Posts Tagged Immigration

Immigration: The Vulnerable and the Powerful

On January 24, 2012 United States President, Barack Obama delivered the annual State of the Union address to the United States Congress. During his address, President Obama shared his perspective regarding the status of the nation and described his legislative agenda for the coming year. President Obama’s 2012 address is especially interesting as this speech is delivered in an election year in the midst of competitive Republican presidential primaries. In his State of the Union address, Obama gloated that throughout his tenure he has “put more boots on the ground than ever before,” in support of enforcement strategies along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Congruently, Republican presidential candidates have also pledged to focus on border enforcement in order to reduce the flow of migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border. Restrictive positions on immigration have support from political leaders across various ideologies. This support results in self-defeating policies that have negative effects for citizens on both sides of the border. In order to comprehend the extent to which restrictive immigration policies are counterproductive for American citizens it is critical to analyze what fuels migration into the United States, why numbers of immigrants in the U.S. has risen and we must consider the existence of alternative solutions to the immigration issue.

In a globalized environment where individuals are increasingly mobile it is logical to comprehend what motivates individuals to migrate by taking a look at what motivates you or your friends or family to move across the city, state or country. Similarly as individuals change locations within countries due to economic developments, so do individuals choose to relocate across borders due to economic developments. According to Thomas J. Espenshade in Unauthorized Immigration to the United States,

“International migration is driven by regional imbalances in the supply and demand for labor. These imbalances promote low wages in countries where labor is plentiful relative to the amount of capital, and higher wages where labor is the scarcer factor of production.” (p. 204).

As a result of this, most migrants by doing a simple cost/benefit analysis will come to understand that it is in their benefit to relocate from their low wage location to a higher wage location. Therefore until there is equality in compensation for work globally, migration will always exist.

The global wage differential also creates a demand for low-skilled or low-wage workers within countries that receive high migrant flows. For example, the United States, a capitalist economy, possesses a habitual requirement for foreign workers as a result of the instability of the free-market. Espenshade notes:

“Because the cost of underutilizing capital equipment falls on businesses whereas the cost of laying off workers falls on workers themselves, owners of capital have a natural incentive to deploy capital to meet the most stable portions of demand and to use labor to satisfy the more unpredictable portions (Massey et al 1993). “ (p. 204)

Espenshade is theorizing under a dual labor market theory that for American workers to avoid such instability and economic deprivation, the workers tend to seek more stable and high skilled employment thus leaving a chasm for workers in industries that must be filled to maintain production at low costs.

Another factor behind migration from Mexico into the U.S. is weak markets for credit and insurance in Mexico. Douglas S. Massey notes in his article, International Migration in a Globalizing Economy

“…they seek to use international migration as a means of overcoming market failures that threaten their material interests at home by moving abroad temporarily.” (p. 47).

Massey is explaining that developing and underdeveloped economies currently possess weak markets that do not give individuals the needed safe-guards to protect themselves in the case of catastrophe or to even satisfy their daily human needs. Massey goes onto to explain,

“Without access to unemployment insurance, households self-insure by sending one or more members overseas to work. By allocating one family member to foreign-wage labor, a household can guarantee an income stream during times of economic recession at home” (p. 47-48).

Similarly, as citizens in America purchase insurance policies or make investments to ensure their security. Mexicans respond to the American market’s demand for low-wage labor by sending family members to the United States as a security measure, designed to meet daily consumption needs and to protect themselves against potential disaster.

The above are merely a few justifications for legally migrating into the U.S. from Mexico. What is the justification for migrating illegally that causes U.S. political leaders to vociferously boast and demand intense border enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border? The simple answer is: restrictive border policies. According to Massey,

“Despite all the public rhetoric about immigrant invasions and floods, the rate of illegal migration into the U.S. has not changed in 20 years. The only thing that has changed has been the rate of out-migration.” (p. 47).

