Noncitizens Have the Obligations of Citizens--So Why Not the Right to Vote?

News at Home

Mr. Hayduk, a writer for History News Service, teaches political science at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY) and is the author of "Democracy for All: Restoring Immigrant Voting Rights in the United States" (2006).

The growing immigrant rights movement has brought immigrants' struggle for political power center stage. The way to give non-citizens more political power would be to give them the vote. But voting is only for citizens, right? Not really.

Although it's not widely known, noncitizen voting is as old as the Republic itself and as American as apple pie and baseball. Noncitizens voted from 1776 until 1926 in forty states and federal territories in local, state and even federal elections. Noncitizens also held public office. In a country where "no taxation without representation" was a rallying cry for revolution, such a proposition was not far-fetched. It was common sense that government should rest on the consent of the governed. The idea that noncitizens should have the vote is older, was practiced longer, and is more consistent with democratic ideals than the idea that they should not.

Historically, voting and citizenship worked both ways. The right to vote has never been intrinsically tied to citizenship, which is why women and African Americans -- who were citizens -- were widely denied the vote until 1920 and 1965, respectively. Voting has always been about who has a say and who will have influence over the actions of government.

This historical precedent is making a comeback in some circles today. Currently, noncitizens vote in local elections in six towns in Maryland and in Chicago school elections. Over the past decade, noncitizen voting campaigns have been launched in at least a dozen jurisdictions from coast to coast, including Washington D.C., California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, North Carolina, Colorado, Texas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Most recently, New York City Council members submitted a bill that would grant the right to vote to legal noncitizens in all local elections. This legislation is gaining significant support and is feeding another avenue of debate about the newcomers, the nature of citizenship, and the future of democracy in America.

Non-citizens work in every sector of the economy, own homes and businesses, attend colleges and send children to schools, pay billions in taxes each year and make countless social and cultural contributions. They're subject to all the laws that govern citizens, serve in the military and die defending the United States.

Their numbers are staggering. Nationally, about 23 million adults are barred from voting because they lack U.S. citizenship. In some districts -- and whole cities and towns -- non-citizens make up 25 to 50 percent of all voting-age residents. Adult non-citizens in Los Angeles make up more than a third of the voting-age population; in New York City, they're 22 percent of adults. In many places immigrant political exclusion approximates the level of disenfranchisement associated with women prior to 1920 and African Americans before the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Discriminatory public policy and private practices -- in employment, housing, education, healthcare, welfare and criminal justice -- are the inevitable by-products of immigrant political exclusion, not to mention racial profiling, xenophobic hate crimes and arbitrary detention and deportation. Non-citizens suffer social and economic inequities, in part because policy-makers can ignore their interests. Denying immigrants local voting rights makes government officials less accountable and undermines the legitimacy of public policies. Immigrant voting rights would help reverse inequities and make the American political system more democratic.

Most immigrants want to become U.S. citizens, but the naturalization process can take eight to ten years. That's more than the cycle for two-term mayors, governors and state and local representatives. Moreover, not all immigrants are eligible to become U.S. citizens, unlike earlier times when nearly every immigrant could naturalize.

Advocates of noncitizen voting support opening up the naturalization process and creating new pathways to citizenship. Noncitizen voting would facilitate civic education and participation and better prepare incipient Americans for eventual citizenship. This burgeoning movement to create a truly universal suffrage calls forth America's past and future as an immigrant nation.

The right to vote ensures that American democracy is inclusive and fair. Extending the right to vote to noncitizens would help keep government representative, responsive and accountable to all. It would not only restore a tried and true American practice but would also update our democracy for these global times. The immigrant rights movement is today's civil rights movement and noncitizen voting is the suffrage movement of our time.

This piece was distributed for non-exclusive use by the History News Service, an informal syndicate of professional historians who seek to improve the public's understanding of current events by setting these events in their historical contexts. The article may be republished as long as both the author and the History News Service are clearly credited.

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Ann Jones - 7/18/2009

Well said.

Ann Jones - 7/18/2009

It amazes me how so called intelligent people can open their mouth and say that people who entered and/or are in this country illegally should have the same rights as citizens. Where is "you people's" respect for the law? Nobody asked them to come, that's no. 1. Then, they come and want to step over the rights of true citizens. Of course those who are allowed to purchase must pay taxes, revenues are revenues. But, if I go to Italy to buy salami or a villa, I don't get to vote! Then, why is there even a thing called citizen. And when you (or your son, daughter, nephew, niece, grandchild) get displaced, then what. You'll be like that mother who fought so hard for 3 strikes, until her son became subject to it.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


Mindful of the Air Force One tagging video of dubious authenticity from a week or two ago, I decided to do a bit of a background check on the “Guide for the Mexican Migrant” which was “distributed by the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Relations” as presented in your link above. The result of this investigation is that I must revise my prior remarks (above) re this document.

1. First of all, the website which has posted this document, American Renaissance, is not what it at first seems to be. Go to their home page and clink on the links to get a flavor of their true colors, or try the number 1 google reference to the American Renaissance’s head Jared Taylor which brings up this article:

“January 23, 2005 by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania). “Jared Taylor, a Racist in the Guise of 'Expert' ” ”

listed under http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0123-02.htm

2. The American Renaissance site does not disclose the origin of the “Guide” or offer any commentary at all on the “Guide,” which on their site is in English, but they do give a link (on the page you cited, Patrick) to the “Spanish language original” (“GUÍA DEL MIGRANTE MEXICANO”) http://www.sre.gob.mx/tramites/guiamigrante/default.htm

3. The English version does appear to be a faithful translation of the Spanish original, down to the coats of arms at the end, but it is in a noticeably different format. To reiterate, moreover, there is no indication as to who did the translation nor, of course, what the intended English language audience was.

4. I could not find the Spanish language original of the “Guide” anywhere on the Foreign Ministry (SECRETARIA DE RELACIONES EXTERIORES )
website ( http://www.sre.gob.mx/ ) BUT, when I clicked on “English” in the little box in the upper righthand corner of the SRE site, I got a similar but not identical page. On THAT English page
( http://www.sre.gob.mx/english/ ) under “Recommended Links,” the FIRST such link is rather innocuous-sounding “Practical Guide for the Mexican traveler.” Click on it and you get “GUÍA DEL MIGRANTE MEXICANO” (see point 2 above). On the Spanish version of the page, under the counterpart, Ligas Recomendadas, however, there is NO SUCH LINK to the “Guide” (in any language).


1. This “Guide” was probably not intended for circulation in Mexico (otherwise why does the Foreign Ministry have it only on the English version of their website ?).

2. Based on the extensive consulate information in the “Guide,” I suppose that it was intended for use by Mexican consulates in the USA (perhaps in court trials - the guide goes on at some length about the legal rights (NOT INCLUDIUNG VOTING) which even illegal immigrants have in the USA).

3. The English translation could have been done by anyone, possibly some group like American Renaissance completely unconnected to any Mexican entity.

4. The motives of the Mexican Foreign Ministry in producing the Spanish original of the “Guide” are much less clear than I first thought, in my prior post.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

"When you step back from it you can easily see that there is absolutely NO comparison between British Colonists and Mexican Illegal Interlopers."

Yes of course, and I never remotely implied any such comparison.

Can't you guys read English? I took issue right away in my first post above, and every one since, not with Broce's criticism of Khawaja, but with his parading his ignorance of American history. You can see for yourself above when & from whom the "insults" began in this exchange. I can tolerate ignorance, and a certain amount of arrogance, as any regular poster on this website is forced to, but am not fond of ignorance and arrogance and incessant copy-cat repetition all at the same time. And I reserve my God-given right not to sit by and meekly watch while juvenile rude clowns trash one American tradition and principle after another.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

You are right that America's immigration is larger as a percentage of population than many (not all) other countries. That does not mean we have nothing to learn from those other places. Pretending that giving priveleges to foreign workers will automatically make them more "integrated" is an example of a common mistake internationally which America need not necessarily learn the hard way all on its own.

The "very real problems" of immigration here lie in deeply-rooted inconsistency. Adding more American-centered blindness will solve nothing.

The U.S. wants to "control immigration" but not to adopt standardized tamper-proof national idenfication cards to achieve such control. The U.S. wants to stop illeal immigration but not take any truly effective action against employers of such immigration. The U.S. wants cheap foreign labor but doesn't want to recognize its legitimacy.

Advocating voting rights for immigrants is a distraction and a cop-out that does nothing to help meet either the needs of Americans or the needs of foreign workers here. Heck, half of U.S. citizens can't even be bothered to vote. The chances of voting rights for immigrants passing Congress in our lifetimes is virtually nil. It is, I am afraid, yet another typical attempt by PC "Progressives" to reach for Feel Good Irrelevancy and avoid serious practical attention to genuine challenges.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

"your suggestion that I was unfamiliar with high school history" has been amply proven here. If you feel insulted, go back and learn what you didn't but should have. Or, if you prefer, move to another country, like Britain (legally, please, and without asking for voting rights). Or stay here and wallow in your ignorance, but don't take offense, when the parading of that ignorance on a history forum is objected to.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Patrick, Fully agree on points a-d. Point e is harder to figure out. What I found when I googled "territorial filipino" did not encourage sympathy. There is a world of difference between a chronically unemployed 60 year resident of another country and the millions of illegal immigrants in America who have no time for blogs or internet comment boards, who bust their asses working for America, and who are nonetheless classified as criminals. All the same, it should be a reminder of the injustices that result from "taking up the White Man's Burden" without taking the burden part of it seriously.

The choice of May 1 for mass rallies suggests an unhealthy degree of outside manipulation (since I doubt, for example, that the Internationale is often heard played by mariachi bands), but this does not appear to be manipulation directed at any tangible achievement of any clear and consistent objective. In any event, while I think it is positive that America’s collective consciousness is being raised on these general issues, I remain skeptical about any significant changes in immigration-related policies coming any time in the foreseeable future. Something might still shake loose in Congress this session, since they were also close to a compromise deal a few weeks back, but I would not bet on any major change resulting from any such patched-over deal. There are too many interests vested in the status quo, as messy, inconsistent, inefficient, uncomfortable, and unfair as it is, and more visibly so now than for quite some years. The key difference here, it seems to me, is not between Democrats and Republicans, or Anglo-Americans and Mexican Americans, or even between illegal immigrants, legal resident aliens, and citizens. It is between people who want to help solve problems and people who want to exploit them for other purposes.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Williams has an unusually clear and straightforward position on immigration to the United States: it should not be permitted to exist in any form whatsoever. Strictly and consistently applied, however, this belief would mean no United States of America, only a wilderness of mammoths, sabre tooth tigers and buffalo. No South America, Europe, Asia or Australasia either. This conversation itself would be taking place between posters located somewhere in the Rift zone of East Africa where the non-migrating subspecies Homo Williams would remain confined in perpetuity.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Patrick, That post by Domingo did speak to "issues of US v. World": issues, in particular, arising out of a legacy of mistakes made and injustices committed many decades ago (e.g. 1899 - William Jennings Bryan supporting annexation of the Phillipines, 1946 - granting independence without paying proper attention to all the citizenship consequences, and of course, all the policies thereafter which, among other things, helped Imelda acquire all those shoes). But, the post related to citizenship, not just voting rights, and since the author evidently never lived or even ever wanted to live in America, had little relation to immigration. I suppose, though, that if Domingo were in America he would be marching today too, and justifiably so.

I will say this for the Imperialists of 1898, however: (1) They used "Remember the Maine" as an excuse to go to war against Spain, not some completely unrelated other country. (2) Roosevelt, who helped start the war, fought in it as well.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I am in solid adherence to Homo Sapiens which throughout at least its post-neolithic-revolution history has -with very rare exceptions- always been somewhere in between 100% freedom to immigrate and 0% freedom to do so, not at one extreme or the other. The "position" I "committed" to in the thread above (Mr. Kovachev), is to oppose the absurd distraction of voting rights for non-citizen immigrants. Even if this proposal had a snowball's chance in hell of passing Congress (which I don't think it does), it would contribute nothing meaningful towards dealing with the challenge of large-scale immigration.
Illegal immigrants, who are at the center of the current controversy, don't want to vote, they want legal residence status. Legal immigrants who want to vote become citizens and then can do so, thus even the rare illegal worker in America who cares more about voting than, say, getting a driver's license, will still be much more rationally inclined to ask for full legality rather than for mere enfranchisement.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Williams:

1) According to its website, Mexicana Airlines has direct daily flights to Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. You can at least quapdruple the price tag of your NABTA (North American Berlinwall Tourist Attraction) plan, in order to cover the northern border from Blaine, WA to Passamaquoddy, ME as well.

2) Unless you are also proposing that America completely isolate itself from the outside world (in which case, good luck running your car on cheese steak hoagy grease), your plan virtually guarantees a big boom in the document forgery and falsification business, and thus...quick, duck and cover, under the bed, fast! here comes the Statanic national ID card !

3) Wouldn't be easier to simply build a nice bomb shelter for yourself ?(Just don't inquire too closely about the residence status of those doing the digging.)

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

The ducking going on here is that of Donald Duck Williams.

We can ring our country with land mines, high-tech sensors, and spiked fences ala Israel or East Germany or North Korea (e.g. not places either of us would probably want to live in) and that will still not do squat to stop the huge number of foreigners coming into America through legitimate checkpoints on false papers, or entering with legit docs but then overstaying their visas. It is as safe a bet that the George W. Bush administration will not attack Saudi Arabia, that some of the would be illegal immigrants stopped by your fascist-like border would try the document-trickery route instead thus swelling the numbers still further. Our scenic borders scarred forever, our country classified in the history books as a bunch of paranoid loonies, and no major impact on illegal immigration to show as payoff for this enormous sacrifice. Not a good deal, Donald Duck. Back to the drawing board with you and then we can quack again later.

Meanwhile, ponder this thought: neither a Berlin Wall border nor a better system of IDs coupled with effective employer sanctions to cut down on illegal immigration is likely to happen, because, face it: Americans are too lazy to mow their own lawns or do their own windows. This is a country run by myopic fools who are in a tizzy because the price of gasoline threatens to reach the astronomical level of 50% of the price in Europe. This is a country that could not evacuate citizens out of the way of a levee break predicted for decades. This is a country with millions of citizens who firmly believe that if we bomb cities in Iraq that will keep Osama bin Laden, in his base in Pakistan, from carrying out his plans to bomb more tall buildings in America with planes.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Taxation without representation in DC? Yes (and the fact that this is rallying cry across social classes, issues, and centuries shows why Broce, who is already forgetting his recently learned civics, is wrong in his comment immediately above).

Taxation without much larger gravy train return servings of that taxation in DC? No

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


As we all know, the answers to a question on a questionaire or in a poll can vary radically depending on how the question is asked, what is asked before it, etc..

This time, I think Broce is probably right. The radio station result sounds unrepresentative. Most Americans would rather not think about how sausage is made, so their thoughts about it when asked out of the blue may not be very consistent or coherent.

How Broce managed to get his remarks here out without choking on prefab Rovian propaganda or issuing a jousting challenge is a mystery which I will not ponder.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Let's try that again using proper language.


I am sorry, but 30 or so posts later, I still don't understand your first post in this thread.


In your first post, (#87946), you asked, excuse me [Knights of the round table tournament trumpet fanfare] “issued the challenge”:

“what possible justification could there be for excusing them [non citizen immigrants] from paying taxes?”

The answer is simple. “No taxation without representation.”

Never mind your probably non-existent junior high school U.S. history text which would tell you (at least up until 20 or 30 years ago when dumbing- down became a semi-bedrock principle in America) that “No taxation without representation” is a bedrock principle of America’s system of government, embedded in our constitution (which is NOT the same thing as the Bill of [enumerated AND implied] Rights, the latter being a subset of the former),

JUST go to Google with the full quoted phrase: “No taxation without representation.”

This yields 184,000 hits.

Some are primarily about the history of the colonial period or the Revolution. Most are not. The phrase is used all the time and all over the place. It shows up in tons of court cases. It is trotted out to advocate everything under the sun from gay marriage to America dropping out of the UN. It is one of the most famous and often repeated phrases in American political discourse. The author of the article here uses it too, as you might have bothered to notice. Many of these uses are indeed dubious attempts to shore up various and sundry arguments with vague appeals to slogans. This vast chorus of slogan citers, like Hayduk and Khawaja, are not using the “no taxation without representation” argument in very convincing or credible ways. But that was not your question.

You did NOT ask “what VERY PERSUASIVE justification could there be for letting immigrants pay no taxes?”

You did NOT ask “what HISTORICALLY WELL-FOUNDED justification could there be for letting immigrants pay no taxes?”

You did NOT ask “what ECONOMICALLY PRACTICAL AND SOCIALLY CONSISTENT justification could there be for letting immigrants pay no taxes?

YOU ASKED/challenged/taunted/proclaimed etc: “what POSSIBLE justification could there be for letting immigrants pay no taxes?”

Khawaja and Hayduk have the same POSSIBLE justification as thousands of others before them:

“No taxation without representation”

Now, really, was that so tough ?

