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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Immigration > Intolerance Fuels the High Cost of Illegal Immigration

Intolerance Fuels the High Cost of Illegal Immigration

LatinaLista — The assumption by many state lawmakers is that if undocumented immigrants are denied a place to live and the opportunity to be a licensed driver, they will have no choice but to leave.
But it doesn’t work like that.
Because for every punitive, mean-spirited and unAmerican tactic to drive these people out, there are countless communities who believe there has to be a better way than persecuting the most hard-working (accused) lawbreakers in the country.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg cites immigration as being the key to economic growth and faults the presidential candidates for promoting a “xenophobic” policy on immigration.
(Source: newsday.com)


In Michigan, undocumented immigrants used to be able to get a driver’s license.
Today, they can’t. What’s more, immigrants who are legally here but don’t have permanent residency can no longer have one either.
No one knows why the change of heart in allowing the undocumented to have licenses. For anyone who lives in a state with a high population of undocumented behind the wheel, it makes more sense to allow them to have licenses since more would also have to comply with insurance coverage.
Since they don’t have a license, they don’t need insurance either since they won’t be able to legally buy it. So, instead of making the rest of us safer, it puts us all at risk — with higher insurance premiums.
But it’s not about making US citizens safer and all about driving out the undocumented.
In Farmers Branch, Texas, Round II of the battle of denying undocumented immigrants a place to live just got expanded from apartments to houses.
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According to the new law, undocumented immigrants cannot rent nor own a home in the town.
And EVERYone who wants to rent in Farmers Branch must pay a $5 licensing fee, after which the application will be compared to a federal government database to determine if the applicant is a legal resident.
The city council members who passed this law feel that it clears any constitutional hurdles since the last ordinance they passed not allowing landlords to rent apartments to undocumented immigrants still hasn’t gone into effect because of a judge’s order.
Knowing this, and having spent $770,000 from the town’s coffers in attorney’s fees in defending their last ordinance in court, the city council is displaying fiscal irresponsibility with city’s funds — especially since there’s no guarantee that this latest ordinance will be passed.
With the amount of money spent so far, the Farmer’s Branch city council could have applied that to creating a real solution to their problem and one that would bring the community together, rather than divide it further.
At any rate, towns like Farmers Branch, will end up paying a high price in the end — one way or another.

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Comment(26)

  • Frank
    January 23, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    So it is “mean spirited” to enforce our immigration laws? Does that apply to Mexico enforcing it’s immigration laws too?

  • Jax
    January 24, 2008 at 8:30 am

    Frank beat me to the punch again.
    For God’s sake, Maria, what part of illegal don’t you understand? Please let me explain.
    If they’re illegal they have no right to be here or to have any kind of American license. These people have the same rights as anyone else who wants to come here and that is to wait their turn and enter legally.

  • Jax
    January 24, 2008 at 8:30 am

    Frank beat me to the punch again.
    For God’s sake, Maria, what part of illegal don’t you understand? Please let me explain.
    If they’re illegal they have no right to be here or to have any kind of American license. These people have the same rights as anyone else who wants to come here and that is to wait their turn and enter legally.

  • El Loco
    January 24, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Frank, I think the issue is not whether it’s mean-spirited to enforce the immigration laws, but rather whether it should be states and local governments who should be doing the enforcing.
    Having state and local governments try to deal with their undocumented/illegal/unauthorized
    immigrants is a bad idea and a really inefficient way of addressing this problem regardless of where you stand on this issue.
    Besides, it’s bad business for the towns to do this but they usually don’t realize this until it’s too late. Case in point: Riverside, New Jersey.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/26/nyregion/26riverside.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

  • laura
    January 24, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Enforcing the unjust immigration laws we have now is worse than mean spirited. It is at the same moral level as enforcing the Fugitive Slave Laws was in the 19th century.
    Same thing: the same type of people then said: what part of illegal – to help slaves escape – don’t you understand ?
    For an example in our century: What part of illegal about a marriage between a black and a white person did mixed-race couples not understand ?

  • Johnson III
    January 24, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Wake up hermano!
    HILLARY CLINTON OPPOSES ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS DRIVER’S LICENCE.
    THIS MEANS THEY WILL HAVE TO DRIVE ILLEGALLY TO GO TO WORK!
    THIS MEANS THEY CANT GET INSURANCE FOR THEIR CARS!
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/2007-11-14-clinton-immigration_N.htm

  • El Loco
    January 24, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Enforcing the unjust immigration laws we have now is worse than mean spirited.
    Laura, what is so “unjust” about the immigration laws we have?

