Archive for Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We’re all people

November 16, 2011


To the editor:

In “Church Leaders ask Kansas Legislature to Stay out of Illegal Immigration Reform,” Renee Slinkard wonders “why they would want to make it easier for illegal immigrants to gain citizenship when we are faced with all this terrorism, crime, human trafficking.”

Apparently in this emotionally stunted worldview, Illegal Immigrants = Terrorists and Criminals. She and others like her have difficulty seeing certain people as their fellow human beings and judge entire groups, unable to see that the group is made up of individuals, each with his or her own story, character and qualities, just like the group we call “citizens.”

Slinkard says illegals should, “go to the back of the line to get their citizenship,” again, not distinguishing between those with ill intent and babies born here or children brought by their parents, and with no regard for families long enmeshed in their communities, or for business owners, artists, athletes, students, taxpayers . . .

Her website has a Reagan quote front and center: “We’ve gone astray from first principles. We’ve lost sight of the rule that individual freedom and ingenuity are at the very core of everything that we’ve accomplished. Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.” I guess for Slinkard that must apply to “me and people like me whose immigrant families came here earlier, of course!”

Terrorists and criminals should be dealt with, and quickly, but should not be the models on which illegal immigration reform discussions are based.


Mike Gerhardt 5 years ago

Ms Kennedy, illegal aliens are just that, "illegal". If they want citizenship, they need to go home and start the process legally, get it?

Roland Gunslinger 5 years ago

... and if their home is this nation? What then?

A child born in the U.S., living in the U.S. their whole lives... this is their home.

Brock Masters 5 years ago

A child born here is not an illegal alien so they can stay just like any other legal citizen.

skinny 5 years ago

Not for long, they are trying to change that law, and rightly so!

jayhawkinsf 5 years ago

We can't solve all the problems of the world. If an adult comes here illegally, they accept the risk that they might be deported. If they have a child here, they accept the risk that they be put in a very difficult circumstance later on. Namely that they will face deportation and their child, an American citizen, will not face deportation. I certainly hope that advocacy groups like La Raza and the Catholic Church are strongly advocating that illegal immigrants not put themselves in that very difficult place. The last thing they need and the last thing we need is for illegal immigrants to be having children that may be separated from their parents later on.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

The immigrants who come here were in "dangerous places" before they ever came here.

But I'm sure you know best about how they should make the Hobson's choices you'll never have to face.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

For all practical purposes, for most of these so-called illegal people, there is no process.

But, really, Mike, what would you do if you all of a sudden lost some of your favorite bogey people?

Sean Livingstone 5 years ago

It was as easy as walking up the shores and get yourself registered... there... your greencard.... and yes, Europeans turned out in the millions! If not how could you get this many Europeans in America? People immigrated back then... Europe was in desperate shape, and people were treated unfairly, and thus Europeans were looking for new opportunities. Pushing the clock forward till today, many illegal immigrants cannot find the same opportunities back home and thus they, like Europeans in the past, take their chance here. The difference? The law is now more strict. Now, even legal aliens get bashed too! My Indian friends were repeated told online to go back to India.... I understand the need to maintain legality of immigration, however, if the hole has been broken for so long, isn't it time to rethink immigration, and design a system that doesn't hurt the economy? I was once a legal alien.... allowing illegal aliens in will hurt me more, and be unfair to me, however, for the good of the United States, I strongly believe there has to be a system to allow some of the illegals in, and kick the rest out. In addition, citizenship by birth is a right... people starts complaining about that.. simply because babies begin to change color... fix the immigration law, and then we can talk about the right of citizenship by birth.

zuzu 5 years ago

People who make this comment, and it's common, are ignorant of how the immigation system works. To immigrate legally, one must have a sponsor - relative or employer - who is willing to go through the very expensive and protracted prrocess. You can''t just decide you want to immigrate, fill out a form and wait, as so many Americans believe.

I am an educated British woman who bought a small business so that my family and I could live here. I have built the business up over 8 years from 6 employee to 11 (all US citizens) yet I have no path to citizenship. I can stay as long as my business is viable and my family can afford to spend $10,000 every five years to renew our visas and leave the country every two years to renew our I-94s. My children are not allowed to have social security numbers, so they can't work, and they must leave when they reach 21. This is the way you treat people who come legally and create jobs for Americans, and it continues because most Americans do not understand their own immigration system and believe all illgal aliens are simply too lazy to take the legal route.

