“DREAM By Fiat’s” Limited Practical Effect

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Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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54 Responses

  1. Avatar M.A. says:

    Very insightful analysis.

    Though it’s a shame it’ll never be listened to by the types who scream “That marxist kenyan thinks he can make an amnesty without congress” on the radio.Report

  2. Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

    In support, he argues that the effect of the directive is to grant around 800,000 work permits by fiat

    Actually my argument was in the abstract, that it could. But great post.Report

  3. Avatar Jeff says:

    Ya know, if you’re going to have a post every time Tom is wrong about something, you’re going to need a sub-forum.Report

  4. Avatar Roger says:

    Mark,

    Awesome summary. All the new shows rattle on about the political nature of this, but this is the first good explanation I have heard or read. This sounds like a great idea to me. Yeah Obama!Report

  5. Avatar RTod says:

    Mark – I have to tell you, this post is by far the best summary or argument (for or against) I have seen on this subject. Easy to follow, thorough, well crafted and devastating.

    This was just outstanding.Report

    • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Kazzy says:

      Perhaps we can discuss the first commenter’s points under that video, Nitish Singh:

      this Jon Stewart / Daily Show clip is excruciatingly dumb:
      dumb Stewart point #1: the Dream Act is not comprehensive immigration reform that POTUS Obama promised within the first year of his term
      dumb Stewart point #2: so the last minute lame duck Congress attempt to pass non comprehensive Dream Act apparently absolves Dems and Obama for the prior 22+ months of inaction, including a time during which the Dems had a filibuster proof majority.
      dumb Stewart point #3: This is perhaps THE single dumbest thing of the segment: essentially equating political asylum with expanding ‘prosecutorial discretion’ to people in the US illegally. groups such as Liberians in 2007 or Haitians during the 1990s were refugees from oppressive regimes run by international baddies. So is Stewart making some crazed equivalence between Liberia’s Charles Taylor and Haiti’s Aristide with Mexico’s Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderon?
      dumb Stewart point #4: so in Stewart’s New Math “this young man” equals 800,000 people.

      so even following the schizophrenic logic of Jon Stewart and his team of Daily Show writers…
      POTUS Obama maintains he had this ‘prosecutorial discretion’ the entire time–a debatable point notwithstanding Stewart’s certitude–but waited until the last year of his term to do it.
      that really gives new meaning to the Obama phrase: “We are the Ones we are waiting for…”
      Exit Question: How many young Hispanics did the Obama administration heartlessly deport?
      Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to wardsmith says:

        WS-

        Do you genuinely believe that John McCain wanted the comprehensive immigration reform of the type that Obama claimed to be bringing in year one?Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

          McCain always seemed more sincere to me when he was talking pro-immigration rather than anti-immigration rhetoric.Report

        • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Kazzy says:

          Given that McCain is the senator from AZ, the state which is known to bear the heaviest burden from illegal immigration (and which I might add, the Obama administration sued for the CRIME of *ahem* attempting to enforce the FEDERAL laws on the books). The White House’s specious argument is that the gov’t has “limited resources”. Is that really so? The richest country on the planet has “limited resources”? Admittedly tossing billions at failing solar companies who just happened to contribute to BHO’s campaigns sets the country back a bit, but there’s plenty more where that came from. Obama is using his own form of “starve the beast”, only he isn’t starving the /whole/ beast, just the parts he doesn’t like. That the gov’t has further gone after Arizona for the /crime/ of verifying whether someone has the legitimate right to vote – well you connect the dots. Enough illegals vote for BHO in the next election and he just might take the border states and the election.Report

          • 1. Most. Deportations. In. History. Say what you will about the propriety of the suit against Arizona, but the notion that he’s trying to starve border enforcement is preposterous.

            2. “Enough illegals vote for BHO in the next election and he just might take the border states and the election.” Is there any actual evidence of illegal aliens successfully voting, much less in large numbers?Report

            • Frankly, if I were an illegal alien, the last thing I’d consider trying to do would be casting a fraudulent vote. No marginal appreciable upside, and a definite risk of getting caught, which would guarantee a one-way ticket to Central America in the near future.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                Republicans have never had a leg to stand on in their crusades for “vote purity.” Their rhetoric today as in days past comes ever so close to the “Keep America American” of the Know-Nothings.

