Friday, June 09, 2006

Will Securing Our Borders Solve the Problem?

There is lots of controversy about how to solve our Immigration problems. Many of those who want to tighten up on immigration say that we should start with securing our borders.

Is start the key word here? Or can we secure our borders and then drop the issue?

To bring some perspective we can take a look at the Immigration Problems in Europe at the article linked to in this post.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Deploying the National Guard: Is it a solution?

The White House is apparently drawing up plans to deploy the National Guard as a temporary measure to bolster border patrol.

Will this contribute to a a solution? Or is it a political ploy to bolster the administration and Republican party?

This is discussed in one strongly pro-immigration blog, Migra Matters.

From my initial observations, it sounds very political to me. A uniformed presence of the National Guard in the media, to appease the American public, while being relegated to a bench role on the actual border to appease President Fox... I can guess that most National Guardsmen don't want to be pulled away from their lives for one year or more merely for political grandstanding.

And I wonder, why should we allow appeasing President Fox to be a driving factor in what we do? Fox has a huge national interest: to grow his nation's 2nd biggest industry, remittances sent to Mexico by his citizens who acquire money in USA. And all the while, his own government forces are continually and brutally abusing Central American migrants who cross into Mexico.

I believe we should put serious pressure on Fox to start collecting income tax from the wealthy elite in Mexico and use the funds to build roads, schools with textbooks, communications, and other infrastructure that could grow Mexico itself into a place that the average Jose would actually want to live and raise his kids in. Instead, the wealth of the 10th largest world economy is hoarded by the elite and occasionally used to provide campaign funds for politicians who support the status quo.

In short, the root causes of mass migration need to be addressed. Political grandstanding and disrupting the lives of National Guardsmen doesn't offer a solution.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Vastly Different Reform Bills in Congress

After much posturing and handshaking, the Senate has just passed an immigration reform bill, paving the way to legalize nearly all illegal immigrants, while at the same time providing for a "guest worker" program, endorsed by President George W. Bush.

This new Senate bill is vastly different from a more strict reform bill, passed earlier in the House, which calls for tougher enforcement of both laws and borders, potentially subjecting an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants to felony charges and deportation.

These two separate pieces of legislation from the two branches of Congress are so dissimilar, like night and day, that it casts doubt on whether or not any compromise will be made on the issue this year.

You may view the cbsnew.com article regarding this legislation by clicking on the post title or (here).

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Mass Protests, for What?

Historically it's been a stealth issue (see below) but recently illegal immigration is coming into the limelight. Congress and the President are considering new measures for and against illegal immigration, such as guest worker programs and toughening up the borders. Where is this going?

The Democrats are torn between adding the growing Hispanic demographic to their voting ranks and trying not to alienate the unionized, blue-collar labor vote. Powerful Republicans are unabashedly courting illegal migrants for the future while simultaneously claiming to "get tough" on future illegal immigration. They are proposing programs that are laden with costly or unrealistic tradeoffs, guaranteeing that our Federal government can not step up to the task.

Why must our Congress be divided and paralyzed? Between the Republicans' loss of popularity and the Democrats' long-term powerlessness, are they allowing desperation and opportunism to drive their agenda? Whose interests are they looking out for? Who do they represent? To whom should their loyalties go? They need to ask themselves these questions.

Meanwhile, the illegal immigrants themselves are marching out into the street with their allies in mass protests. This Monday they staged a day of walking out on their jobs. In Mexico they staged a day of boycotting American businesses. Their strategy seems to be quite simple: make Americans feel some pain (economically) and say, "Look, you guys can't make do without us. Let us in!"

Mainstream media is downplaying the whole thing as peaceful, harmless protesting. Are they watering this down because they are afraid they might divide and lose readers? We know that these protests were peaceful in the sense that no physical violence was done, with a few not-so-peaceful exceptions (like one group in LA that showered police with stones). The real question is, what's the intention, what's the thinking? Below are photo examples from this week's protests that you aren't likely to see in the mainstream media (these photos were obtained from Michelle Malkin's blog).

