Why immigration reform trumps border security

LatinaLista — In an online CNN Q & A that attempts to explain the federal lawsuit against Arizona’s SB1070, the cable news network cites a series of polls that show the majority of Americans favor the Arizona bill.

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According to the article:

Most of the surveys also indicate that a vast majority want border security beefed up, and that most Americans also favor giving illegal immigrants now living in the U.S. the right to live here legally if they pay a fine and meet other requirements. When asked which issue is most important, a majority of voters say border security trumps immigration reform as the top priority for the federal government.

To say that border security trumps immigration reform is — if I may borrow the term from a rather well-known alien — illogical. While GOP politicians and supporters of SB1070 like to throw out this argument in response to the immigration reform issue, the truth of the matter is that they use this argument because they know there is no way for any country to completely keep their borders from being breached.

Every student who has studied the history of the Berlin Wall knows how much trouble the East Germans had in keeping people from breaching their fortified and guarded border.

No, be assured that when someone is saying that they won’t consider immigration reform until the border is secure, it’s another way of saying they have no intention of working on immigration reform — ever.

Yet, for those people who believe the pundits and the GOP politicians who say border security comes before immigration reform, it’s time to see the two issues for what they are and not what some would have us believe.

For starters, violence at the U.S.-Mexico border is down.

El Paso and five other large cities on or near the border reported decreases in crime from 2008 to 2009 — the peak years of Mexico’s drug cartel wars — according to FBI statistics.

The southwest border is also becoming safer, and border cities are among the nation’s safest. Phoenix and other large border (and near-border) cities have some of the nation’s lowest crime rates, including San Diego, El Paso and Austin. Furthermore, there is no evidence of “spillover” of violence from Mexico. El Paso, Texas, has three bridges leading directly into Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, the city that has suffered the most casualties as a result of Mexico’s deadly war on drug cartels, which has claimed 23,000 lives since 2006.

El Paso experienced only 12 murders in 2009, which was actually down from 17 in 2008. San Diego, Calif., saw 41 murders in 2009, down from 55 in 2008, and Tucson, Ariz., experienced 35 in 2009, a significant decrease from the 65 murders committed in 2008. Claims of spillover violence are clearly overblown.

There’s nothing the United States can do to eradicate violence on the Mexican side of the border but from all accounts it looks like U.S. border officials are doing their job, even before receiving that promised influx of National Guard troops.

Does this drop in violence mean our southern border is not being breached via illegal immigration? Of course not, but it does mean that the level of violent bloodshed as seen on the Mexican side of the border isn’t materializing on our side to the same extent that is being falsely implied either.

And when we talk about border security, isn’t this the kind of security that is uppermost in people’s minds? No one wants to see what is happening in Mexico — the flagrant use of violence to manipulate society — find its way into American communities.

But what about the “terrorists” who sneak across the border? While anything is possible, the idea that terrorists are using our southern border to infiltrate the U.S. isn’t something that our government’s intelligence sees as a viable threat.

It bears repeating that all the 9/11 terrorists were men who came here legally and had visas or overstayed their visas. In fact, the majority of undocumented immigrants today are ones that came through the proper legal channels and overstayed their visas — and that’s why immigration reform trumps border security.

Border security deals with one geographic location. Immigration reform extends throughout the country into every community and work site. Reforming immigration would properly identify 11 million people. Faces would be matched with names and legal documents. Employers will be held accountable.

No longer would people be working or living in the proverbial shadows. They would be required to register. If there was someone who wasn’t registered, their presence would be a red flag to federal officials.

Also, only through immigration reform can a real system be created that would keep better track of people who enter the country on a visa and be alerted to detain those who overstay their visa without proper permission.

Border security doesn’t do that.

Immigration reform would reunite families legally and eliminate the illegal re-entry of parents, spouses and siblings trying to get back to their families from a deportation.

Try as it might, no level of border security will keep a family separated.

Immigration reform is badly needed for one overriding reason — national security.

Border security alone pales in comparison when it comes to securing the whole nation — and this is what immigration reform is all about.

 

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6 Comments

  1. kyledeb said:

    I’m glad someone is pushing back on this ridiculousness. The media is giving politicians a pass on this stupid talking point.

  2. sympathetic avatar said:

    Your first point is illogical. This is not an all-or-nothing case; the desire to improve border security is not the same as demanding that nobody ever crosses the border or overstays their visa (that pesky 40%) ever or ever or ever.
    Most border enforcement types are fairly reasonable, and they understand that what we need to do is *improve* upon border security.
    It’s kinda like crime. There is absolutely nothing you could possibly do to eliminate crime from the world. People get desperate. They get hot-headed. Sometimes they just think they’re too cool for societal conventions. All the police in the world aren’t going to stop that—so should we just drop the whole police thing altogether?
    Or should we attempt to improve the situation, whether it be through education, after school programs, community outreach, and increase/improvement in police ranks?
    I think the all-or-nothing approach is more a logical fallacy presented by the anti-enforcement folks than it is a demand/wish/even-believed-to-be-a-possibility on the part of enforcement folks.

  3. Robert Emery said:

    The fact is American businesses, and therefore the local, state and federal governments, do not want to stop the flow of cheap, exploitable labor to America. Instead, politicians want to reap the political and economic benefit of illegal immigrants and, at the same time, assume a tough and patriotic posture for the angry American citizens who want to blame someone or something for the mismanagement of their beloved homeland.
    Eliminate the jobs that the illegal immigrants find here all too easily and you will reduce the problem significantly. But businesses large and small and our politicians will never do that. They would rather write laws that undermine the Constitution.

  4. Pepito said:

    I like it – excellent analysis of the overall illegal immigrant problem. This is why I do not believe Fox and the GOP when they claim their fanatical stance on border security is not about race.

  5. Cindi Jane said:

    “To say that border security trumps immigration reform is — if I may borrow the term from a rather well-known alien — illogical. While GOP politicians and supporters of SB1070 like to throw out this argument in response to the immigration reform issue, the truth of the matter is that they use this argument because they know there is no way for any country to completely keep their borders from being breached.”
    Really, the interests of foreigners trumps that of citrizens? I think we know where your loyalty lies.
    “Every student who has studied the history of the Berlin Wall knows how much trouble the East Germans had in keeping people from breaching their fortified and guarded border.”
    That;s true, but only 5,000 people went over the wall in its 28-year history, less than 200 per year. It was a success as a wall goes, considering that millions had the desire to escape. Your argument is hardly convincing. If we had a Berlin wall, we could consider the border fairly secure. It beats the hundreds of thousands who show their contempt for US sovereignty every year.
    As to the majority of Americans wishing to reward bad behavior by the cheap penetence of fine and saying their sorry….dream on… that’s only propaganda put out be La Raza and other leftie biased pollsters. Keep deceiving yourself.

  6. alvin cortez said:

    Pepito, what you call “fanatical” is just the common concern of most citizens. When you people disparage Fox merely by taking an opposite view from yours, you reveal your own perverse belief that this country is not entitled to controlling its borders or knowing the character of every individual that enters this country. The fact is that our immigration laws were established by congress, are morally correct and are mirrored in one form or other by virtually every other nation on this planet, including the nations that have such poor economic policies that people flee across their borders. According to you, Fox is wrong even when they are supported virtually the majority of the world. The fact is that it’s only wrong to you because it happens to thwart the agenda of a very small minority in this country. I suspect that is why you have such a difficult time convincing anyone to change the status quo.

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