A Day Without Immigrants

Posted May 01, 2006 in Events, Miscellaneous, Personal, Politics.

Today is supposed to be the “Day Without Immigrants” in the United States. Millions of immigrant workers are apparently expected to not show up for work, to demonstrate how important they are to the country's economy. If it draws that kind of support, I am sure it will make some sort of an impact, but I think the motives behind the protest are very misguided.

The problem seems to be one of classification. There is a world of difference between an immigrant worker and an illegal alien. Almost 12 million illegal aliens are living in the United States at the moment, and while I sympathize with those who have come to this country to escape the harsher conditions of their own, it annoys and frustrates me that they have not had to go through the same immigration process as I have. I spent almost 2 years, and quite a bit of money, going through the process of getting a visa and then a greencard. It involved strict medical and security checks, and I was required to demonstrate my ability to guarantee I would not be a financial burden to the state. Although difficult and stressful (there was no guarantee of approval), it gave me the impression that America was making an effort to protect herself, and I found that comforting.

Well it seems that millions of illegal aliens have been able to “jump the line” that I was forced to wait in, and they are now looking for some sort of amnesty. That just isn't fair. These people have broken the law, and they should be deported. At the very least, they should be required to go through the same strict process that I had to go through before allowing them to remain in this country. Their employers should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Immigrants made the United States the great nation that it is, but illegal aliens represent a drain on the country, and quite possibly a significant security risk.


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    I do think that you have a valid opinion but many people might not have been as fortunate as you are. Obviously many people come here without knowing a single english word. I'm a US citizen born and raised here, but many of my ancestors - grandmother, mother, were illegal aliens. They worked hard day in and day out, and we made due with what we have. Of course my mother or grandmother would have loved to become a legal citizen here... but there was no money for it. I just think that not everyone is rich or with able means. But they still have to pay taxes and still make a part of this economy. We are all at once somewhere down the line immigrants of this country, unless we were Indians. So everyone should have the chance at a better life... Rich Or Poor. That's just my opinion...

    Posted by Melissa Garcia on May 01, 2006.

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    Thank you for your comment, Melissa.

    It isn't just about the money (I spent a total of about $1,000 over two years to become a greencard holder), but about the legal problem. We have a situation now where the very first act of 12 million people entering this country was to break the law. Many have compounded the problem by doing things like driving without a valid driving license or insurance.

    Suppose my first act upon entering this country was to defraud the United States government out of $1,000. If I then go on to pay taxes, have children, and contribute to society, does that make my crime okay? Of course it doesn't! But it really isn't any different, is it? If I had done that, I would have been immediately deported.

    Posted by Simon Jessey on May 01, 2006.

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    I see where Melissa is coming from, and totally disagree.

    Just because they're "poor" doesn't mean they shouldn't have to take the legal route to enter our country. Can I go out and steal a Mercedes, and get away with it, based simply on the fact that I cannot afford one?

    Yet another logical, common-sensical post, Jesse... would have loved to have been a student of yours, but missed by one stinking quarter!

    Posted by Keith Bluhm on May 01, 2006.

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    Hi, Keith. I'm sure you would've made an excellent student too. I'm teaching PHP one more time in the July start, and then I think the LVC web program is ending for good. You are welcome to attend the class, of course, but I don't know the details yet.

    This immigration problem does bother me. I don't believe that illegal aliens should be given amnesty simply because time has passed, or because it would be easier.

    One question I have is this. The illegal aliens all talk about how they contribute to society by paying taxes and stuff, but how do they do that? You cannot get a Social Security Number if you are an illegal alien, unless you make an illegal application, perhaps with a fake birth certificate. How can you pay taxes (apart from sales tax) without an SSN?

    Posted by Simon Jessey on May 01, 2006.

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    I'm really sensitive on this subject so please forgive if I offend anyone.

    I'm not entirely sure of the whole process of being a legal U.S. Citizen as I had the privilege of being born in the United States. However, I am frustrated and outraged by people saying that illegal immigrants should have the same rights as legal citizens do in this wonderful country. I'm not attacking you Melissa at all so please don't take it as I am, but most of my friends growing up were legal immigrants such as my best friend Woon-Sup Yi from South Korea. His father came over to attend Lehigh University. I went to his house and his birthday parties when I was little and I LOVED the cultural difference.

    However, just because you can't afford to come to America doesn't mean you should come illegally. I need a more powerful computer so I can run more programs, therefore giving me the opportunity to make more money and live better; does that mean I should go out and take a computer without paying for it? America needs to set up a better program that does help immigrants, but what would it be? My ancestors came from Germany and Ireland and believe it or not, this blue eyed blond haired American also has some Cherokee heritage in him. My great grandmother on my mom's side was the last Indian Princess of her tribe. Crazy stuff, I know.

