Welcome Pilar Marrero (PilarMarrero.com) (La Opinion) (HuffingtonPost) and Host Sam Quinones (SamQuinones.com) (Columbia School Journalism) (LATimes)

Killing The American Dream: How Anti-Immigration Extremists Are Destroying The Nation

Today we’ll be chatting for a couple hours with journalist Pilar Marrero.

Pilar Marrero is a senior writer for La Opinion, the oldest Spanish-language daily in the US. Originally from Venezuela, she is now a US citizen.

We’ll be discussing her book that’s just been released, Killing the American Dream: How Anti-Immigration Extremists Are Destroying the Nation (Palgrave MacMillan).

In writing the book, Marrero relies on her reporting for La Opinion, in which she has covered the immigrant issue from DREAMers to the Arizona border.

It argues that the people Marrero views as extremists to the right in the immigration debate of recent years have both crushed the ability of many immigrants to progress and hamstrung the country’s ability to harness the energy and labor of this generally younger immigrant class that is essential to the country’s long-term economic health.

These ideas would seem particularly relevant these days, as an incoming Congress is expected to take up the issue of immigration reform.

So join us and let’s dissect some of these ideas and see where they lead.

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

92 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Pilar Marrero, Killing The American Dream: How Anti-Immigration Extremists Are Destroying The Nation”

BevW December 16th, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Pilar, Welcome to the Lake.

Sam, Welcome back to the Lake, and thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

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RevBev December 16th, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Are we here? To start, in the upcoming debate, who are some of the people likely to be the most constructive?

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Hello everyone, I am glad to be here. This is a very important topic and we need to be discussing it.

dakine01 December 16th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Good afternoon Pilar and welcome to Firedoglake this afternoon. Sam, welcome back to FDL.

Pilar I have not had an opportunity to read your book so forgive me if you address this in there but as part of the discussion of undocumented immigrants, do you discuss much about the racism from many of the anti-immigration forces?

I do not know the numbers but I’m fairly certain there are reasonably large numbers of undocumented immigrants in places like Boston and NYC that are from Ireland and Europe in general but there is not as much attention paid to them as there is to the Hispanic immigrants across the Southern US

Sam Quinones December 16th, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Hi folks

I’m here….

We’re chatting today with Pilar Marrero, La Opinion reporter and author of the new book Killing the American Dream: How Anti-Immigration Extremists Are Destroying the Nation (Palgrave MacMillan).

Pilar, welcome to the chat.

Sam Quinones December 16th, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Tell us a little of your background as a journalist.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:04 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 4

Hello ! Thanks for the question. Yes, I do address the issue of rapidly changing demographics and how it has to do with the places where there´s an anti immigrant movement and where some of the most irrational laws have been passed. This is true in particular of places that didn´t historically have a large Latino population. But in places like California, where this happened in the mid 90s other issues were also at play: the economy and political opportunism.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:06 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 6

Hi Sam, how are you? Thanks for doing this. I graduated in Venezuela back in the 1980s I studied communications there and specialized in print (No internet back then :) I came to the US in 1986 and started working as a journalist almost immediately. Most of my career has been in La Opinion, spanish newspaper in LA but i´ve done a lot of radio and tv as well as writing for other media.

Sam Quinones December 16th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

What prompted you to write the book?

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:10 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 9

I´ve covered immigration all thru my time as a journalist in Los Angeles. But as you know, immigration has become a very hot topic in the last few years, specially since the mid 2000s. I felt though that most media didn´t address the historical trends, not even the recent ones, much less the long term history of anti immigrant movements in the US. I felt fascinated with the immigration history of this country, it really is very interested. But as a journalist, i covered many of this issues first hand for many years and I saw the need to put it all together and form a coherent recent history and talk about what i considered to be the need to look at it from a different point of view, not just the enforcement only view, but the long term interest of the US

Sam Quinones December 16th, 2012 at 2:11 pm

tell us a little about the research you did for the book — what and where?

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:14 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 11

For the last several years i have been reading about the history of immigration to this country. Some of those readings informed me of the long term existence of anti immigrant movements. For example, Ben Franklin referring to German immigrants as bad for the country because they were going to “germanize us”. Every wave of immigration was seen with suspicion and questioned for basically the same things: economic, cultural, etc. I started with that background.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:15 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 11

But a lot of the research has been done in my daily job as a journalist, I´ve also consulted studies by experts, think tanks of different ideological tendencies and searched out the opinions of many different observers.

