January 7, 2014
"I drive an 18-wheeler and haul cars in the US and Canada. When entering Canada, I’m treated with professionalism, asked specific questions, and granted access. But when I return from Canada, I am treated as if I’m, at minimum, smuggling something illegal and asked numerous questions, sometimes the same question more than once. I can only imagine the way foreign nationals are treated if I am treated this way as an American citizen. And I’m a white guy in my 60s who doesn’t fit any kind of a profile that would warrant this level of scrutiny."

Sullivan Reader

December 20, 2013
Federal Judge: Obama administration is aiding Mexican drug cartels in smuggling illegal immigrants

poorrichardsnews:

image

The Obama administration already knowingly aided Mexican drug cartels in smuggling guns out of the US. Why should we be surprised that they’re aiding drug cartels in getting illegal immigrants into the US?

from Washington Times:

A federal judge in Texas late…

LTMC: I’m not sure we can attribute to the actions of the Border Patrol Agents involved in this case to the Obama administration.  It’s pretty well documented that the Obama Administration INS has deported more undocumented immigrants than any other President in American history, and continues to do so.  While it is true that the Obama administration made a humanitarian exception for young children in 2012, that “stopgap measure” was targeted towards children who are already living in the U.S.  As Obama said in 2012, ”it makes no sense to expel talented young people who are, for all intents and purposes, Americans.”  The child involved in Judge Hanen’s decision at the link above does not meet that description.  These Agents thus seem to be moving against the grain of White House policy, rather than with it.

But this case raises a more fundamental question.  When trained, experienced Border Patrol Agents start willingly disobeying U.S. immigration laws out of humanitarian concerns for the individuals involved, doesn’t that suggest that there’s something wrong with the law?  What life awaited this child back in El Salvador?  Was she being deported back into a dangerous situation?  More importantly, what mother would pay a drug cartel to smuggle her child across the border unless their situation was grave enough to justify the risk?  How much money did she need to save up to do it?  Money, by the way, that would have stayed in the American economy if the mother didn’t have to pay someone to smuggle her child across the border to begin with.

There is, of course, a very simple and easy way to solve all of these problems at once: end drug prohibition and open up the border.  The demand for cartel smuggling services is 100% artificially created by U.S. laws—laws that limit the number of legal migrants who can come to America.  Drug prohibition also enriches the cartels and destabilizes the Mexican economy, increasing the desirability of migrating to America to escape violence and poverty.  No one needs to pay a smuggler to accomplish what they can do for themselves legally.  Furthermore, no poor individual will risk joining a cartel when the black markets that fuel their profits collapse.  This means less migrants trying to escape violence and poverty.  It means less human trafficking across the border.  In short, it means an end to America’s immigration problem.  

Or, we can just pass yet another immigration bill granting millions of undocumented immigrants amnesty while making employers’ lives miserable, and pretend that we won’t have to do it again in 30 years.  We can even throw up a border fence while we’re at it!  Because that seems to work out well.

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Filed under: politics immigration 
December 17, 2013
A Judge'€™s Duty to Warn About Deportation

LTMC: This is a huge deal.  Often Appellate Courts make a distinction between “direct” and “collateral” consequences of conviction when determining whether a plea is knowing, intelligent, and voluntary.  In the past, immigration consequences have been considered “collateral,” because they are not part of the sentence for serious crimes—deportation is rather an administrative consequence that takes place outside the criminal proceeding.  However, under Padilla v. Kentucky, failure of a lawyer to warn their client of possibly immigration consequences of a conviction is considered a violation of the client’s 6th amendment right to counsel.  This new decision places a burden on New York judges to do the same when accepting a plea.

This may seem duplicative.  But sometimes it’s important to put redundant procedural protections in place, because it gives criminal Defendants an extra basis on which to challenge a guilty plea that results in deportation.  This may be important in cases where there’s issues with proving the attorney’s lack of communication to the Defendant, or where the attorney is, for whatever reason, unavailable.  The criminal justice system is not perfect, and where proof is necessarily based on second-hand evidence of an event, placing extra protections in place ensures that rights are more likely to be protected.

November 29, 2013
I wonder why undocumented immigrants don’t come to America “through the proper channels.”  It can’t possibly be because the application for legal entry can take up to 20 years to process!
Source
See Also: Wonk Blog: Immigration Line As Long As 24 Years

I wonder why undocumented immigrants don’t come to America “through the proper channels.”  It can’t possibly be because the application for legal entry can take up to 20 years to process!

