Immigration Good + Bad

The good news is that Obama announced an initiative that would stop the deportation of immigrants who came here as children and have either completed high school or served in the military. The bad news is that by many measures, children in immigrant families — 9 out of 10 of whom are U.S. citizens — aren’t doing as well as children of U.S.-born parents. Children of immigrant parents are less likely to complete high school, more likely to live in poverty, less likely to have health insurance and significantly less likely to become proficient in English by the 4th grade (and if a child isn’t proficient in English by the 4th grade, it’s unlikely they’ll ever catch up).

Obama’s version of the DREAM Act might help close some of those gaps, but as Alex Pareene points out, there’s practically a formal right-wing strategy of making America terrible and making citizenship unachievable.

38 comments for “Immigration Good + Bad

  1. Wirbelwind
    June 18, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Can’t you simply switch from ius soli to ius sanguinis ?

  2. Anon21
    June 18, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Wirbelwind:

    Can’t you simply switch from ius soli to ius sanguinis ?

    Um, not without amending the Constitution. And more importantly, why would you want to? Are you one of those people who thinks that immigration is a problem for America?

  3. Wirbelwind
    June 18, 2012 at 11:28 am

    No, i simply live in a country with ius sanguinis, it’s easier to deal with illegals this way. Illegal immigration is almost always a problem, since they do not officially exist: it’s harder for them to get a decent education, better housing, good, honest, well-paid work…
    And if you simply extend an amnesty every 20 years to millions of people you may end up with ghettos.
    Also, isn’t it irritating for legal immigrants ? I mean, those people had to jump through many hoops to get into US. It cheapens their hard work.

  4. EG
    June 18, 2012 at 11:35 am

    isn’t it irritating for legal immigrants ? I mean, those people had to jump through many hoops to get into US. It cheapens their hard work.

    As opposed to the super-easy time immigrants who come here illegally have?

  5. Shelly
    June 18, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Illegals? People are not illegal. They have an inherent right to exist.

    And if we’re going to demand that all folks have to go through the same level of hardship to acquire US citizenship, onna counta NO FAIR, then everyone into the coffin ships, toute de suite.

  6. Wirbelwind
    June 18, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Of course everybody has a right to exist.
    In their own countries.
    Elsewhere.
    If you want to live in another country, you must be approved by it and submit to said country’s law.
    If you don’t do that you’re gonna get deported.

  7. DonnaL
    June 18, 2012 at 11:54 am

    ius sanguinis

    Wonderful. So the USA can be like European countries where you can be born in a country and live there your whole life and never be able to become a citizen.

  8. June 18, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    I don’t get the idea that one person, solely by benefit of being born on one side or another of an arbitrary made-up border, is either entitled or not entitled to the opportunities offered therein?

    This is why immigration laws piss me off (aside from the hypocrisy of it all – at least speaking in regards to North America).

  9. pheenobarbidoll
    June 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    So the USA can be like European countries where you can be born in a country and live there your whole life and never be able to become a citizen.

    The US was already like this. My fathers was the first American citizen with voting rights born in our family who didn’t have to give up Tribal affiliation or join the military to be granted citizenship.

  10. karak86
    June 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    isn’t it irritating for legal immigrants ? I mean, those people had to jump through many hoops to get into US. It cheapens their hard work.

    Yes–running through a desert with panty trees and dessicated corpses to live in fear in an overcrowded, underserviced ghetto doing menial labor for fractions of the actual worth of your work–that’s the easy part.

    I didn’t know we made laws and policy based on who gets butthurt. I’m sure a lot of people are furious at how easy it is to get internet nowadays, but that doesn’t mean everyone has to start using dial-up again.

    Most illegal immigrants are people who are “undesirable”, menial workers and domestic service. Our immigration system is heavily stacked towards people who are highly educated professionals. Poor Mexican farmers have little chance to legally immigrate, especially when you consider many of them don’t read and write Spanish proficiently, let alone can make their way through reams of English bureaucratic paperwork.

    The enormous risk they take to immigrate, especially with small children, shows that these are people who are desperate. Until we start exploring why someone would drag their 1-year-old child through a killer hot desert on the advice of human smugglers, and be correct that this is a good idea, immigration is going to continue to be a big fucking problem.

    Well, we know why they do it. We just need to accept responsibility for the economic issues plaguing Mexico and much of Central and South America.

  11. June 18, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Illegal immigration is almost always a problem, since they do not officially exist: it’s harder for them to get a decent education, better housing, good, honest, well-paid work…

    So you’re trying to bar immigration because immigrants have it harder? o_O

    And if we’re going to demand that all folks have to go through the same level of hardship to acquire US citizenship, onna counta NO FAIR, then everyone into the coffin ships, toute de suite.

    I know! i mean, I’ve heard that at one time, there were these famous groups of religious zealots that just got on a ship and sailed over and set up camp, yo. Cheapening legal citizens’ hard work, genocide, war, all that pesky stuff.

  12. June 18, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    actually, the whole “good of the immigrants” angle on restricting immigration pisses me off on so many levels. It’s like… “you have to be white Christian straight totally appropriate in order to qualify, or we’ll just HAVE to be assholes to you. it’s not our fault, it’s yours for being there and being inappropriate! So just don’t come over, that’s really the most appropriate thing you could do.

