Tuesday, May 30, 2006

We Have Problems? Let's Get Rich People To Solve Them

The illustrious Avraham Bronstein quotes a letter from this past week's Yated. I read that letter over Shabbos at my cousin's house in Lakewood (more about that in later posts). Nothing makes me more cynical than spending a Shabbos in Lakewood, by the way (and this week I missed the Rabbi's speech).

The letter starts off with a woman recognizing that the shidduch crisis in the Yeshivish community is exacerbated by the boys asking for a certain amount of money up front. Some people just can't afford to guarantee 1000 dollars a month for the next few years. I know it crazy, but sometimes people without a college education and a large family just don't have that type of money floating around. Call me crazy.

Well, at this point I'm pleasantly surprised. I've been familiar with this problem for a while and was happy that someone was finally taking notice and that the Yated was willing to give them print. Great, I thought.

So what's the writer's solution? Ask rich people to donate the money! Let's just ask rich people to give more tzedakah so every Tom, Dick, and Harry can spend years learning on someone else's dole. Of course since even rich people are only going to give a limited amount of money, the financial backing of a kollel wife will decrease the amount given to other, more worthy, causes. Poor people should starve so everyone can learn in comfort.

It's amazing that someone would reject a girl simply because her parents aren't rich. Most guys are only going to live for a few years anyway. Am I crazy for thinking it's ridiculous for someone to choose his spouse solely on the basis of whether he can learn full-time for two or three years? Am I the only one who thinks this whole system is absurd? Why can't people see the obvious answer is for not everyone to spend years in kollel on someone else's income?

United 93

Last Wednesday I saw United 93. (This post will contain SPOILERS but unless you've been living under a rock for the last five years, I'm going to assume you're aware of the story.) As we're all aware United 93 took off from Newark Airport with San Francisco as its intended destination, but crashed in a field outside of Pittsburgh.

United 93 was probably the best movie I saw this year. It would have been a great movie if it was a work of fiction, but sadly it wasn't.

The movie takes place in a few air traffic control rooms across the country (and NORAD) and on the plane. Many of the characters in the movie actually played themselves, including FAA manager Ben Sliney, who was actually on his first day on the job. The fact that so many of the people played themselves adds to the tension.

The movie starts a little slowly, but builds up quickly as we hear of a possible hijacking. In hindsight it's amazing that almost everyone blew off any possibility of a hijacking, but we have to remember that no plane had been hijacked in 40 years.

They lose the plane and then realize one of the towers was hit. Although CNN reported that a small plane hit the tower, Sliney realized that only something big could have made a hole that size.

But things really pick up after a second plane is lost. We see it fall off radar and then in NY they see it over the Verrazano. Someone remarks that it's coming in really fast, and then next thing we know it slams into the other tower. Complete silence. Everyone just stands there in amazement, with absolutely nothing to say.

Back on United 93, the terrorists start to get antsy until one finally takes the initiative and starts the hijacking. The terrorists take over the plane, but passengers call home and realize the plane isn't going back to the airport. They decide to attack the cockpit, and in the movie, they get there. But the terrorists crash the plane before they can gain control.

The ten or so minutes where they attack is one of the best sequences I've ever seen. You spend the whole time hoping -- praying -- that they get there in time, but as fate had it, they don't. We see the plane go down, but not the crash and explosion, which would have been tacky.

Instead the screen goes completely black and silent. And during that time you could have heard a pin drop in the theater. I've never seen complete silence like that before and hopefully will never see it again.

Some people claim this movie shouldn't have been made yet. It's too early, they claim. That's precisely the point. This movie is meaningful precisely because it's so close to the event. It reminds us of emotions and feelings we had only a few years ago and teaches us the true meaning of heroism. Movies like this remind us why we must fight against evil, for evil will not just leave us alone.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Political Quiz

Here are the results of a quiz I found on David's site:

Which political sterotype are you?

Republican - You believe that the free market will take care of most things, but that the government should be there with moderate taxation to provide for national defense and enforcing morality. Your historical role model is Ronald Reagan.
Take this quiz!


Make A Quiz More Quizzes Grab Code

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Does Halacha Understand Women?

As part of my preparations for marriage, I've learning some of the halachos related to nidah. Two specific halachos caught my attention:

1) When the wife is a nidah, the husband and wife are obligated to refrain from doing certain actions, which as defined by halacha, could lead to the incitement of passion. For example, a husband and wife cannot pass each other objects directly, sit on the same sofa, or drink from the same cup.

