Immigration Makes Economy Sense, Democracy, Justice, Family Sense

Immigration is the fresh air America thrives on. You deprive America of immigration and you are depriving oxygen. Immigration is fundamental to America's identity in a way that might not be true of any other country. Immigration is what makes America America.

The debate can not be if you are for or against immigration. The debate has to be as to how best to manage immigration. The past generations have been hostile to new immigrants. That does not mean this generation has to do it all over again.

If you are against illegal immigration, instead of trying to stench the flow, expand the legality.

Match willing workers with willing employers. And tax them both. And it is no taxation without representation. Give them voting rights. Then pave way for permanent residency, and then citizenship.

As to those who get cross-cultural jitters, let them eat cake, let them learn Spanish as a second language.

These immigrants spread democracy and wealth and economic reform in their countries of origin. They in the process save the US tens of billions of dollars that might have been otherwise spent on old fashioned defense and diplomacy work. These immigrants spread optimism and vitality. They exude work ethic working for peanuts. Don't demonize them. They are more American than the Americans. They believe in America more. Look at all the hardships they put up with just to be in America.

And for the positive effect they have in their countries of origin, they are going to help change those countries such that the pressure for immigration is going to weaken over time. Those countries themselves are going to start offering opportunities that people come to America for. Immigration is not about opening up the floodgates, but rather about spreading the American ideal of democracy far and wide in the best way possible. This is not about inviting in three billion people who live on $2 a day or less. This is about inviting in a few million, the cream of the crop, who will have beneficial effects on those three billion in ways the formal US government machinery is simply incapable of. You open up the gates, they come in, they work, they pay taxes, they create wealth that did not exist before, and they spread that wealth creation back to their home countries.

To his credit, President Bush has been singing many of the right tunes on the topic. I guess he has Hispanics in his family. Jeb Bush' wife is Hispanic, I think. And there are a lot of them in Texas, his home state. And he is president because of the Hispanic vote. And he speaks broken Spanish.

And John McCain has been a hero on this issue. Kudos.

Make immigration legal, make it humane, make it well managed and productive. Get creative about it. The Global South wave of immigrants should not have to go through the rough treatment the earlier East Europeans might have gone through, the Irish might have gone through. Lessons have to be learned from history.

Immigration is an emotionally charged issue, and that is why there has to be plentiful debate. All sides have to be heard and heard well, even those who are opposed to the idea, for in expressing their unwarranted fears they will have taken one step closer to becoming more understanding. Let the healing and growth take place through a robust, wide dialogue.

The unions that are opposed to the guest worker program should instead work to get these guest workers voting rights so as to expand their ranks and in the process get greater collective national power.

