Saturday, October 3, 2009

And So It Goes

Immigration is not to be judged only by its short term fiscal burden on the Feds. Just note these three stories in the news

(1)We have all learned about one possible reason why Chicago lost its bid to host the 2016 Olympics. One member of the IOC grilled President Obama about the type of reception the foreign visitors are likely to receive at border entry points .He even went on to descibe the entry experiences into the US as being "harrowing". We should be very careful not to conclude that this was the reason that Chicagos' bid lost but there is no doubt that current US paranoia at the border has played a factor in the decision to award the 2016 Olympic games to Brazil.

(2) The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, has two important cases on its docket. In "Padilla vs Kentucky" scheduled to be heard on Oct. 13, 2009 the court will decide whether a criminal defense attorney is obliged to inform foreign-born defendants about the potential impact of the criminal case on their immigration records. On Nov 10 the court will hear the arguments for "Kucena vs Holder" and has to rule on the federal courts' right of oversight in immigration cases. These two cases are being very closely watched by the immigrant community for any possible reversal in the courts' interpretation of immigration law.

(3) And last but not least the US Human Rights Record is again being questioned. (Wasn't Abu Ghraib enough?) It has been alleged that in many border areas, especially in Arizona, anti immigration vigilante groups have been spreading fear, chaos and mayhem in a number of border communities. As a result of the alleged abuses the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the OAS has decided to accept hearing such cases against the US government.


  1. I honestly believe that border control is difficult in every country and that the Olympic games create such havoc for the host country. I do not necesssary think that we did not win the bid because of border control fear because that is everywhere. Because the United States is cracking down on immigration laws, immigration is the highlight of everything going wrong

  2. amanda,
    I am not a big fan of the olympic games but it was interestibg that President Obama was the only one grilled about the issue of border procedures for foreigners.(The issue was not even raised with the Brazilians) The IOC questioner was a Pakistani national.

    Ghassan Karam

  3. I agree with both statements. Border control everywhere is difficult and therefore I also find it odd that President Obama was the only one questioned on the issue. Why are the fingers being pointed towards the United States and not at other countries as well. It is an interesting issue that should be spoken about much more.

  4. I don't have as much experience as would deem my post completely factual; however, I have found in my travels that border control in America is much more "harrowing" than in many other nations. Think of the times when you arrive home from abroad in a flight, you are shaken from your sleep and forced to fill out paperwork, and even shown a video on how to do so. There can be no mistakes, no misspellings, with everything in perfect english. Then when have passed the paperwork along, you are searched and questioned as if you were a "terrorist." I am all for security, and keeping this country safe, but I am not for making each individual who walks through my doors feel like a second rate human being, or like a high profile criminal. I am not saying that these experiences of mine or of others was the reasoning behind Chicago's loss, I am just pointing out that the issue of our "harrowing" border controls isn't so far from the truth.

  5. I think it is also important to note whether or not our "harrowing" security experiences have helped out at all. I understand the argument that it is better to safe then sorry however there is an extent where this becomes rediculous. If European countries do not have higher incidents of terrorism while having less "harrowing" security features, why wouldn't we strive for a similiar system. From all angles it would make sense: 1) Economically- We could save billions of dollars that we give to security features that can be spent on more effective programs; 2) Socially we can end these practices that hinder on violations of human rights by making innocent people feel like high security inmates and 3) Politically we can have better relations with other nations and IGO's such as the Olympic Commission that see us as over protective and obnoxious.--Vinnie

  6. Vinnie,
    You make an excellent point about the cost of all this additional security that has not delivered additional safety. As you well know, economists are fond of reminding us that there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. If we want all this additional security then we have to recognize that it is not for free, it is very expensive.

  7. I agree with everyone who said that the security processes in America are far more harrowing than in any other country. I've traveled to Europe several times, and although they are also very very strict with it, they do not approach random people and take them aside to interrogate them. One of my high school teachers is a Legal cuban, and after he travels anywhere he looks very rugged and a lot like a middle easterner. He has been pulled aside many times to be checked over once again. If that ever happened to me I would be furious!! I very much agree with Vinnie because this extra security is costing the federal government a lot of extra money, and if other countries expeience less terrorism with smaller amounts of security maybe we should follow by example and try the same. I think this extra "harrowing" security has put a lot of stress and pressure into the hands of anyone traveling into and out of this country, much of which is NOT needed.... - Justyna Sokol