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I am a self proclaimed coffee addict and Executive Director of a non profit missions agency working primarily in the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Ensenada. I've been married for over 30 years to Chelle, and we have one grown son, Joseph, a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama.

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

A Few Questions About Immigration

As our congress debates over whether to approve the DREAM Act, or vote it down, I've decided to pose a few questions, let folks respond, and see where it heads.

Without further fanfare, here we go.

1. If it can be shown that US policies and practices have had a negative impact on the economy and employment picture of another country, do we have a responsibility to help mitigate that impact?

2. If someone is willing to study hard, get a degree and/or serve our country in the military, is this the type of person we would want as a US citizen?

3. Should the US have set standard rules for obtaining a VISA that are transparent and objective that applicants from other countries can understand and work towards?

4. Can anyone give me a rational explanation as to why a person can come here illegally from Cuba and receive legal status, but someone coming illegally from any other country, communist or not, is subject to deportation?

And finally, number 5.

If everyone who arrived here illegally looked like Salma Hayek, who recently admitted she was once an illegal alien, would we really be so concerned about this?

Comments on "A Few Questions About Immigration"


Blogger tnlib said ... (7:32 AM) : 

Yes to 1, 2, 3 and 5. No to 4. Good questions.


Blogger Doug said ... (10:48 AM) : 

1) Morally, ethically? Perhaps yes. Legally, politically, Perhaps no. The first falls under doing the right thing and being good stewarts. The second falls under protectionism and will probably only change when the risk(s) out weigh the reward(s). How's that for a definative answer ;-)

2) Absolutely. Too bad we can't make it a requirement for everyone...

3) I think I agree with this but wonder what you mean by transparent.

4) I think it has to do with agenda's and perception.

5)If that were true, we would have a lot more TSA agents at the airports...


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (10:56 AM) : 

Doug, I think by transparent, I am asking for a set target that everyone can see, as opposed to a target that changes depending on the whim of the interviewing case agent.


Blogger btc said ... (5:04 AM) : 

1. Define "negative impact" and "mitigate". If by "negative impact", you mean providing countless billions in remittances and millions of in-country jobs, then definitely no.

2. Yes, subject to other qualifications. For example, Nidal Hasan meets that criteria and I would rather he were not a U.S. citizen.

3. Screw the visa program; illegal immigration is not caused by lack of transparency therein. Bring back the Braceros.

4. Cubans make better cigars than either Mexicans or Central Americans.

5. Yes, because I doubt Salma Hayek would be willing to work 14 hour days in the orange groves.


Blogger Shaw Kenawe said ... (4:06 PM) : 

Great questions, Dave.

Yes: 1, 2, 3,

I can offer perhaps one reason on #4: Those Cubans tend to vote Republican. The others? Not so much.

No. 5 is in the same category as the question I always ask:

Would anyone be paying any attention to Sarah Palin if she looked like Mickey Rooney with hair extensions?

Humans can overlook any transgression if it is made by a pretty person.


Blogger dmarks said ... (2:46 AM) : 

Craig Ferguson was also an illegal alien.

On #1, the US really needs to crack down on drug abuse. The chaos it has caused in Mexico is just one of the reasons.

Shaw said: "Would anyone be paying any attention to Sarah Palin if she looked like Mickey Rooney with hair extensions?"

OF course. But unlike you I am not bashing Palin over her looks and gender.


Blogger Shaw Kenawe said ... (7:28 AM) : 


Tell us exactly how I'm bashing Palin? If anyone is being bashed, it's Mickey Rooney.


Blogger dmarks said ... (8:40 AM) : 

Shaw: I've seen you bash Palin for being a woman previously (usually involving her looks). A lot like those on the Right like Limbaugh who have included heaps of sexism in bashing Hillary.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (1:51 PM) : 

Brian, I tend to think something like the old bracero program might work, if US companies were willing to pay a proper wage for the work of our Mexican brethren.

This however remains to be seen.

Unfortunately, I do not see a path where politically we can get anything done on immigration. No one is willing to stick his or head out on this issue because there are such good political points to be scored by keeping the status quo.

As far as defining negative impact, speaking only of Mexico, how about the demise of the corn and sugar industry that has resulted from the US not wishing to give up selling our subsidized corn [which kills the corns business] to Mexico so that it can be made into HFCS, which then kills the sugar cane business.

I know that remittances make up the second largest part of the Mexican budget, right after oil, but maybe if those folks could support their families while living in Mexico, we'd both be better off.

Just thinking out loud here.

I wish you were here and we could have this discussion in person with a few other around us...


Blogger dmarks said ... (2:01 PM) : 

"Brian, I tend to think something like the old bracero program might work, if US companies were willing to pay a proper wage for the work of our Mexican brethren."

