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11.15  The long read:  The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]

11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]

11.15 Trump administration to cut air pollution from heavy-duty trucks [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.14 Backed by Ocasio-Cortez, Youth Climate Activists Arrested in Pelosi's Office Demanding Democrats Embrace 'Green New Deal'

11.13 What would a smog-free city look like?

11.13 Global report highlights Australia’s renewables potential amid mixed signals for coal

11.13 Interior department whistleblower: Ryan Zinke hollowed out the agency

11.12  This Land is Your Land:  The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.12 Planned Parenthood's new president warns of 'state of emergency' for women's health

11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.09 Rainforest destruction from gold mining hits all-time high in Peru

11.09 A new way to make steel could cut 5% of CO2 emissions at a stroke

11.08 Medicaid’s stunning victory

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11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]

11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]

11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]

11.15 Big Oil v the planet is the fight of our lives. Democrats must choose a side

11.14 The Real Florida Recount Fraud

11.14 Telling NRA #ThisIsOurLane, Doctors' Photos Show Blood-Soaked Reality of America's Gun Madness

11.14 At Freshman Orientation, Young and Growing Progressive Caucus Makes Clear It Will 'Fight Like Hell' for Bold Democratic Agenda

11.13 'You Sound Nervous': Gillum Mocks Trump as President Demands End to Florida Recount

11.13 Kyrsten Sinema wins Arizona Senate race in breakthrough for Democrats

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11.09 Trump administration blocks asylum claims by those crossing border illegally [Making America Less Great Again...]

High Crimes?

11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]

11.10 US stops refuelling of Saudi-led coalition aircraft in Yemen war [But there are a few children still alive. It's too soon!]

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11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]

11.14 Brexit: May tells her cabinet, this is the deal – now back me

11.11 Tax reform: down with the ‘stepped-up basis’

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11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]

11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]

11.14 Israel and Hamas launch hundreds of attacks in Gaza clash

11.14 Mueller seeking more details on Nigel Farage, key Russia inquiry target says

11.13 Austin's Fix for Homelessness: Tiny Houses, and Lots of Neighbors

11.13 Portugal Dared to Cast Aside Austerity. It’s Having a Major Revival.

11.13 Caravan marks one month on the road: ‘We keep on going, laughing or crying’

11.13 Letter Shows Einstein’s Prescient Concerns About ‘Dark Times’ in Germany

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  Unintentional Immigrants

COMMENTARY:

Unintentional Immigrants

by Parrish W. Jones
Many migrants who planned to come and work for a time and return home have become unintentional immigrants; they dare not return home because they know the perils of crossing the border today.
Immigration reform is on the debate logs of congress and nearly every pundit these days. Few distinguish an immigrant from a migrant, a distinction that is quite necessary for understanding the issues. An immigrant is one who goes from one country to another with the desire to remain semi-permanently if not permanently and, in most cases, to seek citizenship. A migrant can be either an internal or external migrant. A migrant is one who moves about, often across national boundaries, for various reasons, in most cases to find work.

Present debates completely obscure the distinction and ignore the fact that a large majority of undocumented Latino persons in the U.S. never intended to stay here. Most would like to simply come and go to find work for a time so they may provide a better living for their families and villages back home. Present law makes such migration impossible.

In order to migrate into the U.S. from the south persons must cross the U.S. Mexico border. In the last 10 to 12 years such a crossing has become more dangerous and more expensive. In the 2004-05 fiscal year, 279 persons have died coming to "America" according to official records; this figure does not account for all deaths. Many migrants who planned to come and work for a time and return home have become unintentional immigrants; they dare not return home because they know the perils of crossing the border today.

The reason the risks have increased is that the Immigration and Naturalization Service and its successor, the Department of Homeland Security, through the Border Patrol, have built miles of fences, installed listening and video monitoring devices along the border and deployed aircraft, horsemen, cyclists, and armed vehicles to discover and apprehend migrants. The fences and monitoring equipment have forced the migrants to go farther and farther into the deserts to begin their journey. The result has been escalating deaths of men, women and children from scorching heat and freezing cold, injury, snake and insect bites, and animal attacks. The trek across the desert takes three to seven days, a journey that requires carrying enough food and water for the trip, an impossible task as adequate water for the trip often weighs more than the person.

Once a person has made that journey, he or she is reluctant to ever make it again because of the danger. Economics also plays a role. Increased surveillance creates greater risk for those who aid the migrants in their journey. A practice that was once made up of families with deep connections to villages is increasingly becoming the enterprise of organized, well-funded criminal elements who do not depend on their reputations for business. Unlike the families who were assisting friends and relatives, the organizations are in it purely for the money. So the migrant feels a greater threat on two fronts: the imposing U.S. militarization and the growing criminal crossing system.

Few of us who work on immigration issues believe in throwing the borders open. That is no more practical than the attempt to completely close them off. Nor is it likely that most U.S. citizens would find closing the borders suitable. We simply depend too extensively on migrant labor to support our more and more ravenous lifestyles.

Reform we need, but, if we are serious about immigration reform, we will recognize the distinction between migrant and immigrant. Once the distinction is made, we can reform the law to make migration possible while still protecting our borders from terrorists. Senators Kennedy and McCain have introduced legislation that goes a long way toward writing the distinction into law. Under their legislation, migrants already in the U.S. would be able to acquire a worker visa by paying a fine for crossing illegally (that is not amnesty). Through that law we would have a means to know who is in the country, where they are and for whom they have worked. Today, we know none of that about the 12 or so million who are here undocumented. Knowing who they are would leave resources to track those who do not want to be found out because they wish us harm.

Second, the law provides for new work visas for persons who wish to migrate, thus assuring that our appetite for their labor will be met as others return home for a while. With the new work visas, there will be less pressure on the border a fact that will free up more money to spend on real security threats like hurricanes.

Let's be reasonable and do the right thing for us and for the migrant laborer who wants to come here to work for us and support his family.


Dr. Parrish W. Jones is a Minister of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in Washington, DC. He has served as a volunteer in mission with Presbyterian Border Ministry, led numerous mission/study groups to the Mexican border, and volunteered with the Border Working Group, a coalition of faith-based organizations, to advocate for more humane border policy. He may be reached at parrish.jones@starpower.net.



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This story was published on December 16, 2005.

 

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