Showing posts with label Immigration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Immigration. Show all posts

Sunday, September 24, 2017

An Analysis Of A Former Liberal Turned Trump Voter's Reasons In "Waking Up"

I came across a blog post by a "gay, former liberal" describing his experience "waking up" out of liberalism to support Donald Trump for president. While reading it I saw a number of problems with his logic and so I'm going to critique them here. It's very important we get out of our echo chambers and understand the mindset of those who think differently from us and know where exactly they go wrong.

The blogger is named Josh and describes himself as a "32-year-old single Christian gay guy, who is helping raise his 3 year old niece." Fair enough. One can be conservative and gay, and technically one can be Christian and gay, especially since nowadays just about every Christian makes up his or her own version of Christianity to suit their personality.

In his post Josh describes how he started out not being particularly political, but interested in conspiracy theories, and then later jettisoned that interest and got deeper into politics in the beginning of the last presidential election cycle. He writes,

Then something gradually happened… while watching the debates to crack jokes, I began internalizing the information, suddenly finding my eyes to begin opening. I became aware of ISIS, and others with the desire to come to America for the purposes of ending our way of life, and illegals pouring through our borders, costing taxpayers billions, and contributing to crime. I discovered our Veterans were being treated poorly, many homeless on the streets, while others are allowed to come to the United States illegally, reaping the benefits. A wide range of issues really started to resonate with me.

A few things. Yes ISIS are evil people hell bent on destroying our way of life (you know, the liberal way) and are driven by a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. It's good to be aware of that and Democrats far too often do not acknowledge this.

Illegal immigration since the financial collapse in 2008 has been slightly declining — meaning, there's been a net decrease for nearly 10 years. But Josh is completely ignorant of that data, as is Trump, and almost all of his supporters.

As for the cost to tax payers, there's mixed data on this. Some right-leaning sources have the annual cost to tax payers at $113 billion, and many of these studies rely on estimates and include the cost of US born children of illegal immigrants who are themselves US citizens. Other studies have the number closer to $85 billion, and left-leaning sources say that there's an over all net-positive due to the consumer demand, tax revenue from income tax, payroll taxes, and the positive economic impact of lower priced goods from the cheap labor. But one thing's clear: giving illegal immigrants legal status and cracking down on work places that hire illegal immigrants off the books so that they do not pay taxes would dramatically lessen the tax burden they have on US tax payers.

And finally when it comes to the "contributing to crime" claim, it's true. Some illegal immigrants contribute to crime. But you know what? Some tourists contribute to crime. Should we ban tourists then? Of course not. Merely contributing to crime is not a justification to deport all illegal immigrants. You can't expect 11 million people to be completely crime free. Studies also show the crime rate of illegal immigrants is lower than that of native citizens. And over all crime in the US has dropped over the last 25 years, just as the numbers of illegal immigrants was rapidly increasing.

Monday, September 18, 2017

On Being Politically Homeless

Editor's note: this blog post was originally written in January 2016 and never published. After realizing this I've edited it to update it for today.

I've been wanting to write a blog post for some time about the politics and attitudes surrounding liberalism, "regressive leftism," Islam, and immigration. I was inspired by the events back in January of 2016 in Cologne Germany where groups of men who appeared to be of Middle Eastern and North African decent sexually assaulted hundreds of women and raped at least two. Some of those who committed the assaults may have been recently arrived refugees, and predictably, there were many conservatives saying "I told you so."

What I face here is a very complicated and tricky situation, and navigating it is like walking over a dilapidated roped bridge over a raging river: every step must be carefully planned.

I am at heart a liberal. I believe in liberty and equality and fairness and tolerance, and I despise racism and bigotry of all sorts. But the situation today regarding Islam, immigration, and political correctness is really challenging my liberal identity. Some of the things I hear coming out of the aptly termed "regressive left" are making me nauseous — while at the same time I can understand where they're coming from as a liberal myself.

Many people on the Left are genuinely concerned about racism and bigotry towards people of Middle Eastern or Asian ethnicity, but their political correctness inhibits them from acknowledging and coming to terms with the reality of what we face with Islam.

