Friday, May 19, 2006
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Matthew Yglesias has some interesting posts and links up on the immigration question. This post takes down Robert Samuelson's recent Newsweek essay on whether Mexican immigrates will assimilate into the United States -- it echoes some of what I wrote about Samuel Huntington's argument from a few years ago.
He also links to this fascinating piece of polling analsis from Bryan Caplan:
I naturally assumed that states with a lot of immigrants would be anti-immigrant. After all, whenever I visit L.A., the complaints about immigration never stop. But it looks like I'm smack in the middle of a biased sample of elderly Angelenos. On average, high-immigration states like California are unusually PRO-immigrant....
Finally, I've signed Alex Tabarrok's open letter on immigration, which is reprinted below the fold.
Dear President George W. Bush and All Members of Congress:References and further information can be accessed by clicking here.
Other social scientists who wish to sign can do so by clicking here.
Immigration in recent decades of low-skilled workers may have lowered the wages of domestic low-skilled workers, but the effect is likely to be small, with estimates of wage reductions for high-school dropouts ranging from eight percent to as little as zero percent.
How about you give up 8 percent of your salary, and then I'll be OK with you calling that "small."posted by: Rick Latshaw on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
The polling question here was whether immigrants take jobs away from Americans or do they do jobs Americans won't do. There are far better questions that could have been asked to ascertain folks views on immigration.
The native-born in high-immigrant states are going to have a more favorable view of immigrants, to some extent, just because of self-selection. People threatened by immigrants often move somewhere else. People who like that diversity move in.
But this isn't a question about an opinion; it's one about a fact. People in low-immigrant states still see the native-born doing landscaping work, while people in high-immigrant states see that industry, as well as janitorial work and food service, as nearly universally going to immigrants or people they assume are immigrants, legal or not.
In other words, people in high-immigrant states are just more likely to answer this question incorrectly. There's no job that Americans won't do. I've been a janitor and worked in food service and even done a very little bit of landscaping work. I've seen the native born of all races do this work all my life-- until I moved to Chicago.
In other words, people in low-immigrant states haven't gotten around to assuming that those industries are only suitable for Mexicans (or other Third World immigrants), which is the unspoken racist assumption in half of the question being asked.posted by: withrow on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
First, there are many of us who are pro-immigration but anti illegal immigration.
This seems to imply that anyone who does not agree totally with the pro-immigration crowd is just stupid.
Yeah, right.posted by: save_the_rustbelt on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
I've seen the native born of all races do this work all my life-- until I moved to Chicago.
That appears to be involved in the elite "thinking" on this issue. Most of them live in large cities like L.A., NYC, DC, or Chicago. Many of those they've seen doing these jobs are immigrants. Therefore, they assume that only immigrants will do those types of jobs.
Here's my response to the open letter on immigration. They seem to have glossed over a few things.posted by: TLB on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
Let me answer your points:
1. The wisdom of having so many immigrants from one country.
By which you really mean "we have too many damned Mexicans here". Be honest and say it.
Since you so clearly believe this, why not start by proposing that all those illegal immigrants fighting for the U.S. in Iraq be the first ones to be deported? Hey, they can be easily identified and rounded up!
...and treated Mexicans like dirt ever since (in Texas, Jim Crow laws were directed as much to Mexicans as to blacks). However, for 99.9% of Mexicans that's water under the bridge. Sure, there are loonies like the compadres in MeCHA, but they're as representative of Mexican opinion as the KKK is of white Americans.
3. And, especially when many political leaders have expressed irredentist views and that viewpoint is held by a certain percentage of those immigrants.
Which is? Close to zero. But then again, I'm pretty sure you've never talked to an immigrant in your life.
It is clear that the current situation is far from ideal for all the parties involved. But treating immigrants as criminals is not the answer.
And illegal immigration has nothing to do with corruption. Remeber, Duke Cunningham and his like
5. The political power inside our country that Mexico and other countries have been able to obtain by sending us millions of people, and the impact of those countries continually trying to meddle in our internal politics.
Yes, I forgot the U.S. never, ever interferes in the internal politics of other nations.
Irony aside, could you provide an example of Mexican interference in American politics outside the realm of immigration, where it has a very legitimate interest?
