Issues, Loans and Dreams, Oh My

One of the first questions people always ask me in regards to my work with SAAVY is, “What issues are important to South Asian American youth?” “What issues are important to South Asian American youth?”In surveys our organizers took of the South Asian youth (18-25 yr.) community during the 2004 elections where we asked “What issues are important to how you will vote?” the top three were, 1) The war in Iraq, 2) healthcare and 3) economy. Though these were issues that influenced them on how they voted, it is interesting to note how it is different from a survey taken earlier where we asked “What issues are important to you as a South Asian American?” Our results showed that the top 5 issues, in no particular order, were 1) racial profiling 2) hate crimes, 3) affirmative action 4) globalization and 5) cost of education.

The cost of education has been a big topic in the news recently, and is an important issue to most of the youth I talk to. I know I can’t be the only one affected by the recent hike in interest rate of federal student loans.

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) introduced bills before the Easter recess that would halt the scheduled July 1 increase in interest rates for federally subsidized student loans, reducing the fixed rate from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent. Miller and Durbin last week helped launch a coordinated grassroots campaign aimed at promoting the bill among college students and their parents… Durbin and Miller’s “raid” refers to the $12.5 billion cut in student aid programs passed earlier this year as part of budget reconciliation, but Keller said the bulk of the cuts hit banks and other lenders in the pocket, not students. [link]

Here we are fighting for a decrease in the federal student loan interest rate, but what about undocumented immigrant students out there that don’t even have access to apply for federal aid? For them, we have the DREAM Act.

Of the estimated 10 million undocumented immigrants in this country, approximately 1 million come from Asia. Most South Asians in the United States are unaware of the number of undocumented people in our community and the obstacles they face. [link]

Two bills recently introduced in Congress seek radically different outcomes for undocumented U.S. residents…A provision in the Senate bill, called the DREAM Act, would allow some undocumented residents to qualify for legal residency if they arrived in this country before age 16 and at least five years before the bill’s enactment. [link]

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p>I’ve recently been reading Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, where ideas of education as a civil right, not as privilege, are expounded. Everyone should have the right to be educated and here in the U.S. we do, at least through high school. But should the line of privilege be drawn at college? Sure, some would say that is what we have a college admissions process for, and for the people that can’t afford it, we have community colleges. But what about the undocumented immigrants that don’t have the privilege to access even that? SAALT reports that some of the challenges these immigrants may face are difficulty in paying tuition because their parents are not allowed to work, being ineligible for state financial aid, and being forced to pay expensive out-of-state tuition. The DREAM Act would allow undocumented immigrants to at least compete for financial aid and receive in-state tuition.

Here in California, State Senator Cedillo is at the forefront of SB 160, known as the California Dream Act, hearing date June 6, 2006. As of this month, the three largest higher education institutions in the state, California Community Colleges, California State University, and University of California support these efforts.

This bill would require the community colleges, California State Universities, and request to the University of California, to establish forms and procedures that will enable “AB 540″ students to apply and compete for all student aid programs administered by these segments. This bill would also allow AB 540 students to receive the community college BOG Fee Waiver. [link]

I think this is a huge step. Currently 8 other states have passed legislation that expand students’ access to higher education and 21 other states are considering legislation affecting the access. As in most legislations, what happens in states can influence federal legislation. Of course, what happens with HR 4437 in the next month will have a direct effect on how things with the DREAM Act will be played out at the federal level.

Having the right to access higher education, whether it be for documented students to have a lower student loan interest rate, or for undocumented students to apply for financial aid, is an issue that impacts almost all South Asian American youth these days. I highly encourage you, my fellow mutineers, to at least learn, if not take action, on both legislation.

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About Taz

Taz is an activist, organizer and writer based in California. She is the founder of South Asian American Voting Youth (SAAVY), curates MutinousMindState.tumblr.com and blogs at TazzyStar.blogspot.com. Follow her at twitter.com/tazzystar

48 thoughts on “Issues, Loans and Dreams, Oh My

  1. . The DREAM Act would allow undocumented immigrants to at least compete for financial aid and receive in-state tuition.

    Does it consider the taxation issue, ie fine allow them instate tution only if they can show they or their parents paid state taxes some how. O.w it appears to rob peter to pay paul.

