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“Diversity in the world is a basic characteristic of human society, and also the key condition for a lively and dynamic world as we see today.”

- Jinato Hu

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http://www.alderkoten.com/institute/2013/10/diversity-recruiting-recruiting-diversity/

People of different race, language, cultures, and heritage all carry different things that may not seem similar to what other groups may have. It is up to the citizens/people/society/everyone to be able to cope with the differences, diversity, and be responsible to understand one another. Although there are some agreements or disagreement on certain perspectives, norms, and cultures, we can’t expect peace with each other without putting aside our differences. It’s not about which group is better or one is worse, but allowing people to be together in harmony for the sake that we all want to live in the same world.

To being with, if everyone was taught from a young age to accept that there other groups out there and being able to be surrounded by them, then we would grow up accepting that fact. But not everyone is like due to their own reasons. What we should not do is use religions, traditions, power, norms, or any stubborn reasonings to cut off from other groups. Why? Probably because the world is full of all kinds of people and not everyone is going to fulfill those expectations. If more people are able to be the bigger person and properly act like an adult, then we would not have to worry as much about bringing harm to other innocent lives and the environment.

One of the reasons that people may do what they think is “right” is because of religion, cultural practices, and traditions. There are a lot of wrong traditions that should not practice anymore due to the fact that it is either life threatening, discriminating, racist, or wrong to commit on any human being. Arguably, those kinds of traditions that were developed more than decades ago should not be put into use of the future generations. It is not changing or ruining the culture, instead it is letting the future generation adapt better into it.

But not everyone is like that because sometimes it is influenced by how society presents them. Back then, society did not care about finding the correct and reliable information because they did not know much. Nowadays, it is changing, but popular stereotypes still lingers. What some people don’t realize is that although some people tolerate stereotypes, some people find it offensive and rather disrespectful. It is best not to assume how a group or person is going to be like due to how society presents them because they are individuals who may think differently of themselves.

Basically, there are a lot of things that all cultures and societies need to let go because we can’t find peace with another group if there are already wrongs doing within your own group. For example, no one should be forced to get marry from such a young age because he/she is not an adult who have not experience the real world and understand his/her own position of who, and what she/he wants to be. This applies to many cultures that still practices this. It is not attacking the cultures, but it’s pointing out the wrong doing that is committed towards children. Another example is that being a hermaphrodite, bisexual, gay, or lesbian is wrong, which does not matter unless you are that person. Part of having freedom is being able to chose how you live and who you want to be. It’s not about what your friends/family/society think is right because it doesn’t mean they are right and should chose how you can live.

Of course, our society will never be able to reach 100% peace with so many different kinds of people. Stereotypes, discriminations, and other degrading presentations of a cultural group will always exist. People are not naturally racist, rather just uneducated or ignorant of certain groups. Really, it’s up for them to be able to find the correct information, then understand, and know the truth so that they won’t judge others incorrectly. There will be some things that will separates people because of the way we grow and what and who we learn it from.


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I am “Long Khang”

I am 15

I am male

I am egg roll

I am

I am water

I am Hmong

I am N MPLS

I am all music

I am “Lee Thao”

I am Hmong

I am fourteen

I am a female

I am shopoholic

I am from St.Paul

I am Lee Thao

I am “Macy Her”

I am female

I am chicken noodle soup

I am married

I am orange juice

I am Hmong

I am white bear lake

I am Minnesota

I am any music

I am hmong clothing

I am white hmong

I am Macy Her

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I am “Amalitha Lee”

I am 16

I am female, girl

I am food-anything

I am Christian

I am water

I am Asian Hmong American

I am Minnesota, cottage grove

I am music-Korean, Chinese, Japanese, hip-hop, R & B, anything

I am “Lalee Yang’

I am 14

I am male

I am noodle

I am pop

I am Asian Hmong

I am Minnesota

I am videogame lover or freak

I am “Shellue Yang”

I am 16

I am female

I am Sheelue Yang

I am October 8th, 1990

I am 17 hours of sleep Saturdays, and Sundays

I am hmong yaj

I am an American

I am homework, reading, and writing.

I am “Pazong Vue”

I am 15 year old, hmong.

A hmong girl who likes live in Andover and be grape juice.

She also loves life & live with love

Yeah… I am PaZong.

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I am “Tom Xiong”

I am 15 years old

I am the man

I like to eat Chinese food

I am 130 pounds

I am born in Minnesota

I am a chess player

I like girls

I like food

I live in Little Canada

I am Asian American

I drink pink lemonade

I am single and not dating

I listen to R&B, rock and hip-hop

I am a sophomore

My school is Roseville High School

I like to play vide games

I am “Kalia Yang”

I am 15 years old

I am rice

I am big family

I am water

I am Hmong

I am North Carolina

I am all kinds of music

I am Hmong white

I am talkative

I am Kalia

I am “Shell”

I am 14

I am un chica

I am ice cream

I am hmong dawb

I am H2O

I am hmong

I am Minnesota

I am music

I am Shell

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I am “Rod Kong”

I am 17

I am Man

I eat friend rice with chicken

I am Cambodian

I drink pop

I am Asian

I live in St.Louis Park, MN

I listen for all kinds of music

I love sports

I play soccer

I love food

I was born in Cambodia

I play video games

I am “Leila Ly”

I am 12

I am female

I am sticky rice

I am soda

I am Hmong

I am Minnesota

I am “Janelle Nero”

I am 17 yr.old

I am female

I love fried chicken

I am of a family 3 to groups

I drink orange juice

I am of African decent

I am black

I am milk

I live in Columbia Heights

I am a teacher

I am a thinker

I listen to hip-hop

I am a talker

I am multi-talented

I know multi-languages

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We’re Humans Too…

Everywhere I go…everywhere I look…it always got to be only one race in every single group…that’s why there’s a lot of hate in this world…no love will never be shown…you’ll never find peace…in this world…never see any other race helping other race…always got to choose one…join the fight…or don’t fight and you’re not consider as one no more…it’s always like that with everything…race…family…friends…team…and the rest of the so call group…every one should know about it in realty…white on one side…black on the other side…Asian on this side…and the rest on some other side…being races…being prejudice…I know we’re not like that…the one…that do act like that…are only the spoil brat…thinking that they’re all that…but they don’t know…how other race go…thinking that we can’t stand up to them…doesn’t mean anything…because we keep it cool…until the right time…even though there’s a lot of different races…it don’t mean that we could hate them for having different skin colors…you should help them instead…because they’re humans…just like you…

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The Ride

August Heggestad

As I go, advancing through the night,
I will gallop, I will trot, I will ride,
Jumping up, like a baby bird, attempting flight,
Leaping over rocks and broken trees on their side,

The ground, black, and the heavens, ablaze,
The war above raging with an inner fire,
My heart too fast a rhythm, my feet, crazed,
The evil behind me, pushing me higher,

The burning forest a sight to see,
I fear the thing that all things dread,
But with the fire almost catching me,
And the thing behind me that wants my head,

My efforts never good enough,
No time to say I’ve had it rough.


Chaos

Dennis Vang

I am god

I take a life, I create a life

I’m skilled, I’m wise

I’m you, I’m me

I’m nothing, I exist with no purpose

I’m evil, I’m good

I live in the shadows, I live in the light

I’m justice, I’m crime

I control time, I stop space

I am realty, I am fantasy

I am the devil

I am chaos.


