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Posted on March 12, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

A story on CNN describes a woman in Rochester, New York, who patrols the Texas-Mexico border from her home. She does this virtually, by using cameras she can view over the Internet. Here is the beginning of the article:

When her baby girl takes an afternoon nap, or on those nights when she just can’t sleep, Sarah Andrews, 32, tosses off her identity as a suburban stay-at-home mom and becomes something more exotic: a “virtual deputy” patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border.

From her house in a suburb of Rochester, New York, Andrews spends at least four hours a day watching a site called BlueServo.net.

There, because of a $2 million grant from the state of Texas, anyone in the world can watch grainy live video scenes of cactuses, desert mountains and the Rio Grande along Texas’ portion of the international border.

When Andrews spots something she deems suspicious — perhaps a fuzzy character moving from right to left across the screen or people wading through the river with what appear to be trash bags atop their heads — she and the site’s 43,000 registered users can send e-mail messages straight to local law enforcement, who then decide whether to act.

Posted on December 2, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

The Dallas Morning News reports that Rio Grande Valley property owners are having trouble finding property appraisers – key witnesses in hearings that will determine how much the government pays for the land it uses to build the border fence. This is going to be a major problem in the battle between the property owners and the U.S. government over the construction of a border barrier. Here are excerpts:

The limited supply of qualified appraisers for this sort of work in the valley, the cost of bringing in an appraiser from elsewhere, and the fact that the government grabbed the valley’s premier appraisal firm for its side could lead to fewer landowners holding out for a trial, said lawyers involved with the cases.

The Justice Department expects about 270 condemnation lawsuits against valley landowners. Most have settled, but federal lawyers say about 80 holdouts could carry their cases all the way to trial, scheduled to begin next spring.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is trying to complete 670 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. It will not meet its end-of-year deadline, but has promised to have all sections under contract by then.

Posted on November 21, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

For better or worse, the The Texas Border Sheriff’s Coalition has launched a new network of Internet cameras aimed at the Mexican border in the latest effort to bolster local border security efforts with live video steaming. Here are excerpts from a Dallas Morning News article:

Much like during the monthlong test run of border cameras, users watching the cameras will be able to anonymously e-mail law enforcement to report suspicious activity. During the pilot program, 14,800 e-mails reporting suspicious behavior, suggestions for improvement, and other comments were sent to state officials.

That initial pilot project, Texas Border Watch, was riddled with technological glitches. Pictures from the cameras were grainy and some of the Web cameras were placed so high that it was difficult to distinguish from bush from a person. Images from the cameras available Thursday appeared clearer than previous pictures beamed from the border.

State officials canceled the bidding process for a new camera network – the state had hoped to place about 200 cameras along the border – after the bid deadline expired in mid-April. Allison Castle, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry’s office, said the bids “were going to do too little and cost too much.”

The deal between the border sheriffs and BlueServo will allow the company to sell advertising “to defray the infrastructure and costs of operating” the program, according to a statement from the coalition.

To view the cameras, visit BlueServo.

Posted on May 27, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

A disappointing and disturbing article has been published by the New York Times concerning corruption within the Border Patrol. Fortunately, the vast majority of those serving our country in the Border Patrol are honest, hard-working people. But as the Patrol expands rapidly, there seems to be an alarming increase in the number of “bad apples” in the agency. Here are brief excerpts from the artice:

Mr. Villarreal and a brother, Fidel, also a former Border Patrol agent, are suspected of helping to smuggle an untold number of illegal immigrants from Mexico and Brazil across the border. The brothers quit the Border Patrol two years ago and are believed to have fled to Mexico.

The Villarreal investigation is among scores of corruption cases in recent years that have alarmed officials in the Homeland Security Department just as it is hiring thousands of border agents to stem the flow of illegal immigration.

The pattern has become familiar: Customs officers wave in vehicles filled with illegal immigrants, drugs or other contraband. A Border Patrol agent acts as a scout for smugglers. Trusted officers fall prey to temptation and begin taking bribes.

Increased corruption is linked, in part, to tougher enforcement, driving smugglers to recruit federal employees as accomplices. It has grown so worrisome that job applicants will soon be subject to lie detector tests to ensure that they are not already working for smuggling organizations. In addition, homeland security officials have reconstituted an internal affairs unit at Customs and Border Protection, one of the largest federal law enforcement agencies, overseeing both border agents and customs officers.

