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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Legal vs Illegal

Bannon asked repeatedly, “Don’t we have a problem with legal immigration?”

“Twenty percent of this country is immigrants. Is that not the beating heart of this problem?” he said, meaning the problem of native-born Americans being unable to find jobs and rising wages.

And this is why the position of, “I’m a legal immigrant, so I’m superior to all those undocumented, illegal losers” (which is very popular in the Russian-speaking immigrant community, for instance) is dumb.

Keep telling yourself that everybody loves you since you did everything “by the rules”, you dumb fucks.

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23 thoughts on “Legal vs Illegal

  1. Keep telling yourself that everybody loves you since you did everything “by the rules”

    Honestly, I can’t see how any immigrant can tell themselves this. I am white, completely fluent in English, and highly educated. Nobody in the neighborhood is running to become friends with our family; we are foreigners, and thus weird and untrustworthy. End of story.

    The thing I think we did well is that our kids speak only English, and they went to daycare from an early age, so their identity is 100% American and they have no problems socializing. I wouldn’t want to inflict the immigrant stigma on them, which so many people do by insisting the old country’s language be spoken exclusively in the home. Language is at the core of one’s identity.

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    • You are honest with yourself. Other people want to believe the comforting fiction that they are seen as so much better than the illegal brotehrs and sisters.

      ” I wouldn’t want to inflict the immigrant stigma on them, which so many people do by insisting the old country’s language be spoken exclusively in the home. Language is at the core of one’s identity.”

      • Absolutely. This is one of the best things you could have done for them. We, the immigrant parents, carry this burden. There is no need to pass it on to our children. But I have to give endless explanations to my colleagues who are shocked that I have no interest in teaching Russian to Klara. They are not immigrants themselves, so they don’t get it.

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  2. Evelina Anville on said:

    Statements like Bannon’s astound me. With the exception of Native Americans, we are ALL immigrants in this country. And the thing that’s even more astounding is that these Bannon types also look down on Native Americans. Their definition of “real American” is completely insane and arbitrary.

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    • It’s totally insane. I’m deeply saddened that this country, of all places, would plunge into this anti-immigrant mania. It’s so ridiculous. It’s a complete denial of one’s own origins, one’s own history. It’s self-hatred in the extreme. And it also distracts attention from what really needs to be discussed and addressed. We are wasting precious time on this craziness.

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      • How is this crap significantly different from the attempts to build an early 20-th century European nation-state (with “nation” referring to ethnic or linguistic criteria and origins, not “political nation”) in Quebec?
        You are talking as if there is no precedent in immigrant countries for what is happening. I actually hope that the parallels with Quebec will go further than that, and that Trump’s clan will suffer the fate of Parti Quebecois in the election of 2014, once most people decide that this crap is way too extreme, even though there are some partial truths on republican / PQ side.

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        • Hey, some of my best friends are Quebecois nationalists. 😆😆

          This is significantly different from Quebecois nationalism in that the Quebecois nationalists put a very straightforward condition on acceptance (linguistic competence) and they don’t forcibly remove anybody who fails to comply. Trumpazoids, on the other hand, place no fulfillable condition on anything. You weren’t born here, so you are out.

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          • I find that these are details. Significant details, but still details. The common denominator is “one group believing that they are the owners of the country, and that others should be to their liking”. And by the way, I do not grant “linguistic criteria” any special treatment. Actually, neither does PQ, as strange as it sounds: the “Charter of Quebec Values”/Bill 60 was aimed mostly against Muslims most of whom originate from the former French colonies and thus speak French.

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            • Hit you in the face or give you an apple – it’s all the same thing, really. The difference is just details. 😆😆😆

              I didn’t know you were an open borders enthusiast. I’m not into that idea because it’s beyond impracticable and I like concrete, practical things.

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              • I am not an open borders enthusiast. I am an enthusiast of putting one’s money and one’s actions where one’s mouth is. I have no problem (even though I disagree) with consistent ethnic/linguistic/religious nationalists. Consistent means that they each have at least three children whom they diligently educate in their culture/religion/language and do themselves the low-paying dirty jobs that immigrants normally do, so that their beloved country’s economy stays competitive. “Nationalists” of today just want to have their cake and eat it too. They do not want to contribute themselves to what they allegedly value so much, they want all the first world comforts. So they invite (or turn a blind eye to illegal) immigrants, and then demand respect and assimilation. One cannot demand respect. One can only earn respect, for instance by being respectful…

                I personally believe Canadian system (without Quebec peculiarities) is the best, and it is not quite “open borders”.

