Latest Commentary

An Immigration Tipping Point

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President Obama's courageous executive action for the undocumented could signal the tipping point on American's attitude about immigration.

Change Is ..

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For ten years Rational Immigration has been saying that the best solution to the United States immigration issues is to allow lots of immigration while ensuring that most new immigrants don’t become burdens on society.

Poco a Poco

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On immigration President Obama has acted legally and effectively.  In their rhetoric against this new deferred action the anti-immigrant conservatives are to quote Macbeth: "Full of sound and fury.  Signifying nothing."

"Us" versus "Them"

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“Us” versus “Them”

In the 1970′s Henri Tajfela social psychologist at Bristol University conducted a series of amazing experiments about prejudice. What he learned was that ordinary people have an automatic bias toward “us” and against “them.” This applies even when the “us” is assigned randomly by the throw of a dice. Prejudice, he discovered, is cognitively deep-seated and is not a result of personality factors. Understanding this “in group” bias is helpful when devising strategies to counteract reflexive bias against immigrants who are almost always considered to be outsiders.

An Immigration Senate

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Let's be realistic the 100% Democrat government of 2009 to 2011 did not pass CIR (Comprehensive Immigration Reform), the divided Congress since then did not pass CIR and it is extremely unlikely that CIR will pass now with Republicans majorities in both houses of Congress.

Re-opening America

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In 1974 when I moved from Massachusetts to California I didn't have to ask permission from either Massachusetts or California.  Compare that to a story I read this morning about people from Cuba who went to Ecuador on tourist visas and then made their way overland to the USA.  Cuba would not give them permission to move to the USA but the USA gives all Cubans permission to stay if they can get here. Twenty thousand people followed this tortuous path last year.

Immigrants and Suffragettes

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There are parallels between between how women earned the vote a hundred years ago and how the undocumented are earning the right to be become citizens today.

A Good Amnesty

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President Obama takes a lot of heat from both sides of the immigration debate. One side accuses him of increasing deportations and the other side says he is giving a rolling amnesty. Here is a case where he has done a very good thing for a very large number of immigrants and been given very little credit.

Trust Me

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Politics is an ugly process to watch. 
Ethics and kindness are often set aside in the quest for power.

The Compassion Loophole

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In the next few weeks President Obama will announce some changes to his enforcement of our nations immigration laws. The change will allow millions of people to come out of the shadows and live more normal lives. Like work legally, pay taxes, call the police and take drives tests.

 

Keep Calm and Let Them Stay

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To read the news you would think that the arrival this year of about a hundred thousand unaccompanied minors from Central America is a huge crisis. Calm down, this is not even a small crisis. It is a tiny, one time event, that has been going on for a few years, it is almost over and is not likely to be repeated.

Unintended Consequences

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The unintended consequence of signaling, by act and deed, that the immigration laws are not going to be enforced is that there will be more violations of those laws and more negative reaction to those violations.

Immigration Reality

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Why CIR is Failing in the 113th Congress

This look at reality won't be popular with many supporters of Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR).  However as the sage Aivar Lejins said: "A psychologically healthy person sees the world as it is, not as she wishes it were."

RI 2013 Evaluation

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Our objective is to provide “tools to change minds about immigration.” In 2013 we did the best work we have ever done but it wasn't enough to get the real job done.

The Center of Migration

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In his new book Exodus How Migration is Changing Our World Paul Collier argues that since large unassimilated diasporas are destructive to the social trust that makes successful societies work, we have to restrict immigration.  We disagree.

 

How to create “Illegal Immigrants”?

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First you pass a law that says in effect “you can't move here unless you look like me.”

 

Second you call people who ignore the law and move anyway “illegal”.

Stop the Delusions

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We have a lot of people in this great country who are deluding themselves.  One of the leading groups in the self delusion are older, middle class, conservatives.    This article is intended as a wake-up call for you. First please know that I am one of you and yes there are problems in the world today, the economy isn't very strong and the young people want to change things.  But lets be honest we are a big part of the problem.

Lessons from Manzanar

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We visited the Japanese Internment Camp at Manzanar, CA over the weekend and were reminded how currently popular government policies can be judged by history to be horribly wrong. Our current immigration policy is such a case.

Immigration: It's not just about Mexicans

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People tend to be mostly concerned about their own problems. In the USA we see immigration through the prism of the Latin American, particularly Mexican, immigration of the last forty year. In Europe they tend to see the issue as mostly low skilled Muslims from Africa and the Middle East. Costa Rica wants to do something about Nicaraguan immigrants. Cuba has a problem with talented people leaving for more opportunity in the United States, Mexico or Canada.

Securing the Border Against Dishwasher

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Who do we think we are, telling people that where they were born determines where “we’ will let them live? This doesn't even come close to passing the “smell test,” stinking as it does of racism, elitism and xenophobia.

 

Immigration Talk

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Simon is speaking at a public meeting on immigration reform on April 30, 2013.  It should be an exciting program. Click on the image of the brochure for details.

 

 

 

 

Passing the House

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It is easy to imagine a bill that solves past and future inequities of our immigration system. It is a lot harder to imagine a bill that solves those inequities, AND that can pass the Republican controlled House of Representatives.

Support Lindsey Graham

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Do you remember all the talk during the last election about undecided voters in the battleground states? Now, instead of hinging on a few voters, the future of immigration reform rests on the shoulders of one man, Senator Lindsay Graham from South Carolina.

Time to Apologize

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Dear Congressman Rohrabacher,

As a life long Republican with libertarian and egalitarian leanings, I was very embarrassed—and also a tiny bit pleased—to hear that you lost your temper with Jessica Bravo, a young lady who visited your office on February 6, 2013, when you discovered that she was “undocumented.”

The Pathway to Citizenship

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There is a fuss going up on the pro-immigrant side contending that the immigration reform legislation currently in the Senate should not include a stipulation that the border be secure before “pathway to citizenship” measures are enacted. They state, correctly, that it is wrong to link security with a pathway to citizenship. Here is a link to the article.

The Wrong Side of History

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In the 1840's and 1850's the Democrats favored continuing slavery. They were shown to be on the wrong side of history, and as a result after the Civil War they were the minority

The Immigration Compromise of 2013

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Republicans who have opposed any immigration reform that include a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented have been chastened by the results of the recent election, and some of them are willing to find a compromise.

Reading the Signs

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-The Wall with Mexico

-The Private Detention Centers…

-and the Deportation of hard-working, law abiding people…

Ten Things We are Doing Wrong on Immigration

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  • Detentions (Keeping people in jail without real hearings because they moved without permission.  Really.  Is this okay?);

  • Deportations (Record numbers);

  • Workplace Raids (Renamed “employer audits”);

Getting Our Hopes Up for Immigration Reform

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What are the chances this Congress will pass real immigration reform? I suspect it will be harder than passing a camel through the eye of a needle. But if it is done slowly—and the camel is small and the needle large—it is not impossible.

Post Election Memo to President Obama

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Congratulations on your win in this year’s presidential election.  Now is the time to live up to your commitments to the Hispanic community.

