Fav Quotes from "They Take Our Jobs!"

In the middle of the news-cycle theater piece known as "the possible shutdown," and "budget-cutting," it's good to see some of the border militarization fantasies get checked by monetary obsessions, and the thinkers of rational big business are advocating  even more such restraint. (this is really nothing new - smart people at the WSJ have known the stupidities of "closing/securing the border" for quite some time.)

But all this fighting and juggling of competing talking-points reminds me that I never properly summarized the high points of a great book about immigration that I read and reviewed recently, "The Take Our Jobs!"

So here I'm just going to list a few choice passages that I liked.

  • "In every generation, people have found rationales for systems of social and legal inequality."

  • Although one wouldn't guess it from the increasing anti-immigrant agitation in the 2000s, immigration actually slowed significantly after the end of the 1990s."
  • California attorney general in 1930 quoted saying: "only we, the white people, ,found [America] first and we want to be protected in our enjoyment of it."
  • "Industrialization had been accompanied, everywhere that i occurred in the alte nineteenth century, by colonial expanision... Deindustrialization, in the late twentieth century, was accompanied by immigration from former colonies."
  • "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights... is unambiguous: rights apply to all people."
  • from U.S. Dept of Homeland Security civics lesson for new citizens: "Whose rights are guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? ... All people living in the United States... The 5th Amendment guarantees everyone in the United States equal protection under the law... The 14th Amendment... expanded this guarantee of rights."
  • "The propsperity of some within our borders has always depended on the cheap labor of others from both inside and outside our borders. This cheap labor has been justified and guaranteed by excluding certain workers from the categories of people who are afforded rights"
  • "Wages in the US have indeed been falling with respect to prices, and with respect to profits, since the 1960s... the same global economic restructuring that exacerbated inequality in the US also contributed to increasing immigration."
  • "It's no coincidence that in periods when rights have been expanded to previously excluded sectors of the population, businesses have sought new sources of exploitable labor."
  • People without rights may be slaves, they may be colonial subjects, they may be racial and ethnic minorities, or they may be immigrants, or they may be people in or subject to another country. In all cases, though, governments have made sure that there are people without rights to fulfill business's need for cheap workers and high profits."
  • "As of 2005, Social Security was receiving about $7 billion a year through false social security numbers - allowing it to break even, because that's about the same amount as the difference between what it paid out in benefits and what it received in payroll taxes."
  • "The majority of immigrants, being of prime working age and ineligible for many public services, tend to contribute more to the public sector than they actually use."
  • "The native born, it should be said, also tend to use more in local services than they pay in local taxes."
  • The US has the highest standard of living in the world, and it maintains it by using laws, and its military, to enforce the extraction of resources and labor from its modern version of colonies, with little compensation for the populations. It is no wonder that people from these countries want to follow their resources to the place where they are being enjoyed."
  • "On many occasions in the past, people have struggled for equality before the law by committing civil disobedience... Today we think of many of those who broke the law in the past in the interest of equal rights as heroes."
  • "Studies have shown that the higher the educational level, the greater the income disparity between whites and nonwhites in U.S. society. Rather than levelling the playing field, educational achievement maintains or even exacerbates inequalities."
  • "...an interesting study ... found that 'immigrants and their children do better economically by maintaining strong ethnic identity and culture and by resisting American cultural and indentity influences..."
  • "Rather like the issue of evolution, or global warming: there is an overwhelming scientific consensus on the basic issues, but because they are politically controversial, they are often presented in the media as if there were equal scientific validity to the opposing political views."

This is taking a long time! I'll finish this in my next entry.