News From the Border

Providing the news from a different front but from a war that we must win as well! I recognize the poverty and desperate conditions that many Latinos live in. We, as the USA, have a responsibility to do as much as we can to reach out to aid and assist spiritually with the Gospel and naturally with training, technology and resources. But poverty gives no one the right to break the laws of another sovereign nation.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Leftist's backers camp out in capital

Streets obstructed as López Obrador demands recount
By S. Lynne Walker
July 31, 2006

MEXICO CITY – Leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador led his supporters into Mexico City's streets yesterday and launched an occupation of the nation's capital that he vowed to continue until federal electoral officials accept his demand for a recount in the presidential election.

Casting the protest as a defense of Mexico's fragile democracy, López Obrador outlined a detailed plan to close nearly two dozen main thoroughfares by setting up encampments in the heart of Mexico City's business district.

He also promised to stay with supporters “day and night” at a permanent camp he asked them to set up in the city's historic main plaza, the Zócalo.

A captain of the "Mexican Mafia" street gang arrested in Laredo

Gang member holds the position of Captain
LAREDO, Texas - A member of the violent “Mexican Mafia” street gang was arrested here Thursday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents while he tried to smuggle into the United States 12 aliens hidden in the back of a tractor-trailer.
Jorge Antonio Espinoza, 40, from Laredo, was in federal court this morning where he was charged with attempting to transport illegal aliens into the United States. Espinoza was denied bond and is expected to remain in federal custody pending his next hearing scheduled for Aug. 4.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspectors discovered the smuggled aliens when Espinoza tried to pass through the checkpoint located near Interstate Highway 35 near Laredo. The aliens were found hidden in the back of the tractor-trailer during the secondary inspection process.

Commissioners meeting will discuss Sheriff's role

Erica Molina Johnson / El Paso Times
El Paso Times

County Commissioners Court may pass a resolution at its regular meeting today that would limit the enforcement of immigration laws by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

"I'm very much in favor of it," Commissioner Larry Medina said.

Commissioner Miguel Terán placed the item on today's agenda.

The proposed resolution states that "unless otherwise required by law or court order, county agents shall refrain from the enforcement of federal immigration laws."

This means no one is to be singled out for enforcement "based solely on their country of origin, religion, race and ethnicity or immigration status."

The proposed resolution also states that crime victims, witnesses and those approaching officers for assistance will not be asked about their immigration status.

"Local law enforcement is already taxed enough in terms of following their directives," Medina said. "Their responsibility is the enforcing of local ordinances and laws."

Fed rulings vary widely on asylum

The Associated Press
Published: 07.31.2006

WASHINGTON - Immigration judges vary sharply in their willingness to grant asylum to foreigners seeking to live in the United States, with denial rates ranging from 10 percent to more than 98 percent, said researchers who reviewed U.S. figures.

A person seeking asylum in the United States is far more likely to face rejection if the case is decided by Judge Mahlon Hanson in Miami than by some other judges in the system, a study released today said.

The study is based on data from the Executive Office for Immigration Review, a Justice Department agency that oversees immigration courts. The figures are from 1994-99 and 2000-05.

The report was done by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, which collects and analyzes federal government data.

Some entrants try polluted-river route

Day 5: Crossing through filth (July 23, 2006)

The three young people wore only underwear and held green trash bags on their heads as they sloshed through the murky, polluted New River, which flows north from Mexicali, Mexico, to Calexico, Calif.

The trio's attempt to illegally enter the United States turned out to be in vain. The U.S. Border Patrol waited for them on the banks of the sewage-laden river, and the illegal crossers — two men and one woman who appeared to be in their 20s — turned back.

Calexico, a city of about 34,000, straddles the border alongside the more heavily populated Mexican city of Mexicali, with about 1.3 million people.

Attempts to cross into Calexico from Mexico via a break in the metal border fence at New River are common. The local Border Patrol says the riverbanks on the Mexican side are controlled by smugglers who charge money to the crossers.

The river crossers typically carry their clothes in trash bags so that they have something dry to wear when they get out of the water, to help them blend into the Calexico community.

Crossers burying border in garbage

Despite cleanups, trash along smuggling routes piles up faster than ever
By Tony Davis

After three years of cleanups, the federal government has achieved no better than a 1 percent solution for the problem of trash left in Southern Arizona by illegal border-crossers.

Cleanup crews from various agencies, volunteer groups and the Tohono O'odham Nation hauled about 250,000 pounds of trash from thousands of acres of federal, state and private land across Southern Arizona in 2002 to 2005, says the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

But that's only a fraction of the nearly 25 million pounds of trash thought to be out there.

Authorities estimate the 3.2 million-plus entrants caught by the Border Patrol dropped that much garbage in the Southern Arizona desert from July 1999 through June 2005. The figure assumes that each illegal entrant discards 8 pounds of trash, the weight of some abandoned backpacks found in the desert.

The trash is piling up faster than it can be cleaned up. Considering that the Border Patrol apprehended more than 577,000 entrants in 2004-05 alone, the BLM figures that those people left almost 4 million pounds of trash in that same year.

That's 16 times what was picked up in three years. And that doesn't include the unknown amounts of garbage left by border-crossers who don't get caught.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Agent's death spurred cops' detainment

16 Tijuana officers questioned Monday
By Anna Cearley

TIJUANAMexico's attorney general said yesterday that Monday's interrogations of city police officers was part of an investigation into the May killing of a federal agent.

Daniel Cabeza de Vaca, speaking at a Tijuana news conference, wouldn't say if any police officers were suspects, but he said Monday's actions are part of an effort to clean up law enforcement agencies infiltrated by criminals.

He didn't, however, address how one of the interviewed officers – José Saul Curley Dominguez – continues to be with the Tijuana police force even though a warrant has been issued for Curley's arrest in the United States.

“The process of getting rid of criminal elements . . . is a continuous and permanent process that we are always working on,” Cabeza de Vaca said.

Arrests along N.M.-Mexico border increase

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Arrests of would-be illegal immigrants along a section of the Mexican border that includes New Mexico have increased 13 percent in the last 10 months, the U.S. Border Patrol said.

The increase comes as arrests along the entire U.S.-Mexico border have dropped since President Bush ordered the military to help tighten the border.

Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar said Tuesday that New Mexico arrests were up because the area had been shortchanged on resources to fight illegal immigration in the past.

The Border Patrol "had not been able to do a very good job" in the Deming and Lordsburg areas, Aguilar said.

"We just didn't have any resources," he said.

Spurred by complaints from New Mexico politicians, the Border Patrol added 305 agents to the El Paso Sector of the border, which includes all of New Mexico and Texas' two westernmost counties.

Hispanic teens abusing prescription drugs, study finds


Associated Press Writer

DALLAS (AP) -- Hispanic teenagers are using prescription medicine to get high more than other teens in the country, federal drug prevention officials said Wednesday as they announced a national campaign aimed at curbing the problem.

While use of illegal drugs among Hispanics is typically lower than other groups, one in five Hispanic teenagers reported trying prescription drugs to get high, according to a 2005 survey by Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

"We are concerned the Hispanic youth, especially, are leading this race, and it's a race we don't want them to win," said Mary Ann Solberg, deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Hispanic cultural traditions can both complicate and help solve the problem, experts say.

Immigration reform worries Hispanic business owners

Louie Gilot / El Paso Times

El Paso Times

Hispanic business owners in Texas are afraid they'll find more stick than carrot in the immigration reform being considered in Washington, D.C., many of them said Friday in El Paso.

