Dossier: Bordering On Ludicrous

In August, Governors Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Janet Napolitano of Arizona declared states of emergency due to illegal immigration across their borders ... The declarations allow the governors to spend nearly $1.5 million each to bolster the states' law enforcement and border patrols ... In 2004, 537,151 people were naturalized to the United States ... 54 percent settled in four states: California, New York, Florida, and Texas ... The United States has a yearly net migration rate of 3.31 people per 1,000 ... 30 countries have net migration rates higher than the United States ... Immigration rates today are about the same as they were one century ago … There are approximately 7 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States ... In 2004, an average of 22,812 people were detained daily by the Immigration and Naturalization Service ... The U.S.–Mexican border is 1,952 miles long ... At any given time, it is protected by 2,000 border-patrol agents … More than 3,000 people have died since the mid-'90s trying to cross it ... A bill introduced this year by Senators John McCain and Ted Kennedy would allow undocumented immigrants to get work visas and eventually apply for citizenship -- provided they stay employed, break no laws, and pay a $1,500 fine … Another bill, sponsored by Senators Jon Kyl and John Cornyn, would require undocumented immigrants to admit their illegal status and then reapply to work in the United States from their native countries ... Opponents of the measure have dubbed it “report to deport” ... The arrest and deportation of all undocumented immigrants living in the United States would cost $41 billion annually over five years … The entire annual budget of the Homeland Security Department is $34.2 billion … A study of illegal Mexican immigrants found that 84 percent pay taxes, and only 2 percent have ever received welfare or Social Security payments … 22 percent of all American children under 6 years of age have immigrant parents ... Children of immigrants whose families are eligible for food stamps and other forms of financial assistance are half as likely to receive them as the children of nonimmigrants ... In April, a civilian group called The Minuteman Project sent 876 people to patrol the border between Arizona and Mexico ... In 2003, 46 percent of U.S. colleges reported declines in the enrollment of foreign students.