Saturday, January 23, 2016




Loretta Sanchez: ‘We Need a Latina’ in the Senate


On Wednesday, attacked rival California Attorney General Kamala Harris as bluntly as possible, telling a candidate forum hosted by the Latino Journal: “I think we need a Latina in the U.S. Senate.”

Sanchez buttressed her claim by noting that unlike many in Congress, she spoke Spanish when she met leaders from Central and South America, according to the Sacramento Bee. Sanchez stated that as a senator, she could make the world pay more attention to Latin America than she could do as a mere U.S. Representative, arguing, “I can stand up as a congresswoman. Xavier (Becerra) can stand up. Lucille (Roybal-Allard) can stand up … You get a United States senator to stand up and say something, all of a sudden the world hears. They listen. And you can really begin to move an agenda. That’s on my to-do list.”
Sanchez also asserted that her experience growing up poor gave her more understanding of immigrants’ issues:
Ms. Harris I believe does not have the experience that I have. I don’t think she grew up in a seven-kid family where we stood in line to get the Velveeta cheese block, with parents who were not educated, but who sacrificed and put their kids through” school. I am very proud of my Mexican American roots; of my ability to speak Spanish; of my ability to move between. I am one of those, if you think of an immigrant kid, you go into the house and it’s kind of all Spanish … and you walk out and it’s America, right? Those are the experiences of so many people up and down the state of California. It’s not just Latino. It’s the immigrant experience. And I have experienced it.
Harris, who enjoys a wide lead in the polls, passed up the event, reportedly citing conflicts in her schedule.
Sanchez came under criticism in December when she offered her opinion of radical Islam in speaking with Larry King:
We know that there is a small group, and we don’t know how big that is – it can be anywhere between 5 and 20 percent, from the people that I speak to – that Islam is their religion and who have a desire for a caliphate and to institute that in any way possible, and in particular go after Western norms. They are not content enough to have their way of looking at the world, they want to put their way on everybody in the world. And again, I don’t know how big that is, and depending on who you talk to, but they are certainly, they are willing to go to extremes. They are willing to use and they do use terrorism.
A January 7 Field Poll found Harris garnering 27% of the vote; Sanchez followed at 15%.

Interior Enforcement Disintegrates Further in 2015: Year-end deportation statistics show continuing drop in deportations

By CIS, December 2015

Excerpt:The number of interior deportations is now less than one-third of what it was in 2011, before the Obama administration implemented policy changes that greatly restricted the types of cases that ICE officers and agents could pursue for deportation. The number of criminal alien deportations from the interior is less than half of what it was in 2011.
ICE Director Sarah Saldana said that she was "proud of the numbers" when she testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on December 2, 2015.

In a press release announcing the numbers today, DHS falsely says "the number of convicted criminals removed from the interior continued to increase." In fact, only the share of deportations that are of criminals has increased – the actual number has fallen, as noted above.

In September, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said, “We take seriously our obligation to secure our borders.” No one believes that — especially not Central Americans thinking about coming to the United States.

DHS’s Deportation Announcement Is ‘Fundamentally a Political Exercise’

By Mark Krikorian

 National Review Online, December 30, 2015

This was the start of the lead story on the Washington Post’s Christmas Eve front page:

The Department of Homeland Security has begun preparing for a series of raids that would target for deportation hundreds of families who have flocked to the United States since the start of last year, according to people familiar with the operation.

As I told the reporter, I’ll believe it when I see it. A few further thoughts:

Why now? The surge of Central Americans across the border — both adults with kids in tow (who are the subjects of this latest leak) and the “unaccompanied” “minors” who got so much coverage — subsided after the summer of 2014 because the administration bribe-threatened Mexico into doing a better job of policing its own southern border. But now there’s a renewed surge, presumably because Mexico’s zeal is waning and because Central Americans see that the U.S. isn’t deporting many of those who came earlier. Heck, even deportations of criminals are dropping. Border Patrol statistics show the magnitude of this new surge. In the first two months of the current fiscal year (October and November), border apprehensions of unaccompanied minors were more than double those in the same period last year, and apprehensions of “family units” nearly triple. If the rate continues, the flow of minors will approach the 2014 peak, and the flow of families will exceed it.

In itself, the White House may not consider that a problem, given the administration’s implicit belief that these people have a right to come here. But there’s an election in about 10 months, and not many voters share the Obama crowd’s anti-borders views. That’s why my colleague Dan Cadman notes that “the plan is fundamentally a political exercise.” The Democrats will gather in Philadelphia in late July for Herself’s coronation, and it could prove awkward for her if a renewed surge of illegals across the border is still in the news. Herself’s silence in response to the news of the planned raids, contrasted with Sanders’s and O’Malley’s fulminations against them, suggests she’s in on the whole thing.

Making the border-surge story go away will be one of DHS’s main election-year priorities.

So why the leak? It might seem odd to announce the onset of “raids” that haven’t even been given final approval yet. It could be a trial balloon, a planned leak to gauge public reaction. But more plausible is the theory that I’ve heard from moles inside DHS: A senior official leaked the news specifically to outrage Obama’s leftist base in an effort to prevent the deportations from ever happening.

