Famous Immigrant of the Week

Today's famous immigrant is steel tycoon, Andrew Carnegie.  Carnegie came to America from Scotland in 1848 at the age of 13, started out working in a cotton  factory, but went on to become a steel magnate.  From the Carnegie Corporation's website:Carnegie Image

…at the age of 13, Andrew began his career as a bobbin boy in a cotton factory. A voracious reader, he took advantage of the generosity of an Allegheny citizen who opened his library to local working boys. Books provided most of his education as he moved from being a Western Union messenger boy to telegraph operator and then to a series of positions leading to the superintendent of the Western Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

While still employed by the Railroad, Carnegie invested in a new company to manufacture railway sleeping cars. From there, he expanded his business ventures to encompass the building of bridges, locomotives and rails. In 1865, he organized the first of his many companies, the Keystone Bridge Company, and in 1873, the first of his steel works.

While I disagree with Carnegie's view that "the rich are merely “trustees” of their wealth and are under a moral obligation to distribute it in ways that promote the welfare and happiness of the common man", I believe in property rights and that Carnegie had the right to spend his money as he pleased.  Despite this huge philosophical difference, Carnegie's climb from child laborer to one of the richest men in the world is nothing short of awesome and can remind of us of what the American Dream is really all about, for all of those that come here.

Immigration Helps the US Economy

I just found this website with an interesting immigration news story:

In a recent letter from US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, two outstanding key points focusing on the economic benefits of reforming the US immigration system and the possible further detriment to the US economy if Congress fails to act are outlined.

They go on to point out that 25% of venture-backed, public companies were started by immigrants, such as Google, Ebay, Yahoo!, Sun and Intel, but the US wastes similar talent by not granting permanent residency to the almost 400,000 students that come here each year to educate themselves.  They also point out how, in the long run, these bad immigration policies will prevent us from remaining economically competitive as a nation.

Take a look at the full story here.

John Tanton and the Oslo Killer

Over at Imagine 2050 on Monday, there was an interesting article about the Oslo mass murderer, Anders Behring Breivik:

In a document that is reported to be Behring Breivik’s manifesto, he refers to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a Washington, DC, based anti-immigrant organization founded by white nationalist John Tanton. CIS is known for its efforts to influence immigration policy by issuing reports containing skewed data that attempts to demonize immigrants. In his manifesto, Mr. Behring Breivik writes, “A new study by the Center for Immigration Studies found that illegal’s cost the taxpayer $10 billion dollars more than they contribute, [sic] each year.”

You can read the rest of the story here.

Granted, Breivik is a very sick and disturbed individual, but so is John Tanton and many conservatives and anti-immigration types are spreading his ideas.  Those ideas are not good for Norway, they're not good for America and they're not good for freedom-loving people everywhere.

Quote About Immigration

The more I traveled, the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends. - Shirley MacLaine

New Book Highlights Complexity of US Immigration Laws

Nothing belies the myth that it’s “easy” for U.S. employers to hire foreign nationals and immigrants better than a new book produced by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Business Immigration Law & Practice, by Daryl Buffenstein and Bo Cooper, both partners at Berry Appleman & Leiden, spends over 2,000 pages explaining the complexities of immigration law – and that’s just to other lawyers.

This excerpt is from an interesting Forbes blog post and you can find the rest of the story here. 

If it takes about 3,000 pages of reading for an attorney to (hopefully) understand US immigration law, how can the average business owner be expected to understand it?  Furthermore, how many business owners can afford to hire a full-time attorney to understand it for them?

As we've stated before, US immigration laws are anti-business, anti-capitalist and anti-American.

Day Laborers Double as Traveling Theater Troupe

Here is an excerpt from an interesting Fox News article about day laborers who put on street performances to teach other day laborers about their rights:

Most days, they are construction workers and painters and maids.

But twice a year, this group of day laborers morphs into actors in a traveling street theater troupe that performs at the very job centers where they and others gather to seek work across Southern California.

Blending at-times bawdy humor with a serious message about employer abuses, the Los Angeles-based Day Laborer Theater Without Borders has helped teach illegal immigrants with little education or knowledge of the law about their rights in this country.

Played by another laborer, the English-barking suit-wearing boss admired the woman from behind while she scrubbed the floor — drawing laughter from the nearly all-male audience. But when he propositioned her and threatened to call immigration if she dared report him to police, the workers watching the show grew more serious.

I'm glad that someone is taking the time to educate these workers about their rights, but I wish many more would take the time to write their legislators and the president and demand immigration reform that respects everyone's individual rights!