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              • “Consistent means that they each have at least three children whom they diligently educate in their culture/religion/language and do themselves the low-paying dirty jobs that immigrants normally do, so that their beloved country’s economy stays competitive.”

                This sounds way too Russian for me. 🙂 And I thought you didn’t watch Russian news. 🙂

                “They do not want to contribute themselves to what they allegedly value so much, they want all the first world comforts.”

                How does enjoying first-world comforts contradict loving a language and trying to preserve it? I love the culture of Spain but it would never occur to me to raise three children to be Spanish speakers as part of that love. Children have nothing to do with parents’ loves and hates.

                ” One cannot demand respect. ”

                This part I don’t get at all. On an interpersonal level, individuals absolutely do demand respect if they need it. I do all the time. Maybe we mean different things by this word. As a teacher, for instance, I demand respect in the form of deference to my will: you don’t address me as “senora”, you stop talking when I come into the classroom, you hide the papers when I tell you, etc. I also demand respect on this blog. Or at home. Or with friends.

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              • –This sounds way too Russian for me. 🙂 And I thought you didn’t watch Russian news. 🙂

                I am not subscribing to this view. I do not live according to this view myself. (Although I admit to reading Russian sources sometimes 🙂 ) Thus, consistency and integrity requires that I do not expect anybody, including immigrants who are culturally dissimilar to me, or just immigrated later than me, to go out of their way to not only do the work I do not do, but also assimilate to the extent as to not affect my psychological comfort.

                —How does enjoying first-world comforts contradict loving a language and trying to preserve it? I love the culture of Spain but it would never occur to me to raise three children to be Spanish speakers as part of that love. Children have nothing to do with parents’ loves and hates.

                I agree. However, how far you can extrapolate this example to the conditions of various countries is debatable. There are many places where for various reasons (call them colonial legacy if you wish) there are in fact two widely-used languages. And two parallel educational systems. In this situation, those concerned with preservation of their language can protect it by forbidding THEMSELVES using any other languages, not forbidding anything to others.

                As for “respect” – yes, we seem to talk about different things. You seem to be talking about the technical expressions of respect. And I am talking about what people actually feel. In the teaching-related example I expect the respectful behavior (not disrupting the class) but I do not automatically expect that anyone will respect me as a person deep in their souls and do something for me that is not prescribed by the regulations and has nothing to do with education process. I definitely do not expect them to not wear headscarves, or to not talk foreign languages I do not understand before or after class, etc. And in the rare cases when some student is disruptive, I frame me confronting that student not as an issue of disrespect towards me The Great Guru, but as an issue of disrespect towards fellow students and the educational process.
                For immigration (legal, Canadian style, which is a good example) I see going through the application process as getting into a contract relationship, binding to both sides. The immigrant agrees to follow the laws and generally-accepted and well known ahead of arrival customs (not every whim of someone who was there earlier, this is not the Soviet Army), and to not be a burden to the society, and the host country in fact promises that it will not arbitrarily take away the liberties existing at the time of immigration. Quebec Bill 60 is, if we return to teaching examples, an equivalent to me telling Muslim students, halfway through the semester after the drop deadline, that they should lose the headscarves or they will never get an A… But I agree with you, a ban based on something one cannot change (place of birth) is worse than a ban based on something one can change (outward manifestations of one’s religion). But even the latter one is completely wrong. And both have the same basic source. And this source is not called “islamophobia”.

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              • I don’t support the weird linguistic obsessions of Quebecois bureaucracy. But the hardship experienced as a result of the Quebec language laws is nothing in comparison with the tragedy of deportation experienced by long-term illegal immigrants in the US. So somebody had to repaint a store sign and reprint a menu in Quebec. Big whoop. There are people who are losing their family members to deportation here. I see nothing similar in these situations.

                The last time I was in Quebec, I saw crowds of burqaed creatures trotting about, so I’m not sure what hardship they are experiencing at all.

                Societies progress and if public degradation of women becomes unacceptable- just like spousal rape became unacceptable and illegal within one generation- immigrants can accept that and evolve just like the locals. The burqa ban I support would never target immigrants. It would target people who publicly degrade women. This issue is in no way related to immigration since it’s traditionally the children and especially the grandchildren of immigrants who enjoy these games.

