05/30/07 Immigration

We’ve got a huge two hour special on immigration for you today.

 We begin with a look at the history of social attitudes towards immigration in America.  We’ll be joined by Daniel Tichenor, professor of political science at Rutgers and the author of two books on immigration.  He’ll talk about how this current ruckus over immigration is nothing new-that the American collective freaks out about immigration every few decades or so.

Then, a good ole fashioned debate with Matthew Spaulding of The Heritage Foundation and Flavia Jimenez of the National Council of La Raza.  We’ll talk about the immigration reform legislation currently being considered by Congress.  Does this bill make anyone happy?

In the second hour, we are going to take a look at the epicenter of illegal immigration-the Arizona-Mexican border.  I was shocked to learn while researching this show that an average of 300 bodies are found in southern Arizona alone each year.  The bodies of course are of border crossers who set out on foot and were killed by exposure to the elements, or who were abandoned by their “coyotes”.  We’ll hear from Mike Wilson, a member of the Tohono O’odham Indian Nation who operates water stations for border crossers on the land of his reservation, and Reverend Robin Hoover, the founder and director of Humane Borders, who operates 86 water stations on public land.  They see this whole debate in terms of a humanitarian crisis. 

We’ll also be joined by Ignacio Barraza, the mayor of Nogales, Arizona.  Nogales is Arizona’s largest border town. The image below is the warning map for border crossers that Humane Borders created for Nogales.  Border towns have a lot of challenges to deal with beyond just dealingwith a constant influx of people, many of whom need medical attention.  There are other things that come across the border-drugs and arms to name a few.  Those things bring with them a criminal element that those border towns have to deal with.   It’s not easy.  You could argue that these border towns offer a hint of how towns hundreds of miles away from the border, all across the country, will be affected if we don’t figure something out. 

Also joining us will be Joseph Mathew.  He is the director of a documentary called Crossing Arizonathat explores the reality of life along the Arizona-Mexico border.  His film profiles politicians, activists, and militia leaders all struggling with their own ideas about what to do regarding illegal border crossers. 

I hope you enjoy it!

-Jessica Phillips

The red dots indicate recovered bodies.  The blue flags indicate water stations operated by Humane Borders.