Before passing draconian immigration bill, one state conducts self-audit to see if illegal immigration hype matches the facts

LatinaLista — An article in The Dallas Morning News over the weekend reported that, according to the Mexican Consulate in Dallas, 400 immigrant families have or are in the process of returning to Mexico. The consulate knows this because these families have asked for transfer documents for their children to attend school in Mexico.
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Nayelli (center) and Keila (right) wait outside of a closet while their sister and mother pack belongings of the family, who after 10 years are returning to Mexico due to economic adversity and the anti immigrant climate of the nation.
(Source: Roberto M. Sanchez/Al Dia)

The trend isn’t isolated to only Dallas. Phoenix and Chicago are also registering increases in Mexican transfer requests too. There were anecdotal reports that the same was happening (people leaving) in Oklahoma when that state’s immigration laws were enacted, and it will probably end up happening in Missouri too.
Today, the Governor of Missouri signed into law the latest state-enacted bill that targets undocumented immigrants. Though Missouri only has 1 percent of the estimated 12 million undocumented, it seemed to be strangely large enough for the Governor to declare:

Gov. Matt Blunt said the state could not wait for the federal government to respond to what has become a serious national problem.

However, the true problem may not be so much the citizenship status of these people but the lost revenue funneled through local economies because of their purchasing power.


Though undocumented immigrants are on the low end of the totem pole when it comes to economic standing, their clout in the marketplace is hard to ignore.
There’s probably no better example of this than at back-to-school sales. It will be interesting to see how retail stores will record sales at that time. As of now, Latinos, comprised of both undocumented and citizens, are spending money at a rate of $928 billion annually. By 2010, it’s expected to reach $1.2 trillion.
The economic impact of undocumented immigrants on a community/state has become a cliche-cited reason for passing such draconian laws to drive them out of these same places. The usual practice is to pass the laws first, then decide how much they actually cost the communities.
Well, one state is finally putting the horse before the cart. In order to bolster their arguments to pass immigration laws, since it failed to previously pass, legislators in Kansas have inserted into the state budget bill the Legislative Division of Post Audit.
It is an audit that will attempt to calculate how much illegal immigration costs the state. The report is expected to be completed sometime next year.

The audit will try to determine the costs to the state of Kansas for benefits and services provided to illegal immigrants, the estimated tax revenues from illegal immigrants, and whether the taxes they pay offset the costs of benefits provided.
And finally, the audit will study the effect that illegal immigration has on labor costs and the job market in Kansas.

Though one could say that the Kansas legislators are doing the audit under duress, or praying that it bolsters their argument, the fact remains that with such an emotionally-charged issue, it is imperative that the facts be uncovered and examined.
As one Kansas legislator said, ““Before we decide on fiscal policies that affect our economy, shouldn’t we have some idea on what we are doing and what the outcomes might be if we make those changes?”
It’s the only way to reach a real solution that is long-lasting and fair.

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26 Comments

  1. Frank said:

    So now we have an argument for keeping criminals on the streets because of their “buying power”?

  2. Horace said:

    There is no shortage of people who would apply for legal resident status, so it should be easy to replace them through legal channels, if necessary. If we ultimately require such labor, it is we the citizens that will determine it, not foreign squatters and their friends and family aiders and abettors.
    As far as Draconian is concerned, the state laws are fully consonant with established immigration law, so are nothing new or extraordinary. Every other nation on this planet reserves the right to establish immigration rules, so by your measure Mexico, and the rest of Latin America also have Draconian policies. Everybody else is wrong, and you and your illegal alien advocates are right? I think not. I believe that this approach to immigration policy has sufficient precedence and universal prevalence to lead us to conclude that the transgressor is wrong and the nations that cherish their sovereignty are right. Your arguments have not merit in law, so your approach is to resort to emotional hyperbole by demonizing the opposition by referring to their actions as Draconion. It’s all too typical of the illegal aliens advocate.

