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Web Letter

Ms. Ehrenreich's got cojones: I'll give her that. To spit into the wind of such widespread, virulent opposition to this bill takes guts, at least the kind of "guts" that emanate from a high-profile liberal writer's keyboard. For the record, I am a social moderate, even progressive on some issues, but the point of view expressed by Ms. Ehrenreich not only misses the train, but can't even find the terminal.

The bill both attempts to whitewash the darker aspects of illegal immigration in this country--selling out the basic rights and privileges of native or legally naturalized American citizenship, in favor of the strategic swelling of Democratic Party ranks with the beneficiaries of this bill's largesse--but also pinches a collective nerve of deeper, equally intractable feelings of high anxiety and even paranoia among many if not most American citizens about the dangerous, toxic, shrink-wrapped world they're living in.

Mixed in with a wide swath of bigotry toward poor Spanish-speaking interlopers, many of us are festering over the siege of our country by swarms of illegals, hidden jihadist cells, obdurately weak "homeland" security six years after 9/11, epidemic autism in newborns, a broken health care system, 100 different designer drug commercials on TV, the loss of middle-class wages, seemingly endless pre-emptive war, the rising mountain of dead and tragically maimed American troops, a paralyzed, ineffectual Congress, a despised, impotent President...what else you got?

This bill seems to have coalesced all these roiling, shared emotions into a hardened attitude best expressed by the rallying cry of the late, great Peter Finch in his iconic 1976 portrayal of the network anchorman burnout cum prophet Howard Beal, in the movie "Network": "I'm Mad As Hell And I'm Not Going To Take It Anymore!"

As Freud famously suggested in his interpretation of dreams, "Sometimes, a cigar is really just a cigar." Bigotry always plays a role in the American stigmatization of some minority group, but in the case of 12 million illegals and growing, there are other more thoughtful objections at work in this controversy. It is tapping into the zeitgeist: what does it mean to be "American" in an era when that identity is increasingly diluted at home by sweeping demographic changes, and spat upon by so many of the world's Second and Third World nations due to our efforts at regional predomination in the Middle East and elsewhere?

For Ms. Ehrenreich to ignore these wrenching concerns in favor of an essay "thanking" illegals for all their "hard work" is simply pure cannon fodder for the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, allowing them and others to grind liberal "bleeding hearts" into pundit dust, alongside the bill's GOP proponents seeking to put some whipped cream on the manure of cheap labor benefits achieved through "globalization." Not helping, Barbara, only hurting.

Stewart Braunstein

Port Washington , NY

Jun 13 2007 - 9:35am

Web Letter

Mass migration, as everybody ought to know, is the unavoidable effect of the NAFTA regime, which increased the mobility of capital across national borders and decreased its accountability to anyone. People who have been economically displaced by NAFTA have not been deterred by our present immigration policy, which has been to make legal immigration difficult through sheer bureaucratic slowness. This has merely made more immigrants illegal. But how quick we are to blame the illegals and to spare the bureaucracy! The willingness of many to blame the victims of our neglect of the economic consequences of NAFTA is appalling. Owen Pool's letter is typical: "I do see them [illegal immigrants] suppressing wages of our citizens by unfairly and illegally taking jobs at lower than prevailing wages." Apparently, nobody is responsible for paying illegal immigrants these lamentable wages--the workers themselves are responsible for taking them. And if the wages are paid under the table to avoid payroll taxes, then it is the workers, not the employers, who are responsible for the tax shortfall. Such moral blindness--which to my mind is hard to explain without reference to crude racism--is why our present policy is to tear apart migrant families and to pour money into an armed border that will continue to leak, while the legal and economic causes of mass migration are ignored and its prime beneficiaries--exploitive bosses--seldom get so much as a slap on the wrist.

Eric Paul Jacobsen

Saint Paul, MN

Jun 13 2007 - 8:40am

Web Letter

No one agrees with the author? What a suprise! I keep hearing about American citizens weeping for the poor "undocumented"--wanting only for them to "come out of the shadows and into the sunshine"..."dignity and respect"... They're not appearing here. Could it just be a figment of political imagination? Ya think?

Trip down memory lane with me to 1985/1986 and the Senate wrangle over Simpson-Mazzoli--National Review, 10/18/1985, by John McLaughlin:

In the House, Peter Rodino (D., N.J.) and Romano Mazzoli (D., Ky.) have co-sponsored their own immigration bill, which differs marginally from the Simpson model. The Senate bill calls for higher civil penalties (employer sanctions) than its House counterpart, and its amnesty provision is stricter: Amnesty would be granted on condition that a commission, appointed by the President, certifies that employer sanctions and enhanced border enforcement have in fact curtailed illegal entry. In any case, amnesty cannot be delayed for longer than three years. The House amnesty, which takes effect upon the bill's passage, applies to illegals living in the U.S. prior to January 1982, whereas the Senate version requires aliens seeking amnesty to have lived here before January 1, 1980. Anti-amnesty sentiment, by the way, is growing among legislators. Many now share the view of Glenn English (D., Okla.), who says that he would not vote "for any bill" containing an amnesty provision.