  • EYES OF TEXAS
    January 24, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Mixed-race couples that were unjustly persecuted were few and far between at the time that such marriges were illegal. The law was changed and the taboos were lifted years later. Unlike the laws on immigration which are unchanged at this time and have been violated by 25-30 million people. All are subject to being apprehended, charged and deported in accordance with the law. Those that have broken the law have committed an illegal act, those that are not native to the U.S. are aliens,hence; illegal aliens.

  • Frank
    January 24, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    El Loco, the illegal immigration situation is so out of control now and in such massive numbers that we need the cooperation of all law enforcement to assist the Feds in doing their jobs.
    Whatever setbacks there are or will be to local economies will correct itself in time. Any businesses that claim to have to rely on hiring illegal aliens and therefore has violted our laws, doesn’t deserve to be in business anyway.

  • Frank
    January 24, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    laura, what is unjust about our immigration laws? Please be specific.

  • Horace
    January 24, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Wah, wah, wah! Unamerican? By what standard? What’s American about permitting the violation of our immigration laws? Unamerican is violating or conspiring with others to violate our laws. Unamerican is the divisiveness caused by ethnocentrists on behalf of foreigners. Being American is supporting our legal system and respecting the democratic will of the people. Unamerican is hiding fugitives from our justice system. The only way to make illegal aliens go home is if we make them as uncomfortable as as the unwelcome visitors they are. Violators of our immigration laws, like violator citizens are not entitled to the benefits or social normalities of our society, period. We make our citizen violators live in abnormal conditions in places called prisons. Illegal aliens have chosen their life and should expect no mercy. If they desire a normal life, they will find it in the country that they owe their allegience.

  • laura
    January 24, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    Enforcing the unjust immigration laws we have now is worse than mean spirited. It is at the same moral level as enforcing the Fugitive Slave Laws was in the 19th century.
    The laws are unjust because
    1. first the US government topples democratically elected governments that try to improve the life of their people, and installs a military dictatorship that in the following decades pushes the vast majority into destitution and kills anyone who objects. One of many exmples: Guatemala, 1954.
    2. US companies exploit labor and land of those people who now suffer under the military dictatorship, One of many examples: United Fruit Company, Guatemala 1954 – present (since 1984 called Chiquita Brands International).
    3. People cannot support themselves or their families, and/or try to flee the violent mayhem committed by the US-installed dictatorship.
    4. People look for where to go to work: in the US cheap labor industries, where unions were previously busted, are hiring.
    5. There is no way to get a visa to the US for anyone without a graduate degree (or US family member). There is no line.
    6. People risk their lives to travel to, and cross into, the US – without a visa.
    7. There is no way they can obtain documents, but all Americans want the cheap lettuce, the cheap meat, and the cheap fast food that they produce. Americans like to have them clean their houses, watch their babies, and take care of their old people for a pittancs.
    8. Now Americans call them “illegals.”
    My friends, the hate you spew will come back to haunt you. Greed and violence and the belief that I am the best and deserve the most do not end well.
    Some people learned that in kindergarten. And some didn’t.

