how the world sees america

The View From the Border

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TIJUANA - This is my final post before signing off. I'm at the border separating the United States from Mexico. Over the past year, I've written 150,000 words and conversed with all of you through another 3 million or so. But standing here, at this border and at this moment, I'm at a loss for words.

Here is where video comes in handy. Watch men and women, young and old, interact with the U.S. across its border fence, and share what you're thinking.

And, finally, here are the many thank yous I owe to journalists, friends, and readers who made this project possible and worthwhile. Thank you for making this the most enlightening and exhilarating year of my life.

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Comments (61)

cardu27:

Is there a study that links the present housing problem and recession with illegal immigration?

If 12 million illegal immigrants (almost 5% of our population) is being affected by tough immigration measures- that affect their "illegal" employment- then the result would be an impact on comsumption that affects everybody.

If they own houses or contribute income to some resident or citizen who owns one, then you can link this to the current foreclosure rate.

It is not a better option to accept them - they were already accepted by our economy- than neglect them at a price we are not able to pay?


ghostcommander:

Ronald Reagan gave amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants in the 1980's and laws were passed by Congress to control illegal immigration, but the laws were not enforced because the conservative business community wanted cheap labor to lower the wages in the USA. They got what they wanted--wages went down, way down. Now the right wing politicians are in dire need of votes and have decided to make illegal immigrants the 'new enemy'--So, they verbally bash the illegal immigrants to radicalize a negative segment of the population against the illegals for their vote, for their vote, for their vote. These right wing hypocrites are demagogic cowards!

Rita Campbell:

Citizens can have better access to opportunities in Mexico if we change NAFTA laws, as Dennis Kuchinich proposed. A fence between America and Mexico is a gross waste of tax payer money, and an insult to ourselves and to our good neighbors. This fence is a poor substitute for communication, mutual respect, fair laws, and effective solutions. A fence of this kind signals our desperation, and utter inability to deal effectively and wisely with our challenges.

The Luger:

Many guatemalans work in Chiapas' coffee fields during harvesting seasons. Everytime mexican government give them licenses and allows them to work with no problems. And by the way the mexican migration law is a joke, it is almost never used, only when is convenient to political matters, and when centroamericans are taken by the corrupted Migration Police in some spots, but there are a lot of illegal aliens in mexico too, and nothing happens, they can work, live and nobody says nothing.
Yes, I agree, nobody wants criminals in their neighborhood. I understand that, but not all illegal aliens are criminals, and no fence will stop inmigration, never. Mexico is a great country, too bad It have had so bad governments and so many bad actions from Gringos since the beginnings of times.

Jojo:

As an American, I want to aplogize to the inhuman and barbaric way we treat people in our country of latin American and mexican heritage. I hope you can forgive us for treating our dogs and cats better than we treat the people who only want a better life for them selves and their families. I hope the GOP nightmare is over and soon we will have an American president of african heritage who will open the borders so that everyone with a dream can come to America and we will not hate anybody. Bring our troops from Iraq now!!!

ff:

Those of you that insist on more effective border controls need to face up to the fact that there are only three ways to accomplish it:

1) National ID card/employee database combined with stepped-up raids of businesses nationwide. This will prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining work here, and hence eliminate the incentive for them to come. Of course, it will also drastically drive up the cost of basic services and thereby turn things like yardwork, child care and restaurants into luxuries only the rich can afford. But, hey, the wages of high-school drop-outs will go up.

2) Militarization of the border and police-state tactics covering a wide buffer region near the border. In order to work, this would be extremely expensive (probably unaffordable), as well as do serious damage to our freedom and democracy. You'd pretty much have to be a fool or a fascist to opt for this tactic.

3) Expanded legal immigration that reflects the actual supply of labor outside the country (large) and the demand for it inside the country (also large). This approach is cheap, effective (how easy will it be to stop drug smugglers and terrorists trying to infiltrate the border if there aren't thousands of dishwashers and babysitters for them to blend in with?) and retains the benefits to the American economy of a complementary workforce. All it requires is enough political will to change the immigration laws. Which is to say that, unless you're opposed to the immigration of Mexican/Latin people as such, this should be the obvious choice.

Examining the three options, it is striking how often opponents of illegal immigration opt for the first two solutions. You almost never hear them advocate the third solution (even in the midst of extended diatribes about how it's only *illegal* immigration they don't like). And then they get all huffy when people point out that only a racist would prefer to do the damage to America entailed by options 1 and 2 (or any combination thereof) than see the large-scale peaceful immigration of brown people. More than that, they go red in the face and start shouting "amnesty!" whenever anyone suggests anything resembling option 3. Well, racists, I suggest that if you don't want to get called on your bigotry, you give up on these childish populist appeals about "the elite" and "stuck-up college types" and instead come up with a policy that isn't quite so blatantly premised on racial animus.

Dave:

Best way to help solve the "illegal" immigrant problem is to change the law so that it isn't so Byzantine a process to gain entry and apply for citizenship. These people are coming here to do jobs that we, as a nation, want them here to do. Why are we forcing them to break the law in order to take advantage of this opportunity, which we are after all providing for them? As it stands, breaking the law to enter the country, which so many anti-immigration advocates are hell-bent against, poses about the same threat to public safety as drunk driving or excessive speeding. Care to wager what percentage of legal Americans have not broken the law in one way or another? My guess, vanishingly close to zero.

