Immigration Reform Now...Wait, Make That 2010

Monday, August 17, 2009

Amy Gottlieb, attorney and director of the Immigrant Rights Program at the American Friends Service Committee, and Diego Graglia, editor of the Feet in 2 Worlds blog, talks about the current state of the country's immigration system -- and what's happening in federal immigration detention centers.


Amy Gottlieb and Diego Graglia

Comments [36]

Sayrah from Albuquerque

The people I know who don't want immigrants in the U.S. don't reflect on what that would mean for their lives. If there were not immigrants exploited for cheap wages to pick our food (we all need to eat), to work in the worst construction positions, clean office buildings, etc. the things that people are used to getting cheaply would increase tremendously. Also people emigrate here to escape sweatshop work and terrible agriculture work. All things that keep prices down for Americans so we can buy cheap things at WalMart etc. The immigrants I know who've come here would have preferred to stay home if there were good jobs.
So if we addressed all the things to prevent immigration to the US, most Americans would have a lot less material things and a lot more expensive food and housing and cost of doing business. Which I think would be a good thing!

Aug. 18 2009 04:18 PM
m carne from new jersey

Glad that Amy Gottlieb brought up the economic factor. Reagan introduced private prisons for profit and we saw huge numbers of people receiving sentences for extended prison terms. Now that the prison population is dwindling, communities that rely on the prison industry are crying & voila! they receive windfall profits for imprisoning immigrants. Detainees are not only denied adequate medical care, they are underfed, given little or no recreation, miserable "libraries", no privacy (toilet facilities are open)or dignity. Personal possessions are not allowed. Fotos posted around one's bunk are sometimes destroyed by sadistic guards during body counts, as an example. Detention of the innocent people is entirely unnecessary except to fill thecoffers of the prison profiteers.

Aug. 18 2009 02:08 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I was rushing to post my follow-up before the segment ended (didn't manage that!), so I didn't read throught the other comments 1st. Looks like Drew & Serenity were thinking along the same lines I was, & I especially appreciate Serenity's posting Emma Lazarus' entire poem.

On the other hand, Serenity, on your 2nd comment, I don't think the host was pushing the agenda, just giving the guests the chance to counter the arguments the other side has been making.

And on Drew's 2nd comment, I agree, it won't be much more expensive to provide immigrants w/health care. In fact, not providing it will end up being more expensive, not only because waiting until preventable conditions get bad costs more but because ignoring "those people's" health problems (whoever they are this time) means they'll become "us people's" health problems too.

Aug. 17 2009 12:06 PM
CB from NY

Mike, you just stated the prime reason for war. Increase the access to natural resources. Can you name a war that wasn't about this?

Aug. 17 2009 11:52 AM
CB from NY

Someone answer the question. What is the carrying capacity of the US? That is, how many people can comfortably live on the amount of available land and natural resources?

Aug. 17 2009 11:50 AM

I agree with Sandra. If it's ok to spend 3 trillion dollars on a war that we really shouldn't have started, then maybe we should just invade Mexico and make it into a state.

Aug. 17 2009 11:48 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Following up on my on-air question: Is there an agency that's *supposed* to be overseeing the private companies running the detention facilities? If so, is there no policy on health care/abuse prevention, or is there a policy but it's not being enforced? It's outrageous that this is happening to people--I can practically hear Emma Lazarus spinning in her grave. What can listeners do to help change the situation?

Aug. 17 2009 11:45 AM
CB from NY

Why doesn't anyone address the real issue behind immigration reform which is that overpopulation equals poverty and that the carrying capacity of the US is limited. Simply, more people equals less resources, of all kinds, but think water and energy.

Aug. 17 2009 11:45 AM
Serenity from UWS

This person substituting for Brian Lehrer was not an impartial moderator in this segment --she sounded to be pushing her own anti immigration reform agenda.

Aug. 17 2009 11:44 AM
hjs from 11211

that's a good one! thanks for the laugh, when there is so little to laugh about!!!

Aug. 17 2009 11:43 AM
Drew from Bronx

With all the money shelled out on prosecution, detention, border patrol, is doling out money on healthcare for immigrants really all that much more expensive?

Aug. 17 2009 11:41 AM
Sandra from Astoria, Queens

Sadly, I think UOS and Mozo are right. If healthcare reform is proving ugly, just wait for the reaction to immigration reform (the economy is tanking--climate is ripe for renewed xenophobia).

