My solution to the immigration problem

Arizona, you are looking ugly. Defenders claim its Draconian measures are a result of the failure of US immigration policy, and I have to agree. Everyone seems to agree on the need for immigration reform, but like the weather, no one wants to do anything about it. The Democrats have a bill, but no one seems to think it will succeed in an election year and may be only window dressing, anyway. The bill puts securing the border first, followed by provisions for fraud-proof identity cards. Bringing up the rear are tough requirements that would allow a path to citizenship for people currently within US borders illegally.

I think the Democratic bill is wrongheaded. It has everything backwards. I have a solution. It's simple, but I predict few of you will agree.

Let's just get rid of the border when it comes to people. Who cares whether someone is here without papers? Why do you need papers anyway? If the rights accorded American citizens are based on the idea that these rights are universal rights, let's make them universal at least for those within our borders. That's the right thing to do. If we think people in Iraq should have those rights, then what's the problem about extending them to everyone where we have some kind of authority? And the "privileges"? If we are talking about services provided pursuant to payment of taxes and fees, taxes and fees that everyone is expected to pay (and for which they should reap the benefits), then let's give everyone those services. If they work they have to pay taxes. Immigrants pay taxes, whether they are here legally or not, so they should also get the benefits.

Children in the US are subject to compulsory education. That education should include the ability to read and write English. English isn't better than Spanish or any other language. But it is the language of the larger community, needed to get along with people and to succeed in life. It's possible at some point Spanish could be the language that fits that description. Then all children should have to learn Spanish.

But that's it. Who cares whether someone has "papers" or not? They "jumped the queue"? Why do we have a queue in the first place? The border is an artificial line on the map as far as humans are concerned. Let lawyers argue about issues of who gets to make laws that hold in certain areas or control of resources in the ground. People should be able to move freely.

Screw the borders.


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Actually, this is the first 'solution' to the border problem that makes any sense, and is actually workable. Go you!

âFreedom is merely privilege extended until enjoyed by one and all.â

UDHR: âArticle 13.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

So why not make it:

Article 13.
Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence.

First, about immigrants and paying taxes. You say:

Immigrants pay taxes, whether they are here legally or not, so they should also get the benefits.

Yet when you go to the link provided, it is less certain. According to that article, "some" immigrants pay taxes. And nobody really knows the numbers. Or whether it is a majority or a minority. Your comment seems much more confident. Suggesting all immigrants, legal and illegal, pay taxes. That appears misleading in my opinion.

As for no borders. What is your solution for a state being overwhelmed by immigrants? It's one thing to have a country like Canada on your border, but it's something completely different when it's a country like Mexico. The economic and social dynamics are not the same and would probably require different approaches.

Right on target, Revere.

I was going to suggest that we give Arizona to Mexico (I doubt they'd take Texas) but you've got a better solution.

Protection of workers by opening borders sounds like a workable solution. Issue anyone who wants to work a valid SS# and then tax and fee them just like anyone else. This would generate a steady stream of tax revenue to support the services required for the population and it would protect those working here from being exploited as second class laborers.

One of the pitfalls of 'immigration war' is that anyone here illegally is fearful of cooperating with any sort of law enforcement. This makes us all less safe and puts the immigrant community at particular risk since they cannot avail themselves of the same level of protection that we citizens have taken for granted.

I have to pay into SS for a certain period to be fully vested in whatever retirement and other benefits I can draw later in life. And with the insurance mandate, those without resident status could have a portion deducted to pay into an insurance fund to provide for their medical care. So set up a system whereby anyone who works in this country pays taxes to support services.

I think immigration is similar to the drug trade. There will always be a demand, for labor and for drugs. And there's just too much money in it; someone will always step in to provide one or the other. Legalize it, regulate it and tax it.

Somewhere I read a proposal for fraud-proof ID cards. This is a pipe dream. Technology advances, on all fronts and the technology used to create the ID cards will be used to forge them next week. As someone commented somewhere, the next big industry along the border will be forgery.


Revere's idea is such a radical departure from current thinking it is hard to imagine what the long term effects would be. The policy would have many positive effects. I wonder what the negative aspects would be? In the face of the many positives I can't think of any negatives that can't be overcome.

It is easy to imagine that the US would be "overrun by immigrants" but I don't think this would be the case. Much of the exploitive labour practices would disappear. Employers could no longer hold the threat of the INS over workers. Employers would be forced to pay fair wages and provide safe working conditions. All workers would be accounted for by the IRS and pay fair taxes. Similarly all residents could be counted and funding for schools, health care, and social assistance could be budgeted for correctly.

I suspect that many Americans don't know how difficult it is to immigrate to the US. As a Canadian I have a rough idea. I have two friends who have moved to the US (legally). Both are well educated professionals. Exactly the type of people any country would want to attract. One married an American. Becoming a legal resident required a series of torturous interviews, a mountain of paperwork, and a lengthy travel restriction preventing her from returning home. An immigration lawyer made some good money.

A second friend moved to the US under an H1B visa. An H1B visa is sponsored by an employer. If the employer terminates the sponsorship the H1B visa holder has 30 days to leave. This has the obvious effect that H1B visa holders are exploited. Even professionals can be exploited (but not on the scale of poor workers). The less obvious effect is that the H1B visa holder has no incentive to invest in the US economy. It is safer for an H1B visa holder to send all of their money back to their home country. My friend is a well paid professional, but as far as the US economy is concerned he might as well be on welfare. If Revere's idea was policy my friend would be a legal permanent resident and have lots of incentive to invest in America.

@ A Canuck...