Roy:

ID them biometrically, give them temporary work permits, pay them a fair wage, tax them, make them pay social security to support America's baby boomers, but don't cut and paste BS that you aren't racist if you use this issue to demonize them. Look at Arizona. Enforcement of employment laws is working there. Illegal immigrants are leaving. Where is the discussion about Cheney not enforcing federal employment laws for the benefit of his corporate cronies who exploit cheap illegal immigrant labor? Don't tell me you aren't racist as long as you ignore that violating employment laws is just as ILLEGAL for companies as are ILLEGAL immigrants.

morphylius:

So it's seems to always be the Latinos who keep demanding. Not only open borders but lets print everything in Spanish as well as English. Ever go to a Museum these days. I had the opportunity to go to the Bombay exhibit in the Twin Cities. Everything that was printed in English was always also printed in Spanish. Never mind that half the audience was multiethnic (i.e., Chinese, Italian, Scandinavian, Greek, German, Russian, French, Vietnamese, etc.). I would have preferred more information about the exhibits than to allocate that space to reprint everything in Spanish. For many people, it seems to be a trivial point, but another example of this that's more insidious happened to my brother daughter. She was an all State Math whiz. She's beautiful and very charismatic. She had the idea of starting an after school math program for kids at her school. Great idea, get kids interested in the fun and play of mathematic (What a great way learn a this amazing subject). Well, to cut it short, the class was canceled and funds were reallocate to open up a Spanish speaking class to the English speaker to learn Spanish, go figure.
Next, if we're are going to have open borders with no regard for legality. Then go all the way. There are about 4 million displaced Iraqis, let them all in. There is mass genocide going on in many areas in continent of Africa. How about given refuge to about 300 million Africans, God knows they need the help. There are at present a minimum of about 300 to 500 million refuges form all parts of this planet who'd love to enter this country, let them all in. Open borders! It would require much sacrifice, sacrifice that many Latinos that I see on a day to day basis in California would not easily accept. We are at a breaking point people, get real and open your eyes.

tb:

Those of us who want border security and are for denying taxpayer funded services to illegals (who don't pay taxes) are wrongly portrayed as xenophobes (a favored word for elitists to pretend they are smarter than the rest of us), bigots (another favored word of the elites), racists, etc. We don't have a problem with immigrants. I have so many friends who are first or second generation immigrants; even my own father is a naturalized citizen. But all of these people entered the country LEGALLY. They are DOCUMENTED, they PAY TAXES, and WAITED THEIR TURN. We believe preference should be given to those immigrants who followed the rules and abided by our laws. Frankly I wouldn't mind allowing the illegals here to be given green cards if a couple conditions were met: First, BUILD A FREAKING FENCE along BOTH the Mexican and Canadian borders! The flow of illegals must be stopped before any amnesty should be considered, and building a PHYSICAL FENCE is the cheapest, most effective way to do that. Second, the illegals already here must submit to a background investigation before they receive their green card. This is to make sure we aren't giving legal status to any terrorist or those with connections to terrorists. Finally, the illegals who pass the background check can be granted Green cards AND ONLY Green cards. They will NOT be eligible to become citizens, because the broke the law to get here, however, their subsequent decendants born here will be U.S. citizens.
Prediction: I will be called a racist, xenophobe, nativist, and/or bigot for this post, which will just prove that some people can never be reasoned with.

We already have enough US citizens in poverty without adding the population of Mexico and Latino American. Someone on here has spoke of hypocrisy and racist feeling toward Mexicans. What I find is hypocrisy is thinking it is OK for Mexicans to ignore our Immigration laws but not others. If we are to have no Borders or an Immigration policy then there are 100,s of millions in China, India, Africa and many other Nations around the world that would like the same rights. If it is OK for Latinos to pour across or borders then we should let anyone and everyone in the world irregardless of skills, education, race, nationally, diseases etc. to have the same rights to pour into this Nation. Of Course, that would self correct in a very short most would be looking for some country to immigrate to escape the Crime, Pollution, and third World living standards! Guess just to show what a racist and begot I am bet they would be looking at another country that whites built!

Jack from Rio Rico, AZ:

To Chris: How much tax do you pay yearly? What percentage of it goes to your false claim that "illegals" come here to exploit the welfare system?

Out of $5,000 I pay, I figure that less than a few pennies goes to support the entire Federal Fiscal Budget.

Really, is there anything more silly and tiresome than "I'm tired of my tax dollars going to (fill in your favorite)...'

You apparently have other far more unappealing reasons...

Jim:

Seeing all these comments makes me scared all these uninformed people are going to vote on a leader.

First what exactly are tax payers paying for that Illegal immigrants aren't. If the Illegal immigrants pay rent they are paying property taxes. They buy anything here they are paying sales tax. Hospitals don't let anybody walk out without paying, try it! They get payment for the large majority of patients or you don't leave. Every Illegal immigrant who comes to this country is here to work. They come from places so poor they can't even buy food. How many of your neighbors are willing to risk their life to walk hundreds of miles through the harshest deserts in North American just for a chance for a low paying manual labor job? Many Illegal immigrant uses a false Social Security number. Which means many billions of dollars go into the fund but are unattributable to a valid SSN.

What I want to know why illegal immigrants are tagged with wasting tax payers dollars when nobody complains nearly as much about the hundreds and hundreds Billions being siphoned off by the wealthiest businesses and individuals. It can't be the Money other wise we hear more complaints about the waste of the greater sums.

It can't be about jobs. There are not enough people to fill all the job in this country. If every unemployed person were forced to fill the jobs that undocumented worked do, that would only be half the workers needed. By the way see if you can get a Union Auto Worker to accept a much lower wage job in meat processing factory or mow lawns 12 hours a day 6 days a week. The American economy needs 5-6 millions workers more than the population produces, where are they going to come from?

Peter V:

I wonder why the native americans didnt think of a fence to keep out all the immigrants coming from England.

Every so called "American" is the desendent of immigrants.

JRLR:

"Is most securely closed that door one can leave open." (Chinese proverb)

With best wishes always, Amar.

jj:

The vitriolic labels the pro-illegal immigration cronies like to use, that the term "racist" is one of their favorites to describe anyone who is against illegal immigration, a pathetic attempt to use the race card to try and shield illegal immigrants from accepting responsibility for breaking the law, and shield themselves for supporting such a travesty.

They try to do this so that anti-illegal immigration forces will back down for fear of public shame, but the logic of their attacks is flawed when one looks at the broader picture, and that the previous waves of mass immigration from European, i.e. the "white" countries in the 19th and early 20th centuries came here LEGALLY, made an effort to learn our language and customs, and way of life, and therefore assimilated into American Society. Maybe they were forced to come here legally because they had to sail over an ocean and could not exploit a poorly secured land border, but that does not change the fact that they obeyed the law, and the current wave of immigrants are breaking the law.