There are exceptions, however. If the couple is in public and refraining from these actions will lead to everyone around knowing that she's a nidah, some people hold that the couple do not need to follow them. In other words, we take into account her feelings of violated privacy, and those feelings trump the regular halacha here.

2) When the wife is a nidah during the wedding, we make some changes to the ceremony These changes are done privately as much as possible. One question is how the groom should give the bride the ring. Normally he places the ring on her finger. But when she's a nidah, a husband and wife cannot touch, so some suggest he drop the ring in her palm or on her finger. The older poskim usually require dropping.

However, other poskim have found ways to get around the problem and allow him to place it on her finger. This is another example where halacha takes into account women's feelings.

In the first example, the halacha is explicitly based on the woman's feelings. The second halacha only weighs it implicitly. But both of these halachos show sensitivity in the halachic system for women's feelings.

The older poskim or those of last generation did not afford feelings as much weight in these cases (or they weighed other considerations more heavily). Rav Moshe did not even understand why a woman would care if people knew she was a nidah! I wonder if society's greater emphasis on women's feelings (certainly a positive byproduct of feminism) has had a (in my mind) positive influence on halacha.

Even if poskim do not consciously grant greater import to women's feelings, society in general considers it important. Poskim are human and are influenced by society, even if unintentionally. While 20 years ago they might not have even understood why women feel that way, today they not only understand her feelings, but are supportive of them.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Post On JAJC

My first post on JAJC is up. It's titled "Democracy and Originalism." Check it out!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The New Blog In Town

If you've been paying attention, you've already seen the grand opening of Just Another Jewish Conspiracy. It took a while, but it's finally up. I'm still taking finals, and will be busy this weekend so don't expect any posts from me until next week. This blog will remain active and will be updated in the same haphazard way I've been doing it for the last year or so. And the content of the two blogs will be slightly different, with my longer posts going on JAJC. So keep coming back people, because while you'll find lots of cool stuff on JAJC, you won't find my expert shidduch analysis there.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Anyone Doubt Aharon Barak Is An Activist?

Here's part of an email Aharon Barak wrote to a friend in Yale Law School dealing with his dissent in the recent case dealing with an Israeli law that bars Palestinian spouses from acquiring citizenship in Israel:

"My dear friend," wrote Barak. "You may be interested in a very important case which was delivered the day before yesterday [Sunday] by my Court... In my opinion, I decided that the right to family life is a constitutional right of the Israeli partner or his/her child. This right includes not just the right to marry, but also the right to live in Israel. I also decided that the statute discriminates against Arabs, since all those who seek family unification from the West Bank are Arabs. As we do not have a special section in our Bill of Rights dealing with family rights or equality, I decided that those rights are part of our right to dignity."
Ok, every single sentence reeks of activism. He "decided" that that the right to family life is a constitutional right. He "decided" that right is so broad it includes the right to live in Israel. He concluded that the law discriminates against Arabs because they are the people who seek family unification (in US Constitutional scheme that's called disparate impact and is not necessarily unconstitutional). And since that right is not in Israel's Bill of Rights (Israel has a Bill of Rights?), he "decided" that right is part of the right of dignity.

There are so many problems here. Even if a Basic Law establishes that there "shall be no violation of the life, body or dignity" why do basic laws supersede Knesset legislation? The US Constitution has a Supremacy Clause which makes the Constitution supreme and makes any legislation that conflicts with provisions in the Constitution void. What gives the Basic Laws such power?

Even if the Basic Laws were supreme, where in this basic law is there a right of family unification that encompasses the right to live in Israel? Oh I forgot, he "decided" it was part of human dignity. Really, are there are constraints on the Israeli High Court of Justice at all?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Daas Torah

I'm in the middle of finals right now, but I'm not in the mood of studying so I'm going to blog. Actually I'm not even in the mood to blog, but I have something on my mind and I want to get it out there.

Here's something I don't understand. It's called Daas Torah. From what I can tell it basically means that people who are on a high level of learning are able to see more than the average person and are therefore qualified to deal with issues that do not fall under their expertise. For example, in Israel both Shas and UTJ defer to the will of a council of Torah sages to decide policy for the party. I think we can all fairly say that, naturally, someone who reads a daf of Gemara should not be any better at analyzing a political problem than you or me.

