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Posted on 03-25-2010
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Human rights should drive immigration reform
Where is the clear proof that the multimillion-dollar wall along the U.S. – México border has curbed migration?


Jennifer Piper, Jordan T. García and Gabriela Flora

Reforming our obsolete immigration system is a human rights issue that can no longer wait. Our nation needs a clear and workable path toward legal residency for the millions of undocumented workers and families living in this country.

Some proposals, such as the immigration-reform blueprint that Senators Chuck Schumer and Lindsey Graham are spearheading, links the needed path to legal status to increasing the militarization of the southern border. Border communities along the U.S.-México border have for generations demanded accountability and respect for their quality of life, not more of the same failed policies.

Adding more patrols, or high-tech surveillance systems, to “secure the borders” does not make us more secure. The tragic deaths of at least 6,000 migrants attempting to cross the U.S. - México border since the mid 1990s are a stark reminder that border control policies have only perpetuated suffering. Migrants are 17 times more likely to die today while crossing the border than they were in 1998.

But, we hear from lawmakers that trumpeting border security is necessary to make immigration reform possible. Then where is the clear proof that the multimillion-dollar wall along the U.S. – México border has curbed migration? Economists say the recession of the past two years has had more of an impact.

Stepping up ineffective border patrols, filling more detention jails like the one in Aurora, and more wholesale deportations would only aggravate the climate of fear and uncertainty under which millions of families live. In fact, the Obama administration deported more undocumented migrants in its first year in office than in George W. Bush’s last year in the White House, based on the Department of Homeland Security’s own reports.

That is why seventy people from Colorado traveled via bus and ...
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