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, December 31, 2007

Rosarito Beach police reviewed for integrity


2:09 p.m. December 29, 2007

TIJUANA – A review of city police agencies throughout Baja California started in Rosarito Beach Friday when 150 officers were ordered to turn in their weapons and told not to report to work until they receive word from their superiors.

State and federal police will replace them in the meantime. The city's new secretary of public safety, Jorge Eduardo Montero, will remain in his post to coordinate their actions.

The officers' firearms are being checked by the military to determine if the weapons are legally registered. The officers will be interviewed and given lie-detector tests by state or federal authorities.

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Border schools use photographs to try to stem illegal attendance


CALEXICO, Calif. — Children are more apt to shield their faces than to smile when Daniel Santillan points his camera.

Santillan's photos aren't for any picture album or yearbook — they help prove that Mexicans are illegally attending public schools in this California border community.

With too many students and too few classrooms, Calexico school officials took the unusual step of hiring someone to photograph children and document the offenders.

Santillan snaps pictures at the city's downtown border crossing and shares the images with school principals, who use them as evidence to kick out those living in Mexico.

Since he started the job two years ago, the number of students in the Calexico school system has fallen by 5 percent, from 9,600 to 9,100, while the city's population has grown by about 3 percent.

"The community asked us to do this, and we responded," said board President Enrique Alvarado of the Calexico Unified School District. "Once it starts to affect you personally, when your daughter gets bumped to another school, then our residents start complaining."

Every day along the 1,952-mile border, children from Mexico cross into the United States and attend public schools. No one keeps statistics on how many children make the trek.

Citizenship isn't the issue for school officials; district residency is.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that illegal immigrants have a right to an education, so schools don't ask about immigration status. But citizens and illegal immigrants alike can't falsely claim residency in a school district.

Enforcement of residency requirements varies widely along the border. Some schools do little to verify where children live beyond checking leases or utility bills, while others dispatch officials to homes when suspicions are raised.

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Plan limits babies' rights to citizenship

Birth certificates would be denied to those without a legal parent

By Howard Fischer


PHOENIX — The architect of Arizona's new employer sanctions law, which takes effect Tuesday, is crafting a series of new measures aimed at people who entered the U.S. illegally.

Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, says he is introducing measures this legislative session to:

● Deny regular birth certificates to babies born in Arizona unless at least one parent proves citizenship.

● Expand the state crime of trespass to cover anyone in the U.S. without authorization.

● Require proof of legal presence in the U.S. to register a vehicle or get a title.

● Deny workers' compensation benefits to undocumented workers injured on the job.

● Bar local policies that prohibit police officers from checking the immigration status of those they encounter.

Pearce is not taking any chances the measures will be rejected by Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano, who previously vetoed a trespass bill and similar proposals. All are being drafted so if they pass the Republican-controlled Legislature they go directly to the ballot.

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Illegal immigration has high cost

Opinion by State Rep. John Kavanagh

With their legal challenges to Arizona's new Employer Sanction's Law foundering, opponents of penalizing businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants are shifting to phase two of their attack — a propaganda campaign designed to fool the people into believing that the law will destroy Arizona's economy. It won't.

Illegal immigrants are a drain on Arizona's economy. They burden taxpayers with costs of about $1.3 billion per year, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, and that estimate only includes expenditures for education, emergency medical care and incarceration. The $1.3 billion estimate does not include the bill for other benefits, law enforcement costs and the expense of providing benefits to the children of illegals born here who, as citizens, are entitled to full government services, including welfare and costly government-sponsored health insurance.

Illegal immigrants harm Arizona's economy in other ways. By working for lower wages, illegals lower market wages and take good jobs away from legal residents. Because hospitals cannot recoup all of the uncompensated costs of treating illegals, they pass the costs on to legal residents and their insurance companies.

Illegal immigrants also degrade our state in non-economic ways. Our national parks near the Mexican border have been environmentally scarred by the unauthorized roads and trails illegals create and the trash they leave behind, as they illegally enter our country. In some areas of Douglas, residents are so fearful of transient illegals that they do not go out alone at night. In Phoenix, illegal day laborers and their supporters are disrupting a community and attempting to destroy a neighborhood family business that dared speak out against the harm, fear and disorder that loitering and trespassing illegal day laborers cause.

Illegal immigrants also make our communities unsafe. Illegals make up 8 percent of Arizona's population but comprise over 12 percent of the felons incarcerated in our prisons, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections.

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Border fence buildup seems to be working

Published: 12.31.2007
AP Photo

Call it cause and effect.

With attention riveted in Arizona during 2007 on border security over illegal immigration, drug smuggling and potential terrorist infiltration, federal authorities responded with a spree of fence-building and high-tech surveillance.

The construction included both old-fashioned fences and the new, high-tech virtual variety, plus vehicle barriers and remote-controlled aircraft equipped with eyes in the sky.

And there are signs that the buildup is having an impact, particularly in far southwestern Arizona.

In the Border Patrol's Yuma sector, which covers roughly Arizona's westernmost 110 miles of border, apprehensions of illegal immigrants plunged dramatically. They were down 68 percent during fiscal 2007 over the previous year - from more than 118,000 to only about 38,000.

By comparison, totals in the Tucson sector for the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, dipped by 4 percent to 378,000 from 392,000.

In the Tucson sector, covering the rest of the state's southern border, Border Patrol spokesman Jose Gonzalez said marijuana seizures soared by 46 percent. He said the dipping numbers of arrests show that fewer migrants are crossing and agents are able to spend more time on smuggling operations.

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Sanctions law begins Tuesday

Many Ariz. businesses are still unprepared

Daniel González
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 30, 2007 12:00 AM

The starting bell for Arizona's new employer-sanctions law is about to toll.

After surviving two court challenges, the law punishing businesses that knowingly employ illegal workers goes into effect in two days.

The state sanctions law is the toughest in the nation. It is aimed at turning off the job magnet that has drawn more than 500,000 undocumented immigrants to Arizona. In addition to punishing businesses for knowingly employing illegal workers, the measure requires employers to use a federal online computer program known as E-Verify to check the work eligibility of all new employees hired after Jan. 1.

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Sheriff upgrades border crime unit

Associated Press
Dec. 31, 2007
06:17 AM

TUCSON- Gangs of bandits preying on smugglers and illegal immigrants are responsible for borderland homicides more than doubling in 2007 in unincorporated Pima County, the sheriff's office said.

This year, eight of 26 slayings were related to border-area attacks on illegal entrants, sheriff's homicide Sgt. Jesus O. Lopez said.

Last year, the Sheriff's Department said it had four such killings.

