Saturday, April 24, 2010

So much for Lady Liberty

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
' With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


And our texts for today -- this day after Arizona SB1070 was shamefully signed into law in a land conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all are created equal -- come from the Book of Deuteronomy: Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt ... (24:16-18) and from the Gospel according to Matthew: Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me. (25:40)


Bill Carroll said...

I quoted this in a sermon back in Sept. 09.

In ancient Israel, the city gate was where people went for justice. In a democracy, the responsibility to create justice rests with each and all of us. As a society, we can’t afford to build prisons instead of schools. We can’t afford to pay people less than it takes to provide for their families—and to force immigrant workers into the shadows. We can’t afford to keep buying cheap, disposable junk on easy credit. And, no, we can’t afford to deny healthcare to millions—and watch others get squeezed for every last penny. Nor can we keep relying on fossil fuels as the fragile lynchpin of our entire way of life.

As a nation, we used to want more. The reality often fell short, but we used to aspire, at least, to be a beacon of liberty—a bustling, creative democracy with broadly shared prosperity and a wide-open welcome to strangers:

Give me your tired, your poor
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

But now, it seems, that door is shut. Our gated suburban communities, with their private security firms, reflect the image of Fortress America and the mercenaries who help fight our wars. How is it possible for a nation that lives like this to seek justice and the common good?

Pasadena Closet Conservative said...

Oh, brother...
Get real.


Bill ... well said.

"Pasadena" ...closets are for clothes.

Bateau Master said...

It will be crappy while it lasts, but at least it forces the hand of the Bozos in DC to take the action needed to start fixing the problem. To me, the problem is fixed at the employers door - make it hurt financially to disobey the law and employ someone here illegally.

Chris H. said...

Why does loving Liberty mean allowing all illegal aliens in no matter what? My great grandparents immigrated legally. Then they learned English and got to work. Why does anyone who wants rules for immigration have to be a racist bigot? Does that mean all liberals are anarchists who don't believe in rules?

I have family living in Arizona, who worry about drug cartels, kidnapping, gang wars, etc. I know someone whose SSN was stolen so an illegal could get a job--and found out when the IRS went after him for tax evasion. So now they're horrible people because they want protection?

I've also worked abroad and I did it legally, and that meant going to the immigration police, having my residences and work places recorded and approved by the gov't. It required sponsorship and explanations why they needed me instead of their own people(including in Europe). It meant carrying documents at all times to prove my status. At times it meant knowing I was being watched. That's life as an alien.It didn't mean I wasn't free to live and work there, it meant I had to follow the rules or go home. What's so evil about wanting people coming here to do the same?

Chris H.

Hiram said...

So, if you own a nice house and I am homeless, it's OK if I come and make an apartment for myself in the basement?

Immigration is a fine and good thing. Even the Native Americans came to this continent from somewhere else. But illegal immigration is a different matter altogether. The Arizona bill is simply trying to contain the border, which at this time is about as effective as a screen door on a submarine.

A nation that cannot control its borders and educate its immigrants with its core values will soon cease to exist as an orderly society. It would be one thing if all illegal immigrants were poor but decent people looking for a new chance to earn a living - but it is quite another when they are warring drug lords, smugglers, and the like.

The people who came to NYC and saw the Statue of Liberty and her motto were coming in legally, according to immigration laws of the time. They checked in at Ellis Island. They did not land at night from boats that had sneaked into the area and simply dropped them off on the beach. Nor did they terrorize the inhabitants of NY and NJ. They came, they worked, and they contributed, under the law.


In the 30 seconds I have before vesting for the 9:00 service, Bishop Kirk Smith said it best:

"We all know that our immigration system is broken, but it cannot be fixed by scape-goating the most vulnerable of those among us."

Here's the deal, kids: if we want to have constitutionally protection we have to let other people have it, too. Even when it's messy. Even when it's hard. Even when it's easier to enact draconian laws like this one.

More later. Off to church.

LGMarshall said...

