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US Immigration Politics a Reality in Border Community

US Immigration Politics a Reality in Border Communityi
March 14, 2013 3:15 PM
President Barack Obama and leaders in the Senate hope to reform the U.S. immigration system to resolve the problem of more than 11 million people who are living in the United States illegally. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from San Diego, California, the issue hits close to home in one border region, where legal and undocumented residents live and work together.
Mike O'Sullivan
President Barack Obama and leaders in the Senate hope to reform the U.S. immigration system to resolve the problem of more than 11 million people who are living in the United States illegally. The issue hits close to home in San Diego, California, near the border with Mexico, where legal and undocumented residents live and work together.

One such resident, Rosa Maria Mendoza, is self-deporting. She has lived in the United States for 12 years but is returning to Mexico.  She is leaving behind a 15-year-old son and 18-year-old daughter, who want to stay in California with their grandmother.  Mendoza earns barely enough in California to support her family, but is a trained paralegal worker in Mexico.  

Speaking in Spanish, Mendoza said her situation is complicated and she doesn't know how they [her children] will manage. But they love his country, she said, and she respects their wishes.

San Diego, California, Mexico borderSan Diego, California, Mexico border
San Diego, California, Mexico border
San Diego, California, Mexico border
San Diego is a beautiful seaside city, a short drive from the U.S.-Mexico border, with its massive fence and extensive security.  The security is needed, says former Republican congressman Duncan Hunter.

“What it is, is a border security program that says several things. Number one, if you want to come into America, knock on the front door," Hunter said.

Millions have not done that.  Economic refugees from Latin America often lack the job skills to get a legal visa. But many came illegally as children with their parents.

At the University of San Diego, law student Rosibel Mancillas Lopez meets with a friend, Wendy Romero.  Wendy is one of 1.7 million young people covered by the program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which the Obama administration announced last June. She is now safe from deportation.  So is San Diego State University nursing student Maria Estrada.

“In many ways, it changed the psyche and the thinking of a lot of undocumented youth, and gave us a lot of hope that we hadn't had for a long time,” Estrada said.

The workers who pick the produce on California farms are thought to be mostly undocumented and using false papers, said Eric Larson of the San Diego Farm Bureau.

“Even though they may not be here legally documented, we'd like to see as many of them stay as possible," Larson said. "They're very skilled, they’re trained."

Farmers also hope to see an effective program put in place to bring extra workers to the country at harvest time. Each year, hundreds of migrants die crossing the border through the desert.  Laura and John Hunter, the brother of the former congressman, head a group called Water Station that leaves water in the desert for the migrants. Laura, who was born in Mexico, said the undocumented need to come out of the shadows.

“To be able to have the opportunities to become citizens, to be able to provide for their families.”

Members of a Unitarian church near a detention center in Irvine, California pay weekly visits to those awaiting deportation. Visitor Jan Meslin said the immigration system separates families.

“And especially, a lot of the detainees here tell us about their children, who they miss so much."

The immigration system is overwhelmed, said Estela De Los Rios of the Center for Social Advocacy.  Legal remedies for those fighting deportation can take several years, and those waiting to immigrate legally can wait even longer.

“There's people that I've known that have applied 15 years ago, and their name is just coming up," she said.

Hunter says politicians must find a solution.

“We need the labor. The guys in Mexico and other places do need the work, and so there should be some way to legally make both sides happy.”

Others say the rights of those waiting in line to immigrate legally should also be respected, and that the border needs to be secure.

But Congress is divided, and leaders in both parties say that finding a solution will not be easy.

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Comment Sorting
by: dwight from: dc
March 14, 2013 7:57 PM
this article is nonsense. what a ridiculous liberal slant!
this is why americans are getting fed up with "mainstream media".
and lastly, we don't ow criminal invaders anything. my parents came here the right way-legally.

by: Dave Francis
March 14, 2013 4:26 PM
We must be losing our minds, if we cannot see through the lies about the cost of a federal ID card. Expensive as it might be, it will be able to eliminate numerous problems we have to deal with today? The biometric document should be issued to every citizen and legal resident, not just workers? Blame for withholding of issuing a National ID card falls without any form of contradiction on both political parties. Democrats and their Liberal subsidiaries, the Republicans have not only been absent from protecting Americans from the illegal alien invasion, but the pandering to majority ethnic groups, including the outrageous cost of supporting them. I trust the Heritage Foundation for reporting after analysis that this next amnesty, if enacted will cost taxpayers $2.6 Trillion dollars to legitimately process and settle them. This dollar figure should not be confused with the $113 million dollars spent annually, which is rising as President Obama’ is spreading illegal cheer in the way of food stamps for all. The unsuspecting American taxpayers as with the signer, the late Ronald Reagan never realized of the undermining of funding and enforcement for the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). Republican campaign contributors for corporate welfare had their say and enforcement mainly became a useless word in the Federal Register. However that didn’t mean the GOP was entirely to blame, as assuredly so the Democrats assisted in the skillful fraud. Not even processing of the 3.6 million Guest Workers in the agriculture industry or others, who then flew the coop once they gained citizenship to the cities. The whole 1986 can be classed as really inoperable and it caused millions more were encouraged by the (IRCA) act, suddenly rushing to the poorly equipped borders, or overstaying there visitor, tourist or educational visas forever.

The tangible miasma of an amnesty or Comprehensive Immigration Reform floating around is the Border Patrol is already seeing an upsurge in numbers crossing the border. It was obvious this was going to happen, as illegal aliens are testing the chance of slipping past the border or arriving here as an inconspicuous visitor, who cannot be tracked once here. If the illegal population is truly 11 million, which the most prudent American doubt, that number will shortly fly through the roof as the U.S. government will not be able to contain the charge? Currently—what do we have as worthwhile identification—a Social Security number, a driver’s license or state issued ID card. Hundreds of data bases of legal immigrants are not centralized. Because of this vital situation we have this unfortunate dilemma today, with a growing ration of stolen personal information. Illegal aliens using this form of identification, plus the SSN of deceased persons and even the number of infants and children, no to forget our troops overseas ID. I think for a matter of security and an individual’s personal information, we need a biometric card, which will not only identify the recipient as an authorized job seeker, but for many other entitlements.

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