This is pretty funny -- a comedian challenges folks in downtown Phoenix and demand they prove they are not illegal Canadian immigrants.
Archive for the ‘Immigration’ Category.
Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona has been insisting for MONTHS that immigrants have been beheading people in the desert. I wrote about it here, shande doubled down on the claim in way back in June. She repeated the claim on a televised debate the other day, and got all the national attention on this idiotic claim that she deserves. She has reiterated this close-to-outright-racist-paranoid-fantasy any number of times through the whole summer. So it is grossly disingenuous for her suddenly to act like it was a one-time mis-statement:
Gov. Jan Brewer rose to national fame defending the state's immigration law and warning of rising violence along the U.S.-Mexico border, including a claim that headless bodies were turning up in the Arizona desert.
But the claim has come back to haunt her after her stammering debate performance in which she failed to back it up and ignored repeated questions on the issue from a scrum of reporters.
Brewer has spent the time since backtracking and trying to repair the damage done from her cringe-worthy debate against underdog challenger Terry Goddard.
"That was an error, if I said that," the Republican told the Associated Press on Friday. "I misspoke, but you know, let me be clear, I am concerned about the border region because it continues to be reported in Mexico that there's a lot of violence going on and we don't want that going into Arizona."
That is as craven and mendacious a response as I have ever heard from a politician, and that is saying a lot (it had to be, to bet me worked up enough to blog from a seaside resort in Italy).
Not since the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups have there been two great populist tastes that go so great together. In an amazing bit of fact-free scare mongering gauged to panic everyone across the political spectrum, Michael Oppenheimer (embarrassingly a professor at my alma mater) manages to combine demagoguing against Mexican immigration with climate alarmism
Climbing temperatures are expected to raise sea levels and increase droughts, floods, heat waves and wildfires.
Now, scientists are predicting another consequence of climate change: mass migration to the United States.
Between 1.4 million and 6.7 million Mexicans could migrate to the U.S. by 2080 as climate change reduces crop yields and agricultural production in Mexico, according to a study published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The number could amount to 10% of the current population of Mexicans ages 15 to 65.
The proceedings of the NAS has become a joke of late. Roger Pielke Jr responded:
To be blunt, the paper is guesswork piled on top of "what ifs" built on a foundation of tenuous assumptions. The authors seem to want to have things both ways -- they readily acknowledge the many and important limitations of their study, but then go on to assert that "it is nevertheless instructive to predict future migrant flows for Mexico using the estimates at hand to assess the possible magnitude of climate change"“related emigration." It can't be both -- if the paper has many important limitations, then this means that that it is not particularly instructive. With respect to predicting immigration in 2080 (!), admitting limitations is no serious flaw.
To use this paper as a prediction of anything would be a mistake. It is a tentative sensitivity study of the effects of one variable on another, where the relationship between the two is itself questionable but more importantly, dependent upon many other far more important factors. The authors admit this when they write, "It is important to note that our projections should be interpreted in a ceteris paribus manner, as many other factors besides climate could potentially influence migration from Mexico to the United States." but then right after they assert, "Our projections are informative,nevertheless, in quantifying the potential magnitude of impacts of climate change on out-migration." It is almost as if the paper is written to be misinterpreted
I thought this response was instructive
Philip Martin, an expert in agricultural economics at UC Davis, said that he hadn't read the study but that making estimates based solely on climate change was virtually impossible.
"It is just awfully hard to separate climate change from the many, many other factors that affect people's decisions whether to stay in agriculture or move," he said.
The same exact statement, by the way, could be made as to the relationship of climate change to the single variable manmade CO2 without reference to the myriad of other factors that affect the complex climate system.
Via Valley Fever, Sheriff Joe is expanding his outdoor jail whose conditions are substantially worse than those at the nearby WWII POW camp where German prisoners were held.
In the words of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, 17 years ago today, "on a swelteringly hot day in 1993, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio opened the doors to the nation's largest canvas incarceration compound. Tent City, as it became known, would prove to be one of Sheriff Arpaio's best known and potentially most controversial programs."
Today, Arpaio's celebrating the anniversary by unveiling a new section of the compound: "Section 1070," specifically designated for those arrested under Arizona's controversial, new immigration law.
