Immigrants: Help or Harm?


In net, is immigration helping or harming your country? What about emigration?

Posted by Amar C. Bakshi on March 7, 2007 1:40 PM

Readers’ Responses to Our Question (67)

sl :

I believe a certain amount of immigration is helpful to a country. However, too much illegal immigration can begin to cause harm. One way to deal with this issue is to address the reasons, such as poverty, that people are willing to risk all and head to the U.S. in the first place. The Millenium Goals were agreed to in 2000 as a plan to eliminate world hunger. Perhaps if we followed through on them, and helped those who are starving, there would be less incentive for people to risk immigrating into our country illegally.

Demi :

I think that immigrants should be allowed.
If there were no immigrants then who would be out there picking the onions that we eat or the fruit that we eat. they work really hard and get paid little money. Your not going to see an average american out there working in the fields because we say that it is to hard. If we think about it our ancestors were immigrants ans they wee able to come to america without the worrie of being thrown back out. All they want is to better thier lives. We have it good here in america and we talk that for granted and america is the home for oppertunity so why cant we give them a chance.

Demi :

I think that immigrants should be allowed.
If there were no immigrants then who would be out there picking the onions that we eat or the fruit that we eat. they work really hard and get paid little money. Your not going to see an average american out there working in the fields because we say that it is to hard. If we think about it our ancestors were immigrants ans they wee able to come to america without the worrie of being thrown back out. All they want is to better thier lives. We have it good here in america and we talk that for granted and america is the home for oppertunity so why cant we give them a chance.

Anonymous :

we should't allow illegal immigrants. We work very hard these days to earn money for our familly. we shouldn't have to pay for people who break the law.they just sit on there buts all day while the people of this country work thier buts off. If people want to come into the united states then come in the right way and work.

Rabbit :

MikeB, you should be running for office. I wonder if I could just take a plane to Norway or another high standard of living country and expect to be allowed to stay there indefinately, taking a job from a Norwegian, getting a Norwegian university degree paid for by Norwegians, using their excellent health care system etc. I doubt that any of that would be possible, but let native US citizens try to preserve some sort of middle class living standard by restricting all immigration and we are racists.

Joel E. :

Dont be too condescending.
============================

I should have been much more condescending I think.

The people who came to this country worked when they got here. The people coming now have not been invited, and frequently at this point... DO NOT work, but merely accept welfare. Further, they are also involved with illegal identifications, and actively involved in fraud. Berry posted a cute little link.. it discussed a few of the elements of the early educational processes, but not all of them by a long shot.

Extensive polls have been done on this subject: until the illegal aliens began voting on the issues, the polls asked the American Government to deport the illegal aliens, and turn the level of immigration way, way down. And with an outstanding infrastructure bill that stood at 1.6 trillion dollars for the primary repairs, adding more people to the population using those water pipes, sewer systems, and all the rest, is BONKERS. We have a few old men in the Senate desperately trying to throw the border open while he accuses us of being racists. 'Tis bull.. and those old fools are the ones that need to be gone.

berry, ecuador :

JOE E,

"It is more than just sad that folks don't understand that there is a HUGE difference between the circumstances of today, and the circumstances of the old days when the previous waves of immigration arrived."

Dont be too condescending. Of course there are differences -and similarities- between then and now:

- Back then, North America was mostly and empty land (although sparsely populated by nomad tribes), a land of oppportunity for everyone willing to take the chances. So, people came from all over the world because the U.S. was a land of opportunity. "The American Dream" already existed two centuries ago, and it still exists.

- Given that immense, almost empty land, labor was scarce. Therefore, there was a huge industry dedicated to providing labor to America, either by indenture (a contract that offered foreigners a ticket to America in exchange for a certain time of work in the new continent) or by slavery.

- Slavery was legal in a large part of the United States. Cheap labor was obtained by capturing negroes in Africa and selling them in the Union's southern states. Today, cheap labor is provided by illegal immigrants.

***

"In the old days, the folks who came were invited, and they worked hard to make a life for themselves."

Sure, most of them were invited BY THEIR FRIENDS AND RELATIVES who had arrived in the U.S. earlier. Exactly the same way today's immigrants invite their families to join them in the U.S.

For more information:
http://uncpress.unc.edu/chapters/gallman_receiving.html

Salamon :

TOM:

I was aware of the threat to Seoul, SK, ere the N-bomb of NK... Now Tokyo is online too...

However, without the N-Bomb bush and co talked AXIS OF EVIL, after N-Bomb Bush and
Co JAW JAW and reestablished the old AID [Clinton package which Bush cancellled]for closing Reactor.

One has to wonder whether the JAW JAW JAW will go on in meaningfulway, or Bush and Co is so busy with War in Iraq, subversion in Iran, worry about Pakistan, war in Afganistan, Walter Reed, Gonzales, et al that the JAW JAW JAW becomes Yap Yap Yap, without progress.

NK will not give up ion the Bomb is certain. Anything else propably can be discussed --- there is price, whether Bush and Co wants to pay or not will be the Question.

Yousuf Hashmi :

For the countries like Pakistan on short term basis immigration is helpful but on long term it will be harmful.

The regular influx of remittance brings prosperity for the individual families, and stabilizes the economy of the country. The migration however causes deep wounds in human relationships and stress related issues to the effected families. For the nation, immigration of educated and intelligent work force is a hindrance in maintaining continuous growth and maintaining the edge in quality productions

I was sailing on a ship on a voyage from Japan to Singapore. We rescued one boat from Vietnam. The boat engine was damaged and having no food or water for any passenger. The boat was drifting in choppy waters of South China Sea. The condition of the boat people is just unexplainable.

We see many news items of death and injury of many illegal immigrants trying to reach European shores. Here at my office every month some of the staff resigns because he finds a new job in some gulf country.

Why the people are leaving their home town and taking the risk of life to reach another country. Are they aware of the problems they will face in transit and in new country?

Economic hard ship and mirage of prosperous life often blamed for the mass migration. Political and religious bias also compels many people to make a difficult choice. The migration however is not limited to poor peoples. If you visit US and UK embassies from Islamabad to Panama you will find a long queue of elites who are interested to move away from the country.

The phenomenon of migration in human race is possibly in their genes. The history is full of expeditions and discovering new world. This behavior need to be researched by social scientists.

Once I have seen a show on US TV on which one person tells that the peoples come to US they work hard and save lot of money. Then other people questions why they save money. And the reply was to go back to the country from where they come. A typical laugh from the audience followed.

Yousuf Hashmi :

For the countries like Pakistan on short term basis immigration is helpful but on long term it will be harmful.

The regular influx of remittance brings prosperity for the individual families, and stabilizes the economy of the country. The migration however causes deep wounds in human relationships and stress related issues to the effected families. For the nation, immigration of educated and intelligent work force is a hindrance in maintaining continuous growth and maintaining the edge in quality productions

I was sailing on a ship on a voyage from Japan to Singapore. We rescued one boat from Vietnam. The boat engine was damaged and having no food or water for any passenger. The boat was drifting in choppy waters of South China Sea. The condition of the boat people is just unexplainable.

We see many news items of death and injury of many illegal immigrants trying to reach European shores. Here at my office every month some of the staff resigns because he finds a new job in some gulf country.

Why the people are leaving their home town and taking the risk of life to reach another country. Are they aware of the problems they will face in transit and in new country?

Economic hard ship and mirage of prosperous life often blamed for the mass migration. Political and religious bias also compels many people to make a difficult choice. The migration however is not limited to poor peoples. If you visit US and UK embassies from Islamabad to Panama you will find a long queue of elites who are interested to move away from the country.

The phenomenon of migration in human race is possibly in their genes. The history is full of expeditions and discovering new world. This behavior need to be researched by social scientists.

Once I have seen a show on US TV on which one person tells that the peoples come to US they work hard and save lot of money. Then other people questions why they save money. And the reply was to go back to the country from where they come.

Yousuf Hashmi :

For the countries like Pakistan on short term basis immigration is helpful but on long term it will be harmful.

The regular influx of remittance brings prosperity for the individual families, and stabilizes the economy of the country. The migration however causes deep wounds in human relationships and stress related issues to the effected families. For the nation, immigration of educated and intelligent work force is a hindrance in maintaining continuous growth and maintaining the edge in quality productions

I was sailing on a ship on a voyage from Japan to Singapore. We rescued one boat from Vietnam. The boat engine was damaged and having no food or water for any passenger. The boat was drifting in choppy waters of South China Sea. The condition of the boat people is just unexplainable.

We see many news items of death and injury of many illegal immigrants trying to reach European shores. Here at my office every month some of the staff resigns because he finds a new job in some gulf country.

Why the people are leaving their home town and taking the risk of life to reach another country. Are they aware of the problems they will face in transit and in new country?

Economic hard ship and mirage of prosperous life often blamed for the mass migration. Political and religious bias also compels many people to make a difficult choice. The migration however is not limited to poor peoples. If you visit US and UK embassies from Islamabad to Panama you will find a long queue of elites who are interested to move away from the country.

The phenomenon of migration in human race is possibly in their genes. The history is full of expeditions and discovering new world. This behavior need to be researched by social scientists.