Why Should I Remember

Paris Carruthers

Why should I remember?

Memories from the past

They are long forgotten

For reasons, do not ask

They are ships, drowned and forgotten

Pain drowned in the sea

I’m an explosion waiting to happen

I am the pain in me

No more do I try to fight it

This pain is here to stay

Just hide it and deny it

Yet it grows stronger everyday

Lock it up, throw away the key

I am my pain and it is me.

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My Story

My first memory was probably when I was in Texas at my dad’s house and I was about four or five years old. We just got back from getting my new Fila’s (tennis shoes).We were just hanging out at his house and he asked me what I wanted to eat and I said waffles and candy.  I thought he would say no right away, but I guess since I didn’t see him that often he said yeah to be nice.  I walked to the window and looked out.  Then I noticed the pretty view from up above.  I began to yell, “MOM! MOM!” out of the window.  After I was done my dad asked me if I wanted to go home and I said no. I’m not really sure what happened after.

My most memorable birthday was in seventh grade on March 5th.  It was the last day of traveling basketball and our championship game against Jordan.  Our game was in Savage, Minnesota.  I woke up to my teammates in my house, waking me.  They made me breakfast in bed.  My parents were at work and told me they couldn’t make my championship game.  I was kind of sad about it but at the same time I was still happy because it was my birthday.  Then it was time for the game and I was just in the zone like no other.  I scored 16 points that game and we won 33 to 29.  We celebrated after by taking silly string and spraying it at the coaches and me.  It turned out that my parents were at my game the whole time as a surprise.  We went to Red Lobster all together and had cake.  Then I got an iPod video which I’ve always wanted back then.  I got other things too.

My weekend was really good. On Friday I hung out with friends and we were talking about the party that was going to be on Saturday.  At the party everyone was just having fun and a good time.  There was alcohol, but no one was drinking.  That night my friend’s neighbor called the cops on us because I guess we were being too loud. The cops showed up and crashed everything.  The cops saw alcohol in the fridge and decided to give us breathalyzers because they thought we were drinking. Not too long before the cops showed up I just put some minty gum in my mouth, which makes you blow higher when you’re doing a breathalyzer even though you’re not drinking at all.  By the end of that night I got a minor and had to go to court.  The outcome of it all is that I got grounded and it shows up on my record.

I started playing basketball when I was a little kid but started playing on an actual team when I was in second grade.  I love it more then anything.  It was the greatest thing in the world to me when I was a kid and still is.  I enjoy being with friends and just learning new things about the game of basketball.  Currently I am a starting point guard on the varsity squad since freshman year.  I enjoy it a lot.  In the future I hope to pursue basketball in college. I am planning on attending the University of Tennessee.  They are the current state champs for women’s college basketball and have been for a while.  I plan on meeting their coach because I have read about her and she is one of the top coaches in women’s college basketball.

My friends and family mean the world to me!  I have two brothers and two sisters and I am the middle child.  My youngest brother is two, my youngest sister is nine, then there is me.  My older sister is nineteen and my oldest brother is twenty-six.  My mom is from Sacramento, California and my dad was born in Congo, Kinshishia.  Out of 100% they are about 85% of my life.  Without them I don’t know what I’d do.  I enjoy sharing good times with them and making new memories.  Without my family and friends I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to about certain things or share personal things with.  I cherish every moment I am with them.  I am also up for meeting tons of new people and having plenty of fun!

I love traveling all over! I enjoy it so much because you’re not in your normal boring state.   You get to see and visit things you don’t see everyday.  I’ve been to 32 states so far in my life.  I was born in Houston, Texas and I’ve visited all of the states down south.  I love being down south because it’s always hot and they have extremely good food.  Also I enjoy their southern accents and their southern hospitality.  My other favorite place to go is to California.  I enjoy going there because I get to see tons of family, shop and I get to go to Eddie Murphy’s mansion.

I wanted to work this summer because I wanted some extra money and learn new experiences.  Something that I like so far is learning new things on the computer and meeting new people.  Also I like being on the computer editing and making slogans. Things that I don’t like are writing and reading.  Things that I learned are improving on my verbal skills and editing skills.

In my future I plan on meeting tons of new people, having my dream job, having fun in college playing basketball, and living with roommates.

Fragments

My first day going to a new school was ok, but I had to walk to school because it was close. I was starting in third grade and I didn’t know anyone. I made most of my friends when we all went out for recess. At the end of the day I made some friends. Two of my new friends came over to my house. My dad didn’t want us playing in the living room so he told us to go play in the basement. We played fight in the basement my dad told us not to do it. After dad went back up stairs we started play fighting again. Then after a while they went home.

I don’t have a favorite birthday it’s mostly just the same thing, we have cake and sing happy birthday. I remember a birthday, but it wasn’t mine it was my sister Nouqouja’s (Ja) birthday. Why I liked this birthday, because my friends came over. That day my dad was barbecuing some chicken. Later we had some ice-cream but we sat outside. My sister had her friends over too and they were eating inside in the basement.

Both my grandpas are dead. One died before I was born, the other died July 2008.  My dad’s mom also died before I was born. My mom’s mom hates her but doesn’t hate my uncle. Grandma also got married again. I don’t know when, but I know it was before I was born too. My mom works twelve hours then comes home between twelve and three, but stays home on Sundays. So she only gets one day to rest. My sister Ja dances, my little brother Talee plays videogames, but not as much as me though. My younger sisters Maikashia (Shia) and Nkauj Zoo (Pi or Zoo) usually play with each other. Nkauj Zoo’s original name is Nouchi but we changed it. Ja’s birthday is on March nineteenth, Talee and Shia’s are on August eighth, and Zoo’s is on October twenty-fifth.

I think the first time I hit my head was when I was five or four. Then I hit my head again when I was between seven and ten, I was riding my bike around my house and I accidently rode it down the hill in the front lawn then I hit my head. Once or twice I got hit on the head with a hard ball. The rest of the times I just hit my head on tables and on walls. I get headaches sometimes, but not all the time.

I think high school is going to be harder because my friends tell me that it’s harder and you get in trouble if you don’t get in class in time. The classes seem harder but then I can’t remember most of my math, I think they’ll teach it again because it’s been three months since I did any math.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I might try to learn how to draw and animate cartoons. Another thing I might do is learn to fix computers and install programs. Or I might just make videogames.

I came to work at AMA because I didn’t want to stay home like every summer. I wanted to learn new things too. It is kind of hard to do the work because I never get it finished. In Kang’s class I learned lighting and what shots are what. In Loretta’s class I read two books and I didn’t finish either of them. Now we are starting drawing class.

One time we went somewhere, it was my grandpa’s place. We were doing this one ritual thing. I kept drinking pop. I drank about three to five drinks, my stomach started hurting. After it was finished we went home. Everyone got in the car and we headed home. We started going and I think I was complaining that my stomach hurt. When we got home and started to go up the stairs to the front door, I threw up on the stairs.

