Monday, December 17, 2007

"Over-Quota" Immigrants

Last Wednesday, Gary Jacobsen returned to his favorite topic, "Interesting Immigration Information", in which he argued that immigration quotas are a political, not a legal issue:

In previous columns, I have argued that immigration quotas are a political, not a legal matter. A close examination of figures provided by the Department of Homeland Security bears that out. Here are the facts:

Several paragraphs were devoted to a history of immigration quotas, which I summarize here:

Before 1924: No restrictions except the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
1905-1914: slightly more than one million immigrants annually
1924: Johnson-Reed Immigration Act, limiting immigration by country.
1925: 294,314 immigrants.
1923: 23068 immigrants
1943: ban on Asians repealed,
1952: Immigration and Nationality
1960s: around 250,000 immigrants/year.
mid-80s: around 500,000 immigrants/year
1989: "A real breakthrough": 1,090,172 immigrants.
1991: 1,826,595 in 1991.
90s/00s: about a million a year.
2006: 1,266,264.

I wondered about the numbers, since with Gary you never know what he means by "immigrant". In this case the end of his column noted that the numbers were based on "persons obtaining Legal Permanent Resident Status".

Anyway, this was a long way to get to the point that immigration quotas change over time. Gary claims this makes them political rather than legal:

These numbers show that immigration quota numbers are easily bent and stretched, like rubber bands. Thus, although a general framework for immigration matters is set forth in Title 8 of the U.S. Code, political rather than legal considerations determine who ultimately is admitted to the United States.

Of course, the quotas are set by law, and many of the changes Gary cited were in fact LEGAL changes. But at some level, laws are passed for political reasons, so I guess in that sense the quotas are "political".

If I had to guess (and I'm certainly not going to assert with Gary, since I don't want to be sued), I think Gary might be trying to say that the times when we "restricted" immigration it was due to politicians pandering, not a good rational reason.

In any case, having noted that we have increased LEGAL immigration to almost 1.2 million people a year, Gary argues still that ILLEGAL immigration isn't a problem. But he hates using the term "illegal" when it comes to immigrants:

Mindful of these figures, U. S. citizens should not conclude that immigration matters can be resolved merely through police, court, detention and deportation actions. That is wholly unrealistic. Rather, politicians at the federal level must craft rules and policies, which protect the legitimate interests of the United States while still treating new arrivals, including "over-quota" immigrants, with compassion and understanding. If they cannot or will not do this, they might as well dismantle the Statue of Liberty and return it to France with a note saying, "not us, not now, not ever."

There's a lot to be corrected in this paragraph. Let's start with that charming euphemism "over-quota immigrants". The problem isn't simply that someone "let too many people in", which is what "over-quota" means, it's that some people are ignoring the legal process for immigrating, and instead are simply racing across the border illegally. That's why they are called "illegal immigrants", NOT because they exceeded quota, but because they didn't follow the legal method.

Second, he is correct that we shouldn't think "immigration" can be solved simply through "enforcement". But I don't think anybody is arguing that. The ILLEGAL immigrant problem requires enforcement. The legal immigrants don't need enforcement or deportation. In fact, we may need to increase the quotas for legal immigrants -- something we could do if we got rid of the ILLEGAL immigrants who are flooding the system, crowding out legal immigrants.

Of course, Gary never acknowledges "illegal" in immigration, and here he's trying to confuse the issue again.

Of course, enforcement alone won't solve the illegal immigration problem either. We can't simply deport them all. We need to guard the border to stop new illegal crossings. We need to crack down on companies taking advantage of illegals through substandard wages, or bad working conditions. We then need to increase penalties for employers who hire illegals when there are legal citizens and immigrants available to to the work. Finally, we need to institute better programs for hiring temporary legal immigrants, programs that closely track the immigrants since most illegals actually came here legally and then stayed when they were supposed to leave.

If we can do all these things, we can increase the quotas for legal immigrants, we can better regulate the migrant and temporary immigrant worker programs, and we can even grant legal status to the longest-term illegal population that has integrated into our society.

