Author Topic: Immigration Policy  (Read 1504 times)

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Offline Quesi

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #29 on: October 19, 2012, 08:05:58 PM »

Yes there are refugees. Yes they should get a hearing – I’m sure they do. No, not every decision is just, but most are.


With all due respect, you have no idea what you are talking about.  Anyone who has any familiarity with the US Immigration Board of Appeals knows that there is a huge discrepancy in rulings. 

Here is a little study entitled U.S. ASYLUM SYSTEM:   Significant Variation Existed in Asylum Outcomes across Immigration Courts and Judges, which was conducted by the Government Accounting Office and presented to the US Congress at the request of: 

The Honorable Joseph I. Lieberman
Chairman
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
United States Senate

The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy
Chairman
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate

The Honorable Edward M. Kennedy
Chairman
Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Refugees
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate

The Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
Chairman
Committee on the Judiciary
House of Representatives

The gist of the report is that there is no consistency in rulings.  When you look at folks from the same country, the same region, facing similar circumstances, you have no idea if they are going to win their case or not.  When you hear who the judge is, you know.  The system is broken. 


The likelihood of being granted asylum differed for affirmative and
defensive cases and varied depending on the immigration court in which
the case was heard. Overall, the grant rate for affirmative cases (37
percent) was significantly higher than the grant rate for defensive cases
(26 percent). The affirmative asylum grant rate ranged from 6 percent in
Atlanta to 54 percent in New York City. The grant rate for defensive cases
ranged from 7 percent in Atlanta to 35 percent in San Francisco and New
York City.
(See fig. 2 and a detailed discussion of these differences in
appendix II).  http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08940.pdf (page 23)

When I look at someone who has been tortured, or when I look at someone who survived a massacre, and I hear that their case is going to be heard in Newark, rather then New York City, my heart sinks.  And if I hear the name of a judge who I actually went out drinking with years ago, I can’t look the victim in the eyes.  Because I know that there are two options.  The victim can be sent home, perhaps to die.  Or the victim will live a clandestine life in this country, forever in fear. 

Sorry to use “emotive talk.”  These are real human beings to me, not abstractions. 

And unlike you, I know the system.  And I know it is broken.  And so does anyone who is familiar with the system, including the people who requested this report. 

@Kimberly - Yes.  I am very passionate about my work.  Has it skewed my perspective?  Perhaps.   I have seen a great deal of human suffering.  But I was drawn the the field because, as an atheist, I do not believe that there is an afterlife.  For each human being, this life is all we have.  And as someone who was born into relative privilege, I feel compelled to fight for those whose life circumstances have been wrought with suffering.  And I'm really drawn to people who have come out of pain and suffering, and who are looking to rebuild their lives. 

I'm also very passionate about my community.  I live in a densely populated urban neighborhood, with an exceptionally diverse immigrant population.  Whether folks came here to escape poverty or persecution or even came here against their will, those who chose to stay are contributing members of the community.  The local business district, which consists mostly of family-owned storefronts, is thriving.  Even in these bad economic times.  The children of manual laborers and the children of refugee rocket scientists and journalists and mayors in exile, play together with the children of the new gentrifying families.  Immigration is good for my community.  It is good for the economic stability of the community.  It is good for the cultural richness of the community.  And it is good for the people who live here... both those who were born in the US, and those who came here with hope for the future. 

Offline Kimberly

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #30 on: October 19, 2012, 09:34:25 PM »
So is it safe to say you disagree with Graybeard when he says:
Legal immigration is a two-edged sword: on the one hand, it can be used to supply labour to an area of acute shortage, on the other it can be used by employers to reduce the wage bill as immigrants are usually paid less than the going rate.

This lower rate is caused by supply and demand, the immigrant is a supply and as this increases, the demand lessens – it turn this hits the resident employee – they have to become adaptable to a lower wage. IIRC – resident IT professionals used to earn $75,000pa before H1B visas were issued migrants skilled in IT – after a large number had arrived, the average resident IT pro earned $68,000 pa and the immigrant earned $62,000 on average. This effect cuts across all areas and is most felt at the poor end where the disposable income for the resident worker is low.

Then there is the social cost: I have lived long enough to see parts of my native town turned from all European to 80% Asian. Those remaining in these areas are now elderly and unlikely to change their views, yet change has been imposed upon them and they are unhappy and feel alienated.

In those areas, property has become the province of the immigrant and thus schools need to be able to teach in more than one language – as interpreters are expensive, this has led to Asian teachers – nothing wrong here, but the resident teachers are now effectively excluded from part of the job market: separation of the two communities is taking place.

In large towns, there were often traditional industries. These were rarely fully mechanised. Overseas industry started to develop in the late 50s/early 60s and by the 70s was undercutting our industries simply by lower wage rates. The cases in point are the cotton and woollen mills: they were poorly managed and honestly ran on steam and leather belts. So as to compete with overseas wage rates, they started to produce 24/7 – to do this they needed labour. This was imported in vast quantities from the Indian subcontinent. The immigrants were single young men who, because of their circumstances (no mortgage/dependents), worked for less. This greater pool of labour caused wages to drop so that only the immigrants were employed.

Meanwhile, the better solution of automation was eschewed and the industries collapsed leaving discontented immigrants, who then turned to religious leaders for help – some radicalisation therefore occurred. 

I'm trying to understand the whole picture. It seems like you are both looking at immigration from an entirely different view point. I'm not saying either of you are wrong.

When you said:

I have seen a great deal of human suffering.  But I was drawn the the field because, as an atheist, I do not believe that there is an afterlife.  For each human being, this life is all we have.  And as someone who was born into relative privilege, I feel compelled to fight for those whose life circumstances have been wrought with suffering.  And I'm really drawn to people who have come out of pain and suffering, and who are looking to rebuild their lives.

This is the same reason I'm passionate about AA and alcoholism[1]. Though I could never claim to have impacted any one's life as much as you do. Hence why I said I wish my life path had taken me down another road.
 1. My primary passions. I also feel this way about domestic abuse victims and children who can't help themselves.
Thank you for considering my point of view; however wrong it may be to you.

Offline Quesi

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #31 on: October 19, 2012, 10:40:36 PM »
First of all, the whole idea that we are somehow going to legislate human migration is absurd.  The drive for survival is strong, and human beings have always moved in order to find ways to provide food, shelter, safety and opportunities for themselves and their progeny.  Individuals have always died during the journeys towards a better life, but there have always been enough families and communities who successfully found abundance somewhere far away to enable our species to survive.  From the time that our ancient ancestors started wandering north along the African continent, there have always been a percentage of people who were driven to seek out something better, somewhere else. 

Nations built walled cities, monarchies enacted xenophobic policies, and wars were declared against onslaughts of invaders.  But human migration has never stopped.  And national border and national laws have failed to stop it as well.

What nations can legislate is how we deal with human migration.  Do we treat new arrivals as a threat or a resource? 

Yeah.  Planet earth is crowded.  Perhaps we are reaching our limit of sustainability.  But that is a global problem.  Not a national problem.  There is currently enough food on planet earth to feed our population.  We don’t have the infrastructure or distribution in place to feed everyone.  And so people move to stronger infrastructures and places with better distribution.  The creation of global systems of food distribution would significantly alter migration patterns.  But there would still be oppressive governments that people are fleeing, and natural disasters that destroy a previously thriving region, and there would still be those who sought better opportunities for either themselves or the next generation.  And don’t even get me started on the role that corporate greed currently plays on the international stage, as foreigners pillage entire regions, displacing native populations that have no choice but to leave.  And where do they go?  Often, ironically, to the places that had the power to pillage their land. 

Rallying calls for border enforcement are both short sighted and ineffective.  We are not going to stop human migration by passing laws or building walls.  In fact, we are not going to stop human migration.  But there are strategies that we can implement to change the patterns of migration.  There are strategies that we can implement to help migration hubs integrate new arrivals.  And there are strategies that we can implement to help regions that have lost their brainpower or their labor force to migration.  But in order to implement any effective strategies, we need to think and act both globally and locally. 

