Immigration (Legal & Non)

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
feelings-wise I'm pro-both, generally. ningún ser humano es ilegal, after all. but talking in practical IR/political/& especially economic terms. don't intend this to be solely U.S./Mexico, but in general. after all it perhaps even a bigger/more contentious issue in Europe, even if you guys can't match us for sheer militarization & solipsistic callousness. & obv the issue will only become more pressing as resources decline, economic inequities widen, etc.

flows of human traffic, how states & other actors attempt, with or without success, to control or direct those flows. the paradox of ever "freer" trade w/ever more tightly policed borders. the interrelations between legal & illegal flows of humans, goods, capital, etc. & so on.

Saskia Sassen article from 2006 - scathing takedown of the ineptitude of U.S. border policy & how it relates to the EU

But the difference is actually not where the limits of walls make themselves visible. The wall and the weaponised border function in a vaster ecology. That larger ecology helps explain the failures of government attempts to stop unauthorised migration via border controls.
Before 1992, the cost of making one arrest along the US-Mexico border stood at $300; by 2002, that cost had grown by 467% to $1,700 and the probability of apprehension had fallen to a forty-year low. In the 1980s, the probability that an undocumented migrant would be detained while crossing was 33%; by 2000 it was 10%, despite massive increases in spending on border enforcement.
The winners include arms manufacturers; large corporate employers in particular sectors of the economy that tend to employ significant numbers of undocumented workers; various lobbies; employers of undocumented immigrants generally...and the growing numbers of smugglers whose fees and business have expanded as government policies make border-crossing more difficult and risky....The losers include citizens whose taxes are paying for a far larger and costlier border-control operation that is not even reducing illegal crossings (the intended policy outcome); the migrants themselves whose crossings have become far more difficult, dangerous, and sometimes deadly (as well as costly, given the greater need to use a smuggler)...
plus loads of other cogent points

pdf from 1999 (but still relevant, perhaps even moreso) cited in the article - The Escalation of U.S. Immigration Control in the Post-NAFTA Era

Enhanced border policing, I argue, has less to do with actual deterrence
and more to do with managing the image of the border and coping with the
deepening contradictions of economic integration.
on a personal note:

when I was teaching (or trying to anyway) English to migrant laborers in Oakland back in 2004-6 or so nearly everyone I'd meet was from southern Mexico - Chiapas, Oaxaca, Yucatan, Tabasco, Veracruz - or Guatamala, El Salvador, Nicaragua. the ripple effects of NAFTA.

the U.S./Mexico border is a truly grim place, tho of course some spots (Juarez/El Paso, for example) are grimmer than others. it is one thing to read about & another to see it first hand - the white Border Patrol (or DHS now I guess) SUVs patrolling in the desert, arrays of cameras, abysmal poverty, the gross specter of American tourists, the fabricas & their female workforces & paramilitarized security. the whole thing is lunacy, really.

once had a friend nicked while we were trying to cross the border legally (him in a car w/us Americans). it was bloody awful. had a few other mates nicked. thankfully haven't known anyone who died trying to cross. also in the States, living w/folks w/o papers - the constant paranoia (ironically, as most of them hated the U.S. & would have liked nothing more than to go back were it not for $ issues).
 
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padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
I know it's a bit of a diatribe, sorry - I'm off school - 4th of July weekend - take that you Limey mucks;)! sod King George & all that.

also, b/c why the hell not, a great clip of the mighty mighty Los Crudos - Chicago via Uruguay & other points south - on the topic of immigration.

Los Crudos - Illeqal y Que?
 
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padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
best of luck Sick Boy. if you don't mind my asking - it's to what, become a Canadian citizen? (feel free not not to answer if it's too personal of course)

this is another excruciating, & underreported, side of immigration - dealing with the bureaucracies. I've never experienced it but again, seen loads of friends struggle thru it; the the endless layers of red tape, the reams of paperwork & the rounds of interviews, the indefinite limbo of being stuck in bureaucratic purgatory. it is damaging for the state as well of course - grossly inefficient use of resources, often undermines its own attempts at enforcement, etc.

@Vim - for real, the best hardcore band ever (great name too crudos essentially means that straight raw). & straight up Chicago, out of Pilsen. another great track by another Latin band:

Revolución X - I'm Making My Future With the Border Patrol
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
oh - well best of luck anyway. I imagine working at the Canadian Ministry of Immigration is considerably less awful than working for, say, the Department of Homeland Security.

actually Canada's been having immigration issues recently w/U.S. deserters yeah? not a story that gets a ton of coverage here but I imagine it does up there.
 