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

"You won’t find the right to “no taxation without representation” anywhere in [a] statute, regulation or the Constitution."

That is probably because nobody, not even Thomas Jefferson writing about "unalienable rights" in the Declaration of Independence, has ever considered it a "right." Principles like "separation of church and state" or "separation of powers" or "checks and balances" or "no taxation without representation" can be and are important ideals embedded in the Constitution without being rights.

10 posts later, you "now know" what my point about taxes and voting for representatives was, because you now understand a bit of what used to be 8th grade American civics. This longwinded conversation was not a fundamentally a matter of semantics, it was fundamentally a matter of you not knowing what you were talking about. Despite all its deficiencies, this is a History website, and if you don't know the history, then you ought to learn it before arrogantly fighting tooth and nail to defend your lack of knowledge.

You will now be slightly better equipped to defend Karl Rove's propaganda, or whatever else strikes your fancy, tooth and nail.
(There are, by the way, other methods of having discussions and even debates, that don’t involve putting on body armor and “issuing challenges”).

I had several other points in my first post beyond the historical relevance of "no taxation with representation" to the basic topic of the page. The other points were more relevant to the topic of immigration, and have been thoroughly ignored in this thread (though not in other threads) but if we have to learn the basics of American constitution history instead, so be it. It shouldn't take 10 posts though.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I don't know the answer to your pertinent question, but suppose that many illegal immigrants use bogus papers, and thus are paid not "under the table" but as formal employees on the payroll, and that taxes are therefore withheld from each paycheck regardless of whether any tax return is eventually filed or not. By the time any IRS auditor gets around to checking the fine print, the workers are likely off to the next job or back in Mexico.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

It is true that Patrick does not offer a workable solution to the current immigration problem in the US, though the little film clip (Patrick, where do you get this stuff?) is much more relevant to HNN's comment boards (generally) than it might at first at appear. Indeed, nobody else has much of a workable solution either, and for reasons that have to do at least in part with our fundamental nature as creatures living in organized territories.

There are, in fact, two diametrically opposed principles clashing here: (1) the basic individual human right to leave one part of the world and move to another and (2) the collective right of sovereign communities to set rules regarding how outsiders might join them as new members.

There are no magic solutions to this dilemma, only various possible (and typically rather messy) compromises. America's immigration policy for well over a century now has been, in fact, a shifting tangle of compromises, not full adherence to either of the two basically incompatible principles.

As a country we face two practical and immediate problems today with respect to immigration:

(a) Our current set of immigration compromises involves having millions of people among us classified, for the indefinite future, as (mostly, but not entirely) winked-at criminals. Needless to say, this set-up is not conducive to the sort of valiant proud model-future-citizen trajectory which Patrick extols.

(b) There is a widespread tendency -of which non-historian Mr. Hayduk offers a somewhat novel, but otherwise quite typical example- not to try to fashion practical reforms of our currently quite dysfunctional immigration compromise, but rather to use the resulting controversy as an excuse for all sorts of extraneous political purposes: political posturing, political straitjacketing, political pandering (e.g. the cockamamie proposal presented here), and miscellaneous forms of rabble-rousing. It could easily be a frame in Patrick's movie clip.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

What Mr. Khawaja is talking about can be found in your high school history text, Mr. Broce. Try looking under "No taxation without representation!"

Of course, there are practical exceptions to this principle, such as teenagers who work but don't vote.

Millions of legal immigrants have for generations come to America, accepted taxation withOUT representation during a kind of probationary period, and paid taxes while earning the later-granted rights of citizenship, most notably including the right to vote.

The problem now for the U.S. is with the other millions of immigrants, the illegal immigrants, to whom America has essentially said: "we want your labor and your taxes, but you cannot expect to ever be able to earn citizenship or voting rights."

Hayduk's solution is to say, in essence: "never mind earning citizenship, sneak into our country successfully and you can have at least the voting rights portion of it for free".

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Of course, “ 'No taxation without representation' is a slogan," just as are "all men are created equal," "life liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and "government of the people, by the people, and for the people." This are the "slogans" and bedrock principles of the United States of America.

Of course, if you don't like America's slogans, "its a free country," and that means you are free to leave it and emigrate anywhere else that wants you.

There are, for example, apparently a goodly quantity of high-paying jobs available in Iraq nowadays. Lots of hot air and desert there: think of it as the "Texas of the Mideast." I'm sure you'd like it there because the taxes on American expats are low to non-existent, and there are plenty of elections to vote in. Some natives might consider your presence there "illegal," but don't let that worry you, great, far-sighted and inspiring humanitarian leaders from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to George W. Bush agree that one should "not give a damn" about UN resolutions. Best of all, nobody there will "give a damn" what your school grades were in History.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Goodness, I thought we had finally finished this long digression. Well, Mr. Williams, you are indeed on to something. I did not want to muddy the waters while conducting the multiple-post remedial junior high American civics lesson here, but "no taxation without representation" is related to but nonetheless distinct from "no taxation without voting rights." That does not stop huge numbers of people in huge numbers of instances (DC being only one prominent example) from co-joining the two.

It does not cut much ice with me. The way I look at it, all of DC is basically a tax-payer funded set of public officials. It would be a kind of conflict of interest for them to have a equal voice in the policies and fund distributions of those they are supposed to serve.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

My my, Don. Quite an outpouring.

1. On your final point, I would say that America as we knew it before President-defacto Cheney is already fading fast. Not a reason to therefore move with recklessness and paranoia towards making our country East Germany. I have\, by the way, not "advocated" anything per se, except, by inference, that employer sanctions and stricter IDs would do more to cut illegal immigration than militarizing the borders.

2. I agree with your answers to Patrick's questions 1-3. This does not automatically mean however that those answers of yours are therefore "crap."

3. I have a question as well. Call it #7 if you want to append it to the prior list. What percentage of illegal immigrants in America today (give or take 10-20%) are here because of (a) false or expired documents versus (b) having entered without showing documents ?

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

As I said once already before in this thread, there are (and I would add, probably always will be, and always should be) limited exceptions to the "no taxes without voting rights" principle, such as for teens and for non-citizen immigrants. For most legal immigrants, the exception is temporary (after a time most either go back to the foreign country of origin, thus ceasing to pay U.S. taxes, or become U.S. citizens, thus acquiring the right to vote in U.S. elections). Illegal immigrants, however are in an indefinite limbo of taxation without representation, as long as they stay in the U.S.

There are three basic ways of reducing that UNlimited exception to this American principle: (a) stop illegal immigration (somehow) or (b) legalize the illegals, or (c) some mixture of the two. Had you bothered to do your homework before sounding off here, Mr. Broce, you might note that I am in agreement with George W. Bush that a mixture of greater restrictions on illegal immigration and more opportunities for legal immigration (i.e. option c) is the best way to go, and that the proposal of Hayduk (voting rights for all immigrants, to go along with paying taxes) and the proposal of Mr. Khawaja (no taxes on non-citizen immigrants to go along with no voting rights) are both irrelevant postures not worthy of serious consideration.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

For at least the second time here, I do NOT believe that “non-voting immigrants” should be “excused” from “paying taxes.” This means I agree with your objecting to Khawaja's original proposal, and always did.

What I do take issue with is your cavalier dismissal of history and common sense, whenever they conflict with your stubborn penchant for arguing and “issuing challenges,” even when (as here) there ought to be nothing to really argue about, let alone pretend to be a jousting knight about.

Broce (immediately above): "I, and millions of other Americans, have been and continue to be subjected to taxation without representation all the time"

Clarke: (#88002): “There are (and I would add, probably always will be, and always should be) limited exceptions to the ‘no taxes without voting rights’ principle, such as for teens and for non-citizen immigrants.”

Can it really be that the second of these two statements so fully contradicts the first that it must be regarded as “silly” “foolish” “incoherent” “crap,” to use your maturely precise terminology ?

Well, what are the relevant fractions and categories here ?

1. The figures (give or take a few millions):

Population of the U.S.: 300 million
Tax-Paying Non-Voting teens: 20 million, maybe
Tax-Paying Non-Voting Immigrants: perhaps another 20 million
Tax-Payers in one state voting in another: Let’s say 20 million again counting PATH train riders and the Grand Central Station crowd

Not countered here, of course, are people who are ALLOWED to vote but don’t bother, and people who don’t pay taxes because they have NO taxable income. Undoubtedly there are also a few other even more minor categories which should be counted but are ignored. Felons, for example.

2. As a rough ballpark approximation therefore, 60/300 = 20% of American residents are not permitted to vote for representatives of bodies levying taxes on them.

To be sure, this is not as “limited” an “exception” as the percentage of people in the world who are sufficiently lacking in awareness of current events or sound judgment or knowledge of history as to think that George W. Bush is doing an overall relatively competent job as U.S. president, but the “limited exceptions” in America today of people paying tax without being allowed to elect representatives to the body doing the taxing clearly do fit the dictionary definitions of “confined or restricted” “cases to which a rule does not apply.”

I do wonder, though, what American History textbook you read, or slept in front of, in High School which could have given you the idea that considering British taxes as one bedrock cause of the American Revolution was “antiquated” “idiocy.” Possibly a book written by one of those dangerous pro-Islamic-terrorist leftist professors that the great scholar and human rights advocate David Horowitz is so busy exposing? I also wonder whether you have ever read the U.S. Constitution, e.g. Article I, Section 7: “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.”

Of course, in a democratic system of government, taxpayers normally get, or at least expect to get, some benefit back from the taxes they pay. That is why, for example, if the hurried Iraq invasion and occupation had really been launched for the benefit of Americans, the U.S. president would have almost surely asked for an increase in taxes, as normally happens in real wars, instead of putting 100% of the burden of this deceit-ridden and horribly bungled foreign adventure onto your apparently non-existent, but many other peoples’ existing and surely to exist, grandchildren.

History, however, is also full of examples of non-democratic governments for whom taxation is a method of financing their oppression or exploiting their populaces. Stop and visit the House of Saud, e.g. enroute to your next visit to Iraq, for a contemporary example. Hence the importance, for true American patriots and genuine believers in democracy, of linking the power to tax with popularly chosen representation of the taxpayers in the taxing authority, and applying that link to most of us, most of the time.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Dear Rocket Man,

Thanks for your interesting perspectives. Keep sending the satellites our way. The occasional misshapen wayward asteroid among them can be deflected as needed.

My version of Paulsen’s quip was given already (perhaps it jogged your memory ?) in my first reply to Don Williams (Absolute zero mobility (#87872) ) above. In that comment, I went back to an even earlier and more fatally unenlightened immigration policy: on the part of the wholly mammoths of Northern Europe, Siberia and North America.

I agree with you that the American “melting pot” has been a key component of America’s strength, success, and uniqueness, even if it is basically what one poster here might deride as a “slogan.” The melting pot model also has its drawbacks and limitations, however, especially as a guide to future policy. For example, a century ago, when that phrase was coined, the world (and America, especially) were comfortably below the maximum sustainable level of that two-legged thin-haired monkey-cousin species. Now, by any sound reckoning, we are above it, and going to go further above it still. Regardless of the precise distribution of these primates, e.g. whether the USA takes in immigrants in the future at a greater or lesser rate than in the recent past, and how it does so, we will soon enough to be forced to finally and truly confront the reality that we have been collectively living beyond our ecological means and consuming our natural capital. This is a global problem, and it is foolhardy to think that America should try to come up with all the answers on its own.

We will see if anything comes out of the May 1 rallies. I expect more heat than light. This is an interesting issue, however, because -notwithstanding prefab charades such as Hayduk’s here (clearly no relation to monkey-wrencher George Hayduke)- the real issues of immigration, like many other big issues of the day, do not fit the archaic journalistic straitjacket of ”right” versus “left” (It was a small step forward when HNN finally took down the banner, “Articles from the left and from the right,” which headlined its main page until a year or two ago). In any case, I think that Hayduk is firmly in Fantasyland in dreaming that “the immigrant rights movement is today's civil rights movement and noncitizen voting is the suffrage movement of our time.” Gender and race are states of being. Immigration is a phase. But, I do expect more irrelevancy from this region of Fantasyland between now and the fall elections. Stay tuned and keep your BS-o-meter calibrated for high volume.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Don, in your latest two posts, you have (apparently inadvertently)

(a) stumbled on the central inconsistency within the "minutemen" or "crackdown hard on immigration" crowd and

(b) neatly illustrated why it would be very shortsighted of America to ignore the rest of the world when debating a policy that effects how people from the rest of the world will be able to move to (or even visit) our country.

I know of only one example in modern history of a border resembling the one you advocate for US-Mexico: East Germany. (Korea on the divide between North and South might be a second). I don't know if you ever visited the so-called German Democratic Republic, but I did once, and it was not a land of happy campers. The first chance they got, they tore the loathed wall down. Indeed the destruction of the Berlin Wall was the a key cause, not just a result, of the "Velvet Revolution" of 1989. It was, of course, a wall for the purpose of keeping people in rather than for keeping them out, but to people who want to cross a border, to visit relatives on the other side, and for a million other reasons, a wall is a wall.

The cost of constructing such a barrier is probably far greater than you intimate, and this in any case would be a move that a proud and confident people would take only as a last resort. Even the Israelis, with a vastly shorter border, and vastly greater security reasons for fortifying it, are doing so with considerable reluctance (partly for political (land-grabbing) reasons, but also because of what it says about their country, its purpose, and their ability to be good neighbors.

Furthermore, such a Berlin Wall between San Diego and Brownsville would certainly not be the magic solution to illegal immigration which you imagine. Illegal immigrants do not come only from Mexico, and many of the illegal Mexican arrivees come not via winding desert trails Poncho Villa style, but through the regular checkpoints using falsified docs.

Which then leads to the central inconsistency here. NO other country in modern times but East Germany (and now probably Israel, and perhaps North Korea) ever tried to wall itself off to the extent you propose, but NEARLY EVERY other country in the world does have some kind of tamper-proof standard National ID card. These other places have immigration problems but nothing like the level of chaotic, undocumented and often demeaning illegal immigration of the USA: because it is easy to go into a factory or restaurant and check IDS. You are living in a libertarian fantasy if you think that countries with national IDs, like Sweden or Belgium have vastly more intrusive governments than ours, or that blindly objecting to the common sense move of a standardized form of reliable identification would do JackS--- to stop all kinds of abuses of human rights coming at us from the likes of Cheney and Rove and their quite possibly much worse successors and emulators.

"Eternal vigilance" by an enlightened and dedicated citizenry is "the price of liberty." It cannot be obtained through high tech gadgetry, nor by pretending that we still live on the 19th century Wild West frontier fully apart from the rest of the world.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Nice to hear, Mr. B., after many weeks of your rote repetition of Karl Rove concocted propaganda on Iraq that you now consider "introducing" George Bush and Iraq into the discussion here to be "incoherent crap." Fine. Enough said about that. But what do we have here instead of the Cheney-Bush Party line recited ad nauseum? Four posts in a row all entitled "noncitizen obligations." You may not be old enough to recall where the expression comes from, but your utterances in this thread are becoming like a "broken record." How about bit of actual history instead ?


No Taxation Without Representation

Chief among the grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence was the fact that King George violated the “laws of nature and of nature's God” by “imposing taxes on us without our consent.” Colonies were taxed but denied representation in Parliament. In contrast, the Constitution documents how the Founding Fathers believed that an ideal government, in submission to the law of nature, should operate. Accordingly, the Constitution sought to remedy the taxation problem by requiring in Article I, Section 7, that bills for revenue originate in the House of Representatives, the body of government closest to the American people.




Mr. MADISON ... wished to maintain the character of liberality which had been professed in all the Constitutions and publications of America. He wished to invite foreigners of merit and republican principles among us. America was indebted to emigratiol1 for her settlement and prosperity. That part of America which had encouraged them most, had advanced most rapidly in population, agriculture and the arts.

Mr. MERCER: It was necessary, he said, to prevent a disfranchisement of persons who had become citizens, under the faith and according to the laws and Constitution, from their actual level in all respects with natives.

Colonel MASON: the Senate did not represent the people, but the States, in their political character. It was improper therefore that it should tax the people. ...The practice in England was in point. The House of Lords does not represent nor tax the people, because not elected by the people. If the Senate can originate, they will in the recess of the Legislative sessions, hatch their mischievous projects, for their own purposes, and have their money bills cut and dried (to use a common phrase) for the meeting of the House of Representatives....in all events...the purse strings should be in the hands of the representatives of the people.

Mr. GERRY considered this as a part of the plan that would be much scrutinized. Taxation and representation are strongly associated in the minds of the people; and they will not agree that any but their immediate representatives shall meddle with their purses. In short, the acceptance of the plan will inevitably fail, if the Senate be not restrained from originating money bills.

Mr. DICKINSON: Experience must be our only guide. Reason may mislead us. It was not reason that discovered the singular and admirable mechanism of the English constitution. It was not reason that discovered, or ever could have discovered, the odd, and, in the eyes of those who are governed by reason, the absurd mode of trial by jury. Accidents probably produced these discoveries, and experience has given a sanction to them. This is, then, our guide. And has not experience verified the utility of restraining money bills to the immediate representatives of the people? ...all the prejudices of the people would be offended by refusing this exclusive privilege to the House of Representatives...Eight States have inserted in their Constitutions the exclusive right of originating money bills in favor of the popular branch of the Legislature.



