Friday, November 30, 2007

Explaining the DREAM ACT in the GOP Presidential Debate

Partial Transcript
New York Times
November 29, 2007

Q Governor Huckabee, as governor in Arkansas, you gave illegal aliens a discount for college in Arkansas by allowing them to pay lower in-state tuition rates. However, we have thousands of military members currently serving our country in Iraq with children at home. If these children chose to move to Arkansas to attend college, they would have to pay three times the tuition rate that illegal aliens pay. Would you support a federal law which would require any state to give these tuition rates to illegal aliens to give the same rate to the children of our military members?

MR. COOPER: Governor Huckabee, you have 90 seconds.

MR. HUCKABEE: Thank you very much.

Ashley, first of all, let me just express that you're a little misinformed. We never passed a bill that gave special privileges to the children of illegals to go to college.

Now, let me tell you what I did do. I supported a bill that would have allowed those children who had been in our schools their entire school life the opportunity to have the same scholarship that their peers had who had also gone to high school with them and sat in the same classrooms. They couldn't just move in in their senior year and go to college. It wasn't about out-of-state tuition; it was an academic meritorious scholarship called the Academic Challenge Scholarship.

Now, let me tell you a couple of provisions of it.

And by the way, it didn't pass. It passed the House, but got in the Senate and got caught up in the same kind of controversy that this country's caught up in.

Here's what happened. This bill would have said that if you came here not because you made the choice but because your parents did, that we're not going to punish a child because the parent committed a crime. That's not what we typically do in this country. It said that if you'd sat in our schools from the time you're 5 or 6 years old and you had become an A-plus student, you completed the core curriculum, you were an exceptional student, and you also had to be drug and alcohol free, and the other provision, you had to be applying for citizenship.

It accomplished two thing that we knew we wanted to do, and that is, number one, bring people from illegal status to legal status; and the second thing, we wanted people to be taxpayers, not tax takers, and that's what that provision did.

And finally, would we give that provision to the children of veterans personally? What we've done with not just the children of veterans but, most importantly, veterans, is disgraceful in this country. And that's why I've proposed a Veterans Bill of Rights that, if anything, would give our veterans the most --


MR. HUCKABEE: -- exceptional privileges of all, because they are the ones who have earned all of our freedom, every single one of them. (Cheers, applause.)

MR. COOPER: Governor Romney, you called -- you called Governor Huckabee a liberal on immigration.

(Applause for Mr. Huckabee continues.)

MR. ROMNEY: Well, you know, I like Mike, and I heard what he just said. But he basically said that he fought for giving scholarships to illegal aliens. And he had a great reason for doing so. It reminds me of what it's like talking to liberals in Massachusetts. All right? They have great reasons for taking taxpayer money and using it for things they think are the right thing to do.

Mike, that's not your money. That's the taxpayers' money. (Cheers, applause.) And the right thing here is to say to people that are here legally as citizens or legal aliens, we're going to help you.

But if you're here illegally, you ought to be able to return home or get in line with everybody else, but illegals are -- are not going to get taxpayer-funded breaks that are better than our own citizens', those that come from other states or those that come here -- (inaudible).

MR. COOPER: You have 30 seconds to respond.

MR. HUCKABEE: Well, but they didn't get something better; they had to earn it.

And you know something, I worked my way through college. I started work when I was 14 and I had to pay my own way through, and I know how hard it was to get that degree. I'm standing here tonight on this stage because I got an education. If I hadn't had the education, I wouldn't be standing on this stage. I might be picking lettuce. I might be a person who needed government support rather than who was giving so much money in taxes I want to get rid of the tax code that we've got and make it really different.


MR. HUCKABEE: Mitt, let me finish. No, let me finish, Mitt.


MR. HUCKABEE: In all due respect, we're a better country than to punish children for what their parents did. We're a better country than that. (Cheers, applause.)

MR. COOPER: We've got another question -- we've got one more question for --

MR. ROMNEY: I get -- I get a chance to just respond to that.

We're not punishing children for what their parents did. And I respect the fact that you worked your way through college and it got you to where you are. That's wonderful. A lot of people in this country do tremendous things to get their education.

But the question is, are we going to give taxpayer-funded benefits to kids that are here illegally and put them ahead of kids that are here legally? There's only so much money to go around --

MR. HUCKABEE: No -- (inaudible) -- (number of scholarships ?), Mitt.

MR. ROMNEY: -- and we decide -- there's only so much money to go around -- let me finish too.

MR. HUCKABEE: Well, let's just be factual.

MR. COOPER: You've got 30 seconds. Your time's up.

MR. ROMNEY: There's only so much money. Are we going to say that kids that are here illegally are going to get a special deal? Are they going to get a deal better than other kids? Do they get benefits by virtue of coming here illegally? And the answer is no.

MR. HUCKABEE: No, they've got to earn it. That was the difference. They had to earn it by their record.

MR. ROMNEY: They had to be here illegally.

MR. COOPER: We've got another question from a YouTube watcher. Let's watch.

Q Good evening, candidates. This is Seepser (ph) from Arlington, Texas, and this question's for Ron Paul.

Now, I've met a lot of your supporters online, but I've noticed that a good number of them seem to buy into this conspiracy theory regarding the Council on Foreign Relations and some plan to make a North American Union by merging the United States with Canada and Mexico. These supporters of yours seem to think that you also believe in this theory.

So my question to you is, do you really believe in all this, or are people just putting words in your mouth?

for complete transcript of the debate:

My Mother Told Me Never to Sneak Around

The word "sneak" caused me trauma when I was a teenager. My mother would use the word often when she talked about other teenage girls whom she considered promiscuous. Embedded in this word were many things. The word described people who were:

bad, stupid, dirty (or uncouth), and predisposed to lying about everything

I looked it up in the University of Chicago ARTFL project dictionary and found this:

To creep or steal (away or about) privately; to come or go meanly, as a person afraid or ashamed to be seen; as, to sneak away from company...

To act in a stealthy and cowardly manner; to behave with meanness and servility; to crouch.

The word is on my mind today because it was used in a Washington Post article by Howard Kurtz: "I understand the outrage at those who broke the law to sneak into this country."

With all due respect. Mr. Kurtz needs to re-think what he writes. Perhaps he wants to avoid being pro-immigrant -especially with a name like Kurtz - people might have thought he went native (and wouldn't that be awful).

Oh, one last thing - his statement: "
12 million illegal immigrants in this country (some of whom were granted amnesty in 1986 by the sainted Ronald Reagan, when the problem was much smaller) aren't going anywhere."

If they were granted amnesty, that means they were no longer undocumented as of 1986. I would suggest that Mr. Kurtz think about which words he uses and how he puts them together. He could tell everyone that is was a typographical error, not caught by the newspaper's copyeditors. But if you have any faith in Freud, you know about the process called a "Freudian slip" - when you say something that appears unintentional, but in reality it is what you are actually thinking- as many people do these days, once "an illegal always an illegal" - even if they get a green card or become U.S. citizens.

To correct some mis-information - most undocumented immigrants are not sneaky. If they really were, would you let them enter your house and take care of your children? Would you want them to build our highways and skyscrapers?

Yes, of course there are many undocumented immigrants who cross the border at night by wading the river or hanging on to the bottom of a railroad car. For the most part, as I have mentioned before, it is often because they don't have enough to feed their families. Lastly, the word sneak connotes, stealing or dishonesty - As reports are constantly being published, stealing is not an issue, their rates of criminal behavior are significantly lower than U.S. citizens. If they are dishonest about their status should they be confronted by a Border Patrol officer, how bad is a lie, if you are lying so you can feed your kids? I am not trying to be over-dramatic. This is reality.

If you are wondering how I know this. Years before graduate school I was a social worker - at children's protective services, an elementary school with a significant undocumented population, a neighborhood social service center in an immigrant neighborhood as a psychotherapist with a number of undocumented families. The description of their homes having dirt floors still shocks me...Probably most impactful is that my father was undocumented until he entered the U.S. Army in 1944.

My first book was on the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon. I traveled there for three years - and lived there full time in 1999. My third book is on DREAMERS and immigration - and I've been working on this one for about 20 months. So no, I'm not making this stuff up.

Sanctuary From the Facts?
By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 30, 2007; 7:57 AM

The Rudy-Romney dustup was great television as the two men went toe to toe over immigration. But I want to dwell for a moment on the substance.

Giuliani did talk about welcoming illegal immigrants when he was mayor. Whether New York was a sanctuary city or not, he recognized the need for illegal workers to be able to report crimes, and to educate the 70,000 kids of illegal workers. Now, for obvious reasons, he tries to sound less sympathetic to illegal immigration.

Mitt didn't do much to crack down on sanctuary cities in Massachusetts, either, and while he touts winning federal approval for his state police to go after illegals, that took effect two weeks before he left office.

Huckabee was asked how he could allow college scholarship for the kids of illegal immigrants. He explained that the kids had to have been in the school system all their lives, have A-plus averages and be applying for citizenship. When Romney criticized that stance as a waste of taxpayers' money, Huck said: "In all due respect, we are a better country than to punish children for what their parents did."

Whatever your views on immigration, here's my point: Governors and mayors have to deal with real-world problems. The 12 million illegal immigrants in this country (some of whom were granted amnesty in 1986 by the sainted Ronald Reagan, when the problem was much smaller) aren't going anywhere. They are so embedded in our society that some of them wound up taking care of Mitt Romney's lawn.

