Defining America – an Essay on the Changing American Culture and Morality

March 26, 2012

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing -- Edmund Burke. 

Perhaps when Henry Ford launched his first Model-T production line, he failed to realize that while it would automate the production of a car, it might also automate the very thinking of a society, and irrevocable change the culture and morality of future generations. No longer would auto-workers have to apply intelligence and discretion to make decisions. No longer would Mr Ford have to deal with independent thought from someone who wanted to do more, or differently or even better. Each activity would be clearly defined, each responsibility clearly delineated, each worker a living, breathing automaton that would all too soon be replaced by a robot that would similarly never need to think, or make a judgment call, or use its discretion, and with the added benefit of never needing sleep or leisure or sick-time.  

Has our society not become a place of puppets and puppet-masters? A society where a few puppet-masters control a multitude of puppets who are required to respond precisely to the rules of puppeteering? A place where there is no room for intelligence, no need for wisdom, and no need for ethics or morality? And perhaps a place where robots might better serve society absent the variables and foibles inherent in a thinking, critical and discerning mind.

Has not an overly legislated society, coupled with a queue-card mentality, obviated the need for, and indeed benefits of, an educated, knowledgeable, responsible and self-regulating populace? Where laws regulate every conceivable form of conduct, regardless of whether the legislator actually considered that specific circumstance at the time of penning such laws?

When I was a child, my father extended store-credit based upon a relationship with each of his customers, the customers' word and a handshake.  When asked about this, my Dad explained that if he recognized a thing called character and integrity -- a driving force to do the right thing -- this was more binding than a contract. And not once did a customer ever fail to repay a debt.

Many years later, I went into a Manhattan store to purchase a cell-phone. I struck up a friendly conversation with the salesman while we selected a phone, accessories and a suitable service contract. We spoke about the company I owned and my blue-chip and military clients. Yet all of this counted for little when he pulled my Trans Union credit score lower than average because I was a new-comer to the USA with a short credit record and few long-term accounts. The store-policy was not to do business with a credit-score like mine. The salesman apologized profusely but said rules are rules that have to be applied without question or variance. Interestingly enough, a neighboring store pulled my Experian credit-score which turned out to be 70 points higher than my Trans Union score and the salesman enthusiastically served me with an even better package deal and at an even better rate. 

The moral of this story was that unquestioning obedience to system-rules have superseded business acumen, discretion and intelligence. The automaton no longer has to think or use discretion. Simply check the queue-card to find the answer.

Wasn't there also a time when you could call a company, speak to the switchboard and find out the best person to speak to for a solution to your question? Now are you not simply told that she cannot help you because all she does is answer the phone? That she doesn't really know what anyone else in the company actually does?

And what does it say about a society when you can sue Starbucks for serving you a hot cup of coffee and you burned yourself? Or when you can sue the microwave manufacturer because they never warned you that you cannot dry your Poodle in the microwave? Or when you can sue me for injuries sustained when you come to visit me and slip on my walkway? Has the protection of law not deprived you of rational thought, common sense and self-responsibility?

Have we not indeed created a society where education is no longer designed to instill the power of independent, rational and logical thought, but rather to instill simple unquestioning obedience to the rules and string-pulling of the puppet-masters?  When it's easier to sentence a man to death than it is to grant him a stay of execution or a re-trial?  When the assumption exists that a bureaucratic ruling must be implicitly obeyed without question and without ever wondering whether the prevailing circumstances may be indicative of some error in adjudication? 

And in creating this unquestioning, unthinking, queue-card, rule-following society of automatons, have we not allowed ourselves to become circus-animals, performing and responding to the prods of the puppet-masters, without knowing why or what they are doing, other than that failure to perform and conform will evoke punishment?

Why did the people of Germany rampage though the streets on Kristallnacht in November 1938? Perhaps because the people of Germany needed someone to blame for the hardships of Germany, and blaming the Jews was an easy outlet for their frustrations? Perhaps, as said by Joseph Stalin, because education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.