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nomadthethird

more issues than Time mag
Ok, Padraig, maybe you can answer this for me: when people talk about the U.S. being "callous" on immigration, what exactly do they mean? Because every city I've ever lived in or been to in the U.S. defies that assumption pretty readily. Like in Bushwick, there's a state hospital directly in the middle of a neighborhood with a very low ratio of (naturalized) citizens to illegal immigrants. You can walk into the hospital any time and get health care, no questions asked, and then blow off the bill, if they even bother sending one, which I've noticed they don't if you lack insurance. The immigrant kids go to public school and get free lunch and all of that. Most of the illegals are getting welfare benefits, through one loophole or another. If they're not on benefits, they're running really lucrative contracting (restaurant, etc.) businesses and working their asses off.

So wtf are people talking about when they say we're mean to immigrants? I'm sure there's got to be something to it but I haven't witnessed it with my own eyes.
 

nomadthethird

more issues than Time mag
this is another excruciating, & underreported, side of immigration - dealing with the bureaucracies. I've never experienced it but again, seen loads of friends struggle thru it; the the endless layers of red tape, the reams of paperwork & the rounds of interviews, the indefinite limbo of being stuck in bureaucratic purgatory. it is damaging for the state as well of course - grossly inefficient use of resources, often undermines its own attempts at enforcement, etc.
Ummm...that's what my grandparents had to deal with, too. They had to get on some kind of boat or whatever and then wait on an Island to get passed through and "named" and all of that. I mean, not that it's all peaches and cream and rainbows, but are immigration policies better somewhere else? I don't understand what the comparison is with? Documenting people is a bureacratic process, still--although I'm sure this process could be streamlined, is there any country that just lets anyone in with no questions asked? Most of the "bureacratic purgatory" is by way of background checks so we're not just letting any old criminal in who's trying to evade extradition.

The U.S. is probably much more lenient than many other countries on its immigration standards, or at least it was historically, otherwise most of my family would not have been allowed in.
 

nomadthethird

more issues than Time mag
From what I've heard, the Border Patrol is only there for show and isn't doing shit to stop anyone from getting into the U.S. I know somebody who worked for it. They used to play cards all night and watch the people walk by. They truly did not give a shit.
 

nomadthethird

more issues than Time mag
"The War on Drugs", "The War on Terror", now "The War on Illegal Immigration"--every neo-con project seems to be predicated on deliberate ineptitude, doesn't it? Do they really care about illegals, or do they just want to make a big ideological noise about it, while exploiting the cheap labor once it flows in?

Really, the problem of borders is a "subset" of the problem of the State, don't you think? Until there are no states, there will be the problem of borders.
 

scottdisco

rip this joint please
Fortress Europe, man.

Fortress Fucking Europe.

mind, having a dig at illegal immigrants isn't just a neo-con thing. other stripes of politician make hay from this too, many many other stripes. populist left-leaning and paleo-con in the UK for two, or populist right-leaning in the Netherlands for one, or populist cunts in Italy for one (is populist cunt a category? i think so).

North Koreans trying to escape.

all the developing states - particularly in Asia and Africa - that host the majority of the world's refugees.

IDPs in large number in places like Colombia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, across much of the Caucasus.

Sudanese in Chad.

bloated Mauritanian corpses washed up on Spanish beaches.

"He told us this would happen and it did" - comments of an Australian refugee advocacy group during the then-Howard govt's time of sending an asylum seeker back to Afghanistan: he said he would be murdered if he went back (he was claiming asylum on grounds of political persecution back home).
he went home and got knocked off.

economic migration, politically-motivated asylum, the list is endless, fuck off Maroni.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
have to say Nomad, I'm kinda stunned by your seeming naivety. you do realize that most of the stuff you wrote wouldn't sound out of place coming out of the mouth of a Minuteman (or Lou Dobbs), right?

that hospital in Bushwick, those public schools (excluding the children who were born here & are thus U.S. citizens), those are not signs of goodwill towards immigrants. they are signs of inefficient bureaucracies (esp in re: health care!), self-contradictory policies on immigration & inept, selective enforcement of such policies as exist. anyway, have you ever sat in one of those hospitals for hrs & hrs waiting for your care under a fake name so you can dodge the bill? I have. it sucks (tho obv better than no care at all) - you can't go back for follow up appointments, you can't (legally) get pain medication, etc.

as to your frankly, absurd, contention that "most of the illegals" are getting welfare benefits or "running really lucrative contracting" I don't really know what to say. other than it's simply not true. I've certainly known illegals who were doing well/well off but the large majority are doing crap jobs for long hours w/low pay often (esp. in, say, meatpacking) in dangerous conditions.