The escalating violence led Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik to form a border crime unit in July consisting of six deputies and a sergeant.

On Dec. 9, the unit was upgraded to a border crime section headed by a lieutenant with two sergeants and 14 deputies, said Bureau Chief Richard Kastigar, the Pima County Sheriff's Department's head of investigations.

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Panel still weighing Phoenix migrant policy

Phoenix waits to hear enforcement advice

Casey Newton
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 31, 2007 12:00 AM

With the whole city waiting for its recommendations, the panel reviewing Phoenix's controversial immigration-enforcement policy says it needs more time.

The panel, formed by Mayor Phil Gordon earlier this month to discuss changes to police Operations Order 1.4, expects to complete its work by mid- to late January. The operations order prevents police in most cases from asking people about their immigration status.

Under the current policy, most people who commit traffic violations or misdemeanors are not questioned about their immigration status. Some groups, including the police union and several members of the Phoenix City Council, have said officers should have more discretion about when officers can call ICE.

Critics of changing the policy say it would distract police from pursuing violent criminals and could lead to racial profiling.

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Nearly 40 migrants found hiding in semi

Eugene Scott and Elias C. Arnold

The Arizona Republic
Dec. 31, 2007 12:00 AM

Nearly 40 undocumented immigrants were found hiding behind several feet of bell peppers in a semitractor-trailer early Sunday.

A Tolleson resident was walking by the truck on the 9600 block of West Harrison Street shortly before midnight and told police he saw people getting out of the truck and into a dark-colored SUV.

When police arrived they initially found nine undocumented immigrants in the truck, but they discovered 26 more individuals deep inside the trailer. Two more were discovered in an abandoned trailer by a nearby baseball field. Five children ranging in ages from 3 to 13 were among the immigrants found.

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Heightened border security expected to slow surge of aliens


December 30, 2007 - 9:07PM

In the past, the number of illegal aliens passing through Yuma County's stretch of the border always surged during the winter season.

From New Year's on, the reason for this traffic has usually been related to two events happening at this time of year.

First, many families have taken the risk to reunite for the holidays, no matter what the cost, and secondly, many migrants are making their way to find work during the Southern California harvest season, the Border Patrol. said

"Historically, it picks up around wintertime and there is a small spike in apprehensions," said Michael Bernacke, a spokesman for the patrol's Yuma Sector.

But this year, funds invested in beefing up border security are expected to reverse the holiday trend.

Yuma Sector Border Patrol officials expect fewer illegal aliens to attempt crossovers into the Yuma Sector after New Year's, in keeping with a trend of overall fewer apprehensions in the Yuma area.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Undocumented workers bemoan U.S. crackdown


For thousands of South Florida's illegal immigrants, the new year offers more uncertainty, discontent and, for many, resigned departure.

From farms in Homestead to day laborer pickup sites in Florida City and Fort Lauderdale, migrant workers are struggling to find work as Homeland Security steps up enforcement after a firestorm of public opinion derailed an immigration overhaul in Congress. That proposal, which failed in the summer, would have eventually legalized millions of undocumented workers.

Adding to the turmoil: a slowing economy.

More than two dozen South Florida employers and undocumented workers interviewed by The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald said they worry about tough times ahead. Evidence suggests immigrants are sending less money back to their families in Latin America and the Caribbean.

International economic analysts who track remittances said the immigration crackdown is a likely factor behind the slowdown in money transfers.

''Clearly, something is happening if the reported remittances to Mexico are flat,'' said Donald Terry, general manager of the Inter-American Development Bank's Multilateral Investment Fund, which has been tracking remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean since 2000.

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Mexico to track migrations over southern border with electronic chip


10:57 a.m. December 28, 2007

MEXICO CITYMexico plans to use cards with electronic chips to better track the movements of Central Americans who regularly cross the southern border to work or visit.

Starting in March, the National Immigration Institute will distribute the cards to record the arrival and departure of so-called temporary workers and visitors. They will replace a non-electronic pass formerly given to foriegners who cross into Mexico, which has proven “easily alterable and subject to the discretion of migration agents,” the institute said Thursday.

The U.S. government has spent tens of millions of dollars issuing similar visa cards digitally embedded with the holder's photo and fingerprints, but U.S. border inspectors almost never check them, and vehicle lanes are not equipped with the necessary scanners to read them, The Associated Press reported earlier this year.

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Colombian Medellin-based drug cartel member arrested on kidnapping of ICE agent and narcotics distribution

ICE and FBI join forces to target "narco trial" judge in ICE agent kidnapping

WASHINGTON D.C. - Late last night, ICE and FBI agents executed a warrant to arrest Byron A. Jimenez Castaneda, 44, a citizen of Colombia, in Orlando, Florida for conspiracy to possess, distribute and import narcotics into the United States. In the 15-count indictment, Jimenez Castaneda is alleged to have coordinated the kidnapping of an undercover ICE agent in Medellin, Colombia, on December 13, 2005. Jimenez Castaneda acted as "judge" in a "narco trial" to determine the undercover ICE agent's responsibility for the cartel's loss of cocaine and currency to law enforcement. The indictment also alleges that a ransom of $2,000,000 was requested for the release of the undercover ICE agent.

Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement Julie L. Myers and United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez announced the arrest today for violations to Title 21, United States Code (USC), Sections 841 and 846; Title 18, USC Sections 952 and 963, and Title 18, USC, Section 1203.

The arrest of Jimenez Castaneda comes following a two year ICE investigation that has resulted in the arrest of 23 cartel associates and the seizure of more than 1,900 kilograms of cocaine, numerous foreign and domestic bank accounts, more than 3 million dollars in U.S. currency and six vessels.

"This case demonstrates how ruthless this Medellin-based cartel is," said Assistant Secretary Julie L. Myers. "Arresting Jimenez Castaneda on kidnapping and drug charges brings us one step closer to justice and strikes a severe blow to their criminal organization.

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CBP Officers Seize Over Half a Million in Cocaine, Marijuana, and Arrest One at Laredo Port of Entry

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Laredo, Tex. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Laredo Port of Entry, in less than one hour, thwarted two smuggling attempts of over 17 pounds of cocaine valued at over half a million dollars, and 59 pounds of marijuana that resulted in the arrest of one.

The first incident occurred on Thursday, Dec. 27 shortly after 3 a.m. at the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge. CBP officers referred a 1996 Isuzu Rodeo driven by a 50-year-old permanent U.S. resident from San Antonio, Tex. for secondary examination. During the examination, CBP officers detected discrepancies within the vehicle’s gas tank area. Utilizing a non-intrusive imaging system, a scan of the vehicle revealed anomalies within the tank of the SUV. CBP canine “Tower” alerted to the odor of narcotics emanating from the same area where the anomaly had been detected. Upon further examination of the gas tank and a closer visual inspection utilizing a fiber-optic scope, CBP officers discovered two metal boxes tucked within the hollowed out gas tank. A total of three bundles containing 59 pounds of marijuana were removed. The marijuana has a street value of $59,000. CBP officers arrested the driver on federal drug violations and turned him over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agents who investigated the seizure. The vehicle was seized.

