Thursday, April 20, 2006

Immigration raids not so scary

I woke up today to the news of the immigrant raids that took place across America sweeping up illegal alien workers. It is terrifying to witness this as an undocumented immigrant and I knew that many other undocumented immigrants were watching it and feeling the same dreadful way. However after watching an interview in the afternoon on CNBC with a representative from the department for Homeland Security I felt a lot better. One of the points that this individual emphasized was that there is a need for these workers and that she hoped a comprehensive immigration bill will be passed so that these people can be legitimized thus putting an end to this kind of behavior once and for all. It was reassuring to hear from the very organization dealing with this problem everyday that these are symptoms of the disease and comprehensive immigration reform is the cure. Part of a statement released by the department of Homeland Security said they were not investigating individual illegal immigrants but large corporations with a string of violations.

As I watched the workers being handcuffed I felt sad and I thought of a girl I heard recently on a radio interview who with an American accent explained how she was illegal. Her parents brought her here when she was six years old, today she is twenty seven has known America as her only home and now with an education she can not get steady employment. The immigration situation is a tragedy for all involved. It is so easy to group these people together and disregard the real human face and story behind the immigrants who were lead out of that factory as workers for working. Working towards their future to feed their families to ensure a better life. If they are not a threat to America and they are needed to work we must fix this for everyone's sake.

I do not want a situation where any immigrant working is lying about their status along with their employer. I want a situation whereby if you have a job in the United States and an employer to sponsor you then you can apply for a temporary visa and after a certain amount of time if you have played by the rules and paid your taxes say after five years you can apply for citizenship. Unfortunately there is no such system for non-specialized workers which is leading to events like the IFCO one this week. If the guest worker programme with a pathway to citizenship was introduced it would stop these types of situations. All immigrants who have found steady employment in the United States would be recorded, have background checks done and be given valid social security numbers.


paddy kakes said...

Couple of problems with the last part. First of all, who would pay for the background checks? (Surely not the American taxpayer). Then once the background checks are completed, the alien would be found to have committed at least 2 crimes. Illegal entry into the US/overstaying visa, and working illegally. On top of that you have using a false social security number, driving without a license, identity theft, nonpayment of taxes, etc. The list goes on.

My point is why even bother doing the background checks on an illegal alien, when you know he will flunk it. That is what is so crazy about it all. You think the American people are stupid.

Anonymous said...


I can only speak for me and many other Irish. I entered the country perfectly legally; I've never had a false social security number; I've interned ((that's how much I like America and Americans) a hell of alot more than I've worked and have helped filmmakers all over the world to sell their film projects to buyers at Cannes, TV stations etc.)

Yes I have committed immigration fraud but they will already know that. plus presumambly, a portion of the $2,000 fine that we would be paying, if the mccain/kennedy bill were to be passed would be going towards the background check and hopefully not American Tax payers money, which would be ludicrous.

I don't think American people are stupid at all Paddy Kakes but a bigger picture mentality (bpm) is definitely needed.

Anonymous said...

We the undocumented can use our Tax dollars that for some of us have been paying for many years.
The US Goverment had a plan in place to give us Tax id numbers and have accepted our tax payments.
We dont mind them useing our tax dollars to pay for it.
It might be a better use of it than for some research programmes
such as "How many ways you can use a peice of wood".

Its a pity they did not have a plan to legalize us when they were handing out our tax id numbers.

Not all of us have used false social security numbers or have been driving without a drivers license.
I was given my drivers license by my state leagaly.
Now after driving here leagaly for 16 years I can not renew it because my state now requires a social security number.
Some of us have entered the US illegally, and some of us have overstayed our visas, not because we wanted to do it that way but because unless we were lucky enough to have won a visa or to have big bank accounts or have an Ammerican citizen willing to marry us we had no choice but to enter the US without green cards in our back pockets.
A lot of us came with the thinking we would stay a short time make some money to help us start a better life back in our home countries and just got caught up in the American way of life and forgot we were breaking immigration laws untill the attacks of 911. When all the information came to light on how the terrorists carried out the attacks then we started to be looked at, not just undocumented immigrants but as a
people that could do this country harm.
We understand the need for the security of this country.
We need it.No one wants to see this country attacked again.Its hard for some American born people to think that undocumented people in this country who have been here years before the 911 atacks and have stayed on since then, that when this happened we did not care. Many of us called this country home before then and still do to this day even if we have not got the papers to say we are ammerican or here legally.
We felt the attacks the same as as any american.
When president Bush
stood on top of the fallen Twin Towers and said the people who did this would pay for it made me feel like I was part of something great, a country that can not be beat and was not going to let any one stop its way life, and to see the fighter jets flying in the sky around New York made me feel so proud to be part of this country.
But I am not I am just an undocumented immigrant living in a country.
The US immigration policy has been broken for so long, it did not just break down on 911 or the months and years that have followed.
We are here now and have fallen in love with the American way of life and this country. We dont want to be here undocumented, yes it would be easier for some of us to give up on the hope of becoming legalized
of which many of my friends have done and return to our home country. I have had that hope for 16 years now and I am not giving up on it.For me to return after all these years here would mean for me going to a country that has changed so much I could not even start to explain it to you. Living a life in fear and worry
is still a better option for me.
There is a lot of us can not even go home because leaving the US would put us back in countries we have either never known or countries that still have no future for us.
All were asking is to have a chance
to become legal,continue to work and give others in the future who may want come the same chance, like your family had when they came.
I know that they came here legally
and back that time immigration laws were writen right for the times,but for years they have had laws on the books that have not been,it is time our immigration laws are changed to suit this world we live in today.
I support some of the proposals in the senate right now and I think we should be given a chance to earn our way to citizenship even if it takes years.
Backround checks, fines, back taxes
learning english, whatever they ask.
We the undocumented ones who have grown to love this great country
are prepared to do if it puts us on the path to legalization and some time down the road citizenship.