The pro-illegal immigration forces that want amnesty are completely out of touch with mainstream American society - just look at most of the comments here - the majority of the posters are against illegal immigration, and most people I know who are against illegal immigration have no problem with LEGAL immigration, regardless of country of origin, ethnicity, etc.

They try to paint us as fear-mongering demagogues because it is the only weapon that they have against the cold, hard facts: that we are a country of dwindling resources being asked (forced, really - they did not ask, they just snuck over the border) to support illegals who are driving down wages for the lower middle class, draining government tax dollars that they do not put back into the system because they do not pay taxes, and creating a division in American society by not assimilating into our culture and refusing to learn our language. To many of them, we are the "gringos", and some of them even believe in "reconqista", the re-capture of the American southwest, which they conveniently forget that we rightfully won in both war and by purchasing much of the land from Mexico.

It is not our fault that Mexico is one of the most corrupt governments on the face of the planet, which has led to the impoverishment of their people. And it is absurd that they come here and demand rights that they are not legally entitled to when they should be forcing change in their home country. I think that they are actually taking advantage of liberals that make excuses for them - laughing while the liberal, pro-illegal immigration forces do their work for them, because they have no intention of assimilating into American society. The liberals should also look at the fall of other great nations as Amy Chua has, and understand that non-homogenous societies tend to fall apart, from the Roman Empire to the Soviet Union.

I do agree with many of Amy Chua’s points from her article, such as strict immigration quotas based on country of origin and levels of education. But she misses the point that Mark Krikorian makes, which is that a mass immigration of unskilled peoples is incompatible with an advanced society that places a greater value on education and already spends to much money on a welfare state.

Plus, what about all the poor and homeless people in the US that were born here and have paid whatever taxes they can their whole lives? It outrages me that our tax dollars are being used to pay for education, hospitalization, and increased law enforcement needed for illegal immigrants when the money should be used to cover the needs of those here rightfully and legally.

The pro-illegal immigration forces are self-righteous hypocrites that fail to see the broader implications to our society, and are actually complicit in hastening it’s downfall. As Mark points out, the public knows that the media, government (and businesses that exploit the inexpensive illegal labor) have no solidarity with the average mainstream U.S. citizen, and no interest in preserving American sovereignty, even if our society has given them rights and freedoms that very few nations offer. What will they say when society starts unraveling? That it was the Republican’s fault? That they wish they could go back to the good old days? They will blame everyone but themselves, but we will all be to shame for allowing them to get away with it, and for it to happen in the first place by not holding our government accountable for the chaos at the border, and for enforcing our laws.

American Me:

America's false sense of security is simply that, false security. Our physical borders will never be so difficult to overcome when you have another man who is risking his life simply to enjoy the mere crumbs found in America's wasteland. Many give their lives for America's scraps. Instead of feeling threatened by a force that will inevitably overcome and overpower you, it will be in America's best interest to strengthen its relationships with its neighbors. Stop living in fear and constant threat, and learn to live, truly live in coexistence with your neighbors.

Anonymous:

Mexico has been shipping their civil war to the US for many years. Parties in the US have abetted them for a variety of reasons, mostly greed. Any kind of amnesty is a continued collapse of the rule of law. Not that would bother the private interests that are benifiting from that collapse. Jail the employers and the employees would be gone almost overnight.

DD:

To Roy...Thanks for directing the Mexicans to Canada we have about 20 million of the parasites here in the USA that Canada can have. Americans are tried of paying their Medical bills, (Which the way the breed is alone enough to bankrupt a Nation) Schooling for their many Spawn, and Welfare. We are really tried of the 10,s of thousands American Citizens they Kill, Rape, and Rob each Year.

In Closing Please continue to direct the Mexicans to Canada.

Thanks for your efforts!

G Gault, Historian:

Dear Citizens of the US and Mexico:
Making illegal immigrants into legal citizens is not a new problem. In the early 1920s America's government had the intelligence and foresight to legitimize many Eastern Europeans and other immigrant who had entered the US illegally. We need the good citizens who have come to the US for a better life and it falls on us as US citizens to make it possible for them to contribute to our society and economy. There must be a conscious effort to do so and to make all those who wish to become US citizens aware of our institutions and democracy! Also we need to deport those who are criminals and are here for nefarious purposes. God Bless America, Land of the Free!

Roy:

Having lived in Mexico the last four years in political exile from paying taxes for George Bush's immoral war, I can tell you Mexico is not a horrible country. Bigots who visit Tijuana come to the conclusion the whole country is that way. I have many Mexican friends and have met a lot of decent people here who feel the US is the last place they would want to go with it's racism, religious fanaticism and gun violence. They go there for work not because their own country is horrible. My advice to them is to go to Canada instead where their labor will be appreciated and they can easily be legal.

DZ:

I'm not American, I'm Canadian, and I'm not trying to tell Americans how to run their country; I just have a few points to make.

The general tone of these comments is negative and hostile towards in-migration to the United States by people who are relatively poor and unskilled. I don't mean to sound unkind but the people who are making these comments must be unemployed, poor, or lower-middle to middle class, or else they would have no reason to make these comments. These people are being hurt by continuous free immigration, because they are in economic competition from the migrants.
If these people are being hurt, then why does the immigration continue? Because other sectors of the middle class, along with the upper class and your ruling class, are benefiting from the illegal immigration. The higher classes own businesses which depend on cheap labor. Their lives are made easier by the availability of cheap servants who do their daily chores and care for their kids. The ruling class even benefits when it offers blanket amnesty to illegal immigrants, because the thankful immigrants will vote for these politicians for the rest of their lives.

Illegal immigration will continue as long as there is demand-pull from the wealthy powerful interests in the United States as well as demand-push from the hordes of the poor and unwashed from outside its borders.

Surely, you can build a much better fence than the one shown in the video. Maybe you should. You can even build one across your northern border, if you think it will help. But as long as there is demand-pull and demand-push for immigration, it will continue.

