Tuesday, May 02, 2006
24 hours on the border
There were a lot of really interesting responses to yesterday's post about the Minutemen building a fence on the U.S.-Mexico border. I'm curious to know what a lot of you think about yesterday's demonstrations as well.

When you are standing in the midst of the demonstrations, as I was yesterday in Los Angeles, it's hard to get sense of how the images and messages are playing elsewhere in the country.

Do you think they were effective or counterproductive?

Many of you probably haven't had the chance to spend much time on our southern border, but it's a fascinating place to visit. When you actually see the border fence (in the places where there is a fence), it's surprisingly small.

Also, the countryside is littered with water bottles and clothing left behind by illegal immigrants trying to elude the U.S. Border Patrol.

Day and night, night and day, the game of cat and mouse is played out between smugglers and law enforcement. Of course, it is no game, and each year hundreds of lives are lost on the border.

Tonight, we want to give you a sense of what life is like along the border for law enforcement, illegal immigrants, and others, so we've put together a special edition of "360°" called "24 Hours on the Border." It starts at 11 p.m. EST, after the first hour of "360°." I hope you are able to watch.
Posted By Anderson Cooper: 2:05 PM ET
  70 Comments
Great coverage with you and Lou Dobbs. Lou provides an enormous amount of insight to this issue.
Posted By Anonymous Missy, Fairfield, CT : 2:29 PM ET
The protests yesterday won't change the fact that there is a right way and a wrong way to gain enterance and citizenship in this country.

Illegal immigrants are hurting American citizens in any number of ways but I was floored by an article on CNN.com yesterday that showed how much of an impact illegals have on low-skill manual labor jobs. The fact that over 20 years ago meat packers were making $19/hour and now they're making just over $9/hour is unbelievable.

If you want to be a citizen of the United States then you need to follow the process as set forth in our Immigration laws. Border crossers and illegals should be prosecuted and returned to the country from which they came.
Posted By Anonymous Joe Taylor, Fairfax, VA : 2:30 PM ET
I admit I'm kind of shocked at the outrage over the Spanish version of the national anthem. It reminds me of how Hendrix' now-iconic guitar anthem was first received in the early seventies - there were people who said he should be arrested... I'm sure some people even thought he should be shot... for defacing a national landmark. And yet the Star Spangled Banner ripped off the tune of another song, and wasn't even the anthem until 1931.

Bloggers have noted that Candidate Bush was at a number of events in '00 in which he joined in singing the national anthem in spanish - there seemed to be no sense of outrage then.

Phony-baloney issue, inserted into the public discourse to distract us from REAL issues?
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae, Sterling VA : 2:32 PM ET
I don't know exactly how I feel about the entire debate. After watching your coverage of the immigration issue over the past weeks, I find myself surprised that it is so hard for Mexicans to become legal citizens. We seem more open to people from other continents becoming citizens than from our own part of the world. Almost a type of discrimination in itself.

I live in Austin, so Mexicans are a part of our city. I don't have a clue who is legal and who isn't. But to me they are just as much a part of Austin as I am.

I did hear an interesting comment this morning on the local news. I believe one of the arguments for immigration is that they are all paying sales tax and such anyway. But this person pointed out that many do not shop where we shop. They often buy things at garage sales. Therefore they are not paying sales tax. So they are getting our city services and education and not paying into the system in anyway. This I do take issue with. I have a hard enough time supporting myself and my son. Every year the taxes on my house go up to support the city services. I don't get a free ride. Not that I am asking for one. But I would like to only pay my fair share of the burden. Not for those who are just taking and not contributing.

I think that the protests were productive in bringing attention to the issue. I think they were done in a way that would make a difference. As we hope all boycotts do when we participate. They did not personally effect me, but I'm sure it did others.

I have no idea what the right answer is, but I do know the government needs to come up with one soon.
Posted By Anonymous Carlie, Austin, Tx : 2:41 PM ET
I�m not sure what the general perspective is of Mexican immigrants, but I don�t think the general public expected that such demonstrations would have resulted as successfully peaceful as they did. Seeing all those people on the streets of Los Angeles amazed me. What spirited and passionate people. Hopefully both Mexican/US governments reach some type of resolution. (We need to wake up those folks in D.C.) As far as those �Don�t Speak for Me� groups � well as a U.S. born Hispanic I don�t feel they are speaking for me or any legal immigrant. I must have missed something, but I never got that message. They are a group that deserved a day to be heard.
Posted By Anonymous Luz, Los Angeles, California : 2:42 PM ET
Most media billed it as an "immigrants' rights protest." WRONG! Firstly, those here illegally aren't immigrants,they are criminals. Secondly, we won't even discuss their "rights" until the legalize. Let's straighten out their status and fill out the proper paperwork FIRST, then we'll talk about rights later.
Posted By Anonymous Tina - Chicago, IL : 2:44 PM ET
I did a report in college about the Minutemen, and while I don't agree entirely with how they run their little show down there, I do support their efforts to help keep the border safe. As far as the protests, all was pretty quiet in the cities surrounding D.C. although the place we normally order food from closed early because they went to protest. We simply gave our business to someone else. I have no problems with immigration. It is the illegal part I have a problem with, as apparently so do many others. I was fortunate enough to be born in America so I have not had to go through the whole process to become a citizen but I know people who have, and I know it can't be easy. But for tax-paying citizens to have to pay for benefits to illegals makes me angry. Come over legally, and learn the language. Many people probablly wouldn't have a problem with it if it was done that way.
Posted By Anonymous Katie, Sterling, VA : 2:44 PM ET
How are the images playing on TV? Well, for me, I'm torn. I feel for the immigrants. I know that they come to this country to provide a better life for themselves and their families. My family immigrated from Italy years ago for the same reasons.

