Sara Gibbs and her
committee assembled an excellent panel to discuss the controversial subject
of illegal immigration in this area. Each panelist brought a different
perspective on the issue, from enforcement to outreach work with immigrants
both legal and illegal.
Attendees had an
opportunity to ask questions, and many myths about illegal immigration were
dispelled: persons in this country without green cards are not all illegal,
but may simply have different documentation, especially refugees and asylees;
the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 prohibited illegal immigrants access to
means-tested social services such as welfare or food stamps, and legal
immigrants must wait at least 5 years to be eligible for those services, and
must become citizens before becoming eligible for other social services such
as subsidized housing; not all illegal immigrants that cross the Mexican-U.S.
border are Mexicans, as Mexico has its own illegal immigration problems,
with illegals entering via its border with Guatemala; Hispanics are only one
portion of illegals in this country, and there is an underground trade in
transporting illegals into this country from many poor countries.