Monday, July 6, 2009

Sweetness & Light: Illegal Immigration

This little exchange between myself and "bronzeprofessor" serves as something of an illustration about American politics. There are those who try to tell Conservatives (and Republicans, even though the two camps aren't interchangeable), that for us to remain a viable party in future campaigns/elections, we need to change or "soften" our message.

But the same simpletons who point at George W. Bush as the standardbearer of Conservatism conveniently forget that he tried to grant millions of criminals an amnesty disguised as a "track to citizenship" repeatedly during his terms.

They cite poll statistics that never show a cataclysmic reduction in our numbers (Barry got 52.7% of the general electorate this time around, in a year that saw massive effort by the MSM, George Soros, and "brand fatigue" against the GOP all add up to an election result that was completely written even before John McCain scolded the first Conservative on the campaign trail.), but some people think that every tiny movement in numbers deserves a "redefining" of our message.

We don't "alter" our message because one-tenth of any particular voting bloc switches against our party in any given election cycle. Banana republics buy votes with socialistic promises of goodies from year to year, so eager to research what new bribe they can ply a win with from the masses.

After a while, you have a nation full of people who not only can't think for themselves, but are accustomed to having politicians pander to them. They don't vote for ideals. They vote for charlatans.

This is the article at Sweetness & Light which started the discussion thread:

U.S. Shifts Strategy on Illicit Work by Immigrants

July 3, 2009

Immigration authorities had bad news this week for American Apparel, the T-shirt maker based in downtown Los Angeles: About 1,800 of its employees appeared to be illegal immigrants not authorized to work in the United States.

But in contrast to the high-profile raids that marked the enforcement approach of the Bush administration, no federal agents with criminal warrants stormed the company’s factories and rounded up employees. Instead, the federal immigration agency sent American Apparel a written notice that it faced civil fines and would have to fire any workers confirmed to be unauthorized.

The treatment of American Apparel, which has more than 5,600 factory employees in Los Angeles alone, is the most prominent demonstration of a new strategy by the Obama administration to curb the employment of illegal immigrants by focusing on employers who hire them — and doing so in a less confrontational manner than in years past.

Unlike the approach of the Bush administration, which brought criminal charges in its final two years against many illegal immigrant workers, the new effort makes broader use of fines and other civil sanctions, federal officials said Thursday…

On Wednesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency known as ICE, said it had sent notices announcing audits of hiring records, like the one it conducted at American Apparel, to 652 other companies across the country. Officials said they were picking up the pace of such audits, after performing 503 of them in 2008…

The Obama administration’s new approach, unveiled in April, seems to be moving away from the raids that advocates for immigrants said had split families, disrupted businesses and traumatized communities. But the outcome will still be difficult for illegal workers, who will lose their jobs and could face deportation, the advocates said…

Executives at American Apparel were both relieved and dismayed after receiving the warning from the immigration agency of discrepancies in the hiring documents of about one-third of its Los Angeles work force. The company has 30 days to dispute the agency’s claims and give immigrant employees time to prove that they are authorized to work in the United States, immigration officials said. If they cannot, the company must fire them, probably within two months.

But no criminal charges were lodged against the company and no workers have been arrested, American Apparel executives and immigration officials said…

American Apparel and its outspoken chief executive, Dov Charney, have waged a campaign, emblazoned on T-shirts sold across the country, criticizing the immigration crackdown of recent years and calling on Congress to “Legalize L.A.” by granting legal status to illegal immigrants…

At a news conference last year, Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa of Los Angeles publicly lauded Mr. Charney for helping the city with its faltering economy by providing “the dream of a steady paycheck and good benefits for countless workers.”

While it has been no secret that American Apparel’s largely Latino work force probably included many illegal immigrants, Mr. Schey said the company had been careful to meet legal hiring requirements. Many illegal immigrants use convincingly forged Social Security cards or other fake documents when seeking work…

Immigration officials, who asked not to be identified because the case is continuing, said the fines to American Apparel so far were about $150,000…

Angelica Salas, the executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, an advocacy group, said she welcomed the end to “showboat enforcement raids.” But in the end, Ms. Salas said, “there is still enforcement of laws that are broken,” adding, “The workers will still lose their jobs.”

Mr. Obama is effectively de-criminalizing the hiring of illegal aliens.