"Citizens here sincerely hope that SB 1070 will result in large numbers of illegal aliens being captured and arrested by local law enforcement officers," Arpaio says. "I'm not so certain that will actually happen. But on the assumption it does, then as the Sheriff of this county, I am ready. Tent City is ready. There will never be the excuse that this jail hasn't enough room for violators of SB 1070."
I have had a bunch of people send me this article defending Arizona's SB1070, our now infamous immigration law. A couple of responses:
1. I have never been wildly worked up by SB1070 after it was amended a week or so after its initial passage. I have used the debate around SB1070 to reiterate my case, particularly to Conservatives, for more open immigration. Our immigration laws are prohibition redux, though in this case we are messing with people's desire to work rather than drink. As such, the laws to enforce the prohibition are less important to me than the fact of prohibition itself. IOur immigration laws are an incredible restriction on commerce, free labor markets, and even private property (SB1070 redefines trespassing as not having the government's, rather than the private owner's, permission to be on a piece of property), and this is true with our without SB1070.
I would likely have dropped SB1070 coverage a while ago had it not been for the rhetoric that is used by SB1070 supporters. When our governor is saying that the majority of Arizona's 500,000 illegal immigrants are all drug mules, that none of them are really looking for honest work, and that all they do is cause crime up to and including beheadings in the desert, I get angry to hear the same stupid arguments that many of our grandparents heard about their ethnic groups (though the beheading thing seems to lack historical precedent). (more on the immigration non-crime wave here).
2. The language of SB1070 has never matched the arguments supporting it. SB1070 mainly gives the police power to be more intrusive at certain traffic stops and harass day labor centers. What in the heck does this have anything to do with drug cartels and armed paramilitary gangs on the border? If, as our governor says, illegal immigrants are not really looking for legitimate work, then why is most of our enforcement via employers offering legitimate work?
3. When Kris Kobach says "In four different sections, the law reiterates that a law-enforcement official 'may not consider race, color, or national origin' in making any stops or determining an alien's immigration status," he is ignoring reality. The law asks police to make a determination (e.g. probable cause that one is an illegal immigrant) that is impossible for actual human beings to make without such profiling. It's like passing a law that says "police must drive their cars 30 miles a day but can't drive their cars to do so." The reality on the ground here in Arizona is that, illegal or not, Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been using racial profiling to make arrest sweeps for years, and his officers have become masters at finding some pretext to pull over a Mexican they want to check out (e.g. the broken tail light). Words in this law about racial profiling are not going to change anything.
4. Kobach makes much of the revision of the law, post-passage, to narrow the circumstances under which police can stop and check for immigration status
But Section 2 of S.B. 1070 stipulates that in order for its provisions to apply, a law-enforcement officer must first make a "lawful stop, detention, or arrest . . . in the enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town or this state."
The original wording made reference to "lawful contact"; this was revised to "lawful stop, detention, or arrest" to make clear that officers could not stop someone simply on suspicion and ask for his papers.
There are folks, including most in the Obama administration, that are still criticizing the original "lawful contact" language and need to catch up. However, this seems a thin branch for Kobach to stand on in lashing out at the law's critics. Because in fact this over-broad language did pass and get signed into law, and only the immediate and vociferous public backlash against the language caused it to be changed. Kobach acts like it was changed based of some internal discussion or discovery of error, but in fact "lawful contact" was how Kobach himself helped write the law and wanted it to read, and was supporters like himself were forced to change it only after a lot of vocal opposition. Its disingenuous to use the modified language as defense against critics when it was only due to the critics that the modified language was inserted.
At this point, I am done criticizing SB1070. It is not a great law but it is not particularly worse, in its current form, than laws in some other states or federal law. I don't really anticipate that it will get struck down by the Supreme Court, though its enforcement may be enjoined through the hearing process.
However, I am not done criticizing our prohibitionist immigration regime nor am I done calling out those on the eliminationist side of the debate, like Jan Brewer, who are starting to show their true stripes as the debate proceeds. I know some of you are tired of it and to some disagree with me, such that I have lost about half my readers over this. But this debate has been an eye-opener to me.
