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What should be done about illegal immigration?

 
 
Foxfyre
 
Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 08:58 am
I moved this from another thread as it deserves its own focus. The national debate, especially in Washington, is heated and emotional on this subject.

What, if anything, should we do to stop people from entering the United States illegally?

What, if anything, should we do about those who are already here?

What, if anything, should be required of those who make it possible for illegals to be here?

What, if any, penalties or consequences should be imposed on those who:
a) come here illegally?
b) give comfort and/or emergency services to those who are here illegally?
c) give jobs to those who are here illegally?

Should people living in the United States illegally be provided the education benefits, health care, social security, workers compensation benefits, low income assistance, etc. that is available to U.S. citizens?

I'm hoping for some pertinent observations and concrete suggestions for how best to deal with this problem if you believe it is a problem. If you do not see a problem, please explain why you think none exists.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 50 • Views: 238,696 • Replies: 7,293

 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 09:18 am
That poll is heavily biased.
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 09:28 am
Really? What option did I leave out? Perhaps a friendly moderator could add another option or two.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 09:30 am
The issue, as I see it, is laden with conflicts, certainly on a national level but also on an individual and personal level. the people, the citizens like to see themselves in a humanitarian light and, at the same time remain a law-abiding nation. There are few on either extreme. I don't see an adequate solution because there is no majority opinion. We, as a society, are unable to define just what the problem is rendering us unlikely to solve it. Of course, I have my own opinion.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  3  
Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 09:45 am
Foxfyre,

You left out the most important option. The only workable solution that has been offered on a national level.

The McCain-Kenndy bill-- which is very close to the bill that just passed with a 12-6 vote in the Senate Judiciary.

The basic ideas are:

1) Provide a path to legalisation for immigrants who are here and who have not commited any crimes more serious than crossing the border.

2) Provide harsh penalties for business who hire illegal immigrants-- coupled with a guest worker program that meets the needs of business.

3) Provide money and resources to protect our borders.

This bill is the only bill that addresses all of the goals of immigration reform. It treats people with respect, while cutting down the avenues of illegal immigration. It gives business what it needs while clamping down on abuse. It meets the needs of national security by not creating a permanent hidden underclass.

How about a call to your Senator in support.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 09:47 am
You left out another option, the most effective one:

> Crack down on employers who hire illegals!

No jobs here for them, no illegal immigration.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 09:49 am
I voted "Take care of those who come here" as the best option you offered. But that is just because of my Christian upbringing.

Jesus (in dividing the sheep from the goats) said "Whatever you do to the least of these of mine, the same you do to me...". This passage in the Bible is one of the most powerful for me.

Politically though, I still think the McCain-Kennedy bill is the best compromise that contains both compassion and security.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 09:52 am
Are you concerned about the guest worker program at all? I'm really not up to date on this subject, (and would like to be), I read something about the guest worker program having the potential to create a permanent underclass. Here, working, but unable to vote, for example.
0 Replies
 
woiyo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 09:54 am
I do not see this as very difficult.

Those who are here illegally, should be given 60 days to BEGIN the process to become legal citizens. If they can prove they have been working, and committed no other crimes (felonys), some penalty in the form of a fine should accompany the process of legalization. Those who after 60 days who have not even begun the process should be rounded up and deported. Continue to provide services as present but after 60 days, one must be in the process to obtain services.

Employers who knowingly hire illegals should be fined massive amounts.

Immediately lockdown the boarders to stop future illegals from entry.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 09:57 am
taking a libertarian point of view, economics of the employment market should resolve most of the issues (not the humanitarian ones) citizen rights is also problematic.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 10:02 am
not being an economist I offer only my limited understanding re "lock down the borders" It's my understanding that a large number of industries would be forced to close without the labor of legal/illegal immigrants. (such as the garment industry in southern california) but also including many agricultural industries thoughout the US of A.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 10:38 am
Agricultural industries might be closed down--then we'd have to buy our fruit from the Latin American countries from which the migrants derive, which might provide them opportunities to stay home and make a life.

