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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

WHITE HOUSE STARVATION CAMPAIGN CONTINUES

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Another major raid on a food processing plant, this time in Fairfield, Ohio. 100 workers were arrested at a chicken processing plant. A few days ago, a major raid at a pork processing plant. And I have been posting the stories on the desperate conditions at farms around the US as immigrant laborers have fled and there are not enough workers to harvest the crops.



One can speculate whether this is all a coincidence. But perhaps the White House is on to something. What's the fastest and most direct way to show Americans just how important immigrant labor is to this country? Make people realize that the most basic item in all our lives - food - doesn't magically end up on our plates. We will very soon start to see dramatic inflation in the price of food or a dramatic increase in food imports (which will also result in an increase in prices, though less dramatic). And for those who think importing all our food is no big deal, think about how fun it is to depend on oil imports. Sadly, the country's poor and working class families will pay the price for this. Ironically, they are the ones supposedly being protected by the expulsion of the migrant workers.



By the way, I think it is interesting that the raid today took place in the district of House Republican Leader John Boehner, a very, very vocal opponent of legalizing undocumented immigrants.

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  1. TX's Avatar
    The Whitehouse is either trying to make a point with this raid or tryinig to pander to the conservative base, I think the later for the sole purpose of holding on the congressional seats. I am thinking this strategy will backfire, they have already lost tremendous support from the Hispanic base, this will just make it worse.
  2. Reader1's Avatar
    The White House is correct. This is, unfortunately, a sad but effective way of bringing about reform. In order for the American public to see the need for reform, everyone must be made to feel a pinch. I sympathize with the affected families.
  3. Another Voice's Avatar
    May be the White House is mad at the republicans for denying Bush the Political victory of immigration reform. Since he is a lame duck maybe this is payback time for republicans. he has nothing to lose or gain fro this politically.
  4. chris's Avatar
    Here is a strong statement from the governor of Texas, Rick Perry, supporting legalization. I didn't know this about him. Maybe businesses are finally beginning to speak up in Texas? I don't know.
    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5090944.html
  5. 's Avatar
    The guy is in Mexico. Its just smart to make positive noises on legalization when in Mexico.
  6. MDT's Avatar
    Greg,
    It is shameful that as an immigration lawyer, you support & defend illegal entry & stay on economic grounds. I respect your right to fully benefit your clients within the existing law and to also lobby for future changes in law that suit your profession. But that argument does not support a complete disregard of the law and unlimited immigration policy you espouse in all your posts by citing specific examples.
  7. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    MDT - If I had a nickel for every time one of the antis said I should be ashamed...

    One of the reasons I got in to a top law school was because I nailed the logic sections on LSAT. And my logic alarm bells are going off right now. You anti folks get very upset about all the lawbreaking, yet you work just as hard to stop guest worker programs that would allow employers to legally bring folks over. Which encourages even more illegal immigration. Which means that YOU'RE the one encouraging illegal immigration, not me. I'd fix the system to create an orderly way to bring in needed workers and have a rigorous defense of the border. And to have a system where the millions of people in the US are made known to the government and have their work monitored and regulated to ensure compliance with the law. You would keep them all working in the shadows and off the books. Shame on YOU!!
  8. USC's Avatar
    "unlimited immigration policy you espouse in all your posts by citing specific examples."

    (a) Immigration is a good thing. If it weren't for that you wouldn't be here (unless you are native Indian).

    (b) Quotas are abhorent and inconsistent with our market economy. We should let the market decide as to how many immigrants come in and not a bunch of cowardly out of touch DC politicians.

    (c) As for protecting American jobs. There is no such thing as American jobs there are just jobs. Presumably, you were born in the US, you went to school here, you speak English, you have friends and relatives here. Those are huge advantages over someone moving to the US, a foreign country for him/her, and if he can still beat you to a job then given the advantages you start out with, frankly you deserve to be unemployed.

