Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Minuteman Project

There have been questions about the Minuteman Project--a volunteer citizen group which seeks to assist in preventing illegal immigration. Michelle Malkin discusses the group on her Immigration blog here, and here, and here. The Arizona Star recounts the group’s assistance of an immigrant in distress here. AP offers a story here, while the New York Times weighs in here. I have not had the time to read all of the material about the group and their activities, so I pass along the links at this point without judgment or comment for your perusal.

Discussions - 35 Comments

I think this project is silly, but I am outraged by the left’s even sillier response.

The Discovery Channel has also been runing a hour long presentation on them.


"Spawn of Danforth" says the Minutemen project is "silly," and no doubt the real Danforth thinks the same. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another country-club lament about this from the ex-senator in the NYT or some similar organ.

It seems to me that the Minutemen are doing the government’s job for it. They deserve our respect and gratitude. A nation that cannot control its borders is playing with fire. A nation that refuses to control its borders is really playing with fire.

I applaud the Minutemen project, and far from thinking it’s silly, I think its broader significance is symbolic. Since the politicians don’t seem to have the will to do anything about this slow-motion colonization of our country, perhaps these volunteers can shame them into action. If there’s one thing politicians hate it’s citizens acting on their own. It threatens their control as well as the justification for their existence.


Very good point.

We must not be weak-kneed when conservatives come under heavy fire, and you can bet that these guys will -- probably are already.

Nine times out of ten, there is no justification for the ubiquitous, often savage Left response to effective action on the conservative side. It’s simply a signal that this is something the liberal Establishment is truly afraid of. The Minutemen are a case in point.

A useful rule of thumb: If THEY aren’t screaming, WE aren’t doing enough.

How is the nation "refusing to control its borders"?

It certainly would have been strange if Native American Indians had undertaken a similar project to keep out European immigrants.

Ohio Voter -- have you ever read about the French & Indian Wars? Indeed, throughout American history native Americans did there utmost to keep whites out of their territories. Sure, there were a few tribes friendly to whites, but the typical relationship was hostility. The Indians lost....

Look, the whole thing is misguided. What, exactly, are the problems caused by illegal immigration? There are significant economic benefits from having migrants here. Production increases, we all get cheaper goods, and they get a salary that is often ten-fold what they could make at home. Everybody benefits.

The left’s response, however, is ridiculous. Threats, intimidation, lawsuits. Give me a break. These guys aren’t doing anything wrong. As far as I can tell, they are just helping law enforocement by alerting them when people break the law. That being said, though, I simply do not agree that it is worthwhile for these guys to spend their time stopping hard-working people from earning a respectable living. That’s what you grandparents or great-grandparents did. Why shouldn’t these people be given a chance too?

Spawn of Danforth...

Why should we allow illegial immigrants into America to take jobs away from our citizens. Maybe instead of sitting on welfare, some of our own AMERICANS should get out there and do some hard labor.

S of D: To the contrary, illegal immigration is a drain on the economy (their contribution does not outweigh their costs in social, medical and political services). I suggest you access the following website:

www.fairus.org

Click on immigration issues -- it’s all there. Rooted in solid social science as far as I can tell.

Lori, Can you point me to anyone you know who has lost his job because it was "taken" by an illegal alien? And what the hell does this have to do with welfare? Are you contending that the reason people are on welfare is because immigrants took their jobs? Is that why we have been stuck with New Deal legislation for the last 70 years? To reduce the effects of immigration?

Dain, I went to your website, and I didn’t see any social science. I saw a lot of unsupported assertions and apparent paraphrases of vague, unnamed sources (such as "the seminal study found this . . . "). In fact, illegal immigrants pay far more into the government than they take out, because employers generally pay payroll taxes (to avoid throwing up a red flag for the IRS), but the workers are ineligible for public services and will often be deported if they apply for any. Since 1996, even legal immigrants cannot receive public services for 5 years, so the idea that anyone comes here to drain our resources is an absolute myth.

S of D,
I’m sure you didn’t mean it that way, but what you appear to have said in your last post is that illegal immigration is OK, because the illegal immigrants are getting screwed out of their paid-for benefits anyway.

From a human rights standpoint it’s a disaster for poor Mexicans who often sell everything to be run across the border, sometimes to freedom, sometimes in the arms of immigration to be returned penniless to Mexico. Plenty die in the process.

From an economic standpoint, billions of dollars are getting funneled out of the US into the Mexican economy.

From a security standpoint - how sure are you that only friendly Mexicans are crossing the border?

From a justice standpoint, why should anyone go through the process of becoming an American citizen then? It’s a lot of paperwork and hassle when the reality is if you’re here and willing to mow lawns, you can stay.

S of D...you diss the www.fairus.org website, but I don’t you really looked at their reports. They really do rely on academic research in those reports...take a closer look.

