Balkinization  

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Our undocumented heritage

Mary L. Dudziak

Scholars Paul Finkelman, James Anaya and Gabriel J. Chin discuss birthright citizenship on Huffington Post:
Under the Fourteenth Amendment, children born in the United States are citizens, even if their parents are not. Inspired by Arizona's new (and partially suspended) law regulating unauthorized immigration, Senators Mitch McConnell, John Kyl, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Representative John Boehner, and other Republican leaders have proposed considering amending the Constitution to deny citizenship to children born in the United States but whose parents are undocumented.

As law professors we oppose the proposed change, not only for historical and legal reasons, but also on deeply personal grounds. We are the face of the children of illegal aliens, people who are not just abstractions but parts of the human mosaic of the American nation. As it happens, all three of us are the grandchildren of individuals who entered the United States without authorization. From our perspective, the proposal is unwise.
They go on to tell the stories of the way their grandparents came to the United States. Continue reading here.

I can add to this history. My fraternal grandmother came to the United States from Poland, and later worked for many years in the papers mills in western Massachusetts. When she arrived at Ellis Island, she was a teenager traveling alone. She pretended to be a member of a family arriving legally, and gave a false name. If she had not done that, she most certainly would have been excluded from the country as likely to be unable to support herself. She and my grandfather had four children, all of whom served in the U.S. military. Her grandchildren and great grandchildren include school teachers, a nurse, a veterinarian, a former chef, and even a hydro-geologist. The stories of our families show that the history of "illegal aliens" is an essential part of the story of America.

Share your story.

Cross-posted from the Legal History Blog.

Comments:

The problem is not immigration per se but rather the combination of the immigration of unskilled workers and access to our welfare state. Immigrants by and large come for work, but after arrival they extensively use our welfare state.

If the President wishes a comprehensive immigration solution, he need only look back to the 19th Century - free immigration, but no welfare state. If we place and enforce citizenship requirements to receive all government benefits, I doubt many apart from the unions would oppose free immigration with reasonable exceptions for those who are terrorists, criminals or carry disease.
 

Many Americans are descended from (*GASP!*) illegal aliens. My partner's maternal grandfather was technically "illegal" coming from Syria/Lebanon to escape the Ottoman Turks. He never officially took citizenship (and no one bothered to check). Furthermore, he was the elected (and re-elected) mayor of Lexington, South Carolina (in the 1940s). To make things even more surreal, that great social justice advocate Strom Thurmond (snark intended) DANCED at Mary's parents wedding, because Elias Scaiff Mack was the mayor of Lexington SC at the time.

Similarly, yesterday our dentist casually mentioned that his father's father jumped ship (from Sweden). So, just who are we calling "illegal?"
 

Bart,

Your research skills (no doubt honed by your ongoing authorship) are truly impressive.
 

C2H50H:

Three items...

1) Our welfare state extends far beyond AFDC.

2) Rules prohibiting illegal immigrants from receiving Medicaid and other benefits are useless when governments either do not check for citizenship or do not verify the forged documents used to prove citizenship.

3) If the government does not verify citizenship, all studies based upon government data that claim that illegal immigrants do not use services are baseless.

If illegal immigrants in fact are not using government services, then there is no harm in adopting my proposal and verifying citizenship. Tellingly, Dems hoping to import new voters and advocates for illegal immigrants steadfastly oppose any such proposals. See the Dem refusal to include a requirement to verify citizenship for receipt of Obamacare benefits and the suits against CA Prop 187.
 

Bart,

Yes, I understand that you have no actual data, merely anecdotes and faith.

If you were interested in reality, you could easily find data -- but, sadly, it would contradict your faith.

Speaking as a person whose heritage farther back than my grandparents is hopeless obscured along most of the branches, I'm very much in sympathy to the thesis of the original blog post.
 

Back on topic, here's the story of my immediate family. The only ancestors we're pretty sure of are the ones that came over after 1880. As for the rest, well, one of them came through Ellis and changed his name. Another set was escaping religious problems and cannot be traced -- no name to trace. Another part came from Ireland, and has no history other than the name, a very common Irish name. For the rest, some came over so early the procedure was to get off the boat and walk away ... and some, according to family tradition, came over the land bridge a while ago.

Only a quarter of them have traceable documentation to show they were here legally when they arrived. Even the ones that were on this continent from the start were living in what is now Canada, and walked across the border sometime around the time of that little altercation down south, when eyes were looking elsewhere and the border with Michigan was rather porous.

Also of note, my birth father falsified the information about himself on my birth certificate, so I'd never be able to run for higher office, at least as a Democrat...
 

Story:

I am first-generation. My folks came here to have a 'fun' year after University (both have doctorates) while my father did a postdoc. They liked California, so they got green cards -- right before the US scrapped the racist national origins quotas. If they had waited just a year, they might instead have returned home.

My father worked in industrial research half his career. His one big idea saved his industry hundreds of millions. Someone else would have come up with the same process improvement eventually, but he did it here and his US employer reaped the licensing profits. He got an MBA and switched to the business side, equally fungible, but nonetheless skilled work that saved his employer a lot of investment-banking fees. My mother's doctorate is in German and English. She taught both German and ESL at City College for decades. Again, other people can do this, but again, I don't think her students wanted other people.

I don't think the US wants to exclude people like my parents, but it almost did.

As for this blog's pet troll, I try to ignore him. That's tough here as his bloviations are more than usually diametrically opposed to fact, but I shall remain resolute. All I hear is a whining mosquito noise.
 

Bart wrote: ”If we place and enforce citizenship requirements to receive all government benefits, I doubt many apart from the unions would oppose free immigration with reasonable exceptions for those who are terrorists, criminals or carry disease.”

According to a USA Today in 2006, in the USA about 4 of illegal immigrants percent work in farming; 21 percent have jobs in service industries; and substantial numbers can be found in construction and related occupations (19 percent), and in production, installation, and repair (15 percent). That rather mirrors the UK pattern and there is another similarity in that illegals do the jobs that nationals and other legals do not want to do.