For years I have taken many of the AZ politicians at their word that they had no problem with Mexicans per se but were concerned with the load on social services and other government budgets. I understand how the intersection of immigration and the welfare state causes problems, and have proposed solutions to deal with them. I am willing to have a friendly agree-to-disagree discussion with such folks. But when our leaders are talking about 500,000 drug mules and mysterious beheadings and crime waves that somehow exist in a state with rapidly falling crime rates, its clear to me something more insidious is driving some of the folks in the debate.
My Forbes column this week is up, and it is a sort of open letter to Conservatives, trying to demonstrate that their stance against immigration is inconsistent with many of their other principles. A quick exceprt:
Just to be clear, it is perfectly reasonable that the government might set restrictive or difficult eligibility requirements for participation in government activities we normally associate with citizenship, such as voting, holding office and receiving welfare benefits. But selling one's labor or participation in commerce are natural rights to which happenstance of birth location should be irrelevant. It should mean no more to these rights that someone is born today north or south of the Rio Grande river than it meant to our founding fathers that someone was born with or without a hereditary title.
On this blog, over the last couple of months, I have presented a pretty clear set of facts showing that, with the possible exception of some rural border regions beset by drug gangs, the vast majority of Arizona has experienced rapidly falling crime rates, in fact crime rates falling much faster than in the rest of the country. The crime rates of even our key border towns has remained flat.
Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday reiterated her assertion that the majority of illegal immigrants are coming to the United States for reasons other than work, saying most are committing crimes and being used as drug mules by the cartels.
Brewer's remarks are an expansion of comments she made last week during a televised debate between the four Republican gubernatorial candidates....
In the debate, Jette [a candidate running against Brewer] said that most people who cross illegally into Arizona are "just trying to feed their families." Brewer disputed that, saying, "They're coming here, and they're bringing drugs.
And they're doing drop houses, and they're extorting people and they're terrorizing the families." The governor, who has become a national media figure since signing Senate Bill 1070 into law on April 23, went further on Friday, saying that the "majority of the illegal trespassers that are coming (into) the state of Arizona are under the direction and control of organized drug cartels."
When pressed, Brewer said that even those who do come to the United States looking for work are often ensnared by the cartels.
"They are accosted, and they become subjects of the drug cartels."
Estimates are that there are 8-12 million illegal immigrants in the US (Brewer's hispano-phobic allies would put the number much higher). They are mostly all drug dealers and criminals? Really?
I try really hard not to try to guess at what motivates folks I disagree with by assuming they are driven by something dark and evil, but how else in this case can one describe opinions like this so contrary to facts as anything other than prejudice against a particular ethnic group?
Just look at the actions of our governor and folks like Joe Arpaio. If it really were the case that illegal immigrants are all criminals uninterested in legal work, then why is so much recent legislation aimed at business owners that hire illegal immigrants? Or at day labor centers? Why are all of Sheriff Joe's immigration sweeps raiding lawful businesses rather than, say, crack houses? After all, if illegal immigrants are all just drug dealers not looking for real work, why spend so much time looking for them, uh, doing real work?
Postscript: If Brewer is in fact correct, then there is a dead easy solution for the illegal immigration problem -- legalize drugs. She and I both agree that the worst criminal elements of illegal immigrants would be much less of a problem without the illegal drug trade. The only difference is that I think that segment makes up less than 1% of the population of illegal immigrants, and she thinks its everyone.
Further, to the extent that some illegal immigrants just trying to support their families are "ensnared" by drug cartels (whatever that means) it is because of their immigration status. Make them legal residents of the country, and no one has any particular leverage over them.
Note to Commenters: Many, many of you have disagreed with me vociferously on immigration. Please, I would love to see reasoned comments defending Brewer, particularly with data. In particular, please use the laws of supply and demand to explain how the majority of 8-12 million people are able to earn a living in the illegal drug trade in the southwest. To help you out, there are about 6.6 million people in Arizona. Based on national rates of 8% of over age 12 being users, about 500,000 of those are illegal drug users. One estimate is that there are 500,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona.
Arizona GOP Gov. Jan Brewer claimed recently that law enforcement has been finding beheaded bodies in the desert "” but local agencies say they've never encountered such a case.
"Our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded," Brewer said Sunday, suggesting that the beheadings were part of increased violence along the border.
But medical examiners from six of Arizona's counties "” four of which border Mexico "” tell the Arizona Guardian that they've never encountered an immigration-related crime in which the victim's head was cut off.
For a while I have been asking where the so-called immigrant-driven crime wave is in Arizona, given that crime rates have fallen much faster in AZ than in other parts of the country.
Tom Maguire argues that the overall drop in the crime rate in Arizona over the last decade or so hides a possible increase in crime rate in rural areas, which I suppose he might argue is due in part to Mexican immigrants. Check out his data, it does in fact show an increase in the crime rate outside of MSA's (metropolitan areas) though the data is mute on causes. One potential cause is simply mix shift -- it is clear from the enormous drop in population in these non-MSA areas that some areas classified as non-MSA in 2000 have been reclassified MSA in 2008. So the comparison is not apples to apples, and some of the shift (or even all of it) could be the changing mix of areas in the metric.
To the extent the rural numbers are driven by immigrants, my sense it is due to the violent well-armed drug gang flavor of immigrants, a group not particularly intimidated by SB1070, as most of them are not spending their time at Home Depot in day labor recruiting areas waiting for the next Sheriff Joe roundup.
If a few gun crimes by a tiny, fractional percentage of gun owners are not a compelling justification for gun control (a proposition with which I agree), then why are a few crimes by a tiny, fractional percentage of immigrants a compelling justification for immigration control?
Readers know I oppose recent Arizona immigration legislation and enforcement initiatives. I don't think government should be stepping in to effectively license who can and can't work in this country, and am thus a supporter of open immigration (which is different from citizenship, please note). As I support open immigration, both from a philosophic standpoint as well as a utilitarian perspective, I don't support laws to get tougher on illegal immigrants, any more than I support laws to get tougher on the failed practice of drug prohibition.
That being said, reasonable people can disagree, though some for better reasons than others. But I don't see how all these folks who support tougher laws on immigration with the mantra that it is all about the rule of law can justify this piece of unconstitutional garbage: (Hat tip to a reader)
Buoyed by recent public opinion polls suggesting they're on the right track with illegal immigration, Arizona Republicans will likely introduce legislation this fall that would deny birth certificates to children born in Arizona "” and thus American citizens according to the U.S. Constitution "” to parents who are not legal U.S. citizens. The law largely is the brainchild of state Sen. Russell Pearce, a Republican whose suburban district, Mesa, is considered the conservative bastion of the Phoenix political scene....
The question is whether that would violate the U.S. Constitution. The 14th Amendment states that "all persons, born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." It was intended to provide citizenship for freed slaves and served as a final answer to the Dred Scott case, cementing the federal government's control over citizenship.
But that was 1868. Today, Pearce says the 14th Amendment has been "hijacked" by illegal immigrants. "They use it as a wedge," Pearce says. "This is an orchestrated effort by them to come here and have children to gain access to the great welfare state we've created." Pearce says he is aware of the constitutional issues involved with the bill and vows to introduce it nevertheless. "We will write it right."
I didn't like SB1070 that much, but as ultimately amended it was not nearly as radical as this. I think those of us who feared SB1070 as a first step on a slippery slope should feel vindicated by this.
I have written on several occasions about how the data demonstrate pretty conclusively that immigrants are not driving a crime wave in Arizona (here and here). The one exception to this may be well-armed quasi militaristic gangs raiding near the border. These guys are certainly running rampant in Norther Mexico and conflicting reports have them making certain US border regions nearly unlivable.
OK, but how is this crime a justification for state laws that harass day laborers and companies that hire immigrants, while requiring law enforcement to check immigration status at traffic stops? One could technically describe the German army in 1941 as illegal immigrants in France, but I don't think this euphemism would trick anyone into thinking that Arizona-style immigration laws would have saved France from Guderion, Rommel and company.
There is zero in SB1070 that will do one little thing to phase such gangs. So how can people with a straight face use such crime as justification for the bill?
Its pretty clear from this summary of the Obama administration legal brief that the Administration has no idea what its own immigration policy should be. I don't agree with all of the author's statements (for example, I am not a fan of e-Verify, as it just reinforces to me that the government has gotten itself in the business of licensing labor) but its a pretty interesting summary of just how muddled the Obama administration is on this topic. While I don't support our newest immigration law here in AZ, its easier to see why states like AZ feel the need to take some independent leadership on the topic.
