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Ask Manuel Vásquez...

After watching Bill Moyers' interview with sociologist and religious scholar Manuel Vásquez, do you have further questions about immigration policy? What are the current options on the table? What would his ideal program look like?

We are no longer accepting questions, but you can find Professor Vasquez's response to viewer questions and offer your comments at this link.

Photo: Robin Holland


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Comments

I think that we should pull back are troops from the war in Afganistan.

The interview of Manuel Vásquez was a great disappointment. Why does Vásquez believe that the capitalists and immigrants have the right to decide on Globalization of the United States of America in spite of the opinion of the majority of its citizens?

Why would Bill Moyers not challenge a single statement made by Vásquez? Does Moyers agree with Vásquez that Latino immigrants have the right to demand that the USA start speaking Spanish? I don't.

Moyers let Vásquez discuss both illegal and legal immigration as if they are the same thing.

Vásquez says that the immigrants only want a piece of the American Dream. I want assurance that the American Dream will still exist for citizens and LEGAL immigrants when Vásquez and others like him have taken what they want.

I don't have an issue with legal immigrants that want to preserve the American Dream. I have sympathy for illegal immigrants who are struggling to feed themselves and their families. The rights of the US citizen are not being stolen by illegal immigrants, they are being sold by greedy employers and consumers and the likes of Manuel Vásquez.

I've read the many postings and can relate to several of the ideas expressed by the commentators. I do understand the frustration regarding illegal immigration but not the anger that is crossing over to racism. This social topic has an incredibly angry tone to it. Currently, several of my peers were asked about this topic, we have graduate and post graduate degrees, hold jobs, volunteer for our respective communities, and in general have normal lives – we who are mostly 4th or more generation Hispanics feel attacked because of the hateful attitude toward illegal Hispanic immigrants. What are we to do since we have the same struggles as others do regarding illegal immigration? Moreover, due to our surnames, appearance, and culture, we are now being zealously scrutinized by the public and in our work place. I was asked if for the Holidays if I was going to visit relatives in Mexico – I do not have any relatives in Mexico nor have I for more than 5 generations! When hiring, it was said our department was getting to “brown” – no one “brown” was on the interview panels and each person hired had a graduate degree plus several years experience. Do others go through this? Are some departments too Indian, or too Italian or too German? We too, don’t like having to call the police because our Mexican immigrant neighbors are playing their music too loudly on the weekend or going into a store where no one speaks English (they speak Spanish, Lao, Vietnamese) but for whatever reason(s) our Anglo and Black communities are not anti-illegal immigration but anti-Hispanic …I’m a US citizen who is Hispanic because that’s the box my country tells me to fill out otherwise I’m just American and right now I feel attacked by my fellow Americans. For many who posted, racism is not the source of the commentary but for others, it is, and they are using the illegal immigration turmoil to turn our country into a racist environment where we may all lose something precious.

Bill,
Thank you so much for the many years of great journalism. I have been very involved with showing the documentary "What a way to go" recently. I am wondering if you've seen it and if you could give it and its topics some air time. One of the topics is peak oil, and I have not heard anything about this in any of the main media. Thanks for your consideration.

CORRECTION, CORRECTION, CORRECTION!
OMG I totally misread the identity of the author whose posting I praised so highly.
To correct myself, first of all I find Peter Forbes' comments totally unacceptable. Since when have white males needed special attention? PLEASE!

The marvelous posting I referred to in my previous posting just moments ago was the one by Victoria Preciado.
Scroll down and look for it - it's not too far down. She absolutely hits the nail on the head.
Exceptionally well written, and so on target.
Thank you, Victoria Preciado

EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT posting by Peter Forbes! It is so well done, I can't even add to it. But, I concur completely.
I find nothing more disgusting than the people who are unwilling to accept immigrants. Isn't it, "give me your tired, your weary, your hungry"?

Mr. Vasquez,
What pressures can the U.S. government apply to Mexico's government to encourge a culture that nurtures and rewards their citizens? There is seldom public discussion of the reasons why millions of Mexicans would rather risk their lives to come to the U.S., often leaving behind their families, than try to change the political culture that makes it impossible for them to feed their families. In a nation of enormous natural resources, populated with creative, hard-working people, citizens can't earn enough to live on. The culture of corruption is so deep that they have given up. It mystifies me that the U.S. supports this corrupt culture, to its own detriment.

Thank you for your comments and history lesson. I am very pleased that Mr. Moyers invited you onto his program. You spoke honestly and bravely about the divide between latin and african brothers. I respect and admire the acknowledgement. You challenged us to examine our language and preception of illegal immigration. For me you shared history about immigration in America and I needed to hear that during the 60's (the civil rigths struggle's) President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 open the doors for Immigration and just like in the 60's immigrants are still struggling for equality like African Americans. Thanks for helping us to remember. It would be great if you could visit us in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Val

Mr. Vazquez- My question for you is how is it different for you to group anyone who opposes amnesty with racists than for Huntington to group many Hispanics with the ones who want to reestablish Astlan, which you said was wrong? And do you think you'd feel differently about illegal immigration if the people crossing the border were sociologists who wanted to do YOUR JOB with longer hours for low wages?

public opinion as far back as the administration of andrew jackson has consistently been skewed towards the limitation of immigration, particularly those without families to sponsor them. Then as now, the desire to find people who can be paid less than those with other options has led those whose concept of what is good for america is grounded in their capacity to generate profits to ignore our collective voice of dissent. the ease that those who claim to victims of racism slide into the practice of racism when it serves their purpose negates the validity of racism as a form of victimization. as we witness the disenfranchisment of the working white male for the political and financial gain of those who feign belief in multiculturalism in exchange for credibility with in the age of victim politics, the question left unanswered is that of what will become of us when only hypocrites have access to public power. the fcc seems hellbent to facillitate consolidation, the end result of which will be greater capacity to manipulate the information which we use not only to form our opinions and express dissent but also to discuss options to change the status quo. what do you think the result would be if white males were able to organize and take action with same degree of latitude all non-whites have? the argument that we have had our run in the past ignores that reality that america has always been governed by those with loyalty only to money or religion. Are minority special interests willing to confer what they seek for themselves to others?

