Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Immigration > Independent analysis underscores the danger of not having a working immigration policy

Independent analysis underscores the danger of not having a working immigration policy

LatinaLista — Stratfor, a publisher of geopolitical intelligence, released their analysis of an incident that happened in Phoenix, Arizona but could and does happen every day in southwestern cities within a reasonable distance of the Mexican border.

Weapons commonly used by Mexican drug cartel hit squads.
(Source: abcnews)

A group of men outfitted to look like a Phoenix police SWAT team and firing over 100 rounds of ammunition into the home of a Jamaican drug dealer turned out to be not Phoenix police but a Mexican drug cartel hit squad coming to do their drug lord’s bidding.
It’s been known for sometime that the dire warnings of Mexico’s violence spilling over to this side of the border has already started happening. As the Stratfor report details:

Traditionally, when violence has spiked in Mexico, cartel figures have used U.S. cities such as Laredo, El Paso and San Diego as rest and recreation spots, reasoning that the general umbrella of safety provided by U.S. law enforcement to those residing in the United States would protect them from assassination by their enemies.
As bolder Mexican cartel hit men have begun to carry out assassinations on the U.S. side of the border in places such as Laredo, Rio Bravo, and even Dallas, the cartel figures have begun to seek sanctuary deeper in the United States, thereby bringing the threat with them.

Is there any way to stop these criminals who bypass our border patrols and are able to track down their prey with military precision and then disappear back across the border into Mexico?
By recognizing that these individuals are the true criminals who warrant apprehension and incarceration and by instituting an immigration policy that identifies those who want to work from those who just want to kill.

It’s obvious that a poor immigration policy is partly to blame for the carte blanche behavior of these murderers. That these individuals are able to lie low in a community that already is trying to stay below the radar of local law enforcement is a telling example of just how much we need for this very community to be active and out in the open.
In those communities where police have not been made honorary agents of the federal government, the trust factor is much higher within the Latino community. If that were the case in Phoenix, where the undocumented walk with their heads down for the most part because of the tactics employed by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office, then maybe someone might have heard something that this was going down and could have warned the local police.
Being able to live freely, meaning never having to second-guess yourself about picking up the phone to call your local police department because you fear your good deed would get you deported, goes a long way in saving lives and keeping the community-at-large safe.
Immigration reform goes beyond just revising the number of available visas or making a guest worker program. True reform is going to have to recognize the fact that a community of 12 million living underground does not make for a safe country.
Eventually, the issue will have to be faced: Do we give those who are here amnesty so we can better institute, and this time around actually do it, an immigration policy that brings these people out of the shadows and creates an organized process in the future for those who want to come and work to do so but return home after a period of time?
Or do we continue as we are and pray that the next time a drug cartel hit squad comes to town and lies low that somebody with everything to lose will still come forward and do the right thing — knowing they’ll be rewarded with a one-way ticket home?
How much worse will things have to get before the right choice is made?

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  • Frank
    July 2, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    Oh boy, there is so much twisted logic in the above, I am nearlly at a loss for words. Ignore criminal activity to fend off other criminal activity? Oh yeah, that really flies!

  • Marisa Treviño
    July 2, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Twisted logic? Come on, Frank read it again. To me, if I had to face a hard working undocumented migrant or a rifle bearing member of a killing hit squad — no big leap of logic which is more preferable nor who the real criminal is.

