Mike Kueber's Blog

August 19, 2015

Illegals

Filed under: Law/justice,Media,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 6:26 pm
Tags: , ,

The New York Times Magazine is publishing an article this weekend titled, “The Unwelcome Return of ‘Illegals.’”  The article points out that, despite longstanding efforts by the GOP to soften the way its leaders characterize illegal immigrants, the current crop of GOP presidential candidates are being drawn back to a harsher characterization, “illegals.”

When I googled the term “illegal immigration,” I quickly learned that the roiling argument over the proper way to describe illegal immigrants has never subsided.  Countless essays and articles nitpick between illegal and undocumented, with the term illegal preferred by those who think there is something fundamentally wrong with the individual’s status, while the term undocumented is preferred by those who think there is only a minor, correctible technicality wrong with the person’s status.

An article three years ago on CNN.com suggested a compromise based on a Supreme Court opinion by Justice Kennedy.  He used the relatively neutral term, “unauthorized migrant,” but the term hasn’t caught on, probably because most people are not relatively neutral on this subject.  Rather, they either want the migrants gone yesterday or want them welcomed with open arms.

Although I would be much more generous to illegal immigrants than my political brothers-in-arms (I would amnesty those who have been here at least 7-10 years), I have a major bone to pick with the media on its liberal coverage of this issue.  It is almost impossible to find a media article that doesn’t inaccurately conflate illegal and legal immigration.  Candidates like Trump are described as anti-immigrant when the accurate description would be anti-illegal immigrants.  Some pundits might be anti-legal immigration (e.g., Ann Coulter), but I have yet to hear of a GOP presidential candidate who wants to reduce legal immigration.  Indeed, the vast majority of them want to increase legal immigration.

Of course, if the GOP field is generally anti-illegal immigrant, that would mean the Dems could claim the mantle of pro-illegal immigrants, and I don’t think Hillary and the Dems would decline it.

November 24, 2014

Racist haters

Filed under: Culture,Facebook,Issues,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 8:35 pm
Tags:

Yesterday, a Facebook friend, Rosey, posted the following poster:

  • Dear Immigrant Haters, stop telling the rest of us we should be as uncaring, selfish, and hateful as you.

The poster reminded me of another stupid poster posted on Facebook by one of my in-laws suggesting that only people with vaginas have a right to an opinion on abortion. Although my verbal challenge of the abortion poster led to my family member accusing me of being overbearing and intolerant, I decided to engage with Immigration Hater poster, too.

Not surprisingly the result was the same. Despite my best efforts to keep things civil and dispassionate, I ended up getting called all sorts of names in English and Spanish.  I ended the discussion by complaining that the discussion wasn’t very illuminating, but actually I learned two important things:

  1. Notwithstanding my best efforts to persuade and keep things calm, I apparently have an innate tendency to stir some people toward anger and resentment.
  2. Some Mexican-Americans are personally insulted to the point that they think me racist because I am concerned with illegal immigration and the large number of such immigrants coming to America from Mexico and Central America.

 

Appendix: the lengthy dialogue is as follows:

  • Jhon Juan Adams But the only good ones, according the IMMIGRANT HATERS are WHITE IMMIGRANTS. You think there would have been any problem in Murrieta CA if those buses had been loaded with Swedish Refugees? For whatever reason on earth. ????
  • Mike Kueber Jhon, why do you insist on conflating legal immigrants with illegal immigrants? Do you know that this country is overrun with more illegal immigrants than the entire population of Sweden? Why do you insist on calling people names just because they disagree with your apparent policy of open borders?
  • Rosey Abuabara The concept of closed borders is a relatively new one.., you know, in the history of the world. I mean, if you believe in evolution and not creation.
  • Oscar Garcia We did not cross the border, the border crossed us.
  • Rosey Abuabara and, besides, he, Jhon, is correct, for the white guy that he is. I don’t see stories of the Asians that are undocumented. It’s bigoted and you know it, Mike.
  • Mike Kueber Personally, Oscar, I’m getting sick of that canard, “the border crossed us.” Anyone who was here in 1848 when the border changed, would already be citizens. The current illegal immigrants had ancestors who were ensconced in Mexico when this country was settled by brave, adventuresome Americans. America took over the Southwest because Mexicans declined to settle it. And, Rosey Abuabara, I read an article just today in the NY Times about the significant number of illegal immigrants in CA from Japan, Korea, and the Philippines.
  • Mike Kueber p.s., of the 11.4 million illegal immigrants in America, 6.7 million are from Mexico, 1.8 million are from Central and South America, and 1.2 million are from Asia. http://immigration.procon.org/view.resource.php
  • Rosey Abuabara That would make sense Mike since they are our neighbors. You must consider the proximity to the USA. And… HAHAHA..!!! You still believe that shit about Davy Crockett?? SQUATTERS!! I own land in west Texas.. Just because I chose not to live there does not give another the right to move in and make it theirs. And f-ING yeah!! The BORDER CROSSED US. And, if you don’t know this.. Many Mexicans who owned LOTS OF LAND had it “legally” stolen from them. (Think King Ranch). This is MORE MY LAND. I am NATIVE… At least for thousands of years…
  • Mike Kueber Rosey Abuabara, if you love the Mexican heritage so much, and hate the American heritage so much…. Are you suggesting that some sort of reparations are due? Or maybe open-admission of Mexicans? What about Central Americans – do they have the same claim for preferred status?
  • Rosey Abuabara Mike, don’t presume to know what I’m suggesting. Do I think reparations are due? Hell yeah! Hell, I’d have the King Ranch divided up. And, I AM VERY PROUD OF MY MEXICAN HERITAGE. That’s pretty petty, Mike. And, I never said I “hated” the American “heritage”. It’s so much more complex than that. Perhaps since I have cultural pride is frightening to many. Lol.. You ever spend time in Miami? Little Italy? China town? Really .. Your assessment of my comments are what I have to face everyday. It’s racist, and shows how little you know & understand the situation. Good thing you were an insurance lawyer. And, just a reminder: America is this WHOLE CONTINENT. You’re speaking of ‘Merica. I’d be glad to school you on being a USA citizen, in San Antonio no less, with cultural pride. Kueber? Have you no pride in your culture? lol.. But, you knew Davy Crockett and Bowie were just over sensationalized thieves of Mexican soil. At least I’d hope you know.
  • Rosey Abuabara Don’t make yourself look like the typical Immigrant Hater. I thought you were better than that. The situation is not that easy.. Otherwise this situation would be fixed by now.
  • Mike Kueber Rosey Abuabara, I choose not to go the ad hominem route (racist haters), but I do believe that most of the hateful, intolerant comments come from those on the left. That chip on their shoulders seems to weigh them down. At least I have been able to elicit your actual position – i.e., reclaim Texas for Mexicans.
  • Oscar Garcia We do not have to reclaim Texas, it’s already ours. My ancestors did it by not leaving and becoming US citizens.
  • Mike Kueber Oscar, instead of posting jingoistic slogans, perhaps you could explain what you mean by it. Does America owe Mexico something? Does America owe Mexican-Americans something? Does America owe Mexicans something? If so, what?
  • Oscar Garcia Chingoistic que? See Translation.
  • Oscar Garcia Do I have to go through the whole historical thing about Manifest Destiny?
  • Oscar Garcia The result of the Mexican-American war was a very large seizure of Mexican land by the United States. Later, more sections of Mexico were taken, creating the present-day continental United States. Mexicans previously living in Mexican territory were now living in America after the seizures and purchases. This is where the phrase comes from, hence the phrase: “We did not cross the border, the Border crossed us” Educate wuey, no nomas digas pendejadas como “jingoistic slogans”.
  • Rosey Abuabara Oscar.. Mike has a very dry sense of humor. I’m not offended by his banter. I’m pretty sure he’s just making interesting conversation. Which is good. We need discourse!
  • Rosey Abuabara lol.. Love the use of “wuey”! Haha.. Esé!
  • Oscar Garcia What he does not understand is that we are not Illegal in a land that was our ancestors before the Europeans came and took it as theirs. We’re indigenous to this land.
  • Rosey Abuabara I think he understands. I don’t want to speak for him.. But, yeah.. I see that “the gringos” would rather we just assimilate rather than bring our tamales out. It’s hot dogs and apple pie for everyone. Yes. This is my native land. I’ve been here. We’ve been here. Our ancestors lived in harmony with the land. It’s time for them to start assimilate to harmonious land living. Que no?
  • Oscar Garcia In a way they have Rosey Abuabara. There are many who do want tamales, and want to learn about our culture. I have hosted many Fiestas for 16 de Septiembre and Cinco de Mayo where we have had Azteca dancers and have heard how Mexico got its Independence. How a Mexican American lead a handful of Mexicans and repelled the invading French from Puebla. How Cortez burned Cuathemoc’s feet and how his invading Spanish army killed the Aztecs.
  • Rosey Abuabara Yeah, I agree.. They love our food, our music, our parties! We really know how to party! Puro party! I’m glad for the interest in our culture. I just think too many complain, and they don’t know about the politics of $$$$$ and how to be good neighbors. We send more money elsewhere rather than make sure our neighbors are doing good.
  • Mike Kueber Oscar, you apparently lost track of my earlier comment asking you what the Mexican cession of 1848 had to do with the current illegal immigrants. And Rosey Abuabara, I have no issue with the extent you want to assimilate or not. My Norwegian friends and family in North Dakota like to retain their ancestral culture, too. Just as the German-Americans do in Castroville, New Braunfels, and Fredericksburg. This would be much simpler if you didn’t insist on conflating illegal immigration with legal immigration, but that is not possible when you argue for open borders and reparations.
  • Rosey Abuabara the freaking issue that you don’t seem to understand is that WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN THIS USED TO BE MEXICO.
  • Rosey Abuabara AND WE WERE HERE FIRST. I don’t fucking understand how you don’t get that. It seems that you are too far away from your homeland that you can’t even understand the concept. We call it ‘Merica for a reason. Simple minded people who think they know something, but really don’t. And, are not even aware they don’t get a deeper concept, that they insist on being right. And, you have no idea what people go through in poverty. REAL poverty. I’ve known lots of people who have come here illegally.., with great fear and sadness, and much sadness. They do it so that a family at home can survive. Yes. SURVIVE. And, but for the grace of God, there go I. and that is the gods honest truth.
  • Oscar Garcia you use words million dollar words like that is going to make us be at awe of your domination of the English language. I really do not give a crap about the words you use as intimidation because those tactics do not work. I may be a Mexican American but I can understand what you are trying to do. You are the one that is lost, we have been here for thousands of years.
  • Mike Kueber Oscar, what do you want?
  • Oscar Garcia It is not what I want, it is what you need to understand. We are not Illegal in our own homeland.
  • Mike Kueber Who is we?

