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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Where’s The Fence? (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Where’s The Fence?
Omega M.
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quote:
Originally posted by Icarus:

We should make, I dunno, Cherokee the official language, to keep those illegal English immigrants from thinking they own the damned place.

Do you think that any nation should have an official language?
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Icarus
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No.

Official languages are stupid. If everybody speaks a language, then legislating it is redundant. If everybody does not, then legislating it is only a way for bigots to communicate their hatred.

Interestingly enough, Mexico does not have an official language.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
I read the article and I find it hard to muster any sympathy. His parent's law breaking has already gotten him an education they didn't have to pay for. If he wants to be a doctor, he can study in Mexico on their dime.
Remind me where it is in our American ideals that we punish a child for the crime of his parents.

Oh, and thanks for dropping the compassion BS you were putting out there.

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Belle
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quote:
For all intents and purposes he is American.
No, he's not. Nothing changes the fact that he is not a legal citizen - no matter how long he's been here, no matter whether it wasn't his fault, he is not legal. But, let's take the focus off of him and put it on his parents, who DID do something illegal. I want my children, who are all American citizens, to get college educations. That's going to cost me a whole lot of money. Why should his parents get help paying for their child's education when millions of parents like myself aren't getting any help for our kids?

As Mig said, they've already gotten the benefit of a free K-12 education for their son.

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dkw
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quote:
Originally posted by Belle:


quote:
Student loans. Plenty of people who can't afford college and don't qualify for financial aid take out student loans. Like, more than half of my classmates.
Many loan programs have need-based components to them, which I do not qualify for. [/QB]
Unsubsidized Stafford loans are not awarded based on financial need.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
No, he's not. Nothing changes the fact that he is not a legal citizen - no matter how long he's been here, no matter whether it wasn't his fault, he is not legal. But, let's take the focus off of him and put it on his parents, who DID do something illegal. I want my children, who are all American citizens, to get college educations. That's going to cost me a whole lot of money. Why should his parents get help paying for their child's education when millions of parents like myself aren't getting any help for our kids?
You're still penalizing a child for the actions of his parents. Legally speaking, unfortunately, you're right, he's not an American. Morally, in my heart at least, a child who is born in Mexico but then is brought across the border, just let's say a few minutes after his birth and then lives in the US all his life, that child is an American.

How about supporting offering more help for American parents to send their children to college, rather than focusing on penalizing the children of illegal immigrants? I can certainly suggest which would be more tangibly helpful to you...

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MattP
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quote:
As Mig said, they've already gotten the benefit of a free K-12 education for their son.
K-12 is largely paid for by property taxes. If his parents pay their rent, they paid for K-12.
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Dagonee
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quote:
I read the article and I find it hard to muster any sympathy. His parent's law breaking has already gotten him an education they didn't have to pay for. If he wants to be a doctor, he can study in Mexico on their dime.
Did they pay rent? Then they paid (through their landlord) the property taxes that make up the bulk of public school funding. Did they buy groceries? Then they paid sales tax. Did they drive a car? Then they paid gasoline taxes.

Further, most children in public schools are subsidized by other people's taxes.

quote:
No, he's not. Nothing changes the fact that he is not a legal citizen - no matter how long he's been here, no matter whether it wasn't his fault, he is not legal.
Then we have very different definitions of "American." For me, the government definition should be a reflection of who is American, not a creator of such status. To the extent it doesn't reflect that status, the government definition should be changed.

quote:
But, let's take the focus off of him and put it on his parents, who DID do something illegal. I want my children, who are all American citizens, to get college educations. That's going to cost me a whole lot of money. Why should his parents get help paying for their child's education when millions of parents like myself aren't getting any help for our kids?
Well let's take another step back. Why should I help you (through my taxes) put your children through college? None of the reasons on my list for supporting public support of colleges include "because they were born here" or "because their parents didn't come to America from elsewhere without getting a piece of paper first."

quote:
As Mig said, they've already gotten the benefit of a free K-12 education for their son.
It depends on how you define "free." Again, they certainly paid a lot of taxes in those years.
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Bokonon
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quote:
Originally posted by Belle:
quote:
It wouldn't be any easier for the average illegal to get a degree, they'd still have to come up with the money just like a citizen.
Would they be eligible for financial aid? Thus taking away aid that an American citizen could qualify for?