  • Evelyn
    July 3, 2008 at 5:51 am

    Who is an American?
    Rinku Sen, Commentary
    On this July 4, I will be eating hot dogs. While I was trying to fit in as an Indian immigrant child throughout the 1970s, they represented the quintessential American food.
    I begged my mother to let me have them for dinner every night instead of chicken curry and rice. She nixed the hot dogs but sometimes allowed spaghetti and meatballs – straight from a can.
    Hot dogs were “invented” by German immigrants, serving their traditional sausages in the hustling streets of the new world, and spaghetti, everyone knows, came from Italy. If I had been celebrating Independence Day 150 years ago, however, neither would have been on the menu. In those days, Germans and Italians weren’t considered Americans, or even white. When they fought over the most lucrative street corner for food vendors in the 1880s, the press called the incidents “race riots.”
    I’ll be sharing this holiday with a group of restaurant workers, largely immigrants. Along with the hot dogs, we’ll have tacos, samosas, falafel. According to one side of the immigration debate, we can keep our goodies to ourselves. America doesn’t want them, or us.
    Immigration restrictionists argue not only that we need to stop undocumented immigration, but cut back drastically on legal immigration as well. They argue that this economy – no longer industrial but focused on information and service – has no room for masses of poor immigrants.
    There’s a fear that technology makes travel and communication so easy that new immigrants won’t break ties with the old country and reassign their loyalty.
    Restrictionists have tried to modernize their argument, but it hasn’t changed much through the years. Immigration of the late 19th century was dominated by Italians, Poles, Hungarians, Jews and other groups from southern and eastern Europe. At that time, these new residents were widely seen as inferior to native-born whites. They were reviled for their refusal to speak English, for their political and economic demands on American corporations, for being so poor that they became “public charges” or undercut the wages of the native-born workers.
    The Immigration Acts of 1920 and 1924, the most restrictive immigration policies we’ve ever had, limited new entrants to 150,000 per year, which was less than a quarter of the total immigration rate at that time. These laws crafted large quotas for northern Europeans while setting limits for countries such as Russia and Italy.
    As immigrants were deported for violating the quota policies, social reformers began to fight for long-time residents who had built families and communities in the U.S. These reformers won a series of changes that gave immigration officials the ability to change someone’s status.
    The liberalization remade the American identity, but kept it white.
    Mexicans, for example, were left behind by the process. According to historian Mae M. Ngai, they weren’t explicitly excluded, but they had little access to the mechanisms through which to change their status, and no one cared to correct that oversight. In 1929, Congress also passed the Registry Act, allowing people to change their status if they paid $20, hadn’t left the U.S. since 1921, and were of good moral character.
    Of the 115,000 people who were forgiven between 1930 and 1940, 80 percent were European or Canadian. The attorney general began to suspend deportation orders after 1940, and an internal Justice department study in 1943 revealed that the overwhelming majority of suspensions went, ironically, to Germans and Italians; only 8 percent involved Mexicans. Instead of liberalization, Mexicans got a guest worker program.
    Restrictionists have frozen images of a “true” America, as though our identity hasn’t changed since 1776. Stasis, however, is a fiction. Cultures do not stand still, nor should we want them to. We have the chance now to remake our immigration policy in the modern era, not by taking it back to the 1920s, but by grappling honestly with the fact that the American identity is always undergoing cultural change. Modernity challenges us to create a policy that recognizes the full humanity of all immigrants without regard to their racial identity.
    If we are indeed what we eat, Americans are already eating like the world. It’s time for our policy to catch up to our palates.
    Rinku Sen is the president of the Applied Research Center and the publisher of ColorLines magazine.
    Happy Fourth Everyone!!!

  • laura
    July 3, 2008 at 8:08 am

    Marisa you hit the nail on the head again.
    Clearly ICE prefers feeling heroic by arresting factory workers, handcuffing breastfeeding mothers, throwing 4 foot tall seamstresses from Guatemala on the floor in their raids. That is so much more enjoyable than facing drug lords who are armed like Blackwater mercenaries.
    Since the fact that they target harmless hard-working people rather than criminals has been noticed by the wider public, how have they responded? Simply by calling harmless hard-working people criminals.
    That is what ICE did after the Postville, Iowa raids, where ICE charged hundreds of people with criminal offenses for using false Social Security numbers or documents. Like all of us, ICE knows the only reason these workers use false IDs is that they have no access to regular documents in order to work.
    That is what ICE did in many cities, where they raided family homes and arrested hundreds of people for nothing except immigration violations – while claiming they were targeting gangs.
    Simply calling harmless hard-working people criminals – while avoiding to target the true criminals, and making actual law-enforcement work impossible through fear in immigrant communities – is not only a favored ICE tactic. It is also the tactic of people like Maricopa County sheriff Arpaio.
    How easy to feel strong and heroic while arresting harmless hard-working people.
    This is the heroism of cowards. It leaves all of us in more danger from violent criminals and terrorists.
    There are actually many police chiefs around the country who take the opposite view: that their job is to protect the public, and that they do not want to be linked to immigration enforcement. I am grateful to all the hard-working police officers who risk life and limb every day to protect our communities from the violent criminals that endanger us.
    House Democrats are giving ICE a huge budget increase. What will we do about that?