Once I have seen a show on US TV on which one person tells that the peoples come to US they work hard and save lot of money. Then other people questions why they save money. And the reply was to go back to the country from where they come. A typical laugh from the audience followed.

Old Atlantic :

Some foreign workers do end up highly paid. But is this because they become needed because so many workers are culturally different? They need managers who speak their language or can motivate the workers or explain the tasks in ways they understand? Some are useful to interview H-1B's or go recruit them? They are a needed part of the system of exploitation?

In this system, American workers are not needed, so they aren't hired?

Old Atlantic :

Migration is the war on equilibrium population on the earth. Suppose sustainable pop is 5 billion and current pop is 6 billion. The gap is 1 billion. Suppose that mass extinction is a non-linear function of the gap, say a cubic. 1 billion cubed is 10 to the 27th power.

Thus mass extinction is driven by this huge number. The last time human population didn't cause extinctions was over 10,000 years ago when it was under 10 million world wide.

The more species that go extinct, the lower the sustainable population. Thus increases in human pop lower the sustainable pop. If the sustainable pop reaches zero before the actual pop falls to the sustainable level, then we go extinct.

Tom Wonacott :

PG

Immigrants continue to make a positive contribution to the US (as they always have). In return the US provides an opportunity to people who do not have the same opportunity in their country of origin, thus, its important for the US to continue to encourage immigration, but with some controls.

Most workers from Mexico and Latin America are unskilled and uneducated. Many immigrate illegally.

Although immigrants (illegal and legal) from Mexico (primarily) do many jobs that Americans will not do, they have also moved into fields, such as construction, that Americans will do. They work at a lower wage thus pushing Americans out of the market. In effect, they drive wages down.

Their biggest competitors, however, are themselves. There is an abundance of low skilled and uneducated workers in America, thus they compete for many of the same jobs as other immigrants (legal and illegal). Wages remain stagnant as a result.

In addition, uninsured workers (illegal and legal) put a financial burden on hospitals and health care. Schools also are financially burdened by uncontrolled immigration and must hire more teachers , build more classrooms, hire bilingual educators etc.

The US does not need to stop immigration, just control it. Fewer unskilled and uneducated workers means greater demand and higher wages. Additionally, the import of diseases can be better controlled, and we simply don't want their criminals. By controlling or eliminating illegal immigration, probably many of the above problems could be brought under control.


Tom Wonacott :

Salamon

"...N. Korea is the case study for DEFENCE AGAINST USA - have technology will not have war..."

It's not quite that simple , Salamon. Seoul, South Korea lies within 30 miles of North Korea. About one/half of South korea's population lives within the greater Seoul area i.e., about 23,000,000 people.

Below is an assessment from the Center for Non Proliferation Studies:

"...Even if U.S. strikes on North Korea nuclear facilities are successful, North Korea would still have the capability to inflict massive damage against South Korea and the 37,000 U.S. troops based there..."

Even before North Korea acquired nuclear weapons, that was a major reason that the US really could not attack North Korea.

Having so many civilians nearby is a dream come true for a murderous dictator like Kim Jong-il whose repressive governing style is much like Mao, or Saddam.

AMviennaVA :

Nikki B @ March 13, 2007 7:51 PM:

Take it from an immigrant to the US: For many in theUS, the issue IS IMMIGRATION, and illegal immigration is just a wedge. Fortunately the overwhelming majority of Americans do not feel that way.

As for illgal immgration to the US, it is indeed a problem that dates back to the Reagan years. We (the US) essentially abbrogated responsibility for our borders, to the extent that some now ask that Mexico prevent people from leaving there. We used to point with contempt at the Communist countries for doing that!

The result, and problem, is the sheer number of illegal immgrants now in the US. It is imprqactical to devise a civilized resolution that evicts 10-25 MILLION people. Much as it pains me, I agree with Bush's position; as long as we institute proper bordr control afterwards.

Nikki B :

The liberal media wants to make the Bush administration look bad by continually using the word "immigration". This issue has absoluetly nothing to do with people who have immigrated to the USA from most countries, because they are 100% legal. This issue is abot ILLEGAL ALIENS! People mainly from bordering countries who willfully broke the law and did everything in their power to sneek into our country, and in many cases deceive the people around them about their criminal status. This is wrong and damaging to our national security. These ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS are not above the law! If an American citizen breaks the law, he or she is usually brought to justice. Why do we not enforce the law upon people who don't belong here in the first place? Allowing ILLEGAL aliens to gain a free ride into our country is a blow to all legal immigrants who have worked so hard to proudly earn the status of US citizenship in a fair way.

Nikki B :

The liberal media wants to make the Bush administration look bad by continually using the word "immigration". This issue has absoluetly nothing to do with people who have immigrated to the USA from most countries, because they are 100% legal. This issue is abot ILLEGAL ALIENS! People mainly from bordering countries who willfully broke the law and did everything in their power to sneek into our country, and in many cases deceive the people around them about their criminal status. This is wrong and damaging to our national security. These ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS are not above the law! If an American citizen breaks the law, he or she is usually brought to justice. Why do we not enforce the law upon people who don't belong here in the first place? Allowing ILLEGAL aliens to gain a free ride into our country is a blow to all legal immigrants who have worked so hard to proudly earn the status of US citizenship in a fair way.

Salamon :

Mike B:

I am all for the foreigners stealing all secrets of attacking military hardware from the USA [excluding the A-, N, H, P bomb secrets] for with foreknowledge of USA ATTACCKING TECHNOLOGY, the other states can devise defenses, which makes it less likely that the USA will start ANOTHER WAR.

Were these secrets with the appropriate defences available to Iraq, there would have been JAW, JAW, JAW instead of WAR WAR WAR - and the USA deficit/debt would not be so large; nor would there be 2-3 million displaced persons, with another 1 000 000 + dead and injured, with a country bombed to the stone age.

N. Korea is the case study for DEFENCE AGAINST USA - have technology will not have war.

It is indeed sad that the technologically most advanced nation devotes so much energy and wealth towards military upgrades, and has no money for NEW ORLEANS, UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE, and GLOBAL WARMING.

Christa, USA :

we do not have an illegal immigration problem--we have an employer problem. americans can't let go of their slave owner mentality. i came to this country 38 years ago and before i received my green card i was told i would be deported if i so much as tried to sell avon. i always obeyed the law. as i see it, the people with the most money are always hiring illegals because for the wealthy there is no such thing as being too rich. they don't want to pay taxes, they don't want to pay prevailing wages and most of all they believe that they are entiteled to build their wealth on the backs of the less fortunate.

MikeB :

MS - Well, I was one of those American engineers that lost his job to an H1B worker.....three times! With quite a few patents, I couldn't figure out the reason. Now, I know. And I think it is flat out insane. Most, and I know you know this, H1B engeers are hired at a wage of around $10,000 less than the American worker they replace. Also, they are essentially indentured servants, working 12 hour days, six days a week. The companies hiring them check the marital status and the demographics are pretty clear - single, average age 26 vs. the American worker they replace - married with two or more children, average age 45.

Beyond this, studies demonstrate that 2/3 of the H1B visa workers eventually return home to their country of origin, taking with them that knowledge. If you couple this with the more than 5,000 cases of defense technology espionage reported last year as being committed by H1B workers, and you have a really scary situation. Remember two things (1) China is a dictorship and *every* engineer (or other person) leaving that country is vetted by Chinese Intelligence; of the H1B workers from China, it is estimated that as many as half of them work for Chinese military intelligence (2) Indian workers come from the most cutthroat business environment in the world. Indian firms sell anything to anyone...literally. Human organs sold by the poor, plans for our B2 bomber, our stealth technology (which is why Bush is loathe to invade Iran; the Indian company whose workers stole that technology *sold* it to Iran and they have developed missiles with Russia capable of shooting down those low and slow flying plans pretty much at will .... about the only thing good that can be said about this is that it really did derail a White House plan to bomb Iran's nuclear installations). Moreover, Indian technician's are working all over the world, in places like Brazil and Argentina with their nuclear weapons programs. I think, no - I'm certain - India "capitalism" is an even a greater threat to the world peace than China or Russia or Iran. THAT, "MS", is why I am so concerned about H1B workers. They and the corporations that hire them are making the world less safe and are an active threat to my country, myself and my children.

MS :

MikeB, You seem to spending way too much time with H1B workers :-)

I was hired on an H1B visa. My starting pay was 75-plus and I have had a 6 figure salary for a few years now. I don't think I am "underpaid". Most Americans would come cheap, so I would like to think that I have been hired for more than just wages. Time to get off your high horse and realise that not all American engineers are smarter than their H1B counterparts, just as there are H1B engineers who are not all that.

If demographic change is what you're concerned about, that's a legitimate concern. If immigrants refuse to assimilate into American culture or live in ghettos, it's a problem. That is worth discussing without painting anyone as a racist. But economically America has never been "hurt" by immigrants.

But yes there are more non-whites coming into this country who don't speak the language sometimes and do not assimilate easily. So if that's your problem then you guys should lobby congress to stop immigration completely and also make sure that your multinationals only sell their goods in the US.

Salamon :

MikeB:

With respect, I point out that the "illegal" immigrant is not one of HB1 nor L1 guest worker.

