What will 11 million new citizens mean?

By Nicholas Wapshott
February 1, 2013

The United States is on the threshold of comprehensive immigration reform. Between the president and the coalition in the Senate, it looks likely it will pass, which means that within a few years we shall have 11 million new Americans with full voting rights. What will their emergence from the shadows do to our economy? And, perhaps more importantly, what will it do to our politics? Who stands to gain from this enormous influx of new blood into our democratic system?

The numbers who are here illegally have gone down since John McCain last tried to introduce reform measures in 2007. As the economy slumped after the financial crisis of 2008–09, migrant workers stayed at home and undocumented workers who could not find work began to repatriate themselves. Record numbers were also deported. Today, according to the 2010 census, 11.1 million illegals are in our midst. Assuming that Congress, led by a bipartisan coalition in the Senate, responds to the president’s appeal to seize the moment, in the next few years we will welcome them as full citizens. That means 11.1 million more people to be taxed and buy health insurance, and 11.1 million more able to vote.

Contrary to the common perception, a majority of illegal immigrants both pay taxes and make Social Security payments. The term “undocumented workers” is a misnomer. To get a job legally they need papers, which entails assuming identities to get official papers or obtaining forged documents. Either way, they are not the out-and-out shirkers opponents of immigration make them out to be. According to the most recent figures of the Congressional Budget Office, compared to the commonplace tax-dodging techniques employed by documented Americans, the majority of illegals are already model citizens.

As we are dealing with a black economy, accurate statistics are hard to come by. But those we have are full of surprises. And they vary from state to state. Colorado, for instance, estimates that in 2006 “unauthorized immigrants” paid between $159 million and $194 million in taxes, while the state paid out $217 million to $225 million for the “education, Medicaid, and corrections” costs they accrued. Illegals in Iowa in 2004 paid between $45.5 million and $70 million in taxes and benefited to the tune of $107.4 million. New Mexico raised $69 million from illegals, between $1 million and $2 million more than it spent on educating their children. The state of Texas claims to have made a profit of $424 million on illegals, though local governments picked up an enormous bill, not least for patrolling the Mexico border.

Through programs like George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind, the federal government picks up about 90 percent of the tab for the difference between what illegals pay in taxes and the public services they consume. With every new American paying their full share, the costs to local, state and federal government departments will fall. There will be new net tax revenue to pay for existing public spending, which means a net benefit to local taxpayers and the national economy. The Affordable Care Act mandating every citizen to buy health insurance will save on Medicaid costs and other federal aid to illegals as well as health care for illegals’American children. There should also be a sharp reduction in law enforcement costs related to tracking down, prosecuting, and deporting illegals. The combined savings to the public purse means that all fiscal conservatives should unequivocally back comprehensive immigration reform.

How will the assimilation of 11.1 million new Americans affect the political map? That, too, will vary from state to state. While every state in the Union has illegals, California has the most (2.6 million), followed by Texas (1.68 million), Florida (720,000), New York (550,000) and Illinois (540,000). The border state of Arizona has 460,000 and Nevada 260,000. How they will vote depends on a number of factors, most importantly where they come from (6.65 million are from Mexico, 530,000 from El Salvador, 480,000 from Guatemala, 320,000 from Honduras). The new Americans are overwhelmingly Hispanic, and if they vote like Hispanics did in 2012 —  71 percent to Obama, 27 percent to Romney — Democrats will hugely benefit.

Although some of the 11.1 million are currently under 18 and ineligible to vote, they may be able to vote by the time of the next general election or the one after. The Hispanic population as a proportion of the total U.S. electorate is currently 16.7 percent and has increased by 43 percent per year since 2000, an average of 16 percent per presidential term.

In California, already predominantly Democratic in national elections, the new Americans will boost an already large Democratic majority. Last year, in a registered electorate of 18.2 million, Obama trounced Romney by 3 million. Even if every last new American votes Republican, it won’t tip the balance. The same is true in Nevada, with an electorate of little over a million, which comfortably elected Obama by a margin of nearly 50,000 votes. But 260,000 new Americans voting 7:3 in the Democrats’ favor would likely cause the GOP to lose Dean Heller’s Senate seat as he won it by just 12,000 votes.

In Arizona, with a total voting population of just 2.3 million, the involvement of 460,000 new Hispanic voters, 332,000 of them tending to the Democrats if they split 7:3, could upset the state’s proclivity to vote Republican in every presidential contest since 1952 (except 1996, when Ross Perot split the Republican vote, giving Bill Clinton the state). In 2012 in Arizona there were only 200,000 votes between Romney (1.2 million) and Obama (1 million). In the senatorial race, Republican Jeff Flake squeaked past the Democrat, Richard Carmona, by less than 100,000 votes. Immigration reform puts Flake’s Arizona’s Senate seat in deep jeopardy. Little wonder Flake is taking a prominent part in the Senate initiative.