  2. to build, a bit: HR 4377 contains the following elements:

    • 700 mile fence along US-Mexico border
    • felony penalties for helping illegals
    • being undocumented becomes a felony
    • laws are RETROACTIVE — NO judicial review
    • NO statute of limitations
    • federal immigration laws to be LOCALLY enforced by local police who have NO training
    • students who take fewer than 12 credits are immediately out of status thus felons
    • children of undocumented become wards of the state

    It passed in the House, with 92% republicans supported, 82% democrats opposed (source)

    The demonstrations earlier this month were to encourage the Senate to get on the ball and reject Frist’s bil, pass the McCain-Kennedy get rid of HR 4437

    a great resource is http://www.thenyic.org — which isn’t working for some reason… but keep in your rolodex and check back.

    also chek out Justice for Immigrants for a break down of HR 4437

  3. darnit. we need an edit feature!!! in my defense, its 2AM out here and i have barely started my paper. and i only goofed once out of three.

  4. its not as simple as just waving your hands, calling education a “human right,” and then calling it a day. someone has to PAY for all these subsidized student loans and financial aid grants. its one thing to implement these programs using the general tax revenues for the benefit of other citizens of the country. but now we’re seriously talking about using taxpayer money to not even aid immigrants who come here legally but actually subsidizing ILLEGAL immigrants who broke our very laws to get here?? this is seriously madness! no one has a “human right” to reach into someone else’s pocketbook to get their tuition money.

  5. its not as simple as just waving your hands, calling education a “human right,” and then calling it a day.

    yep especialy considering education is expensive, and is funded by state and federal government. It does not seem fair to the taxpayer of the state whose taxes pay for the schools upkeep. I wouldnt have a problem w/ a loan program. the assumption here is that the fellow who is illegaly wanted to be here so after getting his education he will stay here and pay back the loan.

  6. re: people who view seeing ‘education’ as a ‘human right’ ridiculous/utopian/unworkable…

    allowing undocumented immigrants access to education would help to raise not only their own standards of living and that of their families and communities, it would also help society as a whole.

    many illegal immigrants work in low wage jobs which pushes the average market wage lower. education is the key way not only for them to break out of what often becomes a destructive cycle of poverty, it also helps to raise the average wage/standard of living for everyone.

    so those concerned primarily with their own pocketbooks should stop and realise that human rights advocates do NOT seek to steal from the rich to help minority groups. instead they realise that the interconnectedness of individuals means that raising the living standards of the disadvantaged will help to raise everyone’s living standards.

    Why are people ILLEGAL immigrants anyway? Because of circumstances beyond their control that lead them to take this difficult decision. Turning our backs on them is not going to solve the problem. Accepting that in order to help everyone, we need to help them too, does address the issue.

  7. tashie @ 9,

    Very well put. We talk so much about how tolerance, charity, and the conviction that ‘all are interconnected’ are part of south asian religio-cultural traditions. Here’s where it counts.

  8. i think that hatecrimes and steriotypes are a big part of the problems in our society

  9. Taz,

    I think the DREAM Act is a great idea and have for years and I respect you for pushing things that you feel are right (because they are :) and helping others do so. However, I’m going to point out again that this is not how legislation is going to get passed on immigration. If the provisions of the DREAM Act are included with the Senate Bill (not HR 4437–I’m talking about the one that people talk about as the good bill), they’re going to be traded off with a much harsher regime of criminalization and enforcement and/or massive deportation (that’s what “leave the country and then reapply to get back in” means).

    You’ve said you’re in policy school, so you know–it’s not as if some great bill from the Senate is going to pass while the evil HR 4437 won’t–it’s rather that provisions of both bills–which are both currently bad–are going to get incorporated into a broader bill and the fight is over how much of each. Just like how provisions of both the McCain Kennedy and Specter Bills got included togeter in the Senate Judiciary Bill, and then provisions of both the Senate Judiciary Bill and Frist’s Bill got included together, and if something emerges, provisions of a Senate Bill and a House bill will get included together, in a conference committee with like 10 people in it, no accountability, and virtually unfettered freedom to take out whatever they want and put in whatever they want (including the provions of the DREAM Act).