The fact is, the vast majority could never immigate legally because they don't have a close relative here, and their skills are not sufficient to attract an employer to sponsor them. So, desperate for a better life, they take their chances.

Be grateful that things were different when your ancestors immigrated to America, otherwise, today you could be a peasant somewhere, dreaming a dream that will never come true.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Thanks for the very informative post-- not that many of the posters here really care about anything like accurate information.

Flap Doodle 5 years ago

Leaving the country they have illegally entered and returning while following the law may not be the illegals' first choice, but it is a practical path to citizenship. If you reward breaking the law, you are going to get more criminals sneaking into America.

christy kennedy 5 years ago

Lucky for us, our ancestors made it into the country when the trip, in general, may have been more arduous, but admittance, was much easier.

jaywalker 5 years ago

I'm all for immigration, Christy, it's what makes our country the rich and diverse pot it is. But there is a point when merely walking in is unacceptable and 'admittance' needs to be mandatory.

Brock Masters 5 years ago

The LTE writes, "Illegal Immigrants = Terrorists and Criminals" Not all adult illegal immigrants are terrorist but ALL adult immigrants are criminals. They have at a minimum violated our country's immigration laws and may have used false identification to gain employment or to access benefits.

For some reason, people like the author, want to pretend that adult illegal immigrants are not criminals.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"ALL adult immigrants are criminals."

Escaped slaves were criminals, too.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

They are both "status" crimes. Very much apples and apples.

christy kennedy 5 years ago

Guess what itsjustmath, an illegal DID kill someone I loved in 2005. An illegal who was driving drunk with no driver's license or insurance. Yet somehow I can tell the difference between this individual and his crimes and the horrible impact he had on my family and others involved and OTHER people who are not him who have not harmed anyone. Again, you can not judge an entire group based on the actions of certain individuals. If that were the case I would also have to have a "different angle" on citizens, some of whom break laws, drive drunk, and kill people.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Immigrants come here as individuals, not in order to become part of a group.

christy kennedy 5 years ago

Nice lumping together of groups you chose there.

kernal 5 years ago

"...but ALL adult immigrants are criminals." Fred, I sure hope you meant all adult illegal immigrants.

jhawkinsf 5 years ago

There is a legal process potential immigrants can pursue. I think it's safe to assume we all know people who have chosen to do just that. It may be long and complicated, but it's the system we have. Maybe we should change it. Maybe not. With well over 300 million people here, a high unemployment rate, a huge budget deficit and add to that the fact that immigrants (legal and illegal) typically have higher birth rates, this may not be the time when it's in our best interests to allow additional immigrants. But the choice is ours, not theirs. There are so many who complain that the U.S. should not be dictating foreign policy on other countries. Well, foreign nationals should not be dictating immigration policies to us.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"There is a legal process potential immigrants can pursue."

And for the vast majority of the immigrants who come here undocumented, following that "process" is about as likely to succeed as buying a winning $100 million power ball ticket.

jayhawkinsf 5 years ago

The process is difficult, yes. But not as unlikely as you suggest. I made the assumption that everyone knows a legal immigrant. Do you? I know many. I have several in my immediate family. I can think of no justifiable reason to reward people who have jumped to the front of the line, ahead of those who are patiently waiting for the legal process to make their decision. I'm all for legal immigration done in an orderly way. Done in a way of our determining. As I stated just above, foreign nationals should no be be determining our immigration policy than we should be determining the foreign policy of other countries.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"The process is difficult, yes. But not as unlikely as you suggest."

Perhaps I exaggerate somewhat, but the fact remains that for the vast majority of those who come here illegally, attempting to immigrate legally quite literally is a matter of winning the lottery, and few of them do. They can expect to wait at least 10-15 years to come here, if they get in at all.