The last person whom I heard making that proposal on our TV was one Conrad Black whom I understand is, at least, temporarily, out on bail somewhere in the USA. His thesis was that the more cheap labour there is, the lower employer costs are. I suppose that’s a solution which appeals to dear Bart.

After all, how would all those high-living people who form what passes for an aristocracy in the USA manage if the businesses which supply their gardeners, landscape designers, pool cleaners, catering staff, nannies, etc had to pay proper wages and only employ documented workers?

I am not, by the way, suggesting that our own dear Bart seeks to pass himself off as part of America’s “aristocracy” – after all, he does not make much of a fist at passing himself off as a gentleman.
 

Mourad:

We are not supposed to debate substance on this thread.

I believe this is supposed to be a feel good celebration of our illegal immigrant heritage. I can't play because my Irish, German and Italian ancestors all immigrated legally.

How about you or your ancestors?
 

Only immigrants after 1882 could be construed as "legal" or "illegal" -- so all mine before then were "legal" -- although they certainly didn't bother with formalities, and usually didn't bother with applying for citizenship (it was rather pointless if you lived in western Michigan in 1820, or South Dakota in the 1870's, for example). Since half of them were female, that would have been illegal anyway.

Even after 1882, "legal" meant that you weren't in one of the excluded classes (a "lunatic", diseased, felon, or Chinese) and paid the the 50 cents. That includes the remainder of my ancestors. Something to be proud of, I guess.

Bart,

Nobody is going to accuse you of bringing unwelcome substance on the basis of your remarks thus far.
 

C2H50H:

Like it or not, my lead post reflected the view of about 70% of the nation.

Obama's lawsuit against Arizona probably lost the Dems another 10 House seats. The GOP leapt to the largest congressional generic lead in Gallup's 60 year history after the AZ judge rubber stamped the ridiculous Justice argument that AZ was interfering with federal immigration law by enforcing the law and making ICE do its job.

I listen to both conservative and progressive AM talk radio driving back and forth between court. After the AZ ruling, the callers on both networks were absolutely furious. The progressive hosts were befuddled at the rage.

You folks can celebrate "our undocumented heritage" all you like. The world outside your virtual universe is utterly unimpressed.
 

mr. depalma, i believe you miss the point of this thread. it is not, as you suggest, to celebrate illegal immigration. it is, on the other hand to celebrate our heritage and families, whether they came here illegally or not. the point is that many very respectable and valuable members of this society would have been shut out if you had your way.

we are not conducting a contest to see who is better than somebody else here, as your last post about your family coming here legally, as opposed to some of the other commenters' families suggested herein. i generally do not agree with you on much of anything, but generally, you are much better than this nonsense.
 

phg said...

mr. depalma, i believe you miss the point of this thread. it is not, as you suggest, to celebrate illegal immigration. it is, on the other hand to celebrate our heritage and families...

Professor Dudziac was not merely reminiscing about her family tree. This is an argument to sympathy on behalf of illegal immigrants.

I am a libertarian on this issue and believe in almost completely open borders. What I dislike and what infuriates a majority of this country are watching our states' budgets for roads and higher ed shrink to pay for ever increasing Medicaid and other welfare state services in substantial extent to illegal aliens.

Until you address that 800 lbs gorilla, the backlash against illegal immigration is going to become increasingly ugly.
 

Bart wrote:
Like it or not, my lead post reflected the view of about 70% of the nation..… I listen to both conservative and progressive AM talk radio driving back and forth between court. After the AZ ruling, the callers on both networks were absolutely furious. The progressive hosts were befuddled at the rage.”

As was discovered in the recent discussion of the California marriage issue, poor Bart does not actually believe in the principle of representative democracy. Instead he believes that the elected representatives should never take “unpopular” decisions - he went so far as to say that opinion polls should be decisive. He also disputed the proper role of the judicial branch in protecting the constitutional rights of minorities against popular prejudice.

Jefferson acknowledged that direct democracy was impracticable outside a constituency greater in size than a New England township.

Your Founding Fathers were gentlemen of the Enlightenment. They actually feared ”instant democracy” and mob rule. The modern equivalent of incitement of the mob may well be conservative talk radio.

The whole point of representative democracy is that the representatives should be chosen by the people on the basis of their probity, wisdom and maturity, not on the basis of their index of obscurantism.

Sensible proposals for immigration reform have been on the table in the Congress since the general election. A responsible opposition with the interest of the country at heart would have co-operated in bringing proposals to the floor, debating the issue honestly and then voting according to conscience – not according to the behests of talk radio and opinion polls.

But the simple fact is that fascism needs to find an enemy for the people to hate - and Dear Bart's "800lb gorilla" is just that.
 

"Accident of birth" is a phrase I have thought about a lot over the past 80 years. (Yes, I have entered a ninth decade.) Parents, place of birth, all beyond our control with our innocent arrivals. The luck of the draw. Pulling oneself up by his/her own bootstraps? Is it physically possible? We start off dependent, remaining so perhaps longer than others in the animal kingdom. While many may think they eventually become independent, in reality we all rely upon interdependency. Here in America, while not perfect, "accident of birth" has worked well for many; but not all. Over time, there have been improvements, but nirvana remains out of reach. Two steps forward, one step back, means the goal may not be achievable. But like horseshoes, close enough may win the game.

My parents lived in different communities in the old country and most likely their paths would not have crossed but for the turmoils there that forced them out at different time, years later to meet in Cuba, of all places, with the result that my mother could enter the U.S. with her new resident alien American husband and raise a family, starting in 1927. Soon 1929 came along. But my parents persevered, with help from others similarly placed from the old country and from the government (thank you, FDR). There weren't too many libertarians during the Great Depression.

So accident of birth and place of birth worked well for me. The luck of the draw. Good times and bad, but mostly good, two steps forward, one step back. Utopia may be a dream, but it is a goal. Alas, many do not have it so good. But they can't be blamed as they entered this world by accident of birth in a more dystopian place. I can't believe or accept this is pre-ordained.

