to make it so just hands the right a massive stick they can use to beat any sort of reform with.

    • DocAmazing

      It would help if our foreign policy, past and present, weren’t the cause of so many of Central America’s problems.

      • AMK

        Sure, but you could say the same thing about lots of places and lots of countries. Why don’t we just airlift all 30 million Iraqis here? God knows they’ve suffered enough because of our stupidity and incompetence.

        There has to be a line drawn somewhere. Turning around the people who just got here makes more sense than hunting down those who have been here for years.

        • Malaclypse

          There has to be a line drawn somewhere.

          I’m fine with drawing it at “provably violent criminals.”

          • ThrottleJockey

            Why? What claim to American residence do foreign nationals have? I think the humanitarian and. Christian thing is to shelter as many of the illegal immigrants here as possible, but there’s reason to adopt an Open Borders policy. It’s not the US’ obligation to care for all the world’s tired and huddled masses.

            • Malaclypse

              What claim to American residence do foreign nationals have?

              The exact same claim my ancestors had.

              It’s not the US’ obligation to care for all the world’s tired and huddled masses.

              Speaking on behalf of the Statue of Fucking Liberty, go fuck yourself.

              • ThrottleJockey

                So 2 wrongs make a right now? Because your ancestors had no claim on the land, anyone can claim land now? That’s horse shit. There are already in the US a fucking shitload of poor and helpless and injured people. First and foremost our energies need to go to helping them. Charity begins at home and then it spreads abroad.

        • JL

          Why don’t we just airlift all 30 million Iraqis here? God knows they’ve suffered enough because of our stupidity and incompetence.

          Well, a lot of them don’t want to come live here, for one thing. And a lot of Central Americans don’t want to come live here. However, some of them do. And yet, it’s wildly difficult to do so in authorized fashion for the average Central American, even one who has legitimate reason to fear persecution and death.

          • Witt

            And yet, it’s wildly difficult to do so in authorized fashion for the average Central American, even one who has legitimate reason to fear persecution and death.

            Just to affirm this, the program that the Obama administration set up to screen Central American applicants while they are still in Central America is a huge bottleneck:

            State Department officials… acknowledged that after more than a year, only a fraction of the 8,001 who applied came to the United States, fewer than 200.

          • ThrottleJockey

            However, some of them do. And yet, it’s wildly difficult to do so in authorized fashion for the average Central American, even one who has legitimate reason to fear persecution and death.

            To my knowledge generalized violence has never been a basis for asylum.

            • J. Otto Pohl

              Correct for asylum in the US the persecution has to be targeted at the individual on the basis of his membership in certain specified classes. There are some exceptions. All Jews from the former USSR regardless of whether they personally expereinced any persecution qualify automatically under the Lautenberg amendment. This includes even former NKVD and MVD operatives guilty of atrocities. Also all Cubans that get a toe on US soil regardless of any other considerations get automatic asylum. There have also in the past been certain other groups from Vietnam and Iran that did not have to prove personal persecution on the basis of membership in a protected group.

    • Murc

      The immigration laws need to be enforced at some point.

      No, they don’t. Most of them need to be repealed. Then we can start talking about enforcement of the remaining ones.

      • Malaclypse

        Seconded.

      • LeeEsq

        Especially the public health related ones.

  • DAS

    I recognize that Obama does not have intricate control over the daily operations of the ICE

    If a division of a corporation continued to engage in behavior the CEO of the corporation says he disagrees with, would we excuse the CEO for the continued misbehavior of that division by saying that the CEO lacked “intricate control over the daily operations of” that division? So why should we accept that excuse offered on behalf of the Chief Executive of the US government?

    • Brett

      Government agencies aren’t wholly under the control of the President, even if he appoints the very top of the leadership. Given that the ICE is damn near a rogue agency in terms of disobeying mandates from above, it needs to be heavily purged to eradicate the toxic culture* – but that probably can’t be done without Congress’s support, and a Republican-dominated Congress sees a brutal ICE as a perk, not a problem.

      * Unsurprisingly, they’ve also had issues with corruption and sexual harassment.

  • glasnost

    I recognize that Obama does not have intricate control over the daily operations of the ICE and that federal bureaucracies have their own momentum that often lead presidents as much as presidents lead them.

    This doesn’t begin to describe it. The ICE bureaucracy is in revolt. You could say that they’re in a state of undeclared war with the admin.

    I used to be really pissed at Obama about this. It was a very strong argument in the salon.com case for Obama as an inexplicable sellout.

    This piece at balkinzation helped me understand the dynamics better. The ICE ground level has been literally daring the politicos to fire them (can you imagine the shitstorm that would produce? Firing agents in the name of immigration mercy?). They’re *completely* autonomous, doing whatever the fuck they want.

    http://balkin.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-presidents-relief-program-as.html

    Read this post and weep. The entire border papers process announced with fanfare in 2014 was an act done to respond to the ICE insurrection. That’s the sole reason why it occurred, to try and legally force their own admin to listen to their directives.

  • Gareth

    Unfortunately, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has started another round of deporting thousands of people who have undergone great risks to be Americans…

    They’ve undergone great risks to live in America, but how many of them are interested in being Americans?

    • AMK

      This is an important point too. Assimilation is a real cultural/psychological process that does not just happen like snow melting in spring. Those of us descended from the early 20th century (white) immigration waves tend to overlook the major Americanizing role played by the draft, cross-ethnic schools and labor unions, assimilationist civic organizations, etc, not to mention a broad-based middle class prosperity that fostered (white) American identity. Much of that social infrastructure either doesn’t exist anymore or is in steep decline.

      • Gareth

        It’s even for worse for illegal immigrants, of course. Even if they sincerely want to be Americans there are very few ways they can demonstrate their patriotism. They can hardly join the armed forces or run for public office. But it was a non-rhetorical question, I do wonder how many of them are interested in becoming Americans, as opposed to just escaping violence or poverty.

        • AMK

          The woman who cleans my office and the woman who cuts my hair all the Central American immigrants I know want to be Americans and want their kids to grow up Americans (though that’s hardly representative). I would actually be more skeptical about some of the foreigners who come in at the opposite end of the economic ladder, who launder money by buying up property in my neighborhood while they jet set around on three different passports.

          • Gareth

            Full disclosure: I’m not an American, and I’d be happy to move to America for a job, but beyond that I don’t have much interest in becoming an American. There are some interesting jobs which are restricted to US citizens, but that’s about as far as it goes for me.

      • LeeEsq

        Technology also plays a role. During the 19th and most of the 20th century, it was really not possible for immigrants to import their home culture the way they could now. This encouraged at least the younger immigrants or the children of immigrants to assimilate for lack of other options. Its very possible to import culture now and ignore the culture of the country you settle in because of cable, the Internet, etc. It lowers the incentives to acculturate.

    • LeeEsq

      Europeans are going through similar issues with their immigrants. I think there are several things to consider with this question. The first one is what does it mean to be an American, British, Canadian, French, German, etc. citizen? Does it just mean holding citizenship, paying your taxes, and fulfilling other civic duties or does it mean something more like feeling a connection to the culture, history, and geography of the place. Can a Muslim who doesn’t drink alcohol really assimilate into a country that loves drinking? Can somebody from a traditional culture that doesn’t believe in sex before marriage assimilate into an egalitarian Nordic country? We first have to determine what it means to be a citizen of Country X before we can ask about assimilation.

      The next issue is if assimilation is necessary, many say it is not, and if so how to achieve it. These are not easy questions either.

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