Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

August 3, 2006


Host: Michael Grant

A Decade of Education and Innovation


  • Dr. Peter Likins, retired president of the University of Arizona, visits HORIZON for a look back at his decade-long tenure at the university and his future plans.
Guests:
  • Dr. Peter Likens - former president, University of Arizona
  • Dr. Juan Hernandez - former cabinet member of president Vicente Fox and author of,
Category: Education

View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Good evening, welcome to Horizon, I'm Michael Grant. A few weeks ago, there was a change in command at the University of Arizona. Doctor Peter Likins stepped down as president. He was replaced by Robert Shelton of the University of North Carolina. Likins started his career as a development engineer with the jet propulsion laboratory at the California institute of technology. He then moved into education, working at UCLA and Columbia University before going to head up the u of a in 1997. On the week that he left the school, we spoke with Dr. Likins.

Michael Grant:
Here now by satellite from Tucson is Dr. Peter Likins. Dr. Likins good to see you again.

Dr. Peter Likins:
Good to be back on Horizon.

Michael Grant:
You know, it occurs to me that with your aerospace background you're probably particularly excited by the mars exploration that U of A has been assisting in and will be assisting in.

Dr. Peter Likins:
U of A faculty have done a extraordinary job in getting major mission responsibilities to mars and a whole series of spacecraft. Principally designing the instruments that take photographs and make other measurements in outer space but more recently having responsibility for the whole mars mission. Quite impressive.

Michael Grant:
Nine years obviously a pretty good stretch of time, particularly for an university president. What most significantly stands out for you?

Dr. Peter Likins:
You know, it's strange. From my perspective it's premature to evaluate my presidency. We need a decade to see if I put the University of Arizona on the right trajectory because that's what it's all about. Knowing it takes 5, 10, 15-years to reach the heights that you're striving for, the focus of excellent strategy is intended to do that but we all know that's going to take time.

Michael Grant:
I tell you, that trajectory thing, that aerospace background slips in there every so often. You know, it seems to me one of the things we've been struggling with over your tenure in particular the past 3, 4-years is what is the ultimate goal. What should the role of the university system be, how does it interrelate with the community college system, issues of affordability, accessibility, just size. You know, what's your view and vision on where you think maybe the Arizona university system ought to be in say 2015 or so?

Dr. Peter Likins:
First we need to say that to that long list of responsibilities the university system has in working with community colleges, you have to add the economic development that comes from the stimulus that research in the universities provides to startup companies and to building the economy. So it's a very valued role. And we're the land grant institution. That means we have responsibilities to reach out to farmers and ranchers and families all over the state to help them do what they're here to do, to reach their personal and professional aspirations. So the system has a major responsibility and it needs to be understood that with each passing decade education, higher education becomes ever more important to the success of the society, the total society. It's a knowledge-based economy, a knowledge-based society. So the regions have to look at the system and see how it can complement the community colleges to meet the full array of needs. What they realized in 2002 when they adopted the changing directs initiative, what they realized is that resources are tight and to give the people the best return on their investment we had to diversify. We had to let each of the three universities focus in a differentiated mission. That's where we've been going the last through years. That's why U of A has focused on the research agenda. In fact the faculty received more money through competing nationally for research dollars that come into the state, $450 million a year, far exceeds money we receive from the state and that and tuition put together. So that's our distinctive mission. ASU is expected to grow to accommodate four campuses. This enormous surge in enrollment in the state of Arizona. NAU has its special mission. So each of us has to focus on what works best for us so that the three add up with the community colleges to a system that meets everybody's needs.

Michael Grant:
Is there a danger that the research mission can override the educational mission of the university?

Dr. Peter Likins:
The research mission changes the nature of the educational mission in the sense that you focus on learning by discovery rather than simply learning what the professor provides you as a kind of a standard understanding from the textbooks. So students in a research university are very much the focus of attention. But they are expected to learn by discovery to, learn how to search out ideas. And in life after college that's what you do. So the research university mission is relative to developing the thinking capability of its students in ways that will serve them for all their life. You can't run a place like this without recognizing the students are central to our operation. But it's a student-centered research university. The research mission is critical. And if somebody in the state doesn't take on the responsibilities as they do in California or Michigan or all the successful educational enterprises in the country, if somebody doesn't really rise to the heights and meet the challenges of research, then we're not players and Arizona begins to sink economically. If we are, for example, going to build a biomedical capabilities in Phoenix and in Tucson and make that a cornerstone of Arizona's economy, it has to be based on research. That's how you spin out startup companies, that's how you get new ideas infusing new elements, new strength into the economy. It's got to be a research-based stimulus to the economy or it won't work. It won't succeed competitively.

