Friday, February 03, 2006
"Coyotes" rule amid Tijuana chaos
Editor's note: CNN Correspondent Rick Sanchez traveled to Tijuana, Mexico, recently in search of "coyotes," otherwise known as smugglers.

I am one of the lucky ones. I am a Hispanic immigrant who doesn't have to look over his shoulder. I am, in a word, LEGAL! I get to stay.

Why? Because of a law passed in the 1960s called the Cuban Adjustment Act, which essentially says that because Fidel Castro is a bad guy, our enemy, and a communist, then people fleeing his country, like me, get to become automatic Americans.

It's a rare law, one of the few where somebody in Washington actually made a decision as to who should stay and why. Say what you want about whether the law may be outdated, but at least at the time it was passed it offered order. And order is something many people think is lacking in our present immigration policy.

There seems to be little willpower in Washington, D.C., to come up with a more consistent immigration policy, so as a result there are too few answers. Who should be allowed in? Who knows? Is there a way to earn a work visa that's worth waiting for? No, not really. Is there a way to quantify our immigration need or a reasonable number we can support? No help there either.

We saw a lot of these vexing issues firsthand on a recent trip to the border town of Tijuana, Mexico, for a piece airing tonight on the show. It is a place where "coyotes," or smugglers, rule. And it is a place where Mexicans cross the border illegally because they can.

So what are we left with? Confusion, which invites chaos, which may be the best way to describe what we saw in Tijuana.

Tell me what you think.
Posted By Rick Sanchez, CNN Correspondent: 2:59 PM ET
  99 Comments
So true. We are all left in a state of confusion asking ourselves so what are we to do whern it comes to a balance of immigration.

We are all immigrants, yes many generations of families have been on American soil; but we had to come from somewhere. We are all here because of the ideology that their is something better out there.

To get to the point: now that we have "filled" our imigration quota, and we are so accustomed to "this is our land" - why have we turned into the people we originally ran from?

We, in our current American society, turn up our noses to the jobs immigrants fill and at the same time don't want them to fill those jobs.

We are snobs; and either can't or won't admit it.
Posted By Anonymous Joi - Dallas, TX : 3:19 PM ET
One thing that could be done would be to wipe out the Arellano-Felix drug cartel. They are not necessarily the leading drug cartel in Tijuana at the present time but still have a lot of influence. Until you bring down the drug cartels, you will not solve the problem.
Posted By Anonymous Marian, New London, MO : 3:19 PM ET
I think its unfair these people walk into our country and eat up our benefits while we sit here with the bill. Any other country would not allow it their would be consequences if your not a citizen. Seems like you get treated better if your illegal in the United States. I say we all move to Canada become citizens and come back as immigrants.
Posted By Anonymous Jaci, Chicago , Il : 3:22 PM ET
I think you're correct in saying chaos rules in regards to the situation with our southern neighbor. But this confusion courses through Washington as well. Our government has no consistent approach to this current problem. And something has to be done immediately as immigrants flood across the border every day. Not only does this place stress on state and local governments, but other dangers lurk...particularly the threat of terrorists. The U.S. cannot afford to have such a porous border in today's political climate.
Posted By Anonymous Don, Pembroke Pines, Florida : 3:24 PM ET
The mess along the border makes me feel bad, not only for the poor people forced to head north to find a living wage, but also for the ranches and communities along the border that are being forced to unfairly shoulder more than their fair share of the burden.

Why is it that our leaders don't discuss the global issues that force immigrants off their ejidos in Mexico and on to the U.S., issues like the huge subsidies our government pays to corporations like Archer Daniels Midland so that they can produce corn so cheaply that they can dump it into the Mexican economy and force small farmers there into destitution and off their lands?

If we discontinued these subsidies, Mexican farmers would be better off and the federal budget deficit would be lowered as well.

Kirk Peterson, Professor
Paul Smith's College
Posted By Anonymous Kirk Peterson : 3:25 PM ET
Rick,

If it came to a question of a war broke out between Cuba and the US, all hands were needed, who would you defend? This is a hypothetical question obviously.
I'm very curious because I'm always seeing these Cuban flags hanging from Mirrors and if people were so proud of the country why leave it? This is not just Cuban flags either, I feel strongly that there is only ONE flag of this Nation and that is the US Flag. You should not forget your ancestry but when you take a oath you MEAN it, Swearing allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.
Posted By Anonymous Dennis,Merrimack NH : 3:25 PM ET
I've heard about Wet Foot, Dry Foot, but never knew where it came from. It's amazing to me how simple the answer is, "because Fidel Castro is a bad guy, our enemy, and a communist, then peopl fleeing his country, like me, get to become automatic Americans." So, is this outdated, or way before it's time?

Whether you agree with it or not, why can't all solutions in Washington be so black and white?
Posted By Anonymous Blake Killian, New Orleans, LA : 3:28 PM ET
I believe that this issue will never be addressed because as long as American industry depends on undocumented workers to fill their jobs nothing permanent will take effect.The overwhelming number of illegal workers is too much for the Immigration Dept. to handle.We dont have any answers or to put it more bluntly the "Will" to make changes.We are short of money and resources and I think that most of us Americans have bigger issues to tackle so this issue gets put on the backburner.The only thing that might change this view is if we get some type of terrorist attack through our southern border! Then the typical fingerpointing will commence and some type of bandage legislation might get passed.
Posted By Anonymous Joel Aguayo,Soledad,Calif. : 3:30 PM ET
It's time to build the Great Wall of America. 50 feet deep, 50 feet high, 50 feet wide. Compare the cost of a one time project versus an ongoing cost center for all the immigration problems. This country should be ashamed of how it is so easy to enter this country illegal. Someone tell the Haitians and Cubans to drift to Mexico and walk over the border. Better than dying in the ocean off Florida.
Posted By Anonymous Concerned, Ft. Lauderdale, FL : 3:32 PM ET
In the past five years, I have seen an influx of immigrants into our small community. They set up shabby mobile homes--as many as they can fit on a piece of property. NO ONE in the local government is able to answer the question of who is making sure there are proper septic systems being put in and NO ONE asks them to stop burning piles of toxic plastics (or burying their trash). No, the choas has not EVEN begun!
Posted By Anonymous Elizabeth B. Calhoun, Scroggins, Texas : 3:33 PM ET
Living on Long Island, I get to see how well our immigration policies work (not). Businesses do indeed desire the unaccounted as employees as well as customers. Sears now has all their in store signs in English and Spanish. As employees, they fit in well due to their disposability. They don't exist legally, so they take their chances and risk everything for whatever they can get.
I'm all for people coming to America to become Americans, but the great "melting pot" is developing into a stove with many burners. I don't want folks who come illegally. I think that sums it up: illegally. If they broke some other US law and were here legally, they'd be brought to trial. As it is now, you can't even ask if they're here legally. They get a ticket to reappear and disappear. What a farce! Of course, most Americans disregard a variety of our laws on a daily basis, so who are we to carp?
I have been fingerprinted, investigated, tested, and questioned numerous times over my careers here in the US and I never once gave a second thought to it because it was my decision to walk those paths. Why should others be allowed to come and stay here without question?
Start tracking them all down, but first shut the door. Dig a "friendship ditch" across the Mexico-US border. Deploy the National Guard. Then apply the massive amounts of PC power we have here and find all the bogus folks, including the resident cheats.
If all else fails, do a Capone on them. Tax evasion is a good place to start when dealing with those that hire illegals.
Posted By Anonymous Jim Brown, Mastic, NY : 3:35 PM ET
Rick Sanchez, you are lucky and your case is exceptional. "Coyotes" issues have been around for decades and we forgot that most people 'benefit' directly or indirectly from this unlawful circumtances. To name a few, who can deny that beautiful lawns and gardens around your nice neighborhood is partly, if not entirely, created by those small hands? How about cheaper produce available in our supermarkets? We should reflect how much higher our monthly bills without this illegitimate cheap labor? The list is long! I do not approve this at any point, at the slightest degree, but we have to reflect, look inside, while seeking for solution. To my opinion, as long as we are in favor of cheaper stuffs, the business people will supply our demand at whatever risk including by enganging those "Coyotes".

My fellow Americans, maybe we have to fast from cheaper stuffs. Or the question is: "are we addicted to cheaper stuffs that we indirectly create high demand for them and, as you might have thought, the business respond by taking the 'cheap'and hurting ways, too".

Let's be honest to ourselves and take appropriate action.
Posted By Anonymous V.A. Churchill, Houston, Texas : 3:38 PM ET
Indeed, it is interesting that you allow a dictator to rule and the immigration policies are relaxed for that country.
Take the countries land, invade it five times and make the people who owned the land less than second class citizens, these people have a difficult time to immigrate.
Maybe, Mexico's Fox should declare a dictatorship and see if the USA will relax the immigration policies.
Posted By Anonymous John Prunty, Iowa : 3:38 PM ET
It is a difficult issue because there are many aspects to immigration from Latin America. You do point out the current policy towards Cubans which I have mixed feelings about when compared with the situation that Mexicans face. The reason Cubans are leaving today is the exact same reason Mexicans leave - it is wholly economic. Contrary to administration propaganda, Cubans face no more lack of freedom than poor Mexicans who emigrate across the border. Cuban immigrants are generally more well educated than Mexican immigrants but compared with the options available in both countries, the US is a land of opportunity too good to pass up even if they have to die trying.

