The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Just for fun...

Let's say someone came to me and asked for a solution to the immigration issue. I would agree with the idea that something needs to be done, but would want to combine ideas and approaches from both ends of the political spectrum.
The entire Immigration issue should be set up to be revenue-neutral if possible, and as non-racist as possible. Opening the door to bigotry here WILL spill out into other groups. Period. Don't you dare think it won't. My cluster of suggestions are unlikely to make anyone happy, on any side of the issue. They are intended to reduce the flow of illegals without infringing on any group's rights.

1) National I.D. card. Everyone should have to prove citizenship. Otherwise, only those illegals who "don't look Mexican" are safe. Can't have that! This should be incorporated into our driver's licenses. In that way, every traffic stop becomes a check of citizenship. Don't like that idea? Then don't ask innocent Hispanics to bear the brunt. Some of them have been here longer than YOUR ancestors.
2) A fence along the Southern border. Unfortunate, but seems neccesary.
3) Employers fined for hiring illegals. If said employers wish government assistance in determining, it will be offered. Better still: offer citizenship to illegals who turn in employers! Now THAT would be some truly efficient nastiness.
4) Property of illegals seized. This helps pay for the process of deportation, and increases the discomfort--a necessary thing.
5) Path to citizenship for those who turn themselves in within a certain period. Fines and back-taxes are used to fund the entire operation.
6) POSSIBLY: seizure of property of people sheltering illegals. Similar to laws allowing seizure of drug money and property.
7) Revamping of drug laws to reduce profit motive for Cartels. Anyone seriously implementing this would probably be assassinated.
##
On Facebook, there is a site praying for Obama's death. If you criticize it, you get rationalizations, justifications, and the kind of comparisons that suggest this is nothing to worry about.
Or that there is no more threat to Obama than there was to, say, Bush. Oh, really? Google "Assassinate George Bush" in quotes and you get 9700 responses. Google "Assassinate George W. Bush" and you get 50,000. Google "Assassinate Barack Obama" and you get 400,000. In a year and a half, you get EIGHT TIMES as many references to killing this man than you got toward Bush in eight years. I wouldn't suggest trying to spin that--you will make yourself look really, really bad.
##
I get my iPad today. Now what I have to do is find an interim way to access Google Docs through it. Apparently, the iPad browser is a version of "Mobile" that triggers a "display-only" response from Google Docs. You can read, but not edit. However, there is are already work-arounds, and Google will probably have a pristine App within a month or so, ending the problem. I've been looking for a hyper-portable method of generating text for years. My last effort was the Dana, a nice mini-slate sort of device with an LCD screen. And it worked fine until Apple updated the Mac OS, and Dana didn't keep up. Then it became a paperweight. Sigh. If I had something I could just carry in my back pack, I could get my 1000 words a day done painlessly. The iPad looks like it will fit this bill brilliantly.

But if anyone has knowledge of a better solution than Office2 Pro to create a Cloud/local solution until the Google Gears style App is ready...let me know. I LOVE the idea of being able to write offline, and automatically back up to the Cloud, for access from any computer with a browser. THAT is just cooler than hell.

21 comments:

Scott said...

Actually, 'assassinate dubya' got 2.66 million hits.

A lot of addressing the immigration question rests on the question, who should be permitted to immigrate legally? I'd say we're far too restrictive and unjust, wouldn't you?

Marty S said...

With respect to immigration I have the following comments on your ideas.
1)Good idea with a two buts. The id card would have to be unforgable. One way of doing this might be for each card have an id number which a person performing a verification could check agianst a national database.
Just checking at traffic stops isn't enough. A law is necessary which would result in periodic checks of everybody's id.
2)I agree
3-6 Sounds good to me.
7)This one I disagree with.

On the assination comment in my opinion the data your using proves nothing. Since Obama was elected a lot of people like youself have speculated on the web about Obama being a more likely target of assination than previous presidents.
The fact that this post contains the words Obama and assaination doesn't mean Steve Barnes intends to assinate Obama and I consider it likely many of the hits you get when you google Obama and assinatiuon are similar in nature to this post.

Anonymous said...

"The id card would have to be unforgable."

That'd be a neat trick. When you figure out how to do that, please let the Treasury department know.

"Just checking at traffic stops isn't enough. A law is necessary which would result in periodic checks of everybody's id."

Whew! Good thing you came up with THAT idea, I was worried America might start backsliding into fascism!

--------------------------------

Seriously, the 2nd part of #4 is the only regulation you'd need, ever.

