The Immigration Debate is Over

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80 Responses

  1. Murali says:

    Clarify for me what’s going on? If immigrants can stay in the big cities indefinitely while they acquire some legal status or wait indefinitely for one, that seems like at least a partial win. While it may not be maximally desirable or just its better than locking them up in cages. Trump’s ugly rhetoric aside, this is him conceding that his inordinately cruel policies were unworkable and he is now reverting to the admittedly far from perfect status quo ante.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Murali says:

      This is one of those cases where if President Obama had announced the policy of moving asylum-seekers (and illegal immigrants) to sanctuary cities, there would be a lot less objection. And the “double standard” would be entirely rational. One would be trying to put the immigrants in a welcoming environment while the other would be using them as pawns or plot devices. The difference in motivation would almost certainly translate into a difference in how the immigrants are treated, what preparations for them are made, and how smoothly they want the process to go (if your goal is to punish, the more rough the better).

      It’s as with a lot of things where you can actually put a decent spin on most or all of the individual actions if you are willing to ignore their being a part of the larger fabric. Denying bond hearings? Well, Obama tried to do that until the courts made him stop. Kids in cages? Obama again, sometimes you have to do what you have to do. But you could have reasonable faith that with Obama it was means to an end whereas here it is the ends, or with Obama it was crisis management whereas with Trump it’s crisis opportunism. And with the difference in motivation translates to a difference in execution.

      The president’s critics are right to be suspicious about everything he does with regard to immigrants because his stated aims and views are malicious towards them. I think a lot of people here and elsewhere are oversimplifying the broader issue to the nth degree. But this part really is simple.Report

      • pillsy in reply to Will Truman says:

        And with the difference in motivation translates to a difference in execution.

        This is the primary reason we fight over who’s President, and why partisans tend to focus so heavily on the Executive, to the dismay of various sorts of moderates and procedural conservatives who think it should be all about Congress. And as Congress has become weaker for a variety of reasons, most of which are self-inflicted or the result of electoral exigencies, the Executive has gotten more essential.

        I think a lot of people here and elsewhere are oversimplifying the broader issue to the nth degree.

        I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but so much of this comes down to the fact that, in this Administration, both the WH and his more establishment defenders are exponentially more full of shit than in prior Admins. Trump is just a cottage-cheese brained grifting bully bigot so obviously nothing he says can be trusted, but the fact that he’s such a cottage-cheese brained grifting bully bigot means that his high profile defenders, at least the ones who want to preserve a modicum of self-respect, retreat into a craven sort of “media criticism” and aggressively police the libs for the slightest sign of hypocrisy because if we actually talk about Trump they’ll have to look down and plunge off that cliff like Wile E. Coyote.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

        Obama never intended any of these things as retribution and punishment. He also never got Democrats wearing shirts saying “Fuck off, we’re full.” Immigration is an area where many Democrats were likely to disagree with Obama.Report

  2. Chip Daniels says:

    The cruelty is the point.
    The exercise of arbitrary and capricious power is the point.
    The ability to suspend or withhold the basic humanity or Person-ness of immigrants is the point.

    The end game, as you suggest, is to establish that there is one group who are protected but not constrained by the law, and another who are constrained but not protected.Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    Oh, good! I was worried that the immigration debate was going to continue.

    So it looks like Trump won?Report

    • George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

      Yep. The Attorney General overseas the immigration courts, which are part of the executive branch, not the judicial branch. The executive also has the authority to transfer anyone in federal custody to any other federal facility.Report

  4. LeeEsq says:

    A.G. Barr’s decision while terrible is a bit more limited than people are making it out to be. There are two types of removal hearings, expedited removal hearings and regular removal hearings. Every alien in an expedited removal hearing is detained. Many but not all aliens or even most in regular removal hearings are also detained. If an alien in expedited removal hearing can show they have a credible fear of persecution or torture in their home country, they are sent to regular removal hearings. Theoretically, this gives them more time to present a claim and pursue other relief. In 2005, the Board of Immigration Appeals held that going from an expedited removal hearing to a regular removal hearing renders an alien eligible for bond. AG Barr’s decision reverses this and states they must remain in detention until they are granted asylum or are paroled into the United States.