Oscar Garcia You are lost if you do not understand.

Mike Kueber Can’t answer, can you! Are you saying that anyone with Indian blood from Central America or South America has a right to come into the United States?

Oscar Garcia People see you, they say he is American. People see me they say he is illegal.

Oscar Garcia That is what you do not understand. This whole continent belonged to the indigenous people of the Americas. That includes the United States and Canada. Educate Wuey.

Mike Kueber Yes, there is a profiling issue because there are so many people from Mexico here illegally. Just like there is a profiling problem with young, male African-Americans because so many of them are involved in crime. [Or Middle East men because so many of the terrorists are from the Middle East.]

Mike Kueber So all the descendants of indigenous people have the right to come to America?

Oscar Garcia See? You are lost.

Oscar Garcia Estas bien perdido carnal.See Translation

Mike Kueber Slogans and Spanish; is that all you’ve got?

Rosey Abuabara Mike you just don’t have have the capacity

Oscar Garcia What I got is contempt for the likes of people like you who think they are the owners of this land and can dictate to everyone.

Rosey Abuabara I’m with Oscar. And to think I was defending you to him.

Rosey Abuabara I get called a “dirty Mexican”

Oscar Garcia He is a profiler who thinks that we do not belong here, and that all African American males are involved in crime. I am glad that he is not my friend.

Rosey Abuabara Ugh.. I know. I’m reconsidering.

Rosey Abuabara At least he was straight up about his feelings about us. Why does this piss the gringos off so much??

Rosey Abuabara Esta mas perdido…

Oscar Garcia Because they think that we should not be here, and that this land belongs to them.

Rosey Abuabara Pendejos.See Translation

Mike Kueber I am stating facts. You act like I am arguing for bigotry and prejudice. All I am doing is arguing for controlled borders. You want open borders. Simple disagreement.

Rosey Abuabara Mike, if you want to “discuss”.. Then discuss. But you got ugly real quick.

Oscar Garcia No, there is no simple disagreement. You showed your true colors, and how you really feel.

Rosey Abuabara We are stating facts too.

Mike Kueber And, yes, Texas and America govern this land, not Mexico. Of course, Rosey and whoever can own whatever land they want to buy.

