Home / General / For the Zero of You Who Want to Talk About Something Not Related to the Democratic Primary, Here’s a Reminder of the Injustice of Our Immigration System

For the Zero of You Who Want to Talk About Something Not Related to the Democratic Primary, Here’s a Reminder of the Injustice of Our Immigration System

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farmworkers

The always valuable David Bacon asks what is going to happen to the tens of thousands of undocumented indigenous Mexicans working in American fields as they age to the point where they can’t work.

Meanwhile, Anastasia continues working, wondering how long she can last. “My hands will always ache,” she laments. “They hurt to a point where I can hardly work. Right now I have a pain in my stomach that often doesn’t let me work either. The hardest thing is mainly the weight of the boxes they ask us to carry. They’re very heavy. But using the hoe is also hard. I got sick working in the tomatoes, but once I get better I’ll go back.”

Rick Mines’ study shows that Anastasia Flores’ situation is shared by a growing section of the indigenous farm labor workforce. “The number of people over 50 has doubled, and it’s now about nine percent. That means that 10,000 to 15,000 people in California are in this situation,” he reported.

According to Irma Luna, “Indigenous women especially start to worry after they pass 50. They depend on the fields, but the work is hard and as we get older, it gets harder. Crew leaders won’t hire older people for many jobs. But the only other choice is to depend on your family, whether you stay in the U.S. or go back to Mexico.”

I’m sure they will be able to collect all that Social Security they paid into the system. Oh wait, no, that’s money they will never get back because they are undocumented. I’m sure they will die broken and impoverished happy with a warm feeling knowing that they’ve allowed Americans to buy vegetables at very low prices.

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  • Murc

    Amnesty now. The only moral choice.

    • CP

      Seconded.

    • Malaclypse

      Co-signed.

    • DilbertSucks

      Why? So we can have even more impoverished people who haven’t even graduated high school cross the border illegally? At some point, you have to send them the message that it’s not acceptable to enter the U.S. illegally and expect all the benefits of citizenship. If poor Mexicans know they can just cross the border and eventually receive amnesty by tugging at enough heartstrings, they have no incentive to stop coming.

      Moreover, by importing millions upon millions of uneducated poor people of a certain phenotype, you are creating a more entrenched racialized caste system. Given America’s already fraught history with its Black and Native American populations, I don’t know why you’d think this is a good idea.

      This might be a shocker to you, but 2nd and 3rd generation offspring of impoverished Mexican-Americans tend to perform poorly academically and economically as well. That’s what worries me. The 2nd and 3rd generation tend to drop out of school and languish at alarming rates. They’re not the kind of people who are going to prosper in the American economy, which is shifting more and more to highly skilled labor (STEM jobs, etc.). They don’t have the requisite skills. And, whether you want to admit it or not, the education and skills that parents have tend to be transferred down to their children, so parents that are — on average — not very educated or skilled, are going to have children who are not very educated or skilled either.

      The difference becomes especially obvious when you compare them to Asian immigrants, who arrive here much more educated and much more successful — on average. Their children tend to perform much better in school and in the economy, as one would expect when so many of their parents come here to work as engineers or scientists or academics.

      The solution is obvious: we should adopt an immigration system similar to Canada’s and Australia’s which emphasizes highly skilled labor regardless of national origin. No one thinks of Canada or Australia as right-wing countries because they’re not. Furthermore, multiracialism has gone much more smoothly there than in other parts of the Western world. You don’t find the same degree of right-wing nationalist/populist backlash in Canada or Australia that you do in the U.S. or in most of Europe. That’s because Canada and Australia accept mostly skilled immigrants who assimilate easily into society.

      • PJ

        Well, it’s been a while since I went through the process myself, but you essentially have the “skilled-people only” with a sprinkling of “family reunification” (and only under very strict conditions) immigration here in the U.S.

        Mexico and Central America will always be different for obvious reasons.

