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San Diego Leaders Tackle Immigration Reform

Evening Edition

Norma Chavez-Peterson, the associate director of the San Diego ACLU, and Nathan Fletcher, the senior director of corporate development for Qualcomm and chair of San Diegans United for Commonsense Immigration Reform, talk to KPBS about their new coalition for immigration reform.

Aired 3/28/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Norma Chavez-Peterson, Associate Director, San Diego ACLU

Nathan Fletcher, Former San Diego Assemblymember, Senior Director of Corporate Development for Qualcomm and Chair of SDUCIR


Aired 3/14/13 on KPBS News.

As Congress and the White House continue to work on a comprehensive immigration-reform package, a coalition of San Diego leaders today are launching a joint local campaign.

As Congress and the White House continue to work on a comprehensive immigration-reform package, a coalition of San Diego leaders today are launching a joint local campaign.

San Diegans United for Commonsense Immigration Reform, chaired by former state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, brings together leaders from the business community, law enforcement, labor groups and faith-based organizations to share perspectives on how best to improve the immigration system.

Fletcher told KPBS a broad coalition of law enforcement, business, labor, civil liberties and faith group leaders are involved.

"I think every member of this coalition cares about immigration for different reasons, everyone wants it solved in its entirety," he said. "If we all across the spectrum can agree on specific principles, then our leaders in Washington should also be able to."

Norma Chavez-Peterson, the associate director of the San Diego ACLU, said the idea is to tell leaders to take the message back to Washington D.C.

"I think the stars are aligned," she said. "I'm hopeful that our country can move forward."

The group formally announced the effort and presented its guiding principles at Qualcomm Wednesday morning.

There Fletcher said the broken immigration system affects all of the groups involved, including Qualcomm. That’s because the current visa system often makes it hard for foreign-born, U.S.-trained engineers to stay in the country after graduation.

“We have jobs that are open today that we aren’t able to fill because we can’t get the workers with the skills that are needed,” he said.

Aside from visa reforms, the coalition will call on legislators to include a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, more efficient borders and a ban on racial profiling in the immigration system.

"We have a unique opportunity to achieve the type of reform that has eluded us for generations," leaders stated in a news release.

Immigration was also a topic at the San Diego Unified School Board meeting Tuesday night. The board unanimously approved an immigration-reform resolution, authored by board members Richard Barrera and Kevin Beiser. The resolution states:

"Immigration reform must seek to restore trust between immigrant and refugee communities and local police by reducing racial profiling and increasing transparency and accountability for the involvement of federal immigration authorities in local law enforcement. The board supports a reasonable and wide-ranging approach to reforming the now broken immigration system that protects children, youth, and their families.”

Qualcomm Chief Executive Paul Jacobs, along with other business executives across the nation, attended an immigration-reform meeting with President Obama last month. Many business leaders support Obama's plan in the hope it will make the country more competitive.

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Avatar for user 'Brittanicus'

Brittanicus | March 13, 2013 at 3:10 p.m. ― 3 years, 11 months ago

Just building the real fencing is not the most important barrier to illegal immigration, but the people must speak up for internal enforcement as SAVE ACT, with a provision of the E-Verify, which carries the notorious label to businesses that insist of using cheap labor. Easily accessible on any computer E-Verify distinguishes between an unauthorized worker and a citizen or legal resident who has been inspected. Of course the most controversial issue is a change in our 14th amendment, to stop illegal alien women bringing in undetected fetuses to gain citizenship for the baby. This by far, is the greatest expense to our nation that ranges in the hundreds of billions of dollars annually in this unethical new citizenship source of which the consequences is sequence of events of the current DREAM ACT, FAMILY CHAIN MIGRATION, THEN SANCTUARY CITY POLICIES that ICE AGENTS ARE ORDERED NOT TO TOUCH. THEN EVENTUALLY A VISA BEING ISSUED FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCY AND THOSE ILLEGAL PERSONS ARE NO LONGER DEPORTABLE.

ALL AMERICANS Should sign a petition against the Gang of Eight's scheme and other nonchalant lawmakers who are in disagreement with the 23 million unemployed Americans at: NumberUSA If you really want your voice counted write a letter to your congressman (a screener will read it and tally up the letters 'for' and ‘against’) so you don't have to fret about being persuasive since all the congressman hears is an amount of letters). Phone calls are better, but here you need to be rational and not an embarrassing tirade. YOU can also contact every Representative demanding no Amnesty and no Path to Citizenship at 202) 224-3121, the Central Washington switchboard.

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Avatar for user 'Brittanicus'

Brittanicus | March 13, 2013 at 3:11 p.m. ― 3 years, 11 months ago

The border gets more dangerous each day and we are supposed to believe the lies of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano or United States Attorney General Eric Holder and their collection of un-American minions and Liberal Progressive minions, who have obviously lost their credibility to most of us. While the raging gun laws preoccupy the thought of the Obama administration, the ugly incidence of “Fast and Furious” gun running to Mexico has petered-out. Each day illegal alien’s slip across the wide range of the border, and this accelerate in the coming months, with recognizing that they have a good chance of being added to the 11 million to 25 million plus, who could be granted citizenship. We should not forget that why hundreds of thousands await a working visa, others see a much easier alternative of just buying an airline ticket, to what they expect is a new future for them and the rest of their family circle. Either overstays of illegal immigrants or migrants from across the border are already versed in our immigration laws and ready to cheat the honest people. ? After the so called immigration reform package, we should ALL be issued with a federal photo ID identification card with a thumb print and retinal scans must be part of the new law. Every year 100 billion dollars slip through taxpayers fingers, because the corrupt scoundrels in the D.C. power house represent big business and are pandering to illegal aliens. A real double layer fence as the 2006 Secure Fence Act also must be compulsory.