Oh no!  Did I just say that?

Offline Quesi

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #32 on: October 19, 2012, 10:45:00 PM »

This is the same reason I'm passionate about AA and alcoholism[1].
 1. My primary passions. I also feel this way about domestic abuse victims and children who can't help themselves.

Huge and vital issues.  No easy fixes.  No quick solutions.  Lots of hard work, and then the alcoholics drink again or the dv victims go back their abusers, or the kids act our or retreat into themselves.  But you keep at it.  And when the changes happen, they are huge.  And the changes reverberate for generations. 

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #33 on: October 20, 2012, 11:38:26 AM »
Let me just quote your first and last lines:
First of all, the whole idea that we are somehow going to legislate human migration is absurd.

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There are strategies that we can implement to help migration hubs integrate new arrivals.  And there are strategies that we can implement to help regions that have lost their brainpower or their labor force to migration.  But in order to implement any effective strategies, we need to think and act both globally and locally
You are legislating – do you expect people to obey the legislation?

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The drive for survival is strong, and human beings have always moved in order to find ways to provide food, shelter, safety and opportunities for themselves and their progeny.
This is what we call inter-tribal warfare
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our ancient ancestors started wandering north along the African continent, there have always been a percentage of people who were driven to seek out something better, somewhere else.
(i)   And you think that this was somehow different from the European conquest of America? You do not see that for every set of invaders there have been a displaced people?
(ii)   You do realise that migration in the distant past was into a sparsely populated world and was from neighbouring areas – not from vastly different cultures 5,000 miles away. These people did not migrate in their thousands, they migrated in family groups and over distances of not more than about 100 miles.

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Nations built walled cities, monarchies enacted xenophobic policies, and wars were declared against onslaughts of invaders.  But human migration has never stopped.
This is traditional immigration – war.
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And national border and national laws have failed to stop it as well.
This is not entirely so: early Japan was solely Japanese – it was death to leave and death to arrive. In the reign of Henry II the penalty for arriving in England was to be turned back after branding – if you returned again, you were executed.

These seem policies that would not go down well at Democrat Conferences but were successful.

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What nations can legislate is how we deal with human migration.  Do we treat new arrivals as a threat or a resource?
This is (i) a false dichotomy and (ii) lacks any nuance.

Seriously, I suggest you try and legislate – remember, to have legislation, you have to have sanctions.

Surely a sovereign country should be able to say who arrives and who does not?

Imagine you are at home and there is a knock on the door – a woman and young child explain that their car has broken down and could you let them stay until it is repaired. You are doubtful but agree.

Three days later, they are still there. There is another knock and a man asks if his wife is there. You say she is and he enters. After a while, the man goes out and comes back with a large suitcase. He says he must stay with his wife and child – how could you separate them at a time like this?

A week later, the family are still there and two young men arrive. They explain that they are the man’s brothers and they can’t afford to save for the repairs to the car unless they can live rent free with you. You agree…

You see how this story is progressing.

However, if the woman turned out to be a lecturer in sociology and was willing to pay a generous rent and promised to be gone after 6 months and did do – you’d be happy.

Both you and I want legislation that prevents public unrest, prevents the immigrant from getting a bad name.

The consequences of unrestricted immigration would be disastrous – all services would be overwhelmed. Housing would be over-crowded, inter-racial tension would grow as would unemployment.

The government needs a strategy to limit immigration to acceptable levels and needs enforcement to back this up.

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Yeah.  Planet earth is crowded.  Perhaps we are reaching our limit of sustainability.  But that is a global problem.  Not a national problem.
No. High fences make good neighbours. Your solution is to allow anyone and everyone to arrive. Mine is to limit the numbers to an acceptable level.
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There is currently enough food on planet earth to feed our population.
Historically, when this fails, the answer is war – it cuts down the population to manageable levels and frees up land for the fittest.

Hard, I know, but it is our nature and you will not change it.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Kimberly

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #34 on: October 20, 2012, 12:06:43 PM »
GB

How do you determine an acceptable number of immigrants? How do you justify turning away people in true need? Do you just let natural selection run it's course?
Thank you for considering my point of view; however wrong it may be to you.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #35 on: October 20, 2012, 01:00:48 PM »
GB

How do you determine an acceptable number of immigrants?
This is not a precise science- it is rather like steering the proverbial oil-tanker – forward planning is all. For the vast majority of immigrants, much depends upon who the primary immigrant is and what they can contribute to the development of the country as a whole.

It is for that reason that the sovereign nation should select the immigrants and not allow illegal immigration in which anyone can arrive.

We also have the factors of
How we are able to accommodate the immigrant?
What services do he and his dependents require?
How many dependents are there, are some of them elderly?
(in the US - can they afford medical treatment?)
Are they intending permanent or temporary stay?
How are the native population able to cope with the size of the influx?
What will the arrival do to the present job market?
Do we have high unemployment or low unemployment?
What is the political effect of allowing in immigrants?
Is the government going to have to re-educate the public – people don’t like change.
Are the immigrants going to accumulate in a ghetto?
Can they be scattered thinly across the country to avoid ghettos?
If that happens, what of social support that they might otherwise get from their own community?
Do they speak English?
Are they likely to be integrated into society?
What would prevent them from integrating?
Is their culture going to cause tensions in the resident society?
How long will this integration take for that type of immigrant? Is it possible at all?

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How do you justify turning away people in true need? Do you just let natural selection run it's course?
You see, you have some notion that there are thousands of people “in true need” who arrive as would-be immigrants. The reality is that the typical illegal immigrant is a fit male often with a poor education looking to be an economic migrant.

Illegal immigrants require money, and money is exactly what people “in true need” do not have.

For those in true need, there is the Geneva Convention on Refugees – The US is a signatory but I do not know if it is a signatory to the 1967 Amendment. The there is the Human Rights Act (to which, IIRC, the USA does not subscribe) then there is the general legislation covering this area.

Consider the population of a refugee camp in Kenya – they are all in “true need” but you never see that sort of person as an immigrant or if you do, they have been issued special visas and are not a problem[1].

Back to the refugee camp; Name a few countries that are morally obligated to accept them as immigrants and why? Kenya’s camps are supported by the Kenyan and Western governments. They aim to keep the people as well as possible and in their own environment and culture in the hopes that they may be able to return. Not pleasant, but not that far below the average living standard that they were used to.

Are you bothered by the idea that tribal people taken out of their environment will be ill-adapted to living in the West? What future has a 40 year old, unskilled, illiterate, unemployed denizen of a small Somali town when set down in the middle of the Great Plains?

Then there is an argument that says that the West should accept all women, gays, Christians, disabled, poor, generally persecuted, etc., from every country on earth. Would you agree? Should the West arrange flights in?

But if we did that, who would be left in the country other than the very types that were oppressing them? - You will create a monolithic bloc of people. Or have you a serious solution? Is that solution already in place?

Oh… three things:
1. I have only scratched the surface.
2. I realise I have answered this without your having told me what “truly in need” is. Help me out here.
3. You are right when you say Quesi and I see things from different ends.
 1. The USA is particularly unfeeling in these circumstances; their visa officers (at least in the past and to my knowledge) were instructed to scour the camps for those with marketable skills - medics, IT, construction, managerial, good English, etc) and “leave the sick, lame and lazy to the Europeans who like that sort of thing.”
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Kimberly

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #36 on: October 20, 2012, 02:21:40 PM »
GB,

True need is really subjective. We would have to come to an agreed upon list of examples but even then each case would have to be reviewed individually and still determined based on subjectivity. I think that is part of the problem. We could have to come up with a list of acceptable reasons but the list could never be all inclusive. Because of this we would also have to allow for exceptions to the list but doing so opens the door for interpretation which opens the door for abuse of the system. That's why I don't know how you say yes for some and no for others. I don't think there's a magical answer. It seems as though alternatives would be more feasible such as the one Quesi mentioned. "The creation of global systems of food distribution."

