Jerry Kammer's blog

Senior Research Fellow

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Education in Mexico: Calderon's Vision Meets Test Results

By Jerry Kammer, September 9, 2009

Elected officials in Mexico often buy radio and TV time or use the Internet to distribute spots in which they describe their efforts to build a better future for their people. President Felipe Calderon has been particularly active with such efforts, including one on education that was released at the end of August and is posted on Youtube here. Read more...

Mexico's Twin Tales of Astronaut Jose Hernandez

By Jerry Kammer, September 8, 2009

The story Astronaut Jose Hernandez, the flight engineer on the Space Shuttle Discovery's ongoing mission, is being told two ways in Mexico: one of pride in the accomplishments of the son of poor immigrants and one of pain because of the lack of opportunities in Mexico. Read more...

Mexico's Rising Fear of Social Unrest

By Jerry Kammer, September 1, 2009

Hurricane Jimena, now closing in on Baja California, is only the most dramatic of the threats confronting Mexico. Deepening unemployment and poverty, the brutal war between the government and drug cartels, and even looming water shortages all have ratcheted up the country's anxiety and social tension.

Today's edition of the respected El Universal newspaper includes a warning from Mexico City's Human Rights Commission that there are signs that the water shortage there will create "spirals of violence." Read more...

Jorge Ramos's Problem with President Obama

By Jerry Kammer, August 25, 2009

Jorge Ramos, the influential Miami-based co-anchor of the nightly newscast on the Spanish-language network Univision, has been broadcasting his disappointment with President Obama for not fulfilling a promise to deliver immigration reform during his first year of office.

The problem is that Obama never made such a promise. Read more...

Mission Impossible for Secretary Napolitano?

By Jerry Kammer, August 24, 2009

Is it possible to play tough cop and nice cop at the same time? That's roughly the assignment facing Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. In addition to leading the agencies responsible for enforcing immigration law, she has been designated by President Obama to work with Congress to forge "comprehensive immigration reform" legislation that would legalize millions of people who have broken the law. Read more...

Protesting Too Much, or Acknowledging Too Little

By Jerry Kammer, August 21, 2009

As President Obama complains that his critics protest too much about his health care plans for illegal immigrants, he appears to be acknowledging too little. Consider his appearance yesterday with radio talk show host Michael Smerconish, specifically his exasperated response to a caller who raised the issue. Read more...

Nativo Lopez to Census: Count Me Out!

By Jerry Kammer, August 17, 2009

Rejecting as a slap in the face last week's statement by President Obama that immigration reform would not advance until next year, Mexican-American activist Nativo Lopez called on illegal immigrants to boycott the 2010 census. Read more...

Crime and Economic Punishment in the State of Zacatecas

By Jerry Kammer, August 4, 2009

For years, the economy of the north central Mexican state of Zacatecas has grown increasingly dependent on remittances sent home by sons and daughters living in the United States. Many of the migrants boosted the economy by building homes in their native towns. They returned at Christmas time on the feast days of the local patron saint. Many dreamed of retiring to the place where they had grown up. Read more...

New Film Explores Collision of Cultures in California

By Jerry Kammer, July 31, 2009

Mexican director Amat Escalante says "Los Bastardos," his stunningly violent new movie about two Mexican illegal immigrants in the uncaring world of California, grew out of his own experiences living there as a child.

"The story comes from this uneasiness I have because of living there for a long time, and from wanting to show how these two cultures could come to collide and to break down in some way," Escalante says in today's edition of the Mexico City newspaper Reforma. Read more...

'If Mexico had had an avalanche of foreigners so large'

By Jerry Kammer, July 24, 2009

Sergio Sarmiento, a renowned Mexican journalist whose column is syndicated throughout that country, has some interesting observations about the immigration controversy north of the border. Read more...

A Story of Kidnapping in Mexico

By Jerry Kammer, July 16, 2009

The report by Mexico s National Commission on Human Rights about the kidnapping of thousands of mostly Central American migrants on their way through Mexico is a remarkable catalog of abuses committed not only by gangs but also by Mexican law enforcement officials who carry out the kidnappings. I learned of such a case in 2005. It involved two Salvadorans who told me of being detained by Mexican immigration officials as they approached the border city of Reynosa.

I spoke to the two men, Miguel Angel and Gustavo, after they had crossed into the United States. Here is a brief account, assembled from my notes at the time: Read more...

The Shame of Migrant Kidnapping in Mexico

By Jerry Kammer, July 14, 2009

Sen. John McCain and other advocates of a guest worker program to ensure an ample supply of low-wage labor for U.S. employers know that such a program would need the cooperation of workers’ home countries, especially Mexico.

So they have reason to be alarmed at the stunning report of Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission about the kidnapping in that country of 10,000 illegal immigrants from other countries in the six months between last September and last February. Read more...

At CFR, No Clarity on Family Unification

By Jerry Kammer, July 8, 2009

As the Council on Foreign Relations rolled out its recommendations for immigration policy reform on Wednesday, a panel discussion covered ground that is familiar to advocates of the comprehensive reform proposals. Read more...

The Speaker of the House, Navajos, and Who We Are

By Jerry Kammer, June 27, 2009

I am one of the progressives whose position on immigration policy stems from concerns about our country's social structure, social cohesion and population growth. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is an immigration enthusiast not troubled by such concerns.

Here is what Ms. Pelosi said on Thursday as she affirmed her commitment to "comprehensive" reform that would greatly expand immigration to our country. Read more...

