Thursday, May 18, 2006
Border crossers try 'gopher holes,' boogie boards
We are broadcasting again tonight from the U.S.-Mexican border. Last night, we were at the spot where the border fence hits the Pacific Ocean.

U.S. Border Patrol agents tell us illegal immigrants sometimes try to swim around the fence, or surf around it, or boogie board around it -- just about every possible way you can imagine has been attempted.

As dusk fell last night, a group of Mexicans gathered on the other side of the fence, watching us broadcast, with the bright lights of San Diego shining on the horizon. Perhaps they were just curious, out for an evening stroll. Or perhaps it was something else that drew them to the fence.

We've been returning to the border a lot these last few months, and every time we go, we learn something new about the difficult situation down here.

It's easy for some people to criticize the Border Patrol, but the truth is, they work extremely hard at a somewhat thankless job. No matter how many illegal immigrants they catch and return, others get through, sometimes the same ones they just sent back over the border.

Most Border Patrol agents say they don't focus on that too much, otherwise they would feel like they are not making any progress.

For all the talk of fencing, border security as it exists right now really boils down to these agents, riding in SUVs, on horseback, ATVs, watching with cameras, night-vision equipment, around-the-clock, day-after-day.

Within the last several days, they've discovered two more tunnels underneath the border. "Gopher holes," they call them, because they are not particularly sophisticated tunnels.

We were here several months ago when they discovered "el grande" tunnel -- the 2,400 foot tunnel from a warehouse in Tijuana to a warehouse on the U.S. side. They've blocked that tunnel off now, but the memory of it remains.

To be inside that tunnel was fascinating. We saw the ropes that were used to carry bales of drugs. Examining the walls, we spotted markings made by the diggers.

The big tunnels cost so much to make its doubtful they are used by illegal immigrants, since that wouldn't be cost-effective. Instead, they are typically used to smuggle drugs, according to law enforcement officials. In fact, they found a large amount of marijuana in the 2,400 foot tunnel.

Tonight on the program, we are going to take an in-depth look at the problem of trafficking across the border -- sometimes the "product" being trafficked is drugs or sex; sometimes it is children. We'll also take a closer look at President Bush's visit to the border today.

Speaking of which, I'm curious to hear your thoughts about the immigration debate as it's playing out in Washington, D.C.

Are lawmakers moving in the right direction? Is comprehensive immigration reform possible, all at once? Or do you think they should focus on border security first, and then consider what to do with the illegal immigrants who are already here, hiding in plain sight?
Posted By Anderson Cooper: 4:00 PM ET
  55 Comments
It's hard to me to know exactly where I stand on the issue. Yes, it's illegal, and I understand that, but I can't help but to feel for those that are trying so desperately to come to America in search of a better life; I just return from Russia and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize why people are flocking to the US.

I dont think reform is possible all at once, the issue is to complicated and diverse to solve at once, but can possibly be achieve step by step.
Posted By Anonymous Rita, Plainview, TX : 4:28 PM ET
Just when I thought you made it through a whole post without your favorite phrase, there it was at the very end, HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT bwaha.

Yes anyway. I do think that the most attention should be given to closing the borders first, otherwise the problem will just keep growing and nothing will ever get done. Which actually is what's already happening...
Posted By Anonymous Courtney, Chagrin Falls, OH : 4:31 PM ET
It is so obvious that Bush is merely reacting to falling poll numbers. No actual thought has been given to this proposal, it's just sound bite to placate the masses.
Our economy is built on the backs of immigrant workers. On the one hand we complain about the "drain" on our social resources but on the other don't want pay minimum wages to the people who clean our houses, tend to our gardens, build our cities, pick our fruit, and work all the jobs that we don't want to
It's simply supply and demand - "we" want cheap labour and we have to accept the consequences.

Bush's scheme is completly unworkable. How are we to "document, deport or process" all our illegal workers" when we have no adminstative infrastucture and no real border contol.
Posted By Anonymous R. Dasani, Phoenix AZ : 4:31 PM ET
When George Bush, Sr. was in office, NAFTA came into being. As a former Texan, I remember well Ross Perot's statement that if NAFTA were to take effect, we as Americans would hear a large sucking sound as American jobs were sucked out of the U.S. and into Mexico. This is now happening. While living in Houston during the early 80s, I remember well large warehouses of manufacturing companies filled to the brim as "housing" for Mexican people .. with no air conditioning or heat, and no plumbing. They housed them there so they could have them work for them for very low wages. I believe that Americans believe that American jobs are being reduced because illegal immigrants are taking them. They have been taking the *jobs that Americans don't want* for years now. They have been crossing the border for years now. We are only noticing now because jobs are disappearing ... due to NAFTA ... illegal immigration is only a part of this equation. Corporate greed is alive and well.

