Mar 24

Comic Books and the “Red Card”

In 2004, the government of Mexico notoriously issued a comic book guide to migrants wishing to sneak into the United States. That colorful publication, “Guide for the Mexican Migrant,” gives helpful hints in a fun, graphics-based format about how to cross the desert without dying of thirst (adding salt to your water will prevent dehydration) and later, once in the U.S., important reminders such as “Don’t call attention to yourself. … Avoid loud parties. … Don’t become involved in fights.” Good advice, all ’round.

In keeping with the comic motif, a California group has now published a sort of follow-up comic guide, “Cuanda ICE Venda Tocando” (“When ICE Comes Knocking”). Published by a combine of groups including the Council on American-Islamic Relations Sacramento, Sacramento Area Congregations Together, Sacramento Immigration Coalition members, and N & R Publications, “When ICE Comes Knocking” is aimed at today’s migrant, who is a lot cagier than his predecessors of a decade ago. The modern, up-to-the-minute migrant now knows that if he casts himself as an “asylum seeker,” brings along a child or two, and gives himself up just north of the border, he’ll be released into the U.S. for the simple reason that his numbers are overwhelming.  This new comic targets the intrepid migrant who has already assumed a new life in los Estados Unidos. It offers suggestions as to what to do when the ICE man cometh in a  variety of possible scenarios, such as:

  • En la calle (the street)
  • En casa (at home)
  • En el trabajo (at work)
  • En la carcel (in jail)

In each case, the advice is similar: “don’t run,” “don’t talk,” “ask for a lawyer,” etc. In fact, the advice always boils down to, “Show them your targeta roja (red card).”

 

What are red cards? The red card has no official status, of course. It is sort of a document for the undocumented, which can be printed from various sites on the web or even clipped from a comic book.  (The printed version of “When ICE Comes Knocking” conveniently contains a pageful of red cards that can be cut out and used at the appropriate time.) Red cards come in various styles with differing messages, but generally  announce (to the ICE agent, usually), “I am exercising my constitutional rights and…” followed by such things as what the bearer will or will not do, such as keeping quiet, not permitting any searches, demanding legal representation, and so on. Here is some sample verbiage from the “Immigrant Legal Resource Center“:

 

 

 

 

 

 

One amusing piece of advice above is: “[S]how the card through the window or slide it under the door.” And, in case that isn’t clear, here’s an artist’s conception.

Foiled again, ICE man.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.aicfoundation.com/comic-books-and-the-red-card/

Mar 22

Migrants Overwhelm Border

The surge of illegal alien migrants at the border has forced U.S. detention officers to release approximately 107,000 illegal alien family members into our border states. This influx has diverted officers from other crucial tasks as deporting criminal aliens who pose a danger to public safety.

“The current crisis that is occurring at the southwest border, the numbers that we collectively as a nation are seeing . . . is absolutely unprecedented.” said Nathalie R. Asher, acting executive associate director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s deportation division.

Read more at washingtontimes.com

Permanent link to this article: https://www.aicfoundation.com/migrants-overwhelm-border/

Mar 21

Immigration Won’t Save Social Security

Quote Below: More Information from the Media

“Well, Social Security is going to have a tough time making payments to workers who retire years from now unless the working population of America grows dramatically. One thing you already know about Social security: It is not a gift from the government. I’ve paid hundreds of thousands of dollars into Social Security. And you probably have also.

“But the government controls this money like it was an entitlement. Washington can and probably will, change when you can start collecting, the rules under which you can retire and the amounts you get when you do. It’s your money, but Washington rules over it.

“Social Security is also a pyramid scheme—a Ponzi scheme is a less polite term. The system only works when there is more money coming in than being paid out. So far this pyramid has worked because Americans were producing a lot of babies – or, to put it another way, a lot of future workers.

“Americans might suddenly go crazy and again start having lots of kids. But that’s not likely given the costs of raising children nowadays. And even if there were another baby boom, that wouldn’t help for another 18 years or so, when those newborns start entering the workforce. So the only answer to keep the Social Security pyramid functioning is to allow people from other countries to come here to work, pay taxes and contribute to Social Security.” – Why Immigration Is Key to Saving Social Security, John Crudele, New York Post, 1/29/18 [Link]

Fact Check of Quote: The idea is simple: Immigrants are younger on average than native-born Americans, and they have a higher fertility rate than native-born Americans. Therefore they will provide a great infusion of new taxpayers to sustain Social Security and provide retirement benefits for our elderly population. But there are problems with this idea.

The first is that immigrants are not that sufficiently young and fertile to make a significant impact on our age structure. Pew did a study and found that if we had stopped immigration in 2015, our median age in 2060 would be 45 years. This is only three years older than the projected age of 42 with the immigration level remaining unchecked between 2015 and 2060.