The Chinese Exclusion Act

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In 1882 Congress overwhelmingly passed and President Chester Arthur signed into law the Chinese Exclusion Act. About the only opposition to the bill came from Senator George

The Changing Ethics of Immigration

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Historically, tribal groups and sovereign states had good reasons to restrict immigration, among them, there wasn't enough food for everyone.

Do Ethics Change?

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Maya Angelou wrote, "The needs of society determine its ethics.” Are the nation’s ethics about immigration changing? Do a society’s ethics really evolve in response to its needs?

Only the Wealthy Need Apply

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Immigration has always been a hot-button issue. This is the story of California’s reaction to a previous wave of immigration.

 

Overwhelmed

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"The right to go where you want should be a principle in a decent world."

Noam Chomsky

Yesterday, an intelligent young woman asked me, “What is the purpose of a country if its citizens can't decide who gets to move here?

 

The Tide Has Turned

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The “Dreamers” are safe. Even if there is a Republican sweep in 2012, the deferred action policy that reflects so effectively the goodwill and generous character of the American people will not be overturned.

 

Treating the Symptoms

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Deferred Action for young people who were bought to the United States as minors is an important fix to one of the ugly consequences of our bad immigration policy.

Deferred Action Numbers

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According to an estimate by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) as many as 1.7 million young people could receive relief from deportation and work permits through President Obama's deferred action initiative.

Deferred Action for Dreamers

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CHIRLA has prepared an excellent flow chart that graphically explains who is eligible for Deferred Action.

Open Borders in Europe

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Written by Simon  
All of the physical barriers between the countries of Europe have been taken down.  This includes countries that are not part of the European Union like Switzerland.  What wonderful news for those of us who don't want an armed border with Mexico. 
It can be done.

Work Permits for Votes

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Work permits for “dreamers” is a political masterstroke. It allows President Obama to cement the Hispanic vote more securely in his coalition and at the same time paints the Republicans as not caring about children. It also takes a tiny step in the direction of fixing our countries biggest current immigration problem: What to do about the twelve million people who are here without documentation?

How to Talk to Republicans About Immigration

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    • Talk about “illegal immigration” in the past tense. Say: “We should never have allowed all of those undocumented to come in during the Clinton and Bush years. Now we have to do something about it, that doesn't make us look to history as bad as FDR does for locking up the Japanese-Americans during WWII"

Who is a Citizen?

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In June 1924, Congress passed a measure that was then signed by President Calvin Coolidge guaranteeing full American citizenship for all Native Americans born within U.S. territorial limits.

An Early Step Down the Wrong Path

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On May 19 in 1921, Congress passed, and President Warren G. Harding signed, the Emergency Quota Act,

Four Reasons Latino's Should Not Support Obama

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Four Reasons Latinos Should Not Support President Obama

  1. Deportations. President Obama's administration has deported more than 1,000,000 people in three years. The most ever by far.
  2. Second Class Citizens. The administration's S-Comm program has turned local police into an instrument of terror against brown people.
  3. Job Losses. The Obama administration's employer audits (workplace raids renamed) are costing more than ten thousand hard working Latino workers their jobs every month.
  4. Broken Promises. Candidate Obama said: “ In my first one hundred days as President I will introduce CIR (Comprehensive Immigration Reform)” The reality is that in his first two years as president, when his party controlled both houses of Congress, CIR was not introduced. The Dream Act was only voted on in the Senate after the midterm election and was defeated because four Democrat Senators voted against it.

Tell President Obama: “Talk is Cheap”

“Hablar es Facil.”

 pa140019.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Reagan passed IRCA in 1984 and more than two million undocumented immigrants started on the road to citizenship.

President Bush introduced CIR in 2006 that included amnesty and guest workers. It was defeated in the then Democrat controlled House of Representatives. 

President Obama said he would help immigrants and has done less than nothing.

Ask yourself: Who is playing politics with immigration? Don't let Democrat politicians continue to play politics with your lives.

An Unfortunate May Day Fact

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"The unease over illegal immigration is, at its heart, cultural."

Jill Wilson
Columnist in the New Republic
Immigration reform remain an elusive idea.  The Dream Act failed late in the Democrat Congress of 2010 when 4 Democrat Senators voted against it.  Comprehensive Immigration reform has not been reintroduced since the plan proposed by George Bush in 2006 was soundly defeated.  His plan included an amnesty and a guest worker program and was therefore opposed by both extremes.  Now there is an attempt by Senator Marco Rubio to pass an incremental Dream Act that will almost certainly go nowhere.  It is being opposed by Democrats who would rather have a campaign issue than help some of the young people who are suffering from these odd laws.  And this mornings WSJ reported that two Senators are teaming up to try and get an expansion of the H1-B (skilled worker) Visa program added onto The Startup Act.  It will probably be defeated because Democrat Senators want to make an expansion of skilled worker visas part of a broad overhaul of immigration laws.
If this sounds familiar it should.  These are the same arguments and political manipulations that have been going on for the last twenty years.  The only thing that has changed is the facts on the ground.  The surge of immigrants from Mexico is almost over.  The lower birthrate in the USA has changed the economics of immigration and a generation of young people have grown up in cities with multicultural, cosmopolitian populations.  My prediction is that the days of immigration as a divisive political issue are coming to an end.

A Policy Failure

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"If the U.S. were to design an immigration policy from scratch that

would most hurt growth it would be much like our current one."

Rich Karlgaard

Publisher Forbes Magazine

"If the U.S. were to design an immigration policy from scratch that

would most hurt the poorest people in the world it would be much like our current one."

Simon Burrow

Founder Rational Immigration (the 1% solution)

It is Time

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Passover and Immigration

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For the Jews Passover is the annual celebration of the escape from bondage in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land.  The story contains an important message about freedom and by implication about the right to migrate.

 

At the Passover Seder Jews celebrate the escape from Egypt. According to the story, after years of struggle, including some pretty serious plagues on the Egyptians, Pharaoh gave in and “let our people go.” After 40 years of wandering in the desert the Jews fought their way into Israel and settled in the Promised Land. The story is one of a move from economic and social repression to freedom.
The parallel to the current migration of Mexicans and others to the United States is obvious but not perfect.

Immigration Does Not Cause Unemployment

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In a well written article in the UK's Independent newspaper Ben Chu reports that according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research Immigration does not cause unemployment.   Critics will immediately point to studies that show the opposite and nobodies mind will be changed.  Rational Immigration thinks that the cause of freedom will be served by allowing more people the right to move around.  Economic arguments never trump ethical argument.  Birthism like racism and sexism is unacceptable behavior.

Read the article here

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/immigration-does-not-cause-unemployment-6287404.html

Administrative Review

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It turns out that the administrative review of open deportation cases promised by the President last Fall has not been very effective.

Every Country has an Immigrant History

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Miners from Cornwall in England migrated to Hidalgo in Mexico in the 1820's and left a food heritage.  Cornish Pastys.  They are being celebrated in a new museum slated to be opened next year in Real del Monte.

cooked-pasties.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasty photo from Upper Peninsula Now Blog

 

More details here in a UK Daily Mail story and on the web site of the Cornish Mexican Cultural Society

What a world we live in.  We can celebrate the success of past immigrants in the morning and worry about the threat of current immigrants in the afternoon.  And we don't even see that the only difference is the timing.  The people are the same.