  • Evelyn
    January 25, 2008 at 3:00 am

    Horace
    UN-AMERICAN describes you to a tee! It’s an embarrassment to America that people like you don’t know, or try to ignore the fact that America was founded by people who had the courage to break unjust laws to forge this land into a nation governed by a Constitution that guarantees everyone inside these borders Justice and equality.
    UN-AMERICAN is divisiveness caused by Eurocentrists who think only people from Europe have a right to Justice and Equality, and ignore the indigenous of these lands.
    Being American means supporting our constitution which advocates Justice and Equality for all, regardless of race, and having the sense to change our laws when they fail to reflect those rights.
    UN-AMERICAN is to demonize immigrants with lies and labels such as scumbags, disease carriers, criminals, job stealers, and burdens to society, when all evidence indicates contrary. The language itself is UN-AMERICAN.
    Immigrants are human beings who have been classified as having a different legal status from the rest of the countrys inhabitants, even though they pay taxes. Isn’t that one of the reasons our founding fathers left England, something called “taxation without representation.” That is UN-AMERICAN.
    The only thing that makes immigrants different from anybody else is the fact that they are denied the same basic rights the rest of us have, and that is UN-AMERICAN. There is simply no acceptable reason to define a group of people as different and deny them rights.
    The fact that we claim to oppose discrimination based on national origin when our entire body of citizenship and immigration laws is founded on discrimination based on national origin is UN-American.
    The following statement”the only way to make Illegal aliens go home is if we make them as uncomfortable as the unwelcome visitors they are.” This statement made by Horace who benefits of the products and services brought to you by the work these people do is not only UN-AMERICAN, but hypocritical.
    What you are advocating is attrition. This strategy was first spearheaded by FAIR, a well known anti-immigrant hate group with ties to the KKK.
    By advocating attrition and rejecting any compromise solution that would allow our current workforce to remain intact and functional, you disqualify yourself by proving you simply don’t understand the principals of our domestic economy, and our grasp on global fiscal policy as it relates to our ability to compete in the global marketplace.
    With our economy already in a bind. Politicians are working at this very minute on a stimulus package. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke just slashing the interest rate by 3/4 of a percentage point to stimulate our economy, and you are advocating that we intentionally and willingly enter into a severe economic recession in order to cleans ourselves of the 12 million economic refugees that we created, in part by our foreign policy.(NAFTA) This intolerant approach reeks of bigotry, and is UN-AMERICAN
    Acting like we live in an isolated bubble in the U.S., because you’ve never travelled further than the edge of town, and asking us to rid ourselves of our undocumented workforce regardless of the consequences, without looking into how the return of 12 million people back to their countries will affect us in the future is irrisponsable.
    We would see many third world countries, particularly in Latin America become massively overburdened with all these unemployed returning mouths to feed.
    There are several left wing socialist and communist countries ready to do business with Mexico and other countries below our southern borders in exchange for land putting them in a position to surround the U.S.
    ATTRITION really means that if we were really able to withhold any means of employment from the millions of undocumented workers here in the U.S., they would be faced with few choices. If they were to stay here they would starve themselves and their families, and would be left homeless due to their inability to pay rent. They would wander around looking for work for as long as they could hold out, and then faced with no other choice, would began to return, defeated, broke, angry, and with their tails between their legs back to their countries of origin, assuming they could survive the journey back without any means to pay for it.
    It’s like condemning 12 million hard working God loving people to execution by a thousand little cuts and waiting for a slow death. It is a slow and painful torture of humiliation, condemnation, loss of dignity, hunger, helplessness, hopelessness, desperation, and finally submission. is this the America you want? Is this the America we have become? Horace and Frank seem to think so. Shurly we are a better country than that…….it would bring the “trail of tears” back all over again…….this act would put us in competition with Dar fur, Saudi Arabia , and North Korea……if America is a better country than to accept this type of savagery than show a little compassion by supporting a comprehensive immigration policy that can solve this problem without having to become the same people we go to war against for the torture of others.
    We are bigger than this America, we can solve this issue in a compassionate and logical manner. THAT IS THE AMERICAN WAY!

  • Hilal
    January 25, 2008 at 7:58 am

    You are absolutely right. It is about driving out these illegals, and forget this “undocumented” business. This country will cease to exist if these people aren’t rounded up and sent back to where they came from. And if they want to come here, then they should do as Americans do, and get their citizenship, swearing in and walking around papers. We don’t owe these people a thing but a one way trip back to their country of origin. Yeah, give us your tired, your poor, but they are going to have to come in through the the front, get their hand stamped, and not through the window. Making demands and waving foreign flags even.

  • Frank
    January 25, 2008 at 8:05 am

    laura, the U.S. government may be responsible for some economic and political problems around the world but I see you don’t hold the illegal’s governments responsible for anything. Mexico’s hands aren’t tied in creating a working environment for their citizens. The problem is they are still operating under a feudal system that permits wealth for a few and poverty for the rest. If we continue to be an escape valve for the Mexican government, they will never clean up their act.
    I believe it was “liquid” a member in here who posted about the farmers not trying to bring migrant workers in here to pick the crops legally because of the paperwork and expense involved. So there is a way, it is just that the farmers find it cheaper to hire them illegally. It isn’t true that the only ones allowed to migrate here are those who are higly skilled or educated.
    Regardless whether you or I or a migrant thinks we don’t allow enough unskilled workers into this country legally, one doesn’t just jump our borders anyway. You seek to change those laws first.
    It isn’t most honest American citizens who want cheap illegal labor. It is some businesses and other corrupt individuals. The majority of Americans are honest and expect our immigration laws to be enforced and are not responsible for the sins of our government nor should we pay for those sins. All we can do is vote those individuals out of office. We as citzens shouldn’t accept the suicide of our nation by uncontrolled population growth and the corruption of not abiding by our laws all in the name of the almighty dollar and a unneeded massive economy.
    Those here without documents are illegal aliens. That is the government term for them.
    There is no hate involved for most Americans. I don’t know where you pro-illegals get this from. Most Americans oppose greed and violence too. Your side will never win attacking and insulting the majority of Americans on this issue.