  3. Evelyn said:

    Here in Kansas, one name kept popping up on every piece of racist legislation and evidence used against Hispanic immigrants.
    KRIS KOBACH.
    I decided to find out who this guy was and what kind of proof he had that the evidence he was using against Hispanic immigrants to promote his laws was valid.
    Well it turned out he had no credible evidence, (only his word), and he wasnt quiet what he claimed to be. He conveniently left out the part about his close association with many anti-immigrant hate groups.
    I gathered all this evidence and turned it over to those fighting for justice and equality for immigrants and against more racist laws, and walla no racist law in Kansas.
    Now it seems they have come up with the
    $335.000 they said it would take to do the study. Oh, did I mention they already did a one million dollar study to see how many “illleeegals” were getting welfare? They found one two year old boy that a social worker had mistakenly put on a case with other American born children of Vietnamese parents. ROTFLMAO!
    These people are not too bright. They are the same ones who voted not to teach the theory of evolution in Kansas schools.
    The last two yrs. of high school I had to send my daughter out of state because many of the better universities refused to take students from Kansas because of this.
    ~~~
    Kris Kobach Tagged As a “New-Wave Nativist”
    Mon Mar 10, 2008 at 12:24:05 PM
    BY CAROLYN SZCZEPANSKI
    The Southern Poverty Law Center released its second list of anti-immigrant “nativists” today, and Kris Kobach, a UMKC law professor and chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, made the top 20. Calling the profile a “hit piece,” Kobach tells The Pitch that the SPLC report is riddled with errors.
    Based in Alabama, the SPLC identifies and tracks the activities of hate groups. In recent years, the nonprofit has highlighted the growth of anti-illegal-immigration organizations such as the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. But, according to the SPLC, it’s not just the Minutemen who are having a negative influence on immigration policy.
    In their quarterly magazine, Intelligence Report, released this week, the SPLC profiles 20 activists it brands “new-wave Nativists.”
    “The net effect of their collective effort,” the magazine says in its introduction, “has contributed mightily toward darkening the skies of an already harsh political and social climate, with the tone of the national debate on immigration growing nastier by the day and with Latinos increasingly being subject to discrimination and violence.”
    According to the SPLC, one of the men who has been a leader in that collective effort is Kobach.
    In their short “snapshot,” the SPLC describes Kobach as a far-right Christian fundamentalist who’s been accused of inflating his law credentials and taking money from racists in his 2004 run for Congress. He’s also the “the man behind many of the deeply flawed anti-illegal-immigrant laws passed recently,” the SPLC says, including ordinances in Pennsylvania and Missouri that punish employers and landlords for hiring or housing undocumented immigrants. (The bio also cites a Pitch profile of the immigration professor in January 2007.)
    Kobach says SPLC has it all wrong. In fact, federal judges in the past three months have upheld municipal and state laws that the UMKC professor helped craft. In January, a federal judge ruled that the Kobach-assisted, anti-illegal-immigration ordinance in Valley Park, Missouri, did not violate federal law. Last month, an Arizona judge upheld a law that requires employers to check the status of its workers or risk losing their business license if they’re caught with undocumented employees. Kobach also helped Arizona lawmakers author that bill.
    The chair of the Kansas GOP also takes issue with SPLC’s nativist label, calling it a “gross distortion” of his views.
    “I think that one of the greatest tragedies in our system is that legal immigrants have to wait so long to be reunited with their family members,” he tells The Pitch in an e-mail. “I want legal immigration to be more efficient, so fewer people are tempted to break the law. I do not agree with nativists — who are opposed to all immigration, legal and illegal — at all. But, of course, that doesn’t fit the SPLC’s agenda, so they leave out the truth.”
    Supreme Court turns down Kris Kobach
    Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 06:53:17 AM
    BY CAROLYN SZCZEPANSKI
    It has been four years since Kansas lawmakers granted in-state tuition rates at public universities for undocumented students who had spent at least three years at a Kansas high school. Since that bill passed, University of Missouri-Kansas City Law Professor and Kansas Republican Party Chairman Kris Kobach has been fighting to get the law overturned in the courts, arguing the children of illegal immigrants shouldn’t get a leg up on kids from across state lines.
    Federal judges at both the district and appeals level have dismissed Kobach’s case, so he petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court. Last week, the highest court in the land weighed in.
    The court’s reply: it won’t hear the case.
    Kobach wasn’t particularly surprised. He admits it was a long shot. The U.S. Supreme Court typically receives 80,000 petitions a year, but only takes about 80 of them. “Your garden-variety case faces 99-to-1 odds against getting Supreme Court review,” Kobach says.
    But that doesn’t mean he’s conceding the fight. By declining the case, the Supreme Court didn’t close the door to a future hearing, the law professor says. None of the three strikes against the case hit on the real issue, he adds. “No court has addressed the merit of the case — whether or not Kansas’ provision violates federal law and the Equal Protection Clause,” he says. Instead, they’ve ruled that the students Kobach represents — all from other states — don’t have legal standing to sue.
    So what’s an anti-illegal-immigration activist to do? Well, find a different set of pissed-off students. Kobach says he continues to get calls from college kids who want to join the case. “So there is a large pool of potential plaintiffs,” he says.
    At this point, Kobach and his counterparts at the Immigration Reform Law Institute in Washington, D.C., are considering their next move — either waging the case on a state level or taking another crack at the federal courts with a different set of clients.
    “No decision has been made at this point,” Kobach says.
    The Nativists Page 12
    Kris Kobach
    Kris Kobach, 41
    Kansas City, Mo.
    The man behind many of the deeply flawed anti-illegal immigrant laws passed recently is Kris Kobach, the “national expert on constitutional law” who works for the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI). IRLI is the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), recently listed as a nativist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. At IRLI, Kobach has been a prime mover behind ordinances in Farmer’s Branch, Texas, and Hazelton, Pa., among other places, that seek to punish those who aid and abet “illegal aliens.”
    The laws have not done well. The Hazelton ordinance, crafted by Kobach and fellow IRLI attorney Michael Hethmon, was struck down last year by a federal judge who also charged the city for all legal fees. “Everything he does has been a failure,” Mira Mdivani, a Kansas immigration lawyer, told The Pitch in January 2007.
    Before joining IRLI, Kobach served as U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft’s top immigration adviser, moving on to take charge of Department of Justice efforts to tighten border security shortly after the 9/11 attacks. There, he developed a program — the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System — that called for close monitoring of men from Arab and Muslim nations, even legal U.S. residents. The program collapsed due to complaints of racial profiling and discrimination.
    In 2004, Kobach ran for Congress with the support of FAIR (which donated $10,000) and Mary Lou Tanton, wife of racist FAIR founder John Tanton. (At the same time, he worked on a FAIR lawsuit against a Kansas law granting in-state tuition rates to the children of undocumented immigrants. The suit was dismissed.) Kobach lost by 11 percentage points after his opponent accused him of ties to white supremacists.
    Kobach also has taught constitutional and immigration law since 2003 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, but has come under attack there for anti-immigrant bias. In January 2007, for instance, fliers appeared on campus accusing Kobach of inflating his credentials and crafting bad law. In the classroom, he uses as a text a controversial book by political science professor Samuel Huntington that argues that today’s immigrants will “divide the United States into two peoples, two cultures, two languages.”
    Kobach, who in 2007 became chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, is far-right Christian fundamentalist. During his 2004 campaign, he accused his opponent of associating with groups supporting “homosexual pedophilia.” He was referring to the Human Rights Campaign, a mainstream gay rights organization that has never come remotely close to endorsing pedophilia.

