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Biased Media Coverage of the Illegal Alien May Day Rallies

That's the topic of my latest Rocky Mountain News column, which examines how the Denver papers glossed over the significance of May 1 for the rally date, ignored the role of A.N.S.W.E.R., pretended that the reconquista does not exist, claimed that illegal aliens are merely demanding their "rights," defamed critics of illegal immigration by calling them "anti-immigrant," and too often used the ridiculous phrase "undocumented worker."

Regarding the final item, I wrote:

If the newspapers are going to continue using "undocumented worker," then the papers should, to be consistent, start writing that illegal users of morphine are really "undocumented patients," that bank embezzlers are "undocumented withdrawers," school truants are "undocumented vacationers," people who drive after their licenses have been revoked are "undocumented drivers," and 15-year-olds who use fake IDs to buy vodka are "undocumented drinkers."
On a completely different topic, the Independence Institute's new podcast series, iVoices, has a new 10 minute podcast by me discussing current trends in gun laws.

Jaime Roberto:
One the things that infuriates me about the local coverage of the protests here in the Bay Area is that they are described as protests for "immigrants rights", dropping any notion that the people protesting are here illegally.
5.7.2006 2:35pm
gr (www):
Not a single report mentioned the Protocols of the Elders of Aztlan
5.7.2006 3:04pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
Many of the illegal aliens came to the USA on legitimate visas, and then overstayed. It is certainly incorrect to call them "undocumented", because they have the documents to describe their status.

Many are also just here temporarily and intend to go back. They are not immigrants.
5.7.2006 3:05pm
Wintermute (mail) (www):
Well-said, DK.
5.7.2006 3:07pm
Swimmy:
'One the things that infuriates me about the local coverage of the protests here in the Bay Area is that they are described as protests for "immigrants rights", dropping any notion that the people protesting are here illegally.'

Their illegality is not being denied; it's being opposed. The whole point is that the law is unjust.
5.7.2006 3:10pm
gr (www):

One the things that infuriates me about the local coverage of the protests here in the Bay Area is that they are described as protests for "immigrants rights", dropping any notion that the people protesting are here illegally.

I was a protester. I am a citizen here legally. At least some of the proposals in Congress do affect the rights of legal immigrants and even citizens such as myself.

Lots of families have varying levels of status among the different family members. It certainly affects me when a law is passed that criminalizes me for helping my family stay in this country if they have visa or other documentation problems. It is the rights of immigrants such as myself that I was protesting for.
5.7.2006 3:13pm
llamasex (mail) (www):

pretended that the reconquista does not exist


David, I am interested in hearing how much you think reconquista does exist?
5.7.2006 3:29pm
SeanD:
Following up on Swimmy's comment, it seems to me that the point made by DK in his piece and reiterated by JR at the top is an equivocation- one can rally for 'immigrants rights' without being committed to the view that these are 'legal' rights. Everyone knows that 'undocumented' workers are illegal immigrants- but this does not mean that they don't have moral, rather than legal, rights to be treated well by our political system, either by virtue of our common humanity or, less idealistically, as a result of our dependence on their (rather poorly compensated, by the standards of a U.S. citizen) labor.
5.7.2006 3:37pm
Constantin:
Vovan, what in Gibson's column implicates hatred of any kind whatsoever?

And gr, your first post looks to claim that the idea of reconquista is mythical. Is it your stance that it just flat doesn't exist (as is true of the Protocols' Jewish cabal) even when there are people who by their own accounts openly advocate it?
5.7.2006 3:52pm
Dan28 (mail):
I found this paragraph repulsive:

Both papers have done an excellent job in telling human-interest stories about hard-working illegal aliens and their families. The papers have almost entirely failed to tell the stories of families who are the victims of illegal aliens. Although the papers provided extensive coverage regarding the killing of Denver police officer Donnie Young by an illegal alien (as they provide major coverage of almost all killings of local police officers), the papers have devoted few investigative resources to the broader topic of how many crimes in Denver or in Colorado are perpetrated by illegal aliens.