Learning science would make someone proficient in science. Learning math would make someone proficient in science. And learning Torah should make someone proficient in Torah (well, that's not even true since learning a part of the Torah would make someone proficient in that part of Torah, but I digress). That is the natural way of things. People know what they study.

Now it's true that someone who studies a complicated subject in depth for decades is probably very intelligent and his opinion should be sought out if he's knowledgeable. We might ask a brilliant mathematician about a political question if he shows the requisite knowledge to offer an informed opinion. But we wouldn't ask someone to decide a question of policy if he can't explain to me the basic reasons why some Mexican immigrants come here illegally no matter how much of a genius he is.

So there must be something special about learning Torah that gives people the ability to analyze questions even without knowing the facts. I mean how can someone offer a political opinion on disengagement without even a cursory understanding of the military issues involved? To have an informed opinion the person needs to understand the political situation in Israel, the contours of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular and the Israeli-Arab conflict in general, as well as the diplomatic relationship between Israel and the US, EU, and UN. Without this knowledge at the least, a person cannot analyze the situation properly.

So for the Daas Torah argument to work we must assume one of two things: either the Gedolim are well-versed in political matters, read the papers and journals, and have a rudimentary understanding of political issues or somehow by learning Torah this things come to them in some other way. Now since I highly doubt Rav Eliyashuv has a suscription to Azure, we'll assume the latter.

But why do we assume that? What evidence do we have that it's true? It clearly goes against reason. So why believe it?

(Note: Daas Torah is not only a Charedi concept; the Rav believed in a version of it.)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Idiots At The BBC

Finals are very soon, so there's going to be little blogging over the next week. But this interview is hysterical. The guy got pulled off the street when someone assumed he was a technology expert and brought in for an interview. He didn't realize it until he was on the air, but he did an admirable job of fudging it. I would have froze.

Hat Tip: Volokh

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Tal Law Upheld

In an 8-1 decision, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the Tal Law is constitutional. To keep things simple, the Tal Law pretty much allows broad deferrals to anyone who learns in a Yeshiva until the age of 21.

The interesting ruling was a concurrence by Justice Asher Grunis, who argued that the Tal Law was Knesset legislation, and it is not the place of the Court to strike down majority legislation.

I have to agree. In Israel, where there is no Constitution, the Court's authority to rescind legislation is limited. This arrangement was passed by a majority of the Knesset, and the Court should not be substituting its judgment to determine what's the better policy.

In the US, however, this law would be found unconstitutional. Despite the Court's historical deference to the military, this exclusion is religion-based, and would likely be found to implicate the Establishment Clause. Despite the existence of permissible accommodations, this exemption is very broad and a more neutral law would exempt anyone whose belief system opposes serving in the military.

That might be a better solution in Israel as well. Instead of allowing a broad, class-based, deferral policy for Chareidim, why not just allow anyone whose religious beliefs run counter to army service to avoid the draft? Sure this law would lead to more people avoiding the army on spurious grounds, but the government could counter that by adding more incentives for army service (although some might argue that would discriminate against people on religious grounds). The government could give greater benefits to families with one parent who served, or more it easier for someone with a certain number of years of army service to enter civil service, etc.

People might still resent Chareidim for avoiding the draft but that's going to happen as long as they stay out of the army. That's their choice to make.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Soldier Challenges Dismissal

Last week, First Sergeant Hananel Dayan-Meged refused to shake the hand of Israel's highest military officer, Dan Halutz while receiving a reward as an outstanding soldier. He was then removed from his unit, although his award was not taken away from him.

He is now threatening that if he's not reinstated and not offered a public apology, he will bring petition the Supreme Court. In the US, where the army is granted extreme deference, this case would have no chance of going in his favor.

However, in Israel, the land where everything is the business of the Court, it wouldn't shock me to see the dismissal overturned.

Whether he should have been removed or not is a question for the army. The army affords little rights and people can be dismissed for infractions that wouldn't even lead to sanction if he was employed by a government body. However, in the private realm, employers have great discretion whether to fire employees for minor infractions, and put simply, if someone refused to shake his bosses hand because he disagreed with a political decision, you can bet he'd find himself waiting on the unemployment line.

