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Examining the Discourse on Immigration

Photo: Robin Holland

In this week’s JOURNAL, Professor Manuel Vásquez suggests that some vehement grassroots opposition to extending citizenship to illegal immigrants is based in prejudice:

“Perhaps that’s one of the things that threatens some of the people who are restrictionist – that they see some of these immigrants maintaining loyalty, maintaining their language, maintaining their culture to some extent. And for them this is a threatening situation because they think of sovereignty very much in an exclusivist way… [After] the first World War, we shut the door. And for a while that door was pretty much closed. And we had tight limits on who could be admitted. And of course, before that, we had the Asian, the “Yellow Peril,” right? The Chinese Exclusion Act... this whole concept of illegality is really problematic, because it really doesn't go to the complexities of the situation.”

But political analyst Michael Barone writes in a column that while allegations of nativism — hostile exclusion of immigrants simply to protect the cultural dominance of existing citizens — are common, restrictionists are motivated by other concerns:

“Democrats — and Mr. Bush — are out of line with public opinion on this. That became clear as the Senate debated a comprehensive immigration bill in May and June. Most Republicans and many Democrats, in the Senate and among the public, turned against the bill. Its supporters tended to ascribe that to something like racism: They just don't like having so many Mexicans around. But if you listened to the opponents, you heard something else. They want the current law enforced. It bothers them that we have something like 12 million illegal immigrants in our country. It bothers them that most of the southern border is unfenced and unpatrolled. It bothers them that illegal immigrants routinely use forged documents to get jobs — or are given jobs with no documents at all. You don't have to be a racist to be bothered by such things. You just have to be a citizen who thinks massive failure to enforce the law is corrosive to society.”

What do you think?

  • How big a part does prejudice play in the current discourse regarding immigration?
  • Is it fair to group the current grassroots movement against illegal immigration with nativist movements of the past?
  • Do accusations of racism ignore "the complexities of the situation" in a similar way that Vásquez argues the terms "amnesty" and "illegal" do?

    Still have immigration questions? Manuel Vásquez addressed viewer questions at this link.

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    Hi, I read the simplistic arguments made by professor Vasquez regarding immigration. As a PBS supporter I think you could get somebody else more analytical to speak on this issue on behalf of voiceless abused and exploited immigrants. Event though racism and xenophobia are important factors in this debate, it is naive not to consider it from an economical perspective. Money is the real concern for most Americans. Fear and anger about supposedly generalized abuses of the system on the part of ALL immigrants ( especially Mexicans ) is what fuels most of the present anti-immigrant sentiment. This is not something new. History teaches us that in economical crisis society looks for scapegoats. Now, the crisis that we are facing was caused mainly by greed in an ambient of republican deregulation in the Bush administration.
    On behalf of immigrants, I suggest to PBS to choose better candidates to defend and portray the Hispanic immigrant (the illiterate Mexican family shown in Wide Angle does not reflect all of them).
    Most first generation Immigrants that I know are hardworking people who pay sometimes more taxes than many Americans used to the comfort of unemployment benefits. Their tax money is welcome by federal state and city governments to maintain infrastructure such as freeways and streets but they are not allowed the privilege to drive on them, in other words they do not deserve driver licenses. The Social Security taxes collected from years and decades of the labor of immigrants that chose to go back to their country of origin stays in the United States benefiting people that did not work for it. I have seen immigrant professionals performing menial jobs, it really is a waste of skilled labor. It is also a dehumanizing experience that strips them from their dignity and hopes. Moreover US political and economical interventionism in Latin American countries has created situations of war, poverty and corruption that drove ultimately many of their people to migrate to the US for jobs.
    In conclusion, many things maybe legal but not necessarily moral. Slavery was legal and justified, as it was racial segregation just some decades ago, now they are illegal... How many lives were lost or affected in the process? How many more individuals and families need to be sacrificed so that one day in the future we find out that we were wrong again ?
    May God almighty have mercy on us for what we do and have done to others through history.

    The comments on your interview with Mr. Manuel Vazquez were too numerous to cover all of them, but in response to the several I read:
    l. I agree whole-heartedly with the view of one of your respondents that we need more objective public information on this subject. What many who are not yet informed hear are myths that come from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), the mouthpiece for FAIR, which, contrary to its name, is not "fair" at all, but the leading anti-immigrant organization in the country with ties to white supremacist groups. (See Souther Poverty Law Center's INTELLIGENCE REPORT. Perpetrators of these myths and those who have bought them will deny the previous statements, but see the recent story on www.americasvoiceonline entitled "Who Killed Brisenia Flores?" The beautiful 9-year old child and her father were shot-gunned to death and "Two of three people arrested ...had connections to a Washington state anti-illegal immigration group...It turns out that Shawna {one of them} has also been representative of ...FAIR..." Anyone caring to confirm that ellipses are simply for brevity and not for distorting the report as is the modus operendum of the CIS.

    2. Contrary to the assertions of others, it is a MINORITY which opposes immigration reform; the majority of American citizens -- 75% --favor immediate reform. These figures have been issued by our own government agencies, by the Pew Institute and many other reliable organizations, despite the fact that opponents label these as leftist mouthpieces. There's a difference between viewpoints which can be corroborated by a look at the fact and those which cannot.

    And, finally, yes, I'm afraid that resistance to immigration reform is, indeed, based on fear--and we have seen all too often how fear of this sort can be indistinguishable from racism and lead to a frantic desire for ethnic cleansing.
    The absence of immigration reform has led to horrific killings, particularly of non-white immigrants, documented and undocumented -- and even some citizens. Immigration reform will be the most effective way to impress law and order on all aspects of the issue, INCLUDING TREATING THE THREAD OF "illegal" immigration.

    Dear Mr. Moyers,
    Just want to say thank you for having Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich on your show. It demonstrates that you have an open mind and care that the American people hear all sides of the issues.

    I am proud of the NH Rep party and Chairman Fergus Cullen for standing by the priciples of fair debates.

    I'm proud to see the American people standing up and starting to care about the future of our great country.

    Thank you so much!

    Dear Mr. Moyer,

    I watched your interview with Manuel Vasquez on the topic of illegal immigration posted on the website below.
    The interview with Manuel Vasquez was very insightful regarding the burning issue of immigration in the United States. Before seeing this interview I had mixed emotions on the topic due to the fact I was ignorant and did not know much about it. It had seemed that immigration to me was an issue that only affected me in the retrospect of dealing with people of different nationalities who spoke different languages. I can understand why some people feel that it is threatening to the United States because of jobs being taken and the miscommunication between nationalities that have not learned our native language.
    After watching the interview, it seemed as if Manuel had a very strong knowledge of the topic to per sway my thought process on immigration. I agree with Vasquez’s reasoning about why it is seen as a threat in the United States. We do not like change and difference in our daily routines, and therefore we question and distance ourselves from the situation. In the beginning of the interview Vasquez stated what trans-nationalism was, which he said it was the ability to see from both sides. I thought that this statement stood out. If someone were to move to America, I would hope that they adopt everything that America stands for, although they should keep their cultural values, but the country you reside in should come first.
    In order for the American society to accept immigration enough to let the bill pass, I feel we need to be educated about the topic. I feel as though many people are too ignorant to even look into the matter and realize that we are all human beings and are very similar. Many of the immigrants, as Velasquez stated, just want to live a better life and live the American dream in our land of opportunity. Until our perception of immigration changes, I feel that things will not get better and we will be stuck in this debatable issue of whether or not to open our borders up for a more “enriched diversity”.
    In conclusion, I feel that immigration is not a bad thing at all, only when it is abused. Illegal immigration should not be tolerated. If I were not allowed obtain a citizenship from a different country, I would not attempt it. Immigration laws should exist so that America can keep order and keep the taxes down. We need to look out for ourselves before we start helping out other countries.

    In spite of what some pro-illegal immigrant people think,it is possible to be against "illegal" immigration,and support "legal" immigration,just as it is possible to be against the war in Irag,and support our troops in Iraq.I would like to see all people in any type of media interview in regard to immigration,be made to state if their comments are in reference to "legal" immigration,or "illegal" immigration.Too often they just lump both together(by design I think).I am reminded of a PBS interview of a mayor in a Colorado or Utah city,who was in hot water with people because he had OKed constructing a building for illegals to get out of the weather,while waiting for employers to come by to pick up day workers.He went on about how,when he was a boy,much of the town he lived in was made up of immigrants from Russia.I waited for the PBS interviewer to ask him if they were here legally or illegally,but he FAILED to do so.

    Thr-out history fences have proven to ineffectual against invaders but in our case I'm leaning towards it or better border patrol. I personally feel that one of the biggest reasons people have, including myself, against illegal and legal immigrants is in not speaking English. Our undoing, many years ago, was when we started catering to spanish speaking people by printing everything in spanish. Even stores had started to printproducts in spanish at that time. A yr or so ago there was a small todo in Denver, a witness, here for 20 yrs. needed an interpreter!!! Also several yrs ago there was a small spat in Denver when the spanish speaking people wanted the police to learn spanish. What's wrong with that picture? My other c/p is if your're in this country for so many years why haven't you become a citizen. Back in my day, Immigrants spoke their language in the home, but when they stepped out the door they learned and spoke English.. Many countries , especially India,Japan, & China, teach English. I understand Mexico does not. As a whole Mexico should bring themselves into this century. Not al illegals are getting low-end salaries. Bank of America has given them credit cards. I believe they found the illegals were spending 600 mill plus dollars in this country. And, in fact, thru them , we are contributing to Mexico's coffers. Many Americans in the low-end salary range would love to receive their salaries unencumbered by taxes, deductions,etc. Of course in reality, it's the employers who really come out ahead. No paper work of any kind dealing with state & Fed. requirements. I do wonder tho, how many people losing their homes, or in overwhelming debt, are willing to work in the fields picking produce, even for a halfway decent wage. Some homeless persons were asked, and they refused.

    For me, in response to some comments here, there is a
    balance between legal,
    moral, and ethical.

    If I can craft legislation
    and find a majority to support it which deprives your of, up until that point,
    rightfully owned property,
    is it my right to do so?

    It may be legal, but, is it ethical, is it moral?

    So much of what this country is founded on is
    EXACTLY that. Yet, rather
    than acknowledge or give any weight or credibility to that reality, we act as
    though bad law is the overarching concern. How many people were legally
    disenfranchised by being locked out of our legal process, locked out of
    means to livelihood and
    prosperity through prejudicial law supported all the way up to the Supreme Court?

    When we use the word "illegal" with all the force of a mallet to the head, we owe it to the debate to examine the laws
    we claim are at the center of the debate.

    The laws we insist should be upheld. I wholeheartedly agree that we are a nation of laws not of men. Having said that, and knowing the extent to which racism, prejudice, bigotry, ethnocentrism have been written into law in this country for the primary purpose of exclusion, of
    solidifying the rights of
    the few at the expense of the many, I'm hard pressed to insist that these "illegal" immigrants need to get with the program
    and abide by our laws.

    I do not want our borders to be overrun, AND, as I have said before, I think this is a problem SOUTH AND
    NORTH, EAST and WEST of our borders not just to the South as so many seem to want to emphasize.

    And as has been mentioned by one other poster here,
    borders like race are artificial, legal constructs often for the
    benefit of those who stand
    to gain from the definition.

    And that crosses social, gender, ethnicity, geopolitical

    Last, does anyone remember Pete Wilson, former governor of California and his ill fated take on immigration and immigrants?

    We are in the process of repeating history.

    Our immigrant population is
    increasing daily.

    Whether or not we like it,
    the latino/chicano population in America is increasing to the point that soon they will be steering the conversation rather than just being the recipients of whatever decisions are made or courses of action taken.

    Both dominant parties running for president understand this enough to,
    despite the overarching anti-immigrant rhetoric, to court the votes of immigrants because they know that, unlike years ago when it was possible to legislate and isolate immigrants to the sidelines, that is no longer the case.

    We can either have an expansive, civil discussion over this issue looking at ALL sides and concerns or we can attempt to shove heated, divisive points of view upon each other and resolve nothing and gain nothing but ill will and bad feelings because the other guy is most certainly an ignoramus who fails to grasp the simple fact that
    "his end of the boat is sinking".

    Universal healthcare, social security for all , a 6 hour workday, organic farming on confiscated corporation lands, a warm climate and plenty of gasoline... Venezuala is sounding better and better. Goodbye belligerant U.S. values that make war on civilians equivalent to a football league. Goodbye English language with eavesdroppers everywhere. Goodbye overeating, overdressing and overconsuming. Viva Hugo, I'm an immigrant coming home.

    Besides the American citizen paying for the health care and education of the illegal immigrants, we are also losing fed. income. The employers of illegal immigrants are the onescoming out on top. No paper work, taxes, deductions etc. The majority of illegal immigrants appear to be from Mexico, They should go back to their own country and work at changing the policies of their own gov't instead of ours.The day we started catering to the spanish speaking people by printing everything in spanish and English was the day of our undoing. About a year ago there was a little todo in Denver, one of the witnesses was a spanish speaking woman who had been in this country for 20 years, and she needed an interpreter!! Back in my youth I had legal immigrants in the neighborhood, they spoke their langauge in the home, but when they stepped out the door they were learning and speaking English. No special classes in school etc. The Chinese, Japanese and others are taught English in their country. I suggest Mexico do the same. Over hundreds of years fences have been built against a countrys' invaders, none proved successful but in our Mexico/U.S. problem I feel it will help to prevent illegal immigration. If illegals can buy houses, send billions of dollars to Mexico, spend billions on products in this country they cannot be doing too poorly. Our citizens who are at the lower end of the salary scale have so much taken out of their salary I doubt their bringing home as much as the illegal immigrant. Some are making very good salaries, free and clear simply because, again, the employer doesn't have to deal with fed. regulations.

    I join the many viewers who have commented adversely regarding the Vasquez interview. I am 75, a lifelong Demeoncrat, liberal, retired lawyer. I am not a bigot. I am not prejudiced. Vasquez's fuzzy minded comments (e.g. "dual loyalty," "trading on uncertainty," "we're all part of the body of Christ") were pathetic, and you let him avoid reality -- that immigration laws are necessary, that they should be enforced, that "undocumented" is a is a irrational way to avoid the fact of illegality, that the health, education, law enforcement and social services of many U.S. communities are snowed under that the flood of illegal immigrants.