In immigration matters, the fox guards the henhouse in this administration, from former La Raza VP Cecilia Muñoz directing policy in the White House to former police chief of San Francisco — San Francisco — Heather Fong in charge of DHS dealings with state and local law enforcement (and on the short list to become the next head of the Border Patrol). It is perfectly plausible that one of the many anti-borders zealots appointed to jobs in DHS figured that stopping the deportation of illegal aliens is more important than giving Herself political cover going into the November election.Will it work? The short answer is “no.” The Post reports that the “number targeted is expected to be in the hundreds and possibly greater.” Hundreds? The illegal-alien families are coming across the border at a rate of about 200 per day, and more than 100,000 have come over the past couple of years. Even if these deportations actually happen, a few hundred is a drop in the bucket and isn’t going to make much of an impression on people in Central America debating whether to head out for the United States.

What does make in impression is news from friends and relatives that they’re all being allowed to stay. When illegals bringing kids with them are apprehended, almost all are released with a notice (which they call a “permiso” or permit to be in the U.S.) instructing them to present themselves on such-and-such a date. It should come as no surprise that few do so. Data from earlier this year show that the overwhelming majority of illegal-alien families just ignore their hearing dates (look for “Absconded from Proceedings“ in Table 1) — and get away with it.

Even the administration’s efforts to dissuade people from coming have backfired. DHS has been running public-service announcements in Central America warning people not to come because new arrivals are not eligible for Obama’s various unilateral amnesties. They advise that “there are no permits for the people trying to cross the border without papers” and warn of “immediate deportation of those trying to cross the border without documents.” But Hondurans et al. aren’t idiots — their friends and relatives in the U.S. have told them, accurately, that there are permits for people crossing without papers and that there’s no immediate deportation of people from their countries. The lack of credibility earned by such obvious lies means that it will be doubly hard to change the perceptions of prospective illegals.

What to do? There are steps we could take if we actually wanted to stop the surge, though there’s little chance Obama’s minions would even consider them. Congress has authorized “expedited removal” for illegals under certain circumstances, allowing them to be removed without having to go before an immigration judge. This would apply to most of the illegals in question, but Obama’s not using this authority.

Expedited removal doesn’t apply to illegals who seek to avoid deportation by claiming asylum. But even here there’s a first cut, called a “credible fear” determination, to weed out people who shouldn’t even be put in the pipeline for a full evaluation of their claims, allowing their expeditious removal. The problem is that under Obama almost everyone makes the first cut — and few are detained pending the resolution of their claims — so that all you need to say is “asylum,” and you get to stay.

Most basically, an administration could simply force Mexico to take back people who just minutes before crossed through their territory into ours. Mexico is cooperative in receiving back its own citizens who are arrested by the Border Patrol, but not with regard to OTMs (Other Than Mexicans). That means we have to either detain them or let them go and hope they show up for their hearings.

But Canada takes back non-Canadians trying to sneak across our border, and Mexico sends non-Guatemalan Central Americans back across its own southern border with Guatemala. A president interested in controlling illegal immigration would insist on this. Nor should an asylum claim preclude return across the border; genuine asylum seekers would ask for it in the first country they reach, meaning Central Americans should be required to apply in Mexico, not here.

In September, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said, “We take seriously our obligation to secure our borders.” No one believes that — especially not Central Americans thinking about coming to the United States.

326,000 Native-Born Americans Lost Their Job in November: Why This Remains the Most Important Jobs Chart

 By Tyler Durden, December 5, 2015
. . .
We are confident that one can make the case that there are considerations on both the labor demand-side (whether US employers have a natural tendency to hire foreign-born workers is open to debate) as well as on the supply-side: it may be easier to obtain wage-equivalent welfare compensation for native-born Americans than for their foreign-born peers, forcing the latter group to be much more engaged and active in finding a wage-paying job.

However, the underlying economics of this trend are largely irrelevant: as the presidential primary race hits a crescendo all that will matter is the soundbite that over the past 8 years, 2.7 million foreign-born Americans have found a job compared to only 747,000 native-born. The result is a combustible mess that will lead to serious fireworks during each and every subsequent GOP primary debate, especially if Trump remains solidly in the lead.

 . . .

Placating Americans with Fake Immigration Law Enforcement

 How our leaders create fantasy 'solutions' for our immigration-related vulnerabilities.

 By Michael Cutler, December 4, 2015
. . .
Therefore the Visa Waiver Program should have been terminated after the terror attacks of 9/11 yet it has continually been expanded.

It is clear that the overarching goal of a succession of administrations and many members of Congress, irrespective of political party affiliation, is to keep our borders open and take no meaningful action to stop that flow of aliens into the United States.
. . .
The obvious question is why the Visa Waiver Program is considered so sacrosanct that even though it defies the advice and findings of the 9/11 Commission no one has the moral fortitude to call for simply terminating this dangerous program.

The answer can be found in the incestuous relationship between the Chamber of Commerce and its subsidiary, the Corporation for Travel Promotion, now doing business as Brand USA.

The Chamber of Commerce has arguably been the strongest supporter of the Visa Waiver Program, which currently enables aliens from 38 countries to enter the United States without first obtaining a visa.

