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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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I received this amusing email with a letter from an officer in a national trade association that is working to comprehensive immigration reform. I think the take on the subject is a little different. I'd give credit to its author, but believe he wanted some anonymity. I've also altered the text slightly to remove the reference to the particular association that was the subject of the original complaint letter:

I have received your email concerning our association's support for
comprehensive immigration reform. I appreciate and agree with your concerns
regarding upholding the nation's laws. The United States of America is not just
a nation of laws, but it is a nation of GOOD laws, not unworkable ones. Were
this not the case, and enforcement-at-all-costs-even of bad laws-were the
history of this nation, you and I would be living under the following

1. We would answer to the Queen of England.

2. We might be slaves.

3. Your mother and daughter would have no vote.

4. None of us could have a beer.

5. There'd be four bathrooms in every public

On the other hand, if every bad law were enforced to the extent
that some people insist that the unworkable immigration laws be enforced, you
and I would also be living under the following circumstances:

1. No car would be manufactured to exceed 75mph.

2. Jaywalking would cease to exist.

3. You'd never see a cat off a leash.

4. We'd have a balanced budget, because all taxes owed would be

5. Members of Congress would pay overtime wages to most of their

Boycotting business that employ those twelve million undocumented immigrants is maybe a logical move at this
point, provided you also take vows to do the following:

1. Stop buying most American-grown food.

2. Eat only in every tenth restaurant.

3. Stay only in every twentieth hotel.

4. Build your own house.

5. Certainly, never go to a hospital.

Instead of all these nonsensical hypotheticals (including
sending 12 million people "back home where they belong") this nation needs to
get a grip on the fact that this country has flourished precisely because we are
a nation of good laws and also good intentions that produce bad laws. When laws
are not workable, they need to be fixed, not enforced-first haphazardly, and
then vengefully until there's blood in the streets or organized crime is the
only winner.

History repeats itself, and hopefully, it will do so again. This
nation's greatness depends upon the rule of good laws that work.


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  1. John's Avatar
    Certainly, the 12 million should be deported. After all they are criminals. Let us show some backbone and deport the bums!!
  2. cantabrigian monk's Avatar
    When America will embrace its true roots of welcoming country, then and only then it will have th hope to be a leader in a world where integration has been the direction set right from within the borders we are so keen to safeguard instead.
    And instead of creating a greater alliance not only with the rest of the same continent we share with "Latinos", but also with the the rest of the nationalities that color the immigrant population, legal and illegal, we are talking at alienating this nation.
    And instead of enriching this colture of people who come here to contribute to the growth of this nation we are ready to send our kids to die to enrich the pockets of the few in the beaches of the Red Sea.
    Wake up and smell the coffee, it comes form one of the countries you think this people sholud all go back to, and if can name more than two then enjoy a cafe' con leche on me.
    Stop being scared to what can only do you good! a little culture shake up because you may have to learn a few hola and adios never killed anyone, espcially now that you have mastered to say Ciao and Spaghetti, it should not be that hard.
    or is it?
  3. Another voice's Avatar
    Great example of the 2 sides of this debate. The short sided, racist, non-flexible, non-compromising and stereotypical one. And the practical and history of the US foundation view!!

    OHHH YEAH let's aplaude this John individual he shows that he has important things to contribute to humanity. Let's give it up for him people. "What a guy" I think his real name is Lou Dobbs he is just hiding behind John.

  4. john's Avatar
    great personal attack by another voice. clap! clap! clap!

    i am not racist. the mexicans, chinese, germans, british all should be deported, if they are here illegally.

    i am pro immigration and for increased LEGAL immigration.

    i support deporting the 12 millions illegals. to prove it, i support increasing the quota for legal immigrants by one for every illegal deported.

    deport 4 million illegals this year. give 4 million people waiting in line a green card. voila, the back log is cleared. what is wrong with that?
  5. TX's Avatar
    Another Voice......why are you even responding to John? people like him just need to be ignored, in fact I wish we had these anti-immigrant laws when his grandparents came to this country, this way he would not be on Greg's blog making these idiotic statements, instead he would've been in some other country washing toilets....the only job he could be good at with his brains.
  6. john's Avatar
    another personal attack by TX. clap!! clap!! clap!!

    you guys are covering yourself with glory.

    nothing wrong with cleaning toilets. if that was my job, i would be proud of it.

    you just put down all the janitors and maids. what an attitude you have. you must consider white collar people superior to blue collar people.

  7. TX's Avatar
    You just proved my point John. I was not putting down any profession, simply stating that you cannot work at a job where some brains and creativity is required because you can't think or understand. Forgot it, like I said, you won't understand. And please don't give me the crap of "if it were my job i'd be glad to do it" that is bull because liars like you do not do these jobs and hate the individuals that actually break their backs doing it.

    Why don't you go and try to find a job at USICE, that way you can jump with joy everytime you have to deport a hard working immigrant and separate families. Or better yet, ask your friend Lou Dobbs to hire you, you might just get lucky since you have guys have the same IQ level.