    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.

    As I scrolled down I read some comments on this blog. It seems that many people have not yet understood the depth of this issue. The discourse is focused on whether the word ILLEGAL and the justification for it. We have seen throughout history that borders are just as artificial and arbitrary as those who are in power want them to be. I am living in the US but almost all my family is living in Mexico. One of my brothers (who lives and works in Mexico) is now working for an American marketing company. When he was working in the US he was ILLEGAL, but now that he is working for this company, he is producing just as much as he was when he was on the northern side of the border. The irony is that he still has to take the American holidays off but he is now being paid much less. What does this have to do with the conversation? Well, it seems that being illegal or legal is defined on how much money you own and the economic power that a person or an enteprise have. Neoliberal policies have redefined the socioeconomic shape of the world. Then, why not consider a reconception of the political borders and recognize transnational identities? Why is it so hard to consider people as individuals who have roots in every place the are and have been? Why is it only big enterprises that go and come as they please around the world to obtain tax breaks and cheap labor, obtain their LEGAL status because governments and states decide it could be like that?
    The complicity among governments has everything to do with this problem. Governments need to see further away in the future and in the geographical distance to realize that societies are changing and that every political and law related decision has a direct and indirect effect on human beings here and far away.

    Mr. Moyers interview with the professor from El Salvador

    During your interview with the professor from El Salvador he slipped a big fastball right past you and you got called out on strikes. As the professor was describing how he came to America you could see him becoming nervous with your line of questioning. A sheepish smile began emerging as he sought to evade the basic fact that he sneaked into America, thus bypassing our laws and cutting ahead in line in front of those who immigrated legally. With a quick semantical dodge he continued right past this major omission of the truth. He reminded me of a kid who just got one over on his parents. His breathing changed, he was blushing and he was especially relieved when you didn't catch him on this one.

    It was like he had blamed the baseball for breaking daddy's window and not he himself who threw the ball in the first place. Luckily for him you, Mr. Moyer, bought this little 'child's lie' and moved right along with the discourse.

    The underlying purpose of the entire interview seemed to be a desire on this guest's part to rearrange the parameters of logic in this country through semantics. By repackaging the innate xenophobic streak found in most Latin American countries with the term "trans-nationalism" he somehow thought that made everything okay. He cagily sidestepped the non-assimilation problem with a new catchword, so what?

    Once he had gotten past you with the broken window and the now excusable xenophobia, he proceeded to propose a dialogue between latinos and blacks the purpose of which could only be to forge a power-grabbing alliance with which to outvote and defeat Anglo-Americans once and for all. He knew in his heart that this amounts to a nuanced form of racism and tribalism on his part and it showed right through the television screen.

    Your guest blamed our country for the conditions in El Salvador that prompted his illegal entry into America rather than the oligarchcal encomienda system that to this day exists in nearly all of Central America. The modus operandi of the wealthy land-owners with serf-class laborers are hardwired leftovers of the Spanish conquest. North America adopted Adam Smith while Latin America stuck with Cortez and company. The complete lack of any introspection on the part of our southern neighbors, coupled with the shopworn external responsibility excuse for their problems tends to gall the average American.

    The natural human tendency toward tribal dominance seems to be addressed only by Pat Buchanan lately. Pat at least has the intestinal fortitude to announce publicly that he prefers the European cultural model to the Latin-American version for America. He cites the advanced living standards found in Europe, the US, Canada, and Australia as the principal governing reasons behind this preference. This contrasts quite favorably with the professor's melanin-level yardstick of national culture and political control.

    I was born in Argentina and have lived in the US for 35 years.
    My mother was an American, and with her I learned to love the country and its people.

    Until recently, I had seen no sign of rejection from anybody towards me. On the contrary. Most people would go out of their way to be friendly.

    Now many things have changed, and a profound sadness has taken over my life.
    I am a language teacher. How can you teach anything when people don't respect you?

    The extreme has been when drivers from a local hospital refused to provide service. I am disable and need weekly transportation.
    Nobody there could offer a coherent explanation.

    What is happening?

    Manuel Vasquez stated the immigrants want a 'piece of the American Dream"; described a trans-nationalism,--with effect of changing anglo-saxon values; and suggested a 'brotherhood' as encouraged by Churches, ends outside the door; and touched the value of diversity.
    I feel his explanations were inaccurate and inadequate;--did not reach the crux of the immigration circumstance, or the dissatisfaction of American citizens.
    The basic teaching of all the major religions surrounds words as --equality, truth, freedom, peace, love, personal worth, everlasting life, justice;--these common IDEALS are the foundation of our country;--these ideals compose not only anglo-saxon values,--but are inherent social needs of all people;--should laws become compatible with these needs of the 'heart',--the American Dream would be fulfilled;--a natural trans-nationalism already exists,--not in bringing traditions,--but in recognition "the one true nation is our humanity,--our inherent ideals".
    When early immigrants came to America,--the difference was in mentality. The 'Old World' held an oppressive leadership mentality; and the 'New World' held the potential to be ruled by the 'heart' of the people,--an eventual state of justice.
    Unfortunately the sixties seems the closest 'the people' came toward that realization; and it seems other nations failed to recognize the IDEALS,--the 'human spirit' as America's energy source,--the reason for success,--and therefore the democratic format was not accurately instated as it spread across the globe.
    Vision has become linear,--the American Dream fades;---replaced by materialism,--and an 'Old World' mentality.
    Unless a deeper vision is restored, and it is realized by all---humanity may fade with it!

    Commissioner Copps:
    I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your battle to halt media consolidation. It seems like your just beating your head against the wall though, considering the 'chairman's' impersonation of a stone jack-ass at the hearings. I sent the three majority members of the FCC the following e-mail, for what it's worth . . . Thanks for your great work !
    >>>I recently watched, with disgust, your performance at the Seattle "Public" hearings. Do you really think the world you people are trying to create was envisioned by the Patriots who founded this country? It was like watching the Politburo, or some Mid-Eastern dictratorship.
    It is obvious you could care less about what Americans think. That all you're thinking about is the millions you will make if this media consolidation plan goes through, and freedom of speech is quashed, forever. How clever! You must be very proud of yourself.
    Perhaps you learned of your exhalted status at chapel hill, or Duke, that if you could just lie and stall long enough you and your ilk would have total power over the American people It's apparent that what was said about power and total power is true, since you have totally corrupted the FCC process. How original. How selfish, short-sighted, and UN-American.
    Perhaps you will need a new slogan for this HELL you are envisioning for America. How about this:
    I hope you are proud of yourself.

    I applaud you for keeping the lines of communication open.
    Some opinions appall me while others intrigue my mind.
    I am second generation American on one side AND here from the 1600s on the other. Lively discussions at my house ensued. I have not seen this thred yet. I would like to reply to Michael Moore: "What was sorely missing from your interview Friday, Nov. 16, was the issue of illegal entry. I was anxious to hear what your guest might have said about the illegality of such entry and whether he condones it and what solutions he might present to "seal" our borders and to restore normal, fair and just immigration practices." There are no ~JUST~ immigration practices to restore! I have been married to an Egyptian national for 4 years and the state dept will not hand him his visa that has been issued by the USCIS since October 5, 2004! My husband's brother on the other hand came here on a visitor's visa during the 90s, overstayed, married my best friend and is now on his way to becoming a US citizen. Perhaps the imigration laws make the immigration lawyers rich and happy; no else seems to be.

    Dear Mr. Moyers:

    Upon viewing a recent episode (November 16, 2007) of your PBS program, Now, I felt compelled to write you concerning inconsistencies in an interview that you conducted about illegal immigration. Your guest during that interview, Manuel Vásquez, presented what I found to be a very skewed and unrealistic portrait of the illegal immigration issue in the United States.

    I found it exceedingly odd that Mr. Vásquez refused from first principles to even accept that the concept of illegal immigration exists, that it is in some cases illegal for a foreigner to enter the United States. In fact, he refused to even accept the use of the phrase “illegal immigration.” Instead, he presented a detailed exposition of contrived euphemisms to explain the obvious absurdity of labeling uninvited foreign nationals as “illegal immigrants.” He argued that they are not illegal because “they are only here to work.” (Curiously, when I tried to explain to Canadian officials that “I was only trying to enjoy” their country on vacation, they failed to see how that entitled me to overstay my visa.) After listening to Mr. Vásquez describe his views on the “true” reasons America does not want to roll out the red carpet for illegal immigrants, I realized that this man was an activist in the movement to win Latino illegal aliens an open door to citizenship. The fact that this man was an unreasonable extremist is not what caught my attention. The fact that such a charlatan appeared on your program—as the beneficiary of slow-pitch interview, at that—did.

    I have been a fan of NOW since I first found it on PBS in 2004. Aside from the fact that your show investigates and discusses so many issues that I find important, I have always admired the program’s intellectual rigor and commitment to meaningful discourse on current issues. Since Ted Koppel departed Nightline, I believe that NOW is the most substantial and apropos news magazine on television. This is why I find it difficult to understand why you would invite a person to be on your program who refuses to acknowledge the irrefutable fact that entering the United States without government sanction is a crime under our nation’s laws. Journalists like to lecture the public about the distinction between truth and fact, reminding us always that they are in the business of finding facts and not in discerning truth. Well, the fact is that coming to America in an illicit manner makes one an illegal immigrant. That is a verifiable fact.

    I understand fully that your guest was involved in an image campaign to soften the public perception of illegal aliens by attempting to remove the negative connotation associated with the word “illegal.” The man is a spin doctor. I’m an American voter, so I’ve certainly seen this game before. What appalls me is that you furnished such a factual magician a reputable platform from which he could advance his strange argument. Only in America could we have a debate over whether someone who has admittedly violated the law actually violated it. We may as well debate whether someone who drove 20 miles per hour over the speed limit was actually speeding. I have no intellectual inhibition to debating the merits of immigration. The logic centers of my brain, though, will not abide people such as Mr. Vásquez informing me that two plus two equals football, and that the American public is too bigoted and inane to understand the issue and should therefore defer to them.

    I am constantly appalled that Americans of Hispanic descent such as Manuel Vásquez seem more protective of the interests of foreigners who share common ethnicity than they are those of their own country. My grandfather was the son of German immigrants. When WWII erupted, he eagerly volunteered for the Army so that he could go kill Germans in order to rid the world of Nazism. Here was a man whose ancestors had lived in Württemberg for centuries going to war against people who could have been his relatives in order to defend his country. In his mind, there was no conflict of interest. He was an American, not a German or a Württemberger, and he was committed to defending his homeland from all outside threats. I’m sad to see that many Latinos do not have the same devotion to our country, that they are more committed to being Latinos than they are Americans. It seems that Latinos would prefer to see the “gringos” expelled from the U.S. to provide Meso-American lebensraum in some sort of twisted Bolívarian fantasy.

    The danger in having such a truly divergent group within the body politic is this: diversity for diversity’s sake is malignant. For verification of this, the next time you run into a Hapsburg at Starbucks, ask him to explain the full meaning of the word “pretender” (see also BALKANIZATION). Diversity only prospers when the disparate cultural elements that constitute a state coalesce into a directed force that is greater than the sum of the forces that would tear it apart. The true strength of cultural diversity emerges when each member of society views his unique cultural heritage as a facet of Americana, not its master.

    I hope that in the future you will choose to invite guests to your show who present more rational and cogent arguments than did Mr. Vásquez. The contempt that people like him flaunt towards our laws is galling. John Adams declared in 1787 that our nation was to have a government of laws, not of men. We hold our laws as a sacred covenant, and the interests of foreign nationals do not supersede those laws. People who wish to immigrate should do so legally, and pro-immigrant activists would be wise to refrain from accusing Americans of being globally racist simply for demanding that the integrity of our borders be respected. The American Dream is not begun with a crime, unless perhaps one’s name is Al Capone.


    Jeff Borski

    It has been already hinted at, but NOTHING will surpass illegal immigration FROM ANYWHERE in its importance as a topic of not only discussion but determination of the US and its future as we know it today.

    Our "leaders" have let us down miserably.

    Our politicians (on both sides of the political aisle) have been bought and sold (unofficially of course) on the benefits of the rampant flow of illegals from Mexico, Central America and other parts of the world).

    The rumblings of a MASSIVE social upheaval are just beginning, but they will NOT be going away anytime soon.

    NO OTHER ISSUE will compare to illegal immigration in the 2008 election. And for those politicians who have still NOT found their guts to speak honestly and with conviction about the topic, they might as well pack their photo-op outfits and head back to their comfortable gated communities. THEY WILL NOT BE ELECTED FOR ANYTHING!!!


    Americans have had it. This "debate" has the makings of a civil war and NOT ONE of our leaders is owning up to this grim possibility.

    The American people of ALL colors, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds WILL NOT allow Mexico to continue to flush its social toilets into the US, while we work 60 hour weeks to pay taxes to support our failing and overburdened social infrastructure that support these millions of parasites.

    Sanctuary cities are already being identified and being vigorously dismantled politically.

    Smell the coffee and don't pretend its not burning on the stove. The US CANNOT continue on this road to self-destruction. Everyone knows this except our "leaders".

    But their little worlds will be the first to topple.

    Madison, Wisconsin (IN THE CENTER OF THE CONTINENT) is awash with illegals and crime has sky rocketed as a result, our social service agencies might as well be located in Mexico ---- everything is in Spanish and the children of illegals even get preference over state residents of 100 years in college admission. This is a disgrace. And America is finally awakening from its coma.

