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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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Here is some cool 1906 Ellis Island footage of those dirty, uneducated, job stealing, non-English speaking masses that were flooding in to the US exactly a century ago. And if you think the anti-immigrant sentiment we see today is strong, it was nothing compared to back then. Images like these fueled a xenophobia that eventually resulted in harsh immigration laws that effectively shut the US to immigration for a generation (and probably cost hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of Jews their lives when the US refused to accept those fleeing Hitler). By the way, 1/2 of all Americans have relatives that went through Ellis Island. For all those who love to think their relatives went through a vigorous process before being admitted, pretty much the only way you were barred from being admitted would have been if you carried a communicable disease. And even many of those were able to enter after spending time in the Ellis Island hospital. The tough part of getting to the US was the journey here and then surviving after arrival. The actual immigration process was the easy part.

I'm in the camp that thinks America turned out pretty well anyway. Just like we'll turn out just fine with the latest wave of immigrants.

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  1. INSpector's Avatar
    You allways surprise me, these are awesome videos... just wondering what the people will say about us in the year 2107... sounds crazy but maybe they will use your blog to show the inmmigration suffering in 2007. LOL
  2. Another Voice's Avatar
    I guess history repeats itself time after time. Its a shame that we do not learn from past mistakes and keep making the same ones today when it comes to immigration.
  3. Some of the differences's Avatar
    This is pretty sad. I thought you were a respected lawyer; instead, in the two times that I've seen entries lately you've reached the Marc Cooper level. And, that ain't good:

    First, I'm pretty sure that those arriving at EI had been pre-screened by the steamship companies, who were forced to pay a fine if someone was rejected. Thus, they had an incentive not to send just anyone. That may have only been in place for some set period, but even so it was a bit tougher than stated.

    Second, as discussed at the link, there are huge differences between then and now, not the least of which being that Italy, Ireland, Germany, Poland and other sending countries never owned part of our country. I'm not aware of any Poles claiming that the U.S. was their "homeland" as some Mexicans do. I'm not aware of any polls showing that 58% of Germans think the U.S. southwest rightfully belongs to Germany. And so on, and on, and on...
  4. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    I'd consider reaching the Marc Cooper level a good thing. As for the steamship companies screening, I'm actually an avid genealogist and know exactly what screening was conducted. And as a board member of an immigration agency that started operations in the 1880s (its the nation's oldest), I've reviewed its archives and am pretty familiar with exactly what screening was conducted. You're simply wrong. Go to and look at the steamship records and you'll see exactly what "screening" was conducted - virtually none. And you can also see just how many people were turned away - only a tiny percent. If you could pay for the ticket, you were in. Do your research. As for the ridiculous argument about claims on the country, I won't dignify that with a response (except to say that it really shows you're in the extreme anti-immigrant camp and it won't be possible to have a reasoned discussion with you). If you stopped at the first paragraph, I think people would have taken you more seriously.
  5. Another voice's Avatar
    What a ridiculous comment from this guy "Some of the differences" so if you are European and illegal its ok for you to immigrate to the US but if you are from anywhere else in the world or not Caucasian then is not ok. The fact that Mexico used to owe half of what the US is today does not change the immigration situation of these people. They are still immigrants wanting their share of their American Dream just like the EI people.
  6. INspector's Avatar
    Well, just reading those funny comments of this "some other differences" guy.

    1. I was born in Mexico, and I'm here legally, and I love this country as much as this other guy. (maybe more)

    2. The comment about this land being pasrt of Mexico it is a historical fact same as Abraham Lincoln was president of the US, History cant be denied.

    3. There is a very good movie named the Golden door reflects a very good vision of the Ellis Island, aliens were looking for the American Dream same as us in this days.......

