What are our goals regarding immigration laws?

I went to a OneJax community supper.  One Jax sends out an invitation to the community. The limit is 12 people per table.   Controversial topic questions are suggested.  One of the topic questions was immigration. 

BUT after the dinner,  I walked away with more questions than answers.  Here are some of my questions:

 
1. Is the US overpopulated? If no, then why are we limiting immigration? If yes, then what are the arguments for allowing any immigration? OR to ask the question another way, what are our goals regarding immigration laws?
2. Is the world overpopulated? If yes, do we have an ethical (or perhaps even a selfish) obligation to help reduce world wide overpopulation?
3. Is the US in need of more workers?
4. Are guest worker visas unethical? In other words is restricting a visa to one employer thereby NOT allowing someone to negotiate for better wages unethical?
5. Do the religious clauses of the First Amendment have value?
6. What are the ramifications (pro and con) to birth right citizenship of the 14th amendment? If I correctly understood, someone at our community supper made the claim that the 14th amendment should not automatically grant citizenship to people born in this country and we should work to limit birthright citizenship even more than we do now.
7. Do we have an ethical obligation to help people in other countries? Have our trade, war and/or drug policies harmed people in other countries? If yes, what are our ethical obligations to right that wrong?
8. Do some immigrants (legal and illegal) come here primarily to get on welfare? If I correctly understood, someone at our community supper made the claim that they do and he wanted that kind of immigration stopped.

9. What does assimilation mean? If I correctly understood, someone at our community supper made the claim that immigrants previously made more of an effort to assimilate into our society. I was confused as to what exactly he was advocating for. And I wondered if his view was that diversity isn’t always good. IF someone wants immigrants to be better assimilated into our society, exactly what do they mean? And if assimilation is good thing, what kind of taxpayer funded education opportunities (if any) should be offered?

These articles address the comments made about birthright citizenship at the community supper

Quotes from this  LINK:

Like any other traveler to the U.S., pregnant women must also fill out an ESTA application form prior to arriving in the country. However, women who are intent on giving birth in the U.S. with a tourist visa often also misrepresent or directly lie about the advanced state of their pregnancy in order to connect with groups that help women take advantage of American citizenship laws.  Birth tourism and traveling to the U.S. specifically to give birth are considered technically illegal in the United States. In fact, in March 2015, authorities in California raided a series of “maternity centers” that helped wealthy, pregnant Chinese women travel to the United States to give birth to their children in the hopes of gaining American citizenship. The women reportedly paid $50,000 for travel and lodging in the United States while they waited to have their children.  While there are no set penalties for women who participate in birth tourism, the U.S. is reportedly considering placing limitations on its unconditional birth citizenship. Moreover, if a woman is caught intending to participate in birth tourism, this can lead to other consequences, including being barred for life from the United States.

Quote from this LINK:

Citizenship birthright remains available to any person born on US soil, regardless of the circumstances of his or her birth. A number of attempts have been made, particularly in the last 20 years, to reform this situation. However, these reforms have remained unsuccessful. Most opposition points out that laws eliminating this practice will most likely harm the child more than the parents, making it an unpopular law to try to pass.

The so-called “anchor baby” does not guarantee immediate citizenship for the parents or ensure continued residency in the US for the child. In most instances, while the child will have US citizenship, the child would not be able to live alone in the US until reaching the age of majority. Thus, in most cases, the parent(s) and child are returned to their country of origin, and the child has the right to return to the US as a citizen after turning 18 (or can visit anytime before that).

American emergency care laws say that hospitals cannot turn people away, regardless of nationality or ability to pay.

Quote from this LINK

Ekaterina was one of dozens of Russian birth tourists NBC News spoke to over the past four months about a round-trip journey that costs tens of thousands of dollars and takes them away from home for weeks or months. … Why do they come? … “And the doctors, the level of education,” Kuznetsova added. …. Condo buildings that bear the Trump name are the most popular for the out-of-town obstetric patients,

As president, Donald Trump has indicated he is opposed to so-called chain migration, which gives U.S. citizens the right to sponsor relatives. [Yet Trump’s wife Melania sponsored her parents to come here:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/09/nyregion/melania-trumps-parents-become-us-citizens.html]   …. Reshetova came to Miami to have her first child, hiring an agency to help arrange her trip. The services — which can include finding apartments and doctors and obtaining visas — don’t come cheap. She expects to pay close to $50,000, and some packages run as high as $100,000. … There is no official data on birth tourism in the United States. The Center for Immigration Studies, which wants stricter limits on immigration, estimates there are 36,000 babies born in the U.S. to foreign nationals a year, though the numbers could be substantially lower.

