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Monday, February 26

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Spook hoping not to sound like a republican / May 1, 2006 12:44 AM

First,Iím tired of the comparisons to the" civil rights movement". Itís not that as if ďillegalsĒ have rights that are being denied to them as none citizens. Second there being here drives down wages and the sales taxes- any taxes they pay- donít offset what they use in social services and education esecially given that the average family with have four kids.
Third I can understand why they come here and I understand how this country has created conditions that make them want to flee their own country, but the fact is their countries own economic policies are screwy which is why their tired *&%$ and racist president (who encourages them to leave but send money back home) needs to go and they need to be in their own country getting ride of him and making it better and businesses that hire them need to be fined with jail time and we need to be able to control our boarders

jk1 / May 1, 2006 1:16 AM

This should be obvious. Our sovereignty must be respected, meaning illegal immigration should be curtailed in every way possible. If you are breaking our laws, I'm sorry but you have no legitimate claim to the "rights" afforded US citizens. Beyond recognizing rights afforded to all people (Theoretically of course, not like Bush seems to respect what should be inalienable rights...) under international treaties, illegal immigrants have no rightful claim to vote, receive social services, education, etc.. To argue that any class of people have a special ability to flout a nation's established laws is to pulverize the very cornerstone of this or any country.

At the same time, procedures for gaining legal residency and citizenship should be streamlined, simplified. We should also greatly relax the number of legal immigrants allowed into the US. The arbitrary, often racist caps placed on people from certain countries should be lifted as well. First come, first served.

Anyone who argues that immigrants don't make this country better is a fool. However, this current situation allows wealthy business people to cheat the country of tax revenue while enriching themselves. Simultaneously it's allowing people who are not citizens to intervene in our legislative process, getting de facto voting privileges they have no right to. Finally, it poses a severe security risk. Doesn't it make more sense to know who is taking up residence here?

This issue has become heated beyond common sense. People are missing the bigger picture on both sides of this issue.

Joe / May 1, 2006 6:34 AM

How about adopting a European Union-style open borders agreement?

Currently, the EU grants freedom for citizens of its member states to live and work anywhere within the EU with their spouses and children, provided they can support themselves.

If the uber-racists and xenophobes in Europe can do it, why can't the United States?

CVAL / May 1, 2006 7:04 AM

The questions are simple
1: Does illegal mean illegal?
2:Will anyone ever finish the sentence: "Illegal immigrants will do work Americans won't do? Hold on, let me: Illegal immigrants will do work Americans won't do for SLAVE fucking wages!!!!
3:Who are the real criminals in all of this? Here's a hint, it's not the immigrants. It's the fucking businesses that exploit them.

cory / May 1, 2006 8:06 AM

If you are breaking our laws, I'm sorry but you have no legitimate claim to the "rights" afforded US citizens.

Actually, the US Constitution applies to everyone who is here. At least, it used to.

Emerson Dameron / May 1, 2006 9:17 AM

Businesses love illegal immigration because they get a lot of cheap, expendable workers who need to keep their heads down. They need to keep illegals coming in, but they also need to stoke the hysteria, so the process isn't streamlined. I'm sure they'll win this round, too... which will benefit absolutely everyone.

C-Note / May 1, 2006 9:17 AM

Um, Cory, I'm afraid you don't know what you're talking about with respect to the Constitution. Actually, I'm not sure what you mean at all when you say it applies to everyone in America. Non-citizens don't have any legal "rights" under the Constitution. Actually, what the executive branch of the federal government is doing is choosing not to enforce its own law where non-enforcement helps big business, even though non-enforcement impairs the legal rights of citizens, legal immigrants, etc. Not only that, but you'd be surprised how few "rights" you as a citizen have under the Constitution. Do you see a right to vote in there? Right to privacy? Habeas corpus? Nope.

mike / May 1, 2006 9:29 AM

We've had our fill of bread and circuses. Now, right on cue, we've got a scapegoat for the decline of the middle class.

Chrysler / May 1, 2006 9:30 AM

Spook said:
we need to be able to control our boarders

As a skateboarder of 16 years' standing I take exception to this. You'll never crush my extreme spirit, Spook, so don't even try.

Stephen / May 1, 2006 9:39 AM

"I can understand why they come here and I understand how this country has created conditions that make them want to flee their own country."

Excellent point - one I've never thought of but I think is right on target.

As for the comparisons with the civil rights movement, I also tend to agree with Spook but want to add: Just because something isn't legal doesn't mean it's not right. And vice-versa. In addition to the more "legal" avenues, it was through civil disobedience, and, yes... illegal acts that civil rights were won/recognized for women, people of color, etc.

waleeta / May 1, 2006 10:00 AM

Make 'em citizens, have them pay taxes and continue their honest work.

Then write the President and tell him his attempt to change the subject didn't work.

Chris / May 1, 2006 10:17 AM

Ugh...I am so tired of the shortsighted views on immigrats. In the next decade, China will become a monster of industry. They will be able to produce more goods and services cheaper than any country in the history of mankind. We are going to need every worker possible to compete with that type of industrialized goliath. I say bring 'em in. Demand for goods and services produced here in America is going to drop off sharply unless we can learn to produce goods that are competative in the global market.