    I would like to add my 2 cents to this discussion. I did feel upset when the Professor claimed that we Americans simply misunderstand or are afraid of a different style of walking or talking...not sure of his exact words, but I feel he simplified the problem. I am not a racist, but I'll tell you what I see these days, in our medium/small shoreline city, here in New England.
    When I take my elderly Dad to the mall or shopping center, there are hoards of Hispanic people, and I have to say that in this particular area, many (not all!) are loud, unmannerly, and even rude...they look at us like we're freaks with our blonde hair. These are shopping places we have haunted for decades. In one instance, my Dad stood back and let a woman and her child go on the escalator in fron of him, to which she turned and glared at him, most of the way up. Another instance (of many) was when a grandmother slapped and told her young grandson to shut-up, when he'd asked her a very valid question. Those are only a couple of many changes that we see in our area, and I will tell you emphatically, they are NOT changes for the better.
    And yes, some of us ARE worried about the new, religious driven voters; I for one who happens to be an activist for gay marriage rights, worries that we as a country may get even further set back in our feeble steps towards being a progressive nation.
    On a last note, our Indian neighbors recently tried to have a sister come from India for several months, to stay with them and help with babysitting, and she was denied for some small reason. She made the mistake of going through the legal system, apparantly.
    It is easy to talk theoretically about an issue, another to see what is really happening to our towns and cities.

    I generally respect Bill Moyer as a journalist. However, I found his stance and some of his comments on ILLEGAL immigration to be sub-par and at times downright untruthful.

    Let us get a few things straight right from the beginning. The United States of America is a sovereign nation made up of 50 states and several territories, with a legitimate democratic government to serve the citizens of this country, with laws setting the standards of conduct of all citizens AND anyone else who resides here and has the legitimate right to defend itself as it sees fit. It has well established immigration laws that are determined by its people and no one else. If the government of the United States of America decides to declare anyone who is not LEGALLY a citizen or a LEGAL RESIDENT, an invader of this country, and the United States of America has the legitimate right under nation and international law to expunge itself of those invaders in ANY WAY IT DEEMS FIT, even if the United States decides to round these invaders up and executing them.

    This is true for Mexicans, ANY Spanish-speaking people, Chinese people, Russian people, Bangladesh people, Arab people, and even European people, etc., who are in this country ILLEGALLY. No person who is not a LEGAL resident or citizen of this country has ANY RIGHTS whatsoever to demand, coerce, or attempt to shame the people or the government of the United States into giving them any benefits, services, citizenship or rights granted under our governmental constitution, PERIOD.

    The cold hard truth is that the United States is under NO OBLIGATION WHATSOEVER, to improve the lives of ANYONE outside our borders under any conditions if we so choose. In fact, that is the RIGHT of any nation.

    Another irony I find is the statement that somehow Mexicans or “Spanish-Speaking people are “native or indigenous people” with some obscure inalienable right to land within the well established borders of the United States. The fact is that the native people of the Mexican region and south of Mexico at best are only partly comprised of indigenous heritage since the EUROPEAN Spanish conquerors slaughtered the natives and their culture JUST AS the Northern European conquerors slaughtered native American Indians. So, for Mexicans to try to reclaim the southwestern United States after the Mexican/American war with a settled treaty and compensation is ludicrous. I, personally, am 1/8 Susquehannauk Indian, but I cannot reclaim any land in Pennsylvania for my own, even though I have that heritage and I am an American citizen to boot.

    If one truly knows history, there is NO part of the world that has NOT been conquered and stolen from the so-called native people. This has happened so frequently that in reality there are VIRTUALLY FEW areas of the earth inhabited by “NATIVE PEOPLE.” There are only two ways to claim land. You already have it through a purchase agreement or you go to war and conquer it. The only reason Mexicans can even attempt to invade and demand rights IN THIS COUNTRY is the physical ability to cross a mostly imaginary border.

    If the United States would open its immigration laws to allow everyone in the world who wishes to come here, our population would be in the multiple billions overnight, it would destroy the economy, destroy all services we have, destroy our educational system, destroy our food system, and everything else that exists in our orderly society. So what makes “Spanish Speaking” people believe they deserve to demand of our government all the rights inherited by true citizens of the United States over all the other people in the world?

    The logical step for Mexicans to take in gaining benefits, freedoms, services and a better life is for them to rise up and demand the Mexican government take care of their needs. If Mexicans have the wherewithal to march and protest in a country they have no legitimate rights in, why do they NOT make their demands to their own government? They do not rise up against their own government because they know they will be exterminated if not successful. But that fact DOES NOT somehow obligate the United States or its people in any way.

    The whole idea of American citizens being RACIST just because we refuse to give NON-NATIVE ILLEGALLY INVADING individuals or groups rights we enjoy is an OUTRIGHT LIE. You can say what you want (racist, bigot, mean, unseemly, uncompassionate) but we are under NO OBLIGATION to give ILLEGALS ANYTHING. That refusal DOES NOT make us racists. That is the same warped logic as my refusing to give my home to someone else just because they demand it, makes me a racist.

    The concept of ILLEGALLY coming to the United States and then refusing to assimilate as American citizens, not speaking OUR language, rejecting OUR culture, not pledging alliance with us, NOT respecting our national flag, requiring us to educate them in THEIR LANGUAGE, DEMANDING services they have not contributed to is not only laughable and illogical, but it is outrageous.

    Many ILLEGALS say they have worked here, they have been taken advantage of, the dream of a better life, they already have received benefits and services are the reasons they are here. So what? There are billions of other people in the world who would like the same opportunities as these ILLEGALS to be Americans. That does NOT give them any rights.

    So I will continue to say, “What part of ILLEGAL do you not understand,” “What part of “You Do Not Have Any Rights Here” do you not understand,” “What part of “Make Your Own Country Better For Yourself” do you not understand,” and most importantly “What part of “I Have Worked And Earned AND DEFENDED This Country For My Own” do you not understand? I have not TAKEN, DEMANDED, CAJOLED OR STOLEN anything from ANY “Spanish Speaking country, not one iota of anything.


    I am 50 years old and amazed at what I did not learn in History or Anthropology class.

    For example: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (from the Library of Congress website):

    " Mexican officials and Nicholas Trist, President Polk's representative, began discussions for a peace treaty that August. On February 2, 1848 the Treaty was signed in Guadalupe Hidalgo, a city north of the capital where the Mexican government had fled as U.S. troops advanced. Its provisions called for Mexico to cede 55% of its territory (present-day Arizona, California, New Mexico, and parts of Colorado, Nevada and Utah) in exchange for fifteen million dollars in compensation for war-related damage to Mexican property.

    Other provisions stipulated the Texas border at the Rio Grande (Article V), protection for the property and civil rights of Mexican nationals living within the new border (Articles VIII and IX), U.S. promise to police its side of the border (Article XI), and compulsory arbitration of future disputes between the two countries (Article XXI). When the U.S. Senate ratified the treaty in March, it deleted Article X guaranteeing the protection of Mexican land grants. Following the Senate's ratification of the treaty, U.S. troops left Mexico City."

    The Dawes Act (from Infoplease):

    "Dawes Act or General Allotment Act,1887, passed by the U.S. Congress to provide for the granting of landholdings (allotments, usually 160 acres/65 hectares) to individual Native Americans, replacing communal tribal holdings. Sponsored by U.S. Senator H. L. Dawes, the aim of the act was to absorb tribe members into the larger national society. Allotments could be sold after a statutory period (25 years), and “surplus” land not allotted was opened to settlers. Within decades following the passage of the act the vast majority of what had been tribal land in the West was in white hands.

    The act also established a trust fund to collect and distribute proceeds from oil, mineral, timber, and grazing leases on Native American lands. The failure of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to manage this trust fund properly led to legislation and lawsuits in the 1990s and early 2000s to force the government to properly account for the revenues collected."

    Search (alien OR asian) " land ownership"

    and you will find a wealth of material documenting systematic efforts for depriving other than white
    european americans of the ability to own property.

    Search treaty and "native american"

    and you will likely find similar efforts at depriving native americans of land.

    When (and well before) the pilgrims landed at Plymouth
    Rock, America was inhabited
    land. This, was of no
    consequence. Land was either taken by force or
    by legislation.

    Those we now call "illegal
    immigrants" might very well
    have been considered "migrants" prior to the arrival of european settlers.

    To have taken land and property by force or by legislation from someone
    and then have historical
    amnesia to that fact claiming rights of ownership and "illegal"
    activity from those who
    were here WELL before your
    ancestors AND mine.

    It speaks to an ethnocentric ignorance of OUR history AND theirs.

    Before we crow about the
    "fact" that they are "illegal" and what part "illegal" don't we understand, let's have an
    honest and accurate review of "American" ? history.

    Then let's tone down the volume and the heat and have a civil discussion.

    Furthermore, as long as, as
    others have mentioned here, there are problems which persist South of our borders and political and economic systems which factor into their budgets monies gained as a result of illegal immigration, the problems are not just in legislation NORTH of the
    border if there is convenient and vested inaction south of the border.

    Last, when corporations RECRUIT workers from south
    of the border to work as
    cheap labor rather than
    pay fair living wages to
    american workers, as has
    happened in Louisiana Post
    Katrina, one can hardly,
    with a straight face make
    the case that the sole source of the problem is
    undocumented workers TAKING
    jobs. As well as the fact
    that for ALL these jobs that Americans say should
    RIGHTFULLY be theirs, where
    are they when the work is
    there to be done? They
    are complaining about how
    hard the work is and how low the pay. But NO ONE
    seems to want to pay the
    fair price for the products of said labor. We want our
    cheap produce and our cheaply manufactured goods
    produced inside and outside of our borders. Far more than we want fair systems and procedures and wages in place which would cause the
    TRUE cost of our lifestyle
    to come to bear.

    Less heat. More honesty.

    Less uneducated opinions.

    What was sorely missing from your interview Friday, Nov. 16, was the issue of illegal entry. I was anxious to hear what your guest might have said about the illegality of such entry and whether he condones it and what solutions he might present to "seal" our borders and to restore normal, fair and just immigration practices.

    Here is something that is never discussed in the illegal immigration issue -the real culprits. I suggest we make a list of the many reasons for the immigration around the planet. I think we will discover the culprits to be such things as global warming, meaning the change in weather which causes draughts, disaster,and other such things.
    Also mention wars, forced displacement, such as in Guatamela where the lands were taken from a people who have kept their same way of life for thousands of years.
    We might also consider mining and oil companies who have destroyed home for many.
    A closer look may truly shed a different light on the problem.
    My idea is that the corporations who have had a lot to do with the immigration problem should now pay for the damages.They should pay for the health care, schooling, and all other such expenses.
    They took all the goodies, collected all the money and now they should be asked to pay or to repair their damage in the many countries they raped and stole from.
    While we divide into sides and prepare to fight a racial civil war, the coporations continue to enjoy their power and wealth and continue to create bigger immigration problems by continuing to displace people from their homes.
    Immigration is not a US problem. It is a worldwide problem. It is a global issue requiring global solutions.

    It is really disheartening to hear these horrible and yes, racist comments. I understand that some are not racist but want to control immigration, but their comments are very hostile. Well, those that want Mexicans to go and fight back. OK, change NAFTA in America that systematically impoverishes Mexicans. America owns the Mexican government and those that seem so keen on knowing their "facts" go check out history of America and its "backyard." If Mexico did try to reverse hundred years of abuse by US policies, then Mexican government will either be labeled as a pariah state like Venezuela or the government will be changed.
    Two: If you haven't noticed or read history, every time there is an immigration wave from whatever country, there is a huge uproar amongst the people that are here. They claim the same things, loss of jobs, quality of life, etc...
    YET somehow the US goes on...funny how that seems to happen.
    Three: The people that do come here "illegally" ARE native Americans. They were here before Columbus. They are not of European descent. They speak Spanish because of Spanish colonization. Mny have tried to come here legally BUT hey, only rich well connected people get to come here legally. If you have the money for the visas, and know the right people, you too can come to America. I am guessing you guys don't know much about coming to America or ways to go about being legal.

    Next time you feel so high and mighty because you were lucky to be born in a place that systematically impoverishes the rest of the world, think again. You are all afraid that what will happen to America is what you have(knowingly or unknowingly) all been doing to the rest of the world.
    If any of you tries to give me bullshit about how much money US gives to the rest of the world, wrong person, I've done my research. Check your figures. Yes, we should manage immigration, but not by being hateful, misguided and cocky like many of you.

    I don't see my comments that I attempted to post.
    I worked for a legal aid organization that did what it could for all people. The exploitation of the undocumented is horrible. My Dad was union. What has happened to the unions is also horrible.
    Let's deal with families and the effects of corporate greed. We need to support one another.
    To quote an old saying "Lets the workers of the world unite.".

    We are Americans or Americas.

    My family are immigrants, so I am not anti-immigrant or anti-ethnic. This country was built on immigrants, but these immigrants came here legally and beared alot of burdens to reap the profits of what America gave them. My brother and I were only 4 when my mom immigrated, and we had to wait almost 10 years to come to the U.S. legally via sponsorship to join my mother. All immigrants should enter the country the right way - legally. We cannot have an open border to everyone. America is a country and its soverignty should be respected. It's policy to immigration is one of the most lenient in the world. For instance, France and Germany require language classes to become citizens. Also Germany doesn't let anyone without Germany ancestry to become a citizen. Britain does not allow people to become citizens. I know tons of immigrants who waited and could not join parents and family members, but we respected the U.S. enough to wait. So should all other immigrants! Do things the right way. Respect America and its laws, and it will respect you too.

    I found your interview with Professor Vasquez informative and unbiased. It raised the serious issues that we are facing as a nation dealing with the issue of undocumented immigration.

    The issue of undocumented immigration is complex and the solutions are not going to be found in a twenty minute interview, in sound bites or on blog sites.

    I see a great deal of fear and anger on this blog in response to the questions you raised in your conversation with Professor Vasquez.

    If we demonize the undocumented immigrant, and fail to recognize how our desire for cheap labor or cheap goods contributes to the situation, then we will never be able to arrive at a solution that both protects the soveriegnity of the United States and respects basic human rights and dignity. Deporting the estimated 11-20 million undocumented immigrants is not a viable solution.

    One of the problems we face is that of labeling. Words have power. If we label the undocumented worker or immigrant as an "illegal" then we no longer have to deal with them as a person - a human being with a soul. Instead we can deal with them as a thing or a catagory. If we can dehumanize them then we are free to treat them in any way we want because, after all, they are not human like us.

