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  • Theone
    replied
    Mexico sems to have a diferent opinion of migrants to their Country.

    I say this having gone through a Mexican Internal road check.

    Perhaps they need to lead by example?

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  • mike_2007
    replied
    thnx alot,,ur so kind,,,and where did ur a s s come from originally mr legal?if u dont like it ,,then dont read it .this is my openion and u cann't make me change my mind

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  • Paddy
    replied
    Mike you are a real ignorant d-i-c-k-h-e-a-d. The people you profess to support are NOT immigrants..they are ILLEGAL ALIENS who have no rights in this country. The only rights they have are the rights bestowed to them by their own country.
    You and the organizations that support law breakers make me sick especially when you label anyone as a racist who has the ba-lls to question your arguements .........one hypocrisy that you guys fail to highlight is the fact that Mexico actively encourages its population to enter the US illegally and complains bitterly when any new law or policy is devised by the US government that is designed to enforce our laws better, yet when it comes to Mexico's own illegal immigrants, they are ruthless.

    Leave a comment:


  • Hudson
    replied
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by mike_2007:
    he answered u allready,,i dont have to repeat what he just said u stupid retarted </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Mike,
    Good articles. I will comment on them later if I have time.

    Leave a comment:


  • mike_2007
    replied
    he answered u allready,,i dont have to repeat what he just said u stupid retarted

    Leave a comment:


  • Babybeh
    replied
    just like you learned how to do me blow jobs little punk

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    wow....somebody taught you how to 'cut and paste'...

    Leave a comment:


  • mike_2007
    replied
    Delays can last decades. And if you don't have connection, forget it.
    In 1989, Mohamad Abdo and his family, living in Lebanon, took their first step toward a dream of living in the USA. A relative, already here, petitioned for the family to join him.

    Then they all waited. And waited and waited.

    First came the inevitable delay caused by quotas that limit family immigration. Ten years passed before they even got permission to apply for visas.

    Then the real frustrations started. For the next four years, they lived a paperwork nightmare as their application bounced around the immigration bureaucracy. In 2003, the Abdos finally were told they could come to the USA as permanent residents, with just one catch: Their eldest son, Raed, who was 8 years old when the process began, would have to stay behind. Because he had just turned 21, he no longer qualified to immigrate with them as a minor.

    Welcome to the legal immigration system "” a Byzantine world of bureaucratic bungling and unconscionable waits for those who try to play by the rules.

    Unless you have a relative here, or a job waiting for you, or you're granted political asylum, there's virtually no legal way in. And if you do have a connection, you'll probably wait for a long, long time. Some people have stood on line for more than 20 years.

    Small wonder so many people just skip the process and enter the country illegally, or come here on temporary visas and then stay. For all the screaming about illegal immigration, now focused on a bill in the U.S. Senate, the truth is that legal immigration is so difficult that it gives normally law-abiding people potent incentives to cheat. No immigration reform will work unless that changes.

    Of those who choose the legal route, by far the largest group is people such as the Abdos, who have relatives here. At the moment, the waiting list is more than 4 million people long, allocated by country.

    The Senate compromise attempts to deal with this by promising to clear the backlog within eight years. Until then, no green cards would be given to people now here illegally.

    That's not entirely fair. It's still a long wait, and in the interim, immigrants here illegally could get safe harbor while those seeking legal entry wait outside. But it's at least a start. The 12 million people here illegally aren't going to be rounded up and deported in any case.

    The Senate could do better, though. The bill fails to address the nonsensical age-21 glitch leaving Abdo and his family in Memphis and his now-adult son in war-torn Lebanon.

    More broadly, it does nothing to help legal residents bring their children and spouses here more quickly, which is heartless. Nuclear families should be able to stay together.

    An even larger question is whether the glacial immigration system is capable of trimming the backlog. The money is supposed to come later.

    As Congress tries to fix the immigration mess, it needs to remember that any system of legal immigration as onerous and time-consuming as the current one is doomed to undermine respect for the law and encourage even greater levels of illegal immigration. And that people such as the Abdos, who've followed the rules, deserve fair treatment and an opportunity to realize their dreams.