Change must begin in the countries from where the immigrants come. Cuba can be improved if the US stops the embargo and allows trade. Mexico can be improved by making a more sensible trade agreement and aid programs where their citizens can make a better living at home. But change must also be made here so that Americans can afford to work in low-skilled jobs and make enough money to support themselves and their families. While there may always be economic disparity between countries, we should work to lessen it. This will make mass migration less necessary.
Posted By Anonymous Sr. Marti, Wisconsin : 3:39 PM ET
There is not much you people can do as long as we are poor people because of generalized corruption. Help us fight corruption and things might with time get better. J. Giron
Posted By Anonymous Guatemala : 3:41 PM ET
The "wet foot, dry foot" policy and other policies which were enacted to spite Castro and communism are prime examples of how ridiculous our immigration policies are. All immigrants should be on the same footing, save perhaps for immigrants offering "critical skills" identified by the US Congress from time to time, and all illegal immigrants, including Cuban illegals, should also be on the same footing-- i.e., back you go, as quickly and as efficiently as possible. The only reason we now still have these policies is because of powerful special interest groups that make sure they "get theirs."
Posted By Anonymous Chris, Miami, Florida : 3:42 PM ET
It is really sad that people can come into this country illegally, with so many blessings from the government that it's own citizens cannot enjoy, but must help pay for for these people.

I have a friend whose brother, wife and two daughters wanted to move to this country from South America. He was most willing to support them himself and help them to get started on a productive, contributing life in this country. He went to an immigration lawyer for advice on how best to do this. He was told they should just come here and stay would be the easiest. But no, they went the legal route. Twelve years later, after both girls had turned 18 (one by only 1 week) they were cleared to come. Of course, the daughters were no longer eligble to come with them.

Our laws are a joke, illegals and criminals have more rights and freedom in this country.
Posted By Anonymous Janet, Fort Worth, TX : 3:51 PM ET
Clearly the US needs some (large) number of people from Mexico and other countries for work.... or nobody would come here. You mention a fact that others never think of.... why can't we just determine how many we need for the jobs available, have a process to get work Visas for that number.... and throw employers in jail if they hire someone illegal. In the process, I think we would vastly increase the amount of legal immigration and solve many issues around collecting taxes and support for them being here. We could also eliminate illegal immigration if we wanted to. The problem today is that we need the people here (lots of them), but it's too politically unpopular to say that. So, we end up in political limbo where we can't really say that we want and need the immigrants, but we can't really send them home either.
Posted By Anonymous Bob, Atlanta : 3:57 PM ET
I have been working with aliens going on 17 years now. It started working for a member of congress, now retired. Later as a lawyer. Much of my practice is immigration. I have heard many arguments for and against immigration and both sides have merit. Many of my clients come from Spanish speaking countries south of the border, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador. In all my years I have never met any immigrant who left their country and family, travelled 1000s of miles, came to a new country where they did not speak the language only to sit on the dole and collect welfare. POINT 1. They are not lazy. Al contrare-they are highly motivated regardless of their level of education. In 17 years I have come to realize that there is quite a racism in immigration. All the focus is on the south of the border immigration. When if you go to Boston or anywhere in the northeast you will see boat loads of eastern europeans, and other groups that are just as illegal as there darker skinned colleagues from south of the border but almost next to no attention is paid to them it seems.

When the founders gave congress plenary control over immigration they created a nightmare. It is the most politically abused piece of statute I know of. Traditionally no one has ever cared about it unless a boat load of illegal immigrants runs aground (ie:the golden venture) or some other national abuse rears its head like 9/11 and then everybody scrambles to amend "the Act" and throw millions at a problem they should have been looking at years ago.

Bottom line: You can't close the border. it is a factual impossibility. People will come to the U.S.A. For the same reasons they always do. It is a land of opportunity for those willing to seize it. We need to study the eastern arts and learn to flow with the force of the wind. Acceptable levels of illegal immigration should be WRITTEN INTO OUR IMMIGRATION POLICY not out of it. Wasting good money trying to control the uncontrollable is simply stupid. But as long as the political parties are at polar opposites of the spectrum -- kick'em all out or let them all in -- we are going to get nowhere. Reasonable enforcement is needed with the understanding that illegal immigrants have contributed and continue to contribute to our nation's economy in manifold ways.

I could write for days, but I have other work to do.

I used a psuedonynm. Hope that is okay?
Posted By Anonymous Bob, Maryland, USA : 3:57 PM ET
Only bureaucrats working at their big offices cannot understand what is happening at the border. Why would anybody wait for years to obtain a legal visa when you can cross the border the same night you arrive to Tijuana and then get all the benefits that some times the "legal" immigrants don't get? We all know that you just need to tall at a hospital or a school that you have no papers; therefore you don't have a job, so you can get free health care/school/etc, at tax payer's expense. But those people are actually working with no SS number, so they could not care less, all they want is to get all the free benefits I and you have to pay for. Does that sound like a good think?

I don't even want to mention the potential treat of terrorist, drug/people smugglers, etc that the current open border policy allows.
Posted By Anonymous Los Angels, CA. : 4:00 PM ET
I find it hard to believe that the US Gov't can turn a blind eye to the wave of illegals coming into this country. I also believe that Wet Foot/Dry Foot should be re-pealed, bue to the fact that you are still here illegally and should be deported back to your home country. Its time for the gov't to stop giving to the special interest groups and worry what illegal immigration is doing to the American economy and American way of life.
Posted By Anonymous Donald, Martinsburg West Virginia : 4:05 PM ET
the government needs to protect those already here(like yourself) who are pulling their weight in society. The women that run over the border to drop a baby on the other side of the Rio Grande is in better shape than my grandmother (who was born here, legitimately). She is lucky to pay for her pills and lives in a closet like home for the elderly complex. This "thing" that has her baby over here now has rights because the baby is now a citizen. So where does she go folks? From the hospital delivery room to the welfare line. No job no education(even though we'll pay for that too). When the baby actually can go to school and mom has "time to work" she'll pick up a pimp or drug habit to keep her busy while Jr. is off in school. Don't worry because by thie time he is 16(old enough to work) he'll already have dropped out of school and have some little kids of his own(they pay per kid) and the cycle goes on....only 3 generations down the line they're all on welfare still and someone that really just needs a little help(and actually worked a few days) is in the street. Wake up America..let the ones in that work or learn...evryone else stay home!
Posted By Anonymous Dennis Pietro Leicester, MA : 4:07 PM ET
Every American that is worth a grain of salt is irritated by the fact that people who are not able to mollify the political climate in their own country simply weedle their way through our lax borders and meld into american society. This allows them instant benefit(s) from the blood, sweat and tears of our forefathers; the ones who created, shaped and molded the most powerful yet generous nation in the world. We need rules that don't bend. If we are to regain control of our borders and the flow of immigrants, we must act now and do so decisively. We have to stop the smoke and mirrors and party rhetoric and work as one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all [american citizens], to establish fair and unbiased guidelines for the Department of Immigration.
Posted By Anonymous Brian, Millersville, Maryland : 4:12 PM ET
Atleast the immigrants work! How may do you know in your family who does not work? How many brothers & sisters do you have that dont work & try to scam everyone around them. Not scam us but the system..The immigrants that do work use a fake ss number, but those taxes, social security, medicaid, etc. still get taken out. Where does that money got to? That money goes to yours & everyones else's retirement. Will they ever see that money? I know a lot of people that are here illegally. And what Ive have seen is that all they want to do is work. They cant go back home.. they cant see their parents...so what they do is bring their families over here.
Posted By Anonymous rebecca dallas tx : 4:14 PM ET
The immigration problem is definitely due to economic conditions in the countries of origin. Until these countries address and take action, immigrants will continue to come to the U.S. What we must all remember is that this wonderful country was built by immigrants. The only non-immigrants are the Native Americans. At some point in time each group of immigrants has faced discrimination, whether it was the Italians, the Irish, or any other group. Currently the focus is on the Mexicans. Hopefully one day we will be able to incorporate them into our society as we have done with all other immigrants before them. God Bless America.
Posted By Anonymous Joe, Albuquerque, NM : 4:16 PM ET
Why are we welcoming Cubans with open arms while turning away Haitians and Mexicans, if not because of our alliances with their home countries? We need to wake up and realize that our policies toward Latin refugees, in addition to being (or at least appearing) racist, have much less to do with conditions in those countries and much more to do with our own short-sighted diplomacy.

