Immigration Nation

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, discusses the pending immigration reform agenda in Congress and the immigration bill signed by Arizona Governor Brewer.


Chung Wha Hong

Comments [42]

Paul Harbaugh from Mountainside NJ

Dear Mr. Lehrer: Apologies if this same message was sent yesterday. This has to do with a term (an incorrect one) you used on your show last Thursday. It was "strung on his own petard" or words like that. As Casey used to say, "you can look it up," A petard is a french explosive device and the common phrase was: hoist by his own petard" BOOM!
I enjoy your show and its discourse.
Paul (in New Jersey)

Apr. 28 2010 11:48 AM

Mike, like GS points out for France, Germany also has a large population of illegal immigrants and they are paid crap for doing crap jobs. If those were compensated appropriately, an employer would have domestic candidates who are better options for them as employees than illegals. This is how it should also be in the US.

Apr. 28 2010 05:01 AM


Apr. 28 2010 12:33 AM

Even though it's FOX News, here's a link:

It contains a link to the text of the Arizona law. For all the people crying that the law is 'unconstituional': Do you really think there are no lawyers in Arizona or that a predictably-controversial law would be drafted without lawyers?

The article reads, in part:

The law specifically bans picking up someone just because they are Hispanic or even because the person was originally from Mexico or any other country you can read a copy of the law right here. Anyone arrested for a crime must have their immigration status determined before they are released. Thus, it is not just Hispanics who will be required to provide evidence of citizenship, but so will all whites, blacks and Asians. If the eligibility for public services depends on citizenship, again, everyone who applies, regardless of race, will have to provide an ID. In other circumstances, law enforcement officials must have reasonable suspicion, not based simply on the person's race or origin, that the individual is an illegal alien before they can ask to check someone's ID. Police today already have to deal with the "reasonable suspicion" standard all the time in other areas of law enforcement, and most understand very well how this standard limits what they can do. Police know that they can't pull over drivers for fear that they are smuggling drugs just because they are black. "Reasonable suspicion" requires that the known facts and circumstances are sufficient to convince a person of "reasonable prudence" that a crime has been committed. Obviously in a state such as Arizona, with an estimated half a million illegal immigrants, the vast majority OF illegal aliens are going to be Hispanic. But the reasonableness standard used by Arizona specifically requires something other than just race or national origin. The ID requested is hardly draconian: a driver's license, a non-operating identification license, valid tribal enrollment card or other form of tribal identification, or "any valid United States federal, state, or local government issued identification." Rather than requiring multiple IDs as some fear, the law clearly says that "any" of the IDs is sufficient. And the notion of having to carry IDs is not something unique to Arizona. President Obama and many Democrats, such as Senator Charles Schumer, support a national ID card, so it hard to argue that Arizona's requirement will impose an undue burden. Even if a person does not present the required ID, that doesn't necessarily mean the person faces problems. The new Arizona law requires that "a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person."

Apr. 27 2010 12:54 PM
Eugenia Renskoff from Williamsburgh, Brooklyn

Hello, Brian, The Arizona law is just plain bad and unfair. In about 3 months, people who look Hispanic or Latino or not American can be stopped on the street and sent to jail or deported. Their families, whether they live in New York or other parts of the country, will, in all probability not be able to visit them. Illegal immigration is a problem and it need to be resolved, but not by making people who came to this country to better themselves live in fear. Very few people, I think, come to the US if everything is great in their place of origin. Eugenia Renskoff

Apr. 26 2010 04:13 PM

agree w emjayjay w an additional note for BL to make sure that sliding to the left is his purposeful intention.

Apr. 26 2010 01:41 PM
emjayay from Brooklyn

Why is the ONE guest on the illegal immigration topic a pro-illegal immigration advocate? Everything the guest said was shaded in favor of illegal immigration.

The Arizona law is probably misguided and unconstitutional, but that does not mean the problems it is trying to address are not problems. The posters below who discuss the importance of making employment of illegal immigrants impossible as a solution are in my opinion correct. I can't understand why we can't accomplish this except for the business community from the right wanting a docile and low paid workforce joining with illegal immigrant sympathisers on the left to prevent employment enforcement.

WNYC: Please structure your programs to facilitate debate, not one sided programs with the usual sympathetic uncritical interviewing by Brian Lehrer.

Apr. 26 2010 12:50 PM

Michael Walker claims: "There is not a study in the world that says that immigration in this country is anything but good for this country. The anti-immigrationists are just vying for power using lies and innuendos and preying on people's xenophobia about another culture."

This is because the studies are done by people with an ax to grind. There are no 'objective' studies done because good data is hard to come by and usually deals in counterfactuals (e.g. what would have happened had a different action been taken) that are highly speculative to say the least. Please don't hid behind that vague fig leaf.

