Illegal immigration – A global problem

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SANTA TERESA, N.M. – Recent headlines in the U.S. have focused on a major influx of undocumented immigrants crossing our southern border with Mexico, many of them children either traveling alone or with single mothers seeking refuge. According to Homeland Security some 52,000 children have arrived on the U.S.-Mexico border since October of last year, most coming from Central American countries including Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, looking to escape the upsurge in violence and destitution threatening those countries. Some, apparently, are trying to take advantage of special treatment afforded children and families that cross the border illegally which they believe, mistakenly or otherwise, will allow them to stay. The paid “coyotes” smuggling them encourage this misinformation in promoting their services throughout the perilous journey from their home countries to the border. This is only the latest in the influx of undocumented (illegal) immigrants from the south that have looked to the U.S. for shelter from economic and/or violent social oppression in their homelands. While the details may vary, the problem of illegal immigration is not limited solely to the U.S., but is in fact a global problem that requires a far more comprehensive approach than we or any other nation is taking.

(©Raymundo Aguirre)

(©Raymundo Aguirre)

Upsurge in Europe

For instance in Europe there has been an upsurge in illegal immigration going back many years where impoverished and persecuted peoples from Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and former Soviet Union countries have made the often perilous treks to enter Europe in hopes of finding a better life. Many arrive by inland routes crossing into Eastern Europe via Albania, Greece, Turkey and other eastern European borders, coming from such countries as Georgia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Syria, and Bangladesh. Others take sea routes from Africa in the Western and Central Mediterranean, with refugees fleeing the poverty and violence in Syria, Libya, Tunisia, Somalia, Eritrea and elsewhere. Latest figures show at least 103,000 people illegally entered the EU in 2013, literally risking their lives, hoping to find economic opportunity and the security lacking in their home countries. Those numbers have only grown as refugees have fled from growing violence in Syria, Somalia, and elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa.

The dangers to migrants was underscored last October when a boat carrying over 500 migrants from Africa capsized just off the tiny Italian island of Lampedus, where over 350 drowned. Such hazards do not deter the desperate immigrants—Italians this year alone estimate that over 50,000 illegal immigrants have entered their country. In partial answer to the problem, Italy has launched a new program, “Mare Nostrum”— “Our Sea,” where the Italian coast guard and navy look to intercept the refugee ships, provide assistance where needed, and bring the refugees to Sicily for further processing.

Of the 4,000 refugees recently brought to Sicily as part of Operation Mare Nostrum, close to 2,500 were rescued at sea. The Italian Interior Minister estimates as many as 15,000 people have recently crossed the Mediterranean. He believes up to 600,000 (!) are ready to flee Libya in the coming months adding to the crisis. They are dealing with it as a humanitarian issue but, as elsewhere, are under strong political pressure to keep the “illegals” at bay.

Australian Efforts

Spain faces similar issues given only the roughly 30 miles between its southern coast and the North African nation of Tunisia. In fact to enter Spain, Tunisian and other African refugees need not even set sail in the perilous Mediterranean Sea. They simply can cross into the Spanish African enclaves of Melilla or Ceuta bordered with Morocco and find political asylum similar to Cubans who find their way to the shores of the U.S. in Florida. This particular crossing is not easy as a heavily patrolled, double barbwire fence separates Morocco from the enclaves. That said, thousands assault the fences every year in huge waves of humanity, and overcome the Spanish border guards there to deter them. Spain has appealed to the EU to provide them monetary assistance to “beef up” their borders in building better fences, as well as barriers, along their coast line. While visiting the small town of Tarifa, Spain (thirty minutes by ferry to Tunisia) last year, I noticed some construction work on the city’s port entry. My boat captain explained the city was installing more barriers around the port to interdict would be refugees from Africa. In looking at the miles of open beach for miles around, I could only think that such efforts were futile. As to better fencing in Melilla or Ceuta — “show me a ten-foot fence and I will show you a man with a 12-foot ladder.” In other words, such efforts are likely to be no more effective than the billions of dollars we have invested in new fencing and sensors along our own Southern border.

Back in the U.S.