The only people who should be punished are employers who take advantage of illegals by paying them under the table and avoid taxes. Let's bring in the immigrants, allow them to work legally, and tax them the same as all other workers.

Avril / May 1, 2006 10:28 AM

I'd like to see Congress crack down on businesses who use Illegal immigrants. Here are some ideas:
1. Jail and fine any employer who knowingly or unknowingly hires illegal immigrants. The fine should start at $1000 per worker and increase based on the revenue of the business. For example: A company with revenues as large as Wal-Mart or any of the big oil companies would pay $10,000 per worker.
2. Create a 'undocumented worker amnesty' tax for business with more than 1 employee. Revenues from this tax would pay for services needed to accommodate the 12 million (undocumented) workers. Revenues would also pay for enforcement of our immigration laws. I know this seems unfair to business. But I'm confident that Congress will give businesses a new tax break to make up for the tax.

Johan / May 1, 2006 10:34 AM

Chris - China has been around for 4000+ years. Suddenly in the next couple of years they are going to become a manufacturering power house? Why all of a sudden now?

I will never believe "China as Champ" propaganda just like I never believed the "Japan as Champ" propaganda, the "Soviet Union as Champ" propaganda, the "Europeans as Champ" propaganda, etc.

Someone who wants to toss the reigning king off the hill (the US) is going to have to give their population far more rights than those in the US have currently, and they are going to have to treat them better as well.

For a nation that has had thousands of years to evolve a vision of how it sees its countrymen, it is woefully behind. I don't see them becoming 'the next big thing' unless they go through a prolonged period of liberalisation & enlightenment.

MikeH / May 1, 2006 11:12 AM

Uh...sorry Johan, but China is already the "next big thing". Don't take my word for it--do the research and you'll see the shockingly huge trade deficit we're currently running with them...

As far as the immigrant debate, I think before one answers, one should first ask oneself if he or should would illegally cross a border as the only means to provide a better life for one's family...

Secondly, how many of you know your own family histories? I think a lot of people would be surprised at how many of their ancestors arrived here illegally or "without papers" (as a side note, that's where the Italian ethnic slur "Wop" is derived)...

And finally, one need only read the inscription at the base of the Statue of Liberty to capture the spirit on which this nation was founded...

Certainly, some immigration reform is needed, but to brand and incarcerate otherwise decent, law-abiding illegal aliens as criminals is both ridiculous and un-American...

Dutch101 / May 1, 2006 11:18 AM

Just a few things that popped up in the conversations that I felt needed to be commented on:
First, with regards to an EU style open border type thing. Immigration, and immigration issues have virtually NOTHING to do with race (race only pops up as an excuse or some sort of validation). Basically it is all economic push/pull issues. The reason we can't "open" the border with Mexico is because then, really, half the country would be here. Trust me, if wages and lifestyle were very disparate in Canada, they'd be hopping the 49th paralell like crazy. In Europe, open borders work because the difference between Germany and France these days, economically speaking, is basically the difference between Virginia and, say, North Carolina.
Second: Really, the guarantees of the Constitution (both specifically enumerated, and found in Due Process or Equal Protection) are, in fact, limited to those here legally, whether by birth or by legal immigration (and even then, legal immigrants don't get all the rights).
Finally: Who the hell knows what should be done about immigration? Should we impose short-sighted, non-indigenous neo-liberal economic policy on all of Central America in the hopes that they will eventually be economically advanced enough to entice people to stay in their country? Well, that hasn't worked. Should we ship them all back and erect fences with gun-towers and guards? That seems impractical and will not ultimately address any of the root causes. So who knows? I personally think that we should get very serious about stemming ILLEGAL immigration, while perhaps expanding in some ways, legal opportunities to become citizens. Maybe it'll take another amnesty (there was one in the '80's, I think) and subsequent reform. Jsut my 2 cents.

drunk angry white guy / May 1, 2006 12:04 PM


Big Jim / May 1, 2006 12:15 PM

>Uh...sorry Johan, but China is already the "next big thing"

I'd call it "flavor of the week"

cory / May 1, 2006 12:21 PM

Amendment XIV - Citizenship rights. Ratified 7/9/1868.

1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Hmmm. I had to go pretty deep to find a statement of to whom the Constitution applies.

The first sentence of XIV-1 defines citizenship. The second sentence says that individual states must respect constitutional rights granted Federally. The third (my bolding) sure as hell seems to guarantee the basic freedoms and DUE PROCESS to ANY PERSON, not "any citizen" within its jurisdiction.

So I guess I am not entirely sans clue. WHAT rights the Constitution gives to those to whom it applies is a completely different issue.

BTW, this is a neat resource.

Fluffy / May 1, 2006 12:26 PM

Re: text"the fact is their countries own economic policies are screwy which is why their tired *&%$ and racist president (who encourages them to leave but send money back home) needs to go and they need to be in their own country getting ride of him and making it better and businesses that hire them need to be fined with jail time and we need to be able to control our boarders"text

Why is it so easy to criticise other countries' presidents and government while the US president is a whack-job? do you realize other countries assume that we all love Bush because he's our president?

