Getting ugly

Getting ugly May 3, 2006

I haven't written much about immigration because, frankly, I don't have a clear grasp of the subject. Immigration law and the economics involved are fairly complicated. So are the ethics.

The idea of rebranding illegal immigrants as felons strikes me as unnecessary and dumb, but I'd be happy to hear the arguments in favor of such a measure.

It's not easy to find such arguments however. Instead of arguments, one finds mainly sentiment — and that sentiment is not pretty.

In my inbox today, Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council (which was founded as the political wing of James Dobson's Focus on the Family) weighed in on the mayoral election in Herndon, Va. That's kind of a strange topic for a national policy agency to be addressing, but apparently Herndon has become a flashpoint for the non-debate debate over immigration.

The issue, I kid you not, involved the parking lot of the local 7-Eleven.

The parking lot had become a gathering place for local day laborers — mostly Hispanic immigrants. They would assemble there in the mornings and local landscapers or other contract labor bosses would come by to hire crews for the day. Some of these day laborers may have been illegal immigrants. Or not, we don't really have any way of knowing. But in any case their gathering in the 7-Eleven parking lot was an inconvenience for the convenience store's customers.

This is perhaps the first recorded incidence of people hanging out in a 7-Eleven parking lot because they want to work. The usual nuisance crowd in a 7-Eleven parking lot, after all, tends to look more like Jay and Silent Bob — crowds of local youth, native born and bred, hanging out at the 7-Eleven or the Gas N' Sip as a way of avoiding work ("By choice man!"). Such convenience-store parking lot habitues tend to have a fully legal citizenship, but that may be the only legal thing about them. The only reason they're not charged with loitering with intent is that intent would require more energy and coherent thought than they seem capable of mustering.

The assembled crowds at the Herndon 7-Eleven, on the other hand, were industrious, eager to work, peaceful and less likely to be stoned. But they were still in the way of the regular customers stopping by for their bad coffee, lottery tickets and overpriced cigarettes.

So the town decided to open a day laborer center — a place where those seeking work could gather to meet prospective bosses and where they could also find help with things like ESL classes.

This idea, evidently, strikes many native-born nativists as nefarious and horrifying. After all, if these people are so desperate to find work and to learn English it must mean that right now, they're unemployed and can't speak English. Why should taxpayer money be used to help such deadbeat foreigners?

Tony Perkins believes that such a day-laborer center is — get this — un-Christian. Perkins assumes that all immigrant day laborers — and possibly all people with Hispanic surnames — are illegal until proven innocent. And he is downright gleeful to see that the mayor and members of town council who supported the center were voted out by an anti-immigrant backlash:

Soon-to-be ex-Mayor [Michael L.] O'Reilly simply doesn't get it. But you can be sure that the name Herndon will be heard on the Hill. We need to secure the borders — now. We should not be debating what to do with illegals until we have secured the borders. Let's stop the ship from taking on water. Shore it up fast, and then we can debate what to do with stowaways.

Perkins is not the only one celebrating the results of the Herndon election. So were members of the anti-immigrant Minutemen in Virginia. (I didn't know there were so-called Minutemen in Virginia. What do they do — patrol the border with North Carolina?) This Redstate post is violently giddy with delight:

Last night the first election shot in the war against the illegal invasion was fired in Herndon, Va. The mayor and two pro-illegal immigrant councilmen were defeated at the polls, leaving a new slate in power that want to stop the invasion and the day labor center. …

It is time to build the wall on the border that the Minutemen want and to put the National Guard on the border. The Minutemen are now building a wall themselves on private land since the federal government will not do it. …

Herndon, Virginia just slapped [politicians] across the face.

In Matworld we ESCALATE the war against the illegals, not do what THEY think we should. …

We in Virginia have fired the first shot, it is up to the rest of the country to join the battle to stop the illegal alien invasion.

In addition to the deportation of all illegal immigrants and the construction of a "wall" along the Rio Grande, our Minuteman friend also demands that all U.S. citizens be required to have a passport and that this be the only valid, legal form of identification.

Before I sign on with this agenda, I would want to know a few more details. Like will the wall be equipped with catapults and cauldrons of boiling oil? Catapults would be cool. And when government officials demand to see my papers, will they do it in a cool East German accent? Or maybe Afrikaans?

