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Letters: Immigration realities

February 05, 2013
  • As the sun sets, a man pauses at the security fence along the U.S.-Mexico border near Tijuana.
As the sun sets, a man pauses at the security fence along the U.S.-Mexico… (Guillermo Arias / Associated…)

Re "Who should pay?," Letters, Feb. 2

Many people say illegal immigrants should just go back home and stand in line like anyone else. That sounds reasonable only if you know nothing about how immigration visas are actually granted.

In Mexico, demand exceeds the supply of slots available to people who want to emigrate to the U.S. Immediate family members of U.S. citizens (not just legal immigrants) typically must wait more than 10 years. For unskilled workers, it is almost impossible to legally emigrate to the U.S. from Mexico.

If you grew up in a Mexican village and are landless, you have two ways to better yourself or even just survive: You can move into one of the horrid slums around

Mexico City and work as a trash picker or a thief, or you can emigrate without a proper visa to the United States. The choice is pretty obvious.

There are no "lines" for common laborers.

Kim Stevens

San Pedro

The writer, a retired U.S. Foreign Service worker, processed visa applications for Mexican citizens at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.

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