We heard the President, but did he hear the American people?

President Obama addressed the nation this past Thursday to talk about his Deferred Action Program for Illegal Aliens. Numerous analyses have emerged since, including a quick fact checking of his speech or a point by point refutation. I am adding here a couple thoughts:

The President highlighted the American “tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world”, adding: “we are and always will be a nation of immigrants”.

As I noted in a previous blog, immigration successes and failures are not static just as past immigration flows differ from today’s, if only in size and origin. Also, in an increasingly interconnected world (cheap and fast travel, modern tools of connection like internet, phone, television, etc.), immigrants can and usually do retain contact with their homeland on regular basis. This affects migratory experiences and encourages cultural preservation while slowing down integration processes. We should keep this in mind when faced with the ‘melting pot’ justification for maintaining our doors and borders open. In the past, a land was thirsty for people; today, people are thirsty for the land.

The President also claimed that immigration helps the economy: “Our history and the facts show that immigrants are a net plus for our economy and our society…Independent experts said that it would help grow our economy and shrink our deficits.”

I don’t know about these “independent” experts but one Harvard economist, George Borjas, questions such conclusions.  In his book, Immigration Economics, he argues that today’s immigration generates losers and winners. The losers are the American workers; the winners are both the immigrants and the employers of immigrants. What immigration does, in short, is transfer wealth: it takes from U.S. workers to give to U.S. employers of immigrants. Look at it from a supply and demand perspective says Borjas: immigration’s supply of workers leads to the price of labor going down. When immigrants come in, the wage of competing workers goes down.  Conversely, for a particular group of labor that does not include immigrants, the price of labor goes up.

So, unlike what President Obama is asserting, American workers are the big losers today while American employers of immigrants share the winning stand with the immigrants.

Knowing that the type of immigration the U.S. witnesses today is mainly low-skill immigration, is it wise to give work authorization to five million more unskilled immigrants? If we truly cared about the well-being of low-skilled American workers who are being hurt by additional competition, our immigration policy would be geared towards minimizing or stopping the entry of low-skilled immigrants, definitely not adding to it.

Finally, President Obama talked about the “American identity”, asking people not to worry about a “change in the very fabric of who we are”, and claiming that the immigration debate was “about who we are as a country and who we want to be for future generations”. According to him, welcoming immigrants is the right, “American” thing to do.

The President is right to talk about the American identity because it is at risk. When people migrate, they carry with them their own moral codes, skills, attitudes toward work etc. The reproduction of cultural capital and notions of identity and belonging – or ‘cultural transplants’, as labeled by Thomas Sowell – are in fact inherent to migratory processes. Many immigrants feel strongly about retaining much of the culture they left behind. This applies even more to large-scale immigration, the kind we witness today. If previous immigrant flows successfully assimilated to the American culture, it does not mean this outcome will apply to today’s flows. As I stated above, conditions, needs, aspirations…not to mention the world in general have changed.

What is true today is that large and constant immigration flows to the United States throughout the 20th Century led to the creation of numerous “ethnic enclaves” where integration (not to mention assimilation) is hard to achieve. With this in mind, The American identity and legacy are in real danger.

On a personal note, but since we are in an era of storytelling (the President shared with us the hardship and courage of Astrid Silva), I recall my father’s words: “There is so much misery out there, I cannot alleviate all of it even if I wanted to. But what I try to do is take care of my family the best I can. It is my duty, my moral duty”.  We heard the President the other night, but, is he listening to us? As the elected head of this nation, is he doing everything he can to take care of this nation’s children, ahead of any other nation? Or is he failing his moral duty?

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  1. avatar

    Fig the judicial system, schooling, n the USA armys, marines, n everyone trying to take whats not theres… if u were
    taught better u would know better… all the billionairs, n multi millionaires, there are people trying eat out there tonight
    n to the fig the president of the united states… what makes u higher then mighty.. everyone is dancing with the hitchawiea… (devil).. were trying to chase $$$$$$$$ if we could all stop chaseing the mighty dollar everyone would b better people… moms n dads would home more to teach us love n compassion… but instead were trying to make ends meet n get the bills paid.. were stressed n tired.. people are robbing people just to have what the next man has..
    Were teaching our kids that money makes the world go round..