Michael Grant:
Speaking of Phoenix, capabilities for the U of A, obviously the college of pharmacy and college of medicine in downtown Phoenix. Is that expansion, that movement, that additional arm turning out the way you hoped it would?

Dr. Peter Likins:
Yes, it is. The college of medicine at what we call level one is absolutely on track. That is the historic buildings that once were Phoenix union high school have been renovated beautifully and the faculty and the administration will begin moving into those buildings within a couple of months. We're recruiting the faculty, we're bringing in I think it's seven ASU faculty with joint appointments in the university of Arizona college of medicine. And that's unprecedented to form the kind of collaboration so that in the city of Phoenix we're drawing upon the talents and strengths of both institutions. We're building the faculty, building the administration so when the students come, 24 students in July of 2007, they'll be ready to build a regular four-year college of medicine capability in Phoenix. And that will be a splendid complement to what we do in Tucson. We'll work these two operations together. Eventually the Phoenix operation, the Phoenix program of the college of medicine should be bigger numerically, more students than we have here in Tucson. That really is responsive to the needs of the people in the state of Arizona. It also helps build this biomedical research capability. We're right next to t-gem and the Phoenix biomedical campus. ASU is building a whole campus downtown. A college of nursing will be the ASU College of nursing. Medicine is the U of A College of medicine, pharmacy U of A college of pharmacy. And altogether we'll have a strong health sciences campus.

Michael Grant:
Almost out of time but what does the future hold for Dr. Peter Likins?

Dr. Peter Likins:
Well, on the first of July which is this coming Saturday I will awaken with no responsibilities. For the first time -- to a woman I've been in love with and married to for 50-years. And I'll take care of the challenges of decompression to begin with. I've been working seven days a week my entire life.

Michael Grant:
Sure.

Dr. Peter Likins:
Decompression and connection with my wife and doing the kind of things we love to do together.

Michael Grant:
Outstanding. Dr. Peter Likins, congratulations on your nine year tenure and decompress happily.

Dr. Peter Likins:
Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Certainly safe to say there are no easy answers to the illegal immigration issue. A prominent author says the answer could be in merging the North American continent into a single entity. A coalition of nations. We'll talk to him in just a moment. But first Larry Lemmons gives us a glimpse at how things currently are with the process of becoming an US citizen.

Diane Brennan:
The White House is not disputing the disclosure that President Bush gave the go ahead to leak a prewar Iraq intelligence.

Larry Lemmons:
Diane Brennan anchors the news at KTAR. She's worked at the station nearly four years. She's also categorized as a permanent resident. A Canadian at birth she's got a green card now and wants to become an American citizen.

Diane Brennan:
My green card is good for 12-years. But I would like to become a citizen here. I love the country. I'd like to vote and I'd like to do a few other things. I want to apply in "amazing race" and you have to be a citizen to do that. So I'm there.

Larry Lemmons:
All kidding aside the subject of citizenship has been no joke to Brennan.

Diane Brennan:
The experience was definitely a nightmare. From what I was told what would happen in the process was completely different than what I actually had to do. At the time -- I've been in the states for nine years. For example, there was a lot of miscommunication. I'd speak with one person at immigration they'd say file this form. I'd speak with another one and they'd say that was wrong. I don't know who told you that. Fill out this form. My documents were lost. INS had lost them so I had to re-apply and pay the fine again. My green card they actually sent to the wrong address and I had to wait a year until a certain date to be able to contact them and say, what happened to my green card. So I had to wait a year. The whole time it was lost I wasn't allowed to call earlier to find out. I had to wait a whole year. Then I had to reapply again and pay the other forms even though I sent them the address change. So it was very, very frustrating.

Larry Lemmons:
The most common misconception we may have about legal immigration is that it's a relatively easy and quick process. We think about the images of the immigrants on Ellis Island, the immigration process was much easer back then. Not so much today.

