Yale’s encouragement of city ID amounts to demagoguery

Yale University seems to be the main force behind the New Haven city administration’s program to give municipal identification cards to illegal aliens. Yale Law School is providing counsel both to the city in defense of the program and to people detained as illegal aliens by federal agents in New Haven. And Yale students and faculty have just participated in what they called New Haven Solidarity Week, a campaign urging legal residents to obtain the ID cards and thus diminish the card’s association with illegal aliens, so that the illegals might more easily conceal themselves in the city.

Like the ID card itself, Yale’s involvement here is portrayed as a matter of humanity. But it also deliberately facilitates illegal immigration. Worse, Yale’s defense of the ID cards is the essence of demagoguery, the refusal to make distinctions, in this case the distinction between legal and illegal immigration. For any opposition to the ID card program is denounced at Yale as prejudice against all immigrants and as bigotry and racism. The logic of the ID card program is that there should be no limits on entry into the United States, and many of the card’s supporters seem to think so, even though helping illegals get settled is not the only humane way of treating them. Illegals also could be cordially assisted in getting home comfortably — decent accommodations in transit instead of immigration jail cells, a limousine ride to the airport for a flight home instead of a bus ride in shackles to a distant border, and no gratuitous separation of families.

In any case Yale’s support for the ID card and illegal immigration is hugely ironic. For Yale maintains itself among the most exclusive major institutions of higher education in the country even as the University, defending illegal aliens and assisting the ID card program, now presumes to tell the rest of the country that it should admit foreigners in unlimited numbers in disregard of the law.

Many high school students would like to go on to attend Yale but have little chance because they do not come from the University’s two preferred admission groups — racial minorities and the children of wealthy and influential alumni. So what if New Haven, in the name of humanity, started to print and distribute Yale student identification cards so that these inadmissible students also might enjoy the University? How would Yale feel about that?

Of course Yale would feel that the city was giving away what wasn’t the city’s to give — which is exactly what New Haven, at Yale’s instigation, is doing by distributing ID cards to illegal aliens. For the right to live in the United States is for the nation as a whole to bestow, not just for New Haven, at Yale’s instigation, to bestow — if, indeed, the United States is to be a nation at all, a nation being a geographic entity that has control of its borders.

Yale’s righteous defense of illegal immigration may assuage any guilt the University feels about its elite status amid urban poverty. The University is part of the ruling class and its students will emerge with tickets to the ruling class, even as Yale is also the employer of many low-skilled people who do its menial work.

Yale’s security in the ruling class may erase its concerns about unregulated immigration, and the University shares this security with those behind the Bush administration and with big business. So with the ID cards the University is even helping to carry out their policy.

Most people needing the New Haven ID cards are unskilled workers who will become the chauffeurs, gardeners, nannies, day laborers, and such for the ruling class — cheap labor constituting almost a slave class, a class without political rights, a class that can’t complain or vote. But there are other classes, the working and middle classes, whose wages, particularly the wages of native unskilled labor, are driven down as the supply of unskilled labor grows. Further, since the illegals work to a great extent outside the rules, much of their income is paid under the table, evading taxes, and much of it is sent out of the country to support families abroad, diminishing economic growth here, another issue of more concern to the working class than to the ruling class.

The United States has proven that liberal immigration can be assimilated with democracy, a common culture and rising living standards if it is adjusted to changing economic and social conditions. Unregulated immigration is something else; it contemplates the end of any country. The University’s confidence in its own brilliance notwithstanding, this country still belongs to more than just Yale.

Chris Powell is the managing editor of the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Conn.


  • Anonymous

    It is hard to understand how Yale is not aiding and abetting illegal immigrants in contravention of federal law. They should have to choose between receiving federal dollars and acting against the U.S. Constitution.