I guess I could see allowing them to attend college but only if they were not allowed any government sponsored aid whatsoever. That should be reserved for legal citizens. Of course, if someone wanted to set up a private scholarship, that would be their right but I wouldn't want to see one cent of government money go to an illegal over a US citizen.

quote:
Student loans. Plenty of people who can't afford college and don't qualify for financial aid take out student loans. Like, more than half of my classmates.
Many loan programs have need-based components to them, which I do not qualify for.

Belle, my wife just went back to grad school (library science), and I make too much money. We were still able to acquire unsubsidized student loans. Not exactly the best deal, but it gets her into school. I realize that she needs to remain "full-time" student status to receive them, but at her school, that's 2 courses a semester. I don't know if yours is different though.

EDIT: dkw beat me to it. Oh, and sheesh Dagonee, you are totally pink(-o) in the middle [Wink]

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Scott R
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What can I say. This thread inspires me.

Frivel and Schleck: DODECAHEDRON!

My Barbed-Wire Underpants


It's prickly and it's scratchy,
It makes my skin look patchy;
Though I'm told it's for the best,
I never seem to get much rest
With my barbed-wire underpants

Other folks have silk or linen;
My drawers have razors all up in 'em,
As porous as a fence of shivs
I look ridiculous in my skivs,
In my barbed-wire underpants.

No lace or frills, or elastic waist--
No easy smile upon my face.
I wish that I could strip 'em down,
Bury them beneath the ground!
Send 'em off to Hell or worse:
The cesspool of the universe!
Let them burn and freeze and spin and tear
Cruel and cursed underwear!

Then I would find a gentler pair
To pull upon my derriere.
And breathe a breath of great relief--
Blessed, comfy, softest briefs.

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Icarus
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*grin*
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twinky
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quote:
Originally posted by Omega M.:
Do you think that any nation should have an official language?

The meaning of the term "official language" depends entirely on the nature of the legislation making it official. For example, here in Canada:

Overview of official languages in Canada
Official Languages Act

In general, I believe "official language" designations in other countries are similar in that they define one or more languages in which, at a minimum, governments must provide services. This doesn't prevent governments from offering services in other languages, of course, or from recognizing other languages as minority languages to require provision of services in them in certain areas.

However, I don't think any of that would accomplish your goal of "preventing immigrants from feeling like they're entitled to be in the U.S." So when you use the term "official language," you should probably be clearer about what exactly it is you mean.

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Dagonee
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quote:
Oh, and sheesh Dagonee, you are totally pink(-o) in the middle [Wink]
Bite your tongue. [Razz]

Seriously, this comes from a very conservative foundation, and is all premised on the existence of these benefits. That is, to the extent such programs exist, eligibility for them should not be conditioned on whether one's parents crossed the border illegally. It's the combination of a lot of aspects of our society that make illegal immigration such an intractable problem.

It also comes from a frustration that the issue of border security has been linked so heavily to what we do with existing people in our country. There's also a lack of nuance in how the word "illegal" is being used that makes much of the analysis seem very shallow to me. The mere fact that a law has been broken should not be the end-all, be-all of the discussion, especially when the law is not one with moral inherency (such as the law against murder or theft). This is a law of civil administration with no inherent moral superiority over dozens of other ways of handling the borders.

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Javert Hugo
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quote:
This is a law of civil administration with no inherent moral superiority over dozens of other ways of handling the borders.
Agreed. There are lots of ways to handle it. WHile I believe in following the law, I do not consider the law to be perfect and take my definitions of morality from it instead of the other way around.
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dkw
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There was an interesting letter to the editor in a local paper awhile back that suggested that when no American drives even 5 mph above the posted speed limit, cheats on his or her income tax, or takes a sip of alcohol before age 21 the writer might be willing to listen to the "but they broke the law" argument against undocumented residents.

Especially when, as has been pointed out, many of them entered the country legally and became "illegal" because of mistakes in filing their renewal forms or other clerical errors. And sometimes the error is not even their own.