    DHS was opposed to this reversal by the way. They think that this is going to overwhelm the carrying capacity of the detention centers. They are right. Trump and most of the rest of his administration doesn’t care though. They are just going to do what they want to do. It is an exercise in declarative white supremacy and organized cruelty.Report

  5. Mike Dwyer says:

    “In another world, perhaps, there could be an immigration debate.”

    I’m ready to have that discussion. Let’s start with an assumption and then an opening statement…

    When we talk about illegal immigration we aren’t really talking about the people that come here on planes and overstay their visas. We’re talking about the people that come across our southern border.

    Opening Statement
    Prior to the 1970s our southern border was essentially open and migrant workers, primarily from Mexico, would cross at will to work seasonal jobs in a few states and then return home at the end of the season. After we began to secure the border, those migrant workers began to stay longer and longer, changing the dynamic. Eventually they began to spread out across the US until now they can be found in pretty much every state. We now have an estimated 11.4 million illegals in the US.

    First question… What do we do about it?Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      Perhaps modify our immigration policy such that our southern border is essentially open and migrant workers, primarily from Mexico, can cross at will to work seasonal jobs in a few states and then return home at the end of the season?Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        Does that plan also involve a time machine?Report

        • Slade the Leveller in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          I don’t know that a time machine is necessary.

          One point of anecdata: I worked in the office for a seasonal company. We had someone from another country who worked for us. One day I got an email from our payroll company that his TIN was not eligible for work in the U.S. Since he was a good worker, rather than let him go, we started to pay him in cash.

          Meanwhile, he felt trapped inside our borders because he’d overstayed his visa. He even missed his sister’s wedding because he worried he wouldn’t be able to get back. I imagine if we had a guest worker program he’d be in those wedding photos.

          I’m going to guess that many of those 11.4 million people would return home when they felt like it, and those that aren’t because they’re genuinely afraid to go back where they came from.

          I’ve worked with many illegal immigrants over the years, and I’ll bet most Americans have dealt with at least one. If we were really serious about taking care of this problem, we’d go after the employers who have them on their payrolls. I don’t see that happening anytime soon.Report

        • Philip H in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          Why does it need to involve a time machine? Every “reason” cited since the 1970’s to constrain migration across that border has been . . . suspect . . . or worse. The free migration responds to market forces, and doesn’t actually take jobs from Americans, but does supply labor for critical economic sectors. Such immigrants have lower crime rates, get their kids educated in public schools and do their best to assimilate. Those free crossings did not make us as a nation less safe, nor did they create any real harm. Those 11.4 million people remaining (because we made it as hard to leave as to stay) are doing no harm while contributing to the society around them.

          Bottom line – while your assumption is correct, your opening statement is flawed based on the evidence, and we can’t have an immigration debate when one side starts from a flawed premise.

          You want to really discuss immigration? Ok, why aren’t we talking vise overstays (since all the 9/11 terrorists fell into this category)? Why are we not aggressively punishing businesses who hire these migrants? Why close the border in the first place?Report

        • Mike Dwyer in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          @slade @phillip

          My time machine reference was specifically referring to this comment from Chip:

          <em"…can cross at will to work seasonal jobs in a few states…"

          That is no longer a reality. Too many states depend on immigrants for labor. I suspect our entire agricultural industry would collapse without them. So we can’t go back to pre-1970s policy.

          Also, Phillip, I specifically said I think it’s smart to avoid the discussion of visa overstays and terrorists because that muddies the waters. This whole discussion is really about the southern border and the economic and security issues that are part of that discussion.Report

          • J_A in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            The reality is that most original immigrants (not their children) that have been here for many years, would nevertheless rather eventually return to their countries of origin, where the cost of living is much smaller and where they have their extended social/family network, and where their savings would likely allow them to set up a business and become part of the local lower middle class.