Was this the best way to shed light on their plight? I'm not sure about that. I was in NYC yesterday and expected to see at least some business effected by the protest. But I didn't feel the effects at all. Got a cab, restaurants seemed to be opened and everything appeared to be business as normal. I didn't even see the march that occured.

I think the protest might have been counterproductive. But what is the best way to bring attention to the cause? How do you get people to sit up and take action? What is the right solution to the problem? Wow, no I sound like a politician. All kinds of questions with no concrete answers to provide!
Posted By Anonymous Sheryn R, Pohatcong, NJ : 2:45 PM ET
Monday's demonstration: Great job Anderson Cooper. I am amazed that these people don't realize they are demonstrating in the WRONG country! They should have this organization and these numbers in MEXICO! The country that should provide them with their needs for family and jobs......With these people here all of our help programs for our own citizens are gone, because we always take care of those in need whoever they are from wherever. Unfortunately, they don't see this. In a few short years, this country will be just like MEXICO...
Posted By Anonymous Sherry Caulk Ontario, CA : 2:47 PM ET
Yesterday my cousin was listening to a radio station that was making very racist comments about how "Those Mexicans need to go back over the border where they belong". Later her car broke down and she needed it fixed, but the auto shop couldn't fix it because of the walk-out. I think it gave her a greater appreciation for what services are provided my "illegal immigrants" and their allies. Yesterday a lot of people were made aware of their dependence on illegal labor- the point rang clear.

I cried when I saw the demonstrations on T.V. History books were being written before our eyes. Peaceful unity was displayed, something I cannot say about most protests. Maybe it won't make a difference today or tomorrow- but it was a day for history.
Posted By Anonymous Nicole, Joliet IL : 2:51 PM ET
No amount of fence will ever keep out those who have a desire to enter the United States. I'm afraid that eventually this will only escalate into violent confrontations.
With the exception of the Native Americans, we really are all immigrants in one way or another. I bet they wish they had built a big fence when they saw the first Europeans arriving!
The only way to deal with this issue is to let people enter the country legally, pay into our system and then reap the benefits of the system. This has to start with the companies/farmers/growers that employ these people illegally. Until the powers that be confront and control that issue, nothing will change.
Posted By Anonymous Mary Jablonski Huron, Ohio : 2:52 PM ET
I wouldn't miss your special.

As far as the protests, they will become a distant memory. I think that most Americans are growing tired of this and becoming less compassionate. The focus has become skewed by these demonstrations. There's no doubt that the borders should be secure. There's no doubt that the U.S. and Mexican governments need to be a lot more proactive about making sure that lives are not lost. More than anything, this has become a humanitarian crisis.

I love this blog. It is gratifying to have a forum to speak your mind freely and more or less peacefully without an argument.
Posted By Anonymous Paige B., Austin, TX : 2:52 PM ET
75,000 demonstrators marched in Denver yesterday, and I know there are many more who could not attend. I think the demonstrations in Denver and around the country are making people aware of how important an issue immigration reform is. I don't believe the marches had a negative impact, but that they are a unifying event for immigrants and those who want fair immigration reform. It won't change the mind of xenphobes, however.

I'll be watching tonight Anderson. Your coverage of the border and immigration issues is so interesting and important.

Hey, please take care of yourself, Anderson; your voice was going yesterday! (Drink some warm tea with honey)
Posted By Anonymous Linda, Boulder, Colorado : 2:54 PM ET
The demonstrations just made me even more angry than I already was. There is nothing the illegals or the fringe groups who have latched on to them can say that would convince to feel any differently. Im sick to death of the "we are a nation of immigrants" comments. These are people who are here illegally and this country is not the same place it was 300 years ago. My ancestors came here 300 years ago and some were already here as Im part Indian so I dont want to hear it. Ive heard people say its not easy to get in legally well that doesnt make it right to come illegally! Ive heard well they pay sales tax......they work under the table and dont pay income taxes in a lot of cases but they sure can take advantage of the benefits the tax payers pay for. Who do they think pays for the schools their kids are in? Who do they think pays for the public hospitals where they are treated for free and the other benefits they can apply for without proving they are legal.

