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November 04, 2005

Hunter wants to seal off US with fence

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R), the Chair of the House Armed Services Committee wants to spend 8 billion dollars to build a 2000-mile fence between the United States and Mexico:

Mr Hunter's plan for the fence envisages a dual-layer construction equipped with electric sensors stretching from the Pacific Ocean across to the Gulf of Mexico. [BBC]

Hunter says that 9/11 convinced him that his plan was necessary:

He said that the lessons of 11 September 2001 taught Americans that immigration was a national issue that required national solutions. [ibid]

It's a brilliant GOP plan: We may not have healthcare, jobs, or rights, but at least we'll all be able to say we live in a gated community.


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The maddening thing about asshats like Duncan Hunter is that a King Kong fence a 200 hundred feet high, with a no-man's land of burning tar pits, landmines and wolverines -- flaming wolverines! -- and machine gun nests every 50 feet and randomly exploding rocks and cactus and robot guards with motion detectors shooting at anything that wonders into their path would not have kept out the 9/11 hijackers who all arrived in the U.S. on legal grounds.

And as someone who lives near the Mexican border with California, and spends a bit of time down there, there are a lot of us down here who don't have a cultural problem with immigration, legal or otherwise. I enjoy living in something of a polyglot of Anglo, Asian and Latino culture.

My problem is that undocumented workers tend to form the basis of a nearly slave-labor pool for employers here in So Cal. We need to be organizing these people and going after the people who abuse them...

But then again, what do I know, I'm just a slack-jawed, limp-wristed hippy liberal...

mojo sends

well ,while we are at it, why not set up SAM sites in downtown areas or better yet... begin work on a force field that keeps out all the evil??

While we're at it, why not build the security fence on a winding circuitous line deep within Mexico itself, seizing some nicer pieces of land while leaving other areas completely cut off from the rest of Mexico?

And apparently there's a movement among House Republicans to deny naturalized citizenship contrary to teh 14th Amendment too...

I would support Hunter's proposal if he could provide flaming wolverines.

"Hunter wants to seal off US with fence"

Actually, on behalf of the rest of the world, you'd probably be doing us a favour if you built that fence. With no doors.

Sigh. I live in Dunkie's district (sort of eastern San Diego County) and nothing he says or does really surprises me anymore. The guy is, as a friend once said, three klicks to the right of Attilla the Hun. I've been voting against him in every election for over 20 years and all I can do is hope he's gonna retire someday.

I read in the local rag the other day that one of the border watchdog groups (I forget which one) is planning to buy some property along the border so they can "train" here and stay here year 'round. Yippee. More heavily armed Neo-Nazi rednecks harassing anyone who looks Hispanic. Maybe I should offer our guest room to one of the monitors from Southern Poverty Law Center...

Tom Tancredo et al. want to eliminate birthright citizenship for what they're calling "anchor babies"
-- children born in the U.S. to non-citizen parents.

"There is a general agreement about the fact that citizenship in this country should not be bestowed on people who are the children of folks who come into this country illegally," said Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.

I suppose that they could just toss the anchor babies over the fence...

Many right wingers view the 14th amendment as a mistake, it seems. Newt Gingrich, in his alternative history Civil War novels, ended them with the Union and Confederacy reuniting peacefully, with Lee and Lincoln (I'm not sure what role Jefferson Davis plays in this, but Confederacy sympathizers never much like Davis, compared to the glorious generals of the Confeds) agreeing that slavery was to be abolished, but skipping over that nasty 14th amendment. (Hmm... so the south is willing to sue for peace by giving up the entire basis for its current economy, so long as it doesn't have to deal with that horrible 14th amendment and its mandates on citizenship, confed debt repudiation, etc. Somehow, I don't buy it.)

I doubt this will be popular here, but personally, I favor loosening quota restrictions on immigrants, but tilting the distribution of the benefits of immigration away from immigrants themselves, and toward Uncle Sam. For example, make immigrants (and their employers) pay FICA taxes, but don't give them social security benefits, deny them some EITC, maybe implement some upper-bracket surtaxes for high-income immigrants. This would apply to "normal" immigrants: i.e. people coming in on regular immigration visas and due to family reunifications, but perhaps not some variety of refugees. That way, rather than having, say, 10 million people want to come to the U.S., and only 1 million people allowed in annually, we'd only have, say, 3 million people who wanted to come into the country, but all of them would be allowed in, with more political support from the already-present populace, since they would know that immigrants would be contributing far more than their share to the common weal. Naturally, this policy would only apply to immigrants who arrived after the implementation of the law (i.e. no slapping heavy taxes on immigrants who arrived ten years ago under the old policies).