In Canada, we don't get a lot of illegals hopping fences like you do. We don't really have a fence, except for the ones you build on your side of the border. However, we still get lots of illegal immigrants. They come by plane and ship from Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America. Sometimes they are driven across the U.S./Canadian border in freight trucks then taken to Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver to work as slaves in strip joints or factories or in the drug industry.

A fence can't stop this migration. As long as Canada and the United States are richer than most other places, it will continue.

Personally, I prefer it this way than to having North America being poor and me having to try to smuggle myself into Japan or the EU.

A huge state-of-the-art fence along the entire perimeter of the territory of the United States, Alaska included, might stop a few Mexicans from casually walking across, but it won't be able to stop organized human-smuggling. Illegal immigration increases once you make it too difficult for individuals to come on their own. Having a fence and a strong border means you need an organization to get people across. An organization like a gang. Like a mafia. Like a cartel. Only an organization can provide the fake papers, the ship or truck or train, the safe houses, the financing, etc. the entire apparatus for people-smuggling. That's when you get real illegal migration.

So a really good fence might increase the profits of Halliburton or Bechtel, it might enrich some of the President's friends, maybe even the bin Laden family, but as for stopping illegal immigration? Don't expect too much.

AHS:

Amar -- thank you for 12 months of thoughtful and thought-provoking comments from around the world. I look forward to your next project.

It is probably both emblematic and ironic that you should end with one of our more intimate and intractable problems, and that it should elicit so few thoughtful comments.

I'm sad to see my fellow citizens, for the most part, trot out pre-digested and often vitriolic comments.

We need to find a productive way forward. It's true, Mexico severely restricts immigration. Unlike us, it is not a country of immigrants, and it has not reaped the rewards. After all, three quarters of our Nobel Prize winners were immigrants.

But Mexico is our next door neighbor, and it has been exporting its most ambitious, capable, and hardest working people -- legal and illegal -- to us for many years. Much of our agriculture, construction, and industry would halt without their work. At the same time, this cheap labor has had a wide variety of effects on our country and our economy.

Our border with Mexico is sometimes bloody and dangerous, not the least because of drugs. The Mexicans (and other Latin Americans) are fond of pointing out that there would be no drug economy if Americans weren't buyers.

The only realistic approach to this problem is to see it not as "our security" issue, but as a common problem between our two countries. Let's hope that we can get beyond the Minutemen and the viciousness sometime soon and tackle the real hard work ahead of us.

DW:

I don't need statistics to know that Mexicans and El Salvadorans are blighting our communities.

I live in California, in the sanctuary Bay Area.

What I don't get is that Mexicans have an amazing work ethic that has diminished amongst Americans in they sense of entitlement.

Mexicans are willing to risk their lives to come here, but not willing to risk their lives to create and sustain wealth in their home nation. This is an effort America should be vocally supporting, quite loudly. I would love to see a Mexico that is a neighbor akin to Canada- friendly and trustworthy.

The truth is that illegals from Mexico are a double-edged sword. You get the labor, and you get the crime.

I can tell without any statistics that there are gangs of illegal aliens that promote violent crimes, the signs are all over my neighborhood. The signs also say MS13, or Nortenos, etc. We have the highest murder rates in the area in decades. The names of suspects listed on the news are mostly latino.

I don't mind if hard workers are here. I may even be persuaded to okay amensty if they can prove they've been positive to America. The incentives to learn English and assimilate will take hold, they always do.

But there is no easy way to separate the chaff from the wheat here. Unless the hard working 'want a better law-abiding life' illegals out and help expel the criminal element, then they both have to go. Aiding and abetting is also illegal in the US, even if we're forgetting laws.

Strictly speaking, if a citizen of a country enters a foreign country and subverts the law and kills a foreign national, it is a crime. If it is done writ large, it is an invasion.

Don't let the United States solve Mexico's criminal problem. The track record says that no one other than the United States will benefit from the outcome.

Asian:

Mexico is a horrible country otherwise why would Mexicans want to leave their own country in droves? No one is persecuting them to leave Mexico. Mexico is indeed a cesspool of corruption, illiteracy, bad government, weak institutions, a macho culture, etc. Thye were handed the wealthiest market in the world 10 years ago as part of NAFTA, and they blew it. Did not get off their lazy butts to manufacture and export and make money and improve their country. Instead they export their people. In short, a good-for-nothing society much like most other Latin countries.

rusty3:

I've lived most of my life within 100 miles of the border. My comments: It is good to see people thinking about the issue of illegals. We need to get beyond the cheap charge of "racism" and think about the ecological limits we need to live within. Mexico has brought many problems on itself via overpopulation. Those who move to the US do not seem to have learned anything. They continue to have large families. It may simply seem funny to live around people who see the Virgin of Guadalupe on every stop sign or the Virgin Mary on a taco. It is quite another thing to live with their crime and violence.

The more you know the more you favor the removal of the illegals who are here, and the creation of policies that will stop any future flow. Cheap labor is not the most important thing in the world.

Roberto:

The migration is natural when ther is people and economic diferences, no one will stop that.
build or encarcel or kill??? no one can stop the nature.
If is not USA will be Mexico or Chile or Italy allways the people will move around the world.

Mauro Pardo:

Mexico no está tan mal. El problema es que nuestros gobernantes estan mas preocupados por enriquecerse que por mejorar nuestra calidad de vida. Es cierto lo que decian, tenemos todo para ser un país rico, pero no lo sabemos aprovechar, estamos acostumbrados a que "papá gobierno" nos de todo. Yo veo que todos ustedes se quejan de los inmigrantes ilegales pero la verdad es que la mayoria de los trabajos que desempeñan alla son trabajos que ustedes no les gusta realizar, asi que pienso que despues de todo si relizan trabajos miserables al menos deberian tener los mismos benficios que ustedes.

abm:

Oddly enough many of my neighbours are transplanted Americans who have moved north for a variety of reasons, including at this point political. I was just joking about the fence, though. For the most part we welcome newcomers.

Tim Mac:

"tilt at windows"? Good grief. I thought I proofread better than that!