'The victims of illegal aliens'? Donnie Young is not a victim of illegal aliens, any more than a police officer shot by a black man is the 'victim of blacks', nor is an officer shot by a Jew the 'victim of Jews'. A police officer shot by an illegal alien is the victim of the specific person who shot him. In America, we do not hold groups responsible for the actions of individual members.

If you want to say that undocumented workers should be treated as criminals, fine. But base your argument on rational principles and arguments, not generalized stereotypes based on individual events. That paragraph hints at an earlier, uglier time in American political discourse.

Personally, I think there is a fundamental difference between violating an immigration law in the hopes of creating a better life for your family and violating a law for the sake of getting drunk or high, or violating a law for personal profit at the expense of others. I also think it's hypocritical for our government to treat these people as criminals when everybody knows they provide our economy with a useful service, and the real reason we allow them to commit their crime en masse is that we know it is important for our economy.
5.7.2006 3:53pm
Allen Asch (mail) (www):
Really believing in free trade means that borders should be open to goods, capital, and labor. All three can be subject to health, safety, and security regulations, but I have yet to hear a real logical explanation of why one person's goods, capital, or labor should get preference in the marketplace over another person's goods, capital, or labor based on the place of birth or current citizenship of the two people.
5.7.2006 3:57pm
gr (www):

And gr, your first post looks to claim that the idea of reconquista is mythical.


More that it's something that belongs to a lunatic fringe. Oh, and kinda creepy yucky racist too.
5.7.2006 4:01pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
gr, it definitely should be "creepy yucky racist," and possibl y even "gross," but here are some pictures anyway, for you to consider. I'm not saying they are a majority or even a sizeable minority - but here they are. Oh, and yeah, Malkin is insane, but pictures are pictures.

http://michellemalkin.com/archives/004848.htm
5.7.2006 4:17pm
Major Mike (mail) (www):
Reconquista exists, and an Army of Reconquistadores is being assembled while we sleep. Please go to Stong As An Ox And Nearly As Smart and scroll down to Making the Army of Reconquista.
5.7.2006 4:33pm
Steve:
Here at the VC, it's anathema to claim that a "Constitution-in-Exile movement" exists, but how dare anyone deny the existence of the reconquista movement!

Attempting to tar an entire point of view by pointing to its most extreme adherents is a standard rhetorical trick, and it doesn't become any more valid a point just because you provide pictures.
5.7.2006 5:01pm
logicnazi (mail) (www):
Come on people, trying to argue that illegal immigrants somehow can't protest for their rights or need to be stopped because they are illegal is obviously an invalid argument. The question is whether the law should continue to make their presence illegal the fact that the law does say that now hardly establishes the point.

I mean you could have made exactly the same arguments about blacks insisting on sitting at lunch counters (and I expect they were made). They were acting illegally does that mean they were wrong or couldn't demand their rights? Go back further and consider a slave who has escaped to the north advocating for his rights. Should the people of the day dismissed his demands for rights because he had illegally left servitude?

Also pointing out that communists made a big deal out of May 1st is nothing but an ad hominem attack by association. There are probably workers movements that we admire that also used May 1 what does it matter. The question should be the validity of their cause not whether or not we like the people who have advocated may day as a workers rights day.

Yes the choice between illegal immigrant and undocumented worker is a politically charged choice but objecting to the use of 'undocumented worker' because they have false documents is just absurd. Everyone knows what the word means. Now I happen to think that the choice of words really just isn't important here but if you are going to kibitz about the right choice to call them you have to look at the way we use the word illegal.

We don't use illegal to describe anyone who breaks any law. We don't call people who go 5mph over the speed limit illegal drivers. We don't call people who safely cross the street without a cross walk illegal pedestrians. In general we differentiate between activities we regard as really wrong and truly illegal (murder, theft) and those we view as mere administrative penalties. People who speed a little aren't illegal drivers because we view speed limits as a pragmatic sort of thing. We don't think violating the law by speeding (reasonably) makes one morally unfit, you just need to be prepared to get a ticket if you speed so we can discourage people from going faster and faster.