    And then all several hundred pages will get sent back for approval to each house–likely withouth much scrutiny–and then signed into law (since Bush hasn’t vetoed a single bill yet). People who supported these measures will wake up and realize that, at best, some people will receive some benefits (like people who have been hear for more than 10 years or 15 years or whatever it is) while the vast majority of both undocumented and documented people (including those people who receive the green cards or the people who get the benefits of the DREAM Act) will be subjected to or will have their family memebers still subjected to an even more stepped up regime of jailings, deportaitons, and militarized borders (so maybe we’ll see 300,000 deportations in the next year to show how tough the DHS is on illegal immigration rather than the 200,000 or so this year). Some of the supporters of the Senate bill actually know that this is going to happen (i.e. some of the powerbrokers in DC) but don’t care, but the rest are walking into a trap or trying to play defense the best they can (inadvisedly, I would say).

    Bottomline, the end result may be that anyone who narrowly supports the DREAM Act or opposes HR 4437 without drawing attention to the larger context will, in the best case scenario, get a tiny decent thing in what is otherwise an extraordinarily bad bill. It’s a bit like how the caps for green cards for asylees were lifted in the bill that attempts to deprive undocumneted immigrants of the ability to get drivers licenses (The Real ID Act).

    National Network of Immigrant and Refugee Rights has come out with a stance that you might appreciate as someone who has asked in the past for more concrete policies to stand on. I saw that it was posted on the desisorganizing list yesterday and I’m sure you can get it if you contacted NNIRR.

    Here’s the thrust of the actual platform (it’s a small portion of the overall alert and endorsement form that goes into greater detail contrasting this with existing legislation, which you’d probably be interested in reading):

    What We Want: Fair and Just Immigration Reform Fair and just immigration reform means: * Genuine legalization and opportunities to adjust status for all undocumented immigrants, including youth and farmworkers * Preservation of due process, including restoration of access to the courts and meaningful judicial review for immigrants. * No indefinite detention or expansion of mandatory detention * No expansion of guest worker programs * No more wasted resources allocated to further militarize our borders and that contribute to the crisis of human rights and lives in the border regions * An end to employer sanctions and electronic worker verification systems * The strengthening and enforcement of labor law protections for all workers, native and foreign born * No use of city, state or other government agencies in the enforcement of immigration law * No more criminalization of immigrants, or their service providers * Expansion of legal immigration opportunities, support for family reunification and immediate processing of the backlog of pending visa applications * Elimination of harsh obstacles to immigrating, including the HIV ban, ’3 and 10 year bars,’ and high income requirements for immigrant sponsors.
  10. federal immigration laws to be LOCALLY enforced by local police who have NO training

    This worries me. As if it weren’t bad enough that state/local police are poorly paid, trained and equipped, and (not to mention) have a questionable record in their treatment of minorities. Now under the proposed legislation, the state trooper or the city cop can bust you based on your citizenship status? How would this be enforced except through some kind of national ID system?

    This is just another step towards living in a police state.

  11. It passed in the House, with 92% republicans supported, 82% democrats opposed

    Looks like a certain section of Democrats have not yet learnt from the defeat of ’04 elections. Every sample polling of Democrats’ biggest vote-base, African-Americans, shows that they are overwhelmingly against illegal immigration (a significant %age is against any immigration – legal or illegal). Prediction: A large section of African-Americans will move to the Republican party on just this issue in the coming years. This movement will be similiar to what happened with Catholics in the 1970′s.

    My view on illegal immigrants is well known – they should return. I am a big supporter of HR 4437. However…

    There are many illegal immigrants who came with their kids. It’s not the kids’ fault that their parents dragged them into this situation where they have no rights. We should not penalise them for their parents’ actions.

    However, this does not mean that we should give them a free ride. Every right has to be earned. I understand their desire to study further and become productive citizens, and I support their quest. But this should not come at taxpayer’s expense. The kids should earn it – the old fashioned way. Old being 140 years. When large number of Irish immigrants started coming in, every able bodied male was picked up drafted into the army to fight the Civil war which was raging in the South. They were told that America does not provide freebies and they have to work towards the right. The Irish happily took up arms.

    I want the same pattern repeated here, and the illegal aliens’ kids (if they are over 18) should serve in Iraq. Pretty soon, we will need more soldiers for fighting Iran and Syria, and maybe even Pakistan. Since these kids are wards of the state(as per HR 4437), they can be utilised to fight for America. They must be given a decent pay, which they can collect after they finish serving. They can then utilise this money for their education and become productive, proud citizens of the greatest country in the world. Kids who serve should be given an additional benefit of sponsoring their families for citizenship, and to bring in any relatives from their home countries. The US army should also become bilingual to some extent: Spanish is a wonderful language.