A government passport checkpoint outside the 7-Eleven is, of course, far less intimidating than the prospect of having to walk by several prospective landscapers.

Passport checkpoints might slow down my commute, though, so here's a more efficient idea. This should also help our Minuteman friend sell his agenda with Tony Perkins' evangelical constituency: Instead of passports, we could use high-tech scanners to read a "citizen-chip" embedded in … oh, I don't know … the foreheads of all legal citizens. Anybody without "the mark" would be deported, catapulted back over the wall.

"Matworld" is clearly a deliriously silly place — as far removed from reality as Tony Perkins is from orthodox Christian ethics. So all of this would be funny except that, as David Neiwert of Orcinus again reminds us, it's not. Stupid people filled with hate often do a lot of damage. Neiwert highlights, for example, an ADL report titled "Extremists Declare 'Open Season' on Immigrants; Hispanics Target of Incitement and Violence."

That's not funny at all.

More from Orcinus (all links from the original):

And, as the San Francisco Chronicle recently reported, there has been a regular onslaught of racist, clearly white supremacist ugliness floating around the anti-immigration forces recently, almost certainly whipped up by the pro-immigrant marches. This includes death threats against public officials.

There's no reason to be surprised by this, though. Anyone watching the anti-immigration agitation carefully — particularly the semi-official celebration of violent viglantism known as the Minutemen — can hear for themselves the old embers of racial hate crackling back to life.

So while Minuteman founder Chris Simcox works steadily to deny the presence of any kind of white-supremacist element in his ranks, you can hear one of his early fellow border patrollers expounding:

No, we ought to be able to shoot the Mexicans on sight, and that would end the problem. After two or three Mexicans are shot, they'll stop crossing the border and they'll take their cows home, too.

Ugly. And growing.

(Correx: Above now says "Rio Grande" where it's supposed to. Thanks, Brian.)

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  • Richard Hershberger

    “as far removed from reality as Tony Perkins is from orthodox Christian ethics”
    Oh, come now. Let’s call a spade a spade. Jesus gave very clear and specific instructions on the treatment of strangers. This is more than can be said about, for example, homosexuals. If Tony Perkins choses to deny Christ that is his business: it is still a mostly free country. But let’s not pussy-foot around it by talking about “orthodox Christian ethics”.
    The silver lining is that this sordid episode in American politics will ensure a generation of Hispanic Democratic voters. It makes quite unmistakable that voting Republican brings the whole package, not just the bits they agree with.

  • Hysteria

    You raise some really good points. I’m not sure where I stand on the issue either, but I do know that the Minutemen are just a wee bit too triggerhappy for my taste.
    On the other side, and the reason why there doesn’t seem to be any good choice, is that I don’t like the whole “amnesty” bit. There are a lot of immigrants who have come here legally, and are caught in the cycle of bureaucracy with the INS. It offends my sense of fair play to see people who are following the rules getting stuck while the people that snuck across suddenly get rewarded.
    Of course, there are a lot of other knee-jerk “we-were-here-first” issues that suddenly spring to mind, such as Do Illegal Immigrants (IIs), pay taxes? What kind of burden do they place on American society based on what they give back? What would a “Latintown” look like? Would they offer some decent flan?
    On the other hand, I don’t like the fact of keeping them out. Central America has had more than its share of dictators, disease, and poverty. The idea that we’d turn these people away and say you have to go back bothers me, especially considering that in some cases, returning is a death sentence.
    So neither side completely thrills me. There’s got to be a middle ground.

  • Erick Oppeen

    Are the Minutemen trigger-happy? As far as I know, they haven’t shot anybody yet. And I should point out that a lot of their support seems to come from people living close to the border who’re sick and tired of having things lifted and taken along by illegal immigrants. I think you’re thinking of different Minutemen—either the 1770s version or the 1960s version.
    One problem I have with the “border’s open, come on in!” school of thought is that it is, at seventh and last, enabling the Mexican and Central American elites to continue in their stupid, self-destructive courses. I’m also Not Too Wild about the way that people from _other_ parts of the world have to jump through hoops to come to America, while one group (a group that doesn’t bother obeying our laws, as they would expect us to obey their laws if we were in _their_ countries) is unjustly privileged by geographic nearness.

