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Dreamers for a wall? Examining the possibilities for compromise in the immigration debate

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
At a meeting with Republican and Democratic leaders on Tuesday, President Trump said he’d sign any DACA bill — including a “clean” one — and said he’d take the heat from his base if need be.

From the day he announced his candidacy for president, Donald Trump has talked constantly about his idea to build a brand-new, big, beautiful wall running the length of the 2,000-mile U.S. border with Mexico.

The wall has been an essential element of the Trump platform, the most raucous applause line at his rallies, and a symbol of his brand of right-wing nationalism that views illegal immigration as an existential threat to the U.S.

But nearly a year after Trump declared at his inauguration that he would “bring back our borders,” all there is to show for the wall are prototypes picking up dust in the California desert — and unmet demands from the White House for Congress to pony up $18 billion to make those prototypes into reality.

There’s also some hard feelings from the president’s base of supporters, for whom the border wall was a major part of Trump’s appeal. After seeing Republicans in power spend a year going after sweeping health care and tax legislation, they are anxious to see the wall move forward.

There could be an opportunity this month, as Congress’ debates over funding the government for the coming year get wrapped up in immigration politics. Democrats are pushing for a spending bill that includes a long-term solution permitting undocumented youth known as Dreamers to remain in the country, after the White House last year terminated the Barack Obama-era program — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA — providing them legal status.

Trump and other top Republicans are insisting that if Democrats want Dreamers to stay, they will need to approve a bill that funds construction of the wall. Many Democrats are open to increased funding for border security, but to most of them, appropriating a cent — much less $18 billion — for a big border wall is a non-starter.

Both sides believe they have leverage, with a government funding deadline approaching on January 19 — and Trump’s most important single campaign promise hangs in the balance.

Wall hits a wall

Trump’s biggest moves on immigration during the first year of his presidency were made possible by the power of his pen: the administration was quick to roll out executive orders limiting migration from a group of Muslim-majority countries, and curtailing refugee resettlement. The White House also terminated programs that gave certain nationals, such as those of Haiti and El Salvador, protected status in the U.S.

The president did sign an executive order for the wall — in January, he mandated the “immediate construction of a physical wall” — but it has not been fulfilled. Congress needs to appropriate money for the project, and though Speaker Paul Ryan said lawmakers would do it, it hasn’t happened, partly due to Democrats’ determination to block the wall.

Trump’s supporters have been left waiting, and that wait has made some of them question the White House’s commitment to getting the wall built, as well as the president’s commitment to having the government of Mexico pay for the cost of its construction, as he repeatedly promised.

According to transcripts of the president’s call with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, which took place a few days after the inauguration and were made public later in the year, Trump conceded that Mexico did not need to pay for the wall, and that he wanted it to simply appear as if the two leaders were working it out. “Believe it or not,” he told his counterpart, “this is the least important thing that we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important [to] talk about.”

In September, as Trump’s talk of a DACA deal after a meeting with top Democratic congressional leaders prompted him to say the wall will “come later,” the president’s core supporters were not pleased, and some believed he had “gone soft” on his wall promise.

Heading into 2018, the White House has touted the wall, and border security in general, as a top priority. Some in the White House feel that delivering on the wall promise soon will be critical to the president’s legacy, and to his chances for re-election 2020.

Stopping ‘another DACA’

At a retreat with Republican leadership at Camp David in January, Trump’s message was simple: “We want the wall.” At a meeting with Republican and Democratic leaders on Tuesday, however, Trump said he’d sign any DACA bill — including a “clean” one — and said he’d take the heat from his base if need be. But on Wednesday, he reverted to his insistence that any bill that addresses the status of Dreamers must include funding for construction of an actual wall.

In its first budget, the White House estimated the wall itself would cost some $18 billion, which would include building 316 miles of brand-new wall, and bolstering 407 miles of existing wall. (If completed, there would be over 2,000 miles of some kind of wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, which totals 6,400 miles.)

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol erected eight prototypes for the wall near San Diego in October, and the president will reportedly tour them soon, possibly after his upcoming State of the Union address.

Minnesota’s three congressional Republicans are not gung-ho backers of the wall, but agreed to varying degrees that heightened border security is a necessary element of any immigration deal.

Second District GOP Rep. Jason Lewis said that if Congress does not appropriate funds for border security — including a physical wall — it will not address the root problem of illegal immigration, which led to DACA’s creation in the first place.

“We don’t want another DACA in five years,” he said. “Border security is the priority… there needs to be appropriation for a physical structure. Does that mean the entire border? I’m going to leave that to the experts. But there has to be some funding mechanism for that.”

Third District GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen, who has called for a comprehensive DACA solution, said in a statement that there is broad support for that along with boosting border security. But he did not mention the need for a border wall when asked about it.

“Providing resources to protect our border is important to our national security, and we need to ensure children who came to the United States through no fault of their own have the opportunity to remain productive contributors to our community,” he said.

Sixth District Rep. Tom Emmer did not explicitly call for a wall, as Lewis did, but he did say that “You’ve got to protect your borders, and there’s a system of laws in place that you have to honor… as long as [congressional leaders] are working within that construct, I’m interested in whatever they propose.”

The three Republicans were willing to accept a DACA solution in exchange for funding for border security and other demands, but both Lewis and Emmer cast doubt on a deal that would provide citizenship to the 800,000 Dreamers.

House Republicans introduced legislation on Wednesday that would provide DACA recipients a path to citizenship, but advances some GOP priorities on immigration — going after so-called sanctuary jurisdictions, for example — that Democrats are unlikely to accept.

A ‘waste of money’

Democrats are generally open to more border security, but not the wall, which they argue is a waste of money. They might back initiatives to provide more funding to aerial surveillance of border areas, for example, which the Department of Homeland Security believes could be more efficient and effective than a wall in some places. (The New York Times has reported that initiatives like these may be cut or denied in order to pay for a physical wall.)