Oscar Arias on Immigration

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Oscar Arias won a Nobel Peace Prize in the 1980's for his Central American Peace Plan.  He has twice been President of Costa Rica and has been one of the leaders who has helped that small country to become one of the most prosperous and peaceful in Latin America.

 

Dr Arias was at Arizona State University last weekend for a series of events one of which was a short talk at the School of Transborder Studies .  As part of that event I was asked to give him a private tour of the Changing Boundaries Map exhibit which is currently at ASU.  It was a great honor for me but more importantly I was able to hear Dr Arias's thoughts on borders and migration.

About he exhibit he said: "These maps tell an important story about how borders happen."

About immigration he said:

Poverty needs no passport to travel.

 

The root cause of migration is income differential

 

Immigration will be one of the main issues of this century.

 
 

We will learn there is no way to stop migration.

 

He also spoke about Costa Rica issue with illegal immigration from Nicaragua and its ecomomic and social costs as well as benefits.  He explained that they have a national health plan that covers everybody without considering their nationality.

 

I didn't have an opportunity to talk to him about my proposed 1% solution to the immigration situation but I may get another chance.

 

 

 

 

A Rational Immigration Retrospective

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In 1870 women started demanding “suffrage” and over the next fifty years they won among other things the right to own property, to sign legal documents and finally in 1920 the right to vote.  It takes a long time to get a new right. Yet after it is earned the old idea seems quaint, cruel or incredibly stupid. 

What was true about votes for women is also true about the right to migrate.  It is going to take a long time to get to a world where responsible people have the freedom to change where they live. Yet I am more and more convinced that it will happen.

Progress

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The article below is from a press release sent out by Immigration Works USA.   It is nice to be able to transmit positive news about immigration.  Although these bills are about filling the needs of employers, industries and farmers it indicates that even Senators are realizingthat robust amounts of immigration are needed for our countries economic well being. 

 

ImmigrationWorks USA is a national organization advancing immigration reform that works for all Americans – employers, workers and citizens. Its twin goals: to educate the public about the benefits of immigration and build a mainstream grassroots constituency in favor of better law – business owners and others from across America willing to speak out and demand an overhaul.

 

FRESH THINKING ABOUT VISAS

 
Several members of Congress have made news in recent weeks by floating ideas for legislation to create new visas or streamline the visa process for foreigners working or investing in the United States.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and cosponsor House Judiciary Committee chair Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced a bill that would eliminate country quotas for employment-based green cards, shortening wait times for many skilled professionals seeking to work in the U.S.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced a bill that would give residence visas to foreigners who spend $500,000 or more to buy homes in the U.S.


More

US Senate "Regrets" Chinese Exclusion Act

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On October 7, 2011 the US Senate by a unanimous voice vote and with almost no press coverage passed a resolution saying that the United States "regretted" the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act.  Here is the full story from the San Francisco Chronicle.  

It is important to save the full text of this resolution because about a hundred years from now the Senate will have to pass a resolution "regretting" the building of the Wall with Mexico and the forced deportation of millions of hard working law abiding people from Latin America. 

Is it stupidity, lack of perspective or political expedience that allows our political class to only see mistakes a few generations after they make them.  

How can it be that the same politicians that passed laws that allowed the deportation of more than a million people for violating a law that is as immoral as the Chinese Exclusion Act have the chutzpah to "regret" what their predecessors did.  They are doing the same thing.

Reviewing Immigration Politics

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Now let me make sure I understand. President Obama who purports to be a friend of the Hispanics in America has agreed to review the files of the 300,000 people who are in deportation proceedings and only deport those who are criminals. In exchange he wants Latinos to support his re-election bid and to not agitate about the continuation of the employer audits that keep us from working.


Also to keep quiet about Secure Communities that means we can’t go to the police in our own communities. His administration has also proposed to start mandatory E-Verify. E-Verify is already causing Hispanic citizens, legal immigrants and undocumented workers to be discriminated against in the workplace.

 

So the best deal that the Obama administration have offered Hispanics is: No Dream Act, no chance to work legally and if you have an interaction with the authorities you might still get deported. This is from the supposed friend of the Hispanics.

 

I hate the politics of immigration. It makes me so angry that President Obama is using the people who helped to get him elected. And it makes me even angrier that the xenophobes have taken over so much of the Republican base that moderate like John McCain and David Dreier who used to support CIR have had to go silent or worse in order to survive primary challenges. It seems that nothing political can be done to help the people who moved here when times were good and are now stranded, even thought it is in the best interest of our country to grow by allowing robust amounts of immigration.

 

I’m going to stop thinking about the politics and review where I started this campaign. Responsible people should have the right to live where they choose. If you accept this premise then you have to conclude that there should be very few restrictions against people moving around in the world. To keep areas from being overwhelmed we proposed the one percent rule. Receiving countries should allow immigration at about one percent of their current population per year. This is a manageable number. Certainly new immigrants should be required to obey the laws and customs of their new homes. Including reasonable zoning and safety rules. But the idea of telling someone that they can’t move to a new place because they weren’t born there is a form of discrimination that will not stand the test of time.

The idea is so sensible why does the politics have to be so ugly and irrational?

UK Immigration Debate

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There is a debate on Immigration in Europe as well as here.  In the UK The Economist is running a two week moderated debate that has as it's proposition "This house believes that immigration is endangering European society."

Arguing against the proposition and for immigration is Philippe Legraine author of Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them. He is making great arguments but needs public support.

Your assignment: Go to Economist Debates: Immigration and vote against the proposition and in support of immigration.

cut and paste this link:  http://www.economist.com/debate/debates/overview/210

or follow the embedded link above.

Why Obama Needs CIR

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I was just studying the census data by tract in a very good presentation by the New York Times.  It shows the Hispanic population growing throughout the country but especially in the "battleground states." 

 

To get Latinos to vote for Democrats in 2012 he has got to at the minimum stop the audits and the fraud that is S-comm.  He can't stay on both sides of this issue and expect that Latinos will turn out to vote in 2012 in the numbers they did in 2008 no matter who the Republican nominee is.

Scarily Simple

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"The proper way to end illegal immigration is to re-legalize immigration."

 

Mark Hinkle
Libertarian Party Chair
October 26, 2010

A U.S. Person

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This is new one on me.Last week I had to certify under penalty of perjury; that “I am a U.S. Person.”We were signing some financial documents and on the page where you give your social security information there was the new phrase “U.S. Person.”

A United States Person is defined variously by different government agencies. The gist of it is that if you are a citizen, a legal resident alien or a corporation formed under US law you are a U.S. Person.Some implications of being a U.S. Person are:

The NSA is not supposed to spy on a US Person without a court’s permission.

The IRS has permission to tax US Persons.

You don’t have to live in the USA to be a United States Person.

You don’t have to be a person to be a United States Person. You can be a corporation or a group.

Since we had to invent United States Person to keep everyone in nice neat categories I suggest that our rules are too complicated.

U.S. Person appears to be a term invented to fill up the space between those who are not subject to US law, taxes and constitutional protections (Foreigners) on the one side and those who clearly are (US Citizens and resident aliens) on the other extreme.US Person includes trusts, partnerships and corporations that are formed under US law.It doesn’t seem to include foreign investors doing business in the US who don’t have permanent resident visas and it doesn’t include persons living in the US who don’t have green cards.