With respect to the DOW and mortgage defaults, I believe that these were foreseen ere the new Federal Reserve Chairman was appointed.

When the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates to 1% in a bid to save the GAMBLING MONEYED CLASS/Lenders to those [dot.com bubble, hedge fund collapse] the fed/USA government/SEC sowed the seeds of housing bubble by permitting the nonsense of "sub-prime mortgages" and other "innovative marketing ploys" - e.g the seculazation of mortgage funds, etc. All these steps made oodles of money for the agents/banks/major construction firms/suppliers/etc, but were based on self-deceit:
we gave you mortgage, collected the fees, but we are certain that you can not repay the mortgage... We will try to make money on the default issues, shortselling mortgage funds, future tax-writeoffs, etc.

With respect to HB1 and other "GUEST WORKERS" neo-liberalism [aka money only to the elites, to h*ll with the working stiff] is the culprit, not the "illigal immigrant".

For years the graduaste schools in Science, math, computer science were filled majority of foreign students. I think, Mike, you should look into the reasons for this finding. Without doubt you will find some USA cultural and neo-liberal effects therein:

1., The USA values law practice, salesmanship above Ph.D. in Science/engeneering/etc. [culture look at the income levels] so many very bright students elect not to go into sciences

2., The USA education system in k-12 neglects science/math education for various cultural and racial reasons. thus fewer elect to go to sciences/math at universities. It is a long time since the USA universities had sufficient graduates in engineering. compare data from Germany, Finland, S. Korea etc with USA [per capita] [cultural]

3., Cost of University, especially those who also have to live away from home is far too high for many to take the route to employment qualifications with low rate of return [math, science, etc] neo-liberal issue - pay your own way, or you do not count.

All the above point out to the overwhelming philosophy of the USA's elite: Make Money, do not worry about social consequences. This is connected to the idea to spend spend spend, and borrow borrow, etc. No Saving, no safety either for most citizens or the USA Government.

MikeB :

Salamon, It looks like the immigration bird has come home to roost. The DOW is falling, mortgage defaults are at an all time high, and real unemployment and under-employment stats are way up. We have either outsourced most of our living wage jobs or we have replaced American workers with foreign immigrants. In the U.S. NINE OUT OF TEN (!!!) new engineering hires are H1B "guest workers". The employment and replacement rate has been geometric in scale and it is estimated at four million American engineers and software workers have lost their jobs directly due to H1B and L1 visa's. It doesn't take a genius to look at the mortgage and credit card and other loan defaults, where they are occurring right now, and realize that corporations and globalization has dug us a very deep hole and dumped this country in it.

Salamon :

While the "taxpayer" cost is often overstated regarding "illegal" immigrants, no one has had any input regarding all the goods required by the immigrants. Taking at a average of 11 "illegal" million immigrants, with say 5.5 persons per household, it appears that these imigrants have purchased or rented [in other words put demand on the housing infrastructure]at a minimum of 200 000 housing units. Most likely the immigrants have also used most likely 2-500 000 used cars [or more] with attendant insuraqnce, repairs, tires, etc., truckloads of food a week, and probably truckloads of clothing and other necessities. Possibly that many of these goods which they use are "pre-owned" thereby putting value on goods which otherwise would not be used by the Americans citizens. Now someone is benefiting from the sale of all these goods, someone is making money from the service industry serving these immigrants, etc.

Now it is possible that many employers of "illigals" do not pay wages according to law [a.k.a. under the table], so there is no tax-revenue from these wages [Workers' compensation, income tax, employment insurance, etc]. but this is a reflection on the unlawful acts of the employer [mostly CITIZENS] and the haphazard manner of tax-collection by the taxing authorities. One should recall, however, that the most regressive taxes are collected from the "illigals" they consist of real-estate and utility taxes pertaining to the residence, fuel taxes and sales taxes pertaining to goods the illegals use.

The solution to all these tax-evasions by employers [and others from causes unrelated to immigrants] is to cancell ALL INCOME TAXES and replace same with SALESTAXES. While income can be very easily hidden [cash tranactions/barter] it is far harder to hide salestax abuse, for that demands wholesale corruption of sales records.

NOW I KNOW that the ACCOUNTING AND LAWYER LOBBY would oppose so drastic simplification of the USA TAX SYSTEM, but such would benefit the nation, as the immigrtants do benefit the economy of the USA.

Joel E. :

berry, ecuador :

Opposition to immigration in not new in the U.S. Back in the mid 18th century, racism and bigotry found a political expression in the powerful "know-nothings" movement, who violently opposed european immigrants.
==============================

It is more than just sad that folks don't understand that there is a HUGE difference between the circumstances of today, and the circumstances of the old days when the previous waves of immigration arrived.

One very conspicuous difference is that the illegal aliens of today were not invited, and with their level of education, they wind up on welfare in massive numbers.

In the old days, the folks who came were invited, and they worked hard to make a life for themselves.

A good study are the previous amnesties. Go to http://www.google.com and ask for illegal aliens amnesty. You WILL get an earful. Add the forged documents now in place in this country, and the massiveness of the criminal activities of the illegal aliens is overwhelming.

MikeB :

Shiloh, Otter Creek, USA - The problem with citing the Center For Immigrant Studies as a source is that they are a pro-illegal immigrant organization that regularly cooks the books. It was they who did all of those press releases that claimed illegals were only taking jobs that no American wanted. And we had the usualy PC "groupies" like that hack writer for the Post parroting that. That this was blatantly an proably false hasn't appeared to bother them in the least....I'm still waiting for the Post to write a correction. The fact is, and this is the IRS study, AT LEAST 40% of illegals pay no federal, state or local income taxes whatsoever - they work for cash payments, paid under the table. And, I would remind you, that is an extremely conservative estimate. Beyond this, at least half of all illegal immigrants work under false and multiple identities and claim deductions so as to underpay taxes to the maimum limit (GAO study). This, I remind you, creates a nightmare for the U.S. citizens whose identity was stolen. We both know that these people do this because actually paying taxes would entail leaving a trail that would result in easily finding them and deporting them. But, the answer to that, in any cas, is that we simply cannot afford them. We literally have no choice, we either deport all, or virtually all, of the illegal immigrants here or we face personal and national bankruptcy.

Beyond this, we have good reason to limit LEGAL immigration, also. The H1B, L1, and similar visa's are a form of corporate welfare that is devastating to the future security of this country and the world. The FBI, European Union, and other organizations are reporting the wholesale export of the Wests most dangerous weapons technologies. A gang of Indian H1B workers stole the plans for the B2 bomber and our stealth technology and sold it! They have done likewise with missile and biological weapons kowledge. Some of this has ended up in the hands of the Iranian's and North Korean's and other countries. Moreover, you have Indian engineers working with countries like Brazil and Argentina, developing nuclear weapons. Just imagine the Falkland's war being refought with atomic bombs. The world is a dangerous place. We have no business allowing corporations and our government making it even more dangerous.

Patty Harris :

There is no free lunch in America. The illegals expects everything free while the tax payers foots the bill. They send their money home to Mexico & sponge off of us.
I voted for Bush but my political views have changed because our President & the current elected officals which does their own thing & never listen to the people that pays their salary.
Please spare the American citizens from handing over another free pass to illegals (not immgrants)that breaks our laws.

Shiloh, Otter Creek, USA :

MIKEB: The attempt by Rational Man to demonize illegal households annoyed me. The facts are bad enough without cooking the books. For example, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) reported that "The average illegal household pays more than $4,200 a year in federal taxes..." and "Illegal alien households are estimated to use $2700 a year more in services than they pay in (federal) taxes. Putting that in perspective however, illegal household account for less than 2% (1.4% according to CIS) of federal government spending for health, eduction, welfare, prison and other service programs. Interestingly, legal households with a high school or less educational level are estimated to use $4,300 more a year in services than they pay in taxes. A naturalization program for illegals at the equivalent educational level would therefore actually increase government costs.

None of the studies i've found look at the indirect or "hidden" tax payments made by illegal households. I earlier mentioned property taxes paid as part of rent, sales taxes, etc., but there is another indirect source of tax payments:

Employers who hire illegals and pay them under the table avoid paying the employer's share of social security and medicare, avoid unemployment taxes, worker's compensation, employee benefits, overtime, and usually pay a lower wage. All of that adds to the employer's bottom line and when the employer takes his or her profit - they pay taxes on the higher profit they made at the expense of illegals - and they probably pay taxes at a higher tax bracket than the 55% of illegals who CIS estimates pay federal taxes.

As a third generation American -all of my grandparents became naturalized citizens - I think legal immigration has been good for the USA.
And I think that concern about the 1.4% cost of services for illegal immigant households has been blown way out of proportion and needs to be viewed with perspective.

BobL-VA :

Sorry to jump off the subject, but I just read Novak's opinion piece in the WP today and I can honestly say there is only one thing I like about Novak: nothing.

