My take on the Immigration issue | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

My take on the Immigration issue

First of all, sorry for the absence, but as you may know, I have been traveling the state campaigning. Inside, I put my viewpoints on the immigration issue before you. Let me know what you think.

From my thread on Mississippi Politics.com:

"On the immigration issue, if the 12 million undocumented immigrants are criminals, then we, as Americans, especially those in the Federal government, are co-conspirators. The overwhelming majority of immigrants that have come to this country are here for one purpose: to provide a better life for their families. There is nothing criminal about that. What is criminal is how we went from trying to address the immigration problem 20 years ago, when there were only 4 million undocumented immigrants, to the current status we find ourselves in today.

I believe that Spector, McCain and Kennedy are on the right track in the debate:
No amnesty
Seek civil law restitution
Restructure the Guest Worker program
Enhance border security
Heavy fines for employers of undocumented workers

I would go further to say that we need to have an immigration center in the South, similar to Ellis Island and San Diego, so that there will be one central place for people to be processed, instead of building some Great Wall of America; intense diplomatic pressure on Mexico and countries in Central America to stem the tide, as well as exploring the possibility of a Marshall Plan for that part of the world; review as to whether ICE and The Border Patrol should remain under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security, as we are now doing with FEMA; and fix the process by which immigrants can become naturalized."

From my campaign website: fleming2006.org:

"I believe that America should do better towards its immigrant population. It was immigrants who shaped our culture with their beliefs and built our nation with their labor. I believe that immigrants should be protected from unscrupulous employers on issues concerning wages, organizing, health care and housing. I do not support English-only legislation. I support immigrants legally working in this country to be allowed to receive driver's licenses, for their own safety and ours. I do not support vigilante groups like the Minutemen interfering with the duties of the men and women that make up our Border Patrols. I believe we should not discriminate against immigrants from certain countries like Haiti, while allowing other immigrants to freely come into our country. I will support legislation that will allow children of immigrants to receive all the educational opportunities available from Kindergarten through Post-Secondary levels. I will also support legislation that would allow taxpaying immigrant workers, after five years, the opportunity for earning legal status. "

Previous Comments

ID
170275
Comment

Bump. Let's talk about immigrants, thanks to this post by Rep. Fleming.

Author
ladd
Date
2006-05-04T12:36:39-06:00
ID
170276
Comment

This is a really interesting issue that affects so many people. I must say that I personally do not mind the influx of immigrants into the United States because they are seeking to better their lives as well as those of their family, but I do mind the illegal aspect of it. I am by far no expert on the subject so I only offer my opinion. I think immigrants should have a right to come live and prosper in the U.S if they go about it the correct way. (obtainging the necessary documents: green card/visa cards) I'm not sure how lengthy of a process this is but it seems like it should be a simple task. (I am also aware that many immigrants are poor and this may not be as easy as it seems) I also feel that if immigrants want to come to america they should be willing to follow certain protocols to be considered a citizen. I do, of course, agree with the essentials: (a period of continuos residency in the US, good moral character, knowledge of the constitution, favorable disposition of the U.S) But one that I think is important, and I know many will not agree with me is the language barrier. I understand the importance and emphasis that individuals place on culture [ language is a detrimental aspect of it], but I also think that if someone is willing to go and live in another country, they should be prepared to learn the language. Personally I think that signifies a certain of level of respect. I wouldn't dare go to another country without, if not learning the language exactly, at least attempting to learn the language. I understand that the United State is considered a 'melting pot,' and their are a variety of different nationalities and languaes spoken in the U.S. but when it comes down to it, essentially english is the common language in the U.S. That is not to say that I think Immigrants should learn english and speak only english, I feel that immigrants coming from another country should at least be willing to learn to make the communication process easier. I also agree that more companies should be held accountable for undocumented workers; regardless if they 'didn't know': they should put more effort into finding out for sure. The governement focusing on tracking down illegal immigrants does nothing for the problem if employers keep hiring them. This aspect is similar to police jailing only individuals addicted to drugs instead of the drug dealers themselves. Ladd, you are so right. If this had been taken care of 20 years ago, we wouldn't have this problem now, and if the problem isn't taken care of now, what'll happen in another 20 years?

Author
jan2006
Date
2006-05-04T13:44:40-06:00
ID
170277
Comment

We are reaping the fruits of a seed sown nearly 25 years ago, when the Mexican immigration problem was first becoming noticeable. I remember all of the bilingual signs going up in places like San Antonio in the 80's (probably before then) and the number of areas where if you didn't know Spanish you would be SOL on getting around and finding someone who could speak English. Even as a teenager I realized that this was going to get out of control. In my profession I routinely visit job sites that are populated with Mexican/Hispanic/Latino workers, and as a black man I've been alarmed at how more and more there is an attitude that they will work harder than we do for less money. For me, the immigration problem is as much about the business community being unwilling to pay a living wage as it is about violating our nation's laws and soveignty. I also don't mind immigrants coming here to work and to have a better life, but respect our laws and come here legally. It is insulting to be lectured to about the injustice suffered by their people when they are knowingly breaking the law by being here, using up our limited housing, education, and healthcare resources, making babies to make deportation more challenging, and a refusal to learn the language before coming here, forcing us to have to learn their language in order to communicate effectively. I agree with the arguments that the immigration process is cumbersome and long, and seems to penalize honest attempts to become legal citizens. But is the answer to essentially thumb their noses at our laws? I listened to a part of Rep. Flemings comments on the Paul Gallo Show Wednesday morning, and I was impressed with the thoughtful responses he gave on this issue. He correctly points out that it would be impossible to boot 15 million people out of our country, inspite of some of the jingoistic rhetoric that gets tossed out on the airwaves. I'll comment more later.