The U.S. State Department provides a thorough explanation of the Visa Waiver Program on its website.

Incredibly, the official State Department website also provides a link, “Discover America,” on that website which relates to the website of The Corporation for Travel Promotion, which is affiliated with the travel industries that are a part of the “Discover America Partnership.”
. . .

Immigration Enforcement as Political Football By Dan Cadman

CIS Immigration Blog, December 28, 2015
. . .
According to the story, the plan has been kicked around exhaustively in the upper echelons of the administration for some time, with no final decision being made. My own take is that the story was deliberately leaked by administration officials as a trial balloon to gauge public reaction to the proposal. And, although the media suggest that the idea emanated below, either at DHS or its subordinate agency Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which would undertake the raids, that idea is beyond laughable. The leaders at all levels of DHS and its subordinate agencies are minions selected by the White House for their pliability. If this plan emanated anywhere, it arose from politicos at the highest levels who have their eye on the upcoming presidential election.
. . .
But there's this pesky perception that Democrats are weak on immigration enforcement, something that has become increasingly unpalatable to the public in light of the now undeniable connection between immigration and matters of terrorism and national security, so disastrously highlighted in France and the rest of Europe with its runaway migrant crisis and infiltration by jihadists.

So what to do to win back the independents and centrists? "Hey! I've got an idea! Let's get tough on a tiny segment of the illegal population, one that will look like we're really doing something! Let's have some raids on those scofflaws we let in a year ago last summer who didn't even bother to go to their court hearings. They're expendable. Besides, it will send a message back to Central America that they still haven't gotten: no more surges! At least, not until after the election, for God's sake."

If one were to accept the idea that the plan is fundamentally a political exercise, and that it was floated by way of a leak to prepare the public (and the small but outraged base of open borders advocates) for what will follow, then the reactions of the other two significant Democratic candidates was what Louisianans would call "lagniappe" – that little extra something, the gravy on the rice, the icing on the cake. Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley, both of whom have irritated the DNC to no end with their accusations of favoritism, took the bait and immediately leapt into the rhetorical fray to denounce the proposed raids. By contrast, The Hill newspaper tells us, "Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who has been more cautious than Sanders or O'Malley with regard to immigration policy in general, has not commented on the reported deportation raids."
. . .

Cruz/Sessions Bill Would Stop Sneaky Obama Sabotage of Skilled U.S. Workers By Michelle Malkin, December 31, 2015

Heads-up, America.

President Obama is dropping a New Year’s Eve bomb on the nation’s best and brightest workers.
. . .
What can be done to stop this?

As I noted on Twitter two weeks ago, a new bill co-sponsored by longtime reformer Sen. Jeff Sessions and GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz would not only restore U.S. worker protections in the flawed H-1B program, but would also prevent “continued use of the non-statute-based Optional Practical Training (OPT) Program, and the creation and use of other similar programs, which have also been used to displace American workers under the guise of student training.”

Good to know there are at least two Senators on Capitol Hill who aren’t snoozing while President Obama tries to throw U.S. high-skilled workers and talented U.S. college grads under the bus in the dark of the last night of 2015.

What about the rest of the politicians in Washington on both sides of the aisle? Have they all hopelessly sold out?
. . .

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Obama Floods The U.S. Job Market With Foreign Competition

Investors Business Daily, December 31, 2015

Politics: Skirting Congress once again, President Obama seeks to admit another 100,000 foreigners to work here when jobs are few and labor-market participation is low. Whatever this is, it's not in the interest of U.S. workers.

This time, the president isn't seeking to flood the country with tens of thousands of indigent, border-surging migrants in search of bigger benefits packages.

Instead, he plans to award via executive order work permits to 100,000 foreign college grads (including deportable aliens) to compete with U.S. workers for jobs.
. . .
The move is especially nefarious not just because it stands as another example of executive overreach but also because foreign workers already have U.S. workers at a disadvantage.

For one thing, they're able to work cheaper. Unlike Americans, most have had free tuition rides from their sponsoring countries and carry no student loan debt. This enables them to tolerate lower wages than American grads saddled with high loan costs that can't be shirked even in bankruptcy court.

The foreigners are also exempt from ObamaCare rules that can add as much as $20,000 in costs per domestic worker for employers struggling to compete in the low-growth economy that Obama has overseen.

In short, Obama's move to bring in highly educated foreign labor hurts U.S. white-collar workers as much as the border surge undermined blue-collar workers.
. . .

Surge in Illegal Aliens, 500% Increase in Some U.S. Ports of Entry
Judicial Watch Corruption Chronicles, December 30, 2015
. . .
The agency’s own statistics certainly contradict that, showing that the southern border region is as porous and vulnerable as ever. Other entry ports that saw large hikes in Central American illegal immigrants during the first two months of this fiscal year include Del Rio, Texas (269%), El Centro, California (216%) and Rio Grande Valley, Texas (154%). The Border Patrol breaks the stats down by “family unit” and illegal immigrants under the age of 18, referred to as “Unaccompanied Alien Children” or UAC. The Rio Grande Valley port of entry topped the list in both categories with 8,537 family units and 6,465 UACs during the two-month period. In all, the nation’s nine southern border crossings saw an average of 173% increase in family units and a 106% increase in minors during the short period considered.