The question with illegal immigration is whether we should view it the immigration laws as laws like theft or murder with actual moral heft behind them or more like the laws about speeding, pragmatic penalties to prevent things from spiraling out of control. Intuitively I think most of us feel that our immigration laws are more on the pragmatic side. Obviously someone who leaves their poor situation in central america and braves great danger to help feed and cloth their family by working hard aren't blameworthy in the way a thief or murderer is. Hell, most of the people in the US would do the same thing if they were in that situation. At best we unfortunately need to have laws about illegal immigration to keep the US from being overwhelmed much like we need to have laws about speeding but those who break the laws are no worse (a good deal better probably) than those who speed so it is perfectly reasonable not to call them illegal immigrants the same way we don't call some who is 5mph over the speed limit an illegal driver. At the very least undocumented immigrant is no worse a term than illegal immigrant.

Actually I would argue that we have a moral responsibility not only to offer amnesty to the immigrants who are here but also radically increase and speed up our legal immigration. People are people everywhere and there is nothing more important or valuable about a person from Alabama than there is about someone from mexico. As individuals we have a responsibility to act to help out fellow humans and it wouldn't be acceptable to only help the well off people who were born in a certain geographic area and ignore the more needy people who happened to be born elsewhere and this is still true when we act collectively.

Most of us think it would be totally unacceptable for all the rich people in the states to get together and refuse to contribute any money that might be used for welfare or to help the poor because they were only going to care about other rich people. Yet this is exactly what we are doing when we demand to stop any immigration that hurts american wages or costs money. Sure we are talking about the government of the US but that is just a cop out. It isn't suddenly okay for an all white country club to discriminate against blacks because they are a group of whites acting together and it is no more okay for us to care less about the needs of foreigners because we have gotten together and formed a government.

Ultimately, we of course need some restrictions on immigration to prevent the whole system from being overwhelmed and making things worse for everyone. However, the US could tolerate MANY more immigrants before our society collapses, it will just cost some money. Quite simply immigrants to the US have their welfare improved far more than US citizens are hurt by their presence. I think the cost of immigrants ought to be distributed so it is born equally by all of society (progressive taxes etc..) but the underlying fact is simple:

More people are better off if we admit more (unskilled) immigrants so we have a moral duty to do just that. Anything else is just selfishness.
5.7.2006 5:03pm
gr (www):

I'm not saying they are a majority or even a sizeable minority - but here they are. Oh, and yeah, Malkin is insane, but pictures are pictures.

I don't see any reconquista in those pictures.
5.7.2006 5:06pm
Federal Dog:
With respect to this reconquista stuff, give me a break. This stuff is popping up on Boston Common, for pity's sake. It must have been heartbreaking when Mexico lost Massachusetts during the Pilgrim/Puritan wars.
5.7.2006 5:19pm
Heloise (mail):
Why not have millions and millions of uneducated immigrants, many illiterate even in their native tongue, many who are criminals in their own lands, many who have no loyalty to our nation at all or their own (or they would be organizing and resisting their own corrupt government), why not have them come? There are millions more in Latin America after those from Mexico and Central America are assimulated, if they ever are. E Pluribus Unum? Not anymore.
5.7.2006 5:42pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
With respect to this reconquista stuff, give me a break

Now while most of the southwest was won from Mexico in a fair fight between sovereign nations, you really can't dispute that Texas was stolen from Mexico by a bunch of con artists and petty thieves who were running from debtors and judgements back east.
5.7.2006 5:47pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Why not have millions and millions of uneducated immigrants, many illiterate even in their native tongue, many who are criminals in their own lands, many who have no loyalty to our nation at all or their own (or they would be organizing and resisting their own corrupt government), why not have them come?

Exactly my point about the people who stole Texas from Mexico.
5.7.2006 5:49pm
CaDan (mail):
Translation of those who don't want to bother RTFA:

OH NOES!!!!11!!!
5.7.2006 5:53pm
TLB (mail) (www):
Here are examples of the use of the phrase immigrants rights movement. (Interleaving the NYT with the People's Weekly World was intentional).

It certainly affects me when a law is passed that criminalizes me for helping my family stay in this country if they have visa or other documentation problems.

The SFChronical ran a propaganda piece on that, basically making the same claim as you. However, our current laws are very similar to HR4437, and the SFC didn't disclose that. Could you please list all of the family members who have been prosecuted for a good faith attempt to help their illegal alien relatives? For extra credit, could you please list all the humanitarian organizations that have been prosecuted under our current laws regarding aiding and abetting illegal aliens?

the real reason we allow them to commit their crime en masse is that we know it is important for our economy.

