Over the Top

I got this in an email from something called the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC.  They seem to be worried about the passage of the Dream Act, which I have not paid much attention to.

If we lose in the Senate tomorrow, most future battles will be fought as we retreat step by step, while millions of illegal aliens become legal workers, students, and voters who are used to replace Americans and put in positions of authority over us.

May God Save The United States.

Rally your kith and kin and join us shortly after dawn on the East Coast for our next battle tomorrow.


May God favor our efforts.

Holy Cr*p, you would think Hitler's panzers were rolling into Washington.  Seriously, this is all because millions of immigrants might become legal workers and voters like, uh, nearly every one of our ancestors who came from somewhere else?  Their apocalyptic vision is legal workers and students?

This email just gives the lie to the PAC's name -- obviously they are not for legal immigration or they would be thrilled that formerly illegal immigrants suddenly become legal.

On many occasions I have had people tell me that I was stupid -- explaining to me that this issue is not about immigration per se but the rule of law, and that their objection was to the illegal behavior not being punished, not immigration itself.  Fine, here is the fix -- make them all legal.  The formerly illegal immigrants will be, as you say, legal students, workers, and voters. Problem solved, right?

I get told all the time by immigration opponents that they are open to legal immigration, but we have to deal with illegal immigration first.  Really?  When thousands of Arizonans were breaking the law and getting photo-radar tickets, did we say that we would only do something about photo-radar when the problem of illegal speeding went away?  No, we got rid of the hated cameras, and most folks holding photo-radar tickets got amnesty (in the form of the state choosing not to pursue the high percentage of people who threw away their tickets rather than paying them).

Postscript: I am not religious, but I wonder if folks who are find the use of God in this context offensive.  Doesn't this imply God hates the Mexicans?  Does God love your family, who happened to enter this country when immigration laws were loose, but hate Xavier who wants to come here just like your family but does so in a time when immigration laws are restrictive?

It reminds me of winning football players who say, to begin interviews, "I want to thank God..." as if their victory were the result of particular favor payed to them by God.  I have always wanted to see a losing player follow such an interview with, "well, you heard it:  God was against us.  What chance did we have?  I think we kept it pretty close given that an omnipotent deity was working for the other team."


  1. skh.pcola:

    Being in favor of increased legal immigration and against rewarding illegal immigration aren't mutually exclusive. You continue to insist that they are, to the detriment of making a logical argument.

  2. Bearster:

    The difference between speeding tickets and immigration is that the State should not be monopolizing the roads to begin with, and if they did, setting a speed limit so low is ridiculous. And even if the limit is set appropriately, cameras cause intractable problems (e.g. there is no witness against you). With immigration, clearly the State does and must have control over the borders, otherwise an invading army could "immigrate" across, complete with their arsenal of weaponry, and declare war once they hold whatever strategic objectives they want to take. If we would fight at that point, the loss to civilian lives and property would be enormous.

    Not only does and should the State have the power to secure the border from invading armies, but also the power to screen would-be migrants' backgrounds to check to see if they are criminals, carry a contagious disease, etc.

    To ignore all of this, and say "well now that they got here, let's just legalize them" is encouragement for the next even-larger wave of people to sneak across the border.

    The problem with the immigration debate is that there are multiple disparate interests on both sides:

    1) welfare statists who want more voters
    2) envious marxist destroyer types who want to bring down The Man
    3) libertarians who want to welcome anyone who comes here to be productive

    1) racists who hate non-whites
    1a) God-and-country types who don't necessarily hate them, but want "them to be out there"
    2) libertarians who say you can have a welfare state, or open immigration, but not both
    3) paranoiacs who think they are coming here to commit crime sprees
    4) economic illiterates who think they will "take our jobs", as if jobs were zero-sum

    As always, when two groups with totally different ideas join together in a coalition, you get some very bizarre contradictions and weasely statements.

    P.S. I am pro immigration for anyone who honestly wants to come here to work.

  3. HoosierHowie:

    "I have always wanted to see a losing player follow such an interview with, “well, you heard it: God was against us. What chance did we have? I think we kept it pretty close given that an omnipotent deity was working for the other team.”

