Monday, May 30, 2011

Pieces of the American Dream

Often the politicians will invoke the “American Dream” in presenting their case for legalization of illegal aliens.  Typically they will paint the picture of a hard-working soul, yearning to come to the United States so he can become anything he chooses to become.

One would be hard-pressed to find any real evidence of the pursuit of the American Dream among Latin American immigrants, except that they have gladly accepted work paying many times what they could earn back home.

But now I must mention that second vulgar word – “Assimilation.”

In the minds of liberals, it suggests forcing the Ugly American and his evil ways on those who come here from foreign lands.  “How dare we tell anyone else how to live?”, they say.  They don’t stop for a moment to realize the absurdity of their point.  These people have come here because our way of life is better than it was back home.  Should we not preserve it?

Jacob Vigdor is a Duke University professor who conducted a study of census data in an effort to measure assimilation.  He found that not all foreigners assimilate at the same rate and in the same ways.  And it wasn’t always a function of wealth or the country of origin. 

“Immigrants born in Korea, which the World Bank classifies as a high-income country, have a collective assimilation index value lower than that of immigrants from Cuba or the Philippines, which are classified as low-income countries.”

His measurements examined three types of assimilation:
  • Economic assimilation– Earned income, unemployment, income-by occupation, educational attainment, and home ownership.
  • Cultural assimilation – Speaks English, intermarriage, number of children, and marital status.
  • Civic assimilation – Naturalized citizenship and military service.

On this Memorial Day, when we honor the fallen soldier, I point out this interesting fact from the study:
“Immigrants from Vietnam, Cuba, and the Philippines enjoy some of the highest rates of assimilation. …  Curiously, all of the countries mentioned have experienced U.S. military occupation.”

Virtually all politicians who are seeking amnesty trot out a Hispanic military veteran in an effort to sell legalization.  Obama was no exception.  In El Paso he remarked, “Another was a woman named Perla Ramos who was born and raised in Mexico and came to the United States shortly after 9/11, and joined the Navy.  And she said, ‘I take pride in our flag and the history we write day by day.’”

But civic assimilation data (military service and naturalization) reveals that Perla Ramos is a rare example among her countrymen.  Mexico lags far behind other source countries in that area.

Below are similar charts for economic and cultural assimilation.

No wonder the left would rather not talk about assimilation!

Reason would dictate that we have a serious problem with assimilation and we would do well to curb illegal immigration, enforce the laws in the interior and scale back the sheer numbers of immigrants until we can better assimilate those who are presently here legally.

Source Link:

CAUTION: Dirty Words Ahead

ICE raids McDonald's Restaurants in Reno in 2007.  Protesters march.

There are a couple of vulgar words in the politically correct lexicon of the elites among us.  They are “Deportation” and “Assimilation.”  Both are key to understanding and correcting immigration policy. 

For example, the left (in cooperation with the media) will quickly remind you that being in the United States illegally is not a felony; it isn’t even a crime, they say.  It is an “infraction” or a “civil violation,” they say.  Splitting legal hairs here, it is a crime to be caught crossing the border, but once in the interior one can only be charged with a “civil violation.”  I like to call it Immaculate Presence.

So, as the argument goes, unlawful presence in the United States is something like a speeding ticket or parking in a red zone.  It is against the law, but really no big deal.

But the very same laws that explain unlawful presence as being a civil violation, spell out the remedy (or punishment) for being caught here without valid documents.  That remedy is “removal,” aka deportation.

But deportation is such a vulgar word.  It conjures up images of people in handcuffs boarding buses or airplanes.  La Raza decries it for separating families and implies a state akin to Nazi Germany and the Gestapo.  Of course, Hitler was removing German citizens, but that’s a minor detail we are obliged to ignore.

Source Link:
We need to get beyond the notion that deportation is cruel and unusual punishment.  It isn’t.  It is nothing more than returning someone to their home country.  And the United States is extremely humane in the process.  Efforts are made to make sure children are not stranded here.  The deportee is not simply dumped across the border, but safety flown to an airport close to their home.

This painting of deportation as inhumane is a recent development.  One would be hard-pressed to label Rev. Theodore Hesburgh or Barbara Jordan rightwing nutjob extremists.  Both Democrats.  Both were chosen to lead immigration studies for Democrat presidents, Carter and Clinton respectively.  Both respected civil rights leaders.

And both recommended deportation of people who violated immigration laws.  Both saw removal as a valid and viable immigration enforcement tool.

The narrative has been co-opted and deportation has been made a dirty word.  Despite its place in the current laws of the land, it is avoided by county sheriffs and elected officials.  

At some point, sooner or later, we will need to accept deportation as a valid and necessary way to enforce immigration law and deter future illegal entry.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Legalization - A Quick Fix

The 1986 amnesty was supposed to be a permanent solution to the illegal alien problem.  When one reads the Hesburgh Commission report of 1981 (aka SCIRP), one quickly realizes that they had the best of intentions in suggesting amnesty.

