Category Archive 'Illegal Immigration'
21 Jun 2013

I’m Right, and Rush Limbaugh and the Others Are Wrong

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In 1905, we had gold money, like this $20 Double Eagle.

I’m right about Immigration, and unfortunately much of the rest of the Right, El Rushbo, Michelle Malkin, Victor Davis Hanson, Charles Krauthammer, John Hinderaker, and so on ad inifinitum are wrong, and I’m prepared to prove it.

Lights on in your heads, so-called conservatives, and pay attention. I’m going to deliver a series of arguments, and I’m going to demolish the nativist arguments one by one.

Let’s start off by properly identifying what kind of policy on immigration is the authentic American traditional policy and what is the nature and etiology of our current immigration laws.

One common rubric in my own thinking on American politics and public policy consists of asking myself: How did we used to do things?

I am firmly persuaded that, in all sorts of areas, Americans used to do things right, but along came Progressivism, small-l liberalism, socialism, crankery, and Modernism, and today we go around living under dysfunctional institutions, operated commonly on the basis of illusions and bad ideas, and we live buried under a colossal pile of taxes and regulations which our ancestors would never have put up with.

What is the correct policy on the currency? We ought to have the kind of currency we had back in 1905, real money minted in gold and silver or paper certificates immediately exchangeable for real money, ideally with images of Indians, Liberty, and Big Game animals on all our coins.

So, tell me, nativists, how did we used to handle immigration in the good old days when America was America and the country was free and ruled by common sense?

The answer is that, before 1900, immigration (with the exception of non-European racial groups believed in the period to be unassimilable) was unregulated. If you weren’t Chinese or Japanese and you wanted to come to the USA to get ahead, the door was wide open. In 1903, the kind of terrorism afflicting Europe and America at the time produced the Anarchist Exclusion Act. That act prohibited immigration to the United States by Anarchists, epileptics, beggars, and pimps.

We didn’t even have standard Naturalization forms and procedures until the passage of the Naturalization Act of 1906, which for the first time required some knowledge of English for Naturalization and which formalized and federalized the Naturalization process.

So, federal administration of immigration really began in 1906. And the really meaningful restrictions on Immigration were passed, out of panic inspired by the rise of Bolshevism and the Russian Revolution, in 1921 (the Emergency Quota Act) and in 1924 (the Johnson Act). It was these laws which set annual limits on the numbers of people who could enter, which limits were originally small percentages of the numbers of persons from particular countries already resident in the United States.

Here’s a major news flash, fellow conservatives. The 1920s laws placed no quotas on immigration from the Western Hemisphere. All the Mexicans and Salvadorans who wanted to come here could do so, until the Hart-Callar Act of 1965, which repealed the old racial exclusions and the 1920s quota system. Limiting immigration racially and on the basis of current representation in the US population was, in the Civil Rights era, deemed politically incorrect and “an embarrassment.” The new law opened the door to immigration from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

So, what is the real status of our respective positions?

I favor going back to the old, traditional American virtually-unregulated pre-1906 regime. I’d favor going back farther, but I think we have a need to exclude Muslims resembling the need in the early 1900s to exclude Anarchists. I support the real historical, traditional American open door immigration policy.

The rest of you folks are jumping up and down, supporting federally-managed population engineering, federal interference with the free movement of labor, and federal violation of the basic right to offer and accept employment, and government coercive resistance to organic and voluntary economic processes, all on behalf of some kind of half-baked notions of preserving an imaginary and impossible-to-preserve point of population and cultural stasis. You are enthusiastically supporting Progressive Era Statism and, even worse, the policies of a really bad 1960s democrat-passed immigration law, while I want to go right back to 1905. Obviously, I’m the real conservative, and the rest of you fellows, even poor old Rush, have gotten yourselves muddled and confused about what the real conservative position actually is.

This is long enough for now. I’ll discuss some of the anti-immigration arguments, like the “law-and-order” argument, in later postings.

21 Jun 2013

“I Don’t Want To Live In A Country That Has A Fence Around It”

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Apart from the fact that it would be tremendously costly and wouldn’t work, Kirsten Powers is right: the most important reason not to build a border fence would be its symbolism.

Powers was about to say more, when another talking head cut her off unfortunately, but watch the Fox News video anyway at Real Clear Politics.

17 Jun 2013

Conservatives Commonly Wrong on Immigration

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Conservatives are overwhelmingly right on our political and cultural issues, but the Immigration issue stands out as the rara avis example of a particular case in which most of the political right is wrong.

Even Rush Limbaugh (who is right 99.something % of the time) is wrong on this one.

When conservatives talk about immigration, they sound to me like liberals, because they insist on talking in slogans and have lost touch completely with practical reality.

