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March 29, 2006

Comments

Manolo

Hugo,
I totally understand what you saying. My parents came to this country in the early 70's, legally. My niece is 2nd generation Californian. although my parents are immigrants, I am not in favor for illegal immigrants. I guess my conservative side comes up when I see communities such as China town and Pico area, along with other regions in downtown LA. I feel like my parents worked so hard to come to this country, not by crossing the boarder, but flying over 5,000 miles overseas. Why should it be easier for those South/North of us to come to the US? By all means I AM NOT A RACIST, but my feelings towards immigration is split- But there are certain jobs that they [immigrants] do that I or people I know will NOT do. I.E. pool cleaner, gardener, the cook at my favorite Mexican joint. The lifestyle that I have been raised with and the community I come from has not "opened my eyes to the life of immigrants" By the time I was born my parents were set, they had already bought their home, and were successful. Yet again I UNDERSTAND why so many people want to come here... the United States. My parents grew up in a communist run country, the states was their escape. But I don't know why these people don't do it the legal way? Glendale used to be a smaller town when my family 1st moved here, now you cant drive down Brand Blvd. without hitting traffic. I know what my fear is about immigration- but I feel like if I address it here I WILL get some angry remarks- but oh well, I don't want to offend anyone. My fears about immigration is that I DONT want my community to lose its ranking. I don't want Glendale or other affluent cities to become the homes of the lower classes. I know I sound like a snob, but why should my parents move when they worked so hard to move to a community that (used to be) or kinda still is for middle-upper middle class families?

Hugo

Well, plenty of citizens would garden and clean -- if they were guaranteed a legitimate wage. It's not that US citizens won't do menial work; it's that they will (rightly) demand just compensation that employers are not willing to pay.

Vacula

Hugo & Manolo, why assume that the immigration policies being discussed will either create more "lower-class" neighborhoods or free up space in your beautiful rural/suburban areas?

Criminalizing and deporting all illegal immigrants is hardly feasible, even if that horrible xenophobic law is passed. What we need is not only "sensible border policy" and a good look at the "root causes of migration" but a good look at the rest of our economic policies that allow for the exploitation of people in our society, both immigrants and native-born. An ideal immigration policy debate would examine what the real hope of economic advancement is for those who come here to become citizens and are willing to work very hard to do so.

Manolo, not wanting to live near "lower-class" people does not make you sound like a snob, it means you are a snob.

TangoMan

Manolo,

There are very few job categories that the US gov't tracks which are staffed either entirely or predominantly by illegals. Stoop labor is certainly one, but while restaurant dishwashers, meatpackers, construction, and gardening have a lot of illegals composing their workforce, they also have citizen labor taking up most of the jobs, so the "Jobs that Americans won't do" line doesn't really reflect reality for Americans are indeed doing those jobs.

Hugo,

I'm not a biblical scholar so I can't point to scripture but I'm under the impression that there is some religious lesson that says one should help those closer to you before embarking on helping those who are further removed. In concrete terms I feel that my compassion should first go to the devastation I see in communities peopled by my fellow Americans, and then I should look to help foreigners. The New York Times reports:

The share of young black men without jobs has climbed relentlessly, with only a slight pause during the economic peak of the late 1990's. In 2000, 65 percent of black male high school dropouts in their 20's were jobless — that is, unable to find work, not seeking it or incarcerated. By 2004, the share had grown to 72 percent, compared with 34 percent of white and 19 percent of Hispanic dropouts. Even when high school graduates were included, half of black men in their 20's were jobless in 2004, up from 46 percent in 2000.

They also reported on an earlier study:

A new study of black male employment trends has come up with the following extremely depressing finding: "By 2002, one of every four black men in the U.S. was idle all year long. This idleness rate was twice as high as that of white and Hispanic males."

It's possible the rate of idleness is even higher, said the lead author of the study, Andrew Sum, who is director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston.

"That was a conservative count," he said. The study did not consider homeless men or those in jail or prison. It is believed that up to 10 percent of the black male population under age 40 is incarcerated.

While some of the men not working undoubtedly were ill or disabled, the 25 percent figure is still staggeringly high. And for some segments of the black male population, the situation is even worse.

Among black male dropouts, for example, 44 percent were idle year-round, as were nearly 42 of every 100 black men aged 55 to 64.

The influx of illegals into the unskilled labor market directly harms our own citizens who have the least amount of job security. To chose to bend the law and accomodate illegals has a direct cost to our own lower class.

For those who need a more selfish reason to be opposed to the presence of illegals in our midst, all they need do is look at their pocketbooks. The National Academy of Science report on the illegal immigration problem found that there is a direct lifetime gov't subsidy, net of all economic benefits that illegals do produce, of $89,000 per illegal without a high school level of education. Need I point out that the vast majority of illegals being coyoted across the border are indeed not in possession of high school and college levels of education. Further, as Robert Samuelson pointed out in the Washington Post:

The most lunatic notion is that admitting more poor Latino workers would ease the labor market strains of retiring baby boomers. The two aren't close substitutes for each other.

Lastly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the level of workforce participation is decreasing (Workers/total popualtion) and the biggest declines are seen in the Black community and the Teen community. At the same time the number of applications for Social Security Disability Income benefits has increased 75% from 2000 to 2005. These are people who are trying to claim that they are incapable of doing work. Imagine a 75% increase over 5 years! I think it's safe to say that a good number of those applicants are discouraged workers who are being forced out of the labor market, and onto taxpayer assistance, because they have to contend with the wage depression caused by 12 million illegal foreigners competing for jobs.