While the corruption investigations involve a small fraction of the overall security workforce on the border, the numbers are growing. In the 2007 fiscal year, the Homeland Security Department’s main anticorruption arm, the inspector general’s office, had 79 investigations under way in the four states bordering Mexico, compared with 31 in 2003. Officials at other federal law enforcement agencies investigating border corruption also said their caseloads had risen.

The federal government says it carefully screens applicants, but some internal affairs investigators say they have been unable to keep up with the increased workload.

The Border Patrol alone is expected to grow to more than 20,000 agents by the end of 2009, more than double from 2001, when the agency began to expand in response to concerns about national security. There has also been a large increase in the number of customs officers.

Posted on May 19, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

As reported in the Dallas Morning News, a group of Texas cities and business groups has sued the Department of Homeland Security to stop the construction of a fence along the border with Mexico. Here are excerpts:

The Texas Border Coalition, which includes the mayors of Eagle Pass, Brownsville, El Paso, Laredo and Hidalgo, filed the suit in federal court in Washington on Friday, asking a judge to block construction of 70 miles of border fences and walls in the Rio Grande Valley.

The lawsuit seeks class-action certification and accuses Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Customs and Border Patrol officials of not telling landowners they had the right to negotiate the price for the federal use of their land, concealing how they decide what constitutes a reasonable price for land seized for the fence and showing favoritism to wealthy or well-connected landowners.

 “What we haven’t done is we haven’t given everybody a veto,” Mr. Chertoff said. “If somebody says they prefer an open border, we don’t necessarily give them the right to make that judgment because the consequences of an open border are smuggling of drugs and human beings into this country.”

But Chad Foster, the mayor of Eagle Pass and chairman of the coalition, said that Homeland Security, under pressure to build a fence, is ignoring less-intrusive and more practical measures to secure the border with Mexico.  

Homeland Security spokeswoman Laura Keehner said the department had no intention to back down from its plans.

“We’ve nearly bent over backward to work with landowners,” she said in a written statement. “Accusations to the contrary are either ill-informed or just plain wrong.”

Posted on April 29, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

I don’t know if his plan is to keep other citizens of Texas out of Brownsville or to keep Brownsville residents out of the rest of Texas, but Congressman Tom Tancredo made a very strange statement in Brownsville yesterday. Here’s the story from the Channel 5 TV station in Weslaco:

BROWNSVILLE – A Colorado Congressman is under fire this morning for making a controversial statement to some Brownsville landowners.

Republican Tom Tancredo supports the border wall. The U.S. representative attended the hearing in Brownsville yesterday.

During the hearing, he told the Brownsville landowners, “I suggest that you build this fence around the northern part of your city…” implying that all of Brownsville should be on the Mexican side of the wall.

Right now NEWSCHANNEL 5 is working to get clarification from Congressman Tancredo.

Posted on April 15, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

The Dallas Morning News today reports that 28 separate federal laws or regulations were waived in order for Homeland Security to build the Texas-Mexico border fence. It looks like the waivers will be appealed to the Supreme Court. Here are exerpts:

The U.S. Supreme Court may get a chance to join the fractious debate over building fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. A legal challenge by two environmental groups seeking to limit enhanced Department of Homeland Security powers to suspend more than 30 laws to build the fence is gathering support in Congress. But at least one constitutional expert said that although the legal challenge underscores the broad array of powers Congress has delegated to Homeland Security, “environmentalists face an uphill battle.” “There is a legitimate legal gripe here, in that there are serious questions about how much power Congress can delegate to other branches of government,” said Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law authority at George Washington University Law School. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced the waiver of about three dozen environmental laws to expedite construction of the border fence in Texas and Arizona on April 1. “This blanket waiver of laws like the Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act is a clear and disturbing abuse of the secretary’s discretion,” said U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee. “Congress’ efforts to seek justification for this waiver from DHS have been stonewalled, which leads me to believe none exists.” Congress also denied oversight by federal appeals courts to any challenges, except for a request to the Supreme Court to review. In his announcement of the most recent waivers, Mr. Chertoff said that Homeland Security remains committed to environmental responsibility and that the agency “is neither compromising its commitment to responsible environmental stewardship nor its commitment to solicit and respond to the needs of state, local and tribal governments, other agencies of the federal government and local residents.” He stressed that his agency will continue to work closely with the Department of Interior and other federal and state resources management agencies to ensure that impact to the environment and cultural and historic artifacts is properly analyzed and minimized. But the size and scope of the use of waivers to clear the path for construction of the border fence is virtually unprecedented, Dr. Turley said. More troubling, he added, is the apparent dismissal of due process as “endless debate or protracted litigation.” Mr. Chertoff has said the waivers are necessary because “criminal activity at the border does not stop for endless debate or protracted litigation.” But Dr. Turley said Congress has in recent years “become almost waiver happy.” “They see it as a form of no-cost legislating,” he said. “But there is no evidence Congress considered the implications of giving Homeland Security such broad waiver power.” There are indications that Congress may be trying to regain some of the authority it gave away. Hidalgo Couny: Laws in suspension: Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff waived the following laws for construction of the border fence in Hidalgo County, Texas: 1. National Environmental Policy Act 2. Endangered Species Act 3. Federal Water Pollution Control Act 4. National Historic Preservation Act 5. Migratory Bird Treaty Act 6. Clean Air Act 7. Archaeological Resources Protection Act 8. Safe Drinking Water Act 9. Noise Control Act 10. Solid Waste Disposal Act 11. Resource Conservation and Recovery Act 12. Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act 13. Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act 14. Antiquities Act 15. Historic Sites, Buildings and Antiquities Act 16. Farmland Protection Policy Act 17. Coastal Zone Management Act 18. Federal Land Policy and Management Act 19. National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act 20. Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 21. Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act 22. Administrative Procedure Act 23. Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 24. Eagle Protection Repatriation Act 25. Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act 26. American Indian Religious Freedom Act 27. Religious Freedom Restoration Act 28. Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act of 1977 SOURCE: Federal Register Online

Posted on April 9, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

Here’s a troubling bit of news from today’s Dallas Morning News: Violence against U.S. Border Patrol agents is up 47 percent for the first six months of the fiscal year, as surveillance toughens along the 2,000-mile stretch of U.S.-Mexico border, David Aguilar, the nation’s top Border Patrol official, said Tuesday.

“As we continue to gain control of our borders, we fully expected the violence to go up,” said Mr. Aguilar, in Dallas for a quarterly gathering of about 50 sector chiefs and other leaders. In the past six months, there have been nearly 500 incidents against Border Patrol agents, as varied as rock-throwing, physical assaults and gunfire. Smugglers “frankly thought they owned” the border region, and could operate with impunity, Mr. Aguilar said.

Posted on April 1, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

Well, this is one way to do it. I’ve written a lot on this blog about the resistance Texas landowners are showing toward the building of a new fence along the Texas-Mexico border. Now comes word today that the Bush administration will plow ahead with the fence regardless of any opposition by landowners, by laws, or by regulations. Here are excerpts from a story today in the Dallas Morning News:

The Bush administration will use its authority to bypass more than 30 laws and regulations in an effort to finish building 670 miles of fence along the southwest U.S. border by the end of this year, federal officials said Tuesday. Invoking the two legal waivers — which Congress authorized — will cut through bureaucratic red tape and sidestep environmental laws that currently stand in the way of the Homeland Security Department building 267 miles of fencing in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, according to officials familiar with the plan. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly about it. As of March 17, there were 309 miles of fencing in place, leaving 361 to be completed by the end of the year to meet the department’s goal. Of those, 267 miles are being held up by federal, state and local laws and regulations, the officials said. One waiver will address the construction of a 22-mile levee barrier in Hidalgo County, Texas. The other waiver will cover 30 miles of fencing and technology deployment on environmentally sensitive ground in San Diego, southern Arizona and the Rio Grande; and 215 miles in California, Arizona and Texas that face other legal impediments due to administrative processes. For instance, building in some areas requires assessments and studies that — if conducted — could not be completed in time to finish the fence by the end of the year. Residents and property owners along the U.S.-Mexico border have complained about the construction of fencing. In South Texas, where opposition has been widespread, land owners refused to give the government access to property along the fence route. The government has since sued more than 50 property owners in South Texas to gain access to the land.

Posted on November 11, 2007 by Robert A. Kraft

I’ve written before about the perceived problems with relaxed restrictions on Mexican trucks entering the United States and going beyond the previously set mileage boundaries. There’s a blog with a great deal of information about this situation and other, related matters. Check out the Mexico Trucker blog.