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  • mike_2007
    replied
    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Saying judges have been "intemperate or even abusive," Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Tuesday ordered a review of immigration courts and insisted that they improve their treatment of immigrants.

    Gonzales did not say what prompted his sharply worded memo. However, aides said internal information and media reports prompted the unusual admonition of employees.

    "I have watched with concern the reports of immigration judges who fail to treat aliens appearing before them with appropriate respect and consideration, and who fail to produce the quality of work that I expect from employees of the Department of Justice," Gonzales wrote.

    Justice Department officials say critical press reports were one of many factors that prompted the memo. A recent account in The New York Times quoted a federal appeals court ruling that claimed circuit judges continuously had to rebuke immigration judges for their "intemperate and humiliating remarks."

    A federal appeals court in Chicago concluded in November that handling of immigration cases had "fallen below the minimum standards of legal justice."

    A Justice Department official insisted that such problems represent only a fraction of cases appealed from immigration courts, and Gonzales was quick to emphasize that he wasn't painting all immigration judges with the same brush.

    "While I remain convinced that most immigration judges ably and professionally discharge their difficult duties, I believe there are some whose conduct can aptly be described as intemperate or even abusive and whose work must improve," Gonzales said.

    The attorney general wrote an almost identical memo to members of the Board of Immigration Appeals, saying he instructed acting Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty and Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum to conduct a comprehensive review of immigration courts.

    "I have requested that the review include the quality of work as well as the manner in which it is performed," Gonzales wrote.

    Deborah Notkin, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, commended Gonzales for ordering the review.

    Immigration lawyers have had "deep and long-standing concerns about the functioning of the immigration courts and the behavior of the immigration judges," she said in a written statement. "Increasingly, courts are reversing immigration decisions due to seriously flawed immigration judge decisions."

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  • mike_2007
    replied
    When he left Guatemala, Melvin De Leon Machado carried a garbage bag stuffed with clothing, $3 and a burden no child should have to bear.

    He was running from people who already had tried to kill him and who promised to keep trying.


    Karen Ducey / P-I
    Melvin Muchado leaves his Kirkland apartment to drop off a job application. He is among the lucky few to find a home and job in the United States after arriving in this country as a 13-year-old unaccompanied immigrant.
    "I felt like everything was just falling down on top of me," Machado, now 18 and living in Kirkland, said.

    He was 13, alone and on a journey that would take him from south of Mexico to the northwest corner of the United States.

    He also was on his way to becoming one of more than 5,000 unaccompanied children each year who show up on America's doorstep and become wards of a bureaucracy that doesn't know what to do with them and often treats them like criminals. Just under 100 of them end up in Washington state every year.

    And though many of these children could make legitimate claims for asylum, they often give up or are rejected -- and consequently deported -- because the system does not provide attorneys and social workers needed to navigate through immigration court.

    Less than half of the detained juveniles receive legal counsel in immigration proceedings, according to two prominent studies, including one by Amnesty International USA released yesterday.

    "We are letting children down," said Molly Daggett, of Lutheran Community Services in Seattle, the organization that helped place Machado and many other immigrants in Northwest foster homes.

    "I've worked with a 15-year-old girl from Somalia who applied for asylum," Daggett said. "She had seen her entire family murdered in front of her."

    The girl did not speak English.

    "To expect them to be able to complete an asylum application on their own and to expect that they can articulate their 'well-founded fear of persecution' -- and to do it while they are shackled -- is unrealistic."

    Before they can be put in foster homes, they are often locked up in such places as Martin Hall, a detention center near Spokane built to house juveniles accused of the worst crimes. It is now the only detention facility in Washington to get the youths and takes in four or five immigrants a month to house at federal government expense.

    Martin Hall also came under heavy criticism in the Amnesty International report for being the wrong place to house youths whose only crime is lack of citizenship.