Apr. 26 2010 12:35 PM
The Truth from Becky

Andrew...you are not making sense...you say the Reverend Al Sharpton is down there "playing the race card" and yet two words after you make a racist and stereotypical comment of your own...check the speck in your own eye before.....

Also, there is not "race card" gosh I hate cliches' ...they stop people from using creative thought.

Apr. 26 2010 12:18 PM

Illegal immigration makes Republicans richer, Democrats poorer, and ALL Americans fatter. No kidding.

Apr. 26 2010 12:12 PM

GS replies: "Mike- France has a huge immigration problem. It's very different than ours, but the politicians use the same racist fears to take advantage of it."

GS - Many of the French may not like having North African immigrants in their country, as many Germans wish the Turks would go home, but they are not illiegal aliens. The North Africans and Turks are legal residents of the country. Illegal aliens cannot get work. The government send inspectors to routinely check the employees of businesses to insure this.

Apr. 26 2010 12:11 PM
Harriet from Brooklyn

Gotta love these one sided BL segments.

Apr. 26 2010 12:00 PM
Harriet from Brooklyn

Gotta love these one sided BL segments.

Apr. 26 2010 12:00 PM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

While the Arizona law is seemingly highly problematic, I can understand where the impulse is coming from. Poeple are getting fed up with what happens to wages and services with influxes of undocumented workers.

It's interesting that when the debate about illegal immigrants comes up, it is almost always in relation to poor or unskilled people coming here illegally. I have several friends from Europe, South Africa, etc. who all came here at one point illegally, and all applied for citizenship and/or married a citizen in order to stay here. The ones who didn't get citizenship eventually left.

One wonders why poor and unskilled immigrants should get blanket protection here, when skilled or educated workers from other countries leave when they can't get working papers/green cards/etc.?

Apr. 26 2010 11:51 AM


France has a huge immigration problem. It's very different than ours, but the politicians use the same racist fears to take advantage of it.

Apr. 26 2010 11:48 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Brian, please don't attribute support for this measure to "people from Arizona" in general. A friend of mine from Phoenix blogged yesterday calling it "vaguely-written, short-sighted, and, frankly, unconstitutional" & saying many good people there are angry about it & organizing to oppose it. You're usually more nuanced than that, so I'll chalk this up as an exception--but 1 still worth calling to your attention.

Apr. 26 2010 11:47 AM

I am a hispanic women (who doesn't "look" hispanic) who was in AZ over the Easter holiday. I went through an interesting experience at the AZ airport. During our luggage search there was an issue with some mexican food products which were in my luggage--(they were right about this) However the female Hmld Sec agent went ballistic over my makeup bag which had no disallowed substances or larger than allowed sizes--once she found out I was hispanic. She threated to throw out everything- luckily cooler heads intervened and we worked it out. But I now feel that the new laws will work to empower people to harrass any immigrant group they are already biased against, based on this unsettling experience.

Apr. 26 2010 11:44 AM

Why is arizona not coming down on the employers with the same amount of strength?

This is just a ploy to make the republicans look good for the coming elections.

Apr. 26 2010 11:44 AM
Michael Walker

There is not a study in the world that says that immigration in this country is anything but good for this country. The anti-immigrationists are just vying for power using lies and innuendos and preying on people's xenophobia about another culture.

Apr. 26 2010 11:42 AM
Andy B. from New York City

Ironically, Sharpton is down in Arizona playing the race card once again - but if illegal immigration were halted, the wage rate for all kinds of jobs, from gardening to restaurant work would go WAY up.

As a result, huge numbers of currently incarcerated African-American men could be making living wages doing these jobs instead of rotting in prison.

Apr. 26 2010 11:42 AM

People are afraid that if people who are here illegally become legal they will use entitlement programs. The people who become legal will pay taxes balancing whoever is taking from the system, which will be a small percentage.

Apr. 26 2010 11:42 AM
Andrew Brooks from New York City

Ironically, Sharpton is down in Arizona playing the race card once again - but if illegal immigration were halted, the wage rate for all kinds of jobs, from gardening to restaurant work would go WAY up.

As a result, huge numbers of currently incarcerated African-American men could be making living wages doing these jobs instead of rotting in prison.

Apr. 26 2010 11:42 AM

In Germany and France, illegal aliens are not a problem. Why? Because it is almost impossible to hire illegal aliens. Prosecute the employers and give them jail time. The illegals will self-deport.

Apr. 26 2010 11:41 AM
JP from NJ

Shouldn’t we be concerned about worker exploitation and the companies that exploit their workers like mill owners and coal mine owners did with child labor at the turn of the century? Aren’t we just creating a cast society?