I understand the laws that need to be in place to control illegal immigration, but I also understand the desire of the Mexican people to make a better life for themselves. I am torn. We need to look at the big picture and see the entire problem, not the easy target. Look at NAFTA.
Posted By Anonymous Tanya Touchstone, Nashville, TN : 4:39 PM ET
How about they try enforcing the laws they actually have right now? It's ridiculous the number of illegal aliens who are released back onto our streets, even after committing other crimes in addition to entering the US illegally. And there certainly doesn't seem to be any real enforcement of penalties against hiring undocumented aliens.
Posted By Anonymous jen, Columbus, Ohio : 4:41 PM ET
I can understand the desire to come to the US. I don't understand the people who come illegally and then demand the rights of citizenship. They haven't earned it.

Many immigrants from all over the world work diligently to learn English, to learn about our country and our laws, and apply for citizenship via legal channels. It takes time, and a lot of effort, even if the potential immigrant is married to a US citizen; they do it so they will be legitimate citizens of our country. Anyone who is here illegally needs to be sent home, and denied entry of any kind to the US for a specified length of time. Otherwise we are telling the world that the US will overlook criminal behavior.

Entering the US without proper documentation is a criminal act. We don't need more criminals; we have more than enough "home-grown" ones.
Posted By Anonymous Deb, Richmond VA : 4:43 PM ET
I believe you have to secure the border before you can do anything with the illegial immigrants. Washington doesn't work fast and it will take time to build the fence. If the border isn't secure and you send the illegals back, they will just keep coming across. Work on one problem at a time but have a time line to adhere to.

Sending the National Guard to the border, does anyone realize the logistics nightmare that will create. I was in the National Guard and know how much time it takes to get ready for your 2 week summer deployment. We would start getting our equipment ready the month before we left and the night before we would be up all night. Then they have to get to the border - how? By plane? - they still have to transport from the airfield to the border. Convoy? - takes forever to drive.

Congress - wake up. Do one thing at a time - you're not too good at multi-tasking!
Posted By Anonymous Wynona, San Diego, CA : 4:45 PM ET
Manpower at the border is absolutely crucial to our illegal immigration problem. Those that are currently securing the border are doing so without nearly enough help. Sending National Guardsmen temporarily and hoping to solve this with high technology, including the use of biometric identification, is only putting a bandage on a gaping wound. A true and numerous Border Patrol presence would show the illegals and the American people that this government is absolutely serious about enforcing our existing immigration laws and is committed to stopping the human traffic right there at the border where it occurs.
It should be foremost on the agenda of our leadership to first effectively secure the border. If that can be done, everything else will fall into place.
Posted By Anonymous Elizabeth Morgantown, WV : 4:50 PM ET
Anderson,

I think the government is behaving like it always does, hiding behind bureaucrasy and trying not to offend anyone that'll get them votes in the next election. They should 1st protect the borders (although people always find a way to get in) and then work to deport all, and I mean ALL the illegals no matter how long they have lived here, they need to make the penalty for being and coming here stiffer, not just slaps on the wrist, or turn and pretend we didn't see them.
A lot of people, including myself, came here from other countries and did it legally, its not that hard, a lot of paperwork and some $$, but big deal, I'd rather know that I'm not breaking any laws and sleep peacefully at night and not worry about who might blow the whistle (dog whistle that is..silent to the human gov'ts ears)
BTW the illegals can't vote right?
Posted By Anonymous Susan, LaCrosse, WI : 4:52 PM ET
Your last paragraph is right on the money. If you have a sinking boat the first thing you do is plug up the hole, then worry about finding the shore.

Let's do this right. Why rush into all the finer points of immigration reform at once? Build the fence NOW! Write a new policy LATER!
Posted By Anonymous Tina - Chicago IL : 4:55 PM ET
To borrow a line from Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come." Even though the great wall is being built, it seems like there will always be illegal immigrants determined enough to burrow through. Although we are nation of immigrants, except for the Native Americans, it's only fair that people who live here are documented. Particularly disconcerting is evidence that terrorists are using lax border patrol to infiltrate our country.
Posted By Anonymous Carol, Frederick, MD : 4:56 PM ET
I think comprehensive reform is necessary, but I don't know whether or not it can be accomplished all at once. That would require a level of commitment from the leaders of the countries from which the immigrants run; at this point they don't seem to care.