I think Obama wants to tackle climate change too, and that will go nowhere ("it will take away jobs!"). I fear Obama will be sadly ineffectual about everything--even with a Democrat majority.

But wait, with the money saved on no healthcare, we can start another war! In Iran! Yeehaw! USA! USA!

This country is f---ed.

Aug. 17 2009 11:41 AM

All you need to know about the argument against immigration can be found in local legislations about building hiring centers. If people really wanted immigrants off the street, they would allow these centers to be built. If they were truly worried about getting American jobs back in American hands, they would embrace the African American communities that have been completely disenfranchised. Can you imagine if a group of African Americans stood on a corner, or at Home Depot, looking for work? They'd be arrested.

Aug. 17 2009 11:39 AM
Enrique from Elizabeth, NJ

Martin#9...check this clip, fast forward to minute 1:10. There the IRI mentions how coups are in a comeback; all synthesized in the phrase: "coups were thought to be a thing of the past... Until now", refering to what was coming/planned in Honduras -the clip was released byt the IRI (then removed) 3 months b4 the coup-.

Aug. 17 2009 11:38 AM
Graham Walker from NYC

Obama has dropped immigration reform because of the health care debate. I have heard Republican relatives say that free access to health care for illegal immigrants in California has cause the budgetary problems in that State. Obama is probably aware of this arguement therefore he has decided to down play immigration reform to ensure that the Republicans don't use this issue to even further undermine health care reform.

Aug. 17 2009 11:37 AM
Enrique from Elizabeth, NJ

Martin#9. That's exactly what i tried to say. And apparently those military bases (which will make Colombia a military occupied country), are being installed there (regarding of the lies) to stop the progress of our countries, and keep them impoverished. What's the result of that? MIGRATION.
Can't the american government see this? Capitalism (the thirst to suck our resources for profit) has been historically a disaster. Look up Dimitri Negroponte. He held different meetings w/ the military elite (trained in the Schools of Americas in Atlanta), three times in the previous weeks to the coup in Honduras.

Aug. 17 2009 11:33 AM

LOL, if my great-great-grandparents had been deported I'd probably have better health care!

Aug. 17 2009 11:33 AM

There is no logical debate about immigration. As the guest said, everything gets blamed on immigrants. My feeling is that if the arguments against immigrants made so much sense, they wouldn't have to lie so much to back them up.

Aug. 17 2009 11:33 AM
Josemi from NJ

Obama is another traitor. If he promised it, he should deliver it...
He just wanted to be president. Another liar!
Kennedy was a politician who became a myth. Obama is a myth that is becoming a politician.
I have been in this country legally for ten years. Legally status and the stupid bureaucracy can not give me a green card. The system does not work and he does not care about us... because we can not vote.
Thanks for nothing! :(

Aug. 17 2009 11:32 AM

Let's imagine for a minute that groups of unemployed (white) Americans are willing to live away from their families, 6 to an apartment in a bad urban neighborhood, so they can work 12 hour $50 restaurant dishwasher shifts. Let's also imagine that people are willing to pay twice the amount for restaurant meals to accommodate these Americans. Do you see this happening?

Aug. 17 2009 11:32 AM
Steven Forbis from Manhattan

The host should call out the guest on her statement that undocumented aliens have no access to legal status. They do. They could leave the US.

I'm not saying they should, though. The current system seems to attract adventurous types who, in my experience, are an asset to our society.

Aug. 17 2009 11:31 AM
uos from queens

People who think this is the perfect bipartisan initiative are insane.(caller) No sense of the political situation on the ground.

Fox news is not the #1 news channel for no reason.

Get real. If people want reform, they need to pressure their representatives in congress and the senate to PUBLICLY support immigration reform. If they can't say it publicly, there's no hope they will vote for it.

60 democrat vote majority in the senate, sure. But this is the kind of divisive issue that will give republicans massive gains in the next election.

Aug. 17 2009 11:28 AM
Serenity from UWS

This country has historically provided means for undocumented newcomers to become citizens on a regular basis and a program of this kind is way over due. The opposition to immigration reform is fear mongering and reminiscent of WWII Europe.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

—Emma Lazarus, 1883

Aug. 17 2009 11:26 AM
Drew from Bronx

I'm always surprised at how much opposition there is to immigration. My older brother is against it (mostly because Bill O'Reilly is). Our grandparents were immigrants! And probably here "illegally."

I wonder if they should maybe take down the statue of liberty until this is figured out.