I believe that anyone who wants to be in our country that badly, puts that much work in, and passes a basic security check, ought to be a citizen. Period. Anything less is an embarassment to our national values. As for the argument that these people will be a drain on our country... wasn't this same argument conveniently applied in previous generations to the Irish, the Italians, the Jews, and the Chinese?
Posted By Anonymous Jesse, South Lyon, Michigan : 4:16 PM ET
I think there need to be much, much stiffer penalties for illegal immegrants and much tighter control along our southern border. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening any time soon. I'm not for "isolationism," but I also don't like footing the bill for people who aren't contributing enough, if anything at all.
Posted By Anonymous Suzy, Glendale Heights, IL : 4:23 PM ET
The gov't does little to monitor large corporations use of "undocumeneted" workers. Many large corporations use sub contractors for maintenance and food services. The company that is contracted is generally legal however, the workers that are hired by the sub contractor are undocumented. These corporations know it and turn a blind eye to it, because it's cost effective and the bottom line is the bottom line.
Posted By Anonymous JC, Long Island, NY : 4:24 PM ET
I am one of the lucky ones too. I was born from Mexican parents that crossed over with legal passports and checked themselves into an American hospital. Immediately I became an Amercian citizen. They took me back to Mexico where they raised me and 20 years later I returned. Now that I have been in the US for about 10 years I realize that much of this "chaos" you describe is a result of the "soft" penalties we have regarding illegals. In some countries if you cross the border illegally, you get shot! Granted, we are a more "civilized" society (unfortunately some still get shot), but we also shouldn't just hold them for a bit and then set them free back into Mexico. What do we think they're gonna do once we "toss" them back across? Travel a few thousand miles back to where they came from with a repentant heart? No. They're gonna try again. We're trying to get all the fish out of a big lake, but every time we catch one we throw it back in the water. And we wonder why we can never finish the job.
Although we know that the continous migration of legal and illegal Mexican immigrants into the US is a result of economic issues in their country, we must take hold of the controllable variables in the illegal migration process. We can't control the bad financial decisions of the PRI or PAN in Mexico, but we can deterr the illegal migration flow by imposing more severe punishments on those caught breaking the law. The one huge obstacle to toughening our poilcies in this aspect would be the outrage that mostly would come from the hispanic communities already in the US. We as "legal" hispanics should broaden our views and understand that although most illegals come here in pursuit of work and a better life, they bring with them much collateral damage. Damage to both our way of life and their own. The risks that illegals take to come across, sometimes with women and children, can be more dangerous than the risks taken by Alaskan kingcrab fishermen (Most dangerous job in the world). Dangers that range from heatstroke to starvation, to getting shot or lost in the wilderness. If they opt for a ride on a sardine can, they can end up dying in the middle of a high speed pursuit. Even if they make it across safely, they still face the fear of living under an illegal status in the US.
Many can argue about the benefits that illegals bring to our economy, especially in agriculture, but that is not the point. The point is that the law is still being broken. There are thousands of poor Mexicans that gain citizenship in the US by legal means every year. And millions more, like most of my family, that chose to stay in Mexico and work hard to make a living there.
I don't know how illegal immigration should be punished, we have public servants who get paid to decide that, but I do know we're not doing a good job about it, your post shows it.
Posted By Anonymous Enrique Bosquet San Diego, Ca : 4:24 PM ET
Poor. These illegals are poor beyond your wildest dreams. The illegals are simply doing what it takes to survive. The criminal element that fosters the movement of illegals into the U.S. are getting incredibally rich. If the U.S. governmment would collect the same fees as the coyotes, they could use that money to modernize the border regions and streamline the legal immigration process.

Illegal immigrants work. People on welfare do not. Why? Because illegals can't draw welfare. Question. If the majority of illegals become legal citizens and could draw welfare instead of working, would they still work?
Posted By Anonymous Craig, Rio Grande City, TX : 4:24 PM ET
I don't agree with comparing the immigrants that are coming from Mexico and other parts of Central America to the immigrants that came here from Europe. The difference the immigrants we're dealing with today have no intention of becoming American citizens, they just want to make our money to send back to their families in their home countries. They don't care about our history, our culture, or our language and most likely have no interest in contributing to our society.
Posted By Anonymous Marilyn, New York, NY : 4:26 PM ET
It is amazing how this subject after so many years has become the focus of the American public. I for one would rather have the taxpayer dollars go to educating or providing health care for an illegal immigrant's child than to fund the various military endeavours of the current administration. Let us not forget who we are and what we stand for. Most of our forefathers entered this country through Ellis Island not with a visa or proper working status. No they entered here with a dream of a new life. One in which their children can experience the joys of freedom and the opportunities that being an American could offer.
There are no doubt problems along the border that need to be addressed. What worries me the most is the prevailing attitude of most americans toward immigrants. Their answer to the influx of immigrants is to close the border. We should not forget our ancestors struggle to leave poverty and oppression and the challenges they faced to start a new life in a new world. One may have seen the Statue of Liberty aboard a ship or crossed the Rio Grande in different generations. The one thing that remains constant is freedom.
Posted By Anonymous Charles, Rutherford, NJ : 4:27 PM ET
In Central and South America the rich few own most of the weatlth of the nation. The rest of the population lives either in starvation or in poverty conditions. This misdistribution of wealth forces large migrations. What is needed is a more equitable distribution of wealth in Central and South America.
This situation has been going on for generations.
Posted By Anonymous Bill, Arlington Virginia : 4:34 PM ET
I think the country has changed a lot since they days of Ellis Island. A lot of it has to do with assimilation. In time our ancestors adopted the English language and the flags of our forefathers vanished in exchange for the American flag and a certain cultural understanding of what it meant to be American. A lot of dissention in our culture and against our government has resulted in people not having an interest in assimilating but rather they want to hang on to their cultur, language and other citizenry, while enjoying the benefits of American citizenry and economic benefits. That is problem long term.

I think the opportunity for citizenship should be based on contribution to society and assimilation into the culture.

A true path of lawful conduct, volunteer work learning, working and adopting a countries customs. Over a set time that should establish a right to citizenship.

I think we need to offer jobs to those that are here first, and immigrants second in the interest of our own living standard but for those immigrants that do come in and work they should be recognized over time and be made citizens. That said, there are a lot of US citizens that don't meet these requirements and shouldn't have the benefits of citizenry but there isn't an emmigration/export policy yet in place either.
Posted By Anonymous J, Chicago, IL : 4:35 PM ET
Illegal alien immigration has to be stopped - whether they come here by "coyotes" or special interest laws from Congress passed for political expediency. Legal immigrants have to show that they are self-supporting, healthy,literate, non-criminal people who will be an asset to the U.S. We have no idea as to the background of illegal aliens and/or what diseases they bring, not to mention the drain on public funding and the large percentage that end up overcrowding our jails. For the millions of us who came to the U.S. via the legal route, this special interest law passing for certain groups is nothing less than an insult. As for the ones who come via "coyote" to "earn a decent wage," my question is if the are so poor, where are they getting the $30,000 to pay for this illegal transportation.
Posted By Anonymous K.Munro, Minneapolis, MN : 4:36 PM ET
Communism is a relic. To view Castro as an "evil does," why not include him in the axis of evil. The Act of 1960 is a payback to the Cubans living in southern Florida for their support of the Republican agenda and policies of the Bush administration in Florida, and in the White House. Viva la politica! How conveniente! Oh yes, I was born here if it makes a difference.
Posted By Anonymous Ernie Garcia Riverside, Calfiornia : 4:39 PM ET
The first thing the American people must realize is that people come to this country to find a better life; the second thing is that they all want to move back home eventually. As a 3rd generation latino immigrant, I have yet to meet someone who came to this Country to become a drug dealer, or be on the welfare rolls. People come to this country to work, to earn money, to help their families. Moreover, the people who are working here, usually with a false green card and/or a false social security card, are paying taxes into the system. Yet, they are unable to benefit from the system: they are not entitled to social security benefits, SSI benefits, Unemployment benefits, welfare benefits. Numerous studies have been done that prove these undocumented persons pay much more into the system, in terms of taxes, they they take out of the system.
This country needs to examine its economic and foreign policies. When the U.S. developes a fair trade policy with Mexico that allows for the growth and expansion of the Mexican economy, then Mexicans will stop risking their lives to cross the desert and mountains searching for work.
Note: On average, over 700 people die each year crossing into the U.S.: They die of dehydration in the deserts, they freeze to death in the mountains, they suffocate in trucks, and they are thrown off trains.
Posted By Anonymous Eduardo, Los Angeles, CA : 4:39 PM ET
The REAL issue is RACISM by the Euro-Spanish Conquistdores who are driving the indigenous peoples north. Lets persuade the persecuted peoples of Mexico to re-conquer their own country before overrunning the USA.
Posted By Anonymous Don, Scottsdale, AZ : 4:39 PM ET
It is amazing that people still feel that immigrants are "sucking our resources" Personally, I have benefited from cheap labor and better Mexican food...mmm.

I think America needs to make the process easier for our neighbors to gain citizenship, and Mexico needs to make it easier for Americans to enter and improve their country. I am sure many of us would love to have ocean-front property south of the border.