Rosey Abuabara Chingao.. And, really, why did you have to be ugly to Oscar?

Rosey Abuabara Do really think we don’t understand that concept?

Rosey Abuabara I’m done. I have students in surgery tomorrow early.

Mike Kueber Understand the concept of being ugly? If you check this thread, you will see that I have been respectful to you and Oscar. By contrast, you and Oscar had gone ad hominem.

Oscar Garcia Why do you think he uses words that he thinks we will not understand? He tries to intimidate with million dollar words

Oscar Garcia To him I am just another dumb Mexican who can hardly understand the English language.

Oscar Garcia And by the way Mike ad hominem is a Latin expression; ad hominem usually involves attacking the traits of an opponent as a means to invalidate their arguments.

Oscar Garcia I am done with this vato. He is not worthy of discussion.

Mike Kueber I didn’t learn much, either, Oscar.

Oscar Garcia You never did,

 

November 21, 2014

President Obama unilaterally addresses America’s immigration mess

Last night, President Obama spoke to the American people about an Executive Action that he was taking to deal with America’s immigration mess. Conservatives are apoplectic because the president is taking actions that the American Congress has refused to take – i.e., he is legalizing (a) almost four million illegal immigrants who are parents of American citizens and (b) several hundred thousand more who came here as children.

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a legal memorandum – “The Department of Homeland Security’s Authority to Prioritize Removal of Certain Aliens Unlawfully Present in the United States and to Defer Removal of Others” – explaining why the president’s action is not an illegal abrogation of congressional powers.  Essentially, it says that temporarily deferring action for some illegal immigrants is a reasonable use of executive discretion. Interestingly, the memo makes a distinction between deferring action against the illegal-immigrant parents of children born in America (sometimes called anchor babies) and the parents of DREAMERS (illegal-immigrant children who were previously granted deferred action under DACA by President Obama):

  • The decision to grant deferred action to DACA parents thus seems to depend critically on the earlier decision to make deferred action available to their children. But we are aware of no precedent for using deferred action in this way, to respond to humanitarian needs rooted in earlier exercises of deferred action.”  [Wouldn’t it be ironic if DREAMERS, who were granted deferred action because, as minors, they weren’t personally culpable for their illegal entry, could serve as an anchor for their parents, who were in fact culpable for their illegal entry?] 

My initial inclination is to join the partisan outrage against this unilateral action by our newest Imperial President, but I must admit that ever since I ran for Congress in 2010, I have supported immigration reform that would include legalization of illegal immigrants who have lived in America for 5-10 years. Although these people initially came to America illegally, legalization is fair because our country has allowed them to establish roots. President Obama’s action did not go as far I would if I were emperor for a day.

But neither is President Obama emperor. He may be empowered as the chief executive to prioritize his efforts against illegal immigration, but in my opinion he isn’t empowered to legalize (work permits, etc.) illegal immigrants.

Ed Gillespie, who almost pulled off the senatorial upset of 2014, issued an op-ed piece today in the NY Times suggesting that the new GOP Congress needs to not just repeal ObamaCare, but also needs to pass an ObamaCare alternative.  I suggest they should do the same with respect to immigration. And if President Obama vetoes it, the 2016 election can be a referendum.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see more policy arguments and less obstruction and dysfunction?

March 21, 2013

More on the one-person, one-vote principle

I recently blogged about the one-person, one-vote principle as applied to redistricting in San Antonio.  In the post, I pointed out that there are two different legal standards for creating equally populated districts (approximately equal vs. as equal as practicable) and that the City of San Antonio in its 2012 redistricting probably chose the wrong standard.

A few days ago the one-person, one-vote principle came up again in another context in a NY Times article.  The article reports on a pending Supreme Court decision – Lepak v. City of Irving – in which the plaintiff is arguing that districts should be divided on the basis of the number of eligible voters in the district, not the number of residents.  Although the six council districts in Irving have nearly identical numbers of residents, one of the districts (the only minority district of the six) has only half as many voters as the others because it has a large number of children and illegal immigrants, neither of whom are eligible to vote.    

As I was reviewing my previous postings on this subject, I discovered that I had blogged about Lepak almost three years ago in August 2010.  At that time, the case was just starting to work its way through the federal courts.  Now it appears that we will finally get an answer this summer.   