Jeanne Kent:
Okay. Well, let's try and do it the easy way. First thing someone has to do is immigrate to the united states as a lawful, pearl resident. And generally there's two ways to do that, either through a family-based petition or employment-based petition. Obviously a family-based petition means someone already here in the united states either as a lawful permanent resident themselves or US citizen can file a petition to immigrate that person to the united states. And with the employer petition, a similar process in that an employer files a petition looking for someone that has a special work skill that's needed and maybe there aren't enough Americans that have that skill. And they'll immigrate the person. Once the person gets here to the United States, generally they have to be a permanent resident and be here for five years before they can qualify to file for citizenship. There are certain exceptions for military personnel and for spouses of US citizens they only have to wait three years. So once they are ready, they've put their time in, then they can file an application for citizenship or naturalization we call it. And to do that they fill out an application. They can submit it to their service center. They go through fingerprinting and security checks. They come to the office for an interview that covers the items that are in their application. They also have to take an English and civics test. And assuming everything goes well with that and they pass their interview then they're scheduled for a ceremony. So that's the process in a nutshell. Of course, it sounds easier than it really is. Depending on the person.

Larry Lemmons:
There are other ways to come into the country legally without becoming a citizen. There are work visas and other responsibilities. But if you are intent on becoming a citizen it will take you longer if you are from China, Mexico, India or the Philippines. That's because there's so much of a backlog from people from those countries wanting to become a citizen.

Jeanne Kent:
There are four different preference categories for those visa numbers. The categories can get quite large so the backlog in certain categories can be quite years long. People like China and the Philippines is used often as an example, someone that's a brother or sister living in the Philippines has about a 20-year rate.

Larry Lemmons:
Congress sets the rules as to what preferences and question as are in place. Larger countries are at a disadvantage because all country are under the same quota based on worldwide immigration. And the rules can change quite often over the years.

Diane Brennan:
First with the different administration, the immigration laws changed. At one point in my life I tried to see if I was eligible and I wasn't. Then four years later the rules changed and that's when I found out that my mother could get her US citizenship and she could sponsor me for a green card. So that was the first step. And I chose that visa because I was eligible for it. I could also come down on a NAFTA agreement but you have to renew it every year and it's up to the border guards whether or not to renew it. So basically your life is in a border guard's hand whether he says yes or no.

Larry Lemmons:
Brennan's next step is to take the citizenship test. That will take another year. She says being an immigrant helps her understand why people want to come to the United States.

Diane Brennan:
So I can understand the desire of the Mexican people to want to come here and do better. I pretty much came for the same reason. I went as far as I could in my field that I was trained to do in Canada. So in order to better myself and want a better future for myself, I wanted to come to the US because I was allowed to do that. So I can relate to what they want to do.

Jeanne Kent:
When I'm at a naturalization ceremony and see the emotion in the person's eyes that just became a citizen, you really have to see. It makes you feel so good about being a citizen of the United States, how lucky we are.

Michael Grant:
Joining us tonight to talk about his views on illegal immigration and the relationship between the US and Mexico is Dr. Juan Hernandez, former cabinet member of president Vicente Fox -- he has dual citizenship to the US and Mexico and he is the author of a new book, "the new American pioneer, why are we afraid of Mexican immigrants." professor Hernandez, good to see you.

Dr. Juan Hernandez:
Thank you for inviting me to your show.

Michael Grant:
Are Americans afraid of illegal immigrants or are we frustrated that we can't seem to enforce and protect our borders?

Dr. Juan Hernandez:
Well, we have a divided nation. I think that we have a nation that has discovered suddenly that there are over 40 million Hispanics in this nation. That has been a surprise. No one predicted there would be that many Hispanics. We have been surprised that these people have become -- started marching and are not willing to be quiet anymore about their perspectives on being documented, perspectives on many areas. After September 11, of course, a great terrible surprise to this nation we found out that we have enemies that do want to destroy us. But unfortunately our reaction has been one of dividing the nation. On the one hand some say let's close the borders. Let's become isolated from the world. And some of them are shooting at shadows and seeing a possible terrorist in anyone who come other part of the nation that is saying, wait a minute. Mexico is our friend. These immigrants are helping our nation. We need those people. We're only growing at 1\% et cetera.

Michael Grant:
I would submit to you that maybe there's a large category in the middle that actually borrows from both sides. And says, "listen. It's probably impractical to bus 8 million people back to Mexico." there is a contribution being made. On the other hand, we don't like the concept of people just strolling into the country without some process to normalize that and for lack of a better term protect the border. But it's not I guess for lack of a better term evil or malicious.

Dr. Juan Hernandez:
I totally agree. I think that most US Americans probably fit into that category. As a matter of fact, up to 76\% of people even here from Arizona say once the criteria's is met they say legalize them. But number one if we do a criminal background check on them, if we make sure they're not taking jobs from US citizens if they'll pay taxes and social security if they'll work on their English and pay a fine for having been undocumented, I think it's 75\% in Arizona, 76\% nationwide say let's go ahead and document them. I agree with you.

Michael Grant:
One of the concerns that's been raised on both sides liberal and conservative side is the concept of -- and I think in the senate bill it's like 400,000 annually guest workers. Are we doing the country, and for that matter those people a favor by bringing in that kind of mass annually for entry-level jobs that may doom them to become a permanent sub class in the country?

Dr. Juan Hernandez:
Well, the thing is -- and yes, you say 400,000. That is pretty much the amount that most economists in the United States say that we need. Just from south of the border. We also need immigrants from other countries with other skills. But from Mexico, Central America, we need about 400,000. For our own selfish reasons, if you will. To keep our economy up, to keep our population up. But it's interesting to me that that is pretty much the amount of undocumented that come up here and end up staying. So it seems like economics pulls us in the right direction, if you will. It's not fair, though, I think, for us to be saying -- not that I'm a conservative. I'm with many of the pastors and priests. It's not fair for us to say, don't come don't come don't come but if you can make it there's a great reward and we really do want you and need you.

Michael Grant:
We do tend to be schizophrenic about the subject from time to time. Let me go back to the intro copy because I want to ask you about this. You say the answer might be in merging the North American continent into a single entity, a coalition of nations. There are people rising off of their couches right now saying, what the heck does that mean? So what the heck does that mean?

Dr. Juan Hernandez:
Well, I don't think that we will ever become one nation, Canada, the United States and Mexico. It might happen. You and I won't be here to see that. But soon -- I think in our lifetime we will become a block, we must, to be able to compete with the European block, with China, we must work together. I don't mean we should even open our borders totally. But I think we must be intelligent in seeing that Mexico has a lot to offer to North America, the United States obviously, why not start in on a strategy that is best for the United States? Once again, not best for Mexico but best for the United States so that we can compete against other nations in the future.

Michael Grant:
One of the things I think a lot of Americans get irritated by, for example I think Vicente Fox has been quoted as saying that illegal immigrants are heroes. What does he -- you served in his cabinet. Those are fighting words for a lot of people here. What does he mean by that?

Dr. Juan Hernandez:
Vicente Fox is very good at vocabulary and throwing out controversial sentences so that he gets us all discussing. He also said at one point let's open up the borders. Two weeks later he said I mean 25, 100-years from now. But he got us talking about the possibility of us working together. I think from Mexico these undocumented people in many respects are heroes. They are now providing for their poor families, the second most important income to the nation period. And especially helping the needy of the neediest. It was $20 billion recently, last year, this year maybe $24 billion.

Michael Grant:
Why has it been so difficult, though, for Mexico? We talk about the American economy being a magnet. There is a corollary to that and there's no magnet going on in Mexico. Yet it has some pretty good natural resources. It certainly has some other opportunities in terms of tourism and a wide variety of agricultural products and those kinds of things. Why can't Mexico knit together the kind of economy that makes Mexico a magnet?

Dr. Juan Hernandez:
Well, but we could ask that question of any country around the world. The United States of America is the miracle of miracles. It's very difficult to compare any nation to the United States. I don't think we'll know really why we've been successful in this nation until 100, 200-years from now. We'll look back and say, these are the ingredients.

Michael Grant:
But sitting right next to it, it's not exactly a long distance geographic lesson. Why can't Mexico build more of that?

Dr. Juan Hernandez:
Why not look at it this way? Why not compare Mexico to Mexico just ten years ago, six years ago, five years ago? And I think that we will see that Mexico has greatly advanced. For example, there's a democracy. For 71-years Mexico had only one ruling party. That's longer than communism. Today or two weeks from now there will be elections in Mexico and the people of Mexico only for the second time will decide who their president will be. Mexico has been paying its debt to the United States in advance, way in advance. Vicente Fox has been criticized for paying too much to the United States in advance. Mexico has advanced its healthcare, its housing they've done more in the three or four past sentence 25 years of presidents with regard to dividing or multiplying effect of those. Mexico has done a lot. Some of the things, for example turning on the lights you see all the cockroaches. Forgive me. You see all the crime, all the problems. Why not doing something innovative like working together, Mexico and the United States, to fight many of the ills that Mexico has and the united states has?

Michael Grant:
All right. Dr. Hernandez we very much appreciate you joining us.

Dr. Juan Hernandez:
Thank you, my friend.

Michael Grant:
Thanks.

Michael Grant:
If you would like to see a transcript of tonight's show, get information about upcoming topics please visit the website at azpbs.org. Once you get to the home page, click on the word "Horizon" for more details. Thank you very much for joining us this evening on Horizon. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

Juan Hernandez


  • Dr. Juan Hernandez, former cabinet member to Mexican President Fox and founder of the Center for U.S.-Mexico Studies at the University of Texas, joins HORIZON to offer his perspective on immigration issues and discuss his new book, "The New American Pioneers: Why Are We Afraid of Mexican Immigrants."
Guests:
  • Dr. Peter Likens - former president, University of Arizona
  • Dr. Juan Hernandez - former cabinet member of president Vicente Fox and author of,
Category: Immigration

View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Good evening, welcome to Horizon, I'm Michael Grant. A few weeks ago, there was a change in command at the University of Arizona. Doctor Peter Likins stepped down as president. He was replaced by Robert Shelton of the University of North Carolina. Likins started his career as a development engineer with the jet propulsion laboratory at the California institute of technology. He then moved into education, working at UCLA and Columbia University before going to head up the u of a in 1997. On the week that he left the school, we spoke with Dr. Likins.

Michael Grant:
Here now by satellite from Tucson is Dr. Peter Likins. Dr. Likins good to see you again.

Dr. Peter Likins:
Good to be back on Horizon.

Michael Grant:
You know, it occurs to me that with your aerospace background you're probably particularly excited by the mars exploration that U of A has been assisting in and will be assisting in.

Dr. Peter Likins:
U of A faculty have done a extraordinary job in getting major mission responsibilities to mars and a whole series of spacecraft. Principally designing the instruments that take photographs and make other measurements in outer space but more recently having responsibility for the whole mars mission. Quite impressive.

Michael Grant:
Nine years obviously a pretty good stretch of time, particularly for an university president. What most significantly stands out for you?

Dr. Peter Likins:
You know, it's strange. From my perspective it's premature to evaluate my presidency. We need a decade to see if I put the University of Arizona on the right trajectory because that's what it's all about. Knowing it takes 5, 10, 15-years to reach the heights that you're striving for, the focus of excellent strategy is intended to do that but we all know that's going to take time.

Michael Grant:
I tell you, that trajectory thing, that aerospace background slips in there every so often. You know, it seems to me one of the things we've been struggling with over your tenure in particular the past 3, 4-years is what is the ultimate goal. What should the role of the university system be, how does it interrelate with the community college system, issues of affordability, accessibility, just size. You know, what's your view and vision on where you think maybe the Arizona university system ought to be in say 2015 or so?

Dr. Peter Likins:
First we need to say that to that long list of responsibilities the university system has in working with community colleges, you have to add the economic development that comes from the stimulus that research in the universities provides to startup companies and to building the economy. So it's a very valued role. And we're the land grant institution. That means we have responsibilities to reach out to farmers and ranchers and families all over the state to help them do what they're here to do, to reach their personal and professional aspirations. So the system has a major responsibility and it needs to be understood that with each passing decade education, higher education becomes ever more important to the success of the society, the total society. It's a knowledge-based economy, a knowledge-based society. So the regions have to look at the system and see how it can complement the community colleges to meet the full array of needs. What they realized in 2002 when they adopted the changing directs initiative, what they realized is that resources are tight and to give the people the best return on their investment we had to diversify. We had to let each of the three universities focus in a differentiated mission. That's where we've been going the last through years. That's why U of A has focused on the research agenda. In fact the faculty received more money through competing nationally for research dollars that come into the state, $450 million a year, far exceeds money we receive from the state and that and tuition put together. So that's our distinctive mission. ASU is expected to grow to accommodate four campuses. This enormous surge in enrollment in the state of Arizona. NAU has its special mission. So each of us has to focus on what works best for us so that the three add up with the community colleges to a system that meets everybody's needs.

Michael Grant:
Is there a danger that the research mission can override the educational mission of the university?

Dr. Peter Likins:
The research mission changes the nature of the educational mission in the sense that you focus on learning by discovery rather than simply learning what the professor provides you as a kind of a standard understanding from the textbooks. So students in a research university are very much the focus of attention. But they are expected to learn by discovery to, learn how to search out ideas. And in life after college that's what you do. So the research university mission is relative to developing the thinking capability of its students in ways that will serve them for all their life. You can't run a place like this without recognizing the students are central to our operation. But it's a student-centered research university. The research mission is critical. And if somebody in the state doesn't take on the responsibilities as they do in California or Michigan or all the successful educational enterprises in the country, if somebody doesn't really rise to the heights and meet the challenges of research, then we're not players and Arizona begins to sink economically. If we are, for example, going to build a biomedical capabilities in Phoenix and in Tucson and make that a cornerstone of Arizona's economy, it has to be based on research. That's how you spin out startup companies, that's how you get new ideas infusing new elements, new strength into the economy. It's got to be a research-based stimulus to the economy or it won't work. It won't succeed competitively.

Michael Grant:
Speaking of Phoenix, capabilities for the U of A, obviously the college of pharmacy and college of medicine in downtown Phoenix. Is that expansion, that movement, that additional arm turning out the way you hoped it would?

Dr. Peter Likins:
Yes, it is. The college of medicine at what we call level one is absolutely on track. That is the historic buildings that once were Phoenix union high school have been renovated beautifully and the faculty and the administration will begin moving into those buildings within a couple of months. We're recruiting the faculty, we're bringing in I think it's seven ASU faculty with joint appointments in the university of Arizona college of medicine. And that's unprecedented to form the kind of collaboration so that in the city of Phoenix we're drawing upon the talents and strengths of both institutions. We're building the faculty, building the administration so when the students come, 24 students in July of 2007, they'll be ready to build a regular four-year college of medicine capability in Phoenix. And that will be a splendid complement to what we do in Tucson. We'll work these two operations together. Eventually the Phoenix operation, the Phoenix program of the college of medicine should be bigger numerically, more students than we have here in Tucson. That really is responsive to the needs of the people in the state of Arizona. It also helps build this biomedical research capability. We're right next to t-gem and the Phoenix biomedical campus. ASU is building a whole campus downtown. A college of nursing will be the ASU College of nursing. Medicine is the U of A College of medicine, pharmacy U of A college of pharmacy. And altogether we'll have a strong health sciences campus.

Michael Grant:
Almost out of time but what does the future hold for Dr. Peter Likins?

Dr. Peter Likins:
Well, on the first of July which is this coming Saturday I will awaken with no responsibilities. For the first time -- to a woman I've been in love with and married to for 50-years. And I'll take care of the challenges of decompression to begin with. I've been working seven days a week my entire life.

Michael Grant:
Sure.

Dr. Peter Likins:
Decompression and connection with my wife and doing the kind of things we love to do together.

Michael Grant:
Outstanding. Dr. Peter Likins, congratulations on your nine year tenure and decompress happily.

Dr. Peter Likins:
Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Certainly safe to say there are no easy answers to the illegal immigration issue. A prominent author says the answer could be in merging the North American continent into a single entity. A coalition of nations. We'll talk to him in just a moment. But first Larry Lemmons gives us a glimpse at how things currently are with the process of becoming an US citizen.

Diane Brennan:
The White House is not disputing the disclosure that President Bush gave the go ahead to leak a prewar Iraq intelligence.

Larry Lemmons:
Diane Brennan anchors the news at KTAR. She's worked at the station nearly four years. She's also categorized as a permanent resident. A Canadian at birth she's got a green card now and wants to become an American citizen.

Diane Brennan:
My green card is good for 12-years. But I would like to become a citizen here. I love the country. I'd like to vote and I'd like to do a few other things. I want to apply in "amazing race" and you have to be a citizen to do that. So I'm there.

Larry Lemmons:
All kidding aside the subject of citizenship has been no joke to Brennan.

Diane Brennan:
The experience was definitely a nightmare. From what I was told what would happen in the process was completely different than what I actually had to do. At the time -- I've been in the states for nine years. For example, there was a lot of miscommunication. I'd speak with one person at immigration they'd say file this form. I'd speak with another one and they'd say that was wrong. I don't know who told you that. Fill out this form. My documents were lost. INS had lost them so I had to re-apply and pay the fine again. My green card they actually sent to the wrong address and I had to wait a year until a certain date to be able to contact them and say, what happened to my green card. So I had to wait a year. The whole time it was lost I wasn't allowed to call earlier to find out. I had to wait a whole year. Then I had to reapply again and pay the other forms even though I sent them the address change. So it was very, very frustrating.

Larry Lemmons:
The most common misconception we may have about legal immigration is that it's a relatively easy and quick process. We think about the images of the immigrants on Ellis Island, the immigration process was much easer back then. Not so much today.