    Do people really believe that immigrants "Have a Plan to Destroy America" or that "Lou Dobbs ... regularly presented information about illegal immigration that was not completely one sided"? If they do then there is no possibility for the kind of dialogue that we need to begin to address the issue of undocumented immigration. A dialogue in which the issue is addressed from its root causes to the effect that it is having in this country and our complicity in the process.

    I believe that there are solutions to the issue of undocumented immigration and labor; what I don't know is if the people from both sides of the issue can set aside their fears and work together to find these solutions.

    All this to say thank you both for giving us a starting point for the conversation.

    How can a get an 8x10 glossy signed by Bill Moyers? It is not for me but my grandmother who is a big fan. Just make it out to, "Granny George, my number one fan! Sincerely, Bill Moyers"

    Let's see... what DON'T I understand about the word 'illegal'? I guess if you breach the speed limit or jaywalk on your way to the office tomorrow morning, you'll be an 'illegal worker'. Now is that just for the day; or do you carry the stigma for the rest of your life? Help me out here.

    After your interview with the unctuous Professor Vasquez, I can only suggest once again that people read Richard Lamn's speech given in 2004 on the issue of immigration. Please see "I Have a Plan to Destroy America,: at

    Dear Mr. Moyers:

    It has become necessary in our politically correct world for me to preface my remarks with one, firm declaratory statement: I am not anti-Spanish; anti- (legal immigrant);

    an American Nazi; anti-black; or anti-Mexican or anti-anyone from south of Texas (all the way to the South Pole); if I left anyone out, I am not anti-them either! And I am also not anti any of the people I already mentioned and don't know it --because my inbred racism has blinded my reality. Let me end this paragraph of qualifications by paraphrasing An war Sadat : he looked over the table at one chat he was having, post Camp David, and said to Menachum Begin “ You know, just because I disagree with you doesn't make me an anti-Semite ! That says it all, I think, in this immigration debate.

    Let me further state that my objection to welcoming anyone else to our shores have absolutely nothing to do with homeland security. Yes we are a nation of immigrants, but, unless you were born between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and still live there, the entire World’s population are migrants. It would naturally follow that most folk’s ancestors on this planet came from someplace else. We were a nation of immigrants because we needed folks to populate our territory. The glass is now full and overflowing, so we should stop the influx of everyone from everywhere. We once drove around in horse drawn vehicles, so we were a nation of folks who drove around in horse drawn vehicles. Guess what? We no longer drive around in horse drawn vehicles, so we have stopped being a nation of folks who drive around in horse drawn vehicles. By now you should get the point.

    Folks who support “amnesty” for illegal aliens are rarely asked the true follow up questions by the politically correct media. Where do we stop? Do you support a completely open border? Scary as it may seem, most pro-immigration folks support some version of an open border. Can the whole world live in the USA? If the answer is no—where do we stop? And how do we stop? You can't deport 20 million people, I am told. Back in 1986, the last time the corporate shills that occupy congress tried to “fix” the problem the politically correct number of illegal aliens was 3 million. Now it’s 20 million. Will it be allowed to grow to 40 million? 60 million? When does the United States of America stop becoming the United States of America and become something else? I need to throw in that qualifying statement once again. I am not a cultural imperialist because I believe a country is more than a geographic and work location. We all share common culture --- that’s what makes us Americans (folks who were born in the United States of America, as it is currently geographically defined).

    I could go on for hours but I will spare you the weak prose. My entire neighborhood in Queens, NY has become populated by folks born east of the Danube. I see signs for “apartment to rent” in every language but English? Is that being inclusive? Ever try to get a sandwich in a Polish Deli if you don't speak Polish – good luck. I wonder if my new Polish neighbors would put up with that behavior in Poland, from of group of newly arrived non-Polish? Why are folks who are not even in this country legally allowed to purchase a mule-family dwelling and evict an American Citizen??? Why don't you do a show about that Bill? What other country in the world would allow that behavior?????? When the police are called to stop the eviction, simply say, “Sorry bud, I can't ask the landlord if he is in the country legally”. If that cop was a deputy immigration officer—I'll bet he could ask that question!

    In the past, folks were welcomed to this country because we needed people to fill jobs in what was then the world’s most job producing economy. Now, as anyone who has picked up the phone and dialed a computer help line or ( yes, believe it or not ) telephone information on the weekend and gets “Fred” in Bombay knows that we are exporting jobs faster than we are creating them. And to keep importing workers while exporting jobs is a recipe for disaster, for us middle class folk who have to compete for the jobs that are left. Some smarter minds than mine have called this the “race to the bottom”.

    So Mr. Moyers, unlike that fellow you had on your show this past Friday who was calling me ( very mild-mannerly ) a racist because I think we should slam the gates of this country closed , I oppose immigration on totally non-racist grounds. You also spoke about and showed a clip of when you came to NYC with your boy Lyndon to open the flood gates. Prior to that mortal sin your President committed in your presence that day the country had been shut tight as a drum since 1924. It is time we shut it down again. I don't hate any of the millions of illegal aliens in my midst. I wish them all well!

    I just don't want to pay for their children’s education, their families’ health care or, most importantly, I don't want to give them my children’s job. And—to be in the moment, I don't think we should give illegal aliens (no matter what race or cultural background) a driver’s license!! And you know what -- I think English should be the official language of the USA. Just like Japanese is the official language of Japan and Chinese is the official language of China. So, Bill, does that make me a hatful guy, or a nasty bastard with a swastika embossed on my underwear?

    Thank you

    Frank Bruno

    Dear Mr. Moyers,

    It is Sunday morning (11/19/07). I have walked the dog, retrieved the newspaper from the front door and had just sat down to watch your interview with “Professor” Vasquez regarding immigration.

    As your fawning guest predictably droned on…there were no surprises here…You asked your sanitized politically-correct questions and the professor replied in his typically apologist/activist fashion while shaking his unraised finger at the American public and stopping short of calling all Americans the very tired and increasingly trite label of “racist”.

    And while I have come to regard most mass media venues with increasing skepticism and cynicism, I was willing to give you and you and your allegedly learned guest my attention --- a mistake on my part.

    Yes, all that trust and good faith I offered up, went rapidly out the window when you uttered the following OUTRAGEOUS and IGNORANT commentary.

    To paraphrase...

    … “The Hispanics, who were here before the Europeans arrived…”

    Having recovered from my shock and anger at this unflinching statement of stupidity, I have the following historically accurate and empirically supported facts to share with you, your guest (who did not correct this glaring inaccuracy of the facts) and also with your now-misinformed audience:

    1. The “Hispanics” you erroneously refer to were NOT here when the Europeans arrived. When Scandinavian explorers and later when Spanish explorers arrived on the shores of current-day North America there were NO “Hispanics” waiting or waving.
    2. From the tip of North Pole to that of the South Pole, the original inhabitants of current day North and South America were and still are INDIGENOUS people, who spoke/speak 100s of distinct native languages and NOT Spanish.
    3. The last time I looked, the chronically misused term of “Hispanic” most accurately refers to any aspect of a culture that can trace its origins to Spain and the last time I looked (again) at a map, Spain was still part of EUROPE.
    4. “Hispanic” or worse yet, “Latino”, is NOT a race. But don’t take my word for it. Take a good look at the White German face of the President of Argentina (Nestor Kirchner), the Black face of Sammy Sosa of the Dominican Republic, the Japanese face of former president of Peru, Alberto Fujimori or better yet, look again (if you dare) at the still-indigenous faces of the majority of people in Mexico --- the last of which, are unmistakably your reference for ill-chosen world of “Hispanic”.

    And so Bill, your grossly incorrect use of this grossly abused term of “Hispanic”, while incorrect on an intellectual level is absolutely indefensible when it is used by someone of your privilege, education and unlimited access to the minds of the ever-increasingly “average” American mind.

    At a time in our social history when more Americans can tell you more about Britney Spears’ latest arrest than about their grandparents roots of origin, your responsibility when approaching serious discussion about even more serious issues is paramount.

    None of us are served when ignorance (however benign), misinformation (however unintentional) and lack of research (however defended) continue to be the standard embraced by media professionals such as yourself, who DO have the responsibility to raise the level of American awareness to levels higher than that found on the Taco Bell menu footnotes. Misinformation perpetuated to 100s of Millions of Americans and the additional millions the world over has a disastrous effect on the understanding and communications that would otherwise be possible amongst the peoples of the world.

    Please feel free to contact me, if you have any questions about any of the above.
    I am well versed in the irrefutable facts of the racial, ethnic and cultural histories that swirl around us everyday in this glorious country we call America and even more so regarding the very authentic identities of those you misidentified as “Hispanic” in the Western Hemisphere.

    You (and others in your profession) have an immense responsibility to contribute to the wealth of information that the American public taps on a daily basis and wasting time on warm and fuzzy “dialogues” with politically-compromised charlatan/clowns defending the indefensible isn’t going to accomplish anything of value for any of us.


    Greg Medina-Kinsman

    RE: The Professor Vasquez Immigration Interview

    Mr. Moyers:

    Yeh Ling-Ling has asked me to post this letter on her behalf:

    I was featured on page one of the Washington Post on 5/11/06 and have been
    interviewed by many affiliates of ABC, CBS and NBC.

    I am a Chinese immigrant who used to prepare amnesty and other immigration applications for 10 years.

    Here is my bio,

    I hope Bill Moyers will share with his audience the following information
    that many very pro-immigration individuals have found eye-opening.

    On 7/7/06, Mexican American professor Armando Navarro, who has organized
    many rallies to fight all measures to secure our borders, was quoted in the
    Los Angeles Times as saying, "A new majority is forming. Everything will
    change. The White House will be within our reach..."

    Mexico has fought all U.S. measures to secure our borders while it does not
    tolerate illegal migration on its own soil. It also has actively encouraged
    illegal migration to the U.S.

    Although many Mexican Americans are patriotic, during last year's massive demonstrations, many protesters waved Mexican flags and pressured the U.S. with demands identical to Mexico's.

    If another amnesty is granted, millions of legalized aliens will become potential voters. They could add within 20 years tens of millions of
    additional U.S. and foreign-born relatives to the U.S. who could become
    potential voters (and who will consume energy, need education, health care,
    welfare, etc. that any taxes that most will pay will not cover due to their
    low incomes).

    Even if most newly naturalized citizens do not vote, is there
    a chance that our immigration laws will be seriously enforced?

    According to the 2000 Census, the U.S. population had increased by about 13
    percent since 1990, but those who identified themselves as Mexican had grown by 53 percent.

    In 1997, Ernest Zedillo, then-president of Mexico, declared in Chicago: “I have proudly affirmed that the Mexican nation extends beyond the territory enclosed by its borders and that Mexican migrants are an important -- a very important -- part of it."

    Considering our recent national elections were so close, is Mexico using
    legal as well as illegal migration to strongly influence American policies, our future elections and eventually, to extend the Mexican nation?

    Congressman Howard Berman, a champion for mass immigration, was quoted in
    the L.A. Times on Oct 2, 2001 as being "very disappointed" by MALDEF which sued over redistricting.

    MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund) claimed that the redistricting in California favored keeping white incumbents in power. Here is Berman's quote: "For 30 years in public office, I have not merely voted for, but have led the legislative battles to enact issues of importance to the Latino community," he said. "I guess for MALDEF, it's more about skin color and ethnicity than the philosophy and the quality of representation."

    Here is my article published on 2/9/06 in Harvard Law School's Record,
    "Examine Mexico's Real Intent Before Reforming Immigration,"

    Here is my article published last year in Omaha World-Herald,

    I wish to point out to Americans who support "guest worker visas" that some growers in ID and CO have used non-violent prisoners to replace illegal migrants.

    Nationwide, 75 percent of adult cash welfare recipients are between 20 and 39. Why not give them incentives to take jobs currently held
    by illegal aliens?

    Americans should realize that the U.S. has declined very rapidly due to our
    domestic, trade, immigration and foreign policies. The Euro, weaker than the dollar in 2000, now is worth well over $1.45!

    Thank you in advance for your time. Please feel free to contact if you have
    any questions.


    Yeh Ling-Ling
    Executive Director
    Diversity Alliance for a Sustainable America
    1904 Franklin Street, Suite 517
    Oakland, CA 94612

    Dear Mr. Moyers,

    I disagree with your assertion that Lou Dobbs went on the attack against the Comprehensive Immigration Bill this summer. After I became interested in the issue of illegal immigration Lou Dobbs was one of the only persons in the media that regularly presented information about illegal immigration that was not completely one sided and biased in favor of another amnesty and open borders. He was not attacking but presenting an opinion shared by Millions of other Americans, an opinion that was completely dismissed by the media elitists.

    You still don't get it. I can not speak for most Americans. only myself, but I do not consider myself a Transnational and I truly believe most other Americans outside of the circle of people that you travel in do not consider them selves transnationals either.. I do not have a dual passport or another country, I do not want to live in Canada or Mexico. I am American and want to live in America. I do not think diversity and multiculturalism that you and people like you are always shoving down my throat is as important as unity and harmony and your shoving diversity down my throat and calling or inferring those opposed to colonization as racists is not appreciated.

    I think immigration is a transfer of money from labor to Capital. You are not on labors side. I think the constant attack and smearing those that oppose the tidal wave of illegal immigration as racists is a tiresome and now almost laughable ploy to stifle debate used by those that have no sustainable arguments for the disregard for our laws, culture or country by illegal aliens and those that profit from them..

    Cesar Chavez marched to the Mexican Border back in 1969 to protest the influx of illegal farm workers that was hurting his unionization, was he a racist too.?

    Every study I have heard of on the effects of immigration shows immigration hurts those on the bottom that are already here. I am on the bottom. I do the jobs Americans still do!
    Nearly all of this countries growth in the last 30 years has come from immigration. There are billions of other immigrants that would like to come here, are you letting them come too?

    Unlimited immigration for an unlimited time is unsustainable. If that statement is wrong please explain. If that statement is true and you are sane then you want limits to immigration too and we only disagree on the details. We need to have the debate now while we still can and before we become Balkanized into ethnic diverse groups that you so love instead of a country of Americans that the immigrants could become if you and people like you would stop discouraging assimilation and promoting colonization.