  4. Evelyn said:

    I moved this from an earlier thread, (i hope you dont mind) because it is a GEM.
    I wanted everyone to see it because it brings up why immigrants out of status are considered criminals.
    “The word “immigrant” has nothing at all to do with legal status. It means, simply, to move from one place to another for the purpose of settling down. Papers, no papers — it’s all irrelevant to the act of migrating.”
    Horace Said:
    When we talk of illegal immigration, we are talking in a legal sense of the word. And there are legal and qualitative diferences between illegal and legal immigrants. The former tend to be far less educated and unskilled. The former contain a subset of criminal element who would be excluded from ever being allowed to immigrate because of criminal records in their homelands. The latter are generally very well educated, have been vetted for contagious diseases and vetted for criminal records in their homelands and many even speak English and have far more to contribute to this nations goal of becoming a literate and competitive nation. Your objective, Evelyn, is to obfuscate the difference by putting both in the same category by using the general definition of the term immigrant
    Evelyn responds
    Your objective is to make a fool out of yourself. ROTFLMAO!!!
    Why do you try ssoooo hard, it doesent make you look good.
    Study: Most Legal Immigrants Were ‘Illegal’ at One Time
    It appears that things don’t happen in a STRAIGHT line (neither do brain waves and heartbeats FYI).
    After my constant repetition of “undocumented or illegal is not a permanent immutable characteristic” this past week, the Public Policy Institute of California has just confirmed the accuracy of the statement.
    In a new study based on a survery of 8,000 people, the PPIC found that 52% legal residents in California had past experience of living in the country illegally at one time or another. It absolutely smashes the ill-promoted dichotomy of legal/illegal, proving that binary modes of thinking about immigration policy are superficial, baseless and untrue.
    “It highlights how overly simplified our understanding of immigrants and immigration can be,” said Hill, who said a stark distinction between “illegal” and “legal” immigrants does not acknowledge the frequent correlation between both categories. “We need to be a little more cognizant of the variety and breadth of experience.”
    The ALIPACers are seething. They cannot believe that the lines between legal and illegal can be blurred. After all, we are talking about black and white, engraved-in-stone distinctions, right? You can see the obvious physical, emotional, spritual, intellectual and personality differences between a legal and illegal migrant, right? Some have even gone as far as to say that “if they are going to break simple immigration laws, they will break other laws.” Yes, because if you run a traffic light or drive above the speed limit, it immediately makes you more likely to commit felonies, right?
    Re-read Plyler v. Doe — The Supreme Court had it right in 1982: The “illegals” of today can become the legal residents of tomorrow. If 26-year-old legal opinion can get it right, why can’t the fear-mongering, immigrant-loathing bashers? And based on this study as empirical evidence, immigrant-loathing is an accurate assessment of ALIPAC since it does demonstrate that undocumented migrants work to become legal residents and citizens. Still, the “blood is boiling” over at ALIPAC.
    No human being can be Illegal. It is not a noun, not a permanent category or classification that reflects the true character of a human being.
    ~~~~~
    I’m sorry Evelyn, but if you haven’t noticed it (and maybe you should be forgiven for this) but this is a fully developed nation, one of laws and sophisticated government, not the stone age North America you allude to. We don’t stand on the traditions of hunting mammoths or gathering berries. Justifying current illegal immigration as carrying on what mankind has done for years ignores that mankind has changed drastically since then
    Evelyn responds
    Should we just erase everything that is old, burn all the old buildings, paintings, antiques, old books, the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of the United States of America, The Bill Of Rights, The White House, Hay, New York City, that’s old, how about immigration laws, they are old. Grandmothers No, scratch that!
    Or is it only American History and the way your ancestors came that is exactly like the history of today’s immigrants that you want erased, because it is a thorn in your side that comes up to slap you in the face every time you try to justify making today’s immigrants different from your ancestor immigrants!
    Your words reek of racism and hypocrisy!
    ~~~~
    Lastly, this has nothing to do with a lack of paperwork. Nations invite immigrants to settle in their countries, and illegal immigrants are uninvited and uwelcome in every country on this planet. Paperwork is evidence of this invitation, not just a mere formality
    Evelyn responds
    Fine, show me a copy of the invitation your ancestors received from Native Americans and I will stand on the street corner with you and harass immigrants whose status is illegal!!!

