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

you r the problem

May 11th, 2011
10:11 am

Here’s what I do. I pull up to the crowd of day laborers in my truck, and tell them I have some painting work for them, they pile in, then I drive them to the US Citizenship and Immigration Office, then watch ‘em run like cucarachas!

Have some fun, the directions to the office are below. Viva USA!

From Interstate 285 North:

Take Exit 37.

Turn left off the exit ramp onto Lavista Road.

Get into the right lane.

Turn right onto Parklake Drive at the first traffic light.

From Interstate 285 South:

Take Exit 36A for Northlake Parkway.

Take a right off the exit ramp.

Go to the first traffic light and turn left onto Parklake Drive.

Union

May 11th, 2011
10:11 am

i like the concept of allowing the children who had their parents bring them in to the country be allowed to stay and be granted amnesty.. at the same time.. any child who had parents that gained income from committing felonies should have all those assets that were seized given back to them. after all.. the same logic applies.. unless we are going to discriminate?

Greg

May 11th, 2011
10:12 am

blackinamercia…

Please do not try to equate the plight of blacks who came to this country against their will with today’s Mexicans and Hispanics who come here of their free will and who are knowingly breaking the law. (and yes the Irish are the largest illegal group in this country..however the article singles out Hispanics)

These two do not compute.

Also, while it is 100% true that this land was stolen from the Native Americans..(of which I am part Native American as well) the laws that prevented illegal immigration happened well after the slaves were here.

Therefore, your whole post is moot.

Thank you and have a good day.

We can't afford it

May 11th, 2011
10:14 am

Oh and Cynthia, just for the record, Obama did not issue the order to raid Bin Ladens compound in Pakistan. Up until the order was given to attack, Obama’s chief of staff Valerie Jarrett was telling the military NOT to attack. It seems Mr. Waffler could not make a decision on his own, so Valerie Jarrett was telling the CIA and Military to not attack unless they could do it on the ground, not bombing. They came back and said they would do that and good ole anti-American Valerie Jarrett told them NO. THEY DID IT ANYWAY AND SAID THEY WOULD TAKE THE BLAME IF IT FAILED! Obama was not called until the raid was over and told to meet at the situation room at the White House. That’s why he looks so confused (duh?) in that ops room photo. And now he is the hero is this coup? Get real America. The liberal media like Cynthia feeds you exactly what they want you to hear!

kayaker 71

May 11th, 2011
10:14 am

Oh, forgot to mention the anchor babies. Since 2002, there have been 4,947,617 born in America. This also increases daily. If we figure that there 307M people in this country at the last census, illegals represent about 7.8% of our population. That is a staggering statistic. Yeah, CT, our border is more secure than it ever has been. And there’s an Easter Bunny and Santa Claus slides down chimneys.

jconservative

May 11th, 2011
10:17 am

“The Dream Act is a joke promoted by Democrats.”

Actually the bill goes back to 2001 and has been introduced several times by both Democrats and Republicans. It was included in George W Bush’s immigration bill by the Bush administration. It has passed the House several times. The problem is 60 votes in the Senate.

Rascal

May 11th, 2011
10:17 am

Now that Obama has accepted his reponsiblity for SECURING the border, how is he doing. How many people are continuing to cross. Hiring a few analysts or putting up a few miles of fencing is an activity not an outcome. As president he is responsible for OUTCOMES.
The president ducked the question of outcomes. Tucker, as usual, is a hate filled partisan.
Waht I hear from the people near the border is that things are marginally better but that we continue to have a unsecured southern border with large numbers of illegals continuing to cross.
There can be no decision about what to do about illegal residents ( not that amnesty is EVER a good idea) until we no longer have hundreds of thousands of illegals coming in our borders.

blackinamercia

May 11th, 2011
10:17 am

NAGA- While there are countless reasons for conflict, some of the most common include pride, greed, and anger.These aspects of our sinful,human nature brings us into conflict with other people.

Harry Callahan

May 11th, 2011
10:18 am

“Border is secure” – Cynthia Tucker

What color is the sky in your world, Cynthia? What’s the weather like on your planet?

Cynthia Who?

