Ill-Gotten Gains & Illegal Immigration

I hope that Kevin Barney will forgive me for slicing the lunch meat deli-thin by using his post on tithing practices as a springboard for this related post. In my defense, I’ve been meaning to write something like this for months, but just haven’t gotten around to it until I saw a comment from reader Martin in Kevin’s thread and feared my window was closing quickly.

According to Scott Trotter, a spokesman for the Church, the LDS Church has “a long-standing policy of not profiting from alleged ill-gotten gains.” In general, this means that the Church does not knowingly accept tithing or other donations which come through unclean hands. What exactly “unclean hands” means in this context is a subject we could probably spend days talking about, but there is (likely) at least some level of common agreement about what would constitute ill-gotten gains among Latter-day Saints. For example, I doubt that many would dispute the ill-gotten nature of funds received through a bank robbery or street-mugging, and most of us would certainly be uncomfortable with the idea of building a temple, distributing welfare care, or sending humanitarian aid to disaster areas with funds that were obtained through such channels. However, those examples aren’t particularly useful to the average Mormon in the pews, since most of us are a) not bank robbers/thugs and b) most of us don’t really even know anyone who is. Thus, our chances for glaring judgmentally and wagging our fingers in disapproval at our neighbors are horribly diminished unless we expand our definition of ill-gotten gains.

The task of determining what ill-gotten gains are becomes more difficult when money is paid to the Church on funds which, initially, seem to be paid with clean hands, but are later revealed to be otherwise. For example, in the past couple of years, there has been at least one well-documented case of the Church returning tithing funds. In 2008, approximately $200,000 in tithing paid by Val Southwick was “returned” to the SEC after Southwick was found to have earned his tithed income through a fraudulent investment scheme. Similarly, the Church was recently sued for tithing funds it had been paid by another individual implicated in an alleged securities fraud.

I think it is interesting that the statement from Scott Trotter regarding the Southwick matter indicated that the Church does not profit from alleged ill-gotten gains. By using a more liberal trigger of “alleged” instead of something more stringent like “probable,” there is a much wider swath of donations that could conceivably fall under the umbrella of unclean donations.  Without further clarification, this is extremely low burden to meet–almost anyone can “allege” wrongdoing and link it to money. I would assume that there is some level of plausibility the Church considers, but I have no information on what that would be.

Another interesting case to consider is that where the donations are definitionally “ill-gotten,” but that the definition is disputed heatedly along political, cultural, and other socioeconomic lines. Since it’s my favorite thing to talk about in the whole wide world, I want to focus this discussion on a particular example: tithing paid by illegal immigrants.

Suppose that you live in a hypothetical geographic region which has recently initiated legislation designed to identify illegal aliens in your community. Suppose also that you know of numerous families in your ward or stake who happen to be illegal aliens. Suppose also that you are called to be the Bishop of that ward. Finally, suppose that two individuals come to your office, separately, seeking counsel.

Person 1: “Bishop, I know that Family X are in this country and earning a living illegally. Any money we receive as a ward from that family represents profits on ill-gotten gains, and the Church has said that we don’t profit from such.”

Person 2: “Bishop, you know that I am not a legal resident of this geographic region. I am, according to current laws, an illegal worker. I know that the Church does not want to receive unclean funds as tithing and fast offerings. Yet, I desire to pay tithing. What should I do?”

(In other words, the question I’m getting at here is this:

What are the boundaries between legal/moral (working lawfully as a plumber), legal/ill-gotten (I would personally place winnings from gambling in this category), illegal/moral (I would personally put an illegal immigrant working as a plumber here), and illegal/ill-gotten (Ponzi scheme)? )

Comments

  1. Hoo-boy.

    It becomes even stickier: Illegal immigration (at least the first offense) is a civil, not criminal affair. So, if we define that income as “ill-gotten,” we should be sure to include revenues saved (or increased) by the store owner by keeping aisle widths narrow – in order to house more inventory – but too narrow to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Should both be lumped in together? I don’t know.

    (Now, once they’ve been deported, if they return, it becomes a criminal case, so that might be something else entirely.)

  2. What about money earned by those who hire undocumented immigrants?

    What about money earned by those who hire undocumented immigrants–and then refuse to pay them, and threaten to call Immigrations instead?

  3. This is an impossible situation, Scott. We all know from listening to political commentary that illegals do not work and earn wages. They are here sucking the system dry, having their anchor babies at emergency rooms, sending their children to public school at the expense of honest taxpayers where said children refuse to learn English, and receiving more welfare and health care benefits than are available to your average hard-working red-blooded Amur’can citizen. Therefore, they have no earnings on which to pay tithing.

  4. I don’t think being an illegal resident automatically makes any income ill-gotten. If the work done was honest then they should be allowed to pay tithing.

    Would I, or any other bishop, need to begin researching each members legal status? No, it’s a church, not a business. Would I need to go get training on detecting counterfeit forms of ID or become an expert on the immigration process? Of course not.

    Would I knowingly accept tithing from someone who wanted to pay after winning the lottery? No.

  5. [getting out the popcorn…this should be good]

  6. I find it rather insulting that you’d describe an income earned by an illegal immigrant as ill-gotten gains.

  7. Kevin Barney says:

    Scott, I’ve long sort of had a fantasy of winning a big lottery, offering to tithe my winnings to the Church, and having the Church tell me they won’t accept the offering. “Oh darn,” I would say as the funds return to my bank account…

    I’m guessing that the Church does not institutionally consider tithing paid by illegal immigrants “ill gotten” and in that case they accept the funds. Maybe there’s a financial clerk or bishopric member from the southwest who knows what current practices are.

  8. Aaron,
    You’re ignoring basically all the points of the hypothetical.

    First, the person is holding a job illegally.[1] It doesn’t matter according to the law of this hypothetical land what the work was, because by legal definition, the work was done illegally.

    Second, you already know the legal status of the people in question. There is no detective work here. It’s a simple game of Yes or No.

    [1] I’m not requiring you to agree with the morality of such a legal definition–goodness knows I don’t! Rather, you need to only accept that it is the definition for this hypothetical.

  9. Susan M,
    Slow down there, Tiger. I find it rather insulting that you didn’t read my post very carefully!

    I didn’t say income earned by an illegal immigrant is ill-gotten gains. I said that someone–in this case, Person #1–might consider it ill-gotten gains. I also said that someone else–Person #2–might hear such a thing in their congregation, and fear for their own offerings.

    Nowhere, anywhere, did I say that either Person #1 or Person #2 are correct, and in fact, I believe both are incorrect. But that’s irrelevant to the exercise.

  10. Aaron,

    I don’t think being an illegal resident automatically makes any income ill-gotten. If the work done was honest then they should be allowed to pay tithing.

    By their very nature of being “illegal” their work is “dishonest”. Not according to my own personal view, but on the hypothetical set up by Scott. But as you say, thankfully, in real life, few take that position.

  11. RE: #8

    I understand the nature of the question. I’m just a little sloppy in my “train of thought” posting. :)

    Person #1: I reject that input from another member. I cannot know for sure their reason for coming to me as the bishop. I do not trust that input from another person as I have extended the “Immigration Status Checker” calling to no one.

    Person #2: The statement from the church says “ill-gotten”, not “illegal”. That the basis for my previous post (#4).

  12. Dear Person 1: Earning money as an undocumented immigrant is not ill-gotten. You may go back to your own business now and thank the Lord that you were blessed to be born into economic circumstances that didn’t require you to emigrate to seek a living the way your ancestors did.

    Dear Person 2: Pay your tithing like normal, may the Lord bless you for your faithfulness.

  13. If lotteries were illegal then it would make sense that money received from them would be ill-gotten gains. But lotteries are not illegal so why shouldn’t we accept the tithing? Does the church accept tithing from members who work for casinos? I would assume it does, but how is that legal income any less ill-gotten than the prize in a legal lottery?

  14. 1) Tell Person One, and kindly as possible, to tend his/her own garden.
    2) Extend love and compassion to Person Two, and accept their tithing on their EARNINGS, should they wish to pay it.

    I honestly cannot see Christ caring about this modern political mess- Compassion is always the way to go.

  15. Ill-gotten ≠ illegal.

  16. TracyM,
    I can’t see Christ caring about this, either. However, I can see many people in Christ’s Church caring about it–and I think that recent events (such as the list of thousands of illegal immigrants being published in Utah, for example) suggest that it may be an increasingly common difficulty between the pews.

  17. To the first I would read with him Luke 6: 9

    9 Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?

    and:

    Acts 10: 28
    28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

    And have him ponder it.

    To the second I would rehearse Peter’s vision of the unclean and clean animals he was commanded to eat and the phrase, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. And ask how this might apply to his money.

  18. Aaron (15.),
    I agree that ill-gotten ≠ illegally gotten in all contexts (including this one); however, many discussions with Mormons in my ward, stake, and here in the Bloggernacle have made it abundantly clear to me that I have many coreligionists who see little practical difference between selling drugs, robbing a bank, or crossing a man-made line into a different longitudinal/latitudinal space than they were born in when it comes to deciding what is “right” and what is “criminal.”

    I’m interested in hearing if those same individuals would support the returning of tithing funds, PER funds, fast offerings, etc…to the “victims” as caught illegal immigrants are deported to their longitudinal/latitudinal origins.

  19. You’re right about that Aaron, if my question didn’t make that explicit I appreciate that addition. But my question was not about ill-gotten being illegal, my question is about what makes legally earned money ill-gotten. Do church members who work for Starbucks receive ill-gotten money? Do church members in Nevada or Atlantic City who work for casinos receive ill-gotten money? Do church members who work for race tracks receive ill-gotten money? Is their tithing rejected along with the lottery winner? I doubt that it is.

  20. I used to work in a casino – tithing was accepted on what I earned. Among the LDS folks who worked there, there were a lot of folktales about the way things used to be.

    Once upon a time, alledgedly, you couldn’t hold a temple recommend if you worked for a casino.

    Then, later, you COULD hold a recommend if you didn’t directly deal with any of Satan’s tools – no handling cards, dice, or slot machines.

    Then (and I worked the casino right after my mission), the policy was that if you were honest and followed the rules and regulations of the games, there wasn’t a problem being a blackjack dealer and attending the temple. A slots supervisor was even in a bishopric.