            By forcing all this people to stay, the US took this alternative away, and forced them to settle here as permanently as the pre-1920 migrants had no option but to forego any possibility of going back home. Another consequence was that young, able bodied migrants were replaced by complete families, consuming far more services.

            Open the border, restore the migrant programs, and a large part of the illegal immigrants will indeed self deport.

            That, BTW, was at the core of that famous socialist, GWB’s, immigration reform plan. Offer to would be and actual immigrants, and those who employ them, what they actually wanted: seasonal work.Report

            • Mike Dwyer in reply to J_A says:

              I am certainly open to facilitate that movement. I’m skeptical about how much it will change the current dynamic though. I suspect many of them will actually stay when given the choice. And that’s fine too. As someone that is deeply pro-immigration, I would much rather they be in the open. The question for me is whether once we give them the option to step into the light, and they choose to stay, will they make the mental shift to begin assimilating?Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                “The question for me is whether once we give them the option to step into the light, and they choose to stay, will they make the mental shift to begin assimilating?”

                Maybe we should let them worry about that, the way we did with previous waves of immigrants.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to CJColucci says:

                Successful assimilation of immigrants is the most important factor in the success of America IMO. So yeah, I’m going to worry about it. We also didn’t leave it up to previous groups either. There has always been a pressure to assimilate from both outside and inside immigrant communities. That is what makes it work.Report

              • J_A in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Those that decide they want to stay (probably because they’ve already rebuilt their life here) will assimilate, or their children will, because they don’t know anything else, just like previous generations of Hispanics assimilated (Hello, GOP Senators Rafael and Marco).

                If you have any anecdata about Hispanics refusing to assimilate and living and bunkering in ghettos and parallel societies for generations, like Muslims in Europe or Hasidim in NY/NJ do, please bring them forth. I have nothing.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to J_A says:

                The problem is that due to the conditions that bad U.S. immigration policy created, these communities still think of themselves as migrants, not immigrants. I think that will take a couple of generations to work itself out. It’s not a ‘refusal’ to assimilate, it’s the reality of how they self-identify. I’m not blaming them for that, but I think they are unique compared to other immigrant groups we have.

                Also, the ghettos of Europe were created by European policy, not immigrants wanting to live that way. That’s not the way we do things here so I don’t have much fear of that.Report

              • Jesse in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                “The problem is that due to the conditions that bad U.S. immigration policy created, these communities still think of themselves as migrants, not immigrants.”

                There is no evidence of this, though.

                Also, Irish immigrants, who had supposedly assimilated, were still sending money to terrorist groups up until twenty five years ago while also happily hiding illegal Irish immigrants.

                So, this idea that modern day Latino immigrants are different than past immigrant groups isn’t really true – it just so happens there are far more of them and more importantly, one party is running on basically opposition to them being in the party.

                If the GOP or Democrats were still running openly anti-Irish campaigns in 1970, the Irish in America would likely be far more organized around their identity than they already fiercely were.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Jesse says:

                “So, this idea that modern day Latino immigrants are different than past immigrant groups isn’t really true…”

                The problem is that you are lumping all of them in as immigrants when most of them still think of themselves as migrants.Report

              • bookdragon in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                But not wholely unique. This would mirror in some ways the way Chinese immigrants were treated in the 19th century. And yes, it did affect how they self-identified and assimilatedn, but it did largely work itself out – and to our benefit. ‘Chinatown’ enclaves in various large cities are attractions, and the degree to which their native culture and identity has been preserved is a positive addition to American culture overall.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Assimilation is often mistaken as a one way process, where immigrants slowly lose their old customs and adopt new ones, like in Barry Levinson’s movie Avalon.

                But its actually a two way street, where the host culture modifies and evolves to adopt some of the new culture as well.

                I think everyone intuitively grasps this, and that’s what drives a lot of fear, that culture isn’t a static thing but is open source and has no fixed points.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Chip Daniels says:


                I absolutely agree with all of this. As I say often, our history as a country of immigrants is our greatest strength.