Some of the illegal immigrants are Mexican nationals, but the overwhelming majority comes from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The government records show that somehow 4,450 family units from El Salvador evaded our topnotch border security and entered the United States in a period of only two months. Guatemala and Honduras had 3,934 and 3,203 respectively. Mexico had 538 family units. Of interesting note is that, during this period, the Border Patrol reports 35,234 apprehensions in the region of foreigners labeled by the government as “Other Than Mexican” or OTM. This is a term used by federal authorities to refer to nationals of countries that represent a terrorist threat to the U.S.
. . .

Somali Charged in Terrorism Ring Worked at Major U.S. Airport

Judicial Watch Corruption Chronicles, December 30, 2015
. . .
The security lapse is astounding considering that a decade and a half ago Islamic terrorists used airplanes that had departed from major U.S. airports as weapons of mass destruction. The reality is however, that security is unbelievably lax for airport baggage handlers and other facility employees. The severity of the problem was highlighted earlier this year when the feds busted a huge, multistate operation in which baggage handlers at a northern California airport were transporting illegal drugs across the country. The baggage handlers circumvented six airport security measures and provided marijuana to outbound passengers for distribution in cities throughout the United States, according to the federal complaint which is largely redacted. Incredibly, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has determined that full screening of airport employees would not lower the risk to the public.

Around the same time that the alarming details in the Wasame case started trickling out, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the monstrous agency created to prevent a repeat of 9/11, launched a "review" of the visa program that permitted the San Bernardino terrorist to enter the U.S. In an announcement made public earlier this month, DHS reveals that it has formed a "working group to scrutinize each step" of the now famous K-1 "fiancé" visa process. The goal is to improve background checks and better scrutinize visa adjudication practices worldwide to "ensure that the highest level of consistent standards is being met."
. . .

Suicidal Liberalism Will Never End Illegal Immigration

By Heather MacDonald, December 31, 2015
. . .
Why is the Secure Communities program and the opposition to it so significant? Its ultimate goal is to delegitimate deportation entirely as a response to illegal entry. Conservatives have let themselves get sort of hung up on the issue of the fence. They talk exclusively about we've got to build a fence and if you notice the Left doesn't really push back very hard against the fence. Why? Because the Left understands that far more important than the fence is this delegitimation of deportation because even if we build a fence there's always going to be people who get through. The issue is what happens next.

The Left is so confident that it is starting with the hardest case. It is saying, even an illegal alien criminal should not be deported. If you can't deport somebody in the country illegally, any formal immigration policy is an absolute nullity because the only penalty for illegal entry is deportation. It is the only penalty that actually responds to the law breaking.

I've never heard the Left actually disclose what it thinks should be an appropriate and legitimate response to illegal entry. But for the sake of argument, let's postulate that the Left would agree somebody's in the country illegally. There should be a penalty. The Left would say that penalty will be paying a fine. If that is the penalty, that is no deterrent at all. It just simply becomes the cost of illegal entry.
. . .

What’s Driving the Latest Surge of Illegal Immigration From Central America

By Josh Siegel

The Daily Signal, December 29, 2015
. . .
Though the official could not comment on the nature of the compliance due to the ongoing litigation, Rosenblum and other immigration experts say the government is detaining families for less time, releasing them in three weeks or less to pursue their asylum claims in immigration court.

Chris Cabrera, the vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, the union for Border Patrol agents, told The Daily Signal that immigrants from Central America seem to be responding to the new detention procedures.

“I would say it’s a major reason we’re having the surge because people know we won’t detain them and are going to release them,” said Cabrera, who is a Border Patrol agent stationed in McAllen, Texas.

Cabrera said the women and children usually seek out the Border Patrol, rather than hide from them, to ask for asylum protection. He said nearly all of them are claiming they have a credible fear of returning to their home country.

Cabrera contends that the extra resources required to process the women and children leave officers without the manpower to secure the border, although the Texas National Guard is still patrolling the Rio Grande Valley in an extension of a mission that began last year.
. . .

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DHS plans New Year's Eve present for millions of foreign workers

DHS plans New Year's Eve present for millions of foreign workers


Ryan defends raised visa caps in spending bill
Ryan defends raised visa caps in spending bill
Washington Examiner

Ryan defends raised visa caps in spending bill
Ryan defends raised visa caps in spending bill
Washington Examiner
The Federal Register will publish a new Department of Homeland Security regulation Thursday that instructs the State Department to give millions of employment authorization documents to aliens prior to authorizing green cards.
The new regulation was designed to override current visa caps outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952.
"This is a backdoor plan to circumvent Congress and bust immigration caps, executed during a time of record immigration, lowering wages and eliminating jobs for Americans," an anonymous Senate staffer told the Washington Examiner.
The move comes after a discovery earlier this year that the Obama administration had printed up millions of work permits to issue to people who are in the country illegally.

"During the past year, the wealth of the world’s billionaires surged past $7 trillion and the top 1 percent now controls half of the world’s wealth."