In short, embrace our immigrants. Their children have bigger dreams and will help America continue to grow economically and socially. Someday people may not want to come to America. Where will we be then?
Posted By Anonymous Brian, Chandler AZ : 4:48 PM ET
We Americans need folks from Mexico to do low wage work that we are not interested in doing. If all 11 million undocumented workers went home we would be in a world of hurt. Who would fill their jobs? With 28 million abortions since 1972 we have gotten rid of a lot of our workforce. Additionally we have over 1 million people in jail. If we were all honest, hard working, law abiding, children-having folks we would not be in this mess. The solution is a orderly guest worker program, since the average native English speaking American born woman is not likely to give birth to 3 or 4 children.
Posted By Anonymous C. C. Turner, Fort Worth, TX : 4:50 PM ET
Untill the Mexican Goverment can provide good jobs that pay enough to support the families that are being forced to flee to the U.S for better pay there will be no answere. I lay all of the blame on the Mexican Goverment for the problems at border. Less greed on jobs
Posted By Anonymous Jeff Tucson Arizona : 4:52 PM ET
This was a terrible post because it spoke nothing of the coyotes. I came to the post expecting to read something about who coyotes are, how dangerous they are, and their role in the immigration problem. There was none of that. All there was was something about Cuba and how DC does not have a consistent immigration policy.
Posted By Anonymous Mike, San Diego, CA : 4:59 PM ET
I find it unlikely that our government officials are so incompetent and clueless as to be unable to find a solution to this immigration problem. What we have here is not chaos, but PLANNED chaos.
The questions that need to be asked are who benefits from the current situation?
On the one hand Businesses make a tremendous profit off of cheap immigrant labor, but if we were to grant legal status to most immigrants, then of course employment costs would rise considerably. So there is little incentive in the business community to pressure for a more open immigration policy.
On the cultural front, it is of course always in the interest of politicans to have a bread and butter issue such as "Battle on the Border". But their is no military solution to a civilian crises like imigration. We (not the politicians, who clearly have) could learn a lot from our experiences with endless "War on Drugs".
So likewise, there is no interest on the cultural front to educate people about accepting more legal immigrants:
Increased wages (meaning Americans will no longer compete with illegal immigrants for jobs), and an end to the violent and criminal smuggling operations.
Mexico is not like Ireland during the potato famine, and the U.S. industry is also not growing at such a rate as then. I find it highly unlikely that even if we completely opened up the borders, millions would cross the next day. Immigration is one of the most positive features of American society, indeed this is what defines America: not abstract ideas of freedom and liberty.
Posted By Anonymous Phil Skaller Housatonic, MA : 5:01 PM ET
How much are we willing to pay for a head of lettuce or a meal at a restaurant? We complain bitterly when the price of gasoline goes up, the same thing will happen if we shut the boarder, maybe on a grander scale. Next time you eat out look in the kitchen and see how many Mexican/Central Americans are working in there. Do you think all these people are here legally? Don't fool yourselves and be prepared to pay more, much more.
Posted By Anonymous Carlos Medrano, Fresno, CA : 5:03 PM ET
Rick,
I am a Mexican-American citizen with first-hand knowledge of the poverty that afflicts Mexico. I can tell you, in complete confidence, the problem will not end soon.
The problem should have been mitigated by the Open Free Market policies adopted in the 80s but companies along the Border have tended to exploit labor and nothing more. The answer still resides in open free markets but with a drive towards "socially responsible" Capitalism, with fundamental respect for Human & Labor Rights on both sides of the Border. Too often, in this Democracy, we look afar for solutions, we need to look within.
Posted By Anonymous Santiago Rodriguez, Plainfield, IL : 5:04 PM ET
Very nice blog. All of the posts display thoughtfulness, insightfullness, and excellent writing skills. Of course, the taglines eventually clued me in that all of the authors are journalists.

The short pieces are of far better quality than the average newspaper article, and you are all to be commended for the additional effort of publishing your thoughts outside of the deadline requirements.

Keep up the good work.
Posted By Anonymous Jennifer Meyer, Neola, IA : 5:05 PM ET
Mr. Sanchez,

Thank you for raising these important questions. Coyotes and the problems they cause are an evolution of border dynamics. In the latter half of '05 alone, here's a sampling of the headlines that made the local papers (Star, Citizen, Republic) concerning the Nogales-Tucson-Phoenix 1-10 corridor but that I fear the rest of the country is ignorant of:
- three drug-related highway gun battles
- six vehicle rollovers resulting in multiple deaths of the overcrowded illegal passengers
- at least one immigrant death by hit and run
- two suspicious vehicle stops resulting in drug busts of several hundred pounds
- gunning down of six illegals off the highway (thought to be by competing coyotes)
- discovery of a house used to imprison illegals for ransom

I would like to see a comprehensive immigration policy that treats illegals like human beings yet demands respect for US laws. Culture, hiring practices, addiction, and corruption all negatively drive the human crush along our southern border. I would have thought that a former border governor turned President would have done more to counter these problems but Bush has failed. Luckily Arizona has the leadership of Governor Janet Napolitano to bring about real action if the feds don't interfere.
Posted By Anonymous Ryan, Tucson, Arizona : 5:08 PM ET
This is absolutely rediculous. We need to not let anyone in anymore, it is obvious we cannot handle anymore people. As was stated before why are we letting these people in and we are picking up the tab, not to mention we cannot do that in anyother country!!!
Posted By Anonymous Martin Weekley Huntington Beach ca. : 5:08 PM ET
I live in Los Angeles. I work in a hospital and I substitute teach. I see first hand immigrants who come and need services, have no money, and no insurance. I'm torn on this issue. Do you do the right thing and help? They are sucking dry a system that they never paid into. I see their children flood classrooms that can't speak English, and require special teachers/classes/resources at the expense of other children who's parents pay taxes that support the schools. I read that they do the work that no one wants. This is true. However, maybe if they weren't here, then the lazy children in our society would be forced to get some minimum wage jobs and learn how to work? Like I said, I'm torn between doing the Christian thing and saying "Hhey, we can't do it anymore, we have our own to worry about and fix."
Posted By Anonymous Richard, Los Angeles, CA : 5:10 PM ET
You will not solve the immigration issue until the Mexican government changes. It is up to that government to take care of it's own people! But why should they do anything but encourage their people to go north and work. Last year, immigrants sent 20 billion dollars (that's with a "B")back home to Mexico!! We are Mexico's largest source of revenue! Why would they want to change that!!
Posted By Anonymous Melissa, Casa Grande, AZ : 5:11 PM ET
I live in L.A., a major 'front' in the 'migration wars,' and haven't been to Tijuana for a few years; notwithstanding, I get the impression that you're dumping on the place unduly. TJ is a large and bustling industrial city with thriving legitimate businesses and hard working laborers galore.

As a large border crossing, it naturally attracts the down trodden who seek to better their lot in �El Norte�, as well as the rapacious who seek to take advantage of them, within Mexican society, and this enterprise plays itself out owing to US migration policy - and 'drug war' policy - that's essentially kaputt, as you point out.

�Coyotes� simply aren't lurking on every street corner, as your piece implies; consequently, I say cut TJ a little slack. Baja law enforcement are hard pressed trying cope with what are essentially American induced problems.
Posted By Anonymous Peter Schuck; Encino, CA : 5:18 PM ET
While the U.S. government deliberately taunts Castro from the embassy, hasn't it rescinded the wet-foot, dry-foot rule? So.... are we welcoming Cubans to freedom, or inciting them to counter-revolution? Can we afford to go there, especially with our overstretched, overstressed troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now east Africa? How much trouble is this adminsitration willing to borrow? And who among us is willing to foot the bill?

In the case of Cubans, in particular, I think we need to be building bridges and not burning them. One day, Castro will die, there wil be a power vacuum, and there likely will be huge U.S. intervention. Everyone in Cuba has family in the U.S. and vice-versa. Are these the kind of "family values" we want to propagate?

Regarding Mexican and Central American immigrants, no one seems to be going after the U.S. personnel staffing companies and small businesses who "unknowingly" hire hundreds of illegals with FALSE DOCUMENTATION each day. Who's running THAT show? I'll bet you the "coyotes" at the top of that food chain are loyal members of the G.O.P., who drive their Porches home to the suburbs from their maquiladoras across town.

Finally, Mexicans historically have lived in Texas, New Mexico (HENCE THE NAME...), and California for hundreds of years. Political lines on the map are meaningless in that context.

It comes down to gross ignorance on the part of certain members of the American middle class who live in a fantasy world of McMansions built by Aztec stone workers and cleaned by Chicano women. The root of much of the anti-immigration debate is pure racism, hiding behind the fig leaf of "national security."
Posted By Anonymous R., Atlanta : 5:18 PM ET
The bigger issue I have with these people is that they come work in our country for less wages then Americans and then they send it back to Mexico to their families and now not only do we have illegal immagrants, who are mostly criminals to begin with, but now their also destroying our economy. This needs to stop ASAP because it will eventually lead to bigger problems as this country moves forward. This country needs to address illegal immagrants now and get them out of this country until they decide to enter within our legal parameters.