Put our American flag in a trash can? Bring back Che Gueverra? What???

Is this our "take away" from the protests? Really???

I submit that we should take these issues seriously. What's at stake is far more than meets the eye. More to follow...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Immigration From Mexico: The Enormous Stealth Issue That People Don't See

America is a nation of immigrants. Known as the "land of opportunity" by populations all over the world, the diversity of our backgrounds is one of our greatest strengths. We still have some very real racism problems, but compared to other nations we are perhaps the world's most successfully integrated racially diverse population. We should be proud of our country, and give due credit to the wonderful immigration that has made our country what it is today.

That said, there is no guarantee that our nation will stay this way! If diversity is our strength, what happens to that diversity when one group with their own common background does a mass migration across our borders and dominates the population? What will happen to our economy, our work force, and our cultural identity?

Based on things I've read, recent events, and personal observation, it seems clear that a huge mass migration is exactly what's in progress today. And the mass migration I am referring to is coming from Mexico. With complicit help from the Mexican government...

This is a difficult issue and requires an open, objective mind to understand it. It's not easy to find good discussions in the mainstream media or elsewhere (here's why). That's why I felt this blog is needed.

In other posts on this blog I'll discuss possible implications and future problems that can result from this mass migration. I shall assert that immigration should be controlled. The "guest worker" programs that Congress are considering today will accelerate the problem and should be rejected.

To see what's really at stake here, read on. Take a good look at the postings in this blog and the links on the right to media articles and government studies.

Finally, I welcome opposing viewpoints. If someone can provide logical, sound arguments to refute what I am saying, please do.

So What's the Point? Why Should We Be Concerned?

Immigration from Mexico is a much bigger issue than most people recognize, with far-reaching long-term implications. This is not just opinion and conjecture. There is a wealth of information available for anyone who has the desire to go out and look for it. I'll show some of this and hopefully readers will add their own comments.

Huge change is underway, and we don't need shortsightedness from our decision makers in handling it. We need real thought and discussion. We need informed decisions with the public interest at heart, because there's a lot more at stake than just the power struggles of political parties and politicians.

What we really need is an open mind. Simply talking about issues doesn't make any of us a racist or "some right-wing xenophobe." You should read my bio if you are thinking like this. To really see the "big picture" of what's happening and what's at stake we should look at trends and data. And perhaps even visit a few cities in America where mass migration has already happened (like El Paso, Texas or Miami, Florida).

Look at the photos below. This happened recently at a high school in Whittier, California where students expressed their opinion about immigration from Mexico by putting their flag on top of an upside-down American flag. (Article)






It's a difficult and sensitive issue to even talk about. Can't we just ignore it and hope it goes away? Read on and see what you think.

We've Always Had Immigration. What's Different?

One often-said comment is that America has always had a lot of immigration, so what could be different now?

We are indeed a nation that was started by immigrants. One example (of many) was the inflow of the Irish. Irish immigration reached its peak in 1840, when Irish immigrant concentrations reached as high as 15-25% by county. (Source).

People who were already in America saw the Irish coming in and had many of the same fears I write about today. Fears about our jobs, our economy, our culture, etc. In the long term, Irish immigration was good for our country. So how is Mexican immigration any different?

To answer this, I would point to two things: 1) the intensity of this ongoing wave of immigrants from Mexico is immensely greater, and 2) the economic landscape of the country has changed since those older days.

The population density of Mexican immigrants is going to be a lot bigger than the 15-25% peak reached by Irish immigrants. Today Hispanics are 35% of Texas' population. Government predictions say it will be over 50% by 2020. And by 2040, English-speaking Caucasians will be less than 30% of the population of Texas. (Source) This mass migration is a lot larger than the flow of Irish immigrants ever was!