I think you bring up a good point about attempting to integrate tribal communities to a first world country and expecting them to survive. They would have to be trained certain skills and language which costs money and resources. I'm not sure how that would/should be paid for?

It seems like attempting to relocate them to an area that was most like their natural environment (But with out what ever deterrent that made them leave their land/home.) would be a better idea. Both for them and the area they are being introduced to.
Thank you for considering my point of view; however wrong it may be to you.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #37 on: October 21, 2012, 09:06:40 AM »
It seems as though alternatives would be more feasible such as the one Quesi mentioned. "The creation of global systems of food distribution."
This is quite disastrous and should be used only in acute, real and present circumstances and with a broader plan in mind, otherwise the local food growers are out of business; they can't sell their stuff and next year have no money to buy seeds to plant - they starve and so do the rest, etc.

This results in a dependency culture in which populations can grow in the absence of their own resources and beyond all possible resources to support them - they then become entirely and increasingly dependant on the donor.

Long-term help is required a lot of which should go to birth control and basic technology.

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I think you bring up a good point about attempting to integrate tribal communities to a first world country and expecting them to survive. They would have to be trained certain skills and language which costs money and resources. I'm not sure how that would/should be paid for?
I was also thinking of "culture shock" one symptom of which is depression caused by 'homesickness'. It is well established that immigrant communities have more mental health problems than the resident population.

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It seems like attempting to relocate them to an area that was most like their natural environment (But with out what ever deterrent that made them leave their land/home.) would be a better idea. Both for them and the area they are being introduced to.
I agree, the less distance they are moved to receive protection, the easier and quicker it is them to return, where possible. I spent some time in one of the poorest countries on earth and was amazed at how the population survived reasonably well on so little - if they had been taken to the UK and given all that we could give them, it would be difficult for them to return as their expectations would have risen beyond the capabilities of their country to fulfil them - The converse is that I could never have survived as a native in that country.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Kimberly

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #38 on: October 21, 2012, 10:56:42 AM »
I guess the amount of culture shock would vary depending on the necessity to leave. It is an interesting part of the equation. I don't have much time to chat about this today so I will resume back to the convo Monday.
Thank you for considering my point of view; however wrong it may be to you.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #39 on: October 22, 2012, 12:19:38 PM »
I guess the amount of culture shock would vary depending on the necessity to leave.
No, not really. A survey done in Germany in the 1980 showed significantly higher rates of depression, stress, heart complaints, etc amongst immigrants. The immigrants were mostly voluntary economic migrants from Turkey and the the Mahgreb.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Kimberly

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #40 on: October 23, 2012, 10:44:12 AM »
Do you have more info on the survey? I guess I feel like there would be a causality dilemma to say that they were depressed because they migrated to another region. How did the survey determine that they weren't depressed because of the variables that led them to leave? One could be classified as voluntary but then is the need to survive really voluntary?
Thank you for considering my point of view; however wrong it may be to you.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #41 on: October 23, 2012, 02:17:55 PM »
I'm sorry, the survey was done in what must be a 10 year old article from UCLA Davis*. However, a quick Google gives the following to support the claim.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890856709634936
http://www.springerlink.com/content/v5404w001679t51g/
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00224540209603915

There are many other such studies with similar outcomes.

As far as depression caused by the situation in their own country, this is not really a factor. The vast majority of immigrants are economic migrants. Those who come from war-zones are rarely those who have suffered - they are usually those who leave well in advance to avoid suffering.

Yes, there are those who were tortured, raped, starved, etc., but those represent a very small minority indeed. It is the poor, women and other disregarded people in society who suffer torture - they rarely have the money to emigrate, legally or otherwise.

*IIRC, the article was inspired by a German film about an Algerian immigrant - uselessly, I have forgotten the name of that as well.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #42 on: October 24, 2012, 02:18:38 PM »
First of all, this is a much more intelligent discussion of immigration than we will ever see on the popular media where fear, demagogery and racism "border" the debate. Thank you all for that.

Secondly, everyone should watch "El Norte", also one of my favorite movies. I have used it in classes.

Thirdly, it is clear to me that personal experiences hugely determine how people think about immigration. I am with Quesi because I know people who came to the US intending to go home, and whose country fell apart. There was no home to return to and they would have possibly been killed if they returned. I don't want to see my friends killed.  Who would?

And it is hard to be honest and admit that we are divided even in ourselves about immigration. We don't want immigants to come to our country illegally, but we want food prices to be low, so we do want there to be people willing to work on farms for less than we would do it. So we do want there to be some illegal immigration.

Sure, the law says imprison and/or deport people who are here illegally. They are criminals if they stay without the proper status. We have to agree that they have broken the law. But what kind of crime is it, exactly? Is it more like murder? More like bank robbery? More like child molestation? More like passing bad checks or cheating on your income tax? I think we can probably agree that illegal immigration by itself is closer to a "paperwork" crime like cheating on income tax than  committing murder or child molestation.

At worse, I could see it being equated with pickpocketing, shoplifting or petty con artistry, stealing resources that you are not legally entitled to, but not physically assaulting someone to do it. Not nice. Definitely illegal. Harmful. But worthy of the death penalty? Worthy of extended prison sentences? No. Because the solution should not cause more harm to everyone involved than the crime itself did!

Motive and intent are vital in considering what to do about a crime. If the crime was just plain vicious, premeditated and only to hurt, we treat it differently than if there were extenuating circumstances, like self-defense. In most cases, survival, improving one's life, helping one's family, etc, are the primary motivations for illegal immigration. The intent is not to hurt the receiving country. And in many cases, they do "help" more than they "hurt".

Solutions?
1)Deport violent and dangerous migrants, whether illegal or legal. Microchip them so they can't come back. (Just kidding. Maybe.) We don't need violent criminals sucking up the goodwill owed to other immigrants.

2)Have immigration policies that are consistent, fair and equally applied, instead of at the whim of the judge or based on whether the US likes the country the person comes from. (For example, we hated Cuba's dictatorship so we let Cubans come here so Cuba would look like a bad place--because everyone was trying to leave, but we liked Haiti's dictatorship so we sent Haitians back, even though Haiti was a much worse place.)

3)Realize that most people prefer their own home countries, even if they are not perfect places. Migration is always a last resort after you realize that you have no decent future if you stay. So, no, they don't all want to come here. We can stop with the "yellow peril" and "hordes of brown people massing at the border" crap.

4)Establish a law whereby nobody is deported as a side effect of reporting a crime, enrolling children in school, seeking medical care, or to perform other actions that benefit the larger society. Unless you would rather have more exploited people afraid to report child trafficking, suffering from untreated infectious disease, kids joining gangs instead of being in school, etc.

5)Help people stay home. Don't bomb other countries, creating war refugees whose socieities have fallen apart. Don't help dictators massacre their people, creating political refugees. Don't exploit cheap labor or lax environmental laws in poor countries, creating economic refugees. Don't ignore warning signs of impending famine. Prevention is way easier and cheaper than coping with a disaster after the fact.

Of course all this stuff is harder than harassing people with accents or dark skin and denying them services in the hope that they will "self-deport". But it is cheaper than creating the police state apparatus needed to "round up" everyone who can't prove their citizenship on demand to the satisfaction of whoever is doing the rounding.

Many of us can't even prove our citizenship to comply with the new voter laws some states are implementing....

Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #43 on: October 24, 2012, 04:05:15 PM »
Secondly, everyone should watch "El Norte", also one of my favorite movies. I have used it in classes.

