January 8, 2007


Immigration debate gets religious (Charles Hurt, January 8, 2007, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

A number of leading Christian conservative groups have formed a coalition on immigration and illegal aliens that will push religiously grounded positions that both sides of the current immigration debate will both love and hate.

In letters sent today and obtained by The Washington Times, Families First on Immigration urges President Bush and leaders of the new Democratic Congress to adopt a grand compromise on the divisive issue that includes strong border security, an amnesty for illegals already here who are relatives of citizens and an end to birthright citizenship. [...]

Religious liberals have long been outspoken advocates of amnesty and more immigration, but Christian conservatives have been torn between biblical admonitions to both the rule of law and charity toward strangers.

At the heart of their position is a compromise that could give both sides of the immigration debate their "holy grail," as Mr. Miranda puts it, while also making a major, one-time concession that would eliminate one of the biggest magnets for illegal immigration.

Drop the un-Christian/anti-American birthright provision -- your neighbor's children can not, by definition, be strangers -- and re-pass the amnesty every few years and you have the Reagan/Bush position.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 8, 2007 2:24 PM

GMAB Lex Soli is Constitutional.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 8, 2007 3:45 PM

I know what lex soli is all about but what does GMAB mean? Guaranteed Minimum Accumulation Benefit?

Posted by: Bryan at January 8, 2007 6:07 PM

If we drop birthright citizenship, presumably illegal alien children would have to be sent back to their parents countries. What if the parents came from two different places? Would we have to "divide the living child in two"?

Posted by: Joseph Hertzlinger at January 8, 2007 6:08 PM

The biggest magnet for immigration is unjust trade legislation that maintains Mexico's third world economy.
Christian conservatives didn't care too much for the rule of law when we stole Mexico from the Mexicans, and called it Texas. And, I'll bet very few of them have poured through the fine print of NAFTA.

Posted by: Macduff at January 8, 2007 6:47 PM

Well, Macduff, the Spanish stole Mexico from the Indians. Stolen goods are never sold at a loss.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at January 8, 2007 7:03 PM

Actually I've read the relevant (to me anyway) provisions of NAFTA and I fail to see how zero tariffs are unjust to Mexico.

That was the name used by government officials at the time, and since it was the official name I don't see why my post was deleted. Eisenhower's policy was merely enforcement of the law, which I think is preferable to the Bush/CARTER policy.

Posted by: h-man at January 8, 2007 7:03 PM

Robert Mitchell: We didn't take it from the Spanish, we took it from the Mexicans.

H-Man: NAFTA involves a lot more than tariffs; if you would like to discuss the finer details, I would be willing to oblige.

NAFTA, by permitting heavily-subsidized US corn and other agri-business products to compete with small Mexican farmers, has driven the Mexican farmer off the land due to low-priced imports of US corn and other agricultural products. Some 2 million Mexicans have been forced out of agriculture, and many of those that remain are living in desperate poverty. These people are among those that cross the border to feed their families. (Meanwhile, corn-based tortilla prices climbed by 50%. No wonder many so Mexican peasants have called NAFTA their 'death warrant.'

NAFTA's service-sector rules allowed big firms like Wal-Mart to enter the Mexican market and, selling low-priced goods made by ultra-cheap labor in China, to displace locally-based shoe, toy, and candy firms. An estimated 28,000 small and medium-sized Mexican businesses have been eliminated.

Wages along the Mexican border have actually been driven down by about 25% since NAFTA, reported a Carnegie Endowment study. An over-supply of workers, combined with the crushing of union organizing drives as government policy, has resulted in sweatshop pay running sweatshops along the border where wages typically run 60 cents to $1 an hour.

Posted by: Macduff at January 8, 2007 7:45 PM

Macduff, the country of Mexico was created by the Spanish, and the rulers of Mexico were certainly Spainish at the time. And if we stole Mexico from the "Mexicans", then where are the Mexicans living now? Be calm, and look past your reflexive anti-americanism. Mexico was not Utopia before we "ruined" it, and it's biggest reason for immigration to the States is the racisim that stops hard working people from advancing in Mexico, because they are not of the "right" class.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at January 8, 2007 7:55 PM


Anti-semitic slurs were once prevalent--you don't get to use them here.

Posted by: oj at January 8, 2007 8:06 PM

Christians obviously think it a blessing when we convert the heathens. It has been.

Posted by: oj at January 8, 2007 8:07 PM

Well, I guess you could call America English, because it's ruling class certainly wasn't Native American. Either way, it really doesn't matter;
I'm not reflexively Anti-american, and I, like many others, resent your reflexive labeling of dissenting voices. I'm just much more willing to acknowledge mistakes made through US history. I hardly even consider this radical; Ulysses S. Grant said that the Civil War was our punishment for waging the unjust Mexican-American War. Is he an American-hater?
Mexico wasn't a utopia, but that doesn't mean that certain policies haven't worsened it through NAFTA, which is proven by the massive increase in immigration, along with everything else I mentioned, which you appear to have no response to.
There is something a lot more concrete and obvious than just racism in Mexico that you claim leads to a system of vastly unequal distributions of wealth.