The wall is more or less a deal breaker for Democrats, as are other things that Republicans are proposing in exchange for a DACA solution, like reducing overall levels of legal immigration, and ending a visa lottery program.

Fifth District DFL Rep. Keith Ellison said that what Republicans are offering is hardly a compromise. “What they’re trying to say is, we’re going to rip nearly 800,000 people out of the only country they’ve ever known, unless you give us stuff,” he told MinnPost. “I’m not voting for it.”

Ellison said that Trump should stick with the “clean” DACA promise he laid out at the White House meeting on Tuesday — remarks that the president’s allies immediately tried to walk back, and that were later scrubbed from the official White House record of the meeting. (“So they’re trying to say that he didn’t mean what he actually did say?” Ellison asked.)

Minnesota’s U.S. senators, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, both called on Congress to address DACA; Smith said Congress should pass the DREAM Act, which failed to pass the Senate in 2010, as part of a budget deal. Klobuchar called for a bipartisan agreement and maintained that “sitting back and doing nothing on this is not an option.”

First District DFL Rep. Tim Walz said the Dreamers are Americans in every way save for their legal status. Trump, Walz says, “just needs to say he built a wall… say you built a wall, but you’re not going to get money for it out of us. You just gave a tax giveaway, now I’m going to put $18 billion into something I know is not going to work, because he needs to say it?”

“It’s a waste of money,” he continued, “and you’re holding these DACA recipients in limbo for it.”

Republicans, like Lewis, counter that Democrats must compromise, and abandon what he called their “our way or the highway” approach. “There are a lot of people in the [Republican] conference that don’t want any DACA deal,” he said. “We are willing to compromise and work with the other side… You have to compromise with us.”

The Democratic side sees all this as a problem of the Republicans’ own making, after the Trump administration moved to terminate DACA in September — setting up a March expiration date for legal status for the majority of Dreamers.

Walz sees a president that is boxed in, desperate to make good on a central campaign promise.

“He’s not operating from a factual, or a security, or a what’s best for DACA recipients standpoint,” he said. “He’s operating from, I have to keep this pledge because of my supporters… What he does is a disservice, telling them that this wall he’s going to build is going to make some kind of difference.”

“If you put two toothpicks in the desert and called it a wall, that might be all he needs.”

Comments (63)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/11/2018 - 11:44 am.

    Maginot Line

    Didn’t work for the French. The great Wall of China “never effectively prevented invaders from entering China” As numerous sources have explained in detail, we would need to shut down all trade and traffic interaction with Mexico, Central America, and probably south America as well to even get close to achieving the so called security these folks are looking for. The reason folks come to the US is the same as it was 200-300-400 years ago, better opportunity/freedom than in their home countries. Want to fix the problem, help the local economies do better, which in turn reduces the opportunity differential, or reduce the US economy and the freedoms we have to be closer aligned across the border.

    What was it that Reagan said? “Tear down this wall!” Seems our “R” friends have come 180 degrees from that stance on freedom!

    • Submitted by Robert Owen on 01/11/2018 - 12:11 pm.

      The wall Reagan referred to was to keep people IN. That’s different than a wall intended to keep people OUT.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/11/2018 - 06:39 pm.


        Seems “T”s wall is to keep Latino’s, central American’s etc. “IN” Mexico, Central America etc.!
        Also seems the Berlin wall kept people from the West from going “IN” to the Soviet Block, and it kept others “OUT” of Western Germany, But nice try with the Semantics.

        • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 01/12/2018 - 08:50 pm.

          “to keep Latino’s, central American’s etc. “IN” Mexico, Central America.” Nope, it’s to keep people (all people) FROM coming TO America – otherwise they can go anywhere they want to.

          “Berlin wall kept people from the West from going “IN” to the Soviet Block” Nope, there were no people who wanted to go INTO East Germany to live there and when a few people wanted it, they were greeted with a band at the airport.

  2. Submitted by John Evans on 01/11/2018 - 12:51 pm.

    So, are Emmer, Lewis and Paulsen for or against deportation?

    We debate the morality of holding 800,000 “dreamers” hostage for funding for the wall, but we should also talk about what we would be giving away to other countries if we deport them.

    I’m guessing that our federal government and school districts have probably spent, on average, maybe $50,000 and $100,000 per student to educate them through primary and secondary school, and on into college. If you do the simple arithmetic, that’s $40 – $80 billion total investment that we would be giving away, mostly to Mexico and Central American countries. (This is without accounting for the time value of money.) So is funding the wall a real problem?

    Then if you figure that this group already excludes any dropouts or criminals, you see that deporting them would also make Americans, on average, slightly but measurably dumber and more criminal than we already are. All with the stroke of a pen! In the view of Emmer, Lewis and Paulsen, would this be a good thing or a bad thing?

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/11/2018 - 02:13 pm.

      Different Perspective

      I think most people would like to see the countries that these people come from improve for the good of all of their citizens.

      What do you think the positive consequences could be of sending 800,000 dreamers and 11,000,000 illegal workers back to their home countries would be?

      Many of these folks are very conditioned as Americans and could do wonders in their home country.

      Not to mention that reducing the USA work force should provide a very strong incentive to increase the wages of America’s legal work force. Especially for those Americans at the bottom of the income range.

      One other benefit of deporting all illegal border crossers and visa over stayers is that it will dissuade many from risking their lives and those of their children with people smugglers.

  3. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 01/11/2018 - 01:17 pm.

    In 1986, Reagan also gave amnesty to 3 million people (mostly from Mexico) who were in the US illegally. Now we have at least 12 million people (mostly from Mexico) in the US illegally. Worked out great, didn’t it?

    There can be no compromise on DACA. They have to go home, and apply for a green card like everyone else.

    I can’t believe we have to instruct US government officials to follow US law; it’s Kafkaesque.

  4. Submitted by Charles Holtman on 01/11/2018 - 02:18 pm.

    Why the need for “compromise”?