Since that study, data reveal a sharp decline in immigrants’ fertility. While still higher than the native rate, the two rates appear to be moving toward convergence. This should hardly be a surprise. The author notes that the “costs of raising children” limit the native birth rate. It is most likely that those costs would have the same effect on immigrants’ births.

The second problem is that immigrants on average receive more in public benefits than they pay in taxes. Hence they will not be making a net contribution to Social Security or any other program. This will become most apparent for Social Security when immigrants reach retirement age and apply for retirement benefits.

Immigration advocates are quick to point out, however, that illegal aliens won’t be collecting benefits, even though they pay into social security, because they are not legally entitled to them. One thing to keep in mind with this assertion is that by common estimate about half of illegal aliens are paid under the table. This means they pay no federal taxes, including Social Security taxes. Many of the others who do file fraudulently claim tax credits which offset or largely offset what they pay into Social Security.

Furthermore, a large number of illegal aliens may in fact draw Social Security benefits, either by getting amnesty or by using fake Social Security numbers.

The third problem with immigration saving Social Security for American natives is that immigrants might well see their interests as being different from those of American natives. And they might form voting blocs to pursue those interests. As the author of the article above points out, Social Security benefits are not set in stone. They can be changed by government action.

Finally, as unending mass immigration makes society more diverse and probably more unstable. Social insecurity is not a good climate for retirement.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.aicfoundation.com/immigration-wont-save-social-security-2/

Mar 21

Why Illegal Immigration Is All about Money

The influx we’re currently seeing of caravanfuls of Central American “asylum seekers” attempting to enter the United States is feeding on money, every step of the way and back.

The Washington Post  reports that human smugglers have contrived a sophisticated process of delivering migrants from Central America through Mexico and dropping them off at the U.S. border. Instead of attempting to cross unseen, most then merely walk across and happily surrender themselves and the minor children accompanying them to the U.S. Border Patrol. The migrants have been briefed by their handlers and are confident that the U.S. lacks  the facilities to care for the large numbers of children and also the will to “separate families.” Authorities have no choice but to let the migrants go, where they disappear into America, mission accomplished.

The system is called the “conveyor belt” and it runs on money, maybe $7,000 per immigrant. The money is so good, the human smuggling racket thrives alongside the drug trade that it mimics.  So good, like drug smuggling, it cannot be suppressed.

But the flow of money hardly stops there. Once the migrants are in and find jobs illegally, the money again starts to flow, in the form of “remittances,” back to the home countries of Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and others.  The Daily Caller reports that during this decade illegal immigrants have sent back to their home countries a record $120 billion. Last year alone, the total was an estimated $17 billion.

This southbound money is so good that it provides the three countries mentioned above with a large percentage–perhaps 20 percent–of their economies. This does nothing to encourage the governments of those countries to suppress the smuggling. It has become their life’s blood.

Congress is of course aware of all this, and occasionally argues with itself about what to do about it. Taxing it is an idea that comes up frequently. A seven-percent tax on the one-year remittances by all immigrants, legal and illegal, would pay for Trump’s wall, but Congress, being Congress, dithers, not wishing to interfere with the cheap labor dividend its financial backers are enjoying.

Meanwhile, the conveyor belt continues to run northward and the remittances fly electronically back southward, and the beat goes on.

For more on remittances, see the Political Insider.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.aicfoundation.com/why-illegal-immigration-is-all-about-money/

Mar 20

Economic Advisors: No shortage

President Trump has been influenced by cheap labor business interests to endorse an increase in legal immigration to meet an alleged labor shortage. Interestingly, this view contradicts the view expressed in a report by the president’s Council of Economic Advisors. It stated:

“Although the low unemployment rate is a signal of a strong labor market, there is a question as to whether the rapid pace of hiring can continue and whether there are a sufficient number of remaining potential workers to support continued economic growth. This pessimistic view of the economy’s potential, however, overlooks the extent to which the share of prime-age adults who are in the labor market remains below its historical norm.”

Read more at breitbart.com

Permanent link to this article: https://www.aicfoundation.com/economic-advisors-no-shortage/

Mar 19

Nielsen: Border Security Near Meltdown

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen affirmed that border security is facing a real crisis situation. She stated, “The situation at our Southern Border has gone from a crisis, to a national emergency, to a near system-wide meltdown. There is no more fundamental responsibility for a nation. And yet, the American people have been let down by our government again . . . and again. I want to cut through the politics to tell you loud and clear: there is NO ‘manufactured’ crisis at our Southern Border.”

Read more at breitbart.com

Permanent link to this article: https://www.aicfoundation.com/nielsen-border-security-near-meltdown/

Mar 19

George W. Bush: “A Blessing and a Strength and Energy and Talent and….”