  2. avatar

    “Nayla M. Rush
    Senior Researcher
    Nayla joined FAIR in 2014. She is a qualified researcher and published author with an extensive academic record in the Social Sciences. She holds a PhD in Migration Studies from the University of Sussex (Brighton, UK), a Maîtrise in Sociology from the Sorbonne University (Paris, France), and a BA in Sociology/Anthropology from the American University in Beirut (Beirut, Lebanon). Nayla has taught at university and worked as a consultant for international organizations and NGOs. She is fluent in English, French and Arabic. Her book Sri Lankan Housemaids in Lebanon: A Case of ‘Symbolic Violence’ and ‘Everyday Forms of Resistance’ was published in 2009 by Amsterdam University Press.”

    Are you british, french or lebanese? Wtf [w=who] are you addressing when you say we all over the article?

    • avatar

      Now I’ll Be Like You, A Broken Record That Skips, A Repeat from My Blog Below:

      Open Border Pundits are Like a Broken Vinyl Record That Skips

      It keeps repeating the same message of how important immigration is and has no other communication or intellectual cause beyond repeating and repeating its self-serving message.

  3. avatar

    Great points. NOT! First, You simply don’t take FAIR seriously. Here’s Why?


    Its a hate group. Which means, they reflect hate more than “cause”.

    Second of all this dumbass writer should go back to school and repeat eco-101 to properly understand how economics works. Inserting Amazon affiliate link while at it was a smart move tho. You know you are supposed to disclose that the link to the book at amazon is an affiliate link right?

    • avatar

      Laughable. In 2007 Harper’s, a liberal magazine, ran an article about The Southern Poverty Law Center that contended they raise lots of money by hyping fears about “hate crimes”. No doubt some of the groups on their list like the KKK deserve to be there. But a lot of the groups are simply people they disagree with.

      It’s similar to what happened when some Sierra Club members who wanted to limit immigration for environmental reasons ran for the board of that organization several years ago. That position was portrayed by the club as “the greening of hate”. Now that the state of California where Sierra is headquartered is out of water, it looks like the people who wanted to limit immigration to slow population growth were right.

    • avatar

      Here’s what Ken Silverstein wrote on the Harper’s Blog March 22, 2010: “I feel that the Law Center is essentially a fraud and that it has a habit of casually labeling organizations as ‘hate groups’ “.

      • avatar

        There is a reason to include FAIR into hate group. The reason is “its true”. I don’t know if you follow their blog but they are anti-immigrant from each and every angle possible. They disagree with any kind of relief for immigrants. Forget the executive action by Obama, they disagree on each and every freaking issues including humanitarian issues. FAIR is simply a white supremacist organization. Here is the quote:

        “FAIR solicited and accepted a total of $1.2 million from the Pioneer Fund, a notorious organization set up by Nazi sympathizers in 1937 and run to this day by white nationalists to fund studies of eugenics (selective breeding of humans to produce a “better” race) and race and intelligence”

        They are KKK without KKK in their name.

        • avatar

          More self-righteous name calling from a criminal who has no respect for US laws. How about you and your fellow illegals take responsibility for the mess you have made of your home countries, and stay home and work to make your home countries a better place instead of breaking US laws and expecting US citizens such as myself to pay taxes for all of your free goodies. Your lack of respect for US laws and attitude that you are entitled to benefits from the country whose laws you have broken explains why you are all unable to get your act together in your home countries. It is not the responsibility of the law abiding citizens of the US to solve all of your problems. This is your responsibility. Grow up.

          • avatar

            I was not using the word “criminal” in a legal context, I was using it in its more common general usage, as the Oxford English Dictionary states: Criminal-“Of the nature of or involving a crime punishable by law; (gen.) of the nature of a grave offence, wicked.”

            G. K. Chesterton Napoleon of Notting Hill iii. 110 “That kind of thing is really criminal; it’s against the public good.”

            Crime-“An action or omission that constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by law: shoplifting was a serious crime”

            If you had a better understanding of the English language maybe you would understand this. And since you brought it up, violating our immigration laws should be a felony punishable by imprisonment. In Japan, if you are in their country illegally you are subject to arrest by the police and immediately put in jail where you await being sentenced to further jail time or immediate deportation. Japan has a much lower violent crime rate than the US, and one of the reasons is they enforce their immigration laws, although being an island does give them an advantage.

            We should immediately end the policy of automatically giving citizenship to children who are born here to parents who are not US citizens. No other major industrialized country is dumb enough to do this. The parents who are in this country illegally, and have children who are US citizens should be deported to their home countries and they can take their US citizen children with them. Americans citizens who are sentenced to prison and are parents of children are not exempted from being punished because they have children. It is sad, but children suffer when they have a parent or parents who are punished for breaking the law. This is the way this country works. If the parents who are in this country illegally do not like this, they never should have broken our laws and come here in the first place. They are responsible for making this decision.