MikeB :

Shiloh, Otter Creek, USA - Rational man's statistical methodology was wrong, but the figure he comes up with actually closely tracks what the various government agencies report as the annual cost of illegal immigrants. The Justice Department reported that, in 2005, 270,000 illegal immigrants were incarcerated for crimes other than their being here illegally. The same report estimates *conservatively* that 128,000 of those were in for violent crimes. Nationally, 37% of our prison population, in federal, state, and county jails, are illegal immigrants. The cost of this for federal prisons alone amounted to 15.1 billion dollars. The cost for state and local prisons and jails amounted to some 115 billion dollars (GAO statistics). Beyond this, it is estimated that there are 8 million children of illegal in our public schools at a flat rate, not considering ESL and other special programs for them, that cost at least 76.4 billion dollars. Social Service agencies for the federal and state governments estimate direct social services costs of between 150 and 220 billion dollars. Un-reimbursable medical costs run to well over 200 billion dollars annually (another GAO statistic). When you start adding up the actually annual costs of illegal immigrants in this country, it runs into some serious money and most experts think that the 1.4 billion dollar figure being used is way too low.

And, think about this, for less than half of that, we could provide universal medical, dental and prescription drug coverage for every American; not cut rate medical coverage, but coverage and benefits in line with what members of Congress receive. For half of that 1.4 trillion dollars we could rebuild our interstate highway system, fund alternative energy programs that would allow us to achieve complete and total energy independence within our lifetime, we could balance the federal budget, we could do away with Social Security and fund a genuine national retirement program in line with that provided to the citizens of Scandinavian countries, we could do a lot of things. As thing stand right now, however, all of that money is simply going to provide benefits to millions of people that are taking jobs away from American citizens. I found that not only astonishing, I find it flat out obscene.

berry, ecuador :

Opposition to immigration in not new in the U.S. Back in the mid 18th century, racism and bigotry found a political expression in the powerful "know-nothings" movement, who violently opposed european immigrants.

Just take a look at:

http://artruch.wordpress.com/2007/02/27/i-know-nothing/
http://dig.lib.niu.edu/message/ps-nativism.html

If you prefer, get Martin Scorcese's "Gangs of New York" movie; or get any book about the "know-nothings"; or just google "lincoln and new nothings". You will find a lot to read about.

Back then, the know-nothings loudly warned that immigrants would destroy America.

Modern know-nothings are as loud today, and keep warning that immigration will inevitably cause the collapse not only of the U.S.A. but the entire western civilization. They have learned nothing from history... and even resort to distorted facts in order to justify their ideology.

The essence of know-nothing thought is not patriotist, not even a selfish defense of MY JOB AND MY FAMILY, but a deep disregard for the cornerstone of American Democracy: "all men are created equal".

As Lincoln once wrote:

"I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor or degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy".

Old Atlantic :

Fallacy: low fertility countries need immigration.

Low fertility means that the population is above the sustainable level given the conditions the country is in. This includes immigration as an
external shock. Immigration can only make the population bigger.

If the population is already above the sustainable level without immigration, immigration makes that worse. That will then lower fertility.

If the population is above the sustainable level given the conditions because of immigration as one of those stresses on the people inside the country, then stopping immigration is the way to
relieve that stress.

Whatever the reason, if fertility is below replacement, immigration substitutes immigrants for birth. That is ethnic cleansing. Low fertility is not helped by immigration. The economy is not a direct measure of the well being of the people, fertility is.

Shiloh, Otter Creek, USA :

Rational Man used irrational math to compute the cost of providing services to low wage families by suggesting that 10 years of services are paid each year by you and I. Using his figures, the actual annual cost per recipient is $39,500 - not $395,000 - or about $512 per year per citizen. Raising the minimum wage to $7.50 and deducting FICA and income tax from Pedro's wages would then arguably make him self-supporting under the same scenario because he would be paying about $2000 a year in payroll taxes, instead of costing $512. Rational Man also irrationally fails to consider how much of Pedro's $1000 monthly rent is indirectly paid in property taxes by the property owner - and how much Pedro pays in sales, use, utility and other taxes.

MikeB :

Zoltan, My eviction notice was satire, but meant o stick a pin in the debate about immmigration. As for the Native American idea of our being merely stewards of the land and not it's owners, that really is something I was taught. That is a core part of both Blackfoot and Shoshone philosophy. That said, however, we are all human beings, and greed and short sighedness is something that is all too common a human characteristic. Now, I was pretty digusted with the Nooksak's and what they did to the salmon runs on thir river, but what you had with the Bolt decision was a judgement withou any boundaries and individuals moved in and took while the takin was good, with no thought for tomorow. Th result was an entire run of salmon completely wiped out. Now, white men have done exactly the same thing over and over. I read where some Canadian mining company has filed claims for mining rights in Alaska, smack dab in the middle of the headwaters for their main fishery. They are proposing open pit mines to extract metals with high sulpher content that will predictably wipe out the trophy trout fishery and virtually all of the salmon runs in Alaska. It's just so awful you want to cry, but that is what you get when companies and individuals can own land and do with it whatever they want, even if their devopment leads to damaging public lands and resources surrounding their land. It's just stupid. Global warming, our invasion of Iraq, Wold War 1 and 2, the mess in Burma, all of this can be laid at the doorstep of short sighted human greed, hope for omorrow, and stupidity.

This is why I am so troubled by the immigration debate. Only a racist monster could look at the desparate Mexican and other people who come here just to feed their families. At the same time, those who would somehow legitimize it aren't considering the cost to our own people. We can't afford these immigrants. We can't afford even 10% of them! We lack the jobs, the financial rsources for medical care, the police, fire, prisons and social institutions, all of the things necessary for the upkeep of these people. Neither can we or anyone else in the West afford the milions of cheap Indian and Chinese engineers and scientists we are hiring instead of our own citizens. We are committing a form of cultural and social suicide that is going to result in the demise of the West and in genuine honest-to-god Western ciizens dying when we are bankrupt, have lost or technology, cannot afford to feed or house or provide medical care for millions of our own people. The future, I fear, is very bleak. And I honestly think we have passed the point of no return already. The only thing we can do is save Western civilization. We cannot avoid the coming economic collapse, the starvation, disease, wars, and horrors that our own greed and stupidity have place in our path. We can, bu only if we act right now, salvage something upon which to rebuild. I think we and our idiot leaders and our captains of industry will keep on living just as they have, however, and the end result will be our extinction.

rational man :

If Mexicans are great workers and great people, thenm why is their country so terrible despite being rich in natural resources. The more mexicans in the United States, the more the US will be like Mexico.

Here is an example: Pedro works hard for a home builder 10 hrs a day, for 6 dollars an hour, and of course no healthcare provided by the employer. He ends up with $300 a week, 1200 a month cash. He pays no income taxes. Pedros wife and 4 kids also have immigrated with him, his kids are ages 1, 3,4, and 6. His wife stays at home with the youngest and has no job. His other 3 kids go to public taxpayer funded school. It costs $7000 per child per year to attend public school. Pedros wife had 2 of her kids in US hospitals, at a cost of $15,000 each which taxpayers paid. Pedro pays $1000 a month for his 3 bedroom rental house, and $200 a month in utility bill costs. Pedro has no money left for food, medical, or entertainment. His family gets 500 a month in food stamps, and on average goes to the health clinic 2 times a month, at a cost of $500 each time. Lets see what benefit Pedros family provides to the United States, and we can see why we shoudl welcome them.

-30,000 for two births
-280,000 for4 kids at 7000 per year for 10 yrs of public school
-25,000 for 10 years of visiting the helth clinic for his family
-60,000 for food stamps for 10 years

Total average cost of a mexican immigrant family = $395,000

3.5 million immigrant families in the USA = 1,481,250,000,000

divide this by 270 million legal US residents like you and I, and we pay $5,486 dollars a year each to support them

Pedro pays no taxes because eh doesnt make enough money and his full pay is in cash

Pedros family has no extra money for entertainment, so his kids are tempted to steal and sell drugs

I will do the same work pedro does, but i will need $18 dollars an hour so i will not need to mooch as pedro does

do we need pedros family?

Michael, Seattle :

to MikeB,
If the measure of our government is the adequacy of our representation, if the measure of our economy is the nature of their hiring choices, if the nature of our insurance industry's choices of coverage are based as you say - then I would say that we, in point of fact, do not exist.

Joel E. :

It is almost silly to suggest the circumstances of migration are the same today, as was the case a mere 100 years ago. It is not the same, and the circumstances of the world are very different, and very dangerous. Migration can be called anything you wish in the past.. good to bad.. but in this time, migration to a country that is over populated is a catastrophe. Is the United States over populated? I think so, and so do others. Lets get that looked at and decide, and then do the migration if there is room.

But in the case of the United States we have an excellent chance to look at the effect of immigration.. both legal and illegal since 1990. And while we hear the Feds telling us there are a paltry 11 million illegal aliens we are coping with, such as Bear Sterns suggest,and I suggest, there are significantly more.

And so.. with perhaps 25 million immigrants.. legal and illegal, the effects of significant immigration in the ..modern.. day of this country was to diminish the middle class of the United States. We are told with a gleeful look in the eyes of Washington that we will be growing the economy with the new comers. All that apparently means is that someone other than the middle class is going to get rich and our country winds up with a lot more people, and a very, very few more wealthy.

Hey... no thanks to the current methodology of growing the economy. And I insist.

Joel E. :

In fact, far, far to many confuse immigrants with illegal aliens. The newspapers of the United States did the politically correct thing and called them... immigrants.