                If you want vote purity, make failure to vote punishable by a fine. Then make voting day a holiday so people are guaranteed the day off to show up, or make it Saturday through Tuesday and give them the weekend option.

                If you want to depress the vote because it’s the only way to win… act like the Republicans, pass racially targeted new requirements and unconstitutional poll taxes.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                Sorry Mark, obviously I didn’t see your post as I was composing mine. You and I were having a relatively benign conversation then others jumped in with a manner I did not like and I responded too much in kind. I had no intention to threadjack and purposely went away from the computer and for a walk to clear my head. This is why I don’t like political blogging – too much rah rah rah for the home team and too little cognitive engagement on the issues at hand. Clearly Democrats outnumber Republicans on this site by about 100:1, but even though I’m not a Republican, I can’t cotton to the misleading statements about them by far too many here. Yes they are guilty of a host of sins, and only a fool would deny that team blue isn’t guilty of at least as many more. We should be able to get past that and talk in the abstract about what needs to be solved and (possibly) how.Report

            • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Mark Thompson says:

              Mark, as an attorney you know how long deportation proceedings take. The table for /this/ administrations deportations was set by the /prior/ administration and it has simply taken this long to get through the backlog.

              Evidence. Meh. You could play the exact same game played by the Washington State Court who demanded of the GOP that they prove that the (obvious and admitted) voter fraud that occurred in the election and recounts benefited the Democrat candidate exclusively. This in a state without a major illegal alien problem:

              Much of the testimony in the trial, from witnesses on both sides, recounted mistakes in the election: provisional ballots counted without the required verification of voter eligibility beforehand; more ballots than could be matched to voters recorded as voting; discrepancies in reconciling poll books; ballots overlooked until months after the final count was completed; sloppy or misleading voting reports.
              And each side submitted evidence that hundreds of felons voted in defiance of a state constitutional prohibition…His rejection of “the mess is bigger than the margin” argument was consistent with his pretrial rulings, in which he cited laws and legal precedents. Those guidelines required Rossi to show that Gregoire owed her victory to illegal votes. They also call for the litigants to identify specific illegal votes and by whom they were cast. And they say that if there’s no sign of corruption by elections workers in handling an illegal vote that can’t be assigned to one candidate or the other, that vote must be treated as valid.

              NBC did a show on this, but of course you’ll raise the bar so high that the fact that illegals are voting isn’t going to persuade you that they’re influencing elections. In Washington state Rossi eventually lost by 133 votes the video documents more than that number but I’m sure you’ll remain unconvinced.

              And finally the laws of the land (pushed strongly by the liberal left) are designed to disallow the state from even DETERMINING if a voter is illegal. Hence the reference above to the Fed’s suing AZ for that “crime”.

              Do illegals vote? Absolutely. Are they told how to vote? Absolutely. Is it wrong? Absolutely. Does illegal voting dovetail into the Left’s agenda? Absolutely. Does this piss off Americans? Absolutely. Does this all get in the way of legitimate immigration reform? Of course.Report

              • I’ve watched the video. It found 94 non-citizens on voter rolls in the state of Florida – this is hardly a large number, but more importantly, it has nothing to do with the notion that illegal aliens vote. A “non-citizen” is a vastly different thing than an “illegal alien,” and there are several times as many persons who are “legal alien non-citizens” as there are “illegal aliens.”

                The report on the Washington State case you reference does not contain a single allegation that votes were cast by illegal aliens – the reference to “illegal votes” is almost entirely to votes by convicted felons, with the remainder of purportedly illegal votes being improperly counted provisional ballots. Finally, there were allegedly 19 ballots cast in the name of dead people. I suppose it’s possible these were cast by illegal aliens, though there does not appear to have been an allegation to that effect. It’s certainly at least equally possible that these votes were misattributed or were the result of some other chicanery or were cast by other persons ineligible to vote.

                As for the length of the deportation process – I’m not an immigration attorney, but my research suggests that: (1) the process CAN take years, depending on the nature of the case; but (2) the average case only takes about a month. Of course, part of my point here is that DREAM-eligible deportations presumably are more likely to fall in category (1) than category (2). Cases where there’s some sort of criminal activity involved would seem to most assuredly be likely to be of the quicker variety.