  5. laura said:

    Enlightening stories, Marisa and Evelyn!
    Many times, hard dollars argue
    much more strongly than human rights or basic human dignity. Of course it is not just as buyers, but more importantly as workers, and tax payers as well as Social Security payers, that out-of-status migrants provide many more dollars to the larger community, than they cost.
    Whole sectors of the US economy today would fold without migrants, most of whom are out of status: most importantly, we will have no US-grown fruits and vegetables if all Mexicans and Central Americans go home. As many would love to do, if they could only support their families.
    Orchards have already been chopped down and tomato growers have given up, as a result of present policies. Soon we will be paying $7 a pound for tomatoes trucked from Mexico.
    I personally say a small thank you to the people who grew the tomatoes I eat every time I pop a cherry tomato. I think of the Mexican and Guatemalan hands who gave me this treat, under a sweltering Florida sun.
    But scapegoating, racism and hate are very strong motivations: they pushed Germans to mass murder and to self-destruction. The people Evelyn is writing about – as well as some of the people who treat us to their output here on this site – would rather push this economy over the edge than accede to the sentence “That all men are created equal and endowed with their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

  6. Frank said:

    When my ancestors came here the Native Indians were no longer in control of this country. The U.S. government was! They came here in compliance with whatever papers and immigration policies were in place at the time by the U.S government.

  7. Horace said:

    “So now we have an argument for keeping criminals on the streets because of their “buying power”?”
    Al Capone had buying power, but we’d consider those who’d defend him morally bankrupt, as they worship the god of money above all else. I agree Frank, this is one of the sorriest and most deperate arguments illegal alien advocates make. Maybe we should let organized crime florish because selling stolen goods off the back of a truck is also a form of commerce. There are moral and immoral enterprises, and they’re not equal just because they both employ people and put food on the table.

  8. Evelyn said:

    “When my ancestors came here the Native Indians were no longer in control of this country”
    Did they also get an invitation like Horaces family?

  9. Liquidmicro said:

    “Whole sectors of the US economy today would fold without migrants, most of whom are out of status: most importantly, we will have no US-grown fruits and vegetables if all Mexicans and Central Americans go home. As many would love to do, if they could only support their families.
    Orchards have already been chopped down and tomato growers have given up, as a result of present policies. Soon we will be paying $7 a pound for tomatoes trucked from Mexico.”
    Talk about word verbatim of scare tactics to allow illegal immigration. Gross exaggerations on your behalf, you should be ashamed of yourself for being a propagandist. You have no clue what you are even talking about. You have no idea how the import and export of staples works.
    http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/wrs0406/wrs0406d.pdf
    Supply and demand, import and export, fruits and vegetables year round from around the world.
    If you are going to quote (That all men are created equal and endowed with their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.) the Declaration of Independence, then at least get it correct.
    “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” There is nothing in there that allows them to cross our borders without proper authorization in any pursuit of Life, Liberty, or pursuit of Happiness. They have every right here in the USA provided that they ascertain the correct documentation allowing them to achieve Resident or Citizenship status her in the USA. There is nothing stopping them from achieving certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness from their own countries.

