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  1. #1
    Senior Member zeezil's Avatar
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    May 2007

    Border crackdown working, numbers show

    Border crackdown working, numbers show
    Staff and agencies
    11 August, 2007 ... &id=146019

    By TRACI CARL, Associated Press Writer

    TECATE, Mexico - Mexican shelters, usually the last stop for northbound migrants, are filling with southbound deportees. Fewer migrants are crossing in the wind-swept deserts along an increasingly fortified border. Far to the north, fields are empty at harvest time as workplace raids become more common.

    U.S. border agents detained 55,545 illegal migrants jumping over border walls, walking through the desert and swimming across the Rio Grande River between October and June. That‘s down 38 percent for the entire border compared to the same period a year before.

    Migrants also say they feel Americans are increasingly hostile toward immigrants.

    Guevara, who speaks perfect English and has only distant memories of Mexico, was living at a Tijuana migrant shelter filled with deportees, many of whom are Mexican-born but find themselves in a country that is foreign to them.

    While some migrants try to set up new lives, others are caught between two worlds. Salvador Perez still has a pregnant wife and three small children in Bakersfield, Calif., where he worked on a pistachio ranch before he was deported. He‘s tried to cross the rocky, snake-infested mountains near Tecate three times this summer to get back to them, but failed each time.

    The biggest drop in Border Patrol detentions — a 68 percent decrease — was in the remote, heat-seared desert surrounding Yuma, Ariz., once popular with smugglers. Border Patrol spokesman Jeremy Chappell credits the additional troops and tougher security.

    The only area that has seen an increase — 1.5 percent — is the San Diego sector, which runs along the California border and includes the harsh, roadless desert surrounding Tecate. The Border Patrol has responded with helicopters and increased intelligence from detained migrants.

    That‘s why 22-year-old Romeo, a Salvadoran who refused to give his last name for fear of reprisals, was in Tecate‘s town square after failing twice to sneak into El Paso, Texas, once in a car and once on foot. He was flown back to El Salvador each time.

    Deportations also are up for illegal immigrants who have lived in the States for years. Some are caught for minor infractions like a burned-out headlight. Others are rounded up in workplace raids that the Bush administration has vowed to intensify.

    U.S. employers are already complaining, especially those in agriculture, where most workers are believed to be working with false documents. On a recent visit to Mexico, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said some crops are already rotting in the fields for lack of workers.

    Many employers join President Bush in blaming Congress for stalling an accord that would allow more people to work legally.

    "Pretty shortly people are going to be knocking on people‘s doors saying

    Man we‘re running out of workers,‘" Bush said.

    Mexican President Felipe Calderon also lashed out Thursday. "The U.S. Congress, which today turns its back on reality, knows full well that the American economy could not move forward without the labor of Mexicans," he said.

    Fewer Mexicans are sending home cash remittances — Mexico‘s biggest source of foreign income after oil — leaving many Mexican relatives with no other resources, the Inter-American Development Bank reported Wednesday.

    Despite all this, some migrants are still trying to beat the odds.

    Isaac Mendiola, 41, mapped out how he would cross near Tecate.

    "We start walking about 7 p.m., hit the Golden Casino on Highway 8 by 4 a.m.," Mendiola explained. "Then we call this Indian guy from the reservation, and pay him $200 to take us to Oceanside, Calif. An American lady gets us past the checkpoint for another $200. Then we take public buses to Disneyland, and we are in L.A."

    Still, even Mendiola wants to work in construction for only two more years, then return to Mexico to run a convenience store his family has opened with the money earned up north.

    "Crossing is getting a lot harder now," he said. "You gotta stop sometime. This year and next, and boom, I‘m done."


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  2. #2
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    May 2006
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