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Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:17 am UTC
by EMTP
Much as expected:

In an address to the nation from the East Room of the White House, Mr. Obama displayed years of frustration with congressional gridlock and a desire to frame the last years of his presidency with far-reaching executive actions. The president’s directive will shield up to five million people from deportation and allow many to work legally, but will not give them a path to citizenship.


Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:00 am UTC
by Paul in Saudi
As long as they pay their taxes and play nice, it makes no nevermind to me.

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:31 am UTC
by leady
Not my country, but it does affect you even if they pay their taxes

5,000,000 x $250,000 in social security and medicare so a shade over a trillion dollars :)

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:08 pm UTC
by Chen
leady wrote:Not my country, but it does affect you even if they pay their taxes

5,000,000 x $250,000 in social security and medicare so a shade over a trillion dollars :)


I don't think the proposed work permits allow social security OR medicare (and medicare is for 65 and older anyways). Next, where did you pull that $250k out of? And, even if that number was accurate, presumably your tax income from those 5 million would be way more than that anyways.

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:26 pm UTC
by leady
they get a SSN so even if its not baked it now, its just a matter of time.

very low paid workers barely cover their immediate costs let alone the expensive long term costs (unsurprisingly). Their tax take will barely touch the long term benefits

$250,000 was my guess, but it looks reasonable based on a retiree making it to 75 , $12k on social security, $12k on average medical costs

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:15 pm UTC
by sardia
leady wrote:they get a SSN so even if its not baked it now, its just a matter of time.

very low paid workers barely cover their immediate costs let alone the expensive long term costs (unsurprisingly). Their tax take will barely touch the long term benefits

$250,000 was my guess, but it looks reasonable based on a retiree making it to 75 , $12k on social security, $12k on average medical costs

You're assuming that they stay poor, or like there would be a political party dedicated to oppressing them.

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 3:15 pm UTC
by leady
I'm a pessimist I acknowledge, but out of 5 million I suspect 4.9m fall into the category of the uneducated, unskilled labourer with poor English - a tiny number might become neutral or positve tax consumers I imagine.

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 6:57 pm UTC
by Dauric
I'm rather amused by the bit about (paraphrasing) "Congress: If you don't like the executive action, do your job and pass a reform bill."

Probably not a good idea politically speaking and I have no hopes for it working (as intended or even at all), but it's amusing.

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 7:03 pm UTC
by Tyndmyr
Dauric wrote:I'm rather amused by the bit about (paraphrasing) "Congress: If you don't like the executive action, do your job and pass a reform bill."

Probably not a good idea politically speaking and I have no hopes for it working (as intended or even at all), but it's amusing.


Oh, the whole statement is a challenge to red team, politically speaking. That much is obvious.

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 8:34 pm UTC
by Yablo
I am very much opposed to this for a couple reasons. First and foremost, Executive Action should never be used as a way for the President to get what Congress won't give. There are three branches of government in the U.S. for very good reason. It's not okay for the Judicial branch to create legislation with its rulings, it's not okay for the Legislative branch to enforce its own laws (except possibly indirectly by censuring or removing a President who refuses to enforce them), and it's not okay for the Executive branch to create its own laws.

The other reason I oppose this is that it sends a very negative message to the world as a whole. It tells U.S. citizens that the value of our citizenship is not what we believe it is. It tells everyone lawfully going through the immigration process that we don't care anything for their efforts to follow our rules. It tells the entire world that if enough people break our laws for long enough, we'll eventually give up.

I am a big fan of immigration, and I am proud of the fact that I live in a country to which so many people want to move. I believe immigration and diversity go a long way toward making my country great, but that has to be achieved in an orderly and legal manner. I don't delude myself with the thought that the U.S. immigration process is flawless, and there are many things that should be fixed, but Executive Action is absolutely not the way to fix it.

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 9:30 pm UTC
by JudeMorrigan
Yablo wrote:... and it's not okay for the Executive branch to create its own laws.

Good thing then that that's not at all an accurate description of what Obama is doing. Here. This:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_ ... r_are.html

is a reasonable summary.

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 11:04 pm UTC
by morriswalters
leady wrote:I'm a pessimist I acknowledge, but out of 5 million I suspect 4.9m fall into the category of the uneducated, unskilled labourer with poor English - a tiny number might become neutral or positve tax consumers I imagine.
I have no doubt. It's funny though, I see them on roofs, in restaurants, oh just about everywhere, working. I somehow admire people who have the unmitigated gall, to up and leave everything behind, language, culture, home. And go off to a place where they know they are not particularly welcome. That makes them hungry. Most people I know would never take that kind of leap. To much cushy, easy, life. I of course include me in that cushy crew. I shudder to think of living someplace where I don't know the language or the customs.