    "It is appalling that many officials don't understand the difference between a juvenile offender and an unaccompanied child and that they deny these fragile young asylum seekers respect and rights," said Dr. William Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International in the United States. "This is grossly unfair to children. ... Many have fled dangerous situations, including child trafficking, abusive families and armed rebel forces. When we treat these children harshly, they are further traumatized, and our country's credibility as a protector of rights is eroded."

    At Martin Hall, the young immigrants do not receive the psychological counseling that would help them deal with the trauma they've experience in their home country and the United States, advocates for the youths say.

    Run by Butte, Mont.-based Community Counseling and Correctional Corp., Martin Hall has contracts with nine area counties, three Native American tribes and the federal immigration service. Leon Covington, chief correctional supervisor in charge of Martin Hall, said the children get counseling for emotional distress. But the help isn't designed specifically for immigrants and any sort of counseling is rare.

    An on-site case manager calls in Spokane Mental Health counselors to assess those in emotional distress, Covington said.

    Advocates for the youngsters say that no matter where the children are housed, they should have access to trained counselors familiar with the unique issues associated with young refugees.

    Few of these young immigrants come from what is accepted as normal childhoods -- Machado included.


    Karen Ducey / P-I
    Melvin Muchado takes a bus to check out a job at Jack in the Box. The Kirkland resident has come a long way since his arrival in the United States.
    A pink scar above his left eye marks the day a gang tore into him with a blade and a baseball bat, ready to settle a grudge against his absentee father with the blood of a 12-year-old boy.

    If not for the stranger who saw the attack -- and stepped in to stop it -- the five-year odyssey that carried Machado from a small village in El Salvador through Guatemala to the Seattle suburb of Kirkland likely would have never begun.

    It would take more than a year and 15 attempts before he passed the first hurdle and got to Brownsville, Texas.

    Machado was starving, sun scorched and thankful to be alive.

    A border patrol agent greeted him with an offhanded joke: Thanks for not making me chase you down. He also offered Machado french fries and a hamburger -- the first signs that, unlike most other juvenile immigrants seeking asylum, Machado had stumbled into a string of lucky breaks that ultimately would lead to him becoming a legal U.S. resident.

    The agent also recognized that Machado was a minor, told him he had the right to seek asylum and transferred him to protective custody with the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

    Luck veers the other direction for an estimated 80,000 juvenile immigrants who get summarily turned back at the border each year.

    But with that first step, Machado was far from home free.

    He would spend the next 14 months in Texas, a ward of La Esperanza Home for Boys. Boredom and uncertainty became his worst enemies. The juvenile home in Texas is less intimidating than Martin Hall for kids like Machado. He was spared the prisonlike conditions and went through the long detention unscathed before being transferred directly to a foster home in Washington.

    The INS houses one third of the detained children -- more than 1,500 each year nationally -- in high-security lockups such as Martin Hall.

    The treatment of those young immigrants has drawn complaints from advocates and Congress. And it has forced change on the federal government.

    Responsibility of care for unaccompanied immigrant children was transferred in March from the INS to the Office of Refugee Relocation a division of the Administration of Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services.

    Yet, change on the ground isn't happening overnight. The new agency caring for children seeking asylum inherited its housing contracts from the INS.

    Children, who have witnessed their families executed, have been abandoned to life on the street, have been exploited by drug smugglers or sold as prostitutes, are still left in the care of guards who make no distinction between them and the juvenile offenders.

    Martin Hall's chief Covington does note that immigrant juveniles with no criminal record are separated from the general population.

    These are the children and the situation that Columbia Legal Services attorney Atieno Odhiambo has been working with for the past three years at Martin Hall.

    Today she works with a 14-year-old from Nicaragua who walked, hitchhiked and rode freight trains to escape a home where his parents beat him, denied him food for days and forced him to live outside in an abandoned van.

    Another 16-year-old boy, who has been in Martin Hall for six months, was sexually exploited before his arrival.

    They are detained in a facility that also houses children accused of murder, rape and assault. They are subjected to punishment that includes isolated confinement and physical restraint in a special chair or sled.

    Covington maintains that both confinement and restraint are primarily to prevent them from harming themselves.