                I’m sure you support laws banning genital mutilation. There’s little difference between them and burqa bans, given the health risks of burqas.

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    • Right? What’s a real American? Descendant from (sufficiently white) European colonists who arrived to the continent between which specific years, again?

      How the hell does one become so hateful?

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      • Shakti on said:

        They were always hateful. They just hid it or just dogwhistled it enough for Nice White People ™.

        With the exception of Native Americans, we are ALL immigrants in this country
        Caveat: I wouldn’t call people who say “I’m descended from people who were captured and sold as slaves to do free labor”, descended from immigrants. That implies volition. I’m sure slaves were immigrants the same way human trafficking victims are immigrants. What an amazing coincidence that descendants of slaves are stereotyped as lazy welfare drainers.

        There’s so much projection. Same as it ever was.

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        • Evelina Anville on said:

          You are right: after I sent my comnent, I realized that I had neglected the “involuntary immigrant” history of many African Americans. But my larger point still stands (since I don’t hear many African Americans supporting the Bannon viewpoint)–namely that Bannon and Co are here because of immigration. The majority of Americans are from immigrant stock. It’s just such a cognitive disconnect for me that Americans would oppose immigration.

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  3. Crystallizing chaos on said:

    Exactly! I have immigrant friends who are Trump supporters. They believe exactly that. They are in for a rude awakening.

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  4. Nicholas on said:

    How long before we just have open borders and a class of migrant workers with no citizenship a la the Gulf states?

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    • The real problem is that all borders are open to capital. It goes wherever it wants. Have you wondered why nobody ever talks about that? Liquid capital has wiped out national borders. Not Pedro or Ali. Of course, it’s easy to blame Pedro and Ali but it’s not smart. It’s the exac r opposite.

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    • “How long before we just have open borders and a class of migrant workers with no citizenship a la the Gulf states?”

      How is this different from the current situation?

      Why do you think Washington gets along so well with the Gulf States? It’s the same dream, disposable interchangeable worker bees with no rights.

      Don’t you remember the nannygatge scandals of the 1990s? It was no accident that wealthy, powerful women chose undocumented workers who could not afford to complain about conditions or pay…..

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      • Every single analyst in the world is saying that there will be a major drop in living standards in the developed countries over this century unless something is done to address the changes that are happening. In the US nothing whatsoever is being done about this. There is either apocalyptic whining or meaningless fantasizing and nothing else.

        I still hope that the trademark enthusiasm and freshness of thinking of the Americans will prevail and they’ll start creating real solutions for real problems.

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      • Shakti on said:

        How long before we just have open borders and a class of migrant workers with no citizenship a la the Gulf states.
        Who specifically works in Gulf States and has no country of citizenship anywhere? I’ve heard horror stories of Gulf workers but they almost always involve employers confiscating travel documents and it’s never a question of “there is no embassy that exists which will formally listen to me” It’s a question of getting to the embassy and leaving the employer with their pay.

        What is this definition of “open borders” people keep using as a talking point?
        It can’t be “as long as you can pay the fare and get there you’re in, no papers of any kind needed” because that doesn’t exist.

        It’s also not “if you have this passport, there is a huge list of countries you can get into without a visa” which is more applicable to citizens of the US, Canada and Germany and it’s not like a US citizen can take a flight to Germany and just start working indefinitely. People with Afghani passports, for example don’t have that freedom of movement.

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        • I was hassled at the US border every time when I tried to enter on a student visa. My father was denied entrance (from Canada) the first time he tried to come into the US. I was threatened with deportation. N almost got deported. What open borders?

          The borders are open to capital, not to people.

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  5. TomW on said:

    “and it’s not like a US citizen can take a flight to Germany and just start working indefinitely”

    No, it isn’t that easy, but it also isn’t all that hard if that’s what you really want to do.

    It is extremely easy for Americans to get a student visa in Germany, most of their universities charge no tuition, and they allow student visa holders to work up to 20 hours per week during the semester, and up to 40 hours per week during breaks. Some universities even offer a year of free language course work for students whose German isn’t quite at the level needed to be admitted into a regular degree program.

    Converting the student visa into a permanent resident visa is mostly a matter of finding a job or a spouse. So the young American who wants to stay for good would need study something in demand and/or uses his/her student jobs to network and hustle, and/or use those university years to find a mate.

    Now, most Americans don’t have the drive to really learn another language and the emotional toughness to network and hustle to find a spot for themselves. But Germany makes it VERY easy for those Americans who do.

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