Posted by Rod, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 2, 2007 at 4:22 pm
Expect a one-sided discussion by this very liberal Palo Alto church. There will be no serious discussion about the serious need for a nation to defend its own borders, otherwise, it is no longer a nation. Expect no more than passing mention of the social costs of illegal aliens. Expect very little mention of the unfairness of illegals violating the border, as others wait in line. Expect NO mention of illegal meaning illegal, in the actual legal sense.
We will hear about poor people trying to better their lives by breaking our laws (that's OK, hell with the law). We will also hear about how indispensable illegal aliens are to our economy (complete nonsense, but facts be damned). We, of course, will hear that the correct term for "illegal alien" is ..."illegal alien", but that that term MUST be substitued with "undocummented immigrant". And then (hold your breath)...RACISM!!!!
And then...hold on...JESUS would demand that we accept the least of us. Sorry, I'm not a Christian. I believe in the separation of church and state, but FUMC is a very political church that still demands its tax break. Very similar to the Jerry Falwell deal, except from the other end of the spectrum.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Jul 2, 2007 at 4:43 pm
You might enjoy a little background...
NAFTA and the US Farm Bill opened up price supports for large American agribusiness concerns (like AGM and Cargill). Guess what happened? MILLIONS of Mexiacn farmers got priced out of their own corn markets; they couldn't compete and found themselves without a livlihood, with no other economic infrastructure to take its place.
Guess what else? This made corn and corn sweeteners really, really cheap, which is why we saw high fructose corn syrup and other processed corn fillers put into everything. The former is a major suspect in the increase in obesity, diabetes nd other degenerative diseases in America.
Oh, yeah - the SMAE thing has happened to Mexican apple farmers in NW Mexico. Most of those farmers are now apple pickers in Washington State.
one more thing: where would we finds the cheap labor that enables you and me to buy cheap produce? who would cut and trim our wasteful "curb appeal" expanses of lawn? who would bus our tables at expensive restaurants? who would build outr homes, roads and commercial spaces? who would clean our hotel rooms? who would cook most of the food we get from restaurants?
this flash just came in: the same bunch of greed-mongering arri-corporations have lobbied successfully to have corn planted for ethanol (an inefficient fuel, when all costs are considered). Guess what? Thata has driven the price of corn SKY HIGH in Mexico, which means that poor Mexiacn villagers are not able to buy corn for tortillas. It also is driving the price of consumer products like milk through the roof.
This is a complex problem, but one thing is for sure; a large part of what's been happening with illegal immigration is a result of corporate and political greed.
You might start there is you want results. Until we deal harshly with some greedy politicians and corporations, until we insist that Mexican politicians do something for their people (and back that up with stiff sanctions), then we will continue to have an illegal immigration problem. Get used to it.
Posted by Rod, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 2, 2007 at 5:00 pm
1. Zip up the border tighter than a frog's ass in water.
2. Support mechanization of agriculture. In other words, OPPOSE Ceasar Chavez.
3. Make national identity cards a legal requirement for everyone, with biometric controls.
3. Arrest any employer of illegals, and put them in jail. Serious perp walks, and VERY serious fines.
I mow my own lawns, paint my own house, clean it, too. I'm 62 years old, and have done this my entire life. I have never hired an illegal. It is not necessary. There is plenty of legal labor, should you choose, but it will cost you a living wage, instead of a semi-slave wage.
Posted by Legal Alien, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 2, 2007 at 5:18 pm
You have simplified it too much. Yes, most of the work we can do on our own homes we can do ourselves. But, we like to eat out. That would cost a lot more. We like reasonably priced produce. That would also go. We would in fact pay a lot more for nearly everything.
The average American, when he goes to another country (regardless of the rate of exchange) is actually amazed at the cost of so called ordinary things - from eating out to almost anything in the service industry. The difference is that other countries do not have workers who are willing to work extremely hard for little money, no job security and no benefits. Most other industrialized countries need to pay all their workers a living wage. That then puts the cost of goods much higher than we have them here.