In the second seizure which occurred less than 40 minutes later, CBP officers at the same bridge referred a 2002 MCI passenger bus for secondary examination. The bus was being driven by a 39-year-old Mexican citizen from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Once all passengers in the bus had exited, CBP canine “Martin” alerted to the odor of narcotics emanating from the back seats area of the bus. Upon further examination and a closer visual inspection of the seats, CBP officers discovered seven cellophane wrapped bundles underneath two of the back seats. The seven packages contained 17 pounds of cocaine valued at $544,000. Although no immediate arrest was made in this case, U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agents are continuing the investigation into this seizure and federal drug violations charges are pending. CBP officers also seized the bus.

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Border Patrol in Texas Has Busy Holiday Weekend; Seizes Drug Loads

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Del Rio, Texas – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Del Rio, Texas sector seized more than 500 pounds of marijuana during this past holiday weekend and also arrested three subjects in connection with the drug seizures. The apprehensions were made using a variety of enforcement methods including traffic checkpoints, roving patrol and river patrol.

The most significant seizure was made by the

Lake Amistad Task Force, during 30-40 mph winds, with more than 195 pounds of marijuana seized. Border Patrol agents had witnessed a rendezvous between a boat and a vehicle at one of the boat ramps on Lake Amistad. Due to the suspicious behavior of the occupants, the agents decided to investigate further, and performed a traffic stop on the vehicle.

Inside the truck, the agents found the marijuana. They immediately notified additional agents in the area who then went to check on the boat. Due to the high winds, the boat was having difficulty on the water, and the agents were able to move in and quickly intercept the boat.

Agents seized the vehicle containing the marijuana and the boat, since it had been used as the currier on the lake. The marijuana was valued at more than $150,000.

A separate seizure was made along the Vega Verde area of the Rio Grande. A Border Patrol canine and his handler were responding to suspicious activity when they encountered multiple subjects absconding back into Mexico. A subsequent search of the area resulted in the discovery of 219 pounds of marijuana.

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As sanctions law looms, county checks its workers


Published: 12.29.2007

Pima County has begun a review of its own I-9 forms in the days before the state's new employer sanctions law takes effect Tuesday.

The county, which has 7,000 employees, is one of the biggest employers in the state, Pima County Chief Deputy County Attorney Amelia Craig Cramer said.

The I-9 form, required since the mid-1980s, requires a Social Security card and other documents to verify that an employee is eligible to work in the United States, regardless of nationality or citizenship.

The new Arizona law provides civil penalties for employers who "knowingly and willingly" hire "illegal aliens," noncitizens who don't have valid work documents.

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NAFTA benefits elude Mexico farmers

The Associated Press
Published: 12.29.2007

MEXICO CITY - For 15 years, Mexican farmers have feared the day when the last import protections end for the country's ancestral crops of corn and beans.

But as Jan. 1 draws near, farmers say the damage has already been done: Mexico has plunged deeply into a model of globalized agriculture where farmers are ill-prepared to compete, and even people who don't farm for a living are suffering.

Nobody knows that better than Vicente Martinez, who grows corn, beans and coffee in the green mountains of Tepetlan, Veracruz. In July, his daughter Felictas died trying to cross the desert to enter the United States. Martinez blames a combination of free trade and dwindling government farm-support programs that leave rural families with little choice but to migrate; his daughter found no work in their farming town to support her four children, other than cleaning houses for little pay.

"The only thing left to do is run for the United States . . . or sit around looking like idiots, because there's nothing to do here, nothing," said Martinez, whose daughter was abandoned by a people smuggler in Arizona.

Corn, beans, sugar and milk were granted special 15-year import protections when the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, was negotiated in 1993, time that was supposed to be used to prepare Mexico for competition. But many say that didn't happen.

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Battle brewing over employer sanctions lawsuit


December 28, 2007 - 10:52AM

The state Attorney General's Office and attorneys of Yuma and 14 other Arizona counties are fighting with attorneys who are trying to keep secret the names of employers who knowingly employ illegal immigrants.

The county attorneys and the attorney general filed a motion last week asking U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake to deny the business groups' request to keep the names private.

"A strong presumption exists in favor of openness in court proceedings, including identification of parties and witnesses by their real names," Attorney General Terry Goddard wrote in response to the request for secrecy.

Anonymity is usually granted in cases where there is "highly sensitive" or private information, such as disputes involving abortion, mental illness, children, birth control and religion, he wrote. "Embarrassment or economic harm is not enough to justify anonymity," he contended.

Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, the prime force behind the employer sanctions law, objected to the attempt to keep the names secret.

"This is so egregious," he said. "We all know what's going on: They're illegal employers."

After years of employers saying they don't knowingly hire illegal workers, Pearce said, the sudden change of tune is jarring and should have consequences.


Gun smuggling increases


December 28, 2007 - 6:20PM

The number and sophistication of automatic weapons being smuggled into Mexico has increased greatly in recent months, a trend that in part pushed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to create a special office in Yuma.

The federal organization's temporary office quarters have been open for two months now and employ three agents, according to Tom Mangan, ATF special agent in Phoenix.

Mangan stressed that military-level weapons being smuggled into Mexico presents a major safety concern on both sides of the border.

Spread across a conference table at the ATF in Phoenix on one recent day were enough weapons to equip several car loads of drug runners.

''These are, quite frankly, weapons of war,'' ATF special agent Tom Mangan said as he picked up an assault rifle and examined it. "These are military-type weapons. This is firepower you would expect to see on the battlegrounds of Iraq and Afghanistan."

Agents said Thursday they found the 42 weapons in a storage locker about 10 days ago. The guns were worth $250,000 in all: Belgian-made ''FN'' handguns, semiautomatic AK-47 rifles and other pistols. They also found four olive boxes loaded with .50-caliber bullets - ammunition that's big enough to take out an airplane.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Thompson, Paul, Keyes target immigration

Candidates attend Des Moines talk radio row

Posted: December 28, 2007 1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Jerome R. Corsi

© 2007

DES MOINES – Republican candidates Fred Thompson, Ron Paul and Alan Keyes showed up at the Federation for American Immigration Reform talk radio row in Des Moines to talk about immigration policy, and surrogates for Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee made appearances.