It is easy to imagine that the US would be "overrun by immigrants" but I don't think this would be the case.

Why wouldn't this be the case?

Much of the exploitive labour practices would disappear. Employers could no longer hold the threat of the INS over workers. Employers would be forced to pay fair wages and provide safe working conditions. All workers would be accounted for by the IRS and pay fair taxes. Similarly all residents could be counted and funding for schools, health care, and social assistance could be budgeted for correctly.

You've just stated that all of this "would" happen. Not how would it happen. What specifically would be the mechanisms?

And by the way the INS doesn't exist anymore.

mk: Why do you use the word "overrun"? Arizona and Nevada got "overrun" with sunbirds from the north east, Florida with old folks, California with dustbowlers. People move around freely. That's the way it's supposed to be. This can produce imbalances but they even out. It's the market for labor power in action. Or don't you believe in the market?

Actually, it was "overwhelm." But whatever...

So you are saying, just to be clear, that if we just opened the borders completely all would just work out fine. Whatever difficulties may or may not occur, no problem it'll all even out? That there is no consideration necessary when thinking about our northern border or our southern border?

revere, that's a radical and interesting suggestion. I'll just be the devil's advocate and point out a couple of thoughts that immediately come to mind.

First, what you are advocating is mobility of labor. Which is all fine and good, when the mobility is between countries with similar economic development eg Canada and US. When the disparity in wealth (national and individual) and standards of living is significant, then there'll be problems eg large migrant labor population willing to accept low wages to support families back home who live on less (both lower cost of living and lower expectations). They will price out the most vulnerable in the existing (or already almost non-existent, in the current economic state) job market.

Second, social development. I'm likely to tread on toes and invite accusations of being a bigot, but there are different levels of social norms that are unique to countries, especially countries (again) at different levels of development. Let me give an example that I'm very familiar with, Hong Kong and China. Even though both are Chinese, and China has developed a lot in recent decades, there are still huge gaps in social norms, from simple things like standing in line, personal hygiene (eg spitting), to more serious issues like corruption (again norms drive expectations and behavior), and respect for and compliance with laws and regulations. Too rapid integration (ie in large numbers) can result in less, not more tolerance for immigrants.

These issues are not unique to the US, or Hong Kong. They are pertinent here in Europe as well. Personally, I don't think there are simple solutions, at least I see no one single one that will solve everything, not within the timescale of 'regular' politics. Over longer timeframe, eg decades, the problems will solve themselves from a combination of piecemeal policies and economic and social evolution.

The 'problems' that people experience today won't be 'solved', I don't think. Rather, they are likely to become irrelevant over time. At least that is my take, FWIW...

Susan C states more eloquently what I already think.

I believe that Humanity is evolving toward a "borderless" society, a stateless society. Maybe a one world currency, less divisions (ethnic, religious, cultural) but these things are not "fixed" over night. Anyone who says, if only we did thus and such this problem would go away, should at least give a few specifics as to how to get it done.

Hear, hear! Too bad our politicians are never willing to say what would really fix our problems.

mk: Sorry for the misquote. I read it wrong. But, no, I'm not saying "everything will work out just fine" (paraphrasing). I'm saying that this is the right principle and it's not as if things are working out well, now, or that any of the proposed solutions are likely to work. Until 9/11 we pretty much had an open border on the north. Will there be problems? Of course. I live in a college town and the influx of students creates all sorts of problems for long term residents. Rents go up, prices go up. It's more crowded. There's more crime. But they also bring things: different interests, different points of view, different tastes (we have a vibrant restaurant scene), businesses that cater to them, like bookstores and night clubs. They are immigrants to our community. Most of them are great. Some of them aren't. Just like the people who live here.

great idea! instead of doing something to stop corporate offshoring of jobs and the subsequent collapse of the American middle class, let's just allow them unrestricted importation of cheap labor!! that will solve *everything*.

hmmph; That's why we have minimum wage and workplace health and safety laws, not to mention environmental laws. If you want a just and safe and happy community to don't let corporations do whatever they want and exploit whomever they wish however they wish to do it. We don't have slavery any more, which was also "imported" labor.

That's why we have minimum wage

Yes, but how is minimum wage set? Not just today, but as a matter of continuous policy development. Many issues drive it, but supply and demand is always a powerful driver.

The bigger issue is that of living wage. Take London, which is a very expensive city to live in. If you are a migrant worker, sending wages back to your native country, you may be more willing and able to tolerate wages that someone who needs to support a family in London cannot possibly live on.

These are real problems that real people struggle with, right now as we speak, with or without more migrant labor. I'm not against your proposition, I just think it is overly simplistic, and overlooks some real tough problems that, given we live in democracies and respect plurality, don't have simple solutions. Which is why I said I don't expect any broadbrush solutions that can solve the 'problem' in one go. Rather, it will take many smaller solutions at many levels of society, and time, for societies to come to some mutually comfortable space.

Well, right on, Revere. While we're at it, let's see if our Canadian neighbors can start opening their immigration policies a bit, especially to those of us over, say, 35. Perhaps if we ever universal health care here in the U.S., they may(?). As for those floods of immigrants into the U.S. Southwest, one might consider who took what from whom in mid-19th-century. And in 1965 a South American friend explained to my youthfully naive assumption (well, one wishes it were only found among youth), "What makes you think people would want to immigrate to your country?. . ." There is much more to be said on this matter, but I, for one, am now en route to a pro-immigrants march.

You have too big of a heart revere. Understandable, but ..