    Ask and ye shall receive:


  4. wilky:

    I'm with you on most things, but on this I'm with skh.pcola.

    As for the atheletes and God thing, having spent the past 40 years around this type. They are not thanking God for the victory but rather their ability to perform in that setting. Ever seen the group in the middle of the field after the game? Both teams are there and it's not half thanking God for the victory and the other half asking why they were denied. They speak as one.

    Moreover, the left uses the God thing all the time, usually in an attempt to replace charity with government. What they refuse to see is that using governmnet as charity steals my opportunity for spiritual growth.

  5. Ken:

    I find 99.9% of political invocations of God to be offensive and in violation of the (depending on which version you favor) Third Commandment.

    Modern political invocations of God from all sides of the spectrum lack any humility whatsoever and basically use God as a handy substitute for FUCK YEAH WE'RE RIGHT.

  6. Ryan P:

    "Seriously, this is all because millions of immigrants might become legal workers and voters ..."

    You're actually overstating it. As I understand it, the DREAM Act would apply to a fairly small number of people, and it would take a while before anyone covered by it would become permanent legal residents, much less citizens & voters.

  7. wilky:

    Actually HoosierHowie, if you read his tweet you'll see that he did thank him in the end. I do admit he placed blame in the wrong place.

    His tweet:

  8. MikeinAppalachia:

    I don't really care one way or the other, but if you made your analogy to, say, armed robbery instead of speeding, does that enhance your argument?

  9. Pat Moffitt:

    Mexico can "proudly" claim the world's first socialist constitution (1917) crafted to insure "social justice" to all its citizens.

    Tens of millions of Mexicans have fled the resulting poverty in an often dangerous migration to their less-just, capitalist neighbors to the North. This desperate human wave has caused some within the US right to demand fences. Others on the left however envisage a more elegant solution - create a social justice system here and destroy any reason for them to come.

  10. dave smith:

    I like an analogy I heard about guns....we can make guns legal, but we must get all illegal guns locked up first.

    Bryan Caplan has good thoughts on this issue.

  11. Chris K.:

    Where do I sign up to help get Hitler's Panzers rolling into Washington?

  12. Russ:

    Isn't using God like this, breaking the commandment not to use his name in vain?

  13. Anurag P:

    I am with you for the most part but I am still opposed to DREAM act, which gives legal right to work for folks who came here illegally. I think Congress should first give right to work to folks who came here through legal channels. My wife, being on H4 visa, can't work and we broke no rules. I am not sure who to petition for her right to work.

  14. Evil Red Scandi:

    @Anurag P: I understand the frustration of those who have helped loved ones immigrate (my wife is also an immigrant, and I helped her family jump through the hoops to get over here as well), but I think that just because we put up with a bunch of really stupid crap doesn't mean that we should inflict it on other people.

  15. Evil Red Scandi:

    My favorite tact to use when arguing with the "closed borders" crowd is to play off their hatred of Mexicans against their hatred of the Chinese government: "You know, if we repealed minimum wage laws and had a huge supply of cheap, willing labor flooding back into the country, just think of how many jobs we could take back from China..."

    Yes, Chinese workers would still be cheaper, but there are a lot of other costs to doing business there (shipping costs and delays, tariffs, operating offices half way around the world, linguistic / cultural barriers, etc)... enough that a decent percentage of the manufacturing base could be recaptured.

  16. caseyboy:

    Warren, you state the contra-position incorrectly. Most people are not anti-immigration, however, they want our borders secure. What is wrong with that principle. Most countries try to secure their borders. Mexico takes pretty stern action when they find an illegal among them. Given that we have some avowed enemies in the world doesn't it make sense to secure the borders so we know who is coming.

    Grant citizenship to all the illegals who are here today without securing the border and you'll have millions more within a year. Most everyone, except the open borders crowd, would agree that we need to get control of our borders. Then I'd be happy to grant worker visas to those that are here and perhaps even provide a path to citizenship.

  17. Jon:

    Being a religious person I would say that saying God wants them to do this is using His name in vain.