Illegal immigration to the United States, overwhelmingly by poor Hispanic laborers, has occurred over a long period of time on a massive scale. The number of illegal immigrants in residence today can only be estimated, but the conventional estimate is more than 11 million persons.

Liberals want to ban private possession of firearms, tra la! and fail to reflect on inconvenient realities: that countless millions of guns exist in private hands, that large numbers of Americans have the technical ability to manufacture guns in basements and garages and that the point at which you can produce the essential components of the most advanced firearms using a 3D printer has already arrived. In the event of a national firearms ban, there would additionally be in the United States massive-scale non-compliance. (I, for instance, would never surrender all of my guns.) So the only way such a ban could actually be made effective would be to turn the country into a police state, and knock down doors, searching house by house for privately-held guns. And we are never going to do that. It would be too expensive. It might provoke armed resistance. And it would be both alien and repugnant to our national culture and laws.

Deporting 11+ million poor laborers and their wives and children is really equivalently far-fetched. We aren’t going to do it, because we are not that kind of country. Americans would never have the heart to do it. And, personally, I think people who indulge in fantasies of that kind need to consult their consciences and think again.

Why are there enormous numbers of illegal immigrants?

There are so many illegal immigrants because we have ill-conceived, unenforceable, sclerotic immigration rules which make legal immigration impossible, while we also have a national need for cheap low-skilled labor for which we typically lack a domestic supply.

The vast majority of Hispanic immigrants come here for precisely the same reason our own ancestors did: to seek better opportunity through hard work for themselves and their posterity.

The United States is a nation of immigrants, and American history is a long story always featuring the same kind of need for cheap labor and the arrival of wave after wave of humble people of backgrounds dissimilar to their predecessors to supply that need. And American history is also a long story of complaints from established residents about the alien and exotic recently-arrived riffraff cluttering up the landscape and spoiling old school Americans’ views, some of whom additionally go around causing trouble and committing crimes, while many refuse to speak English and assimilate.

Benjamin Franklin, in the 18th century, was bitching about all the fringe-group religious heretics from Central Europe coming to Pennsylvania to practice weird religious cultisms, then insisting on hanging out in their own communities, not assimilating, and often never even learning English, forsooth! And he was right. The damned Amish, Mennonites, Dunkards, and Schwenkfelders are still to be found in Pennsylvania, often still living in their own bizarre communities, and some of ’em still, by God, have not learned proper English, over two centuries later. Of course, we tend to look upon this sort of thing today as a quaint bit of surviving Americana and a great tourist attraction rather than, as Franklin did, a cultural menace and a political threat.

We must face it, too, that fond as we all are of John Ford movies, Jimmy Cagney, and St. Patrick’s Day, not all Americans were completely overjoyed when, in the late 1840s, large numbers of poor, illiterate, vulgar, rowdy, and (shudder!) Roman Catholic Irish primitives poured into the United States, grabbing up all the low end jobs and producing massive waves of drunkenness, violence, and crime, and finally corrupting the political culture of every major city with machine politics, graft, patronage, and downright plunder.

It got even worse around the turn of the last century, when instead of basically Aryan German peasants and Irishmen speaking something resembling English, still more bizarre and exotic Roman Catholics from Eastern and Southern Europe, and Jews (Heavens to Betsy!) as well, poured into America in a truly massive wave. None of them spoke English properly. They all settled in ethnic ghettos of their own kind, shopping at the own stores, attending their own churches, and even reading their own newspapers.

Long-resident Americans were commonly horrified. If you want to learn how they felt, I can recommend the letters of H. P. Lovecraft, who was totally revolted by the pollution and adulteration of the American race and culture by Slavs and Wops and Jews. The early 20th century Ku Klux Klan that we hear so much about was actually a lot more exercised at all the immigration by representatives of inferior European races and followers of the Roman Antichrist than they were about the Negroes.

(My own grandparents, of course, were Lithuanian members of that particular wave of immigration.)

The last negative reaction was, in fact, to that same turn-of-the-last-century massive immigration. The US got its first seriously restrictive (if you were not East Asian) immigration laws in 1921 which were tightened up further in 1924. It was those Progressive Era laws which ended the United States previous essentially wide open (if you weren’t Chinese or Japanese) immigration policies. We have monkeyed with them since, but only in the interests of political correctness (Let’s let in Muslims and Africans!) or special interests.

When conservatives talk about “enforcing the law” anent illegal immigration, that kind of talk doesn’t move me in the slightest. I had no hand in writing any of the existing regs and they certainly in no way embody my personal ideals, sentiments, or opinions. If somebody violates existing US Immigration Law, it is no skin off my nose, and I couldn’t care less. Hell, I’m not all that law-abiding myself. When I was underage, I gleefully drank illegally. I often trafficked in my youth in illegal fireworks. I smoked pot and experimented with other illegal drugs when I was in college. I burned my draft card. And I still drive faster than the speed limit all the time.