About 100 business leaders crowded in a meeting room during the Texas Association of Mexican-American Chambers of Commerce convention to make their concerns known about proposed increased penalties for employers who hire undocumented immigrants.

Joe Cisneros, president and CEO of the Corpus Christi Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said small-business owners in his area struggle to find enough workers to fill their needs.

"It's a challenge to find qualified workers. They (businesses) are expanding, landing hot new contracts and they have to take what they can find in terms of work force, especially in rural Texas," Cisneros said. "A lot of the time, we have become 'no ask, no tell.' We fill I-9 (employment eligibility verification forms), pay our taxes and live the American Dream."

5 years for rogue border agent

The Associated Press

Published: 07.29.2006

SAN DIEGO - Border Patrol agent Oscar Antonio Ortiz brought a certain inside knowledge to his job policing the U.S.-Mexican frontier: He had come to the United States illegally and was once arrested and accused of trying to drive two illegal immigrants across from Mexico.

But his superiors did not know any of that when he applied for a job with the Border Patrol, because he had a fake birth certificate that said he was from Chicago.

None of that would come out until last August, when, after three years of distinguished service, Ortiz was arrested again and admitted smuggling at least 100 illegal immigrants into the country, sometimes by driving them in his Border Patrol truck.

Chertoff foresees secure border with Mexico by 2008

By Michelle Mittelstadt


WASHINGTON — The federal government will gain operational control of the Southwest border in 2008, two years ahead of schedule, due to $1.9 billion in extra money for enforcement and the deployment of National Guard troops to the region, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff pledged Thursday.

"Obviously there are, of course, unpredictable elements in this," Chertoff told the House subcommittee that controls his department's purse strings. "But I think the supplemental (funding) and the use of the National Guard in the intervening period of time really does give us a jump-start in getting this done."

While Chertoff sketched a rosy view of immigration enforcement developments at the border and inside the country, House appropriators were far more skeptical.

During the two-hour hearing, they grumbled about a lack of strategic planning, inadequate contractor oversight and delays in completing the US-VISIT program to track foreigners' entry and departure from the country.

USBP seizes half-ton of pot

Jul 28, 2006

Border Patrol agents on Thursday seized nearly a half-ton of marijuana, along with two suspected smugglers and a stolen vehicle southeast of Wellton, according to a Customs and Border Patrol news release.

It states that border agents discovered vehicle tire tracks around 1 a.m. that had crossed the border near Camp Desert Grip, a remote desert outpost in the Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge 70 miles south of Wellton.

While following the tracks, agents found a late model Cadillac Escalade containing 990 pounds of marijuana — with a street value of $792,288.

A record check revealed that the vehicle had been stolen in Yuma.

A short time later, agents located two suspects believed to have fled the vehicle.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Mexico's Leftist Candidate Files Criminal Complaint Against Election Authorities

Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — Leftist presidential hopeful Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador filed a criminal complaint against top Mexican election officials, his latest challenge to the July 2 vote he apparently lost by a hair to the conservative candidate Felipe Calderon.

The complaint, filed with the Federal Attorney General's Office on Tuesday, argues that nine senior officials failed to stop business groups from funding advertisements against the leftist.

The ads, which portrayed the leftist as a "danger to Mexico" and compared him to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, broke electoral regulations, said Lopez Obrador aide Horacio Duarte who handed in the complaint.

"They sowed fear in the citizens about the option that (Lopez Obrador) represents," Duarte said.

Duarte argues that by failing to stop the adverts, the officials committed electoral crimes punishable by up to six years in prison. Federal prosecutors will examine the complaint and decide if they will file criminal charges.

Calderon, who says the vote was clean, has offered to meet with Lopez Obrador — a gesture the leftist rejected.

Hastert lends Border Patrol his helicopter to help agent

By Charles Hurt


House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert traveled to the Southwest during the weekend to survey for himself the porous borders that have become his party's campaign battle cry and ended up having to loan one of his helicopters to Border Patrol agents who found themselves short-handed.
The Illinois Republican was leading a delegation from Congress to a remote outpost in Arizona called Camp Grip when a lone Border Patrol agent called for backup, Mr. Hastert told The Washington Times. The agent had come across fresh tracks crossing the border and a stash of more than 200 pounds of marijuana.
Deep in the desert and a four-hour drive from the nearest Border Patrol station, Camp Grip doesn't have a helicopter regularly stationed there. So, agents grabbed machine guns and loaded into one of the four UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters ferrying Mr. Hastert's delegation and flew out to back up the agent.
"The border has become a sieve," Mr. Hastert said later. "We need to put more Border Patrol guards in places like Camp Grip."

Mexican authorities question 16 Tijuana cops

By Anna Cearley

July 25, 2006

TIJUANA – Federal authorities detained 16 police officers at a city substation yesterday and said they need to question about three dozen more officers.

The motive of the investigation wasn't made public, but it centers on the Mesa de Otay police station near the Otay Mesa border checkpoint, where 97 city police officers are based.

Some of the officers were released after being questioned yesterday afternoon.

Federal authorities typically conduct mass detentions of police officers when they are investigating ties to drug-trafficking rings.


16 Tijuana officers questioned Monday

By Anna Cearley

July 26, 2006

TIJUANAMexico's attorney general said yesterday that Monday's interrogations of city police officers was part of an investigation into the May killing of a federal agent.

Daniel Cabeza de Vaca, speaking at a Tijuana news conference, wouldn't say if any police officers were suspects, but he said Monday's actions are part of an effort to clean up law enforcement agencies infiltrated by criminals.

He didn't, however, address how one of the interviewed officers – José Saul Curley Dominguez – continues to be with the Tijuana police force even though a warrant has been issued for Curley's arrest in the United States.

“The process of getting rid of criminal elements . . . is a continuous and permanent process that we are always working on,” Cabeza de Vaca said.

Federal authorities are interviewing at least 52 city police officers in relation to the killing of the federal agent, who was ambushed at a Tijuana office where a multi-agency police force is based.

Two labor companies and three individuals charged with harboring illegal alien workers and conspiring to launder $12 million

Defendants allegedly provided more than 1,000 illegal workers to national air cargo firm

CINCINNATI - A federal grand jury here has returned a 40-count criminal indictment charging two temporary labor companies, the president of these companies and two of their corporate officers with violations related to a large-scale illegal alien employment and money laundering scheme.

The indictment alleges that the Garcia Labor Company Inc. and Garcia Labor Company of Ohio, Inc (together known as Garcia Labor Companies) entered into a contract in December 1999 to provide temporary workers to sort freight for ABX Air, Inc., an independent and publicly traded company that provides air cargo transportation services nationwide from its base in Ohio and 18 hubs throughout the country. As part of its contract, Garcia Labor agreed that it all workers would be in compliance with applicable laws.

According to the indictment, Garcia Labor and the other defendants instead knowingly employed illegal aliens and provided them as contract workers to ABX Air and other companies. From December 1999 until about January 2005, the defendants caused more than 1,000 illegal workers to be employed sorting freight at ABX Air, knowing that these employees were not authorized to work in this country.

Federal police end investigation of Juárez killings

By Louie Gilot / El Paso Times

El Paso Times

Three years ago, when Mexican federal police said they would help solve more than a dozen cases of young women killed in Juárez, victims' families and advocates hoped justice at last would be done. For years, the cases had been plagued by allegations of state police corruption and incompetence.

But late last month, federal officials quietly closed their inquiry without making any arrests, and they gave the 14 cases they had investigated back to state authorities, leaving relatives with little hope the killings will ever be solved.

The victims' families weren't even told the federal investigation had been closed; they read about it in the local newspaper.

