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Old Comments Are New Again: The Republicans have been demanding “fortified borders” since at least 2013



  • Glackin
  • western Ma

The first “immigration” bill was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The nation had survived its first 103 years (since the Constitution was adopted) without immigration restrictions. After 1795, any immigrant could become a citizen afte five years in residence.
The next major change came with the desire to limit the rush of Eastern European Catholics and Jews in the early decades of the 20th Century. Immigration regulation has always been code for immigration restriction, for keeping out the “other’.
The ironic point to that is that the nation has profited from every influx of the “others”. Each new wave has further enriched he nation far beyond the cost of accepting them.
The Senate has passed a typical piece of legislation, filled with the plums and goodies that were needed, or demanded to get that mythical 60 vote threshold. We would see much cleaner legislation were the Senate adopt the startling concept that a majority of their House is 51, and not 60.
We have some 11 Million people living here without documentation. They didn’t all climb over “that dang fence”. Most overstayed visas. They are at work at every level in our economy, and are a vital part of our economy.
It is time for politicians to stop posturing for cameras and reciting the same talking points to fire their bases, and admit to reality
It is time to end the fear of the “others” and embrace the policies that built this country.
“Give me your tired, your poor ….”

  • Harry L
  • LA

Immigrants who came to the US 100 years ago via Ellis Island had to prove financial stability and undergo a brief physical before they were allowed to enter the country. They were required to show some form of financial stability – either cash, or a sponsor willing to offer to support them, or offer them employment. There were no food stamps, welfare grants, free lunches, or bilingual schools. They came here to bootstrap themselves and their children into the mainstream melting pot. Those who chose to raise large families did so knowing that they woul be required to support their own children. All but the elderly learned to read and write English. They came at a time when folks were not embarrassed to be poor. No $150 Nikes or new cellphone every six months. They came at a time when the economy was expanding, and they were able and willing to work long hours under horrible conditions in order to gain a foothold in a country with a future. Most of all, they came legally. Few walked across the border expecting a handout.

  • Robert Baesemann
  • Los Angeles CA

NYT Pick

Emigration and immigration are processes driven by powerful economic forces. The Soviet block had a very difficult time controlling emigration despite their willingness to resort to murder to stop it. Vietcong crossed the border between North and South despite B52 strikes, defoliants, and ground troops. The only way to control borders is destroy the incentives for illegal immigration and smuggling.

If we do not want illegal immigrants crossing the border, we need to take away employers’ incentives to hire illegal immigrants. The legal machinery to do that is in place already. Major corporations regularly ask for a pass port to verify citizenship when they hire people because they need to avoid penalties.

No matter how formidable the wall the Republicans hope to build, they will have as little success as they have had with keeping out marijuana, heroin and cocaine. Fortified borders went out of style in 1940. The Euro zone has no passport controls. No one ever prevented Michigan from hiring cheap labor from Southern States. House Republicans need to advance the interests of their constituents rather than insist on throwing tax dollars away building fortified borders.

  • maryo00
  • Atlanta

NYT Pick

It is sad to read all of the (typical) anti-Republican comments. This is about granting amnesty to 20 million (not 11) illegal immigrants. Our court systems, schools, ERs, and jails are filled with reasons to have a sensible debate about immigration reform. Starting with enforcing existing laws. This is not about work visas, green cards, or even ‘fairness.’

It’s about our government’s complete disregard for enforcing immigration laws and monitoring those on visas to ID those that have expired. Too many of you claim that these illegal immigrants came here to escape a lousy situation. However, we can not take all of the people that want to leave their country – we’d explode. Not because the US is perfect, but because too many countries offer their people nothing. Not even an education.

As far as the diversity arguement – please! People like to live with their own kind, always have.

  • Chicago Bear
  • Chicago

NYT Pick

I’m willing to bet that all those folks ranting about criminals pouring across the border and the peril of immigrants don’t know a single undocumented person in this country. Well, I do and I do what I can to help them have a better life in this country. They aren’t freeloading on welfare; they’re working as hard as they can to support themselves and their families. Along the way, they are cheated and exploited by their employers. I would much rather have these people in our country than those narrow minded xenophobes whose graceless ignorance shows up in these comments. I hate to think what our country would be like if the majority was like them.

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