Immigration Newsletter

Monday, August 30, 2010

Immigrants on Trains Near Northern Border Detained - NYTimes.com

Immigrants on Trains Near Northern Border Detained - NYTimes.com: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

This NYT article by Nina Bernstein should be a comfort to those who still think that enforcement of immigration laws has not been a priority over the past decade. Most of the media attention is focused on the Southern border...and not without reason. The Not So Great Wall of America is being built there, and National Guard troops start arriving in AZ this week.

However, it should be noted that the Northern border is seeing increased enforcement as well. Even traveling on public transportation entirely within the United States can bring you into contact with the "Papers Please" Police. I am always a little surprised that Conservatives are not put off by the enormous level of spending that has gone into Homeland Security in general and immigration enforcement in particular. I guess being in favor of small government really all depends on what you think government should spend tax payer money on rather than the total amount of money being spent.

It might be surprising to some readers (considering that I am an immigration lawyer) but I do support having a large force of Customs and Border Patrol Agents as long as they have enough work to do at the border. The borders are long and, even though I am sympathetic to the reasons that many people have for trying to come here illegally, - those borders must be respected. I am not a fan, however, of having police performing intrusive searches on passengers on domestic rail and bus lines - I think Homeland Security gets into US citizens' business quite enough at the airport already.

There are border patrol checkpoints set up from time to time on the interstates in Northern New Hampshire and Vermont. I remember being stopped at one and being questioned a few years ago. I suppose I wouldn't have minded so much if the CBP agent didn't give me a hard time about my New England Patriots T-Shirt (obviously a Giants fan from Swanton Sector - oh the indignity!). Of course I am sure it went a lot easier for me than it would have for anyone who didn't have an I.D. on them or who might have spoken with a foreign accent.

I favor changing the immigration laws to make it easier and faster for people to come here legally. I think that increasing enforcement at the border to prevent illegal immigration is a logical part of such a policy. Unfortunately, from my perspective at least, it has been all enforcement and no improvement in the legal immigration process for the past decade or more.