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South Texas, The Border And Immigration Reform

With Jane Clayson in for Tom Ashbrook.

As the Senate debate over immigration heats up, we go to South Texas, the new front line in the battle over illegal border crossings.

Border Texas

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection vehicle passes along the border fence in Brownsville, Texas. (Eric Gay/AP)

Washington is up to its neck with immigration talk.

The Senate debate rages on over a big bill that could promise citizenship or demand a solid border — possibly both. House Republicans are staking out their own tough legislation. And President Obama is praising border security and pushing progress.

But the story’s only half finished. Big changes along the border.

Illegal migrant crossings have spiked in South Texas for the first time in a decade, putting it at the center of a heated debate.

This hour, On Point: As Washington talks immigration reform, we go south to the border.

Guests

Christopher Sherman, Rio Grande correspondent for the Associated Press, where he covers border security. (@chrisshermanAP)

Benny Martinez, chief deputy in the Sheriff’s Department for the County of Brooks and former Texas state police officer for 29 years.

Alan Gomez, immigration reporter for USA Today. (@alangomez)

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • AC

    i wish you could find a Mexican official to speak, i understand their laws are even more horrible for illegals…i’d like to know if there’s any truth to that. also, what percentage of illegal border crossing is drug trafficking? what class of drugs? what if we experimented w/allowing certain legalization of them around the borders?

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      because there is so much drug trafficking our border is as porous as swiss cheese if we legalized drugs the cartels would cease to exist (they have killed over 60,000 Mexicans) and we could actually focus on keeping people out who do not come here legally and we might have the resources to do so

      • Yar

        They will move to other more profitable crimes, they won’t cease to exist.  Human trafficing for example, they already do it, they will just make it a bigger part of their business model. Exploiters exploit, they don’t just quit.  

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          much more risk and much lower demand and much lower profit. drug dealing and trafficking is the most profitable lowest risk crime around. when we ended alcohol prohibition the murder rate dropped 99% so I do not believe your theory. many of the bootleggers went legit like Prescott Bush and Joe Kennedy Sr and junior johnson

  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

    border security is a joke. billions of dollars of illegal goods and individuals cross our border every year. we can never ever have a secure border as long as we prohibit drugs. prohibition creates cartels and the money needed to bribe guards or pay people to take risks. our border is only as secure as the lowest paid guard. these Nazi checkpoints don’t make us safer and while they are a joke now it would not take many secret laws to make them a real bad thing
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MqMrmu9K8A

  • John Cedar

    Have to give you credit for using the word “illegal” boarder crossings. Even if it is like calling a bank robber an illegal “borrower”. It is still better than calling a bank robber an “undocumented” borrower. But not as good as calling a bank robber a bank  robber.

    Now if you could stop repeating the misnomer vague term “reform”, which serves only one purpose.
    Try substituting the word perversion in place of “reform”. It works in every AP story where they use the word and it always fits better and is more accurate.

    Now if you talked about abortion reform or public union reform you would be on to something. Try replacing the word “rights” with the word “reform” in every AP story.

    • Yar

      What would Jesus do? Who was illegal in his reform of the church?  Who was perverted in his eyes.  Who should be exploited?

      • John Cedar

        He would allow them to be crucified, one on either side of himself. Promise them heaven for later.

        He also famously said, “thou shalt not take moochers into thy hut”.

        • Steve__T

            Ive seen more illegals willing to do any work. And Ive seen twice as many more Americans standing on corners with a sign and their hands out. Will work for food my butt, I told a guy Id pay him $10 an hour to do yard work, he turned me down, he could have made $75-80 bucks in one day.

  • Steve_in_Vermont

    I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Here in Vermont illegal immigrants can obtain a Vermont drivers license at the DMV and drive legally on our highways.

    • Yar

      You have a problem with that? You don’t think people should have a license and car insurance before they drive a car?

      • Steve_in_Vermont

        My “problem” is that they are here illegally, let alone being given a drivers license. I have several friends who are immigrants, having jumped through hoops (including large financial ones) for years before gaining citizenship. And they feel as I do. This makes a farce of the law, telling people it’s against the law for you to be here but…and I’m not the only person who feels this way.

        • Yar

          We make a farce of many laws, like driving over the speed limit, or using the cell phone while driving or worse driving after drinking.  Other than papers, most of the undocumented follow our laws better than the rest of us do.  Model citizens don’t you think so?