            As for your comment that illegals do not receive anything free from US citizen taxpayers, most illegals receive far more in taxpayer funded benefits than they ever pay in taxes.

          • avatar

            Illegals get welfare at high rates for their US born children. So you trying to contend “they do not receive anything free” is simply false. They come here illegally, have children, and then Americans are frequently stuck with the costs of raising those kids. We need to end birthright citizenship. Almost every other nation has done it.

          • avatar

            1776: That is when this country was founded. If illegal immigration were to be a felony, everyone would be felons. US is the location where many people from many countries “met” and eventually conquered from the locals. You see, they had to bring their family members. That is why this country has excessive immigration history. Japan is a country with long history and always has been populated by certain breed of people. Why would you even bring Japan as an example here? Japan is Japan, US is US. This is not Japan where immigration flow is easily controlled and has less humanitarian issues directly related to immigration.

            You are an ignorant dude to compare those children with “legally criminals”. It simply cannot be compared because:

            Legally criminals do not think about the future of their children when committing a crime while most illegals are desperate to build their childrens’ future while violating the law and actually is the primary motive for violating the law in the first place. Committing a crime while hurting others is different. And if you think these illegals are hurting the taxpayers, you are totally wrong.

            And no, unfortunately all you do is speculate (FAIRculate or FOXculate) what people been getting and I **** out with them enough to know they don’t get **** (of course there are VERY FEW exceptions but majority do not even bother about getting benefits, they just want to work without being afraid). SO you can keep that argument for yourself.

            BirthRight Citizenship: Yes US can do that in future. There shouldn’t be much debate in this case. May be if they had done that in time, we wouldn’t be where we are. But there is no ignoring the fact that it is what is it and there need to be a fix everywhere.

          • avatar

            So I am an “ignorant dude”. My ancestors helped found, establish, build and fight for this country and it was not so it could become a welfare state for the entire third world. You are your fellow third world lawbreakers are just showing up now to rip off the prosperity that was built by previous generations of Americans. If this country from 1776 on was settled by the type of people who currently are illegally overrunning this country by the millions, it just be another poor Mexico and the Nazis and Japanese would have won World War 2 and the world today would be a very dark place and you would not have the slightest bit of interest in moving here.

          • avatar

            They “conquered”. Simply chased away the locals so they could rip off the prosperity and potential of the land. But, that is irrelevant in this context. You are ignorant to even use the word “third world”. That term is outdated. IDK if I can enlighten your thick skull, but I am going to try anyway:

            First generation of settlers were successful because it was a challenge to cross the ocean. The most determined, brave and fittest ended up here. Yes that build the foundation because they all were “exceptional”. So are these people who managed to beat the intense security at border, robbers, weather, your hate and so on. You are naive to compare these guys with locals at Mexico. They have far better IQ than yours. Their voice isn’t heard… much….yet…that is a different story.

        • avatar

          If FAIR was “simply a white supremacist organization”, they would have no problem with unlimited immigration from European nations.But that is not the case. They want strict immigration limits more in line with what those limits were for most of the 20th century. And the commission on immigration appointed by Bill Clinton and chaired by black Congresswoman Barbara Jordan in the 1990s recommended cutting immigration in half, and making it more skills based and not family reunification. FAIR endorsed that report. Now exactly who is that was racist then? Was it Jordan? Clinton? FAIR?

  4. avatar

    Poor Astrid working on her third four year degree… You all should be ashamed of yourselves and try to be like her… Go to Mexico and make them pay for 3 degrees…

  5. avatar

    I am so tired of everyone harping on the Mexican people. Can’t anyone but me see what is really going on here? The Mexican people are infiltrating America that cannot be denied, but Obummer’s interest is not in the Mexican people. It is a smoke screen for what is actually taking place. The legitimizing of illegal aliens is to benefit illegal would be terrorists from the middle East. Government agencies need to be checking ID’s and Green cards and rounding up those people and deporting them – with a quickness I might add! It’s no secret that the current Usurper in office has done nothing to profit this country or our people, he is undermining our nation and the very people we have elected keep turning their heads and letting him get away with it! The newly elected officials to the Senate need to try him as a usurper which will overturn every law that and amendment that he has passed or adjusted to suit his own agenda. I can’t understand why people are so hell bent on the Mexican people, the problem is all illegal immigrants – they all need to be deported!

    • avatar

      The majority of illegals are Mexican. That’s a fact. No one is saying other illegals should get away with being here illegally.