There was a certain amount of guilt involved in the rationale.  As the report stated, “Some Commissioners also believe that legalization would acknowledge that the United States has at least some responsibility for the presence of undocumented/illegal aliens in this country since U. S. law has explicitly exempted employers from any penalty for hiring them.”  (SCIRP Final Report, page 74)

On the very next page of the report, the Commission establishes “two major principles” regarding the amnesty recommendation:
·  The legalization program should be consistent with U. S. interests; and
·  The legalization program should not encourage further undocumented migration

The Hesburgh Commission report contains various warnings regarding border and interior security measures that would be required in order to make the amnesty program successful.  One will note that these are the very same enforcement problems we face today, suggesting that we have learned nothing from our past.  Headings in the report include:
·  Border Patrol Funding
·  Port-of-Entry Inspections
·  INS, Customs, DEA and Coast Guard Inter-agency Cooperation
·  Enforcement of Human Trafficking Laws
·  Visa Abuse
·  Document Control
·  Deportation of Undocumented/Illegal Migrants
·  Training of INS Officers
·  Economic Deterrents in the Workplace
·  Employer Sanctions
·  Wage and Working Standards Enforcement

Looking at the list, is it any wonder the 1986 amnesty resulted in a wave of new illegal aliens four times the number we dealt with 25 years ago?  We failed to enforce the law!

But the risks of another failure are much higher today than they were in 1986.  I’ll discuss our shrinking world elsewhere, but let me explain what future pressures at the border will be, in real numeric terms.

Gallup did an international poll to determine the level of discontent around the world.  They asked people if they would rather live in another country, and if so, where would they like to live?

The results should not surprise you.  People wanted to leave the Third World and live in the industrialized west.  In fact, about 16% of the world’s adults would “like to move permanently to another country.”

“The United States is the top desired destination country for the 700 million adults who would like to relocate permanently to another country. Nearly one-quarter (24%) of these respondents, which translates to more than 165 million adults worldwide, name the United States as their desired future residence.”

To triangulate that data with another source, Pew Research discovered in a September 2009 survey of Mexicans (living in Mexico) that over 35 million Mexicans would rather live in the United States, and over 19 million admitted to the poll-taker that they would be willing to come here illegally if necessary.

We are playing with fire when we suggest amnesty in the world today.  If we fail, as we did after the 1986 amnesty, the consequences will be far greater this time around. 

How will we, in our PC/ACLU world, hold back 165 million potential illegal aliens?

How will we control this problem when we are unable to agree to deport even the criminal aliens among us?  

What tools will we have when we have halted worksite raids, filed lawsuits to block No Match letters, and consider the fence “completed” when over 1200 miles of border remain unprotected.

What can we say about security when over 500,000 people who have been ordered deported roam free with impunity?

With 165 million people waiting in the wings, one would think that we would be showing the strength of our enforcement and deportation mechanisms to discourage them.

One would think…

Friday, May 27, 2011

What's Wrong with Family Unification?

As posted earlier, Quantifiably Safe Rhetoric is a political trick to make us ignore the harsh reality and vote for a candidate based on his smooth talk.

And nowhere is it more evident than the copious use of the concept of  “Family Unification.”

Here’s an example from the Issues tab of the White House website, under the topic of Immigration: “President Obama will fix the dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy and enable legal immigration so that families can stay together.” (June 19, 2009)

How can anyone disagree with a concept like that?  Big bad bureaucracy is keeping families apart.

Except that isn’t true.  That dysfunctional bureaucracy has been screening applications and issuing a million Green Cards each year, mostly based on family-preference.

In fact, “Family Unification” is the number one business of immigration and has been for decades.  The only way to make this better is to INCREASE the number of green cards to family members.  And that raises the question, “Isn’t a quota of a million Green Cards a year plenty?  How many more do you need?”

But, let’s look at the very concept of “Family Unification.”  Watch out now, I’m switching terms on you.  The term I’ll use is “Chain Migration.”   Not very safe rhetoric, is it?  It sounds like a forced march in ankle irons.