One thing that isn't being mentioned is that Arizona is at its Saturation Point, they are at Full Capacity with illegal immigrants. This has created a huge drain on the system and tolerance levels.
And MSM wants to run on the racial end of the argument. That's only a small part of the issue at hand.

Sorry dear revere, the Mexican's that are here illegally really do need to return to their own corrupt country and try to change it. They're basically running away from it and bringing all the unwanted baggage with them.

And you're darn right T. Hunt, drug prohibition is a huge part of the problem but no one in the WH appears to want to end it. The two are interconnected.

btw the biggest net beneficiary of full mobility of labor will be businesses. The social stresses, dislocations, poverty, have to be absorbed by the rest of civil society.

That's one d****d good way of outsourcing risk, in my book...

I prefer a more gradualist approach - only as much integration as our social safety nets can tolerate, and that includes not just economic issues like welfare or standard of living, but also less tangible outcomes like social cohesion, fairness, tolerance etc.

SusanC: Minimum wage is set the same way immigration policies are set: by law.

As for simplistic: is it half as simplistic as building a wall? It's simple, yes. But simplistic? I don't think so. The other solutions are not simple. They are complicated and lead to all sorts of unintended (or intended) consequences as well, some of them incredibly harmful to many people. They claim to be realistic and not simplistic. Mainly they are just cruel and xenophobic.

Not actually so original, this is what the EU has been doing for 50 years.

When Spain joined the EU over 20 years ago it wasn't that much richer than Mexico. We let them in, there was a big initial inflow of people to place like London, but most only stayed a few years before returning. With free economic flows, and EU aid, Spanish GDP per head rapidly approached the EU average.

Main result, a large new wealthy market for the other EU members and movement of the EU zone borders down to the Med.

Exactly the same thing is currently happening with Poland, with returning Poles already outnumbering new immigrants as Poland gets richer.

When Nafta was created the US insisted on free trade in maize, but retention of US farm subsidies which the Mexicans couldn't afford to match. The basic rural economy of Mexico was destroyed overnight as US maize flooded in. Unable to work on their farms, the Mexican peasants moved north. Can't really blame them.

revere, here's my shortest version of what I mean by 'gradualist' approach (then I have to go offline, sorry).

If, as things stand right now today, we are still unable to provide a living wage to the most vulnerable but hard-working people, in substantial portions of the country, then any policy changes that may make that situation even worse, need to be considered very carefully, and taken gradually.

I admit I know little about the real situation in the US, but I am aware, just for instance, of how increasingly even people who work full time (and often in >1 job) have to rely on food stamps to feed their family.

Also, a sudden surge in supply of labor affects not just people already on minimum wage. A 'race to the bottom' will put more jobs into the minimum wage bracket. Why should businesses pay more if there's a steady supply of people who will work for less?

Unless we can fix the existing inequality (eg of bargaining power) between workers and their bosses, then changes IMO should err on the side of protecting the most vulnerable. Which is just one tiny corner of the whole immigration debate, but an important one in my book....

SusanC: That's not because of immigrants and it's not (IMO) made worse by immigrants. There are economic and political problems that cause people to be poor, but immigration laws aggravate them. Time to wipe the slate clean.

kagiso: I had the EU in mind to some extent but didn't want to complicate things. I agree its not original. It's too simple to be original. Lots of people have thought this but it's one of those solutions we aren't allowed to speak out loud in the US. So i did.

No, they are not caused by immigrants. But the problems exist nevertheless. I'm not opposed to open borders, but as someone who have lived in several cultures and experienced subsistence living in childhood, I'm more inclined to tread carefully with people's livelihoods (not saying you're not, just giving a POV here LOL).

revere, we don't differ in beliefs, I don't think. We differ in priority, and timescale.

Thanks for a great debate. My neck is telling me to stop and go goodnight. ;-)

Surely you jest. Anarchy only works for the big guys. Those with moats fare far better. Moats and armies are additive interactions. Ocean surrounds are even better.

You want masses of crime sprees with no ability to detain or extradite? Ghengis Khan II? Atomic warfare? . . . We are all serfed to national governments for security.

Anarchy is a thought experiment, for those who have spare time, not reality.

I worked for an anarchist sociology prof for one year when I was a CU grad student. One of his dearly held rights was to call all of his RAs at 3AM: telling us to report to work ASAP -- for 24x7 for 2+ days -- without warning, planning or apology. One night, after a stint, I returned to my burgled home at 3AM. I called J to ask him what I should do -- intending and accomplishing awakening him from a deep sleep.
"What should you DO?" he grumbled.
"Yes. My anarchist friend. What do you suggest I do?"
A very long pause.
"I see your point. I would call the police."
"And: What would YOU do?"
A longer pause.
"Say it, J."
"I would call the police. You made your bloody point. Let me go back to sleep."
"That is my NEXT point. Say it."
Much longer pause.
"Say it."
"I will not call you in the middle of the night."
Anarchy died that night. Never heard it again.

Social science, AKA soft science, is harder than you think.

Cate: Not sure to whom your anarchy comment is directed. For the record I am not an anarchist. I also agree with Lea that much of the immigration "problem" in the border areas is actually a side effect of the colossally stupid "war" on drugs.

Revere: The only 'hold' governments have on their population is citizenship and exclusion of non-citizens. Law is based on specific whos and wheres.

What organization would write global laws? And police global laws? The U.N.? Check out the global copyright, patent, and law of the sea problems first. The world is not yet ready to cope with law and currency at a global level. The Euro is having troubles rebalancing right now.

You are not naming it as anarchy, but the principles are the basis of anarchy. Law becomes void when you untie everyone from their serfdoms.

