Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Notable & Commendable: Henry Gómez on the Side of the Angels

"These people" meaning the kids that are being born in the U.S. broke no law. Their parents arguably broke a law though as I pointed out it's not a criminal law, merely an administrative law. The simple act of being here illegally is not punishable with prison or fines. You simply get deported. But we are talking about the kids. Do you want to punish the son for the sins of the father? I think it is the bigotry of a Baptist that doesn't want to see his country overrun by Catholics. Spanish speaking Catholics no less. And, lastly, why a publicly funded windfall? If we did away with all these welfare programs and the education monopoly the only windfall to be had would be that which a person earned in a free country. The problem isn't the immigrants, it's the country they are immigrating to. Besides I don't believe the aspirations of the majority of illegal immigrants is to be live off of the state. That's merely empty rhetoric used by the nativists. The idea that "those people" could not conceivably make an honest living in America and pay taxes and be producers rather than recipients is certainly bigoted."Henry Gómez, "Despicable Huckster" (comment), Babalú, January 8, 2008

When Henry Gómez expressed his sympathy for Newt Gingrich last year and averred that he was supporting Fred Thompson because Gingrich carried too much "baggage," I gave up on Henry completely. Any Cuban who could even consider supporting Newt Gingrich for president, the father of the "Contract on America," the original Hispanic pogrom, had lost his bearings forever (not to mention his dignity), or so I thought. I don't know what made Henry see the light (maybe I did), but now he has taken a strong stand against the xenophobes who have hijacked the Republican Party. Perhaps he realized that if they succeed in co-opting the party's agenda it will mean certain defeat for his beloved Thompson in 2008. Or perhaps the "Cuban" in "American-Cuban" has, for once, gained the ascendency.

Just as shocking, however, is that certain Babalú commenters, who had not hitherto evinced bigotted tendencies, such as pototo and Claudia4Cuba, have backed Huckabee's insane proposal to denaturalize native-born citizens because of the actions of their parents. Should the children of felons also be stripped of their citizenship as their parents are? How about the children of tax-evaders? Or of drivers with too many points on their licenses? The difference, of course, is that being an illegal immigrant is not a crime in this country — yet. Perhaps Huckabee's next proposal will be to imprison all illegal immigrants. That would be far more expensive than leaving them alone but would certainly prove as popular as deporting them with Republican xenophobes. What would be done with their children then? Maybe they would ship them to orphanages in Guantanamo.

One correction for Henry, though: "Those people" (meaning illegal immigrants) already make an "honest living" in this country and work longer and harder for less than does any other group. They also pay taxes to finance a social safety net from whose protections they (and legal immigrants) are excluded by law and so are already contributors not recipients.

16 comments:

Charlie Bravo said...

What they do not realize Manuel, that children of Cubans born before BOTH their parents are given legal status (one year and one day in the LUCKIEST cases) could also be denied citizenship and therefore deported.
Imagine the scenario, a pregnant balsera manages to arrive to land, gives birth while she's waiting for her papers (let's suppose that Huckabee and Co. keep -I doubt it- the Cuban Adjustment Act in place) and next thing she knows is that her kid is NOT an American citizen. Under such a provision, I am sure that there would not be anything covering Cubans fleeing a dictatorship, because.... Huckabee has no qualms in trading with communist Cuba. So mother, father, and kid could be sent paddling back to Cuba.
I am just marveled that some people believe that they are more equal than others.
All of us fame from somewhere else, or our ancestors did, anyway. That nativist movement is nothing that will lead to greatness or prosperity, as it was demonstrated in the biggest and boldest examples of nativism, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
In a free country, besides the national origin of their parents, anyone born in any land should be a subject of that given country, and national duties, protection, and rights should be afforded to those persons.

Charlie Bravo said...

Ron Paul also wants to eliminate birthright citizenship.

Anonymous said...

I've always been curious of how an illegal immigrant pays taxes.

Sales tax, property taxes, sure, thats easy.

Federal Income, Social Security and Medicare Taxes - how?

Are we assuming most illegal immigrants are getting a paycheck using a fake or stolen SS# and that their employer is making the deductions? Identity theft IS a crime no? Don't employers need to fill and file and I-9 for every employee and check documentation?

Don't know about you but in my daily observations around South Florida, I don't know of one employer/contractor of an illegal that pays him/her by check and much less deducts taxes. Everyone "knows" who is legal and who is not (wink, wink).

Also, just one hospitalization at Jackson by someone who can't pay, even if only for a few days, will run up a $10k to $20k bill - easy. How much will it take a low wage worker to pay that much in taxes before legal residents can "break even" on illegal immigration. Anyone done the math?

Each K-12 school age kid costs the state $9k per year. With 2-3 kids in the system, what does an illegal immigrant have to earn, and pay taxes on, before legal residents can "break even" on illegal immigration. Anyone done the math?

And finally, in a country and a PEOPLE that last year WELCOMED over 2 million LEGAL immigrants without complaints from anyone. How do we go from that FACT to declaring those same people, "nativist racist bigots" in the same sentence?

Frankly, it makes no sense to me.

Charlie Bravo said...

