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The Immigration Debate

Races for the Senate, U.S. House, etc. and other issues of national importance.

Re: The Immigration Debate

Postby Huckleby » Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:18 pm

The One wrote: I ask a simple question in good faith to let people who write on this topic, that have an opposite view on immigration as I do, give their reasons why they would support a path to citizenship.

Honestly, I thought the answer to this question was so obvious that it didn't need to be said. But I will give it a shot.

America is not a nation based on 13th century feudalism, where we are comfortable with a permanent class of disenfranchised serfs doing the dirty work for the upper classes, and subject to many kinds of exploitation.

America is a land of immigrants, this is our tradition. The 12M undocumented hispanics in our country are identical in character to the millions of Irish and Germans who came here in the 19th century. The ugly reality is that those groups were also initially resented, it takes new ethnic groups several generations to be fully accepted. It is true that undocumented workers have broken administrative laws, and they should be punished in proportion to their violation. (They are not criminals, it is not a crime to not have proper documentation.)

The practical reasons for granting citizenship to immigrants are pretty obvious. We want people to be fully invested in our society, not hide on the edges as outlaws. We want everyone in our country to have every opportunity to advance and contribute.
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Re: The Immigration Debate

Postby snoqueen » Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:23 pm

I didn't answer because it's so ridiculously obvious why we need immigrants in this country I didn't think anybody should have to spell it out. (And I wrote that sentence while Huck was writing the same thing in the previous post, which is comical.) I'm not basing my thoughts on history or tradition, but on straightforward economics:

We need workers and don't seem to be producing, on our own, the right kind of people for the jobs we need workers in. Ask anyone running a business that requires seasonal manual labor, though the same is true in certain other types of businesses.

We need more young people and babies because as a nation we are getting older and not having enough babies on our own, which has serious long-term social and economic consequences. (check out Japan, Russia)
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Re: The Immigration Debate

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:28 pm

snoqueen wrote:We need more young people and babies because as a nation we are getting older and not having enough babies on our own, which has serious long-term social and economic consequences. (check out Japan, Russia)
Sure, but having enough babies to perpetually sustain the elder generations on the marginal economic output of the young introduces other serious long-term consequences.
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Re: The Immigration Debate

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:38 pm

Huckleby wrote:The 12M undocumented hispanics in our country are identical in character to the millions of Irish and Germans who came here in the 19th century. The ugly reality is that those groups were also initially resented, it takes new ethnic groups several generations to be fully accepted.
There were no Great Society programs in the 19th century. Adding another 10-20 million eligible citizens at the lower end of the income spectrum will only exacerbate the mismatch between what the government has promised and what it can realistically be expected to deliver in the future. I'm in favor of an open and inclusive society, but we can't ignore what that's going to do to the federal government's already terrible fiscal situation.
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Re: The Immigration Debate

Postby Huckleby » Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:58 pm

ArturoBandini wrote: There were no Great Society programs in the 19th century. Adding another 10-20 million eligible citizens at the lower end of the income spectrum will only exacerbate the mismatch between what the government has promised and what it can realistically be expected to deliver in the future. I'm in favor of an open and inclusive society, but we can't ignore what that's going to do to the federal government's already terrible fiscal situation.


This is a really complicated topic.
Immigrants are net contributors to the economy, you are only looking at one side of the ledger.
The new immigrants are a particularly sweet deal, since they come here as young adults, eager to join the workforce, who don't have to be fed and educated for 18 years.

I suppose I should make a google journey and bring you some learned analysis from economists. You can do the same, there are ways to slice the data for the anti-immigration case as well.
I will do a google duel if you wish - what's one more spin around the internet? Meet me at the oak tree, 6 pm tomorrow if you demand sastisfaction. Or just fire the first shot and I will respond, sir.
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Re: The Immigration Debate

Postby Detritus » Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:01 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:Adding another 10-20 million eligible citizens at the lower end of the income spectrum will only exacerbate the mismatch between what the government has promised and what it can realistically be expected to deliver in the future.

Evidence, please.
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Re: The Immigration Debate

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:12 pm

Huckleby wrote:This is a really complicated topic.
Immigrants are net contributors to the economy, you are only looking at one side of the ledger.

I am pro-immigration, but anti-welfare state. I realize that immigrants will likely provide economic benefits more broadly. I suppose there is an argument that adding bunches of young workers will ease the burden on the balance sheets of Medicare/Medicaid/SS. That might be true if the programs were run as actual safety nets, not entitlements. As it is now, the magnitude of promises made to participants in the program is larger than the magnitude of their contributions. Adding more people without changing the terms of the program doesn't resolve this problem. I guess my objections aren't really related to immigrants at all - adding millions more people of any origin into the Ponzi scheme is the problem I'm worried about.
The new immigrants are a particularly sweet deal, since they come here as young adults, eager to join the workforce, who don't have to be fed and educated for 18 years.

The immigrants who come here might not need to be fed or educated, but their children will.
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Re: The Immigration Debate

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:26 pm

Detritus wrote:
ArturoBandini wrote:Adding another 10-20 million eligible citizens at the lower end of the income spectrum will only exacerbate the mismatch between what the government has promised and what it can realistically be expected to deliver in the future.

Evidence, please.