Immigrants help.
Illegal aliens are a catastrophy, and providing them amnesty creates an excellent change they will create a huge problem.

A serious problem with almost all the countries beyond the highly developed industrialized countries is that there is a sophistication in education that cannot be matched, and certainly is not matched by the poorer countries south of our border. Those illegal aliens arrive without English, and perhaps without the talent to learn English. Suddenly we have a serious deficit in education exacerbated by a lack of English. Illegal aliens create a serious problem for themselves when they come.

But provide them amnesty. At that point those folks triple the amount of welfare they are elgiable for. We have manipulators in Washington D.C. who suggest the illegal aliens don't get aid from the Government, and from the Federal Government that is partially correct. But they do from the State Governments, and a good deal of it if they use a forged I.D.

Kennedy is about to post an immigration bill that would cost in the high hundreds of billions if it is accepted. Kennedy is about to cause more trouble than any other single man since George Bush began to refuse to deal with the illegal aliens and their employers.

This country badly, badly needs a National Ballot Initiative that we may control a Congress that views us with distain. We need, as a nation, to decide what we will do about the illegal aliens at this point.

Zoltan :

MikeB: "Everything West of the Mississippi and the MidWest will do for now. White, black, Asian and Hispanic squatters, consider this your eviction notice."

We - you and me - have disagreed on some topics on this list. Please accept my apologies if I have misspoken.

I have a real question: I watch a lot some of naturalist documentaries about African reserves - Serengetti for example - and wonder if a similar model would be possible in Northern America.

Do you think that there would be people to live like the Indians did, and like the Massaï do today in the Serengetti, if given the chance to do so ? Like if given the whole and undisputed surface of 4 states of the USA ? Without interference from capitalist and industrialized society ? Without any concrete roads, electric network (solar cells allowed), ...

I do hope that the answer is "yes", but one of your previous posts about fishing Indians make me doubt.

And a second question: there is a legend about an Indian chief saying to a white chief : "We, Indians, do not understand you white men: we consider that the land we live on belongs to our children and we are merely the administrators of it, whereas you seem to consider it as your belonging exploiting it if there was no tomorrow."

Has this legend some historical founding ?
If yes, who were the persons involved ?

z.


Salamon :

Tom W:

I do not know if Canada made any decision on nuclear waste disposal. As far as I know the Candu reactors in Ontario and New Brunswick are still operating, though there were some major "repairs" in Ontario. A few years ago they talked of different burial measures. I bhelieve Sweden is experimenting with some ceramic encasing and burial measures.

My reply to the skeptics of waste disposal: it has to be done, done better than at Hartford, WA.

I do not think the problems of global warming will wait for the courts regarding disposal [Uk/USA]

Moreover, the lawyers /courts /consultants have to realize that there is no certainity in life [aside from death], the globe survived the natural U-fission in Africa, so no doubt the world will survive deeply buried disposed waste. After all, there are naurally occuring mines producing fissionable material. Radon Gas [natural radioactive byproduct of natural fission] is around many basement in the world. We deal with this problem . we will deal with the dangfer of disposal.

The greatest problem of Nuclear power is the scientific/statistical ignorance of the people, where some money grabbing lawyers try to make great case for opposing such. Without doubt the total lawyer fees in the USA would allow one to join the billionairs club.

The total radiation caused deaths [excluding the bombs in Japan] is miniscule when compared to deaths in coal mining, hydrological accidents of dams.


AN ADDED BONUS if USA goes nuclear, they will devote their scientific/engineering energies to the safety of the world, as opposed to creating newer and "better" bombs - a fetish of The President and the military industrial complex.

Tom Wonacott :

Salamon

The US needs to diversify its energy production by adding nuclear power plants, but there are none (that's zero) in construction at this point in time. Why is there not a greater push for nuclear power? The main reason is that the waste disposal problem really has never been solved. No one, including the people in Nevada want nuclear waste in their backyard.

In all fairness, the French have had a tremendously successful nuclear program, but even they have had trouble selling underground storage to the French people (although selling the idea of energy independence from the Middle East made the selling of nuclear energy easy).

The Chinese have many nuclear plants planned for the near future. Canada uses a significant amount of nuclear power, but generates most of her electricity from hydropower. Where does Canada store nuclear waste?

Environmental organizations in the US want to shut down (tear down, actually) hydroelectric generating plants along the Columbia river to preserve Salmon runs. While that is a noble cause, it makes little sense in terms of global warming and energy independence.

Ben B :

Right now, it's hurting our nation. Leave aside the cultural arguments of Balkanization. Our absolute refusal to get tough with the governments of Mexico & other Central American nations is doing untold damage to the entire continent, let alone America. There is no reason so many people so many people should be so desperate to come here for our worst jobs to begin with. The powerful corrupt of these countries rape their nations leaving them poor and broken. The victims of this corruption, the poor of these nations struggle to come here, and slave to send money back to the country that drove them out. This just insures the same situation will continue. The Wall Street Republicans are all too happy to bring these desperate people in for exploitation. It improves their bottom line and keeps that pesky middle class fighting with the immigrants over jobs while they loot our pensions and run to the bank. The American left does its part by demanding that immigrants get all kinds of free stuff via the American taxpayer. This increases the immigrants ability to send back money to their home country and prop up the whole corrupt house. This not only keeps the immigrant poor but keeps the American middle class in financial decline. We must not only endure it, but as taxpayers we are forced to fund it! Sprinkle on a little NAFTA & CAFTA to further impoverish and you've got a recipie for a third world western hemisphere. Major reform is needed not only in immigration but how we deal with other nations.

Salamon :

Tom W:

I read about the issue in Canadian paper, looked at the map also. The USA has a valid point.

I did propose to the Alta and Can. Govt. that they should expediate a rapid installation of Nuclear power for the oil sands area, where tremendous amounts of Natural gas are burned to get to the bitumen production. In fact there is a consoterium which plans to do the building, however, the governments will have endless hearings ere anything is done.

No doubt you are familiar with the endless hearings regarding nuclear power or the Yucca Mtn waste depository.

Unfortunately politicians [and especially useless lawyers] do not give a hoot about science, or global warming as they are interested only in short termism - just like the USA stock market.

Similarly there are plans for more coal power plans, just as in the USA or China, without any discussion of other issues. Coal burnig is very damaging to the environment, CO2, various Sulfur compounds, and heavy metal particles, aside from Arsenic, Cadmium and other cancer causing chemicals. The politician living in the cloister of Washington or Ottawa, does not care about rural areas - if he can get away with it. So most coal generation is far from cities. So is the mining with its arrendant pollution.

It is not only the USA which needs political renewal -- for it seems democracy [in the ancient/Swiss sense] is as dead in Canada as in the USA, and numerous other places.

venkata vemuri :

On the one hand we talk of globalisation undermining all national barriers. On the other, we call for tougher immigration laws and look down on emigration. I look at it from an Indian point of view.
Indians, like Mexicans of central and east Europeans and Italians, are among the top immigrants and emigrants. Indians follow a particular pattern: their colonial past limits their migration primarily to the commonwealth countries. the US is an exception, of course, being the so-called dream land. The other exception is the Middle-East, Mecca to Indian workers from primarily Kerala.
Two centuries ago Indians, as indentured labourers, went to Indonesia, Fiji, Thailand and Yangon in the east, southern and central Africa, and the West Indies. Their descendants are now mainly found in Canada, Australia and the UK.
Within India, people from the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh from the south, and Gujarat from the west are the most adventurous when it comes to immigration or migration. Add Punjab to the list and what you have is a formidable section of the Indian cultural disapora being transplanted all across the commonwealth world.
Indians are hard-working when they are not in their own country. They are enterprising, adjust themselves to all situations alien, and their only purpose of existence abroad is saving money to secure themselves in their new homelands. Their remittances back to India are sizeable.
In all commonwealth countries, the Indians, together with other Asians, form a powerful political lobby; they are a deciding factor in many parliamentary seats during elections. The economicaly dominant among these Indians are also the financial benefactors to political parties and many of them are even involved in the political arena, either as Members of Parliament or even members of the government.
All these Indians, without exception, had orignally left their home country to prosper economicall elsewhere, literally running away from the hand-to-mouth situation at home. This phenomenon was called "man drain" in India. Then came the phase when Indians started going abroad en masse for higher education, never to return and instead becoming the educational creamy layer in their adopted countries. This was called "brain drain" in India. What is happening now is the immigration of the idle classes from India. These are youngsters, hardly educated, unemployed and who cannot contribute to any economy in any manner. These youngsters are the rich 'brats' of Indian families, large sections of which now live abroad. The youngsters do not want to take up the jobs/businesses of their parents/family elders, are too addicted to easy money and cars and gadgetry, not interested in taking up regular jobs in India. These people are now reaching foreign shores, either legally or illegally, to settle down there as their family peers did decades ago. This phenomenon is called "brawn drain". These are the people who are most likely to be lured into crime for easy money, bereft of morals or values.
India is too vast a country with too big a population for the "drain" to matter. Better remittances from abroad make India's foreign exchange situation look good, at least on paper.
Let us look at how India has treated foreigners settling down on its soil. In the 1930s, the then provsional government of the north-eastern state of Assam took a policy decision: to invite agricultural labourers from neighbouring regions which later came to be kown as East Pakistan and subsequently Bangladesh. The labourers came in their thousands, were given shelter by the Assam government and in turn the labourers worked their magic on the Indian fields, increasing the agricultural yield manifold. But why labourers and farmers from other borders? Two reasons. One, most of the farmers in Assam were rich peasants or absentee landlords who would never dream of picking a hoe. Two, the Indian labourers are not as productive as their Bangladeshi counterparts. The end result? You have a whole segment of the Indian population which is made up of immigrants. They do hard labour, but get no recognition: they have no identity cards, no promises to give them Indian citizenships or even basic healthcare.
In South India, the primary immigration is from Sri Lanka. All of them are political asylum seekers who are eagerly welcomed by their clansmen in Tamil Nadu. The Lankans were trying to escape the ethnic violence in their country. Their presence in Tamil Nadu is now an eyesore to the locals because the latter have nearly taken over the small businesses sector in the state.
So, draw your own conclusions on the merits and de-merits of this movement of peoples.