  • Emily H.

    For all that I’ve been through the ugly, awful, INS bureaucracy (I’m a Canadian living in the US), that’s exactly why I’m not at all resentful of amnesty as a concept. If it took that much time and money and lawyering to get an upper-middle-class, Anglophone, overeducated family into the US, I feel that it’s just not realistic to tell the average poor Latino immigrant to just go through the legal process.

  • bibliotrope

    Un-Christian? Then I guess this guy was, too. After all, 7/Eleven is a marketplace:
    Matthew 20:1-16 (King James Version)
    1For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.
    2And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
    3And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
    4And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
    5Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.
    6And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
    7They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.
    8So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
    9And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
    10But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.
    11And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,
    12Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
    13But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?
    14Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
    15Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
    16So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
    (Here endeth the lesson.) :-)
    My reading of that is, the un-Christian aspect would be if the hirers don’t pay their workers a fair wage!

  • D. Sidhe

    Passports are expensive. Do they care that poor people who were in fact born here would be effectively “unpersoned”? Probably not.
    Illegal immigrants certainly do pay taxes. If nothing else, they pay consumption taxes, the sort of things that hit poor people harder than those who are well off. They pay taxes on things like Kleenex and Coke, and they pay taxes to use laundromat machines, and they pay taxes to live out of a “long term stay” hotel because they can’t gather up enough for a deposit on an apartment.
    They can also end up paying Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, and workman’s comp withholdings, none of which they can ever legally or safely claim.
    As far as “We were here first”, if you’re speaking of European-descended Americans, no, we weren’t.
    And finally, would Perkins and his bunch be okay with day laborer centers if everyone coming through the door had to show proof of citizenship? Call me a cynic, but I suspect not all of them would.

  • BugHunter

    They already have checkpoints for papers in the southern states… in New Mexico, for example, they check papers on either end of a long highway that runs alongside the southern border with mexico to make sure that no one crossing the border is hitchhiking to civilization.

  • Alison

    “After two or three Mexicans are shot, they’ll stop crossing the border and they’ll take their cows home, too.”
    ?!? OK, can someone please explain this one to me?
    And with respect to the day laborer problem: surely they should be arresting the people employing them, rather than getting their knickers in a knot over setting up a jobs centre?

  • Doctor Science

    the un-Christian aspect would be if the hirers don’t pay their workers a fair wage!
    But pretty much by definition, they don’t. No contracts, no workman’s comp, no protection against unsafe conditions, no scheduled pay raises. The “fairness” of the wage is pretty much entirely determined by the hirer, not by the market for comparable work for citizens.
    And with respect to the day laborer problem: surely they should be arresting the people employing them, rather than getting their knickers in a knot over setting up a jobs centre?
    bingo. But you see, that would involve targeting the powerful, not the powerless — and what’s the point of being powerful if you have to deal with the consequences of your own actions? Far better to act as though you went to the 7-11 for coffee and doughnuts and found yourself, somehow, through no fault of your own, heading back to the worksite with a truckful of undocumented workers. It just happened!

  • Mark

    As someone from the UK I’m slightly confused by the whole issue. The way I understand it is that America lets people into the country without passport checks or anything so they can work in factories. Is this illegal or not? Because I looked into working in America and it seemed that you needed seven million pieces of paper. Surely if you don’t have an open border with a country you want it to be a secure border?
    I’m not anti-immigrant labour or anything like that, I’m just confused as to how you can require a visa to get into the country and then encourage immigrant labour from people who have no visas.

  • wintermute

    Mark: The border is open for tourism and the like, but not for people to just come over and start working without paying taxes, or complying with basic employment standards.
    At least, Not unless Bush gets his way…

  • cjmr’s husband

    Alison, I think in this case we have to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that there is a massive problem with cross-border grazing rights that none of us have ever heard about.
    And that he absolutely was not referring to the strawman argument about pregnant Mexican women crossing the border illegally so that their children will be U.S. citizens.

  • wintermute

    This is a better link, maybe….

  • E. Nonee Moose

    violently giddy
    Sometimes it’s not what they say, but how they say it. Anybody who is ‘violently giddy’ about ANYTHING is not to be trusted.