I came to this country legally when I was two years old. What I have learned is that this is a country dominated by descendants of European immigrants who obtained this land by slaughtering the Native Americans who lived here. They brought Africans here by force. Now, they claim that no one else can come here. If immigration laws are to be enforced, I say that laws against illegal immigration should be retroactive. Illegal immigration to America should have been stopped in 1492. Then perhaps Christopher Columbus would never have cut off the hands of hundreds of Native Americans and allowed them to bleed to death. This is only one of the numerous atrocities committed by his men. Illegal immigration should have been stopped in 1607, when the English sent settlers here to acquire wealth. Settlers continued to come to America from Europe and continued to slaughter the Native Americans. At first the Native Americans welcomed the settlers, but when they realized that their land would be taken from them and their people slaughtered they tried to stop them. When I hear white Americans claim that illegal immigrants are having a detrimental effect on their country, I can only shake my head. To me, you are the illegal immmigrants. Your forefather's came here illegally and slaughtered the people who lived here and your claims ring hollow to me. I celebrate the arrival of every person who comes across the border and builds a new life here, legally or not. I cheer them on.

After NAFTA was passed illegal immigration from Mexico accelerated and workers in U.S. and Mexico were hurt. Some people blame immigrants for the loss of jobs and wage stagnation. Actually, the culprit for these are bad trade agreements that hurt all workers (globally) but multinational companies gain by exploiting workers.

What an interesting viewpoint on Latino immigration. I never thought about transnationalism. It May explain a lot of things to me. However I do not like nationalism I am dismayed at any kind of flag waving, even the American kind except when it comes to the Olympics. I like trans culturism. I lik commitment to furthering democracy in this country. Democracy is a time and money commitment. Transnationalism may not help. Regarding illegal immigration or illegals: this is a very emotional problem for Americans. I think it was Tocqueville that pointed out that Americans are LAW ABIDING citizens. It is the law that makes us tick. People who don't pay their taxes who break the law are looked at with dismay: Lock them up and throw away the key. The American way is the lawful way, is the merciless way. If you can get into this country lawfully, Americans will embrace you. To get in illegally is tantamount to a religious sin you see. That is why some Americans are so emotional about this issue. So it is of course the laws that need to be changed: for this nation was built law by law for better or worse.

I hear a lot of anger. What do you feel would help people understand each other better such as as trying to take care of their families? Get a college education for their kids? Get car insurance? Live without fear?

I find a great deal in your interview that I agree with, however it is not fair for to have unlimited border crossings by folks with out documentation.How can you get around the fact that most of them come across illegally and stay with forged or no documentation.Personally I would welcome increasing the limits on immigration numbers.....perhaps even grant some sort of amnesty to those who are here and law abiding. But if the border isnt closed we will soon have another 12 million or more who want to come to the US. And yes I worry about not wanting to integrate into the community.Its great to continue to have ties to the country from which you originate, but your loyalty needs to be to the United States.As long as those who favor unlimited illegal immigration call those who oppose it racist I predict no rational solution.

professor vazquez-

i was saddened to see your interview on Bill Moyers. you are clearly a very smart guy but you have not risen above name-calling to look at the serious problems with your ideas.

my question is this: you seem to have a big problem with "exclusivist soveriegnty" and give a thumbs up to "transnational citizenship" instead, but how do you think this vague idea could possibly work democratically? i mean sure you have the UN and the IMF etc. etc. but it's pretty obvious by now that those groups are fronts for multinational corporations that no matter what they say are hurting the average member of all countries. you can't really have a transnational citizen without an actual transnational government, can you?

How is it wrong for me to not want to dilute what little power i have in my vote by inviting in millions and millions of people who obviously don't share my interests? illegal immigration has OBVIOUSLY hurt the average American by lowering his wages, raising his taxes, and putting him in a more overcrowded country and that's why polls show over 60% of Americans want to close the border. Yet most illegals support opening the border so they can stay and bring their entire families and villages. Since these views are EXACT OPPOSITES, how can you say that it's not in my interest to keep soveriegnty as its always been?

i hope you pick my question because i really want you to think long and hard on these issues.

thanks,
mike

These people are not immigrants - they are INVADERS. The title, "Illegal Immigrant" somehow hides the fact that they have no right to be here and that they are lawbreakers.

as i listened to the interview, I tried to hear the questions that my father and mother would be asking out loud as they watched.
none of them were touched. they are the emotional questions that take over from any rational thought.

yes, these questions come from a place of insecurity in my father and mother but for them that makes the questions even more significant.

The people who come to the united States are usually after larger amounts of money and the comforts it can buy. My parents know from their own experience what people are like whose main motivation is money, they see it enough in the people they know and understand. To include people who they do not know and so do not trust who are mainly motivated by money, well... this creates a dynamic that scares my parents.

Every day there is another phone call from someone trying to take advantage of them for money and Most of the voices are foriegn souding, sometimes these people come to their door wanting to offer them something that is not true so they can take from my parents what they feel they have to have in order to have some security in a world where they can be devastated by institutions that they are familiar with such as the hospitals or Tax collecting agencies.

This world has become very questionable in comparison to the world they grew up within. Adding the unkown factor of people who seem so desperate for money that they will tempt death and all the rest of the suffering involved with crossing our southern border, well, that scares my parents.
I know not everyone crossing the U.S. border is here to gain the storied wealth, but we don't always hear about what people are trying to get away from. what we hear about is the desire of so many for those streets of gold and what people have done in order to get a greedy share of it.

I am heartened by the large number of pro-enforcement opinions here. As a lifelong resident of Los Angeles, I can say it's well time the country put up a "lot full" sign on our borders and let the massive number of immigrants who've come here in the past several decades fully assimilate to American society - not vice versa.

The argument that Amnesty for Illegals is the only answer because there are too many in America is Fallacious. If the Employers of Illegal Immigrants were punished severely, there would be no jobs for the Illegals, and many would go back to Mexico where they should be.

Throughout the whole discussion, neither Mr. Moyers nor Mr. Vasquez asked the simple question that is at the heart of the Immigration Debate. Should Illegal Immigrants be allowed to live in America? I say NO, and so do most of the American Public and Voters. If you want to live in America, do it legally. 30+ Million Illegal Immigrants in America are VERY BAD for America. By the way, I am a Progressive Democrat. How many Illegal Immigrants does Mexico have?

