Monday, April 03, 2006

Vatos Locos For....hiiire?


Being an expat (pseudo-expat), I feel sensitive to immigration issues. While I do have a little bit of a "special" status here in Japan (as far as immigration goes), I have been Joe Blow the Gaijin Man out on the local economy and have had to play the immigration game on more occasions than I wanted to.

......but the point is, I did. If you live in any country for a while, you're going to be able to find the tricks, loopholes, and shortcuts in the immigration system, but if you are serious about staying in a country, is it really worth it? If I had violated any immigration laws and gotten nailed for it, I wouldn't have the job that I have now, or any job in Japan for that matter. When I enter the country I accept those rules, whatever they are, and also accept responsibility for what may happen to me if I violate them.

So I've kinda been following the whole immigration thing back in the US of A, and I've been impressed at what an emotional issue it's become. I've also gotten a huge kick out of some of the slogans and "statistics" (TUOQ!!) being thrown around. Like the following:

  • No person is illegal!!

    No one is arguing that a "person" is illegal. Their status here may be illegal, making them an "illegal immigrant," or their actions may be illegal. People being here legally would obviate such silly displays of semantic goofiness.

  • Immigrants are responsible for people of lower incomes, particularly high school dropouts, having an 8% lower salary

    I heard this on the news this morning and I felt like someone slapped me in the face. Hold the phones. Back up. That's like saying, "lack of laundry facilities resulted in people stinking more, particularly those who habitually shit their pants." I think that's all I need to say on that.

  • Building a wall on the border is somehow like the Berlin Wall

    Ugh, I despise cheap rhetoric. Why stop there? "Building a wall is like turning Mexico into a nazi death camp!" People like throwing nazi stuff around so much, so I thought I'd help them out. "A wall on the border makes us feel like we're in Auchwitz!" How can you protest a wall? If you're here legally, why do you care? Here's a scenario: Your next door neighbors insist on coming over and hanging out on your lawn even though you tell them not to. You put up a fence. They complain about the fence. What would you say to them? Probably something along the lines of "go fuck yourself."

    Like most issues (particularly emotional ones), I'm trying to keep an open mind on this one. I think immigrant workers are incredibly important and let us buy stuff on the cheap, but at the same time, human exploitation, however willing the exploitees may be, is a horrible thing. There are a lot of jobs that Americans feel they are, for some reason, above doing, and would rather be on welfare. If that's the case, fuck 'em. You don't wanna work? Fuck you. Someone else will. And if that's the case, I'll pay a couple dollars more for household items and food if it means raising the wages and/or providing health insurance for immigrant workers.

    I also think the guest worker deal is an awesome idea, assuming it's not tailored for just Mexicans. If they did it right, and made it kind've like the holiday working visa, it could potentially open up opportuniteis for Americans to work abroad as well. The international community has a lot to say about Americans not being very well internationally traveled, but they can kiss my ass for a couple reasons:

    1) America is REALLY big
    My country is as big as your continent, and the state I grew up in (Colorado) is bigger than your country. So I don't wanna hear it. Just because you're Spanish or whatever and have been to Germany, France, and Portugal, don't sit there and shit on Americans because they "don't even have a passport."

    2) The USA doesn't offer holiday working visas
    Most Americans don't know what a holiday working visa is because the option isn't available to them like it is in Canada, Australia, the UK, and New Zealand (and like every other European country). Basically, if you are under the age of 30 and have some money in the bank, you can get this special visa, travel abroad, and work legally. A lot of people get them in their early 20s, fuck around in Japan teaching English or working in bars, then go home. Or they change it to a regular working visa (if they're sponsored by a company, which is easy) and stay. In any case, since the USA doesn't allow anyone else to do it, we can't do it anywhere else due to reciprocal immigration laws. We can typically only travel on a tourist visa, which is usually 3-6 months, during which time you're not allowed to work. (I believe the penalty for working illegally in Japan on a tourist visa is getting kicked out and not being able to come back for 5 years.)