    Suicide attempts by immigrant children -- which Odhiambo says have occurred four times in three years -- land them in the 6-foot-by-12-foot isolation cell.

    Covington disputes that. He says no one has ever attempted suicide at Martin Hall. Children on "suicide watch" are, however, put in the isolation of the intensive-management unit for observation. Though they are separated from the general population they are still allowed "amenities" such as meals, showers, phone calls and physical training, Covington said.

    Nonetheless, the reports from Amnesty International and The Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children condemn the treatment children are subject to at Martin Hall and other maximum-security juvenile detention centers.

    "They are routinely shackled and handcuffed during transfer," said Bill Frelick, refugee program director for Amnesty International USA and one of the researchers for the report issued yesterday. Odhiambo's clients' fates are still uncertain, and she says neither is doing well in Martin Hall.

    Machado is far more fortunate.

    His big break came when Lutheran Services got permission from the INS to place him in a Bellevue foster home. Machado got lucky again when he was connected with Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and a program called the Immigrant Child Advocacy Project, which provides legal representation to unaccompanied juveniles in immigration proceedings in Washington.

    He now lives in a sparsely decorated apartment in Kirkland. He just landed a job at a local burger joint to pay the bills. And despite everything he's gone through, Machado sums up his feelings about his experiences without complaint.

    "I'm content," he said. It is a satisfaction that remains out of reach for thousands of kids like him.

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  • mike_2007
    replied
    The American Civil Liberties Union joins with the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and other concerned individuals and organizations during this the "National Week of Action Against Immigration Raids" in calling for an end to abusive immigration raids. The abuses documented in various media accounts and in numerous court cases cannot be ignored. There is no excuse for physical and verbal abuses by INS officials, and there is no room for ethnic stereotyping in immigration enforcement or, for that matter, in other law enforcement activities.

    Abusive raids must be stopped because they:

    --Are conducted in a dragnet manner and sweep in citizens and lawfully-present aliens
    --Depart from Fourth Amendment principles of probable cause and reasonable suspicion of a violation as a basis for enforcement activities against particular people
    --Target individuals -- primarily Latinos and Asians -- based on their national origin or on proxies for national origin, such as appearance or accent
    --Are used by employers to thwart union organizing
    --Hamper efforts to protect immigrant communities from crime

    These raids do not target particular individuals about whom facts exist indicating that the person is in the country illegally. Instead these abusive raids sweep up every person nearby, citizens and authorized aliens alike, forcing all who are confined to prove their lawful presence to avoid continued detention.

    These abusive immigration raids deprive workers of basic Fourth Amendment protections. In many abusive raids, there is typically no probable cause of crime, or even of a violation of the immigration laws, that supports an entry onto property or detention of an individual. In fact, raids directed at employees are often conducted with the consent of the employer. However, the consent of the employer does nothing to further the interests of the true targets of the raid, the employees. Though workers have a right to refrain from answering questions, that right is illusory when questions are posed by armed officers in a coercive environment.

    Even raids conducted with a legitimate warrant, often referred to as a "Blackie's" warrant, [Blackie's House of Beef v. Castillo, (D.C. Cir. 1981)], are conducted in a dragnet fashion. The Blackie's warrant does not require that the INS name or even describe the allegedly undocumented aliens it seeks. Consequently, the raid is conducted by barring the exits, and questioning everybody, or discriminatorily questioning those who "look foreign" or speak with a foreign accent.

    These abusive raids target people based on their appearance, accent, or surname. While the INS has instructed its employees to refrain from using foreign appearance as the sole criterion in a work-site investigation, this discriminatory enforcement has not stopped. In fact, INS headquarters gave INS district offices a green light to use "foreign appearance" and "ethnic characteristics and language" in combination with other factors during work site raids to determine whom to question and/or detain.

    Dragnet tactics that characterize an abusive immigration raid inevitably entangle citizens who are not -- and who should not be -- required to carry with them identity papers, or to retrieve them from home to satisfy an agent of the government. These practices are inconsistent with the principles that underlie the Fourth Amendment, the equal protection component of the Due Process clause, and the most basic notion of privacy: the right to be left alone.

