Immigration and the Public Sector Public Official

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National immigration experts and academic leaders were in Phoenix for a national conference to share research, insight and address questions on the impact of immigration and immigration policies on people working in the public sector. HORIZONTE talks to Dr. Catherine Eden, director of the ASU Bob Ramsey Executive Education Center, about the conference and how people working in this specific area are dealing with this issue.

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Jose Cardenas:
good evening. Welcome to "Horizonte." immigration and public leaders: decision makers meet to discussion their perspectives and the challenges of the issue and how it impacts people working in the public sector. Plus author and columnist Linda Chavez talks about her views on immigration. Also the editor of a children's magazine is recognized for her contribution to the community. All those stories straight ahead on "Horizonte."

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Jose Cardenas:
the ongoing immigration issue impacts government at the state, local, and federal levels. Last week, public leaders attended an A.S.U. conference called immigration and the public sector, your world is changing. How do you respond? It was an opportunity for people facing daily decisions involving immigration to talk about their experiences and hear experts share their research on the impact of the issue and how they respond in their local communities. Joining me to talk about the conference is Dr. Catherine Eden, director of Bob Ramsey executive education program at A.S.U. tell us how the program came about.

Catherine Eden:
well, my job is the school public affairs and what is called executive education. Public administrators, I work with them and try to figure out what it is they need. Oftentimes it's ethics training, leadership, organizational management. What are the hottest issues? The biggest issue they keep saying to me is immigration immigration. So I decided to bring together the best thought leaders in this country and sit down and talk about it. So that was my dream.

Jose Cardenas:
who were the people you brought together to discuss this?

Catherine Eden:
we brought public administrators to the viewing audience. That was from Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. The thought leaders or the people that were the experts, some of them were academics, some were people that were demographic experts. Linda Chavez, that I know you're going to interview later, she's one of the speakers. Alfredo Gutierrez, the head of the service workers' union. Alicio Mendez.

Jose Cardenas:
you had a representative from fair.

Catherine Eden:
that's right. Ira Mehlman. We also brought him too.

Jose Cardenas:
the purpose was to represent all sides of the issue?

Catherine Eden:
yeah. And it's tough to do. So the way we did this was we first brought in somebody who was a demographer to talk about what are we talking about? What are the facts and figures of the birth and death rates and the immigration and how many workers are in this country and where the workers are needed? It's interesting that this man, Hutchinson, who's a demographer -- can you imagine making straight facts and figures interesting? But he did it. And then we brought in the congressional staff. We were going to bring in the congressmen, and they were in session, so their top leaders that worked on the immigration bill, their staff people, we brought in Kennedy's staff, Gutierrez's staff out of Chicago. We had Shadduck's staff here and talked about what is the federal legislation. When you talk about experts, we brought in people from the ncsl, that represent the national state legislators association and they talked about what was happening across the country, legislation that is happening. We brought in the attorney general, and then we brought in -- we just brought in -

Jose Cardenas:
the attorney general of Arizona?

Catherine Eden:
of Arizona. We brought in the people that are the best thinkers on this subject nationally and locally.

Jose Cardenas:
and this took place over three days?

Catherine Eden:
that's right.

Jose Cardenas:
and you had attendees from several states, including California?

Catherine Eden:
that's correct. Some mayors and police chiefs.

Jose Cardenas:
what were the things that the demographer said that were so interesting that, even though he was talking facts and figures, people were really impressed?

Catherine Eden:
well, the figures that stuck out -- the biggest thing to out to me Jose is, in historical perspective, we have had waves of immigration in this country ever since we've been a country for the last 200 years. He says this wave of immigration is like so and that what's happening in this country is what's happening in other waves of immigration. As people get upset, they think they don't want these new immigrants here. The new immigrants stay together. The next generation learns the language and then are the interpreters for their parents. And the next generation after that don't want to speak their mother tongue and that they become very much a part of this country and don't even remember us being horrible to the last wave of immigration.

Jose Cardenas:
so in respects, this wave of Latino immigration is very similar to what's happened historically.

Catherine Eden:
very much. They talked about when the Germans came, when the Italians came and they talked about how awful the people that were here were to them and this wave of immigration we're acting about the same. Not good.

Jose Cardenas:
you talked about this being a big issue in Arizona right now. It's a big issue because of some unfortunate incidents, including the death after police officer. Was there discussion about the rate of crime attributable to illegal immigration?

Catherine Eden:
everyone who spoke, who are these experts that have research and facts and figures, said to us over and over again, crime is statistically the same with those of us who have been here for 100 years and the new immigrants, the statistical number of crimes in terms of major crimes is almost equal. There is no way of determining the difference.

Jose Cardenas:
so no one said anything different, even the people who might be considered as anti-immigrant?

Catherine Eden:
very much so. There is a man who is the spokesperson for fair, which is the largest anti-immigration. He said he agreed 100%.