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 3:46 am UTC
by Cleverbeans
Yablo wrote:The other reason I oppose this is that it sends a very negative message to the world as a whole. It tells U.S. citizens that the value of our citizenship is not what we believe it is. It tells everyone lawfully going through the immigration process that we don't care anything for their efforts to follow our rules. It tells the entire world that if enough people break our laws for long enough, we'll eventually give up.


I don't really feel the process deserves the respect you're giving it. When I did the paperwork for immigration the prevailing thought was "This process is ridiculous. They need to fix this." It's long, there is a mountain of paperwork and it's full of redundancies. I can fully understand why people try to avoid it and was definitely tempted to enter illegally. Everything was underfunded. The paperwork for my wife, two stepchildren and two biological children to come to Canada was less than 1/5 the size of my application to immigrate to the US, and the process took 1/3 as long. It's just straight up broken.

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 4:05 am UTC
by sardia
Cleverbeans wrote:
Yablo wrote:The other reason I oppose this is that it sends a very negative message to the world as a whole. It tells U.S. citizens that the value of our citizenship is not what we believe it is. It tells everyone lawfully going through the immigration process that we don't care anything for their efforts to follow our rules. It tells the entire world that if enough people break our laws for long enough, we'll eventually give up.


I don't really feel the process deserves the respect you're giving it. When I did the paperwork for immigration the prevailing thought was "This process is ridiculous. They need to fix this." It's long, there is a mountain of paperwork and it's full of redundancies. I can fully understand why people try to avoid it and was definitely tempted to enter illegally. Everything was underfunded. The paperwork for my wife, two stepchildren and two biological children to come to Canada was less than 1/5 the size of my application to immigrate to the US, and the process took 1/3 as long. It's just straight up broken.

The disdain that Yablo shows is emblematic of what is wrong with the GOP. Unless you are ripped out of a movie caricature of a sympathetic immigrant, he wants you to eat shit and die. It is people like Yablo that actually devalue citizenship. They wrap themselves up in the flag so they can use it to smother minorities.

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 12:09 pm UTC
by Zamfir

The other reason I oppose this is that it sends a very negative message to the world as a whole. It tells U.S. citizens that the value of our citizenship is not what we believe it is. It tells everyone lawfully going through the immigration process that we don't care anything for their efforts to follow our rules. It tells the entire world that if enough people break our laws for long enough, we'll eventually give up.

That's not really a new message, is it? The US has been passing these weird amnesties every few years since I can remember. I have always read the message as 'poor Latin americans can become citizens, but first they have to suffer some years of fence-climbing, low wages and uncertainty to show they are worthy. We won't make binding promises'.

Effectively, it's just another part of the immigration process.

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 4:41 am UTC
by elasto
leady wrote:I'm a pessimist I acknowledge, but out of 5 million I suspect 4.9m fall into the category of the uneducated, unskilled labourer with poor English - a tiny number might become neutral or positve tax consumers I imagine.

Does that take into account the economic benefit they provide to others?

If an uneducated, unskilled laborer fixes a hole in a shop roof and the shop then goes on to make tons of money and pay tons of taxes, can't a portion of all that economic activity be attributed to the laborer - above and beyond any money that was directly paid to him? (Or are we going to maintain the polite fiction that the market will divide up such proceeds equitably?)

(I bet your proportion is way off. I also bet that they are way harder working than the average native uneducated, unskilled laborer - simply because they were capable and determined enough to move to another country to find work.)

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:25 am UTC
by sardia
elasto wrote:
leady wrote:I'm a pessimist I acknowledge, but out of 5 million I suspect 4.9m fall into the category of the uneducated, unskilled labourer with poor English - a tiny number might become neutral or positve tax consumers I imagine.

Does that take into account the economic benefit they provide to others?

If an uneducated, unskilled laborer fixes a hole in a shop roof and the shop then goes on to make tons of money and pay tons of taxes, can't a portion of all that economic activity be attributed to the laborer - above and beyond any money that was directly paid to him? (Or are we going to maintain the polite fiction that the market will divide up such proceeds equitably?)

(I bet your proportion is way off. I also bet that they are way harder working than the average native uneducated, unskilled laborer - simply because they were capable and determined enough to move to another country to find work.)