Most Americans would gladly end illegal immigration tomorrow if they could. Those who are allowing illegal immigration are corrupt politicians who are in effect paid off by corrupt businesses, many of which should be forced to mechanize or employ legal workers rather than using foreign serf labor.

Come on people, trying to argue that illegal immigrants somehow can't protest for their rights or need to be stopped because they are illegal is obviously an invalid argument.

Not really. It's usually an act of war when foreign citizens march in a country's streets and make demands, but not so here and now. Note also that the Malkin link above contains a link to my post discussing how the Georgia rally/boycott was organized by a former Mexican consul. And, the Mexican government has links to organizers of at least two other of the marches. And, note that several Mexican-"American" elected officials are former members of the racial separatist group MEChA.

Could "liberals" please explain exactly what proof they would need of a) reconquista sentiments among a large part of the Mexican-"American" leadership, and b) the government of Mexico meddling in our internal politics in order to gain power in the U.S., retain power in Mexico, and make even more money off remittances?
5.7.2006 6:10pm
Federal Dog:
"Now while most of the southwest was won from Mexico in a fair fight between sovereign nations, you really can't dispute that Texas was stolen from Mexico"


Boston is in Massachusetts, not Texas. And I do not know that Texas was stolen from anyone.
5.7.2006 6:51pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
A migrant who overstays his visa has committed a minor violation of the law, at least in this country. However when the migrant takes employment, that’s another matter. If he works “off the books,” with no wages paid to IRS, then migrant is guilty of tax evasion. If he uses a phony social security number, he is guilty of identity theft. If he uses a fake drivers license, and drives without insurance, he commits more crimes. I assume that most of the migrants who enter the US illegally do so with the intent of working. So millions and millions of illegal migrants have committed serious crimes as a consequence of their illegal entry to work. Does anyone dispute my assertion? Are we supposed to overlook tax evasion and identity theft because the person entered illegally? Are we supposed treat citizens and people with legal work permits more seriously than we treat illegal migrants? Is this what the phrase “immigrant rights" means?
5.7.2006 7:27pm
Major Mike (mail) (www):
"Now while most of the southwest was won from Mexico in a fair fight between sovereign nations, you really can't dispute that Texas was stolen from Mexico"

Let the dispute begin! Texas was taken from Mexico by revolution. Mexico was taken from Spain by revolution. Both of these revolutions were led by immigrants. A short history lesson follows:
Mexico, 1821-1836

New Spain or Mexico got its independence in 1821 after more than a decade of fighting and uncertainty but the country was only a geographical expression over which the men in Mexico City had little control. When Mexico became an independent nation, it stretched from the Panamanian border with Costa Rica north to what is now Oregon. It was over 4,000 square kilometers in area. The will of the government in Mexico City was contested or ignored in Guadalajara, Puebla, Zacatecas, Oaxaca, Mérida, and the other locales. People in San José (now Costa Rica) or in California could ignore the national government. The new nation was not part of the United States or Gran Colombia but it was not clear what it was. Regionalism was important at independence and would remain so into the 20th century. The country was ruled by local strongmen or warlords or, caudillos. For a national leader to rule effectively, he had to make peace with them, make them fear him, or bribe them. The average person, someone who did not even speak Spanish, did not count.

For the rest of this excellent historical article, please go here.

Looking through the arguments presented in these comments, several points stand out. The first is the bastardization of the word “illegal.” It is true that blacks had to break laws to protest discrimination. It is also true that the laws they broke were unconstitutional, because they denied blacks their rights of citizenship. The same is not true of illegal immigrants, who only have the rights shared by all who commit crimes in the United States, the so-called “Miranda” rights.

If the point is conceded that the United States is a sovereign nation, and that those who enter it in violation of its immigration laws have performed an illegal act, the argument about illegal immigration is over. However, for those who contend that all or part of the United States rightfully belongs to Mexico (and cases could be made for Spain, England, Russia, France, The Netherlands, and the Hawaiian monarchy, among many others), then the above referenced historical article should be read. It establishes that the newly independent Mexico had a tenuous hold at best on most of its territory, including much of modern-day Mexico. The indigenous peoples of Mexico who form the basis of their claim to citizenship in all North America had no voice in the Mexican government during the period when Texas, California, and the rest of the American Southwest were taken from Mexico. In truth, they still don’t.