    If the USA allowed "guest workers" and treated it like a holiday working visa, maybe younger Americans would have more opportunities to travel abroad via reciprocal immigration laws, and experience all there is to experience working and living abroad. While I'm not particularly concerned with foreign opinion on the travel habits of Americans, anything to get pompous assholes to shut their yaps works for me. Another cool thing that would happen is that it would give Americans who hate America the opportunity to go elsewhere and work. They could go to a 3rd world nation, live on the local economy, and return to the USA with a better formed opinion of the world and a greater appreciation of what they have. If they still hate the USA so badly, they could stay abroad and open up a space for someone a little more appreciative. If the USA is such an oppressive regime, people could go work in Mexico or Cambodia to get a new view on things.

    More importantly, if it were easier for other 3rd worlders to get in, I think it'd be funny to see a bunch of Mexicans sitting around complaining about Burmese immigrants or whoever stealing their jobs.

    So that's the size of it, I guess. I'm curious to see if certain Corys have a different spin on this. Either way, I think that opening more opportunities for immigrants to come to the states legally and protecting them from exploitation is great, but it's only reasonable to expect them to behave according to the laws of the land. There are plenty of people who have contributed to society and made the country a better place, but they too are not above to law. If they break the rules, they pay. Expecting a mulligan from immigration is absurd -- I wouldn't expect one here, and I wouldn't expect the USA to give one to someone who illegally entered the country either. Futhermore, it's a slap in the face to people who have taken the necessary steps to do it the right way. If I've been totally unreasonable in anything I've said, please tell me because I want to hear good arguments.
  • 25 Comments:

    Blogger Hoss said...

    Not gonna hear any arguments from me.

    Illegal means illegal, people need to stop with that absurd "undocumented" bullshit. Are people in the states afraid they are going to have to spend an extra quarter for their value meals if we get rid of the illegals. Between the medical costs we incur from them using emergency rooms as primary care, three times the cost to educate their kids, 17% of the federal prison population cost, etc., etc., etc., I would say that any arguments stating we can't afford things without them is complete bullshit.

    If they want to come legally...they are more than welcome. Ask anybody who came here legally about giving the current illegals amnesty and you will get an f'ing ear-full. And how could you blame them?

    I'm down for work visas or whatever as well, just as long as they're fucking serious about enforcing the time limits.

    Do we really need to add to our numbers of poor here, because the money they make likely qualifies them for things like the earned income tax credits (redistribution scheme) and flat-out complete tax refunds.

    One last thing, what are the odds the illegals will work for the same money they are now if they are given amnesty? Not very likely (+benefits). We have people on welfare, why do we have to impor laborers.

    Enough bitching.

    11:29 AM  
    Blogger brando said...

    I'm cool with the way it is. Not paying employees health insurance rules. If they choose to break the law, then we may "help them out" by paying a "better than mexico" wage. Just tell em not to commit crimes, or get hurt on the job, or piss anyone off in any way. Then we can get lots of productivity, and everyone wins. Think Win-Win.

    12:07 PM  
    Blogger Paul said...

    Hoss: Agreed. People already think they're entitled to automatic citizenship because they've been here awhile.. Imagine what they think they'd be entitled to if they were given amnesty? "Back when I was just another illegal I was special, but now I'm SUPER special!"

    Oh yeah, and good point -- if being "undocumented" means that you do not have legal status, then you are illegal.

    Brando: I can't disagree with you. I don't think many Mexicans come to the USA thinking that they'll have a benefits plan including health/dental care and 401K fund matching, and I seriously doubt they're leaving a similar set up behind in Mexico. I'd like to see immigrant workers given some sort of benefits, assuming they're legal, or have Mexico foot the bill for their guest workers. Wanna get injured on the job? We'll drive you back to Mexico so you can get patched up, and then you can come back when you're feeling better.