      • El Guapo

        Furthermore, multiracialism has gone much more smoothly there than in other parts of the Western world.

        Australia? Really? Only if you ignore the treatment of its native population…

        • Also, for years, Australia had a “Whites Only” immigration policy.

        • Lost Left Coaster

          Same with Canada — ignore a relatively recent history of ethnic cleansing of native populations, and everything is hunky dory.

      • DilbertSucks

        Furthermore, the Asian-American example demonstrates why it’s a good idea to skew immigration towards the more highly educated/skilled: the ethnic networks formed among immigrants are more beneficial to the community. Asians from poor backgrounds tend to benefit from the cram schools/academic programs/extracurriculars/community service of the more middle class Asians, and because such a large % of Asian immigrants are educated/skilled, there’s more balance and it’s possible for the entire community to be lifted up. They also have more positive role models, and since so many of them come from educated families, there’s much more pressure on them to succeed academically.

        On the other hand, with Hispanics, because such a large proportion of the immigrants we get are uneducated and impoverished, you don’t find these kind of beneficial ethnic networks. Poor and uneducated tend to not have much to offer to the community.

        I’ll also point out that among the Hispanics who DO succeed and gain admission into prestigious schools/graduate programs, a wildly disproportionate number of them come from South America, i.e., their families tend to be more educated because they had to travel much further to get here, like Asians. They couldn’t just sneak across the border.

        Anecdotally, 90% of the Hispanic kids I knew who attended the elite NYC public schools came from South American countries, usually Peru or Colombia, though some from Ecuador or Chile. This is especially funny when you consider how small the South American population in NYC is compared to the Puerto Rican/Dominican population. I found similar results when looking at the Hispanic students studying at the top STEM programs. Most of them were either from South America or *international students* from Mexico, not the children of impoverished illegal border hoppers. Makes you wonder what’s really driving “underrepresentation.”

        (I’ll also note that, contrary to what you might think I’m implying, many of these South American students were visibly mixed. They weren’t “White Hispanics” like Charlie Sheen or Ted Cruz. To me it’s not about race, but about immigrant screening and education.)

        Again, you can look at the average incomes for these groups: the incomes for Peruvian-Americans, Colombian-Americans, etc. tend to be on par with the average for White Americans. It’s the Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Dominicans who drag the average. The same is true for those holding a Bachelor’s degree: South Americans are on par with Whites while Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Dominicans drag down the average.

        • PJ

          Good lord, I didn’t realize Amy Chua had sock puppets.

      • Woodrowfan

        deleted

      • Murc

        Why? So we can have even more impoverished people who haven’t even graduated high school

        You just described my great-grandfather, who was both impoverished, uneducated, AND had a criminal record.

        The country welcomed him with open goddamn arms. He busted his ass in the mines, and then his son got a job on the railroads, and his grandson became a doctor.

        As far as I’m concerned, everyone deserves the same opportunity he had. Everyone.

        At some point, you have to send them the message that it’s not acceptable to enter the U.S. illegally and expect all the benefits of citizenship.

        Or, we could make it legal to immigrate here again. That’s a possibility!

        If poor Mexicans know they can just cross the border and eventually receive amnesty by tugging at enough heartstrings, they have no incentive to stop coming.

        Good. People who want to become Americans should, largely, be able to do so!

        The solution is obvious: we should adopt an immigration system similar to Canada’s and Australia’s which emphasizes highly skilled labor regardless of national origin.

        And what of the tired, poor, huddled masses? They’re just shit out of luck, I take it?

      • 1905 is on the phone. It would like its racist arguments about the proper types of immigrants to populate the United States back.

        • Murc

          I especially like how Dilbert frames it in stark “only let in people who will benefit the country!” terms.

          You know who will benefit the country, asshole? People willing to uproot themselves and travel hundreds or thousands of miles to a foreign land where they’ll be regarded with narrowed eyes as an alien element and have to struggle mightily to fit in and carve out a life for themselves.