Posted by: Macduff at January 8, 2007 8:21 PM

Quite, Macduff. The question is why you hold America accountable for stealing the lands from the Indians, but not the Spanish from stealing the lands from the Indians. Or are Americans the only people with moral accountablity?
If you use phrases like "dissenting voices", then you are probably reflexively anti-American, and people will act accordingly. It's a phrase used by one side, and a red flag.
Nafta has improved Mexico, as shown by the massive increase in immigration. The lower classes are coming here to better lives. The upper classes are having to fend for themselves a little more as free trade breaks down comfortable systems that favored them. Freedom always produces social change, and this should be embraced, not proped up. It's one thing to talk of the "noble" farmer until you have to work on a farm. It's dangerous, unpleasant, unprofitable, endless work. People are happy to get a dollar a hour if it means they don't have to work on a farm for room and board. People fight to get into those "sweatshops". You may not want to work that hard, but they do, and that's why they'll end up being your boss, at least in America.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at January 8, 2007 8:43 PM

The mistake was not taking all of Mexico--just compare the living standards.

Posted by: oj at January 8, 2007 11:08 PM

The question has nothing to do with what I think of Spain or the American Indians. Mexico declared independence, and we went to war with it 20 years later.
The only thing un-American going on in these posts is your insisting on calling me un-American.
We can go back and forth like this all night long, calling each other un-American and such, but I think I would prefer an argument that doesn't constantly resort to abstract stereotypes in order to blindly dismiss any of my real points.
Sorry if my views are shocking to the sensibilities of your particular school of Neoliberal cheerleading, but I think you should know that their are many out there who believe that our country has acted wrongly in both the Mexican-American War and in drafting NAFTA. And, these people aren't all tied to the same ideological fencepost. And over the course of history, the distinctions (like Mexico and America,or labor and property) we are arguing about now will appear ridiculous. This whole argument reminds me too much of the 3/5's compromise.
NAFTA is a one-sided free trade agreement; and it actually denies freedoms from the Mexicans insofar as it forces them to comply to the terms of NAFTA. If forces them to protect the investments of US companies that have every interest in maintaining a cheap labor society. It gives foreign companies the "freedom" to pollute the Mexican land for the sake of lowering production costs. I hope we can both agree that the word "freedom" deserves better than to be associated with the meat and bones of NAFTA. So please, don't pollute the word "freedom" for the sake of easy, convenient argument.
NAFTA favors the wealthy classes in Mexico, and businesses based in the US. I don't know how you can see it any other way, unless you are locked into some kind of Waiting for Godot-like scenario that I am unaware of.

Posted by: Macduff at January 9, 2007 2:06 AM

Hold on. Didn't Texans steal Texas from the Mexicans?

Posted by: Barry Meisiln at January 9, 2007 6:50 AM


Walmart can sell chinese goods in Mexico. A Mexican retail chain can sell chinese products in America. (Which they do)

America can subsidize agricultural products and ship them to Mexico. Mexico can subsidize agricultural products and ship them to America. (Which they do.)

America can sell software products, high tech medical equipment to Mexico. Mexico can sell software products, high tech medical equipment to America.

So I stand corrected, you are quite the debater.

Meanwhile Mexican proverty rates have been cut in half since NAFTA.

The term was related to a criminal act (illegal entry into the US) and not to a specific ethnic group.

If, in an effort to enforce laws against prostitution, the feds started operation "pimp removal" and a particular racial/ethnic group became identified as the primary culprits then that would be their problem and not the government name for the operation.

Posted by: h-man at January 9, 2007 7:08 AM

It's a marvel of blockheadedness to me that lefties, after at least a century of empirical evidence to the contrary, still embrace and expound the tired old party line of U.S. imperialism and oppression of the downtrodden.

People risk everything to come here. Why? Are they all victims of the Stockholm Syndrome?

Enough already macduff. Drive around the rural areas of Mexico and see what real poverty is all about. Poverty caused by an elite ruling class, not by U.S. free trade policies.

Cross the border at Brownville Texas and see the dramatic difference in the landscape. On the U.S. side are huge irrigation machines watering green fields far as the eye can see growing every imaginable food crop and cities and towns bursting with the freedom and prosperity of our great melting pot of diversity.

On the Mexican side is mile after mile of moonscape.

Posted by: erp at January 9, 2007 7:11 AM

BTW while on the subject of nomenclature, I think Ken is right

Posted by: h-man at January 9, 2007 7:44 AM

All slurs have derivations. No one uses them for their literal meanings.

Posted by: oj at January 9, 2007 9:09 AM

If it were one-sided Mexico and Canada wouldn't be thriving. Calling a tree a duck won't make it quack.

Posted by: oj at January 9, 2007 9:12 AM