Divisive Rhetoric Will Not Solve Illegal Immigration Problem

san diego border fenceCongressman Brian Bilbray never misses an opportunity to air his illegal immigration rhetoric on local and national news. In May, after President Obama met with Mexican President Calderon, Bilbray declared: “When President Obama says ‘pathway to citizenship’ he really means amnesty for the 10-20 million illegal immigrants within our borders.”

Bilbray is simply wrong. An earned pathway to citizenship as proposed by the comprehensive immigration reform bill (HR 4321) is not amnesty. An example of amnesty is the 1977 pardon of Vietnam draft evaders.

The Congressman also unseemly inflates the number of illegal immigrants residing in the U.S. to 20 million. As “Chair” of the Immigration Reform Caucus, Bilbray must know that Homeland Security has clearly stated our nation’s illegal immigrant population actually dropped by 1 million in 2009 to 10.8 million, the sharpest decline in over three decades.

In this election year, politicians like Senator John McCain press for more troops on the border to prevent violent crime in the U.S. despite a recently released FBI report that our nation’s top four cities with the lowest violent crime rate in 2009 are Phoenix, El Paso, Austin and San Diego, all border state cities.

Too often politicians use flawed statistics or policy as a springboard to get elected and re-elected. For example, in October 2006, Brian Bilbray put his stamp of approval on the Escondido City Council’s ordinance to ban landlords from renting to undocumented immigrants. The city’s law would have turned landlords into “immigration officers” and fined them for not discovering immigration violations. Escondido wisely decided not to enforce the ordinance after a federal judge temporarily blocked it.

Up for re-election in 2008, Congressman Bilbray urged completion of the “Virtual Border Fence,” an ineffective system of cameras and radar which reportedly has problems distinguishing people from vegetation. In March this year, the project was reevaluated after spending $672 million to build the system according to a Government Accountability Office report.  Another failed program wasting our scarce tax payer dollars.

SSolutions, not rhetoric is needed. “Securing the border” can be accomplished through our own border patrol agency. Solving the illegal immigration issue more cost-effectively can be developed by understanding the problem. The immigration problem was exacerbated by NAFTA which allowed tariff-free imports to flood Mexico’s markets, changing local market dynamics. Under NAFTA, companies like WalMart expanded rapidly into Mexico (WalMex) displacing local manufacturers and products produced and sold in Mexico with imported goods and products from China and other countries.

tracy-emblemToday, 95% of the wealth in Mexico is held by 2% of the population while Mexico’s poverty rate is still over 40 percent. Some claim Mexico’s poverty rate went down under NAFTA discounting that the poorest fled to leave behind poverty and came to the United States for jobs.

The United States and Mexico must partner to resolve economic problems related to Mexico’s poverty, employment, income disparity, drug corruption, and democratic governance. Unless we change our policies, “securing our borders” will continue to be another catchy phrase used by politicians without real results.

Tracy Emblem

Tracy Emblem is an attorney in Escondido.


  1. SK says

    “An example of amnesty is the 1977 pardon of Vietnam draft evaders.”

    It’s interesting that you didn’t use an actual case of AMNESTY for ILLEGAL AIENS as your example, because that’s what the US has already done, given illegal aliens amnesty three times in the past half century. Most of those who were allowed to jump to the head of the line were Mexicans who snuck across the border to live here. How do you think it felt to be someone still on the waiting list from another country knowing that the people who broke the law and snuck over the border got rewarded with citizenship ahead of them?

    But whooeee, the number of illegal aliens has recently dropped to only 10 million! Pass a nice “immigration reform” bill (shh, don’t call it amnesty) and the numbers will plummet (because they’ll all be citizens, hurray, isn’t that easy!).

    “The United States and Mexico must partner to resolve economic problems related to Mexico’s poverty, employment, income disparity, drug corruption, and democratic governance.”

