Sunday, May 28, 2006

Immigration reform

President Bush ordered 6,000 National Guard Troops to the Mexican border to help combat what he called a "matter of national importance". Thinking that this may cause unintended consequences, but not being involved directly in immigration issues, I decided to interview a border patrol agent and get his view on the issue. Since this is a semi-public blog, this agent will remain anonymous.

How long have you been with the Border Patrol?
21 years four months and six days

During this time, where have you worked at?
Southern stations, 3 northern stations and details to San Diego and Fort Isabel

What are some changes you have observed after the Border Patrol was realigned under Homeland Security in 2001?
Priority is now terrorists and terrorists’ weapons. They have shifted away from immigrants

In the President's speech, he said that he increased funding for the Border Patrol by 66%. Has this been enough money to be effective, and what do you see most of the funds going to?
It’s not that effective. You have to be able to utilize the authority you've got; spending money looks good but it we were more effective 20 years ago with nothing than today with all our money and our hands tied.

President Bush also said that he was raising the number of agents from 9,000 to 18,000 by 2008. What are you feelings on this?
It's a lark, they are not training agents, it's just bulk and it doesn't work. You have to be able to enforce the laws. Without enforcement, it's just holding hands down the border

Do you think fences at the border in Urban Centers will significantly combat the stem of immigration?
No, they [this administration] don’t want to stop it. He's making it sound good, but he has no intention of stopping it. This is cheap labor for his campaign contributors

Do you foresee any trouble with the 6000 National Guardsmen that will help patrol the border for the next 2 years?
They have no power to arrest, and they were designed for national emergency. The immigration increase has been going on for the last 10 years. This is not a military problem, nor a national emergency: it's a growing crisis.

What ramifications do you see of the abolishment of the "catch and release" system?
It's all about money, they've turned over a country: there are too many illegals here. They may say that they're getting rid of it, but that's not going to happen. The other thing is it's difficult to tell where illegals are coming from. "Catch and release" came up because it's more expensive to ship illegals back to their home country than just to Mexico: you're going to find more agents just sending people we have suspicions coming from some South American country to Mexico because it's cheaper. This works well for the illegal, because Mexico is much closer to coming back in [to the US].

Shifting gears for a bit, what do you think of the recent bill to make English the US's official language that has recently passed in the Senate?
Look through your history books, see how any group that has had multiple languages has failed.

So you support the change?
Absolutely.

Any thing else you would like to add?
No, I think that's okay

Interesting, is it not, that this is the feelings of a Border Patrol agent. By no means is this the only person in the Border Patrol who holds these beliefs, (although there are less conservative agents).

I disagree with most of the post. I think people who are so afraid of Mexican immigrants have a strong level of racism and fear of change. But, instead of going off on it, I'd just like to direct you to a few country, more specifically their languages and GDP.

Sweden
Canada
Finland
Israel
United Kingdom
New Zealand

Now let's look at some countries that only have one official language.
Saudi Arabia
France
China
North Korea

I'm beginning to think that a country can thrive with more than one language, and having only one official language doesn't mean that it's going to benefit anyone.

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