10/10 - Immigration Reform in Louisiana

Should Louisiana pass immigration reform legislation similar to Arizona’s?

Should Louisiana draft immigration enforcement legislation similar to Arizona’s controversial bill? The state Attorney General’s office has filed a legal brief in support of Arizona, and at least one Louisiana legislator plans to introduce a comparable law next session. How big a problem is illegal immigration in our state and are current laws not effective enough? Watch Immigration Reform in Louisiana on Louisiana Public Square, Wednesday, October 27th at 7 on LPB HD.

Backgrounder

On April 23, 2010, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law, S.B. 1070, the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act. The law focuses on immigration enforcement to combat what supporters say the state has become - “the superhighway for illegal border crossings and drug trafficking in the United States.” The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office has joined Michigan’s Amicus brief filed in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in support of Arizona “due to an important issue relating to state's sovereignty.”

State Senator Troy Hebert, D- New Iberia has directed his staff to begin drafting an immigration bill for the 2011 session similar to Arizona’s and State Rep. “Joe” Harrison, R-Houma, will be introducing, for a fourth time, legislation to aid businesses in identifying employees not legally in the country, this time doubling penalties for illegals.

So, how much of a problem is illegal immigration in our state? And are current laws not doing enough to address the situation?


...Read Full Backgrounder

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Our Panelists:


Pictured: Immigration Attorney Kathleen Gasparian, State Senator Neil Riser of Columbia, Dr, Mary Weisher, a Migration Specialist with Loyola Jesuit Social Research Institute and LPB's Shauna Sanford


Related Links:

Louisiana Office of Attorney General Brief in Support of Arizona (Click here for pdf of document).

U.S. Citizenship Test

This program was also funded in part by the Louisiana Forestry Association

We want to know your opinion! Leave your comments in the box below.


Yes we should have an immigration law like 1070. It is just like federal law and I believe if Louisiana state troopers and law officers can help the feds control illegal immigration it is all the better. Just enforce current laws, like 1070 does, and we are not stepping on any ones toes. I’m all for legal immigration. Just think of all the Chinese and other nationalities that have waited in line to get into this country. It takes year after year to be nationalized into the USA. Remember you can only take in so many people a year and not lose the culture of your country. Land of the free, home of the brave.

Posted by TKTPLZ  on  10/27  at  07:16 PM

i think that we need to stand tough on illegals if you need to come in my country speek my language and pay taxs like me.Illegals that are here has a crimal record and that is why they are in the U S A because if they are caught in there country they we be proscuited so they come here because they know that will get a free ticket,they are just taking over over our country just like the mulsums are doing, they bom us and we do nothing,they run drugs and we do nothing, Oboma and his staff is wating for the right time to turn our state into a commist country.Our counrty was built on trust in GOD not in Obama and his staff and illegals that just dont play by the rules.So i say come and vist but you can’t stay for the nite!!!!

Posted by chuck terro  on  10/27  at  07:19 PM

I believe that Louisiana should not follow on Arizona’s footsteps on creating an immigration law. Immigration law is a Federal resposibility and I believe that a comprehensive Immigration Reform is needed. I hope that the polititians would seat down and discuss the subject with the country’s best interest in mind and not their own agendas.

The immigration problems are very complicated and the lack of real clear information on the subject makes it even worse. The common people do not have the smallest idea on what means to get a visa, whether it is a student, worker or a tourist visa, a residence card, or citizenship. Neither they have an idea of the difference between being in the country legally and being a naturalize citizen.

There is so much misinformation going around that is incredible. The fact that a polititian portrays the immigrants like thieves breaking a fence in the darkness of the night just to get to his adversary in the elections is just low. The only message the people get with this type of propaganda is that we have to beware of immigrants.

I appreciate LPB for this program and I hope that it doesn’t stop here. Our country has been known for its fight for Social Justice and a comprehensive Immigration Law is the way to accomplish Social justice for Immigrants.

Regards, Margarita Wetzel

Posted by Margarita Wetzel  on  10/27  at  07:32 PM

If you are not a native american+ YOU are descendant of an IMMIGRANT!!  How DARE anyone make the argument that we have an immigration “problem”. Lord!  I was in south Florida last weekend-for a family wedding -the richest place in america (next to NYC SF and Hollywood CA)-and for 3 DAYS -every single person that worked at the wedding-caterers-attendants-servants-cleaners- at the gas staions - were ALL immigrants!!!  South Floridians like Rush Limbaugh don’t seem to mind when an immigrant is cleaning up the dishes in their restaurant or serving thm at the country club!! “Oh But THESE immigrants are “legal” give me a friggin BREAK -Republicans moan about immigration when it suits them -but when they want servants and cheap labor- its “H2B Visa- is political asylum-Lord-  the truth is -this is a racist argument -against mexicans-dark skinned and muslim people - nobody seems to mind the WHITE hotel workers from Bulgaria or the Ukraine -or the light skinned Cuban - oh -but the dark skinned mexicano waiting at the Hom Depot for work- or the dark skinned latino children in school(who are most likely AMERICAN CITIZENS!!) - Immigration “problem” is veiled Racism and white supremacy- PERIOD!!  I take that to the bank- and speaking of Bank? When it comes to millionaire baseball players that just happen to come from foreign countries and HAVE to get to america to play ball- No OnE NO ONE seems to mind -espeocially the FANS of that team-  the racist baseball fan-*****esabout the poor mexican -living on his block -but if you DARE try to deport his favorite Pitcher—you better make an exception!!!

