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April 10th, 2009
03:53 PM ET

Commentary: On Immigration, Pres. Obama Says Mañana Is Today

Maria Teresa Petersen is the founding Executive Director of Voto Latino.

Maria Teresa Petersen is the founding Executive Director of Voto Latino.

Maria Teresa Petersen is the founding Executive Director of Voto Latino, a youth driven, national organization founded for the purpose of creating a unified voice for Latino youth on policy and advocacy issues.

With all the debate about immigration, there is one thing everyone agrees with: we have a national problem and we keep putting off dealing with it. For years our immigration policy has been mañana, mañana, mañana – the famous Spanish expression which means putting it off until another day. During the presidential campaign last year, then Candidate Obama said he would break that cycle, and this week, President Obama began making good on that promise by raising the issue once more.

Will we get comprehensive immigration reform this year? It’s entirely possible we will, and, if not, we will at least make real progress toward legislation for next year. Many say that the economy is a big enough problem for President Obama and he shouldn’t add more to his plate. But immigration is not a side dish. It’s one of the core problems we face and we must deal with it now. As Rahm Emmanuel has said, the White House sees this crisis as an opportunity to address long-neglected national problems like healthcare, social security, and immigration.

Because of the economic crisis and the central role immigration plays in it, the time is ripe to forge a bi-partisan consensus around sensible immigration reform. The amnesty advocates and immigrant-bashers on either extreme may not like it, but most Americans can agree on a reasonable solution that secures our borders, gets undocumented workers out of the shadows, helps restore fair wages for American citizens, and protects children. This is the middle position that President Obama is starting to stake out, and he’s likely to be successful in this environment because 5% of our workforce is undocumented and that makes immigration an economic issue.

Our current immigration system is broken: eight years after the tragedy of September 11th our borders still aren’t secure and there are 12 million people who are undocumented living in the shadows of our society. This isn’t some fringe problem: chances are all of us interact with undocumented workers every day. Some may be colleagues, friends, and neighbors. Smart reform promises to bring these generally hard-working, decent individuals into the light where we can tax them appropriately and prevent employers from suppressing their wages (and thus wages for all of us).

There are still some who argue that we should round up the undocumented and send them back. This is an awful idea for many reasons, not least because it’s simply not tenable. What would a mass exodus of 12 million workers and consumers do to our economy, our schools, our tax revenue? The General Accounting Office (GAO) says a mass deportation of this kind would cost American taxpayers $47 billion – in other words it would bankrupt the Department of Homeland Security, not to mention the impact on businesses and communities where these folks live. I hope that President Obama can help us move the debate past these knee-jerk reactions to more sensible policies that make the best out of a difficult situation.

Here’s a great way to start: Congress should pass the Dream Act, which offers opportunities for promising children of undocumented workers to get an education and legally join our society. 30% of undocumented people in America are children. Instead of seeing that as a problem, let’s view it as an opportunity. These young people can grow up to be doctors, teachers, even members of Congress, if we craft an immigration policy that is best for America in the long-term.

Doing the math from a recent Congressional Budget Office report, had we passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill three years ago when President Bush proposed it, taxpayers would have made $66 billion in taxes, fines, and fees paid by undocumented workers. That’s just one more reason why we have to stop saying mañana when it comes to immigration.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Maria Teresa Petersen.


Filed under: Immigration
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. TL Winslow

    The age-old pesky U.S.-Mexico border problem has taxed the resources of both countries, led to long lists of injustices, and appears to be heading only for worse troubles in the future. Guess what? The border problem can never be solved. Why? Because the border IS the problem! It's time for a paradigm change.

    Never fear, a satisfying, comprehensive solution is within reach: the Megamerge Dissolution Solution. Simply dissolve the border along with the failed Mexican government, and megamerge the two countries under U.S. law, with mass free 2-way migration eventually equalizing the development and opportunities permanently, with justice and without racism, and without threatening U.S. sovereignty or basic principles.

    Click the url and read about the new paradigm for U.S.-Mexico relations.

    http://tlwinslow.weebly.com/megamerge-the-dissolution-solution.html

    July 15, 2009 at 8:46 pm |
  2. Felix HernandeZ Jr.

