Showing posts with label illegal immigrants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label illegal immigrants. Show all posts

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Non-Citizen Voting In NYC

New York City recently made it legal for non-citizens to vote in municipal elections. 
This will include legal immigrants on green cards/visas and illegal immigrants with DACA status or who can otherwise show residence in NYC. 
When I first heard about this I thought it was a joke or some deliberate conservative lie, but no in fact, this was indeed the case.
New York City became the largest city in the country to allow noncitizens to vote in local elections after the City Council on Thursday overwhelmingly approved legislation granting the right to more than 800,000 legal residents.
The move places New York City at the forefront of the debate over voting rights, serving as a stark contrast to some states that have moved to add voting restrictions, including explicitly barring noncitizens from voting.
The legislation was approved over the objections of Mayor Bill de Blasio, who questioned whether the City Council has the power to grant voting rights to noncitizens. Legal experts expect that the bill could face a legal challenge. 
Noncitizens would be able to begin to register to vote a year from now. They could begin voting in local elections as of Jan. 9, 2023, according to the City Council.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Biden Urged to End All Deportations

I don't see deportation of illegal immigrants from the United States as an a priori moral outrage. I've written why elsewhere at length and won't belabor the point again.

Every national political community is bounded. Nations have rules for who is a member and who isn't, who can stay and who can't. Politics require boundaries. Almost every nation on the planet has boundaries that were at some point established or defended by violence. Every single Western Hemisphere nation was created through some combination of European invasion and settlement, African enslavement, Indigenous subordination and/or genocide. Every last one. 

The US Federal government and corporations have long turned a blind eye to the continuous arrival of various illegal immigrants, many of whom originated from Spanish speaking nations. The US only has the funds to deport a small fraction of the estimated 11-22 million illegal immigrants currently resident.

Unsurprisingly some advocates for illegal immigrants view this forbearance as exploitable weakness. Some demand an end to all deportations. Current Democratic Presidential candidate, former VP Joe Biden was recently hectored to commit to ending all deportations. Biden refused to do so and acerbically suggested that the speaker go vote for Trump.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Democratic Debates

I haven't been all that impressed with any of the Democratic presidential contenders so far. Some were better spoken than others. Some like former vice-President Joe Biden seemed to have no clue why they were there. Senator Gillibrand's voice grates.

I liked Tulsi Gabbard's anti-war stances.Senator Harris was cynical and smart enough to attack Biden on his anti-busing position before later admitting that her present day stance wasn't all that different from Biden's. It's really early though.
In fact it's so early that it seems silly even to be talking about debates. As we saw in 2016 anything can happen. Just as I am finishing this post it looks like another candidate is already dropping outLightweight.

But there were a few things that came out of the recent first debates that I thought were worth people's notice. The Democrats as a whole seemed to be for decriminalizing illegal entry to the US and providing taxpayer paid health care for illegal immigrants. A few were also in support of eliminating private health care insurance in favor of a Medicare for All system. This will require higher taxes and not just on the rich, however that class is defined. 

I could be wrong but I do not think that there are tons of American voters who want to sacrifice their private health care coverage, enter an underpaid and understaffed public system, have the same coverage as someone who is not even supposed to be in this country, AND pay higher taxes on top of it all.

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Shutdown And The Wall

At the time of this writing it is day 21 of the government shutdown. On Friday January 11, thousands of Federal workers missed their first full paycheck. Although it is unwise to live your life paycheck to paycheck, fully 80% of Americans do indeed live paycheck to paycheck.  

 And that's not just impoverished people. 10% of people with a salary greater than six figures also say they live that way. Of course a six figure income is not what it was twenty years ago. The reasons for that are not really relevant to this post. The larger point is that plenty of federal workers will face some tough decisions over the next few days. The given reason for the shutdown is that President Trump wants $5.7 Billion for the creation and expansion of a hard border Wall. 

The Democrats, who won back the House, are offering $1.3 Billion for border security, some possible fencing, but definitely no Wall. In some ways however the fight isn't really over the creation of a wall. Democrats have voted for walls before. Some border areas already have effective walls. The larger fight is over the symbolism of a wall. Trump's rabid base despises illegal immigration and isn't that crazy about legal immigration. They want to see concrete evidence that Trump is making headway in the battle against both. When Trump looked like he was going to cave conservative enforcers Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh called him out in a mocking personal way.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Should We Abolish ICE?

Even before the Trump directed zero tolerance illegal immigration policy in which every person who unlawfully entered the United States would theoretically face prosecution, some people, usually those who were sympathetic to illegal immigrants or illegal immigrants themselves were calling for the elimination of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In terms of immigration law, ICE's primary responsibility is interior enforcement. 

But with Trump's cruel misstep and resulting horrible images of desperate parents separated from their children more and more people have called for the abolition of ICE. Luminaries such as Keith Ellison, Pramila Jayapal, and Mark Pocan, presumptive US Representative to be, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, US Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Kirsten Gillibrand, and NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio have all recommended eliminating ICE.  

