From Pine View Farm

Immigration, Reprise 0

There was some interesting reporting on the immigration issue today.

Andrew Cassel, writing for the local rag, summarizes Americans’ historical ambivalence about the issue:

I keep hearing that the immigration issue is simple: Just enforce the law.


Yeah? Which law was that, exactly?

Was it the immigration law from 1882 to 1943, that specifically excluded “Asiatics” from our shores?

The Quota Act of 1921, which codified racist beliefs in the superiority of Northern European stock?

Was it the law that kept thousands of refugees from escaping Hitler during the 1930s? The law that let Japanese Americans be rounded up and imprisoned during World War II?

Or is it today’s byzantine and capricious set of rules – with enough quotas, categories, exclusions and requirements to provide an army of lawyers a lavish living?

And NPR reports that immigrants’ effects on the economy, especially on unemployment, may, despite the extravagent claims on both sides, be negligible (the full report is well worth a listen):

But many economists say the effect of an estimated 11 million undocumented workers is minimal. While illegal immigrants have a negative impact on unskilled workers — many of whom lack technical training or a high school diploma — economists believe that overall, the American economy benefits a small amount from illegal immigration — “a little bit less than 1 percent,” according to NPR’s Adam Davidson. That finding, he says, suggests that neither side of the immigration issue has a strong economic argument to make.

And On the Media looked both at coverage of US immigration issues in Mexican media and at one person’s attempts to dispell misconceptions about Mexican culture and Mexican immigrants through a newspaper column titled Ask a Mexican.

I would especially urge anyone who is interested in this issue to follow the “Ask a Mexican” link; the author of the column quite emphatically states that, in his opinion, Mexicans will never lose the stigma of being “the other,” that, for some reason, USAns do not view Mexicans in the same way they view other immigrants. I don’t know whether I agree with him–but he, not I, is the one on the front line.

And, if he’s right, it should give any American citizen pause.


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