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Monday, March 27, 2006


......as long as they're not coming in from Mexico that is.

Personally, I'm for free and open borders. As long as you have ID that can be checked against an international database, if you come up clean, you should be granted entry and be able to work. If you want government services - financial aid, you should have to become a naturalized citizen. That process should involve some mandatory education and a service charge.

Sorry, but I don't think that'll work and it certainly isn't fair. Why should Mexico have a proximity advantage? For instance, I would grant more work permits, green cards, etc... to those in Darfur since I would say their situation is a tad more dire wouldn't you say? How about all those from other countries wishing to immigrate to our country that have waited and followed the rules to legitimately get here? How does our current immigration policy stand against the rest of the worlds? How about citizens responsibility for their own government? So if the Mexican people themselves have no incentive to fix their own countries ills, and simply come here instead (I thought the people of the world overwhelmingly think we suck), who is going to fix the mess when it all collapses?

More than likely the good ole U.S. of A. Even more likely still, the world and many Americans will be railing about how we're screwing it up.

Sorry, try again...
Who ever said life was fair? That's a really swell idea to offer green cards to Sudanese, but that's hardly related to the issue at hand. The issue is, we have 11 million illegal immigrants - from plenty of countries besides Mexico - in this country and they're not going anywhere. The vast majority live and work peacefully, but without the rights and responsibilities that you and I were born with. To all the right wingers obsessed with the alleged drain on services these illegal aliens supposedly partake in, there'a a really simple answer: Tax 11 million people. I don't know exactly how you expect these workers to help their own economies, but I don't agree with those that claim they are harming ours. You have to admit that American policies like NAFTA and CAFTA have diminished their chances of survival in their own countries and played a part in driving them here. And another thing, not everyone who is dark, short and speaks broken English is Mexican. That drives me nuts. Around here, south of the border more often means Salvadoran, Guatemalan, Honduran, Columbian, etc. I know dozens of people that would love to pay taxes if it meant they could advance themselves in this country without fear of deportation. What's the alternative? Shall we try to deport them all? How do you propose to fill the jobs left behind. Say goodbye to your bartender, too.
Mexico has a proximity advantage because.....they have a proximity advantage! What do you want me to do? Move Darfur to Chihuaua?

I think you missed my point. I think ANYBODY who isn't a convicted criminal should be able to move here - that's what we are supposed to be about.

Don't worry though, this country is getting crappier by the minute - soon enough nobody will want to come here anyway.
Clarkie says "The vast majority [of illegal immigrants] live and work peacefully, but without the rights."

Well, if you want the rights, how about obeying the laws of the country and pursuing citizenship or legal residence legally?

It still puzzles me why this is such an offensive proposition to some. Would any of us think of moving to, say, Switzerland, without going through the correct channels to be a legal resident? Of course not.

You can support legal immigration and still be against amnesty for those who broke the law. What sort of message would that send to those who are trying to come here legally? Why bother doing it correctly?
The only problem I have with supporting legal immigration is that if you only grant citizenship to those who went through legal means, then just like everything else, it becomes a priviledge of the rich. I have a friend that came here over 20 years ago from Central America on a freighter stuffed inside an 18 gallon drum. Do you really believe that he had the access or the money to attempt entering legally? I seriously doubt it. He eventually recieved a green card... I'm assuming back around 1986 when amnesty was offered. Let's be honest. We all pick and choose what laws we want to follow or not follow. Did anybody happen to smoke up tonight? Some laws are more important than others, for obvious reasons. I equate overstaying a visa with smoking up. And as beautiful as Switzerland is, I don't think Swiss xenophobia is something to be admired or duplicated. Still, the question remains for those who are opposed to amnesty: What do you do with the 11 million souls (and their American children)that are already here.
Dave said it before I could, there is the rule of law that is fundamental foundation of order in out society and it is what creates the relative stability American society enjoys. Second to a stable and growing economy, it also happens to be what is most attractive about living here. Why is that so unreasonable? I think it's legitimate question to ask: What puts Latin American countries at the top of the immigration list?

We simply cannot continue to let the law be violated so flagrantly to those seeking passage to our country. The reaction of those who jumped down my throat is depressingly typical: call me a xenophobe. You haven't even heard my thoughts on any plan yet, but simply tossing me and any other who happens to think anything more restrictive than the status quo is xenophobic.