May 11th, 2011
10:18 am

“Obama Obama He’s our man. If he can’t do it nobody can. Goooooo! OBAMA!” – Cynthia (Mckinney) Tucker – Obama Official Cheerleader.

Another twisted opinion piece.

Shawny

May 11th, 2011
10:18 am

“Border is secure”

That is so laughable. What country are you referring to? Not this one.

John

May 11th, 2011
10:20 am

Obama could say that aliens landed in Central Park in NYC and Cynthia would believe him. Why? She’s a racist.

BTW, illegal immigrants are just unregistered Democrats.

Greg

May 11th, 2011
10:21 am

blackinamercia..

While there are countless reasons why people commit crimes one of those crimes is crossing the border illegally. Pride comes from becoming a citizen legally, greed comes from the fact that we want to keep our money in our pockets for our family and not pay for illegals who take from our tax money, and anger comes from the fact that there are some in our society that do not understand that being here illegally is a crime.

Thank you and have a good day.

Verbotten

May 11th, 2011
10:22 am

§ 1324. Bringing in and harboring certain aliens

(a) Criminal penalties
(1)
(A) Any person who—
(i) knowing that a person is an alien, brings to or attempts to bring to the United States in any manner whatsoever such person at a place other than a designated port of entry or place other than as designated by the Commissioner, regardless of whether such alien has received prior official authorization to come to, enter, or reside in the United States and regardless of any future official action which may be taken with respect to such alien;
(ii) knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, transports, or moves or attempts to transport or move such alien within the United States by means of transportation or otherwise, in furtherance of such violation of law;
(iii) knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation;
(iv) encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law; or
(v)
(I) engages in any conspiracy to commit any of the preceding acts, or
(II) aids or abets the commission of any of the preceding acts,

shall be punished as provided in subparagraph (B).
(B) A person who violates subparagraph (A) shall, for each alien in respect to whom such a violation occurs—
(i) in the case of a violation of subparagraph (A)(i) or (v)(I) or in the case of a violation of subparagraph (A)(ii), (iii), or (iv) in which the offense was done for the purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain, be fined under title 18, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both;
(ii) in the case of a violation of subparagraph (A)(ii), (iii), (iv), or (v)(II), be fined under title 18, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both;
(iii) in the case of a violation of subparagraph (A)(i), (ii), (iii), (iv), or (v) during and in relation to which the person causes serious bodily injury (as defined in section 1365 of title 18) to, or places in jeopardy the life of, any person, be fined under title 18, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both; and
(iv) in the case of a violation of subparagraph (A)(i), (ii), (iii), (iv), or (v) resulting in the death of any person, be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, fined under title 18, or both.

immigration czar

May 11th, 2011
10:24 am

Illegal aliens should be granted amnesty once they have served 7 years as an indentured servant in an African American household.

Steve

May 11th, 2011
10:24 am

ILLEGAL – stop trying to get around it Cynthia.

Steve

May 11th, 2011
10:25 am

ILLEGAL – Stop trying to rationalize and justify it Cynthia.

Steve

May 11th, 2011
10:26 am

ILLEGAL…ILLEGAL…ILLEGAL…you cannot aregue Cynthia…they are illegal…spin it whatever way you want…they are ILLEGAL.

Steve

May 11th, 2011
10:27 am

Cynthia…it’s sad that you have a Pulitzer and don’t have any common sense or sense of what is right and wrong.

quod erat demonstrandum

May 11th, 2011
10:28 am

According to the 13th amendment to the Constitution -

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Key words – “…except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted…”

I say we start a little “involuntary servitude” for convicted illegal families.

WOODSTOCK MIKE

May 11th, 2011
10:28 am

Interesting how Cynthia only mentions the illegals that go to college, work a job, contribute to their societies. What about the illegals that kill innocent Americans and commit heinous crimes on legal Americans? How about the See, the borders are NOT secure. If they were secure we would not have thousands of illegals entering America each year. How about the thousands of illegals that drain our healthcare system, pay not income taxes, hurt our education systems. I guess Cynthia isn’t aware of those?