I understand the outrage at those who broke the law to sneak into this country. But it's easier to criticize the problem from a stage than to run states and cities that are teeming with illegals.

It's like the debate over taxes. Virtually every governor who's in office long enough raises them at some point, as Huckabee did, while cutting them at other times, depending on the heating and cooling of the economy. (Yes, even Reagan raised taxes.) Then an opponent comes along and denounces them as tax-hikers. But virtually all governors are constitutionally required to balance their budgets. They don't have the option of printing money like the folks in Washington.

The NYT, by the way, has a big piece on Rudy's mayoral claims. Money graf:

"All of these statements are incomplete, exaggerated or just plain wrong. And while, to be sure, all candidates use misleading statistics from time to time, Mr. Giuliani has made statistics a central part of his candidacy as he campaigns on his record."

Ever wonder what it's like spending a day trailing Hillary around New Hampshire? My report on the candidate and the press is here.

Turning now to the controversy over CNN's YouTube debate, here is what I've pieced together:

CNN expressed regret yesterday for allowing a Hillary Clinton adviser to ask a question at Wednesday's Republican presidential debate, even as controversy swirled about two other questioners who have declared their support for Democratic candidates.

Retired Brig. Gen. Keith Kerr, who asked why gays should not be allowed to serve openly in the military, is a member of Clinton's steering committee on gay and lesbian issues, something her campaign disclosed in a news release in June.

"Had we known that, we probably wouldn't have used the question," said David Bohrman, CNN's Washington bureau chief, who produced the debate. He added that "you could spend hours Googling everybody. What we cared about was that he was real." CNN deleted Kerr's question from a rebroadcast of the debate.

The New York senator's campaign said in a statement that "Gen. Kerr is not a campaign employee and was not acting on behalf of the Clinton campaign."

Kerr, a Californian who said he became openly gay after 43 years in the military, was one of 5,000 people who submitted videotaped questions through YouTube. CNN also placed Kerr in the St. Petersburg, Fla., audience, where he followed up by calling the current "don't ask, don't tell" policy "destructive."

Moderator Anderson Cooper acknowledged the error involving Kerr after Bill Bennett, the conservative author and radio host who is a network contributor, raised it during a post-debate discussion. Bennett said yesterday that his radio producer e-mailed him information from a National Review blog.

"It shouldn't have ever happened," Bennett said. "You've got to vet that sort of thing."

On CNN's "American Morning," Kerr said he has done nothing for the Clinton campaign and that the video was "a private initiative on my own." He also said he has supported Republicans.

Bohrman said network staffers, struck by Kerr's "very powerful" question, verified his military service and determined from federal records that he had made no campaign contributions. He said CNN never spoke to Kerr and had Google, which owns YouTube, bring the retired general and about a dozen other questioners to the debate because their videos were likely to be used, although no decision had been made.

CNN teamed with YouTube in July for a Democratic debate that marked the first such use of citizen-submitted videos. The Republican debate was delayed because of candidate concerns about the format.

Bohrman said the network rejected "quite a few" questioners who were found to have public ties or donations to other candidates. He said the network's goal was to avoid "obvious Democratic 'gotcha' questions."

Another YouTube questioner, a Texas woman who identified herself as "Journey," asked what the punishment should be for women who have abortions and the doctors who perform them, if the procedure were made illegal. After the debate, she posted another YouTube video criticizing the candidates' responses -- while wearing a "John Edwards 08" T-shirt.

A third questioner, David Cercone, asked the candidates whether they would accept the support of the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay organization.

In a profile on Sen. Barack Obama's Web site, Cercone wrote about "why I support Barack Obama: He is a leader who inspires me with his sincerity, his earnestness, and his vision for change."

Conservative bloggers, some of whom deride CNN as the "Clinton News Network," ripped the network yesterday. At InstaPundit, Glenn Reynolds wrote: "Once again, CNN demonstrates an inexplicable failure to background-check pro-Hillary questioners." Scott Johnson of PowerLine wrote that "CNN has shown itself unable or unwilling to act as an honest broker."

James Joyner at Outside the Beltway, said: "If lone bloggers can vet these people in less than half an hour, surely CNN's crack journalistic team should have been able to do so between the time they selected the pool of questions and the airing of the debate?"

Bohrman said he had no problem using questioners who have voiced support for other candidates as long as they are not donors or formally affiliated with any campaign. "We bent over backwards to be fair," he said. "We're not perfect. But we tried extremely hard."

Here's some more reaction. Captain Ed is less exercised than some of his conservative colleagues:

"Bad journalistic practices? Definitely yes. But does that negate the questions themselves? I don't think so. The CNN/YouTube format closely parallels that of the traditional town-hall forum. For the most part, attendees do not get vetted at these events either, nor should they. After all, while a primary usually involves voters of one party, the entire nation has a stake in the selection of the nominees. If Hillary Clinton held a town hall in my community, I should have an opportunity to question her about her positions on issues without pledging a loyalty oath to do so.

"The questions asked don't seem particularly outrageous."

Fred Barnes says the whole thing stunk:

"This debate not only was mortifying to the candidates. It also should have been embarrassing to the viewers, especially Republican voters who might have been watching.

"I don't know if the folks who put the debate together were purposely trying to make the Republican candidates look bad, but they certainly succeeded. True, the candidates occasionally contributed. For the first few minutes, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney continued their debate over their records on immigration and did so with the kind of intensity that this trivial matter didn't warrant. These are two fine candidates who have only themselves to blame for looking petty.

"But it was chiefly the questions and who asked them that made the debate so appalling. By my recollection, there were no questions on health care, the economy, trade, the S-chip children's health care issue, the 'surge' in Iraq, the spending showdown between President Bush and Congress, terrorist surveillance, or the performance of the Democratic Congress.

"Instead there were questions--ones moderator Anderson Cooper kept insisting had required a lot of time and effort by the questioners--on the Confederate flag, Mars, Giuliani's rooting for the Boston Red Sox in the World Series, whether Ron Paul might run as an independent for president, and the Bible."

At the New Republic, Noam Scheiber gives Romney and Rudy mixed grades:

"I thought Romney hit the right note on immigration, at least from the perspective of GOP voters. His response to Giuliani's accusation that he operated a 'sanctuary mansion'--a reference to having illegal aliens do some work around his house--was persuasive. It does seem a bit much to suggest, as Rudy did, that you should be responsible for whether or not a contractor you hire might be employing illegal aliens--or, as Romney put it, that you should demand papers from anyone who looks a little different or speaks with an accent.

"Romney also seemed to get the better of the exchange with Mike Huckabee over making (non-citizen) children of illegal immigrants eligible for state-funded college scholarships. Huckabee offered what I thought was a wonderful, humane defense of the program--about not punishing kids for their parents' crimes, about how you'd rather have people get educations than not, etc.--but I suspect that's a step too far for most GOP primary voters. Romney's point about how Huckabee might have had great intentions, but that doesn't make it right, will probably resonate . . .

"Romney's weakest moment by far was his attempt to square his previous comments on gays in the military--that he looks forward to a day when they can serve openly--with his rightward turn on social issues. He seemed caught off guard by the question, and his response--that this is not the time to consider it--sounded like the worst of both worlds . . .

"Giuliani, as I mentioned, seemed a little over the top during the 'sanctuary mansion' attack. He also did a lousy job fielding a question about gun control--leading with the point that local governments should be able to impose some common-sense restrictions, which the gun crowd hears as code for taking their firearms away..."

for complete article:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sarkozy and His Disciplinary Measures

Yes, the NYT says the rage is the same but the tactics are different. Sarkozy should consider changing his tactics also. Authoritarian, arrogant leadership is not what is needed in this situation. If the rage is still there, then the French government still doesn`t understand

A couple of things I want to mention. Although the media said the young people were immigrants, THIS IS INCORRECT. They are French citizens, born in France of people who immigrate from France´s colonies.

The more Sarkozy stamps his foot, the more misunderstood the young people of the banlieue will feel.

November 28, 2007
In French Suburbs, Same Rage, but New Tactics
PARIS, Nov. 27 — Two years after France’s immigrant suburbs exploded in rage, the rituals and acts of resentment have reappeared with an eerie sameness: roving gangs clashing with riot police forces, the government appealing for calm, residents complaining that they are ignored.

And while the scale of the unrest of the past few days does not yet compare with the three-week convulsion in hundreds of suburbs and towns in 2005, a chilling new factor makes it, in some sense, more menacing. The onetime rock throwers and car burners have taken up hunting shotguns and turned them on the police.

More than 100 officers have been wounded, several of them seriously, according to the police. Thirty were hit with buckshot and pellets from shotguns, and one of the wounded was hit with a type of bullet used to kill large game, Patrice Ribeiro, a police spokesman, said in a telephone interview. One of the officers lost an eye; another’s shoulder was shattered by gunfire.

It is legal to own a shotgun in France — as long as the owner has a license — and police circles were swirling with rumors that the bands of youths were procuring more weapons.

“This is a real guerrilla war,” Mr. Ribeiro told RTL radio, warning that the police, who have struggled to avoid excessive force, will not be fired upon indefinitely without responding.