Jose Cardenas:
now, your audience, your participants were city managers, county managers, law enforcement officials. Was there any discussion about what's gone on in other municipalities like Hazelton and the wisdom of doing things like that to try to control illegal immigration?

Catherine Eden:
there was a lot of discussion. And what the city, county managers, mayors, the police chiefs kept saying is that their huge frustration is that they don't know how to handle this because the federal government won't give clear direction of what should happen. Then they start coming up with their own ways of -- you know -- you can't rent to people, you can't get a license, you can't do these sort of things like happened in Hazelton. And what most of the studies have shown is that there's two things that happen. The immigrant then leaves and people aren't spending money, and they've had to board up certain downtown cities. And then the other thing is that they're spending a lot of money of the resources of defending themselves in court 'cause they're being sued right and left. What we're filing is, when small communities try to sustain no immigrants in this country, it's not working.

Jose Cardenas:
Kathy, last question going back to the law enforcement issue. Any sense from the law enforcement participants about what they think their proper role is vis-a-vis immigration?

Catherine Eden:
almost all of them told me, if they're a city policeman or a state policeman, is that they want to do the job of general public policing. They want to make sure that they're looking for murderers, rapists. They do not want to know the representative to stop immigration. They want that to be i.c.e. or the border patrol. They do not want to be used as pawns in the immigration issue. They want to be police for the general community.

Jose Cardenas:
dr. Eden, thanks for joining us to talk about the conference.

Catherine Eden:
thank you.

Jose Cardenas:
there was a moderated discussion at the conference we just talked about. One of the panelists was political commentator and author, Linda Chavez. Larry Lemmons talked with Linda Chavez about her views on immigration.

Larry Lemmons:
I had read some of your writing recently. I think it was called Latino fear and loathing. You had written these essays and apparently caused an outcry among some of your conservative compadres apparently who were upset about your position on illegal immigration. Can you talk about how that came down?

Linda Chavez:
first of all, I think there is a very simple way of solving our illegal immigration problem right now, and that is to change our legal immigration policy to allow more people to come. Illegal aliens are coming in illegally not because they are too lazy to go down and apply for a visa but because the visas don't exist. And it's clear from me taking a look at the economic situation in the United States -- we have 4.6, 4.7, 4.8% unemployment depending on the month. That's basically considered full employment by economists. We are creating two million jobs each and every year in the united states and we need people to fill the jobs in the united states, and it seems to me that we ought to have an immigration policy that makes economic sense for Americans, and that would be a policy that welcomes people here both as permanent residents and as guest workers. I think if congress would quit grandstanding on this and demagoguing on this issue and actually get around to passing legislation, we could solve the illegal immigration problem overnight.

Larry Lemmons:
some of the more conservative, for lack of a better term, nativists, they would insist on something like a wall on the border, much more strict employer sanctions. Are you in favor of things like that?

Linda Chavez:
I think employer sanctions have not worked. We have more illegal aliens today than we did in 1986 when we applied employer sanctions. I think it's nonsense to try to make employers border patrol agents. They're there to produce products and make a profit. And they're not there to be experts in what documents are real and which documents are not. So I think we really have had a very misunderstood policy and one that has been counter productive. What we've seen with the building of walls in El Paso and in San Diego is that we've pushed people into places like Arizona, into the Arizona desert. Not only has it increased the number of people who die trying to cross into the US, but it means that once a person gets here, they're less likely to leave and are more likely to want to bring their family because they know they can't go home. It used to be illegal aliens stayed about a year and a half on average. Now, with stronger enforcement and more border walls, et cetera, we've actually increased the amount of time that the illegal aliens spend in the United States, and they spend on average about three and a half years. I think they've been counterproductive.

Larry Lemmons:
what is your opinion about the dream act?

Linda Chavez:
well, I think it's wrong to punish children who came here not of their own free will but whose parents brought them here. I also think it's counterproductive because we are looking at people who are in fact productive members of our society. If you look at what's happening in terms of the children of immigrants in the united states, Hispanic immigrants, they are in fact graduating high school. They will go into the workforce, pay taxes, and become contributing members of our society. So I think we ought to be looking to figure out a way to solve what to do about the 12 to 14 million people who are here illegally. I don't think they should just get a hand shake and a welcome sign. I think they do have to have some sort of civil punishment. I think a fine is appropriate, that we ought to make sure they go through background checks and that they've lived cleanly while in the united states; they have good clean records. But I do believe that, until we solve that problem, we also have to look at changing our legal immigration laws. We actually need more people than we are admitting. It does not make economic sense to try and pick a figure out of a hat and have congress say we're only going to allow x number of people. In years of high unemployment, you might want fewer people. And when you've got low unemployment, you might want more. It depends on what the economy is doing. It ought to be market based and based on what is good for the economy of the United States. Right now, what would be good for the economy of the United States is about a million to a million and a half new immigrants each and every year.