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From imdb: Mayan Indian peasants, tired of being thought of as nothing more than "brazos fuertes" ("strong arms", i.e., manual laborers) and organizing in an effort to improve their lot in life, are discovered by the Guatemalan army. After the army destroys their village and family, a brother and sister, teenagers who just barely escaped the massacre, decide they must flee to "El Norte" ("the North", i.e., the USA). After receiving clandestine help from friends and humorous advice from a veteran immigrant on strategies for traveling through Mexico, they make their way by truck, bus and other means to Los Angeles, where they try to make a new life as young, uneducated, and illegal immigrants
A rare enough scenario. I hope you provide some balance in your teaching, otherwise you would simply be peddling your prejudices and not giving your students the full picture.

You will bear in mind the Nicaraguans who were brought to the US some years backs when their country was devastated by a hurricane - few ever returned. The French have a saying, Only temporary things are permanent.

You may wish to consider the vast majority of simple economic migrants.

[qute]Thirdly, it is clear to me that personal experiences hugely determine how people think about immigration.[/quote]
This is true.
Quote
I am with Quesi because I know people who came to the US intending to go home, and whose country fell apart. There was no home to return to and they would have possibly been killed if they returned. I don't want to see my friends killed.  Who would?
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who was quite mad in his later years, once said, "I don't believe in ghosts but there is a great number of people who say they have seen them and whose evidence taken in sum, says that there are ghosts."

Immigrants, as a mass are easy to dismiss, immigrants taken individually, are not. If they do not reach their destination or if they are quickly removed, then the problem does not arise. The trouble is that the law is a broad brush but does recognise individual circumstances and the few hours it takes to cross the boarder at night are to be compared with the days of paperwork and hearings... You can have cheap fast justice or slow detailed justice - it is a pragmatic question of cost.

Quote
We don't want immigrants to come to our country illegally, but we want food prices to be low, so we do want there to be people willing to work on farms for less than we would do it. So we do want there to be some illegal immigration.
This is a false dichotomy. It is a mistake to use imported manpower when technology can create efficient production. The argument for cheap labour is the argument for the failed economics of slavery.

I would advocate a fine on any employer of illegal immigrants of 10x the minimum wage per hour each immigrant has worked. Once the situation has settled down, such machinery as is available has been put in place, and local unemployment is minimal, then controlled, legal immigration may take place.

Quote
Sure, the law says imprison and/or deport people who are here illegally.
I believe that imprisonment is used, not as a sanction, but to ensure that the illegal immigrant is in a known place so that he may be removed.
Quote
They are criminals if they stay without the proper status. We have to agree that they have broken the law. But what kind of crime is it, exactly?
This question is by no means as easy to answer as it appears. Most detention and removal are administrative actions, not involving criminality. 
Quote
Is it more like murder? More like bank robbery? More like child molestation? More like passing bad checks or cheating on your income tax?
You have this week's prize for rhetorical questions that can be answered with "No."
Quote
I think we can probably agree that illegal immigration by itself is closer to a "paperwork" crime
See above.

There are offences that can be tried in court but it is not particularly efficient to do that.

Quote
Solutions?
1)Deport violent and dangerous migrants, whether illegal or legal.
Fine: that is what happens now.
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Microchip them so they can't come back. (Just kidding. Maybe.)
They are fingerprinted and iris scanned - it's easier

Quote
2)Have immigration policies that are consistent, fair and equally applied, instead of at the whim of the judge
This is more rhetoric and not based in fact. The law is clear - that is the purpose of the law - to be clear.
Quote
or based on whether the US likes the country the person comes from. (For example, ... Cuba)
Are you suggesting that the wishes of the people are to be overridden and that immigration policy is to be removed from foreign policy?

I honestly think you have not thought that one through.

Quote
3)Realize that most people prefer their own home countries, even if they are not perfect places.
You should rid yourself of that notion. It is simply not true - it really isn't.

Think of any 3rd world country
Place an advert in the paper of the most patriotic part of that country.#
The advert says, "1,000 US Green Cards are available free to the first applicants - email me at xyz@prq.com
Sit back, see what happens.

Quote
Migration is always a last resort after you realize that you have no decent future if you stay.
Simply not true. I am assuming you are thinking what it would take to cause you to leave the US - This is not a good example.
Quote
So, no, they don't all want to come here.
What percentage of Mexico do you think would arrive if the boarder were opened for 5 years?
Quote
We can stop with the "yellow peril" and "hordes of brown people massing at the border" crap.
Emotive stuff - not substance, but emotive.

If you are serious about addressing immigration, please keep to known facts or at least the big picture.

Quote
4)Establish a law whereby nobody is deported as a side effect of reporting a crime, enrolling children in school, seeking medical care, or to perform other actions that benefit the larger society.
Can you explain how having a medical operation benefits society, as opposed to the person undergoing it?
Quote
Unless you would rather have more exploited people afraid to report child trafficking, suffering from untreated infectious disease, kids joining gangs instead of being in school, etc.
Are you being serious? What sort of a strawman is that?

Please keep emotion out of this - emotions rarely helped anyone or solved any problems.

Quote
5)Help people stay home.
Yes. This is good. Do that. Help them with health, education and the infrastructure. Strangely enough $Billions go on this each year.
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Don't bomb other countries, creating war refugees whose societies have fallen apart.
I do hope someone from Al-Shabab, Hamas, Al-Qaeda,  or The Lord's Resistance Army is reading this...
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Don't help dictators massacre their people, creating political refugees.
Always good advice
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Don't exploit cheap labor
Please be aware that creating employment in a poor country and paying wages at their national average, is helping that country. It is not unreasonable. You expect average wages in your country, you are not being paid the wages of an Arab Sheikh. Why should someone producing shoes in Honduras be paid the US average wage when a doctor does not get the US average wage? Have you considered the effect on the local economy?
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or lax environmental laws in poor countries,
I agree.

nogodsforme,
All I have read is an emotional and poorly thought out page of rhetoric. Seriously, immigration is a topic that concerns us all.

We want a fair society that is not pushed to extremism. We want numbers that can be successfully socially integrated; all countries need to control borders, all countries want to control the rate of flow and the skills of those entering.

Once this is near the desired level - desired by the population - we will be in a better position to help people. Do not think that there is no other side to the immigration question - there is much developmental aid and other aid provided by your government.

Also realise that there are Americans requiring help - help that costs tax dollars - there is a balance to be struck. Be pragmatic - whilst the economy is not too good, do we want more people seeking employment? do we want wages undercut? Do we want to see those people exploited and given a bad name that will last for generations?
« Last Edit: October 24, 2012, 04:08:45 PM by Graybeard »
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #44 on: October 24, 2012, 05:15:54 PM »
Graybeard, you responded to my post as if the "emotion" is only on the side of those of us who are sympathetic to immigrants (legal and otherwise). As if tearing apart families based on who has the right piece of paper has no emotional basis. As if the anti-immigrant laws in Arizona and Alabama are based on some kind of well-thought out public policy analysis. As if the people in California who decided not to wait on customers who "appeared illegal" after Prop.187 was passed based their actions on a reasoned legal assessment.

No, there is plenty of emotion to go around. And when the economy is bad, the emotions get ugly and people without much power get scapegoated bigtime.

Believe me, I have thought about this a lot, and I do have strong feelings on the subject.  I have had undocumented people living with me. I have gone with them to court and paid for legal assistance. I have tried to get them medical assistance and paid for their care (no, there is no free health care given out to illegals right off the boat, despite what the right wing rhetoric says.)

I have had armed Homeland Security agents come into my home and demand that I hand over the woman who was living with us. (I refused, and was told that they were going to keep an eye on me, because they had a fat dossier on me already!)

I have pored over almost incomprehensible asylum applications to try explaining the rules to frantic people barely fluent in English. I have sat in long hours of court proceedings where people's entire lives were disposed of in a few minutes. They come to me because they can't find anyone else to help them. Hotlines are overloaded. Costly scams targeting immigrants and promising legal status abound. And it is all pretty random. If they come out of hiding, they might get legal status, they might end up in jail, they might be put in limbo for years-- and they are not supposed to work for pay or get any government aid while they wait....how are these people supposed to pay rent or eat?