We all wish that we could go back to the time when we freely crossed into Canada and Mexico without anyone checking us in or out. I canoed across the US/CA border freely when I was a teen. But population mobility changed all of that -- people had been 'tied' to their domicile areas except for us elites who freely roamed the world. It was 'ok' when only elites roamed freely. Now everyone can roam the world - the world pop is just too massive.

The people who are in a snit about the 'illegal immigrants' clearly ignore that many of our families were also illegals. My ancesters on both sides never officially arrived, we just did not go back. Those who could afford a more expensive berth on a ship, were welcomed. My first ancesters in America were not Hessians, but claimed they were, and jumped ship ASAP to join the Revolution -- illegals and desserters. I empathize with the illegal immigrants entirely, but raising the scale to global is beyond the ken.

Interesting and thoughtful comments posted here. My non-taxpaying, undocumented, 37-year old friend came to clean my house today. She had help from her undocumented 16-year old daughter who brought her 10th grade report card to show me her 3 A's and 1 B. Her mom and I are so proud of her since she attends a special school for unwed moms and her 20-month old daughter (a documented American citizen) spends the day in the special school's daycare center. My friend also has an undocumented 17-year old son. He is worried that his 15-year old girlfriend is pregnant.

My friend is being deported back to Mexico on June 1st. She will be told by the courts on May 14 how she will be deported. She is trying to get her daughter and granddaughter into a group home with two or three other unwed teenage moms and their children. She thinks this will be less dangerous than them being swept into the foster care system. The brother and his girlfriend will be on their own.

This small family lives in a tribal situation outside a small city with a population of 75,000. A half-sister lives in another singlewide next to my friend but refuses to help out. All the members of the tribe/housing cluster are undocumented folks from Mexico. They regularly have their electricity turned off, do without heat in the winter, don't even dream of air conditioning in the summer, and struggle on food stamps, handouts and spotty work. They pay huge amounts of money to get forged social security cards to get minimum wage jobs at McDonald's. They pay huge fines and penalties if stopped for traffic violations, for not having valid drivers licenses, liability insurance, inspection stickers, current registrations, etc., etc. I have loaned my friend money countless times to pay these fines. The government has locked her up a couple of times for traffic violations, but mostly seems to just want huge amounts of money that she does not have. Now they just want her to leave.

No matter about the children and grandchild, all minors, she will leave in the United States.

Where we live the unemployment rate is 11.9%, not counting those who have stopped looking for work. And, since we have not finished the census, not counting the undocumented working in the cash-only economy.

I don't have an answer but I live daily with the questions. This is not working. People are suffering. There is no dignity in this suffering. An A-student in the 10th grade should have some hope of going to college and her daughter should have some hope of not growing up in a group home.

Tear these borders down.

When in Rome do as Romans do.

We are mainly talking of five historical cultures in the Americas; The non-genocided First Nations, the Spanish, the English, the Portuguese and the French.

U.S. citizens are welcome in Canada, if frontiers goes down but keep your guns and agressivity in your States it has no place in Canadian Provinces.

Let's be Fair, I understand that you had succeed to break with the British Queen Dominion but you know have to regain a sense of fairness and just a little bit of empathy towards the others, you still have a Western Cowboy MindSet, evoluate damn it. Even in First Nations unfavored in Canada the misery I witness in U.S. is pure hell compare to us.

I never saw such misery as in the U.S. in North America you are 'stoned' in you dreams, wake up just like you did today in L.A. in New Mexico, get the racists in Fema Camp, there is plenty of room for them and maybe enough place, altough that U.S. has 6 times more people in Jail than in China, 3 times more than in Iran, etc...

Wake up before you become pieces on the ground, there are so many already, just be Human.

I'm an Arizonan, and I don't exactly agree with you ... there are TWO problems going on in AZ, undocumented immigrants and drug smuggling. The Friday shooting of a Pinal county deputy was more because the shooters were drug smugglers than because they were illegal immigrants.

The main effect of all this tight border control and "war on drugs" has been to act as price supports for the drug lords, by restricting supply. So the drug cartels start fighting over who gets to control the best routes and distribution systems ... and Mexico gets hammered because of our addicts. It's their war, and our screwed up drug policy.

De-criminalize drugs and put that money into addiction treatment and research. Make the profit from smuggling go away and the drug cartels would quickly run out of money to buy guns and politicians with.

NOTE: My paternal grandmother was an illegal immigrant. My father and several other relatives made a considerable amount of money during Prohibition smuggling alcohol across the Canadian border. Not enough to turn them into the Kennedy clan, but enough to put my dad through college and buy some ranches.

By Tsu Dho Nimh (not verified) on 01 May 2010 #permalink

This is not a new idea and it is one I started considering during the previous immigration march. Here is a WSJ editorial about (then) Pres. Vicente Fox's Open Borders idea -
Note the date: July, 2001. 9/11 ended this fact, the Bush administration essentially ignored immigration until it could be ignored no more. It was pretty depressing when even Bush's proposals were considered too liberal.

It is an undeniable fact that the worst terrorist attack on US soil (Pearl Harbor was an act of war on military targets) was committed by those who immigrated to this country (some who stretched or broke the limits of immigration laws). In fact, there has been more than one act of terrorism committed on US soil by immigrants - consider the bombings carried out by immigrant followers of Luigi Galleani in 1919. Because of this, the notion of open borders will not be a realistic solution any time in the near future. Unfortunately, a large-scale terrorist attack is not some theoretical yet highly-improbable scenario envisioned by extremists; it was reality. So, national security will likely always be the trump card of any anti-open borders campaign.