Unless the fines were incredibly low, no one (except maybe organized crime) could afford to hire illegal immigrants for anything.

Just having signs in Spanish up in border states saying "Are you an illegal immigrant? Call this number and report your employer for immediate citizenship!" would have a deeply chilling effect on people hiring.

I suppose it's always possible that someone could find a way to filter their workforce to include only those illegal immigrants who don't want to become American citizens...

Tom said...

If you are into linux, Ubuntu has that capability in their Ubuntu One application. It allows syncing of data in numerous ways with online and offline storage constantly synced. It has 2gb of free online storage with an increase available for a small fee.

https://one.ubuntu.com/

With the new Ubuntu out in a couple of days, it might be worth checking out their livecd.

Reluctant Lawyer said...

Here's my problem with the national ID: Integrating a secure citizenship/green card check into the driver's license and having police check as part of traffic stops is fine. However, the AZ law as written seems to allow the police to detain anyone who does not have an ID on them at any time, even if not driving.

I'm not hispanic, and the AZ law scares the s*** out of me. It seems just open for abuse. Also, there are a few stories under the current system of American citizens being deported or held for a lengthy period. In one case, a mentally handicapped man was deported from San Diego to Mexico and the U.S. government refused to help find him.

I think that the system needs to be fixed. No question, but I worry that we could be trading away more and more of out rights in order to be "safe."

Kai Jones said...

Googling "assassinate Bush" got 22.6 million hits; "assassinate obama" got over 2 million; "assassinate barack" got 13.5 million.

Shady_Grady said...

Many people who complain about the new Arizona law also complain about deportations of illegals under any circumstances. They don't want illegals stopped and questioned, let alone deported, period. The unsuccessful attempt to implement Jamiel's law in California would seem to indicate that.
I don't think we need a national id card. A driver's license is probably good enough as states usually won't issue driver's licenses to illegals.

I really do think that this comes down to a lack of political will to enforce national interests as opposed to parochial ones.

The US takes in more legal immigrants than anywhere else-over a million alone in 2009.

http://www.dhs.gov/files/statistics/publications/LPR09.shtm

There are various tables here which show that the US is indeed legally admitting an incredibly varied and large slice of humanity each year. It's not restrictive at all.

To the extent that the system is broken, it is broken because of bad decisions (NAFTA), and employer greed for cheap labor.

And I find NYC Mayor Bloomberg coming out against the Arizona law more than a tad bit hypocritical as Bloomberg has continued to allow police stops of citizens of all colors (disproportionately Black and Hispanic) based on nothing more than the officer's "reasonable suspicion".

http://www.indypendent.org/2009/02/27/racist-tactics/

I would allow the deportee to take all of his/her property with them when they left.

Anonymous said...

First, anyone else remember this?

http://www.theonion.com/articles/illegal-immigrants-returning-to-mexico-for-america,1951/

"...1) National I.D. card. Everyone should have to prove citizenship. Otherwise, only those illegals who 'don't look Mexican' are safe..."

...and only legals (citizens, Green Card holders, etc.) who "don't look Mexican" are safe!

"...Can't have that! This should be incorporated into our driver's licenses. In that way, every traffic stop becomes a check of citizenship. Don't like that idea? Then don't ask innocent Hispanics to bear the brunt. Some of them have been here longer than YOUR ancestors..."

OTOH, drivers' licenses are state-issued and not everyone can drive. Hmm.

If every legal resident gets a national I.D. card, then you wouldn't need to turn 14/16/18/whatever your state says and learn to drive before you can have one.

7th graders who take the SAT to qualify for certain academic summer camps wouldn't need to get passports and use *those* for ID on test day.

http://www.metafilter.com/91121/Now-open-my-Hello-Kitty-bag-I-think-Im-coming-up#3046138 says

"...I went to a 10pm showing of I Am Legend at my local Brooklyn multiplex/firetrap. About a minute before the film began, a woman walked in with three kids, none of whom looked over the age of four. They didn't seem to enjoy it much. The lowlight was when one of the boys shouted/cried 'I wanna go home. I don't wanna watch him kill the dog.' I really wish there was an NC-13 rating instead of the pointless R."

but what could a 13-year-old take to the cinema to prove his or her age to get into an NC-13 movie? Passports again?

"...2) A fence along the Southern border. Unfortunate, but seems neccesary..."

Speaking of beefing up that border: http://www.theonion.com/articles/immigration-officials-beef-up-usmexican-border-wit,1080/

"...Better still: offer citizenship to illegals who turn in employers! Now THAT would be some truly efficient nastiness..."