Here’s why Chain Migration is bad for America:
1)     It focuses on needy people from the Third World rather than job creation in the United States.  An immigration policy heavily-weighted on bringing more people in who lack skills and education is like encouraging people to drop out of high school.  You are importing needy people with no compensating boost in the economy.  (Don’t get me wrong here; there are ways to help the poor and needy in their own countries and we should do that.  But trashing the USA is not the way to help others.)
2)     Mathematically speaking, it is a disaster.  Chain Migration does not grow in a linear fashion.  One person who qualifies to bring in relatives has the potential of inviting dozens of other people.  As written, Chain Migration laws are not limited to one’s spouse and young children.  They can bring in adult siblings and their spouses, parents, adult children and their spouses.  Then you jump the blood line when a spouse can in turn invite their side of the family.  No wonder the demand is so great.
3)     Chain Migration creates a sense of entitlement.  You begin bringing in one brother and your other brother feels entitled as well.  It is human nature.
4)     Chain Migration creates pressure; pressure to enter illegally or overstay a visa.  Technology has changed since 1986.  Now, a Green Card holder can chat with family members back home daily on the cell phone.  A webcam shows off the great apartment.  Satellite TV and DVDs perpetuate the “streets paved with gold” myth of the United States.  And a plane ticket from most of the Third World can be had for less than $1,000. 
5)     Chain Migration creates opportunity.  For an illegal alien to successfully come here, he needs a USA connection.  Family members already here create housing for illegal aliens and job opportunities once they arrive.
6)     You can never get “caught up” when you offer Chain Migration.  There will always be a growing number of eligible candidates for admission.
7)     Sponsorship isn’t working.  Immigration policy should insure that immigrants not become a “public charge,” aka dependent on our social services.  A century ago the United States didn’t have a vast network of food stamps, health services and subsidized housing.  If an immigrant didn’t make it here, he simple went home.  That is no longer the case.  Because Third World immigrants are employed mostly in low paying jobs, they lack the wages and benefits needed to provide for their own needs.  Their Sponsors are equally destitute.  The burden falls to society in general and we are not refusing service to immigrants.

In the end, “Family Unification” sounds so noble and good, but it brings with it a host of problems in our society.  It was an ill-conceived policy to begin with and Washington has not dealt with it.  But if immigration is to serve the national interest we must stop it.  Cutting back on the quota will only add to the pressure brought on by those who are eligible but can only be wait-listed.

Background: Quantifiably Safe Rhetoric

Richard Wirthlin was Reagan's political adviser.  He helped the Gipper win the White House by coaching him on words and phrases that would sell to the general public.

It was really a blend of acting and science.  Wirthlin provided the science.  Through focus groups and monitoring real-time reactions to his speeches, Wirthlin was able to come up with his package called "Quantifiably Safe Rhetoric."

The idea was to use lots of warm and fuzzy phrases and avoid the distasteful ones.

The warm and fuzzy themes were things like family, work, neighborhood, peace, freedom...

Does that sound familiar?  Politicians have become masters at it.

Remember GWB telling us, "Family values don't stop at the Rio Grande River," suggesting amnesty for illegal aliens because they believe in providing for their families.

Obama does the same thing, as shown in his El Paso speech: "While applications -- while applicants wait for approval, for example, they’re often forbidden from visiting the United States.  Even husbands and wives may have to spend years apart.  Parents can’t see their children.  I don’t believe the United States of America should be in the business of separating families"

His speech is filled with themes like education, family, work, military service...

We must watch for Quantifiably Safe Rhetoric and recognize it for what it really is; an effort to package simply-minded, sugar-coated ideas that mask the complexity of the problem at hand and fill the air with flowery words that mask the agenda.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Help those who help themselves

There has been a political battle going on in Illinois over Immigration enforcement, specifically a program called Secure Communities.

There is a Latino Activist group called Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Riots (ICIRR) that has been leading the May Day marches and partnering with disgraced Governor Blagojevich in protecting the interests of illegal aliens.

Their latest project is to work with county sheriffs to drop the Secure Communities program because (I am not making this up) it is deporting too many illegal aliens for minor crimes.

So far, Sheriff Pat Perez (Kane County) and Mark Curran (Lake County) have been vocal about dropping the program.

Governor Pat Quinn has also notified ICE that the state police will no longer participate in the program.

Not to be outdone, the Illinois General Assembly has been working on  legislation that will hamstring ICE by creating additional paperwork and allow counties to opt-out of Secure Communities.

Cook County  and Chicago are not involved since they are already sanctuaries.

So, if they don't want to participate, pull their funding.  The State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) has been around for a decade now.  It is always underfunded but gives county jails and state prisons some relief from the costs to house illegal aliens serving time in the US.

Here's how much money we are talking about in Illinois in 2010:
Source Link:

So what I'm thinking is that those who wish to call their bailiwick a sanctuary should NOT be given SCAAP money.  If you want it, you do Secure Communities.

Looking at the money circled in red, that's $9.5 MILLION that ICE could use somewhere else.  Take some of that cash and offer it to city jails in Illinois towns with a large immigrant population.  The money would be spent for linking the fingerprint scanner to the ICE computer.

And take some of the money and staff a wing out at the Thomson Prison in western Illinois.

That wing will serve as a detention facility for those on their way OUT of the United States after being arrested for local violations of the law and identified as being here illegally.

No new money spent and we are not rewarding bad political behavior.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Why DREAM Act lacks public support

In his May 10th El Paso speech, Obama once again calls for passage of the DREAM Act, recognizing illegal aliens as legal residents for tuition purposes and putting them on the path to citizenship.

He bemoans the fact that they have almost passed it at times and feels betrayed that former supporters have backed down.

He doesn’t understand that public support has eroded for the DREAM Act as more people become familiar with it and see it as a bad idea.  Former sponsor Orrin Hatch has backed away from it in a fight for his political life.