The police have made more than 30 arrests but have been restrained in controlling the violence, using tear gas to disperse the bands of young people and firing paint balls to identify people for possible arrests later.

The prefecture of the police in the Val d’Oise area, where most of the violence has occurred, said Tuesday night that there were no reported injuries among civilians that could be linked to the police.

The events of the past three days, set off by the deaths of two teenagers whose minibike collided with a police vehicle on Sunday, make clear that the underlying causes of frustration and anger — particularly among unemployed, undereducated youths, mostly the offspring of Arab and African immigrants — remain the same.

“We have heard promise after promise, but nothing has been done in the suburbs since the last riots, nothing,” said François Pupponi, the Socialist mayor of Sarcelles, which has been struck by the violence, in an interview. “The suburbs are like tinderboxes. You have people in terrible social circumstances, plus all the rage, plus all the hate, plus all the rumors, and all you need is one spark to set them on fire.”

On Tuesday, there were the first signs of the violence spreading beyond the Paris region when a dozen cars were set afire in the southern city of Toulouse.

In the wake of the unrest in 2005, the government of then-President Jacques Chirac (with Nicolas Sarkozy, now the president, as the tough, law-and-order interior minister) announced measures to improve life in the suburbs, including extra money for housing, schools and neighborhood associations, as well as counseling and job training for unemployed youths. None has gone very far.

At that time, Mr. Sarkozy alienated large numbers of inhabitants in the troubled ethnic pockets of France, but afterward reverted to a low-key approach, which he has maintained ever since. During his presidential campaign, he stayed away from the troubled suburbs, aware that his presence could inflame public opinion against him.

In his six months as president, he has largely focused on injecting new life into France’s flaccid economy through creating jobs and lowering taxes and consumer prices.

His most notable initiative in dealing with youth crime has been punitive: the passage of a law last July that required a minimum sentence for repeat offenders and in many cases allowed minors between 16 and 18 years old to be tried and sentenced as adults.

Since September, Fadela Amara, his outspoken junior minister charged with drawing up a policy for the suburbs, has been holding town hall meetings throughout France in preparation for what is to be a “Marshall Plan” for the suburbs. Her proposals are scheduled to be made public in January.

“We’ve been talking about a Marshall Plan for the suburbs since the early 1990s,” said Adil Jazouli, a sociologist who focuses on the suburbs. “We don’t need poetry. We don’t need reflection. We need money.”

After he returns from China on Wednesday morning, Mr. Sarkozy plans to visit a seriously wounded senior policeman at a hospital near the northern Paris suburb of Villiers-le-Bel.

It was in Villiers-le-Bel on Sunday afternoon that the deaths of two teenagers identified as Moushin, 15, and Larimi, 16, occurred, the event that set off the latest unrest. The teenagers were riding without helmets on a minibike that collided with a police car; rumors that the police had caused the accident elicited calls for revenge.

The crash was reminiscent of the electrocution deaths in another Paris suburb in October 2005 of two teenagers, who, according to some accounts, were running away from police. That event set off the worst civil unrest in France in four decades, plunging the country into what Mr. Chirac called “a profound malaise.”

But Mr. Sarkozy, still reeling from huge transit strikes and student protests throughout France this month, is unlikely to use the current unrest as a vehicle to turn introspective or vent his rage too loudly at those he once called “scum.”

In 2005, he vowed to clean out young troublemakers from one Paris suburb with a Kärcher, the brand name of a high-powered hose used to wash off graffiti; when he pledged in another suburb that year to rid poor suburban neighborhoods of their “scum,” he was pelted with bottles and rocks.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister François Fillon told Parliament that the clashes were “unacceptable, intolerable, incomprehensible,” and he pledged punishment for the offenders in the affected suburbs.

“Those who shoot at policemen, those who beat a police officer almost to death, are criminals and must be treated as such,” he said, adding, “We will do everything so that tonight there is a maximum security presence.”

Under heavy security on Tuesday night, Mr. Fillon visited Villiers-le-Bel, where the two youths had died, in what he called a show of support for the police and firefighters. About 1,000 police officers were deployed there.

Critics of the Sarkozy government complain that many areas in the suburbs are without a police presence, and that the only time there is a show of security is after violence erupts.

“Sarkozy promised to send more police to the suburbs, but in so many places there are fewer police than there were two years ago,” said Mohamed Hamidi, the French founder of Bondy Blog, a popular political blog created in the Paris suburb of Bondy
after the outbreak of violence in 2005. “He didn’t keep his word. Who suffers from all the violence and the burning cars? The people who live in these neighborhoods.”

In Villiers-le-Bel on Tuesday night, the atmosphere was tense, with white police trucks and antiriot police officers on the streets. Earlier in the day, about 300 people, including children, marched silently in memory of the two dead teenagers.

At a bakery on a small plaza in town, Habib Friaa, the baker, mourned their deaths, especially that of Larimi, who had started an apprenticeship with him two months ago.

“Baking was his passion,” Mr. Friaa said. “He was a courageous young man, someone who had hope.”

Ariane Bernard contributed reporting from Paris, and Basil Katz from Villiers-le-Bel.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It's the Uninsured That Are Costing the U.S. Money, Not the Immigrants

Lou Dobbs seems to enjoy saying that undocumented immigrants over use health services. Seems like almost every politician I know has stated this publically.

Last year I called the Harris County Hospital District and asked their representative about this charge of "over use." He said that they did use the services, and the monetary amount was high. What he noticed was that when the hospital district sent immigrants bills, they were more likely to pay what they owed.

In summer 2006 at one of the laughable Congressional Hearings that were being held around the country. Harris County Judge Bob Eckols stated that the most significant expense for the hospital district was U.S. citizens who are not insured. Health Care expenditures were significantly less for undocumented immigrants. It was interesting because when Eckols said that, I believe it was Gene Greene or Sheila Jackson Lee - asked the question and he began to hedge. A few seconds later he said undocumented immigrants weren't the culprits.

Now a study at UCLA has been completed that confirms Eckols' statement. Will anyone listen?

From the Los Angeles Times

Study finds immigrants' use of healthcare system lower than expected
UCLA researchers find that Latinos in the U.S. illegally are 50% less likely to visit emergency rooms.
By Mary Engel
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

November 27, 2007

Illegal immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries are 50% less likely than U.S.-born Latinos to use hospital emergency rooms in California, according to a study published Monday in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

The cost of providing healthcare and other government services to illegal immigrants looms large in the national debate over immigration.

In Los Angeles County, much of the focus of that debate has been on hospital emergency rooms. Ten have closed in the last five years, citing losses from treating the uninsured, and those that remain open are notorious for backlogs.

By federal law, hospitals must treat every emergency, regardless of a person's insurance -- or immigration -- status. Illegal immigrants, who often work at jobs that don't offer health insurance, are commonly seen as driving both the closures and the crowding.

But the study found that while illegal immigrants are indeed less likely to be insured, they are also less likely to visit a doctor, clinic or emergency room.

"The current policy discourse that undocumented immigrants are a burden on the public because they overuse public resources is not borne out with data, for either primary care or emergency department care," said Alexander N. Ortega, an associate professor at UCLA's School of Public Health and the study's lead author. "In fact, they seem to be underutilizing the system, given their health needs."

Ira Mehlman, media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that lobbies for tougher immigration controls, said that usage rates are just one measure of illegal immigrants' effect on healthcare. The other factor, he said, is the cost to taxpayers, which Ortega's study did not examine.

Cost estimates vary widely. A Rand Corp. study published last year in the journal Health Affairs put the cost of healthcare for illegal immigrants nationwide at $1.1 billion a year, excluding care for those younger than 18 and older than 64.

FAIR called the Rand number a "low-ball" estimate. Its own study of healthcare costs of illegal immigrants and their dependents, including U.S.-born children, estimated California's portion alone to be about $1.5 billion a year.

Mehlman said $1.5 billion "is still a significant amount of money, unless you're Bill Gates."

Ortega's study is not the first to find that illegal immigrants use fewer healthcare services than people born in the U.S. But his study used the largest sample, analyzing data from 42,044 participants of the 2003 California Health Interview Survey, a randomized telephone survey conducted by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Department of Public Health.

And while other studies have attributed lower usage to immigrants simply being younger and healthier than the overall population, the study published Monday took into account age, health status, insurance status and poverty level. All such factors being equal, it found, immigrants still made fewer visits to physicians and were 30% less likely than U.S.-born Latinos to have a regular source of healthcare.

Dr. Felix Nuñez, a Los Angeles-based family physician and former medical director of the South Central Family Health Center, said the findings confirm what he sees in clinics.

Illegal immigrants are infrequent patients for primary care visits, he said, because being asked for ID cards, Social Security numbers and employment histories makes them nervous. They fear being reported to authorities, even though the information is used only to determine Medi-Cal eligibility or to set a sliding-scale fee.

What did surprise Nuñez was the relatively low use of emergency rooms by illegal immigrants.

"My gut would have told me that they'd be higher users of emergency services because they're not coming in for routine, preventive care," he said. "This kind of study is really important because it forces you to look at the data and rethink your assumptions."

Monday, November 26, 2007

Intolerance Can Take a Life of It's Own

The news is that Tom Selders was not re-elected to his third term as mayor of Greeley, Colorado, supposedly because he showed empathy for the undocumented immigrants. After a large raid at the Swift Meatpacking Plant, he publicly stated that "Many families and children were devastated by parents being arrested and detained," Selders said. "Children -- citizens of the United States -- were left without parents."

