Punitive Expedition Gets Under Way

Monday, March 14, AD 2016

VillaUncleSamBerrymanCartoon

In the wake of Pancho Villa’s raid on Columbus, New Mexico, go here to read about it, the US wasted no time in putting together a punitive force to enter Mexico and destroy or disperse Villa’s forces:

Fort Sam Houston, Texas,
March 11, 1916.

GeneralPershing,
Fort Bliss, Texas.
Secretary of War has designated you to command expedition into Mexico to capture Villa and his bandits. There will be two columns, one to enter from Columbus and one from Hachita, via Culber- son Is. Rachita column will consist of Seventh Cavalry, Tenth Cavalry (less two troops) and one battery horse artillery. Columbus column will consist of Thirteenth Cavelry (less one troop) a  regiment of cavalry  from the east, one battery of horse artillery, one company of engineers and First Aero Squadron with eight aeroplenes. Reinforced brigade of Sixth Infantry, Sixteenth Infantry, First Battalion Fourth Field Artillery and auxiliary troops will follow Columbus column. Two companies of engineers will be ordered to Fort Bliss awaiting further orders.  Necessary signel corps will be orderedf rom here. Will furnish you War Departmen instructions later. Have you any recommendations to make?

The troops designated  to comprise the expedition were the 7th, lOth, 11th and 13th Regiments of Cavalry, 6th and 16th Regiments of Infantry, Batteries B and C, 6th Field Artillery, 1st Battalion 4th Field Artillery, Companies E and H, 2nd Battalion of Engineers, Ambulance Company Number 7, Field Hospital Number 7, Signal Corps detach-ments, 1st Aero Squadron and Wagon Companies, Number 1 and 2.   Throughout the course of the expedition, much press attention would be given to the 1rst Aero Squadron deploying the cutting edge technology of airplanes.  Pershing organized his force into a division of two cavalry brigades and one infantry brigade.

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2 Responses to Punitive Expedition Gets Under Way

45 Responses to Arizona: Doing the Job the Feds Will Not Do!

  • This is a failure by the federal government. I don’t know anybody who wants to send people back who are looking for work, but there has to be some kind of order. Why hasn’t the U.S and Mexican governments set up some kind of system where workers can come and go in a legal fashion. Instead of them risking their lives crossing the desert.

  • Nice touch on the “o” in “won’t”, lol

  • And, I’m a proud American with a long and rich Lebanese heritage, which means sometimes people think I have a long and rich Mexican heritage.

  • As I agree I disagree… this new law will only provide police to wrongfully detain or haggle legal Hispanics. I would rather they start fining Businesses $500,000 per illegal. If there is no work many illegals will not try why punish those who are trying to come to our country to make a life for themselves.. punish those who want slave labor!!

  • I have no problem whatsoever with legal immigration. But relatives in Arizona tell me illegal immigration is making life down there hell – kidnappings, drugs, fights between rival gangs.

    The French-born husband of a friend of mine tells me he waited 7 years before he was able to get a green card. Rather bitterly, he says the smart thing to do would have to been fly to Tijuana and head north; naively, he followed the rules…

  • Donna,

    It makes me sick when people who don’t, and never have, lived in AZ make long-winded proclamations about this law or the situation down there. They know nothing. They’re the real “know-nothings” of our time, intolerant fanatics or people who are so deluded and ignorant about the realities of the situation that they shouldn’t even have an opinion.

    I won’t stand for it. I’m not the racist. La Raza and MEChA, the Brown Berets, the radical Chicano professors and peddlers of hate speech against blacks and whites, are the racists.

    People who agree with them or apologize for them are the soft bigots. They should be confronted.

    They don’t care that we have a destabilizing failed state to the south that poses a security risk to the country. All they care about is moralizing and grandstanding.

  • Amen Tito and there are many others who feel the same way. I agree with the stiff fine for anyone or any employer who abets an illegal regardless of country. Our Imimgration Dpt is as laxed as can be. I have often wonder why Custons could not work with employers who use migrant labor and have a system for them to enter and be controlled together and then return after work is completed. No benefits other than shelter, meals and pay. It would less expensive than the walls and fences. Mexico’s President was wrong in his statements. Why hasn’t he built industry in the rural areas for his people and created jobs for them. Why does he not tell people that entering Mexico is regared as a felony and carries jail time. What if our law was the same and we jailed imimgrants for jail time and anyone who abets them.. would we then need walls and and fences.

  • La Raza and MEChA, the Brown Berets, the radical Chicano professors and peddlers of hate speech against blacks and whites, are the racists.

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    Alex V.,

    Amen to fining businesses for hiring illegals.

    That would have an immediate impact!

  • I have often wonder why Custons could not work with employers who use migrant labor and have a system for them to enter and be controlled together and then return after work is completed.

    Guest worker programs are socially corrupting. Employers who wish to hire ‘migrant labor’ should be told to hire citizens and lawful settlers willing to work for the wages offered.

  • Guest worker programs are socially corrupting. Employers who wish to hire ‘migrant labor’ should be told to hire citizens and lawful settlers willing to work for the wages offered.

    This recommendation runs contrary to statements of many of our bishops, I believe.

    Concerning an immigration enforcment raid on a North Portland, Oregon food processing plant (in 2007, I think):
    “Portland Archbishop John Vlazny quickly denounced the raid by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, calling it “an affront to a nation whose tradition has always welcomed the stranger.” Calling for a moratorium on raids until national immigration reform is complete, the archbishop said the arrests tear apart families.”
    http://www.catholicsentinel.com/node/8172

    And a more recent statement by Bishop Slattery of Tulsa contained this recommendation:
    “Some way must be found to give the 11-12 million undocumented workers presently in the country some form of legal status. This need not include citizenship and should exclude anyone convicted of a felony.”
    http://www.dioceseoftulsa.org/article.asp?nID=1458

  • Neither statement refers to guest worker programs.

    That aside, both statements as rendered require elaboration.

    Some way must be found to give the 11-12 million undocumented workers presently in the country some form of legal status.

    And why would that be, your eminence?

    Calling for a moratorium on raids until national immigration reform is complete

    Penal codes are flawed. Do we let the muggers have free rein in urban neighborhoods until they are comprehensively repaired?

  • Thank you Messrs. Edwards and Vargas.

    And both of you make your statements, unlike [email protected] bishops spambot quotes and hate-filled libs, without accusing anyone that disagrees of being “the face of evil.”

    Let’s review how many sins against the Ten Commandments are [email protected] bishops endorsing? I make it only four: four, seven, eight and ten.

    And, at their next riot for amnesty, I want Che-worshipping revolutionaries to trot out an American construction worker and his family: whose livelihood was taken by a 12,000,000 undocumented workers and now 25 of them rent the house he lost to foreclosure.

  • Not sure about the Old Testament, but from the New Testament, the bishops often quote Matthew 25:35,
    “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,” etc.

    http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/matthew/matthew25.htm#v35

    See, for example, here:
    http://www.usccb.org/mrs/stranger.shtml

  • Concerning Art Deco’s claim that the guest worker program is “socially corrupting”, the bishops have acknowledged there can be social costs associated with the use migrant guest workers. For instance, responding to reform legislation proposed in 2004, the USCCB expressed concern that some provisions would lead to wage erosion, and called for modifications.
    http://www.usccb.org/hispanicaffairs/immigration.shtml

    I have not found an instance where a bishop called for the elimination of guest worker programs.

  • Concerning whether the millions of undocumented workers receive “some form of legal status”, Bishop Wester of Salt Lake City called for legal protection of immigrants’ due-process rights, among other things.
    http://www.sltrib.com/utahpolitics/ci_14135073

    Bishop Hubbard of Albany notes that “Regardless of their legal status, migrants, like all persons, possess inherent human dignity and human rights that should be respected.”
    http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/documents/BishopHubbardArticle100226.pdf

    As I understand it, the bishops want immigrants to have a legal means of recourse if they are exploited or victimized.

  • As I understand it, the bishops want immigrants to have a legal means of recourse if they are exploited or victimized.

    The persons in question do not have ‘legal means of recourse’ becuase they came here on the q.t. That is a function of the calcuations they made at various junctures with reference to their personal situation. Giving them the benefits of legal status post hoc is not a ‘reform’ of immigration law; it is the abolition of immigration law.

    I have not found an instance where a bishop called for the elimination of guest worker programs.

    So what?

  • How can any honest person interpret “welcome the stranger” as “ignore all laws pertaining to immigration”? Because that’s what the bishops do when they speak out against the enforcement of immigration law.

    To me, “welcome the stranger” means just that – in your midst, you welcome any person who is a stranger. You welcome them with kindness and hospitality. But you don’t clamor for immigration anarchy, or make mealy-mouthed sermons that amount to that implicitly.

    I understand the human reasons often cited for illegal immigration. What I can’t tolerate is the political agitation, the visceral hatred and contempt, that so many seem to have or to at least go along with once they get here for this country and for Anglo Americans. You think its a minority. So did I, until I read about incidents like these. This is what they do in Mexico:

    http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/4236314/

    And this is what they do here, in this Snopes-verified incident:

    “On February 15, 1998, the U.S. and Mexican soccer teams met at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The crowd was overwhelmingly pro-Mexican even though most lived in this country. They booed during the National Anthem and U.S. flags were held upside down. As the match progressed, supporters of the U.S. team were insulted, pelted with projectiles, punched and spat upon. Beer and trash were thrown at the U.S. players before and after the match. The coach of the U.S. team, Steve Sampson said, “This was the most painful experience I have ever had in this profession.”

    These are the things that normal Americans see every day, that a lot of over-educated, over-socialized, affluenzaed liberals never do. The plain fact is that a significant portion of the illegal immigrants from Mexico believe that they have a RIGHT to be here. Maybe they’re told that in their own society. Maybe they are told when they get here by the Hispanic versions of the KKK or Neo-Nazis that no one on the left ever talks about.

    But they have a racial and national pride that any white person would be categorized as a Nazi themselves for holding. And they have a hatred for this country and its non-Hispanic inhabitants. This is what they do to the blacks:

    http://www.alternet.org/story/46855/

    “According to Stark, “There is no black gang that encroaches on the 204’s turf. The hate is so prevalent and obvious that activists and city officials can no longer avoid calling it by the name being used by everyone from prosecutors to opinion writers in the L.A. Times: ethnic cleansing.”

    http://thelastgringo.com/serendipity/index.php?/archives/16-LATINOS-ETHNIC-CLEANSING-IN-L.A..html

    When the victims are black, of course, expect at least one conflicted liberal to come down on their side. If they were white, radio silence at best, tacit approval at worst.

    Of course we don’t want to demonize Hispanics. But when I see tens of thousands of Hispanics show up at rallies with swastikas emblazoned on the US or various state flags, I have to wonder, are they saying we’re Nazis, or are they declaring their own race war? Maybe they think Hitler had the right ideas and the wrong race. Or maybe they hate Jews too. Who knows?

  • “For instance my opinion of Mexicans in Mexico has been slowly degraded away over the years. I used to have a whole different opinion of Mexico and its people, but after seeing this continued America bashing by everyday Mexicans over and over my opinion and sympathy for the Mexican’s plight has gone to nearly zero.”

    http://www.diggersrealm.com/mt/archives/002304.html

    Expect a lot more Americans to undergo this change as they learn the truth.

  • Well it is Catholic website, so the bishops’ opinions are generally relevant, and their statements urge immigration reform, not abolition of guest worker programs (such as H2-A and H2-B) that I can tell, so I thought I would just point out what I have found and what I have not found in that regard.

  • I’m still waiting for Cardinal Mahony and Archbishop Dolan to condemn Mexico’s brutally exclusive immigration laws as “mean spirited” and like “Nazi German” and “Russian communist” techniques.

    I’ll probably be considered someone’s ancestor before that happens.

  • Not one word from the bishops about this:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bA8Br3_FIRg&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

    Eradicate the gangs. Treat them like enemy combatants.

  • Well it is Catholic website, so the bishops’ opinions are generally relevant,

    I am sorry, what the bishops do not say about the technics of immigration enforcement, the designated hitter rule, trade winds, Mexican cuisine, and any number of other things is not of much interest to me. What they do say as a consequence of fulfilling their duties does interest me. And, of, course, faithful Catholics face the challenge of following the teachings of the Church when they are lost in a sandstorm of verbiage on ancillary matters from the staff of the bishops’ conference and diocesan chanceries.

  • “Standing before a small white coffin, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony said Wednesday that two small girls gunned down last week are martyrs of gang warfare and called on residents citywide to have the courage to rise up against gangs.

    “Mahony delivered the stern words to about 300 mourners attending funeral services for 3-year-old Denise Silva of Boyle Heights. He said each member of the community must take responsibility for escalating gang violence.”
    http://articles.latimes.com/1992-04-16/local/me-934_1_gang-members

    That condemnation of gang violence was from 1992, though the shootings in video was from 2008, so I do not know if that quote will satisfy you or you want something more recent.

  • What they do say as a consequence of fulfilling their duties does interest me.

    Great. I think we are the same page. Now if we only had a quote from a bishop that supports your position I think we can just about wrap this up.

  • Spam,

    So you opposed Health Care Reform because the bishops did?

  • I don’t know about S.pamb.ot, but I’m on the same page as the bishops on both health care and immigration. And I applaud Bishop Olmsted’s affirmation of the excommunication of Sister Margaret McBride as well as his opposition to SB 1070.