But we'll never accomplish any of these important goals so long as we treat illegal immigrants as simply "over-quota", and refuse to to anything to stop the flow of illegals into our country, or to remove them once they are here.

Why Hispanics think it's Racism, part 2

Last week, a man broke into a house and killed three people in Woodbridge. The man was an illegal immigrant, according to the newspaper, who no doubt researched the person's background.

Contrast that with how the President of Help Save Manassas identifies "illegals":

Here’s an interesting anecdote. I have no idea how common this might be, but stuff like this never helps to relieve widely-held concerns that the behavior of some of our (most likely) uninvited guests in this country may be counterproductive to good order in our society:

I witnessed something at the Walmart that is so clearly representative of what’s going on with illegals in this country, with their disrespect for our laws, and the willingness of citizens and business to look the other way. In a drink isle crowded with shoppers, we all watched while a Hispanic guy (complete with t-shirt with the Mexican flag and a tear-drop tattoo by his eye) ripped open a box of bottled waters and took one. ...

The question is, what was it that tipped Greg and the writer off to this guy's illegal status? That he was Hispanic? That he had a tattoo? That he had a Mexican flag on his shirt? Or simply that he broke a law?

Sure, the guy COULD be illegal. So could that nice oriental person at the Chinese restaurant, the Slavic lifeguards at the pool, and even that good-looking English girl who helps you find the perfect gift at Macy's.

But I wonder if Greg thinks that every Hispanic in our county is an illegal immigrant? If so, he's a perfect counterpart to Gary Jacobson, who doesn't believe in illegal immigrants, but only as he put it this week, "over-quota immigrants".

But so long as Help Save Manassas has a leader like Greg, people like Gary will have a following. Extremism begets extremism.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Why hispanics think it's racism, not illegals.

One has to look no further than the blog of the President of Help Save Manassas for clear examples of why the Legal Hispanic Community has a right to think that groups like Help Save Manassas are not really about illegals, but about ridding our county of Hispanics.

In a post titled "An Interesting Approach To Spanish-Language Signs", Greg relays a story from one of his readers:

I do most of my grocery shopping at Shoppers of Manassas up by Costco. I went in the other day and was tired of seeing some sign in Spanish on the door. I walked in reached around and took the sign down. I walked over to the customer service manager and said, “I do not approve of signs in anything other than English. Do not put this back up.”

Greg than exhorted his readers to follow this example:

The key here is to not damage any store property in any way, but to just bring it to the management with the request that they not display it. This could make one heck of a powerful statement if enough people did the same thing. At this point in the year, I imagine the last thing retail managers want to do is be constantly fooling with signage instead of managing their customers.

The idea Greg is pushing is that if his readers take down spanish signs in the stores, the managers will be too busy with Christmas to be able to run around and put them back up. He suggests that this does not "damage any store property", but of course the signs are the stores, as well as the placement of those signs.

And in fact, Greg admits this is a cost to the stores, noting that it will take time (paid time) away from dealing with customers if they have to put the signs back up.

TO their credit, SOME of Greg's readers showed a lot more sense than Greg did. Some examples:

You don’t have to like it, and you can stop shopping there if you want, but pulling that sign down comes pretty close to destruction of private property.
Lowe’s and Shoppers have every right to put up signs in Spanish and sell Spanish language birthday cards, and they freely exercise that right (as do Walmart, Home Depot, Target, CVS, Giant, and many other area retail establishments). Customers do NOT have the right to take down signs in stores without permission even though they’re annoyed.
Unlawfully removing a sign might build up morale for some, but it does a lot of harm to the rule of law point of view

Other regular readers saw nothing wrong with the suggestion, and in fact had their own complaints about Hispanics and the Spanish Language:

I’ve seen Hispanics (they were speaking Spanish) eating the peanuts out of the bin and throwing back the shells in the bin. I’ve saw another Hispanic couple (they were speaking Spanish) proceed to eat from the produce. Maybe we should call the health department.
We are whining about it because our cities (in America mind you) are being overrun by these Spanish signs. ... If they want to cater to a bunch of criminals that the local government chooses to coddle, against the wishes of its citizens, then they will do it without my patronage. The last time I was in there was about three years ago when the place was packed with Hispanics and it was literally like Scottie beamed me in to Mexico.