Larry Lemmons:
how would you describe what had happened with the bill that went down in the senate that was supported by President Bush, sponsored by senators McCain and Kyl? And yet members of the Republican Party helped to sink it.

Linda Chavez:
I think it really was a reaction to talk radio. I think you've got a lot of people out there speaking very loudly with very large megaphones, and they're shedding not much light on the issue, but they're generating a lot of heat. I take a look at some of the cable news shows. Lou Dobbs virtually every single night is campaigning against illegal immigration of the United States. And I think what you saw was republicans being scared by a fairly small segment within the republican party who feels very strongly. I think it's probably around 10% of the Republican base who feels very, very strongly that we cannot have legal immigration in the United States, that we ought to roll back immigration, send people home, et cetera. But they reacted to that, and I think they did so in ways that, in the long run, are going to be very harmful for the Republican Party. The demographics of the United States are very clear. We are becoming increasingly a society that has lots and lots of Hispanics in the society, and I think, if you convince Hispanics that they're not wanted in the Republican Party, then the Republican party is going to look to being the minority party in this country and could end up going the way of the Whigs.

Larry Lemmons:
can you talk a little about what you've talked, the market-based guest worker program?

Linda Chavez:
well, I think that you do need a policy that makes economic sense. You don't want to be importing a million and a half people if we're running 10% unemployment in the United States. On the other hand, if you're creating 2 million jobs a year, if you've got 4.7% unemployment and there aren't enough people to fill jobs both at the high end and at the low end, because we have kind of a bifurcated need here in the United States. We need the engineers and the mathematicians and doctors, but we also need the people who put up ceiling tiles and who work in poultry plants. You need to have a system flexible enough that is based on some kind of economic indicator that can go up and down flexibly from year to year, and I think you need more balance. I don't like the idea that we just simply bring in people and let them stay here for three years or six years and then make them go home. You want people who want to become Americans; you want people to learn the language. You want their children to become part of this society. So I think you need some sort after balance between those two. And I think, if you were to adopt such a program, you'd see what happened in the 1950s and '60s with the Bresaro program. When it was enacted during the early 1950s, you had about a million illegal aliens coming into the United States in a year, a time when we had half the population we have now. That would be twice as big a number if we were talking about it in today's terms. When the Bresaro program was enacted and people were able to come for those jobs legally, what you saw was a decline, 95% of illegal immigration stopped as a result of that program. And I think you'd see the same thing now. People don't want to cross in the middle of the night in the desert risking their life and limb. They'd rather apply and come legally. But right now, if you're a Mexican and you don't have a close family member, according to the commerce secretary, it takes about 125 years if you were to stand in line. Most people don't live that long. So obviously we have a system that's broken, and it needs to be fixed.

Larry Lemmons:
if you wouldn't mind talking about, because of your time as a conservative Republican -- you're certainly known for that, but clearly there is a schism in the Republican Party over this issue. What do you see in terms of the future for the party not just in Hispanic terms but as a party as a whole in terms of success?

Linda Chavez:
well, it's interesting. I witnessed the crack-up of the Democratic Party from within. I used to be a Democrat. That was a long time ago. Back in the 1970s, late '60s and '70s. And I've been a Republican since the mid 80s. But I witnessed it there, and I see the same thing happening now in the Republican Party. I think you've got different wings of the Republican party, people like me who believe in the free market, who believe in limited government, who don't want big government spending programs. They want low taxes. And then you've got other people who I think -- you know -- want big government. They just want the kind of big government -- they want to have the huge border patrol. And we've got more border patrol agents now than we do people in the F.B.I., and it's costing us more now to arrest a single illegal alien than it did back in 1986. It used to cost about $300, now costs $1700. We also used to arrest about a third of the people crossing illegally into the United States. Today we only arrest about 5% who are coming in. These are the big government conservatives, and I think frankly they are really not holding conservatives' principles uppermost. And so I do see this kind of schism coming, and it will be very interesting to see. Part of it will be determined by who the nominee for the party is.

Larry Lemmons:
are you supporting anyone specifically?

Linda Chavez:
I like senator McCain very much and have supported the work done in the senate. I've liked Rudy Giuliani over the years. I guess, of the people running, those are my two favorites.

Larry Lemmons:
Linda Chavez, thanks so much for talking to us.

Linda Chavez:
thank you.

Jose Cardenas:
"iguana" is a Spanish language magazine for children, and it recently celebrated its second anniversary. The valley founder and publisher was recognized with an award in Washington, D.C., for her community service and innovation in conjunction with the magazine. Here with me now is Christianne Meneses Jacobs. You were here a couple of years ago when you were launching the magazine. Before we talk about what's happened since, remind us about the contents of the magazine and the style.