  • Puck

    “felon” is a word Fred. When you violate the law and the law is a felony you are a “felon.” Not rocket science. But I’m old-fashioned. Words are a specialty of my generation. And I’m happy to help you and others of your e-Generation.
    The problems Mexicans face in this country are because they occupy powerless positions (which is exactly where Democrats want all non-whites).
    When Mexicans begin to occupy positions in journalism (and as our language changes to Spanish that could be soon), teaching, politics, etc., stigmatizing words will not longer be used against them – rather Mexicans will use stigmatizing words against the lower classes of the next generation. Again – not rocket science.
    I long for the day when America no longer uses its “benevolence” to prop up Israel and destroy Middle Eastern and Europe societies. OTOH – watch out Venezuela and Chile – America is starting to care about you. That will not work to your benfit.

  • Mike T

    A lot of the debate seems to have been focused on the last round of high volume immigration – that group which came through Ellis Island. Anti- types argue that “that bunch came in legally”, which is true. But one wonders how different their “legal” was from our “legal”. Like others, I came through the “legal” process – luckily, before 9/11; I gather it’s harder now – and it was difficult. So, if the issue is that these people are coming in illegally, why not establish some sort of Ellis Island type deal on the Mexico border, where anyone who shows up gets processed into the country?
    As for the taxes issue – the idea that if they were legal they would suddenly start paying income tax? Please. They may have the tax withheld from their paycheque, but, at the end of the year, they’ll claim a tax rebate, with intrest, like the rest of us. And, as has been pointed out, they pay at least their fair share, if not more than their fair share, of consumption taxes, which bring in more revenue for the government anyway.

  • cjmr’s husband

    I know it’s a big word, but “mis-de-mean-or” is only four syllables. Try it.

  • Prof Fury

    Erik wrote: “I think you’re thinking of different Minutemen—either the 1770s version or the 1960s version.”
    I’m pretty sure the fellow that Fred quoted was our contemporary. And it’s worth noting that if they had shot anyone, we’d probably never know about it. I grew up and still live in a region where minorities could be murdered (often in public) without fear of repercussion well into the twentieth century; the fervency of these Minutemen and the powerlessness and lack of rights of undocumented workers have created a situation in which history could easily repeat itself.

  • cjmr’s husband

    The tax argument is a red herring. Illegal immigrant wages aren’t high enough to pay federal income tax, so they’d get it all back if the employers paid it. The biggest advantage to hiring illegals is the tax savings, after all.
    As for crime, it’s a misdemeanor to be here, and the punishment is to be deported. If an illegal gets caught committing a felony, they go to jail and then get deported. Honest people who are here to work try to avoid committing any kind of infraction. (Dishonest ones are another story, but they aren’t the ones “stealing American jobs”).
    Make it a felony to be here, you lose the incentive for an immigrant to keep his nose clean. If the punishment for burglary is the same as the punishment for gardening, why not pick the easier, higher paying job?
    Sorry, but the only solution to this so-called problem is to punish the people who are doing the hiring.

  • J

    So here’s the choice: Either allow unlimited, undocumented immigration from Latin America OR immediately and totally abandon the Monroe Doctrine/Roosevelt Corollary. That is, if you want people to stop trying to escape the failed states of the Spanish-speaking world, stop fucking around with their countries and politics. No more military aid. No more political aid. No more “gestures of support” to this or that political leader. No more drug wars. No more supporting coups against governments you don’t like. No more exporting Chicago economists to dispense sage wisdom. Nothing. If you want to help, give the money to Oxfam.
    It’s a little mendacious–fuck it; it’s REALLY mendacious–to gripe about immigrants AND to also insist on the right to mess internally with the politics and economics of those countries and thus send more waves of their own citizens fleeing north.

