Bigger than Prop. 187

carter pate (CPATE@UTCVM.BITNET)
Sun, 27 Nov 1994 17:03:53 EST

Just a few comments to stir the broth on illegal immigration:

Around 1911, when the UDS had a population of about 80 million, there were
approxinmately one million immigrants (legal) a year. That's about 10 million
in a decade--again 12 % of the population.

A very exclusivist (and racist) reaction was setting in. (Indeed, it
provoked a congressional commission (Dillingham) to be set up in 1907 or 1908
which recommended the quota system.

Without justifying the quota system or racism, this all might not have
happened if the numbers of immigrants hadn';t been so large, and perhaps
unequally distributed.

Of Course, W.W.I, thePalmer Raids, and breaking up the I.W.W. didn't

NOW, our present immigration (legal and illegal) is still below that
12 % per decade, but it is rising, and anti-immigrant sentiment is rising, too.
Do we get the message? "It will be a lot easier to maintain the progress
we have made toward a multicultural society, by rationally considering some
gentle and not too restrictive restraint on immigration."


A countervailing argument, which I don't hear often in this context, is
that we NEED a fairly generous amount of immigration, in order to alleviate
(not solve) the crisis in Social Security funding which will become serious
about 2015 C.E., with "Baby Boomers" retiring. Every immigrant under 47 years
of age today, is one more worker who canhelp pay the taxes for this crisis.
This is crucial in light of ourlow birth rate. LET'S USE THIS TO APPEAL TO
SELF-INTEREST against sheer suspicion and hatred against imigrants!
- - - -
(Another tack for a moment.) Illegal immigrants in their communities, and
fearful of the authorities for many reasons, resist the connections to the wide
r society which are possible for many legal immigrants. Witness the "slot
racket" among Chinese in the 1950's, and the well-justified amnesty provisions
of the 1986 act.

LEGAL IMMIGRATION (but don't kid ourselves that we can leave it wide open)

We could fortify the border, but I prefer to emphasize job credentials. We sen
back illegals periodically, but have we ever tried enforcing the provisions we
now have about employers knowingly hiring them? And in order to do this,
we must make it much harder to get false credentials.

Will the ACLU turn off it's smoke screen on the Identity card issue? A
Drivers License is legally required only when you're driving, a voter's identi-
fication is needed to vote, a ticket is needed to fly on an airplane, and a
work permit is needed only to apply for work. We havent't lost any basic
rights so long as no one can stop you on the street or in your home, and send
you to jail for not having one. Interesting how conservative entrepreneurs
and the ACLU team up on this!

Proposition 187 is stupid and bigotted. But we may do better attack-
ing the stupid side. Do none of its exponents make a distinction between
native-born children whose parents happen to be illegals, and families (par-
ents and children both illegal)? Then obviously, it'll take a constitu-
tional ammendment watering down native-born citizenship status. (Don't tell
Newt, he might try it, too.)

I still trust the courts to take care of Prop. 187. But unless we start
finding some effective checks on illegal immigration, there'll be more and more
of this sort of thing, some even much worse!

- - - -And another scattered comment: There are limits to relativity!
One of these is the importance of maintaining a political system, imperfect as
it is, which has become capable of resolving many cultural conflicts other than
by violence. (This includes not only voting, etc., but frreedom of speech,
right to assembly, etc., which ACLU does a good job standing up for.) Ideals
of pluralism are not alone enough; ("A candle in the wind is not enough.")
we must buildthe rioght sort of screen which will protect them and yet allow th
em to be seen and shared--certainly not asphixiate them!.

Sorry this is so long. I've got my asbestos suit on, but hoping there
will be some cool reasoning as well!