                I sometimes think about the dogs we have had. We have had pure breds, that are amazing for what they do by instinct. My lab was such a beautiful swimmer and our little Brittany is the birdiest little guy I have ever seen. But they have health problems that come from limiting the gene pool. On the other hand our pitbull mix is as healthy as a horse and has never had any problems.I think this is a good analogy for America as a country. We need that fresh blood, those cultural infusions, those new ideas and perspectives. It’s what keeps us healthy.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                “We also didn’t leave it up to previous groups either.”

                Who is this “we” of whom you speak? And what is it “we” did? Major American cities had German-language public schools until WWI. Just about every group followed a standard pattern of assimilation: first generation largely speaking and reading a foreign language with only halting English; second generation fluent in English; third generation incompetent in the ancestral language. People are smart enough to adapt to the normal pressures of what it takes to get by in America without much input — whether help or pressure — from “us.” Mine were; I’m sure yours were as well.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to CJColucci says:

                There was also a LOT of pressure placed on them to assimilate (see Teddy Roosevelt’s complaints about hyphenated Americans). As I said, I think having the pressure come both from within and from outside the community has been proven to work the best. I’m deeply suspicious of anyone that says we shouldn’t encourage immigrants to become Americans faster.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                And some of us are “deeply suspicious” of folks who are unwilling to let nature take its course and talk about vague kinds of “pressure” they are unwilling to specify.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to CJColucci says:


                I’ll give you one example: My wife is a social worker and deals with school attendance. She often runs into a situation where she has an immigrant family that has the older kids stay home from school to babysit the younger kids if one of them is sick, so the parents can go to work. This is totally normal in their home countries where kids are given a lot more responsibility than they are here and school attendance is not mandatory. She explains to them that she understands but in our district the kids have to go to school. She said the problem rarely happens again. That could be considered a sort of outward pressure to assimilate.

                I’m guessing you see any suggestion that we pressure immigrants to become American as somehow nefarious or at the very least violating their identity. I could not disagree more strongly. The strength of the American immigration model is, as Chip put very well, for them to become Americans but also for us to assimilate some of their culture into our own. It’s a push/pull dynamic. So yeah, my great-great grandparents were pressured to become Americans but I also still make my grandmother’s German potato salad recipe and hoist a beer to the old country on St.Patrick’s Day. No one is asking them to abandon their culture, we’re just asking them to also join ours.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                This is problematic however, in that it assumes there’s a standard or dividing line between Americans and Not Americans that readily apparent based on language or skin tone or education. You are also making the problematic assumption that recent migrants aren’t seeing internal pressure to assimilate in their communities as well as from outside. As our lawyer friends would say – facts not in evidence.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Philip H says:

                “You are also making the problematic assumption that recent migrants aren’t seeing internal pressure to assimilate in their communities as well as from outside.”

                I think there is much less of this among Hispanics, for reasons I have already explained. Many of them think of themselves as migrants and many Americans see them as invaders, so neither side is pushing assimilation as much as we would normally would in America. I’m not saying there is zero assimilation. Louisville is full of taco shops and tiendas to my great delight, but the process is being slowed by bad immigration policy.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                If your notion of “pressure” is telling immigrant people that they have to do what they have to do, just like everyone else, then I guess we don’t have a disagreement. Odd notion of “pressure,” though.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to CJColucci says:

                There’s all kinds of others pressures, both formal and informal that come from outside immigrant communities. Again, it shouldn’t be viewed as some nefarious thing to encourage immigrants to become Americans.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Um, to the modern far left, it’s a nefarious thing to be an American. Making kids feel guilty and then promising them absolution really sells.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Depends on what “it” is.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to CJColucci says:

                Just imagine those things that you would be troubled by…it’s not those.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I suppose I’ll have to decide whether to take your word for it, since you won’t say what you mean.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to CJColucci says:

                I’ve already given you an example of at least one way that society puts pressure on new immigrants i.e. setting expectations for them. It’s not just about the letter of the law in that example. It’s about saying, ‘In the US the #1 job of a child is to be a student.” That’s a method of communicating societal values. I could enumerate lots of similar examples here. What more do you need?Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      Humans are generally mobile species. We have been wondering around our planet since the time of Homo Erectus. Our nomad history exists long before the idea of firm national borders, citizenship, and the ability of countries to effectively administrate their borders. At least some members of every national group wants to strictly police who is and who is not in their country and for how long because different groups like to police their membership. They can’t overcome the human tendency to wander and look for better opportunities because that is literally millions of years old, going back to Homo Erectus. The result is we get this endless debate about whether people should have a right to roam or not.Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I don’t disagree with any of that – but it’s the reality we have today.Report

        • Philip H in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          So what reality do you want?Report

          • Mike Dwyer in reply to Philip H says:

            Pretty simple really. I want to see a robust guest worker program where we get everyone documented and all of us decide as a country what kinds of social services we are comfortable offering them while they are here.Report

            • Philip H in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              That sounds awfully liberal and progressive of you. And also openly capitalistic since it would allow labor demand to actually ebb and flow. Most of the major declared democratic presidential candidates have stood for those ideas in some form or another at some point in their careers.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

                Not in service to Capital at the cost of solidarity with unskilled African-American workers?

                (“Liberal” and “Progressive” seems to change as often as “Conservative” does…)Report

              • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

                American industries who use and often exploit Hispanic immigrant labor have long histories of expoliting unskilled African Americans, but either ar eno longer located where African Americans are, or can’t get enough of them to meet the labor demand. My reference to capitalism is simply that labor issue right now – to the extent they drive immigration outcomes – are a demand side problem that is once again be met by supply side solutions. A robust guest worker program that allows the free migtation of labor across the border is a demand side solution. Closing the border, refusing bail for asylum seekrs and cutting off aid to countries from which migrants come are supply side solutions that are clearly not addressing the problem.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

                I tend to agree. When I worked at the restaurant, we had *TONS* of (legal) Mexican workers who lived 6-8 to a two-bedroom apartment and who worked very long hours and whose entertainment needs were met by a small television and a bag of marijuana. The rest of the money was sent home. They lived for the 3-6 months that they could go back to Mexico and spend time with their wife and kids. (I saw pictures!)

                They weren’t interested in learning English, they weren’t interested in staying in the US. They wanted to collect money and send remittances and then go back home and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

                I guess I just never saw this as particularly “liberal” or “progressive” on anybody’s part.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:


                You may not see that as liberal, but the ostensibly conservative and nakedly capitalistic political party has staked a claim to an immigration policy that not only wants to disrupt that free flow, but prevent anyone matching that demographic from entering the US – much less working here. The few proposals that have come forward in the last two decades to increase the ability of people to do as you subscribe have come from the left and then generally been shot down as being market interference and aiding and abetting law breakers.

                I’d also be careful about citing that one report in your arguments. Its 11 years old, and full of many caveats that all point to a paucity of actual data. The “consensus” that immigration is one factor (Among many) depressing wages for unskilled black men appears to be a middle ground created between wide end points of interpretation. The report pointedly shys away from making immigration policy recommendations in this space, and notes quite forcefully that issues of economic opportunity generally, education and training access, transportation, and globalization are all also contributors to wage depression for unskilled black men. All if that language is how scientists hedge bets when they don’t have a lot of data.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

                the ostensibly conservative and nakedly capitalistic political party has staked a claim to an immigration policy that not only wants to disrupt that free flow, but prevent anyone matching that demographic from entering the US – much less working here.

                Despite the ostensibly conservative and nakedly capitalistic political party’s best intentions (Jeb! would have supported the flow of labor, for example… Mittler too, for that matter).

                Its 11 years old, and full of many caveats that all point to a paucity of actual data.

                I agree it is! That said, it’s the data I have. (And I started citing it back in… oh, 2013 (when it was only 5 years old).

                Do you have better, more recent data?