Sound familiar? Further in the article:

Why nothing has been done to get control of the illegal-immigration nightmare in this country remains a mystery. World population now stands at 4.8 billion, and it is expected to bloat to 6.1 billion in 15 years. Widespread famine and depressed economies have exerted prodigious immigration pressures on the United States. "This country accepts 1 per cent of the developing world's annual population growth as legal immigrants every year," says Carl Hampe, a demographer at the Population reference Bureau in Washington, D.C.

The names have changed, but the script is almost word-for-word.

C'mon people, we're all being played by the globalists. So many are selling out. We've placed our fate and faith in the hands of highly motivated psychotic personalities. Where are the wise? Where are the honorable? Where are our leaders?

The storm's about to rage.

Lawrence E. Krause

San Jose, CA

Jun 13 2007 - 3:40am

Web Letter

Don't you just hate it when an author lies? No one I have heard on the radio, including Rush, has said a word against immigrants. Few of us in the country would be here if it weren't for immigrants. The outrage is about illegal aliens, criminals who have invaded our country with impunity so far despite laws dating back even before the 1986 Amnesty package, laws that Mr. Bush has ordered Mr. Gonzales not to enforce. Selective enforcement of laws is criminal. Therefore, Mr. Bush is a criminal, just as much a criminal as the corporations that hire illegal aliens. And those who support Mr. Bush and his S.1348 giant corporate welfare program, which does include amnesty as a sop for the weak-minded, are just as guilty as he is for failing to insist current laws be enforced.

It does little good for Congress to pass, and the President to sign into law, measures that are ignored. For example, where is our fence? Before anything else, enforce current laws.

P.S. The photo as part of the header for this article clearly shows an E. coli spreading environment.

Doc Hilliard

Big Bear, CA

Jun 13 2007 - 3:38am

Web Letter

Where is John Galt when you need him? What does America owe its "illegals"? First subtract the $2.6 trillion it will cost the people of the mind that are going to have to pay for them. I tend to trust the Heritage Foundations analysis over the lies from the San Diego ACLU. Do your homework.

P.S. Can't wait until the ACLU gets defunded on RICO charges. I hear it's in the wind.

Arthur Leritz, M.D.

Nordman, ID

Jun 13 2007 - 2:23am

Web Letter

I am appalled when anyone tries to justify blatantly illegal actions. What about crime, gangs, and drugs, and possible terrorists flooding into America as well. I lose sleep each night in fear of nightime break-in, something I would never have been concerned about twenty years ago. Fine the heck out of all people who employ illegals and when no jobs and no money are readily available, they will self-deport themselves. All American cities are way overcrowded. Not only am I against illegal immigrants, I think a ten-year moratorium on all Immigration into this country would be a great stabilizer and 'calmer-downer' for this aggressively assaulted society. Most impressive of all are the 12 writers who posted before me all of whom exhibited incredible knowledge, wisdom, and communication skills. I have never before seen such a fine grouping of opinion letters and I mainly wrote this to commend each and every one of you.

Larry Kevin Roberts

Cathedral City, CA

Jun 12 2007 - 11:57pm

Web Letter

We are not a socialist country, except for education and various other shades of medical help, etc. I think we should have socialized medicine, but capitalism is explicitly unfair, especially to those who do not have an education. I think it is fairly accurate to say that many Mexicans have more children than they can afford, with no birth control. They seem to be steeped in Catholicism. Their country is very screwed up, and someone needs to work toward straightening it out, but running out of it illegally across our border as a remedy is just wrong. What if Canadians were doing it, also? There is a limit to this behavior. I do not know the statistics and I don't trust most of those I hear, anyway, but 12-20 million people who are squatting on our land illegally doesn't sound right to me. Who is profiting? The usual--business owners who enjoy paying wages as low as possible. A big clue is that our president wants this bill passed. I do not buy your argument that all those jobs would not get done. Who worked those jobs before the Mexicans came in droves? Many people in the US might unionize and get better wages and better treatment if Mexicans were not flooding the labor market, in my opinion, and over the years, the market has been altered to fit the conditions created by the illegal workers. This is not improving Mexico or the US, and calling it right and legal is not going to change that.