This article addresses the comment made about illegal and legal immigrants coming here in order to get welfare benefits.

Quote from this LINK

One of the most effective ploys by those attempting to vilify undocumented immigrants is to assert that those immigrants are stealing benefits from Americans. Donald Trump has deployed this falsehood on multiple occasions both in his speeches and on Twitter long before becoming president. It’s an insinuation quite divorced from reality.   …  Bill Clinton signed a bill over 20 years earlier in 1996: The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, or “IIRIRA.” Congress legislated that not only would undocumented immigrants not receive welfare, but legal immigrants wouldn’t get benefits such as food stamps, Medicaid or money for child assistance until they’ve lived here at least five years and even seven years after their arrival.  …  According to a 2010 report by the American Immigration Council, undocumented immigrants pay as much as $90 billion in taxes but receive just $5 billion in benefits. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) estimated that in 2010 undocumented immigrants paid as much as $10.6 billion in state and local taxes alone.  …  In fact, given IRS estimates that some 50-75 percent of undocumented immigrants pay taxes, we could actually reduce deficits by providing those immigrants a path to legal immigration and enabling them all to pay taxes. That’s right. By ensuring so many undocumented immigrants stay in the shadows, we significantly reduce the amount of available taxable income.

This article addresses the comment that immigrants previously made more of an effort to assimilate into our society.

Quote from this LINK

I will argue here that when Americans say they want immigrants to assimilate, they may think they know what they want, but in fact they don’t understand the concept or its place in our history.  Indeed, if Americans better understood the process of assimilation, they might well ask for something else.  ….  What I propose is to scrutinize what is typically understood by the term assimilation and then contrast it with a more adequate conceptualization of the process. …  Assimilation has several different dimensions—economic, social, cultural, and political.  [The following is a controversial assertion, eh?]  Based on her study of 77 immigrant-impacted American cities from 1877 to 1914, Olzak rejects the conventional view that intergroup conflict is caused by segregation. Instead, she argues that intergroup competition and conflict resulted from occupational desegregation. In other words, tensions are caused not by the isolation of ethnic groups but by the weakening of boundaries and barriers between groups. … Once again, we are reminded that assimilation is a multidimensional process in which gains along one dimension may not be neatly paralleled by progress along others. …  Catholic schools originally established in the nineteenth century by churchmen eager to thwart the assimilation of Catholics.  … we need to get beyond the romance of immigration enthusiasts as well as the melodrama of immigration alarmists. We need to introduce a sense of realism about how we think about these issues  ….  Do we honestly believe that disenfranchised immigrants can be introduced into a dynamic, competitive social and political system without their interests being put at risk?  Our immigration policy is arguably a social experiment with enormous potential benefits, but also enormous risks.

Some of my other thoughts on immigration

Before we make e-verify a requirement, we need to work out the kinks. If we do mandatory e-verify then it needs to be coupled with a path to get people documented. In response to this part of this ARTICLE :

Recently, the Western Growers Association and California Farm Bureau Federation, among others, blocked a bill that would have made E-Verify mandatory, despite several pro-business concessions. As a result, workers from economies devastated by U.S. agriculture will continue to be invited in with the promise of work in order to be cheaply and illegally exploited. Lacking full legal rights, these noncitizens will be impossible to unionize and will be kept in constant fear of being arrested and criminalized.

I really HATE the guest worker visas that tie a worker to one company. If we need immigrants, then the work visa should be renewable and transferable and offer a clear path to citizenship.  Quote from this ARTICLE:

The urgency around that shortage was clear at a congressional hearing last week when senators pressed Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on additional visas for seasonal foreign workers.
A few quotes from this ARTICLE:
When we talk about enforcing immigration laws, it’s important to be quite specific about what we mean.  Sometimes, this immigration enforcement is explicitly violent, like when Border Patrol officials unleash teargas (a chemical weapon banned in warfare) on toddlers, when they rip children from their mothers’ arms, when they kick women huddled on the concrete floors of border cells and scream at them that they are animals. Other times it’s something humdrum and largely invisible: the border guard who calmly tells an asylum seeker at a port of entry that there is “no more room” in the U.S., the judge who silently decides that the terrified person in front of them hasn’t done quite enough to deserve a favorable exercise of discretion, the police officer who has a funny habit of always stopping cars with Hispanic-looking drivers, the countless bureaucrats who review immigration applications and deny them without explanation. All of these acts, from the monstrous to the mundane, have real-world effects on individual people.
Quote from this ARTICLE:
George Washington embraced a vision for an open America that could almost be read today as a form of deep idealism or altruism. “America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions,” he told newly arrived Irishmen in 1783. He assured them they’d be “welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.”

What does “promote the general welfare” mean?

