Morning Ed: Immigration {2017.03.15.W}

This sounds right to me: Public opinion can’t be allowed to dictate immigration policy, but should take a significant role in shaping it.

Greece reminds me a bit of Louisiana.

This is useful context, but not quite the argument people think it is. I have difficulty imagining anybody moved by “Wait, so it’s a civil infraction rather than a criminal one? I guess it’s okay then.”

South Africans are getting antsy about migrants and has their eye on white landowners.

According to Jane the Actuary, the historical immigrant to the United States wasn’t rich, but wasn’t necessarily as poor as advertised.

This makes some sense: As illegal immigration abates, immigrants as a group are becoming more educated.

Kyle Smith doesn’t expect Canada’s open arms to last.

Mexico is opening “Migrant Defense Centers” at their consulates.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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80 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Immigration {2017.03.15.W}

  1. 1. The first and last links go to the Migrant Defense centers argument. Immigration policy is very tricky because it relates to many different things from the ability of a country to define itself (national self-determination), commerce, and human rights. On LGM Saul noted that freedom of movement is something that liberals and libertarians were never able to convince the bulk of the people on because it seems to benefit elites more than the ordinary denizen of the first world and because people want to be able to form their national community.

    2. Greece has better whether and climate though. A nice dry Mediterranean climate with a healthy cuisine guaranteeing long life.

    3. Trying to explain that being in the United States illegally is a civil infraction rather than a criminal offense to people is really frustrating. The anti-immigration faction is especially upset at this. What they don’t realize that if being in the United States illegally was a criminal offense is that it would be even harder to deport people because the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Amendments would apply to attempts to undocumented aliens. Removing an alien from the United States would be just as complicated as an ordinary federal criminal trial. There would need to be a grand jury indictment, right to counsel for the aliens, a jury trial, and the burden would be on the government to prove that the alien has no right to be in the United States beyond a reasonable doubt. The entire immigration enforcement system would be a mess if being hear illegally was criminal rather than civil in nature.

    4. The BBC had a similar story on South Africans rioting against migrants from Mozambique and Zimbabwe several years ago.

    5. Moving to a different country requires a fair bit of capital because you need to pay for passage and early housing before you got your first job, since in the Ellis Island era federal immigration law prevented people from lining up jobs before they came to the United States. This led to a rather infamous Supreme Court case where an Episcopal Church in New York City hired a Church of England priest and that priest faced deportation because of the law. The Supreme Court made an artificial distinction between getting a job that required brain work instead of muscle work to get around that problem.

    6. From personal experiences, more educated immigrants do not necessarily do well giving testimony in front of officials and immigration judges either.

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      • Making it a criminal offense would be worse for the immigrants to. There is a lot of randomness in the system but this allows for some or a lot of bend for people whose asylum cases are kind of marginal in the right situations. I’ve had clients who definitely benefited from the current system. Every immigration lawyer has.

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        • … worse than slavery? Worse than suffering burns?

          A friend of mine was telling me that immigration lawyers are some of the worst stone cold bastards of the profession.

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  2. Mexican Legal Air: “Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray exhorted the U.S. government to respect the rights of Mexicans and called for the United States to allow a path to legality for undocumented migrants.” “”We are not promoting illegality,” Videgaray said, according to a video of an event at the Mexican consulate in New York provided by the foreign ministry, saying that Mexico supported following the law, but that means respecting human rights.”

    Gee, I wasn’t aware that it was a human right to enter a country illegally. You’re damn right he’s promoting illegality.

    South Africa: I was wonder when/if the “Zimbabwe Model” was going to migrate to SA. Sure, kick all the whites off the land and starve. I was driving around SA with a Boer guide a few years back and he was complaining about the road construction crews being essentially lazy and not doing any work. Kinda a “black subsidy”. I wanted to tell him that he was lucky that the black SA didn’t just “genocide” up the whites when they took power, but I thought it might be a bit inappropriate. :)

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    • It’s only a human right to enter the US illegally. The Mexicans are hard on illegals from south of their border but play a different tune when it comes to folks coming here.