Income inequality grows FOUR TIMES FASTER under Obama than Bush.

"In the sphere of world economy, any expectation of an upturn has given way to the reality of permanent crisis. In the United States, six years into the so-called economic “recovery,” real unemployment remains at near-record highs, wages are under attack, and health care and pensions for millions of Americans are being wiped out."

"The essential and intended consequence of government policy over the past seven years has been to vastly increase social inequality. During the past year, the wealth of the world’s billionaires surged past $7 trillion and the top 1 percent now controls half of the world’s wealth. In the US, the scale of social inequality—and therefore political inequality—is so great that one recent scientific study concluded that “the preferences of the vast majority of Americans appear to have essentially no impact on which policies the government does or doesn’t adopt."

On the threshold of the New Year

On the threshold of the New Year

31 December 2015
As the year 2015 ends, a general mood of fear and foreboding predominates in ruling circles. It is hard to find a trace of optimism. Commentators in the bourgeois media look back on the past year and recognize that it has been a year of deepening crisis. They look forward to 2016 with apprehension. The general sense in government offices and corporate boardrooms is that the coming year will be one of deep shocks, with unexpected consequences.

The Financial Times’ Gideon Rachman gives expression to this pervasive feeling in his end-of-the-year assessment published on Tuesday. “In 2015, a sense of unease and foreboding seemed to settle on all the world’s power centers,” he writes. “All the big players seem uncertain—even fearful.” China “feels much less stable.” In Europe, the mood is “bleak.” In the US, public sentiment is “sour.”
Significantly, Rachman singles out as the “biggest common factor” in the world situation “a bubbling anti-elite sentiment, combining anxiety about inequality and rage about corruption that is visible in countries as different as France, Brazil, China and the US.” This observation reflects a growing recognition within the corporate media that the coming period will be one of immense social upheavals.

Rachman’s comment and others like it that have appeared in recent days confirm the assessment made by the World Socialist Web Site during the first week of 2015. The intervals between the eruption of major geopolitical, economic and social crises have “become so short that they can hardly be described as intervals,” we wrote. Crises “appear not as isolated ‘episodes,’ but as more or less permanent features of contemporary reality. The pattern of perpetual crisis that characterized 2014—an essential indicator of the advanced state of global capitalist disequilibrium—will continue with even greater intensity in 2015.”

In defending its rule, the ruling class seeks to cover over the reality of capitalism beneath a mass of lies and hypocrisy. War is cloaked in the language of freedom and democracy; antisocial domestic policy is portrayed as the pursuit of equality and freedom. But—and this is characteristic of a period of crisis—more and more, the essential nature of capitalism—a system of exploitation, inequality, war and repression—comes into alignment with the everyday experiences of broad masses of people. Illusions are dispelled; the essence appears.

In the sphere of world economy, any expectation of an upturn has given way to the reality of permanent crisis. In the United States, six years into the so-called economic “recovery,” real unemployment remains at near-record highs, wages are under attack, and health care and pensions for millions of Americans are being wiped out. Europe is growing at less than 2 percent a year, and large parts of the European economy—including Greece, the target of brutal austerity measures demanded by the European banks—are in deep recession. China, presented as a possible engine of world economic growth, is slowing sharply. Brazil and much of Latin America are in deep slump. Russia is in recession.


Meanwhile, the easy-money policy of the world’s central banks has produced a new wave of speculative investment, centered in junk bonds and other forms of debt, which is beginning to unravel in a process that parallels the crisis in subprime mortgages prior to 2008.

The essential and intended consequence of government policy over the past seven years has been to vastly increase social inequality. During the past year, the wealth of the world’s billionaires surged past $7 trillion and the top 1 percent now controls half of the world’s wealth. In the US, the scale of social inequality—and therefore political inequality—is so great that one recent scientific study concluded that “the preferences of the vast majority of Americans appear to have essentially no impact on which policies the government does or doesn’t adopt.”

Joseph Kishore


The whole discussion regarding immigration -- quite apart from issues regarding illegals or “refugees” -- is still fatally based on the same old re-energize model that has about as much relevance to today’s realities as the Dick and...



You didn't think Mexico was paying for their anchor baby factories in California?!?

Between the mid-1980s and 2005, the state’s aggregate population increased by 10 million Californians, including immigrants. But that isn’t the good economic news that you might think. For one thing, 7 million of the new Californians were low-income Medicaid recipients. Further, as economist Arthur Laffer recently noted in Investor’s Business Daily, between 1992 and 2008, the number of tax-paying Californians entering California was smaller than the number leaving -- 3.5 million versus 4.4 million, for a net loss of 869,000 tax filers. Those who left were wealthier than those who arrived, with average adjusted gross incomes of $44,700, versus $38,600. Losing those 869,000 filers cost California $44 billion in tax revenue over two decades, Laffer calculated.