If I went to Mexico and did what they have done here I would be in jail! They dont even protest with signs that are in English. They couldnt care less about the USA and its people..all they want are the benefits they can get. If you are going to come here then at least have some respect for this country and its people. Ive even heard people who are legal complaining...one person on an h1b visa compalined about how much he had to pay to be here....Ive got news for him...his h1b visa puts qualified American workers out of jobs...you dont like then leave.
Posted By Anonymous Lisa Jax Fl : 2:59 PM ET
Freedom and Democracy doesnt mean that anybody can break the Law. All illegal Aliens should be send back. Think about terrorists using the same path to enter US and do harm to the Nationals. English should be made strictly a national language. Who ever wants to make this country into a spanish speaking lot can go back to Mexico or where ever they belong. Leave us alone. Please.
Posted By Anonymous Jacob Mathew, Dallas, TX : 3:02 PM ET
The boycotts and marches had some positive and negative aspects. Being a once illegal resident in the U.S., I can only say that I was proud that our voice was finally heard, for the humiliation is often coming down on us without any attempt to empathize our struggle. However, they were some negative aspect as well. One of the most prominent is the overwhelming feeling that America is being overrun by us, whether it is in towns and cities across the nation or simply in the political spectrum of Washington (through partisanship). The march of yesterday did in my opinion only emphasize that feeling that many Americans get. Therefore, yesterday�s marches across the home of human rights sent an ambiguous message. If they were needed to get our right to be respected, through acknowledgement of our presence, we also delivered new arguments for groups such as the minutemen and other extremist to inflate their ranks.
Posted By Anonymous Sy Bohy, France : 3:05 PM ET
Living in Arizona, I don't think a day goes by that I'm not witness to the activities of the Border Patrol. On a typical day,driving between Phoenix and Tucson I usually witness at least one roadside roundup. I was fairly ambivalent on the issue of illegal immigrants until these demonstrations began. After all, I benefit from the illegals presence probably more than the average American. Every morning they congregate on a street corner in my suburb looking for day work. When I'm in need of hard workers, willing to do manual labor cheaply, I head to where the illegals congregate. They are wonderful people just trying to make a better life for themselves. But after seeing the sheer number of people willing to come out of hiding to demonstrate, I'm starting to form an opinion that surprises me. I realize all the people marching aren't illegals but the size of the demonstrations just makes me realize how adding any sizable population to our already strained system is not possible. We need to close our borders but not in the symbolic way of the Minutemen. We need our National Guard and/or military to guard our borders. Yet another reason to end the war in Iraq.
Posted By Anonymous Prentiss, Phoenix, Arizona : 3:05 PM ET
Talking about amnesty for the millions of illegal immigrants is not a good idea. Think about the Cuban boy who was send back.Why cant the Govt. do the same with all the illegals. Make it a mandatory for everyone to learn English. Telling that they are needed for the economy cannot be digested. There are lot of legal immigrants who can and will do the job what these people do.
Posted By Anonymous Jacob Mathew, Dallas, Tx : 3:08 PM ET
Anderson,
I watched the show yesterday and saw the true scope of the demonstrators from the 'birds-eye' view that was provided by your cameras. That alone, and not the individual testimonies that you caught, moved me. I'm wondering myself how this will sway the people that have the authority to pass legislation on this issue.
Having grown up in L.A. and living now in Las Vegas - I see this as an ever increasing issue because of our close proximity to the Mexican border.
Do I think that Americans can live without the immigrants who are crossing the borders every day? No. Other than the rich culture they bring to our ever evolving country, they represent the true search of a better life and what the "American dream" is all about.
Should they become citizens? Yes. Because if they risk everything to live within the "safer" borders of the United States of America, it seems to me to be a small price to pay for the gratitude they say they feel.
Posted By Anonymous Ann, Las Vegas, NV : 3:12 PM ET
I can't wait to see your special on the border. Even though I am only a few miles away in San Diego, I never get that close to the border. I was scared away many years ago and really haven't desired to return.

The rallies yesterday just made me kinda mad. I think the only people they really hurt by protesting, was themselves. Yes the highways in San Diego were less crowded but I don't think it really stopped anyone from what they needed to do. Some businesses closed, but they were probably small sole owners shops and it only hurt their own income.
Posted By Anonymous Wynona, San Diego, CA : 3:20 PM ET
I definitely think the demonstrations yesterday were counterproductive. While it gave the protesters a sense of power and unity, it just gave me more of an incentive to do something about these millions of illegal immigrants. I am a very disgruntled American right now and this will be one of the major issues for me the next time I vote.
Posted By Anonymous Cathy, Minneapolis, MN : 3:22 PM ET
Hi Anderson,

I watched your show last night and I thought what I saw was extremely effective. It shows how many companies really rely on immigrants to keep their businesses afloat. These people are helping in keeping the economy strong but are not recognized as American citizens. However, I am in agreement that they should have entered legally and not any other way. Perhaps the immigration laws need to be updated and adjusted to the current 2006 situation.
Posted By Anonymous Nicki Ferguson, Calgary, Alberta : 3:23 PM ET
I've gotta say the idea of this group building their own fence is impressive. But I also have to say I don't understand the purpose of it. When we can't police small controlled areas such as Customs in any of our international airports or the arrival of ships to any of our ports, then how can any entity even begin to police a fence of this size??? And are they planning a matching fence for the US/Canada border???
Posted By Anonymous Sandi, New York, NY : 3:25 PM ET
I was not affected in any way by these so-called protests yeterday.

The one thing I hope people take away from this is that we can now not deny that we have an immigration problem anymore. Even the hardest headed person has to realize from yesterday's demonstrations that this is serious, and it is an issue that needs to be dealt with.

These people were given amnesty once about a decade ago. There were 4 or 5 million then. By all estimations, we probably have 20 million today. If we grant amnesty again and legalize these 20 million, we'll have 100 million in another 10 years.

If this weren't an election year for so many congressmen and senators, this probably wouldn't even be an issue we'd be talking about.

If yesterday's 117+ responses mostly in favor of the Minutemen were any indication, I simply cant wait til the November elections! I hope the House and Senate are both taking notice!
Posted By Anonymous Bill W, Coatesville, PA : 3:26 PM ET
Anyone who comes into this country and wants to claim his/her "rights" needs to become a citizen FIRST. Then you get "rights".

In order to become a citizen, you must enter legally and apply just like I had to do when I came here.

What on earth makes you think that just because you are from Mexico or Central America that you have the "right" to enter this country illegally and stay here without learning the language or becomming a citizen.

If you want "rights" do the right thing. Make sure you are legal first. Speak English, become a citizen.

If you don't want to do these things, GET THE HELL OUT!
Posted By Anonymous Kent - Arlington, VA : 3:31 PM ET
I'm not quite sure how I feel about the protests. I don't feel any anger about them like a lot of people do, but I'm not sure I would be willing to join the protests either. It's such a complicated issue and I can see both sides. I really wish our leaders would stop posturing and actually look at all aspects of the problem. One thing I've been wondering that I haven't seen addressed is how NAFTA relates to any of this if at all.

