Center for International Studies
Immigration Speaker Calls for Reform
West Cosgrove, Education Director for the Kino Border Initiative, called for reform of U.S. Immigration Laws because they are not working. He pointed out that since 1993, we have tripled the number of border patrol agents along the Mexican border and increased spending to $18 billion, yet the number of undocumented immigrants have increased. He said that instead of building more fences, we need to address the reasons why people come to the U.S.--- lack of jobs and persecution at home. A side effect of NAFTA is the flooding Mexico with cheap corn, which drives small farmers out of business. Working in maquiladora factories is not the answer, since the average worker’s pay is $5 a day. This does not feed a family since food prices in Mexican cities along the border are the same as in the U.S., so people come to the U.S. where even the hourly minimum wages is higher. Currently, US. Immigration law does not provide visa categories for unskilled workers to enter the U.S. and the number of guest worker visas for agriculture is woefully small compared to the number of undocumented workers who harvest U.S. crops—55% of the harvesters. Congress is supposed to be working on immigration reform. The Senate passed a bill this summer; the House has yet to act.