Tim Mac:

It's amazing the degree to which both sides- but particularly the "Fortress America" side- twist the facts to support their conclusions and the vitriol that they throw at each other. Absolutist thinking is doomed to failure, as anyone who's paid attention to history would already know. It used to be the lefties that fell into this trap, now it's the right wing and particularly the "movement conservatives." Oh, well, that pendulum will swing again.

The simple reality is that the border- south, north, beaches, seaports, airports- can't be closed unless you want America to have its own equivalents of the Berlin Wall along every foot of border and beach and around every seaport and airport. It's not possible from a practical perspective- those kinds of efforts and the expenses entailed are what doomed the Soviet Union.

The question is "what do we do now?" Some people want total control over every single person entering the country. That's never going to happen. Get over it. However, any country does have the right and arguably the obligation to manage the flow of people over its borders. This can be achieved without having to tilt at windows by having a guest worker program. There really are no other realistic options.

Tony Davis:

The rich in Mexico have kept the whole country povery ridden, and now the rich in USA are doing the same to our beautiful idea of nationhood.

Eat the rich before they eat you.

Tony Davis:

I think the guillotines need to be oiled up. If Congress weren't in the back pocket of big business, we would all have a better America. The so-called "immigrant problem" would be seen as the boon it truly is. All these horror statistics about how much they cost the taxpayer pale in comparison to the expense the wealthy corporations inflict on all of us. This "issue" is a diversion from the real problem, corporate greed and a government bought-off by the rich.

So there all you haters and small-souled fear mongers.

Blutorg:

ABM:

Thaw out and wipe the frost from your snow goggles. If you were objective, you would realize that, at least from a historical perspective, there have been far more Canadians coming south than there have been citizens of the United States heading to the frozen north. We've long had a glut of your comedians, for example.

Most of us don't even know Canada exists, and to the extent that we do, we mistake it for another collection of our lesser states.

...Which it is, no?!

Maybe we should follow your idea. Our extreme southern states would certainly be more pleasant in winter.

Michel Marizco:

I've got news for you, what you witnessed in Tijuana is an anomaly.
The vast majority of the border is not guarded, fenced, protected, monitored or even well documented along most the 2,000-miles of boundary.
Why don't you take a trip out here to Arizona; we can show you a few things.

Amar C. Bakshi:

I didn't point this out in the video voice over, but it might be worth it here. Not that "Danger" is mistranslated in the sign to "Pilegro". Not sure if it's vandalism or an error, but keep an eye out for it in the video.

truthsayer:

I agree that it is very hypocritical of the Mexican government to severely enforce their southern border but then criticize the U.S. when we get start to so the dame thing.

Illegal Aliens and their short-sighted advocates are sich a blight on the U.S.A. it disgusts me.

FunTravelAdventure:

pax "We live in a global world, the USA has benefited greatly in the cheap products we enjoy at other persons expense."

Just how has the USA benefited from these cheap products?

Just how has the loss of our jobs, our homes, our neighborhoods, towns, cities, country, safety and quality of life benefited the people of the USA.

Who do you think did these jobs before the flood of ILLEGAL ALIENS came here?

Every one of those jobs was done by an American and most of them paid a living wage which allowed the American middle class to come into being. They paid enough that the American middle class could afford to buy the homes they were building.
They paid enough that the American middle class could send thier sons and daughters to college.

No, the American people by and large have not benefited from the flood of ILLEGAL ALIENS who have ILLEGALLY entered and remained in our country.

I want them OUT and I will vote against ANYONE who wants to give the ILLEGAL ALIENS in our country an amnesty of any sort.

abm:

Maybe a fence on the US-Canadian border would be a good idea. It would keep certainly help to keep out those pesky Americans coming north to try to tap into our healthy job market.

rb miller:

Mexico is a horrible country as evident by so many wanting to come to the US illegally. Get in line like everybody else.

American cities are starting to pass their own laws to make it miserable on illegals now, since the Federal govt. won't do anything.

The Mexican flas I see all over the US are hilarious. They admit their country is terrible with their feet and by breaking the law to get here.

pax58:

I work on the border. I see Border Patrol and undocumented persons interacting. For the most part, it is a game of cat/mouse. When the average person is working 40 hours a week in Mexico for $8 and groceries cost the same there as here, you start to see the motive. Until Mexico's problems are solved,the USA will have a problem. And before you blame Mexico alone, the border region has grown in the last few decades because American companies have buildt factories just across the border in order to take advantage of these wages (otherwise known as exploit). We as a nation are at least partially responsible for this issue. We live in a global world, the USA has benefited greatly in the cheap products we enjoy at other persons expense.
The Hertiage Foundation is hardly an objective source and I do not trust any statics they offer. The truth of the matter is that most of these persons work hard at jobs most of us would never do for little next to nothing: who benefits the most? ask the person moving into that new home or the person eating those cheap foods at the grocery. We are becoming a class society, exploiting those on the lower rungs and then complaining about them, so they stay in their place.

James R. Cowles:

If you are someone who sees border security is no big deal, consider the following. Suppose that after you go to bed at night, while you are asleep someone sneaks into your home. They don't assault you. They don't steal anything. In fact, they do stuff you don't like to do: sweep the carpets, clean the bathrooms, take out the trash, etc., etc., etc. You get up in the morning and find that carpet swept, the bathrooms scoured, the trash gone, etc.

Question: would you or would you not feel uneasy about people coming into your home uninvited, even if what they did was good? despite the good that your nocturnal visitors did, would you nevertheless not want some control over who is in your house?

If you object to people coming into your home uninvited, if you want some control over who is in your house, but if you are not concerned with border security, then you are being more than a tad hypocritical.

My home isn't just my house. My home is my country. I want some control over who comes into both.

JIM

Bruce:

Here's the question that nobody wants to ask. Not about illegal immigration itself, but why?

Well, the economic differences of course, but why in fact do they exist?

Examples.

At the end of World War II, most of central and eastern Europe was a basket case. 40 years of communist economics kept the per capita of most of Eastern Europe in the toilet. South Korea was devastated by the Korean War and actually lagged behind North Korea economically for some period, until the 1970s. Mexico was essentially a non-participant in those two wars.