  10. Liquidmicro said:

    The Immigration Influx Analyzed as a $346 Billion Cost to Taxpayers
    by Marion Edwyn Harrison (7/8/08)
    With respect to immigration how much attention the dollar benefit to the economy and the dollar cost to Federal taxpayers ought to be weighed is a subject which has received scant media attention. The balance, whatever it may be, probably is not the crucial question in an objective analysis of the value and problems of huge (and preponderantly Latino or Hispanic, mostly Mexican) immigration. As with any analysis of a complicated fact pattern, the cost element appears worthy of some analysis and evaluation.
    The largest ethnic group presently living in the United States, counting those here lawfully and unlawfully, is Hispanic. In view of the fact many such people unlawfully are here United States Census Bureau figures, themselves often suspect in densely populated and lower income metropolitan areas, may be yet less reliable. However, there is no need for high arithmetic accuracy nor are statistics from other sources available. Thus, one considers the Census Bureau figures.
    As appears rather empirically evident, Hispanics comprise the largest ethnic group. The Census Bureau figures, combining all residents of Latin American ethnicity, approach 46 million, or some 15% of the total population. Blacks aggregate about 41 million, Asians about 15 million.
    Not surprisingly, there are disagreements among experts as to predominate causes for the increase in the ethnically Hispanic population. That increase is said to have been running about 3% annually, contrasted with the Black rate of increase of about 1% and the White rate of about 3/10ths of 1%. Whatever the figures, what are the causes?
    Not surprisingly, the predominant causes are immigration and birthrate. Because so many immigrants have entered, and are entering, the country by unlawfully crossing the Mexican Border, it is no surprise that immigration is a major cause. Inexpert that I am, I find it difficult to believe that birthrate is anywhere near equally significant. However, many experts opine that birthrate is a major – some say, the major – contributor to the increase.
    There inevitably are two elements of emotion in the evaluation. Lawfully or unlawfully, vastly fewer individuals would enter our country but for the deplorable economies and lack of work in their native land, say nothing of the extent to which in some countries oppression further holds down its unfortunate citizen seeking a job sufficient to earn a living to support a family. Hence, sympathy toward a lawful immigrant is common and, although in lesser measure, also toward the similarly motivated individual entering unlawfully. Further, what if one defies the prevailing liberal prohibition and profiles Latinos as a group? One – admirably, I hope – finds them family oriented. Hence, the experts tell us what our eyes often behold: more children.
    It is difficult to introduce the subject of cost in this type of context. However, the cost of immigration necessarily is a factor for consideration.
    A former Director of Research at the Hudson Institute, also having been a senior economist at W. R. Grace & Co., more recently President of ESR Research, has calculated estimated cost. Predicated upon a figure of 37 million resident immigrants, he has calculated a cost to the Federal Government – hence, to the American taxpayer – of $346 billion for the calendar year 2007. That would equate to about $9,000.00 per American taxpayer. It would not be appropriate in this Commentary to play statistician and attempt to evaluate that figure. The point is more fundamental. Immigrants, now predominantly Latin American and within that group predominantly Mexican, evidently cost our taxpayers money. To what extent does that cost, whatever it may be, counter the worth of generally cheaper and very willing labor?
    The issue of unlawful immigration unquestionably should not be resolved upon a balancing of benefit to our economy versus cost to taxpayers. As this Commentary repeatedly has espoused, the maximum realistic effort should be made to eliminate unlawful immigration. However, what appears to be the potential for a cost-benefit analysis may be worthy of consideration in evaluating lawful Hispanic immigration. In any event, it should not be ignored.

  11. Alessandra said:

    Liquidmicro, I have a question that you might be able to answer or at least give some insight.
    I have noticed recently when grocery shopping that some of our fruits are being imported from places like Chile. I paid $1.99 for a pound of grapes.
    I have read that some farmers, not being able to get labor here, are moving their farms to Mexico.
    My undertanding is that there is no cap on H2A visas for farmworkers, but the farmers would rather hire illegals because it is easier and they do not have to adhere to the provisions (wages, housing, working conditions) which they do for the legal ag workers who come in under visas. Correct me if I am wrong on this.
    Granting legalization before securing the border and putting into place an effective mechanism to insure that employers cannot continue to hire illegal workers will only lead to more illegal immigration. Once the workers gain legalization, they will move on to better conditions and higher-paid occupations (who could blame them), and the farmers will just replace them with more illegal workers.
    My question is: what consequences are there to us as a nation if the farmers do take their farms to Mexico? To me, it seems like a good solution. I don’t believe that there are many American citizens waiting in line for ag jobs. Many farmers have been put out of work in Mexico because of NAFTA. This would replace those jobs for them; they would have access to employment in their own country, not have to risk life and limb to come here to seek work, and they would be covered under the laws of their own country.
    As far as I can see in the store, the price of produce which comes from Chile and other foreign countries is not prohibitive.
    What do you think?

  12. Liquidmicro said:

    Alessandra,
    You are correct in every aspect.
    What consequences are there to us as a nation if the farmers do take their farms to Mexico?
    The only downside to the farms in other countries of the world is that they do not have the requirements that we have in the growing process, meaning the type of water used, pesticides, herbicides, etc. Our FDA inspectors are suppose to catch this at our ports, sometimes they do, but sometimes they don’t. There are also insects and disease that come with some of the product from these countries. These introduced pests and diseases can have a devastating effect on our own Agricultural Environment as they can also sometimes mutate here making it almost impossible to stop them. This can cause us to have to genetically alter the infected product to become irrelevant to the pathogen.