  • EYES OF TEXAS
    January 25, 2008 at 8:43 am

    Please, please, please stop using the 12 million illegal alien count. That figure is at least 10 years old and the true estimate today is between 20-25 million and continuing to grow daily. There is nothing that will destroy a nation faster than uncontrolled immigration and multi-culturalism.
    Enforcement through attrition does not happen over night. The illegal alien got here under adverse conditions and hopefully once he/she sees the writing on the wall will have enough sence to return home before their condition becomes hopeless. If not, they can always ask their local branch of ICE for assistance. It’s a free bus ride, plane ride or boat ride courtesy of the U.S. government. The sooner the better.

  • Bobc
    January 25, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Please!!
    Every Country has laws, the USA included!
    If you want to drive and work, and are here illegally…go home!
    Protest & fight for reform in the Country you are from.

  • Liquidmicro
    January 25, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Do some research on the H-2A Visa and ask why is it that only 2% of the farmers are using it. Research why NAFTA and CAFTA are having the effects they are on C. and S. America.
    The abolishment of U.S. agricultural subsidies would benefit Mexican farmers.
    NAFTA and CAFTA were put in place with the thinking that our farmers would play by the rules, incorporating the H-2A visa, however, due to their greed, the farmers found it easier to pay minimum wage instead of paying the required costs associated with the H-2A (housing, travel, medical, meals, etc.). Thus, lower prices for exporting to the farmer, plus subsidized monies for farms, which again was meant to help with the added costs of using the H-2A visa program. The American farmers have duped the American Citizen and caused severe hardships due to cheating the system to most of Central and South America.
    All ‘Illegals’ here now should be placed on the H-2A visas and force the farmers to hire them as mandated for the visa, to include all associated costs. Then reduce all subsidizations to the farmers.
    Most farms that have been shut down due to the ‘Cheating American Farmers’ are located in the central and southern areas of Mexico, these farmers are some of those coming here now. I say, give them back their farms in their countries, go after our farmers, since due to their greed, we are in this position.

  • Liquidmicro
    January 25, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Here’s a fun article. Seems that the USA isn’t the only country having problem with ‘immigrants’.
    “A delegation of nine state legislators from Sonora was in Tucson on Tuesday to say Arizona’s new employer sanctions law will have a devastating effect on the Mexican state.
    At a news conference, the legislators said Sonora – Arizona’s southern neighbor, made up of mostly small towns – cannot handle the demand for housing, jobs and schools it will face as illegal Mexican workers here return to their hometowns without jobs or money. ”
    http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/ss/border/74193.php
    And another, this time an opinion piece.
    “While Espino has asked for help from the Mexican government to ease his city’s burden, it will be interesting to see if the Mexican federal government will turn it’s back on him as they have on the plight of U.S. mayors that have needed support from the Mexican government to stop illegal crossings from Mexico into the U.S.”
    http://www.yumasun.com/opinion/_39140___article.html/_.html

  • Frank
    January 25, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Thanks for posting again about the unused H-2A visas that our own corrupt American farmers are circumventing but instead opting to use illegal labor instead, liquidmicro. This should put to rest the idea that we are “mean spirited” as a government and a people of preventing farmers from getting their needed labor.
    Now our government needs to get on the stick and correct these problems. They need to uphold our laws in the workplace and at our borders and stop these insane subsidies that are going to our farmers.