I am concerned about the rise of right-wing fascist groups and political parties in Europe and in other Western counties. I definitely don't want to see Europe go down that path. But at the same time, I'm concerned about rising immigration of people from Muslim majority counties into Europe. Just as I don't want to see Europe go down the road of right-wing fascism, I also don't want to see Europe in 30 years looking like Egypt or Saudi Arabia.

As a liberal, I want Europe to remain open and tolerant, but tolerating views that oppose that very same tolerance is in the long run problematic. There is a huge cultural clash between the disturbingly conservative views that many of those from Muslim majority countries hold, with the liberal, secular, and open European cultures. And labeling anyone who says that Europe should consider limiting its immigration a xenophobe, a racist, or a bigot, is highly unproductive. What many on the Left do not have any tolerance for is anything against their tolerance for multiculturalism. But meanwhile, they'll tolerate the sexism and homophobia of brown skinned Muslims because they're an "oppressed" minority in the West.

This level of hypocrisy is madness.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Interview With An Iraqi Refugee

So a few days ago president Trump signed an executive order banning all nationals from Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, Iran, and Somalia from entering the US for 3 months, and all refugees from these countries for 180 days, until (apparently) our government can figure out "what the hell is going on." Now aside from the evidence that there were zero deaths in the US by nationals from those countries over the last 40 years from terror related activities, and there have been plenty from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Lebanon, curiously not on the list, the reason given by the Trump administration was "danger."

But what can we say? It's Trump. He's not a rational actor. The news of the ban though, reminded me of my own friend Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, an Iraqi refugee and secular activist who came to the US in 2013. The ban for him is personal, since if it happened 4 years ago he wouldn't have been able to make it into the US, despite him being an atheist and secular activist who argues against Islamic extremism.

Below is the interview of him we had on the Firebrands Podcast last month (which you should totally check out) about his experiences and work as a secular activist trying to reform Islam.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Question To Pro-life Conservatives


If every illegal immigrant female in the US became pregnant right now, what would you choose given only these two options:

(1) would you rather have 7 or 8 million more anchor babies born in the US nine months from now; or
(2) would you rather have all of them have an abortion


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Republicans Have The Same Misconceptions Of Reagan As They Do Jesus

What's wrong with republicans?

Today's republican party are politically the biggest and most stubborn babies perhaps in the history of the US; certainly since World War II. They're a bunch of anti-birth control, anti-middle class, anti-secularist, anti-evolution, anti-science, climate change denialists who have been completely bought and sold by their corporate fundraisers. They hate the President with a passion and are willing to disrupt government and jeopardize the welfare of the people just to prevent him from getting any serious bills passed because they don't want him to leave the White House with a positive legacy. Any time you hear a republican sound off on science, sexuality or economics you can almost guarantee that you're going to be hearing something profoundly idiotic.

Republicans have two dead heroes that they love to put up on a pedestal and idolize: Ronald Reagan and Jesus Christ. And what makes these two icons of the republican part so odd, is that if you really look at what each of them did and said, it is antithetical to their primary agenda. While the hypocrisy is astounding, it's what you'd expect from an anti-intellectual party.

Let's look at former President Ronald Reagan, the political icon of the republican party, who all party members must speak about with the utmost admiration. Ronald Reagan raised taxes 11 times when he was in office, he gave blanket amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, he traded arms with terrorists, he nearly tripled the federal deficit, and he increased the size of government. Reagan wouldn't even be able to win a primary in today's republican party because he'd be too far to the left. And yet, republicans have this image of Reagan as the ideal president - a model for every future republican with presidential aspirations. But his record clearly deviates from the modern script the party has devised today. Reagan was willing to compromise, he was sometimes willing to do the right thing and get government moving by finding a middle ground between his party's ideology and the left's. Compromise has become a dirty word today in the republican party and as a result we've got a congress that is the least productive in history.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Slow Death Of The Republican Party

Society's moral progress is going to diminish the republican party to obsolescence. I am a political junkie and have been for years and it is often humorous when the republicans are parodied in their ridiculous attempts to modernize their brand. They are losing the debate over abortion, gay marriage, healthcare, taxes, guns, how to fix the deficit, and immigration to name a few. The conservative ethics they fancy just don't appeal to enough young people anymore and their base is made up of aging old white people living in rural and suburban communities.