I lived & worked in a country other than the US for 4 years. Upon my application for a work visa, I had to show my College Diploma, I had to have a 'Sponsor' that was willing to pay any debt I may incur, I had to have $500 in my foreign bank account [today's equivalent would be $3,000], I had to have a place to live, with first months & last months rent, plus 'key money' which was non refundable. I had to report to Immigration Officers every 3 months without fail, or I would be put in Jail.

I was HAPPY to comply to all that was asked of me in exchange for the experience of working in their country. I never dreamed of trying to get around their immigration laws. I knew a few who did try, [utter fools] and no one knows what happened to them.

I was diligent in paying all my taxes, and was under special scrutiny every time I left their country. {I traveled at least 20 times out of the country, and was always, pulled aside, my luggage was searched, and I was frisked]. I never complained.... after all, it's THEIR Country.

My first child was born in their country. I appreciated the good medical care that I had there. But they never offered citizenship to my son. In fact that is a sheer impossibility!No one is allowed to gain citizen ship in this country, unless you have both parents that are citizens. [Only one race/ethnic group is allowed citizenship in this country-- even if their ancestors were born there for many generations... .]

I had to make sure that I registered my son at the American Embassy, and he became a US Citizen, while being born in another country. I would never call this country Draconian, or unfair, or bigoted or hateful, or prejudice. [even though they are some of those things.]

I'm married to an Immigrant. He carries his Green Card at all times. He never complains. He is careful to pay all his taxes and obey all the laws. Last year, he paid over $70K in income taxes alone. We appreciate what we get in this country -- freedom, the kind that no other country offers.

MarkBrunson said...

The difficulty is, quite apart from my own frequently-confirmed belief that self-proclaimed conservatives are incapable of running a lemonade stand and would find even the law of gravity too much to obey, is that the law is being applied in a draconian manner and to the wrong people - HERE.

I will say outright that I am not particularly sympathetic to illegal aliens. If they come to work, they should come to pay taxes, as well. That said, if you come to me, saying you're a Christian - a follower of Christ - then complaining about poor people who aren't worthy for any reason taking your hard-earned money, I will laugh in your face. Call yourself anything else you like, up to and including Emperor of the U.S., but Christian isn't yours, because you have shamed Christ.

As for making the employers hurt - really? Do you think you will? No. We'll all hurt with higher prices, and they'll go blithely on, pocketing the money. Get rid of all the illegals - then see how far your food dollar stretches.

uffda51 said...

Imagine the desperation that would cause a man to risk his life, leaving his family and country behind, to work two menial minimum wage jobs with no benefits. He will be luckier than the day laborers, two of whom, in my neighborhood recently, were infamously served sandwiches made from dog food.

Imagine a political system which refuses to deal with true immigration reform, the very same system which insists on an endless supply of cheap and exploitable labor, and which has fought a failed war on drugs for decades, and which still allows the death of field workers due to lack of drinking water.

Then imagine a political party which literally attempts to remove Caesar Chavez from the Texas history books, and then seriously claims that illegal immigrants can be identified by their shoes. I wonder how many Dutch, Swiss and Lithuanian immigrants will be arrested under this law.

The Arizona law does nothing to address the political and economic conditions that cause illegal immigration. And it will make it much harder for law enforcement to root out the true criminals because law enforcement requires the trust of the community. It is far easier for criminals to hide within a community that fears law enforcement than one which cooperates with law enforcement.

RonF said...

Susan, you're right. Everyone in the United States deserves the protections that they are due under the U.S. Constitution.

There is no Constitutional right to reside, work, or obtain public services in the United States for people who enter the United States illegally. They Constitutionally deserve due process, but that does not preclude the determination of someone's immigration status if a law enforcement officer has reason to suspect that they are not here legally.

The Constitution gives Congress the power "to establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization". Arizona has not made up it's own rules to decide who is a citizen and who is not. It explicitly leaves that to Federal authority. It then assesses penalties if you are in Arizona illegally or are helping other people to be there illegally by hiring them, hiding them from the authorities, etc. I see nothing in the Constitution that forbids Arizona from doing so.

