Wednesday, May 16, 2018 | 2 a.m.
During World War II, the Bracero Program was developed by the U.S. and Mexico as a guest-worker program to relieve farm worker shortages during the war. This revived Mexican labor flowing into the U.S. and set the stage for what would create mass immigration. Part of the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act was called the Texas Proviso. This ensured that U.S. employers would be given a pass for hiring undocumented workers. This provision was in effect until the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. That law legalized 2.3 million Mexican immigrants, but in exchange, mandated employer sanctions for firms that continued to hire unauthorized workers. But in the ’80s and ’90s, those sanctions were rarely enforced. So instead of ending illegal immigration from Mexico, IRCA increased it — 64 percent of Mexican immigrants arrived prior to 2000, 31 percent between 2000 and 2009, and 10 percent since, and that is on the decrease.
So, we willingly allowed Mexicans to come here to fill the need for low-wage, hard-working employees. Over 60-70 years, these workers became immersed in the U.S. culture.
I’m not an attorney, but I would suggest that since the state and federal government failed to enforce the laws created to stop illegal immigration over 60-plus years, those who came here during that time should be allowed to continue to live here. As for recent arrivals, maybe there is a compromise to be found. We just need to get this issue resolved and stop the hate.