To text"Our sovereignty must be respected" - all I can say is

When I first moved to the US, which was legally, because one of my parents is American, I HATED it. I had no choice- I was a kid- I had to stay. After time, I started to like it and realized what a great place this is, especially the opportunities for women (even though women still make less money than men- In the US!)
I chose to be an American, which means more to me than some others who didn't have to make that choice and take it for granted.
Some of you have American family going back many generations. It was YOUR relatives, your great-grandmothers who fought for women's rights. It hasn't been that long since black people stopped being treated so unequally; so barbarically. What is it about this generation that has this awesome sense of entitlement? After all the work your parents, grandparents/greatgrandparents, etc. have done . ...

Do you know how painful it is to leave all your realtives, your childhood memories, your friends, trying to assimilate into a new culture? Can you imagine leaving everything you have now? Sometimes i wonder how I would think if I had stayed. Would I be jaded and feel nothing everytime I saw a begging child with no shoes? Would I feel helpess because poverty is such an overwhelming problem? It sucks to know your government doesn't want to hear you, is too corrupt to change, and nothing will change. What is a person suppossed to do?

I'm pretty happy where I am right now, although I miss my country daily. But I try to make a difference here volunteering, working 2 jobs, etc.

It's a relief to read most of these posts, from intelligent and open-minded people, who, instead of complaining, come up with alternate solutions- that's what the U.S. is all about, righ? :-)

C-Nut, text"non-enforcement impairs the legal rights of citizens, legal immigrants, etc".
----- non enforcement is not affecting me or my legal rights.

Andrew / May 1, 2006 1:25 PM

Cory, C-Note has you on a technicality: the 14th Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights, not the Constitution.

Beyond that, I'm staying out of it.

sarah / May 1, 2006 1:39 PM

Andrew, actually, the Bill of Rights is made up of the first 10 Amendments, so the 14th Amendment isn't part of the Bill of Rights. But aren't ALL the amendments still considered part of the Constitution? I mean, the Supreme Court would uphold the Amendments as much as the original unamended parts of the Constitution, right? I'm just asking...

Technicalities aside, I think that the notion that 'illegal' immigrants have NO rights under our constitution is misguided.

Beyond that, I'm with Andrew.

m / May 1, 2006 1:51 PM

66% of illegal immigrants pay into social security, which they will never collect

62% pay income taxes

less than 10% have kids in public schools

those and more interesting numbers here:

Andrew / May 1, 2006 2:05 PM

Touché, sarah.

C-Note / May 1, 2006 2:05 PM

Cory, Fluffy, Sarah, et al. - good work, but, no. In order to understand the 14th Amendment, well, let me just say that it was drafted and ratified in 1868, after the Civil War, in order to prevent the state courts, legislatures, etc. of the (southern) states from abusing freed slaves and Union officials. Note that it is directed at the STATES, not the federal government. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 had granted citizenship to the slaves, who hadn't been citizens until that point. However, in response to the new law, the Southern states' legislatures ratified Jim Crow laws that restricted the rights of black people in those states. So the 14th was a response to those state laws, and, the purpose of the Amendment was to keep the Supreme Court from declaring the Civil Rights Act unconstitutional. The effect is that the states can't abridge the rights of U.S. citizens. People, leave the legal analysis to the pros, please. Just because you think immigrants are OK doesn't mean they have any significant rights under the Constitution.

C-Note / May 1, 2006 2:07 PM

Sarah- you are right, though. The 14th Am. is considered part of the Constitution, and the 'Bill of Rights' only refers to the first ten amendments.

Judge Smails / May 1, 2006 2:08 PM

Well, the world needs ditch diggers, too.

NSH / May 1, 2006 2:18 PM

Open question...
Has anyone done any studies to see if Illegal immgrants filed income tax, what percentage would get rebates instead of owing?

Meg / May 1, 2006 2:19 PM

"People, leave the legal analysis to the pros, please."

The Constitution is a relatively short text, and I would wager that its authors intended for it to be read. Kudos to those who actually went to the text in order to answer a tricky legal question: Who is afforded Constitutional protection: citizens only, persons who are in the States legally, or all persons? Notwithstanding the historical context in which the 14th Amendment was passed, the text of thing seems to me to be a good basis for an argument regarding the scope of its protection.

C-Note / May 1, 2006 2:43 PM

Meg- you're right; the Constitution is fairly short. However, it's not even remotely straight-forward. Luckily, for those of us who are truly interested in these sorts of things, there are libraries full of books, an internet full of information, and even professional schools dedicated to interpreting the Constitution. Not only that, but how much do you think you know about the intent of the Framers, whether they intended for it to be read, and by whom? Again, the 14th applies only to state action, not to federal agencies, like the federal courts, the NSA, INS, etc. The text of the amendment might be a "good basis for an argument regarding [its] scope," but that doesn't change the fact that it's federal law, and is only a restriction on the states' ability to limit the rights of U.S. CITIZENS, not illegal migrant workers. You can argue whatever you want; the law is still the law, regardless of whether the government wants to enforce it.

mike / May 1, 2006 2:49 PM

C-Note, I find refreshing your ability to maintain a detached air of superiority in the midst of any civil argument.