I'm looking forward to the first volume of Mark Twain's autobiography soon to be published and hope I'll be around for the next two volumes. Twain helps keep things in perspective. I can accept that I, as so many others, am a mere NOAGN* in the scheme of life with its accident of birth, playing the cards I was dealt.

*NIT ON A GNAT'S NUT
 

"That rather mirrors the UK pattern and there is another similarity in that illegals do the jobs that nationals and other legals do not want to do."

Make that, "won't do at the wages employers can get away with paying with an ample supply of illegals around to drive down the wages", and I might half agree. (I've seen too many people gaming the unemployment extensions, rather than take work that doesn't pay well.) Only half, because some employers rationally prefer illegals over legals even at the same wages, because the legals don't have to be worried about deportation if they report labor law violations.

Technically, of course, nobody who immigrated before we had immigration laws can be an illegal immigrant... That would be my father's side of the family, French who were here before there WAS a border. On my mother's side, from legal immigrants from Germany and Ireland.
 

Mourad said...

Sensible proposals for immigration reform have been on the table in the Congress since the general election. A responsible opposition with the interest of the country at heart would have co-operated in bringing proposals to the floor, debating the issue honestly and then voting according to conscience – not according to the behests of talk radio and opinion polls.

My British friend, the GOP does not control Congress and has no power whatsoever to decide which bills come to the floor. Rather, the Dem Congress refused to bring their amnesty bill to the floor because it is an election year.

The GOP would have loved to debate the Dem Amnesty bill in front of every camera it could find. Amnesty for illegals is slightly more popular than heartbreak of psoriasis among the voters.

Indeed, Dems running for election across the country were bitching up a storm to the White House for bringing suit against an AZ law supported by over 2/3 of the nation instead of allowing their surrogates to do the dirty work. The Dem candidates had a point. Their constituents will not be casting thank you ballots for them in the fall.
 

Technically, of course, nobody who immigrated before we had immigration laws can be an illegal immigrant

I'm unsure if there ever was a time when there was no immigration laws in any jurisdiction.

For instance, before federal immigration laws, states kept various people out, such as the diseased, blacks and perhaps felons. The feds also kept out enemy aliens, some French leaving before formally removed during the 1790s, for instance.
 

Gee, all this hatred without a Father Coughlin to incite the haters. But then there's the eye of Newt - or is it the tongue?

And for some there seems to be a curse placed upon the progeny of "illegals" despite the passage of generations, like a capital offense has no statute of limitations.
 

Brett wrote:-

”Only half, because some employers rationally prefer illegals over legals even at the same wages, because the legals don't have to be worried about deportation if they report labor law violations.”

That may be the case in the USA, but in the UK the position may be rather different because the onus to make sure of the status of the worker is on the employer. There is a “soft” regime of civil penalties at up to £10,000 per undocumented worker and a harder criminal regime under Section 21 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 2001 which provides for employers to be liable for up to two years’ in custody and an unlimited fine.

So what employers fear is the UKBA raid on their factory or on their construction site. The employers who get away with abuse are those in the services sectors such as contract cleaners who work nights cleaning offices, nannies and domestic servants. The last Labour Attorney General copped a £5,000 civil penalty for not spotting that her nanny’s visa had expired.

Bart wrote:-
Mourad: ...I can't play because my Irish, German and Italian ancestors all immigrated legally. How about you or your ancestors?

Since I can only track my ancestors in the UK back to 1695, it’s a bit hard to be too certain about their precise immigration status at the time.
 

My family all entered by the front door of extant legal requirements, though often I have wondered how legitimate it was to own slaves, refuse to let women vote, shunt non-landholders away from the polls, and deceive indigenous peoples in ways that deprived them of their own birthright.
 

It's not sure, but my earliest immigrant ancestor was in the British Army in Rhode Island ~1760 seems to have left it without benefit of paperwork.
 

Why, I wonder, does our dear Bart write with such undisguised glee:-

”The GOP would have loved to debate the Dem Amnesty bill in front of every camera it could find. Amnesty for illegals is slightly more popular than heartbreak (sic) of psoriasis among the voters.”

Legalising the present illegal population was considered in 2009 in this Cato Institute paper Restriction or Legalization? Measuring the Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform. The conclusion was that the impact on GDP of legalisation would be positive to the tune of about US$180 billions.

But, of course, dear Bart and others of a similarly fascistic view need to be able to demonise some group. Election propaganda rules by Dr Goebbels as perfected by Carl Rove.

This year’s target is immigrants (and most especially Muslim immigrants).
 

Mourad:

Can you conclude any discussion without playing one or more of the fascist, race and homophobia cards?

My points stand unaddressed and unrebutted.
 

Shag,

It's also wise to keep these things in proportion considering how much of our ancestry we can be sure of. As someone whose face has, perhaps, been rubbed more strenuously than most in the fact that our ancestors were not more honest than they needed to be, I have to laugh at those who take inordinate pride in what they think of as their ancestry.

In days gone by social stigma was attached to all kinds of ridiculous things, such as out-of-wedlock births, births whose timing was fortuitous, and this has continued almost to the present day. I'm reminded of the story of the Catholic couple who argued over whether to have more children, the husband being against it, and the wife being adamant for it. The husband then went privily and by stealth, had a vasectomy, and didn't tell his wife, who proceeded to have two more children over the next few years.

The standard approach, prior to modern DNA testing, was simply denial or outright lying, and it worked well. I recall also the discovery when a young lady researched her family tree to discover that her father was apparently a miraculous early success at treating very premature infants, as only a few months elapsed between wedding and birth. This was prior to the War To End All Wars, but family tradition, oddly, had never recorded the miracle.

Accident of Birth, indeed.
 

Bart,

Until you provide at least a scintilla of actual data to back up your assertions, they remain contradicted by the available data. Your refusal to accept the available data while being apparently unable to provide any of your own is a classic example of the pathological inability of right-wing authoritarian minds to accept evidence which contradicts their fondly-held belief.