  13. laura said:

    My friends Alessandra and “Liquidmicro” : how can you get the basics of what is necessary for a country to feed itself so fundamentally wrong?
    There are two levels on which you get the necessities of food wrong: the ethical level, and the economic level. As usual, these levels are connected.
    Ethically, thinking of the people who grow our food as disposable entities to be shunted around for our convenience betrays contempt not just for those people, but also disrespect for our food.
    Economically, imagining the world will continue to subsidize Americans’ enormous overconsumption of its resources – including food – is a fantasy – especially in the era of $140 / barrel oil. Will you pay for the fuel to fly your grapes from Chile next year, Alessandra?
    The drop in the value of the dollar connects the ethical and the economic level. Economically, those grapes will be more expensive next year not just because the fuel to fly them here will be worth about as much per unit of weight as the grapes (only slightly exaggerated). They will also be more expensive because the dollar is dropping against all currencies. There are many reasons for that drop, and the vast majority of reasons are ethical:
    1. the Iraq war is being waged on borrowed money
    2. US forces have shown that Iraqi lives are worth so little to them, that all things American are now detested in the Arab world. This is a big reason why the enormous investment funds of Arab oil states don’t want to hold dollars anymore. It is those funds more than anybody else that determine the value of the dollar today.
    3. the mortgage crisis showed the world that investing in US dollars is not such a safe bet. And the mortgage crisis is based on the abject ethical failure of government and of lenders. They allowed cheating poor people out of their money by predatory loans. Not just ethically, but eventually economically, that scheme had to collapse.
    4. our administration for the past 7 years has operated on the premise: take from future generations, give to our richest buddies now. Our historic federal deficit is making the dollar less trustworthy.
    I feel that Americans have gone along with the premise underlying all of this: rip off whomever you can, take from whomever you can, since you are stronger. Our culture has lost the “decent respect for the opinions of mankind” that our founding fathers enshrined.
    That is why our economic collapse and our ethical depravity are linked.
    Our treatment of the human beings, fathers, mothers, and children, whom you call “illegals” and who have already performed the hardest work for you for decades so you can live in comfort – that treatment is part of our ethical depravity.
    The opinions of mankind will not be putting up with this much longer, and quite soon we will not be in the position of those who can rip off whomever they want – because we will be weaker than all the people who – for example – didn’t assume $1.50/gallon gas and grapes from Chile are their birthright.
    By the way: I am sorry for my mistakes in quoting the Declaration of Independence; I am quoting it from memory and I know that the meaning conveyed in my slightly misremembered words is exactly the same as that written by its brilliant authors.

  14. laura said:

    Actually, “Liquidmicro,” a last quick question: you write “These introduced pests and diseases can have a devastating effect on our own Agricultural Environment as they can also sometimes mutate here making it almost impossible to stop them. This can cause us to have to genetically alter the infected product to become irrelevant to the pathogen.”
    As you feel you are an expert on food production, can you please explain what you mean by the second sentence? What does “genetically alter” mean? What do you mean by “irrelevant to the pathogen”? How do you alter “the infected product”?
    Please forgive me for the impression that your understanding of genetics is at the same level as your understanding of immigration and of Latinas’ issues.

  15. Liquidmicro said:

    Actually I am a Certified/Consulting/Master Arborist. I deal with pest and disease problems all day long. To answer your question of “genetically alter”, “irrelevant to the pathogen”. It means to change the growth characteristics by finding the part of the plant that may be immune to the pathogen and re-growing the plant from that. Over several generations of the plant, the whole plant then becomes immune to the pathogen.
    The “infected product” could be the staple from another country. Look to the Fruit Fly and how it traveled to the USA, or the Dutch Elm Beetle, etc…
    Now, since you are trying to discredit me about pest and diseases that may come over on food staples, don’t assume I have no understanding of Immigration issues. A little research on your part may just go along way.
    “Economically, imagining the world will continue to subsidize Americans’ enormous overconsumption of its resources – including food – is a fantasy – especially in the era of $140 / barrel oil. Will you pay for the fuel to fly your grapes from Chile next year, Alessandra?”
    Isn’t this already the case? Isn’t this already here? What about Europe, they pay over $9 per gallon for fuel, yet there staples are very cheap.
    “Ethically, thinking of the people who grow our food as disposable entities to be shunted around for our convenience betrays contempt not just for those people, but also disrespect for our food.”
    Quick answer – grow your own fruits and veggies. Are you for the corporate farmer than, since they ran all the small family farmers out of business? What of the $50 Million farmer who choose to move some of his operations to Mexico? Quite an immense amount of money from farming don’t you think?