That does not mean I think that open borders is not worth this risk. Everything has its price - look at Russia after the fall of communism. Life expectencies fell dramatically, some to pre-WWII levels, income disparities increased and civil unrest in the hinterlands has caused disruption and risk in the heart of the motherland.

I really like kagiso's example of Spain and the EU - it provides a real-world demonstration of the effectiveness of open borders. But even Spain must consider issues of national security, given the hit on they took (5/11). And the EU is having its own set of immigration issues - sometimes it is hard to tell articles on immigration from the two regions.

While the idea of open borders has an allure and certainly appears to be the most pragmatic solution to this issue, it is not one that has any real potential of being implemented. Risk of attack on our soil, no matter how small (especially over many years), is not a price the majority of citizens will be willing to pay.

Its a small World Lao Tsu Dho Nimh,

My Great-Grand-Father worked for the Bronfman in Montreal and for Italians in North Chicago for few years smuggling booze to Italians but mainly to M.Kennedy.

WHen you let that megalomanic Sheriff (who I see signs of perceiving himself as the Eliott Ness of immigration) make daily Life hell for a visible minority, I do not even want to name that bastard who put under arrest clean-cut people in the city hall, nuff, I am now taking a deep breath.....


That bastard ignited the Cultural Solidarity among visible minority ( a sub-class eugenicist point of view ), too late Charlie Brown, your Governor has caved in a bit today certainly a lot more in the week to come concerning this law. (70 cities in U.S. today, not bad heh for Visible Minorities).

As for the Drug on War as Reagan said, it means in French War while stoned.

@ Karen

While the idea of open borders has an allure and certainly appears to be the most pragmatic solution to this issue, it is not one that has any real potential of being implemented.
end quote

The U.S.A. Constitution has ''enshrined'' the Iroquois Confederation pragmatic basics.

NorthComm is the Defence of North America that is Mexico-U.S.A. and Canada .... some Grey spot on Québec-France and First Nations that enshrines all the Hemisphere of North-Central-South Americas.

So yes the lay out has been laid 500 years ago.

Yes, the Army, Navy, Air Force and OUt of Atmosphere Forces are in position, it is consolidated Lieu-tenant.

Risk of attack on our soil, no matter how small (especially over many years), is not a price the majority of citizens will be willing to pay.

Hum...hum... In Canada we are alreafy paying. Pump it up and Wake Up.

I cannot talk for Revere but this Referential Historical Thread, for me, express His Caring as all Public Health Digne de ce Nom, should Dare to do.

I am Proud of 70 city citizens today.

We will work it out because we have no other viable choice.

Very small world: Eastport to St. John.

The elephant in America is substance abuse -- our economy is infused with drug money; our people are destroying their brains, bodies, and children; and we are syphoning our money into other countries for the return supply of aptly named dope. Research needs to focus on curing addictions, and on why our people are so desperate to become addicted. We need to decriminalize it as Nimh said, and reduce the prevalence.

did you miss my point deliberately, or was I just that unclear? none of the things you cited address the problem caused by flooding the market with cheap labor.

I know more about this than I'm willing to spend time typing, being an over 50 construction worker that has watched his trade practically destroyed by illegals and the practices associated with hiring them. I don't believe opening the door to immigration will solve a single issue that's created.

if I'm not too irritated to, I chuckle when I hear people complain about job outsourcing and the sending of jobs overseas, and wonder how they consistently fail to see that it's no different from importing cheap labor. both serve management interests and force formerly well-paying jobs out of the market.

the only thing that will solve the problem is to enforce the existing laws against hiring illegal workers. kill the market for the labor, and the laborers will stop coming. make it clear to everyone that there's no personal financial gain to come from hiring illegals or acting as a broker for their labor.

I shudder to think how your proposal would affect working-class Americans. it would be terrible.

hmmph: I like to think you were unclear, because I try not to deliberately distort what someone is saying (I am as likely to misunderstand as the next person of course, but I don't do it deliberately). However there are many paths to where you want to go, which is to be able to be gainfully employed at your job. We can make it easier to form a union, since historically the main gains have been through unionization. We can enact and enforce minimum wage and strict health and safety laws. We can have consumer protection regulations and the threat of tort liability so that cheap and shoddy merchandise isn't for sale. Your arguments about immigrants were the same arguments about integrating the labor unions or work sites, it seems to me. All those black workers willing to work for less who were never in your workplace before. I don't see the difference.

Immigrants do a lot of work you aren't willing to do: housecleaning, fruit picking, all manner of service jobs. Those jobs are available to anyone. But non-immigrants don't want them. They don't pay enough. But someone would have to do them without immigrants or you would have a dirty hotel room. That's what you are getting and you accept it gladly -- unless it's your ox that's being gored.

I love this idea! I would encourage all of you to take advantage of the opportunity and move to your favorite southern neighbor. Where ever you end up I'm sure the locals will look forward to your help.

I am glad to see that not all here have followed the red herring of Immigration. Illegal immigration is a symptom, I thought a bunch of well educated medical types would have seen the larger picture.

How bad does your world have to be for you to leave your family and friends, travel hundreds of miles, contract with deadly criminals, and live in fear in a country that, at best, mildly despises you?

"Immigrants do a lot of work you aren't willing to do: housecleaning, fruit picking, all manner of service jobs. Those jobs are available to anyone. But non-immigrants don't want them."

This argument is so wrong as to be offensive. I constantly hear it from people who are well educated and work in highly specialized fields. Your job isn't at jeopardy...yet. Let's have this conversation in 10 years after you drop the borders and highly trained, well educated people from India, China or Eastern Europe will be doing your job for 2005 wages.

