Posts Tagged ‘Immigration’

Organizing for Action’s Values

May 15, 2017

I still get email from Organizing for Action:

Organizing for Action
Friend —

The White House is doubling down on their immigration agenda, plowing forward with their multi-billion dollar budget request for taxpayer funds to build a border wall, deportation force, and expanded detention facilities.

This agenda does not represent our values, and we have to hold every member of Congress who votes in favor of it accountable.

Add your name to join the fight against funding this harmful, discriminatory immigration agenda.

The actions the administration wants to take wouldn’t just harm the way we’re viewed around the world, or waste precious dollars that could be used to improve our schools, advance research to cure diseases, or help small businesses: They would impact millions of people who are just looking for an opportunity for a better life. It shouldn’t matter where they come from — or how they pray. They want to contribute to the success of America.

The good news is that the White House needs funding from Congress to get this done. That’s our opportunity to intervene.

We need all hands on deck to let our representatives know that we won’t stand for an immigration agenda that runs counter to the values that make us strong.

Say you’ll hold your members of Congress accountable:

Add your name

Thanks,

Saumya

Saumya Narechania
National Issues Campaign Manager
Organizing for Action

Well, as a conservative, my values include the concept of ordered liberty under the rule of law, so I prefer that laws be enforced, including immigration laws. This means that a more vigorous enforcement of our immigration laws, as opposed to the more lackadaisical previous administration, represents my values perfectly.

The problem with illegal immigration is not the immigration but the illegal. The United States of America, like every other country in the world with a functioning government, has laws regarding who can enter this country and procedures that a person who wishes to emigrate here must follow. These laws are for the benefit of the people who already live here. No one has a right to emigrate into this country, or any other, and we are not obliged to allow anyone at all into our country, if we don’t want them here. We have every right to insist that the people wishing to come here learn to speak our language and agree to uphold our values. This means that if a potential immigrant does not want to try to learn English or wants to replace the constitution with Sharia law, we can refuse to allow him entry. We also should expect that a person who comes here to obey our laws. An illegal immigrant has already broken our laws.

The people at Organizing for Action seem to believe that our immigration laws are unjust. They may even believe that our borders should be open to anyone who wants to enter. Notice, however, that they are not advocating the repeal or alteration of our current immigration laws. Instead, they seem to believe that the laws should simply be . ignored. The rule of law, then, is not among the values they believe in.

Honesty in discourse also does not seem to be one of their values. They speak of the contributions that immigrants have made to this country and urge that we allow them in as if President Trump is closing our borders to everyone. No one is presently arguing for a complete ban on immigration. There is not even a movement to reduce legal immigration. The debate is over what ought to be done about illegal immigration, whether the relevant laws should, or should not be enforced. By blurring the distinction between legal and illegal immigration and attributing motives and policies to their opponents that they do not, in fact, hold, Organizing for Action and the left generally is arguing dishonestly. Why not argue for open borders, since that is what they seem to want? Because that would be unpopular and no politician who wants to keep his office would endorse it. Instead they have to rely on changing the subject and using glib words and outright lies.

Organizing for Action’s values are not my values. I hope that they are not America’s values.

 

Up in Arms

December 1, 2014

I got this email from Organizing for Action last week, but with the Thanksgiving holiday and everything else I didn’t get the chance to write about it until now.

Friend —

There are a lot of people on the other side up in arms right now about the President’s immigration plan, and I’m having trouble understanding why.

Either they don’t think the President should be allowed to take action to help fix our broken immigration system (just like several presidents from Kennedy to Reagan have in the past)…

Or they think that 500 days isn’t long enough to wait for John Boehner to hold a vote on the bipartisan reform bill the Senate passed.

Most Americans are tired of the excuses.

Stand up to the people who just want to drag their feet and block progress at all costs — add your name:

http://my.barackobama.com/Immigration-Reform

Thanks,

Jack

Jack Shapiro
National Issues Campaign Manager
Organizing for Action

As someone on the other side, perhaps I can explain why so many of us are up in arms against President Obama’s recent actions regarding immigration.

First, it is often said that our immigration system is broken, yet somehow no one ever explains how the system got broken. The simple truth is that our immigration system is broken because there a large number of  people in Washington DC who simply do not wish for our current immigration laws to be enforced. There are a number of motives involved and this is a bi-partisan issue. Suffice it to say that many members of this country’s political elite want to have effectively open borders while most ordinary Americans of both parties do not. The system is broken because those in charge of maintaining the system want it broken.

