Site Meter

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Immigration is the topic of
today's link to Mark Kleiman

Kleiman is unenthusiastic about immigration reform efforts in congress except that he wants to make sure that Republicans get the blame they deserve. Far from being a sign that he is an advocate not a wonk, this shows he is such an uber-wonk that he really cares about the details of an unlikely but possible bill (which details will determine the fate of millions of people).

I think we should have a national ID card. Most US (and UK) citizens are opposed on civil liberties grounds. Given how few objected to the indefinite detention without trial of José Padilla (and waterboarding and warrantless wiretaps (how relatively quaint) etc etc etc) I have no patience with my fellow citizens on this point.

The reason I support national ID is principally that I think that voter registration should be automatic and mandatory.

Also, while I am not convinced that voter fraud is a significant problem, I do think that the Republican voter fraud fraud is and that it is politically costly to fight voter ID laws. I think mandatory universal ID is one way to stop their important dangerous campaign to re-institute a poll tax by another name.

Also I think that most US citizens who want to keep their identity private are runaway dads and that it is very important to nail them.

Also I live in Italy, so I find mandatory ID non threatening. This is partly Italy specific. I lost my Italian green card equivalent and haven't bothered to pick up the replacement because nobody ever bothers me. I am pretty sure I was an un documented alien for a year, but nobody was rude enough to make it clear to me whether I was or was not.

Back to the linked post, I generally agree with Kleiman but do add my thoughs on on one point

"It seems to me that the anti-immigration forces have a legitimate point that a normalization program without effective controls on continued inflows is asking for a repeat of Simpson-Mazzoli."

I add that I do indeed ask for a repeat of Simpson-Mazzoli except ten times bigger (and yes that does mean an amnesty for roughly 20 million illegal immigrants who haven't immigrated illegally yet). I am, in fact, absolutely opposed to exclusive citizenship as a birth right as I am opposed on principle to all birth rights.

Does make it ironic that, above, I find common ground with Tom Tancredo no ?


Anonymous said...

A Family Torn Apart by Deportation

To the Editor:

In "As Pace of Deportation Rises, Illegal Families Are Digging In," you tell the heartbreaking story of the Mancía family, which seems at first to have been torn in two by immigration enforcement.

Mr. Mancía is free to return to Honduras with his wife. The American Dream is so valuable, however, that he chooses to hang on to the dream, even if it means breaking his own family in two.

Billions of people around the world, no doubt, would love to become Americans. Millions more have been patiently waiting for years in observance of our rules. We should not allow something so precious to be simply taken.

The American Dream is not, as so many illegal immigrants seem to believe, just a better job and a better life. It's about fairness, equality and, yes, the rule of law.

Mike Elgan
Santa Barbara, Calif., May 1, 2007

To the Editor:

Words cannot describe my shock when my 5-year-old Mexican friend, María José, took me to her home made of cardboard, garbage bags and destroyed billboards from the garbage dump next door. She lives in a neighborhood of 50 similar homes in Isla Mujeres, Mexico.

When I saw María's family living in such horrible conditions, I knew that they should be given a chance to have a better life. This life is waiting in the United States.

I used to believe that illegal immigrants should be immediately sent back to their native countries, but after this experience, I know that they should not be forced to live in such a terrible environment.

It is time to provide illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. President Bush's plan to allow illegal immigrants to work hard for their citizenship would give people the lives they deserve.

Catie Patterson
Mobile, Ala., May 2, 2007

To the Editor:

The photos of Lilo Mancía's children, who have stopped eating because of "acute sadness" at their mother's deportation to Honduras, made me ill. Surely there are more humane ways to treat these families.

While I understand the need to uphold immigration laws, what good can be accomplished by separating a mother and her children? It benefits no one, and may succeed in nurturing a generation of children who despise the United States and who wish to do it harm.

Applying the laws compassionately, and with just a touch of common sense, would go a long way in preventing the depth of grief shown by Mr. Mancía and his children.

Dolores Soffientini
Holmdel, N.J., May 1, 2007

To the Editor:

While I have some sympathy for the children in cases like that of the Mancías, the fact remains that their parents came here illegally, worked illegally and were caught. No matter how bad things may be in their own country, that does not entitle them to come to this country without permission. They could have moved to a different area of Honduras, or to another Latin American country.

Illegal immigrants should be deported, and their children should go with them to keep the families together.

We need to accelerate the rate of factory and other raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and speed up deportations to convince illegal immigrants that we are finally getting serious about our immigration laws. It's about time that we did!

S. R. Richardson
San Angelo, Tex., May 1, 2007


Anonymous said...

May 1, 2007

As Deportation Pace Rises, Illegal Immigrants Dig In

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — The day after his wife was deported to their home country, Honduras, Lilo Mancía grieved as though she had died.

Neighbors arrived with doughnuts and juice for their two small children, while Mr. Mancía, an illegal immigrant like his wife, María Briselda Amaya, took telephone calls from relatives and tried not to break down.

"The first thing I thought of was the children," Mr. Mancía, who is fighting his own deportation order, told the visitors gathered in his second floor walkup apartment in New Bedford a couple of weeks ago. "The future we imagined for them, it all collapsed."