Bill - as a society we have to build both prisons and schools. It is a main function of society to protect it's members against those who would insist on breaking its rules. If it doesn't do that, you don't HAVE a society.

We do need reform of our immigration laws. Here's what I suggest:

1) On a second offense, convict anyone hiring an illegal alien of a felony. Use of E-Verify would be an affirmative defense. Persons found to be non-citizens according to E-Verify would be given access to public resources to uncover and fix any inaccuracies and a reasonable time to do so, and could not be fired until this avenue was exhausted.

2) No public services outside of emergency services for non-citizens.

3) Any financial institution granting loans to persons that do not verify that they are either citizens or resident aliens would be ineligible to participate in any Federal insurance or financial programs and would be required to post this information on the front door of any premises, the home page of any web site and in an at least 18-point bold font in any print materials.

RonF said...

Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice,

Determining an alien's immigration status and treating them accordingly is justice. Allowing them to enter our country in contravention to our laws is not.

Yes, our spirtual forefathers were aliens in Egypt. They were not shown justice; they were brought there by force and enslaved. Illegal aliens force their way into the U.S. and take jobs that citizens and resident aliens could take. They are the unjust, not us.

uffda51 said...

Republican congressmen can determine an immigrant's status by looking at their shoes? Really?

Any illegal aliens taking anybody's jobs away at Goldman Sachs? Or Halliburton?

Unjust? The dead field worker is unjust but the corporation who provided the water but wouldn't allow the worker to drink it was just?

"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise."

Wouldn't all of us hope that if WE were the marginalized someone would speak up for us?

RonF said...


"Republican congressmen can determine an immigrant's status by looking at their shoes? Really?"

What are you talking about?

RonF said...

The Arizona law does nothing to address the political and economic conditions that cause illegal immigration.

That's true. That's because the political and economic conditions that results in people being in the very real desperate situation you note in your first paragraph occur in Mexico, not the United States. It is not the business of Arizona to fix Mexico. It is the business of the Arizona legislature to take the measures required to protect the persons, property and economy of Arizona - which it has now done.

It is the business of Mexicans to fix Mexico. That will not happen as long as the United States is Mexico's safety valve. Let Mexicans petition their government for change. If such change is not forthcoming let Mexicans force that change by whatever means are required. Only then will Mexico be strong enough to stand up on its own two feet.

RonF said...

I would really like someone to read the actual bill and cite to me the sections where it permits anyone's Constitutional rights to be violated.

Bill Carroll said...

Why is capital free to cross borders in order to exploit people, when labor is not free to cross borders in search of a better life?

The kind of comprehensive immigration reform that we need will create a secure path to citizenship.

Most of the arguments that I see against it or in favor of Arizona's draconian legislation are driven by some other agenda than the Gospel. It's hard to put too much stock in defending national borders when you belong to an international Church. I also hesitate to believe, either as a matter of moral truth or as a matter of cold, hard economic analysis, that my prosperity can only be preserved by defending it against others. Immigrants add to the economy. The jobs they do make possible jobs for others. They include a higher percentage of entrepreneurs than the general population. Bringing them out of the shadows will help them to contribute more, including starting businesses and paying taxes.

I'm having a hard time seeing this more as simple scapegoating of a vulnerable population at a time when unscrupulous bankers and crony capitalists are stealing from us all.

uffda51 said...

April 21, 2010 (Chris) MATTHEWS: Like what, like what? Give me a non-ethnic aspect that would tell you to pick up somebody.

(Rep. Brian) BILBRAY: They will look at the kind of dress you wear, there’s different type of attire, there’s different type of…right down to the shoes, right down to the clothes. But mostly by behavior it’s mostly behavior, just as the law enforcement people here in Washington, DC does it based on certain criminal activity there is behavior things that professionals are trained in across the board and this group shouldn’t be exempt from those observations as much as anybody else.

There you have it. Clothes, shoes and "behavior things."