What does it say about a society when college students at a sporting match target and taunt a foreign-looking brown-skinned student with a chant of "where's your green-card?"  Do we blame the students for being young and ignorant? Or do we blame our society for instilling in our students an antipathy for anyone with a brown skin? Is this anti-immigrant profiling not the thin edge of the wedge? Will we not also resort to the Nazi's anti-semitic playbook in restricting the rights of people to educate their children, operate a business, rent a home or secure basic utilities? Indeed, have we not already dusted off the Nazi playbook?

America is a nation of immigrants and its greatness is because of immigrants, not in spite of immigrants. To even suggest that immigrants today, whether documented or undocumented, legal or illegal, are to blame for American unemployment or an overburdened health-care system or an over-burdened and impoverished educational system, is nothing less than naïve. Yet the propaganda about the costs of undocumented immigrants will always work if the populace is too ignorant to know better and if the populace needs someone to blame for some perceived hardship. Thus, the undocumented immigration debate is emotional propaganda, fuelled by emotional ignorance, against which reality and common sense is a poor defense. Yet the debate will continue for as long it's easier to blame someone else for your hardship than it will be for you to seek the solution within yourself.

The term "illegal" immigrant is in itself an emotionally charged and inaccurate term. It tends to suggest the stereotypical criminal. Yet people without papers are not criminals. They have committed no crime. Indeed, being an undocumented person is a civil matter rather than a criminal matter. But using the term "illegal" rather than "undocumented" tends to enflame the passionate desire to punish and marginalize a group of people who by and large are tax-paying, law-abiding and hard-working entrepreneurs.

And as a society progresses along the path of "obedience regardless", the automatons are increasingly spared the dilemma of having to choose between following the queue-card and doing what is right, fair and just. When Martin Luther King condemned "unjust laws", was he perhaps referring to not only laws that are unjust per se, but also to laws that are sometimes applied in an unjust manner, or laws that result in unjust consequences?

If the law stipulates that murder without extenuating circumstances must be punished with the death penalty, what do we do if extenuating circumstances are known to the jury, but not introduced in the court-room in order to protect an innocent party. To disregard knowledge not introduced into evidence, will be to secure an unjust consequence from the application of a law that may not be inherently unjust.

Further support for electing to disregard just laws in pursuit of a just and equitable consequence may perhaps be found in the invasion of Iraq. Clearly a breach of international law respecting the sovereignty of nations, but perhaps justified on the humanitarian grounds of unseating and prosecuting Sadam Hussein. Similarly, justification for the illegal entry into Pakistan to execute Osama Bin Laden may have been found in the argument that the unquestioning obedience to international law would have unjust consequences.

If the law stipulates that a legal submission is to be filed within a period of 30 days, and the submission is filed timeously, but accidentally to an incorrect office of the designated recipient, thus resulting in it only reaching the correct office of the designated recipient some days after the stipulated deadline, would the unquestioning application of a just law not result in unjust consequences if the entire submission were to be rejected, regardless of the consequential seriousness and degree of hardship resulting from such a rejection?

Is the application of law a matter of black and white with no room for gray? Should laws be applied by automatons or is there a need for society to temper laws with humanity, fairness, discretion and morality? It is justice, not law, that is the great standing policy of civil society, and any eminent departure from it, under any circumstances, lies under the suspicion of being no policy at all. The jurists at Nuremburg argued that they were applying the laws of Nazi Germany. The American court ruled that the laws were unjust, that humanity, morality and justice demanded a refusal to obey an unjust law.

What then of the laws persecuting undocumented immigrants, denying education to their children, denying them the human rights of liberty, equality and the right sell their labor free from oppression and discrimination? What difference is there between the persecution of the Jews in Germany in 1938 and the persecution of undocumented immigrants in America in 2012?