    Trump did not promise his base a wall. Rather, he promised the base a wall without a penny of cost to the U.S. taxpayer. So no concession to burn $18 billion is needed from the fiscally responsible Democratic caucus! Both the wall and DACA can proceed without any compromise!

    Or is it possible that what Trump told his base about the wall is the same as what he told them about everything else – just words to manipulate, without sincerity or intent?

  5. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 01/11/2018 - 02:33 pm.

    “I’m guessing that our federal government and school districts have probably spent, on average, maybe $50,000 and $100,000 per student to educate them through primary and secondary school, and on into college.”

    According to gov stats of public schools, <>40% did not graduate high school. And for those that did, where is the college money coming from? They are not eligible for Fanny Mae, or any other federally backed loan or grant, nor should they be as long as there are qualified US citizens to apply for them.

    • Submitted by John Evans on 01/11/2018 - 09:30 pm.

      Every single DACA recipient must

      have a high school diploma, or an honorable discharge from the military. They are not DACA-eligible if they have a significant criminal record.

      That makes them, as a group, better-educated and less criminal than the average American. They are already well-adjusted members of American society. They grew up here. We paid to educate them. They aren’t Hondurans or Guatemalans or Mexicans anymore. They’re ours.

      Let’s keep this above-average, productive cohort of Americans here and paying taxes to our government.

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 01/12/2018 - 08:51 pm.

        No they do not have to have high school diploma – only be enrolled in school which may be anything, including English language classes, I believe. And they don’t even need to speak English.

  6. Submitted by Jerilyn Jackson on 01/11/2018 - 03:29 pm.

    Let’s not forget…

    Many of these “dreamers” would be in grave danger if deported to their childhood countries where there is terrible violence. Beyond the cold economic statistics there is the moral humanitarian consideration.

  7. Submitted by James Hamilton on 01/11/2018 - 04:10 pm.

    Taking hostages

    is no way to begin a discussion.

    That said, it should be recognized that the current $18 billion request for border security funding is spread over 10 years and would be used in part to repair and upgrade some 400 miles of existing barriers while building something more than 300 miles of new barriers. Roughly one-half of the more than 2,000 mile long border would remain without barriers. The case can be made that the bill is less for a wall than it is for being able to claim fulfillment of a campaign promise.

    Physical barriers are perhaps the least effective of all means of addressing undocumented immigration through our southern border, however. I suspect that enforcement of laws prohibiting the employment of undocumented workers would be more effective both in the short and long term. Longer term, efforts to create jobs in the nations from which the majority of immigrants come would be a more prudent investment than concrete and steel. Using our dwindling prestige and moral force to persuade some of the worst human rights offenders and most corrupt Latin American administrations to treat their citizens more humanely would also help reduce the flow. Unfortunately, we seem to be endorsing some of the worst offenders worldwide. (Most recently, the Trump administration recognized the re-election of the president of Honduras in a highly suspect election and despite that country’s constitutional ban on the re-election of a president. This is the same president Trump and Republicans chided Obama and Clinton about in 2016.)

    As for those already here who are not Dreamers? Deport those convicted of felonies, those who do not have children or spouses who are American citizens, and develop a path to legal residence for the rest who can meet the same criteria the Dreamers have had to meet. There will be inequities, yes. There will be in any system. The status quo is simply insane, however. It’s time to end it.

    • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 01/12/2018 - 10:12 am.

      I second your emphasis on conditions in countries of origin.

      To advance the prerogatives of capital, our nation spent decades brutally undermining, and continues to undermine, the civic and economic development of the nations to our south. This is the fundamental cause of the immigration that the Trump base has been taught to abhor. Folks don’t uproot themselves and their families, and endure great threat, privation and exploitation to live in the shadows of illegality in a foreign land, unless the society around them gives them no hope for themselves or their children.

      Working to advance democracy and human rights globally is not just do-gooding, it is the long game that promotes stability and well-being in our own nation.

    • Submitted by Bill Willy on 01/12/2018 - 02:39 pm.

      Note to anyone who’s read this far

      When it comes to the (oddly and unfortunately rare) art of proposing solutions to “controversial” questions and providing sound rationales for them, I’d say the two comments above (James and Charles H’s) are excellent examples of that “common sense” we hear so much about but rarely see from those who tend to use the term most often.

      A bit too long for a bumper sticker, but when it comes to “sound bites of truth,” couldn’t agree more with,

      “The status quo is simply insane, however. It’s time to end it.”

      It reminds me of the opposite of (the bumper sticker), “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

      This whole old, stultifying and counterproductive “immigration debate” that has been going on for what seems like the past eon or two has been the equivalent of, “If it’s broke, DON’T fix it,” and, like tough little boneheads, a big enough majority of our elected “representatives” have, decade-after-decade, kept coming up with tough little bonehead excuses (or anti-rationales) for why NOT fixing broken things makes perfect sense (“for the good of America!”)

      Anyway . . . There are several other Dreamers-related comments here that fit the common sense (not to mention the empathic and compassionate) criteria well, but I think the combination of what Senors Hamilton and Holtman had to say above sums up the common sense involved in the bigger picture almost perfectly.

    • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 01/12/2018 - 08:54 pm.

      “I suspect that enforcement of laws prohibiting the employment of undocumented workers would be more effective both in the short and long term” Totally agree. It will be also effective in dealing with illegal immigrants who are already here.

  8. Submitted by Bill Davnie on 01/11/2018 - 04:26 pm.

    The Wall, and Dreamers Going Home

    Dreamers taking U.S. expertise with him back home sounds simple, but 1) many don’t speak their home language any more, or not at professional level, and 2) the track record of diaspora communities returning to ancestral homelands to help is grim. I saw this in action in the post-Soviet Union. Ukrainians, Balts and others wanted to help, but many were not welcomed home, and only a few managed to actually reconnect successfully.

