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View from the Left: Immigration Should be a Liberal Issue
Frontpagemagazine/RealClearPolitics.com ^ | 5-16-05 | Froma Harrop

Posted on 05/16/2005 5:47:01 AM PDT by SJackson

Hillary gets it. Hillary Clinton says she's against illegal immigration. And she would fine employers who hire illegal aliens.

Pundits say the New York Democrat is using this hot-button issue to position herself for the 2008 presidential election. It's a way to hit Republicans from the right. Polls show huge majorities of both Republicans and Democrats oppose illegal immigration -- and are frustrated that President Bush won't do a thing to stop it.

But this issue does not belong to the right. Or it shouldn't. Illegal immigration hurts most liberal causes. It depresses wages, crushes unions and kills all hope for universal health coverage. Progressives have to understand that there can be little social justice in an unregulated labor market.

"Liberals are so confused on this issue," says Vernon Briggs, a labor economist at Cornell University and self-described liberal. "Immigration policy has got to be held accountable for its economic consequences."

Many Democrats used to get it. In 1964, President Johnson abolished the Bracero program, which brought in "temporary" farm workers from Mexico. Its demise let Cesar Chavez organize U.S. farm workers. His union won some battles early on, but a new wave of illegal immigrants in the mid-1970s reversed that progress. The union barely exists today.

It's long been a felony offense for a foreign national to enter the United States illegally. And until 1952, it was also a felony to harbor an illegal alien. That's when farm interests had the law changed to take employers off the hook: Employing an illegal alien no longer constituted "harboring" one. This came to be known as the "Texas Proviso."

As factory jobs vanished and illegal immigration swelled in the 1970s, Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, sensed a growing crisis. Then came the flood of refugees from Cuba and Haiti -- most claiming political asylum. Carter refused to give blanket amnesty. The refugees were taken care of in 1986, when Republican Ronald Reagan granted a blanket amnesty for 3 million illegals.

Carter also tried to repeal the Texas Proviso. Congress stalled and instead set up a commission to study the matter. It was chaired by the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, then president of the University of Notre Dame.

U.S. immigration policy was "out of control," the panel announced. It minced no words: "The commission has rejected the argument of many economists, ethnic groups and religious leaders for a great expansion in number of immigrants and refugees."

Shortly thereafter, Carter lost his bid for re-election. Reagan became too busy cutting taxes for the rich to bother with the commission's recommendations. (Besides, isn't cheap labor another kind of tax cut?)

The cause was taken up by Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., and Rep. Romano Mazzoli, D-Ky. In 1986, they pushed through legislation that repealed the Texas Proviso. It established fines for employers who knowingly hire illegals. But there was a titanic loophole: Employers did not have to check whether the documents presented by job applicants were valid or fake.

By 1991, America was in a recession. The economy had lost a million jobs. That year, the current president's father, George H.W. Bush, signed a law that raised annual legal immigration by 35 percent to 700,000. And it did nothing about illegal entrants.

Congress in 1990 had established another commission to study the problem. This one was headed by Barbara Jordan, a Democrat who had represented Texas in the House of Representatives. The Jordan Commission made excellent recommendations, which went nowhere. One would have required employers to make a single phone call to verify a job applicant's Social Security number. Even that was too much.

The rationale for the 1986 amnesty (we've had seven since then) is that we had been sending illegal immigrants mixed messages. After all, it had been previously legal for employers to hire them.

Nowadays, the messages aren't even mixed anymore. A cheap-labor Republican, George Bush won't enforce the employer penalties. He has a new amnesty program. And he vows to "match any willing worker with any willing employer." Hence, the latest stampede at the southern border.

Sounds like the Democrats have an issue. And if Clinton can seriously address the problem in non-racial terms, she could march straight to the White House. Go for it, Hillary.


TOPICS: Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2006; 2006election; 2006senaterace; aliens; ballotboxrevolt; border; carnegie; carnegieglobalpolicy; cary; citizenrights; citizenvoice; crybabies; drugs; englishlanguage; fordfoudation; fordfoundation; gangs; healthcare; hospitals; illegal; illegalimmigration; illegals; immigrantlist; immigration; laraza; legalimmigration; maldef; mecha; mexa; mexico; ms13; napolitano; nationalsecurity; perry; prop200; quayle; safety; soros; sovereignty; standupnow; voterfraud

1 posted on 05/16/2005 5:47:02 AM PDT by SJackson
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To: SJackson

Hillary sucks! She can march right off a pier.