Some politicians, intellectuals, and activists have been coy about what they see as ICE's replacement. Others are pretty straightforward that they don't want to deport anyone. Not One More Deportation is what they believe. So they don't want a replacement for ICE. Some people claim that they don't believe in borders. They argue that citizenship is an unfair caste system that should be eliminated. They say that because the United States was born in conquest and genocide, the US has no right to restrict entry for anyone. I don't believe that everyone clamoring to abolish ICE has thought everything through. Some politicians who scream the loudest about abolishing ICE don't want to actually vote to do so.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Illegal Immigration and Discrimination Against Black Americans

With Donald Trump's election there has been a sharp shift in interior and border enforcement against unlawfully resident foreign nationals (illegal immigrants). Per Trump's directives, most of the people detained so far by ICE have been people with felony records and/or previously existing orders of removal. Many people, American or not, fiercely oppose the new Administration's policy changes. Some folks demand that there be not a single more deportation. Others have dropped their pretenses and now insist that the US have open borders. Scarcely a day goes by without one of the major newspapers of record (New York Times, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, etc) featuring a story, editorial or column decrying the possible removal of illegal immigrants. Some people have drawn analogies between deportations and the US enslavement of Africans or the Holocaust. There have been multiple demonstrations and even a few disturbances here or there. But many people have overlooked the impact that illegal immigration can have on American citizens. This is a story from December of 2016 but it's still quite timely in my view. 

A group of African-American men filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Chicago federal court alleging systematic discrimination by a temporary staffing agency and several of its clients they say passed over black applicants in favor of Hispanic workers. The alleged discrimination took place at MVP Staffing's Cicero branch office, which the lawsuit claims was directed by clients not to send African-American workers to their companies for assignments.
Those wishes allegedly were communicated using code words, according to testimony from former dispatchers and on-site representatives given in prior cases and attached to the filing as evidence. For example, according to the lawsuit, "guapos," which translates to pretty boys, would be used to refer to African-Americans to suggest they don't want to do dirty work. The terms "feos" (translated to mean "dirty ones")," "bilingues" (bilinguals) and "los que escuchan La Ley" (referring to people who listen to Spanish-language radio station La Ley) were used to refer to Hispanic laborers, the lawsuit alleges.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Trump Hints At Flip-Flop On Illegal Immigration

If you pick an issue, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has probably been on two or more sides of it. He has explained this as growth and as good business. For Trump, business exigencies require that you really do run with the hares and hunt with the hounds. Fundamentally Trump seems to be about doing whatever is best for Trump. He doesn't appear to have very many fixed ideological commitments. Fame, fortune and adulation seem to be what motivate him. Still when you enter the political arena, Hillary Clinton's "I'm not Trump" campaign notwithstanding, it usually helps to have a few key issues where you put your foot down and define yourself. This will hopefully animate your base. If done properly a politician's strong stance on an issue can even win grudging respect from the other side and/or attract independents to his team. For Trump and his successful quest to become the 2016 Republican nominee for President this defining issue was illegal immigration. Illegal immigration in today's environment is also a magnet or pointer for a host of other associated themes such as ethnic and economic nationalism, fears about the browning of America, crime, disdain towards cosmopolitan bi-coastal elites, anger over the hollowing out of good paying middle class jobs, deindustrialization, declining male status, nostalgia over the loss of the "good old days", and many others, some of which Trump didn't have to say out loud. Some of his supporters certainly picked up on what he was putting down. One such supporter was writer and media critic Ann Coulter, who was, to put it mildly, in support of Trump's heretofore, strong stance against illegal immigration.  But like the song says, everything must change. Recently speaking to Fox News personality Sean Hannity, Trump gave himself a little, well a LOT, of wiggle room regarding his intentions towards the illegal immigrants who are currently living in the US. 

Trump earlier this week said he may be open to some "softening" in the immigration laws."There certainly can be a softening, because we're not looking to hurt people," Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity during a town hall earlier this week. During that event, he raised the idea that people living in the country illegally would pay back taxes, "but we work with them."  
Questions have been raised about Trump's stance on immigration after his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said last weekend it was "to be determined" whether Trump's plans would include a deportation force to remove the 11 million people living illegally in the country.
“They’ll pay back-taxes, they have to pay taxes, there’s no amnesty, as such, there’s no amnesty, but we work with them,” Trump said. Trump claimed that his supporters have urged him to soften his stance on immigration, even though he has staked much of his campaign on his tough stance on immigration and portraying immigrants as “rapists and criminals.” 

“When I go through and meet thousands and thousands of people on this subject, and they’ve said, ‘Mr. Trump, I love you, but to take a person who’s been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and their family out, it’s so tough, Mr. Trump,’” he told Hannity. “I have it all the time! It’s a very, very hard thing.”
From Trump these statements are akin to Hillary Clinton going on MSNBC to muse that Planned Parenthood gets too much government funding or to say that National Right to Life occasionally makes a good point. It's not what the base wants to hear. Coulter has stated (paraphrase) that if Trump loses the election America is over. She's commenced a tour in support of her new book In Trump We Trust. So you might guess she wouldn't be too thrilled with the timing or content of Trump's comments. And you'd be correct.  Coulter said Trump was making a mistake. Coulter made a series of sarcastic tweets attacking Trump and retweeted a picture from #NeverTrump Republican consultant Rick Wilson. This Coulter retweet was surprising because Wilson had previously attacked Coulter in an extremely scurrilous manner

