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Web Letter

You know, as a young US citizen, I did such work just to survive and even when employed and now in retirement, I've never been able to afford any illegal aliens to do my homework. And I won't countenance the diminution of my US citizenship by outlaw invading hordes, period! I don't want punishment, I just want illegal aliens sent home. (Dishonest progressive frames like migrants, undocumented immigrants, and "our" undocumented workers are doublespeak as despicable as that of the miserepublicans for the consequences of the Bush wars)!

Victor Bruce Anderson

Eagle Lake, FL

Jun 16 2007 - 10:47am

Web Letter

WASHINGTON, June 11, 2007 – A senior defense official expressed hope today that a provision in the stalled immigration bill that would have allowed some undocumented aliens to join the military won’t fall off the radar screen. The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM, provision in the immigration bill was expected to help boost military recruiting, Bill Carr, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy, said today during a telephone conference with veterans’ group representatives.

The DREAM provision offered a way for high-achieving children of undocumented or illegal residents to join the military and, ultimately, become citizens, Carr explained.

And that is one of the main reasons GW Bush is pushing hard to get the illegals declared "legal." So the US Military will have an unlimited supply of warm bodies for our never ending Imperial wars for the expansion of Empire.

An added benefit is that the draft will not have to be re- instituted.

Come on now, we can't have kids with names like "Chip", "Muffy" or even "Jenna" being subject to the draft and maybe actually getting sent off to a foreign country to fight "insurgents."

We must protect the privileged in this country by letting the illegals become legal, thereby insuring endless cannon fodder for the Long War.

Greg Bacon

Ava, MO

Jun 16 2007 - 6:23am

Web Letter

Barbara Ehrenreich's piece is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise fetid miasma of an anti-brown folk swamp, exemplified by this collection of appalling responses. Not one fact is cited to contradict her thesis--no, just the overheated rhetoric endorsing the intensification of the maintenance of a second-class Jim Crow kind of status for certain of our fellow human beings, much of said rhetoric I can hear from Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or Lou Dobbs any day of the week--a rhetoric devoid of any of the humanitarian compassion and solidarity to workers of all hues and national origins supposedly associated with any politics calling itself "liberal" or "progressive."

And these writers apparently miss completely the illogic of their stance; for, in seeking to maintain and intensify the persecution of a certain segment of their fellow human beings, they only perpetuate the system that enforces, with the full backing of an armed nation state, the conditions of these huddled masses' super exploitation in this country and in theirs. Where is the outrage over the conditions these people--and they are people--flee, conditions in no small part due to the machinations of the overseers of El Norte's economy?

And what would happen if these attitudes were further enshrined into law? Would wages suddenly, overnight, miraculously rise? Would employers in this benighted land of ours see the light and generously make of the workplace a heaven on earth? Would a single-payer health care system magically appear from the lobbyist-stained halls of congress? Hardly. Outsourcing would become an even greater imperative to our Lords of Capital, and the evisceration of labor laws, environmental and workplace regulations, and the already tattered and frayed remains of the social safety net would proceed apace, though with a viciously greater and meaner vigor, leaving us to fight each other over the meager scraps the resulting slum of an economic order would dump in the dankest alleyways.

In conclusion, I summon the spirit of a fellow Hoosier, one Eugene Victor Debs. Anyone wanting to be worthy of wearing the mantle of progressive thought would do well to keep the following words in mind, from a former age where the rage was to keep the "yellow hordes" at bay:

Away with the "tactics" which require the exclusion of the oppressed and suffering slaves who seek these shores with the hope of bettering their wretched condition and are driven back under the cruel lash of expediency by those who call themselves Socialists in the name of a movement whose proud boast it is that it stands uncompromisingly for the oppressed and downtrodden of all the earth.

You all should be mighty ashamed of yourselves.