To Carlos Escarraga - if your Canadian friend is here illegally he shouldn't be here either. I'm more than happy to see all those Whites who are here illegally get kicked out. I'll even go one further and say this - first the government should round up all possible White Europeans and deport them, paying 10 weeks of news coverage to it just to shut the public up about this BS construction of the wealthy that this is about race! This is about control of your Country, control of its policies, and control of what you want America to be. By perpetrating this BS claim that it is about race (despite a good number of illegals being white and a huge number being asian) you are just being a Tool of the corporations that destroyed those illegal immigrants economies and are trying to destroy ours now too in order to get the most work out of all of us for the smallest amount of money.

Mr. Moyers
I would like to voice my opinion as a Black woman in Los Angeles. The issue your guest, Mr Vasquez, skirts and almost all Whites in favor of illegals fail to consider is the economical strain between the illegal Latino influx and the native American Blacks.
Those jobs that your guest and others speak of " they (illegals) take care of our children; cook and tend our lawns etc." Has everyone forgotten those were "Our" jobs. We were the slaves and then freed people Whites needed and wanted.
but didn't want Blacks, use the same fountains etc. Latinos are given or have taken those jobs. Blacks no longer clean the offices, or wash the dishes in the backs of our restaurants. All are jobs Blacks with limited education used to be able get are now performed by Latinos only. The are positions available that now require Blacks and others to speak Spanish but these same position do not require FLUENT English on the part of the Latino position seeker.. There is no denying Blacks have again gone to the bottom of barrel as the Latino population is now the largest minority and soon to be majority very soon.
Thank you
bunnie

We are guessing that the brilliant Dr. has more respect and concern for American law and borders when it is applied to the protection of his home and personal safety.

Let me know if this guy wants to present his open borders nonsense in a public debate.

I do it a lot on CNN/FOX/PBS/NPR and would relish the opp[ortunity.
dak 770 427 2857
www.TheDustinInmanSociety.org

Illegal aliens have a better lobby than U.S. military veterans
Forum
By D.A. King | | Story updated at 7:44 PM on Monday, November 12, 2007
"The character of a nation can be measured by the way that nation treats its veterans." - Author unknown.

Another Veterans Day has come and gone, and the far-too-sparsely attended parades and ceremonies are over until next year. As a former Marine and someone who studies illegal immigration and the fact that the president of the United States has refused to secure American borders more than six years after the horror of 9/11, Veterans Day always brings to mind the puzzling system of priorities we have as a nation.

One example: Since 2003, the Veterans Administration has had a medical care eligibility means test for American military veterans. The American Journal of Public Health reported last month that more than one million vets have no insurance or access to VA medical care.

But, because of a federal mandate, American taxpayers - including veterans - routinely pay for no-cost medical care for people who reside in the United States illegally.

At age 55, like most vets my age I can clearly remember the promise of "free medical care for the rest of your life" from my government as a 17-year-old recruit.

As it has on the promise to secure American borders, the Bush administration has gone back on the promise to many vets.

On Jan. 17, 2003, the Veterans Administration changed its enrollment guidelines and began to ask detailed questions of the U.S. military veterans who apply for their promised medical benefits after that date. Questions like, "What was your income last year?", "How many dependents do you have?" and "Is your need for treatment related to your past military service?"

Vets who earn more than about $34,000 a year without a military-related medical problem are put into "Category 8g" ... and denied the promised free routine health care.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, emergency medical care for those formerly in the service of their nation in Category 8g is granted "on a humanitarian emergency basis and (they) are charged the applicable tortuously liable billing rate for services provided."

The illegal aliens who are demanding immunity from the equal application of American border, immigration and employment laws have no problem qualifying for free medical treatment.

No means test, no questions asked. No bills.

In 1986, the year the federal government rewarded about three million illegal aliens with a "one-time" amnesty, it also passed into law the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, which guarantees no-cost medical treatment in American emergency rooms to anyone, regardless of ability to pay or immigration status. Or both.

The fact that the 1986 amnesty was a miserable failure at its promised goal - stopping illegal immigration and illegal employment - is undeniable. EMTALA, however, is enforced and works quite well. Millions of illegal aliens receive taxpayer-funded health care - emergency or not - in America's emergency rooms at the lowest possible charge: Zero.

There are about 25 million living vets in today's America. Most who study illegal immigration understand that we have at least the same number of illegal aliens, notwithstanding the ridiculous estimates from the federal government.

As someone who has thought a lot about the "why" in this sad but true conflict in priorities, the answer is shamefully clear.

The illegal aliens and their employers have a far more well-funded and effective lobby in Congress than the American veterans.

We should all be asking a lot of questions here. This cannot be who we are as a nation. Can it?

• D.A. King is a former U.S. Marine and president of the Dustin Inman Society, a Marietta-based nonprofit coalition dedicated to educating the public on the consequences of illegal immigration. In 2004, he applied for VA medical benefits and was assigned to Category 8g.


Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 111307

I am in agreement with many of the bloggers as I read their comments. You did not challenge your guest, Mr. Moyers, in regards to immegrants and illegal immegrants. Those who came from Germany and Italy and Ireland came here through legal means on ships that they had spent their life savings to board. They were legal. If there are illegal Germans, Italians or any other illegal immegrants from any
country in the world here they, too, are illegal and should be deported and allow those are legally persuing citizenship to continue here. You let your guest go on about "dualism" and how this is their right now. Sorry, but I feel you let us down in not clarifying the statements or calling your guest on his complete distortion of legal immegration. AND he never clarified his illegal or legal status.

Lizz, there are many parts of the country were you can eat a meal in a restaurant prepared by native born Americans, served by native born Americans. Heck, even in California, you can go to the wonderful In-n-Out chain and wonderful burger freshly made by Americans. The secret, they pay their workers well, about 1.5 times the minimum wage to start. The food is great, blows that infamous illegal alien employer McD's out of the water.