Which, lest we forget, was the major sop to the opposition in the initial amnesty legislation, the so-called Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, that was passed during the Reagan administration:

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
The law criminalized the act of knowingly hiring an illegal immigrant and established financial and other penalties for those employing illegal aliens under the theory that low prospects for employment would reduce illegal immigration. It introduced the I-9 form to ensure that all employees presented documentary proof of their legal eligibility to accept employment in the United States.

[Admin comments]

So what is Mr. Obama’s message here to employers?

Who will not be willing to risk the piddling fines, when you can save much more money by hiring illegal aliens?

[Reader comments]
GetBackJack July 3, 2009 at 2:45 pm
I’m confused.
Labor Unions are primary backers of the Obama Syndicate.
Many of the jobs illegal aliens take are jobs formerly in the sphere of Unions.
I don’t see how it’s possible to split this fence rail into equal parts both sides will like.

bronzeprofessor July 3, 2009 at 2:52 pm
Bingo, GetBack. I was about to post something to that effect.

The key here is to understand not what the Times reports, but rather, how the NY Times is trying to spin it. Essentially there isn’t much difference between Obama and Bush on this question; Bush was NEVER hard-headed about immigration raids, and that’s why conservatives attacked him on that issue.

The NY Times is trying to

(1) reinforce the myth that Republicans hate, while Democrats love, Latinos,

(2) reinforce the myth that Democrats are markedly different from, and better than, Bush.

(3) reinforce that Bushism and Republicanism are the exact same thing, and

(4) make it seem as though the Democrats are simultaneously helping Latinos and helping labor unions, when in fact they are doing neither and breaking promises to both.

Conservatives, we must stay on top of this. Kudos to Steve Gilbert; more sites like this one are needed — every time a spin is spun such as this, immediately, conservatives have to publish point-by-point clarifications so liberals cannot camouflage who they are in a cloud of language.

I think, to our credit, we are getting better at exposing liberals, which is why the polling has moved out of the Democrats’ favor. Keep up the good work.

Robert O. Lopez

PS. I think, I should add, I have many reasons to hope that Latinos are in play for 2010 and 2012. The Right should never fall into identity politics, but at the same time, it’s a good idea to articulate what the Right’s position is on all these issues without resorting to cheap shots that sound (even if they aren’t) racist. I do believe Latinos and Republicans would be a match made in Heaven. Pretend, for a while, that there is a courtship between the two and the initial Jane-Austen-like resistance has to be melted with gentle nudges.

tranquil.night July 3, 2009 at 2:56 pm
Well the union loyalists are taken care of. They’ll get placed on union boards or invited to join ACORN, haha. The blue-collar workers who lose their jobs – well that’s just the bad economy which is Bush’s fault or it’s the fault of the greedy business for trying to hold onto it’s unjust profits. And finally of course, the number of Americans that will not get hired now because of this simply won’t be reported.

There’s quite a few irrational splits like this in Liberal ideology that one would think would logically expose their hypocrisy. Most intelligent Liberals know this and have come up with lies or spin to combat it for decades; false premises and distracting (emotional) arguments which were then carried by the media until they eventually became ‘truth.’ (Kudos to B.P.’s comments there).

It’s likely with the libs in complete control these oddities are more and more going to be noteworthy for the masses. Afterall, with little to no republican opposition to demonize the libs will just start hating eachother. They already are. And yes, as this is happening, such is the golden opportunity for conservatives to articulate the alternative to this murky sophistry and reach people of all races, nationalities, and demographics. Thank you internet.

Howard Roark July 3, 2009 at 3:30 pm
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Great point, GBJ.

As we follow this line of thinking, though, I think we need to apply some brakes to our race to the conclusion that we can appeal to “Latinos” on this issue of illegal immigration alone. It is all too easy to assume that “Latinos” are a monolithic voting bloc, driven to equal conclusions on the matter of deportation, illegal raids, etc.

We edge towards the point of political suicide when we sacrafice our principles for the sake of gainning a few more votes. Our message becomes too fuzzy, and eventually there won’t be a clear flag to rally behind. Worse yet, after we water-down our stance on such issues, the other side will be able to define us (already happened) because they own the MSM.

Having lived in south Florida for the last 5 years, witnessing the 85,000 Latino march in my local streets in 2006, it was refreshing and surprising to listen to my Latin co-workers who hated the illegals who formed that swell. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard the Cuban/Mexican/Honduran ex-pat here in America extol the reasons why they legally emmigrated to the USA, and further decry the many criminals from their country who arrive here illegally. We all need to pinch ourselves when we think that we can appeal to Latinos in 2010, 2012, or anytime in the future because we show them a “softer” approach to the criminals in our midst we call “illegals”.

bronzeprofessor July 3, 2009 at 6:59 pm
Howard, AMEN! Thank you very much for a wonderful and astute post.

