Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Middle class undermined by mass immigration

Second in a series of Borders Language and culture originally appeared in Sonoran News during November. We are reprinting the series with permission of the newspaper. Sonoran News is an Arizona that serves Cave Creek, Carefree, North Scottsdale, North Phoenix, Rio Verde, Anthem, The Boulders, Desert Mountain, Legend Trail, Pinnacle Peak, Terravita, Tramonto, Troon, Tatum Ranch and Winfield.

Middle class undermined by mass immigration‘I don’t believe ...Hispanic community wants open borders’

This is the first in a series of articles on the Southwest Conference on Illegal Immigration, Border Security and Crime hosted by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Nov. 4 and 5.

By LINDA BENTLEY

SCOTTSDALE – During his welcome and opening remarks at the Southwest Conference on Illegal Immigration, Border Security and Crime last Friday and Saturday, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas said when his office announced the conference, one person asked for his resignation while one of the panelists called him a racist.

“The connection between illegal immigration and crime is undeniable,” said Thomas, who commented on how the diversity of the panelists and attendees was indicative of how important the issues are in the region.

The first panel discussion was moderated by KTVK News Channel 3 Anchor Olivia Fierro.

State Rep. Steve Gallardo, D-Dist. 13, said, after he was invited to be a panelist, “People were telling me, ‘Steve, don’t do it.’” However, Gallardo said, “We need to be coming together on this crisis.” Recognizing there are millions of people living in this country illegally, Gallardo said, “We need to know who they are and why they’re here.

We need rational immigration policies and border security.

“I can’t believe the audience is listening to someone who is pretty liberal,” said Gallardo, adding, “But, I don’t believe anyone, including the Hispanic community, wants open borders.” John Fund, from the Wall Street Journal, pointed out to those who believe there’s a need to crack down on illegal immigration to prevent a terrorist attack, “Eight of the 19 hijackers were registered to vote in this country.” After commenting about the dismal failure of bilingual education, which was recently ended in California, Fund said, “Assimilation has become a dirty word. Assimilation is what made this country great. We need legal immigration and assimilation.” Mark Krikorian, executive director, Center for Immigration Studies, said the basic question we need to ask about immigration, not just illegal immigration, is, “What kind of society do we want?” He said, “The middle class society that we aspire to is undermined by mass immigration.” Because approximately half the immigrants in Arizona are illegal, Krikorian said it creates an enormous mismatch of low-level skills to jobs.

He said some people think there are only two options: mass deportation or amnesty.

He added that somewhere in the middle there is enforcement.

Kirkorian explained the way to back out of this problem is to reduce the illegal population. And, he said the way to reduce the illegal population is across-the-board, consistent enforcement of immigration laws.

Farrell Quinlan, vice president, policy development and communications, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, believes Arizona’s demographics indicate there’s a labor shortage. Quinlan said, “We can’t round up 11 million illegal aliens and deport them.” He said one thing was clear: the system is broken and, on behalf of the Chamber and the entire business community, he urged the President and Congress “to fix this broken system.” Fund said any reform would have to include a guestworker program, citing what an enormous success the Bracero program was during the 1950s and 60s. Krikorian emphatically disagreed.

“The success of the Bracero program?“ he said.

“The reason we had illegal immigration was because of the Bracero program.” He called the Hispanic activists’ decry of ethnic cleansing for deporting illegal aliens “hokum,” and said, “There’s nothing more permanent than the temporary worker.” When Fierro asked Gallardo if he agreed with the governor’s declaration of a state of emergency in Arizona, he responded, “Yes,” since it enabled her to obtain $1.5 million.

Quinlan added, “Hopefully more money would be coming,” but questioned Krikorian’s wanting to “put more teeth in the same failed system.” Krikorian said, “I defend enforcing the system we currently have now. We have never enforced the current law.” “Certain parts of our immigration system are working quite well,” said Fund sarcastically, adding as an example of unintended consequences, “It took me two hours to come back across from Mexico with my American passport.” Quinlan said, “[Rigid enforcement] will force these people underground. This can’t be done on a piecemeal basis.” He mentioned issues with regard to education, healthcare and auto insurance, and stated, “We have to have a guest-worker program.” In closing, Krikorian recited a quote, “You can’t have open immigration in a welfare state.” However, he added, “We have open immigration in a welfare state.” Although the solution he’s heard from Libertarians is to get rid of the welfare state, Krikorian said, “That simply isn’t going to happen. Given that, it is appalling to import more working poor. It is simply not sustainable.” Fierro brought up the movie, “A Day without a Mexican,” and asked, “Who would want these jobs?” Although none had seen the movie, Quinlan said, “If we eliminated these workers, our economy would come to a halt.” Krikorian stated the movie had a racist premise and said, “What you would see is not an elimination of those in the labor force, you’d see an attrition. It would be a process, not an event.” Fund stated one of the biggest problems was the failure of public education and said, “We need to improve public education.” Gallardo agreed with Fund on public education, but said, “We need this work force. These are jobs we don’t want to take.” Fierro asked if they thought consular cards were appropriate as identification.

Gallardo said law enforcement officers have stated they would rather have something, including consular cards, than nothing.

“Obviously law enforcement will say they prefer the consular cards,” said Fund, adding, “Ask what their confidence level is in that ID. It’s very low. I don’t believe we should issue any ID to illegal immigrants.” “It’s not the Mexican government’s problem,” said Krikorian, “It’s the acceptance.

The very fact that we allow the acceptance is outrageous.” He said it basically grants amnesty that Congress won’t grant.

Quinlan held up a social security card and called it a joke. He said it utilized 1930’s technology and that the impact of identity theft under current law was so prevalent because those who come across illegally won’t use their real name.

“They want to keep their real identity pure,” said Quinlan. He said they use aliases in case they’re deported, so they won’t have to wait 10 years before they can come across legally.

Krikorian pooh-poohed words such as “regularization,” which he called amnesty without using the word. He said, “We’ve already tried amnesty up front with a promise of enforcement. We need enforcement first.”


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Cross-posted: The Bosun Locker

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