In Texas, Obama won almost 2 million and Romney nearly 3 million votes out of a state-wide total of 5 million. If Texas’ 1.68 million new Americans were to divide 7:3 in favor of the Democratic candidate, the 1.18 million new Democratic votes would be enough to change the state from red to blue, taking with it the current tally of 38 winner-takes-all electoral college votes. An additional 1.7 million Americans would, of course, argue for a significant increase in the size of the electoral college. The senator for Texas, Ted Cruz, won in 2012 with a nearly million-vote majority over his Democratic rival, and the almost 1.2 million new Democratic voters would ensure a tight senatorial contest. When it comes to Texas House seats, the skillful drawing of county boundaries by the GOP is enough to ensure Republican victories, at least in the short run. As time goes on, however, as the former illegals become more confident and move away from the neighbors who have sheltered them, the new Americans could upset even the best-gerrymandered county contests.

Another big electoral prize is Florida with its 29 winner-takes-all electoral college votes. The state is evenly divided politically and in 2000 etched itself a place in history for its pivotal part in awarding the White House, after a dramatic U.S. Supreme Court battle, to George W. Bush. Last year Obama won in Florida by a whisker, a majority of just 74,000 in a turnout of 8.5 million. How the 720,000 new Americans in Florida vote in the future may decide who is president for years to come. That most of those new Americans are Hispanic gives an Hispanic presidential candidate, particularly one from Florida, an enormous advantage in the contest for the White House. Which is, perhaps, why Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida is currently playing such a prominent part in championing immigration reform.

But Florida is different from Texas and the other states with a burgeoning Hispanic population. Florida’s Hispanics, who make up 17 percent of voters and mostly hail from Cuba, have different attitudes from Hispanic-Americans in general who mostly come from Mexico. Hispanic immigrants are economic migrants who come to America looking for jobs. Cuban-Americans, however, escaped the tyranny of the Castro brothers’ communist regime that until recently tried to outlaw the free market. Cuban-Americans tend to look more favorably upon Republican free-market ideas and are often skeptical of Democratic policies that stress the importance of a strong government role in improving society. Whereas last November, Obama attracted the votes of non-Cuban Hispanics in Florida by 68 percent to 32 pecent, among Cuban-Americans the figure was just 60 points to 39.

Rubio, a Cuban-American, knows his ethnic base well. His grandfather was an illegal immigrant from Cuba and his parents were Cuban immigrants. Although in the Senate barely two years, he is leading the Republican efforts there to reform immigration and bring the 720,000 new American Floridians into the GOP fold. Although his proposals are reasonable and fair, the president has outflanked him. Rubio insists there be a “trigger” that only sets illegals on a road to citizenship when border security is tightened. There is further opposition from John McCain for those in a gay-marriage to enjoy the same rights as all other illegals applying for citizenship.

They should tread carefully. The Republicans already face electoral defeat without end by alienating the large and growing Hispanic community because of their resistance to immigration reform. Republican backing this time is the first step on a long road of rehabilitation for a party that generally reflects the intolerant views about minorities of the uneducated white males that form its base. It is going to take many years before Hispanics abandon their allegiance to the Democrats who for years have taken their side over not only immigration but rights for women and low-paid workers. Rubio may imagine that Florida is different, which it is. But if he or any other Republicans stand in the way of a swift resolution of America’s festering illegal immigration problem, they will pay a high price at the ballot box for years to come.

Nicholas Wapshott’s Keynes Hayek: The Clash That Defined Modern Economics is published by W.W. Norton. Read extracts here.

PHOTO: New U.S. citizens take the oath of citizenship during a naturalization ceremony beneath the Statue of Liberty during ceremonies marking the 125th anniversary of the Statue at Liberty Island in New York, October 28, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Segar
36 comments

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11 million new Americans with full voting rights will destroy our present culture, such as it is, and transform the US into a version of Mexico, mainly because unlike previous waves of immigration they clearly do not want to be “assimilated”.

I also think it is incredibly naive to accept the true number of illegals at 11 million. No one knows for sure how many are really here.

For another thing, as soon as they think they will automatically become US citizens, there will be a stampede of them coming across the border.

For me, one of the intersting questions that no one has asked is what will happen to the black population once the Hispanics become the majority.

