President George W Bush plans to deploy up to 6,000 reserve soldiers of the US National Guard on the border with Mexico, as part of his plan to counter the flow of illegal migrants entering the United States.
Mexicans peer through a fence on the border in Tijuana, Mexico
Six people with a stake in the debate give their views.
Here are a selection of your comments.
It will not become clear until the next election just how many legal citizens are furious about these people going into our streets and demanding to get what they want or they will shut us down. Legal Spanish are about 20% of us. Wait until you see how many of the other 80% are really ticked off!
Pat Carson, Buffalo, NY,USA
I think the best way to gain stability regarding immigration in any country would be getting legal status to all present illegal aliens and then mobilising laws to protect that particular country against illegal immigration. Please grant illegals in America legal status.
Angel Louis, India
The stance of President Bush is a welcome development. I believe every human being should be treated with dignity no matter the immigration status.
Kenebere, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
I think that this really is a political ploy by President Bush - but the fact remains, we must secure our borders. I'm a bleeding heart liberal to the core - but I'm tired of the talk about the "poor immigrants" and how terrible it is for the US to protect its borders. In all the rhetoric, we forget that illegal immigrants are here illegally. They drain our resources without contributing to them. More importantly, we forget that there -are- legal ways to gain entry and earn citizenship in the United States - and if the first thing you do is break US law by entering the country illegally, you don't deserve to be in the country.
Joseph Dobbert, Minneapolis, MN
Immigration reform has been long overdue; I'm surprised that the government has finally taken this long to tackle an issue that has long been the taboo subject to speak of. The fact is most of the illegal immigrants are coming from Mexico, Americans are an open society, however every society has its limits and quotas of people that it is willing to take in.
Wes, San Marcos, TX
My husband and I are U.S. citizens who have moved permanently to Mexico to escape the evils of contemporary U.S. culture and the current administration. The number of like-minded North Americans here is growing and will continue to grow. It is shocking for us to read U.S. opinions about Latin Americans that describe them as welfare drains and so on. There are no more hard-working people in the Western Hemisphere, and their societal values are far above most Americans'. America is lucky to have such immigrants, and should make citizenship and legality easier to acquire. We have an enormous amount to share across the border with our southern neighbour, from whom we took so much of what is now the U.S. in the first place.
Pamela Evans, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
The USA needs to be carefull of making honest people into criminals. You remove peoples semi legitimate way to survive, you are in effect forcing them into becoming criminals. Is that really the desired effect?
Michael Shaw, Sheffield, UK
Whether people want to believe it or not, illegals help keep this country moving forward by doing jobs Americans don't want. While laws need to be respected, to simply reject illegals would be a mistake. However, they should also not receive a free ride into citizenship. Perhaps offering citizenship in exchange for foregoing any claim on future social security benefits would be a fair trade. We could at least move toward easing another giant problem this country faces.
Deric, Atlanta, USA
This is an extremely complex problems for those on both sides of the issue. Most semi-intelligent Americans do not have a problem with immigrants seeking work here at all, but aren't comfortable opening up our borders to just anyone due to the recent acts of terror in the world. Unfortunate that unrelated events from a small minority are affecting so many who just wish to seek better opportunity in a country which can provide it.
Ed Ntiri, NYC, USA
"Can't live with 'em; can't live without 'em."
More seriously, it's worth remembering that the prosperity of the USA was built on two classes of immigrants: (a) the millions of hard-working migrants from the Old World who went in search of a better life and mostly never found it, but who in the process built a future they could never have themselves imagined; and (b) the millions of slaves abducted from Africa and taken to the New World by force. In both cases, the exodus led to drastic economic and social decline in the lands from whom these peoples came.
This suggests to me firstly that America has a moral duty to maintain open borders (subject to basic issues of national security); secondly that by excluding new economic migrants America may be robbing itself of an even more unimaginable future possible.
John B, Sussex, UK
I think that in order to create a true America [and resolve the immigration problem] is to encourage E Pluribus Unum [Motto of the USA]. If we must have one flag and one language let us have one people in which All Americans can marry amongst each other without regard to race, creed, ethnicity, and color. I would also suggest a true American Party: a Multiracial Multiethnic Government of Libertarians and Greens which would expel the Anti-Americans called Republicans and Democrats.
Roberto, Miami Florida
The impact of illegal immigration extends far beyond the border states. In northern Virginia not far from Washington, DC illegals are overwhelming our public schools, flooding hospital emergency rooms and increasing the rate of petty crimes. Before 1983 there was no evidence of any gang activity, now graffiti and "tagging" are commonplace, as are crowds of loitering young males, drinking, urinating in public and litering public places. Inside the beltway in northern Virginia looks alot more like South LA than a bedroom comunity of our Nation's Capitol.
Ed Harris, Fairfax, Virginia
It seems so absurd that we are debating "criminalising illegal immigrants". Doesn't that phrase say it all? People are here illegally and my country does not bother to enforce its own laws? That is frightening.
Julie, Atlanta, USA
It is hypocritical of the Mexican government to criticize the American government for wanting to stop illegal immigrants when the Mexican government has laws protecting Mexican jobs from immigrants. The issue for Americans is illegal immigration, not immigration itself.