    I have lived here in TX my whole life. I have always felt and believed how fair this country of ours is. That all changed on New Years of this year. Such a long story of my experience it is hard to know where to begin. I met my wife my Junior year in High School. We were married our senior year. I knew that she was in process of getting her green card. But when we got married. We were told by Catholic Charities that we needed to start over in my name so it would be faster and that it voids the old case. So we did what we were told. Quickly had an interview with immigration to prove our marriage. We passed with flying colors. This was back in 1998. Then after that is when it all went down hill. Catholic Charities out of San Antonio who was representing us never showed up at our meeting. We never heard from them for a while. After some time had passed they said we have another case worker on our case. We set up a meeting. They could not tell us what was going on, or what to do next. All they kept telling us was they were going to talk to someone at the immigration office to see what is next. Well after several meeting. It turned out that the person who was handling our case quit and took some of our files. They were lost in a fire. Catholic Charities then advised us to get a lawyer. We found one here in Waco. We basically started over. Well in October of 2008 we had an appointment with an immigration officer. He told us that there was an outstanding order for deportation on my wife. We advised that we never knew of this. He said that he wished he could grant my wife her green card but this order of deportation had to be cleared. That is how close we were to ending all this misery. My lawyer then started to see if the court would reopen the case to remove the deportation order back when she was a child. She tried twice and they denied both requests. Then on my wife's birthday in November of 2008, ICE came and took her to process what they called order of supervision. They said starting the first of January we are to report to immigration to show that she has not fled, or had any crimes against her and that this will speed up us seeing a judge to clear the deportation. Well it turned out to be a big fat lie. We showed up and they deported her. They treated her as if she was a terrorist. Hand Cuffed and separated from us. That day put me and my families world upside down. I told the ICE officer that her children need her. They said so, they still have their father. I don't care what they say. Children always need their mother. After they took her. I had to hire another lawyer for my current one said she recommended it. My new lawyer advised me that my old lawyer new she was getting deported. Now we are starting all over again. My family has been dragged thru the mud this year. My whole perspective on immigration is not fair. There are criminals, actual criminals who are illegal and still roaming the streets. My wife who was a modern citizen. No criminal record. Going to school at the time who made the Deans list. All was taken away because her parents were not responsible. Now my family has to suffer and immigration did not care. They just saw it as making their numbers look better if you ask me. For they way they treated her was unfair and horrible. Not one ounce of sympathy. They can all go suck an egg. Now my wife is over there scared of the military roaming the streets. Not knowing what is going to happen at any moment. Then plus the stress our marriage and family is going thru. I just wish we knew a way to ease this for the waiting is like eternity. This is the first time in our marriage we have ever been separated. My children still ask me when this nightmare is going to be over, and when they are going to get the father they know back. They said I have changed. I probably have with all the saddness and anger I have. I just wish there was a way my wife could wait over here for her papers. We are not asking for much. Just to be together. We have always done everything right. Not with lies and decieving. She does not deserve this for she has not done nothing wrong.

    June 21, 2009 at 3:39 am |
  3. mike

    Why do immigrants complain about splitting up families? If your family member is an illegal alien deported why complain about this government. Are You not free to be with them in their own country? You can go there and be with them? Let everyone wait in line for the right to become a citizen of the greatest country on earth. Quit complaning about the policies, if you don't like them, go home. This country was built on the rule of law. Don't come here illegally, then try and change the rule of law to fit your needs. If you have a problem with our laws, go home!

    May 17, 2009 at 7:36 am |
  4. Bertha

    I think "illegal aliens" as people call it, should be permited to be in the united states. I am 15 years old and it hurts me to read all the comments people leave about not letting families live -THE AMERICAN DREAM!- I am legal here in the united states, but many of my friends and families are not. It pains me to know how much they've suffered over this whole situation..*EVERYONE* DESERVES A SECOND CHANCE IN LIFE.

    Many of you might be saying "this little girl does not know what she's talking about" ... but really just by hearing about it everytime and seeing people who i love go thru what they did just because of the fact that they're not legal makes me angry inside && i've learned alot. Alot of my family members came here illegal looking to better their lifes and looking forward to a better future for their kids.

    Many of the people who don't want us here should think about it twice: WE WORK FOR YOU!!! STOP BEING SO DAMN SELFISH!!! WE ARE HUMANS, STOP TREATING US LIKE ANIMALS!

    April 23, 2009 at 12:13 am |
  5. donkamara

    i will not be against this decision the white house is about to take

    April 15, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  6. donkamara

    I want to ask those against this immigrations reform issues a simple questions.
    1. Are you guys aware of the US green card lottery for every year?
    2. Do you know the number of people who enter the US through that every year? I know they are all legal immigrants.
    3. Do you have ideas on how all this people get jobs in the US?
    4. Why are most of the companies running away to Asia, India etc.?

    Folks why dont we think once and for all when people ignorant and they dont know what to say they sit on their a** and say what word that comes from their tommy, if these Americans dont like working and all they want is sleep home and just enjoy unemloyement. whose money do you want to be given to you when your a** is lazy sitting home.
    what i want to say is if America is able to contain 55,000 legal immigrant every year and cannot contain 12 million illegal immigrant, what sense does it make if all these illegal immigrant are sent home and you American sit home and expect the government to feed you who will work for these companies to explore and be able to pay taxes for your laziness.why dont the put a PAUSE to this green card lottery thing and legalise all the illegal immigrant since they still have room for 55,000 every year. making them legal will bring them to book and everyone can be trace in case of any crime. people live in the dark and do wicked things because the are not in the book how can these people be found. America is not going to lack job opportunities no matter what the situation, if you are unemployed irrespective of you level in education you still need to calm down and do any job that comes your way in other to be able to take care of your families but because there is unemployement people intensionally cause or create room for them to be fired from job when somebody is out there dying to get such opportunity. And all you do is say they are taking our jobs, yes of course they will take your job when you are lazy and dont want to work hard to achieve your goal. Do you think the companies are fools to employe lazy rats like you. did they say they wanted their companies to collapse due to your laziness. Do you know how many years they took to get the license to establish that company that your a** has been employed into and you are messing up.

