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The New Push For Immigration Reform

The big new push for immigration reform. We’re looking at what’s on the table and the path ahead.

Gustavo Torres, director, Casa in Action, center, and others, chant during a rally of immigration rights organizations, including Casa in Action and Maryland Dream Act, in front of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. (AP)

Gustavo Torres, director, Casa in Action, center, and others, chant during a rally of immigration rights organizations, including Casa in Action and Maryland Dream Act, in front of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. (AP)

What a difference an election makes on immigration. Two months ago Mitt Romney lost talking “self-deportation.” Obama won talking Dream Act. The Latino vote mattered.

And suddenly Republicans and Democrats – in the Senate anyway – are talking major immigration reform. Tough but fair, they say. With a path to citizenship. Eleven million undocumented immigrants are watching very closely. So are House Republicans, who aren’t so sure.

This hour, On Point: The big new push for immigration reform. What’s really on the table. Where it may go.

-Tom Ashbrook


Alan Gomez, immigration reporter for USA Today. You can read his latest article here. (@alangomez)

Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center of Immigration Studies.

Marshall Fitz, director of immigration policy at the Center for American Progress. (@marshallfitz)

From Tom’s Reading List

USA Today “From the halls of Congress to the streets of Los Angeles, supporters of a plan to legalize the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants celebrated a rare glimmer of hope Monday as a bipartisan group of legislators outlined a broad plan to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws for the first time in a generation.”

CNN “Undocumented immigrants would be able to seek legal status without first going home under a compromise framework floated Monday by a bipartisan group of senators, according to a source familiar with the plan.”

Los Angeles Times “Senators from both parties are expressing enthusiasm for pushing a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s immigration system. But while immigration politics appears to have changed in the wake of sweeping Republican rejection by Latino voters last year, the math in the Senate may remain a challenge.”

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  • 1Brett1

    In this display of bipartisanship, we see both the past and the future of Republican leadership both in McCain and in Rubio. 

    People like Rush and Hannity, and even political figures like Graham, are also displaying something about conservatism…I’ll leave that one to your imagination. 

    • DrewInGeorgia

      So McCain is the Ghost of Leadership past and Rubio is the Ghost of Leadership yet to come?  Just trying to understand your comment.

      • 1Brett1

        Just that in the past Republicans have shown bipartisan effort (particularly if a particular issue is personal to them in some way), and McCain has, at times, been able to do so. Rubio shows how up-and-coming conservatives can act in the same way…that Republicans should show some of that effort if they wish to stay alive and revive their “big tent” philosophy. 

        Of course, the second part of my comment sort of shows the embodiment of proverbial stumbling blocks to good Republican leadership, implying how the Party will further weaken if they look toward a certain contingent of public/political figures.

        (I’ll admit, my initial comment wasn’t well articulated; it was too early!)

  • Wahoo_wa

    As a second generation American I have a feeling this program is going to be painful to listen to.

    • Ray in VT

      In what way?

      • Wahoo_wa

        My family worked very hard to come to the U.S. after losing everything in the war.  They faced a great deal of discrimination, yet were determined to really be American.  They learned the language and adopted the customs of the U.S.  It was pretty much forbidden to speak German in public.  They diligently went through the process to become citizens (I have their naturalization papers and I am so glad to have that part of my family history preserved) and they were proud of the work it took to do so.  A vocal part of the current immigrant population does not share that ethic and drive to be a part of the U.S.  I sense an overwhelming sense of entitlement from their supporters and from them.  OnPoint will probably not look at the issue from that generational difference.  It’s an important part of the discussion.  

        • DrewInGeorgia

          It’s not just the current immigrant population that lacks the work ethic you speak of. What percentage of so-called Working Americans spend the majority of their day on fb or trying to look like they’re working while they Google their a$$ off?

          I’m with ya on the crappy work ethic, but if you think it’s limited to the current immigration population you’ve got another thing coming.

          • Wahoo_wa

            I’m speaking specifically for obtaining citizenship.  Your comment is a bit off topic and irrelevant.  It’s difficult to become a citizen…as well it should be.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Off-Topic and Irrelevant huh? You’re complaint is that current immigrants are lazy individuals who think they should have Citizenship handed to them on a silver platter.

            My comment is that there is nothing more typically American than thinking you’re special and that you deserve to have everything given to you regardless of the effort you put in. That being the case the current immigration population will fit right in if, as you seem to say, they are undeserving. Seems pretty relevant and On-Topic to me.

          • Wahoo_wa

            I can’t argue with illogical arguments.  Good day.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            I wasn’t trying to argue with you. Evidently I have somehow offended you, I’d apologize but I have no idea what to apologize for.

            I wish you a Good Day as well.

        • Ray in VT

          I suppose that a part of it is what does one mean by becoming a part of the U.S.  I think that a lot of our image of what it means to be “American” is often based on an early to mid-20th century WASP conception of that identity.

          The immigrant experience has always been much more complex than that, although there’s generally been a great deal of cultural assimilation over 2-3 generations.  I’ve often heard stories from the children of immigrants about how the first generation generally spoke little English, and it was the children who did the English speaking in public, while the native language was spoken at home.

          I think that when it comes to the Hispanic population, then that question of language and culture can be more complex, given that what many might consider to be a foreign language and culture have been spoken and practiced in parts of this country since long before this nation was founded.

          I do think that there is great value in a common language, and I do think that immigrants need to have some working ability in English to get by, although I’m reluctant to say that they should be required to.

          In northern Vermont we have a long tradition of French influence, and it has greatly shaped our life and culture.  In recent years we’ve also had many immigrants from southeast Asia come to the region, and they’ve brought some really great cuisine with them that a lot of people here quite enjoy.  My point is that while I think that it is very important to have shared cultural connections, immigrants have always contributed new and interesting things to American culture.

          I do imagine, though, that it must have been difficult for your family to come here after the war.  My father grew up during the Depression and the War, and he remained distrustful of Germans and the Japanese for decades based upon what he saw growing up.  Even the old WWII vets whom I have spoken to in recent years still talk about harboring some ill will, although they generally acknowledge that it’s not reasonable for them to do so 60+ years on.

          • Wahoo_wa

            I definitely appreciate your perspective.

            We enjoyed and I still enjoy many ethnically derived traditions.  My grandfather (Opa if you will) was a Bavarian trained pastry chef.  People in his neighborhood loved his contribution to diversity through his profession.  I am not against that at all.

            Language on the other hand is a big conundrum   It is a huge factor for shared identity.  Look at Quebec for example.  I think choosing to move to a foreign country should motivate someone to learn the language at the very least.  One thing my grandfather instilled in us was to speak English quietly when in public in a foreign country and ALWAYS (without question) begin a conversation in the native language.  It’s just basic respect for your hosts.  I expect no less from someone immigrating to the U.S., and I myself would do the same thing if/when I emigrate to another country.

            On your last point, I remember my mom telling me stories about being forced to stand in the corner nearly every day when she was in second grade because the teacher knew my grandfather was captured on the coast of Normandy.  Her husband died there (although I doubt my grandfather’s cooking was to blame…he was in the catering corps).  That level of discrimination is always reserved for current minorities in current political discourse in the U.S. as if it is a special status they posses.  Most European groups experienced very harsh discrimination during waves of immigration.

            On another point I think those opposing current immigration laws would gain a much greater perspective if they researched immigration laws in other first-world countries.

          • Ray in VT

            I appreciate your perspective as well.

            I’m sorry to hear that your mother suffered such discrimination as a child.  It’s terrible to ostracize a child for the “sins” of the parent.  Previous waves of immigrants certainly did face harsh conditions, from the Irish to the Italians and many others before, in between and since.  My mother’s family was comprised entirely of WASPs until a generation or two ago, and they, to a certain extent, looked down on the Catholic (mostly French Canadian) population up here.  It was a bit of a long standing issue here, where we had a bit of a “French Quarter” in Burlington, where schools taught children in French.

            Your point about Quebec is well taken.  They have some serious issues between the francophone and the anglophone population.  My French has never been very good, but, as you suggested, I do try to use a bit when I have visited Quebec as a courtesy, although almost everyone whom I have ever spoken to there has been bilingual.

          • Wahoo_wa

            You made me laugh….my maternal grandparents are from Hamburg and were Lutheran.  My paternal grandparents were native born (U.S.) Catholics.  My paternal grandfather’s name is ethnically Sorb (a German minority of Slavic descent that Hitler tried to exterminate as impure).  My paternal grandmother was French and Irish.  They were all VERY aware of their origins (much to my benefit) but when Fourth of July came around we were all very identified as American.

          • Ray in VT

            That’s a very intersting background.  I must admit that I’ve never heard of the Sorbs.  I’ve done a lot of reading and research regarding World War II and the Holocaust, but that’s a new one to me, so thank you.  I’ll have to look into it.

            Most of us a pretty much mutts.  My mom’s family was all WASP.  They were all Scottish and English, but England historically had the Celtic peoples, the Romans, the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Normans and probably a lot of others, so they’re all mixed up.  On my dad’s side we have Irish, French, Native American and who knows what else, and my kids have a mix of Welsh and Italian.  One of my sons looks Scandanavian, while his cousin is half Ecudoran and appears very Hispanic, but we’re all family and all American.  Also, the Fourth of July is pretty much my favorite holiday, as some parts of my family were actively fighting the British back circa 1776.

          • Wahoo_wa

            Well let’s say I was shocked (LOL) to get the Sex Offender Registry Board when I Googled “Sorb” but here’s a reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorbs

          • Ray in VT

            Ahh, thank you Google.  That makes me think of one of my father-in-law’s co-workers who wanted to get some cleats for his daughter and googled Dicks at work.  Whoops.  Thanks for the link.  Wend is a term there that I had heard before.  European history is so rich, varied and complex that I’m not surprised that they had escaped me, especially since much of my studies were in relation to the Classical world and Great Britain.

      • nobodysgirl

        Ever tried to live without adequate water resources?  That’s just for starters and could take a whole show itself.

        Truth is, this nation’s natural resources cannot sustain these numbers into the future, whether people wish to consider that or not.  

        There’s many many reasons why and it would take a thesis to enumerate them.  But stop and think for an educated moment, and it isn’t hard to figure out.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          That has more to do with the 250 plus million “Citizens” than it does the 11 or so million immigrants.

        • Ray in VT

          There may certainly be issues there to consider, but I don’t think that any of the issues that you raised address any of Wahoo_wa’s concerns.

    • nobodysgirl

      As a life-long working person trying against all odds (that keep increasing) to ‘break even’ (not even ‘make it’ anymore – what American dream was that, anyway?), who loves wildlife and natural places and preserving such – I KNOW it’s going to be painful for me to listen to.

  • Bluejay2fly

    Nobody will mention the fact that this nation is grossly over populated. I estimate that we have 20 maybe 30 million unemployed whom we take out of circulation via prisons, the street, welfare, colleges, the military, or just living at home at 28 yrs old. If you factor in all the service industry jobs that pay so little you cannot function as an adult that number may even higher. If parents stopped giving children money and made them pick fruit, clean hotel rooms, drive cabs, etc the need for illegal alien labor would be zero and maybe our next generation would loose weight and build some work ethics. We should have closed the border 30 years ago and kicked fat ass johnny off the couch back in the 80′s.

    • nobodysgirl

      Agreed, Bluejay.  On the day after 9/11, george bush could have – should have – closed the borders down and re-evaluated our legal immigration quotas.  He should have strengthened the border instead of throwing it wide open.  

      Now the millions are here, and demanding rights. And because it impacts the one thing politicians crave – votes – it’ll happen, regardless once again, of the will of the American people or what’s best for the country.

      No one even considers our natural resources, future water supply, or the carrying capacity of the land. Once America loses it’s natural biodiversity, we’ll all be without a capable country.

    • hennorama

      Bluejay2fly – while I appreciate your comments, you are overlooking a major reason for lax immigration enforcement – the interests of business. 
      Large undocumented immigrant populations serve as a means for labor-intensive businesses to hold down labor costs.  Therefore, business will merely wink and nod (I call this the “Mother-in-law treatment,” where one completely agrees with one’s MIL in her presence, then does whatever one pleases in her absence) when it comes to hiring undocumented workers.  They know they’re not supposed to do it, but can’t help themselves due to its contribution to their bottom line.

      Until business signs on to employment verification and hiring proposals, and agree to stiff penalties for willful violations, little will change.  This is regardless of what parents and “fat ass johnny” do or don’t do.

  • MarkVII88

    I bet Mitt Romney is turning in his grave over this one.  Oh wait, is he still alive???

  • Shag_Wevera

    Whatever they do, I’m pretty sure it won’t work (at least not for low income people  or immigrants).  Just a hunch.

  • nobodysgirl

    Not all democrats favor amnesty.  When Reagan granted amnesty, I remember thinking at the time:  4-5million people is ALOT of people!  Here we are again, with at a minimum, triple that amount.

    The media stopped differentiating between illegal and legal immigrants.  You became racist if you believed in the Rule of Law and not jumping in line.  You became a bigot if you believed in strong border security and knowing who is coming into the country.

    Why not just totally open the borders?  Let everyone come to America, get what they can out of it, use it up, litter it beyond recognition; a coup or invasion, without a shot being fired, based on pure volume of numbers.  That’s what has occurred.

    I don’t recall the past presidential election being about illegal immigration but jobs and strengthening the middle class.  This will be stuffed down our throats until we have no borders, and no say about who can and cannot come into the country.

    Just sneak in.  It worked before, is working now, and will probably always.  

    • Wahoo_wa

      It’s also hard to reconcile Obama’s record breaking deportation rates with his current stance.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      “Let everyone come to America, get what they can out of it, use it up, litter it beyond recognition; a coup or invasion, without a shot being fired, based on pure volume of numbers.  That’s what has occurred.”

      That sounds eerily familiar. Well everything except the “without a shot being fired part”. How did Our Grand American Experiment begin?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Distraction – Washington doesn’t want to talk about spending or gun control, what to do, what to do? Oh yeah, let’s fight over immigration.

    • DeJay79

       Path of least resistance, right? and right now the republicans are not going to resist this issue very much because of the last to election demographics. Politics moves slowly and Big government moves even slower.