  • publiuscincinatus
    January 25, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    The laws are unjust because
    1. first the US government topples democratically elected governments that try to improve the life of their people, and installs a military dictatorship that in the following decades pushes the vast majority into destitution and kills anyone who objects. One of many exmples: Guatemala, 1954.
    —————————
    Guatemala wasn’t doing very well in 1954, before the military dictatorship, so where’s the proof that it would have been more successful otherwise?
    —————————-
    2. US companies exploit labor and land of those people who now suffer under the military dictatorship, One of many examples: United Fruit Company, Guatemala 1954 – present (since 1984 called Chiquita Brands International).
    —————————-
    Same as before. What proof do you have that the indigneous peoples would have done any better without United Fruit’s exploitation. We see country’s in the world where the U.S. hasn’t been involved, yet they are still failures economically.
    —————————-
    3. People cannot support themselves or their families, and/or try to flee the violent mayhem committed by the US-installed dictatorship.
    —————————-
    Mexico isn’t under a dictatorship, but a democracy, yet that country is the source of the vast majority of illegal immigrants. Using your measure, why is it unjust to deny Mexican illegal immigrants entry? Most reasonable people believe that it is Mexico’s own unjust socieoeconomic system that is holding their citizens back, yet no one holds their government accountable for their citizens propensity to become illegal immigrants.
    —————————-
    4. People look for where to go to work: in the US cheap labor industries, where unions were previously busted, are hiring.
    —————————-
    Just because I leave my back door unlocked doesn’t give license to criminals to enter. Because there are unscrupulous employers who would violate our laws doesn’t mean that the citizen’s immigration laws should be shown contempt.
    —————————
    5. There is no way to get a visa to the US for anyone without a graduate degree (or US family member). There is no line.
    —————————-
    So what? U.S. citizens through their legislatures establish immigration laws. Who are foreigners to demand entry? Americans don’t demand that other countries establish immigration and naturalization laws to accommodate their needs.
    —————————-
    6. People risk their lives to travel to, and cross into, the US – without a visa.
    —————————-
    So what? How is this unjust? We have rules for admittance. Just because someone wishes to enter our country it is our responsiblity that they should become harmed by ignoring our laws? If someone from China jumps into a rowboat with intent to come to our shores and dies in a storm, it is our fault? It’s somehow unjust for us to have control of who comes to our shores? Nonsense!
    —————————-
    7. There is no way they can obtain documents, but all Americans want the cheap lettuce, the cheap meat, and the cheap fast food that they produce. Americans like to have them clean their houses, watch their babies, and take care of their old people for a pittancs.
    —————————-
    It is up to Americans to decide who decide which foreigners who will come here and gain employment. Every nation on the planet estabishes who should and shouldn’t cross their borders to work, so you advocates are alone in your claims to rights by illegal immigrants for this purpose. We are the “We” in “We The People”, in the preamble of the Constitution, not Mexicans, not Pakistanis, not Englishmen, not French, etc.
    —————————-
    8. Now Americans call them “illegals.”
    —————————-
    They are illegals because their contempt for our laws and the desires of the American people to maintain control of this country for themselves. Just like Mexicans and every country to our south, we lay claim of sovereignty of our country for ourselves. The only reason Mexico and Mexicans object to this is because it is convenient at this time to do so. If everything in Mexico was great, there would be no illegal immigration and Mexicans wouldn’t be trying to deny us our right to be the sole arbiters of our destiny.
    —————————-
    My friends, the hate you spew will come back to haunt you. Greed and violence and the belief that I am the best and deserve the most do not end well.
    Some people learned that in kindergarten. And some didn’t.
    ————————–
    You call it hate, but we are doing exactly what every citizen of Latin America would do if he was in the same position, excercising our prerogative as the citizens of the United States of America.

  • Horace
    January 25, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    Laura,
    Nothing of what you’ve said would convince the thinking person that our immigration laws are unjust or motivate him to open up our borders to chaotic illicit border crossers or give impetus to an amnesty. Your arguments are nothing more than a rehash of complaints against our government’s past actions. And it isn’t as though we haven’t done much good in Latin America, as every year we send millions of dollars in foreign aid to that part of the world. If that isn’t enough contrition for the past, then it’s just too bad.

  • Horace
    January 25, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    Intolerance of the innocent is a vice, while intolerance of the guilty is a virtue.
    The citizens of the community have come together in a democratic venu and determined a course of action. Illegal aliens are not enfranchised as citizens or legal residents and are thus not legitimate members of any community in the U.S. They’re no more members of the Farmer’s Branch community than the Germans were legitimate citizens of France during WWII. Now, Evelyn, time to call that inconvenient truth hateful.

  • Frank
    January 25, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    Well stated, publius.

  • Evelyn
    January 25, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    My dog goes in my back yard and DIGGS, and DIGGS, and DIGGS, he always comes back with the same thing, dirt on his paws!
    Liquid suggests that we do some research, I have a better idea.
    Why don’t you go do some more research. About 3mor, no 5 more days worth, before you come back with the same REGURGITATED MISINFORMATION!

  • C
    January 28, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    No one knows why the change of heart in allowing the undocumented to have licenses. For anyone who lives in a state with a high population of undocumented behind the wheel, Meanspirited? UnAmerican? Zenophobic?
    These are all PC retoric designed to make people ashamed to fight against an illegal invasion.
    Everyone knows the reasons both economic and cultural for the change in heart. Massive illegal immigration with no allegance to America while at the same time overwhelming social services designed for American poor and all the while displacing these same American poor, both in the job market and in the welfare rolls.
    Every one of these communities has experianced the blatent racist attitudes from illegal immigrants from refusing the American langusge to refusing to plegde allegiance to the country they (claim) to want to be a part of. They are building entire communities where you do not need to speak or learn anything American to live and shun the culture and the laws of this country.
    The most hard-working (accused) lawbreakers,? What part of “it is a crime to enter the country undocumented” do you not understand? if they are here “undocumented” they violated a federal crime to do it there is no accused there is only guilty

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