Perhaps you think that's appropriate, and I'm not necessarily saying it isn't. But to hold that out as an alternative to coming here illegally for people who live in economically desperate situations just isn't realistic.

jhawkinsf 5 years ago

Listen, I can work really hard for decades and not achieve the wealth that someone born into great wealth has. That doesn't mean I can go rob a bank, just so I can have what he has. Not everyone is entitled to be an American. I certainly don't have the right to go to any country of my choosing and simply stay. Every country has the right to establish for itself the rules it will have for immigration. We have that right as well. And illegal immigrants are violating our rights.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Coming here illegally to work for a pittance doing jobs most Americans don't want to do is not the equivalent of robbing a bank. To imply otherwise is needlessly hyperbolic.

jaywalker 5 years ago

You just can't help yourself, can you bozo? 'Course, if it weren't for grotesque exaggeration you wouldn't have anything to post at all.

stevo1 5 years ago

I come for visit, get treated regal, So I stay, who care I illegal? I cross border, poor and broke, Take bus, see employment folk. Nice man treat me good in there, Say I need to see welfare. Welfare say, "You come no more, We send cash right to your door." Welfare checks, they make you wealthy,

Medicaid it keep you healthy! By and by, I got plenty money, Thanks to you, American dummy. Write to friends in motherland, Tell them come as fast as you can. They come in rags and Chebby trucks,

I buy big house with welfare bucks. They come here, we live together, More welfare checks, it gets better! Fourteen families they moving in, But neighbor's patience wearing thin. Finally, white guy moves away, Now I buy his house, and then I say, "Find more aliens for house to rent."

And in the yard I put a tent. Send for family (they just trash), But they, too, draw the welfare cash! Everything is mucho good, And soon we own the neighborhood. We have hobby--it's called breeding, Welfare pay for baby feeding. Kids need dentist? Wife need pills? We get free! We got no bills!

American crazy! He pay all year, To keep welfare running here. We think America darn good place! Too darn good for the white man race.

If they no like us, they can go, Got lots of room in Mexico

christy kennedy 5 years ago

Wow. That's hideous. I'd suggest removal but would like it to stay as proof of the ignorant and hateful views of some LJW readers who lack the courage to use their real names.

jayhawkinsf 5 years ago

I felt it is equal parts stereotypical and funny. And since I don't have the ability to look into the writer's heart, I'll not judge.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Perhaps that's because you see only the stereotypical when you think of immigrants.

jhawkinsf 5 years ago

Or perhaps you have no sense of humor.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

I certainly don't share your particular sense of humor.

jhawkinsf 5 years ago

As I said, I can't look into his heart. Do you possess that talent?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

No need to. He displayed his bigotry fairly blatantly.

xclusive85 5 years ago

Oh, comon! He's just making art! Maybe the KAC should give him some money so that he can write some more poetry!

And bozo, because I don't think you have a sense of humor either, that was a joke!

beatrice 5 years ago

jhf: "And since I don't have the ability to look into the writer's heart, I'll not judge."

By that standard, you will never have to question any racist, hateful comment. Ever. How remarkably convenient. Since you can't see into anyone's heart, you will never have to question someone when they say or do anything racist. Your statement is nothing but an excuse for sticking your head in the sand when it comes to hateful, bigoted and racist words.

How does not speaking up improve anything? Sorry, but your silence and acceptance of something that you admit is "equal parts stereotypical and funny" is exactly why we still have racism and bigotry in this country. As others have said, racism is like darkness -- it disappears when you shine light on it.

jayhawkinsf 5 years ago

If it were blatant racism, we all would have hit the suggest removal button and been done with it. I didn't hit it. Did you? And if someone did suggest removal, the editors chose not to delete it. The fact is the poem was stereotypical and it was funny.

jayhawkinsf 5 years ago

Archie Bunker was a stereotypical racist and funny. We can laugh at him and decry his racism at the same time. There is no requirement that every post here must be made in a serious vein. Or have you established new guidelines?

beatrice 5 years ago

The humor of someone like Archie Bunker, or the comedian Sarah Silverman, is that we are laughing at the stupidity of the character, not out of agreement of the statements being made. We weren't laughing with Archie Bunker, but at him. You are suggesting that this little diddy is in and of itself funny, not that the poster is so ridiculous to be using stereotyping that the humor is at the expense of the poster. No, you are laughing along with the poster simply because it makes fun of others. You are on the side of the person doing the stereotyping by finding the stereotyping funny. I'm surprised you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

No, I did not hit "suggest removal" button. Let idiotic statements stay on view, as far as I'm concerned.

gudpoynt 5 years ago

how many undocumented citizens do you know in the U.S. that are getting health benefits and unemployment?