Also true, they have more freedom as illegals in the United States than as citizens of their own country. If you disagree, go to Mexico City and protest against anything (with the exception of the United States) and see how harshly you are treated.
5.7.2006 7:52pm
Ken Arromdee:
Attempting to tar an entire point of view by pointing to its most extreme adherents is a standard rhetorical trick, and it doesn't become any more valid a point just because you provide pictures.

It is a valid point, because the main group's willingness and ability to disclaim the fringe adherents is a useful indicator of exactly how close they are to the fringe adherents and how much influence the fringe has over them. The presence of the fringe is often a sign that the main group is too close to the fringe to be able or willing to kick them out.
5.7.2006 7:56pm
Ken Arromdee:
Really believing in free trade means that borders should be open to goods, capital, and labor.

No, because the government of Mexico has control over the economy of Mexico, and the fact that foreign labor is cheaper is directly related to the actions of the foreign government.
5.7.2006 7:58pm
Ken Arromdee:
Also pointing out that communists made a big deal out of May 1st is nothing but an ad hominem attack by association.

Ad hominem is invalid when you're just making logical deductions, but when hidden motives and incomplete information are issues, this kind of "ad hominem" is legitimate. Just the fact that Communists are behind the rallies makes it more likely that the rallies will be a step towards some goal I find objectionable.
5.7.2006 8:04pm
Allen Asch (mail) (www):
Ken Arromdee wrote:

Really believing in free trade means that borders should be open to goods, capital, and labor.

No, because the government of Mexico has control over the economy of Mexico, and the fact that foreign labor is cheaper is directly related to the actions of the foreign government.

If you're claiming that Mexico has a government-run economy, I'd say your information is about 20 years out of date. See, e.g., this link, CIA World Factbook on Mexico, stating "Mexico has a free market economy ... increasingly dominated by the private sector."

I think poor conditions in Mexico have more to do with corruption and a rich-get-richer-while-the poor-get-poorer type situation. For example (and without adopting everything expressed therein), I point you more in the direction of the explanation at this link: The Mexican Economy: Six Years into NAFTA

But, I still have yet to yet to hear a real logical explanation of why one person's goods, capital, or labor should get preference in the marketplace over another person's goods, capital, or labor based on the place of birth or current citizenship of the two people.

Allen Asch
5.7.2006 9:26pm
Allen Asch (mail) (www):
P.S. I realize my Six Years into NAFTA link is 6 years out of date, so, to make up for it, there's very good current info at: World Bank Mexico page
5.7.2006 9:32pm
therut:
Funny that Workers still protest on a Communist Holiday considering the Communists did nothing for the worker except murder, make a slave out out of and make them become nothing more than a robot of the STATE. Sad and ignorant. If they want to protest they should have done it on the 4th of July and demand their independence from Mexico and begging to become a Americian Citizen.
5.7.2006 10:44pm
Steve:
It is a valid point, because the main group's willingness and ability to disclaim the fringe adherents is a useful indicator of exactly how close they are to the fringe adherents and how much influence the fringe has over them.

No, it's not a useful indicator at all. That's just a further rhetorical trick that's useful for tarring an entire group with the extremist views of a few. "Gee, the Republicans don't denounce the KKK as often as I'd like them to, so obviously they don't really have a problem with them." It's a crap argument.
5.7.2006 10:57pm
therut:
Well why should the Republicians apologize since the KKK was Democrats. Remember a Republician never owned a slave. Think about it. Truth matters.
5.7.2006 11:06pm
therut:
And as for the Libertarian idea of free flow of labor I say this=====destroy the welfare STATE first and I would agree with this idea and legalizing drugs. But until then no way.
5.7.2006 11:09pm
TLB (mail) (www):
"Gee, the Republicans don't denounce the KKK as often as I'd like them to, so obviously they don't really have a problem with them."