Israel has no first amendment, so the questions there are usually simpler. The government probably would have the power to fire someone for his political beliefs, even though in the US that would be prohibited. Here Dayan-Meged refused to shake Halutz's hand as an expression of his disdain for the army that removed his family from their home. In the US, it's unclear whether his action would be considered conduct, or expression mixed with conduct, but I would guess that there's no chance the Court would support his case here. But in Israel, I can't imagine he'd have a speech right to embarrass the chief of staff.

Should the army punish someone for publicly embarrassing a high-ranking official, especially when that soldier is clearly elite? Soldiers should just make political statements openly because the army is not a place for politics. When soldiers do not these statements, the army is within its rights to remove them, in order to deter future statements. But does the benefit of deterring future political comments outweigh the harm of losing an elite soldier? That's a question I'm not qualified to answer, but I hope the army took the time to think this though. I doubt they did, and that's discouraging.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Israel Makes Us Less Safe?

On a Hirhurim post about Holocaust theodicy, I'm participating in the comment thread about whether Israel makes us less safe.

I've heard this argument before, generally from people who are against the state of Israel. The common arguments they make for this proposition is that more Jews in Israel have died in the last 58 years than the rest of the world combined, that Jews are now located in one area, which is inherently less safe, that anti-Semitism was sparked in the Muslim world because of the creation of the State of Israel and that Iran now has nukes pointed at Israel.

I'm not going to quibble and challenge any of these propositions. The issue is how the question is phrased. When people say Israel has made Jews less safe, they usually assume that Jews in Israel are less safe than Jews elsewhere and therefore if there was no Israel, all Jews would be as a safe as they are in the Diaspora today. But this argument is flawed because the proper question is not whether Israel is safer than the Diaspora, but whether Jews less safe today with Israel than they would be without the State.

One reason why so many Jews live in Israel is because Israel is a place where Jews can easily go to escape persecution. The fact that Jews are safer around the world is directly linked to the fact that Jews in places less safe than Israel and the US left those places to go to Israel. If there was no Israel, over a million Jews would live in the Arab world, which is not such a safe place, for indigenous Arabs and minorities alike.

Moreover, where would all the displaced Jews of Europe have gone? The doors to most of the countries were still closed, and it's unlikely that the US or Western Europe would have accepted all of them. So it's quite possible that Europe would have sent the Jews to its colonies around the world in Africa and Asia, which are areas filled with internecine warfare. Other possible locations were South America (home of the eternal revolutions) and the Arab world, which does not top the safe list.

Let’s use notation. W1 is the world with Israel and W2 is the world without. We have no clue if any of these Jews in W2 would have been safe in these countries. In fact, it's unlikely that they would have been. To properly analyze the question we need to look at the risks posed to Jews in Israel in W1 and compare them to the risks those Jews in W2 would have faced. Now of course this analysis is difficult to do since predicting possible outcomes is always speculative. But the best way to do it is to calculate the possibility of the risk coming to fruition and multiply it by the extent of the harm (this is similar to the Hand test for the Holmes "clear and present danger" test for dangerous speech that was overruled in Brandenburg v. Ohio). For example, let's assume the risk of an Iranian nuclear attack in W1 is .1% and the harm of the attack is 50. That would put the total risk number at 5. Now let's assume the risk of a pogrom in Sudan in W2 is 1% and the harm is 5. Those risks then would be the same.

The risks facing a large number of Jews in Israel over the last 58 years and today in W2 is probably less than the risks facing Jews in Israel (and worldwide because of Israel) in W1. Massacres were common in these countries (Africa, Asia, and the ME) and although the harm would probably be less, the total risk would probably be at least equally as great.

Obviously reasonable minds could disagree with my analysis and attribute greater probability or greater harm to W1 than to W2. That's fine. But people need to understand that such an analysis requires a massive amount of research into the dynamics of the Arab world, as well as the other areas where Jews would live. It also must take into account how Israel's existence affects Jews in the US in terms of their willingness to put pressure on their government (would Jews in the US have had the pride and guts to challenge the Soviets to let the Jews go or challenge a hypothetical massacre of Jews in Liberia?). These are difficult questions and anyone who is sure that Israel has made Jews safer or less safe is probably not thinking about it enough or with enough depth.

Woman Polygamist

Here's a story about a woman who is charged with polygamy for marrying over 15 husbands and defrauding them. Of course given the Supreme Court's position that consensual, private agreements between parties are protected under the Due Process Clause, this woman should probably challenge the conviction on constitutional grounds.