    Exodus 20:7

    Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

    Pretty straight forward if you ask me.

  18. Che is dead:

    "Does God love your family, who happened to enter this country when immigration laws were loose, but hate Xavier who wants to come here just like your family but does so in a time when immigration laws are restrictive?"

    Putting God's position aside for the moment, you answer the question you pose without even realizing it. We the People get to determine, at any given moment, whether immigration laws are either "loose" or "restrictive", and as long as those coming here obey those laws - no problem.

    If your ancestors arrived at a time when the people of the U.S. felt that immigration laws should be relaxed and you followed the law - no problem. The problem arises when you, and others like you, start to believe, and to act, as if the laws of the country do not apply to you.

    You continually bitch about U.S. immigration policy. You routinely infer that those who disagree with you about illegal immigration, while supporting the most liberal legal immigration policy in the world, are racists and "anti-immigrant". Fine, here is the fix — you move your ass to Mexico, Brazil or Zimbabwe. Or, wherever it is you believe has a more open and generous policy towards illegal immigrants.

    We've made plenty of room for the Xavier's of the world, perhaps it's time that they focused on making their homelands a place where they can realize their dreams instead of a place they feel compelled to flee.

  19. tehag:

    I am completely and 100% in favor of adopting Canadian or Mexican or Australian etc. immigration laws. Let each immigrant compete on points: speaks English, has a worthwhile education, etc. Only the top 1% get citizenship. The rest may stay here as resident aliens.

  20. Stan:

    I've heard a version of your postscript commentary somewhere before. But still, so funny.

  21. mahtso:

    “When thousands of Arizonans were breaking the law and getting photo-radar tickets, did we say that we would only do something about photo-radar when the problem of illegal speeding went away? No, we got rid of the hated cameras, and most folks holding photo-radar tickets got amnesty (in the form of the state choosing not to pursue the high percentage of people who threw away their tickets rather than paying them).”

    This misconstrues what happened (and does away with the presumption of innocence.)

    People who were ticketed before the cameras were removed who were properly served were held accountable for their acts even if that accounting came after the law was changed. People who were not properly served (i.e., afforded due process) were under no legal obligation to pay their tickets and, because without proper service the courts had no jurisdiction, no penalty could be enforced against them.

    If photo-radar is to provide the analogy, it would go: people who are here illegally before a change in the law and who receive due process will be punished, but those who engage in the same acts after the change in law will not be punished.

  22. dan:

    The DREAM act does unfair junk like award illegals with in-state tuition rates that the majority of us natural born citizens to not have - how is that fair in the least? Sure it contains some hokey requirements to "control" it but there is so little of the requirement that can truly be verified (not to mention the ongoing requirement being rather draconian) and its basically providing incentive for a generation of illegals to come here, get forged documents, and collect their DREAM.

    Warren many of your takes are quite sensible but this one is for the birds - we cant have the illegal discussion without first securing the border. You dont start tossing out bags of carrots without worrying about sticks. If you provide reward first and dont consider incentive for the reward or even some sort of container as a control measure, you might as well go light up a cigarette and stick your head in a tinder box!

  23. ADiff:

    The DREAM Act was aptly named. That's exactly what is was, a dream. It was a great vehicle for the Democratic Party to solidify their identity as the party representing Latino-Americans and opposed to the exploitation of immigrants for labor by maintaining a vast 'undocumented' labor pool. It was of equal value to conservative nativists by allowing the GOP to pose as the defender of traditional Anglo-Saxon English speaking material culture in the face of changing demographics that threaten to alter the overall mix of existing historic material culture. And for both it was a wonderful 'dog and pony show', since neither party actually supports either rational immigration reform or the limited measure of dealing with the tragedy of those Americans who were brought here as children, know no other homeland or culture, and are in the limbo of that 'undocumented' status through no fault of their own regardless any evidence of commitment to being Americans (i.e. investments in education, service in U.S. Armed Forces, &etc). Apparently just allowing such persons the conditional right to remain here while pursing formal citizenship is too much for the large Labor Unions, and off-shoring firms to tolerate...probably because of the fundamental questions about residency, labor status and naturalization it might ultimately raise.