  • Frank
    July 3, 2008 at 9:50 am

    There were many points made by you Marisa that indicates twisted logic to me. But even though we disagree, I do give you credit for being civil in here. I am not used to that by most pro-illegal advocates. If only more of your side were like you, your side would find a bit more concession from the other side. Spread the word!

  • Frank
    July 3, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    laura, with you logic then law enforcement shouldn’t go after tax evaders or shop lifters or speeders because it isn’t murder or rape? Guess we just might as well do away with the laws against such things?
    ICE is paid specifically to go after immigration violaters and that is the job that they are doing. To claim that all of these people are just hard working, harmless innocents is a stretch and you know it. Many of them have committed other crimes besides just crossing our border illegally and working here. Stealing someone else’s ID to work or for any other reason is a felony!
    It appears that you feel we have no right to even have immigration laws. Why is that? We are a sovereign nation just like Mexico and all countries are and have a right to control our borders and who enters them.

  • Evelyn
    July 3, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Frank :
    There were many points made by you Marisa that indicates twisted logic to me. But even though we disagree, I do give you credit for being civil in here. I am not used to that by most pro-illegal advocates. If only more of your side were like you, your side would find a bit more concession from the other side. Spread the word
    Tone down the BS you spew and cut out the dehumanization of Mexican immigrants. Dont accept all the lies as fact when you have been shown the truth.
    Show some respect for these human beings. THEN AND ONLY THEN, respect will be given in return.

  • Evelyn
    July 3, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Posted by Frank | 3 de Julio 2008
    ICE is paid specifically to go after immigration violaters and that is the job that they are doing.
    Working for ICE
    As a member of the ICE team, your experience, skills and leadership will be applied to financial and trade investigations; cyber crimes; project analyses and management; litigating removal cases in immigration court; working with foreign authorities; intelligence gathering; investigations into arms and strategic technology violations; human trafficking and child exploitation. You’ll provide security for federal buildings, perform crowd control and surveillance, and work with other federal state and local authorities. Or, you may perform enforcement duties that include the apprehension, processing, detention and deportation of illegal or criminal aliens. Finally, you may work in any one of our technical, professional, administrative, or management occupations directly supporting our law enforcement mission.

  • Evelyn
    July 3, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    Posted by Frank
    It appears that you feel we have no right to even have immigration laws. Why is that? We are a sovereign nation just like Mexico and all countries are and have a right to control our borders and who enters them
    Evelyn Responds:
    If you feel that way you should be demonizing those who are suppose to keep them out. Not the Mexicans.

  • Frank
    July 3, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Show where I have dehumanized Mexican immigrants! I haven’t dehumanized anyone!
    All people are humans but some of those humans break our laws. I think they should be entitled to basic human rights but they still have to pay whatever price the law says they have to pay for breaking any and all of our laws including our immigration laws.
    You constantly accuse me of saying or implying things that I haven’t said!
    As I said, regardless of their character, good or bad, or regardless of any of the negatives or so-called pluses of having them here, it doesn’t change my position on the rule of law. You can’t come up with a good argument for defying our laws, so you lie about my character and constantly pull the race card in here.

  • laura
    July 4, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Frank, my friend: I am not dignifying your output with a response before you get the slightest idea of what you are writing about.
    Let me know when you have met your first, second and third undocumented immigrant, and then I will begin to consider reading your posts with more than a single glance.