We scream at the companies that import cheap clothing, shoes, etc., and once again they are doing it by paying for very cheap labor. The same very cheap labor is keeping this country to have its relatively cheap standard of living. If you don't think it is cheap, try living in Europe and keeping your standard of living - even if you do your own housework, yard work, etc.
Posted by Rod, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 2, 2007 at 5:41 pm
To a certain degree you are correct, but only to a degree. For instance, those jobs which absolutley require human labor (e.g restaurant help) would be more expensive, however those jobs which are convertalbe to mechanization would be much cheaper (e.g. produce). Cotton was once picked by slaves, but even slavery could not keep up with mechanized cotton harvesting and deseeding and spinning. Same for nut crops and canned tomatoes, etc. Mechanization has been frozen in its tracks by the opposition of Chavez and his supporters (like FUMC). It is a Luddite position, but it is, unfortunately, real.
Just cut off the illegal traffic, imprison the employers who violate, and you will see an amazing positive change in the economy. Overall, it will probably be cheaper, not more expensive (as long as mechanization is not impeded).
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Jul 2, 2007 at 7:06 pm
Rod, sounds like you put an awful lot of faith in farm mechanization. Try picking strawberries with a machine. How long will it be before that happens. Your demands are more unrealistic than those who make demands for unlimited immigration.
Posted by Rod, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 2, 2007 at 7:26 pm
I forgot to mention all the grain crops (wheat, rice, barley, etc.; also grapes (thought to be impossibe only about 40 years ago). There are many interesting prototypes for other crops, including strawberries, but if U.C. Davis is prevented from looking at them, like they used to do, it is not a question of posssibility, just one of denial.
I don't limit "mechanization" to simple metal and gears...I mean the full monte of technology that can get various jobs done. This includes genetically modified crops, safe herbicides (e.g. "Round-Up Ready"). In fact, most crops are already mechanized, at least to a substantial degree. If Chavez and his supporters had been around 100 years ago, we may still be grinding our own wheat by hand or water wheel.
Mike, I want a HIGH wage society, not a low wage disaster. We will all be better off. Uncontrolled borders (which is what we now have) is a prescription for social disaster.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Jul 2, 2007 at 8:34 pm
Rod, Your scenario is, frankly, somewhat utopian. Certainly, innovative means of growing and harvesting crops will continue to develop, but that will take a LONG time. In the meantime, we are structurally dependent on imported labor.
To carry oyur argument to the extreme, there may come a day when we can genetically engineer nhuman beings to live w/o having to ingest nourishment. Sure, it's a possibility, but is it germain to the near-long-term. Like oyur argument, I think not.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 3, 2007 at 7:14 am
Agreed. This is about making our Borders secure, so that we only open the door for those we WANT into our country.
THEN: My opinion..put all the illegal aliens who are in our jails on a plane to the capital of whichever country they are from. There is now reason to pay $25,000 to $40,000 per year to house an illegal alien prisoner, when their home country should handle them. That would free up a lot of space and finances. 30% of the prisoners nationwide are illegal ( probably means much more in our "border" states)
THEN: Do not create a legal second class, like Europe's, through "guest worker" programs. This class will never assimilate or integrate. It is a sneaky way to have cheap labor, without any of the benefits to our society or to the " guest worker class" working here.
CITIZENSHIP: Create a path for the "uneducated" from other countries to come here and work, but through a citizenship, and citizenship only, path that demands learning English, our history and our system of government. I think it is absurd that we basically no longer accept the hardworking but uneducated legally into our country. We need the shot in our anemic arm that people who are motivated enough to do hard labor bring to our country, not just PhDs.
For those already here: Once the border is secure..send everyone out who has committed any felony. This was proposed, but rejected, as an amendment to this latest bill. That was when I didn't trust the Bill and no longer was open minded about it. Why would we accept FELONS? What is wrong with our Senate/House that they WANT TO ACCEPT FELONS??