    If this is done, no American will have ill-will towards illegal aliens.

    M. Nam

  12. To all,

    undocumented immigrants, don’t people mean illegal immigrants ?

    To Areem (11 #)

    We talk so much about how tolerance, charity, and the conviction that ‘all are interconnected’ are part of south asian religio-cultural traditions. Here’s where it counts.

    South Asian or not, any civil society doesn’t tolerate violation of laws.

    To Tashie (9#)

    Why are people ILLEGAL immigrants anyway? Because of circumstances beyond their control that lead them to take this difficult decision. Turning our backs on them is not going to solve the problem. Accepting that in order to help everyone, we need to help them too, does address the issue.

    Why are people CRIMINALS anyway? Because of circumstances beyond their control that lead them to take this difficult decision. Turning our backs on them is not going to solve the problem. Accepting that in order to help everyone, we need to help them too, does address the issue.

    This was neat.

    Regards

  13. I want the same pattern repeated here, and the illegal aliens’ kids (if they are over 18) should serve in Iraq. Pretty soon, we will need more soldiers for fighting Iran and Syria, and maybe even Pakistan. Since these kids are wards of the state(as per HR 4437), they can be utilised to fight for America.

    Wow – you must be creaming your jeans thinking about America going to war with Pakistan, eh? Make sure you enlist your sons too, armchair war mongerer.

  14. MoorNam, why would the children of illegals be any different to other kids? I think you’ll find most immigrants don’t come with young kids in tow – they have them in America. What you would want to do with illegal immigrants who are themselves of military age is another matter. I think the armed forces is a sensible choice to those with few options open in life. But unless America makes these young men and women feel American, they will have little volition to lay their life down for their country. America becoming bilingual? Hmm…doubt that will ever happen.

    citizens of the greatest country in the world

    Many people think their country is the greatest in the world, yet it seems only Americans feel it necessary to say it out loud. Repeatedly.

  15. The RealPolitik solution…

    1) Take reasonable measures to stop current undoucmented migration from Mexico, deport as many as possible.

    2) Make like Canada has been for the past 15 years and lure in a bunch of Doctors, Engineers, Accountants and assorted Scienticians from a globally diversified set of poor seed countries with a legal right to live in America and become possible citizens. Then refuse to recognize their foreign training, experience and make them do brown-collar jobs like picking fruit, and cutting lawns.

    This way we get the economic benefits of cheap labour without all the nasty side effects.

  16. MoorNam,

    I want the same pattern repeated here, and the illegal aliens’ kids (if they are over 18) should serve in Iraq. Pretty soon, we will need more soldiers for fighting Iran and Syria, and maybe even Pakistan. Since these kids are wards of the state(as per HR 4437), they can be utilised to fight for America. They must be given a decent pay, which they can collect after they finish serving.

    Interesting suggestion. So you’re saying that the (adult) children of illegal immigrants should basically serve as hired mercenaries for the US, in return for subsequent citizenship and the various benefits you’ve mentioned ?

    The risk here, apart from what BongBreaker has mentioned, is that they will end up being used — or regarded — or feel like — what is known as “cannon fodder“.

  17. “Governor Jon Corzine’s proposed 2007 budget would cut $169 million from state funding of higher education, $100 million coming from Rutgers University.” New Jersey

    Education is a right and so is healthcare or i am moving to Canada

  18. “Governor Jon Corzine’s proposed 2007 budget would cut $169 million from state funding of higher education, $100 million coming from Rutgers University.” New Jersey Education is a right and so is healthcare or i am moving to Canada

    Effing tuition in Jersey is going crazy. I’m so glad I already graduated.

    Re: the illegal immigrant situation, I think MoorNam made a good point as far as making illegal immigrants earn their keep. I’m a big advocate of education, and think too much money gets diverted from it when we’re in a crunch. “Let’s put ourselves in more debt and make the country stupider so we can’t get out of it either…” I’m a citizen, and I pay taxes to live here. I’m not saying I don’t want you here if you didn’t do it the legal way, but if you want to live here, and you did what you had to to get here, do what you have to stay here. Just earn your keep. It’s a give and take.