          People who are willing to do that have a hell of a lot more fortitude and perseverance than I do, who was made an American by nothing more special than an accident of birth. The country will only benefit from their presence, as it has benefited, in enormous ways, from the presence of the Italians, Irish, Germans, Czechs, Poles, Japanese, Chinese, and many other sorts of people immigrating here in the past.

          • I know. Because people working for poverty wages so that Dilbert can buy cheap broccoli and lettuce while paying taxes and Social Security money they will never see again aren’t benefiting the country.

            • aidian

              Because people working for poverty wages so that Dilbert can buy cheap broccoli and lettuce while paying taxes and Social Security money they will never see again aren’t benefiting the country.

              They’re benefiting employers an the affluent. The poor and woking class would be better off with a tighter labor market driving up wages on the lower end.

          • postmodulator

            A couple of times I’ve thought about the decision my grandfather’s family was making by coming here. It’s mind-boggling, when you really think about it — “let’s go someplace where we don’t speak the language, where we know one other family, where there’s real prejudice against people like us — hell, let’s even make sure the weather is way shittier.”

            I think about all that and I wonder, Jesus, how much worse was Italy?

            • Of course, those Italians won’t assimilate into our society. Just ask Tom Tancredo.

              • postmodulator

                Yeah, and immigrant workers coming here today have the added fun of having to sneak in. My grandfather was signed in at Ellis Island. (Note to descendents of somewhat recent immigrants: the Ellis Island people will send you a facsimile of the ledger page on which your ancestor’s entry was recorded. It is cool as shit.)

                • Brett

                  I got one of those for my great-grandmother and great-grandfather. It was definitely cool.

            • Murc

              Pretty bad, actually.

              This is something that gets left out of history textbooks about both the U.S and about Europe, with the exception of the potato famine. A lot of U.S texts just leave it as an unquestioned assumption that America is so awesome that of course people wanted to travel thousands of miles to get here and work jobs that would kill them for the mere privilege of saluting the Freedom Eagle.

              And that’s not true. All things being equal, folks would prefer to stay where they have roots. Think about how bad things have to get for internal migration to take place here in the states, then multiply that.

              People came here because things were really bad in southern and eastern Europe in the 19th century. The economy was dogshit, and industrialization was wiping out traditional ways of life that had persisted for centuries. There was an enormous degree of political instability, sectarian violence, and rampant authoritarianism.

              If you were a family of Italian farmers who had just been run off their land, then coming to America looked like a much more attractive proposition than immiserating in the slums of Naples or Rome.

              This is a topic I only know a little about, though. I wish I knew more; like I said, I don’t see a lot of popular texts on this aspect of things.

              • The Golden Door is an excellent movie about these issues.

              • Ronan

                Well a significant portion of Italians did go home, afaik. Perhaps even a majority ? They came to work and make money then went back. I don’t know about other migrant groups. I assume the Jews stayed in large numbers? (The irish overwhelmingly didnt go back to Ireland from the US , though they did more so from the UK)
                My understanding of migration from Mexico prior to the 80/90s is that it looked more like the Italian model ? Transient labouring and going home off season ?

                • Woodrowfan

                  Greeks and Italians had highest number of “Birds of Passage.” (people who came to make money then go back home) Irish and Russian Jews the lowest from Europe. China had a high rate until they were not longer allowed back in.

          • Tagula

            As much as it may pain you to consider this, Dilbert has made very strong points. If you have a glass of clean water, and I have a glass of muddy water, the solution is not to mix the two glasses so we both drink slightly less muddy water.

            The country benefited from immigration by other groups in the past because those groups assimilated. If a current immigrant cannot read or speak English, and we create duplicate ways of doing business to accommodate that refusal to assimilation, we are diluting our clean glass of water– we are spending time, effort and money that could be used to elevate people and communities, and wasting it on trying to get people up to the speed of our society. We are trying to maintain a baseline that slips lower and lower with every new accommodation.