The first funeral that I went to took a while to get there. My dad asked me if I wanted to go since my mom didn’t want to go and I said ok. When we got there I followed my dad into the room that the person that had died was in. There were a lot of people there already. I saw some people I knew, but didn’t say anything. My dad told me to go sit down. We sat next to an uncle. He and my dad were talking. I just looked around. Later my dad asked me if I wanted to go look and I nodded my head. We walk up there to the box I can’t remember what it was called. I remembered that it was covered with glass and I think it was the color gold. I couldn’t see the person because I was too small so I asked my dad to lift me up. I saw the person and I was kind a surprised and creeped out too. After that we went back to the chairs and sat down. I went to go get a drink, and after I finished I drank another one. I was getting sleepy though. I sat down again, but then I put my hand on the back of the chair. It felt sharp but then it felt funny. I looked at my hand and it was cut across all my fingers. I told my dad that I was getting sleepy and he told me that we’d leave in a little bit. I waited a while before asking again and I also told him that my hand was bleeding. So he said good-bye to everyone that was nearby. And we drove home.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do in the future that’s why I’m still thinking about that. I’d just like a decent job and an easy life. I like playing with technical stuff so I might do something in that. But I’m still not sure if I want to do that. I’ll think of something eventually. But first have to finish school then I’ll see what I want to do.

Nothing

When things got hard, I gave up on trust just like now. My grandfather told me a story of his trust in one girl. My grandfather said she was beautiful and unique from other girls, but then one day when my grandfather wasn’t home, she took all of his money that he was saving for their marriage and ran away to get married to another man. He was so heart broken that he lost trust in everyone. After a few years, being alone hoping she’ll come back, he regains the trust in himself and went to find another that would love him back.

The years went by and the women came and went each time breaking his heart more and more. After a while he left them and decided that he should only trust and care for himself until he found the perfect one. So he played with all these girls and had about two to three girls to marry. He was so happy that he didn’t care about their feelings and broke my grandmother’s heart. He said it was for his own benefit so he would never have to fall back into depression. As the years went by he left all the other women and decided to stick with my grandmother. Years later they had kids, the first was my mom, then my uncle Yang, my uncle Xiong, auntie Bao, uncle Paul, and then auntie Ger.

My grandfather waited until my aunt Ger was 18 and married, to go to Laos to find a second wife. During the trip to Laos he found a second wife and brought her to America. She was expensive and took all the money he had and left. When my grandmother found out she was really heart broken but she still loved him. After he saw that, he knew my grandmother was the one girl who really does love and care for him.

My grandfather told me to love more than one girl and I’ll see one day that one of them will love me in return. I told my grandfather that that wasn’t true. You just can’t give out love and trust to anyone so easily, it takes time. That is just so selfish to play with a girl just to make you happy. I told him that his story will not be repeated by me and he laughed.

My grandfather told me love is a hard thing but seeing someone trapped in love and is suffering in pain is just too sad. If I had loved more than one girl, I wouldn’t have been so depressed and be suffering just for this one girl and this one love. All I could tell him was, I’ll always love this one girl and keep on fighting just for this one love until the day I can’t take any more pain. I know I was foolish but that is something I want to live by.

The very first memory I can think of is how I miss my ex-girlfriend like crazy. Her name is Chue Qa Vang. I miss her warm touches and how she always tried to stay strong. The memories of her will always run through my head, the day where she wore a black happy bunny shirt, sleeveless, blue apple jeans, and her upright glasses. Damn she got me going crazy that day. She told me she wanted to be irresistible so I’ll go crazy for her and I told her I already did.

The moment I can’t get out of my head is when we were on the third floor of our high school during lunch time and she was so happy she was dancing like an angel and while she was spinning.  I caught a glimpse of her smile and that is all I can think of and remember. While she was spinning, the words Aza Aza, fighting, ran through my head and now it hurts a crushing pain, so close to death, but yet still longing for her enough to live on, just so I can be near her and protect her from the pain. Well so here I am now hurting and loving her more than ever. I know now that everything she does work and she will always be right. These tears of mine probably don’t mean anything anymore but the pain of dying for love is what is happening to me and it hurts more than anything else I have experience and I will NOT GIVE UP!!! I’ll try to reach my dreams because it’s the closest thing I have to living.

My birthday is like a forgotten memory. All it is pain, suffering, and misery. When I think about this, it hurts me more than ever. Sometime I even feel like falling down and crying. These memories of birthdays are just pain.

My first date is with girl name Qhi.  We went to this Chinese place for dinner. She looked so fine, but I knew that I didn’t have feelings for her so it was kind of sad. I knew it was bad to play with people so felt like I wasting her time. She was pretty, quiet, and shy. After we ordered, I started complimenting her and she was like smiling and laughing and dang she was just so damn cute. Especially when she tried to give me a kiss, she gave me those puppy eyes and those cute little puppy lips and I gave her pep kiss on the cheeks. She was a little disappointed, but a pep kiss was better than nothing. When the food came she tried to play cute by feeding me. I was laughing my butt off, but I was like hey I might as well play along since she’s acting so damn cute. After dinner I took her home. I took her to her doorstep and she was expecting a kiss, I laughed and kissed her on the her forehead  and her father came out snapping saying how I was in big trouble for taking his daughter out and it was just fun. I ran and dip but fun is still fun.

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McCain Introduces New Immigration Bill

Written by Doug Burrell

Due to his rapidly deteriorating poll numbers among conservatives, John McCain introduced a new bill on the Senate floor today.

Political observers have blamed McCain’s recent slide on his involvement with the immigration bill that failed to pass through the Senate last week. Critics called the bill an “amnesty bill”. With his new proposal, McCain hopes to regain the support of the conservatives he lost.

McCain’s ten point plan, which Democrats are calling “incredibly, mind-bogglingly racist” calls for the following:

All Hispanic workers to be paid in pesos.

Change the name of Taco Bell to Liberty Bell

Upgrade border patrol vehicles so that they will be fast enough to catch Speedy Gonzalez

Build a wall that not even David Copperfield can walk through.

Make sign that reads, “All incoming immigrants must be 5 foot tall to enter America, thereby disqualifying 75% of all Hispanic people”.

Provide complimentary stay for all immigrants at the Hanoi Hilton.

Require all immigrants to not only speak English, but think in English, too.

Put signs near the border that say, “America that way”, but point the arrow in the wrong direction.

Bomb, bomb, bomb…bomb, bomb Iran… (McCain sang this proposal.)

Deport all persons with “foreign last names, like Obama or Giuliani.”

McCain commented, “Well, shucks. Being controversial got Ron Paul to where he is. I just thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and get a piece of the action myself.”

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Congress Reforms Illegal Immigration!

Written by Andrew Lawrence

(Washington) – Following on the heels of the monumental failure of Congress to pass any illegal immigration reform, The U.S. Congress and executive branch yesterday decided instead to rename the problem and make believe it doesn’t exist.

Under the new guideline, the federal government and its agencies will stop using the term “illegal immigration” and start calling it “population migration”.

Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, issued the statement, “That was easy. Now, illegal immigration no longer exists and, therefore, is no longer a problem for the United States. And, as a liberal Democrat, I am in favor of population migration”.

In rebuttal, A spokesperson for the think tank, “Get Real, Washington”, stated, “Call it whatever you want, it’s still illegal immigration. And illegal immigration is still i-l-l-e-g-a-l. As for Nancy Pelosi and liberal Democrats, poverty and crime does not “migrate” to their high-rent neighborhoods!”

