Posted by: bklunk | February 19, 2007

What Does Comprehensive Reform Mean?

Pretty much everybody agrees that comprehensive immigrations reform is needed. But that doesn’t mean change will come, or does it?

Immigration « International Studies

During his visit to Mexico, the Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that he believes a guest worker program for Mexican immigrants is a good strategy for stopping terrorists and other crinimals from crossing illegally into the United States. His explanation is that while border patrol are catching illegal immigrants and transporting them back to Mexico, criminals are getting into the United States. If border patrol did not have to worry so much about illegal immigrants, they could focus more on arresting drug dealers or terrorists. According to Chertoff, “total immigration reform that addresses economic migrants is actually an enforcement enabler because it lets us focus more on the people that we don’t want in the country under any circumstances, namely the criminals and the dangerous folks” (Americans for Legal Immigration). President Bush did propose a guest-worker program, but Congress would not consider the program. Instead they want to build more fences between the border and add more security personell. “Chertoff said National Guard troops will be phased out when the U.S. Border Patrol reaches its goal of hiring 18,319 agents, which the agency is on target to do by the end of 2008.”

It seems that no matter what the United States and Mexico do in terms of tightening up the border, that Mexicans are going to continue crossing. Therefore it seems like the governments to should figure out some other way of lessening illegal immigrants. The proposed guest-worker program seems like a good idea, but the only problem is how they would determine who qualifies for the program and who doesn’t. It doesn’t mean that all of a sudden every immigrant who wants to enter the United States is going to get a guest-worker visa, and those that don’t will probably still cross illegally. This issue of immigration is very complex. It is clear that the United States government does need to consider other options in terms of letting immigrants into the country, but it is very difficult to come up with a solution that will limit illegal immigration.
Sources: NY Times “Mexico: US Security Chief in First Visit” and Americans for Legal Immigration

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  1. I have to start off saying that this January I went to the border for two weeks to learn about immigration so I might be a bias but I do have some basis for my arguments. I wholeheartedly agree that what the United States needs is a guest worker program. A common misperception people have about immigrants is that they want to come to the United States. In a sense, they do for money, but only because they want to feed their family and give their children an education and a chance at a better life. Most from Mexico, Central America, and South America would much rather stay where their roots are. Where they have an identity and support base. Where there home is. However, the economic conditions in these countries don’t allow that.

    The problem with immigration is that you never going to fix it by putting up walls. As long as people keep trying to enter the United States there will be some that will get through, and every deterrent you place in front of them will not matter if the incentive to cross is to feed their children. Immigrants will bear any hardship and make any sacrifice to provide for their children.

    Obviously we cannot let everyone in with the guest worker program. There needs to be security. However, when I was in El Paso the Border Patrol said that at best only 10% of those who are crossing the border are doing so for some sort of criminal activity (human trafficking or drugs). Although there are plenty of good people trying to cross there are bad people as well. The guest worker program isn’t perfect but it will give these immigrants a chance to support their family without fear of deportation or reliance on coyotes (guides). It will also be beneficial to the United States as well as it will alleviate the high costs of agents. Could you imagine what could happen if the salaries of the 18,319 agents would be used as foreign aid to these countries? How about the cost of technology that the border patrol uses? That would probably be more affective in dealing with the immigration problem.

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