Re .."lessons of 11 September 2001 taught Americans that immigration was a national issue that required national solutions.."-
I suppose he's referring to the large number who died in the twin towers debacle... too darned many undocumented corpses, to be sure. It's foolish, though, to wall off California, where there's nothing, really, to protect. Where's the force field around Manhattan?.. or DC? THAT'S what's missing... and if we could just get enough of those smart young East Indian and Chinese engineers, physicists, etc I'm sure that they could come up with something beyond the "off the shelf" solutions that our docile, domestic butt-scratching lab rats are continually foisting on the Pentagon bureaucrats... ^..^

>"There is a general agreement about the fact that citizenship in this country should not be bestowed on people who are the children of folks who come into this country illegally," said Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.

Representative Tancredo, I'll thank you kindly if you speak for yourself. I don't agree with that at all. I personally am happy to extend benefits to as many people as can make it here. I think the idea of borders to keep out poor people, so that we don't have to watch them starve, is evil.

As to the "lessons of 11 September," this is often used to defend the idea of the hermetically sealed border. I suggest that, instead of this, we begin to view borders as being like sobriety checkpoints: handy focal points to arrest those who are evidently preparing to do harm, but allowing those who aren't to pass.

This will take the Dutch view of sex and soft drugs and apply it to illegal immigration (i.e., that it's happening anyway, we can't stop it, and there are far more destructive things afoot than some guy who wants a job picking fruit, so why make people swim a river or hazard a journey via a suffocation compartment in a rickety truck, with 20 other people?).


Do you really think that the big attraction is Social Security and EITC? That a person who can't feed his family in Mexico will go to Guatemala or Honduras to find work if he's not eligible for Social Security?

In any case, discouraging legal immigration would be counterproductive. More than half of the physics doctorates awarded in this country go to immigrants. We should be giving them cash bonuses if they opt to stay in this country (or maybe we could give them flaming wolverines to have as pets). Unskilled legal immigrants are protected by labor laws, and have much less impact on wages and conditions than illegals. One of the reasons wages grew during Clinton's term was his amnesty program for undocumented workers.

Illegal immigration, on the other hand, does have a negative impact on the economy. Contrary to what the editors of the New York Times think, illegal immigrants do not do the jobs that Americans don't want--there are plenty of Americans who would be happy to clean your hotel room, cook your food, build your house, and can your fish if you pay them a reasonable amount. Having illegals do these tasks brings down everyone's wages.

Hunter is one of the many in Washington who are willing to do virtually anything to solve the problem, except the one thing that would actually work. Immigration from Mexico tends to mirror the poverty rate in Mexico, which is why there are now record numbers of people crossing the border. We've tightened security at the entry points, built fences, expanded the USCIS (and changed its name), stationed marine and army units on the border, passed laws to restrict access to public services, and started vigilante patrols. But since NAFTA was signed and the poverty rate shot up in Mexico, immigrants have flooded in.

So why do people like Hunter want to spend so much on measures that will do so little? The call to repeal the 14th amendment gives us some insight. The effect would be to create a permanent underclass within this country, uneducated and unprotected by labor laws, ready to do all of the unskilled jobs that can't be outsourced to China. This underclass would play the same role in the American economy that African-Americans did in the Jim Crow era--cheap labor, union busters, and a convenient scapegoat for politicians who don't want to do anything to improve the fortunes of blue collar workers, but do want to collect their votes.

I think that immigration will soon become the most important issue on the political landscape, in terms of swinging voters from one party to the other. It's important that the Democrats get out front with proactive measures to fight Mexican poverty and compensate areas that are heavily impacted by immigration. Lapsing into immigrant-bashing or counterproductive measures (deny services, new bracero program, etc) will, in the long run, prove very costly.

We could take all of George Soros ill-gotten billions (since he had found a way to avoid paying taxes but doesn't mind putting forth all manner of social program designed to seize my money and redistribute it), give it to the poor in Mexico, and then they could all stay home. Problem solved.

The book "Do As I Say Not As I Do" by Peter Schweizer provides a long list of other hypocritical targets who could make a real impact (via the expropriation and redistribution of their wealth) in the 'let's solve the world's poverty problems.' Among them, Al Franken, the Kennedys, Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, Nancy Pelosi, the Clintons, La Streisand, and more.

Hmm, they are not Rethuglicans or average middle class Americans? Oh, well, they are excused for their hypocritical stance. Right? As long as you "talk the talk" you are not required to "walk the walk." Correct?

What ever happened to the old adage, "Charity starts at home."?

Irony. How delicious.

There are many left-leaning people (myself included) who live near the border that support getting control of the illegal immigration problem. I live 50 miles north of the border and there is a continual problem with many of these illegals. In this area of Arizona many have had houses robbed, cars stolen, property thrashed and trashed, been harassed, etc. We are tired of these open borders, and if left politicians are against getting control of the borders then they lose many votes from those of us who are directly affected by this problem. I support whatever it takes to get a better handle on the problem.

A fence of such gigantic proportions could only be constructed by ONE COMPANY!
This looks like a cost-plus, no-bid job for H-...

I hear you, neartheborder. I think we will have figure out how to deal with this problem. It's all very easy for those of us living in other parts of the U.S. far away from this problem, but not for those of our fellow citizens who are there facing the reality of the situation every day. I don't know the answer - but I'd like you all to at least recognize the problem and come up with some good ideas. I think if we had family living there under those circumstances we would be so quick to dismiss the very real problems of violence that occur there every day.

