It looks like an immigration “paradigm shift” is on the horizon for Americans according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin. He wants citizens to rethink their views regarding the U.S.-Mexico border by adding a new twist on border security.
Bersin said during a speech at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., that he expects Congress to include a “road to citizenship” for illegal immigrants and the best way to secure the border is to open up the job market to all Mexicans. This would create “a legitimate labor market between the United States and Mexico,” Bersin explained.
That statement created so much heat for Bersin his office back tracked the “jobs for all Mexicans in the U.S.” remark and said he meant to say a “temporary worker program.”
Not many Americans agree with the CBP Commissioners theory about offering jobs to lawbreakers, especially when double-digit unemployment plagues the country.
Bersin was appointed by President Barack Obama to takeover U.S. border security. Much like the president, Bersin is a career scholar with little to no business experience who was the secretary of education for the state of California and was chairman of the San Diego Regional Airport Authority before he was the border Czar.
During the speech Bersin referred to the meeting between President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon earlier this year which “articulated the vision for this new era—the creation of a 21st Century border, one that enhances our security and mutual economic competitiveness in an increasingly globalized world.”
“Underlying this new vision is a paradigm shift—a change in how people view the border,” the CBP Commissioner explained. “Historically, governments have approached border management as, essentially, ‘holding the line.’ But the border isn’t an isolated place disconnected from the interiors of the United States and Mexico. What we do at the border has effects that are felt far away from the jurisdictional line—especially in an era of international trade and global supply chains. Although policing the line will remain a key element of any border management approach, we must shift our thinking and take a more holistic view of border management, one that is based on securing the flows of trade and travel.”
Bersin, asked and answered is own question regarding the necessity for open borders employment as a way to secure the U.S. and said he did not consider this pathway a “mass amnesty” or “mass deportations.” In essence he called for a “long road to citizenship” for illegal immigrants as well as repeated the mantra of jobs for all.
The speech included a possible method for those in America illegally to follow if they decide to be Americans. “There is a responsibility from those who are here illegally, so that they can register, admit to having broken the law, pay a fine, pay back taxes, get right with the law, and learn English before they can get on that long road toward citizenship if they chose to pursue it,” Bersin explained.
The bottom line for the Obama administration is amnesty and this is where the majority of Americans part company with the president and those inside Department of Homeland Security. But Bersin continues to push.
“Absent comprehensive immigration reform people will attempt to enter this country illegally, drawn by the job market,” he said. “It is our job to stop them, and we will do our best to do that. We are doing better than ever before. But this is not about real estate; it’s about flows of people and securing the border by deterring and preventing illegal immigration. The best way to do that is to have a legitimate labor market between the United States and Mexico.”
Looking at that statement Americans may be confused because most believe deterrence of illegal immigration and border security means preventing aliens from crossing illegally into the country. The way Bersin sees it, the open borders will quell illegal border crossings because once they are here they will be able to legally procure employment (under DHS’s ideal world) and contribute to American society. Really, why have borders?
As if to follow-up Bersin’s speech with details sure to strike the hearts of liberals was DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. At her stump speech in San Diego the secretary was armed with all sorts of facts.
“We have devoted unprecedented amounts of manpower, infrastructure and technology to the Southwest border under this administration,” said Napolitano. “Over the past two years, our seizures of illegal drugs, currency and weapons have increased significantly—helping to make the southwest border more secure than ever before.”
DHS reported that fiscal years 2009 and 2010, the CBP seized more than $104 million in southbound illegal currency—an increase of approximately $28 million compared to 2007-2008 (Another fact to keep in mind is the drug cartels are raking in billions of dollars in illicit trade profit per year).
CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) also seized more than $282 million in illegal currency, more than 7 million pounds of drugs, and more than 6,800 weapons in fiscal years 2009 and 2010 along the southwest border—increases of more than $73 million, more than 1 million pounds of drugs and more than 1,500 weapons compared to 2007-2008.
Secretary Napolitano also highlighted the 36 percent decrease in Border Patrol apprehensions from nearly 724,000 in fiscal year 2008 to approximately 463,000 in fiscal year 2010. However, many factors can be attributed to the downturn in apprehensions, the sour economy, fewer people are getting caught or agents are simply not arresting as many illegal aliens.
Napolitano also made time to speak with the editorial board of The San Diego Union Tribune to discuss the immigration hot-button issue. “The former Arizona governor and state attorney general said strengthening immigration rules also could lead to more high-tech resources that authorities would use to make sure visitors to the United States don't overstay their visas,” Napolitano told the Union Tribune. “There are areas in terms of visas and visa overstays, again, that should be addressed legally through an immigration reform bill. We need a new legislative framework from which to act. It’s the 21st century. We need a bill that builds for that.”
While she did not provide specific details how a comprehensive immigration bill would be tailored, the DHS secretary has been a long time supporter of amnesty setting up her agency for battle with the voters when the comprehensive immigration reform discussion finally makes it way to Congress.
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