When the House Judiciary Committee decides to blindly follow its self-imposed regulations and reject a private immigration bill because no precedent exists for approving a bill to over-rule the decision of another government agency, without examining the veracity or justness of such a decision, are we not sacrificing the principles of justice on the alter of legislative obedience? And when the consequences of such failure result in the loss of innocent lives, what then do we say about the defense that the House Judiciary Committee is simply following regulations?

Perhaps America has reached a turning point. Perhaps the desire to achieve a utopian, regulated, organized, law-abiding society with a populace that obeys rather than thinks, will itself sow the seeds of our demise. Undermining justice and morality may just be the first step in ensuring that America will collapse from within itself rather than at the hands of its external enemies.

Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually the people will believe it -- Adolf Hitler.
 

Alabama usurps Mississippi in Stupid Is as Stupid Does

February 2, 2012

"Stupid Is as Stupid Does" - Forrest Gump.

In an effort to create jobs for legal residents by driving out undocumented workers and their families, and save up to $280 million spent by the state each year on health and education services for the undocumented, Alabama introduced its draconian anti-illegal-immigrant laws in June 2011.

According to research done by the University of Alabama and published in the Chicago Tribune on 1 February 2012, this legislation has had a less-than-desirable result.

And as stupidity goes, this must be the most successful piece of legislation in history. Here's Alabama's score-card :
1. It has cost the state $10.8 billion.
2. 80,000 jobs have been vacated by undocumented immigrants and remain unfilled by unemployed Americans.
3. $264.5 million in lost state sales and income taxes.
4. $93.1 million in lost city and county sales taxes.
5. $9 million has already been spent on litigation to defend the new law.

Now, while an investment of $280 million to get a return of $10.8 billion would be a great idea, is it only Alabama that would spend $10.8 billion to save $280 million??? Or are there other states in the Union lining up to compete for some Kafkaesque Darwin Award?

"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within. " -- Ariel Durant

"If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide." - Abraham Lincoln

Taxation without benefits

December 29, 2011

While many Americans believe that illegal immigrants don't pay taxes, the Social Security Administration sees billions of dollars flow into its coffers every year that have been deducted from paychecks issued to undocumented workers using false names and phony Social Security numbers - money those workers will almost certainly never see again.

SSA officials keep a record of total wages that do not match up with real names and numbers in their system. The record is called the earnings suspense file.

In 2009, the last year for which figures are available, employers reported wages of $72.8 billion for 7.7 million workers who could not be matched to legal Social Security numbers.

In 2007, just before the recession, that total reached a record of $90.4 billion earned by 10.8 million workers.

Since those wages were reported by employers and not paid under the table, Social Security and Medicare deductions had to be made. A total of 12.4 percent of those wages went into the SSA system - 6.2 percent paid each by the worker and the employer. An additional 2.9 percent was paid into Medicare, half by the worker and half by the employer.

That means about $11.2 billion went into the Social Security Trust Fund in 2007, and $2.6 billion went into Medicare. While that money will be used to pay retirees and health care beneficiaries, most of it likely will never be claimed by the undocumented workers who contributed it.

Since the passage of 2010's payroll tax cut - which Congress on Friday extended through February - workers have paid 4.2 percent to Social Security instead of 6.2 percent.

'When you hear people voicing anti-immigrant sentiments, one of the first things they say is, 'They don't pay any taxes, and they just take money out of the system,' ' said Jeannie Economos of the Farmworker Association Florida, based in Apopka. 'But that just isn't true.'

Immigrants -- Go Home!

December 20, 2011

Beware of what you wish for. It might just come true.
The politics of immigration are poisonous, laced as they are with fear that foreigners will take our jobs, smuggle in terrorists or enter illegally and abuse our resources. But the fiscal arithmetic couldn't be simpler. To grow GDP you need a net increase in the size of the labor force, hours worked and productivity. Encouraging legal immigration, particularly of skilled workers, lifts all three.

