February 23, 2006

Being Out of Line... as a General Practice

Justin Katz

One is almost tempted to decry insensitivity on Governor Carcieri's part, for making veiled references to the intelligence of his detractors:

I have made it clear to Steve that, as government officials, we should always avoid using sarcastic language that may be subject to misinterpretation.

But then one realizes that surely the governor understands that, more often than not, it hasn't been an inability to understand Steve Kass's recently controversial comments, but an unwillingness to understand them. If that's the case, perhaps we should be decrying the governor's own unwillingness to call the race baiters on their tricks.

Although, one can hardly blame him for a lack of forthrightness when responding to the dishonest flames of others. After all, David Quiroa — a Newport GOP "leader" — played loose with reckless absolutes (which I've bolded) in his public comment about Carcieri's budget-cut-related plan to end free healthcare for illegal immigrants:

It's quite clear that Governor Carcieri has absolutely no regard for the well-being of all children. ... It's truly sad to have a Governor who is insensitive to all minorities.

And of course, it was Quiroa who introduced the specter of plantations (which is apparently how he would characterize the 47 states that do not pay for illegals' healthcare).

Not being a lawyer, I can only question whether such statements — plainly offered as unsubstantiated fact — are worthy of a defamation lawsuit. Probably not. Presumably Quiroa has had occasion to research the matter previously, considering that this is not his first careless and offensive contribution to the social evil of racial divisiveness:

He said the raid on the Narragansetts had brought to memory the beatings and killings of Indians by the Guatemalan military in his country during the civil war in the '70s and '80s.

According to Gordon Duke, in a June 9, 2005, letter to the Cranston Herald, Quiroa also played a role in an illegal immigrant funding "shakedown" of Cranston City Council member Aram Garabedian, which culminated in a church-basement meeting that:

... was actually a pro-Laffey, anti-Garabedian fiasco. Juan Garcia opened the meeting in Spanish, praising Mayor Laffey, as though the mayor walks on water, and denounced Aram Garabedian as though he was “Satan” himself. Following the praised remarks were the home video of Mayor Laffey’s trip to the Mexico-U.S. border – an attempt to incite the emotions of the 100-person audience.

In a column in which he introduces Quiroa as a native Guatemalan who "works for Cranston's senior services agency [and] hopes to draw Republican primary support for Laffey among Latinos," Charles Bakst asked Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez "what the Republican message is to" Rhode Island Latinos. What it ought to be is that the RIGOP will never require them to sublimate their intelligence to identity politics — that they will be treated as autonomous individuals who can be trusted, because they are equally citizens (when applicable) and equally human (always), to seek honest and fair communication in the midst of misunderstanding.

The sad realization, though, is that there just may be too many people who are happy with our society's pathological handling of race. Too many individuals who like to be the object of handouts and pandering. Too many groups — understandably self-conscious in the larger society — who like excuses to band together. Too many minority "leaders" who like seeing their names in the news. Too many politicians who like having issues that generate predictable and easily manipulable responses.

Such is the dynamic that ultimately squeezes murder out of political opposition and global conflagrations, replete with fatalities, out of political cartoons.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Tim, here's your big chance to really sling some solid waste. You have been asking for this for three days now and the entire blogoshpere is waiting with baited dog breath for your next wheelbarrow of claptrap, hooey, hokum and twaddle.

So please wax eloquent on the Kass, Carcieri, Quiroa issue so we can all get some sleep knowing you have finally gotten the issue of the century off your puny girly man chest.

J Mahn

PS. That old Thesaurus really comes in handy.

Posted by: Joe Mahn at February 24, 2006 12:04 AM

I almost hate to chime in on this, as it's already received too much attention in the press.

I've known Dave a while, and he's a nice guy, but on this, he's simply wrong -- both in the way he handled it in the press, and by the way he acted out based on the emotion of the issue, rather than the facts of it. Kass was equally wrong with taking the bait and going back after him in like manner. He should know better.

While there is certainly nothing wrong with being proud of your ethnic heritage, there is a big problem with using your position within the state party to outright aid the opposition. If Billy Lynch is happy, you know you've done something wrong (or illegal). Dave has undermined his own credibility with the RIGOP. Only he can fix that. Kass hasn't exactly helped himself either. Holes are made for being dug out of, so start digging.