Therefore, it is apparent that what keeps unauthorized Mexican migrants within U.S. borders is, the very solution crafted to keep them out: border enforcement. Prior to heightened border security, which was implemented along with amnesty as a result of Reagan’s Immigration Reform and Control Act (“IRCA”), migration was circular. Mexican migrants that were unable to attain their objectives within the United States across all of American history would simply return home.

“Whereas the net undocumented migration ran at around 180,000 per year prior to the border buildup, it is currently estimated to be around 368,000 per year,” (Massey p. 47).

Evidently the heightened state of illegal immigrants that reside in the United States that is a cause of concern to our President and presidential contenders, is not the result of an invasion or threats to American security, it is merely the result of militaristic border enforcement that does not allow migrants to follow magnetic economic flows or to return home in the absence of those flows.

Ultimately the immigration debate continues because the topic has become a political commodity in the United States. Those affected most by the flawed policies are unable to cast votes, and those who are most concerned about the policies appear to be stimulated by false information. As Payne and Nassar note in Politics and Culture in the Developing World, “Globalization stimulates migration in many ways. By intensifying economic competition, globalization is seen as creating a ‘race to the bottom,’” (p. 335). The sooner United States citizens recognize this global conundrum the sooner we can create plausible solutions to the perceived immigration dilemma.

Moreover, the solutions that have been offered by researchers are potential answers to America’s deficit difficulties without compromising domestic job opportunities for citizens of the United States. “American’s billions spent on border enforcement have effectively doubled the rate of undocumented population growth within the U.S.” (Massey 47). Until American citizens recognize the self-defeating nature and ineffectiveness of enforcement only policies along the U.S.-Mexico border, solutions to the current unfavorable immigration system will continue to benefit American politicians to the detriment of American and Mexican citizens.

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Cold as ICE


Loud raps shook a cozy home and brought the husband rushing to find two armed ICE officials standing gravely in his door frame with a picture of a woman. “Does this woman live here?” They briskly inquire. They go on to explain that the woman in the picture is registering stolen cars to his address. The husband quickly responds “no.” They request to come in and ask the rest of the household. When the wife looks at the picture and says “no.” The ICE officials verify the wife’s name and detain her for being in the country undocumented although she’s been married to a U.S. citizen since 2006 and applied for political asylum way before then. They deposited her into a white van carrying various others.

Since then this family has diligently been navigating a bureaucratic maze that finds them no closer to attaining asylum or citizenship for her than before. They endure ICE agents staking out their home. The wife endured a chemical burn from a monitoring device ICE has required her to wear around her ankle. Their son cries out in fear for his mother.

I hear people say being here in the U.S. undocumented is a legal violation. Well, our immigration system is a human rights violation.

Approximately 392,862 deportations have occurred within the past year. A record. More deportations than ever before. Can you even imagine the other stories out there? We were told about a few more this eve and are convicted to help.

Most undocumented workers create revenue through taxes for the U.S. Generating billions in revenue for the government. Most are going to through the process of attaining citizenship and pay thousands to navigate the paperwork by hiring an attorney. They can only hope the attorney doesn’t over charge them. They pay thousands to the U.S. government in form and application fees to get through the citizenship process. Not to mention the copies that need to be made for this process (475 pages in one packet) that needs to be duplicated and sent more than once. This process includes shipping fees and more. This social injustice is about economics. What would happen to our economy if mass deportations occurred?

We learned that the undocumented community will need toys during Christmas as well as clothing and food. A few of us have committed to learning the process to navigating the citizenship paperwork to provide a support to the community.

Let me know if you can provide assistance with this issue. It’s the most pressing human rights issue in Utah and YOU can help solve it by working together to call on the Federal Government to FIX this system and by volunteering your time to collect resources for these families. <3

The above is Utah family’s story that a few of us USJ members heard yesterday eve and again, we are convicted to help.