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Bokonon
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Dagonee, I am sympathetic to your view. I really think that if we want to solve it to a greater extent than the current situation, we need to look at it as an economic issue, not social policy. So long as people want to see this as a social ill, then it will orders of magnitude more difficult to solve.

And from an economic model, I see it as follows... The last majorly tariffed economic "good" in this world is the human resource. Just like tariffs aren't good on other goods (the only macro-economic truism I've read about that every economic "school" agrees on, I think), economically it makes little sense to do the same to people.

-Bok

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El JT de Spang
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Yeah, I made a similar argument to a friend of mine back in the day. He was violently opposed to pot smoking (I think just because he was severely asthmatic and so any sort of smoking made him feel like he was breathing through mud), and the cornerstone of his argument was that it was illegal.

Of course, at the time of this discussion we were 19 years old and driving on the interstate. He was speeding, and I was drinking a beer.

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Dagonee
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That being said, I support penalties for illegal entry, and there is some justice to the idea of depriving the illegal enterer of the benefits of the lawbreaking. However, the children are not the illegal enterers and the ongoing status of shadow people excluded from civil society is too harsh a penalty.
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Belle
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Taking out unsubsidized loans would only plunge my family into debt, and I would graduate with a lot of debt and then be unable to help my kids with their college costs, so I don't consider it a viable option for me. For others, sure - not for us.

quote:
Why should I help you (through my taxes) put your children through college?
Trust me, you won't be. If we don't qualify for any type of aid now, we certainly won't when I start working, which I should do before my oldest is ready for college.


quote:
None of the reasons on my list for supporting public support of colleges include "because they were born here" or "because their parents didn't come to America from elsewhere without getting a piece of paper first."

Perhaps that's not an issue for you, but it is for others. It is for me. I do support public education and I support programs for people who cannot afford college on their own. Yet, I want those programs, if they're funded by taxpayer money, to be available for citizens first. The same way I think state colleges should offer aid to students from their state first.

If you support educational opportunities for illegals, then start a private scholarship fund specifically for people who were brought into this country illegally by their parents. I'm fine with that. I wouldn't do it, I'd rather give money to poor kids who are legally in this country, but I certainly wouldn't stop you from giving money where you wish - it's your money. I just don't want public money being parcelled out to people who are here illegally, even if it's not their fault that they're illegal.

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Scott R
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Why not? I think we established that the illegals are paying taxes just like legals...they're putting their money in the hat.

They are adding to the economy. I haven't done the research, but I'd bet they're adding more resources than they're drawing.

I don't have much of a problem at all with the children of illegal immigrants receiving publicly funded aid. We're clever enough with money in this country-- I bet we can find a way to meet every student's needs.

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Dagonee
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quote:
Taking out unsubsidized loans would only plunge my family into debt, and I would graduate with a lot of debt and then be unable to help my kids with their college costs, so I don't consider it a viable option for me. For others, sure - not for us.
If I recall correctly, you go to a state a school. Which means a significant portion of your education is subsidized by taxpayers.

quote:
Trust me, you won't be. If we don't qualify for any type of aid now, we certainly won't when I start working, which I should do before my oldest is ready for college.
If they go to state college they'll be subsidized by taxpayers for a large percentage of the cost of their education (not by me specifically since I'm in a different state). Further, the expected parental contribution to college is lower than the contribution from a spouse, so they very well might qualify for aid.

But that's really besides the point.

quote:
Perhaps that's not an issue for you, but it is for others. It is for me. I do support public education and I support programs for people who cannot afford college on their own. Yet, I want those programs, if they're funded by taxpayer money, to be available for citizens first. The same way I think state colleges should offer aid to students from their state first.
There are lots of people who have an issue with helping anyone with education. I don't see you have a better claim on their money than a boy who's lived here for almost his entire life has on yours.

quote:
If you support educational opportunities for illegals, then start a private scholarship fund specifically for people who were brought into this country illegally by their parents.
If you support having an extra benefit available to citizens and residents of states, start a private scholarship fund specifically for people whose parents didn't have to flee extreme poverty.

And please stop referring to this boy as an "illegal." He's not an illegal anything.

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tern
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1. Breaking immigration laws isn't actually a crime, in most cases - unless you have been removed from the country and re-enter without inspection.