Ronf, as you wrote in another post, I'm quite sure you don't see the racism in the Arizona law, nor the un-Constitutional aspects of it, which even Lindsey Graham recognizes. Nor do you ever seem to recognize homophobia.

In 2009, the U.S. National Drug Intelligence Center estimated that Mexican and Colombian drug trafficking organizations generated somewhere in the range of $17 billion to $38 billion annually in gross wholesale proceeds from drug sales in the United States. By comparison, Google’s worldwide revenue in 2009 was $23.6 billion.

The U.S. has an insatible appetite for both drugs and cheap labor. Expecting the citizens of Mexico to change that by petitioning their government seems a bit of a stretch.

Paul (A.) said...


It's not about bigotry.

It's not even about immigration.

It's about stealing elections. It seems to be a Republican thang.

Michele said...

Susan -- You made me think. Whether to good or bad ends, I don't think I'm the best judge ;)

On Recent Events in Arizona and Elsewhere
(with profound apologies to Emma Lazarus)

Now like a brazen giant, feared and famed,
whose conquering limbs go striding land to land,
here at our homeland's edge is set to stand
a mighty figure with a sword of flame
that flares like lightning, carrying the name
Builder of Empires. From that upraised hand
flows world-wide warning. Those hard eyes demand
honor, and tribute, fear, and vast acclaim.
"Keep, foreign lands, your worthless ones," we cry,
sheltered behind this Ozymandian guard;
"for here we know that we are truly free,
and safe beneath this one all-seeing eye.
We will not have your busy, eager horde."
We bar the golden door, and lose the key.

(This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.)

RonF said...

uffda51, I don't see homophobia very much because a phobia is an unreasonable fear of something, and I see very little unreasonable fear of homosexuals in the critiques of their behavior.

The opinion of the Representative you cite is not particularly germane to how this law will be enforced. If you read the law you'll find that there's no provision for the ridiculous scenarios that people like President Obama have laid out. No one's going to get pulled out of line taking their kids to get ice cream. No one's going to have to carry around their birth certificate.

The most likely scenario that this law will be applied to is when an Arizona cop pulls someone over for speeding or some other traffic violation. At that point the cop will do what cops always do; ask for your license and registration. According to the law (you can read it here), if that license is valid the cop is required to presume you are not an illegal alien. If that license is valid it won't matter what your name is or what color your skin is.

But if your license is fake or you don't have one then I think it's entirely reasonable for the cop to do whatever he can to ascertain who you are and where you're from. Checking in with the INS seems to me to be a quite reasonable part of that process.

Can this law be abused in the name of racism? Sure. So can (and has) every other law on the books. We haven't gotten rid of those laws, we've fixed the process by which they're enforced. Same thing here.

RonF said...

Bill Carroll:

But now, it seems, that door is shut.

Here are immigration figures for 2009:

Persons granted legal permanent resident status: 1,130,818
Persons granted naturalized citizens: 743,715

How will this law affect those processes? It only affects people who come here illegally. It has no effect on legal immigration at all.

This law doesn't shut the door. Based on these figures and those of previous years about two million people will use the door in one fashion or another this year.

What this law will do is to help keep people from breaking the door down or sneaking in through a window. If you don't like that then justice (which includes your obligation to your fellow citizens) means that you should seek to change the law to open the door to more people, not stop efforts to make sure we make people use it.

RonF said...

Bill, capital doesn't exploit people. People exploit people. Capital can be used as a tool in that process. But any exploitation that occurs is the fault of the people involved, not the fault of the existence of capital. People have been exploited in the name of socialism, communism, fascism and every other social and economic system ever created. There's nothing unique about capitalism in that regard.

RonF said...

Paul (A.), I looked at that link. Some pretty overblown rhetoric there. A couple of examples:

"What moved GOP Governor Jan Brewer to sign the Soviet-style show-me-your-papers law"

You're not going to have to show any ID to a cop after this law goes into effect than you did before it goes into effect. If you are a legal resident of the U.S. just show your license just like you'd have to anyway and you're done.