        • Steve__T

           Your friends drive cars for those years, before gaining their citizenship?

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          I have known people who earned their citizenship or visas. that’s the right way to do it. no other country would really tolerate it if you snuck in and lived there without a visa. not only that it creates an underclass of people who can be abused.  much of the economy in the southwest and California and other places depends on cheap illegal labor by workers who are exploited

        • jefe68

          Do have a figure for all those illegal immigrants in Vermont?

          The figure for illegal immigrants for Vermont are estimated to be about 5000 out of a population at about 626,431.

          I know of one legal immigrant, who recently gained citizenship, who does not agree with you or your immigrant friends.
          Well there goes that theory. 

          • Steve_in_Vermont

            I guess if one legal immigrant doesn’t agree with me that completely debunks that theory. Now to find one scientist who doesn’t agree with global warming…. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      are there a lot of undocumented Québécois’s riding around up there? if so that stinks because they are terrible drivers 

  • Yar

    Border security as the first step to immigration reform is a red herring, republicans don’t want change, no path to citizenship, no legalization, no employer accountability.  They don’t want to send undocumented immigrants back to their country of origin either.  They  want to continue the current system for as long as possible.  Pay cash under the table with wage theft and no recourse for slave labor conditions.  It is the politics of exploitation!  Deconstruct the security first scenario, it is the same MO used by southern states to desegregate with “all deliberate speed.” I object to a slow path to citizenship and subjective conditions because it will be abused. Immigrants become indentured servants for ten years to a ‘good-old-boy’ network that abuses their labor through corrupt law enforcement.  American jobs should be done by citizens and every person who works should be made citizens immediately along with their children. Now is the time to end slavery in America once and for all!  Who is the party of Lincoln? Not republicans who refuse to pass fair imigration reform!

    • William

       Both Republicans and Democrats have been bought off by the business community and those so called “immigrants rights” groups.

      • northeaster17

        What do you mean by so called immigrant rights groups?

        • jefe68

          You know, “those immigrant groups”…

          The GOP is the party of calcified detritus made up of regressive ideology. Of which William seems to support.
            

          • William

            Got that race card at your side at all times huh?….

          • jefe68

            Funny how the right seems to think by turning the idea of race around so that it’s someone else’s issue that makes their ideology OK.

            Race card? Buddy you’re bigotry intolerance are there.
            It’s not me, it’s you.

          • 1Brett1

            I’m tired of bigots saying someone else is a bigot for pointing out their bigotry

        • William

           There are many people that have made a career and lots of money “fighting for illegal immigrant rights”. They are just another self-serving group of people making a profit and trying to obtain power by using the illegals. 

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Submitted without comment.

          • Dan Brown

            I work for profit, as well. That’s capitalism, baby! 

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            are they community organizers?

    • AC

      as an immigrant, i have to say, there is an element of resentment, like getting cut off by an aggressive driver that feels unfair to me. i waited on the on ramp, they should too…
      course, that’s all perception, but that’s how it feels…

      • Yar

        Read the parable of the workers in the field.  Each was paid a days wage regardless of when they started to work. I am sure the natives we treated so badly when our fathers “immigrated” have resentment as well.  Who should be excluded from community?  If you work in America then I think you deserve citizenship if you want it. 

        • AC

          you can not just have an influx of a population w/o adjusting for infrastructure & resource supplies. that costs money, & can be an unfair burden to introduce to a poorer community – look at 99% of refugee camps – total nightmare of illness, crime & exploitation. things MUST be done with order!!!! or maybe that’s just my uptight engineering side?

          • Yar

            We have plenty of work that needs to be done.  Passenger rail, post chemical farming, sustainable energy.  We need creativity and labor.  Be the shining nation that all aspire to join, not the selfish nation who says we got ours.  We can keep order while allowing our country to grow in population.  We need to allow young people in just to lower our average population age.  Baby boomers will sink the ship without immigration.

          • AC

            i don’t disagree with any of this, but there needs to be ORDER to it, which you agree too – that means a process, you can’t just subvert the process!! that’s all i’m saying, i feel like there’s a downright bullyish aspect to this, esp since i do feel most actual illegal movement is purely for drug trafficking. I asked some questions in that regard and need answers first, otherwise, i am still firmly against change of that magnitude (i’m a foot trudger tho, i hate pressure!!)