Obviously, we ought to revisit our immigration laws. I have no confidence myself that today’s American society can conduct a rational debate on any issue. We certainly can’t conduct one on immigration. So, I propose doing the sensible and fair thing and just rolling the whole immigration regulatory system back to 1905 (with very minor updates). What was fair for my grandparents, I think would be fair for Hispanic immigrants today. They can arrive and enter, as long as they are not diseased, criminals, polygamists, and let’s substitute Muslims for the 1900-era exclusion of Anarchists. They fill out a Declaration of Intent at the local courthouse after a few years, and they can then be naturalized a few years later.

My grandparents supplied three sons and one daughter to the US Armed Forces during WWII. I’d say the country did well by itself to have let them in. The next time the US has another major war, this country will be damned glad that we admitted all those riffraff Hispanic immigrants, because then it will very commonly be their sons and daughters serving in the ranks.

Immigration is necessary because we have a natural dynamic of social progress and increased affluence in this country. All Americans (excluding a residuum of criminals, bums, and idiots who will not work) typically move up and out of the laboring classes. So there are now no native-born Americans in most of the country who are going to dig your ditches, pick your tomatoes, carry your bricks, hang your sheetrock, and mow your lawn. We need those Hispanic guys for that. Their presence here is a blessing to us and we conservatives and Republicans ought to have the good sense to recognize that. We should sympathize with the struggles and hardships today’s immigrants endure and we should recognize in them the contemporary equivalents of our own ancestors.

No great wave of immigration has ever come without the accompaniment of social flotsam and jetsam. Most immigrants were always decent and hard-working people, but they were always accompanied on the way by some recognizable constituent of bums, thieves, whores, and radicals. That’s how life is. There is always a certain negative inevitably attached to any positive. When political commentators stigmatize the whole 11+ million Hispanic immigrants by identifying all of them as welfare spongers, La Raza agitators, and LA gangbangers, I think they are wrong and unfair. For years and years, in different parts of the country, whenever I looked around and saw the day’s work getting done, I have seen a poor Hispanic immigrant holding the tool or lifting the load. I have hired them myself from time to time, and I’ve been amazed at how the ethic of industry, skill, and integrity is so commonly found among these humble people at a time in which that ethic is practically extinct among Americans.

Nobody is more rightwing or more Republican or less politically correct than I am, but I’m on the side of the illegal immigrants. I’d be glad personally to trade ten community of fashion liberals for any one of them. If I were running some branch of the GOP, I’d let the Hispanics know how I feel. I’d throw the biggest Cinco de Mayo party in town. I’d go to church now and then at the Latino Catholic Church, and I’d be running Republican Hispanic voter registration drives. I do not believe that a hard-working Roman Catholic population with strong family values is destined in perpetuity to be a democrat party fiefdom. We don’t have ’em at the moment because we have all these airhead nativists and because we don’t go after them.

28 Nov 2011

Bachmann Wants 11 Million People Deported… In Steps

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The Hill says Michele Bachmann was trying to distinguish her candidacy from Newt Gingrich’s by offering this proposal.

She did. I’d say that she proved something very important about herself and her candidacy by advocating a policy so economically disastrous, so historically philistine, so morally repugnant, and so practically impossible.

Even in times of political adversity, even in times of defeat, it is usually agreeable to be conservative and Republican, because we have the better arguments on our side. We know that we are right. Our opponents are fools and knaves, who enjoy whatever successes they achieve by placing themselves on the side of entropy, on the side of water flowing downhill, who appeal to selfishness, self-entitlement, to group and class prejudices, to all the worst aspects of Human Nature.

Illegal Immigration as a political issue has successfully turned American politics on its head, making some Republicans and some conservatives on that particular issue into dangerous crazies, every bit as intellectually derisory, every bit as deluded, every bit as self-entitled as liberals.

What kind of person can endorse the rounding up, the arrest, the forcible transportation, and the involuntary exile of millions upon millions of men, women, and children? I’d say someone willing to contemplate violence and coercion on such a scale as an exercise in pure regulatory enforcement would be a moral monster.

Nativist conservatives attempt to justify their extravagant levels of outrage over illegal immigration and their embrace of fantasies of force and violence on an immense scale in two ways. They try pointing to the relatively modest real association between actual crime and illegal immigrants, and since the reality is not adequate to their purposes they then systematically confuse violent crimes associated with illegal drug importation and trafficking with illegal immigration. They also appeal to the rule of law and demand that our laws be enforced.