    If I had to pin it down, I’d date the change to about the time Bruce R. McConkie passed away, but I don’t know for certain. He seemed to be one of the major forces behind determining who was orthodox and who was heterodox.

  21. I don’t think income should be counted as “ill-gotten” unless it was acquired through fraud, deceit, or exploitation. Immigrants who are here illegally generally aren’t in the business of defrauding or exploiting their employers. More often the reverse.

    Illegal immigration (at least the first offense) is a civil, not criminal affair.

    True. Except to get a job in most cases you have to forge identity documents, which is a felony.

  22. Is the work done ill-gotten? Is it ill-gotten to clean room as a hotel or to pick fruit in an orchard? It does not sound fun, but it is good hard honest work.

    As a liberal/socialist academic, my brainwashing of good young people is clearly ill-gotten. Now, if you could just convince my wife to stop paying tithing.

  23. I think the honest and practical answer involves the publicity that might accrue from a single donation. Having lived in STL I knew one individual who, at the time he joined the Church, worked as a driver for AB (beer). No one counseled him to quit his job and as far as I know he still works there today. He eventually qualified for a temple recommend so I can only surmise that he paid tithing and the Church readily accepted those funds. I think the situation would be quite different if the individual in question was Auggie Busch III and he wanted to divest his holdings and tithe his “increase.” The Church might accept the funds but not as tithing.

  24. Ah, I started reading thinking that your point would be whether or not the church should accept money from those who profit from the exploitation of undocumented immigrants. It never occurred to me to think that you were considering the idea of the tithing of those immigrants being ill-gotten.

    What about owners of large businesses who exploit born-and-bred Americans right along with immigrants? Or health professionals who make exorbitant wages while denying care to those who cannot pay the astronomical fees? Or lawyers who make a great deal of money defending a person they know or believe to actually be guilty?

    Those all seem much more ill-gotten to me than working with someone else’s social security number.

  25. totally disagree with the premise of the OP.

    I’m a speeder, does that mean my income is ill-gotten? sheesh. I didn’t disclose a conviction on my job app, does that mean my income is ill-gotten?

    Ill-gotten is money obtained while committing a crime. While residing in the US illegally is – illegal – it doesn’t therefore mean that income derived while living illegally is ill-gotten.

  26. Chris H.,

    Is the work done ill-gotten? Is it ill-gotten to clean room as a hotel or to pick fruit in an orchard? It does not sound fun, but it is good hard honest work.

    Sorry I wasn’t very clear about what I mean here–see comments 8-10 for a clarification.

  27. oh, and what of all the casino and gaming employees and owners in Vegas and elsewhere? I guess they just now got themselves a 10% raise… hahah… welcome to the slippery slope

  28. Scott,

    I was assuming that we agreed. Those were just the thoughts that came to mind. It is the work that they do that leads me to appreciate such work. Something like that.

    I really appreciate your contributions on this issue.

  29. I would be very interested to meet either of these individuals, assuming they exist in some hypothetical geographic region.

  30. Last Lemming says:

    1. I work for the government, and am paid out of tax funds.
    2. Taxation is theft. (You heard it here first. Or not.)
    Therefore,
    3. My income is ill-gotten and I am exempt from tithing.

    Yeah. That’s the ticket.

  31. What Last Lemming said.

  32. I like this topic mucho, hermanos y hermanas. It’s a hot one I think. As to Hypo 1: seems unlikely that a member of the same ward would go in and nark out a fellow member. But I’m not naive in that I’m sure in certain areas of the country this could or does happen, given strong political attachments, and identities and egos that have taken shape around the issue. This boogeyman fear of a tidal wave of immigrants and loss of control of America and such . . . But it’s a hypo, so I’ll address it on it’s face. Knowing most bishops, I think most of them would say something like, “thank you for your concern I appreciate that. As you know, tithing is a blessing to pay based on earned income from work [on and on and on]. So thank you for your concern for the Church.” In the back of his head he knows he has no duty to do anything about the situation as he and the Church are not in the business of law enforcement.

    Response to Hypo 2: “thank you for your concern I appreciate that. As you know, tithing is a blessing to pay based on earned income from work [on and on and on]. If you are concerned about the status of your tithes then you should pray about it and whether paying them is consistent with why we pay tithing. We pay tithing as privilege and recognition that all we have comes from the Lord. So thank you for your concern for the Church and your tithes. I understand.”

    After the missionary deportation debacle in Ohio a few years ago, the Church made an announcement (don’t have it handy). The import of the announcement was that it is not the Church’s duty or role to be involved in law enforcement or civil justice. Bishops have no duty by law to inquire into citizenship status (which makes these hypos nice because the Bishop unwillingly learns of the status by being informed). They have not duty to report the lack of citizenship status. They have not duty to follow up or investigate or aid law enforcement either. They are a spiritual advisor.

    My understanding of “ill-gotten”is that it is income earned in a way that is opposite to income that you tithe: it was not earned through moral labor, investment, or industry.

    If I’m a 50 year old member from Mexico who immigrated here with my family for a better life, and I throw a pick ax over my shoulder in the sun to earn a buck and support them, I’m paying frickin’ tithing. I have much to be thankful for.

    What about a prostitute that does not pay tithes on income from tricks. But let’s say she’s a smart prostitute and she invests her money into a mutual fund or something. Years later, she withdraws huge interest earnings. Pay tithing? Now sub in an LDS casino owner or wine-grape cultivator (I know of both instances and they were both mission presidents). Pay tithing on it?

  33. Once I picked my jaw up off the ground and re-read the post I was able to think coherently.
    I am still trying to figure out how being illegal makes your gains illegal?
    Our branch president works for a sports booking center here in central america. He pays tithing!
    My son in law was illegal for five years and worked as a roofer. You know what? the government had no problems taking his taxes out of his check every pay day, or deporting him.
    What a double standard we live.
    I think you should substitute the word “undocumented” and that would make it a little clearer for everyone. I really don’t know anyone personally that is in any position to throw the first stone as far as being “illegal” is concerned.
    I guess what I am trying to say is that since no one is perfect, should we not accept tithing from anyone? If doing something illegal makes you “illegal” than that includes all of us and we can all stop paying tithing since we’re all sinners.

  34. me (#27),
    We’ve already dealt with the casino issue–there are clear guidelines on that. Sorry…no slippery slope this time!

  35. Roblynn (33),

    I am still trying to figure out how being illegal makes your gains illegal?

    I don’t think that, in this case, it does make it illegal. However, the logic isn’t really that difficult to follow:

    1. You hold a job.
    2. Holding a job is illegal for you.
    3. Your earnings are tainted, since you broke the law to get them.

    Again, I don’t agree with this thinking, but I think it’s fairly simple to see why someone who views immigration differently than me would.

  36. Scott, I think the someone in question has to view a lot of things differently than you do. Immigration is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s a legitimate question, though: How does one counsel a suckhead?

  37. No tithing from an attorney.

  38. To person 1: You may have good intentions, but you misunderstand.

    To person 2: Bless you. Thanks for your willingness to live the Lord’s law despite the hardships in your life. The Lord will gladly accept your offering.

  39. (36) What do you mean by a “suckhead?”

  40. Antoinette says:

    While immigration is a hot-button issue, I do believe that tithing is a very personal and spiritual thing. It’s an external expression of an inward desire to obedient to Heavenly Father, who transcends the tangled matters of this earth realm.
    I’m digressing, but I object to the label of “illegal alien(s).” What is that all about?
    They are HUMAN BEINGS. Not saying that it was stated in the post on purpose…I just think that illegal immigrants is a more respectable term. Now, if we were capable of inter-planetary or galactic travel, then maybe that term would be appropriate;)
    I’m just sayin’. No one ever refers to Christopher Columbus or the Puritans as “illegal aliens,” because, let’s face it, they did roll up on someone else’s land with no ID and took advantage of the available resources. If you get right down to it. Just sayin’…
    If a person is an illegal immigrant, that is, at the very least, a civil matter, not criminal, and they are doing the best with the resources they have. It can take up to two to three years to become a legal citizen, last time I checked. It’s more expedient to get a job and blend in rather than engage in that long process.
    I don’t think that any tithing from illegal immigrants necessarily equals “ill-gotten” gain. Most of the time, I believe, their hearts are in the right place. I live in South Central Texas, so I’m sure that there are many illegal families here, but I don’t ascribe to that argument that immigrants come to America just to leech off the system. They are people just trying to have a better life, and practice their faith and adhere to it’s tenets…one of which happens to be tithing.

  41. Fair enough, madhousewife–it probably would take more than that.

  42. Antoinette,

    I’m digressing, but I object to the label of “illegal alien(s).” What is that all about?

    Holy crap.

  43. Scott would know; he’s married to one.

  44. Seeing as how you are not conflating the issues of ill-gotten gains with residence status, Scott, I will answer the questions posed:

    1) If I were the Bishop, I would tell the officious intermeddler that we’re all beggars living in debt to our Father in Heaven. Then, I would ask them politely to go to hell.
    2) If I were Bishop, I’d tell the member to go ahead and pay their tithing. Then I’d slap an “I hate Glenn Beck” bumper sticker on my office door.

    Or in other words, I’d never be asked to be Bishop.

  45. Ben Orchard says:

    I’m going to ignore the hypothetical. I’ll make up my own, thank you very much.

    However, someone asked about tithing on lottery winnings. I think the whole idea is that gambling is a vice, therefore any money gotten via gambling is ill-gotten. Done and done.

    Except it isn’t. Look, I think playing the lotto is about the stupidest way to gamble in a VERY long list of ways to gamble (for money). I’m sure there are other ways that are dumber, but I’m having trouble coming up with one that targets so many people and has such widespread advertising. Here in Philadelphia I hear commercials for casinos fairly often, and rarely are they about the gaming, but about the shows. They’ll mention the number of tables & slots, but the emphasis is on the shows. The lottery commercials air MUCH more frequently and are much more direct–offensive even.

    I cannot see how anyone with even the slightest understanding of probability can possibly stomach the idea of playing the lottery.

