Line of the Day (Enemy Immigrants Edition)

“That immigrant culture that has renewed us … has been at the core of our strength.  I don’t know when immigrants became the enemy.”-Condoleezza Rice.

Indeed.

And it’s a good question.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Quick Takes, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    I can’t answer for anywhere else, but In Arizona immigrants became the enemy in 2006. All of a sudden, people forgot that America needed immigrants, legal or otherwise, to fuel the housing boom.

    It’s not a coincidence, in my mind, that anti-immigration hysteria got whipped up right around the time the war in Iraq turned for the worse. “We have to beat up brown people over here, because they’re kicking our asses over there.”

  2. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    @Gold Star for Robot Boy: You do realize, don’t you, there’s a difference between on the one hand legal immigration (which is a bedrock foundation of our country, our society and our economy) and on the other hand illegal immigration?

    FYI, that rant of yours needs a major rewrite. It’s not even in the same universe as sentient.

    Regarding Condi Rice, she indeed is one of the most intelligent, reasonable and savvy people to serve in the federal government in memory. A government without Condi Rice is a lesser government.

  3. Jenos Idanian says:

    Am I the only old-fashioned fart who actually distinguishes between legal and illegal immigrants? Who welcomes the legal ones, favors loosening restrictions, but gets royally pissed over the illlegal ones? Largely because they’re “cutting in line” ahead of the legals and making them look stupid for actually obeying laws and following rules and showing respect for our ways?

    To lump all immigrants — legal and illegal — into the same group is a gross insult to the legal ones.

  4. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @Tsar Nicholas II: Of course there’s a difference. And I’m stating people in Arizona, during the boom, didn’t care whether that drywall guy had his papers in order.

  5. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @Tsar Nicholas II:

    A government without Condi Rice is a lesser government.

    Tell it to Rumsfeld, who did everything in his power to have her marginalized.

  6. Al says:

    @Tsar Nicholas II:

    So, you’re for the government restricting the labor supply in an attempt to drive up its cost? Isn’t that, I dunno, kinda socialist?

  7. al-Ameda says:

    I presume that her comments were directed at her Republican Party?

  8. Console says:

    Well, they’ve always been the enemy. Even when we were importing them against their will.

  9. @Jenos Idanian:

    Am I the only old-fashioned fart who actually distinguishes between legal and illegal immigrants?

    “Lex Iniusta Non Est Lex” — St. Aquinas

  10. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Stormy Dragon: -OK, someone’s Catholic education is showing. But just what Lex are you calling Iniusta?

  11. @Jenos Idanian:

    Public schooled, actually, albeit in a wealthy suburban district, although I learned that particular phrase in my “Philosophy of Law” course at Penn State.

    But to answer your specific question, I find the use of legal force to prevent the peaceful association of two individuals in order to suit the aesthetic tastes of a third party to be unjust.

  12. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Shoulda known. The Catholic-educated I’ve known would have said “St. Thomas Aquinas.”

    Anyhow, “freedom of peaceful association” does not trump a nation’s fundamental right to define its own borders, and control them as they see fit. We have rules and policies and procedures and laws for coming here legally, and they’re arguably the most liberal in the world. If that isn’t good enough, then let’s hear the “reformers” put forth changes in the system. I’d be amenable to hearing them, and would even support reasonable ones. Simply saying “the laws are bad, so let’s just ignore them” doesn’t work for me.

    Finally, I find that people tend to vote with their feet. Ignore what people say for a moment; look at the border situations around the world. There are two types of border problems nations suffer: trying to keep people in, and trying to keep people out. The former indicates the nation has serious freedom problems; the latter are the free, prosperous nations.

    We are definitely of the latter.

  13. @Jenos Idanian:

    Anyhow, “freedom of peaceful association” does not trump a nation’s fundamental right to define its own borders, and control them as they see fit.

    Why the irony quotes? Does the self-appointed defender of the constitution from expanding government mean to imply freedom of association is not actually right?

    And of course, the anti-socialist immediately falls it up with a sloppy collectivist argument. A nation is not an agent. It does not have rights or goals or desires. You’re pretending it does to paper over the fact that there is really just to groups of individuals, one of which is asserting the right to dictate the associations of the other. By conflating the first group’s wishes with those of the nation as a whole, you avoid having to justify why that group should be granted authority over the other.