Sam Quinones December 16th, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Do you see any differences then with this wave of immigration in the last 40 years or so?

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:16 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 11

I´ve also maintained a dialogue on immigration in recent years thru social media, not just with the “left” but with the right, the libertarians, the anti immigrant groups, the pro immigrant groups, regular citizens et

Sam Quinones December 16th, 2012 at 2:16 pm

by that i mean the reaction to it, as i know of course that it’s from another part of the world….

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:19 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 14

Not sure what you mean by differences. Obviously since in 1965 we got rid of race and national limitations that favored immigration from white countries and we established a quota per country things have changed on the legal immigration side. But in terms of actual immigration, which includes legal and unauthorized, the pressure comes mostly from Latin America and asia where war and poverty exploded in those decades.

RevBev December 16th, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Who are the House and Senate voices who are likely to be most progressive and helpful?

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:22 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 16

The reaction to immigrants always was mixed in this country. When Germans came because they spoke another language and had different customs. When Irish and Italians came, because they were catholic, loud, darker skinned, etc. There´s always been a reaction. Remember the know nothing movement of the 1880s came about because white males of British extraction did not like the Germans and Catholics whom they saw as a threat

Sam Quinones December 16th, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Why did you decide to focus on the anti-extremists in this debate?

eCAHNomics December 16th, 2012 at 2:25 pm

What are the recent trends, i.e. emigration (the voluntary kind) owing to bad U.S. economy, or still net immigration?

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:25 pm
In response to RevBev @ 18

There´s gonna have to be voices on both parties to make this work. I expect the Latino caucus to be very active, particularly Congressman Luis Gutierrez from Illinois but he´s always been the most active of the group. The leadership needs to be very involved. On the republican side i expect senator Marco Rubio and John Mc Cain to help lead, still unsure about other Republicans, we need to see

Sam Quinones December 16th, 2012 at 2:26 pm

i’m sorry, that’s a typo….make that “anti-immigrant extremists”….sorry…

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:27 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 20

I focused on the anti immigration movement of late because it has dominated the discussion of the issue and made it very difficult to have any kind of rational look at the policy. In fact, it has created lots of bad policy.

eCAHNomics December 16th, 2012 at 2:27 pm
In response to Pilar Marrero @ 19

Charles Darwin (“On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life” was the original title) enumerated 57 races. Irish were at the bottom, lower than dirt. Darwin was a rabid eugenicist.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:28 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 21

That´s a very good question. Unauthorized migration is down sharply due to the economy . http://www.pewhispanic.org/2010/09/01/us-unauthorized-immigration-flows-are-down-sharply-since-mid-decade/

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:29 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 21

Pew has found migration is net zero because immigration has stopped and there have been about 1.5 deportations in the last 4 years plus some people are leaving, but not nearly in the numbers that some would have liked to
(those who argue “self deportation” is the answer to everything=

spocko December 16th, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Can you talk a bit about methods and language that the anti-Extremists use to whip up a frenzy in people? I’m specifically interested in how the anti-extremists talk to each other when they think no one is listening and what they say and how they talk to people they believe they can persuade.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:30 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 21

But most undocumented immigrants have been here for more than 10 years

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:32 pm
In response to spocko @ 28

Well, believe it or not, most of the anti immigrant rhetoric is actually hidden in legality, economic or other issues. People talk first and foremost about the legality of the issue. What part of illegal don´t you understand? and they consider all unauthorized immigrants to be law breakers who actually enjoy breaking those laws or don´t care.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:34 pm
In response to spocko @ 28

Then you have those who talk about cultural issues. Why should they push a button for English and one for Spanish? Why should their town have a clerk in a store that barely speaks English? (according to them). The presence of Latinos and english learners in schools are dumbing down education. ETc.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Above i meant to say 1.5 million deportations

Sam Quinones December 16th, 2012 at 2:36 pm

This may be true, but I think a lot of folks are just upset that there is a rule of law that is being flouted.

This is particularly true among US citizens at the lower end of the economic spectrum — blacks and Mexican-Americans especially, in my experience.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:38 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 34

They are worried about their economic reality of course.
Yes, that is very true but most of the anti immigrant push has not come from blacks or mexican americans at all.

