We need immigration reform--and Mexico needs to stop oppressing its poor. The richest man in the world, Carlos Slim (left), achieved his wealth on the backs of the poor of Mexico.
We need immigration reform
By John C. Wester (at left in photo)
Catholic Bishop, Salt Lake City
Upon signing into law SB 1070, the Arizona immigration bill which would make enforcement targets of anyone looking foreign-born in that state, Gov. Jan Brewer complained: "We in Arizona have waited patiently for Washington to act. But decades of federal inaction and misguided policy have created a dangerous and unacceptable situation. "
I would agree, but with an amendment. I would say that all Americans have waited for the federal government to find a solution to the problem of illegal immigration. They have acted, for sure, but not in the right way and not for the right reasons. I would also agree that the situation is dangerous and unacceptable, but that Arizona's SB 1070 makes it worse, not better.
The federal government since 2002 has spent over $100 billion on immigration enforcement initiatives. This amounts to a doubling of Border Patrol agents to almost 20,000, nearly 700 miles of border fencing, a failed "virtual" fence costing billions, and a tripling of detention beds.
This is not to mention the manpower, weaponry, and other resources spent on immigration enforcement raids over the past several years, used to whisk away powerless mothers and fathers from their even more powerless children.
Yet, despite this strategy, along with its tragic human consequences, there has been no sustainable progress. In fact, the number of undocumented has risen over 50 percent in the past ten years, from 7 million in the 2000 Census to 11 million today.
To borrow from a nursery rhyme, all of the King's horses and all of the King's men have not put our immigration system back together again.
Arizona's SB 1070 is not an affirmation that enforcement measures alone are the right approach to illegal immigration, but a confirmation that enforcement-only tactics have not worked. It should be a wake-up call--a cry from the desert, if you will--to our national leaders that another approach is needed.
Despite its controversy, comprehensive immigration reform is the best way to secure the border and make us a safer nation...