All of President Obama's talk about granting some illegal immigrants amnesty worries the nation's Border Patrol agents, News Radio 1200 WOAI's Michael Board reports.
Indications are that as many as 6 million people could have their status in the United States 'normalized,' meaning they would be allowed to remain in the country, work legally and perhaps have a path to citizenship, thanks to President Obama's expected Executive Order.
But Shawn Moran, who is with the National Border Patrol Council, tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI that just the talk of granting legal status to illegals will have an impact on cross border traffic.
"We definitely see increases in illegal aliens coming across the border when there is national talk of an amnesty," Moran said.
Moran says immigrant smuggling cartels in Mexico and Latin America pounce on that talk to try to shake down desperate people who are facing poverty and horrible crime in their native countries.
"Under President Bush there was talk of immigration reform, and they would say, 'we're coming here for the amnesty'," Moran said.
He says any talk of changing U.S. immigration laws results in a flood of desperate people trying to take advantage of what they are told is a 'permiso,' which will allow them to get away from the Hell that is their native country and into the prosperity and generous welfare state that is the United States.
He points to the rush of unaccompanied minors from Central America this past summer.
"That was largely fueled by the idea that we were not enforcing our immigration laws, and if you got to this country, you could stay here," he said.
Several Central American immigrants said they were conned by criminal gangs to borrow thousands of dollars to send their children to the U.S., because they were told that the U.S. would allow unaccompanied minors to remain in the country under a law designed to cut back on sex trafficking. It was only when word got back to Central America that there was no 'permiso' and immigrant children were being detained that the flood stopped.