Last point, there is no country in the world that allows illegals to simply cross their borders without some kind of citizenship process. It is what it is, nobody wants to throw some kid out of college but it isn’t that simple. Point blank.

quod erat demonstrandum

May 11th, 2011
10:28 am

btw they have toned down the signs in Arizona

azstarnet.com/news/local/border/article_01d16a47-2093-54e1-a40f-d66772a4b83e.html

maybe CT won’t censor this one.

RL

May 11th, 2011
10:29 am

The illegal aliens are: LEECHES, MOOCHERS, TAKERS, PARASITES.
Cut off all the freebies, they will leave.
Good riddance.

you r the problem

May 11th, 2011
10:29 am

This is a great country, you can be a complete moron, but if you’re black and you’re a moron you get to write for a living and people can’t call out for fear of appearing racist.

CT- Obama could take a dump in your mouth and you would gobble it down and thank him for doing such a good job.

Wouldn’t it be more challenging and make for a better read to come up with your own ideas and opinions rather than letting someone else dictate what comes out of your turd colored mouth?

Tired of working to but I do.

May 11th, 2011
10:31 am

Yet another CT blog thats not worth responding to.

Eric

May 11th, 2011
10:31 am

CT…for the most part I agree with your columns…but this time you got it dead wrong. The vast majority of illegal aliens are NOT college grads. They are blue collar workers who do nothing but take money from legal residents, don’t pay taxes, become a drain on local government resources by running to the ER whenever they need medical care, and then take a decent portion of the money they make and send it back to Mexico to support family there. You further suggested that amnesty should be given to illegal immigrants who have remained in this country for a period of time and have not broken the law. Your suggestion is just down right stupid, because the fact that they are living on US soil in the first place is breaking the law.

I have had this conversation with MANY folks. The general feeling is simple…if you want to come to this country, do it legally or stay out. It’s the same process that our great grandparents went through and it’s the process that grants people legal residency. Do that and there won’t be a college grad terrified that their education will go to waste because they can’t legally work here. Oh and based on what I understand, those college grads are also going to school on the heels of taxpayer funds, many getting grants, scholorships and financial aid that legally they should never be entitiled to, that money should be going to legal residence.

I will never understand anyone who thinks that we should just throw open our borders and let people walk in the gate…and then welcome them with a big hug. The immigration process allows us to size up immigrants and make sure they will be a citizen that adds to this community we call the US. I’m sick and tired of illegals saying they are not criminals because in fact each and every one of them are…and I don’t give a rats behind what they bring to the table. If you start out your new life in this country by breaking a law, then your butt should be deported. I also think that once you are deported, you should be given a five year penalty from trying to enter this country legally.

Don’t get me wrong…I get it. These people want a better life. But the bottom line is that a vast majority of companies screen legal US residents background prior to offering them work (typically turning down anyone with a criminal background)…why should the standard be any different for an illegal immigrant?

Summit Dawg

May 11th, 2011
10:33 am

YOU, My Dear are a LIBERAL IDIOT!!!! “Borders are secure?! What area are you talking about??

son said

May 11th, 2011
10:34 am

It don’t say much for the AJC having a racist writing for them…right Tucker? What do you expect from a liberal newspaper.

kayaker 71

May 11th, 2011
10:34 am

you r the problem,

I don’t agree with much of what she has to say either, but there are limits to commentary that are vulgar and inappropriate. You have certainly crossed the line.

RL

May 11th, 2011
10:35 am

Well said, Eric.

ButtHead

May 11th, 2011
10:38 am

I think it is hysterical that our president can stand in front of millions of people and lie out he a$$ and stupid people believe him. Anybody that has been to the border knows everything he said was 100% false, or as a common person calls it a lie. Did he not see that 12 people were killed two days ago on the border lake in Texas, or was he too busy hanging out with loser rappers, or golfing?

sm

May 11th, 2011
10:38 am

What line 71.

Kamchak

May 11th, 2011
10:39 am

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

Ike was president when I was born sport, and the new car smell was still on his administration.

21% inflation

This crap again?