Many of his constituents were enraged with him. The anger increased when he agreed to speak at an anti-immigrant rally in Washington D.C. so he could speak to pro-immigrant organizations.

He lost his voter base and Latino voters did not stand behind him because he is a Republican and he is Anglo. It's kind of shame that this kind of thing can happen. The narrow vision that brings intolerance is blinding us.,0,7819636.story?coll=la-home-center
From the Los Angeles Times
Mayor's reelection backlash
Greeley, Colo., boots him after he spoke at an immigration forum.
By Nicholas Riccardi
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

November 27, 2007

GREELEY, COLO. — Tom Selders is still baffled at how quickly the city he served for years turned on him.

The two-term mayor of this conservative farm town had been a political fixture for nearly two decades. A businessman who prided himself on bringing efficiency to city government, Selders infuriated his constituents after jumping into the national debate over illegal immigration. In May he spoke at an open forum in Washington, D.C., about the effects of last year's immigration raid on a meatpacking plant here, which led to the detention of 262 undocumented workers.

"Many families and children were devastated by parents being arrested and detained," Selders said. "Children -- citizens of the United States -- were left without parents."

The reaction in Greeley, whose Latino population has nearly tripled since 1980, was swift and furious. Selders, who was seeking a third term as mayor, was overwhelmed with angry calls. He became a regular target on local talk radio. A mailer linking him to illegal immigrant gang members flooded mailboxes.

Earlier this month Selders was ousted from the nonpartisan post, losing to a retired police officer by a 3-2 margin.

"I really feel betrayed by my community," said Selders, 61. "There's a big contingent of people in this community who are just full of anger and hate about illegal immigration, and that anger and hate has been transferred to me."

What happened to Selders, a lifelong Republican, is a cautionary tale of the politics of illegal immigration. To some, it shows how a good man trying to do the right thing was taken down by the forces of intolerance. To others, it shows what can happen to elitist politicians who dismiss voters' frustrations over unchecked illegal immigration. "A lot of people in Weld County remained silent" as people like Selders criticized the December 2006 raid, said County Dist. Atty. Kenneth R. Buck, who supported Selders' opponent. "They don't want to be called racist, they don't want their business to be boycotted. . . . There were a lot of people who were waiting to be heard in their anonymous way."

Greeley, founded in 1869 by a newspaper reporter who followed fabled New York editor Horace Greeley's admonition of "go west, young man," is a city split in two.

The more prosperous western side has subdivisions with names like "Promontory" or "Glen Meadows." The largely Latino eastern side consists mainly of weathered Victorians, mobile homes and trailers. Looming over these working-class neighborhoods is the massive Swift & Co. meatpacking plant.

As an agricultural hub, Greeley has long had Latino residents. But the Latino population soared in recent decades as the meatpacking industry shifted to an immigrant-heavy workforce. Latinos now make up about one-third of the city's 90,000 residents.

Now signs in City Hall are bilingual. One in five Greeley elementary school students needs help speaking or reading English. Critics blame illegal immigrants for part of the $36 million a year in uncollected bills at the local hospital, and a 73% rise in violent crime since 2000.

"Businesses are shutting down, our professional people are leaving to find a better place," said Joy Breuer, an opponent of illegal immigration who runs a shelter for the homeless. "This town used to be one of the most beautiful places to live in Colorado."

By his own admission, Selders rarely ventured into the eastern half of town while growing up on the west side. He left Greeley to study chemistry at college in Boulder. He moved back after serving a stint in Vietnam as a naval officer, and quickly founded a company that built bridges and culverts.

It wasn't until 1990 that Selders tasted local politics. He joined the Parks and Recreation Commission. The city was planning to close a public pool on the eastern end of town. "I said, 'Wait, isn't this the part of town where we want recreation facilities,' " he recalled.

The city reversed its decision, and Selders was hooked on public service. He served two terms on the City Council, then, after selling his stake in the construction business and starting a small computer firm, he was elected mayor in 2003.

Selders made a point of going to the east side and meeting with community groups. "For the first time we had someone we could call on, and he'd respond," said immigrant rights activist Ricardo Romero.

In November 2005, after winning his second two-year term, Selders and the rest of the City Council refused to follow Dist. Atty. Buck in demanding the federal government open an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Greeley. Selders feared it would lead to racial profiling, a stance that angered many here.

On the morning of Dec. 12, 2006, Selders was in his home office when the city manager called -- federal immigration agents were raiding the Swift meatpacking plant. The workers were accused of stealing or buying identities and Social Security numbers to secure jobs.

Spouses and children converged on the plant for news of whether their relatives had been arrested or deported. Local charities raised tens of thousands of dollars for families whose breadwinners were jailed.

Selders regretted the raid's impact on the workers' families as well as on the city's largest business. Swift had complied with a federal program to verify its workers Social Security numbers, yet it still lost millions of dollars because of the disruption. But Selders stayed quiet.

"These things can take on a life of their own," he said. "I felt it was better to not say a lot."

In May, a local church-based group asked Selders to speak to pro-immigrant organizations in Washington, D.C., that lobby for immigration reform. He decided that he had an obligation to go. "I felt it was the right thing to do," he said.

He put out a news release about the trip; he felt compelled to tell his constituents. The morning he left, the Greeley Tribune ran a story about the trip on its front page. The calls -- all negative -- began pouring in before Selders touched down at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. They picked up after he backed a Senate immigration reform proposal the next day that critics labeled amnesty. Selders immediately realized he was in danger of losing his mayor's job

His challenger was Ed Clark, a former police officer who works as a school security guard. Clark hammered Selders on the city's crime rate, which he tied to illegal immigration.

In August, Buck, who supported Clark, held a forum on the need for an ICE office, drawing several hundred people who heard him speak of the link between crime and illegal immigrants. He and Clark estimated that 10% to 15% of the crimes in the town were committed by undocumented immigrants.

Fliers critical of Selders were mailed to voters. One had a photo depicting gang members flashing signs. The caption read: "Tom Selders is good for business." Clark and Buck said they had nothing to do with the fliers.

After beating Selders, Clark said, "I have seen over the years a growing presence of Mexican nationals and illegal immigrants that are starting to join the gangs here. I'm not going to let this take root." Selders was partly the victim of an anti-incumbent wave in Greeley. Another council member was defeated and a third survived by a few dozen votes. But even Selders' backers said crime and illegal immigration led to his downfall.

"People are angry enough with all the gangs in town, and they feel Mr. Selders didn't do much to stop that," said Jan Boedigheimer, an underwriter who voted for the former mayor. She knew he would lose, and termed his trip to Washington "career suicide."

Selders' wife, Sandi, said she wasn't surprised he was blindsided by the hostility. "It's hard for Tom to understand a difference of opinion," she said. "He really does believe that good will triumph, and it doesn't always."

Before handing over the mayor's office to Clark the week after the election, Selders drove around the eastern neighborhoods he felt were defamed in the campaign. He went past the hulking Swift plant. Signs in Spanish advertised for 1,300 new workers. He gestured at the small, tidy homes.

"Nothing wrong with these places," Selders said. "They're just not very big."

Opponents of illegal immigration are elated to see Selders go. "Now it's going to change," Breuer said. "People who don't want to follow the laws will get out of here."

Immigrants rights activists in Greeley are still in a state of shock and wonder whether they missed a chance to help a rare ally. Selders' campaign got some support in the heavily Latino neighborhoods, said activist Sylvia Martinez. "People didn't believe [in Selders] because he is white, because he is a Republican, because he is a businessman," she said. "I don't think a lot of people believed he was running for his life."

Rodriguez Says Its About Social Class - I'm Not So Sure

I will have plenty to say about this subject later. For the meantime there is only one thing I would like to point out - People react to skin color and/or hair color. You may be able to go blonde but you can't bleach your skin unless you are Michael Jackson.

If you are gay you can act straight, if you are a woman you can dress up like a man, or vice versa. But if you are very dark skinned you can't dress yourself to look white.

There is something to the class issue, but that is only a very small part of the equation - when it comes to how people get along and how people judge each other.

From the Los Angeles Times
It's more about class and less about color
Most fighting between blacks and Latinos occurs between the most marginalized of both groups.
Gregory Rodriguez

November 25, 2007

It couldn't have been more than a few months after the 1992 riots. I was seated in the office in the back of the Son Shine Missionary Baptist Church on Nadeau Street in South L.A. talking with the Rev. Leroy Shephard about how Mexicans and blacks in his neighborhood did and did not get along.

"We all know about the tensions," he said in his preacher's cadence. "But there are also plenty of budding friendships. You see, when blacks moved into South L.A., white folks didn't even stay around long enough for us to become friends. Most of them won't even drive through these neighborhoods."

But plenty of black and immigrant families do live together. The relationship is not always easy. Some Mexicans and Central Americans who moved into previously all-black neighborhoods in L.A. brought their own biases about blacks with them from their homeland; others acquired them here. And, like so many poor immigrants before them, there were Latinos who seized on their neighbors' low social status as a way to convince themselves that they did not occupy society's very lowest rung. They blamed blacks for the local crime.