If Mexican influence is so powerful, how come the House approved a patently draconian ani-immigration bill in the first place?posted by: Andres on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
Is Caplan's polling analysis rendered slightly less fascinating by the fact that at least five "high-immigrant" states -- New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois and Florida -- have been that way for many years now? Dispersal of new immigrants to parts of the country in which they are more likely to come in contact with Americans unaccustomed to immigrants is one of the major factors driving discontent with the level of illegal immigration today. One of the others, obviously, is the fact of its being illegal -- not that this should concern social scientists at all.
Incidentally, having read Samuelson's column I took its main point as relating to a future in which large nunbers of elderly English-speaking native-born Americans are supported by high levels of taxation applied to the incomes of large numbers of low-skilled, hence poorly paid immigrants. Samuelson's preferred solution to this is to give greater preference to (legal) immigrants with advanced skills and education from countries like India, reduce the number of unskilled illegal immigrants entering the country every year from Latin America, and (as he has written often in other columns) reduce the level of benefits future retirees are now entitled to.
Now, is this argument racist? I mean this in the literal sense, as opposed to the liberal sense. Liberals seeking to assure others of their kind that they belong and secondarily to display their superior morality are apt to apply the word "racist" to any argument to which race is even remotely relevant. Many birds do the same kind of thing with songs, displays of plumage, and things of that nature.
This instinctive behavior Dan chooses to call young Yglesias' "takedown" of Samuelson, but the literal definition of "racist" is hard to square with advocacy of increasing the number of highly educated Indians and Chinese entering the country while reducing the number of uneducated Hispanics, with a view toward reducing future friction between immigrant workers and their descendants and native-born white -- and black -- retirees.
And if Dan would excuse an economic question from a non-economist, how exactly do immigrants not reduce the wages of low-skilled native-born workers but do make possible lower consumer prices?posted by: Zathras on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
The 'consensus' contains precious little economics and a lot of platitudes about 'immigrant nation' etc. Heard it all before, but I guess its nice that libertarian economists can spout it --collectively!
Second, some of the pro-immigration 'data' --esp. the NBER paper-- is based on computer models, not empirical data.
Third, if a small percentage of Americans is harmed by immigration, why is their consistent polling data that show that Americans are opposed to illegal immigration, and generally want immigration levels reduced? Are they stupid, or do they realize that immigration has deleterious economic and non-economic effects.
Fourth, there is a real current of irredentism among Mexicans and Mexican immigrants. Anyone who has seen MEChA literature knows that. MEChA has chapters in high schools (!) and colleges throughout the Southwest -- this is not some fly by night operation.
Fifth, the positive economic effect of immigration for natives has been calculated at $1 to $10 billion. That is, about $10 to $100 per year for each native born household. That does not include negative externatilities. Would I pay $100 per year to have the freeways of LA as clear as they were May 1, you bet! And most native born
Six, Caplan's piece has been addressed already. I would like to see him correct for not only percentage of immigrants but also for percentage of immigrants children , who naturally have a high opinion of their parents. Really, to put that up, even informally, points to ideological bias rather than committment to any sort of truth finding.
Andres, asking how Mexico interferes in US affairs aside from immigration is like asking how OJ Simpson is as a husband, aside from the incident with Nicole. But I found one example with about a five second search. Jorge Castaneda, while foreign secretary, suggested that Mexican nationals be allowed to vote in local US elections.
Why not start by proposing that all those illegal immigrants fighting for the U.S. in Iraq be the first ones to be deported?
Data on significant numbers of illegals fighting for the US -- zero. There might be a dozen or twenty, but that is hardly significant.posted by: Mitchell Young on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
save_the_rustbelt: agreed. I'm for fairly high levels of immigration (up to whatever the best guess is for assimilation, which I admit is extremely slippery and subjective). Heck, I'm even open to something approaching unlimited immigration. I just want to know who is coming across the border. Specifically, I don't want criminals or terrorists to be allowed entry. With our lack of border control and lack of seriousness about fixing it (or even that it is a problem), these concerns will not be met.
I know this is a bit of hyperbole, but seriously, I don't think this problem will be adequately addressed until a WMD attack on American soil is successfully carried out by an "undocumented immigrant". I hope this never happens, but it seems to me that until we control the borders, this is an unacceptable risk, especially with what's going on in Iran right now.posted by: Jason Holliston on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
Isn't there a simpler explanation?
Those who have immigrants nearby like the short term advantages of cheap labor?