As Trump has been all over the place no one should have been surprised by his seeming new found "flexibility" on the immigration issue. That is, no one except the true believers. Heck by the time this post appears Trump and/or his surrogates may well have put out new statements disavowing what was previously said and/or saying that everyone misunderstood what was said. Because we're all stupid losers. Or so on. The question going forward is will Trump voters see this signal towards a softer stance on illegal immigration as a betrayal most foul or merely as their guy making the noises he has to make in order to get elected. Remember that Trump once boasted that he loves the poorly educated. He claimed he could shoot someone in the middle of NYC and not lose a vote. Well we shall see. All of the current polls show Trump losing badly to Clinton. There are red leaning states which have become competitive for Clinton that probably wouldn't be competitive to a different Republican.  Trump could lead the Republicans to an electoral beatdown of Biblical proportions. So Trump could be belatedly trying to turn to the middle and win over moderate Republicans, Republican women and/or conservative leaning independents. Most people, even most conservatives, Coulter notwithstanding, don't like angry or mean political leaders. Trump's positions are very easily understood as such. There are not enough angry white nationalist voters in the US to give Trump a victory. He must expand the bloc Republican voters. I think that (1) Trump may have underestimated how important this illegal immigration issue is to the ethno-nationalist primary voter who initially flocked to him and (2) how toxic he is (because of this issue) to the Democratic base voter and several left leaning independents. 

Although it's not too late for Trump to win the election it probably is too late for him to change his stripes on illegal immigration. People who disagreed with him about his hardline stance won't believe him or vote for him. And people who agreed with his hardline stance would be so disgusted that they would stay home.  If Trump does try to find a kinder, gentler policy on illegal immigration I will respect those conservatives who don't drink the Kool-Aid and instead stand up for their beliefs.  Trump is likely gambling that he has little to lose at this point and can afford to reach out towards the middle because his base hates Clinton so much.

What's your take?

Is Trump turning over a new leaf?

Or is this just a clumsy attempt to get some moderate voters?

Saturday, June 4, 2016

San Jose Anti-Trump Protests and the Right to Assemble

I will not vote for Donald Trump in the fall election. There are numerous reasons for this, too many to list here. I think that Trump is despicable for spreading rumors and lies about President Obama's birthplace and religion. I think Trump is a bigot with a history of bigoted words and actions. But there are many people who will vote for Trump. I don't think that all of these people are horrible racists and/or inbred rural residents with stingy dental plans and roiling resentment over Reconstruction. But even if that were indeed the case the fundamental deal in America is that everyone gets to have a say, including people that we dislike or even hate. This was actually going to be another post on the importance of the entire First Amendment. That post may show up later with a slightly different emphasis, I guess. It all depends on the Day Job workload. But if you didn't hear about it already, on Thursday, people who were apparently opposed to Donald Trump physically attacked a number of Trump supporters at a Trump rally in San Jose, California. Now there are better writers than I who will argue in flowery abstruse academic language that Trump has legitimized a certain level of political violence through his ugly words and/or has no problem with violence as long as "his people" are delivering the beatdowns. In this POV all the San Jose protesters were doing is responding to previous violence. It's Trump and his goons who are the real bad guys. Right. This sounds good but it completely misses the point. Every American has the right to peacefully assemble and support the candidate of his/her choice without being physically attacked. Period. If we can no longer agree on that basic point then this country really does need to break apart. Let's call it a day. There is no level of rhetoric that makes it okay to respond with violence. SAN JOSE, Calif. —Protests outside a Donald Trump rally in downtown San Jose spun out of control Thursday night when some demonstrators attacked the candidate’s supporters. Protesters jumped on cars, pelted Trump supporters with eggs and water balloons, snatched signs and stole “Make America Great” hats off supporters’ heads before burning the hats and snapping selfies with the charred remains. “The San Jose Police Department made a few arrests tonight after the Donald Trump Rally,” police said in a statement. “As of this time, we do not have specific information on the arrests made. There has been no significant property damage reported. One officer was assaulted.” In one video circulating widely on social media, two protesters tried to protect a Trump supporter as other protesters attacked him and called him names. 

Perhaps the most jarring scene was that of a young female Trump supporter being attacked by a crowd of protesters. In multiple videos of the incident, the woman initially appeared to be happily posing in her Trump football jersey in front of the mostly male protesters, some of whom can be heard whistling and shouting at her. 
Then an anonymous arm rises over the crowd and tosses an egg at the woman, striking her in the head and eliciting howls and laughter from the crowd. A second later, a red water balloon bursts against the woman’s arm. At first, the woman tries to shrug off the attacks, smiling while appearing to reach out toward the Mexican flags that some protesters are waving. Objects keep crashing into the convention center windows behind her, however, and protesters can be heard screaming expletives at her. Suddenly, another projectile strikes her hard in the face. Eventually, someone comes to help her and, after she indicates that she is having trouble seeing, she is ushered back inside the convention center.