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In The News

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Cornyn walks gingerly on guest-worker plans Houston Chronicle, United States
Congress mindful of failed immigration efforts San Jose Mercury News, USA the last major immigration restructuring 20 years ago, despite impassioned differences over foreign guest workers and proposed legalization for millions of illegal residents..... the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986 .. granted amnesty to 2.7 million undocumented aliens by giving them green cards ...... lawmakers in both parties and both houses of Congress appear receptive to more aggressive workplace enforcement and high-tech solutions to keep illegal immigrants out of the labor force...... document forgers, many organized into sophisticated rings.....
Senate Nears Consensus on Work Program for Immigrants (Update1) Bloomberg
New Poll: Americans Favor a Guest Worker Plan TIME
In Mexico, Bush Presses Congress on Immigration New York Times, United States
Clash of cultures is real problem Chicago Tribune, United States for many Americans, the problem is not with people coming into the country illegally, but with the effect they have on their surroundings once here..... the protesters waved Mexican flags...... This country of immigrants has never been welcoming of new immigrants, even those who came legally....... a convenient sound bite, they aren't anti-immigrant, only anti-illegal immigration....... it's not only employers that prosper thanks to illegal immigrants..... legal immigrants are one of the best things about this country, and that they bring vitality and optimism and fresh blood ........ Angela "Bay" Buchanan. She told CNN that the Frist bill was "worse than McCain-Kennedy" ..... What seems to worry Buchanan is that we'd still be bringing in all these immigrants, legal sure, but still foreigners with their different languages and their strange religions........ Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts .. early 1900s .. effect that foreigners from countries such as Ireland were having on "the quality of our citizenship" ......
Senate begins passionate immigration debate San Francisco Chronicle, USA An emotional and intensely personal debate over immigration engulfed the Senate on Thursday ...... Few could resist telling their own family histories that inevitably included an immigrant arriving on U.S. shores, from Lithuania, Italy, Ireland or Russia...... offer a path to citizenship to 12 million illegal immigrants and at least 400,000 new migrants each year......... could prove unpopular with conservative voters and meet a dead end in the House ..... Feinstein, a long-standing hawk on immigration, offered her fullest explanation yet for her reversal, citing California's $31 billion agriculture industry and the problem of what to do with 12 million people illegally in the country, many with children...... Feinstein said tougher border controls alone have not worked, calling them a litany of failure....... are America and Americans better served if people come out of furtive living and are able to act responsibly and have a consequential path to become legal? ........ more than 3,000 people who have died crossing the desert in the past decade..... the desire among many conservatives to crack down on illegal immigration.
Illegal immigrants safe for at least 3 years Chicago Sun-Times, United States
House conservatives blast Senate immigration overhaul Seattle Times, United States
Bush Hopeful on Immigration Bill, but Senate Remains Torn Los Angeles Times, CA
Frist's Senate Leadership Faulted as Self-Serving Los Angeles Times, CA
Senate OK likely with Bush behind guest-worker bill Houston Chronicle, United States
Conservatives Stand Firm on Immigration New York Times, United States "It would be like a dinner bell, 'Come one, come all.' " ....... the debate a defining moment in the nation's history....... Under Mr. McCain's proposal, illegal immigrants would be granted permanent residency and the opportunity to apply for citizenship only after foreigners who have followed the rules by applying for residency from their countries have been processed....... sharp divisions among Republicans ...... ordinary Americans are also deeply divided over how to handle the 11 million illegal immigrants ....... 65 percent said that immigrants mostly take jobs that Americans do not want ........ more than a dozen House members staged a "Say No to Amnesty" event ..... Representative Dana Rohrabacher, Republican of California .... businesses should be more creative in their efforts to find help and suggested that employers turn to the prison population to fill jobs in agriculture and elsewhere............ "Let the prisoners pick the fruits," Mr. Rohrabacher said. "We can do it without bringing in millions of foreigners." ........ "It is not amnesty because the undocumented aliens will have to pay a fine... They will have to pay back taxes. They will undergo a thorough background investigation. They will have to learn English. They will have to work for six years. And they will have to earn the status of staying in the country and the status of moving toward citizenship."
The Great Senate Immigr'A'tion Debate Washington Post, United States Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), the chamber's lone immigrant ...... One man's amnesty, of course, is another man's "earned citizenship ...... House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) is rethinking his chamber's hostility to a guest-worker plan. Opponents, therefore, need to escalate the rhetoric and invoke the A-word........ "Immigrants have to pay taxes . . . and be learning English." ....... realistic immigration laws that bring immigrants out of the shadows, paying taxes, learning English and contributing to our communities ....... Bob Beauprez (R-Colo.). "If you are here illegally and want to fly the Mexican flag, go to Mexico...... Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), adding, "I would hope that the American people are smart enough to smell the foul odor that's coming out of the United States Senate." Asked if President Bush, who supports a guest-worker plan, has a similar stench, Rohrabacher replied: "No comment." ...... King .. a "ruling class" of Americans have "made enough money by hiring cheap illegal labor that they think they also have some kind of a right to cheap servants to manicure their nails and their lawn." .......
Senators see immigration reform momentum Reuters
House Conservatives Blast Immigration Bill San Francisco Chronicle, USA
House Conservatives Blast Immigration Bill ABC News
Senate Considers Competing Approaches to Immigration New York Times, United States balance compassion with caution in its treatment of 11 million illegal immigrants in the post-9/11 era...... vision of an America that is a nation of laws as well as a nation of immigrants...... Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont .. "values work. It respects human dignity. It includes guest-worker provisions supported by business and labor," and a way to "earn citizenship." ..... deep divisions between the parties, and within the Republicans ...... McCain called for "a 21st century approach to a 21st century problem." ......
Consensus on Immigration Bill Elusive ABC News
Immigration picture shifts through different lenses Monsters and, UK
Senate Set For Immigration Battle CBS News AFL-CIO is criticizing plans to expand guest worker programs in the future. Union chief John Sweeney said Tuesday that guest worker programs "are a bad idea and harm all workers." ...... "That is a punitive bill, it is a mean-spirited bill," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. "It is a bill that is not in the spirit of America. Criminalizing 11 or 12 million people and calling them aggravated felons is no way to really embark down this road to a more united America." ...... guest worker proposal, an idea that has heavy Mexican support. ....... the agriculture industry was "almost entirely dependent on undocumented workers ....... Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., arguably labor's strongest voice in Congress ..... Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, another longtime ally of labor ..... AFL-CIO's Sweeney ... "Guest worker programs "encourage employers to turn good jobs into temporary jobs at reduced wages and diminished working conditions and contribute to the growing class of workers laboring in poverty" ...... will allow our law enforcement officials and Border Patrol agents to focus on those who are coming here for the wrong reasons, the criminals and the drug dealers and the terrorists .......
Definitions clouding immigrant bill debate San Francisco Chronicle, USA
Senators divided on illegal immigrants San Jose Mercury News, USA
Frist, do no harm Los Angeles Times, CA
The immigration mess: a guest-worker solution Seattle Times, United States
Senate Tries to Reconcile Immigration Approaches Los Angeles Times, CA
Republicans in Senate spar over immigration Houston Chronicle, United States "A nation that cannot secure its borders cannot secure its destiny," said Frist .... temporary guest worker visas — an idea opposed by GOP conservatives...... "One, we're a nation of immigrants. Two, our soul is refreshed by newcomers to society. Three, we love the idea of people starting with nothing and ending up with something in America. Four, we value family values, no matter where they may be. And five, we have to be careful about the language we use when it comes to debating this important subject," Bush said ...... Bush spoke against the border fence as "impractical"
Hastert Hints at Compromise on Immigration Bill New York Times, United States
Hastert appears willing to consider guest worker program San Jose Mercury News, USA