An un-named high ranking source in the Mexican government was quick to comment on the proposed change stating, “We want to thank Congress for once again doing nothing about illegal immigration into the United States. We like the new idea of calling it something else and pretending it no longer exists. That way, we can easily dump another 10 million of our poor, uneducated, undocumented “migrators” into the U.S.”

copyright 2007 Andrew Lawrence

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Immigration Officials Beef Up U.S.-Mexican Border With Pure Beef

November 12, 1996 | Issue 30•14

EL PASO, TX—In an effort to beef up security measures along the U.S.-Mexican border, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service announced Monday that the border will soon be fortified with 1,200 miles of pure beef.

Enlarge Image

A Mexican attempts to jump over the 15-foot-high wall of beef guarding the U.S. border. Minutes after this photo was taken, the man was captured and returned to Mexico, unsuccessful but fully satiated.

“America has drawn a line in the sand,” INS official Frank Wilhelm said. “And that line is made of meat.”

According to Wilhelm, the immense, 15-foot-high wall of pure beef, which will extend from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico along the Rio Grande, will make border crossing all but impossible.

“This beef will be cooked sizzling hot, so hot that it will be extremely painful to climb over,” said INS chief Kent Roker. “And even if a Mexican does get across, they will be so full that they won’t run far.”

Just this morning, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, resident Jorge Gutierrez, 43, a poor, unskilled laborer who had managed to successfully climb over the beef barrier, was found by Texas state troopers sitting by the side of the road, holding his belly, picking his teeth, and moaning, “Aye, caramba, am I stuffed!”

Border Patrol authorities described Gutierrez’s condition as “full,” adding that the would-be immigrant did not run or hide when spotted, due to sleepiness and lethargy induced by consumption of enormous quantities of beef.

Gutierrez was treated at nearby Santa Maria Hospital for indigestion and extensive second-degree grease burns; given new clothes; and then turned over to INS authorities for deportation.

Those who, unlike Gutierrez, do manage to escape are “easily tracked” by INS dog teams, specially trained to follow the scent of the spicy, mouth-watering seasonings the federal government stirs into the sizzling hot beef wall twice daily.

“This is real beef, for real Americans,” INS official Ted Stake said. “Most of your foreigner types just don’t have the stomach for that much hearty, lip-smacking meat, living as they do on subsistence diets of tortillas and beans.”

Though the beef wall already has had an enormous effect, reducing the number of illegal entries to the U.S. by 35 percent over the last week alone, the project has not been without its costs.

“The harsh climate of the Southwestern U.S. is largely inhospitable to perishables such as the grease-slathered mounds of meat used in the beef shield,” said Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Joseph Timmins. “Temperatures along the Rio Grande can reach 110 degrees in the shade on a typical afternoon, and for an operation like this, that means one thing: spoilage.”

At present, the U.S. is spending over $22 billion per week to deliver massive rail shipments of fresh beef to the border three times a day. Budget constraints have necessitated the elimination of a planned $75 trillion grease trap to catch the runoff from the beef barrier’s massive hot plate base. Currently, every 60 seconds, 300 tons of congealed grease are dumped directly into the Rio Grande, with environmental damage in the last week alone estimated at $759 billion.

“That much beef is a tall order,” Timmins said. “But that’s how we do things here in the good old U.S. of A.— big, meaty and ready to take on even the hungriest of hombres. So bring it on, illegal aliens: Let’s just see if you’ve got the stomach to take on this much hot American beef.”

Timmins concluded his remarks by holding up a forkful of ground beef, placing it next to his mouth, and smiling directly at the asssembled press, saying: “Mmm… beef!”

Thursday, November 10, 2005

U.S. Immigration Fence?

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) proposed legislation that would call for the creation of an $8 billion, 2,000-mile fence on the U.S.-Mexico border. What do you think?

Joan Novak,

Postal Clerk

“Can it be a 2,000-mile-long picket fence? That would at least look nice and seem neighborly.”

Luke Hurley,

Tree Surgeon

“Building a fence along the border is a great way to keep fat, out-of-shape Mexicans out of our country.”

Curtis Boyd,

Fire Marshall

“$8 billion?! I know some day laborers that could put up that fence for under 60 bucks as long as you don’t tell them what it’s for.”

Canadian Immigration Under Fire

December 29, 2004 | Issue 40•52

Canada’s relatively lax immigration policy has drawn criticism from U.S. leaders, who say the country provides an easy home base for terrorists. What do you think?

Iris Murphy,

Teacher

“I am suddenly very suspicious of my next-door neighbor, Khalid al-McKenzie.”

Louis Chamblis,

Systems Analyst

“Why would terrorists need to go through Canada to get to the U.S.? It’s not like the FBI would catch them if they came straight here.”

Bill Hrabosky,

Cashier

“As a radical Islamic fundamentalist, I am seriously considering moving to Vancouver. It’s sooo gorgeous there.”

Michael Horner,

Civic Planner

“Canada needs to start doing a better job of racial-profiling non-Inuits.”

Don Nahorodny,

Forklift Operator

“My God, we could go to war with Canada over this. I only pray there’s an army platoon with the afternoon free.”

Penny Niekro,

Homemaker

“See, I told you socialized medicine doesn’t work.”

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Immigration Rallies Smaller

Labor Day immigration rallies drew fewer numbers than the marches held from earlier this year. What do you think?

Dave McTeague,

Laboratory Technician

“If it’s true that these illegal immigrants are too lazy to fight for their rights, then that just proves how American they truly are.”

Warren Haggerty,

Psychologist

“Just goes to show you, the rights of immigrants will always come in a distant second when going head-to-head with a nice plate of potato salad.”

Angela Ronis,

Caregiver

“Well, there you have it. Sometimes these issues just find ways of working themselves out.”

More American Voices

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Annals of Immigration

The Lottery

Once you have a green card, what next?

by Dan Baum January 23, 2006

Raúl Jara’s grandfather tilled a rich man’s land on the outskirts of Lima, Peru  until agrarian reform in the nineteen-sixties made four acres of it his. By th  time Raúl was born, in 1971, Lima had grown to surround the Jaras’ compound  making their walled garden of bananas and bougainvillea an oasis from th  increasingly chaotic and polluted capital city. Raúl, an only child, was the firs  member of his family to go to college, and six times a week he would travel a  hour and forty-five minutes by minibus to an oasis of another kind, the campus o  Pontificia Catholic University, where he and his fellow engineering student  immersed themselves in the elegant exactitude of mathematics. Peruvians like t  say that they have the world’s best-educated taxi-drivers, because only a fractio  of Peruvian college graduates find professional jobs. Raúl was an exception. Afte  graduation, he worked as a teacher of computerized industrial drawing, then as a  engineer at a gold mine, until, finally, he was hired at a copper mine set mor  than thirteen thousand feet up in the Peruvian Andes

Peru’s per-capita gross domestic product is less than that of Namibia or the Dominican Republic, but the Anglo-Australian Tintaya copper mine is a decidedly First World operation. The man-made canyon of the open pit is bordered by a spotless miniature city—neat workers’ houses with flowers out front, garden apartments, a chapel, a hotel, a hospital, a health club, and office buildings. The rules of conduct are enforced with the rigor of a military academy: no walking in the street, no crossing outside the zebra stripes, no smoking, and orange vests and hard hats required everywhere. The mine’s obsessive rectitude, amid the nearly uninhabited high grassy plains and snow-capped mountains of southeastern Peru, is as anomalous as a moon colony in a science-fiction story. Engineers at Tintaya work in cubicles, each with a late-model I.B.M. ThinkPad attached to a nineteen-inch L.C.D. monitor, their whiteboards covered with dizzying graphs, parabolas, and complicated equations. When Raúl started at Tintaya, as a geotechnical engineer, he examined soil samples and computed the angle at which to cut the wall of the pit, and then, as an ingeniero de costos, he analyzed the budget and developed new projects. He worked twelve-hour shifts ten days in a row, and earned thirteen hundred dollars a month, almost ten times the minimum wage. During his four days off, he would travel twenty-three hours by bus over rough roads back to Lima, where his friends and relatives would welcome him with a pachamanca, a feast of meats cooked slowly underground.