  • rashomon

    The people involved with the minutemen are trigger-happy and have shot people. Here is just one link about an incident that I heard when it happened and there have been others since.
    Didn’t hear about that? No big deal, you probably didn’t hear about the great victory in the war on terror these links talk about either. You would think that more people would know about the FBI stopping terrorist with a weapon of mass destruction.
    Want some more check out this link from the Southern Poverty Law center.
    The US has a dysfunctional Immigration policy by design. Molly Ivins and others (bottleogblogs link) have discussed it in a lot of detail. Basically, immigration policy is meant to appease two very different groups, businesses that use immigrant labor and citizens who are against immigrants. To appease the citizens, INS is very difficult to deal with and won’t let very many people in. Even for tourism it isn’t easy because they may like America so much, that they won’t want to leave. Businesses want that cheap labor, so the borders are not well guarded and the businesses aren’t punished when they are caught hiring illegals. Both illegal and legal immigrants pay more in taxes than the services they receive. (Illegals use fake SS cards and driver’s licenses to get jobs and so pay taxes because the company requires it. Legal immigrants pay taxes and are forbidden from receiving benefits such as welfare by law.)
    For information on Illegal Immigrants and Taxes look at the following links.
    The system needs to be reformed to make it easier for legal immigration and harder for illegal immigration. Illegal immigration has negative effects like supporting organized crime and criminals like snakeheads(people smugglers) and because the immigrants are afraid of authorities they are open to abuse. Unfortunately, reasonable reform isn’t likely to occur (although because of the recent protests there is hope.). Besides the slow down in the economy, a driving force behind the attack on illegal immigration is the fear many people have of becoming a minority in America. Because of this illegal immigration isn’t the issue, immigration is. (Ever heard of the minutemen patrolling airports where illegal workers from Europe, Australia, or sometimes Canada arrive? But they are illegals too, aren’t they?)

  • Peter

    Fred, the war on terror and the war on immigration are the rightwingers outlet for racism and bigotry. Since bush’s wargasm against darkies sitting on our oil is going poorly, the next version will be to blame all sin/crime/etc on the darkies that come here to work. Since the Civil Rights Act made it impossible to legally discriminate against blacks, and about the fastest way to get fired from a job is to say the word “nigger,” all that hatred and bigotry just gets bottled up and needs an outlet.
    Between Iran and Venezuela getting invaded next, I’d bet on Venezuela. Less soldiers to shoot back, less dramatic shock to world oil prices. When we start seeing ex-Presidential candidates advocating assassination of lawfully elected politicians in South America, then you’ll know where we’re heading as a country. Democracy is all nice and fine in speeches and stuff, but we sure don’t like the price it costs.
    “After two or three Mexicans are shot, they’ll stop crossing the border and they’ll take their cows home, too.”
    ?!? OK, can someone please explain this one to me?
    He’s saying that Mexican women are ugly and fat.
    The problems Mexicans face in this country are because they occupy powerless positions (which is exactly where Democrats want all non-whites).
    You mispelled “republican.”

  • Rasselas

    Puck, you really should have asked before you ate Pedro’s peanut butter.

  • ScottDaly

    The immigration debate is not just about jobs. And lets face it, the jobs that many of the illegal’s take are the jobs that either a) most “native” Americans don’t want because they are hard/dirty/demeaning. or b) if you paid a real living wage would cause the cost of groceries and other consumables to rise. The “debate” is also about the rise of a new power group in American politics. Hispanics have grown to a significant portion of the population and they are now in a position to flex some political muscle. That scares the bejebers out of the Conservative Christians because they do not have a significant hold in the hispanic community. CC’s are afraid that they will be even further marginalized. The only reason that they have been as successful in politics as they have is because they are often in the position to cast the swing votes. They are in escence a minority party that through a quirk of the political winds has been in a position to have influence far beyond their numbers. If Hispanics are able to form a coherent voting block their power is threatened. And like most power hungry control freaks their first response is to get rid of the trouble makers. In the case of Hispanics the easiest way to do that is by getting anyone who is not here leagally thrown out of the country. Also, they are hoping that by making illegal immigrants fellons they will be able to tar the Hispanic community with the collective stigma of being crimminals. After all you wouldn’t want someone that comes from a group of crimminals to be your mayor do you? Admitedly there is more than a touch of racism in their thinking too. After all these are people that seem to need to have somebody to hate. With the hate crime and civil rights laws that are now on the books they can’t vent their spleens at the homos and the darkies any more. However, illegals make a really good target.
    Personally, I think that illegal imigrants should be deported. However, I also think that immigration needs to be made much easier. And a one time amnesty for illegals that have been in the country for five or more years (with no significant criminal record – i.e. traffic tickets don’t count) should be offered, along with a fast track path to citizenship. The fence along the border is a bad idea on so many levels that it is not worth discussing.