    I think the part that gets on my nerves the most is when people come to the USA [illegally] talking about their "rights," all the while thumbing their nose at the same system. Sorry, you can't do that.

    12:41 PM  
    Blogger brando said...

    Oh, wait. I want to be clear. If someone has a work permit, or is a legal resident, or of course, a full blown citizen, they should be offered health insurance, and be protected by US workers laws. I doubt that anyone would argue that, but I'm sometimes surprised.

    What I'm saying that might be offensive is that I have no problem with employers hiring illegal workers for undesirable jobs, and then paying them a profitable wage. It's not necessary to extend them insurance, because they are under the constant threat of deportment. This way they are doing the least desirable jobs, that still need to be done, and getting paid a better than Mexico wage. If they truly are taking a citizen's job, the citizen can just report them. Everyone wins.

    Folks are using "immigrant" and "illegal immigrant" synonymously as a ruse to blur the two concepts in our minds. It's a cunning attempt to trick us.

    As far as illegal immigrants "rights" extended to US citizens in the constitution? Well...I became a lot less concerned about illegal workers when I saw this.

    This one's fun too. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would say that this is proof that Mexicans are conspiring to violently overthrow our country and replace it with socialism. OMG! The sign even says "Revolution" or at least "Revolutiono".

    Actually in my mind it says “Revulsion”. That's an odd persuasive method. After I see that, I don't care about that person's cause at all. Get lost, get real, come back, then we'll talk.

    1:47 PM  
    Blogger Paul said...

    WOW. Roger that. It's comical. I see stuff like that and my brain isn't quite sure how to react. Can one guffaw and throw up at the same time?? Like I always say, I'll be here in Japan, where it's safe.

    2:15 PM  
    Blogger nedric said...

    In detassling I remember the supervisors always threatened the kids with, "You better do a good job or else the Mexicans will come in here and take your money."

    4:11 PM  
    Blogger nedric said...

    By the way, the shitting the pants analogy made milk come out of my nose.

    The only problem there is that I am hestitant to claim all highschool drop-outs are pant-shitters. Anyway, isn't the point to say that the minimum wage is somehow correlated with the number of illegal immigrants? And if that was their point, they should have said that...

    4:19 PM  
    Anonymous Cory said...

    I wonder why you think I'd have an opinion on this? People who care about this are: 1)Those whose jobs/neighborhoods are in peril 2)Racists, and 3)People who are so involved with everything about politics on TV that they are only thinking about it because its the "hot topic" right now (minus the goth t-shirts).

    Now me, I think racists are assholes, and I'm way too frickin' educated for those wetbacks to be gettin' my job. However it is on TV right now so I guess that's the one that gets me.

    12:26 AM  
    Blogger brando said...

    Dang Cory. My old Plt Commander would have my ass if I used that word. My old APL would probably just shake his head at me. Actually he'd just call me "powder" or "whitebread" or something.

    Yeah Paul, why'd you call Cory out? You can bait him and hope he digs in his heels, but you called him out by name. Yikes, dude.

    What are you? Some sort of highland savage?

    3:53 AM  
    Anonymous Cory said...

    That's why I used it Brando, for the humor of irony. Don't tell me you're offended, you whitebread honkey, or else the liberals have already won.

    4:12 AM  
    Anonymous Cory said...

    Also I don't mind being called out, I just wish I actually had an established opinion about the subject first. If I don't I'm libel to offend people for no other reason than shock value to get attention.

    But if anyone ever has a post about the gameplay style difference between Xbox and Gamecube controllers feel free to call me the hell out.

    4:51 AM  
    Blogger Jinxy said...

    Appropos of nothing, the Capitol Police Officer was being "racist" when he asked Representative McKinney to stop:

    "McKinney, 51, scuffled with a police officer on March 29 when she entered a House office building without her identifying lapel pin and did not stop when asked. Several police sources said the officer, who was not identified, asked her three times to stop. When she kept going, he placed a hand somewhere on her and she hit him, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    McKinney issued a statement of regret for the incident, but no apology. At a press conference Friday, she and her lawyers declared that she was a victim of inappropriate touching and racism and said they were considering pursuing civil action against the officer.