Although excessive American nationalism is unpopular with some, do protesters (citizens or not) really think that waving a foreign flag while attacking American citizens is going to make American voters more sympathetic to their cause? It irritated me and I despise Trump. It is a HORRIBLE bit of messaging. There's just no way around this. All the protesters are doing is confirming the stereotypical narrative of some Trump supporters. The proper way to respond to a charge that people of Mexican heritage and/or left wing political stances are violent is probably not for people with one or more or those characteristics to go into the streets and beat people up. I can respect the strong feelings of attachment to one's native land or to the land of one's parents. But carrying the Mexican flag while burning the US flag sends the wrong message to US citizens, even those who won't vote for Trump under any circumstances. In this country, ideally we have campaigns and elections in order to peacefully try to convince each other of the rightness of our positions. If political violence in the US becomes normalized again then I dare say we will start to look more like the countries which many of our current immigrants (legal or otherwise) fled. Or worse we will look like the US of the 1920s. And that would be a shame. Increased political violence based on ethnic grievance supports the thesis of people at both extremes of the political spectrum who are convinced that assimilation is a waste of time because demography is destiny. Whether it's an aged Trump supporter throwing elbows or a youthful Trump detractor punching someone political violence is wrong and dangerous. This needs to stop now before it winds up impacting the actual election. Do we really want to decide elections based on who can bring more button men to the polls? If anti-Trump protesters feel emboldened enough to beat up people for attending a Trump rally then what will they do to people who vote the "wrong" way? This may sound like fun and games if you're a thug who happens to live in an area where the overwhelming majority is demographically and ideologically identical to you. It's probably not so great if you are the lone Black family in the town of Keep Running N*****!!, Mississippi. No matter what your political beliefs may be using violence against people simply for having opposing thoughts is wrong. The only legitimate reason for violence is self-defense. Self-defense was not what happened in San Jose. That is not what this country is supposed to represent.

This isn't about whether we like Trump or not. I've been clear that I don't like Trump. It's about what's right or wrong. Since I called out the Trump bullyboys who felt empowered to throw elbows when they outnumbered people they didn't like I must do the same for the San Jose whack jobs who think they can put paws on their political opponents. That behavior is disgusting no matter who does it. Saying that Trump's supporters deserved some smacks is the same logic that blames an abused spouse for not shutting up and thus avoiding a beating. It's dumb logic. If the US can allow American Nazis to exercise their rights to protest, organize and march let's not have excuses claiming that the Trump supporters deserved what they got. I don't want a heckler's or rather rioter's veto on political speech. Once you start going down the path that your political opponents do not have the right to gather or speak then you're letting everyone know that you do not believe in or for that matter belong in a constitutional form of government. Again, some may believe and for all I know may be correct that Trump supporters are scum. But even scum get to vote and express themselves. On Thursday a small mob of people assaulted other people because they didn't like their political views. What happens when they decide they don't like what someone else wrote or what religion someone is? Free speech and the right to assemble are important elements of the fabric of democracy. When you start pulling those strings willy nilly the entire political quilt falls apart like a cheap suit. This crap needs to end. Because we know what the next move is. But who knows what happens after that? You want to beat Trump? You want to wipe the smirk off his face and those of his supporters? Register and vote. But attacking people at a political rally is stupid, counterproductive and morally abhorrent.

What's your take on these incidents?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

GOP Cave on DHS: One Week Funding Approved

President Obama is head of the executive branch of the Federal government. He has, like it or not, pretty expansive powers to direct or change the enforcement priorities of the executive branch. Arguably he has exceeded those powers in his latest executive immigration policy. The courts will end up making that decision. However the legislative branch, has, like it or not, the authority to determine what the budget is and on what it may be spent. In its own way this power is just as awesome as that of the President. Reckless or not, Congress has the ability to defund executive actions that it does not like. Ultimately this is what happened with the Vietnam War. However for either the President or Congress to effectively wield those powers which they possess they must be willing to say "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" and ignore objections to valid use of those powers. For all the criticism which President Obama has received, some valid, some not, for being a weak vacillating mouse of a man who is too eager to find common ground where there isn't any, on this executive action on illegal immigration, it turns out that at least to this point he's the one with the intestinal fortitude. Faced with the reality of what a DHS shutdown would mean to the country, DHS employees, and to their poll numbers Senate and House Republicans blinked, approving a one week DHS funding bill. President Obama signed the legislation last night.


The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted today to fund the Department of Homeland Security through the end of the budget year — without any restrictions on immigration. The vote is a victory for President Obama as Republicans had wanted to strip funding for the president's executive actions on immigration from the bill.

The measure now heads to President Obama, who is expected to sign it.

Two hours before a midnight deadline, Congress has narrowly averted a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security for one week, setting up another funding showdown for next Friday.

Hours before a midnight deadline, the House easily approved a one-week extension of the funding. The vote was 357-60. It required two-thirds of members' support to pass.

President Barack Obama later signed the bill.
The move means that DHS will not experience a shutdown at midnight, but it also fails to resolve the impasse created when the House initially lashed together the agency's budget and so-called "riders" that would gut the president's immigration proposals. Some House conservatives said that Obama's actions are unconstitutional and must be stopped - even at the cost of a DHS funding lapse.

This raises the question of what is going to change in one week? So are the Republicans going to throw another temper tantrum and then cave again? Wash, Rinse and Repeat? Another one week extension? What happened to the so-called tough guys who were going to stop the "Kenyan usurper" in his tracks? I'm joking but there are some conservative activists who are asking that very question. Erick Erickson had a bizarre and amusing full gay panic meltdown over at Redstate over the approaching Republican cave-in. The fact that when it came down to it the President was not bluffing while many Republicans were is useful information for future negotiations. There is no reason to take Republican threats seriously because they've shown again and again that they lack follow through. This is basic game theory stuff. If you don't or won't do what you threatened you were going to do your power is much diminished. And by power here I mean masculinity as so much of this fight was understood by all concerned as a brutal test of willpower and manhood. It is of course possible that in one week the Republicans will find a spinal column but if I were the President I would be betting otherwise. Time will tell. Perhaps the Republicans will be so ashamed of their approval of the one week clean bill that they will feel cornered and not back down next time. But again all we know right now is that the Republicans are just like a dull knife that just ain't cutting. They're just talking loud and saying nothing as Soul Brother Number One might have pointed out.