            • Wait….are brown people the “muddy water” and white people the “clean water”? Help me out here. The racist overtones aren’t clear enough.

              • gmack

                Good Christ. Given the racist bullshit in this thread, maybe I should just throw in the towel and talk about the Democratic primary some more?

                • I can’t believe I am wanting to go back to Bernie-Hillary battles!

                • Is Hillary the muddy water? Or are the super delegates the muddy water?

                • John Revolta

                  Yeah, we’ve talked enough about Donald Trump. Let’s talk about immigrants.
                  So, what do immigrants think about Donald Trump?

              • Linnaeus

                Muddy waters aren’t always a bad thing.

            • Murc

              If you have a glass of clean water, and I have a glass of muddy water, the solution is not to mix the two glasses so we both drink slightly less muddy water.

              … analogizing people from other nations to muddy filth is a shockingly racist thing to do, you dick.

              The country benefited from immigration by other groups in the past because those groups assimilated.

              There is no evidence, none, that current immigrants assimilate any less or any slower than prior immigrants did.

              If a current immigrant cannot read or speak English, and we create duplicate ways of doing business to accommodate that refusal to assimilation,

              Except that immigrant communities have been doing that for longer than either of us have been alive. There used to be German and Italian newspapers in this country with circulations in the six digit range. There were many businesses in many cities where if you only spoke English, you’d have trouble getting served.

              Doesn’t seem to have hurt anything.

              • Woodrowfan

                oh hell, we’ve been bitching about how those damn immigrants don’t assimilate since Ben Franklin griped about the Germans. Today’s immigrants learn English at about the same rate as most previous groups. roughly speaking (very roughly!) 1st gen learns enough English to get by*, the 2d generation is bilingual, 3d generation has English as their primary language. There are lots of exceptions, but historically that’s been the common pattern.

                * which itself varies

                • Murc

                  oh hell, we’ve been bitching about how those damn immigrants don’t assimilate since Ben Franklin griped about the Germans.

                  Something I always like the chance to bring up: Ben Franklin’s racial taxonomy was so crazy he didn’t think the French and Germans were white. Except the Saxons, because it is hard to say the Saxons aren’t white without needing to then explain why the English are.

                  He also didn’t think the Danes and Scandinavians were white. When Norwegians and Swedes aren’t sufficiently lily-white for you, you’re pretty nuts.

                • twbb

                  Yep, the Scandinavians were white enough even for Hitler.

              • Tagula

                Hey Murc, I was going to say this to Loomis, but I’ll say it to you, much more harshly. Re-read my comment. I was the one with the muddy water, you dick. I phrased it exactly that way because I wasn’t making a racist comment– the muddiness I used in my analogy was not the color of skin, but the ability to assimilate into an existing society.

                Your (not you, specifically) German or Italian grandfather came to this country and didn’t speak english and had no skills. He worked terribly dangerous and shitty jobs for low pay because he had no choice– he couldn’t get welfare, or help with the rent, or food stamps, or any other institutional support. And the lesson your grandfather took from that harsh life, and passed on to his kids, is that you have to work hard and fight hard if you want something better than me. If you want what they have you have to be like them.

                Contrast that with a kid today who grows up in a household that gets some money for food, maybe an apartment, they don’t have to read english to get a drivers license, etc. What’s the lesson there? What’s the motivation to do better?

                • Murc

                  Re-read my comment. I was the one with the muddy water, you dick.

                  Your comment in no way represents that. At all.

                  the muddiness I used in my analogy was not the color of skin, but the ability to assimilate into an existing society.

                  Even granting this is true, there’s no evidence that immigrants are assimilating any slower than they ever have. None.

                  And that’s not even considering the fact that “assimilating” doesn’t really happen in the sense of people completely abandoning their traditional folkways. The process of assimilation changes the culture. You end up with a new culture, rather than one subsuming the other.

