Arrest them coming and going. Illegal immigrants also risk arrest leaving U.S.
DECLARING that “self-deportation” is the solution to illegal immigration, Mitt Romney gave voice to an idea in wide currency among Republicans — that America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants would simply go home if government made their lives miserable enough. If they want to return to the United States, said Mr. Romney, they can get to the “back of the line.”
As for the idea of getting to “the back of the line,” that assumes a line exists for low-skilled Mexicans lacking family connections in the United States. There is no such line that would realistically result in the issuance of a green card to an unskilled Mexican with no relatives in the United States. Even if a Mexican has, say, parents or siblings who are U.S. citizens, he would likely wait 15 to 20 years or more just to get an interview with a U.S. consular officer.
Mr. Romney also wrongly imagines that illegal immigrants, who are mostly Mexicans, can be easily uprooted. In fact, nearly two-thirds have been here for more than a decade, and more than 28 percent arrived more than 15 years ago. Their roots here are deep.
But there are many illegals that are trying to go home. They have figured out that the US may not be the land of opportunity for them. They may just be homesick. But whatever the reason, estimates are that as many illegals are returning to Mex. each year as there are illegals coming here.
With all the rhetoric, debates, more states passing anti-immigration laws, politicians using it as a political football, you would think the US would be doing everything it can to make it easier for illegals to return to MX.
But that is not the case. In the past year, the Obama administration has set up the full-time south bound checkpoints .
By Dennis Wagner, USA TODAY
NOGALES, Ariz. — Undocumented immigrants who decide to leave the United States because of increasing enforcement and decreasing job prospects now face one more obstacle: the threat of arrest and deportation by border officers inspecting outbound traffic.
Bonnie Arellano, a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said that when illegal immigrants are detected trying to leave the country, they are not just ushered across the line. Instead, they are processed and formally removed.
The consequences of an arrest can be harsh: Those deported for unauthorized presence in the U.S. may be barred for 10 years from seeking legal immigrant papers. In addition, a later arrest for illegal entry may be prosecuted criminally.
Although the scrutiny was designed to catch smugglers delivering currency and firearms to Mexican cartels, immigrants with otherwise clean records sometimes get caught in that net, said Guadalupe Ramirez, director at the Nogales port. Port inspectors use discretion in deciding whether a person should be allowed to accept voluntary removal, he said.
"The whole idea is there are going to be consequences now for people who come into the United States with the sole purpose of doing illegal activity," Ramirez said. "Our job tells us if we find somebody at a port coming or going that is in violation of our laws, we are going to document it."
For the past year, border officials have conducted round-the-clock screening of southbound traffic out of the USA. Some advocates for immigrants say the policy deters illegal immigrants from leaving, even though that's the government's goal.
"It demonstrates the inconsistency and contradictions within our laws," said Isabel Garcia, co-chairwoman of Derechos Humanos, an immigrant rights group in Tucson. "Instead of permitting people who want to leave, we punish them in this fashion."
Even some groups dedicated to border security and immigration controls are critical of the policy. William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration, last week called on the government to adopt a "safe passage" program. "We are asking the Obama administration to designate border checkpoints ... illegal immigrants can use to leave the U.S. without fear."
The Obama administration — in an effort to intercept weapons and cartel money — set up the full-time southbound checkpoints.
"On a weekly basis, we make multiple seizures and pick up people who have warrants for rape, child molestation and murder," Ramirez said.
While catching criminals leaving the country is laudable, when illegal immigrants are detected trying to leave the country, they are not just ushered across the line. Instead, they are processed and formally removed as per the spokesperson for Customs and Immigration. That is not laudable. In fact it seems rather stupid.
Words are powerful weapons, be careful how you use them.
Re: Arrest them coming and going. Illegal immigrants also risk arrest leaving U.S.
We really need comprehensive immigration reform, and I believe that Obama has supported it all along, but the hysteria from anti-immigration fanatics about "amnesty" is pretty overwhelming. It's also not helpful that many of the crazies questioning the President's birth certificate also happened to be from the extreme fringe of the anti-immigration movement.