It's true that people will do whatever they need to in order to take care of their families; however, the United States cannot support everyone -- it's impossible.

Is anything being done in these countries to improve their economic situations? Is anything being done to implement family planning services? I read about some of these people having five, six, or more children -- why would you bring a child into this world whom you cannot afford to feed?

I don't agree with blanket amnesty; we've already been down that road. Why would anyone think a repeat would yield different results? To allow people who have flagrantly violated the laws of this country to use time here illegally in order to gain citizenship is a slap in the face to every single person who is waiting their turn to come here legally. Why should they bother?

I don't have a solution; I wish I did. Perhaps starting with regaining control of the border would be a good idea.

We could also close the loophole in the law that states any person born on U.S. soil is a citzen, by changing it to require parents to be citizens before any children can be. Perhaps that's something you could look into while you're in San Diego, as there has been more than one story of women coming here solely for the purpose of giving birth in the U.S. so the child will be a citizen. It's an enormous cost to the hospitals and taxpayers as well.

Good luck down there, and stay safe.
Posted By Anonymous Jeana, Los Angeles, CA : 4:59 PM ET
Hi Anderson,
I watched some of the immigration debate on CSpan and must say that after just a few minutes it was very clear WHY things move so slowly..You've asked for our opinions on what we think should be done....My thoughts are that we should get the border under control, then everyone should activate their own personal MUTE button, listen, talk out the problems, then SOLVE it once and for all..We will never reach a compromise shrieking at each other..Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton,Calif. : 5:00 PM ET
Is it really worth it to close the border? If we are worried about terrorists there are many other holes in our borders that mideast terrorists could come through. If you are worried about mexicans taking your job then I pity you for you must be working as a maid or a vegetable picker. This whole debate is not unlike rearranging deckchairs on the titanic. There are many dangers, both economic and military, greater than those posed by a porous mexican border.

The only threat that mexico poses is that the mexicans could outproduce us in children. I think the solution to that would be to distribute contraceptives to all who want them, free of charge, rather than spend billions on building a moat across the U.S.-Mexican border. I doubt that the "moral majority" would accept such a practical and logical solution, however.
Posted By Anonymous Michael Lowell, MA : 5:01 PM ET
The INS is already over worked and can't handle the immigrants' paper work of those that are here legally,the lines ups and wait times are a year or better as it is, what happens if 12 million people show up on the doorsteps of their offices???? YIKES!
Posted By Anonymous Liz, Onalaska, WI : 5:03 PM ET
Focusing on border security should be the primary concern of lawmakers. Worry about what to do with the illegal immigrants who are already here after we secure the borders. Otherwise, the flood of illegal immigrants will continue.

Even though President Bush chooses to avoid the word amnesty in his immigration reform plan, that's what it amounts to for the illegal immigrants already living in the United States. As one who rarely agrees with Bush, I do agree with him about "amnesty".

Not only would it be a bureaucratic nightmare to return the millions of illegal immigrants already here, it would severely impact the U.S. economy to suddenly lose that many people.

While many Americans are screaming for the illegal immigrants to be deported, are those same Americans ready to pay for the increased costs on items which would result from an immediate loss of cheap labor?

