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January 9, 2004

Bush's new immigration proposal has been in the news a lot lately. There's a good article covering the issue over at The Economist.I think Bush covers some legitimate concerns, and I know it will make life much better for a lot of people. However, I also have my own concerns. Probably the biggest is welfare and social programs. While many immigrants work very hard, many also expect to be cared for by government programs. The money for those programs largely comes from middle/upper class workers. With many of the workers paying taxes, that will help cover the cost, but I can't help but think that social expenditures will rise dramatically.It's a bit of dilemna for me because I'm quite close to several illegal immigrants, and I care for them and want them to succeed in life. However, I also see them angry at Bush and republicans in general for not giving them all sorts of freebies, and I hate that (expectations of freebies).

Posted by charr at 12:00 PM
Reader Comments

I'll add something which I don't mean as a stereotype, but which has some truth. There was a murder in my nice, new neighborhood (The oldest house is about 6.5 months old). The victim was the guy that came over and fixed some stucco. The suspect was just caught, and is probably an illegal alien from Mexico (as are most of the laborers who worked on my house). I would never say that all illegal aliens are dangerous. The vast majority are just looking for a better life, but it is a fact that many are used to a lifestyle where there isn't much law and you can do pretty much whatever you want. While I don't know if that mindset had anything to do with this shooting, I wouldn't at all be surprised.

Posted by Cameron at January 9, 2004 4:30 PM

I found an addition to Bush's new immigration proposal that I quite like. It was written by David Brooks at the NY Times, a moderate columnist who I often agree with.The gist of the article points out the benefits of Bush's proposal, but notes that to combat the cons, a point system may be utilized to reward good behavior and accomplishments. Not only would this discourage crime, but I believe it would give a means and motivation for many of the immigrants to relly better their lives, not just their paychecks.

Posted by Cameron at January 10, 2004 6:33 PM

I read something somewhere (I'll see if I can find it) that said that a major reason why Bush wants this is for Homeland Security. Supposedly, it's supposed to ID all illegals/new citizens in hopes that they'll catch a few terrorists along the way via background checks. I haven't seen the press pay much attention to this aspect of it.I'm a little mixed about this whole thing. On one hand, I don't wasnt illegals (people who have broken the law just by being in the country) to go away unpunished and scott-free with full citizenship rights after breaking the law. As you mentioned, there's the whole welfare/social security issue, too. On the other hand, I see real benefits from making them all legal. I'm torn on this issue and, as there's so much angst on both sides, it's hard to pick any one side completely. I do know that this was a smooth political move by Bush. I think he's trying to avoid another Florida debacle like last time by securing as many Hispanic votes as possible. This'll help with the (legal) Mexican vote in areas like Florida, Georgia, Texas, etc. I don't think much will help him in in California, though. Even this.

Posted by Jan at January 11, 2004 7:31 PM

After having lived in Southern Arizona for over 6 years, I'm for Bush's plan. I don't know every single little detail, but from what I've seen, it's about time that immigrants are really sent the message that America isn't the land of free freedom. There are ways to get into this country legally - to give illegal immigrants a freebie, forgiving them automatically of the fact that they're *illegal*, that diminishes the effectiveness of the immigration system.Furthermore, illegal immigrants expecting these freebies are causing huge economical problems. Arizona's immigration and social services programs are bankrupt now because of illegals expecting freebies. When I lived in Tucson, I saw two major hospitals close down in that city alone in the same year because they were - by law - required to give full-out medical care to illegals without any chance of ever being repaid. Those hospitals were so flooded with illegals that they were forced to shut down. Additionally, they couldn't report all the illegals that were coming in because they just didn't have the staff.Not only is it a financial burden, but it adds to the problems in the economy that nay-sayers to this immigration plan are complaining about night and day - that this is a jobless economy. In Southern Arizona, illegal immigrants from Mexico are taking up so many minimum wage jobs, that it's practically impossible for a teenager, young adult, or down-on-their-luck adult to find a job. Basically, because of a flooding of the system by illegal immigrants, if you don't have a degree in Tucson, Arizona, you're stuck without employment. Teenagers can't even work at McDonald's anymore. By and large, Mexican immigrants who come into this country legally are looking for a better life, and they have an amazing work ethic. They don't expect anything, only a chance to work for what they get. And I'm all for that. But from what I've seen of the majority of illegal immigrants, they expect America to be an automatic ticket to making it big. And when they don't make it big, that's when I believe crime increases. They get bitter that they aren't getting things for free. At least, that's what I've seen. And it really makes me feel bad for the people who have really fought to make their way into the country, who are working hard - the illegals give them a bad reputation, and they don't deserve that. Cameron - I'm watching Meet the Press, and I'm dying to know - what are your thoughts on Howard Dean and his supposed success in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire?