"It fills me with rage, with a feeling of impotence, because they never investigated anything," said Josefina Gonzalez. The remains of her 20-year-old daughter were found with those of seven other young women in 2001.

In addition to those eight killings, federal authorities dropped investigations into the slayings of six teenagers, ages 15 to 18. They were among about 100 young women who were sexually assaulted, strangled and dumped in the desert outside Juárez since 1993.

The Chihuahua state prosecutor's office said their federal counterparts had returned the cases because they didn't find evidence of a federal crime such as a tie to organized crime or organ trafficking.

Human trafficking's profits spur horrors

Vicious organizations move thousands of immigrants through Valley every day

Dennis Wagner
The Arizona Republic

In the world of human smuggling, metro Phoenix has emerged as an enormous staging area where illegal immigrants are held hostage in apartments, motel rooms or rental homes until relatives pay their fees.

State investigators say it is a $2 billion-a-year, black-market business that drives illegal immigration, spreading corruption and violence through the Valley.

On any given day in the Valley, agents say, thousands of undocumented immigrants are stuffed into drophouses as "coyotes" collect the cash, arrange for transportation and fend off other smugglers who would steal migrant clients for ransom.

There are so many coyotes, estimated at more than 1,000, so many immigrants secreted in drop- houses, that money-transfer stores handle hundreds of millions of dollars a year in smuggling transactions. Friends or family already established in other states wire the payments to Phoenix.

During a federal court hearing last year, Special Agent Angel Rascon-Rubio of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement described metro Phoenix as "the hub" of immigrant smuggling. "I would say that 90 percent of the transactions dealing with the sale of human cargo, those smuggled across the (Arizona) border, occur right here."

Border arrests shift west

Fewer crossers caught in Arizona; migrant patterns may be changing

Mike Madden
Republic Washington Bureau
Jul. 26, 2006 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON - Illegal immigration may be shifting away from Arizona and back to California, after several years of intense focus by federal authorities on the Arizona desert.

From Oct. 1 to July 23, U.S. Border Patrol agents made 20 percent more arrests in California's two sectors compared with the same time last year, while Arizona's two sectors saw a slight drop in arrests.

That could mean smuggling rings are avoiding the new agents, fences, cameras and sensors deployed in Arizona since 2004 by concentrating on other parts of the Southwest.

As they announced the statistics Tuesday morning, Border Patrol officials said arrests are up in California because the agency now catches a higher proportion of attempted border crossers there.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Huge Backlogs, Delays Feared Under Senate Immigration Plan

By S. Mitra Kalita and Spencer S. Hsu
Post Staff Writers
Monday, July 24, 2006
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Arturo Zavala entered the United States illegally from Mexico in 1976 and picked mushrooms in Pennsylvania for a decade before he became a legal resident. But that menial labor was not the toughest part of life here.

More difficult was gaining permission for his wife, daughter and two younger sons to join him and his eldest son here. The family finally reunited in 2001, 14 years after Zavala received his green card as part of a 1986 amnesty program for illegal immigrants.

The long delays for Zavala's family were among the many unintended consequences of the 1986 law, which allowed nearly 3 million immigrants to gain legal status. But illegal workers and the government may face far greater problems if pending immigration legislation passes and three times as many people -- as many as 10 million by some estimates -- are permitted to apply for legalization.

"It would be an utter meltdown," said Peggy Gleason, a senior attorney at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network. "Despite the problems, [the 1986 amnesty] was actually an enormous success. Government made this huge effort to make all these offices that were very consumer friendly. I have no idea what the government is doing right now to prepare, but back then, they thought about it hard."

Gunmen attack student radio station in escalating confrontation in historic Mexican city

By Rebecca Romero
9:41 a.m.
July 23, 2006

OAXACA, Mexico – A group of gunmen attacked Oaxaca's university radio station, authorities said Sunday, the latest incident in a wave of confrontations and protests that have driven many tourists out of this historic city.

The assailants fired rounds of ammunition into the station's windows while it was broadcasting late Saturday, the Oaxaca state government said in a news release. Nobody was hurt in the attack.

The university radio station has supported a wave of protests aimed at ousting Oaxaca state governor Ulises Ruiz, who is accused of rigging the election to win office in 2004 and violently repressing dissent.

Teachers Union leader Enrique Rueda, who is one of the protest leaders, accused Ruiz of being behind the shooting.

Shoot-out between Mexican drug gangs leaves three dead in latest in wave of killings

By Ioan Grillo
9:49 a.m.
July 22, 2006

MEXICO CITY – A shoot-out between suspected drug gangs left three men dead before dozens of police and soldiers stormed the scene and arrested the gunmen in the central Mexican state of Michoacan, police said Saturday.

The slayings were the latest in a wave of drug-related bloodshed that has killed more than 2,000 people across Mexico since the beginning of 2005.

The shoot-out erupted Friday in the community of Las Anonas about 250 miles (400 kilometers) west of Mexico City, said Victor Baltasar, spokesman for Michoacan state police.

Federal agents, soldiers and state police, who have been carrying anti-drug operations in the area, rapidly responded by sealing off the scene and moving in to arrest four suspected drug smugglers, Baltasar said.

Employers held on charges of harboring illegal aliens

By Jerry Seper
Published July 23, 2006

Employers in three states targeted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents as part of an enhanced effort to combat illegal-alien employment schemes have been arrested for, or pleaded guilty to, charges of harboring illegal aliens.

ICE spokesman Dean Boyd said two limited-liability corporations in Kentucky -- Asha Ventures LLC and Narayan LLC -- pleaded guilty Thursday to criminal charges of harboring illegal aliens and money laundering in an illegal employment scheme at hotels. They agreed to pay $1.5 million cash in lieu of forfeiture and create internal compliance programs.

Sentencing in the case is scheduled for October.

Groups sue, say state comes up short in bilingual education

By Brandi Grissom / Austin Bureau
El Paso

AUSTIN -- Latino advocacy groups are taking Texas to court, claiming the state's education agency is failing to enforce a judge's 35-year-old order to make sure hundreds of thousands of Spanish-speaking students have the same educational opportunities as their peers.

The League of United Latin American Citizens and the American GI Forum filed a motion earlier this year arguing that thousands of Spanish-speaking students are failing standardized tests and dropping out of school because they do not have a working knowledge of English.

The groups want a judge to order the Texas Education Agency to more closely observe and evaluate bilingual programs to make sure students with limited English skills get the same quality education and opportunities as students who speak the language fluently.

Border Patrol Intercepts Cache of Cocaine, Weapons, Money

Rio Grande City, TEX. — On July 18, CBP Border Patrol agents working near Los Garzas, Texas intercepted a large quantity of U.S. currency, vehicles, weapons, jewelry, and cocaine.

Border Patrol agents assigned to the Rio Grande City Station responded to a suspicious vehicle leaving the riverbank near Los Garzas. When agents attempted to conduct a vehicle stop, the driver fled into a residence in the adjoining neighborhood. Agents were unable to make contact with anyone at the residence and obtained a search warrant for the residence.

A search of the residence revealed over $917,000 in U.S. currency, 13 vehicles, 46 weapons, jewelry, and over two pounds of cocaine, worth nearly $70,400. The contraband and the vehicles were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration in McAllen, Texas, for further investigation.

Mexican will get $25K after police shooting

The Associated Press
Published: 07.22.2006

SAN LUIS - A Mexican man will receive $25,000 to settle a suit he filed against the city of San Luis after he was wounded by police who fired on a van filled with illegal immigrants, the city attorney said.