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Avatar for user 'Brittanicus'

Brittanicus | March 13, 2013 at 3:12 p.m. ― 3 years, 11 months ago

In 2006 Former President Bush commissioned a design for a solid, double layer fence to reach from California to Texas, which would have stayed many of the illegal entries across our Southern border. Two fences with a fast track lane for the rapid movement of U.S. Border Patrol vehicles. The interior fence would be fortified as many outside prison enclosures consisting of heavy chain link fence attired with concertina razor wire. Unlike the miserable one structure fencing we have at this time, which was secretly underfunded and even today far from finished. The current singular main strength is in heavily populated areas, but once outside the different Border Patrol sectors it dwindles away and easily circumvented by foreign people.

KGBT-TV -- Harlingen, Texas -- March 11
Rancher says Border Patrol budget cuts are stab in the back
As Washington struggles to find a solution to the federal budget cuts in the recent sequester, the U.S. Border Patrol has begun to cut back, and the numbers are already beginning show immigrants are taking advantage of it.
Border Patrol stats leaked to our newsroom show the RGV sector detained almost twice as many immigrants in February as they did in January.
While Border Patrol agents will likely lose overtime and face up to 14 furlough days, one south Texas rancher says he's going to lose too, security he depends on.
Just 4.5 miles north of the Falfurrias checkpoint, Mike and Linda Vickers live on a 1,000 acre ranch in Brooks County.
When Mike moved to the ranch in the 1980's he says he would see about two or three immigrants crossing his property each week.
Today he sees about 20 or 30 a day, tearing up his fences, breaking water pipes, some even breaking into his house.
"The fences are cut, the properties trashed out," Mike said. "We have traffic absolutely every day, big groups, small groups."

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Avatar for user 'Brittanicus'

Brittanicus | March 13, 2013 at 3:12 p.m. ― 3 years, 11 months ago

The Sequester has been carefully engineered by the administration to cause the most alarm, to scare the most easily susceptible general populace.

From the time of the first major enforcement law in 1986, called the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), that was entirely collusion between the U.S. Business complex, Agriculture and a whole bunch of less visible organizations and entities, which had the financial ear of those, involved in implementing its policies, were intentionally made less than effectual. Since the fraudulent aspect of that major amnesty each inept administration has been presumed to be protecting the American people, but if you picture the whole development only when there has been the emotional voice from the public audience. Nothing has passed scrutiny since the 1986 (IRCA) law was in place, because nobody has trusted any administration to do the right thing? There has been too much pandering to ethnic majorities to steal the vote. Ask why and then realize that smuggled children become instant citizens and thereby the Mother can caste her net over the citizen’s benefits available to her, including Section 8 housing if she starts bearing more and more children. As part of citizen’s entitlement programs for the low income, the prize is around $600.00 per infant, compliments of the American taxpayer. Now having a place to live the family across the border or in another country, has a place to live, get an illegal job, with no competition from an American worker, because the dishonest employer doesn’t care. His bottom line is profit and will depend on the poor enforcement and a fine, instead of being whisked away to jail. A majority knows exactly what they are doing and use enterprising attorney’s to find loopholes in the visa system, so immigrants they sponsor are less than genuine the cream of (Stem) Scientists, Technology, Engineers and Mathematician employees.

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Avatar for user 'Brittanicus'

Brittanicus | March 13, 2013 at 3:13 p.m. ― 3 years, 11 months ago


Why is President Obama, and all those elected to Democratic posts, using the “Sequester” to incredulously cut a whole list of issues in sacrificing such major combinations as military hardware, benefits to servicemen such as cuts to tuition for soldiers, assistance for homeless veterans, closing hospitality tours to the White House, cuts to air traffic controllers and now the Border Patrol budgets. This is especially heinous, when foreign nationals who stole into this country through areas of the border undermanned and mostly unguarded where there is no barrier, other than hundreds of miles badly weather-beaten rusty barbed wire that restricts nothing and certainly not a determined movement illegal aliens, drug smuggler or even terrorists. Why are we severing all these benefits, but low income people (illegal aliens) are collecting on food stamps, free medical treatments, and a combination of freebies, for their children; arriving under the cloak of a family visiting Disneyland or Washington DC on a jet plane from Europe, Asia or any nation and then disappearing into the United State when there is no way to track them. Having no significant punishment for the first illegal entry, illegal aliens have promulgated throughout this country, with no existent prohibitions.

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Avatar for user 'kerthialfad'

kerthialfad | March 13, 2013 at 5:49 p.m. ― 3 years, 11 months ago

Brittanicus - I am in total agreement.
We need an immigration policy in the interests of Americans, not foreign special interest groups.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | March 14, 2013 at 8:42 a.m. ― 3 years, 11 months ago

I am confused with all of this talk about a "Road to Immigration". We already have that for those who wish to do it legally. As for the millions here illegally, let's deal with them as the criminals they are. We either have a justice system or we don't. A law is a law. I contend that a healthy percentage of these illegals have broken more than just illegal entry. We are looking to give way to much to these criminals.

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Avatar for user 'levotb'

levotb | March 14, 2013 at 11:12 p.m. ― 3 years, 11 months ago

Hey Brit, The Secure Fence Act of 2006 is ALREADY "the law". The problem is, the Dems along with Kay Bailey Hutchison defunded it thanks to Bush 43's going to war adventurism in Iraq which cost the GOP the House starting in 2007. Only 35 miles of that fence were built. The House could refund it tomorrow if Boehner and Cantor were'n't in the way. The key is for Conservatives to vote out as many RINOs as possible and if that fails, tell the Republican Party to take a hike.

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