    I will not be against this decision that the white is about to take.

    April 15, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  7. Shawn R

    AND ANOTHER THING,
    Look at what would happen if we gave these immigrants citizenship. Their employers would go bankrupt because then they would have to raise wages. Thus at least 70 percent of these workers would be out of a job. Then what? They would be living off government aid. HOW MUCH MORE OF THIS CAN WE TAKE? Don't get me wrong. I'm not racist. My uncle is from Mexico, He came here illegally and married my aunt. And what about the war raging in mexico? It's already spilled over our borders. WHEN ARE WE GOING TO STOP MAKING THIS OUR PROBLEM?

    WE CAN'T AFFORD TO TAKE CARE OF THESE PEOPLE.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:24 pm |
  8. Shawn R

    OUR ECONOMY vs Illegals,
    I heard on CNN radio that there are 12 million illegal immigrants holding jobs in the U.S.. We all wonder what are the things that ruin our economy, WELL, here's one, If there are 12 million "illegals" in america holding jobs then they're not paying taxes. Obviously. So that's an average of $8,000 per year of taxes times 12 million people which equals about $96,000,000,000 a year of taxes not counting what taxes come in on returns. BUT there aren't any returns for these immigrants considering they don't get taxes coming out. This is averaged from what my withholdings were last year. I make a little more than immigrants but still the numbers would still be as staggering.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:14 pm |
  9. kelly o'donnell-rivas

    I live and work in a state that has undocumented people. I think the operative word here is "people". I work in a major medical center in this state. I have no problem with the 12 million here without documentation. they already contribute to our economy and can and will be helpful in the future.

    I always see the undocumented reach into their wallets to pay cash and make payments arrangements which they keep. unlike others.

    I am 54 years young and as a baby boomer working in a hospital I am aware of the nursing shortage and crisis in america. it is bad now and has been worsening over the last 25 years. we have a huge babyboomer population starting to retire. we are going to need more nurses than ever.

    we can't seem to find enough people to work our farms and fields in america and we don't have enough nurses to go around.

    I am not able or willing to go out to milk a cow or pick my own apples and I want someone to care for me with compassion when I can't care for myself.

    I think this is a no-brainer. lets start by acknowledging we have people here that need work and eventual citizenship and families that need to be together we have jobs that are going to need to be filled now and in the future.

    I hope that everybody else gets over this as an emotion driven issue and xenaphobia. I hope it doesn't take paying $5.00 or $10.00 per pound for those apples and gallons of milk before we get it straight. last year, we had fruit rotting in the orchards in this state because the farmers couldn't get enough pickers. part of them wouldn't come because of the ICE agents and border patrol chasing them round and round preventing the fields from being gleaned. I have lived here most of my life and I expect the same thing will happen for farmers again this year despite the economy and unemployment.

    I am concerned about our borders too. about the drug traffickers and guns going out of the u.s. driving the drug cartel wars.

    however, I want people here working and doing the jobs that need to be filled also

    April 14, 2009 at 7:33 pm |
  10. Reader

    This is for JOHNNY !!! Your comments are so disturbing I couldn't resist the urge to respond. You could not be more wrong than that. Everything that came to mind after reading your posting could have not been better said than as the "EX-ILLEGAL" did.

    But I too have a few more things to add :
    1. It is not the illegal immigrants taking "our good American jobs away from us". It is the offshore, the outsourcing, India, China, Brazil, etc. It is the CORPORATE AMERICA doing that to you, to me, and to others. My company fired thousands of americans and replaced them with offshore for cheaper salaries. No, I don't see any illegal immigrant replacing anyone. Wake up my friend, where do you live ?

    2. It cannot be said enough, americans will never do what illegals do in this country, so, stop complining. You're competing for jobs that illegals are not allowed to, obviously you're not qualified for the few jobs left in the country. I feel sorry for you. And if the illegals become legal, they will still not be having the job experience on their resumes to compete with you, not at least for a few years, and not everyone. Why do you feel so insecured for God's sake ?

