December 15, 2006


Texas Official's Report Ignites a New Border Conflict (Darryl Fears, December 15, 2006, Washington Post)

It is a Texas showdown, a war of words over illegal immigration at the border.

State Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn fired the first shot with a recent report that, for some, says the unthinkable: Illegal immigrants not only pay their fair share in taxes, but they are also good for the economy.

"The absence of 1.4 million undocumented immigrants in Texas . . .would have been a loss to our gross state product of $17.7 billion," Strayhorn said in a statement. Overall, the report said, illegal immigrants put about $420 million more into state coffers than they take out.

,,,if America has reached farther than others it is because it has climbed up on wet backs.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 15, 2006 12:02 AM

They mention, but bury the important lead in this article.

Texas has no state income tax, so immigrants pay sales and property taxes, along with various state fees.

Virginia Postrel and others noted this before. Illegals are much more likely to evade income taxes than sales and property taxes. Texas's tax structure absorbs illegal immigrants very well; California's, by contrast, does not, due to its reliance on high income taxes.

Posted by: John Thacker at December 15, 2006 2:00 PM

except that two thirds of illegals even pay their SS and other federal taxes.

Posted by: oj at December 15, 2006 2:26 PM

Because ignoring laws are okay as long as you make money.

See also:,,3-2506744,00.html for Britain being bought off by Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: Just John at December 15, 2006 3:18 PM

"IS" okay, not "ARE" okay.

Posted by: Just John at December 15, 2006 3:20 PM

"IS" okay, not "ARE" okay.

Posted by: Just John at December 15, 2006 3:21 PM

Well, Just John, when can you ignore laws? I thought that Nurenburg made it clear that following the law was no excuse.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at December 15, 2006 5:16 PM

No, Nuremberg made it clear that the winners get to determine which laws matter.

Posted by: oj at December 15, 2006 5:23 PM

Darn it OJ, shush! You and I agree that the "illegal immigrant" label is bunk. I'm trying to find why so many Republicans are happy to enforce evil, racist laws that they would never vote for. Why is Bruno so determined to be a stormtrooper? Why is Just John so willing to strip people of a chance for a better life and freedom? Some of this people sound like they would drag pregant mothers to prison if abortion became required by law.....

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at December 15, 2006 5:41 PM

It's just chest-thumping. Conservatives think it makes them seem tough.

When the jack-booted thugs show up to arrest Bruno for employing an illegal in the crew that put an addition on his home or in the cleaning service he uses or whatever, he'll be singing a different tune.

Posted by: oj at December 15, 2006 5:49 PM

I don't know, OJ. If it's chest-thumping, why this issue? I've never heard Bruno try to collect guns, for example. He works to get the laws changed. So why does he work so hard to look like a racist on this issue? Why does he give the racist party cover?
Why would the Conservatives think they need to look tough? They're the ones serving in the military, saving lives, and putting out fires. Maybe the media ones are trying to keep up with their peers with real jobs?

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at December 15, 2006 6:04 PM

Because they aren't tough, so they would never take on people with real power, like gun-owners.

Posted by: oj at December 15, 2006 6:12 PM

Following evil laws in no defense for conduct which is indisputably malum in se. Following laws with which one disagrees, or which one thinks could be better written requires no defense. On the contrary, piety commands our compliance.

This is so very much like the so-called, self-proclaimed "anti-war" line, the legacy of the era wnen cowardice was the handmaien of treason. The pretence is that one may refuse his country's call because he disagrees with the policy behind a war.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 15, 2006 11:01 PM

Ah, a response. Thank you Mr. Gots. Two things. How publicly corrupt does the INS have to be before malum in se comes into play? Second, what is my obligation to enforce evil laws, or laws I disagree with? Does it make a difference now that it is courage that is a handmaiden to civil disobedience?

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at December 15, 2006 11:24 PM

There is no moral defense to enforcing an immoral law. Morality is God's, not Caesar's.

Posted by: oj at December 16, 2006 8:19 AM

Come on. Please don't play games.

It couldn't be plainer: You have no obligation to enforce evil laws, and you may have a duty to resist them. Your duty to comply with laws with which you merely disagree is absolute.

No one is seriously maintaining that our immigration laws are evil; the best the open borders side can come up with is that they are "corruptly" administered and enforced.

