Border is secure, but Congress won’t pass immigration reform

WASHINGTON —As commencement season gets underway in earnest, as young adults take their places in formal ceremonies marking their achievements, a small number of them hide a delicate secret that shadows their accomplishments and limits their options: They are illegal immigrants. They live in fear of deportation. They cannot travel freely, seek the best jobs or sign up for military service.

Even if they have just completed college, even if they have excellent grades, even if they have mastered chemistry or mathematics or computer science, they will encounter immediate and daunting barriers. It doesn’t matter that some offer skills for which companies are desperate; they still aren’t likely to find themselves in demand.

And that’s just crazy. The nation’s immigration policy is irrational — warped by nativism, finger-pointing and political cowardice. As President Barack Obama noted in a speech yesterday, the economy would be helped — not hurt — by  immigration reform.

But Obama also knows perfectly well that Congress won’t pass a comprehensive immigration reform proposal anytime soon. Republicans refused to support George W. Bush’s proposal to modernize immigration law, and the GOP base has only grown more xenophobic since then.

Just take a look at GOP-controlled state legislatures around the country, which are rushing to adopt proposals modeled after the Arizona law that recalls apartheid. Even Georgia’s recently-passed Arizona-“lite” is certain to increase the harassment of motorists and workers with tan complexions and Spanish surnames.

Nativist sentiments have deepened despite Obama’s clear record of amping up border security. If conservatives were waiting for a less-porous border before they embraced immigration reform, they’d be lining up to support a bill: the border is more secure than ever before.

Apparently believing that conservatives would support a comprehensive bill if they were reassured about border protections, Obama has sent National Guard troops and drone surveillance aircraft to the Southern boundary. He hired more border agents. He has pursued an aggressive policy of deportations — rounding up more illegal immigrants than his predecessor.

But the hostility toward illegal immigrants isn’t based on any rational fear of cross-border narco-violence or jihadist-inspired terrorism. It’s based on deep-seated prejudices stoked by a faltering economy and an increasingly diverse population. Many native-born Americans wrongly believe that illegal workers have sapped our strength, reversed our economic fortunes and set us on a course toward decline. But let’s not kid ourselves: We aren’t prepared to grant legal status even to those who are ambitious, resourceful and hardworking — who would give to the country a great deal more than they would take from it.

Last December, a GOP Senate filibuster blocked the DREAM Act, which would have granted a path to legalization to about one million young adults who were brought here illegally when they were kids. To qualify, they would have had to complete two years of college or two years of service in the Armed Forces.

The DREAM Act might have passed if Democrats had pursued it earlier in Obama’s presidency, when they were more secure in their control of Congress. But at the time, immigration advocates opposed any remedy short of legalization for the entire population of 11 million or so. Their resistance to smaller steps was a mistake.

The president is now under intense pressure from Latino activists to use his executive authority to shelter those illegal workers who have not committed crimes since their entry. Some pro-immigrant groups have zeroed in on young adults who would be eligible for the DREAM Act as candidates for a policy of benign neglect by customs officials.

The president has resisted, but he ought to take the request more seriously. While Congress panders to the xenophobic impulses of frightened voters, the country is squandering some of its best and brightest. Obama could salvage some of that talent with a policy of selective deportation.

275 comments Add your comment

CHIPSHIRLEY.COM

May 11th, 2011
9:30 am

I’m going off topic because the AJC gives the public no place to comment on Saxby Chambliss PRO-TORTURE remarks…

Mr. Chambliss…SHOULD WE TORTURE BIN LADEN’S WIVES AND DAUGHTERS?

It’s impossible to think that they never overheard pertinent information as to his contacts. MAYBE IF YOU RAPED THEM FOR TORTURE IT WOULD SAVE MILLIONS OF LIVES FROM A NUCLEAR ATTACK!

You just wait until you’re at the gate and it’s time for you to explain to God why you felt entitled to usurp the power that belongs only to God!

this line of thinking is bizarre

May 11th, 2011
9:32 am

I don’t understand the thinking behind saying that the Mexican border is secure and that we don’t have an illegal immigration problem. That boggles the mind.

Should we just have completely open borders and let anyone in the world come here? What other country allows that? The country cannot sustain itself if we keep going down that path.

Kamchak

May 11th, 2011
9:35 am

…and is lead by a president that has a proven track record of the most liberal, socialist thinking, free spending of all time.

And I quit reading.

