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Herald Bulletin -- Madison County, Indiana

Meddling Mexican insists U.S. change law to accomodate invaders$rec=13824?hb_story

Immigration laws need to be revisited, changed

Publication date: Saturday, October 4, 2003

Mexican Counsul: Immigration laws need to be changed


Staff Reporter

Mexican General Consul Sergio Aguilera emphatically insists that immigration laws for Mexican citizens needs to be changed.

His presentation was part of a two-day cultural awareness program sponsored by the Floricanto Latino/Hispanic Center of Anderson. Speakers and training seminars were conducted Thursday and Friday as part of the program to create a better awareness of the problems immigrants face.

Friday in the Anderson City Hall auditorium Aguilera concluded the program with his thoughts on how immigration law is out of whack with the reality of the economy.

"The immigration laws of the U.S. are totally dysfunctional," Aguilera said. "Entire sections of the U.S. economy would not function without the (undocumented immigrant) work force."

Eight million jobs in the United States were created during the economic surge of 1996 to 2000, he said. Half of those were filled by immigrants.

"There's a group of people here that say immigrants are taking the jobs away from them -- and they are getting a free ride," Aguilera said. "I've got news for you. They are paying taxes and getting very little back. They pay sales taxes and are paying into Social Security under (false names and numbers) but are not getting the benefits of the services they are paying for."

Social Security agency officials told him there is a half trillion dollars held in a special fund and can't be attributed to Social Security numbers and names that they were collected from, he added.

And the jobs immigrants do are jobs that people here do not want, he said. These are low paying jobs in service or working in fields.

"Each immigrant leaves $1,800 (in unclaimed taxes) to the federal government each year," Aguilera said. "In a way, they are subsidizing the services of every United States taxpayer."

Since Sept.11, 2001, the immigration laws have restricted the legal documentation of Mexicans wanting to come and fill the jobs that no one else wants, he said. There's now a two year wait or more to get a visa and few are being granted. This needs to be changed, Aguilera maintains. Many people are profiting from the smuggling of human beings and the cottage industry built on false documentation.

Police, fire and emergency workers attended a separate cultural awareness training session Thursday at the Anderson Public Library.

These sessions were to help them understand the cultural differences that exist between this country and immigrants, said Juana O. Watson, a speaker at the conference and a appointee of President Vicente Fox of Mexico to represent the Mexican population of Indiana, Illinois and Ohio.

"In Mexico, if you are stopped by the police, you get out of your car," she said. "But here that is dangerous. The police don't know why you might be getting out. It could have tragic results here unless the police understand the differences."

Watson hopes the conference will help others understand the qualities and charactersistics of Hispanic culture as coampared to the United States.

It's important the city of Anderson become aware of those differences, said Karen McTague, a board member of Floricanto.

"We have to learn how the cultures are different in order for us to understand our diversity," McTague said. "When we become aware of the differences, we can then respect their traditions and all of us live with respect for each other."