As for whether 70 percent, or 99.9 percent, of the public agrees with anything, that's a classic example of what we might call the "Tinker Bell" fallacy. It's only important in elections -- and elections are often tricky things, as you ought to have learned in 2006 and 2008.

Keep clapping though -- maybe reality will come around to your side.
 

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C2H50H:

You can find good summaries of the scholarship here, here, here, and here.

The Urban Institute and other left leaning think tanks have offered studies minimizing the cost of immigration on the welfare state, but almost all studies find a net cost.

The problem with collecting this data is that governments do not verify citizenship before providing welfare state benefits. However, we do know how many illegal immigrants do not have private health insurance and thus are dependent upon Medicaid/S-CHIP directly or indirectly through emergency room reimbursements:

One thing is clear: Undocumented immigrants are driving up the number of people without health insurance. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that 59% of the nation's illegal immigrants are uninsured, compared with 25% of legal immigrants and 14% of U.S. citizens. Illegal immigrants represent about 15% of the nation's 47 million uninsured people — and about 30% of the increase since 1980.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2008-01-21-immigrant-healthcare_N.htm

There is an argument that illegals use fewer medical services because they are young. However, the young men for which this might be true are employed disproportionately in more dangerous worn and the young women are of child bearing age.
 

DNA testing might reveal that many Europeans have a tad of the Ghengis ("Bangus") Khan tribes' genes. And don't forget out of Africa! WASPS have very little sting anymore.
 

Bart,

I do not believe that Heritage Foundation results can be trusted. Please note that the link I provided ultimately reported results from independent sources.

The CIS is an openly biased organization with a goal of reducing immigration. Given that they could only find lukewarm support for your thesis, it remains unsupported by independent analysis.

In analyzing the cost of immigrants versus natives, it is important to consider that us natives are by no means paying our way. In 2009, revenues were 2.1 trillion, while expenditures were 3.9 trillion, paying for only 53.8 percent, while illegals, according to the CIS study, paid 60.1 percent of their costs.

It seems illegals are better citizens than average, when it comes to paying their way.

Please note the net cost of 10 billion in a 3.6 trillion budget.

Why is this an issue for you? There is far more waste and corruption in the defense budget (by about an order of magnitude), yet you don't seem incensed about that.
 

My mother was quick to point out that our family were descendants of the privateer Sir Francis Drake, but if we were related to that great hider of gold plates, it wasn't directly. A tiny bit of research easily reveals that Sir Francis Drake had no (legitimate) children, so the Drakes in our lineage were likely ducks of a different sort.

My father's side of the family came over the bridge from the Old Country.
 

C2H50H said...

Why is this an issue for you? There is far more waste and corruption in the defense budget (by about an order of magnitude), yet you don't seem incensed about that.

My state of Colorado is losing its public college, road and prison financing to pay for surging Medicaid costs and we are hardly alone.

Once again, if you want free immigration of the poor and unskilled, then limit access to the welfare state.

If Dems thought that illegal immigrants were going to become Republicans instead of Dems, this problem would have been resolved years ago.
 

Bart,

Right, and it's those evil others that passed the infamous Colorado TABOR, which most people agree is the reason that Colorado cannot fund its education system or infrastructure.

Too funny.

If you want to look at why you don't have revenues, look in the mirror. Or look at tax cheats (100 billion, ten times the cost of "illegal" immigrants. Or corporations that pretend to offshore their headquarters (50 billion). And, of course, defense spending fraud and waste.

The only reasonable conclusion as to your fretting about "illegal" immigrants, when these other, far more egregious causes for revenue shortfalls are so obvious, is that there must be something else about these people that you don't like.

I really don't think there's anything more to suss out in understanding where you're coming from here, so good night.
 

C2H50H said...

Right, and it's those evil others that passed the infamous Colorado TABOR, which most people agree is the reason that Colorado cannot fund its education system or infrastructure.

Are you snacking on grilled red herring?

TABOR simply limits spending growth to inflation and population growth (including [your word not mine] the "evil others) unless the tax payers agree to raise the ceiling, which they did some years back by over $4 billion. Medicaid and some other Dem spending ate up that money and we are facing cuts again.

Much of the original Porkulus and nearly all of the recently enacted Son of Porkulus is going to help states pay the rising tab for Medicaid, not to rescue teachers and police, or even to bail out SEIU bureaucrats.

After the GOP takes Congress, that ongoing bailout ends in 2011. Thus, states are either going to tell the Feds they will no longer fully match Medicaid spending or they will go insolvent. When states no longer match Medicaid spending, they will have to look for cuts. Perhaps then they will start enforcing citizenship provisions.

Once again, no matter how many plates of red herring you keep serving up, the fundamental problem remains.
 

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The biggest hit to state revenue comes from the dives in property tax that are a direct result of the dive in property values. It has nothing to do with a surge of illegal immigration; in fact, illegal immigration is declining now (likely as a result of the same economic issues).

So, the "crisis" is entirely manufactured by those who would--as it always goes, no matter the side of the ideological spectrum--prefer to cut from one area rather than another one. Why punish corporations who rob from the government when you could simply punish brown people who are trying to work for a living?
 

In the colonial period, we British did not exactly send the cream of our society to the American colonies.

It is reckoned that about 175,000 Englishmen left for the American colonies during the 17th Century. Not all of them willingly. As many as 50,000 may have been felons transported under the provisions of the Piracy Act 1717 which provided that persons convicted of certain felonies could be sentenced to transportation to the US colonies for 7 years. (Transportation to the USA of course ceased upon secession and Australia was substituted). A certain number of the colonists were what one might charitably term victims of discrimination on grounds of religion, or less charitably, religious nut cases. Then there were the “get rich quick” mob, often the sons of the aristocracy and the gentry who had blotted their copybook in some way and had been packed off to the Americas. Not altogether promising material from which to build a new nation.

It could be said that while we did export the fundamentals of our legal system with the first settlers, which I would regard as something beneficial, we also sent you many English prejudices which were less so and one of those was the innate tendency of the English to regard any foreigner and any non-English speaker as inferior.

