Author: Allison Ramirez

Our Broken (Values) System

  “I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally.” –          Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale Yes, you read that correctly: Ronald Reagan, the father of modern conservatism, in support of the A-word.  Conservative champions of our day certainly deviate from this position, as displayed by the staggering rhetorical heights reached during the Republican presidential nomination race in 2011, including talk of an electric fence to control the border. In today’s current climate, not only has “amnesty” become a bad word, but even the supposedly low-hanging fruit of compromise – granting in-state tuition to undocumented students – has proven controversial. Providing these students a path to citizenship through higher education or military service? So far, a dream deferred. Dedicated to promoting their vision of conservative ideology, the Texas A&M Aggie Conservatives student group has recently called for a special legislative session in Texas to repeal in-state tuition for the undocumented. Gov. Rick Perry has repeatedly made statements while campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination that he is firm on the Texas policy but opposed to any federal legislation that would allow a path to citizenship. How can we make sense of this spectrum? Our immigration policy has become so politically polarizing because it is filled with contradictions of some of our most cherished traditions and values. We’ve...

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Our National Security Lens is Out of Focus on Immigration

  “When the United States sneezes, Mexico catches a cold” is the oft-cited phrase to capture the relationship of economic interdependence between the two countries. When the United States and its people are profoundly shaken by an unprecedented terrorist attack, there is perhaps no phrase to adequately capture the magnitude by which global policy trends are subsequently affected. With regard to our Southern neighbors and immigration policy over the past 10 years, it has been politicians’ ubiquitous use of a national security lens that has had the most far-reaching and contagious effects within the region. Unfortunately, the implications and replications of this lens by policy-makers in the United States and Mexico have led to failed policy at home and a humanitarian crisis abroad. Most U.S. citizens would be surprised to know that crossing our border with Mexico – guarded by a technologically powerful border fence, unmanned drones and increased Border Patrol “boots on the ground” since 2001 – is practically a walk in the park for undocumented migrants after they traverse the myriad obstacles awaiting them in Mexico. Facing the same “undocumented” status and even harsher interior controls than those in the United States, Central American migrants entering Mexico become vulnerable to the whims of organized crime as well as local and national Mexican authorities. A laundry list of abuses, including assault, rape, extortion, kidnapping and death, are the trial by fire for...

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