Let me try to explain my reasons for opposing DREAM.

First is the LOCAL expense, a key problem with Washington.  They pass all these laws and heap mandates upon us, garnering the appreciation of their special interests in the process, and leave us holding the bag for the costs.

Here’s where the money comes from for in-state tuition at our local community college.

Note that 57% of the revenue comes from my property taxes.  All the state revenue sources combined (INCLUDING the pass-through federal grants) comes to 12%. 

So what the DREAM Act is telling me is that after paying to educate the children of illegal aliens from K-12 at an average cost of $7,500 per year you are now going to charge me to educate them for four more years?

And at the end you are going to reward them with citizenship?

Oh, and they’ll be competing with our own graduates for the few jobs out there.

I happen to live in a town where the immigrant and illegal alien populations have exploded over the last two decades.  Over 41% speak a language other than English at home.  One in five public school students are currently enrolled in bilingual classes.  And we are paying for it through some of the highest property taxes in the nation.

Kane County ranks 30th in the nation according to The Tax Foundation.  We pay 1.98% of our home value every year in property taxes, over TWICE the national median of 0.96%.

So, we mind very much that we are paying the school district to educate the children of trespassers and do not choose to pay added community college taxes to subsidize them further.

Besides, why do they get a break when students from other states do not?  What’s the rationale there?

Don’t pander to me, telling me that they are like our own citizens and were brought here as children.  Perhaps setting the example of consequences for breaking the law will discourage others from coming here illegally.

They are NOT Uncle Sam’s responsibility; they have parents who brought them here.  And I don’t see Mexico’s President Calderon sending us checks to cover the cost.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Caving is easier than courage

When one thinks of Obama's strategies over the years, one can't help but recall the words of Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of Germany from 1949 to 1963.  He said:

"An infallible method of conciliating a tiger is to allow oneself to be devoured."

Keep that in mind when you hear the president speak about immigration...or the Palestinians...or Islamic terrorism. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

About those Border Arrests...

Obama said:
“And even as we have stepped up patrols, apprehensions along the border have been cut by nearly 40 percent from two years ago.  That means far fewer people are attempting to cross the border illegally.”  May 10, 2011, El Paso

Here’s why:
A jab at McCain in 2008, by Mike Luckovich

All humor aside, the Mexican economy (at least on paper) is more robust than our own.  Surely there is more competition for even entry-level jobs now than there ever was a few years ago.

Setting that aside, as with any agency measured by statistics, Border Patrol data can be manipulated simply by changing the assumptions.  And who can reliably dispute their data when dealing with an unknown quantity like illegal aliens?  After all, if we knew how many of them were coming here illegally, wouldn’t it be easier to catch them?

Back in 2007, the magazine Social Contract devoted an entire issue to counting illegal aliens.  Although there were several estimates given, all were much higher than the official DHS estimate of 12 million.

One of the authors, Fred Elbel, talked about the Border Patrol assumptions regarding those who “got away.”  Homeland Security claims that for every ONE illegal alien they apprehend at the border, FOUR are successful at illegal entry.  So, if Obama proudly apprehends 463,382 in a year, that means TWO MILLION slipped across the border.  (Oh wait, some of them keep trying and are caught several times, so that isn't a valid argument.  Whatever you say, but there are ways to accurately track those repeated efforts.  Why doesn't Washington implement them?)

But what if the ratio is 1-in-7?  Over the course of a year, that is a huge discrepancy.  Over a decade?  Yikes.

So, the numbers may be way off in favor of a lower number of illegal aliens living here.

Now, let’s talk about the strategy the Border Patrol uses.  That would have a significant impact on the apprehension rate Obama uses to “prove” the border is sealed.

Strategy #1: Sitting on X’s
A former Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Terry McCann stated:
“It’s all BS and politics. The number of people entering is massive, but by ordering Border Patrol agents to sit on predetermined sites all day and all night, there is visible presence, and arrests go down. Of course, the flood tide of illegal aliens ‘flank’ those positions right and left and with no one guarding the rear, the invasion is hardly slowed.”

Strategy #2: Turn Back South (TBS)
“It appears, according to numerous reports from current and former border agents, that this practice has gravitated many miles north of the border. That means that, regardless of proximity to the border, people who are detected but not caught are considered to be ‘Turned Back South.’

“There is another place, at a different level where TBS is in effect. It is at the prosecutorial and judicial level. There are policies in place that establish thresholds for quantities of drugs and numbers of illegal aliens before consideration for prosecution can be entertained. In at least one Federal District in Texas, if you are caught smuggling less than 750 kilos of marijuana, you will not be subjected to prosecution. If you are caught smuggling fewer than 6 illegal aliens, you will not be subject to prosecution. And if you are a lone illegal border crosser, you get at least seven chances before you are even charged with a misdemeanor. And after that, you get seven more chances before you are eligible for prosecution of a second offense felony. TBS occurs at many levels and is quickly assimilated into the understanding of the bad guys on how to game the system.”
-Congressional Testimony of Sheriff Larry Dever, May 3, 2011

In short, if you don’t process the apprehension, but turn the illegal alien around and send him back across the border, you LOWER the apprehension numbers.