For my second point in the comparison with previous immigration waves I would comment that when the Irish came in big numbers in the 1800s, USA was a new country, kind of a "startup". Everybody was a blue-collar worker, and everyone had to put in some "elbow grease" to get the country going.

Today is a very different situation. America is arguably the most developed country in all the world. Manufacturing jobs (and many other blue-collar jobs) have been rapidly going overseas for several years.

Economic Implications

I have also heard it said that the high number of Mexican immigrants in Texas is responsible for the low prices and low cost of living that we enjoy, and that this explains why prices are so much higher on the east coast of USA.

I'm not so sure about that. I used to live in Missouri where the cost of living was even lower. Immigrants were few and far between. "In 2000, almost three-fourths (73.6 percent) of Mexicans living in the United States had arrived in the country in just the last 20 years." (Source). If I'm not mistaken, the high cost of living on the east coast started more than 20 years ago. The argument that the East vs. West America cost-of-living gap is due to Mexican immigrants doesn't hold water! [A far more detailed study of the effect on prices and wages can be found here.]

Unlike the America of the early 1800s, our country is not uncharted territory. America is arguably the most developed country in all the world. Manufacturing and many other blue-collar jobs have been going overseas. We don't need huge masses of uneducated, unskilled workers coming in. What will they do? With our minimum wage laws in effect, it'll still be cheaper for companies to continue sending their manufacturing overseas, so what we'll be seeing is a dwindling supply of blue-collar jobs and a rapidly expanding blue-collar work force. How will they survive?

The answer to that question is partly (not entirely) that the rest of us will partially subsidize their life with welfare programs and state services. Maybe this sounds like the same arguments that were used in older times, but consider a few things.

(Most of these statistics were sourced from a Report by the Dallas FED Bank and the Center for Immigration Studies)

  • Even after welfare reform, an estimated 34 percent of households headed by legal Mexican immigrants and 25 percent headed by illegal Mexican immigrants used at least one major welfare program, in contrast to 15 percent of native households.
  • The average head of household illegal alien costs taxpayers $2,700.00 in welfare money. With 15 to 20 million illegal aliens in the USA, that figures exceeds $20 billion of our tax dollars.
  • Mexican immigrants who have lived in the United States for more than 20 years, almost all of whom are legal residents, still have double the welfare use rate of natives.
  • Almost two-thirds of adult Mexican immigrants have not completed high school, compared to fewer than one in ten natives.
  • Mexican immigrants now account for 22 percent of all high school dropouts in the American labor force.
  • only 4.4 percent of Mexican immigrants have a college or graduate degree.
  • A Supreme Court ruling stated that Texas must educate all of its children regardless of their immigration status. I wonder who is paying for this?
This is hardly surprising. If they come from an impoverished background with no education and no skills, they aren't going to find a huge number of jobs waiting for them in a developed country like America. And how much is this a factor for us?
  • 2001–03, immigration accounted for 44.5 percent of Texas’ population increase. I would say this is very significant.
  • In 1999, the average federal income tax payment by households headed by Mexican immigrants was $2,156, less than one third of the $7,255 average tax contribution made by native households.
  • $56 billion in cash is sent to their home countries each year by illegal migrants. That’s after their children received free education, free lunches and free medical care paid for by the American taxpayer.
  • California with over three million illegals paid $79 million for their health care last year, and four of their major LA hospitals bankrupted and shut their doors in 2004. Texas with 1.5 million illegal aliens paid $74 million in hospital care.

In summary, the mass migration of uneducated, unskilled workers from Mexico is going to create a very real and significant drain on the American economy.

I would also argue that legalizing their employment with a "guest worker program" is not going to miraculously create millions of new jobs, therefore it will not solve the problem. Rather, I believe it will enormously encourage and accelerate the mass migration of impoverished Mexicans into USA, making the problem substantially worse.

I also believe the "vision" of Congress and the President behind this "guest worker program" has a lot more to do with winning over Hispanic voters than it does with the needs of our country. Democrats and Republican are always trying to gain power by targeting demographics in the electorate. This is one more scheme that will be at great expense to our nation.