The horde of five million voters who swam the Rio Grande just to vote for Obama was calculated on a Republican website extrapolating from the number of Mexicans in a border town who refused jury service because they were not citizens. Not one, in fact, had registered to vote: they had registered to drive. They had obtained licenses as required by the law.

Actually, they had obtained licenses in contravention to the law. Arizona law forbids issuing drivers licenses to illegal aliens. Every single one of those people had broken the law, not followed it.

I mean, Grandma Palast snuck into the USA via Windsor, Canada. We Palasts are illegal as they come, but Arpaio's sophisticated deportee-sniffer didn't stop this white boy from entering his sanctum.

The Palasts are - with the exception of Grandma - perfectly legal, unless their mothers all snuck back over the border to Canada to be born. So there was absolutely no reason for him to fear walking into that facility. And he knows it. But promulgating his message is far more important than telling the truth.

RonF said...

The U.S. has an insatible appetite for both drugs and cheap labor.

True. Arizona and the U.S. have laws against that as well. In fact, this new Arizona laws also adds offenses and penalties against employers of illegal aliens. It's not a one sided law. It makes no sense for Arizona to have laws against drug usage in Arizona and the employment of illegal labor in Arizona and not have laws against illegal aliens being present in Arizona.

Expecting the citizens of Mexico to change that by petitioning their government seems a bit of a stretch.

I don't expect them to change those issues. Those are our issues and we need to pass and enforce laws to fix them. Part of the problem there is that when we do pass such laws people who don't want the problems solved try to claim that the laws are racist, etc. What I expect the people of Mexico to change are the issues in their own country, problems of corruption and exploitation by their own government. And I don't recall saying anything about limiting them to petitioning their government.

Hiram said...

Bill Carroll said:
"Most of the arguments that I see against it or in favor of Arizona's draconian legislation are driven by some other agenda than the Gospel. It's hard to put too much stock in defending national borders when you belong to an international Church."

This comment is somewhat off-topic, but I find it interesting that progressives feel perfectly fine in recommending legislation based on their understanding of what the Gospel is and does, but when conservatives do the same thing, they are told that they should not combine politics and religion.

Let's have some consistency here.

Brad Evans said...

We're at 305+ million. By 2070, we'll be over 500 million.
How many more people do we need?
Why can't Latin America get its sh*t together?

Brad Evans said...

The Dutch and Swiss live in wealthy societies, so there's no need for them to leave.
If every Lithuanian on Earth left for our borders, they would still not equal one fourth of those who've entered the country illegally in the past decade. And they would enter literate and probably knowing more math/science than most natives.
Face it: if Spain and Portugal had just stayed home, think of how much better developed what is now Latin America would have been. Failed parents produce failed children; backwards cultures do, too.


I mulled Brad's comment before posting but decided as offensive as I personally find his perspective it does fall within my stated comment guidelines AND is a great "Example A" of what we're up against here.

AND ... if anybody missed the history class where the same kinds of cultural and ethnic slurs were used against the Irish during that long ago immigration wave then go do some remedial reading and check back for the make up exam.

Brad Evans said...

If the Irish really had it so bad in the US, why did they move here in much greater numbers than they moved to catholic countries, like Brazil, Argentina or Chile?
The sheer numbers of people "who view America as the 'Mother Ship'" (Paul Theroux) is too great to simply say "Oh, well, I don't want to break up your family and you DO have a job, so anyone who gets to the USA is home-free. Anything less is cruel!"
You don't let people move into your house even if they're homeless. You don't let people build houses in parks/nature reserves. Why do you think that allowing anyone who comes here should be allowed to stay?

RonF said...

There's been a number of allegations about this law that indicates to me that it's critics have not read it. There's also been charges that it's racist and unconstitutional. Here is an op-ed from the New York Times from someone who helped write the law answering these objections and others. I believe you'll find it informative.

The biographical information for the author at the end of the article says:

Kris W. Kobach, a law professor at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, was Attorney General John Ashcroft’s chief adviser on immigration law and border security from 2001 to 2003.