Whether Americans like it or not, amnesty is the only way to go. But first, let's seal our borders to control immigration into this country.
Posted By Anonymous Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 5:03 PM ET
Secure the borders first and punish any employer employing illegal immigrants. See, how fast the problem would disappear!
Remember, it took me months to get my visa and 4 years to get my green card. I followed every single step. It's sad to see these people breaking law everyday with their fake documents, driving licenses and social security cards. It is wrong to encourage this - Give them a chance to go back to their countries, apply for visas and come here. Please don't make people like me who followed every single rule feel like some fools!
Posted By Anonymous Vittal, Milwaukee : 5:04 PM ET
My wife and my mother are both legal immigrants, and very proud to be so. If we are to survive as a society and culture, we must maintain the rule of law. Failure to do so will result in a loss of both. The borders must be maintained. INS must be streamlined, the process to immigrate into this country is ridiculously antiquated and complicated with many of the personnel arrogant and un-helpful. My mother grew up in a socialist dictatorship and is the first one to tell people that if they can not appreciate the American way of life, why are they here and feel free to leave if you don't like it.
The US actually already has a temp worker program. But, again, the beauracracy makes it so hard that it is unworkable. Streamline this and US companies could get the (legal) labor that they need, foreigners could get the work/money they desire, and then legally work towards citizenship.
Unfortunately, during an election year, most politicians appear more interested in providing sound-bites than the actual legal reforms needed to quickly and safely resolve this issue.
Posted By Anonymous Joe Hoffman, Paola, KS : 5:06 PM ET
BTW Anderson , I think I read between your lines that you'd secretly like to suit up as a border patrol guy for a day !
Posted By Anonymous Tina - Chicago IL : 5:06 PM ET
Thank you for clarifying that the group of Mexicans you showed last night could have been out for a stroll or just curious to see what was going on. After your Geraldo-Rivera-type comment ("There, you see people on the Tijuana side, just waiting for night to fall.")its nice to hear you say that. Contrary to what you reported last night and what a lot of people believe, not every single person living in Mexico wants to come to this country.
Posted By Anonymous Nancy C, Riverside, CA : 5:07 PM ET
Hey Anderson, I think that the immigration debate in America is over rated to some degree considering that there are numerous other issues goning on in America that could be addressed with such emphasis. For example, what percentage of the population is aware that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 will expire in 2007.
Posted By Anonymous Stephanie, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania : 5:09 PM ET
I think for the most part lawmakers are stuck in the mud spinning their wheels and not moving in any direction.
Unfortunately it doesn't look like that will change anytime soon.
Posted By Anonymous Jennifer, Durham NC : 5:23 PM ET
Hey Anderson,
Great show last night. I think we need to focus on border security first; otherwise it's nothing but a revolving door type of situation. It's obvious that the President is just trying to selvage his dismal approval rating. If he were serious about the problem, wouldn't he have consulted with the border governors about using the national guard and get their input on the problem. Comprehensive immigration reform isn't possible all at once, not if it's to be done right. Look at the mess when they created the Department of Homeland Security instead of just fixing the problems exposed by 9/11.
Posted By Anonymous Christina, Windber, PA : 5:24 PM ET
I completely agree with R. Dasani from Phoenix. This administration is all about rhetoric and otherwise totally unwilling or unable to take care of its business. Any private company would have gone belly-up years ago with such incompetence.

What is the purpose of creating new laws, when the laws already in existence are not being enforced?
Posted By Anonymous Monika, Eagar, Arizona : 5:31 PM ET
Although I think the battle for the border is very important I think that the politicians are really looking at it all wrong. They are looking at the big picture and trying to cover everything with a blanket policy. It might be a good idea to break the program down into smaller segments - as it is now they are trying to do everything at once and nothing is geting done. By taking each small segment in turn and getting feedback or all the principles involved, ie ,governors and local law enforcement agencies they might have a better chance of getting the program off the ground.

The idea of using National Guardsmen is jusst plain ridiculous since the program calls for them to be changed every two weeks, this is just a waste of taxpayers money and the guardsmen's time. It would take a few days or a week for them to get aclimated and then it would be time for them to leave and the cost would be astronomical. And what if we have a natural disaster like Katrina again, then what, who would lend a hand.

I really don't see anyone winning in this - the politicians are trying to please everyone, so nothing is getting done and no one is happy. There are sheriffs taking matters into their own hands and hundreds of people trying to get to America for a better life, many of which die traveling here. Even if tere is a final resolution some people aren't going to be happy and this may cause other problems.

Did you know that:The border between Canada and the United States is often called the world's longest undefended border between two countries. And no one seems to care that there are illegals coming over that border. They may not be the same type of illegal, but they could pose a threat to National Security. I live in the Metro Detroit area and visit Windsor quite often. The fact that they have upgraded the customs at our borders is great, but there are still ways for people to get across without detection,
And now they are talking about having us gget passports to go to Canada - that is really crazy and I hope that it doesn't pass.

FYI: Most undocumented immigrants come through the United States' southern border, but over the past year, enforcement agents have caught people trying to smuggle immigrants from Asian countries into Detroit from
Cannada.
Posted By Anonymous Marcia Warren, MI : 5:32 PM ET
I know, let's throw all the illegal immigrants and their employers in jail and send the bill to Vicente Fox, like the Sheriff from Oregon did.
Posted By Anonymous Michael R. Phoenix AZ : 5:34 PM ET
Anderson,

Thanks for continuing to broadcast stories about the human side of the immigration issue: the people risking their lives for a better future, and the border guards doing their jobs to protect their country.

I agree with Governor Richardson. Provide more border guards, as promised, instead of bringing in the national guard. That will provide more jobs for the area, help their economy, and the states won't have to pay to house and feed them. Plus, they live there, and will do a better job than the national guard who are brought in for two week rotations.

For the first time ever I agree with President Bush, and his plan to let the immigrants who are here working be allowed to stay.