Though happy in his job, Raúl yearned for a life as orderly as the mine, for a country that funded education and parks, regulated air pollution and noise, and policed its own lawmakers. Once, when Raúl and some other engineers made a road trip to Chile, he noticed that in Peru the driver gleefully exceeded the speed limit, passed on the right, even blew through stop signs, but in Chile he was careful not to speed, and was scrupulous about stop signs and railroad crossings. “They have laws here,” the man said. When a colleague went to work in Canada, Raúl asked his boss about the possibility of a transfer, but he was told that he didn’t speak English well enough.

On one of Raúl’s four-day furloughs in the fall of 2002, he was walking in downtown Lima with his girlfriend, Liliana Campos, a willowy beauty with the graceful half-moon nose of her Inca ancestors. Lily, as she is called, was then twenty-five and living with Raúl’s parents while she studied to be a nurse. A red-white-and-blue sign caught their attention: “Sorteo de Visas!” Every autumn, storefront businesses decorated with American flags bloom across Lima like rockrose. Tall cardboard signs are taped onto windows or on sandwich boards placed on the sidewalk, festooned with Old Glory, the Statue of Liberty, and exhortatory phrases: “Lotería de Green Card!” or simply “Puedes Ganar”—“You Can Win.” Raúl and Lily had never given the lottery much thought, but this time they paid a couple of dollars to have their pictures taken and to get some help in filling out forms. Then, like most people who enter a lottery, they forgot all about it.

The official name of the program known as the Green Card Lottery in Peru—and in a hundred and seventy-six othe  countries—is the Diversity Visa Program. Of the more than two hundred visa types provided by the Stat  Department, it is by far the oddest. While the vast majority of immigrant visas still go to people who suffer persecutio  or possess strictly prescribed qualifications—relatives already in the U.S., strategic skills, or great wealth—the onl  requirement for winning the Green Card Lottery, other than good fortune, is a high-school education or two years  experience in one of three hundred and fifty-three career categories ranging from anthropologist to housepainter t  poet-and-lyricist. Fifty thousand diversity visas are made available each year; almost six million people applied to th  program in 2005. Its future, however, is uncertain. Last month, the House of Representatives passed a borde  enforcement and immigration bill that included an amendment to abolish the Green Card Lottery. The Senate wil  consider that bill later this year

The lottery began—in the name of diversity—as a way to bring more white people to America. It was, so to speak, a correction to a correction to a correction. The earliest immigration laws, from the late eighteen-eighties, favored Northern Europeans. In 1965, at the height of the civil-rights movement, Congress changed the laws to favor relatives of American citizens or permanent residents, regardless of origin, and Asians, Africans, and Latin Americans began arriving in record numbers, while European immigration plummeted. The shift alarmed many members of Congress, who argued for legislation that would, in the words of Senator Alfonse D’Amato, relieve the “painful, and even tragic problems for Irish, Germans, Italians, Poles, and others without immediate family members in the United States.” The result, in the early nineteen-nineties, was a series of short-lived diversity-visa programs designed to bring more European immigrants, especially English-speakers, to the United States. From 1992 to 1994, forty per cent of diversity visas were set aside for immigrants from one country: Ireland. When the Irish exception expired, in 1995, Congress decided the lottery should cover the whole world—except those countries thought to be overrepresented in the immigrant pool. That list now includes Mexico, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Jamaica, China (not including Hong Kong), Russia, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam, the United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland), Poland, and Canada. Winners of the lottery qualify for immediate permanent-resident cards—green cards—which allow them to live and work in the United States as long as they like and to move toward citizenship. Some countries, like Ethiopia and Egypt, had more than six thousand qualified winners last year. Andorra, Liechtenstein, the Pacific island nation of Niue, and the French Southern and Antarctic Territories each had one. The Cocos Islands had two, Suriname had three, and the Seychelles had four.

Whatever the lottery does to diversify the immigrant pool, it is a splendid overseas marketing campaign for the American Dream. That a carpet installer or pipe fitter in Ouagadougou or Yerevan who would otherwise have no hope of emigrating might suddenly be handed a green card is a notion as powerful as that of the orphan who becomes President or the twenty-five-year-old who pulls the right lever in Las Vegas and wins forty million dollars. The odds aren’t bad: at a hundred and eighteen to one, they’re considerably better than the forty-five-million-to-one odds of winning first prize in the New York Lotto.

But, unlike most immigrants, lottery winners often have neither kin nor a job waiting for them; many show up with no place to live, no English, and no idea of how to find work. “I know people who applied, got picked, came, and then went home, saying, ‘It wasn’t what I expected,’ ” Charles Kuck, an immigration lawyer in Atlanta, told me. “It’s like, boom, your life has changed completely, and you’re on your own.”

When Raúl and Lily entered the lottery, the application forms were still on paper and the storefront entrepreneur  didn’t earn much more than the street-corner scribes who balance manual typewriters on milk crates and writ  up wills or lawsuits for a few soles. In 2003, the State Department began requiring that applications arrive via the Internet, with a digital picture. These photos can be scanned by facial-recognition software to eliminate multiple entries, and American security agencies can, if they wish, screen for terrorists and other villains. Some critics argued that the Internet requirement would unfairly restrict the immigrant pool to the digitally savvy, but, instead, a new industry appeared. In March, I met Oscar Gomez, sitting by himself at a computer on the top floor of a four-story shopping center near the President’s Palace, in Lima. “Imagine this filled with people,” Gomez said as we walked into the corridor, which is about seventy feet long. “They come to me because they don’t know what a JPEG is. They show up at five in the morning.” Gomez charges about five dollars to take a digital picture, help with the forms, and provide an electronic address. He showed me, behind a filing cabinet, the Stars-and-Stripes-emblazoned sign he places in the corridor during lottery season: “Live, Study and Work Legally in the United States!” and, at the bottom, “Agencia Autorizada.” I asked him what “authorized” meant and he shrugged sheepishly. I asked him whether he’d ever entered the lottery himself. “Every year!” he said.

The seventy-five people who run the lottery work in a converted clothing factory in Williamsburg, Kentucky, using a desktop computer to assign numbers randomly to the electronic applications. The State Department wouldn’t allow me to visit the building, and no State Department official would speak about the Diversity Visa Program for the record or venture an opinion on how it serves the national interest. “Ask Congress,” one State Department official said. “They created it.”