It is true that any unskilled laboring community originating from a poorer and more primitive foreign society is always going to include some real percentage of petty criminals, undesirables, and political agitators, and its ordinary members are, more frequently than the native born, going to litter, get drunk, and stand around outside playing salsa music. But it is perfectly obvious that the overwhelming majority of today’s wave of immigration, just as in the 1900s and 1850s, has come here to do work that needs to be done which native born Americans are typically unwilling to do.

Conservatives are right that it is important to maintain the rule of law, but when you find that decades go by and the law isn’t really being enforced, it is time to recognize that we are dealing with a case of laws which Americans demonstrably do not desire to be enforced.

America is culturally at root a Northern European, Protestant, Anglo-Saxon, and outside certain exotic indigenous subcultures, a decidedly law-abiding society. A lot of Americans don’t lock their doors when they go out even today. In a lot of parts of this country, if you drop your wallet on the street, someone will try to return it.

We do have a cultural problem, though, with laws produced by special interests and by ideologues and with laws expressive of our dreams and fantasies and wishful thinking, which get passed without proper thought for the consequences or intellectual scrutiny. Current immigration laws have no real relationship to our important principles, identity, or ideals, and even less to our national economic needs and requirements. They came about by compromises, by accretion, and by ideological politics. There was no grand national debate in which Americans as a whole thought the matter over, debated alternatives, and finally took a democratically arrived at position. Like Topsy, our current regulations just grew.

12 Aug 2010

Forget Trying to Eliminate Jus Solis*

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We should simply adopt Rand Simberg (and Robert Heinlein)’s suggested policy of earned citizenship, with respect to voting.

* The right of citizenship by birth on a country’s soil.

Well, the government class is up in arms over Senator Grahamnesty’s suggestion that we amend the 14th Amendment to end the practice of so-called “anchor babies” and automatic birthright citizenship for non-citizens. But perhaps the problem with the senator’s suggestion is that it doesn’t go far enough. One of Don Rumsfeld’s pearls of wisdom was that when a problem seemed unsolvable, the solution could be to enlarge it. Perhaps it’s time to rethink not just birthright citizenship, but citizenship in general, and what it means. …

In the science fiction novel Starship Troopers, the late great Robert Heinlein put forth a different notion of citizenship — not one of a birthright, but an earned status. In this view, more republican (and in better keeping with the intent of the Founders), he made a useful distinction between being a citizen and being a civilian. He made citizenship a separate issue from whether or not one is entitled to live and work in the country, or even receive its benefits (even including welfare). Perhaps to be a citizen should be defined as being able to partake in the running of the country, and those unwilling to do the things necessary to become one will have to accept the decisions of those who have done so, or find another nation in which to reside, one perhaps more congenial to their lack of civic responsibility. That is, citizens would be eligible to vote and run for or be appointed to public office — civilians would not.

In Heinlein’s formulation, two years of government service — sometimes, but not invariably, military service — was a requirement of citizenship. Some have mistakenly declared his notion fascist, but that is nonsense, as fascism is much more than militarism (assuming that one even accepts that Heinlein’s society was militaristic — I don’t necessarily).

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

25 Jul 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

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Texas ranches invasion story is a hoax. (Confederate Yankee).

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Get your free Rod Blagojevich ringtone.

Top favorites:

“I’ve got this thing and it’s (expletive) golden.”

“I’m stuck in this (expletive) job as governor now.”

“Only thirteen percent of you all out there think I’m doing a good job. So (expletive) all of you.”

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Unmarried ladies with attitude: Jane Austen’s Fight Club 3:22 video

Hat tip to Walter Olson.

15 May 2010

The Politics of Immigration

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A century ago, they could come here legally.

Michael Gerson discusses how Republicans are committing political suicide, attempting to apply the precise same strategy that cost the GOP its political competitiveness in California nationally.

According to a 2008 study by the Pew Hispanic Center, 49 percent of Hispanics said that Democrats had more concern for people of their background; 7 percent believed this was true of Republicans. Since the Arizona controversy, this gap can only have grown. In a matter of months, Hispanic voters in Arizona have gone from being among the most pro-GOP in the nation to being among the most hostile.

Immigration issues are emotional and complex. But this must be recognized for what it is: political suicide. Consider that Hispanics make up 40 percent of the K-12 students in Arizona, 44 percent in Texas, 47 percent in California, 54 percent in New Mexico. Whatever temporary gains Republicans might make feeding resentment of this demographic shift, the party identified with that resentment will eventually be voted into singularity. In a matter of decades, the Republican Party could cease to be a national party.

Even describing this reality invites scorn from those who regard immigration as a matter of principle instead of politics. But this represents a deep misunderstanding of politics itself. In America, political ideals are carried by parties. Republicans who are pro-business and pro-life, support a strong national defense and oppose deficit spending depend on one another to achieve influence. Each of these convictions alienates someone — pro-choice voters, economic liberals, pacifists. But Republican activists who alienate not an issue-group but an influential, growing ethnic group are a threat to every other constituency. The vocal faction of anti-immigrant Republicans is not merely part of a coalition; it will eventually make it impossible for anyone else in that coalition to succeed at the national level.