Relatively isolated Australia is not immune from the influx of refugees seeking better economic and social security. Historically, Australia is a nation of immigrants settled mostly by citizens from England beginning in the 18th century. Since 1945 more than 7 million people have migrated to Australia, with some 900,000 arriving since 2000 mostly with origins in Europe. Most modern-day immigrants arrive in Australia by air, are documented, and can be processed through the government’s normal immigrant and asylum procedures. Beginning with the end of the Vietnam war and through today’s turmoils in Afghanistan, Indonesia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia a, number of refugees began to arrive by sea, the majority (greater than 85%) because of the manner in which they were forced to flee from their home countries without proper documentation or visas. Until recently these “boat people” were treated in much the same manner as other immigrants seeking asylum. Many were held in detention centers until their refugee status as defined by international law could be determined. If certified as refugees they were allowed special status within the country which could eventually lead to permanent residency and/or citizenship. However, this past year a new government has instituted mandatory detentionof “unauthorized” arrivals by boat, stipulating that such “illegal” immigrants would never receive legal status in Australia and stripping them of rights under Australia’s Special Humanitarian Program. The “illegal” immigrants are instead now sent to detention centers outside of Australia, under agreements with Australian-administered territories of Nauru and Papua, New Guinea. Since December of 2013 no new arrivals by boat people have been allowed or even acknowledged, and an unknown number of boats were forced to return to their countries of origin, even those who actually reached Australian waters.

With more than 11 million estimated illegal/undocumented, mostly Latino immigrants in the U.S. and more coming every day, the members and leaders of both major parties (including the President) recognize the need for comprehensive immigration policy and law. Unfortunately, driven by extremists and partisan politics on both sides, no comprehensive immigration legislation has successfully moved forward, and the issue appears all but dead as the nation moves into the mid-term elections in November. As to the new influx of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, mostly knee-jerk reaction by the political factions calls for bringing the National Guard and other security measures to the border to stop the flood of “illegals” at our “porous” border. As in Europe and Australia, extremists are calling for the illegal immigrants to be repatriated to their homelands immediately, disregarding their refugee status or personal security issues that caused them to flee in the first place — this despite national and international laws to the contrary.

We claim to be a land of laws and demand that everyone adhere to the laws, including those who arrived and stayed without documentation. But we are also a land of immigrants beginning with our forefathers who fled the tyranny and political abuses of their homelands. All of the U.S., with the exception of Native Americans and enslaved blacks, arrived as immigrants, legal or otherwise. We have prided ourselves on being the “melting pot” of peoples, creating a new nation with liberty and justice for all. It has not been an easy passage in assimilating new peoples into this country. Each new wave of immigrants—from Ireland, Italy, Germany, China, Japan, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and elsewhere—have faced challenges from those who were already here, those who feared they would lose what gains they had achieved to the new comers. Obviously our immigration policies are severely strained with the new demands of global economies, global security, and global environmental assaults.

Just as obviously, a comprehensive approach is needed in the U.S., as well as the rest of the world. We have been and can be again the model for the rest of the world in dealing with our immigration problems. Yes, we should ensure that everyone is adhering to the law, but we should also ensure that those laws and their application are just and humanitarian as well. In our own hemisphere we need to address the long-term problems causing immigration—poverty, lack of security, corruption, etc. As in the present case of children and their parents fleeing Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, much of the problem can be laid at the feet of the drug cartels and the violence that has turned those countries into the “killing fields” of Central America. As has been argued in this blog in the past, our drug policies, intended or otherwise, directly fuel the huge profits supporting the cartels and their minions. There are no easy answers to our or the world’s immigration problems, but guns and fences provide no long-term solution here or elsewhere in the world.

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  1. Dave Francis on

    How much of you are willing to take, before you stand up and speak your mind? This is your occasion to be a true citizen. Build the pressure behind the National Tea Party and assist us to continue our overwhelming battle to take this President down. He’s running our beloved country into the ground, steering us straight into acute socialism. Under the guiding hand of Obama the IRS targeted conservative groups and the Tea Party, the NSA illegally spied on Americans, the Environmental Protection Agency is issuing Rules And Regulation at a accelerated rate, the Justice Department illegally wiretapped the press and Eric Holder committed multiple acts of perjury. At least two dozen scandals have rocked this presidency. When will enough be enough?

    No one wants to think about what unconscionable act Obama will do next… but we must be ready. Whatever the cost, Obama must be prevented from carrying out the final phase of his “primary change,” which has already caused mammoth damage that will take generations to unravel. The American people must act fast to get out calls across America and rally all grassroots family and friends and co-workers.

    We have watched in horror as Obama has lied, cheated and abused his way through the Oval office. It is time to get rid of him. Help us reach Washington with a loud, clear message: This President has disgraced America, staining the office of the President of the United States. He has committed far too many miserable and unforgivable acts. It was a sad joke when he proclaimed, that this would be the most transparent government.