I understand that polygamy and SSM gay sodomy are distinct issues, but a challenge like this would be the offspring of Lawrence and its ilk.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Banning Laptops Is Just Plain Dumb

Apparently around the country, professors are getting wind of the fact that people surf the web during their class and have decided to ban laptops.

I put this on par with attendance requirements: both and plain stupid. We're old enough, certainly by the time we enter law school, to decide whether we want to listen in class or show up at all. It's just more paternalistic BS from professors whose egos are hurt when they realize that the Internet is just more entertaining.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

New York vs. The World


This post is for sports, or more accurately, baseball nerds. There are some cool immigration posts below. Read them.

This article (insider required) about Derek Jeter's place in history got me thinking. What would a all-time NY team look like? An all-time Yankee team would obviously be the best of all-time but probably could not compete against the best of every other team. But what about an all-NY team vs. everyone else in a seven game series?

So I decided to come up with a 25 man roster. Here are the rules:

1) I'm going with a DH. Yeah, I'm a baseball purist but the DH would make this series more entertaining and would save me from having to decide which top 10 player on the NY team to leave on the bench.
2) There must be relievers on the team. No, a team can't use Nolan Ryan as its closer. Yes, this benefits the NY team since they have Mariano Rivera and less starters. But a team can have more than four starters.
3) Here's a rule that hurts the NY team. A player is only eligable if he played a major part of his career on on a NY team (excludes Nolan Ryan or Pedro Martinez). He also must have played for the team while it was in NY (excludes Barry Bonds and Sandy Koufax, who wasn't very good when the team was in NY).

Ok here are the teams. Feel free to add or subtract if you'd like:


2B: Jackie Robinson
RF: Joe DiMaggio
DH: Babe Ruth
CF: Willie Mays
1B: Lou Gehrig
LF: Mickey Mantle
C: Yogi Berra
SS: Derek Jeter
3B: Graig Nettles

SP: Christy Mathewson
Whitey Ford
Carl Hubbell
Tom Seaver

RP: Mariano Rivera
Hoyt Wilhem
Sparky Lyle
Goose Gossage
Waite Hoyt

Bench: Mel Ott
Roy Campanella
Pee Wee Reese
Bill Terry
Pete Reiser
Alex Rodriguez
Mike Piazza

The World

CF: Ty Cobb
SS: Honus Wagner
DH: Ted Williams
RF: Hank Aaron
1B: Jimmie Fox
2b: Rogers Hornsby
LF: Barry Bonds
3b: Mike Schmidt
C: Johnny Bench

SP: Walter Johnson
Lefty Grove
Cy Young
Sandy Koufax

RP: Roger Clemens
Dennis Eckersley
Rollie Fingers
Randy Johnson
Warren Spahn

Bench: Rickey Henderson
Ozzie Smith
Stan Musial
Mark McGuire
Ivan Rodriguez
Brooks Robinson
Tris Speaker

The NYers have a better outfield, both at the plate and in the field. SS and 3B go to the World team by a large margin, but 1st and 2nd are fairly close (mainly because Gehrig was a lot better than Fox). C is basically even, maybe a slight edge to the World. The World's starting pitching is a little better but NY has a better bullpen because of Rivera. This would be a great series.

My Not-So-Well-Thought-Out Solution To The Immigration Problem

From DB's comment thread:

We should:

1) Make it easier for legals to come into this country by restructing our visa system to let more workers into the country.
2) Crack down hard on companies that use illegal workers.
3) Make illegal immigration a felony and subject to deportation.
4) Make a grace period where all illegals can come forward without penalty. They would then have a choice. They could join a guest worker program which would penalize them (fines) and make citizenship difficult. Or they could leave and come back at the back of the line and avoid the fine, but they would not be allowed to come back for a year.

People would have far less motivation to sneak into the US because they could mostly come in openly and they would have no place to work once they got here.

This program would put legal immigrants ahead of illegals, would allow us to document pretty much everyone who enters our country, and would allow qualified workers to find jobs here, which is good for the market.