    I liked your segment on opposing increasing media control by a few big companies. Since my main issue is illegal immigration and the only places I see my point of view expressed is on Lou Dobbs and I know more than you how unpleasant it is to live in a country that stifles opposing political views and how we need to insure other voices are heard other than media elitists such as yourself.

    Robert Moffett

    when are you going to have Peter Brimelow or Pat Bucahanan or Roy Beck on your show to present opposing viewpoint?

    RE: Immigration

    Three great sites offering facts about illegal immigration... and life and death on our border:

    We live next to the Coronado National Forest in Cochise County, AZ on the border with Mexico.

    Nearly 60,000 acres have burned here in the past few years impacting our environment tremendously... because of human caused fires, over 300 campfires. Whether by accident or by design, we will never know because there are not enough fire investigators to study all of them.

    No other national forest areas have these kinds of problems... a local fire ranger told me in deep frustration.

    Facts about these terrible fires are in one of my documentaries.

    I am working to leave a visual record for history, sociology, anthropology and immigration law studies about our border here in Cochise County.

    We want peace. We do not want to have to bury more unidentified illegal immigrants, whose families will never be able to come to closure about the fate of their loved ones!

    I used to teach school. I think that order is necessary in a classroom, just as it is necessary for our border, for our civilization.

    "Draconian" immigration laws? Severe, cruel laws? I think not. We have immigration laws for a reason, just as we have laws for our highways, in medicine, in life... for our safety and well-being.

    Respect for law equals self-respect, necessary to self-esteem and good mental health processes.

    We must direct our frustrations with immigration policy to lawmakers on both sides of our border, who are certainly fiddling while Rome burns.

    To Celia, (Posted by: Celia | November 17, 2007 01:29 AM)

    Miss, you are a COWARD. It is unfortunate your parents brought you here illegally at age 13, but you should blame them not the United States for your plight. Go back to Mexico, and take back your father's house.

    You claim to speak Spanish and you seem literate in English. So why not go back to Mexico and apply for legal U.S. Citizenship? You could easily get work as an interpreter, or perhaps a legal assistant for an immigration lawyer, and help your people legally emigrate to the other countries.

    You might even find that Mexico is a country worthy of you. You may even learn to fight for your rights in your home country, and bring it up to the standard of the U.S.A.

    But do not justify your cowardly identity by blaming the prejudice of others. No American Hero would run away from the U.S., If our positions reversed, we would fight for our rights in the nation of our birth, not escape to Mexico and inflict our neighbors.

    And Celia, we have open minds, that's why we like PBS and Moyers' Journal, but you are right, we do fear loosing the "American Way" we don't want to end up like other countries. Yet as American Citizens we will never run away from our nation just because we have fears, as Citizens we know our rights, we know our laws, we vote, and we will fight to protect American liberty. People who have fear and run away are called COWARDS. American Citizens are not cowards.

    If you truly want to become and American Citizen then all you have to do is earn it.
    Go back to the country of your birth, apply yourself, follow the rules, and use your talents to help better your life and the lives of your countrymen, prove you are worthy, that is your responsibility. It is not your job to better the lives of others. We educated you, paid about $7000 X 12 years to give you the skills necessary for survival. Now go use those skills.

    Mexico is a vast and wealthy country, with all of the resources necessary to support itself. All it lacks are people with the courage to earn their liberty. If all the people of Mexico currently in the U.S. went home and demanded justice, Mexico could be the equal of the USA, but it requires courageous work.

    On Immigration: Manuel Vasquez

    This country has an Immigration Policy, we allow millions of people to enter the country LEGALLY each year. We also let our CITIZENS mary foreigners and bring their new family and in-laws into our country.

    Weather you call people who come here illegally, "undocumented", "unauthorized", or what they literally are "illegal", the term only makes a difference in the mind of the observer, not the fact that THEY ARE HERE ILLEGALLY, and thus they are CRIMINALS.

    Manuel Vasquez thinks that transnationals can have dual loyalties, that they don't have to assimilate American values, that they don't need to become English literate. He is wrong.

    It is impossible to BECOME a CITIZEN of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA without adopting AMERICAN VALUES as documented in our Declaration of Independence, the U.S. CONSTITUTION, The Bill of Rights, the Amendments, our Federal and State Law.

    To move to a new country uninvited, to fail to learn the language, to flaunt the law of your host country, this is the highest level of disrespect. Such people do not want to become TRUE AMERICAN CITIZENS, they do not want to integrate. These people just want our standard of living, our opportunity, our security, without the cost.

    Bill Moyers says we "desperately need" these undocumented immigrants for domestic work, this is incorrect. If we didn't have unauthorized immigrants coming here to do the slave labor, the rich would either have to pay our legal citizens a fair living wage to do the same work, or raise their children, mow their lawn, and pick their fruit themselves.

    Giving people citizenship just because they are BORN in the United States is also a MISTAKE. I am a native BORN American, however I had to learn CIVICS, AMERICAN HISTORY, U.S. GOVERNMENT, and I am available to the DRAFT, I have to pay FEDERAL and STATE taxes, and I have no problem with a mandatory citizenship test for every legal, native born American upon reaching age eighteen. Each individual adult should make their own decision which nation they choose, and swear their loyalty, make a commitment, and be willing to earn their liberty. People who flee the country of their birth, who run away from their responsibilities, who escape with no intention of returning to right the wrongs that drove them away, these people are COWARDS.

    If we are going to give the children of foreign nationals free citizenship just because they pop into the world on American territory, then we should at least limit that kind of thing to people from countries that have reciprocal policies. That way I can take a vacation and have my kids in their countries so they have at least two options about where they can live and buy property.

    Vasquez's story about an illegal immigrant coming to Georgia, working illegally, buying a house, marring and having children illegally, was horrifying to me. At thirty-seven I am homeless, unable to afford even an apartment, unable to afford marriage or support children. I stand by and watch as these foreign nationals to subvert our economy, our society, my life? How can this foreigner have a middle class salary, and a home, when someone who, like me, was born here and who takes responsibility for our liberty can not afford these things?

    It is sometimes necessary to allow refugees into our county from war torn areas due to our moral responsibilities, but they should not necessarily get free citizenship, they should get TEMPORARY LEGAL DOCUMENTATION. They can apply for citizenship, but they must EARN it.

    As to the potential for racism in immigration policy, I happen to be a white male, but there is no prejudice in my opinion. I have just as much contempt for illegal white immigrants from Europe, Canada, Australia, etc. as I do for illegals of other nationalities. And I believe our legal immigration quotas should be partially based upon any given nation's total population, the political climate, the individual's skills and our needs, not their racial or cultural makeup.

    WE should control our Borders, but I am ambivalent about our rejection of Mexican's, as most Mexicans are mixed Spanish and Native American Indian, and given our U.S. history and the extermination of many Native American Tribes, there is a just irony that a people who's ancestors this nation once abused are now invading. However, I am unable to find a rational (non-racist) way to justify increasing our (legal) immigration quotas for the racial class of Native American Peoples. Perhaps we could specify peoples of the Americas by classifying them as repressed people (if only by white Americans). Yet, I would still give them only refugee status until they apply for and earn U.S. citizenship.

    Generally, I love Bill Moyer's Journal, and I agree with his politics. But this interview seemed biased toward "transnationals" who would abuse our hospitality and good nature to illegally take what they should earn in their home country. It is wrong to be so one-sided, those who enter any country without permission have no moral standing what-so-ever, and you gave them a soap box and a applauded their conceit.

    Finally, I wish to state my objection to Manuel Vasquez's statements about increasing church rolls by incorporating illegal immigrants into local churches. He seemed to be trying to 'guilt' Christians into allowing unauthorized people to stay in the U. S. by appealing to their religious moral values. I wish to remind Vasquez that not all Americans are religious, and his argument exposing Christian hypocrisy may earn points for his cause by appealing to irrational faith in supernatural authority, but as this is ultimately a secular country, he might find that at the end of the day allowing more irrational people into the country is neither wise nor what Americans will choose to do.

    Michael Russell
    San Diego, CA.

    Dear Mr. Daniel Weiss,

    A "Black & Tan" was a the title given to the British Soldiers who worked in Ireland conducting Gestapo-like tactics on the Irish. They were slaves on their own land - they were starved on that land - their homes were burned - they were marched at gun point - onto old slave galleys - they were shipped to America, most dying on the way due to disease - and were met with anger & hate in the US - represented in cartoons as "apes" and demons (sound familiar to something another group might have suffered Mr. Weiss?) and are still met with ignorance from a group who claims oppression, but is none-the-less empowered enough to use words like CRACKER without deletion or legal recourse and who need not have any intellectual merit to their argument.

    So Mr. Weiss, you expose YOUR OWN deeply ingrained racism. Check it again - "Black & Tans", not Blacks & Tans.

    Another humorous part about your rant is that you are apparently not even aware of the fact that you contradict yourself within it. By using derogatory terms such as "cracker," you perpetuate the very racism that you speak against.

    Here is the thing, Mr. Weiss - my CRACKER ancestors marched alongside yours. You might do well to look at all those civil rights movements at the long lines of whites aiding your people in their struggle. You spit on them. If it wasn't for the fact that I've known black men & women of value who knows what I might be tempted to conclude about yourself and others like you. I will not forget those I value because of your ignorance & racism - because of them I will forgive you.

    Daniel - look in the mirror - you are the cracker you hate, not me. You can either live in ignorance of that through all your days, or you can realize it and overcome. Please, be a bigger man - change.

    As is always the case when it comes to issues of human suffering, we talk about everything, but the hard realities of the mess we have created.

    Latinos come to this country to escape the poverty rampant in theirs.

    This is because they live in societies with small, but powerful elites who have all the wealth.

    United States policies abetted or sustained those elites.

    When the impoverished foreigners come to this country employers exploit them by paying wages that are totally unacceptable to working class Americans.

    Employers reap huge profits by doing this.

    Employers understandably are in a moral and economic bind in that paying wages that reflect what it takes to live a middle class existence in this nation would allow their competitors who would continue to use the same cheap labor pool to drive them out of business.

    There are some 12 million illegals in the United States. Rounding up and returning these illegals to their native countries would create further economic instability, poverty and probably famine. If Cesar Chavez upsets you, trust me, he'd look like a Boy Scout compared to the "Shining Path" type despots this policy would insure.

    Or the right wing elites can continue to hold power by ratcheting up the "Death Squad" approach to hinder the starving peasants from getting too out of hand.

    Anyway, I'm pretty convinced that our poor choices in regard to having made the right choices on immigration, environment, labor, finance, energy, foreign policy and just about everything the far right has promoted world wide is about to come home to roost.

    I have no real idea of what the outcome will be, but I imagine it will be long and ugly.

    Nope, Armageddon fans that will not happen either. It just might seem that way. Kinda like things seem okay now.

    When I listen to people I know, and some of what I've read here, I'm clearly hearing prejudice speaking, as these people make derogatory remarks.

    If the "horror" of the situation is that they are here illegally, why doesn't our government take punitive measure agains the employers that hire them. When those jobs are no longer available, won't it trickle back to the Mexican community that it won't benefit them to enter illegally.

    My town seems to have a lot of Mexican people. I have no idea whether they're here illegally or not. If somehow they've gotten illegal documentation in order to work, then they are paying taxes. If they are working without documentation, are not their employers pursuing an even great illegality?

    After a quick scan of your immigration blog postings, I probably have nothing new to add. BUT - I share what I perceive as a general feeling of surprise that someone we admire as much as we do you didn't introduce certain points of logic. Limiting immigration doe not equal rcism. Where is the fairness in ignoring border security, falsification of social security cards & driver's licenses, and most of all - employers hiring illegals without penalty? Do these first two courtesies extend to all nationalities?Iraqis,Saudis,Iranians, etc.? Our government's selective enforcement of well established laws dismays many of us & leads us to question its motivation.

    I believe the Friends (Quakers) have it right - If I understand them correctly, no person is truly illegal who works for wages in our country.

    Without fear of being lost in this sea of pontification...

    What part of "illegal" is not being understood? For every illegal we send home we could let someone waiting patiently in line, playing by the rules, enter our country!

    Bill, I missed your program last night but was able to view it today. I am a liberal minded person whose views often coincide with yours; however not this time. I am aggrieved to hear that we who do not condone the Mexican invasion of our southern borders are to be castigated as "racist." I am tired of being lectured about the bigotry of citizens who merely want their laws enforced and a reasonable policy to regulate immigration. It is our country and we are the ones to make the decisions -- if only we can free ourselves from the greed of corporate America who continues to encourage the immigration of foreign and unskilled workers instead of paying a reasonable wage to their own citizens. In answer to "Randall's" plea for critical thinking and a rational approach to solve this issue (11-17:12:48), I refer him to the following website and especially to former governor Richard Lamn's article, "I Have a Plan to Destroy America."

    Let me see if I have this straight, Mr. Moyers. I concluded from your interview last night on illegal immigration that if someone succeeds in breaking into your house, you believe they have a right to live there, you will feed them, educate their children and provide free medical coverage.
    I applaud your generosity but I admit I am not ready to join you. I believe if we are to be a sovereign nation, we better get serious about enforcing current laws and do it quickly.

    Watching the immigration discussion with Vasquez and Moyers on Nov 17, reminded me of the FEMA fake broadcast where all the key questions about the subject were ignored. For example, both men discussed the law passed during President Johnson's term, yet failed to discuss the simple fact that the law is not being inforced. How is possible to discuss the issue and ignore the fact that the law is not inforced because the primary beneficiaries of non-inforcement are the employers and corporations. What about our american kids who cannot find a decent paying job because the employer can simply hire illegals at lower wages. Isn't this related to the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and the middle class shrinks? Come on Bill, your ability to do substantive stories in the past has been demonstrated. Why follow the FEMA model now?