Illegal aliens are also those from European origin working in the USA with expired tourist visas. If an amnesty (guest worker program) would occur, it would not only benefit those Spanish speaking guys who transform themselves with exotic leather booths and catchy clothes on the weekend. It would also benefit people like my dear Canadian friend Ronny who has no issues with the language and blends well because of his ethnic (Caucasian) features, but still, he is not an American. Out of those 12 million illegal aliens, NOT ALL ARE MEXICANS; there is a beautiful ethnic diversity just like America. Good job Professor Vasquez!

I am a landscape contractor in the very affluent city of Santa Barbara California. I am a mixed race person; DAR on one side and a Moreno on the other. My self as well as other contractors talk about the same thing. Too many illegal Hispanic people doing work too cheap! I am fully licensed and fully insured and in California that is a lot of money, which I have to pass on to my clients. The general population in Santa Barbara especially the financially affluent for the most part will hire, unlicensed and uninsured hispanic people to do the majority of their outside construction. They want it cheap and they get it cheap. My neighbors are mostly Hispanic wonderful,long term Santa Barbaran's. My long term employees are Hispanic I pay them well and they are trying to work within an unworkable immigration system. The last few years has seen more desperate Hispanic people, mostly displaced men, who have resorted to stealing and drugs. This is not only my observation but of my men's as well. It's silly to think that White people will ever want to dig a ditch or work there way from the bottom up in the construction business. It rarely happens. I see men get picked-up and deported and a week or two later get dropped back off at our labor line by the Coyotes. I do not have answers but I sure as hell know how our brothers from across the border have finacially hurt me, but most of us in the "trades" could not function with out their help. We do need to get real!!

My first question: If appeals to the law in the discussion of illegal immigrants are racist or nativist, then when is an appeal to the law not racist or nativist? When discussing theft? Murder? Tax evasion?

I have two concerns: that the word "immigrant" has been transvalued to have no distinction between those who immigrate legally and those who don't; and that if we abandon legal considerations in the immigration issue, we will be on a slippery slope in other legal issues as well. If the law does not apply because of an appeal to a vague conception of multiculturalism and diversity, then when will it ever apply?

My other question: How much responsibility do the illegals' countries of origin bear in this issue? If things are so miserable in some other countries such that large numbers of their people will risk treasure, freedom, or their lives to get to the US, shouldn't those countries fix their problems, and not rely on the US as a safety valve?

Professor Manuel Vásquez presented an eloquent and fresh perspective on the issue of "undocumented" immigrants in the United States and the failure of the Bush administration and Congress to recognize the advantage of cultural and economic exchange between Latin American countries. Thus, the easiest way is to create a scapegoat in the "undocumented" immigrant.

But, can we accuse anyone for pursuing the "American Dream" if the United States of America is the bastion of freedom, democracy and economic development enviable worldwide? After all, we boast about it. Imagine, this prevails, after seven years of the Bush administration which has crippled the outstanding work of previous generations. And, instead of pushing for Immigration reforms, our citizens remain willfully blinded and choose to engage in discrimination and arrogance.

As a result, the easiest way out, is to blame our undocumented American immigrants for the greed infecting our nation. This is a very selfish and comfortable stand. Did we forget the appropriation of the term American by the United States? Yes, many in the United States of America generally refer to our country as America and ourselves as Americans, yet, the American Continent consist of North, Central and South America. Like it or not, WE ARE ALL AMERICANS!

Here is my suggestion to end the discussion. IMPEACH DICK CHENEY AND GEORGE W. BUSH FOR LYING AND TAKING OUR COUNTRY TO THE WORSE LEVEL IN HISTORY!

Gladys P. Canizares
Harrisburg, PA

I have some questions.
When do you put a stop to "illegal" immigration? Do you wait until all of Central, South America is here? How about Africa, Asia? Do we let all those people who just want a job to support their family come here to make a better life?
Do you have a country with out a border? How hard is it to just cross any other country's border?
How hard is it to understand the word "illegal"?
My grandparents were immigrants from Germany and my great,great grandparents were from Ireland. One important difference between them and these that we are talking about now is they came through ports of entry. Legally
Your comments have missed the whole point of the discussion. I know that you are much smarter than that.
I would appreciate your answers to my questions.

Hard working? Work harder at becoming legal...

It fascinates me that nearly every comment posted so far is from angry and racist people. Bill Moyers should be congratulated on having Mr. Vasquez on the show as a guest. He certainly has some thought provoking things to say. Perhaps we should stop our own rhetoric long enough to listen to some other opinions, instead of saying stupid things like "I'll never watch your show again!".

Manuel Vasquez blurs the lines between immigration and illegal immigration. He allows ethnic and racial prejudices to enter this discussion. The U.S. has the most liberal immigration policy of any developed nation. We were built by immigrants who came to become Americans, not to bring with them the culture in which they were unable to succeed. America was not built by the immigrants who gathered in ghettos, but by their children who escaped the ghettos and built a new multidimensional culture. That allowed us to extract the best of many cultures and create a better one. We must work together and blend our resources. We must learn from our immigrants, but they must learn from us as well.

To Professor Manuel Vásquez – how, exactly, does following the example of your native country, El Salvador, in simply complying with the demands of Corporate Tyrants (as well as the demands of your people and other South & Central American people in our case) and the Corporate bribed Government Yes-Men and their bought Media lead to a stronger country for my fellow Americans and I? It seems to me that allowing you to practice the idiotic economic policies you made in your own country a second time in my country will turn my country into the same rolling slum yours currently is. If your intent is simply to help out the El Salvadorian people, do you think there might be better ways than to destroy my country, insult my ancestors with your ignorance of their plight, the opposition they faced in moving here LEGALLY, and the rite-of-passage of suffering to be a truly Free American? Perhaps by approaching the American public honestly and coming up with actionable plans on enlisting their aid by perhaps hitching your Nation’s economic plight to the lesser one we currently face but will shortly be increasing? Brothers in struggle of a sort… I do not mean to be as insulting as I surely sound but I merely wish to make a point – you slap my people in the face and expect a handout when they deserve respect & honor. Respect them and honor them and we might help – but NEVER demand something from us, especially against our best interests, and expect us to sit ideally by.

Mr. Moyers, I would hope that I wouldn’t have to tell you this – you are racist if you treat a different “colored” man differently than you would a man of your skin tone. You allowed his statements on “dual Nationalism” to go unchallenged – you didn’t even ask him to explain! Technology doesn’t make dual Nationalism easier, it makes communications easier – that is it. Further, if it was about a couple million illegal Irish immigrants I have no doubt you’d have no problem asking the questions required! And I’d be sad but I’d none-the-less approve because THIS IS AMERICA, not Ireland.

