Lawrence Downes/New York Times misleads & smears, and all to support illegal activity

[Update here]

Lawrence Downes offers an "Editorial Observer" article in the New York Times entitled "Showdown in Arizona, Where Mariachis and Minutemen Collide". It describes a running protest by illegal immigration supporters in front of the M. D. Pruitt furniture store in Phoenix. He had the temerity to try to keep day laborers off his property, employing off-duty sherriffs in the process. And, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been arresting illegal aliens in front of his store:

For the last seven weeks, a sidewalk protest here by Latino immigrants has blossomed into a feverish reality show, attracting Minutemen, mariachis, children dancing in Mexican folk costumes, white racists, United Nations observers, Phoenix police officers and Maricopa County sheriff's deputies.

I'm sure that some of those attending were indeed "white racists". And, I have little doubt that with enough searching I could find brown racists who also attended. Yet, for one odd reason or other Downes didn't mention that.

[The "weekly confrontation" is] a sideshow to something even uglier: what happens when immigration's complexities are handed to local law enforcers sympathetic to the fury of one side.

He's implying that those who support our laws are motivated only by "fury", and perhaps he might want to mention that, while illegal aliens have certain rights, the position of those who want to be employed illegally is somewhat invalidated.

Then, it's on to smearing Sheriff Joe Arpaio: "hunting undocumented immigrants is his specialty." For those laws that Downes supports, can anyone imagine him refering to the police "hunting" law-breakers? He also refers to Arpaio as a "business ally" of Pruitt, implying a quid pro quo; if that's not true then hopefully Downes will be sued.

Then, he promotes the efforts of Salvador Reza of the group Tonatierra (more). His group isn't identified, nor does Downes indicate that Reza is/was involved with running a day laborer center supported by local businesses (link).

Reza is this article's "person who says what the NYT wants to say": "Mr. Reza says he can't understand why America accepts global flows of companies, money and jobs but not workers." There are a multitude of reasons, but Downes just lets him speak unchallenged.

Then: informed noncombatant, the Rev. Craig Geiger, pastor of a Lutheran church across the street, agrees.

While Geiger might be a "noncombatant" in this particular case, and while I wasn't able to find any far-left outbursts from him, the church newsletter is a bit interesting; perhaps Downes should have picked one up (mountofolivesaz . org/Newsletter.pdf). It includes the news that they were a "Hydration Center" in August, which is only followed by usual Bible phrases about "welcoming the stranger" that are used as religious justification for enabling illegal immigration. No word is provided on what exactly the "Hydration Center" did or whether it was located further south. Then, in a section entitled "A little know fact for that logical side of our brain", he promotes the study from Giovanni Peri purporting to show the effects of immigration on wages. Finally, there's a section entitled "An Immigration Lesson from the land", offering yet another religious justification for supporting "immigration".

Then, it's on to a possible lie:

"Monkeys coming through!" [a Minuteman with a bullhorn] shouted. His side rushed up to drown the music out: "Born in the U.S.A.! Born in the U.S.A.! K.K.K.! Viva la Migra! January First!"

Even if we assume that Downes has the quotes right, does he have any proof that that person was an actual member of a Minuteman group, or did he just make that up?

The article ends with Reza promising economic armageddon should illegal aliens leave the state.


Economic armageddon has already started, thanks largely to illegal immigration and criminal employers. That quote doesn't sound at all like the Minuteman group, though they can be closed-minded about who might be against illegal immigration. It's certainly possible that an outspoken racist was lumped together with the group by the media or others who want to cast doubt on legitimate reasons for a secure border.

Chell is dead on the money with that one.

They also described opponents of amnesty in general, and of the particular legislation of last summer, as nativists. There are no rational arguments for mass, unscreened, illegal immigration and amnesties to worsen that same problem; this is why we're INSTEAD given smears, polite, crude or wild leftist in description.

It's propagandistic as if one went to a liberal protest and described the participants as communists, and quoted them as saying 'kill the rich'. After all they do sometimes say that, when leftists attend rallies for their side.

The pro-illegal side: musicians and costumed, dancing children. The anti-illegal side: racists, police and sheriff's deputies. No bias there. Nada. Nope. Zilch. Hey, those striking Hollywood writers have to work somewhere, don't they.