2 posted on 05/16/2005 5:50:03 AM PDT by Piquaboy (22 year veteran of the Army, Air Force and Navy, Pray for all our military .)
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To: Piquaboy
Hillary sucks! She can march right off a pier.

Long walk-short pier BUMP!

3 posted on 05/16/2005 5:52:47 AM PDT by Puppage (You may disagree with what I have to say, but I shall defend to your death my right to say it.)
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To: SJackson
Hillary doesn't even believe in ID at the voting booth. We have a flow of Mexicans coming to NY. They work on our farms and then go back to Mexico WITH OUR MONEY. It's just another little base for her. Of course, she doesn't mention the NY companies now operating in Mexico.

I believe Bubba gave not only amnesty but made citizens of thousands in Florida...just before his election.

4 posted on 05/16/2005 5:55:46 AM PDT by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: SJackson

This article should be in breaking news, where more "conservatives" would see it. Ain't likely to show up where most will see it with the sentiment around here.


5 posted on 05/16/2005 5:55:53 AM PDT by antisocial (Texas SCV - Deo Vindice)
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To: SJackson
I agree the Democrats could recapture the blue-collar vote if they were really serious about illegal immigration. Right now though, in states like California they're afraid of offending Hispanics by taking a stand against illegal immigration. They'd lose votes so that's why they favor pro-illegal immigration measures like subsidized in-state tuition and drivers licenses for illegals. For the Democrats, Hispandering means a lot more for keeping power than helping blue collar Americans keep their jobs in the face of a massive flood of Third World cheap labor.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
6 posted on 05/16/2005 5:58:54 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Sacajaweau

No offense, but if they are working, then they are going back to Mexico with THEIR money.

My issue with illegal immigration is the cost in terms of crime, healthcare, cultural warfare, vote fraud, etc. But the money they earn working is all theirs...


7 posted on 05/16/2005 5:59:10 AM PDT by Little Ray (I'm a reactionary, hirsute, gun-owning, knuckle dragging, Christian Neanderthal and proud of it!)
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To: SJackson
Although this article deserves a "barf" indicator for it's simplistic condemnation of Reagan, tax cuts for the wealthy and Dubya's guest worker program, there is some truth to what is written with respect to liberal confusion: "Liberals are so confused on this issue," says Vernon Briggs, a labor economist at Cornell University.

What confuses liberals is that they are so quick to race bait that they just assume anyone complaining about illegals MUST be a racist. This confusion is a product of the liberal's own making.

8 posted on 05/16/2005 5:59:48 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: Piquaboy

Say what you want, illegal immigration is an issue that is driving many people through the F'ing roof. I am against Hillary as much as anyone, but this issue will kill the GOP if they think we are going to go along with some BS worker program that is really amnesty.

GWB has me so disgusted with his nonsense that this is not amensty. In all his talk about his program, I have not heard one bit about sending criminal aliens home, sending home these "willing workers" home if they don't register, and on and on.

Just as in 1965, this bill, if passed, will leave a huge stain on our country the likes of which we now cannot even imagine.


9 posted on 05/16/2005 6:03:14 AM PDT by chris1 ("Make the other guy die for his country" - George S. Patton Jr.)
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To: SJackson
she would fine employers who hire illegal aliens

Her and my liberal friend have the solutuion for illegal immigration, nail businesses.

And I told him, fine, beef up enforcement of the employment laws but also beef up border patrols, don't reimburse hopsitals for treating illegals, kick illegals out of schools and no drivers licences for illegals.

BUT NO all you gotta do is crack down on businesses. Look for this to be the leftist mantra.

10 posted on 05/16/2005 6:05:31 AM PDT by Semper Paratus
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To: Little Ray

Oh really?????? What about your money and your 50% partner, Uncle Sam???? These people do not pay FICA, do not pay Federal Income Taxes, etc etc. If these people could no longer be able to work for cash and be forced to endure that which everyone else does, they will be out of here so fast. They do not want to be legal. They want to work for cash to send home to "their country."


11 posted on 05/16/2005 6:06:31 AM PDT by chris1 ("Make the other guy die for his country" - George S. Patton Jr.)
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To: Little Ray
My issue with illegal immigration is the cost in terms of crime, healthcare, cultural warfare, vote fraud, etc. But the money they earn working is all theirs...