Mr. Moyers, there is a difference between being a citizen “liked” by all, and being a responsible citizen. You crossed that line tonight. And if you think that you were doing the “Christian” thing – you weren’t. You are only helping to create one long stretching American Slum. And the kicker, those “Evil Corporate Managers” - those are the only people you are helping. If there is a huge supply of workers – you create no demand for them. No demand means BS wages, because if Uncle Sam won’t accept 50 cents for the job he was being paid 10 dollars for there are now 100 Illegals begging for the chance. And why do they beg? Because their Nation spits on them. And now you are spitting on your Countrymen… to support Illegal foreigners – just because they different!
Two wrongs don’t make a right Mr. Moyers – Racism & Betrayal still equal Shame. Or at least it should. I’m no Racist – I believe in Equality & Freedom – I do not believe in Subservience. My ancestors earned citizenship – they did it legally. There are millions of immigrants waiting patiently and praying fervently for the opportunities we enjoy. We spit on ALL OF THEM if we allow this. If they cherished the ideals of our Nation, they’d work within the bounds of it. If that make me a racist – I’m proud to be one! I’d rather hold true to my family, my friends, and the country I hold dear than to bend the knee to any foreign power – rich or poor! And I sure as hell won’t bend that knee simply because some wealthy collection of families has invested billions in an obviously successful attempt at legitimizing the undercutting of American Labor by marketing this thing as a “kind and generous attempt at helping a poor and impoverished people” – I can see it does so by making Lower Income Americans impoverished and I know where my loyalties lay.

To Professor Manuel Vásquez – how, exactly, does following the example of your native country, El Salvador, in simply complying with the demands of Corporate Tyrants (as well as the demands of your people and other South & Central American people in our case) and the Corporate bribed Government Yes-Men and their bought Media lead to a stronger country for my fellow Americans and I? It seems to me that allowing you to practice the idiotic economic policies you made in your own country a second time in my country will turn my country into the same rolling slum yours currently is. If your intent is simply to help out the El Salvadorian people, do you think there might be better ways than to destroy my country, insult my ancestors with your ignorance of their plight, the opposition they faced in moving here LEGALLY, and the rite-of-passage of suffering to be a truly Free American? Perhaps by approaching the American public honestly and coming up with actionable plans on enlisting their aid by perhaps hitching your Nation’s economic plight to the lesser one we currently face but will shortly be increasing? Brothers in struggle of a sort… I do not mean to be as insulting as I surely sound but I merely wish to make a point – you slap my people in the face and expect a handout when they deserve respect & honor. Respect them and honor them and we might help – but NEVER demand something from us, especially against our best interests, and expect us to sit ideally by, much less actually comply.

Mr. Moyers, if there was a show that would cause me to boycott – this would be the one. I’m absolutely irate at your betrayal of your Nation, of your betrayal of your journalistic ideals & ethics, and at your fundamental betrayal of simple logic. I would hope that I wouldn’t have to tell you this – you are racist if you treat a different “colored” man differently than you would a man of your skin tone. You allowed his statements on “dual Nationalism” to go unchallenged – even though they were absurd. You didn’t even ask him to explain! Technology doesn’t make dual Nationalism easier, it makes communications easier – that is it. Further, if it was about a couple million illegal Irish immigrants that were undercutting labor markets of LEGAL AMERICANS I have no doubt you’d have no problem hitting them square between the eyes with the questions that they should be forced to answer! And I’d be sad that it would have to be done, but I’d none-the-less approve because THIS IS AMERICA, not Ireland.
Mr. Moyers, there is a difference between being a citizen “liked” by all, and being a responsible citizen. You crossed that line tonight. And if you think that you were doing the “Christian” thing – you weren’t. If you help contribute to the endangerment of the fragile labor economy of one of the few Free Nations (however nominally Free at the moment) you are not “helping” those “poor Natives” – you are helping to create one long stretching American Slum. And here is the kicker, those “Evil Corporate Managers” that you dislike so much (and I’m right there behind you, closed fist and begging for a fight) - those are the only people you are helping by such shows as tonight. Carol from below has the whole supply-and-demand thing completely wrong. If there is a huge supply of workers – you create no demand for them. No demand means you can offer crap wages, because if Uncle Sam won’t accept 50 cents for the job he was being paid 10 dollars for, well there are now 100 Illegals begging for the chance. And why do they beg? Because their own Nation spits on them. So now you are spitting on your Countrymen to support Illegal foreigners – just because they have a different language and skin tone!
Two wrongs don’t make a right Mr. Moyers – Racism & Betrayal still equal Shame. Or at least it should. I’m no Racist – I believe in Equality & Freedom – I do not believe in Subservience. I will not give a foreigner citizenship because they demand it. My ancestors earned it – they did it legally. There are millions of immigrants waiting patiently and praying fervently for the opportunities we enjoy. We spit on ALL OF THEM by even offering this disrespectful lot the opportunity to speak. If they cherished the ideals of our Nation, they’d work within the bounds of it – not try to force it to work within their narrow bounds. And if that does make me a racist – I’m proud to be one! I’d rather hold true to my family, my friends, and the country I hold dear than to bend the knee to any foreign power – rich or poor! And I sure as hell won’t bend that knee simply because some wealthy collection of families has invested billions in an obviously successful attempt at legitimizing the undercutting of American Labor by marketing this thing as a “kind and generous attempt at helping a poor and impoverished people” – I can see it does so by making Lower Income Americans impoverished and I know where my loyalties lay.
Why don’t you have a show about labor abuse & trade abuse – something respectful to the Americans who support you and the foreign peoples who do indeed unjustly suffer at the hands of their corrupt, tyrannical Dictators as well as our Corporate Masters.
But please, no more of these – I want to support you as a fellow American & love you in good Christian fellowship. If you need to, feel free to call… I’m always up! ;) Hey cool, I’m loving you again! Guess I just needed that off my chest! ;)

Do you think it is the USA's responsibility to take care of the Mexican people? If the conditions in Mexico are so bad do you think it would be better for the USA to Conquer Mexico and establish Mexico as a new US territory?