What? None? Shocker.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Yea, but Fox and Rush say they all get this, and never pay any taxes, so it must be true.

jaywalker 5 years ago

Sorry, but there are plenty of illegals getting "health benefits." Hospitals in California are going bankrupt because of them.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"Health benefits?" You mean when they show up at an emergency room because they might die if they don't, only to get patched up well enough to be shoved out the door?

jayhawkinsf 5 years ago

They also use the ER for routine medical care that they can't pay for. Or in the case of some, they simply don't want to pay for. San Francisco General has a blanket policy stating they will not serve anyone who can pay. (except in the ER). Every single person there is without insurance and without the ability to pay. And I can tell you from experience, English is hardly ever spoken there. And because S.F. chooses to be a sanctuary city, it is against city law to even ask a person's legal status. Therefore, no exact data is available. But I knew people who took their children to the ER when their child had a temperature of 99.8. I gave my child a baby aspirin. And I paid my insurance premium. "because they might die" sure, maybe in some extremely rare case. But the overwhelming majority of cases is routine medical care that we the taxpayers foot the bill for. Bozo, I lived in California for many years. You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Another one of your trademark "Let me tell you an anecdote so I can egregiously overgeneralize."

jaywalker 5 years ago

Another of your trademark "Let me discount what you state because I have no authoritative nor factual response."

jayhawkinsf 5 years ago

I saw it with my own eyes. You simply can't discount that. At least not honestly.

rked 5 years ago

"those with ill intent and babies born here or children brought by their parents, and with no regard for families long enmeshed in their communities"..."long enmeshed"...guess what just because ILLEGALS broke our laws & have been "Squatting" here for quite some time (20+ years in most cases), does NOT mean that we need to Reward their Criminal behavior with Amnesty...I propose instead that they are FORCED to return to their country of origin & be BANNED from entering this country for the same amount of time that they SQUATTED here!!!--And of course those Illegal kids also need to be repatriated as well cuz i don't give a Rat's Butt if they don't remember that country...toooooo Bad...!!! the Stupidity!! the Petition--Tell Your State Gov't to Enforce Existing Immigration Laws...DUH!!!

rked 5 years ago

"those with ill intent and babies born here or children brought by their parents, and with no regard for families long enmeshed in their communities"..."long enmeshed"...guess what just because ILLEGALS broke our laws & have been "Squatting" here for quite some time (20+ years in most cases), does NOT mean that we need to Reward their Criminal behavior with Amnesty...I propose instead that they are FORCED to return to their country of origin & be BANNED from entering this country for the same amount of time that they SQUATTED here!!!--And of course those Illegal kids also need to be repatriated as well cuz i don't give a Rat's Butt if they don't remember that country...toooooo Bad...!!! the Stupidity!! the Petition--Tell Your State Gov't to Enforce Existing Immigration Laws...DUH!!!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"cuz i don't give a Rat's Butt "

You could have just said that to begin with, and left out the other superfluous drivel.

Ron Holzwarth 5 years ago

I spent some time in southern California a few years ago, and "illegal immigrants" were disparaged a lot, and there was so much talk of sending them all home.

Everyone knew where the "illegal immigrants" used to hang out at. And, when you needed some yard work or some heavy lifting done, you went there to pick out one or a few of them for the day. They worked so hard, hoping that you would pick them the next time you needed something done.

If you gave them lunch, they were ever so grateful. At the end of the day, you paid them in cash and took them back to where the "illegal immigrants" hung out.

And their goodbyes were so polite, hoping that you would pick them out from the crowd next time. They would be sure to give you their name, of course, so you would know who the really hard worker was.

And when you were done with them, you went back to talking about how they should all be sent home.

To me, apparently that was just the way it was done.

christy kennedy 5 years ago

You missed my point. I saw the irony in Slinkard's selective use of the sentiments in the Reagan quote. That's all.

Chris Scafe 5 years ago

If we want to stem the flow of illegal immigrants, we have to go after the employers. If the work dries up, so will the flow. One percenters like to have them here because they lower labor costs. I often hear that illegals are doing work that Americans don't want, but that's not true. Americans will do the work, but not for low wages. But it's hard to go after the employers because many of them are the one percent and it's the one percenters who make the big decisions. Why would the one percent pressure authorities to go after employers of illegals when the one percent are among the employers?