But other Republicans – and all Democratic candidates – declined the opportunity, despite national television coverage from both Fox News and CNN.

Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., was present to support his choice, former Massachusetts Gov. Romney, who was campaigning in New Hampshire.

Arpaio added his name to the growing list of high profile border security advocates whose candidate endorsements have made them a factor in the Iowa caucus.

Jim Gilchrist, founder of The Minuteman Project, appeared on many shows to air support for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and defend his endorsement against a barrage of questions about Huckabee's record on immigration in Arkansas.

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George Borjas Interview—Part 2: Borjas On Open Border Libertarians:

" I Don’t Really Miss Them, Actually"

By Peter Brimelow

[An abridged version of an interview published in Immigration and the American Future. See also Heaven’s Door After A Year, By George Borjas, June 10, 2001]

Peter Brimelow writes: Everyone knows, or concedes, that immigration is good for the economy—except economists. Amazingly, since the early 1990s, a consensus has existed among labor economists that the current unprecedented influx into America is of no particular economic benefit to native-born Americans in aggregate. I reported this consensus in my 1995 immigration book Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster and it was confirmed by the National Research Council’s 1997 study The New Americans, the survey of the technical literature on the economics of immigration done at the behest of the Jordan Immigration Commission. Equally amazingly, this consensus has been totally ignored in the public discourse on immigration—one of the most startling failures of democratic debate of which I am aware.

No-one has more to do with the new consensus about the economics of immigration than Professor George J. Borjas, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Borjas first began to depart from the optimistic orthodoxy with his 1990 bookFriends or Strangers: The Impact of Immigrants on the U.S. Economy. His most recent full-length treatment of the subject is his 1999 book Heaven’s Door: Immigration Policy and the American Economy. Borjas, himself a Cuban immigrant, has every emotional reason to favor immigration. That he does not is entirely a function of the data—and his scrupulous scholarship.

I spoke to him in his Cambridge office and began by asking him to summarize the findings of the NRC’s The New Americans.

[See Part One—George Borjas On The Media's Immigration Economics: "People Now Are Getting That It’s Complete Nonsense"]

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ICE arrests 3 criminal aliens in targeted operation

GREELEY, Colo. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents on Wednesday arrested three criminal aliens here, including two registered sex offenders, and a member of a violent street gang. Officers from Greeley Police Department assisted with the arrests.

The two sex offenders are a 67-year-old man, and his 33-year-old son, both illegal aliens from Mexico. They have separate and unrelated convictions based on sex offenses with underage girls. In 1989, the father was convicted in a Los Angeles, Calif., Superior Court of sexually assaulting his then 12-year-old daughter. He served three years in prison. His son was convicted in 2003 in the Weld County Court at Greeley, Colo., for sexual assault on his 15-year-old girlfriend when he was 27 years old. He received a five-year deferred sentence.

The third subject is 24-year-old Mexican man who is an active member of the Norteno street gang, which operates in the Greeley area. His gang membership is documented with the Weld County Court system and the Greeley/Weld Police authorities. Although he is a U.S. permanent resident, his criminal convictions make him eligible for deportation. He has a felony conviction for “menacing,” and two misdemeanor convictions for child abuse and third-degree assault, which are all separate convictions. The father and son from Mexico were both arrested under ICE's "Operation Predator." Operation Predator is a national ICE initiative that protects children by investigating and presenting for prosecution pedophiles, Internet predators, human traffickers, international sex tourists, and other predatory criminals.

The street gang member was arrested under ICE's "Operation Community Shield." Operation Community Shield is an ongoing nationwide initiative in which ICE agents partner with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to address the public safety threat posed by transnational gangs.

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Utah construction contractor charged in ICE probe with smuggling

22 of firm's employees arrested on immigration violations in related enforcement action

SALT LAKE CITY - An Orem, Utah construction contractor faces federal criminal charges as part of an alleged scheme to bring illegal aliens into the United States and require them to work for his business to pay off their smuggling debts.

Jose Hernan Moreno, 40, a Peruvian national who owns MJH Construction, was charged last week with one count of alien smuggling and one count of harboring illegal aliens. Moreno's brother-in-law, Alejandro M. Meza, 42, was also charged with harboring illegal aliens. According to court documents filed in the case, the two men allegedly housed the aliens in various residences they own in Utah County.

Moreno and Meza were initially taken into custody December 18 on administrative immigration violations after ICE agents executed search warrants at three residences owned by Moreno and his relatives. In addition to Moreno and Meza, ICE agents arrested 22 Peruvian and Mexican nationals at those homes who were found to be in the country illegally. The aliens, who were employed by Moreno's construction company, have been processed for removal from the United States, and will be subject to further interviews as the criminal investigation continues. Three days later, based upon evidence gathered by ICE, the U.S. Attorney's Office filed a criminal complaint charging Moreno and Meza with alien smuggling and harboring. The two men have been turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals.

According to an affidavit filed in connection with the case, one of the illegal alien workers told ICE agents that while in Peru, he borrowed $2,500 from Moreno's parents to buy a Mexican visa so that he could illegally enter the United States through Mexico. Once he arrived in the United States, Moreno's parents allegedly told him he would be provided work and a place to live. In July 2005, the alien stated that he and two uncles arrived in Phoenix, where they were met by Moreno. For a fee of $1,500 each, Moreno allegedly transported the aliens to homes he and his relatives owned in Orem. After arriving there, the alien alleged he was not permitted to speak to his parents in Peru without being monitored, and that Moreno took his passport and vaguely threatened him with deportation. Another one of the Moreno's workers told agents he earned $9,500 after working a year of 12 to 14-hour days for Moreno, but ended up receiving only $1,000 after paying off his debts to Moreno and his family.

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CE seizes 5 ½ tons of marijuana that may have belonged to a Juarez drug cartel

The pot was to be distributed in Chicago and New York where its street value would be $8 million

EL PASO, Texas - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents here on Wednesday seized 10,907 lbs. (almost 5½ tons) of marijuana discovered in a vehicle and a warehouse. The warehouse may have been a major stash house for a Juarez drug cartel.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Strike Force and El Paso County Sheriff's Department assisted ICE with this investigation, which resulted in the multi-million dollar drug seizure and four arrests.

Humberto Hernandez Jr., 20, a U.S. citizen; Aaron Marquez-Banderas, 25, a Mexican national pending approval of his U.S. permanent resident application; and Heber Martinez-Garcia, 20, and Jorge Trejo-Torres, 43, both border-crossing card holders, are charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and conspiracy to possess and distribute marijuana. If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

ICE special agents on Wednesday served a criminal search warrant at a warehouse in the 1300 block of Quail Spring in Horizon City, Texas, where they discovered 4,333 bundles of marijuana wrapped in black tape, which weighed 9,447 lbs.