It Boggles The Mind

Chaim has an excellent post on the rallies/boycotts (hat tip to Ezzie). Key analogy:

Imagine this:

A person breaks into your home through a unlocked window in the basement. He comes into your home without our permission. He takes food from your fridge and sleeps in your home. You don't actively try to make him leave, instead he agrees to do work around the house to contribute. Yet he refuses to learn how to communicate in your language and then takes priceless family heirlooms and redecorates them without asking. Then he demands you accept it and make him a permanent member of your family. While you are deciding what to do, in order to show you how important you should think he is to your homes survival he not only stops working but encourages all other members of your family to stop working. He tries to cause you financial harm and shut down your home.

I don't get it. I really don't. People come into this country illegally. They continue to break the law by not applying for a visa. They make no effort to naturalize themselves (which I admit is not easy).

Now I'm not saying they should be shot or sent to prison. I'm not even calling for them to sent back. All I have a problem with is their demand that they have a right to be here, that we shouldn't dare make illegal immigration a top priority, that we shouldn't grant them amnesty, etc.

People argue that illegal immigrants help the economy, which is debatable: They may pay taxes but they take away jobs, they are a major element of the manufacturing industry, but they drain our medical resources, etc. But that's not the only point. Illegal immigration hurts legal immigrants and people trying to come here.

Many people in the US are xenophobic. It's a bad thing, but that's reality. When illegal immigration becomes so noticeable that it generates a national debate, it makes people move to the right and support less immigration. For example, the standard for asylum has become more difficult over the past few years, partly because of terrorism, but also because people think we have too many immigrants in this country already. Now I don't buy that argument, but that's how people react.

Moreover, some of those illegal immigrant jobs that "Americans won't do" would be done by legal immigrants. But they can't get H1B temporary worker visas because those fields were overrun by illegals. So they're stuck in whatever country they live in.

So basically we're supposed to support people who came here illegally, even when their presence hurts people who did everything right? Is that fair? And they have the gall to complain when we want to enforce the law? Unbelievable.

Monday, May 01, 2006

More On The Rallies

I'm having trouble understanding some of the arguments made at the rallies. For example:

"I want my children to know their mother is not a criminal," said the nanny who told the AP she came here illegally in 1986 from Mexico. "I want them to be as strong I am. This shows our strength."

Uh, if she came here illegally that means she broke the law. That makes her a criminal. And how is rallying going to show that she isn't a criminal?

Here's another one:

"We are the backbone of what America is, legal or illegal, it doesn't matter,"
Why doesn't it matter? It's like someone saying "I killed the guy, but it doesn't matter, I work in construction!"

Then of course you have the geniuses on the other side:

"You should send all of the 13 million aliens home, then you take all of the welfare recipients who are taking a free check and make them do those jobs," said Jack Culberson, a retired Army colonel who attended the Pensacola rally. "It's as simple as that."

Yep, sounds pretty simple. Let's just round up 13 million people. That should be easy, right?

But finally some sanity:

"We understand the importance, contribution immigrants have made to the economy and the industry of this great nation," said retired Col. Albert F. Rodriguez, a veteran of World War II and the Vietnam War.
"But the difference is that we and millions of others like us did it legally. We're all here today to tell all those illegal protesters, 'You do not speak for me.' "

Finally some sanity.

A Day Without Immigrants?

Today marches and boycotts are scheduled with the purpose of showing the US the power of immigrants. Immigrants are going to stay home from work and boycott commerce. Here's a quote from one of the organizers:

"You can expect L.A. to be at a standstill almost totally. You will not have truckers. You will not have taxi drivers, garment workers, hotel workers, restaurant workers -- half of the teacher force will not be going to school."

Half the teachers in LA are illegal immigrants? I doubt that. So it seems this rally is about "immigrants" not just illegal immigrants. And that confuses the issue.

Many Americans (myself included) are in favor of immigration. While we might not support open borders, we support allowing immigrants to make this their new home. We want the ridiculous visa system in place to be fixed so hardworking and energetic immigrants can come here.

What we don't support is illegal immigration. Notwithstanding the security risk involved in millions of people sneaking over our border, it's unfair for some immigrants to wait on line while others can just cut the line and get jobs. I believe everyone should have a right to try to come here (although we don't have to let everyone in), but they have to do it legally.

By conflating immigration with illegal immigration, immigration advocates are trying to make opposition to illegal immigration seem xenophobic. But it will likely have the opposite effect: it will make supporters of immigration link immigrants with illegals, and call for harsher restrictions on immigration. And if today's boycott goes through as planned, people are just going to get annoyed and start supporting the anti-immigrant crowd. And that would be a shame.