          • Yar

            Look at the root causes of drug activity.  Hopelessness and escape, jobs and immigration can address both. We need to stop exploitation.

          • AC

            and greed. you forgot greed.
            i think you’re nicer than i am, i’m a cynic, esp against groups decapitating their enemies head & laying it out in playgrounds for the town’s children to see….

          • Yar

            Drugs and immigration are separate issues.  We can deprive the cartels of drug mules though immigration reform.

          • AC

            wait, if we were originally talking about the necessity of maintain order and process, how does subverting the process NOT help wthe drug trafficker that it helps? omg. i see like 1 letter at a time in  this respsonse….what is wrong w/disques? why don’t they fix any of their issues???

          • AC

            & power. greed and power.

          • Steve_in_Vermont

            Nice reply. I also am a skeptic and concerned politics is driving this, not thoughtful deliberation.

          • Dan Brown

            It seems if people can earn money and live here and somehow avoid paying into the system, that’s more a problem of how we tax than their lack of industriousness. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        you are right to feel that way.  I wonder if people would be as sympathetic if people used forged handicapped stickers to park in the spaces

  • northeaster17

    Closing the border and legalizing drugs will deprive law enforcement and our prison complex from their
    two most important assets. Money and bodies. The fight will be a long one.  

    • Yar

      Different side of the same coin:
      They will move to other “crimes.”  The jailer will call up the sheriff and say I need more bodies, send me some “criminals.” Exploiters exploit, they don’t just quit.

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        maybe political prisoners? the “exploiters” are the prison industrial complex right?

  • northeaster17

    This talk on illegal immigration goes on and on. One question rarely addressed is why are so many are so desparete to come to the U.S. I’ve read that Mexico is a nation of farmers. How has U.S. agricultural policy and treaties affected how small Mexican farmers make their living?

    • Don_B1

      NAFTA was initially a big problem for the small Mexican farmer. It allowed U.S. agricultural exports to underprice the small farmer, putting many out of business and because they did not understand the GMO corn was for food only, many planted it as they were accustomed to do, ruining the ability to grow “natural” corn indefinitely.

      With the downturn in the Mexican economy that was simultaneously taking place (losing in competition with China, etc.) until with high transportation costs, being closer to the U.S., its economy (no balance sheet depression) has been growing faster than in the U.S.

      Many, if not most, undocumented immigrants were lured here by explicit ads placed by U.S. businessmen telling about available work. But being undocumented means that the employer can get away with not paying the worker and even committing crimes (rape, theft, etc.) against them.

      U.S. agricultural policy has subsidized the production of food and much of this food is exported to countries where it competes against local farmers driving them off their farms. Mexico is no exception.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      our drug policy has created international cartels there that harass the farmers and everyone else

      • RG1808

        When one says legal immigrants iit implies valid visas and travel documents issued by immigration . This gets extended on a prolonged basis as parallel application for residency (green catd) goes through convoluted stages. Because of a backlog there is no end in sight for contributing and law abiding immigrants since attention is on illegals.

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          I don’t see what your comment has to do with mine

          • RG1808

            My response was in reply to your comment:”you have to get your visa before you come.” This was in response to my first comment.

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            I am all for people who get visas and come here go through all the hoops and I understand it can be quite a hassle, that’s why I respect that. what’s no good is people who sneak in or get a visa for a visit or something and then do not leave when it expires. I had a college friend who got a student visa and later work visas and yup it is a pain in the butt.

  • RG1808

    There is abundant focus and effort on “illegal” immigrants and what shocks me most is that no effort is spent on the law abiding, hard working immigrants contributing to the economy, following every rule that there is and yet nothing is done to speed up the process of “backlogged” applications for the green card. This sends a message that being “illegal” is ok. Is it?

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      you have to get your visa before you come

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    I’m just relieved that Sheriff Joe Arapaio isn’t going to be on the air here today.

  • OnpointListener

    I would like to know if the illegal flow of people from across the border into Texas correlates with crime rates and, if so, what types of crimes.

  • OnpointListener

    Slightly off point – but does anyone know how the Port Aranasas/ Mustang Island area has been affected?

