Tea Party Core Contradicts

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As you may be aware, I have had contact with the Tea Party in my hometown of East Setauket. Suffice it to say, they were not, on the whole, pleasant people interested in robust debate. Today, I found a blogger who appears to be Suffolk County based. It is titled “Suffolk County Liberty Report” and has has one image on the website that stirred up the memories of my counter-protesting of the tea party: The above image is the same one that was worn by many of the people I counter-protested. Therefore, I believe it reasonable conclude that the hate-spewing people I met that day were part of the Suffolk County Tea Party. Which brings me to the point of this article: contradiction of one of ,if not the central, foundations of the Tea Party: high government spending. Important to note is that, according to the variety of tea party websites throughout the web, the issue of immigration seems to be either focused on heavily or simply nonexistent.

But if you look deep enough, there is always a link somewhere. For example, the “Suffolk County Liberty Report” has one archived document on immigration, which happens to be a Washington Post editorial arguing for reinterpretation of the 14th amendment so that there are is no more “birthright citizenship”.(as a side note, the proof that the author of that article used was a far-right, unofficial law review article. For example, if an attorney or law student went looking for it to support a brief or article, they would not find it on the main law research databases of Lexisnexis or Westlaw) If there is one thing that is clear about the Tea Party it is this: they are for less government spending and thus hopefully lower taxes. However, their stance on immigration, which for the most part can be described as increased enforcement(i.e. as much deportations as possible and then the hope for attrition), is quite possibly a direct contradiction to its low-government spending ideals.

As a preface to the following, please do not insert what the cost of “illegal immigration” is to the U.S. taxpayers.  I have found the studies to be highly inconsistent, depending on who is conducting it. If anything, I believe the study that states that the aggregate economic impact of “illegal immigration” is neutral. i.e. costs of hospital stays v. money put into economy by their labor.

In 2009, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s budget (ICE) was close to $6 billion, with only $300 million of that being supplied by user fees. In other words, ICE cost taxpayers around $5.7 billion in 2009.

In 2008, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services'(USCIS) budget request was $2.6 billion. Approximately $2.54 billion of the budget was to be funded through user fees. In other words, USCIS cost (I could not find the actual budget, just the predicted one) U.S. taxpayers $60 million compared to ICE’s $5.7 billion.

And that’s just the current ICE budget. If the efforts of deportation were stepped up to an all-out level, the cost would multiply. One study estimated total deportation would cost $206 to $230 billion dollars over 5 years.

Given the current budget of ICE and its level of activity, 298,401 deportations in 2009, the 200+ billion number is not a leap at all. There are estimates of 12 to 20 million undocumented individuals in the United States. Divide 12 million by 298 thousand and then multiply by six(current budget) and you get 240, which is close to the estimate given by the study.

Now, contrast what the costs would be if there was a legalization as opposed to the deportation of the estimated 12 million undocumented presently in the U.S. Most, I surmise, would pay USCIS fees to apply for their papers. Therefore, legalization appears to be a whole lot cheaper than deportation.

Of course, to leave the analysis at this would be to do what most do on the issue of immigration: ignore the most difficult, core issue: future illegal immigration.

Even if either A. legalization of undocumented occurs or B. all-out enforcement occurs(both seem unlikely at the moment), the issue will rise again in  if there is no serious effort to address limiting the flow of future illegal immigration.  An example of what two people can agree to if they maintain arguments based in fact and without recriminations, even if they disagree on many many issues, is what arose out of an argument I had with commentator on this blog, in which the commentator wrote:

“maybe a non-immigrant visa can be allowed to have a change of status if applied for and specific conditions were met, but this would take some consideration and debate.”

The above solution is at its core sensible in that it could undercut the advantages of coming to the United States illegally: namely, it could give migrants the option to come to the United States legally, work, and then decide if they would like to stay in the United States. One of the reasons that undocumented individuals stay longer than planned(depending on what the intention is, which probably is never pinpointable) in the U.S. is due to the fear of not being able to return. A permanent option should be considered. In any current form of legislation, it has not been proposed, at least to the best of my knowledge.