  • And I note yet again that the same tactic of opposition to Bishop Olmsted is used by both the Democratic and Republican loyalists.

    From the Democrats/pro-choicers, you hear that Bishop Olmsted just doesn’t understand the realities of the hard choices we must make about women’s health.

    And from the Republicans/conservatives, we hear that Bishop Olmsted just doesn’t understand the realities of how issues of immigration must be addressed.

  • The problem with your analysis is that abortion is an intrinsic evil and can never be justified. While immigraion is a right, it is not an absolute right – the state may limit immigration and enforce those laws including deportation.

    As such, immigration laws are properly the provence of the laity who are called to make such decisions. The bishops present the moral principles which the laity then prudently apply. If the bishops present a plan on immigration, a Catholic in good conscience can disagree.

    The particulars of the abortion case are not clear. But if an abortion was performed, no one may licitly disagree.

  • The bishops present the moral principles which the laity then prudently apply. If the bishops present a plan on immigration, a Catholic in good conscience can disagree.

    Fair enough.

    But it seems to be the case that most conservative Catholics disagree with the bishops whenever a bishop’s position is contradicted by the talking points of the conservative wing of the Republican party. And when the disagreement is voiced by these Catholics, it is usually with ridicule.

    I do wish more Catholics would step out from the boundaries of politics, especially when it comes to morality.

  • I will have to say that bishops’ opinions should be treated with respect. Though Cardinal Mahoney’s comments on the AZ law does deserve contempt.

  • JohnH, Phillip, Art Deco, Greg Mockeridge, Donna V., afl, T. Shaw, and S.pamb.ot,

    While you guys are engaged in good dialogue why don’t you all put up some icon pics for your ID/gravatar?

  • I don’t know how. I’m technologically challenged.

  • So you opposed Health Care Reform because the bishops did?

    Yes. I commented about this briefly at Zippy’s a while back.
    http://zippycatholic.blogspot.com/2010/03/more-funding-for-abortion-is-just.html?showComment=1269530687527#c4629179916212773003

    I’ll leave at that for now to avoid going off topic.

  • Great. I think we are the same page. Now if we only had a quote from a bishop that supports your position I think we can just about wrap this up.

    No, we are not. I am not inhibited from advocating a social policy because my bishop has not pronounced on that specific subject. You have not offered one citation to the effect that an immigration policy which permits settlers but not the issuance of visas to imported servant-laborers is in contradiction to a moral principle articulated by the Church.

    But it seems to be the case that most conservative Catholics disagree with the bishops whenever a bishop’s position is contradicted by the talking points of the conservative wing of the Republican party.

    There is no consensual position on immigration within the Republican Party, much less ‘talking points’.

    The bishops need to elaborate on how the moral and ethical obligations of the faithful are articulated in social policy and how the latter compels lax enforcement of immigration laws, amnesty, &c. If they can actually state things in those terms.

  • I will have to say that bishops’ opinions should be treated with respect.

    I think that is all I really wanted. Not necessarily from anyone one person in particular, but from Catholic sites in general when they examine the Arizona immigration law controversy.

    What do the bishops say and why do they say it? Are the various bishops’ statements generally consistent with each other? Should Catholics feel obligated to line up behind them if they are relatively uniform in their opinion?

    Those are some of the questions on my mind and tried to explore a little here.

  • While you guys are engaged in good dialogue why don’t you all put up some icon pics for your ID/gravatar?

    I am not sure I can get it to work.

  • How to set up a gravatar:

    http://en.gravatar.com/

  • Just want to draw attention to the seriousness of the abuse of migrants in Mexico that Greg refers to and acknowledge that I could not find statements from Catholic bishops on that specific situation.

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/widespread-abuse-migrants-mexico-human-rights-crisis-2010-04-27

  • S.pamb.ot hits the nail on the head, so to speak.

    ” . . . Catholic website, so the bishops’ opinions are generally relevant”

    BINGO!!!!

    Opinion.

    I read books on my commute/RR. One book I read was The Republic. Plato said, “Opinion is not truth.”

    I don’t much care about bishops’ opinions unless they jive with the Scriptures and the Pope.

    Especially since the majority voted for Obama in opposition to Pope Benedict’s non-negotiables, I have no reason to blindly accept any bishop’s OPINION.

    FYI Bamspot BUDDY: Check out OT Tobit on not giving alms to evil people. “Better to put your bread on the grave of a just man than . . . ”

    The criminals (tearing at the guts of many communities) are not the least of Christ’s brothers. And, are breaking at least four of the Ten Commandments.

    But, if you must feed them, send them food in their homelands. And, use your money for your charitable acts.

    Those are my opinions and again opinion is not truth.

    I’m a superannuated accountant who has to look up much of the vocabulary you people use. Plus, what is this gravatar thing?

    BTW: Closed comments on the Second Amend. I am perennially banned at a certain so-called catholic website. Seems totalitarianism resides in socialist saints, as much as stalinists and nazis.

    That’s okay. I had completed my post-doctoral field work in proctology at the time they banned me.

  • Shaw,

    “Closed comments on the Second Amend.”

    I hope you aren’t referring to my post. Comments are closed here because I don’t want two discussions. On my personal blog, where you can read the rest of the piece, you can comment to your hearts content.

  • Thank you, T.Shaw. I’ll try to keep all of that in mind.

  • The USCCB on guest worker programs:
    In May [2006], the Senate passed S.2611, which includes the 200,000 new H2-C visas supported by President Bush as well as pathways to citizenship for illegal immigrants who have worked in the country five years or more.

    Earlier this year [2006], the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opposed the enforcement-only House bill and subsequently called the Senate bill [S.2611] “a good start.”

    Among the bishops’ principles for just immigration reform is a guest-worker program that helps unify migrant families and provides a path to earn citizenship.

    “The bishops are not opposed to border security or national sovereignty,” Torres told Our Sunday Visitor. “But they want to balance the right to migration and the dignity of all human beings.”
    http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=20754

    Bishop Wenski testifying before a House Subcommittee on Immigration Reform in 2007:
    While we appreciate the inclusion in Title IV of AgJOBS legislation [temporary workers provision of S.1348], we strongly oppose the Title’s adoption of a temporary worker program that does not provide workers with the option of pursuing a path to permanent residency. This could create an underclass of workers in our society who are easily exploitable and without full rights and privileges in the society. We also have misgivings about workers having to return home after two years and remain outside of the country for a year. We fear this may result in some workers choosing to stay illegally.
    Other problems we have in Title IV include its unrealistic requirements for health insurance and minimum income levels, and the reliance on the unrealistic triggers found in Title I of the legislation before the temporary worker program can begin to operate.
    http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/documents/meh-wenski-adopted-changes.pdf

    The USCCB (again) on the AgJOBS program:
    The U.S. Catholic Bishops support both permanent and, with appropriate protections, temporary visa programs for laborers. However, any such system must adequately protect the rights of workers. Visa costs must be affordable and wages should be sufficient to support a family in dignity. The program ought to provide for family unity and reunification and allow for worker mobility both within the United States and in making return trips to their home country. Labor-market tests should be employed to ensure that U.S. workers are protected. A segment of work visas should be designed to allow laborers to enter the country as legal permanent residents. In allocating such visas, two factors that should be considered are family ties and work history.
    http://www.nccbuscc.org/mrs/h2a.shtml

    The USCCB (again) on immigration and border security:
    The Catholic Catechism teaches that in the realm of immigration law all governments have two essential duties, both of which must be carried out and neither of which can be ignored.

    The first duty is to welcome the foreigner out of charity and respect for the dignity and rights of the human person.

    The second duty of government is to secure its border and enforce immigration law for the sake of the common good, including the safety and well-being of the nation’s inhabitants and the rule of law.

    The U.S. Catholic Bishops have outlined various elements of their proposal for comprehensive immigration reform.

    Future Worker Program: A worker program to permit foreign-born workers to enter the country safely and legally would help reduce illegal immigration and the loss of life in the American desert. Any program should include workplace protections, living wage levels, safeguards against the displacement of U.S. workers, and family unity.
    “http://www.nccbuscc.org/mrs/legal.shtml”

    ~~~~~~~
    From these and other resources, I believe it is fair to conclude that our bishops support issuance of visas to temporary workers as long as legal protections against exploitation and abuse of the workers are provided. This leads me to believe they oppose elimination of the temporary workers programs.

  • An article concerning the USCCB’s position on guest worker programs:
    In May [2006], the Senate passed S.2611, which includes the 200,000 new H2-C visas supported by President Bush as well as pathways to citizenship for illegal immigrants who have worked in the country five years or more.

    Earlier this year [2006], the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opposed the enforcement-only House bill and subsequently called the Senate bill [S.2611] “a good start.”

    Among the bishops’ principles for just immigration reform is a guest-worker program that helps unify migrant families and provides a path to earn citizenship.

    “The bishops are not opposed to border security or national sovereignty,” Torres told Our Sunday Visitor. “But they want to balance the right to migration and the dignity of all human beings.”
    http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=20754

    Bishop Wenski testifying before a House Subcommittee on Immigration Reform in 2007:
    “While we appreciate the inclusion in Title IV of AgJOBS legislation [temporary workers provision of S.1348], we strongly oppose the Title’s adoption of a temporary worker program that does not provide workers with the option of pursuing a path to permanent residency. This could create an underclass of workers in our society who are easily exploitable and without full rights and privileges in the society. We also have misgivings about workers having to return home after two years and remain outside of the country for a year. We fear this may result in some workers choosing to stay illegally.

    “Other problems we have in Title IV include its unrealistic requirements for health insurance and minimum income levels, and the reliance on the unrealistic triggers found in Title I of the legislation before the temporary worker program can begin to operate.”
    http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/documents/meh-wenski-adopted-changes.pdf

    ~~~(cont’d)

  • The USCCB (again) on the AgJOBS program:
    “The U.S. Catholic Bishops support both permanent and, with appropriate protections, temporary visa programs for laborers. However, any such system must adequately protect the rights of workers. Visa costs must be affordable and wages should be sufficient to support a family in dignity. The program ought to provide for family unity and reunification and allow for worker mobility both within the United States and in making return trips to their home country. Labor-market tests should be employed to ensure that U.S. workers are protected. A segment of work visas should be designed to allow laborers to enter the country as legal permanent residents. In allocating such visas, two factors that should be considered are family ties and work history.”
    http://www.nccbuscc.org/mrs/h2a.shtml

    The USCCB (again) on immigration and border security:
    “The Catholic Catechism teaches that in the realm of immigration law all governments have two essential duties, both of which must be carried out and neither of which can be ignored.”

    “The first duty is to welcome the foreigner out of charity and respect for the dignity and rights of the human person.”

    “The second duty of government is to secure its border and enforce immigration law for the sake of the common good, including the safety and well-being of the nation’s inhabitants and the rule of law.”

    “The U.S. Catholic Bishops have outlined various elements of their proposal for comprehensive immigration reform.”

    “Future Worker Program: A worker program to permit foreign-born workers to enter the country safely and legally would help reduce illegal immigration and the loss of life in the American desert. Any program should include workplace protections, living wage levels, safeguards against the displacement of U.S. workers, and family unity.”
    http://www.nccbuscc.org/mrs/legal.shtml

    ~~~~~~~
    From these and other resources, I believe it is fair to conclude that our bishops support issuance of visas to temporary workers as long as legal protections against exploitation and abuse of the workers are provided. This leads me to believe they oppose elimination of the temporary workers programs.

  • I have heard far more persons discussing that the law is Unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause. The Supremacy Clause forbids state and local laws that contradict federal laws in matters where the federal government has authority to act.
    Once again it only applies in situations where the law contradicts the current law. Arizona’s law requires that State/Local authorities hand over suspect illegals to the proper federal authorities. Maybe you have forgetten (since we haven’t enforced these laws) but it’s still a crime to enter our country illegally.
    But as long as we are talking about Constitutionality let’s talk about the Commerce Clause on the Constitution (Article I, Section 8). This clause prohibits states and localities from passing laws that burden interstate or foreign commerce by, among other things, creating “discriminations favorable or adverse to commerce with specific foreign nations.”
    Boycotting Arizona is UNCONSTITUTIONAL so knock it off already. Also to the Arizona government, how about we step up and actually file suit against these cities?

A Brief Thought on Immigration

Thursday, May 20, AD 2010

Conservatives are fairly comfortable with the point that if you ban or severely restrict guns, than only the criminals will be armed.

Let’s then ask ourselves: If we ban or severely restrict immigration (most especially from a right-next-door country with a much poorer economy, such as Mexico) aren’t we assuring that only criminals immigrate?

If it’s cross-border crime which is such a problem, would anti-immigration advocates be willing to support a massively increased legal immigration quota for Mexico (say 250,000 immigrants a year, rather than the current legal quota of ~25,000) in return for permission and cooperation from the Mexican government for US law enforcement and military units to hunt down cross border cartels?

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34 Responses to A Brief Thought on Immigration

  • How many come illegally now? Will people be happy with 250k if many more come illegally? Can we treat those who exceed the limit as having violated the law and deport them? Can we take 250k a year now?

  • That’s asking an awful lot from a country that can’t control any aspect of their government? We have another border, to the north, that we don’t seem to have as many issue’s with illegals crossing? Again, there is a right way to become a citizens and an illegal way to be in our country. “IF” we legalize the all the illegals that are currently here, how do we stop the “next” wave of illegals coming in? Has anybody asked that question?