  • Brian

    I think you mean a wall along the Rio Grande, not the El Paso, dude. ;)

  • colin roald

    Chris says: It offends my sense of fair play to see people who are following the rules getting stuck while the people that snuck across suddenly get rewarded.
    I’m a Canadian living in the USA legally and currently stuck winding my way through the horrifying tangle of rules, and as such one of the people whose just treatment you’re worried about. But allow me to say that as bad as the legal option is, the illegal path is clearly worse. Even if some prospect of amnesty was open, going illegal wouldn’t tempt me for a second, as it would mean years of living under the threat of having my life ripped apart by a deportation process, and it would bar me from any job I’d want to have. Anyone who has come here choosing the illegal route is effectively sentencing themselves to years of hard labour, and so we may be sure that they aren’t doing it on a lark, or getting away with anything for free.
    For what it’s worth.

  • Garnet

    When Mexicans begin to occupy positions in journalism (and as our language changes to Spanish that could be soon), teaching, politics, etc., stigmatizing words will not longer be used against them
    Because it’s worked out so well for African-Americans, who are never subject to stigmatizing words, after all.

  • lightning

    Coupla significant points:
    The numbers I’ve heard for the number of illegal immigrants are staggering — 11 to 12 million. Deporting all of them simply isn’t possible, even if they all had “illegal” stickers on their foreheads.
    In line with the previous item, illegals are now a significant fraction of the workforce. A crackdown would cause some serious disruptions.
    The people marching are not just illegal immigrants. Hispanics in general see the anti- illegal aliens rules as licenses to harass anybody who looks Hispanic.
    The main attractiveness of illegal workers is their illegality — they can be abused at will. Amnesty, then, won’t solve any problems.
    Why are intellegent, motivated, hardworking Mexicans coming to the US to get dirt wages and lots of abuse? Methinks that the real problem is in Mexico, not here.

  • Puck

    African’s aren’t in journalism, academia, and smoke-filled back rooms of politics Garnet.
    Liberals hold the keys to those doors – and liberals like to keep their darkies needy, pregnant, angry, and no closer than the mail-room.

  • cjmr’s husband

    Liberals control the smoke-filled back rooms of politics? With this congress?
    Not likely, liberals don’t smoke.

  • bulbul

    African’s aren’t in journalism, academia, and smoke-filled back rooms of politics Garnet.
    Dude, you are aware of the fact that it’s the year 2006, right?
    Speaking of dates, isn’t tomorrow Cinco de Mayo?

  • bulbul

    Not likely, liberals don’t smoke.
    And what about all the hookkahs?

  • cjmr

    What about them? I don’t personally know any liberals who go farther than alcohol and caffeine. I’ve known a few people who smoked pot, but aside from that, they were gun-loving conservatives or non-Scott libertarians.

  • Perry

    We should just make all illegal aliens U.S. citizens, then sit back and wait for their great-grandchildren to start complaining about illegal immigrants.

  • bulbul

    I don’t personally know any liberals who go farther than alcohol and caffeine.
    Sorry, I mean non-pot hookkahs, apple tobacco Middle Eastern style. Like the one right next to my chair :o)

  • Orion

    since when are there no african-americans in journalism or academia. sure, they aren’t eh dominant force. populations figures and poverty play into that, fo course, as well as dscrimination and social stigmas. but there certainly are successful black writers, professor,s and journalists.

  • mcm

    I am deeply dismayed at the fact that people take the Canadian Peril so lightly. There definitely needs to be a wall. Fifty Four Forty Or Fight!

  • rashomon

    Being in journalism, academia, and smoke-filled back rooms of politics doesn’t give you all that much protection when you are a minority. Of course, you could look to the Jews in Germany as an international example but a US example of elitism not protecting minorities is Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which was called the Black Wall Street. A full account of what happened there is at the following link:
    Following the destruction in Tulsa:
    “Within a week of the riot, blacks were made to carry ‘green cards.’ The Tulsa Tribune carried a story of the issuance of the green cards, saying, ‘It is the certificate of industry and decency to every negro who carries it. It marks him as the better class, just as the absence of the card brands the other fellow as one to be looked upon with suspicion if not to be rid of. In this hour of reconstruction in our city let every good negro who is entitled to his green card, get it without delay.'”

