Sunday, June 24, 2007

"We also must accept responsibility for these workers"

Undocumented workers need to be respected, paid and given a way forward

Farmers admit we need immigrant laborers; now we have to step up to be accountable for their role.

By David Mas Masumoto

"Agriculture has openly acknowledged the need for labor: We also must accept responsibility for these workers."

"As these new Americans are recognized, wages, working conditions and health benefits must be addressed. This will challenge farmers and the old ways of doing business. Agriculture has openly acknowledged the need for labor: We also must accept responsibility for these workers."

"I farm with a social contract—a network of honorable, mutually supporting relationships that contribute to the quality I seek. My work can't be done by machines. I want to grow 'face food,' produce with faces and their stories, keeping alive the legacy of good, authentic food."

"Undocumented workers are part of this food system. We all have a stake in immigration reform, and the need to recognize the important role of all food workers. We need to support farming that contributes true flavors to life."

Read the entire article.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Do we really want assimilation? What do we teach our kids?

Cox and Forkum points here to a column saying that kids and not immigrants are the assimilation priority (keep in mind the writer says we want them to learn American individualism, which some Americans are fighting as a cancer on our culture):
But the argument about political correctness and multiculturalism is not really an argument against immigration. In fact, it only connects to immigration very incidentally. If the ability of our culture to induct people into the values of our civilization is in doubt, then what happens to 11 million illegal immigrants is a relatively small problem. What we really ought to be worried about is a group of 75 million people who desperately need to be assimilated into America's culture of individualism, taught the essential facts about America's history, and encouraged to appreciate the virtues of our political system.

I am talking about 75 million people who are, you might say, on an automatic track to citizenship, and all of whom will become newly eligible to vote in the next two decades.

I am speaking of the 75 million Americans under the age of 18.

Unwelcome and problematic only because they got in the wrong way?

Cox and Forkum points here to "a must-read article on immigration from Jewish World Review: The real cause of the immigration crisis by Jeff Jacoby. (via TIA Daily)":
To countless Americans, the difference between legal and illegal immigration is self-evident and meaningful. But is that really what distinguishes the immigrants we want from those we don't — that the former enter the country lawfully, while the latter break the rules to get here? Are immigrants like my father and son inherently desirable merely because a lot of exasperating bureaucratic requirements were met before they came? Are the 11 million illegal immigrants living within our borders (and the several hundred thousand added to their number each year) unwelcome and problematic only because they got in the wrong way?

A foreigner who enters the United States without first running the immigration-law gantlet is not congenitally unfit to be a good American any more than someone who operates an automobile without a license is congenitally unfit to drive. Our immigration laws are maddening and Byzantine. They are heavily skewed in favor of people with family ties to US citizens — nearly two-thirds of all legal immigrants qualify to enter the United States because they are the relatives of someone already here, and even then it can take 10 or 15 years to qualify for legal residence. If you were designing an immigration system that would admit people on the basis of whether they seemed likely to become good Americans — patriotic, hard working, law-abiding, English-speaking — this is hardly the system you would devise.

Stars and Barred

From Cox and Forkum (read entire entry here):
Notice that we don't commonly talk about, say, "illegal homeowners" or "illegal students." Why? It's not because homeowners and students are fanatics for rule of law. It's because there are no government quotas limiting the number of home buyers and education seekers. If there were, if only a small number of houses were permitted to be built every year, if only a small number of people were allowed to attend school, then we'd be hearing about "illegals" who forge construction documents and smuggle students in station wagon dashboards.

I also find suspicious the frequent invocation of "rule of law" by some opponents of illegal immigration. It's as if they think "rule of law" means to always obey the law no matter how unjust. From that perspective, blacks escaping Southern slavery and Jews fleeing Nazi Germany were all violators of the "rule of law."

But "rule of law" was a phrase originally used to distinguish between the rule of men, such as the whim of a king or corrupt ruler, and the rule of law, where the government itself along with the citizens are governed by a clearly defined and fairly enforced set of rules that apply equally to all. Invoking the "rule of law" against immigrants coming here simply to work and better their lot is unjust and wrong.

Likewise, sneers at the word "amnesty" are telling, for shouldn't any derision depend on whether or not the law from which one receives amnesty is just or not?

Conservatives for better immigration bureaucracy