Earlier in the day, ICE special agents and sheriff's deputies arrested Hernandez after they discovered 1,460 lbs. of marijuana in 413 bundles in the vehicle he was driving. Special agents arrested Marquez-Banderas, Martinez-Garcia and Trejo-Torres later in the day, and seized three passenger vehicles, three tractor rigs, and seven trailers.

The investigation revealed the marijuana was scheduled to be shipped to cities such as Chicago and New York, where it would have had a street value of about $8 million.

"ICE took down a cartel's main stash house," said David F. Fry, acting special agent in charge for ICE's Office of Investigations in El Paso. "This was a significant seizure that dealt a strong blow to a major criminal enterprise. This investigation is an excellent example of teamwork among federal and local agencies. We will not stand by as criminal organizations attempt to poison the United States with illicit drugs."

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CBP Detains Missing Wanted Juvenile at Del Rio Port of Entry

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Del Rio, Tex. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers detained a female juvenile who had been reported as a "Wanted Missing Juvenile" from El Dorado, Kan. this past weekend.

The incident occurred on Saturday, Dec. 22, at approximately 7 p.m., when CBP officers at the Del Rio Port of Entry referred a 1996, GMC 1500 pick-up truck driven by a 40-year-old Mexican citizen for secondary inspection. During the examination, CBP officers queried the names of the driver and two passengers. CBP officers discovered that one of the passengers, a 16-year-old female juvenile had an outstanding NCIC record as a "Wanted Missing Person"” from El Dorado, Kan. CBP officers confirmed the active order of detention and turned the young girl over to Val Verde Sheriff’s Department for detention pending extradition to Kansas.

According to the order of detention, the female juvenile was reported as an NCIC missing person and is wanted for questioning in the homicide of an 18-year-old college coed by the name of Emily Sanders in Kansas. The juvenile’s boyfriend, Israel Mireles, has been accused of murdering the Kansas teenager and was arrested in Melchor-Muzquiz, Mexico. The 16-year-old had fled to Mexico with her boyfriend Mireles in November.

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CBP in Laredo, Texas Detains ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ Suspect Wanted on Bank Robbery Charges

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Laredo, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers apprehended a San Antonio, Texas man wanted for bank robbery charges in New Orleans on Christmas Eve.

On Monday, December 24, at approximately 9:30 p.m., CBP officers at the Colombia Solidarity Bridge referred a 1994 Chevrolet Cavalier driven by a 52-year-old U.S. citizen from San Antonio for secondary inspection. During the examination, CBP officers queried David Rodriguez’s name and discovered that Rodriguez had an outstanding federal warrant out of New Orleans for bank robbery. CBP officers confirmed the active arrest warrant and turned the man over to Laredo FBI Special Agents for incarceration pending extradition.

According to Rodriguez, he had been featured on the television show “Unsolved Mysteries” for his alleged involvement in a theft at a Wells Fargo Bank in New Orleans almost 15 years ago.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a month or 50 years if you are a wanted felon the system will find you,” said Lupe Ramirez, CBP acting port director, Laredo. “Our officers continually update our informational infrastructure to ensure that no one escapes the tough blue line. All law enforcement agencies continue to work together and this is yet another example of how it all works.”

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Judge rules San Francisco employers don't have to subsidize city's ambitious health care plan


SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge has struck down a key provision of a new city program providing basic health care to uninsured residents, ruling that employers cannot be required to subsidize the ambitious plan.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White ruled Wednesday that the mandate, set to take effect on Jan. 1, would violate a 1974 federal law requiring consistency in the health coverage afforded employees who work for the same company but live in different jurisdictions.

"By mandating employee health benefit structures and administration, those requirements interfere with preserving employer autonomy over whether and how to provide employee health coverage, and ensuring uniform national regulation of such coverage," White wrote.

The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, which argued that the mandatory contributions the city sought placed a costly burden on members already struggling to make a profit.

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AG: No anonymity in sanctions lawsuit

The Arizona Republic

Published: 12.28.2007

PHOENIX - The state Attorney General's Office and Arizona's 15 county attorneys want business groups suing to block the state's new employer sanctions law to reveal the names of three employers who knowingly employ illegal immigrants.

The business groups' lawsuit seeks to keep the employer's names secret, a request that brought a sharp response from the state. The businesses were added to the suit to show that the new law could cause harm, attorneys said.

The county attorneys and the Attorney General filed a motion Friday asking U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake to deny the business groups' request to keep the names private.

"A strong presumption exists in favor of openness in court proceedings, including identification of parties and witnesses by their real names," Attorney General Terry Goddard wrote in response to the request for secrecy. Anonymity is usually granted in cases where there is "highly sensitive" or private information, such as disputes involving abortion, mental illness, children, birth control and religion, he wrote. "Embarrassment or economic harm is not enough to justify anonymity," he contended.


High-powered weapons seized in Arizona, feds say

The Associated Press

Published: 12.28.2007

PHOENIX - Spread across a conference table at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Phoenix are enough weapons to equip several carloads of drug runners.

Agents said Thursday they found the 42 weapons in a storage locker about 10 days ago.

The guns are worth $250,000: Belgian-made "FN" handguns, semiautomatic AK rifles and other pistols.

They also found four olive boxes loaded with 50-caliber cartridges, ammunition that's big enough to take out an airplane.

Some of those guns end up in the hands of California gangs or with coyotes herding illegal immigrants into the U.S.

Still, Mangan said a majority of the guns are smuggled into Mexico for use by drug dealers.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Report: More Poor Americans Infected With Worms Than Thought

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

As many as 23 percent of inner city African Americans are infected with roundworm, according to a new article published in the journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Large numbers of the poorest Americans living in the United States are suffering from some of the same parasitic infections that affect the poor in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, according to the the editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed journal.

Click here to see the article

Professor Peter Hotez of George Washington University and the Sabin Vaccine Institute said roundworms, threadworms and tapeworms are more common than believed and often under-reported because the tropical parasites infect poor children living in inner cities and rural America.

Tapeworms, for example, are the leading cause of seizures among U.S. Hispanic children, wrote Hotez, adding that up to 2 percent of America's 35 million Hispanic residents may be infected. Another parasite, toxoplasmosis, is an important cause of congenital birth defects among Mexican Americans and African Americans.


Talk radio puts immigration reform in spotlight

20 hosts gather in Iowa to focus on candidates' border positions

Posted: December 27, 2007 1:00 a.m. Eastern.
By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2007

DES MOINES -- Twenty talk show hosts from across the nation are gathering in Des Moines today and tomorrow in a "Talk Radio Row" organized by the Federation for American Immigration Reform that is intended to bring presidential candidates' positions on immigration reform into the spotlight.