hundreds of people die every year trying to cross the desert in Arizona or Texas. I guess this could be argued that this is a relatively low # compared to the total # of people crossing. or that it's their fault for trying to cross illegally - ignoring the often insurmountable difficulties of trying to cross legally & the economic desperation that would drive people to travel thousands of miles & risk arrest or even death for the glorious opportunity of standing outside Home Depot & hoping to get a job doing backbreaking manual labor at >minimum wage.

do I mean that you, Nomad, are personally mean to immigrants? no. "we" & "our" are, admittedly, problematic terms. tho also I don't equate "callousness" w/being "mean". except in the case of, again, the Minutemen etc. & pundits & politicians who pander to them. rather - our immigration "policy" such as it is, is to militarize the hell out of the border & to simultaneously make it so difficult to legally immigrate that many people who would simply can't do so.
 
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padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
Ummm...that's what my grandparents had to deal with, too. They had to get on some kind of boat or whatever and then wait on an Island to get passed through and "named" and all of that. I mean, not that it's all peaches and cream and rainbows, but are immigration policies better somewhere else? I don't understand what the comparison is with? Documenting people is a bureacratic process, still--although I'm sure this process could be streamlined, is there any country that just lets anyone in with no questions asked? Most of the "bureacratic purgatory" is by way of background checks so we're not just letting any old criminal in who's trying to evade extradition.

The U.S. is probably much more lenient than many other countries on its immigration standards, or at least it was historically, otherwise most of my family would not have been allowed in.
I'm not asking for anyone to let ppl in w/no questions asked. have you ever known someone who was dealing w/the INS/DHS etc.? it is not just "background checks". I'm sorry, but that is fucking garbage. I've had friends who were married (legimitately & non) & dealt with years of paperwork, invasive interviews, bureaucratic shuffling & reshuffling. there's also people who are arrested, either at the border or later, who can sit around in jail for months on end (on taxpayer $) waiting to be deported. or people whose children were born here who get deported away from their families. but you're right, we have to keep out the criminals.

re: the U.S. & it's historically lenient immigration standards. see:

Chinese Exclusion Act
Operation Wetback - no I'm not making that name up

& good thing your grandparents, like mine, made it over well before WWII - presumably - cos Jews trying to get in the late 30s-40s didn't do too well.

& so on.

on the other hand if you're a Cuban & you say you're anti-Castro you're golden as soon as you touch American soil (presuming you can make it across the 90 miles of open water in an intertube or whatever). so there's that. 98% of the Mariel boatlift Cubans made it in including, of course, various & sundry "old criminals".
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
From what I've heard, the Border Patrol is only there for show and isn't doing shit to stop anyone from getting into the U.S. I know somebody who worked for it. They used to play cards all night and watch the people walk by. They truly did not give a shit.
this is also just not true. tho I can't speak to what your friend says & I imagine it's different depending on where one is posted (i.e., the Canadian border). I don't think, at all, that Border Patrol agents are racists/sadists out to bust heads for kicks (tho surely there are a smattering of those types, as w/any security force) - I reckon most people are probably attracted by the pay, or have patriotic motivations. also, certainly the Border Patrol, which is accountable to someone, is much preferable to vigilantes.

but don't mistake, it's a deadly serious business - on both sides. it's certainly not "just for show" - again, I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous. we are talking death, shootouts, drugs, human trafficking.

"The War on Drugs", "The War on Terror", now "The War on Illegal Immigration"--every neo-con project seems to be predicated on deliberate ineptitude, doesn't it? Do they really care about illegals, or do they just want to make a big ideological noise about it, while exploiting the cheap labor once it flows in?

Really, the problem of borders is a "subset" of the problem of the State, don't you think? Until there are no states, there will be the problem of borders.
OTOH I agree w/both of these. in re: the former - see the reluctance to enforce immigration policy in meatpacking, agribusiness, big construction, etc. in re: the latter - sure but seeing as we have states we have borders. Vim to cut on in some tip about how globalization is changing the model of sovereignty & all that.
 
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nomadthethird

more issues than Time mag
It was an honest question--I was asking because as far as I can tell, immigration in the U.S. is following a familiar pattern, but with hispanics being at the center now, instead of other groups who have historically been there. It's not entirely easy here for immigrants in the U.S. in many ways, but it never was. It's not entirely easy here for citizens from many areas, either, for the same reasons--health care, bad school systems, problems resulting from drugs, gangs, ghetto-ization.

From what I've heard, the Mexican border constraints have become more militaristic, but mostly as a "show" of power, because as far as numbers are concerned, these displays of "border control" have done precious little to halt hispanic immigration into the U.S.