    As for the wall. it’s employment that attracts and keeps people here — not barriers. Mandatory eVerify will address the problem far better than a construction project. And the labor loss we would face could finally force Congress to come up with a reasonable compromise bill.

  9. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/11/2018 - 06:46 pm.

    Ah yes

    Qualified US citizens? Is that like people who dodged their patriotic duty to serve in the military? But were fine to let some illegal immigrant go in their stead? Same old rhetoric, These aren’t human beings these are “illegals”. Just has kind of a WWII ring to it.

  10. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 01/11/2018 - 09:18 pm.

    “right-wing nationalism that views illegal immigration as an existential threat to the U.S” So only right-wing nationalists view illegal immigration negatively? Do all others think it’s a good thing?

    Ellison: “…rip nearly 800,000 people out of the only country they’ve ever known, unless you give us stuff.” Many of those people came here when they were 14 or 15 years old so it’s hardly possible to say that they never knew their native country. And I guess, in his view, allowing 800,000 people to stay is equal to giving money for a few drones? As for “stuff,” stopping visa lottery is “stuff” in Ellison’s view but can anyone explain to me how America benefits from it?

    • Submitted by James Hamilton on 01/12/2018 - 10:24 am.

      How do we benefit from the visa lottery?

      Excuse me if I misunderstood your question.

      The benefits to America are both tangible and intangible. The tangible benefits include willing workers for some of our lowest skilled and most grueling jobs: roofing, slaughterhouses, cabs, nursing homes, etc. These largely are jobs that are ignored by Americans, white or otherwise. Another, one that some no doubt will not see as a benefit, is maintaining the population necessary for our economy to function. (Immigrants tend to have more children than non-immigrants.) A consumer economy dies without a sufficient number of consumers.

      The intangible benefits include the way in which we are perceived around the world, as a diverse nation ready to accept others into our society not simply for our own economic well-being, what they can for us, but for humanitarian and egalitarian reasons. It builds bridges between nations, political, cultural, and economic. It enriches our culture, from the culinary to the artistic.

      To respond to the first portion of your post:

      I do not view illegal immigration as a “good thing”. I do understand, however, some of the forces that drive it: poverty, the desire to feed and clothe your family in your nation of origin, the desire for a better life for your family and children than is available at home, even sheer survival for many. Like it or not, we as a nation have been complicit in the process. Many employers and industries have thrived on the employment of undocumented workers and continue to do so. We’ve turned a blind eye to that fact and enjoyed the literal fruits (and vegetables, poultry, and pork) of their labors. We’ve allowed them to settle, to start families, and to become important parts of our economy, all the while complaining of their presence.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/12/2018 - 11:00 am.

        Hear, hear!

        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-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/12/2018 - 12:44 pm.

        Trade Offs

        I have no doubt that America and the illegal immigrants have benefitted from our past relationship. I mean just look at the millions of dollars of remittances that go back to their home countries. The question is what has been the consequence to our LEGAL low skill low wage workers?

        With automation, off shoring, American Consumers wanting low cost high quality goods, etc, the next question is what should border security, immigration policy, etc do to help more American citizens achieve higher wages and life styles in the future?

        As for the “New Collosus” text that Dennis quotes.

        The reality is that it is just a poem, and back then we had a lot of land and jobs to fill, so the USA needed people badly. It was like hanging out a “All Job Applicants will be Hired” sign outside your business.. Is this what we still want today?

        • Submitted by Bill Willy on 01/12/2018 - 03:13 pm.

          Just a poem?

          It would be interesting to know where your ancestors came from (mine came from Europe and Northern Europe) and why they decided to uproot themselves to make the journey to a completely new and foreign land.

          And while I don’t know if keeping the same welcome sign displayed is “still what we want,” every time this subject comes up and those who are “already here” and in possession of their inherited Golden American Ticket start saying, “Absolutely not!” or, more modestly questioning the “open door” policy in the way that you just have, I can’t help but detect at least a little of the, “I got mine so maybe we should start clamping down,” sentiment and feel compelled to ask the question, “What if the Americans in charge a decade or two before your (or my) ancestors decided to roll the dice had asked the same question and decided, ‘No. We don’t need that anymore. There are plenty of us and we would be foolish to take a chance on diluting our miraculous prosperity and life of relative freedom from so many of the rest of the world’s tyrannical evils’?”

          • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 01/12/2018 - 08:56 pm.

            “What if the Americans in charge…” In fact, at some point it happened and many people who wanted to come to America were not able to. But again, immigration is a process that is supposed to be designed to benefit the country (not the immigrants who, nevertheless, benefit as well for sure). So at different times the needs are different and so immigration policies should be different. There is no right to immigrate to America – it’s a great privilege.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/12/2018 - 09:26 pm.

            Well please remember that over 130 years ago when my great grand parents came here the ticket was not so golden as today. The government only collected <7% of the country's GDP, we did not have much of anything for welfare / Medicaid and settlers had to commit to working the land for 5 years. As I have noted, the country needed people... The arrangement was mutually beneficial.

            Please remember that I am supportive of legal immigration, I am fine increasing the legal rate of immigration significantly. However the deal has to be mutually beneficial as it was in the past and not cause harm to our citizens.

            Given that concept, who should we be bringing into America at this time?

            Also, in this modern world we have a huge opportunity to help people in their own country, which helps many more people than helping a few at the expense of our poor.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/12/2018 - 09:51 pm.


            Given that travel is much easier and less expensive, and since there are likely in excess of a billion people who would love a “golden ticket”.

            What do you think we should do?
            How many people should we legal immigrate annually?
            What criteria would you recommend?
            How do we help our own unfortunate citizens given your plan?

            It was much easier when there weren’t even a billion humans on the planet.

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/12/2018 - 04:08 pm.