Bwahahaha! ;D

OTOH, what about people who plan to save up money abroad before returning home to retire, instead of planning to put down roots where they move?

"...On the assination comment in my opinion the data your using proves nothing. Since Obama was elected a lot of people like youself have speculated on the web about Obama being a more likely target of assination than previous presidents.
"The fact that this post contains the words Obama and assaination doesn't mean Steve Barnes intends to assinate Obama and I consider it likely many of the hits you get when you google Obama and assinatiuon are similar in nature to this post."

Good point!

Marty S said...

A drivers license or any sort of paper license by itself can be forged. But if the only important information is the id number and the authority doing the checking enters that number in to a device linked to a national database and a picture of the individual is displayed you would have to be able to create a phony entry in the national database be for a fake card would do you any good. Requiring people to show up with proof of citizenship for a photo to be entered into the national database is no more fascist, than requiring them to show their passports when they reenter the country after a trip.

Steve Perry said...

Um, nothing is "unforgeable." People counterfeit and pass money, and you can even do your own hologram embedding at home these days, so it won't take long before somebody starts cranking out phony IDs.

A national ID card -- Your papers, please -- only works if you have probable cause to stop somebody and check, and Looking Mexican isn't that. And if the fake card will pass an eyeball scan, using a valid number is not a problem. People do that with social security numbers all the time.

BC Monkey said...

Google results for "assassinate+obama+dar+kush"
=254,000 results.

Steve, your incitement to violence against Obama is truly shocking.

The metric you're using is not measuring what you think it is measuring. You're taking the google hit count as a proxy for threats against Obama. What it counts is that plus any and all discussion of threats on Obama. In no way do I actually take your discussion as an incitement to violence against the President. Discussion of a thing is not the thing itself.

Take a look at the first few pages of Google results for "kill+bush" and then compare to "kill+obama". In particular, check the image results. You'll find there's a large difference.

Marty S said...

Let me try this one more time in a little more detail. The only purpose of the national id card itself is to help a person remember their id number.Every citizen above a certain age will initially have to report to a center where upon providing proof of citizenship their picture is taken and entered along with their id number on a secure national server. Every company must designate an individual responsible for verifying that all employees are citizens by checking their picture on the national server. Random checks of employees are made by the government without notice. If an illegal alien is found to be employed then the individual responsible for verifying citizenship is has violate the law AND is subject a significant jail term, say ten or twenty years.

Lobo said...

Here's a radical idea.

Open the borders and let everyone who wants to be here come on over. Nobody raised a stink when my family turned up before the Civil War. It would be rude for me to tell some other group that they can't come over. If we let everyone in, then the relatively innocent folks who just want to make a little cash to send home will go through the immigration office, not pay shady fucks tens of thousands of dollars to maybe get snuck across (or left to die in the wilderness, whichever.) As a matter of fact, we can charge admission to pay for it, maybe a thousand bucks a head. Five hundred for kids. When we get all the reasonably innocent people coming in through official checkpoints, it will be a lot easier to find the ones that are coming over the border in the wilderness. They're probably the ones who are up to no good.

Then the illegals that come over can be protected by the same wage laws. Remove the motivation for employers to use illegal day labor by making sure (on pain of steep fines) that they pay all their employees at least minimum wage. If they get caught trying to pay someone under the table, fine the crap out of them. Eventually, the employment situation will even out and the flow of people will slow down and there will even be some people going back because they can't find jobs. Employers won't be able to afford three to five illegal laborers to every legal one. Market forces in action, folks.

While I don't necessarily disagree with a national id card, I sure as hell adamantly disagree with the idea that any cop can stop any person for any reason at any time and demand to see it. If we institute that, it should only ever have to be presented when doing business with the state (including using most social services.) As a matter of fact, no cop should ever be able to demand your national id for any reason whatsoever. Run a red light, they can see your license and registration. I'll agree to a national id card if and only if it is illegal for the police to ask anyone for it.

Penn and Teller did one of their Bullsh*t shows where they paid three crews of Mexican day workers to build a twenty-five foot replica of the border fence. When it was built, they challenged all three teams to get past it: one team went over, one team went under, and one team went through. All three teams did it in less than two minutes. A fence is about as useful as a poopy flavored lollipop.

Steven Barnes said...

I never said that the hits were people encouraging Obama's assassination. I said they were "references to killing this man" and stand by that. However, I appreciate the other Googling formulations as well. They seem to take it back closer to the "300%" increase that has been suggested, as opposed to an 800%, which seemed excessive, even given the circumstances.