C-Note / May 1, 2006 2:50 PM

For amateur legal scholars and junior G-men, etc.: you might be interested in the "Dummies Guide to the 14th Amendment." Here's the link: And no, this is not where I get my information, although it is pretty accurate.

jk1 / May 1, 2006 2:51 PM

Actually, if one reads the statute in question, it refers to "due process of law". Due process is what legal petitioners receive. If the government has not been formally made aware of the existence of a person or their wish to live here, how can they take part in due process?

It mentions JURISDICTION as well. The second passage says that states may not abridge the rights of those within it's jurisdiction. Illegal immigrants are not technically part of a state's jurisdiction given that they were not born here nor have they been naturalized. This is why there is so much controversy over whether we can incarcerate without foreign nationals who have commited crimes as opposed to just deporting them.

This is also why it's absurd that to advance that idea that people here illegally apparently should receive all of the rights of citizens but not be subject to any of our laws and have no obligation to be vetted or fulfill any of the responsibilities citizenship requires. Do you people have ANY idea of what you are implying? Claiming that almost all illegal immigrants abide by the law, which I'm sure they do, isn't relevant. The issue is whether they are BOUND to do so.

I do agree that the people who are targetted with the most scrutiny are the employers. They and the politicians they pay off are the real villains in all of this. The immigrants themselves are caught in the middle of an unfortunate game. The only solution here is to vastly expand legal immigration opportunities while enforcing the laws on the books.

By the way, whether China or any other country is an emerging superpower has nothing to do with US immigration policy. We do need, and should want, immigrants. They should just be here legally.

Also, it's absurd to compare this campaign for rights for illegal immigrants with suffrage for women or civil rights for African Americans because, wait for it, WOMEN AND AFRICAN AMERICANS WERE CITIZENS! By definition, they were born here and their rights were enfranchised by the constitution. These rights were being denied to them ILLEGALLY, therefore it was wholly appropriate to engage in civil disobedience. The day we allow noncitizens to dictate our policies is the day we cease to exist as a nation.

C-Note / May 1, 2006 2:58 PM

Well, Mike, I'm glad you recognized the superiority... I appreciate that. I only jump in when I know something about the subject, though. Unlike some people. I'm just not sure I want to argue about Constitutional law anymore with folks who didn't read the 14th Amendment until today. I mean, I'm glad they're reading it... Can't knock that.

G-Spot / May 1, 2006 4:00 PM

Geez, C-nut, you intoxicate me with your knowledge. You know what really turns me on? The way you deliver the message. That tacky, inferiority complex ridden stink that all your posts have, oh, you can educate me anyday!
The way you put other people down gets me totally hot and bothered.
I can't wait til you ridicule my post.


C-Note / May 1, 2006 6:17 PM

G-Spot, AKA Fluffy - all I did was explain that, even under the 14th Amendment, illegal immigrants have no federal legal rights. Why? Because Cory was misinforming everybody by saying that illegals are protected under the Constitution. I merely clarified a not-so-obscure bit of constitutional law, for those who might be interested. Don't you ever have the desire to correct blatant falsehoods writ large where they pop up in public conversation? Or do you just whine all day while contributing nothing useful?

Spook Trying to get home / May 1, 2006 6:17 PM

Hope you donít mind a cursory fact check. Any time some one quotes ďThe Intellectual ConservativeĒ and Fox News pundit Tony Snow who is behind the most of the off based quotes here,( not the Intell Conser) I naturally get suspicious. Whatís even more ďinterestingĒ is that you use the Intellectual Conservative to make a argument they donít agree with except for the author of the "opinion" that reliase on just Tony Snow, who I consider the Clarence Thomas of the right wing pundit world, valued for his color, but not his intellectual strength, or lack their off.
I would like to counter/present facts from the U.S Dep of Ed that I feel are more reliable. They report over 1.5 million school-aged illegal immigrants residing in the United States and over 2 Million U.S.-born siblings that can be divided among the states using government estimates of the illegal alien population. Using each state's per-pupil expenditure, cost estimates for educating illegal immigrants are over $1.092 billion in 2002. This has course has increased. North Carolina is now estimated $210 million yearly, New York, the $3.1 billion, and California 7.7 billion. Remember bilingual education cost more and I wont get into the additional drain that these resources take away from classes where English is the primary language.
I have also culled more facts from and organization that works with the United States government, and numerous universities, like Harvard, Yale Georgetown, and the University of Chicago, The Center for Immigration Studies, a independent, non-partisan, non-profit research organization, devoted exclusively to research and policy analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States.
They report that while some immigrants pay social security that they will never see, the vast majority receive "under the table cash" and pay nothing. The study below is based on the total impact of illegal immigration on the federal budget. Most studies look at state and local levels and only examined costs or tax payments, not both. ďBased on Census Bureau data2002( remeber there has been an explosion recently), this study finds that, when all taxes paid (direct and indirect) and all costs are considered, illegal households created a net fiscal deficit at the federal level of more than $10 billion. They estimate that, if there were an amnesty for illegal aliens, the net fiscal deficit would grow to nearly $29 billion.