Frankly, I'm at a loss as to what to do with those already here. I'm even willing to accept amnesty as a solution assuming, and only if, border security is shored up. As Clarkie eludes, that's not fair to those who have followed the process and are waiting to get in legitimately, but I just can't see rounding them all up as something that is even possible.

Secondly, if illegal immigrants fill a need for cheap labor as is touted, then quantify it and legitimize a process that facilitates migrant workers, but no, that was Bush's plan so it's no good. Well, come up with one that isn't Bush's plan and I'll be happy to support it.

The thing that is missing is exactly how the whole unchecked situation has allowed a HUGE illegal sub-economy/industry to thrive that only further exploits the illegal immigrant. The fuckers who pay these people sub par wages top the list, the cottage phony document industry, the human smugglers, etc... the status quo simply gives these criminals and their enterprises quarter.

If my bartender entered this country by breaking the law, he ought to be deported, and the owner who knowingly hired him thrown in jail. That's the law, let's enforce it. At the same time, let's legitimize the need for migrant workers and set up a process that facilitates it.

Another taboo subject that’ll surely cast me into the xenophobe corner only for the asking, but what about the effect on the schools? My family on the west coast (who also happen to be teachers) claim that the system is crushing under the weight of educating ESL students. They’re not bitter xenophobes, they’re concerned teachers. I can now see what they’ve been dealing with. My county her in GA and particularly the schools that my daughter will have to attend next year are losing ground as well as a result of the rapidly increasing ESL problem. It is having a negative effect on the quality of education the English speaking student body is receiving. That’s straight from the teacher’s mouths to my ears. I believe them. I also don’t think they’re xenophobic either. They are simply accurately stating the situation.

This is part of the price we pay for the privalege of being who we are.

We can't have it both ways. If we're going to step in when it benefits us, we're going to have to take the heat when others don't like it. We can become isolationist, but I don't think that's what you want. But it's OK, we're bigger than that, right? Can't we take a little criticism (or a lot)? Aren't we the city on the hill?

As far as the 11 million illegal immigrants in this country go - there are plenty of us (some of whom may be debating these very laws) who've been happy to turn a blind eye when it's convenient. We're more than willing to hire them at substandard wages, to let them take care of our children and deliver our food, but then we turn around and say we really don't want them here? What's it gonna be?

To me, it's not an offensive proposition to suggest that someone who wants to immigrate follow the laws. But, as Clarkie says, what are we going to do? We have to be pragmatic at this point. We're not going to get rid of 11 million people. Better to get them into the system as quickly as possible.

BTW - spending billions of dollars on fences is crazy. There are schools that need that money.
Tony got his comment in right before mine...

I'm a little shocked that ESL is affecting the schools in your county as much as it is. Something tells me this is being overstated just a tad.
Tony - this is on your blogroll. Thoughts?

I'm attempting to create some cross pollenation of readership over here from my Georgia friends, but they will surely atest that here in the Atlanta metro area, we have been experiencing a HUGE influx of illegal immigrants in the past few years. We have four schools within two miles of our home and ALL of them are getting clobbered with the the ESL problem all at once. It's very real problem that our county simply did not have ten years ago. There was/is no mechanism as near as I can tell that was in place to handle this.


For my TW response...
"What puts Latin American countries at the top of the immigration list?"

Proximity. You can't get around geography.

I agree about the 'rule of law', I think we should deter illigal immigration, again, I think you missed my point.

"The reaction of those who jumped down my throat is depressingly typical: call me a xenophobe."

Now YOU are over-reacting.

"that was Bush's plan so it's no good."

The folks saying that Bush's plan is no good are not me and Clarkie, it's the GOP turning against Bush and eating him alive. Bush's plan is actually fairly progressive, and I have no problem with it.

Again, I think you missed my point.

My point was; let's follow through with what we say we are - a haven for a better way of life. Let's embrace immigration by making it less cost prohibitive, and make legitimate citizens out of those non-criminals who wish to come here.

Set up a system to integrate new non-english speaking students - get them up to speed. That can only create more jobs for teachers - good thing, right?