Also, the outrage over the spanish national anthem is ridiculous. I don't like it and actually think it was really poorly done, but c'mon, there are bigger problems. It reminds me of around Christmas when the House was passing provisions in defense of candy canes and other holiday stuff. Congress barely works as it is and now we have them arguing about this stuff? And we wonder why no problems are ever solved.
Posted By Anonymous Stacy, St. Louis, MO : 3:35 PM ET
If you had asked me a year ago, I probably would have stated that I was sympathetic to the cause of the illegal immigrants from Mexico.

However, after weeks of watching my flag disrespected, my anthem disrespected, and my country treated like the United ATM of Mexico, I am on the warpath. This has GOT to stop!

What if a bunch of people in Mexico illegally marched through Mexico City waiving the flags of other Central American countries?. There would be BLOODSHED! But I am supposed to take this in MY country? NO WAY!
Posted By Anonymous Kathy Nashville, TN : 3:35 PM ET
I live in Southern California and as most of you already know we had more protestors then any other state.

The only thing that I noticed from yesterdays protest's were, Empty freeways and smaller class rooms. Isn't that a good thing?

The protestors were trying to show us how hard life would be without illegal immigrants, well life was much easier for me yesterday.
Posted By Anonymous Nariman, Woodland Hills, CA : 3:36 PM ET
What gives them the right to protest???? What are they protesting about??? They don't have any rights, They are here illegally. HELLO??? Is anybody paying attention to what is happening? If someones car broke down and there were not illegal immigrants in this country, there would not have been a protest and there would have been someone to fix the car. Don't you get it? There would be legal citizens in the place of the jobs the illegal immigrants have. There are a lot of US citizens out of work, who would do those jobs. Our national unemployment rate would drop to nothing. Most people want to work and make a good life for themselves, but there are a lot of jobs taken by the illegal immigrants.
Posted By Anonymous Donna, South Hampton, NH : 3:36 PM ET
I would not take any side on whether the illegal immigration in this country is hurting it or helping it.
But one thing I can't digest is people who oppose it point out that the children of these illegal immigrants burden our education system. Where are we as a human race headed?. Don't we want every child in this world get education?. Talking about burden I think people who oppose does not know how much this country donates to other countries for similar purposes.
Posted By Anonymous Sridhar, Boynton Beach, Florida : 3:37 PM ET
The demonstrations showed me and the rest of the country how big of a problem this is. Time for DHS to go to work and do their job.
Posted By Anonymous Rick, Arcadia Florida : 3:38 PM ET
Anderson:

Thanks for your great coverage of this debate. Seeing the illegal immigrants protesting for their "rights" made me even angrier than I was before. What "rights" do they feel that their entitled to, since they are here illegally? And now they want to mess with the National Anthem? I can't help but wonder what our veterans think about this whole thing, since THEY are the ones who fought for our country harder than anyone else.
Posted By Anonymous Kim, Bolingbrook, IL : 3:41 PM ET
It seems to me that illegal immigration is one of those deeply divided issues like abortion or gun control. Americans have extremely strong feelings about it and I think the protests only succeeded in further alienating the two sides.

I would like us to find a middle ground, but I'm not sure we can. I find a lot of the anti-immigration responses (and the vigilante fence-building) to be racist, as all sorts of illegal immigrants are sneaking into the US or overstaying their visas and they aren't brown-skinned.

I wonder if all the immigrants were fair-haired, blue-eyed Norwegians and Swedes, would we really care so much?
Posted By Anonymous Sarah. Baltimore, MD : 3:53 PM ET
I was amazed at the ability of illegal immigrants to be able to protests for rights, which they are not entitled to, right in front of the immigration authorities, and nothing was done. Only American citizens are guaranteed the right to protest under the Constitution and laws of this country. I am all for immigration, my grandparents immigrated here, but they did it legally. So, my question is, "when did the laws of this land loss their power?" If I, as an American citizen break the law, I am accountable for it, but illegal immigrants break the law everyday, just by their presence here. Where is the justice in this? Where do you draw the line?
Posted By Anonymous Laura, Hopkins, MI : 3:54 PM ET
Anderson,

The only point the immigrants proved yesterday was not that alot of work around the U.S. would not get done, but if they were not here it would be done by Americans who are currently on unemployment because immigrants are taking their jobs. In my opinion anyone who actually takes notice to any of this would realize that the immigrants have showed us we need to look at are policies, and worry about the Americans who are suffering.
Posted By Anonymous Chuck T, New Cumberland, PA : 3:54 PM ET
Anderson,
The rallys and protests you covered yesterday certainly brought to our attention the needs of immigrants who come to America. But the fact of the matter is, those who want to share in America's dream cannot do it illegally. My Irish ancestors who came to America,and then fought in the American Revolution were indeed immigrants but they fought for their right to be here. Why should someone who jumps across the border have the same rights and priveleges as an I, American born here with ancestral roots dating back to the pioneers. Our government will never let amnesty be a way of American life because illegal immigrants don't have the right to vote. Also, those who are paid under the table aren't paying taxes either. Not to mention, what I would like to know is why are we so protective of who comes into the country by way of airplane, with the miles of security, but we're not nearly as worried about protecting our country on the ground.
Posted By Anonymous Marilyn, Warner Robins, Georgia : 3:56 PM ET
Yesterday was a sad in America. I felt sick to my stomach like I did on
9/11 and the Okla. City Bombing. All those people should be making their own Country a good place to live and not tell be telling our Government how to run America.
Posted By Anonymous Los Christian, Broken Arrow, OK : 4:02 PM ET
I must be dense. It seems to me that if I were to go to another country and demand certain "rights," I would have to become a citizen of that country before I could claim them. Yet we have those who cross our southern border illegally, make unreasonable demands and we do nothing about. What am I missing here?
Posted By Anonymous AnonaMoose, Chicago, IL : 4:02 PM ET
I think the demonstrations/marches were very productive...they served to really piss off most of us!! While we were working, they (the illegals and other assorted leeches) were taking the day off and frolicking around trying to further drag our country down to the level of the countries they left. It's time for the law abiding citizens of THIS country to stop putting up with all of this B/S. WE need to take OUR country back!! No more allowing these criminals be the tail that wags the dog. Before we sink to the bottom - become another two bit third world country - we better get it in gear and stand up for OUR rights. We and our ancestors earned them!
Posted By Anonymous Joe, Lubbock, Texas : 4:03 PM ET
Hi, just a coupla comments on this illegal immigration issue.