Among the findings:
∑Households headed by illegal aliens imposed more than $26.3 billion in costs on the federal government in 2002 and paid only $16 billion in taxes, creating a net fiscal deficit of almost $10.4 billion, or $2,700 per illegal household.

∑Among the largest costs are Medicaid ($2.5 billion); treatment for the uninsured ($2.2 billion); food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches ($1.9 billion); the federal prison and court systems ($1.6 billion); and federal aid to schools ($1.4 billion).

∑With nearly two-thirds of illegal aliens lacking a high school degree, the primary reason they create a fiscal deficit is their low education levels and resulting low incomes and tax payments, not their legal status or heavy use of most social services.

∑On average, the costs that illegal households impose on federal coffers are less than half that of other households, but their tax payments are only one-fourth that of other households.

∑Many of the costs associated with illegals are due to their American-born children, who are awarded U.S. citizenship at birth. Thus, greater efforts at barring illegals from federal programs will not reduce costs because their citizen children can continue to access them.
∑If illegal aliens were given amnesty and began to pay taxes and use services like households headed by legal immigrants with the same education levels, the estimated annual net fiscal deficit would increase from $2,700 per household to nearly $7,700, for a total net cost of $29 billion.

Now again you won't find me drinking beers on the boarder with the Minute Men, or at any right wing gun shows and FYI Lucy, I have had far more criticisms against W.Bush than V. Fox, but for us to white wash the major problems of immigration to this country would be like me white washing the major problem Iím gonna have trying to get home tonight from downtown to Logan Square because they choose/wanted to have this march to be most disruptive, to demonstrate their power in America, hence the also don't by any thing solgan. Finally and Iím sorry to say, but C.Notes remarks seem just as smart ass/smart alecky as the general smart ASS remarks that float on this venue, including mine. Isnít that why we enjoy it more than say a work memo? It seems like the problem is that she/he? Knows their facts. In my humble opinion. I feel like those that are attacking him are being anti intellectual. As people have gotten away with worse with out this sort of wrath
But over all I have found this debate very enlightening

MikeH / May 1, 2006 7:03 PM

People are throwing around a lot of big $ figures in the national debate over immigration, but as I am not an economist, it's hard for me to view those numbers with any real perspective...

That being said, an estimate being circulated this week by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) puts the current cost of the Iraq war at $320-billion, and running an additional $200-million a day with no end in sight. What tangible results have those expenditures brought us but 2,000+ dead American soldiers, sky-rocketing fuel prices and financial windfalls for the war machine?

A non sequitur this may seem, but my point is if people are going to express their outrage in dollars, then some fair comparisons should be made. Personally, I'd rather see my tax dollars go towards empowering this new wave of immigrants (illegal or not)than being squandered half-way around the world...

fluffy / May 1, 2006 7:09 PM

Thanks, C-Note. You've really told me. Actually, in every discussion that you feel you are the authority in, you've put me in my place regardless of how mean spirited your posts got. I shared personal experiences on this post. I didn't put anyone down, I just shared. Never did I say that I was the expert at anything. But I am a legal immigrant/citizen and I do know some illegal citizens. Some of my friends marched; but I didn't. I didn't feel it was my duty to do so.

I will now stop contributing anything for that matter to this website, since I don't contribute anything useful. It's people like you that take the fun out of this type of website with your spite and attitude. I guess, as Spook said " I feel like those that are attacking him are being anti intellectual".

Well, I guess I'm not intellectual enough. Good bye.

cory / May 1, 2006 7:54 PM

C-Nut: I QUOTED the 14th Amendment verbatim, momo. Mislead this, as my NJ Italian immigrant ancestors would have said.

C-Note's Right / May 1, 2006 7:59 PM

Yeah Cory, you quoted it verbatim, bells for you...

You also badly misinterpreted/misrepresented its intent...

cory / May 1, 2006 8:21 PM

Glad you were there when it was passed, dude. You are remarkably well preserved.

I have actually contacted a law professor on the Question. If I get an answer, I will be sure to post it here. Word for word.

Or might that also be misleading?

MikeH / May 1, 2006 8:25 PM

People, leave the legal analysis to the pros, please.

Damn. Why didn't anyone inform me that only erudite discussions were allowed on this board? Eh...for future reference, are the rest of us cretins to presume that "pros" refers strictly to lawyers, college professors, television political pundits, etc?

Dutch101 / May 1, 2006 8:33 PM

C-Note really has a pretty technically advanced, and, according to current Supr. Ct. jurisprudence, accurate explanation going. The Supreme Court has dealt with Equal Protection issues relating to illegal immigrants, and pretty consistently held that ILLEGAL immigrants, don't have EQUAL PROTECTION. That is fact.

C-Note's Right / May 1, 2006 8:41 PM

No, it just seems to be the opinion of every constitutional law scholar I've read in relation to this issue.