I love your show.

Linda
Boulder, Colorado
Posted By Anonymous Linda, Boulder, Colorado : 5:36 PM ET
With illegal immigrants it's a supply and demand situation just like with drugs, sex, etc. If there were no demand, there would be no supply.
Posted By Anonymous JR, New York : 5:38 PM ET
I just want the government to actually take some action and stop talking about it. The border needs to be secured even if we have to have troops patrolling and thats just tough if Vicente Fox doesnt like it...he's part of the problem....Bush said Mexico was our friend...with friends like Fox we dont need any more enemies. I cant believe that they are actually talking about amnesty...oh excuse me "earned citizenship"....what have they done to earn it...they have broken every law imaginable...if I had done what amounts to breaking and entering,falsifing documents,tax evasion and down right fraud I as an American citizen would be facing major jail time but our elected officials dont seem to see this they are so busy pandering for votes and appeasing people who arent even citizens. They will find out at the polls exactly how angry the public is about being ignored and treated as if we dont exist. Im wondering how many times do we have to say we dont want amnesty to be heard?
Posted By Anonymous Lisa Jacksonville FL : 5:41 PM ET
People who suggest our economy is built on the backs of these people amuse me.

Who's back, then, was our economy built on before illegal mexican immigrants were so plentiful?

The reason mexican illegal immigrants are preferable for jobs such as housekeeping, farm work, construction, etc. is because they are frequently paid "under the table." No taxes and below minimum wage. And best of all, no employment laws.

This benefits no one. Least of all the illegal immigrant. What it does is make them ripe for exploitation.

Consider this for a minute -

These people have very low skill levels. No education. And some barely speak english.

Once they become citizens, employers will be required to pay them minimum wage (at least), they will be eligible for benefits, and employment laws will be in full force. The penalities for exploiting them MUCH higher.

Who will hire them? With the appeal of cheap labor and few consequences gone, why not simply hire a new illegal who still has all the "perks"?

Then what happens to these "citizens"? They'll be competing for low level jobs against new illegal immigrants who work cheaper and high schoool graduates with more skills.

These people suffer from the deulsion that their employer's are "loyal" to them. *chuckles*

Welcome to America.
Posted By Anonymous ST, Seattle : 5:42 PM ET
Anderson,
I subscribe to my friend Lou Dobbs commentary, "Mr. President, do you take us for fools!" The President and this Congress have sold us a bill of bull. Did you here his comments today? Did anybody really think about them! He said it Thursday it makes sense to put up fencing along parts of the U.S.-Mexico border but not to block off the entire 2,000-mile length to keep out illegal immigrants. Then why do it? Why send just 6,000 guard troops if it won't stop folks from coming over? Why waste $2 ($1.9 to be fair) billion dollars? This is the definition of lunacy. We're really just doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Half-hearted border closings might as well be no border closings! For that matter, just put up a sign that says, "Welcome to America Al Qaeda." Oh, and by the way, even Bin Laden, the most wanted man in the world could cross that border whenever he felt like it. This is just Iraq and Katrina all over again...piss poor planning, a half-hearted effort and lip service by politicians that are clearly in over their heads. The simplest way to stop illegal immigration is to enforce serious fines and jail time on businesses that hire illegal workers after instituting a secure ID card program. If you're wondering what's happening to our stock market, your jobs and investment in America...here's your answer: smart people don't invest in countries with incomptent leadership.
Posted By Anonymous Bryan, Houston, Texas : 5:50 PM ET
I believe comprehensive reform is possible, but it will take time to reform outdated immigration policies.

First of all, the majority of these individuals come to this country with great intention to prosper and raise their youth. Of course, the ones who commit crimes ruin the desired progress of the rest.

For this reason, dealing with immigrants who are already here should be primary. Placing troops on the border will not prevent immigrants intentions to immigrate to the U.S. Especially if troops are not allowed to make arrests. Immigrants are clever and will always find ways to sneak past U.S security. Think about this: A large chunk of immigrants have survived for years in this country despite U.S immigration policies. If the administration deals with immigrants first, it will allow those who have actually contributed to the development and progress of this country the rightful opportunity to become legal citizens.