I believe that this is not so much an illegal immigration policy issue as a union busting corporate power grab. There was a time when you could work construction and make enough money to pay for your college tuition and books. Those jobs are gone and so are the wages that they once paid. Also gone are the health insurance benefits that they once provided. Meanwhile the H1B immigrants that I have personally seen take American research and development jobs from Americans have removed over one million R and D jobs from American citizens. We were told that the corporations could only hire them if they couldn’t find an American that could do the job. I have personally seen my engineering friends told that they have a choice. Leave now or, you can stay for six months, train your replacements, and then get a severance package. So the middle class is being hit from the top white collar and from the bottom blue collar jobs that are being lost. Why? Because of the bottom line which is corporate profits at any cost. And for the corporations this is working. Over forty seven million Americans most of whom are working have no health insurance. We see the people that are taking our jobs getting in state tuition, free medical, grant money meant for American students and loans for homes that they can no longer afford. These immigrants are for the extreme most part, decent very hard working wonderful people. They are the kind of people that corporations can chew up and spit out. If they make a stink they face deportation. It is essentially a legal slave trade.
When you see that very few American students are enrolling for engineering classes maybe this is because they have seen what happened to their parents.
Eventually the corporations will go too far and the pendulum will swing back on them. When it does, there will be laws put into place that will protect American workers and their jobs just as there was when the unions fought and won for us the 40 hour work week, overtime pay, and health insurance.
This administration and the corporations thatown them will not win its war against the American workers. Our wonderful neighbor to the south has a penchant for organizing. These corporations and their stock holders will lose more then just their money. When a person loses his home that he has worked for decades along with his savings because he got an illness he will feel that he has nothing left to lose by taking matters into his own hands.
Keep pushing us corporate Amerika and watch what happens. We have taken a big beating these last seven years, the Katrina fiasco, the fake war, the loss of health insurance and jobs. When a man has nothing left to lose that is when he is most dangerous. You can only wag the dog so long before it turns and bites you. This is getting to be a very big dog.

Bill - I used to be a bleeding heart who believed we could bring all the world's problems here and fix them, but now I know better. Until we can fix the problems we have, we have no business taking on the problems of other countries.

Since the 1st President Bush gave amnesty to the many illegal aliens in 1989 (who were then also mostly hispanic), I have watched Texas turn into little Mexico. If I had wanted to live in Mexico I would have moved there.

Give it a little time Bill, and wherever you live will soon look & sound like Mexio too. No one will speak English and none of the children will be able to go to public schools anymore because the quality of those schools will be so poor.

Maybe then you'll understand why there are proper procedures we make people follow when immigrating to this country instead of just throwing open the gates.

Like President Fox before him, Calderone wants the U.S. to keep letting his poor and uneducated come here so they can send U.S. dollars back to Mexico. Our money is their (Mexico's) biggest source of revenue.

When are we going to wake up?

Those of us that watch Bill Moyers every week I think we were all very disappointed with this segment. Where to begin.

Illegal. Why use the term illegal immigrant. Well because they broke laws to be in this country. When did breaking laws become anything but "illegal".

All United States immigration laws state that people who are in this country illegally are termed "illegal aliens". That fact is also that many of the illegal immigrants go on to break many more laws. For instance, they aquire Social Security numbers that belong to legal citizens. Some drive on our roads without drivers licenses or auto insurance or fake DL. I mean if I were to do this I would go to prison for years. So how can you NOT call these people illegal aliens?

This segment was wrong on so many points.

Moyers: Hispanics were here before the Europeons.
FACT: Hispanics are Europeons.

Moyers:They do all the vital work. Our social fabric would fall apart without them.
FACT: America fuctioned better without millions of illegal aliens. Check out the schools with high numbers of children from illegal aliens. Universal health care will never happen if we keep importing poverty from the third world by the tens of millions. What is the environmental impact of adding 30 to 40 million people to the USA population. What is the impact of adding millions of workers who have little education, few skills to a labor force that is already under employed and under payed. And there are many more examples of the degradation of our society.

To have one of the icons of truth (Moyers) say all these untruths is so disappointing. So sad. Please, please have a show on the whole story of this very serious problem.

As I sit here in Howard County, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C. I know that of the 12 families closest to my house, only 6 of them speak English. The rest are immigrants and speak other languages. I can't invite them over for dinner, or even a cup of coffee. I can't tell them not to let their children pick my flowers. I can't tell them I am having my house treated for termites and they should have their house checked. I can't even tell them their house is on fire. How can a neighborhood survive if so many people don't speak the same language?

During the last wave of immigration, 100 years ago, immigrants had to live in enclaves with other immigrants, usually from the same country. They spoke the same language and had the same customs. It was usually the second generation that moved into the larger community. There were no housing discrimination laws then. Now immigrants can live anywhere and it causes hostility and conflict. Would you like to live next door to someone who is basically a third-world peasant? Who has three wives, each with children and they all live in the same house? Or someone who keeps chickens as pets and lets them roam the neighborhood? How about the Korean family that had three puppies in one year (each one disappeared) what should I think of that knowing that in some Asian cultures it is okay to eat dogs? Or the Asian family who let their 3 year old son ride his tricycle in the street. When we tried to get the child out of the road, he screamed, "NO" and hit us. What do you do? I never saw an American family do any of these things. Even if you can find someone to interpret, the family will usually shrug and do as they please.

We are conducting a great social experiment in America today, one that is risky and unprecedented. How does a country absorb so many foreigners from such diverse backgrounds? It is hard enough when you have the same general values and history. After about 80 years,we did manage finally to assimilate the Europeans of the last great immigration, but this time we are expected to accept peoples whose values and history are so very different from ours. Can we do it? Doesn't the government need to give us some help with this? Don't the newcomers have an obligation to be patient with us and abide by our customs, not theirs? Too many immigrants come to America for the economic opportunity and then try to retain their own culture and customs. That isn't the bargain-America is a package deal. We allow them to come and they become American. They should not tell us how much better it was back home, that their customs are better. They are guests and should behave as such. America is politically free but our society is normative and we expect others to behave properly. I can't imagine goint to live in someone else's country and acting badly.