The Lepak decision is obviously important to San Antonio.  Although various reports indicate that Dallas and Houston are much bigger magnets for illegal immigrants, San Antonio’s Southside districts certainly contain a significant number of these people who are not eligible to vote.  Unfortunately, the supporting documents for San Antonio’s 2012 redistricting fail to address the number of illegal immigrants in the respective districts, but they do reveal the voting-age population in each district.  Those numbers show that the lopsided difference between the population-rich Northside districts and the population-poor Southside districts is even starker when narrowing the focus to only voting-age population:

  • The City Council’s 2012 redistricting, which was based on the 2010 census, created ten council districts based on total number of residents, ranging from a low of 126,228 (-4.86 deviation) in District 5 to a high of 139,227 (+4.94 deviation) in District 9, for a total deviation of 9.8% from the “ideal” population of 132k.  The total deviation is much greater when based on the districts’ voting-age population, ranging from a low of 85,284 (-12.16% deviation) in District 4 to a high of 109,612 (+12.90% deviation) in District 8.  Thus, the combined resident-deviation range of 9.8% barely satisfies the maximum legally permissible total of 10%, but the combined voter-deviation range of 25.06% dramatically exceeds it.  

A few days before the first Lepak posting, I blogged about the huge difference in registered-voter totals in the San Antonio districts.  The totals ranged from a low of 50,826 registered voters in District 5 to a high of 94,447 in District 9.

No matter how you slice it – by total population or voting-age population or documented voting-age population or registered voters – a vote on the Northside is significantly diluted compared to the steroid-like votes on the Southside.

April 26, 2012

Illegal immigration and racial profiling

An article in today’s San Antonio Express-News reported on a shocking report from the Pew Hispanic Center, a Washington-based nonpartisan research group.  According to the article, between 2005 and 2010, more Mexicans left America (1.39 million) than came to America (1.37 million).  By contrast, between 1995 and 2000 670k Mexicans left America and 2.94 million came to America.

The Pew report does not provide an explanation for this dramatic shift in in immigration (legal and illegal combined), but it speculates that the cause was the declining availability of jobs in an American economy that was struggling with a recession, plus the increased border security and the improved Mexican economy. 

There was additional information in the report that I found even more interesting:

  • At 12 million, Mexicans are the dominant immigrant nationality in America, but more than half of them are here illegally. 
  • No other country in the world has as many as 12 million immigrants of all nationalities combined.  This fact shows how attractive America has been as a destination for foreigners and how relatively open our doors are.
  • The number of illegal Mexican immigrants in America peaked in 2007 at 7 million, and that number had dropped to 6.1 million by 2011.
  • The total number of legal Mexican immigrants in America dropped between 2007 and 2011, but the number in Texas increased during that time.
  • The number of legal Mexican immigrants increased from 5.6 million in 2007 to 5.8 million in 2011.

This information regarding the predominance of Mexican illegal immigrants relates to another issue that we the subject of a Washington Post op-ed piece earlier in the week.  The Post’s op-ed piece was written by a Louisiana judge who pointed out the obvious – i.e., law-enforcement personnel who are attempting to identify illegal immigrants will pay more attention to individuals who look like Mexicans or are brown-skinned.  The judge went on to argue that such conduct amounts to illegal racial profiling, and he is hoping the Supreme Court review of the Arizona illegal-immigrant law will put a definitive end to it.

As a practical person, I am reluctant to discard a valuable enforcement tool.  The essential question is whether the value of the enforcement tool exceeds the cost to members of the group that will be scrutinized more closely merely because of their skin color.  This is an exceedingly complicated, subjective question, and I think the U.S. Supreme Court is supremely qualified to conduct an analysis and render a decision.  Unlike the Louisiana judge, however, I will not prejudge their decision and instead will look forward to reading their analysis.

 

 

 

November 3, 2011

The DREAM Act and Texas

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mike Kueber @ 3:16 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Texas is supposedly on the front-lines of the war against illegal immigration, but sometimes it appears that the state wants to desert the war and claim conscientious-objector status.  The best example of this pacifist streak is the 2001 legislation that afforded in-state college tuition to the state’s illegal immigrants.  The legislation, which was passed almost unanimously, was signed into law by Rick Perry, but was really part of the legacy of the state’s compassionate conservative, George W. Bush, who was taking to Washington his message of education and “comprehensive immigration reform” – i.e., a path to citizenship.