  • Anonymous

    It can no longer be denied that illegal
    immigration is about more than the
    individual illegal who sneaks across
    the border to work for a criminal employer.
    It is Mexico.. a country that is doing everything it can to create a MEXICAN NATION and Shadow Government within the borders of the USA. Changing its laws to allow dual citizenship ,aiding,abetting and even urging its citizens to illegally emigrate
    to the USA,calling them "heroes and
    Mexican citizens first just living north of the border".Now we know what Calderon
    ment when he said"Mexico is wherever
    there is a Mexican"! Its growing number of consulates in the USA are issuing matricula ID cards to coordinate and supply cover
    while the Mexican congress is creating
    seats to represent the Mexican Colonies
    in the USA!

    OneifbyLand-Los Angeles

  • Anonymous

    Very much reminds me of liberty laws during the antebellum period where northern cities prohibited their cops from arresting runaway slaves even though it was a matter of federal law. I think most agree this was a just decision, so simply saying that the city is seeking to subvert federal law is not enough.

    On the larger point, it is an issue of human rights and a smart thing for the city to do. For example, undocumented immigrants in New Haven can't open bank accounts. Because of this, they walk around the city with lots of cash. Criminals know this and thus undocumented immigrants are subject to many acts of violence crime. The Elm City Card allows them to open bank accounts, a development which should discourage criminal activity of this type universally. I find it ironic that you denounce the treatment of undocumented immigrants by society as a whole while simultaneously disparaging one of the most innovative initiatives to combat that very issue.

    Also, a lot of this economic xenophobia is misplaced. See this article: http://tinyurl.com/2matzk Nationwide, especially in states where politicians want to score political points by taking a stand much like the one you have here, labor shortages in agriculture as undocumented immigrants are driven out are literally leaving tons of food rotting on the fields. No Americans want to work for six week in a hot field picking apples. What solution do you propose for this?

  • Anonymous

    Welcome all you wingnuts! Yale had little or nothing to do with creating the ID; that was a two-year grassroots campaign from all around the city. At any given meeting to plan it, I only ever saw a few people from the Law School, and they are all associated first and foremost with community groups.

  • Anonymous

    While I respect Mr. Powell for his comments, as I'm sure it took quite the dedication to take some time off from his editor position located 45 miles away in Manchester, CT, I don't feel he gives a reasonable argument.

    First, his mere location suggests that he's not a resident of New Haven and so doesn't have a full interest in the happenings of the city. I read this and ask myself, what interaction has he had with both the middle class workers he supports or the lower class undocumented workers he wants to see depart? I imagine that the Yale students and faculty who actually are members of the New Haven community would be better suited to decide for themselves on this issue and choose to support the program for what it represents to the city.

    I also feel that he makes false conclusions about the implications and intentions of the ID card program. He writes, "The logic of the ID card program is that there should be no limits on entry into the United States." The Elm City resident card program is about enabling simple rights those who live and work in our city - such as the right to have a bank account so that they aren't prospective victims for robberies and assaults. This is easy to see, but Powell unreasonably asserts that the program seeks to entice undocumented immigrants across the borders, when in reality it is a better life that these people are looking for, not an ID card.

    He speaks about how immigrants evade taxes and that a better way to spend money on the issue is to offer them better transport home. First, immigrants do pay taxes, and their tax payments $20 to $30 billion more than the amount they receive in government services. (if you want more discussion on this, you can check my op/ed from a few weeks ago located here: http://www.yaledailynews.com/articles/view/22246)
    Second, it has become clear from many in this country that to deport all undocumented immigrants is impossible, and to suggest that tax payers would be more willing to spend money on a limo ride to the border seems pretty unreasonable as well.

    His analogy to college admissions is an even greater stretch. His hypothetical about the possibility of New Haven offering student IDs to students is very rashly stated. It is inconsiderate of the greater problems and inequalities in education present in America today, and makes an unjust comparison of students applying to elite universities to the plight of immigrants here in the U.S.
    It also leads me to question how a person could make such a rash comparison and speak genuinely about this topic. It appears to me that there is a lack of full understanding of the ID card program and what it represents and I would hope that Mr. Powell would engage in further discussion with people from all sides of the debate.

    also, I feel that posts that have the audacity to make ever harsher comments on these issues (such as those that precede mine) should not make their posts anonymous.
    If this is something that affects our community, then let's discuss it openly as one.