Immigration and Crime

If you listen to the anti-immigration crowd for just a short period of time, one of the first complaints you'll hear is how dangerous the immigrants are that come over the southern border of the US.  You'd think they were all serial killers and child molesters the way some people talk!  This is obviously not true, and equally obvious is the fact that the government-created black markets in both human and drug smuggling is what's causing much of the crime in Mexico and places farther south.  But what about America's border towns?

Radley Balko's 2009 article about El Paso, Texas, helps bust that myth too.  From the article:

By conventional wisdom, El Paso, Texas should be one of the scariest cities in America. In 2007, the city's poverty rate was a shade over 27 percent, more than twice the national average. Median household income was $35,600, well below the national average of $48,000. El Paso is three-quarters Hispanic, and more than a quarter of its residents are foreign-born. Given that it's nearly impossible for low-skilled immigrants to work in the United States legitimately, it's safe to say that a significant percentage of El Paso's foreign-born population is living here illegally.

El Paso also has some of the laxer gun control policies of any non-Texan big city in the country, mostly due to gun-friendly state law. And famously, El Paso sits just over the Rio Grande from one of the most violent cities in the western hemisphere, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, home to a staggering 2,500 homicides in the last 18 months alone. A city of illegal immigrants with easy access to guns, just across the river from a metropolis ripped apart by brutal drug war violence. Should be a bloodbath, right?

Wrong!  El Paso is one of the safest big cities in America!  To find out how this could possibly be true, please read the rest of Balko's article, The El Paso Miracle, here.

Famous Immigrant of the Week

I love personal success stories, so I've decided to feature a famous immigrant each Friday.  This week's famous immigrant is Irving Berlin, who came to the US from Israel in 1888.

With a life that spanned more than 100 years and a catalogue that boasted over 1000 songs, Irving Berlin epitomized Jerome Kern's famous maxim that "Irving Berlin has no place in American music -- he is American music."

…Irving Berlin produced an outpouring of ballads, dance numbers, novelty tunes and love songs that defined American popular song for much of the century. A sampling of just some of the Irving Berlin standards includes "How Deep Is the Ocean," "Blue Skies," White Christmas," "Always," "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better," "There's No Business Like Show Business," "Cheek to Cheek," "Puttin' on the Ritz," "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody," "Heat Wave," "Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning," "Easter Parade" and "Let's Face the Music and Dance." In a class by itself is his beloved paean to his beloved country, "God Bless America."

You can read more about Berlin at the Songwriters Hall of Fame website.

Quote About Immigration

It is said that the quality of recent immigration is undesirable. The time is quite within recent memory when the same thing was said of immigrants who, with their descendants, are now numbered among our best citizens. - Grover Cleveland

Who "Pulls Their Own Weight"?

The top 1% of income earners pay over half of the income tax in this country. The top 50% of income earners pay over 90% of the income taxes and a large degree of all other taxes (property, sales, etc.)

Conservatives often argue that immigrants don't "pull their weight" in regards to taxes. That is, they take out more benefits than they pay into the system. The truth is, more American-born people do that than immigrants by far. This is not because Americans are fat or lazy (although many of them are), but rather it is designed into the system of taxation and spending that Conservatives, for all their grumbling, have so far done nothing to curtail.

What constitutes "pulling your own weight"? Well, it certainly constitutes paying for what you get. Given that half of America effectively doesn't pay income tax (over 150 million Americans) yet make use of things paid for by federal dollars at least in part, such as roads, schools (both primary and secondary) and other services. If you live in a house or apartment that isn't higher-end, you also aren't "pulling your weight" in regards to things your property taxes pay for - again, schools. If you don't spend more than average, you also don't pay into any sales taxes that the state takes in - again, not pulling your weight.

Not paying for what you get is bad, of course, but the point of this article is to point out that the problem is inherent in the government and policies that the American people have chosen, not with immigrants. So long as you have progressive tax codes, the welfare state and the government involved in every aspect of day-to-day life from the cradle to the grave, you will have a large segment of the population that doesn't pay for what it gets. This is the entire point of the welfare state and of government subsidized anything, otherwise the free market and charities would be doing it, not the government.

This is a problem that is in dire need of fixing. A free ride isn't something I believe in for anyone - foreign or native. Until Conservatives stop using immigrants as a scapegoat for the entire point of having a welfare state in the first place and start questioning why we have one at all, there will be problems much larger than any immigrant population we could take on.