Anonymous said...

No not the American people Paddy Cakes-we just think your the stupid one ,with your racist ,narrow-mindedness. If you dont want emmigrants here then thats all you are- a racist.

paddy kakes said...

What did I say that was racist? If you can't counter my arguments with logic, anonymous#3, must you resort to name-calling? (Moderator, please take note)

Anonymous said...

Paddy Cakes Sam here, you know the gulable immigrant that believes in the American dream, I think you may have missed the original point of the Senate bill proposal for adjusting the status of the undocumented if you read the bill it states that obviously previous visa violations are forgiven the background check we are referring to is the same as the stipulations for a regular greencard ie time in prision. As for idenity theft we are not guilty of that just working for cash or paying taxes with a tax ID number which the goverment issues for people with no social security number. Driving without a licence when the only reason you are doing it is because the law changed and you no longer are allowed to renew your valid legal licence is again tied into the visa overstay so the vast majority of the undocumented would pass the criminal check I tell you I know I certainly would my background is as clean as a whistle with the exception of overstaying my tourist visa, I have never even so much as recieved a parking ticket, I have an excellent university education, teaching experience and community work. I think President Bush got it right the other day in California when he said the unocumented where decent hard working people and that the Senate bill should be passed. We do not think the American people are stupid but defiently ill informed about the immigration system, the 1965 immigrarion act and just how difficult a process it is to immigrant from Ireland to America today. I think you are not racist but you do come across biased,nativist and unwilling to open up to the idea that these Irish kids have tried every way to get residency here and there is no way except a change in the law which they are now trying also, don't you think anyone who has tried this hard because they love it here would not make great American citizens they choose America I hope America will choose them.

Anonymous said...

Sam again,
Oh another point the "aliens" as you like to call us would pay for the background check and process with the individual two thosand dollar fine each of the estimated eleven million undocumented have to pay thats a pretty penny Paddy Cakes do the math as you say in America and if you are introducing a bill for illegal aliens why would you illiminate them for being illegal its like holding a party for women and then saying no woman allowed you are making no sense of course being illegal would no longer be held against them during the process its for illegals! It is impossible to deport them what do you suggest you do with peolple that have been living here for years with children that have been born here.

paddy cakes said...

I don't use the term "alien", because I like it, but rather because it is the correct legal term. I might also use "foreigner" (etranger, auslander, eachtrannach). údarú nó cinneadh ó Bhallstát á chumasú d'eachtrannach iontráil ar a chríocha

I wouldn't use "immigrant" because such would refer to an alien with a immigrant visa (i.e "green card"). I wouldn't use "undocumented" because any alien could have forged documents, in which case he does have "documents", but they are the wrong ones; I wouldn't use "undocumented worker", because sometimes he is not working, he doesn't have the right to work, and he may not be competent at any work.

If you talk about immigrant rights, those with green card have those rights afforded to permanent residents; those with work or student visas have the rights and privileges prescribed in their visa. Those without a visa, have no document that lists and allocates any right and privileges. Therefore one can assume they have no rights and privileges. They are fugitives. Unwelcomed and uninvited guests. Overstayed their welcome. Discourteous individuals.

Many of these terms are often tossed around carelessly without thought to their true meaning, or history. Other times they are used in a perverse manner, in order to gain an advantage.

My favorite is "person of color". Why would you call a person with brown hair, brown eyes, and brown skin, a "person of color", and not a person with red hair, blue eyes, and pink skin?

Paul in Long Beach said...