  • http://wh.gov/IVp4 Yar

    I am against agricultural worker exploitation.  One of the provisions of the proposed legislation, is to allow immigrants to do “low skill” agricultural work. First, no agricultural work is low skill in the sense that one has to figure out how to stay alive and get though the day in grueling conditions, where wages are based on amount of product picked instead of by time worked.  No healthcare, possible exposure to hazardous chemicals, not to mention wage theft, and slave conditions.  This is the practice I compete against as a small scale farmer. 
    I believe we should have a path to citizenship for all who work in within our borders, and with no subjective conditions.  If you will do the work then you are one of us.  This is the only system which is fair. We have a long dark history of slavery, economic and otherwise, now is the time to end it for all and to truly become the shining city on the hill. 
    By subjective conditions, I am alluding to the condition in the dream act about “good moral character”.  This may sound reasonable, but think how easily it can be abused.  This is why we must establish a path to citizenship that is not subject to manipulation by the exploiters and profiteers of modern day slavery.  

    • nobodysgirl

      I, too, am against ag-worker exploitation – or ANY worker exploitation.

      I remember clearly when americans worked trade jobs like carpentry, brickwork, landscaping.  

      Good moral character would begin by not sneaking into another country, wouldn’t it?  Wouldn’t good moral character mean you stand with your fellow citizens to improve YOUR OWN country and govt?  And then not raging in the streets because you’re illegal and want rights?

      What it comes down to is this:  Does a nation have a right to determine who and how many people from other nations come to it’s shores?

      • http://wh.gov/IVp4 Yar

        Good moral character means feeding your children! Get off a righteous pedestal. Are we immigrants from Europe willing to give back this country to those who walked across the bearing strait? Look at the trail of tears, or Jim Crow, or the undocumented today, it is all about exploitation of others for our own profit.  You are hard put not to exploit, so we are willingly ignorant of the degree we benefit from the labor of others.

      • hennorama

        nobodysgirl – No one is seriously arguing that the US shouldn’t control its borders and immigration.  However, it’s difficult to discourage undocumented workers from crossing an imaginary line and “sneaking into another country” if by doing so, they could earn 10 times the money paid on the other side of the line. Imagine that by walking into Canada (or any neighboring country), you could suddenly make 10 times your current pay.

        Combine that with little opportunity to earn the 10 times lower pay in one’s own country, and little real opportunity to “stand with your fellow citizens to improve YOUR OWN country and govt” on that side of the line, and it’s easy to see the why some will take the considerable risks involved in crossing the line.  Not to mention the fact that in one US neighbor, there is an ongoing highly dangerous and deadly drug war.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Well – once we get illegals out of all those low paying jobs, at least they’ll be able to unionize.

  • Markus6

    The 11 million illegals currently in the country are only part of the problem and I’ll bet that ten years from now, we’ll see this as a small part. There are tens or hundreds of millions outside the US who will get the message – get to the US, stay low and take construction, food service, and other jobs, til the US again turns you into citizens. 

    It’s so easy to predict this because it happened in 86. One difference is it’s easier to get here and there are a lot more poor people.

    Picture ten years from now when there are 30 or 40 million additional illegals. 

    • DeJay79

       so don’t do anything? just ignore the problem? or should we spend billions more to find and deport all these people, and in the process damage many businesses and our image abroad?

      • Markus6

        There are so many options other than path to citizenship or do nothing, that I have to believe you’re kidding, though I suppose it’s possible you really can’t think of alternatives. 

      • DeJay79

         I even mention another option in my comment (“we spend billions more to find and deport all these people”) but i was asking you what ideas of other options you have.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Are they going to deal with the issue that most people in this country illegally did not sneak over the border, but came into the country legally? And will continue to do so after this proposed legislation is in place?

  • J__o__h__n

    This will be a fun vote for the House Republicans.  They oppose it and further drive the Hispanic vote to the Democrats.  They support it and get lunatic right primary challengers which will either make that party more extreme and/or lead to Democratic wins.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/M52XUC55BF45N4MFRBD6RCJP5U Ewiyaat

    All rich economies coming up now like China…India have over a billion people and they are a Big market to these countries. I believe an extra 11 millions would not hurt America but would help us decrease our debt. Its a great idea.

  • http://twitter.com/seethrufaded elle smith

    Am I the only person who is outraged by the Republican’s turning on a dime, when the widespread position pre Nov. 6 was to make the lives of millions of people so miserable that they left the US? And to find there wasn’t even principle behind their cruelty.

    • DeJay79

       They are just acting like any “good” politician would by following popular current and trying their best not to go down with the sinking ship, aka the republican party of Mitt. 

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       Millions of criminals left the US?  If so, great!!.  However, it had nothing to do with Republicans.  If they left it was because of a crappy economy.  In case you didn’t notice, unemployment (U-6) is still north of 14%.

      • http://wh.gov/IVp4 Yar

        And you may be guilty of eating a tomato picked by slave labor.  Who commits the greater sin, the worker or those who profit from that work?

        • WorriedfortheCountry

           Good point.  We need an open an honest ‘legal’ immigration system.  If this means the cost of goods go up — so be it.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Senator Bob Menendez  would be well advised to stay away from the verb ‘depluck’ after his recent problems with underage girls.

  • Bruce Hooke

    I’m concerned that the stipulation that the border first be secured will be used as an excuse to postpone the other parts of the legislation indefinitely. Even if we put billions more into border security, our long and often remote border with Mexico can never be fully “secured.”

  • JGC

    I would like to see an “irrevocable clause” added to the immigration reforms for those who become U.S. citizens by choice.  I see more and more would-be plutocrats coming to the U.S. to enjoy the synergies available here to get there businesses and start-ups off the ground, then when they have sizable wealth, are renouncing that citizenship to decamp to Singapore (for example), or even literally offshore sites floating in the ocean as is the case for some of the PayPal gang, to avoid the taxes on world wide income that is unique in U.S. tax code. 

    • DeJay79

       I agree but this seams more like a tax reform/tariffs and trade issue. It would be great to find a way to keep successful businesses on our shores but the best way to do that is market means otherwise the owners will always find some kind of loop hole.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/M52XUC55BF45N4MFRBD6RCJP5U Ewiyaat

       I totally agree with you but also…..Its a free world. You can do the same too. Its only two countries in the world that tax their citizens when they live abroad. That is USA and Eritrea. No other nation does it in the world. Its not a fair system when you are paying tax in that other company

  • cblackmer

    Immigration reform is certainly needed and the reasons are many. However, it is almost frightening to hear some of our top politicians making an address to the public in Spanish. That is not the direction we should be heading in – this is an English speaking country and should remain that way.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/M52XUC55BF45N4MFRBD6RCJP5U Ewiyaat

       Well….Me as a Native American would disagree with you.  You are all immigrants in my eyes and i don’t see why English or Spanish should prevail over the other.

    • http://twitter.com/gregrussak Greg Russak

       My advice to those who hold this view is to wake up to the realities of the world. Your life, your freedoms, your liberties are not diminished in the least by someone speaking a language other than English. Stop being so frightened of everything and everyone that doesn’t look and sound exactly like you.

      • cblackmer

        I am not frightened of other languages but I would be frightened if say the Presidential Inauguration were in Spanish but hopefully there would be a monitor streaming it in English as well…I am talking about sticking to a universal language that has been taught in the schools in this country to everyone. A common language. That happens to be English in this country.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Enforcement is being focused in the wrong area – it needs to be focused on employers. That is THE reason people come here – jobs. When the market crashed in 2008 and job market went south, the number of people coming in illegally plummeted.

  • CarlosBahena

    McCain has to get over the fact that undocumented Latinos are just gardeners, agricultural workers, hotel workers, etc. There are many Latinos that are highly educated, business owners, community leaders that are assests to this country. Also, Rubio is playing the “I’m a Latino and immigrant” card too fast. This new project of legislation is very valuable because that means that we are addressing and potentially unleashing the weight of Latinos in America.

  • http://twitter.com/gregrussak Greg Russak

    Jessica Vaughn sounds like an unmitigated racist xenophobe. She wants American borders to be a place where tests are conducted to see if someone matches up to what she thinks it means to be an American? I understand giving dissenting views a voice, but she is not credible or rational.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/V5DFSA3DHUE24ARLLX2ZVBXTQA Tyler

       You have no proof of your statement, sorry.

  • Songwriter MuteTheLoot

    In everything in business and politics, it takes “two to Tango”.  For those who use the terms, “illegal immigrant” or “illegal workers”, what about the other side?  What about the “illegal employers”?

    While I sympathize with immigrants, as most are hard working, like my grandparents and mother (who came here legally), I’m not too keen on the notion of driver’s licenses for undocumented people.  What about legislation requiring the “illegal employers” to provide transportation to and from work for the undocumented people that they hire?

    Here in Vermont, there are dairy farmers and other farmers who hire Mexican workers.  In these rural areas, even the farmers would have to drive into town to the hardware store, grocery store and post office, at least once a week.  Why don’t they share a ride with the immigrants they hire, when they go to town.  The “illegal employers” in this case should share some responsibility for this issue, rather than pitting taxpayers against immigrants.  The taxpayers should be questioning the employers that hire the undocumented people.

    • nobodysgirl

      The taxpayers HAVE been questioning for years!  Consistently the American people have polled against amnesty, even going back to Reagan’s.  E-verify should be law for employers but here again, we lose out because our politicians are in bed with the big companies who want the cheap illegal labor.

  • Kevin

    Let’s not forget US citizens married to immigrants, where the immigrant has received a 5 year, 10 year, or lifetime bar from admissibility.

    There are US citizen families kept apart for 5 years, 10 years, or for life.

    Let’s say the husband of a US citizen makes the mistake once of implying he is a US citizen when entering the country or for any federal or state benefit. The US citizen wife now has a husband who is barred for life from immigration to the US under INA 212(a)(6)(C)(ii), and this law makes available no waiver, and no recourse. Marriage to a US citizen has no benefit to admissibility.

    US citizens are also suffering from some of the unreasonable aspects of immigration law. And we are not immigrants, we are US citizens!

    It’s great that US citizens are rallying to the aid of immigrants. But please, let’s not forget to rally to the aid of fellow US citizens whose spouses are immigrants, as we are suffering with the current law which makes us choose: your spouse or your country; you can only choose one.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/FERA4PQJEV4323OM2OL5DLFUC4 john


    Much of the undocumented population already pays taxes, and already speaks English.  They need to be able to work legally, drive legally to their jobs and normal errands. 

    They do not ‘take jobs’ but rather benefit all of us as they have been doing for many years before the recession.  Many of our jobs of all types could not be done without them. 

    Legal status is the first priority, a path to full citizenship can be hashed out over time.

  • Wahoo_wa

    Could your guests please comment on how the current immigration laws in the U.S. compare to other first world countries?  I think your audience would be surprised how remarkably liberal our current immigration laws are when put into a larger context.

    • Wahoo_wa

      I guess having a balanced perspective didn’t matter.

    • AngelicaUNC1

      Correct– we permit more LEGAL IMMIGRANTS than all other countries combined (appx. 1 MILLION LEGAL immigrants every year)!!! Further, almost no other country offers birthright citizenship.  Any country that has cared about its citizens have gotten rid of this asinine manner of granting citizenship!

  • Chuck Penn

    Jessica where are all of these unemployed legal workers who are willing to work farming jobs and hard labor jobs.  Most Americans are too self righteous and have a feeling of entitlement to work the jobs that illegal immigrants are working. 

    • Wahoo_wa

      Could you cite a reference for that assertion?

      • Chuck Penn



        • Wahoo_wa

          Interesting however neither reference states that that U.S. citizens are not willing to work farm jobs.  In fact the second paragraph in the summary of the second reference completely refutes your claim as it relates to illegal immigration. 

          • Ray in VT

            I can’t speak industry wide, but I can speak anecdotally.   My brother has a hard time finding Americans who are willing to do farm labor at a price that he can afford, based upon the extremely volatile milk market.  Mostly it’s people without a decent education or better options, and a lot of them have only been willing to work long enough to fix their 4-wheeler and stock up on beer.  He would love to hire some “Mexicans”, because he’s always been told by others farmers that for the same wage they’ll show up, work hard and do a good job.

          • Wahoo_wa

            That’s a good point however if you review the second paragraph of the summary of the second reference Chuck Penn presents, it completely refutes the claim as it relates to the larger illegal immigration debate.  It’s quite interesting and is the type of 

          • Ray in VT

            I can see the argument there for some types of agriculture, but I don’t think that it applies too well to dairy, at least in my experience.

      • DeJay79

        common sense and knowledge of one’s own self as an American.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

        What state was it? Alabama? They clamped down on illegal hiring and they had fruit rotting on the trees waiting for US citizen pickers.

        People don’t want to be migrant farmers.

        • Wahoo_wa

          Please review the second reference Chuck Penn presents.  Review the second paragraph of the summary.  It completely refutes the claim as it relates to the larger illegal immigration debate.

    • nobodysgirl

      The illegal population holds the award for ‘entitlement’.
      They come here illegally and feel they’re entitled to our jobs, our resources, our citizenship.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Republicans are not looking for a path to citizenship – they are looking for continued cheap labor employers no longer have to break the law to hire.

  • DeJay79

    I for one am glad if this congress can get anything done. I know that there are a lot of issues to tackle and some are more important than this one, But if they can agree on something and get things done i am all for it.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    One of the news shows last night reported that 42% of illegal immigrants are on some sort of means tested government assistance.

    • J__o__h__n

      What is the percentage for Walmart employees on government assistance?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

      So are most of the working poor.

    • Wahoo_wa

      I think your point is: We do not need MORE people on government assistance.  And I agree.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         All magnets for illegal immigration must be eliminated.

        • hennorama

          WorriedfortheCountry – the reasons people emigrate to the US are the same whether they come via legal or illegal means – the opportunities for greater freedom and prosperity.  I for one fervently hope these “magnets” are never eliminated.

    • http://www.facebook.com/anita.paul.5680 Anita Paul

      You probaly looking at Fox. 

    • Wahoo_wa

      Here’s a good reference albeit dated (2007)

    • hennorama

      WorriedfortheCountry – if it’s not too much trouble, please cite either the “One of the news shows” you refer to, or actual data.

  • AmberCBowen

    I am a retired immigration attorney.  I have helped many foreign nationals obtain either temporary or permanent legal status in the U.S.  I’ve also worked as an Immigration Services Officer for the USCIS (formerly the INS), adjudicating applications and petitions for various immigration benefits.  But my question is that of simply an interested citizen:  For those individuals currently outside the U.S. who would not qualify for a legal immigration process under whatever new legislation is eventually enacted, what is to stop them from attempting to enter the U.S. illegally, in the hope that “someday” an amnesty program might be enacted that would allow them to transition to legal status?  