Perry had no reason to oppose the legislation, and he went along with it, not knowing that this noncontroversial position would, more than any other position, torpedo his presidential campaign in 2011.  By 2011, the Republican electorate had decided that any compassion toward illegal immigrants was equivalent to giving aid & comfort to the enemy.

For example, at a congressional candidate forum in Del Rio in 2010, the candidates were asked to give a “yes” or “no” response to a one-word question – amnesty?  All of the candidates except me quickly said “no.”  I was booed when I asked the questioner to define amnesty.

Later in 2010, the federal DREAM Act almost passed, and the swing vote seemed to belong to Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.  Although Hutchison was one of the Republican Party’s most moderate senators, she was in the process of retiring from the Senate to run against Rick Perry for Texas governor and her positions were tacking strongly to the right.  She eventually opposed the DREAM Act and it died.

You can imagine everyone’s surprise a few months later, during the Republican presidential debates, to learn that Texas had passed its own so-called DREAM Act in 2001, Rich Perry has signed it, and, most surprising of all, he continued to champion it on national TV.  (I guess he would rather be stubbornly wrong that be guilty of changing his mind – i.e., flip-flopping.)

For the past few weeks, during countless interviews and debates, Perry has consistently defended the Texas DREAM Act.  In one debate, he even went so far as to call opponents of the Texas DREAM Act as “heartless.”  But Perry has never been asked to explain how he can support the Texas DREAM Act at the same time that he is opposing the federal DREAM Act.  This is especially incongruous when Perry says that the Texas DREAM Act is directed at those illegal immigrants who want to become citizens, but then he opposes the passage of a federal law that would allow them to become citizens.  You can’t have it both ways.

An article in today’s San Antonio Express-News reported on a local girl who is the so-called “poster child” for the federal DREAM Act.   According to the article, immigration officials have decided to drop the deportation case against this young woman, based on new Obama guidelines for focusing department resources on the deportation of bad illegal immigrants, not good ones.  Not surprisingly, most of the reader comments were outraged at Obama’s decision to create a back-door to amnesty and wondered how this individual would manage in a country where she would not be able to legally secure a legitimate job.

An article in the Texas Tribune earlier this week revealed that, although the Texas version of the DREAM Act passed almost without objection in 2001, the law is no longer popular.  (I wonder if Perry knew this.)  According to a Tribune survey on whether in-state tuition should be provided to illegal immigrants, 28% said yes, 55% said no, and 17% said they didn’t know.  Not surprisingly, the leading contender to be our next governor, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, has said that if he were governor in 2001, he would not have signed the bill.

The Texas Tribune survey also asked Texans what they thought of the federal DREAM Act – i.e., a path to citizenship for those illegal immigrants who go to college or enlist in the military.  Although the majority of Texans oppose the federal DREAM Act, they are less opposed to the federal DREAM Act than they are too the Texas DREAM Act.  Slightly more than half — 51 percent — oppose the policy, including 36 percent who strongly oppose it.  Another 39 percent favor the proposal, 19 percent of them strongly.

Although Mitt Romney is being damaged by charges of flip-flopping, a subjective partisan criticism, Perry is guilty of more serious defects – irreconcilable positions and an unwillingness to reconsider his positions despite significantly changed circumstances.  I’m sticking with Romney.

May 18, 2011

Counting non-voters

 While visiting a friend tonight, we watched the muted Mavericks-Thunder basketball game and listened to conservative talk-show host Mark Levin.  Aside from calling erstwhile North Dakotan Ed Shultz a red, fat slime-ball, Levin focused on his discussion on constitutional conservatism. 

One if Mark’s interesting points was that the constitutional provision for counting a Negro as only five-eighths of a person was a provision insisted on by the northern states to minimalize the electoral heft of the southern states.  According to Levin, this reflected American and northern morality.

While I don’t necessarily agree with Levin’s point, I told my friend that the same moral principle should apply to illegal immigrants – why should states with a large number of illegal immigrants be given additional congressional representation based on the number of their illegal immigrants?  My friend suggested that I was joking – surely illegal immigrants weren’t counted in apportioning Congress.  I regretted to inform him that they were.

The obvious fix of this distressing situation is analogous to the five-eighth Negro fix.  We need a constitutional amendment providing that congressional representation must be based on, not the number of residents or even the number of citizens, but rather on the number of voting-age citizens.  Our congressional representation shouldn’t depend on how many minors or non-citizens live in a state.  That is the best way to ensure true one-person, one-vote.

