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Los Angeles Valley College

Political Science 001 - American Government

Spring 2007 - Revised May 2007

Passions on both sides of the debate continue to run high and failure to address the illegal immigration problem in a responsible way may well have an effect on the 2008 elections. The growing number of Hispanic voters is a particular

problem for Democrats who need their votes to capture the presidency. But to court the Hispanic vote [7-8% of the total electorate] at the expense of making angry the 70% of the electorate who want more secure borders is a recipe for political disaster. We should not expect either party to attempt to deal with this issue until after the 2008 elections. Only then may both parties feel the degree of urgency needed to come up with a realistic plan.

Questions for discussion:

1.

A large portion of our illegal immigrants came here legally but have overstayed their visas [including the terrorists that carried out the 9-11-’01 attacks]. Should we place greater emphasis on the less cost intensive task of apprehending and deporting visa ‘over-stayers’ than on building walls on the border?

2.

Is the threat of terrorists crossing the border with the high volume of illegal immigrants of sufficient magnitude to warrant the various measures already undertaken and the more drastic measures proposed by state legislatures?

3.

Would you expect that the real and virtual barriers in place and contemplated will be effective enough to deter would-be border crossers?

4.

Even if successful in stemming or significantly slowing the tide of illegal immigrants will our high state of readiness on the border become a permanent commitment?

5.

Should we expect significant political fallout from our neighboring countries and allies as we build a 'low tech' physical barrier and back it up with 'high tech' surveillance vehicles?

6.

Does the 'fencing' of our southern border send a message to the world that we no longer welcome immigrants?

7.

What viable alternatives do we have to our current border security plan?

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