  • Garnet

    African’s aren’t in journalism, academia, and smoke-filled back rooms of politics Garnet.
    Gerald Boyd, Dean Baquet, Greg Moore, Phil Dixon, Gwen Ifill, Nancy Hicks Maynard, John Dotson…
    Cornel West, Henry Louis Gates, Lawrence Bobo, Marcyliena Morgan, Guion S. Bluford, Jr., Alondra Oubré, Vernellia R. Randall…
    Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Hazel O’Leary,Sharon Pratt Kelly, Marion Barry, Barack Obama, Alan Keyes, Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., Corrine Brown…
    I can keep going, if you like? Or you could check out this site ( ) for yourself, if you wanted to save a little time. Face it; just because you stop being the official poor trash minority doesn’t mean the majority starts treating you any better.
    And really, liberals control journalism, academia and politics? I suppose that’s why America is in the grip of the most liberal leftists communist socialist anarchist whatever-ist leadership in its history, right?
    Oh, wait, no…

  • Brad W.

    This is perhaps the first recorded incidence of people hanging out in a 7-Eleven parking lot because they want to work. The usual nuisance crowd in a 7-Eleven parking lot, after all, tends to look more like Jay and Silent Bob — crowds of local youth, native born and bred, hanging out at the 7-Eleven or the Gas N’ Sip as a way of avoiding work (“By choice man!”).
    This is the first you’ve heard of this? Every place I’ve lived for the past 30 years there’s been one or two places per town — usually a 7-Eleven or gas station — where you can drive by of a morning and get a full work crew.
    Mornings, workers.
    Afternoons, slackers.

  • madjoey

    Why are intellegent, motivated, hardworking Mexicans coming to the US to get dirt wages and lots of abuse? Methinks that the real problem is in Mexico, not here.
    The problem is the standard of living gradient across the border. Per capita income is ~10x higher in the US over Mexico, ~60x if you discount Mexico’s petroleum income (which doesn’t “trickle down”). As a Mexican or other south-of-the-border-er, I’d be willing to suffer indignity for the chance of increasing my economic viability by 10-60x.
    The cross-border flow dries up as the gradient declines. In order to do that, Mexico has to increase its own standard of living; thanks to crony theo-capitalism, GW & Crew are already doing their part to drive down America’s.

  • cjmr

    Here’s an interesting take on this whole situation…
    My Experience with Illegal Immigration

  • Doctor Science

    I’m continually amazed at how much people can talk about illegal immigrants without mentioning their employers.
    In Herndon, for instance, I’ll bet:
    a) most of the day laborers work in construction
    b) local politics has a kickback relationship with the local construction industry
    c) the local construction industry doesn’t want the day-laborer center, because a center would (i) make it easier to tell who is hiring how many illegal workers, (ii) give workers ideas about how they’re owed basic human consideration, (iii) teach them English and other skills that make them less dependent, (iv) make it easier for workers to compare notes and choose less exploitative employers.
    What an astounding coincidence that the center won’t happen.
    Employers are the part of the illegal immigration equation where the most power lies; they’re the people to talk about *first*, not last or as an aside. A really cynical person might say that all the noise about border patrols, citizenship requirements, and singing the Star-Spangled Banner in Spanish is just a way to distract rank-and-file Republican voters from the proposed “guest worker” program, and its implications about who calls the tune in the Party (large corporations, duh) and how much respect they have for working Americans (none).

  • blue_virginia

    I live very close to the labor center in Herndon, VA. I am privileged enough on some mornings to see Minutemen standing across the street from the labor center with their binoculars and bellies, bravely confronting Herndon’s brown menace from 50+ yards away (in the parking lot of a 7-11, ironically).
    I’ll admit it: I despise the Minutemen (and women). They give sane Herndon residents a bad name. I’ve never seen a Herndon Minuteperson that is not overweight yet still undernourished. They’re too cowardly to actually talk to or interact with the immigrants at the center, instead choosing to skulk from afar. The center has been a big success and is a much better solution than the old 7-11 parking lot (which usually had huge crowds; it was insane in the morning).
    Frankly, the whole lot of Minutepeople would benefit from a day of hard work alongside the guys lining up at the center. Burning some calories would be very beneficial for those patriots. It might even help diminish some of their anger and fear.

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