    3. "We can’t let all the foreigners come over here all the time…" Yes you do, and you should pray for that to never stop, my friend. When people stop coming to a country, village, city, town, you name it, that place is dying. People leave, the town becomes a ghost, people move in, the place prosper. I know it cause I lived it. This country grew so fast and outpaced any other because of the huge massive ways of immigrants constantly coming in. Unfortunately, that flourishment is slowing down. News flash for you: less and less foreigners desire and come to the US. Be grateful for the ones you already have in the country. I personally know others who despite of being legal and/or citizens, they just packed and moved away to Europe and Canada. Signs are showing everywhere that the US is "old" and slowing down.

    4. "This country will be so over populated in a few years that will run out of food and resources." Please ! Oh yes, it will run out of food and resources today if all the illegal immigrants will be forced out of the country. They are the ones who perform the "slave labor" for which you probably have never applied.

    And btw, I am a US citizen.
    But I am not proud of what is going on in my own country. If you are jobless and proud to be an American, I'm the opposite, I am gainfully employed and ashamed to be an American. Money and jobs and all that non-sense is not enough to make me proud. Open your mind people, stop being so selfish and remember, America is great because of the immigrants who built the strong dollar who then ruled the world. That is the God chose to bless this country, and it worked. We are messing it up now, obviously we had too good, been to spoiled, are too blind and ignorant amongst ourselves and to each other.

    Think about it ...

    April 14, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  11. roger

    does retroactive punishment , out weigh the lifes of 3 citizens(mother and 2 daughters........
    I came to the USA at 15yrs old with my parents,legally! in 1977...in 1988 i was arrested for drugs....i did 2yrs probation without fault ...after which i was allowed to move forward with my life(or so i thought)....got married in 1989,had kids in 1991 & 1994....after learning a trade(flooring), i was able to start my own business, after working hard, i was able to buy a home for my family in 1999(which we still live in).....then in 2008, i get notified that i am to be deported for my offense some 20yrs ago.My kids were not even born back then.
    i know that i broke the law back then......but shouldnt i have been sent back from that time?? now my children and wife,will be in dire straits and maybe a burden to the state,foreclose on home,default on debts etc.....so i ask who benifits from this....

    ** does retroactive enforcment mean more than the destruction of a real american family.....

    ** i have many many people who will attest to the fact that i am a model of rehabilitation....20yrs removed from that chapter in my life

    April 14, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  12. Fran

    To the ex-illegal. Please recheck your facts. Illegal's not only get welfare with "passing" ssn's but they also get free medical care. Case in point: My sister-in-laws illegal sister has cancer, she receives FREE chemotherapy plus all her other meds for free, she also gets welfare. Her daughter was born in the US so is therefore legal. My husband, who was born and raised in the USA, has worked here all his life and even served his country, could not get his weekly phlebotomy for free, he had to pay from $44 to $400 a week. This is a life threatening genetic disorder he needs the phlebotomies for. Working for a passable wage we couldn't afford to have it done. As a result he now not only has to continue the phlebotomies but is on meds for diabities as well as high blood pressure and cholesterol. Yet my sister-in-laws sister is receiving care for FREE and she is an illegal alien in this country.

    As a child, we worked the fields in El Paso TX alongside my mother to help make money to help feed us. I also am a US citizen, I have traveled abroad, I get that these people want to come to the US to find a better life but there is a right way and a wrong way to do this, if done wrong then they should be deported along with any offspring. Remember the US citizen in Singapore that was caned because he broke one of their laws. When in Rome...

    The so called jobs that Americans won't do and the illegal aliens will, with this depression Americans will, however unlike the illegal aliens Americans have a recourse to demand safe working environments (no pesticides comes to mind) where as illegals don't, and they can also ask for a livable minimum wage, plus set working hours and breaks and on and on that again illegals can't get. Yes it puts a burden on the farmers that they can ill afford, but there you have it. Cheap labor at a cost to their health, which leads to Americans having to pay that health cost which comes back and bites the farmer on the backside.

    My niece got suckered into marrying an illegal alien, to this day over 50% of his income goes home to his relatives in another country, so those who say that they make the money here and spend it here are blowing smoke up someone's chimney. Having been raised in a border town I can tell you with certainty that not a single illegal alien that I knew didn't do this.

    Go home come back the legal way, and if you don't want to do it the legal way stay home and try to fix your country, try making it better. After all that is what our forefathers did with this country.

    April 14, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  13. Mary

    The problem I have with illegal immigration is that I was not born here and had to do whatever I needed to do to stay here legally. I knew that having a child I could say that my child is an American citizen and make it had on the U.S. Government to deport me. Who would I be making it hard on, the U.S. or the child by saying they can’t deport me because I have a child that is an American citizen? People who do that are just taking advantage of the law. It’s underhanded and it’s not fair to the people that came here legally. The easiest and the best way to solve the problem is for the whole family to leave and when the child becomes 21 let them return.

    April 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  14. Robert

    Children born in the U.S. to illegals should NOT be automatic citizens!! No wonder everybody south of the border tries to sneak in. "I'm illegal, but my kid's a citizen." That's so wrong.