    If you have time watch the move : "The Golden Door"

    Sicilian widower Salvatore Mancuso (Vincenzo Amato) leaves behind everything he knows to pursue a better life in America in this elegiac immigrant's tale. With his sons in tow, Salvatore survives the harrowing Atlantic crossing only to suffer more hardship and humiliation on Ellis Island. But along the way, he finds romance with a mysterious Englishwoman (Charlotte Gainsbourg) who's also made the arduous voyage
  7. ron's Avatar
    Did I miss something? You are discussing the situation with illegals, like there's even a remote chance of any law ever passing in the next 5-6 years on that front, while at the same time the USCIS is already crashing under heavy application loads and nobody is even bothering to bring attention to this and to demand that corrective action be taken.

    And even if illegals are ever legalized, how do you think green-card processing is going to happen? Chertoff and co. will stand with milk and cookies on the street and give out green-cards? I though these 12 million will still have to go through the same USCIS which already collapsed under the load of a measly (in comparison) 300,000 filings.
  8. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    Ron, please do not mislead the public and try to get immigratns to bicker among themselves. I wish illegals are legalized in droves. That will bring attention to the backlogs and is likely to eliminate them. Right now, no body cares about us. There is just not enough of us to care about.
  9. ron's Avatar
    Why? What's the problem with concentrating on things that have "some" chance of happening, as opposed to discussing something that even the democrats said they won't touch until 2013?
  10. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    Ron, for starters, because if you read ANY of the proposals, illegals will not be able to apply for green cards for many-many years after legalization, so you are simply lying to the public. Then, because your conclusion that influx will slow the process is incorrect - the influx of that size will change the process altogether and force USCIS to speed it, so it will more likely help than hurt.

    Your conclusions are rather baseless, you are just pushing your agenda.
  11. ron's Avatar
    No. I didn't say they'd get legalized immediately. On the contrary, I said you're wasting your time arguing about illegals when it is clear no legislation will be debated in the next 5-6 years concerning them. There are more urgent issues at hand, like fixing a broken system which might be needed to legalize those illegals eventually. The issue is about pragmatics, and not about legals vs. illegals as you so desperately are trying to portray it. There are things that have very high chances of getting resolved and there are other things which currently we have all reasons to believe are dead for now. You can focus your efforts somewhere where they are more likely to have an impact. You may not like it but this is the reality.
  12. The differences guy's Avatar
    1. Regarding the steampship companies, I'm going to defer to this page, which I believe was written by Pete Hamill:

    The steamship companies were required to pay for the return passage if an immigrant was rejected, a rule designed to force the companies to examine immigrants before they boarded.

    2. requires registration, so maybe at some later date I'll take a look.

    3. As for the 58%, see this:

    "Zogby's poll found that 58 percent of Mexicans agree with the statement, "the territory of the United States' Southwest rightfully belongs to Mexico." Only 28 percent disagree, and 14 percent are unsure."

    Another Zogby poll showing, let's say, a bit of disrespect for the U.S. is here:

  13. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Differences guy - What exactly would bar an immigrant from entering the US that a steamship company would bar entry? Crimes, disease and being an anarchist were largely it. Anyone willing to work who was healthy and didn't seem too suspicious was going to be fine. Ellis Island only had a 2% rejection rate and many rejected simply left and were successful on the next try. There is no real evidence that people wanting to immigrate who could afford the steamer ticket did not make it. We had open borders, plain and simple. Given that is a free registration that asks virtually no information, I don't find your response particularly convincing. Do the research.
  14. USC's Avatar
    "many rejected simply left and were successful on the next try."

    There is an older Irishman (apparently his father came thru Ellis Island) on my floor. If he catches you he will talk your head off. Anyway, what I learnt from him one during one of our chats was that the boat that came from Ireland first stopped at Ellis Island then went to Bean Town (Boston to those of you unfamiliar with that term). He confirms that there was no immigration controls and potential immigrants were met by a health officer and they would look at you and usually wave you in. Those that didn't appear healthy were put back on the boat and if they got better they were let in at Boston. Hence, his claim that the Irishman of New York are Grade A while those of Bean Town are Grade B. I am sure Senator Kennedy would disagree!