Sam Quinones December 16th, 2012 at 2:40 pm
In response to Pilar Marrero @ 35

i’d agree that they’re not the most vocal or prominent, but their feeling are quite intense, i’ve found. I visited once the neighborhood of West Side San Bernardino, with folks whose grandparents came from Mexico in the 1920s. They spoke of the invasion of their neighborhood and how Mexicn men were taking the jobs that Mexican-American kids from the barrio once had as theirs: car wash, restaurants, etc.

Oscar Leroy December 16th, 2012 at 2:40 pm

“It argues that the people Marrero views as extremists to the right in the immigration debate of recent years have both crushed the ability of many immigrants to progress”

But Barack Obama has deported more immigrants than George W. Bush.

Sam Quinones December 16th, 2012 at 2:40 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 36

actually i visited the neighborhood numerous times…

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:40 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 34

In fact, both african americans and mexican americans are now very supportive of the Dream Act and immigration reform. And they´re not leading the “self deportation” drive. There are actual lobbies that are doing that. The Federation for American Immigration Reform is one of them. I talk at length in the book about John Tanton and his network of organizations. A lot of that is based in Eugenics and the idea that the country must remain white above all costs.

Julian Segura December 16th, 2012 at 2:40 pm

thanks

Sam Quinones December 16th, 2012 at 2:41 pm
In response to Oscar Leroy @ 37

Pilar — why do you think Obama has deported so many folks….

RevBev December 16th, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Do you know if there are some drafts/Restatements that set out workable immigration reform? I have known of such in the past, but nothing that is current, perhaps. Where would one get a copy?

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:42 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 38

Yes, nobody in the working class escapes that economic anxiety but the reality is, their jobs aren´t been taken away by immigrants. Their jobs are being globalized and taken to other countries. Immigrants are beneficial to the economy as a whole and they help to keep prices of food down , for example.

spocko December 16th, 2012 at 2:42 pm

One of the reason I asked the question about language is that Anat Shenker Ororio, is a linguist who recently wrote a book about how the metaphors we used to talk about the Economy impacts what we can see as solutions. She is currently working with some immigration groups on new language to use.

I was at a book reading of here’s were she started talking about the new language. This really triggered one white guy in the audience.

One of the things that Anat found in her research is that the importance of moving away from the legalistic framework (as in Illegal aliens) or even undocumented immigrants and into a concept like Aspiring citizens or Aspiring Americans.

This kind of language works on persuadables and encourages the supporters. It upsets the people who are hardcore against, but it gets them to focus on something else than just the legality. And if they want to try to ‘debunk” it for their audience they keep repeating it, thereby cementing it into the narrative.

She has other parts of the work that hasn’t been released yet but will be soon.
I like to call her the left’s Frank Luntz (without the crappy hair).

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:43 pm
In response to Oscar Leroy @ 37

Yes, Obama has done that. No argument there. Part of the reason is he wanted to double down on enforcement to get Republicans to the table on immigration. In that, he failed. He was still called too liberal on immigration by those Republicans.

Sam Quinones December 16th, 2012 at 2:43 pm

You know, i’m not sure I’m buying your thesis regarding the influence
of the folks you mention – Jim Gilcrest, Tim Donnelly, Shawna Forde, Tanton.

Every country has extremists and these folks are ours and they are treated as such.

Kris Kobach has had more, it’s true.

But a far greater negative impact on the ability of an illegal immigrant with few skills, no English, and little education to achieve the American Dream is the presence of millions of immigrants just like him, with the same limited skill set.

In LA, i don’t think that story could be clearer. Together millions of Latino immigrants have served to do two things that affect them all enormously: they push rents up and push wages down in the lower end of the economy.

that harms them far more than folks like Gilchrest, Simcox, etc etc….no?

Julian Segura December 16th, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Im not sure Mexican Americans support the Dream Act, depends on who you ask.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:45 pm
In response to RevBev @ 42

There are a number of organizations working on alternatives, there will be bills introduced, there are all kinds of folks talking about this now, including some who come from the right. But there not one “immigration reform manifesto” that i know of. it will be built in the next few months.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:47 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 46

There have been a lot of studies done on the question of wages and the effect on wages is not as large as people think. It´s actually very small. They also, on the other hand, help improve productivity. Low skilled immigrants have been coming because the US market could not fill those jobs with the available workers. It´s true in agriculture and in many urban service jobs as well.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:48 pm
In response to Julian Segura @ 47

I´m not talking about anecdotal evidence, i´m talking about polling of Latino voters. They are vastly supportive

Sam Quinones December 16th, 2012 at 2:51 pm
In response to Pilar Marrero @ 49

Well…look at landscaping here in LA. Used to be a middle class occupation. No longer.