NAGA—to young or ignorant to know that the FOMC sets interest rates, not the POTUS

Pablo

May 11th, 2011
10:40 am

Cynthia:

The only immigration reform we need is to actaully enforce the laws in the books, and make those who would like to come in to work to do it legally. That by itself would solve most of the problem.

TBone

May 11th, 2011
10:41 am

How long are you gonna beat this dead horse? There is absolutely no way that any sort of meaningful reform will take place and these folks will go back home. As a matter of fact this administrations’ INS tried to deport a Ghanan friend of ours who quite charming and in every way assimilated an American. Even before this mess former Representative Cynthia McKinney was asked to help in securing her citizenship but did not. This is obviously a politically motivated sense of duty exhibited by our teleprompter in chief. Feigned empathy for potential voters I guess. Personally I love the $4/gallon of gas we must now pay. Are you better off than you were two years ago?

sm

May 11th, 2011
10:43 am

Kamchak what have you ever done for your country?
Tucker what have you ever done for your country?

Chief Schiteng Bull

May 11th, 2011
10:45 am

Cynthia must be talking about the border between??????????????

Kamchak

May 11th, 2011
10:46 am

sm

When did you stop beating your spouse?

Mr Right

May 11th, 2011
10:46 am

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

After reading the headline I didn’t bother to read anything else. Everybody knows that’s not true!

kayaker 71

May 11th, 2011
10:48 am

sm,

The line of civility and dignity. Look, I don’t agree with much of what she has to say either, but I usually try to keep my comments in a somewhat agreeable mode. When you stoop to advocating defecating in someone’s mouth, and referring to someone’s mouth as turd color. the line has been crossed. Climb out of the gutter. Discourse and debate takes a backseat to this crap if allowed. I am surprised that she doesn’t ban him/her outright.

sm

May 11th, 2011
10:56 am

I retired from army after 25 years. Served and fought so idiots like you could run your mouth and want something for nothing. Like the way you change subjects ex..spouse, are you talking from experience in beating your spouse. I’ll pray for you.

Lt Col Razorback

May 11th, 2011
10:57 am

For once, I have to almost agree with Tucker!  However, she fails to address the true extent of the problem with our immigration laws. In addition to the thousands of Mexican nationals (or their children born years later) who illegally enter the U.S. There are thousands more who entered legally according to our immigration laws, but through inconsistencies in those laws found themselves in an illegal status. The argument against changing our immigration laws is that we already have the necessary laws; all we need to do is to enforce them. That rationale is fine, unless the immigration laws have glaring inconsistencies like those described, above.

Illuminator!

May 11th, 2011
10:58 am

For us to believe Obama’s claim that immigration reform will benefit the economy is to require the suspension to disbelief. We would have to believe that Obama knows something about how to improve the economy. He has not demonstrated any ability in that area after spending $4 trillion dollars and having nothing to show for it! What a buffoon!

sm

May 11th, 2011
10:59 am

ok 71…agree

Kamchak

May 11th, 2011
11:03 am

are you talking from experience in beating your spouse.

Not married, sport.

I’ll pray for you.

More passive/aggressive crap.

YOU are the problem

May 11th, 2011
11:08 am

you r the problem,

If you’re going to make a sick attempt at humor, at least think up something original. That stunt was pulled by that clown on Youtube, “The Amazing Racist.” His name is Ari Shafir and his jokes are just not funny at all. And neither are you.

you r the problem

May 11th, 2011
11:10 am

Kam, care to offer your own opinion, all I see is one line snipes at others who had the spine to voice their thoughts.

are u quiet b/c ou disagree with your goddess CTand don’t want to ruin your sychopahnt staus with her?

0311/0317 -1811/1801

May 11th, 2011
11:11 am

Cynthia:

Please don’t use headlines like “Border is Secure”. That’s like saying that “West End” Atlanta is secure.

I spit my coffee out.

you r the problem

May 11th, 2011
11:12 am

i did see the idea elsewhere,not my idea, just spreading the joy for those of us who aren’t breaking the law or making excuses for those who are.

Kamchak

May 11th, 2011
11:14 am

are u quiet b/c ou disagree with your goddess CTand don’t want to ruin your sychopahnt staus with her?

No.

Another episode of one word answers to a simple(ton’s) question.