I will leave you with this last note, if you ever go to Mexico the last thing you will see is the Mexican authorities treat you with and respect or dignity. Not only will they try to bride money away from Americans they will also arrest you for no reason or let a bunch of thugs rob you right in front of their eyes. I have never seen a Mexican treated like that in this country whether leagl or illegal.
Posted By Anonymous Big Dave, Pearl River, NY : 5:18 PM ET
If they aren't in this country legally, they're breaking the law. That makes them criminals, not immigrants. We need to stop treating them in our hospitals and teaching them in our schools. They should be extradited back to their native countries. If a simple barbed wire fence isn't keeping them out, the Koreans have an effective model called the DMZ.
Posted By Anonymous Chad, Colorado : 5:19 PM ET
We need to have clear laws that differentiate immigration from employment authorization. The two do not fit together and they are not synonymous.

We also need to establish "one stop" Federal Worker Centers along the borders where foreign workers could go to be processed for a work permit/identification/taxpayer card, get criminal background checks, driver improvement, innoculations, national drivers insurance, a vehicle inspection with national plates, national guest worker health insurance, and "tourist" English lessons.

The fees for this would come out of their Social Security withholdings.

This will enable aliens to get jobs in the U.S. and protect U.S. citizens without burdening the taxpayers. Violation of laws, including failure to file taxes or depart the country for 60 days ever two years would be grounds for permanent bar from the United States. When the worker departs, they get their remaining SSA funds; failure to depart forfeits the funds.

Take the guesswork out of identifying aliens by using the common, easy-to-recognize government identification. No ID, no employment. Plus, the penalty for hiring illegal aliens who don't have the card should be five years prison and $100,000 per alien with the responsibility falling on the corporate officers, and the middle and immediate managers.
Posted By Anonymous Manolo Esparanza, Arlington, VA : 5:20 PM ET
I think with our current situation with terrorism we need to not only talk about the border problems but do something about it. Couldn't the federal government work with the border states to basicly build a wall (YES LIKE IN BERLIN)but with out the stigma of keeping us in, but the uncontrolled, unhealthy, (meaning possibly sick with some disease)and the unfriendly to americans out!!!!
Posted By Anonymous Bryan Clearwater, Fl : 5:31 PM ET
My question is why are we outsourcing millions of jobs to China and India and not to Mexico? If we had outsourced 10 million jobs to Mexico instead of Asia, we would not have an illegal immigration problem. We would not have the loss of high paying jobs in the USA.
Posted By Anonymous Wayne, Fort Worth, Texas : 5:31 PM ET
We have a National Guard. They do military exercises on their one weekend a month when not deployed. We have military personnel that do military exercises, when not deployed. Let's stop exercising, start patrolling and stop illegal immigration. We are paying these soldiers, let's have them work.

Our government, in a Post 9/11 world, has failed. They have failed miserably when it comes to securing our borders. It is time they address the confusion, the chaos and the invasion.
Posted By Anonymous Rob Jacksonville, FL : 5:31 PM ET
Our present government is wrong, wrong, America has always welcomed people, that is why we have been great, but now we are not a good nation.
Posted By Anonymous Terry Lacy, Perry, Iowa : 5:39 PM ET
Illegal immigration is evidence that america, while most people enjoy complaining about every aspect of america, is still one of the best places on earth to live. Illegal immigration is an economic problem, that starts with our own lazy unemployed population, the businesses that hire and perpetuate the continued need for illegals, to the corrupt and ineffectual governments of the countries they are fleeing from. If low and minimum wage jobs don't pay enough for an american to live on, don't blame whatever current administration is in office. Blame the real criminals that are ruining our economy and country, the buisness owners, CEO's, board of directors, or whoever is sitting on top of all the money and still trying to cram more in their pockets. If an illegal immigrent can work and live in america, what excuse does the unemployed population have?
Posted By Anonymous Kyle, Hattiesburg MS. : 5:40 PM ET
What if we gave the Mexicans work visas,with a five year stay out of trouble clause and restricted thier social benifits for that time. Use their five years of collected tax money for our alling social security,and after five years,if they are abiding citzens, let them stay. If I am not mistaken, didn't a large majority of the people that make up this country arrive as alliens?
BTW- wonder where all the tax money that is collected with false s/s numbers ends up????? Maybe there is some other reason our government is not ready to get this issue fixed.
Posted By Anonymous Chris,Portland Or : 5:40 PM ET
If one could really look into the life of an immigrant and place their stereotypes and political generalizations aside, these negative thoughts and assumptions would not be. The sacrifices that are suffered by the person undergoing these injustices, go thorough a waterfall of turmoil. Yes sacrifices are voluntary, but what is the alternative? Suffer in a country tarnished by corruption of their government and another. As is, there are "Maquiladoras" that exist in the US, which are factories from the US exploiting workers. You say immigrants are taking away from US citizens? How do you think you are able to afford the luxuries that exist in you life now? Exploitation of all sorts not only Mexicans.
There is always someone to blame other than our selves. Who else will be the scapegoat? Educate yourselves and see why everyone else in the world hates us. As it was said before on someone�s comments, in history, did we not escape persecution and poverty to create what is now the US. Does that action not remind you of those who are trying to come here? What is there that's united in this nation? The fact that we pay allegiance to the flag because of our new patriotism, derived from the tactic of fear our dictator is using on us? Open your eyes Americans and notice that our prosperity is not by our own merits. We need of our immigrants more than we care to admit. Before, there where the Indians (the savages) not allowing us the land "rightfully" needed to civilize. Then there were the blacks, which took our jobs and spoiled our white America. Then there were all the rest, the "minorities" who take our jobs, pay no taxes, and live in our free America. So privileged we are...
Posted By Anonymous Diana Rogel, Los Angeles, CA : 5:43 PM ET
Thank you for sharing your truth regarding the Cuban Act. Many people like yourself have benefited by being lucky and being stuck in the abyss of illegal immigration. One day perhaps Americans will stop their addiction to a Wal-Mart style life and begin living with what we already have in this great country. Only then, however, will immigration policy change.
Posted By Anonymous Irvine, CA : 5:48 PM ET
The illegal mexican class is fast becoming the true US working class. They work hard, without much complaint, for less. US Restaurants, construction companies, farms, ranches etc. all employ and profit off the illegal working class. Coyotes makes fortunes off the illegal working class.

Where there is demand, there is supply. The US government should quit wasting money in the effort to keep them out (a losing battle on all accounts) and redirect those funds into a government controlled work visa program that is affordable, provides reasonable rights to the working immigrant, and allows for taxation of wages. Our border with Mexico would become a profit center where the resulting funds could me better used to manage those who are here.
Posted By Anonymous Matt, Atlanta, GA : 5:49 PM ET
As someone who works IN law enforcement and deals with illegal aliens every day, I'm qualified to say that Mr. "Eduardo of Los Angeles, CA" has never heard of NAFTA and the many studies by the Center for Immigration Studies. Do you remember the giant sucking sound Ross Perot warned us about? NAFTA was meant to help stop the flow of illegals.

Most illegals return home? If that were true, then why do more than 75 percent of the illegal aliens who have been here for years and who have been caught abscond when their court date or deportation date comes up? Why is it that the majority don't even show up for their court dates? Why isn't the outflow of illegal aliens equal to the influx of illegal aliens go through the outbound lanes? How come we don't read stories in the news about truckloads of illegal aliens being smuggled OUT of the United States? How come there aren't stories about accidents where carloads of illegal aliens were rushing to get into Mexico? BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT GOING BACK TO MEXICO! And if they can help it, they aren't going back EVER!!

Illegal aliens pay more taxes than citizens? That's baloney!! Most work for cash under the table and the companies hiring illegals cook their books by cashing their own payroll checks for their workers! The only taxes they pay are sales taxes. In fact, the Dept. of Treasury has it arranged so that illegal aliens can open accounts without identification. Why? Because they're trying to get illegal aliens to put all that cash backing into the banking system; the big electronic datastream. If you can't stop the flow of cash, then you might as well let the banks profit off it through fees, right?

Poverty caused by the corrupt Mexico government is not the fault of the United States or its citizens, nor should we carry the burden of illegal aliens.

And for all those folks who think this is like the Berlin Wall, it's not. The Berlin Wall was to keep people in, not out. Shutting the border down is no different than putting up a fence between houses; you're preserving your property rights. Shutting the border preserves United States sovereignty.
Posted By Anonymous Federal Blue, El Paso, Texas : 5:54 PM ET
As an educated Mexican with no interest of leaving for the USA I can comment that there are some simple thing the US Goverment could do to stop illegal immigrants:
1.Shutdown all business that employ illegal immigrants(they pay an immigrant a lot less than they do to a "legal" resident)
2.Promote temporary visas for people considered as useful to the Economy(even agriculture labor!)

In Regards to Drug Trafficking,have a plan to raise awareness towards drug consuming,check local bordertowns police in search for crooked officials.
Posted By Anonymous Felix, Culiacan , Mexico : 5:59 PM ET
As a US born citizen whose spouse is attempting to obtain legal permanent residency status through legal channels, I am appalled that anyone could be so vicious.

