"The Pew Research Center's recent study concluding that the number of Asian immigrants moving to the United States now exceeds the number of Latinos hardly seems surprising to me or many of my fellow immigration attorneys. My law firm, Wildes & Weinberg P.C., which has focused exclusively on United States immigration matters for more than 50 years, has seen a dramatic uptick in the number...
Quotes on Illegal Immigration & Reform
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside."
"If we would reach a degree of civilization higher and grander than any yet attained, we should welcome to our ample continent all nations, kindreds [sic] tongues and peoples; and as fast as they learn our language and comprehend the duties of citizenship, we should incorporate them into the American body politic. The outspread wings of the American eagle are broad enough to shelter all who are likely to come."
"Until World War I, crossing the border was easy and people entering from Mexico could do so legally. When US economic growth created a need for workers, Mexican immigrants were welcomed. But during the Great Depression of the 1930s, hundreds of thousands of people of Mexican descent were 'repatriated' to Mexico even though more than half were US citizens. During the Second World War, Mexican workers were again welcomed, to meet labour shortages. But in the 1950s, the Federal Government launched 'Operation Wetback' to expel Mexicans from the United States. Once again, many US citizens were forced to leave their country of birth. More than a million people were expelled in 1954 alone; many were denied hearings and thus US citizens were denied their constitutional rights. ...
In 1924 Congress created the Border Patrol as a component of the Immigration Bureau, 'to patrol the land border and stop smuggling.' By 1950 most of the Border Patrol's resources had shifted to the southern border to prevent illegal immigration. The Border Patrol has steadily expanded in recent years, and numbered more than 6,300 agents in 1997. ... Additional resources and technology at the Patrol's disposal include new lighting, fencing, ground sensors, mobile infra-red night scope cameras, more vehicles and computerized systems for processing persons who are apprehended. It has increasingly become involved in drug interdiction activities and, since November 1989, the US army has been formally involved with assisting the INS in the so-called 'War on Drugs.'"
"Many thousands of Mexicans (in particular) leave their homeland due to economic and social pressures and go in search of a better livelihood north of the border. Amnesty International does not take issue with the sovereign right of the United States to police its international borders in order to determine whether individuals have the legal right to enter the country. But it must do so in a manner which complies with its international human rights obligations."
“Amnesty may seem, on the surface, to be a reasonable measure, but what specific problems facing illegals does it redress? Research has shown that undocumented immigrants get paid less than other workers. But the research also attributes this fact not to the immigrants' legal status, but to their youth, their low education and skill levels, their limited English proficiency and their short stints with specific employers. In fact, there is a considerable body of research indicating that the well-being of immigrants is less a function of their legal status than of the length of time they have been in the United States. The problems that beset undocumented immigrants diminish as they cease to become transients (whether moving around in the U.S. or back and forth to Mexico), settle down in more stable jobs and neighborhoods, pick up skills and begin to familiarize themselves with English. And of course, the more time illegals spend here, the more adept they become at avoiding the INS.”
“Legalizing Mexican migration would, in one stroke, bring a huge underground market into the open. It would allow American producers in important sectors of our economy to hire the workers they need to grow. It would raise wages and working conditions for millions of lowskilled workers and spur investment in human capital. It would free resources and personnel for the war on terrorism. Contrary to common objections, evidence does not suggest that a properly designed system of legal Mexican migration will unleash a flood of new immigrants to the United States, hurt low-skilled Americans, burden taxpayers, create an unassimilated underclass, encourage lawbreaking, or compromise border security.”
“Comprehensive reform should also legalize the millions of workers currently in the United States without legal documentation. Many of these workers have lived and worked in the United States for several years. They have become valuable participants in their workplaces and their communities. They should be allowed and encouraged to come forward to be legalized and properly documented. Legalization does not mean amnesty. Newly legalized workers can be assessed a fine. They should be required to get in line with everybody else if they want to apply for permanent status. However we achieve legalization, it would be far preferable to the status quo of millions of people living in a legal and social twilight zone, outside the rule and protection of the law.
Reform is not about opening the door to millions of additional foreign workers. It's about legalizing the millions already here and the hundreds of thousands who are coming in each year already. Legalization would raise their wages, benefits and working conditions by giving them more bargaining power in the marketplace. They could more easily change jobs to improve their pay and working conditions. They would be more likely to qualify for health insurance. They would be more likely to invest in their language and job skills. They could put their savings in the bank. Legalization would replace an underground flow and stock of illegal workers with a safe and orderly supply of legal workers—workers who would enjoy the full protection of the law and freedom of movement in the labor market.”
“No one knows how many illegal immigrants are in the United States, Europe, and other countries, but there are surely many millions. Figures for the United States, the country with the largest number, vary widely, but the Department of Homeland Security estimated there were close to 12 million in 2006. There is great disagreement about what should be done about them.