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  3. 5. Part of the misinformation on the character of immigrants during the colonial period was a bit of misleading discourse as the British became concerned in the 1760s about whether they were being drained of people and their strength. Those with a financial interest in migration would characterize emigrants as the unfortunate poor, whose opportunity for reform should not be impeded. Not entirely true, since the immigrant has to pay for passage, as well as food and shelter upon arrival, and these were not run as charities, but as profitmaking ventures.

    A detailed census of emigrants taken from 1773 to 1776 was never analyzed by British policymakers as the revolution interfered, but the numbers reflected that neither rich, nor poor, were leaving but mainly the middling sort. Even those paying for passage and initial settlement by contracts of indenture tended to be semi-skilled workers.

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    • British kinda sorta anti-immigration stance in the immediate pre-American revolution came from the British Empire’s strategic position post-7 years war – trying to win the peace after it had won the war. It’s main focus was trying to maintain a peace and a defensible perimeter between Atlantic colonies and the Native American nations on the other side of the Appalachians – which a bunch of white people descending into the Ohio made well near impossible, as well as trying to get the Quebecois to remain pacified (which a bunch of Protestants of any language, even French, flooding into Lower Canada also made more difficult)

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  4. Hypothesis about Maddow last night:

    She didn’t know what the AMT was going into the segment. As such, she thought she had a *HUGE* scoop but, during the commercial break, she learned that she didn’t.

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    • Hard to believe… Maddow’s taxes will always be subject to AMT. Heck, *my* taxes are almost always impacted by AMT; its not just for rich people anymore. But rich people like Maddow would surely know a basic feature of our tax code, no?

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      • Then I have no idea why she ran with the story that she ran.

        Here’s Van Jones on Anderson Cooper last night.

        I expected the tax returns to be somehow damaging to Trump (hell, that’s why he refused to release them at all, right?) but, as it turns out, this story is now something that Trump (and his ilk!) are using to demonstrate that the media is biased about him.

        Here’s what Vincent Baby tweeted:

        How it will play in Peoria: Trump paid yuge $38m dollars in taxes in a single year. Media said for months he didn’t pay taxes. Media lied.

        Call me prejudiced but I went into Maddow Twitter last night expecting a bad night for Donald Trump. As it turns out, I got a win on Trump’s part. I can’t even imagine why MSNBC/Maddow would set such a thing up if they knew about the AMT walking into the segment.

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        • I hear you… when I saw the pay-off it made me wonder why she took it to press at all – for all the reasons you cite. Makes me think that the triumph of getting Trump’s taxes overshadowed what those taxes showed… which would make her a prime target for selective leaking by Trump.

          Think about it this way, if Hannity had gone on the air and said he had Trump’s 2005 returns which showed he paid $38M or 25% in taxes, the first question would have been yeah, but what about …

          Maddow does it and, well, that was stupid of her to do it… I thought she was supposed to be sharp.

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        • I always assumed his personal income tax return would tell us almost nothing, and would be followed by demands for tax returns for all of the LLCs, LLPs, etc. where the real information might be, or the LLCs, LLPs, etc behind those.

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        • I expected the tax returns to be somehow damaging to Trump (hell, that’s why he refused to release them at all, right?)

          Romney got ripped up and down for releasing his tax returns because he (as a silly rich guy) did things normal people can’t.

          Trump releasing his taxes would have been much more damaging than him keeping them hidden, even if he’d done nothing illegal or unethical.

          Basically as long as the media is going to act as an arm of the Democratic party, we’re not going to see any tax returns from ultra rich members of the GOP.

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        • Of course she does.

          Behind the scenes yesterday on the phone with her accountant: “Sonovabitch, so your’re telling me that all my deductions were clawed back, even my outrageous MA State Taxes? And that all those tax credits and loopholes that the proles get are just window dressing for normies? Shit, I gotta take some time and think about this.”

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    • The AMT story is actually a good one because Trump wants to eliminate the AMT but it did not deserve the full tease/foreplay/clickbait treatment that it got.

      The speculation I saw was that they only got the story a few hours before the tweeting began and I am somewhat sympathetic to needing to jump but the whole treatment was rather fall on your face flat.

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      • To the extent that part of the narrative to this point was that Trump didn’t pay taxes at all, the real story being that “Trump wanted to get rid of the AMT which is why he paid as much in taxes as he did” seems less likely to sway undecideds.