So, an illegal immigrant is to blame because he doesn't receive a check and his employer breaks the law by not paying taxes, and by paying him less than stipulated by law. That's kind of interesting, don't you think.... Are you sure that all of the illegal immigrants you see around carry a fake SS# in their pocket? What would it be good for, since their employer anyways will pay them in cash and therefore will not deduct any money for taxes from their exiguous pay?
And it's also interesting that children should be punished by their parents faults, presumably committed before their were conceived and born. That's quite a sense of justice.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

anonymous:

Let me satisfy your curiosity.

Illegal immigrants are required by law to file income tax returns just as everybody else. They are exempted from the benefits of citizenship but not from its responsibilities. In fact, no alteration in their status is possible unless they can prove that they have paid their taxes.

They don't do this by assuming other people's identities because that would avail them nothing. Instead, they request a social security identity number, which they use to file income taxes. This number is just that — a number. It does not entitle them to collect benefits, just to underwrite benefits for others which they themselves are denied. They are also required to pay Social Security and unemployment insurance taxes, which, again, they are not entitled to collect. The surplus, amounting to some $60billion, is used to pay benefits to others thereby diminishing the tax burden on everybody else.

Rene M. Grave de Peralta said...

Not to mention that their cheap labor subsidizes that cheap burrito from Taco Bell, your mortgage on that condo (that you paid too much for anyway), that head of lettuce in your salad and so on...

They also greatly support that usurious paycheck industry that is almost as ubiquitous as Starbucks because they are afraid of banks.

They overpay, they get ripped off and have no recourse to any injustice perpetrated on them.

You want the law enforced? Jail the businessmen who hire illegals. The jobs dry up, the illegal immigration drys up. But I warn you, once the last illegal leaves the country, you will be begging them to come back, because without "those people" this economy won't function.

Anonymous said...

Rene, charlie and manuel.

The parts of your answers you focused on and those you ignored betray you.

a) Illegals don't pay taxes. That little number which you say they can get if they want to pay taxes - they are not getting them. The 60 billion "surplus" is a teeny fraction of our $2-3 trillion dollar annual tax collections.

b) The cheap lettuce and lower construction costs - in the end they are not cheap and not lower. An unscrupulous roofing employer pocketed the money. In the meantime, for every dime in cheap lettuce, I am being asked to fork over more in additional taxes. Someone always pays. In these cases the legal lower income classes whose wages are most depressed by illegal immigrant labor. i.e. our brothers most in need.

c) The little kids - they need to stay with their parents and they should look at their parents for fault and responsibility. That is what parents are for - or are you suggesting the kids, and the responsibility, belong to the state and ultimately the tax payer? Elian anyone?

What you don't say, is that there is an agricultural worker program, always been. Lettuce will be picked for a few cents a head more.

In our post-9/11 world we need to secure our borders. At least as well as Mexico secures its own southern border. This is just common sense. Forget the 1840's, ancient history.

Unscrupulous employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens in order to profit from low wages, no benefits, no workmen's comp, pr medical insurance need to face harsh consequences. In the end, they are the magnet that encourages people to jump the line.

Again, two million (and growing) LEGAL immigrants are WELCOMED into this country every year - over 20,000 from Cuba alone. You have no basis to call the American people nativist, bigotted and racists with these numbers staring at you.

All you are doing is disrespecting those who sponsored and welcomed my family and yours into this country - legally.

And finally, by all accounts there are 12 million illegal immigrants in this country today. At some point in the future a large number will be allowed a path to legalization - if not citizenship, of that there is no doubt. But believe me, it will not happen until the American people feel they are in control again - through border control and employer enforcement with harsh penalties.

I just hope this fight, and the racist vitriol being spewed by "illegal immigration supporters" does not sour the melting pot for everyone - including legal immigrants (and cubans) - beyond repair.

That, would be a sad outcome indeed.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Anonymous:

Obviously, it is their presence among us that you find objectionable. They do nothing to detract from the quality of your life, and are, by your own admission, exploited at every turn by your fellow Americans, who profit from their work and pass the savings to you, comprise only 12 million of a population of 300 million, in a vast and underpopulated country where great numbers of natives both rich and poor refuse to do any work themselves and must be subsidized by the state, yet, rather than praise the Mexicans for doing the jobs which you and your fellow Americans refuse to do and which even teenagers turn their noses at, you choose, instead, to make the hapless migrants the objects of your peculiar wrath, and though it is unlikely that they touch your life in any negative way at all, turn them into the centerpiece of your discontent and frustration, fueled by everyone and everything but them. If the 12 millions were Canadians rather than Mexicans, you would have taken no notice of them. Of course, you and others who think like you are not bigotted or racist. It is those who hold up a mirror to your faces who are.

Anonymous said...

Manuel,

Again, what your counterpoints betray you.

The presence of Hispanics (even Mexicans) is more than welcome, it is a natural part of America. Proof? If it weren't so the border would have been sealed 12 million illegals ago (as was mandated by law in 1986).

Pass savings to us? It has already been established there are no savings to the American taxpayer from uncontrolled illegal immigration.