Posted by David Capasso  on  10/27  at  07:34 PM

The real blame should be placed both on illegal immigrant and the employer illegally hiring the illegal immigrant in the first place at lower than minimum wage.  First and foremost, we cannot forget that the immigrant would not be in the country without a job.  The one major problem that I heard from the audience throughout the program was a generalization that the immigration law was bad simply because a few people do bad things-that is, illegal aliens who cross the border and the employers who break the law by hiring them.  Also, we cannot allow illegal immigrants to enter and leave the US simply due to the ups and down of the economy.  This by itself leads to the economic crisis that the country is now experiencing.

Posted by Kevin Williams  on  10/27  at  08:32 PM

If the subject had been “Repairations for African-Americans” the expert panel would have more than one black person.  Yet when the subject is illegal immigrants which are predominantly latino, you chose one hispanic to be on the panel.

Your program was neither fair nor balanced.  Not one illegal immigrant was given the opportunity to speak.  Did you try to find one?

People seeking better economic opportunities will continue to come no matter what is done to secure the border.  We need to accept this fact and learn to deal with this reality.  Nothing will stop the influx of people looking for a better life.
This is very much to same reasons our forefathers came to America.  Wouldn’t you agree?

Posted by Mariano Hinojosa  on  10/28  at  07:57 AM

There are many arguments on both sides of this issue.  The one I believe is most important, right now for Louisiana is the Cost-benefit argument.  Making a law similar to Arizona also implies that it has to be enforced.  The amount of resources and the cost to enforce such a law would probably not be worth it.  Given the fact that we already do some enforcement (albeit not the most ideal level) It may be wiser to keep the status quo, at least for now, until we are economically able to to more. The data shows 1.5% of immigrants in Louisiana are illegal, vs 4% nationally.  In terms of crime and economic impact there is probably not enough reason to make the case for a law that will in the end cost us resources that we don’t seem to have at this time.
Immigration reform is so much of a political issue at this time its also a difficult task to filter out what is “real reform” vs posturing for the press, and for votes.  If we are wrong about the law it will cost us.

Posted by David Modeste  on  10/29  at  10:08 AM

All you have to do is make Mexico a state that way all the good paying jobs will be there. I think the people who say no American wants the job is because they do not want to pay the higer salary. By using the illegals they do pay as high a salary giving themselves more money.

Posted by howard p. comeaux jr.  on  10/29  at  03:27 PM

The comments made about illegal immigrants doing the jobs no one else works is a lie. Wages are kept too low to support a family on the pay. Most of the illegals come here, make X amount of dollars and go home and live well for years

Posted by Raymond C Bobo  on  10/29  at  03:28 PM

Except…they don’t? Illegal immigrants leave a nation and the system that has failed them by taking on tremendous risks, and then they return to that exact same system? Not a chance. They immigrate for the reason all immigrants do—to look for a chance to make a better life for themselves and for their family, here, by emigrating. To demonize them is to demonize the simple part of humanity that looks to prosper for itself and for the prosperity of others.

We must not forget that, in times of economic hardship, it’s easy to put the blame on another. This exact situation has played itself out over and over in human history; immigrants are used as scapegoats for deeper problems in a society that can not, or will not, take responsibility for the welfare of its citizens. Even at the formation of our nation were those at the highest echelon of power wary of immigration, to the extent of xenophobia. During the Great Depression, we again turned against immigrants of all types—Latino, Italian, Jewish, the list goes on—except for those of Northern European descent. In other words, the ones who were already culturally and ethnically similar to the majority of Americans. This policy of catering to nativist sentiment led to the inaction of the United States towards the Nazi regime in Germany when it would have counted most, when the persecution of the Jews was known worldwide, yet none stepped up to take them in.

However, every time, we’ve seen the same thing happen over and over; these immigrants would take the beating Americans would dish out, but they would come back. They would come back, and they would bring something rich to America. They would bring communities, jobs, a fresh new culture, the promise of greater prosperity. And, every time, they have delivered. And they came back because, despite it all, they knew they could make it here, because they had even the slimmest chance of making it here. It’s a credit to their determination to see the vibrant immigrant communities we have today, of all stripes and colors.

Today, as always, that situation is repeating itself. We see our system crumbling around us, and it’s tempting to blame it on external factors. However, we need to learn from history and not let reasonable fear and doubt lead us into shunning our basic human values. The situation with illegal immigrants is a test of Civilization. Can we collectively educate ourselves on the issue and work together to bring about a real solution to this problem and not merely brutalize it into submission? I hope so.

In the end, it’s important to remember our basic humanity. No one should be called “illegal”. Not for this.