In this brief, the Obama administration is challenging an earlier AZ state law that requires, as a condition to retain one's business license, that companies use e-Verify to check new employees legal work status (here and here). Unfortunately, Obama's head of Homeland Security (and thus all immigration-related activities) actually signed the law into being and the administration wrote a brief in favor of the law just 9 months ago, about the same time Congress reauthorized e-Verify without doing anything to strike down AZ implementation practices). I am not much of a legal scholar, but states use compliance with Federal programs all the time as minimum requirements for retaining business licenses -- e.g. non-payment of Federal taxes can cause one to lose his state business license, but no one has ever argued that is an illegal intrusion of states on federal powers. If the Feds want to argue all of these provisions are unconstitutional, fine by me. Anyway, the article linked above is highly entertaining.
Postscript: Here is the e-Verify post one must post in his business to be legally compliant:
This is fairly Orwellian for those of us who believe that all people have the right to work, irrespective of the country they were born in, and this right does not flow from any national government and therefore does not stop or start at any border.
Conservatives want immigrants to work, but not vote.
Liberals want immigrants to vote, but not work.
Zack de la Rocha has issued a statement on behalf of an organization called the Sound Strike urging music fans and fellow artists to boycott Arizona "to stop SB 1070," which he labels an "odious" law.
Among those artists joining de la Rocha's boycott are Conor Oberst, Kanye West, Rage Against the Machine, Rise Against, Cypress Hill, Serj Tankian, Joe Satriani, Sonic Youth, Tenacious D, Street Sweeper Social Club and Michael Moore.
So it turns out that at the local Best Buy here in Phoenix, Arizona, I find many examples of these folks' work still for sale. Moore's videos, for example, still seem to be available for purchase. Possibly their requests to have their merchandise removed from store shelves in Arizona have not reached the sales floor yet, but my guess is that these guys have absolutely no intention of actually pulling their product from Arizona stores. My guess (and please tell me if I am being unfair) is that most of these folks, at best, are committing to cancel tour dates that for most of these bands are not even scheduled yet. This is about as much of a sacrifice as me promising to cancel my next date with Gisele BÃ¼ndchen. This kind of statement is the moral equivalent of Hollywood stars who decry global warming from the steps for their private jet.
I think folks know I am a proponent of open immigration, and so, as in the war on drugs, I don't condone adding more government powers to enforce a pointless prohibition. But there are many folks here who have supported far more authoritarian legislation than the AZ immigration law. For God sakes in Sicko Michael Moore wrote a long love note to Castro's Cuba.
I like to prominently highlight when I have been wrong. In the past, I have said that the US follows a double standard on our Mexican and Canadian borders. Where are the Canadian wall proposals? Where are the Canadian workers getting handcuffed by Joe Arpaio.
But apparently I was wrong. The US is working hard to apply an equal level of obnoxiousness to Canadians.
Proponents of tougher immigration enforcement often use crime as their big scare factor in trying to influence people to their point. Only tougher laws and Joe Arpaio, they caution, stand athwart the coming immigrant rape of Phoenix.
But when the case is built on one or two high-profile crime where the perpetrator has not even been identified, rather than statistics, we can be suspicious of how strong the case is. I have cited historical figures here, but the WSJ has the new figures for 2009:
Violent crime fell significantly last year in cities across the U.S., according to preliminary federal statistics, challenging the widely held belief that recessions drive up crime rates.
The incidence of violent crimes such as murder, rape and aggravated assault was down 5.5% from 2008, and 6.9% in big cities. It fell 2.4% in long-troubled Detroit and plunged 16.6% in Phoenix, despite a perception of rising crime that has fueled an immigration backlash....
In Phoenix, police spokesman Trent Crump said, "Despite all the hype, in every single reportable crime category, we're significantly down." Mr. Crump said Phoenix's most recent data for 2010 indicated still lower crime. For the first quarter of 2010, violent crime was down 17% overall in the city, while homicides were down 38% and robberies 27%, compared with the same period in 2009.
Arizona's major cities all registered declines. A perceived rise in crime is one reason often cited by proponents of a new law intended to crack down on illegal immigration. The number of kidnappings reported in Phoenix, which hit 368 in 2008, was also down, though police officials didn't have exact figures.