But whatever their biases, they still moved into the neighborhood, and given a choice, most well-intentioned people chose to get along with their neighbors. Life is just easier that way. Homeowners -- those most vested in their neighborhoods -- were more eager to get along than renters. Young men who felt they had nothing to lose didn't waste too much time trying to get along with anyone.

Beneath the obvious layers of race and class was an aspiration gap that was the great source of tension. The 1980s saw a huge out-migration of upwardly mobile African Americans from South L.A. Those blacks who remained in the old neighborhood tended to be either elderly or the younger generations who didn't have the skills or the good fortune to move up. They were frustrated.

Into these neighborhoods came thousands of Latin American immigrants who harbored higher hopes and lower expectations and who were willing to work more for less pay.

Black trepidation about immigrant competition is nothing new. And it has always been intertwined with a resentment that, however rough newcomers had it, they were still treated better than native-born blacks. In the 1850s, Frederick Douglass wrote: "Every hour sees us elbowed out of some employment to make room perhaps for some newly arrived emigrants, whose hunger and color are thought to give them a title to especial favor." In 1882, Booker T. Washington warned that the stream of "European laborers that is continually flowing into the West leaves [blacks] no foothold there."

Politically correct news accounts of black-Latino tensions point to a supposed "competition over scarce resources." But every local employer knows that Mexicans benefit from the widely held preconception that they are hard workers. They're not losing out to blacks in the job market.

Indeed, the real tension -- and violence -- generally occurs between socioeconomically frustrated African Americans and U.S.-born Latinos, the children of immigrants who have slipped through the cracks and not completed the difficult transition from their parents' homeland into the American mainstream. I found this to be true when I visited Harbor Gateway after Cheryl Green, a 14-year-old African American girl, was killed in January, allegedly by a member of the predominantly Latino 204th Street gang. Among Latinos, the deepest racial resentment was not among immigrants but among U.S.-born Mexican American gang members who were fighting with black gangs over turf.

I don't know why we insist on seeing this issue as one that involves all blacks and all Latinos. It doesn't. The lion's share of the fighting still occurs among the most marginalized of each group, those who do not feel themselves integrated into society. In other words, the phenomenon of black-Latino conflict has as much to do with social and economic alienation as it does with race. In fact, Jonathan Fajardo, the 18-year-old gang member accused of killing Green, is himself half black, with four half siblings who are as dark as she was.

The truth is that people who fall through the cracks find all sorts of reasons to get angry, and people to get angry with.

Gregory Rodriguez, a columnist for the opinion pages, is director of the California Fellows Program at the New America Foundation and the author of the recently published "Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans and Vagabonds: Mexican Immigration and the Future of Race in America."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Immigrant - Latino - Black

Last week we had a discussion in the graduate seminar I teach - it was about comparing the current immigration situation in the U.S. and slavery. One person was adamant that nothing could compare to slavery and the middle passage. - we discussed the perspective that no matter how many people would be deported, or incarcerated without charges, or separated from their children, there is just no way to say there were anything alike.

I agree, slavery takes it... there is nothing that has happened in the United States that has been so horrible, except the near-extermination of Native Americans. In addition, the subtle and not-so subtle presence of discrimination against blacks is still around, as much as the rest of us say "it is so much better now."

However, the immigration crisis is happening today. No, it's not as bad a slavery, but it's bad. And they aren't exactly alike but there are many similarities -

Undocumented immigrants do not have the same due process rights that citizens have. They can be detained, deported or incarcerated for months, unable to contact their families or attorney - with no consequences.

Its sort of like the dilemma of passing. Undocumented immigrants need to pass for green card residents or citiizens - they can do fine until someone decides to catch them.

True, there are not in shackles, and are not beaten regularly. But they are in jails, have been raped and beaten by government officials - while everyone is watching - Besides a few screams like those after the Bedford raid, people mostly stay quiet.

The issue is not about comparison as to who has suffered more. That is clear and should have already been settled. The issue is about empathy and compassion for undocumented people for the tragedy they are currently facing.,0,3088497.story?coll=la-home-commentary
From the Los Angeles Times
The black-Latino blame game
Finger-pointing between the two minorities is not going to help either group.
By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

November 25, 2007

One Friday earlier this month, a small but vocal group of black activists turned up at City Hall to blast Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and members of the City Council for failing to work hard enough to prevent violence by Latino gang members against blacks in South Los Angeles.

"You have one race of people exterminating another race of people," said one African American woman.

On the same day, elsewhere in the city, Latino parents stormed out of a meeting of a Los Angeles Unified School District advisory council. The council had been fighting for months about whether to hold its meetings in Spanish or English -- a dispute that got so abusive that district officials felt the need to bring in dispute-resolution experts and mental health counselors. On this particular Friday, the Latino parents walked out after a group of black parents voted to censure the panel's Latino chairman.

These two events are certainly not isolated incidents, but they are the most recent examples of the long-running tensions between blacks and Latinos in Los Angeles. Just a few weeks earlier, federal prosecutors had filed a highly publicized case against more than 60 members of Florencia 13, a Latino street gang that prosecutors say engaged in a violent campaign to drive African American gang rivals out the South L.A. neighborhood of Florence-Firestone, resulting in more than 20 killings over three years. In the late 1980s, according to a report in The Times, the neighborhood was about 80% African American, but today it is 90% Latino.

Animosity between Latinos and blacks is the worst-kept secret in race relations in America. For years, Latino leaders have pointed the finger of blame at blacks when Latinos are robbed, beaten and even murdered. Blacks, in turn, have blamed Latinos for taking jobs, for colonizing neighborhoods, for gang violence. These days, the tension between the races is noticeable not only in prison life and in gang warfare (where it's been a staple of life for decades) but in politics, in schools, in housing, in the immigration debate. Conflicts today are just as likely -- in some cases, more likely -- to be between blacks and Latinos as between blacks and whites. In fact, even though hate-crime laws were originally created to combat crimes by whites against minority groups, the majority of L.A. County's hate crimes against blacks in 2006 were suspected to have been committed by Latinos, and vice versa, according to the county Commission on Human Relations.

Across the country -- in Plainfield, N.J.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Annapolis, Md., and Indianapolis, Ind., among other places -- the clash between black and brown has drawn attention, and lots of it, because it involves two groups that some think should be natural allies. At least that's what the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez thought four decades ago. They had a mutual admiration society and passionately believed that blacks and Latinos were equally oppressed minorities and should march in lock step. "Our separate struggles are really one -- a struggle for freedom, for dignity and for humanity," King wrote to Chavez in 1965. But that rhapsodic notion of black and brown harmony is now the faintest of faint memories. Three years ago, when the Census Bureau proclaimed Latinos the largest minority in the U.S., many blacks loudly grumbled that they would be shoved even further to the margin among minorities. The grumbles have risen to a near-shrill pitch among many blacks during the immigration debates of recent years. Although most civil rights leaders and black Democrats publicly embraced the immigrant rights struggle, many blacks privately expressed dread about being bypassed in the battle against poverty and discrimination, and some were actively hostile to the goals of immigrant groups. At a 2005 meeting in L.A., for instance, black radio host Terry Anderson summed up a not-uncommon position in the African American community when he blamed illegal immigrants for stealing jobs from blacks and crowding schools. "We've been invaded," he said. "There's no other word for it."

One of the first warnings that many blacks felt threatened by soaring Latino numbers was the battle over Proposition 187 in California in 1994. California voters approved the measure, which denied public services to illegal immigrants, by a huge margin. Shockingly, blacks also backed the measure; one L.A. Times poll several months after the proposition passed showed blacks supporting its "immediate implementation," 58% to 36%. Apparently, blacks were mortally afraid that Latinos would bump them from low-skill jobs and further marginalize them by increasing joblessness and fueling the crime and drug crises in black neighborhoods. And it's probably true that at the low end of the scale some young, poor, unskilled blacks have been shut out of jobs at hotels and restaurants and in manufacturing. There's also fierce competition for the dwindling number of affirmative action spots in colleges.

The prime reason for chronic black unemployment, however, is lingering racial discrimination and the lack of job skills, training and education.

Over the years, racial fear has spilled into politics; blacks worry that the national chase for Latino votes will erode the political gains and power they have won through decades of struggle. That was evident in the ambivalence and even flat-out hostility of many blacks toward Villaraigosa in his first bid for mayor. Heard repeatedly on the streets was that a Villaraigosa win would mean the ouster of blacks from City Hall.

Fear also has spilled into the schools. The battle between black and Latino members over whether the L.A. Unified parents advisory panel meetings should be conducted in English or Spanish actually masked larger issues. Many blacks feel they are getting the short end of the stick educationally in a school district in which Latinos make up more than 70% of the students.

Of course, there's nothing unique about L.A.'s situation. Latinos and blacks make up the majority of students in many big-city school districts -- and these public schools are among the poorest and most segregated. In their desperation to get a quality education for their kids, Latinos and blacks in many districts across the country accuse each other of gobbling up scarce resources, dragging down test scores and fueling the rise in crime and gang problems at the schools.

The only real solution is to press school officials for more funding, better teachers and high-quality learning materials, but when the money is not there, the problem quickly is reduced to ethnic squabbling over scarce dollars. And students take up the battle, as in the case of the months-long skirmishes between black and Latino kids at Jefferson High School in 2005 -- where the student body had gone from 31% Latino to 92% Latino in 25 years.