Its a tough issue, but the system is to blame for its own flaws.
Posted By Anonymous Lewis, Sacramento, CA : 5:51 PM ET
I am really disappointed with how the Senate and Congress handle the immigration issues. I am a pure Native American born to two different tribes and I felt so disgusted that our land is being run over again. The whites have already took the land from us and now we are on brink to have the Latino run our country. I got a foreign wife and we have waited for a long time just to get her in the US just for a temporary visa, we have to wait a few years for her to become a citizen. Now with what our President have propose, we might have to wait a longer period with those illegal immigrants flocking in the country giving them a way to work to be legalized. Why can't people respect the law of our land? If they want to be a citizen on the country, isn't the first thing to do is to follow the law? Poverty should not be an excuse to do illegal things. I have known a lot of people that have been through a hard times but still able to live with dignity and respect the law. I feel injustice have been serve again the way it was serve to my ancestors. It just breaks my heart.
Posted By Anonymous E. Bruner, Tulsa, OK : 5:53 PM ET
I think we should build a wicked cool wall like China has. Sure we could have a boring "security fence" or whatever but that is boring just makes us look fascist.

No, I want a GREAT WALL OF AMERICA with cool turrets, and spikes on top of it and stuff. It should be made of stone and motrar and definitely has to be visible from space. It should be coveerd in paintings of the devil and hell to scare off superstitious mexicans.

Now that would be a cool wall. It would bring lots of in tourist dollars and crazy extreme sports enthusiasts could try to jump dirt bikes over it and stuff.
Posted By Anonymous Anthony, New York, NY : 5:57 PM ET
Border security first is a no-brainer. If regular people can walk, tunnel or swim through, so can terrorists. Of course, the U.S. government doesn't get that part. So on they go with new immigration laws that will probably not be enforced any more than the old laws were, and as soon as another subject comes up for the media to cover, immigration will return to the background, like it did during the Mousoui (if I misspelled his name, I don't care) trial. FYI, there's little info about any path to citizenship in the news here in Mexico. It's stuffed at the bottom of articles about more military and more fences along the border. Guess whatever Congress does isn't going to make a difference as to the animosity Mexicans feel toward Americans. And it doesn't look like the noise the Mexicans (mostly) have been making in the U.S. recently has done much to win approval by the American people. Just more of the same, same, same.
Posted By Anonymous Gypsy, an American in Mexico : 6:02 PM ET
The reality is both parties, Democrat and Republican, have become employees of Corporate America. Greedy corporations want the cheap labor, politicians want corporate support (in the form of $$$) so they have worked a deal out with no regards to the middle class American, who is forced to pick up the tab. Why do you think so many corporations supported the illegal rallies on May 1? Why is it American citizen's are expected to abide by laws and can face stiff penalties if they don't, but crowds of criminals can gather in our streets and demand rights they have not earned? Where was the INS on May 1?

A fence is not going to do anything, they will find ways to dig tunnels, The National Guard will do nothing since they cannot aid in the capture of these criminals. The only way to start to reverse this issue is to (1) revist the law that permits an illegal immigrant to cross over, give birth to their anchor children and stay, (2) start to penalize the corporations who either knowingly or unknowingly hire illegal immigrants, (3) stop giving welfare, food stamps and WIC to illegal immigrant women and girls who gave birth to their anchor babies.

And most importantly, politians need to stop saying these criminals are doing the jobs no American will. That is completely false. The truth is no American will not do the job for the $2.00 an hour the illegals are paid.

Of course there are those who will call me a racist, which such an unfair statement. Every nation has the right to guard its borders, just ask President Vincente Fox. The border between Mexico and Central America, specifically Belize and Guatemala is guarded by the Mexican Military. Also an illegal immigrant in Mexico is classified as a Felon. Why the double standard? Enough with the bleeding heart liberasim and political correctness. The middle class is paying dearly for this issue and government has failed.
Posted By Anonymous Katherine, Los Angeles CA : 6:04 PM ET
I heard on a radio news show today that there is a farmer in Arizona that pays $12-14 an hour to pick broccoli, almost as much as I make. The idea that illegal immigrants do the work that "Americans won't do" is insulting, as if we Americans are a bunch of lazy, snobby losers. I don't know about you, but I can think of several Americans off the top of my head that would love to make $12 buck an hour.
We need to secure our borders and streamline the security system so we don't have to waste taxpayer money and National Gaurd expertise on border security, then deal with the immigrants that are already here.
Posted By Anonymous Kita, Rochester, MN : 6:05 PM ET
Securing our borders first without the attendant comprehensive reform package that deals with the rest of this problem is like invading Iraq first and then dealing with the 'occupation' problems later.