    (d) I am for unlimited immigration. Why are you opposed? Do you any rationale explanation for your opposition?
  9. Another voice's Avatar
    MDT stop buying the Lou Dobbs agenda and try to use your head to think. These arguments are getting so old we are tired of giving millions and miilions of facts to counter the same old Lou Dobbs arguments. Really maybe you should do a little research before posting the same stupid arguments as all the people in your camp do and never really analyze the issue of immigration fully.
  10. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    "As for protecting American jobs. There is no such thing as American jobs there are just jobs"

    Thank you for saying this! May I bow my graduate degree in Economics for you! People just don't get it - there is no set number of jobs, there are no tie of a job to a country or to a nationality of a person holding it any more. The world is flat, and people need to see it! Finally, the job belongs to the one who most qualified to perform it!
  11. MP's Avatar
    Wow, USC,very well stated. Thank you ! I like to borrow your arguments and shout them to everyone.
  12. Johnnie's Avatar
    But I thought you said we can't deport all the illegals. If we can't deport all the illegals, then I guess there will be enough here to harvest the crops, at below market wages, of course. So you clients can make a huge profit.
  13. MDT's Avatar
    Greg, apologies, I know you do a great service to the community here. We just don't share the same worldview and I don't think that citing 'Einstein was immigrant' or 'we will all starve' are logical arguments for a lawyer. Yes, I do think even legal immi to US has to have limits. Other ideas

    "(a) Immigration is a good thing. If it weren't for that you wouldn't be here (unless you are native Indian)." So is food and water, in measured amounts for the good of the consumer. The whole world is not entitled to immigrate.

    "(b) Quotas are abhorent and inconsistent with our market economy. " This views the USA as simply a large USA corporate centre and not a nation with a constitution, history, values and will of people. If it was, I agree, there should be no borders.

    "(c) As for protecting American jobs. There is no such thing as American jobs there are just jobs. " Never used that term. Job is simply a request for service from a person under contract, wherever they are. 'American job' is one where that person is asked to reside within the US borders for a business reason. Here is where the view of US as only an economy conflicts with its status as a distinct nation. But the national economy always adjusts itself to any reality, incl jobs move away.

    "(d) I am for unlimited immigration. Why are you opposed? Do you any rationale explanation for your opposition? " Every nation including where I come (Indian desi) has the right to control its destiny selecting the number and type of people coming in. Unlimited (say, 20 mil per year) does not lend itself to this right. Maybe nations are obsolete now but they still exist, hence this debate.
  14. MDT's Avatar
    "Thank you for saying this! May I bow my graduate degree in Economics for you! People just don't get it - there is no set number of jobs, there are no tie of a job to a country or to a nationality of a person holding it any more. The world is flat, and people need to see it! Finally, the job belongs to the one who most qualified to perform it!"

    Agreed as a fellow economist. This also leads to an argument against quotas - Microsoft competes with Oracle and when Microsoft uses up the last H1B or EB2 for the year, then Oracle has suffered at the margin due to govt quota. Just as much if there was a set number of computers each company can acquire. So right answer is either 0 or unlimited. Now how to reconcile this result against nationhood, culture, family ties and such non-economic factors?
  15. SFD's Avatar
    USC: "Immigration is a good thing. If it weren't for that you wouldn't be here (unless you are native Indian)."

    You realise the fallacy of this argument, right?
    How about approaching an African-American person with
    "Slavery is a good thing. If it weren't for that you wouldn't be here." Also, perhaps some of our remote ancestors were cannibals at one point in time, and we wouldn't be around if they failed to survive. Hardly a justification for the practice.
    And no, I'm not trying to argue that immigration is bad -- you just chose a very poor argument in its support.

    Greg: I am not trying to dispute your achievements in formal logic. And I agree with a lot of what you are trying to advocate. However I have one big philosophical issue with your post. An immigrant myself, I consider myself a liberal. But I keep noticing a marked difference between what I would loosely call Western-European vs. American brands of liberalism. Subscribing to the former, I strongly believe in meaningful liberal laws, but I also believe in their enforcement. Many of my American liberal friends do not mind idiotic draconian laws, as long as they are not enforced. In my opinion, this leaves the door wide open for preferential enforcement, a dangerous thing for a civil society. Therefore I am with you when you are pushing for reforming the immigration law and making it more meaningful and more liberal. I am, however, also for its uniform and strict enforcement. Hence I am puzzled every time you defend law-breakers (I assume, on this blog you do this out of conviction rather than economic self-interest).
  16. USC's Avatar
    "So is food and water, in measured amounts for the good of the consumer."

    You are equating immigration with food and water? I don't see what your argument is, unless you are reverting to the age old argument that evrything should be in moderation. That is a flawed maxim and not necessarily true.

