Sunday, February 22, 2009


Finally some creative thinking about illegal immigration. Take "migra", the derogatory term used by illegal immigrants for the US Border Patrol, and "corrido", traditional Mexican ballads, and what do you get:

Migracorridos, a five-song CD distributed by the USBP to Mexican radio stations containing such hits as "El Enemigo Mas Grande", a ballad about a Mexican watching his cousin die in the desert. The CD also includes "La Carta" (The Letter), "La Tumba" (The Tomb), and "El Funeral" (you're on your own with this one).
The good news is it actually represents some creative thinking by our border control. Mexican drug traffickers are known to sing narcocorridos to brag about their exploits and the USBP now has a competing offer. And they're apparently quite popular. Read the rest of the Daily News article (hooray, they produced something worth reading! Oh wait, that's just an AP reprint) for more about the Border Crossing Initiative. The BCI claims success, as deaths are down from a peak of 492 in 2005 to 390 in 2008, but it's unclear how much of this is from fewer border crossing attempts due to fewer opportunities en el norte during the recession.

The sad news is that an effort like this is only noteworthy in the absence of any reasonable immigration policy. Eight years ago a governor from a border state ran for President with a sensible position based on years of first-hand experience with immigration. Too bad he never got the chance to make it happen. From 2005 and 2007, John McCain*, Ted Kennedy, and others led an effort for a comprehensive immigration reform that sought to address the major issues in a reasonable way by largely ignoring the rantings from the right and left extremes. The resulting rants of these extremes against the bill suggest it had some merit.

It was not perfect. It was not how I would have drawn it up. But considering the usual crap that comes out of Congress it wasn't that bad. It had the support of the last President. Would it have the support of this one? I think so. Can it get through the new Congress? It came close last time and seems worth a try now. But will ecomonic troubles and a temporary decline in illegal immigration remove it from the agenda entirely?

This seems like something the current Congress and President could get done in a reasonable way. So what gives? We'll tackle this issues in depth at a later date, but for now, can't we at least get it back on the table?

* note: when this author refers to "John McCain", he is not referring to the alien-demon-possessed 2008 presidential candidate who ran under the same name and said he would actually vote against the immigration bill the real John McCain sponsored back in 2006.

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