          Not really

          It is on the Statue of Liberty!
          One would think that conservatives would like to uphold the traditions of old, perhaps not? Some of us look at humanity first, economics second. Looks like a clear distinction between liberated conservatives and conservatives. “Back then” is nothing much to bring up, because, back then we were also, how would you say, having our Indian genocide, and all those legal slaves.
          Help American citizens? Suspect that is in the eye of the beholder, conservatives are pretty solid anti-union, it doesn’t fit the free market idealism. The right wing has done a great job of decimating the unions, and continues, with that success why the tears, conservatives are winning, need not worry about the humanitarian consequences now. Point being weren’t/aren’t Union folks “American Citizens”? We have beaten this dirt many times: there hasn’t been any mad rush of American workers from unemployed areas to pick vegetables and fruit in Calif, Georgia, Mich. etc, or roof houses in Minneapolis!. In July “T” had applications for ~ 70 foreign workers? Why isn’t he hiring those unemployed? Do as I say not as I do? Can we please stop with this dead end argument, It is what you think should be real, not what is real. Most of those so called unemployed folks are not going to take those jobs for 5 cents a peach, they are going to wait until coal or whatever comes back to hometown America. And if it doesn’t, they will blame someone other than their own lack of ability to change with a changing world, (personal responsibility), supposedly once a conservative value. The 2nd link is about the Carrier jobs going to Mexico, those are not illegals here, they are legals there (free market economics in action). Not saying I like it, but I understand it. And we can assume Carrier probably got a great Tax break with that Republican bill last year, and these American workers are now getting the shaft, not a $500 a year Tax break.

          • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 01/13/2018 - 11:50 am.

            “Some of us look at humanity first, economics second.” If you disregard economics, you will not have money for humanity.

            “there hasn’t been any mad rush of American workers from unemployed areas to pick vegetables and fruit in Calif, Georgia, Mich. etc, or roof houses in Minneapolis” So will you support welfare reform? Unemployment only lasts so long…

            • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/13/2018 - 11:31 pm.

              Simple answers to simple questions

              Think about what the response: As Clint Eastwood (a devoute republican) would say in “Pale Rider”do we serve manna, or do we serve man? Choose! That is clearly the point, choose man and figure out a way to make it work, or, choose manna and start kicking folks off the train, exactly the point of the article!

              • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 01/14/2018 - 01:56 pm.

                Utopias are impossible due to the realities of human nature.

                • Submitted by Bill Willy on 01/16/2018 - 04:39 pm.

                  And yet we’re living in a relative Utopia

                  While an “absolutely perfect world” may be a stretch, and despite whatever exactly human nature is, compared to the cave days we all came from, the world we inhabit is lightyears closer to Utopia than just about anything I’m sure you (or I) would rather not go back to.

                  How many cave people do you suppose said (or made equivalent noises to convey their view that) things like “indoor fire” to help take the big winter chill off was out of the question, beyond impossible, something that nature itself AND human nature would never allow (because, obviously, people being people, everyone would burn themselves and everyone else up before anyone could make it to the cave exit)?

                  Or what do you think they might have said about the likelihood of things like “houses” or “windows” or “roads” or “cars” or “ships” or getting on “airplanes” and “flying” from wherever they were sitting around shivering uncontrollably to places like “Florida” or “Arizona” before dark?

                  What might they have said to anyone who said things like “computers” or “the internet” or “cell” or “smart” or plain old “land line slimline” or “princess phones” or sending “text messages” (like these) to people they’ve never met who are “hundreds” or “thousands” of “miles” away in less than a “second” so they could “read them” and “reply” about as quickly would someday be “commonplace”?

                  So you may be right. The ancient dream of Utopia may indeed remain out of reach forever. Or, on another hand, if we manage to make it past blowing ourselves up with “nuclear bombs” or baking and gassing ourselves to death by way of “exhaust,” or doing ourselves in via unintended “artificial intelligence” consequences (that wind up making the robots around us start thinking of us a juicy rib eye steaks or delectable vegetables) and enough time goes by — and bearing in mind “mankind’s” progress to-date — who knows what might develop?

                  Not likely, I know, but it COULD turn out a couple people like you and me might be sitting around someday laughing about how their distant ancestors used to sit around pining away for that dump called Utopia that their more recent ancestors had to risk their lives to escape from to get where they’re at now.

                  I mean, where they’re at then.

                  • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 01/16/2018 - 09:01 pm.

                    I agree but all that progress was not done by wishful thinking but by hard work and ingenuity. However, regardless of the progress mankind has made, it is limited by the human nature. I wish communism were possible… Now, in theory, I can see (and not in such a distant future) a society where everything is done by robots and only those who want to work – work. However, I am scared of this time because what would those who don’t want to work be doing?

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/13/2018 - 08:07 pm.


            The unfortunate reality is that the American Consumers weakened the unions. As I have mentioned many times, they voted with their money and it went elsewhere. The only unions that are still strong are in the area of public employees, and many tax payers are getting weary of paying more for questionable results. (ie putting limits on collective bargaining and becoming Right to Work States)

            As for Americans being unwilling to take challenging dirty jobs… I assume that is because our safety hammock is too cushy, American children have been conditioned to think they are above them and those 11,000,000 illegal workers who are happy to have these jobs are keeping downward pressure on the wages in those industries. As I keep asking, if the 11,000,000 illegal employees were gone… Do you think business segments would collapse or do you think wages would increase? I am guessing a bit of both.

            As for Carrier moving jobs, as I keep saying… If we consumers don’t care where things are built, of course the companies will move jobs to where the value is highest.

            That is exactly what us consumers do. And the reality is that the vast majority will not reward Carrier with our loyalty just because they employ Americans. We will look at the furnace’s cost, quality, features and reliability and choose the one that offers us the most value.

            So it seems many people here want to invite and/or keep more illegal workers in USA to compete with the low paid American legal employees. Then to make things worse, they want to keep buying their Subarus, VWs, Samsung phones /appliances, etc.

            • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/14/2018 - 12:23 pm.