A Sudanese woman's asylum application came down to how a speech made by Colin Powell was interpreted-- was there really a war going on or not? She had been beaten by soldiers while visibly pregnant and was still denied asylum. I helped her get her legal status, but it took years of her hiding and living in fear. A Pakistani guy's citizenship was put on hold for years, even though he was a legal immigrant, worked two jobs and was married to my friend, a US citizen.[1]

I have sent money regularly to people in third world countries to help them stay home, because people do prefer their own countries! They prefer their own food. They prefer their own music. They prefer their own language. They prefer their own countries! Nobody gives illegal immigrants any kind of a break and they do not love it here more than home.

When I teach about immigration policy, I use case studies and have students take on different roles. Depending on who the student is playing, they want very different things from immigration policy, and often very different things from what they actually think.

Of course, "El Norte" is a fictional movie, a soap opera that is meant to manipulate emotions. But people in the US rarely get any idea at all of the other side, the factors that push people to migrate. Most people in the US think that this country is so wonderful in every way that nobody would ever want to live anywhere else. It's all pull factors.

I have had very anti-immigrant students (who state that all brown people want to come to the US and get on welfare) admit that if they were the brother and sister whose family had just been massacred in Guatemala, they would sneak through that rat-filled sewer pipe from Mexico into the US, too.[2]

Many immigrants do not really know what the US is like and find that it is much harder to survive here than they thought. People have unrealistic ideas based on movies and TV. And sometimes, they find that their lives here are worse than in their home country. They have to put up with urban poverty, no heat, dirty crowded housing and violent crime here, when they came from a sleepy rural town where they had a nice little house, and everyone knew each other. And so they go home. In the past few years of recession, there have been as many Mexican people returning to Mexico as coming here. Because if they can't find work here, they would rather be at home! They do not come here because the US is a paradise and they hate their home countries.

And if you offered free green cards to people in a poor country, some people in the lower middle class would take them. But many in the middle class and upper class, people who already have jobs, homes and decent lives would not. Because if you are a professional, you don't want to start over in a foreign country where you will be disliked, don't speak the language and will have to do menial work for years and may never be able to replicate the success you had in your home country. Your kids will be estranged from you and your family might fall apart-- I've seen it happen to my students. 

We re-train immigrant professionals at my college so they can start practicing medicine or whatever again. Almost all are refugees from former Soviet republics, or Somalia or Iraq, not voluntary economic migrants. And they would rather not have had to leave home. Iraq, even under a dictator, was a stable, secular middle class country where women went to college and got advanced degrees. Now it is a third world country in ruins with Taliban-like factions battling for control. And thousands of refugees.
 1. When he finally got his citizenship, he had a wonderful party and cooked food for about a hundred of us.
 2. And that is before they learn about the US policies that led to the dictatorship in Guatemala killing those peasants in the first place. And that the US refused to classify people fleeing the war in Guatemala as lawful refugees.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Quesi

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #45 on: October 24, 2012, 07:08:50 PM »
For those in true need, there is the Geneva Convention on Refugees – The US is a signatory but I do not know if it is a signatory to the 1967 Amendment. The there is the Human Rights Act (to which, IIRC, the USA does not subscribe) then there is the general legislation covering this area.

You know, Greybeard, I’m pretty sure you pride yourself on being a rational person.  And yet in this area, you are clinging to this blind faith that somehow, the system works.  When presented with evidence that the system does not work, you just restate your original premise.

I’m going to say it one more time.  Here in the US (and probably in other countries as well,) political asylum is granted not on the merit of a case, or the degree to which the person applying for asylum has been tortured, or by the likelihood that the person will be killed upon deportation to his/her country of origin.  Asylum cases are decided on the arbitrary whims of Board of Immigration Appeal judges, who answer to no one.  Maybe you didn’t want to take the time to read the extensive report that I linked earlier, but here is a quick glance at the asylum denial rates for 140,000 cases. http://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/160/include/judge_0005_name-r.html 

Each of these judges ruled on an average of about 700 cases.  Eight of these judges denied more than 90% of the cases they heard, while three of these judges denied less than 20% of the cases they heard.  These decisions are the whims of individual judges.  The system doesn’t work.
You see, you have some notion that there are thousands of people “in true need” who arrive as would-be immigrants.

You’re right.  There are not thousands of people “in true need” fleeing across borders.  There are tens of millions of people in true need.  Many are fleeing across borders.  Many are languishing in refugee camps, sometimes for decades.  Some are just caught somewhere between what used to be home, and someplace they imagine will be better, tending the sick, burying loved ones, and hoping to somehow procure enough food or water to continue on to somewhere.    http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49c3646c125.html

The earlier link provided data on 140,000 asylum applications processed by the BIA in the US alone over a 5 year peroid.  Refugee status is ruled on before entry, so those individuals were not included in that 140k.  Also not included in that list were individuals who did not file their paperwork properly (they are not provided with their own attorneys, so they often make mistakes) or those who were caught at the border and never had the opportunity to apply.  Also not included in that number are people who were excluded.  There is a very short window of opportunity to file for an asylum case, and a lot of people miss that window of opportunity. 

The reality is that the typical illegal immigrant is a fit male often with a poor education looking to be an economic migrant.

I’d love to see your data on that.  Here in the US, 60% of undocumented immigrants are male, and 40% are female.  Nearly 20% of the undocumented population in the US today are young adults who were brought to the country, as minor children.  Here is an interesting article about deferred action for childhood arrivals, which was a recent executive regulation change implemented by Obama.  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/14/us/young-immigrants-poised-for-deportation-deferral-program.html?pagewanted=all

A significant percentage of undocumented in the US are still children, and not eligible for DACA.   Many parents establish themselves here, and then send money home to have their children smuggled in.  Here is a recent NY Times article about a 6 year old, alone, with no parent and no lawyer, facing a judge in deportation proceedings.  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/26/us/more-young-illegal-immigrants-face-deportation.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0  According to the article, this year, 11,000 unaccompanied minors have been put into deportation proceedings in the US. 

You are basing your conclusions on stereotypes, not facts. 

In addition, for someone with such strong opinions on immigration related issues, you seem surprisingly uninformed. 
Secondly, everyone should watch "El Norte", also one of my favorite movies. I have used it in classes.

Quote
From imdb: Mayan Indian peasants, tired of being thought of as nothing more than "brazos fuertes" ("strong arms", i.e., manual laborers) and organizing in an effort to improve their lot in life, are discovered by the Guatemalan army. After the army destroys their village and family, a brother and sister, teenagers who just barely escaped the massacre, decide they must flee to "El Norte" ("the North", i.e., the USA). After receiving clandestine help from friends and humorous advice from a veteran immigrant on strategies for traveling through Mexico, they make their way by truck, bus and other means to Los Angeles, where they try to make a new life as young, uneducated, and illegal immigrants
A rare enough scenario. I hope you provide some balance in your teaching, otherwise you would simply be peddling your prejudices and not giving your students the full picture.


This is not a rare scenario.  The Guatemalan refugee crisis might not have been on your radar during the 1980’s and 1990’s, but the situation faced by the family portrayed in this movie was not “rare.”  200,000 Mayans were massacred, 1.5 million were displaced, 150,000 found refuge in Mexico (where I worked with Guatemalan refugees in the mid 80’s in Mexico City).  Here in the US, many thousands of Guatemalan refugees were deported to their deaths during the 1980’s.  In 1990, the US finally decided to grant temporary protected status to Guatemalans refugees who were residing illegally in the US. 

This may not even be a blip on the radar for you, but for those of us familiar with refugee issues, this was one of the biggest refugee events in the Americas.  Your failure to acknowledge global refugee problem may be related to your lack of familiarity with world events that impact on human migration. 