    When immigration reform was enacted in 1987, there were somewhere around 3,000,000 undocumented aliens in the U.S.  Now there are somewhere around 11,000,000 undocumented aliens here.  How many millions of undocumented aliens will be in the U.S. in 10-20 years when the next immigration reform is being discussed?  In my opinion, any immigration reform that does not EFFECTIVELY address the border security issue is doomed to failure.  Improved border security was supposed to happen in the 1980s, but didn’t.  I assume the current legislation will include an improved border security provision…but how can we believe it will be effectively implemented given the history?  Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to resolve the porous border situation before moving forward with the process of offering those who entered the U.S. illegally a route to legal status?

    • nobodysgirl

      Of course it would make more sense to shut down the border first.

      But this congress does not make sense.  They only make crises.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stewsburntmonkey David Stewart

      Border security in a country of our size is largely a fantasy.  It will never be really secure.  I also don’t want to live in a fortress.  The real solution is to fix our education system and economic balance so that we can use the additional willing citizens effectively and thereby benefit everyone.  A surplus of people is in reality a very good problem to have, we’ve just been so complacent and ineffectual about addressing the deficiencies of the workings of economy and business that we’ve turned an huge opportunity into a bogeyman.

      • AngelicaUNC1

        A surplus of low-wage, uneducated workers and a race-to-the-bottom business model is NOT in reality, or otherwise, a “good problem to have.”  Complete B.S.  You’ll see the devasting financial impositions to come!

        • http://www.facebook.com/stewsburntmonkey David Stewart

          A surplus of low wage workers is why China is killing us in manufacturing.  Tell me how we are well served by not having a strong manufacturing sector.  Additionally immigrants aren’t all low-wage and uneducated.  Many have actually been educated in US universities, but then have to take that education back home because they can’t get a visa, green card or citizenship.  I do agree a race to the bottom business model is not what we need, but it is what we currently have.  We have a financial sector which has lost the ability to do anything but make itself rich at the expense of everyone else, a corporate world where cost cutting and legal wrangling have taken the fore instead of innovation and hard work.  The problem is not immigration, it is a systemic failure of the US economy over the past several decades.  

    • hennorama

      AmberCBowen – as David Stewart said below, the US border will never be perfectly secure, especially given the enormous length and geography of our borders.  However, as to your concerns, both the Senate Gang’s and Pres. Obama’s immigration proposals contain provisions for greater border security.
      The proposals are compared here:

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/V5DFSA3DHUE24ARLLX2ZVBXTQA Tyler

    Who is cutting the grass? Really, Tom? I am and so is my father. The wealthy are those who benefit from cheap labor, not the average Joe.

  • Jim Griess

    How in the world can the US afford to add 11 million low income workers to the Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Health Care coverage under Obama Care?  The Republicans are only interested in winning the White House.

  • Kathy

    I hope everyone realizes the House’s Gerrymandered Republican majority is going to kill this anyway.

  • Robert Del Frate

    The entire immigration system is ridiculous. We’re have legal status on an E Visa and have been in the US since 1995 when my daughter was 9 months old.  She’s now a Junior in high school and we’ve just discovered NOT eligible for in state tuition in MA and so will be moving back to Canada (thankfully we’re from a developed country)….Frankly hadn’t even imagined that after being here 17 years this would be the situation we would be facing…

    • jefe68

      I have to ask. Why did you wait so long to find this out?
      If I’m not mistaken if you had a Green card you would be eligible for instate tuition.

  • siskoe

    Just send the 11 millon to Vermont…our Governor and Legislators want to give all illeagal immigrants drivers liscenses and health care…lots of cows to milk…and ski lifts to man…

    • hennorama

      siskoe – I understand and respect the sentiment behind your post.

      One thing to consider about the issue of unauthorized immigrants and unlicensed drivers – a recent study by the California Department of Motor Vehicles found that unlicensed and S/R (suspended/revoked) drivers are nearly three times as likely to cause a fatal crash as licensed drivers, and that unlicensed drivers tend to be more hazardous than S/R drivers.  (The study did not look at the immigration status of drivers). While it was not part of this study, the fact is that most unlicensed drivers in California are unauthorized immigrants.  Unlicensed drivers cannot get auto insurance, which adds to the cost of insurance for other drivers.

      The study did indirectly discuss immigration.  In 1994, CA state law changed, requiring all licensed drivers to show proof of legal residency.  This significantly increased the number of unlicensed drivers.  The DMV study found that there was no change to the fatal crash rate for unlicensed drivers after the change, which “suggests that unlicensed drivers who are ineligible to become licensed under this law are just as hazardous as drivers who are unlicensed for other reasons.”

      Common sense would indicate that reducing the number of unlicensed and uninsured drivers on the road would benefit everyone, and is a worthy goal.  I understand the argument that giving licenses to undocumented immigrants “rewards illegal activity.”  Regardless of the validity of this argument, the fact remains that unlicensed and uninsured drivers are a significant problem.  The drivers among the estimated 11.5 million undocumented immigrants nationwide are not going to stop driving simply because it’s illegal.  Nothing has prevented them from doing so to date.

      Of course, the same could be said of any unlicensed, S/R and/or uninsured driver, regardless of their immigration status.



  • ThisDudeAbides

    Look — the people who benefit from illegal immigration are predominantly business owners, who are able to save a bundle on wages and labor-related taxes, and they have an extremely hard working, loyal workforce. The business owner benefits because there is a huge savings, and the immigrants benefit because they have a salary and a place in America. Together, the business people and the immigrants work together to protect each other because it’s a mutually beneficial agreement. The anger of everyday Americans feeling burned by illegal immigrants needs to be directed at the business community, not the immigrants themselves.

  • http://twitter.com/gregrussak Greg Russak

    To Ms. Vaughan and those of her ilk: Any recollection of this? “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”

    • nobodysgirl

      Through Ellis Island, which was a legal point to enter this nation.

      Not across the desert, Rio Grande, in the dead of the night.

      • http://www.facebook.com/stewsburntmonkey David Stewart

        Not necessarily.  That sonnet was written to celebrate a century of immigration, most of it before Ellis Island was constructed.  Undocumented immigration has always been a major part of American immigration.  Some of my ancestors smuggled themselves into the country (well before Ellis Island and strict immigration controls).  But even so, the legal immigration system really isn’t living up to the spirit of the poem or of America in its current state. 

        • jefe68

          The modern immigration system has never lived up to those words. 

          In the 20′s, 30′s and 40′s there were quotas  on Jews coming into the country. 
          Which is why a lot of Eastern European Jews who had the means to leave countries such as Poland went to Central and South America. 

  • Bruce Hooke

    I simply do not think it is reasonable to expect that short of becoming a police state we will be able to remove 11 million people from our country.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joan-Marie-Davidson/1031260734 Joan Marie Davidson

    What is that woman’s problem? she sounds full of suspicion, resentment and hatred of the  “other.”
    Did she “work hard all her life?” like the rest of us, or was she born with a golden foot in her mouth? and taught to think white.
    By the way, there are  quite a few undocumented people from GB, CHina, France, etc.

  • nj_v2

    Ms Vaughan (paraphrasing): Immigrants aren’t migratory birds, they are human beings. They make rational decisions.

    Migratory birds don’t make rational decisions?

    Ms Vaughan seems rather inept at making her points, difficult as those sometimes are to discern.

    • DeJay79

      mostly because her points lack logic and an understanding of human nature, economics, and the power of popular voting.

  • http://twitter.com/gregrussak Greg Russak

    Has Vaughan not learned the lesson that Romney and extremists on the right not yet learned? Self-deportation is a joke.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       Self deportation is actually a very humane and sensible way to encourage criminals to leave.   However, I agree Romney lost the marketing campaign.  It was sort of like marketing Sushi as — dead cold fish.

  • adks12020

    Jessica Vaughan is delusional.  George Bush won the hispanic vote…Romney got trounced in that demographic. That is a huge reason why he lost the election.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cecebar Cindy C Barnard

      And not to forget the only issue I could ever listen to by George Bush was immigration, even if I didn’t agree completely, he had experience and understanding of what immigrants do for this county. But even Bush’s own party wouldn’t listen.

    • hennorama

      adks12020 -  George (W.) Bush never “won the [H]ispanic vote.”  He did get a larger-than-usual share for a GOP candidate, but never “50 percent +1.” 

      In the 2000 Presidential election, GWB got 35% of the Hispanic vote, and Al Gore got 62%.  In 2004, GWB got 44% of the Hispanic vote, and John Kerry got 53%.  Had Romney gotten the same share as GWB did in 2004, we’d likely be discussing a different topic here today.


  • HarvardGrad14

    Tom, apparently you side more with the guest who supports amnesty for all illegal immigrants. It shows because you have been cutting off and speaking over the woman whose stance represents a more measured approach that puts legal Americans, legally migrating individuals and the overall American economy first. I know it’s your show but there should be more of a show of impartiality and just simple fairness.

  • hennorama

    So the Gang in the Senate has floated the first formal trial balloon on immigration policy.  The positive aspect of this is that members of both major parties are involved.  Of course, these are members of the Senate, and not the more rambunctious (to be as polite as possible) House of Representatives.

    Today we’ll get Pres. Obama’s trial balloon, which will likely greatly resemble the Gang’s balloon.

    The real entertainment will be from watching the action in the House.  Speaker Boehner will have his hands full trying to herd the mewling cats there.  Whether he can prevent them from using their claws to pop the balloons remains to be seen.

    Anyone have some catnip?

  • http://www.facebook.com/drpmeade Paul S Meade

    We need the immigrant community and a transition to legal status and ongoing reforms to maintain a legal flow of skilled workers is a necessity as well.  I would love to see the number of citizens by birthright who would be willing to do the jobs that immigrant workers are doing today. I have to agree with many of the recent postings in regards to Ms. Vaughan’s comments: was she sleeping during the last election cycle? A visit to her resume page listed above is illustrative:”Ms. Vaughan recently completed several major projects on immigration and
    crime, including a Department of Justice-funded project studying the
    use of immigration law enforcement in transnational gang suppression
    efforts.” Evidently there is an undercurrent of suspicion that immigrants foster a rise of criminal activity in our country.

  • Ann Marie L

    A previous caller pointed to a VERY big issue with fair labor that was ignored by your guests and perhaps is better looked at in its own show. That is the issue of foreign workers in our national parks, and filling many other tourism positions, even workign as Camp counselors! I see that these Europeans are brought here to work for almost NOTHING- these workers are being exploited and young (and old) Americans are losing opportunities to work so that corporations can make a bigger buck off the back of cheap labor… this needs to be looked at!

  • Ray in VT

    Okay, Ms. Vaughan is suggesting that farmers could boost wages by 25% and hire American workers.  I would like to see her give that a try.  So many farmers, especially in the dairy industry in recent years, have been hit so hard by low prices, sometimes well below the cost of production, that they have a hard time paying the $8 per hour.  It is hard, dirty work doing agriculture, and a lot of farmers are going broke feeding this country, so where does she think that this extra money is going to come from?

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       Isn’t the dairy industry highly regulated?  With price controls?  Weren’t they just talking about extending the farm bill to prevent milk prices from skyrocketing?  Dairy might be the most government manipulated agriculture industry.

      I know the theory of government intervention is to guarantee supply and prevent farmers from going out of business.  From your anecdotes it sounds like it isn’t working very well in the dairy industry.  Of course, we get other anecdotes about millionaire farmers who get fat checks from the government to not produce.

      • Ray in VT

        I suppose that it depends upon what one calls highly regulated.  There are certainly plenty of regulations regarding how the milk is to be produced, stored and processed, and, given that it is a biological product with a potentially short shelf life, then most of that makes sense.

        My understanding about the recent issue regarding price controls was that the control that they were talking about maybe going away was one that put some sort of cap on retail prices, and the fear was that if those went away, then retail, and probably producer prices would be open to a sudden spike, and it was thought that that would cause a severe dip in purchases, a market glut and a fairly quick resulting crash in prices.  That’s what I got out of it.

        In general I don’t think that there is what one might call price controls on the production end.  There have been measures to attempt to create a milk minimum wage (MILC – Milk Income Loss Contract I think) so that prices would not dip too low.  Production cost is about $16-18 per hundred weight, and during the recent crash it dipped down to about $10.

        It surprised me to learn that my brother knows a fair amount about the international commodities markets.  He told me that according to the trade publications the domestic milk surplus was in part created by the loss of overseas markets, especially in East Asia, when Australian production returned after they had a downturn, and that eliminated our market’s outlet for excess production.

        One problem with dairy is that scaling production down isn’t really easy to do.  You can dry some cows off, but you still have to feed them, and if the market picks back up, then you’re stuck with a bunch of dry cows that might not freshen for months.  Currently the only real incentive is for more production.  If prices are high, then farmers want to make more milk.  If prices are low, then farmers want to make more milk.  My understanding of the Canadian market is that they have a quota system, which assures a reliable income and an incentive for someone to buy into a farm business.  There isn’t much incentive to get into dairy these days.  Start up costs for a 200 cow operation could easily top $500k, and the floor of the market could fall out from under you with little to no notice.

        I’ve heard some of the horror stories about people being paid not to produce.  I think that some of that comes from the Great Depression, when the government was attempting to get people out of the market in order to reduce surpluses and raise prices.  I’m not sure if that occurs with milk, but it might.  I think that Charles Schwab used to get upwards of a million to not grow rice in northern California, and Scottie Pippen used to get $60k/year (or something like that) in subsidies for some ranch he owned.  There are some pretty ridiculous cases out there.  I don’t know if it’s still that bad or not.

    • hennorama

      Agriculture in general is a crazy business.  What other economic segment does not set its own prices?  Producers get only what processors are willing to pay, regardless of their costs of production.  This often works just fine, but many times does not.  Many ag products are highly perishable, leaving out any possibility for producers to simply store their products, then sell when market conditions improve.

      Not to mention the incredibly hard work involved, the 24/7/365 nature of livestock production and care, the general isolation of farm populations, the risks involved due to the variability of weather, competition from foreign producers, land speculation and urban encroachment, etc., etc.

      Other than that … farmers have it easy.  (as if)

      On the other hand, the retail prices of food in US grocery stores depends much less of the price of the food commodities received by ag producers than on processor and retailer costs.  Putting it another way, if ag commodity prices rose due to increased labor costs, the impact on US retail grocery prices would be muted.