Take it from a Latino Republican, folks: Time is on the side of conservatives! Most Latinos are deeply religious, hard working, and pro-military. It’s true — we’re “macho” in the sense that we admire strength, traditional families, and self-reliance. We hate sissies, laziness, and people who talk out of both sides of their mouth.

We also don’t care as much about school as other ethnic groups — but that’s a good thing. Fewer of us are being indoctrinated in the gauntlet of elite liberal colleges.

And most importantly, we are much more than the immigration issue. For 2006 and 2008, the Democrats’ scare tactics worked and they convinced the brown voters taht the Republicans were out to get us and we would be backing racists if we voted conservative. But like all scare tactics, that canard has a short shelf life. Eventually more substantive issues surface, and Hispanics will get irritated with the pointless condescending identity politics (Sotomayor), the bad economy (how ‘ bout those utility bills?), the cuts to defense (great — fewer slots open for those millions of gung-ho Latinos who want to be Marines), and the abortions (ever talked to a Latino Catholic or evangelical about abortion?)

My one plea to conservatives is, just be patient, stay your ground! Howard is right; many Latinos who are voters do not like unfettered illegal immigration since our neighborhoods bear the brunt of the illegal saturation. One week ago, there was a stabbing across the street from my apartment — a black gang and a Hispanic gang. Illegal immigration makes the gang violence worse, and eventually latinos will reward Republicans for speaking for those of us who follow the law, want to serve our country, and expect decency in our neighborhoods.

The most important thing is simply to strive always to articulate the anti-illegal-immigration position in a clear way that the Democrats cannot caricature as racist. It’s sad we have to be so self-conscious, but a dose of self-consciousness and careful choice of words will pay off in 2010 and 2012. I have high hopes.

proreason July 3, 2009 at 7:07 pm
“Most Latinos are deeply religious, hard working, and pro-military.”

You said it Professor.

Libwits are working hard to turn Latinos into a dependent class, just like they did with African Americans.

You know, we all are angry about illegal immigration…..but the reason you don’t hear me railing about it as much as other things is because the vast majority come here and work their asses off. Maybe they get some free benefits, but they sure are working hard when I see them.

Hispanics and conservatives share a lot of values. I hope they realize what a con man the Moron is.

Howard Roark July 4, 2009 at 12:15 am
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Hispanics and conservatives share a lot of values. I hope they realize what a con man the Moron is.

Right on, PR. We all are waiting patiently for not only those unconvinced Latinos to see the Conservative in their mirrors, but all of the union men and women who vote Dem every cycle, as well.

If I’ve read your musings accurately, PR, I believe that you are a lawyer. I can understand your feelings about illegal immigration, if that is so. I’m not sure how many adult years you may have spent doing something other than law, and I certainly don’t want to assume where your heart is concerning such…but I come to the issue of illegal immigration as a man who has had to swing a hammer for a living a few times in my life, along with washing dishes, painting cars, and such.

Perhaps I am sensitive to the issue because I realize that the wages for those jobs (which I still occasionally find myself needing, despite 2 college degrees) don’t keep up with the cost of living, come with no benefits, and are unfairly depressed yearly because of the loose immigration policies of this country I went to war for almost 20 years ago.

Let’s just say that it is sadly ironic that returning vets aren’t greeted with better jobs and security in America, where an illegal and his family can be treated to better health care, better wages than what he knew in his home country, and less stress and worry over paying the bills that comes from playing by the rules (paying car insurance, a lifetime of taxes/medicare/medicaid/ss/health insurance/etc).

So many of the bills that must be paid by an honest American who makes 10 dollars an hour siding houses with no benefits are forgiven for the illegal who also makes 10 dollars an hour siding houses.

Again, I’m not saying that you aren’t sensitive to this reality, PR. I’m just expressing why I feel the way I do about illegal immigration, as long as we’re bearing our souls about this issue. When you’ve spent a lifetime groping for that better pay, while still remaining an honest man who doesn’t drive without car insurance, or start a family without the means to pay for it, or abuse the emergency room system for health care, you begin to understand the Civil War a little better.