1. As far as I am concerned, the only
"rights" illegal aliens have, is the
"right" to be deported.

2. As for a Temporary guest worker program, if the president and the liberal Demorats in Congress really believe that those Mexicans who come here as guest workers, will voluntarly return to Mexico when their temporary visa expires,they are either very naive or very stupid. My money is the later.

Thanks for taking my call.
Posted By Anonymous Rollo Rogers, San Diego, CA : 4:07 PM ET
Great coverage Mr. Cooper, as an immigrant who's become a citizen now it shocks me on how many americans talk about this issue without first getting the facts. Firstable it is not easy to come to the US legally, unless you are an educated person with a career and lots of money in your country, the US won't allow you in and if that was the case why would somebody risk their lifes and their children's trying to cross the border and in some cases not only one but several borders?. The people that make this journey is ussually the poor, the ones who's kids are starving and they are willing to give their lifes just so they can try to find a better future for their family (the american dream), would you?.
These are human beings you are talking about!!!!
Posted By Anonymous Maribel, Los Angeles, CA : 4:15 PM ET
We have made cheap immigrant labor an integral part of our economy. Without immigrant labor, the U.S. economy would take a big hit.

But I do have a serious problem with any immigrant group who refuses to learn English. Today's immigrant demonstrators keep saying they are like previous immigrants, coming to this country for a better life. That's true, but my immigrant ancestors did not come to the United States and continue to speak Polish, German and French. My immigrant ancestors also learned to sing the national anthem in English.

There is nothing wrong in being proud of your origin, but when demonstrating for rights in the United States, it is the U.S. flag which should be waved. I notice that in this round of demonstrations, the demonstrators had more U.S. flags which is a step in the right direction.

All that being said, I do not believe the answer is to make the immigrants already here felons, jailing them and deporting them. They should be allowed to stay, continue to work and improve their lives, and be given the right to become full citizens, taking the same standard citizenship tests in English.

Our immigration laws need to be completely rewritten so that people from all parts of the world have an equal chance at coming to the United States. It's almost impossible for someone from Mexico to legally immigrate to the United States.

In our increasingly dangerous world, all of our borders, not just the one with Mexico, need to be made secure. I imagine immigrants are the least of our problems running across our wide open borders right now.

There has been a failure with both Republicans and Democrats on this issue. Both are afraid to do anything which might cause them to lose votes. Our politicians need to start thinking about what's best for this country instead of their own self interests.
Posted By Anonymous Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 4:17 PM ET
Anderson Cooper 360*

Counterproductive! The Missouri Legislator is passing bills to reform illegal immigration to prevent our state from being held hostage by Non-US-citizens or functioning as inadequately as California. People in my community are angry that media is using illegal immigrant and legal immigrant (who don’t break US laws to become US citizens) as one in the same. I don’t understand why the media is lying, this is not a immigrant date. For most of the cable media to state this as an immigrant debate is propaganda and that is not FACING FACTS WITH DIGNITY.

People who are US citizens feel like they are not being heard, no matter how many phone calls or mails they write to Congress, news station, and or newspapers.

The White House should be responsible and protecting the country against indiscriminate mass immigration without accusing legal US citizens of being xenophobia, racism, or immigrant-bashing.

By politically and illegal immigrants making claiming we are a “nation of immigrants” are so insensitive and debasing toward Native American Indians, Native Alaskans, Native Hawaiians, and descendants of African slaves who did not “immigrate” here in any sense of the word.
Posted By Anonymous Andrea, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri : 4:20 PM ET
War in Afganistan
War in Irak
Near war in Iran
Near war in North Korea
Atronomic deficits
Disatrous response to Katrina
A non funtional congress
A disfuntional President.

But do not mess with my flag, on the National Anthem.

I guess Prorities are Priorities.

Funny..
Posted By Anonymous Bob Pittsburgh : 4:21 PM ET
So here is another idea, rather than go after a people, why not go after the jobs? Make it a felony to hire illegals. You could also have the IRS go after companies and make them pay the taxes.
Posted By Anonymous Herb, San Jose, CA : 4:23 PM ET
We have a problem to resolve, but my main question is: What about the thousand of applications waiting on INS offices to be resolve? What about the american citizen claiming a brother. sister or mother in another country, doing all legal process as law require, and waiting long years line, sometimes up to 9 years to have the family member legal admited in US?
The community is divided, even the inmigrantes are clear divided bwtween Mexicans-Central AMerica and other inmigrantes. I am from Venezuela admited legally by US Embassy in Caracas 15 years ago, become to be American Citizen as soon my 1st child borned, proud of my culture and blesing for the opportunity to be here, as result of my decision I need to follow the law, culture, language without forget my country, living the best of two worlds.
But that's the part many Mexican inmigrants do not get, they want to impose their culture, music, food,no learn the lenguage, abuse the system, no pay taxes, and refusing improve their own education for a better life.
We know is imposible to return over 12 millions people, but we need to secure our border and provide status to who really deserve without forget the people LEGALLY WAITING FOR STATUS already in process by INS department.
Posted By Anonymous Judy , Phoenix, AZ : 4:26 PM ET
There are two arguments FOR the Illegal Immigration cause that I would like to address.