Aside from the immigration issue, many Americans are wary of unilateral executive action by the president without regard to the wishes of their representatives in Congress. Even Americans who might agree with the provisions of Obama’s orders dislike the manner in which he has enacted them. This idea that either Congress rubber stamps what ever the President demands or he will issue rules by decree seems more suited to the days of absolute monarchy or some third world dictatorship than to a free republic under the rule of the constitution. This by now famous sketch from Saturday Night Live neatly demonstrates the misgivings many Americans have over the Obama method of getting things done.

And it’s no good claiming that previous presidents have taken similar actions with executive orders on immigration. As David Frum pointed out in his article in the Atlantic,  these previous presidential executive orders were clarifications of existing legislation that affected relatively few people. They were not attempts at passing new laws from the Oval Office.

I have a parable in mind that perhaps will help Mr. Shapiro, and others, understand our point of view. Suppose I decided that I wanted a new car, perhaps something a bit sportier than what I now own. My wife, however, explains that the family finances are such that we cannot afford a new car and that anyway my current vehicle works perfectly fine for my needs. I then drive my car into the nearest telephone pole, totalling it. I go back to my wife and explain that since now my car is broken, I really need a new one. She responds that the finances are in worse shape than before from the expenses of the towers taking the car away and my medical bills so that I will have to walk or take a cab. I decide that if she wants to block progress and not take action, I will so I take executive action and go and buy a new car for myself. For this egregious violation of the Family Constitution, I then get impeached (divorced) or censured (sleep on the living room couch for the next year).

I suppose it is a bit late to divorce President Obama, besides being politically inadvisable, but maybe we could make him sleep on the couch for the rest of his term.

President ADD

October 27, 2013
Barack Obama

Look! Squirrel!

I begin to wonder if President Obama has Attention Deficit Disorder. Not in the clinical sense, I am not competent to make such a diagnosis, but in the popular usage of the term to refer to someone who is easily distracted. Or, perhaps he believes the American people are easily distracted. In any case Organizing for Action is changing direction, presumably on Obama’s direction.

David —

When we talk about passing comprehensive immigration reform, what we’re really talking about is people.

That might be difficult to believe if you listen to some of reform’s opponents — with all the name-calling and spin, some people in Washington are clearly more interested in sabotaging progress than solving problems.

Our immigration system is broken — and fixing it is a no-brainer, for our families and for our economy. The Senate already passed a comprehensive immigration bill with overwhelming bipartisan support this summer. And members of both parties in the House have signaled they’re ready to get this done.

OFA is doubling down on immigration reform right now — say you support comprehensive immigration reform, and join this important fight.

Now that the shutdown is over, the President has called on Congress to get back to the real work Americans sent them there to do — solving problems instead of creating them.

At the top of the agenda is immigration reform.

It’s tough to see how the same members of Congress who huffed and puffed over increasing the debt ceiling can oppose a comprehensive reform package that would reduce the deficit by an estimated $800 billion and add more than three million jobs to our economy.

OFA is going to be turning up the pressure on the House. Will you join this fight today?

http://my.barackobama.com/Join-this-Important-Fight

Thanks,

Pedro

Pedro Morillas
Immigration Campaign Manager
Organizing for Action

—————-
The other side will spend millions to maintain the status quo. We’re fighting for change — chip in $5 or more to support OFA today.

If the president is really interested in solving problems, why isn’t he focusing all of his attention on trying to get his Obamacare website in working order? Why isn’t he focusing on the economy and on jobs? Why isn’t he working on damage control over revelations that the NSA has spied on the leader of our allies? It seems that he keeps wanting to change the subject away from his current policies to what he wants to do next. Either he really is hoping that Americans have short attention spans or he believes if he keeps throwing things at Congress, eventually they will pass what he wants.

As for immigration, it seems to me that the place to start would be to enforce the laws we already have and actually act to keep people from entering this country illegally. Those who are already here should be required to return to their home countries. No doubt Pedro Morillas will think my position harsh, but the United States, like every other country in the world with a functioning government has laws on  who may enter. Those laws should be enforced. If they are bad laws, they should be changed. If we need more people from Mexico, or any other part of the world to immigrate here,then change the laws. We must not, however grant amnesty to those who have broken the existing laws. That rewards the law breakers and is unfair to those immigrants which have patiently waited in line and filled out all the necessary paperwork to come here.