    That said–illegal aliens get my full compassion. I don’t see very many of those who have come here without proper documents that are here because they want to live on welfare. MOST are much more interested in making a better life for themselves and working hard to do so.

    I’d be much more concerned with people whose business practices are exploitative and harmful (to their customers, employees, or environment).

  46. Antoinette says:

    Scott B.:
    Thanks for the link! As an English major, it’s breaking one of the cardinal rules: NEVER use Wikipedia for anything under any circumstance:o It’s a faux pas in English Major world.
    It was really interesting, but, I still think it’s kind of a weird term, in my opinion. I remember the Alien and Sedition Act from history…I know that in context of legal jargon it makes sense, I suppose, but it doesn’t make it sound any less strange to me. Kind of like “more perfect” in the preamble to the Constitution.
    There are just some things that either give you pause, or rub you the wrong way, ya know?

  47. When I first pictured a bishop refusing the tithes of an illegal immigrant, I became very upset. But, having taken a moment to calm myself, I realized this post is a bit of conservative bait. Not that it was intended to be, of course, but our ward has an associated Spanish Branch whose children attend our mutual and primary. Some of those members are here illegally. There is no question that their tithing is accepted. Judging by the church’s statement that bishops aren’t responsible to sort out members’ immigration statuses, it seems the question, as far as the church is concerned, has been answered.

    Obviously, that doesn’t mean the question shouldn’t be posed, but it seems unlikely that somebody is going to jump in on this forum and say illegal immigrants shouldn’t be allowed to pay tithing.

    (That’s somebody’s cue, but I’ll warn you, you’ve already been called suckhead)

  48. Don’t forget the tithing paid by all those teenagers who work under the table by babysitting or doing yardwork for money. Anyone who makes more than $400 and doesn’t claim it and pay self-employment tax is doing it illegally. And a SAHM who makes $20 babysitting (for instance) still is supposed to claim it on her income taxes (ordinary income tax on the $20 but only self employment tax on amounts over $400).
    When it comes to “working illegally” there are many people in that category who don’t consider themselves illegal.

  49. Eric s. (39) – Well, “suckhead” covers a multitude of sins, but in this particular case, I think what makes a person a suckhead is thinking that a) it’s his business to go to the bishop and counsel him on the acceptability of his fellow ward member’s offerings, and b) the way to fight illegal immigration is to marginalize his undocumented brothers and sisters at church–because God knows that’s what church is for.

    I know a lot of people whose views on immigration differ from mine, but I don’t know any who would do this to a fellow ward member because they had a political axe to grind. (I realize I’m lucky in this respect, but I think it’s still worth mentioning. There are certain steps one has to undergo before filling the measure of your suckheadedness.)

  50. Antoinette,
    We’re not English majors. In fact, a healthy percentage of the people here are lawyers. Also, we’re talking about legalities. Wouldn’t it make far more sense to use legal terms?

    P.S. I am so glad that I, along with most of the planet, am not an English major, because Wikipedia is great.

  51. Anyone who makes more than $400 and doesn’t claim it and pay self-employment tax is doing it illegally.

    Not that anyone should avoid paying his/her taxes, but strictly speaking that is not true. The crime is failure to pay taxes.

  52. jks (48) Where do you live??!!! I’m just glad that I don’t live in a place where babysitters bump up against a tax problem with the $400 threshold! The going rate where I am is $7 an hour.

    (49) madhousewife – Thank you, I like suckhead here. And I looked up the term on Google before I asked you, fwiw. I just wanted some context. Thanks.

    I too think it’s hard to imagine that an LDS member would become a La Migra officer and rat out members. But it is not totally out of the question that such has not already happened somewhere.

  53. Person 1: Well, when you are a judge in Israel, it will be your case to decide such matters. By the way Bro. Busybody, I noticed you didn’t have 100% home teaching last year, and are you out of debt and how’s your food storage coming along?

    Person 2: Bro. Illegal – first of all, thank you for striving to earn a wage to provide for your family. Clearly the counsel is that we are to pay tithing on our increase – beyond that, the church takes no position. As you pay tithing, you will find the answers your are seeking.

  54. “We’re not English majors. In fact, a healthy percentage of the people here are lawyers.”

    I’m both. It is possible.

  55. Ardis, some illegals are doing those things, and it IS hurting the system, whether they are working or not. Even if you look at it through morally rose-colored glasses, it doesn’t change those facts.

  56. Antoinette says:

    Scott B.:
    I was kidding about the Wikipedia thing:) I wasn’t trying to offend anyone, sorry if I did. It’s a little joke the students and professors have. We’re always told to use databases and the library because Wikipedia isn’t always the best source for peer reviewed articles to use as secondary sources.
    I very rarely use Wikipedia because of that; it’s a habit that carries over because I’m always writing papers.
    Like I said, I understand that the term is used to define laws and/or legal situations. I get that, but to me, it doesn’t make it sound any less strange. I just don’t like the term “illegal aliens” because it just sounds weird to me. It always has. It’s not out of ignorance that I feel that way, and perhaps to you it sounds like I’m oversimplifying it, which I probably am.
    I wouldn’t want to be referred to as an “alien” in any way shape or form, illegal or otherwise. Kind of like using “Third world country.” It’s not a legal term, far as I know, but it’s one of those little phrases used to describe places of unimaginable poverty, but it’s happening in the same world. Those places nor the people in them aren’t removed from the one world we inhabit.
    Again, the Wikipedia thing was a joke;) My daddy works in Criminal Justice, so trust me, I get a good dose of legal talk all the time. *rolling eyes

  57. Cynthia L. says:

    #44- Hunter FTW!

  58. Leaving aside the question of illegal immigration, the paying of tithing is between an individual and God. Period. It is an offering designed to show God that our number one concern in life is NOT money – that there are more important things. And it is money to be used for good things.

    There is actually only ONE place where what someone paid in offerings affects someone’s standing with regards to the institution of the Church – in the TR interview. To obtain a temple recommend, you are merely asked if you are a full-tithe payer. And that’s it. To be honest, the bishop/branch president never really knows or not. There have been years when I have paid with appreciated stock, there have been years where I have paid “in-kind”, there have been years when I have paid to SLC directly, there have been years where I have written checks through my ward. But the bishop never cares. I have always been able to answer the question: “Do you pay a full tithe” in the affirmative.

    With regards to this post, someone can donate however they want. Whether they are a full-tithe payer is between them and God.

    (Not to side-track, the bigger issue is being able to answer the TR question “Are you honest in your dealing with your fellowman” in the affirmative if you are holding an illegal job and working there on a daily basis.)

  59. #20 “If I had to pin it down, I’d date the change to about the time Bruce R. McConkie passed away, but I don’t know for certain.”

    By all means, pin it on Elder McConkie. He serves as the default BCC bogeyman.

  60. it’s hard to imagine that an LDS member would become a La Migra officer and rat out members. But it is not totally out of the question that such has not already happened somewhere.

    Oh, I don’t doubt that it has happened (although I would be surprised to learn that recent legislation in a hypothetical geographic area was the catalyst). I just think that such a person has issues that go beyond a misguided sense of political purity. For instance, I don’t know what Scott B.’s views on immigration are (I have a general idea of what they are not, but nothing more specific than that), but I still know enough to discern that it isn’t just his views on immigration that separate him from the likes of Person #1. Illegal immigration is just Person #1’s excuse du jour for his (or her) behavior. Perhaps suckheads are disproportionately likely to become disproportionately outraged over illegal immigration. Someone should do a study.

  61. #59: gst…
    He may or may not be the “default BCC bogey man”. He may or may not have been the source of many of the crazy ideas that were once a part of Church thinking/practices. But the day he decided to publish his interpretations of what was correct/incorrect as “Mormon Doctrine” he got the good with the bad. As long as what he published was in line with the thinking of the majority of what the Church thought, he was quoted in manuals and held up as the “beacon” of orthodoxy. But when the thinking changed, he unavoidably became the “bogeyman”.

    Perhaps that is why most books/talks today are more “bland”. No one really wants to stick their neck out there. I will give BRM credit for calling a spade what he thought was a spade. Agree with him or not, as least he stood up for his point-of-view.

  62. I can think of a number of members I have known who have acquired “ill gotten gains” and have at least said publicly that they paid tithing on them. Does it come down to telling the bishop where you got your gains?

  63. I don’t know what Scott B.’s views on immigration are (I have a general idea of what they are not, but nothing more specific than that)

    Open the gates further and further, gradually, until they are completely open. I would say “fling them wide open now” but I acknowledge the need for infrastructure to brace for change and for parents to lock their children up so that they’re not stolen by drug dealers.

    My views are mostly rooted in my economics background (free labor markets, etc…), but I’ve also moved somewhat toward a morality-based argument in recent years.

  64. Wikipedia isn’t always the best source for peer reviewed articles to use as secondary sources

    To be sure, especially any article that contains politically controversial material, no matter how “factual”. Wikipedia in general is great for anything that is relatively well established and undisputed though.

    All these scholars who write for peer reviewed journals that do not allow free online access to their own archives are essentially wasting their time, so far as relevance to the wider world is concerned.

    (If Google wanted to do just one thing to improve their search engine, it would be to actively refuse to index anything behind a pay wall. I certainly don’t want anything like that in my search results)

  65. Open the gates further and further, gradually, until they are completely open

    If we eliminated free public schooling, Medicaid, the earned income tax credit, free emergency care, etc., and made the income tax significantly less progressive in other ways (or established a stiff value added tax), we could probably afford that. I am not sure we want to admit terrorists and serious criminals though.

  66. #61: I will give BRM credit for calling a spade what he thought was a spade. Agree with him or not, as least he stood up for his point-of-view.<

    Problem was, if you didn't agree with him, you were Misleading the Flock, Headed for Outer Darkness, Standing in Direct Opposition to The Brethren, Kicking Against the Pricks, and probably guilty of adultery as well.

    Good thing that question about "Do you support Bruce R. McConkie as sola scriptura, the Mouthpiece of Christ, and the only person person on earth authorized to put the smackdown on heresy?" was removed from the Temple Recommend interviews.

  67. “If we eliminated free public schooling, Medicaid, the earned income tax credit, free emergency care, etc., and made the income tax significantly less progressive in other ways (or established a stiff value added tax), we could probably afford that.”