For those who are left, they apply to start the path to citizenship by a certain date. If they fail to apply by then, they are not interested in assimilating and integrating, raising their kids here, etc. So, if we catch them after the cut-off date..back to their home country they go. Anyone in gangs by the time of their citizenship hearings..goes back to their home country. Anyone who has been convicted of any violent crime, drugs or theft..out they go.
Any uneducated immigrants are ineligible for any public benefits for at least 10 years after they are made citizens. Any children who were born here of illegal aliens are ineligible for public benefits until at least 40 years old.
No more bringing parents over here to use our benefits, like the Medi-Cal system. I am tired of seeing aged parents just brought over here to get on Medi-Cal to get health care, when their grown kids own a home in Palo Alto or Los Altos Hills.
I will support any immigration bill that treats our Country with more of the respect it deserves, like above. Our country is like our home. We open our doors and care for only those we CHOOSE to let in and care for in our homes, the same should be true for our country.
Posted by LB, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 3, 2007 at 7:56 am
Resident, your comment about returning all those illegal aliens in our prisons to their home countries is horribly simplified because we don't know what country most of them come from and they're not telling. That is the problem Europe is having with so much immigration from Africa. Those that find there way to Europe won't say what country they come from, therefore they can't be returned. No third party country will accept them.
Posted by steve levy, a resident of the University South neighborhood, on Jul 3, 2007 at 8:17 am
Most jobs done by unauthorized immigrants (90% or so) are NOT in agriculture==they are in restaurants, hotels, construction, taking care of people and landscaping. Not much mechanization potential here.
Punishing people who employ unauthorized immigrants would probably put a lot of us and our neighbors in jail.
We do pay for jailing unauthorized immigrants criminals--about $20 per person per year becasue the federal government doesn't reimburse us as they should.
Deportation would involve splitting families and making many who stay becasue they are legal eligible for more public assistance because they would be poorer. Also if we deported some 12 million unauthorized immigrants (approx 8 million are working), you could not fill those jobs in any meaningful time without great disruption and cost.
We may disagree about law and morality but none of the "solutions" mentioned above are likely to get the results you think. That's why this is such a hard challenge to resolve.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 3, 2007 at 10:24 am
Steve: I re-read my comments and others..I didn't say deport 12 million. I said deport felons, and anyone who doesn't sign up to become a citizen by a certain date. Felons were not supporting their "legal" families anyway..and I don't want anyone else who is both uneducated and who doesn't sign up to become a citizen, so they can leave, too.
As for immigrants not telling where they are from..this is easy. Not only does each country have a unique accent, each region in each country has a unique accent. It is like having a bunch of English speaking folks in jail and saying you can't tell which ones are American, Scottish, Irish, or Australian. The only slight problems would be between New Zealand and Australia, and between Canada and here. I would pay the "in question" countries to take people and figure out where they are from. I suspect if it is between a Mexican jail and locating family in Honduras, the prisoners will manage to come up with the truth.
"California contained a disproportionately large share of illegal alien state prisoners, 71 percent of illegal aliens identified by the INS, which appears to reflect its large share of the resident illegal alien population and the relatively large share of the state's submissions for which the INS was able to determine immigrant/legal status."
And rates of illegals in jails was rising, while rates of legals was decreasing.
Whether the payment for prisoners comes from the Feds or from us, it is still from our pockets.
Get people who know accents, send them back "home". Pay their "home countries" to take them. Tell the prisoners that they need to come clean on their home country, or we will pay another country to take them and figure it out.
The above is a link to another site of stats. If I read it right, it says only about 30% of inmates are illegal aliens ( which seems to make more sense), though it isn't clear if it is talking about CALIFORNIA or all the nation. So both 70% in California and 30% nationally may still be true.
