Now That I Have Your Attention…


I find it hard to believe that not one single soul felt the urge to respond to either Lauren’s post or mine regarding yesterday’s immigration protests. Now, I know that a vile new concoction from the good people at Coca-Cola is thrilling news (no offense intended to Fuzzy) but really folks, immigration is the burning issue of the day (well, one of ’em), and nary a peep form our otherwise opinionated readership.

What gives?

Is it true, as many pundits have pointed out, that immigration just isn’t that compelling an issue for those that are native-born Americans?

Is it that the debate seems to require a mastery of the facts of immigration, and that you don’t feel like you’ve had time to do your homework?

Or maybe that you’ve done some homework, but not yet formed an opinion?

Or do you just so fully agree with what is transpiring nightly on your TV screen that you don’t feel the need to comment whatsoever?

I’m just curious here, help me out.

19 Comments so far

  1. Dave! (unregistered) on April 11th, 2006 @ 3:39 pm

    Well, between work and school, I couldn’t attend any of the protests. Hence, no photos, no descriptions.

    As for immigration in general, I do have a formed opinion, but I’m too busy to write the detailed post at the moment. It’ll take a while… whereas a pithy comment about gross coke products takes but a second.

    The short answer is that I think “Guest Worker” bills are a *big* mistake. The proposals currently in Congress all pretty much suck.

  2. nikkos (unregistered) on April 11th, 2006 @ 3:43 pm

    well that’s a fair and honest answer Dave!, thanks. BTW, I wasn’t slamming you for posting about Coke, just remarking that a post about Coke gets more comments than two posts about the biggest news story in the nation.

    Thanks again…any readers out there wanna share? You don’t have to have actually attended the protests to have an opinion.

  3. steven (unregistered) on April 12th, 2006 @ 7:56 am

    Same here…no time with moving, work, insomnia…as for my opinion, I think that Aguilera chick is pretty hot.

    Frankly, it’s too early in the morning and I’ve been up for too long to talk about the other opinion.

  4. khylek (unregistered) on April 12th, 2006 @ 8:25 am

    I wonder if it’s just possible that people are issued out. War in Iraq, potential nuclear bombing in Iran…it could wear you out.

    Maybe it’s not tactial redirection of the public’s focus, but it has that same affect doesn’t it?

  5. Danny Doom (unregistered) on April 12th, 2006 @ 11:11 am

    i think those are not real and i don’t care one bit.

    what was the question?

  6. steven (unregistered) on April 12th, 2006 @ 11:44 am

    It does indeed wear you out. Add to that all the pressure to know about everything going on in the world…some people are just going to tune out and blissfully go along with the business of living their life.

  7. Gabe (unregistered) on April 12th, 2006 @ 11:49 am

    what were u saying? I wasnt paying attention.

  8. nikkos (unregistered) on April 12th, 2006 @ 12:44 pm

    Yes, Miss Aguilera is looking quite fetching these days. Yet more ammunition for the argument in favor of immigration.

    Anyways, thanks to everyone for commenting.

  9. EJ (unregistered) on April 12th, 2006 @ 1:51 pm

    This post spurred a long dinner debate with my man Robert last night. Why aren’t people commenting? What do we think? I think there aren’t the comments because it is a confusing, complicated, SENSITIVE issue. My thoughts and opinions on the subject can not be distilled to fit in a little snippet in a comment box. What is good about the post is that you’re keeping the issue on the forefront of people’s minds instead of putting it in section B4 of the times. This is a big deal and although many people don’t think it has an effect on them, it does. What is decided here screams magnitudes to the world about who we are as Americans and who we want to be . Are we inclusive or exclusive? Are we willing to work with Mexico to help the country be a place that their citizens WANT to stay and raise their children? Not just by giving money and aid, but by partnering with their businesses and industries. On an economic level at home, we need to look what all this means — that our middle class is becoming an endangered species, we do not have a livable minimum wage, people would rather be on welfare than to take these jobs filled my the migrant populations… [Sigh}. See nikkos… just too much to respond to. But, thank you for keeping the discussion alive… on this blog… and therefore around the kitchen table. peace.

  10. nikkos (unregistered) on April 12th, 2006 @ 1:59 pm

    Thanks for the comments EJ.

    Allow me to simplify the debate a bit. How one answers this question says a lot about how you look at immmigration. All other considerations flow from this very simple premise:

    The truth is that beyond the economic, racial, security and legislative complexities presented by the issue of immigration, the real question posed to American citizens is a simple one: will we invest our time, efforts and dollars in building walls or in building bridges?

    While that may seem simplistic, it cuts to the heart of the debate and explains the dichotomy between both sides of the issue, in my opinion.

