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.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Zero tolerance working, says Border Patrol

Illegal entries, repeat tries said to be decreased

By Brady McCombs

ARIZONA DAILY STAR

Most illegal entrants selected for prosecution under a new zero-tolerance initiative are getting little jail time, but the program still might be producing the deterrent officials desired.

The U.S. Border Patrol-led program, which started in January and prosecutes as many as 60 illegal entrants a day, is aimed at increasing the consequences for illegal Mexican border crossers who are used to being dropped off at the border after apprehension.

Border Patrol officials say it's working — they've prosecuted 2,317 illegal entrants in the Tucson Sector through March and report that illegal entries and repeat tries have decreased in a 15-mile targeted zone in the west desert area southwest of Tucson.

The federal court and criminal justice system in Southeastern Arizona have been able to keep up so far and they have been slowly ratcheting up the daily haul with a target of 100 a day by September.

The initiative, however, has pushed the U.S. marshals in Arizona to their limits, required the government to pay private attorneys and obligated the U.S. magistrates to request another judge for Tucson.

Perhaps more importantly, it remains to be seen if the program's threat of prosecution and possible jail time are any more of a deterrent than the myriad risks illegal entrants already face, including sprained ankles, blistered feet, bandits and even death.

That's especially the case considering that as many as three-fourths of the entrants are getting sentenced to time they've already served or to a few days in jail.

Critics of the program say illegal entrants have proven time and again they'll keep trying as long as their odds appear favorable and jobs await.

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