  19. I think folks are making a lot of good points on this thread. The bottomline for me is that people should not be rewarded for their illegal behavior. We have immigration laws for a reason — not every person in the world has the “right” to live in the United States. There are hundreds of millions of people that would live here if they could — if we accept some of the proposals bandied about (like the “fair immigration reform” platform above), we would have no borders at all and all of these people would be here tomorrow. This kind of mass immigration is just untenable for any society, not only ours. The problems are only compounded when the immigrants refuse to learn english or assimilate to the American way of life in any way. You then end up with immigrant enclaves that have no link to the United States other than a desire to earn money here (much like muslim populations in parts of europe). Frankly, it doesn’t compute for me to hear someone say “11 million people broke our laws to come here illegally. We should make them all citizens tomorrow.”

  20. People who don’t understand migration drive me insane. Go read something or talk to someone.

    undocumented immigrants, don’t people mean illegal immigrants ?

    Well, given that both overstaying a visa and being here undocumented are not (yet) criminal, but civil violations, then no. But who cares about technicalities like that when it’s easier to shut the door behind you on your way up to the top! Especially when law and order matter so much!

    Moornam (#15), your post contains so many inaccuracies and unnuanced statements that it’s hard to even know where to start. Here’s an article on how complicated the debate in Black communities is about immigration. Black people are an important voting block for Democrats, but they aren’t the “Democrats’ biggest vote-base” as they’re only abouut 13% of the population int he U.S. further, They’re not the people that are most anti-immigrant–it’s imo mostly citizens of all races (but probably especialyl the White folks) who are racist and/or xenophobic. Finally, on a minor point, your moral take on “earned” status is appalling and historically inaccurate. If you think the Irish were thrilled about going to fight in the Civil War, you clearly never heard about the Draft Riots. These are just some minor examples to show that your analysis has no weight.

  21. I agree that black americans may not be the democrats biggest voting bloc, etc. But I think Moor Nam’s point here is salient. The reason that African-Americans, to a large extent, oppose illegal immigration is that illegal immigrants directly compete with African-Americans for unskilled labor type jobs. When economists tell us that illegal immigration drives wages down, they don’t mean for doctors or lawyers or computer engineers. They mean for low- or unskilled labor, the very kinds of jobs that would likely be filled by poor African-Americans (and poor whites as well) but are taken by illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America instead. So whether or not African Americans are the largest democratic voting bloc or not, the larger point still remains — if you wholeheartedly support importing mass amounts of cheap labor (note that this aligns you perfectly with large corporations and employers) than you are implicitly working against the interests of poor African Americans who are priced out of the job market as a result.

  22. if you wholeheartedly support importing mass amounts of cheap labor (note that this aligns you perfectly with large corporations and employers) than you are implicitly working against the interests of poor African Americans who are priced out of the job market as a result.

    Yes. This is why people should support low-wage immigrants working with Black people for a unviersal amnesty, border travel (which is the best way to reduce settlement int he U.S. besides eliminating jobs) and greater worker rights for all. Further, you shoudl read the link I included about the truly complicated and not uniform reaction that Black people have to immigration. I mean, look at all the perspectives here–you think there aren’t a number of different views among Black epople? Further, Democrats are as divided as Republicans on this bill–for exaple, most of the Change To Win coalition supports these bills, whereas the AFL-CIO does not, so to reduce this to a Democrat-Republican issue is ridiculous.

  23. Of course, I agree that this is not a Dem-Repub issue or even a liberal-conservative issue. You’re absolutely right. Folks on the right have the same split — many working class republicans oppose illegal immigration because of the effect on wages and what it does to their neighborhoods but, on the other hand, the large corporations whole-heartedly support as much immigration as possible for the precise purpose of lowering wages and increasing profitability. I was just trying to explain why many African Americans (but certainly not all) oppose illegal immigration. Note that both Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton both oppose illegal immigration and want pretty comprehensive reform.

  24. We have immigration laws for a reason — not every person in the world has the “right” to live in the United States. There are hundreds of millions of people that would live here if they could — if we accept some of the proposals bandied about (like the “fair immigration reform” platform above), we would have no borders at all and all of these people would be here tomorrow. This kind of mass immigration is just untenable for any society, not only ours.