The Republicans don't march in KKK parades. OTOH, we're talking about people marching in parades organized by Communist, Socialist and irredentist groups and by people with ties to the Mexican government. If they didn't know they were rubbing elbows with extremists, perhaps the traditional reading-of-the-letter-from-Mumia or the big signs saying "International Socialist Organization" should have been a tiny clue.

I still have yet to yet to hear a real logical explanation of why one person's goods, capital, or labor should get preference in the marketplace over another person's goods, capital, or labor based on the place of birth or current citizenship of the two people.

In the fantasy world where the only thing that matters is the marketplace, there's probably little difference.

However, in the real world, someone's total contribution (positive or negative) to this country has to be considered. For instance, we (usually) avoid giving citizenship to former members of terrorist organizations. Those might be great workers and have unique skills, but that tiny little matter of having been a terrorist indicates that that person might be a threat to the rest of us.
5.8.2006 12:39am
Ken Arromdee:
Gee, the Republicans don't denounce the KKK as often as I'd like them to, so obviously they don't really have a problem with them.

There is a point where refusing to disavow or working closely with an associated group does say something bad about the main group. The fact that it may not always do so (as in the Republicans/KKK example) doesn't mean that it never does so.

To claim that the only alternatives are "blame everyone for all associated groups" or "completely ignore all associated groups" is a false dichotomy. It is legitimate to ignore some associations but not others, based on factors such as how closely they are connected.
5.8.2006 12:56am
Jim McFerran:
Allen Asch seems to be supporting a “one world” concept of totally free movement of goods, capital and labor. Missing from the concept is the idea of Societal Rules, commonly called laws, under which far flung groups have associated since the dawn of man. From Tribes to Nations, people have banded together, forming a common structure of laws (rules) under which they to varying degrees agree to live.

If we are to dispose of this concept of individual Nations with individually evolved societal structures, we devolve to anarchy. Anarchy is one form of mutual interaction, but most reasoned persons, over generations have decided (rightly or wrongly) that this is not a suitable stucture for society, and that, broadly speaking, a group must have laws to survive as a group, and the group has a natural self interest in its own continued existence. (Note that it is a natural Self Interest in its continued existence, not a guarantee thereof.)

If we decide as a society to eliminate rules concerning access to our society, how then can the Society exist over the long term? Such devolution would absolutely lead to dilution of enforceable conditions of mutual agreement, and standards of behavior in the manner in which we interact. If anyone, from anywhere, with any standard of behavior, is allowed, then it is only a matter of time before the strong simply control the environment. This leads to Balkanization and warlordism every time. Small groups will form their own rules (often as dictated by the strongest military leader) and control the destiny of the sub group. Invariably, and throughout history this Balkanization has lead to genocide. This was the point of building a Nation of Laws, as invisioned by the Founders.

If a society is to survive, it must have rules. As varied as US history is, it clearly has evolved the most effective and dynamic set of rules under which people may live in the history of the world. Nowhere is it written that a society that works must give up itself to a social order that does not, simply due to jealousy of the non-members.

Americans work under American Rules. Mexicans, Italians and other nations operate under thiers. Not wishing to import a new set of Societal Rules is both natural and appropriate. The value of our labor is in our utilization of it under the rules of our society. Those that wish to apply their labor to our society’s needs must do so under the rules in place. It is in the membership of the society that gives value to the labor. Thus, a legal shoemaker in the US may well have a greater income (purchasing power) than a shoemaker in France. It is the value of Societal Membership that creates or maintains the difference. Naturally, a society (like ours does) should seek the highest a best labor. Ours does this through our system of immigration laws. These laws may need updating or dramatic changes, but must not just be cast aside for political expediency of the moment.

If immigrants (legal immigrants) wish to change the rules, then they have a right to do so under our existing Societal Organization, as defined by the Constitution. Non-citizens do not have such rights, and should not.

I am certain the brighter legal minds posting here can better detail these concepts, but this is my view.
5.8.2006 1:07am
logicnazi (mail) (www):
Just a quick point for now. People who use pony SSNs end up paying taxes and contributing to SS without getting anything back. Yes a fair number of illegal immigrants get paid under the table (which is one of the stronger arguments to legalize them so that the government can get its fair cut) but some also pay taxes. I don't know how this breaks down.