    So if we become even more cruel to the poor than we already are, then we can open the borders. Thanks, Mark.

  68. “All these scholars who write for peer reviewed journals that do not allow free online access to their own archives are essentially wasting their time, so far as relevance to the wider world is concerned.”

    This is because subscription fees keep these journal afloat. Of course, if they where more available, you would have a much wider range of intellectualism that you could be hostile towards.

  69. So if we become even more cruel to the poor than we already are, then we can open the borders.

    I regret to say I didn’t invent the laws of economics. We could try open borders without changing anything, and the consequence would be similar to the one we are already headed towards – national default. Suppose we survive that, wiping out everyone’s savings in the process. Then we can have a happy little moribund economy with per capita income perhaps slightly better than Guatemala, endemic thirty percent unemployment, and free subsistence quality health care for all.

    This is because subscription fees keep these journal afloat

    Are you kidding? No one actually gets paid to write or review articles in these journals. A replacement, freely available set could form overnight and the only differences would be that libraries would spend a lot less and the best articles written would see much wider distribution. This is already standard practice in some corners of academia.

  70. I should say paid by the journals to write or review articles for the journals.

  71. Bruce Rogers says:

    RE: #30 says “Taxation is theft”. Jesus told his disciples to pay taxes to Ceasar. The Presidents of our Church have told people to pay taxes and they have withheld temple recomends from those who do not pay. In the Temple recomend interview, a person is asked if they are honest. The Church leaders have made it very clear that we are to pay our taxes.

  72. What about money earned by those who hire undocumented immigrants? — I really thought this was what the post would be about.

  73. Scott,

    #63,

    Open the gates further and further, gradually, until they are completely open. I would say “fling them wide open now” but I acknowledge the need for infrastructure to brace for change and for parents to lock their children up so that they’re not stolen by drug dealers.

    Indeed, open them up. Not only will it fulfill our mission as a melting pot nation, but our economy will improve with an influx of workers. Don’t know why more people are not arguing this point. If we want our economy to improve, we need to get more workers here.

  74. Mark D.,

    #69,

    I regret to say I didn’t invent the laws of economics. We could try open borders without changing anything, and the consequence would be similar to the one we are already headed towards – national default. Suppose we survive that, wiping out everyone’s savings in the process. Then we can have a happy little moribund economy with per capita income perhaps slightly better than Guatemala, endemic thirty percent unemployment, and free subsistence quality health care for all.

    Can you please show evidence of this. Where do you get the idea that an increase of people and workers in our system reduces our economy?

  75. According to the Gallup net migration poll, the US is the top desired destination among all potential migrants.

    Surely there is an upside to the fact that people want to move here.

  76. Bruce: Last Lemming appears to have been kidding.

    Dan: I think the we should listen to Mark and not Scott. It is not like Scott is a real economist….oh….wait.

    Mark: do not screw with me when it comes to how the academic world works.

  77. Last Lemming says:

    Last Lemming appears to have been kidding.

    Sadly, my wife often can’t tell either.

  78. visorstuff says:

    Not meaning a slight thread jack here, but here is an all-to-real scenario from our ward in Arizona that we are facing.

    Since the law says that you can’t transport, harbor or employ an illegal immigrant, we now have church members who now refuse to give rides to church to Hispanic investigators and members who they suspect are illegal immigrants/undocumented workers; they also won’t enter their homes to do their home teaching as they fear that could be interpreted as harboring or supporting illegal immigrants; and they don’t get the extra reminder call for service projects, etc. so they don’t “employ” them.

    Whether right or wrong, it is amazing that a bill sponsored by a church member has caused a number headaches for the church. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

    And then there is the doctrinal implications of how Mormons deal with Hispanic immigrants – if they are indeed the children of Lehi.

  79. I would call that a totally relevant threadjack.

  80. Good thing this is a hypothetical. It would be impossible to enforce and ludicrous to propose in real life.

    The only way I could see this playing out in real life is if a church member who pays tithing operates some type of sweat shop and gets busted for all kinds of immigration violations and goes to jail.

  81. bbell,
    You really think it’s that ludicrous? Read #78.

  82. I also knew that, eventually, someone would come along and prove my #16 correct.

  83. In contrast to what 78 posted, my ward (in a fairly blue-collar, lower middle class area) in Arizona has seen none of these issues.

    Perhaps those in our ward recognize that 78’s statement that “the law says that you can’t transport, harbor or employ an illegal immigrant” is, unfortunately, significantly off base as regards transportation in particular. The text of the bill as enacted is:

    13-2929 (A) IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR A PERSON WHO IS IN VIOLATION OF A CRIMINAL OFFENSE TO:
    1. TRANSPORT OR MOVE OR ATTEMPT TO TRANSPORT OR MOVE AN ALIEN IN THIS STATE, IN FURTHERANCE OF THE ILLEGAL PRESENCE OF THE ALIEN IN THE UNITED STATES, IN A MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION IF THE PERSON KNOWS OR RECKLESSLY DISREGARDS THE FACT THAT THE ALIEN HAS COME TO, HAS ENTERED OR REMAINS IN THE UNITED STATES IN VIOLATION OF LAW.

    I know there are quite a few attorneys on this site – perhaps they might want to weigh in regarding the clauses “WHO IS IN VIOLATION OF A CRIMINAL OFFENSE” and “IN FURTHERANCE OF THE ILLEGAL PRESENCE OF THE ALIEN IN THE UNITED STATES”.

    It’s not illegal in Arizona to drive an illegal alien to church, or to home teach them, or have them particpate in service projects. Good hell.

  84. I’ve heard a lot of excuses for not doing home teaching but “I don’t want to get arrested” has got to be a first. :)

  85. I believe that there are wards in AZ that have the problems described in #78 and wards in AZ that have no such problems. Awesome wards and totally messed-up wards exist side by side, even in hypothetical geographic areas. What I want to know is, who in #78’s ward is getting up and saying, “What’s wrong with you people?”

  86. #83,

    Good hell.

    how is hell these days? good?

  87. madhousewife,

    What I want to know is, who in #78′s ward is getting up and saying, “What’s wrong with you people?”

    Shouldn’t someone get up in Russell Pierce’s ward and say “what’s wrong with you people?”

  88. “Good hell.”

    Is that what we are calling Arizona these days?

    I think it would be awesome to get arrested for hometeaching. It would be hometeaching with civil disobedience all at the same time.

  89. 85: I second your last sentence, exactly.

    As to “good hell” – substitute “good grief” for the intended expression of, well, disbelief and amazement. But good grief wasn’t strong enough.

  90. Steve Evans says:

    LDS in AZ, how about if you exceed the speed limit on the way to Church with an illegal alien in the car?

  91. Or if you exceed the allowed number of capitalized letters in a comment while an illegal alien is in your living room?

  92. I would really appreciate it if we could avoid any more personal attacks on Bruce R McConkie (or implications of such)

    Wasn’t there a recent lesson in Sunday School about following the Laws of the Land? My impression from recent news is that church members aren’t supposed to let immigration laws get in the way of church service (and I would think tithing would be a part of that.)

    As far as the OP, I think that Person1 should probably mind his own business and Person2 able to tithe guilt-free.

    To be honest, I’m not sure that I would consider gambling winnings “ill gotten gains.”

  93. Where do you get the idea that an increase of people and workers in our system reduces our economy?

    Milton Friedman generally gets the credit for pointing out that open borders and a welfare state are not compatible. Eliminate the welfare state, and we could survive the influx without the government going bankrupt or permanently dragging down the economy. The history of Latin America should be evidence enough that populist welfarism doesn’t exactly lift a nation out of poverty.

  94. I agree with Mark. We need a military strong man who can come in. First he can kill all the leftists and then he can institute a Friedmanite economy.

  95. Mark D.,

    But we don’t have a welfare state. We have a capitalistic economy with a relatively weak social security system. I’m curious if anyone has done a study of the actual value of a worker in the American economy; the net value, calculating both the cost of that worker, and the revenue of that worker. I’m betting that the net value of an individual worker and his family in America is positive, thus an increase in the workforce, increases the value of the overall economy.

    You note Latin American countries as an example where “popular welfarism” doesn’t lift a nation out of poverty, but that’s not what I was talking about. Those Latin American countries surely haven’t had very open borders, now. You’d agree on that, right? In fact, in relation to how open our borders are, you’d agree with me that Latin American countries are akin to North Korea. They’re much harsher on illegal immigration than we are. And, ironically, it counts against their economic progression, thus making your point that they’re not getting out of poverty. Perhaps if they let more people in, their economies might grow faster…

  96. John Mansfield says:

    Daniel, Argentina through the 20th Century was considerably more open to immigrants than the United States.

  97. Reading (78) in light of (83). Seems like the members in 78 (as ridiculous and out of touch as they may seem) don’t need to be so concerned for at least two reasons. First, the prohibition on tansport in the statute in 83 is qualified by “in furtherance of the illegal presence . . . .” Going home teaching, giving rides to/from church does not fit the traditional understanding of “in furtherance” of the illegal act in question (e.g. being here illegally). The members are not facilitating their being here illegally by having them in a car that is moving among residences and church buildings.

    Second, there is a mental state requirement in the statute: knowing or in reckless disregard. I’ve been in, and remain a reserve DA in the county where I live, and that state of mind standard is hard to prove. The proof problem is this: how do you know what is in someone else’s head? Really, how do you know that for certain? The person (member driving the car) would either need to know for certain–and then ADMIT under oath–that the person was here illegally, or turn a blind eye to their status. And at what point does someone become reckless with respect to another’s citizenship status? So not only would it be difficult for a prosecuting agency to show the nature of church-related transport was in violation of the statute, the prosecutors will also have a bear of a time showing that a church member was either certain or reckless with respect to their passenger’s immigration status. Bottom line for members on the mental-state requirement: don’t ask, don’t tell, and don’t worry about it.

    Now you get to the common sense test: you’re an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Maricopa county. You get the sheriff report that says the perp is an LDS man/woman driving the person home from church. The Maricopa County sheriff arrested him/her for violation of this statute and wants him/her charged. I don’t know of really any AUSA who wants to keep his/her job that would actually think that case goes to trial and makes it past the laugh test with the jury (who probably has an LDS or two on it), let alone succeeding on the substantive merits. It’s a crappy case, and extremely unlikely to happen. But don’t rely on my advice, we have no attorney-client relationship.