California students stage new immigration protests San Francisco Chronicle, USA "This law if it passes will affect pretty much everyone I know — aunts, uncles, friends," said protester Jessica Hurtado, a U.S.-born senior at La Jolla High School whose parents came from Mexico and are now legal residents...... waved Mexican flags and a poster saying "Deport Legal Racists." ....
Today's San Diego Student Walkouts Lead the State Los Angeles Times, CA
California students renew immigration protests on limited scale San Francisco Chronicle, USA
California schools ready in case of more immigration protests San Jose Mercury News, USA
LA students, teachers brace for possible new round of walkouts San Jose Mercury News, USA
Schools Curb Protests on Immigration Houston Chronicle, United States
Immigration protests become living history San Jose Mercury News, USA Teachers and students are turning the walkouts that have emptied high schools across Southern California into a real-life civics lesson about national immigration policy and even the nuances of civic duty itself...... after two days of protests that began with blocked freeways and pleas from the mayor to go back to class, and escalated Tuesday to school lock-downs and truancy citations........ On the popular Web site, where many students have said they went for protest instructions, the word was to wait until Friday for the next mass protest.......With two days of walkouts, the Los Angeles district alone could lose more than $900,000 in state funds based on student attendance........ the landmark 1968 Chicano walkouts to protest poor learning environments in East Los Angeles......
Authorities plan to rein in school protests in Los Angeles Xinhua, China
Inside LA Schools, Lessons From Walkouts Washington Post, United States Why is the government targeting immigrants? one student asked..... In the southern San Joaquin Valley, up to 1,800 students snarled traffic in Bakersfield...... In Texas, hundreds of high school students in El Paso marched toward the Mexican border, despite threats they would be suspended for leaving classes...... Similar protests also were staged in Arizona and Tennessee.
Students Continue Immigration Reform Protests Despite Crackdown Los Angeles Times, CA
Student Walkouts Continue; Officials Vow Crackdown Los Angeles Times, CA
Cardinal Mahony Urges Students Not To Walk Out NBC4.TV, CA
California protests over US immigration reform enter fifth day Political Gateway, FL
Schools fear more walkouts in protest of immigration bill KESQ, CA
Latino activist lauds student protests Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, CA
Southland School Districts May Lose State Funding Over Walkouts NBC4.TV, CA districts receive state funding of about $28 per day per student who attends school. About 8,000 LAUSD students were absent on Tuesday, amounting to about $224,000 in funding.


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Anonymous said…
The issue is quite simple for me as an American and an active voter. I will not support the re-election of my representatives if they pass legislation that rewards illegal immigrantion and costs me financially. Why is should my tax dollars be spent to educate someone who doesn't belong here?