                I mean, I don’t expect people to pay attention to that report either but it’s always nice to point to studies in the middle of people telling anecdotes.

                Especially when someone throws a “please cite data” at you.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                So let me see if I get this correctly.

                The free flow of capital and goods benefits poor black people, but the free flow of labor hurts them?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Chip, I have linked this report four or five times. Pretty much every time this topic comes up.

                I am sure that this is not the last time that I will link to it.

                I must be crazy.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                If you think that this report is the last word on immigration then yeah, that’s crazy.

                Because the free flow of labor, capital, and goods is a very complex phenomenon that has a lot of different effects on a lot of different people.

                For example, when a black person buys cheap tee shirts at WalMart, but also gets laid off from their manufacturing job, are they being harmed or helped?

                Immigration, like the global structure of tariffs and trade, isn’t a binary choice of Open or Closed.

                Its always a false dichotomy, to posit that immigration is the driving cause of wages for black people.

                There are literally dozens of factors that affect entry level wages, everything from minimum wages to unions to college tuition and many other factors as well.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I don’t think it’s the last word but I do think that it is data that comes from a government source investigating whether or not that there is an impact and it doesn’t rely on hypothetical counter-examples.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Philip H says:


                Before you sign me up for Team Progressive….

                Yes, these are basic liberal ideas. No argument there. I’ve been telling you for a decade now that I am not married to conservatism. I lean right on some things but I’m also very pretty liberal on others (don’t get me started on public schools). It’s amazing what you can support when you aren’t committed to the Team Red/Team Blue dynamic.

                With that said, just because the Democratic candidates support sensible border policies doesn’t mean I’m going to endorse them. Booker, Harris, Warren & Sanders have also advanced policy proposals that are probably deal-breakers for me. I’m not opposed to voting D. Hickenlooper seems like my kind of guy, but that probably also means he doesn’t have a chance in hell of getting the nomination. I’m convinced the Democrats are committed to self-destruction this time around and we’ll probably see four more years of Trump.Report

  6. North says:

    What always strikes me about the immigration debate in America is how self-contradicting the rights’ position on it is. They claim they want to slow down immigration but always the target is the migrating people themselves and rarely the reason why the majority of the migrants are migrating. A coherent right wing position on immigration would abandon the nonsense of walls and expensive agents on the border and would instead enormously expand E-Verify along with enormously sharpening the teeth in rules punishing employers who use undocumented immigrant labor. That would cut illegal immigration off at the knees. Hell, add in a rule saying that any illegal immigrant worker who exposes their employer goes to the front of the line for immigration and gets a little reward and you’d cut illegal immigration off at the ankles.

    Of course that isn’t what the money folk on the right wants. They want illegal immigrant workers here to work for their corporate donors and wealthy backers; they just want them to be terrified and cowed so they’ll work for nickels doing backbreaking labor. E-verify would cause pain to entirely the wrong class of person and thus it’s unacceptable.

    Into this yawning chasm between the GOP elite and their voters enters one Donald Trump. Unfortunately for his voting base he’s utterly inept. It remains to be seen if they’ll accept his performative cruelty in place of actual policy and real life results. History suggests they will. Unfortunately for them performative cruelty appears to be the best Trump is capable of delivering.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to North says:

      how self-contradicting the rights’ position on it is

      Part of this is due to two different groups of folks saying things that are both on “the right”.

      If Bob says “I want P” and Bebe says “I want ~P”, pointing out that the B’s have self-contradicting opinions isn’t fair to either Bob or Bebe.

      (It is nice to see it acknowledged that illegal immigration allows employers to pay employees less.)Report

      • North in reply to Jaybird says:

        It is fair if they’re combined together in a single political organization. It’s especially salient if Bob is fraudulently using Bebe to maintain his political power. The immigrant restrictionist base recognizes this; it’s one of the many festering wounds that’s been steadily blood poisoning the GOP into the gibbering mess it is today.Report

    • Mike Dwyer in reply to North says:


      I would slightly modify your complaints. I actually don’t think immigrants are hurting our economy, they are just exposing its weakenesses i.e. Americans are not keeping up with the global economy and technology. There are far too many people lacking the knowledge and the skills to stay middle class with the influx of cheaper labor. Forget illegals, legal immigrants can work for much less as well. They are used to getting by with less, leaning on friends and family, having smaller homes, etc. They simply don’t need as much money. American workers want to do the same job but have a house and two cars in the driveway.