  • This ties in somewhat to points that Radley Balko (of Reason) has been making about immigration. He recently linked to this:

    http://futurity.org/society-culture/drop-in-violent-crime-tied-to-immigration/

    and his thoughts on the border town of El Paso from last year:

    http://reason.com/archives/2009/07/06/the-el-paso-miracle

    It is interesting (given that I live in a town with many illegal immigrants, in a neighborhood with a lot of immigrants, legal or non) to compare the American experience with the more segregated experience immigrants have in Europe.

    European countries also do not have birthright citizenship as an option for immigrants, so there can be non-citizens who were born and have grown up in a country while still being threatened with deportation. Given the essentially underground economy and violence among non-citizens living around the suburbs of Paris and other areas, I don’t think America should repeat the European model here.

  • It looks like the Pew Center has estimated that roughly 275,000 illegal immigrants per year have been entering the US since 2005, with more like 500,000 per year from 2000 to 2005. (That’s from all countries, not just Mexico.)

    Part of the theory of setting a large legal quota would be to make it less worth while to accept all the risks that sneaking in currently involves. Since poor non-skilled laborers currently stand almost no chance of getting immigration visas, sneaking in looks good. If they had a good chance of being able to do so legally within a year of applying (and if the process for applying was simple) it seems less likely that people would go to such risk and expense in order to go around the system.

  • So of the 250k per year that come illegally, can we deport them?

  • (That’s from all countries, not just Mexico.)

    My old neighborhood in San Francisco had a very large number of illegal Irish immigrants–mostly doing contracting work, house painting, etc. The local pub had a bulletin board up for under-the-table job postings until the police asked them to take it down.

  • DC

    The issue is not just the number, but the means of access. The difficulty for many is the cost — it is prohibitive for those who are in desperate need. I think we could do things for reform which include:

    1) greater access
    2) various reasons by which the costs can be reduced or waived
    3) work with those lands, such as Mexico, to help reform them so people will feel less need to migrate (I would question the proportionality of using soldiers and war-like methodologies for dealing with the problems, but I think other means, such as economic help, and perhaps some policing — though again with very sensitive elements here — might be possible).

  • In the end we are going to have to have a COMP Soultion. But having a sane guest worker program is going to have to be part of it.

    We used to have a nice pattern of circular migration now not so much

  • You’re using a much more reasonable tone here Henry.

  • Who set the current quota and visa system?

    Can we sustain such levels of immigration, especially during a recession?

  • “If it’s cross-border crime which is such a problem, would anti-immigration advocates”

    who is ‘anti-immigration’ ? Did I miss something? I thought the law in Arizona applies to illegal immigrants (only if they get stopped for another violation not related to their citizenship status).

    I didn’t realize legal immigrants can be arrested to…

  • Can we sustain such levels of immigration, especially during a recession?

    I’d think so, especially if it were tied with legal worker visas. Immigrants (legal and non) are responsible for a 10 billion per year boost in the US GDP, according to the report “The New Americans: Economic, Demographic and Fiscal Effects of Immigration.” The problem is being able to tie employment to accurate tax status. According to this:

    http://articles.sfgate.com/2006-05-21/news/17295663_1_illegal-immigration-low-skilled-george-borjas/4

    A recent analysis by investment research firm Standard & Poor’s found that the Social Security Administration receives about $7 billion a year in payroll taxes that can’t be linked to valid names. S&P presumed that most of those funds come from undocumented workers.

    A lot of the problems surrounding large numbers of illegal immigrants come from the inability to collect taxes that support state/city infrastructure. More visas could help that problem.

  • Increased immigration would help pull us out of the recession.

  • First of all,

    Jasper is absolutely right. Darwin, you shouldn’t assume that people are “anti-immigration.”

    To the question:

    “If it’s cross-border crime which is such a problem, would anti-immigration advocates be willing to support a massively increased legal immigration quota for Mexico (say 250,000 immigrants a year, rather than the current legal quota of ~25,000) in return for permission and cooperation from the Mexican government for US law enforcement and military units to hunt down cross border cartels?”

    Put aside your parenthetical, which I don’t think can be agreed to in a com-box discussion, and I’d say that we could settle on some number and we would have a deal.

    My top concern is the cartels, the gangs, and the criminals who destroy life, liberty and property through violence related to drugs, prostitution (a massive sex slavery ring – don’t forget about that), and even the damage that is done to private property with no restitution during the journey north.

    At my blog I make that clear – I believe the cartels and the gangs are enemies of civilization and should be completely destroyed. I don’t mince words.

    My secondary concerns are the costs of illegal immigration, which can overburden relatively less wealthy states such as AZ.

    If the common good is really the aim of the state, then it would be immoral and insane for it to promise unlimited quantities of scarce resources, which is what an open borders situation brings about by default. The state has a right and a duty to the citizens to regulate and manage costs and social burdens.

  • Jasper,

    who is ‘anti-immigration’ ? Did I miss something? I thought the law in Arizona applies to illegal immigrants (only if they get stopped for another violation not related to their citizenship status).

    I didn’t realize legal immigrants can be arrested to…

    I hadn’t meant this post to be in direct reference to the AZ law, but rather in reference to concerns about illegal immigration in general. As to the question of whether anyone is “anti-immigration”, I am not going to search for citations at the moment but I’ve fairly often heard fellow conservatives of a populist leaning say, “We need to just seal the borders until we have things sorted out for people who live here, and then we can look at allowing other people in.” I don’t think it would be inaccurate to call that an “anti-immigration” stance. I don’t think that necessarily has to be a value judgment term — if people are right that immigration is bad for the existing population, then they’d be right to be against it.

    I tend to accept that analysis that immigration is a net benefit to our country (a very slight benefit to us, a large benefit to the immigrants, and an overall benefit to the GDP since those people are not producing wealth here rather than elsewhere), but I do see illegal immigration as a source of disorder. I think, however, it’s a pretty naturally expected source of disorder if our immigration quotas are so ridiculously low for the poor nations just to the south of us. I think that by increasing those quotas to a reasonable level (and making the application process simple and inexpensive), we could probably both control our borders, provide a humanitarian benefit, and get a better overall quality of immigrants.

    My thought process here is basically this: right now our restriction on immigration specifically from Mexico is so high that it encourages violation, kind of like Prohibition did. If we made the regulation itself more reasonable by taking it to a more enforceable level, it would probably to be possible to combat many of the evils that people associate with illegal immigration more effectively.

    Baron Korf,

    Who set the current quota and visa system?

    The current quota system was created by congress via the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. It allocated 170,000 visas to the Eastern Hemisphere, with no more than 20,000 per country, and 120,000 visas to the Western Hemisphere, to be given on a first come first served basis. There are an unlimited number of visas issued each year to spouses of American citizens, and a number of administrative quotas for admitting other types of family members of US citizens. The combination of these quotas end up admitting a total of 700-900k of legal immigrants per year from throughout the world.

    I would tend to think that we can sustain such levels in a recession, but if we can’t, unemployment tends to be worst for non-skilled laborers who don’t speak English well, so if we had “too many” legal immigrants from Mexico, I imagine they would just go back south.

  • In a nation where one-in-six is unemployed or under-employed, you conflate the Bill of Rights’ Second Amendment with the flagrant war being waged on us by undocumented immigrants, to wit: Today, two of the worthies with automatic weapons killed two police officers.

    I welcome all immigrants who have a sponsor; have a place to live; have a job that they didn’t take from an American; live according to our way of life; pay taxes; obey the laws; learn English; and don’t demand that we hand over our collective life savings, i.e., social security funds, medicare/health care, welfare.

    If socialist saints want to do works of charity: do it with your money not my children’s and my grandchildren’s money.

  • Joe,

    Sorry, I took so long writing my previous I hadn’t seen your comment when I posted.

    It sounds like we’re mostly in agreement — I did indeed pick the numbers out of thin air to make a point, not argue the number specifically.

    As for gangs and cartels — I have no problem with going after them hard, aside from the prudential question as to whether certain means might cause more trouble than benefit.

    T Shaw,

    I really don’t think that immigrants are after anyone’s social security — and come to that, if they work legally they’ll be putting money into it just like everyone else, and doing so for a long time since most immigrants are fairly young. I don’t see why we should deny someone benefits at 65 because they didn’t arrive in the country till they were 30, that’s still paying in for 35 years.

    The real threat to such benefits, to those who treasure them, is that so many native born Americans aren’t having many children. And that the bozos who represent us in congress can’t stop their spending and borrowing spree.

    Perhaps we could deport congress? I think everyone could support that.

  • Perhaps we could deport congress?

    Who would take them? “Give me your tiresome, your boors, your befuddled jackasses…”

  • “Perhaps we could deport congress? I think everyone could support that.”

    To the moon!

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2009/07/20/lets-send-congress-to-the-moon/

  • Conservatives are fairly comfortable with the point that if you ban or severely restrict guns, than only the criminals will be armed.

    Umm, no. The military will be armed, the police will be armed, and private citizens who meet the criteria specified in law will be armed.

    Let’s then ask ourselves: If we ban or severely restrict immigration (most especially from a right-next-door country with a much poorer economy, such as Mexico) aren’t we assuring that only criminals immigrate?

    Are the social benefits from restricting immigration flows worth the costs? If they are, why is the composition of the pool who manage to evade the authorities of concern? It is a given that there are troublesome people in this world; your aim is to minimize the number at large in keeping with achieving other social goals.

    If it’s cross-border crime which is such a problem, would anti-immigration advocates be willing to support a massively increased legal immigration quota for Mexico (say 250,000 immigrants a year, rather than the current legal quota of ~25,000) in return for permission and cooperation from the Mexican government for US law enforcement and military units to hunt down cross border cartels?

    No. You don’t bargain with foreign governments over whom you allow to settle in your country. If they would like technical assistance from the United States Government to improve their domestic law enforcement, they are not in a position to insist on additional favors as a ‘price’ for receiving benefits. Our government can contain the cross-border cartels by fortifying the border and arresting and incarcerating those who make it across and commit crimes.

    I have a suggestion. Anyone anywhere who wishes to settle in the United States can apply at a U.S. Consulate and submit to a written and oral examination in the English language. If they pass the examination, they will be issued a place in a queue and derived from that they will be given a schedule of permissible entry dates depending on how many dependents they acquire in the interim. At such time as their entry date arrives, they are clear to enter the United States as soon as each individual in their family over 14 has passed a written and oral examination in English.

    To the foregoing you might append an actuarial assessment designed to inhibit the entry of certain types (e.g. unmarried childless post-adolescents from Saudi Arabia).

    You need no national quotas and can do without the paraphanalia of economic planning the Canadian government uses.

  • Anyone anywhere who wishes to settle in the United States can apply at a U.S. Consulate and submit to a written and oral examination in the English language. If they pass the examination, they will be issued a place in a queue and derived from that they will be given a schedule of permissible entry dates depending on how many dependents they acquire in the interim. At such time as their entry date arrives, they are clear to enter the United States as soon as each individual in their family over 14 has passed a written and oral examination in English.

    Ha. If this had been the law 150 years ago, only the Scots side of my family would have been allowed in. (Or maybe not… they were fishermen, and possibly illiterate.) The rest learned English after moving here.

  • Has any suggested to our southern border friends that perhaps they need to get their economy in order so that their citizens have employment in their own country. Or perhaps build employmnent opportunities in their rural northern sectors near our borders. And last but not least are any of you aware that illegals entering Mexico face a chagre of a felony ( not a hand slap ) and face prison time. Perhaps we need to respond and make illegal entry a felony with jail time for the illegals and those who hire them or abet them and the fences and wall would come down. .

  • Has any suggested to our southern border friends that perhaps they need to get their economy in order so that their citizens have employment in their own country. Or perhaps build employmnent opportunities in their rural northern sectors near our borders. And last but not least are any of you aware that illegals entering Mexico face a chagre of a felony ( not a hand slap ) and face prison time. Perhaps we need to respond and make illegal entry a felony with jail time for the illegals and those who hire them or abet them and the fences and wall would come down.

  • Since someone linked George Borjas, a non-brief lecture on the economic costs of immigration – legal and illegal:

  • Statistics show that Spain’s fertility rate is below replacement. This means if Spain does not open its doors to immigrants, it will go down in population. Spain needs immigrants. Mexicans need jobs. This makes sense, both historically and linguistically.

  • Agreed.

    The only real deterrents are:

    The Spanish economy is not so great.
    Spain is harder to walk or drive to from Mexico.

    Unfortunately, these seem to rate rather heavily with many people.

  • I hear you. But what if Spain fixes its economy? And what if Argentina can fix its economy, too? Then we’ll have two countries that will be welcoming, both economically and culturally, to Spanish-speaking immigrants.

  • That would definitely be to the benefit of all concerned.

  • What if Spain fixes its economy? What if Mexico fixes its economy? What if money grew on trees? What if we could time travel?

    Back to reality. I’m against government rationing but if we’re going to ration, we’d be better off letting in the skilled and educated first. They don’t have to speak English. I’d let in a great Chinese chef before a British bum. I’d rather have a Spanish-speaking nanny than an English-speaking one. Just secure a job (with a minimum salary requirement if you’d like) and you can come.

  • Guns aren’t quite like folks– you can put away a gun for ages, can’t do that with folks taking jobs under the counter– and I don’t know anyone that’s even close to the gun grabbers on restricting immigration.