"...the establishment of a common measure for representation and taxation will have a very salutary effect."

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Despite its sops to politically correct multiculturalism, this article is written in a vacuum of international ignorance and US-centered myopia.

If giving non-citizens the right to vote has all the blessings claimed for it here, then surely somewhere amongst the 200 or so nations of the world, there must be at least one good precedent relevant to this question for America today, and thus deserving of mention, even in a short piece such as this one.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

“guest worker programs and deportation streamlining will mean nothing until the border is more secure” ?

Stock phrase repetition is creeping back in, Mr. B. but with a twist: Bush ADVOCATED the guest worker program. It was his less "compassionate" co-non-conservatives in Congress who fed you that line.

But, the purpose of my post here is to address the more limited issue of what I see as a crucial distinction between the INTENTIONS and the EFFECTS of building massive border fortifications. Or: when is "a wall a wall" ?

Germany, 1961-89, Korea, 1950-present, Israel, and the U.S. and Mexico today are all very different situations, of course. But, there are nonetheless some similarities between these various instances of blocked borders.

One common feature is that the freedom to leave one country is of little practical value unless it is accompanied by at least a likely possibility of being able to enter some other country. In that limited but important sense, a wall is a wall.

Nobody has a more acute understanding of this than Israelis old enough to personally remember how their nation-state was founded by survivors of families wiped out, in all too many instances, as a direct consequence of the ability to leave Nazi-controlled territory not being accompanied by the permission and/or ability to seek refuge elsewhere. Such memories are a bigger reason for the long though now diminished reluctance to build a protective wall around Israel than are any supposed changes in the rate of violent attacks on Israel which have been, in fact, occuring off and on for decades (and even the wall itself will not completely prevent all attacks). There are, of course, a number of other reasons for the shifting course of Israeli politics and poliicies which, however, are not germane to this page.

Similarly, the freedom to leave Mexico and enter Guatemala is not the same as the freedom to leave Mexico and enter the United States.

Like Israel, the U.S. has little practical choice but to seriously inhibit the freedom of people to enter it. In contrast to Israel, however, America has a wider variety of alternatives as to HOW we control movement across our borders. And our tradition is one of a being a haven for adherents of ANY religion, including none, not just one religion.
And while Mexican immigrants, like all immigrants, are a mixed bunch -some worthy additions to the U.S. population, some not- none of them, at least so far, has ever showed any inclination to cross into America in order to blow himself or herself up in a cafe.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

"Imagine there's no countries..."
J. Lennon

What is a passport if not a form of national ID ?

The travel industry need not be overly concerned, however. About the rising cost of jet fuel and of filling the all-American Apple Pie Spectacularly Unneccesary Vehicle SUV, yes. But about the mark of th beast, no.

Those liable to take the Book of Revalations literally (a) don't actually read the Bible much, or much of anything else much either (b) have travel itineraries which focus on routes between the boob tube and the fridge and (c) have more interesting ways to sin and have their torment ascend eternally upwards, in the name of the Cheney and the Son and the Holy Rove forever and ever, Amen.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

"Whoa Whoa Whoa" indeed. Try reading and then posting in that order.

The discussion for at least the last 8 posts, starting with Broce's #87967 is NOT about whether illegal immigrants today are in any significant way similar to the American revolutionaries 240 years ago. I never claimed anything of the sort. In fact I pointed out explictly in my first post here that immigrants were one of several well-established exceptions to ONE general principle otherwise shared by the pre-independence revolutionaries and subsequent Americans.

The discussion has focused instead on Broce's weird stubborn insistence that (as he put it in #88019):

"The fact is, there is no such “bedrock principle” [of "no taxation without representation"] existing in American law or history."

It is a safe bet that Broce's probably illiterate but probably hard-working immigrant ancestors would never have passed their American naturalization citizenship tests had they displayed such an arrogant, ignorant, and disrespectful disregard for America's founding fathers.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

For the umpteenth time, Mr. Broce, I have never objected to you or anyone else making well-founded criticisms of the proposal that immigrants should be excused from paying taxes because they are not allowed to vote. Why is that so hard to get through your dense cranium. ?

My objection is to your unAmerican arrogance which scars this page as it has so many others before it. It is posters like you that make HNN the disgrace to History that it still is despite some improvements in recent years.

I think we can see one source of your foolishness, however. Amidst the incessant deluge of arrogant bombast lies an inability to remember from one post to the next what you yourself have written.

Exhibit A:

Re: noncitizen obligations (#88019)
by Steve Broce on April 29, 2006 at 12:53 PM

"If you want to believe that “no taxation without representation” is good public policy or basic fairness, that’s ok with me. If you want to claim that it was a “bedrock principle of the United States of America”, as you have, then I’m going to dispute the notion. The fact is, there is no such “bedrock principle” existing in American law or history."

Exhibit B:

“Re: noncitizen obligations (#88057)
by Steve Broce on April 30, 2006 at 11:27 AM

I never said that “no taxation without representation” was unknown in history. I said that it was not a “bedrock principle of the United States of America”. Do you understand the difference? Roll it around on your tongue, Pete. Sound it out. “Not a bedrock principles [sic] of the United States of America.”,“non-existent "in American law or history". Very different. Not the same at all. They don’t even sound the same.”

Which of these two deceptive semantic evasions would you like to hide behind ? “No such bedrock principle EXISTING in American law or history” or “Not a ‘bedrock principle OF the United States of America.’“ Take your pick, they are both stupidly wrong.

After you come back from Iraq (or whatever other country you prefer to try to enter legally or illegally, since you are so clearly scornful of the basic principles of American government) maybe you should apply to work on rewriting Clinton’s memoir where he "explains" how he didn’t lie about Monica because it all depends what “is is”.

I have explained now several times in this thread what every attentive 8th grader use to know in America (and knew without “issuing challenges” like some thick-skulled playground bully and pretending that the “challenge” was not addressed when that “challenge” was shown to be based on ignorance):

“No taxation without representation” is enshrined in the American Constitution by virtue of the most representative national body of our government the House of REPRESENTATIVES being given in that document the sole authority to initiate all laws pertaining to taxes. This is evidenced by the minutes of the constitution convention where the founding fathers (whom you flagrantly insult time and again) spelled their reasoning out in black and white.

See my post “No taxation without representation" non-existent "in American law or history" ? (#88022)
by Peter K. Clarke on April 29, 2006 at 2:56 PM" above, for the details of the Constitutional Convention which you are trying to pretend I did not give.

You cannot get more “bedrock” than the founding fathers framing the constitution in 1787. There is no higher law the U.S. constitution. There is no more important document in the political history of my country. Your repeated denial of this simple reality is pure childishness.

Of course, as I have said numerous times already, there are exceptions to this principle just as there exceptions to EVERY principle including the right to free speech not being a right to yell “fire” in a crowded theatre.

I think this tangential 8th grade history lesson has gone on more than long enough, and anybody with a life who is still following it would be well advised to now return to that life. I expect that Mr. Broce will, however, try some further deceptive evasion to hide his embarrassing ignorance. After the playground bully is knocked down he often whines for sympathy, or tries to act tough through his tears, or invents lies to cover up his disgrace.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Good find, Patrick. Thanks.

Like the coats of arms at the end.

Conspicuous by their absence (in the context of the dubious original article on this page) are any mention of Mexican nationals in the USA marching in demonstrations generally or agitating publicly for the right to vote in the USA, in particular.

It should go without saying, but doesn't, so I will note that while this interesting document shows little regard for the interests of the United States of America, one cannot seriously fault the Mexican authorities for producing it. By all indications, they are doing their best to help their citizens play the migration to El Norte game by the Byzantine labyrinth of internally contradictory rules which the USA has set.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


"5 “And our tradition is one of a being a haven for adherents of ANY religion, including none, not just one religion.”

More irrelevancy. Mexicans DO NOT come here because of religious persecution. Anyone who has visited Mexico knows that the practice of religion is robust in Mexico."


My comment, which Broce cites, was a comparison between Israel and the USA, not a observation about any policy or cultural practice in Mexico. It IS relevant to compare Israel and the USA in the discussion in this thread, because Israel is the only other country actively involved in building a major military barricade around itself at this time, and it behooves the U.S. to pay attention to the experience of other countries, including their DIFFERENCES to my country, the USA, before deciding on anything like the policy proposed by Mr. Williams above. This is an example of the point I made in my first post on this page (far above now) about the inadvisability of the U.S. ignoring the rest of the world when considering immigration matters, which are a global concern.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Radio Station KQV, Pittsburgh, PA the nations second oldest commercial broadcast station and home to Rush Limbaugh conducted a poll of 1568 respondents with 820 respondents in favor of amnesty for illegals... thats 52% for those who are math challenged... from a nazified radio station...

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


You probably are correct. However, the material is interesting all the same. We are so intent on degrading/ isolating/ targeting Mexican immigrants... this is the root cause of all the commotion that;

a.) We have yet to see a post here that puts the shoe on the other foot. What is life really like for migrant?

b.) The actual actions/ non-actions of the INS including hard visa quota numbers were totally ignored.

c.) Other groups of illegals from China, Ireland. Africa, Cuba, Eastern Europe have been totally ignored.

d.) Not one word was mentioned of the rape/ economic disaster/ environmental tragedy the US has created on the Mexican side of the border in the Maquiladora.

As long as US corporate interests are busy despoiling the people/land south of the border the news coverage or HNN discussion was/is nil. The US only wants it one way... our way... and to hell with the rest of the planet. NAFTA is only a one way treaty... the US way.

e.) Most telling of all one poster from the Philippines clearly explained his plight/ citizenship limbo by being born under US occupation/ prior to 1946 Philippine independence and not one HNN poster tagged on to respond to offer support/empathy.

Many posts to this thread were sadly racist in shape and form which was very disheartening.

Tomorrow is May 1st. We'll see who has the last word on this issue.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


This post was totally ignored yet, spoke to the issues of US v. World more clearly than any other written message here.

noncitizens right to vote by domingo tunacao arong (April 25, 2006 at 2:10 AM)

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


It was stated twice on air during drive time. What can one expect these days from wing nut radio...

Maybe, they were lying to incite whitey to grab additional pitchforks/torches before heading on over to the local Taco Tina's...

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


You are correct in the point of my ignorance on a wide range of subjects as many other HNN posters can surely attest. That is why I come here... to read, learn and participate in the discussion. Not being well versed on this issue I would have preferred passive participation but, could not avoid posting once the threads began to play out in the most inhumane of terms.

The information you have provided and arguments presented are excellent. You may be very well correct in that the borders are easily sealed and the sea is as dangerous an entry route as stated. The few times I have been in blue water has been quite exciting. This was in large pleasure boats so any makeshift raft would invite uncertain consequences for the migrant. However, many are willing to risk life to enter the US by transit on the high seas.

Maybe you can alleviate further my ignorance by entertaining a final few questions...

1.) How do drugs/narcotics freely enter the US if the sea lanes are as dangerous or well patrolled as you state?

2.) If the fence costs were as reasonable as you claim or funds readily available then why all the haggling? Why are we not digging post holes and stringing chain link?

Maybe, we can sell off sections of the fence to corporate sponsors/naming rights... the Presidio Pepsi Mile or the WalMart Laredo Links or the McDonald's McAllen McMuffin Corridor...

3.) Is a fence across the US/ Canadian border practical/necessary? Are Canadian illegal immigrants really at issue here and do they even exist?

4.) Who do you propose/recommend/figure will do the actual labor once the migrant worker is shut out of the US domestic workforce? What is the economic loss/impact in dollars, if any, of closing the borders? How do we make up this loss in dollars/labor/productivity?

5.) My passport was obtained of free will to travel abroad. How will a forced National ID program make naturalized citizens safer? How to prevent forgery? How to stop bribery for entry into the US.? In addressing these questions remember Peter's point... the 9/11 hijackers were in the US on legal issue passports.

Your points no matter technically feasible, well intentioned or affordable are not practical and basically un-American. If by closing our borders could we still be called the Land of The Free or would we be more rightly called Gulag Nation?

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

"All the problems we face in the United States today can be traced to an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American Indian” --Pat Paulsen

Thankfully, my ancestors escaped excruciating poverty and were able to cross from Ireland and Italy respectively, shortly after the turn of the century, to a far better life. Likewise, many here are of similar stock and can make the same grateful claim. Bred from immigrants who made this country truly special, fought so valiantly in war and raised children with loving care and pride.

Now that our club has become so exclusive we are in a strong position to keep out the riffraff/ undesirables while, allowing a select few individuals with the skill sets we desperately require or financial wherewithal we mistakenly respect in order to advance our society to even far greater heights.

Those we deem inferior have no place in this brave new world for they are beneath us.

Or are they?


Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


Why do you need my solutions? You answered all your own questions with the cross to my post. We need to fully enforce the current immigration laws and issue strict punitive fines/ imprisonment for employers.

Unfortunately, we both know that this has/is not going to happen. Let's look at the reality of the issue. Correct me if wrong as usually my posts are nonsense/full of H2 size holes and I have not done this type of legal immigration hiring in quite a few years. Discounting student F/M visas...

In 2006 the H1B limit is 66,000 for skilled/ qualified employment candidates who must have a job before entry with a sponsoring employer at a cost of US $1,685 + $500 fraud fee + attorney fees and optional $1,000 premium processing for quick turn around. Requires documented proof. Process takes approximately (6) months once employment/sponsorship is secured. 2006 is closed and will open for 2007 in October of this year.

In 2006 GC (Green Card Lottery) limit 50,000- 2006/ 55,000- 2007 at a cost of $4,285 + attorney fees and takes approximately 3.5 - 6 years to acquire. You need to meet requirements/ eligible country.

EB1 (Extraordinary Ability/Researchers/Executives/ Managers) EB2 (Master's degree or equivalent w/ 3 years experience) EB3 (Bachelor's degree or at least two years of training/experience w/ 5 years experience) who have applied for labor certification are also awarded in limited number.


As you can see the base requirements are stringent/ costly so how do 8-11 million day laborers fit their square peg into the INS round hole?

From the employers side I have many stories to share. I lived in a small Texas town that had a cop shop on the river next to a large area for a farmers market. Each morning the job boss would pull up and pick... you/you/you... next boss and so on... right next door/ in front of the Police Station. The migrants worked farming (roses were big biz) and timber. Paid cash at the end of the day and maybe a 40 oz'er at days end. The migrants lived in cars (chevy station wagons preferred) or squating in the piney woods.

Large employers... chicken processing for example... what a job this is... would work migrants off shift. The INS (G-jobs) do not come out for 2nd/3rd shift. The INS is undermanned and only come out on complaints in most cases. If caught the employer pays a small fine in comparison to labor cost savings. In fact the employers faces higher percent/fines for poor I-9 paperwork during general duty clause inspections than they do working illegals.

So the INS is understaffed/funded. The US is a very big country and this job is a logistics nightmare. What do you propose to reign in this behemoth?

I have some ideas but, this cow will need to be eaten one hamburger at a time and we have until Monday... MAY 1st IMMIGRANT DAY BOYCOTT... to sort this all out... For now there is enough info here to attack...

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


What's happening? I usually get these little trinkets through a network of friends. You should see the pornographic jokes/videos I am sent... quite embarrassing for a recovering Catholic... however, never for viewing here at HNN.

We will try to toss up some solutions over the next few days although, the guest worker idea has some merit it also has some draw backs... take a look at our questionable friends in Dubai and their current problems with 3rd class treatment of guest workers from India/ Indonesia/ Philippines. People not only want to make a living wage but, as the slideshow 'Dance Monkey Dance' proves to have some dignity/ respect from the ruling simians. Europe especially, France is a mess over immigration/ employment/ dignity & respect. So the US is not alone as the destination of choice for those seeking a better life nor the accompanying societal trauma.

The issue of free migration versus squatters right is the perplexing dilemma we face here in the US. I am surprised that neither you nor Steve took a poke at the Pat Paulsen quote. Good old Pat. A joke as a Presidential Candidate who made more sense than the legitimate frontrunners... certainly better than Nixon in '72.

As to your point a.) I do not see these folk as criminals in any way, shape or form... laws are written (usually by bad attorneys working for worse men) to be rewritten/broken.... Anarchy in the USA; we'd be better off/ more free/ more capitalist... but, that is another subject for another thread.

You write, "Needless to say, this set-up is not conducive to the sort of valiant proud model-future-citizen trajectory which Patrick extols."

If this were not true then beginning in 1629 with major influxes 1710-75, 1790-1817, 1850-1930 the US would not be the great society it is today. Without immigrants pushed the native population across a continent onto Alcatraz where/what would this country be... melting pot/Statue of Liberty/innovation & Industrialization/America the shining beacon... Now a new wave of immigrants over 100 years time may generate the next explosion of Americanism... What is the white man so afraid of? Totally loosing their grip from an already tedious hold maybe?