                  And the lesson your grandfather took from that harsh life, and passed on to his kids, is that you have to work hard and fight hard if you want something better than me.

                  And that was a terrible lesson. A society that teaches people they need to break themselves on the wheels of industry for the chance that their children, not even them but their kids, might have a better life, and even those kids will have to break their backs, is a fucked up society.

                  If you want what they have you have to be like them.

                  Who is “them?” In what way is this hypothetical Italian grandfather not already like “them?”

                  Contrast that with a kid today who grows up in a household that gets some money for food, maybe an apartment, they don’t have to read english to get a drivers license, etc. What’s the lesson there?

                  The lesson is that you live in a country with basic fucking respect for human dignity?

                  Also you’ve never needed to read English to get a drivers license, I don’t think. I don’t see how requiring that wouldn’t be a 14th amendment violation, and on top of that there were plenty of English-speaking illiterates who had licenses.

                  What’s the motivation to do better?

                  So what you’re saying is, people will only be motivated to do better if you abuse them and force them to fight like dogs for every scrap they get.

                  That’s terrible, and also not true.

            • Brett

              It certainly didn’t seem like the Italians and Irish would assimilate at the time in late 19th century/early 20th century America. Hell, all those stereotypes that are applied to Mexicans were applied to Italians – i.e. they’re poor, lazy but somehow take jobs from Americans, uneducated, and breed quickly while spreading crime (although since the mafia came over with the Sicilians . . . ).

              The only grain of truth in this nonsense is whether people do have rights to perpetuate their neighborhoods and cities’ character, culture, etc. To put it another way, I would hope that anyone in favor of more generous immigration is not someone complaining about people moving into ethnic neighborhoods and changing stuff up.

            • Morse Code for J

              Yes, government offices with signs and forms printed in Spanish as well as English are the reason why we can’t have nice things.

              What about white people who speak and write the English language below grade level? Should we expel them from this country, never to return?

              • Woodrowfan

                go back 100 years and you’d see signs in multiple languages. Steel plants in the midwest put up safely signs in as many as a half dozen languages. Democrats, Republicans, Socialists, Progressives all put out voting information in multiple languages. Newspapers appeared in every language that had more than a handful of local speakers. The idea that we’ve always been “English only” is as big a myth as the idea we’ve always been Christian/Protestant.

                • Tagula

                  You misunderstand me. I know there was always a patchwork of support for non-english speakers. The difference now is the institutional support for multiple languages. If you went to the DMV in 1937 to get a drivers license and you didn’t speak english, you didn’t get a license. If you walked into a bank in 1951 to get a loan and you spoke only german, you didn’t get a loan. It was the benefit of lingua franca that propelled people to assimilate. It’s a crucial difference in the difference between surviving on the fringes and being an integrated member of society. (Sorry to use a loaded word like integrated, I can’t think of a better one at the moment.)

                • Woodrowfan

                  If you went to the DMV in 1937 to get a drivers license and you didn’t speak english, you didn’t get a license. If you walked into a bank in 1951 to get a loan and you spoke only german, you didn’t get a loan.

                  bullshit. you have not the slightest clue. Stop reading Ann Coulter’s history of immigration and pick up a real history.

              • Tagula

                If you speak, read and write english below grade level, what is the expectation of your job prospects?

                Whether you are white or brown, it’s the same.

                If I send you my resume in english and it’s full of misspellings, etc, you have read it and determined I’m unqualified for the job. I send it to you in spanish, and you toss it in the trash without even reading it. You have no idea if I’m qualified, but you know you have a stack of resumes in the common tongue, there’s bound to be a qualified applicant in there somewhere.

                • The Temporary Name

                  If you speak, read and write english below grade level, what is the expectation of your job prospects?

                  Whether you are white or brown, it’s the same.

                  Well no, it’s not.

                • You seem unfamiliar with a small concept called “racism.” You probably should learn about that.

                • Linnaeus

                  a stack of resumes in the common tongue, there’s bound to be a qualified applicant in there somewhere.

                  I’ll admit I’d probably be a little biased against an applicant whose resume is in Orcish.

                  ETA: Depending on what the job is, of course.

                • Malaclypse

                  I send it to you in spanish [sic, because Irony is a harsh goddess], and you toss it in the trash without even reading it.

                  Yes, I cannot think of a single job for which speaking the second-most common language of the land would be useful.

                • Tagula

                  Yes, I cannot think of a single job for which speaking the second-most common language of the land would be useful.

                  If you don’t read spanish (sic, because fuck you), a resume presented to you in spanish (sic, ibid) is functionally no different from one presented in binary code. [And the irony of that statement is fully intentional.]

                • The Temporary Name

                  If you don’t read spanish (sic, because fuck you), a resume presented to you in spanish (sic, ibid) is functionally no different from one presented in binary code.

                  It’s like you’ve never seen Spanish. Or a resume for that matter.

            • Lost Left Coaster

              Wow, this is straight-up white supremacist rhetoric here.

            • Juicy_Joel

              If you have a glass of clean water, and I have a glass of muddy water, the solution is not to mix the two glasses so we both drink slightly less muddy water.

              #whitegenocite am I rite brother?

            • Jackov

              The country is leaving you behind my dear
              Your racist anger will not adhere
              Add we will drink the muddy water

              Where the whites grow gray and wide
              the numbers increase on the other side
              There across the border

            • Brad Nailer

              Assimilation? I don’t think word means what you think it means. People, and cultures, have their own ways of assimilating in the United States. There are many ways of becoming American.

      • xq

        Amnesty is not inconsistent with reducing levels of low-skilled immigration. Give amnesty, then increase enforcement on employers.

      • cpinva

        “The difference becomes especially obvious when you compare them to Asian immigrants, who arrive here much more educated and much more successful — on average.”

        well, ya got me there. of course, it’s a hell of a lot harder to swim across the pacific, then it is to walk across the Mexican-US border, so that might have just a teensy bit to do with this disparity of education. only those able to afford an expensive plane ticket can come here from Asia. thus, those people tend to be more successful in the first place, to be able to afford said expensive plane ticket.

        on the other hand, if the US was physically connected with Asia, I suspect we’d have a similar situation as we do with Mexico. I could be wrong.

    • Woodrowfan

      works for me. but add some REAL enforcement for those hiring illegals

      • cpinva

        this. I understand (from a post on a previous thread) that the ICE is now doing “no warning” FI-9 audits, forcing employers to fire, on the spot, those without legitimate I-9 documentation. however, they don’t seem (or the story didn’t say) to be addressing the employer side of the issue, by levying huge fines on the employers themselves, for employing people they most assuredly knew were undocumented, because they worked cheap.

  • Jake the antisoshul soshulist

    Don’t tell any right-wingers how hard they have it. Most seem to think they are housing, feeding and clothing them. And you cannot convince them otherwise.

    • so-in-so

      CF: Karl Rove yesterday.

    • cpinva

      shit, they’re paying for their kids to attend Harvard! or so they say.

  • Brett

    Sure would be nice if this could all be transitioned into something that would allow them to work legally and collect Social Security on their earnings. But I doubt that will happen anytime soon, especially since “they pay social security but don’t collect it” is actually used as a selling point for allowing large numbers of migrants into the country while not cracking down on employers for hiring them.

    • It makes me furious when some calling for immigration reform want the undocumented people to pay a tax for their time in the United States. They already have!

      • ThrottleJockey

        That’s virtually every elected leader, including Obama…Its a crappy situation, no doubt about it, but while I support a path to citizenship for people who’ve been here a number of years, I don’t know how you begin to get there without a tax. We’ve been without immigration reform for like 10 years now because both sides are adamantly opposed to one another. Unless we get a filibuster proof Senate in Nov we’ll still not have immigration reform. Clearly for Republicans, Mexicans are the Third Rail.