rk :

In America, both political parties are unwilling
to listen to the large amount of opposition to
illegal immigrants flooding in to the country.
The republicans are too beholden to the business
interests who love the downward pressure that the
immigrants place on wages, and the democrats are too
beholden to the bleeding hearts who want America
to help everyone at any expense. Most Americans have
no problem with legal immigration but the illegal
immigrants who sneak into the country are quite
another story. One might say that the large amount
of strong dissatisfaction with the way this country
guards its own borders is, for both political parties, an inconvenient truth.

Tom Wonacott :

Salamon

From the Washington Post, March 9:

"...SEATTLE, March 9 -- The Bush administration has objected to a proposed open-pit coal mine in Canada near the Montana border, citing the potential for irreversible environmental damage to Glacier National Park, pristine trout streams and the largest natural lake in the West.

The objection -- in a Feb. 23 letter from the State Department to the provincial government of British Columbia -- comes after nearly six years of demands from elected officials in Montana for federal action to stop the mine..."

I think this is an interesting article since you believe the US gold mines are spilling cyanide all over the world. Coal mines don't use cyanide, but any mine can cause environmental damage (including a Canadian mine).

Anonymous :

Salamon

From the Washington Post, March 9:

"...SEATTLE, March 9 -- The Bush administration has objected to a proposed open-pit coal mine in Canada near the Montana border, citing the potential for irreversible environmental damage to Glacier National Park, pristine trout streams and the largest natural lake in the West.

The objection -- in a Feb. 23 letter from the State Department to the provincial government of British Columbia -- comes after nearly six years of demands from elected officials in Montana for federal action to stop the mine..."

I think this is an interesting article since you believe the US gold mines are spilling cyanide all over the world. Coal mines don't use cyanide, but any mine can cause environmental damage (including a Canadian mine).

MikeB :

I'm Blackfoot and Shoshone. Immediately after the Civil War, the Army used mobs of armed and half trained former slaves, called Buffalo Soldiers, to massacre my people. The Blackfoot were driven out of Southern Idaho and the Yellowstone area, our original lands. The Shoshone were expelled from Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Monatana, Arizona, and all of Eastern California. Women were raped, men murdered in cold blood, children killed and often taken and sold into slavery, whole villages simply wiped out by drunken butchers. And, by the way, American Indian children were kidnapped from their homes and raided in government orphanages in an attempt to exterminate our culture - this right until the early 1960's. Now, we want reparations and an apology from the Black community especially, but from all of this country, and the U.S. government, especially the Army, for the horrific atrocities committed against my people by these black troops.

Oh, and I would like the return of at least part of our land. Everything West of the Mississippi and the MidWest will do for now. White, black, Asian and Hispanic squatters, consider this your eviction notice. The never paid for the land, you never traded for it, you merely are squatters, who have done grave damage to it. Just as the Nazi thieves of art are made to return those art works to their original Jewish owners in Europe, it is our intention to file with the European Court for the return of our lands and for your expulsion, as squatters. Please leave within 30 days.

berry, ecuador :

Let me quote from Adam Smith's "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations":

- "The property which every man has is his own labour, as it is the original foundation of all
other property, so it is the most sacred and inviolable."

- "The patrimony of a poor man lies in the strength and dexterity of his hands; and to hinder him from employing this strength and dexterity in what manner he thinks proper, without injury to his neighbour, is a plain violation of this most sacred property. It is a manifest encroachment upon the just liberty, both of the workman, and of those who might be disposed to employ him. As it hinders the one from working at what he thinks proper, so it hinders the others from employing whom they think proper. To judge whether he is fit to be employed, may surely be trusted to the discretion of the employers, whose interest it so much concerns. The affected anxiety of the lawgiver, lest they should employ an improper person, is evidently as impertinent as it is oppressive."

- "Whatever obstructs the free circulation of labour from one employment to another, obstructs
that of stock likewise; the quantity of stock which can be employed in any branch of business
depending very much upon that of the labour which can be employed in it. Corporation laws,
however, give less obstruction to the free circulation of stock from one place to another, than to that of labour. It is everywhere much easier for a wealthy merchant to obtain the privilege of trading in a town-corporate, than for a poor artificer to obtain that of working in it."

- "The very unequal price of labour which we frequently find in England, in places at no great
distance from one another, is probably owing to the obstruction which the law of settlements
gives to a poor man who would carry his industry from one parish to another."

- "No independent workman, it is evident, whether labourer or artificer, is likely to gain any new
settlement, either by apprenticeship or by service. When such a person, therefore, carried his industry to a new parish, he was liable to be removed, how healthy and industrious soever, at
the caprice of any churchwarden or overseer, unless he either rented a tenement of ten pounds
a-year, a thing impossible for one who has nothing but his labour to live by, or could give
such security for the discharge of the parish as two justices of the peace should judge
sufficient."

In summary, Smith was advocating for worker's freedom of movement to wherever his abilities could be better used and compensated. Every attempt to obstruct this freedom, Smith wrote, causes artificial inefficiencies in the economy: employers are not allowed to maximize their production and profit; consumers are forced to buy more-expensive products; some workers are kept out of jobs that would pay better wages, while others retain artificially high wages.

That was true two centuries ago regarding English parishes. The same is true now at a global scale.

Zoltan :

Well, I'm an immigrant (from Hungary to France) and I believe that France has gained by my immigration. And from that of my family. But I'm not an objective source of information here.

Is that a general situation ?

And anyway, what is "your country" in the question ?

For example, if you consider Palestine, I doubt any Palestinian will believe that the immigration of the million of Jews was a net gain for them. On the other hand, the Israelis certainly will think otherwise. And what about the Indian redskins in northern America about white men ? Or the Aborigines in Australia ? What is "their country" in these stories ?

As Erik de Koster says, we're all immigrants to some extent.

But what is sure, that emigration hurts the country where people emigrate from: 1) by giving a bad image of that country abroad 2) by seeing disappear some potent workforces.


LonewackoDotCom :

In addition to what Jonathan Braun said, I'll point out that massive immigration from one country gives the sending country political power inside the U.S. Here are some examples:
* Mexico's Zedillo and Fox claimed that the MexicanNation extends beyond their borders and includes everyone in the U.S. of Mexican ancestry.

* Mexico tried to conduct a census of those of Mexican descent in the U.S. military.

* Mexico has more consulates in the U.S. than any other country, and they're quite "active". Mexican consuls even go to city council meetings in order to get those cities to accept Mexican ID cards; those cards are almost entirely used only by illegal aliens. That country is allowed to visit their outposts in the U.S. and freely distribute the cards to their citizens. Sometimes that's even in public buildings, but more often it's near a bank.

* Several of those who helped organize last year's immigration marches have links to the Mexican government or Mexican political parties (tinyurl.com/ygbclj). And, several Democratic Party leaders spoke at those marches.

* Several Mexican legislators recently visited Washington and, standing side by side with U.S. representatives promoted immigration "reform". One of them even promoted completely open borders across North and South America (tinyurl.com/2qdml4).

* The Mexican government gives away textbooks to U.S. schools and libraries which present their side of the Mexican American war. For adults that might not be so bad, but for children it involves allowing a foreign country to indoctrinate U.S. residents to a viewpoint that is harmful to our interests.

* Several well-known non-profit organizations have indirect links to the Mexican government (ACLU, MALDEF, SPLC, AFSC). The lead attorney of a recent lawsuit against the DHS concerning visas for crime victims is collaborating with the Mexican government on a website/project concerning those visas, yet the AP didn't mention that in their report.

I could provide a few more, but that should be enough to show that our leaders are doing tremendous damage to this country by allowing massive illegal immigration or massive immigration in general from mainly one country.

Salamon, Canada :

JRLR, Canada:

you wrote:

Should that phenomenon [emigration from Canada] become economically significant, we might have to consider that highly skilled people, having been trained at society's considerable expense, should agree to work in Canada for a number of years before emigrating, or else be required to reimburse to Canadian society, the cost of their highly specialized studies.