Sidebar... why does the MSM only disparage hispanics/ mexicans immigrants when we have Asians/ Africans/ Europeans here here illegally... white Irish in NY or white Poles in Chicago... this is a US versus Mexican issue at heart...

As to point b.) Hayduk's article is irrelevant. For the immigrant it is eat first vote last. It is only the vote whoring polls who fire up this engine for a few useless miles/talking points. After a generation or two the immigrant families will be like 60% of Americans and fail to vote in any given election. I'll pass on the merits or lack thereof within this essay.

Here is some good fodder for you Peter. Have at it...

Until tomorrow... Take care...

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Mr. Williams,

No way will I ever get a National ID Card or chip. You heard it here... the USA's first open dissenter... the use of National ID or a chip is the mark of the Beast as foretold by John of Patmos in Revelations.

Rev 13:16-18 And [the Antichrist] causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

And that no man might buy or sell, save [except] he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

I deal strictly in cash anyway, have no use for my credit cards, am well known to my banker and broker so my dissent will be quite open. It is bad enough to be tagged with a Social Security number.

Before I submit to this affront my life will be freely surrendered up to my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ first.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


Thanks for another excellent post. You leave very little room for debate however, you continue to fail to account for the X factor... the determination of the human spirit and the actions of desperate men. Couple this with the empathy of the native populace and the case for sealed borders is more lost cause than a call to arms.

No matter what we do there will never be a stop to illegal immigration. We may slow it's advance but, someone/somewhere will figure a way to defeat our countermeasures and word spreads.... fast and with surprising stealth. Just look at how unaware/unprepared officials were for last months street protests. How did 1,000,000 migrants know about the nationwide protest marches and the USG did not?

This weeks marches were well publicized and polls showed that between 50-60% of native respondents favored the immigrants and the granting of amnesty. When the US population backs the downtrodden migrant over the nativist zealot then the battle is clearly lost. Now that many former illegals are citizens the lifeline is in place. Blood is thick and countrymen will always fend for their like fellows.

You write. "If things continue as you and Peter advocate, America as we have known it will not exist 20 years from now." Please read my posts again. I am no advocate of illegal immigration. I believe the INS needs full funding, additional manpower and the legal means to punish employers who violate immigration laws. We have not done so, currently fail to do so and will not do so in the future. If this were not true then why did Tyson Foods have to shutter (9) processing plants yesterday?

Let's not look ahead twenty years but, a mere twenty months. We've opened the floodgates so be prepared for the deluge.

The laws are on the books we just didn't execute.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Peter, Don and Steve...

Actually Peter, Elton John is still the Rocket Man well, was anyway. Now he is really poor reviews Vampire Opera Man. I found the alluding of Huydak's name to Edward Abbey's George Hayduke (Doug Peacock) character very amusing. It may be difficult for Hayduke to solve our immigration problems with a few well placed charges and righteous battle against the forces of evil environmental immigrants but, anything is better than what we currently have going.

As to Don's points the, "Our borders could be easily sealed" is a real stretch and a virtual impossibility to accomplish/carry out. The fence with Mexico, if it is ever constructed, will be easily defeated and how does one seal a 3000+ mile border with Canada? Physical barriers are always defeated by a perps greatest weapon... the well placed/received bribe. Currently, the easiest way to illegally pass between the USA and Mexico is by border tunnels. How will a fence defeat this entry method?

The other issue for the US is defending 12,383 miles of coastline. How many cases where crates of dead Chinese reported have we encountered over the past (10) years? The US is just way to big to place within a protective bubble.

As to Peter's East German example this may have been the best use of walled isolation but, it only prevented movement into the west or a mere fraction of the total miles the US needs to seal. North/ South Korea is reportedly tunnel land and there is a great deal of movement by sea. Again the borders are tiny with respect to the US and heavily mined.

Fences and border patrol are feel good measures only. Both are easily defeated, immensely cost prohibitive and in the case of fences a maintenance nightmare.

I must agree with Peter and humph... cough... gag... ah, Mr. Bush.

A well administered/ funded INS with reasonable annual visa quota's coupled with a properly executed guest worker program is our best option. Also, stiff/ no nonsense penalties for employer violations is paramount.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Deport nothing comrade... These are excellent subjects for military service as foot soldiers in our never ending/ perpetual corporate sponsored War On Terror®...

As the vast majority of fat/ lazy/ illiterate/ uneducated/ useless white Americans won't serve our glorious war of oil conquest... no draft no way for the slovenly... let's man the ranks with immigrants... Rome did it.

If they get blown away no one will complain and who'll miss them?

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

As distributed by the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Relations.


This guide is not only useful for migrants but, in our understanding of their plight and dangers faced in the challenges presented by el norte and the peoples of the Estados Unidos.

andy mahan - 9/18/2006

Though the argument has been intentionally diverted to morality, historical precedent, and the “rights” of illegal immigrants, the reason we are here is wholly economic. Absent the economics, the condition would not exist. First, as Don said, the problem is an outgrowth of insidious American capitalists directing the invisible hand of the American marketplace. These people are stealing from the lowest wage earners in America by dumping cheap labor on the market. These are the same people that extol “free market capitalism” yet when the free market tries to right itself by equalizing wage disparities they no longer want the market to be so “free.”

On the supply side of the illegal immigration scam, Mexico is a willing co-conspirator. They have negligently failed to provide for their people when comparing national wealth with other developing states. Just in the short term, there is no secret of Mexico’s failure to maximize on NAFTA. Ultimately, there are very few states on this globe with the wealth disparity that the Mexican technocrats enjoy, and they are not interested in a change any time soon.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am pro Capitalism. Capitalism is the greatest wealth-producing engine in the history of mankind. But, what these people are doing is not Capitalism, and it is up to Joe six pack to make them play by the rules.

Now if labor in America is too expensive, it is entirely within a business owner’s prerogative to move production off shore to compete, both domestically and globally, but to flood the American marketplace in disregard of law, with cheap labor and leave the taxpayers to pick up the hidden costs of the business owner’s savings, i.e. school, medical, housing, is gutless.

andy mahan - 9/18/2006

Whoa, whoa, whoa, the two circumstances are nothing alike. The only comparison can be of the differences as no likeness exists. On one hand you have British Colonial Revolutionaries attempting to throw off the exploitive yoke of the crown occupying this land legally. On the other hand are people who have invaded America criminally and Illegally who aren't even asking to not pay taxes they accept that the little they pay is nothing compared to the comparative riches they reap.

andy mahan - 9/18/2006

Why is it necessary that 50% of your postings are insults? Make your case. That aside, as is often part of your debate style you are again trying to revise your earlier argument. You didn't make ONE point, you made several points ONE of them was the taxation crap. That ONE comparison using the exhausted liberal argument that "two wrongs make a right" was so loosely applied to the facts that when you step back from it you can easily see that there is absolutely NO comparison between British Colonists and Mexican Illegal Interlopers.

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

I was more interested by the second half of the author's thesis than the first. I don't see the wisdom of granting non-citizens the right to vote, but I do see the injustice of the fact that noncitizens have to pay taxes while lacking the right to vote.

Can anyone offer a rational justification for that? Why not prevent them from voting but relieve them of having to pay taxes?

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Sorry, I meant the first half of the author's thesis, not the second (going by the order in the title).

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

That's not a rational justification. It's a series of non-sequiturs.

I didn't say anything about the benefits that non-citizens receive, or don't receive. I simply asked whether there is a justification for making them pay taxes. You haven't provided one.

There is probably a good case to be made that only taxpaying citizens should have access to certain tax-funded services. So non-citizens would be excluded from taxpaying along with voting and those services. That's fine, but it's a separate issue. So the question remains: regardless of what services they should or shouldn't have access to, why should they pay taxes at all?

You say that the majority of non-citizens don't declare their taxes. Maybe. What about the minority who do?

As for the supposed majority who don't declare, could you provide a reference or a source?

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Great answer--no hits, all errors, lots of bluster. Spare me. You don't have an answer to the question I asked, you don't have research to back up the claims you made, and you have a lot of blather to offer on subjects I didn't bring up.

I'm sure that the practicalities of excluding people from various governments services are smaller in scope than the practicalities of deporting every (undocumented) illegal alien in the United States to a point outside of American borders. But even that wasn't the question I was asking. I see you don't have an answer to that, so I won't bother trying to get one from you.

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

My question wasn't about illegal immigrants, much less poor illegal immigrants. It was about non-citizens as a whole. The question you're asking and answering is simply not the same as mine, and has little bearing on it.

Of course, both legal and illegal immigrants pay sales taxes. You don't need a Social Security number for that.

You all are so exercised about illegal immigrants that you don't have the wits to see that the answer to my question is not necessarily a great comfort to illegal immigrants. If non-citizens don't pay taxes, perhaps they also shouldn't get the benefits that taxes pay for. E.g., does it make sense for non-citizens to pay into Social Security or get SS benefits, (even if they move back to their home countries)? I don't see it.

Perhaps citizenship should be a more exclusive club with greater benefits and greater burdens. I.e., maybe those old "slogans"--taxation without representation, the consent of the governed--ought to taken more seriously than they currently are but any party to the immigration debate.

Steve Broce - 5/4/2006

And how Pete managed to post anything at all without using the words "chickenhawk" or "treason" is an even bigger mystery.

I was hoping for a grand slam by Peter, but he just couldn't get a comment out without "Rovian".

Better luck next time, Pete.

Steve Broce - 5/4/2006

And how Pete managed to post anything at all without using the words "chickenhawk" or "treason" is an even bigger mystery.

I was hoping for a grand slam by Peter, but he just couldn't get a comment out without "Rovian".

Better luck next time, Pete.

Steve Broce - 5/4/2006

Ohhh, if they repeated the results of an unscientific poll, taken in a limited geographic area of radio listeners TWICE, then it must represent the entire United States.

You didn't say they repeated the results TWICE in your original post.

Boy,if they had mentioned the results THREE TIMES then we'd reeeally have something.

Steve Broce - 5/3/2006

Come on, Patrick. You know that is not a reliable statistic. Around here, northern California, where there are many, many illegals, the support for "amnesty" is no where near 50-60%, even among the millions of legal hispanic residents.

My guess is that, nationwide, support for "amnesty" is very low.

Suppoert for a "guest worker" program is probably much higher, but it's a stretch to call that "amnesty"

Steve Broce - 5/3/2006

"This weeks marches were well publicized and polls showed that between 50-60% of native respondents favored the immigrants and the granting of amnesty."

I'd like to see your authority for this figure. Sounds way high to me.

Steve Broce - 5/2/2006

Pete, you complaining about "unnecessary rudeness" is a perfect example of what psychologists call "projection".

Kinda like David Duke complaining about racism.

Steve Broce - 5/2/2006

For years, DC residents have tried to have voting representatives based on the " no taxation without representation” argument and never got anywhere. The reason: “no taxation without representation” is not a “bedrock principle of the United States of America”

Don Williams - 5/2/2006

See http://www.dcwatch.com/richards/010907.htm

Don Williams - 5/2/2006

Re your comment "all of DC is basically a tax-payer funded set of public officials"

1) The District of Columbia's 2000 population was 572,059. If we take away the 20.1 percent
under 18, we are still left with about 450,000. See http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/11000.html .

2) The number of federal employees residing in the District -- as opposed to commuting in from Northern Virginia and Maryland -- was only 44,600 in 2000. See Table 3 of https://www.mwcog.org/uploads/committee-documents/911fWQ20030421153517.pdf#search='district%20of%20columbia%20number%20of%20federal%20workers'

3) I lived in the Washington area in the 1980s. Much of the District is made up of blue collar to poor
black families --e.g., the Anacostia and Prince George's area.

For decades, Southern members of Congress ran the District --because of their long seniority in Congress gave them Chairmanships on Congressional Committees.

The District is best thought of as a South Carolina plantation before the Civil War. Our seat of government is the very epitome of "taxation without representation".

Don Williams - 5/2/2006

Here are my answers to your questions:

[Question 1.) How do drugs/narcotics freely enter the US if the sea lanes are as dangerous or well patrolled as you state?]
ANSWER: A 120 pounds of cocaine package is worth $Millions --whereas a 120 lb illegal slave is worth what -- $5000?

The package of cocaine can be cut up into many small packages, stuffed into oddly shaped nooks and crannies within legal imports. It can, for example, be hidden within secret holes inside the legs of furniture. An illegal person cannot be so divided.

The cocaine package can be dropped onto the sea bed for later retrieval by another boat from the USA. The illegal person cannot.

The cocaine package does not require continuous air supply, food and water.
It can be hidden on a ship. By contrast, a ship would have a hard time concealing even one illegal person from an inspection by the Coast Guard.

Because of NAFTA, there are huge numbers of tractor trailer trucks cross the Mexican -US border every day. Cocaine can survive heavy radiation from inspection instruments -- people get radiation sickness.

[Question 2.) If the fence costs were as reasonable as you claim or funds readily available then why all the haggling? Why are we not digging post holes and stringing chain link?]
ANSWER: Because US corporations and wealthy capitalists are greedy. Not satisfied with their enormous wealth, they want to get more by driving US wages down into the mud. The psychological effect on the larger US workforce -- a cowed, fearful and servile US workforce -- is just as valuable as the cheaper wages of illegals.

[Question 3.) Is a fence across the US/ Canadian border practical/necessary? Are Canadian illegal immigrants really at issue here and do they even exist?]
ANSWER: The Canadian barrier was given as a response to Peter's suggestion that impoverished illegals with $100 net worth would take expensive airline flights to Canada in order to infiltrate the US so that they could then walk 800 miles south of the Canadian border to gain $2/hour jobs in California's Central Valley.

[Question 4.) Who do you propose/recommend/figure will do the actual labor once the migrant worker is shut out of the US domestic workforce? What is the economic loss/impact in dollars, if any, of closing the borders? How do we make up this loss in dollars/labor/productivity?]
ANSWER: There are seven million unemployed Americans. The problem will increase when our National Guard troops return from Iraq and want their civilian jobs back.

Plus we have a limping economy even though Bush and the Republicans have pissed away $3 TRILLION in the past 5 years -- $3 TRILLION stolen in part from the Social Security/Medicare Trust funds and partly borrowed from the Chinese.

When this drunken sailor finally hits his credit card limit, the economy will crash and unemployment will soar.

None of this is necessary. If we banned employment of illegals and raised the minimum wage to $11/hour for ALL jobs, the profits of the superrich would suffer but the USA economy would greatly benefit.

Americans would happily work the jobs held by illegals if they paid a living wage. Employed Americans would spend their new wages, greatly stimulating the economy. (The superrich, by contrast, invested most of the $Trillions from Bush's tax cut overseas. Bush's tax cut boosted employment and production -- but in China, not the USA.)

The inequality in wealth and income in the USA is worst than some South American oligarchies. That inequality is bringing on disaster --just as it brought on the Great Depression. People with a demand for goods don't have money to pay whereas the people with money to pay --the superrich -- have had their demands satisfied and will stuff their money in the mattress rather than invest it in factories to produce goods that can't be sold. Depressions are great times if you are wealthy.

[Question 5.) My passport was obtained of free will to travel abroad. How will a forced National ID program make naturalized citizens safer? How to prevent forgery? How to stop bribery for entry into the US.? In addressing these questions remember Peter's point... the 9/11 hijackers were in the US on legal issue passports.]

ANSWER: You miss my point. I am advocating strong limits on the numbers of foreigners admitted into the USA, strong requirements on the security of the ID held by such foreigners, and tracking of such foreigners in order to FORESTALL a national ID and strong surveillance of US citizens living within the USA.

Re the 911 hijackers, did the US government have information that the 911 hijackers were employed by a foreign airline of substance -- ie.an airline with wealth subject to US sanctions -- and that said airline was strongly requesting education of the hijackers and vouching for/take responsibility for their trustworthiness?

NO? Then why the hell did the US Government give visas to the hijackers to come here and learn how to fly huge passenger jets? Especially when Tom Clancy and others had already noted how such jets could be used as huge bombs?

In the decade preceding 911, the American people gave the Executive Branch over $2 Trillion for defense. So why was not one single person in the Executive Branch fired for 911??

I have already explained why a US national ID and strong internal surveillance systems will inevitably lead to defacto tyranny.

It's hilarious that the NRA leadership insisted we accept 10,000 deaths per year to protect the "right to bear arms" --in order to avoid the "slippery slope" that would Eventually lead to a Presidental dictatorship in the distant future --yet that same NRA leadership turned around and installed an Administration which is creating a dictatorship TODAY.

Our gun ownership -- and political opinions -- will be irrelevent in a future when our ability to draw cash from a bank , to buy food, or to operate a car can be turned off at any instant with a mouse click.

The justification for this creeping dictatorship is the need to detect "terrorists in our midst". But if we kept the terrorists out to begin with, a national ID and internal surveillance would not be necessary.

Peter says illegals will get in with fake documents. As usual, Peter is full of crap. Documents are becoming almost impossible to forge. Some licenses now have a computer pattern that is read by a scanner to yield an ENCRYPTED stream. That stream ,when DECRYPTED with a strong , closely held algorithm, must yield the same result as an authentication code hold on a remote police computer.