FAIR's plans include a forum in which top Democratic and Republican Party presidential contenders, Iowa politicians, and national experts can meet to be interviewed in a talk radio marathon that reflects the growing importance of the immigration debate to the 2008 presidential campaign.

Julie Kirchner, executive director of FAIR, said Republican presidential candidates Ron Paul and Fred Thompson are scheduled to appear, with several other candidates planning to participate in radio interviews by telephone.

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George Borjas On The Media's Immigration Economics: "People Now Are Getting That It’s Complete Nonsense"

By Peter Brimelow

[An abridged version of an interview published in Immigration and the American Future. See also Heaven’s Door After A Year, By George Borjas, June 10, 2001]

Peter Brimelow writes: Everyone knows, or concedes, that immigration is good for the economy—except economists. Amazingly, since the early 1990s, a consensus has existed among labor economists that the current unprecedented influx into America is of no particular economic benefit to native-born Americans in aggregate. I reported this consensus in my 1995 immigration book Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster and it was confirmed by the National Research Council’s 1997 study The New Americans, the survey of the technical literature on the economics of immigration done at the behest of the Jordan Immigration Commission. Equally amazingly, this consensus has been totally ignored in the public discourse on immigration—one of the most startling failures of democratic debate of which I am aware.

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Mexican trucks to keep rolling in U.S.

Administration's move angers foes in Congress

By David Washburn


December 27, 2007

The Bush administration will continue to operate a controversial, cross-border trucking program despite language in the $555 billion appropriations bill signed by President Bush yesterday aimed at eliminating the program's funding.

The administration's move, while not unexpected, sparked outrage from Democratic and Republican members of Congress who have fought to kill the three-month-old pilot program, which allows long-haul Mexican trucks to travel throughout the United States.

“The administration seems to believe that the law doesn't apply to them,” Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., the author of the appropriations bill amendment that sought to cut funding for the program, said in a statement.

Dorgan and other opponents of the program say the amendment's language is unambiguous, and that the administration's action will be challenged in Congress and the courts.

Dorgan, more than 100 other members of Congress and several interest groups, such as the Teamsters union and independent truck drivers, contend that the program lacks sufficient safeguards to ensure that Mexican trucks meet the same standards as American trucks.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, has said the program demonstrates a “complete disregard” for the safety of U.S. motorists and the security threat posed by Mexican truckers.

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Yuma border barriers working

The Arizona Republic

Published: 12.27.2007

Between the Colorado River and a desolate rock hill to the east are 48 miles of various types of barriers dividing the United States and Mexico, almost all of them new.

While other parts of the southwestern border remain porous, this small part of Arizona has become an example in the federal government's effort to stop illegal immigration and other traffic.

In the Border Patrol's Yuma Sector, arrests of illegal immigrants have dropped from 119,000 in 2006 to 38,000 in the fiscal year that ended in September, and the trend continues downward.

Though the various barriers aren't impermeable - in some stretches, they block only vehicles, and some rocky hills aren't covered at all - they seem to be working.

Authorities in Mexico say they see fewer immigrants trying to traverse the border. Authorities in Arizona report that border crime has dropped significantly.

Federal, local and Mexican officials cite the fences as a major reason for the reduction in illegal traffic, arrests and crime in the region.

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In Scottsdale, misdirected praise for immigration policy

Carol Sowers
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 26, 2007
12:31 PM

A New Yorker, who plans to move to the Valley, congratulated the Scottsdale Police Department on its tough illegal immigration policy.

But the man got it all wrong. He wasn't alone.

About two dozen people called or e-mailed the Scottsdale police after they read an incorrect Associated Press story distributed nationwide on Sunday. The story, since corrected, said Scottsdale Police are demanding proof-of-citizenship when they make an arrest.

Not true.

In October, Scottsdale police began asking every suspect about their citizenship, but are not asking for documents to prove it.

"As soon as the story hit the AP wire on Sunday night, I started getting emails from New York, Illinois, Florida," said Sgt. Mark Clark, Scottsdale police spokesman. "This just shows how immigration is such a hot button topic that seemingly a local story can generate passion around the country."

Callers and e-mailers didn't appear to be associated with any group.

"They just praised us for what they thought we were doing," Clark said.

Secretaries answering the phones on Monday gave callers basic information about the new policy and referred callers to Clark if they had more questions, like this one from a Sierra Vista man and others.

The Sierra Vista man wanted to know what kind of documents he would need if he got arrested in Scottsdale.

As he had done dozens of times, Clark told the man he would not need documentation, contrary to what the AP story said.

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Scientists fleeing border, smugglers

Outdoor studies getting riskier, researchers say

Chris Hawley
Mexico City Bureau
Dec. 27, 2007 12:00 AM
Photo by Pat Shannahan/The Arizona Republic

MEXICO CITY - Biologist Karen Krebbs used to study bats in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on the Arizona-Mexico border. Then, she got tired of dodging drug smugglers all night.

"I use night-vision goggles, and you could see them very clearly" - caravans of men with guns and huge backpacks full of drugs, trudging through the desert, Krebbs said. After her 10th or 11th time hiding in bushes and behind rocks, she abandoned her research.

"I'm just not willing to risk my neck anymore," she said.

Across the southwestern U.S. border and in northern Mexico, scientists such as Krebbs say their work is increasingly threatened by smugglers as tighter border security pushes trafficking into the most remote areas where botanists, zoologists and geologists do their research.

"In the last year, it's gotten much worse," said Jack Childs, who uses infrared cameras to study endangered jaguars in eastern Arizona. He loses one or two of the cameras every month to smugglers.

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Patrol makes large marijuana seizure


December 26, 2007 - 8:35AM

Nearly 1,400 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of more than $1 million has been turned over to the Yuma County Narcotics Task Force after Border Patrol agents prevented a pot smuggling attempt in east Yuma County earlier this week, the patrol said.

Agents also arrested a smuggling suspect, an illegal alien who had been deported from the United States on five prior occasions and who has prior convictions for narcotics smuggling, the patrol said in a news release.

The seizure of of the marijuana and arrest came Sunday night after agents assigned to the patrol's Wellton station discovered a 2006 Chevrolet Avalanche had illegally crossed the border in the east county, the release said.

The vehicle turned around and headed back to Mexico as marked patrol vehicles approached, and agents later found the vehicle abandoned about a mile north of the international boundary line, the release said.