Partly, these are problems of empathy. Many Latinos fail to understand the complexity and severity of the black experience. They frequently bash blacks for their poverty and goad them to pull themselves up as other immigrants have done. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox took heat from black leaders in 2005 when he claimed that Mexican immigrants would do work in the United States that "not even blacks" want to do. Some Latinos repeat the same vicious anti-black epithets as racist whites -- like the Latino kid at Jefferson High who helped start a race riot when he yelled "Go back to Africa!" at his fellow students.

Ethnic insensitivity, however, cuts both ways. Many blacks have little understanding of the impoverishment and social turmoil that has driven so many Latinos to seek jobs and refuge in the United States. Once here, they face the massive problems of adjusting to a strange culture, new customs and a different language, and that includes discrimination too.

Despite the problems, the picture is not one of total gloom and doom. Blacks and Latinos have worked together in some communities to combat police abuse, crime and violence, as well as for school improvements and increased neighborhood services. Still, the painful truth is that blacks and Latinos have found that the struggle for power and recognition is long and difficult. On some issues, they can be allies, on others, they will go it alone. Changing demographics and the rise of Latinos to the top minority spot in America won't make the problems of either group disappear. Nor will blaming each other for those problems solve them.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His new book is "The Latino Challenge to Black America: Towards a Conversation Between African Americans and Hispanics," published by Middle Passage Press.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

DHS to Re-Vamp No-Match Social Security Initiative

DHS is trying to find another way to approach the No-Match Social Security initiative. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer had already postponed any action on the letters until March 10.

Perhaps someone in the Bush administration had a moment of lucidity and realized that something like this would create a labor crisis.

Justice Seeks Delay in Court Challenge to Immigration Plan
Bush Administration Says It Will Modify Crackdown on Employers Who Hire Illegal Workers
By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 25, 2007; A11

The Bush administration said Friday that it will modify its planned crackdown on U.S. companies that employ illegal immigrants, asking a federal judge to delay hearing a lawsuit brought by major American labor, business and farm organizations until the new strategy is completed.

In papers filed in San Francisco late Friday afternoon, Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey S. Bucholtz told U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer that the Homeland Security Department is making unspecified changes to its plan to pressure employers to fire as many as 8.7 million workers with suspect Social Security numbers.

The Justice Department in court papers asked the judge to delay the case until March 24, or until a new program is ready.

On Oct. 10, Breyer barred the government from mailing Social Security "no-match" letters to 140,000 U.S. employers, citing serious legal questions about requiring companies to resolve questions about their employees' identities, fire them within 90 days, or else face potential fines and criminal prosecution.

President Bush made the initiative a priority in August after the Senate killed his proposed overhaul of immigration laws. In issuing a preliminary injunction, however, the judge cited plaintiffs' arguments that the Social Security Administration database includes so many errors that using it to enforce immigration laws would cause "staggering" disruptions at workplaces and discriminate against tens of thousands of legal workers.

The judge also said that the government failed to weigh the cost of the new regulation on small businesses as required.

"Certainly DHS believes that the court got it wrong," department spokeswoman Laura Keehner said. However, in modifying the program, "DHS is planning to provide an answer to the small number of minor issues that the judge raised in his opinion," she said.

Randel K. Johnson, a vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which joined the suit brought by the AFL-CIO and the American Civil Liberties Union, along with agriculture, restaurant and construction industry associations, said businesses are bracing for the new effort. "I hope they give the employer community adequate time to comment and do not just jam it through during the holidays, particularly given that this regulation covers all industries, across all sectors of the economy."

Only Actions and Objects are Illegal, Not People

Decency on Immigration
Apart from John McCain, it's hard to find that quality in the Republican presidential contest.
Washington Post
Saturday, November 24, 2007; A16

THE SPEAKER was discussing the human face of illegal immigration. "People are continuing dying in the Sonoran desert, and it's just a very sad thing to see," he said. "One 3-year-old baby died, a 16-year-old girl with a rosary in her hand. There's a side of this that grieves me terribly. These are God's children. They're not from another planet, and the whole thing . . . frankly, this whole issue saddens me a great deal."

These statements were moving, but they would not have been especially remarkable except for the fact that the person speaking is a presidential candidate -- a Republican presidential candidate, in fact -- at a time when the campaign has taken a particularly toxic tone when it comes to the issue of immigration. In a meeting with Post editors and reporters the other day, Arizona Sen. John McCain described the toll that he believes his championing of comprehensive immigration reform took on his campaign. "It was the issue of immigration that hurt my campaign," he said. "I have not encountered a domestic issue that has provoked the emotional response that this issue does with a lot of Americans."

Indeed, even as Mr. McCain was speaking, his GOP rivals were busy turning an ugly immigration debate even uglier. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who said in 2005 he thought that the McCain-Kennedy comprehensive immigration approach was "sensible," and former New York mayor

Rudolph W. Giuliani, who as mayor protected illegal immigrants from being reported to immigration authorities when they sought police protection or hospital care, competed to see who could sound toughest.

"As governor, I opposed driver's licenses for illegals, vetoed tuition breaks for illegals and combated sanctuary city policies by authorizing the state police to enforce federal immigration law," Mr. Romney said in a statement. "As president, I will secure the border and reject sanctuary policies by cities, states or the federal government."

The Giuliani campaign shot back, in a statement by communications director Katie Levinson: "On Governor Romney's watch, the number of illegal immigrants in Massachusetts skyrocketed, aid to Massachusetts sanctuary cities went through the roof and Governor Romney even went so far as to hire illegals to work on his lawn." Mr. Romney and former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson have also taken shots at former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee for allowing the children of illegal immigrants in Arkansas to qualify for in-state tuition and academic scholarships if they graduated from high school there. As Mr. Huckabee told Fox News, "the basic concept, and I know this is still an anathema to some people, I don't believe you punish the children for the crime and sins of the parents."

Illegal immigration provokes strong emotions, understandably so. But it would behoove all the candidates to engage in a little less chest-thumping and speak with more of the decency and compassion that Mr. McCain exhibited.

Friday, November 23, 2007

An Honest Discussion on Immigration with a Consideration of Ethics

It has been over a month since this article was published in the Financial Times. I think it is worth reading. It is one of the few articles on immigration that takes a pragmatic approach.

The author of this piece should talk to some of our Senators. His last comment made me pause. I have not heard talk like this in the U.S. Congress.

"So let us try to have an honest discussion, based on the best possible analysis and consideration of the ethics. If immigration is to continue at a substantial (if reduced) rate, all these issues must be confronted. If not, the debate is certain to become ever more unpleasantly xenophobic. This is not an area for stealth, but for policies that are far more open, transparent and better justified than hitherto."


Why immigration is hard to tackle
By Martin Wolf
Published: November 2 2007 02:00 | Last updated: November 2 2007 02:00
London Financial Times

Does a country have the right to determine the composition of its population? If so, how should it do so? These questions are hard to answer. That is presumably why the government has run what amounts to a "stealth" immigration policy. But that approach is now unworkable. The time has come for a debate. That debate should focus on whether restricting immigration is legitimate, desirable and feasible. Only then can one decide what policy to pursue.

The government is in difficulties on this topic, for three reasons. First, the inflow has been substantial. Between 1997 and 2006, gross immigration was 4.8m and net immigration 1.6m, or 7.8 per cent and 2.6 per cent of the 2006 population, respectively. The latest projections suggest that the population might rise by 4.4m between 2006 and 2016, with immigration generating close to half of this increase.

The second reason is that the government seems to have little idea how many immigrants are in the country. It has just had to admit that the number of foreign-born workers who had arrived since 1997 was 1.5m. Foreigners also seem to have filled more than half of the additional jobs created since 1997. Aware of the potential political risks, the government has announced the continuation of controls on workers from Romania and Bulgaria, and introduced a point system to manage immigration of workers from outside the European Union. A panic-stricken Gordon Brown, prime minister, has even proclaimed "British jobs for British workers".

The third and most fundamental reason is that the government never made a case for such levels of immigration. So how should one go about having such a debate?

A good starting point is whether a country is morally entitled to restrict migration. Philippe Legrain, a notable economist and author, takes a strong position on this, most recently in a robust contribution on migration to a report from CentreForum, a liberal, London-based think-tank*. His argument is that freedom of movement is a human right. The implication is that a country should be defined as a set of institutions that controls a given territory. Its people have no right to determine the composition of its population. I understand the argument, but do not agree with it. A country is not just a set of institutions, but also a home. People do have a right to decide who enters their (collective) home.

Yet even if one agrees that a country has a right to restrict immigration, it does not follow that it ought to do so. Mr Legrain argues that it is not just in the global interest to have free migration, but also in that of recipient countries. A standard "gains from trade" analysis would suggest that this should be true. But if one is to argue for free movement of labour on economic grounds one needs a sense of the likely consequences. Analyses of free migration in the presence of huge real wage differentials suggest that we would end up with vast informal sectors and shanty towns. That is what happens within poor countries. Why should it not happen across the globe? I cannot see how one would persuade a host population that this outcome would be in their interests.

So the debate has to be over what are still controlled levels of migration. What is most striking here is the poor standard of the government's analysis. The Home Office's recent contribution to a House of Lords economic affairs committee inquiry discusses the impact on the size of the economy. For those of us who are not seduced by the "lump of labour" fallacy, there is no doubt that a bigger labour force would make the economy larger. So what? If one is trying to persuade people that immigration is in their interests, one has to analyse its impact on the gross domestic product and its distribution, after subtracting the incomes earned by migrants. So far as I can see, the Home Office does not even attempt to assess this.