    ….unless you’re already here and not a citizen. Then you should just vanish poetically into the sunset like the First Nations…

    …wait, those people aren’t actually gone? Brb fixing that”

  13. Li
    June 18, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    I swear I just let out the world’s largest sigh.

  14. June 18, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    This is such a strange and poorly written policy.
    One requirement is that an individual must have been brought to the US before s/he turned 16. If you entered the country illegally, how can you ‘prove’ when that happened?
    Another requirement is that an individual must have lived here for 5 consecutive years. I’m assuming they want to use school records for younger immigrants, but if you came here in high school, how do you ‘prove’ that you’ve actually been in the country for that time?
    It will be interesting to hear about the level of documentation this process will require.

  15. miga
    June 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    I just wanna say thanks to the people willing to debate with Wirbelwind. As the grandkid of an undocumented Mexican man I’m not very good at these types of arguments. I end up going Hulk on people, and any attempts at such debate come out like “FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUU!” Maybe I’ll engage later once my scowl sinks to a negotiable degree, but for now- thanks.

  16. EG
    June 18, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    I don’t get the idea that one person, solely by benefit of being born on one side or another of an arbitrary made-up border, is either entitled or not entitled to the opportunities offered therein?

    I don’t get the idea that there’s something inherent in somebody’s DNA that entitles them to the benefits of citizenship, so there’s that also.

    As to it being “irritating” to immigrants who came here legally…sure. Because those two groups never mix. It’s not like a family or a community can consist of some immigrants who came here legally, some who came here illegally, and others of the same ethnicity who were born here. And they never, ever have the same interests.

    Give me a break.

  17. SophiaBlue
    June 18, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Wirbelwind, do you know one of the reasons why it’s harder for undocumented immigrants to get a decent education, better housing, good, honest, well-paid work, etc? It’s because if they try to get these things they risk being deported.

  18. number9
    June 18, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Also, isn’t it irritating for legal immigrants ? I mean, those people had to jump through many hoops to get into US. It cheapens their hard work.

    As a “legal” immigrant, NO. All immigrant communities and even families are made up of people with all levels of documentation, or lack thereof. What, you think all immigrants from some countries are documented, and all immigrants from other countries are not?

    Back to the policy, it’s a step in the right direction. But I don’t know how to reconcile the fact that this administration deports adults in record numbers with this new policy. So the children can stay, but not their parents? We ultimately need a permanent solution that goes beyond the DREAM Act. I hope to live to see amnesty, but I know that’s not going to happen.

  19. Wirbelwind
    June 19, 2012 at 2:05 am

    That’s why they should go through the process of becoming legal immigrants ? Law is there for a reason. If you think it’s unreasonable, then push for a change, declare your borders open and that’s it.
    Nobody will be illegal.

  20. June 19, 2012 at 2:17 am

    @Wirbelwind,

    Except that’s an unrealistic suggestion, governments won’t accept it. Your swinging from extreme to extreme is rather like saying “what, we can’t dismantle the kyriarchy tomorrow? damn it. Back to the Middle Ages we go!”

  21. Wirbelwind
    June 19, 2012 at 2:27 am

    Well, if you think you can integrate 20 million people, then why won’t you grant citizenship to everyone who manages to get to US ?
    And why are you comparing that to going back to Middle Ages ? I mean, think about all the different cultures ! The diversity ! Enriching your neighborhoods ! Surely accepting all those poor people won’t have a negative impact on your standard of living or the economy- even if there is something wrong, it must be evil white menz fault !

  22. June 19, 2012 at 2:27 am

    That’s why they should go through the process of becoming legal immigrants? Law is there for a reason. If you think it’s unreasonable, then push for a change, declare your borders open and that’s it. Nobody will be illegal.

    Sounds great to me.

  23. June 19, 2012 at 2:31 am

    even if there is something wrong, it must be evil white menz fault !

    I like how you’re trying to show that the people who disagree with you are being absurd, even though you’re only doing that by regurgitating a straw position. It’s cute.

  24. Wirbelwind
    June 19, 2012 at 3:03 am

    Strawmen are cute and a great way to stir things up.
    And they are very popular everywhere.

  25. June 19, 2012 at 3:20 am

    Strawmen are cute and a great way to stir things up.
    And they are very popular everywhere.

    I don’t think you understood whose position I was calling a straw man.

  26. matlun
    June 19, 2012 at 3:43 am

    @Mxe354: You are for totally open borders? Ie that anyone in the world should be allowed to immigrate to the US and become a citizen?

    That’s a very radical position.

  27. samanthab
    June 19, 2012 at 5:46 am

    Wirbelwind, immigration from Mexico, which is what’s clearly being talked about here, has gone flat. Largely because of our crap economy, as many Mexican immigrants are returning to Mexico as are coming in. So your numbers are absurd. As is your understanding of capitalism, which relies on an overabundance of cheap labor.

    Furthermore, white men have in fact had a disproportionate role in developing our immigration policy. If you’ve made a stab at hyperbole, it didn’t come off so well.