I have watched your show EVERY Friday, since you've been back on the air and I don't think I have ever disagreed with one of your guests . . . until tonight.

"ILLEGAL" is NOT a racist term. It means what it says, the person who is in some way illegal had done something that is NOT legal, has broken one or more laws.

That issue aside, perhaps we Americans need to have a debate on "What Is Citizenship?" "What does being a good citizen entail".

Manuel Vasquez believes that divided loyalties are a good thing. I disagree. You may, assimilate fully, or not, that is your business, but if you still feel loyal to another country, that IS and SHOULD BE the business of the government and U.S. Citizens.

My grandparents came from Russia. I can just imagine how thrilled this government of ours would be, if I announced that in a spirit of "transnationalism" I was embracing Russia's culture and values! Particularly given the sour relationship between Bush and Putin.

There are still occasions, including, I believe, when we swear in a President, that we are asked to swear an oath that we are loyal to the United States of America. I, for one, think that is a good thing.

Your segments, earlier in the program, on the situation in Mississippi and on the issue of media comglomeration showed us brave Americans wanting to take our government back to one of, by, and for the people. Not of, by and for this country AND some other country.

Our founding fathers anticipated that we would be an informed citizenry, and, I would bet, a loyal citizenry, by and large. I wonder what they would have to say about transnationalism and divided loyalties.

I am, on most issues progressive, a liberal, but on this issue, I disagree with those in my party who seek comprehensive immigration reform, when they are not willing to secure our borders first, crack down, seriously, on employers who violate the laws of the United States second. Then, and only then, am I willing to turn to the issue of the people who came to this country illegally, and while I do believe that a history of being a "good citizen" while they lived here, should put them in good stead for becoming a citizen, without being deported, if they have not been involved in criminal activities, such as gang memberiship.

I am not sanguine to those who maintain loyalty, and your guest used that word, loyalty, to another government.

As for food and language and looks and other issues your guest ticked of as the things about immigrants that citizens fear or feel uncomfortable about, in my view, that is also a red herring or putting up a straw man. That is NOT the issue.

If you don't want to learn to speak English, fine, but why should we have to turn our country upside down to speak your language. I am sick of having to "press 1 for English"! English is the language of this country, whether our elected officials want to acknowledge it or not. Our common language is one of the things that ties us together, connects us to one another.

Well, I'll end here. I can feel my temperature rising and I intend to direct it to more important issues than arguing against a guest who waxed poetic about divided loyalties and transnationalism.

I am not sure why you made the effort having Mr. Manuel Vásquez on your show to talk about illegal immigration.
His current project?....I don't think many of your viewers
really care about his current project. His current project should be examining how the immigrants are affecting the neighborhoods of America in which they have moved into.

What is Mr. Vasquez's suggestion for a person who lives next to a house owned by a slum-lord where there are illegal immigrants living that throw their trash all over their yard and mine, and leave old couches out in their backyard? They play their music too loud and don't understand the community in which they have moved into. The don't have any respect for the community or for the people who have been living there before they arrived who value the peace and quiet and the cleanliness of the community.

We have enough ivory tower theorists out there. You should get some guests who understand what is really happening in America, in the small towns that have been so greatly affected by the influx of these outsiders that are disrupting the community living in which they have moved into.

MOST Sincerely,

Sam King
NJ

Barbara Jones,

I agree with you. I asked that very question on Moyers' 'contact us' form.

All nations are nations of immigrants. We all came out Africa. There were Europeans here before this was a country.

Just because something has 'always' happened does not mean it should continue to happen. Two examples are slavery and women right to vote.

I agree the illegal aliens, no matter what country they come should go. Enforce the current law-- deport them. Ethics is not based on either economics nor the easy way out. Illegal immigrants should not be allowed to stay just because they do a job. Perhaps if they went then the business people would have to raise wages so that Americans would want to do these jobs. Or maybe they should not be in the business they are in.

Some say it is impractical to deport 12-15 million people. Granted it would be hard to deport 12-15 million people. First of all if we started this process many would probably leave on their own. Secondly, any answer, even amnesty, would be hard (impractical) when applied to 15 million people. Amnesty would be the easiest. Again, what is right is not to do the easiest thing. Do what is right no matter how hard it is. If it is hard then the government had better get started.

I agree it was hard to take that guy saying what he said (any of it) and Moyers just accepting it.

Sorry, Lizz, but if illegal workers are brought out of the shadows wages would not increase much. It is the law of supply and demand--as long as the supply of unskilled and semi-skilled labor is increasing, wages will be low. On the show tonight, Dr. Vasquez talked about an undocumented worker who came to this country, worked in construction, had children, and bought a house. Doesn't he realize that wages in the construction industry have declined over 25% in the past 30 years? The immigrants say they just want to work, but that desire hurts Americans. Construction used to be an excellent job, one that easily supported a family. Not any more. And we haven't seen building or home prices declining, so you know the extra money from cheap wages went to the builders, not the customers. Why not do a study of those who have been hurt by immigration, illegal and legal?

First businesses sent manufacturing jobs overseas, now they import slave labor to do the jobs they can't export. America's middle class is disappearing. And it is not the middle class that uses immigrant labor, we don't hire nannies and gardeners and maids. Only the upper class, like college professors and media elites, can do that. We just get the overcrowded houses, the front yards turned into parking lots, the overcrowded schools and the exploding school budgets. The immigrants aren't living in your neighborhood, they can't afford to. Shame on all the elites, with their cushy lifestyles, accusing middle America of racism, nativism, and xenophobia. We get the problems and you get the benefits.

I agree with Mr. Vasquez that SOME of the opposition to immigration is based in prejudice. Racism is a real and constant threat and will continue to be as long as we focus on this notion of "multiculturalism" where we have to be aware and respectful of the differences between races. This kind of thinking breeds racism, because it makes the differences between races stand out in bold relief. This is not the way to get people to accept one another as equals, and as long as it is allowed to continue, we will always see discrimination.

However, there is much more to the issue than this. As some previous posts have pointed out, there is a very real threat with immigration of bankrupting social systems in the United States. While there are certainly MANY immigrants who come here to do honest work and to give back to America whatever America gives to them, there are also people who come here to abuse Medicare and social security.