Moises Iniguez Zermeno of San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico, was one of 11 passengers in the minivan that was speeding back toward Mexico when the officers opened fire Aug. 14. Two other passengers were also wounded, according to police.

According to the Border Patrol, the driver of the van had picked up illegal immigrants before the shooting and had turned back toward Mexico after Border Patrol officials began following it.

The Border Patrol radioed San Luis police, and two officers were trying to stop the van when it swerved and tried to run one officer down, police said.

Arrests of immigrants' employers doubles '05 figures

The Associated Press
Published: 07.22.2006

WASHINGTON - The number of employers arrested on charges of hiring illegal immigrants has more than doubled this year. And some employers themselves are in the United States illegally, immigration officials say.

With cases this week in Arkansas, Kentucky and Ohio, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has arrested 445 people so far this year on criminal charges and has picked up an additional 2,700 people suspected of immigration violations.

In 2005, there were 176 arrests on criminal charges and 1,116 on immigration violations, ICE said.

Tourists not wanted in quaint Oaxaca

The Associated Press
Published: 07.22.2006

OAXACA, Mexico - Protesters have taken over the center of folkloric Oaxaca, making tourists show identification at makeshift checkpoints, smashing the windows of quaint hotels and spray-painting revolutionary slogans. Police are nowhere in sight.

It's not the tranquil cultural gem beloved by tourists from the United States and Europe. A month of protests to try to oust the governor have forced authorities to cancel many events, including the Guelaguetza dance festival.

Most tourists are staying away, costing the city millions of dollars.

The protests follow other eruptions of civil unrest and class conflict that have plagued President Vicente Fox as his term winds to a close.

Supporters of leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador are holding nationwide demonstrations to demand a ballot-by-ballot recount in the disputed July 2 presidential election. Federal and state police clashed with striking miners in April and farm protesters in May, leaving four people dead.

Judge Who Told Illegal Immigrant To Leave Court Is Dismissed

POSTED: 8:15 am PDT July 22, 2006

LOS ANGELES -- A judge who threatened deportation to Mexico for an illegal immigrant seeking a restraining order against her husband has been dropped from the roster of part-time judges used by the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Judge Pro Tem Bruce R. Fink, a family law attorney from Orange, was removed from the list of about 1,200 attorneys who are used as substitute judges for the county, court spokesman Allan Parachini said Friday.

"A lot of people run from controversy," Fink said. "It doesn't bother me. Remember, I was doing this as a volunteer."

During the July 14 hearing in Pomona, Fink asked Aurora Gonzalez if she was an illegal immigrant.

Gonzalez, who accused her husband of verbal abuse and threatening to report her to immigration authorities, acknowledged being in the country illegally.

"I hate the immigration laws that we have, but I think the bailiff could take you to the immigration services and send you to Mexico," the judge responded, according to a court transcript. "Is that what you guys want?"

Fink later warned Gonzalez that he was going to count to 20 and expected her to disappear by the time he was finished.

"One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. When I get to 20, she gets arrested and goes to Mexico," Fink said, according to the transcript.

Gonzalez left the courtroom and Fink dismissed the case.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Mexican legislators propose decriminalizing illegal immigration in country

By Julie Watson
5:31 p.m.
July 21, 2006

MEXICO CITY – Federal legislators from Mexico's ruling party have introduced a bill to eliminate jail terms for illegal migration into Mexico, saying they want to send a message that migrants should not be treated like criminals.

The bill says illegal migrants should be fined instead of jailed. Under Mexico's current law, enacted in 1974, illegal migrants can face two to five years in prison, although authorities rarely impose such penalties.

The bill also would reduce fines for migrants and the maximum amount of time they can be detained by immigration authorities from three days to 36 hours.

Border deaths on record pace

San Diego region sees jump in apprehensions as traffic moves away from Arizona
By Leslie Berestein
July 22, 2006

Tighter enforcement is steering illegal border-crossing traffic away from Arizona and has likely led to fewer deaths, rescues and apprehensions there this year. But borderwide, fatalities are approaching last year's record pace.

Meanwhile, apprehensions are down borderwide, but increasing in California and parts of Texas, with the biggest jump in the San Diego region.

According to Border Patrol records, between Oct. 1 and Sunday, 319 people are known to have died along the southern border. A year ago, 326 people died during the same period.

During fiscal year 2005, 472 people are known to have died attempting to cross the border illegally, making it the deadliest year on record. The federal fiscal year is Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.

Employers in Arkansas, Kentucky and Ohio hit with criminal charges in connection with illegal alien employment schemes

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As part of its enhanced efforts to combat illegal alien employment schemes through criminal prosecutions, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) today announced the results of three separate investigations that resulted in criminal charges against businesses employing illegal aliens in Kentucky, Ohio, and Arkansas.

Yesterday, two limited liability corporations in Kentucky pleaded guilty to criminal charges of harboring illegal aliens and money laundering in connection with an illegal employment scheme at hotels. They agreed to pay $1.5 million cash in lieu of forfeiture and create internal compliance programs. Sentencing in the case is scheduled for October.

Meanwhile in Ohio, ICE agents arrested the owner of a restaurant on felony charges of harboring illegal aliens after 10 of his illegal workers were apprehended. In Arkansas, ICE agents arrested the owner of a construction business on felony charges and apprehended 27 of his illegal workers.

Deportees growing burden for Nogales, Son.

Los Angeles Times
Published: 07.22.2006

NOGALES, Sonora - Ana Arredondo knows who broke into her car on a downtown street and stole her stereo the other afternoon. She's sure it was one of the immigrants who crowd the byways of this teeming border town.

"Look at the type of people you see in the streets here," Arredondo, 26, said with disgust. "Almost all of them end up committing some kind of crime."

A Mexican city may seem an unlikely place for a backlash against immigrants. But Nogales has been struggling with the costs of illegal immigration in ways that few U.S. cities can imagine.

Up to a dozen times a day, a white bus pulls up across the border from Nogales and unloads migrants the Border Patrol in Arizona has caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally. The deportees flood the city's shelters and strain public services as they try to raise money for another illegal crossing. Increasing numbers of them have come from southern Mexico and Central America, drawn by rumors of amnesty.

Last month, the deployment of the U.S. National Guard on the border made it even tougher to cross illegally, compounding problems for the city. The deportees engender suspicion and resentment from longtime residents.

Star journalists file dispatches from 3-week stint on border

Day 0: In Tucson … for now (July 17, 2006)

Tomorrow we leave for San Diego/Tijuana. 21 Days on the border – hard to fathom. That will be longer than an entire Olympics; Mardi Gras (well, the tourists' version, anyway); a fortnight; the Lord of the Rings trilogy, viewed 50 times in succession; your 5-year-old niece's rendition of the Nutcracker, viewed just once; ... well, you get the picture.

Our journey will take us from Tijuana to Brownsville, via Tecate, CA and MX, Yuma, AZ, Sasabe, MX, Columbus, NM, Ciudad Juarez, MX, Big Bend, TX, Del Rio, TX, Nuevo Laredo, MX, and all points in between. When accessibility to the Internet permits at least one of the five of us will be posting dispatches of our journey on this blog. However, as the online producer I'm proud to announce that they won't always come in the traditional text-based manner. We'll mix in some photos, voice-overs, video and other goodies to keep it interesting. Oh, and you can always check where we are by looking at the 'Current Location' box on the top right of the page, just right of the 'Working the Line' banner.

Hastert: 'Zero' entry by migrants

Group of mostly GOP lawmakers tours border
By Josh Brodesky
Photo by James s. Wood

NOGALES, Ariz. — Saying there needed to be "zero penetration" into the United States by illegal entrants, House Speaker Dennis Hastert got a look Friday at the challenges faced by those trying to secure the southern border.