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        • I disagree. Maddow and MSNBC overhyped the story and distracted from the CBO report and Russian stuff.

          But how many people really think that someone should pay 3 or 4 million in taxes on 150 million dollars in income besides dedicated libertarians? That’s an effective tax rate of around 3 percent if Trump paid the low amount. People might see the 25 percent tax rate as more fair but it is still a far lower effective tax rate than many Americans pay.

          There is a story here but it can’t be plaid as clickbait de jour.

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          • My argument isn’t that there are so very many people who really think that someone should pay 3 or 4 million in taxes on 150 million in income.

            My argument is that the people who see “Trump wants to only pay 3 or 4 million in taxes on 150 million in income” as a really good story are not undecideds.

            “Trump cheated on his taxes and we’ve got the proof!” is a story that could sway undecideds. “Trump thinks he pays too damn much in taxes” is a story that strikes me as more likely to get undecideds to say “you and me both, pal”.

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            • It becomes an issue for the type of people who like ad hominem argument. Whether or not AMT repeal is a good idea or not, it shouldn’t matter whether Trump or Pelosi would benefit.

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            • Is he arguing for full repeal or for it to be indexed better?

              In theory its supposed to hit Trump (and Maddow); the political issue is that it is now hitting dentists, middle management, and two income professionals. I can’t tell from run of the mill reporting whether its get rid of it for everyone or get rid of the distortions.

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              • The gist of what I’ve heard is lower tax rates and elimination of most deductions. I thought the creep of the AMT was in blue states with high state taxes, and if those are no longer deductible, then the AMT becomes largely superfluous.

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                • Yes, well certainly if we eliminate most deductions including the State tax then a lot of the bite of the AMT won’t be the AMT, we’ll just call it taxes. Depends then on what the “lower rate” would mean.

                  But then we’re talking major tax overhaul and not some sort of Trumpian self-serving AMT thingy.

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  5. I doubt those boats to America were free so I’d assume that immigrants from Europe or Asia needed a certain amount of wealth.

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  6. A bit more broadly the meme of a US welcoming the tired and poor is more of a historical myth than historical truth. About the time the poem was written the US had the Chinese Exclusion act that forbade any Chinese to immigrate (lasted until 1943). Then in 1924 the immigration act, effectively declared that southern Europeans were worth less than northern Europeans (following the line of the kkk at the time). It also effectively banned both Chinese and Japanese from immigrating;https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_Act_of_1924, it had subtitles of the National Origins Act (it provided quotas per country based on a percentage of the population from the country based on the 1890 census. And the Asian Exclusion Act which meant that no folks from Asia were to be admitted. (The act would make Steve King proud) The law lasted about 40 years being replaced in 1965 which kicked off the current big immigration wave.
    Then to go back a bit further you have the Know Nothing period and no Irish need apply periods. In addition until the 1840s public schools taught the bible using the King James Version, which made Catholics unhappy.
    Assimilation has always been a generations long process in the US in particular where folks lived in rural areas.
    Prohibition at least in some part was a reaction by “proper americans” against the beer drinking germans in the hysteria of 1917 and its anti german times.

    So although most of the Chinese exclusion did not happen under the direct view of the Statue of Liberty because the exclusion happened in San Francisco, it demonstrates that the Poem was more a national myth.
    National based exclusion based upon religion was also a factor of the 1924 act to keep the Catholics (which most southern Europeans were) out.

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      • Hrm. I’ve just gotten a little more info that makes a couple of interesting points:

        1. How trustworthy do you think exit polling is with regards to Geert?
        2. If the exit polling *IS* trustworthy, he’s still doing better than he was last election

        The first one more interesting than the second one, of course.

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        • Yeah… no idea. Seems like they definitely picked up seats; doesn’t look like there’s a scenario where they end up driving the bus, though. Plenty of partners for VVD.

          Though makes me wonder what Labor did to fall off the cliff like that.

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          • , from what I’ve read, exit polling is much better in the Netherlands than say, the US for fairly obvious reasons – (ie. smaller country, more honest with pollsters). In fact, there’s actual a reverse shy Tory effect in recent elections.

            Also, the PVV is doing better than 2012, but worse than 2010. Which is weird, if you believe there’s a pan-Europe rightward swing due to immigration.