    I've got no problem with any race, color, creed or religion that wants to come to America. That's what we're all about. But you've got to do it the right way or you've got to go. And take your kid with you.

    April 14, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  15. Tim

    Homosexuality is the answer to world overpopulation. Thank God for gay people!

    April 14, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  16. Fed Up

    The cause of illegal immigration is the immigration rules in place now to enter the USA. These rules must be changed in order to help make this country safer then it is now.

    The most sensible way to do so is to allow people without a waiting period to enter the USA thru a Customs/Immigration Office by presenting a government photo ID, birth certificate and/or a passport. At this point the Immigration Officer takes their DNA, an eye scan and their fingerprints. This information would be kept on a computer system that law enforcement would have access to confirm who a person is in case of a crime. Then the Immigration Officer does a criminal record search thru every criminal record system and terrorist watch list in the world that the US can electronically access. If the person in question has a record of a felony or worst or is on a terrorist watch list they are refused entry. If the person has no criminal record and is not on a terrorist watch list the Immigration Officer then issues a combined five year numbered Immigrant/Guest Worker/Social Security photo ID card that if, tamper with in anyway marks itself void. This would allow the employer, if he wishes, to do an internet check with a combined Immigration Dept./Social Security Dept. website that would confirm the cards as authentic by showing a picture of the cards and a larger photo of the person presenting the card in order for them to work. Also, it is the governments place to enforce the law, as it is not the place of the employer as they are not Law Enforcement Officers, this plan should also solve complaints from them

    At the end of five years the immigrant should be allowed to go to an Immigration Office to apply for US citizenship by showing an Immigration Officer a first grade level of reading, speaking and writing the English language and not having a felony criminal record. NO questions half the US citizens couldn’t answer themselves.

    All persons found not to have gone thru the process of legal entry after a 2-year period from the date the program is started are to be deported as soon as possible.

    We should also allow the illegal immigrants already in the country now to also go to the nearest Immigration Office and do the same as the ones above. The reason for this is there is no way this country can find all the illegal immigrants already here and return them to their native country. It would also cut the cost of finding them. And we would have a better idea of how many are here and they would then start paying taxes.

    Then Congress and the States need to approve a new amendment to the Constitution to make English the national language. This makes sense, as one of the quickest ways for someone to assimilate into a society is to learn the language of that society. The local school boards must also realize that the only way assimilate a child into the schools and the USA is to teach them in English, not in their native language. This will cut the cost of educating the Immigrant by not having to employ interpreters in the classroom and the child would also have fewer problems with the other children in school.

    This system would solve the biggest problem most people have with illegal immigrants using the services of this country without paying taxes.

    We must understand that there is NO WAY to completely secure our borders. How are we going stop them coming as a tourist? How are we going to secure entry by water? How are you going to stop people willing to pay to ride in a shipping container for two months or so to come here? How’s the drug war going? By making it easy, hopefully they should have no reason to come illegally.

    We also must remember that with more people of many different and needed skills entering the country the economy should and will improve. As these people will have many needs such as housing, jobs, cars, food, insurance, clothes etc. Many will start new businesses and create many new jobs. They will also create a new energy that this country needs to stay at number one.

    April 14, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  17. Tim

    No one here gets it! If we let every immigrant that want to come to the US into this country we will be a third world country in a week. When do you say the US has enough people in it? 400 million, 500 million, 600 million? Enough is enough. Immigrants need to stay home and make their own countries better.

    The worst thing is this idea that if you drop your spawn on US land it becomes a citizen. This law must be changed. Then, familes will not be seperated.

    The next step is to limit population growth. The catholic church is an enviornmental criminal by not supporting birth control. These families with huge numbers of children are killing our planet. Why don't people understand this. What we need is a good virus to wipe out about 1/2 the world population to take the strain off of our natural resosurces. Humans on this planet are like a virus, they consume everthing and give out toxic waste thus killing the planet.

    April 14, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  18. Oliver

    After the President makes all illegals, American Citizens. Government estimate indicates that the number of illegals is 12 million, likely more. After they gain legal status, their parents and the children they left behind are eligable to come to this country as legal residents, .Is anyone thinking of the burden to our welfare system . What about our own "baby Boomers" I know of parents of illegal aliens who are in this country collecting welfare from the USA and retirement checks from their country of origin

    April 14, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  19. Steve

    Let's look at it like this: 30% of illegal aliens are taking seats away from American school children. They are crowding our schools. Should we waive jail time for murderers, thieves, rapists, other law breakers because they have families? Of course not and we shouldn't waive deportation or instigate any special considerations for people that have snuck into our country or overstayed their visa's just because they happen to have families. Can't do the time- don't do the crime.