  24. Jon:

    Laws of man are arbitrary and of no consequence. Natural law rules, if man makes laws contrary to natural then they have no binding.

  25. Dan:

    Love your comments on God and couldn't agree more!

  26. Martel:

    Is it possible that your defense of illegal Mexican immigration derives, at least in part, from the probability that your company employs a lot of gardeners and grounds people who are here illegally?

    I have a warm spot in my heart for Mexico and Mexicans, having spent two years of my college education in Mexico plus an additional year in Chile. In the past I thought the ideal would be open borders for everyone, just like between U.S. states. But I now accept that we don't have a utopia of open borders for practical reasons of reciprocity. Completely opening our border to Mexicans doesn't mean Mexico will open its borders to us. That's just the way nations work. We have two separate legal systems and that's unlikely to change soon.

    To say that Mexicans, or any other nationality is welcome in the U.S. by virtue of simply getting here ignores the laws we have, as citizens, agreed to live under. The solution isn't to ignore the law. The solution is to change the law so that Mexican workers are free to come here legally and be employed by companies such as yours. This does not require granting these workers citizenship. U.S. citizenship is precious and should not be given out like food stamps or department store coupons.

  27. Mesa Econoguy:

    How should/does one rally one's "kith"?

  28. Dale:

    The DREAM Act would reward crime, not just not punish it (as if you got a reward for being caught on the speed camera). If Jose family entered illegally and had us pay for his high school, he gets the reward. Garcia, whose family obeyed the law and educated him in Mexico, is not eligable.

  29. thebastidge:

    Warren, I agree with you on many points, and cite your discussions all the time. But on this you are wrong on several points.

    We are, as a people, subject to a compact of written and unwritten agreements. The written agreements are the Constitutions of our Federal and State governments and their respective laws. People who wish to come here to our country, just like people who wish to go to any other country, must comply with the law of the land. The fact that we exist as a people with a common-ish culture and a set of laws that apply to everyone uniformly, means we cannot let the tipping point happen where suddenly a great many people who do not believe in our laws, our traditions, and do not consider themselves part of "US" nor do they wish to become a part of "US", overwhelm the ability of the system to absorb them in a non-catastrophic manner.

    Essentially, if enough people with no stake in being or becoming "American" overwhelm the system, we no longer exist as a people. We have the right, to preserve our culture (by which I mainly mean our individualistic legal tradition) and our definition of ourselves as a people. If other people want to join our polity and agree to become "American enough" to get along with all of us, and contribute their bit to the melting pot, that's great. We need more people who can come here and continue the progress we've started towards a world where huiman potential can be reached by as many people as possible. What we don't need, and cannot (not "will not") support, is an overwhelming tidal wave of people who would just as soon see our system thrown aside, whether they think they have a better one, or just because they don't think about it at all.

    Waving a hand and granting amnesty does not eliminate the problems we have with immigration. It's no better than the people who want to keep all the "furriners out forever, by God Amen!"

    There is no perfect libertarian world where everybody agrees to our libertarian compact. Contracts require agreement on both sides. We have no contract with the current illegals, not even an implicit one. I agree it would be better to ease the path to citizenship, but we can't eliminate the space between here and there.

  30. dmon:

    From Kaus's coverate in Newsweek (well known poisonous nativist rag):
    "because there are no penalties to lying on a DREAM application, and because once you file the application you get a work permit good for 10 years (while you comply with the Act's requirements), DREAM is basically a 10 year free pass to any illegal in a broad under-35ish age range who either qualifies or is willing to say he qualifies even if he doesn't."
    I guess once they fail to comply with the educational requirement, we can give them another amnesty, ad infinitum. Of course, what's a little cultural dissolution compared to keeping the price of chalupas down?
    Bottom line: if cheap Mexican labor was the critical requirement of a successful economy, Mexico would be kicking ass.

  31. dwall:

    We allow 1 million a year to join us, how many more? The problem with DREAM is chain family reunification. How many millions will that drag over in ten years? A permanent Democrat electorate majority. To see the results google numbersUSA gumball video. Total disaster.