In summary, the true numbers of illegal aliens are hard to come by and easy to manipulate for political gain.  The apprehension numbers aren’t really a reflection of what happens at the border, since most of them are not processed and sent back.  The apprehensions take place within the United States, and letting most of them go rather than recording the encounter makes the situation look better than it really is.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Da Fence Department

The President devoted a portion of his El Paso remarks (May 10, 2011) to a report on his efforts to secure the border.  His rationale is this: You said we could pass legalization if we secured the border.  I did it.  Now give me amnesty.

Bush had the same mentality.  It took him six years to get to that point, but he started talking about the fence in his second term as bait for his amnesty plan.

So, let’s look at this statement by Obama: “The fence is now basically complete.”
And let’s look at the fence from the most recent document on the Border Patrol website:

New Mexico
Texas (Not the same scale as the other maps)
Source link:
The green lines are the completed sections.  The yellow are under construction.  The red lines are “Planned/Under Contract,” whatever that means.

So, we’ve completed the 700 miles Bush promised us would be done in 2008 before he left office.  But aren’t you worried about the huge gaps?  The border is not secure.  Anyone with half a brain can see that the coyotes will simply move down the line.

And that isn’t a long trip.  They’ve spent tons of cash beefing up El Paso, but you wind up with this scenario just 60 miles south.

The Nightline special on Fort Hancock Texas is still up on the Internet here.  You should spend eight minutes and watch what it looks like where the fence comes to an end:

I love the comment from the rancher who says, “We grew up with livestock, and obviously we misunderstood how fences work.  We thought they had to be contiguous and surrounding the areas; didn’t know you could just put up a little piece and it’d work.”

And the Feds have given up on the virtual fence, after spending a billion dollars on it.

Needless to say, the border is not secure.  Besides, Obama himself admits that many simply overstay a visa.  The fence won’t stop them.

Obama’s remarks on securing the border, May 10, 2011, El Paso
"And I want to say I am joined today by an outstanding Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, who’s been working tirelessly on this issue.  (Applause.)  Our commissioner who’s working diligently on border issues, Alan Bersin, is there, and we appreciate him -- Bersin.  (Applause.)

"So they’re doing outstanding work.  And in recent years, among one of the greatest impediments to reform were questions about border security.  And these were legitimate concerns.  What was true was a lack of manpower and a lack of resources at the border, combined with the pull of jobs and ill-considered enforcement once folks were in the country.

"All this contributed to a growing number of undocumented people living in the United States.  And these concerns helped unravel a bipartisan coalition that we had forged back when I was in the United States Senate.  So in the years since, “borders first, borders first,” that's become the common refrain, even among those who were previously supportive of comprehensive immigration reform.

"But over the last two years, thanks to the outstanding work of Janet and Alan and everybody who’s down here working at the border, we’ve answered those concerns.  Under their leadership, we have strengthened border security beyond what many believed was possible.   They wanted more agents at the border.  Well, we now have more boots on the ground on the southwest border than at any time in our history.  (Applause.) 

"The Border Patrol has 20,000 agents -- more than twice as many as there were in 2004.  It’s a build-up that began under President Bush and that we’ve continued, and I had a chance to meet some of these outstanding agents, and actually saw some of them on horseback who looked pretty tough.  (Laughter.)  So we put the agents here.

"Then they wanted a fence.  Well, the fence is --"


THE PRESIDENT:  "The fence is now basically complete."

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Tear it down!

THE PRESIDENT:  "Then we’ve gone further.  We tripled the number of intelligence analysts working at the border.  I’ve deployed unmanned aerial vehicles to patrol the skies from Texas to California.  We have forged a partnership with Mexico to fight the transnational criminal organizations that have affected both of our countries.  (Applause.)  And for the first time -- for the first time we’re screening 100 percent of southbound rail shipments to seize guns and money going south even as we go after drugs that are coming north.  (Applause.)

"So, here’s the point.  I want everybody to listen carefully to this.  We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement.  All the stuff they asked for, we’ve done.  But even though we’ve answered these concerns, I’ve got to say I suspect there are still going to be some who are trying to move the goal posts on us one more time."

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  They’re racist!

THE PRESIDENT:  "You know, they said we needed to triple the Border Patrol.  Or now they’re going to say we need to quadruple the Border Patrol.  Or they’ll want a higher fence.  Maybe they’ll need a moat.  (Laughter.)  Maybe they want alligators in the moat.  (Laughter.)  They’ll never be satisfied.  And I understand that.  That’s politics.

"But the truth is the measures we’ve put in place are getting results.  Over the past two and a half years, we’ve seized 31 percent more drugs, 75 percent more currency, 64 percent more weapons than ever before.  (Applause.)  And even as we have stepped up patrols, apprehensions along the border have been cut by nearly 40 percent from two years ago.  That means far fewer people are attempting to cross the border illegally.