What are your thoughts?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Cane Corso Dogs Kill Livonia Jogger

I have a dog. She's a German Shepherd. She's about average size for a female German Shepherd, weighing in at around 72lbs or so, but she is still extremely aggressive, protective and selfish of what she thinks of as her territory and pack. She's big enough to make unwanted solicitors go away which is fine by me. It's highly unlikely she is anywhere near as dangerous as she thinks she is. But she still has a high prey drive and loves to chase smaller creatures. She becomes agitated when someone she does not know approaches me or other humans she's accepted as part of her pack. And though my dog is smart for a dog, the smartest dog is still downright dumb compared to a human. So, with all that said I never ever ever let my dog run free off leash outside of my fenced backyard. And since she's figured out how to open the gate, I still have to keep an eye on her if she's in the back yard. The world is full of dangers, whether it be other dogs, trigger happy police or other armed people "standing their ground", cars, kids, etc. For both my dog's safety and my own it's best if she's on the leash and I do all the thinking for both of us. Because otherwise if she's off leash and trying to figure out the world on her own, each of us could get into a lot of trouble. A dog, even a midsize animal like a Shepherd, can under certain circumstances be quite dangerous. Responsible dog owners know this and take steps to ensure everyone's safety. But irresponsible dog owners don't take the proper steps to do that, whether it be training, control of the animal, or even better making sure that they have the correct animal for their needs. This is what happened in Michigan recently.
You don't have to be licensed to purchase any sort of dog. You can be a responsible management consultant who keeps his dog on leash and obeys the relevant laws and codes. Or you can be an illegal immigrant couple who let their dogs run free off leash throughout the neighborhood scaring people, biting them and finally killing a person. Mr. Qualgiata and Mrs. Lucaj are now facing second degree murder charges because their two Cane Corso dogs killed a Livonia jogger while he was jogging past their home.
The Metamora couple whose dogs killed a jogger last week are in the U.S. illegally and were facing imminent deportation at the time of the attack. Valbona Lucaj, 44, got into the country from Albania in January 1997 after bribing an immigration officer into granting her asylum, according to federal court filings. Her Italian husband, Sebastiano Quagliata, 45, arrived a month earlier as a tourist and never left. The two are potentially facing involuntary manslaughter charges after their Cane Corso dogs attacked and killed Craig Sytsma, 46, of Livonia on July 23 as he jogged past their home on a rural Metamora Township road. Lapeer County prosecutors are expected to announce a decision on criminal charges this week. It is unclear what, if any impact, their citizenship status will have on possible prosecution. The couple have been fighting deportation for years since immigration officials discovered that Lucaj had paid $3,000 to an immigration officer in New York to grant her asylum. That asylum was then granted to Quagliata because he was her spouse. LINK
Now there is plenty of blame to go around. If the federal government had been doing its job in a prompt and efficient manner these two lowlifes would have been kicked out of my country a long time ago. But also if the local and state agencies, ie. the prosecutors, had been doing their job the dogs would have been seized and destroyed and/or the couple would have been arrested before this final tragedy took place. I am actually less concerned with their immigration status than with a pattern of behavior that shows the couple simply didn't care what their dogs did. This fatal mauling was not the first time that the dogs had attacked humans. And in the neighborhood the couple was apparently well known for letting their dogs run free. If you don't give a dog something to do and a sense that you are the one in charge, the dog will make up its own job. And it may even start to think that it is in charge. This is a horrible thing to have happen. And with an animal which possesses the size and aggression of a Cane Corso it's akin to leaving a loaded gun out around a child.  LINK
I don't jog as much as I used to because of knee issues. But I still go for pretty long walks with my dog in the subdivision or the woods/farmland which are behind it. Dogs being dogs there is plenty of barking and raised hackles when we encounter other dogs. But there's only been two occasions in the decade or so that I've had my dog that we've been attacked by other dogs. In one of those cases the other dog stopped short and ran when my dog went into full beast mode. In the other incident I applied my boot to a place on the other dog's anatomy where I thought it would do the most good. I had words with the owner in the second situation and did indeed file a complaint with the authorities. But neither of those two dogs which attacked us were Cane Corsos. If you are unarmed and are attacked by such animals there's not going to be too much that you can do. You are going to get bit. You may not survive. 
So although I have a gooey soft heart for animals in general and canids in particular it's critical that the Cane Corsos involved in this attack be destroyed. It's not their fault but all the same they have demonstrated that they are too dangerous to be allowed to live. The behavior patterns they've shown prove that they will continue to harass and attack passers-by. And as far as the owners, I think that second-degree murder charges are exactly the appropriate charges. If found guilty they could get up to life in prison. I am not at all bothered by that. I just wish that everyone, local, state and federal, had paid more attention to the situation before it reached this point. Having a dog is a responsibility. You must be in control of the animal at all times. If you can't do that and/or are deep down scared of the dog then don't get it.