The irony here though, is that while the Obama administration seems to want to make it easier for people to immigrate to the US, the president seems to be trying his best to make us into the sort of country no one would want to immigrate to. If things continue on the same trajectory as they have been, in ten or twenty years the Mexicans may be trying to keep American immigrants out.

Advice from Rand Paul

April 18, 2013

Rand Paul has written a column for rare.us which I think is full of good advice for the Republicans, that is if they would like to start winning elections again.

 Many are saying that the Republican Party must change if we want to remain a viable national party. The advice from some is to become less conservative. These critics believe that the GOP will somehow do better if we become more like the Democratic Party. But why would anyone vote for a lesser version of the Democrats when you can vote for the real thing? It doesn’t make sense and defeats the entire purpose of having two parties.

It is true that Republicans will continue to lose if changes are not made. But some of those changes will require us to become more conservative, especially when it comes to economics. Other changes might not neatly fit into what we currently think of as left or right.

The Republicans will never be able to outspend or outpander the Democrats and they shouldn’t even try. One party, at least, ought to stand for fiscal sanity and keeping the country together instead of trying to divide Americans along racial and class lines.

The GOP is supposed to be the party of limited government but it has not done a very good job of proving it. If Republicans can become the party of balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility, we can appeal to millions from all walks of life who genuinely fear for the burden we’re placing on our children.

“Limited government” doesn’t mean no government. It means $2.6 trillion worth of government—the amount of revenue we currently bring in. Over the past number of years, Americans have had to learn to live within their means. Government must do the same and Republicans should be the party that shows how it can be done.

The Republicans have talked a lot about limited government and balanced budgets but have certainly not acted on these beliefs whenever they have had control of the government in recent years. I hope that with the rise of the Tea Party this will change.

We need a strong national defense, but perhaps this does not mean having an overly aggressive foreign policy that puts American troops all over the globe, all the time. After nearly a decade in Iraq and well over a decade in Afghanistan, no one wants to now see a misguided intervention in Syria or Iran, as some from both parties have suggested. A foreign policy that does not try to police the world, does not try to dole out welfare to the world through foreign aid, and that recognizes fiscal limits will be better for our military, our national security and the Republican Party.

The problem here is that somebody is going to have to act as the world’s policeman and like it or not, we are the only ones with the capacity to do so. Besides, would anyone prefer to live in a world dominated by China, or Russia, or the UN? Of course, we do not have to intervene everywhere there is a problem. We can and should pick our battles and there are some situations we should just stay out of. The civil war in Syria is a good example. We probably are going to have to intervene to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. It would have been a whole lot easier, and cheaper to take determined (not necessarily military) action against the Iranians years ago, but our leaders have just kept putting the problem off until it has grown.

We need to recognize that the rising generation does not want people put in jail for unduly long sentences for non-violent offenses. No one supports the use of drugs or encourages that kind of behavior, but too many lives have been ruined due to our unfair and unjust mandatory minimum laws. It doesn’t make sense to put someone who has made one mistake in prison with rapists and murderers—sometimes for sentences longer than rapists and murderers. Under our current laws, both George W. Bush and Barack Obama could have been served jail time due to their youthful drug use, and once released from jail, these two men wouldn’t have been employable, much less capable of winning the presidency.

Mandatory minimum sentencing also disproportionately affects those lacking the means to fight back, particularly minorities. This needs to change and Republicans should lead the way.

I am not for legalizing drugs but I think it is obvious to everyone that the War on Drugs has not been very effective. There is a real opportunity for the Republicans to develop effective and just policies here. I should add that many of the more egregious government violations of civil rights have been done in the name of the war on drugs and perhaps we need to seek a better balance between minimizing drug use and respecting civil liberties.

The GOP needs to be the party that embraces immigration while also demanding strong border security. Nobody wants a party that is perceived as wanting to round-up people. We can move the ball forward by offering an immigration policy that humanely deals with the 12 million undocumented immigrants already in the country, but puts the proper security measures in place so that we don’t have to keep revisiting this issue every few decades.

The problem I have with illegal immigrants is that they are here illegally. I do not like the idea of rewarding people who break the law with citizenship. A lot of the discussion on this issue seems to be fairly muddled on that one point. You may call these people “undocumented” but the simple fact of the matter is that they are in violation of the law. If immigration laws are too harsh or if they are unjust, than the laws should be changed, by an act of Congress. As long as the present laws are in place they should be enforced, and the Executive does not, or ought not, have the options of simply deciding not to enforce laws it finds inconvenient.