December 24, 2010

Four more Texas congressmen – not necessarily good news?

In a column in today’s San Antonio Express-News, Veronica Flores-Paniagua declared that Texas gaining four more congressmen in 2012 was “not necessarily good news.”   According to Veronica, Texas earned the additional congressmen because of its growing Hispanic population (legal and illegal), but because of political machinations, the additional congressmen would likely be conservatives who won’t cater to the Hispanic population. 

To support her claim, Veronica resorted to an analysis and criticism of the Republican Party of Texas platform.  (I have noticed this technique applied recently in several news stories, which suggest that there is a vast, coordinated liberal conspiracy to assault that platform.)  Among the planks cited by Veronica as anti-Hispanic were those opposing mandatory pre-K education and other early childhood programs.

Veronica saved her most strident criticism for the Republican Party’s opposition to Texas’ Top 10% automatic-admissions rule.  She said that the plank suggested, without explicitly stating, that the Top-10 law wasn’t based on merit.  Her response – “hogwash.”

Veronica asserted that the Top-10 law was “merit-based, race-neutral… has increased diversity at many schools, ensuring future fuel for the state’s economic engine.”

Veronica’s column has received a plethora of complaints for E-N readers.  One of the more articulate complaints (from somebody named “yo”) stated that Texas was the only state with “such an idiotic requirement” as Texas’ Top-10 law.  That is incorrect.  Texas adopted its law in 1997, and California and Florida have subsequently adopted similar laws, with California’s set at 3% and Florida’s at 20% – the so-called Talented-20 rule.  Obviously, the California universities are more selective than the TX and FL universities.   

But I disagree with Veronica’s suggestion that the Top-10% law is pure meritocracy.  Rather, it is a so-called race- and ethnicity-neutral device obviously intended to increase the enrollment of under-represented races (African-American) and ethnicities (Hispanic) at the expense of over-represented races (Anglos and Asians).  An analogy would be requiring that UT football scholarships be awarded proportionately to all high-school districts throughout the state.  Let’s see how quickly UT football would sink to the bottom with such a rule.  (Please no snide responses regarding this anomalous season.)

My other problem with Veronica’s column was its unpatriotic tone.  She started the column by saying, “Don’t count me among the ranks of those rooting for the state’s Census gains,” and she concluded by asking rhetorically, “Where goes Texas, so goes the United States?  I hope not.”  Veronica’s patriotism calls to mind Rick Perry’s new book – Fed Up.  In the book, Perry notes that one of the great things about federalism is that you can vote with your feet – i.e., if you like being surrounded by same-sex marriage and medicinal marijuana, you can live in California; whereas if you like the death penalty and citizens carry pistols, you can move to Texas.  You know what Rick Perry would suggest that Veronica do.

December 20, 2010

End of the line for the DREAM Act?

This past Friday, the U.S. Senate voted 55-41 in favor of cutting off debate and going forward with the DREAM Act.  Unfortunately for DREAM Act supporters, the Senate requires a super-majority of 60 votes to cut off debate.  Although the issue was highly partisan, with Democrats generally supporting passage and Republicans generally opposing it, there was actually some bipartisanship displayed in the final vote – i.e., five Democrats voted “no” and one abstained, while three Republicans voted “yes.”  Thus, a unified Democratic Party could have prevailed in the Senate.   

News reports suggest three possible reactions to the DREAM Act defeat:

  1. The Center for Immigration Studies, a nonpartisan research group, has suggested that the defeat will have “a real demoralizing effect.  There’s only so long you can keep up these hunger strikes and all this political theater they’ve been in engaging in, especially if there’s no specific target.”  That’s certainly true.
  2. Several proponents of the DREAM Act are suggesting that the Obama administration should relax its deportation efforts.  Although the administration claims to have deported in record numbers, it’s hard to imagine a reasonable justification for relaxation since deportation is already focused primarily on illegal immigrants who engage in other crimes.  The administration has already essentially granted sanctuary status to illegal-immigrant students who opening declare their illegal status with impunity. 
  3. Leading DREAM Act proponent Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois has vowed to continue his efforts, but most pundits predict that the DREAM Act is dead for at least two years because, in the recent election, Republicans strengthened their position in the Senate and actually took dominant control of the House.    