Most of the civil rights legislation in place has been tailored to address wrongs the white population has inflicted on the blacks.

I think most of the civil rights legislatiion will quickly disappear once the Hispanics are in the majority, mainly because they can’t be motivated by guilt, as the the white population has been.

I think the white population will suffer, but the blacks will suffer even worse because you are looking at a culture that has limited capacity to think of anyone’s rights but their own.

As I said, the US will become a version of Mexico, and perhaps there will be a movement in certain states — the ones that were annexed by the US government — to want to return them to Mexico.

Think it can’t happen?

This is how Mexico lost much of its territory to the US, including Texas, for example.

You have opened a Pandora’s Box and it will never be shut again.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

Any talk of sealing our borders is joke. We can’t seal them now, and if the US Hispanic population wants them to remain open — a real possiblity — they will remain open.

My remarks above are based on my personal observation of Hispanic families where I live.

They have a highly close-knit family that tends to exclude others. They are also highly religious — mainly Catholic — so you can forget about the separation of church and state in the near future.

Their birthrate is far higher than either the white or black populations. Thus, before very long, due to both increased immigration — unlike any other wave of immigration, they simply have to walk across the border — and a high birth rate, they will soon become the majority.

They show little or no inclination to learn English now, and that will decrease rapidly as their numbers increase. In fact, the US is basically a bilingual society right now. Everywhere you go you see signs in both English and Hispanic.

They will have a MASSIVE impact on the US economy. Business advertising will be slanted towards meeting the needs of the Hispanic population, which doesn’t bode well for either white or black populations.

My guess is wages will continue to decline and prices rise as they have been, mainly because of the huge excess of available labor. This is a major reason why I say the blacks are likely to be impacted far more than the whites, because they will find it impossible to compete with Hispanics for jobs.

Populations of US citizens who are not either white or black, but some other nationality will also be affected in the same manner.

As I said, they will destroy our culture and turn the US into a version of Mexico.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

Unfortunately, this country has been drifting toward liberalism since the Kennedy administration.

What you people forget is that “multiculturalism” doesn’t work. You should remember Lincoln’s speech on a house divided.

We may not be divided by slavery anymore, but we are house divided by our multicultural society. I couldn’t say it any better than Lincoln did.

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The House Divided Speech was an address given by Abraham Lincoln (who would later become President of the United States) on June 17, 1858, at what was then the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, upon accepting the Illinois Republican Party’s nomination as that state’s United States senator. The speech became the launching point for his unsuccessful campaign for the Senate seat held by Stephen A. Douglas; this campaign would climax with the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858.

Mr. Lincoln’s remarks in Springfield created an image of the danger of slavery-based disunion, and it rallied Republicans across the North. Along with the Gettysburg Address and his second inaugural address, this became one of the best-known speeches of his career.

The best-known passage of the speech is:

A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.[1]

———————————

Unlike during Lincoln’s time, we will not become one thing or all the other — we will soon balkanize and cease to exist. History is my proof, and it makes no exceptions.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

“…what will it do to our politics? Who stands to gain from this enormous influx of new blood into our democratic system?” PseudoTurtle has stated it quite well with one exception.

We CAN seal our border. We just have to be serious about doing it. We follow Israel’s lead and MINE IT! Leave the bodies where they fall for the buzzards. Word will “get back” very fast that the “free ride” is OVER! Problem solved.

If America doesn’t do this, eventually there will inevitably be endless brown people infiltrating that are not hispanic. They will be middle eastern radical muslims, ready to bring suicide bombings to a neighborhood near YOU to eliminate the power and influence of “infidels”! Maybe THEN Americans will see the need to CLEAN HOUSE of our “representatives” in Washington.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

I have an idea. How about getting rid of the 11 million hard-working illegals in the US in exchange for giving their jobs to the US citizens who want them.

Here is a reality check from the UK Guardian on the state of US unemployment.

Note this glum start to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ news release today:

“The unemployment crisis that lies behind the US monthly jobs report”

While pundits obsess about a decimal point, the real story is the 15 million out-of-work Americans cut loose by policy-makers

“The number of unemployed persons, at 12.3 million, was little changed in January.”

Further down, something even more glum:

“In January, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was about unchanged at 4.7m and accounted for 38.1% of the unemployed.”

Those figures tell the truth more than any other numbers do. ”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/ 2013/feb/01/unemployment-crisis-us-month ly-jobs-report

—————————–

Personally, I think it is pathetic that in order to get the straight picture on the jobs numbers out tody you have to go to a British newspaper.

What the hell is wrong with you people?!