The good news for Republicans is that Hispanics tend to be entrepreneurial and socially conservative. While the general image Hispanics hold of the GOP is poor, individual Republican candidates can make significant inroads. In presidential elections, Hispanic support can swing widely. In 1996, Bill Clinton got 72 percent of the Hispanic vote. In 2004, John Kerry’s support was in the 50s. And Republicans do not need to win a majority of the Latino vote to compete nationally, just a competitive minority of that vote.

But even this modest goal is impossible if Hispanic voters feel targeted rather than courted.

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Meanwhile, J.R. Dunn explains why the unresolved illegal status of immigrant Hispanic labor works so beautifully for the left.

The history of the left in this country is a history of division. Whatever conflict was current — labor vs. management, class vs. class, race vs. race — there you’d find the left, stirring things up in order to derive as much political benefit as possible. A workable democratic system demands a willingness to seek consensus and engage in compromise. The left prefers Balkanization and permanent conflict.

For some years now, it has appeared that the Leftist formula had reached the end of its string. The corrupt and crime-ridden unions were on their last legs, hemorrhaging members even as they drove jobs overseas. Blacks were steadily moving into the middle class and becoming less susceptible to separatist rhetoric. An attempt to transform the university student body into a permanent revolutionary phalanx on the Peronist model had only partial success — students were willing to play while actually on campus, but after graduation they went on to more interesting pursuits.

So how to keep the pot boiling? The answer was to go find a new millet — or rather, to take advantage of the one next door, of the desperate people fleeing a serial kleptocracy, an uneducated, ignorant, and frightened mass open to all forms of manipulation.

This explains why illegal immigration is so important to the left. It explains why efforts to halt illegal border-crossings, a problem that wouldn’t challenge a six-year-old, are executed so half-heartedly and so often left unfinished (see the recent “virtual fence”). It explains the irrational response to Arizona’s effort to tighten up existing immigration law (not create new law — Arizona’s statute is no more than a reinforcement of existing federal law). It explains the insistence that any solution to the immigration problem provide for amnesty and citizenship for the millions of illegals already living within our borders. It has nothing to do with compassion, nothing to do with fairness, or practicality, or any of the other reasons offered by “reform” advocates. As is almost always the case where the American left is involved, what it has to do with is power.

The left wishes to use the illegals as a battering ram against the American polity, the same as they used labor, and blacks, and every other group they ever encountered. Illegals will become a new protected class, with privileges and entitlements denied the rest of the populace (including, ironically, current members of previous such classes). They will be discouraged from learning English, as occurs today under the doctrine of “bilingualism”, to assure that they remain a separate presence. A vast bureaucracy will arise to “assist” the new citizenry, funded with billions — oh hell, make that trillions, this is the Obama era — and staffed with sociologists, ethnographers, psychologists, and other disciplines unimagined today. All will be of the same political persuasion. A permanent crisis atmosphere will be generated around the new class. The “Amnestee” question will lead to endless problems and ramifications and act as a permanent indictment of the country and its policies. The native population (not to mention legal immigrants) will grow increasingly embittered and angered. The former illegals will be rendered even more miserable than they are today.

The solution is obvious. There must be no amnesty. Such an action would simply drop a permanent inassimilable presence in the midst of American society. Current law must be executed to the fullest, and where necessary (as in all the border states) reinforced with new state laws. Illegals now in the country must be encouraged to regularize themselves according to recognized procedure. They must not be allowed, for their sakes and ours, to become clients of the left-wing establishment. The immigrant problem must be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, according to individual circumstances. The notion that there is an acceptable mass solution is pure fantasy.

While this may involve some hardship — and will certainly give rise to cries of “unfairness” — it is in the long run the best solution for all concerned. Even the illegals will be better off. Becoming a member of a left-wing client class may not be the worst possible fate, but it’s not far from the bottom either, as generations of welfare families can attest. American leftists did nothing for this country’s workers once the union vote-getting machines were established. The same can be said of blacks in the inner cities once the political machines were in action there. The goal of power is simply to perpetuate itself. Actually solving problems might interfere with that process.

05 May 2010

GOP Stepping on a Land Mine

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Mona Charen warns that the only thing likely to save democrats in future years is the alienation of a Hispanic vote that naturally belongs to the GOP by nativism and law-and-order games over immigration.