As a service I have below the fold included several US Government agencies definitions of U.S.Person and links.

E-Verify Me

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For people, like me, who want more immigration the last year in the USA has been a series of setback and disappointments.  Arizona passed sb1070 a law making it harder for people who can’t get visas to live in Arizona.  They were followed by Georgia and Arkansas.  The Obama administration said they were going to fight for CIR but only talked.  They didn’t even introduce legislation.  The list goes on:


The Dream Act was defeated in the Senate with four of the no votes coming from Democrats.  The Republicans continue to demagogue the issue and blame many of the countries economic woes on undocumented immigrants.  Deportations are at an all time high.  The administrations “Secure Communities” initiative has created a group of millions of people who can’t call the police.  And now Lamar Smith a Republican Congressman from Texas has introduced legislation to make using E-Verify mandatory.

 

I am an optimist about the long term prospects for allowing much more immigration into the United States but right now the tide is running hard against it.  I feel like an abolitionist must have felt when the Fugitive Slave Act was passed in 1850.  Maybe, I tell myself, the pendulum has swung too far and since I’m comforting myself with platitudes it is always darkest before the dawn.  Just don’t give up. The right of responsible to live where they choose will prevail.

 

The next order of business is to defeat Lamar Smith’s E-Verify legislation in the Senate.  It will be difficult because the Republicans who favor the bill will make support an economic and fairness issue.  Opposition will be spun as letting people get away with something.  Making E-Verify mandatory is anti liberty.  It gives the Federal Government the right to say whom you can or can’t hire.  It is a really bad idea.

 

On a broader political note this might be the legislation that gets President Obama re-elected.  As the Republicans showed in the healthcare debate it is easier to oppose legislation generally than to support specific legislation.  Opposition to making E-Verify mandatory could energize Hispanic voters enough to increase their turnout in the battleground states and give the President a narrow victory. 

Jews for Immigration Reform

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In The Forward a progressive Jewish Magazine this week there is an article by Gideon Aranoff titled:

Immigration Reform Is Our Jewish Responsibility

 

What the President Should Do, and How We Can Help


It is worth reading.  Aranoff concludes the article with this: "As Americans, we must ensure that we are an inclusive nation, not one defined by fear and isolation. And as Jews, we must remember that we are commanded to welcome the strangers — not because they are Jews, but because we are Jews."

 
The Catholics have for a long time been actively calling for the right to migrate.  Read more here.  This article doesn't go that far but it is a start.

A Decent World

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"The right to go where you want should be a principle in a decent world."
 
Noam Chomsky

St Francis on Immigration

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 "Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

St Francis of Assisi

 

 

I applied this wonderful saying from St Francis to the Immigration debate in the USA and came up with this list: 

·      What is necessary is to stop the deportations. 

·      What is possible is to pass the Dream Act. 

·      The impossible, that we can do, is Comprehensive Immigration Reform that includes a path to citizenship for those already here and sensible levels of immigration for responsible people from neighboring countries.

 

Don't Give Up.

Immigration Made Simple

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On Friday Marlene Gibb interviewed me for her show What Do You Do on KGEM the Monrovia Public access channel.  In the first segment we talked about my career in business and in the second we talked about the making of our documentary film Beyond Borders and why I’m active in the right to migrate movement. 

 

Marlene is a superb interviewer and the time flew by.  We discussed among other things how the film attempts to deal with both the intellectual and the emotional sides of the immigration debate.  One of her comments was that she hadn’t realized what a “complex issue” immigration is.  I agreed, but I now realize I shouldn’t have.  Immigration is a very simple issue if you believe in freedom. Responsible people should be able to live wherever they choose.
 

The complexity comes from all of the gyrations we have to go through to keep those people from moving here.  In the USA have more than 120 visa categories.  This complexity results from the erroneous assumption that we can tell people where they can and can’t live.

 

The simple solution is to scrap the old system and create a new immigration system that allows responsible the right to move here.  Keep our facilities from being overwhelmed by limiting immigration to one percent of our population per year.  Assure that new immigrants are not a burden by requiring bonds, sponsors or insurance.  Instead of spending so much money on border enforcement spend some of it teaching new immigrants English and how our incredible system works.

I'll post a link to the interview as soon as it has aired.

Andrew Klavan

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This one is worth thinking about. My instinct is that if we want the public to go along with more immigration then we have to have less multi-culturalism.

Size Matters

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Here is a data-point for anti-immigrant populists to consider.  The Wall Street Journal reported on 2/14 that: last year China passed Japan and became the second largest economy in the world.  According to the article "China's rise shows that population now counts as much as productivity in determining economic power."  If the USA is going to compete in the the world with giants like China and India we have to grow and immigration is the surest way to do it.  We could spend half of the money we now spend on fences and guards, teaching English and American values to new immigrants.  The goal a nation of five hundred million hard working, liberty loving people in thirty years.

What is Rational Immigration

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In the last two hundred and fifty years humans have made remarkable progress in many areas. Average life expectancy has more than doubled. The variety of consumer goods available to people in the developed world would astonish Louis XIV. Liberty and free speech are on the rise. Slavery has almost been ended. Women have started to be given equal treatment. In many parts of the world women are gaining reproductive rights and homosexuality is becoming less of a stigma. But all of these gains have exposed a great injustice that befalls most of the world’s peoples. This injustice is the accident of birth.

 

Because of barriers to migration, erected by sovereign states, most people are fated to live the lives they were born into. There is nothing they can do about it. It is the position of Rational Immigration that this is wrong and that the time has come to do something about it. People should have the Right to Migrate. Sovereign states should not be allowed to stop this migration.

 

The Right to Migrate will become the next great human rights struggle.

 

When people have the Right to Migrate the ability of governments to oppress people will decrease and the ability of people to take action to improve their lives will increase. This is a great good.

 

Migrant’s rights will never be secure until everybody has the Right to Migrate.

 

Working on the problem of rights for migrants is important but it is like working on curing the symptoms rather than the disease.

 

The underlying problem, the disease, is that nations have not yet recognized that there is a basic human Right to Migrate. After the Right to Migrate is accepted then the rights of migrants will be much easier to secure.

The Border is Secure

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According to the Pew Hispanic Center the number of undocumented people in the United States was the same in 2010 as it was in 2009.  So our border is secure.  "Border Security" was the prerequisite John McCain had for opposing Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) in 2008 and 2009.  Maybe now he will flop back to supporting CIR and we can get it passed in this congress.  Could he claim victory and champion CIR like he did in 2007 and win the Presidency?

 

The story in the Wall Street Journal

The story at the Pew Hispanic Trust

Our Friends Have Betrayed Us

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Our friends have betrayed us.”

Former Sacramento Police Chief Arturo Venegas's December 1st comment sums up the progress made by the immigrants right movement in 2010. What Chief Venegas was talking about was not just the failure of the Dream Act it was the failure of the Obama administration to stop the deportations and their unwillingness to even propose comprehensive immigration reform. 

 

Fact:  Deportations were at an all time high in 2010.

 


Fact:  In 2010 Thirty Billion Dollars ($30,000,000,000) was spent on walls and border enforcement.