    Employers often abuse immigration raids to head off union organizing drives. Employers sometimes report their own work premises to the INS in order to prompt a raid and disrupt the organizing effort. We reiterate our call on the INS to refrain from conducting raids of work sites during union organizing drives.

    INS enforcement operations that involve local police are also counter-productive and should be abandoned. The vesting of local law enforcement officials with immigration enforcement powers and joint law enforcement operations between local police and the INS both undermine enforcement of the criminal law. Community policing depends upon the trust and cooperation of the community to be protected. Witnesses to, and victims of crimes will simply not report them to police officers who have immigration enforcement duties, if such reporting could trigger immigration proceedings against themselves, their friends or members of their family. This mixing of law enforcement missions translates into more crimes going unsolved, or unstopped, in immigrant communities.

    The answer to abusive immigration raids is not -- as is proposed by the INS -- the placement of a Public Relations officer at each site when INS conducts an abusive raid. An INS PR officer's "spin" does nothing to restore dignity to a person who is intimidated, detained and questioned without any particularized suspicion at a work site, or a park, or on a street corner, just because of ethnic appearance. Rather, this practice must end, and be replaced by law enforcement operations focused on particular suspects, not on entire work forces, entire communities, or everybody on a given street corner. This may be news to the officials in Chandler, Arizona, who went door-to-door last year looking for undocumented aliens: there is no such thing as an "illegal neighborhood."

    The answer, rather, is to abandon the practice of indiscriminately rounding up people and putting the burden on them to prove their lawful presence. Immigration enforcement operations should be held to the same standards of particularity and suspicion as are other law enforcement operations.

    In addition, we call on Congress to repeal the laws that foster the abuses. In 1986, legislation was adopted to impose sanctions on employers who hire undocumented workers. The ACLU has long opposed employer sanctions because they result in discrimination against Asian and Latino workers based on appearance and accent. It's time for Congress to admit that this experiment has failed, and that employer sanctions must end.

    Though they have turned employers into immigration cops, work places into immigration check points, and workers into numbers tracked in a computerized data base maintained by the federal government, employer sanctions have failed to discourage the undocumented from coming to the United States. The fact that some abusive raids are justified as efforts to enforce employer sanctions is one more reason the employer sanctions law should be repealed.

    Instead, the root causes of undocumented immigration must be addressed, and workers' rights to a fair wage and safe working conditions must be better enforced to diminish the incentive for employers to hire and exploit the undocumented

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  • mike_2007
    replied
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...toryId=4170152

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  • mike_2007
    replied
    Whenever something goes wrong in the United States, immigrants are the first to be blamed or suspected. There has been a resurgence of anti-immigrant sentiment in this country since the terrorist acts of Sept. 11 and since the realization that we were in the midst of an economic recession. Now the recession may be over, but the attacks against immigrants continue.

    Consider:
    A recent Supreme Court ruling could have the unintended effect of giving employers the green light to deny compensation for work done by undocumented immigrants; the Justice Department is considering a voluntary plan to transform millions of local and state police officers into immigration agents; and no state would provide driver's licenses to people who cannot prove they are in this country legally. These are just some of the many measures taken against innocent immigrants after the attacks of September.
    Ironically, however, far from being guilty of terrorism and of the problems with the economy, immigrants in this country may be part of the solution.

    While it is true that those responsible for the deaths of more than 3,000 people at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania were foreigners, we, the immigrants living in the United States, are not terrorists. We must not be made scapegoats for the huge failures of the intelligence agencies"”the CIA and the FBI"”which made it possible to hijack four airplanes on Sept. 11.

    Contrary to what many people think, this is the most appropriate time to grant amnesty or to legalize the immigration status of the eight million or more undocumented immigrants living in this country. Doing so would enable the U.S. government and its intelligence agencies to locate and identify people who, to all intents and purposes, don't exist or are invisible. This idea is not illogical.

