The Border & Immigration

The United States shares one of the largest land borders in the world with México. Security and immigration issues along this border are often contentious and have sparked many a debate. Opinions on the issue of immigration are wide ranging and finding common ground in this debate can be difficult. When I am confronted with a volatile issue like this, I make an effort to review available facts in order to take an educated position.

Fact: Each year, about half a million undocumented Mexicans try to cross the US/México border. Several hundred migrants die each year in the attempt.

Consider these questions: Should México play a role in regulating this flow of people? Why would someone risk their lives to cross into the US?

Fact: While no one knows for sure how many people are in the US without a visa, Pew Hispanic Center estimates there are approximately 10.3 million undocumented people in the US. More than half are believed to be from México.

Consider these questions: What should law enforcement officers do if they find an undocumented person living or working in the US? Does your answer change if the person found has been in the US for a month? A year? Ten years?

Fact: In 1996, US Presidential candidate Pat Buchanan suggested building a wall along the US/México border. Since then, walls and fences have been built on a very small portion of this border.

Consider these questions: Is a wall necessary to control immigration? Why hasn’t a similar wall been proposed for the US/Canada border? What other international walls can you think of, current or historic? Why were they built? Were they effective?

Fact: While undocumented workers are found in many jobs, most will find work that does not require extensive education or governmental licensing. For example, construction, farming, and service work like cleaning and food preparation have large percentages of undocumented workers. In the US it is illegal to employ an undocumented worker, and can be punished by fines and imprisonment.

Consider these questions: Why might an employer hire an undocumented worker? Why are these jobs (construction, farming, manufacturing, etc.) more likely to have undocumented workers than others? Would it change the US economy if undocumented labor was unavailable? If so, what are the possible economic effects?

Today’s video is from a documentary called “Border Stories”. In this video Jose Nogales takes about how he was brought to America when he was two years old. At age 19, he was sent back to México.