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

“Unemployment claims rise as fragile US jobs market takes hit”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/ jan/31/unemployment-claims-rise-us-jobs- market

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

“US jobless rate mapped: unemployment state by state across America”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/ interactive/2011/sep/08/us-unemployment- obama-jobs-speech-state-map

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

Why don’t you people start worrying about jobs, instead of votes. Maybe the American people would have more faith in this POS government than they do now!

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

@PseudoTurtle – Very well said. And great information.

I used to have no opinion about immigration into the US. But now that the immigrant population has become so large, so fast, I’ve changed radically. Now it’s clear to me that America has completely lost its instinct to defend itself.

In the 1950′s and 1960′s, the portion of the American population foreign-born was about 4%. Today it is about 24% foreign-born. There is no other country in the world that has so let its guard down to foreign invasion.

The world’s rich, many with ill-gotten wealth, are buying up all the condominiums in Miami, New York, Los Angeles and Seattle. The world’s poor are pouring into our labor markets, driving down wages and taking scarce jobs. Many of the largest American corporations are now not really American. Now they are owned by foreign money, and managed by foreign-born CEO’s, and lobby for more and more immigration.

@OneOfTheSheep – I agree that Congress has betrayed and stabbed the working class America in the back. And instead Congress does the bidding of the wealthy corporations, who benefit from cheap labor, and of immensely rich apartment owners who benefit from skyrocketing rents.

Posted by AdamSmith | Report as abusive

Blatant selling out by our corrupt politicians. Nothing more,nothing less.

Posted by sjfella | Report as abusive

Because of the inverse relationship between population density and per capita consumption (something that has eluded the post-Malthus world of economists with their heads in the sand), adding 11 million to our population will incrementally worsen unemployment and poverty. Per capita consumption will incrementally decline and, with it, per capita employment. In the past 25 years, 27% of the people added to our population have landed in poverty. If we continue to grow our population (which is done primarily through immigration), that trend will worsen.

Pete Murphy
Author, “Five Short Blasts”

Posted by Pete_Murphy | Report as abusive

People are funny. They like the idea of paying $4 for a 2 lb tub of strawberries, but don’t make the connection to the $5/hr help that picks the strawberries.

We need a guest worker program to manage the cheap labor our economy demands.

Posted by jambrytay | Report as abusive

Reforming immigration policies may mean that billions of taxpayer dollars will no longer be spent locking up people who are already working, and have children that will then lose their parent. And companies will no longer be able to use blackmail to pay sub-par wages, or off the books money.

But to make the statement that suddenly 11 million new voters will be added to the voter rolls by the next election or so is really stretching it.

Reform will allow 11 million to move out of the shadows, and contribute openly to the diversity that is this country.

Posted by pavoter1946 | Report as abusive

“What will 11 million new citizens mean?”

It will mean that we are much, much closer to Spanish-speaking, third world status.

Posted by Shamizar | Report as abusive

American agriculture is almost entirely corporate today: large, highly profitable corporations, with increasing foreign ownership.

To say America needs a guest worker program is spreading the dangerous propaganda eminating from big money corporate agricultural interests who want to reduce their labor costs.

The American working man has historically been world famous for hard, hard, back-breaking work. The American worker is what made America a great nation, not its spoiled children of the wealthy who have inherited their wealth.

The American worker, whether in agriculture, construction trades, manufacturing, or engineering, has historically been the best, hardest working, and most productive worker in the world.

And, until sold down the river by NAFTA, they have historically, been the best PAYED workers in the world. Yes, the American worker was the best payed in the world, and the most productive. That was before Congress sold him out.

American big-money corporate agriculture of today needs to start paying agricultural workers not poor pay, not low pay, not cheap pay, not skimpy pay, but GOOD pay.

Then you will see hordes of good American workers lined up to do the very hardest of agricultural work, and they will do it better than the foreign, low-pay worker doing it today on guest-worker programs.

Agriculture today is corporate, big-money, highly organized, highly connected politically, and fully corrupt. Big-money agricultural interests utterly control the State legislatures in almost every state.

Those legislatures have stabbed the American worker, the best worker in the world, in the back. He, the American worker, is what the big-agricultural money interests aim to destroy.

America needs to prohibit all guest-worker programs.

We have our own workers, Americans, millions of them, and they need work. But they need it at, not poor, low, insufficient wages, but good, solid, American wages. American agricultural WORKERS need the kind of solid wage they can raise their families on, not the kind where you go broke no matter how hard you work.

The guest-worker program is government corruption at its very worst, written by corporate lawyers, and enacted by Congress.

Immigration is destroying the American middle class.