Is 2nd degree murder the correct charge here?

Is there a problem with off leash dogs in your community?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Yeah About That Dream Act...

Do you remember all the rhetoric over the Dream Act?
When the President decided to implement via executive decision what he couldn't get passed by Congress there were a lot of stories about how unfair it was that someone who was brought illegally to the United States as a child and had graduated high school or college faced the possibility of deportation and couldn't find work legally. Tears of compassion were shed and calls for change went up throughout the land. It was estimated in think tank studies, media reports and official/unofficial government statements that roughly about 800,000 illegal immigrants would be eligible under the Dream Act. Congress refused to change the law. President Obama, it being an election year, suddenly decided that he had powers that he had previously denied having and ordered the relevant agencies to cease and desist deportations of people that would have fallen under the Dream Act, had it been passed which it wasn't. Now this is a rather unique sort of approach to the law. Order people to act according to a law which doesn't exist. Fascinating.

Anyway yesterday was the first day that illegal immigrants were eligible to apply for work permits and deferred action status under this new "law" which was not passed by Congress and doesn't exist. Of course now that they have what they want the details of the new policy turn out not quite to be what either the President or the advocates for illegal residence in the United States had told everyone they were. Instead of 800,000 people being eligible, the new estimate is 1.7 million!!. That's right, over twice the initial widely reported number. And it's not going to be only high school or college graduates who are all going to build the next Facebook or Microsoft, that is if they didn't have to worry about those pesky ICE agents. Nah. The new policy includes not only the people with degrees or who graduated high school but those people who are working towards a GED, people that aren't working towards a GED but will be at some time in the future or people who aren't even in high school yet but may be eligible for this deferred action status at some distant yet to be determined time.

 In short dropouts, middle school kids, heck just about EVERYBODY will be eligible. It's a rolling amnesty. If you are an illegal immigrant and don't fit the deferred action criteria, don't sweat it. Just wait until you do. After all the Administration has already announced that short of committing a felony, they aren't going to even pretend to try to deport you. ICE has more important things to do than deport illegal immigrants, like allegedly running a female frat house and sexually harassing male workers.

The MPI estimates are up from the 1.39 million figure provided on June 15 —reflecting the updated DHS guidelines that youth lacking a high school or GED degree would be eligible to apply for deferred action as long as they have re-enrolled by the date of their application.
While USCIS will only accept applications for the DACA initiative from applicants 15 and older, the deferred action policy also will apply to qualified unauthorized immigrants —regardless of whether they are older or younger than 15 — who are already in removal proceedings or might be in the custody of immigration officials in the future

As you may remember I opposed the Dream Act and I oppose this deferred action policy, which is the Dream Act in all but name. Why? Because this is MY country. It's not a country for illegal immigrants. If you want to be an American, either be born here or get permission from the people living here. Now this is usually where someone talks about the Native Americans and thinks that ends the conversation. It really shows how important it is to maintain a strict immigration policy. Show me a country existing today that has the exact same ethnic mix and form of government that it did 500 years ago. Those are rare. Things change. What was done to the Native Americans was wrong. It can't be undone. That has absolutely nothing to do with immigration policy in the 21st century. Maybe you want to argue that America has no right to exist and should be dismantled. I don't see things that way. Other countries, including some that are exporting millions of illegal immigrants into the US have the same history of European conquest, displacement, rape, enslavement and settlement that the US has. The Mexicans weren't exactly best friends with the Comanche or Apache.  No country is quiet about millions of foreigners moving in without permission. Just about every group of people on the planet at some level have a "this is mine" relationship to the patch of earth they call home. Most of us are no longer nomadic hunter gatherers or herdsmen.

I see the country as my house. I have a nice house. There are millions of homes that are much nicer and larger and millions that are not as nice but this one is mine. The only people that are allowed in my house are people that I want there. And if I decide that I don't want them there any longer, they have to leave. My basement is larger than some people's homes, as I am sure some people's basements are larger than my entire home. Does that give someone a little less fortunate the right to enter and stay in my basement, on the grounds that it looks to them like I'm not using it anyway? Even if they cleaned things up and lived quietly I wouldn't like it. And if they catch an attitude about how I run my house and agitate to invite more of their friends in I would like it even less. 
Is it fair that I have a nicer house than some people? Is it fair that every day I see the same bum on the expressway exit begging for a handout? Do I owe that person anything? Do I owe him my house? Nope. I don't owe him anything.

Similarly it is unfortunate that Mexico and large portions of Central America are apparently relatively unpleasant places to live and that so many residents there would evidently prefer to live somewhere nicer. But that doesn't give them any right to move to the US without permission and stay. And I feel the same way about people outside of the US regardless of where they came from. If you come here legally then I will call you an American and welcome you as a countryman. Otherwise, please go home. Race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality, nationality, religion or any other characteristic is immaterial to me in this matter. I understand why someone would want to move to the US. I sympathize. But I also would like a new 2013 Bentley. It doesn't mean anyone owes me one.