Paddy O

May 11th, 2011
9:36 am

how does Cynthia define secure? Less than a 100,000 people a day illegally crossing it?

jconservative

May 11th, 2011
9:36 am

Apparently the great majority of voters and the great majority of Congress really like the current immigration policies of the federal government. There have been attempts to change that policy for the past 13 years and all attempts have failed.

So the current policy is where we are and where we will stay for the next several years.

Olderandwiser49

May 11th, 2011
9:37 am

“…despite Obama’s clear record of amping up border security.”

Once again, CT, you espouse your ignorance with gusto. Obama & Co. are suing Arizona for doing the Fed’s job, because the Feds aren’t doing it. Our borders are still like a sieve, with people crossing illegally by the hundreds every week. Napolitano says (straight-faced, mind you) that “the borders are more secure than ever.” She then goes on to tell us of all the deportations conducted by ICE last year, and that “only about 900 deportation orders were suspended or cancelled.” In truth, over 34,000 orders were suspended or cancelled, and about the only improvement in border security has come at the hands of Arizona’s agents at the State’s expense, and against the wishes of this Administration.

The Dream Act is a joke promoted by Democrats. Democrats could have easily passed it when they controlled both houses, and Obama was ready to sign anything put in front of him by Pelosi or Reid. They didn’t do it because they knew that it benefitted very few, and the cost in angry voters would be too great. Once they saw it couldn’t be passed, they re-initiated it, thereby showing the primarily Hispanic community that they were “trying to help them, but that “xenophobic” (your term) GOP stopped it, and if you’ll just continue to support the Democrats, we’ll try it again when there is more chance for success.” The Libs are the oppressors and users of the illegal aliens, not the GOP. And as for your logic of granting immunity to children brought here by their illegal-alien parents, that’s like saying that if my father robbed a bank and gave me the money, not only am I innocent, but I also get to keep the money! Every side has its own story, but in the case of illegal immigration, the GOP and Tea Party are writing fact, while you and your ilk are writing fiction.

Paddy O

May 11th, 2011
9:40 am

regarding the decline statement, she needs to look at feminism (increasing the labor pool by 40% does what?), NAFTA & granting China permanent most favored nation status (both done under Clinton). Has children raising improved? Has single mothers with 4 kids by 4 different fathers moved out of poverty, or just into the local public housing complex? I want Mexicans to migrate legally – we need an Ellis Island structure in San Antonio so they can immediately start to assimilate. When I call me bank & have to press 1 for english, there is a gigantic problem in this country with too many non- english speaking people.

Cobb Woman of Color

May 11th, 2011
9:40 am

@GM, 9:00 a.m. post,

Most Black Americans are against illegal immigration.

Did anyone see “Black in Latin America” last night? They interviewed a racially mixed Mexican citizen and he stated Mexico has a racist society. Does anyone remember the when Mexico released a racist postage stamp?

Any Blacks marching for the rights of illegal Mexicans don’t have a clue! March for the rights of Americans of all colors!

JKL2

May 11th, 2011
9:40 am

Since you are so worried about our Mexican neighbors, let’s adopt thier immigration laws:

• Foreigners with fake papers, or who enter the country under false pretenses, may be imprisoned
• Foreigners who fail to obey the rules will be fined, deported, and/or imprisoned as felons:
• Under Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony
• The Mexican constitution expressly forbids non-citizens to participate in the country’s political life.
• The Mexican constitution denies fundamental property rights to foreigners.
• The Mexican constitution denies equal employment rights to immigrants, even legal ones, in the public sector.
• The Mexican constitution states that foreigners may be expelled for any reason and without due process

Viva La Mexico

DawgDad

May 11th, 2011
9:40 am

“Immigration reform”, Cynthia, means exactly what? I’m all for MY version of immigration reform, and absolutely steadfast unwieldingly opposed to YOUR version. See you at the ballot box.

There is NO WAY the American public at this point is going to trust the current Congress and Administration with immigration reform, after Obamacare, massive deficits, quantitative easing, and all the other socialist nonsense of the first 2-1/2 years of Obama, and after conservatives had to force Bush and the Republicans to stand down on their prior efforts.

I see no apparent consensus that we can trust our Government to act in the best interests of America and American citizens. I see your article as clear evidence we can’t trust the current Administration or the Senate.

mama says

May 11th, 2011
9:40 am

It was recently reported by the federal government that 60% of the Texas border remains unprotected. 60% does not mean that everything is being done to secure the border–can we agree on that fact ? it was the Obama feds that released the stat.

2nd—Cynthia you did a wonderful job glossing over the fact that for 2 years democrats had a veto proof majority and did nothing–THATS NOTHING. Now Obama is taking up the issue, humm election time is near I guess.