I stopped shopping at shoppers many years ago because they cater to the Hispanic crowd at my expense. It was like a Tijuana flea market in there with a gazillion Hispanics, half of whom were on food stamps, kids running amuck and all speaking foreign languages. I don’t want nor do I need to be around that. Bloom is a much nicer experience. I’ll pay the extra to shop somewhere that resembles America. I suggest you all do that as well.

Separate but unequal? "resembles America"? I wonder if the writer has ever been to a downtown ethnic neighborhood?

Another poster blamed republicans for this. I reject that notion, I don't know what these people are that post to Greg's web site, but Greg is no "republican", nor a "conservative", and the people he leads around aren't any republicans I know:

the post above and this subject is an example of why the Republican party continues losing elections in Virginia and elsewhere.
A campaign against Spanish language signs is clealy aimed at ALL Hispanics - legal or illegal, recently arrived individuals, or those who arrived with Cortez.

You can be in favor of border enforcement, but when you’re whining about Spanish language signs, you’re alienating millions of people.

Keep it up. The Republican party is the party of whiners and they will continue to be losers.

I urge all REPUBLICAN elected officials to appropriately distance themselves from Help Save Manassas so long as they have Greg Lettiecq as their President. This type of bigotry has no place in the Republican party, of which I believe Greg is no longer a member.

It's perfectly rational to argue that the STATE should do all business in English. It is criminal to call for people to tear down the private signs of a private business just because it bothers you that you can't read it.

This follows on the heels of a previous Greg complaint about a Hispanic entry in the Christmas parade. In that thread, one poster summed up the contention being raised in the community:

I think Freedom said it best with her “poke in the eye” remark. If the Latino community was, indeed, interested in living in peace with the rest of us they wouldn’t be trying to “poke us in the eye” at every turn. This past year has been one long continual “poke in the eye” from Hispanic extremists and their Anglo supporters. It’s almost as if they are TRYING stir up anger and negative emotions to the point where violence is inevitable.

If any reasonable Latinos who actually came to this country for the purposes that they claim (wanting only to work, seek a new and better life for their families, and earn the American dream on the path to citizenship) then they better start thinking long and hard about those they are allowing to put THIS face upon their efforts.

If I were talking to a Hispanic who was asking me how we could mend fences, I might find some nice way to say that. But when a white person makes that kind of statement to other white people in a thread complaining about Hispanics, the comment serves only to stir up resentment and anger.

Which seems to be the intent of Greg and his blog.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

NANOWRIMO is over.

I ended up with half a novel, slightly over 25,000 words. Considering that I started writing in earnest only a week ago, I am somewhat pleased, although I really wanted to make 50,000 my first year.

My daughter, who was a little more dedicated but doesn't type as fast as I do, ended up somewhere above 26,000 words. That means that the two of us together wrote more than 50,000 words for the event.

I have no idea if the half of a novel I've written has any value. Parts of it made my daughter laugh, and some make me cry to read it because it's so bad.

I could see a movie snippet from my two climax pieces. It would be a very bad movie. Although people would cheer.

I also wrote three newspaper columns this month, and participated in an election, and also have about 12,000 lights up so far for Christmas. So it's not like I could dedicate my life to writing a two-bit novel.

I'll need a few days for my fingers to recover, and then I should be back blogging.

Apparently, while I was gone we essentially won the war in Iraq. Our deaths are down dramatically, as are the Iraqis. Millions are pouring back into their country. People are out in the street, safer than several of our own major cities at night.

And apparently hell has frozen over, because today John Murtha, he of the "our marines are cold-blooded killers, and I don't care if there's no evidence", has just returned from Iraq with the sad knews (for democrats) the the surge is WORKING.

I wish all Americans could rejoice with me. But half of them are still trying to stop paying the troops that are winning the war, and they don't appear to be in a celebratory mood.