As we have discussed before no one begrudges the executive branch the right to gently stretch the law or use discretion in what cases it takes up. Although I am rarely fortunate enough to get off with just a warning I understand that police do not stop every speeder nor do they issue tickets to everyone they stop. A kid caught shoplifting may get a scary lecture in the back office instead of a juvenile record. A man who beats up his jerk brother-in-law for hurting his sister might get a wink and a nod from the prosecutor and lowered charges. I get all that. That doesn't bother me.

That's not what is happening here.

If a local police chief were to suddenly announce that going forward his department would no longer enforce speed laws that's a problem. Or to put it in even more relevant terms should Mitt Romney become President he will want to lower taxes. He probably won't get that through the Senate. Let's say that a frustrated President Romney announced that since Congress wouldn't act he had to. If a President Romney were to direct the IRS and Treasury not to investigate or prosecute anyone who refused to pay capital gains or estate taxes, would you think that a good idea? Or would you rage at an arrogant princeps taking the law into his own hands?

There is a difference between discretion and dismissal. And this executive Dream Act crosses that line.  ICE Agents face suspension for arresting illegal immigrants-even though that is the law of the land. As you might expect the ICE union is not very happy about this. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, fresh from her general loss in the Supreme Court announced that Arizona would not be issuing driver's licenses to anyone allowed in under the new policy. For now at least states still have the right to do that. For now... 

What's your take?

Is this something that is long overdue and compassionate?

If you like the country as it is are you a bad person?

Do you think the economy will be better off with millions more workers?

What is the solution to the problem of illegal immigration?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Anti-Immigration Violence, Racism, Illegal Immigrants, Israel and the Ethnostate

Riot victim explains what happened

I've been really busy with other things over the past month so I am just now getting around to writing about this. But I as it turns out with it's still somewhat timely because of our recent discussions over illegal immigration, the President's decision to administratively implement portions of the Dream Act and this week's expected Supreme Court decision on Arizona's SB1070 law.

Let's say that a group of Caucasians ran violently amok against Third World illegal and legal immigrants, whom they blamed for increased crime, disease, unsustainable fertility and basic cultural and racial incompatibility. Imagine that their political and religious leaders endorsed the rioters' concerns in explicitly white supremacist language and promised new steps to detain and deport illegal immigrants while preventing legal immigrant entry on the basis of stopping a clear and present demographic danger. Allow that the leaders spoke of shooting illegal immigrants dead and driving out legal immigrants who were the wrong color or who had had the chutzpah to either compete for jobs with citizens, open businesses or date/marry citizens. Finally let's say that political leaders started building new detention centers just so any particularly dense illegal immigrants got the hint.

You'd probably think that Arizona had finally lost it. You might say that the National Guard needed to be sent into Arizona to protect visibly Hispanic people from violence. And if you shared the immigrants' ethnicity or were otherwise just a decent person upset about violence and racist language, you might be demanding that President Obama make it clear through word and deed that these sort of actions would not be tolerated.

Israeli citizens express desire for Africans to leave
What I described above above all happened but it was not in Arizona and did not involve Hispanics. It occurred in Israel and involved Africans. So this didn't get a lot of mainstream U.S. media attention. Surprising I know. I was intrigued by it though because it touched on some basic truths about humanity and history that I think we overlook at our peril.

The United States is unusual in being (theoretically anyway) a country in which race and ethnicity are delinked from citizenship. As long as you are born here you are a citizen. Period. Most Americans may still be Caucasian but anyone on the planet can become an American. There is no way that you can look at someone and automatically say he's not an American. This country was multiracial and even multicultural from the start. The American political journey has been to formally recognize these facts and deal with the hypocrisies, challenges or opportunities that flow from them. 

But many other countries simply were not created like that and certainly aren't crazy about diversity now. Although times are changing there remains a pretty good chance that you can visually discern Ugandans from Finns or Japanese from Scots. Some countries make a link between ancestry, culture, ethnicity and citizenship. Israel is one such country. If you are non-Jewish, there is a slightly less level of citizenship enjoyed, that is if you are allowed to become a citizen in the first place, which you probably won't be. Israel intends to remain a Jewish state. 

So the current situation in Israel vis a vis the immigrants and refugees from sub-Saharan Africa is pretty interesting because there is hypocrisy enough to go around for everyone. Obviously I don't and can't agree with the ugly white supremacist thinking revealed and reveled in by some Israelis. One woman legislator compared the Africans to cancer patients and then apologized cancer patients. Seriously. Someone tried to burn down an apartment building inhabited by Eritreans. Netanyahu has said the Africans are a demographic threat. A rabbi who is the spiritual leader of Shas said that Africans are ruining the Jewish dream and need to go build their dream in their own countries.
"A society personifying a social time bomb of robbery, violence, sodomy as well as assimilation alongside the destruction of the institute of marriage and the proper family unit – such a society must be separate and distant, and the sooner the better. Listen up, dear and kind Sudanese people. In the United States, Martin Luther King's dream came true. Giuliani will tell you how he made it happen. Go forth and implement this in Sudan and Eritrea. We promise to help you, we'll even be delighted to help, as always."
Yishai, of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, told the newspaper Maariv on Friday he saw the African arrivals, many of whom are Muslims or Christians, as a demographic threat."The infiltrators along with the Palestinians will quickly bring us to the end of the Zionist dream," Yishai said, adding that Israel had its own health and welfare issues. "Most of those people arriving here are Muslims who think the country doesn't belong to us, the white man," Yishai said in the interview with Maariv.