They probably are already. A fair value, which is the value of the work. Anything less, and the workers walk away. Anything more, and the company gets clobbered by the competition for being wasteful.

I agree on getting rid of corn subsidies. All of them. It's a waste of tax money. But this does not include tax breaks (which are not subsidies).


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (4:06 PM) : 

dmarks... is a wage is fair if the only way you can fill the job is with people who cannot demand proper legal protection because they are undocumented, or illegal?

A worker who is used to trying to feed his family on $5.00 a day thinks he has hit the jackpot when he gets to work for $5.00 an hour.

The agricultural industry in CA has a long history of substandard wages and working conditions for migrant farm workers.


Blogger Doug said ... (4:29 AM) : 

It is interesting how certain topics seem to repeat themselves.

Regarding #2 and possibly 3, I just finished reading an excerpt about the Chinese students winning education standards competition and how to improve the US standings.


1: Trust the system and our constitutional freedoms to overcome big government controlled school systems.

2: Stop trying to "fix" the teenage brain but rather set better ethical and role model examples for them to follow.

3: Fix the immigration system to continue to attract the best minds to America.

My question is . . . IS our immigration system broken in such a way that it does not attract the best immigration candidates?


Blogger dmarks said ... (7:25 PM) : 

Dave: any deal is fair as long as the people involved get to set the terms of it, and have the ability to walk away from the deal.

"The agricultural industry in CA has a long history of substandard wages and working conditions for migrant farm workers."

All of which who risk a lot to come to earn this supposedly "substandard" pay. Their choice; if it weren't a fair wage, they wouldn't work for it.

Wages should be tied to the actual value of the work, not some arbitrary meaningless value set by those who know nothing about the the situation.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (4:41 PM) : 

DMArks, your statement, "if it weren't a fair wage, they wouldn't work for it." is just not true.

Are you saying that no one in the world who takes a job gets paid an unfair wage?

Granted they agree to accept a certain wage, but that does not make it fair. I can, or anyone else can for that matter, agree to accept any number of horrible conditions. It does make them fair, just agreed upon.

While I agree that wages also should be set by the people that know what's up, there usually, as we have seen, needs to be some standards.

Or do you think business will choose to always do the right thing?

For instance, years back we had children working all day for essentially pennies. Were they working for a fair wage? By your definition, yes.

But I would also ask, if there were no wage regulations, set by outsiders, would companies willingly have ended these practices, or would they have continued their substandard practices?

Does government have any role in regulating the workplace?


Blogger dmarks said ... (2:03 AM) : 

Who defines "Fair"? It should be those involved with the deal. Outsiders have no idea what's going on at all.

One of the worst examples of those who have no idea about anything defining "fair" is the idea of a government-mandated "living wage".

In this, the government sets a wage according to an imaginary value that has nothing to do with the value of the work. As a result, teenagers of upper middle class families get paid this "living wage", even when they need a fraction of this money in order to survive. On the other end, for a family with 6 kids, one income, and a single mom, this "living wage" isn't near enough. It really accomplishes very little.

But what it does do is force businesses, most of them small, to be welfare agencies... with certain percentage of the wage (any amount mandated by government as above the real value) being an unearned handout, welfare... often given to the rich. Small business go under by the thousands every time the "minimum wage" is increased. After all, being forced to pay people money they aren't earning is a burden.

"Does government have any role in regulating the workplace?"

Of course. There are several examples of reasonable intrusion. Such as workplace safety. And child labor laws. So in your example, yes, an adult who chooses to work for pennies? Nothing wrong with that.

Again with the milk example: the government should make sure the milk is not contaminated, but they should not force the stores to charge a certain amount per gallon.


Blogger Silverfiddle said ... (8:05 AM) : 

This is simple...

1. No. It's an interconnected world. Nations continuously negatively and positively impact one another.

2. No. Other criteria are just as important, such as respect for the culture and beliefs of others, willingness to adapt to our cultural norms, being able to "live and let live," and respecting our laws.

3. Yes. And we should have stricter border control and immigration controls. Ironically, if we did this, it would allow us to invite more visitors in.

I have friends and family in Latin America. Only the older married ones with money in the bank are allowed here. If you're a single young man or woman, forget it kid!

The reason is, we know that once someone gets here they can disappear into the system and never return home.

If our government would actually do it's job, we could be more generous with the visitor and temporary worker visas.

4. Congress passed a law. Our government overlords are capricious and pass arbitrary laws all the time.

5. Good question! I do draw a distinction, and I think our government should also, but not based on arbitrary beauty standards.

I think we should favor people from our hemisphere, because they assimilate while also enriching our culture. The only reason we have some who are not assimilating is because they are living in the shadows due to their immigration status.

I believe Muslim immigration should be severely limited because many refuse to assimilate. More disturbing are the cases where the parents have assimilated, only to see their kids embrace the hatred and misogyny of militant Islam.


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