I hope the pundits are wrong.  We need “comprehensive” immigration reform, and I mean that term literally, not as the media euphemism for a broad form of amnesty.  “Comprehensive” means (1) closing the pipeline for illegal immigration, (2) expanding the pipeline for legal immigration, and (3) dealing with the illegal immigrants who are already here. 

The major weakness with the DREAM Act was that it focused exclusively on dealing with some of the illegal immigrants who were already here, while doing nothing to ensure that America wouldn’t be continually forced to deal with another generation of illegal immigrants. 

America’s border security will never be impregnable, which makes it essential that our immigration strategy include identifying illegal immigrants in our nation’s interior and deporting them.  America must never become the functional equivalent of a sanctuary city like San Francisco, akin to the Underground Railroad in ante-bellum America.  The federal government needs to prevent illegal immigrants from taking jobs, buying/renting homes, receiving government services, and going to school in America.  Further, the federal government needs to accept help from state and local governments in identifying illegal immigrants.  And birthright citizenship needs to be stopped because it encourages law-breaking.  Although these measures may seem draconian, they are essential to stopping illegal immigration. 

Concurrent with enforcement of these measures, America needs to have a plan for dealing with the 14 million illegal immigrants already in the county.  It is unreasonable to have enforcement first because that would make life untenable for those illegal immigrants to whom we are willing to grant a path to citizenship.

I have previously opined that the DREAM Act was too narrow because it focused only on children.  Comprehensive immigration reform should also address other illegal immigrants – workers and their families – who have flourished in America for at least 5-10 years – i.e., they have been productive and law-abiding (except for immigration laws).  As I said in my campaign brochure:

  • Unlike Quico Canseco, who says these people “must not benefit from illegal trespass,” I believe that a generous America wants to provide these people with a path to citizenship.

During a voter forum in Del Rio, Canseco proudly declared that his grandfather, a medical doctor, came to America the right way – legally.  Because I don’t think quickly on my feet (I wasn an office lawyer, not a litigator), I failed to respond by asking him if he would have been any less proud if his grandfather had been a working-class stiff who came over by wading across the river at night.

November 18, 2010

In-state tuition for illegal immigrants – new developments

California is one of a dozen states, including Texas, that charges in-state tuition to students who are illegal immigrants and out-of-state tuition to students who grew up in other states.  Yet there is a federal law that prohibits giving illegal immigrants educational benefits based on residency.  Once you get by the states-rights issue, you might wonder how those dozen states do that.  

In America, where armies of lawyers figure out ways to avoid the spirit of a law, twelve states have enacted laws that charge in-state tuition to anyone who attended high school in the state.  These laws ingeniously enable most illegal immigrants in those twelve states to qualify for in-state tuition.  Several out-of-state students in California were upset at having to pay more than $33,000 in annual tuition instead of the $10,000 in-state tuition, and they sued California for violating federal law.  Although the students prevailed in a lower court, the California Supreme Court earlier this week ruled unanimously that the California law-avoidance scheme was fine.  The students say they will appeal and the United States Supreme Court will get the last word on this matter.

As I mentioned above, Texas has a law similar to California’s, but the Republican electoral landslide has generated a lot of interest in repealing it.  Just this week, the Texas A&M student senate went on record as favoring the repeal, but the student body president vetoed the senate’s action, claiming that the senate had no business opining on the subject.  (Sounds like the San Antonio City Counsel opining on the AZ illegal-immigration law.)  Earlier today the student body president’s veto was upheld, according to the Texas Tribune.  http://www.texastribune.org/texas-education/higher-education/am-students-vote-state-tuition-for-immigrants.  There was even a lengthy report on Fox News.

We obviously need to develop a comprehensive plan to deal with immigration.  The partisan stalemate reminds me of America’s tax-and-spend policies – i.e., one party insists on keeping high spending and the other party insists on keeping taxes low.  Well, that is dysfunctional.  We have the same problem with immigration – i.e., one party wants to banish all illegal immigrants and the other party wants to treat them like respected guests who are welcome to stay.  I think there needs to be some sort of compromise like the DREAM Act, but only if other forms of sanctuary in this country are eliminated.  For example, there are only two states (Georgia and South Carolina) that limit the enrollment of illegal immigrants in their colleges, and the United States Supreme Court has required that all states enroll them in elementary and secondary schools. 

We will never control our border if sanctuaries are allowed to flourish.

Next Page »