Darrell West, a Brookings Institution scholar makes the economic case for relaxing our immigration policy in a new book, Brain Gain. It isn't hard:
• Foreign born Americans accounted for 25 percent of technology and engineering startups between 1995 and 2005. In Silicon Valley in particular, immigrants founded more than half the tech companies started in that time. By 2005, tech companies started by immigrants employed 450,000 American workers. 
• Today, foreign born workers hold 65 percent of PhDs in computer science. Technology accounted for most of the surge in productivity over the past two decades and figures to continue to be the source of productivity gains in the future.
• In fact, far from stealing income from native-born American workers, the economic contributions of immigrants make most of us richer. According to a 2007 study by the White House Council of Economic Advisors, 90 percent of American-born workers with at least a high school education experienced wage gains of 0.7 to 3.4 percent a year, depending on education level, from the economic contributions of immigrants.
• The same study concluded that immigrants overall add $37 billion to GDP per year.

Rather than welcoming such people, however, U.S. policy since the attack on the World Trade Center in September 2001 has done almost everything it could to keep them out. In 2004, Congress allowed the number of H1-B visas -- the special permits for highly skilled workers -- to drop from 115,000 per year to 65,000. That's turning our back on 50,000 potential scientists, engineers and physicians. A broken bureaucracy makes obtaining one of those visas an ordeal better-suited to the old Soviet Union than the bastion of free enterprise.

"A Chinese engineer coming out of a university here might wait 10 years here to get a green card," says Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. "In the U.K. the process might take a year or two. In Alberta, anyone with oil industry skills can get citizenship immediately." That gives highly trained people an excuse to take their skills to a country that competes with us.

With millions unemployed here, a bit of xenophobia is understandable, emotionally.  Politically, it's impossible to resist. "It's easier for politicians to play on people's fears of job loss than it is to explain the complexities of global labor markets," says Adolofo Laurenti, an economist at Chicago's Mesirow Financial, and himself an immigrant from Italy.

Still, at a time when home countries are increasingly competitive, U.S. immigration policy is close to masochistic. "There's no question in my mind that over the past decade the U.S. has become a less attractive place for highly educated immigrants to settle,"  says AnnaLee Saxenian,  dean of the School of Information at Berkeley and an expert on immigration into Silicon Valley. "My foreign graduate students used to assume that they would stay here after graduation ... Now they say, 'I can go home and live like a king in India.'"

President Obama has stressed the moral obligation to fix a system that causes anguish for immigrant families and native-born Americans. He might have mentioned, but didn't, that reform could also help the country deal with another rapidly multiplying set of obligations. Amid all the unattractive alternatives we face for attacking our debt, welcoming the scientists and engineers that we are not producing at home seems like the easiest decision in the world. But these are emotional issues. "To get our debt under control, you'd think we'd put everything on the table," says Laurenti. "But we're doing exactly the wrong thing."

What's good for the Goose .....

December 15, 2011

The IRS paid out billions in refundable tax credits to undocumented immigrant workers last year, according to a new Treasury audit.

Federal law bars illegal immigrants from collecting tax benefits, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, that can be claimed by residents with Social Security numbers. But the Treasury report found that the tax code's lack of clarity is allowing the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), which reduces taxes owed by certain individuals with children, to be heavily claimed by undocumented workers; if their tax bills dip below zero, they can collect government checks. 

Even wages earned illegally in the U.S. are taxed. Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) are available to people without Social Security numbers who cannot legally work in the U.S. so they can file tax returns. These ITINs have become increasingly linked to fraudulent tax claims, which helped inflate IRS payouts on the Additional Child Tax Credit from $924 million in 2005 to $4.2 billion, the report said. 

The report attributed the massive outpouring of child tax credit refunds to the 2001 Bush tax cuts and the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the legislation that created the stimulus program.

In response to the report, IRS officials said they would follow one of its recommendations to meet with Treasury officials to determine whether people unauthorized to work in the U.S. can collect refundable tax credits. But the IRS rebuffed the audit's second recommendation that it collect additional documentation from people claiming the ACTC, arguing that the agency lacks the legal authority to challenge such tax returns.
 