Impatience Mixed with Hope in the Spanish-Language Press

By Jerry Kammer, June 26, 2009

The leader of a national Latino political organization wasn't happy with the results of Thursday's immigration policy meeting at the White House between the president and congressional leaders.

"They have to move from statements and meetings to doing something concrete," Arturo Vargas, director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials told the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion, which is published in Los Angeles. Read more...

Schumer's Marketing Lesson for "Comprehensive Reform"

By Jerry Kammer, June 25, 2009

A powerful Senate advocate of "comprehensive immigration reform" legislation Wednesday offered some marketing advice to those who want to help him get the bill passed: Call illegal immigration by its name.

"When we use phrases like 'undocumented workers,' we convey a message to the American people that their government is not serious about combating illegal immigration, which the American people overwhelmingly oppose," said Sen. Charles Schumer, chairman of the Judiciary immigration subcommittee. "If you don’t think it’s illegal you’re not going to say it. I think it is illegal and wrong and we have to change it." Read more...

The Rule of Cynicism

By Jerry Kammer, June 23, 2009

Today's New York Times has a story about a tragedy at a day care center in the northern border state of Sonora that has shaken the entire country. The Times reports that in the weeks since a fire killed 47 children in Hermosillo, "evidence has piled up suggesting a chain of negligence that may have abetted the tragedy. The revelations have led to outrage and, in this culture of widespread corruption and legal impunity, resignation." Read more...

Pull factor down in U.S. Push factor up in Mexico. Trouble predicted.

By Jerry Kammer, May 26, 2009

Unemployment is growing in the United States, and CIS has recently reported that immigrants are being hit harder than natives by the ongoing recession. That means a sharp reduction in the pull factor in illegal immigration.

But a study by Mexican researcher Clemente Ruiz Duran indicates that the recession in Mexico is intensifying the push factor of unemployment. Read more...

Heckuva Job, Alan!

By Jerry Kammer, April 28, 2009

Alan Greenspan, whose unswerving opposition to financial regulation as Fed Chairman steered the national economy steadily toward the abyss, has been invited to share his thoughts about immigration with the Senate. Greenspan heads the witness list for Thursday's immigration subcommittee hearing titled "Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2009; Can We Do It and How?" Read more...

Castaneda to Calderon

By Jerry Kammer, April 16, 2009

Press Obama for the whole enchilada

In a column today in Mexico's Reforma newspaper, former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda writes that President Felipe Calderon should press President Obama not only for a sweeping legalization of illegal aliens but also for a temporary worker program. The column appears as Obama and Calderon are due to meet in Mexico City. Read more...

L.A. Times' Sam Quinones on Immigration Coverage, Drug Cartels

By Jerry Kammer, March 20, 2009

Sam Quinones, the Los Angeles Times reporter whose combination of compassion, clear-eyed realism, and graceful prose has made him a penetrating observer of immigration and border issues, spoke proudly today of his newspaper's commitment to covering the issue even at a time of severe economic stress at the paper (and at nearly every other metro daily in the country). Read more...

Gutierrez Wants Focus on Families

By Jerry Kammer, March 17, 2009

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, the Illinois Democrat who is touring the country to drum up support for "comprehensive immigration reform," is pressuring President Obama to join the effort. Gutierrez said on the weekly Spanish-language Univision television program "Al Punto" that he's looking for Obama to signal his commitment to the effort by ordering a halt to worksite raids by immigration authorities. Read more...

Univision Anchor Admonishes Obama

By Jerry Kammer, March 3, 2009

Jorge Ramos, the Univision television news anchor named by Time Magazine as one of the nation's 25 most influential Hispanics, has become a fervent advocate of "comprehensive immigration reform" and the sweeping legalization it would offer to the nation's population of illegal immigrants. His news program reports almost every night on the fight for legalization. Those reports seldom give voice to those concerned about the negative effects that massive illegal immigration has on legal immigrants or on the country as a whole. Read more...

Sunday Morning TV

By Jerry Kammer, March 2, 2009

"Al Punto," the Sunday morning news show of the Spanish-language Univision network, featured a plea yesterday by the leftist candidate for the Salvadoran presidency that President Obama protect his countrymen who are living illegally in the U.S. The program also included a discussion with authors of the new book "Latinos and the Nation's Future." Read more...

Immigration Fraud, on Top of Everything Else

By Jerry Kammer, February 25, 2009

The CIA's former No. 3 official awaits sentencing tomorrow in Virginia on federal charges that he conspired with a life-long friend to bilk the government out of millions of dollars and forced the CIA to hire his mistress. In their pre-sentencing memo, prosecutors also allege that Kyle "Dusty" Foggo helped facilitate an act of immigration fraud. Read more...

The More Things Change . . .

By Jerry Kammer, February 13, 2009

On February 14, 1979, President Jimmy Carter flew to Mexico City for meetings with his Mexican counterpart, Jose Lopez Portillo. Their visit would be remembered more for its moments of awkwardness and tension than for anything they accomplished in an agenda that featured illegal immigration, trade, and drug trafficking. Read more...


By Jerry Kammer, February 11, 2009

In border terminology a "coyote" is the shadowy figure who guides illegal immigrants, usually for a hefty price, past immigration authorities and into the United States. Now a documentary film by that name, by Spanish filmmaker Chema Rodriguez, has been presented at the Berlin Film Festival. Read more...