Christianne Meneses Jacobs:
"Iguana" is an educational magazine, containing stories, articles about history, geography, children around the world, recipes, arts and crafts that parents can do with their children, comic strips, word searches. A lot of things. And it's 100% Spanish.

Jose Cardenas:
we just saw a videotape interview with Linda Chavez, who seems to be pretty liberal on the immigration issue, but on that question, being a supporter of English only, she probably would not approve. How do you respond to people who say, why are you doing this? 15 aren't you inhibiting children from learning English?

Christianne Meneses Jacobs:
yes. Well, I definitely agree that children need to use English to succeed in this country, but the goal of iguana is the preservation of the Latino culture. The idea is that the children continue reading Spanish because nowadays it's not just proficiency in Spanish which means reading, writing and speaking it well. It's not just a matter of cultural pride anymore but a matter of necessity since we live in a global economy. It makes sense for everybody to be bilingual whatever language that is.

Jose Cardenas:
and you talk about the desire of parents to read to their children but they couldn't read English, so they needed something in Spanish.

Christianne Meneses Jacobs:
because as a teacher, reading is one of the most important skills we emphasize especially in the early grades. The parents can't read in English, so I tell them, it doesn't matter. Read to them in Spanish. But they can't find quality literature in Spanish. Quality literature, so that's what iguana is there, to provide the information for the parents and to continue reading in Spanish to their kids.

Jose Cardenas:
two years ago, you were launching the first issue of iguana.

Christianne Meneses Jacobs:
we are getting close to about 1000 subscriptions. We have received an award that is great recognition to the work that we do. My husband also works with the magazine. He's the art director and designer, so that recognition goes to him, too. And we're looking at international distribution to Latin America, Spain and the Caribbean.

Jose Cardenas:
what about those subscriptions? Where are they coming from?

Christianne Meneses Jacobs:
they're coming from libraries, schools with dual language programs and bilingual programs, international schools and also parents, like myself, who want to read in Spanish to their kids.

Jose Cardenas:
let's talk about that award that you received. What's the name of the award, and what were the criteria for your selection?

Christianne Meneses Jacobs:
it's called a business memorial fund, and it's given by "Latina Style" every year.

Jose Cárdenas:
which is a national magazine?

Christianne Meneses Jacobs:
it's a national magazine. In honor of Amarina Arias, who founded the magazine. They're looking for Latina entrepreneurs with vision, innovation, and also that contribute to society and to the Latino community.

Jose Cardenas:
you have to have majority ownership interest in the business?

Christianne Meneses Jacobs:
at least 51% Latina owned.

Jose Cardenas:
when did this take place?

Christianne Meneses Jacobs:
it was September 6th.

Jose Cardenas:
are we going to see your picture?

Christianne Meneses Jacobs:
the October issue of "Latina Style" is going to feature all the winners.

Jose Cardenas:
we talked a little bit about the future of "Iguana", the international distribution. I understand you're about to kick off another publication.

Christianne Meneses Jacobs:
we're going to be launching a new publication which is another Spanish magazine for children called "yo se" meaning" I know"? It's a 16-page glossy magazine, and it's going to have interviews with important Latinos in our community that kids can see as role models. It's going to have pop culture, reviews of TV shows and also television shows and movies. It's going to have a section on exotic animals, too, and also the idea there is the parents have this resource to read to their kids in Spanish. And it's going to go inside the Spanish newspapers, and we're launching with 750,000 copies and a readership about 3 million in key Spanish markets which are Los Angeles, Chicago, Orlando, and south Florida.

Jose Cardenas:
and when is this going to happen?

Christianne Meneses Jacobs:
January of 2008. And it's going to contain five pages of advertising -- kid-friendly advertising.

Jose Cardenas:
if people want to subscribe to iguana or the sister publication, "Yo Se", how do they do that?

Christianne Meneses Jacobs:
they can go to our web site, iguana magazine.com and also they can get it through Amazon. We love spanish.com and also 24th street and McDowell, changing hands in Tempe.

Jose Cardenas:
so there are plenty of places they can get it, and hopefully the subscription base will be growing.

Christianne Meneses Jacobs:
we're hoping so. It keeps growing little by little. Because "Iguana" is a magazine that doesn't contain advertising.

Jose Cardenas: thanks
for joining us to bring us up-to-date and congratulations on the magazine's success.

Christianne Meneses Jacobs: hank you very much.

Jose Cardenas:
next week a discussion with Ira Mehlman. That's "Horizonte" for this Thursday evening. Thanks for joining us. Have a good evening.

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funding for "Horizonte" is provided by S.R.P. S.R.P.'s business is water and power, but our dedication to the community doesn't stop there. S.R.P., delivering more than power.

Dr. Catherine Eden: Director, Bob Ramsey Executive Education program,Arizona State University;

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