Mr Legrain has little doubt. His position is that immigrants are almost always complementary to domestic workers and so raise their productivity and incomes. A particular benefit, he argues, is diversity. These points have force. But he also assumes, less credibly, that there are few negative consequences of diversity or a denser population.

Yet what is most striking in this debate is how little we know. The case for an analysis similar to Sir Nicholas Stern's on climate change policy is overwhelming. Of course, a review would be pointless if it were impossible to control immigration. While the extent to which this is possible is limited, it is not utterly infeasible. But we should certainly move to market-compatible systems, such as auctions of work permits, rather than arbitrary point systems.

So let us try to have an honest discussion, based on the best possible analysis and consideration of the ethics. If immigration is to continue at a substantial (if reduced) rate, all these issues must be confronted. If not, the debate is certain to become ever more unpleasantly xenophobic. This is not an area for stealth, but for policies that are far more open, transparent and better justified than hitherto. Let the debate begin.

*Globalisation: a Liberal Response,

Crushed by Hysteria

What is going to happen to Spitzer now that the move for driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants was bulldozed?

Hillary found herself tripped up with the license question, but somehow wiggled out of her predicament.

All the other Democratic candidates are either staying silent because they are concerned about how to appear before their constituents - or like Richardson and Kucinich they just jumped into the fire.

Most of the major U.S. newspapers are cautioning Americans about the consequences of this hysteria. Perhaps Lou Dobbs is screaming so loudly that he is drowning everyone else out.

The New York Times

November 23, 2007 Friday
Late Edition - Final

The Immigration Wilderness

SECTION: Section A; Column 0; Editorial Desk; EDITORIAL; Pg. 36

LENGTH: 1007 words

The nation certainly sounds as if it's in an angry place on immigration.

A major Senate reform bill collapsed in rancor in June, and every effort to revive innocuous bits of it, like a bill to legalize exemplary high school graduates, has been crushed. Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York hatched a plan to let illegal immigrants earn driver's licenses -- and steamrollered into the Valley of Death. Asked if she supported Mr. Spitzer, Senator Hillary Clinton tied herself in knots looking for the safest answer.

The Republican presidential candidates, meanwhile, are doggedly out-toughing one another -- even Rudolph Giuliani, who once defended but now disowns the immigrants who pulled his hard-up city out of a ditch. A freshman Democratic representative, Heath Shuler of North Carolina, has submitted an enforcement bill bristling with border fencing and punishments. Representative Tom Tancredo, Republican of Colorado, for whom restricting immigration is the first, last and only issue, says he will not run again when his term expires next year. I have done all I can, he says, like some weary gunslinger covered in blood and dust.

The natural allies of immigrants have been cowed into mumbling or silent avoidance. The Democrats' chief strategist, Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, went so far as to declare immigration the latest ''third rail of American politics.'' This profile in squeamishness was on full display at the Democratic presidential debate last week in Las Vegas, when Wolf Blitzer pressed the candidates for yes-or-no answers on driver's licenses and Mrs. Clinton, to her great discredit, said no.

This year's federal failure will not be undone until 2009 at the earliest, while states and local governments will continue doing their own thing, creating a mishmash of immigration policies, most of them harsh and shortsighted. But the wilderness of anger into which Mr. Tancredo helped lead America is not where the country has to be on this vitally important issue, nor where it truly is.

Mrs. Clinton was closer to being right the first time, when she haltingly defended Mr. Spitzer's reasoning. Fixing immigration is not a yes-or-no question. It's yes and no. Or if you prefer, no and yes -- no to more illegal immigration, to uncontrolled borders and to a flourishing underground economy where employer greed feeds off worker desperation. Yes to extending the blanket of law over the anonymous, undocumented population -- through fines and other penalties for breaking the nation's laws and an orderly path to legal status and citizenship to those who qualify.

These are the ingredients of a realistic approach to a complicated problem. It's called comprehensive reform, and it rests on the idea that having an undocumented underclass does the country more harm than good. This is not ''open-borders amnesty,'' a false label stuck on by those who want enforcement and nothing else. It's tough on the border and on those who sneaked across it. It's tough but fair to employers who need immigrant workers. It recognizes that American citizens should not have to compete for jobs with a desperate population frightened into accepting rock-bottom wages and working conditions. It makes a serious effort to fix legal immigration by creating an orderly future flow of legal workers.

Americans accept this approach. The National Immigration Forum has compiled nearly two dozen polls from 2007 alone that show Americans consistently favoring a combination of tough enforcement and earned legalization over just enforcement. Elections confirm this. Straight-talking moderates like Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico thrive in the immigration crucible along the southern border. Those who obsess about immigration as single-issue hard-liners, like the Arizonans J. D. Hayworth and Randy Graf, have disappeared, booted by voters. Voters in Virginia this month rejected similar candidates and handed control of the State Senate to Democrats.

It may not be ''amnesty'' that gets Americans worked up as much as inaction. They seem to sense the weakness and futility in the enforcement-only strategy, the idea of tightening the screws on an informal apartheid system until it is so frightening and hopeless that millions of poor people pack up and leave.

That is the attrition argument, the only answer the anti-amnesty crowd has to comprehensive reform. It is, of course, a passive amnesty that rewards only the most furtive and wily illegal immigrants and the bottom-feeding employers who hire them. It will drive some people out of the country, but will push millions of others -- families with members of mixed immigration status, lots of citizen children and practically a nation's worth of decent, hard workers -- further into hiding.

We are already seeing what a full-bore enforcement-only strategy will bring. Bias crimes against Hispanic people are up, hate groups are on the march. Legal immigration remains a mess. Applications for citizenship are up, and the federal citizenship agency, which steeply raised its fees to increase efficiency, is drowning in paperwork and delays. American citizens are being caught up in house-to-house raids by immigration agents.

America is waiting for a leader to risk saying that the best answer is not the simplest one. As John Edwards said at the last debate, ''When is our party going to show a little backbone and strength and courage and speak up for those people who have been left behind?''

He was talking about the poor and people without health insurance, but he could -- and should -- have included a host of others: Business owners who want to hire legal workers. Americans who don't want their opportunities undermined by the off-the-books economy. Children whose dreams of education and advancement are thwarted by their parents' hopeless immigration status. And the immigrants, here and abroad, who want to find their place in a society that once welcomed their honest labor, but can't find a way to do it anymore.

From LexusNexus Academic

The GOP is Yelling FIRE!

Andres Martinez is telling us that Tancredo and Kucinich are the only ones who are sincere in the immigration debate. Everyone else is just being theatrical. Is this something new? Aren't all politicians (especially those running for President) good actors?

Martinez says the scene will get played out in a nasty way. That has already started.

So the GOP has found a new cause. Their fanaticism is surely one way to get people riled up enough so they will go to the polls and "elect someone who will send all those illegals back to where they came from." Hysteria provokes movement.

As far as Democratic sincerity, their dance is a complicated one -- how to look fair when you aren't being fair. For Hillary to say that she "only lived" at the White House during her husbands tenure is a cop out. I'm surprised that no one has called her on it. Remember, it was during Clinton's second term that one of the harshest immigration bills made it through the Congress. The kind of person that Hillary is, do you think she stood there watching? And yes, Clinton was dealing with a Republican Congress at the time, but he was able to get his way in many other areas. Maybe immigration was either not important enough to him, or he saw it as politically expedient to kneel to the GOP - at least in this matter.

It's a shame that people's lives will be seriously affected by something that could just be a political sham.


A Washington Post Blog by Alex Martinez

Is Immigration This Year's Gay Marriage?

Q. My wife and I are two of maybe 100 Democrats in a county south of Atlanta. Our question is this: Will the Republicans be successful by making illegal immigration the gay marriage issue of this election?

A. I never believed Iraq would be the dominant issue in this presidential campaign, but I never would have guessed that it would be illegal immigration. And yet you may be right: Republicans seem to have seized upon illegal immigration this year's wedge issue.

It may be more accurate, however, to call autarky the dominant issue of 2008. You read it here first: After being stumped to come up with the one word to capture what's going on out there, and after checking with Merriam-Webster to make sure that the word does indeed mean economic independence, I hereby declare 2008 as the Autarky Election. How about it, Lou? The Autarky Party just might support Dobbs for president.

And the Democratic equivalent of Republican immigrant-bashing is free-trade-bashing. Even Hillary Clinton is distancing herself from her husband's robust record of promoting trade liberalization and economic interdependence. As much as she touts her experience as First Lady, when the subject turns to the North American Free Trade Agreement, Clinton's attitude seems to be, "Hey, I just lived there. It was his presidency."

Recent polling shows the economy surging on the list of issues voters care most about. But instead of Bill Clinton's 1992 slogan -- "It's the economy, stupid" -- the appropriate bumper sticker may be, "It's our economy, stupid." There is a post-9/11, post-Iraqi-quagmire mistrust of all things foreign.

