I disagree with a bunch of you on some points.
I live near the border, in what was formerly Mexico. There is a centuries old custom of going back and forth over the border as many families are spread out over the two countries. People were always going to a birthday party or funeral in Mexico, to a Quinceinera (like a Bat Mitzva, a girl’s 15th birthday coming-out party) here.
Now it’s really difficult to do that! Why? Because you can’t get back. A friend of a friend was just held up for 3 days while they double and triple checked his papers. He had gone to Mexico because his grandmother was sick. He was a citizen and born here. Boy, is he mad!
Illegal and legal workers do not return home. Instead they now stay here, because it is too difficult to pass the border stations to get back.
The immigration system is broken. We need new laws. It has become impossible to enter or re-enter legally. The wait can be YEARS. Other countries, like Switzerland, have a huge foreign worker percentage yet manage this much better.
So, heck yes we need to deal with the immigration problem. This was a platform that George Bush, a border state governor who spoke Spanish, campaigned on. As soon as he was elected his overlords–Cheney, Rove, et al-- reined him in: “No, George, that will be too unpopular. You don’t want to be unpopular!”
We need fast, speedy visas for those valuable foreign scientists, MD’s, and entrepreneurs who are now going to Canada, Australia, and Great Britain because the US Immigration can’t get their paperwork done. We are losing those most valuable immigrant brains. Those immigrant brains are the first wave of innovation–just look at internet innovators, many foreign-born.
We need to quickly legalize the people who have been here for years working, paying taxes, and who have American-born children. I personally know dozens. They are an asset to this country. I can’t think of a single family on welfare, but I can think of many who hold down two or three jobs.
Their kids go in the service and many become Border Patrol officers since they must be bilingual. We need a fast track for legalizing them. How about any family with a kid in the U.S. Military gets green cards and on the 5-year list for naturalization? This would give a numbers boost of thousands to our military.
So the problem as I see it it that the bottle neck has now gotten so narrow that it is spilling over. I have also heard that workers are being forced at gunpoint to become marijuana mules–do it, or die right here.
My bet is that Obama has the guts to even tackle immigration. After the Health Care Wars, he will have grown a thick-enough skin to deal with that deferred problem as well.
Funny how the Republicans haven’t seemed to have the backbone to solve anything in years. Guess this administration is gonna have to do it. I am 100% behind immigration reform.