Your reading of it is out of line with the historical context under which the amendment was passed. Your statements also don't agree with with established supreme court precedents since, such as the one that provides citizenship to the US born children of LEGAL immigrants. Lastly, your reading even runs contrary to the language that's present within the statute in question.

Just because you desperately want it to read otherwise doesn't make it so.

By the way, you've added pretty much nothing of substance to this debate in that you keep reiterating the same points over and over again without elaboration and without rebutting points that have been made to refute what you have posted.

cory / May 1, 2006 8:57 PM

Some people really not have way with civil discourse.

I am not a lawyer. Are you? Not that it would render me necessarily wrong, but you (both?) insist on being deferred to. Why?

I have asked a real legal scholar, of the Constitutional variety, for an opinion on this matter. If I get one, and share it, maybe then I will attain "substance" in your eyes. One can only hope.

I actually scrolled back: I made precisely TWO posts dealing with the issue at hand; the second was the quotation. Hardly anyone's definition of "repetition.' I have wasted more oxygen trying to have a friendly conversation with rude people who brook no disagreement and attempt to cow those who dare to disagree.

C-Note's an asshole / May 1, 2006 9:24 PM

Whether he's "right" or not (and let's remember that interpreting the law is a lot like interpreting scripture), he reminds me of the comic book guy from the Simpsons. You weaken your argument when you insult people. I don't have an argument. I don't know shit about immigration law. I just think C-Note is an asshole.

PS: C-Note's Right = C-Note

C-Note's Right / May 1, 2006 9:34 PM

Oh sure Cory, both you and fluffy are the victims of a rhetorical lynching. Give me a break, you haven't been able to conjure a single source that backs up your contentions or that refutes what C-Note or others have posted.

Then, when you decide to be snarky instead of offering any reasoned defense of your arguments, it's apparently all fair but when you receive the same in return you bristle and cry foul. (See your comment from 7:54) It seems everyone must be civil except for you, correct?

You are right however in that I had attributed two posts to you that were entered by other commenters. Still, there have been numerous rebuttals to your 12:21 post, and yet you haven't countered them. Your post from 7:54 however indicates that you stand by your previous reading of the 14th amendment, you just don't say why. You did however take a moment to offer an insult. Hence, I stand by the greater point I made in my last post. That is, despite many counterarguments, you continue to post without adding anything new.

By the way, I am not C-Note, I just happen to agree with him.

Jennifer / May 1, 2006 10:27 PM

I think it's great that these people care enouh to get the rights, and that any attention brought to the subject is a step in the right direction.
I also really respect a group that can have a huge rally and manage to plan it so flawlessly that there were minimal injuries and I was still able to get through my commute to Indiana and back.
Hey, sometimes its just all about me.

spook / May 1, 2006 11:11 PM

Mike H

Your quote from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) that puts the current price of the war and your point, and I quote and question ďthe ď$320-billion, and running an additional $200-million a day with no end in sight. What tangible results have those expenditures brought us but 2,000+ dead American soldiers, sky-rocketing fuel prices and financial windfalls for the war machine?Ē Seems as clear as mud to me because your source is an established credible institution i.e. CRS.

It doesnít take an economist to understand a credible source and get basic numbers. And yes the 320 billion- and running - tab is real, real real scary, as is the rising national debt and so should the rising coast of immigration which is as real as the 84 California hospitals and counting closed as a direct result of the rising number of illegal aliens and their non-reimbursed tax on the system including "Anchor babies," born to illegal aliens, but who instantly qualify as citizens for welfare benefits and have caused an enormous rises in Medicaid costs and stipends under Supplemental Security Income and Disability IncomeĒ -quote Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.
My point is, WE canít afford to ignore one over the other. And Iíd rather see the 320 billion and rising used else ware too, just as Iíd rather have a responsible immigration policy and stand for that. It shouldnít be either or. And I know you folks are gonna love this one but, Fluffy on your way out of this conversation as is your choice, please consider what personal stories are worth,( and yes I read yours) solid public policy is about or should be about facts, not fluff. Itís not about a heart warming story. Itís about 13, million illegal immigrants, mostly from one country streaming through our porous boarders, keeping wages way artificially low, taxing government resources to the brink, while the Government of Mexico gives and encourages its citizens to give the finger, to American law, Remember the Mexican "Nothing Gringo" campaign was timed to coincide with the "Day Without Immigrants" boycott in the United States. Again I am not for no immigration as I stated before, I am for responsible immigration policy to keep America as a melting pot that works for all

matty / May 2, 2006 10:43 AM

We should call thist thread "liberal arts majors gone wild"

Cinnamon / May 2, 2006 11:44 AM

I think every single one of us, especially in Chicago, benefits because undocumented workers are here working for less than documented workers or citizens would. If you've purchased a condo or had any work done on your home, it's likely that undocumented day laborers were involved. If you've eaten at a restaraunt, it's likely undocumented workers made your food. If you work in an office building, it's likely the person who dusts your desk and takes out your trash is an undocumented worker.

