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Bush's proposal won't solve immigrant problem

Jan. 21, 2004

Staff editorial

It is estimated that there are about 8 million undocumented people in the United States, with about 1.2 million of these people residing in Texas.

In an effort to alleviate some of the problem of undocumented workers, President Bush has proposed a temporary work program offering people wishing to immigrate to the United States, as well as those already here illegally, a three-year work visa and an option of applying for an additional three years. Workers would have to have a job offer from a U.S. company before applying to the work program. Bush also plans to increase the number of green cards issued.

Although the editorial board does think an effort to solve the immigration problems is needed, we do not feel this proposal would be effective.

The program requires those in the United States illegally to pay a one-time fee. The Lariat believes that people who have lived here illegally for many years would not have an interest in filing out paper work and paying the fee that would expose them as illegal, potentially risking being taken back to their native countries.

The Lariat agrees with critics of the program who say that since it offers only temporary legal status, it is postponing a problem because of the large amounts of illegal immigrants already in the country.

The terms of the proposal would allow families to be brought over if the worker can maintain them, but after three years they would probably have to return to their native countries if their work runs out.

We believe the only people truly benefiting from this proposal would be large corporations or maquiladoras in border towns in need of cheap labor.

There are many options to consider in order to put a stop to the illegal immigrant problem.

Lisa Navarrette, spokeswoman for the Council of La Raza proposed a program that would allow those who have been in the country illegally to be legalized after an intense background check on their history both here and in their native country.

Whether the proposal is Bush's attempt to get more Latino voters or a genuine interest in increasing the number of green cards issued, The Lariat believes there would be more efficient ways in trying to reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the United States every year.