    The only way to reduce low-wage immigration is to make receiving countries have no jobs or have sending countries have more. Short of a massive wealth redistribution from rich contries to poor countries, you’re not EVER going to be able to control labor flows withouht doing one of two things–creating fascist states or creating a system that stops pretending these laws are in place for moral reasons and starts udnerstanding that they’re primarily there to regulate economic and political conditions. There are many, many ways to do this. For example, improving conditiosn for the milions of low-wage workers here who send remittances back to sending countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh would be a crucial way of improving those economies. There are obviosuly other ways, but as with most situations, the rich countries are not exactly enamoured of being challeneged and are not the most generous people in the world. Remittances are, I believe, either the single biggest or second largest source of Foreign Direct Investment in the world. Think about that. Tens of millions of low-wage workers around the world sending money back home are either the first or second biggest input of money into their home countries.

  25. On children becoming wards of the state… I don’t think this is true. After persuing the actual document on a few .gov sites, i haven’t found any mention that this is going to happen. I don’t think that the list on Wikipedia(and other lists with their source from Wikipedia) are to be believed. If anyone has any link to an actual document regarding this issue. Please let me know by sharing the link.

  26. After persuing the actual document

    should be “After perusing the actual document…”

  27. Hello my name is,

    First, I don’t think anyone here has made the claim that immigration laws are in place for moral as opposed to economic reasons. I’ve said repeatedly that the problem with mass illegal immigration is that it pushes down wages for American low-skilled workers and in untenable from an economic perspective (e.g., the strain on welfare and social services meant for legal residents but not refused to illegals out of moral considerations).

    Second, you make very good points (points that I agree with) on the need for development and advancement in much of the rest of the world. However, you make the jump from that very reasonable position to the idea that we’re responsible for that situation, its our responsibility to fix it, and we should do that by allowing anyone from anywhere to come here, work, and send back money to their home countries. That’s the position I reject. Take Mexico as an example — studies have shown that when their is an uptick in the Mexican economy, illegal immigration to the US falls dramatically. Clearly, making a risky journey to a foreign country where they don’t speak the language and are in violation of law is not the first choice for these poor people, they would rather have jobs and opportunities in Mexico. Yet Mexico has made little to no economic progress in the last few decades despite being rich in resources and having an industrious population. Why is that? One reason is that the ruling elite in Mexico is able to reduce the pressure for any kind of economic or land reform by exporting their problem — lots of dissatisfied poor people — to the U.S. As long as they are able to do that, they won’t be forced to make changes. Why do you think Vincente Fox is so in favor of migration?

  28. They are going to create more social friction and resentment and fundamentaly this does not sustainable Any social strutcture that is not economicaly viable or fair creates shit load of problem Legal residents pay taxes. So why should some one who is illegal and might not have paid any taxes get something for free.(some accomodation should be made for those who have paid some taxes) Otherwise its not fair. It is going to set up resentment to those who would have to share the burden of educating free loaders… Economicaly its nothing but redistribution. Something that should be a bad word.

    Why isnt there any program or movement that lets the illegals take financial responsibility themselves through a non-subsidized loan individualy, or subsidization that is done via social-religious organizations instead of the government.

    I dont see that being discussed so i think this is going to be more problematic.

  29. Also, its not necessary to my position to completely end any and all illegal immigration. Everyone knows that is impossible and to debunk that position is only to knock down a strawman. The point is that we can greatly reduce illegal immigration by building a wall, stepping up enforcement, and severely sanctioning employers (and I’m strongly in favor of this last one) who sidestep immigration laws to hire cheap illegal labor. The reduction in the illegal population not only occurs through increased deportations but also through self-deportation. Many illegals will leave the country voluntarily once they realize that there’s a real risk they’ll be caught, spend time in jail, and then be sent home anyway (this is what has happened when enforcement has been increased in the past).

  30. ggk,

    the fact that its “redistribution” is irrelevant (and certainly not a bad word). Everything the government does is redistribution on some level — Social Security, Medicare, hell, the entire tax system is redistributive. In my opinion, that’s a good thing and something about our country that is great. In fact, if I had my druthers, I’d move to a more reditributive system with universal health care and a better welfare system. The problem you correctly identify is when those who our polity has explicitly decided to keep out of the country make their way in illegally and then demand those benefits that were meant for citizens of our nation. One of my problems with illegal immigration is that a comprehensive health care and social safety net can’t work for our own people if its being bled dry by illegals.

