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  1. #1
    Senior Member Brian503a's Avatar
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    May 2005
    California or ground zero of the invasion

    When a border splits families ... ermain.php

    When a border splits families
    June 20, 2005

    Raul Rodriguez tried to cross the border July 4 because he figured Border Patrol agents would be on holiday and he'd have a better chance to make it.

    He was wrong.

    Over the next two weeks, he made several more unsuccessful attempts, dodged Border Patrol bullets and saw a woman bleed to death while giving birth in the desert before he finally made it to a construction job in Tucson.

    It was the third time he'd crossed in three years and his 14th attempt. The 33-year-old, 6-foot-1-inch carpenter swore he'd never cross again. It was too dangerous.

    A month later, he arranged for his wife, named America, to join him in what they agreed would be their new country. With the aid of fake papers, they later brought in their 4-year-old daughter, Noemi, and then-8-year-old, Raul. By December 2001, the family was reunited.

    America and Raul are two of a growing number of Mexicans who are settling permanently in the United States to keep their families together and avoid tightened border security rather than shuttling back and forth like earlier illegal migrants.

    It's one of the main reasons, experts say, that the number of illegal immigrants in the United States has ballooned to an estimated 11 million people - 6 million of them from Mexico - and why nearly half of all illegal immigrants are now women and children.

    The Rodriguezes haven't returned to Aconchi, Raul's village outside Hermosillo, since they moved here.

    It's hard being away from home and their parents, but they are not alone. Friends and family from Aconchi fill at least 12 units in the well-manicured, midtown apartment complex where the Rodriguezes live.

    Most are here to stay. But it wasn't always like this.

    Rodriguez's 35-year-old sister, Mercedes, who lives in the complex with her two American-born children, remembers when their grandfather used to work in the Yuma lettuce fields. He'd leave Aconchi for six months every year.

    "He'd bring us dolls, toys, clothes, everything," said Mercedes, who originally came to Tucson in 1995 to study English and pursue a master's degree at the University of Arizona in biochemistry. Lack of money derailed her plans, and she now works as a cook in a restaurant. "It was a party when he came home."

    Their grandfather, Francisco Rodriguez, first started crossing north in the 1940s as a part of the bracero program, when U.S. companies traveled to villages such as Aconchi to recruit workers. The program, and legal papers that came with it, ended in the early 1960s, but crossing was still relatively easy, and companies still needed the labor.

    The cycle of migration was broken in mid-1990s, when the United States began the first serious attempt to stem illegal immigration along its border, said Jorge Santibanez, president of El Colegio de Frontera Norte in Tijuana.

    Since 1993, the United States has spent $14 billion fortifying the border. Spending has increased from $480 million a year, adjusted for inflation, to $1.4 billion, most of it for the Southwest border. Over that time, the U.S. Border Patrol has swelled from 3,389 agents to 9,700 and become the largest uniformed police force in the nation. The Southwest border has become militarized with fences, aircraft, sensors and cameras, and Arizona has become the superhighway of illegal immigration.

    But the push appears to have done little to the number of people crossing. The Border Patrol catches about a million people a year, about the same number it has caught each of the past 20 years. But the cost has ballooned. In 1992, it cost $300 to make one arrest along the border. Today, it costs $1,700, according to a recently released Cato Institute study by Princeton professor and immigration expert Douglas Massey.

    If the buildup has done little to dissuade migrants from crossing, it has sent them into increasingly remote areas, where hundreds die each year. Last year, 221 people died in Arizona alone.

    The vigilance has also led the hundreds of thousands who make it across to stay longer to recoup the cost of smuggler's fees, which can run up to $2,500, or to move to the United States permanently, Santibanez said. His university recently released a study on the patterns of Mexican migration and found the average stay has gone up from six months to two years in the past 10 years.

    "Not only has the crackdown on the border failed to stop migration," he said, "but it has encouraged the presence of Mexicans in the United States."

    Experts say fortifying the border has not worked because it ignores the "job magnet" in this country and the lack of good-paying jobs south of the border.

    "The forces that are driving people out of Mexico and pulling them into the United States are still extremely strong and haven't diminished in the last 10 years. If anything, they've intensified," said Wayne Cornelius, director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at University of California-San Diego.

    Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank that favors tighter limits on immigration, supports more border enforcement. But he said it can work only when coupled with tougher enforcement inside the country.

    Federal immigration officials rarely investigate employers, and when they do, their priority is to combat terrorism, major smuggling and criminal operations. From 1995 to 2003, the number of businesses fined for immigration violations declined to 124 from 909.

    "It's a fantasy that the Border Patrol alone can solve the problem," Krikorian said. "That's what we've been doing for the last 10 years or longer."

    Rodriguez has had no problem finding work in Tucson's sprawling new housing tracts. He often works from 6 in the morning until 8 at night for $11 an hour, and he said he rarely sees non-Mexicans on the job.

    He has had problems getting paid, though. He's been able to successfully fight contractors that have tried to shortchange him, but he and his family struggle with living in the shadows.

    Experts say that the longer migrants stay, the more roots they put down. America is nine months pregnant and a week overdue. But she stayed away from the doctor for the first three months of her pregnancy out of fear the recently passed Proposition 200 meant she could be deported. She got medical care only after a local community organizer convinced her otherwise.

    Rodriguez didn't set out to move to the United States and he'd still prefer to be in his village, but he won't be away from his wife and children.

    When asked why it was so important to be with his family, Rodriguez laughed. "You might as well ask why a Mexican eats beans."
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  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    North Carolina
    Over that time, the U.S. Border Patrol has swelled from 3,389 agents to 9,700 and become the largest uniformed police force in the nation.
    They can raise my taxes by 5% per year if they will increase this by ten-fold. It obviously ain't enough.

    By the way this article was just posted by another person.
    When we gonna wake up?

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