Here is the preamble to our Constitution:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Quoting Warren and Brandeis from this LINK:

Later, there came a recognition of man’s spiritual nature, of his feelings and his intellect. Gradually the scope of these legal rights broadened  …..the right to enjoy life, — the right to be let alone; the right to liberty secures the exercise of extensive civil privileges  ….

Quote from this LINK

In United States v. Butler,  Justice Roberts wrote for the Court: “Since the foundation of the Nation sharp differences of opinion have persisted as to the true interpretation of the phrase.   ….   Hamilton  maintained the clause confers a power …..  the power of Congress to authorize expenditure of public moneys for public purposes is not limited by the direct grants of legislative power found in the  Constitution.” Appropriations for subsidies and for an ever-increasing variety of “internal improvements” constructed by the Federal Government, had their beginnings in the administrations of Washington and Jefferson.

In United States v. Gettysburg Electric Ry., the Court invoked “the great power of taxation to be exercised for the common defence and general welfare” to sustain the right of the Federal Government to acquire land within a state for use as a national park.

I don’t understand why Congress can’t pass a law making female genital mutilation illegal. What do you think?  Quote from the New York Times article at this LINK :

“As laudable as the prohibition of a particular type of abuse of girls may be,” the judge wrote, prosecutors failed to show that the federal government had the authority to bring the charges, and he noted that regulating practices like this is essentially a state responsibility.  ….. Judge Bernard Friedman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ruled that Congress did not have the authority to pass the law  ….  Shelby Quast said her group, Equality Now, is urging federal prosecutors to appeal the decision. “We are confident that Congress had the authority to pass this FGM law,” she said.

Are the charter schools reporting on their techniques that they hypothesize are working?

Any chance you could help me decipher this?  The enrollment dropped from 330 to 296 from the 2014-2015 to the 2015-2016 school year for this charter school (see links below).  How can I tell where those students went?  Did they move out of the district?  Did they go back to the neighborhood school?  If they transferred, did the money stay with the charter school?

This is just one example.  I know it would be anecdotal BUT what was the cause of the school performance grade increasing from a D to a B?  Was it merely kicking out the poor performing students or is the school using techniques that the neighborhood school could adopt?

 
That above link says that this school had 296 students as of October and rec’d a
2016-17 School Performance Grade: B  

http://doeweb-prd.doe.state.fl.us/eds/nclbspar/year1516/nclb1516.cfm?dist_schl=16_1131#ayp
That above link says that this school had 296 students as of October and rec’d a
2015-16 School Performance Grade: B
That above link says that the same school had 330 as of that October and rec’d a
2014-15 School Performance Grade: D
Originally I thought the idea of charter schools was to experiment with various teaching techniques.  IF a innovative technique proved valuable, then could it be incorporated into the neighborhood schools?  Are the charter schools reporting on their techniques that they hypothesize are working?  IS the technique merely to kick out the poor performing kids?

Do Charter Schools have value to the school district?

https://www.jacksonville.com/opinion/20180930/guest-column-wayman-academy-proves-value-of-charter-schools  
I am bothered that the guest columnist (see link above) doesn’t offer substantiation for the claims. Excerpts from above link which is a guest column by Simaran Bakshi — principal of Wayman Academy of the Arts:

[Where is the link to substantiate this claim?]  A comprehensive report from the Florida Department of Education found that charters produce better outcomes for students and are more successful at narrowing achievement gaps for minority students.

[Why didn’t she stay in the school system and help all the neighborhood schools?]After turning around a failing district-run elementary school, I moved to Wayman Academy. At a public charter school, I have more power to improve outcomes for families and engage teachers.

[What strict system does she mean? ] I am proud that we have a strict system that holds charter schools accountable for their performance and finances.

The guest column by Simaran was in response to this article:
https://www.jacksonville.com/news/20180917/report-questions-charter-school-system-proposes-changes
Quotes  from that Sept 17 2018 article:

A government watchdog group called Florida’s growing system of privately-run public charter schools wasteful and said it sometimes gives rise to self-dealing and profiteering.

“Some public officials who decide education policy and their families are profiting personally from ownership and employment with the charter school industry, creating the appearance of a conflict of interest,” the study says. “Lax regulation of charter schools has created opportunities for financial mismanagement and criminal corruption. … Inasmuch as charter schools can be an inefficient and wasteful option for ‘school choice,’ the legislature should evaluate the appropriate amount of funding the state can afford to offer in educational choices to parents and students.”

Why is this? What is the attraction? Would the money be better spent by improving the neighborhood school? Another quote from article:

Statewide about 10 percent, or about 296,000 students of Florida’s 2.8 million children, attend 650 charter schools.