Fiscal conservatism, a more prudent foreign policy, ending mandatory minimums and immigration reform coupled with border security are but a few issues Republicans can lead on if we want to build the necessary coalitions that will allow us to remain a governing national party.

If we’re going to start winning on the West Coast and in New England, and if we’re going to attract the young, we must change. If we don’t evolve and adapt, the Republican Party will die.

The GOP of old, stale and moss-covered, is largely responsible for our party’s current quandary. Only a new breed of Republican—bold, innovative and dedicated to liberty—can get us out of it.

I hope the Republicans will listen to what Senator Paul has to say. Being the stupid party, they likely will not.

Migration from Mexico

December 10, 2012

It is tempting to assume that whatever trends are occurring at the moment will continue to occur into the future. The fact is though, that the future is likely to be nothing we expect it to be and trends and issues that seem terribly important right now, may well be trivial a century from now. To get an idea how far off any prediction of the future is likely to be, go back and read books and magazine articles from the past.Doom and gloom articles predicting future environmental catastrophes are especially off the mark, which is why I tend not to put too much credence in contemporary doom and gloom predictions. Science fiction is also an interesting example. We don’t have the easy trips to the planets or flying cars, as predicted by golden age science fiction, but none of the golden age writers seem to have predicted anything like our current computer technology or the Internet.

I was thinking of that when I read this article in Townhall.com by Michael Barone. One of the prevailing trends of the last few decades has been the growing number of immigrants from Mexico entering this country. It would seem that as this trend continues, the United States will grow increasingly “hispanized” or “Mexicanized”. But what if the trend doesn’t continue? What if the era of mass migration from Mexico is coming to an end?

Is mass migration from Mexico to the United States a thing of the past?

At least for the moment, it is. Last May, the Pew Hispanic Center, in a study based on U.S. and Mexican statistics, reported that net migration from Mexico to this country had fallen to zero from 2005 to 2010.

Pew said 20,000 more people moved to Mexico from the United States than from there to here in those years. That’s a vivid contrast with the years 1995 to 2000, when net inflow from Mexico was 2.2 million people.

Because there was net Mexican immigration until 2007, when the housing market collapsed and the Great Recession began, it seems clear that there was net outmigration from 2007 to 2010, and that likely has continued in 2011 and 2012.

There’s a widespread assumption that Mexican migration will resume when the U.S. economy starts growing robustly again. But I think there’s reason to doubt that will be the case.

Over the past few years, I have been working on a book, scheduled for publication next fall, on American migrations, internal and immigrant. What I’ve found is that over the years this country has been peopled in large part by surges of migration that have typically lasted just one or two generations.

Almost no one predicted that these surges of migration would occur, and almost no one predicted when they would end.

For example, when our immigration system was opened up in 1965, experts testified that we would not get many immigrants from Latin America or Asia. They assumed that immigrants would come mainly from Europe, as they had in the past.

Experts have also tended to assume that immigrants are motivated primarily by economic factors. And in the years starting in the 1980s, many people in Latin America and Asia, especially in Mexico, which has produced more than 60 percent of Latin American immigrants, saw opportunities to make a better living in this country.

But masses of people do not uproot themselves from familiar territory just to make marginal economic gains. They migrate to pursue dreams or escape nightmares.

Life in Mexico is not a nightmare for many these days. Beneath the headlines about killings in the drug wars, Mexico has become a predominantly middle-class country, as Jorge Castaneda notes in his recent book, “Manana Forever?” Its economy is growing faster than ours.

And the dreams that many Mexican immigrants pursued have been shattered.

You can see that if you look at the statistics on mortgage foreclosures, starting with the housing bust in 2007. More than half were in the four “sand states” — California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida — and within them, as the Pew Hispanic Center noted in a 2009 report, in areas with large numbers of Latino immigrants.

These were places where subprime mortgages were granted, with encouragement from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to many Latinos unqualified by traditional credit standards.

These new homeowners, many of them construction workers, dreamed of gaining hundreds of thousands of dollars as housing prices inevitably rose. Instead, they collapsed. My estimate is that one-third of those foreclosed on in these years were Latinos. Their dreams turned into nightmares.

We can see further evidence in last month’s Pew Research report on the recent decline in U.S. birthrates. The biggest drop was among Mexican-born women, from 455,000 births in 2007 to 346,000 in 2010.