Everyone needs an entry level job at some point in their life. Not everyone wants to spend the time and money necessary to have a high paying career. These jobs that "non-immigrants" don't want to do because "they don't pay enough" are jobs that were once filled by citizens and legal immigrants. I challenge you to show me one single example of a job that is done by illegal immigrants now that has kept it's pay in line with inflation. Start with 1980 as the base year.

Jubal: Highly skilled people from elsewhere get H1B visas and don't have many barriers to entry to the US. They are already "competing" with us in science and I say the more the merrier. Science doesn't have borders. If they are better scientists than I am, they should have my job. Science will be the better for it. As for the rest, whenever immigration is cut off there is a severe shortage in the agrigultural sector. They could hire anyone they want. But there is no one to hire who will do that kind of work for those wages. That's exploitation. So maybe you want to fix that, too. I sure, do.

What about these regulations and restrictions imposed on foreigners going into Mexico?

The Mexican government will bar foreigners if they upset "the equilibrium of the national demographics." How's that for racial and ethnic profiling?

If outsiders do not enhance the country's "economic or national interests" or are "not found to be physically or mentally healthy," they are not welcome. Neither are those who show "contempt against national sovereignty or security." They must not be economic burdens on society and must have clean criminal histories. Those seeking to obtain Mexican citizenship must show a birth certificate, provide a bank statement proving economic independence, pass an exam and prove they can provide their own health care.

Illegal entry into the country is equivalent to a felony punishable by two years' imprisonment. Document fraud is subject to fine and imprisonment; so is alien marriage fraud. Evading deportation is a serious crime; illegal re-entry after deportation is punishable by ten years' imprisonment. Foreigners may be kicked out of the country without due process and the endless bites at the litigation apple that illegal aliens are afforded in our country.

Law enforcement officials at all levels â by national mandate â must cooperate to enforce immigration laws, including illegal alien arrests and deportations. The Mexican military is also required to assist in immigration enforcement operations. Native-born Mexicans are empowered to make citizens' arrests of illegal aliens and turn them in to authorities.

Ready to show your papers? Mexico's National Catalog of Foreigners tracks all outside tourists and foreign nationals. A National Population Registry tracks and verifies the identity of every member of the population, who must carry a citizens'identity card. Visitors who do not possess proper documents and identification are subject to arrest as illegal aliens.

All of these provisions are enshrined in Mexico's Ley General de Poblaci¢n (General Law of the Population) and were spotlighted in a 2006 research paper published by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Security Policy. There's been no public clamor for "comprehensive immigration reform" in Mexico, however, because pro-illegal alien speech by outsiders is prohibited.

Consider: Open-borders protesters marched freely at the Capitol building in Arizona, comparing GOP Gov. Jan Brewer to Hitler, waving Mexican flags, advocating that demonstrators "Smash the State," and holding signs that proclaimed "No human is illegal" and "We have rights."

But under the Mexican constitution, such political speech by foreigners is banned. Non-citizens cannot "in any way participate in the political affairs of the country." In fact, a plethora of Mexican statutes enacted by its congress limit the participation of foreign nationals and companies in everything from investment, education, mining and civil aviation to electric energy and firearms. Foreigners have severely limited private property and employment rights.

As for abuse, the Mexican government is notorious for its abuse of Central American illegal aliens who attempt to violate Mexico's southern border. The Red Cross has protested rampant Mexican police corruption, intimidation and bribery schemes targeting illegal aliens there for years. Mexico didn't respond by granting mass amnesty to illegal aliens, as it is demanding that we do. It clamped down on its borders even further. In late 2008, the Mexican government launched an aggressive deportation plan to curtain illegal Cuban immigration and human trafficking through Cancun.

Mexico is doing the job Arizona is now doing â a job the U.S. government has failed miserably to do: putting its people first. Here's the proper rejoinder to all the hysterical demagogues in Mexico (and their sympathizers here on American soil) now calling for boycotts and invoking Jim Crow laws, apartheid and the Holocaust because Arizona has taken its sovereignty into its own hands.

Lea: your point? We should have immigration policies like Mexico? How about Saudi or Israel? What exactly is your point?

OHN BLASINGAME: You can fight. In fact, you've got a duty to fight. There's some words to a song that get right to the heart of this.

(SINGING) You law abiding citizens, listen to this song. Laws were made by people and people can be wrong. Once unions were against the law, but slavery was fine. Women were denied the vote and children worked the mines. The more you study history, the less you can deny it. A rotten law stays on the books 'til folks with guts defy it.

And that's right at the heart of the matter. We defy the bad ones and we fight for the good ones. And that's what we're about.

Bill Moyers just retired

Just calling a spade a spade revere.

Was going to put the link in but decided to post the words instead. No ones trying to plagiarize anything, it does happen all the time by the way, but that's beside the point.
Why should I bother changing what was written? The facts speak for themselves.

I've a friend in Arizona who has lived there for 10 years and what Michelle wrote is spot-on according to him. That's part of the whole story too revere, you'd have to live in Arizona to truly grasp the True Facts.
And I haven't mentioned the devastation to the deserts of Arizona caused by illegal immigrants. It will take a decade or more to repair the damage.

Lea: I still don't know what your (Malkin's) point is. We let Chinese scientists into the US. Does that mean we need to adopt China's immigration pollicies? As for damage to the desert, it could be prevented by sane immigration laws and sane drug laws. I notice you don't argue that because drug smugglers kill people we need to have stronger drug laws. We would have no one here illegally if we changed the law so that it wouldn't be illegal any more. Same with drugs. We don't want to make everything legal. Just things it makes sense to make legal.