Cultural Implications

As has been stated repeatedly, America's wide diversity of backgrounds is one of our greatest strengths.

What happens to this diversity, our strength, when one new group of incomers does a mass migration and starts to dominate the population?

In 2040, less than 30% of Texans will be English-speaking Caucasions, and only 9.5% will be African Americans. "Other" (i.e. not Anglo, African American, or Hispanic) will be about 6% (source). All the rest of Texas' population will be Hispanics, primarily from Mexico.

I would argue that this crushes our diversity. Our cultural identity will be eradicated and a new one will replace it. Instead of the Texas you see today, you'll see what looks like a new Latin American country.

Nothing against Latin America, but I am not ready to abandon my North American identity. (Along that note, a WizBang blog article comments about the recently made Latino version of our National Anthem, jokingly dubbed by one commenter as "The Star Spanglish Banner").

What's the Mexican Government Doing About It?

Some would ask what the Mexican government is doing to assist USA in border patrol matters.

I'm no expert on that, but I can point to a few key facts. (These facts are from the sources shown in the "Links" section on the right side of the blog home page).
  • On more than one occasion, official Mexican government offices have published guides and handbooks that tell Mexicans how to get across the border (illegally, of course), how to avoid border patrol, and what to do after they get to America (one example, translated here).
  • Other than perhaps oil itself, the #1 industry that pumps money into the Mexican economy is remittances. Remittances is when a Mexican citizen goes abroad and sends money home to their family/friends in Mexico.
  • Mexico is the #10 largest economy in the world. You may wonder, "if that's true why are there so many poor people crossing the border?" Keep reading...
  • Mexico does a pathetic job of collecting taxes (10-12% compared to about 25% in USA). With such a pathetic tax collection system, Mexico is not investing in the infrastructure needed to build a real economy for its citizens. (For example, schools frequently can't afford school books).
  • Mexico has systemic corruption problems. Police aren't paid enough to survive. The poor masses reportedly lose 14% of their income to paying bribes.
With those facts and other observations in mind, I would state the following opinions:
  • It doesn't take a lot of math to guess that Mexico's wealthy elite are paying bribes instead of taxes. (In 2004, $14.2B of money flowed to Mexican lawmakers; source)
  • President Fox raised $750M in campaign funds from a dinner with wealthy Mexican businessmen. This is more than 5 times what President Bush raised in his own campaigns. Would Fox get this kind of cash from them if he's not looking out for their interests?
  • By giving free education, health services, and welfare programs to Mexican migrants who cross our border, the American taxpayer is effectively doing what the Mexican government and its wealthy elite are not: we are subsidizing the neglected, impoverished Mexican masses.
With the situation being what it is, the Mexican government has no interest in giving anything more than lip service to aid our border patrol operations. In fact, the Mexican President has been asserting that all Mexicans in USA should be cared for and treated with great dignity (which is in stark contrast to how migrants are treated in Mexico).

The Mexican government should be dealt with for what it is: a major part of the problem. They should be pressured to solve their own problems instead of pushing them onto the American taxpayer. (If you are doubting that the Mexican government is contributing to our problems, read this article from DiversityAlliance.org).

Thursday, April 20, 2006

How Does Mexico Treat Illegal Immigrants on Their Own Soil?

In Mexico, the government and citizens alike are clamoring for USA to give better treatment to Mexicans in USA, regardless of their immigration status (i.e. legal or not legal).

Not that this has much if any bearing on how USA should treat immigrants, but it is interesting
to look at how immigrants are treated in Mexico (i.e. on their own soil)..

Rather then going into detail myself, I'll refer readers to a recent Associated Press Article.

Why Don't We See Or Hear Discussions About This Supposedly Big Issue?

You won't likely find good, open-minded discussions about this issue in the mainstream media or elsewhere.

