Published in the Union-Tribune on Page B7, April 15, 2009 in an editorial feature:
OBAMA IN MEXICO: EXPECTATIONS FROM MEETING WITH CALDERÓN
Recent news reports indicate that President Obama will push comprehensive immigration reform this year. Because estimates are that 57 percent of the 12 million undocumented foreigners in the United States are Mexican, the issue of immigration reform involves Mexico.
Chief among Americans’ suspicions about legalizing the undocumented is that it would result in the influx of more undocumented foreigners to take their place.
Comprehensive immigration reform is urgently needed because of the moral and practical difficulties in expelling the undocumented from the United States and because of the importance of this population to America’s economy both nowand in the future as the American population ages. The passage of reform legislation will require that Americans believe that a new legalization program will be America’s last.
The Mexican government could help provide this assurance by implementing programs to stop population outflows from Mexico. The United States should seek assurances that in return for legalizing large numbers of Mexican citizens now in the United States, Mexico would implement reforms so that Mexican citizens would be content to stay home and contribute to the vitality of their own country rather than crossing the border illegally and contributing to ours.
Montag is a State Bar of California certified Immigration and Nationality Law Specialist. He is on the editorial board of Immigration Today, the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s monthly magazine.