There’s so many gardeners/landscapers (mostly from Zacatecas, Durango, Michoacan and El Salvador) with the exact same set of skills and tools around that they cannot raise their prices – doesn’t matter how far the price of gas goes up; they have to eat it.

The reason, as they have told me many times: there’s too many of them competing. Homeowners will quickly find the guy who charges less.

I’d argue this effect has harmed the ability of immigrants to move up and achieve the American Dream far more than the folks you mention, who do create headlines, but whose impact overall is usually muted, or regional at best.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Here´s the poll of African americans http://www.naacp.org/press/entry/naacp-battleground-poll-african-americans-support-dream-act-marriage-equali

Here´s info about latino voters and their position on immigration
http://www.latinodecisions.com/blog/2012/11/27/what-latinos-want/

Also I refer you to the way they voted in the last election and the fact that Republicans and their presidential candidate were rejected by close to 80% of latinos.

Julian Segura December 16th, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Immigrant Mexicans do compete with Mexican Americans who are concentrated in manual labor.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:55 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 51

That´s the way the labor market works. I guess you argue that the government should protect jobs? very hard to do, specially in a globalized world. But your argument is the same argument that has been used for generations. Nothing can stop migration but then, those immigrants bring other positives to the economy. they are also consumers and tax payers.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:56 pm
In response to Julian Segura @ 53

Part of the problem is just that the United States economy simply does not provide the same upward mobility of generations past. And that´s not because of immigration. It´s because of the increased gap in earnings, the worsening of education etc

Sam Quinones December 16th, 2012 at 2:56 pm

The Dream Act is one thing. Comprehensive reform would seem to be another thing entirely.

One problem it faces is history.

There has been 26 years now of non-enforcement of the Amnesty provisions of 1986 when it came to workplaces that hired illegal immigrants. Very few employers have been prosecuted. This has led to huge increases in illegal immigration.

Many Americans are understandably upset that this is the case, and do not believe that another reform would lead to a different result.

Why would comprehensive immigration reform lead to something different and not result in another enormous wave of illegal immigration?

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 2:59 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 56

The reason Amnesty didn´t work is because it didn´t put in place a legal immigration structure that would work for America´s economic needs. Future flows of immigration that respond to those needs are essential. The 1986 law did not include a reasonable reform of that system.

Julian Segura December 16th, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I teach Mexican American Studies and I can tell you there is a divide between the US born and the Mexico and other countries and the common thread are we don’t teach immigration and foreign born do affect especially when considering those amnestied in 1986. In addition the Pew Hispanic Center had a study a few years ago that indicated foreign born get hired more than US born. The super majority of Mexican American voters voting Democratic goes back to Lyndon Johnson era not because Republicans are immigrant bashing. Being lumped with Cubans and others cover the how Mexican Americans actually vote.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 3:02 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 56

Also, the increases in illegal immigration, as you quote, don´t come from the Amnesty law, they came first of all from the pull push factors in this and other countries and secondly, they used to be circular, meaning a lot of those workers would go in and out when there were jobs and when there weren´t. After enforcement only solutions started being put in place in the mid 90s people coudn´t leave anymore. So they stayed, creating a permanent undocumented class.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 3:04 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 56

Illegal immigration occurs because of the pull push factors and because there´s no way to immigrate legally. Illegal immigration will not completely disappear but it can be lessened if there are legal ways for people to come in.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 3:06 pm
In response to Julian Segura @ 58

Sure, immigration is not the only thing Latinos vote on, that´s not what
i´m trying to say. There are other political reasons for
Latino allegiance to the Democrats but recent trends indicate that race and immigration and the lack of diversity in the GOP are a big factor.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 3:08 pm

I think that regardless of what some MExican Americans or others feel, there´s a need to evaluate the positive and not just the negative of immigration. for example, the aging of the US population is very real. The only thing that saves us from what come with an aging population is the large immigration of the last 30 years and the descendants of those immigrants.

Sam Quinones December 16th, 2012 at 3:09 pm

It also has occurred because there’s been no enforcement of workplace laws against hiring illegal residents of the country.

But apart from that, how would a system be created that would accommodate all the folks in Mexico, Central and South America who clearly want to come and work? Without, that is, consistent workplace enforcement….

