April 04, 2006

In Which I Alienate Whatever Remains of My Conservative Readership

. . . which I think is down to about two, maybe. Unless Ith has already read me this week; then it's one.

Oh, well, what the hell. Listen:

If I read one more self-righteous back-patting piece by one more pompous naturalized citizen of these United States, bragging about how THEY got into this country LEGALLY even though, yes, it was a hassle and yes, it cost them money, but by gum they saw it through and did things The Right Way blah-diddy-blah-blah-blah, I'm gonna puke.

And then I'm gonna save up my money until I can afford to fly 'em down here, and then we're gonna take a little trip over to Juarez.

I've never been myself, so it'll be an education for the both of us. But let me tell you, if you can look out the car window as we're zooming down I-10 and honestly tell me that if it were your misfortune to have been born there, you'd willingly stay there, and/or deal with the corrupt officials and the waiting lists and the money you don't have because you weren't born with a pot to piss in, and you'd dot all your i's and cross all your t's rather than just sneak across to feed your mama, your papa, your kids, your grandparents, YOURSELF . . . not only are you lying through your teeth, but I'm gonna have to throw you out the car for even trying to pull that one on me.

The speed limit on I-10 going past Juarez is 60, but I'm not good with speed limits. I do about 70. Consider padded clothing.

No way in hell am I awarding Good Citizen points to some joker immigrant, especially some joker immigrant from the British Isles or Western Europe, for coming here legally. Of COURSE you came here legally. You know why? Because you could, dumbass. Because it was possible where you came from. No corrupt official stole your application fee and then laughed at you when you tried to get it back. Nor did that application fee constitute the onliest money you had.

I don't know what to do about the damn U.S./Mexican border, frankly. I haven't got a clue. All I'm trying to say is that people who were fortunate enough to be able to come to this country all legal-like ought to take a minute to consider why that was, and then take another minute to be grateful for it, and then take another minute to ask themselves whether their situations were really so exactly similar to the situations of the guys I see riding around in the backs of landscaping trucks every day.

You know whose opinion I could listen to on the subject of immigration? The opinion of some guy who got here in a homemade raft. But you, the one who flew over on Lufthansa? You need to shut up and sit down, amigo.

I'm not saying it's impossible to come here legally from Mexico. But it's damned difficult in a way you, I, and anyone else who hasn't lived it can't begin to imagine. And meanwhile, if you're impoverished and living in a Mexican border town, every day you're looking at the promised land. Every day. Tell me that wouldn't get to you. Tell me you wouldn't ever say to hell with it and just vote with your feet.

You want to tell me you wouldn't ever even think of sneaking across that border, O Upright Naturalized Citizen?

Let's find out.

Posted by Ilyka at April 4, 2006 11:08 PM in i don't know you tell me

Well, amen sister.

I don't quite understand the demonizing of these people. And, as I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I don't understand why immigration reform always focuses on the supply side.

Posted by: Roxanne at April 5, 2006 04:00 AM

Conservatives don't really want to stem the tide of immigration. They just want to maintain their illegal status. This keeps labor costs down while also preventing the immigrants from some day voting against them. Somehow, they are certain that those votes would go against them. Rep & Dem forces for amnesty aren't all that honest, either, though. They only want it if they can take credit for it. I'm with you, Ilyka, on citizens who came through an open door, themselves, but now want it closed behind them. If anyone can honestly explain their opposition to amnesty or liberal immigration without sounding like they just want to slam the door behind themselves now that they're in, I'm all ears.

Posted by: Rob at April 5, 2006 06:55 AM
I don't quite understand the demonizing of these people.

Right. Border and security concerns, I get. But "I don't see why they can't just enter the country legally, or better yet, fix their own," is usually in my experience just the prelude to a tirade about how Besides, Those People Just Refuse to Speak English and That's So Rude, You Know, They Could Learn it if They Really Wanted to, but They're Just so Lazy.

I'm not saying people who complain along those lines are all racists. I'm just saying I suspect that if they woke up tomorrow to find Mexico had been replaced overnight with a crazy nation of perfect butlers, maids, and chauffeurs, all with a mad urge to come work for U.S. homeowners for free, all speaking deferentially to us in Received Pronunciation, we wouldn't really care so much about the damn border anymore.

Posted by: ilyka at April 5, 2006 12:06 PM

Personally, I agree with damn near everything you said. I'm happy that these people are able to come here and make a better life, that they can take care of their families, that they can keep goods and services cheaper for US consumers.

However, there has to be some incentive for illegals to become US citizens and take up the responsibilities of citizenship along with assuming its rights. How we do/allow that is the real problem.