Even if you can fake a readable pattern on the document, how do you install the authentication code inside a remote, highly secure police computer?

Nor is photo id protected by holograms the only way police verify that the holder of the ID is the valid owner. The US government is requiring foreign governments to add BIOMETRIC data (fingerprints, retina scan patterns) to passports. But this technology for dictatorship rapidly spreads. A school in New Jersey now requires parents to submit to a fingerprint scan in order to be admitted to the school building to pick up their children.

[Question 6: Your points no matter technically feasible, well intentioned or affordable are not practical and basically un-American. If by closing our borders could we still be called the Land of The Free or would we be more rightly called Gulag Nation? ]

My proposals have all been backed by hard facts -- it is the emotional outbursts of other posters here which have been lacking in facts or knowledge.

It is fundamentally unAmerican for US citizens to be enslaved by the US government because open borders give the pretext for the government to greatly expand its power with no valid justification, no oversight, and no control. Especially when those open borders hurt Americans far more than they benefit us.

As I've shown --with facts,not fuzzy
unsupported rhetoric.

If things continue as you and Peter advocate, America as we have known it
will not exist 20 years from now.

Peter Kovachev - 5/2/2006

That too is a fair point. We have to assume and hope, though, that a civil society can afford such divisions of opinion. One way to dismantle civil society is to begin assuming that certain positions must be silenced on the grounds that they will upset some people and "cause" them to become violent.

Don Williams - 5/2/2006

1) The original taxation clauses in Article I say nothing about limiting taxes to voters. See

2) Re who gets to vote, the Constitution --from the very beginning -- merely said that
"the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature" (Article I, Section 2) and that "Section 4. The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing Senators. " -- Article I, Section 4. Again, see

A state, for example, could pass a law saying that only people possessing a $Million net worth could vote.

3)Amendment XVI which created the Income Tax does not say it is limited to voters -- see

4) I haven't checked this, but I suspect free blacks weren't allowed to vote in Southern states yet were subject to taxes.

5) Women with property --especially single women and widows -- were subject from the Founding to excise taxes and the income tax (1913) but were not allowed to vote until later after the passage of Amendment XIX (1920 )

6) The Bill of Rights does NOT give a taxpayer the right to vote -- indeed, does not give a right to vote of any kind.

7) Not only does the Constitution NOT support the "bedrock principle" of "no taxation without representation" --it obviously is OPPOSED to such a principle.

Our Founders were wealthy elitists determined to keep the rabble in check and were strongly opposed to popular democracy.

To obtain popular support, they gave the appearance of giving the people a voice -- but in reality constructed several mechanisms to ensure a small wealthy elite could keep control.

For example, a small number of Senators --who have enormous power to block legislation and government actions and to determine who pays taxes -- were originally appointed by state legislatures, not popularly elected.

Don Williams - 5/2/2006

Specifically, Article I, Section 8, clause 17? See

Steve Broce - 5/1/2006

nResidents of the District of Columbia, who have NO voting members of the House, DO have to pay taxes and this another demonstration that "no taxation without representation" is not a "bedrock principle of the United States of America".

Steve Broce - 5/1/2006

Pete, you’ve wondered off the reservation, yet again.

“Unalienable rights”, is a quote from one of our founding documents.
"separation of church and state”, of course is a short hand reference to the "establishment of religion” clause in our Constitution. ‘Separation of powers” and “checks and balances” are practiced every day in this country.

What is NOT practiced every day is the concept of “no taxation without representation”. That’s the difference, Pete, and that is why it is silly to continue to insist that it is a “bedrock principle of the United States of America”.

You’re wrong on another count. What this discussion is about is not my ignorance of the principle of “no taxation without representation”. I demonstrated my knowledge of that concept early in the string. What it is about was your making what you NOW ADMIT was a silly argument in answer to my challenge to Irfan.

What I “now know” is that you make silly arguments for reasons that are not clear but that I presume are to stir the pot.

“The other points were more relevant to the topic of immigration, and have been thoroughly ignored in this thread (though not in other threads)’

And might I add, were somewhat better thought out than your “no taxation without representation argument.

Don Williams - 5/1/2006

How many Congressional representatives do they have? That can vote, that is.

Steve Broce - 5/1/2006

“JUST go to Google with the full quoted phrase: “No taxation without representation.”

This yields 184,000 hits.”

Ahh, the Google method of historical research. Just Google something and if you get lot’s of hits, it must be a “bedrock principle of the United States of America”

Tell you what, Pete, Google the slogan “better red then dead”. I’ll save you the trouble—64.5 MILLION hits. Does that mean that “better red than dead” is a “bedrock principle of the United States of America”?

Now look, I know there are differences and I’m only using this as a device to show the pitfalls of your argument that a lot of Google hits prove anything. I never claimed that “no taxation without representation” was something that was an unknown concept. I said that it is unknown as a “bedrock principle of the United states of America”. As I have also said, this has broken down to a matter of semantics: I believe that “bedrock principles” are those that are enumerated explicitly in the Constitution. Things like the freedom of expression and the free exercise of religion. Concepts like the right to legal counsel and not being forced to incriminate one's self . You won’t find the right to “no taxation without representation” anywhere in statute, regulation or the Constitution.

While the founders did set up the system to foster the notion that taxes would be levied in legislation originating in the body most clearly representing the people, rather than the States, the fact of the matter is that taxation without representation has occurred since Day 1 in this Republic and has never seriously been challenged as violating some “bedrock principle “.

However, you are correct that I never asked for a “good” or “sound” argument. I’ll choose my words more carefully in the future. I now know that you’ll offer silly arguments, apparently just to “stir the pot”

Steve Broce - 5/1/2006

People who do not think illegal immigration is a problem should consider this:

20 years ago, Reagan granted amnesty to about 3.2 million illegals. Now we have anywhere from 12 to 20 million illegals. If the border is not secured, 20 years from now we will likely have 40 or 50 million illegals.

Another thing. Right now the economy is roaring along. What are the 12-20 million illegals, who are here now, going to do in the next downturn. My guess is that they are not going to go back to Mexico, where it is likely to be worse. Then we will have a large group of workers who are willing to accept even less than they are making now in order to have ANY job. Who do you think will take the brunt of the layoffs then?

Steve Broce - 5/1/2006

..but someone has to do it.

Pete, you’re always inviting me to leave the country, but someone has to stay and pull back the curtain on the idiocy, of which your posts are so emblematic, that sometimes passes for critical thought here on the HNN.

But a more substantive question: what WAS your reasoning in offering “no taxation without representation” as an answer to my challenge to Irfan’s implication that non-citizen immigrants should be exempt from taxes?

N. Friedman - 5/1/2006


You write: "Unlike you, though, I see the current and growing polarization, on this issue as potentially healthy...."

That is a fair point but, of course, within reason. Division can and often does lead to strife. And that is the concern I have.

Don Williams - 5/1/2006

0) Your learned inability to comprehend reality reminds me of Fox News personnel and Rush Limbaugh. You already know what the answers have to be so you can't acknowledge any questions that yield up non-acceptable answers.

1) If infiltration from the Canadian border becomes a problem, then why not put up the same barrier along the Canadian border? Especially when the cost is a small part of what we spend on alleged "defense" -- and a small part of the wealth lost in the Sept 11 attack.

2) I think we should be importing foreign goods --not foreigners. We could greatly cut back on the numbers admitted -- and I see no problem with requiring those foreigners to carry good id. I prefer that our internal security forces track foreigners -- not, as is the current direction --track American citizens.

3) Similarly, we already have a "national ID card" for Americans wanting to exit and re-enter the country --it's called a "passport". But the passport --as currently used -- could never become the Orwellian control mechanism I described for the national ID card because (a) it's only used outside the USA (b) it's examined by foreign governments, not US internal security forces and (c) it's not needed to live within the USA.

Don Williams - 5/1/2006

Contrary to Patrick's assertion, defending "12,383 miles of US coastline" is not an "issue".

1) The US military has several systems keeping surveillance of "OUR"
Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

One such system is SOSUS -- a network of hydrophones laid on the seabed off the coast. See,e.g., http://www.fas.org/irp/program/collect/sosus.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SOSUS.

Sonar passive hydrophones can pick up shipping noises (engines, propellers etc) at amazing distances. I know -- I worked on a sonar system in the late 1970s for our nuclear ballistic submarines up at Groton Connecticut and down at Charleston, SC. Merchant ships are louder than Russian submarines.

2) Plus the military has another system --OSIS -- the Ocean Surveillance Information System.
OSIS "receives, processes, and disseminates timely all-source surveillance information on mobile targets of interest, above, on, and under the oceans, as well as on selected high interest fixed and mobile ground targets".
See http://www.fas.org/irp/program/core/osis.htm and

3) I worked on OSIS in the 1980s --so I happen to know what some of it's "surveillance sources" are. heh heh

If you saw a big bug crawling across your CRT, wouldn't you notice it?

Don Williams - 5/1/2006

1) Patrick is evidently ignorant of blue water seamanship.

Suffice it to say that one takes significant risk venturing out upon the ocean off the east coast of the US anytime other than the months of May and June.

Just this past year, one sailor died and two more had to be rescued by helicopter when they ventured out about three hundred miles off the Virginia -North Carolina coasts in early May and were caught in an Atlantic gale. Waves get up around 15 feet when winds hit 30-35 mph.

Plus the above sailors were highly experienced and were on 40+ foot sailboats. Power boats are far more unseaworthy-- although fishing trawlers are somewhat rugged.

2) The American Sailing Association's curriculum for reaching level 7 --Blue Water sailing -- takes about 3 weeks of very expensive, full time instruction plus another 3 weeks of expensive recommended experience. That's for a bare novice who wants to crew for an experienced captain.

3) Occasionally, some people ignorant of the dangers cross the 80 miles short distance from Cuba to Florida -- and a few captains from Haiti tried to infiltrate. But the expense and expertise required is largely beyond the reach of impoverished foreigners.

It's easily discouraged by the Coast Guard taking the refugees and smugglers prisoner for return to their country and punishing smugglers by sinking their now unmanned ships as "hazards to navigation".

4) People ignorant of seamanship assume boats just wander around off the US coast. But most of the shipping on the ocean is sizable merchant vessels who follow well-defined shipping lanes. Certainly any merchant ship approaching the US mainland is expected to enter a well -defined entry land to a US port and may be boarded/inspected by the Coast Guard and Navy while 40 miles out. The shipping lane into New York city, for example, begins about 60 miles out off the coast of Nantucket.

Don Williams - 5/1/2006

1) Good intentions are no excuse for being ignorant of technology and seamanship.

2) Patrick's assumption that borders could be easily bypassed by tunnels is wrong. It is one thing to build a tunnel under a street in El Paso where the border lies. It is something else to build a tunnel across a 5 mile wide bare earth strip that I described. Plus, Patrick evidently didn't notice my mention of "seisic sensors". These microphones would pick up the sound of digging.

3) The objections about the "cost" of a barrier at the Mexican border is hilarious -- we are spending over $400 BILLION per YEAR on "defense". (Actually close to $500 Billion Plus if you throw in VA, DOE, Homeland Security, Intelligence,etc.)

4) All I'm suggesting is that a small percentage of our huge DOD budget be diverted to actually defending the US , versus protecting the overseas investments of our wealthy elites and stealing oil deposits belonging to other people.

Peter Kovachev - 5/1/2006

You're right about the intent behind the Exodus narrative, and the fact that migration is not treated as a distinct issue or a principle in the Oral Torah indicates that it was phenomenon most people probably thought of as natural. It's the right to emigrate that stands in Exodus.

As for the UN definition, the odd fact is that it's only UNRWA who has made "Palestinians" into refugees; the UN High Commission for Refugees does not accept this definition. This is where it gets weird; the UNHCR does not press the issue, but most of the world's governments and the press, of course, treat it as an undisputable and established historical fact. From there on it has become normative to provide the "Palestinians" with quality housing and good infrastructures in their self-governed "refugee camps," while generations in Africa and elsewhere have grown up in tent cities and fight for bags of wheat.

I agree that immigration can not be measured solely by objective means; this is why I argued that the native citizens need to have their views on the issue heard and respected, even if they are what is deemed now politically incorrect. Nationhood is not entirely objective, nor can it be easily defined. To the example of Israel's absorbtion of Russian immigrants you can add the Jews of the Middle East, numbering anywhere from 700,000 to a million, or the Ethiopian Falshas and Falshmura. This is where stereotypes about nationhood and immigration fall apart; Israel, a supposedly European country, readily accepted people from cultures and languages vastly different from those of the original nation-builders. Oddly enough, UNRWA never contributed a penny to that, and few in the media point out the absurdity of the Law of Return being called "racist." As an aside, a friend just returned from Israel and mentioned the high number and prominence of Ethiopians in the army and police services. He wondered why our media seems to take such special care to never show anything but a fleeting glimpse of this. I think that this reality is a stinging slap in the face of the decades-old "Palestinian narrative" which was bought by the media and chattering classes lock, stock and barrel.

Still, Israel cannot serve as a helpful example in dealing with statehood and immigration where the rest of the world is concerned. Israeli nationhood is based on the original biblical nationhood/peoplehood, which unites people through a religious/legal covenant tied to a specific territory. One of the better definition of Jewishness I have come across is by Rabbi Steinsaltz, who defines it as a rather large family. Thus, Israel as a Jewish state treats what to the rest of the world are major cultural and linguistic differences as a fundamentally irrelevant issue.

Unlike you, though, I see the current and growing polarization, on this issue as potentially healthy. The fact is that there always has been a huge divide between ordinary citizens and big business, labour, social services and other interests. It was chiefly the ability of these elites to control the dialogue through the media and through educational and political advocacy that provided us with the illusion of a common agreement. Perhaps large scale immigration is healthy and benificial and ethical...perhaps somewhat or perhaps not. But without a certain degree of polarization of opinion and a vigorous, "market-place-of-ideas" debate over the objective as well as subjective dimensions, we will never know.

N. Friedman - 5/1/2006

Mr. Kamphoefner,

During the period you mention, what sort of requirements were there to enter the US? It is my impression - and this may term out to be a false impression - that basically anyone who wanted to enter the country could and that anyone wanting to become a citizen could, within a short time, do so. In any event, please flesh out your comment.

Steve Broce - 4/30/2006

1. "You can see for yourself above when & from whom the "insults" began in this exchange."

Yes we can, Pete. It started with your very first post in this string, with your suggestion that I was unfamiliar with high school history.

2. "Yes of course, and I never remotely implied any such comparison."

Well then why don't you explain your reasoning for introducing the issue in the first place as an answer to a challenge to Irfan to make his case for exempting immigrants from paying taxes. I assume you saw some relevance to the issue at hand.

Walter D. Kamphoefner - 4/30/2006

Voter qualifications are determined by states, and between the Civil War and World War I, some twenty states allowed so-called "alien voting" by anyone who had taken out "first papers," a declaration of intent to become a citizen. Even naturalization itself was much looser in the 19th century, not requiring any test of English language competence, nor any civics examination. Whether the above proposal is a wise idea is open to discussion, but it is certainly not unprecidented.

Steve Broce - 4/30/2006

"It IS relevant to compare Israel and the USA in the discussion in this thread, because Israel is the only other country actively involved in building a major military barricade around itself at this time, and it behooves the U.S. to pay attention to the experience of other countries, including their DIFFERENCES to my country, the USA, before deciding on anything like the policy proposed by Mr. Williams above."

Why is it relevant?

Steve Broce - 4/30/2006

Answer the question, Pete.

I challenged Irfan to make the case, which he implied could be made, that non-voting immigrants shouldn’t have to pay taxes.

You interjected an answer to my challenge with “no taxation without representation”

I challenged the relevancy of that slogan to the issue at hand and you insisted that it was a “bedrock principle of the United Sates of America”.

Yet you now acknowledge that it has no relevance to the matter at hand, immigrant obligations. So we are left with the question: If you really didn’t believe that “no taxation without representation” is an argument for excusing immigrants from paying taxes, THEN WHY DID YOU OFFER IT AS AN ARGUMENT IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Now then, if you want to believe that “no taxation with out representation is “bed rock principle of the United states of America, that’s your right. It is really a semantic issue.
I consider “bedrock principles” to be things enshrined explicitly in the Constitution. Things like the right to not incriminate oneself, the right to legal counsel, freedom of speech, etc. You will find no such individual right in law, regulation, or the Constitution.

If the founding fathers really considered “taxation without representation” as a “bedrock principle of the United states of America” they could have listed it as one of the enumerated rights in the Constitution. They did not.

Every day the ACLU does battle in court fighting for “bed rock principles of the United States of America”. They go to court to fight over issues involving the establishment of religion, free speech and free assembly. They take up cases involving forced confessions and illegal searches. They have never, to my knowledge, ever argued that there is no duty to pay taxes absent representation. In fact, as far I know, no one has ever prevailed in any court with that line of argument. Some “bedrock principle”.

Fact is, Pete, “taxation without representation” occurs and has occurred every day in this country and has never been challenged.