Posted on September 9, 2007 by Robert A. Kraft

The Teamsters’ union and truckers in general have been protesting the recent change in U.S. policy that now (as of last Thursday) allows Mexican trucking companies to drive anywhere into the United States. Previously, the law required Mexican trucks to drive no farther than about 25 miles into Texas, and somewhat farther into Arizona. The change is a part of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement.

While there very well may be economic self-interests at play in these protests, the Teamsters say their primary concern is the safety aspect of allowing Mexican trucks onto U.S. highways.

The U.S. plans to grant permission to approximately 100 Mexican trucking companies by the end of 2007. This is part of a one-year pilot program intended to discover whether it would be safe to eventually allow all Mexican trucking companies into the United States.

Despite assurances from the U.S. government that all Mexican trucks will be inspected for drugs and for illegal immigrants, that the trucks will meet safety regulations, and that the drivers will be well-trained, there is considerable uncertainty among many Americans.

Because the main highway from Mexico into the U.S. runs through the Texas cities of Laredo, San Antonio, Austin, Waco, Dallas, and Fort Worth, we may find out fairly soon whether Texas drivers will be exposed to unusual dangers from the Mexican trucks.

Posted on August 29, 2007 by Robert A. Kraft

I agree with Governor Rick Perry! Now that is a statement you will not see very many times. But in an article in today’s Dallas Morning News Perry is quoted as taking a reasonable approach to border enforcement and a guest worker program. Here are excerpts from the article:

Lawmakers in Washington have failed to see the economic benefits of legal immigration and how a temporary worker program can coexist with greater border security, Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday as he concluded a three-day energy trade mission to Mexico.

Mr. Perry spoke passionately about the two pressing issues between the nations: an immigration overhaul and securing the border without building fences between neighbors.

“We know how to deal with border security, and you don’t do it by building a fence,” Mr. Perry said at a news conference before meeting with President Felipe Caldern.

Border crime can only be reduced with “boots on the ground” and perhaps some limited fencing in urban areas, Mr. Perry said. Last year, he said, half a dozen police surges at key points along the border reduced crime up to 60 percent.

Posted on June 24, 2007 by Robert A. Kraft

That was the lead sentence of a recent article in the Biloxi Sun Herald. It has to do with an odd quote from Mississippi Senator Trent Lott. Here are excerpts from the article:

Sen. Minority Whip Trent Lott, R-Miss., was talking to reporters Wednesday about the immigration bill, when he said, “If the answer is ‘build a fence’ I’ve got two goats on my place in Mississippi. There ain’t no fence big enough, high enough, strong enough, that you can keep those goats in that fence.”

“Now people are at least as smart as goats,” Lott continued. “Maybe not as agile. Build a fence. We should have a virtual fence. Now one of the ways I keep those goats in the fence is I electrified them. Once they got popped a couple of times they quit trying to jump it.”

“I’m not proposing an electrified goat fence,” Lott added quickly, “I’m just trying, there’s an analogy there.”

Asked for clarification as to what exactly the analogy was, Lott spokesman Lee Youngblood said that the senator supported a variety of measures in the immigration bill, including unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles, radar and more border patrol agents, as well as a fence to reduce the flow of illegal immigration.

“A fence in and of itself is not enough,” said Youngblood. “You can have technology to support the fence and to supplement the fence.”

Acknowledging the flak he’s taken, Lott said Wednesday, “I keep trying to tell everybody ‘calm down, calm down, let me be the one that offends the left, the middle and the right.’ I’m doing great, aren’t I? But it gives you a level of utopia that is just so blissful.”

“I don’t worry about offending anybody anymore, ” said Lott, “because I’ve already offended everybody.”

Posted on June 21, 2007 by Robert A. Kraft

Various wire service reports say the  Bush administration will delay for at least six months a rule that U.S. citizens must show passports when crossing the border by land or sea.

The announcement marks the second time in a month that officials have scaled back security plans in response to complaints.

Beginning in January, land and sea travelers returning from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda will be allowed to present a birth certificate and driver’s license in lieu of a passport.

Starting next year, travelers also will no longer be able to make an oral declaration of U.S citizenship to re-enter the country.

The modification is expected to last at least until the summer of 2008, when officials hope to require passports or similar documentation at all land and sea crossings.

The problem is caused by the government’s inability to produce passports sufficient to meet the demand, an indication to some people of extremely poor planning on the part of the Administration. Surely they have know for many months that there would be a flood of passport applications right before the new restrictions took effect.