These protests may not have much in common with suffrage marches or civil rights marches. But they have a great deal in common with the labor protests and marches from the turn of the century. Most of the people who were being taken advantage of by the textile, meat-packing, steel, etc. industries were immigrants or children of immigrants. We have our 4-hour-work week, our paid time off, and the ability for our children to attend schools to thank for those people who stood up and protested and went on strike. It's a labor issue.

Before we complain about how much of a drain these people would be on our social service rolls, why don't we wonder why their employers aren't giving them health insurance, livable wages, etc. Employers benefit at the expense of their employees health. We benefit because our homes cost less, our food costs less, our clothes cost less.

reenie / May 2, 2006 11:58 AM

I am the granddaughter of an Irish immigrant, a U.S. citizen, and a resident of the Back of the Yards neighborhood in Chicago.

Last night on TV I saw UIC expert Nik Theodore quoted as saying his research indicates illegal immigrants are a net gain for the state of Illinois. Many people complain about illegals who don't pay taxes, but more do than I think is commonly acknowledged, frankly because many are working using fake Social Security cards, which means they pay into the system and take out nothing. (Not that I think using a fake SSN is so great, but that's what happens when it is done.) What is also well known is that illegal immigrants are much less likely then U.S. citizens of similar income to use social services like Medicaid, food stamps, etc. The one place where I would agree they are a cost is on medical services for the uninsured, but since we can't seem to insure 44 million people in this country, if 12 million of them are all the illegal immigrants we've got, I think there's a bigger problem than immigration at work on access to medical care.

For an on the ground perspective, there is no question in my mind that illegal immigrants are a net asset in my neighborhood. Most of the people standing on the corner selling drugs, pimping and prostituting themselves publicly on my block are U.S. citizens. Most of the people who keep their kids in the house and work jobs are not. (There are exceptions on both sides, but I'm calling it like I see it here.)

I see nothing wrong with the McCain-Kennedy plan to give people who have been here for years a way to legalize themselves. They go to the end of the line to get a green card, they don't butt in front of people who made it through the red tape maze legally, they learn English, they pay a fine. Who among us has not paid a speeding or a parking ticket in their lifetime? Let that person cast the first stone about illegal immigration.

And I really support the DREAM Act, which would make it possible for illegal immigrants who arrived here as children, like most of the kids on my block, to get financial aid to go to college and to apply for legal status once they've completed two years of college. If we don't do something to make it possible for young kids who were brought here from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and other countries to make a life for themselves in the U.S., we're creating a generation of gangbangers with no future. We're wasting a ton of intellectual potential. And don't talk to me about deporting them. They grew up here. As one other smart poster somewhere said this morning, "They're more American than any immigrant will ever be."

Kuz / May 2, 2006 12:19 PM

Just a year ago, the conservative argument about Social Security was that we don't have enough young families anymore, the Baby Boomers are retiring, and SS will run out of money. Oh no!

Now, they're worried that too many young immigrant families will move here and use up our social services? Wha?

Leaving aside the heated legal interpretation on this thread, there's plenty of evidence that Chicago's immigrants make things better.

High legal immigration limits and a path to earned citizenship will cut back on the law-breaking and increase security. Good times.

Michael / May 2, 2006 12:38 PM

I sent this letter to Speaker Hastert today. It sums up where I'm at pretty well.

Speaker Hastert,

I had the pleasure of attending part of the rally held in Aurora yesterday in protest of HR 4437, Rep. Sensenbrenner's bill to make illegal entry into the country and aid to illegal aliens felonies. I enjoyed seeing all of these people, who do so much to support our local economy with their hard work, come out into the light of the public square. We rely on immigrants far more than we realize, Mr. Speaker. Their labor helps to support the standard of living and unprecedented range of opportunities we enjoy in modern day America.

One of my favorite chants as we walked was, "Let us pay taxes." Senators McCain and Kennedy have the right idea. Strengthing the security of our border must go hand in hand with providing clear pathways to citizenship. A dam does not stop a river dead in its tracks, Mr. Speaker. Its use comes in redirecting a stream to desired ends. Becoming a citizen was far easier when our ancestors came from Europe in past generations. Let's allow our Hispanic brethren that same opportunity our ancestors enjoyed. They want to fully participate in the responsibilities and the rights of being American. Why do we force them to the shadows? Please take their words to heart and help temper the House's position when this bill goes to conference. Thank you for your kind attention.

jk1 / May 2, 2006 12:43 PM

Cinnamon - 'Our' clothes and homes cost less now, but I guarantee that no one will benefit from the downward pressure on wages created by illegal laborers in the long term.

Cheap labor provided by illegal workers is one of the ways we are leveraging the future to pay for our excessive lifestyles today. Over the long term, your increased buying power will disappear. The next generation (citizens and non-citizens alike) will find that they are much less likely to be in a position to buy homes, cars, and start businesses than previous generations thanks to the massive debt we are accumulating today.

The only way through this is to tighten enforcement, especially of businesses that take advantage of illegal immigrants, at the same time we increase opportunities for people to immigrate legally.

I agree with Reenie that illegal immigrants who are here now should be allowed to petition legally, but only after cases that are already in the system have been adjudged.