Even if republicans are racist, inbreed loons you cannot get by the fact that the democratic party did NOTHING when they could have

O-me

May 11th, 2011
9:42 am

One thing for sure..If Obama said crap didn’t stink…Tucker would agree. She is #1 for the left lib’s.

Carter was the worse Pres we have ever had but Obama makes Carter look like a God…….Color has nothing to do with it but the big “O” is a joke! So is Tucker! lol

Paddy O

May 11th, 2011
9:42 am

ah, yes – the bleeding heart liberal is still alive & well. No one is responsible for their own behavior, and the authorities should just look the other way – it is wonderful in Pollyanna Utopianville. Remember Jennifer? The one who was illegally driving in GA without a drivers license? Who gave a wrong home address to the cop? She had a Mexican passport – she knew damn well she was legal here in the US, she was just playing the system. The liberals in the US government (pretty much the entire Obama administration) will pat here on the back and say “there, there” we are the government and we are here to help you! And, collect their $100,000+ salaries doing it.

Paddy O

May 11th, 2011
9:45 am

granny – she is superior to us all because her blessed heart bleeds for these poor little victim urchins. What a pile of horse manure.

Hypaestos

May 11th, 2011
9:45 am

The border is secure?

I laughed.

Out loud.

For real.

Paddy O

May 11th, 2011
9:46 am

yeah, Michele Obama apparently really likes the ghetto. Excellent.

Joe The Plumber Too

May 11th, 2011
9:46 am

mamasaysnothing: I am of the republican party, who exactly am I racist against, what inbreeding did my family have, and other than aunt sophie, what loons have been reported falling out of my family tree?

Cobb Woman of Color

May 11th, 2011
9:47 am

@Cynthia Tucker

Your stated, “We aren’t prepared to grant legal status even to those who are ambitious, resourceful and hardworking — who would give to the country a great deal more than they would take from it.”

Yes, we are willing but they have to get at the back of the line.

Liberal Chicks are UGLY

May 11th, 2011
9:48 am

Shelter ‘…illegals who have not commited a crime…” Oh the irony!

If the border were secure there would be no penetration by illegals. Ever seen the illegal immigration policy of Mexico? Got caught, butt in jail and deported if you’re lucky.

Didn’t the democrats have a super majority in both houses and a liberal president to sign off on anything? You can’t pin the failures of your party on the other one. If you run your car into a light pole, it’s not the light poles fault, it’s yours.

Rafe Hollister

May 11th, 2011
9:48 am

The Border is secure, the budget gap is getting fixed, GITMO is being closed, inflation under control, wars are winding down, US Oil production at record levels, medical care provided for everyone without increasing the cost to the government or the insured, gas prices spiraling down, love and affection for America spiraling up around the world, and Obama is costing to reelection. Sin-thee’s Fantasy World now open at Epcot.

Moving target

May 11th, 2011
9:48 am

I would wager that those who constantly whine about “the worst president we have ever had” couldn’t even name every US President without looking on google…

Cobb Woman of Color

May 11th, 2011
9:49 am

All Americans, let’s put this bumper sticker on our cars…

“Rights? You have the right to go home!”

Kenyatta

May 11th, 2011
9:49 am

Re-Elect our incumbent Illegal-Immigrant-in-Chief in 2012!

Rafe Hollister

May 11th, 2011
9:49 am

coasting vice costing

andygrdzki

May 11th, 2011
9:49 am

Under Title 8 Section 1325 of the U.S. Code, “Improper Entry by Alien,” any citizen of any country other than the United States who:

Enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers; or

Eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers; or

Attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact;

has committed a federal crime. Is it a crime if you viloate the US Code?

Violations are punishable by criminal fines and imprisonment for up to six months. Repeat offenses can bring up to two years in prison. Additional civil fines may be imposed at the discretion of immigration judges, but civil fines do not negate the criminal sanctions or nature of the offense.

Iguess if they commit a Federal Crime…. they are criminals…. OR is the US Code worded wrong?

Kamchak

May 11th, 2011
9:49 am

Carter G.W. Bush was the worse Pres we have ever had…

fixed your typo.

son said

May 11th, 2011
9:51 am

O-bama in Panic mode…..looking for votes..lie etc just get the damn votes.

mama says

May 11th, 2011
9:51 am

Joe,

I was giving the democrats their point so I could make mine.

Even if we are all they say they cannot get around the fact that THEY did nothing when THEY could have.