The plantation owners who used slave labor operated from a system that they inherited, to be sure. We all focus on only one aspect of it: the racist angle. What is forgotten is the other evil of it: the depressed wages and lack of jobs for the rest of us who need those jobs. Indeed, the biggest arguments of the 19th century in American Congress were over whether the new territories/states would be slaveholding states or not. Labor was the crux of it, not the racist aspect of it, mostly. The war between the states went a long way to fixing it, then. Sometimes I wonder if that’s the only way we’ll fix it now.

And through it all, you don’t hear ONE time me say that it is a Mexican/S American problem, and focus this on them. Neither do any of the redneck, tobacco-spittin’ blue collar workers I grew up with and encounter now. This unfair fear that we Conservatives all have a racist tendency towards illegals and that we need to be extra careful isn’t born from any reality I’ve encountered, and it is going to be the death of us.

What instead needs to be articulated is to name names when you encounter some racist behavior, and quit taking the isolated incident out on the whole class. I dare say that when you hear the language of bigotry towards Latinos, 9 times out of 10 it is an uneducated dolt who never shows up on this forum or even understands what Conservatism means.

But, unfortunately, the myth that Southerners are all racist Archie Bunkers is still practiced by professors and other elitists on both coasts and in between. I’m tired of it, and I’ve seen 40 years of our coffin being nailed shut because of it. We have nothing to apologize for, and we need to stand up for ourselves before our epitaph is written.

bronzeprofessor July 4, 2009 at 12:31 am
Howard, Just to back you up, most–in fact, nearly all–of the racism I have encountered as a 1/2 Latino and 1/2 Asian male, has come from white Democrats, AFrican Americans, or assimilated Latinos who think like white liberals and view recent Latino immigrants as embarrassingly sexist relics.

I still look at the relationship between Latinos and conservatives as a courtship. Latinos identify as “conservative” at about the same rate as the general population. But only about 30% of Latinos are Republican. So in a sense, conservatives and Latinos would be wedded much more strongly, if their shared values were clearer. The challenge, however, is that conservatives are inherently against identity politics, so they do not like the idea of approaching Latinos as a group [Rush said very eloquently at CPAC that conservatives do not naturally speak to people as groups, but as people.] I think conservatives should be authentic, and stick to their values, and eventually the ice will melt with Latinos and the old stereotype of RIght=racist will melt away.

I say, think of it as a courtship. When a man and a women who would make a great match are first getting to know each other, just a little bit of heightened consideration goes a long way into making each other comfortable. On the first or second date you won’t joke about a woman’s weight, or tell her hairspray smells too strong. Once you’re comfortable you go deeper.

Same thing as conservative whites and Latinos get to know each other better. Talk about religion, the military, taxes, our mutual struggles. Don’t feel that you need to bring up immigration when you’re talking to a Latino, just because he’s Latino; if the topic comes up, don’t feel like you have to avoid it just because he’s Latino. But focus the bulk of the conversation on shared interests and keep discussion of immigration to a minimum, since it’s a sore issue for lots of Hispanics, like talking about dieting with a woman on the first date.

Howard Roark July 4, 2009 at 1:39 am
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Thanks, BP, for buttressing my emotions on the subject.

I understand your desire for a “courtship” between Conservatives and Latinos. I caught that when you originally said that the initial Jane-Austen-like resistance has to be melted with gentle nudges. I just don’t go for the reasoning that the target which needs to learn that lesson is Conservatives. (of course there are exceptions to every rule, but I’m speaking generally, here.)

I mean, if you’ve lived a life like I have, you’ve encountered average Conservatives meet, mix, and love people from other ethnicities/cultures all of your life. When I was in S Korea I served with uneducated, inarticulate, simple men who were definitely Conservative in their value system/worldview who ended up meeting, dating, then marrying S Korean women who came from POLAR OPPOSITE origins than them.

I saw average Conservatives volunteer for hardship military tours just so their foreign wives could be closer to their kin for another year. I saw average Conservative men give up their day’s rations for the native children who ran up to them in foreign villages. I saw average Conservative men risk their lives for the Mexican with them.

These aspects of average, rural, redneck people who call themselves Conservative aren’t surprising to my kind of people. When you go to churches that are nothing more than clapboard shanties in the mountains, you see the kindness towards blacks, Latinos, and others pour forth in very humbling ways. The mountain folk who have never been outside their state eagerly reach into their pockets to give to those who don’t look like them at all.