  98. I’m betting that the net value of an individual worker and his family in America is positive, thus an increase in the workforce, increases the value of the overall economy.

    Daniel, it may be positive, it may be negative, but whatever it is, it’s not static. The important thing to keep in mind is that the relative value you ask about will change dramatically (potentially) depending on the size of the labor force and growth in output.

    While we don’t have what most would consider a “welfare state” as you correctly point out, Friedman (why we credit Friedman with it is interesting, since it’s really just common sense) was more general to welfare programs of any kind–or really any publicly funded program–so it does in fact apply to the USA:

    If you have programs which provide benefits of any kind, and the demographics of an area change in a way such that the relative usage rates of those programs increase more rapidly than the tax base through which they are funded increase, you get a shortage. It’s not hard. It’s not leftist, it’s not right-wing–it’s just common sense.

    The difference between Mark D. and I is that I don’t care if those programs can’t handle an influx of immigrants. I think that’s a flawed argument, because the same demographic problems and stress on govt programs can arise through many different ways–including a simple increase in the birthrate of white, lower-class citizens. However, we don’t attempt to legislate them out of the national boundaries, despite the potential for fiscal destruction.

  99. However, we don’t attempt to legislate them out of the national boundaries, despite the potential for fiscal destruction.

    Fiscal destruction will eventually limit what we can provide, even for the people already here. Opening the borders will just lower that limit significantly. I take it that India, for example, does not have much of a welfare program, at least not by our standards.

  100. I’m guessing that #83 lives in a stake where there are Spanish wards. Having Hispanics in English speaking wards is not very common here in Arizona. And, I also should clarify that the issue is not widespread in our ward, but it has been brought up on multiple occasions in meetings I’ve been in. My old ward wouldn’t have any issues with this at all, nor would most “Spanish wards.”

    I’m still surprised no one has discussed the doctrinal implications of how how Mormons deal with Hispanic immigrants, if Hispanics are the children of Lehi. For example, I was just recalling President Kimball’s “Of Royal Blood” talk or Elder Larsen’s “Mingled Destinies: The Lamanites and the Latter-day Saints.”

    Scott B., will you be addressing in a separate post? or have I missed discussion elsewhere?

  101. Daniel, Historically speaking most countries in the Western Hemisphere had open borders until about a century ago. Nobody does anymore, and I suggest that is in large part due to the cost of various social welfare programs and other public benefits – programs which were much smaller and less costly a century ago, but now consume 30-40% of the GDP just about everywhere.

  102. 90: Depending on the speed, might meet the criminal element, but not the second element (“in furtherance of…”) :) Also noted by 97.

    91: ALL CAPS is how the statute is available in the official PDF. cut/paste for accuracy, or maybe just from laziness :)

    100: No, all English wards. Anecdotally, I’d disagree with your statement “having Hispanics in english speaking wards is not very common here in Arizona.” I’ve lived in seven AZ wards in four stakes, in three counties, all of which have been completely English stakes, and each of my wards has had a significant Hispanic component. The brush you currently wield paints too broadly, methinks. Be careful not to project the legal ignorance and/or cultural intolerance of your certain ward members beyond those members themselves.

  103. Methinks LDS in AZ doth fancy himself a super lawyer.

  104. Fiscal destruction will eventually limit what we can provide, even for the people already here. Opening the borders will just lower that limit significantly.

    I’m comfortable with that risk.

    I take it that India, for example, does not have much of a welfare program, at least not by our standards.

    And immigration laws are the only difference between India and the USA, too.

  105. Mark D.,

    Nobody does anymore, and I suggest that is in large part due to the cost of various social welfare programs and other public benefits – programs which were much smaller and less costly a century ago, but now consume 30-40% of the GDP just about everywhere.

    Is it really in large part due to the cost of social welfare programs? I’d wager that it probably has to do with a combination of the effects of World War II and the rise of nationalism around the world rather than economic reasons. But we can quibble about that until Jesus finally comes and answers all our questions for us. :)

  106. LDS in AZ,

    What a given statute says, and how a given statute gets interpreted by the average resident of the targeted geographic region are, and how a given statute is enforced in that region are rarely, if ever going to coincide perfectly with each other.

    The behavior “visorstuff” sees in his/her ward possibly reflects a poor understanding of the law, but that is what you get when you pass laws that are easily misunderstood, easily manipulated, and are based upon fears and concerns that are easily blown out of proportion.

    It’s on the shoulders of the AZ government to make it clear that people can, in fact, legally give illegal aliens a ride to Church, if that is the case.

  107. Is it really in large part due to the cost of social welfare programs?

    I’d argue that it was mostly economic, but not “welfare programs” economic. From my view, the US had open borders until we got rich and fat and suddenly had a position to lose. The legislation that was drafted may say lots of things, but I think the underlying motivations were probably about maintaining a standard of living against the rising number of immigrants who looked different than the rest of us.

  108. Daniel, I suggest the other major factor is the rise of public sentiment in favor of limiting immigration to a level that where new arrivals appear to successfully assimilate in language, culture, and politics. So sometimes we go through periods where the majority wants to seriously clamp down, other times not so much. The end of the frontier certainly has something to do with it too.

  109. We have already discussed the gambling question as to “ill-gotten gains.” Do we know whether the Marriotts pay tithing on the portion of income derived from in-room porn in their hotels? Or is the bigger, more relevant question who they should hire to do the cleaning and gardening in their hotels?

  110. (106) Scott B. – Exactly. And it is manipulated in a way to prey on the fears of people, as is the rhetoric that led to passage of SB 1070. A.k.a Fear mongering: the appeal to fear in the human mind as a motivator can be very powerful.

    Does anyone remember Prop 187 in CA back in the early 90s? Remember how medical and professional services personnel were at first–right after 187 passed–scared to offer services to those whom they believed were illegal because they thought they may be rung up for aiding and abetting, etc.? Well, what happened with 187? It was never enforced, for starters. Mostly because people like ER personnel and school teachers decided that they didn’t have the heart to turn suspected aliens away for medical and education services. Everyone’s fear was misplaced and irrational, and people behaved compassionately. Prop 187 was a total failure in practice, even though it passed on paper. And based on what I have heard through the rumor mill out of AZ law enforcement, SB 1070 is headed for a similar fate. Lot’s of fear-fueled bark, but no bite.

  111. (109) I’m gonna take a wild guess and say that the Marriotts themselves don’t hire folks that clean rooms. Do I think the Marriotts themselves are actually aware of the status of the individuals who clean their rooms? No. Do I think Marriotts themselves (as opposed to a particular hotel’s manager or HR folks) have a duty to know or inquire into the status? No. I’m gonna guess that execs of Fortune 500 firms don’t handling hiring of cleaning personnel. But that’s just a guess.

    On the porn question, we could ask ourselves the same re sales of alcoholic beverages firm wide too. Or cigarrettes. I imagine the revenue falls under ordinary “income” from operations on reports or financial statements, and are not broken out in line item detail. So I doubt they know or have backed into the precise figure for in-room porn revenue. I’m speculating, I could be totally off base. Not sure it answers the question of whether Marriott hotels “should” or “should not” even offer those services or products.

  112. John Mansfield says:

    “From my view, the US had open borders until we got rich and fat and suddenly had a position to lose.”—Scott B.

    I’d say that we had open borders until there were large numbers of people wanting to pass through them. Immigration to the United States and to the predecessor English colonies through the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries was pretty low compared to the opening decades of the 20th Century.

  113. #102 I’ve also lived in four stakes in Arizona – all in Maricopa County – both east and west valley, and every stake has had access to a Spanish ward. Two of the stakes I’ve lived in have had Spanish wards in the stake and the other two (including the current one), the Spanish ward serves multiple stakes, resulting in more Hispanics currently coming to our ward.

    However, even with the increase of Spanish speakers in my current ward, most Hispanics in my area still attend the Spanish ward that serves a ours and a few of the neighboring stakes. Having served in priesthood leadership callings for the past decade in Arizona, I know that most Spanish speakers are typically referred to a Spanish ward in the valley, whether or not it is in the English stake. I’m actually surprised that you have people attending your ward who don’t speak English when there are wards available that do. Not that there are not people of Hispanic descent in our ward (there definitely are), but if they speak primarily Spanish, they rarely come to the English ward. At least in Mesa, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Peoria, Glendale and Buckeye. I guess in other areas of Arizona it may be different.

    And, not all the members of my current ward are like this, just a few. But “a few” adds up. I know ours is not the only ward in our stake with members who struggle with this. A few in one or two wards in each stake make up enough people who don’t understand the law that it has caused issues. And then there is the issue of how we are perceived by the Hispanic community (for example: http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2009-04-03-mormon-immigrants_N.htm)

    I wasn’t trying to paint a broad brush, just sharing what I’ve heard in our ward and at least three others in various parts of the valley of the sun.

  114. 103: Just a geologist. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night :)

    111: I lived in CA at the time and remember Prop 187 well. However, it was enjoined immediately after passage and later declared unconstitutional. There was never a time when it was “on the books” but not enforced by the frontline state employees.

  115. 113: I appreciate your persepctive, and sorry if I was not clear in 102. I was not referencing people who can only speak Spanish (though there are varying levels of competency, as far as I know everyone who attends my current ward can speak english); rather, I was referring to people of Hispanic descent and/or dual-language speakers.

    As to “the few” – isn’t that the case with just about any issue? Those who are misinformed and/or predisposed to tell others (incorrectly) what should be done will always do so, regardless of the particular issue. IMO, you can’t legislate stupidity or prejudice out of existence, nor does legislation (good or bad, depending on your viewpoint) create it…

  116. (114) That is accurate that it was ultimately enjoined after an initial TRO. But leading up to, and in the days immediately following and prior to the TRO, I recall that there was fear and misinformation among services personnel. SB 1070 is not that much different in the way it has evolved.

  117. #115 No worries, as I re-read, I realized we were talking about different subsets of Hispanics. Tons of people of Hispanic descent all over the valley.