Public Meeting in Denver

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a meeting on immigration at a Denver High School. In attendance were two politicians. Both were Democrats and, surprisingly, had some good things to say about immigration.

Immigration is an issue that most politicians who aren't raving xenophobes wish to avoid. This is because, given the dominant philosophical premises of today's mainstream, immigration should be viewed as a deadly threat to any country that allows it. Immigration allows more people into a given area - which, given the Marxist/Environmentalist views of many Democrats and Republicans, means fewer jobs and a more devastated environment for the inhabitants. Given these premises, which are widely held on both sides of the aisle and completely wrong, opposition to immigration is simply a natural extension of those same premises.

It is therefore refreshing to see two politicians stand up for rational steps towards immigration reform. Simple and productive steps like stopping the deportation of nonviolent illegal immigrants and administrative changes to make it less dangerous for those who can to legalize their status. These are good policy decisions and are able to be done administratively. Though I have no faith in the Obama administration's ability to do anything productive, I hope these changes are made.

There were also personal stories told, two of which I will relate here. Irrational immigration policy isn't just an academic debate; while both parties refuse to act, families are being torn apart and people dying in a noble effort to come and stand on their own two feet in America.2 Little Girls

The first was a pair of little girls, both under 10 years old, whose father (an illegal immigrant) had recently been taken in the middle of the night from them. Their mother, a US citizen, is busy trying to get her husband back in the United States, but until then the family is in dire straits - both without one parent for the children and without a previously steady source of income. The girls appealed to the politicians present to make it easier for their father to come home and keep other families united.

The next story was even more tragic. An older lady took stage and told the story of how her son - a US citizen - fell in love with a woman and married her. This woman was an illegal immigrant, and of course wanted to become a US Citizen. The couple were told the only place they could get this done was Ciudad Juarez, which is a hot spot in the war on drugs and one of the most dangerousInjury to One is Injury to All cities in the world.

Knowing this danger but not deterred, the young man went there with his wife to  get her on the path to citizenship. Before the process could be completed, he was murdered in the violence that happens every day in that city. Perversely, the application for a green card by his wife was then denied, because her sponsor was now dead! That woman is still waiting for her green card and may be able to get one because her mother-in-law got politicians involved in her case specifically, but no amount of political pull will bring her husband back to life.

Again, bad immigration policy is not an academic debate. Getting this issue right or wrong will help make or ruin the lives of millions of people. When politicians of either party claim they want to "get tough" on illegal immigration, Marinethey want to "get tough" on living, breathing people, people who have harmed no other person and whose great crime is to come to this great country to make their lives better, as most Americans' ancestors once did.

Alabama Law Challenged in Court

Civil rights groups have sued in federal court to block Alabama's new law cracking down on illegal immigration, which supporters and opponents call the strictest measure of its kind in the nation.

You can read a bit more here.

More About Alabama's New Immigration Law

Among the many disgraceful, unconstitutional laws passed recently, Alabama's takes the cake:

The Alabama law would force schools to ascertain if their students were here legally, make it a crime to knowingly give an illegal immigrant a ride - even to a hospital in an emergency - and provide for individuals to report people they think might be in the county illegally to law enforcement agencies.

That's right. If you're in Alabama, and an illegal immigrant has a heart attack next to you, it's against the law to be a decent human being and give him a lift to the hospital.

We fully expect this law to be overturned sooner rather than later, but the fact that such a law was passed says terrible things about the GOP's priorities.

Texas Immigration Legislation Fails

In a wise move, the Texas legislature has decided not to pass a bill that forces city police departments to do the job of the INS:

The "sanctuary cities" bill would have barred cities from stopping police departments from asking about immigration status of people who are detained or arrested. It died when the Texas legislature adjourned without passing it.

Business interests and law enforcement both opposed the bill. Businesses understand that in a tough economy, immigrant labor often keeps them going at a profitable pace and they have no desire to have laws on the books that seek to drive them out of business. Law Enforcement is already overburdened with the bad economy and does not need additional responsibilities.

As usual, many Texas conservatives talk a big game about stopping illegal immigration, but in the end the people who actually have to deal with the reality of the situation came together to block the bad legislation. Good for them!

Quote About Immigration

The good news is that Congress is cracking down on illegal immigration. The bad news: a head of lettuce will now cost $300.

— Jay Leno, talk show host

FoxNews Features Article Written by Racists

In response to this sarcastic and ugly FoxNews article, I left the following comment:

"Bob Dane is Communications Director for FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Kristen Williamson is Communications Assistant for FAIR."  I'm disappointed, Fox News.  You really can't find anyone better to write for you than the white supremacists over at FAIR?