Accroding to the IRS website:

An ITIN, or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, is a tax processing number only available for certain nonresident and resident aliens, their spouses, and dependents who cannot get a Social Security Number (SSN).

So the argument about paying taxes is moot, because in addition to breaking the law by being here, you have demonstrated a pattern of law breaking which, under the moral turpitude clause, bars you from becoming a citizen of this country.

"Moral turpitude includes any crime involving fraud, forgery, passing a bad check, any offense in which it is stated that the person had “an intent to defraud.”


Anonymous said...

Paul from Long beach they are paying taxes with the TNI no, paying into social security etc there is no fraud they are not criminals and if the bill passes they will be able to get legalized and eventually earn their citizenship. They are here living for years what do you suggest we do we cannot deport that many people. Sam

yankee doodle said...

I don't think we can deport that many people either. True, we can deport some. But we can also encourage self-deportation. People wouldn't stay if thay can't work; if their children can not get automatic citizenship; and a free education; if they can't drive a car; or buy property; or rent a home. It's just a matter of removing the incentives for diregarding the law.

Anonymous said...

Hi Yankee doodle,
yes you could do all that you said but how by doing it do you fundementally change what it is to be you I know it sounds overly philisophical but is America a nation of immigrants or purly nativist the writting on the statue of liberity the constitution which is for all citizens and non-citzens who reside in the United States and if being born in America would no longer classify you to be an American what would? If your parents were, if your grandparents were if they were not of hispanic origin now we are really getting into a hairy area. Do you see what I am saying because you are undocumented you do not qualify to learn to read or write. Throughout history similar situations arose and the Catholic Church said I don't think so and educated them anyway. And as for buying property and renting homes you can not get away from the issue that they contribute to the economy and who would work the eleven million jobs now vacant.

I know that you might say they could come in legally then I suggest you call an immigration attorney and tell him you are from a forign country and you want to live here legally you would discover it is next to impossible for unskilled workers to immigrate here. In the past there was Elis Island today there is nothing except a wall to jump. We need them but no guest worker program exists for these workers.

In New York alone what would happen to the city if every illegal immigrant left. First the population would fall by as many as 650,000 people, pushing the cencus back to roughly 7.5 million. Neighborhoods would empty, buildings would be abandoned and property values would drop. Segments of the economy, such as manufacturing, construction, restaurants and health care, would take huge hits as roughly 10% of the labour force disappeared. On a national scale they are 5% of the American work force, almost a quarter of the farm laborers, almost 30% of the roofers and dry-wall installers and 17% of the people who clean for a living. So if we remove the incentives for disregarding the law who will replace them. I know I am biased because of who I am but I have tried every way to get a permanant visa and to no avail now the Senate bill is my only hope. We need a better solution a background check a penality fee and a work visa for them is the only answer.
Samantha an undocumented Irish immigrant.

yankee doodle said...

I don't claim to have a comprehensive answer, I can only address the points your raised, and I will do that as best I can. First of all, the US is a nation of Americans. The term "Nation of Immigrants" is an oxymoron. For what is it that defines a nation if not common history, common language, and common culture. These are exactly the elements missing from a random collection of foreigners. The founding fathers were all American-born, not immigrants, with the possible exception of Hamilton who was born in the Caribbean of an American mother. The US was not founded by immigrants.
The Emil Lazaras poem, the "Collossas", written on the statue of Liberty is not written on the Statue of Liberty but rather on a plaque inside the base. The Statue is not a Statute - not the constitution - not any kind of legal document or legally binding contract. You can't claim "the Statue told me to do it".
It is all a myth. And you need to start separating myth from reality. There's no gold in the streets here.
Similarly, it is a myth that the Catholic Church educates, when in reality it indoctrinates. If you are undocumentd, you can still learn to read and write, but your education should not be funded by American taxpayers - you should pay for it yourself.
Another myth is that this a free contrary , when all indications are to the contrary.
I think what you are saying is that we can't deport 12 million people, not because of the logistics, but because of the hardships that would befall both aliens themselves and residents of America. I think you must agree that we have to reduce the size and scope of this illegal population, and I have proposed several simple techniques to do that. I'm sure these are well familiar to the Irish government.

paddy kakes said...

The increased supply of affordable housing would certainly be welcome.

paddy o'furniture said...

You have to admit, this scenerio would ease up the high cost of housing.

Anonymous said...

All that would happen in the houseing market owners would have to let long term welfare and section 8 tentents in to their houses .The price of a morage would not come down and only goverment asisted renters could pay the high rent this is all ready happing were i live i pay 1,600 a month and the woman and children next door let tax payers pay their rent which is a 100 more for ground floor ,coming to a neighbour hood near you soon enjoy