John G. Warne

Indianapolis, IN

Jun 16 2007 - 5:43am

Web Letter

I am a hard-core liberal, but I'm not accepting Rush Limbaugh's assertion nor Ehrenreich's that I am, therefore, obliged to turn a blind eye to illegal immigration. Ms. Ehrenreich indulges in a bizarre form of racism in assuming that all of us opposed to illegal immigration are spending our time in health spas while our children attend "elite" nursery schools. I'm beginning to understand why some so-called "progressives have such a hard time empathizing with working class Liberals who oppose open borders. They can only conclude that, since we are so ungrateful that illegals are doing all our dirty work like changing our babies' diapers, we must just be racists and xenophobes. She says, "The punitive rage directed at illegal immigrants grows out of a larger blindness to the manual labor that makes our lives possible."

No, Ms. Ehrenreich, we see all too clearly the manual labor that we once did paying less and less and becoming harder to find, making our lives less possible. There are no "jobs Americans won't do." I myself, over the years, have strung tobacco and done other farm work, have been a paper boy, bag boy, stock boy, brick yard worker (that was the worst), construction worker, bell hop, dishwasher, truck driver, security guard and factory corn husker. When I finally worked my way through school and found my first really good job in the computer industry I lost it within a few years to Russian H1B workers who barely spoke English. They, by the way, were very nice guys, taking advantage of the American system to better their lot. Who could blame them?

One of them managed to explain to me that for the first three years he was not even allowed to look for a different job, lest he be sent back to a land of high crime and very low wages. It's a safe bet none of them were going to start a union or demand better working conditions. When I and most native born Americans were discharged from the local site there were left only a handful of workers who spoke English, and most of them were Canadian. The computer industry bulletin boards were swamped at that time with people with computer engineering degrees who couldn't find work during the golden age of the burgeoning new computer industry, looking for leads on any kind of computer job. They'd all been displaced by H1B workers brought in to do work the bosses "just couldn't find enough technically skilled workers to fill." Sound familiar?

Of course, not all such jobs went to "guest workers;" some were off-shored. Finally, in desperation, and rather late in life, I have returned to school to get a nursing degree. Now I hear they are pushing to raise the H1B quotas of nurses.

I'm no bigot or xenophobe. I've dated women of every race (depending, of course, on which theory of the number of races you subscribe to), and came within minutes of marrying an Argentinian girl; I have four years of college Spanish. One of my housemates in college was from Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, a country whose people need our jobs even worse than Hispanics do. Haitian refugees trying to make their way by boat to the US to find a better life don't fare so well; just last month about 80 perished. If immigration was managed more fairly perhaps some Haitians could cross over safely to our shores to take some of those plentiful jobs Americans don't want. Or maybe we could provide a refuge for some even more desperate Darfurian refugees. Or, perhaps, for the 4,000,000 displaced Iraqis. There are those who might say that what we owe Iraqi refugees is considerably greater than what we owe Ms. Ehrenreich's nanny.

I can't prove I'm not a racist, and it really doesn't affect whether or not my concerns are valid. Even if the influx of illegal aliens provides fodder for skinheads to capitalize on in recruiting, as it seems to be doing, that doesn't change the facts. Neo-Nazis may also believe the earth revolves around the sun. Actually, I've stayed up way too late writing this; as it happens I'm to join a counter-demonstration against a Klan rally in downtown Knoxville tomorrow.

I'll close with this: Illegal immigrants are not sneaking into our country to do our chores for us like the shoemaker's elves in the fairy tale; they're sneaking in to steal our jobs. But I don't blame the immigrants themselves so much; I blame the traitors who unbar the gates for them in order to enrich themselves. It's true: illegal employers exploit, underpay and maim illegal workers. Isn't that a bad thing?

John Mayer

Knoxville, TN

Jun 16 2007 - 4:32am

Web Letter

I have subscribed to The Nation for over 15 years and would put my progressive credentials up against anyone's, but illegal immigration simply must be stopped. How can we have universal healthcare in this country if we can't control the amount of people streaming in here? Punishing employers and pressuring the Mexican government to do something about corruption are immediate and necessary things that have to be done. I admire and respect Ms Ehrenreich and her formidible body of work, but she is off on this one. The rule of law has got to mean something.