It seems to me that this exported prejudice remained manifest in America throughout the massive wave of European immigration 1820-1914 which saw 30 million or so brave the perils of the sea to settle in America. How else does now explain the WASP phenomenon? How else does one explain the US 1924 Immigration Act which was explicitly aimed at limiting immigration by southern and eastern Europeans – Jews, Slavs, Italians. How else does one explain the 1929-39 Mexican Repatriation Program under which about 1 million Mexicans including US citizens were pushed across the border without due process? How else does one explain the reluctance of the USA to receive immigrants fleeing Nazi persecution pre-WW2 or “displaced persons” post war?

US immigration policy was overtly racist for very many years and, sad to say, I think the racism was inherited from the British and it is still a phenomenon common to both our countries.
 

Mourad,
A research project that I have been working on for too many years brought to my attention Lord Mansfield's decision in the Somersett Case dealing with slavery. As I recall, this case was decided around 1790, following what you refer to as the secession. (What's wrong with "revolution"?) The case involved an American who had brought his slave to England. At issue was whether under English law his slave became free on English soil. It was decreed that he was indeed free.

Somersett was recognized by state courts in America regarding sojourner (non-fugitive) slaves in free states; even some slave states recognized Somersett. But then in 1857 Dred Scott came along involving sojourning slaves in territories. If CJ Taney had the opportunity, most likely the Supreme Court would have "overruled" the Somersett rule. But then came John Brown and the Civil War, which prevented the Lemmon Case (NY) that applied Somersett from reaching the Supreme Court and the clutches of CJ Taney and the other slave protecting Justices (By the way, Mansfield expressed his druthers about his decision in later years.) So English law continued with some relevance in America even after the secession ("revolution")..

I mention this because England earlier than the U.S. challenged slavery (although not necessarily from moral or pure motives). I am not challenging your comments on racism in both countries. England had effective abolitionists prior to the movement here. Now we have a movement to undo portions of the 14th Amendment, perhaps "inspired" by the election of America's first African American President.
 

Shag:-

One should be careful about Somerset’s case because it was quite narrowly decided. Lord Mansfield declared on the return to the writ of habeas corpus:-

”The cause returned is, the slave absented himself, and departed from his master's service, and refused to return and serve him during his stay in England; whereupon, by his master's orders, he was put on board the ship by force, and there detained in secure custody, to be carried out of the kingdom and sold.

So high an act of dominion must derive its authority, if any such it has, from the law of the kingdom where executed. A foreigner cannot be imprisoned here on the authority of any law existing in his own country: the power of a master over his servant is different in all countries, more or less limited or extensive; the exercise of it therefore must always be regulated by the laws of the place where exercised.

The state of slavery is of such a nature, that it is incapable of now being introduced by Courts of Justice upon mere reasoning or inferences from any principles, natural or political; it must take its rise from positive law; the origin of it can in no country or age be traced back to any other source: immemorial usage preserves the memory of positive law long after all traces of the occasion; reason, authority, and time of its introduction are lost; and in a case so odious as the condition of slaves must be taken strictly, the power claimed by this return was never in use here; no master ever was allowed here to take a slave by force to be sold abroad because he had deserted from his service, or for any other reason whatever; we cannot say the cause set forth by this return is allowed or approved of by the laws of this kingdom, therefore the man must be discharged.”


Thus the ruling was that a power to hold a slave in custody against his will in England was to be decided by English law (the law of the place of execution) rather than the law governing the status of the slave. As your researches will show Chief Justice John Marshall later ruled in ”the Antelope” in 1825 that “positive law” had a wider meaning than “statute law”.

Still it was a milestone on the road to abolition and was followed by the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act 1807 and a further 21 years before slavery was abolished throughout the Empire.

One does occasionally come across US cases where English law pops up. I remember a case in Texas were it was pleaded that a conspiracy to defraud was against the law of Texas – (reference to the Elizabethan statute).
 

PMS:

The issue is not state revenues, it is state spending on illegal immigrants and that problem long preexisted the current recession.

Declining to extend welfare state benefits to immigrants who came here uninvited is hardly "punishing brown people."

Finally, I support basically free immigration and thus do not wish to punish either the immigrants or the folks who employ them. The issue is whether we should be providing benefits to immigrants.

Folks, if you believe that American taxpayers should be providing benefits to illegal aliens, then just admit it.

If you believe that illegal aliens are not drawing welfare state benefits, then what precisely is your objection to my proposal that we enforce laws denying benefits to illegal aliens by verifying immigration status?
 

Shag might like the book "Though The Heavens May Fall: The Landmark Trial That Led To The End Of Human Slavery," but note: R v Knowles, ex parte Somersett (1772). As to its limitations, see The Slave Grace.

The Texas citation is interesting given that it once was a Spanish and Mexican possession.
 

The real problem:

http://d.yimg.com/a/p/umedia/20100823/largeimage.40b15717609da4bfa8e3db5406b76d82.gif
 

Paul Finkelman's "An Imperfect Union, Slavery, Federalism, and Comity" (1981) is a very good read on Somersett in America. Chapter 7 "The South and Comity: The Rejection and Adoption of The Slave, Grace Doctrine" relates events in the slave south: "A surprising number of slaves were freed by courts in slave states, especially in the period before 1840."
 

Bart,

Since your own CIS study says that the foremost reason why "illegal" aliens do not pay more in taxes is that they lack education, and the largest costs they incur are associated with food subsidies, not the least of which is school lunches, it would appear that your suggestions would have the effect of exacerbating the problems rather than helping.

Also, in order to "enforce" the ban on welfare for undocumented aliens, either aid workers would be required to do extra work to check them out, which would require extra workers be hired (and which would then require extra taxes to pay them, Mr. "libertarian") or applicants would have the burden placed on them, increasing dramatically an already-onerous burden on them.