Tracking footprints from the abandoned vehicle, agents found and arrested the driver, the release said, but discovered a passenger had returned to Mexico. The driver was identified as Francisco Javier Borboa-Meza, San Luis Rio Colorado, Son.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Border delays topic of study


Tuesday, December 25, 2007 11:53 PM PST

Security at U.S. ports of entry has been dramatically strengthened since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Funding for the ports has increased by more than 700 percent. President Bush budgeted a whopping $7.8 billion for U.S. Customs and Border Protection for 2007, a 10 percent increase from the previous year. And $2.5 billion was spent at the ports of entry this year, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The Imperial Valley, like other communities economically tied to the ports of entries, has its own numbers; figures that indicate the financial loss from delays caused by the post-Sept. 11 port security measures.

The Imperial Valley-Mexicali Economic Delay Study finalized and released Dec. 3 is this county’s definitive study on how the delays at its three ports of entry have impacted its economy and is one of the top stories of the year.

Among the study’s findings: more than 1.3 million personal cross-border trips are lost, resulting in $276 million potential revenue lost annually.

Freight delays cost the county $76 million worth of production per year.

In all the study found that the total annual production loss was $352 million, according to the study.

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Immigrants in the United States, 2007

A Profile of America’s Foreign-Born Population
November 2007
Steven A. Camarota
Download the .pdf version
Read selected coverage of the report

This Backgrounder provides a detailed picture of the number and socio-economic status of the nation’s immigrant or foreign-born population, both legal and illegal. The data was collected by the Census Bureau in March 2007.

Among the report’s findings:

  • The nation’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) reached a record of 37.9 million in 2007.
  • Immigrants account for one in eight U.S. residents, the highest level in 80 years. In 1970 it was one in 21; in 1980 it was one in 16; and in 1990 it was one in 13.
  • Overall, nearly one in three immigrants is an illegal alien. Half of Mexican and Central American immigrants and one-third of South American immigrants are illegal.
  • Since 2000, 10.3 million immigrants have arrived — the highest seven-year period of immigration in U.S. history. More than half of post-2000 arrivals (5.6 million) are estimated to be illegal aliens.
  • Of adult immigrants, 31 percent have not completed high school, compared to 8 percent of natives. Since 2000, immigration increased the number of workers without a high school diploma by 14 percent, and all other workers by 3 percent.
  • The proportion of immigrant-headed households using at least one major welfare program is 33 percent, compared to 19 percent for native households.
  • The poverty rate for immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18) is 17 percent, nearly 50 percent higher than the rate for natives and their children.

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Illegal Immigrants To Get U.S. Residency...In Jail

Illegal Immigrants With Gang-Connections Could Get 20 Years In Federal Prison

LOS ANGELES (CBS) ― Twenty-three gang-members awaiting their release from state prisons and various jails around southern California are facing new federal charges which could land each of them behind bars for up to another 20 years in federal prison.

The twenty-three defendants were charged as part of an effort by local and federal law enforcement to further punish convicted illegal alien gang members. The idea is to charge them with felony re-entering the United States after deportation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said. If convicted, each gang member faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

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The undocumented hesitate to enter a less-alluring U.S.

Fewer illegal migrants appear to be crossing the border. A shortage of jobs and stricter enforcement put them off.

By Marla Dickerson
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

December 26, 2007

MEXICO CITY — Lorenzo Martinez, an illegal immigrant who has lived in Los Angeles for six years, has a message for his kin in Mexico's Hidalgo state: Stay put.

The steady construction work that had allowed him to send home as much as $1,000 a month in recent years had disappeared. The 36-year-old father of four said desperation was growing among the day laborers with whom he was competing for odd jobs.

Sporadic employment isn't the half of it. Martinez said anxiety also was running high among undocumented workers about stepped-up workplace raids, deportations and increasing demands by U.S. employers for proof that they were in the country legally.

"Better not to come," Martinez said of anyone thinking about crossing into the U.S. illegally. "The situation is really bad."

That message seems to be getting through. There are numerous signs of a slowdown in illegal immigration.

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Fewer cars stolen since police set up at bridges

By Louie Gilot / El Paso Times
Photo by Victor Calzada / El Paso Times
Article Launched: 12/26/2007 12:00:00 AM MST

Stealing cars in a border city can be easy. In minutes, thieves can drive a vehicle across the border and disappear into Mexico.

El Paso police think they have found a way to close that method of escape.

For the past 15 weeks, police posted officers at El Paso's three international bridges for regular southbound checks. While police had conducted such checks in the past, they were sporadic. A $600,000 state grant under Operation Border Star, a border security initiative, allowed police to be a regular presence at the bridges for almost four months. The program ended last week.

Police officials said the program helped the city slightly decrease auto thefts at the end of 2007 compared with the beginning of the year.

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Mexico welcomes returning migrants

As usual during this time of year, more than a million Mexican immigrants are expected to cross the border to spend the holiday season with their loved ones. But this time around, there is an added element to their journey: Many of them could end up making a one-way trip back home.

Mexican immigrants are finding it increasingly difficult to live in the United States. The land of opportunity that once embraced their work ethic and unique abilities is becoming, to many, a land of misfortune and rejection. A country that appreciated and took advantage of their hard labor is now telling them they are not welcome anymore.

For many immigrants, coming to this country is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to work and help support their families back home. Some of them have established roots here. They've gotten married, had children; they have become an integral part of their communities and parishes. Others, however, just planned to save enough money to go back home and build a better future for themselves and their families. For those, maybe that time has come.

There are no exact figures, but stories abound of immigrants who have decided not to return to the United States after their holiday vacation south of the border. It's just not the same here anymore. Hate crimes have increased. Discrimination and racial profiling are on the rise as a result of the hostile environment toward illegal immigrants. Immigration raids and random collateral arrests have people living in fear. Many parents are afraid to take their children to school, not knowing if they will be picked up and separated from their family, even if the kids are U.S. citizens.

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Wetlands could help secure border

Area near Yuma along lower Colorado River has lots of backing
The Associated Press
Published: 12.25.2007

Someday, Colorado River wetlands could be used to secure the border with Mexico.

A group of southwestern Arizona leaders wants permission from U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to create a marshland along the lower Colorado River south of Yuma by clearing out thick brush, adding steep levees and flooding dry riverbanks.

The plan has support from the mayor of Yuma, the Yuma County sheriff and the Cocopah tribal chairwoman.

They wrote Chertoff about the plan in late September just as conventional riverside fence construction was starting.

Chertoff was asked to halt the fence and use the money to flood a 435-acre area known as Hunter's Hole.

Locals say it's become an overgrown haven for smugglers and drug dealers and a favorite dumping place for bodies.

Border Patrol officials in Yuma backed the plan in an August letter because the river is the busiest crossing in the Yuma sector.