Now we have to face the question of whether our border security is being made more vulnerable because of this bureaucratic bungling. This delay could cause our borders to be more porous, as terrorists will be able to use false documents to sneak across the border.

Posted on February 22, 2007 by Robert A. Kraft

The Associated Press is reporting today that the Department of Homeland Security is expected to announce that the new passport requirements for reentry into the United States, due to become effective in 2008, will not apply to children aged 15 or younger. Children will need a certified copy of their birth certificates, but not a passport.

There may be another exemption for children aged 16 through 18 if they are traveling with school, religious, cultural, or athletic groups and under adult supervision.

Posted on February 12, 2007 by Robert A. Kraft

CNN columnist Ruben Navarrette, Jr. has another provocative column online. I may have to just put all his columns here since he’s had so many good ones recently. This one is titled “Anti-Immigrant Mob Creates False Heroes” and is about the two border patrol agents imprisoned for shooting an illegal alien drug smuggler.

Navarrette talks about what many of the “anti-immigrant” people don’t mention when they show their outrage about these agents being imprisoned just for “doing their jobs.” The agents tried to cover up the incident. They picked up their shell casings and filed a report that made no mention of the shooting. Here are excerpts from the article.

The world is upside down. A posse of Republican lawmakers who, when opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants, like to talk about how rules must be followed and how we shouldn’t reward lawbreakers. They’re now demanding that a pair of convicted felons be rewarded with a presidential pardon.

Ex-Border Patrol agents Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos were sentenced to 11 years and 12 years in prison, respectively, after a jury convicted them of shooting an unarmed suspect and then covering it up.

Compean fired at least 14 rounds and Ramos fired once, hitting Aldrete-Davila. The agents then collected the shell casings, failed to report the shooting, and filed reports that made no mention of the incident.

None of this is heroic, except to the anti-immigrant mob, which has been making excuses for Compean and Ramos while accusing U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, whose office prosecuted the case, of being an agent of the Mexican government.

As his name gets dragged through the mud, you’d think that Sutton might hold a grudge. Not so.

“I have a lot of sympathy for some of the folks who are worked up because the narrative that they read is so different from the reality of what the jury heard,” Sutton told me.

But what about those unsympathetic Republican hacks, Minutemen vigilantes and conservative bloggers who are using this case to further their own agendas? For Sutton, it’s a reminder that there is no substitute for the American justice system. While not perfect, that system is designed to dole out justice based on facts and law, not politics.

“It’s why we litigate these things in a courtroom and not on cable television or the Internet,” he said.

Be glad that’s so.

Posted on January 3, 2007 by Robert A. Kraft

Columnist Reuben Navarrette, Jr. has written an interesting article for CNN, wondering what action, if any, the Democrats will take on immigration reform, now that they are officially in power in both the House and the Senate. Navarrette says almost 70% of Latinos voted Democratic in the 2006 election, but warns Democrats what might happen if immigration reform is not passed soon. The article concludes:

In the days after the election, there were newspaper articles in which sources in Congress said Democrats might want to put the immigration issue on the back burner and — certainly in the so-called 100-hour agenda to be kicked off this week — concentrate on easy victories such as raising the minimum wage, expanding stem cell research, lowering prescription drug prices and tightening congressional ethics rules.

But lately, there’s been talk of a bipartisan coalition in Congress that could approve an immigration bill that gives illegal immigrants a path to legal residency and perhaps even defund 700 miles of border fencing approved in the last session.

Sources in Congress are saying that the process will begin in the Senate as early as this month. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, and Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, are expected to introduce legislation. It should pass.

Then all eyes will be on the House, which could take up the issue later in the year. What if House Democrats get cold feet and fail to deliver, and Latinos hold them accountable? Let’s just say, they may not want to unpack those boxes just yet. In two years, they may have to find their way back to those smaller offices.

Posted on December 7, 2006 by Robert A. Kraft

Texas Governor Rick Perry, normally an ultra-conservative, surprised most members of his conservative base yesterday. In a speech to border officials, Governor Perry said that  ideas such as a fence along the border, cutting off public education for illegal immigrants, and changing the law to take away birthright citizenship are “divisive.”

Perhaps now that the election is over, and Perry won a multi-candidate race with far less than a majority of the total vote, he is moderating his political views in order to attract more of the Latino population.