If the 70% number is true, for California, what is about 70% of $8.75 billion? About %6 billion. If 30% is closer to the truth, then even about $3 Billion is not kleenex!! THAT is the cost of just our illegal alien prisoners. That buys a lot of plane tickets, and pays a lot of money to other countries to take them and figure out where they are from ( if they don't fess up before they get on the plane)
Posted by resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 3, 2007 at 11:18 am
I gotta bettah idea..give the illegal alien prisoners a choice. Either they are sent back to the city they came from, and that means they have to tell us where they are from, or they are sent to south Mexico where we pay Mexico to imprison them for us. It would be a fraction of the cost.
California'a net costs are around $800 million per year or a little over $20 per person.
Reducing or eliminating these costs can be part of a comprehensive solution but, as you said, these folks are not in the workforce and anything we do about them will not affect the broader issues of whether the economy benefits from unauthorized immigrant workers and what to do. My own view is that a path to tough earned legalization makes sense.
I have no good ideas about "border security". I think most public officials are posturing and have no idea what would work either or whether what would work is a good idea. Also, I hope we can agree that Mexican workers trying to improve their lives are not a terrorist threat and that the real border security issue should focus on terrorism.
As Mike suggests what happens in Mexico does affect the push and pull of unauthorized immigration. However, changing the economic climate in Mexico is a long-term endeavor and will still leave us with deciding now how to handle the influx of low-skilled workers who come here without proper documentation.
Posted by resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 3, 2007 at 3:59 pm
if Mexico does not have the ability to supplement itself by sending 1/7th of its workforce here, then Mexico will have to fix itself. As long as we are codependant enough to give the drunk his booze, the drunk will stay drunk.
Mike..as I said before..whether the money comes from the Feds to the tune of $34,000 per year per prisoner, or from the State, is irrelevant. It is still money from our pockets, unless you don't pay Fed taxes. So, this $20/year/prisoner that CA pays is irrelevant to me..the overall cost to our nation is.
Mike...of course I would emigrate illegally if I had to in order to survive. I would do a lot of things to survive if I had to. That isn't the point. I would also break into your house and steal from you to survive if I felt I had to..that doesn't mean you should make it easy for me by not having locks on your doors, or by stopping me and kicking me out if you caught me. Or would you let me just move into your house? Think about it. Or would you rather send money to organizations that can help me learn to survive and not have me in your house? I would rather support Mexico and keep their citizens there.
You also naively believe that the quality of illegal immigrants coming over is the same as 20 years ago. Read the links I posted on crime, imprisonment, and gangs, and what percent is done by illegals. This wasn't true 20-30 years ago. There is more opportunity now in Mexico, BECAUSE of NAFTA, than there was 20 years ago, so the quality of people coming across is declining. The ones who can stay in Mexico and work, do.
Posted by resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 3, 2007 at 4:10 pm
By the way, I have no guilt enjoying my vegetables and fruit.
25-50%, depending on who you believe, of all farm workers are illegal..and if I could find a store that verifies that all its' food is bought from non-illegal hiring farms, I would gladly pay whatever extra the food costs. We have the least expensive food, relative to our wealth, in the world..I think we can pay a little more for it.
I am certainly not willing to "wink" and let illegals be exploited in order to have cheaper food. I think it is abominable. I prefer we hire only legals, and pay the extra.
Posted by Mike, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Jul 4, 2007 at 11:25 am
What about all the stuff you're buying from China that is supported by slave coal miners there?
Rail all you want; we'll continue to see immigration. We're going to have to adapt to that.
NAFTA created more opportunity? Ha! What does that opportunity come to when you subtract out the millions of Mexican farmers put out of work by our Farm bill? Resident, your stats are selective, and your examples are in the extreme - made to prove a point that is essentially weak. You might try reading John Donne.
Posted by Rod, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 4, 2007 at 4:50 pm
"Punishing people who employ unauthorized immigrants would probably put a lot of us and our neighbors in jail."
Exactly, steve! You might need to re-order your life so that you mow your own lawn. Alternatively, you could hire LEGAL laborers at a LIVING WAGE. Has this thought ever occurred to you, steve? Or do you just find it too convenient to continue breaking the law, and paying minimum wages (no benefits, btw) while doing so?