"Any suggestion that the IRS shouldn't be paying out these credits under current law to ITIN holders is simply incorrect," said IRS spokesperson Michelle Eldridge.  "The IRS administers the law impartially and applies it as written. If the law were changed, the IRS would change its programs accordingly."

Congress has been unable to pass any meaningful immigration legislation this year, but the House couldn't miss a chance to stick it to immigrants by going after their U.S. citizen children in a recent tax bill. While Americans are debating whether taxes on millionaires should be raised, the House, at least, is planning to raise taxes on the most vulnerable of American citizens - children, 42 percent of whom (31 million) live in low-income families.

The tax package denies immigrant taxpayers who file their taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) the ability to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit for their U.S. citizen children. This provision will impact 2 million families and up to 4 million U.S. citizen children and take away a tax credit designed to keep children out of poverty.

Child tax credits can only be claimed by those paying into the system and were designed to alleviate some of the burden that tax payment imposes on low-income, working families. Taking away this credit from tax-paying families could drive more than two million families closer to poverty.

Unauthorized immigrants are required to pay their taxes, just like all Americans. Many fulfill their tax payment obligations using an ITIN, but they are not eligible for the vast majority of benefits their tax dollars pay into. According to the Treasury Department's Inspector General, in 2010, ITIN filers reported $60 billion dollars in wages, which according to an estimate by the National Immigration Law Center means they generated an estimated $9.2 billion in payroll taxes. This revenue, which benefits us all, is ten times the amount that would be saved by stripping the child tax credit away from the children of ITIN filers.

ITIN filers are doing the right thing by paying into the tax system with little hope of collecting any future benefits for themselves. If the Child Tax Credit to ITIN filers is removed, the only ones hurt in the process will be the children.

But perhaps the alternative of legalizing de facto undocumented immigrants and implementing legalized immigration reform and thereby broadening and enhancing the tax-base is just too steep a hill for the Hill to contemplate.

America 'free-loading' from illegal immigrants

December 13, 2011

Even wages earned illegally in the U.S. are taxed. Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) are available to people without Social Security numbers who cannot legally work in the U.S. so they can file tax returns.

An April study by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy found that undocumented immigrants paid $11.2 billion in taxes in 2010. It estimated that nearly half of all illegal immigrants pay income taxes.

"Undocumented immigrants are undoubtedly positive for the fiscal health of this country," says Leticia Miranda, associate director of the Economic Policy Project at National Council of La Raza, a group that advocates for Hispanics in the U.S.  She says that harping on the number of undocumented immigrants glosses over the bottom line that these workers are paying hefty sums into the Social Security trust fund, despite having no claim on the benefits. The Social Security Administration's chief actuary estimated last year that undocumented immigrants had paid $120 billion to $240 billion into the Social Security trust fund as of 2007.

According to the Treasury Department's Inspector General, in 2010, ITIN filers reported $60 billion dollars in wages, which according to an estimate by the National Immigration Law Center means they generated an estimated $9.2 billion in payroll taxes. If the marginalization of illegal immigrants made it impossible for people to make those tax payments, that would be a self-inflicted wound to the budget of this country.

And if these figures represent the less than half of illegal immigrant ITIN-filers, the real figure could be in the order of $20 billion in payroll taxes if the de facto residence of these illegal immigrants was appropriately recognized and they came out of the shadows.

Visas for Home-Investors???

December 12, 2011

Two US Senators, Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Mike Lee (R-UT), recently introduced a bipartisan bill that would give residence visas to foreigners who spend at least $500,000 to buy houses in the U.S. Designed to spur foreign investment in the flagging US Property Market, the Bill aims to entitle the investor to bring his family to live in the US. The Bill does however have strings attached - the residence visa is terminated if the investor sells the property and, more importantly, the visa does not entitle the investor or any member of his family to work in the USA.