4)Establish a law whereby nobody is deported as a side effect of reporting a crime, enrolling children in school, seeking medical care, or to perform other actions that benefit the larger society.
Can you explain how having a medical operation benefits society, as opposed to the person undergoing it?
Quote
Unless you would rather have more exploited people afraid to report child trafficking, suffering from untreated infectious disease, kids joining gangs instead of being in school, etc.
Are you being serious? What sort of a strawman is that?

Please keep emotion out of this - emotions rarely helped anyone or solved any problems.

Again, you are showing a lack of familiarity with the basic issues that government faces when dealing with issues related to undocumented residents.

Here in NYC, even throughout the Giuliani years and the Bloomberg years, we have had an executive order in place which protects undocumented immigrants who are in need of city services.  You can read the current executive order here.  http://www.nyc.gov/html/imm/html/eoll/eo41.shtml 

The reason that these republican mayors have issued this executive order, is based on the concerns that nogodsforme raised.  If someone is the victim of a crime, but that person is undocumented reporting the crime means that the victim could be deported, then fewer crimes will be reported and more criminals will get away with crimes, and will eventfully target legal residents and or citizens.  Or maybe they already have.  Think of it this way.  There is a series of rapes going on in a neighborhood, but the police don’t have the necessary evidence to arrest a suspect.  If an undocumented woman was among the victims, and she doesn’t report the crime, the police might lose out on the opportunity to get DNA or even a decent description of the criminal.  In terms of infectious diseases, the same thing.  We had quite a bit of TB going around a few years back.  If undocumented immigrants are afraid to get treatment, they will spread it to others. 

And there is always the question of “should undocumented immigrant children be allowed in public schools.”  Well, fortunately, the answer is yes.  And given that most school funding comes from local property taxes, and renters pay property taxes too, then the parents of those kids are already paying the taxes to support their children’s education.  But if the kids are afraid to go to school, then they will either work, (which many do anyway) or they will, as nogodsforme pointed out, join gangs.  This would be detrimental to the community. 

So NYC policy strongly protects the rights of immigrants, both documented and undocumented.  These executive decisions have been made because many elected officials in heavy immigrant communities share the concerns that nogodsforme expressed.  Of course, there is some self interest there.  Immigrants contribute strongly to the local economy, increase the tax base, and own a disproportionate number of small businesses in the city.  http://voicesofny.org/2012/06/immigrants-own-businesses-in-nyc-at-twice-the-national-rate/

Greybeard, I’ve been avoiding responding to this thread because I’ve felt really frustrated with your unwillingness to even acknowledge that the system is broken, but even moreso by your shocking lack of empathy for human beings in crisis.  Denying the plight of tens of millions of people does not diminish the human suffering for anyone but yourself.

I strongly urge you to go back and watch the excellent Dawkins video that you posted recently on the topic of morality in the absence of religion, and view it through to the end where he addresses the issues of both empathy and the role that “otherness” plays in blocking empathetic responses.     

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #46 on: October 25, 2012, 05:33:02 AM »
Firstly, let me point out that
The title is “Immigration” not “US Immigration”. Nevertheless, the variation figures that you quote are also reflected in Europe to a similar degree. I questioned the head of the UK Immigrants’ Advisory Service at length on these discrepancies. He was unable to give a coherent answer – I therefore did my own research from which these points emerged.

(i)   The immigrant populations in the catchment areas of the courts involved were often quite different: They were not the same people, they didn’t have the same problems or circumstances  – we can therefore say that their appeal claims were not the same.
(ii)   The government recognised there were inconsistencies. The state appealing decisions is an expensive route to take and thus, for financial, legal and policy purposes, they appealed very few of the cases that they could have successfully won.[1]
(iii)   There is, within Europe, and certainly within the UK, a perceived need for immigrants as the age balance of the population favours the elderly rather than the working population.
(iv)   Thus we see that the figures that are high for rejection probably do represent a small number of unjust cases where the appellant could have succeeded, but I remain convinced that the low end of rejections was caused by an over-enthusiastic consideration of the criteria.
(v)   I suggest that you look at the court system as a whole and note that this apparent geographical discrepancy also occurs in criminal courts in guilt/innocence verdicts and severity of sentence. I should imagine that the US, as a nation, suffers more from this than the UK. However, taking Europe as a whole[2], we see that different countries had different interpretations and, more to the point, limitations created by much earlier precedent.


When I look at someone who has been tortured, or when I look at someone who survived a massacre, and I hear that their case is going to be heard in Newark, rather then New York City, my heart sinks.  And if I hear the name of a judge who I actually went out drinking with years ago, I can’t look the victim in the eyes.  Because I know that there are two options.  The victim can be sent home, perhaps to die.  Or the victim will live a clandestine life in this country, forever in fear.
Then it is for you to appeal the decision.

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And unlike you, I know the system.
You assumptions and arrogance explain a lot – I spent 40 years in immigration. At one time or another, I worked on the border, within the country, at a Diplomatic Mission abroad,  in intelligence and in the appellate courts. I was responsible also for some input into the direction of policy[3], analysis of statistics, selection of targets, detection of forgery, operations against people smugglers, contacts within immigrant communities, etc.

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I met a lot of people who took your attitude,
I don’t think you understand “my attitude”, as you put it, it is a cross between carrying out the law and pragmatism.  It contains a realism informed by experience. There were times that my colleagues and I would refuse to progress a case, as the circumstances seemed inhumane; there were other times when we would fight very hard indeed to remove a corrupt person who had cheated and lied.

I think this is one point that you need to accept – not all immigrants tell the truth. It is very simple to say, “I am from Ruritania, the secret police came and they tortured me.”

You try disproving that – in fact, try to find any evidence for it. Obviously, you can’t ‘phone the Ruritanian Secret Police and ask them, “Did you torture this man?”.” And if the torture was alleged to have happened 2 years earlier and was sleep deprivation or beating soft-tissue, how do you know the immigrant is telling the truth?

One experience made this very clear: Mr Mboto claimed that he had taken part in a student demonstration in Kinshasa. That he had been sought out and arrested after the event. He had been tortured and then imprisoned.

Our Embassy in Kinshasa reported that there had been a demonstration; it had consisted of about 700 people.

However, checking our figures, we found that ~2,000 people from Zaire were in the UK claiming asylum in the circumstances of Mr Mboto. Obviously, they weren’t all telling the truth.

Mboto’s case went ahead and he was removed to Zaire. However, unbeknown to us, his lawyers had obtained an injunction and he had been removed illegally. We immediately sent word to our Embassy that Mr Mboto were to be found, and his expenses paid, and visa and air-ticket given to him for his return.

Our man in Kinshasa went to his address. He spoke to Mboto’s mother and showed her the order. She was amazed. She said that her son had never left Kinshasa and had never been in trouble with the police. Our man showed her a photograph of our “Mr Mboto.” She showed him a photo of her son, the real Mr Mboto – they were distinctly unalike.

Clearly, Mr Mboto the liar was making it appear that everyone from Zaire was a liar, or at least ought to be viewed with suspicion.

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And I know [the system] is broken.  And so does anyone who is familiar with the system, including the people who requested this report.
What proposals for legislation have you put forward to the DHS? It is very easy to say “The table wobbles.” But not so easy to cure the problem.

To cure the problem, you must not be naïve.

 1. Indeed, when cases were chosen for appeal by the state, they were chosen in the certainty of the state winning in a way that would establish a precedent that would further the aims of the policy of the state. I am in no doubt that this is done in all countries
 2. being analogous to the federation system of states
 3. my recommendations were not always accepted…
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Brakeman

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #47 on: October 25, 2012, 06:16:20 AM »
In 1987, I married a Peruvian Woman who had a valid student visa to the US. It took 3 years and about 3 or 4 thousand dollars to follow the paperwork to completion. Each of the dozens of forms required a hefty fee greater than $100. From memory I think most were about 400 dollars. She eventually became a U.S. citizen.  Then we divorced 5 years later and she moved back to Peru, never to use her citizenship. Big waste of my money.