Imagine yourself inside Democratic National Committee headquarters, in the department of long-term planning. Huddling in the no longer smoke-filled room, stocked no doubt with eco-friendly coffee cups and whole-wheat snacks, the savants are pleased with themselves. In the great game of buying constituencies for more government, they believe that the gargantuan health care law is the greatest coup in history. Not only did it create millions more mendicants, but with the new legislation weighing in at 2,000 pages, endless new work for two other favored groups – lawyers and bureaucrats. Brilliant!

Pushed to the back of their minds are disquieting facts such as these: The health reform law remains deeply unpopular, with 55 percent (Rasmussen) saying they would like to see it repealed. The Congress that pushed it to passage has approval ratings of 23 percent (Gallup). President Obama’s approval ratings (Bill Clinton’s confident pre-vote predictions to the contrary notwithstanding) have not rebounded since passage.

Never mind, the Democrats reason, by hanging Wall Street around Republicans’ necks and by reviving the immigration controversy (with a great deal of help from the state of Arizona), Democrats will win out. Maybe not in 2010, as off-year electorates tend to skew older and whiter, but certainly by 2012, when President Obama stands for re-election.

The financial reform bill has yet to fully play out. But by stoking controversy over immigration, the Democrats are making a shrewd move. If Hispanics vote in 2010 as they did in 2008, it would be virtually impossible for a Republican to win.

John McCain won 55 percent of the white vote in 2008. Bravo for him. Even with 95 percent of African-Americans voting for Obama, McCain would have taken the oath of office had it not been for the lop-sided Hispanic vote that went for Obama by 67 percent. While it is true that estimates of the total Hispanic vote percentage have often been overblown (the total Hispanic vote in 2008 was 8 percent, not the 15 percent widely cited), the vote can be crucial in some key states. In California, Hispanics comprised 16 percent of the vote in 2008. In Florida, it was 14 percent, and in Colorado 13 percent.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 74 percent of California Hispanics voted for Obama, along with 61 percent of Hispanic Coloradans, and 57 percent of Hispanic Floridians. …

Hispanics are not ideologically committed. Not yet. George W. Bush received a respectable 40 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004. As Clint Bolick outlined in the Hoover Digest, a 2006 survey by Latino Coalition found that 34.2 percent of Hispanic voters considered themselves conservative, while only 25.8 called themselves liberals. More than 53 percent agreed that it was more important for Hispanics to become integrated into American society than to preserve their native cultures. Offered a choice between higher taxes and more government spending or lower taxes and less government spending, 61.2 percent favored the latter. Moreover, like other Americans, Hispanics tend to vote more Republican as they age.

Hispanic voters do feel very differently from many conservatives about immigration. Pew found that 53 percent of Hispanics worried about deportation in 2007, including 32 percent of the native born, and also that 55 percent opposed verification of citizenship before obtaining driver’s licenses.

Hat tip to Kenneth Grubbs.

03 May 2010

The Arizona Emergency

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Yesterday, our friend Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm linked the generally admirable Clarice Feldman at American Thinker who was editorializing from the perspective opposite to my own on immigration.

Ms. Feldman quoted some alarming, and authoritative sounding, statistics from “the Law Enforcement Examiner.”

On April 7, 2007, the US Justice Department issued a report on criminal aliens that were incarcerated in federal and state prisons and local jails.

In the population study of 55,322 illegal aliens, researchers found that they were arrested at least a total of 459,614 times, averaging about 8 arrests per illegal alien. Nearly all had more than 1 arrest. Thirty-eight percent (about 21,000) had between 2 and 5 arrests, 32 percent (about 18,000) had between 6 and 10 arrests, and 26 percent (about 15,000) had 11 or more arrests. Most of the arrests occurred after 1990.

They were arrested for a total of about 700,000 criminal offenses, averaging about 13 offenses per illegal alien. One arrest incident may include multiple offenses, a fact that explains why there are nearly one and half times more offenses than arrests. Almost all of these illegal aliens were arrested for more than 1 offense. Slightly more than half of the 55,322 illegal aliens had between 2 and 10 offenses.

More than two-thirds of the defendants charged with an immigration offense were identified as having been previously arrested. Thirty-six percent had been arrested on at least 5 prior occasions; 22%, 2 to 4 times; and 12%,1 time.

Clarice Feldman ought to have inquired a little more more closely.

“The Law Enforcement Examiner” is actually an editorialist named Jim Kouri. Mr. Kouri’s biography identifies him as a former chief security guard at a housing project in Washington Heights and the “fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police” which, I expect, must be roughly on a par with being First Guard of the Tent at one’s local International Order of Oddfellows chapter.

Mr. Kouri is renowned on the Internet for his expertise on Satanism and for the exoticism of the views of some sources he has in the past relied upon.

Unfortunately, Mr. Kouri is not himself a reliable source. He tells us that his statistics come from “a report on criminal aliens that were incarcerated in federal and state prisons and local jails” issued by the US Justice Department on April 7, 2007.