              Thouhgts or arguing with yourself?

              From an observation point of view: :It appears that we should blame: Americans for being soft, the American consumer for being cheap and disloyal, the public sector unions for being inefficient, our public policy for being overly safety conscious, meaning: working folks don’t get injured or killed enough, blame our school system for setting high expectations for our kids, and of course blame illegals for purposely working for low wages just to screw the American work force.

              Here is a good explanation of “What if” on deporting 11M (To be expected its complicated) :

              Perhaps as the global economy changed, lower skilled jobs are having a tougher time demanding higher skilled wages, (less union presence) and business as well as the right have quite clearly de-fanged the unions of any bite other than the public sector, and you clearly think they should be de-fanged as well, like neighbor WI. (Tough thought to understand when you argue increase local private sector wage on lower skilled jobs, but decrease wages for public sector higher skilled jobs.

              Reality opinion; some of us were able to adapt to this new economy, some not, as a country, we cannot turn back the economic clock, the global market place continues to evolve, we need to up our game, your point, (quality, productivity, value etc. on a global market place) not lower the bar. And that my friend has nothing to do with illegal immigrants, and everything to do with taking personal responsibility for our outcomes, both as a country and as individuals. Why did all those jobs leave, some say not so much unions as bad management, bad leadership. Old business saying, things go wrong, look up for the problem, that is where the big buck leadership is at!

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/14/2018 - 07:50 pm.


                Per your link it seems pretty simple, if we reduce the number of illegal workers and keep new illegal workers from entering the country. Wages and costs will go up, labor participation will increase and unemployment for minorities will be reduced. Isn’t that the goal !!!

                One of my liberal readers just wrote that we need to be bring more immigrants in because restaurants are having a hard time finding people who are willing to work in the <$15/hr wage category. I had to ask her for her rationale because I thought the goal was to pressure companies to pay a livable wage. (ie >$15/hr)

                Just picking on GM, both the management and union employees got paid very well due to their company’s near monopoly status. This is why their workers called them Generous Motors. I personally would look at both sides in that case.

                The interesting thing about these: quality, productivity, performance, features, reliability, value, etc have a whole lot to do with product and development costs. And if you wonder why… The price is somewhat set by the market and competition, however the margin, which is used for improvements, investments, R&D, etc…, is determined by subtracting the costs from the price / revenues.

                The unfortunate reality is that companies with lower costs of business and product costs will win over time as they reinvest in those higher margins in things that make their product better and even less expensive. Hyundai is an excellent example and their market share shows it.

                With that in mind, Ford and GM are expanding their China based R&D facilities rapidly. Which seems to be what the American customers are voting for when they buy high foreign content vehicles.

                • Submitted by Dan Landherr on 01/16/2018 - 04:16 pm.

                  Quote from Hyundai USA website

                  “Hyundai may be a Korean company, but over half the cars we sell in the U.S. are made here. We have a technologically sophisticated manufacturing facility in Montgomery, Alabama, engineering facilities in Michigan, plus design, research, and testing grounds in California.”


                  R&D for ‘US’ car companies in China is to produce cars tailored for the massive market there. R&D in China is often a requirement for companies who wish to do business in China.

                  The simple answer is there are no ‘US’ car companies, just multinational corporations.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/16/2018 - 11:06 pm.


                    I love automobiles because these folks have ground all the numbers for us by make and model. And they take more into account than just manufacturing. No need to take the word of the Manufacturer.


                    And you are correct that GM and Ford do compete globally, however as you will see in my source they still have the vast majority of models with high domestic content. I am not sure what to think about Chrysler since they are owned by Fiat now.

                    Though Honda and Toyota do pretty good with their highest volume vehicles. Though you will see the Prius scores a 1…

                    I guess my view is that people who want to support American workers should be buying cars that score at least a 65 on the index… No matter the brand.

  11. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/15/2018 - 10:40 am.

    Looks like

    Cherry picking the article to suit your purpose!

    “The answer, surprisingly, may be other undocumented immigrants—with Americans paying higher prices for the goods and services as a result.”

    “while an influx of American citizens and legal immigrants into jobs previously held by undocumented immigrants may theoretically represent a boon for the U.S. economy, the resulting overall economic impact may only be slightly positive, at best.”

    Credibility is at the heart of an honest and rationale discussion.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/15/2018 - 01:44 pm.


      Please remember that I noted right up front that we will need to “keep new illegals workers from entering”. I am not sure why the article made an assumption that the borders would remain porous and there would be “replacement illegal works” coming in.

      Please note that the Bush, Clinton and Bush Border walls, along with improved enforcement are working very well. And with Trumps comments and actions the rate keeps falling.

      So what is insincere or not credible about the following?

      “if we reduce the number of illegal workers and keep new illegal workers from entering the country.

      Wages and costs will go up, labor participation will increase and unemployment for minorities will be reduced.

      Isn’t that the goal !!!”

      This is macro economic 101.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/15/2018 - 09:21 pm.

        Reality vs idealism

        Is exactly what the discussion has been about. We can all live in an idealistic environment, its easy, you never have to fix anything, just philosophize all day, kind of like smoking a doobie at 8:00 AM and another every 2 or so hours until until 10:00 PM, or, face the hard, cold, realities of living and dealing with a diversified world, and figuring out how to try and make it better.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/16/2018 - 08:55 am.

          Agreed, the Liberal perspective is based on Idealism. The ideal of the New Colossus, the ideal that we can have very open borders without it harming some of our citizens, the ideal that once a family member has been allowed to immigrate to the US they should be free to bring in all of their extended family, etc.

          The reality is that there are many aspects and consequences of immigration policy. And that the policy should help American citizens first, and non-Americans second.

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/16/2018 - 04:18 pm.