      Trump simply stoked the old xenophobia streak we have to convince those people that if the illegals went away they could have those things.Report

      • North in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        Oh yes, I entirely left out of my analysis any opinion on whether immigration is a plus or a minus. I personally consider it an unambiguous plus and a also an indispensable answer to concerns about falling fertility and women’s rights.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to North says:

      For the other part of the Right, your proposed solution is not cruel enough. They don’t want to nip it in the bud, because your system really doesn’t get rid of asylum seekers and refugees which the Right hates to. What they want is to keep American demographics White majority.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

        All they have to do is make Hispanics “white” and, voilà, majority white again.

        Hey, wait. I see why identity politics might be useful here…Report

        • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

          Oddly funny you should mention this. Down on the Mississippi coast I know a good many folks with surnames like Garcia or Cuevas who identify as white because their Spanish ancestry goes back to when Spain actually ruled that part of the world. The ones employed in construction employ a number of recent Hispanic immigrants, and yet are staunchly Republican in their politics (Primarily for lower tax and anti-abortion reasons). They do not all speak favorably of modern immigrants, nor do they all want them legalized. It’s very amusing to watch.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Philip H says:

            Its a universal desire to have an outgroup of Unpersons.

            Whiteness is a boundary that is infinitely flexible, depending on the need of the moment.Report

        • J_A in reply to Jaybird says:

          Senators Rafael and Marco are definitely (and see themselves as) very, very, white.

          Senator Rafael is actually quite scared of people thinking or remembering he might not be really white. Hence his efforts at trying to convince rural Texans he is a proud TedReport

        • North in reply to Jaybird says:

          Heh, whiteness is a really really malleable term. What we really need is some interstellar aliens and then suddenly everyone on Earth will be white.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to North says:

            Unless the aliens have high academic achievement tendencies. “Of course our schools are diverse! We have a 22% Asian, 8% Hispanic, 14% Jewish, 3% Black, and 13% Visitor population in addition to the white kids!”Report

      • North in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Well yes but I’m dubious that asylum seekers and refugees constitute a large enough number of people to be demographically significant in America (though depending on how Venezuela goes I suppose that could change). I’m open to being corrected on that one.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to North says:

          They aren’t really. Around 20,000 people get granted asylum every year. The number of people in the immigration court system are under a million. Most anti-immigrant forces do not want asylum seekers here at all though.Report

          • North in reply to LeeEsq says:

            I suspected as much; the perception that asylum seekers are gaming the system to immigrate en masse never struck me as very empirically based.Report

            • LeeEsq in reply to North says:

              I have no numbers on how many asylum seekers exist. Around 35 to 40% of asylum claims in front of the Immigration Courts are granted. Many asylum seekers have their claims granted by the asylum office.Report

          • George Turner in reply to LeeEsq says:

            In 2014 only about 15% of granted asylum requests were for people from the New World. All of South America accounted for only 602 grants, almost all of those for Colombians and Venezuelans, whereas Egyptians got 2,580 grants as Coptics came here in search of a better afterlife.

            From 2014 to 2015, Honduras went from 89 granted requests to 1,099, El Salvador went from 183 to 1,860, and Guatemala went from 311 to 1,700. Did those three separate countries suddenly fall to pieces, or did people there get told how to apply and what to claim?

            DHS asylum table, by countryReport

  7. DavidTC says:

    Uh…this article sorta misses the point of why Trump announced this. It’s not that he doesn’t ‘care’ what we do with immigrants.

    Trump still thinks immigrants (and let’s stop pretending the modifier ‘illegal’ is required, and we should be clear that the required modifiers are actually ‘Mexican’ or sometimes ‘Muslim’) are extremely dangerous.