A decade after its inception, the Diversity Visa Program remains controversial. A 2002 law blocks the State Department from issuing visitor’s visas to citizens of countries deemed to be supporters of terrorism, but says nothing about immigrant visas. In 2003, between two and four per cent of Green Card Lottery winners came from countries on the list of terrorism sponsors, which includes Libya, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Sudan. “If you’re Al Qaeda and want to plant someone in the U.S., this is the way,” Representative Bob Goodlatte, from Roanoke, Virginia, told me. Goodlatte, a former immigration lawyer, has been trying for years to abolish the Diversity Visa Program. As a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, he would prefer guest-worker programs that match migrants to employers. But Goodlatte admits that he hasn’t made much progress. In 2004, the House of Representatives declined to vote on his bill to abolish the lottery. With the bill stalled again last year, Goodlatte tacked it on to the big immigration bill that was passed by the House in December. Given that the Senate Judiciary Committee is preoccupied with the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Samuel A. Alito, Jr., and with the issue of domestic spying by the National Security Agency, it could be six months or more before the immigration bill takes center stage, and Goodlatte doesn’t discern any more inclination to kill the program now than he did two years ago. “We’re all descended from immigrants,” he said last spring. “There’s a definite feeling that we’re the land of opportunity and blah-de-blah.”

In June of 2003, an envelope from the U.S. State Department arrived at the Jaras’ house. The letter was in Englis  and began, “Congratulations!” The news was as stressful as it was pleasing. Although Raúl and Lily were not ye  married, she was three months pregnant, and emigrating promised opportunities for the child. But for Raúl the though  of leaving his parents and job was excruciating, and, since he knew little English, his immediate prospects in the U.S  would be limited. He told his father, half hopefully, that there was no guarantee he’d get the visa. The Stat  Department draws a hundred thousand “winning” entries, figuring that at least half will fail to meet the eligibilit  requirements. In addition to proving that he had a high-school diploma or two years’ work experience, Raúl woul  have to pass a medical exam and do well in an interview at the U.S. Embassy in Lima. But his father had no illusions  Whom would the United States take, if not Raúl? He broke the news to his wife, Elvira, who wept for hours. Th  lottery rules allow winners to bring spouses and unmarried children under twenty-one, so, five weeks after receiving th  letter, Raúl and Lily married

Many of Raúl’s colleagues at the mine were pleased, and a little envious, at his good fortune. “We all think about going,” Willmer Cancho, who worked beside Raúl, said. “No matter how good a position you have, you can’t insure your children’s future. You can send them to the best schools, the best universities, but even that is no guarantee, because so few people who graduate get jobs in their profession. My son is two years old. I don’t want him following in my footsteps.” Jorge Vargas, Raúl’s former boss, agreed. “My daughter is fourteen; she goes to the German school because I want her to be able to go to Germany. I love Peru, but I can’t guarantee her a future here.” The only calculation, for Cancho and Vargas, is the best way to go. But the news that Raúl might suddenly emigrate appalled Orlando Carnero, the soft-spoken, baby-faced operations manager at Tintaya—not only because he would lose a good engineer but for Raúl’s sake. “I told him he’s going to end up sweeping floors,” Carnero said when I visited the mine last spring. “I thought it was a little crazy, to throw away his education like that. So I told him this: ‘Go ahead and see if you like it. I’ll give you license for one year; I’ll hold your job. See if it’s so much better there. See if you like sweeping floors.’ ”

Lily was nine months pregnant when, in December, 2003, she and Raúl appeared at the U.S. Embassy in Lima. As Raúl’s wife, she had to be interviewed, too. The processing fees cost them four hundred and fifty dollars apiece, and the medical exams a hundred dollars each, all nonrefundable should they fail the interview. The consular officer who interviewed them was friendly, and appeared to have made up his mind before they sat down. After a five-hour wait, they received their visas. Two days later, their son, Daniel, was born, and in May they left for the United States. Raúl said to his father as he left for the airport, “I don’t know why I’m going.”

met Raúl at nine o’clock one morning last March, four hours after his shift began at Turco’s Super Ranch market i  Yorktown Heights, New York, about ten miles east of Peekskill. Raúl, who is thirty-four, is stocky and tea-colored  with the mashed-down, wet-brushed hair of an altar boy and a placid expression that could be read as either formal o  wary. He wore a white cloth apron and the boat-shaped paper hat that is the universal badge of the food-service worker  “My immediate boss knows I’m Peruvian; he’s Guatemalan,” Raúl told me as he ran loaves of bread through a slicer. “But the manager of the store doesn’t know what I am, or that I’m educated. He sees a Hispanic. Dark skin, no English  he sees a Hispanic laborer.” His face opened in a bright smile, which was quickly replaced by a vigilant mask. Raúl wa  earning eight dollars an hour at Turco’s bakery, almost the same as his hourly wage in Peru, though his living expense  in America were considerably higher than those he incurred back home. At noon, he would walk across several acres o  parking lot to the giant Food Emporium, where he’d put on a parka to spend the next five hours ducking in and out o  a walk-in refrigerator, restocking dairy shelves for seven dollars and seventy cents an hour. He and Lily were payin  nine hundred dollars a month for the top floor of a listing clapboard house on Main Street in Peekskill: three smal  rooms painted an alarming shade of pea-soup green. A relative of Raúl’s had settled in Peekskill thirty years earlier, bu  they were still surprised at how many Hispanic immigrants lived there; it’s the landscaping-labor hub of the mid-Hudson Valley, where workers are picked up at dawn every day to tend gardens from Ossining to Poughkeepsie

Raúl hasn’t told anyone in Peekskill that he won the lottery. The Ecuadorians, Mexicans, and Venezuelans Raúl meets in La Plazita market most likely think he is, like them, undocumented. He showed me his green card, which he keeps in his wallet, and which is actually a buff yellow with a complicated hologram to prevent forgery. Raúl told me that his life is made more difficult by the many Mexicans in the area—not because they’re unfriendly, he is quick to say, but because their expectations are different. Unlike Raúl and Lily, who hope to settle permanently in the U.S., many of the Peekskill Mexicans want to work a few years, save money, and return home. “They’re willing to live three families to an apartment and work fourteen-hour days,” he told me as we ate mutton stew in an Ecuadorian restaurant down the street from their apartment. “So the rest of us Hispanics are expected to compete with that.”

Lily is more enthusiastic about the United States. She enjoys being independent and looks forward to when Daniel begins school, so she can make use of her education as a practical nurse. In the meantime, she strolls with Daniel amid the neatly pruned lawns of Depew Park or reads him fairy tales in the Peekskill public library. On Raúl’s day off, they dress up and wander through Wal-Mart or the Jefferson Valley Mall. Lily finds the snow and cold of the Hudson Valley less onerous than the infrequent bus service. They had to buy a car—a 1998 Isuzu—and making car payments contributes to the difficulty of their struggle to get ahead. “I knew people in Peru who had lived in the U.S., but when they’d come home, they’d have pride and full pockets,” Lily said. “They’d only want to say how great it is here. They don’t tell you how they got started. They don’t tell you the realities.”