      The problem is that this is NOT true worldwide.  A 2008 article from the USDA Economic Research Service concluded that a 50% rise in the prices of food commodity staples, with 60% of the rise passing through to retail prices would result in

      “less than a 1-percentage-point increase (rising from 10.0% to 10.6%) in share of income spent on food for high-income [countries] but … low-income [countries would] spend over 10 percent more of their income on food (rising from 50.0% to 60.5%).”

      This is because groceries in the US are highly processed, whereas people in low-income countries tend to process the food themselves.  (Think of the difference between buying corn flakes and grinding corn into meal by hand).  In addition, those in low-income countries spend a MUCH higher share of their income on food, often five (or more) times higher than those in countries with higher incomes.

      • Ray in VT

        It’s a complex, and sometimes nonsensical, market to be sure.  A lot of the dairy market can depend upon the quality of one’s milk (incentives for high protein or butterfat) and the region that one is in, and the prices that farmers get can and do vary by the processor that the farmer ships to, although my brother’s experience is that it isn’t that much between the options that he has.  Farmers really get squeezed during times of market surpluses.  I think that the truckers used to be a part of the processor, but now they’ve competitively bid that out, and most of the truckers that I talk to say that they barely make enough to keep their trucks on the road.  It’s not a great system that we have, but one of my former co-workers said that his grandfather was a big shaker in the system back in the 1950s, and that a lot of farmers opted for what we have because they all thought that they were going to be the ones getting a leg up on their neighbors, rather than having some sort of quota system that would guarantee price stability like there is in Canada.

        • JGC

          Why do you guys keep dragging Canada into the discussion? Really, you all are making it very difficult for me to concentrate on the hockey game right now (currently tied 3-3, Montreal Canadiens vs. Winnipeg Jets).

          Some respect is due, please. The strike is barely over.

          • Ray in VT

            Go Winnipeg!  I don’t know a single guy on the Jets, but, having grown up near the border where every other hockey fan is a Habs fan, I have never liked them.  Go Bruins!  I had to make a comment to a few Canadians while in the train station under the Garden back in 2011.  They had the nerve to disrespect the Bruins in their own house!  It could not be left to stand.

            I also tend to like the teams that any guy who played for UVM plays for, so it’s nice when a Catamount becomes a Bruin.  John LeClair went to my high school back in the day, and I am glad to see the strike finally over.  Maybe now they can finally get their stuff together and avoid this nonsense for a while.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=41001992 Kevin Doyle

    Jessica, how can you say that the last 4 years have been weak on immigration?  Obama has enforced immigration more than past presidents, and even if you argue that those numbers are skewed, look at his predecessors.  George W Bush believed strongly in his guest-worker program (very similar to Obama’s amnesty).  Clinton DID give amnesty to immigrants!  That’s 20 years of presidents believing in keeping these non-criminal workers here in the United States!  People who believe in any sort of mass-deportation are FAR behind the times and naive about the logistics of human migration.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cecebar Cindy C Barnard

    Thank you caller – yes, we’ve got work for immigrants, and doing work that Americans will not, and could not do, they don’t have the skills.

    Most Immigrants do pay taxes, and they live very frugally. To hear one caller say he believes he can’t have another child because he can’t afford it and immigrants are standing in his way is so ludicrous and out of the balance of discussion, I just don’t know where to begin.

  • imjust Sayin

    Please address the giant elephant in the room:

    Wage theft.

    When you see a bunch of Mexicans on a roof, and one super-nice late model pickup, you see an American Coyote.

    An American Coyote is the one who profits from the illegal status by stealing the “witholdings” or outright excuses to not pay them.

    And at the same time, honorable hosts and companies, wait for their turn to get their honest workers approved.

    When you are kind to those who are cruel, then you are cruel to those who are kind.

    Honest versions of capitalism, respect both the investment of money, and the investment of work.

    Slowing down the government, in the name of less government, is encouraging the co-dependent relationships involved with undocumented workers.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/M52XUC55BF45N4MFRBD6RCJP5U Ewiyaat

    Jessica Vaughan is truly out of touch with American society. She should try and mingle with the underclass and see the world in totally different way. She should try and meet people like the previous caller “Lisa” to take her out and see the real world

  • PithHelmut

    This discussion just seems like trying to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. Working with a framework that is completely twisted leaves it all to casino-like results. We look to office holders that take bribes and expect them to make considered decisions?  Surely they knew the makeup of their constituents before the election? 

  • Wahoo_wa

    Just out of curiosity, I’m wondering about language.  Since those of German ancestry currently hold the highest percentage of the make-up of the U.S., how do people feel about making German the nation’s second language?  The second highest percentage is Irish and third highest percentage is English.  

    • Wahoo_wa

      People who identify “American” as their ancestry hold the 4th highest percentage rate for comparison.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stewsburntmonkey David Stewart

      Given that we don’t have an official national language, I think making a second language would be rather odd.

      • Wahoo_wa

        Well if one uses Canada as an example…I understand Canada did not have an official language until both French and English were adopted as official languages.  Prior to that there were struggles with language dominance in parts of the country.  It’s an interesting precedent.

        • JGC

          Hmmm; there are still struggles with language dominance in Canada to this very day.  Actually, the province of Quebec has only one official language (French, of course). I have to wonder how the English/French dynamic works on the west coast, where the second language is probably Mandarin, not French. 

  • cblackmer

    Americans are not willing to pay the real price for food. That is why the farming jobs need to pay such low wages even though the work is hard AND it is skilled. Jessica Vaughn did not have a clue about farm workers and farm wages. If wages, and ultimately food prices were to rise by 25% then more people would justify living on soda and crap. Unless she thinks the goverment will kick in 25% more in subsidies…

    • Wahoo_wa

      Chuck Penn originally posted this as proof that native born Americans would not accept work as farm laborers (perhaps not reading its content): http://www.nationalaglawcenter.org/assets/crs/RL30395.pdf

      The second paragraph of the summary has an interesting analysis of illegal immigrant labor versus mechanization and how that might affect food prices.  Kinda debunks the high price of food argument for maintaining an illegal immigrant work force.  One could also extrapolate that if illegals are legalized and mechanization does not happen, food prices would increase.

      • http://www.facebook.com/stewsburntmonkey David Stewart

        You keep spamming this, but I don’t see anything in the second paragraph of the summary that debunks anything.  It simply lays out arguments and counter arguments, but concludes by saying that since the perishable food industry has always relied on unauthorized foreign workers we haven’t tested the case where no foreign workers are involved.

        • Wahoo_wa

          It’s not spam (I don’t think you know what that word means) but rather a larger discussion on the topic leaving open a the possibility that the extreme left and right positions may not be the answer.

          • http://www.facebook.com/stewsburntmonkey David Stewart

            Copying a pasting the same post multiple times is spam (in the internet discussion board sense).

          • Wahoo_wa

            Spamming is generally considered an discriminant emailing or posting of materials to a large group of people.  Presenting an argument in several different discussions is not spamming.

          • http://www.facebook.com/stewsburntmonkey David Stewart

            Actually it is, but whatever.  You don’t seem to have any substantive response, so there doesn’t seem there is much to be done.

          • Wahoo_wa

            Well you are certainly a narrow minded person.  Good day.

          • http://www.facebook.com/stewsburntmonkey David Stewart

            Insults, how predictable…

          • Wahoo_wa

            Indee, your comments were predictable.

    • hennorama

      cblackmer -  the retail prices of food in US grocery stores depends much less on the commodity prices paid to ag producers/farmers than on processor and retailer costs.  Putting it another way, if ag commodity prices rose due to increased labor costs, the impact on US retail grocery prices would be muted.

      The problem is that this is NOT true worldwide.  Higher agricultural commodity prices affect those in low-income countries to a much greater extent than their impact on US consumers.  This is because groceries in the US tend to be highly processed, whereas people in low-income countries tend to process the food themselves.  (Think of the difference between buying corn flakes and grinding corn into meal by hand).  In addition, those in low-income countries spend a MUCH higher share of their income on food, often five (or more) times higher than those in countries with higher incomes.

      Rising commodity prices have had a worldwide impact, pushing food prices up around the globe.  This has led to increased inflation, higher poverty rates and more malnutrition and disease associated with food shortages.  Angry citizens have rioted over price hikes on staple foods, leading to political instability.  This makes low food commodity prices a goal of governments worldwide.

      A 2008 article from the USDA Economic Research Service concluded that a 50% rise in the prices of food commodity staples, with 60% of the rise passing through to retail prices would result in

      “less than a 1-percentage-point increase (rising from 10.0% to 10.6%) in share of income spent on food for high-income [countries] but … low-income [countries would] spend over 10 percent more of their income on food (rising from 50.0% to 60.5%).”

      Again, for emphasis – USDA indicated that a hypothetical consumer in a low-income country spends 50% of their income on food, which might rise to 60.5% under their rising commodity price scenario.  This has largely come true already.


  • nprlistener

    Although I don’t at all agree with Jessica Vaughan’s position on immigration, I was dismayed at Mr. Ashbrooke’s constantly interrupting her and arguing with her. He did not do this with his other guests. In fact, he gave them plenty of uninterrupted air tIme to fully express their ideas. Mr. Ashbrooke’s confrontational stance with Ms. Vaughan reminded me very much of the biased and arrogant treatment Bill O’Reilly subjects his “guests” to when he disagrees with their point of view.

  • Markus6

    Isn’t the following obvious to anyone other than the idealogues on both sides (y’know, the one’s who think the other side is pure evil).

    US demographics mean republicans have to soften their tough stance on immigration (whether it’s right or not).

    Immigrant labor depresses pay scales. This tired argument that Americans won’t take these jobs anyway needs to go away. Pay someone $20 an hour and they’ll work on a dairy farm. A relative in Ca. has to hire illegals for his construction business or his bids are non-competitive. You pay someone more and you’ll get the job filled. 

    Immigrant labor saves consumers money. I don’t know how  much but I think it’s more than Ms. Vaughan states. The same relative said 25% for construction (though that seems high to me).

    Immigration hurts the poor who want to work the most. Probably obvious. If they do the jobs illegals are doing, they’ll have trouble surviving. If they don’t, well the unemployment rate for low wage workers is around 18%.

    This country’s getting crowded. Ok, this one may not be obvious. I travel a lot and see the sprawl, the traffic, the encroachment on relatively unspoiled areas. And this is just what can be seen. Climate change: Americans emit approx 8 times the green house gases per capita than 3rd world people. Add more people, you get more carbon. Not their fault, they like air conditioning, cars and all the rest, just like Americans.

    None of this says that illegals worse than Americans. If I was one of the X billion people in some miserable mega-city in South America, Indonesia, Mexico or wherever, I’d try to find a way to get here too. 

    • Wahoo_wa

      Very thoughtful analysis.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stewsburntmonkey David Stewart

      I have recently been shocked at just how poorly run chain stores are in the US (especially fast food chains).  They employ low wage workers, but can’t seem to find anyone competent to run a store where virtually everything is written down, step by step, in a binder.  There is certainly a problem with motivation and drive in many Americans which are two things immigrants tend to have in spades.  We need competitive pressure of immigration to motivate us and we need a business system that rewards hard, well-done work.  If you have those two things immigration becomes a boon, not a burden.

      • hennorama

        David Stewart – One also needs businesses unwilling to hire undocumented workers.  The stubborn fact of the matter is that without employers who are ready and willing to break the law by hiring illegal workers, few would take the considerable risk of crossing the border.

        • http://www.facebook.com/stewsburntmonkey David Stewart

          My argument is that America is an exceptional nation with a potential for greatness unequalled by any other in the world.  This being the case, we shouldn’t have an immigration problem.  We should be bragging about how many people immigrate to America each year, not running scarred or holing ourselves up behind regulations and fences.  While I do think employers bear a large share of the responsibility for the proliferation of unauthorized workers, I think that if we were really reaching out potential as a nation there would be little reason for any immigrants to be unauthorized.  To maintain our greatness as a nation we have to get to a place where immigrants are a symbol of pride in what we’ve built here, not objects of fear and loathing. 

          • hennorama

            David Stewart – TY for your response. You make an interesting and spirited argument. The US is already the envy of much of the world, which explains the desire of so many to come here, both legally and illegally.

            Despite the fact that we are a nation of immigrants, there is a persistent nativist/anti-immigrant attitude among a large swath of our society. Logic is irrelevant to these beliefs and attitudes. This remains an enormous political obstacle to common-sense solutions, never mind more idealistic ideas such as yours.

            Perhaps one day we can get to where you wish us to be, but not without taking the far simpler steps involved in the Senate Gang’s proposals. We need to deal with the present realities before being able to soar “to a place where immigrants are a symbol of pride in what we’ve built here, not objects of fear and loathing.”

            Nevertheless, your spirit and sentiment are admirable and to be encouraged. Keep the thoughful comments coming.

          • http://www.facebook.com/stewsburntmonkey David Stewart

            I’m certainly no opponent of the current proposals.  I was rather heartened to see them come out.  I think we should however recognize a big part of the problem is the brokenness of the economy.  Given that the economy is generally considered the major issue of the day, it seems like there is a opportunity to address or at least highlight the broader and more fundamental issues as well.

          • hennorama

            David Stewart – TY for again your response.

            Indeed, immigration and the economy are closely related. But the rest of your post is unclear to me. Are you saying that unauthorized immigration is the cause of or “a big part of the problem [of] the brokenness of the economy?” And which “broader and more fundamental issues” are we failing to address?

          • http://www.facebook.com/stewsburntmonkey David Stewart

            I think immigration is largely a side issue.  The real problem is that American businesses aren’t innovating or rewarding hard work.  Business has always been rather exploitative, but over the past 50 years or so company leaders have valued cost cutting and effective monopolies over innovation.  Hard work isn’t often rewarded, whereas short term scams too frequently are.  The result is that we have a few generations of people who have limited motivation, limited skills and outsized estimations of what they deserve.  We live in a age of complacency and the push back against immigration largely stems from an attempt to maintain the delusion that we are living up to the American ideals, when in fact we aren’t.  We still have the American spirit, but we haven’t been good at push ourselves towards the greatness out potential allows.  It is a complicated confluence of many factors, but I think it is the key issue of the current age for Americans.

          • hennorama

            David Stewart – TY for your thoughtful reply. You make some legitimate points. While I agree that financial rewards are often disproportionate to or even completely disconnected from effort, I don’t fully agree with your statements “that we have a few generations of people who have limited motivation, limited skills and outsized estimations of what they deserve. We live in a age of complacency ”

            It is true however that many Americans have an insular and chauvinistic view of the nation, and are woefully and willfully ignorant of just how fortunate they are relative to most of the world. Given this lack of perspective, it is easy to take for granted the US position of dominance and assume it will continue unabated. This gets reinforced by the simplistic sloganeering regarding so-called “American exceptionalism.”