Posted by AdamSmith | Report as abusive

@ pavoter1946 –

“Reform will allow 11 million to move out of the shadows, and contribute openly to the diversity that is this country.”

Very politely, I am asking you to read my comments above.

“Diversity” and “muticulturalism” are what is destroying this nation.

ANYONE who argues this nation is better off with a multicultural society is a danger to this nation.

As I said, history is my proof of this statement, and it makes no exceptions.

For non-historical proof, take a look at is what is happening in the Middle East right now.

It is basic human nature to attempt to suppress any other culture, religion, political group, etc.

What I completely fail to understand — and, perhaps, you can supply me with a reason — why people cannot seem to realize that humans cannot get along peacefully together.

Homogeneous societies, such as Japan, experience far less internal strife and generally live better than others with more diversity.

There is a direct realationship between the amount of diversity in a culture and its instability. What is there that is so hard to understand about that fact?

And yet this insanity of diversity and multiculturalism persists as a belief.

Continuing down the road towards ever greater diversity WILL destroy this nation.

I simply CANNOT put it any simpler than that.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

I want to state for the record that I am not a racist.

I am a realist.

It doesn’t matter to me personally how many immigrants want to become US citizens, nor which race they happen to be.

What I am concerned about is the destabilizing influence any large group of immigrants will have on this nation.

I think we are nearing the tipping point in terms of how many immigrants we can reasonably accommodate as new citizens.

Far from the bullshit of this country being a nation of immigrants, the reality is that we have fought tooth and nail against an integrated society.

When I was going to school, the popular phrase for multiculturalism was “melting pot”. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this nation has NEVER been a “melting pot”, but more like a boiling cauldron of racial, ethnic and religious tensions since its beginning.

ALL of this — melting pot, multiculturalism, diversity, etc. — is TOTAL BULLSHIT.

What it does is sap our strength as a nation in a never-ending battle to contain these disparate forces.

The classic example is the amount of precious money we waste on school resources to force human nature to be what it is not — a multicultural society.

Our own history is a sad litany of continuous battles between various nationalities, races and religious beliefs in an effort to hold this nation together.

That effort failed spectacularly in the US Civil War, which could no longer contain the various factions wanting power.

If we continue, we WILL end up with another civil war.

What is wrong with you people?

Why can’t you understand the truth?

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

“To get a job legally they need papers, which entails assuming identities to get official papers or obtaining forged documents.”

So, they are just outright criminals, and that’s okay with Congress and the White House? Why am I not really surprised by this? Seriously, why does anyone in this country obey any law anymore?

Posted by pennbird | Report as abusive

Interesting article Mr. Wapshott although a bit difficult to track your “yes new tax dollars, no new tax dollars” flip flops. In the end I agree with you, no new tax dollars, anyone with a job is already paying in.

I also agree with you that the adults will _tend_ to vote democratic. Not 11 million though, 5-8 million maybe? Who knows what percentage will partake. That’s still a 5-8% jump in voter rolls.

Generalizing is dangerous but you did so I shall as well. Mexicans are predominantly Roman-Catholic, hard working, hard playing, with a love of large family, and a long and deep seated fear of government.

They may not react to issues of gun control, abortion, global warming and gay rights as liberals expect. In any event they are here and likely to stay so whether we give them an official invite or not seems almost moot.

Posted by CaptnCrunch | Report as abusive

As a Comanche Indian, I think everyone should take a seat and think a little. Remember that Indians came from somewhere about 30,000 years ago. We immigrated. The Spanish immigrated as did the English, Irish, India Indians, Germans and from most of the countries in this world. As an Indian I think I have a different perspective.

People should look back at themselves and remember, all persons in the US are immigrants or relatives of someone who immigrated. Don’t bitch about immigrants. How do we know they are all Hispanic? There are Canadian, Arabic countries peoples, Africans and so forth that are also illegal immigrants.

This is about giving all people the right to be American Citizens. I don’t feel there will be a flood of people from Mexico and Central America. Don’t forget that Brazil, Chile and Argentina have strong and growing economies that need workers also. People will go where the money is and money is to be found in South America as well as the US.

Also, don’t think Hispanics will vote 70-30 Democrat. Most Hispanics, at least those I know, are conservative. It’s just that right now they, along with a majority of the citizenry of this country, just cannot stand the type of politics that most Republicans espouse. If the Republicans become more centrist, they’ll probably pick up Hispanic votes, and do it more easily than they think.

At the very least, this will put all the ‘illegals’ on track for citizenship. That’s a good thing and something I think is wrong for anyone to deny hardworking people.