Now THEY want to act like it’s the conservatives fault

Rafe Hollister

May 11th, 2011
9:52 am

Kamchak: fix your own typo “worst vice worse”

NAGA

May 11th, 2011
9:55 am

When I was flying in the Georgia Army National Guard we received a warning order for “assignment” to the southern Texas border to aid Homeland Security. We were informed that we were not to carry any firearms – military issued or personal. (We were issued side arms when we assisted in the evacuation of New Orleans during Katrina). We were also notified that we were to only assist in medical assistance (food, water, minor medical treatments). If we were to encounter any aggressive behavior, we were to evacuate the immediate area & inform the “authorities”. I protested this order & informed the CO that I wanted to start the paperwork for my retirement.

CT thinks the borders are secure??? What a joke!

MikeR

May 11th, 2011
9:55 am

Go tell the ranchers in south Texas that the border is secure. I can only imagine what their reaction would be. I’m all for immigration reform. If a corporation hires an illegal immigrant they must pay a $1 million fine per incident or 1 yr in federal prison for the owner(s) of a private company.

Paddy O

May 11th, 2011
9:55 am

alright moving target, he is the worst President since WW I – does that make you feel better about the fool from Illinois?

son said

May 11th, 2011
9:55 am

Moving target…I bet half that voted don’t even know the Vice Presidents name..They don’t teach real US history anymore in school. Its political correct crap now.

kayaker 71

May 11th, 2011
9:55 am

More of those pesky statistics….

Illegals in this country
23,411,401 This increases daily despite CT’s optimism

Money wired to Mexico since 2001
262, 533,671,000

Cost of social services since 1996
397,456,577,000

Children of illegals since 1996
5,390,856 This also increases daily

Cost of illegals in our school systems in K-12 since 1996
164,689,924,000

Illegals incarcerated
449,763

Cost of incarceration since 2008
24,663,521,806

Are we really sure that illegals provide more benefit to our economy than they cost? And despite CT’s proclamation that our border is secure, they keep coming across every day. All the drones, National Guard and border patrol agents will not stem the flow. Nearly 48% of all illegals live in LA, that’s the LA in California. California has a deficit of nearly 23B at last count. Napalitono still says that immigration is a federal problem but she puts bandaids on cancers by telling the states to butt out. If the SCOTS rules in favor of AZ in this mess, we will have whole new ball game and the chances are, they will. Stay tuned. BTW, nearly 59% of Americans are against passage of the Dream Act. Only 20 some percent favor it.
Source…. Immigration counters.com

Contractor

May 11th, 2011
9:56 am

J coner,

Ok, so what about those same kids when they turn 18, 20, 25, 30, and 35? They know they are here illegally, and they still make the decision not to become citizens. And with those actions, they bring into this world another crop of illegal kids that will continue to do as their family has, and that is break the law and never make it right. It is not fair for this cycle to continue and keep American citizens out of colleges, allowing these people to have babies for free, and get other free medical attention while avoiding taxes.

My wife works with a woman that married an illegal, stupid decision. She knew full well what she was getting into, but continues to complain how she has to drive everywhere and has to be careful of what they do together. WELL, her husband drives a car without a license or insurance, his parents run a mechanics shop with a fake ID that they use, and his sister has had three kids in American hospitals and haven’t paid a damn penny. OH, and they have been here since they were 4, and they are now in their younger 30’s. Now please tell me what is right about all of this, and how to you can turn this into a favorable stance on your behalf that it doesn’t affect other American citizens. And it cost my wife and I around $12,000 last year to deliver our baby girl, that we paid out of our pockets, not the taxpayers.

NAGA

May 11th, 2011
9:57 am

Kamchak – too young or too ignorant to agree that Carter was the worst president ever.

21% inflation
American Hostages held for 444 days in Iran
Iran failed rescue attempt
Giving back the Panama Cananl
etc.
etc.
etc.

Liberal Chicks are UGLY

May 11th, 2011
9:57 am

I saw a satellite image of the Earth from space, and I was able to see your stupidity….Yes, it’s that big.
Somewhere underneath a rock and tenant is missing.

blackinamercia

May 11th, 2011
9:58 am

Why not send all the blacks back who were sold here as salves !! I’M sorry i forgot their mostly all dead, well send back their kids and their grandkids they don’t need to be here anymore than the mexicans right. What about the indains most of them were killed too because they found some land 1st that the white man wanted so they killed them for it !!! I all most forgot what about the gay people why not send them somewhere anywhere but here right. YOU should all be ashame and wipe the smile off your face we are all apart of the HUMAN RACE !!!! I’M sorry nearly forgot you real don’t beleave in GOD either right ! YOU wish you could send him somewhere too , but at at this rate you want have to worry about that you’ll never see him ..