    If you put “willing to join America and follow her laws” and “will be able to support themselves and any dependents they bring in a fully legal job” as the immigration version of “not a felon” for guns, sounds fine to me.

    Obviously, this makes illegals on the same level as folks who use illegal guns in a crime, but not my metaphor…..

    Now, I would no more allow a higher quota from Mexico to allow us to enforce our laws than I would support allowing a set number of highly armed gangs in order to be allowed to enforce anti-gun crime laws.

  • Back to reality. I’m against government rationing but if we’re going to ration, we’d be better off letting in the skilled and educated first. They don’t have to speak English. I’d let in a great Chinese chef before a British bum.

    At which point you would render the administration of immigration policy rather rococo and also a department of economic planning on the Canadian model. It is not merely that public agencies lack the information set to predict with any degree of precision the evolution of labor demand. People’s properties and dispositions also change. In addition, when you admit someone, you admit all of their descendants.

    When you admit an immigrant, you admit a settler, who may do any number of things with his life. If you are concerned about the admission of ‘bums’, please recall that their is an assessment done of prospective immigrants which seeks to exclude persons likely to be a ‘public charge’; a simple medical examination might do. Please recall also that the receipt of Social Security retirement benefits requires one have paid payroll taxes for a baseline number of quarters and that the receipt of disability benefits has a like requirement and a secondary requirement that one have spent a threshhold period of time in the workforce over the previous decade. Implementing like requirements for the receipt of any sort of benefit of common provision by immigrants should suffice to limit the immigrant population to a productive population.

    Outside of the Anglosphere, there is going to be some corellation between mastery of English and skills and education, but that is not all that important. Any society takes all kinds. A man from Jamaica who slices corned beef for a living makes his contribution to the common life too.

  • Societies have a ” carrying capacity ” to accept immigration without getting in to serious problems, this carrying capacity is not fixed, as it changes as different circumstances change. I am broadly sympathetic to persons wishing to emigrate to the US from Mexico, even when they would chose to do so illegally. I presume that many of the people who choose to emigrate illegally to the US, do so because they are facing catastrophic financial difficulties in Mexico and were they able to obtain a reasonable income through employment in Mexico, that they would sooner stay in Mexico. If one presumes then that many of the people who are emigrating illegally to the US are economic migrants, it is not unreasonable taking their needs in to account, that for immigration in to the US to be useful to them, they need to have better economic circumstances in the US than in Mexico. There are serious structural problems in the US economy and large inflows of low skilled Mexican workers, regardless of whether it is illegal migration or legal migration, will not solve those problems, it will aggravate those problems. The US needs to build a fence on the US Mexican border and reduce the volume of illegal immigration through that measure. If the fence is effective and I believe it will be, then the numbers of persons to be admitted through the legal immigration process from Mexico could be raised but 250,000 is unrealistically high. A fence will also substantially degrade less sophisticated cross border narcotics smuggling operations.There seems to be a lack of comprehension on the part of the person who wrote the item ” A Brief Thought on Immigration “, that one can be a good person, trying to do good people good and it can all go horribly wrong. There is a real risk that the United States of America could implode or morph in to an Islamic state and engaging in well intended but society stressing immigration policies could encourage such an implosion or morphing in to an Islamic state. It is blatantly obvious that Islamists will attempt to target the Catholic Mexican immigrant community in the US for conversion to highly aggressive interpretations of Islam. If one has immigration from Mexico regardless of whether it is legal or illegal immigration, if the US economy can not give those immigrants possibilities of significant social and economic progress, they are not likely to go home to Mexico but rather stay in the US and become increasingly disenchanted with the USA and Islam in an extreme interpretation will likely seem highly attractive as an ideological / religious model to them.

What If A Law Can't Be Enforced?

Monday, May 3, AD 2010

The discussions here about Arizona’s new attempt at enforcing immigration law have set me thinking about a more general question: What should we do as a body politic in a situation in which a law we have passed seems impossible to enforce?

In a sense, no law is enforced perfectly. Cannibalism is against the law, yet it does still, on rare occasions, happen that someone kills and eats someone else. We don’t generally describe this as the laws against cannibalism “not being enforced”. Rather we describe it as someone breaking the law.

When we talk about a law not being enforced, we generally mean that a lot of people are breaking it, and yet few of them seem to be suffering the consequences. Thus, although murders take place on a daily basis in our country, we generally do not hear complaints that no one is enforcing the laws against murder, since we at least see the police and prosecutors going through the process of trying to arrest and prosecute people for those crimes.

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44 Responses to What If A Law Can't Be Enforced?

  • While staggering amounts of resources are devoted to enforcing both of these

    For the record, the sum of appropriations for Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement is under $20 bn, or 0.12% of domestic product. I read an interview with a lapsed INS agent some years ago wherein he stated that (ca. 1990), that agency had all of seven (7) agents in the five boroughs of New York tracking down those who had overstayed their visas. Can we please build that cement wall on the southern border?

  • Thank you DC. It’s frightening that we agree lately. It must be the issues…

  • To answer the primary question, whether the enactment of a law is prudent turns on a number of factors, but one important one is enforceablilty. If a law is generally ignored because it is impractical to punish violators, then it is probably an imprudent law.

    As a related matter, however, it is important to have a proper understanding of enforcement. In general, enforcement efforts are focused on apprehending violators, not preventing crime. In this sense I think it is very mistaken to suggest that our narcotics laws are not enforced. We may have widespread violations, but we have widespread enforcement as well — just look at our justice and prison systems. If we chose not to enforce these laws, the use of narcotics would be far more widespread — see Holland.

    This is equally true of cannibalism. I’m unaware of any widespread problem, but if instances surface so will criminal prosecutions.

    Illegal immigration is a bit different. Most people agree that it is not impractical to police our borders. Most other first world nations do it without much difficulty. The fact that our government chooses not to is scandalous. Apprehending illegals who are already here is far tougher, however, and general success would require prodigious resources and aggressive tactics that many Americans would find discomforting. Plainly, other options must be explored. But simply accepting widespread flouting of the law with no meaningful enforcement is unhealthy for a society. It breeds disrespect for the rule of law, and the respect for the rule of law is a cornerstone of a prosperous and free society.

  • Most people agree that it is not impractical to police our borders. Most other first world nations do it without much difficulty. The fact that our government chooses not to is scandalous.

    Well, we do have 20,000 border patrol agents — that’s not so much choosing not to as trying and failing. I’m sure that we could put more resources into border enforcement, and I’m sure we could use the ones we have more efficiently, but at the same time, it strikes me as unlikely that we can have such an incredibly large border with Mexico, with so much legal travel and trade going on, and not have a fair amount of illegal immigration if we insist on having a fairly low immigration quota.

    I may be missing something, but I can’t think of any other first world nations which share such a long border with a country so much relatively poorer than they are. So it doesn’t seem surprising to me that we’d have a lot more trouble enforcing immigration laws than other countries.

  • Drug laws can be enforced very efficiently and many countries do. Just execute all offenders. We can do the same for illegal immigrants. But most of us don’t care to deport our pool cleaners.

    Recreation drug use, underage drinking, speeding, and overstaying your visa are all, more or less, victimless crimes. The vast majority of offenders don’t cause any trouble. Libertarians wouldn’t punish any of them. At the very least the punishment should be minimal. Besides, illegal immigration is a result of restrictive legal immigration policy. It’s akin to Prohibition.

  • I do see some distinction between enforcement of immigration laws and drinking and speeding laws. The latter is a transient condition and the former is not. (I believe it was Churchill who told a woman “You’re ugly.” She replied, with disgust, “You’re drunk.” To which Churchill replied, “You are correct, madam, but in the morning I’ll be sober and you’ll still be ugly.” But I digress.)

    The focus of virtually all commentary on this subject is on people crossing the southern border of the United States. Some attribute this to racism. There may be some people so motivated, but I don’t think that playing the race card really adds anything to the discussion, one way or the other.

    Clearly, to better enforce the law in this geographic area, would require a lot more personnel, many more patrols, etc., probably barbed wire, mines and machine gun towers. Neither party has been willing to establish that budgetary priority. That leads me to suggest that, in the real world of politics, it isn’t going to happen.

    Further, it is my understanding that an estimated 40% of the people here illegally came here legally, perhaps to visit relatives, attend school or just came as “tourists.” They just never left when their visa expired. Not surprisingly, we don’t attach tracking collars to people who come to visit. So how do we “secure our borders” against that?

    The experience with the southern border and the over staying their welcome people suggests to me that “securing our borders” is an illusion, along the lines of “energy independence,” sloganeering about something that can not happen, as an alternative to a serious policy discussion. I don’t think that most Americans are really prepared to do the things that would be necessary to actually do in order to prevent further illegal immigration. We’re talking large numbers of armed enforcement officers, road blocks, “Are you papers in order?” etc.

    Further, even if we could identify, with zero errors, who is here illegally and who is not, and I don’t think that is really feasible, what could we do with them? I have heard estimates ranging from 8 million to 16 million who are here illegally. Are we prepared to forcibly deport 8 million people, breaking up families in some cases? Never mind the economic effect on the communities who employ many of these people. Never mind the mind boggling logistics of moving that many people to “some other” country. I don’t think this is a morally or even politically realistic alternative.

    So where does that leave us?

  • I think, actually, that it’s far easier to make a case for the decriminalization of drugs than it is to make a case for the decriminalization of illegal immigration. If the empirical results of Portugal’s experiment in this arena are any sign, the social ills related to decriminalization are far less than those tied to the status quo: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=portugal-drug-decriminalization

    Also, I think that the decriminalization of drugs would actually *help* the country do something meaningful about immigration, as it would do a lot to lessen the stranglehold over northern Mexico currently enjoyed by the cartels and would subsequently lessen the crime in Arizona, California, and Texas associate with those cartels.

  • Darwin quit talking commomn sense/ I can make the same point on DWI laws. We know they are being enforced. BUT OH GOODENSS THERE ARE DRUNK Drivers on the road!! So they must not be being enforced

    I really encourage people who say the Federal Govt is trying to do nothing to get on twitter. A few weeks ago everyone was aghast on the left that Obama was deporting people left and right.

    Again this is a lot more complicated than people on either side will realize

  • Patrick

    As too Machine gun towers does that mean you think its proper to machine gun these people down?

  • This is not that difficult.

    The border with Mexico is a shade under 2,000 miles long. Build a cement wall, decorate it with razor wire, add observation towers, and hire ~15,000 guards working in shifts and equipped with firearms and optical equipment to police it. That will force turnstile jumpers to make use of one of the several score lawful crossing points, where the 20,000 agents made reference to above can apprehend them (and small roving ambulence squads can pick up and minister to any who get shot from the observation towers).

    Once you have apprehended them, take them in front of a justice of the peace and thence off to a forty day stint in solitary confinement in a federal jail dedicated to these purposes. During that stay, you can collect identifying information from your subject and put it in a databank. At the end of his forty days in the cooler, deport him. If he returns, its sixty days in jail.

    You hire 15,000 border guards, a few thousand court functionaries, and some thousands more prison staff and make the associated capital investments and you have resolved that component of the problem of illegal immigration. If it be worth it to you.

  • “and small roving ambulence squads can pick up and minister to any who get shot from the observation towers). ”

    I know you are being sarcastic but sdaly too many would be fine with this

  • You hire 15,000 border guards, a few thousand court functionaries, and some thousands more prison staff and make the associated capital investments and you have resolved that component of the problem of illegal immigration. If it be worth it to you.

    An even simpler approach would have no additional costs at all: We could declare the entire country to be a prison and announce that we have now imprisoned all illegal immigrants.

  • Making it a felony for a person to knowingly hire an illegal alien would go a long way to deterring illegal immigration. An illegal who is deported will often try again to come across the border. He or she has nothing to lose. Drying up the sources of work however would make the US a much less tempting place to live. A few high level prosections of a few corporate CEOs and some Hollywood stars would go a long way to getting the message across that the US, this time, is serious about stopping illegal immigration. Just the threat of such prosecution would eliminate most of the jobs that illegal aliens are currently hired to do. No jobs, no illegal aliens.

  • “Making it a felony for a person to knowingly hire an illegal alien would go a long way to deterring illegal immigration. An illegal who is deported will often try again to come across the border. He or she has nothing to lose. Drying up the sources of work however would make the US a much less tempting place to live. A few high level prosections of a few corporate CEOs and some Hollywood stars would go a long way to getting the message across that the US, this time, is serious about stopping illegal immigration. Just the threat of such prosecution would eliminate most of the jobs that illegal aliens are currently hired to do. No jobs, no illegal aliens.”

    Why does everyome think this is all HIGH priced CEOS and big companies. After Katrina there were a lot of ordianry people that got their home repairs and in fact Parishes Levees reparied because of illegals. They were the only work force

    In case people have not noticed we have a huge Crisis on the Coast and from whqat I hearing we having problems filling jobs that are paying around 15 dollars a hour. Guess what illegals will fill it and no one complain since out lievehood is at stake. Should people with oyster leases get felonies because they got to get people to stop the oil from coming in

  • As Milton Friedman once noted, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Every dollar spent on immigration enforcement is one dollar less to be spent on ordinary law enforcement, healthcare, education, etc. The question ought to be not whether the law should be enforced or not (since as Darwin notes enforcement is not a binary question) but at what point spending more on border security costs more than it is worth. Given that even conservative estimates are that immigration is a net benefit to the U.S. economy (of approx. $20 billion a year), I would suggest that we are already spending too much.