Never at a loss for a cliche, former President George W. Bush presided over a naturalization ceremony at his Bush Center in Dallas on Monday, along with his wife Laura. Once demonized by the media, Bush has become their darling in the age of Trump.

The pair predictably gushed about the unlimited contributions to both Texas and America made by immigrants.

“Hard work, strong values, dreams, and determination know no borders or boundaries,” Laura said. “Across the world, good men and women still dream of starting life anew in America – people who bring energy, and talent, and faith in the future,” President Bush added. “Immigration is a blessing and a strength.”

It is also a way to really pack the working class with cheap workers, though W didn’t put it exactly that way. Instead, while mouthing some prescribed blather about “protecting the homeland,” he put in a plug for the Bush Center’s efforts to open the borders to any and all who’ll work for cheap. “At the Bush Center, we are clear-eyed . . . about the critical contributions immigrants make to our prosperity. . . .”

A few weeks ago, Breitbart News looked at those efforts, in an article titled “Bush Center to White House: Open Borders for Business Hiring.” Here is a sample of their report:

“The Bush center’s recommendations do not mention the concerns of Trump’s 2016 voters, such as stagnant wages, the rising student debt owed by American graduates, the rising real estate costs and healthcare bills which Americans must pay, nor the decade-long freeze on Americans’ salaries since legal immigration” was substantially increased by Bush’s 1990 immigration expansion bill.

Breitbart concludes: “In fact, the Bush center says immigration policy should be designed to grow the economy first, not salaries or wages.” [Emphasis added.]

In other words, to fatten the pocketbooks of the Bush Center’s constituents: the business class.

George W. Bush can parrot all the “blessing and strength” platitudes that he wants. Behind it all is the ever popular quest for more and more money.

See Breitbart News for more details on the Bush Center’s plans for your country.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.aicfoundation.com/george-w-bush-a-blessing-and-a-strength-and-energy-and-talent-and/

Mar 18

Immigration: A View from the Left

Time was when the political left in America–primarily represented by the labor unions–maintained a solid restrictionist position on immigration.  As leftist The New Republic reported a few years ago, “Through the 19th century and most of the 20th centuries, unionists were nearly as consistent in their dislike of immigration as they are now in favoring it. They claimed that more foreigners, legal or not, lowered the wages and degraded the working conditions of native-born wage-earners–and were less willing than the native-born to risk their jobs by joining a union.”

The New Republic article notes that the American Federation of Labor under Samuel Gompers supported the immigration laws of the 1920s and that, much later, in the 1970s, the United Farm Workers in California actively sought to protect the border from the influx of illegal workers from Mexico.

That all changed, abruptly and almost completely. Why?  With the rise of civil rights movement, the unions were co-opted by the political faction that claimed to serve them. As the left became more focused on an “internationalist” (ie, cultural Marxist) world view, the interests of native-born American workers gave way to those of the world, especially the Third World. The new labor leaders were a far cry from Sam Gompers–culturally, ethnically, racially.  They saw new immigrants from Latin America, Africa, and Asia not as competitors but as comrades in their struggle against an entrenched American power structure. Nowadays, modern labor relishes immigration, legal and illegal, as much as old Gompers opposed it.

We said “almost completely.” There still exist pockets of old unionist distrust of open borders. One such pocket is the Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR), a leftist organization whose mission statement reads, in part: “Progressives for Immigration Reform exists to protect American workers from unemployment and wage suppression caused by unfair labor and trade practices, including importation of large numbers of foreign workers who are subject to exploitation by foreign and domestic corporations working in the United States.”

Joe Guzzardi, a researcher and analyst for the PFIR, writes a regular column on immigration. His most recent column, dated March 17, is entitled “More Immigration Is Incompatible with Layoffs, Automation.” In it, he cites the anemic growth of American workers’ wages over the past four decades, as reported by the Economic Policy Institute and concludes: “Conspicuously missing from EPI’s proposed wage inequality remedies is the most obvious: slow immigration that annually adds to the labor market about 1 million new, work-authorized lawful permanent residents, plus around 750,000 guest workers. These workers compete directly with employed, unemployed and underemployed Americans for jobs. . . . their presence in the economy contributes to continuing income inequality.”

Guzzardi goes on to cite an ongoing shift to automation that American companies such as Walmart, whose CEO promised last year that automation was about to bring to its stores “lots of change.”  Guzzardi defines the “change” this way: “[M]ore automation will lead to more firing, and more pain for those dismissed.” Bringing new workers into the mix will only exacerbate the pain.