            – Allied with the VVD (center-right party) during the recession that led to social welfare cuts. If you look at the actual numbers, the actual Left-leaning parties only lost a few seats. It’s just that the Green Party and Socialist’s took most of the old Labour voters.

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              • Is that chart based on a left/right axis? Seems so, but I may as well be handicapping greyhounds for all I know.

                {Do people still go to greyhound races? Should I have used something more current, like Jai alai}

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                • Yeah, basically from left to right it’s

                  SP – Actual Socialist’s
                  PvdD – Pro-animal rights party
                  GL – Green Party
                  PvDA – Labor – standard issue former social democrats who went neoliberal-ish and got blasted for forming a Grand Alliance with the center-right party.
                  DENK – Weird Turkish-focused party that’s kind of shady
                  D66 – Bloombergism (center right economics, center left socially) as a party
                  VVD – Standard issue center-right European party
                  50+ – What if the AARP was a party. Cares about nothing more than avoiding pension cuts and other age related issues.
                  CDA – Slightly more to the right than VVD on social issues, slightly more liberal than VVD on economics but center-right
                  CU – Actually progressive on economic, immigration, etc. and conservative on social issues (ie. abortion, same sex marriage)
                  SGP – Right-Wing Christian’s
                  PVV – You know who these guys are

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                    • The weird thing is staring at the chart you linked which shows a rightward tilt at the same time the “moderate” right party shrank.

                      There’s a little left/right jujitsu that doesn’t quite work; unless 5% from the left went to VVD and everyone else shifted one party to the right.

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                        • Basically, from what I’ve seen, if you’re a left-leaning person who doesn’t see a problem with Muslims, you went with the Greens. If you’re an upper middle class left-leaning type, you went with the D66. If you’re a disaffected “WWC” type to use an American bit of typology, you went w/ the PVV.

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                          • PVV only went up two and a half points, though.

                            Looking at the black and blue portion of the chart, it looks like that side went up by a whole nine points… and PVV was only responsible for a fraction of that.

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                  • I’d love to see what kind of crazy ass graphic CNN would use to depict all those parties. They just couldn’t do it simply and clearly. They would make some sort of Jackson Pollack painting out of it.

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                      • “But first tweets from all around the abstract expressionist community”

                        “And we have via Skype a prommeint colorfield artist to give electoral counter point on the geo political ramifications of these results.”

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                      • [after the second break]

                        “Er, we apologize for the previous segment, it appears we had the graphic upside down and Geert Wilders is indeed the new Premier, because, well, Jackson Pollack.”

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                        • ” This just in severals scholars suggest authorial intent is irrelevant. How the populace sees the piece decides what it means. Some even suggest some sort of organized poll to determine what the people feel this picture actually means.”

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                          • “Look, we can disagree about this but really, you’re talking about alternative Pollack-facts here. You have your Pollack-facts and I have mine. Drips are texts.”

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                            • Its not that the painting was wrong, the results are much to be expected within the Pollack margin of error. They are after all just splashes and splotches; if you knew anything about art, you’d understand.

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  7. I clicked the Kyle Smith link to see if the New York Post had anything intelligent to say about Canadian immigration policy. I was disappointed but not surprised that there was nothing but argument via plattitude.

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  8. What Trump could do is similar to the 1924 immigration act, for the countries in question, say the number admitted is limited to 2% of the number of folks from the countries in question in 1970. And include refugees in the number admitted.

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    • Until Trump starts ignoring the courts that are ruling ultra vires, he can’t do much of anything. The Constitution doesn’t give the courts the power to set immigration policy. It gave that to Congress, which in turn granted the President the right to temporarily stop immigration for national security purposes. Since the court didn’t challenge the constitutionality of that law, the President is within his powers to do what he did.

      The courts reasoning was also unsound, relying on Trump’s campaign statements as disqualifying him from restricting immigration from countries that are up to their neck in terrorists. Since Trump can’t go back in time and change his campaign statements, that means the court has said he will never have the power, granted him by Congress, to halt any immigration to protect America from the threat of ISIS and al Qaeda. That means that for four years the United States government will be powerless to protect Americans, and that would call up the conditions set forth in the Declaration of Independence for choosing new guards for our security.

      So Trump should just ignore the court.

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