  • Evelyn
    July 5, 2008 at 4:07 am

    “You can’t come up with a good argument for defying our laws”
    The fact that you are the product of immigrants in a land that was stolen by your ancestors in defiance of laws, would force any judge to find in my favor!
    I’ve encountered a new argument in my travels, both in the comments here on AlterNet and around the internet. It’s perhaps best captured by the motto of the “Illegal Invasion News” blog: “IT’S NOT ‘IMMIGRATION’ AND THEY’RE NOT ‘IMMIGRANTS.'” (This claim is often articulated in that ALL CAPS style so popular with small children and lunatics who are off their meds.)
    The word “immigrant” has nothing at all to do with legal status. It means, simply, to move from one place to another for the purpose of settling down. Papers, no papers — it’s all irrelevant to the act of migrating.
    The claim can be dispatched easily enough with a little elementary etymology. The word “migration” first appears in the English language in reference to humans in 1611, some 37 years before the modern nation state, with its discrete borders, came into existence. The Latin root of the verb “to immigrate,” immigrare, predates that by more than a thousand years. Human migration is a phenomenon that dates back to before homo sapiens even existed — pre-modern humans migrated wily-nilly. So, clearly, the word “immigrant” has nothing whatsoever to do with one’s paperwork being in order; its roots predate the existence of contemporary legal systems.
    An interesting question is why they bother making the argument at all? Surely, it’s not relevant to the larger issue.
    Or so it seems. But it is relevant, in that it is a response to a major problem for real immigration hardliners: the United States is, indisputably, a nation of immigrants and our heterogeneity, contra the howls of many a right-winger, is a big part of what makes America what it is. You can gorge on Bratwursts in Michigan, drink way too much vodka and mingle with decked-out Russian gliteratti in Brighton Beach, still read local Deutsche Zeitungen in small towns in Minnesota, eat Ethiopian food with your hands in L.A., sing weepy Irish ballads over your Guinness in dozens of Boston bars, wander the docks as the Vietnamese fishermen come in for a Texas evening and get the best roast pork in Little Havana. And thank god for all of that — I wouldn’t have it any other way.
    But consider how awkward that simple reality is for a nice Irish boy like Bill O’Reilly, or someone like Tom Tancredo, whose grandparents — all four of them — immigrated to the U.S. from Italy in the first decades of the 20th century. There are a lot of immigration restrictionists of European descent — people with names like O’Malley, Kowolski or Schmitt — who are incensed about the current generation of immigrants to America, and to avoid charges of hypocrisy — or simple cognitive dissonance — they have an almost obsessive need to distinguish between their forebearers — “good immigrants” every one — and these scoundrels coming here today.
    Usually, they’re content to hang onto the fact that their great-grandparents immigrated legally, but I guess some need to go a step further and deny that those who bypass the system are immigrants at all.
    Even the former distinction is weak. Consider the similarities between, say, the wave of European immigration that arrived in the 1880s and 1890s and those who have come over the past decade, and they dwarf the differences. Descendants of the huge waves of European immigration in the 19th and early 20th centuries make much of the fact that their great grandparents came here “legally,” but they rest their case on a technicality: the only reason they were legal was that there was no law in effect restricting European immigration until the 1920s. In fact, European immigrants didn’t even need to identify themselves to get in — the derogatory word for Italians, “WOP,” was an acronym stamped on entry documents that meant the person was arriving “With Out Papers.”
    It’s true those earlier immigrants hadn’t violated any law, but they never asked American citizens for permission to come and, while they contributed much to the growth of the American economy they, like their modern counterparts today, were not embraced with open arms by all of American society. In the mid-19th century, gangs would pepper arriving German immigrants with stones; walk into any Irish bar in New York City and you’ll find the ubiquitous sign reading, “Irish Need Not Apply.” Now those signs are a kitschy testament to Irish integration into American society, but back then they were anything but.