Other industries which rely upon illegal labor would be obliged to pay a living wage to their employers, resulting in high costs to us. They would only be shut down due to price competition from foreign sources. Given the extent to which American capitalists exported industry in the Reagan years, and still continue to do, that would very likely not effect their bottom line.
0 Replies
 
woiyo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 11:25 am
dyslexia wrote:
not being an economist I offer only my limited understanding re "lock down the borders" It's my understanding that a large number of industries would be forced to close without the labor of legal/illegal immigrants. (such as the garment industry in southern california) but also including many agricultural industries thoughout the US of A.


Would they be forced to close?

If they were to pay their newly legalized aliens a living wage, they have 2 choices, raise their price and or reduce their profit margin. If they operate at a loss, and are forced to close, that makes them no different from any other business.

I refuse to buy into the argument that we need these people to work for "chicken feed".
0 Replies
 
revel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 11:37 am
I agree with ebrown that the bill which was passed in the Senate seems to be a pretty good bill since it don't go overboard like the house bill and I believe it had safeguards in place for people who lend a helping hand for illegal immigrants which is good. I don't think gutting welfare is a good solution since a lot of them do pay taxes according to http://www.immigrationforum.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=724
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 11:45 am
Soz,

I am optimistic about the direction that civil rights in general have taken. A lot has improved since the Bracero programs.

Minority rights are now part of our national dialogue, and immigrant communities are much more empowered. I am not saying all is perfect, but things are much better.

I agree the guest-worker program has pitfalls, but I think that progressives and minority communities are in a lot stronger position to stop abuses than ever before.

Am I naively optimistic? I hope not.
0 Replies
 
Chai
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 12:19 pm
woiyo wrote:
I do not see this as very difficult.

Those who are here illegally, should be given 60 days to BEGIN the process to become legal citizens. If they can prove they have been working, and committed no other crimes (felonys), some penalty in the form of a fine should accompany the process of legalization. Those who after 60 days who have not even begun the process should be rounded up and deported. Continue to provide services as present but after 60 days, one must be in the process to obtain services.

Employers who knowingly hire illegals should be fined massive amounts.

Immediately lockdown the boarders to stop future illegals from entry.


Too many IA's will take their chances and not start the process. They will see that as the 1st step in getting deported, not the first step in staying.

Round them up? Sounds a little Naziesque to me.

Should they stake out the elementary schools and follow their kids home? Maybe come back in the middle of the night?

People that hire IA's should be heavily fined....not only for the fact of hiring them, but for the way they get IA's to work like slaves, and then screw them on their pay...often not paying them a penny.

Now, rounding up the ones who are here for the purpose of illegal activities, drugs, bringing in young girls to be forced prostitutes, etc, that's fine.

I can't see punishing someone for wanting to, in the case of the state I live in, crossing a river in order to make enough to buy tortillas for your family.

Every day, I see people who it's a safe bet are IA's, doing work that no one else wants to do. That sounds so elitist, I hate saying it, but it's true.

If the IA that are here for illegal gain are deported, and those who are here illegally, but trying to make a go of it are given amnesty, to be dealt with later by either promoting citizenship or leaving, not within 60 days, but giving them a year to figure out their options, that'd be a start.

The borders can be closed. Those who are here on amnesty can have their families join them. 60 days is too punitive, someone a year to figure out what to do is more realistic.

Does anyone here personally know of an IA who has taken away the job of a citizen?

I'll admit, I'm no expert, and anyone is welcoming to critique these ideas. I believe most IA's are here to work, not to beg.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 12:44 pm
MODERATORS: Can you add a polling option: Employers should be held accountable for hiring undocumented workers.


The problem with the Senate Bill as I see it is that it has already all been tried before and it does nothing to discourage people from coming here in the first place. Also it still rewards those who came here illegally and again this feels unfair to those who jump through all the necessary hoops to get in legally.

I personally experienced the problem of putting the burden on the employers when that was last a requirement. Before s/he went to work, an employee had to produce three positive forms of ID one of which had to be proof of citizenship such as a birth certificate or proof of legal status such as a green card or naturalization papers.

It was no time at all before a booming cottage industry was out there producing forged birth certificates, driver's licenses, and other documentation. If you're in a high powered, high security environment you have the resources to run extensive background checks and verify documentation. The average small contractor or service agency doesn't have that kind of resources or the time to wait until a background check is done. The policy didn't last long.

