Blog: Cutting Through The Noise on Immigration

You cannot open a newspaper, watch the news, or listen to the radio without hearing about immigration, immigration reform, “self-deportation” and even DREAMERS. But what is everyone talking about?

Welcome to my first blog post. I'll be blogging about immigration. In these on-going posts I am going to attempt to cut through the noise and explain what everyone is talking about when they are talking about immigration and immigration reform. 

From Sean Hannity talking about the need for immigration reform to Mitt Romney talking about undocumented immigrants “self-deporting,” to college students walking across the country to bring attention to the needs of DREAMERS, to Barack Obama talking about passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2013 there is a lot of noise (much of it is very funny) and little explanation. If you have any questions about immigration, please contact me, or leave a comment and I will answer your questions in a future post in the comment thread.

When I tell people what I do for a living, many ask me why don’t people just go home and wait in line to immigrate. The short answer is that there is no line.  Because of the way the laws are written and interpreted, there is no way for many people to immigrate to the United States even if they are married to a U.S. citizen. 

People often tell me that their parents or grandparents came to the United States legally and so should today’s immigrants. I am sure that most people’s ancestors came to the United States legally but immigration laws were much less strict (unless you were Asian) and until the 1930s it was easy to immigrate to the United States. As long as you looked healthy, you were allowed into the country as a legal immigrant and after five years you could become a U.S. citizen.  

Of course, when I researched my own family’s immigration story, I realized that two of my grandparents would likely have been deported (or at least put in deportation proceedings) today. My grandmother had lied on her citizenship application about the date of her marriage to my grandfather and about the dates of hospitalizations. Seemingly minor issues, but I represent people who have lied on immigration forms all of the time.

My grandfather had spent time in a penitentiary in upstate New York in the 1920s for running a night-club that served alcohol during prohibition. His transgressions were more serious, (like the bank robber) but again, I represent people like my grandfather in deportation proceedings all of the time. In case you are wondering, these two law-breakers had three children all born in the United States. One became a doctor, one became a professor of nursing, and the third received a master’s degree in public health from U.C. Berkeley. 

I find that many of my clients have similarly high-achieving children. I doubt that we will ever return to pre-1930s immigration policy, but one thing is clear, we need to create a more humane immigration policy to help the tens of millions of families with undocumented immigrant relatives who live in the United States.   