Then there is the possibility that even increased legal options do not solve the problem, and that is where the proverbial wall is likely to be hit into. It runs deep; it has many sources; and it is quite possibly intractable: the massive gulf in resources between the United States and Latin America. For that, another day is needed to write.

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9 Responses to “Tea Party Core Contradicts”

  1. Liquid Reigns Says:

    The above image is the same one that was worn by many of the people I counter-protested. Therefore, I believe it reasonable conclude that the hate-spewing people I met that day were part of the Suffolk County Tea Party.

    Not the “Guilty! by association” claim, and yet you claimed Janet was guilty of labeling simply by associating your stance on a position to that of a Liberal, Cookie did the same thing, yet you are claiming you are only commenting on the issues. Your only claim to the conclusion you came up with was a simple picture that is widely plastered across the net and at many rallies, not just Tea Party rallies.

    You managed to label the Tea Party in this topic with “hate-spewing people” only to and argue that the immigration problem may not be solved by either sides stances.

    When you should merely have argued the fact that no matter what we do, it may not solve all the issues.

    • bjohns15 Says:

      Yeah, that was a rhetorical flourish designed to malign the specific people I encountered. I did not intend to paint the whole tea party, and that is supported by what I wrote, I believe. “hate-spewing people I met were *part* of suffolk country tea party”.

      Come on, if you believe my testimony of that day, there were indeed haters there!

      If anything, there should be some kind of in-depth study of the various tea party organizations and perhaps a purge of the more extremist elements(american border patrol ring any bells, though not a tea party).

      I

  2. bjohns15 Says:

    the picture that they wore on their backs.

  3. bjohns15 Says:

    plus, what i didn’t add but which can be found on frankseabrook.com is the specific protests that took place at that location.

  4. cookie Says:

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – Opponents of the fiscally conservative tea party movement say they plan to infiltrate and dismantle the political group by trying to make its members appear to be racist, homophobic and moronic.
    Jason Levin, creator of http://www.crashtheteaparty.org, said Monday the group has 65 leaders in major cities across the country who are trying to recruit members to infiltrate tea party events for April 15—tax filing day, when tea party groups across the country are planning to gather and protest high taxes.

    “Every time we have someone on camera saying that Barack Obama isn’t an American citizen, we want someone sitting next to him saying, ‘That’s right, he’s an alien from outer space!'” Levin said.

    Tea party members said the backlash comes from ignorance.

    “They can’t actually debate our message and that’s their problem,” said Bob MacGuffie, a Connecticut organizer for Right Principles, a tea party group that also has members in New York and New Jersey.

    The tea party movement generally unites on the fiscally conservative principles of small government, lower taxes and less spending. Beyond that the ideology of the people involved tends to vary dramatically.

    Levin says they want to exaggerate the group’s least appealing qualities, further distance the tea party from mainstream America and damage the public’s opinion of them.

    “Do I think every member of the tea party is a homophobe, racist or a moron? No, absolutely not,” Levin said. “Do I think most of them are homophobes, racists or morons? Absolutely.”

    The site manifesto says they want to dismantle the Tea Party by nonviolent means. “We have already sat quietly in their meetings, and observed their rallies,” the site said.

    Another tea party organizer said the attempt to destroy the movement was evidence its message is resonating.

    “We’ve been ignored, we’ve been ridiculed. Well, now they’re coming after us,” said Judy Pepenella, a co-coordinator for the New York State Tea Party. “Gandhi’s quote is one we understand: ‘First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.'”

  5. bjohns15 Says:

    I’m sure there are plenty that are coming after them, but I think there has also been plenty of evidence that there are extremist elements within the Tea Party, which probably derives from how it was formed–rapidly and grassroots movement without clear leadership.

    Like I said, they are not clear in their message and therefore, as is always the case, the more attention-grabbing members become more representative of the movement than perhaps the whole.

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