                Saying that something is so does not make it so.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                The problem Mark is that our system is rigged so that we can’t even DETERMINE if an illegal immigrant voted. Your supposition that they would be “afraid” doesn’t hold water when they can’t even be CARDED. They’re far more likely to get in trouble driving a car than voting in the courthouse.

                I messed up a /a above but if you clicked on the word DETERMINING you’ll get the link that documents my point.Report

              • I’ve now taken a look at the Heritage Foundation’s study on this, which seems to be the leading source. It does not even attempt to estimate the number of illegal aliens who may be voting. The one thing that is readily apparent, however, is that the few numbers they do provide, which are apples-to-apples comparisons, make clear that there are a lot few illegal aliens who are registered to vote than there are legal aliens registered to vote, and as a percentage of total numbers of aliens, it seems like the number of aliens registered to vote is fairly small, and the number who actually vote is extremely small. That may or may not be a problem worth addressing – the solutions may wind up disenfranchising more eligible voters than ineligible voters, for example, though I’m open to being convinced on this; but to suggest that it’s anything approaching large numbers is just disingenuous, and there is no basis to suggest that this rises to the level where all illegal aliens should be held collectively responsible. Sure, in theory, this can sway an election; but any impropriety affecting one or more votes can sway an election.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to wardsmith says:

                > The problem Mark is that our system is
                > rigged so that we can’t even DETERMINE
                > if an illegal immigrant voted. Your
                > supposition that they would be “afraid”
                > doesn’t hold water when they can’t even
                > be CARDED.

                Objection, prejudicial.

                It’s not “rigged” so much as designed that way for other features. You can argue that the other features are not necessary, but that still doesn’t make it “rigged”.

                That aside:

                The inability to card citizens does not, in fact, make it impossible to determine prolific voter fraud, Ward. This is a epidemiological problem, and there are lots and lots of people who study it.

                There is just no substantive epidemiological evidence that supports an existence of voter fraud on any scale even close to the margin of error of electoral processes in the U.S. So if voter fraud does exist in any sense of the word, it’s vanishingly unlikely to have an impact on anything other than the most local of elections.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to wardsmith says:

                The problem Mark is that our system is rigged so that we can’t even DETERMINE if an illegal immigrant voted.

                Because in the past, very similar demands made upon the voting process were explicitly designed with racism in mind.

                And because these hamfisted, neanderthal requirements always wind up causing a lot of collateral damage specifically aimed at minorities, the poor, and the elderly.

                I’ll say it again: if you want a “truer” vote, if you want a “more legitimate” vote – make voting day a required federal holiday or extend voting from saturday through tuesday, to make it so that as many people can get to the polls. Implement a fine for failure to vote if you like, as they do in nations with compulsory voting.

                If you don’t really care about the legitimacy of the election, do what the Republicans do; set up a bunch of racist poll taxes and arbitrary restrictions and “challenges” meant to disenfranchise the “wrong sort” of voter.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to M.A. says:

                That’s kinda sorta what Judge Hinkle thought of Florida’s newly minted voter-registration requirements:

                The law included onerous restrictions on community-based voter registration drives, forcing the League of Women Voters of Florida and other groups to shut down their drives. In his decision, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle found that the Constitution and federal law prohibit most of Florida’s recently-passed restrictions, and highlighted the law’s impact on the Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.

                “Together speech and voting are constitutional rights of special significance; they are the rights most protective of all others, joined in this respect by the ability to vindicate one’s rights in a federal court. … [W]hen a plaintiff loses an opportunity to register a voter, the opportunity is gone forever,” U.S. Judge Robert L. Hinkle wrote in his opinion blocking most of the Florida law. “And allowing responsible organizations to conduct voter-registration drives—thus making it easier for citizens to register and vote—promotes democracy.”Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to M.A. says:

                If you don’t really care about the legitimacy of the election, do what the Republicans do Democrats DID; set up a bunch of racist poll taxes and arbitrary restrictions and “challenges” meant to disenfranchise the “wrong sort” of voter.

                Fixed it for ya there MA. Or in the “politically correct” times we live in now, you’ll tell me Jim Crow laws were enacted by Republicans no? Yup revisionist history rules, as long as our rulers get to define the revisions. As for the rest, why not do what Washington does (now) and have mail-in ballots? Yes that “disenfranchises” those who don’t have an address, but not to worry King County has thousands of ballots in drawers downtown they can pull out at a moment’s notice in a close election.. er whoops.

                Patrick, if it is epidemiological I guess you’re admitting it has or will reach epidemic proportions. You’re a sharp enough egg to know that what doesn’t get /measured/ doesn’t exist. This is like our debates about global warming, I know the data set is suspect because of TENS of thousands of data points that are missing. You can’t use three data points for a landmass the size of Canada, interpolate the rest and call it good. Same for voting “irregularities”. No one minds in blowout elections but in “too close to call” elections having thousands of dead people vote gets to be a problem. Of course the anonymity of the system means that ahem, yes we know those are fraudulent but we aren’t exactly sure “how” those dead people voted. Clearly something is broken here.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to M.A. says:

                I should add that for the years 2008-2011, there were a total of 49 investigations into voter fraud in Florida, the ostensible justification for the new legislation. I don’t know how many convictions.

                Acourse, that number may be low because Dems aren’t investigating the shenanigans they’re secretly orchestrating. There’s always that.Report

              • Avatar clawback in reply to M.A. says:

                wardsmith, you realize the fact that the Dixiecrats were racist is common knowledge, and pointing it out doesn’t demonstrate some kind of impressive knowledge of American history, right? You seem intent on embarrassing yourself on this point.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to M.A. says:

                The Dixiecrats – who had their own political party when Strom Thurmond ran for president, they weren’t “Democrats” even then – bolted for the Republicans.

                That’s the truth, Wardsmith. Not this “democrats are the real racists” bullshit.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to M.A. says:

                MA,
                play by ward’s rules, or he’ll keep on fucking correcting you until we’re ALL sick of it.
                The “Dixiecrats” who now call themselves “Republicans” were racist, and are still racist.
                The scotch irish are just xenophobic.
                there is a difference.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to M.A. says:

                Clawback, MA is the one embarrassing himself but if you’re too dense to see it… Yes my knowledge of history is vastly superior to most, not the least because I /lived/ through a lot of it personally. MA attributes to Republicans that which they have NEVER done and gets a pass, I call him on it and you criticize me, not MA. No need to read between the lines here on /your/ party affiliation. BTW, I’m registered independent and have voted Democrat numerous times (I vote for the candidate not the party) but I’m sick to death of lies promulgated as facts on the Internet. MA is a prime offender.

                StillH20, let me splain it for you shall I? Here’s how to detect voter fraud. In a county which has only 10,000 registered voters 12,000 vote. Hmm, statistics tells us something is wrong. Now by setting the bar to CONVICTIONS instead of paying attention to the FRAUD going on you can pretend NOTHING is wrong. You’d make an excellent lawyer, specialists at redirecting attention away from the crime committed to grains of sand at the crime scene. Of course even in cases where we KNOW there is outright fraud, we have a complicit government that refuses to prosecute. Ergo convictions won’t tell us the whole story.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to M.A. says:

                WS, your blatant smears are an embarassment.

                In a county which has only 10,000 registered voters 12,000 vote.

                Show me proof of it happening. It doesn’t. long term investigations by a REPUBLICAN administration turned up squat.

                but I’m sick to death of lies promulgated as facts on the Internet.

                There’s an easy way to fix that: how about you stop lying on the internet?Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to M.A. says:

                Folks, this line of debate’s not going anywhere, and it’s not really relevant to the OP. I’d ask that everyone move on to another topic. I assure you, the last person to post doesn’t win.

                This isn’t a threat – I don’t moderate my own posts – just a request.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to M.A. says:

                Wow MA you’re a regular rocket scientist aren’t you? To rebut my contention that CONVICTIONS are virtually impossible in an anonymous system with secret ballots, you point me to an article that -wait for it – talks about CONVICTIONS!

                We could go back to the actual, you know, statistics, or point to additional unwillingness on the part of federal officials to uphold the law but you have no case there so you’re bound to point to some other inanity and expect me to buy it. I’m happy to engage, but only with someone of sufficiently high intelligence to make the effort worthwhile. I suspect you have intelligence, I’m just holding out hope that you’ll engage it. If you fall back on your inane republitard trolling, consider me unengaged, not by any means defeated, just disgusted.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to M.A. says:

                Wardsmith, please cut it out and respect Mark’s wishes.