We can't afford it

May 11th, 2011
9:58 am

Do you know why there are a few countries like Germany and Switzerland that are still profitable? Because they don’t allow illegals to stay in their country. They cannot work unless they apply for a work visa and live there six months first. Why are we stuck with a government that thinks its okay to give away our hard earned money to free loaders and take away from Americans who cannot find a job and certainly don’t get the free healthcare, housing and education that these illegals get?

you r the problem

May 11th, 2011
10:00 am

CT-you do realize that there is a LEGAL way to immigrate to this country right?
Save the old ‘but she has a college degree’ thing for someone else. Since when does obtaining a college degree allow you to wipe your criminal record clean.
It’s clearly documented what a financial strain, via abuse of government services, the flood of il-aliens has caused several states of our country.

The pro-reformers in our political system are doing this for political gain, however you CT who isn’t running for re-election, just sound illogical and quit stupid frankly.

NAGA

May 11th, 2011
10:00 am

blackinamerica – so let’s just ignore the current laws on file because we are all of the human race. Also, take a 2nd grade on-level spelling class.

Lt Dan

May 11th, 2011
10:02 am

If these folks have the determination, tenacity…and just plain smarts for such achievements, than surely they can realize the necessity; the long-term benefit of (bang forhead with palm of right hand) FOLLOWING THE FREQIN LAW!

Given the Congresses’ propensity to make mountains out of molehills; to complicate the devil out of what should be a somewhat “user-friendly” endeavour, it is easy to see how some/many may simply take a “to hell with it” approach to a simple rule of the land. However, these people are not goat herders from Albania (oops, did I just do a diss to goat herders and to Albanians?), and they are not simply in search of a better life than that offered in their homelands. They are willing to paticipate in a practice generally shuned by many of their American counterparts…DELAYED GRATIFICATION. Therefore, more…no, make that FAR MORE is expected of them in terms of realizing the importance of simply FOLLOWING THE DAMN LAW. Any Questions?

close the border and blow the bridge

May 11th, 2011
10:02 am

wow
I can’t believe you wrote an article by yourself and did not just cut and paste like usual,

NAGA

May 11th, 2011
10:03 am

Jsut remember that CT originally said there would be no death panels but recently had an op piece stating there would be.

CT – John Kerry of journalism with this flip-flopping.

We can't afford it

May 11th, 2011
10:03 am

Napalitano, Obama, Pelosi and Reid among others keep thinking that Federal means they can do whatever they please. We the People own the Federal government NOT the politicians and the sooner Americans stand up for that concept the sooner we can stop this nonsense. You can do your part by doing more than blogging and joining up with the Patriots that are trying to stop this wholesale raping of America.

let them move in with you

May 11th, 2011
10:04 am

Do you not realize how much people who have no interest in going through the naturalization process are costing us?
Education alone is a fortune, then the food stamps, medical aid, uninsured drivers-just for starters.
I realize we can’t ship all these people back, but they need to be made to go through the naturalization process just like immigrants have done in the past.

Carlos

May 11th, 2011
10:08 am

Enter your comments here

son said

May 11th, 2011
10:08 am

Blacks like to complain about they(1860) were slaves and I don’t don’t believe in slavery but where would Blacks be today if not for slavery…still in Africa?

connie

May 11th, 2011
10:10 am

Our boarders are now secure? What the hell is she talking about now? Dumb A_ _, uninformed,
socialist, liberal !!!!!!!!!!

Had enough

May 11th, 2011
10:10 am

The latest Border Patrol report as stated on CNN last night lists that the southern border is only 44% guarded and that of the 750 mile of fencing, required by law, that only just a little over 325 miles is completed. This is why the state of Arizona is asking for private donations to finish building the fence across their southern border. New Mexico and Texas has none of the new fencing. So Cynthia, this is just another lie from you as usual.

As far as the Dream Act goes, how much more money are you going to let these illegal criminal suck out of this country and Georgia? With 20,000,000 plus unemployed American citizens who can’t find jobs and you want them to educate, feed, and house these criminals is beyond me. Just remember, these children of illegals knew without a doubt from a very early age that they were illegal and made no attempt to become citizens right through their 12 years of FREE education prior to begging for FREE college.

Cynthia, you need to be fired from the AJC for good!