    April 14, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  20. William

    "Immigrants do the important jobs no-one else generally wants to do." Good word – "generally." Many of us would do those jobs if the pay was in line with the average U.S. cost of living. But that's a different subject altogether. If you enter a sovereign nation without the proper paperwork and permission, you are breaking the law and should expect be considered a fugitive. If you are running from persecution then come on in - and ask for asylum. If you're just coming here because you're too lazy to work hard to earn enough money to get the required paperwork and permission, then you're just a plain old law breaker. And if you get a job here and pay taxes, you're really not doing yourself any favors because you won't be able to benefit from that (at least not legally), i.e. no Medicare, Social Security, etc. I understand wanting a better life, but have some respect for the laws of your host nation. I'm sure if "we" came to "your" country illegally and started to use your "free" government services that you worked for, I'm sure you wouldn't be too pleased either.

    April 14, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  21. wulfi

    Sorry,

    but the law should be changed so that children born to illegal parents should not automatically be american citizens. This just increases the reasons why we have such an illegal onslaught anyway.

    April 14, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  22. Beehive

    I don't think that those against "illegal" immigrants are looking at the big picture at all. The cost of sending an "illegal" immigrant who is also law abiding or non-criminal is way to high for the US to lose at this moment. "Illegal" immigrants will be glad to do anything they can if the Proper Way is not "The High Way" Cost-wise, Time-wise, and Bureaucracy-wise around the Immigration Offices even if the law allows them to get the proper document.
    It is not that easy to get a paperwork-done in Immigration Office in the United States Of America. For those who are Citizens and got their paper easily, It might not look harder just by reading Newspapers and watching TVs.
    I would advice everyone of us to just sit down and think about the aspect of Immigration Reform and where the Immigration Policy of the United States of America is not satisfying the Citizens and the "Illegal Immigrants".
    After looking at both sides, let's come back to a common ground to satisfy the needs of both human-beings because the Citizens and the "Illegal Immigrants" are both humans.
    As far as I am concerned, Those who are Illegals and Criminals should be deported as soon as possible since they are not worth of Staying or living in this country, Period.
    And those who have built families should be given an opportunity to build their "Immigration case" through a State Government that can open a branch Immigration Department so that those cases can be processed quickly and efficiently. The burden on the Federal Government will ease up till a Reform expires and it will be a good experiment to find more Immigration Co-operation with the State Government.
    If these "Illegal Immigrants" were included in the Tax system, Both, the Federal and State Governments would had had the opportunity to make more money, good one, in billions. The State Government will have a chance to look at the Income and decide if these "Illegal Immigrants" can afford to pay for their own Health Care just to protect the Health Care System the State Government has already built up. In order to protect the Health Care System, it is not a bad idea the State Government to involve itself in the Immigration Reforms.
    I, decently, would like to ask those against the "Illegal Immigrants" to look at how much money the Governments, State and Federal, are losing if the Immigration Policy stays the same. It needs to be reformed again and again. Things do change from time-to-time.
    I know a lot of "Anti-Illegal Immigrants" worry about "Jobs" that are taken by "Illegal Immigrants" but the fact is these Jobs are created by American business men and women and if the wages for those jobs are down, I don't think the ones who hold jobs ought to be blamed but the Profit-Makers or the businesspeople who should be taking the responsibility for lowering the wages.

    1- Let's not forget All Humans are equal no matter where they live.
    2- Let's Build Families, don't brake them.
    3- Let's not make the Proper Way "The-High-Way".

    April 13, 2009 at 9:11 pm |
  23. jcw3

    Of course CNN always omits the part about how illegals drive down wages and pillage our health care system. Doing jobs Americans wont do? Sure, after they drive the wage down to a pittance! Come one, come all, but do it legally!

    Why is the U.S. the only country in the world not allowed to control its borders?

    Atlas will shrug.

    April 13, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  24. nancy

    "ILLEGAL" is just that ~~ "ILLEGAL". If someone wants to become a citizen of the USA, let them do it the proper way. If not, then round em up and send them back. Get that wall built ALL the way across the border.

    April 13, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  25. ex-illegal

    Poor Johnny and all johnnys who think the same, you are a shame, for yourself and your people. I'm tired to hear the same stupid complaint of all your kind; all of you just repeat the same stupids complaint that some blind leaders tell you, without inquiring if they are true or not; like "oh this people (illegals) make a living from the welfare system"; answer: do you know that illegals can't go to welfare system because in order to get benefits one have to be legal that means have a REAL SSN? so how illegals can live from the welfare, like you, the same apply for the unemployment system, like you said, you have 1 year "looking for job", so you are the one who is living of my taxes moron, yes I work hard to make you collect the unemployment benefit. Other complaint; "this people come and get our best jobs" tell me what's your study level? just high school?, do you have a trade or a profession?, want my job? do you have the knowledge and experience that I have in my profession? if so come and take it I didn't come to steal the job to anybody, the job is there for the best, don't come to tell me I stole your job if you only have just high school and didn't study more than that, I'm still studying to be better at my job, your complaint have no sense and only tell me how stupid you are, shame on you poor "Johnny". the time you spend complaining use it to study and prepare yourself to be a better competition to me, and you won't be a unemployed anymore, I'm also tired to see how you live from the welfare and unemployment system with my money

    April 12, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  26. Hector Fernandez

    Why is there a border in the first place. When the Spaniards invaded Mexico years ago and conquered it they also conquered America. So it is really our country. Europeans need to go home to Europe. And give Mexicans back their country,the country they built.