Dan Moran said...

When I was younger it used to say my social security card was not to be used for purposes of identification -- don't know if it still does. Of course that was always a joke.

The Sarah Palin wing of the teabagger crowd has nothing to recommend it -- it's racist and know-nothing and proud of it. The Ron Paul wing I have some respect for -- they're selfish, but sane and you could do business with them.

The Ron Paul wing would be against the national ID card, period.

The Sarah Palin wing would be against the national ID card as long as there was a Democrat in the white house. They never met an authoritarian move they didn't like when a conservative was in charge.

Pagan Topologist said...

I keep thinking about the quote from one of the cahracters in an sf novel I read as a high school student (Probably Heinlein/Lazurus Long, but I am not sure.) It said something to the effect that any society that requires universal ID papers is only one generation from complete collapse.

I don't know whether this is true, but it is reasonant enough to be disturbing.

Foxessa said...

There is only one way to deal with the numbers of people coming across the southern borders into the U.S. who come without permission:

Improve the economy of Mexico.

The most essential thing for doing that is to roll back NAFTA. There are so many points where U.S. based BIG AGRI Corps intersect with non-permission migration. Their bio-engineered, industrially grown products flooded the Mexican market with the implementation of NAFTA. The locally grown, small family farmer couldn't compete in price and lost the farm. In turn they flooded into Mexico's urban areas desperate for work in order to feed themselves and their families. But there is no work. So, La Yuma it is, to keep down the price of our produce and other food supply that needs hands. And narcotics, which our population consumes in enormous quantities -- and which a growing portion of Mexico's populace is doing now too, and the violence is beyond horrid.

And then also, with NAFTA the maquiladoras, which are among other things, happy hunting grounds for rape, torture and murder of women.

Until this happens, we're going to get nowhere with this.

But you know we're not going to do anything meaningful because the corps are feeding so much money into Capitol Hill's pockets.

Love, C.

Anonymous said...

Acutally if I'm simply loitering on the sidewalk I can be detained in any state by a police officer who asks for my ID if I cannot produce one. It is an often-unused law, but is legal nation wide. You don't have to be driving to produce identification for the cops. If you want to talk bogus laws; let's look at the "disorderly conduct" charge; it's used all the time for arrest when nothing else can be pinned on someone, and is nearly impossible to disprove in court against the word of a cop

Anonymous said...

Lobo really? We can't have open borders for everyone when our country wants to provide a basic standard of living for everyone, with income, food, medicine, and education if over half the current population isn't even paying income taxes once all is said and done. The system would collapse. The whole invention of borders was a way to collectively band together to share and protect limited resources for those inside from those outside. It's been that way in nature forever; you can never see a wolf cub from another pack join a new pack and instantly be accepted. Survival dictates boundaries!

Anonymous said...

"...It's been that way in nature forever; you can never see a wolf cub from another pack join a new pack and instantly be accepted..."

OTOH you can see a beagle wander into a bear den and instantly be accepted as though the mother bear thinks it's one of her cubs. I read that it once took a guy and his beagle two days and a tranq rifle to get the dog (alive and healthy) out of the den because the mother dragged the dog back in like a disobedient young cub every time it tried to leave.

Lobo said...

Anon,

Sounds like you're arguing for closed borders just for the sake of closed borders. When we can travel around the world in a day, communicate with people on the other side of the world instantaneously, and drive farther in an hour than most people in history would ever travel in their lifetimes, the old arguments become less relevant. Also, just because we have an instinct doesn't mean we can't transcend the instinct. We do it all the time. You really can't compare the group behavior of other animals to what we do. We've gone so far beyond it that comparison is meaningless. We live in an artificial construct of our own devising.

I not convinced that opening the borders would result in an overall loss of standard of living. If anything, it will go a long way of solving many problems. Give them a tax id number when they come in and they can contribute to the tax base. It will also have the added benefit of making employers pony up their fair share of employment taxes, one of the main reasons why they opt for undocumented day labor over legit labor. Make them pay the social security and medicare tax too. If they don't become a citizen, then they can't have it back and the money will just go into the general fund. Tie all social services beyond the most basic and humane ones to citizenship. A young child should be able to see a doctor and have sufficient nutrition, it would be monstrous to deny the basics. But if his parents can't make it work without housing subsidies and what not, they should go back. We should make it uncomfortable to be here as an alien but not onerous.

Everybody should get the opportunity to become a citizen, just like somebody let most of us do it before.