"And also, despite a lot of breathless reports that have tagged places like El Paso as dangerous, violent crime in southwest border counties has dropped by a third.  El Paso and other cities and towns along this border are consistently among the safest in the nation.  (Applause.)  Of course, we shouldn’t accept any violence or crime.  And we’ve always got more work to do.  But this progress is important and it’s not getting reported on.

"And we’re also going beyond the border.  Beyond the border, we’re going after employers who knowingly exploit people and break the law.  (Applause.)  And we are deporting those who are here illegally.  And that’s a tough issue.  It’s a source of controversy.

"But I want to emphasize we’re not doing it haphazardly.  We’re focusing our limited resources and people on violent offenders and people convicted of crimes -- not just families, not just folks who are just looking to scrape together an income.  And as a result, we’ve increased the removal of criminals by 70 percent.  (Applause.)

"That’s not to ignore the real human toll of a broken immigration system.  Even as we recognize that enforcing the law is necessary, we don’t relish the pain that it causes in the lives of people who are just trying to get by and get caught up in the system.

"And as long as the current laws are on the books, it’s not just hardened felons who are subject to removal, but sometimes families who are just trying to earn a living, or bright, eager students, or decent people with the best of intentions.  (Applause.)

"And sometimes when I talk to immigration advocates, they wish I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself.  But that’s not how a democracy works.  What we really need to do is to keep up the fight to pass genuine, comprehensive reform.  That is the ultimate solution to this problem.  That's what I’m committed to doing.(Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Yes, we can!  Yes, we can!

THE PRESIDENT:  "Yes, we can.  We can do it.(Applause.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Legalization helps the Middle Class? I don’t think so.

Continuing on with my review of Obama's remarks in El Paso, May 10, 2011.

Now, here’s where Obama talks about the illegal alien problem.

(See the end of this post for the text in context of his speech.)

It is duly noted that he uses the term “undocumented.”  He says there are 11 million of them.  Some are border-crossers; others overstay their visas.

He decrees that most of them just want to work and provide for their families.

He says, “They’ve cut in front of the line.”  He says that’s unfair to those who are on waiting lists around the world.

Then his tone shifts, turning illegal aliens into victims:  “Also, because undocumented immigrants live in the shadows, where they’re vulnerable to unscrupulous businesses that skirt taxes, and pay workers less than the minimum wage, or cut corners with health and safety laws…”

But he grants that such “unscrupulous businesses” create for themselves an unfair advantage over their competitors.

Then he becomes Barack-the-Economist. 
The problem: Middle class families are paying more and earning less.
His solution: Do away with the “massive underground economy that exploits a cheap source of labor while depressing wages for everybody else.”  In other words, legalize the undocumented, or in plain talk, give amnesty to the illegal aliens.

But Mr. President, the overwhelming percentage of illegal aliens have a high school education or less:

And they are doing low-end jobs.:

So, how do you aid the Middle Class by giving de facto raises to illegal aliens when 75% of them never went to college and 80% of them are working low-end jobs?

Wouldn’t we be better served to give those jobs to our own low-skilled, less-educated citizens, thus talking them off the welfare rolls and making them taxpayers?

But Obama seamlessly goes on to talk about high-tech jobs and the Horatio Alger stories of immigrants.  Sure Mr. President, have the chambermaids and the busboys stand next to Bill Gates...but that won’t make them one bit more skilled as a result.

Obama wants us to believe that the skills of illegal aliens are vital to our economy.  When speaking about the overwhelming majority of “undocumented,” that is simply not true.  Over 75% of them have no unique education or skill level that would make them irreplaceable in the workforce…or make them part of the Middle Class.

Here's the text:

"Today, there are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants here in the United States.  Some crossed the border illegally.  Others avoid immigration laws by overstaying their visas.  Regardless of how they came, the overwhelming majority of these folks are just trying to earn a living and provide for their families.  (Applause.)

"But we have to acknowledge they’ve broken the rules.  They’ve cut in front of the line.  And what is also true is that the presence of so many illegal immigrants makes a mockery of all those who are trying to immigrate legally.

"Also, because undocumented immigrants live in the shadows, where they’re vulnerable to unscrupulous businesses that skirt taxes, and pay workers less than the minimum wage, or cut corners with health and safety laws, this puts companies who follow the rules, and Americans who rightly demand the minimum wage or overtime or just a safe place to work, it puts those businesses at a disadvantage.

"Think about it.  Over the past decade, even before the recession hit, middle-class families were struggling to get by as the costs went up for everything, from health care, to college tuition, to groceries, to gas.  Their incomes didn’t go up with those prices.  We’re seeing it again right now with gas prices.

"So one way to strengthen the middle class in America is to reform the immigration system so that there is no longer a massive underground economy that exploits a cheap source of labor while depressing wages for everybody else.  I want incomes for middle-class families to rise again.  (Applause.)  I want prosperity in this country to be widely shared.  (Applause.)  I want everybody to be able to reach that American dream.  And that’s why immigration reform is an economic imperative.  It’s an economic imperative.  (Applause.)