    Black clergy and lawmakers came the defense of the firebrand congresswoman on Monday. McKinney smiled as her supporters heaped praise on her leadership and her new look - her trademark cornrows replaced earlier this year by a curly brown afro.

    Her supporters tried to minimize the incident - which they called political, not criminal _ but they also suggested it was an example of racial profiling. They called publicity surrounding the episode a distraction that is being used by "her enemies" to keep the congresswoman from performing her elected duties."

    6:05 AM  
    Blogger nedric said...

    People our age in Germany are probably getting sick of hearing about what they did to the Jews too.

    6:40 AM  
    Blogger Consul-At-Arms said...

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Paul.

    I've linked to you here: http://consul-at-arms.blogspot.com/2006/04/re-vatos-locos-forhiiire.html

    6:47 AM  
    Blogger Paul said...

    I can't believe I've received criticism for "calling out" Cory. If I felt like there were a philosophical argument, I would certainly call out Eric. And if I, for whatever opinion, were searching for opinions/arguments in support of sodomy, I would call out Brando and/or Cullen. How is this any different?

    You should be flattered that I respect(ED) your opinion enough to specifically request a response, but now? I feel like I don't even know you anymore. Why have we drifted apart??

    Oh yeah, I remember now. Racist.

    7:52 AM  
    Anonymous Cory said...

    I prefer to italicize racist when I call someone that, to give it a little more 'oomph.'

    See how that works, you filthy racist?

    8:26 AM  
    Blogger Hoss said...

    Shitheads like McKinney are the reason the race-card is so watered-down that hardly anybody gives a shit anymore when it's pulled out.

    9:32 AM  
    Blogger brando said...

    If the incident was racially motivated, does that mean that she hit a cop because she was black?

    Is it true that McKinney is pushing legislation to legalize black people assaulting police?

    I disagree with that legislation. Is anyone in her party saying that she shouldn't hit cops, or are they silently condoning it?

    10:58 AM  
    Anonymous Cory said...

    Actually, now that I'm at home and have some time in front of the computer, I have had time to think about Paul's post, and I realized I do in fact have an opinion on this matter. So out of respect for Paul I will stop my jackassy comments and actually tell you what I think, though I usually don't because you guys'll think its short-sighted. I'll also try to keep it as concise as possible.

    Immigrants are nothing more than people (who have DNA) who want to roam to survive. That is not at all unusual, in fact it was likely bred directly into our genes from our hunter-gatherer ancestors, as they moved to follow herds or when land became unfertile due to too much farming.

    As anthropology and archaeology has taught us, you stay in one place too long you and your people will die, guaranteed.

    Therefore, if you want your genes (and decendents) to die off, by all means lock yourself into one spot and farm the shit out of it, and let no one else in. That's an excellent way to ensure your genes don't make it more than ten or twelve generations (which is a drop in the bucket geologically). We've been doing that over and over for about 5000 years now and, in my opinion, its clearly not a good system for survival.

    Our genes are us, and I believe we need to protect them at all costs, or else what good are we doing ourselves? (one way to do that is mix them with genes that are better suited to an environment so they can piggy-back into the future) There is one system of subsistence that gives us (our DNA) a greater chance of immortality, and that is become tribal hunter-gatherers. Or at least, our decendents becoming hunter-gatherers. That shit worked for 150,000+ years (Paul could give you a more exact timeline probly), and thats just for Homo Sapiens sapiens! That doesn't even include our primate ancestry.

    Roam and let roam. Globalize!, if you will. The sooner we get that boner-inducing neo-con Globalization of the world market, the sooner we'll stop being babied with health insurance plans and union benefits, the worse each worker will be treated by thier employer, and the sooner people will realize that repeatedly doing one thing 10-15 hours a day for money sucks, and why not just grow and eat food for yourself and your closest 150 buds and their families, and forget this civilization bullcrap.