So, unless the foreign investor and his wife and kids under the age of 18 are independently wealthy and capable and desirous of sitting around all day doing not a stitch of work, there is ample incentive and opportunity to seek employment opportunities. And since they are not entitled to work, this employment will be under the table with income either not being declared at all or simply being repatriated to the home country.

Indeed, this Bill offers nothing new - there has, to my knowledge, never been any restrictions on foreigners wanting to pay cash to own property in the USA - China has been doing this for years. All they need is a visitor-visa to enter the USA for limited periods of time. The proposed Bill now allows them to stay here permanently - well, at least until they sell the property or run out of permanent vacation cash and need to start earning again.

So here's the question of the moment - what's the difference between John coming to live legally and work illegally in the USA on a home-investor visa and Juan coming to live illegally and work illegally in the USA on a "Rio Grande Crossing-visa"?

Yup, you guessed it - $500K! The going rate for a Permanent Residence Green-Card to work illegally in the USA.

As my Pappy said to me "Son, everyone's a whore. You just gotta get agreement on the price!"

And there's even an added benefit - of your $500k investment you can spend as little as $250k on one property and the rest on a couple of rental properties which you can rent out as a source of income. Uh? But I thought the Bill excluded a work-authorization? So running a property rental business is not work? Wonder what the IRS will say about THAT?

If only the two esteemed Senators would invest an equal amount of energy and creativeness in repairing the legal immigration system which is blocking so many new skills from entering and staying in this country - less than 10 percent of permanent residence Green-cards (to live AND work legally in the USA) are granted on economic grounds.

In the Shadows of the DMV

December 6, 2011

When I was a child I had a friend who would rather destroy his toys than let me play with them. So I got my own toys and besides finding that MY toys gave me more pleasure than playing with Willy's toys, I soon found that I didn't really need his friendship either.

The N.C. DMV has just stopped me from renewing my NC Drivers License. Not because I'm a bad driver, not because I've broken any traffic laws, not because my vehicle is a road-hazzard and not because I have failed to pay my taxes. Quite the opposite - the DMV has denied me a driving license because after 10 years of living legally in the USA, owning my own home and successful business, my visa has expired and I have joined the ranks of illegal immigrants in this country. And the law says that illegal immigrants are not allowed to have drivers licenses. What my legal status has to do with my driving privileges, your guess is as good as mine. And so while I wait for my Private Bill HR 3505 (to grant me permanent residence in the USA) to be voted upon by Congress, my vehicles will remain parked in my garage.

My new status as a disallowed driver initially appeared to be a disaster, until I considered the hidden benefits of having "my own toys" : 

  • Not having to insure my vehicles is going to save me $1800 a year (based on 2011 actuals).
  • Not having to fill my vehicle's gas tanks is going to save me $4500 a year (based on 2011 actuals).
  • Not being able to drive to the store for my business and home supplies means I will now have to shop online, being able to select the best prices nationwide, cheaper than buying in Charlotte NC, and I won't have to pay 7.25 percent Sales Tax if I buy from out-of-state vendors.
  • And if I actually sell my fully-paid-for vehicles I should clear about $25000

And to keep me mobile, my $1300 49cc 40mph 120mpg $4 per tank-of-gas scooter does not require to be licensed or registered for road-usage and I do not require a drivers license to legally drive this scooter on public roads. So when you are stuck behind me in traffic, bear in mind that 40mph is the best I can do. Just relax. And reflect.

Bit silly isn't it?

Through no fault but its own, America has porous borders and 12 million illegal immigrants living here - sorry - 12 million and 3 now. These people are de facto permanent residents of the USA. So rather than fixing the border-controls and legalizing the 12 million de facto illegals, we set out to spite them - denying them bank-accounts, denying them drivers licenses, denying them vehicle finance, denying them vehicle insurance, denying them housing finance, denying them education, denying them pretty much everything - marginalizing them and keeping them in the shadows. Encouraging them to be creative and to find alternative solutions.