I think that's accounted under less labor costs for using under the table workers. If anything, labor costs will rise now that they can demand actual wages.

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 8:38 am UTC
by Thesh
It should be noted that social security is paid based on what you earned in a 35 year span, and thus what you paid in taxes - low skilled workers aren't going to earn much, and thus won't break the social security bank. Also, we do need a lot more tax-paying immigrants if we want to pay for all of the retiring baby boomers while maintaining a decent quality of life (this assumes that there is work to do, which requires congress to actually do something about the weak demand for labor we have had for nearly 15 years now).

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:24 am UTC
by elasto
sardia wrote:I think that's accounted under less labor costs for using under the table workers. If anything, labor costs will rise now that they can demand actual wages.

Not sure I follow.

Leady's point as I understand it is that the economy is worse off for having an extra low-skilled worker as they will contribute less in taxes over their lifetime than they will receive from ss/medical. My point was that personal taxes aren't the only way a worker contributes economically.

Let's assume a worker fixes a roof and that's worth $1000 to the economy over the lifetime of the fix. The worker might receive $100 in wages and they might pay $20 of that in taxes (just making up numbers).

A naive view is that if the worker receives more than $20 in ss/medical then they are a net drain to the economy but obviously that isn't the case: The roof owner received a net $900 in economic benefit from the work done and might pay $180 in taxes on that - taxes which should really be attributed to the worker - at least in the sense that if the fix hadn't been done the economic benefit would never have been realized.

Labor costs rising doesn't make any difference to any of this: That just shifts some of the $1000 in economic benefit from the roof owner's side of the balance sheet to the worker's, but the combined tax take is unaffected. (Previously the worker was paying no income taxes at all though so it represents a strict improvement from that point of view.)

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 3:08 pm UTC
by sardia
I was proposing a benefit of immigration that was unrelated to taxes. They provide a source of cheap labor, so people can use the savings in labor from immigration and spend it on other things they otherwise couldn't have. It's one of the many benefits of immigration.

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:45 am UTC
by leady
I bet the african american community in the US is delighted by that.

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 1:41 pm UTC
by partschmants
I'm mostly curious about the timing behind this. Why wait to do this until the republicans hold congress? Why the last year of his presidency? Why not do this immediately after his reelection?

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 2:17 pm UTC
by Tyndmyr
Yablo wrote:I am very much opposed to this for a couple reasons. First and foremost, Executive Action should never be used as a way for the President to get what Congress won't give. There are three branches of government in the U.S. for very good reason. It's not okay for the Judicial branch to create legislation with its rulings, it's not okay for the Legislative branch to enforce its own laws (except possibly indirectly by censuring or removing a President who refuses to enforce them), and it's not okay for the Executive branch to create its own laws.

The other reason I oppose this is that it sends a very negative message to the world as a whole. It tells U.S. citizens that the value of our citizenship is not what we believe it is. It tells everyone lawfully going through the immigration process that we don't care anything for their efforts to follow our rules. It tells the entire world that if enough people break our laws for long enough, we'll eventually give up.

I am a big fan of immigration, and I am proud of the fact that I live in a country to which so many people want to move. I believe immigration and diversity go a long way toward making my country great, but that has to be achieved in an orderly and legal manner. I don't delude myself with the thought that the U.S. immigration process is flawless, and there are many things that should be fixed, but Executive Action is absolutely not the way to fix it.


I have some reservations, but oddly enough, not about that. Amnesty has happened before(Reagan, IIRC), and thus, this seems like it's on fairly safe ground legally speaking for an EO due to this and other precedent. Not really much of a change in terms of power.

I'm more concerned due to
A. This signals the start of another round of partisan escalations. This seems tedious.
B. Bad incentives.

I agree that the current process is broken, for sure. An amnesty doesn't fix that, though. It's...kind of just a bandaid thing.

partschmants wrote:I'm mostly curious about the timing behind this. Why wait to do this until the republicans hold congress? Why the last year of his presidency? Why not do this immediately after his reelection?


That's easy enough. It would have hurt dem re-election chances, so they wanted immigration pushed off until after that. Given their loss, Obama is facing an imminent loss of power. While we're still in a lame duck status, there's simply less chance that they can do something by passing a law to derail this.

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 2:25 pm UTC
by sardia
leady wrote:I bet the african american community in the US is delighted by that.

They are very delighted. As are you on Christmas when you get clothes made from child labor. This is globalization, you can't escape low wages without agreeing to pay more for your goods.