 

Fact:  During the 2008 Presidential campaign, then candidate Barack Obama promised to make immigration reform a top priority.   Yet in the last two years the administration has done nothing but talk, Nancy Pelosi didn’t allowed the house to debate or vote on Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the Senate defeated the Dream Act.

 

Why was the Dream Act defeated in the Senate?  Because Harry Reid could not, or would not, deliver the Democrat Senators votes.  If all of the Democrat Senators had voted for the Dream Act it would have passed.  But five Democrat Senators voted no and one was absent.  On the other side of the aisle three New England Republicans voted in favor and that would have been enough to break the filibuster if the Democrats had delivered on their promise.

 

What are the prospects for immigration reform legislation in 2011?  It seems really bad but there are some glimmers of hope. It may be that the need for farm workers (AgJobs), the need for skilled workers (H-1Bs) concerns about internal security (National ID cards) and the unfairness of disenfranchising children (Dream Act) can be brought together to pass a comprehensive bill that solves some of the problems.  But none dare call it amnesty.

 

In the 111th Congress the House and the Senate both “betrayed” the Hispanic and pro-immigrant voters.  Their reasoning was a combination of cynicism and political calculation.  Cynically they might have felt that Hispanic voters don’t have anywhere else to go.  The political calculation was that voting for CIR would alienate more conservative voters than it would gain Hispanic voters.  In todays political climate they are probably right. 

 

There is one politician however for whom this calculation doesn’t work.  President Obama was elected in 2008 in large part because Hispanic voters turned out in record numbers and voted for Democrats.  If he wants to be reelected in 2012 he has a political reason to keep Hispanic voters an active part of his coalition.  His administration has already shown a willingness to use it regulatory authority to accomplish what it can’t get legislatively.  The EPA’s threat to regulate carbon emissions is one example.  The Obama administration if pressured can implement via regulation a pro-immigrant agenda that will take much of the pressure of our poor and poorly documented underclass. 

 

First they can dramatically decrease the deportations.  They can close most of the detention centers.  The Justice Department can stop working cooperatively with local police forces to identify and deport immigrants.  They can stop I-9 audits which have the same effect as workplace raids.

 

President Obama can slow the construction of the wall for environmental and Native American humanitarian reasons.  He can spend much more time visiting and working cooperatively with Mexican authorities to allow a freer flow of people and goods across the border.  He can allow the use of matricula consular cards for federal business. 

 

Why would he do any of this?  Because we can put pressure on him and he wants to be re-elected.  When Chief Venegas said "Our friends have betrayed us" he stated a fact as he saw it.  There is still time for our friends to help us so we can help them.  

Guest Worker Programs

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The Bracero Program was a mid 20th century guest worker program.  The history of the program is the material for a fascinating touring exhibit organized by the Smithsonian.  The result was, as the subtitle of the exhibit explains, "a bittersweet harvest." 

I visited the exhibit at Cal State University Channel Islands .  And the wonderful details they presented made me think in depth about guest worker programs in general. 

The Bracero Program may have been the best guest worker program possible but it still was demeaning to the participants, fraught with corruption and caused some exploitation of workers.  On the other hand it gave millions of Mexican workers: jobs, money and a vision of another life. 

 

Philippe Legrain

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A very good summary of the arguments for more immigration was posted by Philippe Legrain on his blog site.  Philippe is the author of Immigrants Your Country Needs Them. Reviewed here and available on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An excerpt: "The immigration debate is about the choice between a closed, stagnant and reactionary society, and an open, dynamic and progressive one. And in economic terms, it can also bring big benefits."

Migration Diplomacy

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With both Republicans and Democrats demagoging the immigration issue leading up to the 2010 midterm election it is becoming more and more likely that Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) will again fail to get out of Congress.  

 

Which part of ILLEGAL don't you understand?

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As the immigration debate heats up again the ugly slogan "Which part of ILLEGAL don't you understand?" is being asked again.  My friend Gene B suggested the counter phrase: "Which part of FREEDOM don't you understand?" 

I had this exchange with an angry person.  I believe I lost my temper.

Marsha E. wrote "What part "of ILLEGAL do you NOT understand.?????
Most American are against ILLEGAL Immigration....not legal immigration.

What President Obama Should Have Said

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 In his immigration speech on Thursday President Obama should have said that it is time for America to decide. 

 

We cannot be both a beacon of freedom and opportunity to the world and an armed camp manning the barricades against all comers.  

Objectivists and Immigration

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Dr Harry Binswager a leading Objectivist has written an excellent essay in "defense of phasing-in open immigration into the United States."

 He write in part: "An end to immigration quotas is demanded by the principle of individual rights. Every individual has rights as an individual, not as a member  this or that nation. One has rights not by virtue of being an American, but by virtue of being human."

You can read Dr Binswangers entire entire essay here

While arguing for the "right to migrate" as an ethical issue I have been disappointed by the lack of support from Libertarians.  

 

An Immigration Standoff

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Tamar Jacoby who runs Immigration Works USA has published a very insightful op-ed in the LA Times .  In it she argues that if the federal government sues Arizona about SB 1070 they will polarize the country more about immigration and will decrease the chances of passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform.  She is right that if the administration wants to fix immigration they shouldn't sue.  But if they want to politicize the issue to energize their base then unfortunately suing is the right strategy. 

Good Questions

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Sara C. a student at a local high school had to write a school report about immigration.  She asked me to answer some questions for her so she could have both sides in her paper.  This is my reply:

Sara
Excellent questions.  I'll be happy to answer them for you via email.
1)        We have 12 1/2 percent unemployment in California.  Won’t open borders make it more difficult for American workers to find jobs?

"Open Borders" is an ethical imperative.  Peoples color, religion or place of birth should not determine the outcome of their lives. (Read More)

Will History Repeat?

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Will history repeat itself?  Arizona law SB 1070 may be the start a chain of events that ends well for law abiding undocumented immigrants.  Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better.  Thirty-five years ago Texas passed a bad law restricting access to education.  Eleven years later, partially as a result of that law two million people were on the path to citizenship.

I Love Migrants

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A new organization in the UK has put together an excellent fact sheet about immigration.  You can go directly to the I Love Migrants site . Or cut and paste this link: http://ilovemigrants.wordpress.com/i%E2%99%A5home/

 

An exerpt:   "Migrants will look after the old: Only through migration will there be enough young people to look after the elderly." read more

 

In reality the presentation of facts will only work to convince those with open minds.  Most minds are made up already and dismiss facts that don't confirm their beliefs.  But this is the beauty of I Love Migrants.  Their main appeal is to the emotions.  And they claim the emotional high ground.  Love is better than hate.

 

Rabbi Grater on Arizona SB 1070

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Rabbi Grater of the Pasadena Jewish Center and Temple a terrific sermon in the Jewish Journal commenting on the danger of Arizona SB 1070.

LINK TO THE SERMON

An exerpt:"We all should be paying attention to what is happening in our country right now, for it is not just Arizona.  There is a swelling of anger and fear which is boiling over, as we continue to suffer from a serious recession, loss of jobs, loss of homes, loss of control that thought we had over our lives.  The past history, of which we Jews know all too well, teaches us that when things start to falter in society, people look for others to blame.  And while it has been the Jews in the past"

Arizona Behaving Badly

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Arizona SB 1070 was passed as a government response to the shooting of a rancher in an election year.  It was signed today by Governor Jan Brewer.