    April 12, 2009 at 9:16 pm |
  27. Gabe

    Aren't all Americans Immigrant? Why don't I see the respect for Immigration Reform since the strength of America is Immigrants. I admire the writer's way of cramming the numbers as well.
    How much Tax Money the Government of America would grab if it has legalized the way people can work and pay their due? Why do Americans fear compitition for a job that pays only 7 dollars an hour? Let's be real.
    Americans should be worrying about those outsourced Jobs which are in India, China, Peru, Vietnam and etc...Please grab the DELL or LinkSys Customer Service 1-800 number and dial it. Ask the Customer Rep where the Call Center is stationed, You will find out that it is in India.
    Many more companies do outsource these kind of Jobs and Here we are complaining about jobs of undocumented immigrants who are collecting fruits from the trees for 12 hours a day. Let's be real.
    If an undocumented immigrant can help the country with his/her skill, It is not only the person who gains but also the people of America. There are a lot of opportunities in America in which an American can be to what s/he wants be if s/he has the energy to be an effort on making a difference on his/herslef.
    I only see hatred towards immigrants from those who are against the Reform because their reason is not sufficient enough to stop the reform. It is good to see the big picture, 40 something billions of dollars that could have been charged from all the undocumented immigrants if they were legalized can build a hospital and pay its bill.

    April 12, 2009 at 7:02 pm |
  28. John Molina

    Illega Allien, is this a cruel joke by what is actually a Nativist? I cannot image any university grad having such poor spelling. It is a stupid joke, right?

    April 12, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  29. Ros

    United States of America was founded on immigrants.

    Most Americans do not understand why immigrants come to the US. They do not know what the world is beyond these borders. They would need to walk a mile in the immigrant's shoe to understand what drives them to come to this country. They would also need to know how people survive on less than minimum wage is this country, in learning the reasons why people come here and how they manage to survive they would also find that this country that they take for granted has no limit on how far they could improve their lives, if only they would channel the dislike/xenophobia into something positive.

    Statistics say that their are 12 million illegals,

    What is the percentage of children that aged out when their parents papers were being processed that have to wait for at least six years in limbo. These are young people that are approved and have no reason to not get their paper, it is just that they have to wait. Some are living in the US and some have been separated from their family.

    I would think that there are at least 2 million in this situation.

    This is cruel and unusual punishment. These children are now 21 years and over and cannot find a job or cannot get a driver's licence, all because they turned 21 while the parent's application was sitting in process for 6 (six) years or more. We have over two million people that are performing way below their potential.

    We need reform, both at the political level and at the population level. People need to be aware of how economics works and how it all has an effect. When the immigration matter was being discussed the immigration population were all hopeful and they were buying houses. When the talks collapsed and nothing was in sight, they all started selling their houses and started saving their money. They would not invest if there was a chance that one day they would be subject of a raid and be deported.

    They do not come here to take anyones job, if an American applies for a job, they get the job, unless they do not like the pay, the environment or the type of job. If the job is passed...the employer's need has to be met, whosoever is still in line, will be given the opportunity.

    If we want to get out of the economic slump that our country is in, we all need to unite, AMERICANS not black American, white American, hispanic American, or asian American but ALL AMERICANS extend our hands to who are here, roll our sleeves and get to work. The longer it takes to deal with it, the more seeds of discord are planted, the longer they take to heal and the farther away we get from where we ALL want to go.

    April 12, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  30. nancyk

    I am really disapointed with CNN's failure to provide coverage on the Human Rights aspect of the Immigration issue. As it pertains to the Spouses of US Citizens it seems there is no discussion of the rights of Citizens to live in the same country as foriegn national spouses.

    Harsh and draconian laws like the 3,10 and permanent bars to re-entry for civil immigration infractions affect and destroy families that contain US Citizens. US Citizen Spouses do not want more or different rights just the same rights as other citizens to live in the US with thier family.

    The Real Story is the hundreds of thousands of US Citizen spouses living in fear of ICE knocking at the door and taking away thier husband or wife. Other families that have already been separated are living lives of dispair and economic deprivation. Money that could be spent here in the US is now divided and sent to assist family members in a foreign country at a time we have a problem in our economy at home. What good can come from this insane punishment that disrupts the lives of good people? A law that breaks a marriage apart is wrong and immoral.

    Mixed status families need Immigration reform for Family Unity it is not getting the press it deserves. I know of a woman who is dying of cancer and the government will not let her husband in the country to be with her. Other families have children on Active Duty many are Veterans and cannot live in the country they served with thier spouse and children. This is an important story that is being ignored.