They like being able to hire an illegal nanny or maid? They like having 20 men help wash their car for $15? They like being able to pick up a few young men to help move their boxes for 50 bucks?
So, they themselves DON'T WANT TO DO THOSE jobs, and don't have to?posted by: anon on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
Polls regarding public opinion of immigration are nice. How do people poll regarding illegal immigration?posted by: Tim Mathews on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
-That's the best example you can offer? A suggestion by a Mexican official? Come on. Suggestions are meaningless. Compared to some immigrant communities -Cubans come to mind--Mexicans (at any level) wield very little political influence here. Having said that, I do believe it would be better for both nations to have a closer, more cooperative relationship.
I won't even get into how often the U.S. intervenes abroad.
-Regarding MEChA, I don't deny that they exist. But loony, strident organizations are a dime-a-dozen and not representative. Loudness should not be confused with popularity. As far as I can tell, its just an ethnic pride thing.
And besides, who in their right mind wants to recreate Mexico here?
In fact, the U.S. should consider itself lucky that Mexicans, like many other groups, have faced a lot of abuse and discrimination in the U.S. without becoming bitter. Having a sense of humor helps.
posted by: Andres on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
And besides, who in their right mind wants to recreate Mexico here?
Seemingly a lot of people, from open borders businessmen to home builders to 'ethnic pride' people to wacked out libertarian economists. Anyone who has been in a barrio in LA knows that we are recreating Mexico here -- similar population density, fighting cocks in the backyard, etc. My favorite proxy is the 'gate guarded community'. Rich white folks are fencing themselves off from the reality around them, just like in Mexico. I don't think that is very American. Certainly it isn't the southern california of my early childhood.posted by: Mitchell Young on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
Sure, there are loonies like the compadres in MeCHA, but they're as representative of Mexican opinion as the KKK is of white Americans.
It's good to hear you admit that MEChA are extremists. Now, you can tell it to former members like Los Angeles' mayor, CA state Sen. Cedillo, CA state assemblman Nunez, U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva. Yes, that's right: there's a proud former member of a racial separatist group currently serving in Congress.
And illegal immigration has nothing to do with corruption.
Oops, wrong again. Companies that profit from illegal immigration donate to politicians that allow illegal immigration and generally avoid donating to politicians who oppose illegal immigration. "Corruption" doesn't have to mean bags of cash exchanged in public parks.
could you provide an example of Mexican interference in American politics outside the realm of immigration, where it has a very legitimate interest?
Mexico certainly has an interest. As a sovereign nation, we also have an interest in making sure that Mexico's interest don't interfere with our own. Unfortunately, most of our leaders don't do that.
As for Mexican influence, here's one very small example. They have a program that gives free schoolbooks to various school districts, including the LAUSD. Those books represent Mexico's views, not our own. In other words, they're spreading foreign propaganda to children that we are supposed to be assimilating to America. I realize that means little to "liberals" or Mexican partisans, but those who are serious realize the danger.posted by: TLB on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
Could someone please tell me what public purpose is served by importing a proletariat? What exactly are these precious economic benefits we gain from this army of unskilled and largely illterate labor-- that is, aside from a few hundred dollars off our annual produce and hotel bills and home construction costs that are maybe $20/sq ft cheaper than they otherwise might be?
To Andres' points, yes, many, probably most, of the Mexican campesinos working here are fine people who probably contribute almost as much as they take from the public overall. This contribution is lower in the case of an illegal who contributes nothing in the way of social security tax but receives gratis medical care and has kids in the public schools, but let's put that aside for a second. I doubt anyone here has any problem with immigration; I myself don't even care that much about hte illegal aspect-- we've been winking at it for decades, so it's grossly unfair to single out one party in this national charade.
The essential issue is with illegal immigration by campesinos in an increasingly high-tech economy that demands high skills. Which means that the 11 million Mexicans in question, being by and large without skills, education and in many cases basic literacy (in Spanish or English), are
1) almost certainly having a huge adverse effect on wages and employment levels for unskilled native-born Americans, esp poorly-educated african-american males;
2) absorbing space in our immigrant queue that could be taken up by highly-skillled immigrants from around the world. I believe the H-1B cap is set at a ridiculously low 70,000 or so. It should be an order of magnitude higher.