Now as to your whining about me being a “schoolyard bully”, I’m quite content to allow the readers of HNN to read the personal invective that you invariably lard you posts with and decide who tries to bully people. Andy nailed it. About 50% of most of your posts are personal insults and, in my estimation, the remaining 50% idiotic obfuscation of the silly crap that you have previously posted.

Steve Broce - 4/30/2006

1 “Stock phrase repetition is creeping back in, Mr. B. but with a twist: Bush ADVOCATED the guest worker program. It was his less "compassionate" co-non-conservatives in Congress who fed you that line.”

Peter, this is the kind of incoherent non-sequitur that you are justly famous (or infamous) for. I have no idea what you are talking about, just as I’m sure that YOU have no idea what you are talking about. In point of fact, no one “fed” me any line. And whatever “stock phrase” you think I’m using, my thoughts and comments are my own.

2 “..freedom to leave one country is of little practical value unless it is accompanied by at least a likely possibility of being able to enter some other country.”

This is kind of a meaningless observation. Am I to conclude that we somehow encroach on the Mexican’s rights to leave Mexico by insisting that they enter our country legally?

3 “Nobody has a more acute understanding of this than Israelis old enough to personally remember how their nation-state was founded by survivors of families wiped out, in all too many instances, as a direct consequence of the ability to leave Nazi-controlled territory not being accompanied by the permission and/or ability to seek refuge elsewhere.”

This is completely unrelated to the US/Mexican immigration issue. Mexicans don’t come to this country fleeing genocide in Mexico; they come here for economic opportunity.

The United States is hardly unique in restricting immigration. Once, when I was a student, I was denied entrance to Britain when the immigration officer noticed that I was short on funds. When he asked how I intended to supported myself while I was in Britain, I foolishly stated that I might get a job. The next thing I knew, a nice Bobby was escorting me back to the boat to Belgium. My point is this; every country seeks to control its borders, most far more stringently than this country.

4 “Such memories are a bigger reason for the long though now diminished reluctance to build a protective wall around Israel than are any supposed changes in the rate of violent attacks on Israel which have been, in fact, occuring off and on for decades (and even the wall itself will not completely prevent all attacks).”

This is completely wrong, in my estimation. The wall was built primarily to prevent terrorist attacks and has reduced the number of such attacks by about 90%. Will the wall “completely prevent all attacks”? Of course not. That’s a poor argument against building it. Few things are 100% effective.

5 “And our tradition is one of a being a haven for adherents of ANY religion, including none, not just one religion.”

More irrelevancy. Mexicans DO NOT come here because of religious persecution. Anyone who has visited Mexico knows that the practice of religion is robust in Mexico.

6 “..and while Mexican immigrants, like all immigrants, are a mixed bunch -some worthy additions to the U.S. population, some not- none of them, at least so far, has ever showed any inclination to cross into America in order to blow himself or herself up in a cafe.”

Well that’s true. But you might be surprised, shocked even by the number of illegals who are serving time in State and Federal prisons for violent felonies. But I get your point. Most Mexican immigrants come here to make money not trouble.

Steve Broce - 4/30/2006

Jesus H Christ, Pete, you’re at it again.

You make some stupid, asinine assertion like “No Taxation without representation” is a “bedrock principle of the United States of America.”. Then when you’re called on the absurdity of the claim, you misquote the challenge by summarizing it as “No taxation without representation" non-existent "in American law or history”?”

Pete, can you read and understand English? I never said that “no taxation without representation” was unknown in history. I said that it was not a “bedrock principle of the United States of America”. Do you understand the difference? Roll it around on your tongue, Pete. Sound it out. “Not a bedrock principles of the United States of America.”,“non-existent "in American law or history". Very different. Not the same at all. They don’t even sound the same.

Of course “no taxation without representation” is known in history. I explained the history to you. What I said is that it is not bedrock principle and is not practiced in this country. I challenged you before and so far you’ve ignored the challenge. Cite some authority, one law, one regulation, one court case that establishes the principle that there can be “no taxation without representation”.

Incidentally, Pete, I noticed you cited the Declaration of Independence as a source for your assertion. The DoI contains a long list of grievances against the King, including your citation. One is a complaint that he has “endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.” Would you then argue that a “bedrock principles of the United States of America” is not to be attacked by Indians.

Furthermore, you give us a history lesson about the Constitution and where taxes originate in our form of government. Anything in the Constitution requiring that anyone have a right to vote before they get taxed, Pete? Any Amendment? Anywhere in the Bill of Rights?

You know, Pete, YOU first brought up the slogan “no taxation without representation” as an answer to my challenge to Irfan to make a case for excusing non-voting immigrants from paying taxes. When you’re questioned on the applicability of that slogan to the subject under discussion, immigrant obligations, You try to claim that you’re NOT linking them.

If you really don’t believe that “no taxation without representation” is an argument for excusing immigrants from paying taxes, THEN WHY DID YOU OFFER IT AS AN ARGUMENT IN THE FIRST PLACE?

You’ve got me wrong. I don’t have a “disrespectful disregard for America's founding fathers. “. I have a disrespectful disregard for you, Pete. My immigrant ancestors may or may not have been illiterate, but I’m sure they would have been perceptive enough to see through the smoke you blow everyday on HNN.

Steve Broce - 4/29/2006

I can’t agree with your “wall is a wall” argument, Peter. While you pay lip service to the difference between a wall to keep people in and a wall to keep people out, I think you gloss over the difference. The reason that East Germans were “not happy campers” was by and large because they wanted to leave, not because West Germans weren’t allowed to enter. In fact, Westerners COULD enter East Germany.

In short, the differences between fences to keep people in and fences to keep people out are huge.

Furthermore, the two examples you cite, East Germany and North Korea were Nations that had been divided by cold war politics. It was only natural that the citizens of these nations would be unhappy about it. US and Mexico are two individual nations and have been for many years. Besides, Mexicans don’t come to the US to “visit relatives” and then go home. They come here to work and then send the money home.

As for the cost of such a fence, it would almost certainly be cheaper than adding a few thousand Border Patrol officers, which is the alternative. Add up the salary, benefits and retirement costs of several thousand Border Patrolmen and you’d probably be shocked at the number.

But you are correct that such a fence would not wholly solve the problem. There are many ways to enter this country illegally and strategies for dealing with each of them have to be developed. Some kind of limited “guest worker” program is inevitable. And corporations that knowingly (and how could they NOT know) hire illegal aliens have to be punished severely enough to deter the practice.

Finally, the system for deporting illegals has to be streamlined. Endless immigration hearings and appeals have to be eliminated. The “catch and release” process must be changed.

I believe, however, that guest worker programs and deportation streamlining will mean nothing until the border is more secure.

As for Israel, what their security fence really speaks of is the determination of Palestinian terrorists to send Palestinian children to murder Israeli children and Israel’s inability to stop that practice any other way.

Steve Broce - 4/29/2006

So, you agreed with my position all the time. I guess your interjection into my challenge to Irfan is what then? Just Pete Clarke stirring the pot?

By the way, Pete, I do not “casually dismiss history”. What I do dismiss, however, are misstatements of history and misapplications of historical facts.

If you want to believe that “no taxation without representation” is good public policy or basic fairness, that’s ok with me. If you want to claim that it was a “bedrock principle of the United States of America”, as you have, then I’m going to dispute the notion. The fact is, there is no such “bedrock principle” existing in American law or history.

I wonder how you, who claims some expertise in history, can confuse the angry rallying cry of the Colonies over the Stamp Act, with a “bedrock principle of the United States of America.” It’s a silly notion, really, when you consider that American women, who certainly had to pay the same taxes as their male counterparts, were not allowed to vote at all for over 100 years after the founding of this nation.

As for your estimate that 20% of the American public is subject to “taxation without representation”, I believe that estimate is way low. Ever paid sales tax in a state where you can’t vote, Pete? Then you have been subject to “taxation without representation”.
Ever paid tax on a hotel room in a state where you don’t vote, Pete? Then you’ve been taxed without being represented. Possibly every American has been subject to “taxation without representation” at one time or another.

One note on my use of the words “incoherent”, and “crap”. I do not apply those terms to your arguments about “taxation without representation” . Those arguments are “foolish” and “silly” and wrong, but not “crap” or “incoherent”.

No, I reserve the “incoherent” and “crap” labels for your suggestions that if I do not buy your silly and foolish arguments about “taxation without representation” that I should go to Iraq as well as your attempts to introduce George Bush, David Horowitz and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad into the discussion.

N. Friedman - 4/29/2006


I believe the Biblical story of Exodus is directed more to showing that the almighty one is God than to establishing a right of migration. I note the event as showing precedent going back to the beginnings of the Western tradition. Which is to say, migration was basic to human society, blessed even by God.

The UN definition is another matter. The UN has one definition for most of the world's peoples but a special definition for Palestinian Arabs. The definition for Palestinian Arabs renders non-refugees into refugees, creating a permanent class of refugees. That approach, I am afraid, has been a disaster for Palestinian Arabs, for Israelis and for anyone touched by the matter - other than "professional" do gooders (not to be confused with the real article, by the way, who actually try to do good) who have made their lives bemoaning on behalf of Palestinian Arabs -.

You write: "Whatever the case may be, it's my impression that we are all going on assumptions regarding the value of immigration to the host country, and that any effort to look at the quantifiable sides of the issue gets quickly drowned-out by politics."

This is certainly the case. But consider, I do not think it is quite possible to have an objective approach. The value of immigration depends on what you value. And that is a philosophical, not to mention political, question.

By contrast, the ability of a country to absorb immmigrants is a more objective question. Consider, however, that Israel managed to absorb a million refugees from the former USSR. That suggests that if a country's population wants to absorb refugees, it can. And that it turn suggests that the ability to absorb people is, in considerable part, also a philosophical/political question.

In the case of the US, it can certainly absorb the immigrants it now has because it is doing so. Whether such brings undesirable changes to the country - a question laced with philosophical/political analysis - is another matter. If the US follows the path taken by the Europeans, then we can answer the matter objectively: disaster would be courted. If the US follows the path it has traditionally taken, I would suspect that the immigrants will be successfully absorbed. We shall see as there do appear to be some potentially - depending on what is really going on - ominous developments as of late.

On the one hand, there is certainly some success for immigrants to the US. At the same time, immigrants are now organizing themselves. And, in response, those who oppose immigration are taking notice which will, almost certainly, lead to a reaction. That tends to polarize things and there is not much good that will come if that continues. So, there are worrying signs.

Don Williams - 4/29/2006

1) Note that the government would not have to set up the massive computerized system to track and id legal citizens if the government protected our borders.

2) Sept 11 has resulted in the defacto destruction of several major Constitutional rights: the ban on government searches without judicial warrent, the right to trial by jury, the ban on "cruel and unusual punishments", etc.

All because our corporations pushed the government to throw open the gates in the years prior to Sept 11 -- to support its globalization money hunt. Thereby letting 19 goatherds from a primitive country inflict Sept 11 on a country which was spending more on "defense" than the next 23 major military powers COMBINED.

3) Our borders could be easily sealed. Just look at the barriers which protect the National Security Agency buildings: Two parallel chain link fences with barbed wire on top. A layer of gravel between the fences -- so that seismic sensors underneath can pick up movement. Microwave transmitters and receivers to detect anything moving into the area between the two fences.

Imagine such a sensor fence deployed across the Southern border. Now imagine another such fence deployed five miles inland. Then imagine a chain of Apache helicopters on patrol with night vision infra red sensors, Gatling track guns and orders to destroy anything wandering into the 5 mile strip of No Man's Land.

4) Such a barrier would be a small pittance compared to our national "defense " budget. So why is the US government using the "war on terror" as an excuse to create a massive domestic surveillance system -- and to destroy the Bill of Rights with legal sophistry and deceit from the Attorney General -- while refusing to take the most simple steps to keep "terrorists" out of the country to begin with?

Don Williams - 4/29/2006

1) One down side of the failures to protect our borders is the massive growth in Big Brother government. The USA government is using the very problems that it created as a pretext to set up a national id card/chip which will allow it to track and monitor legal citizens.

The endgame in the national id card policy is the situation whereby your national id is required to obtain money from your bank, to buy groceries, to buy gasoline, -- in short, to sustain life itself.

Ever had your VISA card fail to work because VISA's fraud software noticed an irregular use of your card --e.g., a charge made away from home.

Now imagine a future in which the government can turn off the national id of political dissidents, undesirables etc. Where it has made the national id essential to live --and something that it can turn off with a click of mouse unless you surrender to the authorities.

Steve Broce - 4/29/2006

Peter, I challenged Irfan to make a case for excusing non-voting immigrants from paying taxes. You suggested that the principle of "no taxation without representation" somehow applied to illegal immigrants who come here, in contravention of existing law, to participate in and benefit from the US economy.

When I pointed out that “no taxation without representation” was little more than a slogan coined to voice opposition to the Stamp Act, you insisted that it was “a bedrock principle of the United States of America”.

This is idiocy.

The cry “no taxation without representation” was a rallying slogan to voice opposition to the British Government, 3000 miles away, taxing the economic activity of the Colonies. This has nothing to do with illegal immigrants who come here voluntarily in order to benefit from the US economy and utilize its services. The idea that they should enjoy the services that this country provides, yet pay no taxes because they do not vote is outrageous.

Furthermore, the idea that “no taxation without representation” is anything more than an antiquated slogan is foolish. There is no legal basis to assert that there can be no taxation without representation.

In fact, I, and millions of other Americans, have been and continue to be subjected to taxation without representation all the time. When I resided in New Hampshire and worked in Massachusetts, I was required to pay Massachusetts income tax, even though I could not vote in Massachusetts. When I worked in New York City, I had to pay NYC income tax, even though I did not reside in the city and could not vote there. When I travel, I pay sales and bed tax wherever I travel, yet have no “representation” in those locations.

In short, the idea that there is any “American Principle” against “taxation without representation “ is an idea that can only be described as silly. It happens everyday, Pal, and not just to non-voting aliens. In fact, Pete, I challenge you to cite one law, ,regulation or court case that establishes the principle that there can be “no taxation without representation”.

Finally, you suggest that I am somehow remiss in “sounding off” without first sifting through the crap that you posted elsewhere. As I have told you before, I have neither the time nor the inclination to study your inane postings trying to divine your position on any particular subject. In the matter at hand, I find your musings, frankly, incoherent.

Steve Broce - 4/28/2006

Pete, your conflation of a rallying cry against the Stamp Act (“no taxation without representation”), with quotes from our founding documents ("all men are created equal," and "life liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,") is breath-takingly ignorant. You elevation of the rallying cry to a “bedrock principle of the United States of America.” is just plain stupid.

As for my feelings about American slogans, I do not confuse them, as you apparently do, with a coherent argument or “bedrock principles of the United States of America.” You are apparently more comfortable with slogans than reasoned debate.

Since you aparently take issue with my challenge to Irfan to make a case for excusing non-voting immigrants from paying taxes, perhaps you’d like to make the case. While your at it, maybe you’d like to argue that convicted felons, who have lost the right to vote, should also be exempt from paying taxes. After all, according to you, “No taxation without representation” is a “bedrock principles of the United States of America.”

Peter Kovachev - 4/28/2006


You only asked one question, which I didn't feel like dealing with due to laziness, but which I see Mr. Williams kindly answered.

The rest of your post is illogical gobledeygook which I tried to gently sort through. It didn't work, I see, because the "root cause" is the cognitive chaos you seem to suffer from, something which neither I nor Mr. Williams can probably do much to help with you with. All I can say is "good luck"!

Peter Kovachev - 4/28/2006

No N., I didn't think that you back "right of immigration" nor, now that I've re-read my post, would I want to imply that Don's reasons for restrictions are based on nasty motives.

I agree with you on the issue of the obligation to provide refuge; had it been recognized in WWII and other conflicts, humanitarian disasters, especially the kind that saw people go up in smoke through crematoria chimneys, may have been averted.

As for the biblical roots, that one's an interesting excursus. I get the impression that up until the Exodus, migration appears as a directive from God and that the migration/refuge issue in Exodus is treated as a unique event, from which no commentaries or rulings appear to be drawn about the right of refuge. The only time it seems that the issue appears in the biblical narratives is in context of the six Cities of Refuge which were established to protect pepole accused of manslaughter. Talmud commentary, where one would expect to find more on the topic, is surprisingly lean...if Google is to be trusted on this. Then again, the burning issues in the Talmudic period were forced uprooding from the Land of Israel and exile and slavery. Even the rather substantial Jewish migration into settlement in the Mediterranean world didn't seem to draw much commentary. Mind you, I'm not a theologian, so take all this with a grain of salt.

Still, the refugee issue in modern times is dealt with under different set of rules; in most jurisdictions, and in UN definitions as well, one is not determined to be a refugee for economic reasons alone. You rightly point to the overlapping that can occur, in that people who are seeking better economic conditions are also trying to escape politically nasty situations, as these things often go hand in hand. The way refugee boards try to determine this is by trying to establish whether the individual is a victim of systematic persecution. In any case, I think that refugee status and migration for other reasons are two separate issues.

