America and Immigration

What an interesting intersection today’s post is: Neil Diamond is retiring, the State of the Union is tomorrow, and immigrationreform” is on most political minds.

So I thought I’d highlight a few things going forward. Today I am talking about permanent immigrants, not people on temporary work or tourist visas. I can’t see addressing that anytime soon.

  1. Caps. Right now, legal immigration is capped at 675,000 permanent residents, using a complicated formula you’d almost have to be an immigration attorney to fully understand. For context, there’s roughly 3,600,000 DREAMers and 800,000 DACA recipients. So even if all we tried to do was normalize their status under the current limits, it would take over a year just for DACA kids and more like 5 years if we wanted to address all the DREAMers. There’s  a case for and a case against, and I’m not going there today. That’s not even dealing with the backlog of mostly legal immigrants trying to to things right, and it’s certainly not dealing with the estimated 11,000,000 “illegal” or “undocumented” immigrants — which word you use depends on what you think about them. It’s like drinking a gallon of milk with a teaspoon. So the short version is that any immigration “reform” that does not address the cap being too low is at best a band-aid and at worst pure hypocrisy.
  2. Merit based systems. A merit based system sounds great, doesn’t it?  Of course the first item on any merit based system would have to be “speaks English.” Obviously we want immigrants who have a basic grasp of our language, right? Unfortunately, this builds in an unmistakable bias in favor of immigrants from nations that either speak English or teach it in their schools. It in practice it could be just a tweak racist. In fact it’s a laughable since the majority of both legal and illegal immigrants comes from a Spanish speaking nation, Mexico.
  3. Jobs. I’ve seen a disturbing resurgence of the “Jobs Americans Don’t Want” line of thinking. I truly thought Mike Rowe had laid that canard to rest by showing us Americans doing the dirtiest jobs out there. It isn’t the job Americans don’t want; it’s the fact that the job often pays sub minimum wage, has no benefits, few safety protections, and so forth. Some of them are very close to outright human trafficking. What, you didn’t think that employers who break one employment law mysteriously follow all the others, do you?

So a real immigration reform bill would include raising the caps, enforcing existing employment law, and simplifying the system so it’s simply easier to do it right. We must be very careful with the idea of merit based systems. Of course, we aren’t going to get any such thing. In fact, it’s possible we get nothing at all.

The Shorties Cure

Hey folks, sorry for light posting. Life got in the way of writing. Hope to return to a more regular schedule Shortly.

Poor Chuck: Don’t get me wrong, I consider Chuck to be one of the problems with the modern Democratic Party — although it’s possible he’s just a symptom. Anyway, he sure is taking heat for this government shutdown ending. Like lots of source links? Enjoy.

More on kids: it ain’t easy being a poor kid in America.

An actual expert: An Obstetrician on the topic of late term abortion.

Rent: Unfortunately, the big institutions that brought us the housing crisis aren’t particularly interested in being nice landlords either. Hmm, maybe that’s why rental law is governed on the state level.

Go Vegas!: First, here’s some fun and free/cheap things to do in town. Oh yeah, and Go Golden Knights!

And finally,

Whiskey: turns out it kills germs.

I’ve had both right and left leaning links today. Turns out that when you return to the true center, you find both truth and untruth on virtually every point of the political spectrum.

Remember When

Think back to when you were a kid.

Didn’t have much control of your life, did you?

Dinner was what mom cooked. If you didn’t like it, you had the option of going hungry. That’s if you were lucky. Some of you lived in households where you were cleaning your plate whether you like it or not.

You didn’t have any say over whether mom and dad had money for the latest cool toy. Strictly speaking, you didn’t have any say over whether mom and dad had money for shoes that actually fit you.

And you sure as heck had no control over where you lived. You lived where mom and/or dad said you would live. Doesn’t matter if it’s a nice house, a cheap apartment, a rat infested tenement, or wherever.

So this is why I support a clean DACA bill to give a clear path to citizenship to kids whose parents decided they would live in a foreign land. Those kids did not ask to be brought here illegally. They certainly did not have any say in the decision, no opportunity to persuade their parents otherwise. I also still support comprehensive immigration reform that involves greatly simplifying the process, raising immigration caps, and stiff penalties for employers who don’t like following the law.

But while we’re on the topic of stuff kids can’t control, they also can’t control whether there’s enough money for health care. Unfortunately, Congress is continuing to drop the ball on renewing CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program. That’s despite the fact that it has bipartisan support. That’s despite the fact that no Congressman is brave enough to come out against health care for kids who can’t afford it. Imagine the campaign ads against him!

Remember this when your Senators and Representatives come up for re-election.

In Closing: Poverty in America; Joe Arpaio just won’t go away; they missed #6, Democrats can win if they actually run better candidates than the competition.