Posted by goodbyemoney | Report as abusive

Adam smith,

So you want to employ US farm workers and pay them $20/hr? That would be about $40k/yr or at the low end of the middle class earnings range. Sounds like you want to pay $25 a tub for your strawberries.

Posted by jambrytay | Report as abusive

@jambrytay -

YES, I want to pay a price for my food that enables those who do the hard physical labor a GOOD, living wage. I certainly do. If America can’t pay its laborers a good wage, it has no right to exist as a nation.

The owners of the agricultural land, most of who inherited their wealth to begin with, I would like to see do some real work, one day – and get paid laborer’s wages. See if they can get ahead in life!

All the owners I’ve encountered, many as college friends, truly like to think of themselves as hard workers. But all share the same habits: They take many vacations every year, and often they claim the vacations as business trips because, yes, they did in fact attend an agricultural convention.

They drive around the fields, orchards and pastures in air-conditioned vehicles. Then meet for lunch and complain about the money they have to pay the laborers. Meanwhile, their own jobs are pretty darn simple.

A tiny percentage of these agricultural owners started from poverty. But by far the majority, maybe 95%, got started with money from their parents. That part they don’t like to bring up.

They’d much rather pat each other on the back for being “hard-working” farmers, and give each other awards at banquets. Somehow they think everybody believes them.

One of the favorite activities of these grown ups who got money from their parents is complaining about the wages they are forced to pay to laborers, and what a bad attitude laborers in general have, and that’s why they (the laborers) are poor. The just have a bad attitude.

Such is the agriculture big-money interests populated by rich, spoiled people, lording it over men much better than themselves who are doing the actual labor.

These so-called “farmers” are coddled by lawyers, and trusts, and limited liability company entities, and marketing agreements. It’s a giant criminal scam, run by spoiled people who inherited money, and they’re getting richer at a faster rate than ever.

Congress accepts their phone calls. How can I help you today sir?

Or am I missing something?

Posted by AdamSmith | Report as abusive

Okay hot shot, have fun with all that.

Posted by jambrytay | Report as abusive

So the “undocumented immigrants” now use identity theft and forged documents to obtain employment. Guess those two criminal acts will be forgiven by our government so these illegals will be able to obtain full citizenship.

Identity theft – hard to prosecute, so many of our citizens have little recourse against it. Forged documents – taking jobs from those who have the legal right to those jobs. Not important to our government.

Posted by AZreb | Report as abusive

Oh no, the scary immigrants are gonna take our jobs and destroy our way of life. This hand wringing sounds shockingly familiar. You might as well be whining about the Irish or Italians.

In the not too distant future, Latinos will become a comfortable part of the landscape for xenophobes, who will then move on to the next group to be terrified of. Someone already mentioned the scary ‘brown’ people who will be the next group to destroy our society. The Latinos will probably be the loudest to scream about them not belonging here and history will repeat yet again.

Posted by spall78 | Report as abusive

“What will 11 million new citizens mean?”

Noting at all. What I read in this article and so many of the comments is that the majority, who currently use the machinery of government to oppress the minority, is afraid of losing that status. Welcome to a majority rule democracy, where the 51% at any given time has the ability to oppress the other 49% by whatever means is at their disposal in order to better themselves.

I consider the idea of a person born a citizen of this or that country no different than saying that person is born a slave to this or that government. For any government to say “All who are born within this geographic region is our property to do with as we wish, or allow” is an indictment of slavery. Either the people residing within the US, born here or not, are entitled to have a say in those who govern them, or those who govern them have declared them to be slaves, or at minimum, lesser human beings.

The problem is in “allowing (or blessing)” a person to be deemed a citizen when residency should be criteria enough for voting.

Posted by LysanderTucker | Report as abusive

PsuedoTurtle, history doesn’t ‘support’ your facts at all. You are twisting history that in no way supports your facts. America has always been multicultural. Dutch, German, Scandinavian, and English settlers inhabited the East coast. That’s multiculturalism. They had different religions, different languages, different customs. By the middle of the 19th century, we had absorbed areas where large numbers of the inhabitants were Native Americans, Spanish, French. They also had different languages, different religions and different customs. When we absorbed California, Arizona, New Mexico, and the other states of northern Mexico, we inherited a number of people of Latin descent. In the late 19th century, it was the turn of the Irish, the Slavs and the Chinese to immigrate. We absorbed them. Then it was Italians. Then the Japanese. Large influxes of Puerto Ricans into the Northeast was the story of the 19202-30s. German and Jewish immigrants from the 30-40s. Cubans from the late 50s through the 70s. Southeast Asians from the 60s-80s. And Central Americans from the 80s to the 2000s (and yes, the numbers crossing HAVE been declining). This idea that America is historically mono-cultural is ridiculous at its base, ignorant, and un-American. Protection of rights to religion and freedom of association were instituted in our Constitution to protect the state of this country AS a multicultural society. Lincoln’s speech you seem so fond of wasn’t a warning about the dangers of multiculturalism. It was about the danger of using multiculturalism as a TOOL for disunion. Simply stating that the South should secede because it had a different culture was not enough; the union transcends one culture. It is about a civic idea, and civic connectedness. THAT is the essence of Lincoln’s ideas.