Won't argue anymore revere, just sharing a view point.
Michelle's facts speak for themselves, how could it be explained any better? Double standards?
Your Chinese example is poor kiddo, they come here legally.

And drug smuggler's may kill people but it's Prohibition that's allowing it to happen.

Saw a beat up old Volvo four days ago on the highway and thought of you revere.

Until people seriously look into the true reason behind Prohibition, and how it's related to illegal Mexican immigrants, we will never come to a reasonable solution.

My time and activism now is directed towards Ending Prohibition. And I really do have you to thank for that revere. You chewed out someone several years ago about not being an activist, and that's when I decided the one thing I wanted to do was end the war on drugs. I was active in the 70's, grew tired of it, but am now back in the "game."

That's where my energy lies, and it's precious little energy anymore these days.
You love humanity revere yet you refuse to address Prohibition because of your profession. I can understand that, kind of, but not really.

Lea: And drug smuggler's may kill people but it's Prohibition that's allowing it to happen.

And it's bad immigration law that's destroying the desert.

The elephant in the room is this:

I've never quite understood why, if I go to the bank and talk to a mook in a suit for fifteen minutes, I can move my money overseas, no questions asked. If I want to move my labour overseas, either because I just want a change of venue or because I think my skills will be in more demand there, I have to go through a tortuous and humiliating process that can last for years, and even then I'm not guaranteed to be able to go.

I've never quite understood why that is...except that it's awfully convenient for the Owner Class.

By realinterrobang (not verified) on 02 May 2010 #permalink

Agree with your last remark revere. Unfortunately the immigration issue is multifaceted, compliments of corrupt g'ments all the way around.
A change is necessary but do you see the WH doing anything constructive about it? No, just silence and the occasional good gesture followed by nothing concrete.
That's why Arizona did what it did and I simply can't agree to giving illegal Mexicans that are here now a free ride into citizenship. We need to end the drug war, taking away the fear of death, so Mexican people can return to their country and actively participate in changing it.

If you care to read about the killings because of Prohibition go read Walter McKay's blog.

Police Accountability and Reform

Lea: I agree neither the WH nor the Congress/Senate (either. Party) are doing anything constructive. I said what I thought was a constructive thing to do. What do you advocate?

Sweetheart, End the War on Drugs so the beautiful Mexican people can return to their country and actively participate in attempting to change it.

Bottom line: People are Lazy. Politicians aren't listening, we are being ignored and most are turning a blind eye to it. We are being manipulated big time and denying it all the while.

People talk a great deal, people say they're good and then bitch when someone else says something that doesn't sound ethical or right. Then these very people do nothing, not a frakking thing.

The H-1B visa is NOT like dropping the borders. Visas are capped at 65,000/yr and these people can only stay for 3-6 years. Employers must also pay the prevailing wage. Put your money where your mouth is. Let in 6,500,000 well educated folks who would be happy to do your job for 50%-70% of your pay and I can guarantee your employer will be dropping salaries and/or firing staff. That's competition.

Your analysis of agricultural labor supply is only the beginning of the formula. What do you think will happen if the farmer can't fill those positions? ECON 101, she'll raise wages to attract staff, just like they do in your field, and then pass the cost on to me and you.

"All that's necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
Benjamin Franklin


Everyone needs an entry level job at some point in their life. Not everyone wants to spend the time and money necessary to have a high paying career. These jobs that "non-immigrants" don't want to do because "they don't pay enough" are jobs that were once filled by citizens and legal immigrants. I challenge you to show me one single example of a job that is done by illegal immigrants now that has kept it's pay in line with inflation. Start with 1980 as the base year.

Entirely agree!

My daughter graduated from college last year. Of her graduating class, (plus others who'd graduated a year or 2 earlier) for those who live in NYC where she is, she is the ONLY one with a full-time job that is also in her area of interest AND that pays a somewhat livable salary. Everyone else is doing different permutations of part-time jobs on hourly, often minimum wages. Almost no one is making enough to live on, without help from parents etc. Many are looking for ANY job, at ANY wage, and not succeeding.

Everyone needs an entry level job, at some point, if only to get them on their feet and put some dignity into their lives. And that's not even considering those who have families to feed...

Just to clarify, again. I'm not saying immigrants caused the problems. What I'm pointing out is the harshness of the current economic climate on many many desperate people who are unemployed or under-employed.

I don't know about you (and it ain't my country, and ain't my call..) but I have no stomach for inflicting such a novel 'experiment' on them. Once the genie is out of the bottle, you can't put it back.

And that is speaking as someone who has everything to gain if the US really does practice an 'open border' policy. My daughter is currently working under OPT, which is a 1-year extension on her student visa allowing a graduate to gain experience in their area of study. She's going to grad school next but boy, wouldn't she LOVE to not have to go through the red-tape of visas etc, and work for whoever she wants, on whatever she fancies!!

Maybe it is because I come from an Audible Minority but there are different kinds of Immigrants and variable approach to adopt.

The Regional Ones as it is the case in Arizona and Northern Mexico and of course there are Expertises Immigrantion and of course Humanitarian Immigration.

If I do have a neighbour that is poor or rich, from a regional minority or not, who I agree with or not, if his house starts to burn, I as my neighbours will help this neighbord.

What does it look like when neighbours do not help each other and work for common interest, well it looks like West and East Jerusalem who ironically means Possession of Peace.