Immigration and Your Father’s Oldsmobile

The whole discussion regarding immigration -- quite apart from issues regarding illegals or “refugees” -- is still fatally based on the same old re-energize model that has about as much relevance to today’s realities as the Dick and Jane books of the 20th century have to the realities of childhood in 21st century America. Yet even conservative analyst Victor Davis Hanson, who is highly critical of current “suicidal” immigration policies, thinks that the “wise” policy of the turn of the last century can be effectively reinstated. Wrong. The Age of Immigration is over.
Mr. Hanson buys into the basic “re-energize” mantra that forms the underpinnings of the immigration narrative.
In the past, newcomers from around the world were eager for a second start in the United States. They nearly all worked hard, reminding American-born citizens that that they can never rest on their laurels.
Immigrants honed American competition and helped to keep the nation productive.
Fine. But that was, as Mr. Hanson says, “in the past.”

But let us examine more closely just what the re-energize narrative presumes and see to what extent those presumptions are operative in today’s world.

Basically, the re-energize narrative is that immigrant vitality, innovation and determination is what has been largely responsible for the industrial might, power and growth of the United States. The narrative asserts that without the social readjustment caused by the new ideas and vitality that immigrants bring to the U.S., the U.S. would have become moribund and set in its ways. It is the challenge of assimilating a new immigrant population with its new ideas and new perspectives that forces the U.S. to constantly reinvent itself.

The narrative is heard from both sides of the isle. On the conservative side here is Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, giving his thumbnail version of the re-energize immigration narrative:

Immigration is what’s made us economically strong, politically strong, militarily strong, culturally cohesive and strong.
But it is former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg who does the old immigration soft-shoe about as well as anyone. Back in (6/15/11) he made a major immigration policy address before the Council of Foreign Relations and hit all the old heartstring notes about America being built by immigrants and then founded his case on the supposedly obvious inference that what worked in the past is the key to the future. The trouble is the present immigration realities are far removed from the immigration realities of the past and even recent past.
Yet for Bloomberg, the immigration narrative is still the only game in town and a model for framing new immigration policies.
We would not have become a global superpower without the contributions of immigrants who built the railroads and canals that     opened up the west, who invented ground-breaking products that revolutionized global commerce, and who pioneered scientific, engineering, and medical advances that made America the most innovative country in the world.
The three key projections that Bloomberg makes as being the way to go to keep America growing and prosperous -- projections that are based on the above re-energize narrative -- are (1) just as in the past, the U.S. needs to bring in immigrants with the “work, work, work” ethic for our basic industries in agriculture and manufacturing; (2) just like in the past the U.S. needs to bring in tech-savvy immigrants with the “innovate, innovate, innovate” brains and dynamic to keep our industries cutting edge; (3) just like in the past the U.S. needs to bring in immigrants to keep our cities vibrant.

Projection 1

As Bloomberg states, most immigrants in the past came here “with almost nothing except one thing: a desire to work -- and work and work and work -- to build a better life for themselves and their families.” And, just as in the past, we need the “work, work, work” ethic that immigrants have to keep our basic industries going.

The trouble with this argument is that it is rooted in 19th century and early 20th century realities. The immigrants who came to America knew they had to work hard to survive. Immigrants today know the U.S. is a fail-safe environment where their kids get a free education. Even undocumented immigrants get:

a). Public school enrollment and free or reduced price lunches (many children are U.S. citizens)

 b). Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

 c). Medicaid (primarily for "non-emergency pregnancy related care and emergency care").

 d). Food stamps (for U.S. born children -- undocumented immigrants are ineligible to receive food stamps).
Each year, state governments spend an estimated $11 billion to $22 billion to provide welfare to immigrants. Those programs include Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Child Care and Development Fund, and even meal programs in public housing.
The highest welfare use rates for immigrants are in New York (30 percent), California (28 percent), Massachusetts (25 percent), and Texas (25 percent).

This is not the root-hog-or-die environment that past immigrants knew they were facing. And certainly the immigrant-based criminal gangs don’t seem to be driven by quite the same “work, work, work” ethic that Bloomberg had in mind.

Projection 2

Americans don’t have the engineering and scientific talent to make it on their own. Just like in the past, we must import the brightest and best.