  • “After Katrina there were a lot of ordianry people that got their home repairs and in fact Parishes Levees reparied because of illegals. They were the only work force”

    I rather doubt that jh. I suspect they were the cheapest work force. Gaining control of our borders I put at a far higher priority than people having access to a relatively cheap source of labor.

  • An even simpler approach would have no additional costs at all: We could declare the entire country to be a prison and announce that we have now imprisoned all illegal immigrants.

    I do not understand this response. I believe their are 3.3 million persons on the federal payroll. A 1% increase in that number might just secure the southern border. If it is not worth it to you, it is not worth it to you. It is, however, feasible.

    I know you are being sarcastic

    I was not. Cops are armed. Firearms are not ornaments.

  • Given that even conservative estimates are that immigration is a net benefit to the U.S. economy

    Largely reaped by immigrant populations themselves and sensitive to public benefit regimes.

    Pareto optimality is not the only issue here.

  • “I rather doubt that jh. I suspect they were the cheapest work force. Gaining control of our borders I put at a far higher priority than people having access to a relatively cheap source of labor.”

    You may doubt it all you want but I know from everyone talking about it it was the only workable compentence work force people could find. Unless you wanted to wait for year with a hole in your roof.

    Just saying the soultion is comprehensive. No doubt now with out crisis on the gulf wioth the oil spill illegals will be play a crucial part in saving our coast because well too many peopl find working for 15 buckes a hour too low!! The roundups will not hasppen and we shall all tuen a blind eye. Untill they are no longer needed and become “criminals” again/ That is the reality

  • Art,

    You think we should shoot illegal immigrants?

  • If I were to charge a state police roadblock, I think I would do so expecting that by luck or finesse, said trooper would miss when he shot at me or my vehicle. Someone making use of whatever technology is available to scale a cement wall being monitored by armed guards should do so understanding that he is risking a dose of lead, most particularly if he is told to halt. It is police work and deadly force is part of their tool kit.

  • “because well too many peopl find working for 15 buckes a hour too low!!”

    Once again jh it sounds to me as if you are talking about a cheap labor force rather than the only labor force available. I might add that here in Central Illinois plenty of people are working for far less than $15.00 per hour.

  • Art,

    I’m not clear what point you’re trying to make here. Yes, clearly if we wanted to implement full Berlin Wall type measures across a two thousand mile border (I assume we would also have “kill foreigners before they clear the surf” rules along the coastline like Shogunate Japan?) we could, as some financially achievable cost “secure our border”. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s “possible” to enforce the law, though.

    After all, it would be feasible in a financial and practical sense to mandate the installation of a “black box” in every car which would read a regional transponder that broadcast the local speed limit and if you exceeded the limit by so much as one 1mph, cut the engine and radio for the highway patrol to come and cuff you. It would be feasible to install microchips in the neck of every child which would detect any trace of blood alcohol injected before 21 and immediately radio for police to come pick the under age drinker up. Both would be almost as feasible as building a 2000 mile long wall with machine gun nests every couple hundred yards, but that doesn’t mean that they’re “possible” means of achieving full enforcement of the relevant laws.

    Which was my point.

    I mean seriously, you’d not actually advocating that we shoot people trying to sneak across the border, are you? We don’t allow cops to shoot someone who isn’t obviously an immediate physical threat to someone. Cops aren’t allowed to just gun down people who don’t listen to their verbal command to halt.

  • Making it a felony for a person to knowingly hire an illegal alien would go a long way to deterring illegal immigration. An illegal who is deported will often try again to come across the border. He or she has nothing to lose. Drying up the sources of work however would make the US a much less tempting place to live. A few high level prosections of a few corporate CEOs and some Hollywood stars would go a long way to getting the message across that the US, this time, is serious about stopping illegal immigration.

    Overall, I would definitely approve more of penalizing employers. However, I would imagine that if you weren’t prosecuting someone unsympathetic and famous, it would be moderately hard to make it stick. Picture:

    “Did you know this guy was an illegal immigrant?”
    “Absolutely not. I asked him for documentation when I hired him and he showed me papers that looked genuine.”

    Given the prevalence of face documentation, if you nail people regardless of whether they “knew” their employee was illegal, then a lot of employers will decide not to hire anyone who speaks Spanish just to be on the safe side. If you only prosecute people who “knew”, then somehow no one will have known.

    Personally, I would have no problem with a secure national ID card to deal with that problem, and I think it would probably help a lot, but somehow most conservatives happen to also hate the idea of a national ID card.

  • “Personally, I would have no problem with a secure national ID card to deal with that problem, and I think it would probably help a lot, but somehow most conservatives happen to also hate the idea of a national ID card.”

    I would have no problem with a National ID Card, especially since our social security numbers have been de facto serving that purpose since the New Deal.

    “Absolutely not. I asked him for documentation when I hired him and he showed me papers that looked genuine.”

    That is when you play the video of him boasting to friends or stock holders that he has lowered the costs of the business\corporation by hiring illegals. Disgruntled employees, vengeful ex-spouses, etc all make excellent witnesses in this type of prosecution. Tax fraud prosecutions would be an excellent model for how these type of cases could be won. Oh, and then there are the illegal aliens themselves who might be willing to aid in the prosecution if given the proper incentives, including a monetary reward for informing on their boss which should be a part of any legislation. If government wants to crack down on the employers it wouldn’t be that difficult or that expensive.

  • I would have no problem with a National ID Card, especially since our social security numbers have been de facto serving that purpose since the New Deal.

    Yeah, I’ve never understood the hysteria about the idea. Especially given how pathetically easy it is to counterfeit social security cards.

    Oh, and then there are the illegal aliens themselves who might be willing to aid in the prosecution if given the proper incentives, including a monetary reward for informing on their boss which should be a part of any legislation. If government wants to crack down on the employers it wouldn’t be that difficult or that expensive.

    How about the ultimate Machiavellian twist: Green cards for illegals who successfully inform on their bosses who hired them illegally!

  • There are foreign policy implications in militarizing a border. While there are plenty of illegal immigrants created by illegally crossing the border, more typical is the illegal immigrant that crossed the border legally. As for making the hiring of an illegal immigrant a felony, good luck with that. The federal prison population is 211,455 this week. The number of illegal immigrants is estimated at over 10,000,000. Needless to say, a doubling of the prison population would easily be possible, if not an increase of an order of magnitude were serious enforcement were attempted.

  • I’d have no objection to such a reward Darwin!

    MZ, you don’t need to prosecute them all. A few high profile ones and people will decide it isn’t worth the risk to save a few bucks on having the lawn mowed, on the live-in Nanny, or mega-Corp hiring illegal aliens to gain a few points on the bottom line. Additionally to the felony hit, a fine of $50,000 per illegal alien hired could be tacked on. Otherwise solid citizens who are hiring illegals purely because they work cheap would quickly realize it wouldn’t be worth the substantial headache if they were caught.

  • I guess I am uncertain as to why you would regard a fortification which demarcates a national boundary frequently violated as something analogous to to putting a person’s motor vehicle engine or liquor cabinet under state control. People tend to resist encroachments on their domestic sphere. The Mexican border is not running through your pantry. (And I would not concede that the microchip idea is technically feasible).

    My example of hypothetical dealings with New York State troopers holds here. It is not difficult to avoid being shot by cops. Do not hire heavy equipment to charge border fortifications and stop your vehicle when they tell you.

    I assume coppers in Corpus Christi will take people who wash ashore into custody and kill them only in self-defense.

    Some people refuse to submit to the authority of the police and some portion of these put life an property in danger in the process. I think the municipal police in New York City shoot about two dozen people a year, on average. Would you prefer they were unarmed?

    Conceivably you could have cost estimates of such a construction project which might cause me to reconsider. There’s an awful lot of concrete in the Interstate Highways, though. The one nearest me runs from Boston to Seattle, I think.

  • There are foreign policy implications in militarizing a border.

    Blah blah. Implicate away.

  • MZ, you don’t need to prosecute them all. A few high profile ones and people will decide it isn’t worth the risk

    This has been the path to some of the more egregious abuses of discretion in prosecuting our drug laws. I’m wary of creating a penalty for deterrence effects. 1) Our best evidence suggests severity isn’t a deterrence. 2) I think gross penalties tend to encourage corruption, the current state of plea bargaining being a prime example.

  • Most laws work purely on deterrence. Traffic laws and tax laws are prime examples. As to plea baragaining, whenever you have criminal statutes you are going to have plea bargaining. Without it, the legal system would come grinding to a halt within a month.

  • 1. Make employers of illegals likely to be caught;
    2. Make the fines and prison time for employers of illegals significant;
    3. Make the fines and prison time for financial services organizations doing business with illegals significant;
    4. Enlist all public services delivery organs (excluding emergency medical) in detecting those here illegally, and make them ineligible for those services (again, excluding emergency medical);
    5. Make it easy for employers, financial services firms, and public service delivery organs to determine who is here illegally and who isn’t;
    6. Ensure that those detected, are repatriated, or at least terrifically inconvenienced.
    7. Double or treble the legal immigration opportunities, with anyone apprehended here illegally made ineligible even to visit as a tourist for ten years after their conviction, and put them at the “end of the line” thereafter. (I.e., reward those who go the legal route.)
    8. End birthright citizenship for children whose parents are not both citizens.

    This is the kind of thing a civilized society is morally obligated to do, and it is tender-hearted without failing to be tough-minded. The tough-minded part is the most important, of course, because it makes the tender-hearted part possible. But those who pursue only tender-hearted policies, without the prerequisite tough-mindedness, get neither.

    Anyhow, do all that, and you needn’t militarize the border, except as sufficient to capture, and when needed, destroy, drug runners. (I hear that Predators with Hellfire missiles do an admirable job at the latter, when there aren’t crowds of migrant laborers obfuscating the target.)

  • I guess I am uncertain as to why you would regard a fortification which demarcates a national boundary frequently violated as something analogous to to putting a person’s motor vehicle engine or liquor cabinet under state control. People tend to resist encroachments on their domestic sphere. The Mexican border is not running through your pantry.

    My point was more that having our southern border marked by a large cement wall topped with razor wire with machine gun emplacements every few hundred yard where border guards are under orders to shoot anyone who approaches the wall is something most people would consider to be authoritarian and un-American. I mean, we’re not talking about a country we’re at war with, we’re talking about peaceful trading partner that we have 250 million legal border crossings a year with. Seriously? You think the American people want people getting machine-gunned on a daily basis for approaching a wall? I keep hoping I’m playing the stupid straight man to a brilliant flight of sarcasm here.

    And even imagining this wall. (A little rough math suggests you’d need 8,800 machine gun emplacements if you put them every 400 yards, which with three shifts and two men per emplacement means you’d need about 53,000 guards.) What are you going to do about the thousands of people who could simply approach a legal border crossing point during daylight and respond to, “What is your business in the US,” with, “Para visitar a mi hermano.”

    Some people refuse to submit to the authority of the police and some portion of these put life an property in danger in the process. I think the municipal police in New York City shoot about two dozen people a year, on average. Would you prefer they were unarmed?

    No, I don’t think police should be unarmed, but surely you realize that police have very specific rules of engagement concerning when they can use their guns? They’re allowed to shoot when they think that someone is an immediate physical threat to the officer or to a bystander, not just because someone isn’t listening to order to stop. This is why there’s such a big stink and an officer accidentally shoots an unarmed minority guy.

    Shooting someone simply for putting a ladder against a wall and trying to climb over would be a massive departure from the way the US behaves anywhere other than a war zone.

    Seriously, you know this, don’t you? You’re normally one of the most widely informed commenters we have around here.

  • It did occur to me that police have specific rules of engagement, but thanks for the lesson.

    I am not responsible, Darwin, for where your imagination leads you. I did say that sentinels at the border should be armed and that encounters between law enforcement and its objects lead to lethal violence on occasion. It should not surprise you if this occurs at the Mexican border. The initial subject of these discussions concerned the activities of organized crime, whose members are not adverse to the use of lethal force and do attempt to cross the border on occasion. The business about machine guns and quotidienne killings is in your head. Nothing to do with anything I ever alluded to.

    The purpose of fortifying the border is to channel the traffic to the legally-designated crossings where persons, vehicles, and merchandise can be subject to proper inspection. Your reference to the number of legal crossings is puzzling; fortifying the border does not in and of itself limit the number of legal-crossings, though it may exacerbate queuing problems. I am sorry the aesthetics of a concrete wall offends you. I do not care for the look of strip malls. I suppose the ugliness of them is not so ‘un-American’, however.

    Look, we are either serious about this or we are not. If immigration law is to serve public policy, immigration law has to be enforced. If it is not, circumstance, or someone other than you and your legislators, are establishing the pathways and destination meant to be set by immigration law. Enforcement means capital investment and manpower to see to it that people crossing the border have their paperwork in order. Enforcement means uniformed armed men telling you to do what you might prefer not to. There are occasions in this world when that turns ugly. And there is nothing terribly shocking about that.

    We are not at war with Mexico. That does not mean Mexican citizens should be permitted to settle in this country without a proper visa. If you are not willing to fortify and defend the border, that is your preferred policy by default. If the Mexican government fancies it is a casus belli that their citizens are compelled to follow the regulations which apply to everyone else, tough.

  • What are you going to do about the thousands of people who could simply approach a legal border crossing point during daylight and respond to, “What is your business in the US,” with, “Para visitar a mi hermano.”