Hopefully, everyone can just step back, take a breather and try to discuss this issue based on reason, and not on emotion alone, and certainly not by trying to trash one another in the press. That's what the other party does; we should be better than that, because we are.

Posted by: Will at February 24, 2006 2:11 AM


I couldn't disagree with you more. It seems that the lens from which you speak is filled with rose pedals and daffodils. Governor Carcieri was the first bring about race stating:

Eliminate RIte Care eligibility for all undocumented alien children. (saving $4.0 million)

Keyword is alien. In subsequent statements, Gov Carcieri has further stated "I want to take care of Rhode Islanders. We can't take care of the rest of the world's problems, in terms of health care,"

The governor is creating an 'us' versus 'them' in his rhetoric. I know of many families where some members are legal and some are not. Do you think they'll distinguish the governor's comments and consider their family members non-Rhode Islanders while wearing the RI badge with honor?

Certainly not. And that's the point that Kass, Carcieri, and you are missing, I'm afraid. I have no doubt that the governor made this decision with great care. Yet again, his comments border on the offensive and I don't disagree with Mr. Quiroa's reaction to them and Kass's statements.

No one 'plays' the race card except those who have the luxury to even consider the thought. I don't mean to sound harsh, but I do believe the Governor et. al. are just missing the point on this....and very badly at that.

Posted by: don roach at February 24, 2006 2:25 AM

I have to respectively disagree. While I think I can understand where you are coming from, in many ways it is an "us vs. them." Gov. Carcieri is the governor of Rhode Island, not of Chihuahua. His primary responsibility is to the citizens of this state; citizens who already feel the burden of too much being taken by government. Rhode Islanders first, everyone else second. Someday, when we're running budget surpluses and everything looks rosey, then perhaps some might be more willing to start paying for things like that. Our state cannot afford to subsidize those who are not legal residents of this state. It's all about priorities. The governor's first priority are to Rhode Island citizens.

However, I do understand what you mean by pointing out that some (in general, latinos) may not personally distinguish between those who are here legally and those who are not. Most people who care about immigration issues are able to distinguish easily between legal and illegal. Unfortunately, a culture has developed for whatever reason which has come to accept that illegality as totally acceptable, and now, as even worthy of government sanctioning and funding. They may also use a better euphemism for "illegal alien," such as "undocumented worker," but that does nothing to change the fact that they do not belong here. How about "unregistered foreign resident"?

At a certain point, one needs to deal with the main problem, which is Rhode Island government consumes way too much taxpayer money. Paying for the healthcare of people who do not legally live here is one growing part of that problem. If we don't deal with it now, it will only get worse over time.

PS I live in so-called "suburbia." I mention that as I have two illegal aliens working within one block of my house. I drive by them everyday (they're currently building a wall). How do I know that? Our neighbor openly bragged to us about hiring them for next to nothing. It's a nice wall, but what's the real cost of it to the rest of us? Think any of them are worried about INS coming by? No way.

Posted by: Will at February 24, 2006 4:45 AM

Sorry, Don, but I suppose it depends on which point you believe ought to be gotten. Me, I've never understood why minorities are willing to synonymize themselves with incidentally related terms such as "illegal alien" and "inner city." With the former, in particular, distinctions ought to be, as Will points out, easy to make. Unfortunately, those who prioritize illegal immigrants have managed make the broader minority groups take ownership.

Now the hucksters have even managed to lash all minorities to all other minorities' embedded special interests. Observe your emotional association with the "them" in the us vs. them construction. Why should that be? You're not an illegal alien.

I've no doubt that many of the families of which you speak will fail to distinguish between their legal and illegal members. But in so doing, they aren't taking Rhode Island's interests into consideration. As understandable as that may be, I work too many hours a week not to understand that their families are thereby harming mine. Yours, too.

Posted by: Justin Katz at February 24, 2006 5:06 AM

This post (better late than never) makes it evident that the term "race" is grossly misused and seriously misunderstood. Why do you think that is true (or not)?

I would venture to guess that if each of us wrote a definition of race in the context of today's growing confusion regarding identity politics, we might all better understand the issue and then be more careful and discrete in what we say about it.


Posted by: Sol Venturi at February 24, 2006 8:22 AM

How many of the mixed "legal" and "illegal" families are illegal immigrants who came here and - taking advantage of a "loophole" in the U.S. Constitution - started pumping out babies?