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 3:11 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 63

There´s actually enforcement of workplace laws, specially in the last few years there´s a LOT more enforcement, which is the reason that some industries are having a hard time finding workers even during this economic times. Agricultural industry is one example.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 3:13 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 63

Obviously you can´t accommodate everyone but some argue that there needs to be an increase in the legal immigration quotas, there needs to be an effective temporary worker program (not everyone wants to work and stay, some just want to work, if they do it legally, they pay taxes, etc they can go back and forth like seasonal work that would be good), but also immigration has to target areas of the economy with needs, high tech, medical, and also some low skilled like home care workers. lots of needs of the aging population will come from low skill care takers, there´s not a lot of those in the american society.

BevW December 16th, 2012 at 3:14 pm
In response to Pilar Marrero @ 64

….which is the reason that some industries are having a hard time finding workers even during this economic times. Agricultural industry is one example.

Pilar, Sam, how much of this is due to the State laws, such as Georgia and Arizona? driving the workers away?

Sam Quinones December 16th, 2012 at 3:14 pm
In response to Pilar Marrero @ 65

And what happens to the folks currently here illegally?

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 3:15 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 63

I must add not everyone in the Americas come here, they come wherever there are jobs. After 9 11 they started going to Europe, though Europe is now not a good destination, now Europeans are going back to Latin America, where the economy is now better. That´s an interesting trend.

Julian Segura December 16th, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Lack of enforcement laws benefit both the employer and employee, and I’m not sure it’s all about low wage labor, Meg Whitman was paying her maid 23$ an hour for 9 years, the Nicki lady did quite well without having to pay her taxes while skilled laborers that I know don’t get that pay and when pay taxes. Go to Costa Mesa and view how rich Whites in Newport or Huntington Beach pay enough for them to live up the hill from Balboa Island and their kids attention Newport Harbor High.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 3:17 pm
In response to BevW @ 66

Yes, those laws have a lot to do with the particular problem in certain states. People are going to other more friendly states, leaving the Georgia, Arizona, Alabama fields with a lack of farm hands. I must add, back in decades or centuries past there were many Americans available for those jobs, as the levels of education in America increased, the availability of workers for the fields in mainstream america was less and less, also the farm tradition has been lost. Many of those jobs are very hard but they´re not completely without skills. You need a certain skill and work ethic to work in the field.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 3:18 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 67

Those living here illegally who are law abiding otherwise should get an opportunity to legalize their status.

Julian Segura December 16th, 2012 at 3:20 pm

The focus should also be on legal immigrants because they with out doubt are favored in hiring and not necessarily because they harder working whether in Hollywood to higher education to newspapers like the LA Times article on Ruben Vives and his undocumented status for some time. It seems and proven that US born and in particularly Mexican Americans have the doors shut meaning there has not been upward mobility even with qualifications.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 3:20 pm
In response to Julian Segura @ 69

It´s not just about wages, in many cases is about who is willing to do certain jobs. I have a close friend who has a construction business. He always likes to hire Immigrant workers, he says they are the hardest workers. I think there´s something to the focus and desperation and commitment to work of those immigrants…they know they don´t have many options and they won´t get any help from the government if they don´t work.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 3:22 pm
In response to Julian Segura @ 72

It´s hard to judge. You talk in general about mexican americans being disadvantaged by legal immigrants but this stuff is very general to judge the whole phenomenon.

Dearie December 16th, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Pilar@73: Does your friend pay the same rates to undocumented construction workers as to those who are documented? One of the complaints I heard in my community (67% Hispanic) is that pay for construction jobs went down and down during the boom years as more and more undocumented workers moved up out of the fields.

Julian Segura December 16th, 2012 at 3:27 pm

The assumption is that immigrants work hard only and US born don’t which is stereotyping at its worse, my best friend Mexican American, whose been unemployed for three years with licenses in plumbing, driving licenses A b c and m finds himself with that sterotype when that’s a myth. He sometimes works as a laborer for a Chinese immigrant as a mover and has found that immigrant employers believe that other immigrants are harder workers until they arent found because they’ve been arrested for domestic violence. My friend Ruben is the only reliable guy.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 3:28 pm
In response to Julian Segura @ 69

I can identify with what you are saying about skilled workers being paid less than others with more skills. that happens a lot in the United States. A journalist, a teacher, other very important professions aren´t that well paid.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 3:31 pm
In response to Julian Segura @ 76

I didn´t say mexican americans aren´t hard working, what I said is that immigrants are desperate, pretty much. If you cross a dangerous desert and pay a coyote to come here to work, you are HIGHLY motivated. There are other societal issues at play here in the background of those recent immigrants and the Mexican Americans, which come from a recent history of their own struggles to fit into American society. I don´t believe it´s healthy to focus on that though. This is not a competition about who is morally superior. the reality is the american economy is not what it used to be, because more and more of the profits are concentrated at the top, and the weakness of unionization. etc.