The result would be even more homeless, destitute people. I understand that this is not a problem for you, but many people would find this distasteful. And there's always the crime problem that results when people are truly desperate. I assume that you have thought out how to handle this, perhaps by having "camps" where people who lack documentation and any means of supporting themselves could be collected, "concentrated", if you will, so that the resulting starving children and desperate adults don't present a public danger.

In general, a principle of problem-solving is that, when some approach isn't working, it very rarely turns out that the problem can be solved by just doing the same thing, only harder.

I think it is more in the spirit of the Founders of this nation to allow freer borders (on that we can agree) and to regularize residency. I've read studies that say that, if the border to Mexico were more porous, people would tend to go as well as come and many of the current problems would fade.

As for not penalizing employers for knowingly hiring undocumented workers, making it easier to get documentation and bringing the workers into the system would largely eliminate that problem -- at the cost of higher wages. Without some economic incentive to change, market forces (and we all know how all-powerful market forces are) will continue to drive the system in the direction it is headed now. Clearly we cannot incentivize the companies -- that's been tried and has failed spectacularly. So let's provide an incentive to the undocumented workers.
 

Bart’s arguments seem oddly familiar:-

He acknowledges the fact that there are several million aliens within the territory of the USA whose presence is irregular.

He does not, apparently, advocate rounding them all up into cattle trucks and conveying them to the frontier because he accepts that a high proportion of them are contributing to the US economy with their work.

So he advocates that these foreign workers and their dependents should be denied the healthcare which any person ought to have; in effect that they should be a class of ”untermenchen”.

And where does he take that logic? Should they all be in labour camps marked ”Arbeit macht frei”? Forced to wear a distinctive sign on their outer clothing perhaps? What about the sick among them? Perhaps he thinks it would be more humane simply to euthanatise them?
 

"I've read studies that say that, if the border to Mexico were more porous, people would tend to go as well as come and many of the current problems would fade."

Interesting. Do you know of any or summaries of such that can be obtained online?
 

PMS:

The issue is not...


I'm sorry, Mr. DePalma, but if you make an implicit argument that states are going to go insolvent because of Medicaid payments to illegal immigrants, then yes, the issue is state revenue.

If you care to divorce the conversation entirely from revenue, yes, I agree that illegal immigrants sometime receive medical attention that must be paid for by the state and federal governments. I think it is quintessentially American to extend those services to anyone regardless of status in emergency situations; any attempt to restrict care based on status is anathema to the founding principles of our nation.

However, I see no problem with restricting routine non-emergency health care to those who have coverage, with the optimal situation being universal health care coverage for all US citizens.

The moment you try to blame illegal immigration for all of our financial woes, however, is the moment you have to face the various 800 lb gorillas that C2H50H mentioned (and that you've steadfastly ignored).
 

Joe,

If memory serves, that study (or whatever it was) was reported and discussed in a Reason Magazine article from several years ago. I can't find a link to it at the moment.
 

PMS:

The moment you try to blame illegal immigration for all of our financial woes...

When did I post this? Illegal immigration does not even rank in the top five of our national financial woes, although it may break into that group for some states. In any case, illegal immigration is the topic of this thread and thus my concentration on it.

Complaints about the costs of wars you do not support will have to wait for another thread. Maybe Sandy would oblige.
 

BDP: When did I post this?

I think it was the time you tied Medicaid costs to illegal immigration with something like:

"Rules prohibiting illegal immigrants from receiving Medicaid and other benefits are useless..."

and followed it up later with:

"What I dislike and what infuriates a majority of this country are watching our states' budgets for roads and higher ed shrink to pay for ever increasing Medicaid"

and

"My state of Colorado is losing its public college, road and prison financing to pay for surging Medicaid costs and we are hardly alone....

and

"After the GOP takes Congress, that ongoing bailout ends in 2011. Thus, states are either going to tell the Feds they will no longer fully match Medicaid spending or they will go insolvent."

That's how I got the idea that you were blaming insolvency on the effects of illegal immigration on Medicaid spending.

I understand that it's the topic of the thread, but that doesn't mean it's the only factor you are allowed to consider when discussing the insolvency of states. Mismatches between projected property tax revenues and actual property tax revenues in a multi-year budget, for example, can have quite an effect on solvency.
 

The original issue on this thread was the proposition that there should be a constitutional amendment to remove the place of birth qualification for citizenship. It has broadened to cover the whole question of immigration reform.

For centuries, the UK worked on the principle that if one was born within the dominions of the Crown anywhere in the world), one was a British subject by birth. That was progressively modified in the UK with the demise of Empire and now, very broadly, in the UK citizenship is acquired at birth if either parent is British or, if denying British citizenship would result in the child being stateless. Aliens acquire permanent residence rights after five years lawful residence and have the right to apply for naturalisation after that time.

But in the UK the change in the law was made for the same reason I perceive behind the US proposals: namely as a sop to a xenophobic public concerned about government failure to deal with unlawful immigration, while in practice the change in the law would make very little practical difference at all.

The UK has a population density of 659 per square mile, Belgium 918 psm and the Netherlands 1035 psm. The equivalent US national figure is just 82 psm. Arizona has just 45 psm and Colorado 41 psm. 25 of the 50 states have populations of under 100 psm and excluding Alaska, 4 have population densities of under 10 psm. Singapore has 18,000 psm!

So, it can be argued that the population of the USA is actually sub-optimal and for many states seriously so because below a certain point, the population tax base is insufficient to maintain the infrastructure and services needed. There are states which should be encouraging immigration rather than opposing it.

In both the UK and the USA immigration policy was historically racist. White Australian, Canadian etc British subjects were welcome to the UK, Brown or Black British subjects were not. Until the Hart-Celler Act, US immigration policy was just as racist. 70% of immigrants in 1970 were white Europeans but by 2000 only 15% of immigrants came from Europe.

Today’s resistance to giving a path to legal status to the immigrants who are not lawfully resident seems directed overwhelmingly at Hispanics. Since that resistance comes from a population whose progenitors overwhelmingly came from somewhere else, it seems to me that the burden is on opponents of a process of legalisation for illegal immigrants to show that their opposition is not motivated by the fact that Hispanics are not White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestants.