    When one listens to the arguments put forth by people like Lou Dobbs today, they’re virtually indistinguishable from what was said of those earlier European immigrants: they’re invading in huge numbers; they won’t assimilate like earlier immigrants have; they won’t learn the language like earlier immigrants did; they vote in mindless blocs; they’re unclean; their religions are backwards, and etc. Consider Benjamin Franklin’s concerns expressed in a letter written in 1753:
    Measures of great Temper are necessary with the Germans … Those who come hither are generally of the most ignorant Stupid Sort of their own Nation … I remember when they modestly declined intermeddling in our Elections, but now they come in droves, and carry all before them, except in one or two Counties; Few of their children in the Country learn English; they import many Books from Germany; and of the six printing houses in the Province, two are entirely German, two half German half English, and but two entirely English; They have one German News-paper, and one half German. Advertisements intended to be general are now printed in Dutch and English; the Signs in our Streets have inscriptions in both languages, and in some places only German … In short unless the stream of their importation could be turned from this to other colonies … they will soon so out number us, that all the advantages we have will not in My Opinion be able to preserve our language, and even our Government will become precarious.
    That hearty German stock that had Ben Franklin so concerned would produce such esteemed Americans as Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, author of the infamous “Sensenbrenner Bill” that would have made it a felony to even offer humanitarian aid to an undocumented immigrant, among other provisions. Sensenbrenner is just as concerned with the large numbers of Latin Americans coming in to the country today, and his rhetoric is very similar to old Ben Franklin’s. One of the key differences is that in Franklin’s era — and through the middle of the 20th century — immigration restrictionists spoke of the innate inferiority of other human “races”; in modern times, that’s impolitic, so Sensenbrenner and his contemporaries make a big show of distinguishing between “legal” and “illegal” immigration.
    In every generation, the gloom and doom predictions about how those newer immigrants would ultimately lead to the nation’s destruction have proven overwrought and inaccurate. By the third generation, the Irish, Poles, Italians and all the rest of Europe’s immigrants had all become Americans. And so it will be with today’s new immigrants. According to a recent study cited in The Washington Post, immigrants today are no different; in fact, the study noted that “immigrants of the past quarter-century have been assimilating in the United States at a notably faster rate than did previous generations.”
    The similarities don’t end with the consistent hostility some Americans have for newer arrivals. Individuals have all sorts of reasons for emigrating, but throughout our history, when large numbers migrate from a single country or region, it’s always been in response to some kind of shock in their country of origin, be it civil strife or pestilence or drought or war or economic collapse or natural disaster. Today we have a large number of immigrants from Mexico — slightly more than half of all new migrants — which followed the peso crisis, which was aggravated by job displacement resulting from NAFTA’s liberalization of agriculture. Again, this is consistent, whether we’re talking about the Irish fleeing the Great Potato Famine, Russian Jews fleeing the pogroms or Vietnamese boat people fleeing war in South-East Asia. The Wikipedia entry for Swedish emigration to America explains that their numbers peaked just after the Civil War:
    There was widespread resentment against the religious repression practiced by the Swedish Lutheran State Church and the social conservatism and class snobbery of the Swedish monarchy. Population growth and crop failures made conditions in the Swedish countryside increasingly bleak.
    Aside from the obvious demographic differences between today’s immigrants and those of earlier eras, there was another difference. Relative to the native population, the wave of elevated immigration hitting our shores today is nothing compared to previous ones. During the 1980s and 1990s, about 16.4 million immigrants came to America — a number equaling 7.1 percent of the 1981 population; during the period between 1901and 1920, about 14.5 million new arrivals came to America, but that number represented 18.9 percent of the population in 1901.
    Those who like to throw around rhetoric about some huge “invasion” would do well to read some history — what we’re seeing now is a drop in the bucket compared to earlier periods of American history.