    The segment on the immigration discourse on tonight’s show was the latest maneuver from the pro-illegal-immigration side of this debate to evade considering the actual implications and consequences (good and bad) of the levels of illegal immigration we’ve had. In this case, the maneuver was accomplished by the oft-used tactic of shifting the discussion to question the motivation of those raising concerns about illegal immigration, rather than question the ramifications of that illegal immigration.

    This is nothing new, as the entire discourse on this topic has been almost entirely devoid of critical thinking since Bush first proposed national immigration reform during the 2006 State of the Union address,

    if not before this. Except for the occasional mention of possible slight depression of wages for a small portion of the legal workforce, there has been virtually no real, substantive consideration or analysis of the comprehensive impact of illegal immigration, on everything from traffic congestion and costs, added crime (every crime committed by an illegal immigrant is a cost of illegal immigration), the impact on the rental housing market, the total educational impact and costs, overcrowding and costs in emergency rooms and health clinics, extra language and other services required by illegal immigrants, added costs for various legal services and any number of government benefits and programs, from emergency services, utility assistance, counseling, etc.

    Moreover, in the general discourse we are repeatedly told, without any substantiation, that illegal workers are needed because American simply won’t want to do all the jobs we have, with the presumption that all these jobs are even necessary. This, despite high unemployment rates of various segments of the population and the failure to consider how increasing wages might affect the supply of willing workers or how wages might rise if the supply of illegal workers was reduced. That is, the usual claims about workforce needs are based on a static, not dynamic analysis, with assumptions never articulated or questioned.

    Of course, elites and those better off - regardless of their position on the political spectrum - tend to reap the benefits of illegal immigration, certainly relative to the average or lower-income citizen, so they tend not to have much interest in looking too closely at all these effects, implications and unquestioned assumptions. Thus much of the Left finds itself, however perversely, in bed with Big Business on this issue.

    Yet ironically, the less-well-off whose cause are frequently championed by the Left and this show, are the ones who are probably hurt overall by illegal immigration, not helped. That is, the impact of illegal immigration is a differential one; generally benefitting the better-off and business, while harming the less-well-off, who tend to feel the negative consequences of illegal immigration more directly, while benefitting less from it.

    Meanwhile, though, we are seeing that even without real research or analysis of the societal impact of illegal immigration (or at least in their absence in the public discourse) average citizens intuit much of the impact that the elites simply ignore, based on their own experience of them, regardless of what the pro-illegal advocates say to the contrary.

    So if this show truly values truth and its pursuit through critical thinking, lets see what actual research, if any, has really been done on the total impact - positive and negative. The essence of critical thinking as applied to policy, after all, is the consideration of implications and consequences. To take just one simple but large impact, what is the approximate total cost of educating all children of illegal immigrants every year? Or should we not ask such questions, because, why, they surely are motivated by prejudice of one form or another.

    The very purpose of this - or any - nation is to secure and promote the welfare of the citizens who legitimize and empower it. Thus, unless and until we are willing to revisit the whole idea of this nation or nation-states in general, our principal concern has to be the welfare of citizens and, secondarily, others here legally, not the welfare of the any or everyone else who has or desires to come here. The pro-illegal-immigration lobby and their sympathizers have to date expressed more concern for the welfare of illegals than concern for how illegals are affecting the welfare of the rest of us. Any country that would countenance this would be undermining its very reason d’etre, and no other country has or permits immigration - legal or illegal - at anywhere near the level we do.

    Perhaps we should change and expand the legal immigration policy, but we, as a nation, should be deciding the criteria for who will benefit the nation (as well as benefitting themselves) and thus who and how many we let in legally. Or, we might decide to create an immigration category to take a certain number of the most desperate, worst-off persons in the world, as an expression of our values, beyond our needs. These persons will certainly not be those who are capable of getting here illegally and working hard once here. Or we might decide to place more emphasis on getting highly educated and trained persons, with information-age or other specific skills and areas of expertise we could use more of. But whatever the criteria, immigration policy should, first and foremost, be based on the interest of the nation and citizens, so long as we assent to organizing our lives in terms of nation-states.

    The segment on the immigration discourse on tonight’s show was the latest maneuver from the pro-illegal-immigration side of this debate to evade considering the actual implications and consequences (good and bad) of the levels of illegal immigration we’ve had. In this case, the maneuver was accomplished by the oft-used tactic of shifting the discussion to question the motivation of those raising concerns about illegal immigration, rather than question the ramifications of that illegal immigration.

    This is nothing new, as the entire discourse on this topic has been almost entirely devoid of critical thinking since Bush first proposed national immigration reform during the 2006 State of the Union address,

    if not before this. Except for the occasional mention of possible slight depression of wages for a small portion of the legal workforce, there has been virtually no real, substantive consideration or analysis of the comprehensive impact of illegal immigration, on everything from traffic congestion and costs, added crime (every crime committed by an illegal immigrant is a cost of illegal immigration), the impact on the rental housing market, the total educational impact and costs, overcrowding and costs in emergency rooms and health clinics, extra language and other services required by illegal immigrants, added costs for various legal services and any number of government benefits and programs, from emergency services, utility assistance, counseling, etc.

    Moreover, in the general discourse we are repeatedly told, without any substantiation, that illegal workers are needed because American simply won’t want to do all the jobs we have, with the presumption that all these jobs are even necessary. This, despite high unemployment rates of various segments of the population and the failure to consider how increasing wages might affect the supply of willing workers or how wages might rise if the supply of illegal workers was reduced. That is, the usual claims about workforce needs are based on a static, not dynamic analysis, with assumptions never articulated or questioned.

    Of course, elites and those better off - regardless of their position on the political spectrum - tend to reap the benefits of illegal immigration, certainly relative to the average or lower-income citizen, so they tend not to have much interest in looking too closely at all these effects, implications and unquestioned assumptions. Thus much of the Left finds itself, however perversely, in bed with Big Business on this issue.

    Yet ironically, the less-well-off whose cause are frequently championed by the Left and this show, are the ones who are probably hurt overall by illegal immigration, not helped. That is, the impact of illegal immigration is a differential one; generally benefitting the better-off and business, while harming the less-well-off, who tend to feel the negative consequences of illegal immigration more directly, while benefitting less from it.

    Meanwhile, though, we are seeing that even without real research or analysis of the societal impact of illegal immigration (or at least in their absence in the public discourse) average citizens intuit much of the impact that the elites simply ignore, based on their own experience of them, regardless of what the pro-illegal advocates say to the contrary.

    So if this show truly values truth and its pursuit through critical thinking, lets see what actual research, if any, has really been done on the total impact - positive and negative. The essence of critical thinking as applied to policy, after all, is the consideration of implications and consequences. To take just one simple but large impact, what is the approximate total cost of educating all children of illegal immigrants every year? Or should we not ask such questions, because, why, they surely are motivated by prejudice of one form or another.

    The very purpose of this - or any - nation is to secure and promote the welfare of the citizens who legitimize and empower it. Thus, unless and until we are willing to revisit the whole idea of this nation or nation-states in general, our principal concern has to be the welfare of citizens and, secondarily, others here legally, not the welfare of the any or everyone else who has or desires to come here. The pro-illegal-immigration lobby and their sympathizers have to date expressed more concern for the welfare of illegals than concern for how illegals are affecting the welfare of the rest of us. Any country that would countenance this would be undermining its very reason d’etre, and no other country has or permits immigration - legal or illegal - at anywhere near the level we do.

    Perhaps we should change and expand the legal immigration policy, but we, as a nation, should be deciding the criteria for who will benefit the nation (as well as benefitting themselves) and thus who and how many we let in legally. Or, we might decide to create an immigration category to take a certain number of the most desperate, worst-off persons in the world, as an expression of our values, beyond our needs. These persons will certainly not be those who are capable of getting here illegally and working hard once here. Or we might decide to place more emphasis on getting highly educated and trained persons, with information-age or other specific skills and areas of expertise we could use more of. But whatever the criteria, immigration policy should, first and foremost, be based on the interest of the nation and citizens, so long as we assent to organizing our lives in terms of nation-states.

    To be a just citizen of a Democracy, one must opey it's laws. Socrates justly drank the poison because it was ruled the law. Those who are here illegally must opey the laws too. In their case they must justly go home. It is not prejudice Mr Moyers, it is the laws of our just land.


    Mr. Flynn, the only one that is in need of an education is you. You are the progenitorial embodiment of these white settlers, who like your forebears came here in the hope that uneducated and poor white trash, as well as religious zealots such as them, could get a new start over here. Very little did they mind the several millions of natives that stood in their way. By invoking Christ, you show your true colors. You are not just ignorant (even a so-called American education doesn't cure you from that), worse, you believe in the hypocrisy of Christendom. Most of these posters here profess that they aren't racists. Then you have Aron Flynn, who bemoans his relatives fate of being marched off by "local" blacks and tans. What local blacks? You are too ignorant to even perceive your own ingrained and by now wholly unconscious racist agenda. Too bad they didn't march your folks far enough. That may have saved the rest of us from one more genocidal white trash cracker who is now waxing sentimentally about how great things would be in this oh so great nation without the blacks and tans.

    I am a life-long liberal (and agree with another liberal poster), but have to agree with conservatives on the illegal immigration issue. "Illegal" is still the operative word here. I cannot just move to France, say, and set up home and get a job. There are rules I, as a foreigner, must follow to achieve LEGAL citizenship in France.

    Speaking of Europe, they are having so many problems with immigration as well. Sweden's open policies are straining the county's welfare and service systems--which is fodder for another Bill Moyers program.

    My nephew is married to a hard-working Mexican woman--her brothers and sisters also live and work here. They are all here LEGALLY. I asked her how she felt about the illegal immigration issue. She said she thought it would be unfair to grant illegals "amnesty" considering the hoops she and her honest siblings have to jump through to stay here legally.

    When Mr. Vasquez mentions that illegals clean our homes and take care of our children, he is speaking of the wealthy needing such services--people who are too cheap to pay decent wages to Americans to so the same work.

    If people want to come to America, they must do so according to the rules and live by the rules the rest of us have to live by.

    Bill we are avid viewers of your program and thank you for fighting to keep the truth out there. We agree with your viewpoints most of the time, but on today's program on imigration you failed to ask some very pertinent questions. I have always been against illegal imigration for one reason - this country can not afford it. Our infrastructure is crumbling. We also have major problems in our educational system, health care, housing and on and on. We have an ever increasing population of poor, many of whom are children.
    Illegal immigration is promoted solely to serve big business by providing them with cheap labor. And that draws down everyone's wages. How ironic that on the same program you speak of the problems in the Mississippi Katrina rebuilding effort where corporations are sucking up the greatest share of federal (tax) dollars to provide them with that higher profit margin, then fail to see the connection of that "cheap labor" they pursue with a vengence through their lobbyists. Big business and legislators don't give a damn about ".. your poor, tired and huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Business wants cheap labor and politcians are afraid of losing a large voting block by committing to enforcing existing immigrations laws. Neither care about survival of the middle class and what's good for this country. We have become a nation of greed. That began several years ago and will prove to be our downfall.
    A word on the immigrants themselves... The issue has become so big - thanks to the inactivity of our government- that we look at peripheral issues like the social costs; medical, law enforcement, education. It's not the fault of the immigrants, it's the fault of our administraition which choses to support big business by ignoring the laws on the books. In our state alone, the largest corporations pay no taxes and the burden increasingly falls on the middle class. People need to separate people trying to earn a living from our government supporting corporations. I work for state government and am a union steward and a middle class citizen who's wages are declining, and it is increasingly difficult to feel hopeful that our country can ever recover from this dilema, worsening by the hour (as evidenced by our national debt and import/export imbalance). Let's fight the bigger issues instead of fousing on those emotional issues that seek to divide us.

    Your segment on immigration was very disappointing to watch. Mr. Vasquez was no different than other “spin doctors” on Fox, CNN or the other networks. To refer to “illegal immigrants” as undocumented made my blood boil! I immigrated legally from a refugee settlement in post-war Germany in the mid-1960s. We were “sponsored” by the Lutheran Church and had to pay back the Greyhound Bus ticket from New York to Michigan. My mother worked legally for $1.00 and hour as a seamstress in a local dry cleaners and was grateful for the opportunity. I have one question for Mr. Vasquez: if the illegal immigrants about whom he speaks are attending English classes, why is everything bi-lingual – from government offices to banks to hardware stores to labels and instructions on packaged merchandise? Does resenting illegal immigrants who take advantage of the system and take shortcuts make me a racist?
    Tia Grass, Grand Rapids MI

    So what is the path of wisdom in this most heated of topics? Might I suggest the following compromise?

    1. Lock the door. We can't have millions of people wandering in and out of our country. It isn't smart, it isn't safe, and it isn't acceptable.

    2. Pathway to citizenship: for the overwhelming vast majority of illegal immigrants who came here because our economy begged them to, give them a way to come out of the shadows. If you have come into the US, stayed out of serious trouble, and want to be a citiizen, I see no reason why we can't offer that path. Learn English (which is in the person's best interest), pay your taxes, and get in line. We are glad you are here. We need you!

    3. Increase legal immigration for those who have the skills that our new economy is calling for: knowledge workers.

    Our culture isn't static, it's dynamic. Every immigrant group changes America. Much of what's being said about today's immigrants was said about the Irish at the turn of the last century. I admit there is a bit of a difference because many of our new immigrants maintain a stronger tie to their country of origin than the Europeans did a hundred years ago...but that's life.

    And for those of you of a more conservative bent, I ask you: do you think we can put the toothpaste back in the tube? The new immigrants are here, like it or not. We need to be smart, compassionate, and orderly in our response. Our country can handle it. We are, after all, the world's "last, best hope." Let's live up to our rhetoric, and help our newcomers live the American dream.

    Mr. Moyers, I could not believe what came out of Mr. Vasquez,s mouth!Why did you just sit there and let Mr. Vasquez try to twist non-truths into truths?I expected a level playing field from your show!I also expected "common sense" and the TRUTH to prevail!I challenge you to have Lou Dobbs of CNN News on your show to counter Mr. Vasquez's non-truths! Our country would not exist if the founding fathers had not believed in COMPROMISE but there can be no compromising with non-truths and comments that are so absurd that they defy simple COMMON SENSE!As the character Spock of Star Trek fame would say,"This is totally illogical,one plus one is two and cannot be anything else but two!"