It is perfectly ethical and legitimate to feel sympathy for economic migrants; I don't argue for callousness in that area, but on the other side of the token, I think it's perfectly legitimate to argue for curbs and limitations, especially when the native population faces economic disadvantages if it's unable to absorb such migrations. Whatever the case may be, it's my impression that we are all going on assumptions regarding the value of immigration to the host country, and that any effort to look at the quantifiable sides of the issue gets quickly drowned-out by politics.

Don Williams - 4/28/2006

But I live in Philly and Tony Soprano never tells me anything until the vig has been diluted to hell and back.

Don Williams - 4/28/2006


"MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Owning marijuana, cocaine and even heroin will no longer be a crime in Mexico if the drugs are carried in small amounts for personal use, under legislation passed by the Congress.

Police will not penalize people for possessing up to 5 grams of marijuana, 5 grams of opium, 25 milligrams of heroin or 500 milligrams of cocaine, under a bill passed by senators late on Thursday and earlier approved by the lower house."
Hmmmm. I thought there might be a reason for that booming development down in Los Cabos at the end of the Baja pennisula -- the heavy construction of 5 star hotels to accommodate a flood of wealthy visitors from LA , Hollywood, etc.

All conveniently across the water from Culiacan. hee hee hee

Don Williams - 4/28/2006

1) In my above post "Here's info from Barrons" --dated April 27, 2006 at 1:31 PM -- I provided a reference containing facts. In return I got unfounded speculation that illegal immigrants must pay taxes via withholding diverted to false Social Security accounts. No evidence provided for this , of course.

Its not clear to me why a businessman employing illegals at low wages would want a paper trail of his violation of law --or would want to give money to Social Security and Medicare.

2)No one addressed the other points made in the article: that use of illegal immigrants unfairly destroys US small businessmen who obey the law -- who lose contracts because their bids must include the costs of Social Security, Medicare, and health care insurance for their employees. Must include full wages for their legal workers --including an amount that will allow legal workers to pay US income and payroll taxes.

3) No one addressed a third point: that diversion of capital to inefficient, low tech businesses based on cheap labor hurts our economy in the long run --because it destroys any incentive to innovate and come up with high-tech, hi-efficiency businesses which can pay decent wages.

The old Southern system of slave labor did not just hurt the black slaves -- it kept most white citizens in the South in deep perpetual poverty and thereby greatly encouraged the widespread inhumane racism endemic to that area.

4) Plus there's the point made by others like Mr Broce: illegals consume large amounts of state services without helping to pay for them and are thereby a big drain on state resources. Which hurts everyone.

For example, California might have been better able to cope with the energy crisis of 2000-2001 if it had been in better financial shape. Instead, many Silicon Valley high tech firms were destroyed by rolling, unpredictable power blackouts -- death to a startup based upon computer server farms.

Similarly, the California state educational system which gave birth to and sustained the wealth of Silicon Valley is slowly bleeding to death from the huge financial burden of educating millions who don't speak English. The indirect taxes to support the education of illegals and poor immigrants puts California business at a competitive disadvantage.

5) In the longer term, the destruction of the US Middle Class being brought on by the cheap wages of illegal labor -- and by the diversion of capital to China and other investments abroad -- will bring on another Great Depression due to the growing inequity in the distribution of income and wealth in the USA.

As Arthur Schlesinger noted, a major cause of the Great Depression was the disconnect between supply and demand. The people with demand for the output of US industry could no longer afford to pay for it while the small percentage of the population with money had satisfied all their wants and were content to stuff large amounts of capital under the mattress when the recession of 1929 hit.

Steve Broce - 4/28/2006

Peter, “No taxation without representation” is a slogan, not an argument. It also was borne of a situation where an exogenous power was extracting taxation from a domestic economy. This is very different from the instant situation, where people come here legally and illegally and seek to partake of the fruits of the country.

If you can’t see the difference between the two situations, then there’s not much I can do for you.

My challenge to Irfan is to make a case for relieving the immigrants of the duty to pay for that which they receive.

Steve Broce - 4/28/2006

Well, Patrick, what is your solution?

Shall we just open the borders and let anyone who CAN get here stay?

Should we let anyone who came here in contravention of our existing laws stay permanently? If we do, what does that say to the millions who have waited patiently to gain legal admittance?

If we put the illegals on a citizenship track, what message does that send about law-breaking?

Lest you think I’m giving a pass to the corporations who knowingly employ these illegals, usually at below market wages, fear not. The corporations should be punished more severely than the illegals.

Paul Noonan - 4/27/2006

I think Peter Clark is about right. I've heard many illegals who are "on the books" simply give false SS#s and nothing happens in the few months they are at a particular job.Also, many illegals have pay so low that it is likely they would not have much income tax due anyway. A lot of them probably miss out on the Earned Income Tax Credit that a similarily situated citizen or legal alien would be able to take advantage of. And, of course, they pay local and state sales taxes on what they buy just like anyone else. And, as most of them live in rented space they indirectly pay property taxes thru rent, etc.

Steve Broce - 4/27/2006

Look, Irfan, the answer to your question was posted; you prefer not to acknowledge the answer.

You want a justification for non-citizens to be required to pay taxes? Well, despite your attempt to de-link the benefits received from the question you asked, the benefit received IS the justification for requiring non-citizens to pay taxes.

All residents, citizen or not, enjoy the use of roads, the security blanket that our military provides, the school system that educates their children, the medical system that ministers to them when they are sick, etc, etc, etc.

The challenge is not “what justification is there for requiring non citizens to pay taxes?” but rather, “what possible justification could there be for excusing them from paying taxes?”

N. Friedman - 4/27/2006


Yet, with all of that, it was also due in considerable part to immigrant Jews and Jewish refugees that the US obtained the bomb when it did. So, this is not all that simple a matter.

It is, of course, true that the loyalty of immigrants is not assured and may well be more of a problem than with birth citizens. And, in the early 20th Century, the appeal of communism was very strong so there were real ideological issues involved. On the other hand, it is not clear, as you mentioned, that all involved were acting against the US - at least as they saw it - but instead to make the US better.

Today, I do not quite see that there is a great appeal to a foreign country or force, other than Islamic revivalism and the appeal of that "ism" pertains to Muslims and converts to Islam - a rather small group in the US -. So, I would not make too much of matters surrounding the A-Bomb.

Don Williams - 4/27/2006

Both US 1040 and my state return require a Social Security number. Where does an illegal get that?

Besides, isn't the whole suggestion of illegals paying US taxes kinda ridiculous? What incentive does an illegal getting $10/hour cash have to submit a 1040 on April 15? Unlike a US citizen,he's not in the government databases so how will the government know that he hasn't submitted a return? Why shouldn't he mail his money back to Mexico? So what if he breaks US law --he's breaking the law just by being here?

Don Williams - 4/27/2006

See the Barrons' January 2005 article "Going Underground" at

Some excerpts:
"AMERICA HAS TWO ECONOMIES, and one is flourishing at the expense of
the other. First, there's the legitimate economy, in which craftsmen
are licensed and employers and employees pay taxes. Then there's
the fast-growing underground economy, where millions of nannies,
construction workers and others are paid off-the-books, their incomes
largely untaxed. The best guess as to the size of the output of this
shadow economy is about $970 billion, or nearly 9% that of the real
economy. It should soon pass $1 trillion.

What is largely fueling the underground economy, experts say, is the
nation's swelling ranks of low-wage illegal immigrants. The government
puts this population at 8.5 million, but that may represent a serious
undercount. Robert Justich, a senior managing director at Bear Stearns
Asset Management in New York, makes a persuasive case in a forthcoming
paper, "The Underground Labor Force Is Rising to the Surface," that
illegal immigrants actually number 18 million to 20 million"
"In the process, the underground economy is undermining the effectiveness
of the Internal Revenue Service, which is highly dependent on employees'
withholding taxes. If the IRS could collect all the taxes it says that
it is owed from the underground economy in a given year, then the
current budget deficit would disappear overnight. And if the IRS could
collect these taxes every year, then the nation would have surpluses as
far as the eye can see.

The IRS has estimated that its tax gap -- the estimated amount of taxes
owed minus the amount collected -- is around $311 billion in any given
year. The agency will produce a new estimate in 2005, and it could be as
high as $400 billion, says former IRS Commissioner Donald Alexander. Now
a lawyer in Washington, he cites a rise in private contracting and the
opportunities it affords for not reporting income.

The gap number measures only a portion of the underground
economy. Because the number is extrapolated from audited returns, it
makes no allowances for criminal enterprises that report no income, and
it even fails to capture some garden varieties of nonreporting. The
unreported wages of illegal immigrants alone could be costing the
government another $50 billion a year, says Justich."
"But the sheer growth of the underground economy in the U.S. is cause
for concern. If Justich's estimate of illegal immigrant workers is
correct, the underground economy may now be growing at a markedly faster
rate than the legitimate economy. Justich, working with Bear Stearns
colleague Betty Ng, an emerging- markets economist, says he's found
evidence of a larger illegal immigrant population by analyzing data on
construction and on remittances sent from the U.S. to Mexico and other
countries. He also had conversations with over 100 immigrants from
Mexico, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Guinea, China and Tibet. And he
interviewed local business owners, real-estate sales people and police.

Justich, a veteran securities analyst, currently specializes in
fixed-income strategies at Bear Stearns Asset Management, which oversees
some $29 billion in investments. He began digging into the underground
economy because of its broad ramifications for the real economy"
"JUSTICH CERTAINLY HAS DUG DEEPER for data at the local level than most
researchers when preparing his report for his company's investors. He
has unearthed data on building permits that show construction of
multifamily dwelling units is up six-fold in immigrant communities while
census data show just a small percentage increase in population in those
same communities.

Justich's analysis of remittances from the U.S. to Mexico also
indicates a larger population of immigrants than the official numbers
show. According to a study by a Georgetown University professor, Manuel
Orozco, for the Pew Hispanic Center, remittances to Mexico tripled to
$13.2 billion between 1995 and 2000. Yet the official tally of Mexicans
in the U.S. rose 56% and the estimate of their weekly wages rose 10%.

Similarly, a California official told Barron's of an anecdote that
calls official numbers into real question. Bill Leonard, a member
of California's Board of Equalization, said he was involved in
redistricting his state's congressional districts in 2001. Some areas
that were the same size in population as others, based on census data,
ended up having five times as many unregistered voters. Most of the
extra people were noncitizens, he says. Leonard also says that the
number of active retail permits in the state has been stable for several
years at one million -- a sign, he asserts, that stiff competition from
unlicensed businesses may be keeping new entrants out of the retail
"The truth is, employers hiring illegal workers have little to fear from
the government right now. Data from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
Services, as the old Immigration and Naturalization Service has been
dubbed since being shifted to the Department of Homeland Security, show
that enforcement actions against employers and illegal workers have
dropped sharply since 1997. Back then, there were about 18,000 arrests
a year resulting from investigations of employers using illegal alien
workers, but in 2002 there were fewer than 1,000 arrests. Instead,
agents are trying to catch workers at border-crossing points. Opponents
argue that cracking down on employers would be more effective. If
immigrants couldn't get work, the argument goes, they wouldn't bother to
"One thing is certain: The rest of America is subsidizing the other
half's free ride, and the costs will only grow if authorities continue
to underestimate the scope of the problem."

Don Williams - 4/27/2006

1) This is somewhat off topic for this discussion, but Mr Friedman and I had a discussion a few weeks ago re the transfer of atomic secrets from the Manhattan project to Russia. This being an example I gave of why tolerating "dual loyalties" of US citizens to foreign countries or groups is dangerous.

2) I had argued that if the US government had kept its nuclear monopoly for a decade or so after WWII it might have been able to avoid the hugely dangerous nuclear arms race of the Cold War -- and the danger of today's ongoing nuclear proliferation.

3) However, I may have been wrong in my judgement. I have subsequently found a letter --"Memorandum from Vannevar Bush and James B. Conant, Office of Scientific Research and Development, to Secretary of War, September 30, 1944, Top Secret " -- in which two top US officials in the best position to judge concluded that the atomic secrets could not be monopolized and that Russia and perhaps Germany would remove the Anglo-American lead in atomic bomb technology, possibly in as short a time as 5 years. This judgement occurred even though Mr Bush and Conant seemed ignorant of the crash program Stalin had already initiated based on reports from Soviet spies on the Manhattan Project.

See http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB162/1.pdf

4) I think the history of the past 50 years shows that nuclear proliferation is not quite as easy as Mr Bush and Conant judged -- the big hurdle seems to lie in enriching uranium in order to increase the concentration of the U235 isotope from the <1% of natural ore to 5% so that U235 in a nuclear pile can transform abundant uranium isotope U238 into plutonium. This process required the huge Paducah plant --and enormous amounts of electricity -- to force uranium hexafloride gas through miles of powdered nickel filters. Today, high speed centrifuges seem to be the preferred approach in Pakistan etc.

But then again, the slowness of proliferation may have been due to the IAEA international inspection and control regime that Mr Bush and Conant proposed in their memo, cited above.

5) There is some relevance to this discussion, however. The ease with which Los Alamos spy Theodore Hall -- an 18 year genius -- was able to contact the KGB in New York City via contacts in the Russian Jewish immigrant community shows the dangers of unassimilated immigrants. The son of Ted Hall's partner -- Saville Sax -- described the isolation of that Russian Jewish community to PBS a few years ago when PBS was making a documentary about the atomic spies. See http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/venona/fami_sax.html

An excerpt:
" Sax: Well, he lived in a very enclosed community. Yiddish was spoken, a little of Russian, virtually no English. He didn't start to learn English until he went to school. It was a community that was very set apart from the rest of American society, and it had its own expectations. The people in the community were all Russian Jews. They tended to be very suspicious of American society at large. They identified mainstream society with their former persecutors and just didn't want to have too much to do with it.

Communism was a sort of substitute Judaism for the people in that community."

N. Friedman - 4/27/2006


You peeked my curiosity.

First, the standing issue. The person who would have standing is the losing candidate to an election. That person would argue that there was an equal protection violation (ala Gore v. Bush) in which voting rights were diluted. Voters also have the right to complain.See e.g., Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964).

On reading Justice Warren's opinion in Reynolds, I think that the right to vote would likely be a right - under remotely modern jurisprudence - extended only to citizens. Were the right extended to non-citizens, the issue would become an equal protection clause 14th Amendment argument because it is citizens who have a right to one man, one vote. As a result, somewhere in apportioning representation for non-citizens along with citizens, the right extended to citizens under the 14th Amendment would be slighted.

N. Friedman - 4/27/2006


I trust you realize that I did not state any opinion about whether immigration is a right. I have never thought about the issue, one way or the other, in such terms.

I do note as a matter of speculation that, by contrast, the right to migrate to a place where refuge is available is a right as old as recorded history. That is a different thing, of course, from suggesting that a country has to take in someone who seeks refuge. That right is, so far as I know, enshrined into International law going way back and, I might add, is described in the Bible (e.g. the Exodus from Egypt) and, I should add, that a similar sort of a migration is described in the Qu'ran and Ahaditha (i.e. Mohammed and his followers escape from persecuation and possible death in Mecca and migrate to Yathrib).

I might add, by further speculation and contrast, that had the world been a more generous place regarding the absorption of people in need of refuge, WWII might not have been quite so horrible for, among others but most particularly, Jews (who were refused refuge in most places).

Whether bad results (e.g. what happened to those seeking refuge during WWII) mean there ought to be or is an inherent "right" does not automatically follow but, clearly, the view that countries can willy nilly refuse refuge to people in need is a problematic view in a world with limited portions willing to take in refugees.

Then again, there is the question of taking in migrants who merely seek a better life. On the one hand, such people are often escaping a form of oppression (i.e. economic depravation, which is something felt keenly by a person trying to raise a family). I can sympathize with that.

But then, if such persons stayed at home and demanded a better deal from their home country - assuming that the country involved is not overly oppressive -, that might be the best way to end economic need. Such approach might be best for Mexico which perhaps does not sufficiently reform because it can export some of its problems. Were Mexico forced to deal with its own problems, it might solve them better. Or, it might make matters worse.

So, I am not sure I agree with you. But I am not sure I disagree either. I think this is a very complicated issue.

Peter Kovachev - 4/27/2006

Mr. Friedman,

I agree. Absorbing a predetermined number of selected immigrants through apropriate channels and a sound refugee determination process is not where the problem is. Properly run immigration policies, where numbers are set to allow for easier absorbtion and to encourage acculturation, rather than ghettoisation (as is the case here in Canada with our official policy of multiculturalism) can benefit the host country.

Like you, I too know many immigrants from all parts of the world who came through the proper channels and most are well adjusted and productive individuals. Like your wife, I also left the mess that was and still is Eastern Europe...with the added disadvantage of having to bear with two years of Western Europe's inanities and ineptitude while waiting to leave that continent for good. And while there, I learned that far worse than limited or restrictive immigration policies, unrestricted immigration destroys not only the host country, but the unprepared mass of newcomers as well.