    Seriously though, do individuals like you seriously want to deport all those 12 millions, most of whom have small US citizen children? Besides the argument of "they broke the law" is the punishment of separating families really fitting the crime they committed? Is there no compassion in your heart? What if someone separated you from your family? How would that feel? Do you ever try to put yourself in an undocumented's shoe and try to understand their postion? Do you think that not every one of the 12 million is in the same situation, some might have had no choice in coming here, as some came when they were small kids and know of no other place to call home. Or do you really want to be honest and tell us why it is that you want all of the 12 million can tell's not the simple reason of breaking the law, is it? You can't expect people like me to believe that the only reason you want all these millions of people to be deported is because they broke a stupid law, it is way more deep then that, why don't you just come out, be a man and tell us the real reason.

  8. Another voice's Avatar
    Well John I guess you have a cloning formula and plan to cover yourself all these 12 million jobs that would come vacant. Also John you are obviously very ignorant and do not know that the only reason why these people came here illegally is because the US immigration system does not give them a way to come here legally unless it is for a white collar job. No blue collar workers really have a chance to come here legally but you would not know that since you probably have never left your town and seen the harsh economic conditions in the third world. I am not trying to convince you that your position is wrong I merely giving you solid arguments as to why people like you make such blind assessment of these situation and are so short sided. Also John know that the US government just reported the lowest level of unemployment in the country this has remained a constant for the past decade. Again John all the people that want to work are doing it so if you take 12 million out of circulation there will be problems for many businesses in the US and its economy. Oh yeah and check the stats on the costs to US tax payers associated with deporting 12 million people they are pretty substantial to all tax payers. Creating a Police State and implementing Gestapo tactics do not come cheap John. So John before you make your stupid short sided comments "Certainly the 12 Million should be deported" do your homework find out more things on the issue and stop being so ignorant. Or be Ignorant but do not share it with us because you do not bring any intelligent arguments to this debate.
  9. john's Avatar
    tx, be honest. you put janitors down and consider yourselves superior to them. now you want to back-track because you come across as being prejudiced. i don't speak for lou dobbs and do not agree with him. your blanket prejudices make you as prejudiced as lou dobbs. you accuse me as having the same IQ as him and then imply i am prejudiced. lou dobbs doesn't have a low IQ. he is either a protectionist or prejudiced. you claim that illegals should be forgiven because they broke a "stupid law." do you think sneaking uninspected across the border in the middle of the night is not wrong? if you do, you have a lot of growing up to do. every country in the world is guilty of stupid laws when they enforce their border.

    i don't have any compassion for the illegals. they should be deported because they don't belong here. my compassion goes to those who are trying to come here legally and to american citizens and residents who are separated from their families due to the long waiting lists.

    the 12 million illegals should be deported and 12 million visas should be given to those wanting to come here legally. when the illegals came here they had a choice to do it the right way or the wrong one. they made their bed now they must lie in it. supporting the illegals hurts those who want to come here legally.
  10. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    John, and why do you think you belong here while they don't? Because you were popped into this world on the "right" side of the border? That's all you did to deserve to be here? Not much, you know.

    It is quite good that you do not look down on janitorial jobs. That is because you are likely to have one, should all illegals be gone, as you wish. Somebody will have to do those jobs, you know. And given your excellent judgement on all things practical, I dare to say, you will be one of the first ones let go from your not so blue collar job. That janitorial job will be waiting for you, then.
  11. john's Avatar
    another voice, yes, the legal immigration system is hard. there are people here who immigrated by jumping through the hoops to overcome the obstacles. you dishonor them when you say illegals should be forgiven because they chose not to follow the law.

    yes, there is a price to pay for deporting the illegals. however, as a nation we must put with the inconvenience. no more thinking of oneself. if food prices go up so be it. if restaurants become more expense so be it. if i have to work as a janitor so be it.
  12. john's Avatar
    legal, i am here because either i was born here. or my parents immigrated here. or because i immigrated here. don't make assumptions. in any event, i followed the law to call america home.

    there is no caste system in this country. if economic conditions warranted it i would do all i could to support my family. if that means being a janitor, so be it. if it means being an agriculture worker, so be it. if it means being a construction worker, so be it.

  13. TX's Avatar
    John, all I can hope for is for you and the rest of your anti-immigrant friends to be in the same dire situation as these 12 million immigrants, where you would do anything to put food on the table for your family, or even maybe be separated from your own family members, only then will you be able to understand why they crossed the border. I would never have wished such a harsh lifestyle on anyone, but it seems like this is the only way that God will open your eyes and put some compassion in your hate filled heart. What goes around comes around, your turn will come, maybe not related to immigration since you're probably a citizen of this country, but maybe some other way you will learn your lesson.