Apr. 26 2010 11:41 AM

@Oh Pulease: your anecdote is not a valuable political argument. No anecdote is a valuable argument. You want to stop illegal immigration, then I suggest you write your congressman and push him on living wage. If jobs that illegal immigrants take were properly paid and regulated, then more americans would go for them. Large companies are incentivized to employ undocumented workers.

Apr. 26 2010 11:41 AM
The Truth from Becky

There may be a problem, but this is not the answer. Fix the holes in the darn fence and step up the patrols down at the border!

Stop everyone brown or white or pink no one!

Apr. 26 2010 11:40 AM
judy from nyc

I am surprised that I haven't heard anything people about boycotting businesses and resorts in Arizona. I would hope those who are in a position to plan conventions, etc would find an alternative to AZ. Although I don't think I would be targeted as a visitor to Arizona, I would not visit the state while such a discriminatory law is in effect.

Apr. 26 2010 11:40 AM
Barry from New Jersey

If we grant amnesty to the illegals or undocumented, won't they go on entitlement programs like welfare, food stamps etc?

Apr. 26 2010 11:39 AM
Jim from NJ

Hispanic is a culture not a race.
Brian, you know this, correct your guest making such inaccurate statements.

Apr. 26 2010 11:37 AM
Rob from the Bronx

So if I was an illegal immigrant and witnessed a crime, would I come forward given this law?

Apr. 26 2010 11:37 AM

The Arizona law also (and I think more importantly) targets people who hire illegal aliens. This is where I think the teeth are; not in random stops on the street as the alarmist immigration 'advocate' seems to believe.

Apr. 26 2010 11:37 AM
Oh Pulease

I know an NJ town where illegals bought a bunch of houses, borrowed against them to buy vehicles, then gutted the homes and drove the vehicles to "Their country" to sell them. Now the sheriff is selling what's left of these houses. These illegals are off all books so can't even be tracked for any prosecution (not that they even broke any laws...)

I have as much sympathy as the next guy for immigrants, but let's not just assume that this issue is a good versus bad one. I support immigrant rights, but there are lots of smart criminals out there who do best in gray areas like today's immigration status is.

Apr. 26 2010 11:35 AM
Robert from NYC

So a family of Swedish illegals drives thru the state-- blonde/lt brown hair, blue eyes, white skin, you know, classic nordic features--will they be stopped? Do they "look like" illegals? I DON'T THINK SOOOOO!! This is racial, it color oriented.

Apr. 26 2010 11:35 AM

Boycott Arizona

Apr. 26 2010 11:34 AM
The Truth from Becky

This is bill should be struck down immediately, there are too many police officers chomping at the bit!

Calls 'em - amazing to me how you found a way to work the democratic party into this, in the state of Arizona's business at that, last I heard they were red, no?

Apr. 26 2010 11:34 AM

I guess it was ok to have illegal immigrants when the economy was strong and there were jobs available that US citizens didn't want to do.

There will be some great lawsuits from this new law as well. Stay tuned.

Apr. 26 2010 11:34 AM
Alan Treacy from Murray Hill

Crimes will go unreported due to fear. This fear will spread outside Arizona to other states. Police are only as good as their informants. Big step backwards.

Apr. 26 2010 11:34 AM
cwebba from Astoria, NY

I hope we don't have to listen to some right-winger justify the Arizona law. Just tell us what we have to do to fight it.

Apr. 26 2010 11:33 AM

I think the speaker is wildly misinformed. The Arizona police and the governor have explicitly acknowledged that racial profiling is imappropriate as well as illegal. How exactly they will implement this (or whether it is possible to implement this) remains to be seen.

Apr. 26 2010 11:33 AM
Rick from Brooklyn


I meant to say,

Already in Arizona a truck driver who is an American citizen was arrested because he didn't have his birth certificate on his person.


Apr. 26 2010 11:07 AM
Jerry from nyc

People who live in Arizona (meaning legal citizens) probably see this law as the way to go for a reason. Maybe if NY state was facing the same situation at Canadien border, same laws would be passed here. At some point enough is enough, how else to stop it if there is no end to illegal immigrants coming here? The naivete of the host is unbound.

Apr. 26 2010 11:04 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from here, there and everywhere

All illegal aliens are felons. In an ideal world they would be rounded up and deported. In the real world where all pols are weasels those who are not criminals and who can fully support themselves should be given some legal status, heavily fined and be banned from ever being US citizens because of their underlying felony. There are millions of people around the world that are waiting to get into this country legally. Some are waiting for many years. The Dems have no concept of fairness or legality and just want to overwhelm the voting polls with these poor unfortunates who they think they can manipulate.

Apr. 26 2010 10:55 AM

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