Can we talk about immigration without everybody getting worked up?

A few years ago, I taught some evening ESL classes in the Dallas area.  I had the opportunity to chat with many people who had crossed the border.  Some came from Central America and others from "los ranchitos" in Mexico.    

I learned a couple of things:

1) It is extremely dangerous for women to cross the border, unless they are in large groups and someone has a gun.

2) There are some very nasty people in the "people flow" business.  It is not crazy to say that some people are bringing in drugs in exchange for protection or access to routes.  I'm not saying that illegal immigrants are in the cartel business, but they often have no choice.  We've all heard about mass killings south of the border.  As a Central American, you resist and they will kill you.

I recall a young woman from El Salvador telling me stories of rape and abuse from roaming gangs.

Yes, Donald Trump went too far in his remarks.  My guess is that he didn't mean to insult anyone, but he did.  Candor is a good thing until you say something unfounded.

The truth is that women are more likely to get raped on the way to the border, not after they cross it.  The risk is in the lawless territories that these people walk through.  Sadly, they are often victims of corrupt police along the way, as Steve Chapman wrote.

Of course, the overwhelming majority of people who come here are good people who cross the border because we let them do it.  In other words, the U.S. government has not had a serious border policy since the Democrats canceled the "brasero" program in the mid-1960s.    

By the way, the Democrats killed the program to kiss union butts, as John Fund wrote in 2007:

I've written before about how President Eisenhower's Bracero guest-worker program reduced arrests of illegal aliens at the border from over a million in 1954 to only 45,000 by 1959. 

The number of arrests remained under 100,000 a year until 1964, when President Lyndon Johnson ended the program under pressure from labor unions.

We used to control the border when we had a plan, like the brasero, which connected employers and employees legally.

Trump's remarks have put the focus on what he said rather than the very serious issue of an out-of-control border, the daily violence (yes, there is rape, too), and the loss of U.S. sovereignty.

Yes, we have a problem on the border.  It is a threat to U.S. sovereignty and a first-rate national security mess.

So let's start again and talk about this problem.

Let's put some ideas on the table, such as:

1) The U.S. has every right to control its border or the people who come over.  Mexico does it.  Everybody does it.  So why can't the U.S.?  I am sick and tired of people who talk as if the U.S. does not have a right and, I would add, a duty to control its borders.

2) The U.S. cannot take every Mexican who can't make it in "ranchitos," or farms.  The solution is for Mexico to reform its agricultural policies so that farmers can farm rather than merely survive under the thumbs of a corrupt Mexican federal government.   

3) We should go back to something like the brasero program, which allowed Mexicans to come over, work, and go home with dollars in their pockets.  The word is a guest-worker visa that allows people to come over legally.

4) We need to have a frank talk about our consumption of illegal drugs and how it funds gangs devastating Mexico and Central America.  

5) The Democrats must stop pandering for Hispanic votes with promises that they've never kept and can't keep.  After all, do you recall a serious immigration package coming from a Democrat president with congressional majorities?  Obama?  Clinton?  Carter?  Johnson?   

6) The GOP needs to buy into a plan that provides a path to legalization, not citizenship, for some who are willing to pay a fine.  This is not amnesty since it includes penalties, background checks, and no path to citizenship.  I repeat: no path to citizenship!

Put me down as someone who wants a serious discussion, from A to Z, without the insults.  There are good ideas, and we need to hear them.  It does not help to hear insults or the kind of pandering that we've seen from Democrats desperately thinking about the next election. 

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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