2. Something that was brought up earlier - if we allow Robert to go to college, and then "help" him return to Mexico, why would he want to do this? Leave his home, and go back to a mother country which he barely recognizes, etc? Not that I'm opposing education - but the idea of educating foreigners in the United States and expecting them to return to their home country already produces tens of thousands of overstays every year.

3. Building a fence might be compassionate in some respects. Illegal immigrants are terribly victimized by coyotes and smugglers, often dropped off in the desert hours away from civilization. Robberies, assaults, and especially rapes are all to common in crossing the border.

4. Anyway, none of our politicans on either side really want this problem to stop. It simply makes too much grist for the rhetoric mill. Why find a solution when you can play to the base?

5. So what do we call them, Dag? Individuals of foreign nationality who are not lawful permanent residents? ("IFNWANLPR") Overstays and EWIs? (EWI = "entered without admission") We do need a handy-dandy catchall word for people who violate our immigration laws.

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Icarus
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Many people, possibly including Dag, would recommend the phrase "illegal aliens" over the single word "illegals."
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MattP
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"undocumented" works for me
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Icarus
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Again, some people object to the use of an adjective without a noun as a noun for a person, feeling that this reduces a person's entire being to one single aspect of his or her situation.
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tern
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Illegal aliens still isn't exactly correct, and it is a perjorative as well. Some are undocumented, but many do have documents - overstays do have passports and visas (even if the visas aren't valid), and even the EWIs usually have documentation from their home country.

I don't have a recommendation, though. My only real point is that I can't think of many terms that are a) accurate b) convenient - America thinks in sound bite terms, these days, and c) nonderogatory.

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Dan_raven
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As far as "Official Language", there is a State Constitutional Amendment being proposed here in the State of Missouri that would make English the only language usable in official state business. It was then that some lawyers mentioned "Latin". Only English means no Haebeus Corpus, no Corpus Delecti, none of those other Latin phrases legal scholars love so much.

I am firmly against creating one language under flag, but I would consider a Constitutional Amendment to ban one language--Legalese.

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Bob_Scopatz
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And that is part of the reason that this "problem" isn't going to be solved by this Congress or Administration...or is likely to be solved in the next decade or two.

We always seem to want quick fixes and not even look at the complexities of the problem. This seems especially true of the side of the debate that says "they're here illegally, 'nuff said."

But it is also true of many of the people who support blanket amnesty and/or open borders.

The fact is that violent criminals CAN and DO exploit our leaky borders. It is also true that if we had an effective way to close the borders to unauthorized persons we would come close to eliminating that threat to our security (though it would not eliminate it completely because we sometimes manage to let violent people in legally too).

Where the problems with this "approach" come in are that they would cause a great deal of suffering for folks who not only don't really deserve to be ill-treated this way (i.e., dumping on economic refugees is not exactly a good thing for this or any country to do as a matter of policy). It is also true that our own economy would suffer in ways that are difficult to assess, but certainly would involve loss of tax revenue, a sudden labor shortage, possible rapid inflation (whether it actually happened or not, the effect on interest rates will mess up our economy anyway), and, let's face it, a ready source of young people to help balance out our increasingly geriatric population.

That last is a good thing to wonder about, actually. If you look at trends among non-migrant populations in the US, we're an aging country, having fewer children, and doing so at a later age on average. The bottom line is that America will gradually slide into senescence without some influx of people who are young and have children at a younger age.

It's those kids we really need.

And we'd be incredibly short-sighted to fail to educate them, given the likelihood that they will stay here.

The specter of large numbers of under-educated people with no allegiance to this country SHOULD frighten people into action, IMHO.

The action though, should not be in futile gestures such as building a fence or trying to kick them all out. It's laughable, really. The action should be to find ways to integrate these folks, and especially the young ones and future generations. Americanize them, if we can, through education and opportunity.

If we fail in that, I tell you right now that what we will have instead is huge populations of people who believe they have nothing to lose by fighting this country from within.

I remember the race riots in this country very vividly.

I don't wish to see their like again.

I believe the quickest path there is to keep on dealing with Central American immigrants the way we do now...or worse, making things even tougher on them.

I see the humanitarian angle and decide that we should be helping.

I see the long-term best interest of this country and think we should be helping.