    -Robert Sanchez

  • Anonymous

    Anyone desirous of a very complete picture of what the USA will become should visit Roy Beck's website, numbersusa.com and watch the short film "Immigration by the Numbers". We are a nation for immigrants but anti-immigration, for just cause. Our infrastructure is failing, our parks, streets and interstates are being "Loved to death", our schools and hospitals, social services were never designed, funded or staffed to deal with the illegal immigrant population now desiring or claiming right to services of legal citizens. God help us.

  • Anonymous

    The bottom line is no matter what politically correct way you might say it "illegal immigration" IS and HAS BEEN out of control. You cannot blind the simple trust with calls of "racism", or "hate". Without major and real reform, not only at the border but also addressing those that are already here and no, amnesty isn't the answer. A message needs to be sent now while we still have a chance to curb this issue YALE's support for the liberal socialist agenda clearly creeps out again. I would hope that the federal government reviews the funds given to YALE as a result of this type of behavior.

  • Anonymous

    Wow -- what a bunch of wing nuts. Mexico has a secret plan to take over America?? Mr. Powell's allies are scary.

    And as to Mr. Powell -- are there many managing editors (he uses the title in his op-ed) of newspapers in America who (1) articulate positions which would imply that they have biases in the presentation of straight news? or (2) would make blanket statements about immigration which are not based in fact.

    As to the first, Mr. Powell is the MANAGING EDITOR, not the editorial page editor. That means he is responsible for straight news.

    And as to the second, every legitimate study including one that came out of the Pew Foundation today, says that immigrants (including Latino immigrants Mr. Powell) assimilate into American culture within one generation including speaking English fluently. Similarly, every legitimate research organization (i.e. not silly anti-immigrant hate groups like CIS and FAIR) acknowledges that undocumented immigrants contribute more in taxes than they cost in government services.

    And, why would Mr. Powell assume that Latinos in New Haven were not responsible for leading the New Haven ID fight? Why does he assume that Yalies with money did all the heavy lifting? Aside from being inaccurate, it reflects a high level of bias on Mr. Powell's part -- the same bias that he tosses out at Yale.

    Finally, how did Mr. Powell manage to (again without facts) accuse all students of color at Yale of only being here because of some special treatment from the University? Once again his level of bias, and willingness to articulate it, is scary coming from someone who runs the day to day news operations of a Connecticut newspaper.

  • Anonymous

    "Very much reminds me of liberty laws during the antebellum period where northern cities prohibited their cops from arresting runaway slaves even though it was a matter of federal law. I think most agree this was a just decision, so simply saying that the city is seeking to subvert federal law is not enough."

    So, are you suggesting that we should change our laws to have open borders? That is a moral imperative to let anyone in the world come to the US anyway they choose--and that the welfare of Americans in general doesn't matter. That's the logical conclusion from your analogy--that federal immigration law is unjust. Actually, though, as someone who has taught overseas in the Middle East, it is illegal immigration that is unjust. It is the preference shown to some ethnic groups over others that is unjust. One country, Mexico, for example, accounts for more than 20 percent of our LEGAL immigration each year. I find THAT unjust. I also find it unjust that Americans are expected to pay for the education and medical care of illegal aliens while the employers of these illegal aliens avoid taxes, avoid providing benefits to them, and stick the taxpayer with the expense.