            Nice Try but no teddy bear

            You are the one that keeps saying remember! Reality, it is much easier and more cost effective to let these folks stay and give them a path. Your idealistic perspective seems to be, purify the country of the illegals, only legals here. Round them up into box cars and push them out at the border, So we put stars on their clothes or tattoos on their arms to make sure we get them all?

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/16/2018 - 08:02 pm.

              No Sanctuary

              Personally I think it is pretty easy and real, with no jobs and no sanctuary people will simply go home.

              Then maybe they will learn from their experience and choose to apply to enter our country legally. And they will tell others of their experience and we will have fewer illegal violations of our border.

              Instead of budging in line in front of the law abiding foreigners who have chosen to follow our laws, apply for legal immigration and wait in line.

              I love legal immigrants and am happy to have more of them in the USA. Many of my co-workers followed that path and they are great citizens.

              Not sure why folks want to provide sanctuary for folks who knowingly budged in line of legal immigrants, violated our border and/or over stayed their visa.

              • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/17/2018 - 11:43 am.

                One thing is clear

                You either don’t get it or don’t want to!
                Ever ask the question, why are those folks here to begin with? Folks seem to think they all took a wrong turn at Disneyland? Ever hear of the term “Desperate people in desperate situations”. Its clear some folks don’t care, nor chose to understand the circumstances. Precisely the term, not-humanitarian in nature.
                For a lot of folks, “This is home!”
                Why, its called understanding and being a humanitarian.

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/17/2018 - 12:21 pm.


                  I am all for helping people to improve their countries in the name of being humanitarian.
                  I am all for allowing refugees in moderate numbers come into our country through legal means in the name of being humanitarian.

                  I am not excited about rewarding people for crossing our borders illegally or over staying their visa.
                  It simply promotes the wrong behaviors in many ways.

                  Our tolerance to this in the past is why we have the DACA and Illegal Workers with US citizen children issues today.

                  Please remember as I noted above, there are probably 3 Billion foreigners in terrible conditions who would love to be here. What do you recommend?

                  • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/17/2018 - 04:33 pm.

                    The Dialogue

                    Suggests otherwise: As earlier, you appear to be arguing with yourself.Ask the question, what would you do if those shoes were on your feet? Seems you like poetry, try this one.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/18/2018 - 10:19 am.


                      I am not sure I “argue” with myself.

                      Though I do like to try on multiple perspectives of each situation.

                      By the way, you avoided my question. The reality is that there are billions of people out there with “terribly uncomfortable sandals” and that number grows every year.

                      The question are:
                      1. do we help them where they live?
                      2. do we encourage a dangerous race to cross our border illegally?
                      3. do we enforce orderly legal immigration?

                      Personally I support 1 & 3.

  12. Submitted by Bill Willy on 01/16/2018 - 11:27 am.

    Scapergoatherding or what?

    While we’re on the DACA and broader immigration topic, can anyone tell me how immigration got to be the Number One Top Issue, Majorest of All Concerns and Problems Facing the United States of America today?

    Not that it was ever anywhere near the top of the national concerns list (Republicans don’t seem to know it exists or, if they think it might they don’t seem to think it matters) but remember all that recent noise that had something to do with the (alleged) acceleration of what people were calling “income and wealth inequality”?

    Remember when so many Americans were concerned about the staggering price of health care and how, they were saying, it was pushing a lot of them (especially people caught in the “individual market”) toward bankruptcy?

    Or how about the way a lot of Americans seemed to be wondering about why it is we’ve been spending trillions of taxpayer’s dollars blowing things up and killing people (6,000 or 8,000 thousand young Americans but way way more non-Americans) for the past 16 or 17 years in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria? Did that all get straightened out? Is that over now? Are we done over there? Did all the soldiers, pilots and sailors come home? Are we back to whatever business as usual there means now? Has it turned into just another case of, “Nothing to see here so let’s move along”?

    And, even though I’m having trouble bringing them into sharp relief, I keep getting this feeling that there USED to be quite a few “pressing” and gnarly problems that needed to be dealt with that seem to have faded in some kind of rear view mirror that is now full of all kinds of immigration-related things, as is the view out the windshield and windows on either side of the car.

    I’m not sure what happened, but all of a sudden it seems like the crushingly important, somehow dangerous and, it seems, potentially deadly, national security threat of immigration has replaced all those “distant past” issues at the top of the American Priority list and attention span.

    Hence my question: Would someone who gets it please explain to me what is so vital and (near-emergency status) about immigration? What is it that has moved it to the Absolute Top of the American Problems list?

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/16/2018 - 12:28 pm.


      It seems that Obama’s bringing these folks out into the open raised the priority of the issue. Especially now that Trump is undoing that action. I mean would one have foreseen the Democratic politicians threatening to shut down the government over an unrelated issue?

      • Submitted by Bill Willy on 01/16/2018 - 02:23 pm.

        Oh . . .

        I know you said you’re okay with DACA people staying here (above, I think), so I’m guessing what you’re saying is that Obama and Democrats is the reason all those other issues are no longer anywhere near being “on the table”? (I’m not sure that’s accurate, but the conciseness of your reply seems to be saying that.)

        And by the way, when it comes to your position on DACA, besides applauding it, I thought you should know (if you don’t already) that you are nowhere near alone.

        Just for the heck of it I did a quick search on “DACA polls” this morning and, given the current “raging political controversy,” I was at least a little surprised to find headline after headline like this . . .

        “Majorities of Republicans and Democrats Support Basic Policies of DACA Program”

        . . . and the accompanying details that seem to boil down to this:

        “Roughly two-thirds (66 percent) of Americans favor allowing immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children to gain legal resident status if they join the military or go to college, while nearly three in ten (29 percent) oppose such a policy.”

        Who knew?

        Funny what an increasingly common occurrence that kind of thing seems to be, isn’t it? . . . Some issue comes up and some pretty big majority of voters (or alleged “constituents”) express their opinion either for or against BUT our elected representatives don’t seem to get the memo and wind up fighting tooth and nail (for months on end) to either pass whatever it is (by the slimmest of “constituent-influence-free”) margins or fail to do so in what turns out to be the same kind of (“constituent-influence-free”) close call.

