Border Warfare

Congratulations to REASON and Glenn Garvin ("Bringing the Border War Home," October) for exploding the myths in the debate on illegal immigration, including the inflated statistics. Americans are still not aware of the consequences of requiring a national ID card or a work permit to address this exaggerated problem. Nor do they know how very close Congress is to implementing one. Whenor ifthey do become aware, I'm confident that they will object to the idea. It's national masochism.
Robert Ellis Smith

Privacy Journal
Providence, RI

As a resident of Tijuana, Mexico, and a daily commuter north to San Diego, as an employer of 10, as a white male, and an evangelical Christian and a libertarian, I felt compelled to write regarding Glenn Garvin's article.

Having just left church where the message essentially is for Christians to love others, as Christ loves us, I arrived at my post office box to find the recent issue of REASON. The article couldn't have come at a better time. Reading the first portion of the article about Lizbet Martinez I couldn't help but have tears in my eyes as I think of most Christians' response to immigration. How quickly they will cop out on love when it comes to immigration! "Sure, love others" they will say, "Um, unless they're illegal aliens."

Every day, on my way to work and when I come back to Tijuana, I see hundreds of human beings wedged alongside the old military runway fencing, waiting for their chance to make it to "El otro lado." Our business is located in the Otay Mesa section of San Diego, where the Border Patrol has their offices and "alien" holding areas. Each day, the hundreds of green and white Ford Broncos comb the streets and canyons nearby. I'm extremely puzzled at Americans' desire to increase funding for Customs and INS. How many guys do we want to pay to stand around chatting and smoking cigarettes and driving Broncos all over, arresting people for working, and fining those that provide income for othersincome used to put food on tables?

As an employer, I too have all the forms and ask for all the proper documentation of legal ity. How is it right for others to tell me who I can and cannot hire? If I wasn't here, there would be no work for anyone. How dare others tell me who I can hire based on country of origin?

The huddled masses (literally) along the way to my home in Tijuana are desperately seek ing a better life. Socialism has failed everywhere, including Mexico. If I have to go to prison as an employer, as a human being, for giving someone the opportunity to work so he or she could put food in their stomach, so be it.
Daniel Cannon
Solana Beach, CA

There have been many articles that object to regulating immigration to the United States, but none were as nauseating as the barf by Glenn Garvin. You might tell Mr. Garvin that the measures he finds so draconian and oppressive are intended to placate the millions of persons, like myself, who are rightly alarmed by the invasion from Mexico. You might also tell Mr. Garvin that he should thank his lucky stars that democracy, or any other form of majority rule, does not direct this government. If an effective solution is not found soon, many of us would favor a mass deportation of the entire Spanish-speaking population, at bayonet point if necessary. I don't give a damn how long they claim to have been in this country. It may be difficult for Mr. Garvin to appreciate the fear and desperation of Anglo-Americans concerning the locally over whelming numbers of foreign newcomers. (Funny, this is the first time I have ever referred to myself as an "Anglo.")

Any intelligent person who believes that a border between two countries cannot be sealed 100 percent lacks imagination. I dare say, the National Guard units of the border states with Mexico could seal the border, by themselves, by this weekend, and round the silly bastards up by the end of the month. Imagine, no more illegal immigration from Mexico within the month!
Don Q. Reynolds Jr.
Mayflower, AR

"Bringing the Border War Home" places me in the vanguard of a movement toward a national worker identity card system. For some, any discussion of ways for employers to verify work eligibility makes one subject to such classification. But while your article attacks all pro posed solutions, it fails to address the problem.

The Senate Judiciary Committee and Subcommittee on Immigration, of which I am a member, has approached the problem of illegal immigration on several fronts, the first and foremost being efforts to secure our borders. But this only addresses half the problem. The majority
of illegal immigrants actually enter this country legally and either overstay or violate the terms of their visas. Without addressing the reason people come herejobsno amount of barbed wire or night scopes will fully solve the problem.

The system for employers today is simply unworkable. Right now, a prospective employee may present any of up to 29 different documents to establish a legal ability to work in this coun try. The law says it is the employer's responsibility to determine the validity of these documents, with stiff penalties (up to $25,000) if he or she hires illegal immigrants.

This puts employers in an impossible situation. Employers, especially in small businesses, have no way of verifying these documents, and yet the law says it is the employer's responsibil ity to do so. We must limit the number of documents that can be presented to an employer. Current proposals would cut the number down to 16. I am in favor of cutting it down even further to two or three.

At the same time, we have technology to make documents counterfeit resistant, and we should use it. At the very least, we should replace the current green cardused by legal immi grants to establish work eligibility, but which can be easily counterfeited in mass numberswith a card that is counterfeit resistant.

The fraud expert in your article dismisses attempts to make documents counterfeit resistant but then goes on to make the strongest case in favor of such an idea. He himself designed the state of Florida's birth certificate (presumably to be as counterfeit resistant as possible) and, although the document can still be counterfeited, he admitted that its street price in Miami is now $5,000.

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