    So I say evolve, and let the chips fall where they may. We won't see it, but maybe our surviving grandkids will.

    Didn't expect me to go all Jeff Goldblum on you, huh? Now, please tell me how silly I am.

    12:07 PM  
    Blogger brando said...

    Back to the immigration topic.

    First, we're going to have some rules on the word immigrant. If a Mexican hops a fence, they are still a Mexican (i'm talking nationality, not race). When I go to japan as a tourist, I'm not going to become an American-Japanese. If I became a citizen of Japan, then (and only then) would I be an American-Japanese. Same for Syrians. If a Syrian is granted a 6 month tourist visa, they are still Syrian, not Arab-American. Tourist and immigrant are not the same thing.

    Also "overstay" is a pretty funny understatement for 14 years, on a 6 month tourist visa.

    The words they use in the article are good and inflammatory. Bear in mind that this is an actual news article. Not a 60 minutes ultra biased show.

    "Targeted", "Maelstrom", and fed food “a dog would refuse to eat.”
    Here's the article that's shameless and hits at the heart of the topic.
    I also like the dude with the frowny face in the picture. Give me a break. MSNBC Math: 6mo = 14yrs

    12:24 PM  
    Blogger brando said...

    Sorry Cory. You posted while I was writing. So when I said "Back to the immigration topic.", I didn't mean you. But that did seem sort of funny when it's read in order.

    Oh Yeah, and I almost forgot. JARED DIAMOND SUCKS.

    12:28 PM  
    Blogger Paul said...

    Brando--
    You have a knack for finding these articles.

    Across the nation, the Sept. 11 sparked detentions of scores of Arab and Muslim immigrants on technical violations of visa regulations.

    It's just a "technicality". well TECHNICALLY you broke the law, but it's not a big deal, so fuck it.....I guess that's what they want us to think.

    The majority of immigrants taken into custody since Sept. 11, were arrested not on criminal charges but for visa overstay violations.

    If a visa overstay violation is a crime....wouldn't that technically be criminal? I mean, we're arguing technicalities right? Can I argue them too? Who's in charge of ruling allowable technicalities? I'm confused.

    I just feel bad for the canaries. They are the true victims here.

    Cory--
    I hope you're not hinting at agriculture and sedentary society as being some sort of downfall to humanity. You'd better not be. It's a ridiculous argument.

    12:41 PM  
    Blogger brando said...

    Uh-oh Paul. You did it now. I think you have officially called out Cory. I'm staying out of this one. Get ready to feel the PAIN!

    12:48 PM  
    Anonymous Cory said...

    You're right Iceman, I am ridiculous.

    I mean, its not like there's anything ridiculous about organized religion, 1040 tax forms, human sacrifice, calling for the death of a cartoonist for drawing cartoons, deforestation, the KLEZ or Nimda virii, overpopulation, carseats for obese one-year-olds, pokemon, or all of Japan.

    I'd be silly of me to think that I could name more ridiculous things about sedentary societies than you could about nomadic hunter-gatherers. Perish the thought.

    9:45 PM  
    Blogger Paul said...

    That's why it's a ridiculous argument. It's a little bit like giving a speech about how horrible talking is.

    If it weren't for sedentary society, you wouldn't be able to sit on the internet in a nice cozy house and comment on stuff like that, let alone read and do anything but'cept try not to get killed mountain lions and rival bands of humans. Your day would most likely consist of trying not to die (depending on where you lived).

    Sure, that shit is bad, especially the whole Japan thing, but it's a biproduct of the quality of life we enjoy everyday, then criticize from our lazyboys while we look at pornography from 3rd world nations.

    Unacceptable and ungrateful!!

    ps. i saw the carseats for obese kids this morning. that's badaxe.

    12:02 AM  

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