  • M S

    It’s clear that our country continues to be invaded and that President Obama doesn’t care. He continues to lie about the problem and it seems like he’d rather waring in the Middle East than protecting our country at the border.

    • jefe68

      Please, invaded? Immigration has gone down as the economy tanked. By the way, where did your ancestors hail from? 

      • M S

        My ancestors have been here before the founding of this country, so I think I have a say in the matter.

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          yes the exact same “say” as every other citizen.

    • Don_B1

      President Obama has:

      1) Increased the deportation of undocumented workers and their families to the point of quadrupling or more the number deported by the G.W. Bush administration.

      2) The spending on new and improved fences and surveillance of the border has increased similarly.

      As jefe68 noted, with the reduced employment of the Lesser Depression, the reduced demand for immigrants has greatly reduced the number of immigrants illegally crossing the border or overstaying their visas. The faster growing economy of Mexico has also contributed to more Mexicans finding work at home.

      What in the above facts indicate that President Obama does not care about the immigration problem?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Patrick-Dwyer-Jr/100002088204784 James Patrick Dwyer Jr.

    I saw on the discovery channel that any Mexican that helped a foreigner the was in his land illegally was sent to prison. I guarantee you that if anyone that hires an illegal and the CEO of that company was sent to the pen, in two days there would be no problem with illegals in this country.

    • Don_B1

      Name a Republican who would actually vote for that provision, other than to claim that s/he would.

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        would a democrat?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Patrick-Dwyer-Jr/100002088204784 James Patrick Dwyer Jr.

    We are a land of immigrants, we all have been reminded of that many times. I can well remember the millions of Irish that sneaked into our country and demanded citizenship, don’t you?

    • AC

      o that’s interesting! i didn’t know that! but there are cautionary tales w/urbanization and exploitation there you are avoiding…

  • Bluejay2fly

    Jane better stick to reading the news she has absolutely no charisma.

  • M S

    Chuck Schumer is another liar in this debate and is not to be trusted to do what is right for the country.

    • northeaster17

      Maybe a fence can be put around New York to keep all the unpatriotic folks who vote for his type undeer control. Typical Hannity Limbaugh response. Reading from the script.

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        I think they made a movie about that

  • 1Brett1

    I inadvertently turned this show on…after about five minutes I turned it off thinking that if I wanted to get this kind of set-up to the debate about immigration reform, I’d tune into Megyn Kelly or Greta Van Susteren later.  

    • M S

      Don’t care to hear the truth?

      • Steve__T

         Hypocrite much? 

        • M S

          Nope.

      • 1Brett1

        Don’t care to reduce a complex issue to its lowest common denominator to skew the lens with which the issue is discussed, but apparently you neocons do.

        • M S

          Too bad you didn’t hear the conversation. It was exactly NOT what you thought is was going to be. It was simply the truth as opposed to what that liar Obama preaches.

  • dt03044

    It’s hard to believe after decades of inaction, we still haven’t secured the border.  John McCain had it right……”build the dang fence”!   Those Canadians keep sneaking in here to take our jobs and get our health care…….wait, what?

  • M S

    Refugees!?! What are they fleeing from? A poor economy? No one in Central America is starving and there are no wars.

    • adks12020

      Are you serious!? Some of the poorest, most violent countries in the world are in Central and South America.

      • M S

        First, they are bringing that type of violence here…ever here of MS13? And the cartels are actively operating in the U.S. and it seems like you don’t care that they are pumping drugs into our country; I tend to blame the dealer and not the addict. Secondly, most of the violence occurring is between rivals in the drug trade and only a small percentage involve truly innocent people. There are whole families taking part in the trade, including mothers, aunts, and sisters..not just the men. We all know drugs are evil so why should I feel sorry for them?

        • dust truck

          lemme guess, your’e a gun owner who keeps a fully loaded/safety off gun in arms-reach at all times, huh?  Has O’bama come for your guns yet?  GOTTA BE READY!

          • M S

            No, I don’t own a gun, I shun violence…shows what sort of judge of a person you are…

          • dust truck

            Sorry, your paranoia reminded me of gun nuts.

          • M S

            Perhaps you’re the paranoid one then.

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          I blame the prohibitionists. things are not evil, people are

          • M S

            Oh, please. I’m so tired of you ‘legalize everything’ people. Look, most illegal drugs have negative side effects and do cause harm to both individuals and society. Now you are going to talk about pot…fine, but there are way worse drugs coming over the border including cocaine and meth. Perhaps we should adjust sentences for possession, but that’s about it…traffickers should get the death penalty.