The Illinois Republican and a handful of other lawmakers, including Republican Rep. Jim Kolbe, from Southern Arizona, are visiting the border with Mexico.

On Friday, the group took a daylong tour in Arizona, including an afternoon stop in Yuma and a late-night ride-along with Border Patrol agents near Nogales. The congressional leaders visit El Paso today.

The border-security tour comes about two months after the Senate passed a bill that would give the chance of citizenship to millions of illegal entrants. Hastert has been critical of the proposed legislation, saying there needs to be a greater focus on border security.

During a press conference at the Nogales International Airport, he reiterated that stance saying he wanted "zero penetration" along the border.

"You gotta secure the border before you do other things," he said, referring to proposed Senate immigration legislation such as a guest-worker program and opening the citizenship process to the nation's estimated 12 million illegal entrants.

"We have a border that is bleeding, and we need to heal it," he said.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Federal agents arrested immigrants who lost asylum pleas

By Ruth Morris
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
July 20, 2006

Federal agents have arrested 61 immigrants in a statewide operation that targeted people who lost asylum pleas but remained in the United States against judges' orders, officials said Wednesday.

Most of the arrests occurred in South Florida, with 35 in Miami-Dade and 16 in Broward County, said Barbara Gonzalez, spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Those arrested included a convicted criminal whom federal officials identified as Glenn Zazim Khan, 34, of Trinidad and Tobago. In a statement, ICE said a jury convicted him on manslaughter and aggravated assault charges. An immigration judge last year ordered him deported, the statement said, and agents caught up with him in Orlando last week.

Federal officials also are pursuing so-called fugitive aliens, or absconders -- men and women who have ignored a judge's order to leave the country after losing an asylum claim. The Department of Homeland Security estimates there are more than 590,000 such fugitives living in the United States, and special Fugitive Operations Teams have arrested about 31,000 since March 2003.

'Amnesty' dead, Fox tells Mexicans

Says Bush told him no chance for legislation this year
Posted: July 21, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2006

Mexican President Vicente Fox told radio listeners in his country that the idea of an amnesty for illegal aliens in the U.S. is dead – at least for a time.

Fox said President Bush advised him of the political realities of passing his "comprehensive immigration reform plan" this year during a flight from St. Petersburg, Russia, to Madrid, Spain. Congress will shortly be adjourning until the November election.

Fox said Bush "pointed out that this period is very short, there are only two or three weeks before Congress members go on the election campaign. So the chance of the immigration issue reaching approval in the House of Representatives and reaching join approval isn't very high."

A White House spokesman acknowledged Bush made the comment to Fox, but said that doesn't mean the president won't be back promoting his immigration plan before the end of the year.

Seeing Today’s Immigrants Straight

City Journal
Advocates of “comprehensive immigration reform” let ideology blind them to the dispiriting facts on the ground.
Heather Mac Donald
Summer 2006

The immigration debate has divided the conservative movement, with each side accusing the other of betraying core conservative principles. Amnesty proponents argue that America’s best traditions require legalizing the 11 to 12 million illegal aliens already here and opening the door wide to would-be migrants the world over. Illegal immigration, these conservative advocates say, is the inevitable and blameless consequence of misguided laws that foolishly—and vainly—seek to prevent willing workers and labor-hungry employers from finding each other. Hispanics—the vast majority of aliens and the real center of the immigration debate—bring much-needed family values and a work ethic to the American polity; refusing to grant them legal status would destroy Republican hopes for a large new voting bloc. Since popular opposition to large-scale Hispanic immigration stems from economic ignorance and nativist fear, policymakers should protect America from its own worst impulses and ignore the anti-immigration revolt.

Mexican state may fuel election protests

Christian Science Monitor
By Sara Miller Llana, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
July 21, 2006

But we would see [fighting against fraud] as necessary to defend the people's will, and the people's vote. We have a necessity to participate, to take to the streets and say no to fraud.

When leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador this week called for a wave of civil resistance to press for a vote-by-vote recount of the disputed July 2 presidential election, nowhere did his appeal resonate more than in the restive city of Oaxaca.

A variety of groups, mostly leftist, have recently launched a series of protests in Oaxaca - located in the heartland of Mexico's impoverished south, which voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Obrador - transforming an annual teacher strike into a massive people's movement aimed at ousting the state governor. The city's main plaza has been a sea of tents and tarps, manned day and night. The windows of the government palace are shattered.

Observers say demonstrations here have primed the area to be a hotbed of pro-Obrador protest if the people ultimately feel the election was stolen, and that what happens here in coming days and weeks will be a good indicator of whether Obrador's call for resistance will gain much traction beyond Mexico City.

Runner-Up in Mexico Discounts Election

Jul 20, 10:00 PM (ET)

MEXICO CITY (AP) - Mexico's leftist presidential candidate said Thursday that he would never recognize the results of the election he said he lost by fraud, and Catholic bishops called for a week of prayer to heal the divisions widened by the bitter dispute.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador implied that the country could plunge into instability if courts don't order a vote-by-vote recount. His supporters demonstrated outside an airline in the latest in a series of blockades and protests.

Lopez Obrador lost the July 2 election to conservative ruling-party candidate Felipe Calderon by less than 0.6 percent, according to official vote tallies. He has called for a manual recount of all ballots and a campaign of civil disobedience.

"The election for me is illegitimate," Lopez Obrador said in a radio interview. "I am not going to recognize the results of a fraudulent election."

Citizenship: ESL classes popular

More immigrants opt to learn English
By Louie Gilot / El Paso Times
El Paso

Victor M. Luna, a 62-year-old U.S. Army veteran who lives in El Paso County, finally decided to apply for naturalization this year. He filed the paperwork and paid the $400 fee. But he needed to do one more thing.

He signed up for English as a Second Language classes so he could "learn more words" and be ready for his citizenship test, he explained.

"I need two more months. Then, I think I will be ready," he said slowly, weighing each word.

Applications for citizenship increased 42 percent in El Paso -- 18 percent nationwide -- in the first three months of the year compared with the same period last year, according to figures from Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Observers said the increase is partly motivated by a perception of growing anti-immigrant sentiment and the desire of green-card holders to secure their stay in the United States.

Along with the increase in citizenship applications, there has been an increase in attendance at ESL classes, educators and advocates reported.

Salvadoran teen's death results in smuggling charges

By Louie Gilot / El Paso Times
El Paso

The Fabens man who said he found a sick 14-year-old Salvadoran girl by the side of the road in April might not have been the good Samaritan initially thought, and he now faces smuggling charges.

The man is accused of leaving the girl to die in the back seat of his van even as she asked for help, officials with the U.S. Attorney's Office said Thursday.

Jose Alfredo Sifuentes Sandoval, 44, called 911 on April 27, saying he had found a semiconscious girl on Alameda Avenue, also known as Texas 20, and taken her to the residence he shared with his parents at 1340 Leaf Street. The girl was taken to Del Sol Medical Center, but she had died of blood clots in her lungs.

Sifuentes was indicted Wednesday evening on charges of conspiracy to smuggle aliens, encouraging and inducing entry and harboring, both resulting in death, aggravated identity theft and three counts of alien smuggling for profit. Sifuentes' girlfriend, Amalia Baquera, nicknamed "La Tia," or Auntie, was also charged with conspiracy. She has not been arrested and is thought to be in Juárez.