    If their paperwork is in order, wave them through. If it is not, hand them the proper forms and tell them to return with their paperwork in order.

  • The business about machine guns and quotidienne killings is in your head. Nothing to do with anything I ever alluded to.

    You’re right, it was another commenter who specifically mentioned “machine guns”, though that doesn’t strike me as a reach from what you said here:

    The border with Mexico is a shade under 2,000 miles long. Build a cement wall, decorate it with razor wire, add observation towers, and hire ~15,000 guards working in shifts and equipped with firearms and optical equipment to police it. … (and small roving ambulence squads can pick up and minister to any who get shot from the observation towers).

    The purpose of fortifying the border is to channel the traffic to the legally-designated crossings where persons, vehicles, and merchandise can be subject to proper inspection. Your reference to the number of legal crossings is puzzling; fortifying the border does not in and of itself limit the number of legal-crossings, though it may exacerbate queuing problems. I am sorry the aesthetics of a concrete wall offends you.

    Perhaps you know of something of which I’m unaware, but the only countries I know of which have fortified borders are those which are officially at war (ex: North and South Korea) and borders between authoritarian regimes and free countries (built by the rulers of the former to keep their citizens in.) Somehow all other civilized nations do have immigrations laws yet don’t have fortifications.

    Though to be fair — the US/Mexico border is the economically starkest in the world that I’m aware of, so I suppose one could argue this is from lack of need.

    If their paperwork is in order, wave them through. If it is not, hand them the proper forms and tell them to return with their paperwork in order.

    There is not a visa required to make a day trip to the US from Mexico. You just show ID and walk right through.

  • I just don’t get it. I have lived in Texas since 1974 and illegal immigration has been around the entire time, if not from time immemorial. Why is it suddenly now such a huge deal? What has so significantly changed? Is it 9/11? If that’s the excuse, then the Canadian border (which is much larger) is an even bigger threat b/c of their much larger Muslim population and more hospitable crossing opportunities (ie, no desert). But no one seems to worry about that for some reason.

  • There are other political frontiers which are also stark economic frontiers (Israel v. any of its neighbors, Saudi Arabia v. Yemen, Albania v. Greece). What is more atypical is the presence of extant social networks in which Mexican migrants can insert themselves and that the United States has a loose associative understanding of nationhood that is more friendly to migrants. Immigration is more a sociological phenomenon than an economic one.

    As for your last point – inneresting. Makes one wonder what is the value-added of surreptitious border crossings and coyotes.

  • The day thing, if I understand correctly, applies to border towns. At least that is how it is for Texas points I have encountered. So, for example, you can just waltz across back and forth in Brownsville, but when you try to get further in (closer to Corpus Christi) there are check points that require additional documentation. Thus, the coyotes are for getting you further in, I imagine.

  • then the Canadian border (which is much larger) is an even bigger threat b/c of their much larger Muslim population and more hospitable crossing opportunities (ie, no desert). But no one seems to worry about that for some reason.

    I am not sure I would characterize the crossing opportunities presented by the Rocky Mountains and the St. Lawrence Seaway as all that hospitable.

    That aside, if the population of Mexico and Central America were about a quarter what it is today, were the per capita income therein about 3x what it is today, were three quarters of the population therein conversant in English, and were the homicide rate a third what it is in the U.S., people might be less anxious about cross border traffic.

  • This discussion has gotten silly. I did laugh about declaring the whole country a prison, so we can say that we’ve apprehended all the illegals. What’s next? Pouring boiling oil on those who try to use a ladder to cross the fortified border?

    “A secure national ID card.” Ain’t no such thing. If you can make an ID card, so can I. All it takes is money to buy or make the equipment. There was an article in the Wall Street Journal last week about counterfeiting. It seems that the North Koreans make $100 bills that look as good as what we can print.

    None of the discussion about a fortified southern or northern border addresses the question of how to deal with people who are here illegally who came here legally in the first place, with a visa and a “welcome to the United States” from immigration.

  • National ID card? What happened to subsidiarity? States are clearly able to and currently do have ID cards.

  • Pingback: Arizona Strikes Back! Ready to Cut Power to L.A. « The American Catholic

Illegal Aliens Boycott Arizona

Sunday, May 2, AD 2010

The State of Arizona is only enforcing what is already law at the federal level.  That being said and myself being the son of a legal immigrant from the nation of Mexico, the May Day protests and the highly unbalanced news reporting from the mainstream media have purposely distorted the legislation that has been passed in Arizona.

Having attended college and lived in Arizona for almost ten years I know for a fact that there are many good people living there and I am disappointed in how unfairly and untruthful they have been portrayed by the mainstream media.

The only other thing I want to say is that Roger Cardinal Mahony’s reprehensible choice of words to characterize the law that had been passed in Arizona is unbecoming of an archbishop.

_._

Related posts on this issue here at The American Catholic:

Illegal Immigration:  A Winning Issue for Democrats?

Catholic Worker View of NAFTA/Immigration

Mexifornia:  A State of Becoming

Arizona, Immigration, and Moral Panic

Arizonas New Immigration Law

Somewhat related posts on this issue here at The American Catholic:

British Survey on Foreigners in the United Kingdom

http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/04/23/arizonas-new-immigration-law/
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38 Responses to Illegal Aliens Boycott Arizona

  • Well, if the mainstream media is painting the Arizona populace as a cesspool of evil people then surely the media is wrong. But to argue that the people of Arizona are direly wrong about this law (when there’s a poll of 70% or so supporting then), then it is a qutie honest disagreement on strategy. I don’t think it’s helpful necessarily to focus on the most extreme opinions coming from one side or the other because the discourse gets stuck on he-said, she-said, but-he-said-something-even-more-vile melodramatic soap opera nonsense and it does nothing to solve the problem.

  • Most people in America aren’t against immigration; they’re just against illegal immigration. For example, like most of our ancestors, my mother’s parents were immigrants. They came through Ellis Island and followed the various legal steps required in order to establish themselves as true citizens of this country. The immigrants crossing the Mexican border, however, have absolutely no interest in following these legal protocols. Once they cross the border, they change their names and/or purchase social security numbers in an effort to conceal their true identities from the law. It is not uncommon for an illegal immigrant to purchase not one, but two or more social security numbers, just in case one is flagged. I have witnessed this crime with my own eyes. (One day, a supposedly legal immigrant was asked to give their social security card to a receptionist for a job application and an interview. When the receptionist happened to ask to see the card a second time, the immigrant mistakenly handed over a different social security card with the same name on it, but with a completely different set of numbers…)

    Don’t get me wrong: I’m not against Hispanics. I have many Hispanic friends, but they either have green cards to work in the United States or have become legal citizens. They decided to follow the rule of law and work within the boundaries of our legal system. Unfortunately, many immigrants do not, and it those particular individuals that we are most concerned about.

    Now it seems that those who sympathize with illegal immigrants wish to hijack the discussion of reform by attacking the law recently imposed by the State of Arizona through protests and boycotts; a state mind you, that has been besieged with crime, drugs and an ever-increasing population of illegal immigrants. Don’t allow them this option. Speak out and take action. This is your country… fight for it.

    In closing, I consider myself to be a bleeding-heart liberal: a Democrat. My ancestor, Roger Williams – one of our founding fathers, was one too; regarding the acceptance of different nationalities, cultures and religions as the vitality and lifeblood of any country. Nevertheless, I think that he would agree with me; that immigrants wishing to become legal citizens have not only the obligation, but the civil and legal responsibility to follow the rules of law established by any country in which they wish to become authentic citizens, just as our ancestors – both yours and mine – struggled so arduously and righteously to achieve.

  • “The only other thing I want to say is that Roger Cardinal Mahony’s reprehensible choice of words to characterize the law that had been passed in Arizona is unbecoming of an archbishop.”

    That’s an understatement.

  • There is a reason why bishops have near dictatorial powers in their dioceses. They are meant “to know their sheep”. Cardinal Mahony has lost control of his flock. Instead of paying attention to the flood of immorality which rises from his archdiocesis, had he not better address that? Or is he fearful of losing popularity?

    From my own Irish background, I believe he is one of the fast fading [laus Deo] Irish clerics who live in the previous century. Time to retire to a monastery and contemplate the last ends.

    [Footnote: there is nothing new in the Arizona immigration law. It merely copies the U.S. law].

  • “Unbecoming of an archbishop”??? If the Holy Father had said the same thing, I suppose it would have been unbecoming of a pope too. Yet you and your “real Catholics” never fail to criticize the clergy for mincing words about those social ills of which you disapprove. It strikes me that jumping on a prince of the Church for defending Catholic teaching, even if his words sound harsh to the “good people” you know in Arizona, is unbecoming of a Catholic blogger.

  • Calling the people who support the legislation in Arizona Nazis and Communists is completely in line with Cardinal Mahoney’s adherence to the Magisterium. The only problem is that the Magisterium he adheres to is that of the New York Times.

  • Prince of the Church?

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    ha!

  • while I don’t find comparisons to totalitarian regimes prudent or useful I agree with his sentiment. this bill is over authoritarian and is unjust. I’m pretty sure if you asked people in general what they thought about cops checikng peoples papers and separating families they would say it was wrong. no idea why that changes when it’s an immigrant getting checked-though I suspect that many (not accusing anyone here mind you) do so out of racist, natvisit, and/or anti-catholic predjudices

  • I have this quaint idea Michael that the immigration laws of our country should be followed and enforced. I also think Mahoney is a disgrace and has been one for years. I don’t think either of those positions is authoritarian, racist, nativist or anti-Catholic.

  • I think it’s possible to simultaneously hold:

    – US immigration laws should be enforced (even if one doesn’t like their current quotas).
    – This particular law is an unwise and excessive way of trying to attempt that.
    – Mahony’s way of expressing his dislike for the law was foolish and irresponsible (not to mention unpastoral) in the extreme.
    – Mahony deserves a modicum of respect because of his office.
    – Mahony has been pretty at best unhelpful at and worst a disaster for both his own diocese and the Church in the US as a whole.

  • I’m with Don on this.

    This law, which was just clarified again by the AZ legislature, only mandates that police investigate immigration status in the course of “lawful contact”, investigating a crime. It requires police to do the job that the federal government has failed to do.

    It doesn’t mandate or create any sweeping new powers, and it doesn’t violate anyone’s “civil rights”, which in this day and age has come to mean “my right to never be questioned by the police about anything I do, ever.”

    It’s nothing but a politically-loaded catch phrase that partisans of the left use to mask their true belief, which is this: that national borders are inherently unjust, that nations and states have no inherent right to exist, and that the immigration law we do have should not be enforced in order to more quickly and speedily bring about their demise.

    I know because I was in the communist movement. I know because I argued this myself, I believed it, and I promoted the idea through propaganda and agitation. It was the official position of my party and every other party of the far left. Not only should the law not be enforced, “workers” (that is, leftists) should do all in their power to make illegal immigration safer, more efficient, and more permanent, and conspire to break the law or at least test its limits to the extreme.

    This law is not unwise. This law is not unjust. This law is a rational response to a federal failure and a wave of lethal violence from south of the border. Mexico has become a narco-terror state in many regions along the border. On our side we must be empowered to protect lives, liberty and property from a ruthless enemy.

    If the feds actually were doing their damned jobs, would those of you who don’t like this law be claiming that federal immigration law was unjust? If so, then just say it. Admit that you don’t want there to be immigration laws. Because saying you want a level of government to enforce them that has consistently failed to enforce them is tantamount to saying that you don’t want them enforced.

  • Most people in America aren’t against immigration; they’re just against illegal immigration.

    If your problem with something is that it is illegal, then you should favor making it legal.

    For example, like most of our ancestors, my mother’s parents were immigrants. They came through Ellis Island and followed the various legal steps required in order to establish themselves as true citizens of this country.

    Unless your mother’s parents were war refugees, the fact they came through Ellis Island suggests that they came to the country back when we had open immigration. If today’s law were in place back then your mom’s parents likely wouldn’t have been able to (legally) come here.

  • I have this quaint idea Michael that the immigration laws of our country should be followed and enforced.

    Would you say the same for ObamaCare?

  • Btw, a common refrain in the immigration debate is that the federal government isn’t enforcing the immigration laws. I’m not quite sure what this means. I was talking with an ICE agent this weekend, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t sit around all day surfing the web and watching Oprah. I take it that the assumption the federal government isn’t enforcing the law is based primarily on the fact that there are a lot of illegal immigrants in this country, but by that logic the government isn’t enforcing the laws against drug dealing and murder either.

  • I concur (oddly?) with DC and BA.

  • don: I stated I was not accusing anyone here of that. people like tancredo? absolutely.

    Joe: if it makes you feel better the Feds are doing a better job of stopping illegal immigration than other things. if you don’t believe me come on down to louisiana where we wish the Feds were doing as well ad they’ve done on the borders

  • I don’t know why Arizonans would want to protect their citizens from Mexican drug cartel violence, safeguard the public treasury, or prevent the strain on their already choked social services. I mean, not doing that has done wonders for LA! That movie, American Me, I want to recreate that in my city. Yes!

    I have no idea why they’d want to enforce the laws that have been on the books since the USA formed or why they’d be mad at the Feds for not doing their jobs of securing our borders. Arizonans are racists, red-neck, bigoted, right-wing conspiracists for wanting to protect the quality of life of LEGAL immigrants already living here. What’s up with that? They should enjoy picking up the 2 million tons of trash the illegals leave strewn across our lands as they make their way north because they always have beautiful, sunny skies.