In the public arena:
  • Newspapers and TV stations like to make $$. They don't want to lose Hispanic readers or upset the advertisers who target/include Hispanics.
  • Politicians don't want to lose Hispanic voters (present and future). On the contrary, the Republican and Democrat parties are vying for control of this emerging electorate. They want to win them over, not risk offending them.
  • Observe the mass protests that occurred in early April when some congressmen tried to toughen immigration legislation. Now they are running scared.
In more private discussions (the workplace, friends, church, community):
  • Mexicans are people, they aren't just a number or a statistic. We don't want to say things that sound negative or insensitive.
  • America today is so focused on being "politically correct" and non-discriminatory that people are afraid to have an honest, candid discussion about these immigration issues.
With all these constraints on open-ended debate, the only real data or discussion will be relegated to obscure government studies, a few independent media outlets that may already be dismissed by many as "radical", or as you see here, in blogs.

The key is that we must focus on the big picture, not the individual immigrant(s) that we know. The big picture is going to make dramatic, transformational changes that we can't just close our eyes to. If we are afraid to talk about and confront the issues we risk being overtaken by events. We can not rely on politicians to do our thinking for us. They are bound by the "popularity contest" that keeps them in power, which they seek to manipulate for their own gain (as always).

As far as Internet blogs go, unless you are actively looking for it, I doubt you'll find a lot of discussions on this topic that are trying to grab your attention. Search engines are deluged with blog links from paid bloggers who cross-reference each other and pay money to the search engines. Blogs from the average Joe will be buried, and perhaps 5% of net surfers actually look deeper than hit #30 from searches.

About The Blog Owner

[Note: if you started by entering this section of the blog in its standalone web page form, you should go to the blog home page to view the main content and discussion.]

This whole topic is extremely politically sensitive, and it takes a bit of courage to even talk about it. People who don't know me can make all kinds of assumptions about me. Or they can make all kinds of accusations in an attempt to discredit me and what I write here.

Maybe an anonymous blog isn't as courageous as all that, but nonetheless I want to give a little background about myself. It might be useful to understand me and where my comments are coming from.

All Americans are descendants of immigrants. My lineage is 50% Irish and almost 50% English.

For those who would summarily and unfoundedly label me as a "racist" because I dare to make any negative comments about immigration from Mexico, I would argue that the issue would be the same regardless of what single background a mass migration comes from. I am only singling out Mexican immigrants because the data points directly to Mexico: they are more than 50% of our immigration today (in Texas), and by 2040 they are projected to be more than 50% of my state's population (I live in Texas).

Before I met my wife, I was fortunate enough to have girlfriends who came from all parts of the world and all races. They enriched me with their perspectives and their new ways of thinking. And my wife just immigrated to USA last year so that she can be with me. She doesn't particularly want to be in USA (she misses her home country dreadfully), but she is making sacrifices to be with her new husband. Thus I am vicariously experiencing some of the problems an immigrant faces, through the experiences of my own wife. And I am growing as a person with exposure to her non-American family values and social customs.

I have travelled to almost every continent on the globe. I lived and worked in Europe for 10 months (some for my job and other parts while on a military deployment in 2000). I've travelled quite a lot in Europe, and also to two countries in Asia and repeatedly to one country in the Middle East. With the exceptions already noted, all of my travels were for personal reasons.

My travels have shown me that every country and every culture has its own unique characteristics. I've seen many things that made me think, "why doesn't America do it this way? It's so much better their way!" And I've also seen things that made me say, "these people have problems; they should learn from America." And things here at home that I took for granted now have great meaning. Things that most Americans still take for granted.

I am lucky to have had these kinds of opportunities to meet and learn from foreign cultures. It would be a farce to say that I am a xenophobe or afraid of outside influences. It is not with pleasure that I am "blogging" on the Internet about these sensitive immigration issues. Rather, I find myself alarmed at what I see happening, and I wish to discuss it with others. I welcome opposing views and will factor them into my own thinking.