SENTRI Participant Arrested for Alleged Alien Smuggling Attempt

San Ysidro, CA – A 27 year-old U.S. citizen woman registered to participate in the SENTRI program was arrested Tuesday, July 18 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers at the San Ysidro port of entry after they found an undocumented migrant hidden in the vehicle she was driving, officials announced today.
CBP officers conducting pre-primary operations encountered Claudia Ramirez, a resident of San Ysidro, as she waited in line at about 1:20 p.m. to enter the United States through a designated SENTRI lane. As CBP officers inspected the vehicle Ramirez was driving, a 1990 Mazda MPV, they discovered a male juvenile hidden on the floor between the first and second row bench seats under a blanket.
The vehicle and occupants were escorted to the secondary inspection area for further investigation where it was confirmed the undocumented migrant was a 17-year old Mexican citizen. The juvenile was taken into CBP custody for processing and will be a material witness for the prosecution case.
Ramirez’ SENTRI pass was revoked and she was charged with alien smuggling. She was transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center to await processing. The vehicle was seized by CBP.

TV debate focuses on border

GOP candidates for governor spar on issue, solution
By Howard Fischer
TEMPE — Arizona should consider the benefits to the state from undocumented workers before spending more taxpayer dollars in an effort to cut down on illegal immigration, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Gary Tupper said Thursday.
In a televised debate, Tupper chastised various proposals by his three primary foes who all support doing more — at state expense — to try to stop people from coming across the border illegally. Those include stationing Arizona's National Guard units in Southern Arizona, buying radar to spot border crossers and allowing — if not requiring — local police to arrest those not here legally.
Lost in all those plans, Tupper said, is the question of whether there are benefits from having at least some of these illegal workers here.
"I think we have to figure out who is contributing and who isn't contributing," Tupper said on the debate, televised on KAET-TV, the Phoenix PBS affiliate. The debate also will run on KUAT-TV in Tucson, but it wasn't known when as of Thursday night.
"How much is this going to cost and is it worth taxpayer money?" he asked.

Arpaio-U.S. turf war lets illegal crossers walk away from jail

PHOENIX — A dispute over jurisdiction between federal immigration agents and the sheriff's office in Arizona's most populous county is allowing some illegal immigrants to walk out of jail.
Since the first arrests made in March under Arizona's human-smuggling law, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office has filed 268 cases — 31 against suspected coyotes and the rest against suspected conspirators assumed to be undocumented immigrants.
So far, 63 pleaded guilty to lesser offenses, 15 were dismissed, two acquitted and one convicted by a jury.
But 17 have walked right out of the jail and into the community — including six who pleaded guilty to human-smuggling felonies — because the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency decided it wouldn't transport out of the country people prosecuted under the controversial coyote law.
Since July 11, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department has transported 14 more of the coyote-law defendants in four trips to the Yuma area to rendezvous with U.S. Border Patrol agents willing to take the prisoners and put them through the federal process for removal.
"Why would they refuse to pick up the felons?" Sheriff Joe Arpaio asked.

Cochise County official OKs ranch border barrier

By Josh Brodesky
Cochise County's planning director will allow the construction of a 14-foot tall, military-style barrier on a Bisbee rancher's property, citing its "agricultural purpose."
The fence is being built by the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps on rancher Richard Hodges' land along the border near Naco. It will stretch nine-tenths of a mile along a Border Patrol access road. Referred to as an "Israeli-style" border barrier, it will have two parallel fences and razor wire.
Hodges' ranch is more than 300 acres.
The fence was approved because Hodges' land is more than five acres and the fence will be used to contain cattle, said Judy Anderson, Cochise County planning director.
"It may serve other purposes as well, but that wasn't the issue," Anderson said.
Rather, she said, the question was if the barrier could be used for ranching purposes. If so, then the property owner is exempt from zoning regulations.
"And I determined it was," she said.
The barrier's main purpose, Hodges said, is to keep cattle from walking onto the road.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Troops pitch in at border

Nearly 1,000 guardsmen from California volunteer
By Rick Rogers
July 20, 2006
OTAY MESA – Six weeks after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger agreed to have California National Guardsmen help secure the U.S.-Mexico border, nearly 1,000 troops have volunteered for the task.
Some are cutting better roads into the hills overlooking Tijuana.
Others are turning wrenches to fix U.S. Border Patrol cars, freeing up agents who now can focus on smugglers bringing in drugs and illegal immigrants.
Still others are being trained to do around-the-clock surveillance of once porous spots along the border.
Yesterday in Otay Mesa, officials from the Border Patrol and state National Guard offered a status report. They also gave a glimpse of the California piece of Operation Jump Start, an unprecedented effort to place 6,000 National Guardsmen along Mexico's border with California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Border Patrol Agents Rescue 8 from Compartment of Buses

Rescues rise to 420 in Rio Grande Valley Sector

Kingsville, Tex. - CBP Border Patrol Agents rescued eight individuals yesterday morning, including five children hiding in the engine/baggage compartment of two chartered buses.
While conducting an immigration inspection of the driver, a CBP Border Patrol canine team alerted on the engine compartments. The bus was referred to the secondary inspection area where agents found eight illegal aliens concealed in the engine/baggage compartment. The location of the compartment was next to the engine and exhaust system, which emitted extreme heat and strong exhaust fumes.

CBP Border Patrol Agents Seize Marijuana and Gun

Suspected smugglers taken into custody by Mexican police as they flee south

Yuma, Ariz. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol agents of the Yuma Sector yesterday morning interdicted 67 pounds of marijuana and recovered a firearm along the Colorado River near Andrade, Calif.
The agents were alerted to the presence of three individuals and a dog running north from the international border in the vicinity of the Colorado River near Andrade, Calif. at around 5:15 a.m. The incident was captured by CBP Border Patrol’s Remote Video Surveillance System technology. The three subjects were seen leaving some brush, traveling southbound and attempting to cover their footprints. Agents responded and encountered two of the subjects traveling with a pit bull south along a small trail. One of the subjects was in possession of a handgun. Upon seeing agents, the subject in possession of the handgun threw it to the ground and attempted to abscond to Mexico with the other subject and the pit bull.

27 states pass 59 immigration laws

The Associated Press
Published: 07.20.2006
Dismay over Washington gridlock on immigration has inspired cities and states to pass their own measures, most of which make life harder for illegal workers and demand that employers, law enforcement officers and even landlords act as the front line.
The city of Hazleton, Pa., last week passed one of the harsher laws, approving $1,000 fines for landlords who provide housing to illegal immigrants and denying business permits to employers who give them jobs. Local governments from California to Idaho to Florida are weighing similar steps. States approved nearly 60 new laws in the last few months, overwhelmingly restrictive or punitive.
"It's the blunt failure of any true leadership in Washington, D.C. Everything runs downhill," said Andy Anderson, a city councilor in Palm Bay, Fla., who is pushing for an ordinance to punish employers who hire illegal immigrants.

Search concludes for immigrants in desert west of Phoenix

Associated Press Writer
PHOENIX (AP) -- Officials combing the desert for illegal immigrants abandoned by their smuggler 50 miles west of here concluded their search Wednesday afternoon.
Only three illegal immigrants were found Wednesday, a day after authorities found as many as 100 immigrants as they patrolled a dirt road and saw a suspicious vehicle coming out of the brush.
The immigrants, who were in distress and stepped out into the view of the deputies, stood out in an undeveloped area covered with creosote bushes and palo verde trees.
Twenty-five were taken to Del E. Webb Hospital west of Phoenix for heat-related injuries, said Noreen Vanca, administrative director of emergency services at the facility. Three deputies with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office also were hospitalized.

Sheriff's Office, federal immigration agents in jurisdiction spat

PHOENIX (AP) -- A dispute over jurisdiction between federal immigration agents and the sheriff's office in Arizona's most populous county is allowing some illegal immigrants to walk out of jail.
Since the first arrests made in March under Arizona's human-smuggling law, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office has filed 268 cases - 31 against suspected coyotes and the rest against suspected conspirators assumed to be undocumented immigrants.
So far, 63 have pleaded guilty to lesser offenses, 15 have been dismissed, two acquitted and one convicted by a jury.
But 17 have walked right out of the jail and into the community - including six who pleaded guilty to human-smuggling felonies - because the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency decided it wouldn't transport out of the country people prosecuted under the controversial coyote law.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mexico's apparent presidential winner assembling new government

By E. Eduardo Castillo
9:45 p.m. July 17, 2006
MEXICO CITY – The presumed top vote-getter in Mexico's presidential election said Monday he has begun putting together his government, even though the electoral court has yet to declare a winner in the disputed race.
Conservative Felipe Calderon, of President Vicente Fox's ruling National Action Party, led official returns from the July 2 election by about 244,000 votes – just 0.6 percentage points. Yet under Mexican law he cannot be declared president-elect until an electoral court deals with challenges to the vote.
The party of the runner-up, leftist former Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has filed an 836-page appeal alleging irregularities including ballot-stuffing, illicit government and corporate intervention.
The National Action Party has filed its own challenges, seeking to stretch Calderon's advantage.
The court must rule by Aug. 31 and declare a president-elect by Sept. 6.

Immigration: The Republicans' great divide

The fight for retiring U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe's seat probably hinges on where candidates stand on divisive U.S.-Mexico border matters
Published: 07.17.2006
The U.S. border is a line in the sand in more ways than one.
It divides a superpower from a poor nation searching for a place in the global economy. Politically, the border represents a great divide within the Republican Party, cutting straight through its ranks and ideologies.
A battle to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe will likely turn on how many southeastern Arizona Republicans are on what side of that line and if they vote accordingly.
The money is flowing to pro-business leniency on immigration. State Rep. Steve Huffman, who sounds the least hard-line, has raised $506,588, eclipsing his opponents.
Former state Rep. Randy Graf, who staked out this issue with a get-tough primary challenge to Kolbe in 2004, lags with $292,259.
But the money may be out of whack with the votes, say candidates of all stripes who are trying to play to the crowds.

Endless immigration hearings a campaign tactic, Demos say

By Suzanne Gamboa
WASHINGTON — After more than 50 congressional hearings on immigration, lawmakers complained Tuesday about the prospect of even more hearings in a House-Senate standoff over how to deter illegal immigrants.
House Republicans have called for six more hearings this month — and possibly more in August. The hearings began after the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration bill offering a chance at citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants.
The latest round of hearings has been criticized as a political maneuver to delay immigration legislation and to help Republican candidates in an election year. After more than 50 immigration hearings since the 109th Congress began in February 2005, even a Republican joined the criticism Tuesday.
"They ought to be called faux hearings," said Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. Flake sponsored an unsuccessful House bill that, like the Senate's measure, would offer some amnesty.
Republican leaders made no attempt to hide their disdain for the Senate bill.

Pitbull tags along with suspected pot smugglers

Jul 18, 2006
The Border Patrol uses dogs to sniff out drugs and drug smugglers, but it's not every day dogs help the smugglers.

That may have been the case Monday morning when a Border Patrol video surveillance system captured images of three suspected marijuana smugglers accompanied by a pitbull near the Colorado River and just north of the U.S. Port of Entry at Andrade, Calif., the patrol said.

The smuggling suspects, one of whom was carrying a handgun, fled back to Mexico before they could be caught by patrol agents, so it may never be known why they brought along the dog, said Rick Hays, spokesman for the patrol's Yuma sector.

Nearly 90 illegal immigrants found in suspected stash area

Associated Press Writer
TONOPAH, Ariz. (AP) -- Authorities were searching a desert area about 50 miles west of Phoenix again early Wednesday after nearly 90 illegal immigrants were found a day earlier, many suffering from dehydration and exhaustion from triple-digit heat.
Seven immigrants and three sheriff's deputies were taken to hospitals for treatment, said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Officers used a helicopter, canine units and all-terrain vehicles and conducted foot patrols to search for others believed to be in the area, officials said.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

States stepping up to tackle immigration laws

By Jerry Seper
Published July 18, 2006

State lawmakers are offering more than 500 bills this year targeting state-mandated services, illegal aliens and the employers who hire them, responding to a growing chorus of public opinion nationwide calling for stricter enforcement of immigration laws.
Led by Georgia, where benefits for illegal aliens were cut and stiff sanctions placed on employers who hire illegals, and by Colorado, which banned nonemergency services to those in the country illegally, at least 39 states have either proposed or passed similar legislation.

Texas Hospitals Reflect Debate on Immigration

Photo by Misty Keasler for The New York Times

DALLAS — The doctors and nurses at Parkland Memorial Hospital knew a lot about Zahira Domínguez, a maternity patient who was beginning to feel the squeeze of her contractions.

They knew that she had been born in Mexico, was a 15-year-old student at a Dallas high school and had gone to her prenatal checkups. They knew she was scared about giving birth.

What the hospital staff did not know, because they did not ask, was whether Ms. Domínguez was an illegal immigrant.

“I don’t want my doctors and nurses to be immigration agents,” said Dr. Ron J. Anderson, the president of Parkland.

Patients like Ms. Domínguez — uninsured Hispanic immigrants with uncertain immigration status — have flocked in recent years to public hospital emergency rooms and maternity wards in Texas, California and other border states. Their care has swelled costs for struggling hospitals and increased the health care bills that fall to states and counties, giving ammunition to opponents of illegal immigration who complain of undue burdens on local taxpayers.

As a result, health care has become one of the sorest issues in the border states’ debate over illegal immigration. Facing harsh criticism from residents, public hospitals are confronted with an uneasy decision: demand immigration documents from patients and deny subsidized care to those who lack them, or follow the public health principle of providing basic care to anyone who needs it.

How Unskilled Immigrants Hurt Our Economy

By Steven Malanga
City Journal | July 18, 2006

The day after Librado Velasquez arrived on Staten Island after a long, surreptitious journey from his Chiapas, Mexico, home, he headed out to a street corner to wait with other illegal immigrants looking for work. Velasquez, who had supported his wife, seven kids, and his in-laws as a campesino, or peasant farmer, until a 1998 hurricane devastated his farm, eventually got work, off the books, loading trucks at a small New Jersey factory, which hired illegals for jobs that required few special skills. The arrangement suited both, until a work injury sent Velasquez to the local emergency room, where federal law required that he be treated, though he could not afford to pay for his care. After five operations, he is now permanently disabled and has remained in the United States to pursue compensation claims.

Velasquez’s story illustrates some of the fault lines in the nation’s current, highly charged, debate on immigration. Since the mid-1960s, America has welcomed nearly 30 million legal immigrants and received perhaps another 15 million illegals, numbers unprecedented in our history. These immigrants have picked our fruit, cleaned our homes, cut our grass, worked in our factories, and washed our cars. But they have also crowded into our hospital emergency rooms, schools, and government-subsidized aid programs, sparking a fierce debate about their contributions to our society and the costs they impose on it.

The Immigration Wars Rage On

By David Keene
The Hill | July 18, 2006

The war over immigration reform among conservatives continues, and, as in most wars, truth has been one of the first casualties.