                EDIT: I see your post came right after Mark’s. My apologies if you were writing that and did not see Mark’s comment until after it was posted. I still don’t like the non-productive nature of the conversation, but I shouldn’t have assumed that you were ignoring Mark.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to wardsmith says:

                you ain’t seen the minutemen have you, sucker?
                They sit there with guns on, threatening anyone who ain’t white as a sheet. Lying to people about what’s going on, too.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to wardsmith says:

            Ward, this country can’t afford to push out all the illegal aliens. Our economy has become completely dependent on them. Your unfortunate metaphor of Starve the Beast is apter than you know: illegal aliens feed the beasts. Literally. They’re mucking the cattle barns and picking the vegetables.Report

      • Avatar Derp in reply to wardsmith says:

        “why didn’t he just pass his radical socialist agenda while he had a filibuster proof majority so that I can later complain about it being shoved down my throat”Report

      • It seems worth mentioning that the following provision, to which I refer in the OP, has been on the books since at least 1997 (which is the oldest version of the CFR that is available online), and my assumption is that it goes back to 1987. Under this provision, a person is permitted to obtain a work permit if they are “(14) An alien who has been granted deferred action, an act of administrative convenience to the government which gives some cases lower priority, if the alien establishes an economic necessity for employment.”

        This provision would not exist if it were not used. It also describes exactly what the Administration is doing here, almost verbatim.

        Look, I need to ask this question:

        If there are 40 times more illegal immigrants than there are cases that the government can process in a given year (which pretty clearly seems to be the case), and those who are not processed in a given year are able to work without a work permit of any kind, which of the following policies more fully seeks to enforce the law in its allocation of resources:

        1. 200,000 aliens deported for various criminal conduct; 180,000 deported for having knowingly and willfully entered and remained in the country illegally; and 20,000 deported for having been brought into the country as a minor by their parent; or

        2. 210,000 aliens deported for various criminal conduct; 190,000 aliens deported for having knowingly and willfully entered and remained in the country illegally; and 20,000 with deferred deportations, who are now “in the system,” wholly unable to work without a permit, able to be deported at the drop of a hat in 2 years, and many of whom will be ineligible for a work permit (and thus may wind up having to “deport themselves.”)

        Although I recognize that it’s perhaps debatable to expect that the decrease in deportations of “DREAMers” will be 100% made up for by an increase in deportations of others, particularly since bringing the “DREAMers” into the system is not something that can happen magically, it also seems pretty likely to be the case that deportation proceedings against this group are significantly more resource-intensive than deportation proceedings against the other two groups, for the simple reason that evidence is going to be more difficult to obtain.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mark Thompson says:

          Thinking about the ads now… showing a pair of African-American hands crumpling up a letter: “You needed that job. You were the best qualified. But they gave it to an illegal immigrant instead of deporting him…”Report

        • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Mark Thompson says:

          Mark you’ve done an excellent lawyerly job of narrowing the scope of this to work permits while ignoring the larger issue entirely.

          How about if I frame it this way? Illegal immigrant is going to school (at taxpayer expense) living in a apartment (at taxpayer expense) getting HBT (taxpayer expense) social security (taxpayer expense) health care (taxpayer expense) and is NOT working (nor plans to). How does this change the equation for the average American who is getting none of those things but IS working (and paying taxes) to support them? This is how the silent majority is looking at this issue, not under the narrow confines you have so eloquently defined.Report

          • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to wardsmith says:

            I doubt this will change anything but…

            Most need based assistance isn’t available unless you’ve been here five years legally…especially SSI, TANF and SCHIP. Your framing of the issue is utterly fallacious and based on scare-mongering nativism. The silent majority is looking at the issue incorrectly, and being goaded on by people who either willfully distort the numbers or don’t know better.Report

          • Avatar M.A. in reply to wardsmith says:

            What’s our other alternative?

            Illegal immigrant is not going to school and remaining uneducated;
            Living in a shack or something else, or who knows where;
            What the fish do you mean by HBT?
            Is working under the table doing construction, odd jobs, janitorial, or working under forged documents.
            Is more likely to be involved in violent gang crime, either as a victim or a member.
            Is more likely to be involved in theft, burglary, or other crimes that impact everyone else.

            Here’s a question to you, WS. How do you get to 20 million deportations? What steps do you take?