First of all, corporations are looking for the most cost-effective talent. The talent is here, it’s just cheaper elsewhere. This article from USA Today (2004) gives some of the personal accounts of IT employees reaction to being asked to train their replacements from foreign countries. A 2015 article in PJMedia, "Twenty-Five Years of Helping Foreigners Take American Jobs", deals with the same issues and points out that executives of IT firms insulate themselves from the demands of a competitive market place by forcing their own IT employees to compete with and train IT candidates from countries all over the globe -- countries with wage standards as low as one-tenth those of the U.S.
There’s no reason why corporations, at least big, publicly traded ones, should like hiring in a tight competitive labor market. This is especially true for Big Tech firms, which are typically asset-light and have a high level of operating costs going to labor. Most would expect that the pressure on CEOs to meet analysts’ profit estimates each quarter will trump any free-market ethos they may have every time. Why else would the industry spend billions on lobbying and public relations related to immigration? Big Tech’s message to the American public might as well be, “the free market for thee but not for me.”
This brutal practice has been going on since at least the 90s. Let’s see. We don’t have the talent here but somehow the talent we do have is good enough to train foreign workers who don’t have the talent?
Moreover, the idea that, in the age of the internet and internet conferencing, talent must be physically located in the U.S. in order to work for U.S. corporations is ludicrous.
Although recent data is hard to come by, a 2010 study, “Is President Obama Right about Engineers?” is based on data collected by the Census Bureau from the American Community Survey. Dr. Steven Camarota, its author, found the following: (1) 101,000 U.S. engineers looking for a job can’t find any type of work at all; (2) 244,000 engineers are unemployed and have stopped looking for work and (3) 1.5 million engineers have jobs but don’t work as engineers. He writes:
Relatively low pay and perhaps a strong bias on the part of some employers to hire foreign workers seems to have pushed many American engineers out their profession.
The “talent is not here” is not a born-in-the-USA problem but is a structural problem with complex factors at work. This is a particularly insidious and demoralizing stereotype fobbed off on Americans -- especially those deciding on a college major or just entering the job market. Energy and resources should be used to develop and encourage U.S. born to enter engineering and IT fields rather than feeding the “strong bias” for dutifully grateful foreign workers.
Projection 3
Just as in the past, the key to keeping our cities vibrant is big time immigration. Here is Bloomberg again:
There is no greater force for economic revitalization of depressed neighborhoods than an influx of immigrants. The reason is simple: immigrants are dreamers and risk-takers who are driven to succeed, because they know that in America, hard work and talent are rewarded like nowhere else.
Cities in decline? Just throw in the immigrants. Yes -- that does help the population decline. But is it a cure for financial woes?

As US News reports (2012), a number of cities from Baltimore to Chicago are pushing immigration-friendly policies to revitalize their crumbling economies:
The Global Detroit effort includes programs that help immigrants start small businesses, get driver’s licenses and learn English. As part of the Welcome Dayton Plan adopted last year, the Ohio city sponsors a soccer tournament for immigrant teams. Not to be outdone, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) says he wants his home town to be known as the most “immigrant-friendly city in the country.”
Well, the turnaround hasn’t happened yet. Both Baltimore and Chicago are in financial trouble. But this immigration-energize plan has been going on for a long time in central California. Here is an account by Victor Davis Hanson:
Between the mid-1980s and 2005, the state’s aggregate population increased by 10 million Californians, including immigrants. But that isn’t the good economic news that you might think. For one thing, 7 million of the new Californians were low-income Medicaid recipients. Further, as economist Arthur Laffer recently noted in Investor’s Business Daily, between 1992 and 2008, the number of tax-paying Californians entering California was smaller than the number leaving -- 3.5 million versus 4.4 million, for a net loss of 869,000 tax filers. Those who left were wealthier than those who arrived, with average adjusted gross incomes of $44,700, versus $38,600. Losing those 869,000 filers cost California $44 billion in tax revenue over two decades, Laffer calculated.
Seems like importing all those “work, work, work”, “innovate, innovate, innovate” immigrants is not the magic cure for sclerotic cities. And unless the new immigrants bring in more taxes than they get in benefits, why should it -- benefits that were not available in the “wise” immigration policies of the past.

The Old Saw

Then there is the old saw that immigrants do the necessary work that U.S. citizens won’t do. According to this article (16/1/16) in the Boston Globe we would have to pay more for romaine lettuce and restaurants would have a tough time finding dishwashers, and construction firms would be at a loss for roofers and drywall installers, and then there is the clincher: the lawns of all the 1 percenters would go to seed.

But this article from The Center for Immigration Studies claims “that the often-made argument that immigrants only take jobs Americans don’t want is simply wrong.”

Further, this article from Pew Research points out that real wages (adjusted for inflation) have been “flat or falling” for decades and points out that had the labor markets been tightening employers would “offer higher wages to entice workers their way.” A connection with immigration policies?

Whatever policies are adopted, they should be based on current realities -- and not on the three stooges of the re-energize model. Let me conclude with a quote from the Focus Management Group:

The belief that past success, particularly great success, can set an organization apart from the potential negative impact of changing dynamics is one of the primary causes for business failure. Trapped in the limelight and aura of past glories, businesses tend to progress in a predictable manner, oblivious to the dangers lurking around the corner. IBM continued to fight a tsunami of strategic logic in its insular belief that its dominant mainframe computer technology was the only game in town.

Unlike Sears, Roebuck, IBM shifted its business model just barely in time to reverse its decline. Wither the USA? Sears, Roebuck or IBM?

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WHO WOULD SERVE OBAMA'S CRONY CRIMINAL BANKSTERS MORE? SANDERS or CLINTON? - WHO HAS SUCKED UP MILLIONS IN BRIBES FROM PHONY SPEECHES? - Sanders in the Democratic debate: A “political revolution” that stops at the water’s edge

Sanders in the Democratic debate: A “political revolution” that stops at the water’s edge

Sanders in the Democratic debate: A “political revolution” that stops at the water’s edge

By Bill Van Auken
19 January 2016
The Democratic Party’s fourth presidential debate, and the last to be held before the upcoming Iowa primary vote, saw Senator Bernie Sanders, who calls himself a “socialist,” go on the offensive against his main rival, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, mouthing a series of demagogic slogans about social inequality, the domination of politics by big money, and the need to “invest in jobs and education, not in jails and incarceration.”