Posted by: caltechgirl at April 5, 2006 12:24 PM

You know I read you everyday, even if I don't always agree with you. You'll have to work harder at chasing me away, I'm afraid. :)

As far as this post, it's in the disagree column, but that will come as no surpise to you.

Posted by: Ith at April 5, 2006 12:36 PM

Rob: Really? You know what "conservatives" really super-double-secretly think, in contradiction to all available evidence?

(Like that Hispanics tend to be... religious and socially conservative? While they do tend to vote Democrat, there's no obvious reason that should remain so. And as the children of illegals are citizens, and as the President wants an amnesty, er, how exactly is there any evidence for this idea of yours?

And what about the conservatives who are on the record as being in favor of plenty of legal immigration (like Goldberg), or those (like most of the other content on immigration at NRO) who favor less immigration of all kinds, or are okay with immigration so long as it's based on assimilation?

I suppose you can just tell they're lying about what they "really want"? Or they magically don't count as "conservatives"?)

With these mind-reading powers, you should, of course, be fleecing casinos so that you can fund your political ad campaign against the evil conservatives. Right?

Or maybe you don't really have mindreading powers and you're just assuming something that fits your existing political biases? That you wish to believe "conservatives" as a group secretly all want something doesn't make it so.

Ilyka: Was it easy for the Irish to get here? It doesn't seem to be so; by which I mean they were just as poor as the Mexicans today are (the third wave Irish, in the 1860s, that is), it seems. And they were starving, which doesn't seem to be the case in Mexico, where, while people are very, very poor, they're not dropping dead for lack of food.

Also, of course, the Mexicans can walk; a walk through the desert is probably a wash compared to an 1860s voyage across the Atlantic in a crowded ship. Exposure or disease? Pick one. Lots of dead either way.

The Irish, unlike the current Hispanic immigrants, also didn't have an established native-language community to join, with social services dedicated to them.

So, it starts to look like it was harder for the largest group of legal immigrants than for the largest group of current illegals. (And that's not even getting into "no Irish need apply", vs... evidently no problem at all for most Hispanic illegals to get all the work they want.)

Is there some analysis I'm missing here?

(FWIW, my personal stance as a more-or-less libertarian/whig is that I want lots of immigration, but I want all of it above-board, and all of it aimed at assimilation, regardless of who the immigrants might tend to vote for.)

Posted by: Sigivald at April 5, 2006 01:32 PM

Is there some analysis I'm missing here?

That she wasn't talking about immigrants in the 1800s, maybe?

Posted by: Hubris at April 5, 2006 02:00 PM

I am guilty of generalization, Sigivald. My apologies. I should say "tend to" like you do. That makes it all better, doesn't it? What I said about amnesty applies to conservatives and liberals. Both groups "tend to" be OK with it if they get credit for it. By the way, if I can't use the term, conservative, you can't either.

Posted by: Rob at April 5, 2006 02:51 PM


1. There was an established native-language community in the US for the Irish as the Irish spoke English.

2. There were certainly Irish immigration societies that were set up to help the Irish immigrants. They weren't federally funded, but they existed. New York also set up a hospital on Wards Island specifically to service newly-arrived immigrants, since New York City was one of the largest ports of entry.

3. There were no federal immigration restrictions against the Irish when they started migrating to the U.S. The first federal immigration restriction was passed in the 1860s. It restricted Chinese immigrants, but no one else. Ergo, any Irish immigrant was automatically legal. It wasn't until the 1920s that quotas were established. Here's a cite.

Posted by: Lesley at April 5, 2006 04:13 PM

Annex Mexico.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at April 5, 2006 08:04 PM

Or give California back to 'em?

Posted by: Margi at April 5, 2006 08:15 PM

Lesley: 1) Actually, many of the Irish inmmigrants didn't speak English - they spoke Irish (gaelic) - but, yes, a majority were proficient English speakers. (On the other hand, they were discriminated against in the places the ended up to a far greater extent than the Hispanic immigrants of today, by all evidence I can find.)
2) Yes, there were. And there are far more services for the hispanic illegal immigrants of today, are there not?. So, like I said, the Irish still had it harder, no?
3) Yep, nobody was illegal then. But that doesn't, again, affect the rule-of-law argument, does it?

Hubris: She was talking about "the onliest money you had" for immigration, and how easy it was for some people to get it. Is it not therefore plausible to talk about another group whose "onliest money" was spent coming here... legally? And dangerously?

I suppose the real problem was on my end, not reading closely enough, and conflating the naturalised immigrants (ie, those who themselves immigrated here just now) and those descended from them (like the Irish of the 1860s) and saying, in language equally objectionable to Rob and his ilk "my grandpappy came here legally (and with no money, no skills, and facing horrible discrimination, and to avoid starvation), so I don't have a lot of respect for people doing it ilegally now. Because, like, rule of law." - so to speak.