James Bozian

Los Angeles, CA

Jun 15 2007 - 4:36pm

Web Letter

The issue is not that illegals do jobs, it is that they work for wages Americans won't accept and that they are illegal. The horrible conundrum for progressives is that the open borders and a social safety net are incompatible policy goals. You cannot have both over any reasonable period of time.

The hidden issue that progressives seem not unable to face is the racism inherent in the present situation. This implicit racism prohibits illegals from Haiti, Latvia, Africa, Vietnam, China and so on, in favor of illegals from Mexico. If we are to truly accept all who want to come here, why are we keeping out everyone except Mexicans?

What makes the present situation so difficult to resolve is that both parties are split on it. Democrats want to protect labor but also want to let in future Democratic voters. Rebublicans want to prevent future Democratic voters, play to their citizen base, but also play to their agribusiness and corporate supporters who want cheap non-union labor.

Richard Rumelt

Los Angeles, CA

Jun 15 2007 - 3:00pm

Web Letter

No one has mentioned why Bush suddenly wants to change immigration laws to allow Mexican and other low-wage workers into the country. Are Americans unfamiliar with the machinations of the Security and Prosperity Partnership in which the "Three Amigos"--Canada, the US and Mexico--maximize the resources of each country for the benefit of an economic elite meeting in secret to harmonize policy and regulations amongst the three, free of democratic process? Resources from Canada, cheap labor from Mexico and from the US--the military. Harmonized. A pretty little ditty indeed.

Jo Hayward-Haines

Ennismore, Ontario, Canada

Jun 14 2007 - 7:20pm

Web Letter

This article has to be among the worst I've ever read in The Nation. It's short on facts and long on emotion, and I can't believe the author belittles the crime of illegal immigration while ignoring the economic and social burdens caused by illegal immigrants on the country. I am a flaming liberal, but I am not for amnesty, much less giving illegal immigrants bonuses, as the author suggested. I couldn't imagine what would happen to me if I decided to sneak into France without a visa, get a job without papers, and then demand citizenship. How quickly would I be in jail and then on the next flight to JFK?

I also have to admit that I'm a little concerned that the current drives for amnesty favor immigrants from South America and Mexico. What about all people in Africa who due to proximity aren't able to sneak across a border? Don't they deserve a chance to work in this country, even if only as a temporary worker? I don't want to see one race/nationality being overly represented in the immigration bill.

Liane Carter

San Francisco, CA

Jun 14 2007 - 6:32pm

Web Letter

This is one of the most outrageous articles I have come across!

"Undocumented immigrants annually pay an estimated $7 billion more than they take out into Social Security, and $1.5 billion more into Medicare.... A study by the National Academy of Sciences also found that tax payments generated by immigrants outweighed any costs associated with services used by immigrants." Baloney !

Really?! Explain to me then, if they are "undocumented," how are they paying taxes? (Secretly??) And if they are paying taxes, paying into SS, M'Care etc., how come the Feds can't identify them?

How come all the Haitians are send back when they try to get in illegally ?

These i-l-l-e-g-a-l aliens have broken the law and you know it. You are no better than the employers who hire them cheap and exploit them, i-l-l-e-g-a-l-l-y !!!!!!!

This stupid and conniving Adminstration and some lawmakers have learnt nothing from the lessons of 1986.

Paul Amigo

Pennington Gap, VA

Jun 14 2007 - 12:27pm

Web Letter

I have to say, nothing has so unified people from all across the political spectrum as has this issue. I'm a former Democrat, now vote (mostly) Republican, and every letter I've read in regards to Ms. Ehrenrich's ridiculous essay I almost wholeheartedly agree with. I've never seen liberals and conservatives united like this. Who knew that the readers of The Nation and National Review would agree on anything? For the record, most conservatives are angered by the rewarding of law-breaking, depressed wages, crime and gang activity, and unassmilated immigrants, much like most liberals are. I'm as angry at Bush as I am at Kennedy (and that, my friends, is saying something!). Nor am I alone. Liberal and conservative America are together on this. And that warms my cold, evil, Republican heart.

Joel Natzke

Kansas City, MO

Jun 14 2007 - 11:39am

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