            Do their kids count as American? Grandkids? Does it matter if they marry a citizen or legally present alien or not? Do we need a chart?Report

          • Avatar North in reply to wardsmith says:

            School and arguably Healthcare (as in running out on their bills presumably) maybe, but an apartment, HBT, and Social Security?!?!

            How do you claim these nerfarious freeloaders are pulling such a stunt off?

            Also, if they’re not working then why is it that the recession caused the illegal immigration flow to not only dwindle but actually reverse? If they were not coming here for jobs then why would the economy effect their rate of immigration?Report

            • Avatar Kimmi in reply to North says:

              legal immigration reversed too. no jobs == no new migrants. period.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North says:

              If they were not coming here for jobs then why would the economy effect their rate of immigration?

              It’s not the economy, stupid. They’re being bussed in by a Chicago-based firm on a sweatheart deal at taxpayers expense to be randomly distributed throughout important swing states where Lindskyite community organizers set them up with section 8 housing, medicaid and EBT benefits in exchange for voting D in November.

              Isn’t it obvious?Report

          • What “larger issue”? The policy does what it does, and one of the things it does is to basically ensure that just as many illegal aliens are going to be deported, except that more of those who are deported are going to be morally culpable, and that an additional group of illegal aliens are going to have more pressure on them than they currently have.

            And can we get rid of this notion that the average illegal immigrant is (a) not working (nor planning to); and (b) living on taxpayer-funded welfare? The entire fishing point of immigration is to go where the jobs are.

            If the argument is that what’s important is that those 800,000 people continue to fear the possibility of deportation as much as possible, then I submit that this is (a) an absurd basis for policy; and (b) ignores the fact that those 800,000 people still have ample reason to fear deportation (how hard is it, after all, to pick up a DUI?), and to fear losing their ability to work.Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to wardsmith says:

            Exactly. Which is why people want to establish a way for them to legally work and pay into those systems so they’re not fully dead-weight loss, since realistically they’re not going anywhere, since the constraining issue is not that we couldn’t find the money to scale up to the project of getting rid of them all, but that we actually do want to preserve some level of process for anyone who would come into the system for doing that, and we know we wouldn’t want want to establish the kind of bureaucratic behemoth that would be necessary for extending that process to, basically, as many of 7 or 20 million people who are here illegally as we could round up. Nor do we want to look ourselves in the mirror after we lower that process to a level where we could meet it without that scaling up. So the people are here, in fact mostly working (why else are they here?), largely off the books. Resource constraints in changing this fact are simply a reality, as I’ve laid out. So we do need to prioritize whom we seek to deport, not because we don’t have the money, but because we don’t want to be the nation we’d have to be to be able to deport them all. The question is whether your silent group actually disagrees with the prioritization that this president has pursued – seeking to deport those who break domestic laws after they’re already here first and foremost, and deporting more of them per year than all the deportations done on average in pervious years?

            I think a lot of your silent majority silently doesn’t. Which is probably why majorities of the country are likely to support this and other discretionary measures like it with respect to this issue (while also wanting increased deportation efforts – but aimed at whom? and how much increased?). Don’t expect much different from this from President Romney.

            Silent majorities are sort of a thing of the past anyway, aren’t they? We’ve gotten quite good at find out what people of all stripes think about issues using surveys and aggregating those numbers in such a way that the views of “silent majorities” are actually represented in the data, haven’t we? (Is that just politcal-scientific hubris on my part?) Certainly, vast majorities of the country have never participated in a scientific public opinion survey. But the entire point of that enterprise is to go looking for those people who are not vocal about issues the activists and pundits are, find out what their views are, and represent the number of people with various views as accurately as possible. They might be failing at that outright, but if so, they’re doing so in quite a systematic way, since on issue questions opinion tends to be quite stable over time, which is what allows for public opinion response to events like the president’s gay-marriage statement to have any semblance of coherence.