Sorry, while technically those children are U.S. citizens, I for one can't consider them "real" citizens. Ultimately their "citizenship" is derivative of a criminal act, albeit one committed by their parents.

The left doesn't like the idea of countries - they are more concerned with economic class. That is why, in they end, they have an inherent disdain for patriotism and for the United States itself.

That is why they believe - and are pushing for - "no fault" welfare in Rhode Island. The "haves" should be forced via taxation to give to the "have nots" - no matter their legal status.

Sorry, but if there is criticism to be leveled at Carcieri, it is that he is being too reserved in his proposal.


(This means you too, Consular Laffey!)

Posted by: Tom W at February 24, 2006 9:54 AM

Bravo Justin!
Thank you for saying what needed to be said.
Thank you also for pointing out the history of racist behavior on the part of David Quiroa.
If Quiroa is an example of the type of person the RI Rep party is now attracting they've got serious problems.
Why does it come as no surprise to me that Quiroa is a Laffey minion?

J Mahn, thanks for caring and responding?
Good to know I'm the focus with you. lol

Posted by: Tim at February 24, 2006 4:20 PM

Just because Dave is employed by the city of Cranston, doesn't necessarily make him a Laffey lackey. He's more than qualified to hold the position he does. However, point well taken. I'm not saying the Laffey folks need to take him out to the woodshed, but a deep conversation might be in order (note subtle hint).


Just a distinction to draw: U.S. born children of illegal aliens are automatically considered U.S. citizens. Children of illegals who were not actually born in the U.S., but simply came here along with their parents, are still citizens of their native country. I will try to find out if the "3,000 children" to be cut from RItecare are actually U.S. citizens themselves. My previous understanding is that they were being cut because they themselves were not actually citizens.

Posted by: Will at February 24, 2006 6:08 PM


I'm confident that "place of birth" / distinction is the premise underlying Gov. Carcieri's proposal (otherwise the numbers would be far higher than 3,000).

This is why I regard "guest worker" programs as a facade intended to eliminate opposition to "open borders" on the basis of ILLEGALITY of entry - once inside the country "legally" under a guest worker program, it is inevitable that the "guests" will INTENTIONALLY start having children - yhat will be born here and thus "U.S. citizens"

Then the hue and cry will be that we can't force the parent (or parents)to return to their country of citizenship because we'd "break up families."

So then they'll either be granted citizenship and / or permanent resident status, AND

Permanent eligibility for welfare (including health care), education for their children, etc. etc.

Posted by: Tom W at February 25, 2006 11:54 AM


Today's Providence Journal (page A-3) clears this up. The "3,000 children" to be cut from RItecare are not US citizens. They are "undocumented children" (that presumably came to Rhode Island with "undocumented parents") or whatever the euphemism du jour is now.

I do also draw a distinction between children of illegals who are US citizens (based on the current Constitutional interpretation providing that if you are born in the USA, that you are automatically a citizen) and those who are not legally here. I agree that if you counted US born children of illegals, that the number would be significantly higher than the 3,000 cited. Based on this information, I think Gov. Carcieri's plan sounds even more reasonable.

The article also mentioned that the three other states with similar laws are Massachusetts, New York, and Washington. Can anyone say: welfare magnets?

Posted by: Will at February 25, 2006 1:23 PM

I really do find the tone of the last few posts very troubling.

Children born on US soil are citizens of this country. Personally, I think that is one of the greatest aspects of our country.

Furthermore, this country is a country of immigrants. As I said, I'm very troubled by the way some commenters have referred to immigrants legal, citizen, or otherwise.

Have we forgotten where our ancestors came from?

Posted by: don roach at February 26, 2006 4:56 AM

I don't think there is anything wrong with being "troubled," because it is a troubling subject on many different levels. However, I'm troubled for other reasons.

The problem with a blanket "children born on US soil are citizens of this country" policy, is that it creates a HUGE incentive for people from other lands to ILLEGALLY migrate here, with the hope of giving birth on US soil. They do that because they know that once they have an "anchor baby," that the chances of them being deported decrease significantly, because the USA's policy generally has been to avoid "dividing families." It also entitles the citizen child to receive federal benefits.

Secondly, the US Consitution does not explicitly state "that people born on US soil are citizens of this country." It is a long-held Constitutional interpretation.