    Another issue I have with immigrants is the ability, or lack thereof, to speak English. English is a very hard language I do understand, but I believe that all legal immigrants should speak English at least on a third grade level. They want a better life right? Why not make it easier and study the language that the majority of America uses. Would you move to a country and not learn their language to be at least efficient?

    Posted by James Henry on May 01, 2006.

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    Consider the illegal immigrants that are the focus of this disscussion are from Mexico. Mexico has much wealth and wealth potential. It has oil and gas. It has an agriculture sector that can compete with USA agriculture. It can manufacture in competition with the USA and other countries.

    There is no discussion about a government and a society that creates a situation where its people must illegally migrate to another country for work. No one in this country has asked why the Mexican government and society does not create an economic climate of job creation.

    Perhaps it is that the country is ruled by an oligarchy of families which keeps the country in poverty and fosters the illegal immigration as an escape valve preventing internal change.

    One should also ask why the leaders of the USA do not ask why the Mexican government impoverishes its own people.

    Posted by Arnold on May 01, 2006.

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    Hi, James. You are definitely right about the English language. A basic grasp of the language seems essential if you want to live here.

    One of the things I noticed about the protests and rallies that went on today was that most of the immigrants displayed foreign flags. What the fuck is all that about? You want to be an American, but only if you can have your own flag and language?

    Posted by Simon Jessey on May 01, 2006.

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    Hi, Arnold. You make a very valid point. Mexico is clearly not doing enough to provide for its own people, when it really should be in a position to do so.

    Of course, the other side of that coin is that the USA makes it very EASY for illegal immigration. If many illegal aliens are running around with SSNs and driving licenses, they system must be doing a lame job of making checks before issuing them.

    Posted by Simon Jessey on May 01, 2006.

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    Simon, I noticed that too.

    Then I saw a short interview with a person. He made the statement questioning why they are carrying the Mexican flag. He then stated something like, "I'm Italian by heritage so does that mean I should be waving the Italian flag?"

    I do believe you should have the ut-most respect and pride in your heritage but if your protesting to allow illegals to have the same rights as legal's then why are you waving around a flag from a foriegn country? That also seemed a bit odd to me.

    You also stated: "Of course, the other side of that coin is that the USA makes it very EASY for illegal immigration. If many illegal aliens are running around with SSNs and driving licenses, they system must be doing a lame job of making checks before issuing them."

    Couldn't agree more. It's stupidly frustrating... like them syntax errors in PHP because you forgot a damn ';'.

    Posted by James Henry on May 01, 2006.

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    You are right about the semicolon, James. By the way, you need to change the URL you are entering into the comment form so that it has the "http://" in front of it. You only need to do it once, and then the cookie will keep it there for you.

    Posted by Simon Jessey on May 02, 2006.

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    Very well said, and I agree with all of you, except you Melissa. And I don't mean any disrespect. =)

    The points made are valid and not arguable. I just wanted to post. =)

    Take care.

    Posted by Christine on May 03, 2006.

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    "Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

    You must respect those who still pursue opportunity, happiness, and freedom. It is not their fault that screening processes have become so inefficient as to require unreasonable fees and unquestioning compliance with ridiculous red tape.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness ...
    - Declaration of Independence as originally written by Thomas Jefferson, 1776.

    "Those who won our Independence believed Liberty to be the secret of Happiness and Courage to be the secret of Liberty."
    - Louis Brandeis, Supreme Court Justice 1856-1941

    "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
    - George Orwell, 1945

    "Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have."
    - Harry Emerson Fosdick

    "It is not the fact of liberty but the way in which liberty is exercised that ultimately determines whether liberty itself survives."
    - Dorothy Thompson (1894-1961)

    "Our defense is in the spirit which prized liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism at your own doors."
    - Abraham Lincoln

    "Liberty is the air America breathes . . . In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential freedoms . . . freedom of speech and expression . . . freedom of worship . . . freedom from want . . . freedom from fear."
    - Franklin D. Roosevelt

    "I would rather belong to a poor nation that was free than to a rich nation that had ceased to be in love with liberty."
    - Woodrow Wilson

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    - Benjamin Franklin

    "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."
    - Leviticus, XXV, 10.
    Inscribed on the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pa. The original source of the quotation is Leviticus, third book of the Old Testament.

    Posted by Alberto Gonzales on May 06, 2006.

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    Thank you for your comment, Alberto, but I'm afraid you have totally missed the point. Immigration is a wonderful thing that enriches our nation. Liberty is one of the things that makes this nation great. Illegal immigration is a bad thing that fills our nation with millions of law-breakers who don't deserve to be at liberty.

    Your quotes about liberty are good, but utterly irrelevant to this discussion. Oh, and don't bother quoting The Bible to me (whether or not passages exist on the Liberty Bell). I'm more likely to take notice if you quote something from Star Trek.

