Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Over the Border

As the U.S. House prepares to debate immigration, it's worth looking at two excellent enterprise stories that shed light on the human side of the issue. "Migrating From Farm Hand to Orchard Owner" by Miguel Bustillo of the Los Angeles Times profiles Evaristo Silva, a former illegal immigrant who owns an apple orchard on the outskirts of Yakima, Wash. Now a U.S. citizen, Silva supports ending illegal immigration. I like how Bustillo's well-crafted story personalizes the complex issues swirling through the immigration debate.

Earlier this month, "Border Holds Perils for Kids" by Kevin G. Hall of Knight-Ridder Newspapers looked at how changes in U.S. policy affect the most vulnerable of migrants. Hall reports that stricter border enforcement means that fewer adult immigrants risk returning home to see their children and instead pay for their kids to be smuggled across the border to join them. As a result, more children are being caught by border patrol agents. Hall describes the scene after 12-year-old and 9-year-old cousins are caught:
"I want my mother," Jorge answered to every question from a reporter at a Mexican office that repatriates children apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol. Shellshocked Vicente simply answered, "No se," Spanish for "I don't know," to everything he was asked.
Hall successfully weaves these personal examples into a broader story that takes a hard look at this trend.


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