Thus far, I am unconvinced.
 

The demographics for 2050 and beyond are scary to the long dominant non-hispanic whites some of whom seem to be devising preemptive (shades of GWB!) actions to prevent a shift in the rainbow balance. These "some of whoms" fear that such a new majority might do to the former what the former did to the latter as a minority over a couple of centuries. My view is that these "some of whoms" deep down resent Brown v. Board of Education but don't have the guts (politically and otherwise) to say so; rather, they use as the fulcrum for their hatred the election of America's first African American President in 2008 that surely benefitted from the Brown decision in 1954. First, these "some of whoms" challenged Obama's birthplace. But that effort seems to have faded. So these "some of whoms" shifted to the 14th Amendment birth clause. Perhaps after 2050 a poet will come along with a counterpoint to Rudyard Kipling's "The White Man's Burden."
 

Mourad said:

"Until the Hart-Celler Act, US immigration policy was just as racist. 70% of immigrants in 1970 were white Europeans but by 2000 only 15% of immigrants came from Europe. "

This reminded me of Calvin Trillin's "Feeding a Yen: Savoring Local Specialties from Kansas City to Cuzco" (2003); his Chapter 6 "New Grub Streets" makes reference to the change in US immigration policy as a godsend to gourmets in particular in New York City with the introductions of Asian cuisines beyond the traditional Chinatown providing fine dining. At page 70:

"This was prior to the Immigration Act of 1965, in the years when this country's immigration policy, based on a system of national quotas, reflected not simply bigotry but the sort of bigotry that seemed to equate desirable stock with blandness in cooking. The quota for the United Kingdom was so high that it was never filled. For just about any country you could visit without taking the precaution of packing your own lunch, quotas were ridiculously low. Asians were, in effect, excluded."

[Aside to Mourad: If I come visit you, should I pack my own lunch?]

Trillin is always a great read. However, I have yet to read his take on George W. Bush: "Obviously On He Sails" and his sequel: "A Heckuva Job: More of the Bush Administration in Rhyme." Yes, Trillin provided the rhyme but George W. failed to provide reason. (I'm confident that Colorado public libraries include these books.)

By the Bybee (no, not forgotten), back when I read "Feeding a Yen," I googled "Grub Street" and learned of London's Grub Street with its impoverished writers in the 19th century. Those writers might have flourished had the Internet been around back then..
 

Shag:-

Formerly, Fleet Street, was also known as “Grub Street” because most London newspapers were printed and published there. Since the Royal Courts of Justice are at one end of Fleet Street and the Inner and Middle Temples run between Fleet Street and the Thames Embankment, the pubs and wine bars in the street were a splendid interface between the lawyers and the gentlemen of the press (“hack journalists”), notably El Vino’s (which became “Pommeroy’s” in John Mortimer’s Rumpole books) and which in 1978 was the target of an early sex discrimination case Journalists claim "courtesy" breaches the Sex Discrimination Act. Why El Vino bars women.... Note that the plaintiff was a journalist on the Morning Star, the newspaper of the Communist Party.

What with the journalists having emigrated to Wapping, the hordes of females and the no smoking laws, the place is today a pale shadow of what it used to be.

As for bringing a packed lunch, it’s up to you. Here’s the menu of my local Turkish Eatery.
 

Mourad:

I didn't see any imam bayldi or derev choor on the menu but what's available is close to home for me. A little keshkeg with melted butter and lots of black pepper would be nice with the cool weather we've had the past couple of days here.
 

Shag: Imam Baylildi is on the Hot Meze page.
 

Shag,

Minor Correction: That Trillin title is "Obliviously, On He Sails".

You and Mourad have inspired me. I'm doing eggplant tonight. It'll be Imam Bayildi, except I'll be using Oriental eggplant (they really produced this year), and I'm going to jazz up the recipe with some Hungarian hot peppers, in keeping with my mongrel heritage. And serve it warm with nachos.

Speaking of mongrel heritage, I have to say that I'm extremely dubious about turkish pizza with lamb, which would at least be ethnic, if it strikes me as in questionable taste, and I find the concept of pizza with cheddar cheese troubling.

Over here we do some dreadful things in the name of pizza (I can't find a wine that will go with ham, onions and pineapple pizza, for example, and the best that can be said about beer with it is that it helps rinse the taste) but there are limits.
 

Calling it a Turkish pizza can be insulting. The Lahmejun of Turkey/Armenia made with lamb appeared long before the Italian pizza. When fresh lamb (as opposed to mutton) is used with the various spices, it is delicious, served with feta cheese and hot peppers. The store bought Lahmejun is not the greatest because of the dough. But my mother used to make it from time to time and eaten hot out of the oven it was great. She served a salad with the ingredients finely chopped - lettuce, onion, peppers, cukes, mint - with an olive oil/wine vinegar dressing. We used to break up the feta cheese and roll it up in the Lahmejun and put some in the salad as well. The riddle of the chicken and egg may be in doubt but there is no doubt that the Lahmejun came before the pizza, probably like other Middle Eastern dishes courtesy of the Ghengis (Bangus) Khan tribes in conquest of many parts of the Middles East and Eastern Europe introducing mongol cooking. (Keep in mind that the tomato of Italian pizzas came late to Italy and the rest of Europe from the New World. Italy had pizza before, however, but even then it was a variation of flat breads that existed in many Asian cuisines. The Italian tomato pizza is of undocumented heritage in Italy and is more of an Italian American variation, especially in Hawaii when topped with pineapple. I wonder what the birthers have to say about that.)
 

Shag: Here's how to make Lahmajun. [The English is not mine, but you'll get the idea]

2 Glass of flour - 2 Little spoon of salt - 3 gr dry leaven - 1/2 middle spoon of sugar- 1/4 glass of warm water - 150 gr yoghurt - 450 gr tomatoes - 1 medium size onion - 250 gr mince - a pinch of parsley - 5 clove of garlic - 5 green pepper (can be hot.) – Blackpepper.

