Author: KC Walker

Troops On The Border – Again

Written by:  Kathleen Campbell Walker Sitting here in El Paso where I can actually view the border fence and one of our ports of entry from my office window,   I am disappointed to see the typical report about the placement of National Guard troops at the border during an election season.   We are not sure where the troops will be deployed yet, but both Congressman Reyes and Ciro Rodriguez are quoted in the El Paso Times today in support of the effort based on the dual nature of this request (training and enforcement support).     Both Representatives are expressing concerns about the parameters of the mission for the soldiers, and both have asked for more attention to border security related staffing issues for many years.  Apparently, the National Guard will again be directed to provide help in a support role with law enforcement agencies “that patrol” the border and the National Guard also  is to receive training as a part of this deployment to help them overseas later.   We have no idea if the National Guard will be helping an overtaxed and underfunded CBP at our ports in addition to the Border Patrol between our ports.  Governor Perry and Senator Cornyn are quoted in the same article indicating that such efforts are not enough.  Gov. Perry apparently wants to send 1,000 soldiers exclusively to the U.S. Mexico border.  What will be the mandate...

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9/11/2001 and U.S. Immigration

It does not seem possible that eight years could have passed since that terrible day when the U.S. was attacked. 9/11 marked many lasting changes here in the U.S., but it has forever changed how the issue of immigration is viewed. Immigration through an enforcement only lens has led to an incredible memory loss by some as to the positive contributions of immigrants to this country. Further, the issue of illegal immigration to this country has almost blotted out the legal immigration process. To improve the security of this country, we are constantly balancing the security gained by measures against the cost of those measures to our core beliefs. This important focus on security must be reviewed through a critical lens to accurately assess any gains in security. The 19 hijackers were all issued visas. They did not cross through a land border and they were not from Mexico and they were not undocumented. They all utilized the legal process to enter this country. According to the 9/11 Staff Investigations report, beginning in 1997, the 19 hijackers submitted 24 visa applications and received 23 visas. Each time, those visa applications were run against the State Department’s lookout database. Securing our land borders to the extent possible is an important goal, and we are using tremendous resources on illegal entry to the U.S. The land border should be one of...

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Seeing the Immigration World In Black and White

Today’s Washington Post contains the rebuttal of Rep. Lamar Smith, a fellow Texan and the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, to Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D. Ill) regarding recommended reforms to our dysfunctional immigration laws. See http://tinyurl.com/odg4hm Rep. Smith has worked on the issue of immigration for many years and is a dedicated member of Congress. He has represented constituents from the 21st congressional district since 1987. His educational credentials are admirable. The issue of immigration in the U.S., he has admitted is a complex, sensitive, and emotional subject. So why the black and white view espoused in his retort to Rep. Gutierrez today in the post of “Illegal immigrants knowingly broke our laws and entered our country illegally. They need to take responsibility for their actions, not blame others for the situation they caused.” Most are willing to learn English, be at the back of the line, pay a penalty for seeking a better life without following the winding and long legal path, pay back taxes, and wait many years before ever having the opportunity to take exams, show good moral character, and attempt to qualify for U.S. citizenship. Our laws provide them few options currently to take on that mandate for responsibilty. Currently, many pay into a decrepit social security system from which they will receive no benefit and prop up our aging population’s need for...

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Looking to Immigrants for H1N1 Cure

At a time when talented researchers are often forced to wait years to immigrate to the United States and many clamor to close the borders or to suspend legal immigration, it is important to remember who we often turn to for help in a crisis. The current H1N1 epidemic is a case in point. Apparently research teams in Chicago and Atlanta are working 24/7 with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to try to develop an antibody therapy to provide temporary immunity to the disease, which could be a available much faster than the development of a vaccine. Rafi Ahmed, a vaccine expert at Emory University in Atlanta and Patrick Wilson, his counterpart at the University of Chicago are waiting to receive blood samples from the CDC to engineer antibodies to attack specific proteins related to the H1N1 virus. Dr. Ahmed is originally from India and he is a vaccine expert He earned his PH.D. from Harvard and was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1999. He serves as the principal investigator on two grants from the National Institute on Allergy and Infectious Disease. Presently, an Indian national with a doctoral or master’s degree in science from a U.S. university faces an almost six year wait for an immigrant visa to the United States. See the State Department Visa Bulletin at...

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Searching for the Truth in the Immigration Spin Cycle

Sifting through immigration rhetoric for the truth is a herculean task for even the most dedicated on the complex issue of immigration policy in the U.S. For example:1. The Human Rights Watch Report entitled “Forced Apart by the Numbers” (April 15, 2009) notes that although federal authorities have consistently recited the mantra that their focus is to find and remove illegal immigrants with violent criminal histories, nearly three-quarters of the approximate 897,000 immigrants deported from 1997 to 2007 after serving criminal sentences were serving such sentences for non-violent offenses. Some of the top reasons for deportation within the ten year period were entering the U.S. illegally (a misdemeanor under 8 USC 1325 ) and driving under the influence of alcohol. While criminal actions should be punished, it is important to get the facts straight to assess the impact of enforcement assets in the immigration spin zone. See the report at: http://tinyurl.com/cfv7lv2. In addition, it is important to remember that many deportees have US citizen children, who are being left behind once their parents are removed from the US. The Pew Hispanic Center study released Tuesday shows that 73 percent of the children of illegal immigrants are U.S. born citizens and one in ten Texas children has an undocumented parent. The number of U.S.-citizen children born to illegal immigrants has dramatically increased over the past five years from 2.7 million...

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