Those who disagree with the hardening positions of people who would adopt more restrictive policies or with people who favor less restrictive measures are attacked as know-nothings, traitors or handmaidens of evil forces out to destroy the America we live in.

The problem is that rhetoric won’t do it, for the simple reason that, having been there and done that in 1986, people want to see results. Whether they might support other elements of a “comprehensive” plan, that support won’t materialize until they see evidence of a real commitment to gain control of our borders.

CBP Border Patrol Agents Seize More Than 2 Tons of Marijuana in Rio Grande Valley Sector

KINGSVILLE, TEXAS — Yesterday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol agents, with the support of Texas National Guardsmen, intercepted over 4,200 pounds of marijuana concealed in a tractor-trailer at the Sarita Border Patrol Checkpoint.

The seizure occurred when agents assigned to the Sarita Border Patrol Checkpoint observed a tractor-trailer enter the primary inspection area. While the primary Border Patrol agent performed an immigration inspection on the driver, a CBP Border Patrol Canine Team conducted a non-intrusive, free air sniff around the tractor-trailer. The canine alerted on the trailer and the driver was directed to the secondary inspection area for a closer inspection.

A search of the trailer revealed 168 bundles of marijuana weighing 4,227 pounds with an estimated value of $3,381,600. The driver, a 36 year-old United States citizen from Santa Rosa, Texas was arrested. The case was turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration in Corpus Christi, Texas, for investigation.

40 Fugitives Caught by CBP at Arizona Ports of Entry During First Two Weeks of July

Alleged Sex Offenders Arrested

TUCSON, Ariz – Intense scrutiny of travelers at the Arizona ports of entry has resulted in the apprehension of 40 fugitives since July 1st, including two men wanted in Arizona on sex offense charges.

“Our mission is to protect our country’s borders at the ports of entry,” said Director of Field Operations Donna De La Torre. “We take this responsibility very seriously and the increased attention paid to travelers has resulted in an impressive number of fugitives being apprehended while trying to come into the United States.”

Bickering on the border

Consider this: Sheriff Rick Flores of Laredo, Texas, testified that 37 members of the Mexican military -- after having been trained in narcotics warfare by the U.S. military at Fort Benning, Ga. -- have defected to the side of drug cartels in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, after being offered four to five times more in pay. Also, it is believed by some members of the law-enforcement community that al Qaeda loyalists have been offering Mexican gang members large sums of money for the smuggling of radical Islamist operatives into the United States. And, even more frightening, is the fact that Muslim prayer rugs have been discovered by U.S. Border Patrol agents along immigration paths on the U.S. side of the border.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bribery at border worries officials

Mexican smugglers intensify efforts to entice U.S. agents
By John Pomfret
The Washington Post

SAN DIEGO - Federal law enforcement officials are investigating a series of bribery and smuggling cases in what they fear is a sign of increased corruption among officers who patrol the Mexican border.

Two brothers who worked for the U.S. Border Patrol disappeared in June while under investigation for smuggling drugs and immigrants, and are believed to have fled to Mexico. In the past month, two agents from Customs and Border Protection, which guards border checkpoints, were indicted for taking bribes to allow illegal immigrants to enter the United States. And earlier this month, two Border Patrol supervisory agents pleaded guilty to accepting nearly $200,000 in payoffs to release smugglers and illegal immigrants who had been detained.

Authorities say two trends are at work, causing their concern that larger problems may be developing: The massive buildup of Border Patrol agents in recent years has led to worries that hiring standards have been lowered. And, as smugglers continue to demand higher and higher fees to bring illegal immigrants into the United States, they are intensifying efforts to try to bribe those guarding the border.

U.S. lawmen outgunned along Mexican border

Bad guys have superior firepower, can eavesdrop on communications of American law enforcement
By Joseph Farah
© 2006

Hundreds of rounds of automatic-weapons fire rained down on South Texas sheriff's deputies and Border Patrol agents from the Mexican side of the border as they investigated a horror story told by two American brothers who fled across the Rio Grande fearing for their lives.

Several Hidalgo County deputies and at least four Border patrol agents were met with a sustained hail of gunfire alternating from the south to the east and lasting nearly 10 minutes, the officers said.

Yet, not a single shot was returned by the deputies or the Border Patrol officers last Wednesday night because they were outmanned and outgunned – a condition increasingly common along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border, say law enforcement officials.

"This is one of the reasons that I do not allow my deputies to patrol the riverbanks or levies close to the river," explained Sheriff Lupe Treviño, "because we do know there are drug gangs and human trafficking gangs that will not hesitate to shoot in our direction to get us out of the area."

U.S. police officers and Border Patrol agents facing superior firepower from drug cartels, criminal street gangs and human smugglers based in Mexico? Yes, say law enforcement officials – and the situation is getting worse, not better.

Hispanic group boycotts Disney 'white supremacists'

Mexica Movement: 'We are radical. More radical than you can imagine'

© 2006

A radical Hispanic group is promoting a boycott of the Walt Disney Company because, contends the Mexica Movement, the entertainment giant "has made a habit of hiring talk show hosts who spread the Minutemen white supremacist racist agenda."

The boycott announcement specifically cites radio legend and Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Paul Harvey, as well as popular talker Doug McIntyre. Both Harvey and McIntyre are nationally syndicated by ABC, which is owned by Disney.

McIntyre was instrumental in exposing a taxpayer-funded Los Angeles school backed by radical groups that lay claim to the Southwestern U.S. As WND reported, the principal of the Academia Semillas del Pueblo Charter School, Marcos Aguilar, has said he believes in racial segregation and sees his school as part of a larger cultural "struggle."

Among the school's supporters are the National Council of La Raza Charter School Development Initiative; Raza Development Fund, Inc.; and the Pasadena City College chapter of MeCHA, or Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan.

"La Raza," or "the Race," is a designation by many Mexicans who see themselves as part of a transnational ethnic group they hope will one day reclaim Aztlan, the mythical birthplace of the Aztecs. In Chicano folklore, Aztlan includes California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and parts of Colorado and Texas.

Disputed Election Leaves Mexico Adrift

Associated Press Writer

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- The stock market is dropping. Protesters are marching on the capital. Citizens are lighting candles in hopes of divine intervention.

Two weeks after a still-undecided presidential election, the suspense is testing Mexico's young democracy. The highly respected Federal Electoral Institute is charged with making sure that the tug of war doesn't reverse democratic gains made since President Vicente Fox's stunning victory six years ago ended 71 years of one-party rule.

Mexican stocks have given up nearly all of the huge gains made after the July 2 vote, and the peso, which initially rallied on news of conservative Felipe Calderon's apparent victory, has stalled amid confusion over who won.

Leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who refuses to concede, has given Mexico's electoral court what he says is evidence of fraud. He calls Calderon a fascist, and is demanding a nationwide, vote-by-vote recount.

Mexican Vows 'Resistance' in Recount Push

By MARK STEVENSON Associated Press Writer

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told a vast crowd of supporters Sunday to wage a campaign of "civil resistance" to push for a manual recount of the election that he claims his conservative opponent won by fraud.

Lopez Obrador did not say what the campaign should entail, but the term "civil resistance" in Mexico often has meant protest camps and street blockades.

A crowd of more than 300,000 jammed the capital's central plaza, spilling down the city's main avenue for at least 1.5 miles and chanting "Vote by vote!" - the slogan of the recount campaign.

A recount is needed "for the economic, political and financial stability of the country," a stern-faced Lopez Obrador said, casting the coming days as "decisive days, days in which all will be tested."

"To defend democracy, we are going to be beginning peaceful civil resistance," he said.