In a pointed reference to Clinton’s intimate ties to Wall Street, Sanders, asked what separated his politics from hers, declared, “The first difference is I don’t take money from big banks. I don’t get personal speaking fees from Goldman Sachs.”

Some 12.5 million people watched Sunday night, making it the third most viewed Democratic debate in history. No doubt, among them were many who back Sanders precisely because of his self-described “socialism” and who tuned in to see him oppose the right-wing and corrupt politics of Clinton.

While he clearly played to these sentiments, he more or less barked out his talking points on cue, his populist phrases backed by no serious analysis. Behind the well-worn rhetoric, what was evident was an intellectual vacuity and a lack of any deeply rooted principles that would prevent Sanders from acting as a faithful political servant of the ruling oligarchy.

The most obvious contradiction in his promotion of a so-called political revolution, replete with railings against the billionaires and their corruption of American politics, is the fact that this revolution curiously stops at the water’s edge. On the issues of foreign policy, there is virtually nothing to distinguish Sanders from Clinton, or virtually any other politician of the ruling establishment.

How is it possible for a political system which, according to Sanders, is “rigged” in favor of the top
1 percent to play a progressive and democratic role on the world stage? To ask the question is to answer it. Washington’s foreign policy is no less determined by the interests of the ruling corporate-financial elite than its domestic policy. US foreign policy is conducted to further the profit interests of US-based banks and corporations, and American militarism, which generates vast profits for big business, is directed at resolving the crisis of the capitalist system by violently redividing the world.
The attitude taken by Sanders, and every other candidate and politician, toward the questions of war and US imperialism’s role in the world is the touchstone for understanding the real character of their politics.

Most of the corporate media’s coverage of Sunday’s debate, while going on at length about verbal jousting over gun control, health care, campaign finances and other domestic issues, skipped over entirely the questions posed to the candidates on US foreign policy, the “war on terrorism” and the US intervention in Iraq and Syria.

This was no accident, as there were no confrontations to report on this front between Sanders and his opponents, Clinton and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley. None of them voiced any opposition to the global eruption of American militarism, the drone assassination program, or the successive campaigns for regime-change from Libya, to Syria to Ukraine.

Clinton postured as the most qualified to occupy the position of “commander-in-chief” based on her “many hours in the situation room, advising President Obama.” This record includes her role in orchestrating the right-wing 2009 coup in Honduras, which plunged that country into unprecedented repression and violence, contributing to the waves of refugees heading to the US border.

She was a principal advocate of the US-NATO war for regime-change in Libya that killed tens of thousands and threw the North African country into a state of permanent civil war. She famously gloated over the lynch mob murder of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, boasting, “We came, we saw, he died.” And she was among those who pushed hardest for Washington to arm and finance the so-called rebels as proxies in the war for regime-change in Syria, which gave rise to the Islamic State of Iraqi and Syria (ISIS).

Sanders said not a word about this bloody and criminal record. In response to Clinton’s defense of the Obama administration’s and her own policies, he declared, “I agree with most of what she said.” Asked whether their policies in Syria had contributed to the growth of ISIS, he answered flatly, “No.” Obama, he said, “is doing the right thing” in the Iraq-Syria war.

At the same time, he called for “fundamental changes in the priorities of the Defense Department.” He cited the Pentagon’s $600 billion budget not to call for this vast expenditure to be eliminated or even reduced, but rather—in response to a question about so-called “home-grown” terror attacks—for it to be redirected to fighting “international terrorism.” The logic of this position is that the violence and repression of the US military should be unleashed within the US itself.

Among his sole innovations was a call for reactionary oil monarchies like those ruling Saudi Arabia and Qatar “to start putting more skin in the game” in the prosecution of the US-instigated wars in the region.

But in whose interests are these wars being fought? Is it in any way credible that Sanders is going to lead a “political revolution” to rein in the “handful of billionaires who control economic and political life in this country,” while supporting a foreign policy elaborated by the same political establishment they control?

For more than 15 years, Washington has waged wars of aggression in the name of a “war on terrorism” that have claimed the lives of over a million people, while turning many millions more into refugees. It has used the same phony pretext to carry out an unprecedented assault on democratic rights at home and carry out extra-judicial executions by means of drone missile strikes abroad.

Sanders accepts and defends the lies that serve as justification for US policy. He, like his opponents for the presidential nomination, seeks to conceal the fact that Al Qaeda and ISIS are the creation of US imperialism, forged as reactionary Islamist proxy forces to wage Washington’s wars for regime-change first in Afghanistan and then in Libya and Syria.

While posturing as an opponent of the domination of the billionaires at home, Sanders, no less than any of the other candidates, Democratic and Republican alike, leaves no doubt that he will defend their interests and fight for their dominance abroad. In the final analysis, his political perspective, like that of the Democratic Party as a whole, is nationalist and deeply reactionary.

Sanders’s positions on war and the international policies of US imperialism make it clear that he is no socialist, whatever his pretensions.

The struggle for socialism and the struggle against war are inseparable. They can be waged only through the building of an independent revolutionary movement based upon the working class and armed with an internationalist perspective.