However, I don't agree that children of illegal immigrants should have a special entitlement to receive a college education. The children of inpoverished US citizens pay both for their parent's mistakes and society's neglect all the time. We constantly waste the intellectual potential of our children in this country, especially children who grow up poor and through no fault of their own. It's not just an immigrant phenomenon. They should all have the right to a quality education and if they qualify, be assisted in attending college. That said, the children of illegal immigrants should still have to go through the petition process, become legal residents and THEN be enabled to receive financial aid at our universities.

JM / May 2, 2006 1:10 PM

The question is typical of how people are blurring the major issue. This is NOT about immigration rights it's about ILLEGAL immigration rights. You will never hear anyone talk about how they support Illegal Immigration rights only about how they support"undocumented" worker rights because of all the PC issues. If someone can explain the difference I'd like to know.

As for me I'm most like the now silent majority who support Legal Immigration rights and oppose illegal immigration rights.

reenie / May 2, 2006 1:22 PM

I agree wholeheartedly with jk1 that poor children whose parents are U.S. citizens, and poor children who lack citizenship (or even legal status) all need both better academic preparation and better access to college.

I think where we disagree is in his calling it a "special entitlement" to give children of illegal immigrants a path to college. I do not see the difference between those children of illegal immigrants who are U.S. citizens and those children of illegal immigrants who had the bad luck to be born on the wrong side of the border before arriving in this country. (I will take a pass on the issue of unaccompanied minors, usually teenagers, who travel here on their own or to join family members--perhaps jk1 and I could hammer out a compromise there.)

But if you are brought here as a two-year-old and you grow up here, I see nothing but economic advantage to the U.S. as a whole to make the same opportunities to attend college available as are available to U.S. citizens. And I can tell you I see plenty of disadvantage to us if those young people don't believe they can go forward in life.

Besides, a great deal of government-sponsored college aid given these days comes in the form of loans rather than grants. The lifetime earnings of a college graduate are something like a million dollars more than those of a high school graduate. It seems to me that we would be wise to consider this an investment (in future earnings and tax returns) than a "special entitlement."

Kuz / May 2, 2006 1:45 PM

JM -- What if we changed the law, and immigrants were all legal now? How would you feel about that?

JM / May 2, 2006 2:03 PM

KUZ- What you are describing would be an across the board amnesty.
History has shown this has been ineffective in curbing Illegal immigration(SEE 1986 amnesty) We do have a problem that has affected legal immigrants and citizens.
Deporting 12 Million people is not the answer.

If you look at President Bush's plan it seems like a fair compromise vs. the extreme plans by the left and right. Most liberals though are too mad at Bush to give him any credit for this.

Blagg the Axman / May 2, 2006 2:32 PM

As a mercenary, I know what itís like to ply my trade with little regard for borders, being paid under the table by the landed gentry who refuse to soil their buttermilk-smooth hands with the dirty jobs I do to put bread on my table and ale in my belly. I chose this life because there is no alternative for me. After my beloved Ariannaís life was taken by roving thugs in the employ of the dark lord Kayne, and my fatherís farm scorched by their fire, I found myself with nothing left to live for and nothing left to lose, save the pockmarked blade of my axeómy only friend left in a world falling further under the spell of darkness with each passing day.

I suspect itís a similar case with these noble demonstrators.

MikeH / May 2, 2006 2:40 PM

Huzzah! Blagg's words ring just as true in our day as they did in his...

The spook saw you Blagg! / May 2, 2006 5:39 PM

Ahhhh but I wondered who you were oh Blagg the Axman! For I saw you yesterday at the Rally!
Indeed you were hard to miss! Wearing your
iron helmet with Ram horns protruding form both sides and heavy armour made of byrnie, atop your shirt of chainmail that hung down to your
bison fur covered leggings and boots. Strapped to your back was your standard weapon that has served you through so many a battle
a long handled wood spear with a small edge of metal
that you use to hack and slash and of course your.
shield on your back made of wood and Ox hide,
but brave and noble warrior you left your sign
behind on the Union Park lawn that read
"Protect Our Rights Now!" in green bold painted letters!

cory / May 2, 2006 6:45 PM

I have received an answer from a professor at Well-Know Law School:

"The short answer is that yes, immigrants, even those without
do have some rights under the Constitution. For example, the Supreme Court has ruled that undocumented kids cannot be excluded from public schools.

Equally obvious, non-citizens do not have the full rights of citizens, e.g., the right to vote."

Moon / May 2, 2006 7:22 PM

How would you feel if there were 12 million illegal Iraqis in the US?


/I'll bet the Mexicans wouldn't like it much if their immigration quota was lowered because 12 million illegal Canadians came into the US.

Julie / May 2, 2006 7:43 PM

I am thrilled that there is so much written on this subject and my eyes hurt reading all those comments. I would like to note though, as a former illegal alien, and now just a regular alien, that I have ALWAYS paid taxes, even when illegal, (the INS doesn't report to the IRS, or didn't).
Also, I am baffled by Americans who don't understand why someone who sees better opportunities in another country wouldn't try to score some of that opportunity for themselves.

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