  6. avatar

    When you have a president that does not listen to We the People and ignores and by passes their wishes………THAT makes a president a tyrant. THAT should be enough to IMPEACH his ***. I am tired of this merry go round with him and Republicans, who need to do something constructive. These people are made up of mostly lawyers………so where is the problem?

  7. avatar

    Immigrants are going to be the big losers. An employer who’s been paying them cash under the table now has to go above board and incur additional expenses such as workman’s comp, taxes, FICA, etc. Additionally, he can no longer “blackmail” them into keeping quiet about unpaid hours, unsafe working conditions and illegal practices (not to mention abuse). Throw in the fact that may of them refuse to integrate into American society (i.e. learn ENGLISH), and he’s going to decide he may as well hire Americans at this point. I’m not saying all employers who hire illegals are like this, but I dare say it’s enough to be significant.

  8. avatar
    Concerned Citizen on

    A black friend of mine is completely exasperated by Obama’s executive order, but he keenly knows the history of civil rights while Obama, as a second-generation American without the long, painful African-American experience, apparently does not.

    The average Joe Six-Pack who loves to join bullies, never wanting to take a courageous stance on his own, will join the Democrats and their media allies in condemning all opposition to Obama’s executive order as “reactionary” and “racist,” but lets consider American history and race for a moment. Here’s a quote from a 20-Oct-2014 Breitbart.com article, “Jeff Sessions: Obama’s Immigration Policies Hammer Black Americans.”

    “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s wife, Coretta Scott King, who took over his advocacy after he was assassinated, wrote to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in the early 1990s asking him to enforce America’s immigration laws so illegal aliens could not steal jobs from blacks. In an interview this weekend, Dr. Alveda King—MLK’s niece—said she agrees with her aunt on the issue.

    ‘I do not agree with open borders and you’ve got people who take these little children, cut them up and fill them with drugs then sew them back up and send them over here,’ King said. ‘I did want the children to be fed, I wanted them to have a warm meal and try to get them back home. I do not support open borders and I certainly agree with my aunt on that.'”

    This gets back to the point I made right after Obama’s announcement: that in light of executive amnesty, we now need to ask whether 21st century immigrants truly “get” what the whole American Experience is all about, or whether they’re only importing their own cultures and mores and projecting them onto our flag. Have liberals also lost touch? Can they really tell us they don’t care about black American workers and the need to pull many unemployed black men out of poverty and hopelessness, and furthermore condemn those who oppose illegal and mass immigration, and say it all with a straight face?

  9. avatar

    Open Border Pundits are Like a Broken Vinyl Record That Skips

    It keeps repeating the same message of how important immigration is and has no other communication or intellectual cause beyond repeating and repeating its self-serving message.

  10. avatar

    Yes, we have been a “nation of immigrants”. But the immigrants of a hundred years ago are the opposite of a lot of those coming now. It was entirely sink or swim then and we got the tough guys and tough women. The kind of people who went out on the plains and wrested a living from the soil and had no government handouts to back them up. They even had to build their own schoolhouses. Now we have people who come here illegally and are standing in line at the grocery store while the clerk totals up the government money paying for the food for their five kids. This is a plus how? We are a magnet for welfare users.

    Not to mention that the numbers in the 19th century were nothing compared to now. Not even remotely close and they were coming into a largely uninhabited country with plenty of water.

    I have read that the ratings for Meet The Press are very bad. I watched Sunday and they had Senator Menendez of New Jersey on. Naturally he’s all for amnesty for illegals. And the “other side”? A Republican, yes, but it was Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, who is just as pro amnesty as John McCain and voted for amnesty last year. Where is somebody like Senator Jeff Sessions who would give a real opposing view and stands up for the American worker?

    • avatar

      so that means you are different from thrones 100 years ago?…yes you are correct…..you hardly contributed to the country now let them pave the way……

        • avatar

          Maybey we the people need to b taught about respect n honor.. how to live of the land treat mother earth
          good n she will b kind in her weather.. were gona kill our selves with what we made.as humans. Can you imagine flying glass at tornado speeds. Or can you fathom a tsunami igniting the atomic bomb. Are we really threatened by other countries?? No!! Were just trying to take whats not ours… we need to b taught that if its not
          Ours then leave it there if it wasnt offered or giving… then its not yours to take.. and leave it alone!! Treat people how you yourself would like to b treated.. if we were taught that as kids the world would know better n there wouldnt even b a judicial system cause we all would know better.. n we have to honor our mothers cause
          Thats who gave us life… time is a precious thing.. n we have to live it with honor n respect