Frankly, I think a lot of the problem that I've just described could be curbed significantly with just a minor adjustment in the interpretation. I would have no problem with a child born on US soil being an automatic citizen, if at least one of the parents were a LEGAL resident (not even necessarily a citizen) of the USA. That way, it actually creates a positive incentive to migrate here legally, without being overly burdensome.

PS I came from Rhode Island. Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, to be precise. My ancestors came from a number of mainly European countries, for the most part, in the early part of the 20th century.

My great-grandfather came here from Reggio, Italy (tip of the boot) alone when he was just 16 years old (on the proverbial boat). He worked a number of dangerous jobs, including working in the coal mines of West Virginia. He married a US citizen from Morgantown, WV, who was of Italian descent, had a total of 12 children, survived several forms of cancer, had a leg amputated, and built a contracting business. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1964. That also happened to be the year he went back to Italy to visit what family he still had left there, and to visit the graves of his parents, whom he had never seen again after coming here. He never did learn all that much English, but all of his children did. He died at age 93 in 1987. I was glad to have known him.

So, to answer the question: No, I haven't forgotten where my ancestors came from.

Posted by: Will at February 26, 2006 5:47 AM

>>I really do find the tone of the last few posts very troubling.

Don -

I can't speak for others, but for me it's not an issue of immigration or children of immigrants per se.

It is an issue of those who don't believe in citizenship but "class" believing that nationality should be effectively abolished (e.g., the efforts to allow non-citizens to vote), part of which is the belief (and current practice) that we should have open borders.

For them, the goal is that anyone who has less in their country than we have here should be able to come here and partake of each and every "social program" there is.

Coming here and producing a "U.S. citizen" is one method of accomplishing that. (Let us not forget that OUR immigrant parents came here legally through Ellis Island, DID NOT come here to get on welfare, AND DID come here to assimilate.)

I don't believe that "social service" programs are authorized under the U.S. Constitution - but so long as they exist and are imposed upon us taxpayers I feel strongly that they should be limited to U.S. citizens - not illegals and not legal residents. That includes the progeny of those whose parents are here illegally ...

Posted by: Tom W at February 26, 2006 10:32 AM


I find your entirely PC view on this issue troubling.
You never took Quiroa to task for his highly personal and blatantly racist slap at the governor yet objected to Steve Kass' slap back at Quiroa.
Now you're giving us the Ellis Island pep talk with ILLEGALS??
Reality check time.
ILLEGAL ALIENS should not be receiving handouts from our state government.
They are illegals!
They should be deported!
How in the world did Don Roach end up as a contributor on this blog?
He should be writing for the Daily Kos.

Posted by: Tim at February 26, 2006 1:21 PM

My grandparents came over here to find a new life. This would be accomplished by hard work and building something. Today that is not why many come to the USA. They do come for a better life but their preconceived view is that everything here is free. It's not.

Illegal aliens should be deported ASAP. If an immigrant wants to live and work here, raise a family and be a US Citizen there is a legal path for that to happen. The fact is no pol wants to be the guy who says, "Kick the sad, sick, poor little kids out of the country." Its political suicide.

Playing the "race" card was wrong for Quiroa and Kass was wrong in his response. The real problem is actually much worse that this local tempest in a teapot.


Posted by: Pat Fagioli at February 26, 2006 4:57 PM

To all the Bleeding heart RINO's,

If a family comes to USA (United States of America) Not the UN (United Nations for you people from the upper East Side) illegally they should be DEPORTED and there children to irregardless if they were born in this country. If you Guatemalan lovers do not like it is too bad. And for the wishy washy Horse Shoeing group Grow some Gonads and Become Americans! The problem with this blog is that it is either about Chafee or Laffey. We should worry about what is really the problem with Rhode Island! The Union controlled Gay sympathizing, special interest group General Assembly and how we can take them down.

We all know Chafee is a RINO, but how much of a Conservative is Laffey? He is no Ronald Reagan. He is Much better than Chafee But he is not GOD. So all the BS about trying to justify your candidates misgivings put it in the editorials of the PROJO it needs the Help.

Posted by: Fred on the Blog at February 26, 2006 10:26 PM

I understand where Pat's coming from, and certainly know where Fred's coming from (soon as I saw "To all the Bleeding heart RINO's," I knew it'd be from him)...