You have described the immoral aspect of skilled immigration to Canada from undeveloped and developing nations -- where the education is paid for by the POOR OF THE WORLD, while the benefit ACCRUES TO SOME OF THE BEST OFF PEOPLE OF THE WORLD. This especially applied to MD-s, Dentists, engeneers, nurses

WHERE CANADA CONSCIOUSLY DECIDED NOT TO EDUCATE SUFFICIENT NUMBERS FOR INTERNAL REQUISITE -- in case you forgot all provinces restrict the number of MD-s Dentinsts' educational opportunities, and 15 years ago they all reduced the Provincial Quoates [Governments' highly educated and overpaid civil service was incapable of analyzing demographic trends and make logical deductions].

Please also note, that since I have arrived in Canada 1957, there was always a shortage of TRADESMEN, first we stole them for EUROPE [that is we did not pay those contries for educational input] now we steal them from MEXICO. Philippines, and anywhere else, as long as we do not have to pay for the cost of tradesmen's education. Notably we still follow the UK system of K-12 education with very little VOCATIOANL TRAINING for the students who do not want ACADEMIC EDUCATION - they rather dropout [25-35 % of 18 yers olds in various parts of Canada]

Ps. Try to find welders, plumbers, carpenters, electricians in Alberta's cities, never mind the oli sand areas.

ORL :

"We have the ability to terminate extreme global poverty by 2015 with a mere $19 billion a year, now compare that with our defense budget and that's dimes."

Katiel, I have heard that all my life. I don't mean to disappoint you, but I would not count on it, if I were you. Poverty is of the substance of the "system". Hundreds of billions for ONE war, not enough money for social services. Structural.

Jonathan Braun, New York :

Massive illegal immigration--emphasis on massive--is
hurting the United States, threatening the country's
social and economic fabric, creating a security
problem in the age of transnational terrorism and
crime. Latin America--mainly Mexico--is exporting its
poverty to the US at unprecedented levels. And the US
is allowing this to happen for reasons that have
nothing to do with universal values or helping Mexico
to move up in the world. Greedy employers want to
exploit cheap foreign labor. Ethnic leaders want to
build their constituencies. Liberal politicians and
pundits are afraid to appear intolerant or bigoted.
And so on and so forth.

The US was founded and built by immigrants--and
African slaves, tragically, who were brought here in
chains. But the story of US immigration, contrary to
popular perceptions, is not one of ceaseless human
inflows. There were slow periods that permitted the
orderly absorption of immigrants.

Certainly, ceaseless illegal immigration was never
contemplated.

Nor does that make sense. A country that can't control
its borders and opens itself up to nonstop illegal
immigration is a nation that has effectively decided
to commit national suicide.

daniel :

I made an error and left out a word in previous piece: in sixth paragraph it should say "--but as we all close in on one another in our diverse religions, ethnicities, etc. we all become emigrants... In other as words, I missed the word "as" .. Thanks.

daniel :

In net, is immigration helping or harming your country? What about emigration?

Without a doubt virtually every discussion of this problem--and immigration rather than emigration is the more philosophically profound--fails to point out that we either automatically celebrate immigration without really considering what immigrants are immigrating into or what they are supposed to make as they mix and match and conflict in all their diverse ways or we automatically reject immigrants in an attempt to preserve a way of life we insist must remain intact.

Immigration will always be a problem until we have something of a state or method or process which integrates and develops diverse humanity. The extraordinary profundity of immigration is it drives us to such contemplations...and emigration is more profound than immigration only as emigration becomes the pursuit of the above process born of the immigration problem...If emigration is not the above then it only becomes part of the problem of immigration.

A measure of how difficult it is to really celebrate immigration--to be really successful at it--is to examine the relationship of the U.S. to the rest of the world. The U.S. is the immigrant nation par excellence in the modern world and today ironically it is the most hated nation probably. How honestly can anyone be for immigration and hate the U.S.? Only the most advanced and sophisticated nations can integrate various peoples, religions, etc. and the U.S. is in the forefront.

To not really embrace the difficulty of integrating diverse peoples is to be one of those people for immigration out of naivete, as if the world will just mix and match peoples with automatically a minimum of harm to nations, environments, etc. or to be one of those people who want to see a country undermined by immigrants and so constantly suggest such a thing (immigration). These latter people are probably today more in existence then ever because outright war is diminishing and a country can be invaded and won only through immigration, terrorism, WMD, etc.

My belief is that more and more the question will become "immigration into what?" and "immigration for what purpose?" as immigration becomes virtually synonomous with the project of having to create a worldwide government. Ideally immigration is the entering of a country in pursuit of a better life--an emigration from one state to another--but we all close in on one another in our diverse religions, ethnicities, etc. We all become emigrants from our various states in an attempt to immigrate into...well something of a new world as America once and still fortunately to an extent still promises...but a new world of the mind rather than geographical location...

But a new world of the mind? Here is where we touch on a particular problem of immigration today: the fear of one's nation being undermined by inferiors, or the draining of the best brains from one country as they flee to another and better one. My belief is that more and more the best brains will collect in the best countries not because the best countries are stealing them, but because of a half natural half deliberate action of humanity to collect the best of itself in a total immigrant/emigrant state of mind which is a "nation"--which is to say not really a geographical location (except earth--and even then perhaps temporarily)--beyond all nations today and the future foundation of humanity.

We quite simply are going to begin ruthlessly analyzing cultures, religions, nations, etc. and get at the state which facilitates the best of the best among us and this in no small part will be bolstered by genetics. I foresee a continued draining of the best brains from the worst nations, cultures, religious environments, etc. to the best and the best becoming more and more a tremendous structure at integrating diverse talents without however being able to do such to the point that all previous stages of humanity (the worst cultures, nations, etc.) are integrated within as well.

In fact the best nations today do not need immigrants as much as we are led to believe. The best nations need only the best people. And that the best nations are not reproducing as fast as others is no argument to the contrary. On the contrary the best nations should decline in birthrate--and the rest of the world should decline as well. In fact the rest of the world should sharply decline in birthrate. I find it astonishingly perverse to suggest a great nation needs immigrants because the great nation cannot reproduce as well as the immigrants. We need less people reproducing and more using their brains.

But now of course I have made myself out to be something of an elitist and a quite callous one at that...

But what would you have me say? Immigrate and emigrate at will, for no rhyme or reason in our world of environmental destruction, WMD, etc.?

Essentially this whole problem of immigration and emigration will gradually take the form of collecting certain people for a higher humanity--in fact immigration/emigration is a geographical/spatial method of speaking about the historical process, the movement and transformation from one state to another. The former must be subordinate to the latter or immigration/emigration is nothing but confusion.

It always comes down to the human race we are and the human race we will become. There really is no spatial answer unless we extend ourselves into outer space and across the universe. But even then we will be subordinate to the need to biologically transform--and this will become more and more apparent as the immigration/emigration debate heats up.

Certainly the U.S., China, Russia, the European Union--the advanced places, in other words--should keep a close watch on how they fare in world opinion. In general the more the states capable of integrating diverse people are hated the more we can say not only is the immigration/emigration debate collapsing, but the whole process of the historical is collapsing into the purely spatial and we are threatened with chaos.

There is no easy and pleasant answer to this question as it touches on humanity to be accepted and humanity to be rejected--movements from groups into groups and movements to future states of mind.

The question is not one of helping or harming a country but what will help or harm the future of humanity...

A new religion where we all sacrifice ourselves to those who can emigrate from what we are into a future where they will be grateful immigrants and in turn sacrifice themselves for a new world.

Solange :

re "Where we run into trouble is with the issue of poverty." ---

At this point in history, it seems clear that poverty, itself, is a function of the culture from which it springs. It has been argued that the West had a leg up from the start due to better natural resources, but when one looks at where Japan, a very small island nation, is; compared with, say, Uganda or Pakistan or Saudi Arabia; the impact of culture cannot be denied. Islamic cultures do not produce productive, sustainable economies. Obviously, neither do sub-Saharan African ones. As for the Millenium Challenge Corporation, I suspect we'll one day find this "State Department lite" quasi-government agency is expending more resources providing resume stuffer overseas junkets for the offspring of the well-connected; than doing anything particularly productive.

KatieL :

Immigration and Emmigration are essential to the functioning of our world, and personally I think they make it a much more diverse and interesting place. Where we run into trouble is with the issue of poverty. We have the ability to terminate extreme global poverty by 2015 with a mere $19 billion a year, now compare that with our defense budget and that's dimes. Lower poverty rates would decrease the number of refugees everywhere, eliminating the strain on both the sending and receieving countries. Support the Millennium Development Goals and the Global Poverty Act!

hrob27 :

In regards to the question of girls being "oversexualized", I agree that fashion designers should not target young girls. They obviously need to grow up first. However, the pervasive belief from some of your readers that men are nothing more than animals who cannot tell the difference between a girl and a woman or who cannot control themselves is blatantly offensive. I feel for women who have been assaulted or molested, but I as a man refuse to accept comments from women who seek to portray all men in this fashion. To act as if all men are out to sexually oppress women is sexist in and of itself, but what continues to surprise me is the lack of self-awareness amongst women who claim that they seek a "gender-free" society. If these ladies want men to stop objectifying women, then by all means stop villifying men. Women are not objects, true, but also respect us men and realize that we are more than beasts. Men are just as human as you.