And just to head off the obvious straw man, 2008 was not somehow a peak year, it was actually well below historical levels.
A reader sent me this interesting story about immigration within Cuba:
"I was caught because I was an illegal," explained a bicycle taxi driver as he gripped the rusted blue handle-bars of his vehicle in Havana's Central Park. "And because I'd been here several times before, I was deported back."
But the driver working his trade in the capital city did not arrive in Cuba from another country. Instead he is among the thousands who have come from rural provinces in search of work and a place to live - but who have been deported back because of "Decree 217."
The 1997 law restricts rural migration to Havana, making this taxi driver an illegal resident in his own capital city.
"If you're illegal you can't be here in Havana," said the driver, originally from Cuba's eastern Holguin province. "You don't have an address here in Havana."...
Economic conditions were generally worse at the eastern end of the island, according to Cuba analyst Edward Gonzalez, a professor emeritus at the University of California Los Angeles.
"[The eastern region] has always been the less affluent, impoverished part of the island," he said, "heavily dependent upon agriculture, less on tourism, and also happens to be more black and mulatto."
The effort to keep migrants out and prevent overcrowding in Havana may have resulted in police discrimination against darker-skinned Cubans presumed more likely to be illegal, Gonzalez said.
I will tell you, those who agree with me on the immigration issue in the Democratic Party are trying as hard as they can to turn me against immigration. This same thing happened in the Iraq war. I was against the war, as I thought it a poor use of resources (there are just too many bad governments in the world to take them all down that way). But when my fellow anti-war travelers agreed with me for stupid reasons (we must defer to Europe, Sadam is not a bad guy, etc.) it almost made me change my mind. If the people who agree with me are idiots, is that a bad sign?
TJIC has similar thoughts here, and I watched in amazement as the Mexican President yesterday criticized US immigration policy for being to harsh, despite the fact it is far more open than Mexico's own immigration policy.
I was emailed this photo as a "shocker" and "outrage" as it somehow is the smoking gun to show what immigrants are after.
Really? You don't think there is any chance this is a plant or satire? I understand that the folks protesting are far more radicalized, and have different goals, than the average immigrant, but it really takes a lot of credulousness to take this picture as representative of the goals of Mexican immigrants.
I can't condemn illegal aliens in the US, because, if the zappos were on el otro pie, I'd break the law in the second.
Eventually, we achnowleged that the "need to drink booze" was too powerful to prohibit. My hope is that we will come to the same conclusion for the "desire to seek a better life."
I was forwarded an email today, and I can't honestly figure out the source since it is one of those that has been forwarded a zillion times, but at some point it passed through the Arizona 2010 Project. It consisted mainly of pictures of desert areas along major immigration routes that had been trashed by illegal immigrants. This picture is pretty typical.
Certainly an ugly site, particularly for someone who lives and works in the outdoors as I do.
Here is a quote, I think from the original email but it may have been from one of the forwarders (emphasis added):
This layup is on an 'illegal super - highway' from Mexico to the USA (Tucson) used by human smugglers.
This layup area is located in a wash area approximately .5 of a mile long just south of Tucson.
We estimate there are over 3000 discarded back packs in this layup area. Countless water containers, food wrappers, clothing, and soiled baby diapers. And as you can see in this picture, fresh footprints leading right into it. We weren't too far behind them.
As I kept walking down the wash, I was sure it was going to end just ahead, but I kept walking and walking, and around every corner was more and more trash!
And of course the trail leading out of the layup area heading NORTH to Tucson, then on to your town tomorrow.
They've already come through here. Is this America the Beautiful? Or another landfill?
The trash left behind by the illegals is another of the Environmental Disasters to hit the USA. Had this been done in one of our great Northwest Forests or Seashore National Parks areas there would be an uprising of the American people........but this is remote Arizona-Mexican border.