    “The few” is the case with many issues. But with major controversial issues, such as abortion, immigration, capital punishment, etc. I find that few or the majority don’t understand fully the Church’s position on the topic de jour. Ignorance on both sides of any issue results in mis-information and bad feelings. I personally see so many problems with SB1070, but I also see a need for better border security. I can’t understand why we can’t make money off of immigration as a nation. Other countries bill the US or private citizens for their citizen’s healthcare, why can’t we?

    But I’m also torn as we are commanded to take care of those of Lamanite descent (i.e. the entire nursing Fathers/Mothers passages). They have a role to play in the winding up scenes and in our standard works are promised that as a group they’ll survive the second coming, as are the Jews (and Mormons who pay their tithing). :)

    The challenges for Mormons is where to draw the line between enforcing a written law and extending compassion. Since the Smoot Hearings, Reynolds v. United States and Utah Statehood, the culture of the church has tended to side with enforcement. I wonder what the justice/mercy/mediator equivalent is for immigration?

  118. 117 said ““The few” is the case with many issues. But with major controversial issues, such as abortion, immigration, capital punishment, etc. I find that few or the majority don’t understand fully the Church’s position on the topic de jour.”

    Agreed fully. But how does this relate to legislation related to any particular one of these topics? The ignorance existed prior to the legislation, and persists thereafter. “Better laws” passed by the state will not cure it; “better explanations” provided by the state will not alleviate it. It’s incumbent upon each member to learn the truth for themselves, and then to act in accordance with it. That so many fail to do so is a reflection on them individually, not on any particular piece of legislation or government policy.

    “The challenge for Mormons is where to draw the line between enforcing a written law and extending compassion.”

    As a general principle, again I agree. But again, how does this relate to home teaching, or giving rides to church, or participating in a service activity? Church members are not enforcers of any laws against each other in their roles as members of the Church, nor are any of the above activities related to such enforcement by those authorized to do so (e.g., police officers, etc).

  119. Fred Flowers says:

    The problem I think, is in the phraseology of the question. The Church does not in fact NOT accept ill gotten gain, as defined by you and me or the monkey in the tree.

    It does NOT accept SUFFICIENTLY ill gotten gain.

    SUFFICIENTLY is the operative word here.

    The World is much too evil to make distinctions that are too fine for practical purposes. Recently everyone was bailed out by the Government to Pay the Banks. This helped the banks, and it helped the homeowners. This bail out will be paid by future generations of Americans… if ever.

    The only person that is clean anymore in this economy is the homeless person getting cans out the dumpster. Of course this is who the members of Neighborhood Watch at your local ward call the cops on. And the Bishop is so nice to interview co-incidentally asking questions that get passed on to local cops that tend to incriminate.

    But he has no house, therefor no mortgage, and therefor he is not tainted by the ill gotten gain of taxpayers supporting the rich bankers, and the rich homeowners. Even the renters benefit by this Bailout scheme with temporarily lower rent while future generations will suffer with high taxation or hyper-inflation or both.

    So who is clean? No one that is who. That is what the United Order ensures, honesty before the Lord, but nobody in The LDS Church back in the day wanted it, so what can you do?

    Instead we call the cops on the new guy in the ward with the beard without even finding out his name. Turns out his name is Jesus Christ, and he is innocent. The only thing He is guilty of, is being more innocent then you can even comprehend.

    But that won’t stop you from calling the cops on him, or passing information from a confidential Bishops interview. The cops of course pass this confidential information to local street gangs.

    Even as you have done this to the least of these thy brethren you have done it unto me.

    People forget who’s side they are on. The side of the Government, or the side of the brother. When it comes to illegal aliens who are Mormons, I say Mi Casa you Casa.

    If they take my job, my livelihood, my house, my land, and my family I say this; that is my Job, to be like Jesus Christ, and to die a martyrs death. As far I am concerned it is the only way to check out of this realm of existence.

    So I don’t worry to much about the illegal aliens, I worry more about living the commandments and the infinite afterlife. You can worry about what you want to worry about.

    I say if someone is a brother they are a brother, and if they pay tithing you accept it. Because the whole economy is completely evil, and once you understand that, you won’t worry about accepting tithing Illegal Aliens.

    Choose the right and die a martyrs death poor and penniless… and with a clear conscious. Most Mormons won’t accept that concept, but there are few homeless Mormons who accept that.

    And how will God judge you, if you sell out the Homeless Mormon, or the Illegal Alien Mormon.

    This selling out often happens with smiling Mormon faces, while secretly people are making phone calls to the local Romans (the Cops) that goes something like this.

    “I saw a homeless man (or an Illegal Alien) in our ward… you might want to check him out… I’ll collect my 30 silver coins at the next Neighborhood Watch meeting.”

    Choose the right let the consequences follow. That may mean that you are a homeless person. There are plenty of Mormons who are going somewhere in the afterlife that they don’t expect to go.

    The spirit of Judas is alive and well in God’s true Church. The more LDS Judases I meet the more I know that the LDS Church is true.

  120. Cynthia L. says:

    Wow.

  121. I nominate Fred’s comment for comment of the year. Hallelujah, Fred, that thing’s a freaking masterpiece of crap.

  122. MCQ,
    Fred’s got nothing on Jason Wharton. People can still fight over second place, but the victory was claimed way back in January.

  123. Steve Evans says:

    Agreed, tough to top Jason Wharton.

  124. It’s crazy to think you can figure out how much you have contributed to your retirement accounts if you are like us. We have no clue. All our 401Ks have been rolled over into IRAs and Roth IRAs, plus contributions to Roth IRAs that have been transferred as well.
    No clue how much or our retirement savings are original contributions and we still have more than 20 years to go till retirement.
    So we are opting for paying on all distributions, not on contributions.

  125. now that was some good hell…

  126. Does anyone really think the economy could accept 200 to 300 million more people in the next year without dramatic changes?

    Any of you ever do simulations work? A completely open border is expected to result in an influx of a couple hundred million people within a year.

    Not that the current system is not a disaster, but …

  127. Stephen,

    can you share where you get those results from?

  128. #126: I don’t believe your numbers. Our borders are currently not that closed. If 300 million wanted in, 60 million could do it now.

  129. John Mansfield says:

    I don’t know about Stephen’s particular analysis, but consider this: There are 200 million Indonesians in the world. Almost a million of them live in Saudi Arabia under fairly opressive conditions. Only 82,000 live in the United States.

  130. John Mansfield says:

    Another datum: The World Bank estimates that 300 million people in China subsist on a dollar a day or less; that’s a purchasing power parity dollar, not a currency exchange rate dollar. This group of mostly rural people, as large as the entire population of the United States, faces restrictions impeding internal migration to China’s cities.

  131. If the world had truly open borders, I would leave. Not because of the people who would come in, but because of the people who I am currently stuck sharing a nation-state with (many are on this thread).

    Stephen, do you really think that the nations population would double in a year?

    It is all about supply and demand. Right now, with the American economy slumping, illegal immigration is already drastically down. Why must I be the one to explain markets to the capitalists?

  132. John Mansfield says:

    Chris H., you’re referring to the decline in illegal immigration, which only has so much connection with the changes open borders would produce. A lot of people seem to have this idea that open borders would be pretty much like the current set-up, just friendlier. They haven’t given any real thought to the changes that would come if airlines could ferry some sizable fraction of the world’s most impoverished billion across the Pacific and unload them without any hinderance.

  133. John,

    “They haven’t given any real thought…”

    I haven’t given a real thought to anything other than sex in years.

  134. by the way, adding 300 million more people into this country would like totally massively boost our economy! Talk about all the mouths to feed! Who makes money there? What about all that housing? Lots of money to be made there. Cars. Televisions. Cell phones. Clothing. I mean, wow! What a total stimulus to the economy an influx of 300 million people to this country would be!

  135. John Mansfield says:

    I looked back at an item from last year that caused me to realize how astonishingly low are the numbers of immigrants to the U.S. from some countries: “Percentages of countries’ native populations residing in US”

    Bangladesh is another nation that supplies a couple million laborers to Saudi Arabia, but only 135,000 Bangladeshis live in the U.S. Only 178,000 Nigerians. Only 132,000 Ethiopians. The Turks have Europe, but there must be considerably more than 94,000 who wish they lived in the United States.

  136. I also don’t know where Stephen got his numbers, but the Gallup poll I linked estimates that the US population would increase by 60% based on the answers to the following questions:

    Ideally, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move permanently to another country, or would you prefer to continue living in this country?

    (If “would like to move permanently to another country”) To which country would you like to move?

    That would be pretty close to his couple hundred million, though there is no mention of any particular time frame.

  137. The problem with any of these polls is that they are based on an understanding of the current state of affairs–standard of living, etc…

    If you open the borders entirely (like I prefer) then the desirability of the US as a destination relative to other places, based on available jobs, benefits, etc…will almost certainly shrink. While the population would certainly rise, and likely substantially, the idea that all 200 million (or however many you want) would find the US equally attractive after the borders open as they find it before they are open is silly.

  138. In other words, what I said up in #98. Virtually all of the comments about this topic in this thread have centered on a static view of the economy; but the economy simply isn’t static.

  139. Amen.

  140. This is the reason that, while I am in favor of open borders as an economist, I think the stronger argument is found in the moral treatment: none of us get to choose where we are born, and as such it’s a manifestation of “we’re blessed more than you-ism” to try and tell others that they should stay where they were born.

    Also, again–immigrants are only one source of population increase. The babyboomers may well destroy Social Security, but we all knew that was happening years and years ago, and yet we haven’t tried to kick them out of the country yet. Why not? Would we do that if 1/2 of the low-income citizens had a 10% increase in their birthrate and we started having another boom?

  141. John Mansfield says:

    Scott B., what you write about open borders reducing the quality of living in the United States to the point that a impoverished peasant finds no advantage in making the trip, and thereby limiting the amount of immigration, is valid. But could you explain how that is selling point for open borders? Perhaps we could prevail upon Canada to try it first for a decade and see it how it pans out.

  142. It’s a selling point to me because I favor labor markets which function at free market wages instead of those which exist in a restricted market.

    It’s also a selling point to me because I think it’s right. Try as I might, I just cannot picture Jesus standing at a border and telling the people attempting to cross to go away. I know that is a loaded picture, but it is just what I think.