Again, my heart goes out to the brave Mexicans who are simply trying to take care of their families, but as one who cares deeply about both economic justice ie opportunities for african-american males and others without skills and our nation's overall economic health, I have to agree that we'd be far better off if the unskilled, semi-literate/illiterate campesino population were cut by a few million and replaced with an equal number of (Indian)(Romanian)(Chinese)(Israeli)(Russian)(Moroccan)(Brazilian) and yes, Mexican programmers, research scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs.
So here's a pro-immigration suggestion: Reduce the number of unskilled, illliterate campesinos and replace them with an equal number of skilled immigrants from any and everywhere, including Mexico.posted by: thibaud on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
I mean , I can understand why a Republican Party that's totally dominated by business interests would welcome the creation of a rootless proletariat, but where's the party of the working man on this issue? What are the Democrats thinking? The best anti-poverty program available today is a fence along the border.posted by: thibaud on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
Daniel: This letter does not differenciate between illegal and legal immigration. Illegal immigrants are much poorer and less educated than out legal immigrants. If these economists are for open borders I would ask them who is to pay for the services that these illegal immigrants use: schools, hospitals and law enforcement. If they are for amnesty I would ask them what is going to happen to our medicaid and medicare budgets after amnesty not to mention Social Security.posted by: Robert Hayes on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
"Immigration in recent decades of low-skilled workers may have lowered the wages of domestic low-skilled workers, but the effect is likely to be small"...will it continue to be small if the numbers increase? How do you square the idea of small effect with supply and demand? If large quantities of iron ore were suddenly discovered in Mexico, what do you think would happen to the value of iron ore deposits in the US? The discovery might well be good for businesses and consumers in general, but those whose entire business was built on ore mining would be screwed. Isn't it clear that the same principle applies to labor?posted by: David Foster on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
Here's a question for an economist to consider.
Any businessman will tell you that the wages he has to pay to an employee are only one factor in deciding whether to hire the employee or keep him on. Another, and in some cases a more important factor is the employee's productivity.
In industries like residential construction and landscaping this can be a black-and-white issue. Employers facing time pressure on all their work want employees who work hard, who show up on time, who avoid drugs and criminal activity and who don't bring their family and personal problems to the job site. Obviously young men hundreds of miles from their families who send much of their pay home have some built-in advantages, since without relatives nearby or much discretionary income they have fewer opportunities to get into trouble and (probably) fewer objections to working overtime.
Yet the prevalence of Mexican workers in industries like these suggests that from employers' point of view they have advantages that go well beyond this. Evidence that I have seen -- which I admit is only anecdotal, and may well be wrong or misleading -- strongly supports the view that many employers are desperate to avoid hiring high-maintenance employees with poor work habits or other "issues," and consider many native-born Americans as falling into this category.
In other words, it isn't just that Mexican workers are doing jobs Americans won't do, or that they are doing them for less money. At least in some sectors, they may just be more productive workers.posted by: Zathras on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
I can't believe it. I agree with Save the Rustbelt......
That letter is all fine and dandy, but there is very little "THERE" there. Does not address any of the real issues around how many should be let in, who/how skilled should they be. And of course, as Rustbelt points out, the issue of those who come to America illegally. The key word here being ILLEGALLY.
The other factor that is completely ignored is that the problems (and some of the benefits) are often very localized. Say illegals harvest crops in California, making the food cheaper for those living in say Montana. But the cost of schools, emergency room healthcare etc falls on small towns in Arizona and California. Not those living in Montana. I have read that on the whole, illegals pay in taxes about what they use in services. But that is on average. Since illegals may use zero services in Bloomington, IN, but LOTS of service in Fresno, CA that burden weighs pretty heavily on Fresno. It is easy to talk about national 'averages' and national 'impacts' of those who come illegally, but much of the burden falls locally.posted by: Jason on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
Have you ever spent time on a construction site?
I have. Back in highschool I did labor over the summers for my brother in law. Most of the crew(s) were anglo back then, with a few Mexican Americans (not immigrants). I never saw anyone show up drunk or wasted, nor did I hear anyone complain about someone not showing up. It is impossible to imagine that someone who was unreliable would be retained, because construction is a modular process, and if one guy doesn't do his work it causes a bottleneck. Most of the pressure to work comes from fellow workers, because they rely on you -- not from the employer. No, everyone did their work, and the houses got built, and this was during the mid 1980's boom so there was big demand. And somehow, Americans did it.