If you want to go straight to source, I encourage you to read some of George Borjas’ work. He’s a Harvard economist who says that the evidence indicates we shouldn’t be allowing lots of unskilled illegals into the country...good enough for you? If you think illegals don’t 1) send their kids to U.S. schools, 2) visit our ERs, 3) take advantage of some of our welfare benefits, 4) depend on our police forces and fire departments, 5) reduce wages for our native poor, and 6) boost income inequality in the U.S., then you need to do some reading. Their net contribution to U.S. society is negative, and that border needs to be managed much better than it is.

I’m sure you didn’t mean it that way, but what you appear to have said in your last post is that illegal immigration is OK, because the illegal immigrants are getting screwed out of their paid-for benefits anyway.

So what you are suggesting instead is that we not allow them to come here at all, but rather force them to starve on the paltry wages in their home state? Obviously they are better off here, benefits or not, or they would not still go to such great lengths to cross the border.

From an economic standpoint, billions of dollars are getting funneled out of the US into the Mexican economy.

How is this any different than the money that is "funneled" to Mexico when we buy foreign goods? Anyone who has taken a basic course in international economics can tell you that they are the identical.

From a security standpoint - how sure are you that only friendly Mexicans are crossing the border?

This is just asinine. Where does the b.s. "terrorists could sneak across the border" come from? How many Mexicans are terrorists? Were the 9/11 attacks staged by undocumented workers? No. They were staged by people who came here on visas.

Dain, I am curious which Borjas book you are referring to. Is it Friends or Strangers, where at pages 86-90 Borjas states that even very large increases in immigration have almost no effect on the wages of our native poor, and in many circumstances actually increase their wages?

Spawn...what the heck are you talking about? Borjas hasn’t said that to my knowledge. Indeed, follow the link below -- it will take you to a copy of his 2003 article in the Quarterly Journal of Economics. Read it carefully. Immigration has reduced native wages...I have no idea what you are talking about.

http://ksghome.harvard.edu/~GBorjas/Papers/QJE2003.pdf

I gave you the page numbers.

Here’s a link to the book on amazon. Here’s a link to the book at Barnes & Noble, whose description contains the following quote:

"Contrary to the conventional wisdom, he maintains that immigrants do not lower the wages or employment opportunities of natives."

I suggest that next time you take a cheap shot at someone ("you need to do some reading") you at least review the most famous work by the author you are citing to.

I looked it up, that book represents old research. Borjas’ new views are quite clear. Follow the link in the posting above.

And for the record, books are only lightly peer-reviewed. Articles in top journals are considered "science" rather than "opinion." Borjas’ quantitative science demonstrates that wages do go down with heavy immigration...and this is 2003, not 1989 and 1990 (which, he would argue, represents older better educated cohorts of immigrants). Let’s join the 21st Century, shall we?

Oh, and look -- here’s an Amazon review of Borjas’ 2001 bookHeaven’s Door. This represents his current view, which is rooted in quantitative research.

Many political activists will quickly label Heaven’s Door, by Harvard economist George Borjas, a vicious attack on America’s generous immigration policy. They will have a point: Borjas believes the current level and composition of immigration to the United States does not advance--and arguably harms--American economic and national interests. But they will also miss a very careful argument that neatly places Borjas between the extremes of open-borders advocates and full-scale restrictionists. Borjas, himself an immigrant from Cuba, would cut admissions by about one-third and radically redesign the way in which people gain entry, changing the present system from emphasizing family ties to favoring skills. He bases this reasoning on a series of observations, which he examines in great detail: immigrant earnings lag behind native earnings, there is a clear (and troubling) link between national origin and economic performance, immigration hurts the economic opportunities of poor Americans, and so on. Some readers will think Borjas accentuates the negative; in describing how immigrant skill levels have declined relative to natives, for instance, he downplays the fact that they have risen in an absolute sense. Yet this is an uncommonly clear-headed book on a subject that rouses fiery passions. A country that still considers itself a "nation of immigrants"--and wants to remain one--can’t afford to ignore it. --John J. Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Actually, I own Heaven’s Door, and it is consistent with the pages I cited from Friends or Strangers, despite the hyperbolic language used by an Amazon reviewer who, like you, never actually read either book. "And for the record," you have no idea what you are talking about. Both books are heavily researched academic works which rely primarily on his and other economists’ peer-reviewed articles, and include very thorough citations to those works.

and this is 2003, not 1989 and 1990 . . . Let’s join the 21st Century, shall we?

I would think that this statement, and the continued insults, would not be appropriate when you are relying primarily on data from "the 1960-1990 U.S. Decennial Censuses."

It also relies on Census data from 2000. And there is nothing equivocal about his conclusion in that article, is there? He has other quantitative articles that show the same dynamics (i.e., that native wage-earners take a hit from rapid immigration). So far I’ve taken your word about what’s in his book...but I’ve given you chapter and verse on his latest research findings. Moreover, as the Amazon review demonstrates, Borjas is widely known as a critic of current immigration policies. Painting him as some kind of defender of massive illegal immigration is pure nonsense.