They know they have to compromise on these issues if they want to remain relevant in the next few decades. It will be interesting to see how exactly they do that, especially with their core conservative principles on social issues like abortion and gay marriage. I really wish that moderate republicans would break free from the party and become independents or libertarians or some other party and leave the extreme right conservative republicans alone to wither away. It'd be interesting to have a 3 party system in the US if this happened.

I think eventually most conservatives will evolve towards the left on social issues but remain conservative on government spending and taxes like libertarians are. The irony is that republicans have a dismal record on fiscal conservatism during their last few administrations in the White House.

I'm happy the country is moving to the left and I look forward to the day when the South and Midwest are as liberal as New England is. I'd still like people to keep their traditional ways however in that I don't want everyone talking and acting like a North East intellectual, just more to the left on social issues.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Immigration Reform: Round Two

Congress is working on immigration reform legislation. I definitely believe we ought to allow pathways towards citizenship for the 11 million or so illegal immigrants in the US, so long as they have not committed additional crimes while here.

The proposals being made are not that different from the policies I wrote about years ago. The actual senate plan's four principles are outlined below:

  • Create a tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required; 
  • Reform our legal immigration system to better recognize the importance of characteristics that will help build the American economy and strengthen American families; 
  • Create an effective employment verification system that will prevent identity theft and end the hiring of future unauthorized workers; and, 
  • Establish an improved process for admitting future workers to serve our nation's workforce needs, while simultaneously protecting all workers.

As long as we implement a plan that tackles the illegal immigration issue once and for all so we aren't in the same situation 20 years from now, we can call it comprehensive. If illegal immigrants wanting to work here come forward and are given documentation allowing them to do so, we'll have to implement an E-Verify system preventing preventing those who did not come forward to be able to find work. That will encourage many to come forward, and will prevent future illegal immigration. And along with securing the border, this plan seems to do that, even though I don't have a great deal of confidence in our "do nothing" congress. 

What I want to see are conditions and wages of many of the jobs done by illegal immigrants improved. By giving them the legal rights to work in the US, we will better be able to make this happen. Labor has for decades been hit with stagnant wages and declining benefits - all while productivity is at the highest levels ever. I do not want to allow any longer businesses to be able to exploit cheap labor that drives down wages and dehumanizes workers in the process. We need fair wages and wages that keep up with productivity and the cost of living. Immigration reform can most realistically make this happen, so I support it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Immigration debate heating up again...

Arizona's new strict immigration law is heating up the immigration debate which was waning in recent years due to the economic meltdown. When the economy recovers we will see more immigrants both legal and illegal coming to the U.S. and no doubt the debate over what to do with the illegal ones here and coming here will become an issue.

A few years ago when the immigration debate heated up I began following it closely. I was originally very against illegal immigration and any amnesty for illegals, but I've shifted my position a little bit slightly. I'm still against blanket amnesty for all illegal immigrants but I think that some deserve the ability to begin a path to citizenship. Those who are on the far right and far left of this issue I disagree with, and here is why:

Those on the far left of this issue, mainly illegal immigrants and their supporters, (who come in all different colors and sizes), think that there are no borders, that no one is illegal, and that everyone who can physically get here has the right to stay here indefinitely. I disagree with these ideas completely. First, we have to have borders. Borders keep the peace between us. If there wasn't a border dividing the land no one would agree who can claim ownership of a natural resource. But if you have a border, and the resource lay on my side then it's mine, or it will be yours if it lay on your side. Of course we can fight over the border, as most wars are often about, but with out the border there is no jurisdiction over the resource and fighting will be near constant. So we have to have borders in the modern world. This stupid naive mentality of the desire for living in a world without borders is absurd and will lead to immeasurable bloodshed.