Aug. 17 2009 11:25 AM
whoindatgarden from Brooklyn

As long as the workers remain un-documented it serves businesses very well to keep wages depressed.
People are forgetting the reality that is unfolding in this society.We are going through a tectonic shift in how this society sustains itself.There will be work for people at two extremes of society, people who are extremely talented or gifted in their field will have work, those who are unskilled/low skilled will have work as well. The middle which consists of people with soft skills and doing things like middle management etc will either find that their work is being done by machines or have been outsourced to places where it can be done by others who are cheaper. What that means is there will be a run by these folks to either end of the spectrum and more towards the unskilled/low skilled work pool.
What that means is without having to enact any real reform around Immigration policies we would have solved the problem at had as many of the un-documented workers tend to be unskilled/low skilled workers who will not have work available to them.
The Obama Administration is not likely to do anything on the extreme and He is a Man of Compromises and thereby whatever is done will be wishy-washy and really maintain status quo only with a new marketing branding campaign conducted.

Aug. 17 2009 11:23 AM
mozo from nyc

No reforms. Not in health care. Not in immigration. This country is full of white people who do not care about their less wealthy and non-white neighbors.

Stop kidding yourselves.

Aug. 17 2009 11:18 AM
Yourgo from Astoria

Allow people a chance to follow there dreams.
Send the criminals home allow the rest a path to citizenship.

Aug. 17 2009 11:18 AM
Martin from Midtown, NY

Ditto @ Enrique. Immigration and people dislocation arise from unfair Foul Trade Agreements like the one being negotiated w/ right-wing Colombian government. A propos, WNYC has NOT covered Obama's SECRETIVE approval of 7! military bases in Colombia. No wonder Brazil, Chile, Argentina and all other SouthAmerican countries are FUMING!

Aug. 17 2009 11:16 AM
merrill clark from NYC

I am an immigration attorney and closely follow the forthcoming immigration law. It seems that many anti-immigration groups have jumped onto to the anti-health care, alleging that undocumented people will receive free health care.

Aug. 17 2009 11:12 AM
Jerry from 10028

There is a reason for postponing a reform for illegals to get rewarded w/U.S. citizenship for staying and working illegaly here. It goes against what ordinary folks believe is right (politicians do understand). The highly "evolved" folks talking on this station are not able to get it.

Aug. 17 2009 11:11 AM
hjs from 11211

all they have to do is fine the employers who knowingly hire these people. YES even those who hire "nannies" on the UES

Aug. 17 2009 11:11 AM
Enrique from Elizabeth, NJ

From the aspect of Latin America, free trade agreements -and mainly- armed conflicts are cause. We have the examples of Mexico for the first, and the "dirty wars" in Central America.
(specially with new evidence involving U.S. role,
in the current military coup in Honduras)?

Aug. 17 2009 11:11 AM
hjs from 11211

uos is right.
no immigration reform until we have REAL healthcare reform

Aug. 17 2009 10:09 AM
Tom PS from Massachusetts

Great topic. Do the national immigrant advocacy organizations have a long-term strategy for political/cultural change? It seems to me that they are in a rush to write policy when the dominant political climate is still very anti-immigrant (have you seen the Birthright bill's list of co-sponsors?)- so if we push for "Reform" now, we will get a policy that reflects those values. The pro-immigrant political leaders (NIF, NILC, etc.) have already ceded much (i.e.- the idea that we need more enforcement not less) so we are beginning the debate looking uphill. Why not start by pushing for win-able policy change like the DREAM Act and AgJobs bills rather than wrestling the Comprehensive Immigration Reform giant octopus?

Aug. 17 2009 09:55 AM
uos from queens

If the racial fear seems bad now with healthcare reform, imagine how it's going to be with immigration reform.

The best chance for immigration reform was with George w. Bush. If an extreme right wing, convservative president could not swing any support for immigration reform, no one can.

Now with Barack Obama as president, any attempt at immigration reform would be an easy target conservatives. As soon as President Obama makes any effort for immigration reform, that's when the spin's going to begin.

Aug. 17 2009 09:55 AM
Jamilah from astoria

could you talk about the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP)? selected individuals are automatically enrolled or they can choose to opt out and report to a detention center. I'm concerned with the use of electronic monitoring devices. how much are these contractors making off of immigrants who would otherwise be detained? Is New York still excluded from ISAP? If so, why?

Aug. 17 2009 06:59 AM

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