You people need a reality check!! Immigration to the US by legal channels has taken our family 3 years and still no visa! Paperwork delays are outrageous! My husband has no criminal record and we are not a burden on society!! I work, he is currently working in Mexico and will work in the U.S., and we live above the poverty line. We are not a "burden" on society. Society/government has been a burden on us!

I hate seeing masked racism in my countrymen, more so because I know one day my son will have to face the same racist elements. It is one thing to be "white" and cross a border. We have had our car ripped apart several times, endured continual scrutiny at every agonizing border crossing all in an attempt to do things the right way! We have spent nearly $10,000 in one year on these expenses....

Is this the America you love, one that separates families and criminalizes the poorest and most downtrodden of our population?

God Bless America!
Posted By Anonymous Ruth, Los Angeles, CA : 6:02 PM ET
I am a son of immigrants, My mother's family immigrated to the US from Europe somtime in the early 1800's and my father is a resident alien (he chooses to remain a Mexican citizen). When my mother's family came to this country they were asked to give a name and a country of orign. My father had to jump through all kinds of hoops in order to live in this country. The rest of my dad's family still lives in Mexico and has no desire to come to the US, short of the occaisionl vist.

I grew up on the Texas/Mexico border, the Rio Grande Valley. So I have seen first hand what Undocumented Aliens, UDA, do when they come to the country, they look for work. They do not compete with the rest of the American workforce they supplement the American workforce. How many Americans do you see looking for work picking our produce only to get turned down for UDa labor? They are not competing with Americans's for jobs they are taking the jobs Americans do not want to preform. Do some UDAs abuse our social safety net? Sure, but so do some Americans, should someone be turned down these basic services because they were born in a different country? Is a child born in Nebraska more entitled to a government sponsered breakfast than a child, whose father works picking cabages at a nickle a head, born in El Salvador? Am I more entitled to pursue the American dream because I was born Texas, than my ancestors were because they came from Europe? The solution to the "border problem" is simple.

Open the borders to anyone that can secure employment in our country. If we have jobs that need to be done and people willing to do them, then supply meets demand and there is no longer a need to cross over illegaly. Remember that the statue of liberty invites people to come to our country. People will stop coming to the US when there is not work for them. As long as a Mexican farmer can make more money in American fields than he can in Mexican fields he will try to enter our country. Let them come over legally, in a short period of time the labor market will be flooded, putting downward pressure on the wages of farm workers (and the other undesirable jobs UADs preform), as these wages slide it becomes less desirable to come and work in the US and imigration controls itself. We that added benefit that the cost of produce goes down, everyone wins.

Under that system the resources spent on preventing UDAs from entering the states could be spent on fighting drug trafickers and terrorists. If people could legally enter the country to work then the only people trying to sneak in would be those with other agendas, terroists and criminals.

One last point, everyone of these columns has talked about the southern border, yet makes no mention of the Canadien border. Drugs, UDAs, and terrorists enter the country through that border to yet we do not react in the same way. A car carrying explosives and a plot to attack seattle and other west coast cities were uncovered at a Canadien border crossing, yet we are more worried about a farmer and his family trying to earn a better living.
Posted By Anonymous Zac Yanez, Seattle Washington : 6:02 PM ET
No matter how u slice it the lack of security on our southern border is a real problem waiting to happen. I worked in Guadalahara and Mexico city for one year on business and the corruption is unbelievable. Mexico is a third world country that is trying hard to move forward. But with the corruption and the lack of education in so many sectors, I believe it will stay this way for many more decades. Lets shut the borders as tight as we can.
Posted By Anonymous Brian Paul Dallas Texas : 6:07 PM ET
Eduardo from LA, whenever I hop on my high horse and get in a hissy fit over all the illegals (and trust me my town is swimming in them) It try to imagine what it would be like for me if I were not blessed enough to be born here. My family has never had a struggle financialy. Now we are not Trump rich by no means but there has never been a struggle. I just wish everyone that crossed the border would be good. That is a dream especially since many born here are equally not good! In my opinion if you come to the USA work pay your taxes and obey the laws then stay forever.
Posted By Anonymous Christy from GA : 6:08 PM ET
So long as American business relies on cheap labor to produce certain agricultural products and livestock, not to mention low paying service jobs and the less pleasant industrial work, there will be people coming to do that work from other countries. It is hypocritical of people to complain when they demand cheap prices for their food, clean houses and work places. Americans [with few exceptions] will not mow your lawn, hoe lettuce, pick strawberries, gut chickens or clean office bathrooms. Nor can they support a family by doing so.

If tomrrow all the people without papers were forced to leave this country, there would be complete chaos. Even if all the jobs were filled by Americans and all were paid a living wage, people would scream at the cost of a gallon of milk, a pound of chicken or other daily services they now take for granted.