So what can we do to stem the flow? Get the money out of politics so that it's the 99 percent who make the decisions. Then we can pressure authorities to go after employers who make illegal immigration worthwhile.

voevoda 5 years ago

Most illegal immigrants entered the US legally, on tourist or family visit or student visas. Then they overstayed the termination date on the visa. Relatively few cross the border illegally. Most illegal immigrants are working--often for less than minimum wage. Their labor reduces the cost of the goods they produce, so consumers pay lower prices and businesses make greater profits.
Most illegal immigrants pay taxes--maybe not income tax (their earnings would be below the threshold anyway), but sales taxes, gasoline taxes, property taxes (as part of rent) etc. Most illegal immigrants commit no crimes in the US (other than their illegal status). Those that do are prosecuted and they are the first to be deported. Because the US is a nation of laws, illegal immigrants and persons suspected of being illegal immigrants can't just be rounded up and forced across the border with Mexico or Canada or pushed into the sea to drown. They need to be arrested and charged and tried before they can be deported. This is a very inefficient and costly way to deal with illegal immigrants. It's much cheaper to offer an easy path to legalization. If the objection to illegal immigrants is based in how much they cost the economy (rather than anti-immigrant prejudice), then the cheapest solution to the problem ought to win out.

jafs 5 years ago

Well, all of your arguments about the costs of prosecuting illegal immigration apply to enforcing any of our laws.

Should we just stop doing that because it costs money?

Rewarding behavior will never decrease it, it will only increase it, according to basic behavioral psychology - if we want to discourage illegal immigration, we shouldn't reward it.

voevoda 5 years ago

Currently, the "reward" for the illegal behavior of remaining or entering the US without a visa is the opportunity to work. It's not the opportunity to get citizenship, because currently that route to citizenship doesn't exist. Clearly, then, jafs, it's not the promise of citizenship that is luring illegals here--it's the opportunity to earn money here. If a path to legalization for law-abiding and self-supporting illegals is paired with a real crackdown on employers who hire illegals, we will simultaneously solve the problems of the status of the current illegals and the lure to new ones. That's an approach that is humane and cost effective.

jafs 5 years ago

I fail to see how your post contradicts anything I said.

It will still encourage the behavior by rewarding it.

Somebody who is here illegally is not "law abiding" - they have broken the law.

And, why would you punish the employers while rewarding the individuals?

voevoda 5 years ago

Do you care more about "the rest of us" than they do, its_just_math? If so, you have a funny way of showing it, giving the tenor of your comments about Christy Kennedy posted above.

jayhawkinsf 5 years ago

An open question to any posters who wish to respond. Given the fact that we now have about 310 million people in this country, what do you think the best number should be? And a follow up question. What policies should we enact to get to that best number you suggest?

jafs 5 years ago

That's a good, and interesting question.

I don't have an answer, but I think it's one of the fundamental questions we should ask and answer in order to determine our immigration policies in a clear and reasonable manner.

For those who like to compare our situation now to our founding, we've obviously absorbed an immense amount of people now that weren't here at the beginning, and all nations change their policies as circumstances change.

It's simply not a good idea, in my view, to continue to absorb large numbers of immigrants - there comes a point at which it's not sustainable.

bad_dog 5 years ago

If you "get rid of" GE and any other corporations that pay little, if any taxes, you also "get rid of " hundreds of thousands of jobs and the Federal, State and local taxes those employees pay. You may also irreparably damage their stock values, thus harming unknown numbers of shareholders. Doesn't seem too bright to me. Why not attack the source of the problem that permits companies to legally avoid tax implications-the U.S. tax code?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

It's a very naive question.

The real problem is that we have 7 billion people on the planet. The US can't just pretend that closing our borders allows us to ignore what's going on in the rest of the world, and that doing so will keep that from affecting us.

jayhawkinsf 5 years ago

Both issues are legitimate. The planet has too many people, in my opinion. The United States has too many people. California has more people than Canada. It's not surprising to me that California has a very large population, a population that is growing faster than much of the rest of the country and it is simultaneously going broke.
It's very difficult for us to control the population in China or India. They are making decisions that will help slow the growth of their populations. I applaud their efforts. My question still stands. Should we make efforts to slow our growth rate and if so, how? And the fact remains that immigrants, both legal and illegal, have higher birth rates than native born Americans. More immigrants equals more people. I realize that there are arguments that we need more workers as our population ages. That too is a legitimate argument. Do we want to be more like Canada or China? Someone on a related thread a couple of days ago said Canada has a very restrictive immigration policy. Are they racists or simply looking out for their own national best interests? Can't we also look out for our best interests without the accusations that our actions are discriminatory or a violation of someone else's human rights?

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