Whatever his motivation, and whatever his sincerity, those of us who try to help immigrants appreciate his new positions.

The decision by the Supreme Court will certainly reduce the number of people who are deported from the United States each year for minor drug offenses. The Supreme Court also made it easier for some immigrants convicted of drug possession under state law to remain in the country.

For more information about immigration news, immigration laws, immigration policies, proposed immigration laws, border enforcement, green cards, citizenship, employment visas, family visas, naturalization, and other immigration subjects, please visit Immigration Law Answers and DFW Immigration Law Blog.

Posted on November 27, 2006 by Robert A. Kraft

The Douglas Dispatch has a story about local rancher Roger Barnett, who was sued for threatening a hunting party of Latinos with a rifle in 2004. Here are excerpts from the newspaper article:

The jury assessed a total of $210,000 in damages, but found Barnett only partially to blame for the incident. As a result, he will have to pay approximately $98,000 to principal plaintiff Ronald Morales, his father, and three girls.

Speaking after the verdict, Morales said he felt justice had been served.

“We came to court and spoke the truth, and the jury heard that truth,” he said. “Hopefully this sends a message that you can’t point a gun at little kids – or anybody for that matter – and then threaten to shoot them.”

Morales sued Barnett after the rancher confronted Morales’ hunting party on Oct. 30, 2004, and accused the group of trespassing on his property outside Douglas.

During the incident, Barnett took out an AR-15 assault rifle from his pickup and pointed it toward the group, which included Morales’ father, Arturo Morales; his daughters, Angelique and Venese Morales; and the girls’ friend, Emma English.

The hunters, all of whom are Americans of Mexican decent, said Barnett insulted them with racial slurs and threatened to shoot them – charges Barnett denied. Ronald Morales said he tried to get the county attorney to press criminal charges against Barnett, but was told no jury would convict him.

Morales’ attorney, Jesus Romo Vejar, said he hoped the local prosecutor would now reconsider filing criminal charges against Barnett, and he hoped others who had had problems with the rancher also would be encouraged to file civil claims.

Barnett estimates he has detained and turned over to the Border Patrol between 10,000 and 12,000 illegal immigrants during the past decade.

The five members of Morales party sued Barnett for assault, false imprisonment, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The jury found in favor of all five of the plaintiffs on the claims, but split responsibility between Roger Barnett, Ronald Morales and Arturo Morales.

Posted on October 12, 2006 by Robert A. Kraft

As election day rapidly approaches, it is important to understand the viewpoints each candidate for Texas Governor has on current immigration laws and proposed immigration reform. Understanding each candidate’s viewpoint will help you make a better decision on November 7, 2006.

Currently, the U.S. is home to approximately 10 million undocumented workers and their families. It is estimated that there are over one million illegal immigrants living in Texas. Each candidate has developed a plan to deal with illegal immigration and secure the Texas border.

Current Republican Governor Rick Perry wants to take action to tighten border security. This will include using the National Guard to patrol the U.S./Mexico border. He will ask for $100 million to fund border security efforts and will authorize the building of “border jails” to hold illegal aliens.

Carole Keeton Strayhorn, an Independent and former City of Austin Mayor, states that she will provide double the power of the Texas Rangers so that they can lead state border security measures and she will provide them with $15 million to do so. She believes that Texas must do more to protect the borders along the Rio Grande and the Gulf of Mexico by taking all necessary steps to prevent illegal immigration.

Kinky Friedman, an Independent candidate, would like to send 10,000 Guardsmen to the border. He also wants to impose fines of up to $50,000 on companies that hire illegal immigrants, and require foreign workers to buy a taxpayer ID card and pass a criminal background check. He would also like to make the Mexican government fund the cost of illegal immigration in Texas.

Chris Bell, a Democrat and former Congressman from Houston, said that he wants to focus on employers who hire illegal workers, but has said that trying to deport illegal immigrants already here would be difficult. He also supports the McCain-Kennedy bill that would provide a so-called “pathway to citizenship” for millions of illegal immigrants already in the country, provided they had jobs, learned English, paid fines, and met certain other requirements.

Each candidate for Texas Governor has a different stance on illegal immigration and immigration reform, and your vote will help determine the future of immigration in the United States.

If you have any questions on how to become a citizen or where and how to vote, please contact us or visit www.immigration-law-answers.com.