Posted by gallen89 | Report as abusive

Like the Irish, German and Italian? Not so fast.

The pro-immigration political forces in America (employers, landlords and immigrants) often falsely liken the current Latin American immigration as somehow similar to the Irish, German and Italian immigrations of the 1800′s.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The famous Irish, German and Italian immigrations of the 1800′s were tiny in size compared with the current gigantic influx of Latin American immigrants, both in ABSOLUTE numbers, and as PERCENTAGES of the entire American population.

For example the entire Irish immigration to America over the entire 19th century – year 1801 to year 1900 – was around 1 million.

Whereas today, the Latino immigration to America in just the past 20 years, during the Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, has been over 30 million.

Yes, 30 million over 20 years is a lot different than 1 million over 100 years. And back then, America was building factories.

Consider the Irish. At the turn of the century (i.e., year 1900), Irish born immigrants made up 2.12% of the US population.

Today Latino-born immigrants, legal and illegal, living in America make up over 10% of the US population.

In other words the Latino-immigration dwarfs the Irish immigration in all aspects.

And the cultural aspects are different too. The Irish were fleeing famine, not violent crime. Although there was political contention and poverty in Ireland, the culture itself was well-educated.

If one looks at the current crime rates by country, two areas of the world stand out as having the very highest rates of violent crime: Latin America and Africa.

Mexico, Brazil, Belize, Columbia – the list goes on and on. Much, much higher violent crime rates than America.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cou ntries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

Mexico stands out as one of the most violent cultures in the world, violent being the key word.

Many people don’t realize that Mexico is one of the largest producers of oil in the world, and has been for many years.

The wealthy class of Mexico includes the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim. Not only are the poorest Mexicans flowing into America, flooding American labor markets, but the wealthy Mexicans are busy buying up much of American real estate and American companies. Now, many of the semi-trucks on American highways are owned by the wealthy of Mexico.

The Irish immigration was of poor but relatively well-educated people, with an entirely different cultural and economic effect on America.

And in size, the Irish, German and Italian immigrations to America were all tiny compared to the gigantic, uncontrolled, Latino mass immigrations into America today.

Immigration into any country affects things in a big way. It drives down wage rates and drives up rents. How could it be otherwise?

Thus the big-money interests today continually play the propaganda that the massive Latino immigration today is similar to the Irish, German and Italian immigration of the 1800′s. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Posted by AdamSmith | Report as abusive

@LysanderTucker,

At least the Russians, via Khrushchev, were “up front” in saying “we will bury you”, even if wrong. But illegal hispanic aliens ARE progressively and intentionally burying America and it’s productive society.

You, sir, are a traitor; citizen or not. Look it up.

“Either the people residing within the US, born here or not, are entitled to have a say in those who govern them, or those who govern them have declared them to be slaves, or at minimum, lesser human beings.”

Absolutely correct. Whomsoever owned or controlled property or other tangible assets throughout recorded history (and before) has, in the sense you use, been “greater” than those dependent upon them for survival.

An incredible majority of the hispanic hoards invading the existing American society/economy from Mexico (and points south) bring NOTHING “to the table” from which they will eat, money, land, education or skills. Do that in any restaurant and you will go to jail.

The very idea that this is a game, in which those who get here are somehow “entitled” to unearned citizenship, is fundamentally repulsive to any “civil society” in which citizenship is valued and intentionally exclusive. It’s like giving a thief who takes your wallet by stealth or force a “say” in how the cash inside should be divided.

“The problem is in ‘allowing (or blessing)’ a person to be deemed a citizen when residency should be criteria enough for voting.” No it shouldn’t, any more than allowing those who don’t pay taxes to vote. They don’t have “skin in the game”, and America already has a majority of such non-productive voters that are voting themselves raise after raise.

Your “hidden agenda” is that of a Communist, the side that LOST the cold war! Stifle.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

can I get a version of Reuters en Espanol..? Just watch Mike Judge’s “Idiocracy”..it’s here already.