The Great Wall of America. I wonder it will be able to be seen by the space shuttle.

Whatever is being done now isn't working, so something different needs to be tried. There are border patrol vehicles everywhere and a road checkpoint 2 miles from here. One neighbor recently had 450 come through his property one evening, and they trashed his property..... This shouldn't be a partisan issue but one that all should try to solve. Those of us in the border states, I suppose, feel the effects the most.

I live in El Cajon,Ca, also near the border, and from my perspective, a border fence wouldn't work nearly as well as increasing the fines for hiring illegals - but strangely, politicians like Hunter (my representative) don't address that side of the equation. I wonder why?

>there are plenty of Americans who would be happy to clean your hotel room, cook your food, build your house, and can your fish if you pay them a reasonable amount. Having illegals do these tasks brings down everyone's wages.

Gordo, I think that on this particular point, though, it's worth pointing out that outsourcing and the use of Indonesian sweatshops has rendered illegal-labor-stopping borders completely superfluous in addressing this problem.

neartheborder, I would say that the crime problems you mention come from the criminalization of something that shouldn't be criminal: the sin of seeking work outside of your own country (which we ALL would do, in a heartbeat, rather than let our families go hungry).

I suggest that we simply provide for illegals the same way as we would if they were legal (which is pretty damn miserly and stingy in the first place). Friends of mine have said that they'd gladly take a 10% pay cut if it would mean that people would be educated and that they'd have health care. I've seen many rich lefties donate that much, and many Republicans as well, though presumably not the grasping Dick Cheney and Bush, who would cut the minimum wage for Katrina contractors, so as to make themselves a few more million. But, as Scrooge said, "if they be like to die, then they should do it, and decrease the surplus population." Right?

will trade my citizenship to any scandinavian who wants to live here i know i'll have to make it worth your while so i'll throw in my condo./ is that legal? if not it should be. all i know i got to get out of here (usa) before the bottom drops out

Immigrants Often Unpaid for Katrina Work

- - - - - - - - - - - -

By JUSTIN PRITCHARD Associated Press Writer

November 05,2005 | GULFPORT, Miss. -- A pattern is emerging as the cleanup of Mississippi's Gulf Coast morphs into its multibillion-dollar reconstruction: Come payday, untold numbers of Hispanic immigrant laborers are being stiffed. Sometimes, the boss simply vanishes. Other workers wait on promises that soon, someone in a complex hierarchy of contractors will provide the funds to pay them.

Nonpayment of wages is a violation of federal labor law, but these workers -- thousands of them, channeled into teams that corral debris, swaddle punctured roofs in blue tarps and gut rain-ravaged homes -- are especially vulnerable because many are here illegally.

After Katrina hit, Armando Ojeda paid $1,200 to be smuggled across the desert border from Mexico, a walk that took several nights. Talk of $10 an hour -- more in a day than he made each week at a computer factory back home -- led him to pay another $1,200 to be crammed in van with a dozen other immigrants and driven 1,600 miles, from a safe house in Arizona to Mississippi.

The passengers were not fed -- Ojeda recalls his mouth watering when he smelled tacos the driver ate -- and were discharged near the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, where Ojeda sleepwalked though his first day clearing hurricane-strewn junk.

The article goes on to say that this is not only a Katrina phenomenon (we're not surprised), but that illegals are constantly getting stiffed. Also, that the subcontractors themselves can't pay the illegals, because the contractors above them (ending with KBR/Halliburton) aren't getting paid. So this, I think, may explain the criminal activity, thefts and such, attending illegal immigration, that neartheborder pointed out.

Wouldn't we be better off just admitting Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize to the US? The Honduras/El Salvador boarder with Guatemala is MUCH shorter. Or maybe Mexico, but only down to Oaxaca and Veracruz, dropping Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo. The US southern border would then be only about 120 miles, easy to defend against the hordes of brown people from the south. Plus we'd have a great many more brown people of our own to do the low-pay jobs.

Hey, for $8 billion (and maybe 5% of our nuclear stockpile) we could build a MOAT 120 miles long, solving the whole Panama problem too.

I don't think that it would stop immigration from Mexico (or Ukraine, or anywhere else). I think that such measures would 1) reduce immigration somewhat, and 2) increase the level of immigration that Americans tolerate somewhat, since they'd know that immigrants are paying more than the usual share of taxes, receiving fewer than usual services, etc. Overall, I think the problem is that quotas limiting immigration mean that many people CAN'T be legal immigrants. They can go to U.S. consulates and try to do all the right paperwork, but there are only so many visas available. Thus, if they want to come to the U.S., they have no choice but to migrate illegally. I think it would be better to give anyone the oppurtunity to come in legally, but put demands on them that will simultaneously benefit native-born Americans and legal immigrants who arrived prior to the policy's implementation and make future immigration less attractive.

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