Raúl admitted that he considered giving up on the United States when he got the flu last winter. “In Peru, when you’re sick, you go to the pharmacist and he mixes up something right there, injects you right there.” He grabbed the flesh of his hip and pantomimed an injection. “Here I got sick and went down to the local hospital. They said, ‘All you have is fever. Take Tylenol, take Theraflu, drink a lot of water.’ And they sent me home with nothing. I lay here, suffering.” But his desire to return to Peru receded with the fever. “It’s not the money,” he said. “I was living much richer there.” The word he uses when discussing why he left Peru is desorden—chaos—the terrible combination of the noise and dirt and street crime of Lima, the volatility of the economy, and the corruption of the government. Lima sapped his faith in any institution outside of his family, he told me, and made life feel unpredictable. He emigrated, essentially, to be part of a society in which the public sector is respected.

Trading a job at the pinnacle of his profession for menial tasks at supermarkets has been painful. “At least in the short term, my life in the United States is going to be worse than it was in Peru,” he said. “But the future for my son is better.” He tries not to worry about his godchildren in Lima, whose father “struggles and struggles and can’t leave.” But he misses his family there. “If I went back, it wouldn’t be for the mine. It would be for my parents.”

When I visited Raúl’s parents, in Lima, the mere mention of the State Department letter made Elvira cry. She se  before me a plate of cuy, guinea pig roasted in the traditional Peruvian way, with the buck-toothed head on. “Percy’s favorite,” she said, using her son’s middle name, as she and his father usually do. She sat, dabbing her eyes. “What are we to do here, just the two of us, in this big house?” Raúl, Sr., wrenched the cork out of a bottle of sweet Peruvian wine. “I support Percy a hundred per cent,” he said gruffly. “What is there here for the little one?”

In April, Raúl and Lily told me that they were going to let pass Orlando Carnero’s May deadline to reclaim Raúl’s job at the mine. When I called them in late October, they said they’d found a slightly cheaper apartment in Peekskill, and were starting to save money. Raúl is still working in supermarkets, but he and Lily have been studying English, taking turns watching Daniel so they can attend classes two nights a week at Westchester Community College. “I know I’m not going to advance myself if I can’t speak English,” Raúl said. He has no illusions about getting a mining engineer’s job in the United States, but he hopes to find a quality-control job in a factory. In the meantime, they want to stop paying rent and start building equity. A friend in San Antonio, Texas, told them there is plenty of work there, and houses can be bought for as little as eighty thousand dollars—about a third of what a similar house would cost in Peekskill. “There, everybody will really think I’m a Mexican,” Raúl said with a laugh. First, though, he will return briefly to Lima. “It’s going to be strange to go home, and I’m sure it will be hard to come back,” he said. “But I know this is where I have to be.”

Comment

Alien Nation

by John Cassidy April 10, 2006

In a jaded and stage-managed political culture, it is rare to see the eruption of  genuine popular movement. That’s what happened in Los Angeles the othe  week, when hundreds of thousands of people protested against congressiona  efforts to crack down on illegal aliens. The marchers, most of them Hispanic, se  out from the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Broadway. By the time th  stragglers reached City Hall, California had witnessed the biggest demonstratio  in its history

Even more stunning was the sound of a once marginalized community finding its voice. For years, the immigration debate has been exercising politicians, economists, TV pundits, and editorial writers, not to mention the self-styled militia known as the Minutemen, which patrols the southern border. Here, finally, were the janitors, maids, dishwashers, babysitters, garment workers, office cleaners, shelf-stackers, busboys, cooks, gardeners, pool boys, and fruit pickers who do the work that American citizens generally won’t do—at least, not at the wages being offered. Shedding their customary aversion to publicity, the immigrants lambasted the House of Representatives for approving a bill at the end of last year that would make living in the United States without a visa an “aggravated felony,” impose heavy fines on firms that employ illegal aliens, and order the Department of Homeland Security to build a tall fence along sections of the Mexican border.

News of the demonstration spread across the world. Many commentators were heartened by the spectacle; an Irish newspaper saw “the face of a joyously multicultural America.” Not everyone shared that view. On Fox News, Bill O’Reilly accused the demonstrators of intimidation. On talk radio, angry callers claimed that the marchers were “anti-American,” citing the profusion of foreign flags and Spanish-language placards. In fact, many marchers were carrying American flags, some of which were emblazoned with pictures of family members serving in the United States military. (For young immigrants, the surest way to secure American citizenship is often to join the armed forces.) Other marchers brandished signs that said, “We love USA, too.”

A few days after the L.A. protest, which followed similar events in Chicago, Miami, and other cities, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a proposal that was much friendlier to illegal aliens than the House version. The new measure would give illegal workers the opportunity to apply for work visas, green cards, and, eventually, American citizenship. It also would create an expanded guest-worker program, allowing four hundred thousand more people a year to enter the United States legally. (Under the current system, about eight hundred thousand immigrants arrive here legally every year; another half million or so arrive illegally.) Although the new Judiciary Committee proposal has the tacit support of the White House, Senate Republicans remain split. Six Republicans on the Judiciary Committee voted against the proposal. In the full Senate, and in the House-Senate conference, which will attempt to reconcile the House and Senate bills, the proposal will encounter conservatives who favor a batten-down-the-hatches policy.

For some Republicans, especially those facing midterm elections in predominantly white districts, acting tough on immigration has certain diversionary advantages. “Would I rather be talking about immigration reform with these voters or the war?” the Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio said to Ruth Marcus, of the Washington Post. “Immigration reform or gasoline prices?” Other immigration hawks have more substantive points to make. At a time when the federal government is spending hundreds of billions of dollars on the war on terror, it hardly makes sense to have such porous borders.

There are also legitimate questions about the economic impact of illegal immigration. Academic studies suggest that the presence of so many illegal immigrants—an estimated twelve million—depresses the wages of poorly educated Americans, who face more intense competition for menial jobs. Still, the vast majority of Americans don’t compete for work with illegal immigrants. And the studies count only the effects of immigration that can be readily measured, such as the losses to workers from lower wages. They don’t take into account long-term gains like a broader tax base, more investment, and an influx of entrepreneurial talent. Silicon Valley, for instance, is home to tens of thousands of Indian engineers, and it badly needs more. Google was co-founded by a Russian immigrant, Sergey Brin; your iPod was designed by Jonathan Ive, from London. The New Economy is, in no small part, an immigrant story.

Brin and Ive came here legally, but, even when it comes to undocumented aliens, there’s reason to doubt the alarmist warnings about their coalescence into a permanent underclass. In California, an increasing number of Mexicans get identity cards from their government, which allow them to apply for U.S. bank accounts, credit cards, and mortgages, and to obtain a tax-identification number from the I.R.S. Many neighborhoods in cities like Los Angeles now have a property-owning, tax-paying middle class of illegal aliens.

New research by the Berkeley economist David Card confirms that recent immigrants are assimilating pretty well. Card looked at the experience of immigrant families in the past four decades, and found that, on average, the children of immigrants have higher education and income levels than the children of non-immigrants. Meanwhile, the children of the least educated immigrants have pulled almost even with the children of natives.