            Thank you again for your thoughtful commentary.

    • hennorama

      Markus6 – you seem to be conflating “immigrants” and “illegals.”  Please be cognizant of the difference.  If you substituted “Undocumented/illegal (pick the term you prefer) labor” for “Immigrant labor” your statements would be more accurate.

      Here are some facts and estimates about foreign-born workers in the US labor force:

      About 1 in 6 workers in the US are foreign-born.  Nearly half of these foreign-born workers are Hispanic, and about one quarter are Asian.  Median incomes of foreign-born workers is nearly $32K, which is about 78% of the median for native-born workers.  There are a variety of reasons for this, but the main one is that foreign-born workers are more likely to be employed in lower-wage service occupations.

      About 1/3 of foreign-born workers are in the US illegally, making up a bit over 5% of the overall US labor force.

      Immigrants, both legal and illegal, have historically been employed generally in low- to mid-skilled occupations in agriculture, food service and hotels, domestic services, and construction.  Most illegal workers are in these fields of endeavor.

      Recently, legal immigrants are increasingly employed in highly skilled positions in technology, manufacturing and life sciences.  These are not low-paying positions.

  • GJMF45

    The program about reforms for immigrants was good but in my opinion very incomplete. Please look at where the Republicans are coming from. THEY WANT MORE VOTES! and it seems will try anything, illegal or legal, with or against citizens or immigrants. I think they are just trying to look less vile, morally despicable. I am clearly disgusted with many of the Republicans and with some of the Democratic legislators. A few still look at what is the best for most Americans and immigrants who might become Americans. Most of them only seem interested in the money they get which is mostly from corporations who chew-up the rights of Americans for their own benefit.
    Please discuss the Republican party’s activity regarding gerrymandering, which is again in my opinion, absolutely anti-democratic and against the wishes of the American people. Please do a program on on getting rid of the electoral system and instead having a one-vote-per-person way of counting votes. 

    • hennorama

      GJMF45 – I agree with the general sentiment of your post.

      Many Republicans (and Democrats, too) are largely motivated by electoral and demographic realities related to immigration.  But regardless of their motivation, resolving immigration policy and immigration issues would be a GREAT thing for everyone.  If someone gets more votes as a result, more power to them.

      Of course, that’s your point – they want more power.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stewsburntmonkey David Stewart

    Why would that be frightening?  Because it would signal you were no longer in the cultural majority?

  • hennorama

    It’s easy to sympathize with all those here legally who want a job but can’t find one, and those whose wages are held down due to businesses being able to draw from a large pool of undocumented workers.  It’s also easy to empathize with someone who crosses an imaginary line and suddenly can make 10 times the money paid on the other side of the line.  Imagine that by walking into Canada, you could suddenly make 10 times your current pay.

    Without immigrants, the US economy would grind to a halt.  According to the Brookings Institution, in 2010, over 16% (1 in 6) US workers was foreign-born.  This is up significantly from 1970, when this group totaled less than 5% of all workers.

    Clearly, such large numbers of foreign-born workers are important to the economy.

    About 1/3 of foreign-born workers are in the US illegally, making up a bit over 5% of the overall US labor force.

    Immigrants, both legal and illegal, have historically been employed generally in low- to mid-skilled occupations in agriculture, food service and hotels, domestic services, and construction.  Most illegal workers are in these fields of endeavor.

    Recently, legal immigrants are increasingly employed in highly skilled positions in technology, manufacturing and life sciences.

    Arguments over the effects of illegal immigration, both negative and positive, can go on forever.  However, keep in mind one stubborn fact – without employers who are ready and willing to break the law by hiring illegal workers, few would take the considerable risk of crossing the border.

    • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

      I agree on your key points.

      It’s easy for idealogues to speak of principles, but when you consider the facts on the ground, the reality of kicking our 1 or 2 million, productive workers from our economy would have a devastating shock.

      Regardless of these realities, hardliners essentially want us to shoot ourselves in the foot on principle.

    • William

       Our economy would do very well without the 20 million or so illegals. Wages would rise for the lower skilled workers, schools would be less crowded, less crime, less traffic, and few people in prison. Illegals don’t add much to our economy or society since they take more than they give and violate numerous laws, (id theft, welfare fraud,).

      • hennorama

        William – TY for your response. I respect and understand your views.

        However, I have to take issue with and dispute some of your remarks:

        1. Your view/estimate of the number of “illegals” is off by quite a lot. According to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS), an estimated 11.5 million unauthorized immigrants resided in the United States as of January 2011.


        2. About 1/3 of foreign-born workers are in the US illegally, making up a bit over 5% of the overall US labor force. Therefore one finds it difficult to argue that “Illegals don’t add much to our economy …” if they comprise 5% of the labor force.

        3. Can you provide some basis/evidence/proof for the following points?:

        a) “Illegals don’t add much to our economy or society” and

        b) “they take more than they give”

        I’d dispute “… few people in prison,” but I assume you meant ” few[ER] people in prison.” Please correct me if that is not the case.

        • Gregg Smith

          The number was widely said to be 22 million when Bush tried immigration reform. No one knows.

          • paul

             My guess is it’s 1.5-2 times as much as they tell us.  We will find this out 20-30 years from now when the truth comes out.

        • William

          A good article on illegals was in the cs monitor a few years ago and I don’t think anyone really knows. The best guess is 7-20 million.


          - An illegal work force is not something a nation needs or should encourage. It just keeps wages down and increases poverty. We are spending nearly a trillion dollars a year on various poverty programs. Ask a poor person and they will tell you “I can’t get a decent paying job”. If we want to help the poor, create a low skilled labor shortage.

          I lived in San Diego CA and did business up in the Central Valley area. That area was flooded with illegals from various Central and South American countries. It was like driving through a 3rd world nation. That is not something we need across the nation.

          • hennorama

            William – TY for your response.

            The DHS I cited data is from 2011, far newer than your 2006 reference (which I was unable to access). The Pew Hispanic Research Center comes to a similar result of 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in 2011, using their methodology and data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) conducted by the Census Bureau.



            Still, as you say, no one knows the exact number. But I prefer to use info that is as recent as possible.

            Your comments about poverty and the poor are off-topic. If you wish to discuss “poverty and the poor,” I would dispute, as both inaccurate and misleading, your statement “We are spending nearly a trillion dollars a year on various poverty programs.”

            I would also ask you to please provide your definition of “poverty programs,” details on the “nearly a trillion dollars a year” you say “We are spending,” and details of exactly who is receiving this “nearly a trillion dollars a year.” Assuming you’d like to discuss this separate topic, of course.

            You also have not responded to (unless your response is in the link I cannot access) my previous question:

            [[3. Can you provide some basis/evidence/proof for the following points?:

            a) "Illegals don't add much to our economy or society" and

            b) "they take more than they give"]]

            I look forward to your reply.

          • William

            Illegal immigrants and their numbers are a political football. Look at the claims for deportations. The government says they are up, but private organizations say the books are “cooked” (cis.org), so who do we trust?

            What do illegals add to society? I would say not much. We have various (I think 10) different temp. programs for farm workers so toss that out. What else? Keep wages low? Is that a “Plus?”

            Take more than they give? Sure they do? Just look at the money they send home vice spending here? I think Mexico gets about 9 billion a year alone. Do illegals pay for the services they take? Schools, medical, police, fire, streets? etc..most work for cash so they avoid most if not all income taxes. Some might own property and pay property taxes but those numbers are low. Schools are most funded with property taxes, which, most illegals don’t pay.

            Poverty programs is how PBS discussed it and they claimed the number was up to nearly a trillion dollars. How can we not link poverty and low wages to illegal immigration? What is keeping low skilled wages depressed? Excess cheap illegal labor.

          • hennorama

            William – TY for your response. I agree that the numbers are imperfect and one side or the other will inflate or deflate them if at all possible in order to make their arguments. At this point, it’s futile to go back and forth point by point. The arguments on both sides of this issue have their merits and deficiencies.

            But two things are undeniable – unauthorized immigration is a large problem involving millions of people, and rounding up and deporting millions of people is an impractical solution.

            So we are left with the choice of facing up to and trying to solve this very real problem, or continuing to muddle through with patchwork efforts that serve only to prolong yet another politically divisive issue. It would be nice for the nation to solve a problem for once, rather than continually extending its life.

            As it stands, we have millions of lawbreakers employed by hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of other lawbreakers. This must change. We can’t simply continue on as is, with a segment of society living in the shadowy world of the underground economy, always looking over their shoulder and unable to actively contribute to society for fear of exposure. We need to integrate these people into our society, so they can take their proper place and add their skills, talents, arts and culture for the good of the nation as a whole.

            Just as the millions of past immigrants have, whether they arrived via legal or illegal means. We are a nation of immigrants. This diversity is an enormous strength, not a weakness. We can and will fix this.

      • paul

         Very good!!  Correct!!

    • AngelicaUNC1

      I cannot help but note that in a discussion about ILLEGAL immigration, you talk about “immigration”.  It’s not appropriate to conflate these two divergent concepts.  We do not have a problem with “immigration” per se.  Rather, the problem is with the ILLEGAL immigration and the blackmarket labor schemes and the other fraud, abuse, and catastrophic finanical impositions that underlie it. (And yes, the LAWBREAKING employers should receive prohibitive civil fines, and criminal prosecution– however, you’ll also note that the proponents of rewards for immigration lawbreaking will strongly oppose tough employer sanctions, thus underscoring their desire for an endless flow of ILLEGALS into the U.S.)  

      Secondly, if you have a sense of fairness and justice, it’s much easier to sympathize with poor and working class American citizens and LEGAL immigrants whose rights, opportunties, and wages are being DEVASTATED by the endorsement of ILLEGAL immigration— either directly or via opposing enforcement of U.S. law!

      • hennorama

        AngelicaUNC1 – TY for your responses. As previously noted, your passion is clear. I understand your reasoning and respect your views. I also appreciate you taking the time to expand them. However, given that the two of us seem unable to agree even on basic terminology, I suspect that further discourse will serve only to further inflame passions rather than get toward agreement. As to terminology, I refer you to the topic of this forum “The New Push For Immigration Reform.” Notably, this is not only about unauthorized immigration.

        But we do agree on several issues. I agree with you that lax enforcement and practically non-existent employer penalties are a huge problem, perhaps even the main problem when it comes to unauthorized immigration. Without employers willing to break the law with impugnity, there would be little incentive for many who take the often considerable risks involved in entering the US without authorization. And yes, a large pool of available undocumented workers has a negative impact on wages.

        There are lawbreakers on both sides of the employer-employee relationship, yet the thrust of the arguments involved in the issue of unauthorized immigration is generally focused on the employees rather than the employers. As I said, I give you credit for your views that employers breaking the law should be strongly sanctioned. But you are almost alone in expressing these views in the context of unauthorized immigration.

        Immigrants, whether they arrive in the US via legal or illegal means, are drawn here by the prospect of greater prosperity, opportunity and freedom, for themselves and their families. This is unlikely to change. Yes, some will cross the border to take advantage of various economic support systems. But the vast majority of those who enter the US illegally do so because of the ready availabilty of jobs from employers willing to break the law. We do have somewhat of a “chicken and egg” conundrum, but shutting off the ready availabilty of jobs due to illegal hiring practices will go a long way toward discouraging illegal entrants. We have seen this during the great Recession – lower employment opportunity leads to lower unauthorized immigration.

        Remember too that men make up the vast majority of illegal immigrant adults (58%). They often are here only to work and send money back home to support their families. The pull of home is strong, and many do not stay indefinitely. Among adults ages 18 to 64, male illegal immigrants (93%) are more likely than U.S.-born males (81%) to be in the labor force. Conversely, female illegal immigrants (58%) are less likely than U.S.-born females (72%) to be in the labor force.


  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    If I am not mistaken,  Mexicans and other central Americans have been on the American continent thousands of years before many of the irate gringos posting their self-entitled outrage against immigrants. 

    How dare they call immigrants looking for work “criminals”.  They should read more about the British and US pirateers, slavers and opium runners – crimes which fueled American growth.

    • William

       So, the immigration laws in Mexico are weaker or tougher than ours?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

         There sure are a lot of gringos retiring on oceanside communities in Mexico, Guatemala, etc.

        • William

           A lot tougher down there for the illegals too.

        • paul

           Are they illegal or legal?  Do they suck money out of the country or spend money?

    • paul

       Yes rich people over the years have always used us poor to build their kingdoms.  Nothing has changed.

  • hennorama

    One can also view immigration reform from a fiscal perspective.  Here’s what’s happening right now:

    Undocumented workers who are on payrolls are paying Social Security and Medicare taxes via deductions from their paychecks, but won’t receive benefits unless their status changes.  Many also pay Federal, state and local taxes via payroll deductions.  It’s estimated that about half of all undocumented workers are on payrolls, with the other half working “off the books.”  Some but not all undocumented workers file tax returns using an ITIN (individual Taxpayer Identification Number) and either receive refunds or pay additional taxes.

    They also contribute to Federal, state and local revenues by paying sales taxes, gasoline taxes, property taxes, various fees, etc.

    Another factoid many may not be aware of – about 1 in 6 workers in the US are foreign-born.  Nearly half of these foreign-born workers are Hispanic, and about one quarter are Asian.  Median incomes of foreign-born workers is nearly $32K, which is about 78% of the median for native-born workers.  There are a variety of reasons for this, but the main one is that foreign-born workers are more likely to be employed in lower-wage service occupations.

    About 1/3 of foreign-born workers are in the US illegally, making up a bit over 5% of the overall US labor force.
    There would likely be a significant tax revenue boost if undocumented workers come out of the underground economy and pay all associated taxes.  This could significantly reduce Federal, state and local budget problems.  In addition, there would be benefits to the Medicare and Social Security systems through increased revenue.

    One also should consider the benefits involved in reducing problems associated with unlicensed and unisured drivers, the reluctance of some to cooperate with law enforcement, and various ways undocumented workers are taken advantage of due to fear that their status would be revealed.

  • Paul Justham

    “Commit for 3 years, then you get your chance.”  Indentured servitude, anyone?  Or is that the elephant in the living room?

    • Wahoo_wa

      As compared with other countries that’s not too bad!