1. The Europeans immigrated "illegaly" and took land from the Native Americans so what are we whining about now?

I'll tell you what, throughout human history people all over the world have taken each others land by force over and over and over agian. As a caucasion with European ancestry I take offense to these remarks. As if my exsistence now some 514 years AFTER Columbus sailed the ocean blue has ANYTHING to do with the Conquistadors. Just because some Europeans in the 16th century discovered land and decided to settle it now I don't have a right to be upset when my tax dollars are giving WAY MORE than one person a free ride? Give me a break!

2. People against illegal immigration are only opposed to it because they are hateful and racist.

Whatever happened to people being opposed to illegal immigration just because it is ILLEGAL? I am sure there are some racists out there who don't like the illegals becuase of their backgrounds, but for the average person opposed to illegal immigration I think its about the law and that's it! If there were 11+ million Europeans, Asians, or Eskimos I don't think it would matter. It is a drain on our system regardless of the background of the person doing the draining!!!

I appreciate the opportunity to express myself and be made aware of how the other side feels. This is an important blog and I'm glad its here!
Posted By Anonymous Abby Chattanooga, TN : 4:28 PM ET
Please, Los felt as sad as he did on 9/11!!! What's that about? These people were having peaceful demonstrations... Did anyone hear of any violence occuring yesterday? No.

These people are human beings! They deserve everything that you and I have. American's have this belief that they are better than the rest of the world. We need to get over ourselves.

Mexicans are hard workers with families to support. They are here to find a better life. You and I would do the same thing if it meant feeding our families.

If our system wasn't so backwards and dysfunctional, we wouldn't have this huge problem in the first place! And if one more person says that Americans would fill their jobs, I'm going to scream! It won't happen.

I thought that the marches were a great way to show that they are a part of America. They are here to stay. Let's help them become legal so that they can pay some taxes.
Posted By Anonymous Christine Weightman, Toms River, NJ : 4:30 PM ET
I find it ludicrous for anyone not living on the border to form an opinion about illegal immigration. Here in our town, Laredo, Texas, it is heartbreaking to see the newspapers, the nightly news, etc. every single day of every single year and see pictures of bodies floating along the river. They were left on their own by the "coyotes" (smugglers) and they drowned in the Rio Grande, or they were assaulted by the gangs that prey on the river banks, or unacustomed to our desert heat, succumb to heat exhaustion. I say, let us curb illegal immigration, but in Heaven's name find a humane way to do it. We could help out Mexico strengthen their economic situation so they can keep those hard workers at home. We have invested billions of dollars in the so-called "democratization" of Iraq, but we do not have monies to help out our neighbors ??
Posted By Anonymous Diana Hamblen, Laredo, TX : 4:32 PM ET
I have to say that for the majority of my life I have been proud to be an American, proud to be from a country of prosperity and strength willing to stand up for what is right. That is no longer the case we are no longer a country of pride and strength, we no longer protect what is right. Why is it ok for the illegal aliens to protest when they are not citizens, why were they not all arrested and deported on the spot? Someone should have been there asking to see their papers or some for of identification to verify their citizenship, if that could not be provided then off to Mexico you go, or where ever else it was they came from. I am tired of standing by while illegals come to our country to escape theirs only to try to change our laws and our beliefs to fit theirs and they use organizations that were created to protect to do this. I do want god in my school; I don't want illegal aliens to take my job. I want to continue to work hard for my fair wage not is replaced by someone who will work for 80% less then I do. Just because I am not a minority does that mean that I do not have any rights anymore? Maybe I should move to another country gain citizenship and then sneak back into this one then I might be able to catch a break! My family came here to pursue a dream and it is no longer available to me because everyone is so damn worried about being politically correct and fair to these people who don't deserve it because they are NOT citizens!!! I am angry and I want someone that I voted for to stand up and defend the people of THIS country, stand up for our laws, rights and beliefs. You came here, deal with it or go home! I'll gladly pay for the bus ticket!
Posted By Anonymous Denise Detroit Michigan : 4:38 PM ET
I say that they should have a voluntary donation fund for building a wall along the entire border. I'd bet that we'd get enough money in no time, and it wouldn't have to come from our taxes. I'd chip in $50 to get it started in a heartbeat.

I'm 100% for legal immigration. But, it's simply not my problem that their country has so many issues; it doesn't mean they can break the law and come here.
Posted By Anonymous John, Bethesda, MD : 4:39 PM ET
People commenting here seem to think that certain rights only accrue to citizens, as if this were imperial Rome or something.

While it's true that only citizens can register and vote in this country, it is important to note that every other right applies to everyone, citizen and non-citizen, legal and illegal alike.

When Tom Foreman did the piece about the questions on the US citizenship test, about who is covered by the Bill of Rights, this was one of the questions.