At one extreme are those who call for catching and evicting as many illegal residents as possible. Yet this seems highly unrealistic; the United States will not apprehend and return millions of people to Mexico or other countries. Nor is it desirable to go to the other extreme, offering blanket amnesty to all illegal residents, for amnesty now would encourage future illegal immigration in the hope of a further amnesty. Amnesty makes a mockery of immigration laws and rewards those who came illegally, even as many potential immigrants wait years for the right to come legally.
I argued last year on my shared blog that selling the right to immigrate would be the best approach to legal immigration. Among other benefits, the revenue from immigrants’ payments could reduce taxes. Paying for the right to immigrate would also negate the argument that immigrants get a free ride when they gain health care and other benefits. Moreover, making immigrants pay would attract the type of immigrants who came much earlier in American history: young men and women who are reasonably skilled and want to make a long-term commitment to the United States.”
"There is widespread agreement that until recently the number of illegal immigrants in the United States was growing. However, there is now very strong evidence that the overall size of the illegal population is no longer increasing and, in fact, is falling. Numerous stories in the media, estimates by the federal government, and research by those outside the government all point to a significant change in migration patterns.
Future enforcement efforts as well as the state of the economy will likely determine if the current trend continues. President Obama has repeatedly stated his strong desire to legalize those in the country illegally and it is unclear to what extent the new administration will enforce immigration laws. Also the future direction of the economy, which is likely to play a very significant role in migration trends, is another unknown factor. The relative importance of increased enforcement versus the economy is difficult to determine. What is clear is that a very long-standing migration pattern has reversed. But once the economy recovers and if enforcement is reduced, which seems likely, the illegal population will almost certainly resume it growth."
"In 1980, illegal immigration in the United States was far from the overwhelming challenge it is today. It was only after the 1986 immigration reform bill, which provided amnesty to more than three million illegal aliens, that an ever increasing surge of people entering the U.S. illegally began. As the federal government failed to address the growing crisis, state governments began to take action. As early as 1994, Californians tried to deal with the financial burden of illegal immigration by passing Proposition 187, which would have limited financial benefits for illegal aliens in California. Although stopped by a judge and a new governor, Gray Davis, unwilling to defend the people’s vote, California’s actions foreshadowed what was to occur across the United States 10 years later, when the federal government failed its people once again."
“IRCA [Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986] was an omnibus immigration law, an attempt to form a grand bargain that would take care of many immigration policy disputes. Part of it was the introduction of ‘employer sanctions,’ saying that it would be illegal, in the future, for employers to hire illegal aliens; the other part was the legalization package. The promise was that sanctions would eliminate the lure of jobs in the U.S. economy and the legalization package would put several important groups of illegal aliens on the path to citizenship, thus shrinking the size of both the current and future illegal populations.”
“…the very existence of such a large unauthorized-immigrant population is evidence that the enforcement-only approach to unauthorized immigration, which the federal government has pursued for the past decade and a half, has failed. The number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States has increased dramatically since the early 1990s despite massive increases in the amount of money and manpower devoted to immigration enforcement.”
“Paradoxically, stronger immigration enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border has encouraged more unauthorized immigrants to stay in the United States. Given the high costs and physical risks of unauthorized entry, migrants now have a stronger incentive than in the past to extend their stays in the United States, which increases the likelihood that they will remain.”
“There is no shortage of labor in the United States. There is instead a shortage of employers who are willing to pay a fair wage to American workers and too many employers who are willing to break the law to hire illegal aliens. This puts added pressure on business owners who want to treat their workers fairly and abide by the law because their competitors who hire illegal workers have an unfair competitive advantage.”
“Illegal immigration has become, in effect, an inexhaustible source of government sanctioned and subsidized low-wage labor, eroding the welfare of less-educated native-born workers.”
"Pinal County, Arizona is the fastest growing county in all of America. Located between Phoenix and Tucson we also have another not so favorable title. Pinal County is the 'Number One Pass Through County for Drug and Human Trafficking in all of America.' Over half of the illegals entering America come through Arizona. According to U.S. Border Patrol, last year alone they captured 219,300 in the Tucson sector. U.S. Border Patrol has acknowledged this number does not take into account another conservative estimate of 2.7 illegals that made it into the United States undetected. Of those illegals that were caught, 17 to 30 percent of them already have a criminal record in the United States. ...
While we keep hearing information from Washington, D.C. that the 'Border is More Secure Then Ever' I would strongly disagree. Statistics in Pinal County during the past two years have shown dramatic increases in totals tied to drug and human trafficking. Our calls to U.S. Border Patrol to turn over illegal aliens have increased, 2007-(188), 2008-(169), 2009-(270) and 2010-(370) Vehicle Pursuits have increased, 2007-(142), 2008-(140), 2009-(289) and 2010-(340) and Marijuana Seizures have also surged, 2008-(19,619 pounds), 2009-(44,963 pounds) and 2010-(45,500 pounds). Just last year, we had a cartel member executed in a quiet Casa Grande, AZ neighborhood. We have had two other cartel members killed during the middle of the night in Vekol Valley after they were shot each with a single bullet. ...