In case some think all this is a brand new problem, here are just a few snippets of previous activity re illegal immigration:

November 11, 1977
Some 1,500 people took part in a historic, united show of opposition to President Carter''s attacks on undocumented immigrants at the National Chicano/Latino Conference held here October 28-30.
Those present included leaders of diverse organizations--the broadest array of Chicanos and Latinos united around a single issue since the height of the anti-Vietnam War movement.

The widely publicized conference showed the Chicano movement speaks with one voice in saying "No" to the Carter plan to step up deportations. The gathering was a political blow to the Carter administration, and especially to Leonel Castillo, who has pretended to represent Latino interests as head of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the hated la migra.

The conference called for nationally coordinated protests November 18--20 in support of immediate, unconditional amnesty for all undocumented workers.

According to conference organizers, people from more than thirty states attended. Especially significant was the delegation from Mexico, which included representatives of the Democratic Tendency of the Electrical Workers Union and the National Front for People''s Action (FNAP), two of the most prominent oppositionist organizations in Mexico.

Support for the conference grew after Carter submitted a message to Congress outlining his proposed crackdown on undocumented immigrants.
http://www.themilitant.com/2002/6642/664243.html


*Estevan T. Flores, A Call to Action: An Analysis of Our Struggles and Alternatives to Carter's Immigration Program, Pamphlet, October 28-30, 1977.
http://www.eco.utexas.edu/facstaff/Cleaver/357Lsum_s7_Flores_CalltoAction.html

Episodes from the Struggle for Justice, Equality, & Dignity: A Brief History of the Last 15 Years National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Roots of resistance The contemporary U.S. immigrant and refugee rights movement has multiple roots stretching back to the 1960s movements for civil rights, racial justice, farm workers unions, student rights, and peace.
http://www.nnirr.org/about/about_timeline.html

This one is pretty ideologically slanted, but does give interesting information re the l965 act.
The Immigration Reform Act of 1965.

Revolution in America
by Norman Grigg
http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a3b80498c0730.htm
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 12:59 pm
It is said again and again that undocumented workers do the jobs nobody else will do. But on another thread, I pointed out that I have worked dozens of work comp claims filed by undocumented workers who were injured doing drywall, painting, carpentry, heavy equipment operation, etc. etc. etc. Does anybody believe American citizens don't also do these jobs? It is true that many Americans won't pick strawberries or peaches for minimum wage, but do you honestly think there are no citizens who would do that for say $10/hour or more?

When employers have a ready supply of labor willing to work for rock bottom wages, there is little incentive to improve those wages. So we all benefit from lower construction costs, cheaper produce, and lots of specials at the dry cleaners, etc.

Meanwhile we all pay higher taxes and other costs of providing education, health care, food stamps, welfare, etc. etc. etc. to those same people who give us cheap lettuce. And this is on top of oppressed wages for everybody and increased cost of living in housing, taxes, land costs, etc.

Question for everybody: Would you be willing to pay $2.00 instead of $1.00 for a head of lettuce if that would make illegal immigration less necessary to our economy and would result in lower taxes and less strain on emergency services?
0 Replies
 
Chai
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 01:08 pm
yes
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Mar, 2006 01:15 pm
The issue I have isn't prices... it is people. Forced deportations that break families simply isn't humane, or even palatable. The only reasonable solution involve

Decency and compassion are the most important considerations.

You may have a point about the 1986 amnesty. We all know how that ruined the economy... with record unemployment numbers, failing businesses and record losses that lasted through the late 90's. We sure wouldn't want to go through that again.

Seriously the issue about fairness to legal immigrants is muted by the fact that legal immigrants strongly favor (by a 2 to 1 margin) a path to legalization for illegal immigrants.

The issue about fairness to American workers is weakened by the fact that economists consider us at "full employment" meaning that if the unemployment rates go down, it wont be good for the economy.

The fact is that many businesses big and small are begging for more immigrant workers, and some industries (like agriculture) say these workers are critical to keep jobs from going out of the country.

But Foxy, you haven't said what you would do. Do you support mass deportations that would break families and cause great hardship to both immigrants and citizens alike?

Or, what do you support? If you believe in compassion and understanding for your neighbor it seems that a path to stay here legally is the only real option.
0 Replies
 
 

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