What kind of short term thinking people have we become?
Posted By Anonymous Lester K Delavan, WI : 6:07 PM ET
Gotta start from the outside and work yourself in. Reinforce the walls then work with what you have through reforms and accountability to everyone involved.
Posted By Anonymous Luz, Los Angeles, California : 6:12 PM ET
It's fascinating to me how most major media news are suggesting that it is the extreme right wing politicians who are against the "guest worker" (amnesty) bill, when in reality the vast majority of Americans are against it.
Posted By Anonymous Kevin, Agoura Hills, CA : 6:13 PM ET
Let's put it this way...

Unless the whole world's economy and political climate approaches that of the west and it's relative comfort... people from less fortunate countries will cross the gates of hell to emigrate. This is just the laws of nature, plain and simple, survive or perish.

These are all patch up solutions we see in front of us (2 inches from our faces). We need to be a responsible global member of society for EVERYONE to survive. Global warming, over fishing, greenhouse gases, denuding forests, etc. will all come back to bite us, not just the poorer countries of the world...

and guess what, we will eventually pay the price to fix all of these problems anyhow! Just a matter of time.
Posted By Anonymous Kevin Goss - Chicago, IL : 6:15 PM ET
Hello Anderson,

I barely see any contrary viewpoint in these comments. I wonder if anyone writes to present a different perspective?
Posted By Anonymous Eric Chicago, IL : 6:18 PM ET
Hey AC, thanks for the ocean backdrop last night! I can't imagine how you can control immigration until you secure the borders. I am sure it seems like an endless job sending the same people back again and again. I know you said they were sending the National Guard in to help, but it doesn't seem like they can do much. I think Mr. Gergen (I would love to sit in on one of his lectures) said that if they are going to secure the borders, they have to mean it. They can't go in half way. I also think that if the authorities try to round up illegals, total chaos will erupt, possibly leading to violence. I don't even want to picture people being taken from their homes and away from their families. I hope they can work towards citizenship. A former worker has announced that he will be back in Chicago in 20 days. We'll see if he makes it and how hard it is for him to cross. I'll keep you posted! I have to Tivo tomorrow. Horse show season has started. Have a great week-end!
Posted By Anonymous Kathy Chicago, Il : 6:18 PM ET
I don't think there is such a thing as 'comprehensive immigration reform.' Even the statement is misleading. Our government has a streak of racism in it that we can't seem to scrub clean no matter what kind of detergent we use. That was pointed out in all its garish colors during Katrina. Now its being spelled out at our Mexican border. 'Comprehensive immigration reform' might be how it is being labeled, but really it is "Mexican immigration reform."

The basic truth is, Mexicans from all over Mexico are desperate for a better life; so desperate they are willing to send their children over if they can't come over with them. For whatever reason Mexico isn't coming up with that better life for the majority of its people and we have to deal with it.

So let's be the "grown ups" in this situation and deal with it. In my humble opinion, building the Great Wall of the United States is not the way to show how grown up we are about world affairs. At best, it would just show us as xenophobes.
Posted By Anonymous Marisol, Aurora, Colorado : 6:31 PM ET
SECURE THE BORDERS with barbed wire fencing tomorrow! Keep it simple. Build guard towers all along the borders and man them with armed guards. Hire some unemployed carpenters or use the National Guard to build these barbed-wire barriers and guard towers, and let's just get moving! Put a Coast Guard boat at the end of the wall in San Diego where they are swimming over. We don't need to spend billions of taxpayer dollars to get something started. Washington is too bogged-down in red tape. Let the people do it! We'll get it done a lot faster. Start there - then deal with what to do with those who are already here.
Posted By Anonymous Karen Lahteine, Knoxville, TN : 11:37 AM ET
first, repeal nafta. then make it a federal offense to hire an illegal and make the penalty stiff ($+jail time) with responsibility for determining status on the employer.
give those here illegally 90 days to leave and start rounding up offenders. put their dna on file and prosecute repeat offenders aggressibely.
Posted By Anonymous a williams atlanta ga : 11:38 AM ET
First of all, border security should be the main concern. Build the fence, build a wall, whatever it is we need to cut off the flow before we can get start gettin the flood taken care of.

as to giving illegal immigrants citizenship: there are plenty of ppl who go the legal route, learn the language, laws, history and EARN their citizenship. these illegal immigrants have broken the law. we can't allow them to get a pass on that. if they wanted the rights that our country gives they should have come here legally. as far as i am concerened, illegal immigrants have no rights in this country and should go make their own country better if they want better lives. im all for LEGAL immigration, since that is how most of us got here. this whole problem sickens me, the national anthem in spanish? that disgusts me. if we do give the illegal aliens citizenship, then the next thing should be to lock them all up for a few years for breaking the law.
Posted By Anonymous Jon, Raleigh, NC : 11:56 AM ET
With all of the broo hah going on with illegals, and the immigration issue... I wonder what the reaction would be if all of the normal migrant workers and illegal aliens returned to their homeland.... and Mexico rejected NAFTA. All of the corporations from here that are doing business would have to come back to the United States.