Yes, the Bill of Rights covers everyone in the US. Naturalized citizens have to learn this to become citizens. It's unfortunate that natural-born citizens are allowed to remain in ignorance of it.
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae, Sterling VA : 4:41 PM ET
I'm unsure about the balance of the coverage. There were many show guests (not just on CNN) that were a lot like a memorable guest a little while back on 360. I recall she liked yelling quite a lot....ahem.
It was mainly one sided commentary. In my opinion, anyway.
I would like to say that I'm quite glad that the term "illegal immigrant" was used instead of "undocumented individual" in this post.
Posted By Anonymous Abby, St. Louis, MO : 4:43 PM ET
I don't even have to look at what the "Minute Men" were doing. I know what my husband who is undocumented is doing. He is working all the time, six days a week 70 hours. He doesn't drug, drink or party. He is busy supporting our family. My question is this: if these m.m.'s are so concerned about undocumented workers being here taking jobs, why aren't they home working for their families just like my husband??!
Posted By Anonymous kelly o'donnell, arlington, washington state : 4:44 PM ET
Does Diana in Laredo TX think that the border states are the only places affected by illegal immigration? She should visit Norcross GA sometime and drive down Buford Highway to Jimmy Carter Blvd stretching from Doraville GA to Norcross GA, try finding a business sign actually written in English...good luck!
Posted By Anonymous Lisa JAX FL : 4:49 PM ET
You said you were curious to know what we think of the demonstrations, etc.... I for one cannot believe that this country is allowing these demonstrations to even take place! These individuals are not citizens, they broke the law, are interupting traffic flow within these cities where they demonstrate and are demanding that we give them the same rights that the citizens of this country have. I for one want this stopped! Perhaps the American tourist's who visit Mexico should go there and demonstrate and parade through their street's for cheaper hotel rates or even citizenship. Do you really think Mexico would allow this?? As for the fence, it should have been built years ago!
Posted By Anonymous Susan, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania : 5:05 PM ET
I'm usually a chock-full of empathy kind of girl but after watching the protests the only thing I'm feeling is that they're arrogant bullies enjoying a day off in an attempt to disrupt their beloved US economy and have a party in the streets. Throw in their refusal to acknowledge the illegality of their actions and they've lost me.

I was shocked to see the story about the illegal immigrants at the tree farm. They get paid $8.95/hour, pay no rent, and only $9/day for food? And they claim no legal US citizen would want these jobs? I know some single mom receptionists and line cook dads making $7-$10/hour who have to pay real rent money and real food money to support their families. They'd jump at the chance for such comfort.
Posted By Anonymous Coco, Ann Arbor Michigan : 5:08 PM ET
Dear Mr Cooper.

Thank you for the great coverage last night of the demonstrations. I live in Ensenada, Mexico, about 1 hour south of Tijuana. As a mexican observer I am so glad that CNN and yourself presented an unbiased , factual report of the immigration issue. Everyone has an opinion on this matter - rightfully so. From where I stand it is hard to say if these demonstrations will accomplish anything politically. However, reporting such as yours, helps everyone understand that it is not just about votes and the economy. It is about human lives and what to do with a HUGE problem in which both governments are at fault. I do love my country (with faults and all) and I can't imagine how difficult it would be to leave it behind, risking your life, and I can certainly understand the american people. I believe that the negative opinions your hear come from misinformation and plain fear. I've always thought of the american people as being kind and generous. I do not believe that the mistakes of the US or the Mexican government define who we are as people - on either side. My wish is that whatever legislation results from all of this, is based on justice for both countries and in the preservation of human dignity. I hope that at least we can all agree on that.Thank you.
Posted By Anonymous Araceli, Ensenada Mexico : 5:11 PM ET
I'm amazed at CNN's coverage in general. Yesterday was NOT an immigrant day-- it was a day of demonstrations in favor of ILLEGAL immigrants. To not recognize this is to miss the point of the debate. Its reminiscent of the "terrorist" versus "militant" debate. On both issued CNN has clouded the news by choosing to use the wrong word.
Posted By Anonymous Allan tanny Montreal, QC : 5:14 PM ET
It seems we cannot learn from our pasts. It seems as soon as the first immigrants set up on our shores, they turned around to try to keep the next group out. They're not like us-they're just bringing their problems here-they're undermining our culture. The same nonsense was said about the Irish, the Germans, the Chinese, the Italians.

The southwest portion of our country and Florida were settled by the spanish. They are going to remain hevaily hispanic, which means its a good idea to be bilingual-because spanish was spoken there first.

We have 11 million undocumented aliens in this country-we're not going to deport 11 million people-we can't afford it. We can't build a realistic barrier on the Mexico border-we can't afford it. The manpower that would be required would shoot our taxes through the roof. This country is in enough debt already.

When the amnesty was passed years ago there were supposed to be strict rules enforced for hiring-they are not being enforced. There are laws against paying people under the table-and if the businesses that did so started to get the IRS assessments and fines for those workers, the problem would stop.

The bill of rights does not say it is limited to citizens. All people in this country have the rights under the bill of rights, including those here illegally.

For probably the only time since he's been in office I agree with the President, its time to scale back the emotion and solev the problems.
Posted By Anonymous Charles Haller, Miami, Florida : 5:15 PM ET
Politically I'm middle-of-the-road but I believe yesterday's demonstrations by illegal/undocumented immigrants will turn public opinion against them. Although assimilation is important as well as historically documented, for recent immigrants, this seems not to be a concern (Mexican flags? The National Anthem in Spanish, something even Ted Kennedy spoke against?). This is what most Americans see as the biggest problem, that we have to change society to fit them, not the other way around, the way it's always been. And don't think that Americans couldn't see the significance of having the demonstrations on May Day. I feel bad for the hard working, contributing immigrants and hope that their living here can somehow be documented but yesterday certainly didn't help even their situation.
Posted By Anonymous Robert Lee, Lynnfield, Massachusetts : 5:35 PM ET
For my opinion in English: Press 1
For my opinion in Spanish: Press 2