Abraham Alu, a 35-year-old refugee from what is now South Sudan, was on his way to the store last Wednesday night when an anti-African protest in south Tel Aviv turned violent. Jewish Israelis chased and beat African asylum seekers, broke the windows of a car full of African men, and smashed storefronts of African-owned stores in south Tel Aviv. Alu, who was headed out to buy food, almost ran into a mob. But police pointed to the group headed in his direction and said, “Run, they’ll murder you! Run!” Alu turned around and headed back to the tiny, one-room apartment he shares with 11 other South Sudanese men.
TJ, a 29-year-old migrant from Nigeria, watched the violent chaos from his rooftop having been chased and pelted with rocks when he attempted to leave his house."There were protesters everywhere smashing shop and car windows," he said. "A group of about 10 or 15 boys stopped one black kid cycling on his bike. They pulled him off and were punching and kicking him in his head. The police just stood and watched until it got really out of control." Other witnesses described a gang assaulting a mother carrying a young baby so violently that she was forced to drop her child. Others stopped shuttle buses to search for migrant workers among their passengers.'TJ' says he is among the few who has left his home following the violence: "Black people have been too afraid to leave their homes to go to work today. Racism in Tel Aviv is not only getting worse it's getting out of hand and the police are no help. We are terrified." 
These immigrants and refugees generally aren't welcomed in Arab North Africa either or the Middle East, often for the same reasons. The overthrow of Qaddafi released some of the same anti-black hatred. Israel hardly stands alone. Egypt doesn't want these people any more than Israel does. Some Israelis feel that because Israel was set up as a place of Jewish refuge then it must be one for other refugees, even if they look different or have different cultures. Some Israelis are saddened and disgusted by the vituperative racism shown by some of their countrymen and countrywomen. Others say, racism or no, that there is a point beyond which a group or nation cannot accept outsiders without losing that which made the nation worth having in the first place. There are roughly about 5.8 million Jews in Israel. They have no intention of allowing immigrants to reach the numbers or percentages that are seen in America or France or the UK. Israel was not the former colonial power of Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia or Eritrea and in this point of view really bears no responsibility for economic or political refugees from those countries. A new law allows a three year detention of illegal immigrants to Israel.
The really incredibly disgusting hypocritical thing though is if any political leader in Europe dared to say anything remotely negative about the presence of Jewish people within their historic homelands, some of the same thugs yelling "Throw the blacks out" in Tel Aviv would be the first people howling about anti-semitism in Europe. And God forbid if an European nation experienced a new anti-Jewish Kristallnacht type riot. I have no doubt that the US ambassador to the UN would be standing up to loudly condemn that country while Netanyahu adroitly reminded everyone that this is how the Holocaust got started. But that's life I guess. Hypocrisy is deeply woven within humans. Perhaps we all have a tendency to look out for our own first and say to hell with the other guy.

Both liberal and conservative strands are part of what make us human. To horribly generalize for a moment, often the liberal wants to accept and help others and often has an issue admitting that peoples or cultures are different or that there really is such a thing as "in-group" or "out-group". Liberals are at their best making appeals to universal and transcendent human values and not necessarily parochial national or ethnic ones. Some liberals can be rather suspicious of or hostile to solidarity appeals based solely on group membership, especially if the group is one you were born into or is not a "disadvantaged group". At the extremes of course well this can fall into an inability to recognize that your own culture or way of life is valid and worth defending.

African immigrants seeking food
But the conservative person has no problem accepting in-groups and out-groups. Often such identities track closely with how he sees the world. "Ours" and "Mine" are not automatically bad words to a conservative. The idea that this particular bunch of goodies or patch of land belongs to the people who live there and not to those "others" is self-evident to many people with this pov. Again, taken to the extremes this falls into hierarchical thinking, an inability to recognize yourself in others, xenophobia and open gleeful racism. There is a serious conflict between democracy and racial/ethnic/religious tribalism.

This is not just a black-white phenomenon or even a First World-Third World issue. There have been anti-Chinese riots in Zambia, anti-African riots in China (The Tiananmen Square uprising mutated from anti-African clashes), Muscovite Russians rioting against Caucasian Russians, Indian Hindus seeking to slaughter Indian Muslims, Black South Africans attacking illegal immigrant Black Zimbabweans and so on. US/THEM thinking is something that may be ugly and seemingly atavistic in humankind but it's certainly not going away anytime soon. The trick is to recognize it and channel it properly without giving into it completely, as seems to be happening in Israel. There is a middle ground which welcomes the legal newcomer but doesn't ask to remove the concept of a nation. Despite all the epithets hurled at Americans who are opposed to illegal immigration, I don't see the current American political structure welcoming or endorsing the open violence we see in Israel. I think part of this is chickens coming home to roost as some forms of political Zionism lend themselves or almost require the sort of ugly chauvinism and racism that we see expressed. Zionism is not, after all, completely congruent with the American political system.

What's your take?
1) Had you heard about this? Are you surprised?
2) Do countries have a right to expel illegal immigrants and/or people who have different cultures? Do countries have a right to seek to maintain a certain demographic balance?
3) Does Israel have any special duty to accept refugees?
4) Should President Obama censure Israel for its actions?
5) Is the nation state passe? Should everyone have open borders?