  16. Evelyn said:

    Ahhhhhh Laura, I have been tempted to do just what you did so many times. LMAO! Bad Girl! Thanks.
    Tuesday, June 24, 2008
    Hawaiians Suffer from Oil Spiked Food Costs
    Living in Paradise comes at a price. And for Hawaiians, they pay for it every time they shop for food.
    CNN recently ran a report that looked at the higher food costs in Hawaii: Over $7.00 for Orange Juice, $8 for a jar of peanut butter, $5.50 for a loaf of white bread and $8.50 for a gallon of milk.
    And what’s causing these higher food prices? Higher energy costs.
    “Recently however, prices have started shooting up even higher. With the explosion in fuel prices, shipping companies have been tacking on fuel surcharges, and they’re going up almost every week.
    Tim Kennedy runs a Los Angeles-based warehouse that ships produce to Hawaii. “We’re seeing these increases from all over. From the trucks that bring this product into here, to the airlines, to the ships that take these containers to Hawaii.”
    We’ve said it here before. Higher fuel costs are impacting food costs. Whether it’s Hawaii, rural Montana, or in downtown New York City, higher fuel costs are the major cause for food price inflation.
    Source: CNN

  17. Frank said:

    These illegals are being just as they should be according to our laws. Arrest, detention and then deportation.!
    “We” the majority of Americans didn’t ask them to come here and perform any work for us. They came on their own and employers hired them instead of Americans at a lower wage. And you think this is some kind of benefit to Americans? Taking jobs from Americans and paying for their social costs via higher taxes is allowing us to live in comfort? LOL!
    What about our laws? Do they mean nothing to you? If employers need foreign workers to fill jobs that Americans won’t do (and there are very few of these) then they need to apply for worker visas for these people to come legally, not violate our immmigration and labor laws instead!

  18. Liquidmicro said:

    I don’t want to debunk your theory of the costs of food in Hawaii, so I’ll just give you the following links that show the actual costs of food in the grocery stores in Hawaii that is current. I’ll let the ads debunk your ignorance all on their own.
    http://foodland.gsnrecipes.com/Shop/WeeklyAd.aspx
    http://www.timessupermarket.com/timetosave.asp
    Now, I don’t see the costs of $7lb. tomatoes, Laura, that you are claiming, in any of these ads. Please, Evelyn, show us the $7.00 for Orange Juice, $8 for a jar of peanut butter, $5.50 for a loaf of white bread and $8.50 for a gallon of milk., or any thing else you fantasize about.
    The 2 of you need to further research your espoused propaganda before making yourselves look foolish.

  19. laura said:

    Dear “Liquidmicro”:
    Not that we need to get into a discussion of genetics and mutations here, but I am afraid your description “It means to change the growth characteristics by finding the part of the plant that may be immune to the pathogen and re-growing the plant from that. Over several generations of the plant, the whole plant then becomes immune to the pathogen” does not describe any type of alteration of a plant’s genetic material. It sounds interesting though – could you please give me an example of a plant / pathogen constellation where this process was used?
    As for growing one’s own food: I agree completely, and have a little patch in my backyard for squash and tomatoes that are looking pretty healthy at this point. The parts of my diet that I can’t grow myself, I want to obtain from as close to my location as possible, for reasons of taste as well as environmental protection, and grown by people who are well-compensated for their work and whose health and well-being is not jeopardised by growing my food. Instead of buying a new TV or a new car, I prefer to buy food that reflects my respect for the earth, and for the people that work on it to nourish us.

  20. Liquidmicro said:

    “could you please give me an example of a plant / pathogen constellation where this process was used?”
    You might be thinking to much bad science into genetic alterations of plants. I think the words, genetically altering, has thrown you off. There is also scientific gene splicing and many other ways scientific research is being conducted in the plant world that have different outcomes and unintended consequences.
    Plants can be found from existing native plants that have been infected and that are naturally resistant to the pathogens, and then these plants can be cross pollinated to achieve a resistant variety ‘or’ they can be cloned by removing and regrowing the plant from the area not infected. Over time the plant becomes hardier and even more resistant to the pathogen naturally.
    Genetic alterations of a plant: Elm trees, they have found among the native elm trees some that appear to be resistant to Dutch Elm Disease (DED). They have taken these trees and cross pollinated them, i.e., English Elm with American Elm, thusly genetically altering there make up, and further enhancing there ability to resist DED. They have also cloned the native resistant Elms, and due to the cloning have changed there genetic make-up ever so slightly that in order to tell them apart from the original tree one would have to have DNA samples taken of the two. This second process, slowly enhances its ability to be resistant, it takes much longer and allows for the pathogen to alter itself as well which may eventually be able to attack the native resistant clones.
    Corn is a genetically altered form of Maize. Over the centuries, growing conditions, climates, and many other variables have simply changed the plant to what we eat today. Cross pollination now changes the taste of the ear. This is a natural occurrence of genetic altering.
    Every crop in the world has natural mutations and hybridization over time. Here in CA we have a Blue Oak tree that has crossed with a Canyon Live Oak tree, natural evolution. It has genetically altered its own make-up to better resist natural pathogens and to make the plant stronger by cross pollination. It better adapts itself to the ever changing environment.
    This is but just a quick overview of genetically altering plants, to understand or get deeper into it you would have to read a few books on the subject.
    Here is a quick example.
    Have you ever taken a cutting of one of your plants, what you think to be a perfect rose, and re-grown it? You have just cloned it, taken the best part of the plant, which is also usually the strongest, and regrown it. It will now have a newer genetic make-up with out the deformities or weaknesses of the original plant. you can continue doing this until you have completely hybridized this Rose, then you can re-name it and cultivate it, enter it in Rose shows, etc. Most who do this re-name it after themselves or a loved one.