  143. I wish that Jesus would stop messing with the “law economics.” Maybe he hates us and want us to become like Guatemala.

  144. Jesus don’t work for the border patrol, Scott.

  145. John Mansfield says:

    From my readings across LDS scripture, I can imagine it very easily. I am correct that your views on immigration are part of yearning for some sort of post-national existence?

  146. “From my readings across LDS scripture, I can imagine it very easily.”

    Of that, I have no doubt.

    “I am correct that your views on immigration are part of yearning for some sort of post-national existence?”

    I am pretty sure that does not apply to Scott or me (I think we have been through this before, Scott).

  147. #141: “Perhaps we could prevail upon Canada to try it first for a decade and see it how it pans out”. They did that during the VN War.
    There are other issues than open borders. citizenship to hold a job, unions coming back (no Chinese need to apply).

  148. From my readings across LDS scripture, I can imagine it very easily.

    John’s right. When Jesus descends from the heavens in Third Nephi 11, God intent in announcing His arrival was much more pragmatic than we often assume. His declaration that “Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him” was actually intended as a sort of ancient visa. Nibley did some research on this, and proved that such was common immigration procedure in not only ancient America, but also the ancient Near East.

  149. John Mansfield says:

    Chris H., I was under the impression that you don’t like nations, but I haven’t read your every word, whereever it is that you went through this before.

  150. John Mansfield says:

    Bob, if you’re trying to compare admitting tens of thousands of draft evaders with however millions of Indonesians, Chinese, Bangladeshis, Ethiopians, Nigerians, etc. would like to give Canada a shot given the opportunity, you’re off by two or three orders of magnitude.

  151. I just cannot picture Jesus standing at a border and telling the people attempting to cross to go away.

    Jesus don’t work for the border patrol.

    But, you have to admit that if he did he’d be the best darn border patrol agent this world has ever seen. I think he’d look pretty awesome with a mustache and aviator sunglasses too. Someone should commission Van Pelt to do a rendering.

  152. Kevin Barney says:

    Machete don’t text.

  153. Awesome, Kevin.

  154. John Mansfield says:

    OK, funny guys, here’s a parable we attribute to Jesus:

    Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    Matthew 21:8–13

    Here’s one expression of a familiar theme:

    And the righteous shall be gathered on my right hand unto eternal life; and the wicked on my left hand will I be ashamed to own before the Father; Wherefore I will say unto them—Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. And now, behold, I say unto you, never at any time have I declared from mine own mouth that they should return, for where I am they cannot come, for they have no power.

    Doctrine and Covenants 29:27–29

    So, imagining Jesus telling someone to get lost is very, very easy. As far as borders go, from casting Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden (and installing cherubim and a flaming sword to keep them out) to the post-resurrection existence in kingdoms, each with its law and “certain bounds and conditions,” and a dozen divine demarcations of people and place in between, they seem to have significance to Jesus.

  155. Now I get where you’re coming from, John. So to clarify, you favor arming border patrol agents with Cherubim and a flaming sword in order to keep out sinners from the United States?

  156. Return ye to the land southward!

  157. I’m not sure the parable of the wedding feast applies to immigration. It sounds more like a justification for the BYU dress code.

  158. Matsby . . . . . . . I’m speechless.

  159. John M.,

    I do reject a certain type of nationalism, but the the idea of the nation-state itself. I wrote about it here:

    http://www.faithpromotingrumor.com/2010/07/cosmopolitanism-an-alternative-to-patriotism/

  160. John thinks all immigrants are wicked, cursed, and should be burned in everlasting fire. Makes perfect sense to me.

  161. “…but the the NOT idea of the nation-state itself.”

  162. John Mansfield says:

    Chris, thanks for the link and for writing up your thoughts.

  163. Unpublishable conference papers need to go somewhere.

  164. John Mansfield,
    The verses you cite seem to me to be largely incomparable to the question at hand, because in each of them there is the implication that some form of wrongdoing took place _which could have been prevented simply through effort_.

    In the first case (btw, you’ve got the wrong citation–it’s Matthew 22), the general idea is that those who are cast off should have prepared differently–that the man should have worn his garment, but didn’t for reasons the text doesn’t get into. (Ironically, the retelling of this parable in Luke 14 makes it clear that the king explicitly sent out to extend invitations to the feast to the poor and needy…)

    In the second case, we’re dealing with an explicit case of judgment based on sin. Unless you’re suggesting that being born in Mexico is based on sinful behavior, and is eternal in nature, then I don’t really see the connection.

  165. John Mansfield says:

    Scott B., I agree with your analysis of those passages. I quoted them only to illustrate that I can easily picture Jesus telling someone, me perhaps, to get lost, and not with a kind, loving pat on the head either. I also think denying someone entrance into some particular nation is an absurdly light thing compared with sending someone off into everlasting fire. (Remember, I’m not the one who brought up the plausibility of Jesus telling people to go away.)

  166. I also think denying someone entrance into some particular nation is an absurdly light thing compared with sending someone off into everlasting fire.

    Um, you’re LDS, right?

  167. John Mansfield — you’ve hit some excellent sources. Thanks.

    Daniel — so, assume 200 million additional unemployed homeless people with no money. I’m not exactly certain how you expect that they would purchase anything.

    Scott B. — do you favor any restrictions on people who cross borders? Or should they have equal access to voting and all social services? Service on juries? I deal with the implications of that from time to time.

    I’m not saying that there is not a drastic need for reform. I can’t see how anyone can read the truth (cf this link, the latest in a series on the topic: http://www.dallasobserver.com/2010-09-09/news/juarez-s-children-drugs-death-and-fear/ ) and not feel an overwhelming need to work out change.

    I just think that the issues are more nuanced and complex than many people are willing to accept. I may have left economics for the law, but just because I left simple models for complex ones does not mean that things are not complex.

  168. (Remember, I’m not the one who brought up the plausibility of Jesus telling people to go away.)

    I didn’t bring up the plausibility of Jesus telling people to go away generally–or certainly didn’t intend to! What I said was, “I just cannot picture Jesus standing at a border and telling the people attempting to cross to go away.”

    I thought that the context was fairly clear–we’re talking about walking from one geographic region to another, not entering the Kingdom of Heaven or the temple, etc…I apologize if I wasn’t clear about that.

    As to your other earlier question about my preference for nation-states or not–I think nation-states are fine, and that there are great cultural and economic and political efficiencies to be had from such ordering. I just don’t think that restricting who can live there and who can’t on the basis of unsigned contracts magically produced via birth is very cool.

  169. Scott B. — do you favor any restrictions on people who cross borders? Or should they have equal access to voting and all social services? Service on juries? I deal with the implications of that from time to time.

    Good question, Stephen. In general, I think that there should be no restrictions on entering, but that there should be a set of time-based restrictions on certain services, privileges, etc…

    For example, I think that residence for say, 6 months or a year, should be required before voting so as to impair the ability of buttheads seeking to manipulate elections in more ways that they already do. Similarly, to the extent that a hypothetical geographic region offers healthcare, retirement, or other social benefits, then I think that a time-based residency requirement is likely appropriate to prevent people from abusing regions with superior benefits more than that those regions are currently abused.

    Serving on jury…I think courts should be privatized, so…meh.

  170. Stephen,

    The hypothetical is of course ludicrous because simply put, 200 million people will not suddenly appear out of nowhere and break our system by their very presence. You’re assuming once again a very static environment that is just not realistic.

    However, let’s assume that immigrants start pouring into the country, and they have no money with them. What could they possibly do? What would YOU do, Stephen? What have previous immigrants to this country done? What do current immigrants do? They find work. They stay close with their own kind, forming a collective community that takes care of its own (think Irish, Italian and Jews in New York over the centuries).

    Frankly I see a multitude of business opportunities with an influx of more people into this country.

  171. I just think that the issues are more nuanced and complex than many people are willing to accept. I may have left economics for the law, but just because I left simple models for complex ones does not mean that things are not complex.

    Absolutely–these issues are complex for most people. Fortunately for me, I have pretty extreme views on this subject, so I get to say impractical things and not feel bad when people disagree with me.

  172. John Mansfield says:

    Brad, I’m LDS, and like you, I suppose, I’ve read the Doctrine and Covenants a few times.

  173. I also think denying someone entrance into some particular nation is an absurdly light thing compared with sending someone off into everlasting fire.

    I also agree, unless that denial of entrance results in the perpetuation of poverty for generations, and is done in the name of protecting ourselves from competition for the excessive wealth we have accumulated and become lazy over, and results in racial or cultural dislike, etc…

  174. For example, I think that residence for say, 6 months or a year, should be required before voting so as to impair the ability of buttheads seeking to manipulate elections in more ways that they already do. — so, do you support a right of return to Israel? Should anyone who moves there be given the vote in six months?

    Privatized courts? How hard do you feel it should be to opt out? Or should all justice be privatized? I’ve already seen a lot of abuse of that with arbitration.

    Daniel The hypothetical is of course ludicrous because simply put, 200 million people will not suddenly appear out of nowhere — of course not, there are many specific places they could come from, not out of nowhere. You really ought to study some of the great human migrations of the past and the impacts they had.

    Be serious rather than just mocking or dismissive and run through the numbers. Look at the economic conditions in areas that have had folk migrations. Remember that Haiti is only half the island and look at some aerial shots of it and ask yourself what would happen to the other half if they relaxed the border there.

  175. Stephen,

    I’m sorry if my comment came across as mocking. I do, however, stand by my belief that it is ludicrous to think 200-300 million people will suddenly migrate to the United States within one year.

    1. The only scenario I can see that under is if the United States is the only place in the world that is not hit with a nuclear bomb, and the rest of the world faces nuclear holocaust.

    2. Under normal circumstances, there just aren’t 200 million people in a close proximity who ALL want to come to the United States.

    3. Competitive regions, nations, and cities, will keep enough people happy enough that they won’t desire going through the whole effort of moving to America under conditions where they have nothing. Even if those regions, nations and cities’s competitive edge is still not a match to America’s. A family’s calculation of the costs vs gains of staying or moving tends to keep them in the same place because the cost of the moving has a higher barrier to overcome when a family experiences enough contentment with their current location.

    4. I’m curious which human migrations you are considering. I think of, maybe, the Migration Period, which occurred between 300AD to 700AD. That’s four hundred years of migration! Compare the migration of those four hundred years to, say, the first four hundred years of America’s existence, and surely you would agree far more people migrated to America during these four hundred years than Huns or Goths or Vandals migrated during those previous four hundred years. And yet, our system seemed to handle such a large influx over four hundred years just fine. Is there another migration period from history you are thinking about?

    5. On Haiti, yeah, if the Dominican Republic were to open their doors, they would be overwhelmed. However, given the stronger political and economic dynamic in the DR, I’m going to take a guess that Haitians as well as Dominicans would eventually be better off because a human being stimulates the economy by simply existing.

  176. Scott you have a hard time imagining Jesus standing at a border and turning people away but you don’t have a hard time seeing Jesus standing at a welfare office and turning people away if they’ve only been there 6 days instead of 6 months?

    As usual, these kind of arguments aren’t about the principle but about the lines we want to draw around the principle. The Arizona Minuteman and you both admit that some kind of restriction is needed you just differ over where to make it.

  177. They are absolutely questions of principle! The principles the Scott would use are very different than those used by the Minutemen. You totally misread the entire thread.

  178. KLC,

    Scott you have a hard time imagining Jesus standing at a border and turning people away but you don’t have a hard time seeing Jesus standing at a welfare office and turning people away if they’ve only been there 6 days instead of 6 months?

    If you don’t see the difference between a permanent restriction and a temporary restriction to ensure due process, then I don’t see much point in discussing anything with you.

    Also, the Arizona Minutemen would be offended if they knew you said we were similar in any way.

  179. I just saw this in comment #169:

    “I think courts should be privatized”

    Wait — what?!

  180. Yeah, I’m crazy like that.

  181. Chris I never said there weren’t principles involved, you’ve totally misread my entire reply to the OP. The principle is should we restrict people who want to enter a country?

    The minuteman says yes we should restrict them, and he wants to do that at the border by armed presence. More moderate folks might say yes we should restrict them but do it at the border by legal constraint. Scott believes he is on the other side of that principle when he advocates an open border and then he wraps himself in Jesus’ cloak to prove that he’s right. But when questioned about the practical consequences of an open border he admits that “certain restrictions may apply”, in other words he is also on the same side of this principle but he has drawn his lines in a different place.

    Scott, I would reply to your 178 but apparently there is no point in discussing anything with you, you are right and I am wrong and Jesus is on your side. What more is there to say?

  182. Scott, I would reply to your 178 but apparently there is no point in discussing anything with you, you are right and I am wrong and Jesus is on your side. What more is there to say?

    Yeah, that’s pretty much not what I said at all. I said that if you insist on making apples-to-oranges comparisons, then I don’t want to play. If you want to make apples-to-apples comparisons, I’m game.

  183. But when questioned about the practical consequences of an open border he admits that “certain restrictions may apply”, in other words he is also on the same side of this principle but he has drawn his lines in a different place.

    And the restrictions I listed are all temporary in nature. That is the key point here, KLC. Given your complaint at Chris H for “totally misread[ing]” your own comment, please do try and not totally misread (or misrepresent) my comments, okay?

  184. Also, Chris H, don’t misread any more of KLC’s comments. It’ll make me look bad, and if you make me look bad, I’ll ban you.

  185. Scott, I believe Chris in 177 was the first to accuse someone of being a total misreader so all digs disguised as clever comments you make about misreading should be about him, not me. It’s a small point but Chris’ retirement from the bloggernacle has made him pretty grumpy, I wouldn’t want to add to that.

    I know that your distinction about temporary and permanent restrictions are apples and oranges to you but I can’t agree. Our current borders are not permanently closed, are they? Anyone seeking admission to the country must go through a finite process to gain admission, but that process allows hundreds of thousands of people to enter every year. So the current system is also temporary and the argument for open borders is one of degree and not one of principle. I’m not arguing whether that process is good or bad or whether it needs improvement. I’m only arguing that your emphasis on temporary and permanent is once again one of degree and not one of principle.

  186. Our current borders are not permanently closed, are they? Anyone seeking admission to the country must go through a finite process to gain admission, but that process allows hundreds of thousands of people to enter every year. So the current system is also temporary and the argument for open borders is one of degree and not one of principle.

    KLC,
    That is a very ignorant description and logically flawed conclusion about US immigration policy. The fact that some people are allowed in each year does not make the barriers temporary in any way, shape, or form for the vast majority of people who would like to enter. The fact is, outside of marriage, only those applicants with financial sponsors AFTER drawing a winning lottery ticket are allowed in. There is no guarantee of _ever_ winning the green card lottery (just ask the millions of people who keep trying), and the more important thing is that there is nothing they can personally do to influence that. Moreover, even once the hypothetical winning lottery ticket is drawn, you still have to secure sponsors and financial backers, which is an extremely difficult thing to do for anyone except…rich people and people with prior connections in a country.

    You seriously think that this is the same “principle” as a requirement which says, “ALL ARE WELCOME–180 WAITING PERIOD BEFORE YOU CAN VOTE.”

    Sorry, you’re wrong.

  187. All this talk about immigration policy just makes me think… ahh, the bloggernacle is a harsh mistress. Thanks Professor Bosworth de la Scott! Now back to work for some ill-gotten gains. TANSTAAFL.

  188. “….and if you make me look bad, I’ll ban you.”

    I seem to have been flirting being banned this morning. hehe

  189. Scott, you’re right there is a huge difference between ALL ARE WELCOME and GET IN LINE WITH EVERYBODY ELSE. But just because two things are vastly different in degree doesn’t mean that can’t be the same in kind.

    I think there are only three broad approaches to the immigration debate: completely closed borders like North Korea, completely open borders like, like… and the big muddy middle of controlled access in between those two. Everyone in that middle, including you by your own admission, believe in some kind of restrictions, temporary or permanent, big or small, to reign in the anarchy of total openness.

    You may think that is a meaningless distinction but I don’t. If we start with the common ground of co-citizens grappling with where to draw lines around the same ideal maybe we can actually accomplish changes in public policy that will benefit the people who live here as well as the people who want to live here. Instead we usually see the same tired script that has played out in this thread where assumptions of common principles are replaced by baseless claims of moral superiority.

    Once you bring Jesus onto your side, whether you’re Glenn B. or Scott B. you’ve destroyed any hope of real change.

  190. Once you bring Jesus onto your side, whether you’re Glenn B. or Scott B. you’ve destroyed any hope of real change.

    Well, I know that if there’s someone I don’t want on my side, its that Jesus fellow.

  191. Also KLC, you could say that shooting someone with a super-soaker is the same in kind, but different in degree with shooting them with a Barret .50 caliber. Technically (in a really twisted way) you’d be right, but it’d still be a pointless thing to say since the degree is so vastly different.

    Not saying I agree with Scott about the open borders idea . . . but the point you’re trying to make is moot.

  192. KLC,

    The game here is not

    “ALL ARE WELCOME” vs “GET IN LINE WITH EVERYBODY ELSE”

    Rather, it is
    “ALL CAN ENTER IMMEDIATELY AND VOTE IN SIX MONTHS” vs. “GET IN A LINE THAT QUITE POSSIBLY WILL NEVER END, AND EVEN IF IT DOES FOR YOU, YOU WILL NEVER VOTE”

    You keep saying that I’m in the middle, but I’m not! I say let every single person come into the country the instant they ask. PLEASE stop saying “by your own admission” or variants on that, because you’re getting it wrong! Entrance is immediate for everyone; citizenship is guaranteed after the papers are filed. That’s it. Don’t mix restrictions on immigration (the topic here) with the restrictions on citizenship I suggested (not the topic here).

  193. I stand by what I said B. Russ. Jesus doesn’t belong in public policy, the principles he taught and the morals he espoused most certainly do but saying that you can’t imagine Jesus disagreeing with your view can only demonize those who don’t agree with you and polarize the discussion into pointlessness.

  194. You might stand by what you were trying to say. But you should re-read your comment, you said it wrong.

    What you said:
    Once you bring Jesus onto your side, [. . .] you’ve destroyed any hope of real change.

    What you meant:
    Once you create a caricature of Jesus and attempt to mold his teachings to your ideological viewpoints, you’ve ended the ability to discuss a topic.

    I would add, comparing your opponent in a debate to any highly-scrutinized public figure, whether it be Hitler or Glenn Beck, in an attempt to mock them “destroy[s] any hope of real change.”

  195. B. Russ, I was talking about public policy debates in that comment, both here in this thread and in more general arenas, so yes I left it unsaid but it wasn’t wrong. But if it makes you happy, “Once you bring Jesus onto your side in discussions of public policy you’ve…”

    And my reference to Beck was in no way meant to mock Scott (and nice way to introduce your own Hitler reference disguised as commentary into the discussion) but to illustrate that both sides of the aisle are guilty of this kind of holier-than-thou posturing.

  196. It might not have been your intent to mock Scott, but you did in fact compare him to Glenn Beck. Comparing someone to a villified public figure is pretty much the same as equating your arguement to Doctrine (or ascribing your idea to WWJD). They both “demonize those who don’t agree with you”
    If you want to walk the higher road of discourse, thats fine, but you can’t accuse Scott of Jesus-fying his position, and at the same time demonize it.

  197. Comparing tactics is not the same as equating people B. Russ, sorry I confused you.

  198. Comparing tactics is not the same as equating people B. Russ, sorry I confused you.

    Oh come now, KLC, isn’t it just a question of degree?

    (p.s. get your last shots in now, kids. I’m shutting it down when we hit 200)

  199. Scott,

    This back and forth with KLC (and others like it) is why I have decided that civility has limits.

    Stupid is as stupid does.

  200. 200

  201. No friggin’ way I’m ending with Daniel.

  202. why not?

  203. Because you tick me off whenever someone talks about Atlas Shrugged.

  204. It’s totally awesome! My favorite book, actually!

  205. I know! Great book! I’m glad you’ve had a change of heart!

  206. I’d like to thank everyone for their thoughtful contributions, but I’m going to have to close comments now. It’s time for Obama to step down.

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