But this anti-[insert foreign nation here] backlash has less to do with economic fundamentals than it does with deeper psychological anxieties. It's about the nostalgic pull of American isolationism, the yearning for an old-fashioned manufacturing economy, a longing for the time when you didn't hear any Spanish in places like Wisconsin. Trade and immigration have enriched this country like no other. But polls show that most Americans think anything foreign -- Chinese toys, Dubai investors, Mexican workers -- has been bad for the economy. And no politician this year, with the possible exception of Michael Bloomberg if he wades into the race as a third-party candidate, is likely to tell them otherwise.

Iowa, to choose a state at random, has prospered mightily from global trade. Don't expect the Democratic candidates to acknowledge this, however. They must all speak of trade as if it were an economic tsunami. Republicans, meanwhile, all have to line up to outdo each other in denouncing the workers who keep their lawns manicured, their children cared for and their restaurants open.

Setting aside the Tancredos and Kuciniches of the race, who are at least being sincere, there is a farcical nature to the pro-autarky posturing in both parties. Leading candidates in both parties know better. Hillary Clinton opposing the Korea Free Trade Agreement? Give me a break. John Edwards was a centrist pro-trade senator before he reinvented himself as a crazed populist presidential candidate. Among Republicans, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee may all be vulnerable in primaries because of their stances on illegal immigration -- perhaps because they have all governed in the real world, where these workers are needed.

Republicans may frame the issue in terms of illegal immigration, while Democrats prefer to discuss "fair trade." But they're both talking about the same thing: autarky. On the campaign trail or in a 90-minute debate, trade and immigration can seem like separate issues. But they are part of the same theme for many voters and in the discourse of talk radio.

But back to your question: Yes, Republicans may stand to gain the most from this yearning for autarky. The theory was that the GOP would agree to change the system because big business understands the imperative of legalizing the flow of needed labor. But the GOP's more important imperative is political, and illegal immigration is a powerful anti-Democrat weapon.

It is going to get ugly, I am afraid -- and very stupid.

By Andres Martinez | November 23, 2007; 12:00 AM ET

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Americanos - Los Brutos/Americans as Brutes

The present generation that is running the country grew up watching Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Gunsmoke, and Bonanza. While many call them Baby Boomers, I would call them closeted Marlboro Men (and women).

Our current President is the quintessential Marlboro Man. If you recall that great photo-op on the naval air carrier, with President Bush dressed like he just came out of a movie set - leather jacket and all.

Now the Marlboro Man has taken over immigration policy. What a better place to show your testosterone than an ICE raid?

The raids make clear to everyone in the world that we would rather behave like brutes- (separate families, ignore due process, and incarcerate people without charges), than sit down and negotiate some reasonable legislation regarding immigration.

Raids are beside the point
November 22, 2007
Boston Globe

FEDERAL IMMIGRATION officials have crafted guidelines on how to conduct more humane workplace raids to round up undocumented workers. It sounds oxymoronic: Enforcement actions aren't supposed to be tea parties. But what the country really needs is comprehensive immigration reform that gives immigrants more ways to work here legally.

Lacking such reforms, immigration officials should not rely too heavily on dramatic "show raids," but instead beef up incentives and penalties for employers. After all, it's the ready availability of jobs in the United States that attracts undocumented workers.

Massachusetts witnessed the human toll of raids in March when immigration officials raided the Michael Bianco leather company in New Bedford. Children of detained parents faced emotional and financial hardships, according to a report from the Urban Institute, a nonprofit Washington think tank that studied the New Bedford raid and similar actions in Colorado and Nebraska.

Worried about how arrests and possible deportations affect pregnant women, nursing mothers, and single parents - not to mention their children - Senator Edward Kennedy and congressman William Delahunt helped devise the new raid guidelines, which show compassion and common sense - but also limitations.

The guidelines call on federal officials to staff raids with personnel from the Division of Immigration Health Services, a federal entity that provides healthcare for detained undocumented immigrants. These staffers would identify detainees with family, health, and humanitarian concerns. Immigration officials are also being asked to work with state social services and community groups.

Still, these are only suggestions. And even when they are followed, fear will inevitably prevent some detainees from talking to government officials, even if the officials are human service workers.

Whether raids are genteel or jarring, their effectiveness is dubious. They grab headlines and generate fear, but they fail to slow the great waves of illegal immigration.

That's why other tools should be used. Employers need a 21st-century verification system, so that they can quickly establish who can legally work. Once that system is in place, penalties should be stiffened for employers who hire and abuse undocumented workers. Add presidential candidate Bill Richardson's advice to talk to Mexico about job creation, so its citizens aren't as desperate to cross the border, and that would be a move toward comprehensive reform.

Protecting children during raids is important, especially since an estimated two-thirds of undocumented workers' children are American citizens. But the country also needs a modern immigration system that relies far less on raids and more on genuine reform.



When Being Called Crazy is a Compliment

Perhaps it is a compliment that O'Reilly called Oppenheimer a "crazy columnist." I'm not saying I agree with O'Reilly. However, if Oppenheimer's column is being noticed by the xenophobes, that means it must be pretty good and they must be concerned about it's impact.

Another thing... I think O'Reilly and Dobbs are not the most logical or reasonable people (maybe missing some nuts and bolts in their brains). Their character judgement is not very reliable. I think I'd be afraid to be called normal by these guys.

Now, as for Oppenheimer's opinion on the future of the DREAMERS. If the DREAM ACT does not pass, it's possible that these kids will become part of the underclass. I would say they probably won't, but their children will.

As in the history of Mexican Americans in the southwest, people weren't allowed to go to high school or couldn't because of the harvest schedule (la cosecha). They still worked hard and lived as good citizens. Unfortunately many of the next generations have found that being a gang member feels more inclusive than being a college student.

As I mentioned in a previous post (November 8, 2007 "Oppenheimer on the DREAM ACT") there won't be a riot. DREAMERS would become parents who would mourn their lost opportunities... with their children carrying the burden in other ways.

Who's crazy, me or O'Reilly?
Posted on Thu, Nov. 15, 2007

On Nov. 8, I had the distinction of being called ''a crazy columnist'' and a ''nut'' on prime time television by conservative Fox News anchorman Bill O'Reilly for a column I had written about the urgent need for a comprehensive solution to America's immigration crisis.

I'm not going to disqualify O'Reilly -- or the CNN anti-immigration crusader Lou Dobbs -- as a Hispanic-phobic hate monger. Rather than trying to smear him, as O'Reilly did to me, I will focus on how deceiving his arguments are. You judge.


First, the facts. In my Nov. 4 column, ''Angry migrant underclass might erupt in U.S.,'' I argued that the rapid escalation of the U.S. anti-immigration hysteria is a dangerous trend. It will create an underclass of nearly 13 million people who won't leave this country, who can't realistically be deported and who -- if deprived of a path to earned legalization -- will become increasingly frustrated and angry, I said.

I even used the word ''intifada'' -- granted, I wanted to grab your attention, to describe the worst case scenario of what could happen if undocumented immigrants are given absolutely no legal path to earned upward mobility. In that context, I cited the examples of the Palestinian youths' riots in Israel in the 1990s and the 2005 riots by Muslim youths in the suburbs of Paris.

My main point was that the estimated 1.8 million U.S.-raised undocumented youths -- who were brought to this country as toddlers, often speak no other language than English and don't even remember their countries of origin -- will soon be thrown into the U.S. labor market with zero chances of getting a legal job.

What is going to happen with these youths? Most are barred from applying for in-state college tuition and will grow up on the streets. Many of them will join the gangs that are already terrorizing many U.S. cities. Undocumented kids, especially the brightest ones, need to be given an opportunity to gain U.S. citizenship, as was contemplated in the Dream Act that was recently defeated in the U.S. Senate.

As soon as my column was published, I was flooded with e-mails from all over the country. By Wednesday, website had a whopping 93 pages of comments on the column. Many of them were openly hostile against Hispanic immigrants and claimed -- wrongly -- that my column was inciting violence.


On Nov. 8, O'Reilly said in an on-air conversation with Fox News analyst Laura Ingraham that ``there is a crazy columnist in Miami, Miami Herald, who says that the Hispanics are going to rise up.''

Ingraham said I was ''intimating something akin, Bill, to a race war . . . It's insane.'' He responded, ''He's a nut. He's a nut, this guy.'' She added that I am part of ''a crazy far-left anarchist wing'' of the immigration debate.

My opinion: For the record, I never called for violence, nor would I. Suggesting that I was endorsing violence, as was done in the O'Reilly show, is irresponsible journalism.

But even more irresponsible is what O'Reilly and other cable television anti-immigration crusaders are doing every day: inciting Americans to rebel against ''illegal immigrants'' -- most of whom are Hispanic -- without offering any realistic solutions to America's immigration problem.

As long as the income gap between the United States and Latin America continues to be as wide as it is, as long as U.S. employers keep welcoming undocumented immigrants to do low-paid work and as long as U.S. consumers continue to prefer paying less for services performed by undocumented workers, the immigration flow will continue, no matter how many stretches of fence we place along the 2,000-mile border.

If we want to reduce illegal immigration, we will have to allow greater legal immigration and at the same time increase economic ties with Latin America to help our neighbors grow and reduce their people's pressures to emigrate.

Above all, we need to give the 1.8 million U.S.-raised undocumented children an earned path to legalization. Otherwise, we will be creating an underclass of social pariahs, many of whom will end up joining street gangs.

Are these fears crazy? Am I nuts? You decide.