Why do so many decide to walk across our borders? Should we arrest and deport them? Should we shoot them and mine the borders? What's the answer?

The reason Latinos choose to enter America illegally is easy to discern. There's no other way! Anyone wanting to come to the US legally has to pass through the most remarkable and time consuming paperwork shuffle in the entire world. Even getting a business license in Egypt is a lot easier than working through the INSís nightmare paperwork. It is no wonder that these happy little Mexicans are unable to comply legally! 

 Want to see what it is all about?  Log onto the INS website and check out the list of forms and applications. How do I know what it is all about?  I am trying to help my wife who is an American citizen to bring her Mom to live with us. About 8 months ago I filed a I-130 form, several pages of biographic information and sent a bank check for $90.00 to an INS office in California. Then, 3 or 4 months after that, we were asked to send two more forms, an I- 864 and I 864-A to another office in New Hampshire.  

These forms have many pages, each page is filled with lots of little tricky spaces that have to have exactly the right answered placed into the correct space. Any error and they kick it back and you start all over. The language itself is difficult leaving wide margins for errors in interpretation. 

Thereís more!  Several weeks later we received a letter with a fee schedule asking for a bank check for $380.00. Of course, they wonít take your personal or even your business check. You have to go to your bank, stand in line, wait to buy the bank check and then take it home and enclose it in the package. Do you think they (INS) know or even care what a pain this is? 

So, we sent this and then one of the forms was kicked out and returned. We received a request to provide more information regarding the 864 form which is a used to provide evidence of the ability of the petitioner to support the individual named in the petition. Ok, we did all this again and sent it back. Now, the INS automated phone which speaks mostly in Spanish unless you push a few buttons to get the message to speak in English says that ďthey received the revised form and will let you know in 6 to 8 weeks what their decision is. 

Now, imagine some starving Mexican who canít even read his own language trying to wade through all this. Of course he canít!  First, he doesnít have a computer, second he doesnít have a printer connected to the computer he doesnít have and third, even if he did thereís no internet connection.  Ok, pressing on, letís assume that by some miracle he did get the forms, he still canít read them and if he could get them and read them he is likely middle class or rich and has no interest in picking tomatoes in California. 

So, letís say that our little Mexican friend was somehow able to get and fill out the forms. Where can a typical poor field hand, living in some miserable sun blasted pueblo, going to find a bank and, even, if by some miracle, there was such a place,  how, with no money or accounts, can he buy a cashers check even if that institution knew what the hell a cashiers check was, which I doubt?  

So, if Jose gives up in disgust, which is entirely likely and, if he canít do any of the above-  what to do? Well he might hire an immigration Attorney who, for $5 or $10,000 will fill out the forms for him.  If he doesnít have that kind of cash, which of course he most certainly doesnít,  he  just pulls on his PF Flyers and beats feet for the border- lots easier-  millions have and many millions will. Now,  you know why almost none of them try to enter the US legally- itís almost impossible! 

Why they come is equally clear. They are starving at home and their governments do nothing for them, never have. Fathers see their children getting thinner every day. There is no work and no food. They are dying. America has jobs. Jobs here pay a lot more that they could make at home even if they could find a job- which they can't. If we want illegal's to stop crossing our borders, committing crimes, taking jobs, marching and waiving Mexican flags, sending their kids to our schools, using our medical faculties and sending our money back to Mexico then we have to protect our borders. We have to build the fence and man it like we mean it. We have to imprison employers who hire illegal's with no questions asked. ICE has to be 10 times larger and mandated to shut down illegal's wherever they find them. In a few months they will all voluntarily hop the hound and get out of Dodge.

Whatís the use of saying any of this unless one tries, at the same time, to offer a reasonable solution. There are in fact jobs here for low skilled and low cost labor. To an extent we do need and depend on this kind of work force.  If we want to stop these millions of entering the US illegally and want to restore some meaningful control on our borders, we could, and probably should, set up interview offices at some of the larger border crossings and speed up the process. Work permits could be issued, fingerprints and photos taken where Spanish speaking US Immigration agents do all the work.  Of course, before we open these jobs to Hispanics able bodied American welfare recipients who are sponging off Uncle Sam have to take these jobs when offered, period! Maybe a few months in the fields will convince them or their kids to study the dammed books! Such a program will work and will also stop the transport of tons of illegal drugs and possible terrorists across what today is an almost porous border.

For a first time applicant we could take 30 days to gather background data and if the guy was OK, issue him a 6 month visa. After the first one with no problems they can apply for the second one with a one day service. If they overstay, they are black listed for 12 months- if they play ball they are treated OK and they can pick all the fruit they want. Any criminal activity and they get kicked out for life. The federal ID we give them will suffice for any US employer and any employer who puts one of these little guys to work without the ďofficial permitĒ goes to prison with a mandatory 12 months plus a hefty fine. Minimum salaries are set comparable to what a US Citizen would do the same work for so no one can ever say that Jose is taking food off any Americanís table. If any American citizen wants the job Jose has to go. The jobs for Jose, et al, are then only those that an American citizen really canít be found to fill. 

 Robert Firth