It is not accidental that Mr. Kouri does not link the original report.

The report in question was really released on May 9, 2005. It is GAO report number GAO-05-646R entitled ‘Information on Certain Illegal Aliens Arrested in the United States.’

The figures cited all pertain to 2002-2003. Mr. Kouri (and the study’s authors) deliberately selected the best figures for making certain kinds of arguments in the quoted paragraphs.

In reality, this study pertains to 55,322 individual illegal aliens who are the portion of the illegal alien population that wound up arrested, convicted, and sentenced to jail.

55,322 out of the seven million illegal aliens estimated to be present in the United States by this same study is the 0.0079 portion of that illegal immigrant population, well under 1%.

And the character of their crimes?

Forty-five percent of illegal alien offenses were for drugs and immigration;

8% for Traffic violations;

7% for Obstruction of Justice.

60% of the under 1% of illegals in jail in 2002-2003 were not even in jail for any form of theft or violence.

And, more recently, both illegal immigration and violent crime have actually been declining (even while la patrie est en danger reports are dramatically increasing).

CNN:

[S]tatistics from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency and the FBI indicate that both the number of illegal crossers and violent crime in general have actually decreased in the past several years.

According to FBI statistics, violent crimes reported in Arizona dropped by nearly 1,500 reported incidents between 2005 and 2008. Reported property crimes also fell, from about 287,000 reported incidents to 279,000 in the same period. These decreases are accentuated by the fact that Arizona’s population grew by 600,000 between 2005 and 2008.

According to the nonpartisan Immigration Policy Institute, proponents of the bill “overlook two salient points: Crime rates have already been falling in Arizona for years despite the presence of unauthorized immigrants, and a century’s worth of research has demonstrated that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than the native-born.”

If we really looked at the facts, we could only conclude that illegal immigration is not the same thing as narcotics smuggling and, by and large, illegal immigrants tend to be more law-abiding and less violent than us native-born Americans. The public panic and the draconian laws represent responses to misinformation, commonly disseminated by sensationalizing journalists.

Look at AP and Matt Drudge yesterday. or check today’s Wall Street Journal, which blares Killing Stokes Immigration Debate, in reference to Deputy Puroll getting slightly grazed in a minor skirmish with marijuana smugglers. Nobody got killed, and the incident had nothing to with illegal immigration.

01 May 2010

How Do We Get Bad Laws?

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Bad reporting using sensationalistic headlines incorporating gross exaggeration and downright misinformation is how.

Look at how various news sources headline a basically trivial injury to a law enforcement officer received in the course of a minor skirmish with drug smugglers near the border.

What actually happened:

Pinal County Deputy Louis Puroll patrolling alone in a wilderness area about 50 miles south of Phoenix exchanged fire with five armed smugglers carrying bales of marijuana. A shot fired from one of the narcotrafficantes’ AK-47s apparently grazed Deputy
Puroll’s back. He called for assistance and was airlifted by helicopter to a regional medical center where his injury was treated, deemed to be non-serious, and the deputy immediately released.

So the Associated Press shrieks:

Deputy shot; illegal immigrants suspected

Matt Drudge echoes AP:

AZ deputy shot in stomach by suspected illegal…

ABC15:

Deputy shot by suspected immigrant released from hospital

There isn’t really much to report here. A deputy was slightly grazed by a bullet, sustaining insignificant injury, in a minor confrontation with bad guys engaged in smuggling marijuana.

The incident really has nothing to do with illegal immigration. The marijuana smugglers were not, in reality, on their way to pick fruit, wash dishes, mow lawns, or hang sheetrock at all. They were delivering a shipment of pot and once they delivered it, doubtless they were going to illegally emigrate the same way they had illegally immigrated. Undocumented aliens are not in fact arming themselves with AK-47s and shooting it out with police in order to get their hands on American leaf blowers.

It’s unfortunate, of course, that Deputy Puroll was shot at and slightly injured. This incident causes me to marvel at the futility of it all. You’ve smoked pot. I’ve smoked pot. Pretty much everybody in America has smoked some pot. Certainly every single one of the last three presidents has smoked pot.

Why do we insist of making things illegal which most of us still do anyway? And why do we tolerate a state of affairs that rewards crime bounteously while jeopardizing the lives of law enforcement officers to no useful purpose?

And finally, why do we insist on confusing the innocent people coming here to do hard work at low pay with the armed criminals crossing the same border?

Studies show that illegal immigrants commit violent crimes at a rate between four to eight times less than native born Americans.

23 Jan 2009

How Obama Won

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Stephen Ansolabehere and Charles Stewart III analyse the decisive role of demographics in Obama’s victory.

Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 presidential election marked the first time a Democrat won a majority of all votes cast for president since 1964. Political scientists had widely forecast a Democratic victory in 2008 based on the faltering economy and the shift in party identification. But there were reasons to temper confidence in such forecasts. First, similar predictions had failed in 2000, and Obama faced a candidate viewed as far more moderate than he. Second, and most significant, Obama is black. If ever there was a situation where the old politics of race would drag a Democrat down, this was it. Why, then, did Obama win? Closer examination of exit polls points to a surprising conclusion. Obama won because of race—because of his particular appeal among black voters, because of the changing political allegiances of Hispanics, and because he did not provoke a backlash among white voters. …

The percentage of blacks voting for the Democratic presidential candidate rose from 88 percent in 2004 to 95 percent in 2008; the percentage of Hispanics voting for the Democrats rose from 56 percent in 2004 to 67 percent in 2008—swings of 7 and 11 percent. White voters, the largest racial group, increased their support of the Democratic candidate by just 2 percentage points, from 41 percent for Kerry to 43 percent for Obama. Changes in turnout further magnified the swing in support. Whites represent a dwindling share of the electorate: 81 percent in 2000, 77 percent in 2004, and 74 percent in 2008. Blacks, by contrast, increased from 10 percent in 2000 to 11 percent in 2004 to 13 percent in 2008; Hispanics increased from 6 percent in 2000 to 8 percent in 2004 to 9 percent in 2008. Of the two effects, increased support of Democrats by nonwhite voters was critical. Had the racial composition of the electorate stayed the same in 2008 as it was in 2004, and had whites remained as supportive of Republicans as they were in 2004, Obama would still have won the popular vote, albeit by a much smaller margin. But, had Blacks and Hispanics voted Democratic in 2008 at the rates they had in 2004 while whites cast 43 percent of their vote for Obama, McCain would have won.

Republicans cannot increase white birthrates or diminish black and Hispanic, but they could relinquish Nativism and recognize that illegal aliens overwhelmingly come here to perform work that Americans want and need done at wage rates Americans can afford to pay.

Conservative leaders (Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin among others) made a big mistake in whipping up the base on the illegal aliens issue. Roman Catholic ethnic voters who work for a living and have strong family values are natural Republican voters. We just need to woo them away from the politics of dependency and group grievances. We need to stop playing law-and-order games with respect to people really guilty at root only of the voluntary exchange of labor for money made illegal by ill-considered, out-of-control immigration laws mired in occult political processes and intractable to reform.

———————–

Hat tip to Daniel Lowenstein.

28 Sep 2007

Our Tax Dollars at Work

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CNN reports a tragic story of a human being crushed by the state which could have been written by Gogol or de Maupassant.

I always wonder if George W. Bush doesn’t read the news, when I come across this kind of thing.

For 11 years, Pedro Zapeta, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala, lived his version of the American dream in Stuart, Florida: washing dishes and living frugally to bring money back to his home country.

Pedro Zapeta, an illegal immigrant, managed to save $59,000 while working as a dishwasher for 11 years.

Two years ago, Zapeta was ready to return to Guatemala, so he carried a duffel bag filled with $59,000 — all the cash he had scrimped and saved over the years — to the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

But when Zapeta tried to go through airport security, an officer spotted the money in the bag and called U.S. customs officials.

“They asked me how much money I had,” Zapeta recalled, speaking to CNN in Spanish.

He told the customs officials $59,000. At that point, U.S. customs seized his money, setting off a two-year struggle for Zapeta to get it back.

Zapeta, who speaks no English, said he didn’t know he was running afoul of U.S. law by failing to declare he was carrying more than $10,000 with him. Anyone entering or leaving the country with more than $10,000 has to fill out a one-page form declaring the money to U.S. customs.

Officials initially accused Zapeta of being a courier for the drug trade, but they dropped the allegation once he produced pay stubs from restaurants where he had worked. Zapeta earned $5.50 an hour at most of the places where he washed dishes. When he learned to do more, he got a 25-cent raise.

After customs officials seized the money, they turned Zapeta over to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The INS released him but began deportation proceedings. …

On Wednesday, Zapeta went to immigration court and got more bad news. The judge gave the dishwasher until the end of January to leave the country on his own. He’s unlikely to see a penny of his money.

“I am desperate,” Zapeta said. “I no longer feel good about this country.”

Zapeta said his goal in coming to the United States was to make enough money to buy land in his mountain village and build a home for his mother and sisters. He sent no money back to Guatemala over the years, he said, and planned to bring it all home at once.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Zapeta was given official status in the United States — voluntary departure — and a signed order from a judge. For the first time, he can work legally in the U.S.

By the end of January, Zapeta may be able to earn enough money to pay for a one-way ticket home so the U.S. government, which seized his $59,000, doesn’t have to do so.

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