Upon reading around a bit, I think my mind is changed on this issue. Adding more pre-retirees to the system will make the welfare programs less-insolvent. A modest number of immigrants will not bail out the programs as they stand, but it seems like they will have a small, net-positive impact on the solvency of the programs, at least in the 1-2 decades timeframe. What happens after that depends on birthrates, economic conditions, and any changes made to the policies in the intervening years.
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Re: The Immigration Debate

Postby pjbogart » Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:49 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:As it is now, the magnitude of promises made to participants in the program is larger than the magnitude of their contributions. Adding more people without changing the terms of the program doesn't resolve this problem.


I really can't say with any certainty whether this is true or not. It seems likely that as our life expectancy rises, eventually we'll have to look at raising the retirement age. Of course, there are numerous other ways to tweak the system. Perhaps a mish-mash of solutions, from need-based SS payments, changing or removing caps on contributions, altering employer/employee contribution schedules, etc. We could also mandate that each citizen have two children (four per couple), "cull the herd" at age 75 or cut off Medicare payments for people over 80, or my favorite, change our name to "Los Estados Unidos" and hope our creditors can't find us.

Don't give up, Arturo. I'm on it.

ArturoBandini wrote:Upon reading around a bit, I think my mind is changed on this issue. Adding more pre-retirees to the system will make the welfare programs less-insolvent.


Sweet, you changed your mind in only 12 minutes.
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Re: The Immigration Debate

Postby rabble » Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:12 pm

pjbogart wrote: It seems likely that as our life expectancy rises, eventually we'll have to look at raising the retirement age.

Don't forget, the life expectancy is rising because rich people are living longer. The rest of us are living about as long as our grandparents did.
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Re: The Immigration Debate

Postby wack wack » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:22 am

The One wrote:This is why I, at times, hate debating politics. I ask a simple question in good faith to let people who write on this topic, that have an opposite view on immigration as I do, give their reasons why they would support a path to citizenship.


OK, here's a straight answer: I do NOT support the current "path to citizenship," as I believe the talked about requirements for this path are too restrictive. Drop the back taxes, the giant fine, the "back of the line" crap and all the other dehumanizing aspects and I might consider supporting it. Immigrants are dehumanized enough on a daily basis, this government-sanctioned degradation is reprehensible; just another peak into the true nature of the hateful conservative heart.
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Re: The Immigration Debate

Postby Huckleby » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:44 am

wack wack wrote: OK, here's a straight answer: I do NOT support the current "path to citizenship," as I believe the talked about requirements for this path are too restrictive. Drop the back taxes, the giant fine .....

I agree with you completely that the fines and such are outrageous, but one has to be pragmatic. You negotiate the best deal you can get, you don't just righteously hold-out for the perfect.

Reminds me of Obamacare fight, where some left wing blogs, Fire Dog Lake among them, joined in on a "Kill the Bill" campaign. They wanted to kill Obamacare because it lacked a public option.

You gotta make compromises and play long-ball. Obamacare can be fixed later. Onerous burdens on immigrants can be lifted later, the politics will clearly favor such a change. Recognize when the political winds are at your back.
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Re: The Immigration Debate

Postby wack wack » Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:01 am

Huckleby wrote:I agree with you completely that the fines and such are outrageous, but one has to be pragmatic. You negotiate the best deal you can get, you don't just righteously hold-out for the perfect.


I understand and agree completely, in theory... but this isn't theory, and the ideas for this "path" are not pragmatic, they're punitive. They're not geared toward organizing and processing immigrants for a better America, they're meant to cause difficulty and pain on an individual basis because that's what makes conservatives feel good.
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Re: The Immigration Debate

Postby Detritus » Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:18 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:
Detritus wrote:
ArturoBandini wrote:Adding another 10-20 million eligible citizens at the lower end of the income spectrum will only exacerbate the mismatch between what the government has promised and what it can realistically be expected to deliver in the future.

Evidence, please.

Upon reading around a bit, I think my mind is changed on this issue. Adding more pre-retirees to the system will make the welfare programs less-insolvent. A modest number of immigrants will not bail out the programs as they stand, but it seems like they will have a small, net-positive impact on the solvency of the programs, at least in the 1-2 decades timeframe. What happens after that depends on birthrates, economic conditions, and any changes made to the policies in the intervening years.

I am impressed, and I apologize for the snarky attitude I managed to convey in only two words. You have shown better sportsmanship (sportspersonship?) than I.
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Re: The Immigration Debate

Postby ArturoBandini » Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:37 pm

Detritus wrote:I am impressed, and I apologize for the snarky attitude I managed to convey in only two words. You have shown better sportsmanship (sportspersonship?) than I.
I am still highly suspicious of the potential for welfare state programs to spiral out of control. But this suspicion doesn't really have anything to do with immigrants in particular, so my concern is perhaps misguided.

Rand Paul (arguably the best representative of libertarian ideas in Washington) says that a path to citizenship should be allowed for the 11m "illegal" immigrants already here in the US, with some loosely-defined caveats (e.g., "they must be willing to work"). He says that the primary concern should be with border security - if we establish a too-permissive immigration policy without controlling the flow of people across the border, then things could get out of control. Something like, "We can't go back in time and control the border retroactively, and we can't deport 11m people without doing egregious harm to human well-being, but we can execute a better policy from now on." Controlling the border is certainly a difficult task in practical terms given the scale of the border, but is there any objection among forons to controlling the border from a political theory perspective?

From a libertarian perspective, "border control" is a non-starter - stopping someone from crossing an arbitrary line in space using force is not acceptable behavior.
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