I was hoping you would consider both sides of the issue. I try to out of habbit. It's developed a sort of reflexive 'devil's advocate' mindset that keeps me from blathering out right-wing garbage without considering left-wing reasoning.
I do like to think there are some useful points within troubled suggestions, but I think most of this is off the mark. You have suggested that both Blacks and immigrants are leeching off a system which would otherwise treat them fairly. In fact, on the whole, government policies have not led toward equality with Whites for either group. Wealth has been hoarded along racial lines through political means. I really have to take issue the way you seem to depict both Blacks and immigrants on the whole.
One after another, the Irish, Germans, Italians, Poles, Russian Jews, and other immigrant groups worked their way up into the middle class. In contrast, today’s immigrants soon pick up on the fact that their situation translates into politically recognized and encouraged victimhood. They have rights which can be played to their advantage. As recognized victims, they enjoy special legal protections. Just as some blacks use “racial discrimination” as an excuse for personal bad behavior, so some immigrants use the moral and legal options available to them to demand special treatment.
This suggests you are not familiar with the history of Blacks. It's implying that we can explain why many, many
Blacks and recent immigrants don’t achieve economic parity by pointing to “personal bad behavior” by “some” of them. This sounds to me like a thinly veiled claim that actually, they’re all crooks. You have tried to apply that notion to immigration policy without addressing the argument that racial discrimination has played a historical role in keeping these populations down. In fact, it has. They have
marginalized and exploited.
On the whole, Black families still hold limited resources long after slavery. In particular, they don’t have comparable home value or financial assets to leverage investment in new enterprises. Rather than assuming that they only succeed when given handouts, we can track this situation to a number of racially biased policies across generations. These include courtroom favor given to lynch mobs, minorities being systematically denied or deterred from voting (from Jim Crow to current “monitoring” that questions their ID and phone records disproportionately), segregationist state and local policies, capricious local funding choices, and rigged housing prices and central policies that have encouraged housing and infrastructure to concentrate in higher-priced, widely dispersed (and presto, look, “less Black”!) suburbs and outskirt cities.
Much of the
most consistent right-wing platform of recent decades has been to conserve wealth for the rich (and overkill military spending) to the detriment of the rest of the economy. In addition, social programs were also cut. You might imagine how these policies have impacted the long-term opportunities of Black and immigrant families, from one generation to the next, on top of everything above. These are the millions of families for whom, if they support let us say welfare or affirmative action, you note they might do it on the basis of complaining of “victimhood.” No true victim prefers to be one, so it seems like the word 'victim' was chosen for its potential to humiliate. Through such language, conservatives often attempt to explain away identity politics (also including GLBT and others). They hint that anyone who points out injustice against their people as a group, is somehow weak and inadequate. Please humor me as I try to press that a moment: I hope you will not feel too "victimized" if I point out that there is a long and continuing history of abuse. Did you enjoy the word as much as I did? So... Before you insinuate that the Black claims of inequality are being made only out of weakness and not based in fact, you might first research whether they have in fact been systematically denied opportunities.
Convinced that federal welfare programs promoted laziness, promiscuity, and moral decay, Reagan limited benefits to those he considered the "truly needy." His administration cut spending on a variety of social welfare programs, including Aid to Families with Dependent Children; food stamps; child nutrition; job training for young people; programs to prevent child abuse; and mental health services. The Reagan administration also eliminated welfare assistance for the working poor and reduced federal subsidies for child-care services for low-income families.
All of this hurts working-class legal residents too. It even weakens the expanding lower middle class. It’s worse for immigrants because they have low financial resources to begin with, and
lower social status. Among the effects of low social status, I would count: The law functions to keep them away from foundations for progress that historically, Whites were able to secure based on assets, earlier entry into the elite, and now preferential treatment under some policies. The Arizona move compounds the worst tendencies of a bureaucracy that maintains unequal access in crucial areas.
Should one choose to neglect all that – which is already a huge omission… On top of that, it’s possible to also
overlook the fact that historically immigration policy (quotas, supporting moral panics and all) has been about positively creating a certain class imbalance from the very beginning… Then, we could treat immigrants as if they existed in a vacuum and were largely responsible for their own fate. That would make it easier to sustain sweeping claims about whether the immigrants have it together enough, are good enough or moral enough as a racial or ethnic type
. That almost makes it sound “reasonable” to classify them with a broad brush as shady characters who are not good enough or strong enough in their very nature. Or in a sly twist, one might choose to argue that liberal social policies are the
reason that immigrants cannot make it. One could say that, while ignoring the discrimination. But on the whole, Whites have not been kept in a situation where they needed government help to begin with.