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 2:45 pm UTC
by leady
yeah shaving 50c of the cost of a T-shirt vs having no job probably makes them delerious with joy.

Sure globalisation is a competitor, but there is a certain supply of non-transferable min wage jobs. If you want one of these (or more likely need) you are screwed (and the increased demand of extra people isn't going to come close to closing this gap)

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:30 pm UTC
by sardia
leady wrote:yeah shaving 50c of the cost of a T-shirt vs having no job probably makes them delerious with joy.

Sure globalisation is a competitor, but there is a certain supply of non-transferable min wage jobs. If you want one of these (or more likely need) you are screwed (and the increased demand of extra people isn't going to come close to closing this gap)

Are you telling me you pay extra to buy fair trade goods? Or that its bad to accept goods made with low wages but you'll still buy them? In addition, these people didn't magically appear, they are already here when the rules changed. Don't you cry crocodile tears on the plight of the poor to me. I know your political positions on the poor.

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:50 pm UTC
by leady
What crocodile tears? I'm just pointing out that mass unskilled immigration screws over the current unskilled workforce. Even though this group is already in the US, doesn't mean they won't have a displacement effect now they are free from arbitrary deportation. Also once you factor in the fixed pie of social services which this group will also steadily get increased access to, then the existing unskilled workforce is doubly screwed.

Naturally this is one of those areas that political representation and self interest seems to diverge wildly

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 4:30 pm UTC
by sardia
leady wrote:What crocodile tears? I'm just pointing out that mass unskilled immigration screws over the current unskilled workforce. Even though this group is already in the US, doesn't mean they won't have a displacement effect now they are free from arbitrary deportation. Also once you factor in the fixed pie of social services which this group will also steadily get increased access to, then the existing unskilled workforce is doubly screwed.

Naturally this is one of those areas that political representation and self interest seems to diverge wildly


Eat citations leady. REALITY: Immigration Actually Boosts American Wages And Productivity

Economic Policy Institute: Immigration Has "Positive Impact On The Wages Of Native-Born Workers." A February 2010 study by the Economic Policy Institute found that immigration has a "positive impact on the wages of native-born workers overall: although new immigrant workers add to the labor supply, they also consume goods and services, which creates more jobs." [Economic Policy Institute, 2/4/10]

National Bureau Of Economic Research Paper: Immigrants Have Positive Long-Term Impact On Wages Of Native-Born Workers. A working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that from 1990 to 2006, immigration had a positive long-term effect on the wages of native-born workers. [National Bureau of Economic Research, 7/08]

Brookings Institution: "Many Immigrants Complement The Work Of U.S. Employees And Increase Their Productivity." The Brookings Institution reported similar findings, that "immigrants and U.S.-born workers generally do not compete for the same jobs; instead many immigrants complement the work of U.S. employees and increase their productivity":

The most recent academic research suggests that, on average, immigrants raise the overall standard of living of American workers by boosting wages and lowering prices. One reason is that immigrants and U.S.-born workers generally do not compete for the same jobs; instead many immigrants complement the work of U.S. employees and increase their productivity. For example, low-skill immigrant laborers allow U.S.-born farmers, contractors, or craftsmen to expand agricultural production or to build more homes -- thereby expanding employment possibilities and incomes for U.S. workers. [The Brookings Institution, 9/10]

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 5:01 pm UTC
by leady
I don't dispute that the average american will gain (in the short term at least) so I accept your citation and shrug

Re: Obama announces immigration reform plan

Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 5:20 pm UTC
by Tyndmyr
leady wrote:yeah shaving 50c of the cost of a T-shirt vs having no job probably makes them delerious with joy.

Sure globalisation is a competitor, but there is a certain supply of non-transferable min wage jobs. If you want one of these (or more likely need) you are screwed (and the increased demand of extra people isn't going to come close to closing this gap)


Consumption rises to the level available. If a dude comes here and gets a minimum wage job, he'll generally be spending that money. Or at least, the lions share of it. Money saved and invested just goes back into the economy via reinvestment instead of spending, which is also fine. No worry there.

The only real difference is it makes the economy larger, which isn't inherently a problem or anything. My view on immigrants, having worked with a number of them, is that they are often much more appreciative of minimum wage jobs than the natives are, and are very willing to work hard and be reliable. Obviously, there are exceptions to everything, but a *lot* of people I see complaining about being completely unemployable are not so because "they took ur jerbs", but because they are simply not an asset. Or at least, enough of an asset to bother hiring. Of course, it's always easier to just blame others.