More near the truth is that 1) the then unionized construction workers pissed off the developers and builders by demanding descent wages (though even then construction workers would have to commute from the inland counties to build on the coast, as they could not afford to live on the coast). 2) That most jobs in such industries are gotten by word of mouth, connections, and through relatives. Once the Mexicans got a foothold, they would recommend for hire cousins, brothers and so on. Of course, Americans do this too, but it is not so intense.
There are other factors. I was talking to my brother, a high school teacher, about shop and vocational education. In California, it has been eliminated. When I was in high school, there was an actual construction technology program, complete with a construction slab where the students would build a small house each semester. No longer. So non academic track high school kids graduate and go to work for $7.25 an hour as security guards or store clerks. Now, if we cut off the flow of cheap labor, the developers would be pressuring the high schools to provide them with kids who had some knowledge of construction and were high value added workers.
A small anecdote in this regard emerged the other day in the LAT. A women landscaper (and lobbyist for landscaping industry) was interviewed and complained she couldn't get workers at $34 / hr. Turns out, she was advertising by word of mouth. Once the story got out, she got 30 resumes in one day. Mickey Kaus and Michelle Malkin had the story.posted by: Mitchell Young on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
Actually, I have been on a plethora of construction sites, and more recently than Mitchell Young has. That's neither here nor there as far as this discussion is concerned, since the sites were mostly in rural and suburban areas in a belt between Fargo and Green Bay and my reason for being there always had to do with the HVAC systems my company made. So I didn't have much occasion to run across immigrant laborers either.
With that said, the point Mitchell is getting at bears thinking about. As I understand it, it is that looking at whether immigrant landscapers or roofers drive down the wages actually paid to native-born landscapers or roofers is too simplistic. One must also consider whether the presence of immigrant laborers has reduced wages paid to native born workers below what they would be if the available labor force were smaller. Young also makes the point that hiring patterns once established can discourage certain populations from seeking work in fields like construction if work is easier to find (albeit lower-paying) in service-oriented businesses.
I tend to agree with both points, as my rhetorical question upthread about how immigrants can provide lower consumer prices without lowering wages upthread suggested. I do think some of Young's assumptions -- for example the value of vocational education for a field like construction -- are more comforting than true, and have seen too much of the labor market not to believe that poor work habits are frequently seen among native-born Americans. But his main points are not wrong.
Are they moot? Given that 10-12 million -- no one knows the real number -- of illegal immigrant workers are already here, and that mass deportation is unlikely to happen no matter what Congress decides to do, does it not make more sense to consider where we go from here, and in particular whether we cannot limit severely the number of additional illegal immigrants entering the country, than to bemoan the water already over the dam? I think it's important to understand clearly what the economic impact of the surge of immigration over the last 10 years has been, rather than fuzzing it up as Tabarrok's letter does. I don't, however see much chance of returning the labor force to the size and composition it had fifteen years ago, nor do I think it fair to deny the virtues and accomplishments of the many immigrant workers here now, however much I may deplore their having broken the law to get here.posted by: Zathras on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
I will admit that the question was snarky, Zathras.
I stand by everything esle, though. It's hard to tell if vocational education would make a difference. I don't know what the situation is in other states, but in California (the most immigrant impacted) it has been eliminated. It would be an interesting cross-state study.
Another thing strikes me; I remember back in the 1980s (a was an early political geek) the 'opportunity Republicans' like Kemp and Gingrich used to say that jobs like flipping burgers were important, they taught good work habits and were a stepping stone into more responsible and productive work. Now, at least in California, those jobs are practicallly monopolized by Mexican immigrants. And now the message, sometimes from those same people, is that Americans are too lazy, finicky to do these jobs. There was a lot wrong with the so-called opportunity society, but certainly its proponents delivered a more upbeat message to poor working Americans than they do now.
A good insight into the American working poor, in my opinion, is Kathrine Newman's No Shame in My Game. She even shows, though glosses over, some of the effects of competition from Dominicans has on the native-born inner city black (and 2-3 gen Puerto Rican) population.posted by: Mitchell Young on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
"The simplest interpretation of the data is also the best: Direct observation of immigrants leads to more reasonable beliefs about the effects of immigration."