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            so oxycontin and adderol and xanex do not have any side effects? seems like every day I see a new “medication” with a list of side effects that should scare anyone off and another ad for another ad that is recruiting for plaintiffs harmed by prescription drugs. the meth does not come from the border ( a little does since they  put it behind the counter at the pharmacy) it comes from the pharmacy and is sold by large corporations and they make billions and that legal.
             meth is a problem in America because cocaine was banned and the penalties made so severe. its a matter of economics. prohibition always creates market failures.  cocaine was made so expensive a cheap alternative was needed and viola, meth!
            most drugs are in fact pot. its far and away the most popular. this is a “drug” that’s safer than coffee and has never caused an overdose yet it is more illegal than cocaine. adjusting sentences wont do anything to get rid of cartels, gangs, and poverty.
            hey if you need a dozen hits of meth the traffickers have a “product locater” on their website
            http://www.sudafed.com/productlocator

    • Steve__T

       I think that your knowledge of Central America is woefully incorrect. Try the link below to get a better insight and history, then make one.

      http://kids.britannica.com/comptons/article-198408/Central-America

      • M S

        So, where am I wrong? They are fleeing poor economies, not wars, they are coming to find work. I’d be hesitant to call them ‘refugees’.

        • Steve__T

           See reply from adks12020 below.

          • M S

            Yes, I replied to him. Violence also abounds here. Does that give me the right to cross into Canada illegally? No.

          • dust truck

            Violence abounds here?? Are you for real?  Even taking into account the mass murders in the past 6 months, the US still doesn’t compare to the hell of living in a central american nation.

            EDIT: nevermind adks12020 already called you on your bs

          • M S

            I know some parts of the Bronx where the residents would disagree with you. Anyway, it still does not give them the right to enter the U.S. illegally. Period.

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          el Salvador has had some terrible internal strife that’s why we have ms 13. the Mexicans must flee the war on drugs

          • M S

            MS-13 was actually started here by illegal immigrants in California and then it was deported back to El Salvador, now it’s come back again.

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            why do you think they came here in the first place?

          • M S

            Originally, they came here after the civil wars in Central America in 80′s, which is not why they are coming now. Now they are here to pillage and take advantage of the hard work my family did in making this country great. Regardless, escaping a civil unrest is no reason to be criminally-minded and be involved with drug trafficking, robbery, larceny, human trafficking, extortion, illegal immigration, murder, prostitution, racketeering, battery, kidnapping and arms trafficking. We definitely want more of these people in the country. Unbelievable.

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            they were refugees from a war that we can be sure was financed by drug money created by our prohibition policies. I don’t want these sort of refugees either. the only way to prevent this sort of thing would be to shut down our drug war and cut off all the money for wars and cartels and the CIA

  • Yar

    50 percent of agriculture workers are undocumented? Your guest just explained why we don’t reform immigration policy in one sentence.  As a small scale farmer I am for citizenship for farm workers as a way to raise the value of my own work.  I am competing with the slave wages paid to undocumented agriculture workers.

    • William

       How many of those new farm workers would stay on the farm after obtaining citizenship? Also, are you willing to provide their medical insurance, housing, food, higher wages to prevent them from going onto any welfare programs?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        are you willing to provide their medical insurance, housing, food,
        higher wages to prevent them from going onto any welfare programs?

        Walmart calling on line one. Cos if you’re gonna ask Yar, ask the company who paid $11M to settle a suit about that.

  • Dan Brown

    It seems to me that we can throw lots and lots of money at this problem. But how big a problem is it, really? Is it worth the kinds of resources and laws we’re considering passing?

    I think people get so entrenched in their ideological positions — immigrant rights or enforcing the law because it is the law — that we tend to forget that we as a nation need to consider if this is really even a problem worth addressing. 

    Do illegals use up public resources? If someone lives, works, and buys things in our country, that seems more a problem of our Byzantine income tax system than anything. 

    Do illegals commit more crimes? Some say yes, some say no. But given the rash of gun violence in our society, it seems we have a larger domestic problem to worry about and, besides, if the problem is drugs, the surest way to kill a black market is to legalize the activity. 