        I mean, a person would think if 60-plus percent of We The People say we are for or against something our representatives would SOMEhow get the message (in this day and age of such powerful hardware, software and nearly instant and seamless communications and all) and, well . . . Represent us.

        But no . . . They don’t seem to . . . I guess our 500 to 600 elected reps (and their “leadership”) must figure they have a much better comprehension of what’s (really) best for the other 319,999,400 or so of us and see it as their patriotic duty to save us from ourselves, or something all but totally devoid of any trace of comprehension of, or respect for, that thing called “representation democracy.”

        Oh well . . . It’s a good thing the people in Washington are so much smarter than we are is all I can say about that aspect of things.

        Anyway . . . If you’ve got time, please let me know if you meant that the reason all those other (recently more pressing) issues have been replaced by immigration was Obama and the Democrats and — just to make sure — you’re certain it wasn’t some kind of residual Hillary thing that did it.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/16/2018 - 07:47 pm.

          Top of the List

          You asked what sent it to the top of the list? My concise answer seems accurate to me.

          Now I do support making Dreamers citizens, however I also support:

          – Absolutely STOPPING illegal border crossing and smuggling. (ie walls, technology & personnel) To many Americans die from the drugs and too many jobs are filled by illegal workers. Not to mention the human trafficking and Central American people risking their children’s lives to cross Mexico.

          – Sending all other illegal residents / workers home where they can apply for legal immigration. (ie no line budging allowed) America is a country of law and order, these people violated those to get here in front of legal immigrants which is not acceptable.

          – Prioritizing skills based immigration over extended family reunification (ie chain migration) We do not need to stop family reunification or refugee assistance, however it should come second.

          The problem as I see it is that if the Far Right gives in on DACA, the Far Left will refuse to pursue the other common sense changes I have noted above. As you have noted in the news and in the comments, the Left continues to argue that the DACA folks should “not be used as a negotiating issue”. If the Left is hesitant to make a deal for them, what could convince them to act without them? I am guessing nothing…

          I mean often folks are forgetting to draw a distinction between legal and illegal immigration… When to folks like me that is a very clear distinction.

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/18/2018 - 07:57 pm.

            1 Point

            “I mean often folks are forgetting to draw a distinction between legal and illegal immigration… When to folks like me that is a very clear distinction.”

            We do understand: Just that we still consider them human beings with families and a life to lead and not just a definition, they are all legal inhabitants of space ship earth! According to your definition/interpretation perhaps we should start kicking them off the planet!

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/19/2018 - 01:01 pm.

              No need to kick them off Earth, I will be satisfied to put them back in the “legal immigration line” where they should have stood initially.

              This desire to encourage people to “run for the border” and “avoid our legal process” seems counterintuitive.

              If you want more immigrants here, just lobby for higher legal immigrant quotas. No need to encourage people to budge in front of the patient law abiding folks.

    • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 01/16/2018 - 09:02 pm.

      It seems that internationally, we are doing better now – just think of the end of ISIS in Iraq and the world consensus on North Korea. Economy is doing very good – most people agree on that as well. So what’s next? An issue that may affect both economy and safety – which is illegal immigration. And by the way, many people do not have the full picture of the DACA issue…

  13. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 01/18/2018 - 11:58 am.

    Whatever the merits of the DACA group there remains the fact that a wall will not stop illegal immigration.

    After fifty years of immigration from Cuba and Haiti, even right-wingers should be aware by ow that boats exist.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/18/2018 - 01:30 pm.


      Apparently this Far Right source agrees with you, that it is only part of the solution.

      Now are you willing to truly support citizens / legal workers?
      Or do you want to provide sanctuary to illegal workers?

      That seems to be the big issue here…

      And I had and excellent source that showed a direct correlation between miles of Border fence/wall and a reduction in illegal crossings. It noted that before Bush, Clinton and Bush built all the wall that is there… 1+ MILLION people / year flowed over the border illegally. Now it down to ~250,000.

      Which means about the population of Minneapolis still crosses the border with no background checks.

      • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 01/19/2018 - 04:11 pm.

        If you are sincere about stopping illegal immigration

        then lobby your representatives for severe employer sanctions.

        Trying to stop the flow of border crossers is a supply-side tactic. There is an endless supply of desperate poor people in the world. They will come as long as there are jobs to be had. Instead, we need to try demand-side tactics, reducing the number of employers who would be willing to hire illegal immigrants.

        There are plenty of employers who will talk out of one side of their mouth (“We have to get rid of these invading hordes”) to please the public and out of the other side of their mouth (“¿Quieres trabajar en mi fábrica?”) when they approach those street corners where (everyone knows that) migrant workers gather and load half a dozen people into their van.

        I once heard a man describe his grandson’s time in France. This grandson had the idea that he could go to France and get a job, just like that. What he discovered was that the fines for hiring people without work permits were so stiff that no legitimate business would hire him for anything, not even as a dishwasher. He got offers from some not-so-legitimate “businesses,” but in the end, he found that his only legal option was to work on a farm for room and board, no money.

        What happens in this country is that everyone is in on the ruse. The employers get cheap laborers whom they can keep in awful conditions (in Oregon, they sometimes keep the farmworkers in metal storage sheds with no running water or even a pit toilet), with the assurance that the workers won’t complain about bad living conditions or dangerous working conditions. If the workers start complaining, the employer sics ICE on them, pays a token fine, and starts over with some new arrivals.

        Now suppose Mr. Business Owner were required to pay a fine equivalent to a year’s minimum wage for each illegal worker and/or had all his assets confiscated and auctioned off to people who promised to hire only legal residents.

        How willing would he and others like him be to hire illegal immigrants in that situation?

        How many people would be wiling to risk the border crossing if there were no job on the other side?

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