Hugo

Vacula, indeed -- I don't favor the Sensenbrenner bill, I don't favor deportation, or indeed, any measure that denies basic human rights to the undocumented. In my heart, I'm a progressive on this issue. But I'm also an environmentalist who loves the Golden State, and my passion for nature and my passion for people sometimes don't mesh well.

Helen

Your family got here first and stole more, and now you want to pull up the drawbridge.

Now that's a sentence I'm going to try and remember! Very amusing ;-)

Space Chick

Hugo, the west of the western states would like California to stop exporting its population as well as its mini-malls and subdivisions with large houses on miniscule lots. As you're mourning the loss of your childhood environment, please find a way to keep your fellow Californians from overrunning mine.

The Gonzman

Well, as long as we're not using perjoratives like "Illegal Alien" and prefer the PC Euphemism of "Undocumented Worker" let's go the whole nine yards. It's not Rapists, but "Unauthorized Fornicators." Let's not call people murderers, but "Unlicensed Executioners." Kidnapping is such a charged term, use "Undocumented Guardians" instead. We don't speak of Batterers, but "Unsanctioned Pugilists," and a Bank Robber is really just a "Unapproved Loan Recipient."

Yes, I am comparing them - they are all against the law. If we start excuseing them, i9t's not a question anymore of whether we give amnesty for criminals, but which ones we give it to.

When I saw all these marches, and all the MEXICAN flags .. well, I'm not re-assured. Matter of fact, I'm even more against them now.

Vacula

Gonzman, you claim to be a Christian.

Leviticus 18:33-34 "When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God."

Leviticus 25:35 "If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you."

Deuteronomy 10:17-19 "For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt."

Deuteronomy 24:14-15, 17 "Do not take advantage of a hired man who is poor and needy, whether he is a brother Israelite or an alien living in one of your towns. Pay him his wages each day before sunset, because he is poor and is counting on it. Otherwise he may cry to the LORD against you, and you will be guilty of sin. ... Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge."

Malachai 3:5 "So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty."

The Gonzman

We were also enjoined to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, obey the kings set above us, and their laws, etc. etc. etc.

There are plenty of options to do so for immigrants who want to become residents, or temporary workers who go through the proper channels to do so

Leviticus 18:33-34 "When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God."

Absolutely. And native born lawbreakers I also think deserve jail, and what the law prescribes for their offense.

Leviticus 25:35 "If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you."

Again, nothing in here indicates the "aliens" or "residents" are behaving unlawfully.

Deuteronomy 10:17-19 "For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt."

Noting that the Hebrews were INVITED to live in Egypt, and walked in through proper channels.

Deuteronomy 24:14-15, 17 "Do not take advantage of a hired man who is poor and needy, whether he is a brother Israelite or an alien living in one of your towns. Pay him his wages each day before sunset, because he is poor and is counting on it. Otherwise he may cry to the LORD against you, and you will be guilty of sin. ... Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge."

Aliens living w/ green cards are "living in one of my towns." I, in fact, oppose the practice of paying substandard wages to illegal aliens. It's an abuse of them. Unfortunately their illegal and undocuneted status makes this possible.

Malachai 3:5 "So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty."

Justice - cuts both ways. Is there a place where it says "Exempt the alien from your laws, and punish him not for his transgressions?" By all means. Cut them a final check for the work they have done prior to sending them back on the INS bus. I wouldn't dream of defrauding them.

Hugo

"Noting that the Hebrews were INVITED to live in Egypt, and walked in through proper channels."

And when their hosts wouldn't let them go, God made a proper channel out.

Vacula

As a Christian, my first alliegiance is not to our present legal system, but to justice. The American immigration laws are not necessarily just. Please also note that our present legal code does not insist that "jail" is the automatic result of every illegal action.

Gonz, you believe "There are plenty of options to do so for immigrants who want to become residents, or temporary workers who go through the proper channels to do so." Many people don't believe there are "plenty of options," at least not feasible ones, and that's why they're trying to "reform" the laws. You can make it a matter of personal preference if it makes it easier for you to think about it, but I doubt you've ever had to try to deal with the fears and obstacles most of these "illegals" have.

Col Steve

And I've watched as field after field has been covered with new houses; I've watched the cattle and farms of my childhood (and I'm only 38!) disappear beneath "Redwood Estates" or "Glendalough Ranches" or "Belleview Manor" or whatever godawful pretentious name the developers have bestowed on their ticky-tacky tract homes.

Hugo - you should know that in California, many water districs set prices so that agricultural users pay far less than residential users and far less than the true cost of water. How many billions of dollars that could have gone to schools, efficient industry promotion, housing, or other programs to help develop economic opportunites for people as opposed to subsidizing inefficient farming (alfalfa? dairy cows?) that benefit mainly a narrow concentration, create cost burdens on businesses that limit job opportunities, contribute to the illegal immigration issue, and create other environemental issues?

Oh, but hey, I forgot - you're "also an environmentalist who loves the Golden State, and my passion for nature and my passion for people sometimes don't mesh well."

Glen Peterson

I did march last Monday with high school students in Whittier.

It was the immigrants who invited me to eat in their homes to teach me the meaning of hospitality.

My ancestors came to this continent, a new world, in 1647 without the benefit of any immigration policy that included permission from those who already lived here.

I enjoy cheap strawberries. But not all immigrants are agricultural workers. Some are graduates of Cal State Long Beach who came to this country as small children. Their parents, aunts and uncle started businesses and engaged capitalism to find success, home ownership and other pieces of the American experience. I hope we can find policies that treat people as people no mater where they are from and how long they have been here.

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