    Do illegals cause any other problems for society? Well, there’s evidence to suggest that wage-depression is a real phenomenon, but it seems to me that if illegals could go to Wage and Hour and file legal complaints against their employers, without fear of deportation, then that would do a lot to help alleviate that problem, as well.  

    We can spend a lot of time and money trying to solve the root cause of the problem — illegal immigration — but it seems to me that a lot of the problems of immigration, other than the fundamental fairness issue, in regards to the treatment of legal immigrants (and what is that worth to us?), can be addressed by other means. 

    I just think we need to look at this pragmatically, that’s all, and question if maybe other routes of reform might solve the real symptoms of the problem without throwing billions at securing and militarizing a portion of our own country in a possibly futile effort.

    • Dan Brown

      As an aside, I do believe a nation has a right to secure their borders as they see fit. I just wonder if maybe this problem isn’t being over-stated and if the cure is worse (costlier) than the “disease”. 

    • William

      Don’t we have an obligation to the poor in this country to prevent a massive influx of low skilled workers? Also, why are we allowing countries such as Mexico to export their poor and refuse to reform their economy, culture etc…

      • Dan Brown

        If we have an obligation to the poor (many conservatives would call this a debatable proposition), a better question to ask is how did they get to be poor in the first place and what can we do as a society to help them acquire skills? 

        Besides which, allowing illegals to complain and litigate for their wages (the employers are still obliged to pay what is legally mandated by law) would help that as well. 

        Again, it seems a domestic concern.

        The internal affairs of other countries are not our concern. We can only look at who’s coming, and why, and what mechanisms we might use to address the “problem”.

        But as I see it, it seems a cooler-headed response, changing the laws to make it easier for society to close that premium employers can reap by skirting the law, would go a long way to solve the problem. If all costs are equal, all that matters is who’s willing to do the work.

        • William

          We provide a free education up to grade 12 so society has not abandoned the poor. An economy that has an excessive amount of cheap labor will only punish the poor.
          Of course, the internal affairs of countries such as Mexico is our concern. They have a national policy of exporting their poor and encouraging them to send back billions of dollars to Mexico.
          How to address it should start with reducing the access to our country by their poor.
          It is not really a matter of people willing to work, but at what wage? Why keep wages low for just the poor and allow the well educated to escape the same economic pressure? If we had 100,000 doctors coming across the border each year, and working for much cheaper fees we would the medical community here stand for that?

          • Dan Brown

            If K-12 education alone were sufficient, they would not be poor. Clearly, there are other mechanisms and societal failings at work. 

            The medical community is well-organized and well-represented. The traditional means for the lower socioeconomic classes to raise the value of labor and win political representation en masse – labor unions – have been systematically undone by our own laws, trade policies, and societal prejudices. We cannot blame immigrants alone for our growing socioeconomic stagnation. 

            But, again, if everything is a matter of cost-of-labor, then it seems to me that if you can raise the costs to employ all workers by allowing them to organize themselves and represent themselves to the proper authorities without fear of reprisal, regardless of legal status, then the issue of wage depression is essentially moot. 

            Besides, they would not come here if employers did not employ them. To target the border does not address the root cause, but it is politically unfashionable to suggest that Americans ought to pay more for services or that “job creators” should be punished for creating jobs for the wrong people.  

            Mexico has long been in our sphere of influence. American policies affect them just as much as their policies affect us. I’m not sure taking a militant approach to them is the best, or most cost-effective, way to deal with the “problem” of them losing their labor force to American employers and Americans, in turn, enjoying lower costs-of-services as a result. It is a dysfunctional government and an intensely polarized class structure. It cannot be reformed from without. 

            But if justice is the real concern here, is it anymore just to punish a people for their industriousness than it is that our own poor should bear the brunt, as you suggest, of them being here IF the situation for both could be easily resolved by a handful of (I would say sorely needed) tax and labor market reforms that would probably benefit both Americans and illegals?

            What you’re endorsing could prove to be a costly boondoggle – into perpetuity, no less – when a more pragmatic approach of instituting reforms this country needs anyway would just as easily solve the symptoms of the problem, if not actually stem the tide of immigration? 

            I see here many ways of achieving more-or-less the same affect. What I haven’t heard is why doubling-down on what hasn’t worked, tightening the border, is any better than the more unorthodox tax and labor market proposals that we could entertain.