    PETITION URGENTLY REQUESTING THAT CONGRESS LAUNCH AN INDEPENDENT AND COMPREHENSIVE INVESTIGATION INTO UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND IMPEACHABLE OFFENSES ON THE PART OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

    Read more at http://www.teaparty.org/ this is ONLY ONE of many petitions on the Internet to impeach this man ignoring the Rule of Law and the U.S. Constitution.

    It is time for him to go and it is our patriotic duty to send that message loud and clear. His death wish for America is growing. We are close to being annihilated as Obama shreds every last ounce of freedom defined by our Constitution. Shockingly, there are still Americans who do not know about the crimes he is perpetrating upon this nation and his somewhat clandestine violations of law. Obama is the worst president in the history of the United States—and the most toxic. He has proven his loyalty to illegal aliens, demonstrated utter disdain for America and complete disrespect for our military. Our foreign policy is in shambles.

    In considering the fact, AND IT IS A FACT, that these “alleged’ these mostly unaccompanied children have arrived on the US border and literary thrown themselves to the agents. It was as if the scenario had been rehearsed, with their talking point answers, as the Democrat officials are answering questions before a “house committees” on “Fast & Furious” gun running, Benghazi, Veterans Administration and yet another debacle of the IRS of destroyed Emails. Americans from both parties and Independents are not that gullible. But then again maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised because the only unease is that many human parasites who voted for Obama and even illegal aliens “who illegally voting for the people in DC “want Something for nothing” And they were unquestionably right collecting free Medicaid, under the diuretic Affordable Care Act, and the benefits that hard working Americans have paid into a retirement pool all their lives.

    This government has never attempted to produce a federal budget, just always pressing for more money; not that the Republics have not always got one hand in the state and federal revenue till. It seems forever that long before Obama presidency, which the borders have remained a giant sieve? Personally I don’t think there was any intention to seal that border on the lines of the Israeli barrier. Fly over this demarcation line between the U.S. and Mexico and whether it’s Southern Texas, New Mexico, and California many regions are still exposed to criminal activity the warning signs signify it. It’s certainly not the fact that the Border Patrol is not doing their duty, in keep the riffraff out, but there are miles of unfenced border. If they had originally built the 700 mile fence that former President Bush had inspired to, then we wouldn’t have this present calamity. The money spent in the first instance of 10, 20, 100 million dollars, or even a trillion would be incredulously worth it today. Just in California alone the spending spree for illegal aliens is 23.1 billion dollars.

    OBAMA NEEDS TO BE IMPEACHED AND ALL OF HIS POLITICAL CRONIES, INCLUDING ERIC HOLDER and all the lies.

    Can you even imagine the amount of dollars saved if employers went to prison for hiring illegal labor; millions of Americans working instead of currently seeking employment; money stolen by foreigners using somebody’s Social Security number. It seems so simple to implement a mandated E-very system at all ports of entry—even airline terminals. Better still a Universal digital Social Security card that curtail illegal voting and 100% usable for Identity. Even prior to Obama lifting restrictions on food stamps, federal paid housing and fraudulent child tax credits, foreign nationals had found loopholes to access public benefits. Its cheap labor for the special interests that include the gentleman farmers, trade unions and businesses for Republican Establishment The other side of the coin its blocks of Democratic votes, that could cost the lower or blue collar his job in future years. Both parties make you think they are enforcing the law at the border and internally, but its bull crap. Yet the voting public keeps electing the same old school politicians that haunt the halls of power making big cash rewards on insider trading.

    ITS BEEN PROVEN TIME & TIME AGAIN, THAT MOST OF THE NATIONAL PRESS IS BIASED, AS THEY COMPLETELY IGNORE THE MAIN SOURCES OF INFORMATION ABOUT OBAMA AND HIS SOCIALIST CRUSADE, THE BETRAYAL AND SPYING.

    All you have to do is don’t vote Democrat; don’t vote Republican; when you go to the ballot box make your decision on who will balance the federal and state budgets, Remove the Affordable Care Act.

    If you want change, then elect NEW THINKING Candidates of the National Tea party: removal of illegal aliens; No Amnesty; No Pathway to Citizenship and no drivers licenses; Abolishment of the IRS; introduce a fair or consumption tax, reduction in government itself; Returning the Department of Education, Environmental Protection Agency to State control. Building the Keystone pipeline and making America self-sufficient in Energy and not dependent on foreign oil, gas. Reduce to a minimum of Regulations for growing businesses. Stop the incessant rules and regulation that Americans face every day, by agencies to collect more taxes; Make corporate welfare a thing of the past.

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