Build the most expensive and expansive wall that we can... do not let Americans go to Mexico, and do not let Mexicans come to the United States. Fair is fair. Make all of the U.S. corporations return to the U.S. - end the exploitation of the Mexican people by the Americans.
Posted By Anonymous Cindi G, Sarasota, Fl : 12:16 PM ET
That is a sad seen what the US is trying to achieve all at once to control Immigration in to the US The Mexicans were exploited as a cheep work force till now and lot of the Americans harvested the benefit of that.The law should have been in place many years ago just like any other country would have,not trying to enforce the law after millions of people settled in the country.Now they getting shot to death.
Posted By Anonymous Sam Ontario Canada : 12:19 PM ET
I feel for the illegal immigrants , if i was i them i'd do it to .However i am not them and we must do what is in our own best interests , manily securing the border and then dealing with the 11 million people who aren't suppose to be here . This is my idea , for every two illegals we catch in our country after our borders are secure , we send them back and allow in the next person who has been waiting in line legally .
Posted By Anonymous Raymond Stone , Mesa, arizona : 12:27 PM ET
Living and working for a southern border state, I encounter numerous examples of children born here who are citizens, while their parents are illegal. A very simple part of the solution would be to modify the "born here, you're a citizen" law. If a woman presents herself at an ER in labor, by all means deliver the baby. pay for it out of the funding currently being spent on illegals. If the woman can't demonstrate that she or the child's father is a citizen or here legally, the child should not be automatically granted US citizenship. When the mother and baby are ready to be released from the hospital (in as short at time as medically appropriate)they should be driven back across the border and dropped off, just like she was dropped off at the hospital. The child is, after all, ultimately her responsiblity. Perhaps the Mexican border towns would make an effort to more closely monitor their own side if they are left with all the mothers and babies to deal with.

Those laws come from a time when we were still "nationbuilding" and needed everyone we could get. Times have changed and the laws should reflect it.
Posted By Anonymous Julie, Plainview TX : 12:37 PM ET
Anderson:
thank you for keeping the border issue alive, nice interview with our Sheriff here in Yuma last night. I invite to Yuma to see first hand that immigration has on my son's school, the burden of having to teach English to more than 2/3 for children in grades K-3. Or our ER, you get seen faster it seems when you can't speak the language, when you have no insurance than when you do, it is pathetic. Or look at adds for jobs, lots of them REQUIRE the applicant to be bilingual.
I think if one wants to built a fence, he can't have holes in it at all as suggested. If people want to come here get in line, I did it years ago, and I am here legally, I spoke English before I came here and paid taxes. If this 'anmesty' proprosal gets through the senate and the house, what a slap into the faces of those who came legally.
Posted By Anonymous Petra, Yuma, Arizona : 1:48 PM ET
What all of these socalled American conservatives fail to understand or to care about is the fact that the people of Mexico are not able to migrate to the US in the same way that Europeans are because they are not allowed to be placed in the lottery for citizenship in the same manner. Is this because of their skin color? I don't know. Is this because of the fact that those in charge inthis country are of European ancestry? I don't know. There is not much talk about the border to the north when people talk about security on the border even though the government claims to have caught 'terrorists' on that border. I am not a Conservative nor a Liberal. I am not a Democrat nor a
Republican. I consider myself to be a free thinker capable of thinking for myself.
These people are only native people that were run off by the genocide of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Posted By Anonymous Vincent , Atlanta GA : 1:52 PM ET
If we could not evacuate New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina, what makes Congress think that it will be possible to deport the millions of immigrants who are here illegally? I am not a fan of President Bush but it seems to me that we must do something to allow those already here to earn citizenship.
Posted By Anonymous Phaedra, Salt Lke City, UT : 2:22 PM ET
Senate and President Bush have lost touch with the average american citizen.

Both care more for illegal aliens than for the people who voted them in power.

Bush wants to give illegal aliens social security. He knows the Social Security System is broke, yet he adds more illegals to the rolls.

We need to secure our borders and enforce existing immigration laws. People who hire illegal aliens should be heavily fined. No amnesty for illegal aliens.

I am a registered republican, I will be voting libertarian from now on, hopefully others will do the same
Posted By Anonymous Dave Reid, Jenks Oklahoma : 7:50 PM ET
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