Source

See Also: Wonk Blog: Immigration Line As Long As 24 Years

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Filed under: politics immigration 
November 27, 2013
"When presidential primary candidates compete to see who can be harsher on undocumented immigrants and the TV pundits say they’re doing so to win the “evangelical vote” in the Iowa Caucus, the undocumented within our churches notice. When the church’s parking lot is marked with bumper stickers for a candidate who proposes—to wild applause—the construction of an electrified fence that would kill those who attempt to unlawfully enter the United States, the unintentional message is: “I’d rather you’d be dead than sitting next to me at church.”"

AZspot: Crossing Borders in the Church: On Embracing Undocumented Immigrants  

October 17, 2013
How Many People Have Been Kicked Out of the Country Because the Feds Made Up An Imaginary Provision of the Mexican Constitution?

Immigration Services, ladies and gentlemen.

August 18, 2013
The Power Of Experience

Think Progress highlights the story of Clint Murphy, a former Republican staffer who left politics in 2010, and discovered how hard it is to get insured with a pre-existing condition:

Clint Murphy, now a real estate agent from Savannah, Georgia, who’s been involved with Republican campaigns since the 1990s, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2000 when he was 25 years old. Four years and four rounds of chemo treatment later — all of which was covered by insurance — Murphy was in remission. Insurance wasn’t a problem in his subsequent political jobs — he worked on John McCain’s election campaign in 2008 and Karen Handel’s Georgia gubernatorial run in 2010 — but when he quit politics in 2010 and entered real estate, he realized just how difficult obtaining insurance with a pre-existing condition could be.

In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Murphy said he thought after 10 years since his cancer diagnosis, the insurance companies might cut him some slack — instead, they found something else to charge him for.

“I have sleep apnea. They treated sleep apnea as a pre-existing condition. I’m going right now with no insurance,” he told the AJC.

Murphy now supports Obamacare:

That’s why Murphy had this to say to his Republican friends who oppose Obamacare on Facebook last week: “When you say you’re against it, you’re saying that you don’t want people like me to have health insurance.”

This might be a bridge too far.  There are many problems with the Affordable Care Act, and people are opposed to it for different reasons.  Many folks on the Right tend to oppose it because they feel it adds more costly government regulation of the private sector, raises taxes, and some of its provisions are hopelessly complex and impossible to implement.  Some folks on the Left oppose it because they feel that it’s an incomplete solution, doesn’t actually insure everyone, and constitutes a handout to private insurance companies, who are now guaranteed customers by the government.  Reasonable people can come to the conclusion that the Affordable Care Act is not the best solution to covering people with pre-existing conditions.

But what Murphy’s story really demonstrates is the power of personal experience to change a person’s mind.  Clint Murphy was convinced that the health insurance system worked.  He had faith that the insurance companies would “cut him some slack” once he had to re-enter the private sector and purchase his own health insurance.  But once he had a pre-existing condition, he learned the hard way how America’s health insurance system deals with the people who need it the most.

Personal experience is a potent source of knowledge.  It is the reason, for example, why people with gay family members and friends are more likely to support marriage equality.  It’s the reason why Black Americans are more likely to have a poor opinion of law enforcement than White Americans.  It’s the reason why Hispanic Americans overwhelmingly support a more humane immigration policy.  When you or someone you know is directly affected by a problem, that experience tends to change your worldview in ways that might differ from what you might believe in the absence of those circumstances.

But it’s important to remember that this is also a conversation about empathy.  When I was younger, I spent a large portion of my youth growing up in a mostly White suburb.  Despite this, I felt like I was racially conscious.  But as I grew older, I realized that my “racial consciousness” was basically a fraud.  A large part of this growth happened in law school, where I studied the criminal justice system, and realized that it is tainted by racial injustice at every level.  Suddenly, the anti-police narratives in hip-hop made sense.  Malcolm X seemed less like a violent rabble rouser and more like a legitimate voice for the frustration of the Black community.  The realization that my history books really had been “White washed” to some extent was frustrating, but also liberating, because it allowed me to see a deeper truth that had evaded me for so long.

This is relevant to politics, because most of us inform our political positions based on personal experience.  So when a small business owner tells me that he opposes Obamacare because he genuinely can’t afford to offer insurance to his employees, I don’t just shrug my shoulders—even though a part of me is glad that people with pre-existing conditions can get coverage under the law.  If I was a small business owner in his position, I might feel more strongly about the mandatory employer coverage provisions of the law.  In the political realm, being able to understand why others might feel differently is an important part of understanding how to change peoples’ minds.

In Clint Murphy’s case, all it took to change his mind was to be placed in a vulnerable position.  All of a sudden, the complaints of people with pre-existing conditions didn’t seem quite as trivial.  Of course, Clint spent years of his life believing the opposite.  If only there was a way that the wisdom he gained from his personal experiences could have reached him sooner.

