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Roger Gitlin: Bring back the Bracero program

Posted: April 30, 2010 5:51 p.m.
Updated: May 2, 2010 4:55 a.m.
Congratulations to the Grand Canyon State for passing SB1070, the long-overdue answer to the absolutely out-of-control southern border with Mexico.

With the signing of the bill by Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, the law will effectuate in 90 days and give police the authority to enforce existing federal law, and question whether an individual is in the United States legally. Violators would be subject to a misdemeanor and subject to deportation.

What a great law! I applaud Arizona for its courageous stand in holding our federal government responsible for border enforcement.

For decades, Washington has ignored this problem, and states such as Arizona and California are going broke trying to sustain costs associated with providing services to those who illegally enter the United States.

It matters not that President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, or former Arizona governor and now Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano oppose this law. These ideologues — including the president of Mexico — are completely predictable. They see the flow of illegal immigrants blurring the United States into nonexistence as a natural course of events.

The Obama regime sees this torrent of humanity as NYDs — Not Yet Democrats.

We all know the problem exists. The federal government don’t want to do anything about it.

The president fails to uphold his oath and enforce Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution. That alone is an impeachable breach of his oath. Even Steny Hoyer, the Democratic whip from Maryland, agrees the federal government has not secured the U.S.-Mexico border.

Arizona is fed up. Would it surprise you to know that in 2009 alone, 500,000 tons of marijuana was seized at the Nogales portal?

And that’s what the Border Patrol caught. That astounding number is a mere pittance of drugs and humanity that have illegally entered our country.

Comprehensive immigration reform is not the answer. As written by Chicago Congressman Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., the latest version of this bill would allow a pathway to citizenship for the millions upon millions of illegal immigrants who have entered the country, plus include a family reunification factor that would add millions upon millions more to come to the United States and feed off the welfare trough that is currently bankrupting a number of border states, including California.

No. What is needed — and what is required — is a border-enforcement bill. Secure our southern border, and secure it tightly with the inclusion of federal troops to protect American citizens.

After the border is secured, a real census needs to be taken. How many illegal immigrants are living in the United States, and how many are utilizing precious state services reserved for citizens.

I suspect that number is substantially larger than the 9 million to which Obama refers.

Then the United States needs to take a good, hard look at and bring back the highly successful Bracero program that provided a labor arm for jobs Americans would not do.

The program existed from 1942-64, primarily utilized as an agricultural agreement. Laborers from Mexico would come into the United States, harvest crops and be paid a prevailing wage.

Cesar Chavez was instrumental in dismantling the Bracero program, in favor of providing those same jobs to American agricultural workers at a prevailing wage. Chavez opposed illegal immigration vehemently up to his passing in 1993.

At its height in the late 1950s, Bracero enrollment totalled about 500,000.

More importantly, the Bracero program worked

It’s worth it. Let’s take a look at this program.

Citizenship should not be offered at this time to anyone who breaks America’s first law by entering the United States illegally.

I suspect California will reap the consequences of Arizona’s strong stand on illegal immigration.

Be prepared for an influx of newly arrived residents to the Golden State, who will seek services from an all-too-willing Sacramento government, loaded with liberals and leftists who will embrace this influx like long-lost relatives reunited.

I welcome your points of view.

Roger Gitlin is a teacher and founding member of the Santa Clarita Valley Independent Minutemen. he can be reached at His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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