Well, it so happens my life is spent cleaning up public parks. My company's mission is to privately operate public parks. A lot of that job is picking up and hauling away the trash. And I can tell you something with absolute certainty: This is exactly what a highly trafficked area in our great Northwest Forests or Seashore National Parks would look like if someone wasn't there to pick up. Here is one example from a northwest forest, in Oregon:
We run busy campgrounds and day use areas all over the country, and you would not believe the trash on the ground on a Monday morning. And this is after the place was cleaned on Sunday morning and with trash cans available every 10 feet to throw things away correctly. I have seen a few areas in the National Forest that were busy ad hoc camping areas -- meaning they had no facilities, no staff, and no trash cans -- and they were absolutely trashed by good old red-blooded American citizens. Parts looked no different than this picture. Most of these areas have since been closed, because of this ecological damage.
In fact, in my presentation I make to public agencies about our services, I say that we are actually in the environmental preservation business. By attracting recreators to defined areas of the wilderness where we have staff to clean up after the visitors and limit their impact on nature, we are helping to preserve the other 99% of the land.
So, yes this is ugly, but it frustrates me that this is used to play into the Joe Arpaio type stereotypes of Mexicans
All these people that come over, they could come with disease. There's no control, no health checks or anything. They check fruits and vegetables, how come they don't check people? No one talks about that! They're all dirty. I sent out 200 inmates into the desert, they picked up 18 tons of garbage that they bring in"”the baby diapers and all that. Where's everybody who wants to preserve the desert?"
To my mind, this is an argument against Mexican immigration in the same way that violence against women is used as an argument against legalizing prostitution. Prostitutes suffer abuse in large part because their profession is illegal which limits their access to the legal system when victimized, not because violence is inherent to their profession. Trash in a wash in the desert is a result of the illegality of immigration that forces people into stream beds rather than city check points when they enter the country.
Postscript #1: Please, if you are a good, clean, thoughtful user of public parks, do not write me thinking I have dissed you. I have not. Most of our visitors are great and thoughtful, and we really appreciate that. But it takes only a few to make an unbelievable mess.
Postscript #2: I am willing to believe that poorly educated immigrants have fewer litter taboos than we have been acculturated with. But I have seen enough to say that no ethnic group out there should be too smug. For God sakes, there had to be a large effort near the top of Mt. Everest to clean up a huge dump that had accumulated of oxygen bottles and other trash near the summit. Here are pictures of what rich Americans and Europeans do on Mt Everest when they are hiking and there is no trash can nearby:
Back in college, I burned a lot hotter on a variety of political issues. I would argue with about anyone, and often did. The dinner table was almost always the venue for some political fight. During those arguments, I quickly discovered something -- people nominally on my side of the argument were sometimes my biggest problem. I remember any number of times telling some person to shut up and let me argue the point. People email me all the time asking me to ban some idiot commenter trolling in opposition to all my posts. I tell them I am much more likely to ban an idiot commenter nominally supporting my point than the other way around.
"I've just expressed concerns on the basis of what I've heard about the law. But I'm not in a position to say at this point, not having read the law, not having had the chance to interact with people are doing the review, exactly what my position is," Mr. Holder told the House Judiciary Committee.
This weekend Mr. Holder told NBC's "Meet the Press" program that the Arizona law "has the possibility of leading to racial profiling." He had earlier called the law's passage "unfortunate," and questioned whether the law was unconstitutional because it tried to assume powers that may be reserved for the federal government.
Rep. Ted Poe, who had questioned Mr. Holder about the law, wondered how he could have those opinions if he hadn't yet read the legislation.
"It's hard for me to understand how you would have concerns about something being unconstitutional if you haven't even read the law," the Texas Republican told the attorney general.
I have never been totally comfortable with the Democratic support of immigration anyway. The party, particularly under this administration, seems to take the position that the government can be as authoritarian as it likes, as long as it does not discriminate racially in doing so. This post hypothesizes that the Democrats' support for immigration is political rather than principled, a desire to create the next new underclass that can be exploited for political points, and I can't really disagree based on past history.
Readers know I support open immigration. I see immigration restrictions as government licensing of who can and can't work (and who can and can't be hired) -- an intrusion Conservatives would likely reject in any other context. Since I am opposed to immigration limits, I am opposed to giving government extra powers in the name of enforcement, in the same way I oppose, say, asset seizure laws originally aimed at enforcement of drug prohibition.