    I guess by “partnership” you mean the American working and middle classes will pay to support the extremely poor in Mexico, so the American and Mexican corporations can continue to rake in millions in profits

  2. says

    It’s counterproductive to keep pushing for comprehensive immigration reform regarding Mexican border-crossers while treating failed Mexico and its totally corrupt govt. as untouchable. The U.S. can solve the total problem only after putting them in its sights. Learn about the nonpartisan nonracist Megamerge Dissolution Solution that shows the way to a happy ending for all 414 million Americans at http://go.to/megamege

  3. Luke Easter says

    Arizona Immigration Law & Senators John McCain & Russell Pearce

    The year 2010, it’s April & what do you think is front-page news?
    The 1930’s & 40’s, Hitler’s henchmen check papers of the Jews,
    From Plymouth Rock to modernization Indians are under attack,
    And during that period Blacks in chains were unable to fight back.

    Arizona has passed a sweeping and controversial immigration bill,
    It’s authorizing police to stop suspected illegal immigrants at will,
    Able to check identification and demand proof of their citizenship,
    Most certainly to handcuff, arrest & detain anyone giving them lip.

    Is there a reason for those of Mexican descent to be upset thru panic?
    Well, just ask African slaves who were brought across the Atlantic,
    Oops! It’s been a couple hundred years since they put out that lamp,
    Less than seventy since the likes of Auschwitz Concentration Camps.

    “Racial Profiling, ” I thought there was a national, federal kind of law,
    ‘Hate the Law, Not Arizonans, ‘ but Hispanics didn’t get to vote at all,
    Are they pulled from a box of Cracker Jacks or like a rabbit from a hat?
    The calendar’s supposed to be going forward so why is it going back?

    Hispanics, Jews, Indians, Blacks, take heart because you’re not alone,
    Over 2 thousand year before 2010 Christians were despised in Rome,
    Many were unjustly beaten, falsely accused, you name it & they were,
    Just be thankful there’s no Coliseum & lions or crucifixions to occur.

    McCain calls it Human Trafficking smuggling Mexican’s seeking work,
    That is when women are forced into prostitution then treated like dirt,
    Mexican’s want jobs for a better life and to funnel money back home,
    Kidnapped females are sexually abused everyway, they are all alone.

    Pimps take all the money and leave them with barely enough to eat,
    And the “John’s” have priority some don’t even get a chance to sleep,
    Well, if you call being locked up in dog cages living in human waste,
    Like you Senator as a P.O.W., are you saying those days were great?

    The negative comments are more amazing because you’ve had a taste,
    Eventually you came home as a war hero but what will be their fate?
    Remember, most take jobs that Americans feel are below their pride,
    Companies are indeed hiring them why should they have to run & hide?

    Yes there is the huge problem that I do agree with, the influx of drugs,
    Hey! Stop using them & we won’t have to deal with most cartel thugs,
    However, there is an even bigger problem killing more people I fear,
    Those who drive drunk behind the wheel from liquor, wine and beer.

    Dick’s daughter Liz has started a movement, “Keep America Safe, ”
    Certainly it’s a brilliant patriotic justified cause and idea but wait,
    Cindy owns one of the largest beer distributors in the United States,
    I mean no disrespect to your lovely wife but how can you retaliate?

    Alcohol is even more deadly killing and maiming more by drunks,
    Than illegal drug use so how can you stink and call them skunks?
    As a former marine I am honored by your call to duty & sacrifice,
    But you and no one alive should deny any minority a better life.

    To get rid of the Indians, soldiers and prospectors would just shoot to kill,
    Now for Mexicans there’s civilized, ‘Law & Order’ they simply pass a bill,
    2010 State Senator Russell Pearce quotes Jude 3, ‘contend for the faith, ‘
    No Russ, it’s not what that means and you’re several hundred years to late.

    Jude is writing in regard to common salvation handed down to the saints,
    To impel and contend for the sum of Christian belief through Godly faith,
    It does not exclude anything not American and if that is what you heard,
    Then you need to petition legally change to your name to King George III.

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