    Talk to some family members that contain US Citizens who are suffering and report the dirty secret that the Government is hurting good families that contain US Citizens. People do not understand the laws that are breaking families apart. If we are truly "free" in this society why then can the government take our spouses away?
    http://www.americanfamiliesunited.org

    April 11, 2009 at 11:09 pm |
  31. Michael Townes

    Im tired of illegals saying we worked hard we will work for nothing well go back to ur country and work hard for nothing i dont think its really us americans are complaining about illegals taking our jobs but we really dont wanna mix with illegals. I know i never wanna go to any of the countries the illegals are from so untill the americans wanna accept illegals in this country there will always be aproblem with passing comprehensive immigration. Im sure the illegals are proud of there country so let us be proud of ours. I cant be proud of my country when from border to border is filled with people we dont consider our own especially ones who just come here to make a better living . Hey i want a better living also but can i go to the countries where illegal immigrants come from and acheieve a better life i dont think so! Not so proud to be an american no more!

    April 11, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  32. Johnny

    All I can say is.. IF Obama is going to give Amnesty to all these illegal immigrants, the American people are going to be very pissed off and not vote for him next time around. We Americans have a hard enough time in this country finding jobs as it is, and to let illegal immigrants start coming over here and work and take our American jobs away from us is a damn shame and a disgrace. I have been out of work myself for over 1 year, every 1 of my bills are in collection agency, and the thought of illegal immigrants coming here to take American jobs away from us makes me “not proud” to be an American anymore. The problem is, USA is getting over populated, too many kids having babies for 1, and too many foreigners coming here and living and taking our good American jobs away from us. People say “Mexicans will work for cheap and do the jobs Americans won’t do here for the low pay rate”… Well.. Pay Americans what they are worth and the Americans WILL do the job. We can’t let all the foreigners come over here all the time…This country will be so over populated in a few years that we will run out of food and resources.. This has to stop.

    April 11, 2009 at 7:23 am |
  33. Illega Allien

    Why you “Americans” always blame it on Mexicans…not only Mexicans are “illegal” in this country, for your info there are ALL nationalities. 10 years ago, I started taking ESL classes, then I went for a GED and finally I got my Bachelor’s in Computer Science ( I could not go for my Master’s only because I ran out of money)…and did I mentioned that I worked all this time ( YES, UNCLE SAM was taking from 100 to 180 dls weekly and sometimes even more when I had to do OVERTIME…because nobody in that plant (95 % white and 3 % black and 2% mixed) nobody in that job wanted to work overtime….ohh!! and I forgot that I couldn’t do my tax..in other words, I never get ANY MONEY BACK….no like you guys that every April get some money back from government depending in how many kids you have) ….…paying for MY OWN fees and classes @ an American COLLEGE….…yes “You Americans, most of you need to take your head out of your A S S”……… I did not get help from your government.. no scholarship, assistant aid, etc, etc……….I paid it on my own……there are many many jobs that I can apply for…and it seems that this jobs keep regenerating themselves because nobody applies for them, this jobs are never taken…seems strange to me because if everybody complains about jobs loss and nobody is taking this other jobs that are ALWAYS offer…….uhmm!...……..so my question is WHERE ARE ALL OF YOU AMERICANS THAT HAVE NO JOBS….to me, is just that many of you are living in a comfort zone and of course blaming everything on the illegals………..did I mentioned that ALL my family are citizens and that I have been dating my fiancé for 6 years ( SHE IS WHITE….3er GENERATION AMERICAN/ CZHECH REPUBLIC).

    April 11, 2009 at 3:19 am |
  34. Colleen

    I wish all of the nativist zealots out there would wake up to the fact that, as was the case throughout our nations history, Immigrants do the important jobs no-one else generally wants to do. The Trans-Continental RR, built by immigrants. The US Civil War, won by immigrant soldiers hired off NE docks by the Union Army. Look at the pictures of the booming US factories at the turn of the last century, they were filled with immigrants.

    No-one who just lost their office job is going to come work planting and harvesting fruits and vegetables for us. I have worked in farming all my life, and 25 years ago there were no immigrants working in the fields here in the rural NE. I remember having high-school kids work during their summer vacations, and housewives earning some extra money in the Fall for Xmas; but now, farmers run advertisements for weeks and NOBODY responds. As for underpaying foreign workers, most of the guys who do piecework around here make $15-$20 an hour. You can't make that here working at McD's or Walmart, but farmers still can't find enough "native citizens" to do all the work needed.

    We import farm workers or we import our food. It's that simple. Just remember what your choice was the next time there's a contamination problem from China, or when one of our major food importers decides to hold our food hostage to a particular action by the US government. I hope that border fence keeps your belly full.

    April 10, 2009 at 9:45 pm |