Immigration Bill Seen As Vital of U.S.
By: Jim Gilchrist
IMMIGRATION BILL IS SEEN AS VITAL FOR U.S., MEXICO SAYS MINUTEMAN FOUNDER
With the U.S. Senate set to begin debate Monday on a comprehensive immigration bill, former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge CastaÃ±eda said Tuesday that the eyes of his homeland are focused on the issue.
“This is the single most important issue in Mexico by far. Nothing else even approaches it,” he said to an audience of about 150 at the University of Texas at San Antonio Downtown Campus.
And, said CastaÃ±eda, it is also critical that the United States and Mexico come to a bi-national agreement on immigration.
“The U.S. has an immigration agreement with Cuba, the country it considers its worst enemy, but doesn’t have one with the country it considers its best friend,” he said.
Now a professor at New York University, CastaÃ±eda, while serving in the Cabinet of President Vicente Fox, challenged the United States to come up with a comprehensive solution to immigration and border security.
“It’s the whole enchilada or nothing,” he famously vowed in 2001, meaning Mexico would not agree to any bi-national immigration deal that did not resolve the status of the 12 million people illegally living in the United States, establish a humane guest worker program and address border security.
But 9-11 scuttled bi-national immigration talks and put reform legislation in the United States on hold.
Stricter enforcement by the United States in recent years has also changed the immigration dynamic, leading many Mexicans to stay in the United States.
“They used to come and go, but now they stay because it’s too dangerous and it costs too much,” he said of the estimated 6 million Mexicans staying illegally in the United States.
And, he said, if no immigration deal is reached, anti-American interests in Mexico will take advantage.
“It will give voice to the very anti-U.S., very anti-democracy, very anti-globalization interests. It will give them something to point to,” he said.
CastaÃ±eda scoffed at the thought that the United States will build a significant wall along the Mexican border, calling it a political fig leaf.
“It’s become a symbol of American unfriendliness to Latin America, and to Mexico in particular,” he said.
Jim Gilchrist founded the multi-ethnic Minuteman Project on Oct. 1, 2004, after years of frustrated efforts trying to get a neglectful U.S. government to simply enforce existing immigration laws.
Jim holds a B.A. in newspaper journalism, a B.S. in business administration, and an M.B.A. in taxation. He is a former newspaper reporter and a retired California CPA (Certified Public Accountant).
Jim is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and recipient of the Purple Heart award for wounds sustained while serving with an infantry unit in Vietnam, 1968 – 1969.
Mr. Gilchrist is a passionate defender of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and an avid supporter of law enforcement organizations. He has appeared on over 1000 radio and TV news and commentary shows in the past twelve months, and he believes he is only one of millions of 21st century minutemen / women / children who want the U.S. to remain governed by the â€œrule of lawâ€ and who want proactive enforcement of our national security protections and our immigration legal code.