        • Morse Code for J

          The Republicans will be assholes about this no matter what, because it’s what their (shrinking) white male base wants. The only way to change this is to beat them so often and so thoroughly that they decide that an armistice on this issue is necessary.

        • Hogan

          Clearly for Republicans, Mexicans are the Third Rail.

          +1846

      • cpinva

        “It makes me furious when some calling for immigration reform want the undocumented people to pay a tax for their time in the United States. They already have!”

        that depends. if the employer has actually treated them as employees, and withheld/paid all the various taxes, then yes, they have already paid those taxes, and should be given credit for them. however (and it’s a mighty big however), in the agricultural industry especially, they are treated (for tax purposes) as “independent contractors”, with no withholding at the source. they (might) get a 1099 for the year, listing all their earnings, but I can assure you they most certainly are not filing a Federal F1040, Sch. C & SE for the year, they just aren’t.

        not that I blame them at all. hell, they probably have no clue (like about 70% of US citizens) what all that is.

      • Gregor Sansa

        Between the current system, and a system where anybody who could prove that they would be housed and self-supporting here could come, but they had to pay extra taxes (some fraction of which would be sent back to the public school systems that had educated them in their home countries, if applicable)… the latter would be a huge step up.

        Is that the fairest tax ever? Maybe not. But taxes generally tend to suck, and yet anybody who’s lived in Honduras or Nigeria will tell you they’re better than the alternative. If taxes are what it takes to get freedom of (well-regulated) movement, then taxes are AWESOME, and people getting furious at them are part of the problem.

  • rjayp

    Labor, like capital, should be free to roam the earth in search of the highest return on effort and time. But when you point this out to nanny state ‘true believers’ they whimper and moan.

    It is a truly disgusting sight. They don’t really believe in property rights or ‘free markets’. They believe on being on top and keeping it that way.

    And what Loomis said.

    • ThrottleJockey

      Lots of people outside of the 1%, in fact the great great majority of people outside of the 1%, don’t think labor should just be able to roam free. I think that America should be able to island off its labor force thereby increasing wages. Call it an ROI on income taxes.

  • Bruce Vail

    How many people are we actually talking about here?

    • How many aging undocumented people are there in the United States? Tens of thousands, minimum. Probably more.

      • Bruce Vail

        Seems like a pretty small number when considering a total population of 10 to 12 million undocumented.

        • cpinva

          “The number of people over 50 has doubled, and it’s now about nine percent.”

          I’d say the total # is approx. 1,000,000 nationwide, with a total undocumented population of approx. 11,000,000. so yeah, that’s a nice round #.

          edit: sorry, make that 990,0000 (11m x .09)

  • Just_Dropping_By

    I support the completely free movement of labor internationally, but I’m really having a hard time working up much outrage that people who, by and large, knowingly used false or stolen Social Security numbers can’t collect Social Security payouts for those illegal contributions.

    • Yes, clearly the issue is their false SSNs and not the fact that they are doing what they can to live a dignified life by taking tremendous risks to work in this country….

    • busker type

      “I support the free movement of labor internationally”
      no you don’t, based on the second half of that sentence.

      • Just_Dropping_By

        I wasn’t aware that supporting the free movement of labor internationally required supporting people being able to use fraudulent identification documents or otherwise provide false information to government agencies. I would say we should eliminate all visa and immigration quota restrictions and let anyone who wants to move to the United States move here and get whatever job they want. There should be no I-9 form requirements or anything else.

  • sharculese

    “Oh, a Loomis thread about immigrant labor that got 50 comments. That never happens. Must have been something interesti- oh dear god.”

    • I guess I shouldn’t complain that my 10 principles of supply chain justice post got like 7 comments…..