 

It clearly is an overreaction that violates the “unreasonable search and seizure” clause of the Constitution.  I shouldn’t have to prove to anyone that asks that I am a legal resident of the USA.  This is so unfair to anyone who doesn’t look “Anglo” that hopefully a court will hold up enforcement until after it has been reviewed in the courts.

 

On the other hand, every cloud has a silver lining  this might be the catalyst that will cause the Democrats in Congress to actually propose a bill that can pass.  Certainly in 2004 opposition to HR 4437 was the catalyst for the surge of Latino activism that provided the votes to get Barak Obama elected in 2008. 

 
Perhaps the same thing can happen again.  Active opposition to Arizona SB 1070 could motivate the Democrat Congress to act on Comprehensive Immigration Reform or risk losing the Latino vote in November.  Some Republicans could sign on because they want to solve the problem and the actual bill could include thing they want like increased visa for skilled workers and more temporary visas for farm workers.  It is possible.  But it could be just political kabuki.  See the op ed in the Washington Post of April 23, 2010 by Tamar Jacoby for a nation view. Immigration Reforms Big Moment

 

Remember HR 4437

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 Republicans introduced two immigrant-bashing bills in the House this week.  One would change the intent of the 14thAmendment  and the other would make it difficult for undocumented residents to get lower “in-state” college tuition .  These two ill-timed and seemingly spiteful bills may insure that the Democrats maintain control of the House of Representatives in the November election.

Haiti

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Here is a link to an important article by Elliott Abrams What Haiti Needs: A Haitian Diaspora  It appeared in the Washington Post this morning and has already spawned a massive outpouring of anti-immigrant bile.  The opposition is related to no jobs, lack of skills, what's in it for us and some racism.  For those who think that it is possible to reform immigration this article and the response it has engendered should give pause. 

Abrams states "One of the best ways to help Haiti is to allow some Haitians to move abroad." And yet we who have so much don't want to allow it.  Including as he points out Janet Napalitano.  I am heartened that Abrams, an intelligent, successful, conservative proposed an idea that makes so much sense.  And I'm disappointed that the knee jerk anti-immigrant comments probably show the actual mood of the country.

It will be a long struggle before we again allow reasonable levels of immigration into the United States.

Signals from Swiss Minarets

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The November referendum in Switzerland that outlawed the construction of new minarets was disheartening to advocates of increased migration.  It shows again that the “western street” when given a choice doesn’t want to live with unassimilated foreigners.  Proposition 187 in California in 1994 taught the same lesson.  The successes of the British National Party, the Minutemen in the USA and the National Front in France reinforce the lesson.  People are instinctively tribal and conservative about change.   In the USA we are protected somewhat from these tribal instincts by the Constitution, which constrains legislative or populist ballot initiatives.  New legislation must pass a test of its “Constitutionality” before it can become law.  This was the case with prop 187.  Courts ruled that it violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution and it was effectively gutted. 

 

The minaret ban, however enforceable it ends up being after its test in the Swiss courts, illustrates how much the elite’s opinion on what to do about immigration has diverged from the electorates.  Voters have shown time and again that they don’t want unassimilated strangers living in their neighborhoods changing their way of life and imposing cost on there institutions.  Elites see migration as a long-term good that requires some short-term pain and since they are mostly insulated from the pain they promote getting on with it.

 

How can these two views be reconciled?

The Berlin Wall, a Lesson about the Power of Migration

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The Berlin Wall was built in 1961 to stop East Germans from leaving for more opportunity and freedom in West Germany. For the next two decades “The Wall” was a symbol of the differences between the Communists in the East and the Democracies in the West.  The process of tearing it down began with a speech by US President Reagan at the Berlin Wall on June 12, 1987 that concluded: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”  What followed over the next two years was a historic triumph of freedom over oppression.  Communism had begun to falter in Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia and in 1988 and 1989 new exodus points were opened to East Germans who wanted to flee to the West. In September of 1989 12,000 East German “tourists” were able to enter Austria and make their way to the West.  The East Germans moved to close this gap and protests broke out all over East Berlin.  Huge crowds of people were shouting, “We want out!”  When it became clear that the Soviets were not going to intervene, like they had in Hungary in 1956, the East German authorities had no option but to capitulate.  The border was opened. East Germans had found a new way to vote with their feet and Schabowski was just acknowledging this new reality.

 

Immigration Opportunities

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Immigrants Your Country Needs Them

 

By Philippe Legrain


 

Almost everybody can agree that, over the long run, the world is better off because of human migration. Think about North America. And they can also agree that people should be able to leave a place without opportunity like Buffalo, NY and move to a place like San Jose, CA where they can have a better life. But the rational agreement ends when the immigration is happening now and the immigrants are foreign. At an emotional instinctive level people don’t want strangers in the neighborhood. This discordance between people’s philosophy and their politics is one of the themes of Philippe Legrain’s excellent book about Immigration. In Immigrants Your Country Needs Them he looks at immigration trend and issues around the world and systematically refutes the anti-immigrant arguments. He takes apart the standard arguments about cost, jobs, welfare and acculturation rates and shows alternative ways of looking at the same data that support the argument for more immigration.

Legrain also makes very good arguments in favor of immigration. He shows the needs of the developed world for more people, how migration helps the sending countries and the tremendous benefit it gives to migrants. He uses examples from around the world to make these powerful arguments but they are not the best part of the book. Philippe Legrain is also passionate about immigration. In almost every chapter after he makes the rational argument he also makes the emotional arguments. After taking about the border control situation in the EU and the USA he writes, “all our immigration controls have is a veneer of decency, which conveniently allows us to turn a blind eye to their terrible consequences.”

At the end of his introduction Legrain writes “If you believe that the world is an unequal place and that the rich should do more to help the poor, then freer international migration should be the next front in the battle for global economic justice.” He then makes a compelling case to show the truth of this assertion. Well done.

Scapegoating Healthcare

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The debate about how to organize healthcare in the USA should not hinge on the minor issue of how it affects immigration. 

A similar situation occurred in the 1850’s after the Mexican War.  Santa Anna the then President of Mexico offered to sell the USA almost all of what is today Sonora and Baja California.  The US Senate refused because the purchase would have upset the precarious Missouri compromise about slavery.  So unresolved issues about slavery kept the US Senate from growing the nation.  In the same way unresolved issues about immigration may keep us from passing healthcare reform. 

Iconoclasts

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This link will take you to a show on the BBC Radio with Philippe Legrain about immigration. 

Philippe Legrain on BBC Radio

Legrain does an excellent job of making the ethical arguments for open immigration.  The politician and the English minuteman disagreed of course.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00mgwhy

Philippe Legrains Blog

http://www.philippelegrain.com/

Ending Famine

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According to Nobel prize winning economist Amartya Sen: "No democracy with a free press has ever suffered a famine, whereas tyrannies and colonial regimes have."  This is a remarkable observation.  It means that there is a solution for one of the three great scourges of humanity.  The other two scourges being war and pestilence.  If Sen is right and we can decrease famine by moving toward democracy we need to be asking: "how can we increase the number of people living in democracies?"And then working to make it happen.