As I said before, in this thread, I have never hired an illegal alien to do my dirty work. I just get dirty and do it (and like it!). It's good exercise, too. Steve, have you considered giving up your gym membership, and actually doing your own yardwork, and house cleaning?
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 4, 2007 at 5:40 pm
"What about all the stuff you're buying from China that is supported by slave coal miners there?"
Coal miners in China, like coal miners the world around, go down because the pay is better than on the surface. The chocolate slaves are not paid. They are purchased and worked like rented mules. The City of Palo Alto officially does not care.
Posted by steve levy, a resident of the University South neighborhood, on Jul 4, 2007 at 6:13 pm
You are confusing two issues and also making a few outrageous assumptions for which you have no basis.
I don't know whether the people we have hired over the years are legal or unauthorized but I can assure you they are not being underpaid or taken advantage of. In Palo Alto I think most household-related workers are paid well above minimum wage.
Since I presume you have no problem with our family hiring legal residents and paying them well, all that garbage about doing my own "dirty work" is irrelevant, right, as long as we are treating people fairly.
My point was that many people have no idea whether the workers they hire are legal or unauthorized and that it is not just corporations or under the table employers who hire unauthorized immigrants. We have heard your opinion. I wonder what others think of the idea of asking your babysitter or painter or gardener or someone who takes care of an elderly parent whether they are legal residents and demanding proof. I was think that before we talk about forcing businesses to do this, we might think about how it affects our lives as well.
If your main concern is about pay and fairness, legalization offers more protection against workers being taken advantage of than the current system, which is one reason why I favor an earned path to legalization.
Perhaps we share a common agenda about higher minimum wages and access to affordable health care. I don't like to see people taken advantage of either.
I think all this "throw the employers in jail and deport people" rhetoric is not going to work out the way proponents expect.
I would rather use my energy with forward moving solutions like working toward everyone graduating from high school and getting a chance to go to college if they are eligible. I think there are real civil liberties issues as well in focusing so much on who is here illegally.
Posted by Rod, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 4, 2007 at 6:31 pm
"I don't know whether the people we have hired over the years are legal or unauthorized"
Yes you do. You know, but you just do not ask. Becuase you don't want to have to answer the question. But you know. Very Palo Alto. Just hide behind contractors (no questions asked) or pay cash, illegally. I can't even estimate the number of Palo Alto matrons that have fired their "mow, blow and go" gardeners, and maids, because they "just can't do it as well as I can myself". One week later they hire another illegal crew at a cheaper price (still mow, blow, go).
Steve, this is about GREED. You sound like a particulary excellent practitioner.
Honesty is the first step to redemption, steve. Come on...steve.
Posted by steve levy, a resident of the University South neighborhood, on Jul 4, 2007 at 6:47 pm
Wow, that's a lot of anger and accusations. Do you know me?
Hard to tell since you don't put your full name down.
But the offer is still open. You can join me in a campaign for higher wages and benefits for all low-wage workers and education and training opportunities for all residents so they can improve their incomes.
You are probably talking about someone else because except for neighborhood kids we always pay by check and our gardener (back when we had one) was Japanese and here at least 30 years. Our recent contractors were American and Israeli. Should I be asking for papers for all of their work crew and demand to see their financial records? But, as I said, it is possible that at some point we have hired folks who are not here legally.
Can you at least allow that unauthorized is different from unfairly paid? Which are you worried about--treating people unfairly or quizzing them on where they came from?
Posted by Rod, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 4, 2007 at 7:06 pm
I don't believe you, even though I don't actually know you personally. Still, I know you. See you every day. How many readers of this thread believe that the steve levys of Palo Alto are NOT hiring illegals? Did your contractos hire illegals, steve? Did you investigate, to make sure you were not a co-conspirator to illegality in taffciking humans (a felony)? Or did you just turn your head and write a check?