    High-ranking officials in Mexico and the United States tried to formulate by the end of the year 2001 a concrete proposal about the future of millions of illegal Mexicans in U.S. territory. This all came to a halt on Sept. 11. The talks between both governments have resumed, however, and just a few weeks ago, during the visit of Mexico's State Secretary Jorge Castañeda to Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell gave a sign of hope.

    "I am determined, the President [Bush] is determined ... to get back to this very important issue of regularizing the movement of Mexicans back and forth," said Powell. "We haven't given up."

    The migration negotiations between Mexico and the United States are urgent. Each year more than 300 immigrants die while attempting to cross the border illegally. But more than 300,000 make it safely to the other side. A migration agreement would allow for a safe, controlled and regulated flow of immigrants.

    And just as it makes sense to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants in the fight against terrorism and for humanitarian reasons, there are many arguments in favor of such a decision from an economic point of view. To begin with, immigrants helped the United States experience its last economic boom, and this country will recover from its current crisis thanks in part to their contributions as well.
    There is a tendency to argue that immigrants take from this country much more than they give. This is a myth. The most comprehensive study on this subject, done by the National Academy of Sciences, clearly establishes that legal and illegal immigrants combined contribute more than 10
    billion dollars to the U.S. economy annually.
    Immigrants are necessary to avoid inflation and to keep prices low. Without immigrants, a tomato might cost $5; a hamburger $20; a filet mignon $50; and Americans would have to pay two or three times more to rent or buy a house. In addition, the United States needs more immigrants"”who of course pay taxes and create jobs"”to support a rapidly aging population.

    This nation was built by immigrants, and each of us living in the United States, with the exception of Native Americans, is either an immigrant or of immigrant descent. Every one. Yet there is a tendency to forget this unequivocal fact in times of crisis"”be it financial or of national security.
    There is no place in this country where one doesn't hear Spanish, or where the influence of the various Latin American cultures is not felt. This should not be considered a threat, however. Quite the contrary.

    Latinos are being assimilated without much difficulty in the United States. They rapidly get better salaries, higher levels of education, and the large majority of them learn to speak English (according to a study at the University of Southern California). Besides, no one questions their patriotism. After the terrorists acts of September, there were U.S. flags flying from Hialeah, Florida, and Pilsen in Chicago, to Brooklyn, And, as usual, when the U.S. goes to war, a high percentage of American soldiers fighting in Afghanistan have last names such as Rodríguez, Salinas and Pérez.
    Despite these signs of support and unity, the attacks against immigrants do not stop. In a recent interview, the Director of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, told me that undocumented immigrants "in a very technical sense, as law breakers, you could define them as criminals". And that is precisely the problem. The majority of immigrants are not criminals nor potential terrorists. Yet many people share Mr. Ridge's point of view. Something must be done to change such misconceptions.

    The United States is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-racial nation and accepting itself as such is the real challenge. Herein lies its strength and its future. To be anti-immigrant is in fact to be anti-American.

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  • mike_2007
    replied
    President Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox are talking about legalization and guest-worker programs. But it's doubtful anything will change much unless the American public gets over its antiquated view of the term "illegal immigrant."

    My own experience tells me there's a different perspective at La Migra, a.k.a. the INS, bureaucratically known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

    Go back 20 years or so. I'm a kid traveling back to California from a big-time, expensive East Coast college -- two syllables, the second syllable rhymes with "lard."

    It was Christmas vacation. The scholarship money was so tight, I took a Greyhound. Not a dog, the bus. There is no BART from the East Coast. The ride was smooth from Boston to New York, but then, in Philadelphia, a swarthy gentleman in a large overcoat came up to me in my seat.

    "Can I see your papers?"

    To which I replied: "I've got the Times and the Globe. And I'm not finished with the sports page of either. Which section do you want?"

    I had the wrong papers. And the wrong skin color. But they don't deport you for being a smart-***. Besides, if I was really an "illegal alien," don't you think I would have found a decent car trunk to ride in? Flummoxed, the Immigration guy left.