Next post: The immigration numbers

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

5150 January 25, 2013 at 04:37 PM
Give Ca. back to Mexico!!
Jim C January 25, 2013 at 05:24 PM
Or annex Baja!
Jim C January 25, 2013 at 05:24 PM
Preach the truth, brother.
Jim C January 25, 2013 at 05:28 PM
Lou, my reading of the amendment is in line with yours. HOWEVER, that's not how it was interpreted...for some reason. We can't just pass a law change the interpretation...we can't just let the President issue a directive to change the interpretation, because that would mean it could be changed back.
Jim C January 25, 2013 at 05:29 PM
I don't think they're far-fetched. I think they're definitely do-able.
Jim C January 25, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Juan, you go back and check everything I've written and you tell me one place where I have said anything, ANYTHING AT ALL, that has been anti-Mexican. If you have any honor or couth, you will issue an apology forthwith. Until I see that apology, I shall assume your latest post is just the ,ame old tired liberal tactic...when all else fails, cry racism. That will stop whitey in his tracks. Well, let me tell you, it doesn't work anymore.
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 25, 2013 at 05:38 PM
But...they already have it....they let you keep the name and country and try to make you feel as welcome as possible. You should appreciate that
Juan Bustos January 25, 2013 at 07:20 PM
Now we see the real reason for your posts and your hatred of Mexicans. My friend, I still love you from a Mexican American.
Juan Bustos January 25, 2013 at 07:39 PM
@5150 I won't go that far.
Jim C January 25, 2013 at 07:58 PM
Juan, your continued use of the word "hate" is tiresome. The way you try to portray people who have a different opinion than you as being racist is a form of lying. Why would you feel the need to lie about this subject? Maybe it's YOU that is the racist. Maybe you are prejudiced in favor of Mexicans. Which would be fine with me if you lived in Mexico. But since you live in the United States, it makes you a backstabber...someone who I cannot trust to do the right thing for me, my children or your fellow United States citizens.
Juan Bustos January 25, 2013 at 08:23 PM
No, at Robert, I am an American and this is my country too. But I think, as JustUs, uses the word Mexican over and over to promote his bias against one country that indicates something, somewhere, sometime someone did something to him or someone known to them. I've been around long enough to know hate when I hear and see it. I think the problem of illegal immigration is so complex an issue that to focus on just one group is disparaging - it does not lend a solution to the problem. So I believe our politicians owe it to the American public to have a fair and balanced approach on enforcement and services. What cannot be handled at the ground level should then be handled but the courts equally and equitably. I want to say this will be my last post as I see this is going nowhere. I wish you all the best and may God bless America!
Mike Bulluionio January 25, 2013 at 08:44 PM
Don't waste your breath on Juan, he is just a Brown Beret Troll.
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 25, 2013 at 09:06 PM
Juan: It was destined to go nowhere from the beginning; but allot of folks got to vent their anger. The goal of really stopping illegal aliens flies in the face of our view that all humans be dealt with on a humanitarian basis. That stops the use very unpleasant tactics. There are too many ways to enter this country illegally,and to secure borders for real would require more man power and weaponry than this country can afford. As we have found out, laws are futile. Deporting them is useless, they would just come back. I do not think there is any acceptible solution other than very nasty and inhumane tactics. But, there is one solution and it is pretty nasty too. A complete collapse of the economic system so that money is worthless and no priviliedges can either be bought or given away. Anarchy...looting..burning...martial law..police state. etc. We might see U.S. citizens crossing the border to flee to Mexico ! Not as far fetched as you might think.
JustUs January 25, 2013 at 09:16 PM
Mr. Fishback - what would YOU do if you came home and found an intruder sleeping in your bed who demanded that you pay for his education, healthcare and help feed him? Would YOU tolerate such behavior? Of course you wouldn't. You would tell him to "GET OUT", wouldn't you, Mr. Fishback? But if OTHER PEOPLE resist being forced to pay for INTRUDERS who come into our country - you have the nerve to criticize them? Well, shame on you, sir. Don't do as I do, do as I say......right, Mr. Fishback??? :^(
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 25, 2013 at 09:19 PM
Mike B. There were probably plenty of Brown Berets when they ran out of toilet paper.
JustUs January 25, 2013 at 09:32 PM
Mr. Buttros, it is documented that mexicans comprise the largest group of illegals in the United States. I know that FACTS bother you. Nevertheless, those of us who still support the FACTS will continue to assert them, whether YOU like it or not. If you know any illegal mexicans in the Country I would urge you to tell them to go back home and come back the LEGAL way - by filling out forms, paying their fees, taking their tests and standing in line. Tell them that America is supposed to stand for JUSTICE and FAIRNESS. We are NOT supposed to operate like Mexico. Thank you in advance for your help in restoring integrity and honor to America!
JustUs January 25, 2013 at 10:22 PM
Mr. Fishback - I would expect you to attack me instead of responding to my logical comments. I know my factual comments cause you pain. But you need to feel that pain to break through to honesty, Mr. Fishback. Once you cool off you can step back and understand that JustUs is much more your friend than your enemy. But when you're mind is clouded in anger I know that's hard to conceptionalize. My style is DIRECT and TO THE POINT, Mr. Fishback. It is not a popular style with most people. But that will not stop me from using it. Most people want me to tell them what they want to hear. I am just not wired that way, Mr. Fishback. And I offer no apology for it. Good luck with your journey to enlightenment. :^)
Jo Tog January 25, 2013 at 11:11 PM
stop giving them welfare. that will stop lots. we don't need fences. stop deporting. just stop giving them everything for free.
Jo Tog January 25, 2013 at 11:21 PM
I am American-Mexican also. My great Grandfather was a Spanish Conquistador who picked up a little Indian/Mexican Bride in Baja California. Before the Gold Rush of course. So here I am. I hate how these gang bangers are tearing up our communitys making babies collecting welfare. I hate the illegals working for cash, collecting welfare. I like Senator Marco Rubio's plan for immigration reform. We have to do something.
Jo Tog January 25, 2013 at 11:22 PM
No. My ancestors fought hard for California. NO WAY!
JustUs January 25, 2013 at 11:34 PM
Jo Tog, that's why I tell you it's an INTENTIONAL AND WILLFUL invasion planned by our own leaders. Do you think our own leaders would sustain them with our taxdollars if it was not INTENTIONAL??? Let's all wake up.
JustUs January 25, 2013 at 11:38 PM
Hey, what happened to Merle's most recent blog on Immigration that had to do with the process of immigration - ie, who is allowed into the nation and the process that they undergo? Did Merle delete it??? If so, why???
Purvis Granger January 26, 2013 at 05:45 AM
Fortunately, many people who cross our borders illegally are more literate, determined, and successful than you. Saturday is Hawaiian shirt day for you guys right?
JustUs January 26, 2013 at 06:44 AM
I understand that you identify and have forged an emotional bond with the migrants who sneak across the border, Purv. It's no surprise. Have you developed an affinity to traveling 12 to a trunk and living in drop houses? heh. The american car manufacturers are increasing the size of the trunks so maybe in the future you'll have a little more leg room. So there's hope. I assume you are an expert. Where are some of the better day labor work sites in town? How long would it take you and a couple of your friends to dig a 40 yard drainage ditch 5 feet deep 3 feet wide for me? Shoot me a resume, ok?
Sergio Cano January 28, 2013 at 08:38 AM
I would love to have all the people in this stupid discussion to first learn the proposal of the in what soon will be the immigration amnesti(it will happen) and guess what it focus around Mexicans they are the minority mayority,NOT every one will get REWARTED like I read in one of your stupid comments, they will fallow a set of requirements in order to be approve, basically they want well educated young people with a chance to be something that this country needs and trust me will take advantage of.All this DREMERS view this country as their own and will gladly fight to achieve their AMERICAN dream notate what!!! And trust me and by all means Quat me on this they will get it. Soon you'll call th Sir you'll call them boss, Doctor etc. common people the conversation started with a Dreamer been help by Rebecca and it turn in to this stupid fiasco. Get with the program learn the laws and don't get blinded by stupid ignorants that say its for the worst it's not thers more than allowing them to stay they are working hard for a dream, get mad say all you want,comment on my post , call me am ignorant, but IT WILL HAPPEN!!!!!!!!
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 28, 2013 at 03:27 PM
Out of all you said, I am wondering why anyone would get re-warted. How did the person lose their original warts?
JustUs January 28, 2013 at 04:13 PM
Sergio, are you a Dream Act candidate by chance? Which law or medical school do you plan to attend?
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 28, 2013 at 04:48 PM
If Merle took up painting, would she be a Kahn artist :)
Jim C January 28, 2013 at 05:30 PM
Not another amnesty. Not ever.
Sergio Cano February 03, 2013 at 05:41 AM
My god this place is bombing with ignorants It's all near people and soon will be among you all Fear them they will take this land once and for all For the future is them and the past stays past,soon the Skin will be brown and the myths will be whites,the langue will be spoken in signs ;) take out now suck it up later,for them tomorrow is now to you is never lol fools


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