I think an equally simple explaination is self-selection. Americans who really don't like immigrants move out of high immigration areas. The remaining population poll as more pro-immigrant, but it would not be because exposure to them had changed their opinion. Perhaps we could invent a term for this strange new phenomenon. What about "white flight?"posted by: J. Random American on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
Given that 10-12 million -- no one knows the real number -- of illegal immigrant workers are already here, and that mass deportation is unlikely to happen no matter what Congress decides to do, does it not make more sense to consider where we go from here
The reason we have so many illegal aliens is because - surprise! - our leaders have refused to enforce the laws.
If they change the laws, does anyone seriously think they'll enforce those laws?posted by: TLB on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
Given that 10-12 million -- no one knows the real number -- of illegal immigrant workers are already here, and that mass deportation is unlikely to happen no matter what Congress decides to do, does it not make more sense to consider where we go from here.
TLB makes a good point -- the executive branch for the last 14 years has not enforced immigration law. I believe the Bush administration issued a grand total of three fines for hiring of illegals last year.
I would ask Zathras, what is the logical connection between enforcement and legalization. Even assuming none of the 12-20 (Bear Sterns estimate) illegals left, it does not follow that enforcement (wall, real employer sanctions, whater) requires legalization. From the moral point of view, the people here now knew quite well that they were breaking the law, they have no moral right to expect a reward.
From a practical point of view, legalization would mean an increase both in numbers of people admitted legally after any legalization (family reunification) and an increase in so-called pressure on the borders, because we know that immigration is inductive; the more immigrants you have the more who want to immigrate. This is not idle model spinning, we have experience with an amnesty in 1986. It simply increased the number of legal and illegal immigrants.posted by: Mitchell Young on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
does it not make more sense to consider where we go from here, and in particular whether we cannot limit severely the number of additional illegal immigrants entering the country, than to bemoan the water already over the dam?
Agree totally, both as a practical matter and as a matter of fairness. Many different native-born Americans are complicit in our nation's decades of winking at illegal immigration-- large employers, small employers, private household employers, and of course the educational and health care establishments that have never sought to challenge the laws that burden them with caring for illegal immigrants' children. James Q Wilson made a good analogy last week in a WSJ editorial when he said that punishing the illegals here (rather than providing amnesty-- and yes, it's an amnesty, let's call it by its proper name) after all these years of tolerance would be like allowing people for decades to go unpunished for severely underestimating their taxable income and then suddenly punishing them without an amnesty period. Let's make a clean break going forward by erecting a wall, now, but let's also not punish those whose decisions to come here were based on our own society's de facto invitation.posted by: thibaud on 05.19.06 at 10:29 AM [permalink]
et's also not punish those whose decisions to come here were based on our own society's de facto invitation
First, I disagree there was a de facto invitation. Having to work off the books, or make up fake id numbers, or buy forged documents, or cross a desert rather than enter through a port-of-entry should be evidence to a normal human that they are not invited. There has been a little bit in the MSM about the nature of Mexican immigration laws; the majority of illegals know very well about enforcement and minding borders. They are not the poor, ignorant, downtrodded campesinos that so many would like to portray them as.
The analogy with the IRS is faulty, in my opinion. The IRS would not let you ignore your past debts , nor would they allow you to continue underestimating your income -- the exact analogy of which is letting the illegals stay here. Or to take another example, the local library has an amnesty day and you bring back the book that is 20 weeks overdue, the fine is forgiven, but you don't get to enjoy your malfeasance by keeping the book.
Further, any amnesty itself can be interpreted as 'winking' ; the culture of amnesty started in 1986 and has continued via numerous small amnesties (eg. for Salvadorans affected by hurricane Mitch). Any reasonable person would conclude that in 2016 or 2026 the US will grant yet another amnesty, and head north, and some people here will say, "Well, they had the expection of being amnestied, as the US passed two before. We can't very well punish them now."
Being from California, I see illegals on a daily basis. I have even worked side-by-side with a guy who probably was illegal at one point if not when I worked with him. I can understand a bit of empathy with such people, but it is not as if they don't still have roots in their home countries. Time to dry up the jobs via employer sanctions, build the wall, and let them slowly drift back home.
Time to dry up the jobs via employer sanctions, build the wall, and let them slowly drift back home.
Mitchell, if we had adequate employer sanctions we wouldn't need a wall.
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