Likewise so long as Mexico and the Central American/Carribean countries lag behind us in wages and jobs, there will be people who will come here to work. But there is a way to handle this situation in a rational fashion. If we issued work visas to people wishig to enter and do the work, allowing them to come and go during the term of that visa, they could come, work, go home for visits and thus have less desire to bring their families along with them. They would keep their ties in their native lands and be inclined to return home eventually as they have in years past. We benefit and they benefit from the arrangement. We get the benefit of their cheap labor and they get money to send home to support their families.
Posted By Anonymous John Petry, San Francisco, CA : 6:09 PM ET
Exposure to and understanding of the breadth of the problem is key I think, so I think stories like yours will be a great start. There are so many components to the border issue that I it will probably call for a series of policies that balance compassion/humanitarianism with sharp economic policy and fool-hardy criminal laws that are actually enforced. I think consumers need to understand how we play into the economic piece and would conscientiously choose against our roles. Businesses need to be regulated somehow, maybe require them to account for all employees as legal residents or enrolled in a mercy/working visitor program of some sort yet to be developed...Social workers/services need to be equipped in helping individual situations. Americans also need to continue to wrestle with our prejudices and racism that plays into our understanding/numbness of the issue, which is well..tough..good luck to us on that one. But essentially there needs to be a shift in our disposition, maybe we need a few sensationalized stories that grips our limited and selfish attention span to spur comprehensive change. Go 360!
Posted By Anonymous Jane, NYC : 6:14 PM ET
This is in response to Jaci from Chicago.
I can tell you, hypothetically speaking, that if the U.S & Canada miraculously switched geographic locations our Government wouldn't be employing "Minutemen" to guard the border, we would be employing Wal-Mart greeters instead.
Having said that though, I do think both of our countries still have a real laid back approach on how to handle the influx of undesirables and the relative ease in which they gain access to State/Province sponsored benefits. Befittingly, the U.S & Canada are their own worst enemy when it comes to immigration. There are way too many conflicts of interest involved here (NAFTA for one) to implement hard-line actions to eliminate illegal immigration along the Mexican border. Even if the U.S were to build a trench 1/2 a mile wide and 50 feet deep along the border from San Ysidro to Brownsville you still won't solve the problems of the Mexican economy or people willing to (as Sr. Marti from WI said) risk life and limb for liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If Washington is so intent on creating a democratic society for desperate Iraqi's and investing so much into their infrastructure, wouldn't it make more sense to unite North America and invest more in Mexico instead of outcasting the Mexican people just because of their deperation? I mean look at Katrina... How many displaced people ran out of LA & MS out of deperation? They ran because of a lack of clean water, food & shelter? If in their position, each one of you would do the same. The only need is to find a quick, acceptable & legal way of registering & releasing individuals into the American work force that will appease the majority of your population within the border States.
Posted By Anonymous F.R Scott, Port Perry, ON : 6:22 PM ET
My name is Raul and I live among both citizens and illegal immigrants within my own family. I have a college degree in business and studied the issue of the effect of illegal labor in our Southern California economy. It was amazing how removing illegal workers would inflate the costs for the industries they typically work in. Are they (and by they I mean the hate mongers who feel they own this piece of Earth), willing to pay the consequences of carrying out the anti-immigration views with our pockets? In one instance my research indicated that the prices would decrease as much 100%. I cannot afford to take my family of 5 out to dinner if I now have to pay 100% more. This is due of course to the higher costs of wages, but it also includes higher cost of workers comp insurance, higher medical benefits, and the continued maintenance of health & safety standards that are frequently lacking when illegals are employed. Would you be willing to shoulder this additional cost simply to exclude a class of people who simply want to provide food to their families? It makes more sense for this government to produce a comprehensive plan that would allow working class people the ability to apply for and, realistically have the opportunity, to receive a visa to work in the USA.
Posted By Anonymous Raul Hernandez, Los Angeles, CA : 6:22 PM ET
Rick, I have always felt like one of the lucky ones because my grandparents immigrated,legally thru Ellis Island from Lithuania in the early 1900's. They had the vision of the future in their own country and followed a dream to America. They never went back even to visit.
Lou Dobbs keeps plugging away at U.S. and Mexican irresponsibility and our own inability to enforce existent laws and it usually leads back to Washington and corporate greed within the states. Those at the top of the chain just look the other way. I think the answer will come from the states eventually. They will have to secure their own borders with the National Guard and come up with a legal worker program policy if the state truly needs these workers to do the work that residents of the state will not do. A strong armed force is the first step. That in itself will take a while since a good percentage of the Guard is in Iraq.
The Federal Government will not solve this problem any time soon. It is obvious that they have no desire to do so. Our elected officials are too busy lining their own pockets and breaking existing laws instead of making an effort to follow them.
If you guys keep the media light on the issues, maybe elected official will get sick of it and do something about it.
Posted By Anonymous Judy Stage/ Brooklyn Michigan : 6:23 PM ET
Rick, I live in Chula Vista, CA just a few miles from Tijuana. Almost everyone I know is afraid to go to Tijuana these days. 10 or more years ago we would take out-of-town visitors to Tijuana or some of the towns just south of there for shopping and even dinner. No more, accident victims have been held hostage for large cash bribes, bribes for traffic violations not committed are very common. I can't blame the individuals who want to come here to better their lives but I do blame the Mexican government for openly supporting corruption and encouraging illegal border crossing.
Posted By Anonymous Steve Cushman, Chula Vista, CA : 6:32 PM ET
On this issue about disorganized inmigration policy. I have personally been affected by this lack of desicion making from the American and Mesican authority. It turns out that my mother 17 years ago had the oportunity to migrate to the Us via the Simpson Rodino law and was granted a legal status in 93 I was 20 at the time and my mother tought it was a good idea to ask for us as their children for a legal status. 13 years + later I cannot get a touridt visa and since I am a quality manager at an american company in mexico I am affected because I cannot cross the border. I have made to attempts at getting a permit and been unsuccesful. Believe me that if there were a resource within the local American consulate twere they could review my case I would be very happy to submit my case, since I feel I am a victim of this lack of inmigration policy that really look at the faces and cases and not look at all of us a sombreros (all the same).
Posted By Anonymous Alberto Gomez, Tijuana Mexico jose_alberto_gomez@hotmail.com : 6:33 PM ET
I am disgusted with the comments I have read re illegal immigration, drugs, prostitution and terrorism. Long before California was taken by the immigrants(settlers!) of New England this land belong to the Mexican's which you all happen to detest. Maybe we all should take a step back and look at the big picture. Immigration of Latinos, Hispanics or what ever you have label them as, is here to stay, just like you did! So, lets looks at what we can do to accommodate theirs lives since they are here already. I do agree in looking into some measurements to stop some of the immigration. How about disappearing chip labor in the countries in which we now have companies getting richer from?! Just a thought! Immigrants are here to better themselves and theirs families by working hard, harder than any of us, because they are afraid to get laid off. Drugs and prostitution would not exist if you did not demand it! Immigration should not be compare with terrorist, for that would make us all terrorist! My last and foremost suggestion is that racism exist only on uneducated individuals. Please educate yourself and yours to prevent acts of immigration hatred! Have some chip fresh organically grown fruit and vegetables on our behalf
Posted By Anonymous Maria Rodriguez, San Francisco, CA : 6:39 PM ET
I am not a snob. My family came to America leggally. And they had to learn passable English to do so. What is it about the word "Illegal" in the phrase Illegal Immigrant that no one seems to understand? There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, that Illegal Immigrants do that I can't go without. It's the rich with their Nanny's and Butlars, and it's the farmers who say they need pickers and so on and so forth. I can't and never will be able to afford any kind of wait staff. And if I could I would think I could to afford to pay for "Legal" citizen's or "Legal" immigrants. And as far as the farmers go, Illegal Immigrants allow them to make more money with less cost. It's not economics, it's pure greed. If I want a tomato than I'll pay for a tomato no matter what it costs. I feel that the world at large sees the United States as owning them something for some reason. I've busted my arse to get what I've got, and to get where I am. I own no one anything, no matter what their nationality, their religion, their skin color, their sex, their age or whatever they think it is that gives them some sort of special privilege.
Posted By Anonymous D. Gordon, Bradenton, FL. : 6:39 PM ET
We live with our heads in the sand when we think we can solve the problems of the world through legislation. Perhaps it will occur to us someday that it is better to live compassionately with some problems than to apply ineffective and devisive solutions.

The wet foot, dry foot policy of the US has nothing to do with helping persecuted Cubans, and has everything to do with creating a reality where communists are evil. This is a policy that worked for the US until some very basic math showed that 1.3 billion Chinese can't all be evil. But hey, this Cuban embargo is really starting to work now right?

So where does the delusion come from, that says our Cuban embargo is doing some good? That something like that can do some good. It's interesting that we're all OK with the Cuban embargo, we don't get hurt with that. But no one wants a Chinese embargo - that would hurt the US economy, and deprive us of the cheap goods we all deserve.

There was a time where the US could lecture Cuba and China on human rights issues. It was a time before Abu Ghraib. It was a time before we needed to explain why we are holding people without due process. It was a time before we started wiretapping americans without a warrant. It was before our government started to defend the existence of secret prisons worldwide.

Despite this, we are not the evil ones, are we? No, in fact, as the world's media super-power, we are anything we want. King of the world...

So, we're thinking a few immigration laws are changing the world around us. That the teeming masses at our door will see this and turn away.
Posted By Anonymous I. Sales, San Diego, CA : 6:46 PM ET
I thank you for your effort to bring as much light and exposure to the problems facing the suthern border and what is going on down there. In a post 9/11 world - it is an unbelievable occurence has that the current federal administration has turned a blind eye to what is going on -on the border with Mexico. As a former San Diegan - I witnessed first hand - for years what has been going on, not just in the Tijuana area but all along the border. I could not understand the current Bush administration has turned a blind eye to wide openness of the border and the flood of illegals streaming into the country. But then i moved to the mid-west where there is quite a consturction boom going on and - guess what? Who is doing all the labor? And building most of the new houses - at pennies on the dollar for what American citizens ? Yes, mainly illegal imiigrants. Most of them are good people, hard workers, who are only here to find the American dream of making a better life for themselves- but the fact is- they pushed out mainly of the legal working Americans in not just the construction industry, but many other service industries as well.
And who are the beneficiaries ? Yes, big business. So the fact is the Bush administrations seems perfectly happy to comprimise long term security for this country - by chasing the short term profits.
Posted By Anonymous Mike, Fayetteville AR : 6:48 PM ET
Assimilation does not occur over night. My Grandfather's grandfather did not speak the languge when he first got here. He stuck mostly with his "kind". He and his neighbors would all fly the flag of the country they had left. He and his countrymen where a burden on our country, they brought crime, ileteracy, and hungry kids that our government had to feed. THey took the jobs that other American's wanted. They entered the country without passaports, visas, work permits, or any real from of IDs. My Great, Great, Great Grandfather faced all the same challenges that "wetbacks" due today, no education, did not speack the language, he was dirty and poor, with one big difference he was white, German to be exact. In a generation or two his family learned english and intermixed with the other ethnicities. My white, American, mother married a Mexican man. I am a US citizen and anyone who wants to work and try to earn the same things my great, great, great grandfather did is welcome to. Solve teh Illegal Immigrent problem, let them into the country at the regular border check points and let them find work. If they are coming into the country at the check points then only criminals (terroists and drug trafficers), are trying to sneak into the border. Don't say that someone is not entitled to pursue the American Dream because he is brown and says "Buenos Dias" instead of "Bon Jour".
Posted By Anonymous Zac Seattle, Wa : 6:53 PM ET
The American Dream lives in the Americas. The great border crossing is a social phenomenon. The legal inconsistency in Washington regarding immigration policy is a moot issue. As long as our economy can support immigration it will continue. No legislation, minute-men or trillion dollar fence can stop the pursuit of a better life. People are quick to say our economy is already being saturated by the influx of illegal immigration. Not true. It may hurt our economy or we may rely on it; or both. But there is room for more. We have a disproportionate amount of money and resources in the Americas. Any moderately ambitious US citizen put in the same situation would make that border crossing. Long live the American Dream!
Posted By Anonymous Preston C., Miami, FL : 7:00 PM ET
You're right. There is no real policy. Only whatever will float politically. At present, that means what will float with the big corporations and the religious right. Good luck on getting a realistic immigration policy from that constituency.
Posted By Anonymous Gale Day, Virginia Beach, VA : 7:13 PM ET
Hi Rick,your great to look at! anyway I appreciate the very hard work our fellow brothers do,but it just burns me that alot will not take the time to learn english(america=english) or read, then we have to spend extra dollars on translation in whatever language they speak, when i get papers from my kids school, i have about 3-4 different pages that the language it's printed in!
Posted By Anonymous Espinosa, Fresno, CA : 7:28 PM ET
Besides a multitude of other sick manifestations happening in the U.S. culture during recent times, illegal Mexican immigration has the potential of being the worse. It breaks down the unity of our country by breaking down the unity of our language that has been a key in the success of the United States. I don�t know about you but I am sick of confronting the Spanish language whenever making a contact with a business or public institution. I am sick of paying extra money for the support of this language in government and business situations. Illegal immigration must be stopped immediately before the natural trend of the U.S. society is totally disrupted.