I see the short-term best interests of this country and think we should be helping.

I don't really see an angle on this issue that leads me to suspect that we should be trying to kick people out, or make their lives tougher.

And the money we're spending on the fence (among other things) could be so much better invested in education that it just makes me wonder if the people running this show are simply blind to the data on immigrants' contributions to this country.

They're the best bargain we've got.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:
quote:
I guess I could see allowing them to attend college but only if they were not allowed any government sponsored aid whatsoever. That should be reserved for legal citizens.
The reason we have government aid is so that people who can't provide something for themselves are able to have it. I can't think of a reason for excluding the boy described in the article I linked from any need-based government aid for which he otherwise qualifies, nor can I think of any reason that whether his parents had papers when he was three should be used to deem him less worthy of such aid than someone with the good fortune to be born here. For all intents and purposes he is American.
But Dag.... he's brown... come on.
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Belle
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Fine, I'll call him "person who is in this country illegally, through no fault of his own". You can change the way you word things if you like, but it doesn't change the circumstances that this person is not a legal US citizen.

I'm tired of talking about it. I knew I would be in a minority when I decided to say something about this topic. And my perspective is undoubtedly colored by the fact that I have struggled so hard to pay for school myself and been told by people that I don't qualify for any help. Also for the fact that my husband and I own and operate a construction company which abides by all US laws and suffers because companies that hire "persons who are here illegally" undercut us because they use workers that they can pay lower wages to and not file taxes on.

The tax thing gets me, because people say that "persons here illegally" pay all the taxes we do. I don't see it. Yes, they pay sales tax. Property taxes, I guess through their rent money or if they own property (though I don't know how you get home financing without proper documentation but I guess anything's possible). But the people I know that hire undocumented workers (is that phrasing okay?) do so precisely because they can pay them under the table and not have to withold taxes on them. Or, they claim they are independent contractors and so that put sthe burden of filing back on the person here illegally. So these people are NOT paying income taxes.

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Bob_Scopatz
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If you know that, Belle, report them.
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Belle
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quote:
But Dag.... he's brown... come on.
Is that supposed to imply that my stance is racist - that I feel this way only because of the color of the skin of most illegal workers? Because if so, I resent that.

I don't care what country they have illegally emigrated from - whether it's Mexico, Denmark, or Australia - I still feel the same way. Their skin can be lighter than mine, but I still don't want to see them receive educational aid over an American citizen, of whatever color.

And let's be very clear about what I'm saying. I'm not saying the kid doesn't deserve compassion. I'm not even saying he should be sent back to his country of birth. I'm not even saying he should not be allowed to get a college education. I'm saying that government money that aids people in paying for education should be reserved for citizens first.

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Belle
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quote:
If you know that, Belle, report them.
*whispers* Hey Bob, let me let you in on a secret - nobody cares. We got audited once by the state unemployment office, they wanted to make sure we were paying the right rate on our employees. I asked the guy what did he do when people hired illegal workers and didn't withold and he said nothing - because if nobody's witholding they have no records of it so how would they know? He then said that in our industry (construction) everyone just uses the independent contractor dodge anyway. That's what he called it - the "dodge". Pass the buck - you can claim you didn't know the guy was illegal because he gave you a SSN and that's what you used to file a 1099. If he never files and pays his income taxes, it's not your problem!

One contractor laughed that he hired three workers who all gave him SSN's that were sequential. He knew they were fake, but he didn't care because he knew no one would do anything about it. And he's right.

That's where we need to spend our money for the fence. Start cracking down on people who hire illegal workers to get out of witholding taxes and paying unemployment. Make the fines so severe that no one will do it anymore. Until we fix the unethical doings on the employer's end, nothing will change.

My mother, as an HR officer tried to report two people who she found out had given her fake documentation and were in this country illegally and the IRS told her that there was nothing they could do, and that the only possible way to catch them would be if they tried to collect social security using the fake number.

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Bob_Scopatz
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I think aid should be based on a combination of scholastic potential and need. Ultimately, I'm not a big fan of "everyone goes to college." For some of people, it's a waste of their time and everyone elses.

So, first and foremost, I want aid to go to those who are going to make the most of it.

Having identified that crowd, then I'd want the money to be give to those who need it the most from a financial perspective.