  • IconI

    All the people here supporting illegal immigration are either married to a illegal or hispanic or some world government NWO FREEMASONS & KNIGHTS TEMPLARS,and feel the native born citizens won’t go for it and need to be replaced by a foreign demographic.SLICK!REAL SLICK!

    • hennorama

      OK, now that the comic relief has been presented … huh?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dhrosier Dreighton Rosier

    Many of the folks out of work are immigrants who came to America for the same reasons the illegals have come.  Empowering the new illegal immigrants will be detrimental to economic prospects for individuals just like them only having arrived a few years earlier.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    I heard mention of payment of ‘back taxes’. How can you assess it, let alone fairly. Add any small yearly sum up over 10 or 20 years with interest and you get a home mortgage. The devil is in the details and that detail may unmask the disingenuous intentions of those now ‘willing’ to ‘negotiate’.

  • hennorama

    For those interested in data, this is an excellent site for “Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States”


  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.kay.7777 Gary Kay

    The most amazing thing about this issue is that no one seems to realize that the greatest threat to the world is over-population. Nations can shuttle people between nations as much as they want, and their situation will only get worse. Especially since fewer and fewer jobs are being created to provide jobs for more people. Mathematically speaking, we are creating a disaster.

  • stevenhelms75

    I enjoyed your program as always, but fail to understand one of your guest’s comments about Americans’ willingness to work for eight to ten dollars an hour. In rural areas, such as those with demand for agricultural labor, people operate on a much lower pay scale than some commentators must realize. After getting a degree in education, I made nine dollars an hour as a substitute teacher. Finally obtaining a teaching position has raised my salary to ten dollars an hour – and I am glad to have it.

    • paul

       I agree, After doing contruction and make a fairly good living for many years with many hours of very hard work every day.  I now am serving food at a low end retaraunt because that is all I could find.  I make $3.68/ hour of course plus tips.  I work very hard and am lucky to get 18 – 22 hours a week.  I do make a little over minimum wage most days but only about 1/2 to 1/3 what I used to make on a bad day in construstion before the crash and beginning of the depression.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    Take a closer look in a supermarket and you will see the typical central american immigrant family (traditional father, mother and children) tired from their day or all night work, with just vegetables and chicken in their basket.  

    They usually standing in the same line with very overweight Americans (unmarried mother with kids) holding a welfare credit card and a shopping cart (sometimes 2 carts) overflowing with the worst crap you could imagine.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/IINDYNKDVJ7SGELIBPVXGMJ2G4 LawrenceF

       That’s true. But it doesn’t mean they are not illegal. Just because they have healthy foods in their cart, does not mean they should stay in this country, when they broke the law to get here.

      I would never imagine staying in the UK  or Germany and think suddenly someone would just forgive me and allow me to stay just because they wanted to be nice.

  • Mort_Sinclair

    I cannot take Vaughan’s idiocy for one more minute.  I don’t know how Tom can tolerate this bigoted, ignorant, ultraconservative talking head.

    • AngelicaUNC1

      The notion that it is “bigoted” to support the enforcement of the MOST GENEROUS IMMIGRATOIN LAWS IN THE WORLD is absurd, false, and intellectually dishonest!

  • Call_Me_Missouri

    The best way to free up H1B Work Visa’s would be to not allow corporations to use Imported Minorities (who are not Minorities in their Home Countries) to fulfill their Affirmative Action Hiring and Promotion Goals.  If National Origin was a determining factor in whether a person was considered an Affirmative Action hire or not, many companies would stop importing AA hires, and instead hire Natively Born Minorities who are the people who really need the leg up.

    As to changing our comprehensive immigration policy I think a temporary guest worker program that would allow especially agricultural workers the ability to be here and work is perfectly acceptable…  But they cannot be counted as AA hires!

  • AngelicaUNC1

    Granting rewards for immigration lawbreaking is neither fair, moral, nor a remotely appropriate course of governance. To the contrary, granting rewards and special treatment to those who violated our laws with impunity puts LEGAL immigrants (who went through a background check, paid a high price, and waited the wait to come to the U.S.) in a far worse position than the despicable ILLEGAL immigrants and the abhorrent lawbreaking businesses who hire them. This is entirely back-ass. Americans (including this life-long Democrat) are against rewards and special treatment for immigration lawbreaking because the cost is catastrophic (take LA County for example where apps. 22% of CalWorks recipients are ILLEGAL immigrants who rely upon government support for their anchor babies).

    Reagan’s 1986 amnesty is Exhibit A that granting rewards and special treatment for immigration lawbreaking will only serve to incentivize exponentially millions more selfish lawbreakers emboldened with ENTITLE-ITIS in 10 more years.

    THIS IS A DESPICABLE ACT OF POLITICAL PANDERING and a complete INSULT to American citizens and LEGAL IMMIGRANTS. Further, this pandering eliminates the notion that everyone must play by the same rules. In fact, it reinforces the notion that some people (in this case the selfish ILLEGALS) are entitled to be above the laws by which appx. 1 million LEGAL immigrants play every year! THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE and promotes corruption by which those abiding by the law (including businesses) are at a competitive disadvantage when compared to their lawbreaking counterparts.


    • http://profile.yahoo.com/IINDYNKDVJ7SGELIBPVXGMJ2G4 LawrenceF

       Yes. you are right. I am a Obama supporter but think his politically motivated decisions are not fair or right.

      They are illegal. Period. That’s one thing I agree with the Republicans on.

      • nobodysgirl

        I’m with you on this, Lawrence.  I’ve voted for this president twice and love him and his beautiful family.  I’ve supported him on alot of issues and contacted my congressmen.  However, on this issue I disagree with him 100% and agree with
        Angelica, who has illustrated the problems very clearly.  I share her passion on this issue.

    • hennorama

      AngelicaUNC1 – you have misstated some information.  You typed “take LA County for example where apps. 22% of CalWorks recipients are ILLEGAL immigrants who rely upon government support for their anchor babies.”
      What you were correct about is that the figure of 22% is involved, but the rest is inaccurate.  “22% of LA County CalWorks recipients” are NOT “ILLEGAL immigrants who rely upon government support for their anchor babies.”

      More accurately, 22% of the dollar value of CalWORKs and food stamp issued during June and July 2012 in Los Angeles County were issued to unauthorized immigrant parents on behalf of their children, who were born in the US and are US citizens.

      This is a meaningful difference.


      I give you credit for mentioning “lawbreaking businesses who hire” undocumented workers, but you fail to mention perhaps the most significant reason for the failure of the changes to immigration policy in 1986 – strict sanctions on employers were stripped out of the bill in order to get it passed.

      The stubborn fact of the matter is that without employers who are ready and willing to break the law by hiring illegal workers, few would take the considerable risk of crossing the border.

      • AngelicaUNC1

        Hennorama– 1. As to your first point, What you are saying is precisely what I have said. 22% of CalWorks recipients are ILLEGALS who rely upon this government assistance to support their anchor babies. Anchor babies (upon which the ILLEGALS rely to obtain these taxpayer funded services and to argue that they should not have U.S. law enforced against them so that they can remain in the U.S.), are, indeed, U.S. citizens in light of our flawed policy of birthright citizenship (a policy rejected by almost every other developed country in the world).  So what’s your point? 22% of the recipients of Calworks are ILLEGALS who cannot support their children on their own! That’s my point!

        2. Regarding the lawbreaking employers– Of the participants in this ILLEGAL immigration scheme (the ILLEGALS, the conspiring politicians who do not protect American citizens by enforcing U.S. law), I find the lawbreaking employers to be THE MOST DEPLORABLE of the bunch.  They cheat the system and are thereby able to gain competitive advantage against the lawabiding businesses (including those that endeavor to play by the rules by utilizing E-Verify).  They also exploit their blackmarket labor force in a disgusting way— AND IT’S ALL FOR CRUDE PROFIT TO SATIATE THEIR WAGE-DEPRESSION AGENDA!   

        Another reason that our laws should be enforced is that a failure to enforce results in abuse and manipulation of the ILLEGAL laborers for PROFIT!   This is WRONG!

        • hennorama

          AngelicaUNC1 – TY for your response. Your use of capitalization and punctuation is notable.

          We definitely agree regarding the employers who “exploit their blackmarket labor force in a disgusting way.” Without their participation, this issue would largely be moot.

          Putting further fine points on your statement “take LA County for example where apps. 22% of CalWorks recipients are ILLEGAL immigrants who rely upon government support for their anchor babies”:

          1. The press release from Supervisor Antonovich, which appears to be the source of your statement, makes no mention whatsoever as to the number of recipients. It refers only to dollar values, and therefore it is impossible to conclude anything about any percentage of recipients from the release.

          Regardless, the beneficiaries are the children, who are US citizens (“native-born children” per the release), and not the parents. Eligibility for “food stamp” benefits in California is by the individual and not the household. Per the CalFresh website “Eligible household members can get CalFresh benefits even if other members of the household are not eligible.”

          2. The press release breaks down the benefits issued as ” nearly $40 million in CalWORKs (welfare) and $70 million in food stamps — representing 22% of all CalWORKs and food stamp issuances in the County.” This means that about 36 percent of the benefits were CalWORKS benefits, with the remaining 64 percent being ” food stamps.”

          Again, there is that pesky “22% of CalWorks recipients” thing rearing its inaccurate head. Even if your characterization were accurate (and it cannot possibly be determined given the available info), you would need to reduce it to 8%. (36% of your inaccurate 22%).

          3. There is also insufficient data to conclude that the parents of the children receiving these benefits “rely upon government support for their anchor babies.” There is no information whatsoever about the incomes of said parents, nor the incomes of any other household members. There is also no info regarding the frequency or duration of these benefits.

          If you mean “rely upon” as “depend upon regular receipt of,” you may be correct. If you mean “rely upon” as in “get the majority of their US citizen children’s support from,” you may be correct, but there is no information to based such a conclusion on.

          4. Finally, your statement is based on erroneous data. The people at Supervisor Antonovich are not very adept at making calculations. Using the very data Supervisor Antonovich refers to

          one finds that the benefit payments for June & July 2012 attributed to “ILLEGALS” totalled $105,772,867 out of all benefits paid ($509,288,680).

          My calculator shows this as less than 21% (20.77%). But I guess 22% is an easier number to remember. or something. Or perhaps “close enough for government work.”

          Other than that, your statement was dandyfine.

        • hennorama

          AngelicaUNC1 – In retrospect, my previous reply to you was unneccessarily nitpicky. My slicing and dicing and parsing of your phrasing may have been accurate, but was over the top. Your menaing was clear, and I was simply being contrary, which was unneeded to express my disagreement with your point.

          There was no ill intent, just a long tangental digression. My apologies.

          • AngelicaUNC1

            Thank you for your response Hennorama.  I will go back and re-read the statistics and the manner in which they are  presented by Antonovich’s office (by the way, he doesn’t gather the statistics himself– he obtains them from public agencies who reluctantly turn them over– I know this because I spoke to his media spokeperson one day).  I care about being accurate when I say something, so I will take a second look to ensure that I am stating the 22% precisely.  However, regardless, the essence of my statements still stands– which is that ILLEGAL immigrants (I emphasize the ILLEGAL to differentiate ILLEGALS from immigrants)– do consume enormous quantities of our financial resources, as they are largely low wage workers.  Low wage workers (including American low wage workers) consume far more in social welfare services than they pay in taxes.  We cannot reward cheaters with our limited and ever-dwindling scarce resources!  Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

          • hennorama

            AngelicaUNC1 – TY for your response. As I said, your meaning was clear – you view this as an abuse of the system. The level of your passion on this topic is also quite clear from your use of capitalization and punctuation.

            I respect your views, and was only trying to get you to present them more accurately. The actual beneficiaries of the program dollars being referred to are not unauthorized immigrants (or whatever term you prefer) – they are children who are US citizens. The fact that the checks/electronic payments are issued to the beneficiary’s parent or parents is due to the fact that the children generally are minors, or are unable to care for themselves. These children are legally eligible for these benefits.

            This may seem like splitting hairs, but let’s look at different beneficiaries whose benefits are issued to their caretakers – mentally ill and developmentally challenged adults; disabled children and adults receiving SSI and/or other benefits, and others. The common link is that the beneficiaries are unable to care for themselves, or are too young or otherwise unable to act on their own behalf in the financial system. Those who the benefits are technically issued to are not “cheaters” in these examples, right?

            I was only a little surprised that Sup. Antonovich’s office couldn’t even get the arithmetic right, since he’s a politician and is trying to make an emphatic point to his constituency.

            Undocumented workers, unauthorized immigrants, or whatever term you prefer, contribute to the tax system in a variety of ways already, through payroll taxes, sales taxes, gasoline taxes, property taxes, (both directly as owners and indirectly as tenants), etc. It’s estimated that 1/2 of all undocumented workers (about 4 million) are on payrolls and various paying income-related taxes via payroll deductions. Getting the other half out of the underground economy would lead to added tax revenues.

            I would also ask you to examine the following facts and estimates about foreign-born workers in the US labor force:

            About 1 in 6 workers in the US are foreign-born. Nearly half of these foreign-born workers are Hispanic, and about one quarter are Asian. Median incomes of foreign-born workers is nearly $32K, which is about 78% of the median for native-born workers. There are a variety of reasons for this, but the main one is that foreign-born workers are more likely to be employed in lower-wage service occupations.

            About 1/3 of foreign-born workers are in the US illegally, making up a bit over 5% of the overall US labor force.

            Immigrants, both legal and illegal, have historically been employed generally in low- to mid-skilled occupations in agriculture, food service and hotels, domestic services, and construction. Most illegal workers are in these fields of endeavor.

            Recently, legal immigrants are increasingly employed in highly skilled positions in technology, manufacturing and life sciences. These are not low-paying positions.

            If you want to discuss the separate topic of “Low wage workers (including American low wage workers) consume far more in social welfare services than they pay in taxes” I’d be happy to do so. But I wish to point out that not all undocumented workers are “low wage workers,” and not all documented workers are “American.”

            These distinctions are important when the topic is immigration reform.