    "The whole world is not entitled to immigrate."

    People should be able to live wherever they wish. France, USA, India, Mexico provided they do not free-load on free social services. In any event, even if your view was the right one, who decides as to who is and in what quantity? The petty bureaucrats through a Soviet style point system coupled with a quota? Or would it be better to have your qualifications reviewed by Bill Gates and assuming he offers you a job you should we able to come here through quota less visa issuance?

    "This views the USA as simply a large USA corporate centre"

    The argument for more immigration is essential an economic one. Those who oppose usually at some point down the line resort to a cultural argument because they are unable to sustain the argument based on economic factors.

    "and not a nation with a constitution, history, values and will of people.

    The USA is enriched by different cultures. I don't know if you are familiar with "Thatcher the milk Snatcher's" speech about England being swamped by immigrants. She was roundly condemned by the British public for making a racist statement. Unknowingly, you are making the same mistake.

    "'American job' is one where that person is asked to reside within the US borders for a business reason. Here is where the view of US as only an economy conflicts with its status as a distinct nation. But the national economy always adjusts itself to any reality, incl jobs move away."

    No. American jobs as used by the antis means that those already hear demand that they be hired for a job in the US even if they are less qualified than an applicant who is currently overseas.

    "Every nation including where I come (Indian desi) has the right to control its destiny selecting the number and type of people coming in."

    I asked for your argument in favor of restricting immigration and you respond by giving examples of other countries. Two wrongs don't make a right. Yes, countries have the right as to who comes in. The question is as to who decides as to who comes in the employers or the bureaucrats?

    A word about India for those who don't know. India was almost driven into bankruptcy in 1991. It had to mortgage its gold reserves and these were flown out of the country and placed as security with the Bank of England. This was the culmination of the self-styled expert economists and politicians who through their planned economy ruined the country. India has only flourished after it shed those bureaucratic controls over employers and corporations.
  17. chris's Avatar
    MDT, you just used a lot of words to say absolutely nothing.
    You also completely misrepresented so many views, it's as you like to say, shameful.
  18. USC's Avatar
    SFD:

    "You realise the fallacy of this argument, right?
    How about approaching an African-American person with
    "Slavery is a good thing. If it weren't for that you wouldn't be here.""

    There is a huge difference between those who immigrated here and were able to do because of quota-less entry and those who were sold as slaves and were brought here against their will.

    I understand the point you make but my argument was directed against those antis who oppose immigration and somehow manage to forget their own immigration stories. Some of the most rabid antis are those who just got here and now want to destroy all the bridges so that no one else can come!
  19. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    "The whole world is not entitled to immigrate."

    And guess what - the whole world does NOT WANT to emmigrate. According to research, only 2% of the world population would want to move in a different country. That's 120M, half of then, of course, would want to move to Paris Let's look at this number realistically - it is not that high. Even if every single one of them wanted to move to the US, it would not be a disaster. Germany increased it's population by that much in 1989, and guess what - they want more people again. In terms of population density, US would need to get it's population to 3B (that's half of world population) to equal that of Britain.

    There is, though, a concern that not all people are desirable. Even though there is no such thing as American jobs, there is such thing as the American economy. If the country attracts people that benefit the economy as a whole, all of it residents are going to win from it. And guess what - there are mechanisms tried and proven by other immigrant-dependent countries that allow you to do this while balancing it with the interests of family unification and things like that.

    One more thing - if you think US immigration is through the roof, Google Bernarke on long-term wellfare and savings. He states that to beat the savings/demographic/SS crunch, the US needs 3-4 million immigrants every year for the forseable future. Current levels of legal+illegal immigration are about 1 million a year.

    In the world where labor becomes more and more of scarse resource, people wanting to immigrate becomes a good problem to have. It would have been a lot worse if people wanted to leave. Given how "bright" American economic policy as of lately, I would not be surprise that emmigration becomes next American headache in the next 20-30 years.
  20. USC's Avatar
    "He states that to beat the savings/demographic/SS crunch, the US needs 3-4 million immigrants every year for the forseable future."

    And he is right. Look up New Zealand. Their consulates are trying to recruit people from every country that they can. Why? Because they need young people to contribute to their coffers so that they have enough money to pay out to their aging population.
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