Posted by Heather at January 11, 2004 11:22 PM

Jan, like you, I have a lot of mixed feelings. I'm for immigration as long as it betters the country. Bush's proposal certainly isn't perfect, but it's a lot better than nothing, and I see it as a step in the right direction.Heather, as for Democratic game in NH and IA, I think Dean may come out on top in both. In NH, the only two candidtates considered as having a chance are Dean and Kerry, though Clark is working hard to squeeze in. In IA, it's a different story. The lead candidates here are Dean and Gephardt (who won the state in '88 I think). And not only is it a much closer race, but according to one poll, 40% of those who said they had made up their mind, also said they could change it. Also, according to another small poll, Dean had 30%, Gephardt had 23%, and Edwards had 18%. That is a close race in my opinion. Personally, I think Dean is one of the least satisfying candidates. Everything he says seems to be about what or who he doesn't agree with, but I can't see a platform of substance. Several of the candidates seem to at least be realistic, not just naysayers. Unfortunately, Dean has a lot of people worked up, and as I said, will probably get those two races.

Posted by Cameron at January 12, 2004 9:50 AM

Heather, I need to dispute one thing you've said. We no longer have a jobless economy. I can't remember which day, but I read recently (in the NYT no less) that employment increased last quarter significantly, so we can no longer call this a jobless recovery. The network news programs aren't mentioning it, but the NYT did.

Posted by Jan at January 12, 2004 12:31 PM

Jan - Oh, I completely agree, this isn't a jobless economy anymore. But it is still being complained about nonetheless - just last night I listened to John Kerry on Meet the Press answer a question from Tim Russert by saying that it's still a jobless economy. Despite the facts, people that should know better are still harping on about it.

Posted by Heather at January 12, 2004 10:13 PM

It's called a jobless economy because a lot of people who have been out of work for quite a while are still out looking for work, NYT op/ed articles notwithstanding. May not seem that way to those of you who are gainfully employed at the moment, but I have a number of friends, family, and former colleagues (with degrees and skills no less) who have been out of work for way too long (some over a year).Adding to the problem is Bush's push for tax breaks to multinational corporations. This will only serve to further the outsourcing of technology jobs to India and Russia for example, without any penalty to the Corporate execs who pocket the difference by making their shareholders feel warm and fuzzy. [The following numbers are just guesses, don't quote me, just here for illustration purposes.] Why pay 20% taxes for a domestic computer programmer (who makes say $60K/year) when you can pay 15% taxes on a programmer from India who you can also hire for $15K a year that also has a master's degree in CS? (The indian guy can live like a king on those wages in a country where the average salary is 2 or 3 hundred dollars a year). Makes for good business sense -- Corporate execs love those numbers -- justifies their seven-figure incomes. But your average American worker will only increasingly feel the squeeze...Illegal or not, a glut of new low wage workers in this country will certainly drive down labor wages -- you can bank on that. Great for those of you with good jobs looking to build a new house for example. Bad for those of you who earn a living doing Construction or Landscaping or anyting in the service industry.Hundreds of illegal aliens cross the border in Southern California every day. Ever stop to consider how easy it would be for an Al Queda operative to learn Spanish and waltz right into this country (could you distinguish the middle-eastern man with the Spanish accent out of a crowd of your average latino males?). Not sure how giving all of them id cards and legal status will make our country more secure (how many of them do you think own authentic birth certificates for example?). Forged document trade is big business in So. Cal. Anyway, food for thought.