  • J P Fitzsimmons

    How about this solution. You get caught hiring an undocumented alien, the alien gets automatic legal residency and you get full responsibility for their health care, decent housing and a decent job at a competitive wage.

    • Steve__T

       I like it but It’ll never happen.

    • dust truck

      What? Holding the 1% accountable for their crimes??? Perish the thought.  

    • ExcellentNews

      You clearly do not think like a corporate CEO or a banker. How about this:

      Step 1: hire an undocumented worker

      Step 2: pay them slave-labor wages, work them 20 hours-day

      Step 3: dump them on the taxpayer expense when they get too tired, sick or old to “compete”

      Step 4: get a 50% tax cut and 100% inheritance tax cut on the profits thus made

      Step 5: hire some shills on talk radio to proclaim in a rich deep baritone voice that the Democrats are to blame.

  • Mattyster

    How to stop drug smugglers?  Legalize drugs!

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      yup that’s the clear solution yet we have allowed the slaughter of 60,000 mexicans

  • tt_tiara

    Did NAFTA allow cheap US corn to flow into Mex. putting marginal Mex. corn farmers out of business and causing them to seek work in in US? The gasohol play then sent corn prices soaring for a double whammy, no work and higher food prices?

  • notafeminista
  • William

    So why make the situation worse?

  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

    people blow the debate out of proportion I guess about as many  undocumented Mexicans come as go so its not a crisis. if anything its trending down. if we really wanted to help them go home we would end our war on drugs which has forced many people to leave mexico

  • mercy2013

    I work with the Sisters of Mercy, Catholic nuns who run schools, hospitals, health clinics, colleges and social service agencies.  We work with immigrants.  We also have sisters in Central American telling us why people are leaving their countries.  To the question posed: “what do you want to tell politicians in Washington,” I would say–and say to all Americans–to pause and reflect on: “WHY are people fleeing their countries?” 

    In large part, it is because we/US economic and political policies are creating immigrants by the thousands every month. We have to recognize our responsibility and stop this scapegoating and blaming them. Of course we need border security to address organized crime and drug dealers.  But the majority of people are crossing because our free trade policies and militarization of the region–that have left people desperate.  In El Salvador, for example, it is cheaper for people to buy corn from Iowa than from their own farmers because of subsidizing agribusiness, and more.

    After implementing the No. American Free Trade Act (NAFTA), 1.4 million Mexican farms went under, causing 600,00 Mexicans to leave their families, desperate in search of work in the U.S.

    We need to shift the focus, and change these policies

  • Steve__T

    Disqus placement.

     Ive seen more illegals willing to do any work. And Ive seen twice as many more Americans standing on corners with a sign and their hands out. Will work for food my butt, I told a guy Id pay him $10 an hour to do yard work, he turned me down, he could have made $75-80 bucks in one day.
    Edit: Seems he would rather someone just give him money than work for it.

  • ExcellentNews

    The real question is not why “illegal aliens” are flooding America.

    The real question is to where the American middle class will flee,  once the corporate oligarchy has transformed the USA into a banana republic competitive with the banana republics these people are fleeing.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 29, 2014
The U.S. Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (AP)

The “Do-Nothing” Congress just days before August recess. We’ll look at the causes and costs to the country of D.C. paralysis.

Jul 29, 2014
This April 28, 2010 file photo, shows the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, Mont. Colstrip figures to be a target in recently released draft rules from the Environmental Protection Agency that call for reducing Montana emissions 21 percent from recent levels by 2030. (AP)

A new sci-fi history looks back on climate change from the year 2393.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 28, 2014
U.S. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker watches as wounded American soldiers arrive at an American hospital near the front during World War I. (AP Photo)

Marking the one hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One. We’ll look at lessons learned and our uneasy peace right now.

 
Jul 28, 2014
This June 4, 2014 photo shows a Walgreens retail store in Boston. Walgreen Co. _ which bills itself as “America’s premier pharmacy” _ is among many companies considering combining operations with foreign businesses to trim their tax bills. (AP)

American companies bailing out on America. They call it inversion. Is it desertion?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
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In the odd chance that our pie hour this week made you hungry — how could it not, right? — we asked our piemaking guests for some of their favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘The [Russian] Reset Worked’
Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

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