When for-profit charters close, the public money spent on lease payments and building improvements is lost, because the school district doesn’t own their buildings, the study said.  Florida charter schools received $346 million in capital outlay funds alone in 2016-17, surpassing what traditional schools received some years, the study said. That doesn’t include the hundreds of millions more charter schools receive for operations and management.

Since its start in 1998, the charter school industry has spent more than $13 million to influence state education policy in Florida through contributions to political campaigns, the study said. Since 2007, the industry spent another $8 million on legislative lobbying.

Link to another article about the Integrity Florida report:
http://lwveducation.com/integrity-florida-nails-the-for-profit-charter-industry/

A quote from this article https://www.jacksonville.com/nationworld/20181114/former-duval-charter-school-operator-gets-20-years-for-fraud :

May’s company, Newpoint Education Partners, operated charter schools in Escambia, Bay, Broward, Duval, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. In Duval, that includes San Jose Academy and San Jose Preparatory High on Sunbeam Road.  Marcus May was sentenced to pay a $5 million fine for using charter schools to steer millions of dollars into his personal accounts.  May was also sentenced to 20 years in prison.

 

Links to two more articles about the Amendments that are on the Florida ballot

This is a link to Florida Tax Watch’s Voter Guide:

https://floridataxwatch.org/Research/Full-Library/ArtMID/34407/ArticleID/17819/2018-Voter-Guide

I am glad that they recommend YES on # 4 and # 11.

They recommend a yes on #2. I have run into a few people with rental property that want us to vote yes on #2. The LWV thinks this is better done via legislation so the LWV recommends a no on #2.

I agree with the Florida Tax Watch on their explanation for a no on #3. I voted no on #3. Quote from the Florida Tax Watch link:

Gambling has always been a contentious issue in Florida, as evidenced by the Legislature not being able to pass a gambling bill for several sessions. While the amendment would likely rule out casinos for the near future, public sentiment could change. And while the amendment would make the citizens’ initiative the exclusive method to bring casino gambling to the ballot, it must be remembered that the initiative process is the least transparent method to publicly vet proposed constitutional amendments. It is easy to envision a well-funded, pro-casino group getting enough signatures to bring a casino proposal to the ballot. This would still allow the special interests supporters want to keep out of the process to craft a proposal, but there would be no input or deliberation by the Legislature.

I agree with their explanation of what a NO vote would mean BUT I wish they had suggested a yes on #9. Quote from article:

A NO VOTE on #9 MEANS
Piece 1: There would be no constitutional safeguard against offshore drilling for oil and natural gas on lands beneath all state waters. Any legislative prohibition could easily be lifted.
Piece 2: Floridians will continue to be subjected to second-hand vapor when they attend movies or restaurants and other public places.

It seems nefarious to me that they are recommending a yes on #10. Why can’t a county decide if they want these positions elected or appointed? The voters in the county should decide. Vote NO on #10. Quote from article:

Eight charter counties (Brevard, Broward, Clay, Duval, Miami-Dade, Orange, Osceola, and Volusia) have changed the manner of selection of at least one of the five constitutional officers or restructured or abolished at least one of the five constitutional offices and transferred their duties to another county office. The ballot measure, if approved, would require these eight charter counties to amend their charters to: (1) reflect that sheriff, tax collector, property appraiser,
supervisor of elections, and clerk of circuit court be elected by the voters of that county,

Here is a link to another comprehensive description of the amendments:

https://ballot.votesaveamerica.com/v/measures/878

I don’t disagree with their description of #11 but I wish they had made a stronger statement on why you need to vote YES on #11 like this article does:
I find the link’s explanation of amendment 6 inadequate. Here is a better explanation on why you need to vote NO on 6.  Around minute 45, they tell you why to vote no on #6:

I voted yes on 4,9,11,12 and 13.  I voted no on the rest.  IF you’re still on the fence, please let me try to convince you that I’m right.

Please repeal 776.032

I do hope that in the November 2018 election, Florida will turn the GOP controlled Florida Congress blue.   And I hope the new blue Florida Congress will make it a priority to overturn this law that was passed in 2017.

Here is the link to the bill that we want the new blue Florida Congress to repeal: 
 
When this law passed, defendants no longer had to present evidence to prove their claim of self-defense. That’s insane, isn’t it? This bill needs to be overturned.  This is a 2017 article before the law passed and was signed into law by Rick Scott:
 
You can check and see who voted yes on this awful bill at this link:
 
Quotes from this article:
The 2017 version of the “stand your ground” law shifts the burden of proof to the prosecution after the defendant has made a prima facie claim of justified use of force, and it requires that the state (prosecutors) meet this burden of proof with clear and convincing evidence,”