Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Somos illegales, or Americans?

Half a million people marched in Los Angeles, as the L.A. Times puts it, "The marchers included both longtime residents and the newly arrived, bound by a desire for a better life and a love for this county." I mused a bit about the possibility of a typo, but then thought that maybe one can love a county? Did I love L.A. county when I lived there? Not really. A protester said that "this is a country for everybody who wants to live a better life and this is a free world." That’s an interesting sentence, meriting an exegete’s eye. Some think that such statements (and the many Mexican flags!) will backfire on those "activists" who are in favor (apparently) of unrestricted immigration. Even liberal Mickey Kaus thinks this is likely. Even Jim Pinkerton has become, as he puts it, a "hawk" on immigration. There will be more on this, but we should take the opportunity to talk not only about illegal immigrants and walls, but also about what a citizen is in this republic. A good start on this conversation would be these three pieces: First, see this on the making of citizens Matthew Spalding, and then this Charles R. Kesler, and last, this by James Ceasar.

Discussions - 24 Comments

Flaunting immigration laws has been a national pastime in America for decades. Heck, we even had a movie made about it, ’Green Card’.

What do you expect? Republicans are more interested in guarding Iraq’s border with Syria than they are in guarding our border with Mexico. Eisenhower had more pelotas that Dubya: he simply deported these people.

Flaunting laws in general has been a national pastime in America. Check out the "Outlaw" theme in American literature, not to mention the Wild West...but you are from Texas, so why preach to the choir? And mexicans have been a part of that wild west for a long time. I still think we can assimilate these people albeit not as easily as in the movie "Gangs of New York."

Sometimes I wonder if we assimilate people at all, or if we all just end up living in and around a certain group of people that share our interests. Do football players intermingle with the Drama team?

But perhaps they are more likely to do so as more atheletes move into movies and commercials...right?

Likewise many mexican(and Latin American) citizens join the United States Army, and almost always they become naturalized. But the Puerto-Ricans still fly the flag of that nation in their vehicles, as do the Mexicans, but in the army they wear the american flag on the right shoulder.

My point is simple enough, while Washington says that "The name of AMERICAN, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism" It will always be true that people american or not, derive a greater sense of identity from local discriminations and appellations, most unique to the identity they themselves have formed.

But you are American because you recognize that the scope of rights and limited government are things which allow you to have this freedom to form your own identity and attachments. Citizenship can’t therefore require an attachment that isn’t felt or one which for a lot of people would end up seeming impossed, but rather it must be attachment that compliments and enables true attachment.

The American-American Community is already generally suspicious of protest marches. But protest marches featuring foreign flags, placards in a language they can’t read, chants of "Mexico, Mexico!" by non-citizens demanding their "Rights" and telling Americans what our law should be after having already ignored our laws--it’s too much. Kaus is right.

The political problem is that immigration is such a mixed bag. At its best, it practically defines good citizenship. At its worst, it allows the 9-11 hijackers to wander in and out of the country, registers them to vote and sends them visa renewals months afterwards.

One thing in Mr. Spalding’s excellent historical overview jumps out: the oath to "absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or a citizen..." would seem to flatly rule out dual-citizenship. We might as well call it Polygamous Citizenship.

Pass legislation to ensure US companies investing in Mexico phase in wages and benefits that approach US norms. Say over 10 years.


Then, once the standards of living begin to approach those of the US, the incentive for moving is almost completely eliminated.


That shows


a) concern about american jobs


b) concern about immigration.


Problem(s) solved:-)

Brian Coughlan’s comments display flipant disregard for Economics. If U.S. companies had to pay Mexicans an american wage they would not move to mexico in the first place. There goes a great source of mexican employment, not to mention standards of living. I suppose this would show concern about american jobs, but even this is dubious... because inneficiencies have negative spread effects. Something less drastic might work, but I am skeptical. If we mandated say that american companies pay mexicans half an american wage...it might still be benneficial on the whole for companies to relocate. But, I am from the Bastiat/Henry Hazlett school of Economics...so maybe I am the ignorant one.

aaah but John, I suggested phasing it in. Thats sneaky. If you started at 50% and worked up to 80% of the US minimum wage and benefits over 10 years, there would still be a massive incentive for companies to move, and mexicans to stay.


It would be great for Mexico and the US.


This kind of thing occurs naturally in the EU. Ireland being the most dramatic example, Spain and eastern europe are currently on the same track.


As first worlders, we need to ensure that our living standard is not dragged down to the level of the developing world, rather that we drag them up.

I think I’ve heard it said/written that the "Pressure release valves" of both legal/illegal immigration and the narco trade is the only thing keeping the whole of Mexico from complete collapse.

If you are protesting anti-immigration laws but you fly the flag of your home nation you are either 1) stupid, or 2) not really committed to the host nation. This will definitely backfire of these folks. The MinuteMen in Arizona have proven that the borders can be regulated if the political will exists to do so. I predict that the Presidential candidate who resolves to ’close’ these borders will win. Enough of Democrat "base building" and Republican "cheap wage insurance." Time for a change.

Pass legislation to ensure US companies investing in Mexico phase in wages and benefits that approach US norms. Say over 10 years. Comment 5 by Brian Coughlan

Nice try, Brian, but the U.S. has no jurisdiction over what companies do in other countries. Such legislation will have to be passed by Mexico.


Easier to make citizens if fewer citizens need to be made.

I think I’ve heard it said/written that the "Pressure release valves" of both legal/illegal immigration and the narco trade is the only thing keeping the whole of Mexico from complete collapse. Comment 9 by Andrew

Why is that? Mexico is rich with natural resources. But for true to life "dangerously incompetent" governmental administration, Mexico’s people would have a very high standard of living and nobody would want to leave.

