Thursday, June 4, 2015

We Need More Outstanding Citizens

Long-time readers of the blog know the LSTC policy on immigration: open the floodgates and give 'em a promissory note.  As many know, there's a special class of immigrants called "DREAMers," residents of the U.S. who were rudely brought here by their parents, talented youth caught in a bureaucratic limbo that's sort-of by someone else's creation.  Because it's fair to assume that most of these DREAMers crossed a body of water to get here, I imagine admissions departments refer to them as "wet DREAMers."

If we have the potential to flood the market even further with special snowflakes, why in the world would we stop?  Let's look at Mark Brown's column on a recent Northern Illinois graduate.
Three years ago, Irakere Picon was an anxious first-year Northern Illinois University law school student who didn’t know whether he’d ever be allowed to practice law because of his immigration status.

Now, he’s a perfect example of the good that came from President Barack Obama’s decision in 2012 to grant limited legal status to the so-called DREAM kids caught in the limbo of the American immigration system.
Does Picon need a bar card or a long-term job to be successful?  Nope - he just has to graduate from a fourth-tier public law school.  By somehow running the gauntlet and graduating from this fine institution, Picon is now "Exhibit A" in the utility of a social policy affecting millions.

Of course, he's a special snowflake, as well:
Picon graduated from law school last weekend with an award for having demonstrated the strongest commitment to public interest law among his peers. Previously, he won individual honors at a national moot court competition.

Picon, 26, is currently studying for his bar exams with hopes to land a job working in a Chicago courtroom either as a public defender or doing civil rights law.

In short, he’s what you might call an outstanding citizen, if not for the fact he still has no path to American citizenship.
Out of deference for the man trying to make a partisan point, please ignore that you could throw a superball in downtown Chicago and hit twenty licensed, similarly "outstanding citizens" with full citizenship who are under- or unemployed.  Never mind that slots in the public defender's office and/or doing remunerative civil rights work will have dozens upon dozens of qualified applicants for each opening.

This dude's outstanding, and if you don't amend our immigration laws and allow everyone else through, you're depriving these people of the opportunity to join the ranks of the educated poor at some point.  Being part of a saturated labor market with pseudo-prestigious credentials is a vital part of the new American dream.

Further, being educated with a post-graduate degree is the sine qua non of contributing to our fine society.  Here's Brown again:
Would [conservatives] rather Picon and those like him spend their lifetimes washing dishes in a restaurant than contributing their fullest potential to our society?
They would probably say something stupid like:
"Well, we have more of an economic demand for efficient restaurant workers than we do for low-tier law graduates, and it's incredibly condescending to assume that dishwashers aren't contributing (or can't contribute) to their fullest potential to our society.  People's societal value shouldn't be typecast by their occupation.  Moreover, skilled illegal immigrants who work in restaurants usually work their way up to line positions, which is a transferable skill even if they're deported, and one that's more in-demand than the legal sector.  Also, doc review and contract rates in the largest cities have been declining so much that with the debt or expense of school, it's entirely possible that working in a kitchen is better long-term economic option for a dedicated and intelligent worker."
But that's silly.  Everyone knows you can't be a fully actualized person unless you have multiple degrees to put on the wall, even if you have to go back to washing dishes.  Besides, working in a kitchen seems pretty JD-Advantage with all the regulations on the food service industry.

Dream on.


  1. What about half of the cohort graduating from law schools who do not get legal jobs? Since they are not practicing law, are they not living up to their potential and is Brown equally concerned? These of course are rhetorical questions. Since the white flight from law schools (admitted Caucasian applicants in Fall 2010: 41,410, and Fall 2014: 29,330 according to LSAC) I guess law schools need to pitch to a different market.

    But to answer the question, no, I would not to suggest that Picone wash dishes. I think the better alternative would be to sling lattes with the other JD alternatives. At least he'd probably have health care insurance.

  2. I would believe that a greater percentage of Mexicans in Mexico would need public interest lawyers more than folks in Chicago. Is Mr. Brown not concerened about these people?

  3. What a terrible column. The guy has no clue.

    Every time someone in the news says "law school," it should be replaced with something like "movie-star school" or "U.S. Senator school" or "bestselling-author school." The odds of becoming any of those are about the same as this kid's chances of becoming a public defender or civil-rights lawyer.

  4. But. but. but...he's a special snowflake!

  5. "Further, being educated with a post-graduate degree is the sine qua non of contributing to our fine society. Here's Brown again:

    Would [conservatives] rather Picon and those like him spend their lifetimes washing dishes in a restaurant than contributing their fullest potential to our society?"

    I would refer the moron to this article, although I doubt the pundit would bother to read anything fact-based, when those facts bitchslap him silly: