Chapter 13: The Border and Human Rights—A Testimony by Roberto L. Martinez

10. How is SanDiego a testing ground for immigration policies?

San Diego has been, and continues to be, a testing ground for every kind of

  • Border Patrol,
  • INS policy and operation at the border, as well as
  • INS experimental polices in
    • schools,
    • the service industry and
    • local law enforcement.

This is a sad commentary on San Diego’s relationship with Mexico, our neighbor to the south. Especially since Mexicans spend nearly $4 billion a year in San Diego. Also, San Diego enjoys a $1.5 billion a year agribusiness in our north San Diego County. Mexican labor has not only contributed to California’s $30 billion a year agribusiness, but has helped make California the 5th largest economy in the world.

As immigration continues to contribute to California’s distinction of being the country’s most populous state, new challenges on old issues confront rights activists. Add to that the fact that 9 million —or one third — of all new immigrants entering the U.S. through 2025, will settle in California, then the challenge rises to the level of urgency in terms of immigration and human rights.