They are criminals. Under our system of law what a criminal makes plying his crime is not his, but is confiscatable by the state. It has always been this way, albeit nowadays it is being applied to actions that are not "crimes".

However, breaking and entering the US and violating its borders has always been and remains a malum in se offense.

12 posted on 05/16/2005 6:06:39 AM PDT by William Terrell (Individuals can exist without government but government can't exist without individuals.)
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To: Little Ray
The money I make is spent on my family in the US. It makes the economy grow. When they take THEIR money back to Mexico, they become just another trade deficient.

If you want to come here, please come and settle here...come in legally and WORK for and with your family and contribute to the American Melting Pot not the Mexican Poverty Pit.

13 posted on 05/16/2005 6:07:18 AM PDT by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: chris1

I agree with you. I am fed up with it also.


14 posted on 05/16/2005 6:12:36 AM PDT by Piquaboy (22 year veteran of the Army, Air Force and Navy, Pray for all our military .)
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To: Little Ray

But if it is illegal for them to enter the country and work here, then the money they earn is the result of a crime.

Therefore, it would be logical for it to be forfeit to the government.

Since the illegal immigrants have probably already spent it, I suggest the businesses that hired them be fined an amount equal to the wages distributed.


15 posted on 05/16/2005 6:17:00 AM PDT by proxy_user
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To: SJackson

Hillary will win on the immigration issue. She is being given a gift-wrapped issue that 90%+ of the American people support, and one that NO other major politician is willing to tackle.

It's almost as if the GOP wants her to win, they are setting her up so well. It's not as if she is a particularly skillful politician, she's just a dime-store panderer with heavy MSM support.


16 posted on 05/16/2005 6:32:33 AM PDT by thoughtomator (A government-funded artist is an incompetent whore)
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To: chris1

These people do pay FICA taxes but many file "exempt" and pay no income taxes. In addition, they flood hospitals with demands for free care, and have bankrupted many health care facilities.
Many Americans as well as illegals drive without insurance on stolen tags.


17 posted on 05/16/2005 6:38:08 AM PDT by steve8714
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To: chris1

Having said that, even illegals with personal and work virtues are a pain in the butt; don't forget, however, about those refugees from Bosnia that we still subsidize.


18 posted on 05/16/2005 6:42:16 AM PDT by steve8714
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To: SJackson

This article assumes (incorrectly) that so-called liberals actually care about the blue collar American worker.

What neoliberals (and neocons) really care about is expanding the number of people in this country dependent on the federal government.

And keeping the borders open helps to do that


19 posted on 05/16/2005 6:43:42 AM PDT by Irontank (Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under)
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To: Sacajaweau

I have been around these people, they do not want to be legal and be registered and be required to pay taxes like everyone else. They want to work for cash and send it home.


20 posted on 05/16/2005 6:47:08 AM PDT by chris1 ("Make the other guy die for his country" - George S. Patton Jr.)
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To: chris1

That just tells me about stuff I'd like to keep from my earnings ... bring on the Fair Tax!

That said, in most cases, I don't think they earn enough to pay Income Tax or FICA - in fact if they filed, they would probably get MORE money in the form of another welfare boondoggle: the "Earned Income Tax Credit."


21 posted on 05/16/2005 6:59:00 AM PDT by Little Ray (I'm a reactionary, hirsute, gun-owning, knuckle dragging, Christian Neanderthal and proud of it!)
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To: SJackson

Hitlery fools no one, not even her supporters.


22 posted on 05/16/2005 7:02:24 AM PDT by AmericanChef
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To: William Terrell
Actually, as somebody kept pointing out to me, I think illegal immigration is a misdemeanor violation of a Federal Regulation - more like speeding or littering than a felony. It woudl be nice if the Feds took it a little more seriously.

In terms of crime however, I'm more interested in the fact that illegals seem to commit felonies way out proportion to their population.
23 posted on 05/16/2005 7:03:37 AM PDT by Little Ray (I'm a reactionary, hirsute, gun-owning, knuckle dragging, Christian Neanderthal and proud of it!)
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To: Sacajaweau

Its still their money. They are still entitled to dispose of as they see fit.

And these days, too much of our money seems to go to the PRC to help their economy (and the PLA) to grow.