Who is the REAL loser here?
 

From the desk of Bruce Stewart

November 28, 2011

That the US immigration position is in need of some repair is in little doubt. Yet lawmakers have yet to even acknowldge that legal immigration is a growing disaster. Or come up with a single proposal for resolving the problem of illegal immigration.

Newt Gingrich was slammed for even suggesting that illegals who have been here for 25 years should be granted some amnesty. Which will obviously ensure that EVERY illegal in the USA will claim to have been here for 25 years or more, a claim that will be hard to dispute in the absense of a border-crossing entry record.

And Mitt Romney wants to resettle 12 million illegals, assuming he can figure out how to resettle someone who may not have a passport, who may be using an alias and who may not 'remember' which country he came from.

Immigration is a political hot potato and will most likely not be addressed in an election year, other than as a soap-box for political diatribe. But hopefully this Blog will foster some degree of rational dialog.

Facts about Illegal Immigration

November 28, 2011

According to the opponents of illegal immigration, illegals steal jobs from Americans, over-crowd our schools without contributing to the tax-base and over-crowd our hospital emergency rooms without contributing to the tax-base. And that any amnesty for illegals will create a 'magnet' for more illegals to follow.

Let's look at the facts.
Firstly, America IS the magnet and people will come here legally or illegally, if they can and in any way that they can,whether we like it or not. So the first step is to secure our borders so we can control who enters the USA.

Secondly, if we are so anal about immigrants, why do we GIVE AWAY 55,000 Green-cards each year in a lottery where the only requirement is that the beneficiary have a clean bill of health and no criminal backgound? Each year we give Green-cards to lottery winners from places like Ethiopia, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Serbia, Slovakia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kazakstan, Kosovo and Kyrgystan. We don't ask whether these people speak English. We don't ask whether these people have skills needed by America. We don't ask whether these people will come here with an investment or whether they will come here simply for the free schooling and free emergency-room facilities. And each green-card awarded in the lottery is for the whole family. Interestingly enough, citizens of countries like Canada, Great Britain, Mexico and Peru are excluded from the Diversity Lottery. So, taking an average family of 5, that's 275,000 more people coming to the USA. And in just a few short years, these people will be entitled to bring their families to join them.

Additionally, each year we grant over a million Green-cards to foreigners, more than 90-percent of which are issued on humanitarian and family-re-unification grounds, again without establishing what these people can contribute to the American Economy. Less than 10-percent of Green-cards are granted on economic grounds. And similarly, these new permanent residents will soon enjoy citizenship and the right to sponsor their families to join them in this land of milk and honey. So let's add another 4 to 5 million new arrivals each year.

The bottom line is that we just love GIVING away permanent residence Green-cards for non-economic reasons but get seriously pissed at people who come here illegally for economic reasons. And just for openers, have you ever met an 'undocumented / illegal' immigrant who is unemployed? Perhaps the very fact that this person was willing to take the risk to come to the USA illegally shows an unusual aspect of entrepreneurial spirit and fortitude and a determination to survive and earn a living at any cost.

Thirdly, it is an old axiom that 'possession is nine-tenths of the law'. It should be remembered that the 12-million-odd illegals ARE HERE, exactly where they want to be. And while we might debate the matter at length, it does not change the fact that these people are here. They know that it is simply not physically possible to identify, round up and deport 12-million people, even assuming we know who they are, where they are and most importantly where they came from - anything less and we will be trying to convince places like Mexico that it should bear the burden of the 12-million illegals that America does not want, even if Mexico deems them not to be nationals of Mexico.

Thus, like it or not, the sooner we accept that the undocumented / illegals are here to stay, the sooner we can start thinking rationally and logically with our heads rather than emotionally with our hearts. We need to figure out how to integrate these people into the US economy rather than waste time on marginallizing them while we figure out a solution to the impossible task of getting rid of them.

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