          • AngelicaUNC1

            The issues are:
            1.  The reason for the discussion in the first place about Antonovich’s statistics was because you challenged my statement that ILLEGALS tend to be poor and have less education (NOTE:  I did not say every person who is an ILLEGAL).  Then in your own post above, you acknowledge the identical reality.  
            2.  I don’t only think that the ILLEGALS’ use of social welfare benefits is an “abuse” of the system. Rather, I believe that they should be deported so that it doesn’t occur.  This is a patent drain on our systems; we have enough poor; and the fact is that we are borrowing from China to finance these benefits.
            3.  The ILLEGALS certainly do use the fact of their U.S. born anchor children to obtain these Calworks benefits.  This only reinforces my point that they are low income.  We agree that they use the fact of their anchor children to obtain these benefits; however, it is also because of their own deficient incomes that they are able to obtain them.  The ILLEGAL parents receive the benefits; not the children.  However, they indeed, do use the anchor babies to obtain these benefits.  The fact is that they cannot afford the children that they are having.  They are in the U.S. ILLEGALLY.  And yet, they expect U.S. taxpayers to pay for their families.  But for the U.S. government refusing to enforce its own laws, this would be a non-existent issue.  
            4.  There is no accurate equivalency in the comparison of an American citizen seeking public welfare services and an ILLEGAL.  We are required to deal with the more-than-ever and growing population of poor Americans and try to lift them up.  We need to enforce our immigration laws as against those who have elected to selfishly violated THE MOST GENEROUS immigration laws in the world.  The fact that 1 MILLION LEGAL immigrants adhere to the rules that the ILLEGALS violate each year is an important issue when considering immigration reform a/k/a amnesty. We also need to be aware of the diminishing resources that we are taking from poor and working class American citizens and LEGAL immigrants to give to the the ILLEGALS (now and further with amnesty).  Further, we must consider that granting rewards and special treatment only serves to incentivize exponentially millions more selfish immigration lawbreakers (Reagan’s 1986 amnesty being Exhibit A) of this manifest reality.  

  • JGC

    Another reason why the politicos may be more willing to compromise on immigration issues:  the retiree to worker ratio.  In Japan (so I read) they sell more adult diapers than baby diapers.  That is a formula (and not baby formula) for societal disaster.  

    Simply, we need a solid youthful “contributing” worker tier in the U.S. Best to get them on the payroll now.  

    Excuse me, time to take my Lipitor.   

    • AngelicaUNC1

      Another formula for disaster is permitting largely poor, social-service-dependent, uneducated ILLEGALS to stay with the expectation that their poverty level wages will produce a tax-base that can support an aging population.  Poor, uneducated people, who consume far more in social welfare services than they pay in taxes are NOT a NET BENEFIT!  YOU’LL SEE!

      • paul

         That’s exactly correct!!  Thank you!  Those in control know this.  They are not that stupid.  That is what they want.

      • JGC

        All those loud CAPS! I just had to turn down my hearing aide a trifle. There, that’s better…

        If there is no allowance for “poor, uneducated people who consume far more in social welfare services than they pay in taxes”, then we better let my corner of the country (Appalachia) in on your American Dream. 

        • Gregg Smith

          Your last couple of comments made me laugh. “Lipitor”, “hearing aid”, that’s funny. But you lost me with the Appalachia thing. Is that your neck of the woods?

          I moved to the backwoods of Appalachia as a young man in 1980. The 6 years I spent there were hard but they shaped my work-ethic and changed my life for the better. It is impossible to state my respect for the people. They have a reputation but some of the smartest, most self-relient and ethical people I have ever known or even believed existed are back in the deep woods of Appalachia. It’s true many were poor but uneducated, no. It’s just a different school. 

          • JGC

            Glad you are amused (I really do not take Lipitor or have a hearing aid…yet…)  And you are right about the education/work aspect of Appalachia, I must admit.  People here really do commit to education, but sometimes part of an education is to be found outside the geographical comfort zone;  Here, it can be sort of a Appalachian Brigadoon (and come to think of it, Gene Kelly is from Pittsburgh).

        • AngelicaUNC1

          JGC– The essence of your assertion is that we have poor Americans.  How true!  And, these are the very people (they are U.S. citizens) whose rights are being MOST  infringed (via wage depression and lost job opportunities) by our government’s failure to enforce our immigration laws!  Your statements are reflective of the need for enforcement, NOT for rewards and special treatment for immigration lawbreaking!

          • JGC

            Why are you so lazar-focussed on immigration? (Not just here, today, this forum, but your entire profile.) Why not war or love or environmental degradation (or something else)?  Why is immigration your raison d’être?

          • AngelicaUNC1

            It’s not my raison d’etre, but I do believe that ILLEGAL immigration is DEVASTATING for our country including, most prominently, lower and middle wage American citizens and LEGAL immigrants (and, in particular, minorities).  It is a substantially important issue about which there has been substantial direct lies and subterfuge promoted by our leaders and the media.  It bothers me that our elected leaders (particularly those of my political party) have sold out working class American citizens and LEGAL immigrants. Why doesn’t this bother you? Why doesn’t it bother you that African American teen unemployment is over 40%!???

            I also do comment in other forums about abuse of the environment, GMOs, government corruption, etc.  What’s your point?  During the Bush era, I was very focused on the lies that were being told to drag us into Iraq. 

            You’re commenting here, just as I am!  So, what precisely is your point!???

            ILLEGAL immigration happens to be an extremely important issue, and thus, I will continue to comment on it!  A bientot!

          • JGC

            Bonjour! Sorry, I was overcurious. It just seems you are so passionate on this subject, I thought maybe you have a personal story that brings it all to heart. Maybe I’ll think on this a bit more, and there is always the open forum on Friday to continue a discussion. (FYI, the Diane Rehm Show also had an hour on immigration on the 29th, in case you would be interested in that podcast.)

          • AngelicaUNC1

            I hope that you will, indeed,  look behind the main-stream media spin and do a bit of research into the damage done by permitting (and rewarding) ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION including the catastrophic costs and the harm to the most vulnerable in our society (poor and middle class Americans).  The truth has to be deemed relevant.  I am sorry that I couldn’t hear the Diane Rehm show that you mentioned.  I try to listen to her whenever I get a chance (more rarely these days).  She is a fine journalist!  Thanks for sharing!

      • hennorama

        AngelicaUNC1 – Are you characterizing all unauthorized immigrants as “Poor, uneducated people, who consume far more in social welfare services than they pay in taxes?”  If so, please cite some data to support your argument.

        • AngelicaUNC1

          I am certainly not saying that all ILLEGALS are “poor, uneducated . . .”  If you will re-read my post, I purposefully said “largely”.  I suspect that what you’re doing is questioning that which is manifest.  

           22% of Calworks recipients in LA County are ILLEGALS (you can verify with Antonovich’s website– he posts government statistics”).  Check out the Pew Hispanic studies.  

          Also, here is an excerpt from an Associated Press Article posted on NBC.com on January 8, 2013 (entitled: Health reform
          threatens clinic care for illegals)

          “California, which
          is home to the nation’s largest population of illegal immigrants, spent an
          estimated $1.2 billion last year through Medicaid to care for 822,500 illegal
          “The New Jersey
          Hospital Association in 2010 estimated that it cost between $600 million and
          $650 million annually to treat 550,000 illegal immigrants.

          “And in Texas, a
          2010 analysis by the Health and Human Services Commission found that the agency
          had provided $96 million in benefits to illegal immigrants, up from $81 million
          two years earlier. The state’s public hospital districts spent an additional
          $717 million in uncompensated care to treat that population.

          If large states
          such as Florida and Texas make good on their intention to forgo federal money
          to expand Medicaid, the decision “basically eviscerates” the effects
          of the health care overhaul in those areas because of “who lives there and
          what they’re eligible for,” said Lisa Clemans-Cope, a senior researcher at
          the Urban Institute.”

          • hennorama

            AngelicaUNC1 – TY for clarifying your statement.

  • Gregg Smith

    Mr. Ashbrook reiterated a couple of times that Romney lost implying he should get his way as if the entire election was about immigration. To the extent Hispanics did not vote for Romney, it had more to do with free stuff than it did immigration. Immigration reform was a broken promise the first term. What Obama did do was issue an EO ending deportations of some illegal aliens. He clearly said he did not have the power to do so. There was no ambiguity.


    One commenter was so distraught that I cornered them with this irrefutable fact, that they quit replying to me all together ending any credibility they once had with me for good. Cool. I wonder if any of the more honest, less ideological commenters can at least admit Obama is not an honest broker on this issue.

    He made threats in his recent immigration speech to Congress. Why? Is that uniting? Is he so averse to the concept of honest debate and legislative procedure that he has to jump in and do this? It’s not leadership. I think he’s a bit full of himself since the election which is uncouth.

    Just as Democrats label any reference to allowing people to invest a very small, very regulated, portion of their retirement as “Privatizing Social Security” (absurd), Republicans are just as bad on the issue. Any path to citizenship, no matter the hurdles, has historically been labeled as “Amnesty”. None of it is honest debate. 

    I don’t like pandering and the notion Republicans must reach out to hispanics by loosening our immigration laws is just that. And why the focus on hispanics? We have just as big of a problem with illegal aliens from all over the world that came here legally and overstayed their visas. Why not pander to the Polish or Swedes? We should do what’s right, good for America and Constitutional. 

    • Ray in VT

      Here’s a nice response to your suggestion from the other day that Obama’s action regarding his Executive Order was either extreme, unconstitutional, or both:


      • Gregg Smith

        It’s a complex issue. My point here is honest debate and I tried to keep the comment focused on that aspect. So I was not referring to anything other than what Obama himself clearly said he did not have the power to do. If Reagan or HuffPo disagrees that’s fine. Obama said what he said. He simply cannot have it both ways. Or at least I would hope, he gets away with a lot. 

        Regarding Reagan and Simpson/Mazolli, Reagan was hoodwinked. Unfortunately the repercussions are still being felt today. Reagan agreed to amnesty (real amnesty) in exchange for secure boarders. BTW that’s concept I can endorse. The deal stated amnesty would come first. It did and Democrats reneged on the boarders. That is the main reason there is so much distrust still today. Simpson/Mazolli was a deal that was only half implemented. So there is a kernel of truth in the article but to blame Reagan is not credible. The deal was a scam and not consummated.

        • Ray in VT

          It is a complex issue, but the fact of the matter is that the deferred action option that Obama, has used, which is not amnesty, but just a temporary prioritization of action, was created by the Reagan administration.  To use one of your own phrases, he owns that.  Did you look at where the guy was from?  He’s out of a libertarian think tank.  He just happened to be on the Huffington Post, and that sites partisan position doesn’t change the fact that he’s right.

          As for your continual harping on Obama first statement that he couldn’t do it, just give it up.  He is certainly not the first politician to change a position.  He clearly laid out a method several months later how this could legally be done, and that is what they did.  If you don’t like it, then fine.

          • Gregg Smith

            I never said it was amnesty. I never said it was unconstitutional, although I read a recent study that it was. I never said Obama invented it. I didn’t say the article was not correct.

            I read the article twice before I replied the first time that’s why I said it is complex. I could get into the minutia and give chapter and verse about the context of the times, Simpson/Mazolli and the compromises made, not to mention the difference between legislation and executive orders but that’s not the point.

            I don’t care who wrote the Huffpo piece. I don’t care if Reagan invented it. I don’t give an ounce of credit to your excusing bad behavior by citing other bad behavior. As a matter of fact I discredit the notion in the strongest terms. 

            It’s pandering and it was done in spite of the legislature. Sorry if that doesn’t bother you. Reagan is dead, Obama owns his actions.

            However, at least you admit Obama did what he passionately said he could not do. You fall into the category I described: “the more honest, less ideological commenters”. That’s better than most. You are a bit snarlier than you used to be though. You did not go as far to admit Obama is not an honest broker on this issue as I had hoped in my original plea.

          • Ray in VT

            I recall reading a bit of that study, and I thought that it was funny that the guy who wrote the torture memos was criticiing Obama for overreach.

            My main point was that the policy is not extreme, given that every President since Reagan has done it.  I am not saying that it is either good or bad.  That is more of a judgement.  My point was more that it has been deemed to be a legitimate course of action by the courts.

            I think that Obama is probably about as honest as most politicians, and that in and of itself may be a harsh judgement.

          • Gregg Smith

            Resisting the urge to go down the fertile enhanced interrogation road I’ll merely say I didn’t prejudge the Huffpo link because of the author and I didn’t prejudge Yoo’s piece either. I weighted them on the merits. Yoo made a good case IMO.

            I did not say what Obama did was extreme but am willing to do so now. According the Huffpo link Bush did it during Katrina. I have not been able to determined if he did it by EO or not but if he did it makes perfect sense given the circumstances. The link cites the RealID act. That was legislation. To date over 150,000 people have been approved under Obama’s EO. It is unprecedented for ANY  president to do such, in those numbers, by Executive Order. So we disagree.

  • paul

    a year before the crash I worked for a painting company that making a fair wage.  3/4 of the employee’s were illegal’s.   American companies should be fine harshly or shut down for employing these people.  As time went on I was told I could stay with the company if  I would take a cut in pay and work for 1/2 what I was earning.  They had so many illegals they could work for so cheap they no longer needed American workers that paid taxes and put money in the economy.  That was the end of that.  That’s what is happening to the entire country now.
    Wish you all luck,

    • bikengr

      Right, in my view (see above) the employers and perhaps the legislators are the real cause of the problem. Fine or shut down those who hire undocumented, and don’t try to undercut a free market in labor — which, if there is a shortage of workers, will increase wages until enough are attracted.

  • Tyranipocrit

    how can you say americans are not working for 8 or 10 dollars and hour–ther ar eno jobs –very few–above that.  Walmart is the largest emplyer at 8-10 dollars and hour–target, kmart, sams club, homedepot, loews, etc..americans have no jobs.  And there are many Americans who would choose to work on a diary farm–have their own dairy farms–but maybe the proprietors dont want to pay 10 dollars an hour to an American because they cant be easily exploited, and treated as serfs.

    What struck me as ironic in this conversation is all the talk of immigrants who don’t give back to society, who drain society, who benefit from taxes, but do nothing to earn it–listen to the description in their words–replace immigrants or illegal immigrants with Romney’s 49% or the 99%–it is the same tired rhetoric–the elite rich and powerful of the 1% label the rest as somehow inferior and lazy and incompetent who do not deserve the benefits of American privileges, beggars who do not contribute to society.  That they, the 1%, are somehow more American than poor Americans.  All the descriptors for immigrants are the same descriptors for the 49-99%.

    This is a class war of ideas, values, and the world we want to live in–a corporate feudal serfdom or a freer society (perhaps, an egalitarian progressive humanitarian earth-first democracy).