I acknowledged that the law is less onerous in its amended form (because, you see, I actually read the whole thing, here and here for example), but what the law's supporters fail to deal with in claiming the letter of the law will not be enforced in a racist manner is how even existing law is being enforced here in Phoenix by Joe Arpaio in a racist manner. When Joe goes into a business, and handcuffs all the people with brown skin, releasing them only when a relative or friend races to the police station with a birth certificate, it is an ugly, un-American scene (here or here or here). I would take supporters of the bill more at their word as to how the law will actually be used in practice if they were not the same people actively cheer-leading Joe Arpaio at every turn.
There is an anti-immigrant playbook in this country that goes back at least to the 1840's and the first wave of Irish immigrants. Typical arguments applied to nearly every wave of immigrants to this country have been 1. They are lazy; 2. They are going to take our jobs (funny in conjunction with #1); 3. They increase crime and 4. They bring disease.
To date in Arizona, we have seen all three of the first arguments in spades, but until recently I had not seen #4. But trust Sheriff Joe to be out front on this, issuing a press release stating:
Sheriff Joe Arpaio says that he has long argued the point that illegal immigration is not just a law enforcement problem but is a potential health hazard as well.
"This is a risk to our community and to my deputies," Arpaio says. "Deputies never know what they may face in the course of enforcing human smuggling laws."
Arpaio says that in the last two months, four inmates, all illegal aliens from the country of Mexico, were confirmed with having chicken pox, placing 160 inmates into immediate medical quarantine.
Earlier Apraio had this to say to GQ magazine (but he's not a racist!)
All these people that come over, they could come with disease. There's no control, no health checks or anything. They check fruits and vegetables, how come they don't check people? No one talks about that! They're all dirty.
Of course, like many of Arpaio's fulminations, this release fell somewhere between a grand exaggeration and an outright lie.
Maricopa County health officials denied reports by the Sheriff's Office that 160 jail inmates had been quarantined two months ago because of four illegal immigrants with chicken pox.
Officials also downplayed a news release issued by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office last night about chicken pox found in immigrants busted yesterday, noting that such minor outbreaks don't normally make the news.
After our inquiries, MCSO Lieutenant Brian Lee said that Arpaio had, in fact, misspoken when he stated for the news release that a large-scale "quarantine" had taken place.
I never said my immigration opinions were widely held here in Arizona, but apparently they are not popular nationally either:
The new poll finds 61 percent of voters nationally think Arizona was right to take action instead of waiting for the federal government to do something on immigration. That's more than twice as many as the 27 percent who think securing the border is a federal responsibility and Arizona should have waited for Washington to act. . . . Significantly more voters think the Obama administration should wait and see how the new law works (64 percent) than think the administration should try to stop it (15 percent).
Oh well. Its not like being in the minority is a new thing for me.
What I would really like to understand is: what drives these folks?
I will take them at their word that it is not racism.
If its violent or property crime, the stats are pretty clear that immigrants don't really contribute to these crimes disproportionately.
If its gang violence at the border, I am wondering what people see in the law's rules that allow easier harassment of day laborers and brown-skinned people with broken turn signals that they think is going to deter gang members supposedly armed with AK47's.
If its competition for jobs, well, I encourage folks to learn how the economy actually works (hint: it's dynamic, not static), and further, encourage them to figure out why they feel they can't compete with unskilled, uneducated laborers who don't speak the native language.
Finally, if it is, as many of my emailers claim, just a matter of the rule of law -- "THEY ARE ILLEGAL" as I get in many emails, inevitably all in caps, then why not just legalize their presence? After all, I lament all the hardships associated with marijuana law enforcement but you don't see me advocating new rules to incrementally harass potential possessors -- I am grown up enough to know form history that such efforts are never going to work as long as their is an enthusiastic supply and demand. I advocate legalization.
Memo to those of Mexican descent in the US: I am trying hard here to stand up for your right to be here seeking opportunity and to be free of state harassment, but you are making it difficult when your kids have this kind of reaction to American-flag T-shirts:
"I think they should apologize cause it is a Mexican Heritage Day," Annicia Nunez, a Live Oak High student, said. "We don't deserve to be get disrespected like that. We wouldn't do that on Fourth of July."
I just spent three days arguing with locals in Phoenix that our basketball team wearing "los Suns" uniforms is not somehow dissing on the US, and then your kids fire off the same kind of BS in reverse? Just great.