    While I use bridges metaphorically, as in bridges to citizenship, my use of the term “walls” refers both to the literal effort to build a big wall on the border to the metaphorical “walls” which we erect in our hearts and minds.

    You nailed it when you said “What is decided here screams magnitudes to the world about who we are as Americans and who we want to be. Are we inclusive or exclusive?”

    I’ll do ya one better- if one decides America is an “exclusive” nation, on what basis is that determination to be made? (Beyond the obvious: criminals, terrorists, etc. would not be welcome under anyone’s idea of an immigration plan.) And how and who decides upon what basis, what criteria, the decision is made?

  11. Ben2 (unregistered) on April 12th, 2006 @ 2:43 pm

    I just wanted to chime in my opinion. I read your blogspot Nikkos and I think it is well written and a great opinion.

    I want a humane and lawful way to solve the problem. I know that many immigrants (though there are millions of illegals, maybe half are thought to be of Mexican descent) come here out of desperation or because they want to be American. But that begs the question: why don’t they follow the legal process?

    My thoughts are that there are two possible answers. One is that they don’t know what that process is or it is too complicated. Two is that the limits or time it takes to become a citizen are too great for their situation.

    I feel for all individuals in these situations. We need to make the process of becoming a lawful citizen easy and comprehensive. Teach them about our culture and our government, teach them how to be a functioning citizen. Make sure they are not criminals or terrorists. But my thought has been, as is said on the Statue of Liberty, to let them come if they are going to contribute.

    There is the debate, though, about assimilation, though I believe its a no brainer. Retain your culture but remember first and foremost you are an American.

    I do think a lot of Americans against it either are strongly patriotic (I can’t blame them) or believe that since the illegals are not filing for the legal system they are coming to “mooch.” Illegals, because of the humanitarian stance of our nation, do receive almost all of the benefits of our nation without many of the responsibilities (IE voting or paying taxes). I can empathasize.

    The other problem is the rule of law. The illegal aliens are by definition just that: illegal aliens. Our laws have to mean something or they mean nothing (obviously). So our options here are either to change the laws, or enforce them. Obviously to make our laws meaningful we need to enforce them UNTIL we change them.

    Taking all of this into account, my opinion is as follows:

    1) Allow any good standing person to become a citizen with no numerical limits (unless of course we find that we are unable to support the influx successfully). Thoroughly assimilate them into American culture (English as a second language is a must) and make sure they are not terrorists/criminals and want to have a better life for themselves and contribute to the country.

    2) Change the laws to make citizenship an easy and effective process. Look into ways of increasing its efficiency (even if this means the government doesn’t do everything).

    3) Crack down harshly on illegal immigration. Walls are not the answer, but with easy and fair methods of gaining citizenship it is important to make our laws meaningful.

  12. nikkos (unregistered) on April 12th, 2006 @ 3:07 pm


    Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

  13. nikkos (unregistered) on April 12th, 2006 @ 3:47 pm


    While I aree with most of what you said, I do disagree with your #3. I feel that a “harsh crackdown,” to use your words, would only worsen the problem and lead to violence.

    I think that what you’re saying is:
    1.) Bad laws have gotten us into this mess
    2.) We need better laws to get us out of this mess
    3.) But in the meantime, let’s enforce the bad laws more harshly than ever before.

    (I’m not trying to make light of your proposal; just trying to simplify somewhat in order to keep the dialogue somewhat streamlined.)

    I suppose my formulation looks more like:
    1.) Bad laws have gotten us into this mess
    2.) We need better laws to get us out of this mess
    3.) Therefore let’s come up with a system of amnesty or a path to citizenship for the estimated 12 million illegals that are already here AND change the laws (per my #2).

    Thanks again for your comments.

  14. THE SICILIAN (unregistered) on April 13th, 2006 @ 9:33 am

    EJ, I agree with you that this is a debate that should be more in the forefront. One thing I find issue with is your question of “are we an inclusive or exclusive” society. What you’re implying is that there is linkage between granting amnesty for illegal aliens who have crossed the border from Mexico and demonstrating to the world we are an inclusive society. I’m sorry, but I find that linkage flawed. Since the Immigration Act of 1924, there have been waves of immigrants who were let in limited numbers. From personal experience, half of my family who intended to emigrate from Europe after WWII had to settle with living in Canada because they played by the rules. In this debate, we hear about the economic issues, civil right issues, humanitarian issues, but never hear about the double standard of how granting amnesty is a slap in the face of those who entered the U.S. after the Immigration Act and played by the rules. This country is made of immigrants; we just need them to have come here legally in the first place like the immigrants before them. That is not a demonstration of being an exclusive society, but rather a society that is fair to all, including the immigrants who came here legally in the first place. EJ, let’s not lose that consideration for the sake of being politically correct.