The labyrinth that one has to take in order to become a citizen has been designed to be onerous and attritional. It is a right that U.S. citizens have to bring their spouses home with them that is exceeding difficult to use and if you make the smallest error, you have to start back from the beginning if you're lucky enough not to get hit with the 10 year ban.

The U.S. has a asshole immigration policy. 
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 06:18:14 AM by Brakeman »
Help find the cure for FUNDAMENTIA !

Offline Quesi

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #48 on: October 25, 2012, 06:57:43 AM »
Firstly, let me point out that
The title is “Immigration” not “US Immigration”.

You are right.  I know much more about immigration to the US and to Mexico than I do about immigration to other parts of the world.   I apologize for providing such a US-centered argument.  I know the US system intimately, with all of its flaws. I have only a superficial understanding of systems in Europe or South America or Africa or Asia or the Middle East. 


Nevertheless, the variation figures that you quote are also reflected in Europe to a similar degree. I questioned the head of the UK Immigrants’ Advisory Service at length on these discrepancies. He was unable to give a coherent answer – I therefore did my own research from which these points emerged.


(i)   The immigrant populations in the catchment areas of the courts involved were often quite different: They were not the same people, they didn’t have the same problems or circumstances  – we can therefore say that their appeal claims were not the same.
(ii)   The government recognised there were inconsistencies. The state appealing decisions is an expensive route to take and thus, for financial, legal and policy purposes, they appealed very few of the cases that they could have successfully won.[1]
(iii)   There is, within Europe, and certainly within the UK, a perceived need for immigrants as the age balance of the population favours the elderly rather than the working population.
(iv)   Thus we see that the figures that are high for rejection probably do represent a small number of unjust cases where the appellant could have succeeded, but I remain convinced that the low end of rejections was caused by an over-enthusiastic consideration of the criteria.
(v)   I suggest that you look at the court system as a whole and note that this apparent geographical discrepancy also occurs in criminal courts in guilt/innocence verdicts and severity of sentence. I should imagine that the US, as a nation, suffers more from this than the UK. However, taking Europe as a whole[2], we see that different countries had different interpretations and, more to the point, limitations created by much earlier precedent.
 1. Indeed, when cases were chosen for appeal by the state, they were chosen in the certainty of the state winning in a way that would establish a precedent that would further the aims of the policy of the state. I am in no doubt that this is done in all countries
 2. being analogous to the federation system of states

Yeah.  That was addressed in the first study I linked. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08940.pdf Page 25 addresses control factors. 

Likelihood of Being Granted
Asylum Differed Significantly
across Immigration Courts
Even After the Effects of Other
Factors Were Controlled


On the chart, you will see that Colombians in NYC have a 69% approval rate, whereas those Colombians whose hearing is held a few miles away and on the other side of the river in Newark have a 26% approval rate.  For Peruvians, NYC is 54% and Newark is 17%.  For Indonesians, the NYC is rate is 61% and Newark is 19%. 

That is why I said in my earlier post, that my heart sinks when I hear that someone's hearing has been scheduled in Newark. 

When I look at someone who has been tortured, or when I look at someone who survived a massacre, and I hear that their case is going to be heard in Newark, rather then New York City, my heart sinks.  And if I hear the name of a judge who I actually went out drinking with years ago, I can’t look the victim in the eyes.  Because I know that there are two options.  The victim can be sent home, perhaps to die.  Or the victim will live a clandestine life in this country, forever in fear. 
Then it is for you to appeal the decision. [/quote]

Appeals are usually done on paper.  Just a re-submission of the documents.  Applicants often don't have funds to pay an attorney, and none is provided for them.  Pro-bono attorneys rarely take on appeals.  In the post 9/11 world, only about 11% of appeals are granted.  http://legalworkshop.org/2009/05/05/refugee-roulette-the-us-asylum-system-pervaded-by-chance-demands-reform

Quote
And unlike you, I know the system.
You assumptions and arrogance explain a lot – I spent 40 years in immigration. At one time or another, I worked on the border, within the country, at a Diplomatic Mission abroad,  in intelligence and in the appellate courts. I was responsible also for some input into the direction of policy[3], analysis of statistics, selection of targets, detection of forgery, operations against people smugglers, contacts within immigrant communities, etc. 
 3. my recommendations were not always accepted…

I apologize for misunderstanding your credentials.  But honestly, I've never met anyone familiar with the field who proclaims that the "system works as intended."   

At some point, I'm going to try to take the time to write about the impact that first world policies and corporate practices have on migration patterns. 

I'd also really like to take the time to talk about economic migration as well.

Edited for early morning formatting mess. 
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 07:00:07 AM by Quesi »

Offline Quesi

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #49 on: October 25, 2012, 07:18:29 AM »
In 1987, I married a Peruvian Woman who had a valid student visa to the US. It took 3 years and about 3 or 4 thousand dollars to follow the paperwork to completion. Each of the dozens of forms required a hefty fee greater than $100. From memory I think most were about 400 dollars. She eventually became a U.S. citizen.  Then we divorced 5 years later and she moved back to Peru, never to use her citizenship. Big waste of my money.

The labyrinth that one has to take in order to become a citizen has been designed to be onerous and attritional. It is a right that U.S. citizens have to bring their spouses home with them that is exceeding difficult to use and if you make the smallest error, you have to start back from the beginning if you're lucky enough not to get hit with the 10 year ban.

The U.S. has a asshole immigration policy.

You got in before the prices went up.  At this point, a citizenship application (after the many many expensive steps leading up to the citizenship application, including the adjustment of status, removal of condition, blah blah blah) is now $680 each.  That is a little less than 100 hours of labor at minimum wage.  For a family of 4,it is a significant burden.  And if you don't pass the test, you get to pay more. 

You also applied before the 10 year bar went into effect for folks who were out of status.  That was contained in the 1996 legislation. 

And no.  US citizens do not have the "right" to marry someone and live with them here in the US.  It is not one of our rights.  As I stated earlier, there are a lot of US citizens married to undocumented immigrants, who do not have any legal path that would enable their family to live together in the US legally.   There are a lot of mixed families.  US citizens, undocumented immigrants, green card holders, all living together under the same roof, waiting for the laws to change.     


Offline Graybeard

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #50 on: October 25, 2012, 10:59:10 AM »
Yeah.  That was addressed in the first study I linked. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08940.pdf Page 25 addresses control factors. 

Likelihood of Being Granted Asylum Differed Significantly across Immigration Courts Even After the Effects of Other Factors Were Controlled
You did not quote the important part:
Quote
Although we were able to control some factors related to the merits of asylum cases (such as nationality and whether the applicant appeared for the asylum hearing), we did not statistically control for the underlying facts and merits of the cases being decided because data were not available. This is because asylum decisions require a determination of applicant credibility, often
without corroborating evidence, and immigration judges generally do not, and are not required to, document each factor (such as applicants’ demeanor while testifying) that went into their overall assessment of credibility. It would be difficult and burdensome for them to do so.

Therefore, we were not in a position determine the extent to which such factors accounted for the pronounced differences that we found in the likelihood of applicants being granted asylum across immigration courts and judges.
Fair enough – but the paper does go on to comment on certain variables, of which Nationality is but one. I think it reasonable to consider the country when viewing asylum applications  - in my career, I had 2 American asylum applications – neither succeeded; a 100% failure rate. However, I do recall one case of an American who did not apply for asylum, but would, probably, have succeeded - he found another solution.

Does a department of government have oversight of the appeals system? Is there any requirement to keep to precedent? Can NYC cases be quoted in support of Newark cases? What is the standard of lawyers in the two jurisdictions? In the case of the Colombians, were the Columbian smuggled in by different gangs? Do they both come from the same area of Colombia? Is one part of Colombia deemed safe, whilst another isn’t?