NOW let's take a look at per capita incomes. Remember that Mexico has oil, thousands of miles of coastline, warm-weather crops, warm-weather ports and a superwealthy, peaceful trading partner immediately north AND massive transfer payments from an ex-pat legal and illegal workforce here. Per the IMF, 2007 data, per capita income (today US would be lower due to exchange rate changes):

Luxembourg=$87,400
Norway =$47,098
Ireland=$47,169
USA = $44,765
Canada = $36,984
Japan= $34,024
Slovenia=$26,576
South Korea=$25,840
Hungary=$21,040
Slovakia=$20,002
Lithuania=$17,749
Croatia=$15,733
Russia=$13,432
Mexico=$11,880

Mexico should look like Texas economically, or at least like America's weakest economic performer, Mississippi ($25,318 PCI in 2005.) So until Mexico does what much colder, less resource-rich countries have done to develop their economies, I remain unsympathetic to their plight.

dm:

We already have enough US citizens in poverty without adding the population of Mexico and Latino American. Someone on here has spoke of hypocrisy and racist feeling toward Mexicans. What I find is hypocrisy is thinking it is OK for Mexicans to ignore our Immigration laws but not others. If we are to have no Borders or an Immigration policy then there are 100,s of millions in China, India, Africa and many other Nations around the world that would like the same rights. If it is OK for Latinos to pour across or borders then we should let anyone and everyone in the world irregardless of skills, education, race, nationally, diseases etc. to have the same rights to pour into this Nation. Of Course, that would self correct in a very short most would be looking for some country to immigrate to escape the Crime, Pollution, and third World living standards! Guess just to show what a racist and begot I am bet they would be looking at another country that whites built!

Oliver:

Dj wrote:

The National Academy of Sciences has estimated that each immigrant without a high school degree will cost U.S. taxpayers, on average, $89,000 over the course of his or her lifetime....
-------------------

Yet the US industry just loves them: ultra-low wages, no public complaints over miserable working conditions, no insurance fees and pension plans - there is your perfect (micro-wage-)slave. And that's why the party of business interests doesn't do a thing about it.

Whatsoever, migration to better places is as old as humanity. Labeling it illegal is just a futile attempt of stopping a process, that is created by an imbalance in wealth. Is it the US citizens' fault, that they are so rich, or that South America is so poor. Probably not. Does that matter? Definitely not: Everything in nature tries to be in equilibrum, whenever a system is not in such a state, there will be forces to bring it into equilibrum. Create an imbalance in wealth, and the system reacts. It is my firm believe, that this process is simply unstoppable - or that the cost of stopping it would much higher that the cost of letting it happen.

People go where living is better, and this is what has MADE America what it is today. Yet every generation of immigrants has changed the country, and everytime the "natives" tried to oppose it. I fail to see why our times should be different.

BE:

Those of us who want border security and are for denying taxpayer funded services to illegals (who don't pay taxes) are wrongly portrayed as xenophobes (a favored word for elitists to pretend they are smarter than the rest of us), bigots (another favored word of the elites), racists, etc. We don't have a problem with immigrants. I have so many friends who are first or second generation immigrants; even my own father is a naturalized citizen. But all of these people entered the country LEGALLY. They are DOCUMENTED, they PAY TAXES, and WAITED THEIR TURN. We believe preference should be given to those immigrants who followed the rules and abide by our laws. Frankly I wouldn't mind allowing the illegals here to be given green cards if a couple conditions were met: First, BUILD A FREAKING FENCE along BOTH the Mexican and Canadian borders! The flow of illegals must be stopped before any amnesty should be considered, and building a PHYSICAL FENCE is the cheapest, most effective way to do that. Second, the illegals already here must submit to a background investigation before they receive their green card. This is to make sure we aren't giving legal status to any terrorist or those with connections to terrorists. Finally, the illegals who pass the background check can be granted Green cards AND ONLY Green cards. They will NOT be eligible to become citizens, because the broke the law to get here, however, their subsequent descendants born here will be U.S. citizens.
Prediction: I will be called a racist, xenophobe, nativist, and/or bigot for this post, which will just prove that some people can never be reasoned with.

Dj:

Everyone is racist if you do not want people like this to invade this Country they add so much!

Statistics on illegal aliens:
The Heritage Foundation ^ | 10/25/06 | Robert Rector
The National Academy of Sciences has estimated that each immigrant without a high school degree will cost U.S. taxpayers, on average, $89,000 over the course of his or her lifetime.[3] This is a net cost above the value of any taxes the immi*grant will pay and does not include the cost of educating the immigrant’s children, which U.S. taxpayers would also heavily subsidize. In this way, the roughly six million legal immigrants without a high school diploma will impose a net cost of around a half-trillion dollars on U.S. taxpayers over their lifetimes

Crime Statisitcs
95% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens.
83% of warrants for murder in Phoenix are for illegal aliens.
86% of warrants for murder in Albuquerque are for illegal aliens.
75% of those on the most wanted list in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Albuquerque are illegal aliens.
24.9% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally.
40.1% of all inmates in Arizona detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally.
48.2% of all inmates in New Mexico detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally.
29% (630,000) convicted illegal alien felons fill our state and federal prisons at a cost of $1.6 billion annually.
53% plus of all investigated burglaries reported in California, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and Texas are perpetrated by illegal aliens.
50% plus of all gang members in Los Angeles are illegal aliens from south of the border.
71% plus of all apprehended cars stolen in 2005 in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California were stolen by Illegal aliens or "transport coyotes".
47% of cited/stopped drivers in California have no license, no insurance and no registration for the vehicle. Of that 47%, 92% are illegal aliens.
63% of cited/stopped drivers in Arizona have no license, no insurance and no registration for the vehicle. Of that 63%, 97% are illegal aliens.
66% of cited/stopped drivers in New Mexico have no license, no insurance and no registration for the vehicle. Of that 66%, 98% are illegal.
Birth Statistics
380,000 plus "anchor babies" were born in the U.S. in 2005 to illegal alien parents, making 380,000 babies automatically U.S.citizens.
97.2% of all costs incurred from those births were paid by the American taxpayers.
66% plus of all births in California are to illegal alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal whose births were paid for by taxpayers.
Last Updated ( Friday, 20 July 2007 )

bl:

Does any of the open Borders crowd know the different s between Illegal Immigration & Legal Immigration? Also if it is ok to be invaded from the South then it should be ok to be invaded from any Nation or race in the world. There are 100,s of millions probably billions from Africa, India, China, etc. that would like the same right as Latinos to Invade this Nation, have the tax payers pay their Medical bills, Educate their Children in their own language while they break numerous laws and Rape, Rob, Kill thousands of Citizens every year. As for as hate Crimes there are many more Americans citizens of all races killed by Illegal Latinos every year then is killed by American citizens. Like the ethic cleansing in LA of Black by illegal Hispanics!
MEXICO,S Immigration LAWS!
Mind you, this is the law of the land in Mexico, the third-world nation that has encouraged millions of it's citizens to invade America.

It is also the same country that threatened to take the U.S. to the UN for building a fence on American soil!
Mexico's Immigration Law:
Let's Try It Here at Home

Reference:
http://www.citizensforaconstitutionalrepublic.com/waller5-8-06.html#top

By J. Michael Waller
Mexico has a radical idea for a rational immigration policy that most Americans would love. However, Mexican officials haven’t been sharing that idea with us as they press for our Congress to adopt the McCain-Kennedy immigration reform bill.

That's too bad, because Mexico, which annually deports more illegal aliens than the United States does, has much to teach us about how it handles the immigration issue. Under Mexican law, it is a felony to be an illegal alien in Mexico.

At a time when the Supreme Court and many politicians seek to bring American law in line with foreign legal norms, it’s noteworthy that nobody has argued that the U.S. look at how Mexico deals with immigration and what it might teach us about how best to solve
our illegal immigration problem. Mexico has a single, streamlined law that ensures that foreign visitors and immigrants are:

* in the country legally;

* have the means to sustain themselves economically;

* not destined to be burdens on society;

* of economic and social benefit to society;

* of good character and have no criminal records; and

* contributors to the general well-being of the nation.

The law also ensures that:

* immigration authorities have a record of each foreign visitor;

* foreign visitors do not violate their visa status;

* foreign visitors are banned from interfering in the country’s internal politics;

* foreign visitors who enter under false pretenses are imprisoned or deported;

* foreign visitors violating the terms of their entry are imprisoned or deported;

* those who aid in illegal immigration will be sent to prison.

Who could disagree with such a law? It makes perfect sense. The Mexican constitution strictly defines the rights of citizens -- and the denial of many fundamental rights to non-citizens, illegal and illegal. Under the constitution, the Ley General de Población, or
General Law on Population, spells out specifically the country's immigration policy.

It is an interesting law -- and one that should cause us all to ask, Why is our great southern neighbor pushing us to water down our own immigration laws and policies, when its own immigration restrictions are the toughest on the continent? If a felony is a
crime punishable by more than one year in prison, then Mexican law makes it a felony to be an illegal alien in Mexico.

If the United States adopted such statutes, Mexico no doubt would denounce it as a manifestation of American racism and bigotry.

We looked at the immigration provisions of the Mexican constitution. [1] Now let's look at Mexico's main immigration law.

Mexico welcomes only foreigners who will be useful to Mexican society:

* Foreigners are admitted into Mexico "according to their possibilities of contributing to national progress." (Article 32)

* Immigration officials must "ensure" that "immigrants will be useful elements for the country and that they have the necessary funds for their sustenance" and for their dependents. (Article 34)

* Foreigners may be barred from the country if their presence upsets "the equilibrium of the national demographics," when foreigners are deemed detrimental to "economic or national interests," when they do not behave like good citizens in their own country, when they have broken Mexican laws, and when "they are not found to be physically or mentally healthy." (Article 37)

* The Secretary of Governance may "suspend or prohibit the admission of foreigners when he determines it to be in the national interest." (Article 38)

Mexican authorities must keep track of every single person in the country:

* Federal, local and municipal police must cooperate with federal immigration authorities upon request, i.e., to assist in the arrests of illegal immigrants. (Article 73)

* A National Population Registry keeps track of "every single individual who comprises the population of the country," and verifies each individual's identity. (Articles 85 and 86)

* A national Catalog of Foreigners tracks foreign tourists and immigrants (Article 87), and assigns each individual with a unique tracking number (Article 91).

Foreigners with fake papers, or who enter the country under false pretenses, may be imprisoned:

* Foreigners with fake immigration papers may be fined or imprisoned. (Article 116)

* Foreigners who sign government documents "with a signature that is false or different from that which he normally uses" are subject to fine and imprisonment. (Article 116)

Foreigners who fail to obey the rules will be fined, deported, and/or imprisoned as felons:

* Foreigners who fail to obey a deportation order are to be punished. (Article 117)

* Foreigners who are deported from Mexico and attempt to re-enter the country without authorization can be imprisoned for up to 10 years. (Article 118)

* Foreigners who violate the terms of their visa may be sentenced to up to six years in prison (Articles 119, 120 and 121). Foreigners who misrepresent the terms of their visa while in Mexico -- such as working without a permit -- can also be imprisoned.

Under Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony. The General Law on Population says,

* "A penalty of up to two years in prison and a fine of three hundred to five thousand pesos will be imposed on the foreigner who enters the country illegally." (Article 123)

* Foreigners with legal immigration problems may be deported from Mexico instead of being imprisoned. (Article 125)

* Foreigners who "attempt against national sovereignty or security" will be deported. (Article 126)

Mexicans who help illegal aliens enter the country are themselves considered criminals under the law:

* A Mexican who marries a foreigner with the sole objective of helping the foreigner live in the country is subject to up to five years in prison. (Article 127)

* Shipping and airline companies that bring undocumented foreigners into Mexico will be fined. (Article 132)

All of the above runs contrary to what Mexican leaders are demanding of the United States. The stark contrast between Mexico's immigration practices versus its American immigration preachings is telling. It gives a clear picture of the Mexican government's agenda: to have a one-way immigration relationship with the United States.