Also on the illegal point the argument that somehow these may day protests are equivalent to an act of war are just silly. Organized action by a foriegn government versus protests by people who are formally residents of that state but regard themselves as living in your country are hardly the same thing.

Besides this is all just a distraction. It doesn't matter what we think of the people demanding more rights for illegal immigrants the question is whether we should give them more rights. The 1st ammendment doesn't suddenly become a bad idea because the KKK supports it, the civil rights act wasn't a bad idea because it was supported by some extremist groups.

If it had been the devil himself protesting out there on may day it still wouldn't make a difference. We should do what is right regardless of who asks us to do it. The only question that really matters here is how we should treat illegal immigrants and what should our immigration policy be and fighting over the badness of various political groups doesn't help answer this question.
5.8.2006 6:33am
Ken Arromdee (mail):
It doesn't matter what we think of the people demanding more rights for illegal immigrants the question is whether we should give them more rights.

Remember the slippery slope discussion?

It may turn out that some goal is good in itself, but if put into practice will make it easier for some organization to put into place another goal you don't want. The nature of the organizations supporting the original goal are valid indicators of whether this sort of thing may happen.

It's true that the immediate effects of supporting a cause don't depend on who else supports it. But the long term effects do.

There's also the issue that we know we are not omniscient. If an unsavory organization supports a seemingly good goal, it's more likely that there's some bad effect of that goal which you simply haven't figured out yet.
5.8.2006 10:30am
Allen Asch (mail) (www):
TLB wrote:

Those might be great workers and have unique skills, but that tiny little matter of having been a terrorist indicates that that person might be a threat to the rest of us
Jim McFerran wrote:

Allen Asch seems to be supporting a “one world” concept of totally free movement of goods, capital and labor. Missing from the concept is the idea of Societal Rules, commonly called laws, under which far flung groups have associated since the dawn of man.
Both these comments seem to have missed the part of my original post in which I made clear that the movement of goods, capital, and labor over the border "can be subject to health, safety, and security regulations." So, I am hardly advocating opening the borders to terrorists or throwing away "the idea of Societal Rules."

And, there are certainly protectionist arguments for favoring native goods, capital, or labor that apply, generally to all three. If you believe in free trade, however, there's no real logical explanation for why one person's goods, capital, or labor should get preference in the marketplace over another person's goods, capital, or labor based on the place of birth or current citizenship of the two people.

I haven't heard an argument to the contrary, particularly not one that applies to labor, but not goods or capital.

Allen Asch
5.8.2006 5:10pm
David Matthews (mail):
"More people are better off if we admit more (unskilled) immigrants"

I think the jury's still out on this one. Are the "unskilled" workers who are already here better off if they are competing in a larger pool for the same jobs? What happens to established domestic industries when a flood of immigrants effectively lowers the wages?

I've watched many formerly decently paying jobs disappear to a flood of cheaper immigrant labor. The new immigrants may be better off (than they would be wherever they came from), and the employers may be better off, as well as certain consumers, but I don't think it's mere coincidence that the flood of immigration over the past 5 years (an estimated 7 million of the 12 million illegal immigrants have been here less than 5 years) has coincided with a growing disparity in real wages between the rich and the poor.

In the rural midwest, for example, going back a little farther, 15 - 20 years ago, high school students and younger adults often picked up extra income doing "unskilled" farm labor, light construction, day labor, custodial work, etc., and the going rate was about twice the minimum wage. Packing plant workers were usually unionized, and earned a decent salary, plus health care and retirement benefits for some rather disgusting work. Now all of these jobs pay minimum wage or less, and it is not the case that most of those who formerly did these jobs "moved up." And for those who did, there's a new generation who, if they do the same work as we did back then, now make less than half (in real income) of what we did. So I'm not sure that any of these people are better off with more "unskilled" immigrant labor.