Over the course of its history, the United States has gained enormously from its image as an open society: open to new commodities, open to new ideas, open to new people. President Bush, to his credit, regularly defends this tradition, and urges voters to reject the rival tradition of insularity and isolationism. “No one should play on people’s fears, or try to pit neighbors against each other,” Bush said at a recent ceremony where thirty immigrants received American citizenship.

If it weren’t an election year, the makings of a sensible compromise would be obvious. Hire more border guards, both to enhance security and to put some limit on the influx of cheap labor. Relax restrictions on educated foreigners whose expertise we need. (In 2004, the Department of Labor approved more than six hundred thousand requests for high-tech-worker visas; Congress, however, limits the number to sixty-five thousand.) And, finally, do right by resident illegals—many of them with American children, many of them already paying U.S. taxes.

It’s possible that enough Republicans in Congress will support such a bill to make it law. Nativist efforts to take on immigration can backfire, as Pat Buchanan and Pete Wilson discovered. Some Republican strategists look at the marchers in Los Angeles and see a voting bloc that makes up about an eighth of the population and, by 2045, will represent nearly a quarter of it. In California, Florida, Arizona, and Nevada, Hispanics are already the swing voters. Although traditionally regarded as Democratic supporters, an estimated forty-four per cent of them voted for Bush in 2004. “We can’t afford to do to the Hispanics what we did to the Roman Catholics in the late nineteenth century: tell them we don’t like them and lose their vote for a hundred years,” Grover Norquist, a Republican activist who is close to the White House, said. For once, good policy might coincide with good politics.

In a jaded and stage-managed political culture, it is rare to see the eruption of  genuine popular movement. That’s what happened in Los Angeles the othe  week, when hundreds of thousands of people protested against congressiona  efforts to crack down on illegal aliens. The marchers, most of them Hispanic, se  out from the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Broadway. By the time th  stragglers reached City Hall, California had witnessed the biggest demonstratio  in its history

Even more stunning was the sound of a once marginalized community finding its voice. For years, the immigration debate has been exercising politicians, economists, TV pundits, and editorial writers, not to mention the self-styled militia known as the Minutemen, which patrols the southern border. Here, finally, were the janitors, maids, dishwashers, babysitters, garment workers, office cleaners, shelf-stackers, busboys, cooks, gardeners, pool boys, and fruit pickers who do the work that American citizens generally won’t do—at least, not at the wages being offered. Shedding their customary aversion to publicity, the immigrants lambasted the House of Representatives for approving a bill at the end of last year that would make living in the United States without a visa an “aggravated felony,” impose heavy fines on firms that employ illegal aliens, and order the Department of Homeland Security to build a tall fence along sections of the Mexican border.

News of the demonstration spread across the world. Many commentators were heartened by the spectacle; an Irish newspaper saw “the face of a joyously multicultural America.” Not everyone shared that view. On Fox News, Bill O’Reilly accused the demonstrators of intimidation. On talk radio, angry callers claimed that the marchers were “anti-American,” citing the profusion of foreign flags and Spanish-language placards. In fact, many marchers were carrying American flags, some of which were emblazoned with pictures of family members serving in the United States military. (For young immigrants, the surest way to secure American citizenship is often to join the armed forces.) Other marchers brandished signs that said, “We love USA, too.”

A few days after the L.A. protest, which followed similar events in Chicago, Miami, and other cities, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a proposal that was much friendlier to illegal aliens than the House version. The new measure would give illegal workers the opportunity to apply for work visas, green cards, and, eventually, American citizenship. It also would create an expanded guest-worker program, allowing four hundred thousand more people a year to enter the United States legally. (Under the current system, about eight hundred thousand immigrants arrive here legally every year; another half million or so arrive illegally.) Although the new Judiciary Committee proposal has the tacit support of the White House, Senate Republicans remain split. Six Republicans on the Judiciary Committee voted against the proposal. In the full Senate, and in the House-Senate conference, which will attempt to reconcile the House and Senate bills, the proposal will encounter conservatives who favor a batten-down-the-hatches policy.

For some Republicans, especially those facing midterm elections in predominantly white districts, acting tough on immigration has certain diversionary advantages. “Would I rather be talking about immigration reform with these voters or the war?” the Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio said to Ruth Marcus, of the Washington Post. “Immigration reform or gasoline prices?” Other immigration hawks have more substantive points to make. At a time when the federal government is spending hundreds of billions of dollars on the war on terror, it hardly makes sense to have such porous borders.

There are also legitimate questions about the economic impact of illegal immigration. Academic studies suggest that the presence of so many illegal immigrants—an estimated twelve million—depresses the wages of poorly educated Americans, who face more intense competition for menial jobs. Still, the vast majority of Americans don’t compete for work with illegal immigrants. And the studies count only the effects of immigration that can be readily measured, such as the losses to workers from lower wages. They don’t take into account long-term gains like a broader tax base, more investment, and an influx of entrepreneurial talent. Silicon Valley, for instance, is home to tens of thousands of Indian engineers, and it badly needs more. Google was co-founded by a Russian immigrant, Sergey Brin; your iPod was designed by Jonathan Ive, from London. The New Economy is, in no small part, an immigrant story.

Brin and Ive came here legally, but, even when it comes to undocumented aliens, there’s reason to doubt the alarmist warnings about their coalescence into a permanent underclass. In California, an increasing number of Mexicans get identity cards from their government, which allow them to apply for U.S. bank accounts, credit cards, and mortgages, and to obtain a tax-identification number from the I.R.S. Many neighborhoods in cities like Los Angeles now have a property-owning, tax-paying middle class of illegal aliens.

New research by the Berkeley economist David Card confirms that recent immigrants are assimilating pretty well. Card looked at the experience of immigrant families in the past four decades, and found that, on average, the children of immigrants have higher education and income levels than the children of non-immigrants. Meanwhile, the children of the least educated immigrants have pulled almost even with the children of natives.

Over the course of its history, the United States has gained enormously from its image as an open society: open to new commodities, open to new ideas, open to new people. President Bush, to his credit, regularly defends this tradition, and urges voters to reject the rival tradition of insularity and isolationism. “No one should play on people’s fears, or try to pit neighbors against each other,” Bush said at a recent ceremony where thirty immigrants received American citizenship.

If it weren’t an election year, the makings of a sensible compromise would be obvious. Hire more border guards, both to enhance security and to put some limit on the influx of cheap labor. Relax restrictions on educated foreigners whose expertise we need. (In 2004, the Department of Labor approved more than six hundred thousand requests for high-tech-worker visas; Congress, however, limits the number to sixty-five thousand.) And, finally, do right by resident illegals—many of them with American children, many of them already paying U.S. taxes.

It’s possible that enough Republicans in Congress will support such a bill to make it law. Nativist efforts to take on immigration can backfire, as Pat Buchanan and Pete Wilson discovered. Some Republican strategists look at the marchers in Los Angeles and see a voting bloc that makes up about an eighth of the population and, by 2045, will represent nearly a quarter of it. In California, Florida, Arizona, and Nevada, Hispanics are already the swing voters. Although traditionally regarded as Democratic supporters, an estimated forty-four per cent of them voted for Bush in 2004. “We can’t afford to do to the Hispanics what we did to the Roman Catholics in the late nineteenth century: tell them we don’t like them and lose their vote for a hundred years,” Grover Norquist, a Republican activist who is close to the White House, said. For once, good policy might coincide with good politics.

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