We could better hold that the present system of under-the-table peonage and exploitation is unjust and evil both as to the unfortunate economic refugees we exploit and to the millions of would-be legal immigrants from the four corners of the Earth who are denied admission.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 16, 2006 9:41 AM

Our immigration laws are evil. They are based on nothing but racism and religious hatreds. To enforce them is to consort with evil. That's why we don't and never have.

Your admission that the current system is evil undercuts your case that it isn't, no?

Posted by: oj at December 16, 2006 9:49 AM

Not at all. The fact that Traffic Court cases get fixed does not make it "Moral" to run stop signs.

Nor should we accept without proof that the system is so dysfunctional as to be unworkable. My limited experience with immigration law (helping a relative, within the last year) disclosed inefficiency, delay, a certain heavy-handedness, but no "corruption."--not even the appearance thereof.

Let me suggest that we abandon the Marxist analysis in favor of the Thomistic. Stop looking at the hidden motives of the law and at what class interests are behind them, and focus on whether the law as written is properly enacted, has a reasonable purpose, is of general application, and addresses the common good.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 16, 2006 10:23 AM

Mr. Gots, I am seriously arguing that our immigration system is evil. The laws are unconstitutional, given current reading of that document. Funny how the constitution is not "alive" for this issue.
As for the INS, I may have experience you don't. My father served in the Navy more then twenty five years. My younger sister was born overseas, at a Navy base. He still has to deal with INS, every time he renews his security clearance. Why did he adopt a foreign national, INS asks? It's only been thirty years, I'm sure they'll get it right soon..... This in not a rare act of bad faith. I deal with a lot of service people at work, and the stories I hear about marriages that have been ignored, or demanded to be "proven", family that has been denied entry, etc, well it just makes me wince. Many of this people have access to nuclear weapons. You would think the INS would deal with them quickly and fairly. It's not just the military who gets abused. I know a young man who left the country to be with his wife. She's British you see, the marriage must not be real, and we don't put up with cheats here.
Immigrantion should be a free, one day process, yes or no. The very public stories of years of trying, and tens of thousands of dollars spent, well, as far as I can tell, the INS needs to be decimated, in the classic, Roman sense.
Hidden motives? The racial quotas are written into the immigration code. What hidden motives am I supposed to be complaining about? What common good, what reasonable purpose, is advanced by racist laws that keep people in bondage?

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at December 16, 2006 10:52 AM

Workable? What does utilitarianism have to do with morality?

An evil law based in hate can never serve the common good.

Posted by: oj at December 16, 2006 11:10 AM

We could go around with this forever. I am actually very much in favor of greatly liberalizing immigration procerdures, with some sort of "mark of the beast" biometric human bar-code and enforcement with real teeth.

That is far removed from "Camp of the Saints"-style open borders., which is simply unfair to those who follow the rules and wai their turn.

We all know that no one wants to go there because we are so addicted to the wetback peonage system.

We all know as well that we depend of immigrant labor to take up the gap left be 30 plus years of rampant Kindermord. 43 million babies in the dumpsters; 33 million immigrants to take their places.

The administrative problems which some immigrants experience and some, miraculously, do not, are easily fixed. Just shift burdens of proof for denials, put speedy processing rules in place, award honest, not token, counsel fees for failure to follow regulatory proceedures, and watch the problems disappear. An agency employing bad-faith dilatory denials should be slammed as hard as the employers we would penalize with confiscation of property used in connection with illegal labor.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 16, 2006 1:14 PM

Back to my previous question. Why is enforcement important to you Mr. Gots?
Why not open borders?
Thirty + years of lost records shows me a system that will not be easily fixed. I don't think your solution will do anything to make these Federal employees accountable. It's not their money, and they'll still be able to get kickbacks.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at December 16, 2006 1:33 PM

It's the notion of waiting your "turn" that's evil.

Posted by: oj at December 16, 2006 1:59 PM

Yes, OJ, quite true. The part I don't understand is why so many conservatives are happy to be stormtroopers for these evil, racist regulations. We have a long tradition in America of letting bad laws go fallow. I own a couple of humor books that are just collections of laws, laws no one enforces, still on the books, for us to laugh at. The legal system seems to be doing fine, despite the fact that people are breaking these laws daily. So why do people, sane people like Mr. Gots, try so hard to stop people from coming to freedom and helping us? Why don't people treat the INS like the moral lepers they are?

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at December 16, 2006 2:13 PM

Have you seen the Minutemen? No conservatives are actually willing to do the dirty work. It's just bloviation.

Posted by: oj at December 16, 2006 2:28 PM