During the past two multi-agency enforcement details (four days each), worked in this drug and human trafficking corridor, more than 200 suspects were arrested. This clearly shows the border is not secured. We need immediate help to protect our citizens. We can no longer wait for action. Until we get Federal support and the U.S. - Mexico border is secured, I have directed my deputies to take cartels on directly. In order to protect our citizens, it has now become the job of my office to directly engage those responsible for drug and human trafficking. We are conducting operations on a weekly basis to dismantle, and disrupt drug and human trafficking operations and reduce the crimes associated with their activity."
"On March 10, 2010, Mayor Eddie Espinoza, Village Trustee Blas Gutierrez, Chief Angelo Vega and some five other Columbus residents were arrested for allegedly violating Federal Firearms Statutes. The eight were indicted and had allegedly conspired to purchase firearms and ammunition and other equipment in order to sell those items to a drug cartel in Mexico. Allegedly Mexican authorities had U.S. ATF agents trace the weapons back to that group. Allegedly at least two bodies recovered from a secret burial site in Mexico were found with firearms traced back to the group. Police vehicles were allegedly used to transport the firearms to a safe house in El Paso TX.
The Sheriff’s Department took immediate action and denied the Columbus Police Department the use of its frequency and denied Luna County Central Dispatch to use the SO frequency to interact with the Columbus Police. The remaining ranking member of the Columbus Police Department was roommate of long standing with Chief Vega. That individual, Sgt. Robert Valenzuela had a prior arrest for Drunk Driving and is currently under indictment in Dona Ana County (NM) for 4th Degree Felony Stalking. Chief Vega has given information to the Federal Prosecutors that he would use the police radio to identify suspicious vehicles in the Columbus area to determine whether or not the vehicles were law enforcement. As Sheriff, I refused to allow any corrupt elements in the Columbus Police Department to compromise the integrity of the Stonegarden Program under our management.
Stonegarden remains the one truly effective program which brings local, state, and federal law enforcement together along the border."
"When the war between cartels began to reach a critical level in Ciudad Juárez, we saw a pattern emerge that we never predicted and hasn't stopped. Our county hospital district, which houses the only Level 1 trauma center in our region-the next closest center is 275 miles away-began seeing victims of the violence who were rushed through our ports of entry and into our ER. Since 2008, we've spent $4.9 million in trauma care specifically for these victims; to date, we've been compensated for only $1.2 million, leaving local property taxpayers to pick up $3.7 million in uncompensated costs. We've repeatedly requested funding from the Merida initiative to help off-set the costs borne by local property taxpayers because we just don't see that financial burden diminishing - unless the U.S. changes its drug policies or the cartels suddenly declare a cease fire.
Where has some of the federal funding gone, if not to my trauma facility or increasing my law enforcement capacity? It's gone to a wall. While federal law enforcement has gone on the record to praise the border wall, it is to me and others an example of considerable federal dollars being spent on a rusting monument that makes my community look like a junk-yard."
"Residents who live on the U.S.-Mexico Border have seen their communities used as a convenient backdrop to heated debates and political posturing about immigration and drug policies. Incredibly, it's been said by some elected officials-two from our own state-that there are bombs going off in the streets of El Paso. That is absolutely untrue. As a border community, we have challenges, no doubt, but exploding bombs are not among them.
What happens when the rhetoric escalates and the facts get lost? It hurts my local economy; it hurts our ability to recruit talent; it negatively affects our convention business; and it doesn't solve the real problems."
"A true fix to undocumented immigration could come from comprehensive immigration reform that would create a path for the undocumented to regularize their status, institute migrant worker visas, and, in general, offer a realistic, common-sense approach to a complicated challenge. And comprehensive immigration reform will finally take away the platform used by state politicians who want local police and sheriff's departments to enforce federal immigration laws. For the record, the El Paso County Sheriff, the El Paso Police Chief, the El Paso Mayor, Congressman Reyes and I all oppose having local law enforcement officers enforce federal immigration laws.
Community policing, the strategy utilized so effectively by local law enforcement in El Paso, involves building trust and relationships between law enforcement and citizens that helps solve crimes and keep neighborhoods crime-free. If my sheriff's deputies are required by the Texas legislature to enforce federal immigration laws, and if they become de-facto immigration officers, that trust disappears, families become afraid to report crime, and we become a less safe community.
Another facet of an overall fix should focus on our border ports. Our ports of entry should be as modern as our cell phones are. Unfortunately, they are not. They lack significant investment in staff and infrastructure, and what should be a point of opportunity becomes simply a point of obstruction. Every year, $30 billion of commerce comes across El Paso's ports, but a minimum of at least an hour wait for vehicles and up to 2 - 3 hour wait times for pedestrians during peak periods, creates a disincentive. Consider what that wait feels like, especially for pedestrians, in the sweltering summer southwest sun."