Last year on May 1, hoping to influence Congress to adopt legislation making illegal immigrants legal, hundreds of thousands of immigrants held marches and work stoppages across the country. This May 1 there will be another round of rallies and marches, but this time immigrants will also be protesting a surge in deportations.

The events are expected to be much smaller than a year ago, organizers said, as stepped-up enforcement by the authorities has made illegal immigrants wary of protesting in public and more doubtful that Congress will soon act to give them a chance at legalization.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, facing intense political pressure to toughen enforcement, removed 221,664 illegal immigrants from the country over the last year, an increase of more than 37,000 — about 20 percent — over the year before, according to the agency's tally.

While President Bush and many Democrats have called for a path to legalize some 12 million illegal immigrants, a significant number of Republicans in Congress reject the plan because they view it as amnesty for lawbreakers. They advocate a broader campaign of deportations that would expel many illegal immigrants and, they say, drive millions more to give up and go home.

"We are not calling for I.C.E. to become the Gestapo knocking on doors in the middle of the night," said Rosemary Jenks, director of government relations for NumbersUSA, a group in Washington that seeks to curb immigration. "But we have to increase the likelihood that if you are here illegally you will be caught."

So far, many of the deportations have caused illegal families to hunker down and plot ways to avoid detection and resist deportation, not run voluntarily for the border, immigrant advocates said. In Massachusetts, immigration agents have been challenged by lawyers, labor unions and state officials who question their raid tactics and are fighting trench by legal trench to block deportations.

Mr. Mancía was amazed at the offers of help he received, including from the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, the state's Department of Social Services and Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts.

Mr. Mancía has been given emergency aid to pay his bills while his deportation case proceeds, and Elizabeth Badger, a public service lawyer in Boston, was still fighting his wife's deportation after she was on the ground in Honduras.

"I'm not going anywhere," Mr. Mancía declared defiantly to a downstairs neighbor. "I'm going to stand my ground here until I win." ...


Anonymous said...

April 9, 2005

At 15, Dreaming Big Dreams: Oh, to Be a Scholar


ALICIA ÁLVAREZ lives two miles from the American border and light-years from the American dream.

Growing up in Mexicali has made her a realist at 15. She has no taste for romances and soap operas. Harry Potter stories and a horror movie at the mall are as far away as fictions take her from her city's heat and dust.

Alicia has a fierce intelligence, and it fires her only soaring ambition: to get a decent education, schooling that could lift her up and out of her surroundings into a better life. It looks to her as likely as a trip to Mars.

"It seems impossible," Alicia said with a shy, distant gaze. She has started high school, having proved herself one of the brightest girls in her city, a straight-A student with an exceptional aptitude for math.

"My family has no money for college," she said. "I probably will never get to a university, though I would love to.

"My education has been hard. My teachers are trained in teaching, not in math and science. It's a struggle for them to teach me what I need to be taught. To learn what I want to know. And I want to know so much."

She finds herself, like her country, poised with one foot in the door of opportunity and one stuck in the poverty and powerlessness of the past. But with her fine mind, the idea of having a better life than one's parents, while distant, is still a shimmering possibility.

Her father, David Osuna, 46, works part time selling used cars. He has good weeks and bad weeks. Her mother, Alicia Álvarez, 48, keeps house. They have provided their children with the basics of life: food, clothes, shelter. Their slender, dutiful, deep-thinking daughter is a bit of a mystery to them.

Alicia's brothers, David, 21, and Luis, 16, are in awe of her intelligence, respectful, sometimes distant. David is the one in whom she sometimes confides her dreams.

ALICIA'S uncle and godfather, Abel Álvarez, 56, knows her aspirations. He grew up behind a plow, and then crossed over the border when he was her age to work the fields of the Imperial Valley in California. He now earns a good living in construction, a self-made man who builds malls in El Centro, Calif., 15 minutes north of Mexicali.

He has watched Alicia grow up with a mixture of pride and worry.

"It's not a lot easier growing up in Mexicali now than it was 40 years ago," he said. "The pie's a little bigger, but a lot more people want a slice. Growing up here, you go up against all that, and with the United States and all its riches just over the line."

Mexico's economy has been flat for almost five years. Poverty is ever-present. The middle class is small; it has been shrinking for a generation. Stealing into the United States is often the only way out.

Alicia has seen what is over the line, having traveled with her uncle and cousins on short trips to Los Angeles, San Diego and Riverside, halfway between Los Angeles and Palm Springs. "I love Riverside best of all, it's so pretty," she said. "So much greenery, so many trees. It's the cleanest, greenest place I've ever seen."

But Alicia says the idea of sneaking across the border to live and work holds no attraction for her. "I don't want to migrate," she said flatly. There is no legal path for her, and she does not want to be an outlaw....


Anonymous said...

I would like too take some time too thank the active members for doing what you do and make this community great im a long time reader and first time poster so i just wanted to say thanks.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to take some time out Thank everyone for doing what you do and making the community what it is im a long time reader and first time poster so i just wanted to say thanks.