And I'd build just enough slop into the system to ensure that someone who had a strong desire to attend, despite poor prior academic performance, had some way to get a shot at it.

I think it's a fallacious argument, however, to look at what a poor young person in another state gets and compare it to what a middle-aged mother with relatively higher income gets in another state.

One thing you might consider is that the reason an income level that seems completely inadequate to you puts you outside the range for assistance is that there's so many people who have a lot less than you. They're living in abject poverty in the middle of the richest country on earth. It's not that you don't deserve assistance, but rather that we've somehow accumulated a lot more needy people than we planned for when we decided that education was no longer a top priority in this country -- and in some states in particular.

That decision is coming home to roost in ways that probably could've been foreseen if people had looked closely at the post-Reagan years in California, or any of a number of other places in the US where de-funding education became a way to save taxpayers money back in the 1970's and continuing forward.

I know that doesn't really address the issue of whether someone without legal standing in this country should get aid when aid is so tight. But the real issue is that aid shouldn't be so tight.

We're shooting ourselves in the foot, if you ask me.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
But Dag.... he's brown... come on.
That's a cheap, unnecessary, childish, shot if you're serious. If you're joking...well, that Joke Attempt failed.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Belle:
Taking out unsubsidized loans would only plunge my family into debt, and I would graduate with a lot of debt and then be unable to help my kids with their college costs, so I don't consider it a viable option for me. For others, sure - not for us.

The difference between a subsidized Stafford and an unsub disappears 6 months after graduation. Given that you're about to graduate, not a big difference. Either way, the interest rate on a Stafford (sub or unsub) is considerably lower than on comparable non-student loans. Of course, I understand not wanting to take out loans. Especially with kids starting college fairly soon -- before you would be able to pay them off, quite likely.

But that doesn't make your earlier assertion about the ability of native citizens to get a college education true.

quote:
Originally posted by Belle:
quote:
Why should I help you (through my taxes) put your children through college?
Trust me, you won't be. If we don't qualify for any type of aid now, we certainly won't when I start working, which I should do before my oldest is ready for college.
Not necessarily. The way the EFC of an independent student (that would be you) is calculated is substantially different than the way it is calculated for the parents of a dependent (that would be your kids). Besides, when you have two or more kids in college, you will be far more eligible for federal (and usually state) aid. Number of kids in college makes a HUGE difference to the EFC calculation.

If you're curious and want to play around with the numbers, FinAid's EFC calculator is a wonderful tool. The new FAFSA4Caster is useful as well, although not as easy to play around with (that's not what it's designed for).






So, Bob, you'd be in favor of having the ACG and SMART pay more than the pittance they currently do?

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Shigosei
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Belle, don't give up hope that your kids will get enough merit-based aid to cover most of their education. Sure, you won't get that sort of thing at an Ivy League school, but state schools often offer pretty good merit scholarships. There are also plenty of significant private merit-based scholarships.

I'll grant that there's probably a serious lack of merit-based aid for students who aren't fresh out of high school. It's also possible that FAFSA fails to take into account the responsibilities of college students who have children. However, I do think your kids have an excellent shot at getting much of their education covered if they do well in school and aren't set on going to a super-elite school.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Shigosei:
It's also possible that FAFSA fails to take into account the responsibilities of college students who have children.

Not really. Independent students with dependents other than a spouse get a special calculation. Independent students without a spouse and with other dependents even more so.

However, the fact of the matter is that Uncle Sam expects college students (and in the case of dependent students, their parents) to pay the majority of college costs, to the best of their ability to do so. Obviously, the government's interpretation of "ability to do so" and each affected individual's can be quite different. But official government policy is that it is the student's (and his family's) responsibility to pay for college.

Personally, that doesn't make it any easier when I have to tell a student, "I'm sorry, but you don't qualify for federal or state aid." I would be thrilled if the government allotted more money for aid. Instead, they're cutting funding. Again. [Razz]

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Belle:


The tax thing gets me, because people say that "persons here illegally" pay all the taxes we do. I don't see it. Yes, they pay sales tax. Property taxes, I guess through their rent money or if they own property (though I don't know how you get home financing without proper documentation but I guess anything's possible). But the people I know that hire undocumented workers (is that phrasing okay?) do so precisely because they can pay them under the table and not have to withold taxes on them. Or, they claim they are independent contractors and so that put sthe burden of filing back on the person here illegally. So these people are NOT paying income taxes.