      • Woodrowfan

        just suggest that Bernie bros like putting catsup on hotdogs because they’re all illegal immigrants and you got 400 comments easy!

        • Linnaeus

          Needs more vodka.

      • Bruce Vail

        If it makes you feel any better, I read it. I just didn’t have any comment I wanted to make right now…

        • Gregor Sansa

          Agreed. It’s way more fun to argue when someone’s wrong! When they’re just right, that is no fun. And that goes double if their last name is L__m__.

      • cpinva

        sorry prof., I thought it was an excellent post, had I not been trying to keep my wife from bleeding to death, I’d have commented on it.

        and you’re clearly correct about this. I was actually thinking both posts connect quite well. perhaps, we (the US) should start practicing what you’re preaching, with adjustments maybe.

        that said, I’d also like to see Pres. Clinton and the D Senate start putting pressure on countries like Mexico, to create conditions conducive to creating jobs at home, so their people aren’t so damn desperate for work, they put their lives at risk just for a shot at being exploited in the US.

      • Brett

        Not much we could argue with, unless someone wanted to go “Screw you Loomis! If poor countries want good labor standards they oughta fight and bleed for ’em just like we did, and till then tough shit!”

        Seriously, though, that was a good post. Essentially your book’s argument in convenient listicle form.

  • Woodrowfan

    Here is an interesting study on langauge and assimilation. The study finds that while bilingualism is more common than in the past (especially Spanish) the historic pattern between generations still applies.

    Not only is competence in English close to universal among the U.S.-born children and grandchildren of today’s immigrants, but even among those groups where bilingualism persists, the predominant pattern by the third generation is English
    monolingualism.

    We conclude that both the anxieties about the place of English in an immigration society and the hopes for a multilingual society in which English is no longer hegemonic are misplaced. Other languages, especially Spanish, will be spoken in the U.S., even by the American born; but this is not a radical departure from the American experience. Yet the necessity of learning English well is accepted by virtually all children and grandchildren of immigrants.

    http://mumford.albany.edu/children/reports/language_assimilation/language_assimilation_brief.pdf

    • busker type

      weird, it’s almost like the all the concern about assimilation is just a way to code and rationalize racism. I never would have guessed.

      • veleda_k

        I am so surprised. Are you surprised? I’m surprised.

  • PJ

    Is amnesty literally the only good thing that Reagan did?

    • Woodrowfan

      he saw a genuine opportunity in Gorbachev to negotiate and reduce tensions. that’s about it I think.

      • Yeah, he does deserve credit for those things, much as I hate to give it.

      • cpinva

        he also saw a “genuine opportunity” to massively build up the US Military, especially the (600 ship) Navy, to threaten Gorbie with, to the tune of around a trillion dollars, added mostly to our national debt. because of course the people whose huge fortunes were being protected by that military couldn’t possibly be expected to help pay for it. why, that would have been gauche!

    • Brett

      Yes, but it’s counter-acted by the fact that he also stepped up border enforcement and killed circularity in movement by migrants.

  • bobbyp

    There may be more nuance regarding Reagan’s “amnesty” than meets the eye. See this from the wikki entry:

    “Also, agricultural employers shifted their focus from opposition to employer sanctions to a concerted campaign to secure alternative sources of foreign labor. As opposition to employer sanctions waned and growers’ lobbying efforts for extensive temporary worker programs intensified, agricultural worker programs began to outrank employer sanctions component as the most controversial element of reform.’

  • CSI

    Why shouldn’t farm work be considered a career that Americans can aspire too? Well maybe if you own your farm, but generally this is considered very low status work. This is an ancient prejudice. It doesn’t make all that much sense. Its very hard work, but vital to society and requires considerable skill.

    Also few Americans are brought up near farms, but mostly the low status I think. Let poor immigrants do it for below minimum wage. Our kids are going to college and getting nice respectable jobs.

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