"And reform will also help to make America more competitive in the global economy.  Today, we provide students from around the world with visas to get engineering and computer science degrees at our top universities.  (Applause.)

"But then our laws discourage them from using those skills to start a business or a new industry here in the United States.  Instead of training entrepreneurs to stay here, we train them to create jobs for our competition.  That makes no sense.  In a global marketplace, we need all the talent we can attract, all the talent we can get to stay here to start businesses -- not just to benefit those individuals, but because their contribution will benefit all Americans.

"Look at Intel, look at Google, look at Yahoo, look at eBay.  All those great American companies, all the jobs they’ve created, everything that has helped us take leadership in the high-tech industry, every one of those was founded by, guess who, an immigrant.  (Applause.)

"So we don’t want the next Intel or the next Google to be created in China or India.  We want those companies and jobs to take root here.  (Applause.)  Bill Gates gets this.  He knows a little something about the high-tech industry.  He said, “The United States will find it far more difficult to maintain its competitive edge if it excludes those who are able and willing to help us compete.”

"So immigration is not just the right thing to do.  It’s smart for our economy.  It’s smart for our economy.  (Applause.)  And it’s for this reason that businesses all across America are demanding that Washington finally meet its responsibilities to solve the immigration problem.  Everybody recognizes the system is broken.  The question is, will we finally summon the political will to do something about it?  And that’s why we’re here at the border today."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Obama’s speech, point-by-point

When the president spoke in El Paso on May 10, 2011, he began with the story of a community college in Florida.  He talked of the 181 nations represented at that one school and how proud they were of their own lands.  But in the end they were most proud to be Americans.

He weaved into that speech the linguistic sleight-of-hand trick; indiscriminately mixing illegal aliens into the pool of immigrants.

Obama said, “Many of the students were immigrants themselves, coming to America with little more than the dream of their parents and the clothes on their back.  A handful had discovered only in adolescence or adulthood that they were undocumented.

Illegal aliens, or “undocumented” as they like to be called, are not immigrants.  The undocumented have not been recognized by our government as immigrants.  That’s the issue at hand.

He goes on to talk about the swearing-in ceremonies held at the White House for those who have naturalized.  One must respect those who have followed the rules to come here in the first place, then taken the steps necessary to become a citizen.  But what does that quaint story have to do with illegal aliens or quotas or enforcement?

Then he talks about immigrants who have served in the military.  That’s wonderful, but again, off-topic.

He then quotes from the Declaration of Independence those words of hope.
“…that all of us are created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights.  All of us deserve our freedoms and our pursuit of happiness.”

Now hold the phone.  Is Obama implying that everyone has the right to come to America to pursue life, liberty and happiness?  Is he telling us that everyone has claim on presence here?  Can he really believe that?  That is an extreme open borders mentality.

Then for the first time during the speech, he’s on topic.  “…we also recognize that being a nation of laws goes hand in hand with being a nation of immigrants.  This, too, is our heritage.  This, too, is important.  And the truth is, we’ve often wrestled with the politics of who is and who isn’t allowed to come into this country.  This debate is not new.

“At times, there has been fear and resentment directed towards newcomers, especially in hard economic times.”

He speaks the truth, but gets the conclusion wrong when he says, “And because these issues touch deeply on what we believe, touch deeply on our convictions -- about who we are as a people, about what it means to be an American -- these debates often elicit strong emotions.

“That’s one reason it’s been so difficult to reform our broken immigration system.  When an issue is this complex, when it raises such strong feelings, it’s easier for politicians to defer until the problem the next election.  And there’s always a next election.

“So we’ve seen a lot of blame and a lot of politics and a lot of ugly rhetoric around immigration.”

His conclusion, or at least the conclusion he WANTS US to believe, is that the fear and resentment of illegal aliens comes from emotions and political rhetoric.

The fear and resentment come because our government has failed to enforce the laws and now one third of all foreign-born in this country are here illegally!  Worse, our elected leaders are actually fighting enforcement of those immigration laws!

Indeed there is confusion and some misplaced anger, but Bill Clinton’s adviser on immigration, Barbara Jordan, put the blame squarely where it belongs back in 1994.  She told Congress:  “Unlawful immigration is unacceptable. Enforcement measures have not sufficiently stemmed these movements. Failure to develop more effective strategies to curb unlawful immigration has blurred distinctions between legal and illegal immigrants.”

Look in the mirror, Mr. President.  When we fail to enforce the law on such a large scale and create a fugitive underground class in the process, we are creating the very ethnic tension you are complaining about.

Obama is fighting “ugly rhetoric” with rhetoric of his own.  What we need is substance here.

More to come on Obama’s speech.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Economic Development - Fed Style

I continue with my analysis of Obama's speech on immigration reform...

Cities and States have agencies that engage in Economic Development.  In short, they try to entice people to create businesses in their area.