  15. nikkosq (unregistered) on April 13th, 2006 @ 9:59 am

    The Sicilian-

    I have heard this line of counter-argument trotted out quite a few times recently. While it appears to have its merits on the surface- it appeals to simple “fairness”- at its heart it is a deeply illogical argument.

    I refer to this line of thinking as the “fraternity initiation” mindset. Allow me to explain: each year, thousands of American boys participate in rushing fraternities, and allow themselves to be humiliated, degraded, insulted, etc. for a chance to become a member of the fraternity. They don’t enjoy it, as they rightly shouldn’t- having a bucket of your frat brothers puke poured over your head while you are blindfolded is nobody’s idea of a good time.

    The very next year, however, they heap the same abuse on the incoming class of frat boys.


    Because in their minds, they had to go through it when they were rushing the frat, and so should the new guys. It’s only fair. Right?

    Now, to apply this to immigration: should succeeding waves of immigrants have to go through the same shitty experience just because preceding generations had to? You agree the immigration laws are flawed. So why keep them in place, simply out of a well-intentioned but ultimately flawed idea of fairness? Real fairness is changing the laws so that everyone has a fair shake, not that everyone gets the bucket of puke.

    Thanks for your comments.

  16. EJ (unregistered) on April 13th, 2006 @ 10:09 am

    To the sicilian…By my use of the phrase inclusive vs. exclusive I was not implying that I support opening our borders to anyone who wants to saunter in. I just don’t think that deporting people that are already in our country working hard to support their families is a good solution nor to I think building a big wall is a good image to represent this country to the rest of the world. That’s what I meant by exclusive. I agree with nikkos and ben2 that the laws are flawed. There should be an easier way for immigrants to gain citizenship in this country but i do believe that a legal path is the best path.
    And yes, there are many people that came to this country legally but even our beloved ancestors were known to have beg, borrowed and PAID for that right. Your family settled in Canada and played by the rules but there were sooo many more that didn’t.

  17. SICILIAN (unregistered) on April 13th, 2006 @ 10:56 am

    EJ, I appreciate your clarification of what you were implying by your “inclusive versus exclusive” comment. I agree that deporting illegal immigrants already working here is a tough pill to swallow. But I contend that offering carte blanc amnesty rewarding people who knowingly came here illegally in the first place to now obtain full U.S. citizenship is a tougher pill to swallow. Aliens who play by the rules obtain green cards. There is also the option of legalizing a “guest worker permit” option that would serve much of the same purpose. You’ve stated that the laws are flawed, without specifically stating your reasons behind that statement. Any nation’s immigration laws DO serve a purpose. The majority of our beloved ancestors came here legally. EJ, before you and your bee buddies come swarming at me with your stingers exposed, please know that I’m not the enemy. I’m as liberal as they come. I agree with you on the “end”, just not the “means”.

  18. EJ (unregistered) on April 13th, 2006 @ 11:42 am

    if our government is turning a blind eye to undocumented workers earning below minimum wage, without benefits, what purpose are those laws serving? We have laws in place but it is not in our best economic interest to enforce those laws. The government once had open access to our industries and factories to do routine inspections to look for undocumented workers, child labor etc. Now the laws have changed where they have to give 24 hours notice before they can come in for an inspection. These businesses used to get huge fines for this type of “illegal” activity- thus discouraging it. Now it’s a don’t ask don’t tell policy. If we want LEGAL immigrants to work in this country we need to enforce the laws that are already in place- and make tougher laws against the industries that are allowing this to happen in the first place. That’s just ONE law/problem.
    I do know that I don’t have the answers… this is a toughy… and I think the debate and discussion is a facinating one…

  19. THE SICILIAN (unregistered) on April 13th, 2006 @ 12:29 pm

    There are a lot of forces at play, EJ. There are the political ramifications. The carte blanc amnesty of 10 million (and growing by ½ million per year) illegal Hispanic immigrants toward full U.S. citizenship and it’s voting rights would create an instant voting block. There many opportunistic politicians who are pushing for this. We all know about the economic arguments (those who contend the illegals presence helps our economy by helping our competitiveness in the world economy with a cheap labor pool versus those who contend it depresses the wages of American workers, plus the enormous drain on public funds). You make some excellent points about lack in current enforcement. My point is to please respect, consider and include the ethical argument in this debate: Illegal immigration is a crime. Rewarding people who knowingly came here illegally with instant U.S. citizenship is ethically wrong, and seems such an absolute answer. EJ, I’m sure you’ll agree this issue has many shades of grey. Like you, I’m very compassionate about the humanity issues at play here. This is why I believe the solution to this problem lies somewhere in the middle, with an option such as the guest worker program, coupled with real active enforcement as you suggested.

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