As far as those who are here illegally, we need to get them assimilated, offer incentives for those who will play ball, and deportation for those who won't.
For the record, I never called Tony a xenophobe or implied it. I made a racist remark against the Swiss. (Oh shit, are you Swiss, Tony? I'm sorry man.) Although I admit it is costly, I will say as an educator with experience in ESL, that I emphatically disagree that ESL "is having a negative effect on the quality of education the English speaking student body is receiving." Particularly in the younger grades, being exposed to other languages and cultures can only be a plus. Many children learn by teaching, as well. Perhaps it's more difficult to assimilate older kids, but I still don't see how that drags down the monolingual English speaking kids. It is sad that it seems like a burden in GA, but at this stage there are plenty of working models of how to run an effective ESL program. If educating those who don't speak English is effecting the education of the others, there is no excuse for it. You can't blame the ESL students, many of whom are born here. For those that want to follow the letter of the law, it doesn't matter how your parents got here, if you were born here, you are American.

As for Bush's plan, I agree it's progressive. It's a step in the right direction. Ultimately it is degrading and exploitive (It's okay for you to live her for a few months and pick strawberries at subpar wages so that Americans may continue to enjoy under-priced produce but after that you have to go home because you are not good enough to be an American), but at least it recognizes reality.
I wonder if the teachers Tony's referring to happen to be conservatives. Not trying to polarize, just asking.

Consider yourself lucky. The system you work in either doesn’t share the same proportion of ESL students, or simply has a better plan to handle them than what the Gwinnett County, or State of Georgia system has in place. The school my daughter will attend next fall (unless we decide to put her in private school) has a shocking 35% rate of ESL kids and will surely grow before the school season starts! We have talked with teachers and administrators alike who have no problem saying (at great risk to their jobs I might add), that it is short changing the non-ESL students by diverting time and resources to these kids to get them up to speed. The problem is REAL and growing. My CA family will tell you the same. It's a huge burden that grows everyday. Californians have been dealing with it for decades and polarization politics have stagnated any attempts to fix the problem.

You’re a teacher. You have a lesson plan for the year proportional to your class size that gets you from point A (first day of school) to point B (last day of school) for the year. So much has to be achieved during the year. Now add 5-6 kids who don’t speak English each year (another one during the year) and see if you can stay on lesson plan. You can’t. You’re only human. Scores drop, teachers get frustrated, people pull their kids, people move to another district, etc… all because everybody’s afraid to cry uncle and call it a problem. Hell, even Jackson admits that assimilation may be something that’s required.


Legitimate question, but this transcends party affiliation at least down here my friend.

P.S. Clarkie,

I’ve got my own blog now and would welcome your readership if you’re interested. I’m at: http://agropragmo.blogspot.com/
From the way you are describing it, it sounds like Gwinnet County is not dealing with the issue very well. The responsibility should not fall squarely on the classroom teachers. Do you even have ESL teachers? 35% is way higher than this area. Up here about half the kids seem to be from Central America and the other half from China, Korea, Mexico, India, Russia or born here of immigrant parents. For comparison sake, I'll tell you how it works around here, as I have been subbing for ESL teachers a bit recently. We do Princeton Schedule up here which means that the schools are broken down by grades instead of neighborhood - K/1 in one school, 2/3 in another, 4/5, and 6/7/8 in the middle school. Each school has it's own ESL teacher except for the 4/5 and middle school that share one. On Monday I was in the 2/3 school. Most of the kids there qualify for (state mandated)360 minutes of ESL instruction per week. That works out to roughly two periods a day. They are pulled out for one, and the ESL teacher pushes in for the other. The hope is to minimize missing class time while still receiving support. When they are pulled out, it is for content area work (science on Monday) with the ESL teacher, not language instruction (they learn the most on the playground, anyway). If a student needs extra support, as was the case for one student who had recently arrived with zero English, they "shadow" the ESL teacher for as much of the day as is appropriate. The biggest problem I see, is the tendency for some of the kids (particularly from Central America) to miss large segments of school. On Monday, one kid was visiting El Salvador for a month. I can only imagine what it will take to get him back on track. Obviously, a successful program is going to require a lot of "time and resources" but I wish you wouldn't look at it as "diverting" from your child. I don't think a sports program is "diverting" resources away from a child who doesn't like sports. Try to think of yourself as an advocate for all the children, not just your own. The money is there, don't let anyone tell you different. In the district where I work, the cost per student is somewhere between 16 and 20,000 bucks a year. You could parcel the kids out to private school for that. I laugh when they cry poverty or threaten to pull a program.

Good luck with everything. I hope you can get what you need from the public school. The most important thing I can stress to you to that end is to remember that you have the power. Most parents don't realize how much power they wield. Your tax dollars have paid for this school and you need to bitch and moan until they get it right. The squeaky wheel may be the bane of the school adminisitration, but it will get the grease.
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