  31. Governor Jon Corzine’s proposed 2007 budget would cut $169 million from state funding of higher education, $100 million coming from Rutgers University.” New Jersey

    And why shouldnt that be done when the budget was running out of control & guess what more unsustainable programs governments add would force some to later ditch good with the bad.

  32. Ah, we complain when jobs are outsourced, and complain when immigrants “take our jobs” in our own country. There’s no winning, eh? Either way, work is going to go to who can get paid the least for it. What’s the solution?

    Shit, I haven’t paid off my loans (8 yrs and counting) and I went to a frigging state school. Debt is truly the thing that will kill us all, before global warming does.

  33. the fact that its “redistribution” is irrelevant (and certainly not a bad word). Everything the government does is redistribution on some level — Social Security, Medicare, hell, the entire tax system is redistributive.

    Redistribution allways means some one else is paying the bill. Therefore such things should be judicialy selected. And no not the entire tax system is redistributive( go to india if you want to see that). And redistribution allways creates incentive to avoid it. and those who are paying taxes for others it creates resentment. Government should limit it to when necessary. I dont see it as being necesary except it appears as an examply of votebank political games. I dont see alternatives being discussed either.

  34. GGK,

    Of course the tax system is redistributive — the rich pay more in taxes than the poor, the poor use more of the services paid for by taxes than the rich. Hence, money is redistributed from rich to poor. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this — in fact, I think it should be more redistributive. But it is, indeed, redistribution.

    And of course the government should limit it to what’s “necessary.” But the whole debate centers around what is and what is not “necessary.” You, “Hello my name is,” and I have different ideas about what is “necessary.”

  35. BB:

    The children of illegals who were born here are citizens anyway. I am talking of children who came illegally a few years ago. They need to pay their debt before they can lay claims.

    Jai:

    “Cannon fodder” is a term used for runts who are forced to go into war without proper arms etc and without any chance of winning. These illegals will be armed to teeth by the strongest army in the world, and trained by the very best in fighting, communication, espionage etc. In addition, they will be paid. Doesn’t get any better than this.

    Nik/ggk:

    Thanks for backing me up.

    But the whole debate centers around what is and what is not “necessary.”

    That’s the problem with all so called social justice initiatives. Initially, they say immigration is necessary and hence a right. Then free education is necessary and a right. Then free healthcare. Then pensions. Then jobs. Then housing. Then braces. Then golf memberships.

    It’s a slippery slope – all social justice programs end in the poorhouse.

    HMNI: Just as the Irish did not have a right to protest against the Civil War and just as they did not have a right to decide whether slavery was right, South was wrong, North was correct etc, the same way illegals do not have a right of opinion whether Iraq war is correct or moving against Iran is wrong. That right exists solely with citizens, and they need to fight the war that the citizens tell them to, if they want to end up a citizen.

    M. Nam

  36. People who have traditionally set fire to others houses do not have the moral right to complain when the displaced come knocking at their door for refuge.

  37. I dont think it should be forced but if some one volunteers to join the armed services, That should be considered a +, and should hasten that guys citizen ship process.

    I think the brits still use gurkha as 2nd rate soldiers they pay them less, would’nt consider giving them educational/residential privelages. Thats just wrong

  38. To Derick @ 29 — re: children of undocumented. I had it in my notes from some talk I attended, but you’re right, there doesnÂ’t seem to be a source for it. To wiki’s credit, it does note “citation needed.”

    Also, undocumented workers often do pay taxes.

    A lot of great things have been mentioned on this thread. IÂ’d like to get a few thoughts on what might actually happen if borders, particularly with Mexico were more open.

    The driving force behind modern economic theory is that resources will go to where they’re most useful. Labor, perhaps, should also be allowed to flow as freely as capital.

    IÂ’m skeptical of the ‘mass migrationÂ’ fear because I think people have strong family ties and only the most desperate break them. It’s likely that a lot of people would opt to work for a few months at a time and send money home. At the very least, open borders would give people more and less-desperate options.

    Migrant workers would go where they’re likely to be paid and treated well because they’re not tied to any particular area once they’ve already made the choice to leave their homes – if they were assured legal protection they would more easily be able to move to where the market sends them. Because these migrant workers would be have legal protection, employers would not have incentive to poach on them and might hire more Americans.

    Also, by allowing would-be migrants to “vote with their feet,” the origin countries might find incentive to improve their physical and political infrastructure.

    Both the sending and receiving governments benefit from the current system, more open borders and legal protections for workers might just breed greater transparency on both sides.