  • Anonymous

    You must understand, the enlightened liberal people of New Haven need plenty of cheap labor. Oh, I'm sorry, I am sure they will pay these folks well so that American citizens who don't use illegal labor won't have to pick up their social costs as they now do. The enlightened people of New Haven would never put this burden on their fellow Americans. Bobby

  • Anonymous

    Hilarious. Yalies once again think they are above the law, better than the law and better than those Americans who don't share their pro-open borders, pro-illegal alien agenda. Gee, Yalies, there are thousands if not millions of Americans of Hispanic heritage who DO NOT agree with providing benefits/privileges of citizenship and/or legal residency to millions of illegal aliens. We have for the most part, remained silent until recently. You who smugly and wrongly stereotype all Hispanics as being lawless, leftist, illegal aliens and/or supporters of such are plain wrong and pathetic. http://www.dontspeakforme.org

  • Anonymous

    The era when mass immigration ideologues dictated policy to an apathetic public is over. Recent immigration levels have been excessive. In the 1990's, a bipartisan commission chaired by former congresswoman Barbara Jordan recommended reducing annual immigration to 550,000, roughly a fourth of present combined legal and illegal immigration. Had the previous and current administrations implemented Jordan commission recomendations, immigration policy would not be the colossal and divisive quagmire that it has become.


  • Anonymous

    Yale should be prevented from receiving federal funds!!!

    I bet that they will have a different view, when many of their future jobs begin to be eliminated through the HB-1 visas---or the wages reduced due to increases of the HB-1 visas.

    I bet we hear a different cry from these law-breaking idiots!!

  • Anonymous

    Good article, and Yale - especially Harold Koh - should be held responsible. However, it should also be pointed out that the member of DeStefano's staff who pushed the plan (Kica Matos) used to head a non-profit that is/was collaborating with the Mexican government. And, DeStefano may have a financial interest in the scheme:

    Regarding Mexico's "secret plan to take over America", it doesn't really matter whether they have such a plan or not. What matters is that by sending us millions of people they've been able to obtain tremendous political power inside the U.S. And, their links to non-profits don't end with Junta for Progressive Action. The Mexican government has direct or indirect links to a long line of non-profits such as the ACLU, SPLC, AFSC, and so on. And, all those groups - for one reason or other - tend to support Mexico's agenda through lawsuits and the like.

  • Anonymous

    The same Yale, that is giving a free university education to a member of the Taliban, who only has a fourth grade level education, when it would never go out of it's way to provide such a thing to a poor American student with the grades to merit it.

    Yale Law isn't bending over backwards to offer free legal services to poor American citizens who are being discriminated against on the job, being fired and forced out of work by illegal alien labor. Yale Law isn't defending poor American citizens who are critically ill and denied access to health care.. even those who only have medicare can't see the specialists they desperately need.. but again Yale Law would consider helping those people soiling their hands.

    Poor American families lose their homes, are evicted from their apartments in CT and elsewhere, when they lose their jobs, they and their children go hungry.. but Yale Law doesn't give a fig about their human rights, never mind their civil rights.

    These days the parents of the students of Yale Law have assured that you have to be rich enough to purchase protection under the law, and their trustifarian children now use the education that mommy and daddy have bought them, to ensure a slave class that the poor and struggling middle class have to subsidize for them.

    Someone attempted to paint what Yale Law is doing, as an analogy to when northern states wouldn't report runaway slaves.. that was a pathetic and cruel attempt. Yale Law couldn't care less about poor American citizens who are black, brown and white. Their actions are analogous to the old democratic party that was the party of slavery. Exploiting others to provide themselves cheap labor.

    Yale Law is scum.

  • Anonymous

    "Second, it has become clear from many in this country that to deport all undocumented immigrants is impossible."

    Deporting invaders is not the only solution (although it's one that a majority of Americans supports).

    Stop giving them handouts (welfare, services, schooling for their children etc.) and the invaders will realize the gravy train has come to a stop and simply leave.

    Facilitating invaders' activities here with an ID card is despicable.

    Invaders can't open a bank account? GOOD! Maybe they should leave if they don't like it.

    Did the French issue special ID cards to their German occupiers in WWII?