    Did you know that asking for someone’s citzenship papers is the equivalent of slaughtering 7 million Jews in Nazi Germany. If you didn’t, then you’re not reading the main-stream, unbiased, good-intentioned media. Get with the program, Comrades! Read the NY Times, the LA Times or the Washington Post, or any newspaper that feeds off of them. It will really educate you and keep you from losing your public education indoctrination.

    Why not let the entire world into this country, starting with Haiti, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Yemen — oh, and don’t forget a few “mainstream” Castro-loving Cubans. I’m sure the freedom-loving Cubans already living in Miami who hate Castro won’t mind. Let’s blow taxpayers’ money overseas by sending travel vouchers to the Middle East so they can fly to Mexico and come across the border. Can’t we all just get along? If we just sat down and negotiated with them, all war, poverty and disease would end and Obama could save us all.

    After their amnesty, they’ll vote Democrat in order to keep the taxpayer dollars flowing freely and keep Democrats in power. What’s so wrong about that? That stuff going on in Greece — riots, protest. Yeah, I like that. Let’s get some of that. After all, we’re no longer a Republic. We’re a dictatorship. Just ask the folks who passed healthcare with the Slaughter House Rules, instead of abiding by the will of the people. If you can’t afford health insurance, you should be jailed or fined by IRS agents, so there will be no room for locking up illegal aliens. Obama is going to help this country like Chairman Mao helped China take the Great Leap Forward, or how Stalin helped unite the Russians. CHANGE, TRANSFORM. I really love it.

    All I ask is that you don’t complain as your paychecks get smaller and smaller. After all, someone has to pay for all those bells and whistles, and bells and whistles, and bells and whistles, etc. Well, you get the idea. It might as well be you. We know from history that the rich ALWAYS get soaked, so none of it will effect your pocketbook. Right? I mean, look how many millionaires are now living in boxes by the river. Plus, the more money you rob from rich people and give to poor people, the more jobs that are created. Right, Nancy Pelosi? It looks like rain today — maybe too much. I hope the government is doing something about that. Maybe a rain tax is needed.

  • Michael,

    Why should what happens in Louisiana have anything to do with the situation in AZ? The feds are not doing a good job in the Southwest. That’s why AZ acted. This was not arbitrary.

    So, no, the idea that some other state might benefit more from federal help doesn’t make me “feel better”, and I don’t know why it should. Though technically I don’t live in AZ, my entire family on my mother’s side does. So that’s what I care about.

  • “I’m not quite sure what this means.”

    You know exactly what it means – you just like making strawmen out of opposing arguments.

  • I, as Joe, know the issues and problems in Arizona.

    What Arizona is doing is lawful, just, and moral.

    How many are portraying Arizona as is disgusting.

    Thank goodness for democracy.

    Otherwise, things will get really ugly.

  • Don: I have this quaint idea Michael that the immigration laws of our country should be followed and enforced.

    BA: Would you say the same for ObamaCare?

    BA, you just demonstrated in this sentence that you are not in the least interested in having an honest debate or discussion on this issue.

  • “’Unbecoming of an archbishop’??? If the Holy Father had said the same thing, I suppose it would have been unbecoming of a pope too.”-ron chandonia

    Yes, Ron, calumny would be unbecoming of a pope too. Praise Jesus that our pope is able to resist such.

    Pray for our bishops.

  • “I have this quaint idea Michael that the immigration laws of our country should be followed and enforced.”

    “Would you say the same for ObamaCare?”

    I have called for the repeal of ObamaCare BA since I regard it as very bad public policy. I support immigration laws which I view as good public policy. The quotas for each foreign nation should be determined by Congress and not by coyotes bringing illegals across our southern border. I believe all nations on Earth have immigration laws and I find the hysteria surrounding the people of Arizona taking action to actually enforce ours rather comic.

  • If today’s law were in place back then your mom’s parents likely wouldn’t have been able to (legally) come here.

    If I am not mistaken, the law allows 800,000 immigrants to enter the country every year, with an additional increment of refugees whose number varies according to circumstance. The principal constraint for the aspirant immigrant are the preference categories which favor the relatives of extant immigrants.

  • Joe,

    Actually I’m serious. The federal government deports about a million illegal immigrants a year; if you don’t think that’s enforcing the law, then you should at least say what you would consider enforcement.

    I suspect that the enforcement issue is a red herring. People favor enforcing laws they like; if it is a law they don’t like they are fine with it not being enforced. Thus, Don has the quaint notion that immigration laws should be enforced, but as he himself admits this is because he thinks our immigration laws are good policy. Arizona in particular has attempted to “nullify” federal law on a number of subjects (including, ironically, the REAL ID Act).

  • “Thus, Don has the quaint notion that immigration laws should be enforced, but as he himself admits this is because he thinks our immigration laws are good policy.”

    Actually BA I believe virtually all laws should be enforced because to do otherwise is a short route to chaos. On this point I agree with Saint Thomas More as I elaborated in this post below:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/03/29/give-the-devil-benefit-of-law/

    My precise position as to obeying the law as set forth in that post: “People should act to change bad laws. If a law so seriously compromises a person’s conscience that obeying it would appear to that person to be active complicity in evil than disobedience of the law, with the willingness to be punished for the disobedience, may be called for by that individual. Otherwise, even bad or foolish laws should be obeyed until they can be changed, short of “a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism” which justifies a rising in revolt by a people. To act otherwise is to reduce the law to mere opinion and to cause our civil society to descend to the rule of the strongest or the loudest.”

  • Joe: you missed the point. I was trying to make a point about federal incompetence.

    to everyone else: I’m not interested in these “we here understand the problem as it really is” arguments. at best those defend the ends of this bill-but that’s not the bills only problem. more important is the means this bill entails-the documentation part. it’s not just.

    unfortunately I think all this is doing is making sure pro-life catholic Hispanics flee to the welcoming arms of the democrats.

  • Donald,

    So you believe virtually all laws should be enforced, but not ObamaCare? Or do you think that ObamaCare should be enforced too (including, say, the individual mandate)?

    Incidentally, I don’t think the passage from Bolt’s play really has much to do with whether laws should be enforced. More is talking about the importance of the legal protections against arbitrary arrest and punishment that were present in English law. He wasn’t saying that you have to enforce every statute to its full extent, and if you were to change the law to remove the legal protections More’s talking about then that would be equally problematic.

  • You will look long and hard on this blog BA without finding a sentence stated by me that ObamaCare should not be enforced. My focus has been on legal challenges to the law, amendments, and the enactment of state laws to attack ObamaCare. All within the realm of the law, and in the realm of attempts to change the law through political victory. Your position BA appears to be that we have no duty to obey laws that we disagree with. That is not my position and I am certain that it was not the position of Saint Thomas More.

  • Don nailed it as usual, and I say that as one who disagrees with Don (I think) on the AZ legislation. I oppose the legislation for several prudential reasons, but find the open borders arguments equally problematic. The failure of the federal government to secure borders is scandalous and unacceptable. As Tom Friedman once put it (not sure if this is a blind squirrel or stopped clock priciple here), we need a tall fence and wide gate.

  • Your position BA appears to be that we have no duty to obey laws that we disagree with.

    No, my position would be that if a law is a bad law, it probably shouldn’t be expanded.

    I apologizes for my error regarding your position on enforcing ObamaCare. There are, however, lots of people who don’t want to see the law enforced, including many of the people responsible for and supportive of the Arizona law.

  • BA,

    You’re make assumptions not based in fact. People opposed to Obamacare did not want the law enacted. They also want the law repealed. No one here has said leave the crappy law on the books and disobey it or that the various bureaucracies it creates should sit on their hands and not do their job. No, folks with an understanding of human nature, economics, and the health care system are opposed to Obamacare because it will make things worse for most folks and greatly increase government involvement in people’s lives.

    For those saying that Cardinal Mahony should not be criticized for his inane and nonsensical comments I can only assume you did not bother clicking the link and reading his inaccurate assessment of what Arizona passed. Consider this comment of his:

    “I can’t imagine Arizonans now reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to the authorities on any suspicion of documentation.

    “Are children supposed to call 911 because one parent does not have proper papers?”

    Please show me where in the Arizona law it addresses something as stupid as the idea of requiring children to turn in their parent. That is as silly as being against laws against hardcore drugs because if a child saw their parent shooting up horse they might feel obliged to tell on mommy or daddy. Does the archbishop not have a staff to assist him with his speeches so he would not seem foolish?

    I could respect his position if he would just say “Hey, countries should not have any borders. We are all children of God and should not let artificial borders separate us.” However, he is throwing inaccurate allegation out about the Arizona law instead.

  • Amazing. Illegal aliens are to be classified as criminals… What does “illegal” mean again? — I’m a bit confused here.

  • “I urge everyone who is outraged by Cardinal Mahony’s calumnious remarks as I am to contact the media relations office for the L.A.”

    I gave up on Cardinal Mahony year’s ago. You only have to look at his hideous “cathedral” with its pagan-like altar, his rebellions against the Pope and his weird masses to know that his “Catholicism” is whatever he decides he wants it to be for that particular week. It’s best to just pray for his soul and hope for a Pope who will actually rein him in.

    So am I surprised at what he says about Arizona’s new immigration law. No, it just confirms what I already knew about him.

  • BA will say anything to get under your skin. Best to learn that now.

    “The federal government deports about a million illegal immigrants a year; if you don’t think that’s enforcing the law, then you should at least say what you would consider enforcement.”

    There isn’t enough enforcement. There aren’t enough agents. There aren’t enough funds. And the advanced, military-style tactics of the cartels and the gangs call for higher levels of training and enforcement. The federal government has not taken the problem as seriously as it should. Mexico is destabilizing, there is a violent civil war being fought right on our border. A few more INS agents aren’t going to cut it at this point. This is a national security issue, one far more valid than Afghanistan I might add.

    As Gov. Brewer pointed out, the costs of housing foreign nationals (which ought to be done or at least paid for by the federal government) costs the state 150 million each year. Thats small beans at the federal level but these are considerably larger sums at the state level.

    As for Obamacare…

    If people want to resist Obamacare, what do I care? You really think the principle here is that laws should be enforced because they’re laws?

    I don’t worship the law, I’m not a lawyer. The fundamental right to self-preservation against violent enemies is a natural right that needs no validation or authorization from any government. If human laws support it, good. If they don’t, to hell with them. No law and no constitution is a suicide pact.

    So, I’m not going to be squeezed into your rhetorical box. This isn’t about the law. It is about what is right and wrong, about survival and self-preservation. If you want to oppose that, you’re welcome to try and see how far you get.

  • In response to you e-mail…….I am among the 70% plus of Arizonans who approve of the Arizona Illegal Immigration Bill!
    Too many people have not read the Bill so how can they be against it when they do not know what’s in it?
    Too many people rather believe in heresy than in facts! The American main media is a classic example.
    Here in Tucson, only one percent of the protesters when asked were register voter, the rest were high school kids (from Tucson High School) and illegals on the day the Governor signed the Bill. NO LIE!

    Like California, Arizona is bleeding from the financial burden that illegals have created in this state. Crime committed by illegals in Arizona is another burden for our State law enforcement agencies.

    When someone walks into a Chase Bank to open an account, the Customer Representative will ask for proper identification. If that someone does not show the proper identification that someone will be ask if he or she is an American citizen. If not, a different form has to be fill out.

    When someone is stop for a traffic violation, is in a traffic accident, acting suspicious, or commits a crime, the police officer will ask for proper identification.
    If that someone does not show the proper identification, that someone will be ask if he or she is an American citizen. If not, that someone will be question further to determine his or her status in this country. It’s not profiling!

    My father arrived in this country from Mexico at the age of six. For seventy-four years he carried with him a U.S. working permit (Green Card). He never complained of profiling! Whenever someone asked him if he was American citizen, he would proudly say no

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35 Responses to Catholic Worker View of NAFTA/Immigration

  • Thank you for posting this. God help us.

  • EXCELLENT post! When NAFTA was passed, there were Americans who warned against this very possibility–but they were denounced as alarmists. Supposedly industry migrating to Mexico would provide jobs for all the displaced agricultural laborers. As it turned out, the only opportunities available in adequate numbers were across the border, and Americans at the time were definitely hiring. (Quite a different picture from the one the nativists paint: the one that features hordes of swarthy drug-dealer types bent on satisfying their greed by infiltrating our cities.)

  • NAFTA and Bush destroyed the rural economy in Mexico and points south.

    We daily read and see horrific reports of famine, mass starvation, and pestilence. It’s the Irish Potato Famine being re-played (in HD) in front of our eyes!

    Their cultures, economies and nations are ruined. Let’s wreck the US and our way of life in expiation of our sins!

    Peace and justice! The common good!!!

  • If you want to see how agribusiness has driven them off their land with GM corn, see the last 10 minutes of “The World According to Monsanto”:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6262083407501596844#

    Move the player slider to 1:25:00

  • The proportion of the labor force engaged in agriculture declines as a matter of course in the process of economic development

  • This certainly does a good job of putting human faces on the process of modernization.

    A couple point, though, at the risk of seeming heartlessly capitalist:

    – Although the constitutional reform which allowed ejido privatization was put through around the same time as NAFTA, it wasn’t actually a part of NAFTA, so much at it was part of a broader effort at economic development on the part of Mexico of which NAFTA was also a part.