    Fast forward to today -- and, my, have things changed! Sure, there are border patrols. But the rest of the time, the INS agents are hanging out at the Cambodian donut shops. Having seconds.

    The fact is, they just don't crack down among the so-called illegal immigrants like they used to. It's gotten to the point where calling them "illegal immigrants" just doesn't work. Illegal? You mean like Al Capone? He didn't pay taxes. Many undocumented workers pay thousands in taxes.

    During a recent visit to the Central Valley, I found myself in an apartment complex teeming with "illegals." A police officer had arrived on the scene for some reason. And people just nonchalantly went about their business. There was no fear. They all felt rooted in America.

    Weren't they "illegal?" Not to the police officer at that apartment complex.

    So what do you call them? "Undocumented" is more than just politically correct. But if you ask them how they see themselves, you'd be surprised.

    "I'm an American," said Gustavo, a 19-year-old from the Central Valley. "I've been here a long time. I consider myself a citizen. I spent most of my life here, not [in Mexico]. I wasn't born here, but I still consider this my country."

    Gustavo gave me his last name, but why tempt fate? He doesn't fear the INS. But the laws are irrational, and enforcement, selective. To protect the innocent, let's just leave it at Gustavo.

    He's part of a bold generation of undocumented immigrants that really isn't being addressed in the discussions between Bush and Fox. They're talking about aging hotel workers and guys with straw hats. Not young up-and-comers like Gustavo, who is more concerned with some simple matters that can be addressed right here, right now, in California.

    Gustavo is a member of a second generation of undocumented immigrants who are more ours than not. He came to America when he was 7. His parents sold all their belongings in Mexico and headed north. Is he an " illegal immigrant"? No, he's an innocent one.

    "I didn't have any choice," he told me. "They just said, 'We're leaving, and that's it.' No discussion."

    Now Gustavo is glad his parents came to California, where they have worked in the fields and in service jobs -- and are still undocumented. Their coming to America also meant public school for Gustavo. Through his years in high school he studied math and science. He graduated with a 3.8 GPA. He was the pride of his counselors, who promised him a shot at UC Berkeley.

    But then he applied and discovered his diploma and his 3.8 report card were the wrong papers. Residency became an issue. He could go to Cal as a nonresident, but at a significantly higher rate.

    He's going to a community college now. He says his family is paying $3,000 a year, not the $1 his classmates with green cards pay.

    Gustavo knows he's nowhere without a decent education, so he's joining other so-called illegal immigrants who are willing to speak out and demand what they believe is fair. "I could be deported," he says. "But it doesn't matter if I don't have the chance to go to school."

    So while Fox and Bush have their state dinner and talk about what could be, Gustavo knows it could be a long time before anything happens. He pins his hopes on a simple matter that is floundering in Sacramento.

    It's AB 540, also known as the Firebaugh bill. To Gustavo, it's his ticket out of another generation in the fields. The bill would allow undocumented students the right to the same public postsecondary education as residents.

    So far, the bill has taken baby steps and seems mired in the state legislature. But its passage makes sense to undocumented residents like Gustavo whose future isn't Mexico. It's America.

    Ironically, a similar law has already passed in Texas, where even conservatives realize "illegal immigrants" are real contributors.

    In time, it will pass. But only when people begin to see "illegal immigrants" as anything but. Whether one is willing to admit it or not, many of them represent the future of America. They're kids like Gustavo, who wants to go to Berkeley. He's no illegal immigrant. He's an innocent one.

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  • mike_2007
    started a topic innocent immigrants

    innocent immigrants

    President Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox are talking about legalization and guest-worker programs. But it's doubtful anything will change much unless the American public gets over its antiquated view of the term "illegal immigrant."

    My own experience tells me there's a different perspective at La Migra, a.k.a. the INS, bureaucratically known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

    Go back 20 years or so. I'm a kid traveling back to California from a big-time, expensive East Coast college -- two syllables, the second syllable rhymes with "lard."