    Posted by Simon Jessey on May 06, 2006.

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    I still can't fathom how people can argue FOR illegal immigration. By no means does illegal immigration help the United States. Many argue that illegal immigrants are the backbone of the United States and without them, America's economy would take a crucial hit and would be mass devistation.

    One thing is that illegal immigrants are here ILLEGALY so they legally can't and shouldn't even have jobs. Just because they are working doesn't mean means they benefit American society. Infact, many people would love to have a job and can't because most farming or yard work jobs are available to illegals only. Just because they are available to illegals doesn't mean the employer knows they help -- it's because he can pay illegal's crap salary for back breaking work and not pay insurance on them so ofcourse, a employer wants a work that would be cheaper for the same work. Would you pay for the same soft drink that is $1.50 or .50 cents?

    Posted by James Henry on May 08, 2006.

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    "they are now looking for some sort of amnesty."

    My take is The Gov't made this proposal, probably because even the harshest jack-booted thugs feel some remorse for breaking up families of otherwise well-behaved people, who happen to pop up on radar during sweeps.

    Now, because of some mix of fears and feelings of self-righteousness, there is a backlash.

    Remember, for every "illegal" worker, there is an "illegal" employer.

    Why don't we also get rid of everyone who drives illegally?! There are millions of these people, and it's as serious, or more, in terms of threatening people with real harm.

    # The majority of drivers stopped by police felt they had been stopped for legitimate reason (83.7%).
    # About 1% of the 16.8 million drivers pulled over by police in 2002 felt police had used or threatened excessive force against them.

    Do you ever wonder where they get those estimates, like 12 million? The census? :-)

    In conclusion, a benign ruler would make it easier for people to assimilate, be productive, and legal; not threaten mass round-ups and deportation, which (hopefully) are not feasible anyway.

    Posted by Cesar Chavez on May 08, 2006.

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    Thank you for your comment, Cesar. Your idea of rounding up all the illegal drivers is an excellent one; moreover, the plan will also catch millions of illegal immmigrants (since it is impossible for an illegal immigrant to legally drive in this nation). Was that what you intended with this plan all along?

    I agree with you in regards to illegal employers. I have aleady stated that I think they "should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

    Referring to your final comment, "a benign ruler would make it easier for people to assimilate, be productive, and legal," I'm forced to disagree with you. There are millions of assimilated, productive, and legal immigrants - myself included! Any ruler who gives amnesty to illegal aliens is weak and foolish, not benign.

    Separation of families due to immigration issues is indeed sad and unfortunate; nevertheless, getting married and/or having babies should not be an automatic qualification for being forgiven for criminal activities. Remember that a large proportion of illegal aliens have committed the following crimes:

    1. Illegal entry to the United States.
    2. Eluding examination or inspection by immigration officials.
    3. Perpetrating fraud against the United States.
    4. Obtaining documentation by deception.
    5. Tax evasion.
    6. Driving without a license.
    7. Driving without auto insurance.

    And I am sure there are plenty of others.

    Posted by Simon Jessey on May 08, 2006.

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    "should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

    Maybe they are, to the extent feasible. Did you consider the current laws might be flawed and unworkable? Cspan had an interview with an industry representative. The hoops and rules for hiring temporary/migrant workers are bogus. They include advertising for locals. BTW, they claim the wages are above minimum, all things considered (providing food, housing, etc).

    If I understand correctly, the penalty for illegal presence in the US is 6 months supervised room and board, and an escort back to "the wall." Big deal.

    All it takes to change illegal to legal is the stroke of the pen, and some votes.

    Just because you jumped through a bunch of hoops and paid too much money doesn't mean everyone should have to. Maybe you should ask your Congress person to add a refund provision to the new rules.

    Posted by Cheech Marín on May 09, 2006.

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    -- "All it takes to change illegal to legal is the stroke of the pen, and some votes."

    So? That doesn't make it right. What's going to be legal next, stealing cars?

    -- "Just because you jumped through a bunch of hoops and paid too much money doesn't mean everyone should have to."

    That is a bunch of bullshit. The immigration process I went through is there to protect the safety, security, economy, and future of the United States. I had to go through stringent medical checks, for example, to make sure I wasn't bringing in some disease. I went through financial checks to make sure I wasn't going to be a burden to the economy. I went through a background check to make sure I wasn't a threat to security. And I didn't mind doing ANY of that, because those things are essential.

    As for the money, the amount I spent would have been similar regardless of which country I was trying to move to. Considering the amount of work the medical team and the immigration officials had to do, it didn't seem unreasonable to me.

    You know, the more arguments I hear in favor of these poor illegal aliens, the more I hope they are all deported back to whatever shithole they came from.

    Anyway, I think enough has been said on this thread on the matter.

    Posted by Simon Jessey on May 09, 2006.