To speak to an operator, please hold the line.....
Posted By Anonymous Bill W, Coatesville, PA : 6:00 PM ET
My border perspective? I provided emergency medical care to injured aliens (either during apprehension or while in custody) on the San Diego border from 1987-9. The things I saw made it easy to believe how this nation is so good at turning a blind eye to the white elephant. Severed digits or limbs, flayed tongues - those were the lucky survivors of the coyotes. The corpses. Abused aliens by our burned out agents. One family haunts me: a woman and her 10 yr old son walked -walked- here from Bolivia only to be brutalized by the banditos, apprehended by la miegra, and sent back.
I have maintained my ties with the border and it is the same: A brutal world of war on the border.
So yesterday I worked in an ER on the bad end of the strip in Vegas. A day with "no" immigrants made no difference to us: no interpretors (demanded, expected) for indigent care. "Hispanic Panic" draining few resources. Patients taking meds that we have no way of knowing what is nor what for. Accepting registration of patients with patently false information.
Just another day.
Posted By Anonymous Faith, Las Vegas, NV : 6:02 PM ET
As I read these comments, I couldn�t help but feel angry against all of you who find it so easy to pick on the illegals ("undocumented"). Just like drug addicts, we the users, cosumers, and business owners create the problem. We knowingly use the services of these people when we eat at restaurants, stay at hotels or buy products packed by them. We love cheap prices and everyone seems to turn a blind eye to the problem until it�s addressed. The real blame should go the business owners and YOU the consumer. Stop the addiction. Get off the couch and protest against businesses using them. Just know this, if you succeed and turn away cheap labor, you can expect to pay much more for just about everything.
Posted By Anonymous Alfred C, Duarte CA : 6:23 PM ET
I was proud of demonstrators. I think they exercised a basic American right well: Freedom of Assembly. It's a basic right we should all share. And they did it peacefully. It could so easily have turned ugly.

But...

When mothers are so desperate they send their unguarded children (in one story a three year old!) across the border alone with nothing but hopes and prayers to protect them, we need to quit arguing and DO something about it.
Posted By Anonymous Marisol, Aurora, Colorado : 6:32 PM ET
Living in a border town, I've watched the cat and mouse game played all my life. From time to time I've played it too: hiding housekeepers and gardeners from "la migra." Yesterday's protests were mind boggling. It was incredible to see such masses of humanity and discover that there was neither rioting or violence. That says something for not calling illegal immigrants criminals. On the other hand,seeing so many people at the same time reaffirms the size of the problem the country faces.
Posted By Anonymous Angie H.;Laredo TX : 8:39 PM ET
As far as illegal aliens I beleive we need to get this problem resolved in a prudent manner. They are our fellow man after all & should be treated with respect and dignity until we have proof otherwise. I think that dealing with illegal aliens is not beyond the Judicial reach of our current laws. It is simple. If you are here illegally you are returned to your homeland within a reasonable time then given the opportunity to enter legally if justified. Some people say "they do jobs Americans do not want to do". I have only one response to that: "They have not been in the ranks of the jobless, poor, homeless, hungry American Citizen that would do almost anything to make ends meet.
Posted By Anonymous Robert Goza, Streetsboro Ohio : 8:56 PM ET
It's time to stop people from coming in. It used to be the melting Pot where people became Americans. Now this is a Country divided into thousands of slices. People used to come here to be Free, to become an American, now they come here to bring there country here, they don't socialize or try to be American, they fly their flags of there country they think is so great bad mouth American and enjoy or benefits. It's time we closed the borders, and got back to taking care of ourselves. No matter how much you help the other countries they will always have there hands out and their heads turned away. We have so many illegal's and immigrants here now that they think they own the country and they feel they are owed something for nothing. It's the other way around it's them that owe our Country for what they have been given. A place to live and proper, to be free, and have clean water, food and more than they ever would in any other country in this world. Immigrants have become ungrateful and spoiled.

We need to close the borders, stop giving hand outs, collect back the money the world owes us in uncollected debts. Stop trading with other countries, and be self dependant. We have the resources, and abilities. Do it now before we completely give our country away.
Posted By Anonymous G.Kline Sacramento, California : 10:25 PM ET
54% of illegal immigrants are hired by American households. The other majority are hired as farm workers. Also, our unemployment rate in the US has fallen its lowest point in decades. So who is hurting here? Well it's our poor who never graduated High School. You know, the same people who suck money out of our Welfare System just because they don't want to work an honest day's work or get an education. I'm sorry, I just don't feel sorry for Welfare recepients and have more respect for those who work an honest day. Are we really complaining that meat packers no longer make $19/hr?! What about our educators who don't even make that much more currently and have to spend a portion of their salary on children's supplies for their classes with non-immigrant children?
Posted By Anonymous Michael, Houston, TX : 2:52 AM ET
I really think its great that you are at the border covering all the illegals crossing over and all that stuff , but why not get the whole story ? go to a poor town in mexico and have one of the people go apply for a visa to come here and watch them get denied !!! you people dont understand how hard it is to get one if you are poor , you must have money in the bank ,and land in your name to even apply ...if they had that they wouldnt wanna come here to live in the shadow of a bunch of racists americans ..they just wanna feed their kids .....the ethiopians can feed their kids so americans take up money and send food to them , but if they were living next on our borders dont think they wouldnt jump a fence !!! you people they are saying "they milk our welfare " ...get over it they are illegal they cant get benefits idiot ! i think the americans are just mad because the hispanics dont get welfare or govt.benefits yet they so well here , houses , cars , they do take taxes out of their checks but the illegals dont claim it at the end of the year,, its just sick how americans treat people and i hope they leteach and every illegal become citizens !
Posted By Anonymous wendy , dalton ,ga : 6:06 PM ET
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