On 7/2/07, Skip King <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
At 05:35 PM 7/2/2007, you wrote:
>As the person on the List most qualified to address this issue, here
>are a few of my thoughts/observations:

Really? I'd be delighted to review your qualifications.  If you'd be
so kind as to share them

I live  in Tucson; I studied US History; and my wife, with whom I occasionally speak regarding her profession, is an historian who specializes in Mexican-Americans. 

>(1) There is a problem with drug smuggling over the border. Even
>prior to the existence of borders, smuggling has existed; it will
>always continue to exist, and, of course, must always be combated.


Agreed.


>(2) There is a problem with human smuggling over the border. Most
>migrants/immigrants don't come from border states, and so they're
>ignorant of the challenges the geography (as well as American laws)
>may present (the migrants/immigrants are often told that it's a 30
>minute walk to Tucson--it's about an hour by car). "Coyotes" charge
>them exorbitant fees, and then leave them to die in the desert if
>they can't keep up, or try to steal/kidnap the immigrants of other coyotes.


This is a problem, but I think you're generalizing here.

See response to #1. But if you can provide evidence that (1) most illegal aliens come from border states (eg, Sonora), (2) said majority are familiar with the geography of southern Arizona, (3) human smugglers charge little or nothing for their services, and (3) most of said smugglers don't leave injured, tired, or otherwise lagging customers behind to whatever fate might befall them (death or, if they're lucky, apprehension), I'll be glad to revise my observation.

>(3) Many (most? dunno) illegal aliens are migrant workers. Most
>(all?) illegal aliens pay taxes.

Yes, provided that you are considering sales taxes, and you could
argue that they are indirectly paying property taxes through
rents.  However, no small number of illegals are working under the
table and are not paying state and federal income taxes.

I agree with all points.
 

>(4) US businesses "depend on" migrant/immigrant laborers. Are the
>companies guilty of using illegal aliens to lower payrolls? Are
>Americans too yssup to do certain types of work? Both.

I would agree with both of the above statements.  I would add that
there is a third guilty party:  those consumers who get a great deal
from a contractor using illegal labor, and don't question it because
the price is so much lower.

I absolutely agree with you.

>(5) Aliens are often trying to escape wretched conditions and make
>better lives for themselves. Or they're just trying to make better
>lives for themselves. An unreasonable goal?

Not at all.  The difference today is this:  there are many illegals
who have no interest in assimilating into the American culture, which
was the dream during earlier waves of (legal) immigration.  No one
really expected Grandma and Grandpa to learn English, but fer damn
sure it was expected that the kids would learn it.

The same argument or variations thereof was used regarding German, Irish, Chinese, Polish, and Italian immigrants. I doubt hard evidence would support it for any immigrant group. I suspect the dream of most immigrants, legal and illegal, not to mention most Americans, is to have the opportunity and freedom to make better lives for themselves.

But you must also consider several other things.  First, while
there's no doubt that the de-facto 'open border' policy is utilized
primarily by the people you cite, there is also no question that it's
used by ultra-violent gangs and that the lax enforcement makes it
easy for those who would do us harm to enter.

Border enforcement is hardly lax, at least on the border with Mexico. Can it be improved? Of course and it should be, but it's a nmad long border, over incredibly rugged terrain.

  There are studies that
indicate that more Americans are killed every year by illegal
immigrants than have been killed during the Iraq war.

Citations? Never mind, that's a red-herring, anyways. More significant is, what percentage of killings in the US are the result of illegal immigrants? Is the fact that they're illegal immigrants the reason that the Americans are killed? On another note, I wonder what percentage of illegal aliens are killed by Americans?

Yes, you can
argue that most of the 9/11 terrorists were here legally.  So
what?  Why would they bother to come legally when it's so easy to sneak in?

But I didn't make that argument.

Finally, on this point, the US has proven time and time again to
enormously generous to countries in need.  I'm not talking about the
government, which uses largesse as a political tool - I'm talking
about people like you and me who open our hearts and our wallets when
a disaster hits.  Simply put:  we cannot afford to solve all of the
world's misery.  We should not be expected to.

I'm not suggesting that we should solve the world's problems. I am observing that a sensible immigration and guest/migrant worker policy would solve some of our problems. And that, historically and presently, immigrants, illegal and legal, make this country a better place more than they threaten our way of life.

>(6) Attitudes towards and laws regarding immigrants have always been
>racist. Whether the immigrants be German, Irish, Chinese, Polish,
>Italian, or Mexican.

Frankly, I find this insulting.

Get over it. Racism, often/mostly unintentional, is a tenacious characteristic of humanity/civilization. Just read your history (US and world).

>(7) 30 years ago ketchup was the #1 condiment in America. Today it's
>salsa. The Editorial Swampmormon makes fajitas when he backpacks.

dude, what's that got to do with illegal immigration?  Salsa tastes
better than ketchup.

Without Mexicans, legal and illegal, we'd still be limited to ketchup. Just one example, simple but real, of how  we benefit from immigration (legal and illegal); diversity permits a cultural give-and-take that enriches America.

>(8) White Americans historically present a great threat to the
>security of the father-...er, mother-...er, homeland.

Wow.  You're gonna have to 'splain that one to me.

Sorry. Should have been that white Americans historically present a greater terrorist threat to the US than Mexican immigrants. Think Timothy McVeigh, think Ku Klux Klan, think Earth First!, etc.

>(9) Canadians are probably more likely to steal high-paying jobs
>from Americans than Mexicans (based on anecdotal evidence. But
>who've stolen more comedic jobs from Americans, Canadians or Mexicans?)

I don't know what you're basing THAT statement on.  Any Canadian
applying for a job in the US has to be granted clearance to do so, at
least in theory.  Same as folks from south of the border.  Having
hired foreign nationals in the past, I can tell you that the process
is a PITA but not as much of a PITA as hiring one without undergoing
the process.

See: http://particle.physics.ucdavis.edu/Canadians/comedians.html. I found this, but I don't recognize any of the names and I don't find George Lopez funny. At the University of Arizona, there are more History PhDs from Canada than from Mexico. Like I said, anecdotal. 

>The general sum of my thought is that whatever problems we currently
>face regarding illegal aliens is, generally, less the fault of the
>aliens and more the result of poor policy and racism.

Again, I find the claim of racism insulting.

Again, read your history and get over it. Or remain insulted.

  And the problems we
currently face, IMO, have more to do with lax to non-existant
enforcement of existing laws than poor policy.

Workplace enforcement may be lax; I suspect that the illegal aliens suffer more because of that than do Joe and Jane American. I could, I suppose, be wrong.

Border enforcement down here is not lax but perhaps overwhelmed, and it can and should be--intelligently--improved.

That being said, my learned observations are that, by and large, immigrants, legal and illegal, tend to enrich America much more than they threaten it. The problems that we face probably would be served best by trying to work with those who seek to realize the American dream of making a better life for themselves.

Or, what about letting the free market decide it all?




caveat lector
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