Broken borders, Broken system

A multi-part series of editorials and columns regarding the issue of immigration reform.

When a surge of Central Americans descended on the Rio Grande Valley to cross into this country illegally in the summer of 2014, the cries to ‘Seal our border,’ and ‘Reform immigration’ reverberated across the country. The Monitor quickly determined that, beyond the rhetoric, many of those screaming the loudest had few specific policy recommendations to fix the problem. The Monitor editorial board began talking to law enforcement, policymakers, human rights activists, local readers and the immigrants themselves in search of answers. This series represents the culmination of at least six months of research and interviews with scores of people. It is presented on these pages in the hopes of spurring discourse about one of the most significant public policy debates to visit our country and our region in decades.

COMMENTARY: I am looking forward to 2042

In 2042, I will be 96 years old. New Year’s Day will be on a Wednesday and Easter Sunday will fall on April 6. Fossil fuels should be at the beginning of their end. Cars will be self-driving. We will eat less meat. Currency will become obsolete as electronic movement of money will be automatically added to blockchains of financial interactions.

But there will be one more change that will be subtle, slow, but increasingly obvious to all of us: By 2042, white people will become the minority population in the United States. Thanks to an immigration rate of 2 million people per year, I will no longer enter a restaurant and see a sea of faces that look just like mine. Colors of clothes and makeup will likely lend themselves to the bold colors that go well with warm skin tones, instead of the pastels and neutrals that suit cool Nordic coloring. My grandchildren will be in school, at work and choosing life partners from a population that does not look like me.

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EDITORIAL: Lacks Congress isn’t working on DACA or immigration reform because the pressure is off

As attention turned to Texas last week for the nation’s first electoral primary after President Donald Trump took office, a deadline passed Monday with virtually little mention: The end of the program that protected hundreds of thousands of Dreamers in this country.

Federal court rulings, essentially backed by the U.S. Supreme Court, forces the Trump administration to keep issuing renewals under this program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). But the executive branch of government is intent on abolishing this program, so no one should take DACA for granted. And although the reprieve given by a federal district judge in California applies to Dreamers who are seeking an additional two-year work permit; it does not apply to those seeking a work permit for the first time. And, thus the program is now closed to thousands.

While we have steadfastly supported the idea of allowing Dreamers to stay in this country legally, we have also expressed support for President Trump’s admonitions, when his administration announced the end of this program last September and that Congress should come up with a permanent solution for Dreamers.

Continue reading EDITORIAL: Lacks Congress isn’t working on DACA or immigration reform because the pressure is off

EDITORIAL: We must be home to all of our brave

Theoretically, soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War were not U.S. citizens. But they did so for what they hoped would be their new country, and for the love of it.

In 2018, this theory is still just as relevant as there are thousands of noncitizen soldiers who fight and serve in our U.S. military for our nation — a nation that they should be allowed to legally call their home.

As lawmakers in Washington, D.C., prepare to take up immigration reform — which they have promised they will begin to do after passing a budget bill — preparing a path forward for citizenship, and reducing deportation of these servicemen and women should be a priority.

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EDITORIAL: The true definition of ‘chain migration’

As lawmakers in Washington, D.C., this week have debated over yet another stop-gap funding measure to keep the government running (or not,) once again the issue of Dreamers — children brought illegally to this country whose quest for U.S. citizenship has drawn harsh political divisions — have been bantered about as Republicans and the president openly mislead the public about U.S. immigration laws.

This feels like a repeat act in a bad play as our nation found itself in this very position just a few weeks ago, which resulted in a brief federal government shutdown.

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EDITORIAL: Questions on Trump’s DACA/border wall plan abound

When President Donald Trump earlier this month told lawmakers to bring him a deal for solving the soon-to-expire Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and said he would sign it, we were hopeful. But then he reneged on his word.

Then suddenly last week Trump announced that he was in favor of some type of “earned” pathway to citizenship for youth who were brought here illegally under no fault of their own, and his administration released a list of ways this could be accomplished, which include a $25 billion border wall, chain migration limits and ending the Visa lottery.

We again are hopeful, but also skeptical, confused and worried.

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EDITORIAL: Congress must find a DACA solution

The number of Dreamers — immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children — vary from 690,000 to 800,000, depending upon who is talking about them and whether they want sympathy for them, or not.

On a Tuesday morning media call, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, cited the former and blamed Democrats for shutting down the federal government in order to force Congress to enact immigration reform for just 690,000 Dreamers — at the expense of funding our U.S. military and helping Americans affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

“Their strategies were to extract a promise for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) but the shutdown was not the only hostage they took: disaster funding; year-long funding for military … and the spending cap,” Cornyn said. “These have received no action and I believe clearly because of the DACA impasse.”

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EDITORIAL: Don’t mix immigration with 2020 Census

While the number of undocumented people living in the United States is often debated and needs to be better quantified, getting that information via the 2020 Census is not the way to do it.

Doing so would jeopardize the decennial Census, which already is being threatened by budget and personnel cuts and technology changes. Adding a citizenship question would likely result in many more people not being counted. This includes those who are afraid of being identified by the federal government and targeted for deportation, and that could be a significant number of people in the Rio Grande Valley.

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