Author
jeff lucas
Date
2006-05-04T14:33:42-06:00
ID
170278
Comment

ejeff --> ".....the immigration problem is as much about the business community being unwilling to pay a living wage as it is about violating our nation's laws and soveignty" true. personal inerests of capitalizing far exceed the balance of morals; giving all of society a chance at the 'good' life.

Author
jan2006
Date
2006-05-04T14:41:13-06:00
ID
170279
Comment

Rep. Fleming: Do you have some examples of the "Minutemen interfering with the duties of the men and women that make up our Border Patrols?" Also, do you know the Border Patrol's policy regarding the Minutemen?

Author
Curt Crowley
Date
2006-05-09T19:28:19-06:00
ID
170280
Comment

Just the mere premise of a vigilante group, Curt, that claims to protect our borders is an interference with the Border Patrol. I am sure since you have posed this question that you have obtained a quote from the Border Patrol supporting these efforts. In fact, the group that made the endorsement was a local union of agents in Tucson, not the agency itself. The Minutemen, in the same article, say that part of their mission is to intimidate illegal immigrants (of course with just merely their presence). That statement right there causes great concern to me. I saw recently that some groups have started putting barbed wire fences out. If that is their personal property, I have no problem with that. If it is not, then that is where the stickiness of having untrained citizens patrolling comes into play (even though some of the Minutemen are retired law enforcement officers). When communities develop neighborhood watches, the police has a direct relationship with the residents of that community, training them as to what to look for and how to respond. I do not believe the Border Patrol has adopted such a policy in this case. Maybe some of the union members have taken it upon themselves to train these folks, but it is not Standard Operating Procedure for the Border Patrol.

Author
Rep. Erik Fleming
Date
2006-05-10T16:28:16-06:00
ID
170281
Comment

For an example of the extreme rhetoric floating around on this issue, check this out.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2006-05-10T16:49:38-06:00
ID
170282
Comment

Fleming, my first question to you was whether you had any examples of the Minutemen "interfering" with the Border Patrol. You could not cite a single example of any "interference." I would respectfully suggest that before you imply that the Minutemen are "interfering" with the Border Patrol, you should come up with at least ONE example of such "interference." My second question to you was whether you knew the Border Patrol's policy as to the Minutemen. Instead of answering my question, you spoke about the agents' union's position regarding the Minutemen. I wasn't asking about the union's policy. I was asking about the official Border Patrol's policy regarding the Minutemen. I will ask the question again: Do you know the Border Patrol's policy regarding the Minutemen?

Author
Curt Crowley
Date
2006-05-16T00:15:39-06:00
ID
170283
Comment

"Just the mere presence of a vigilante group...is an interference with the Border Patrol." That was the answer to the first question. The answer to the second question, as also stated previously, was the Border Patrol has not endorsed the Minutemen, but a union of agents have. The President was the first to call the Minutemen vigilantes, BTW, without "ONE example of such 'interference'," as you put it. Read this artilce and feel free to draw you own conclusions: http://www.washtimes.com/national/20050513-122032-5055r.htm

Author
Rep. Erik Fleming
Date
2006-05-17T07:00:51-06:00
ID
170284
Comment

That should be "your own"

Author
Rep. Erik Fleming
Date
2006-05-17T07:01:47-06:00
ID
170285
Comment

Rep. Fleming, one of your opponents in the Democratic primary, James O'Keefe of Biloxi, uses some pretty strong language about illegal immigration. In the debate on Saturday, he said he didn't think many illegal immigrants really wanted to be Americans. By this, I take it he means they don't want to assimilate, but he also speaks of impending anarchy caused by the government's failure to enforce the law. And he says that some illegal immigrants will have to be deported. Do you think he goes too far?

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2006-05-17T12:31:27-06:00
ID
170286
Comment

I think he goes too far when he says that people do not want to assimilate. Just because someone displays the flag of their native country doesn't mean they don't want to be a part of this great country of ours. I grew up in Chicago, a city where there are no "white folks", where everyone celebrates their heritage, whether it is Irish or Puerto Rican. They have parades, wave flags, the whole nine yards, yet they still are proud Americans. I guess that is why I am not hyper-sensitive about the display of some of the protesters earlier this month. I even saw one of the participants in the Gulfport march wearing a Rebel Flag shirt, so how people express themselves is not the issue. This is just an attempt to move away from the real debate. I don't like using scare tactics to express an idea or an issue, which I think the "impending anarchy" statement falls under. I do think, however, we have a problem with so many undocumented workers in the country that I think it is high time we addressed it. I don't support mass deportation, but the tiered guest worker program being offered in the Senate is a good compromise, where undocumented workers who have been here two years or less would have to go back to their native countries.

Author
Rep. Erik Fleming
Date
2006-05-18T09:10:45-06:00

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