Next

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Geraldo Rivera has two great ideas in his new book “The Great Progression” and he writes them in a way that can help to facilitate a larger nation discussion. The book is due out in September 2009 and I recommend it.

rivera.jpg

 

 

 

Danger Signs

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The healthcare debate is dominating the summer political agenda.   Except of course when it is interrupted by the frenzy about Michael Jackson’s death or the Gates-Cambridge Police imbroglio.  Immigration has been pushed off the front burner.  The Obama administration is making symbolic moves that make people feel better about the plight of immigrants but the real trend continues to be extremely negative and it seems that the political forces are aligning to “solve” the current immigration crisis without addressing the underlying causes.

Chaos's Myth Rebuttals 9 to 12

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Myth #9) I support the free movement of labor across borders. I would like to work in another country without being limited.
Truth) So what? Firstly, your personal desires are that of one person.
Second: Karl Marx, too, argued for open borders and the free movement of labor, although that was an ideological stance without consideration of the consequences, and no communist state has ever implemented it. Why? Because there is no possible way to prevent open borders from leading to massive chaos and suffering.

Myth #10 )Illegal aliens are just coming here to work and want to go home afterwards.
Truth) A lie that conceals a serious problem.

It is common knowledge that the reason for entering the USA illegally is not just to work, but also to give birth, so that newborns will be granted immediate US citizenship. These newborns are termed anchor babies because they allow the parents to stay and provide an excuse for the family to bring the extended family into the USA.

In Ireland, they recognized that immigrants use this to scam the country. As a result, Ireland changed its laws and no longer gives citizenship to the children of illegals. The USA has yet to wake up to its being scammed in this way.

Myth #11) The English and Irish came here illegally so send them home to Europe.
Truth) First, the Irish came here legally as migrants. The English came here when there were only tribes and no nation of laws. Back then, "immigration" by any group was cause for tribal war. While the English & American did seize land, to be fair native groups weren't known for their humanitarian record either.

Usually, a racist claim like saying that Anglos are here illegally is presented by those who desire ethnic cleansing of non-hispanics, like the Voz de Aztlan hate group and other lunatics.

For to blame the European immigrants who came here beginning 500 years ago -- in fact, the Vikings arrived 1000 years ago -- or to blame their descendants is a mindless racist call to arms.
Such racist talk about sending Europeans packing, taken to its logical conclusion, would also require that because humans originated in Africa, all humans should be forced to return to there.

Myth #12) You are cruel! You would deport parents and separate them from their American-born children!
Truth)Children often suffer due to the law-breaking actions of their parents and that is an additional good reason for parents to not break our very reasonable immigration laws.

Chaos's Myth Rebuttals 5 to 8

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Myth #5) Americans do not even apply for jobs that aliens take.
Truth) Deliberately misleading. Illegal aliens get jobs because they illegally accept lower wages while illegally in the USA. The mere presense of illegal workers causes US businesses to lock out American citizens (whites, blacks, asians, native hispanics, etc.) Unethical employers will always take the cheapest most exploitable worker, and that is often the illegal aliens. If employers could get free labor, they would.

Myth #6) Illegal immigrants work hard and therefore deserve free health care and their children deserve free education and citizenship (upon birth).
Truth) Firstly, the burden of proof is on the illegal immigrant to prove he or she works hard. I have encountered many who do not work hard and who make zero effort to learn English.

Secondly, they're here illegally. Lawbreakers of this type deserve punishment, not perks.

The irony of the free-services issue is that the services in question are paid for primarily by US workers who are the primary ones harmed by illegal immigration. US workers should not be asked to economically assist aliens in harming US workers' prospects.

Myth #7) Illegal aliens are an unseen benefit: working only in the shadows.
Truth) Illegals increase overpopulation, as does their high birth rate, which leads to more poverty and crime. When illegals move in to an area, they do so in large numbers.

Myth #8) If you send the aliens away then the tourism and agriculture industries will collapse.
Truth) False. This claim assumes that there are no similarly desperate workers in the USA, but in truth there are. And that it is ethical and moral to pay workers wages that are below the minimum wage.

Chaos's Myth Rebuttals 1 to 4

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Myth #1) Aliens do jobs that Americans won't, therefore there is no harm to Americans.
Truth) Incorrect for two reasons:

1. This claim wrongly assumes that Americans never desire or even need to do landscaping; restaurant work; any other of a large number of jobs that aliens are taking. It is a bogus assumption.
2. Americans wants jobs but the presence of illegal workers and others in the job market has lowered wages. In some cases aliens have simply locked out Americans and taken over entire categories of work.

Myth #2) Illegal workers are good for the US economy.
Truth) This is very much a lie.

They are good only for the profits of the businesses that hire them. Everyone else suffers, including legal immigrants and even the illegals themselves.

The role illegal aliens play in the labor market is to help business owners reduce costs, increase profits, and drive down wages generally for all US workers, which is bad for the economy.

They also transfer large amounts of wages outside of the USA which is also bad for the economy. In 2004, the amount sent was $30 billion.

Lastly, in the case of retail business, profits suffer when customers become frustrated with people who speak broken English or no English at all.

Myth #3) All aliens work hard in the USA therefore they deserve citizenship via amnesty.
Truth) It's a bogus argument for 2 reasons.

1. In every country there are immigrants who work hard. There is simply no reason why working hard should gain a person citizenship.
2. Not all aliens work hard or do the same quality of work or work at comparable jobs.
Question: If one alien green-card holder is earning his citizenship by working as a soldier in the US military, which shows real commitment, bravery, self-sacrifice and the ability to speak English, why should we put him on the same level as an illegal alien flipping burgers at a McDonalds who refuses to learn English?
Thus, some are hardworking, and some are hardly working.

Myth #4) US workers are just too lazy to take hard jobs.
Truth )False at best, disgustingly racist at worst.

This claim is deliberately used to obscure a terrible predicament: Namely, that as more and more American workers are finding themselves laid off due to downsizing and globalization and the mass importation of foreigners, Americans are having to take any work they can get and those jobs are often low-paying.

Sadly, it is exactly now that more Americans need those low-paying jobs that foreigners are indirectly locking out Americans and/or bringing down wages.

More Immigration Myths

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In response to the review we wrote of Aviv Chomsky’s book They Take Our Jobs we received from a reader named "Chaos" a list of what he claims are myths from the pro-immigrant side of the argument.  Although we don't agree with each of these myths we have addressed the key part of each of them in green below.  In the original the myths are followed by “chaos’s" rebuttal. To improve readability I have put that rebuttal in a link behind each myth.  

Chaos writes:  Advocates for allowing more aliens to immigrate illegally and legally to the USA have a battery of myths, bad arguments and outright lies -- in a word propaganda -- that they use to further their cause.

Myth #1) Aliens do jobs that Americans won't, therefore there is no harm to Americans.