            To me, it looks like there’s just a large group of people who look at this the way you describe — and then an even larger group who looks at a step like this (substantively, at least – meaning process and separation-of-powers questions aside, and to the extent it actually is a step and not just the articulation of the flip-side of the series of priorities that this administration had already long established on this issue) as a productive accommodation to realities on the ground. Neither of them particularly silent, to my way of hearing, either.Report

            • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Michael Drew says:

              Michael, good points all. And just to clarify (especially MA who wasn’t here then), I’m fully in favor of MORE immigration not less. The main reason we have so much ILLEGAL immigration is we have a fished up system that CREATES it! I am against the racist “quotas” in place, the “lotteries”, the lack of a realistic path to citizenship nor a temporary worker system. I am against the complete politicization of the issue but its political roots are obvious (on BOTH sides mind you). The Democrats would happily sell this country down the river tomorrow for a few more votes today. The GOP by being the designated (uncool) “adults” in the room get to worry about paying the bills and cleaning up the messes.

              But facts are facts. Immigrants are heavy users of government “aid”. The interview was in Spanish and unfortunately I can’t get my hands on it now, but Calderon said Mexico doesn’t need Social Security because the United States has it. Naturally he’s in favor of Obama’s policy, less of a burden (supporting Mexican citizens) on his own country if he can sluff it off on the US. Now if we followed Mexico’s OWN immigration policy we’d have 1/20,000,000th the problem we have today.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to wardsmith says:

                The Dems might sell the country down the river (to itself), but the GOP is demonstrably horrible at both paying bills and cleaning up messes. They are mostly over eighteen years of age, though. Some of them are slightly cool, but yeah, mostly not.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to wardsmith says:

                No, immigrants are heavy users of government aid. Poor people are.Report

              • Avatar Anderson in reply to wardsmith says:

                I read the article you linked to above, which I wish you had read as well…So, in summary, many immigrant families use food assistance and Medicaid (far less so for housing/ cash assistance). They are often made eligible through their children, aka American citizens. I don’t know what you’re talking about with Social Security. But, as your article so lucidly explains, this has to do with “low levels of education and their resulting low incomes — not their legal status or an unwillingness to work.”

                In short, poor working families get access to some social programs. And, just like legal families of the same socio-economic standing, they wouldn’t be paying heavily into the income tax system anyway because of the standard deduction/ EITC, etc…Of course, like other poor working families, they do pay sales tax, gas tax, excise taxes, etc. Moreover, these individuals have to live with the fear of being deported and separated from their families at any moment. Not to mention the lack of basic labor protections/ minimum wage laws that citizens receive.

                Remind me where the free-loading takes places here again?Report

              • Avatar DBrown in reply to Anderson says:

                But what use are facts when I have fake news … I mean fox news and its insane and unbalanced newscasters telling me what to think and that is all I need to know. Facts are for losers and I just want to hate those brown people who can’t speak proper english … I mean real american (not the indian one, through … .)Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Anderson says:

                Anderson, thank you for an insightful and thoughtful post vs the one immediately below yours from dBrown who sees fit to beat his drum talking about someone I never mentioned once. He/she is also apparently unaware that my wife is an immigrant from Asia, considerably more “brown” than I am. And of course dBrown is unaware (having read none of my previous posts) that I am in FAVOR of /more/ immigration not less. The problem isn’t the immigration the problem is the lack of integration into society and worn and tattered safety nets that are straining at a job they weren’t designed properly for in the first place.

                Here is the broader issue, and instead of thinking like a lone blogger, think in terms of the rest of population. Joe Sixpack is upside down on his mortgage, he works 60 hrs a week pays his bills and pays his taxes and HE is the one worried about immigrants getting a free ride. The statistics are of course that immigrants ARE getting assistance, as you say primarily because they are poor and have few options available to them.

                What everyone glossed over in the inequality symposium is the blatant fact that the BOTTOM 1% in the US are in the TOP 1% worldwide. There are that many living at subsistence levels. You can look at an immigrant receiving public assistance and say, “Too bad for Mr. Flores and his 6 kids” meanwhile Mr. Flores and his six kids are saying, “Ain’t life grand? We’re WAY ahead of where we were back in the old country”. They’ve already hit the jackpot, we just can’t see it from our wealth and privilege status.

                What I want from a societal standpoint is for Mr. Flores’ six kids to have it far better than he did, and not for instance end up gang-bangers in East LA.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to wardsmith says:

                Ward,
                Half of that number (the bottom 1%) were homeless or living in shelters. Would you care to revise your estimation?

                For all that South African houses may catch fire, at least they’re living in their own houses.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to wardsmith says:

                immigrants use less goverment aid than people from this country do.

                You want more Wacos? suggest again you want to copy Mexico’s policies, mf.Report