Posted by Dennis Tran  on  10/30  at  04:57 AM

I was one of those in the group on the program regarding illegal immigration. I guess I didn’t make myself exactly clear…I meant to say that AZ Bill SB 1070 does not allow for racial profiling. In fact, the bill states specifically that the police officer will be penalized if he is caught racial profiling. Racial profiling would be against the law in other words. I guess I didn’t make myself absolutely clear on that. Sorry. I only wish that Mrs. Weishar was as committed to helping her fellow American citizens as she is so diligently committed to illegals who are breaking the law by bringing in drugs, driving while drunk, raping the women, and killing our citizens ...another case just last week was indicted and he was a repetitive deportation case. They are known to be “mules” for the drug cartels because they pack 50-60 pounds of drugs on their backs with the promise of finding work here. I have seen the Border Patrol’s night vision films. It’s very real and very dangerous. Calderone is quite happy to help get them out of his country while he vigorously opposes migration from the Central America countries and elsewhere. He has a fence and military on Mexico’s southern border. I didn’t get to say all that but would have liked to. I enjoyed being on the program and I have gotten nothing but positive feedback from friends and family. Thank you for the opportunity to make my statement regarding illegal immigration.

Posted by Julie Abraham  on  11/01  at  10:30 AM

I used to live in your Great Country, Baton Rouge Louisiana. From 1999 to 2008 in Baton Rouge, I tried my best every day. I have a business degree from my country. it took me 6 years to get it( 1996). I was illegal for 9 years and just legal for 1 year. I swear, i tried so hard to become legal by law. I could not. An inmigration lawyer propose to help me to get married,( as a lie ). I did not agree with it. U.S.A is what it is because almost everything it has to be done by law; I like that and I never changed my mind about it. I have to leave the greatest country, Why? My driver license was expired in 2007. I became an illegal without ID, even worse , I felt as a criminal without being one. I know I am not an american but once in a while I felt like one. I paid taxes, everything I did it was done by law, I learned english pretty well told me by americans and I was just a construction worker. What I want to say is if you do not give an opportunity to illegal people ( some of them ) not everybody; let me ask you?? who is going to do that??. U.S.A wasted a lot of money in Irak, it is so hard to invest some money to make this country better???

Posted by Carlos F. Lozada  on  11/07  at  06:57 PM

The program last night was a success. I’ve received several emails this morning from friends who watched and they’re so fired up about the topic. I think another show would be a great idea.
So many people in town have wonderful ideas and huge concerns, but never get a chance to be heard. Your program brings so much light to subjects that would otherwise be swept under the rug. Immigration effects all of us in ways we sometimes don’t even realize.
Thanks again for allowing me to take part in the discussion.

Posted by Laura Burks  on  11/12  at  05:14 PM

I only wish that Mrs. Weishar was as committed to helping her fellow American citizens as she is so diligently committed to illegals who are breaking the law by bringing in drugs, driving while drunk, raping the women, and killing our citizens ...another case just last week was indicted and he was a repetitive deportation case. They are known to be “mules” for the drug cartels because they pack 50-60 pounds of drugs on their backs with the promise of finding work here. I have seen the Border Patrol’s night vision films. It’s very real and very dangerous. Calderone is quite happy to help get them out of his country while he vigorously opposes migration from the Central America countries and elsewhere. He has a fence and military on Mexico’s southern border. I didn’t get to say all that but would have liked to. I enjoyed being on the program and I have gotten nothing but positive feedback from friends and family. Thank you for the opportunity to make my statement regarding illegal immigration.

<a href=“http://www.synch1.com”>Immigration to Australia</a>

Posted by lexica  on  02/23  at  08:10 PM

I totally do not agree with Louisiana making an immigration law like Arizona.  God made us all, therefore we are all equal, like that guy said in his blog, it is very racist.  People want to scream about Mexicans and hispanics, but what people don’t realize is that just because we have dark skin and black hair, does not mean we are Mexican, there are many other countries out there.  Yes I am Mexican, Native Indian, also cajun french.  I do look Mexican and Indian more than anything but all people do is judge.  I think its ridicilous that I can’t even go to the grocery store without a police officer asking me for papers.  Let me make it very clear to everyone that I am not a racist person at all, but hey if you are gonna ask Mexican people and people looking like Mexican people for their papers, then, hey, they consider blacks as african americans right?..... Well, hey they should have their papers as well, because they may not be from here!!!  As well as Arabians, White people as well.  If thats the case, everyone needs to get their papers, just because you may look like people from other countries, does not mean they are.  And who cares, because the Native Indians were here first anyways, if you look in the history books, they were here first, then Christophor Colombus.  Hmm, where were his papers to be here?  Of course, the tables have turned so it does not matter then does it?  You know, lots of people have families.  Lots of people; citizens and illegals get married and have babies.  What about the poeple that are very hard working and have families?  They say that our childern are our future America.  Well, that again shows you that this is another lie.  They do not care about others or what is right.  I believe that everyone deserves a chance to live their life and be a good citizen.  People should be given help that have children and want to make a life here.  Hey lots of Americans do worse crimes than illegals do.  That should be taken into consideration. Thank you and have a Blessed Day!

Posted by Kristie J.  on  07/18  at  09:54 AM
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