24 posted on 05/16/2005 7:05:32 AM PDT by Little Ray (I'm a reactionary, hirsute, gun-owning, knuckle dragging, Christian Neanderthal and proud of it!)
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To: Little Ray

And what about the money we are collectively forced to pay when they commit crimes, need emerghency health care services, and educate their kids??????? Don't you think they should pay for that???


25 posted on 05/16/2005 7:28:43 AM PDT by chris1 ("Make the other guy die for his country" - George S. Patton Jr.)
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To: chris1
Illegals would not probably not pay for these things, even if they were filing taxes - they usually don't make enough. Instead they would likely get the "Earned Income Tax Credit" - extract yet MORE welfare from the rest of us.

I don't want them here, but I must object to people acting like the money that illegals earn belongs to anybody but them. That's Democrat / Liberal / Commie type thinking, where the money they let us keep is an "expenditure." Speak, if you will, of illegal aliens pricing indigenous labor out of the market, of the crime and cultural issues, of emergency rooms closing, etc., but don't lay claim to the money they work very hard to earn.
26 posted on 05/16/2005 7:47:30 AM PDT by Little Ray (I'm a reactionary, hirsute, gun-owning, knuckle dragging, Christian Neanderthal and proud of it!)
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To: Little Ray

No, just the share, at least, that the rest of us have our picked for every day of every week.


27 posted on 05/16/2005 8:36:58 AM PDT by chris1 ("Make the other guy die for his country" - George S. Patton Jr.)
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To: Little Ray

The issue of immigration has nothing to do with the traditional political split between Liberal versus Conservative. Its more a split between those Americans who still have a lick of common sense versus those who are completely nuts. You have support for endless immigration coming from the exteme ends of both the Liberal AND Conservative elites -- with the rest of us Americans stuck in the middle paying for it. On the Left, you have the Bleeding Heart Liberals who's hearts bleed for all "minorities" (so long as they don't have to actually live amongst them). ANd on the right, you have the Rightwing Coporate Conservatives who see millions of new immigrants as nothing more than cattle for them to feed on: a source of endless cheap labor and millions of new people to buy their crappy products. But the overwhelming majority of Americans of ALL political persuasions want to severely reduce our insane level of Mass Immigration, and to put a complete stop to illegal immigration. And we are going to do that. ANd any politician who gets in our way is going to pay dearly for that. Are you listening, Senator McCain and Senator Chappequiddik?


28 posted on 05/16/2005 2:23:29 PM PDT by Ace Backwords
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To: Ace Backwords
I don't support illegal immigration. I support protecting the borders with minefields, concertina wire, listening posts, and helicopter gunships. I support ending various "freebies" that allow them to hit up the taxpayer for medical care, etc. Illegals are dangerous - they bring crime, cultural conflict, and disease.
But I'm not going to stoop to robbing illegal aliens when I kick 'em out. What they have earned (not stole - earned) is theirs.
29 posted on 05/16/2005 3:47:47 PM PDT by Little Ray (I'm a reactionary, hirsute, gun-owning, knuckle dragging, Christian Neanderthal and proud of it!)
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To: SJackson

Hill and dems want it both ways, as usual. They're against illegal immigration (wink, wink...come on in, vote dem.,and we'll get you lots of free goodies,cradle to grave stuff), but we blame employers who hire illegals. We certainly don't blame massive wave of illegal migrants/invaders looking for a better life. So when illegals get the vote, along with felons, they'll vote dem. And then they'll vote to secede and join Mexico or become Aztlan. At that point, GW and the republicans, sitting on their hands/dithering, will wonder what hit them.


30 posted on 05/16/2005 3:53:43 PM PDT by hershey
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To: SJackson

Hill and dems want it both ways, as usual. They're against illegal immigration (wink, wink...come on in, vote dem.,and we'll get you lots of free goodies,cradle to grave stuff), but we blame employers who hire illegals. We certainly don't blame massive wave of illegal migrants/invaders looking for a better life. So when illegals get the vote, along with felons, they'll vote dem. And then they'll vote to secede and join Mexico or become Aztlan. At that point, GW and the republicans, presently sitting on their hands, will wonder what hit them.


31 posted on 05/16/2005 3:55:05 PM PDT by hershey
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To: Little Ray
But I'm not going to stoop to robbing illegal aliens when I kick 'em out. What they have earned (not stole - earned) is theirs.

I would say if they return on their own they can take whatever they've accumulated. If we have to deport, then they forfeit.
32 posted on 05/16/2005 3:58:56 PM PDT by moehoward
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