The money withheld from these people would be returned to them by the irs, practically in full, if they were so poorly paid.

The excuse that the employers can pay them "without hacing to withold taxes" is nonsense. The employers are simply underpaying their employees, and that is indeed a crime. That has nothing to do with the fact that taxes are not being paid- those taxes would be returned to the workers anyway, because the government doesn't burden the poor with excessive taxes.

Illegals pay the same amount of taxes anyone does, unless they are making money in criminal enterprises- in which case the tax thing is the tip of the iceberg.

Bottom line- illegals pay taxes and couldn't be taxed more anyway. The fact that the government cannot keep track of them is a genuine problem, but they would not be paying more if we could.

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Dagonee
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Orincoro, you owe Belle an apology.

quote:
But the people I know that hire undocumented workers (is that phrasing okay?) do so precisely because they can pay them under the table and not have to withold taxes on them.
And the reason this is possible is because we make it impossible for them to get real jobs by insisting they stay outside our society.
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JennaDean
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quote:
The excuse that the employers can pay them "without having to withold taxes" is nonsense. The employers are simply underpaying their employees, and that is indeed a crime. That has nothing to do with the fact that taxes are not being paid- those taxes would be returned to the workers anyway, because the government doesn't burden the poor with excessive taxes.
I don't know that this is entirely accurate. My understanding is that the federal income tax we see withheld on our paychecks is only part of the tax actually paid on each employee. The employer pays the other part. If we make below a certain amount, we get a refund of all our taxes withheld (which is why undocumented workers DO pay all the taxes we do, because they don't earn enough to owe income tax anyway and they would get a refund of it all ... in fact, they'd also get earned income credit, so they get LESS by not paying taxes than if they paid).

But the business doesn't get a refund of the taxes they paid on each employee (does it)? And they also have to pay health care and other costs that are often associated with having legitimate employees, which they don't have to pay for undocumented ones. So yes, I'd say it's much cheaper for the company to hire undocumented workers than legal ones.

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fugu13
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I should point out that many very expensive schools give out generous amounts of need-based and merit-based aid, usually leveraging their large endowments. And some of them are able to spend more time and personal attention on estimating need, and use their own calculations. Don't write off expensive schools completely, they can be surprisingly generous.
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fugu13
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JennaDean: you're thinking of the Social Security and Medicare taxes, and neither the employer nor the employee receives a refund on those.
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MrSquicky
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quote:
Sure, you won't get that sort of thing at an Ivy League school
Why would you say that? I went to Penn and got a boatload of merit based scholarships.
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Omega M.
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Okay, I was over the line when I said we need to make English the official language "so that immigrants don't feel they're entitled to be here." In fact, after rereading OSC's column about illegal immigration, I could support giving Mexicans an easier path to citizenship as unofficial reparations for us having taken land from Mexico in the past. This might also be a reason to give Spanish speakers more consideration than other non-English speakers.

I didn't support the immigration bill because I thought it didn't mandate strong enough background checks for people here illegally (I don't think we have a moral obligation to let criminals stay) and didn't do anything about the backlog of people who want to immigrate legally. Also, I thought it was a bad idea to tie the increased border security to the measures for illegal immigrants, as they're separate problems.

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MrSquicky
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I'll bring up an idea I've proposed before that I think (though obviously somewhat simplistic) addresses both concerns. As a caveat, this is not intended as a full solution, but only part of one.

What do people feel about a conditional general amnesty? We get the illegal immigrants to come forward and get them on the books, but with a conditional status. Their (for lack of a better word) "legal" status would be tied to the numbers/percentages of new, post-amnesty illegal immigrants.

Good? Bad? Monstrous?

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fugu13
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Nebulous.
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JennaDean
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I've never liked the unfairness of tying one person's reward or punishment to another person's actions.
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MrSquicky
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How does that apply in this case, Jenna?
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Scott R
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I think you'd have a difficult time convincing them that "on the books" doesn't mean "on the way out of the country in the back of a paddy-wagon."
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