Snowy Owl

My relatives came to this country in the 1890s quite legally (as far as I know), but I have wondered sometimes what if those Jewish persons, my own more distant relatives and others, who could not immigrate here legally had been able to get here illegally. Every one might been one fewer victim for the Holocaust.
Having had to take, as a reentry single mother, a minimum-wage entry-level job not for the first time, I agree those jobs are needed by citizens/legal residents. They are also needed by those who are neither. Why should being a citizen etc. give one more right to them?

Why should being a citizen etc. give one more right to them?

Paula, It isn't a rights question. It's a practical question of how a country (any country) with limited resources should prioritize who they should take care of first. Whatever we think of it, our world is right now organized into nation-states. It would be great if the US taxpayers have unlimited resources to keep its citizens AND all comers happily employed or otherwise provided for, but such resources do not exist, in any country. So governments (and voters/taxpayers) have to come up with some compromise solution that most people can live with.

That's what it is, politics, the art of compromise...

Thanks for the civics lesson, SusanC. Looks in this case as if our compromise means we keep (what was once a hunk of Mexico, plus our winnings from NAFTA, etc. etc.) and they suffer. Y'know?

Sigh... Paula, you're right. Can't win them all. Hence why I said no easy solutions...


Kagiso thinks "Not actually so original, this is what the EU has been doing for 50 years." but in fact the EU also makes heroic efforts to keep immigrants out. A Spanish taxi driver not long ago told me he thought illegal immigrants were one of the biggest problems in Spain! And if you think it's hard to immigrate to the US, just try immigrating to the EU! They really don't want you.

Open borders would solve some big problems (like the police state measures used to control immigration), but I don't see how it could possibly *not* lower wages, especially for low-skill workers, since it almost guarantees a larger set of low-skill workers.

Most of the work immigrants overwhelmingly do now was mostly done by citizens fairly recently. I mean, we had meat packing plants and hotel maids and lawn care back before immigrants (legal and illegal) more-or-less took over those jobs.

By albatross (not verified) on 07 May 2010 #permalink

SusanC, guess my sarcasm didn't come through. What we all need to do is open up a bit and imagine that *we're* the ones in a poor or war-ravaged country trying to keep our family alive by going over a border to somewhere with slightly better, however difficult, chances. I recommend seeing the good film "El Norte" or reading some of Remarque's novels about being a refugee in the 1930s and 1940s. Beats simply sighing as if there's no solution.

Paula, I'm going to sigh again...

What we all need to do is open up a bit and imagine that *we're* the ones in a poor or war-ravaged country trying to keep our family alive by going over a border to somewhere with slightly better, however difficult, chances.

I'm second generation refugee. My parents escaped from communist China with nothing but the clothes on their backs. I grew up in shanty towns and public housing and didn't see indoor plumbing till I went to university. I remember as a child, as a birthday present, getting a whole egg to myself for dinner, instead of it being scrambled with rice etc to be shared among a family of six.

I know how hard it is to get from subsistence to some semblance of 'decent' livelihood. Don't think I don't know what it's like. I'm lucky. I had parents who believed in education, which I personally attribute as the single most important element (plus the economic environments in the 80s etc) in my own journey out of poverty. For every 'success', many more remain destitute.

If I look at developing countries, I see plenty of poverty, plenty of misery, and things that need to change. But I also look at our society in the West, where there's a similar and simultaneously different type of poverty. Poverty that is hidden by the apparent trappings of modern life. It may not be the kind where people regularly go hungry, although I also know that it exists, but the struggles of those who live on minimum wage, or just above it, the unemployed and under-employed, people who constantly worry about their jobs disappearing, not being able to pay for healthcare, etc are real, unrelenting, and escalating.

Again, I don't have simple or easy solutions. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't do whatever we can that is within our power to make a difference. Part of that process, however, requires a fair amount of detached observation, to get beyond our first gut instinct that "something must be done" (the road to hell is often paved with good intentions...), and to carefully evaluate piece by piece, anything that we consider might be a a policy option. In that process, at least for me, I've come to an increasing awareness of the complexity of the poverty question, in addition to the complexities of migrant labor, just for instance.

In that context, much as I respect revere and share his concerns about poverty and the plight of immigrants, I don't see his proposal as a viable standalone solution. That's all I'm saying...

Failed job hunt ends in overdose at 21

A young woman who had left school with ten GCSEs and three A levels apparently killed herself because she felt âhumiliatedâ when she could not get a job.

Vicky Harrison, 21, spent two years looking for work but with no success. The day after receiving yet another letter saying that she had failed in her application and interview for a job, this time at a nursery, she took an overdose of pills, her family said.

She left a note to them which read: âI donât want to be me any more. Please donât be sad. It is not your fault. I want everybody in my life to be happy.â

The case comes the day after unemployment rose to a 16-year high of 2.5 million.

Read the full story.

Does it give you pause? It does me...

Senator Gravel: "I agree with this idea" then links to your web pages? Heavy sigh ....... And I thought I was bad at presenting my thoughts on blogs.

Also read your supposed stance on the War on Drugs. If you are serious, which I doubt, you'd do well to get in contact with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, LEAP. Or talk to Howard Wooldridge, Citizens Opposing Prohibition, COP.
Only a handful of talking heads are doing anything worthwhile to try to end the war on drugs and the horrors it has brought to so many otherwise good people.

I wonder what the countries from whence these immigrants come think about this.

By Katharine (not verified) on 08 May 2010 #permalink

Katherine: Don't know. Is it relevant? What do you think about Americans going to France? Do you care?