    Mr. Weiss – get an education. I pray you aren’t as ignorant as you sound.

    Mr. Moyers – I was ashamed to watch your program tonight. I’ve never witnessed a more ignorant, racist, and fundamentally irresponsible “exchange.” The Irish were forced to cut ties to their homeland and assimilate because they didn’t have the technology? No, it wasn’t a matter of “technology.” It was a matter of “learn the language and adopt the culture or get kicked out.” My ancestors came here because they’d been slaves on their lands for 900 years (thank you England). And when they arrived in America (colonized by the English) they were not welcome. But since most the family starved, the land lords burnt the houses down, and the local black & tans marched them off at bayonet point – we didn’t have much choice where we stayed. The land paid for our trip on the old African slave galleys (now just as packed and a hundred or so many years older). Funny thing is we have ALL been slaves before (black & slave though is “edgy” though I guess, more fun to read about), and we’ve all been kicked off our lands (some of us need to perhaps go back to school & learn about that). The Natives might have been butchered and forced off theirs – big deal. They butchered back in kind. Here is the only redeeming value in this all. America was formed from all this – and resulted in the first place since Ancient Athens where you can freely express yourself (no matter how ignorantly) and not be disemboweled for it. My ancestors were treated like crap when they got here and had to earn the right to be called American – but when they finally did they were Free… and by Christ was all that suffering ever worth it.
    As a side note - have you ever been to Europe? They all speak different languages and their cultures are all different. But over here “whitey” speaks one language and has one culture! Interesting, no? So here is my point. If my ancestors had to integrate responsibly, learn the language, adopt the customs – guess what… you better too. And if you came illegally, this is my Nation – I helped form the laws. They are there to maintain me, my family, and all the other families of this Nation (even blithely ignorant Mr. Daniel Weiss – who I think should be forced to go back to where he came from, but he is an American, so he should still be protected). I don’t care if you think it is fair. It is our law. You will comply, or you will leave. It is MY Nation, it is OUR Nation, it is not yours. If you want something, go back to YOUR Nation and get it. If you can’t, then either take control of your Nation – as our Fore Fathers had to, or come here legally, or engage the American public without the AUDACITY & INSULT of demanding citizenship simply on the basis of you are brown and you are here and undercutting low income jobs from primarily minority communities (if Mr. Daniel Weiss read every now and then he’d probably seethe at that little tidbit).
    So thank you Manuel Vásquez for showing me how compassion practiced irresponsibly can create large scale social conflict and demonstrating EXACTLY why amnesty can never be allowed again, nor can the permission of any number of known illegals. While certainly not their fault looking for a better life – their “better life” does not come before my fellow Americans. It is a little something we like to call Unity & Patriotism. If you are a legal citizen, I’d say the same to any massive population of ILLEGAL Irish which invaded the Nation and undercut your job. Unfortunately, it is your people and no matter what you think – you are not a dual citizen. You are either us or them. You choose.

    On immigration, I would do what I told the Mexican Consuls from the Seattle Consulate when I interviewed them in Spanish on my local radio program "Los Caminos de la Vida" on KYRS 92.3 FM in Spokane, Washington early this year (the program ended a three year run in August 2007).

    I would legalize every last immigrant in the United States with the exception of the few who have committed serious crimes. As I have said repeatedly, as a former US vice consul who worked at US Consulate Matamoros (across from Brownsville Texas), US Embassy San Salvador (El Salvador), and the US Interest Section Havana (Cuba), there is not an "illegal" immigrant who is not here without the explicit or implicit invitation of the U.S. government or US business or the U.S. people. Hypocrisy being the dominant characteristic of US as a nation and people, we have acted collectively in the last couple years as if we woke up one day recently and suddenly noticed that there were 12 million undocumented persons in this country.

    Obviously that is an absurd suggestion. We have been hiring undocumented persons to clean our office buildings, wipe our babies' butts, cook our food, plant our gardens, reforest our mountains, fight our wars, work in our defense industry plants, remodel our hotel chains, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc. for years and years and years.

    The U.S. government issued 10,000s of thousands of 10 year, multiple entry B1/B2 visas to Mexicans every year for decades (I myself issues some 30-40,000 in two years) per its policy and US law, knowing that a large percentage would never return. This included significant numbers of very young women from the interior of Mexico working in U.S., Taiwanese and Japanese factories (maquiladoras) on the US/Mexico border.

    The cat and mouse game on the border between immigrants and the Border Patrol was never intended to prevent a large undocumented workforce from getting to those places where US corporate chiefs and state governors and American housewives and small businessmen wanted them.

    To now punish them is barbarous, hypocritical and will just produce more ill will towards our already fading nation.

    Remember, for every "illegal alien", there is at least one and sometimes many illegal employers.

    Legalize these people who have given us their labor, their children, their dreams, and their culture. They are as much our future and our hope as are our own children.

    Otherwise, do this: Hire Blackwater and call up the military. Take INS, US military and Homeland Security buses. Go door to door around the country and like a fascist, freedom-hating nation, round 'em up and ship 'em out. If when we are done we have avoided a civil war (because large numbers of US citizens would actively resist and disrupt such a Nazi campaign), then take those same buses back through the heartland of America and go door to door and tell Mrs. Jones that you have come for her first born son, because there are crops to be picked and chickens to be butchered and asbestos remediation to be done.

    The other option, and one that in fact many involved in business and government in the US would not object to, is the status quo. A submissive, hidden, undocumented population, unable to participate in the illusion--no the lie--of a free country of opportunity for all.

    May it be as we so choose. As we choose, so the world will judge us.

    I found the discussion very one-sided and not representative of my views or most peoples views by the comments I read. I would like for you to interview someone from the Illinois Minuteman so that the viewing audience gets an opposite perspective.

    I am not a racist. I think that the illegal immigration of Mexicans is one of the biggest problems we are facing.

    The first thing is that the public does not want you here. If we did the limit on legal immigration would be increased. This will never happen as long as Mexicans enter the country illegally. In fact the limit for legal immigration could even be lowered.

    Patrick Crothers says that he is not a criminal or a burden to our society. This just shows how little you understand the country you live in. If I robbed a bank I would be a bank robber. Tomorrow I would still be a bank robber. Next year I would still be a bank robber. So yes Patrick, You will be a law breaker for the rest of your life. I find it interesting that you only associate yourself with the worst criminals. You are just as much of a criminal as an embezzler or an inside trader.

    You also are a burden on society. You admit to going to school. Our schools are very overcrowded by people such as yourself. You received a great benefit from your education by taking a little bit of benefit from each of your classmates. The taxes you pay aren't enough to cover the burden you are.

    You say that you want to be fined or go to jail. Any fine you would pay would not go into the pockets of the person who is unemployed so you can have a job and prison is just an extra burden to us.

    I am a US citizen, an anthropologist who studies in Mexico and works at a Canadian University. I owe my livelihood to the generosity of many, many Mexicans who have opened their homes to me. The deep histories of these lands in North America include multitudes of migrations, north, south, east, west. People have been moving through and settling these lands for thousands of years--with conflict, resistance, assimilation and accommodation, just as today. Indigenous peoples were decimated in the recent past after Europeans arrived in their lands. Now descendants of indigenous americans are re-populating North America on south-north lines? Welcome back.
    Lets take the long view.

    All you crackers crack me up! A little more than a century ago you were still busy mopping up the remnants of the natives that populated what is now Texas or California. You took their lands, enslaved or murdered them and now you cry wolf that they are coming back, to take your jobs, because they are willing to do them for less. To no avail! The so-called United States have no moral right to bar others from these lands that were illegally acquired in the first place. And if Whitey doesn't like what is inevitably going to happen, let him go back to where he came from!

    I believe that your interview with Vasquez only serves to show the most superficial and constricted view of the problems with the Mexican invasion. I believe there is a more complicated legal means of legally entering and maintaining a residence here than just walking across the border. I lived in Texas during the early 70's where the influx of Mexicans were taking over the construction jobs from union carpenters. These were high paying jobs that required apprenticeships that went on to journeymen, etc., but with the Mexican worker, it was just do this, do that. Texas is a right to work state, so little could be done. Now thirty years later many jobs in many different states are being filled by illegal Mexican workers who come over the border in such huge numbers that it can be legitimately called an invasion. The rich want them because they are a source of underground "paid under the table" domestic servants. The large companies that have not gone overseas for labor, want them because they can pay them consistently low wages and hold their legal status over their heads if they complain. Many jobs held by the native (born here) residents have gone overseas. These jobs are not all low wage factory jobs, but include engineering, computer programming, technical writing and accounting. If they are not being outsourced overseas, legal immigrants are being brought over to take over these jobs with the excuse that we don't have the required talent, but we do, but they demand higher wages. The greed of the native worker is not solely due to avarice, but to the avarice of the home builder, or apartment owner or the lack of suitable housing. Illegal immigrant workers are taking over all the jobs that the natives used to count on when times got tough. Well, times are tough. We have a legal system that preys on the poor which means when the victims of this system do get out of jail, they are forced to compete with illegal immigrants (who may or may not have criminal pasts, but cannot be verified). After an immigration sweep in one company, the jobs were filled by the local homeless. Our local economies are suffering because the illegals crowd into cramped quarters, save their money to send back home where their contribution to their family back home make up a significant percentage of Mexico's national income, instead of spending it in the communities where they live. Mexico has become one of the most violent countries in the world with the heads of policemen who dare to enforce the law are found on spikes in front of the police stations in tourist destinations. There has been numerous accounts of this violence spilling over the border. There is literally a war on the border. Much of this has to do with trade policy (NAFTA), that has caused nothing but misery for Mexico, for the wages paid at the international factories set on the border of Mexico and the US are not living wages, and now they too are moving to China. Much of the violence can also be attributed to the US's underground and illegal war pursued by Geo. H.W.Bush and Reagan that established the network and the know how to smuggle drugs to the US to finance it. Although all of this has been our making, we must try to find the solutions to better both the lives of those who live here as well as in Mexico. We must enforce our immigration laws. We must repeal NAFTA. We must save our jobs for ourselves.

    Once again I feel like I have been called a rasist by someone who does not know me. All you have to do is look up the name of my friend my brother Juan Ramerez who died in viet Namn. He is listed on the Virtual Wall... so are my comments, to my friend. His parents came from Mexico and moved to LA.
    I listened to Prof. Vasquez go on about the use of the word Illegal as if we are all ignorant. It is estimated that $300-$500 Bn in drugs is smuggled in the country by Mexican gangs. I do have a prejudice here. Don't tell me we can't stop the flow. Actually we make it easy, as, 300Bn$ can make you some powerful friends.

    In 1965 Johnson signed that "landmark" immigration bill. Johnson knew that there would be a manpower shortage. It happened in WW11. The war was taking all the young men. I worked in the oil industry with great paying jobs. Few young men who could pass a physical came to work at any industry. If you were fit you were drafted. We needed immigrants. I don't know a single person who has enmity towards Hispanics, though this being Texas here I am sure there are some. I am sorry we just cannot take them all.

    Lastly, as I worked a anthropological site in the Copper Canyon town of Creel, I saw something that staggered me. Every northbound freight train had 100 or more people holding on outside or on top. Every train, every day, day after day, month after month was carrying these hopefuls to a uncertain future. It was the shear numbers that took me back.

    The following website reference is for drug importation.

    I'm very disappointed in your one sided views on the issues of immigration Bill. You and your guest referred to illegal immigrants as "unauthorized" or "undocumented", what's the matter with calling them what they are "illegal immigrants"? This was the first time I was disappointed in one of your programs. I'm sure you could have done better. What was your motivation to broadcast such a one sided interview?

    To Every Single Poster in This Forum:

    I can see all your anger and all your frustration. I can see beyond it and see the fear of losing the American way. What can I do and say to convince you? Nothing, your mind was made up before coming to the table. First of all, this an editorial piece which means that Mr. Moyers included a little piece of his mind. In fact, most of the show is editorial with a strong point of view and an argument that you might approve or not.

    Well, I am one of those illegal aliens. So you can either stop reading right now or you can read it and not pay attention or you can write something mean against me or, even worst, you can ignore, like you have ignored me for most of my life.. Why I am an illegal? Well, because it is the closest thing to being an American that life will allow me ever to be.

    I came to this country when I was 13 years old. My family wanted to save some money and buy a house in Mexico and come back. That was many years ago. I jump the fence which makes me a criminal, an evil and malevolent thug no matter what. It is, according you, as using crack or killing or robbing but it is not. Any given criminal always has a moment were he/she is not committing a crime. I am perpetually committing a crime. Even though it is the only crime I had ever committed. I speak Spanish better than English but I can write English better, much better than Spanish. My dad’s former boss stole our home and my dad lost a finger while working. He paid the bills not taxpayers nor his employers. It has been proved that those who benefit the most from the cheap labor that both my parents provide are consumers but that really does not matter, right?

    I feel like an American but technically I am not. I don’t have a paper telling me that I am so that’s that. We pay taxes every year and the only thing that taxpayers gave me was my education. Something that I cherish deeply and that I am eager to pay back. Still, I can’t because all the jobs that I can take won’t pay me nearly as much to pay back. Really, if you keep telling me over and over that I am a leech and a monster and a criminal and a lawbreaker and a foreigner and a beast and that I don’t speak English and that speaking Spanish is wrong and that I am just wrong all wrong my whole persona my identity, my self, then it is really hard for me to look for ways to assimilate.

    I am willing to pay a fine for the crime. I am willing to spend a couple of years in jail. Everything but go back to my lost country for ten years. I cannot imagine my life outside the USA. Honestly, I would rather be an illegal my whole life than to live a legal second in another country. If that makes me a treacherous monster, then I am a treacherous monster.