The impending pain about to be experienced by American workers across the economy seems not to have made an impression on the Trump White House.  Guzzardi writes: “Recently, White House officials . . . hosted meetings with influential business champions and immigration advocates to expand employment-based immigration. Trump’s calls for record high immigration, a disappointing departure from his campaign promises and his pro-American worker rhetoric during his presidency’s first two years, provided the meeting’s impetus. [Trump’s] pledge to create policies that ‘will raise workers’ wages’ is another broken promise to America’s most vulnerable and underpaid.”

You can read this and other Guzzardi columns at Noozhawk.com.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.aicfoundation.com/immigration-a-view-from-the-left/

Mar 17

What Is Congress for, Anyway?

It’s hard to fathom nowadays that the framers of our republic believed that Congress, of the three branches of federal government, should and would necessarily be the strongest and most important of those branches.

James Madison, the primary author of the Constitution, wrote: “In republican government, the legislative power necessarily predominates.”  Madison actually believed that Congress might come to predominate too much, hence the bicameral national legislature he crafted.

History has proven Madison’s fears unfounded. Far from dominating the other branches, Congress has over time ceded much of its power to the Executive and Judicial branches. Today, a law is not a law until the federal courts say it’s a law. Similarly, a law is not a law unless the Executive enforces it.  Barack Obama, for example, famously chose not to enforce many of the immigration laws passed by Congress.  In 2010, Deputy Attorney General Anita Bath in his Department of Justice was quoted thusly: “People should just relax, especially undocumented immigrants. Be assured that this President, unlike previous Presidents, will not enforce laws just because Congress passed them.”

This thumb in their collective eye was accepted meekly by the Congress for two reasons: (1) Obama as the first African-American president was to be granted a pass on pretty much everything and (2) more importantly, Congress didn’t want the responsibility anyway.

As a matter of fact, most members of Congress from both parties would much prefer not to have the responsibility of making any hard decisions. The primary goal of most of them, a goal that grows more enticing the longer they are there, is to keep getting re-elected until the time comes to retire and cash in big time as a K Street lobbyist. In the meantime, they grandstand and gush over bills and resolutions that sound oh-so-compassionate but do nothing to push the country forward.

Take, for example, the junior senator from North Carolina, Republican Thom Tillis. Here is a politician who flaunts his support of feel-good bills he’s pretty sure no one will disagree with him on: the PROTECT Asbestos Victims Act, the American World War II Heritage City act, the ALS Disability Insurance Access Act, the  absurdly named Solution for Undocumented Children through Careers, Employment, Education, and Defending our Nation (SUCCEED) Act, and so on.  Senator Tillis is more than happy to put his name on these  goody-goody bills but when it comes time to say yea or nay to the actions of a President of his own party, as in the case of Trump’s emergency declaration, Tillis is silent. He’s even worse than silent. He comes down on both sides of the issue: on the Washington Post op-ed page he hopes his DC pals read and off the list of RINO renegades he hopes his constituency notices.

It’s this kind of spinelessness that has eroded the power of Congress and made them appear a feckless band of eunuchs of all possible genders.

However, as President Trump is so good at doing, he may now have finally roused some of them from their slumbers. He justified his declaration of a national emergency by pointing to one of Congress’s specific acts of abdication,  the National Emergencies Act of 1976.  Forty-three years later, some are having second thoughts. Here’s a sampling of current headlines:

Now, it appears that in response to a President’s having utilized power specifically granted to him, some of the eunuchs are stirring.  This is probably less the result of a suddenly located backbone than their simply allowing themselves to be bullied by the press.

Will Congress wrest its power back? Probably not. If Trump is soon replaced, as both the Democrats and the Never-Trump RINOs devoutly hope,  and “normalcy” returns, they can go back to their peaceful dreams of all that K Street money.

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.aicfoundation.com/what-is-congress-for-anyway/

Mar 16

Trump Vetoes Effort to Stop Emergency Declaration

On Thursday, with the assistance of 12 members of Trump’s own party, the Senate passed a resolution blocking President Trump’s declaration of an emergency on our southern border.

A day later, Trump vetoed the legislation, which had earlier been passed by the House.

“As president, the protection of the nation is my highest duty.” Surrounded by administration officials and “angel parents”– the parents of children killed by illegal immigrants–Trump said, “Yesterday, Congress passed a dangerous resolution that if signed into law, would put countless Americans in danger. Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it. I’m very proud to veto it. ”

Since 67 Senators would need to vote for override while only 59 voted for the bill, Trump’s veto should hold up and put an end to the Congressional effort to quash his order.

This was President’s first use of the veto power. If Republican renegades such as Thursday’s dirty dozen continue to push back on his policies, it may not be his last.

For more, see Breitbart News.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.aicfoundation.com/trump-vetoes-effort-to-stop-emergency-declaration/