    – Perverse as it may seem, one of the points of the ejido reform was precisely what is described here: reducing the number of workers employed in agriculture in Mexico. (see this brief piece from 1992 about ejido reform, written by the San Francisco Federal Reserve) Prior to the reform, as the Catholic Worker article also states, 26% of Mexican workers were agricultural workers. However, as the SF Fed article points out, agriculture was responsible for less than 10% of the Mexican GDP. In other words, farmers were among Mexico’s poorer and less productive workers. The belief was that this was that the small plots on communal land of the ejidos caused low productivity and lack of capital investment in improving the land. Mexican authorities believed that allowing privatization and selling or leasing of ejido land would allow larger farms to be established, productivity to increase, and large numbers of former farm workers to go into more productive industries. Usually, having a small percentage of your population engaged in agriculture (while having a large agricultural output) is actually a good thing for your country. For instance, the US has seen steadily increasing agricultural output from 1945 to the present, but has seen the percentage of the population working an agriculture drop from 16% to 2%.

    – Although, as the Catholic Worker article points out, the percentage of Mexican workers employed in agriculture has dropped from 26% to 16% in 20 years, the total agricultural output of Mexico has actually increased steadily throughout that period. That actually means more food, less hunger, and overall improved conditions for Mexicans overall.

    – This kind of drastic societal change always comes at a significant personal cost for those affected. The US went through this same period of increasing agricultural output, but rapidly dropping rural population. We did the 26% to 16% change between 1925 and 1945 — a period which isn’t really remembered fondly. My dad’s mother and her family were directly effected by the US version of this dislocation. They lost their farm in Ryan, Iowa, piled everyone into the Ford, and drove out to California in search of work in the early 30s. Given that Ryan now has a population of only 400, and an average income well under the national average, that may have worked out well in the end. But it was far from fun for the first decade.

  • We did the 26% to 16% change between 1925 and 1945 — a period which isn’t really remembered fondly.

    The banking crises and associated contraction in output during the period running from the fall of 1929 through the spring of 1933 and the aftereffects thereof are why the period is not remembered fondly. These were not a necessary component of the shift from agricultural to non-agricultural employment. (One of the previous generation in my household quit farming in 1949; I cannot recall he ever said it was a wrenching experience).

  • Certainly, the rapid shift from agricultural to city labor wasn’t the only thing going on during the depression, but for a lot of families that “lost the farm” that dislocation was a major part of the story. We even got Grapes of Wrath out of it, for all that’s worth.

    It was also the motive behind some of FDR’s more idiotic policies — like destroying large quantities of food in order to keep prices up.

    After all, for rural banks, one of the main sources of bank failures was when heavily leveraged farmers got hit with falling prices and the dust bowl at the same time, and so starting defaulting on their mortgages and heading out for the coasts. (What made it a lot easier on them than Mexican peasants, however, is that they mostly had at least an 8th grade education, which amounts to rather more than a high school education these days. And they spoke the language.)

  • Darwin,

    You make excellent points. Part of the limits of human understanding is the consequences our actions will produce. Often the consequences are not what we expected and can frequently be for the worse (I think Health Care Reform will be an excellent example.) But one also has to look at what NAFTA has accomplished. There has been a human cost but also a human gain. The whole truth needs to be looked at so that it can be objectively assessed and good maintained and the bad corrected.
    I think such an approach is consistent with Catholic Social teaching. As Benedict XVI noted in Caritas in Veritate, charity must be in accord with the truth. Otherwise it becomes mere sentimentalism. So a detailed, economic analysis of NAFTA along with the personal stories is required by CST so that the truth can lead charity.

  • Yes, and if it wasn’t clear from what I wrote above: I am in favor of NAFTA (and the changes to the Mexican constitution allowing for the privitization of the ejidos) because I think that it will, in the end, be to the common good of Mexicans.

    A demand that people be allowed to remain subsistance farmers has a certain romance for moral tourists, but it’s notable that none of us choose to go be subsistance farmers. The intermediate stages may be misable, and the suffering of people who find themselves displaced against their will is real, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not in fact a road to a better situation. My grandmother’s family, for instance, was much better off as a result of losing the family farm and having to move to California. It took a good ten years or more for them to be better off, but in the end they were — and certainly their descendants are.

  • Three of my four grandparents came here from Mexico. It was very rough in the beginning. My maternal grandparents raised 13 children through the depression. All my aunts and uncles are doing exceptionally well in America. Much better than relatives who stayed in Mexico. Disruptions is sometimes painful, but in the long-term helpful.

  • “Usually, having a small percentage of your population engaged in agriculture (while having a large agricultural output) is actually a good thing for your country.”

    As Peter Maurin put so well, a child is an asset on the land, but a liability in the city. It would be far better if most of us lived on the land, farming and making crafts, engaged in a distributist economy that put people before profits.

  • A child is a gift anywhere.

  • Like most people I’m perfectly willing to go along with Nate’s vision as long as I’m not one of the “most” engaged in farming and craft-making.

  • Not so much into basket weaving, eh? 🙂

  • Well, yeah. I don’t mean to sound like a jerk by putting this so bluntly, but if Maurin was right, why is it that even the vast majority of those involved in the Catholic Worker movement do not in fact live on the land farming and making crafts? I would assume that if this was clearly preferable at a human level, more people would be doing it.

  • Darwin,
    It is, of course, because “other people” should be doing it. It always is. People with advanced degrees in social work, philosophy, etc have more refined vocations, such as organizing and leading a society that successfully requires “most people” to engage in land farming and craft-making, for their own good of course.

  • As Peter Maurin put so well, a child is an asset on the land, but a liability in the city. It would be far better if most of us lived on the land, farming and making crafts, engaged in a distributist economy that put people before profits.

    A child is an asset when there are no child labor laws or Social Security, and a liability when there is (which is not to say that we should do away with Social Security or laws against child labor; it’s just to note that it is those laws, rather than the geographical location in which a child grows up, that are responsible for children being an economic liability vs. an economic asset).

  • I reject what my fiancee and I affectionately call “Shire” Distributism – this reactionary view that we’re all going to go back to the land and till the soil for the good of our souls.

    I support anyone who wants to do that but realistically it is never going to become the dominant economy ever again.

    There’s a reason why the Papacy never advocated such a return to the land either. The Papal view of Distributism is much more realistic, it talks about how the idea can be applied in modern society, in modern businesses and modern economies.

  • @Mike,

    lol, yeah – I think Pol Pot was one of those people.

  • I reject what my fiancee and I affectionately call “Shire” Distributism – this reactionary view that we’re all going to go back to the land and till the soil for the good of our souls.

    Shire Distributism. I may have to steal that.

  • To be fair, Maurin did in fact live on the agricultural Catholic Worker communes, so at least he followed his own advice. But though I’m not deeply read in Catholic Worker history, it doesn’t seem to have been an overall good for many families. I recall reading an interview a while back where Dorothy Day’s daughter talked about how intense trying to live up to that rural ideal was, and said that it was one of the reasons why she’s no longer practicing her faith.

  • Well, friends, there are many Catholic Worker farms, and the Catholic Worker movement is still in its infancy – barely 75 years since its founding. Most Catholic Workers that I know do not have advanced degrees, and try to ‘be the change you want to see in the world’. Of course, there are elements of every movement that do not adhere to its founding vision, but those elements will not last.

    Shire Distributism! I will have to use that phrase. But Joe, have you considered that the dominant economy, that of capitalistic industrialism, will collapse one day? I am convinced that it will. And what then?

  • Peter Maurin used a great phrase too – Agronomic Universities – a place where scholars could be workers, and workers could be scholars. Like living in the Shire, but with a great many books and a great many vocations! Love it! Someone want to donate me some land in Missouri?

  • Actually, I think the brilliant thing about “Shire Distributism” is that both proponents and opponents would like the term.

    To me, I think the thing it points out is that Tolkien’s shire was knowingly an idealized place — one which Tolkien wasn’t trying to write about as a realistic society. Tolkien was evoking an image of the English countryside which even to him was just a distant childhood memory. And so he’s not worrying about topics like: If a farmer has four sons, and just the right amount of land to support the family well, which of his sons gets to marry and have a family and inherit the farm, and which three need to work as unmarried laborer or else go find non-family land somewhere else?

    And indeed, I think the disagreement over Shire Distributism is very much one between idealism and practicality.

  • “I reject what my fiancee and I affectionately call “Shire” Distributism – this reactionary view that we’re all going to go back to the land and till the soil for the good of our souls.”

    Having done a fair amount of agricultural labor in my pre-lawyer incarnation I can guarantee that most people would truly hate earning their living by “working the land”. Additionally there simply wouldn’t be enough land for “city-folk” to make a living doing it, even if they adopted an Amish life style.

    I am pretty familiar with the Amish here in Illinois.

    http://www.amishillinois.com/towns/arcola.htm

    I admire their way of life, but it is definitely only a way of life for a highly disciplined, extremely hardworking and tightly knit group.

  • “Someone what to donate me some land in Missouri?”

    Work hard for many years. Then buy it yourself. 😉

  • Peter Maurin used a great phrase too – Agronomic Universities – a place where scholars could be workers, and workers could be scholars. Like living in the Shire, but with a great many books and a great many vocations!

    Whenever I hear ideas like this I can’t help but be reminded of Mao’s line about how “knowledgable youth should go to the country, to be educated from living in rural poverty.” Of course Maurin was a fundamentally decent man, and never would have used the methods Mao used to bring his vision about (which may partly explain why Maurin’s views were never put into practice on a large scale).

  • I like the article linked below on shire economics:

    “Take the idea of the Shire as an ideal community. When I first read the book, I thought the Shire was the most realistic part, and that Minas Tirith, a sort of cross between Camelot and Rome on its seven hills, was artificial. But the Shire is a complete fantasy; no subsistence farming community (and as the hobbits don’t manufacture or trade much, they have to be classed as subsistence) have among their ranks people like Frodo or Bilbo. The Shire is a farming community without farmers. Frodo, Bilbo, Pippin, Merry and even the Sackville-Bagginses are all middle class, and middle classes don’t occur in close-knit farming communities. The middle class is a result of trade, surplus, commerce and an administration that needs well-educated people to run it. Middle classes are an urban phenomena.

    Even Sam is not a farmer, he is a gardener; there is a big difference, farmers grow crops, gardeners grow flowers.

    To cite the Shire, therefore, as a model community to counter the ills of modernism is very unwise. Even in the book, Frodo is regarded by the hobbits are eccentric. In a real Shire, he might be driven out as a witch for knowing Elvish. And without Frodo, would we really want to be like the Daddy Two-foots and Ted Sandymans? A community that is close-knit and anti-authoritarian can also be claustrophic and backward.

    The greatest casualty of modernity is the environment, and Tolkien and his writing appeal strongly to people who wish desperately to preserve the natural world. As Tony Shell says, Tolkien can ‘provide an extraordinarily sublime feeling of immanence and essential vitality to the natural world..’

    But would we all want to do without the trappings of modernity, even to save the natural world? I would do without a car, gladly. Even the washing machine, although beating out clothes on the river bank while exchanging gossip with the other village maidens is not really my thing.

    But doing without medicine, basic healthcare, street lighting, accessible education, juries, pcs, cinemas, freedom of speech, that is another. But these, as well as the destruction of the enviroment, are trappings of modernity. My own grandfather was a ploughman in one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland. But he died within 24 hours of pneumonia from sleeping in a damp, if picturesque, cottage. People who advocate such a return to traditional communities and ways of life are often city folk who forget that such an existence was described as ‘nasty, brutish and short’. because it was.”

    http://lotrscrapbook.bookloaf.net/essay/varda/contents/varda_paradise.html

  • The Shire isn’t exactly a rural society — it’s more an idealized English country village. Think the Highbury of Jane Austen’s Emma. But even more so than in Emma, we only see the members of the essentially idle class. Bilbo (and Frodo later) never had a Baggins estate so far as we can tell, where actual tennant farmers raise crops to produce income. Nor does one get the impression that one can make all one’s money off investments in the Shire (as the Mr. Woodhouse in Emma apparently does) — it’s a country village, with a country village’s upper class, but not London to provide more complex investment for those not actively running an estate or business.

    I’d say that’s probably because Tolkien isn’t attempting to be realistic in his portrayal of the Shire. Minas Tirith and Rohan are portrayed (in the book — unlike in the movie where these cities sit in the middle of totally empty plains) as fairly realistic pre-industrial cities with outlying farmlands and villages. But the Shire (perhaps in part because it very much dates back to The Hobbit, which is more a children’s book in its atmospher; partly because it is an intentional evocation of Tolkien’s childhood memories) isn’t thought out in traditional social structures so much as it draws on traditional characters and institutions without giving much thought to how they’d fit together.

  • Wow look what I started!

    “I’d say that’s probably because Tolkien isn’t attempting to be realistic in his portrayal of the Shire.”

    And neither are some Distributists in their view of politics and economics.

    Nate,

    “But Joe, have you considered that the dominant economy, that of capitalistic industrialism, will collapse one day? I am convinced that it will. And what then?”

    Well, I’m not so sure industry itself will collapse.

    The civilization we have now may very well collapse, though.

    And so I fully support people who want to learn basic survival skills, basic farming skills. I think we should all have some knowledge of these things because we may need them in the future.

    But we should also try to preserve the civilization we have and not give in totally to fatalism. Of course everyone has to make calculations based on what they think the future will hold.

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