"Natives both rich and poor refuse to do any work themselves and must be subsidized by the state" - not for substandard wages or working conditions if that is what you mean. Then again, I don't wish this on any laborer and that is my point. THAT is the point.

"If the 12 millions were Canadians rather than Mexicans you would have taken no notice of them."
I think I already established that if you were right, the situation would have been "corrected" 12 million Mexicans ago. It's exactly because American's feel "comfortable enough" with Hispanics that they've looked the other way for so long.

Now. Start waving Mexican flags instead of US flags (illegal to do in Mexico by the way), whip out the 'ol race card of first instance, call the nation "nativist, xenophobic, racist bigots" in the absence of valid arguments, and then maybe you'll end up with your wish fulfilled - to the detriment of millions and millions of future legal immigrants like me and my entire family.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Anonymous:

"To the detriment of future legal immigrants," you say?

American xenophobes make no distinction between "legal" or "illegal" immigrants. Or Mexicans and Cubans, for that matter. Heck, even Puerto Ricans are "foreigners" to them.

I should really like to know where you live because this idyllic place must be like no other in this country.

Gern Blansten said...

"Those people" (meaning illegal immigrants) already make an "honest living" in this country and work longer and harder for less than does any other group."

I'm sorry, but "We pick your fruit" is no excuse to break the law. The Green River Killer made an "honest living". It doesn't mean
we should turn a blind eye to the crimes he committed.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

gern:

Your implication being that all illegal immigrants are serial killers?

Take note, Anonymous.

Yes, they pick your fruits, build your houses, care for your children, tend your lawns and pools — all honest work which they perform for a pittance and no fringe benefits while dealing with such "occupational hazards" as being cheated of their wages or denounced to INS once their usefulness has ceased to their employers. Yes, it's obviously a charmed life they lead. The hospitality of the Blanstens no doubt contributes greatly to their contentment.

Rene M. Grave de Peralta said...

All these years there has been hardly a peep about this issue. Nobody worried about the "problem". The business people liked their indentured laborers, their housewives liked their cheap gardeners and maids and we all enjoyed having a few genuine Mexican restaurants as an alternative to the crap at Taco Time.

Then the Karl Rove political machine discovered yet another wedge issue. Another way to exploit the worse tendencies in all of us.

9/11? Gimme a freaking brake! I've yet to hear about any Mexican terrorists.

Here is the bottom line. We let them in, they did and still do the work we don't want to do (I ain't pickin' no stinkin' lettuce, not even for $100/hr), they came and worked and had children. Now they're ours bub. You want to stop any further illegal immigration? Fine, give the ones here a way to come out of the shadows and jail anyone who hires any new ones.

Anonymous said...

I'll gladly pick lettuce and mow your lawn for $100 an hour. Just say when.

There is a HUGE difference between "American xenophobes" and "Xenophobe America." Which is it, Manuel?

There ARE American xenophobes, rascists and nativists. But they are not America. 2-3 million legal proofs a year say it all. You stain yourself thinking otherwise.

Cubans and Mexicans are more xenophobic, racist and nativist than Americans. Hands down.

Most of this thread is proof of that.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Anonymous:

I never used the expression "Xenophobe America." You are free to fight that bogeyman if you want, but you'll have to do it without me.

Anonymous said...

I am not Cuban, or Puerto Rican or Mexican, and not even Hispanic. But I would like to present different points and facts to this discussion. First, Puerto Ricans are not foreigners. Puerto Rico is a United States territory. Consequently, the Puerto Rican is an American citizen. So, the point here is that this group of people should not be mentioned in any discussion about illegal immigration. Second, the issue of immigration is not xenophobic or nativist, but one of religious intolerance and gross ignorance. Take for example a KKK member from Memphis,TN and ask what he/she thinks about immigration issues. They will immediately identify with this anti-immigration movement. Ask them what religion they have, and will tell you that they are Protestants and to be much more exact, Evangelical Christian of non-Hispanic descent. Most immigrants in this country (legals and illegals are Catholics). In summary, I do think (and this is my own observation) that the issue is one of religious intolerance and a movement against Catholics. Now, this is not the first time Protestants organize against Catholics, but it is the first time in the 21st century and in the USA. By the way, historically, the Catholics were orinally the one organized centuries ago against Protestants in old Europe. Third, this is and always been a Protestant country. Despite the constitutional guarantees against religious intolerance, the religious roots of this country are Protestants and anti-Catholic. Mexicans are singled out, including their border (border much smaller than the Canadian border)not because they are immigrants or Hispanics but only for been Catholics, contributing to the increase in population of Catholics. For the Evangelical Christian, the Mexican is a "Catholic" crossing the Southern USA border in a nation of Protestants. My apologies to many Evangelical Christians that are not anti-Hispanics, or to many that are Hispanic Evangelical Christians are are not involved in this immigration intolerance movement. I would add that this movement resembles ethnic cleansing
more than any thing else. Sort of "fascist" type. However, most KKK also identified with fascism ideologies in the past (i.e. David Duke). When you put this puzzle together you will see fascism mixed with religious social intolerance of a group of people ethnically different, and with a religion that represent a threat to the religious establishment. (Similarities with Nazi Germany mentality of the 1930's?)