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Does amnesty work?

By - GSEMENZA@VICAD.COM
Aug. 29, 2009 at 3:29 a.m.
Updated Aug. 30, 2009 at 3:30 a.m.

SUCCESS STORY: Pedro Flores installs tile inside a Victoria apartment complex earlier this month. The 59-year-old Telferner man built a home, life and  business after receiving amnesty in 1986.

This is the final installment of a 16-part series detailing immigration and border issues in South Texas and beyond.

BY GABE SEMENZA

Pedro Flores lived the U.S. immigration debate.

The 59-year-old Victoria County businessman immigrated illegally to Texas from Mexico in the late 1970s. He set foot in the county amid great national debate. He then gained a path to legalization thanks to sweeping immigration reform.

Just as when Flores arrived 30 years ago, the United States again finds itself at a crossroads. The country bulges with illegal immigrants and hearty debate regarding calls for a new round of changes in the law.

So, where does the country go from here?

Immigrant sympathizers say amnesty remains part of the answer, just as it was when Flores emerged from the shadows. Critics cite glaring statistics to suggest it didn't work then and thus can't work now.

Flores knows the debate. His story illustrates the forces that led to the last major immigration reform and the factors that spur talks now.

For full installment, go to www.VictoriaAdvocate.com/FatalFunnel or see Sunday's print edition.

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