Steve, one more time...get honest. Then we can have a serious conversation.
A high wage society will come when the supply of cheap labor dries up. That means controlling the border, something you claim to know nothing about how to achieve. Answer: Fence, light beams, satellites, national guard, deputized civilians (volunteers), employers of illegals imprisioned, etc. Striaght forward, steve.
Too easy, steve...
BTW, I have no idea if you have used your own real name or not. Handles are just handles on sites like this.
I'm jsut waiting for an honest, and complete, answer from you, steve. No dodges...which is what you have been up to.
Posted by Eric Stietzel, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Jul 6, 2007 at 10:48 pm
Someplace way up the thread, someone asked about the Forum, whether anyone had gone and could report on it. As I skimmed down through the comments, there seemed to be no answer to that, just a lot of Rod and Steve Levy. Well, I was at the Forum.
The Forum was sponsored by Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice, American Muslim Voice, PPJC, and KQED. You can read more about the event and the questions asked at Web Link.
It would only be fair that Rod would most definitely have found himself confirmed in his prejudgment of the event. Rod wants us to defend our boarders. "Palo Alto" and "San Jose" just don't sound all that "American" to me. Just how did the boarder of the United States get to the Rio Grande, etc. Did the Founding Fathers have any idea about them? any aspiration to reach them? As one participant said, "God didn't draw the boarders." We're inside now, but we what was outside before. We've watched too much bloodshed over boundaries of late seems to me to want to risk more. Perhaps we should all read Robert Frost's Mending Wall and heed those lines:
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
KQED also sent some clips from a recent program on immigration which were very informative. People come to the United States from elsewhere because they see a better life. When that better life is as meager as it is for what Rod calls illegal immigrants, you can only imagine what must be driving them. Well, the KQED video and other speakers outlined it. Mexican agriculture ruined by NAFTA; megacorporations deserting Mexico for even cheaper labor in the Orient, and on and on. Victor Hugo's Les Miserables is evidence enough that if a man is starving or worse, his children, he will risk just about anything to get them food.
Of course the documented evidence from the KQED video interviews with academics and governmental studies presented live showing the impact of NAFTA and the net positive economic impact of immigrants, documented and undocumented, legal and illegal, are in Rod's eyes all going to be more evidence of a one-sided discussion.
We only got to see some of the KQED program. If you go to the URL I mentioned above, Web Link, there is a link to the whole program where you can get even more information on immigration.
In closing, I just want to say that although there was a great deal of information at the Forum, there was even more compassion, and compassion not just for immigrants but for this great country that has stood so tall and drawn so many to its shores and benefited so much from their gifts and which is now in danger of losing its standing among nations and cutting itself off from humanity. Let us truly think about who we are walling in and walling out not just of our land but of our hearts.
Posted by Rod, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 8, 2007 at 9:05 am
Thanks for the back-handed compliment. I have seen the act before, thus I knew what was coming.
"Rod wants us to defend our boarders". I assume you eant "borders", not "boaders" (yes?). I certainly want to defend our borders. We would not be a nation, unless we do.
Old white liberals (OWLs) like to define their own laws, or at least pick and choose among our laws. Palo Alto OWLs are particularly guilty of this. I don't know if you are an OWL, Eric, becasue I do not know if you are old and white. However, if we are going to resort to the poets to define our borders, we are in big trouble. If only our border was a wall....
Many OWLs dream of a borderless world, with a world government that brings peace and good tidings (and distributed wealth and free health care, etc.) to every single human being. I've been around long enough to realize that such dreamers have caused immense sufferings and mass murder. I'll take my wall (border) over your dreams.
Posted by resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 9, 2007 at 9:02 pm
I will believe the Erics of the world truly believe in the sentiments he expressed, and respect them for it, if they leave their front door open and a large sign inviting anyone in who needs a bed and some food.
It sounds pretty, and when I was young I bought into it..but once reality sets in then..reality sets in.