Musings on Immigration

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Illegal Immigrants, The Economy and The Border


The LA Times Reports that apprehensions of undocumented migrants are down significantly this year, and appear to have dropped to levels not seen since the 1970s. In fact, the Yuma Sector of the Border Patrol reported not a single arrest for 2 days in December 2008. This from a Sector that was featured on that ridiculous show “Homeland Security” featuring migrants caught last summer. Apparently, there was no guarantee of catching anyone today!

One has to ask: Is this a result of all the money the Bush, and now Obama Administrations have poured into border security and deterrence? Or, is there something much bigger at play here? What comes to mind immediately when these raw statistics are rehearsed is that old James Carville saying from the 1992 election: “Its the Economy Stupid.”

The reality of the economic impact on the sharp reduction of undocumented immigration is played out in the last paragraph of this article when it becomes clear that while there are still folks wanting and even trying to enter the United States without papers (even with the billions that have been spent on increased border enforcement in the last nine years), the job magnet that has drawn millions of people here has virtually disappeared overnight. There are just not any jobs here right now. The bigger question that we MUST consider now is what happens when the economy improves and all these jobs come back? We know that the economy will improve. Without action NOW by Congress on immigratin reform to deal with what we know will be a pent up surge for workers, both skilled and unskilled, when the economy rights itself later this year, we will be faced with more immigrant bashing and the same lack of solutions that we have enjoyed for the last decade.

Hopefully, the Obama Administration can lead on this issue. Certainly President Obama has said he would so lead. And, he is speaking tomorrow, March 10, to the Annual Legislative Conference of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C. This event would be a perfect forum for him to call out for Congressional Action this year on Immigration. Without leadership from the White House now, and through the spring, summer and fall, it is far to likely that Congress will not have the courage to act on immigration reform.

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