Jeanne Kent:
Okay. Well, let's try and do it the easy way. First thing someone has to do is immigrate to the united states as a lawful, pearl resident. And generally there's two ways to do that, either through a family-based petition or employment-based petition. Obviously a family-based petition means someone already here in the united states either as a lawful permanent resident themselves or US citizen can file a petition to immigrate that person to the united states. And with the employer petition, a similar process in that an employer files a petition looking for someone that has a special work skill that's needed and maybe there aren't enough Americans that have that skill. And they'll immigrate the person. Once the person gets here to the United States, generally they have to be a permanent resident and be here for five years before they can qualify to file for citizenship. There are certain exceptions for military personnel and for spouses of US citizens they only have to wait three years. So once they are ready, they've put their time in, then they can file an application for citizenship or naturalization we call it. And to do that they fill out an application. They can submit it to their service center. They go through fingerprinting and security checks. They come to the office for an interview that covers the items that are in their application. They also have to take an English and civics test. And assuming everything goes well with that and they pass their interview then they're scheduled for a ceremony. So that's the process in a nutshell. Of course, it sounds easier than it really is. Depending on the person.

Larry Lemmons:
There are other ways to come into the country legally without becoming a citizen. There are work visas and other responsibilities. But if you are intent on becoming a citizen it will take you longer if you are from China, Mexico, India or the Philippines. That's because there's so much of a backlog from people from those countries wanting to become a citizen.

Jeanne Kent:
There are four different preference categories for those visa numbers. The categories can get quite large so the backlog in certain categories can be quite years long. People like China and the Philippines is used often as an example, someone that's a brother or sister living in the Philippines has about a 20-year rate.

Larry Lemmons:
Congress sets the rules as to what preferences and question as are in place. Larger countries are at a disadvantage because all country are under the same quota based on worldwide immigration. And the rules can change quite often over the years.

Diane Brennan:
First with the different administration, the immigration laws changed. At one point in my life I tried to see if I was eligible and I wasn't. Then four years later the rules changed and that's when I found out that my mother could get her US citizenship and she could sponsor me for a green card. So that was the first step. And I chose that visa because I was eligible for it. I could also come down on a NAFTA agreement but you have to renew it every year and it's up to the border guards whether or not to renew it. So basically your life is in a border guard's hand whether he says yes or no.

Larry Lemmons:
Brennan's next step is to take the citizenship test. That will take another year. She says being an immigrant helps her understand why people want to come to the United States.

Diane Brennan:
So I can understand the desire of the Mexican people to want to come here and do better. I pretty much came for the same reason. I went as far as I could in my field that I was trained to do in Canada. So in order to better myself and want a better future for myself, I wanted to come to the US because I was allowed to do that. So I can relate to what they want to do.

Jeanne Kent:
When I'm at a naturalization ceremony and see the emotion in the person's eyes that just became a citizen, you really have to see. It makes you feel so good about being a citizen of the United States, how lucky we are.

Michael Grant:
Joining us tonight to talk about his views on illegal immigration and the relationship between the US and Mexico is Dr. Juan Hernandez, former cabinet member of president Vicente Fox -- he has dual citizenship to the US and Mexico and he is the author of a new book, "the new American pioneer, why are we afraid of Mexican immigrants." professor Hernandez, good to see you.

Dr. Juan Hernandez:
Thank you for inviting me to your show.

Michael Grant:
Are Americans afraid of illegal immigrants or are we frustrated that we can't seem to enforce and protect our borders?

Dr. Juan Hernandez:
Well, we have a divided nation. I think that we have a nation that has discovered suddenly that there are over 40 million Hispanics in this nation. That has been a surprise. No one predicted there would be that many Hispanics. We have been surprised that these people have become -- started marching and are not willing to be quiet anymore about their perspectives on being documented, perspectives on many areas. After September 11, of course, a great terrible surprise to this nation we found out that we have enemies that do want to destroy us. But unfortunately our reaction has been one of dividing the nation. On the one hand some say let's close the borders. Let's become isolated from the world. And some of them are shooting at shadows and seeing a possible terrorist in anyone who come other part of the nation that is saying, wait a minute. Mexico is our friend. These immigrants are helping our nation. We need those people. We're only growing at 1\% et cetera.

Michael Grant:
I would submit to you that maybe there's a large category in the middle that actually borrows from both sides. And says, "listen. It's probably impractical to bus 8 million people back to Mexico." there is a contribution being made. On the other hand, we don't like the concept of people just strolling into the country without some process to normalize that and for lack of a better term protect the border. But it's not I guess for lack of a better term evil or malicious.

Dr. Juan Hernandez:
I totally agree. I think that most US Americans probably fit into that category. As a matter of fact, up to 76\% of people even here from Arizona say once the criteria's is met they say legalize them. But number one if we do a criminal background check on them, if we make sure they're not taking jobs from US citizens if they'll pay taxes and social security if they'll work on their English and pay a fine for having been undocumented, I think it's 75\% in Arizona, 76\% nationwide say let's go ahead and document them. I agree with you.