The person I know worked in Texas as a border guard, about 5 years ago, but moved back to NY. From what he said, the situation there was not violent, but I don't know if that can be generalized...for all I know it's terrible, but I'm just saying, there's often a difference between what the ideologues preach and what their practices actually amount to, and I think immigration is no different.
 

nomadthethird

more issues than Time mag
anyway, have you ever sat in one of those hospitals for hrs & hrs waiting for your care under a fake name so you can dodge the bill? I have. it sucks (tho obv better than no care at all) - you can't go back for follow up appointments, you can't (legally) get pain medication, etc.
No, I've gone to that ER dozens of time and used my real name with no insurance and sat with the rest of the uninsured in the asthma room. They have to have a special one, because the rates of asthma in Bushwick are so high, because of the industrial smog. I haven't had an asthma attack or used my inhaler since I left. You absolutely can get pain medication, my bf gets methadone shots there all the time.

I've actually experienced that same hospital with and without insurance, and I can tell you it's a much quicker and friendlier experience if you have insurance. But that doesn't mean you can't get treated if you're an illegal. That's bullshit. Illegals don't go because they're afraid of getting deported, not because they will get deported. Doctor-patient privilege and the hypocratic oath are such that doctors MUST treat anyone who walks into a state-run hospital.
 

nomadthethird

more issues than Time mag
I'm not asking for anyone to let ppl in w/no questions asked. have you ever known someone who was dealing w/the INS/DHS etc.? it is not just "background checks". I'm sorry, but that is fucking garbage. I've had friends who were married (legimitately & non) & dealt with years of paperwork, invasive interviews, bureaucratic shuffling & reshuffling. there's also people who are arrested, either at the border or later, who can sit around in jail for months on end (on taxpayer $) waiting to be deported. or people whose children were born here who get deported away from their families. but you're right, we have to keep out the criminals.

re: the U.S. & it's historically lenient immigration standards. see:

Chinese Exclusion Act
Operation Wetback - no I'm not making that name up

& good thing your grandparents, like mine, made it over well before WWII - presumably - cos Jews trying to get in the late 30s-40s didn't do too well.

& so on.

on the other hand if you're a Cuban & you say you're anti-Castro you're golden as soon as you touch American soil (presuming you can make it across the 90 miles of open water in an intertube or whatever). so there's that. 98% of the Mariel boatlift Cubans made it in including, of course, various & sundry "old criminals".
Yes, and when my Italian grandparents came, they were only allowed because they faked birth certificates that established some kind of relationship between them and "relatives" already living in the U.S. Oh yeah, and their business associates paid off the appropriate officials.

This is the game, this is how it's played, this is how it's always been played, this is how it works. If you play by the INS' rules, unless you're white and from the EU, you're probably going to get stuck in the red tape, and you're not going to get in.

I've never heard of the Chinese Exclusion Act, but "Operation Wetback" was more about drugs and politics than it was about immigration...of course, it's always more about economics and politics than it is about "immigration"...

The "refugees" we welcome with open arms are always politically convenient. Those we shun are also convenient to this or that cause. It's not fair, but what the hell are nations going to do? I love how people simultaneously want Empire to stop colonizing and forcing their hideous American way of life on everyone, but then at the same time they're supposed to let EVERYBODY in... it's kinda cute.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
This is the game, this is how it's played, this is how it's always been played, this is how it works. If you play by the INS' rules, unless you're white and from the EU, you're probably going to get stuck in the red tape, and you're not going to get in.
your point being what, exactly? that things have always sucked so they always will suck & oh well no use complaining? (quick pedantic note - there isn't an actual INS & hasn't been since 2003 - it's under DHS - hence the inevitable mixups of economic immigration & security issues)

of course, it's always more about economics and politics than it is about "immigration"...
obv, tho I dunno to what extent you can separate the latter from the former anyway. especially economics.

I love how people simultaneously want Empire to stop colonizing and forcing their hideous American way of life on everyone, but then at the same time they're supposed to let EVERYBODY in... it's kinda cute.
please don't mischaracterize what I said & then attribute some vague nonsense to "people". that is the kind of bullshit you always rip to threads when Zhao (no offense if you read that Z - U kno it's all luv) or whoever does it. I would never go off on some goofy shit about "Empire" w/gratuitous capitalization. you're looking for the K-punk fanboys there. tho, for the record, looking askance at cultural imperialism & being critical of American immigration policy are not exactly contradictory.

is it so much to ask for an approach to immigration that is 1) mostly consistent & 2) reasonably humane? maybe it is. b/c, again, it's not as if the militarize/crackdown approach is getting anywhere, even at what it's intended to do. tho I guess in a way it doesn't matter- sheer weight of #s will trump the BS, it already does.
 
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