And Obama’s right when he said this:
“In a global marketplace, we need all the talent we can attract, all the talent we can get to stay here to start businesses -- not just to benefit those individuals, but because their contribution will benefit all Americans.

“Look at Intel, look at Google, look at Yahoo, look at eBay.  All those great American companies, all the jobs they’ve created, everything that has helped us take leadership in the high-tech industry, every one of those was founded by, guess who, an immigrant.  (Applause.)

“So we don’t want the next Intel or the next Google to be created in China or India.  We want those companies and jobs to take root here.  (Applause.)  Bill Gates gets this.  He knows a little something about the high-tech industry.  He said, “The United States will find it far more difficult to maintain its competitive edge if it excludes those who are able and willing to help us compete.”

“So immigration is not just the right thing to do.  It’s smart for our economy.”
-President Obama, May 10, 2011, El Paso

He’s right.  That’s just what Barbara Jordan had in mind when she told Congress in 1994, “…it is both a right and a responsibility of a democratic society to manage immigration so that it serves the national interest.

“The Commission believes that legal immigration has been and can continue to be a strength of this country.”

So, how does immigration become a tool for Economic Development?

First, we must understand that our current formula for immigration will NOT enhance our economic position.  I speak of Family Unification taking up the majority of visas granted each year.  Family Unification (aka chain migration) grants the vast majority of visas based on one single quality: That the applicant is related to someone who is already here.

Since the majority of our immigrants since 1965 have been poor and uneducated and hail from the Third World, we will admit even MORE immigrants who are poor, uneducated and hail from the Third World by virtue of the fact that they will come from the same stock as those who have already been admitted.

(I might add that it is this model that is also creating huge pressure at the embassies and encouraging people to come here illegally.  Relatives grow exponentially, not linearly.)

So, if Obama wants to focus immigration on those who will start businesses and create jobs, he would first have to lift the cap on Employment-based visas.  Right now it stands at 140,000 or about 14% of total visas. 

The next step is very difficult.  Many Employment-based visas are scams.  The intent is to prove that the immigrant isn’t taking the job of a citizen.  But that system doesn’t work.  Too often the work visa is granted to a worker who is simply CHEAPER than a citizen.

We might consider a points-based system whereby an applicant is scored in five or six categories and the visas are allocated to those with the highest scores.

In the period between 1924 and 1965 we had a very low level of immigration, and immigrants clearly were job-creators.  We were pulling off the great brain-drain of Europe.

But the United States is no longer the entrepreneurs’ Mecca.  Take a look at this chart to see why:

Given the global nature of business, we are going to have to do something about the high business tax rate.  Why would anyone with an idea want to build his widgets in the United States when he can keep far more of his money by building them somewhere else?

So Mr. President, are we serious about this?  If so, we need to STOP importing needy people from the third world who have no education and no skills, and START acting like a country that “want[s] those companies and jobs to take root here.”

And it wouldn't hurt to stop bashing CEOs.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

We all like MORE

Who can resist that deal?  FOUR free ounces of hand lotion.

Or 50% more scum remover (biting my tongue on this one)

Or more RAID.

Our desire for MORE is not lost on our politicians.  From "A Chicken in Every Pot" (Herbert Hoover) to Obamacare, voters like to get more of all the good stuff.

It should come as no surprise that immigration reform has its share of MORE stuff.  But before we talk about the bonuses, we need to look at the baseline data.

Source link:

In reviewing the green card numbers from the last decade, these two things are true:
1) That we authorized 10,501,053 people to live and work here, over 1 million people a year, even during the recession.  Even when unemployment was over 10%, and higher than that in states which traditionally are home to immigrants.
2) That one little country of 107 million received more of those green cards than anywhere else.  That's right; Mexico was issued 1,693,141 green cards, or an average of nearly 170,000 per year.

So, when the politicians start talking about MORE immigration it is only fair for us to ask, "How many more?" and "Why?"

Obama, and Bush before him, wants to add to the immigration burden in three ways.  Right from the start, the Obama White House has sought the following, according to the January 21, 2009 White House website:

"Improve Our Immigration System: Fix the dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy and increase the number of legal immigrants to keep families together and meet the demand for jobs that employers cannot fill."
His first call for MORE is to streamline the bureaucracy, meaning that one million a year is not enough and needs to be ramped-up.
His second call for more is to increase family unification, aka chain migration.  That will require a higher number, but he never tells you how much higher.
"Bring People Out of the Shadows: Support a system that allows undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens."
Here's the third call for MORE, a legalization program.  There are at least 11 million illegal aliens residing here now.  Seven million are from Mexico.  That represents over 41 YEARS of green card recipients!

MORE has a downside, especially when it comes to immigration.  MORE means MORE cars on the road, MORE children in the schools, MORE need for social services, MORE police...

Any discussion on immigration reform ought to begin with the question, "How many immigrants does the United States really need?"

I'm not hearing that discussion, are you?