That’s a 24 percent decline, compared with only a 6 percent decline among U.S.-born women. It’s comparable to the sharp decline in U.S. birthrates in the Depression years from 1929 to 1933.

There really is no way to know what is going to happen tomorrow. Maybe there will be another wave of immigration from Europe, especially if the EU collapses. Maybe there will be waves of immigrants from Africa, this time voluntary. Who knows?

 

Praise for Obama’s Decision

June 18, 2012
Official photographic portrait of US President...

Emperor Barack I

The Democratic fund raising emails I have been receiving lately have been full of praise for Obama’s recent decision not to enforce certain immigration laws. Here is a typical example.

Thanks to our president, this nation’s immigration policy just became more fair and more just.

Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to ensure that young, undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children by their parents, and who have followed the law since then, will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings — and will be allowed to apply for authorization to work in this country.

They’re a group that we’ve come to call the “Dreamers” — and today, the country they love is telling them they should be able to dream as big as they want.

For years, the President has called on Congress to make common-sense fixes to our broken immigration system. They haven’t. So he did.

I know that the people sending this out are just trying to get Barack Obama reelected and I wouldn’t expect any criticism of him, but I hope that someone in the Democratic party is considering carefully what is happening here and how dangerous the sentiment “Congress won’t do it so the President went ahead and did it without them” actually is.

You have to consider not just what the people you agree with will do with power, but what the people you don’t agree with will do with it. Sooner or later, and the way things are going it is likely to be sooner, a Republican will be elected President. What will these people do if President Romney announces that he will not enforce Obamacare, even if Congress declines to repeal it. We really can’t have a President who can decide which laws he wants to enforce and which he wants to ignore. If that is the way we are going to run things, than we shouldn’t bother having a Congress at all.

Zero Net Migration

April 25, 2012

Walter Russel Mead has some interesting things to say about the declining immigration rates from Mexico.

Via Meadia has long considered fears that America would be overrun by waves of immigrants from Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America to be overblown. As with previous waves, immigration from Mexico will peak and then begin to fall.

Now a new report from the Pew Hispanic Center finds that over the past five years, immigration from Mexico has fallen to a net zero—migrants are returning to Mexico at the same rate that they are arriving in the U.S. Among the report’s findings:

  • In the five-year period from 2005 to 2010, about 1.4 million Mexicans immigrated to the United States and about 1.4 million Mexican immigrants and their U.S.-born children moved from the United States to Mexico.
  • In the five-year period a decade earlier (1995 to 2000), about 3 million Mexicans had immigrated to the U.S. and fewer than 700,000 Mexicans and their U.S. born-children had moved from the U.S. to Mexico.
  • This sharp downward trend in net migration has led to the first significant decrease in at least two decades in the number of unauthorized Mexican immigrants living in the U.S.—to 6.1 million in 2011, down from a peak of nearly 7 million in 2007. Over the same period the number of authorized Mexican immigrants rose modestly, from 5.6 million in 2007 to 5.8 million in 2011.

This is an important shift, but it’s still too soon to foresee an end to mass migration from Mexico. As the US economy improves, immigration is likely to pick up again. The recession was deepest in the construction industry, which hired a lot of unskilled immigrants, legal and illegal. It’s not surprising that many of these immigrants have chosen to return home, but as that industry returns, many of these immigrants will return with it.

Nonetheless, those who think a fragile America is about to be overwhelmed by a human tsunami from Mexico need to take a deep breath and calm down. Yes, the US needs to control its borders, and yes, illegal immigration needs to be stopped. But in the medium to long term, Mexican immigration to the US is on a downward path.’

It’s hard to know what the medium to long term will bring us and we can be sure there will be surprises. I hope that Mead is right though. It is not good for either the US or Mexico to have large numbers of people crossing the border and going north. We have been having difficulties assimilating large numbers of illegal immigrants and the refusal of both parties to actually enforce immigration laws contributes to the decline of the rule of law here. Mexico has been losing a lot of the very people they need to grow their economy.

I think Mead is right though. There have been some positive developments in Mexico over the last decade or so. Despite the troubles with drug cartels, Mexico’s economy has been doing fairly well. They have had solid growth rates since 2010 and an unemployment rate lower than ours. Mexico’s GDP is actually the fourteenth highest in the world, between Australia’s and South Korea’s.  Mexico’s birth rate is dropping and there is a growing middle class, which I hope will have less tolerance for the traditional corruption in Mexico’s politics. If these trends continue, always a big if, then an increasingly prosperous Mexico will be good for both our countries.


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