Tony, Greensboro, USA
I think that we should just put up a bigger thicker and more enforced wall between the US and Mexico. As for the people already here, they should be given citizenship if they have been here for atleast 10-15 years and have a clean background. They are practically american and most likely speak english and have accustomed to american ways. Those that have not been here for as long should either be deported or get working papers. This is my opinion of course there are other things that need to be thought out as well like how to get the people that havent been here for that long to give themselves in. Either way something needs to be done about this situation as soon as possible
Jenny, Dunellen USA
These articles are interesting. They start by saying illegals pay taxes but get no benefits, then later refer to how they need to use fake documents to "receive emergency benefits" If they have no health care at work, as one article says, then they go to the ER when they are sick, paid for by anyone who has a health insurance.
How do they buy houses with fake documents? How can you say they are not receiving social services if their children are in our schools?
Scott DeAngelis, Lowell, Ma
What about the several thousand, a mere fraction of those who have come into the US, who have done so legally? I have an American wife and two American children, yet it has taken me 18 months and several thousands of pounds to go through the process of getting a green card. If the illegals get an amnesty, will I get a refund for all the money and time spent doing things legally?
Barry, Seymour, CT, USA
I don't understand the clamour for tighter immigration controls in the US. The United States has an unemployment rate of under 5 percent. If undocumented workers really were taking so many jobs this would be reflected in the number of Americans without work. The reality seems to be that immigration boosts economies and creates jobs. It is interesting (and quite revealing) to read here that objections to immigration seem to be based more on people's feelings of self-righteousness (a sense that the immigrant is getting something for nothing) rather than sound economic arguments.
Paul Carey, Valencia, Spain
Here are a selection of your comments in response to Tom Tancredo's remarks.
Congressman Tom Tancredo has fallen into the trap of assuming that the rest of the world would dearly love nothing more than to live in America. Much worst however is his automatic assumption that immigrants from the Middle East are a terrorist threat. Such ignorance is not fitting of his office. But then again, with his President as his role model it is at least understandable.
James Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne
I have to disagree with Congressman Tancredo. With my 'degree in economics', the studies I have researched on legal and illegal immigration to the United States (in complex trade based models) generally show no net effects on wages or employment levels, with immigrants complementing many occupations, but acting as substitutes in certain other occupations.
Andy, Doncaster, UK
Here are a selection of your comments in response to Lorenzo de la Fuente's remarks.
"But they cannot find people in the US to do these jobs that Mexicans will do"
From what I understand, 90-95% of those jobs are jobs Americans would not mind doing if employers just gave them the chance. But employers favor those who can work for less than minimum wage. Lower educated Americans and high school dropouts cannot compete with illegals. Illegals therefore should all be deported back to where they came from. I understand why they come here but we can't take everyone in.
Stefan Westridge, Harrisburg, PA
"We have to create more jobs to keep our people here" so says Lorenzo de la Fuente; the mayor of Nogales.
This hits the nail on the head. The National Guard, stepped legaisation, Minutemen, new guest worker programs, even amnesty, all are window dressing. The first priority of the new Mexican president after July must NOT be an immigration agrrement with the US, but a job creating program in Mexico.
Here are a selection of your comments in response to Navito Lopez's remarks.
Illegal immigration wasn't a problem until George Bush began promoting it at the same time he stopped enforcing the laws. Because it skyrocketed when he first became elected at the same time the economy down-turned, the cost to state and local governments became obvious. Even with such high numbers of illegal immigrants now I don't think it would be much of an issue if tax dollars weren't being depleted to offer supportive assistance. It has hit Americans in the wallet and that creates antagonism.
L. Holmes, San Diego, USA
It's Mexico's problem there is a haemorrhage of the populous coming to the United States because of lack of job opportunities. It's their job to fix it, not ours to support both the U.S. and Mexico both. The new bill as it stands is the best of both. If you want to become a U.S. citizen, learn English, pay taxes, take citizenship classes, and apply for citizenship, not expecting to be treated better than those who have been waiting for years to become citizens. Just because we share a border doesn't give any Latin Americans the right to invade a sovereign nation and demand their rights as if they were already citizens.
Pam Littleton, Lewisville, Texas U.S.A.
Here are a selection of your comments in response to Mariann S Davies' remarks.
What Mariann S Davies hasn't realized - these xenophobes are against all forms of immigration - whether it be legal or illegal.
Dorritt Johnson, New Jersey
I agree with Ms Davies. As long as there are jobs, people will keep coming to work them. If we want to stop illegal immigration, instead of spending more money on fences that can be climbed and tunnelled under, we need to spend it hiring several thousand investigators to track down people and companies who employ illegal workers, and then levy very large fines against them. When employers get scared enough to not hire illegal immigrants, they will stop coming. In the long run, it's the quickest, cheapest and least painful solution.
Amanda, Minnesota, USA
Here are a selection of your comments in response to Felipe Aguirre's remarks.
I agree with Felipe Aguirre, families need to stay united, immigrants who work under drastic conditions and exceptionally long hours, pay taxes, etc., deserve to reap the benefits from the US as much as any other US Citizen. America is supposed to represent a democratic nation, right?
Sairah Q., Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
If they had gone the correct route when entering the US they would now be receiving the benefits they deserve.
Should someone who has broken the law be rewarded, what happens when in a few years time thousands more immigrants who have abused the system rise up and demonstrate to be allowed to stay does American once again give in?
Also how do all these low paid illegal immigrants affect the job status of those Americans who currently don't have jobs?
Jeannette De Guelle , Jersey Channel Islands