    But there are certain groups who can come in–those with enough money to buy their way in–billionaires, corrupt business men who have committed untold number of atrocities on the poor (“the undeserving”), and their progeny get an expensive Harvard degree because your family is big time rich (many many Chinese)-and thus get the green light.  The fact is, poor people don’t get green cards (extremely hard, lengthy process over years)–rich people always do (immediately).

    The message–you dont deserve to be an american–whether born here or not–if you are not rich.  it seems to me they want to carve out America and preserve it for the rich.  Whereas many Americans are forced to emigrate to third world countries to scrape for a living in polluted environments–because there are NO jobs in America.  

    “Americans not willing to do unskilled labor”–many americans are begging for it–it doesnt exist in many places.  And the notion that we should accept only immigrants who can contribute in some significant way–well how is that defined–because the guests implicated that  the rich will be accepted–not the filthy unwashed 49%.  We are the “filthy unwashed”–they are not just talking about immigrants–it is the same exact rhetoric for all Americans.  We are looking at a fundamental point of view–a class war.

    “Jump thru the steps”–he means loops–the kafkaesque labyrinth.

    if our 1% of the billionaire banker/industry class were not making living conditions in foreign countries unbearable, unlivable–they wouldn’t be migrating to America for better opportunities.    we are radically changing their home landscapes–with ungodly amounts of contamination and pollution–violating their natural areas and resources, dumping products like corn, etc…killing, supporting paramilitaries…starting wars…

    If we implement FAir Trade and fair deals and work harmoniously with other nations–not as bullies and rapists–we wil not have aan illegal immigration problem–people

    this is a distraction.  The real debate here needs to be about foregin policies–war, environmental regulations, trade–Stop Nafta, CAFTA, and the WTO. 

    Then look at each immigrant case individually–marriage, family, refugees–from environmental assault and criminal governments,etc…and then give people 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, year probation trial periods in America (poor and middle classes and the rich)–if they meet certain standards they can stay for another 1-5 year period at which time they will be nationalized or asked to make arrangements elsewhere. 

    Being rich should not be factor.  Unfortunately it is a free ticket into American society. should money be a factor in human worth?

    • Sy2502

      As a LEGAL immigrant who recently became a US citizen, I have to disagree with your post. Americans have nothing against legal immigrants. The problem they have isn’t with race, nationality or money, it’s with the “illegal” part. Immigrants are coming to THEIR country and they only expect the most basic of respect. Respect for the law, respect for the local culture and language, respect for the community. And it really isn’t too much to ask. 
      As a legal immigrant, I made every effort to learn English as quickly as possible, and NEVER expected anyone to cater to my native language. I NEVER took public money or made myself a burden to American tax payers. The money I earn isn’t shipped back to another country, it goes back into American economy. I don’t stick to a little cultural enclave, I have made every effort to assimilate. I show my appreciation for America by putting effort in my local community and trying to give back at least as much as I got. 
      I assure you all these things will make Americans welcome you with open arms. 

      • Tyranipocrit

         Im sure you did.  thats great.  And if you had language problems–i wouldnt care.  We are not even on the same page.  Of course people accepted.  I accept people too.  I dont even think about it actually until media and the 1% in government bring it up.   I am not talking about people on main street.  I am talking about in the circles 1percenters and their disciples.  I said, if you read the post, is that we are not only being conditioned to think in certain ways, but the conversation is manufactured–it sis a distraction–because of everything you are saying above–it is almost irrelevant except in racist and ignorant southern circles (and elsewhere) but more or less Americans are tolerant, accepting, and busy with more pressing concerns–but, the 1%, the media cartels, and their disciples hijack national conversations around pointless debate like this and gay rights –thing smost of us are perfectly okay with–they hijack the conversation and manufacture false realities so that we dont think about what is going on in other places.

        Also, your tone is slightly defensive.  Sometimes, immigrants swing to the right with patriotic fervor and defense of establishment or the 1% because they want so bad to be accepted by “Americans”.  You dont have to. 

        And I am american, yet i am not welcomed with open arms–im constantly told “if id ont like”–hack into a spittoon, “wll, you can just leave! get out!”  because i dont share the same knuckledragging opinion.  My governemnt lies to me.  My police are brutal minions of the rich.  I know first hand.  My governeent caters to multinational cartels, the 1%, and actively does everything in tis power to erode civil liberties and American society, civil society.  I am an American and the 1% is against me. i am not welcomed.  I am marginalized.  I amnot like most americans–thank the gods.  My brain still works.

        • Sy2502

          Again I disagree with your post. There are plenty of so called “1%” who are legal immigrants, who came here with high education (or got it while they were here) and started a business (see plenty of Silicon Valley startups). American 1% doesn’t hate legal immigrants in the least, if they are employers, they will gladly employ qualified legal immigrants. Unfortunately you seem to be repeating an ideological slogan rather than looking at facts.

          I have no idea what you mean about me swinging a certain way because I want to be accepted so bad.  Maybe you let the media or your political party think for you, but don’t assume everyone else does too. Your attitude toward immigrants is patronizing: we are dumb and easily exploited, and do gooders like you have to step in and defend us against them bullies. Thank you, but I don’t need to be patronized, and I don’t need to be defended because I don’t feel under any attack from any part of the American society.

          • Tyranipocrit

             I dont think you understand a wrod i ma saying.  nd you cant speak for all immigrants from every country–and if you are even in the top 5% you are most likely part of the problem, not the solution, and bais, very bais.  And detached from main street reailty. I think you are the one using slogons or buying into a myth.  I dint us eone slogan–i think form myself, i live abroad, and i dont follow mainstream media.  i am well read and a thinking living individual–nobody was patronizing you–but you are patronizing me.  its alos true that many slef0intersted capitalists migrate to america becuase they like the capitlist regie with dreams of wealth and little regulation or social welfare.  Just because on is an immigrant doesnt mean he is a good person or can contribute to society.  haveing money doesnt mean you contribute to society–in many cases it means you tear it down.  But i dont expcet youto understand or care.  perhaps silicone valley should be more concerned about where thair conflict minerals come from.  Do you sleep well at ight knowing hundreds of thousands are slaughtered, butchered, cannibalize, raped and enslaved to mine your precious rare earth.  We all enjoy technology, computers, solar panels,electric cars–want to enjoy the–but it would nice if nore people cared about how they are extracted, produced and used.  we need less ap junk and more beneficial technology–not vanity-junk.  

          • Sy2502

            Since you are using a computer to write that unintelligible post, how do YOU sleep at night?

          • Tyranipocrit

             what world do you live in?  There are peopl who hate you–ignorant people, and powerful people. I am not talking about immigrants (i cant see how being an immigrant makes you dumb–that is a stupid thing to say).  Why do i have to be a “do-gooder”  that is a slogan, you know.  And slanderous , ironically, of a perosn who wants to contribute in a scoiety, a deocracy–hmm–as if that is wrong or bad.  Democracy is not a spectators sprt my friend.  if you dont ge tinvolved, you will lsoe it.  Sitting at a table of diners, doesnt make you a diner (if you ar enot eating)–Being in america, or being born in america does not make you american.  If we are led entirley by self interest, never helping, never seeking help–we end up with nothing but ashes.  i f i must be a do-gooder, the i will be one proudly–and a tree-hugger.  Thank you.  Better then saying–i killed doxens of people in a battle in iraq for rich people, better than saying i murder thousands with my corporate pollution and go sailing becaus ei dont care and aggressively act to stop do godders from pursueing clean water to drink. better than being a mindless consumer resposible for the death of millions and saying oh-well, not my problem, guess ill go listen to brittany spears.  Id rather be me anyday then you.

  • paul

    Simple solution: Have the Military forces we are bringing home along with local police round up all illegal’s and ship them back.  Also investigating the employers illegally employing these people and illegally paying them less than minimum wage.  Heavily fine those employer’s and or shut down their businesses and either send them to jail or export them to mexico or some other country so they can work along side those they broke the law with.  The Employer’s can return to the U.S. in ten years and begin all over again if they choose as long as they do it legally.

    In this way we could employ the forces returning home for a while as well as police.  Then once these people are cleared out of the U.S. the forces could gaurd the boarders just as other countries do.
    In time the legal Americans could fill the postions left.  The Tax’s increase by employing millions of tax paying Americans woudl be a big boost to the economy.  Not to mention all the forces continuing to work guarding the boarders, etc… More tax’s paid.  More Jobs for Legal Americans!!!!!!!!!
    So simple

  • SCoogler

    There is a lot of talk about “unfair foreign competition” from China costing jobs. There is also “unfair domestic competition.” I know a restaurant that employs illegal aliens below minimum wage , and a restaurant that paid its workers minimum wage-plus  overtime went out of business. The restaurant that didn’t pay its workers minimum wage gained an unfair competitive advantage. I know landscaping companies that get contracts for jobs, because they employ illegal aliens below competitive wages. The employers are not withholding taxes, or they submit social security numbers from deceased persons. There is an argument that, if these illegal aliens get legal work status, they will be paid competitive wages plus benefits. However, if these employers are required to pay competiive wages, plus benefits in some cases, these positions will be eliminated. 

    • bikengr

      If employers can’t pay competitive wages, and eliminate the positions, doesn’t that hurt the business? In the end, if all employers are on a level playing field, we will all absorb a rise in what we pay. Seems like a good thing for society generally, exploitation hurts a large underclass and hurts those they compete with.

  • Gregg Smith

    Another argument I found irrelevant was the notion from Menendez that if you stayed in a motel, ate fruit or whatever then you benefitted from illegal aliens. What difference at this point does it make?

  • nobodysgirl

    On issues and programs like this one, it’s very hard to listen to the show, simply because you feel so strongly about it, and you listen to guests make ridiculous assumptions and statements – and they don’t get called on it.

    It’s also one of those issues that most clearly illustrates for me how powerless we, as citizens, can be if we do not address congress as a united voice – or at least as close to it as we can come.  Those who do NOT favor illegal amnesties need to be calling congress so much that the phone system crashes – it’s the only way to get our voice across.

    I share Angelica’s passion for this subject and think it’s one of the most important we face, as it is affecting our entire nation on many levels.

    And one thing that has me baffled, so please speak up, anyone – why are the republicans doing an about face and surrender, if illegals do not have the right to vote in our country?  They have the majority of americans on their side on this ONE issue.  When they need to stand their ground, they cave.  And vice versa.

  • bikengr

    Tom, I’m afraid I don’t have time to craft an elegant comment, so will just pour out my feelings and hope that the idea comes across.  I feel like there is an underlying dynamic that is the real problem and real moral failing. That is where employers say “citizens won’t take these jobs”.

    COME ON! What they are really saying is “We don’t like a free market in labor, where we pay what it takes to attract workers. We want to pay $7/hr or less for a lot of jobs. We don’t want to pay over $60k for a PhD engineer. We NEED to be able to drive wages and salaries down by bringing in scab-like no-rights people we can exploit, and use them to hammer regular folks.”

    I think it is “unAmerican” to try to structure laws around helping cheaters, those cheaters being employers. Face it, if employers simply didn’t hire undocumented, we’d have a lot fewer of them here. Instead of narcissistic whining about how immigrants steal “our” services by not working, or steal “our” jobs by working too hard, I’ve always simply wanted to see employers sanctioned for hiring the undocumented. What is the morality of them doing it?

    And, why would the Legislature and Administration want to conspire to keep MSc engineers from making better salaries? Gee, Tom, I think I shouldn’t have to pay my doctor as much, could we bring in some illegal physicians that I can pay a lot less? Or bring in some accountants and CEOs and hedge fund managers from other countries to keep compensations in line?

    My bottom line: In a straightforward way, make documentation a requirement for working. Sanction employers who violate that requirement. Let the free market decide that fruit pickers and lawn mowers need to earn $15/hr or whatever will attract workers! And, don’t encourage Congress in trying to import skilled workers to suppress salaries, you know of that work is so valuable, employers should be offering what it takes to attract employees. Bid up the salaries, and more folks will flock to those fields. Isn’t that the free enterprise, “American Way”????

  • Himanshu Pathak

    Tom, On you program I heard a guest saying in the process of making 11 millions illegal worker legal government has to grant them temporary green card. So will this make green card process for Legal Worker slow? If yes then workers like me advanced skill will be in a big trouble.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Amber-Dru/100002491478976 Amber Dru

    ‎”Anything other than having these people going home and apply through our regular immigration system that successfully admits over 1 million people every year is amnesty,” said a CNN commenter using the screen name ninesixteen. “Allowing them to wait in the U.S. is a reward. Our immigration is deliberately constructed to not let in unlimited numbers. These people violate our laws yet expect to be allowed to stay and work when others wait patiently in their countries. Legalization is wrong.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Amber-Dru/100002491478976 Amber Dru

    If you believe Americans and legal residents should have the first crack at jobs- in America- join Numbersusa.com and fight ANOTHER amnesty. Since the current laws are not enforced why on earth should anyone believe new laws will be enforced. By making only murders and rapists priorities, giving illegals work permits and executive ordering around the other two branches of government, Obama has shown he has no intention of enforcing the law. We’ll have ANOTHER ILLEGAL ALIEN AMNESTY and enforcement will not be enforced, not a priority, zero funded, executive order around it… fight back

  • Rubyheart

    I’d like to know why it is so acceptable for commentators and reporters to dismiss or devalue “unskilled” or “low-skilled” labor. What about the fact that people living  in this country illegally who work at such jobs are doing it for very low wages, wages that legal citizens would probably turn down. Don’t those workers help support the economy by providing cheap labor for businesses to build on and create profit? How then can those people be simultaneously “a drain on the system.” 

    Growers certainly don’t want agricultural workers to leave or be deported because they know they can’t find legal citizens willing to do such physically intensive work at such low wages (this has been a problem for growers in GA since the Governor introduced anti-immigration bills which frightened workers away) so much so that they’re trying to cut a deal which would require ag laborers to stay on for several years in exchange for a path to citizenship because they’re afraid no one else will want to do the work. And I find the idea of a guest worker program offensive. Importing people from poor countries to do the work that we’re to good for. 

  • Regular_Listener

    Absent from this conversation – at least from what I have heard – is the issue of what to do about the enormous “off the books” labor market that exists in this country.  And it is not only illegals from Mexico that work & hire in this manner, it is plenty of native-born Americans too, including several whom I know personally.  I have not heard much on this subject – hey OP, how about doing a show on it?  But I am sure that it has grown steadily over the years, and one rarely hears of law enforcement getting involved in these things.  It is obviously connected to the immigration situation.

Aug 29, 2014
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