I just don’t know why you think we need to be taught your lesson of “courtship” more than any other group. I mean, it’s a nice thought, but in my life, I’ve seen that the most alarming prejudice and lack of understanding comes from the pompous, self-assured elite (the Left) concerning those of us they consider “in need of education.”

bronzeprofessor July 4, 2009 at 1:54 am
Howard, I think you might be focusing a little too much on the “professor” part of my name. (I caught your remark about professors being elitists). I’d change the screen name to something less obnoxious, maybe that will help.

I’m not teaching you a lesson, and no, I don’t think conservatives need to hear that lesson more than anyone else. I’m just reflecting on the issues you raised and sharing some strategies, take it or leave it. I apologize if it comes across as condescending, but there were some real historical events that made me feel like posting a small paragraph at the end of my first post in this thread. The fact remains that in 2008, Obama won a national election and now I am bound to serve him as Commander in Chief, because of several swing groups that did not react well to a conservative message. One swing group was Latinos, who went from voting 44% for Bush to voting 31% for McCain. If a different strategy might in the future help me avoid having to serve under a CIC with whom I disagree, then I would be happy to promote such a strategy.

The original article was from the NY Times, and if you read what I first wrote, I said it’s important that conservatives react to liberal spin and that’s where this whole discussion came from. You have a lifetime of experience and I like hearing about it. I also come from a lifetime of experience, which includes working in factories and signing up for the military and struggling and being born again as a Christian and all that fun stuff. I’ve worked with hammers too! And I’ve packed boxes and moved stuff, and soon I’ll be in boot camp, if it makes my statements any more authoritative.

Included in my experience are observations of the way political discussion unfolds. Liberals often distort what conservatives say. As you point out, conservatives are often less racist than liberals, but liberals are shrewd at twisting everything around. I wish Latinos weren’t susceptible to liberal distortions, but many of them are.

Just so you know, I often challenge liberals on the way they discuss race, and I am much harsher toward them because I disagree with their actual philosophy about race (I don’t disagree with conservatives.) I often complain about liberals when I post on this site. But liberals don’t read this site, so when I post on here, I am usually not giving them “lessons.”

I hope that clears up any misunderstanding. To be honest, I really don’t care enough about race to feel all that strongly about these issues. BUt if I were to go back and erase my original posts, then a lot of this discussion thread wouldn’t make sense. So take my current stance as a white flag — I surrender. :)

Howard Roark July 4, 2009 at 3:08 am
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I appreciate this exchange, BP, but at the risk of beating a dead horse, I will quote one of my favorite thinkers, Dennis Prager: I prefer clarity to agreement. And just to clarify:

I’m not focused on your moniker, “professor”. Having spent many hours in debate/discussion with my own professors in my college career, I am not enamored, impressed, or distracted by someone who names himself “bronzeprofessor” on the internet. Whether you believe it or not, I can focus on your words instead of your name or race. You’re not talking to one of your students, here.

My mentioning of “professors and elitists” wasn’t directed at you at all. After all, you’ve repeatedly identified yourself as a Conservative (plus I am familiar with your orientation from when you were Latinos4JohnnyMac on the old site, Get Drunk And Vote 4 McCain.) So please don’t think I’m indirectly speaking to you when I mention professors in the context I did.

And as far as “sharing some strategies”, I didn’t know that I (or the fine contributors to this site) was in need of them. I, too, appreciate your experiences, but my post on this thread wasn’t one of “what do we do about this?” Your response was full of ways that we Conservatives need to conduct ourselves, and I’m thinking that you may have rushed to an answer that didn’t have a question. Some of us have learned about race relations in our everyday travels, and that is all I was trying to relay.

After all, since we’re the ones who forged a warm, tolerant, charitable place for Latinos to escape their origins to, isn’t it possible that after all of the examples of Conservative principles we’ve shown and politely discussed, it isn’t US that need to further explain ourselves, but THEM who need to listen?

And don’t worry about emploring us to ply your strategies of talking about common struggles and shared experiences to Latinos. We already have been, and that’s what I was trying to tell you. You can’t read statistics on Latino voting turnout from year to year and conclude that it is us who need to change. When we do that, we end up being played by people who are used to voting for he who promises the biggest goodies at election time. Most Latinos I know understand that.

bronzeprofessor July 4, 2009 at 3:54 am
Howard, happy July 4th. This is getting very personal and there isn’t more to be said.

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