    He just _hates sanctuary cities_ and wishes them harm. Which he thinks he can do by dumping immigrants on them. Racists _wishing people of other races_ on non-racists is not some…non-racist concession on their part.

    If you’re a white person, and some racist person who is critical of the fact you have black friends, suddenly says that, after an argument about race, that if you like black people so much you should marry one of them, and your genes can intermingle with them and you can have little mixed-race babies…you probably should not assume he’s stopped being racist. I’m pretty sure that’s _not_ what he’s going for with that suggestion.

    The fact he’s ended up in a reasonable place of ‘Well, let’s let these people live here in cities that welcome them’ is not him giving up his bigotry and shrugging about immigrants. It’s about taking his bigoted and moronic ideas about immigrants and attempting to hurt his enemies (Which are, I remind people, American cities) with them.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC says:

      Well, it’s also about inspiring those who oppose him to say a handful of things that can be held up as representative of the people who oppose him.

      If the white person who is in the conversation with the racist person responds with something like “oh, I would never do that! I don’t even want those people going to school with my children! My Zip Code is more than 70% white and I want to keep it that way!”, then there is, indeed, something else going on.

      Even if the racist is racist.Report

      • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

        yeah – the other person is racist.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

        Oh, I agree, and we’ve seen a bit of NIMBYism that is clearly racially motivated from a few people on the left who should be better. The actual ‘elites’, if you will. The same sort of people who object to anything that would bring them into contact with lower classes. You can find them on the left almost as much as the right….the only difference is that the ones on the left have some sympathy. Just, you know, not enough to have ‘those sort of people’ _near_ them. Like, feed them and house those poor refugees, that’s horrible what they went through. Just…do it way the hell over there.

        But you’ll always get that. This sort of thing is bringing them out of the woodwork, though, because they’ve somehow wandered off the traditional issues and how they’re traditionally allowed to be racist about these things. (By framing it in ‘property values’, usually.)

        But whatever.

        Among non-racists, the objections to this have been worries this ‘plan’ is going to result in smallish city having huge amount of people dumped in them. And the point ‘These people do actually have to be able to get to the immigration court, a _specific_ immigration court they were assigned to, you can’t just randomly relocate them hundreds or even thousands of miles away without warning.’.

        And I think it’s also worth reminding people: This isn’t actually a plan. This is a dumbass Trump tweet. (But I repeat myself.) People are really should try not to react to this until it’s actually some formal idea. And until it is, people are just reacting to what they _imagine_ the plan is.

        But it has exposed some racists on the left who actually reacted like President Trump _thinks_ all people would react to the news that poor foreigners were going to be living near them!Report

        • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC says:

          “I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
          “I deeply sympathize.”
          With sobs and tears he sorted out
          Those of the largest size,
          Holding his pocket-handkerchief
          Before his streaming eyes.

          But it has exposed some racists on the left who actually reacted like President Trump _thinks_ all people would react to the news that poor foreigners were going to be living near them!

          This was, as far as I can tell, the point.

          To set up a situation where Trumpists can pounce on these racists and use them as reasons to say “see? The second we ask them to put their money where their mouth is, they sound just like us.”

          Hypocrisy is one hell of a balm for a pricked conscience.Report

          • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

            The thing about racists is that they assume everyone else is secretly racist and just pretending not to be.

            Trump got some people, but nowhere near as much as he expected, and the ‘Well, uh, okay, if you’re really wanting to do that and have some logical plan, okay.’ basically drowned them out.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC says:

              Sure. And you know what helps?

              “I feel sympathy! Oh, no! Seriously, I feel sympathy! Please don’t send us the Undocumented Dreamers that we said would be so good for the country! We don’t want them in *OUR* neighborhood! But, seriously, I have a lot more sympathy than the other people!”

              the ‘Well, uh, okay, if you’re really wanting to do that and have some logical plan, okay.’ basically drowned them out.

              It did?

              I was not aware of this.Report