Posted by kristina at January 14, 2004 4:59 PM

I'm surprise;I'm shock, most of you people have expressed hate towards immigrants, black and latinos in general. Your ignorance blinds. you need to a open a book & learn you damn history. america the u.s was not found by whites. example; the native americans already living in north american long before the european arrived. first Native Americans arrived during the last ice-age, approximately 20,000 - 30,000 years ago through a land-bridge across the Bering Sound, from northeastern Siberia into Alaska. The oldest documented Indian cultures in North America are Sandia (15000 BC), Clovis (12000 BC) and Folsom (8000 BC). However whites, came like any other immigrant, they sailed thousands of miles to get to america. present immigration: INS has the statistics showing that europeans have the highest number of being undocumented in the u.S. THere are main borders in the u.S.: one being the south border from california to mexico and the other is the north america and canada. Thousands of europeans and asians apply for visas to canada, once they arrived to canada they easily immigrate to the u.s. Because that border is not easily control like the one down south. You need stop watching to much movies and media. Stop the stereotypes about mexicans and latinos being the only immigrants that are undocumented, read facts; the facts are that italians, irish, koreans, japanese, palestinians, chinese about 7,000 other countries make up this diversity of immigrants, Europe and asia and africa are the highest among contribution of nonauthorized immigrants in the u.s.
concerning are countries being corrupted, read about the conspiracy that this country has committed in the past. at least we don't kill our good candidate that run for president (JFK) or social leaders like MLKJr.also read about WTO, and read about why third countries are in poverty, and how they contirbute to pay the debt. read a el salvador and how the u.s help keep the war for almost 13 years. don't be ignorant, perhaps you people don't have any cultures, values, traditions. WOrse of some people don't even have any social consciouss. If i were to make a list of stereotypes about americans i would never finished. But i don't want to lower myself. CALIFORNIA is spelled in spanish perhaps that means something...!

Posted by twisted ent at January 22, 2004 10:49 PM

Hey, where's the hate? I don't see hate. I see people discussing real problems that come from illegal immigration. And the United States of America was not founded by the native people of the land on which it now resides. The USA displaced them. We're not proud of it, but we're certainly aware of it. That's also entirely irrelevant to the issue of illegal immigration now, as are your conspiracy theories.I don't know where you're getting your statistics, but the INS has this to say, and I quote from the executive summary of the "Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States: 1990 to 2000" which is the most recent report available:

Mexico is the largest source country for unauthorized immigration to the United States. The estimated unauthorized resident population from Mexico increased from about 2.0 million in 1990 to 4.8 million in January 2000. Mexico’s share of the total unauthorized resident population increased from 58 percent in 1990 to 69 percent in 2000. In addition to Mexico, six countries had more than 100,000 unauthorized residents in the United States in January 2000 -El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, Honduras, China, and Ecuador. The new estimates are based primarily on the foreign-born population counted in the 2000 Census and annual INS statistics (immigrants admitted, deportable aliens removed, and nonimmigrant residents admitted).
I found that summary at:, twisted ent, you need to stop listening to whatever it is you're getting your misinformation from and face the facts.

Posted by Levi at January 22, 2004 11:34 PM

Twisted Ent, It appears that you are the only one who brought up blacks. Does that mean you are just racist against whites? I think Levi has clearly pointed out statistics here. The truth is that no one here hates anyone, but illegal immigrants have introduced several problems that shouldn't just be ignored. This topic surfaced because of Bush's latest plan to give out temporary worker permits. I think as long as the workers are contributing to society, and not draining it (such as constant free medical care), no one has much of a problem. Perhaps you should read the initial article and everyone's comments again.

Posted by Cameron at January 23, 2004 8:05 AM

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