Sam Quinones December 16th, 2012 at 3:31 pm

You don’t seem to focus much on mexico or other Latin American countries where immigrants come from.

How will a reform work if Mexico remains a country where poor people continue to feel forced to leave? So the pressure to immigrate illegally will presumably outstrip the possible legal slots reform would make available….

That’s not happening now, as you say, due to the economy. It’s also not happening due to US border security and cartel violence raising the cost of crossing into the US.

But that may ease somewhat and our economy may improve….

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 3:34 pm
In response to Dearie @ 75

My friend was not concerned as much about the wage but about the consistency of the workers, the fact that he knew they were going to be there every day cause they didn´t have too many options. But obviously the availability of undocumented workers does create the opportunity for exploitation, though funny enough, as i said, the studies don´t show a big impact on wages. Also, i forgot to previous question about the fines on companies that hire undocumented workers, at least a million private citizens hire undocumented workers to work in their homes as nannies, domestics, home care workers or in small businesses.I argue that without those workers, the middle classes of
America would be in even worse shape

Julian Segura December 16th, 2012 at 3:34 pm

The US Census tells you the earnings of Mexican Americans which is the lowest and Samuel Huntington in his rants complained that they don’t finish high school and that after 4 generations have the lowest high school graduation rates and the lowest college completion rates. The doors never opened, I’ve taught in 10 different colleges and I have seen how they hired a French woman, a Mexico born–a few of them, a El Salvadorian,a Hungarian, a Canadian etc….My old roommate is the president of Harbor College, a Salvadorian immigrant, we attended grad school together, he completed one MA, I completed two MA’s. I’m the unemployed part time instructor with 20 years experience he’s the college president. I list could go on. The immigration issue is short sighted.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 3:36 pm
In response to Sam Quinones @ 79

Actually, we might find ourselves competing to keep some of those workers we need here. Mexico´s economy is improving. And so is the economy in several latin american countries.
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-02-10-Mexicorising_N.htm?csp=34&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+usatoday-NewsTopStories+%28News+-+Top+Stories%29

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 3:38 pm
In response to Julian Segura @ 81

Respectfully, how are immigrants to blame for that? What would you have the US government do? We are going towards a globalized economy where it´s going to be impossible for countries to have laws protecting where the jobs go. But the reality is that unemployment among the high skilled is very low.
Less than 5%

BevW December 16th, 2012 at 3:51 pm

As we come to the end of this Book Salon discussion,

Pilar, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book, and the issues around immigration.

Sam, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Pilar’s website and book

Sam’s website and books

Thanks all, Have a great week.

If you would like to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

FDL Book Salon has a Facebook page too

BevW December 16th, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Are there any last questions for Pilar or Sam?

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 3:52 pm
In response to BevW @ 84

Thank you for the opportunity.

RevBev December 16th, 2012 at 3:53 pm

I am really looking forward to your book. This topic really interests me, including the horrors in the detention system. Do you think there are, or can you name, some immigation groups that are good resources for information? Ive been struck by how some of the “best names” have not so good positions, so that’s what’s behind my question.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 3:55 pm
In response to RevBev @ 87

I find that some of the best research comes from Migration Policy Institute but feel free to email me for more info if you think of a specific topic pilar.marrero@laopinion.com CATO also has some good stuff, thought they come at it from the libertarian perspective is usually very thoughtful on immigration.

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 3:56 pm
In response to RevBev @ 87

National Immigration forum is a group I respect a lot. They´re working with a variety of groups from across the aisle on creating workable immigration reform proposals

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Thank you everyone, this is always a fascinating topic full of controversy

Pilar Marrero December 16th, 2012 at 3:58 pm
In response to RevBev @ 87

There´s a chapter in my book about the business of detention. It´s really serious and terrible stuff

RevBev December 16th, 2012 at 3:58 pm
In response to Pilar Marrero @ 88

Thank you very much; you’re doing important work. Thanks for coming.

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