  21. Evelyn said:

    Liquidmicro said:
    I don’t want to debunk your theory of the costs of food in Hawaii, so I’ll just give you the following links that show the actual costs of food in the grocery stores in Hawaii that is current. I’ll let the ads debunk your ignorance all on their own.
    http://foodland.gsnrecipes.com/Shop/WeeklyAd.aspx
    http://www.timessupermarket.com/timetosave.asp
    Now, I don’t see the costs of $7lb. tomatoes, Laura, that you are claiming, in any of these ads. Please, Evelyn, show us the $7.00 for Orange Juice, $8 for a jar of peanut butter, $5.50 for a loaf of white bread and $8.50 for a gallon of milk., or any thing else you fantasize about.
    The 2 of you need to further research your espoused propaganda before making yourselves look foolish.
    MY THEORY???
    Didn’t you take the time to research where the article came from? Didn’t you see it says CNN at the beginning of the article.
    [CNN] recently ran a report that looked at the higher food costs in Hawaii: Over $7.00 for Orange Juice, $8 for a jar of peanut butter, $5.50 for a loaf of white bread and $8.50 for a gallon of milk
    Again at the end citing CNN as it’s source. Source: [CNN]
    ~~~~
    The only one fantasizing, spinning Issues and looking foolish is you. Go stomp on CNN if you have a beef about their article.
    Before you do check the prices you referred to . They are not that different than CNN’s.
    Milk=$6. gal.
    Orange juice $9. gal. Peanut butter off brand $2.50

  22. Evelyn said:

    I must say I am totally impressed with your knowledge of plant life. Forgive me for being crass and doubting your intellect. Their is no excuse.
    Evelyn

  23. laura said:

    Dear “Liquidmicro”:
    We should probably just agree that plants are wonderful beings and that growing as much of our own food as possible is a good idea.
    Let me point out quickly though, that your statement “Have you ever taken a cutting of one of your plants, what you think to be a perfect rose, and re-grown it? You have just cloned it, taken the best part of the plant, which is also usually the strongest, and regrown it. It will now have a newer genetic make-up with out the deformities or weaknesses of the original plant.” contains a fundamental misunderstanding of genetics. You are describing a process of cloning, which is defined as reproducing an individual to generate new individuals with an identical genetic makeup. In other words, a cloned plant does not have “newer genetic make-up”. In fact, that is the whole point of cloning.
    As for “genetic alteration,” yes, evolution and plant breeding, described in your posts, are mechanisms by which plans’ genomes are altered. However, these mechanisms are not likely to help us in any meaningful timeframe when foreign pest species are introduced as a result of food imports.
    Again, I think we can agree on our interest in the wonderful world of plants and crops, and our hope that our food supply remains healthy. I would add to this, that the more locally our food is grown, the likelier it is to be healthy.

  24. Liquidmicro said:

    “In other words, a cloned plant does not have “newer genetic make-up”. In fact, that is the whole point of cloning.”
    In fact, it will have a newer genetic make-up, as the weaker deformities and irregularities (genes) will now be shut off. It acts like an on-off switch for the gene. You keep removing (turning on) the strongest or most desirable part of the plant, which in turn continues to make it stronger and healthier by ‘turning off’ the weaker genes, far fewer irregularities and/or deformities.
    Scientists are ‘combining’ plants and are helping in matters of years instead of lifetimes being done naturally. DED and Elms.
    Farmers Markets of your local neighborhoods/communities are great, they are mostly organic grown as well. Plus you get the added benefit of cutting out the middle man on the costs.

  25. Arnold said:

    “”When my ancestors came here the Native Indians were no longer in control of this country”
    Did they also get an invitation like Horaces family?”
    When did your tribe get an invitation from those indigenous to North America, Evelyn? If your tribe had invaded the U.S. before the white man arrived, yours would have been disinvited in the form of an attempt at anihalation. You belong here no more than the rest of us, you white hating bit*h.

  26. Evelyn Chavez said:

    I dont belong to any tribe. I am not of the Germanic tribes of Europe. I belong to a Nation of North American First Peoples. Currently established in the USA ignoramus white trash. Get an education stupid!
    Maybe that way you wont spew BS and ignorance every time you open your mouth!

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