    Dear Mr. Moyers:
    Your report on immigration this evening was terribly biased. Just awful. What happened to you? Massive illegal immigration is punishing communities all over the country. It is draining their financial resources, damaging the environment with huge population increases, and most of all, it is hurting ordinary working Americans by lowering their salaries and cutting off opportunity for secure futures. Your sweet ignorance of this is just appalling. Immigration - legal immigration - is supposed to help nations, not harm them. Your report ignores all of this. Shame on you. And no, I do not listen to talk radio. I do not subscribe to Fox News, and I am not a racist. Finally, we really are a nation of laws, Mr. Moyers. That is the foundation of our democracy. Illegal immigration flaunts our laws and imperils our society. Shame on you.


    In general I like your programs however ....
    In this case I am disappointed in your interview with Mr. Vasquez. His views are not consistent with my own. I do not appreciate his propositions and explanations for the immagration issue. What part of "illegal" does he (and apparently you) is not understand? There are lots of poor people out there. Some of them play by the rules, others feel that violation of them is some "right".

    Shame on you.

    rick bowden

    Its the English - if people who immigrate to the U.S. would learn English they would not be so hated. The professor himself spoke English, the example of the upstanding family was of an immigrant father who worked hard and was "learning English." I repeat - it is Its the English - if people who immigrate to the U.S. would learn English they would not be so hated. The professor himself spoke English, the example of the upstanding family was of an immigrant father who worked hard and was "learning English." I repeat - it is the English. My dad came to America as a Holocaust Survivor - he never expected not to have to learn English. I work for County Government, my co-worker gets paid extra an hour for speaking a foreign language. Politically many of us Progressive Democrats say - Immigrate here - learn English!

    I would like to hear Bill Moyers put to Manuel Vásquez the same question he asked Daniel Katz in regards to "catalog creep": "What is the environmental impact?"

    What does a population growth of 100 million people in 40 years mean to the ecosystem of our nation? What kind of harm do millions of "unauthorized" workers and their children do to the legacy of open space and wilderness far more inherent to our American identity than rapid and uncontrolled immigration? What good is liberty if we don't have room to enjoy it?

    Mr. Moyers we love your show, but this monologue by Mr. Vasquez was horrible. This man is lecturing us on what it is to be American, and how we Americans should live. How come no one ever speaks to the failures and responsibilities of Mexico, or El Salvador in the illegal immigration formula. Why should we celebrate the immigrants gaining the right to vote, so they can create the chaos they created in their country of origin. Why is their country such a basket case? Canada, and the U.S. have nothing on Mexico, so why is the latter such a basket case?
    Why aren't some of these questions examined?
    Back to Professor Vasquez, when he was given the scholarship to study in the U.S. don't you suppose the assumption was he would take what he learned back to El Salvador and improve the lives of his fellow countrymen, he fooled them, he decided to stay in the U.S. and lecture us on how to be better Americans.

    I was born in NYC to parents from Puerto Rico&Spain.Growing up in the 1950's was very differnt.I had my differculties growing up in the famous So Bronx.Not untill I was in my 20's did I ever speak spanish.I think as a younge boy I was in love with the history of USA.The Pilgrims and search for religious freedom the pioneers forging their way west.Not knowing of any of the injustice to native amricans[indians].Now that I retired and can reflect on my life,I know one of the things I did to improve my being was learn to speak some spanish.I learned the more languages I can speak the wealthier Iam.I do support the idea that english is number one.Thats the language that founded the USA.For the individuals that get upset with pressing one for english and two for spanish,just like to know how they feel when they talk to some one in a foreign country and the person talking to them speaks english.Dont worry,its not the language the immigrants are after,its the $$$$$.

    I sympathize with the position that Prof. Vasquez takes with respect to immigration. But he demonstrates a major problem with the professoriate nowadays: he talks about doing *studies*, but he's really only preaching. He's not a scholar; he's an advocate. Why should anyone who disagrees with him listen to him? He doesn't provide any objective data. He does not present any falsifiable hypotheses.....

    After listening this evening to your broadcast this evening on pbs, I couldn't have been more continually infuriated as a liberal demorcrat and small business person trying to survive for the last 20 years in business against illegal aliens-not immigrants, as I continually heard your illegal immigrant with his misguided comments continually make. The only reason he is an unfortunate so called American, is that he married an "AMERICAN " to get here! My ancestors did not swim the Atlantic illegally to get here to be called immigrants! They were processed legally, they learned and spoke the language immediately to assimilate into the culture. They did not use their protestant religion to misguide any church morals or values to push their way into society illegally. There is a major difference that peoiple in this coutry forget. Illegal is illegal. We imprison anyone legally here for any illegal activity, but we forget that being here illegally is different? There is no difference! Smoking crack or shooting heroin or shooting someone or tax evasion or numerous other laws apply to all citizens, but being here illegally dosen't? I don't know Bill how you could sit there and listen to someone so misguided and so verbally composed pushing such a misguided agenda, without knocking him off the interview. I'm sorry for the REAL legal AMERICANS who have to listen to his SPANISH "crap" for an explanation to be here at all!

    I'm sorry, but I think Mr Moyers and the Professor are wrong on this issue. For most people, prejudice has nothing to do with their objection to illegal immigration. For a lot of people, its a sense of fairnesss. Why should people that broke the law be given preference over people waiting in line. For others its a sense of fear in this post 9-11 era. Who's controlling our borders? For the majority of people, I think the reasons are economic. The middle class has be under attack for the past 30 years. We no longer make anything in this country. If we needed to ramp up our manufacturing for a major war like we did for WWII, I don't think we could do it today. So many jobs have been sent overseas, and where they haven't found a way to do the work overseas, they try to do it here with cheap illegal labor. I read a story that American companies were buying processed chicken from China. With all the problems with bird flu, we passed a law that companies couldn't buy chicken from China. You would have thought that would be a break for Americans working in that field. You'd be wrong! These companies got around that law by shipping chickens from here and other countries to China, having them processed there, and shipped here. If American corporations are on the side of illegal immigrants, you can be sure its not in the interest of the middle class.

    I believe that immigration is an environmental issue. We have finite recourses such as water. The fundamental question is “when are we full?” A captain’s first obligation is to those who are on board his full vessel, not to those who are in the water.

    How handy that when making the social / moral high ground issue you drop the illegal from the immigrant. You would be correct IF we in any way prohibited LEGAL immigration to those coming from central and south america, then your arguement would be valid. This is simply pointing out those individuals who have opted to break the law, skip in line and thumb their noses at our sovreignty. Name one other country in the world that you can sneak into and get away with the things that we have allowed in the name of economic benefit.

    Was Cesar Chavez a racist? On a few occasions, concerns that undocumented migrant labor would undermine UFW strike campaigns led to a number of controversial events, which the UFW describes as anti-strikebreaking events, but which have also been interpreted as being anti-immigrant. In 1969, Chávez and members of the UFW marched through the Imperial and Coachella Valleys to the border of Mexico to protest growers' use of undocumented immigrants as strikebreakers. Joining him on the march were both Reverend Ralph Abernathy and U.S. Senator Walter Mondale. In its early years, César Chávez and the UFW went so far as to report illegal aliens who served as strikebreaking replacement workers, as well as those who refused to unionize, to the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

    Dear Mr. Moyers:

    As a journalist you did not bring balance and fairness to your piece on illegal immigration. You allowed your guest to play the race card and leave people with the impression that it is hatred of immigrants that is behind the strong opposition to grant citizenship to illegal immigrants.
    Where was the critical thinking and questioning?

    You made virtually no effort to examine how unjust it is to people waiting to immigrate legally to give a skip-to-the head-of-line pass to illegal immigrants. Nor did you examine the how the impact of waves of illegal latino immigrants are undermining U.S. immigration policy aimed at enabling peoples from around the globe to immigrate to the United States.

    If we require more immigrants in this country for our economy, etc., then raise the immigration ceilings. It makes little sense and seems totally unfair to discriminate against those waiting to immigrate legally in favor illegals who sneaked into the U.S. We are a nation of laws -- and do we want to be telling immigrants that they will be rewarded for breaking our laws and cheating????

    Still another factor that you failed to examine is the impact of excess immigration on the country. Go to almost any major city -- and many smaller cities -- and speak with government managers about the impact of illegal immigrants on their schools, health care, police, and social service systems. These are real, measureable problems that can not be ignored to swept aside. The fact is that the U.S. governmental resources are stretched more than ever at a time when average Americans are becoming poorer. Their ability to pay higher and higher taxes to pay the social costs of immigrants is limited.

    It would have been useful to examine the immigration issue in the context of past historical practice, our population then and now, resource restraints the U.S. now faces, and the nation's diminished wealth.

    Give your staff -- and yourself -- a little shock therapy. See what is going on in the finances of average households. For example, you might give SERIOUS thought to the fact that for the first time since 1932, average household savings in the United States fell below zero in August of 2005 -- and have continued deeper into the negative. Household indebtedness is at a record high relative the the last century.

    The issue of immigration and illegal immigration has to be weighed on a much larger scale than the narrow one you have used to explore this issue.

    I have watched you for years and admire your intellect, but you failed yourself and your viewers tonight.


    Mark H. Crawford

    I'm sorry but, I think that re-opening immigration in the Johnson administration was the worst possible thing both for this country and for the countries they came from overseas. This "brain-drain" has undoubtedly served to destabilize them, while here the immigrants have served mainly the wealthy and the expansion of big business, and the decline of our republican values. This was, btw, a typical Democratic measure, and that party has always been behind it, at least up until the the Reagan Democrats bolted the party. Now the Republicans are for it and a sizable wing of the Democratic Party is as opposed to it as they are to globalization and free-trade measures. The fellow interviewed is a good example of this process, and I have no sympathy.

    Vaquez, Sir, I'm offended. I've listened.You are wrong. As a citizen,I'm not dependent on any "immigrant". We are a nation of law.Typical weak morals, you can't make a choice,so it's called transnational is it. Which "wife" will you honor the American wife or the other.Both i'm sure. How convenient for you. Correction: we are a nation of the DECENDENTS of immigrants.

    Three of my four grandparents came to this country, from Germany before WWII. Two legally, one illegally.

    My parents, and my Aunts and Uncles, Never spoke German. My father knew Germany which he spoke to his father.

    As a child I begged my Dad to teach me a few words. He absolutely refused. Your an American, you'll speak English, and you should be Proud of it! All of his brothers and sisters were born in Germany! We weren't German Americans, we're were raised to be Americans!

    Professor Manuel is so full of BS it's unbelieveable. I understand that he wants to reinforce his views that illegals are needed here, but they are not. View the weekly special that Hannity and Colmes did recently on Fox News. It was called "The Price We Pay" and it will shock you. Elitists and corp executives in America love illegals because they exploit them. But common American taxpayers must bear the burden of living around them and supporting them. Not fair.

    I don't believe I'm racist, or any of the 'names' so frequently given to anyone who believes there's a right way and a wrong way to do everything.
    Our Laws are NOT Draconian! Every country has Immigration Laws, including the ones, they come from! Calling our "LAWS" Draconian, demonstrates the core of the problem. As you call them, Undocumented, as I call them Illegal; immigrants lack a total lack of respect for our society and OUR LAWS!
    We can't go to ANY South American country, and decide to take a job and live there! You and the Employer would both end up in jail! Why? Because that's their law!!
    The Median Income in the United Sates, is $47,000 I seriously doubt if the average American is hiring anyone to do their lawn care, or clean their house! The only persons benefiting from illegal immigration are the wealthy, and the corporations, that use illegal immigration to deep wages low.

    Unless we are willing to admit 5 billion people as poor or poorer than the average Mexican we must restrict immigration.

    Charges of "racism" mask the real question: what rate of immigration is in the national interest. And who shall determine that number - Americans or foreigners?

    Currently we have let the Chamber of Commerce, the Mexican government and millions of poorly educated illegal aliens determine our country's future. It is about time the citizens had a voice. American citizens.

    I'm so torn by this issue. I'm embarrassed at the nativist, xenophobic rhetoric used against poor people trying to feed their families.

    On the other hand there is a legitimate concern over corporate exploitation of his population.

    A path to real citizenship and prevention of corporate exploitation is the tough answer.

    It is our own corporate control of government that has exacerbated this problem in the first place by impoverishing hard working people in Mexico and South America vis a vis NAFTA.

    Taking back our country here for "The People" is the first step. Then we can welcome our brothers and sisters from all lands again.

    In some if not many cases prejudice plays a role, just as it does in many other human endeavors. To favor one’s family, group, gender, etc. is part of human nature; and until we can recognize it and deal with it appropriately we will not be a civilized species.

    The immigration issue is complex and warrants broad discussion across all of society; and is too important an issue to leave to politicians and corporations, as evidenced by the blind eye given to the existing laws.

    Before the details of immigration can be discussed the larger framework that encompasses the immigration issue needs to be established. Some of the facets of this framework include:
    • Border security – How tight/porous do we want our borders to be and not just southern but all of them, sea as well as land, North as well as South, at what expense?
    • Cheap labor – Businesses want cheap labor, but is this viable over the long haul if it means a lower income for citizens and therefore diminished purchasing power of corporate goods and diminished tax revenue for the government?
    • Law enforcement – If existing labor laws were enforced so that businesses could not hire illegal aliens there would be much less draw for illegal immigration and more incentive to address a guest worker program. A side affect would be that the undocumented workers would leave on their own accord if they could not find work.

    As long as businesses are allowed to employ undocumented workers we all lose and the capitalistic system is not allowed to work as it should. The undocumented workers can’t complain about working conditions or abuse because for fear of being deported; and working conditions will tend to deteriorate over time. The borders are under undue stress, if any undocumented alien can get across they are pretty much assured of getting a better job (more pay) than they could at home. As long as businesses can utilize undocumented (plentiful & cheap) labor they do not have to participate in the supply and demand for labor and therefore raise the wages or conditions of their employees.

    All of this culminates in larger profits for the top tiers at businesses; a diminishing middle class and growing Missing Class; a lowering of business incentive to innovate, automate and be more productive; larger political contributions to encourage elected officials to maintain the status quo rather than enforce existing laws, address the real issues and work on a comprehensive solution. This not only cheapens our wages it also cheapens our society and distorts our economy and political system.

    Anything important is never left to the vote of the people. We only get to vote on some man; we never get to vote on what he is to do. – Will Rogers

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