Rob: You call it generalization, I call it partisan bigotry. And changing "all" to "tend" is... still unevidenced, and still requires mind-reading.

(Notice that I managed to not say anything about any political group as a whole, or pretend I could divine secret motives that lack evidence?

You did manage the impressive outcome of asserting both that conservatives wanted to keep the brown man down to keep the Democrats down and keep wages down... and that they'd be happy to ignore that in order to get "credit". Evidently this is bipartisan in your estimation because you also claim Democrats are insincere. Nevermind that your original claim of mind-reading wasn't even aimed at Republicans, but conservatives.


And I was not implying that you could not use the term "conservative". I was implying that you were using it to apply to a group of people distinct from the normal target of the label. By which I mean, to clarify, that the set of people you identify as "conservatives" has precious little overlap with the set of people who actually identify themselves as such.

I can't stand it when people claim to mind-read "liberals" and ascribe baseless motives to them either. See? That was and remains the core of my complaint with your statement. It makes shit up and ascribes it to groups of people.

Every "tend" in my post ("Hispanics tend to vote Democrat") is... documented. The poll results really do show a preference to vote Democrat in people who identify as Hispanic. Likewise with the religious statement (the only two things I said "tend" to be true).

I don't need to postulate hidden motives or secret beliefs. That's the point. Again.

Posted by: Sigivald at April 6, 2006 11:34 AM

She was talking about "the onliest money you had" for immigration, and how easy it was for some people to get it. Is it not therefore plausible to talk about another group whose "onliest money" was spent coming here... legally? And dangerously?

Plausibility isn't the issue, relevance is:

- Ilyka is talking about modern-day, relatively affluent Western European immigrants. She isn't telling the ghosts of starving nineteenth-century Irish immigrants to shut their pieholes.
- The "legally" thing doesn't carry any weight if it's supposed to illustrate a contrast with modern-day illegal immigrants from Mexico. How can you suggest an illustrative difference between the two groups as to obeying the rule of law, when the past Irish immigrants didn't have to make a choice as to whether to obey the law in that respect? It's analogous to honoring a starving man for obeying the law by not stealing chocolate cake, when somebody's handing out free chocolate cake.

Posted by: Hubris at April 6, 2006 12:09 PM

"You call it generalization, I call it partisan bigotry."

Well, you know best.

"And changing "all" to "tend" is... still unevidenced, and still requires mind-reading."

I didn't say "all". That's un-evidenced and requires fabrication.

I based my generalization on past performance and current rhetoric, Sivigald. I refer to conservatives by their team name sometimes but I don't necessarily mean all of their players. When this contentious debate got going, the vast majority of the opposition came from one team. Can you guess which one? I've stated why I believe this. They don't use the same language I do, though. Of course not. They use language like "legal", "above board", "sovereignty", "secure borders", "assimilation", and the like. If those fail, they trot out the always reliable "national security".

Posted by: Rob at April 6, 2006 12:47 PM

Margi - that's also good.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at April 6, 2006 04:53 PM

Value is determined by supply and demand. A world in which human life is precious is a world in which human life is scarce. The welfare state in incompatible with unbounded population growth. Environmental protection is a lost cause with unbounded population growth. Build a wall, then we can start to consider what to do about immigration from the future (natural increase).

There is nothing "libertarian" about giving other people's property away, which is what advocatcy of open borders amounts to.

Posted by: Malcolm Kirkpatrick at April 7, 2006 06:37 AM

I heard Victor Davis Hanson interviewed on the radio the other day...he related a conversation he was having with a friend of his, a naturalized American from Punjab who is trying to bring members of his family to the US... so far, 8 years of waiting -- "My skin is blacker than those marching in support of illegal aliens from Mexico, but I am the racist because I oppose it?"

Either we have the right to secure our borders and set up the rules of immigration or we don't.

I do NOT blame starving people who are desperate enough to do anything to stay alive. I blame the corrupt Mexican government that EXPLOITS them by practically shoving them across the border at gun point because they then represent a cash cow to Mexico via billions of dollars in "remittances" and I blame US employers of ALL classes who turn around and employ illegals in an underground cash economy that sucks money out of MY pocket.

Good lord, Vicente Fox was in Canada recently trying to strong arm THEM into importing Mexican poor to work.

Case in point. There are about 15,000 illegal aliens in the CA prison system. That represents $465 million dollars annually.

There should be NO TALK of amnesty or "guest" worker programs until 1-border is secured 2-criminal prosecution of employers of illegals.

Posted by: Darleen at April 8, 2006 01:42 PM