    "Given that is a free registration that asks virtually no information, I don't find your response particularly convincing. Do the research."

    Yes! Here's a link and an excerpt for the lazy antis:

    "First and second class passengers who arrived in New York Harbor were not required to undergo the inspection process at Ellis Island. Instead, these passengers underwent a cursory inspection aboard ship................

    .........First and second class passengers would disembark, pass through Customs at the piers and were free to enter the United States. The steerage and third class passengers were transported from the pier by ferry or barge to Ellis Island where everyone would undergo a medical and legal inspection."

  15. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    "The steamship companies were required to pay for the return passage if an immigrant was rejected, a rule designed to force the companies to examine immigrants before they boarded."

    I believe, the plain carriers are required to fly back people who were rejected by US Immigration now, too. And trust me, Delta goes through your every piece of paper when you try to board their flight going to the US with anything other than American passport. So, how again Ellis Island was not an 'open border' system?
  16. Lew Orban's Avatar
    Gee I sure hope we do nothing about this situation. Since our corporation has a network of over 1000 homes that are being used by these people. What is great is that we can place up to twenty of these illegal immigrants inside each home and at $300 a head...we have been making a killing and making tons of profit all over the country.

    We also help them get BOFA is our biggest competition. Just think credit cards at 24% interest rates and home loans at 12% + interest rates. Who cares if it negatively effects these people, we can gouge them at every turn. The nice thing is that if they walk away or are discovered we made up to $30,000+ profit the first year by collecting high interest and increased closing costs up front. Its the best way to go. Since these people pay no taxes they always have allot of cash and that means untraceable profits for everyone involved.

    When we give them no insurance required and at 18% interest rates its even better. See we don't care if they get in an accident...we tell them to flee the scene..and this works for the most part. The nice thing is that we let all the legal insurance payers pick up the tag for all these accidents with their increased premiums. If its a bad accident we tell them to just leave the country and or go back home or to another state. The beauty of the program is no one knows who they are and the social security numbers we let them buy from us for $250.00 are always untraceable...another great benefit. They can just disappear and continue to live the American Dream.

    Often we tell the females to get pregnant as quickly as possible and if possible try to get an American Citizen to father their children and then they might all get to stay in the country for ever. In any case we tell the females to have as many children as they can while here. The American actually will make their children citizens and this is the first step for the parents to get legal status down the line. We can make more money at all turns and know that sheer numbers are needed to take over the State of California and many other southern states. The children allow us to bleed them for more money for many future years until they are actually are in charge of state governments they are invading. These children will grow up and change the laws for just hang in there it will take some time but your children today will make you all future citizens once they change the laws.

    Health coverage is for all of the illegal immigrants... for free. When they need care just go to any of the government low income health care buildings. They do not check immigration status and all the Health care is free for the poor. Its fantastic that the legal citizens provide this for you with all the taxes they pay and the huge increased health insurance premiums they or their employer pays each month. The legal citizen rates have gone through the roof and they do not care.....they want you to have the very best care. We tell them to just go to any emergency room and get immediate free service for any illness or injury they get. Workman's comp does not check either infect no one is checking your you can get up to 66% of your pay for free and not even have to work. Fraud is what we recommend at this point ..just fake it and live like a king. If you get a bill for any services,,,ignore it the legal citizens and hospitals will pick up the tag. Your not legal so you do not have to pay any bills you received for health care provided.

    The real secret is that these government health offices will call you a client...they actually want you there and they want to give you money and services for free. These government facilities budgets are determined by "how many clients they have" so they want all the illegals they can get. They want to expand their buildings and get more money from tax payers so they can hire more people and keep their jobs guaranteed. The Government is on your side at every turn. So have more babies right now!

    Do you like Wisdom's reality?

    Wisdom man
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