    It was Christmas vacation. The scholarship money was so tight, I took a Greyhound. Not a dog, the bus. There is no BART from the East Coast. The ride was smooth from Boston to New York, but then, in Philadelphia, a swarthy gentleman in a large overcoat came up to me in my seat.

    "Can I see your papers?"

    To which I replied: "I've got the Times and the Globe. And I'm not finished with the sports page of either. Which section do you want?"

    I had the wrong papers. And the wrong skin color. But they don't deport you for being a smart-***. Besides, if I was really an "illegal alien," don't you think I would have found a decent car trunk to ride in? Flummoxed, the Immigration guy left.

    Fast forward to today -- and, my, have things changed! Sure, there are border patrols. But the rest of the time, the INS agents are hanging out at the Cambodian donut shops. Having seconds.

    The fact is, they just don't crack down among the so-called illegal immigrants like they used to. It's gotten to the point where calling them "illegal immigrants" just doesn't work. Illegal? You mean like Al Capone? He didn't pay taxes. Many undocumented workers pay thousands in taxes.

    During a recent visit to the Central Valley, I found myself in an apartment complex teeming with "illegals." A police officer had arrived on the scene for some reason. And people just nonchalantly went about their business. There was no fear. They all felt rooted in America.

    Weren't they "illegal?" Not to the police officer at that apartment complex.

    So what do you call them? "Undocumented" is more than just politically correct. But if you ask them how they see themselves, you'd be surprised.

    "I'm an American," said Gustavo, a 19-year-old from the Central Valley. "I've been here a long time. I consider myself a citizen. I spent most of my life here, not [in Mexico]. I wasn't born here, but I still consider this my country."

    Gustavo gave me his last name, but why tempt fate? He doesn't fear the INS. But the laws are irrational, and enforcement, selective. To protect the innocent, let's just leave it at Gustavo.

    He's part of a bold generation of undocumented immigrants that really isn't being addressed in the discussions between Bush and Fox. They're talking about aging hotel workers and guys with straw hats. Not young up-and-comers like Gustavo, who is more concerned with some simple matters that can be addressed right here, right now, in California.

    Gustavo is a member of a second generation of undocumented immigrants who are more ours than not. He came to America when he was 7. His parents sold all their belongings in Mexico and headed north. Is he an " illegal immigrant"? No, he's an innocent one.

    "I didn't have any choice," he told me. "They just said, 'We're leaving, and that's it.' No discussion."

    Now Gustavo is glad his parents came to California, where they have worked in the fields and in service jobs -- and are still undocumented. Their coming to America also meant public school for Gustavo. Through his years in high school he studied math and science. He graduated with a 3.8 GPA. He was the pride of his counselors, who promised him a shot at UC Berkeley.

    But then he applied and discovered his diploma and his 3.8 report card were the wrong papers. Residency became an issue. He could go to Cal as a nonresident, but at a significantly higher rate.

    He's going to a community college now. He says his family is paying $3,000 a year, not the $1 his classmates with green cards pay.

    Gustavo knows he's nowhere without a decent education, so he's joining other so-called illegal immigrants who are willing to speak out and demand what they believe is fair. "I could be deported," he says. "But it doesn't matter if I don't have the chance to go to school."

    So while Fox and Bush have their state dinner and talk about what could be, Gustavo knows it could be a long time before anything happens. He pins his hopes on a simple matter that is floundering in Sacramento.

    It's AB 540, also known as the Firebaugh bill. To Gustavo, it's his ticket out of another generation in the fields. The bill would allow undocumented students the right to the same public postsecondary education as residents.

    So far, the bill has taken baby steps and seems mired in the state legislature. But its passage makes sense to undocumented residents like Gustavo whose future isn't Mexico. It's America.

    Ironically, a similar law has already passed in Texas, where even conservatives realize "illegal immigrants" are real contributors.

    In time, it will pass. But only when people begin to see "illegal immigrants" as anything but. Whether one is willing to admit it or not, many of them represent the future of America. They're kids like Gustavo, who wants to go to Berkeley. He's no illegal immigrant. He's an innocent one.
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