Quote
Appeals are usually done on paper.  Just a re-submission of the documents.  Applicants often don't have funds to pay an attorney, and none is provided for them.  Pro-bono attorneys rarely take on appeals.
As in much of life, you get what you pay for – this system is then perhaps the fault to an otherwise satisfactory law?
Quote
I've never met anyone familiar with the field who proclaims that " the system works as intended."
I did not say that I agreed with it. I did not say that “it works”. You have not defined “work” but I suspect that it means that you win all your cases, and you become the final arbiter.

I have tried to keep my personal feelings and emotion out of this, I said that " the system works as intended."

It is the intent of the politician that you should address – your and my intent are neither here nor there.

I would be interested to hear some of your proposals for altering the law relating to immigrants – any aspect at all. I have a feeling that there are a few practical routes as yet left untried.
 
Quote
I'd also really like to take the time to talk about economic migration as well.
Good.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 11:00:46 AM by Graybeard »
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #51 on: October 25, 2012, 11:18:48 AM »
And no.  US citizens do not have the "right" to marry someone and live with them here in the US.
I cannot let this go without comment:

I suspect that all adults (at least male/female pairings) have a right to marry. The purpose of marriage is to form a bond between the couple. It is not for immigration or economic advantage.

I heard many times, "I want him to be with me!"
My reply was, "Then why are you not accompanying him back to Ruritania?"
The reply was, "Ruritania is horrible, and smelly, who'd want to live there?"
I would say, "Precisely... but you knew that when you married him."

Love rarely conquers all and economic benefit wins out.

And there was a trade between fathers with sons in Ruritania and fathers with daughters in the UK - marriages would be arranged for whichever 'groom' could pay most regardless of the qualities of the groom. This made fathers with daughters into massively wealthy absentee landlords in Ruritania and placed them in an excellent position to work with corrupt local officials. (I have a rather disturbing story of a brave Sikh girl who was one amongst many who fell prey to this inhumane trap.)

There is also a thriving trade in prostitutes from the EU who, for £500 will marry a man so that he can stay here. (Rules for EU families differ)

Strangely, men rarely imported brides as, for the most part, they considered them backwards and uneducated. Of late, western women of immigrant stock are rebelling against this system as they do not want peasant grooms.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Kimberly

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #52 on: October 25, 2012, 11:25:28 AM »
And no.  US citizens do not have the "right" to marry someone and live with them here in the US.  It is not one of our rights. 

I really don't understand this one. You know I probably would have been the unfortunate one to marry a non citizen thinking I could legally bring them home with me. The thought would have never crossed my mind that it would be so hard to do something that seems to simple.

Re the fees; how are people supposed to come up with that kind of money? I live and work in the US legally and I don't have that kinda money laying around. Does it really cost us that much to review someone's case? So essentially they are paying money to have their case reviewed and not even guaranteed the right to stay? That's money down the drain if you are denied. That doesn't seem entirely fair to me.

It seems like that would be like asking poor citizens for $680 to apply for food stamps. I know it's not entirely the same but the principal applies. I just can't seem to wrap my head around that one. Is this some sort of way for the US recoup it's cost on allowing people to become citizens? What is the rational behind this? Just to make it as hard as possible for someone and hope they give up?
Thank you for considering my point of view; however wrong it may be to you.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #53 on: October 25, 2012, 11:27:48 AM »
I really don't understand this one. You know I probably would have been the unfortunate one to marry a non citizen thinking I could legally bring them home with me.
Quesi will correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Quesi is considering an illegal entrant marrying in the US in order to stay there.

There is a visa category for overseas husbands of US residents, although the waiting list seems long for some nationalities.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Kimberly

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #54 on: October 25, 2012, 11:49:03 AM »
So you are supposed to ask the US for citizenship before you marry a US citizen and enter the country?
Thank you for considering my point of view; however wrong it may be to you.

Offline Brakeman

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #55 on: October 25, 2012, 12:01:51 PM »
US citizens have the RIGHT to do anything that is not specifically regulated against.
I had the right to marry a Peruvian. I had the right to petition for her acceptance into the country.

A US citizen has the "privilege" to do something when there is normally no right but an exception is granted. Driving my car on land that I do not own, is a privilege.

Help find the cure for FUNDAMENTIA !

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #56 on: October 25, 2012, 01:05:19 PM »
So you are supposed to ask the US for citizenship before you marry a US citizen and enter the country?
Again, Quesi may be the one to answer this better but, as I understand it, you do not require citizenship, only permanent residence in the US, before you and your foreign spouse apply for a visa for the spouse (usually at an Embassy in his country of normal residence) to enter the US.

There will be terms and conditions attached to the grant of the required visa[1], and it may be useful before applying to look at these or visit an advisory body.
 1. in the UK, you must be able and willing to support and accommodate a spouse without recourse to public funds (basically, you must have a job that pays enough)and there may be a period in which the spouse is not a permanent residence but "on licence" as it were
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Quesi

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Re: Immigration Policy
« Reply #57 on: October 25, 2012, 04:37:52 PM »
So you are supposed to ask the US for citizenship before you marry a US citizen and enter the country?
Again, Quesi may be the one to answer this better but, as I understand it, you do not require citizenship, only permanent residence in the US, before you and your foreign spouse apply for a visa for the spouse (usually at an Embassy in his country of normal residence) to enter the US.

There will be terms and conditions attached to the grant of the required visa[1], and it may be useful before applying to look at these or visit an advisory body.
 1. in the UK, you must be able and willing to support and accommodate a spouse without recourse to public funds (basically, you must have a job that pays enough)and there may be a period in which the spouse is not a permanent residence but "on licence" as it were

Yeah.  It is a little more complicated than that.  If you want to marry someone who resides in another country and you are a US citizen, you can apply for a fiance visa, and then your fiance can enter the country with that visa.  After you get married, you can apply for your spouse to become a conditional resident. 

A year or two later, the legitimacy of your marriage will be evaluated.   If you own property together or have had children together, you get a free pass.  Otherwise, you have interviews and present paperwork such as jointly filed taxes, joint insurance policies, present pictures of holidays and family vacations, and answer questions about toothbrushes and inlaws and whatnot.   Then you can have the condition removed, and you can become a permanent resident, also known as a "green card" holder. 

Five years after you become a permanent resident through marriage, you can apply for citizenship. 

In my experience, it is very rare to have denials of removal of condition based on the legitimacy of a marriage, even though the interviews themselves are stressful, intrusive, and often demeaning.  A friend of mine, who married an Arab man, had their interview shortly after 9/11.  They are a very sweet and loving couple, who now have two gorgeous kids.  But at the time of the interview, before her first pregnancy, my friend was threatened by the immigration officer, and told she would be imprisoned if they found out that her marriage was not legitimate.   

There is a network of gay men and lesbians who marry gay and lesbian immigrants who are unable to marry the people who they are in a relationship with, and I've never even heard of those marriages being questioned.  There are, of course, blatantly fraudulent marriages that don't make it past the interview.   If, for example, you paid your "spouse" $5000 and s/he doesn't bother to show up for the interview, your case will certainly be denied. 

If you become divorced or separated before the condition is removed, even if you have a kid together, it is complicated.  There are laws in place to protect victims of domestic violence, whose spouse uses immigration status as a control, and refuses to file the paperwork to have the condition removed, leaving the victim in limbo.  These laws are good in theory, and I've seen them work for some people.  But these cases are hard to win.  Honestly, it is shocking how many immigrant women marry a US citizen man (or man with a green card) and then find themselves in a position of abuse in which legal status is used as a weapon. 

But if you marry someone who is in the US illegally, either because they entered without inspection or because their visa expired more than 12 months ago, that person is still subject to the 10 year bar.  That means they need to leave the US and live in their country for 10 years before you start the process of petitioning for them. 

Edited to add that in the US also, the petitioner has to prove adequate income to support the person s/he is petitioning. 
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 04:43:10 PM by Quesi »