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A Pet Peeve

Actually the feeling is a lot stronger than that, but you get the drift.

Badtux refers to it as As usual, screw the little guy, and Steve Soto says Bush Finally Enforces Immigration Laws.

This is about the Hedgemony exacting penalties for people who employ undocumented aliens, as well as the workers themselves. The laws involved were passed from ten to twenty years ago, but they have been ignored for the last seven years. Now they decide to enforce them, apparently in annoyance with the Congress for not passing new laws.

Every time someone suggest that a new law is needed and I check, there are already laws on the books that might solve the problem, but the old laws aren’t being enforced. What is the point of killing more trees to print new laws when there is apparently no ability and/or willingness to enforce existing laws?

This is the main problem I have with new gun laws. We don’t enforce the laws we already have on the books, so what’s the point of new laws?

Unless laws are enforced, they have no effect on anything. We have thousands of laws on the books, many of which should have been repealed decades ago, and others that might actually make a difference if anyone knew they existed. Unless the Executive branch is willing and able to do its job, the Legislative branch is wasting time and money passing laws.

Maybe if we moved a few of the jobs in the Executive from salaried positions to hourly, we might get a little work out these people.

As for immigration, as Badtux notes, if you don’t go after the labor contractors and the people who hire them, nothing is going to change.

8 comments

1 Michael { 08.10.07 at 10:54 pm }

But we already know they’re not going to go after the labor contractors and the people who hire illegals–they’d have to investigate and/or arrest their friends. I’m sure they’ll find a few Democrats to pick on for window-dressing, but anyone who seriously expects the Hedgemony to do anything that might piss off its “living high off the sweat of others’ brows” base is simply delusional.

2 Bryan { 08.10.07 at 11:46 pm }

They keep going after small businesses and avoiding the corporations.

Apparently Smithfield Meatpacking has a new TV ad out with a spokesmodel who more Southern that Scarlett O’Hara talking about how great something they make is. They local reaction from someone who has family near a Smithfield plant is that their workforce is from a good deal further South than Dixie and they don’t say Y’all, they say Ustedes.

If employer sanctions had been enforced, there would have been no flood of immigrants, but if they had done it, they would have had to create a way of allowing workers in legally or raising the minimum wage.

3 Steve Bates { 08.11.07 at 10:25 am }

Given the strength of his principles regarding immigration, Bush should vow not to eat any food grown with substantial labor provided by the “paperless folk,” as one local political consultant calls them. (I rather like the term… it’s accurate and not pejorative.)

I don’t know a ready solution to the illegal immigration problem; indeed, there’s probably no partisan political issue over which I’m more conflicted. Of course the laws should be enforced, but they should be enforced uniformly on local homebuilders and gigantic agribusinesses alike… and I don’t see that as happening here.

I am curious what the public’s opinion on illegal immigrant labor will be when food prices quadruple; I’m moderately confident that will lead to changes in the law… but I still don’t know if any changes will resolve the issues of worker status. We have built a couple of important parts of our economy on the assumption of a large supply of cheap labor, illegal though that supply may be, and any way forward that we choose is sure to involve some economic pain for everyone involved.

(An aside regarding terminology: I detest the use of “illegal” as a noun, because there is nothing intrinsic in a human being that is illegal. Laws can be changed; people who are “illegals” today can be “legals” tomorrow at a stroke of a pen. If one is uncomfortable saying “undocumented workers” or “paperless folk,” or if one needs to emphasize the workers’ immigration status, “illegal alien” or “illegal resident” is to my ear far less derogatory than just “illegal” used as a noun.)

4 Bryan { 08.11.07 at 12:43 pm }

To get technical, “illegal” is not an accurate description because this is a civil matter for the workers, not a criminal violation. That is something that needs emphasis – those who do the hiring are criminals, those who are hired are not. Those who do the hiring are arrested, those who are hired are detained. Those who do the hiring have criminal court trials, those who are hired face administrative proceedings.

It’s time to catch the criminals. The laws have been there, but they aren’t being enforced.

Consider the situation – it’s news that the government is enforcing the law.

5 Michael { 08.11.07 at 9:40 pm }

That’s what they’re called in France, Steve: “sans-papiers,” or “the paperless.”

6 Bryan { 08.11.07 at 10:10 pm }

The absurd thing is, the new laws about the the identification required to vote or get a drivers license are coming up against the fact that a whole lot of native born Americans don’t have “papers.”

I got into this doing background investigations: some states use church records of baptism or christenings rather than birth certificates outside of large cities. In a few the family Bible is an official record.

I have now idea what happens in cross border reservations because one applicant’s birthday was “awarded” by the US Army when he enlisted.

7 Steve Bates { 08.12.07 at 12:10 am }

“The absurd thing is, the new laws about the the identification required to vote or get a drivers license are coming up against the fact that a whole lot of native born Americans don’t have ‘papers.'” – Bryan

Two Mexican American brothers do most of the lawn and pool maintenance in my apartment complex. They are employees, not contract or temp workers like me. They are American citizens. I am happy to say that I registered one of the brothers to vote, and Stella registered the other. Though they appear to speak mostly Spanish at home, their English is excellent, and their American political awareness appears quite high. But they are visually indistinguishable from members of their families who live in Mexico City, who are Mexican citizens, to whom they drive to visit every few weeks. Please note that neither are they border residents nor are their families atypical: most Mexican Americans I know have family who are still living in, and citizens of, Mexico.

How likely is it that the brothers will be asked to prove their American citizenship to vote or be employed, vs. the likelihood that I, who look like the combination of Dutch, French, British and Irish ancestors that I sprang from, will be asked for my papers in the same circumstances? The civil laws on employment and (criminal?) laws on voting will be enforced in a discriminatory manner based on physical characteristics the brothers cannot change. That’s as un-American as it gets… and I don’t doubt many GOPers favor that discrimination.

BTW, I did not ask them for proof of citizenship to register to vote: current Texas law strictly forbids me to ask that of them, and their signature on the registration application is their assertion under penalty of perjury that they are American citizens and residents of Texas and of this county. Will that, too, change? How far will the Bushists take this?

8 Bryan { 08.12.07 at 12:56 am }

They have already done it Georgia, and have the damn official documents in the state are signed with a X.

Saint Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied European city in the United States [September 8, 1565], and the people damn sure didn’t speak English.

The majority of those who lived the Texas Republic when it became a state didn’t speak English and looked like the brothers.

This is all a dodge to “cage” voters. If those brothers had a Miami address, no one would hassle them.