If there was a way to achieve a critical mass of empathy in this country, one which allows us to more keenly learn from the personal experiences of others, we might see a public policy revolution.  Perhaps the Executive branch would stop dropping as many drone missiles in the Middle East, weary of the blowback caused by civilian deaths.  Prosecutors might be less anxious to rack up convictions, knowing the devastation that mass incarceration and criminal records have on poor communities.  We might actually see a humane immigration policy, knowing that 11-year old girls wouldn’t be torn from their fathers.  Drug use might be treated as a public health matter rather than a criminal one, knowing that incarceration has not only failed to prevent people from using drugs, but done immeasurable damage the lives of those affected.

Will it happen?  Who knows.  It’s probably wishful thinking.  But one can always hope for the change.  With same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization on the upswing, there’s plenty of possibilities on the horizon.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

August 17, 2013
Tennessee Republican tells girl her father has to be deported as tea party crowd cheers | The Raw Story

From the article:

During a question and answer session at the meeting, [11-year old Josie] Molina stepped up to the microphone and, with a quavering voice, asked, “Mr. DesJarlais, I have papers, but I have a dad who’s undocumented. What can I do to have him stay with me?”

Rather than make any attempt to assuage the girl’s fears, Desjarlais said, “Thank you for being here and thank you for coming forward and speaking,” but “the answer still kind of remains the same, that we have laws and we need to follow those laws and that’s where we’re at.”

It is interesting to watch the GOP continue to cater to a voting base that is quickly becoming obsolete.  Hispanic voters are the fastest growing voting bloc in America.  You cannot tell an 11-year old Hispanic girl that you intend to deport her father because “laws are laws” in 2013.  It is a losing political strategy.

The idea that Mr. DesJarlais must deport an 11-year old girl’s father because “laws are laws” is a dodge, of course.  The GOP-led House has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act 40 times.  One of the functions of a legislator is to work to change laws that their constituents (the majority of them, at least) feel are unjust.  Why this applies to healthcare legislation but not to immigration policy is apparently a mystery.

As an aside, this is reminiscent of the time a GOP audience booed a gay soldier during the GOP primary debates.  More recently, protesters at a city council meeting in San Antonio booed a highly decorated gay soldier who lost his leg in Iraq.  The power of bigotry to simultaneously trump patriotic jingoism (military pride) and human decency (humane immigration policy) is fascinating and sad.*

*(fascinating in the first instance, sad in the second).

May 28, 2013
"

In 1913, nearly 15% of the U.S. population was foreign-born. You know what that number is today? 13%. America isn’t getting more foreign; it’s getting browner. That’s most people’s big hang-up with illegal immigration. I wish we could just admit that.

There are 900,000 fewer illegal immigrants here than there were six years ago. Any discussion about the illegal immigration “problem” should start with pointing out that it’s really not that much of a problem.

The bigger problem is our overreaction to it. The Obama administration spent $18 billion on immigration enforcement last year. You know how much it spent on all other federal law enforcement? About $14.4 billion. And this is supposed to be a liberal administration. Illegal immigrants aren’t eating away at our public resources — they generally put in about what they get back. But this specter of a Third World invasion is costing us more than half of our federal law enforcement budget.

We need immigrants in this country. They do jobs other people don’t want do, they become American consumers and they’re good for our economy.

"

Bill Maher

April 30, 2013
"

Among the more serious arguments against liberalizing immigration is that it can be costly to taxpayers. Low-skilled immigrants in particular consume more government services than they pay in taxes, increasing the burden of government for native-born Americans. Organizations such as the Center for Immigration Studies, the Heritage Foundation, and the Federation for American Immigration Reform have produced reports claiming that immigration costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars a year, with the heaviest costs borne by state and local taxpayers. No less a classical liberal than Milton Freidman mused that open immigration is incompatible with a welfare state. Responding to a question at a libertarian conference in 1999, Friedman rejected the idea of opening the U.S. border to all immigrants, declaring that “You cannot simultaneously have free immigration and a welfare state” (Free Students 2008).

Contrary to those concerns, immigration to the United States does not pose a long-term burden on U.S. taxpayers. The typical immigrant and his or her descendants pay more in taxes than they consume in government services in terms of net present value. Lowskilled immigrants do impose a net cost on government, in particular on the state and local level, but those costs are often exaggerated by critics of immigration and are offset by broader benefits to the overall economy. And with all due respect to Milton Freidman, practical steps can be taken to allow nations such as the United States to reap the benefits of a more open immigration system while maintaining certain welfare programs for citizens.

"

Daniel T. Griswold, Cato Journal, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Winter 2012)

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Filed under: politics immigration 
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