Radical Immigration:  The world economy is very complex.  When people move around they do take each other’s jobs.  Why is this a problem when people come from Mexico and take jobs in California but not when people come from Ohio and take jobs in Florida?  
In classical economic theory and in the reality that we all observe every day wages are lower where there is a labor surplus.  But labor supply is not a static situation.  When wages rise, in order to compete, an employer can move production, automate or even totally redesign the product.  Restricting the flow of goods, capital and labor have long-term bad consequences and yet they remain politically popular.  At Radical Immigration we listen to the economic arguments and then we make the case that responsible people should be able to live where they choose.  The economics will work themselves out.
The economic arguments for and against immigration are not conclusive the moral arguments clearly favors allowing responsible people to live where they choose.

Boxer Feinstein Betrayal

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Fences don't work

California Senators Boxer and Feinstein both voted in favor of spending more money on building the border wall.  You can let them know you oppose the wall by signing the petition at this site:

http://www.boxerfeinsteinbetrayal.org/

"They Take Our Jobs"

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In response to the review we wrote of Aviv Chomsky’s book They Take Our Jobs we received from a reader named "Chaos" a list of what he claims are myths from the pro-immigrant side of the argument.  Although we don't agree with each of these myths we have addressed the key part of each of them in green below.  In the original the myths are followed by “chaos’s" rebuttal. To improve readability I have put that rebuttal in a link behind each myth.  

Chaos writes:  Advocates for allowing more aliens to immigrate illegally and legally to the USA have a battery of myths, bad arguments and outright lies -- in a word propaganda -- that they use to further their cause.

Myth #1) Aliens do jobs that Americans won't, therefore there is no harm to Americans.

Radical Immigration:  The world economy is very complex.  When people move around they do take each other’s jobs.  Why is this a problem when people come from Mexico and take jobs in California but not when people come from Ohio and take jobs in Florida?  
In classical economic theory and in the reality that we all observe every day wages are lower where there is a labor surplus.  But labor supply is not a static situation.  When wages rise, in order to compete, an employer can move production, automate or even totally redesign the product.  Restricting the flow of goods, capital and labor have long-term bad consequences and yet they remain politically popular.  At Radical Immigration we listen to the economic arguments and then we make the case that responsible people should be able to live where they choose.  The economics will work themselves out.
The economic arguments for and against immigration are not conclusive the moral arguments clearly favors allowing responsible people to live where they choose.

Stop the Audits Now!

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If you audit an employer about the immigration status of his employees you can pretend that you are going after the employer but in fact you will cause untold harm to the employees who don't have good documents. 

There is no way that an audit can be enforced against an employer without hurting thousands of employees.  This is a devastating move.   I hope that it is an unintentional mistake by the Obama administration.  Perhaps Janet Napolitano doesn't understand that employer audits are a weapon invented by ICE to force working people out of the country.  This idea if allowed to be continue could cause 60,000 people to lose their jobs in the LA area.  These are people who already live on the margin now they will be forced to starve or leave the country.

STOP THE AUDITS NOW!

It is time to go to the streets against ICE.  They have fooled the Obama Administration.  These audits are an escalation of the horrible enforcement actions of the Bush Administration.

LA Times Story July 1, 2009

Are We on Our Way to Immigration Reform?

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Yesterday the Pat Brown Institute held a panel discussion at CSULA that asked the question “Are We on the Way to Immigration Reform?” It took a while for the panel to get around to discussing the actual topic but when they did they all seemed to concur that the ambitious agenda that President Obama had agreed to for getting Immigration Reform passed this year is going to slip.  It was a diverse panel with Nancy Ramirez of MALDEF on the left and Ira Mehlman of FAIR on the right.  The other two panelists Ruth Milkman of UCLA and Gary Toebbsen of the LA Chamber of Commerce were in roughly the sensible center.
Not sure what an Acronym means?  Look it up on our Immigration Acronym Converter

A New Path?

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The American Friends Service Committee has recently published a report titled  A New Path, Toward a Humane Immigration Policy.   You can download a copy by going to their web site .

The Friends (sometimes called the Quakers) were one of the earliest groups to be active in the fight against slavery that began in the late 1700's.  The movie Amazing Grace tells the compelling story of the Quaker MP William Wilberforce and his 30 year struggle to end the British slave trade.  Would the Friends in the USA in 1845 have published a report titled "A New Path: Toward a Humane Slavery Policy?

The Birthright Lottery

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Three New Ideas in One Book

In The Birthright Lottery Ayelet Shachar develops three arguments that will have a positive and profound effect on the struggle for more people to gain the legal right to migrate.  The book is a series of legal arguments that are easy to follow, convincing and well footnoted.  If you are interested in the immigration debate this book belongs on your shelf between Bill Ong Hing’s Deporting our Souls and Lant Pritchett’s Let Their People Come .  

Deporting Our Souls

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In a book published in October 2006: Deporting Our Souls.... Values, Morality and Immigration Policy, Bill Ong Hing makes a very strong case for a much more humane immigration policy in the United States.

Hing who is on the faculty at UC Davis Law School argues that we need a new approach to immigration: "My solution is simple." He writes. "Calm down. Welcome undocumented workers...." His is a refreshing voice in a storm of fear. He uses lots of examples showing how the US's past immigration policy has mistreated people. He also shows how applications of the same policies are effecting people today. One example he uses is how Operation Gatekeeper, which sealed the border near El Paso drove the migrants into the Arizona desert where thousands have died.

ImmigrationProf Blog

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The first article posted on this new platform for Radical Immigration was about Professor Kevin Johnson .  It was a pleasure to find that he is still active in the immigration rights community as one of the editors of the ImmigrationProf Blog .  Another contributor to the blog is Professor Bill Hing the author of Deporting our Souls a book that we reviewed on Amazon.  It is exciting to find these connections.  To often it seems that the only voices that are heard in the immigration debate are the shrill antis and the special interests.

Olly Olly Oxen Free

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The politics of immigration is a complicated labyrinth.  The players try to balance the needs of their constituencies with the possible.  In an article titled “Unions agree on path for immigration reform” the LA Times reported that the AFL-CIO and the Change to Win Federation support legislation that legalizes the 12 million undocumented people currently in the country and kick the issue of the level of future immigration down the road by proposing appointing a commission.  This may serve their constituencies and be politically possible but it is unethical.  People should have the right to live where they choose not just those who got here before a certain date.

CIR Spring II

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The NYT and the LAT both reported this week that the Obama administration will propose Immigration Reform legislation in May.  The proposed legislation will, according to the LAT story; “control immigration and make it an orderly system.”  Additionally it will provide a path to citizenship for the 12 million illegal immigrants already in the country.  A story in the LAT last week speculated that the proposed legislation might sacrifice future legal immigration as a compromise to gain legal status for the people already here.  
Radical Immigration would like to remind the Obama administration that we got into the “illegal” immigrant situation we are in now because the Reagan amnesty in 1986 made the same compromise.  Restricting immigration is incompatible with the freedoms that Americans claim and that the world aspires to.  To restrict immigration we have to build more walls, hire more paramilitaries, increase inspections, threaten more raids and tear families apart.  There is another choice:  Allow responsible people the right to move to the USA  if they fulfill some obligations to show there desire to be here and that they will not be a burden. 

A Conservative Sees the Light

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Richard Nadler who runs the American Majority Foundation has written an article in National Review that makes a practical argument that conservatives should support Comprehensive Immigration Reform.