Do you even realize that FAIR is a white supremacist organization?  Do you realize that its founder, John Tanton, is an evil, racist, environmentalist?  Do you realize he's received funding from The Pioneer Group which supports eugenics?

I suggest you hire some real journalists with real integrity instead of allowing your website to become a platform for hate and racism.  I'm disgusted!  Here are some links for your review since you failed so miserably to do your homework. >:-(

(Or perhaps you want to be associated with such monstrous people?  I find that hard to believe though.)

(Second Post) It cut off my links, which are http://www.pioneerfund.org/ and http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/us/17immig.html?pagewanted=1&_r=3&sq=john%20tanton&st=cse&scp=1 and http://www.motherofexiles.org/2010/12/racist-roots-of-anti-immigration_10.html  I seriously hope someone at Fox News will be made aware of this and make the appropriate changes.  It's disgusting to promote a racist agenda, to say the least.

In response to the original article, I just can't let this go by:

Despite its $26 billion budget deficit, the state spends $21.5 billion dollars annually subsidizing illegal alien health care, education, welfare, other state benefits and criminal justice. Every California native-born household chips in $2438 each year to help.

First of all, illegal immigrants pay taxes!  They pay mortgages or rent, which means they pay property taxes which are supposed to pay for their childrens' education.  They pay sales taxes, which are supposed to pay for local governments and their awful welfare schemes.  Their employers pay state and local taxes, as well as social security and Medicare taxes for their workers.  And in many, if not most, cases, they pay federal income taxes too!  Now they may be using a false social security number (which would actually prevent them from collecting on many services), but they're paying, and way too much just as the rest of us are!  Once again, FAIR has let its emotionally charged racism get in the way of the truth, practicality and common sense. 

The real problem in the US is not that we're running out of room or money or resources.  The problem is the welfare state!  The problem is that the government is stealing nightmarish amounts of everyone's income.  The problem is everyone has to rely on the government for so many every day things and we're taxed heavily for it, so much so that we can barely take care of ourselves even when we want to!

FAIR is anything but fair and I consider them evil.  It sure would be nice if conservatives and the mainstream media would wise up to their antics.

Bad Immigration Policy Threatens Economic Recovery

While I don't agree with everything the author of this Washington Post article writes, the numbers and his bottom line estimate are accurate and scary.

The timing of the immigration battles couldn’t be worse. Just as China has become the second-largest economy in the world and India follows on its heels to become number three, their best and the brightest are losing interest in coming to the U.S. Immigrant entrepreneurs and foreign engineering students—who receive 60 percent of America’s engineering Ph.D.s and 40 percent of its master’s—are headed home.

There are several reasons why they head home, but a major player is the fact that it's becoming increasingly difficult for them to stay legally.  This is really bad for America now, but it promises to get worse.

Given America’s history, these findings are devastating. Over the past four decades, graduates of the top Indian and Chinese engineering colleges flocked to the U.S. to launch their careers, and many stayed and started tech companies. My research team documented that, from 1995 to 2005, foreign-born workers founded 52 percent of Silicon Valley’s startups. In 2006, foreign nationals residing in the U.S contributed to 26 percent of America’s global patents. One in four doctors in the U.S. are foreign-born, as are nearly half of all scientists and engineers who have a doctorate.

America is in desperate need of an economical boost.  We need more companies, more employers, more innovation and as anyone who needs medical care knows, more doctors!  America needs to return to its capitalist roots and embrace the immigrant, for more reasons than one.

Russell Pearce Faces Recall in Arizona

Russell Pearce, the white supremacist, anti-immigration politician that has drafted some of Arizona's worst immigration laws, is now facing a recall.  From The New York Times:

It has been a rough year for Russell Pearce, the president of the Arizona Senate, as he has sought to solidify his state’s reputation as the nation’s incubator for hard-edged conservative policies.

He has seen fellow Republicans defy him and the Republican governor issue a raft of vetoes to keep his agenda in check. Now, so many critics in his suburban district have signed a recall petition that he will have to defend himself in a special election.

“It’s time for him to go,” said Randy Parraz, a labor organizer from outside Mr. Pearce’s district who has been leading the effort to oust him.

While it doesn't sound like the recall is likely to be successful, at least it's a thorn in Pearce's side.  As he states in the article:

"I stand for what I stand for, and I've never varied"

And he's right.  Pearce is a bigot and he's principled about it.  More people need to realize that.