  28. June 19, 2012 at 6:35 am

    I mean, think about all the different cultures ! The diversity ! Enriching your neighborhoods ! Surely accepting all those poor people won’t have a negative impact on your standard of living or the economy

    Actually, parts of my neighborhood have rather cleared out since Alabama started cracking down on undocumented immigrants, and I’d say it’s worse for it. It turns out that even poor and/or undocumented families can be nice people and good neighbors. And having a bunch of houses and apartments sitting vacant doesn’t make the area feel any safer or more valuable.

    One of the funny (for all values of “funny” equal to “not funny”) side-effects of the Alabama law is that when undocumented immigrants started leaving or being removed, documented ones often went as well–either because they were living with undocumented family members and didn’t want to split up the family, or because it’s just hard and unpleasant living in a place that conflates “brown” with “lazy, poor, and breaking the law.” Or maybe that was a feature rather than a bug.

  29. matlun
    June 19, 2012 at 9:38 am

    @Wirbelwind:
    When it comes to Mexican immigrants to the US, you seem to have an oversimplified view of the situation.

    The illegal Mexican immigrants have been used as cheap labour by mainstream society for many years, and there are social justice arguments that this means that they have a moral right to be given a place within society. They have de facto been allowed to stay and work but only to live as second class citizens which is a very problematic situation.

  30. June 19, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Well, if you think you can integrate 20 million people, then why won’t you grant citizenship to everyone who manages to get to US ?

    20 million =/= 2 billion. It’s reasonable to expect countries to have open, accepting and fair immigration policies. It’s not reasonable to expect them to crowd in half the planet’s population in a day.

    And why are you comparing that to going back to Middle Ages ?

    I was comparing current immigration policies to going back to the Middle Ages, you ignorant, blithering fuckshit.

    even if there is something wrong, it must be evil white menz fault !

    Well….in 1730 fully one-third of the gold and silver in the world was contained in the Indian subcontinent. Today we’re one of the poorer regions of the world. Unless there were giant festivals where people threw gold coins at passing white beggars for every year between then and now, I’m hard-pressed to see what cause other than colonialism you’re going to come up with.

  31. EG
    June 19, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Well….in 1730 fully one-third of the gold and silver in the world was contained in the Indian subcontinent.

    Wow. Mackavitykitsune, I did not know that. Thank you; that’s something I can add into the classes I teach about children’s literature of the British Empire as an illustration of the real-life effects of understanding India as a source of quick riches.

  32. June 19, 2012 at 10:42 am

    @EG yeah, they tend to suppress information like that…easier to think we were all just moderately rich barbarians, y’know. :P

    (Also, while we’re at it, India had the highest percentage of women with a BA in 1900 in the British Empire.)

    *giggles* I did not know you taught children’s lit of the British Empire! Wait, wait, so you know that godawful “ABCs for Baby Patriots” book? I about died when one of my professors introduced me to it…

  33. June 19, 2012 at 11:13 am

    even if there is something wrong, it must be evil white menz fault !

    To clarify, when I accused you of making a straw man, I meant that, contrary to what you implied, almost no one says that white men are to be blamed for everything wrong with the world. Your black-and-white reasoning is amusing – not to mention annoying.

    @Mxe354: You are for totally open borders? Ie that anyone in the world should be allowed to immigrate to the US and become a citizen?

    That’s a very radical position.

    Well, it’s a natural position for me to take, since I’m an anti-statist.

  34. miga
    June 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    @macavitykitsune:

    This is a bit of a derail, but have you heard about Hari Kondabolu? He’s got a joke regarding that:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuCaktPdSCo

  35. June 19, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    OMG Miga I hadn’t seen that before but THANK YOU!

    *giggling helplessly*

  36. soveryunhip
    June 19, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    I didn’t know we made laws and policy based on who gets butthurt.

    Best comment ever.

  37. Didn't Mean to Intrude
    June 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Hey there! Sorry to interrupt y’all, but I sort of feel like the direction this discussion has gone in isn’t really what the original post was about.

    It’s important to note that what Obama has done is not really about immigration as a whole (at least in its immediate impact, I suppose one could argue that it could potentially serve as the foundation for some sort of long term gambit), but rather that we’re talking about a very specific subset of illegal immigrants. Namely those children who were brought into the United States illegally by their parents.

    In my opinion, the essence of this particular debate is not “how do we deal with the immigration problem,” but rather “how much responsibility do the children bear when their parents break the law.”

    What the Dream Act and its proponents argue is none.

  38. June 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    I was cheering for all my friends when Obama made his announcement. Call it an opening gambit. I do realize it is not a resolution, but it will push the Republicans to do something and perhaps Congress can finally find it’s way to a long-term solution.

    While I can appreciate the disappointment in the President, I certainly hope Latinos are not so disillusioned they trust Romney. He was the first to sign SB 1070-like legislation in 2006, when he was Governor of Massachusetts.

    http://www.thepragmaticpundit.com/2012/06/romney-was-ahead-of-jan-brewer-with.html

    History says you have a right to be here. Afterall, a border is just an invisible line.

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