So what is the solution? I would suggest that the best thing to do would be to end birth-right citizenship so that the children of immigrants born here do not entitle their families to social care. We should also make efforts to step down Medicare and social security, because both systems are deeply flawed and teach American citizens to become dependent on a big federal government.

But both of these steps are bad for immigrants, and I agree it isn't fair, because generations of people HAVE had an opportunity to come to America poor, to work hard to make something of themselves, and to end up living comfortably. Mr. Vasquez is right on the money when he says that we are a nation of immigrants. However, in the past, we have been a nation of LEGAL immigration, wherein immigrants are naturalized. I would, therefore, argue that since my proposal is to make illegal immigration less attractive, we should also try to make LEGAL immigration more attractive. We need to make it easier to gain citizenship for people who want to honestly be here and become part of the country.

So in summary, I'm saying drop birth-right citizenship and pay-outs from social systems but make efforts to make it easy to apply for and get citizenship.

Dear Mr. Moyers, I have listened to you over the years and thought highly of you. At my daughter's college graduation, you were the commencement speaker (North Texas State University). However, tonight's broadcast just cut it with me and with my husband.

I teach in public school and deal with the illegal alien problem every day. I just wish that you could visit for a whole day and see the situation. Mexican students are 60% of my Texas classroom. They consider Mexico to be their home and hold up the Mexican flag when the USA national anthem is played at pep rallies. These same students speak to each other in Spanish and make fun of others who cannot understand them. They fight at the drop of a hat and we now have gangs at our school.

What used to be a normal rural American school is now a ghetto school. Texas & the nation lose more teachers every year. A job that used to be rewarding is now unbearable after a few short years.

Your show with tonight with Vasquez explaining how illegal immigrants are just like all other immigrants was so annoying that I will never again watch your broadcasts. How in the world can you sit and listen to a person who endorses breaking our laws? There is no border between America and Mexico, there is just a WELCOME mat.

I have never been prejudice in my life, but I am now. I am not angry with the Mexicans for taking advantage of a stupid government, I am angry with the politicians who have been bought and sold. My state is now Texico, not Texas.

My students talk about how they will soon outnumber the anglos and will be able to control the USA. Why bother? They already do.

Barbara Jones

Of course you choose an immigrant (is he legal? is he a US citizen?). And a professor of religion. What's that? Religion is crap. Except for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Bill Moyers

You are so stupid you say immigrants. There no difference between legal and illegal why you only have one guest why not to give voice view points. An employers hiring illegals so they can pay them less.
So Mr Moyers you say you want the truth but I think your ready just pushing what you feel "there no difference" you lived in a in your own little world if you can see the difference.

As for my question, Ed Abbey already wrote it for me:

"How many of us, truthfully, would prefer to be submerged in the Caribbean-Latin version of civilization?"

Or the Sino-Russian one, for that matter?

Wrong, Lizz. The USA now has a totalization agreement with Mexico on social security. Aliens can recieve social security payments, even if they've never paid into the program. We barely have enough money to last through the Baby Boomers, but now we've got to pay out to noncitizens too.

We are only as dependent on cheap labor as we allow ourselves to be. Placing restrictions on immigration and the hiring of foreign workers will deprive businesses the option of hiring coolies and scabs, forcing them to raise wages and working conditions for Americans for both the lower and middle classes. Support for mass immigration is support for class warfare.

Americans will pick lettuce, clean floors, wash dishes, and program computers - but not at half the fair wage or salary.

Our economy will not suddenly collapse if suddenly all the foreign workers disappeared tomorrow. If they did, lower and middle class wages (which have been stagnant ever since the 1965 Immigration Act) would rise, the burden on the welfare state would ease, racial tensions would not run as high, and the crime rate would cut in half.

The Mexican elite live the good life with little or no taxation. Rather than create a viable society (why is there no 'Mexican Dream'?), they drive their peasants north, sit back and collect the remittences . This is a great deal for Mexico and a good deal for the peasants.
This is alousy deal for Americans and looms to recreate the same misery here in time.

If an amnesty eventually occurs, should illegal immigrants from Latin America who thus become citizens be eligible for affirmative action? If so why? And if so, why not immigrants who are from China or Vietnam for example?

In response to Anne, the connotations of racism arise in conjunction with the present immigration debate because the current flow of immigrants (1989 to present) has primarily consisted of Latin American immigrants. As well, the less represented groups that are also part of this wave are from other non-European backgrounds. Accordingly, if you are anti-immigrant you are by definition anti these populations, at least as far as they do in fact represent the face of immigration today.

As to Anne’s own self proclaimed hatred of illegal immigrants, I wonder if she realizes her lifestyle currently depends upon them. Our food is harvested by the undocumented. Our meat is processed by them. Our trip to a restaurant requires their participation, sometimes in every step of the experience, from preparation, service, to clean up. Speaking of clean up, the largest union today SEIU, is primarily undocumented workers, who sweep our office buildings and clean our toilets, its members also care for our elderly. Every year the US treasury reports more billions of dollars paid into the Social Security system from fraudulent Social Security Numbers. These monies will never be paid out to those who contributed it and instead are paid out to US citizens, the system depends upon it.

When the last wave of immigrants came to the US they only needed to pass health inspections and have a relative vouch for them to gain a green card. This is not the system now and big business, as well as consumers, benefit from having a designated underclass. If we all advocated for legalization, as opposed to deportation, we could ensure that our own salaries would not be depressed because of labor abuse in this country, as the immigrants could no longer be utilized as silent laborers, unable to demand fair wages and treatment.

I get very worried and uncomfortable when I hear coments like "racism" when discussing immigration. I love immigrants. This is a nation of immigrants. LEGAL immigrants, that is. I really cannot stand illegal immgirants and there are over 12 million of them in this country. I am NOT a racist ! I just can't stand illegal immigrants of any kind. Where this "racism" issue began I do not know. I suspect is arose amongst of appologists for the hords of illegal immigtants in the United States.

There is NO excuse for illegal immigrants. They are ILLEGAL. It is as simple as that. Stop futzing around with words liks racism and other nonsense. Illegal immigrants shoulg be deported and should have to stand in line to immigrate into this country LEGALLY. What is so difficult to understand about that?

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