Monday, April 4, 2011


Commentators on immigration and immigration reform issues offer various views on the chances of passing meaningful immigration legislation before the 2012 Presidential election.

I'm in the camp of those who believe that the possibilities of getting some immigration in the coming months and year are improving by the day. Three reasons give me hope: first, the nation's economy continues to improve. With an improving economy and the creation of many new jobs, people become less concerned about looking for scapegoats to explain the economic downturn. Back in December 2000 when the unemployment rate was 3.9%, no one raised any concern about immigrants--legal or not.

Second, the vast majority of American people realize we are an immigrant nation, and they are open to hearing and discussing reasonable solutions which both help our society to improve and our immigrants to come out of the shadows. All recent polls point to this encouraging feeling among Americans.

And third, with Hispanics now totalling some 50 million people, and with the high percentage of Hispanics under 21, political parties need to reach out to immigrants in a manner that is more just, fair, and realistic. Those younger Hispanics become voters, and political parties need to take steps which encourage membership in their parties. Harsh, repressive measures against "illegal aliens" make certain that Hispanics will join groups which support and assist them.

The relentless cry among so many that border security is the highest priority does not ring true. Our nation has spent billions of dollars on border security, taking unprecedented steps to secure all our borders. But total border security is impossible when two factors remain current: lower-income jobs need to be filled in our country, and the insatiable demand for illegal drugs on the part of our citizens.

Our national paradox remains: on the borders of our country we have erected two signs, about 100 feet apart. The first says HELP WANTED; and the second says NO TRESPASSING. We presently have no workable system to balance the demand and the supply for lower wage jobs.

I remain confident that the coming weeks could lead to some breakthroughs--maybe with the DREAM Act, or with AgJobs. Both make sense, and most Americans have common sense and the desire to take some positive steps to bring 11 million people out from the shadows.