They described how smugglers hide in the weeds and cross the water on sandbag bridges.

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State Appeals Court rules against owner of Pruitt's

Michael Kiefer

The Arizona Republic
Dec. 25, 2007 11:18 PM

The Arizona Court of Appeals has turned down a Phoenix furniture store owner's ongoing request to make police arrest day workers soliciting business near his property.

M.D. Pruitt's Home Furnishings on Thomas Road in Phoenix has been the scene of pro- and anti-immigration demonstrations for more than a year since its owner, Roger Sensing, first hired off-duty Phoenix police officers and then Maricopa County sheriff's deputies to keep day workers off the premises.

In August 2006, Sensing filed suit in Maricopa County Superior Court against Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris for failing to enforce a city ordinance that prohibits solicitation on city streets. A Superior Court judge dismissed the case in February, and Sensing appealed.

On Dec. 20, the Court of Appeals affirmed the lower-court decision, saying that such law-enforcement decisions are discretionary, not mandated, and therefore not subject to court orders.

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Documentation, ID soon to be required to cross border


December 25, 2007 - 9:25PM

Soon, just saying you're a U.S. citizen at a U.S. land port of entry won't be acceptable if you want to re-enter the country, and a driver's license alone won't be enough either.

Starting Jan. 31, U.S. citizens and Canadian citizens will be required to show a birth certificate as well as a government-issued photo ID to prove their citizenship if they don't have a passport.

"We are coming into a transition phase and it's to raise awareness among travelers that the passport requirement will come into play here soon," said Brian Levin, spokesman for Customs and Border Protection in Arizona. "And it's to get people used to carrying and showing documentation when coming through."

U.S. citizens and Canadian citizens who are 19 years of age and older will need to show a birth or naturalization certificate with a government-issued photo ID such as a driver's license. People 18 and under are required to show a birth certificate, Levin said.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light.
For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—
light! sunbursts of light!
You repopulated the nation,
you expanded its joy.
Oh, they're so glad in your presence!
Festival joy!
The joy of a great celebration,
sharing rich gifts and warm greetings.
The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants—
all their whips and cudgels and curses—
Is gone, done away with, a deliverance
as surprising and sudden as Gideon's old victory over Midian.
The boots of all those invading troops,
along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood,
Will be piled in a heap and burned,
a fire that will burn for days!
For a child has been born—for us!
the gift of a son—for us!
He'll take over
the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor,
Strong God,
Eternal Father,
Prince of Wholeness.
His ruling authority will grow,
and there'll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.
He'll rule from the historic David throne
over that promised kingdom.
He'll put that kingdom on a firm footing
and keep it going
With fair dealing and right living,
beginning now and lasting always.
The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies
will do all this.

Monday, December 24, 2007

On This Night - so long ago

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."

At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises:

Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed. Luke 2:8-18 The Message


Farmers Branch, Irving among areas in turmoil over crackdown

Year in review: Immigration

08:58 AM CST on Monday, December 24, 2007
By DIANNE SOLÍS / The Dallas Morning News

Pedro Figueroa is something of an immigrant Everyman.

Ask about his Mexican paisanos and the 48-year-old is quick to defend his countrymen: "People come here to work, not to cause trouble."

Mr. Figueroa worked for more than a decade without proper work papers – sin papeles. Then with a sweeping immigration overhaul in 1986, he received amnesty and legal status.

This year, Congress in effect said "never again," voting down legalization, part of an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws, though President Bush plowed his prestige behind its advocacy.

The failure unleashed scores of local fights, both to crack down on illegal immigrants and to protect them from the crackdown.

The Dallas suburbs of Farmers Branch and Irving erupted with rancor, fear and protests.

Farmers Branch passed a renters ordinance that was later challenged in the courts. And Irving's police department began aggressive use of a federal program to ferret out illegal immigrants who have committed crimes.

As 2008 rolls out, immigration promises to play front and center in political campaigns, law enforcement practices and human resource departments at companies around the nation, and especially in North Texas, said some key players locally and nationally.

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Congress cuts funding for Mexican trucks

But opponents believe Bush will find other ways to keep program rolling

Posted: December 22, 2007 1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Michael Howe

© 2007

Congress has passed a bill that cuts funding for the controversial Mexican truck program, but lawmakers expect the Bush administration to keep the foreign vehicles rolling on American roads amid safety and security concerns.

Joe Kasper, spokesman for Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., told WND that "without federal funding, it will be difficult to continue the program. However, we must expect that the administration will continue looking for ways to do so."

The newly passed 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act prohibits the Department of Transportation from using the funds in it "to establish a cross-border motor carrier demonstration program to allow Mexico-domiciled motor carriers to operate beyond the commercial zones along the international border between the United States and Mexico."

"In a Democratic-sponsored spending bill filled with rewards for special interests, this is actually one of the few beneficial provisions included in the bill," Kasper said.

He points out Bush is expected to sign the bill.

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Ramos, Compean pardons? 'No,' 'No,' says Bush rep

Spokesman won't allow questions to be asked

Posted: December 22, 2007 1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2007

The White House apparently is so reluctant to discuss the issue of pardons or commutations for convicted U.S. Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean that a spokesman doesn't even want to allow questions about the issue to be finished.

The circumstances arose during a White House press gaggle with spokesman Tony Fratto, when Les Kinsolving, WND's correspondent at the White House, tried to raise the issue of the disparity in the treatment of the Border Patrol agents, compared to that given Scooter Libby, an aide to Vice President Dick Cheney who was convicted of lying during an investigation into the outing of the identity of a covert U.S. agent.

The agents were convicted and given prison sentences of 11 and 12 years for shooting after a self-confessed drug smuggler fleeing back into Mexico after leaving 750 pounds of marijuana in Texas, while Libby was excused from serving any of his prison sentence through President Bush's intervention.

The White House repeatedly has said there is a pardons request procedure available to the agents, even though Libby apparently did not go through the same process before Bush acted.

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Someone's killing country music stars

13 brutal murders in last 18 months bear signs of underworld executions

Posted: December 23, 2007 1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2007

They sing of romance, lost love, violence, drug smuggling and cartel hitmen, and now, for some of Mexico's country music stars, their art has brutally forced itself into their lives.

In the past year and a half, 13 musicians – three since Dec. 1 – have been violently killed in attacks that bear the signs of Mexican underworld killings, reported Scotland on Sunday. None of the cases have been solved.

The motives for the murders are unknown and no evidence links them to a single killer. Love triangles, links to organized crime, reprisals for narcocorridos – ballads about drug dealers – that offended someone, and a slow drift into the criminal culture celebrated by their music have been suggested.

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