It is highly disturbing that our government has not already stopped the serious problem of illegal immigration. Notwithstanding prejudicial preferences on the part of governmental officials, this problem can be stopped. Proper legislation backed by strong enforcement will stop corporations from hiring illegal immigrants. Current immigration legislation should be improved and strongly enforced. No immigrant should be admitted into the United States without acceptable knowledge and fluency of the English language.

Unfortunately, President Bush is incapable of possessing the vision to understand the long term implications of illegal immigration. If steps are not immediately taken to solve this problem, it will be too late.
Posted By Anonymous William, Schaumburg, IL : 7:30 PM ET
WE ALREADY HAVE LAWS IN PLACE THAT SHOULD BE ENFORCED. NOT TO PREVENT PEOPLE FROM CROSSING TO FIND WORK, BUT TO PREVENT PEOPLE FROM CROSSING TO BRING IN DRUGS. BY STOPING THE FLOW OF DRUG MONEY BACK ACCROSS THE BOARDER IT COULD DECREASE THE PROBLEMS THE MEXICAN ATHORITIES ARE HAVING WITH THE CRIMINAL ELEMENT IN THERE SOCIETY. ONCE THE FLOW OF WORKERS SLACKENS THEN CONGRESS AND THE SENATE WILL HAVE TO GET OFF THERE OPPULANT BUTT'S AND COME UP WITH A PLAN.
Posted By Anonymous DEAN, JENISON MI. : 7:49 PM ET
Everyone repeat after me:

ILLEGAL immigration - PROBLEM
LEGAL immigration - NO PROBLEM

See? Not so hard, was it? People that ignore, forget, sweep this fundamental difference under the rug are a disgrace to this society. Ones that willingly encourage illegal immigration are criminals and should be prosecuted.

The world has many countries, not just the US. All have borders, laws, currencies, economies, etc. Those other countries don't blur the legal/illegal distinction like we do. Pathetic.

Why have borders at all? Come on, y'all! Walk right in.. Our free-for-all is waiting for ya.

It is not about who came here first, racism, class, survival, etc. It is about how somebody got here. In my case, I-20 -> F-1 -> Green Card. Like we said, "no problem".
Posted By Anonymous Sateesh, Glendale, CA : 8:02 PM ET
I've heard all this before. A bunch of poor rednecks who had a chance to make something out of their lifes, but did nothing, now have to blame somebody else. I was born in the U.S. from illegal immigrants. I attended college, now I am part of the middle class and contribute to this country. There are lots more like me. I can't wait until all the children, born in the U.S.A from illegal immigrants become adults. Then things will change. And there is nothing you can do.
Posted By Anonymous Jose, Los Angeles, CA : 8:03 PM ET
The Cuban Adjustment Act needs a review. We turn away people from other countries who are being "ruled" by bad guys..but for one reason or another we dont deem them worthy enough to move into this country. Why should the Cubans get preferental treatment? Because its Castro? No, it isnt right. Let them go through the same process as everyone else and if they are turned down... send them back to Cuba.
Posted By Anonymous Melissa, Portsmouth, Ohio : 8:30 PM ET
Being a democrat I have to say that I do in fact support easier immigration laws into our country, however, i also believe that we need tougher laws on illegal immigrants. A WORK VISA??? Why should someone who is here illegally be able to get a pass to work in this country. Its a disgrace!
Posted By Anonymous Joey, Wilmington, NC : 8:35 PM ET
Make the immigrants "Legal".
Track them. That is what a computer is for. As someone has stated,we were all immigrants at one time.
I think that most of these problems arise from the fact that our "minimum wage" work force is on welfare.
I live in a region where illegal labor is used, for the reason that is the ONLY labor available. It has nothing to do with more profits. It has to do with work ethic. The illegals have a NEED to work. Employers like that.
Yes, it is mininial work. It is a fact of life.
Posted By Anonymous Sue, Albany, GA : 8:39 PM ET
Disorder is the only immigration policy this society will accept, because it is the only one that can discriminate in favor of Hispanics while serving economic and demographic needs. Hispanics are Christian Westerners, whose cultures have actually been part of the fabric of American life for a century and a half. Most Hispanics actually do integrate into American life pretty well in time, and "American" culture itself already has some degree of Hispanic overlay. Hispanic culture is not perceived as truly threatening or hostile to our own. If the U.S. had an orderly policy, the courts would never allow, de jure, the present de facto discrimination in favor of Hispanic immigration over that of peoples whose cultures are perceived as implacably hostile and even dangerous. The American people would insist on terminating immigration altogether in that event. Anglos (I am one) do not have a sufficiently high birth rate to sustain this economy in the long run. As long as illegal immigration favors Hispanics in fact, if not in avowed purpose, this country's tacit policy is likely to remain turning a blind eye to illegal immigration, while expecting law enforcement to gather up and deport or imprison the truly "bad guys" that get through. That's the truth of it, and the whole society accepts it,though sometimes grudgingly, or it would have been stopped a long time ago.
Posted By Anonymous J. Randall, Monett, Mo. : 8:43 PM ET
Rick,

I applaud your perspective as an immigrant to this country! Thanks for sharing.
on the border issue - the 'chaos' allows for the continuation of the availability of cheap labor and perhaps large state revenues. When I lived out west (AZ and CA) I learned to speak Spanish and I heard many interesting stories from Latinos who made it here and how they did it. I know that this is a very unpopular position, but having also worked in Central America, I'm especially glad that coming here is a viable option for so many people. And it's apparently so easy to do! But, people talk a lot about the cost of immigration but the Arizona Republic ran an article about how Phoenix pulls in millions from the immigrant populaiton there. I'm sure that this is the case all along the border. Why not weigh costs and benefits?

Why should businesses in AZ be in any hurry to shut down the border if the immigrnat population represents such a huge market?
Posted By Anonymous Mary, Philadelphia : 8:47 PM ET
What is your point? We do have problems
Posted By Anonymous smedley, brownsville tx : 8:48 PM ET
Many US employers want and need cheap labor in order to be competitive in the marketplace (it's good economics). Illegal aliens are willing to work cheaply. Until there is an administration that can effectively stop or even curtail employers from hiring "illegal" cheap labor, not much will change. As I recall, isn't it also "illegal" for companies to hire "illegals"? Enforcement is the major issue at hand. What does an administration do when some of their major campaign contributors require cheap labor and the populous demands reform?

You need employers and the appropriate government agencies to collaborate in the screening of prospective employees and enforcement of the laws in place of "all violators" in order to affect change. A tough challenge when enforcement does not equal cheap labor.

If you put a high price to pay for the hiring of "illegals", employers will get the message, think twice and perhaps make an ernest effort to be more vigilant in their hiring practices. The availability of "illegal" cheap labor will increase as employers decrease in their hiring practices. Eventually, "illegal" cheap labor would have to find other employment alternatives. Maybe even deciding to work in their own countries of origin.

Once this issue is resolved, most people will bitch and moan about the cost of goods and services. O'well.
Posted By Anonymous JO/San Diego/CA : 9:15 PM ET
THe answer is enforce our LAWS - we
have laws on the books - You can come
legally to this country by filing
paperwork and waiting your turn. All
illegal people should be sent back to
their country - Our government does
not want to enforce the labor laws
because their rich friends want CHEAP
LABOR - Enforcement is the only answer.
But with the current Administration
has so much corruption in it that
they can't be bothered to obey the
law themselves so why bother going
after illegals that are breaking the
law is there reply. CHEAP LABORER for
the RICH.......
Posted By Anonymous Jean Powers, California : 10:01 PM ET
There is no solution to ELIMINATE the problem of illegal immigration, but there are ways to mitigate it. However, they can only be achieved if the government is willing to recognize, and therefore target, the problems. One simple example. Why the Special Agricultural Workers Program was ever created? Never heard about it? It gave exemptions to agriculturers in California to continue using undocumented migrants. What is the message that such a policy gives? No problem if you are illegal; you'll be just fine!
Illegal immigration generates profits in this country (although they are usually blamed to be a fiscal burden - not true!). Politicians know it, and some of their resolutions only facilitate it. Unless that changes, I cannot see how the problem will be minimized in the near future.
Posted By Anonymous Marcia, Columbia, SC : 4:19 PM ET
It is true what you say, but at the same time I always have had mixed feelings about this law which was enacted only for Cubans (even though I came to the US before the Bay of Pigs issue.) Why do we lack a law that could be similar to the one we were graciously granted by the US, to offer to those immigrants like Nicaraguans, Haitians, Mexicans, etc? These immigrants have lived in this country for a long period of time and have tried so hard to make a decent living. On the other hand, immigration to the US is growing as the years go by and some of them do not show an interest to be part of the American Society, thus learning the language or nor accomodate some of their root's customs to fit ours. Should there be something like this?
Posted By Anonymous M Suarez, Miami, FLorida : 4:28 PM ET
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