JOY JACOB :

Immigration is good for the country when the immgrant brings in desirable values and cultures. Both immigration and emigration take place simultaneously. Like export and import every nation is affected by both. The immigrant chooses to emigrate to a country when s/he visualizes better opporunities in that country than what is available in her/his own country. Immigration may deprive partially or wholely the opportunities open to the natives. This is not a new phenomina.

Cultural invasion, cultural integration, evolution of hybrid culture etc., are all part of the development process. Those who are able to survive the challenges emerge as winners.

It is worthwhile to review the need for protection of natives. People travel from one place to another not only in search of wealth and earnings. The motive depends on the individual. Christ's disciples travelled to east and west to preach the teachings of Christ. They were not treated as immigrants. They were welcomed by many. But they were also treated as intruders by many.

Protectionism develops in a society threatened of its existence by the the intruders. The adventurous of the lot welcomes and the threatened opposes the change. Progress and development originates from the adventurous who dare to follow a virgin path.


Every nation should welcome free flow of ideas, goods and men to prevent stagnation and decay of the society.

Solange :

Immigration will rot the U.S. from the inside out, as it has already almost succeeded in doing with Europe. Immigrants, by definition, are the products of failed culture. Just as Western civilization is approaching sustainable population equilibrium, the floodgates have opened up from cultures where breeding is the prime directive. Rather than assimilating, and reducing family size; in Europe and the U.S. we see the products of failed cultures are breeding as fast as possible, destroying Western economic balance, while adding little. In the U.S., we can blame greedy corporate powers who feed off the cheap labor; but Europe really has no excuse...those immigrants often remain unemployed for life. What the French have allowed Islam to do to their nation and culture is tragic, but should serve as the wake up call to the rest of the civilized world. By making any mention of limiting population anathema; Hitler's greatest harm to Europe and the West may be the political correctness through which unwashed, and unneeded Eastern hordes will finally devolve humanity back to the stone age.

JRLR, Canada :

I agree with Salamon who writes "net immigration is in GENERAL beneficial to the receiving country, especially for those with below replacement fertility rates... (e.g. Canada)". Yet immigration raises a number of questions that need be addressed more seriously than I believe they are at present.

One of them is identity. With intensive immigration, the social fabric of society changes drastically, profoundly and very quickly. The natives'identity is often challenged enough for many to feel "they do not live in their own country anymore". Immigration must not alienate the natives. In an open society, integration must therefore be such that each newcomer becomes unequivocally (and is perceived as) "one of us". One of us, yet different, sometimes very different: for integration is not assimilation. For immigration to be beneficial, integration is therefore most important if unhealthy tensions and conflicts are to be avoided.

Another issue is labor, which only points to another aspect of integration. I believe that to be mostly beneficial, immigration must be planned, monitored and controlled carefully, so that both natives and immigrants are as fully employed as possible in their respective fields of competence. There is nothing worse than the natives feeling they are losing their jobs to immigrants, while immigrants feel they are confined to menial occupations.

As for emigration, a country like Canada cannot be considered a land of emigration to any significant extent. Relatively few natives emigrate, while some who do keep their Canadian citizenship. Yet, in recent years, we have seen many more old immigrants (Canadian citizens!)leave Canada to go and live or retire in their native country. This new phenomenon has had some natives complaining (more particularly after the destruction of Lebanon by the Israelis) that Canada was being complacent, on matters of citizenship, that dual citizenship should not be tolerated, etc. While it may be true that in some cases Canada may have been too tolerant, I believe that as a country of immigrants, we now have to face with relative serenity a new reality, i.e. that Canadian citizens too, old and new, may decide, one day, for a variety of reasons, to leave "the bestest country in the world"... and emigrate.

Should that phenomenon become economically significant, we might have to consider that highly skilled people, having been trained at society's considerable expense, should agree to work in Canada for a number of years before emigrating, or else be required to reimburse to Canadian society, the cost of their highly specialized studies. I do not believe we have reached that stage yet, but we may very well do so, sooner than we expect.

erik de koster :

hmmm...
Is this a legitimate question? If we take the 'historic stance', all of us are migrants, all over the world...

But, I understand what you mean, let's shift our time frame from megayears to kiloyears.

Immigrants are different from the people who stay behind. It takes more guts to leave than to stay, and more brains to succeed to do so. Immigration therefore is an injection of intelligent and undertaking people into any society.
The golden age of amsterdam (the 17th century) was based on the immigration of protestants from catholic Flanders after the victory of the contra-reformation and from France after the edict of Nantes was revoked, and of Jews from Spain and Portugal.
The history of the USA should be well known to you.

So, is immigration helpful?
In the long term, unequivocally yes.

erik de koster
brussels

MikeB :

typo....the phrase "new hire H1B worker is 2 years old", should have read "new hire H1B worker is 26 years old" -- the 6 got dropped off somehow.

MikeB :

Immigration, at least recently, has been a disaster. Now, only the most callus would deny that the millions of illegal Mexican and South American immigrants are here because they are desperately poor. But what can we do. We cannot afford to legalize them and we certainly cannot afford to keep them. The estimated cost of the 20 million or so illegals is at least 1.4 TRILLION dollars annually! That staggering amount of money would balance the federal budget, pay for Social Security and Medicare or, even better; provide a national health insurance program that would cover every U.S. citizen. If we legalize them all, they enter the work force, competing against lower and middle income families for skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled jobs that will create a disastrous slide of wages and benefits that will throw this country into a Depression.

As for the so-called legal immigrants, consider engineers and scientists hired using H1B and L1 visas. Since 2000, nine out of every ten new engineering hires has been a foreign worker here on an H1B visa! At the same time, we have laid of almost 50% of our own engineers, mostly older workers over the age of 45. The reasons for this are pretty simple and are related to the illegal workers – these people work like dogs and for a lot less money.

The average new hire H1B worker is 2 years old, single, and works a typical 12 hour work day, seven days a week. Many of them receive no or very limited health care and other benefits. Most DO NOT receive the promised pay level they were hired at and make on average $13,000 a year less than their American counterparts. These workers are, in every sense of the term, indentured servants, who hired themselves into slavery for a job. They have no intention of staying here and return home after an average of three years.

The American worker they replace is typically married, averages 47 years old. Major high tech firms literally comb their health care records, looking at insurance costs (most are “self insured”) and receive reports on the benefit costs of older workers. When you or one of your dependants cross an invisible line…join the ranks of the unemployed! Ditto for vacation, sick leave, and every other benefit. If you use them, you are gong to loose your job. Your replacement will be an indentured servant, working for about 2/3 to half of what you made.

This is a very sick system that is causing all sorts of problem and will likely lead to a disaster. In the near term, we have shipped off the crown jewels of our technology. That technology is the underlying “stuff” that provides a future for this country. It is our defense, new inventions, everything. And it’s all oversea right now. The engineers and scientists necessary to our survival, the new technologies, the future is now completely and totally and irrevocably gone. Our college engineering programs are filled with foreign students, mostly from India, China, and other Asian countries because those schools receive three times the money from non-resident, foreign students, as they do from resident students. In study after study, the finding is that, engineering schools turn down fully qualified American students for every position given (well, actually SOLD) to a foreign student.

We either start considering the future of this country and the future for our own citizens or we simply will cease to exist.

Salamon, Canada :

Net immigration is in GENERAL beneficial to the receiving country, especially for those with below replacement fertility rates [this includes all of Europe, the USA without Hispanic immigrants [legal/illegal], Canada, Taiwan and Japan], and it is possible that in the near future China will also need immigrants due to its LONG STANDING 1 child per woman policy.

Aside from being consumers and taxpayers [thereby adding to the GDP of the receiving country] they do provide the labour force necessary for internal economy, where the OLDER labour force is not being replaced by the next generation.

The desire of the net importing countries to attempt to limit immigration to the most skilled and the most intelligent [often students] is morally indefensible, for these countries' for selfish reasons deprive the countries of origin of their most educated [a financial loss to the POOR original country]and for luring away those people who could contribute most in raising the level of economic well being in their home countries.

The people exporting countries loose in all cases, first by loosing the a big part of the educated class [ the country looses part of its educational investment]; and second, by the monetary remissions from the working immigrants changes the social structure of the country of origin: some recepients get too spoiled by the remission, and refuse to work, some families are torn apart for years [children without father mother /neither], while mother/father is working offshore, thereby destroying the family.

There is also a perception cost to these immigrants, for it is believed in their home country that life is excellent for the emmigrant, when in many cases they are toiling for low wages in a society which is a high cost country. Being an immigrant myself, I am well familiar with the FAMILY/relation connected problems from this "disparity". For example, to my sister [living on US $200 PPP based] with her own apartment, regular medical support, cigerette smoking, opera attending, I appear to be rich making $2000.00 month, when after taxes, transport, rent, insurance etc, this amount is too low for the family -- no room for retirement savings, educational savings for the children, etc.

The other cost is to the immigrant, where the receiving country does not recognize foreign accreditation, or even when it does, puts quasi-legal restrictions to make joining trades/professions extremely hard. The sad stories of "QUALIFIED" immgrants is related by the media daily: surgeon working as fast food cook, or taxi driver, or health care "professional" a.k.a nursing aid in old folks home.

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