First the parsleys, onion and green peppers should be mixed greatly. Beat those garlics. Mix the leaven and sugar including warm water. Cut the lemon into 8 peaces. Cut into cubes the tomatoes you've been pared. Seperate 2 normal spoon of the flour. Then mix it with 2 little spoon salt. Make a kinda pool with your flour add our leaven-sugar mix in it. You'll have an easy dough. Play wit hit gently and leave it to get relax for 30Min. Dont forget to cover with a compressor. Lets prepare the mince by now, mix all the tomatoes, onion, mince, parsley, green pepper, garlic, salt and blackpepper inside a container. Mix it around 5min. Use your dough right there, seperate it into peaces. Peaces can be like an egg in size. Make a slim round with one of that peaces. Cover your slim dough with mince but dont forget to leave 1cm's around the lines. Place them inside the oven you've prepared in 220C before. Wait around 15mins. That's it!

 

Mourad,

That recipe is a hoot. I'm not going to try it until I've tried some competently prepared.

Shag,

I'm pretty sure anything made with mutton would have a highly distinctive taste (had mutton once -- that was enough). Speaking of which, you have to give the Western Mediterranean people credit for putting anchovies on pizza. Or blame, depending on how you feel.
 

My grandfather and his two sisters escaped Nazi Germany on fake Polish passports, the German quota having already been exhausted.

Unfortunately the strategy backfired for his parents who couldn't get a visa even with the fake Polish passports (because of a wrinkle in immigration law) and were shortly thereafter 'deported' to a Polish concentration camp. They were last seen playing cards in Dachau.
 

C2H50H:

From a culinary standpoint, western Mediterranean anchovies and Asian fish sauces add substantially to cuisines of their respective cultures.

A favorite dish of mine is caponata, Sicilian style. One of the "secret" ingredients is anchovies. (A second "secret" ingredient is pears.)

In my semi-retirement, I audited several "culture and cuisine" courses in a gastronomy program at a local university. It is amazing how much food helps us to understand "others." International Relations and Foreign Affairs academic programs should include "culture and cuisine" courses. Breaking bread yields more peace than a Second Amendment piece. And "soul foods" may heal better spiritually than organized religions, with less proselytizing. What Julia Child says.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

I wonder are there any data about the net gain or loss in the US economy because of illegal immigration?

I am asking because before the economic crisis in Europe there were clear indications that, for example, Spain was gaining a lot (and I would say at a cost to living and working standards for the illegals).


Ronald Reagan had a vision of the U.S. as the shining city on the hill, a beacon, a magnet for all who must have freedom. Bart, for thirty silver pieces of welfare savings, are you willing to sell?
 

Shag and C2H50H:-

While we are enjoying our off topic excursus into the culinary influence of the Ottoman Empire on the cuisine of the Mediterranean basin, Bradley’s post is a sobering reminder of the underlying reality of this thread.

Historically, a nation state has had the sovereign right to decide what non-citizens are admitted to its territory and on what terms.

The history of Anti-Semitism in Europe shows the evils of leaving immigration matters to the unfettered discretion of the executive and/or the legislature.

Take England: Jews from Rouen were admitted to England after the Norman Conquest in 1066. William needed their financial skills. But they were not allowed to become citizens. They were considered aliens whose presence was tolerated by a licence from the sovereign. And the licence was arbitrarily revoked by the Edict of Expulsion of 1290.

Jewish presence in the UK was unlawful until they were again allowed to settle here during the Protectorate. But they remained under legal disabilities. For example, they could not hold land. Jewish emancipation could not be regarded as complete until 1858.

There were Muslims in the UK from Elizabethan times. Our community also increased from immigration after the expulsion from Spain of the Moriscos, but we did not experience the discrimination directed at Jews because we were fewer in numbers. Still, until Doctrine of the Trinity Act 1831, which was passed primarily for the relief of Unitarian Christians, we were under some disability.

But whenever in recent times there has been overt discrimination against Muslims in the UK, our best friends have been in the Jewish communities who have good reason to know were discrimination may lead.

I see nothing wrong in the state controlling immigration, provided it is done in a human rights compliant way. For Europe, that means that immigration decisions have to be compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights as well as the Refugee Convention.

When the US state has been so negligent as to allow a huge number of illegal immigrants to establish themselves in the USA, I would argue that mass deportation is no longer a realistic proposition. It is worth noting that some 8 million immigrants are said to have arrived in the USA between 2000 and 2005, more than half illegally, so this is not exactly a problem of the present Administration’s making.

It is indeed scandalous that there are quite the number of illegal immigrants in the USA as there presently are. With a porous land boundary to the South that is perhaps inevitable.

But then the question arises – why do these economic immigrants NEED to travel to the USA at all? Mexicans are North Americans too. The USA is the dominant economic power in the hemisphere. If the North American Free Trade Area is to become a reality, then free movement of persons within the same area should follow.
 

C250H:-

I don’t know if you use the English idiom for an older woman wearing clothing more appropriate for someone younger: “mutton dressed as lamb” - but it derives from the idea that you cannot prepare mutton for cooking in the same way as you do lamb. It's only good if done slowly and gently.

Mutton was a staple food in Victorian England, it lost popularity because of the time it requires to prepare. If you are minded ever to try there are some suggestions Welsh Mountain Mutton Recipes.

Anchovies: Hard boil some eggs. When cold shell them and cut each egg in half lengthwise. Scoop out the yolks. Make some aioli and mix with about half the cooked egg yolks. Put a little mound of egg yolk and aioli back in the hole in the half egg and top with a curled up fillet of anchovy – nice addition to a mixed hors’ d’oeuvre platter.
 

Bolstering my proposition that leaders of the Jewish communities are often stalwart defenders of the human rights of Muslims in the West, this iftar speech by Mayor Bloomberg at the NY Mayor's Mansion yesterday evening takes some beating: Bloomberg defends Rauf, echoes Bush [hat tip Politico].

Thank you Mr Mayor. Peace be upon you and the Mercy of God and His blessings.
 

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