Michael Grant:
One of the concerns that's been raised on both sides liberal and conservative side is the concept of -- and I think in the senate bill it's like 400,000 annually guest workers. Are we doing the country, and for that matter those people a favor by bringing in that kind of mass annually for entry-level jobs that may doom them to become a permanent sub class in the country?

Dr. Juan Hernandez:
Well, the thing is -- and yes, you say 400,000. That is pretty much the amount that most economists in the United States say that we need. Just from south of the border. We also need immigrants from other countries with other skills. But from Mexico, Central America, we need about 400,000. For our own selfish reasons, if you will. To keep our economy up, to keep our population up. But it's interesting to me that that is pretty much the amount of undocumented that come up here and end up staying. So it seems like economics pulls us in the right direction, if you will. It's not fair, though, I think, for us to be saying -- not that I'm a conservative. I'm with many of the pastors and priests. It's not fair for us to say, don't come don't come don't come but if you can make it there's a great reward and we really do want you and need you.

Michael Grant:
We do tend to be schizophrenic about the subject from time to time. Let me go back to the intro copy because I want to ask you about this. You say the answer might be in merging the North American continent into a single entity, a coalition of nations. There are people rising off of their couches right now saying, what the heck does that mean? So what the heck does that mean?

Dr. Juan Hernandez:
Well, I don't think that we will ever become one nation, Canada, the United States and Mexico. It might happen. You and I won't be here to see that. But soon -- I think in our lifetime we will become a block, we must, to be able to compete with the European block, with China, we must work together. I don't mean we should even open our borders totally. But I think we must be intelligent in seeing that Mexico has a lot to offer to North America, the United States obviously, why not start in on a strategy that is best for the United States? Once again, not best for Mexico but best for the United States so that we can compete against other nations in the future.

Michael Grant:
One of the things I think a lot of Americans get irritated by, for example I think Vicente Fox has been quoted as saying that illegal immigrants are heroes. What does he -- you served in his cabinet. Those are fighting words for a lot of people here. What does he mean by that?

Dr. Juan Hernandez:
Vicente Fox is very good at vocabulary and throwing out controversial sentences so that he gets us all discussing. He also said at one point let's open up the borders. Two weeks later he said I mean 25, 100-years from now. But he got us talking about the possibility of us working together. I think from Mexico these undocumented people in many respects are heroes. They are now providing for their poor families, the second most important income to the nation period. And especially helping the needy of the neediest. It was $20 billion recently, last year, this year maybe $24 billion.

Michael Grant:
Why has it been so difficult, though, for Mexico? We talk about the American economy being a magnet. There is a corollary to that and there's no magnet going on in Mexico. Yet it has some pretty good natural resources. It certainly has some other opportunities in terms of tourism and a wide variety of agricultural products and those kinds of things. Why can't Mexico knit together the kind of economy that makes Mexico a magnet?

Dr. Juan Hernandez:
Well, but we could ask that question of any country around the world. The United States of America is the miracle of miracles. It's very difficult to compare any nation to the United States. I don't think we'll know really why we've been successful in this nation until 100, 200-years from now. We'll look back and say, these are the ingredients.

Michael Grant:
But sitting right next to it, it's not exactly a long distance geographic lesson. Why can't Mexico build more of that?

Dr. Juan Hernandez:
Why not look at it this way? Why not compare Mexico to Mexico just ten years ago, six years ago, five years ago? And I think that we will see that Mexico has greatly advanced. For example, there's a democracy. For 71-years Mexico had only one ruling party. That's longer than communism. Today or two weeks from now there will be elections in Mexico and the people of Mexico only for the second time will decide who their president will be. Mexico has been paying its debt to the United States in advance, way in advance. Vicente Fox has been criticized for paying too much to the United States in advance. Mexico has advanced its healthcare, its housing they've done more in the three or four past sentence 25 years of presidents with regard to dividing or multiplying effect of those. Mexico has done a lot. Some of the things, for example turning on the lights you see all the cockroaches. Forgive me. You see all the crime, all the problems. Why not doing something innovative like working together, Mexico and the United States, to fight many of the ills that Mexico has and the united states has?

Michael Grant:
All right. Dr. Hernandez we very much appreciate you joining us.

Dr. Juan Hernandez:
Thank you, my friend.

Michael Grant:
Thanks.

Michael Grant:
If you would like to see a transcript of tonight's show, get information about upcoming topics please visit the website at azpbs.org. Once you get to the home page, click on the word "Horizon" for more details. Thank you very much for joining us this evening on Horizon. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

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