  • Dee
    July 5, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Great post! I agree.
    We do need Comprehensive Immigration Reform! We need to bring the 12M here out of the shadows and those felony free be brought into legal status and be provided the opportunity to apply for citizen status. That way we separate the felonious criminals from the workers. ICE can focus on the drug lords and the cartels.

  • Frank
    July 5, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    How many times do I have to repeat that my ancestors didn’t even come here until this country was already established as the USA. They didn’t steal any land and they came within the laws of our country in place at the time!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The difference between the immigration policies we had 80 years ago and today, is that we are now a country of 300 million people. We are no longer a vast, open frontier waiting to be built. We are already built! We are now a nation of Americans, not immigrants, although we still take in legal immigrants based on our needs with fair quotas for all ethnic groups and nationalities. Latinos get the second highest quotas for legal immigration by just a few percentage points lower than Asian immigrants. Whites are hardly even on the richter scale for immigration into our country anymore, so why b@tch? Latinos are the majority in 22 countries on the Western Hemisphere. How much more do you need?

  • laura
    July 5, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    Evelyn, I agree with you that these historical facts shed light on the present.
    I have another question for you and everybody of good intentions: somehow the word “undocumented immigrant” doesn’t seem to describe my friends. They have documents like their passport or their home country driver’s license. Many are not sure whether they will stay in the US or not. They are here to feed their families and to make a better life, but many feel that if they could feed their families at home, they would go back.
    My question is: how to describe their situation?
    Since the legal expression used for their situation is “out of status”, I am inclined towards using that term. My friends are out-of-status migrants.
    The goal is to make it possible for them to adjust their status. Paying a sum of money, learning English, having a background check – that is reasonable.
    The idea of “going to the back of the line,” used by Barack Obama, is ridiculous, since there was never a line for them to start with.
    We need a reform that makes it reasonable for my hard-working, law-abiding friends to adjust their status.

  • Frank
    July 6, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    It IS an invasion when immigrants don’t come legally!!!!

  • Evelyn
    July 7, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    It IS an invasion when immigrants don’t come legally!!!!
    How can I call you anything other than racist when you prove yourself to be racist by using racist speak.
    (Edited by Latina Lista moderator)

  • arturo fernandez
    July 7, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    “It IS an invasion when immigrants don’t come legally!!!!”
    Frank, it is less like an invasion and more like an invitation. When an American employer gives an illegal immigrant a job to meet the demands of the American consumer for low prices, the illegal immigrant is now a welcome addition to the American experiment in capitalism.

  • Frank
    July 7, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    There is nothing racist about calling 20 million illegal aliens in our country, an invasion. What the hell does race have to do with it anyway?

  • Frank
    July 8, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    arturo, what I keep repeating and you keep ignoring is that it wasn’t the majority of Americans who invited these illegals here and we live in a democracy…the majority rules! Those employers had no right to invite any illegals here to work. It is against the law. What part of that don’t you understand. Most of them weren’t “invited” anyway, they came on their own accord!
    We may be a capitalist country but we are also a nation of laws. One doesn’t trump the other! There are very few jobs that Americans won’t do for a fair wage. The ones that we won’t do can be filled by “legal” foreign workers!

  • Evelyn
    July 10, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Frank said
    arturo, what I keep repeating and you keep ignoring is that it wasn’t the majority of Americans who invited these illegals here and we live in a democracy…the majority rules! Those employers had no right to invite any illegals here to work. It is against the law. What part of that don’t you understand. Most of them weren’t “invited” anyway, they came on their own accord!
    E responds
    Fact is they are here, somebody isn’t doing their job of keeping them out. Something is broke. Thats why they are here. Go after those that aren’t doing their job with half the hate, lies and rhetoric you appily to immigrants and Mexicans in general. Maybe then those responsible for letting them in, will do their job.

  • Evelyn
    July 10, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    Frank :
    arturo, what I keep repeating and you keep ignoring is that it wasn’t the majority of Americans who invited these illegals here and we live in a democracy…the majority rules! Those employers had no right to invite any illegals here to work. It is against the law. What part of that don’t you understand. Most of them weren’t “invited” anyway, they came on their own accord!
    E responds
    Make no mistake, they are invited. They are working. If they weren’t invited (weren’t Hired) they wouldent be here! GOT IT. Go after those hiring them, they are the ones extending the invitations and as you say the employers have no right to extend those invitations. Go on, go after them why dont you.

  • Frank
    July 11, 2008 at 9:56 am

    I don’t give a rat’s behing why they are here. Invited or not invited, hired or not hired. You as usual miss the main point and that is THEY HAVE NO RIGHT TO BE HERE as it is against the law! I have already stated over and over and so do all the rest of the anti-illegals that the blame is three fold, employers, our government and the illegal themselves. It is not up to us go after anyone. It is up to law enforcement to do that. You pro’s however don’t want to put any blame on the illegals at all just the first two! That is where you are wrong and we are right!

  • Evelyn
    July 12, 2008 at 3:04 am

    It is not up to us go after anyone.
    I agree, then leave the immigrants in peace! ???POS???

  • Frank
    July 12, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    I don’t go after “immigrants” nor illegal aliens so I do leave them alone. However, ICE has a right to go after the latter! Don’t like it then take it up with them, not me!

Comments are closed.