‘Mr. Reza says he can’t understand why America accepts global flows of companies, money and jobs but not workers.’ Is he joking? 'America' (by that I mean a corrupt federal government ruled by the wants of transnational big business) obviously does want foreign workers and it's because they are cheap labor. If they didn't, there wouldn't be so many different employment visas, some without limits. They wouldn't tolerate rampant illegal immigration and would take steps to deter it. It's 'America', the people, who do not want unlimited H1-B's and black market foreign labor. Whatever limitations we get on legal cheap imported labor and the token enforcement we get against the hiring of illegal cheap labor is solely due to politics, i.e., they don't think they could get away with displacing every last American worker with someone cheaper. If global capitalism had its way, national sovereignties would already be completely destroyed and we'd have a global government run primarily by and for the benefit of the biggest corporations—an anti-democratic dystopia.

'Or why the country cannot set up legal channels to let jornaleros come and go and not be hassled.' Legal channels to come and go? Oh, like 'guest workers'? I have been checking out Siskind's blog lately and he recently called for a 'workable guest worker' program. Which would be the first. Prof. Borjas has some of the better refutations of the oxymoronic 'guest work' concept, basically 'there's nothing more permanent than a temporary guest worker'. Borjas: The key problem with practically all proposed guest worker program is that they have no credible mechanism for ensuring that guest workers return home after their visa expires. Before anyone retorts by citing the case of Malaysia or Singapore and arguing that those countries provide examples of successful policies that we can follow (as compared to, say, Germany), let me point out the obvious: The United States is not Malaysia or Singapore and most Americans would like to keep it that way. According to news reports, a (guest worker) maid in Singapore who gets pregnant gets deported within a week. I don't think that's the way that the situation would be or should be handled in the U.S. Let me ask a few simple questions that proponents of guest workers programs should answer in the context of U.S. laws and norms: 1. What guarantee is there that the guest workers will in fact be temporary workers? How can such a guarantee be enforced in the United States? 2. What will happen when the judicial system puts its fingerprint on the program? All it takes is for one activist judge to invent some right out of thin air, and--presto--it will be hard to repatriate many more guest workers. 3. Doesn't a guest worker at the end of the visa term have incentives to become an illegal immigrant? How are we going to prevent that? How are we going to catch them? (See the numerical exercise below for an example of how financial incentives can motivate many guest workers to become illegal immigrants at the end of their work period). 4. Why would one want to start a program that essentially creates a huge class of disenfranchised workers in the labor market? Isn't there a real danger that the exploitation of poor foreign workers--the new crop of second-class citizens--becomes a trademark of that segment of the labor market? 5. Surely a guest worker program of the magnitude contemplated by Bush-Kennedy-McCain must have some impact on the relative wage of competing workers. I realize that more than a few economists are willing to forget the law of demand they teach in Econ 1 when it comes to immigration. But think of it another way: why would employers spend so much lobbying for guest workers if the program didn't benefit them? Finally, it's sort of ironic but I think that the people who actively support the guest worker program are thinking---gasp!---too much like economists. The wisest remark I have ever heard about guest workers was made by Swiss writer Max Frisch. R

Referring to the German experience, he said: "We wanted workers and we got people instead." Like everyone else, guest workers get sick, get married, procreate, etc. Many of these life events open up entitlements in the U.S. system, and some of these entitlements can be very expensive. Imagine the public reaction when a guest worker, after 6 years in the United States, finally faces the day of reckoning. His brood of U.S.-born children (all U.S. citizens unless the proponents of the program want to do something about the 14th Amendment) are all crying as a camera crew graphically captures the cruelty of the system and the "deportation" of American citizens. Show me a few of these separations and I will show you how temporary visas quickly become permanent. I think there's something fundamentally misleading about the way that the proponents of a guest worker program are trying to sell their program. We are really arguing over a large increase in permanent immigration. I am more than willing to have a good discussion over whether such an increase is desirable--in fact, having such a debate would be extremely healthy. It would air out a number of issues that deserve airing. And I can certainly see a good argument for an increase in some types of immigration. But it's crucial to have a transparent and above-board debate.