  39. Taz!

    First, a belated Happy Birthday. And um…since when did you join SM?! Not that I’m complaining. Glad to see you on Board my favorite SA blog-o-goodness.

    And big ups to SAAVY, too.

  40. However, this does not mean that we should give them a free ride. Every right has to be earned. I understand their desire to study further and become productive citizens, and I support their quest. But this should not come at taxpayer’s expense. The kids should earn it – the old fashioned way. Old being 140 years…The US army should also become bilingual to some extent: Spanish is a wonderful language. If this is done, no American will have ill-will towards illegal aliens.

    WTF?

    Ok, seriously, what are you smoking, M. Nam?

    Let’s tackle the “bilingual Army” bit first. Are you totally unfamiliar with the concept of the Fog of War? And you’re proposing to throw ANOTHER LANGUAGE INTO THE MIX? You think that would…what…make the US Army into a more effective fighting force? Look, genius, friendly fire still happens in this day and age, with all sorts of sophisticated IFF electronics and people WHO SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE. The Army is not a vehicle of naturalization, nor should it ever become one. We’re not Rome, for gosh sakes.

    And you honestly think that the “rest” of American citizens wouldn’t look down on immigrants who served in the armed forces? If ever a situation was laid before me for insuring a group of people become disparaged and looked-down-on, you’ve done an outstanding job of outlining it right here.

    Next up, rights are almost never “earned.” I find it fascinating that immigrants and their children often make this case most strongly, as if they’re incarcerated and should get some kind of special credit for “good behavior.” If I’ve done anything to earn being an American citizen, it’s what I’ve done with my life since being born. I did very little in the womb to secure this status. Maybe you had a more active pre-natal life than I did, but I still somehow doubt you earned diddly while floating around trying not to loop the umbilicus around your neck.

    And naturalization most definitely should come at the taxpayer’s expense. Who else? Halliburton? I’m sure a great many companies, especially the metanationals, would be very happy to extend rights of citizenship to their employees.

    Ha! Right.

  41. Recent studies by researchers at Harvard, Columbia, and Princeton, and the Urban League’s annual State of Black America report confirm that black males suffer a jobless rate double and triple that of white males in some urban areas. Their unemployment numbers are also substantially higher than those of Latino males. Some economists and employment studies finger illegal immigration as a big cause of the economic slippage of low and marginally skilled young black males. There is some evidence that the poorest and least skilled blacks have lost jobs to illegal immigrants.

    Rights of citizens should have a higher priority. Part of tax money should be utilized in improving skills of local labor. Encouragement of immigrants without investing in betterment of local labor could lead to greater skewed job prospects for citizens. But to some extent, the american economy should be able to absorb undocumented immigrants without significant problems.

  42. espressa,

    If you want to know an estimate of how many U.S. citizen children are affected by this, go to the Pew Hispanic Center report on “unauthorized migrants” “(which NOT the same as “undocumented immigrants”)

    However, you make the jump from that very reasonable position to the idea that we’re responsible for that situation, its our responsibility to fix it, and we should do that by allowing anyone from anywhere to come here, work, and send back money to their home countries. That’s the position I reject.

    Nik: “global hegemony”? “world’s only superpower”? “Washington consensus”? “Free trade”? To argue that global economic and political conditions are not a significant responsibility of rich countries (including, but not limited to the United States) is flawed, even if you conclude that the history of imperialims, the use of countries like India and Pakistan and El Salvador and Afghanistan and Chile as Cold War pawns, etc. has nothing to do with why billions of people are in poor countries and a few hundred million are in rich countries. Iraq is more a caricature of the rule than an exception to it.

    Further, even if the former empires and global superpowers bore no economic, moral, or historical responsibility, it’s imo both more pragmatic AND more humane for people everyone (except for really really rich people) to build world migration policies that provide rights to labor.

  43. HMNI: Just as the Irish did not have a right to protest against the Civil War and just as they did not have a right to decide whether slavery was right, South was wrong, North was correct etc, the same way illegals do not have a right of opinion whether Iraq war is correct or moving against Iran is wrong. That right exists solely with citizens, and they need to fight the war that the citizens tell them to, if they want to end up a citizen.

    Well this is a great a priori and undemocratic statement to justify a horrendous social situation. If you ever feel like backing it up with some reasons, feel free.