Second, the absurd idea that no one is illegal. Really? Most countries where "illegal" immigrants are coming from don't even allow legal immigrants, or have very strict quotas on them. Mexico deports thousands of illegal immigrants from Central America from its southern border every year. And as for the idea that anyone who can get here has the right to stay here, just from being able to get here, that's is bullshit. Living in the U.S. is a privilege not a right. No one has the right to be here. That would be like me saying I have the right to come into your home whenever I want. I'll clean your house and take out your garbage, do all the things you don't want to do, but you must feed me and pay for my doctors visits and my kids education. You shouldn't have to be forced into that situation.

But of course logic and rationality go out the window when you are starving and need to make money. I understand that. Which is why I support legal immigration, but we have to have limits. Immigration must be controlled. Without rules and regulations we will have chaos. We will have basically what we've had for the past 25 years since the last amnesty was passed in 1986. Yes we need a strong border that makes it near impossible to cross. This can be done. The U.S. can secure borders all over the world and can surely secure its own backyard. Finally, there is an agenda at large here and it comes from corporate America, who likes cheap exploitable labor and thus doesn't mind the open border. Yet another reason to hate large corporations.

Here is what I think should be done to the illegal immigrants already here after we fully secure the entire border:

1. If they have been convicted of any kind of felony they must be deported immediately and never allowed back in, period. They have one chance to show they can become model American citizens, blow it, and they forfeit their only chance;
2. If they are in or ever have been associated with any gangs or criminal organizations and are documented as such by law enforcement they get deported and banned forever also;
3. They have to have made an attempt to learn English. If they cannot speak even basic English and they've been here for 5 years or more then they cannot be put on a path to citizenship and they must apply the regular way (i.e. go back home and get in line);
4. If they are willing to pledge allegiance to the U.S. and give up their country of origin, (as they have to do when they swear oath) then;
they should be allowed to go to the back of the line and become citizens;
5. So for those immigrants who have made it passed the above criterion, they will have to apply for a temporary visa that would allow them to stay in the U.S., that has to be renewed every year until citizenship is gained, and pay a $4,000 fine per every household. Failure to renew the visa, or the conviction of any felony during the visa, or the conviction of any crime while associated with a criminal gang, will result in an immediate revocation of the visa, followed by imprisonment for the convicted crimes and/or deportation.

Is that not fair?

There should be an incentive program where the more Americanized the illegal immigrant, the sooner they can become citizens. Basically, they can cut ahead in line of the other illegal immigrants who haven't Americanized as much during their stay here. And from then on, with a secure border, we'd have only legal immigration (in a perfect case scenario). I'm sorry, but not everyone has the right to be here, even if they are poor. There are several billion poor people in the world who would love to come to the U.S., even if just temporarily, to attain a better life. We can't let in every single one, we have to have realistic limits.

The U.S. is the most liberal country in the world when it comes to immigration. It allows more immigrants through its borders legally then all the other countries in the world do combined. That says something. When I hear people say that the U.S.'s immigration policies are anti-immigrant, this is complete and utter bullshit. Compare the U.S.'s legal immigration policy up against any other country's in the world and you will see what I mean. On top of that we have allowed 12 million illegal immigrants come into our borders and did almost nothing about it, and your saying we are anti-immigrant? Bullshit! No other country in the world would tolerate 12 million illegal immigrants. Mexicans don't even like it when Guatemalans cross their border. Please. All I hear is hypocrisy coming from the left, who are being aided and funded by big business.

From the right, I understand their point of view but they simply have to realize that we are a country of immigrants and that immigration is going to continue whether they like it or not. It's not necessarily a bad thing. Races of the world can get together and unify here. This was never a white country to begin with. There were always Native Americans and Africans were being imported as slaves long before most Europeans got here. White people are afraid of losing their majority status, but look at it this way: in the future there won't be a majority. We'll all be minorities. America is going to change, it always has and always will. Nothing stays the same. As long as immigrants of all colors and national origins embrace a common identity, an American identity, we will be one people.


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