I don’t presume to know what you’re reading and believing or not, exactly. Nevertheless… Between the lines of what you’re saying, I sense the principles of a very reactionary undercurrent. This myth is not only aimed at “explaining” the plight of illegal residents. It is designed to prescribe a lifestyle for the working to lower-middle class masses. It denies or neglects a whole political economy of race. Simplified in "rant" form, the story goes something like this: "How dare these immigrants lose the great morals of their conservative elders, good traditional family values sharpened in those authoritarian and dangerous regimes which they must have fled to be here in the first place. Alas, their home economies would actually have really kept them much more honest! See how much death squads, lack of infrastructure, and single-product markets did for their character? Back in the homeland, these sweet and simple people had a real work ethic, handed down in their own authentic culture! It was not denuded by the corruption of those
violent, broken family inner city folk -- whom we shall not name here. [Zuckerman: "negative behavior pattern of their peer groups."] If only they could have maintained and acted on such principles in America. Why, if only every American could – then any good family (or at least the most conservative, best of them) would achieve the great dream within a reasonable 20 years or 40. But no, they are weak, just like those other
inner city people of today. Hint: you really know the Blacks
are the penultimate failures right. And you do believe, it’s their nature and not policy and racial discrimination at fault, right?"
In case it’s not perfectly clear: No. I don’t buy that. But if one does accept that line, then it becomes much more feasible to simultaneously blame liberal policies that many immigrants don't succeed economically -- and
at the same time, to blame the immigrants for failing to tough it out anyway! Much the same reasoning used to tell the legal, White underclass that they are to blame if they don't organize their finances, families and even personal lives to be perfectly secure and more immediately, to be approved under conservative eyes. Never mind those financial crises, declining public services, etc. The American dream lives! Just do it how we tell you, it'll be okay for your grandchildren while we cut schools and public transit, make new incomprehensible derivatives to sell, and spend on another year or ten of war... That’s quite a juggling act.
…the children of today’s immigrants “form a rainbow underclass, caught in a cycle of downward assimilation, poverty combined with racial segregation. Often separated for long periods from their parents, especially their fathers, during the immigration process, they stop doing homework, reject their parents’ values, and succumb to the dangers of an overcrowded inner-city culture. They face overwhelmed teachers, limited social service resources, and a decaying infrastructure, and they often adopt the negative behavior pattern of their peer groups, such as academic indifference and substance abuse, leading to dropout rates three times as high as for native-born Americans. Even the stellar performance of Asian children declines - studies show that by the third generation, Chinese students no longer exceed whites in educational success.”
There has been a steady negative trend reflected by the laxing of our border control and immigration policies. Turning a blind eye to it is beyond me.
That’s written as if social decay is an obvious consequence of permissive immigration as such. It’s missing the continuing history of racial policies that affect immigrants after they enter the country. You’re suggesting that both the structural inequality immigrants face in the American system and
their failure to overcome it all is a natural result of immigration law combined with liberal social policies like affirmative action. In fact, liberal platforms have generally been gutted to support upper-class tax breaks and wars. They haven’t been funded as originally intended nor allowed to run the course, with the notable exception of Medicare. I suspect it is more accurate to say that immigration has been permissive until politicians need a scapegoat (such as in economic downturns) and – more problematically – that immigration policy has combined with discriminatory race policies. The discrimination is a real problem, but I would prefer to have more opportunity and equality for everyone. Which brings me to this:
I question who pays for the overrun of relatively impoverished newcomers eligible for welfare, free schooling, and other expensive services?
Limited resources is a more worthy concern in my book. If they are eligible, then the immigration law may now be in conflict with the welfare law. (I can't help pointing out, this is often what happens if you "follow" the law closely enough. You have to choose which one to follow.) I don’t have data on how many are actually eligible for these services, and how many would (more I suspect, would not) raise their public profile to collect. Aside from the long-term costs of removing their (rather exploitative) labor from the country… I think this also should be part of a broader discussion about using finances efficiently. That means a more effective national health care policy and a tax policy that doesn’t allow the upper-class to stow away so much wealth. Let’s start expanding the pie, first.
In contrast: If we police immigration based upon a conservative view of that law, the pie stays the same. We probably increase the costs of policing and agriculture. The economic downturn remains, either way. If it were actually feasible to deport many, I doubt it would cost much less to replace them with legal workers, without shaking up the whole (more money, more hunts for political scapegoats in the short run). Finally, I suspect, the right would continue to cry foul. Expect continued talk about how Blacks, gays, single mothers, and public spending on education and infrastructure are the “real” problems.