That’s why I don’t give any credence to the supposed effort to take back California. Why would these people want to make California a part of the country they worked so hard to leave?

It’s wrong to blame U.S. corporations operating in Mexico for Mexico’s low standards of living. The immigrants tend to come from those parts of the country where there is the least economic development. What the country needs is more U.S. investment, not less. The development of a native culture of entrepreneurship, and a decrease in corruption on the part of the Mexican government, would be major steps in the right direction as well.

That’s why I don’t give any credence to the supposed effort to take back California. Why would these people want to make California a part of the country they worked so hard to leave?

Why would the immigrants be waving Mexican flags, then? Fact is, many of them see their country’s plight as America’s fault, not Mexico’s.

Pass legislation to ensure US companies investing in Mexico phase in wages and benefits that approach US norms. Say over 10 years. Comment 5 by Brian Coughlan Comment 5 by Brian Coughlan

It’s wrong to blame U.S. corporations operating in Mexico for Mexico’s low standards of living. Comment 13 by John Moser

And if Mexico tried to impose the restrictions Brian suggests, U.S. corporations would just say "see ya, we’re going to Guatamala."

Why would the immigrants be waving Mexican flags, then? Comment 13 by John Moser

Some are, no doubt, waving the flags out of simple pride in their heritage. Others may really want to retake California, but I suggest the latter have not thought the thing through and if they did think it through, they’d realize what a bad idea, for them, it would be to make California like baja California.

Fact is, many of them see their country’s plight as America’s fault, not Mexico’s.

Blame America first democrats/future democrats no doubt.

I think if this is played through to its logical conclusion, California will not be annexed into Mexico. Rather, large parts of Mexico will be annexed into the U.S.

Reminds me of a bad joke, I just made up:

Know what they call an avian flu carrier?

An ill eagle.

Sorry.

I think if this is played through to its logical conclusion, California will not be annexed into Mexico. Rather, large parts of Mexico will be annexed into the U.S.


Thats a great idea, as long as it’s accomplished through negotiation and agreement.


And if Mexico tried to impose the restrictions Brian suggests, U.S. corporations would just say "see ya, we’re going to Guatamala."


Of course. Hence enforcement must not come from Mexico, or Guatemala or Timbukto, but from the originating country.

Of course. Hence enforcement must not come from Mexico, or Guatemala or Timbukto, but from the originating country.

This would violate a central tenet of international law--that those who travel to a foreign country are bound by that country’s laws, and not those of the home country. It is the Mexicans themselves who would complain most loudly about any such attempt by the United States, as it would violate their sovereignty.

Coughlin, consider this item......

http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/thornton111005.html

"Having voted with his feet for the superiority of America, the immigrant was required to become American, to learn the language, history, political principles, and civic customs that identified an American as American. The immigrant, of course, was free not to assimilate, but in that case, he and his children would not be able to take full advantage of all the economic and political opportunities open to those who did become American."

"Most of these immigrants were proud about their origins, as evidenced by fraternal organizations, religious guilds, holiday celebrations, festivals, recipes, native costumes, and scores of other ways of honoring their homelands. Yet most realized and acknowledged a fundamental truth: that whatever affection they had for their old homes, those cultures had in some significant way failed them. And so they had made a difficult, costly choice: to leave their homes and find a new one, to leave their old identities and become Americans."

Coughlan read the article and even ask a question to Dr. Hanson. he will be more than happy to respond to your inquiry.

I think a case can be made that our illiberal immigration laws contribute to this failure to assimilate. Illegal aliens essentially need to live underground, and to be very careful in their dealings with anyone who is not a fellow Mexican. I doubt many of us would assimilate to our host culture under those circumstances.

I’m not sure about the historical validity of the argument that asserts that in olden times immigrants were quickly assimilated. I think assimilation takes time, probably a couple of generations. I am pretty sure that I read somewhere that ballots for the 1860 election were printed in German for German immigrants in the western states. If this were done today (maybe it is?) I know that it would upset some people.

I do not feel too sympathic for illegal immigrants that have to live in a shadow world. I have no doubt that mobsters live in such a world too. The common thread between the two groups is that they are both breaking the law.

Steve, your point is a good one. There is nothing in today’s anti-immigrant rhetoric that is substantially different from the arguments that were used in the 1890s (indeed, in the 1840s). There were large sections of American cities where the English language was almost never heard--my grandparents grew up in such a neighborhood, in fact. Their parents (my great-grandparents) never learned more than a smattering of English, despite having lived in the United States nearly all their adult lives.

I do not feel too sympathic for illegal immigrants that have to live in a shadow world. I have no doubt that mobsters live in such a world too. The common thread between the two groups is that they are both breaking the law.

I agree that the immigration laws ought to be enforced; however, if we liberalized the laws (while strictly enforcing those on the books) we would likely see more of a move toward assimilation than we currently do.

This would violate a central tenet of international law--that those who travel to a foreign country are bound by that country’s laws, and not those of the home country. It is the Mexicans themselves who would complain most loudly about any such attempt by the United States, as it would violate their sovereignty.


I’m sure this would be the case if the US was expecting companies to break mexican law. However, thats not what I’m suggesting.


Such laws in fact already exist.For example, acts involving child prostitution in Thailand can be prosecuted in Sweden by the Swedish courts.


Laws in Thailand have no bearing whatever on the matter, as long as the subject of the prosecution is a Swedish citizen.

Sure, John, that’s how the 1986 ’reform’ worked...more assimilation, fewer illegals. What a joke.

Leave a Comment

* denotes a required field
 

No TrackBacks
TrackBack URL: http://nlt.ashbrook.org/movabletype/mt-tb.cgi/8318