The point I guess I'm trying to sort through my head and to articulate is that as much as one may disagree with the more extreme aspects of opinions by people like Don, immigration should never be assumed to be an inherent right. Even if these opinions are based on incorrect assumptions or outright orejudice. Its oponents should be debated in the marketplace of ideas, but they should not be dismissed or villified out of hand, as seems to be the case today. Just as it's moral for me to freely pick and choose and to seek admission to any country through proper means, it's equally moral for the citizens of that country (not just bureacrats and business interests) to reject or pick and choose newcomers on any grounds.

Rob Willis - 4/27/2006

Well said, comrade.

Guess we know where you will be on May 1st.

N. Friedman - 4/26/2006


That is a fair point. I shall give it some thought.

I am not so sure that we are having so much difficulty absorbing the immigrants - at least the legal ones -. I know quite a few because my wife is an immigrant from the former USSR and they seem rather well adjusted to the US.

Peter Kovachev - 4/26/2006

Mr. Khawaja,

Actually, it was your initial comedy piece that was the nonsequitur-in-chief and I was hoping to elicit a position from you. I got several, I see. To wit:

You say, "There is probably a good case to be made that only taxpaying citizens should have access to certain tax-funded services." Apart from the dubious ethics behind this proposal, have you thought of the practicalities, the logistics behind trying to implement this? Are you prepared to leave millions without shooling, health services, policing, etc.?

Then, you effectively re-word the above: "regardless of what services they should or shouldn't have access to, why should they pay taxes at all?" Notice that I didn't accept your initial premise, so to this repetition I will again reiterate that as beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries of tax-funded services, they should pay taxes along with everyone else. Apart from this, the host nation has the right to demand close to anything from a canditate citizen. Call it an entry fee, if you will. If the candidate feels that the "entry fee" is too high, he's welcome to return home or to move to a more hospitable country.

You: "You say that the majority of non-citizens don't declare their taxes. Maybe. What about the minority who do?" Then congratulations are in order for that minority. If they have arrived legally, applied properly and are in the naturalization stream, they will be valuable citizens.

Finally: "As for the supposed majority who don't declare, could you provide a reference or a source?" I probably can, but I'm not in the mood for research. I don't need to, in any case, as simple deductions from a few facts will do here. A conservative estimate is that there are above 20 million illegals or "undocumented" workers in the US. By virtue of their status or lack thereof they are invisible to the system (hence the rough population estimates), thanks too to the greedy businesses who prefer to keep them hidden because they too are violating federal and state laws. That means the illegals get paid in cash and are offered very little protection. People who get paid in cash and who are hiding from the authorities are hardly going to go and declare their income to the IRS.

Peter Kovachev - 4/26/2006

Mr. Friedman,

I hear what you're saying. Still, in the context of the immigration mess in the US and the developed world, Don's proposed remedy is hardly extreme.

With over 20 million of illegal migrants in your country and who knows how many legitimate immigrants, I can't see how at least cutting down on the incoming can be harmful. You say that "immigrants tend to bring in new ideas and to work hard, etc.,etc." Fine, but so do the native born. Moreover, among the millions of the legal and illegal immigrants and migrants there already is a vast pool of latent talent which will never have a chance unless the inflow can be slowed down or even stopped and the system is given a chance to properly absorb them.

Robert Smale - 4/26/2006

Any "immigrationg reform" short of the proposals made by Mr. Hayduk would be a grevious assault upon the multi-ethnic, multi-national, multi-racial working class of the United States. The racist and classist immigration laws of the United States as they currently exist are a daily assault on the liberties of the working class.

The business leaders of the United States have already crafted for themselves a massive, disenfranchised working class, and they hope to codify this state of affairs with the devious "guest worker program" supported by the White House.

As for the xenophobic, "deport them all" crowd, they are nothing more than an irrational pack of rabid nativists.

Don Williams - 4/26/2006

1)Cheap labor hurts our economy by diverting capital into low tech, inefficient processes. National wealth is created by innovation and development of new technology --not by setting up plantations where "wage slaves" pick the cotton.

2) Economists receive grants, consulting contracts and high paying sinecures from the wealthy --not from Joe Six Pack -- so they happily whore for the wealthy and stay silent about the huge externalities in globalization.

History shows empires are unprofitable. Empires arise, however, because the profits go to small elites while the huge costs --in blood and taxes to support huge military expenditures -- are dumped off onto the common citizen.

3) Hence the CEO of Exxon Mobil can get a $400 Million retirement even though his fat ass has never been within a 1000 miles of a battlefield.
Instead, our blue collar citizens have their sons sent to die in the seizure of oil deposits in the Caspian Sea and Iraq.

N. Friedman - 4/26/2006

To clarify: Those who vote should be citizens.

N. Friedman - 4/26/2006

Peter and Peter,

I think Don has gone quite a bit too far. While I agree with the second Peter that mankind has always tried to control its destiny by controlling who enters the domain or tribe or nation, that does not mean that such is always - or, more to the point, just now - the best strategy for the US for the future.

I am inclined to think that, to the extent practical - taking into consideration the dangers posed by, among other problems, terrorists in the guise of immigrants -, we are best to have a fairly open immigration policy - which is not to be confused with an open border policy -. Immigrants tend to bring in new ideas and to work hard, etc.,etc. - all things that benefit society.

On the other hand, I do think that there is a legitimate concern that distinguishes legal from illegal immigration. Illegal immigration undermines the rule of law and creates, on top of that, a class of invisible people living quasi-secret lives.

Be that as it may, I would favor steps to tighten the borders, to remove the incentives for illegal immigrants to remain in the country, etc., etc. while, at the same time, liberalizing legal migration numbers from, for example, Mexico (while being careful to weed out terrorists).

As for voting, I do not see why legal immigrants cannot wait a few years to vote. Such, to me, is the cost of learning about a country, its people, etc., etc., before demanding a say in how the country is run. And that is fairer to actual citizens who, as Don notes, are more likely to be subject to military and other substantial obligations.

I do, however, note that there are non-citizens in the military. That concerns me since such people are less likely - at least in theory - to be loyal to the country.

Peter Kovachev - 4/26/2006

Very amusing Mr. Clarke, but otherwise quite useless where this discussion is concerned.

If you're familiar with human prehistory, as you imply here, you might have noticed that since the proverbial "time imemorial" humans have tried to control their demographic conditions whenever they could. Admission to a band, a tribe, a settlement, a walled city, or in the current scenario, a nation state, depend on the current inhabitants' needs and perceptions and their ability to attract or repel newcomers. At some point in their history nations were "nations of immigrants" until their citizens decided that enough's enough.

In the case of the US and most of the developed world, there is a very good argument to be made that massive or indiscriminate immigration is no longer (if it ever was) beneficial and that it needs to be intelligently and selectively restricted or even suspended, as Mr. Williams seems to imply. Given that your country has already been effectively invaded and colonized by at least 20 million uninvited souls who owe their presence due to their proximity to a poorly defended border, their willingness to take risks and to break laws, not to mention their home country's not-so subtle assistance, putting full stop on immigration would hardly be draconian.

Perhaps if you were to commit yourself to a position, your little humourous vignette might acquire some meaning.

Don Williams - 4/26/2006


Don Williams - 4/26/2006

1) I feel that I owe loyalty to any of my fellow American citizens --regardless of their creed, national origin , or race.

2) Unfortunately, the advocates for illegal immigrants do not share that feeling. These moral equivalent of traitors are both in the halls of Congress -- e.g., Ted Kennedy -- as well as on the streets of Los Angeles and here at HNN.

3) Mr Hayduk starts out his article with a lie: noncitizens do NOT have the obligations of citizens.

Every male US citizen is subject to being drafted to defend this country -- if need be, to die in combat.

4) Yet large numbers of white and black blue collar Americans -- the people who fight this country's wars and whose hard work has created this country's wealth -- are being driven into deep poverty by the supporters of massive immigration.

We have several million unemployed Americans. We should not allow a SINGLE LEGAL IMMIGRANT while those Americans need jobs. Nor should we allow immigration while large numbers of blue collars workers cannot earn a large enough wage to support a family.

5) The claim that America is a nation of immigrants is total claptrap. 200 years ago, this was a largely empty land. Today, the habitable portions have dense populations -- anywhere from 60 to 500 people per square mile. Lets remember that past immigration was supported by genocide --by destroying the Native American population.

6) Today, Our tolerance of heavy immigration is destroying this country -- we can NOT remain America if we become as crowded as China and India.

When population numbers exceed the capacity of the land to support them, democratic governments are always replaced by totalitarian regimes: because public safety and the threat of famine in high risk environments demands extreme measures to suppress disorder.

7) Why should we continue to support even Legal immigration from Mexico and South America -- when at least some people from those areas who have been given the gift of US citizenship repay us with such disloyalty? Who wave the flag of Mexico on the streets of LA? Who evidently feel more loyalty to foreigners than they feel to their fellow US citizens who are black and white?

8) But lets remember that Hispanic advocacy groups are not the only traitors -- the people really driving this policy are wealthy capitalists and corporate CEOs whose greed leads them to betray their fellow Americans.

When we criticize George W Bush for whoring to gain the Hispanic swing vote of Florida, California, and Texas; let's remember that the Democratic leadership has been betraying black Americans by whoring for those Hispanic votes -- and for corporate campaign donations -- for decades.

Michael Glen Wade - 4/26/2006

A very cheap shot which adds nothing to the discussion. There is no basis in the man's comment for calling him a nativist. He simply asks for respect for existing law in a purported nation of laws.

Peter Kovachev - 4/25/2006

Great idea! I hereby renounce my citizenship and my right to vote! It would equal another salary for me, whereas my vote is of no consequence in my riding and I have two other citizenships already.

But seriously, Irfan, do you believe that the right to vote is the only benefit a tax-payer receives? The majority of non-citizens in the US are not even supposed to be there and never declare their already meagre incomes, much less pay taxes. Instead, they take jobs from citizens, depress wages, remit a good portion of their income through Western Union (one of the greatest supporters of "open borders") to other countries, and freely avail themselves of all the services tax-paying chumps pay for.

But I sympathise in principle and would urge anyone in that insufferable position to protest by leaving the country for good.

Oscar Chamberlain - 4/25/2006


I'm not certain if giving resident aliens the right to vote is a good idea or not. But it is not silly, nor is it divorced from reality.

For most of its history the United States has allowed large scale immigration and has granted those immigrants or their descendants citizenship. This is unusual--though not unprecedented--from a world perspective. It is hardly surprising that Americans would suggest and occasionally implement policies that reflect that unusual nature.

As far as using the rest of the world to set limits, I am dubious in this case. Official guest worker programs only function "well" when the guest is forced out.

Our current policy, which is to utilize illegal aliens as unofficial guest workers, functions poorly because forcing out workers en masse goes against the values of most Americans (and against the business interests of many important Americans). Similarly, the permanence of "guests" in Europe has created strains because in Europe the common belief is that citizenship should be ethnically defined.

Now, we are trying to solve the very real problems of illegal immigration while also staying true to our values. Ron's essay is a solid addition to that debate.

Oscar Chamberlain - 4/25/2006

You are quite correct that the Civil War amendments changed things. However, in regard to voting, these amendments, and the later voting rights amendments concerning gender and age, were all worded to prevent the reduction of the rights of citizens. Whether they limit the right of the state to extend voting rights beyond citizenship is a different question.

I have no idea how the federal courts would rule if a state would do this. The plaintiffs of suits involving constitutionality have to show that the government action has harmed them even to get into court. I suppose a citizen of that state (and the US) could argue that his vote was diluted, but that would be a dilution that applied equally to all citizens.

I am not even sure that the national government could pass a law that limited the states' ability to do this, again because the national gov's right to interfere with state government is limited to the denial of rights. This brings us back to the "who is harmed" question again.

N. Friedman - 4/25/2006


I am a bit ignorant about voting by non-citizens. You refer to voting in the antebellum period. For what offices did non-citizens vote?

The concept of citizenship, prior to the 14th Amendment is a vague thing, at least in the Constitution. Citizens are, pre-14th Amendment, mentioned in the Constitution, but the term is not defined. By contrast, the 14th Amendment makes clear that anyone born here is a citizen and anyone "naturalized" - whatever that was intended to mean (which, for all I know, may be the same now as back then) - is a citizen.

I would think that with the adoption of the 14th Amendment - and not only its section defining citizenship -, the connection between voting and citizenship took on a Constitutional dimension which may, previously, have only applied to persons who might hold office.

I thus doubt that non-citizens could legally vote for elections to the US government. As for states, I would suspect that such depends on the state. The same for cities and towns.

domingo tunacao arong - 4/25/2006

I am a Territorial Filipino, a Filipino born during the American territorial period in the U.S. Territory of the Philippine Islands (1899-1946).

Territorial Filipinos were conferred the status of "non-citizen nationals" at birth by the United States which exercised the rights of sovereignty and jurisdiction over the territory and people of the Philippine Islands (Republic of the Philippines since 1946).

But, by law in 1934, we were to "be regarded as aliens," subject to U.S. immigration laws, although the same law mandated that we "owe allegiance to the United States" (which, by the way, defines a "national of the United States").

So, Territorial Filipinos carried the oxymoron status: Aliens owing allegiance to the United States.

We were born American nationals, but deprived of that nationality AT BIRTH without affording us the opportunity to expressly renounce or preserve that nationality at birth.

We are at a quandary, since the circumstances of birth is "indelible"; better still, "a Gift of the Creator."

We are now technically "stateless at birth," since the sovereign at our place of nativity (the United States) disowned us, and the sovereign that took over American sovereignty (the Republic of the Philippines) came into being only on 04 July 1946--after all of us had already been born!

Besides, the Citizenship Clause in Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment should be read correctly.

Shorn of its modifiers and reduced to the basic subject/predicate/object structure, it should be read grammatically as:

Persons born or naturalized, and subject to, are citizens.

Is this not a sentence consisting of a COMPOUND SUBJECT? And these are:

First: Persons born or naturalized;

Second: [Persons] subject to, with the main subject "persons" omitted rather than stated or repeated for brevity or style.

This omission is consistent with what the author did to the object, "citizens," which is also a COMPOUND:

First: citizens of the United States;

Second [citizens] of the State wherein they reside, with the second of the compound object, "citizens," omitted rather that stated or repeated.

What this means is that the Citizenship confers citizenship upon TWO categories of persons:

(1) All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and

(2) [All persons] subject to the jurisdiction thereof.

Territorial Filipinos, as I see it, belong to that 2nd category of "natural-born" citizens of the United States, having been born in territory "subject to the jurisdiction of the United States," over which the United
States was sovereign from 1899 to 1946.

I am now 63 years old, an American national at birth (born 1943)--or a "natural-born" citizen of the United States, if the Citizenship Clause is read correctly.

Whichever, American has disowned me--and I need not elaborate why.

Charles Edward Heisler - 4/24/2006

Well, since it is unlikely that Congress is liable to enact legislation allowing non-citizens the vote in this current highly charged era, the discussion is a bit moot, however, given the nature of the contemporary situation, it is likely that block voting might probably occur. It is interesting how easily the Hispanic population, across America, was galvanized so quickly and easily for mass demonstrations when their interests were threatened and I'm not sure the voting patterns of mid 19th Century are a predictor of how the current targeted groups would react.
We do know, from long experience, that minority groups in America do tend to vote in blocs and that political parties do exploit that tendency, which was my point.
To answer the other "old fashioned" comment, let me say that I am not anti-immigration, far from it--I think the terrible result from this current discussion is going to be the displacement of rather productive non-citizens from an economy that needs their participation.
However, the United States has a system of permitting citizenship that is chaotic at best and needs to be addresssed by rational legislation and clarification/enforcement of existing law.

Oscar Chamberlain - 4/24/2006


Of the examples of non citizen voting, I am most familiar with the Michigan and Wisconsin in the antebellum period. The majorities--mostly Democrats with a few Whigs-- reasoned very much the same way that Ron does.

The opponents--usually Whigs plus some more conservative Democrats--were concerned about the same things that you were.

As best as I can tell, no harm was done then. Most immigrants did vote Democrat; then few people will vote politicians who think they are dumb sheep, an image some Michigan Whigs used in the 1830s? If both parties had embraced them the voting patterns might well have been different.

Of course, the current situation is different in some regards, and perhaps those differences would result in a more negative outcome. But absent an argument based on the current situation, these historical examples suggest otherwise.

John Richard Clark - 4/24/2006

You could revive the defunct political party with that kind of authentic Anerican nativist initiative!

Charles Edward Heisler - 4/24/2006

" Noncitizen voting would facilitate civic education and participation and better prepare incipient Americans for eventual citizenship."

Oh you bet! Noncitizen voting would facilitate political pandering by the Left and better prepare "incipient" Americans for eventual exploitation by the politically needy and Balkanizers.
I suggest we simply leave the law like it is, root out the illegals, see how many can be repatriated to their respective countries and try again to bring sanity to immigration policy in America.
Silly me, I think laws can be inforced.

Lars Bjorn Nielsen - 4/23/2006

The logic of this article seems to be:"Since we cannot stop illegal immigration, why not give citizenship to everyone, who enters our country. Because, if you cannot stop illegal immigration and allow everyone, who has entered the country and payed taxes, to vote, what is then the difference between an illegal immigrant and a citizen ?