I did not paint anyone as a "defender of massive illegal immigration." You made the unsupported allegation that illegal immigration is a drain on the economy. I asked for some science. You brought up a researcher whose work has consistently showed that as much as a 10% increase in the immigrant population has little or no effect on native wages and employment. I have never once referred to Borjas’ policy proposals, but instead have focused solely on his factual findings that dispute the specific claims that you are making.

And the Borjas article you keep talking about does not rely on "Census data from 2000."

This goes to the heart of the problem. Far too many anti-immigrant people pre-determine their opinion, then look for social science that supports their views, relying on any scintilla of evidence they can find. That seems much more like a liberal tactic than a conservative one.

Even if we ignored all of Borjas’ prior writings, what do we have? We have one peer-reviewed article, which differs in result from the bulk of the literature in the field, and even the bulk of the literature written by that author. Perhaps you should review the full literature before you make factual claims that are so readily disputed by Smith and Edmonston, Card, Schoeni, and the rest of the scholars that Borjas himself relies upon. Some of them are defenders of massive immigration, both legal and otherwise.

Getting a bit hot under the collar aren’t you? Before your blood pressure rises, understand that you are relying on old research. Even your boy Card has published research that shows the pernicious effects of immigration on native wages (and, my apologies, yet another highly-placed, recent, peer-reviewed journal article).

David Card. 2001. Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Market Impacts of Higher Immigration
Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 19, No. 1. (Jan., 2001), pp. 22-64.


As for Borjas, he also relies on 1998 to 2001 CPS data, just another Census Bureau product (and one that many would argue is MORE accurate than decennial Census data).

I think the problem is people (liberals, mostly) who find what they want to in the literature and then stop reading.

Spawn of Danforth

So what you are suggesting instead is that we not allow them to come here at all, but rather force them to starve on the paltry wages in their home state?
I’m suggesting that people who have to live with their own gov’t and their own jobs will make changes.

How is this any different than the money that is "funneled" to Mexico when we buy foreign goods? Anyone who has taken a basic course in international economics can tell you that they are the identical.
We get goods back. They work. They have their families nearby.

This is just asinine. Where does the b.s. "terrorists could sneak across the border" come from? How many Mexicans are terrorists? Were the 9/11 attacks staged by undocumented workers? No. They were staged by people who came here on visas.
Now you’re just being obtuse. Do you really believe that terrorists will repeat EXACTLY 9/11? Do you really think that ONLY Mexicans will cross the border. I guess you would understand "asinine". Time for me to stop feeding the troll.

I find it astounding that you pointed to an article you obviously never read, then insulted me repeatedly when I pointed that out, and then responded to an accurate summary of your non-research (see Comment 26) with smart-ass remarks about being "hot under the collar." I’m not the one who is desperately searching for articles that I haven’t read, in order to pretend there is a scientific basis for my reactionary views.

I have read them -- I take an interest in this issue. You’re just upset because your ca. 1990s research has been overturned by newer data and methods. Sorry it doesn’t conform to your worldview anymore. You are doubly angry because I did to you what you thought you did to me -- turned my source against me. Both Borjas and Card have produced honest research that supports my position on immigration (and, I note, you never rebutted my points about immigrant’s use of education and social services, nor the point that they boost income inequality). In short, you’re losing this argument and you just can’t stand being wrong.

But I grow weary of this. It’s apparent to me that you aren’t literate in research methodology or the research journals.

What "newer data"? Your new Card article also relies on the 1990 Census.

As for everything else, see Comment 26, paragraph 3.

Sure, Card uses older data. Hence my comment "newer data and methods." If you actually read the article you’ll notice that he makes a couple of design innovations (e.g., looking at recent migrants).

This pathetic scrambling to find any fault with my comments...sad. Maybe you should READ some of the literature before you criticize others for supposedly not doing so.

I’m not going to get into a shouting match with you. You keep making factual assertions, however, that are not true. Even your response illustrates this. Reliance on the 1990s data that you have repeatedly criticized is not "newer data and methods." It is, by your definition, old data "ca. 1990s." I just find it very convenient that info from the 1990s is obsolete, except when used in the articles that you rely on, in which case it’s cutting edge.

So let’s see some citations. I’m not stopping you (indeed, I know of a few, but they have some problems in my view). Nonetheless, cite away! Borjas does the best work in this field, in my view, but Card is good too. They both are fair-minded researchers who don’t seem to have any vested interests or ideologies to serve (indeed, the contradictions in their research reports suggests a change of mind that reflects new data and new methods). I’ve been talking about old data because Borjas does -- for him, newer waves of immigrants are 1) less skilled, and thus 2) less beneficial to the economy. I agree with him because I think his methodology is sound and, just as importantly, I believe my own eyes (teenagers in my immediate area are actually having a hard time finding employment because illegals now dominate the sector that traditionally provides summer employment for students).

If you don’t want insults then don’t call people "reactionary" or "smart-asses." Indeed, the only time I insulted you was to question your methodological literacy (comment 30 -- very late in this thread). You are the name-caller...because you are wrong, and you know it.

I think the most effective aspect of The Minutemen Project is that it provides a very unappealing example of what Americans are like in order to discourage people from wanting to come here.

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