That being said, I certainly think that the US government needs to get more aggressive, not only with deportation of illegal residents, but we also need to attack the reasons why they come here in the first place. However, deportation alone is not the solution to the problem, though it is a part of it. As a practical matter, we simply cannot deport 11 million people. Perhaps a million or two if we really tried, but moving that many people just ain't happening, plus at some point, the costs outweigh the benefits.

However, many may go back on their own if the US labor market for illegals dried up. If there were much more of a disincentive for businesses to hire illegals -- as in fines, and jail time for repeat offenders -- then, something would happen. My guess is that it would also curb the future flow of them to this country. Right now, everyone, especially employers, can do so openly, with next to nothing to be worried about. It's no longer just an ecomomic, cheap labor issue. As far as I'm concerned, it is a real security threat, and we shouldn't be abetting it.

Right now, there is a perverse incentive to do the wrong thing. We need to fix that. Part of that is tying any benefits and the future possibility of citizenship to LEGAL immigration, and to updating the process where there is real need for it. Right now, if you try to come here legally, you're basically treated like a chump and put through bureaucratic hell. However, if you sneak through illegally, the local poverty pimps will prop you up as the backbone of the US economy, and your family will be taken care of anyway. What gives?

Posted by: Will at February 27, 2006 2:37 AM


I'm glad this sparked some lively debate, but I think many of you will be on the wrong side of history on this one. Our country is built upon immigrants from all over the world. Rather than thinking about deported these people, I believe we need to reexamine our immigration laws. I completely agree with the President providing work visas to the 12-15 illegal immigrants here. What would you rather he do?

A. Ignore the problem.
B. Round up 12-15 million people costing taxpayers billions not to mention backlash from a host of communities/organizations.
C. Provide work visas.

I prefer choice C. We can collect our taxes, people can live here legally and obstensibly honestly, and we can create security checks within the system to ensure our borders remain both open and secure.

I don't want to live in an era where we have 'closed' borders or closed to certain ethnic groups. The racial overtones wouldn't be missed on me…not Mr. Quiroa for that matter. But we must figure out a way to strike a balance.

Deportation isn't the answer. We do need to reform much of our immigration laws. I agree with will regarding creating disincentives to businesses that hire illegal immigrants. On the flipside, I believe we need to encourage legal immigration. Like it or not, the US is the land of opportunity. And all we need to do is turn on the news to see that in other parts of the world our most empoverished would be high society aristocrats.

Posted by: don roach at February 27, 2006 9:27 AM


I choose B.
Round up the illegals and send them back.

Remember we are all from immigrants.

All I know my family came legally and it took time and money. I adopted a child from overseas LEGALLY. Just because your family could have came over illegally does not justify why that is correct.

I guess maybe we should also give out a couple more students Visa's and let them expire. That has worked out great for us before.

Bleeding heart RINO's like yourself are part of the reason we have been hit by terrorists. Be and American and Think About REAL AMERICANS FIRST.

Conservatively yours,

Fred On The Blog

Posted by: Fred on the Blog at February 27, 2006 6:45 PM

I'm sorry that the countries that many illegals flee from are, well, hellholes. I'd prefer people to try to fix their own countries, instead of simply bringing their problems here for us to deal with. We've got bigger problems to tackle, such as the global war on terror.

However, I prefer choice "D" -- none of the above. I suggest that to really deal with the problem, that we make living in America illegally so intolerable, for both would be employer and alien alike, that they will want to go back voluntarily. I'm not usually an advocate for new government programs, but maybe we should create a program to pay for their free travel back -- maybe throw in a small cash bribe, too.

THEN, we should do whatever we can to create an efficient, rational mechanism for promoting reasonable annual levels of immigration, which are based on our country's real labor needs. We need to know who is here and why they are here. We also need potential immigrants to all be playing by the same rules. We just can't let some "cut in line."

I don't think I'm on the wrong side of history, I think I'm on the side of history itself. If we don't fix this problem fairly soon, America will cease to be a real country, and our history will itself be history. My guess is that's exactly what many open borders advocates want. They hate America and everything it stands for. They want to undermine our concept of national sovereignty, thus destroying, as Reagan said "America, the last best hope of man on Earth."

Posted by: Will at February 27, 2006 10:15 PM