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Carl Wimmer Throws Utah’s Hispanics Under The Bus

Sunday morning on KSL’s Sunday Edition, Utah State Republican Representative Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman said:

81 percent of the homicides, when you have a recorded ethnicity, are committed by Hispanics

It’s hard to know if Rookie Rep, Carl Wimmer really hates our Mexican friends or whether he is just pandering to Carl Wimmer voters. Remember, Carl Wimmer is the creative genius who cooked up the Patrick Henry Caucus (PHC) Billy Bob Road Show.

As an ex-cop and self-proclaimed Constitutional expert going as far back as 2009, Carl Wimmer knows well the concept of “innocent until proven guilty.”  Wimmer conveniently failed to mention that his 81% claim comes from ARRESTS, not convictions. That’s probably because he didn’t know. But hey, he BELIEVES!  Oh yeah, and his math sucks.

The Patrick Henry Caucus (PHC) Cinco TestoteronesGet Your Free Carl Wimmer Mustache Ride

Get Your Free Carl Wimmer Mustache Ride

Here’s the funniest part.  His so-called friends put him up to it…

I imagine it went something like this:


PHC Testerones Uno: “Hey Wimmster! Got a job for ya”

Carl Wimmer: “Anything for YOU Padre! Que pasa?”*

(A cool breeze tickles the ungrowable hairs between Carl’s nose and lips)

PHC Testerones Dos: “Anything?”

Carl Wimmer: “Hey, what’r Amigos for right?”

PHC Testerones Tres: “Remember that ‘waste of a vagina?'”

Carl Wimmer: “Forget it, Amigo. That ‘Lesbo’ scares the sombrero outta’ me.”

PHC Testerones Uno: “He’s kidding Carl.  This one’s easy.  Ya did so good scaring the b’Jesus outta’ the West Valley preggies, we need you go on KSL and scare the shit outta’ the Beaners.

Carl Wimmer: “Sho’ thang padróni ‘Herrodoni’. What’cha got?”

(A young light-skinned Latina intern hands him a piece of paper with a chart on it which. Distracted by her beauty, he fumbles and drops the paper on the floor)

Distracted by her beauty, the paper falls to the floor

Distracted by her beauty, the paper falls to the floor

Carl Wimmer: “What the butt plug is this Herrodeeee?”

PHC Testerones Uno: “We’ve done the math already.  Checked it twice even. You can take it to the Temple.  Just say, ’81 percent of the homicides, when you have a recorded ethnicity, are committed by Hispanics.’  And make sure you say ‘recorded ethnicity.’  That way, all the Bishops can defend the statement as technically correct if need be.”


End Notes:
5% of Utah State and County Prison population are Hispanic. Sutherland Institute: Illegal Immigration study

* Carl Wimmer feels very cool when he speaks Spanish.

* Disclaimer: Law Enforcement Deserve our full respect until they quit, get fired and or fail and decide to become Republican politicians in Utah.

* I am still mad at Carl Wimmer for taking away my right to free speech on his Facebook page for nothing more than politely challenging him on a few of the amazingly stupid things he says.

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The Legacy of a Bigot (Jesse Helms): a Stubborn Stain

Former Senator Jesse Helms, the notorious author of dozens of measures attacking GLBT and HIV-positive people during his years in the Senate, died on July 4. Unfortunately, the legacy of discrimination against HIV-positive people he helped to create lives on in a law that bars nearly every foreign person with HIV from entering the United States. That’s right – with very few exceptions, an HIV-positive individual cannot come to the United States for any reason, be it to visit, work, study or become a legal resident.

It’s an embarrassment and an outrage. And at long last, we have a chance to bring it to an end.

Ask your Senator to stand up against bias and ensure that the ban on HIV-positive visitors and immigrants is repealed.

Earlier this year, Senators Kerry (D-MA) and Smith (R-OR) added language to repeal this discriminatory law that was included in legislation reauthorizing efforts to fight HIV across the globe, commonly known as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). We thought we were close to finally ending the discriminatory ban which prevents HIV positive individuals from entering the country or obtaining legal U.S. citizenship.

Read the rest of this entry »

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