(I keep putting "unskilled" in quotes, because I'm not sure what is meant by "unskilled." Does it just mean "not requiring formal education or licensure?" Are roofers "unskilled?" How about gardeners? Drywallers? Cab drivers? Data entry operators? Telemarketers? Cooks? Do workers cease being "unskilled" when they compete for my job?)
5.8.2006 6:19pm
SLS 1L:
International ANSWER is an evil front group for North Korea apologists. But where is the evidence that ANSWER actually had a substantial role in organizing the protests? ANSWER's standard role in the anti-war movement, according to friends active in that movement, has been to jump on rallies organized by others and try to claim an organzing role; why believe it's different here?
5.8.2006 6:31pm
TLB (mail) (www):
SLS 1L: Huh? Haven't you seen all those banners with ANSWER's name on them? Don't you know about the links between rally organizer Juan Jose Gutierrez and that group?

Allen Asch says he thinks that "the movement of goods, capital, and labor over the border [being subject to] health, safety, and security regulations" would make everything OK.

First, I guess I'm even less in favor of "free trade" than I was before.

In any case, the major problem with his statement is right in front of you. Our current leaders think that the movement of millions of illegal aliens over our borders is safe. After all, we're informed that no Mexicans have ever been terrorists or similar. However - and feel free to call me a nervous Norbert - I tend to think that having millions of foreign citizens in a country is a dangerous thing. It's even more dangerous when most of those foreign citizens think your land rightfully belongs to them. Now, certainly, we haven't yet reached the point when their "this is our homeland" signs have changed into "land reform or else" signs, but we're heading that way.

So, I think to be safe we need to make sure there are only as many foreign citizens here as we can safely send home if need be. Others are less risk averse and think we can invite millions more here and everything will work out OK. Those firm believers in the "market" are not, however, willing to post a "land reform bond" or back up their assurances with anything other than words.
5.9.2006 3:16am
logicnazi (mail) (www):
David Matthews said: (emphasis mine)

I've watched many formerly decently paying jobs disappear to a flood of cheaper immigrant labor. The new immigrants may be better off (than they would be wherever they came from), and the employers may be better off, as well as certain consumers, but I don't think it's mere coincidence that the flood of immigration over the past 5 years (an estimated 7 million of the 12 million illegal immigrants have been here less than 5 years) has coincided with a growing disparity in real wages between the rich and the poor.


The bit in bold is my point. Even if immigrants harm US wages, increase the disparity between the rich and poor (though if you believe this is a problem you should advocate for more taxes/more progressive taxes to directly solve the problem) this harm still isn't as great as the benefit the immigrants themselves get.

Quite simply moving from a third world nation where food is scarce, you have no modern conveinces or access to health care and you live in squalor to a low level job in the US makes a huge difference in your welfare compared to the change in the welfare of a US citizen when his wages drop or even if he has to go on welfare and accept charity.

Even if each immigrant's wage and benefits were directly taken from US wealth (workers wages etc..) it would still be difficult to imagine that the harm to US citizens is anywhere near as much as the benefit to the immigrant (and it is absurd to believe the immigrants aren't helping generate some wealth whether or not you believe it is as much wealth as they consume). My point is simply that foreigners are people just as much as US citizens and we should be just as concerned about their welfare.

What I mean by unskilled is immigrants admitted on a general pool not given a bonus for being educated or whatever, i.e., groups we don't need to worry about causing the home country harm via a brain drain.

As for this argument that we should be more sucpiscious of a goal if it is advocated by sucpiscious groups it is extremely weak at best. Certainly in this case where we are being asked to believe a group is bad because it protests on a day with communist overtones and therefore to be sucpiscious of their cause we should put very little weight in the argument. At best this would be relevant only if you thought the case for and against immigration and amnesty was perfectly balanced and it is therefore disingenous to bring this up as if it was a significant argument rather than a tie-breaker, i.e., if you write an editorial it should be obvious that this is going to have more emotional impact than the argument warrants.

Moreover, what particularly bothers me about this attack by association is that it is brought up selectively. I don't hear conservatives worrying about whether supporting law and order is a bad thing because the nazis did the same. Hell, I can turn your argument on it's head and claim that we should be sucpiscious about positions advocated by people who oppose things that smack of communism because this was the position of McCarthy and the nazis.

I mean pretty clearly this is an emotional appeal that supports/justifies a position that one has already decided that is right and not a serious attempt to debate the merits of amnesty or increased immigration.
5.11.2006 3:51pm