    And then finally, you conflate border security with immigration policy, which are really two completely separate issues. By all means we should control our borders to prevent those that intend harm from coming in. But that’s not a justification for excluding people with completely peaceful intentions because you don’t happen to like them.

  14. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Stormy Dragon: No offense intended. Your peaceful qualifier isn’t the traditional phrasing. My intent was to answer you specifically, not any kind of snideness.

    Anyway, we as a nation have established our immigration policies, and we as a nation have a right to do so. And our immigration laws don’t block associations, they limit them geographically. If, say, Bob and Ted want to hang, but Bob’s an American and Ted’s an Australian, there’s no US law that says they can’t meet up in Australia — or any other nation in the world. If Ted wants to come to the US, then we say “sure, here’s how you do it.”

    I’ve heard a few people toy with the idea of simply mirroring Mexico’s own immigration policies on Mexicans, and as tempting as it is, their laws are simply too draconian for even my tastes. Look at their idea of “border security” when the border in question is their southern border, or how tough it is to become a Mexican citizen.

    So, what is your proposal for changing the existing rules?

  15. @Jenos Idanian:

    Your peaceful qualifier isn’t the traditional phrasing.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Anyway, we as a nation have established our immigration policies

    The issue is not whether immigration laws exist. The issue is whether they are legitimate. We as a nation have also established bans on firearm ownership, bans on political campaigning, bans , bans on not having health insurance, etc. Are we required to support all of those as well simply because they are the law at present?

    and we as a nation have a right to do so.

    Nations do not have rights, they have powers. Only individuals have rights. And while our government certainly has the power to limit immigration, the question remains whether it’s current method of doing so is morally legitimate. You have yet to make an argument that they are, simply resorting to a “well the law is the law” cop-out.

    there’s no US law that says they can’t meet up in Australia

    Oh, does that work for other rights too? Citizens Unitied, you are free to exhibit your movie… in Austrailia. Heller, you are free to possess a firearm for self defense… in Austrailia. Perhaps we can make “…in Austrailia” the 27th Ammendment.

    So, what is your proposal for changing the existing rules?

    I thought I made that clear. My proposed immigration policy is: if there’s not evidence to suspect your entering the country in order to criminalize other people, you should be free to go about your business.

  16. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Stormy Dragon: First up, I meant absolutely nothing by the quotes. The phrasing was unusual to me (your own citation shows it’s a paraphrase; I’m more accustomed to hearing “peacably assemble”), so I noted it and went with it. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Next, the issue of national rights/powers seems, to me, to be a bit pedantic. To simplify it, can we — as a nation — do this? Whether you want to call it a “right” or a “power,” I don’t think it matters.

    OK, now to to the meat of your statements: I think your position is way, way too simplistic. There are a multitude of reasons for people wanting to come to the US. Just among the legitimate ones, there is tourism, business, education, medical treatment, and I’m sure a host of others. Those are all temporary — coming here for a specific purpose or time frame.

    Then there are those who want to come here permanently, some with the intent of becoming citizens, some without. Those get a bit more scrutiny.

    So we set up rules and policies to keep out those who would do us harm. And this just isn’t criminals or terrorists, but those who would be an undue economic burden. Oh, and some who would pose a danger to public health (carriers or victims of certain contagious diseases).

    I don’t agree that every single person in the world has some kind of “right” to enter the US at their whim. I believe that we, as a nation, have the right/power/duty/whatever to set the rules under which we decide who can come here, for what reasons, for how long, and under what conditions.

    You seem to disagree with that. Your default seems to be anyone can come in, with the burden on the government to prove why they shouldn’t; I see it as it’s up to the individual to demonstrate that they meet the existing criteria.

    I think we’re gonna have to agree to disagree here.

  17. superdestroyer says:

    @Gold Star for Robot Boy:

    All of those people who in Arizona who thought they were clever enough to make money off of illegal aliens but could avoid the downside of illegal aliens. Now their overpriced homes, sky high car insurance, poor schools, and high unemployment rate are unavoidable.

    If Rice wants to know when immigrants became the enemy, it was when states like Texas starting requiring proof of insurance when doing anything regarding your car (license, register, inspection) because the illegal aliens refused to buy insurance and were immune to lawsuits.

  18. Davebo says:

    Now their overpriced homes, sky high car insurance, poor schools, and high unemployment rate are unavoidable.

    Arizona auto insurance rates rank 47th in the nation.