Wallace Howey

Oklahoma City, OK

Jun 12 2007 - 11:21pm

Web Letter

What bothers me most about this whole issue is that neither side seems to think about what to me is one of the most important factors: the effect of illegal workers on our working-class countrymen. It's like everybody expects the Americans who used to work in physical labor industries for a living wage will now be freed up to move on to careers as computer engineers, nuclear physicists, lawyers and college professors. I guess the assumption is that, having seen their wages undermined by millions of illegal aliens who will work for less, the Americans will demonstrate good old American ingenuity and live off the royalties after inventing fusion energy, perpetual motion machines and other soon-to-be wonders of the modern age.

And what happens to the folks who are illegal now but will be legal after "comprehensive immigration reform"? After they get their Z visas they will be able to "come out of the shadows" and demand a higher wage. Only problem is there will be millions more undocumented workers flooding into the now vacated shadows who will be willing to work for less. I'm no brain surgeon myself, but given the experience of having seen an amnesty of 3-4 million undocumented workers in 1986 draw in another 12-20 million over twenty years, I think it might be time to pause and ask whether amnesty in 1986 worked as intended before we embark on another one. I don't want to live in a country--like Mexico--where there is an unbridgeable gap between rich and poor and you pretty much are doomed to the class you were born in. But I guess that makes me anti-immigrant.

Robert A. White

San Diego, CA

Jun 12 2007 - 10:56pm

Web Letter

I disagree with most of the author's claims. The first is that the illegal immigrants primarily do work "we" don't want to do. Wrong. There is nothing in the corporate-sponsored bill that is restricted to bringing workers in to do agricultural labor. To the contrary, the 800,000 "guest" workers will be doctors, engineers, soon will be lawyers, CPAs, maybe teachers. Why did Bill Gates hire Ralph Reed, Abramoff's bff, to lobby (bribe) Congress to change the law to allow more workers to be brought into the US every year? Quite simply, corporate greed. They can hire professionals from other countries for a fraction of what they would pay an American. And those same civic and corporate leaders complain that the US does not do enough in educating people in science, math, and engineering. Why would young people go into those fields when the jobs are all being given to Third World imports?

The bottom line is this: Congress wants to "solve" the massive illegal immigration into the US by redefining the problem: the 12 million are no longer "illegal"--now they are "legal." End of problem. Let's bring in millions more.

If we're going to redefine status from illegal to legal, since the poor people have such a tough situation, why not start with Americans? Where is the empathy for all the poor (often black) Americans who are thrown in prison because they bought, sold, possessed, used drugs? Why not "redefine" them from illegal to legal, clean out the prisons, give a break to some Americans, and let Mexico worry about the Mexicans.

The bottom line is simple: Construction work in California 30 years ago paid $18-$25/hour; it was considered a very desirable field, one which women were trying to get into, because you could earn a decent living. Today most of the construction is done by illegal immigrants at $8/hour. The myth that "we" are helped by cheap labor is clearly shown by housing costs in California. The savings on labor are not passed on to consumers. Instead, the developer makes more money, the real estate agent makes more money, the banks make more money because they make bigger loans, and consumers now must pay minimum 10 times gross to buy an older tract home, when 45 years ago a nice new tract home cost 3 times gross (average income earner).

It should be illegal to hire people who do not have papers. We should not have "guest" worker programs without a showing that there is a shortage of people in that field in the US. The immigration debate is premised on lies and deception, and will only serve to further drive down the working conditions of US men and women.

In the past 40 years we have lost job security; wages have frozen or retreated; holidays and vacation days have been cut; sick leave is often eliminated; medical insurance is only partly reimbursed, if that; and our pensions have been eliminated and instead are used to fund the multimillion-dollar yearly looting of businesses by the corporate insiders.

The intentional acts by Bush to cut the border patrol and invite illegal immigrants into the US is part of the plan to further degrade working people in the US. This is not an anti-Mexican perspective. It's just that someone needs to be on the side of working men and women in the US. Any politician in the US who wants to pass laws to benefit the people of Mexico should move to Mexico and run for office down there. For now, any US politician has one job only: acting on behalf of the citizens of the US. It is in the best interests of working men and women to have a shortage of labor and a limited supply, since that increases wages, working conditions and improves the bargaining position of working people.

Nancy A. Butterfield

Camarillo, CA

Jun 12 2007 - 10:12pm

Web Letter

I agree completely with what the previous three letter writers wrote. What about the people who are patiently waiting their turn to come into this country legally? Those are the people, whomever they are, that we should seek to protect. Since when we do we protect illegals who think nothing about breaking the law over the people who want to do the right thing? We want people who abide by the law, not the ones who break it whenever it suits them. Can't you see that this is Bush's way to get cheap labor for big corporations? MSNBC reported a business was raided today. Only 48 out of 400 employees were legal! The illegals had stolen US citizens' social security numbers. Enough is enough.

Mary Whitehurst

Largo, FL

Jun 12 2007 - 9:37pm

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