    And also just to point something out to you, no one took democracy away from the U.S and made you king of this country, therefore you have no right to judge who has and does not have the right to be here. So please spare us your worthless opinions.
  14. john's Avatar
    tx, you don't even know me. thanks for wishing me misfortune and misery. now, everyone knows who is full of hate. you or me. who cannot tolerate a differnce of opinion. you or me. who is demanding that i not post my worthless opinions. who believes in free speech and who doesn't. who believes in democracy and who doesn't. nevertheless, i wish you well. good luck.
  15. TX's Avatar
    Since John would not give us a straight answer on why he wants to deport the 12 million, I thought I'd help in clarifying his reasoning. This is what he is scared of...The headline of the article explains it all.
  16. Another voice's Avatar
    Where did I say people need to be forgiven????

    Punishment has to fit the crime as in all legal systems John. Deporting 12 million people, disrupting society and causing economic headship not only to the 12 million people but to the business they work for and the society that they live in as in the US society in not only, unpractical, unrealistic and pretty stupid. If you want Tax payers to pay more just to give way to your way of thinking is not exactly realistic either have you asked everyone if they share in your views John I seriously doubt that. Crossing an imaginary line to feed your family is not a crime against humanity therefore the proposed solutions that these people pay a fine, learn English go back to the back of the line to become legal were a bit more realistic and that is how the Law works today in the criminal and civil system. You do not see people go to Life in prison when they commit a small punishable offense do you John I am sure you have broken a few laws in your life time yet nobody is asking for your execution because you broke a law. Again John you do not provide intelligent arguments you just repeat the Lou Dobbs agenda not practical and very short sided.
  17. john's Avatar
    another, i am not short sighted. the opposite is the case. yes, the penalty has to fit the crime. getting a green card is a big prize. monetary penalties are insufficent. deport the illegals. change the law to increase the quotas and to permit blue collar workers to come here. don't subject the deportees to the 3/10 year bars. let them apply to come here through legal means.

    if your solution is followed there will be another 12 million illegals 10 years from now. is that what you want? i am pro-immigration. lou dobbs is anti immigration. if you believe, otherwise you are entitled to that opinion. i am entitled to mine. that is the essence of democracy.

  18. TX's Avatar
    First off, I do not need your well wishes. Second, I do not know you and would do anything to keep it that way. Third, the only way anti-immigrants like you would ever understand the plight of the undocumented is to be in their shoes, and If wishing for that makes me seem full of hate, then so be it. Last I checked, I wasn't the one wanting to deport 12 million human beings...I am not the one harassing them on a daily basis, it is the anti-immigrant people like you who think no punishment could ever fit the crime of crossing the border, these immigrants could give you their first born, and even that would not be enough for you. Also, stop with free speech nonsense. Free speech would not allow you to yell fire in a crowded theater, but for some reason free speech in this country has allowed individuals such as yourself to create an environment of hate. John, this is not a difference of opinion, your uneducated opinions are having a drastic effect on millions of lives, why should those opinions be tolerated? If people like myself start tolerating these uneducated and baseless opinions then I am contributing to the anti-immigrant movement, and I would never do that. People like you are more then happy to pay lower prices at the stores that are a direct result on these undocumented working on the farms, yet these are the same individuals whose lives you are destroying, where is justice in that? Is that not hate? You can disagree with me all you want, and call me whatever you want, it is quite evident that there is a deeper reason behind you deporting the 12 million and it has nothing to do with crossing the border, you just don't have the guts to admit it.
  19. Calouste's Avatar
    From the Forbes article:

    "It's the folks who come in and try to maintain the culture of the country they came from," Letiecq said. "They don't seem to embrace the American culture, the English language, the social norms of American culture."

    I guess that doesn't apply to Amish then for example?

    And how is "American culture" or its "social norms" defined anyway? There are so many different people living in the US with different norms and different cultures. For example on TV there's "Will and Grace" and "Sex and the City" on one channel and a TVevangelism on the second, and country music on the next, and hip-hop on the next etc etc.

    But I guess even though American social norms are impossible to define in a way that includes every American, Mr. Letiecq simply defines American social norms as Mr. Letiecq social norms. In other words, "we don't want people who are not like ourselves." The very definition of bigotry.
  20. Another voice's Avatar
    By all means have an opinion but at least make it an educated opinion based on reality and intelligent arguments. I am done wasting time with you. Until you can bring an intelligent argument to the discussion is worthless to debate with a close minded individual such as yourself. And by the way that is precisely what has caused the illegal immigration crisis that there are little to none ways for Blue collard workers to immigrate legally here. For you to say that 12 million should be deported and then increase the number of blue collard worker visas is aging ridiculous and unpractical. The Immigration system as of today gives these individuals no chance to come here legally yet there are employesrs that need their labor and they have families to feed a marrige of convenience. Not unless they revive the bracero program of the 40's or bring back the 945i program will any of these individuals would have a chance to come here legally. So do not think that beacuse you or someone from your family was able to do it it is the same for all. Good riddance to you!!! And you blind narrow minded opinions!!!
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