Posted by rikfre | Report as abusive

It seems like most of the comments here are from a perspective of extreme paranoia. Its going to seem like an absolute miracle to all of you when everything turns out to be absolutely fine. Immigrants from Mexico are a very good thing for America. I would go out on a limb and say that Mexico should be considered our top economic ally. Our economies are more entangled than any two countries in the world. The United States and Mexico are dependent on each other, and we need policy that reflects that. There needs to be independence, but these two countries need to work together to survive and flourish.

Posted by MaxClark | Report as abusive

@MaxClark -

Things are not OK. The American middle class is being destroyed today, right now.

The American workers’ wage-rates are plummeting. They are losing their jobs. Their children, where their hopes and dreams lay, are growing up quickly. It’s now too late. Their children are grown, now, unexpectedly, in poverty and even crime.

All this because the elite of America did not protect them from the onslaught of hordes of impoverished foreigners flooding into America, through a border that was supposed to be defended against invaders.

No, MaxClark, things are not OK for the American worker.

He built this country, but he has been betrayed and stabbed in the back by the legislatures and the president who do the bidding of big corporations who ceaselessly strive to lower wage-rates and increase profits by importing cheaper foreign labor.

The huge wave of immigration today has destroyed the American middle class.

Posted by AdamSmith | Report as abusive

Take the economic incentives out of the process and you will see illegal immigration diminish dramatically. However, Congress and the President want to softsell the citizens of this country. It’s pretty simple and easy to fix, if the government is willing to make the effort:

A. Seal the borders
B. Employers must use E-verfiy–$10,000 fine per employee if they do not.
C. No welfare to the illegal immigrants–no medicaid, no AFDC, no food stamps, etc. None.
D. Legal immigrants must demonstrate financial ability to support themselves or have a sponsor for five years. No welfare, Medicaid, AFDC–nothing, for five years.
E. Citizenship requires fluency in English, revocation of previous citizenship, and a job.
F. Eliminate chain migration. Only spouses and children. Brothers, parents, and extended family have to apply on their own. No preferences.

There….300 words, simple, and concise. If you think this is harsh you are divorced from reality. It’s exactly how Canada and Mexico have done it for years. The model is there, all we have to do is execute.

Posted by COindependent | Report as abusive

@COindependent – Well said.

Congress and the President are not trying to help the American middle class. They are beholden to the American wealthy.

And the American wealthy see higher profits with immigration. For the wealthy, immigration drives down labor costs, and drives up profits. And immigration overwhelms the apartment rentals business, driving up rents, and increasing profits.

Congress and the Obama have betrayed the American worker for these moneyed interests, and stabbed the American middle class in the back, for the sake of the people of other nations.

Your formula, however, seems exactly right to me. It would be fair and effective.

Posted by AdamSmith | Report as abusive

We gave Amnesty back in 1986 and it did not work. If you came to this country illegally then you need to leave and come back on the legal path. I agree that it is not fair that the children that have been brought here throught no fault of their own should have some recompense. But only for them. It should not apply to their parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. If they are adults then they need to speak English. They need to be working and productive members of society. If they are under 18 then they can all go home. If the people of Mexico put as much effort into their own country as they do here they would succeed. I object to the USA allowing a third World Country to infiltrate our borders. Stop the influx. The role of the Federal Government is to secure our borders to keep us safe from our enemies. Just look at the border states and the crime rates that they are having to deal with. Look at the Latino Gangs that have polluted our society for generations. Look at the daily slaughter of innocents that happen on a daily basis in Mexico.

Posted by MrsCrashSmith | Report as abusive

The long festering illegal immigration problem that is never solved (on purpose) is the fact that the farming interests have traditionally asked our government/representatives to look the other way -kind of – especially if its near harvest or spring which is about a half year – or more in the south.

The result: Americans pay extremely low prices for most of our foodstuffs, compared to Europe and other developed places. Yet I don’t buy the writer’s cost argument, since he doesn’t mention law enforcement, drugs, or social welfare benefits. And there isn’t a mention of the tremendous wage devolution in many some of the trades such as constuction and other industries.

With just a small bit of smart discipline, the US could build a workable guest worker program such as Canada has had in place for many years. In Canada, the guest farm worker likes to be able to go home and enjoy decent wages. And in such a program, the American trades worker could command higher wages because of higher demand.

This latest attempt at a distant pseudo amnesty/comprehensive reform should be abandoned and a smart program instituted. The porous border should be closed, laws in place should actually be enforced… including deportations. And we should be allowing immigrants waiting legally to immigrate to be put at the front of the immigrant line.

Posted by Betowess | Report as abusive