Let's call Mexico's bluff on its unwarranted interference in U.S. immigration policy. Let's propose, just to make a point, that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) member nations standardize their immigration laws by using Mexico's own law as a model.

gp:

The vitriolic labels the pro-illegal immigration cronies like to use, that the term "racist" is one of their favorites to describe anyone who is against illegal immigration, a pathetic attempt to use the race card to try and shield illegal immigrants from accepting responsibility for breaking the law, and shield themselves for supporting such a travesty.

They try to do this so that anti-illegal immigration forces will back down for fear of public shame, but the logic of their attacks is flawed when one looks at the broader picture, and that the previous waves of mass immigration from European, i.e. the "white" countries in the 19th and early 20th centuries came here LEGALLY, made an effort to learn our language and customs, and way of life, and therefore assimilated into American Society. Maybe they were forced to come here legally because they had to sail over an ocean and could not exploit a poorly secured land border, but that does not change the fact that they obeyed the law, and the current wave of immigrants are breaking the law.

The pro-illegal immigration forces that want amnesty are completely out of touch with mainstream American society - just look at most of the comments here - the majority of the posters are against illegal immigration, and most people I know who are against illegal immigration have no problem with LEGAL immigration, regardless of country of origin, ethnicity, etc.

They try to paint us as fear-mongering demagogues because it is the only weapon that they have against the cold, hard facts: that we are a country of dwindling resources being asked (forced, really - they did not ask, they just snuck over the border) to support illegals who are driving down wages for the lower middle class, draining government tax dollars that they do not put back into the system because they do not pay taxes, and creating a division in American society by not assimilating into our culture and refusing to learn our language. To many of them, we are the "gringos", and some of them even believe in "reconqista", the re-capture of the American southwest, which they conveniently forget that we rightfully won in both war and by purchasing much of the land from Mexico.

It is not our fault that Mexico is one of the most corrupt governments on the face of the planet, which has led to the impoverishment of their people. And it is absurd that they come here and demand rights that they are not legally entitled to when they should be forcing change in their home country. I think that they are actually taking advantage of liberals that make excuses for them - laughing while the liberal, pro-illegal immigration forces do their work for them, because they have no intention of assimilating into American society. The liberals should also look at the fall of other great nations as Amy Chua has, and understand that non-homogenous societies tend to fall apart, from the Roman Empire to the Soviet Union.

I do agree with many of Amy Chua’s points from her article, such as strict immigration quotas based on country of origin and levels of education. But she misses the point that Mark Krikorian makes, which is that a mass immigration of unskilled peoples is incompatible with an advanced society that places a greater value on education and already spends to much money on a welfare state.

Plus, what about all the poor and homeless people in the US that were born here and have paid whatever taxes they can their whole lives? It outrages me that our tax dollars are being used to pay for education, hospitalization, and increased law enforcement needed for illegal immigrants when the money should be used to cover the needs of those here rightfully and legally.

The pro-illegal immigration forces are self-righteous hypocrites that fail to see the broader implications to our society, and are actually complicit in hastening it’s downfall. As Mark points out, the public knows that the media, government (and businesses that exploit the inexpensive illegal labor) have no solidarity with the average mainstream U.S. citizen, and no interest in preserving American sovereignty, even if our society has given them rights and freedoms that very few nations offer. What will they say when society starts unraveling? That it was the Republican’s fault? That they wish they could go back to the good old days? They will blame everyone but themselves, but we will all be to shame for allowing them to get away with it, and for it to happen in the first place by not holding our government accountable for the chaos at the border, and for enforcing our laws.

Alan:

The solution seems so simple and that's to implement the same immigration law that Mexico itself uses.

Under Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony. The General Law on Population says:

"A penalty of up to two years in prison and a fine of three hundred to five thousand pesos will be imposed on the foreigner who enters the country illegally." (Article 123)

Within a month, word will get out and illegal entry will slow to a trickle.

FunTravelAdventure:

Put our military on the border and end this invasion.

The ILLEGAL ALIEN problem is the only issue that would make me vote Republican.

muskrat:

The Dept. of Homeland "Security" has lied once again by telling us they will build a real fence. They -and our government- now say that they won't be able to build it for another 4 years. Translation: it won't get done. This is our elected officials at "work".

dwight:

every country is entitled to it's borders and control of them. people on their own cannot break the law, there can only be a political issue. why must we give amnesty to illegals and once given all their children under 16 become citizens overrunning the country and achieving political control in a short period of time.

David:

If i lived in San Diego I'd climb the fence and play American football until the Mexicans came and told me to go back. I think the fence is silly and Mexico doesn't need to be protected against hoards of American hooligans.

Anonymous:

chris, the comments from Anonymous:
are for you

Anonymous:

under the guide lines i can say you are a racist, you are not a good person, so there i have said it. now live with it.

chris:

Ok, so the wall should be re-built stronger, and without holes in it..... I am tired of my tax money going twords illegal aliens here in the USA. And if that makes me racist- SO BE IT!

Redundant:

Is this what Congress wants to put up on the Canadian border? Why is Congress spending money to put such a fence in the Great Lakes? Can't we design a nicer looking fence? I think Canadian fish will be able to swim through this.

Jack:

Wow, the weather looks really nice in the Gulf region.

Mike:

Yes! How dare America regulate its southern border in the way Mexico defends its own southern border.

Don't you people understand that the United States is the one country in the world who is not allowed to regulate its borders?

Alan Shapiro:

The wall goes along with the embargo of Cuba and the thinking that the Iraq people want us there. Maybe it is good that our foreign adventures are based in delusion; Otherwise,we might have more success. However, they still result in the needless deaths of innocents, both theirs and ours.

Alberto:

"The meaning of the fence"
To some paranoid, a very important thing in their protection!
To some skeptical, a simple human obsession for control over something that never will be controlled…
By the way, good point, not all Mexicans need or want to cross the border, they just enjoy (a lot) making fun of it!

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